Layout preview of my first level ever

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Layout preview of my first level ever

Post by Xfing » Sun Sep 23, 2012 6:23 pm

http://www.sendspace.com/file/u4rn7d

This is a Baloris Prime, D2 style level I made with the "Descent 1 and a half" project in mind, and my first level overall. It took me about hmmm... ten 8-hour days of work to finish the layout (not counting the gargantuan breaks I've been taking, duh). I have learned how to use DLE decently by making this mission alone, learned a lot of tricks too. Hope my future missions will take slightly less time and work to complete, but my painstaking precision is a pain in that regard.

This version is still subject to corrections and bug fixes. I'm especially concerned with making secret doors identical on both sides (if that's possible with all of them to begin with) and having the level playable in Vertigo version (my Rebirth refuses to play any custom Vertigo levels, it just exits with no error message when I try), as of right now this level is pure Descent 2.

The level has:

- the whole layout completed (though I might add some secret doors later)
- all the triggers scripted, all puzzles solvable. several (as of yet empty) goody caches accessible with tricky enough puzzles
- all the matcens rigged
- all keys

The level lacks:

- all but several standing robots
- all weaponry
- all but like one powerup

I decided I'll add all that stuff when the mission finds itself in its intended setting, that is the D1.5 campaign. This level will contain a healthy number of Class 1 Drones, Red Fatty Jrs, E-Bandits, BPERs and Bulk Destroyers. The usual Baloris Prime entourage. But joining in will be a literal crapload of Class 1 Drillers and Super Hulks to make the players weep and remember the good old terrifying days of Descent 1.

The theme is clearly desert, but I've used many, many textures in this level, slightly over 100. There are several custom ones, imported from Descent 1's exclusive texture pool. I hope I haven't gone overboard with the texturing. The level does feel like a Baloris Prime level, though, and no particular extravagances have been taken in regard to style. Design is another issue, as it's rather haphazard.

Ok, that's all I have to say about the level. I'm pretty proud of it, so please examine it, do a fly-through and tell me whether my pride is well-founded :)
Descent 1,5: Level layouts done: 34/54 Secret level layouts done: 1/6
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Re: Layout preview of my first level ever

Post by Alter-Fox » Sun Sep 23, 2012 10:47 pm

Impressive for a first map. Definitely better than my first. The geometry is excellent, even though there are some problems -- but that's to be expected in an early work.

I have to go to bed like, now, so I only really looked at the first few rooms... A lot of your texture transitions are very jarring, especially on the 'ceilings' and 'floors'. There are techniques to make it less so. The one I use the most is to get some secondary texture like the warning stripes or the door lights on one of the faces and place it right on the edge of the transition. You could also try using more of a set of similar textures instead of trying to use every desert texture alongside every D1 texture...

Don't get the wrong impression from that huge criticism paragraph though, I really liked what I saw. The main recommendation I have for you to improve, is to play through some singleplayer missions by some truly great designers like Kruel, Sirius, Darkflamwolf, Darkhorse... and just pay extra attention to EVERYTHING. Geometry, robot placement... and I'd recommend paying the most attention to texture schemes and how they're done in rooms, how they transition from one texture scheme to another, how many texture schemes a map has, how much emphasis the designer places on texture schemes compared to other aspects of design...
IMHO this is the best way to be creative and be good at it. Theoretical understandings of art can only get you so far, if you want to be a great artist you need to first look at art and figure out what makes it great.
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Re: Layout preview of my first level ever

Post by Xfing » Mon Sep 24, 2012 2:28 am

Thanks for the feedback, be sure to explore the entirety of the level.

And yeah, I already figured that it's good to place border textures on seams where different textures meet. It does make them look better indeed. I need a while to figure out how to apply it to the rest of the "points of dispute" though
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Re: Layout preview of my first level ever

Post by Naphtha » Mon Sep 24, 2012 5:50 pm

I definitely got the "Descent 1.5" vibe from this level, so great job with the architecture considering it is your first level. Some of the puzzles also seemed really well thought-out, and I especially thought the yellow key puzzle was very creative.

I'd have to agree that the texture schemes were a bit too drastic, but enough practice and observation should definitely help you in that field. "Counterstrike" actually included a lot more Descent 1 textures than you might think, so it's actually not that bad of a reference point for how to get textures from both games to mesh effectively.

