Impressions on Descent: Insane, cold start, no-death, 100%

Descent mission help and more WARNING: Spoilers inside!

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Re: Impressions on Descent: Insane, cold start, no-death, 100%

Post by kakhome1 » Wed Nov 29, 2017 8:46 pm

Maybe a 'proper' solo version of AF will be made, not that anything is actually wrong or 'improper' as is, but proper meaning as in supporting all the traditional solo play game styles.
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Re: Impressions on Descent: Insane, cold start, no-death, 100%

Post by Xfing » Thu Nov 30, 2017 6:47 am

kakhome1 wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 6:48 pm
Hope you have plenty of Gauss left though...because the next level has no energy in it!
Well, I start each level fresh, with no prior munitions. So far I've been able to beat each one. After I'm done with all these challenges, I'll just kick the games off and try to beat them with no save scumming in one go -as many lives as I have left at the end, I'll keep. That's the way the game is supposed to be played after all. But it's really good to have some prior experience with the levels, that's for certain :D
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Re: Impressions on Descent: Insane, cold start, no-death, 100%

Post by Xfing » Thu Nov 30, 2017 6:50 am

AlexanderBorisov wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 7:47 pm
The camping strategy for the boss (that Calmarius used and I tried to use it too, but did it the other way in my vid, because of the boss glitch) allows for more than 50% success rate, and you can always hear when the boss teleports nearby and safely drive it away with guided or smart missile. Where with this startegy, I think you will succees 1 of 10 on the boss if not less... Your run was indeed very lucky when it concerns the boss.
But probably my way makes it way too easy and thus less exiting, so you run with more straightforward approach is very interesting to watch.
The next energy gives you Gauss cannon quickly and enough ammo, don't fear it. Ant it is really easy.
Yeah, yours is a very safe yet effective run. Still, there are some things I think I did better, for example I didn't have to go back to the energy center that many times (not a single time actually), you skipped the homing missile and shield power-up in the ceiling of the passage leading to the energy center, also skipped one mega that was behind the phoenix cannon in the hidden cache with the Lou Guard protecting it (though we both ended up with 4 at the end of the day, since I chose to spend one earlier); last but not least you didn't clear out all the smaller robots in the boss arena, and you generally have to do that if you want it to be a valid 100% run :D

I can appreciate the camping strategy for the boss, but I'm a bit wary of it - after all he can always teleport just a little bit too close to your current position, at which point you're as good as dead. It takes instant reflexes to be able to dodge what's coming from him and hide in that alcove in time. I do appreciate the designers' decision to only give you a single cloak as far as the power-ups go, not counting the rather far-away invulnerability whose purpose is ambiguous. The Quartzon boss had tons of cloaks and invulnerabilities, making the fight much more comfortable, though that was somewhat counterbalanced by the presence of matcens in the boss arena.
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Re: Impressions on Descent: Insane, cold start, no-death, 100%

Post by AlexanderBorisov » Thu Nov 30, 2017 8:11 am

Yes, I missed some secrets, as usual. About the boss arena, it was impossible to move out of the hiding place this time because of the boss glitch that made it not teleport. I could have destroyed everything in the boss arena with guided missiles in this case. But simply forgot it. Without the glitch it's not hard to do the same, also robots tend to move into your line of sight sooner or later if you camp in the alcove and lure the boss with guided missiles. To be honest, my run should be replayed because of the boss glitch, but I am too lazy to do it, the strategy for the boss is well known, and i'd better record smth else. Maybe I will return to this level later, and even try to do it your way. And I don't think you need instant reflexes with camping strategy, I just rush to the alcove at the moment the boss starts to cloak, then listen how loud is his sound (thus know whether he teleported near the alcove). Where you need instant reflexes. are LL4 and LL16 bosses I think...
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Re: Impressions on Descent: Insane, cold start, no-death, 100%

Post by Xfing » Thu Nov 30, 2017 9:20 am

I think there might be no glitching in the vanilla version in DOS. I did redo my level 10 run, even though it was a nightmarishly hard level, so might as well try level 12 again too :D The only thing that bothers me about playing in DOSBox is the delay I get when pressing TAB until the Automap comes up, likewise with going back to gameplay. I don't remember having this problem playing years ago on older machines, and right now I use tab lots and lots of times out of habit - I just don't have the patience to wait like 5 seconds every time ;(
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Re: Impressions on Descent: Insane, cold start, no-death, 100%

