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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Mon Sep 25, 2017 4:20 pm 
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But ya gotta have the purple rocks!

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Mon Sep 25, 2017 5:37 pm 
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Alter-Fox wrote:
But ya gotta have the purple rocks!


Yeah, well Pluto Outpost had both of these things in spades :D There's always a way!

Then again, I'll probably go on and make that level in the Vertigo portion. No particularly fancy or complicated geometry, just a mazelike facility layout with lots of separate rooms, kinda like in Wolfenstein. That sort of design has only been scratched in D1, never properly explored. We'll see what I come up with, still not very inspired at the moment :(

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Tue Sep 26, 2017 5:32 pm 
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In the meantime I've finally got fl studio mobile on my phone and I've been occupying myself in my downtime at work writing a couple descenty sorta tracks. They might find their way in here eventually... :)

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Wed Sep 27, 2017 4:58 am 
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Neat!

BTW, this thought crossed my mind just today. Do you think "homeyduh" could have been an alt for some known, seasoned map designer who for some reason didn't want to be associated with the project? I mean, guy comes out of nowhere, makes some of the best Solar System themed levels I've ever seen, then disappears without a trace... :P

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Wed Sep 27, 2017 8:22 am 
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Naw, cause I've seen him around by that name long before this, and he was involved in Sol Contingency.
I doubt he'd want to do that under an alias of an alias. Even I didn't and I do that EVERYWHERE else. :D

Real life probably happened. It has a tendency to.

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Wed Sep 27, 2017 9:22 am 
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Alter-Fox wrote:
Naw, cause I've seen him around by that name long before this, and he was involved in Sol Contingency.
I doubt he'd want to do that under an alias of an alias. Even I didn't and I do that EVERYWHERE else. :D

Real life probably happened. It has a tendency to.


Yeah, well what can you do.

BTW I spent a few hours today setting up automatized DOSBox versions of D1 and D2, finally got the configurations I wanted. D2 with -11ksound and -nohighres definitely looks retro as all hell! Loving it! Tested The Cauldron on this version and surprisingly, the flickering present in the huge cavern in Rebirth didn't occur in vanilla. The game did slow down significantly, though. 16 MB is a bit low to render 500 cubes at the same time :D Otherwise though the level launched and played with no issues, so I suppose no areas apart from this one will cause any problems if anyone should wish to play the mission in DOSBox. For this particular section maybe lowering detail levels would do the trick. If not, I might see if I can do something to minimize cube count. That's gonna be one hell of a task though, and it would probably be better just to build the entire area from scratch. It's the most cube inefficient area in the history of Descent :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Wed Sep 27, 2017 12:25 pm 
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I was wondering if KG station and laeeve installation should be switched so that the second chapter won't end with three maps by the same author in a row.

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Wed Sep 27, 2017 12:48 pm 
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Alter-Fox wrote:
I was wondering if KG station and laeeve installation should be switched so that the second chapter won't end with three maps by the same author in a row.


I don't see any problem with that. The first three levels are by me anyway, likewise the last three levels of the Solar System portion. No problem whatsoever.

We've got a bigger problem now .I found that Descent 2 doesn't support PCX files in RGB format. Their color mode has to be "indexed". I'll have to change every single PCX file we've got ready in those folders to "indexed", but I don't know what index type to use, so that neither the PCX, nor the briefing text is distorted. Fortunately, GIMP does support random palettes, so I maybe I can somehow import Descent.256 into Gimp and use it as the basis for indexing. Plenty of work to do, but I'll enjoy figuring this one out :D

EDIT: Ok, so this was the wrong approach altogether. The correct approach is to generate the optimal indexing palette per GIMP, and then just make sure to add the color 00ff00 to one of the slots, since it's required for the briefings' trademark green text color. I found it in position 144 in one correctly formatted file, so that's where I'll be putting it. So now I just need to process like 40 or so files this way, and then create their low-resolution equivalents again. Piece of cake :D

Might as well create low-res Vertigo briefing screens, since Descent2 always whines for them when you play in low-res mode.

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Wed Sep 27, 2017 3:40 pm 
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Ok, finally did it. I did away with separate folders for low and hi-res textures and changed their naming schemes to something more traditional (close or identical to actual file names). I also shortened all file names to be at most 7 characters long, since that is a requirement for txb files to support them (as far as I know).