On a semi-related note, how did you get those Descent 1-only textures like the hostage cell walls and the colored door lights into the game? I've been meaning to look for help to put in custom textures, but I couldn't figure out how to do it.
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Re: Layout preview of my first level ever

Post by Alter-Fox » Mon Sep 24, 2012 9:49 pm

If you use DLE it's easy. I'm not sure about other editors. I'll post a tutorial with screenshots once I've got time.

The thing about texture schemes is that they're usually the part of map design that's given the least emphasis; and you're doing it in reverse. Textures aren't given emphasis because they're the only real part of the map that the player doesn't interact with in the game (from a design point of view, control panels; monitors; breakable lights would be classified more as objects than textures).
The game needs to save the most emphasis for elements that the player does interact with. Which, normally, is everything but textures -- even the lighting is more important than textures to carry the mood.
Technically, textures carry the setting and that's exactly why you don't want the player to notice them -- you want the player to see the setting the textures convey, rather than the textures themselves.

Sorry, this is just some more important design theory stuff I didn't have time to say last night.
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Re: Layout preview of my first level ever

Post by Sirius » Mon Sep 24, 2012 11:28 pm

It does seem to be more interesting and elaborate (and large) than the average first level - either hard work or talent :)

A few things you could consider from here on out - first the gameplay stuff:
- Try not to rely too much on secret doors and hard-to-find triggers for the main flow of a level - you can't rely on people finding them unless you manage to make it obvious. OK for secret areas, risky for anything else.
- Same applies to control panel hunts - one of the things I learned from these is that it tends to frustrate and confuse players rather than making it more fun for them.

And then visuals, which will mostly just echo others' posts:
- Don't overuse texture contrast/transitions. While, I know, Descent isn't the sort of game you can really approach realism without massive cube spam or the whole thing looking kind of "blah" - and the original levels themselves took a lot of artistic licence there - you don't want to draw too much attention to the fact. Less texture types in a space might be better.
- One thing that might help is to approach it from the room side - try to imagine what you want the area to look like and texture it to suit - and not so much like a collection of walls to be wallpapered in fun colours :) People tend to approach this in different ways, and there probably is no one "right" way to do it, so I won't preach too hard on that...
- Align similar textures wherever you can - it just looks better. This includes around corners, especially now that DLE makes it easy. (cue obligatory "in my day" line here)

And I close with the following observation: better than my first level too :) Which is... apparently not on Koolbear's site anymore, though I have the copy I picked up from there on my hard disk at least.
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Re: Layout preview of my first level ever

Post by Avder » Mon Sep 24, 2012 11:41 pm

Just went through this in cheat mode, and I have a few thoughts.

The geometry looks excellent. This level actually feels like a mine should as far as that goes. And please take that as very high praise, because the rest of this is pretty much criticism, sorry.

I feel that the texturing needs some work. As Fox said, your transitions are rather jarring, which leads to a lot of the rooms looking like they have a lot of clashing textures. Green and red rock textures probably should not be used in a Baloris Prime themed level. I would also go over this level with a fine tooth comb and make sure everything is properly aligned.

I would also make any required puzzles a little more obvious to solve, and instead increase difficulty by putting some choice bots in the way of the switches, rather than hiding the switches in dark areas behind grates all over the place.

I'd also look at using vanishing walls rather than doors to hide some of the traps you have obviously set.

I'd also think about the robots youre going to have coming out of the matcens. Especially that one near the blue key that spawns super hulks AND drillers. That one is aligned such that the player WILL be killed the first time he comes back through that door. So I would do one of two things with it: either move it to a different part of that room so that the player has one more corner to turn before he runs into the mob thats going to be spawning out or tone down the robots that come out. Instead of red hulks and drillers, maybe guass destroyers and BPERs?

Also I would make sure that when you put weapons in, that you give the player either a quad laser, guass (+ plenty of ammo), plasma, or spreadfire before they obtain the blue key, so that they do not have to face that mob with stock level 1 non quad lasers.

I'd also consider toning down the traps around the reactor area. The driller trap was allright, but a red hulk could be pushing it. I'd also think about making the trigger that sets off the matcens in the reactor room a one shot trigger, and make the one when entering the reactor room the only trigger that sets those matcens off.

I'd also put some more energy centers in, probably one either in the reactor room or very near it.