Post by Xfing » Thu Nov 30, 2017 2:41 pm

Level 13: Yeah, this level is quite easy. Seems overwhelming at the start, sure, but if you dash towards your first destination quickly enough, you'll make it easily, chance is you won't even take damage. Took me <10 tries to beat, even going in blind didn't seem to be very much of an issue. The grated design of the level lets you eliminate many of the enemies before you even have to enter the chambers they're in. There are plenty of bulk destroyers who'll always give you another Gauss should the thief steal it, which helps too. The ice spindle is an easily underestimated robot with a large damage output, but it's for all intents and purposes just a jacked up Fox - dodging the fast-moving projectiles is the tricky part, but overall nothing to write home about, even though the level is not that conservative with the numbers. The biggest threat in this level are quite ironically the bulk destroyers, as the level creates several situations where their hitscan damage potential can whittle down your shields quickly if you're not careful. The reactor chamber is probably the most problematic part of the level, since there seem to be several triggers for the matcen, which can make your escape tough. I'm not sure if I managed to dispose of the sidearm modula inside the trap, but I probably did - if there is a need for a redo, I'll just plant some smart mines there next time or something. I like how the level gives you basically two routes towards the exit - the "shortcut" route has some goodies in it, which might be desirable to get in continuous play. Overall this level gives you plenty of Gauss ammo, so the only reason to economize on energy is for the afterburner.

Finally, for aesthetics: there is something really easy on the eyes about the ice levels, this one being no exception. Quite an obvious route to go down too, I'm sure Parallax already had plans for this kind of theme back in the early days. The white, firny walls, the cyan ice and the dark blue, patchy texture are my favorites from this level. I also like how some textures debuting in D1 were given a chance to shine - if memory serves, this was a rather prevalent practice in Limefrost Spiral. No wonder either - many textures introduced in D1 supplement this theme very nicely.

DEMO: https://www.sendspace.com/file/7pqu7i
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Re: Impressions on Descent: Insane, cold start, no-death, 100%

Post by AlexanderBorisov » Fri Dec 01, 2017 8:25 am

BTW i tried to do L12 your way, it was hard, probably harder than L10, the minibosses and the seeker in the big room on the way to the energy center kill you often or you run out of energy. And you can only beat the boss if you are lucky enough for it to teleport twice in your sight but far from you. Everything else is not hard, of course. Probably required around 20 attempts to accomplish. And I am not sure this was not the same boss glitch again... Also not 100% certainty that I killed everything in the boss room because I was doing the cleanup in haste during the countdown.

L13 is really pleasant for the eyes for some reason. And nice geometry, too. The bulk destroyers are not completely hit-scan however, you can dodge at even medium range if you are circling in place; of course the shots are invisible and it makes dodging them harder. But I doubt it is faster than player mercury missile, for example. Vulcan should be faster (in D1 it is certainly nearly hit-scan), but I am not entirely sure about it. BTW do you know how one can access the weapon data to look up such details, I remember you told that you modified the Fusion in D1.5, how is it done?
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Re: Impressions on Descent: Insane, cold start, no-death, 100%

Post by Xfing » Fri Dec 01, 2017 4:30 pm

AlexanderBorisov wrote:
Fri Dec 01, 2017 8:25 am
BTW i tried to do L12 your way, it was hard, probably harder than L10, the minibosses and the seeker in the big room on the way to the energy center kill you often or you run out of energy. And you can only beat the boss if you are lucky enough for it to teleport twice in your sight but far from you. Everything else is not hard, of course. Probably required around 20 attempts to accomplish. And I am not sure this was not the same boss glitch again... Also not 100% certainty that I killed everything in the boss room because I was doing the cleanup in haste during the countdown.
The minibosses in the walkway chamber can be troublesome, the ones in the big chamber on the way to the blue key are about equally annoying, I agree.Afterwards it's way easier. As for the boss then yeah, I'd definitely be interested in perfecting a more reliable way of fighting him, but at least I know I can dodge his stuff from a medium distance. Not having other mechs to worry about helps too, he unfortunately spawns seekers, which are bad enough on their own >_>
L13 is really pleasant for the eyes for some reason. And nice geometry, too. The bulk destroyers are not completely hit-scan however, you can dodge at even medium range if you are circling in place; of course the shots are invisible and it makes dodging them harder. But I doubt it is faster than player mercury missile, for example. Vulcan should be faster (in D1 it is certainly nearly hit-scan), but I am not entirely sure about it.
Yeah, neither Vulcan nor Gauss are technically hitscan actually, there is no such thing in Descent. Still, I like to think of them as such for obvious reasons.
BTW do you know how one can access the weapon data to look up such details, I remember you told that you modified the Fusion in D1.5, how is it done?
You need to use an old utility called Haxmed32, it's part of a package known as DMTools. Someone around these boards should be able to help you find it. Normally it has a lock on descent2.HAM so that you can't edit it to cheat in multiplayer, but with a simple flag change in its settings file, you move the lock to random HXM files and can actually edit the main HAM instead. Even without it though you can see all the values. BTW it has to be run as admin under newer Windows versions.
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Re: Impressions on Descent: Insane, cold start, no-death, 100%