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Thu Sep 28, 2017 8:35 am 
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BTW I really do think Circularis should use the Descent 1 level 4 song. The song's circular theme meshes perfectly with the map's.
If the Descent 2 map 1 song has to be used at all (which it does :P) it should go on a Baloris map with a light colour scheme like KG's.

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BEWARE RAZZADOON'S SNOUT!!
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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Thu Sep 28, 2017 9:11 am 
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Alter-Fox wrote:
BTW I really do think Circularis should use the Descent 1 level 4 song. The song's circular theme meshes perfectly with the map's.
If the Descent 2 map 1 song has to be used at all (which it does :P) it should go on a Baloris map with a light colour scheme like KG's.


Nice suggestion! I'll mark it right now actually :D

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Thu Sep 28, 2017 9:34 am 
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This is why I do mapping. I tried to read through what you wrote about modifying game files, but god damn I didn't understand a word of what you wrote...


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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Thu Sep 28, 2017 4:14 pm 
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Kaizerwolf wrote:
This is why I do mapping. I tried to read through what you wrote about modifying game files, but god damn I didn't understand a word of what you wrote...


This time it was about those pictures you have on briefing screens in the games. They use the old PCX format, which is a format predating even BMP, native to ZSoft's Paintbrush program. Parallax really liked using this file format, and luckily today's more prominent graphics editors can read and edit it too :D

I've never studied programming myself, the stuff I do is hardly brain surgery. The hardest thing related to editing the game files I ever did was assigning new (old) sounds to Descent 1's robots and doors in Haxmed32, but even then, Jeff250 had to write a Python script to insert those files into the S11 and S22 archives.

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2017 6:05 pm 
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Can I claim Zandura II? I have it pretty much finished but for various reasons I won't be able to upload it for about a week.

Unrelated random edit: In the page spectrum, we're on Ktsch'k Weng III. Will we release this mission before Doomsday Warstation?
...Will you figure out what in the heck I'm talking about? :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2017 7:20 pm 
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I know what you're talking about yeh. :P
I think we'd like to see what you've got before we give you the slot. Your track record is still more than a little spotty as quality goes. I'm sure you understand. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2017 8:03 pm 
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Sadly same one-week thing goes for screenies :(

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2017 11:43 pm 
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Looking forward to 'em anyway. The original Zandura is one of my fav descent levels ever.

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BEWARE RAZZADOON'S SNOUT!!
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Also beware my original music, at http://soundcloud.com/snowfoxden and http://vertigofox.bandcamp.com


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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Sun Oct 01, 2017 5:04 am 
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Well, speaking of quality - maybe I'll take a look at Coolyard and make some of those changes we discussed earlier. The mazelike portion is too gimmicky and needs to be replaced, but I'm not sure I have a good idea what to replace it with :(

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Sun Oct 01, 2017 3:12 pm 
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The situation cleared itself up much quicker than expected.
Zandura II

Contains reinventions the definitive features of Zandura, but to a much less noticeable degree than I did with Charon. I built it and I can hardly identify them :lol:

It is challenging, but I did make it a bit easier than Dynamo. Also try looking around the hub area after blowing the reactor - it will make your Insane life much easier :wink:

I also tried a bit of an experiment with a "unifying texture" - tell me if you notice it and what you think.

Oh, and it will require a bit of an effort to catch the keys. Word choice intended.


I also had a thought about Ohm: Since ohms are units of electrical resistance, what if it only had missile bots? (Except for maybe two fusion hulks :P )

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Sun Oct 01, 2017 5:12 pm 
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LightWolf wrote:
I also had a thought about Ohm: Since ohms are units of electrical resistance, what if it only had missile bots? (Except for maybe two fusion hulks :P )


What do missiles have to do with electrical resistance?

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Sun Oct 01, 2017 5:59 pm 
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I've checked out the level. Holy shit is it good. You've either taken to heart every single piece of criticism we've ever offered you, or had someone else make this level for you, there is no other explanation. The level is amazing in many ways - for one you weren't lying, it does resemble Fold Zandura only to the right degree - it's no blatant rehash at all, and the only things reminescent of the original are the color scheme, the symmetry and the "one branch going up, one going down" gimmick. Other than that the level is more elaborate, more expansive and better textured. The texturing itself is a work of art, masterfully blending Fold Zandura's original theme with D1-exclusive textures to create something more than the sum of its parts in regards to the theme. Not quite sure what you meant by the "unifying texture". There is plenty of variety and different rooms are textured differently, much like in the original.

