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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2017 8:01 pm 
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No, I'm pretty sure I was talking about D1 there. Sorry. :|
Not putting fusion hulks on the secret levels in this game could be a very good idea. And I think you might find you want a few more levels to explore fusion hulk combinations with robots from D2 and vertigo like E-Bandit or MAX who will make him even worse -- D1 never really used him that way.
What I really want to see is a way to either be able to create exit sequences for these mines or use the FMV's from D2 and D1 PSX.

A couple questions on the level front --
As far as solar system goes it would be cool to have more than one Mars level since that texture scheme was pretty unique in Descent 1 and Descent 2 didn't really do anything like it even on Brimspark. Maybe I can try to make something similar for the Vertigo section...
I'm also not sure about "litter jungle" as the Neptune level because without the trigger puzzle it's actually really short, and I feel like if there's only one Neptune level in the mission it should be a long one (at least, long for level 9). If that one was moved to Beta Ceti it could keep the extra length it gets out of the puzzle as well.

Getting back to the music for a second; I've made a couple of tentative decisions (besides the ones for Big Red and Inside Out which you already know :D) for some of the levels that are already extant and even more tentative decisions for the ones that aren't. Claw Marks would work nicely for the Mercury level. I'd really like to use that song I mentioned from the first DCA for Ixion... Precipice to go with the first Puuma Sphere level, Red Moons Rising could work well with Re'eie and also possibly with the final boss. And I have some ideas for a track that could go with N'tala especially after what you just told me. But I don't want to commit too much in that department yet since I want the lyrical songs to pop up only occasionally and that's all I have so far.
Big Red is another one that could get a re-use since it's got that ominous feeling and it would work well for something darker than Ceres.
There's another song I wrote two months ago called Snarl that I've been toying around with having on the Neptune level since the song mentions Neptune in it several times. And the style... doesn't not work. :P

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The eyes of the plush lobster stared deep into my soul. I touched it, made as if to pick it up, and then I was a panther.
BEWARE RAZZADOON'S SNOUT!!
...

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 Jan 08, 2017 8:55 pm 
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Alter-Fox wrote:
No, I'm pretty sure I was talking about D1 there. Sorry. :|


Ok, then we'll go with static images like I thought previously. Shame there's no other way, but oh well.

Quote:
Not putting fusion hulks on the secret levels in this game could be a very good idea.


Well, I think we can make the secret levels basically treasure troves, just like the ones in D2. The level list is long enough to not need any more full-fledged levels like the secret levels of D1 were.

Quote:
And I think you might find you want a few more levels to explore fusion hulk combinations with robots from D2 and vertigo like E-Bandit or MAX who will make him even worse -- D1 never really used him that way.


Which we can do after N'Tala. That level can be made difficult in a ton of different ways, the Fusion Hulks may be easily enough dispatchable, but there being plenty of them will contribute to the terror of that level more than just the difficulty. Also, I'm pretty sure using a Fusion Hulk with MAX or the E-Bandit spells doom, they would have to be dispatchable from a distance or otherwise avoidable (or given a little handicap like Invulnerability power-ups), unless you want to basically introduce guaranteed deaths :P

Quote:
What I really want to see is a way to either be able to create exit sequences for these mines or use the FMV's from D2 and D1 PSX.


I'd also love to see Descent 1's exit sequences. If Descent 2: Interactive Demo could do it, why not D2? The Interactive Demo was still a lot like Descent 1 in terms of file structure and many other things, probably a leftover from the "CD-Enhanced Descent" phase. Hell, I'd love to learn more about this. I wonder if Mike Kulas or Matt Toschlog would be nice enough to tell us more about that someday. Figuring out how to make the exit sequences work in D2 would already make me happy though.

Quote:
A couple questions on the level front --
As far as solar system goes it would be cool to have more than one Mars level since that texture scheme was pretty unique in Descent 1 and Descent 2 didn't really do anything like it even on Brimspark. Maybe I can try to make something similar for the Vertigo section...


There is room to use that scheme (mixed with other schemes of course) in the Vertigo portion, yes. Also, there is one Brimspark level not yet claimed where it could be used. I did use some reds for Sedna, since it's supposedly the second reddest known body in the Solar System, but I decided to give orange equal or perhaps even bigger prominence. That's the problem with our Solar System portion - for full nostalgia we should probably give more room for the planets and moons visited in D1, but alas, astronomical knowledge has expanded a lot since 1995 and we have new known celestial bodies to visit, and try out themes possible but not seen in original Descent.

I confess I was thinking of maybe making an 18-level expansion pack to this mission after its release, to be integrated seamlessly (a 2.0 version if you will), but we've already got a gargantuan number of levels to make, so thinking about expanding the roster now is plain folly. But after we've got all levels, we'll be able to see what we lack most and go in that direction for any eventual expansions.

Quote:
I'm also not sure about "litter jungle" as the Neptune level because without the trigger puzzle it's actually really short, and I feel like if there's only one Neptune level in the mission it should be a long one (at least, long for level 9). If that one was moved to Beta Ceti it could keep the extra length it gets out of the puzzle as well.


I dunno, maybe you're right. But this level would need a bit of polish for Beta Ceti. Some added detail here and there. Keeping some of the newly added secret doors for the "D1" version would be cool too. But yeah, I think we might indeed want a longer Neptune level. Neptune was so badass in D1.

