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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Wed Apr 02, 2014 12:33 am 
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Do what you want! In the worst case scenario you'll just get a different slot, that's all :P

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Wed Apr 02, 2014 7:19 am 
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Just wondering if it might be a better idea to not take a second slot until you're done your first map (and so on). So that if something happens and you have to leave the project suddenly, we're not stuck waiting on several of your maps that may not have been finished -- in the worst case it's just one.
The unexpected can happen to any of us, and we won't see it coming. Priorities happen to everyone, and this is not exactly the highest priority for any of us here. Also, and I don't mean to be mean, but boredom can happen to any of us too. We might leave a map half-finished for a year and not even know why.

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Wed Apr 02, 2014 6:38 pm 
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Alter-Fox, if only you knew my building speed. Not to be mean, or anything :P.

By the way, BC11 is on stand-by until I complete S'tlo Sigma. So, if it is taken beforehand, I can make Y'ledda Caverns a stand-alone mission. If not, Y'ledda Caverns will be BC11.

One more thing. If I claimed a level, and it is not Coolyard Station or S'tlo Sigma, then it is no longer claimed. A few examples are Zandura II, Doomsday Warstation, and BC11.

Update: BC11 is officially unclaimed.

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2014 7:27 am 
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Building speed has very little to do with it. Nobody has limitless endurance, and I very much doubt building Descent missions is the only thing you do in your spare time. :lol:
From an administrative standpoint the whole point of this project structure is to get a load of maps built simultaneously. Authors leaving as many slots open as they can while they work on a map is the best way to leave options open for others to work on at the same time they work on their own map. Authors having options means they can work to their strengths, which means a higher-quality end product.

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2014 4:54 pm 
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I never thought about it that way.

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2014 7:58 am 
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Back on topic:

The Eris level (penultimate Solar System level) is next in line. I haven't started on it yet, but I will when I sort out some real life stuff. It will be practically entirely industrial-style gray with lots of grating and steel. Eris looks bright gray and his a high albedo, even more so than the Moon. But the medium gray is the epitome of Descent, and the level will have to replicate that feeling of penultimacy and excitement that was done very, very well in D1 L 26.

No concrete ideas for layout yet, but it will definitely have lots of see-through, shoot-through corridors. And unlike Sedna, I'm probably sticking with D1-only textures for this one.

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2014 4:40 pm 
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I'm retaking BC11 now. This time, I think it will be called Fol'wousrr (Sorrowful) Station. I already have the entry room, the main room, and the blue key room complete. All I need is the blue and red door (you read correctly, no yellow door). Since I have constant access to my tower, this should be a breeze. Spoiler Alert: Look out for MAXes!

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Sat Apr 26, 2014 2:52 pm 
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I have almost completed BC11, and have taken and almost completed Varuna Military Base. All that is needed is powerups, in which VMB already has some.

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Sun May 04, 2014 3:32 am 
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Don't worry about the items and robots, place only those that you insist that must be there because they're part of your vision for the level. I'll take care of the rest.

Update: I've started working on Eris finally. So far, it's turning out quite D1-lvl26-like, as I intended. I'll post some screens when it's done and an automap layout before the textures are done.

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Sun May 04, 2014 9:21 am 
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Xfing wrote:
Don't worry about the items and robots, place only those that you insist that must be there because they're part of your vision for the level. I'll take care of the rest.

My vision for most of my levels are fully-completed levels. This includes Fol'wousrr Station and Varuna Military Base. However, I am having some trouble thinking up powerup placement in Fol'wousrr.

Update: I have taken and completed R'eeie. Just need to figure out how to get it from my PC to the PC with internet since I don't have a USB stick.

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Sun May 04, 2014 12:32 pm 
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Look, the point is: robot placement has to be handled AFTER the levels are made to have better control over the difficulty progression. It was done that way for TEW, for example. Just let us see the level layouts so we can decide if they make the grade or not.

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Sun May 04, 2014 3:20 pm 
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Okay. But, just like I said,
LightWolf wrote:
Update: I have taken and completed R'eeie. Just need to figure out how to get it from my PC to the PC with internet since I don't have a USB stick.