Post by AlexanderBorisov » Sat Dec 02, 2017 2:04 pm

About the best strategy (safest) for the boss - I think that one Calmarius used (camping in the alcove) is the best if done correctly. Almost 1 of 2 successfull. Anyway the Ice boss can only be beaten with this strategy, I believe.
Thanks I've found the Haxmedt32 (most of those Descent tools are still alive on Pumo's page), does it need 32-bit XP to work or still works on Win7-64? Fortunately I have the XP system on my old machine, but will get this machine back from repairs only a few days later. And this hack that allows editing Descent2.hog, does it need a special tool or it is smth obvious to do? Probably just renaming descent2.hog to smth else will work?
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Re: Impressions on Descent: Insane, cold start, no-death, 100%

Post by Xfing » Sun Dec 03, 2017 5:11 am

Only 16-bit applications require that the system isn't 64-bit. 32-bit apps can be run just fine on 64-bit systems, and Haxmed32 is one, it's even in the name :D

The change you need to make to its files in order to be able to make changes to descent2.hog is this: in the DATA directory of the application, you've got a file named ham.fmt. In this file you've got 2 headlines: [HAMtype_ham] and [HAMtype_vhm]. The first lines under the headlines will be Desc=HAM and Desc=V-HAM , respectively. Just swap these two around so that [HAMtype_vhm] has Desc=HAM instead of Desc=V-HAM and vice versa. This should remove the lock on descent2.ham editing.
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Re: Impressions on Descent: Insane, cold start, no-death, 100%

Post by Xfing » Tue Dec 12, 2017 12:44 pm

Level 14: This level's an interesting one for many reasons. Not very difficult, and yet I found myself failing many times right before the exit or inside the reactor chamber. Quite annoying in all honesty. Parts of the geometry are slightly reminescent of the second secret level from D1, which I like - other than that it's definitely interesting with its usage of open spaces. The level does have some design issues though - for example diving towards the blue key from above is necessary to remove the walls that if you don't open up, you'll never be able to exit the level in time - they could have been a bit less vague about it. Other than that, there are two ice spindle traps right outside the red area that never open, and the switch right above the reactor has no function assigned to it, which makes the level feel a bit rushed in execution. Still, it's nothing that would make it unplayable or anything. In terms of difficulty it's really not that bad, and the armament it includes isn't any more advanced than what you got all the way back in level 3, which I find a bit weird to be honest. Still, what you get is more than enough to do the job several times over.

As for the texturing - while the first ice level was easy on the eyes, this one for some reason feels overdone and embodies the biggest complaints about the cartoonishness of D2's textures. It definitely makes the level feel a bit retro. While the dark blues are really pretty, some textures do clash against each other in rather jarring ways. Other than that though, the level is rather dimly lit overall, which works to its advantage, as the coldness of icy planets IMO plays well with the whole "coldness of space" idea and compliments it. While Limefrost Spiral probably is the most retro feeling system in D2 (at least so far), it really reminds you of all those 80s space dramas and horrors, fostering a feeling of isolation that you never quite got from other systems, be it from D1 or D2.

DEMO: https://www.sendspace.com/file/m35qxm
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Re: Impressions on Descent: Insane, cold start, no-death, 100%

Post by AlexanderBorisov » Thu Dec 14, 2017 9:11 am

I seem to have forgotten D2 CS levels 14, 15 completely, so decided to replay this one too. In fact easy (less than ten attempts including practice runs), unless you choose the wrong path through the level. Only difficult spot is blue key room, seekers can surprise you, and the Lou guard is unpredictable. ITDs can be destroyed with homers, however. I died several times there, two times in the reactor room, because of the 3-rd seeker that can hide behind the reactor and is hard to get (although it is relatively easy to clear it with 5 smart missiles you have). But when you mentioned horrors and feeling of isolation, Puuma Sphere came to my mind, that alien feel with missile armed robots behind each corner...
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Re: Impressions on Descent: Insane, cold start, no-death, 100%

Post by Xfing » Thu Dec 14, 2017 9:43 am

Puuma Sphere is a great system for sure, it's also rather brightly lit though. Still, its whites and bright greens wouldn't work that well with low lighting levels I suppose.
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Re: Impressions on Descent: Insane, cold start, no-death, 100%