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2017 10:11 pm 
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Brimspark has too much lava for Mars though, and I think "The Cauldron" should probably use a lot of greys and blacks to fit with its ominous name...

Quote:
Also, I'm pretty sure using a Fusion Hulk with MAX or the E-Bandit spells doom, they would have to be dispatchable from a distance or otherwise avoidable (or given a little handicap like Invulnerability power-ups), unless you want to basically introduce guaranteed deaths :P

Guided missiles. Or flash missiles. Or smart missiles. Or phoenix cannon. :P
I envision a scenario like the beginning of D2 level 22, that looks impossible when you go into it but is doable when you stop thinking with your gym brain. :P Designing a situation where you really need to use something like that would be a dream.

EDIT: Speaking of Sedna I noticed you replaced one of the rock textures the boss uses for his face! :D The texture is rock306 - and you replaced it with a hostage cell. I would fix it myself by resetting that texture and replacing it with another unused one to turn into the hostage texture but I can't do that without figuring out where you used it. :(
And I wonder if you should at least not use D2's "themed" system robots like TRN Racer and BPER (Ice Spindle won't be a problem because helix) until those systems show up in the D2 section. That was kind of the original point of them. It's probably not such a big deal but just throwing it out there.

Also, what do you think of "Broken Wings" as the music track for Sedna?

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The eyes of the plush lobster stared deep into my soul. I touched it, made as if to pick it up, and then I was a panther.
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: Mon Jan 09, 2017 4:51 am 
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Alter-Fox wrote:
Brimspark has too much lava for Mars though, and I think "The Cauldron" should probably use a lot of greys and blacks to fit with its ominous name...


I actually have an idea for the cauldron itself, it harkens back to someone's suggestion from a while ago. It was Sirius or Naphtha I think. There would be a main hub room with a cross walkway with 4 shallow square lava pools, those would then be "drained" via switch to reveal depths inside. There is plenty of room to use the plain red textures of Mars. Also, D1L10 had tons of lava in it and it didn't keep it from using the reds, so really no problem here. We could make it a point to use a lot of those textures in that level for whoever ends up making it.

Quote:
EDIT: Speaking of Sedna I noticed you replaced one of the rock textures the boss uses for his face! :D The texture is rock306 - and you replaced it with a hostage cell. I would fix it myself by resetting that texture and replacing it with another unused one to turn into the hostage texture but I can't do that without figuring out where you used it. :(


You can see where a texture was used by selecting a non-wall segment with a wall facing the rest of the tunnel, and then middle-clicking the texture (with your wheel), which will make the editor select the first cube and wall where it was used. It won't center the view, though, so you'd have to navigate there manually. To help you, I think I've only used the prison texture in the two little one-man hostage cells in the level.

Quote:
And I wonder if you should at least not use D2's "themed" system robots like TRN Racer and BPER (Ice Spindle won't be a problem because helix) until those systems show up in the D2 section. That was kind of the original point of them. It's probably not such a big deal but just throwing it out there.


No problem with that, in fact that was the intention all along. I expect to have Red Hornets and TRN Racers in Level 4 for example.

Quote:
Also, what do you think of "Broken Wings" as the music track for Sedna?


It's fine, a good choice by all means :)

Speaking of music, I'll start marking which MIDI tracks I believe would be good for the levels, updating them whenever I get an epiphany. I'll do several right now.

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Descent 1,5: Level layouts done: 29/54 Secret level layouts done: 1/6


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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2017 8:47 am 
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Xfing wrote:
Quote:
And I wonder if you should at least not use D2's "themed" system robots like TRN Racer and BPER (Ice Spindle won't be a problem because helix) until those systems show up in the D2 section. That was kind of the original point of them. It's probably not such a big deal but just throwing it out there.

No problem with that, in fact that was the intention all along. I expect to have Red Hornets and TRN Racers in Level 4 for example.

???

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The eyes of the plush lobster stared deep into my soul. I touched it, made as if to pick it up, and then I was a panther.
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: Mon Jan 09, 2017 11:03 am 
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Alter-Fox wrote:
Xfing wrote:
Quote:
And I wonder if you should at least not use D2's "themed" system robots like TRN Racer and BPER (Ice Spindle won't be a problem because helix) until those systems show up in the D2 section. That was kind of the original point of them. It's probably not such a big deal but just throwing it out there.

No problem with that, in fact that was the intention all along. I expect to have Red Hornets and TRN Racers in Level 4 for example.

???


Looks like I understood the oposite of what you said. Oh well :lol:

My concept was to not hold off until Zeta Aquilae with the D2 robots, only with D2 equipment and weapons. The D1 feel of that portion of the mission will be conveyed through texturing and lack of puzzles due to the lack of switches, and restricting you to weapons up to Plasma/Smarts. The robots are another story, I was thinking of going with D1/D2/Vertigo right off the bat. We'd justify this in the story by giving some exposition on the virus' FTL communication capabilities (Which isn't really that far-fetched, since the virus did have to spread to the solar system from more remote systems anyway). That will also serve to justify the changes in the bosses.

