The Outer Reaches

The place to promote and link to Descent levels - both multiplayer and singleplayer - D1, D2 and D3.

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Naphtha
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The Outer Reaches

Post by Naphtha » Wed Mar 28, 2012 11:37 pm

After about a month and a half of trying to balance working on this with staying caught up in my college classes, I think "The Outer Reaches" is ready to be unveiled... at least in a beta form.

http://www.enspiar.com/dmdb/viewMission.php?id=494

Note the "version 0.9." There are some glaring issues I want help with, but being a newbie and not really knowing my way around, I wasn't sure who to ask and I thought it would be better to see if somebody would volunteer. ^^;

But as this is my first level set, I'm really not sure if I got the difficulty down for a Descent 1 mission. I've tried the levels out myself mostly on Hotshot, where they seemed a bit tougher than "First Strike," but still very feasible, but me being the creator probably means I'm too familiar with them to really judge. There are also a couple issues I couldn't seem to iron out with DLE-XP, one being a faulty secret in Level 5 and another being a load of bad cubes in the boss room, which is why I tried to keep the action away from that part of the room. The problems should be more obvious once you see them; I don't want to spoil too much here without anyone playing first. :P

But there is a .txt file included in the download that lists more of the issues. Some of them I couldn't seem to fix with DLE-XP and some of them are probably just my own mistakes, but ones which I don't really know how to fix. I hope it's not too much trouble.



EDIT 06.04.12: Version 1.1 has just been uploaded. All the bugs mentioned in the .txt file on the older versions are now fixed, and the mission is no longer just single player, but also co-op, supporting up to three players. The same link given above still works, so please take a look and try it out if you haven't already. ;)
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DKH
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Re: The Outer Reaches - Beta ready, help wanted

Post by DKH » Thu Mar 29, 2012 10:08 am

NaphthaTurisas,

I just spent some time in, "The Outer Reaches." First of all... I am not usually a single-player oriented pilot, I spend 99.9% of my Descent time in multi-player. This level set ROCKS! I did not complete it all, but I think I found the secret level and I love the structure / design of these maps. The level I ended in appears to be the level you used as a picture for the pack of levels on DMDB. I found one spot near a rock out-cropping attached to a large bridge that I would get stuck in just by flying into that cube. I was able to get out at times, but not before being overtaken by robots and dying. I haven't played many single-player campaigns since first-strike.. in fact, yours is probably the first I've spent any significant time in. I REALLY like it and I don't think it was too hard, but it was definitely challenging on HOTSHOT.

I am very impressed considering this is yoru first attempt at a Descent level? Do you build levels in Descent 3 or something? I build multi-player levels and have no idea how you can put such complexity into your designs with such little experience. Anyways, great job... I wish I was more experienced in level building to help you solve some problems, but I'm not. I just wanted to let you know how much I like the levels in general. Keep up the good work!!! :D

- DKH
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Re: The Outer Reaches - Beta ready, help wanted

Post by Naphtha » Thu Mar 29, 2012 11:20 am

Actually, these are more or less my first levels for any Descent game. What you see, however, doesn't include my very first attempt, an early form of Level 1 which I scrapped to make the more detailed version in the game once I got more of a feel for the editor. The original followed a very similar-looking design, but had a lot more cubes that were never warped and followed some ideas from DMB2 to the letter, so I decided to redo it.


Otherwise, it's pretty much the very first levels I made. The outcropping on the end of that bridge in Level 5, to my knowledge, was cause by a couple bad cubes; I must have warped the top part the wrong way by mistake. There are more situations like that in the boss room on the final level, but I tried to draw attention away from them by keep action from the furthest edges of the room (and there is a lot of room to battle in). I'm just sorry the bad cubes created that big of a problem, though. D':

And yes, there is a secret level. But there's another issue with it, because I couldn't get DLE-XP to make the door work and keep the secret level in the right place. Saving the .HOG too many times seemed push the secret level into a Level 7 spot, and I'd have to go into the .MSN file to save that. It's just permanently sealed until I can figure out how to make that work out.

