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 Post subject: Sloppy level design
PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2012 11:05 am 
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I'm running through Descent 1 again. Having started to design levels myself, I also started noticing things I wouldn't notice earlier, like the sloppy texture alignment in many of the early Parallax-made levels. Looks like these guys also did have to get the hang of it, it didn't come to them naturally, heh :D

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 Post subject: Re: Sloppy level design
PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2012 5:24 pm 
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You talking about level 5 in particular? :P
Later on in D1 the level design gets a lot better but this is the main reason I like level 9, 18, and whatever others are in the "mess of spaghetti" design style (maybe parts of level 14? If parts of one ginourmous level can be equivalent to one normal-sized level?) better than level 5.

Even on Lunar Outpost I notice this which is why I don't like level 1 of the first game as much as some people do. Level 2 and 3 (and even 4) had so much better design than 1 (not to mention better soundtracks, the level 1 music sounds a little underwhelming compared to... most of the rest of the soundtrack, really) probably part of the reason why my top 3 levels in the early game are 2, 7, and 4, in that order.

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 Post subject: Re: Sloppy level design
PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 8:43 am 
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Since I've been working to speedrun D1 lately, I've been noticing a lot more texture misalignments, since I'm paying so close attention to everything while I am running.


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 Post subject: Re: Sloppy level design
PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 1:09 pm 
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To be fair, the very concept of texturing 3D game environments was pretty freakin' new at the time, so there definitely had to be some learning curve associated with the process. :P


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 Post subject: Re: Sloppy level design
PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 4:24 pm 
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They could have gone back and fixed it. It's not like there's some lengthy compiling and/or lighting process like with bsp-based engines.

And talking strictly about texture sloppiness, I've seen some of that even in Vertigo -- look closely in the central room in the first secret level for just one example.

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 Post subject: Re: Sloppy level design
PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 8:22 pm 
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I believe the cut corners in the D1 levels were more a result of a tight schedule and a very small crew (I think they had something like half a dozen level designers, most of whom also had other roles in the project). Throw in the fact that they were using very crude tools (Miner) and the 320x200 resolution D1 ran in by default would have made it difficult to even notice alignment bugs, and I'm not surprised a lot slipped past them.


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 Post subject: Re: Sloppy level design
PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 1:51 pm 
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Well yeah... On the other hand one has to notice that that stuff really is tedious and hard in some cases. Perfectionism is a well-desired trait for that kind of work. Myself, I still have a lot of texture aligning work to do on my level. And the fact that the textures in question are patterned and detailed doesn't help at all :x

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 Post subject: Re: Sloppy level design
PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 3:39 pm 
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All I can say is that the interplay level design looks like art compared to my level design work...

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 Post subject: Re: Sloppy level design
PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2012 10:13 am 
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Sirius wrote:
I believe the cut corners in the D1 levels were more a result of a tight schedule and a very small crew (I think they had something like half a dozen level designers, most of whom also had other roles in the project). Throw in the fact that they were using very crude tools (Miner) and the 320x200 resolution D1 ran in by default would have made it difficult to even notice alignment bugs, and I'm not surprised a lot slipped past them.
I actually made a playable level in Miner once, but it was a bitch to use. I wouldn't know how to align textures in it. Plus, the level view window in Miner is not 320x200, but more like 160x100, with the other three corners of the screen dedicated to editing tools. So it is even harder to see those alignment problems. I recently played D1 in DOSBox though and even in 320x200 I can still see the alignment problems. I've known they were there for years though so I don't mind them much at all.

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 Post subject: Re: Sloppy level design
PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 11:30 am 
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Enzo-03 wrote:
Sirius wrote:
I believe the cut corners in the D1 levels were more a result of a tight schedule and a very small crew (I think they had something like half a dozen level designers, most of whom also had other roles in the project). Throw in the fact that they were using very crude tools (Miner) and the 320x200 resolution D1 ran in by default would have made it difficult to even notice alignment bugs, and I'm not surprised a lot slipped past them.
I actually made a playable level in Miner once, but it was a bitch to use. I wouldn't know how to align textures in it. Plus, the level view window in Miner is not 320x200, but more like 160x100, with the other three corners of the screen dedicated to editing tools. So it is even harder to see those alignment problems. I recently played D1 in DOSBox though and even in 320x200 I can still see the alignment problems. I've known they were there for years though so I don't mind them much at all.


I play like only in 320x200. I like my Descentz retro :P

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 Post subject: Re: Sloppy level design
PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 12:38 pm 
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I tries to imagine that and ow my sympathy pain eyes.

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 Post subject: Re: Sloppy level design
PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 1:15 pm 
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It does impose its challenges.

I actually still run Descent 1/2 in windowed mode (solely because I'm used to it), but it's 1280x960 for D2 so not nearly so grainy.


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 Post subject: Re: Sloppy level design
PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2012 1:43 am 
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Descent simply isn't pretty when it isn't grainy. Besides, 320x240 doesn't look nearly as bad as say, vanilla DOOM does. Now that one is a pixel fiesta.