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2017 2:03 pm 
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Also, there's the small but important and ignored for way too long issue of fixing Pumo's palette. For those not up to speed, the problem is such that some textures use the same brown color that also happens to be the one to signify transparency in Descent 1's palette, which makes them see-through where they should be brown. The textures affected, to my knowledge, are practically exclusively switches, but switches are often used in D2, and an essential element of gameplay. An example of what it looks like:

The black stripes are actually the black of the wall shining through
Image

What needs to be done is the following:
- Edit the textures in DLE-XP by replacing the brown patches with an approximate brown. There is a good array of browns to choose from and at least one hue fits the job perfectly.
- Export the changed BMP files for each frame of each switch
- Reinsert them into DESCENT.PIG (The one made by Pumo for D2 of course) in DTX2. For the duration of the editing you need to rename DESCENT.PIG to DEFAULT.PIG, that's the only way DTX2 will let you edit it.

This is literally 15 minutes of work, and I would happily do this myself, but you need a working copy of DTX2. Mine doesn't work, because it've got x64 Win 8.1 right now, so hands are tied.

Also, a temporary solution can be done using DLE-XP only, but that program always tries to make a POG whenever you edit a baseline texture from a PIG. This is a thing that can be safely said to require a permanent fix, which is why we won't make do without DTX2.

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2017 5:52 pm 
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Xfing wrote:
Alter-Fox wrote:
Xfing wrote:
Quote:
And I wonder if you should at least not use D2's "themed" system robots like TRN Racer and BPER (Ice Spindle won't be a problem because helix) until those systems show up in the D2 section. That was kind of the original point of them. It's probably not such a big deal but just throwing it out there.

No problem with that, in fact that was the intention all along. I expect to have Red Hornets and TRN Racers in Level 4 for example.

???


Looks like I understood the oposite of what you said. Oh well :lol:

My concept was to not hold off until Zeta Aquilae with the D2 robots, only with D2 equipment and weapons...

I only meant specifically those three -- TRN Racer, Ice Spindle, and BPER, because they never appeared on more than one planet until Vertigo. I can agree with introducing some D2 robots in the D1 section but not all of them. :)
The mission is so long I think we want to stagger out the introductions for all the weaker bots across the games, to keep it from getting boring after twenty levels.
For example PEST and Class 1 Drone both fill the same role of a weak robot with a slow weapon. Introducing them both in the first level would be missing an opportunity to add variety to the mission as it goes on, which adds more depth and gets the players' attention, something that starting out with that same variety doesn't do.
This set will be so long, we want to make sure we're doing all the little things to keep the players interested. Having the first three or four levels with only D1 bots is a little extreme but it would kick old players right in the nostagia. :P

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2017 6:44 pm 
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Alter-Fox wrote:
Xfing wrote:
Alter-Fox wrote:
Xfing wrote:
Quote:
And I wonder if you should at least not use D2's "themed" system robots like TRN Racer and BPER (Ice Spindle won't be a problem because helix) until those systems show up in the D2 section. That was kind of the original point of them. It's probably not such a big deal but just throwing it out there.

No problem with that, in fact that was the intention all along. I expect to have Red Hornets and TRN Racers in Level 4 for example.

???


Looks like I understood the oposite of what you said. Oh well :lol:

My concept was to not hold off until Zeta Aquilae with the D2 robots, only with D2 equipment and weapons...

I only meant specifically those three -- TRN Racer, Ice Spindle, and BPER, because they never appeared on more than one planet until Vertigo. I can agree with introducing some D2 robots in the D1 section but not all of them. :)
The mission is so long I think we want to stagger out the introductions for all the weaker bots across the games, to keep it from getting boring after twenty levels.
For example PEST and Class 1 Drone both fill the same role of a weak robot with a slow weapon. Introducing them both in the first level would be missing an opportunity to add variety to the mission as it goes on, which adds more depth and gets the players' attention, something that starting out with that same variety doesn't do.
This set will be so long, we want to make sure we're doing all the little things to keep the players interested. Having the first three or four levels with only D1 bots is a little extreme but it would kick old players right in the nostagia. :P


I don't think introducing D2 robots right off the bat would make the mission any less interesting. These robots are the same from a gameplay prespective anyhow, so why not? Also nothing speaks against introducing the BPER, actually it fits the Solar System to a T as far as its threat rating is concerned. There are more ways to preserve robot variety, Actually it would probably be better to choose different 3 or 4 robots for the first levels and use nothing but those, we'd still have plenty of variety. Say, level 1 for example only has the PEST, C2 Drone and Small Hulk, Level 2 only has C1 Drone, PIG and ITD, Level 3 has the Fervid, Medium Lifter and and so on, and so forth. Level 4 is already Mars, so we can bring in the Secondary Lifter already. There's really plenty of choices and solutions here.

As far as I remember, no one ever complained about robot usage in missions such as The Apocalyptic Factor, The Lost Levels etc, and those missions never seemed to be concerned about which robots are from where, only what they do. Hell, even Naphtha's Plutonian Shores goes down that route, and it isn't even out yet. I think we'll be fine.

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2017 7:30 pm 
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You may be right, but Apocalyptic Factor (and Plutonian Shores as it stands right now) are a fraction of the size of what we've already made, never mind what we're planning. I don't know if it's a good idea to rely on assumptions of what worked for something very different from what we're doing instead of figuring out what works for this.
I hope you can at least see where I'm coming from now.

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2017 6:21 am 
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Alter-Fox wrote:
You may be right, but Apocalyptic Factor (and Plutonian Shores as it stands right now) are a fraction of the size of what we've already made, never mind what we're planning. I don't know if it's a good idea to rely on assumptions of what worked for something very different from what we're doing instead of figuring out what works for this.
I hope you can at least see where I'm coming from now.


