Questionnaire: Balancing for a new campaign.

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Questionnaire: Balancing for a new campaign.

Post by Xfing » Tue Nov 02, 2010 8:26 am

Since the work on Descent 1 1/2 has hit a setback, I decided I'll take my time to find out your preferences regarding a new long campaign that spans both Descent 1 and 2. Please take your time to answer some or all of the questions below. As you already probably know, the campaign is to contain about 50 levels throughout systems explored in D1 and D2.

1) Would you like the Fusion to be returned to its D1 power? Needless to say, this would really come in handy, since it would become available well before any Descent 2 weapon.

2) Would you like the Spreadfire Cannon to be restored to its flying speed from Descent 1? It was reduced in D2 due to balancing issues.

3) Would you like the lasers 1 through 4 to be returned to their D1 power? (10;11;12;13 as opposed to 10;10,5;11;11;5). This would also force further boosts for levels 5 and 6, both in speed and power, by the same increments, which would give a quadded laser level 6 a whopping 60 points of damage.

4) Would you like to receive a difficult mission pack, the robot threat of which would basically be centered around liberal amounts of robots that made Descent 1 a hell (Super Mech, Class 1 Driller, Green Platformer)?

These points were my intention since the beginning, but I might verify some or all of them according to the feedback I get. Thanks in advance.
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Post by DarkFlameWolf » Thu Nov 04, 2010 2:11 am

1) If Fusion is going to be again the big daddy of weapons, I'd say hold off on it and even release it prior to some Descent 2 weapons. A good level to start introducing it in secret areas is probably level 15 of your level set and introduce it formally out in the open around level 20 and beyond.

2) Sounds good.

3) If Quad laser 6 going to be 60 damage per hit, it's going to be a hard case to ever want to change back to the Fusion. So I'd say hold off on giving out Super Lasers until closer to level 20, and even then one at a time. Once in level 20, and another in level 25 or so. As for levels 1-4, give them out fully by level 4 or 5. Especially if you are dragging the weapons out across 50 levels.

4) Depends. It truly does. Some combinations of robots are worse than individual robots themselves. Experiment.
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Post by Xfing » Thu Nov 04, 2010 5:05 am

DarkFlameWolf wrote:1) If Fusion is going to be again the big daddy of weapons, I'd say hold off on it and even release it prior to some Descent 2 weapons. A good level to start introducing it in secret areas is probably level 15 of your level set and introduce it formally out in the open around level 20 and beyond.
The intention is to withhold giving away any D2 weapons before the levels of appropriate systems are accessed to help emulate the D1 experience. Solar system = only D1 weapons. The system will only have like 15 levels, so I plan to introduce Fusion around level 12 or so, and then not give it until a few more levels (and even then requiring solving a puzzle to get)
2) Sounds good.
Think so too. Since the player will have to do with Spreadfire for like 20 levels, it'd be nice to have it back at full power :)
3) If Quad laser 6 going to be 60 damage per hit, it's going to be a hard case to ever want to change back to the Fusion. So I'd say hold off on giving out Super Lasers until closer to level 20, and even then one at a time. Once in level 20, and another in level 25 or so. As for levels 1-4, give them out fully by level 4 or 5. Especially if you are dragging the weapons out across 50 levels.
Well, consider that Descent 1 already gave out all the weapons 1/3 throughout the set. It was a bit rushed, but the selection was also more limited, and you DID need all that ordnance, so you can't blame them. In my campaign the Super Lasers will be able to wait until even level 35 or so, since your normal level 4 lasers will be more powerful than L6 were in the original Descent :)
4) Depends. It truly does. Some combinations of robots are worse than individual robots themselves. Experiment.
Definitely gonna do that. BTW, if you're feeling like designing something again, your input is most welcome. I believe that the www.dateiliste.com board is the place to visit :)
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Post by Alter-Fox » Thu Nov 04, 2010 6:52 am

DarkFlameWolf wrote:1) If Fusion is going to be again the big daddy of weapons, I'd say hold off on it and even release it prior to some Descent 2 weapons. A good level to start introducing it in secret areas is probably level 15 of your level set and introduce it formally out in the open around level 20 and beyond.
I think what Xfing said about giving it in level 12 could be okay as long as the puzzle is incredibly hard. On the other hand level 15 is still D1 themed. Though there is legitimate worry about whether the players will want to use D2 weapons once they have the D1 fusion (that may be why Parallax nerfed it in the first place).

