The Sphere [FINAL 1.5]

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The Sphere [FINAL 1.5]

Postby Yokelassence » Sun Feb 01, 2009 8:33 am

So I heard you wanted more D2X-XL missions that put its features to use. I deliver to you the [WIP] that I have been discussing for the past 8 months; It has now reached its release stages

The Sphere is a large 5-level D2X-XL exclusive and will serve as a delicious appetizer until Pumo Mines is served. I started work in this mid 2008 so despite consisting of 5 levels it is still a good sized mission. Each level is around 3000-4000 cubes and will probably take you a while.

7zip @ descent2.de (fast)

Updated: This is now RELEASE 1.51. I quickly patched a lighting problem in level 4, try that instead of 1.5



Heres an excerpt from the ReadMe:

COMPATABILITY
===============

To make this mission work you need two things:

D2X-XL: A source port of Descent 2 that introduces enough features to make it
almost Descent 3. This mission is designed to use those features so get the
latest version of D2X-XL from http://www.descent2.de. It just tastes better.

Please note that the mission requires D2X-XL version 1.15.75 or higher

Descent2: Vertigo: The official expansion set to Descent 2 which you may still
find online. The robots from the Vertigo expansion set are used in this mission.

Overview
===================================

You just completed Descent 2. You have been in and out of 6 different planets
and watched the 7th one (Tycho Brahe) explode beautifully. Just when your about to head home
there is a malfunction in your warp drive and it sends you somewhere else.

Actually it was not a malfunction, your warp drive was being redirected
by PTMC back to the 6th system: Puuma Sphere (that green place) since it turns out you
only destroyed 3 mines there and not the usual 4. PTMC wants you to finish the job
before your warp drive malfunctions for real and we get back on par with the storyline

What makes things more interesting is that your negligence to attack that fourth mine
has given the robots an opportunity to make some real developments in the time you spent
at Tycho Brahe; such as the replication of the entire robot armada to name one.
This means your doing everything all over again...in one small planetary sector.

And by the way, the robots are fully expecting you.

Features
====================================

Four large size levels + 1 secret level, each designed to look like a logical facility.
No 3D Picasso paintings

Custom textures and robots

Use of all D2X-XL features; smoke, triggers, lighting, lightnings etc

Although primarily a single player mission, there is support for 4 player coop and 8 player
anarchy.

Completely revisioned robot lineup, all robots from Descent 1, 2 and Vertigo are featured
but have been given different strengths, weapons, abilities etc in order to give each robot a
unique role, purpose and style. Dont worry most robots have just been minorly tweaked,
only a few are completely different. Even scoring has been changed to more
effectively reflect the difficulty of the robot. You get more points for nastier robots,
not bigger robots.

New strategies; you wont be looking for blue, yellow and red in that order.
Linearity was not included in the mission set


Here are the screenshots:

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Last edited by Yokelassence on Fri Jul 30, 2010 2:43 am, edited 28 times in total.
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Postby Pumo » Sun Feb 01, 2009 8:38 am

FINALLY!!

I was desperately awaiting for this mission to come! Even if it's just a beta i'm very glad to see a playable version of it!
(Downloading it now... :D )

I will give my feedback about it as soon as i can (although i'm a bit busy with some 'puter problems here :P)
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Postby Yokelassence » Sun Feb 01, 2009 8:42 am

Wow, Pumo you found this thread quick! :D

[edit]

Even though it's Beta, it is not missing out too many things. The levels have all the features I wanted them to have so not to worry there.
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Postby Alter-Fox » Tue Feb 03, 2009 9:33 pm

Downloaded.
We live in a universe... It's distracting
=========================================================
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Go Go Gadget Thread Revival!

Postby Yokelassence » Sat Jul 11, 2009 10:54 am

While I have been working on the XL version of Team Death, I have been turning my attention back to this mission. The version I released publicly was a Beta and the mission has been that way for months. I want to bring it out of that state.

I intend to:
  • Resolve lingering macten bugs
  • Add more powerups to compensate for large robot density.
  • Make objectives more clear (the first level can be particularly confusing)
  • Improve triggers
  • Add more area's

I don't know if anyone actually played the beta through but if you have any suggestions to make this mission better or you know of a bug then now is your chance to have your name listed in the credits.