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 Post subject: Re: Sloppy level design
PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2012 3:23 am 
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Both the original Descent and Doom DOS executeables ran in DOS's 320x200 low res bonanza, so I don't get how either one of them is more pixelated than the other.


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 Post subject: Re: Sloppy level design
PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2012 10:34 am 
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Descent was still probably able to take advantage of greater graphic technology than Doom, coming as it did two years later. In particular Descent used 3D models for enemies... and the sprites (and textures for that matter) were probably closer to the 320x200 resolution than Doom's.

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 Post subject: Re: Sloppy level design
PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2012 11:02 am 
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Great, but pixel art isn't my thing :)


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 Post subject: Re: Sloppy level design
PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2012 2:46 am 
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Alter-Fox wrote:
Descent was still probably able to take advantage of greater graphic technology than Doom, coming as it did two years later. In particular Descent used 3D models for enemies... and the sprites (and textures for that matter) were probably closer to the 320x200 resolution than Doom's.


Descent was released about a year after Doom, not two. And yes, Descent is overall far, far superior to Doom in every technological sense, but this is 320x200 were talking about here. There is no way to make ANYTHING look crisp and clear at that resolution.

Also I know for a fact that all of Doom's sprites were designed to appear correctly on a 4:3 monitor that was running at 320x200. Authors of modern Doom source ports have had to take that into consideration when scaling the graphics. I'm sure Descent's graphics were designed with the same aspect ratio challenges in mind, considering that it supported not only 320x200, but actual 4:3 resolutions such as 640x480 as well.

And all I remember from my childhood is I was able to play both just fine back on my old 486, and neither one struck me as significantly clearer than the other. In fact, if I had to pick right now I would probably go with doom as looking clearer, simply for the fact that there was no way to tilt your view up or down, and there were no such things as tilted floors, ceilings, or walls, all of which make an already pixelated universe even more pixelated.

That's not to say that one game looks BETTER than the other, that's just which one I feel would look clearer at 320x200. I could probably go look in dosbox some time if you really wanted me to. I'm much more discerning about such things now than I was when I was a teenager.


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 Post subject: Re: Sloppy level design
PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 10:53 am 
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Avder wrote:
Alter-Fox wrote:
Descent was still probably able to take advantage of greater graphic technology than Doom, coming as it did two years later. In particular Descent used 3D models for enemies... and the sprites (and textures for that matter) were probably closer to the 320x200 resolution than Doom's.


Descent was released about a year after Doom, not two. And yes, Descent is overall far, far superior to Doom in every technological sense, but this is 320x200 were talking about here. There is no way to make ANYTHING look crisp and clear at that resolution.

Also I know for a fact that all of Doom's sprites were designed to appear correctly on a 4:3 monitor that was running at 320x200. Authors of modern Doom source ports have had to take that into consideration when scaling the graphics. I'm sure Descent's graphics were designed with the same aspect ratio challenges in mind, considering that it supported not only 320x200, but actual 4:3 resolutions such as 640x480 as well.

And all I remember from my childhood is I was able to play both just fine back on my old 486, and neither one struck me as significantly clearer than the other. In fact, if I had to pick right now I would probably go with doom as looking clearer, simply for the fact that there was no way to tilt your view up or down, and there were no such things as tilted floors, ceilings, or walls, all of which make an already pixelated universe even more pixelated.

That's not to say that one game looks BETTER than the other, that's just which one I feel would look clearer at 320x200. I could probably go look in dosbox some time if you really wanted me to. I'm much more discerning about such things now than I was when I was a teenager.


I don't think that will be necessary, I can take your word. Back when I had my old machine and played Descent in DOS, it was also pretty pixelish, much more so than it is now when I play it in Rebirth on 320x240. Recently I'm kinda shelving Descent and going through an extensive Doom phase (probably because Doom actually wasn't my childhood game, only Descent 1 was), exploring all the custom megawads etc, that's why I brought this stuff up in the first place.

One thing in particular got my interest, the 2011 project "Doom The Way id Did". It's a total replacement of the first three episodes of Doom with levels attempting to completely emulate the styles of the original mappers. And it succeeded to an amazing degree, I would love to see something similar done with Descent (D1.5 is close enough but not quite the same thing, I suppose)

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 Post subject: Re: Sloppy level design
PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2012 9:44 am 
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I need to play DTWIDD sometime. I've heard great things about it.

And I have thought about trying my hand at singleplayer level design for a while.


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 Post subject: Re: Sloppy level design
PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2012 10:44 am 
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I've played Descent and Doom back-to-back in Dosbox and I have noticed some difference.
Not a big one though.

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 Post subject: Re: Sloppy level design
PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2012 3:28 am 
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Avder wrote:
I need to play DTWIDD sometime. I've heard great things about it.

And I have thought about trying my hand at singleplayer level design for a while.


I can vouch for DTWID being amazing, just played it a while ago. It's literally like a second Doom. D2TWID is on its way and almost finished, after that UDTWID will follow. Can't wait for those Thy Flesh Consumed episodes.

I also liked the 1st episode conversion "Knee-Deep in ZDoom", that was some of the most amazing design I've seen. Similarly, the second episode remake is on its way.