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Mon May 26, 2014 2:14 pm 
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Working hard on Eris. I expect the layout will be finished in one or two more sittings. I'll post some screens as well as a demo of a runthrough, so stay tuned!

The level is turning out pretty much as I wanted - it's VERY heavily inspired by D1 level 26, but it reuses concepts rather than segments, so I wouldn't say any form of plagiarism is being committed. If these two levels were found in the same level pack, though, they WOULD feel a bit sameish. Then again, perhaps not - everything decides the mood of a level: the geometry, the textures, and the lighting. And the level is underlit as of right now, but I like it.

Here's one teaser screenshot showing the main hub.

Image

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Mon Jun 02, 2014 8:17 pm 
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Where is the Fusion Hulk matcen? :P

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2014 3:30 pm 
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Right outside your view to the left, actually!

But seeing how the level will be early in the pack, I don't think Fusion Hulks are in order. Those I wanted to keep from appearing right until Beta Ceti, but perhaps a single one in some level earlier wouldn't hurt so much. They are harmless if you shoot them from far enough, after all.

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2014 2:31 pm 
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BTW, I've played through "The Falls of Truth" by LightWolf and I think this level actually isn't half bad. Not stellar, but not abysmal either. It could make the cut after secondary and tertiary mapping. Foremost, though. it definitely needs to be expanded. This isn't Maximum or the Vignettes - in the original game the water levels were some of the most expansive levels of them all. Still, it shows promise.

I need you guys to check this level out and tell me whether he didn't copy segments from other levels though.

http://www.enspiar.com/dmdb/viewMission.php?id=812

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2014 6:35 pm 
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I find it funny and flattering that people refer to Vignettes as a benchmark or something to compare to. Thanks Xfing, you made my night. :lol: 8)


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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Fri Jun 06, 2014 1:04 am 
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Yeah, the area leading up to the blue key is the area behind the red door from D2 level 9. The rest I don't recognize as anything in particular.

There are a few things that would probably need changes:
1) No energy center
2) Almost no weapons
3) The robots seem to all be set to "snipe", which probably doesn't work with the tone of the set?
4) The robot types are a bit random, do you want stuff that fits with the Quartzon "theme"?
5) There are texture stretching issues in quite a few places and the lighting needs to be done


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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Fri Jun 06, 2014 6:21 am 
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Stuff such as robot and weapon placement would be reworked from scratch anyway.

But yeah, now that you mention it, the reactor area is oddly reminescent of level 9's reactor room. And that's the best fragment of the level. If things are so, then I say screw this level. No block copying from other levels should be tolerated, at all. I'm becoming more and more convinced that LightWolf is a troll.

DarkFlameWolf wrote:
I find it funny and flattering that people refer to Vignettes as a benchmark or something to compare to. Thanks Xfing, you made my night. :lol: 8)


Yeah, well in that case I was referring to the level's size. Maximum would probably have been a better comparison, since Vignettes had more going on for them than just the size. But yeah, the mission pack already has cult status, no question about that ;)

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Fri Jun 06, 2014 11:15 am 
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To add insult to injury, the side rooms with the pipes were also a knock-off from one of Sapphire Wolf's levels. :P And I'll be honest, I was definitely expecting something larger and more scenic for something called "Falls of Truth." Its name just brought Vertigo Level 14 to mind straight away, and I agree that it's something that needs more spacious areas to really capture the effect. If you want, maybe I could put the Brimspark level on hold and work on that one instead?

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2014 7:55 am 
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I will confess to copying some stuff. The pipe rooms were from "Xeria Base Dreena", and the reactor room was from somewhere...

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2014 7:44 pm 
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Learning to build it yourself is much more rewarding. And gives you far more possibilities to make it less recognizable.

BTW, I was hunting today through some song files from old projects I never finished, and I found quite a few that could go well here.

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2014 1:07 pm 
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NaphthaTurisas wrote:
To add insult to injury, the side rooms with the pipes were also a knock-off from one of Sapphire Wolf's levels. :P And I'll be honest, I was definitely expecting something larger and more scenic for something called "Falls of Truth." Its name just brought Vertigo Level 14 to mind straight away, and I agree that it's something that needs more spacious areas to really capture the effect. If you want, maybe I could put the Brimspark level on hold and work on that one instead?