Yeah, we'll see. BTW would you like to do that PIG correction? I could even export all the fixed switch frames for you, I simply don't have access to DTX2 right now.

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2017 10:02 am 
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No, sry my current comp is 64bit so it can't run it either.
Even if I could I'd be afraid of screwing something up majorly since the only thing I've ever used it to do before also screwed up majorly. :P

If you haven't I'd say play D2 on ace or insane before you decide where BPer goes -- on those two difficulties it's probably the most powerful bot in D2 without missiles (he kills you slightly faster than Seeker), even though it's a pushover on the lower difficulties. He could still probably fit into a level like Makemake if you use him carefully. On the high difficulties he's very much D2's answer to class 1 drillers.

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BEWARE RAZZADOON'S SNOUT!!
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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2017 1:30 pm 
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Alter-Fox wrote:
No, sry my current comp is 64bit so it can't run it either.
Even if I could I'd be afraid of screwing something up majorly since the only thing I've ever used it to do before also screwed up majorly. :P


Okay then. It's not that urgent, maybe someone volunteers sometime down the road.

Quote:
If you haven't I'd say play D2 on ace or insane before you decide where BPer goes -- on those two difficulties it's probably the most powerful bot in D2 without missiles (he kills you slightly faster than Seeker), even though it's a pushover on the lower difficulties. He could still probably fit into a level like Makemake if you use him carefully. On the high difficulties he's very much D2's answer to class 1 drillers.


Okay, I'll definitely do that. I'm still stuck on level17 of D1, but I know D2's robot AI makes them much harder. I'll have to see how things look with the BPER.

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2017 6:20 pm 
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Going to chime in on midis for a second before I upload a couple more things for the other OST to dropbox:

First of all I don't think it's possible to set specific midi songs to the secret levels in *any* version of Descent -- they always use the level 2 song for secret level 1, level 3 for secret level 2 etc. D2X-XL gives you a limited ability to choose your own song for the secret levels but it only works with oggs... and only works with D2X-XL. :P
A few suggestions for things that haven't been suggested yet:
Descent 2 level 4 for Falls of Truth
Descent 1 level 7 or 13 for The Grandcrisp Oven
Descent 1 level 9 for Planetary Life Research
Descent 1 level 19 for Salt Distillation Facility
Descent 1 level 16 for Makemake and/or Ktsch'k W'eng II
Descent 1 level 2 for S'tlo Sigma (very tentative since we have really no idea what the map will be -- I just remembered that song was used in the D1 demo for the level 7 boss and it fit the actual boss fight arguably better than the eventual level 7 song. Just something to think about).
Descent 1 level 17 for Ku'thaaz G'herb-ilk Station
Descent 1 level 1 for La'eeve
Descent 2 level 3 for R'eeie
Descent 1 level 14 for Frosted Minerals
Descent 1 level 4 or 22 for Sheltem
Descent 2 Opening for Doomsday Warstation

Which leads into my next idea -- I strongly believe the game opening themes would have more impact if they were used for prominent boss levels instead of opening the game. So, if it were me, this is how I'd shuffle around what's already kind of decided -- just humour me for a minute here :P
Descent 1 level 1 for Lunar Titanium Mine
Descent 1 level 15 for Haumea
Descent 1 credits for Eris
Descent 1 opening for Sedna
Descent 1 level 4 for Circularis
Of course this is up for your judgement but I hope you take it under advisement.

One other midi proposal, for N'Tala -- I think either the Descent 1 level 20 or Descent 2 level 2 songs would fit the level a lot better than the Descent 2 briefing.

As for the songs I'm putting up -- "River of Sticks" is very tentatively for R'eeie only if it also works for Charon. The whole lyrical thing it has (not to mention the title) is a mythological in-joke that only really works if you hear it on Charon first.
"Grip and Grit" is something I came up with for N'Tala after you mentioned the fusion hulks - I'd come up with a really creepy and menacing guitar sound I wanted to combine with orchestral instruments as well as my small army of synths. It could work in a level like Eris as well.
Martin's track "Momentum" would work very nicely with Mars covert ops and/or with Sheltem.
Isaac's "Water" is a lower-key instrumental with some alien feeling that could fit in the Moon level or Haumea.

Also I think The Grandcrisp Oven is where "Big Red" should get its reprise. Doubly so since that's probably where Red Fatty's miniboss will appear. :D

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BEWARE RAZZADOON'S SNOUT!!
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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2017 8:41 pm 
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Solution to saving relatively easy bots for later levels due to drops: Make the bot drop 0 extra lives. That's what Parallax did in D1 to prevent particular bots from dropping things, and there's no reason we can't do that here.
No HXMs necessary. All you need to do is set each bot to drop nothing as its individual drop.

And I think that D1 credits would work better on an icy-er level. Though that may be because it was the temporary track for an icy Substance level before it got a custom track.

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2017 9:26 pm 
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It could. I thought it could put a different spin on Eris's visual theme than Descent 1 did. Even though, the level 4 track was pretty awesome on that map.
Most of the midi songs would have to be used twice anyhow. If I get enough submissions from people for DCA2 I may be able to limit the repetitions that soundtrack gets a bit more -- although a little repetition in the right place can be a very good thing.

