What Is "True To Descent"?

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What Is "True To Descent"?

Postby karx11erx » Tue Jul 15, 2008 10:52 am

Occasionally, I stumble over remarks people have made about D2X-XL, stating it wouldn't be "true to Descent" anymore due to its new features.

Apart from the fact that you can turn off each and every extra feature D2X-XL has (which apparently already seems to be too demanding for some people), I am wondering what makes a Descent version qualify as "true to Descent" for these people.

For me, it has nothing to do with whether you are having colored light, shadows, smoke and other effects, etc. It has something to do with how a game plays: How does the ship move, how do the weapons work, and how do the robots behave in single player. It also has something to do with how the game presents the game world, and even with effects turned on a Descent 2 mine still has that abstract, edgy look it had with the original DOS Descent 2.

There are people who claim that transparent explosions already aren't Descent anymore. Well, for many people, the 3dfx version of Descent 2 was the graphically most pleasing of all Descent 2 versions, and it had things like texture smoothing and transparent explosions - things that were highly welcome at its time.

D2X-XL hasn't changed that a bit.

Actually the only argument I can understand is that D2X-XL doesn't have that "time machine" effect, transporting the player's feelings back to the days when Descent was new and exciting by looking just as blocky and pixelated as it did at that time. There are people who are looking for that feeling, and D2X-XL's default appearance doesn't satisfy that desire (though you can achieve that with the -pureD2 switch). That has little to do with D2X-XL being "true to Descent" though, but rather with reviving nostalgic feelings.

Your thoughts?
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Postby Sirius » Tue Jul 15, 2008 1:42 pm

Staying true to Descent is a waste of time. I want a game I can make cool/fun levels in, not something that stays a pixel-perfect clone of the original. The only thing you can improve with that is the game's compatibility, reliability, etc.
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Postby Red_5 » Tue Jul 15, 2008 3:56 pm

For me, it's being freaked out when a robot makes is loud creepy noise and attacks when you least expect it and all else is completely quiet. I jumped so bad back in the old days!

I also liked the simplistic AI of Descent 1. The robots were programed to aim, shoot, dodge, and sometimes follow. And that's the way I like it. If you add to much sophistication to the AI, it kinda ruins the experience.

I will forever love Descent, no matter how it's changed (to an extent.)
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Postby Alter-Fox » Tue Jul 15, 2008 4:14 pm

I don't care about being "true to Descent". I think D2X-XL is what Descent should have been. (Disregarding the fact that that was impossible at the time Descent was released.) It's way more fun than the original. Plus, since the official missions don't use any of the new features (although I like to think of the D2X-XL official missions as the ones Diedel made), I like to think that D2X-XL is based more around custom levels than the original, which often gives me much more motivation to build my own levels. (Plus, I've recently discovered that most of my level ideas use way more than 900 cubes.)
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Postby Wheeze87 » Tue Jul 15, 2008 7:00 pm

I kind of agree with "Red_5" I remember playing descent when it came out, i was only 9 years old, and it freaked the **** out of me, but I became totally absorbed in the unique, and difficult experience. I guess cause i was so young, that i found it hard!. With the newer versions of descnet 2 like rebirth and in particular d2x-xl, which boasts so many new features, i have found that i have yet again, become completely absorbed with the "experience" of playing descnet again. The Features that d2x-xl includes, the newer lighting, the textures, the models, the new levels, is just totally awe inspiring. a feeling i havnt had since playing the original game over a decade ago.
And then i agree with alter-fox, D2x-xl is what descent would have become.........and IS BECOMING!!!! :):):):):)
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Postby PhoenixManX-XL » Tue Jul 15, 2008 7:51 pm

I got my first Descent Game as a kid at the age of 7. I never really understood it then--heck, I didn't even know how to strafe, let alone kill the Level 7 Boss--but I soon found Descent to be one heck of an awesome game. I became so addicted to it that I even bought the demo for descent 2, then later, Descent 1 & 2: The Definitive Collection!!!! I had a lot of fun making my levels, and I had even more fun playing them!

On my old Win95 computer, I even made a few little "robot colosseums" with virtual grid-like textures, and placed robot generators in them that would spring robots every time I spawned or began to play the game (there was a trigger in the starting cube that would do this). Upon entering one of my "colosseums," I encountered a vicious robot that looked like an ugly fusion of a Class 2 Platform (the model), the Diamond Claw (its behaviour--clawing, release energy blobs, etc), and an Alien 1 Boss (blue and gold textures). That bot was in for no more than a couple of seconds before my game completely crashed. A few months later, my computer crashed, so I finally got rid of my Win95 piece of crap and bought a down payment (compliments of my parents) on a new laptop--or should I say, "old..." Nevertheless, I now run D2X-XL and D3 on it, with levels from the classics, including an Asteroids.rl3 (the old Atari game) for Descent 3. It's so freakin' awesome--how could you even come up with a virtual, 3D Atari cube field like that? (I also have fan-made versions of the first levels of Descent: First Strike and Descent 2: Counterstrike, both as Descent 3 playable missions!)

In short, I agree--sometimes, the classics are better.
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Postby Pumo » Tue Jul 15, 2008 8:05 pm

Since i'm a big fan of whatever Descent related, i don't have any "true descent" complex.

I LOVE D2X-XL precisely 'cause it adds the features i always dreamed for Descent to have, and as Sirius and Alter-fox, 'cause it lets my creativity flow like never before while making levels.

On the other hand, however, i also LOVE SO MUCH the original 320x200 pixelated graphics of Descent 1 with those good-old time OPL2 FM music (in fact, i've recorded several OPL2 tracks from descent music to OGG for use in D2X-XL :P )

So, everything for me is "true descent", as long as (like Diedel said) it preserves the basic gameplay. :D
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Postby Aus-RED-5 » Tue Jul 15, 2008 10:17 pm

I love everything about D2 and D2X-XL. Both are very true to Descent. The way it should be. ;)
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Postby Yokelassence » Wed Jul 16, 2008 12:17 am

Lets do a comparison...

Original Descent:
  • Simulates spacescaft flight
  • offers full 6 degree's of movement
  • set within dark concealed rocky block shaped tunnels
  • Survival counts on factors of energy consumption, shield quantity and extra lives
  • Game progress is level based
  • Hosts a variety of flying, heavily armed robots in each level
  • Employs mostly energy projectile based weaponry to attack robots
  • destructive 'fiery escape' ending to each level

D2X-XL:
  • Simulates spacescaft flight
  • offers full 6 degree's of movement
  • set within dark concealed rocky block shaped tunnels
  • Survival counts on factors of energy consumption, shield quantity and extra lives
  • Game progress is level based
  • Hosts a variety of flying, heavily armed robots in each level
  • Employs mostly energy projectile based weaponry to attack robots
  • destructive 'fiery escape' ending to each level


Whats the difference?

What I have not included in this list is aesthetic properties. Thats because graphics is not truly relevant when it comes to defining what a franchise is and is not. Only the gameplay truly matters. If graphics did matter then either game developers would use the same game engine for every franchise or the best games would be rated on how good the graphics look. Neither is true

So far D2X-XL has touched only upon the visual quality of the game and even if those visual aspects do interfere with the classic descent gameplay, they can be disabled. It is possible to render D2X-XL to look exactly how the original game did. (theres even a nostalgia mode available)

Whoever passes a judgement on D2X-XL for that probably has not even played it.

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