Post by Xfing » Wed Dec 20, 2017 8:56 am

Level 15: Not as easy as 14, which in turn was not as easy as 13. Finally a logical difficulty progression for the levels within one system, that's not something you can say about other systems from D2. The problem with his level are seekers, definitely. There's a lot of them and some matcens that generate them too, and there are several situations where they can catch you by surprise. Seekers are definitely the class 1 drillers of D2 - ubiquitous and a major annoyance. Good thing there's Gauss - in fact you'll be using it exclusively throughout this entire level, which only shows how op versatile the weapon is. The main portion of the level is rather easy, as is the area where you get the yellow key. The hardest part of the level is definitely the area beyond the yellow door, with a multitude of traps and difficult mechs, as well as matcen traps spawning lots of seekers. With some tactics you can escape it though, even clear it out again like I did. The reactor area is not that bad, but only because I kept two megas on me that were indispensable for clearing out the reactor chamber itself, so that I could avoid setting off the matcen. The seeker trap was nasty as hell too, but I did manage to succeed on the first try that I ever made it to the red area, meaning the yellow area is much worse in general. This level's difficulty I would rate as "just right", definitely not as tough as level 10, but tougher than the easy ones.

As for this level's layout and geometry - it does have the distinct D2 feature of having a hub with a matcen that activates every time you come back from a branch of the hub, which gives you more action along the way. Other than that, though, this level does have some stuff in it that reminded me of D1 for some reason, particularly no vanishing walls for secrets in favor of hidden door tunnels known from D1. I also really like how this map (and level 16 if memory serves) uses a lot of rock 223, while practically all other systems go with rock349 instead. It does give the level some D1 feel at least. The geometry is great and I liked it too of course, retaining D1 elements, but more skillfully done in general. I really like how the level appears to have been made piecemeal, with the designer's foresight only seeming to extend to the next area. Levels that are not all planned right off the bat feel more naturalistic, and that doesn't keep them from containing some rather impressive geometry, as this level demonstrates. The texturing is also quite well done, better than level 14 at the very least. I think I've noticed two different types of doors used in this level, something I thought only Vertigo did. Glad to be proven wrong.

Oh, and Lou Guards are still pathetic. I'm not sure it's because robot homings do less damage in d2, which we've established, because their homers pretty much never hit me in the first place. I'm not sure if that's because homers in D2 don't turn as sharply, since in newer builds of Rebirth the homer code was supposed to be unified with that from D1, so I guess it's the open level geometry + gauss that are to blame. I have much worse memories of super hulks in D1, but that's mostly because there are barely ever any chances to fight them in spaces as wide open as those in D2. Still, guess I'll tinker around with the code to bring robot homer damage done to the player to D1 levels, just to see if I can. Haha.

DEMO: https://www.sendspace.com/file/osu8iq
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Re: Impressions on Descent: Insane, cold start, no-death, 100%

Post by AlexanderBorisov » Thu Dec 21, 2017 6:18 am

Played this level in order to remember what is happening there, btw I chosen a bit different strategy for a number of places that definitely made this level even easier, on the other side ignored many of the secrets and some cloaks, too. Sorry for stupid mistakes such as forgetting to take the blue key and returning for it, and forgetting one hostage.

Too easy in fact, the level is spoiled by many cloaks and invulnerabilities, too many missiles, no dangerously placed enemies (except maybe the red key area where I did stupid mistake by missing Lou guard and even not noticing it!), even traps aren't too dangerous except the one in reactor room. Succeeded to record on 3-rd try (1-st died after killing the reactor, from the seeker trap).

At least the geometry is interesting and this music track is the best of four used in D2, so it was worth playing.
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Re: Impressions on Descent: Insane, cold start, no-death, 100%

Post by AlexanderBorisov » Mon Dec 25, 2017 7:25 am

Xfing wrote:
Thu Dec 14, 2017 9:43 am
Puuma Sphere is a great system for sure, it's also rather brightly lit though. Still, its whites and bright greens wouldn't work that well with low lighting levels I suppose.
The last Entropy level is exactly of that kind (Puuma sphere textures + dark), IMO it is very good.
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Re: Impressions on Descent: Insane, cold start, no-death, 100%

Post by kakhome1 » Mon Dec 25, 2017 9:46 am

That is also helped because it uses the Baloris Prime pig file. Entropy 2 Level 5 (and Lost Levels Level 19) do the same.