I'd love it if you did! Hopefully both, though :D

@Fox, it would definitely be cool to hear some tracks. I'd say around 12 good quality tracks would be enough for the whole mission pack, as I can imagine that the bothersomeness of having to make more would start growing exponentially at that point :P. We also have the D1/D2 midi music to fall back on anyway, but a selection of custom music would be a cherry on the top of the cake!

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2014 2:00 pm 
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I don't have to do them all myself. I think these, plus the four I've shown you already and three more I wrote recently, will be all from me though. I think it's about 17 or 18 tracks total but there might be a few that don't fit the concept quite as well, and a couple are selected from albums that have already been released, I don't know if you'd want that.

IMHO for a mission this size it could still somewhat repetitive -- I'm planning to ask certain people whether they'd also like to contribute a few tracks. As far as the instrumental tracks go I'd like to see a few more styles than what I've done in these particular tracks -- and maybe even a few other voices as well.
Plus this could be a good releasing ground for the songs from the music team for the ODF and "Flight Back". There was some really good stuff there from certain Descent community peoples...

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2014 5:13 am 
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Eris layout is almost completed. All that's left to do is create the yellow door area, 50 cubes max I think. And some texture and lighting work. I'll upload the level to dropbox once it's done and also to some host so that people without access can see it. Of course, feel free to do some secondary and tertiary mapping for areas you feel could use some improvement - I'm especially worried about lighting in some areas.

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2014 2:00 pm 
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Eris Military Base is done. Took me long enough.

I've already uploaded the level to the appropriate folder in Dropbox, those of you who have access should be able to see it now.

For those who don't have it, I've uploaded the files to Speedyshare under the following links:

http://speedy.sh/dKnDw/erismilb.hog
http://speedy.sh/VAv3W/erismilb.mn2

The entire level layout is completed and all the matcens are functioning (albeit set to only spawn placeholder Class 1 Drones for the moment). There are no robots and no powerups except for one cloaking device (which I put in right away dunno why) and a full map upgrade readily available to facilitate the exploration.

There might still be some things that need correction and/or improvement. in that case feel free. Just let everybody know you're going to do this so that two people don't do it independently, as that would be messy. I'll also keep making small updates as I keep finding errors.

Here's a screenshot of the level's layout in the automap.
Image

As I mentioned before, this level is heavily inspired by D1 level 26 and I hoped to convey the same feeling of badass penultimacy here. Other than that, it is the ultimate in bleakness - no color at all graces the level, everything is in gray - the only other color is rusty stone and the pinkish red of the floor metal. Thus also a resemblance to level 12 can perhaps be felt. I did this because I felt Descent 2 desperately missed those bleak, gray, industrial touches. There are also no Descent 2 textures used, as established before for the Solar System levels. This really made me appreciate the versatile net grate introduced in Descent 2, I had to get more creative not being able to use it here.

Of course the layout if only half of the appeal, as the robots are equally important. There will definitely be Class 1 Drillers in abundance, also many medium hulks and probably some Super Hulks/Lou Guards. Seeing as this level will only be around 1/3rd through the mission, it cannot be excessively difficult. D1-Level 6-difficult would definitely be fine, hehe.

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Fri Jun 20, 2014 4:38 pm 
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I've been thinking, and...
I think it would be interesting to put a spin on the ol' "gradually make difficulty progress" idea. I think that the Solar System chapter should be treated like a seperate mission difficulty-wise. What this means is that difficulty progress as the levels go on, with Sedna Lost Station being quite difficult, but the difficulty then taking a plummet, the "top" being Sedna, and the "bottom" being Circularis. From there, the difficulty gradually progresses all the way to Doomsday Warstation.

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Fri Jun 20, 2014 7:48 pm 
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Admittedly I can kind of see that happening myself, especially since the difficulty curve in the official levels does tend to fluctuate a bit here and there rather than get progressively worse. In D1, Uranus had two frustrating levels and two not-so-difficult ones, and in D2 and Vertigo, the weapons are given out early only for the levels to start wearing you down gradually due to their size and number of enemies. And arguably, Baloris Prime was also a major breather of a system after Limefrost Spiral, so there's that too.

