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About themes (overall design pointers).
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Ever wanted to play Descent 1, 2, and Vertigo in a single mission? That's what we're trying to create.
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TOPIC: About themes (overall design pointers).
#182
About themes (overall design pointers). 2010-06-06 23:14, 9 Years, 5 Months ago Karma: 5
First and foremost... keep in mind, that the intention of this project is not to create levels that would be groundbreaking, unique or architecturally themed, but ones that would take after their "sister" levels from the original campaigns: "First Strike" and "Counterstrike!".

Themed levels should be kept within the single texture theme they are situated in, just like it was in Descent 2. I'm saying this just to remind you that putting Ice Spindle robots in fire-themed levels is a no-no (to give a blunt example). There are some textures that fit every theme nicely (like gray walls), and these should be made use of in large numbers, but supplemented only by textures that don't collide aesthetically nor visually with the level's theme.

The exception to this rule are the Beta Ceti levels. Beta Ceti was the system explored in Descent 2: Vertigo. Though the levels did adhere to single themes more or less, much variance was employed, and the levels were essentially crossing the borders between one theme and another. I imagine that every designer will now want to make levels for the Beta Ceti system, as they don't limit you in almost any way. But if you're making levels for other systems, please stay within the theme at all times (and per se, this isn't as restricting as you might think).

Another very important issue are the robots. One of the major points of this mission set is the co-inclusion of Descent 1 and Descent 2 robots to fight alongside each other against the pilot. I'll now describe each robot in detail:

Class 1 Drones - As in the first game - good in large numbers at the beginning. Thematically they fit and in Brimspark/Baloris Prime well, and should be used there too (especially in the company of E-Bandits). Can also be used in Zeta Aquilae and Beta Ceti systems at the designer's discretion.

Class 2 Drones - Can be plentiful in the earlier Solar System levels, and appear occasionaly throughout all-around themed (Zeta Aquilae) or multi-themed (Beta Ceti) levels. The themes they fit best are Water and Ice, due to their color.

ITSC - Use them in the first few Solar System levels. The themes they fit are Water and Ice, the rest goes as above.

PEST - As above, but the specific theme it fits is Alien (due to the greenish color).

PIG - As above, but they thematically fit the Fire theme.

Small Hulk - As with PEST. Furthermore, it would look good accompanying a Lou Guard.

Medium Lifter - Same here. Generally an early/mid game robot, but should make it to some of those Puuma Sphere levels, it would look nice there. Also welcome in Zeta Aquilae and Beta Ceti. The cloaked variant can be used anywhere.

Advanced Lifter - Should be included in Solar System levels (starting at the Martian ones), then used alongside PIGs and such in the fire themed levels. Also good for D2-style levels with no thematic restrictions (Z.A. and B.C.)

Laser Platform Bot - Still on the easy side of the Descent 1 robots. Should be used in the Solar System levels, and later in Zeta Aquilae, Quartzon, Limefrost Spiral and Beta Ceti.

Supervisory Robot - Can be used in all levels, but it best fits the Water and Ice themes, obviously. Use at your own discretion, but wisely.

Diamond Claw - This robot fits every theme. Start using it alongside the Medium Lifter in early/mid Solar System, then it can be used practically anywhere, same with its cloaked variant.

Red Spiderling - Include those in the earlier Solar System levels (when you still don't feel like including the Red Spider), and then use them along with Red Hornets in the Fire themed levels.

Red Spider - Good for Fire-themed levels, but will nicely fit many other themes, except maybe Ice, Alien and Water.

Red Hornet - Good for early/mid Solar System levels, then Fire and Zeta/Beta

Secondary Lifter - Exactly as with Advanced Lifter.

Medium Hulk - Start using in mid/early Solar System, then you can (and should) use them in all levels, except Alien, and in large numbers. The cloaked variant can go even to the Alien levels.

PTMC Defense Prototype - Start in mid/early Solar System, and outside it use them in large numbers in Zeta/Beta, but not elsewhere.

E-Bandit - Mid to Late Solar System material. Afterwards useful for the Fire and Desert themes, as well as Zeta/Beta. Would look nice backed up by Class 1 Drones.

Super Hulk - Absolutely spam it in every level since its introduction (which should be around level 6). The only exception are the Alien levels, where the Lou Guard will replace them, but can be used even in Alien themed levels of Beta Ceti, perhaps alongside the Lou.