The level is D2 Vertigo through and through in terms of how it plays and the geometry, but all those textures from D1 that Parallax designers would never bring back (even the lava itself) have been combined in some of the most amazing and as of yet unseen ways. The progression is similar enough to Fold Zandura, but arguably even more engaging - even the key pickups have been mixed up to be mobile rather than stationary. The tunnel to the red door has the same kind of eye candy as the original, but even it wasn't copy-pasted like you used to in the past. For these reasons, this level perfectly fulfills the idea of being a passing reference/sequel and it's really quite amazing IMO.

The only issue that I found and fixed already is that the entry hatch would not open from the inside, trapping you. Also, while I do appreciate robot suggestions, please stop being stubborn and filling levels with robots every time, even if you're repeatedly reminded that this is something we'll do in the next phase :D

I'm totally for including this level on the list, but I'll wait for others to speak their minds before I do it. In my opinion, this is your best level so far, and quite easily too.

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Sun Oct 01, 2017 8:57 pm 
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Xfing wrote:
Also, while I do appreciate robot suggestions, please stop being stubborn and filling levels with robots every time, even if you're repeatedly reminded that this is something we'll do in the next phase :D


To be fair I do that as well, I absolutely hate flying through a level that is purely structure since, if it's missing robots and powerups, I don't feel that it gives a good impression of what the level is actually like. I'm firmly in that school which believes the structure itself, no matter how pretty, is ultimately just a stage -- the play means nothing without the actors. That being said for it to work you have to take the same care populating with all types of objects as you'd take if it was the final version, and you have to make sure it isn't annoying to test.

I can't wait to take a look. Maybe I can find some time tonight.

EDIT: It's a really good design Lightwolf, buuut I do have a couple things for you to think about.
Your level population is atrociously unbalanced as usual. If I have to cheat just for earthshakers, on hotshot, because rooms are too full of high-level enemies to manage from a cold start with the resources provided, you've done it wrong. If I have to cheat just for earthshakers, on hotshot, because rooms are too full of high-level enemies to manage; and I still run out of lives, you've probably broken the Descent universe. And you've probably broken the Descent universe.

(Now this next part is for both you and X, but mostly you :P)
Most of the rooms with two matcens could easily be brought down to one. Especially those tubes with the yellow and red keys -- while I like the idea of forcing you to chase a robot over the triggers to start them again, with that many matcens there are too many robots in the tunnels to even move. They should not spawn such powerful enemies either -- the challenge should be that they get in your way, not that they kill you.
And it would be cool to replace the first key bot with a drone or a gopher or even a PEST instead of a guppy.
As a general rule wolf, if you're not someone who plays on ace or insane normally, be sure you can finish your own level without cheat codes one difficulty level higher than you can normally play, or don't bother populating at all.

The exit run won't be possible on Ace or Insane with the normal time limit; I've personally I've come to think of adding time to the countdown as a crutch for bad level planning. Since the initial part of the red area is physically so close to the exit room you should think about adding some kind of a shortcut that you can open up from near the reactor. Personally I like the idea of a shootable trigger in some obvious location past the second red door -- along the same lines as my comment about the theater, I think more interactivity can only be a positive. Adding a red-liney reactor coolant texture behind it should be enough to clue players in that it's probably something they should definitely shoot.

Railroading through hostage doors is an eeeeh... even the original zandura didn't quite do that. It feels just ever so slightly wrong. If it were me I'd replace the hostage doors with a grate- or forcefield-trigger combo (think D2 level 2 or 3) to make the cells feel a little less forced.

The level feels like it could be really creepy if you turned the lighting down just a bit. As it is it's too bright to really realize that potential -- the reason I liked the original Zandura so much is that it had this spooky, almost cathedral-like atmosphere. This level doesn't necessarily *need* that, but removing some of the light fixtures would, I think, still be a very good thing.

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2017 3:04 am 
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You heard the man. Now get to work :D

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2017 5:00 am 
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LightWolf wrote:
The situation cleared itself up much quicker than expected.
Zandura II


It's better than your previous works, but I'm still not convinced enough to call it "good." For a few reasons:

1. A lot of the paths feel forced or lazy, such as forcing the player to go through hostage cells. It almost feels like you put them right in the player's path because you couldn't come up with an idea for a side room. Also, those corridors must have been made very hastily, because they feel neither mechanical or organic, just... sloppy with the jagged edges and warped angles. I'm sure you could fix that connection to give the area a bit more order.

