Descent II: First Strike -Beta 3.3-

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

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Descent II: First Strike -Beta 3.3-

Post by LightWolf » Sat Nov 18, 2017 3:51 pm

It's finally here!
http://www.enspiar.com/dmdb/viewMission.php?id=1444

-CHANGELOG-
Beta 3.3: Level 11 is now possible

Beta 3.2: MN2 fixes

Beta 3.1: Fixes and tweaks

Beta 3.0: Miscellaneous tweaks

Beta 2.0: Made some levels less linear

Beta 1.1: Fixed a bug that rendered level 5 uncompletable
-----------------

Fly through the familiar levels of Descent 1 - but with each level having several twists not possible outside of Descent 2.

Beware the two levels that lost their reactor in favor of a boss. Also watch out for boss AI tweaks. :wink:

Notable changes from the demo from years ago:
- The focus of the entire project has changed.
Rather than a direct conversion with D2 robots, each level has been "Descent 2-ified". This comes with weapons, textures, and mechanics.
- Portals are no longer on every level. They are only on select levels.
Where did I get the idea to have a portal on each level anyway?

Hope you enjoy! Leave your comments below - especially where difficulty and use of D2 content are concerned.
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Re: Descent II: First Strike -Beta 1.0-

Post by Xfing » Sat Nov 18, 2017 4:27 pm

I'ma take a look. A well-done First Strike in D2 is something I'd happily play :)
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Re: Descent II: First Strike -Beta 1.0-

Post by Xfing » Sat Nov 18, 2017 4:56 pm

2 levels in - gotta say I like the gameplay changes brought to the table by D2. That said - the switches and puzzles necessary to advance create needless linearity, especially in level 1 ( I actually liked the forcefield in level 2).

What's disappointing is that you've changed so little geometry - this new floor texture begs for secret caches! As for the texturing - I quite like it, but I'm surprised you didn't use Pumo's D1 PIG, which you should have access to - it was made for these levels after all, and looks better than GroupA. Another thing you should have full access to are pre-exported D1 textures, so I'm disappointed that you often went with the textures (and especially monitors) that the conversion automatically changed the original textures to, that's kinda lazy.

From a texturing standpoint; if I was doing this, I'd first get the level to look identically to D1 in D2, and only start adding D2 aesthetic elements from then on.

I can respect sticking only to D2 textures though, if that was your intention. But with D2 accepting custom textures and file size not being a factor, I don't see a reason for this kind of purism :P
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Re: Descent II: First Strike -Beta 1.0-

Post by LightWolf » Sat Nov 18, 2017 5:05 pm

Ironically the direct conversion was what levels 1-9 did before I switched plans. As for the lack of PIGs and POGs, I wanted to keep it as vanilla as possible save the boss tweaks.
I'll see if I can cut down the linearity on some levels though.
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Re: Descent II: First Strike -Beta 1.0-

Post by Xfing » Sat Nov 18, 2017 5:22 pm

I suggest you set matcens that have multiple activation points to one-shot - one activation per trigger point, since in D2 there is no activation limit on Insane. Like the ones in level 3 for example - there are three or even four activation points for them, and without the one-shot flag every time you fly out of the red room towards the exit in the yellow room, they start spawning again. Not fun.
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Re: Descent II: First Strike -Beta 1.0-

Post by LightWolf » Sat Nov 18, 2017 5:57 pm

Find the secret levels yet? I suggest you find a portal before level 10 for... reasons.
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Re: Descent II: First Strike -Beta 1.1-

Post by vision » Sun Nov 19, 2017 12:43 am

So, are you going to make more changes to this campaign? I'm interested in playing it, but not if it's a beta in disguise. I'm not into that easy-access ★■◆●, haha.
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Re: Descent II: First Strike -Beta 1.1-

Post by LightWolf » Sun Nov 19, 2017 1:21 am

I am going to be making changes for sure. And it's not a beta in disguise - the thread title literally says it's in beta. I would like your feedback though.
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Re: Descent II: First Strike -Beta 1.1-

Post by vision » Sun Nov 19, 2017 4:12 pm

LightWolf wrote:
Sun Nov 19, 2017 1:21 am
the thread title literally says it's in beta.
LOL I can't read, you probably shouldn't hear my opinions.

