So, what if we...

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Sirius
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So, what if we...

Postby Sirius » Thu Oct 16, 2008 4:08 am

Been thinking about that idea that has been raised about twice before, to my reckoning. Kaizerwolf's new level kind of reignited it.

The latest suggestion, from my memory, was to take the TEW robots (since there is no chance of getting new hi-def models made anytime soon they're the best we've got - and IMHO may just deserve another outing) and produce a level set including them and using D2X-XL this time. It's a good idea, but I'd like to gauge the feasibility of it.

Basically, someone (I'm guessing most likely me at this point) will work out some kind of basic storyline, determine the kind of features the level set as a whole will use, and work out general "descriptions" or "concepts" (taking input from others, probably...) for what each level's role will be within the storyline. This would set some *extremely* high-level description of what the level has to be. The levels would then be "farmed out" to various authors who would interpret that vision as they see fit. Think of it, if you will, as a movie adaptation of a book, where the director (level designers) creates his/her own rendition of the ideas and places within the book.

But back to the feasibility part again; this depends how many level designers are available, interested etc. I'm guessing a decent size to aim for will be 10 levels (of a medium-large size probably), maybe more if we have the manpower to handle it.

I won't be able to start building levels for another two months or so because of my thesis, and will probably not be doing much during January either thanks to a move, but I don't really expect this to get started super-fast anyway.

Nonetheless, at the moment I'm thinking of pitching in a couple levels myself (would be more but I'll have other projects even when I get free time). Anyone else?
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Postby Aus-RED-5 » Thu Oct 16, 2008 4:37 am

I could at some point pichin 1 or 2 levels, BUT only the shell of the level.

I'm not real keen on texturing and adding bots and what not.

However, I might add suggesting as to how the layout of the level should be. Since I design my levels with those ideas in mind. ;)

Anyways, I don't promise anything. Only that I'ld like to help, but it's a matter or time and intrest. :?
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Postby MetalBeast » Thu Oct 16, 2008 6:41 am

OK, I have few questions to this idea:

1. what is the primary intence of this, do you want to make d2x-xl independent from the original descent games?
If "Yes", what is about all this unconverted textures, sounds, cockpit-view etc?

2. @Diedel: do you see any chance to write a level converter tool, which can convert GTK-Radiant map-format to d2x-xl level-format?
If "Yes", I could provide many levels for d2x-xl :D

3. Does d2x-xl support ASE robots ?, if yes, I could model some new of them, just need some ideas.

just my 5 cent,

MB
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Postby karx11erx » Thu Oct 16, 2008 8:18 am

Sirius,

I would take part in such an effort, at least as far as level building goes. On a side note: I would like to see the TEW bots have hires textures. Two simple additions to DLE-XP and D2X-XL I am thinking about for a while btw are mission global POG and HXM files, meaning you will only have to include one set of custom textures and robots in the HOG file. Ofc you could override them with level specific HOG and POG files if you e.g. want to change a robot's behaviour in a certain level.

MB,

Sirius just wants to build a high quality D2X-XL mission, probably reusing the custom robots from Descent: The Enemy Within. D2X-XL does support ASE robots - I would need to figure how to animate robot limbs though (should be feasible). I cannot write a GTK -> D2 level converter - it would be just too hard to create the Descent Engine's segments from a bunch of single faces (brushes). There's not too many hires textures missing, mostly doors (I recently added all missing secret doors - grab them if you don't have them yet), animated stuff and and probably a few lights. There is that hires texture overview document on my site where we can look up what's still missing.

Aus-RED,

if I have understood Sirius right he thought less of a level layout description than of a theme.
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Postby Sirius » Thu Oct 16, 2008 9:18 am

Right so far; the intent of this is not complete independence of D2X-XL from the Descent games. While that is an admirable goal - it would make it possible to release the entire game as freeware - there are things, especially audio, that would get in the way. It's something that I think should be done eventually but I don't think that time has come yet.

Hi-res textures: Are there any for the existing D2 robot textures? The TEW robots aren't designed for them of course but as long as they line up, we're fine. I can't see custom textures being used though since it'd be better to re-make custom stuff to work with it.

Global HXM/POG files are an excellent idea, and would save me a lot of work. (What I wouldn't have given to be able to use that in TEW... of course, with the compatibility issues it wouldn't have been possible anyway.)