2. Not enough areas feel spacious enough for a Vertigo environment. I know they often dialed it back compared to Counterstrike, but there's still plenty of rooms that remind me more of First Strike than I think they should. You can do a lot more with the reactor area and its antechamber to make them more interesting to play in, but even just enlarging them horizontally and vertically would be a start.

3. The symmetry overload. I like Entropy Experiment as much as the next guy, but to be quite frank, your designs aren't quite awe-inspiring enough to pull off a symmetrical design without making it look lazy. Try to do something about the other points and the symmetry will feel a bit more like it belongs, and in turn, the level will feel more like it belongs in the set.

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2017 5:15 am 
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Alter-Fox wrote:
Xfing wrote:
Also, while I do appreciate robot suggestions, please stop being stubborn and filling levels with robots every time, even if you're repeatedly reminded that this is something we'll do in the next phase :D


To be fair I do that as well, I absolutely hate flying through a level that is purely structure since, if it's missing robots and powerups, I don't feel that it gives a good impression of what the level is actually like. I'm firmly in that school which believes the structure itself, no matter how pretty, is ultimately just a stage -- the play means nothing without the actors.


And that is precisely why we're leaving that for last - that way we can have full control over the difficulty curve. If all levels were submitted already filled with robots and stuff, the best we could do is switch the order of levels. Which could potentially hinder our artistic vision, since levels have different texture themes. Making adjustments to an existing robot population is also much more painstaking work than just doing it from scratch.

Naphtha wrote:
LightWolf wrote:
The situation cleared itself up much quicker than expected.
Zandura II


It's better than your previous works, but I'm still not convinced enough to call it "good." For a few reasons:

1. A lot of the paths feel forced or lazy, such as forcing the player to go through hostage cells. It almost feels like you put them right in the player's path because you couldn't come up with an idea for a side room. Also, those corridors must have been made very hastily, because they feel neither mechanical or organic, just... sloppy with the jagged edges and warped angles. I'm sure you could fix that connection to give the area a bit more order.


Agreed. Fix this. Hostage cells are never, ever areas mandatory to access in order to complete the level. Make them optional, to the sides or something. Also take into account what Alter-Fox said about the entrances.

Quote:
2. Not enough areas feel spacious enough for a Vertigo environment. I know they often dialed it back compared to Counterstrike, but there's still plenty of rooms that remind me more of First Strike than I think they should. You can do a lot more with the reactor area and its antechamber to make them more interesting to play in, but even just enlarging them horizontally and vertically would be a start.


Same. Not like I mind the geometry or care about some arbitrary spaciousness quotas, but having more open spaces never hurts a level, only adds to it. That said, I myself was never particularly anal about First Strike geometry in the solar system portion - you'll notice that out of the first three levels, all made by me, only 2 looks like something straight outta D1. Level 1 and 3 all have rather adventurous geometry for First Strike. Geometry IMO has less of an impact on the mine's atmosphere than texturing and lighting do, what it affects more is gameplay. That's why I don't mind the Vertigo portion being sometimes a bit lacking in open spaces. What makes it Vertigo is the ubiquitous "obsidian" texture, free-for-all texture theme mixing and spatial layout more unorthodox than in Counterstrike.

Quote:
3. The symmetry overload. I like Entropy Experiment as much as the next guy, but to be quite frank, your designs aren't quite awe-inspiring enough to pull off a symmetrical design without making it look lazy. Try to do something about the other points and the symmetry will feel a bit more like it belongs, and in turn, the level will feel more like it belongs in the set.


This is actually justified, since Fold Zandura was symmetric in the first place, also with the gimmick of one branch going up and one down. You could argue that level itself was quite lazily designed, though it did make up for it in atmosphere and detailing. I'm no fan of symmetry at all, but in this one case it's justified.

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2017 6:38 am 
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Xfing wrote:
Quote:
3. The symmetry overload. I like Entropy Experiment as much as the next guy, but to be quite frank, your designs aren't quite awe-inspiring enough to pull off a symmetrical design without making it look lazy. Try to do something about the other points and the symmetry will feel a bit more like it belongs, and in turn, the level will feel more like it belongs in the set.


This is actually justified, since Fold Zandura was symmetric in the first place, also with the gimmick of one branch going up and one down. You could argue that level itself was quite lazily designed, though it did make up for it in atmosphere and detailing. I'm no fan of symmetry at all, but in this one case it's justified.


Granted, but I feel like he overdid it to an extent that the original didn't. Like there were those symmetrical rooms, but the ones on the very tips for both yellow key and red key were completely different, and this map has nothing like that.