Also that one way, white colored secret door better have something incredibly valuable behind it considering that I had to jam three doors open and fly a guided missile almost to its fuel limit to be able to open it. Either that or I missed the way you're supposed to open it. Also if that is how you are supposed to open it, you should really change that mesh grate to an X grate because its very very hard to thread a guided missile through a mesh gate any way but head on.

I'd also change the square grates in the lava room near the blue key to mesh grates, as they'll look better I think with the lava running underneath them.

And it looked like you still had a fair amount of default grey rock in there. Might want to change that to better fit the theme.
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Re: Layout preview of my first level ever

Post by Xfing » Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:45 am

Avder wrote:Just went through this in cheat mode, and I have a few thoughts.

I feel that the texturing needs some work. As Fox said, your transitions are rather jarring, which leads to a lot of the rooms looking like they have a lot of clashing textures. Green and red rock textures probably should not be used in a Baloris Prime themed level. I would also go over this level with a fine tooth comb and make sure everything is properly aligned.
Red textures are actually fine for Baloris Prime levels, if you remember Counterstrike, actually most of them were red. Not the "Fire" variety of red, but red nevertheless. Especially Gytowt Station. As for green, I haven't used any green textures in the level. It's possible that the green one was just a placeholder for one of the custom textures, so the issue is with your source port. It should be the descent 1 jail texture, if I'm not mistaken. I wouldn't deliberately place a Puuma Sphere texture in a Baloris Prime level, duh :D

As for te alignment, believe me - I've spent like the most time overall on it. I've even aligned some textures in cubes placed diagonally to each other, so non-adjacent ones. And believe me, that's hard, mostly due to the lack of an automatic function to do it for you. Most of the mismatched textures came from the fact that I tried to place lights in tunnels, and the tunnels deviated from the "standard cube" geometry, therefore aligning the texture with a light added to match its neighboring walls would scramble the rest of the lights. So I needed to reset and move the lights anyway... an example are the hub room energy center ceiling lights... lots of trouble.
I would also make any required puzzles a little more obvious to solve, and instead increase difficulty by putting some choice bots in the way of the switches, rather than hiding the switches in dark areas behind grates all over the place.
True. I think I'll remove the secret door to unlock the blue door corridor altogether. The switch will be readily visible without it. I don't recall any other mandatory puzzles though.
I'd also look at using vanishing walls rather than doors to hide some of the traps you have obviously set.
If you mean the tunnel from the reactor room to the exit - I've tried, but I couldn't get the walls to vanish upon reactor detonation, so I had to go for doors. They look identical to the floor texture anyway, and that's the way it's done in Descent 1 a lot. And there are no more traps I'm aware of in this level.
I'd also think about the robots youre going to have coming out of the matcens. Especially that one near the blue key that spawns super hulks AND drillers. That one is aligned such that the player WILL be killed the first time he comes back through that door. So I would do one of two things with it: either move it to a different part of that room so that the player has one more corner to turn before he runs into the mob thats going to be spawning out or tone down the robots that come out. Instead of red hulks and drillers, maybe guass destroyers and BPERs?
Good point, that one's a death trap, so reducing the threat will have to be done. But keep in mind that this level will be late in game, so the difficulty will have to be high. You're right though.
Also I would make sure that when you put weapons in, that you give the player either a quad laser, guass (+ plenty of ammo), plasma, or spreadfire before they obtain the blue key, so that they do not have to face that mob with stock level 1 non quad lasers.
Well, that's also an issue for later.
I'd also consider toning down the traps around the reactor area. The driller trap was allright, but a red hulk could be pushing it. I'd also think about making the trigger that sets off the matcens in the reactor room a one shot trigger, and make the one when entering the reactor room the only trigger that sets those matcens off.
Oh come on. Descent 1 level 23 has not 1 but 2 Super Hulks (if memory serves) coming out after you blow up the reactor. And it's not like you can't use a smart missile or two to blow him up. As for the matcen activation points, I'm quite content with them actually. It's not like you can't back up into the corridor and deal with the robots anyway. And the robots aren't really hard either. The triggers when leaving the invulnerability room are also well placed in my opinion.
I'd also put some more energy centers in, probably one either in the reactor room or very near it
One in the reactor room wouldn't hurt I guess.
Also that one way, white colored secret door better have something incredibly valuable behind it considering that I had to jam three doors open and fly a guided missile almost to its fuel limit to be able to open it. Either that or I missed the way you're supposed to open it. Also if that is how you are supposed to open it, you should really change that mesh grate to an X grate because its very very hard to thread a guided missile through a mesh gate any way but head on.
No, that's not the way to do it. Actually the intended secret area is the part of the circle that's barred away. You unlock the white secret door by shooting a trigger hidden underneath the lava in the yellow and red door hub room.
I'd also change the square grates in the lava room near the blue key to mesh grates, as they'll look better I think with the lava running underneath them.
I've tried it with several see-through textures, but in the latest version i've settled for the long D2 bars. Mesh grates aren't really very prevalent throughout Baloris Prime from my experience, so I tried to use them sparingly.
And it looked like you still had a fair amount of default grey rock in there. Might want to change that to better fit the theme.
That was deliberate. The Parallax Baloris Prime levels also used the grey rock, but of the D2 variety - the one with more black spots. It practically gets spammed throughout the whole Counterstrike, which I don't like. And I don't like the texture itself either, I prefer the smoother one.