And another good Pumma Sphere level I just recorded:



http://www.enspiar.com/dmdb/viewMission.php?id=394
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Re: Impressions on Descent: Insane, cold start, no-death, 100%

Post by AlexanderBorisov » Tue Dec 26, 2017 7:07 am

This one is not dark, definitely. I just wanted to illustrate that dark Puuma Sphere level is possible.
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Re: Impressions on Descent: Insane, cold start, no-death, 100%

Post by Xfing » Wed Dec 27, 2017 7:04 am

Vertigo and Maximum also experiment with dark Puuma type levels, but these two missions were made by the same designers, and the latter borrows heavily from the former, so it's no surprise.
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Re: Impressions on Descent: Insane, cold start, no-death, 100%

Post by LightWolf » Sun Dec 31, 2017 8:37 pm

Vertigo had a couple other designers.
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Re: Impressions on Descent: Insane, cold start, no-death, 100%

Post by Alter-Fox » Sun Dec 31, 2017 9:09 pm

Pretty sure they were both mostly Dan Wentz. They certainly look it.
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Re: Impressions on Descent: Insane, cold start, no-death, 100%

Post by Sum0Beatz » Sun Jan 07, 2018 6:05 pm

I've been trying to beat Descent 1 level 6 on insane for a few weeks now. I am not a good pilot like you guys by any means and I still struggle with basic Tricording. I am pretty sloppy compared to you folks. However I just find the intensity of the mechs on insane too great to justify playing anything below.

Well I got sick and tired of getting my ass kicked on insane and decided to run level 6 on ACE, yea well first try I beat it. It seems the difficulty spike from ace to insane is well insane lol.

Love this game and very happy to see amazing players still in it, maybe one day we could play some multiplayer descent 1 or 2.

Is there anyway you guys could add descent 2 AI into descent 1? I find it rather easy to avoid taking damage compared to descent 2 in regards to enemy fire and wouldn't mind trying out the new AI just for fun. That being said descent 1 is amazing with its ambushes and hulks.


EDIT: OMG I JUST BEAT IT ON INSANE!!!! QUE JURASSIC PARK MUSIC DOOD DOOD ODOODODDODODOOOOOOOO 8) 8) 8) 8) 8) 8)
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Re: Impressions on Descent: Insane, cold start, no-death, 100%

Post by Xfing » Sun Jan 07, 2018 6:41 pm

Sum0Beatz wrote:
Sun Jan 07, 2018 6:05 pm
I've been trying to beat Descent 1 level 6 on insane for a few weeks now. I am not a good pilot like you guys by any means and I still struggle with basic Tricording. I am pretty sloppy compared to you folks. However I just find the intensity of the mechs on insane too great to justify playing anything below.

Well I got sick and tired of getting my ass kicked on insane and decided to run level 6 on ACE, yea well first try I beat it. It seems the difficulty spike from ace to insane is well insane lol.
In D1 the leap from Ace to Insane is pretty serious, that's true. It was made smoother in D2, where the damage increase isn't anywhere near as big for most mechs.
Is there anyway you guys could add descent 2 AI into descent 1? I find it rather easy to avoid taking damage compared to descent 2 in regards to enemy fire and wouldn't mind trying out the new AI just for fun. That being said descent 1 is amazing with its ambushes and hulks.
The creators of Rebirth are working on unifying the codebases of the two games, but how much of the code features of the 1st game will be available in the 2nd and vice versa is still quite unclear. Descent 2's shot leading AI makes things hard, but D1 has higher damage missile attacks and more vicious homing missiles, among other things. If you want the closest experience to D1, but with the enhancement of D2's shot leading AI, I suggest using my altered HAM - so far it brings back the D1 missile strength and restores your own weapons, such as the lasers and Fusion, to their D1 damage values. Still, it's not a complete solution - the acquisition cones of the homing missiles (for a full D1-like difficulty experience) is something that has to be left for the Rebirth crew to take care of.
EDIT: OMG I JUST BEAT IT ON INSANE!!!! QUE JURASSIC PARK MUSIC DOOD DOOD ODOODODDODODOOOOOOOO 8) 8) 8) 8) 8) 8)
Congratulations, the first time you manage that level without dying has gotta be super exciting! I think it was that way for me too, especially since it was relatively not long ago at all, compared to all the years I've been playing Descent.
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Re: Impressions on Descent: Insane, cold start, no-death, 100%