Now, re: the level descriptions, this is only for the purposes of an example, but it might be something like this; level xyz is set in a robot factory, and you have to get in, steal some blueprints, and get out. There's a security system which if tripped will make your job much harder.

The idea is people would have something like that to work with, but complete freedom to implement it however they wanted.
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Postby karx11erx » Thu Oct 16, 2008 10:17 am

I estimate that about half of the robot textures are available as hires textures.

Your idea sounds very cool. I would even add new features to D2X-XL if required (like lets say triggers that active "damage player" areas, timed triggers or so). I might even add a simple scripting language.
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Postby Alter-Fox » Thu Oct 16, 2008 2:29 pm

I'd definetely want to make a few levels. (I didn't get to make enough for TEW :( .)
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Postby Kaizerwolf » Thu Oct 16, 2008 8:03 pm

I would certainly help you out, although my levels won't be "amazingly great" and whatnot. A few questions though...

1. May i add D3 textures in?

2. What is the size limit? Limited to your imagination perhaps?

3. A name for this mission :P
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Postby karx11erx » Thu Oct 16, 2008 9:32 pm

The levels should be top notch.
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Postby Sirius » Thu Oct 16, 2008 9:58 pm

1. Yes; I'm planning to use custom textures myself though not necessarily from D3. Use whatever you need to meet the theme; Descent 2 textures will not always be suitable for that.

2. As large as you need to make them. You just need to be able to finish it. :lol:

3. That'll depend on the storyline. I still need to think about that.

Now, re: level quality, of course I'd like to have a run of top-notch quality levels but I know that's a lot to expect. I'm not sure what the best way to deal with that is though - perhaps we could have someone tweak levels in areas that they fall short. Wait and see I guess - but I do believe most people are capable of making something great if they put enough time, thought, effort, etc into it. You don't need to build the first idea that comes into your head if you don't think it'll stack up. :)
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Postby Yokelassence » Thu Oct 16, 2008 11:17 pm

Even if the levels need to be top notch, I still think I could have a shot a level building. I could also assist with robot editing

I expect a project like this wont start until next year or so, (Sirius has his thesis, I have my Database administration projects and exams, other people will be busy these upcoming weeks too)

Right?
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Postby Sirius » Fri Oct 17, 2008 3:18 am

In earnest? Yeah, that's pretty much right. I can work out plot concepts and themes sooner of course, just have to sit down and think of something.

My mind isn't set on the robots yet, because circumstances may change there. If there are going to be new models, I'd expect them to be in ASE format and with animations though - and the artwork to at least a D3 standard. No point doing new low-poly work in a D2X-XL-only mission, and ASE is much better suited to high-poly work. The problem is, we may not have the manpower to do that, hence why I was leaning toward re-using Enemy Within bots after Diedel suggested the idea in another thread.
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Postby Aus-RED-5 » Fri Oct 17, 2008 4:47 am

MB is a great modeler. If we had one more person to do modeling and 2 or 3 texture artist (one of them being Nova). We'd be pretty set.

We already have some willing level designers (incl myself). Then there's you (Sirius) and Diedel for story telling, concepts and whatever else.
Of corse Diedel's the coder as well. That's a given. ;)

If I do any level designing. It will be top notch! Maybe messy as hell with cube count though. :vomit:


It's just a shame I'm not so great with textures, otherwise I'd help in this area. :?
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Postby Sirius » Fri Oct 17, 2008 4:59 am

Yeah, I think the number of level designers is enough now. As for robots, I may be able to do some work on that if the release date ends up being closer to next year; as it is I can see the use in modelling some props, at least. (I'm not really thinking about crates etc here; although they might help they can be replicated with level geometry as well. The more indispensable types are things like turrets or reactors, or other destroyable/animated objects.)

I'm also wondering what the best way to co-ordinate this would be. TEW used e-mail, but it's somewhat awkward to keep everyone in the loop that way. I have some reservations about doing everything on a thread like this though - unless we wanted the entire world to track every step of the model/level/whatever creation process... ;)
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Postby Aus-RED-5 » Fri Oct 17, 2008 6:56 am

What we could do, is give only team members for the project access to a private sub forum. Much like what myself (admins) and Mods have here.

I'm sure Diedel won't mind such an idea.
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