But seriously, I'll try and run through this before the end of the year. I want to play it now, but I'm too busy to evaluate 30 levels. Looking forward to this playing this cool variant!
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Re: Descent II: First Strike -Beta 2.0-

Post by Xfing » Mon Nov 20, 2017 8:09 am

That first secret level... what the hell were you thinking? :OOO

How the hell am I supposed to get the secret areas if there is no way of entering the central chamber without setting off the matcens?
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Re: Descent II: First Strike -Beta 3.0-

Post by LightWolf » Sat Dec 02, 2017 5:52 pm

Fixed SL1. Now it only activates when you enter from a select entrance that you will pass at least twice.
The matcens, that is. Not the level. :P
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Re: Descent II: First Strike -Beta 3.0-

Post by sethj » Wed Dec 13, 2017 4:55 pm

This is pretty great so far! Nice and hard. I've died waaay more times than I ever have in D1 or D2.

But now I'm stuck.. I cannot for the life of me get to the yellow key behind the forcefield in level 18. I'm at an absolute loss. It's not in the secret ceiling door that only opens once is it? D:
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Re: Descent II: First Strike -Beta 3.1-

Post by LightWolf » Wed Dec 20, 2017 4:46 pm

Fixed.
That door was meant to stay open. Apparently I had the "Auto" flag on by accident.
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Re: Descent II: First Strike -Beta 3.2-

Post by LightWolf » Tue Dec 26, 2017 12:33 pm

Thanks to a bug report someone PM'd me, I managed to fix two bugs in one - by correctly configuring the secret levels.
Now the mission works in D2X-XL, and you can (read should be able to - not quite tested yet, but the technical side is there, goes for the first fix as well) play secret level 2 even after destroying secret level 1.
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Re: Descent II: First Strike -Beta 3.2-

Post by Xfing » Wed Dec 27, 2017 7:23 am

I was a bit impatient and wanted to see how the later levels looked right off the bat, so i cheated and teleported - gotta say levels like 19 and 26 at the very least are unplayably tough at this time, at least for me. I wonder what guys like Alex would say, haha
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Re: Descent II: First Strike -Beta 3.2-

Post by AlexanderBorisov » Wed Dec 27, 2017 2:27 pm

Would be interesting to take a look (on New Year holidays maybe), but running through all levels would be like a chore as I already did them in D1, not a bif fan of replaying levels with the same geometry. At least I plan recording AF before playing any other big mission. So I think I will also just teleport to those levels and take a quick look, and play the whole mission later if I'll find it really good and not too similar to FS (depending on my impressions of a few levels). For example I now play and record Orion Nebula Project, D2 version, and I don't want to play it's D1 counterpart as it is nearly an exact replica.
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Re: Descent II: First Strike -Beta 3.2-

Post by LightWolf » Wed Dec 27, 2017 4:22 pm

This was designed for sequential play through each level, but i will keep that in mind next time I run through in DLE.
Which level did you skip from?
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Re: Descent II: First Strike -Beta 3.2-

Post by Xfing » Thu Dec 28, 2017 7:48 am

Oh, well now that you mention it, having gear when starting the levels would probably make this much easier. But you know, being jumped by like 3 boarsheads in tight quarters in level 27 is never going to be easy :P
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Re: Descent II: First Strike -Beta 3.2-

Post by LightWolf » Thu Dec 28, 2017 11:10 am

I did want level 27 to be quite difficult - have your trigger finger on smart missiles at all times ;)

Did you notice my recreation of the D1-L27 boss' matcen AI in the D2FS-L27 boss fight?
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Re: Descent II: First Strike -Beta 3.2-