Otherwise, it sounds like I might've gotten the difficulty down. :P I tried to make sure every level could be completed from a cold start without using secrets, but the only one that really gives me trouble that way is the final level. I'm not usually losing narrowly there, either, unless I use the room structure to my advantage. If you made it to Level 6, could you tell me what you thought of the outer rim setup? I'm starting to think it's too cheap.
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Re: The Outer Reaches - Beta ready, help wanted

Post by DKH » Fri Mar 30, 2012 4:50 pm

I visited level 6 using cheats and explored a bit. I found several places where you get stuck. I like the large area with planet-looking objects suspended in space, neat idea! I wouldn't be worried about being, "Too cheap" with the outer-rim portion of level six. It is all your own unique ideas... and that is cool. I think they would be awesome levels if the mid-air "traps" couldn't snag me up. :)

Good job, looking forward to more level from you!

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Re: The Outer Reaches - Beta ready, help wanted

Post by Naphtha » Sat Mar 31, 2012 5:20 am

Well, the main reason I was worried about cheapness was because half the grates surrounding the boss room are only see-through and fire-through from the outside. I could see how a player might just camp out there and fire until the boss is dead, so I was debating changing at least those textures to be walls from both sides to prevent abuse.

I'll see if I can fix the errors in the boss room, though. I know that those, like with the outcropping in Level 5, are probably caused by the concave cubes around the arena. There's a lot to fix in Level 6; there are 700 cubes in total (for some reason, DLE-XP would crash if I exceeded that many, not even letting me get close to 900), and more than two-thirds of them are in that room. I was a little torn on powerup placement because I wanted some of them to symbolize the planets' moons (for example, the invulnerability near Saturn stands in for Rhea, which is speculated to have rings), but Saturn seems to be the buggiest part of that room. It's probably in part because of the rings, which were completed with connector cubes. I've just corrected the minor issue in Level 5, but fixing the boss room will probably be a lot more time-consuming.

If anyone can help me figure out why the reactors aren't displaying properly or why the secret exit doesn't work, please try to help me out on that. I'm also trying to find a way to put in the exit sequences, but I think I was stuck with just a partial download of BriefEd from one of the tool sites... Is there another program like it that can work alongside DLE-XP? ^^;;
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Re: The Outer Reaches - Beta ready, help wanted

Post by Naphtha » Mon Apr 02, 2012 10:32 pm

Version 0.9.03 has just been posted. There are no more concave cubes, so nobody should end up getting stuck in the boss room any more. ;) I ended up having to reconstruct the entire room because of conflicts between adjacent cubes that couldn't be simply fixed by changing the coordinates, so you'll probably notice that the boss room looks somewhat different now. The secret exit also works now, so good luck in the secret level if you can find it!

The only unresolved issues should be the reactors not displaying properly on the automap and the lack of exit sequences. I realize the latter is not a bug; I haven't been able to find a full download of BriefEd that didn't appear to be missing a vital file, so I haven't been able to edit them myself. When these two issues are out of the way, the whole thing should work fine and will be considered officially complete.
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Re: The Outer Reaches - Beta ready, help wanted

Post by vision » Mon Apr 02, 2012 11:15 pm

Ha, I was playing the levels as you posted the updates. There are some really good elements in there, and even with the bugs I had a good time. I'll go ahead and download the update so I can play the secret level later (I found the door, it was obvious where :wink: ).

Good work.
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Re: The Outer Reaches - Beta ready, help wanted

Post by Naphtha » Wed Apr 04, 2012 6:08 am

Exit sequences have been added; although the reactors do not display properly on the automap, there are no problems otherwise, so I'd consider this mission complete and no longer just a beta. I really appreciate the feedback and help I got while I was looking to fix the last few problems; I think that really helped with the end result, especially since this is my first mission and I'm still learning the ropes. :)
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Re: The Outer Reaches

Post by Naphtha » Fri Apr 06, 2012 3:55 am

Just released what should be the final update to the set, version 1.1. Thanks to the latest update to DLE-XP, I was finally able to fix the issue of the reactors not showing up properly on the automap (the older versions I worked in would not support reactor cubes in Descent 1 for some reason), and I also fixed some texture errors and added a couple co-op starting points to each level while I was at it.

Co-op should now be available for up to three players. I wanted to allow it for four, but getting that many starting locations into some of the entrance rooms was a bit of a tight squeeze, so I decided against it. I'll just have to keep that in mind for any future single-player missions, I suppose, but hopefully you'll still be able to enjoy it anyway. :P
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