To NaphthaTurisas: As for inserting custom D1 textures: you choose a texture you know you won't use in the level, open to edit it, and replace it with another file. I had the D1-exclusive textures extracted and stored as BMP files. The extraction was done using DTX or something, can't remember.
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Re: Layout preview of my first level ever

Post by Alter-Fox » Tue Sep 25, 2012 8:02 pm

Xfing wrote: I wouldn't deliberately place a Puuma Sphere texture in a Baloris Prime level, duh
Only one person would... And she thinks baloris prime and puuma sphere are basically the same :?

Don't start getting hostile to people giving you this kind of criticism, or outright dismissing it. We're only trying to help you -- and that's what you want, isn't it? As a rule, the tester's opinion is always more important than the author's. That's the reason my first maps were so bad. As the author, you know EVERYTHING that's in the map, but your intended audience are the people who don't. Those people's opinions on how the gameplay works, on solutions they can and can't see, are more legitimate than the person who knows where everything is because they put it there.
You can't expect to get all praise and nothing else on a first map, no matter how good it is for a first. Acting like you do expect that only makes you look vain -- and I know you don't mean that.
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Re: Layout preview of my first level ever

Post by Xfing » Wed Sep 26, 2012 7:42 am

Alter-Fox wrote: You can't expect to get all praise and nothing else on a first map, no matter how good it is for a first. Acting like you do expect that only makes you look vain -- and I know you don't mean that.
To be frank, I have no idea where you read hostility from my words in the first place :? I appreciate all of the feedback in this thread and intend to make several changes to the level.
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Re: Layout preview of my first level ever

Post by Alter-Fox » Wed Sep 26, 2012 7:52 am

Don't dismiss player criticism, like:
Oh come on. Descent 1 level 23 has not 1 but 2 Super Hulks (if memory serves) coming out after you blow up the reactor. And it's not like you can't use a smart missile or two to blow him up. As for the matcen activation points, I'm quite content with them actually. It's not like you can't back up into the corridor and deal with the robots anyway. And the robots aren't really hard either. The triggers when leaving the invulnerability room are also well placed in my opinion.
And especially not like:
As for green, I haven't used any green textures in the level. It's possible that the green one was just a placeholder for one of the custom textures, so the issue is with your source port.
That's pretty hostile to say "It's not my problem, it's yours".
Avder uses the same source port you do; if someone is encountering a bug like this it is your problem and it's your job, as the designer, to fix it. If this unspoken rule wasn't in place all video games would be incredibly crashy and generally painful to play, instead of fun.

The hostile tone, more generally, comes from the way you emphasize certain words with bold or italics, with the content of your post -- what you're saying and what you're saying it in response too, it makes you look like you're angry at us.
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Re: Layout preview of my first level ever

Post by Avder » Wed Sep 26, 2012 10:48 pm

I'm using rebirth 0.57.3.

And as for changing the doors to open on reactor death, why not have then vanish when the player comes back out of the reactor door? That would actually make it harder because if the player retreats because the reactor room gets too hot, he's got to deal with a driller and hulk.

