Figured I would update people since it's been half a month since the last post in this thread.
I'm still working on levels. Am still stuck on level 8, but I've made a few breakthroughs and I should be able to get a time I'm happy with sometime in the next couple hundred attempts. Thats right, I said couple hundred. Level 8 is just that nasty.
I've also been working on improving my level 6 time, and I'm happy to report that I've shaved even more time off of it and the time is now below 6 minutes. It's good enough that I think when I start posting levels as speedruns, if I have not improved on level 6 by then I will post this run.
I've also been tinkering with levels 20, 21, 27, S1, and S2.
I think I've found a way to exploit the gophers in level 20, so that section of that level is no problem. The problem for level 20 is the four platform bots in the next section, and then finding and destroying all the class 2 drones and level 1 drones who lay mines. After that the rest of the level is pretty academic.
Level 21 I'm still looking for a good route. Right now my route contains a very low percentage trick about a minute in that I would like to find a different way to do, if possible. The problems after said trick seem to be the red hulks that guard the yellow key card. Even worse, the fusion cannon in that section may not be accessible with all the brown hulks that spwan in from the matcen there.
Level 27 is actually pretty straightforward, but the problem I am having is energy management. Once that is solved, it should be pretty easy to get the whole level done, what with all the invulnerabilities, cloaks, and mega missiles laying around. The boss room should be pretty easy. None of the bots in that room are mandatory except for El Capitan, because all of the bots in that room aside from El Capitan are spawned in by El Capitan. The cloaked lifters in the super secret room off to the side are mandatory however.
S1 I have a route for, and I can usually make it pretty far in the level. I just seem to screw something up every time and end up getting killed. Not even a fraction as frustrating as level 8 however. One point of concern tho is the supervisor bots in the reactor-triggered door near the exit. One of them contains platform bots, so I have to fusion the supervisors and then somehow live through fusioning the platforms as well. I have a plan for it, I'll see how it works once I get that far in my run.
S2 is cake. Cloaks everywhere + quad lasers off the bat = dead drillers and super hulks. I just need to optimize it down to an impressive enough time. That could be tricky.
I've also got pretty decent runs of levels 1-5, and 7. 7 I'm trying to get my time down another minute or two before I am happy with it, but the route is completed and I think its pretty optimal. Level 1-5 I also have routes for, just have to get them down to times I am happy with. Once I finish level 8 I will start optimizing the first 5 levels and level 7, and then I think once I have runs of the first 8 levels I'll start posting them as speed runs on youtube.
I'm going to call them "Insane-Max" runs, like how some Doom runs are called UV-Max. The rules I'm going to be following for these runs are as follows:
-All 1-ups must be collected
-All hostages rescued
-Secret exit taken, if applicable
-All reactors destroyed
-All robots that are on the level to start with must be destroyed
And I am unsure or not, but I am considering exempting any robot that requires you to trigger the reactor to gain access to him from the kill rule. I am also considering adding D2's full map powerup to the 1-up collection rule.
You can also see that I am thinking ahead toward D2 with these rules, specifically the all reactors rule which applies to secret level 6 in that game. I also am technically differentiating between D1 and D2's secret level entrances by saying "Secret Exit" since D2 uses teleporters. This would allow either the regular exit or a secret teleporter to be used to exit a level, which would allow for faster times if the secret teleporter is closer (like in level 20, right there in the boss room).
D2 secret level runs would also be a little different since you can not save or restore while in one. The run would need to start on the base level right in front of the secret teleporter, with a ship that has exactly 100 shield and energy, 3 concussion missiles, and level 1 lasers. I also think that because of the way some of the d2 secret levels are structured, it should be allowable to go through a return teleporter as long as you instantly go back through the teleporter to the secret level. Otherwise it might not be possible to get everything on the Insane-Max checklist.
But D2 is a LONG way off. And some of the levels I have checked out in D2 are just a bitch to get started in. D2 level 6 for example is nuts on insane from a cold start, what with an ITSC and diamond claw in the starting room with you, the thief immediately coming in to harass you, and several sidearms in a row by the blue key and blue door. That level looks like it will be worse than D1 level 8, by far. And starting level 21 without an Omega cannon is going to be very annoying. Why does every bot in the Descent series that has the name "spider" in it have to be of the demonic variety?
For D2 I also need to figure out the full damage and energy usage table for the primary weapons. D2 energy management is going to be much, much worse than D1 because of the presence of the afterburner in some levels. Acquiring it obligates one to use it all the time due to the nature of a speedrun. That's going to just suck the Pyro's energy reserves dry.
And thinking ahead past D2, Vertigo, and possibly the PC conversion of Descent Maximum, D3 looks like it might not be realistically possible to do a D3 version of insane-max, simply because of how large and sprawling the levels are, how frustratingly difficult it is to hit even bots that are slow to dodge (especially outdoors), the random deaths that seem to happen for no discernible reason (I swear there are a few rooms in various levels that you can fly into, there are no robots there, and then you can just randomly explode, regardless of your shield), and the fact that D3 likes to randomly crash, especially when using powerful weapons which would be used near the end of a long level (especially the Hellion Assault Mech in D3 level 15, and the Gatling mech at the end of Mercenary level 7).
If I do D3 after D1 and D2, it would probably be Insane-Fast, where the only objective would be to end the level as fast as possible without dying. Also there would need to be a separate category, which I would call Insane-Fast+ for using ships other than what you would normally have by that point in the campaign. For example, using the Phoenix before level 7, the Magnum before level 10, and the Black Pyro before level 3(I think? Its been a while) of Mercenary.
So, anyones thoughts on this? Part of the reason I'm doing this is because it looks like no one else has ever done stuff like this. The only speedrun of Descent that exists is stx-Vile's hotshot pure speed run of each level in Descent 1 (which is pretty amazing btw), and I think there needs to be more in the way of Descent Speedruns out there. D3 I could even potentially get published on the Speed Demos Archive, considering that D3 is the only one of the three Descent's that does not require either a source port (Rebirth), emulator (dosbox), or old assed DOS machine to run. If SDA ever changes their policy about dosbox, it would be worth it to get D1 and D2 for Dos set up in it and do some runs there, just to get them on to SDA.