Post by Xfing » Thu Dec 28, 2017 4:11 pm

Nah, was too busy being pounded. A bit too hard for me this mission is, maybe I'll try to play it continuously, then I might have a shot. I probably won't have the patience to try each level 200 times before I beat it, though :<
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Re: Descent II: First Strike -Beta 3.2-

Post by AlexanderBorisov » Fri Dec 29, 2017 4:22 am

3 boarsheads in the beginning is no problem :evil: You will have more in CS levels 21 and 22 (being armed with L1 lasers only, of course). But I also think the mission should be made coldstartable, especially being the "classic" mission like FS. And of course, beatable on Insane. At least theoretically :) Having the finger on smart missiles is strange idea of difficult level, what makes it difficult is exactly NOT having enough missiles... However I am intrigued already and will definitely take a look.
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Re: Descent II: First Strike -Beta 3.2-

Post by LightWolf » Fri Dec 29, 2017 11:48 am

You don't have to use Smarts - it is just easier that way.
Plus you get more than a few of them throughout the level.
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Re: Descent II: First Strike -Beta 3.2-

Post by TRUEpiiiicness » Fri Dec 29, 2017 3:44 pm

where is the switch to remove the blue key forcefield in lvl 11
iv searched for ages and ive never found it
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Re: Descent II: First Strike -Beta 3.2-

Post by Xfing » Fri Dec 29, 2017 4:02 pm

I last under a minute from cold start in level 27, no matter what I do. This is waaaay beyond Nintendo hard. It's beyond even Super Mario: The Lost Levels hard, lol
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Re: Descent II: First Strike -Beta 3.3-

Post by LightWolf » Fri Dec 29, 2017 8:09 pm

That would be because the back of the forcefield disappeared?
What breaks next?
(I fixed the L11 bug)
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Re: Descent II: First Strike -Beta 3.3-

Post by TRUEpiiiicness » Fri Dec 29, 2017 9:37 pm

What would happen if I go onto the save with the new version released would I be stuck still and have to update manually or would I be fine to continue on that save
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Re: Descent II: First Strike -Beta 3.3-

Post by LightWolf » Sat Dec 30, 2017 12:41 am

You should try to continue, but if that doesn't work you're out of luck. I've had varying degrees of success doing this.
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Re: Descent II: First Strike -Beta 3.3-

Post by TRUEpiiiicness » Sat Dec 30, 2017 2:33 pm

i restarted from lvl 1 because it didnt work
now for another thing: where is the switch to remove the broken fan in front of the yellow key in lvl 15?
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Re: Descent II: First Strike -Beta 3.3-

Post by TRUEpiiiicness » Sat Dec 30, 2017 2:34 pm

nvm found it
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Re: Descent II: First Strike -Beta 3.3-

Post by AlexanderBorisov » Sat Dec 30, 2017 2:58 pm

LightWolf, I tried it, first two levels are more or less OK, though nothing special, in L3 getting to the energy center on cold-start should be next to impossible on Insane, dual matcens in the yellow-red door room are nasty but doable at least. Placing sidearms in tight quarters is bad idea for level 3 (and in general, too). Level 4 : the Lou guard placed near the yellow key is a big mistake, how you are supposed to handle it? I mean, on high difficulty, when it is not doped? The Lou guard and dual infinite matcens in the reactor room is another big mistake, I don't know how you can get past it. L27 is ridiculously hard, no comments. Maybe I just don't know all hidden invuln, cloaks, however, because I don't see how you can move in this level without being constantly invulnerable or cloaked.
In general, some pieces of advice.
1) Just making it hard, stuffing more robots, is not a way to go, instead make it interesting to play. There should be tough spots, maybe very tough, but each problem posed to the player should have a solution. Even on a highest difficulty (Insane). Hard, non obvious, anything - but should have.
2) Play the whole mission yourself at least on Ace, if you can do it with some save/reloads (no deaths of course) - not hundreds of reloads per level - should be more or less ok, but I doubt you will do it without considerable changes to the levels; and it should be done on cold start if you intend your mission to be coldstartable (which is always a good thing). And pay attention to matcens, never use the tactics to exhaust the matcens in process, because on Insane they are infinite. Use one-time triggers where necessary.
3) Next, check issues with energy centers, start each level on Insane with invulnerability cheat and try to reach the energy center shooting robots from reasonable distance and trying to dodge their shots. If you are constantly running out of energy - you do smth wrong.
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Re: Descent II: First Strike -Beta 3.3-