And further, D1 level 23, those two traps in the corridor leading to the reactor room were triggered at the bottom of the corridor, before you even get to the reactor room. And my standard way of dealing with it is an assload of prox bombs in front of the top one with just the red hulk, and whatever left in front of the bottom one with the drillers and hulk, and when they open I wait for the drillers to kill themselves, and then corner shoot the hulk. The hulk in the upper trap usually gets killed by the prox bombs exploding, and if he doesnt, chucking a couple homers up the corridor usually works.

And with the white secret door, if the solution isnt obvious, a lot of people are going to treat it like a guided missile challenge. Its not without precedent either. In Vertigo level 20, the only way to get the last two earthshaker missiles is by threading a guided missile through the room and into that little alcove to open the secret door right by the entrance.

And if you dont like the mesh grates, what about the X grate? I remember that one got a fair amount of use in Baloris Prime.

And red was not used so much in Baloris Prime either. In my opinion it was more yellow/gold/orange/brown. Red is used a lot more in Brimspark and Zeta Aquilae.

Also that green texture I mentioned is one from Zeta Aquilae, not Puuma Sphere.
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Re: Layout preview of my first level ever

Post by Xfing » Thu Sep 27, 2012 4:41 am

Avder wrote:I'm using rebirth 0.57.3.

And as for changing the doors to open on reactor death, why not have then vanish when the player comes back out of the reactor door? That would actually make it harder because if the player retreats because the reactor room gets too hot, he's got to deal with a driller and hulk.
And a third one, a cloaked hulk, might I add... wouldn't it be slightly overdoing it? Especially since I intend to place 4 Super Hulks in the corners of the reactor room, and like 3 Drillers to spice it up. The optimal tactic for the reactor room would be snatching the invulnerability ASAP and then dealing with the stationary defenses. The robots from the matcen should be easy to deal with by that point in the game, since Fusion will be as strong as in D1, and definitely acquired by this level.
And further, D1 level 23, those two traps in the corridor leading to the reactor room were triggered at the bottom of the corridor, before you even get to the reactor room.
Oh, good find. I've always thought that they were linked to the reactor explosion... and that was rather hard to deal with due to the placement of the hulks (straight against you). Well, smartmines should work very well as countermeasures to the reactor trapdoors in this level, I suppose.
And with the white secret door, if the solution isnt obvious, a lot of people are going to treat it like a guided missile challenge. Its not without precedent either. In Vertigo level 20, the only way to get the last two earthshaker missiles is by threading a guided missile through the room and into that little alcove to open the secret door right by the entrance.
Well, the idea for this trap was inspired by some levels I've played, with a secret chamber below the lava level. I think I should make it a tad more obvious or something... or lock the white door on both sides to discourage anyone from trying to open it with a guided if someone gets the urge to explore. Anyway, shouldn't the automap show that something's not right with the floor?
And if you dont like the mesh grates, what about the X grate? I remember that one got a fair amount of use in Baloris Prime.
Sorry, I thought you were talking about the false lava floor in the yellow door introductory room adjacent to the circular corridor. Now I get what you were talking about... by using the square grate, I was aiming more for a pattern on the wall than a grating actually, it looked to me like embossed stone... but I do get your point, the mesh grate should indeed be the best one to layer on that wall.
And red was not used so much in Baloris Prime either. In my opinion it was more yellow/gold/orange/brown. Red is used a lot more in Brimspark and Zeta Aquilae.
This is from Counterstrike, Baloris Prime Level 3. The texture looks a bit more orange due to the palette used. Mine was Group A, so the textures have sharper hues.

Image

The one below is from the same level, and showcases the other red texture, the "Zeta Aquilae red wall".

Image

Same texture, the entry room to the boss level, Gytowt Station.

Image
Also that green texture I mentioned is one from Zeta Aquilae, not Puuma Sphere.
Oh THAT texture... well, quite honestly I wouldn't call it green but rather teal... especially that it's probably the texture most prone to changing its appearance depending on the palette used. It can go from deep teal to absolute gray in the Water levels. Anyway:

The floors of the main corridor in Gytowt Station. Also notice the red and black rock.