Damn, too bad Descent isn't as popular as Doom. And even if there's modding going on, it's mostly geared towards multiplayer levels. PEOPLE, PLEASE CONTRIBUTE LEVELS FOR D 1.5! C'mon :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Sloppy level design
PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2012 6:36 pm 
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topic.


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 Post subject: Re: Sloppy level design
PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2012 7:00 pm 
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I think that's for Xfing to decide, being the OP.
Xfing wrote:
...DTWID...

Link?
Quote:
...even if there's modding going on, it's mostly geared towards multiplayer levels...

That no one will ever play seriously. Even Neo Neptune never seems to get played over the original Neptune.

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 Post subject: Re: Sloppy level design
PostPosted: Sun Dec 23, 2012 8:13 am 
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Alter-Fox wrote:
I think that's for Xfing to decide, being the OP.
Xfing wrote:
...DTWID...

Link?


http://www.doomworld.com/vb/wads-mods/5 ... -released/

There ya go :)

BTW we did indeed stray off the topic a bit, but that's ok, stuff like that happens in discussions as a natural course of events.

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 Post subject: Re: Sloppy level design
PostPosted: Sun Dec 23, 2012 9:20 am 
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Can't say I've noticed texture misalignments or stretched textures so much in Descent 1, but I've definitely noticed a lot more about the way cubes were used across the first two games thanks to an older discussion. Looking back, D1 in particular feels sloppier not because of texture mistakes, but because there tended to be way too many structures made almost entirely cubes close to the default size where it could've been more economical to use larger cubes to take up the same amount of space and have extra units left over.

Maybe I'm only saying this because the standard for level design has taken leaps and bounds since 1995, or because I'm familiar with the idea of a learning curve for a level builder, but it doesn't look like there was a lot of trial and error involved back when D1 was being put together. Although, in reality they might have scrapped a lot of earlier, more primitive ideas, but to my eye, it doesn't seem like it. ^^;;

But then again, Parallax came a long way within a short amount of time. From a strictly aesthetic standpoint, I'd have to say Vertigo Level 5 is probably my favorite of their levels. It includes some of the best textures from both games and just has so many interesting structures, many of which are huge but made up of only a few very large cubes. I think it really drove the concept of large fighting arenas much further and better than most of Counterstrike, which was already a major step up from Descent 1 in terms of cube use.

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 Post subject: Re: Sloppy level design
PostPosted: Sun Dec 23, 2012 1:49 pm 
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NaphthaTurisas wrote:
Can't say I've noticed texture misalignments or stretched textures so much in Descent 1, but I've definitely noticed a lot more about the way cubes were used across the first two games thanks to an older discussion. Looking back, D1 in particular feels sloppier not because of texture mistakes, but because there tended to be way too many structures made almost entirely cubes close to the default size where it could've been more economical to use larger cubes to take up the same amount of space and have extra units left over.

Maybe I'm only saying this because the standard for level design has taken leaps and bounds since 1995, or because I'm familiar with the idea of a learning curve for a level builder, but it doesn't look like there was a lot of trial and error involved back when D1 was being put together. Although, in reality they might have scrapped a lot of earlier, more primitive ideas, but to my eye, it doesn't seem like it. ^^;;

But then again, Parallax came a long way within a short amount of time. From a strictly aesthetic standpoint, I'd have to say Vertigo Level 5 is probably my favorite of their levels. It includes some of the best textures from both games and just has so many interesting structures, many of which are huge but made up of only a few very large cubes. I think it really drove the concept of large fighting arenas much further and better than most of Counterstrike, which was already a major step up from Descent 1 in terms of cube use.


Definitely good points. Actually, the shift in architecture quality happened, one could say, "overnight". Descent 2 already had much better architecture than most of D1. Less random, more thought-through etc.

But I would beg to differ about the editing standards growing by leaps and bounds since 1995. Well, maybe they did grow, but most of that potential was realized by Descent 2 and even more so, Vertigo. Descent level editing has not seen improvements in quality as drastic as say Doom has.

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 Post subject: Re: Sloppy level design
PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2013 7:59 am 
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IIRC, by the time they were making Vertigo for D2, levels were being made in MAX and imported. Also, as a bit of trivia (sort of) one of Bioware's earliest projects was creating the level builder that was in Definitive collection. (we had Devil by that point which wasn't all that user friendly at the time for the unexperianced in 3D).


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 Post subject: Re: Sloppy level design
PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2013 9:28 am 
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DMB2 was made by Bryan Aamot, who had a (as far as I could tell) one-man company called BrainWare... I don't recall Bioware having any involvement...


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 Post subject: Re: Sloppy level design
PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2013 10:59 am 
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True, it was BrainWare and not BioWare that made DMB

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 Post subject: Re: Sloppy level design
PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2013 2:55 pm 
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Sirius wrote:
DMB2 was made by Bryan Aamot, who had a (as far as I could tell) one-man company called BrainWare... I don't recall Bioware having any involvement...



Doh! My bad. You're quite right. sucks getting old. :|


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 Post subject: Re: Sloppy level design
PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2013 1:44 am 
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I can't wait. ;)


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