In Operation: Otter I'm planning to have an omega cannon in level 8, (because the planet for level 8 - level 10 is lightning themed) but I have plans for a puzzle that's so hard that the omega cannon is basically scenery. Consider doing something like this with the Fusion in the Sol levels.
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Post by DarkFlameWolf » Thu Nov 04, 2010 2:51 pm

One recommendation and something might break your rules, is add the Guided Missiles to the SOL levels. It'll increase your puzzle range considerably and make those hard to solve puzzles much easier to create.
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Re:

Post by Xfing » Fri Nov 05, 2010 7:58 am

DarkFlameWolf wrote:One recommendation and something might break your rules, is add the Guided Missiles to the SOL levels. It'll increase your puzzle range considerably and make those hard to solve puzzles much easier to create.
I'm thinking about having the secret levels of the Sol system contain some D2 missiles, so Guided may be a good bet. Imagine acquiring a pack of four in a secret level, and it being the only way to solve a puzzle to get Fusion a few levels later. Now that would be lucrative :P
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Post by Xfing » Fri Nov 05, 2010 8:00 am

DarkFlameWolf wrote:One recommendation and something might break your rules, is add the Guided Missiles to the SOL levels. It'll increase your puzzle range considerably and make those hard to solve puzzles much easier to create.
I'm thinking about having the secret levels of the Sol system contain some D2 missiles, so Guided may be a good bet. Imagine acquiring a pack of four in a secret level, and it being the only way to solve a puzzle to get Fusion a few levels later. Now that would be lucrative :P
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Post by null0010 » Fri Nov 05, 2010 10:30 am

if by \"lucrative\" you mean \"a great way to encourage save scumming\"

guided missile puzzles aren't \"difficult,\" they are \"frustrating,\" and not good level design.
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Post by Foil » Fri Nov 05, 2010 11:20 am

null0010 wrote:guided missile puzzles aren't "difficult," they are "frustrating," and not good level design.
Guided-missile puzzles are just fine when used in moderation.

The nice thing about the above puzzle idea is that if you don't like it, you can skip it.
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Post by null0010 » Fri Nov 05, 2010 11:35 am

There's a certain level designer for Descent 3 that throws around guided missile puzzles as if they were candy. That is a terrible idea.
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Post by Foil » Fri Nov 05, 2010 12:08 pm

That's why I said:
Foil wrote:... in moderation.
8)
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Post by Alter-Fox » Fri Nov 05, 2010 12:14 pm

null0010 wrote:There's a certain level designer for Descent 3 that throws around guided missile puzzles as if they were candy. That is a terrible idea.
You mean Ron Lester?
That's why I was never able to complete any of his levels.

I would add to what Foil said that guided missile puzzles should also be optional. (Although that one required one in D3 Retribution was okay because it was only one).
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Post by DarkFlameWolf » Fri Nov 05, 2010 2:34 pm

I agree, I love guided missile puzzles. But once they become mandatory, for the player to solve to proceed. That is when they become bad level design. They should only be there for optional caches of goodies.
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Post by Sirius » Fri Nov 05, 2010 8:06 pm

Another possible mistake with them is to make them so tight they require certain controllers, or even versions of the game (e.g. with mouselook), to complete.
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Post by Xfing » Sat Nov 06, 2010 7:53 am

Well, I'm quite obviously not going to design all of those levels by myself, and in those that I will, I don't intend to include any overly complicated puzzles. Instead I'll go for ones requiring knowledge/luck more than skill (e.g. once you discover them once or learn their location it'll be natural to solve them in subsequent runs).
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Post by Sirius » Sat Nov 06, 2010 1:50 pm

I recall putting a room in AF level 8 where you had to alternate chording and burning to reach secret doors opened at the other end in time. You could actually repeat that one until you got it right though, and co-op trivialised it - but it was a nice change in pace from more guided missile puzzles. :)
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Post by Xfing » Sun Nov 07, 2010 7:11 am