Image

A landmark in Drec'nilbie K'luh

Image

Same level:

Image

There are several more too... It may seem slightly less "green" than the one used in my level due to the palette swap, but it's the same ol' texture for ya.
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Re: Layout preview of my first level ever

Post by Xfing » Thu Sep 27, 2012 7:35 am

http://www.sendspace.com/file/mknqcy

Thanks for the feedback, everybody. It has proven very useful and I've applied many of your suggestions. Now I'm more satisfied with the level both as a designer and as a player (though the latter would still require robot placement to ascertain, heh)

So here's the list of changes:

1. Streamlined texturing in several areas - lessened the number of textures that would collide with each other
2. Several textures replaced to better fit the theme - the fiery red brick has turned to the grayish-tan sandstone, etc
3. Corrected a few issues with cube shapeliness and regularity
4. Removed the secret door hiding the switch required to proceed to the blue key
5. Replaced Class 1 drillers and Super Hulks with BPERs and Smelters in the blue key matcen
6. The white secret door has become a teal secret door, it's now locked on both sides to discourage attempts to unlock it with guided missiles
7. The invulnerability room in the reactor chamber has become a fuel center

Please continue your feedback and tell me whether there's any aesthetic and gameplay improvement.
Descent 1,5: Level layouts done: 34/54 Secret level layouts done: 1/6
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Re: Layout preview of my first level ever

Post by Alter-Fox » Thu Sep 27, 2012 9:22 am

Why don't you use the Alien1 PIG instead of GroupA, for a level that's supposed to be Baloris Prime style?
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Re: Layout preview of my first level ever

Post by Xfing » Thu Sep 27, 2012 12:34 pm

Alter-Fox wrote:Why don't you use the Alien1 PIG instead of GroupA, for a level that's supposed to be Baloris Prime style?
That would make it impossible for me to use the custom colored door lights. They're written with a white background, which is treated as transparent in all the .pigs except ice and alien 1-2. while the transparent color in Alien1.pig is light tan. I would have to manually replace the color of the custom textures, pixel by pixel, each time they were imported into the file.

PS The newest DLE actually completely ★■◆● up the color scheme of any texture imported, so I guess that custom texture work needs to be done in 1.7.78. Here's what happens when I try to add a custom texture in the latest version

Image

Completely corrupted as you can see. But this is irrelevant, it can be done with no such corruption in 1.7.78. Here's how it looks in taht version:

Image

It may not be seen clearly enough, but the background of all the textures in alien1.pig is light tan while the imported texture has pure white background. That's why it refuses to be treated as transparent by the editor. I have no idea what to do about this, and I don't want to resign from the custom textures, that's why I chose groupa.pig.
Descent 1,5: Level layouts done: 34/54 Secret level layouts done: 1/6
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Re: Layout preview of my first level ever

Post by Avder » Thu Sep 27, 2012 12:54 pm

I'll download the new version and tell you what I think later tonight.
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Re: Layout preview of my first level ever

Post by Avder » Fri Sep 28, 2012 2:16 am

Downloaded and tested.

I still think the texturing could use some improvement.

Are the custom textures with transparency that important? I think this level would look better with alien1.pig.

I think the switch to open the walls that surround the circular area near the start would still be hard to find and unintuitive for someone playing the level for the first time. Perhaps relocate it to somewhere more obvious, like in the same room with the blue key? Would help the level flow a little bit better as well, I think.

And the red marble rock texture on either side of most of the doors in that circular area there, the alignment on those textures needs to be fixed as it is really obvious and just looks bad in my opinion.

And I see what you mean with the gray rock. But what I'm talking about is a dull grey rock. What you meant I think is that marbleish white rock, which indeed goes with the baloris prime theme a lot better.

And I'd like to suggest you change the base texture behind a set of round destructable lights. Youve got a grated metal texture behind them and I personally dont think lights go very well on top of that texture.

And I could not figure out how to open the caged in area with the grate door thats locked on both sides. I probably missed something like how I missed the intended method of opeining the white secret door, so I would not mind knowing how to open that one.
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Re: Layout preview of my first level ever

Post by Xfing » Fri Sep 28, 2012 8:24 am

Avder wrote:Downloaded and tested.

I still think the texturing could use some improvement.

