Finished Anthology - Finally

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ryguy64
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Finished Anthology - Finally

Postby ryguy64 » Sun Feb 05, 2012 5:09 am

It sure took a long time. That place is huge! Very well done, Sirius. I'm going to post a few thoughts I had about the level(s?).

D1: Overall, I think this was my favorite section. It felt like a D1 level, and I have always preferred D1 single player over the others. The size of the map felt overwhelming at times. Despite spending hours in there, I never felt like I knew where I was. It was dark, and atmospheric. My only problem with this section was how easy it was to run into a large group of robots that were more advanced than the weapons I was carrying. Granted, the pacing of one level can't quite be the same as the original mines. That was ok though, because the other parts are started with almost everything on board.

D2: This section was by far the most complex and frustrating. Much more time was spent trying to find where to go. I liked the idea behind getting the red key. Very clever. I have to admit though, that I couldn't find the right way to go to get to one of the panels :rant:. I used a guided missile :mrgreen:. Then I got the key, and worked my way backward from a previously locked door that led to the area. When I found out how I was supposed to get there, I was a little surprised about how easy it would have been if I had just looked a little harder. The reactor room was devious.

D3: This was probably the biggest surprise of the whole level. I didn't realize that D2X-XL was so capable of making something look like D3. Frankly, it looked amazing. I was also surprised to see actual D3 bots there. Sure they didn't behave quite the same, or sound the same (at least on my computer... are they supposed to sound like D3 bots?), but they looked right. At least most of them did. Some still looked like D2 bots. My only problems with the D3 section was it's length, and the final boss. After spending hours in the D1 and D2 sections, I was expecting a similar amount of time in the D3 section. I'm not even sure it took me 20 minutes. The final boss, for whatever reason, was completely invisible for me. The targeting reticle would let me know where he was, but I couldn't see him. I'm wondering if a model didn't load properly or something. Anyway, that made him much harder than he would have been otherwise. Also, I wasn't expecting him to be the end, so I didn't use any of my missiles on him. I had 4 earthshakers too.

Overall: An amazing tribute to the Descent series. Even though I got lost, confused and frustrated, I enjoyed going through it. I think it would be fun to go through it on co-op, but only if multiplayer games can be saved. I don't think I could do it in one sitting. :yikes: Not to mention there would be a lot of "where are you?" "No idea, you?" It would be pretty fun.

Thank you Sirius. Nicely done.
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Re: Finished Anthology - Finally

Postby Sirius » Mon Feb 06, 2012 12:23 am

It was supposed to be all D3 robots - and not invisible ones either - in the D3 section. Not sure why they're not showing up. The robot sounds are D2 ones though - at the time the level was made there wasn't any way to replace them. Actually it would be kind of cool to revisit this and "upgrade" it with D2X-XL's mod support - maybe convert the models to ASE as well if I can find a way, since they are now better supported by D2. They still wouldn't be animated, but ... well ... that's not really an easy thing to do. Would have to somehow convert them to POF, boil the animations down to 5 states/9 submodels, do the whole "find a free texture to replace" thing...

It is small, though. I can barely remember the reason, but I think it was that I pre-planned the region expecting D3-style to burn more cubes than it did, and found out I'd estimated conservatively for once. I think I'd left about 500 cubes free, but didn't feel a really urgent need to do anything with them ... this was back in the days when the limit was 6000 rather than 8000. Nowadays there's definitely room for a bigger third section and I can think of people who might want me to make one but I have mixed feelings about that... :oops:

On guideds: you can "sequence break" things with guideds in some original D2 levels as well, so this is totally cool with me. Nice job actually steering the guided well enough to do it though; from recollection it's not usually an easy thing to do. I bet I know which one it was, too. :) The flat room with the coloured pillars, there was an exit between a couple of them that you didn't see? That ... may have been intentional :mrgreen:

Anyway, thanks for the review - it was both one of the more satisfying and one of the more arduous projects to work on and finish (largely for the same reasons) - so it's good to see that people have been enjoying it.
ryguy64
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Re: Finished Anthology - Finally

Postby ryguy64 » Mon Feb 06, 2012 1:27 am

I guess there was an error loading some of the bots then. I think one of the homing bots was a D3 one the first time I saw it, then was a D2 bot the second time. As for size, I can understand why you wouldn't want to revisit it. It sounds like it took you a significant amount of time. It's an excellent product anyway.