Admittedly I was kind of expecting Eris and Sedna to be somewhere around the Jovian levels of D1 in terms of difficulty, but I think that's only because it sounded like the player would have access to all D1 weapons at that point. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, though, Xfing.

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Fri Jun 20, 2014 9:33 pm 
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I have to say I do like this idea, although maybe not taken to the extreme suggested -- if you were to make the drop in difficulty too dramatic it would make more sense to build two separate missions.

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Sat Jun 21, 2014 1:16 pm 
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I was thinking just now, and a good drop would be from high to the medium side of low-medium maybe?

P.S. Things are looking good for uploading some levels soon. And boy do I have plenty! They are Fol'wousrr Station, S'tlo Sigma, Ceres Military Perimeter, Varuna Military Base, and a host of surprises.

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2014 4:39 am 
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I was thinking about that too, and I had several ideas:

- Making a significant difficulty plummet at 1/3 of the mission would be very anticlimactic - also considering that Zeta Aquilae is where the D2 weapons start to be given out. I'd say we should make a noticeable difficulty spike instead, and fluctuate from there.
- I think we should cap the weapon drops at Plasma and Smarts for the final levels of the Solar System. Some D1 weapons are simply too powerful - Megas are as strong as they were in D1 and Counterstrike started giving them away as early as Secret Level 1 as if they were no big deal. Well, maybe we could give like 1 Mega in Eris and 2 in Sedna tops, but no earlier than that.
- We could compensate by actually introducing some D2 secondaries in the Solar System levels. I'm thinking Mercuries, these could help. There won't be much use for Guided or Smart Mines, as there won't be a thief nor control panels in the Solar System levels to keep in with the gameplay style of the first game. However, we could introduce them anyway if we sacrificed Megas. However, Flash Missiles, though, being a gimmick weapon, should wait until Zeta Aquilae as they provide functionality and create strategies that one could never count on in D1. Also, there won't be an Afterburner, Converter nor an Ammo Rack until Zeta Aquilae (Headlight why not, hehe).
- Overall I'm for introducing weapons gradually according to their power. As far as primaries are concerned, this coincides with their order and the game they were introduced in - obviously all D1 weapons bar Fusion are weaker than their D2 counterparts. So I'm thinking:

Until the 1st boss (Ceres):

Primary:

Laser up to lvl 4 (back to D1 power, so each bolt at level 4 does 13 damage, more than D2's L6)
Vulcan
Spread (the speed and damage are returned to 200 and 10 per blob respectively as it was in D1).

Secondary:

Conc
Homing
Proxbomb

After that and until the second boss level on Varuna we could add the Quad Lasers, Plasma Cannon and Smart Missiles, and until the final boss on Sedna we could add Mercuries and possibly Smart mines or Guided missiles. Or do it the other way around or something. Overall I want to keep the Solar System levels as indistinguishable from D1 as possible and we need to be careful with these D2 weapons so that they don't alter the feel of the game too much. Their power standing justifies their inclusion, though.

Fusion, being returned to its D1 power, should logically be put off until much further in the game, perhaps no earlier than Beta Ceti itself, same with Earthshakers. Fusion at full power is actually a better weapon than Omega in my opinion, and probably the best primary weapon in certain situations. So I think, according to their actual power and utility, primaries should appear in an order like:

Laser>Vulcan>Spread>Quad>Plasma>Super Laser>Phoenix>Omega>Gauss>Helix>Fusion.

Or something like that. Definitely revelant up until Super Lasers, though, later it might need reconsidering. However, Fusion being introduced last wouldn't have the effect the developers of D2 feared it would have - stealing the usage percentage from Gauss and Helix. There will be plenty of chances to use those weapons if Fusion is introduced later than them, and frankly, I don't think it will supplant them all that much even when it is.

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2014 7:09 am 
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Guided missiles also create strategies that wouldn't happen in D1, especially if you introduce them in a place where there's no other reason to use them. Players won't save them, they'll use them to pick off bots one by one in particularly sticky situations while staying out of the bots' sight.