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2017 8:25 am 
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Naphtha wrote:
Granted, but I feel like he overdid it to an extent that the original didn't. Like there were those symmetrical rooms, but the ones on the very tips for both yellow key and red key were completely different, and this map has nothing like that.


True. But the progression is still quite interesting as it is. Well, let's wait and see what the version with corrections will look like :P

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2017 3:19 pm 
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The exit run won't be possible on Ace or Insane with the normal time limit; I've personally I've come to think of adding time to the countdown as a crutch for bad level planning. Since the initial part of the red area is physically so close to the exit room you should think about adding some kind of a shortcut that you can open up from near the reactor. Personally I like the idea of a shootable trigger in some obvious location past the second red door -- along the same lines as my comment about the theater, I think more interactivity can only be a positive. Adding a red-liney reactor coolant texture behind it should be enough to clue players in that it's probably something they should shoot.

I've managed to do it on Insane by exact count (albeit by shakering the crap out of every moving thing beforehand). However, if you exit the red door, turn left, and do a vertical U-turn, your life may be a bit easier (and make the final secret possible on higher difficulties).

I probably could have made that more obvious now that I think about it.

Also Fox, did you get the Helix and Mega Missile in the start room? That's what got me to the yellow door on Hotshot in the version before I actually downgraded the matcens.
The secrets make a huge difference.

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2017 4:01 pm 
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Still, you should at least make an attempt to address the issues mentioned by Naphtha and Fox.With that, the level will definitely make the cut (because I like it), but they did have some valuable suggestions for you to consider.

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2017 6:21 pm 
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Yes I did Wolf.
Keep in mind that it's easier for someone to test who already knows what is where -- and none of our players will unless you make a level that gives them a reason to play through enough times to memorize.
I'll clarify that my biggest issue is with the matcens near the yellow and red keys. They're far too powerful for their purpose.

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2017 6:38 pm 
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Good point. And OK.
I'll make the changes this weekend.

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Sun Oct 08, 2017 10:23 am 
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I've added "Other" and "Violet Stone" to the dropbox in the music folder. I'm sure we can find a spot for them. :P

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Sun Oct 08, 2017 6:47 pm 
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Alter-Fox wrote:
I've added "Other" and "Violet Stone" to the dropbox in the music folder. I'm sure we can find a spot for them. :P


Sweet! So many tracks :D BTW how do you switch between soundtracks in Rebirth? Can yours for example be rigged to "CD-Redbook" and the midi just put in the HOG so that it's possible to just toggle between them easily?

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Sun Oct 08, 2017 8:18 pm 
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Ooooh, I wish.
We'll have to ask Zico. That would be sweet.

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Sun Oct 08, 2017 9:22 pm 
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Unless I missed something blatantly obvious, here is the updated Z2 HOG:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwhA940YudYdLTFWcVRrX2w3ZTA/view?usp=sharing


Xfing wrote:
Making adjustments to an existing robot population is also much more painstaking work than just doing it from scratch.
That's why there's "Delete All"! :wink: :P


Edit: Found the blatantly obvious problem with some of the robots (namely Lost Levels had something to say about them). Took the opportunity to make a couple miscellaneous tweaks as well.

Edit 2: Yet another update due to a broken matcen :roll:
How many more updates will be in the span of 5 minutes? Stay tuned!

Edit 3: Unlocked the entry hatch from the inside

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Mon Oct 09, 2017 11:05 am 
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Yeah, my own perfectionism also has me often make 5 or 10 sudden additions just because I didn't do them the first time. I probably shouldn't post prematurely. Guess it's impatience :D

I'll take a look at the level in a moment

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Mon Oct 09, 2017 3:00 pm 
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Again, you haven't fixed the entry hatch being locked from the inside. This was mentioned! Come on!!! :/

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Mon Oct 09, 2017 4:06 pm 
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Had a feeling I'd forgotten something...

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwhA940YudYdLTFWcVRrX2w3ZTA/view?usp=sharing

(I've also updated the above link)

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2017 3:17 am 
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Would you be so kind as to list the changes you've made compared to the version you first posted?

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Sat Oct 14, 2017 6:34 pm 
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-Fixed start hatch locking from inside
-Downgraded Yellow Door matcens
-Changed Omegas in Blue Key area into Gophers
-Added a switch by each hostage cell to remove a nearby grate to avoid being forced to go through the hostage cells
-Made the exit shortcut location clearer
-Other miscellaneous tweaks and fixes

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