Sirius wrote:On guideds: you can "sequence break" things with guideds in some original D2 levels as well, so this is totally cool with me. Nice job actually steering the guided well enough to do it though; from recollection it's not usually an easy thing to do. I bet I know which one it was, too. :) The flat room with the coloured pillars, there was an exit between a couple of them that you didn't see? That ... may have been intentional :mrgreen:


Actually I found the one in the flat room. I figured you wouldn't have created such an elaborate dead end. The headlight really helped in that area (and being able to make it not drain energy, since energy places were in short supply, and I could never remember where they were). It was just a corner I forgot to turn in an area pretty close to the main entry way. A bunch of long, trapezoid shaped tunnels, and I guess I figured I had already gone down that particular tunnel. It probably should have been the first panel I found, based on how close it was to the main area.

As for sequence breaks, I could probably have gotten all three panels if I had been able to reach one first. That would drastically shorten the level though.
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Re: Finished Anthology - Finally

Postby Hawkins » Mon Feb 06, 2012 12:24 pm

I need to get my hands on that one soon too. Just finished configuring my XL installation properly this time. And it plays gooooood...
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ryguy64
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Re: Finished Anthology - Finally

Postby ryguy64 » Mon Feb 06, 2012 12:39 pm

You should. Maybe we could try co-op on it some time.
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Re: Finished Anthology - Finally

Postby karx11erx » Mon Feb 06, 2012 12:57 pm

Hehe. :thumb:
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Alter-Fox
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Re: Finished Anthology - Finally

Postby Alter-Fox » Mon Feb 06, 2012 3:34 pm

The flat room?
Oh my... the flat room... :horror:
I remember that room. :no:
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Re: Finished Anthology - Finally

Postby darkflamewolf » Fri Feb 17, 2012 6:47 pm

someone should Youtube a let's play of this level with all secrets revealed! :P
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Re: Finished Anthology - Finally

Postby Ben K » Fri Feb 17, 2012 11:00 pm

Sirius might remember them all - I never touched it in a level editor. Just rendered the skybox and not much else.
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karx11erx
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Re: Finished Anthology - Finally

Postby karx11erx » Sat Feb 18, 2012 1:23 am

I had built a three level mission out of the original Anthology once, because actually that's what it is - it just has glued them all together to create some massive behemoth level. That was very counter productive regarding lightmap calculation and level load times though and had no benefit gameplay wise. Sirius never wanted that version though (maybe because he wouldn't have held the record of having built the biggest Descent 2 level so far anymore ... :).
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Re: Finished Anthology - Finally

Postby Sirius » Sat Feb 18, 2012 9:50 am

Hmmm... maybe, though I think Dimensional Intersect may have used more cubes. I think the other part is more an "emotional" thing - the continuity maintaining a sense of progression, that and being able to see how far you've come in the automap (though you'll probably be distracted by the intense lag too much to appreciate it), and the "why is the red key taking so long to find???" thing.

But in technical terms, splitting it up does make a lot more sense.

Looks like I have the necessary software to make a recording, so I might take a shot at that tomorrow. And hope there aren't any show-stopping bugs in the D3 section...
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Re: Finished Anthology - Finally

Postby karx11erx » Sat Feb 18, 2012 11:44 am

First thing you should do is make a backup and then simply load the current version of Anthology in DLE-XP and save it to incorporate the latest internal format changes. I would start to work with that version then. What I did was to make three copies of the rl2 file and all related sub files (hxm, pog, clr, lgt, ...), rename each one (like "antho-1.rl2", "antho-2.rl2", ...) and then remove all unneeded segments from each sub-level via the block commands. Finally run a diagnosis. If it throws up any bad errors -> bug report, but I think it shouldn't at this stage of DLE-XP maturity.

You can run a texture cleanup on every level once it has been successfully converted to remove all unused custom textures from it.

I will test this myself today to save you bad surprises. ;)

Edit:

Here is a version I have split into three levels (added 1st player and coop players in levels 2 and 3, and replaced the in-level teleports with exit triggers). The archive contains precomputed mesh, light and (standard quality) lightmap data. The exits have been tested and work. Unused textures have been removed from the respective pog files. I haven't dealt with the hxm files (but these are comparably small).

Anthology (split)

Extract to your main D2X-XL folder. The mission will be saved in "missions/single/antho1-3.hog|mn2".
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Re: Finished Anthology - Finally

Postby Sirius » Sat Feb 18, 2012 9:36 pm

Um... thanks, but I think you did this once before, I still have it... hee hee hee...
Still, newer version may be better in other ways.
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Re: Finished Anthology - Finally

Postby karx11erx » Sat Feb 18, 2012 11:12 pm

The old version may have bugs (due to old DLE-XP bugs), and I also had added a "mini" Descent 1 boss there (the red one with the megas, I had just made the model smaller).

The new version reflects the original Anthology as much as possible, and it took me about 30 minutes to prepare it (including precomputed mesh and light data).
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Re: Finished Anthology - Finally

Postby Alter-Fox » Sun Feb 19, 2012 4:10 am

Wow only 30 minutes?
But I guess the guy who wrote the program would know all the fastest ways to do stuff...
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