Post by AlexanderBorisov » Sun Jan 07, 2018 10:49 pm

BTW I am now doing Apocalyptic Factor on Insane, how exciting it is! However have to record some level in parts with a save point, for now allowng one save point when the level grows above an hour of continuous play (although managed to record one such level no save), and sometimes a save before the bosses if practice shows I can kill the boss only once in 20-40 attempts. This is the mission where you definitely don't need the wider D1 acquisition cone, most enemies are spiders, boarsheads, red hulks, lou guards, defence robots, 150 to 200 mechs per level with vicious traps like a dead mech spawning 10 sidearm modulas or 6-7 Vulcan drillers... For now 7 levels are recorded.
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Re: Impressions on Descent: Insane, cold start, no-death, 100%

Post by Sum0Beatz » Mon Jan 08, 2018 4:12 am

Whats a good program to record my demo to youtube. I've beaten the level many times now. Level 6 isn't that hard once you have a solid route down. But going in blind that level is hell, theres a Driller litterly behind every corner lol. I am also getting less sloppy with my tricording. I'm happy I stayed with it and didn't stay on hotshot or ace. Insane is whats up. On to level 7 now.
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Re: Impressions on Descent: Insane, cold start, no-death, 100%

Post by Xfing » Mon Jan 08, 2018 11:22 am

Trichording shouldn't be very tough to do if you have comfortable input IMO. I don't really do it a lot though, except the times when you need to quickly make your way through an exposed section and don't have the afterburner.
Descent 1,5: Level layouts done: 37/54 Secret level layouts done: 1/6
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Re: Impressions on Descent: Insane, cold start, no-death, 100%

Post by AlexanderBorisov » Tue Jan 09, 2018 5:46 am

Sum0Beatz wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 4:12 am
Whats a good program to record my demo to youtube. I've beaten the level many times now. Level 6 isn't that hard once you have a solid route down. But going in blind that level is hell, theres a Driller litterly behind every corner lol. I am also getting less sloppy with my tricording. I'm happy I stayed with it and didn't stay on hotshot or ace. Insane is whats up. On to level 7 now.
The best recording tool is this
https://obsproject.com/
it is free, allows to set any compression options and produces Youtube compartible compact files. Whe most of the other tools give you many Gb videos that you need to compress afterwards into YT format. I also did not used tri-chording that much in D1, it is needed mostly for speedruns. But with good trichording you can even outrun homing missiles!
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Re: Impressions on Descent: Insane, cold start, no-death, 100%

Post by Sum0Beatz » Tue Jan 09, 2018 6:06 pm

LEVEL 6 COLD START on INSANE

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Re: Impressions on Descent: Insane, cold start, no-death, 100%

Post by Xfing » Tue Jan 09, 2018 7:12 pm

Nice job! Your playing style is still a bit neurotic and paranoid - but that's what level 6 does to you alright! Your next challenge should be to actually destroy all the mechs in the level rather than skipping them, for a full 100% run. You don't need to do the same with robots spawned from matcens, but personally I do like clearing at least the initial spawn of drones. I've uploaded a package with demos of all levels I've beaten in this manner (which is all of them) in this thread, feel free to consult them for strategy hints if you like :P
Descent 1,5: Level layouts done: 37/54 Secret level layouts done: 1/6
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Re: Impressions on Descent: Insane, cold start, no-death, 100%

Post by Sum0Beatz » Tue Jan 09, 2018 7:31 pm

Haha yea getting the cloak wasn't needed for the blue key xD
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Re: Impressions on Descent: Insane, cold start, no-death, 100%

Post by Xfing » Tue Jan 09, 2018 7:41 pm

For the blue key you need either patience or guts and precision. The second option is definitely more badass, but the first one is preferable if you value self-preservation. Sometimes slow and steady wins the race.

On another note, I can't help but admire how beautifully lit Level 6 is. I really think I need to reevaluate just using the "auto lighting" button in the editor for my own levels. This sort of penumbra only lit occasionally where the lights appear is much more atmospheric than the entire level being bright, that's for sure.
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Re: Impressions on Descent: Insane, cold start, no-death, 100%

Post by LightWolf » Sun Jan 14, 2018 2:48 pm

I've discovered that leaving "classic lighting" unchecked in DLE concentrates the lighting more around the sources rather than distributing it. Combine that with a lower "render distance", and you can get some good atmosphere.
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Re: Impressions on Descent: Insane, cold start, no-death, 100%

Post by Alter-Fox » Sun Jan 14, 2018 3:53 pm

I've noticed the same LW. All you really need to do, though, is be mindful of where you put your light sources -- instead of spraying it all over the walls -- to make your mark.
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Re: Impressions on Descent: Insane, cold start, no-death, 100%