Sirius wrote:I recall putting a room in AF level 8 where you had to alternate chording and burning to reach secret doors opened at the other end in time. You could actually repeat that one until you got it right though, and co-op trivialised it - but it was a nice change in pace from more guided missile puzzles. :)
I'm thinking of making a puzzle that will force the player to make a choice of his prize. That would be wicked, huh? :P But that'll be in a secret level.
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Post by DarkFlameWolf » Sun Nov 07, 2010 12:34 pm

I've already done that several times in my campaigns. where a puzzle will open up two separate prizes (eg. a Earth Shaker Missile or an Extra Life, etc.) and you can only choose one or the other.
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Post by Alter-Fox » Sun Nov 07, 2010 12:52 pm

And then there's the Terra Firma Facility(s), where it's not just powerups that you have to choose between.
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Post by Xfing » Tue Nov 09, 2010 2:36 am

I have yet to access most of the secret levels of TEW. But I'll do it, that's for certain :)
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Post by DarkFlameWolf » Wed Nov 10, 2010 10:37 pm

well, you got the level numbers for where those secret entrances are in the credits. So start your searches there.
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Post by Alter-Fox » Wed Nov 10, 2010 11:48 pm

I believe the only one I haven't found (there are others I haven't completed) is the one on level 21... but even the exit is incredibly hard to find on that level.

It took me a while to get to the level 4 secret (and I had to watch the youtube walkthrough), but once I was there I was disappointed at how small the level was (though it was one of the coolest looking levels in the set), and how the double respawning theif made it so hard to keep your powerups (I wasn't using XL, as it gives me problems with TEW, so I couldn't turn off the thief).
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Re: Questionnaire: Balancing for a new campaign.

Post by Xfing » Thu Jan 26, 2012 3:30 pm

I diiiid it! I hacked Descent2.ham, the weapons have been altered. Ha. Now just to get some designers workin', there's still plenty of levels of various themes to design!
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Re: Questionnaire: Balancing for a new campaign.

Post by vision » Thu Jan 26, 2012 4:07 pm

:) Well, since you bumped this I would like to add some feedback per the initial post. I'm more of a D1 fan than D2, so there is a little bias.

I would bring the old school Fusion back. I though it's massive kill-power was balanced by the fact it was harder to use and it's not easy to use only the Fusion to complete a level. Without that power, it's a totally impractical weapon. I just finished playing the D2 campaign a few weeks ago and never used the Fusion at all because, well, why not just use super lasers? Why use a weak-ass gun that's hard to shoot?

I don't mind the slower Spreadfire cannon. It's my favorite gun, and even a slow Speadfire is still kicks ass. I didn't mind the laser power settings in D2 either because it was pretty easy to level up. Besides, if lasers are too strong, why use anything else?

Also, bring on the bots. I agree with DarkFlameWolf that combinations and placement are more important that raw numbers. There should be a harmony between space and robot objects, like a feng shui of Descent, you know.

Looking forward to your completed project. Kind of makes me want to dig back into level design, if I wasn't so busy right now.
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Re: Questionnaire: Balancing for a new campaign.

Post by Xfing » Sun Sep 30, 2012 4:53 am

vision wrote::) Well, since you bumped this I would like to add some feedback per the initial post. I'm more of a D1 fan than D2, so there is a little bias.

I would bring the old school Fusion back. I though it's massive kill-power was balanced by the fact it was harder to use and it's not easy to use only the Fusion to complete a level. Without that power, it's a totally impractical weapon. I just finished playing the D2 campaign a few weeks ago and never used the Fusion at all because, well, why not just use super lasers? Why use a weak-ass gun that's hard to shoot?

I don't mind the slower Spreadfire cannon. It's my favorite gun, and even a slow Speadfire is still kicks ass. I didn't mind the laser power settings in D2 either because it was pretty easy to level up. Besides, if lasers are too strong, why use anything else?

Also, bring on the bots. I agree with DarkFlameWolf that combinations and placement are more important that raw numbers. There should be a harmony between space and robot objects, like a feng shui of Descent, you know.

Looking forward to your completed project. Kind of makes me want to dig back into level design, if I wasn't so busy right now.
That will take time, definitely... I've only just finished my first level and there are many, many more to go and I'm not really sure who will make them O_O

And then the briefings, but they themselves shouldn't be hard compared to the work that will precede them.
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