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2017 11:27 am 
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I went through some of the levels I hadn't taken a look at yet and highlighted a few areas that absolutely need a big amount of polish. Plan to do this with more levels soon but in the meantime the screenshots are on dropbox -- I don't want to share here and risk putting people off the mission so soon! :D

Dacol Futyl Caverns:
1. Exit Door is ugly
2. These two doors look like they're made of paper.
3. Guidebot door is ugly
4. This side of this door is ugly -- other side is marginally ok.
5. and 6. these waterfalls look two-dimensional and horrible. The way the rooms are designed gives an easy fix here, at least. The others will take a fair amount of work -- but have to be done. The rest of the level is pretty good, but these six things absolutely break it. I found some similar problems in Puuma 1 but I'll have to go through it again to get the screenies.
Also Lightwolf it would have been helpful if you didn't populate your levels with ridiculous numbers of robots and practically no powerups. It's pretty impossible to even get a good look at them without cheating, which means it's very hard to tell how they'll "honestly" play.
If you do intend to do some of the population work yourself, as a rule you should have about half again as many powerups (with an emphasis on the small missiles because players use those up fast) as you have enemies. And make sure to put a decent amount of equipment into a mine for the D2 section, for cold starts. It's a good rule of thumb to make sure you can finish it on hotshot or ace, at least, without cheats.

Virus Lab 665:
1. I really really really hate this.
2. A look at 1 from a different angle to illustrate exactly why I really really really hate this.

EDIT: I was able to find a fix for the problem with Virus Lab 665 that looks good by myself. Uploading new version.
And I fixed a similar problem in Sheltem Mech Factory as well as a few overlooked rock21's and bad monitor textures. The maps may need to be re-lit but since I don't know exactly how Kaizerwolf did that part I'd much rather leave it to him if it's even necessary.
Both of those maps have the makings of becoming favourites of mine, but if doors on flat walls are discouraged for this project, two-dimensional walls with their "edge" exposed are, I think, pretty much unacceptable.
Speaking of, I have an idea how to improve a section of Eris that bugged me and I think I'll be on to that next.

In related news trying to get D1GR2.POG in a level with Water.PIG results in most of the signs and monitors having extremely messed up colours. I'm not sure what happened here.

EDIT 2: I made a small change to Eris that I like but I think this one's best to show it off first before I change the map forever. :D
I also think it would look better to change the upper texture on the second half of of the grated hallway towards the blue key to the grate itself.
So I put the screenshots of what I did to the blue key room vs what it looked like originally on the dropbox in the screenshots folder like everything else in this post so as not to be confusing. As you can see the inside of the blue key's "bridge" looks almost the same, but the entrance from outside is a little less messy.
Also when I look at the level in DLE most of the bridges and gratings have transparency effects. I don't know why this is or how to fix it but we may want to try to avoid having the level look *really* strange in D2X-XL. :P

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2017 6:42 pm 
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Alter-Fox wrote:
Dacol Futyl Caverns:
1. Exit Door is ugly
2. These two doors look like they're made of paper.
3. Guidebot door is ugly
4. This side of this door is ugly -- other side is marginally ok.
5. and 6. these waterfalls look two-dimensional and horrible. The way the rooms are designed gives an easy fix here, at least. The others will take a fair amount of work -- but have to be done.
...
If you do intend to do some of the population work yourself, as a rule you should have about half again as many powerups (with an emphasis on the small missiles because players use those up fast) as you have enemies. And make sure to put a decent amount of equipment into a mine for the D2 section, for cold starts. It's a good rule of thumb to make sure you can finish it on hotshot or ace, at least, without cheats.

I... agree. Even though I don't know what half of those things you're referring to (since I can't find the screens), but I think I know (especially since I played through that level earlier today). I even know how to fix some of the issues that I do know for sure what you're talking about. Move the exit and guidebot up farther into the ceiling by 7.5 units.
Keep in mind that was one of my earliest accepted levels though. And that was a few years ago. I have (at least in my opinion) improved significantly since then.

While we're on the subject, I'm pretty sure Sedna is Sol 18, not Sol 15. (Look at the automap)

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2017 7:45 pm 
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Thanks for your input and your work. I only just popped in here, so I'll have to examine all the screenies.

I appreciate the midi suggestions. I agree with a lot of them and I'll probably update the OP in a while. Also nice to know that we don't have to worry about the secret levels, that gives us exactly 2 uses of every track, because there are 27 of those and we've got 54 levels.

As for N'tala - D1 level 20 is a solid suggestion, but I still think Briefing is better for that one, no track matches that one in the exact mood and feeling I want to evoke for the level, and that is loneliness, isolation and fear. Briefing definitely stays :P

As for keeping the title songs for specific levels - it's definitely worth considering, but you'll also definitely notice the symbolism of using D1 Intro for level 1 of such a mission. D1 level 1 on the other hand is a very nice track in and of itself, so I'd like to use it for some longer level to let it shine a bit more, make it stay with the listener a bit more. But many of Alter-Fox's suggestions are spot on IMO, such as using D1L7 for The Grandcrisp Oven. Good call there.

I agree with Lightwolf too that Descent 2 Credits indeed fits an icy level (or a lab-based level such as Lunar Scilab), because it reminds me of a night walk in wintertime under a starry sky. I'll definitely put that track on some icy level.

EDIT: BTW that Eris change makes perfect sense, go ahead with it :P

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2017 7:58 pm 
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I just checked - I do have the same problem with D1GR2.POG for some reason. I don't know if it's always been like this, or this is something new, a corruption of some sort or something... but the only way to fix it would be to reopen the POG file in DTX2 and replace each and every frame by hand. Easily enough done, but I can't run DTX2 :( Maybe we should ask Pumo

EDIT: Luckily, I just remembered that DLE-XP has recently added expanded capabilities, so the POG could be fixed using only it, fortunately. Much easier.