Post by Xfing » Mon Jan 22, 2018 5:25 pm

Level 16 is practiceable, but really tough, I still haven't even managed to get the yellow key. It's the crappiest type of difficulty too - tons of easy and mid-diff bots who just whittle down your shields little by little, and none of the instantly lethal traps. I know I miss that kind of difficulty, but I also know that I'm gonna get it in spades in Puuma Sphere, so I'll just take it slow. There will be plenty of impressions to share when I'm done with this level (hopefully I can do it).
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Re: Impressions on Descent: Insane, cold start, no-death, 100%

Post by Sirius » Mon Jan 22, 2018 9:38 pm

That was about the only level I actually recorded a video of. The keys were to get the Gauss in the start room and don't give the missile robots a chance to shoot back.
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Re: Impressions on Descent: Insane, cold start, no-death, 100%

Post by AlexanderBorisov » Tue Jan 23, 2018 6:37 am

I think yellow key is a bit tough - some lethal robots there - if you are not lucky enough to get the cloak like Sirius did, and also the red key area should have sound strategy to beat (the rest of the level is relatively linear). And the boss is nasty, requires some patience and luck to beat... The worst kind of difficulty is to have tons of insta-kill bots in an hour long level and the boss in the end that kills you 90% of the time. You know what I am talking about... At least it is not manifested in CS... The first part applies to Puuma Sphere levels, however. It is interesting how hard would be those CS 21-24 levels for Sirius (Insane cold start no death no save of course).
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Re: Impressions on Descent: Insane, cold start, no-death, 100%

Post by Xfing » Sun Feb 04, 2018 3:12 am

Making steady progress! Made it to the boss today (comfortably too), but fell to him after a long fight. I made some wrong strategic choices, such as using up all my Guideds on clearing out his entourage, and forgot to open the secret door with the three shield boosts past the invulnerability. This fight definitly tests your patience! I should have made better use of the invulnerability I picked up in the unlockable narrow tunnel and just picked off some of the entourage with Gauss while it lasted, leaving me more Guideds to use for bringing the boss into sniping position. Oh well, at least I'm pretty confident I can reach the boss (somewhat) reliably now, since I now kinda know how to tackle the remaining parts of this level. I should be able to have a demo up soonish, depending on my luck.
Descent 1,5: Level layouts done: 37/54 Secret level layouts done: 1/6
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Re: Impressions on Descent: Insane, cold start, no-death, 100%

Post by Xfing » Sun Feb 04, 2018 4:22 am

Level 16: Aaaaand done! I knew that once I passed a certain performance threshold, the following tries would be quite easy to succeed on - and once practiced, blue and yellow door areas are nothing particularly hard (as long as you know what you're doing). I managed to defeat the boss on my second try, and it was the attempt immediately following my previous, failed one. The level went swimmingly, but the boss fight itself was rather suboptimal and I lost tons of health and energy (I was too scared to go recharge, lol), and wasted several Megas, which missed completely. Still, I prevailed somehow. Stealth tactics are definitely the best way to go about this boss fight, since in an open fight with this dude you're gravely disadvantaged due to his high damage output and potential to keep you blind constantly.

As for the level itself, it's definitely well-made, definitely one of the most geometrically adventurous ice levels in the pack - particularly with the energy center in the blue area which successfully used cubes spun 45 degrees. The level's definitely got an atmosphere of its own, with its plentiful low-light environments and numerous naturalistic tunnels. The maze near the exit is completely devoid of enemies, which further helps build the ambience - for some reason the area reminds me of the first secret level from D1. I also like this level's liberal use of rock223, which is probably due to the fact that Ice.PIG happens to have among the least lossy displays of this texture compared to the D1 palette - anyway I really liked this texture back in D1, since it felt so no-nonsense. The difficulty feels staggering at first, but this level is entirely learnable and not much is left to chance here - with the possible exception of cloak drops from cloaked diamond claws, which can affect roaming behavior of that one Lou Guard in the blue tunnel with the energy center below the middle section - so it's best to be on your guard for that one. Other than that though, considering how easily I made it to the boss on my recorded try - I have to say this level still is nowhere near as tough overall as level 10 was. I could maybe put it on par with level 12 - I don't think this one took me as many tries as level 10 did, even though I did stretch it in time somewhat. A hard level to start, but you can get reliably good at it, which is much harder with level 10. It was also quite enjoyable to play, once I got the hang of it.

Overall impressions for Limefrost - wouldn't say it was harder than Brimspark. In terms of difficulty, it would seem that this time the levels actually followed the logical route, with each next one being tougher than the previous. The first three weren't super-tough, the last one was quite brutal, but it definitely didn't impress me as much as some other pilots' opinions made me expect it to.