Are the custom textures with transparency that important? I think this level would look better with alien1.pig.
Well, an artistic vision is an artistic vision :P I'll try to do what I can, maybe someone will provide me with a solution to making the d1 door lights fit alien1.pig.
I think the switch to open the walls that surround the circular area near the start would still be hard to find and unintuitive for someone playing the level for the first time. Perhaps relocate it to somewhere more obvious, like in the same room with the blue key? Would help the level flow a little bit better as well, I think.
The point is, nobody said the circular area should be cut off until the player's got the blue key. It would make the level much more linear, and descent levels were never known for their linearity, with the obvious exception of key gathering. And there's one area going from the circular corridor that doesn't need any key to proceed. Therefore, I'll relocate the switch to a more exposed place, but nowhere near as far as the blue key.
And the red marble rock texture on either side of most of the doors in that circular area there, the alignment on those textures needs to be fixed as it is really obvious and just looks bad in my opinion.
Yeah, I should do it. But it's not gonna be easy, that texture is terribly detailed and therefore hard to align.
And I see what you mean with the gray rock. But what I'm talking about is a dull grey rock. What you meant I think is that marbleish white rock, which indeed goes with the baloris prime theme a lot better.
No... I now know what rock you meant. This one.

Image

But I was talking about this one:

Image

The second one was indeed used in many official Baloris Prime levels - and the rest of Counterstrike. It's definitely the most abused texture in D2. But the first one appeals to me more, that's why I used that one instead of it. I don't think I'll be changing that one, as quite honestly it works in my eyes. And it isn't used in that many places either. It's a purely subjective feeling, though.
And I'd like to suggest you change the base texture behind a set of round destructable lights. Youve got a grated metal texture behind them and I personally dont think lights go very well on top of that texture.
Maybe you're right on this one, especially since it's impossible to align this texture perfectly due to the wall length. I'll go with something simpler, maybe even the texture that's on all the other walls of that room.
And I could not figure out how to open the caged in area with the grate door thats locked on both sides. I probably missed something like how I missed the intended method of opeining the white secret door, so I would not mind knowing how to open that one.
That's a goody cache, a secret area which will contain some serious goods. The unlock switch is in the room where you get the red key, there is a secret door in the ceiling of the cube in the very back, and the switch is on the wall in the direction of the red key.
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Re: Layout preview of my first level ever

Post by Alter-Fox » Fri Sep 28, 2012 10:44 am

For using alien1.pig, I wonder if you have enough textures left over that you aren't using in this mine that you could just use the custom transparent textures without the transparency -- make a custom texture for each of those door lights with the door light overlaid over the background texture -- but as one texture. Of course it would need to be done again for each background texture on each door light... but maybe worth a shot?
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Re: Layout preview of my first level ever

Post by Xfing » Fri Sep 28, 2012 12:07 pm

Alter-Fox wrote:For using alien1.pig, I wonder if you have enough textures left over that you aren't using in this mine that you could just use the custom transparent textures without the transparency -- make a custom texture for each of those door lights with the door light overlaid over the background texture -- but as one texture. Of course it would need to be done again for each background texture on each door light... but maybe worth a shot?
Oh, that's ingenious! Nice one, I'ma try it out for sure! That'll definitely have a higher rate of success than what I've attempted earlier. Which are:

1) Tried to export a alien1.pig door light and replace only the textured part by another, but it still wouldn't recognize the transparent layer as such in the new texture. Maybe it's because I'm doing it in mspaint and it doesn't recognize transparent layers...

2) Tried to make a screenshot and use the eyedropper to probe the actual color of the transparent layer in alien1.pig and then fill the custom texture's blank space with the color. Should work, but didn't - the editor actually distorted the color into a slightly different one and the editor still didn't treat it as transparent.

I'll definitely try your suggestion out, but there's one problem. DLE won't let me change the .pig as soon as there are any custom textures present. I would have to restore all the replaced textures to default before changing the .pig and then insert them again. What a nuisance!
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Re: Layout preview of my first level ever

Post by Xfing » Fri Sep 28, 2012 2:30 pm

http://www.sendspace.com/file/62piaf

Ok, redid the level again.

What's changed:

1) Tileset is now Alien 1
2) Relocated the switch to open the grate to the circular area to a less confusing location
3) Aligned some textures
4) Removed the wall lights in the optional area to help align textures, placed lights on the ceiling instead.

Still some texture alignment to be done, though.

As for transitioning the random textures into Alien1.pig, I decided to go the tedious way and simply change the background to the door lights pixel by pixel in the built-in texture editor. Then I simply saved these textures as separate files to be used in the future. Boring as hell, but I guess there would have been much more work otherwise.
Descent 1,5: Level layouts done: 34/54 Secret level layouts done: 1/6
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