EDIT2: Actually no, the file is fine. My conclusion is that you need to do these steps to make it work:

1) Remove all and any POG files appended to this map from the HOG entirely
2) Make sure the level is based on water.pig. If not, change from whatever you have to water.pig, and then save the level. If you don't save, the new PIG choice doesn't stick, and it resets back to the previous one once you import a POG, hence the messed up textures.
3) Import d1gr2.pog
4) Enjoy

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2017 8:28 pm 
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Ah well, at least N'tala will get a longer song on the other OST. :P "Grip and Grit" feels mechanical and hostile.
I feel like that song would get very repetitive -- it already does get more repetitive than D1's briefing song when you're reading long briefings. But I also like it more. So I'm conflicted. :P
I do think D1 level 15 would fit Haumea better than level 1 though. The reason I don't want to see the main Descent 1 theme on level 1 is for the same reason you don't want to see the level 1 theme there -- it's a great song that doesn't really get used for levels, so it needs a better place to shine. And as for the Descent 2 opening I really just don't think it fits the look or theme of Circularis -- but it would fit with something along the lines of D1 level 26 and make a great final boss theme.
And did I suggest Descent 2 credits song for Eris? I meant the Descent 1 credits. :lol:

And Lightwolf I didn't intend anything personal -- I just want to make sure we have the best levels possible for this mission we're on. Xfing has sunk an enormous amount of time into it but I've put a considerable amount in as well. I think my La'eeve Installation was the first level actually built for it. :)
Oh BTW, if you still want Vertigo Gadget to be Beta Ceti Military base I'll put it up on the dropbox. If I ever do get around to finishing my D2X-XL project it would be a better idea to build something from the ground up for D2X-XL in that slot now that I've come up with a story that needs things it doesn't have. :P

And what do you think about moving Litter Jungle to one of the secret levels? Descent Maximum did this thing where it colour coded triggers in the secret levels instead of keys so we could keep the progression intact, cut out some enemies -- maybe leave it with *only* lifter types, TRN Racer and BPER... and it wouldn't need a total redesign.

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2017 9:17 pm 
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It wasn't taken personally, don't worry :P

And now that I've gotten to look at the screens, there's something(s) I want to point out:
Dacol problem 2's doors open vertically, meaning that they open into the empty space, not the adjacent wall. Plus the texture was intentionally designed to make the door seem pushed back.
If it is a serious enough issue, however, just push them back ~5 units and adjust textures appropriately.

And something you may have missed: Look at the red door from the back. Notice it's alignment and impossible-ness.
As for the issues in general, I'm too busy (and lazy) to fix them myself, so if someone else could fix them...
Especially solving the red door's position issue, considering the puzzle there, should be done by a more... experienced mapper. I have an idea on how, but execution of the idea would be a little tougher.

Edit: Specified which door needed fixing IMO

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2017 9:47 pm 
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No, problem 2 doors still look too two-dimensional. Being directly on the wall means they lose all the illusion of depth the original texture artist tried to give them with colour and shading.
The direction they open doesn't solve a problem when the problem is how they look when they're closed. :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2017 12:47 am 
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Quick note: The switches' black areas are not see-through, otherwise they would be grey/white/other non-blacks in certain areas of Virus665, yet they're black. Somehow black pixels got into the switches' graphics.

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2017 8:06 am 
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Alter-Fox wrote:
Ah well, at least N'tala will get a longer song on the other OST. :P "Grip and Grit" feels mechanical and hostile.
I feel like that song would get very repetitive -- it already does get more repetitive than D1's briefing song when you're reading long briefings. But I also like it more. So I'm conflicted. :P


You underestimate people who like listening to ambient and drone. Songs there last 10 minutes and consist mostly of the same stuff. But the listeners don't mind, simply because of how strong an atmosphere they evoke, same with the D2 briefing song. Also, since we can also use Descent 1's "Ending" song (the one that plays during the briefing after Charon), we can cut out D2's intro. Using that particular one never sat well with me to be honest, since every player is going to hear it anyway when opening the game. But maybe I'm overthinking it. Anyhow, Descent 1 Ending is another song that has undertones of tension and anticipation, so we can also put it in some levels meant to feel dark and desolate. It also has that kind of feel that to me fits anything from Jupiter to Uranus, so we might put it on one of those mines, depending on which we feel fits it best, when they're done.

Quote:
I do think D1 level 15 would fit Haumea better than level 1 though. The reason I don't want to see the main Descent 1 theme on level 1 is for the same reason you don't want to see the level 1 theme there -- it's a great song that doesn't really get used for levels, so it needs a better place to shine.


Ok, fine then. But I don't think Titan Mine's song would be good for Haumea. I'd rather use it for Makemake or something. Haumea is an almost entirely lab-like level with lots of whites, so we need something with a similar atmosphere. People generally think that level 18 of Descent has the best matched theme with the level, and I agree - these two things look like they were made for each other. I would use something like D1L1 for it, honestly. D1L3 is also a fair choice. Not like the level is particularly short, mind you.

