Small rant - level related

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DarkFlameWolf
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Small rant - level related

Post by DarkFlameWolf » Sun Dec 11, 2011 1:02 am

I recently got back into multiplayer after YEARS and YEARS away. And I'm sad to say that not much has changed. After so many great, wonderful, awesome, beautifully crafted levels being released to the masses, the general consensus is this: "Want to play some Minerva? What about Neptune? 'Insert fresh awesomely/non-boxy MP level name here', what's that? I've never heard of that level, let's do Minerva instead!"

To a level designer and even a budding one, this is quite a discouraging climate. I mean, I've made close to 50 MP levels in my Descent making career and I would be willing to bet a million dollars that not a single one has ever been played in a true MP Anarchy session, let alone to the extent the more popular levels have been. So why bother making MP levels at all anymore? Players already have 'the greats', which I am sure were probably made within a half hour and pushed out the door to wild acclaim. Same thing happened with Descent 3, you got a few early hitters that were on the ball in the first month releasing quickly-made, not even close to intricately detailed, levels out the door and you already had your set of 'Minerva' based levels for the next generation. No use making any more levels beyond the first few months, nobody is going to play them, let alone heard about them.

Its disheartening and discouraging to see that after almost 10 years away, no one has been willing to go outside their box of comfort and try new levels. Be it they don't want to lose their demigod status due to too many deaths in unfamiliar terrain or whatever the reason. Its just sad that the next awesome Descent designer could literally pop out an awesome MP level with good design, look and gameflow, but it won't be given the time of day because everyone already has their favorites. Even if they are a boxy, crap-looking...mess. So single player missions is really the only avenue in which designers can still get their creations seen and at least played by the masses. Beyond that, its a fool's hope to make a MP level in the Descent community and have it be anywhere near popular as 'the greats.' (which really aren't that great)
/end rant

And for those who swear by these levels, don't take this rant personally, its just that, a rant. Deal with it.
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Re: Small rant - level related

Post by Sirius » Sun Dec 11, 2011 3:07 am

As one of the Demigod sort who feels that a real player of that rank who has earned his/her status shouldn't be afraid of unfamiliar terrain... well... I completely agree. It's tough to get levels played unless you have game hosts who are dedicated to the cause. MD-1224 has been a strong advocate of new levels lately - he seems to have pushed Year of the Snake into heavier rotation than I'd seen it get until recently.

Well, there's some Wolf Pack levels on DMDB that I might be able to get some Rangers to play as part of their game night tomorrow...! They'll be closed games but at least it's a start.
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Re: Small rant - level related

Post by CDN_Merlin » Sun Dec 11, 2011 6:54 am

This is the exact reason I gave up on D3 5 years ago. Got tired of playing the same levels. I had asked for others and when I joined, I would sit there by myself while everyone else played Subway Dancer or Skybox.

It's sad but we don't have the population needed for many levels to be played.
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Re: Small rant - level related

Post by Alter-Fox » Sun Dec 11, 2011 10:22 am

For D3, playing new maps is really more about being in the right place at the right time. There are a small group of players who like to go outside the box (right now I can think of me, Fiend, Icehammer, and a few others who I forget). If you ask one of us to find a new level to play in we'll probably say yes (unless it's Fiend playing Indika...)

In D1/D2... well... internet has been a disappointment. But when I play lan games with Xaihyv and Klixovann, it's usually Chaos Theory, Wolfpack (great for small hoard games!), Year of the Snake, Kataclysm, or some huge levelset I put together from other peoples' levels and specifically made for robo-anarchy. Cause there are no good robo-anarchy levels out there, and its one of our favourite modes.
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Re: Small rant - level related

Post by DarkFlameWolf » Sun Dec 11, 2011 3:15 pm

On that note Alter-fox, try my Forgotten Fortress, it has the old (read: hard) versions of Enemy Within robots in it. And there are quite a few of them to destroy. If you're interested in Robot-Anarchy. And for those NOT interested in robot anarchy, Forgotten Fortress has a vast outdoor dogfighting arena and a pretty good indoor segment for tunnel ratters with some moderate sized rooms inside the fortress. Its pretty interconnected I think and should provide a good game or two if given the chance.

But at least I feel better knowing there are others who share my sentiment.
If you wanted a list of levels that I personally made that I think are good (not all my levels I've created, I think are actually good) in order of preference per Descent title, it'd be this:

Descent 1:
Chaos Core - Good open level with many places to dogfight in
Descent 1 Taurus - Good circular level modeled a bit after the D3 Taurus
Terror on Descent Havoc - Small level good for 1 on 1 matches

Descent 2:
Infernal Cavern - 3 corridor level built on a Z axis with ample room to move
Damned Warehouse - Bit of a bigger level meant for 3 players or more with a FPS-ish feel
Castle de le Meurte - Small level with two level playing fields stacked on one another
Wolfie's Tea Room - Compact level for insane matches
Forgotten Fortress - Great level with open architecture and a indoor segment
Chaos Theory - 6 level set meant for 1 on 1 or 2 on 2 matches, some of my best work
Wolf Havoc - 6 level set with new music/textures, each with a specific theme
Wolf Pack 3 - Great 6 level 1 on 1 set meant for quick matches
Krackdown - More minerva-ish in nature but with a twist, you have see-thru grating!
Minerva 2 Wolf - My rebuttal to Minerva, not ideal, but it works
Peg Karty! - A better version of a rebuttal but with new textures and even a new thief bot for Robot Anarchy!
Tube Top - Interesting concept, could be used in a few interesting games.