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2014 9:05 am 
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Alter-Fox wrote:
Guided missiles also create strategies that wouldn't happen in D1, especially if you introduce them in a place where there's no other reason to use them. Players won't save them, they'll use them to pick off bots one by one in particularly sticky situations while staying out of the bots' sight.


Indeed. If there were guided missiles in D1, many sections of the game wouldn't be half as difficult as they are. So maybe we could just stick with Mercuries and Smart Mines... the latter should be fine as it is basically a stationary Smart Missile and in most cases fulfills the same role as Prox bombs, only is stronger.

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2014 5:37 pm 
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Yap.

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Mon Jun 23, 2014 12:28 pm 
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Very well then, we'll get to that. For now I'm waiting for some levels - I'm especially stoked on those by NaphthaTurisas. Personally, I feel a strong compulsion to keep working on Solar System levels, even though there should be some room for others to work on them too. But I'm not starting another level anytime soon due to real life obligations.

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Mon Jun 23, 2014 7:21 pm 
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The difficulty plummet I mentioned earlier wouldn't have to be too big, and a difficulty spike would probably be a little too... over-climatic, especially since we have the rest of the mission to go. So maybe a small difficulty drop (plain ol' hard to medium-easy) would work.

P.S. Sorry for any inconvenience this may cause to people who want build this level, but I think "The Cauldron" should at the very least have a different name, because... well... Kyouryuu already built it (Project: Mandrill Secret Level 2).

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2014 2:36 pm 
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The name is kinda generic, agreed. Well, NT will have to come up with some improvement, since he's the one making the level :)

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2014 8:31 pm 
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Nah, the Brimspark level I'm working on is probably going to become "The Grandcrisp Oven" or somesuch. Not that I can get anything that looks Parallax-ish to also fit that level title, but still. :P At any rate, the two I'm working on are probably going to be back-to-back. They're starting to progress a bit more, and I'm also trying to take a slightly more warts-and-all approach to texturing and alignment than I normally do to make them look more like Parallax could've made them.

(Also, thank you Lothar for the name-shortening that was long overdue. :mrgreen:)

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 5:00 am 
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Oh, Sorry for the confusion. I remember that SOMEONE expressed interest in making "The Cauldron", but yeah, that probably was not you. Hehe.

To be honest, I personally had a vision of what it could look like. Or at least the titular "cauldron". Kind of like the boss room from D1 level 27 with four interconnected rooms, only with slightly rounded corners. Filled with lava at first, but then all of it would be "drained" via the open wall function of a switch and it would reveal the cavernous openings, in one of which there'd be a red door. Or something like that. Dunno, I won't be starting on any level in the nearest future, but that's what I thought the level could be like.

As for the Parallax-ness - indeed, it's good to try and go for it when designing the levels, but you don't need to take that to the T. It's not "Descent the way Parallax did". Sure, recreating the overall feel would be nice, but the idea of making use of more D1 textures than Parallax did in Counterstrike kinda goes contrary to that in the first place. For example, I would like the D1-style door lights to stand alongside the ones included in D2. So that we could have three kinds of door lights rather than just two, all of them used equally. Also, it would be cool if like one in three levels post-Solar system or so could have one of the D1 prison textures for the hostage cells. Just little touches like that to remind the player that Descent 1 isn't entirely gone. Parallax kinda did that with Vertigo, but they restricted themselves to stock textures from the D2 PIG files, and we can do so much more :D

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Sat Jun 28, 2014 2:07 am 
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Nah, I'm all for meshing the two games' texture choices a bit more myself, so that's not quite what I meant by making it more Parallax-like. It's more that I'm trying to make it a bit more rough around the edges and learn more from the way the Parallax designers themselves warped cubes when building for D2. I'm still proud of how Circularis came out, but it does feel a bit overly precise and I'm not sure how well it really fits in with the Turnabout Bore feeling I tried to aim for. So with these other ones, I'm trying to cut back on the detail just a tad to make them mesh a bit better with the other levels and Parallax's detailing techniques.

As for an exact progress report, I think all that needs to be done for the Brimspark level is figuring out one or two connecting areas and then a couple optional side areas to expand on it even more. I just associate that system with huge, drawn-out levels so I'm trying my best to fit that idea here.

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