Quote:
And as for the Descent 2 opening I really just don't think it fits the look or theme of Circularis -- but it would fit with something along the lines of D1 level 26 and make a great final boss theme.
And did I suggest Descent 2 credits song for Eris? I meant the Descent 1 credits. :lol:


Yeah, maybe not. I also was thinking along the lines of D1L26, because the song carries tension and a feeling of penultimacy. I wouldn't put it quite on the final boss level, but the one before it - how about putting it on Beta Ceti Military Base? I would also like that one to be the hardest level in the entire pack, so it fits. The final level could use the appropriate D1L22. As for Eris, it's definitely not that kind of level that would fit the somewhat nostalgic and dreamy D1 Credits song. I'm leaning towards what LIghtwolf said, use it for some sparsely-lit, cavernous ice level and we're golden.

Quote:

Oh BTW, if you still want Vertigo Gadget to be Beta Ceti Military base I'll put it up on the dropbox. If I ever do get around to finishing my D2X-XL project it would be a better idea to build something from the ground up for D2X-XL in that slot now that I've come up with a story that needs things it doesn't have. :P


You mean that level with the super elaborate reactor puzzle with it inside a blue rock? That level is super cool, but right now I'm thinking more along the lines of "the level before BCMB", so the pen-penultimate one. I'd be happy to have this level there, of course the difficulty would need to be adjusted etc, but we can do that at our leisure.

Quote:
And what do you think about moving Litter Jungle to one of the secret levels? Descent Maximum did this thing where it colour coded triggers in the secret levels instead of keys so we could keep the progression intact, cut out some enemies -- maybe leave it with *only* lifter types, TRN Racer and BPER... and it wouldn't need a total redesign.


I think I liked your idea of moving it to Vertigo more. After a retexture factoring in that there is no longer a ban on D2 textures and a little bit of expansion maybe, it could serve pretty well as one of the earliest Beta Ceti levels. Secret levels in D2 had several properties normal levels didn't, which were: very unorthodox geometry, lots of puzzles and switches, lots of obtainable-only-once goodies and low threat level. Litter Jungle feels much more like a standard level, so it would need to be heavily rebuilt to fit the bill of a secret level, methinks.

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2017 8:15 am 
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Question: Is Beta Ceti going to focus more on the little-used themes from Vertigo?
And for D2L1... I've... never been a fan. I was literally inspired to create alternative midis for D2 because of it.

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2017 8:18 am 
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LightWolf wrote:
Question: Is Beta Ceti going to focus more on the little-used themes from Vertigo?


Hard to tell. Vertigo was never made with extreme theme variety in mind, methinks. Just basic concepts like "a water level" or "a fire level". The only thing that was constant in Vertigo was the use of the black "obsidian" texture, it was used in every single level there. I'm not sure if that's something we'll be emulating, but I guess every level should at least have a single patch of this texture as a nod.

We might put up some suggestions for Vertigo themes that weren't explored very much, if we come up with some.

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2017 8:22 am 
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All we really need to expand on is Puuma Sphere and Ice...

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2017 8:25 am 
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Also, I just realized that if we take all the MIDI songs of D1 and D2, not counting D1's briefing tune, you end up with 31 songs. And we have only 54 levels, which means 8 songs will have to be used only once. These can be either your least favorite songs or ones you think deserve a special spotlight. Let's go with D2 opening for the penultimate level, that's one :P

LightWolf wrote:
All we really need to expand on is Puuma Sphere and Ice...


Since it's Vertigo, we can go wild. Why not Puuma Sphere supplemented with D1's greens? Or Ice with Puuma Sphere's "alien" white texture. Not to mention community designers have a strong leaning towards using the "rusted metal" facility-like textures, so there might be an overrepresentation of those in the Beta Ceti levels. But generally there really are no limits to what we can make.

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2017 8:27 am 
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Least favorite? D1L1 definitely.

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2017 8:38 am 
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LightWolf wrote:
Least favorite? D1L1 definitely.


And that's why you're not helping. 'Tis a good song you know!

I'm thinking that since we've got 8 songs too many, we could just use the 6 MIDIs not normally found during gameplay just once. That is: the openings, the credits, D1's ending and D2's briefing. Which leaves us with 2. D1 L22 could be reserved only for the final level of the game, because it's so eerie, and we could only use D1 L21 once, since it's just a remix of D1 L12, which will be used twice. And voila, problem solved :P

Oh, actually we need one more, since we've got 32 songs to use for the levels. Hmmm, which one should it be. Just one more left. Any suggestions?

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2017 9:00 am 
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Did I say D1L1? I meant D2L1...
And the other song could be D1L12, since it is exactly D1L21 :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2017 9:07 am 
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LightWolf wrote:
Did I say D1L1? I meant D2L1...
And the other song could be D1L12, since it is exactly D1L21 :lol:


Not such a bad idea actually.

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2017 10:38 am 
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Xfing wrote:
Alter-Fox wrote:
Ah well, at least N'tala will get a longer song on the other OST. :P "Grip and Grit" feels mechanical and hostile.
I feel like that song would get very repetitive -- it already does get more repetitive than D1's briefing song when you're reading long briefings. But I also like it more. So I'm conflicted. :P


You underestimate people who like listening to ambient and drone. Songs there last 10 minutes and consist mostly of the same stuff. But the listeners don't mind, simply because of how strong an atmosphere they evoke, same with the D2 briefing song. Also, since we can also use Descent 1's "Ending" song (the one that plays during the briefing after Charon), we can cut out D2's intro. Using that particular one never sat well with me to be honest, since every player is going to hear it anyway when opening the game. But maybe I'm overthinking it. Anyhow, Descent 1 Ending is another song that has undertones of tension and anticipation, so we can also put it in some levels meant to feel dark and desolate. It also has that kind of feel that to me fits anything from Jupiter to Uranus, so we might put it on one of those mines, depending on which we feel fits it best, when they're done.