Descent 3:
Chocobo World - Should this require explanation for those who played it? Its a barn
D3 Krackdown - Remade from scratch version of the Krackdown level, more open space
Rolus Compound - Huge, sprawling level great for 6-8 player matches
Chocobo Racing - Not really an ideal MP level, but it sure is a novelty piece. There is a nice open prairie to fight in and a Majora's Mask type moon
Wolf Pack - A made from scratch port by Darkhorse of my Wolfpack 3 levels, recommended

These are not all the ones I've made, but these are the ones I recommend out of the ones I've made.
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Re: Small rant - level related

Post by Alter-Fox » Sun Dec 11, 2011 8:03 pm

DarkFlameWolf wrote:On that note Alter-fox, try my Forgotten Fortress, it has the old (read: hard) versions of Enemy Within robots in it. And there are quite a few of them to destroy. If you're interested in Robot-Anarchy.
I should say what I mean by optimized for Robo-Anarchy...
The main challenge is your opponent! Robots shouldn't change that IMO (so they shouldn't be the hardest robots), but they should provide a unique challenge (maybe blinding sidearm modula, or energy-draining E-Bandits... or a weapon-stealing theif... you get the picture. Give the game a different kind of challenge :P).
Chocobo World - Should this require explanation for those who played it? Its a barn
Heheheheheheh... the one game we had there was soooo memorable.
The eyes of the plush lobster stared deep into my soul. I touched it, made as if to pick it up, and then I was a panther.
BEWARE RAZZADOON'S SNOUT!!
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Also beware my original music, at http://soundcloud.com/snowfoxden and http://vertigofox.bandcamp.com
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Re: Small rant - level related

Post by ryguy64 » Sun Dec 11, 2011 8:36 pm

I for one am not opposed to playing new levels. I usually enjoy it. I haven't run into too many people who are unwilling to try something else, either. But, the problem is that people, including myself, just don't know what else to try. The familiar levels are just that, familiar. So when asked for a suggestion, those are the only names that come to mind. You're right though. Playing the same thing over and over again gets a little old.

And Sirius is right. If someone earned Demigod status, and they really deserve it, they'll probably still win playing in an unfamiliar level.
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Re: Small rant - level related

Post by Alter-Fox » Sun Dec 11, 2011 8:50 pm

Always know what level you want to play before you ask then.
It's what I try to do -- unless the game is running away from a level because the only weapons it has are superlasers and concussion missiles... :cough:CoreClassic:cough:
The eyes of the plush lobster stared deep into my soul. I touched it, made as if to pick it up, and then I was a panther.
BEWARE RAZZADOON'S SNOUT!!
...

Also beware my original music, at http://soundcloud.com/snowfoxden and http://vertigofox.bandcamp.com
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Re: Small rant - level related

Post by DarkFlameWolf » Mon Dec 12, 2011 2:10 am

Well I'm game for any level that isn't 'mainstream' honestly. I have some free time to burn. But my timeline may not mesh with those in the states at the moment. You are going to have to subtract 3,4,5,6 hours depending on your region, switch the am to pm (or vice versa) and you have my time zone. But I'm up for a nice game in unfamiliar terrain. (even my own levels are unfamiliar terrain since I've never played in 99% of them)
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Re: Small rant - level related

Post by Sirius » Mon Dec 12, 2011 9:41 pm

That thing I said I was going to try didn't pan out, I ended up not being able to find a level with enough weapons for 6+ players quickly enough... :( It turns out that there isn't a great variety of levels that suit large player counts that we've heard of; practically any of the overplayed levels just don't have the space, even if they do have the guns. I notice Wolf Sphere might be big enough.

Apologies to the people who tried to join that I didn't let in by the way - maybe it would help if we could set up a similar community-wide "game day/night" via the DescentBB where we can get anyone who wants to play into some open games. You could tie these new level things into it - by this point it's sounding a lot like those "Descent 2 Revival" dates of 7-8 years ago...!
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Re: Small rant - level related

Post by Alter-Fox » Mon Dec 12, 2011 10:18 pm

First time I've heard, but... definitely want to get into it.
The only problem will be finding a place to download the missions.
The eyes of the plush lobster stared deep into my soul. I touched it, made as if to pick it up, and then I was a panther.
BEWARE RAZZADOON'S SNOUT!!
...

Also beware my original music, at http://soundcloud.com/snowfoxden and http://vertigofox.bandcamp.com
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Re: Small rant - level related

Post by DarkFlameWolf » Tue Dec 13, 2011 5:37 am

the DMDB at enspiar created by Sniper is a good place to start! Koolbear's level archive is another.
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Re: Small rant - level related

Post by LvlSevenBoss » Thu Dec 15, 2011 9:53 am

FYI, a while back I put all the missions I collected at the now defunct d3 community website up at DescentValhalla.com. D1, D2, and D3 missions are now searchable by name and author.
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Re: Small rant - level related

Post by karx11erx » Sat Jan 14, 2012 6:52 am

You can find a lot of fine and rarely (or never) played multiplayer missions on my Descent site (not just my own - there are a lot more by other authors). They are all hand-picked, so you can be sure they are worth being tried out and will not be a big disappointment the moment you enter them.

There is also a selection of multiplayer maps allowing 12 - 16 players to play against each other (due to technical reasons these levels are D2X-XL only).

So the offer is there, and the levels aren't hard to find.
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