DEMO: https://www.sendspace.com/file/srtkvy

It's on to the Caramel Ice Cream Land now :D

Level 17: And not a mere hour afterwards, we've advanced again. This level is not hard - compared to the previous one or at all - although it does do a great job of making it look like it is. Did it on my third try or so, all within a single hour. Plenty of minibosses here, probably the biggest miniboss spam in all of Descent 2. Gotta say, D1's "miniboss level" (which would be S1) did a much better job of making its respective enemy look threatening. That said, the hardest part of this level is the very beginning, where you have to deal with several easily underestimated BPERs with just your basic ordnance. While I wouldn't go as far as comparing these guys to Class 1 Drillers, they're quite dangerous all the same and capable of surprisingly quickly depleting your shields - definitely not to be underestimated! Another hard part of the level are all the Smelters in Snipe mode, who can give you quite a rewarding and difficult fight - once they're gone though, the remaining part of this level is really easy. I believe this level also introduces the very first instances of cloaked Smelters (might be wrong about that one though), who can catch you off guard, but appear to be balanced by a calmer trigger temper. The minibosses themselves are more numerous than ever, but placed in a way that there is little opportunity for them to threaten you directly before you pick them off. Even this level's numerous traps don't make an impression, although they are definitely more numerous than in previous systems and do pose a threat to the absent-minded pilot. Foreknowledge makes them all a cinch though. The last tricky part is managing to hit the switch behind the reactor with a guided missile to open up that compartment, it has two minibosses in it who can be easily taken care of by the shaker this level gives you. There are two invulnerabilities in the level - which you really need neither of, they seem more like arbitrary bonuses than usefully placed helpful powerups, though arguably the one in the reactor chamber could make your life considerably easier (I should have taken it in my run, lol). Overall this level gives you way too much stuff compared to the resistance it offers - a skilled pilot should have little trouble leaving the mine with 200 shields, that's how many boosts there are here. I'm fine with the item placement, but there should be like twice as many robots in this mine to justify its late placement in the mission in terms of difficulty. Of course Gauss is one of the things that make this level so much easier, but that's basically the case for every single level of the game.

As far as the geometry and texturing of this level go - the layout is pretty basic and carries heavy vibes of D1, size and all - which leads me to believe it was either one of the earliest levels made, or one made by one of the same authors that did levels for D1. There is liberal use of the default cube and basic geometric constructions, but the D2 mechanics such as opening walls and other sorts of traps have been very nicely integrated into this level. The puzzles are also high-level, up there with the best ones from Brimspark. The geometry is definitely optimized for gameplay functionality over eye candy, but it works. As far as the texturing goes, I definitely used to consider the Baloris Prime texture set ridiculously over the top in the past, but its haphazardness and vivid colors have actually grown on me quite a bit, and I also couldn't help but notice its richness - it does appear to use overall more different textures than most previous systems. The textures do create an eerie, alien-like feel to a degree, and areas with few robots guarding them and a good use of lighting definitely bolster the atmosphere, making this level actually seem quite menacing (much like D1L12 in this regard). I did enjoy playing through this one, we'll see what the next one is like :P

DEMO: https://www.sendspace.com/file/ajl6u4
Descent 1,5: Level layouts done: 37/54 Secret level layouts done: 1/6
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Re: Impressions on Descent: Insane, cold start, no-death, 100%

Post by AlexanderBorisov » Mon Feb 05, 2018 7:42 am

L16 run is impressive, but boss fight is a bit strange, first you should have saved more guided missiles during the run and then use them more sparingly luring the boss into the place where you can make safe shot on it. In fact, you can approximately guess where the boss is (at least the distance) by it's sound, if it is near the entrance just fire a homing or concussion missile to make it teleport, save the guided for the case when he is far away. The point is - he teleports every time he sees your missile - no need to hit it, but this works only after 10 sec or so from previous teleport.
Will watch L17 too, because I completely forgotten the level. On the Baloris Prime unit, my impression is that the boss level is the only difficult one. And not for the level itself, but mainly for the boss, which I could not beat without the - very tricky - secret level (which in turn makes the thing longer and harder).

EDIT : nice run on L17, too, I did not knew about the reactor room secret area with 2 minibosses (probably I shot the reactor through the grate without even entering the red door... was not aiming for100% run that time).
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Re: Impressions on Descent: Insane, cold start, no-death, 100%

Post by Xfing » Mon Feb 05, 2018 4:16 pm

Well cut me some slack, it was my second attempt :D

I'm actually surprised the boss came down much faster than any previous boss, in terms of attempts.
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