Post by Xfing » Sat Dec 30, 2017 4:19 pm

See? I told you the difficulty is downright broken :D Level 27 is not doable and clearly hasn't been tested. The geometry makes it so there is no way for you to evade the boarsheads' smart missiles at the very least. There is no second in the level when you're not taking any damage. Haven't tested all the other late levels, but I'm pretty sure they're in the same vein (19 is impossible too). Fix and rebalance, otherwise nobody's going to bother playing this.

Also, DAMN are boarsheads lethal. They're easily worse than any mech from D1, including vulcan drillers, red hulks and fusion hulks. I mean with D1's AI they would be manageable, but with shot leading from D2 they can destroy you in a dogfight in two seconds, doesn't matter if it's tight quarters or an open space. Shame you gotta rely on Vulcan and Gauss so much, at least with this mech they're absolutely vital if you're to survive. I'll keep that in mind when populating levels, these guys totally shouldn't be placed before the player gets to at least Vulcan.
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Re: Descent II: First Strike -Beta 3.3-

Post by AlexanderBorisov » Sat Dec 30, 2017 7:23 pm

WRT to L27, even the platformer and Vulcan driller in the right room are extremely dangerous here. THe driller starts running around like crazy at the moment it sees you, or you hit it with your laser, probably wrong AI settings? So your chance to hit it with anything is very slim, and it methodically shaves off your shields... If you manage to kill it, the platformer is another big problem, in the first game without shot leading AI it was OK, here it is nearly impossible to avoid damage. The boarsheads behind two doors in that right room can be destroyed with smart mines, at least. I think it is still possible to design playable level with such enemies, but every encounter should be precisely calculated by designer (I strongly doubt it was done here), so you have the smart &guided missiles, smart mines for all those unavoidable damage situations, or at least a good position to fight them. Still, a level where you rely purely on smart missiles, mines and invulnerability/cloaks would not be very fun to play, too...
Xfing - about Boarsheads, true story, and also they are so bad because they move fast and unpredictably, are very durable. And their smart missiles are fast and nearly impossible to see. But in fact D2 levels 21 and 22 seriously violate your rule about giving player Vulcan or Gauss. Still give you the other ways to deal with them, of course.
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Re: Descent II: First Strike -Beta 3.3-

Post by Xfing » Sun Dec 31, 2017 7:31 am

Helix is also a horrible choice of weapon in the initial chamber in level 27. Make it a Gauss or Plasma at least, that way the player may have some fighting chance at least. An invulnerability would be even better though.
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Re: Descent II: First Strike -Beta 3.3-

Post by Alter-Fox » Sun Dec 31, 2017 11:36 am

I would definitely say Boarsheds should be held off till at least the midpoint of our mission X, this is one of those mechs that's deadly to an unskilled player on any difficulty (probably the best example of that in the vanilla game, even) and there's no point scaring off the trainee players before they get invested in finishing.
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Re: Descent II: First Strike -Beta 3.3-

Post by Xfing » Sun Dec 31, 2017 1:26 pm

Alter-Fox wrote:
Sun Dec 31, 2017 11:36 am
I would definitely say Boarsheds should be held off till at least the midpoint of our mission X, this is one of those mechs that's deadly to an unskilled player on any difficulty (probably the best example of that in the vanilla game, even) and there's no point scaring off the trainee players before they get invested in finishing.
Yeah don't worry, there are so many mechs to choose from that we can really hold some off until very late in the mission.
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