"D2X-XL or DXX-Rebirth - which is better?" This question has spawned the usual negative comments about D2X-XL and the usual praise about Rebirth in a discussion thread on Valve's Steam platform for about a month. Funny enough, a bunch of the usual suspects made their appearance there (some of which I suspect may simply be hiding behind a new pseudonym there). I am quite fed up with people making claims about D2X-XL which are either totally generic, unfounded or untrue, so I took the liberty to collect all those statements and reply to them in a spare moment of time I had.
I have invested a tremendous amount of time and energy in D2X-XL and DLE over the years, and while I did a lot of that for much for my own entertainment in the beginning, work on D2X-XL has more and more become a task of supporting its users and keeping the software working for them. The way people who have no idea how much work has gone into D2X-XL and the stuff around it and then come around and just criticize - often in the most unfounded, superficial and personally biased way - are showing a really, really bad attitude and not the least understanding of what OSS and having a choice mean.
Here we go.
Rebirth keeps the original gameplay and look of the game. I feel like XL is overmodded stuff.
You can make D2X-XL look and behave exactly like the original game (d2_3dfx), and you can turn off each and every extra. On the other side, calling hires textures, nicer powerups and player ships and a bunch of effects "overmodded" is quite the exaggeration.
XL is regressive feature creep at its worst.
In fact this says nothing at all about D2X-XL. It only expresses the author's deep rooted resentments and hostility towards the project. The guy making this and other statements in the same spirit was claiming he was all about freedom of choice later on. Saying that and in the same breath trying everything to prevent people from even trying D2X-XL too before making a choice seems quite ironic to me.
I much prefer D1X/D2X-Rebirth over D2X-XL. It never seemed to run well and just didn't feel good when playing.
D2X-XL has tens of thousands of downloads over it's life time. "didn't feel good"? It has the same gameplay and the same physics as the original game. This comment has nothing to do with the actual, real behaviour of D2X-XL.
I tried d2x-xl, it is a hassle to get working, gave me random framerate issues, and has a lot more bugs.
It is a hassle to run a self-extracting archive and download and extract the improved sounds in the D2X-XL main folder?
Rebirth works much better, and people actually play multiplayer with rebirth.
People used to play multiplayer with D2X-XL too. D2X-XL actually had a game tracker years before Rebirth. D2X-XL also allows up to 16 players in maps built for that. Unlike the original Descent and Rebirth, D2X-XL also has a full-blown CTF mode the way it should work. D2X-XL will also automatically download maps from the game host a player trying to join doesn't have. D2X-XL has extensive measures to avoid network issues like powerup spamming. Finally, D2X-XL has a competition mode where you can enforce certain game settings making sure nobody can exploit any extra features D2X-XL has.
The marginally improved graphics and features of XL do not make it play any better!
Make it play better? Maybe not, since D2X-XL doesn't change the gameplay. They make it look better.
If you're looking to hop into random multiplayer games, DXX-Rebirth is the way to go. There are tons of people that play multiplayer (mostly coop or anarchy/deathmatch) every day; the same can't be said for XL."
That's true, but that's not D2X-XL's fault. The last time I played D2X-XL multiplayer, we had a bunch of games with up to twelve players, and they were a blast.
Rebirth, Hands down Rebirth. As someone who used to work on the D2X-XL Project, I can say Rebirth is better
Saying he "worked on the D2X-XL project" is not quite the truth. The guy who wrote this was active in the D2X-XL community for a while and built a few levels, but that's it. He was a D2X XL user like thousands others, nothing more. Now he is trying to give his opinion more weight by making himself looking like the big expert. O.M.G.
XL has a lot of bells and whistles on it. Which makes it amazing if you can get it to run properly on your computer. It's Multiplayer capabilities lack something to be desired.
What do they lack? Tell me please. That would be something that could be changed. Right now, that's a claim that lacks all substance. If one of the two programs seems to be lacking in this area, then it probably is Rebirth (see above).
Rebirth is more true to the original code of Descent, (Original Graphics) and it's Multiplayer capabilities are amazing.
Yes, it is more true to the original code. Which is a total mess written by amateurs. D2X-XL has at least 60% new or rewritten code, most of it C++ class based. I think that D2X-XL's code base is by far the better one. Teach me if you know better, I have only been coding professionally for 25 years. The graphics of Rebirth aren't any more original than those of D2X-XL. Both use OpenGL for rendering which smoothes the rendered image. You could say their output is very similar to d2_3dfx. However, with D2X-XL you can even achieve the blocky look of the original textures, because it allows you to turn off all texture improvement and filtering modern graphics hardware and OpenGL offer.
XL and Rebirth were developed independently
That is true. XL was around for a year at least when Rebirth started.
not all of the changes in either version make it into the other.
Actually I cannot remember a single change in Rebirth that made it into D2X-XL, simply because D2X-XL always is ahead of Rebirth. Rebirth copied a feature or the other from D2X-XL (e.g. the tracker - not that the D2X-XL project invented game trackers though. Let's say D2X-XL had them first).
In particular, Rebirth (with Retro mod) has a lot of multiplayer-focused bugfixes that make it suitable for high level competitive play, which XL is lacking.
Which please? What is D2X-XL lacking? Or better: What do you believe D2X-XL is lacking here? Btw, Homing missiles behave right in D2X-XL (their turn rate is not frame rate dependent in XL for many years already). I have the impression that you have no idea of all the multiplayer features and improvements D2X-XL offers.
XL is a buggy mess. Its only redeeming features are the truckload of new stuff...unfortunately it's also much more unstable even on PCs that can run the damn thing at 120 fps, which is really too bad. I'm pretty sure a major part of it is the lack of testing of newer versions; an older-than-dirt version I remember using had no such issues, and at that point was the only source port still under development. Since everyone and their dog moved to Rebirth, XL's multiplayer coding went completely down the crapper, and thus on the off chance you DO get to play it in MP, game-breaking bugs will make you wish you were playing Rebirth instead. (examples include keys in co-op turning into shield powerups for no damn reason, monsterball crashing the moment a second player joins a match, true CTF randomly crashing upon flag dropoff, all players besides the host being kicked upon going to the second level in a mission in co-op AND vs, and other such beyond-annoying issues). This isn't even getting into the extremely-badly-coded HD resources coding; the medium res textures THAT THE DEV HIMSELF USES are completely and utterly broken in 1.16, with hostages turning into flickering glitches, shield powerups also going flickery, door textures turning into untransparent blobs, and other such bugs that really make me wish I was playing the exceedingly stable Rebirth instead...
That's about the only negative comment about D2X-XL here that does at least contain some facts. The last multiplayer tests I had conducted had gone well, and the multiplayer code hasn't been touched for ages. So the main question here is how old these experiences have been. As far as the texture bugs mentioned go: I have never experienced any of them, and I have been playing D2X-XL a lot in the past. The assumptions about the texture bugs are wrong. It is not the textures' fault when D2X-XL renders something wrong. Again: No bug report -> no bug fix. It's as simple as that.
Admittedly, D2X-XL had been left in a more or less broken state after implementation of the Oculus Rift support since I had other things to do, and since it seemed to work well for me. However, it is still being maintained. Unfortunately I never got a bug report about these issues, so I never could look into them. OSS users have a part in development of the OSS projects they use. Without their feedback and help, bugs may stay unnoticed and required testing may be impossible. Particularly multiplayer testing is rather tedious and difficult if you have to do it all by yourself. In my eyes the attitude behind a comment like the one above is a bad one. D2X-XL is free, and a significant amount of time and effort has gone into it, much of it due to user requests. Just ranting about the program instead of being kind enough to help fixing it is pretty bad style.