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Postby Alter-Fox » Sat Jul 11, 2009 3:56 pm

I played some of it, and I thought it was very good.
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Postby Kaizerwolf » Sat Jul 11, 2009 5:42 pm

I will most definatly provide feedback for this set, good sir! The screenshots look amazing, i'm downloading it right now. Can't wait to play it. :D
What if, in 30 years, you're considered for the highest office in the land and get denied because some sneak found that misspelled post of yours about how "Nickledon" sucked and ruins your political career by exposing it?- poxpower
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Postby karx11erx » Sat Jul 11, 2009 7:17 pm

I have been playing level one of The Sphere for a while. Level design and texturing look very good, but the balancing is so off that I wonder whether this level has ever been play tested. For the weaponry you get, there's too many strong robots with big weapons and high armor (shields). Some areas are really packed with robots. Actually that wouldn't be such a problem as the areas are quite spacious (accessible through right door at the room with the round pillar and energy center near the start), but there's more robots behind grates which made short work of me. :no: So playing this level was a save/reload orgy for me which took the fun out of it (played on hotshot with enhanced hit physics and damage model enabled).

Edit:

I inspected the first level with the minemine and spaniard cheats and have to repeat that I am truly impressed. You are having some serious talent. The outdoor area with the landing space is truly stunning, and your sense of detail you put that red glow around it's bottom is wonderful.

Another example for imo bad balance is the blue key room. The robots there are just too strong. I noticed that this must be a D2X-XL type level, so I'd recommend playtesting it with D2X-XL enhanced collision physics and damage model.

Edit 2:

I have to revise my evaluation of your levels' structure and texturing. They don't look very good.

:mrgreen:

They're absolutely awesome, stunning and inspired. This is some of the best Descent 2 stuff I've ever seen, with an astounding love of detail and meticulous making. I feel urged to stand up and applaude.

Now give this mission some thorough play testing by some experienced people (Aus-RED-5, Sirius, Darkhose, DarkFlameWolf come to my mind) and give this level set the balance worthy of its design.

Ok, I've just seen level 3. Standing and applauding now. :clap:

One hint: Make the skybox in level 4 more like a dome, and maybe try Pumo's stars texture from his Kartsal Motivation demo level.


Edit 3:

What a great idea to build a lamp:

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Nice decoration:

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Beautiful idea for a grating next to a grate door:

Image

Wonderful little detail in the floor texturing:

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Nice light decoration:

Image

Great idea to create a pinkish shine on white textures by assigning pink light to white (hence neutral) lamps:

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Wonderful purple texturing:

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Waterfall with spray:

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What a beautiful idea to exploit transparency:

Image

Truly stunning architecture here:

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A sight to behold:

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Even the map looks awesome here:

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Whammazoom - lightning!

Image

Awesome techy structure:

Image

Oh these outdoors!

Image

Who says it can't be done in Descent 2?!

Image
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Postby Kaizerwolf » Sat Jul 11, 2009 11:20 pm

Wow Karx, some of those pictures look good enough for use as a desktop background :)

Yoke: After finally completing the first level, i have to say i agree with Karx on the difficulty that was present. Even playing through the level on Rookie with Standard Bot AI, that was really tough. I did accomplish it though, and hopefully the next levels are enjoyable. I think they will be, judgeing by the screenshots!
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Postby karx11erx » Sat Jul 11, 2009 11:22 pm

Found a small flaw: Lava in segment 381, side 5 is flowing the wrong way, and the face should be moved up above the dotted line in the texture alignment view.
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Postby Yokelassence » Sun Jul 12, 2009 1:27 am

Thanks Karx.

@Difficulty:

I agree that it is a very difficult mission. The theme is that the robots are retaliating against you this time so not only are there tons of them, but they are also buffed up. Most robots are indeed stronger, I may have gone overboard.

But I actually play it a lot and I usually get through the first level easily on hotshot without losing more than one life.

Regard that I can play through Descent 1 on Insane without loading a savegame and still have 10 lives left after level 27. I guess I forgot to appeal the mission to those who don't play as often as I do. :oops: sorry.