D2's briefing isn't a drone though. It has melody. It's nothing like, say, Quake's soundtrack. It isn't 10 minutes long either, and it's one of those songs that's hard to miss when it loops. I still think it could work, to be honest. Clearly I'd like to take a play of it in the level when the level's populated. :P I really like the purple and black theme and it would be cool for the song to bring out the alien-ness of that -- but again, that's what the alternate OST is for.
I love the idea for using the D2 opening for the penultimate level and D1 level 22 for the final boss, but let's make sure we don't get ahead of ourselves before the levels are actually built. :D It does play on the menu, but for my money it's the most iconic song in all of Descent besides maybe D2's credits, and so it needs to be used somewhere. We could always add a custom "title" midi to the SNG as well, to play on the menu after a player leaves the mission. Like maybe one of the credits songs.
D1 playstation and MAC both used their menu song for at least two levels I think, and Descent 2's redbook used the longer part of its menu song as the level 1 song on the Infinite Abyss release.

For Haumea, I guess the D1 level 1 theme could work but still think we could find, or build, a better level for it. Personally I was always a bigger fan of the atmosphere it gave to level 23 of D1 than I was of the way it fit the moon levels.
I can't argue with putting D1 level 15 on Makemake but I wonder if it could use something a little creepier. I wonder if you switched it with the mercury level... D1 level 6 wasn't so much a mercury song as it was a "drillers" song after all. Or D1 level 5 could go with it.

And for level 1, well... hmm... you could always fake them out using the D2L1 song (which I'm not a big fan of either tbh, although I don't hate it...) to make it look like we haven't changed the soundtrack at all until level 2.
Otherwise it could go in Coolyard Station. I don't think we have any other place so far where it would really fit.

Come to think of it, the main riffs of D1 level 6 almost sketch out the shape of the drillers' body.

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2017 10:45 am 
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Yeah, I guess. I guess we're not too keen on the four D2 midis simply because of how much overexposure to them we've had, but it does sound better in the OPL version. I think I've downloaded OPL or Sound Blaster versions of the midis as an addon for Rebirth, so all the midis we need are available.

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2017 10:57 am 
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Yeah I like how that one and the title sound on opl but not the others -- level 3 and 4 songs in particular sounded awful to my ears. Anyhow if we go down that road we'd want to use the midis themselves so that they'll still play if you play the game in Dosbox. Although I'm not sure how many of them will play correctly... was there a limit to how many lines the exe could read from the SNG in vanilla D2? Still better than having four songs playing over and over and over and over and over and over in that version.
As "windows midi sound" goes, there are pretty easy ways to get around it and make midis sound better but that would be down to the players. If they don't want to there's always the OST.

I do very much endorse D2 level 4 for Falls of Truth and D2 level 3 for R'eeie though. I remember I loved the level 2 and level 3 songs as long as it wasn't the OPL version of level 3. :roll: I think they were longer than the others so they didn't loop so many times. And level 1 song was shortest so imagine that... :P
It's more that I don't think the D2 midis fit well with D1 themes and textures -- besides the particular mix of the level 2 song and N'tala but that's not happening anyway. So they kinda need to be saved for maps that hew closer to the D2 side, and from the definition of this project those are in the minority. I would not mind at all if the D2 level 1 song only got one use.
I'll try to get "level 52" set at some point today, as well as updating Eris. Can still use the "Vertigo Gadget" name. :)

Also, just thought, if you *do* want to go the route of assembling Rebirth's midi DXA with oggs instead of the midis themselves, you might want to take a look at at least some of these versions.

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2017 5:48 pm 
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Ok, we'll think about that later I guess.

I'm not sure if I've ever played "Vertigo Gadget", that level I was talking about was called "Vertigo Fortress" if I'm not mistaken. I don't think calling a mine a "gadget" makes that much sense though... :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2017 6:41 pm 
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Lol it's the same level. I forgot I had renamed it.
I'm not sure where I got the "gadget" from, I guess it might have been a Sonic reference. I think the idea may have been that it was the inside of some underground doomsday device. Fortress has a nice ring to it though, we'll see...
Have to figure out what I named the HOG and where I put it before I upload.
I also remember it crashing inconsistently in both D2X-XL and rebirth, although I think that stopped somehow. May want to re-check in any case.

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2017 8:17 pm 
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Xfing wrote:
Ok, we'll think about that later I guess.

I'm not sure if I've ever played "Vertigo Gadget", that level I was talking about was called "Vertigo Fortress" if I'm not mistaken. I don't think calling a mine a "gadget" makes that much sense though... :lol:


I would be glad to help, but I don't happen to have a copy of that level anywhere on hand unfortunately. Good luck I guess :P

Also, since you've been checking out levels you haven't seen yet, Lightwolf's Puuma Sphere level also has tons of issues, as you'll see I'm sure. But I accepted the level knowing this, in fact all of his levels will require work to make them up to par.

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 Post subject: Re: Descent 1 1/2
PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2017 9:04 pm 
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I was listening through Momentum in Rebirth jukebox with various levels... I think it would be a good Frosted Flakes Abyss track.

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