However I have never successfully completed my mission on insane myself. I noticed that there just is not enough resources to handle the number of robot so my plan is to add more shield orbs and make weaponry more accessible.

I have just recently adjusted level 1 by bringing the plasma gun closer to the start and I adding more homing missiles and shield orbs, then I was able to beat level 1 without dying on hotshot. I am going to continue playtesting on insane. If I can beat the mission on insane then it must be playable

@Textures

There are always texture errors that I miss. Please point out as many as you can. I also wonder if I can use IronTowers metal textures for the techy area's. That should help reduce some of the blinding whiteness in some spots.

I try to make each area different but I understand some texture uniformity is good for theme consistency. Green is an important color because the mission is set on Puuma Sphere but let me know if it is too much in some places.

@Structure

Yea that blue key area in level 1 is an outright bastard so I moved the smart missile spamming Super Drillers out of that room. The Boarsheads that pop out are bad enough. I also noticed that area is a one way street which is something I want to avoid; all critical areas should be approachable from different angles.

What I have done is add a new extension that lets the player reach the blue key from above. There are also more smart mines available which help with that bit, look for secret doors.

The same goes for other areas that seem like 'bottlenecks' to the player, I want the player to have a lot of choices.

PS: Dont forget there is an alternate way to complete level 1 that skips the blue sector ;)
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Postby karx11erx » Sun Jul 12, 2009 8:45 am

You cannot make the skills of someone being able to play through D1 on insane w/o big problems the standard for a mission intended for a broad audience, and: Did you test your mission with enhanced collision physics and damage model enabled? Because these make Descent way harder. Did you have other people playtest the mission?

Texturing looks fine to me. I was actually amazed how few texturing flaws there were.

Some one-way areas don't hurt. I didn't mind the blue key area in level 1 being one way. Those overpowered robots were more of a headache. You could throw in a quadlaser earlier, too (or did I simply miss it)?

Let me ask: Who wants to skip parts of a mission in order to complete it? :P
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Postby Yokelassence » Sun Jul 12, 2009 9:56 am

karx11erx wrote:Did you have other people playtest the mission?


Negative, nobody volunteered. You are quite welcome to be one.

karx11erx wrote:You could throw in a quadlaser earlier, too (or did I simply miss it)?


If you are lucky, a PTMC defence bot will drop one for you. Otherwise you get one in level 2 but that can be changed.

karx11erx wrote:Let me ask: Who wants to skip parts of a mission in order to complete it? :P


Again, it is all about giving the player options.
You have option A: Enter the blue room, hunt for 4 triggers and plow through many more robots
or option B: hit secret trigger that gives you access to cloaks, use the cloaks to sneak to the exit.

The Tradeoff is that while A is harder and longer, it offers you lots of useful equipment for level 2. Meanwhile B is shorter and easier but you deprive yourself of some stuff, unless you take both options.

I just got done adding a large section to the Yellow sector of level 2. This expansion gives the player an new path into the storage areas and makes the 'Yellow room laboratories" more accessible. Currently the Yellow area is very constricted which makes it difficult.

Level 2 is so intense that this image dropped my framerate to 10FPS, quite impressive since this PC can run Crysis at a constant 60.
One thing that concerns me is that some areas are not lit properly such as the Square shaped room on the middle left despite the number of lights in there, seems like DLE-XP is ignoring light values.
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Postby karx11erx » Sun Jul 12, 2009 10:08 am

Are there prox bombs given to the player in level 1? They sure wouldn't hurt for the blue key room.

You could enforce one bot dropping a quad laser.

If you send me the level (e-mail to karx11erx at hotmail dot com) and name (some of) the cubes not being properly lit in DLE-XP, I'll look into it.

D2X-XL's renderer isn't too efficient. :(
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Postby Yokelassence » Mon Jul 13, 2009 3:39 am

Check your inbox Karx, I described the issue in the letter.

See if the first and second level is easier too.

I played it on insane with max collision, damage model, robot awareness and aggression. I still got wasted near the blue key in level 1 but at least I managed to get the key this time.

[edit]

I updated the link at the top of this thread. If anyone wants to test if the mission is easier, download the new version. Currently only levels 1 and 2 are modified.
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