Lou Guard - Use it in the Solar System for the sake of variety (but in a 1:3 ratio in regards to the Super Hulk, because the Lou Guard is a bit less dangerous). Afterwards, they are good for Zeta/Beta, and they should be spammed in the Puuma Sphere levels.

Class 1 Driller - Absolutely spam this guy in every level since his introduction, cloaked and decloaked variations alike. He needs to make a serious comeback and reclaim the frustration factor along with the Super Hulk.

Omega Defense Spawn - Start using them in late Solar System, then you can use them in any level. And you should do it a lot too.

TRN Racer - Introduce them by Early/Mid Solar System, use them sparingly throughout it, and then let them shine in the Brimspark and Zeta/Beta levels.

Smelter - Introduce in mid Solar System, and use them a lot. Outside the Solar System, along with their cloaked variation they are best fit for Fire-themed levels, but Zeta/Beta also takes them.

Class 1 Gopher - These little guys fit every theme nicely. Use them in the Solar System, Zeta/Beta and Limefrost Spiral, but you can practically use them anywhere for their design and bomb-laying properties. They'll probably be replaced by Smartmine-laying modified Omega Spawn in the Alien levels.

ITD - Good for early/mid Solar System, then Zeta/Beta and foremost for Quartzon and Limefrost Spiral.

FOX Attack Bot - As above.

Sidearm - Fits every theme except Puuma Sphere. Use it a lot. But don't introduce it in the regular levels of the Solar System, as it drops Flash Missiles. It's essential that the Solar System levels are free of any Descent 2 weaponry and items in order to emulate the feel of the first game. A few of these could be included in the Solar System secret levels.

Sidearm Modula - As above.

Seeker - Use them in Quartzon, Limefrost and Beta/Zeta. They're not to appear in the Solar System, though, for the same reasons as Sidearm.

Ice Spindle - Limefrost and Beta/Zeta. Also banned in the Solar System as it drops Helix.

Bulk Destroyer - Fits all themes except Alien, and drops Gauss, so is disqualified from the Solar System. Should be used in particularly large numbers in Baloris Prime, and would look great working with a Class 1 Heavy Driller.

Class 1 Heavy Driller - This one would look good working with Bulk Destroyers and BPERs. Should be introduced late in the Solar System levels, and then used in Beta/Zeta, Quartzon and Baloris Prime.

BPER - Solar System starting at mid, Beta/Zeta, Baloris Prime.

Missile Platform Robot - Late Solar System, Zeta/Beta and Puuma Sphere. It's green so it belongs there. Also, omitting these guys in other systems will ease the players' frustration a bit (they'll still have C1Drillers and Super Hulks to worry about!)

Fusion Hulk - Late Solar System and Beta/Zeta. Their purplish color also qualifies them for Limefrost Spiral levels.

Red Fatty Jr. - Brimspark, Baloris Prime, Beta Ceti. Not in the Solar System, as they drop Phoenix and/or Mercury Missiles.

Green Spider - This guy can be introduced in the Solar System, as he drops no forbidden weaponry. Do it late, obviously. Then use him in Beta/Zeta and Puuma Sphere.

Spawn - Use these alongside Red Hornets in Zeta/Beta levels. Other than that, they'll be spawned by the Spider where they're needed anyway, but they obviously fit the Alien theme best, if you feel like placing them separately.

Boarshead - Just like above. This guy luckily qualifies for Solar System too. He's kinda reminescent of the Class 1 Driller too, so they'd look nice working together.

Thief - Include it in all levels after the Solar System, but not in the Solar System levels themselves. Include it in the secret levels accessed by secret exits (two of which happen to be in the Solar System), but don't include it in the later secret levels, those accessed by teleporters.
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#187
Re: About themes (overall design pointers). 2010-06-07 07:28, 9 Years, 5 Months ago Karma: 2
About the BPer bot... Descent Maximum had them in the alien themed levels (like the PEST), so that may be okay too. (D2 Counterstrike didn't have PESTs in the alien levels either).

Also, if you're going to un-nerf fusion, the Fusion Hulks/Minibosses probably shouldn't appear until very late in the mission (Beta Ceti), as they're the hardest robot in the game with the D1 fusion (they use the same fusion as the player, there is NO robot fusion... look it up in Descent2.ham... I tested and they do the same amount of damage on every difficulty, even Trainee). Otherwise the difficulty would spike too soon, and many unskilled players (including myself) may give up before they're even halfway done... the same goes for the Boarshed (though they're not as hard so you can be a bit more lenient). This shouldn't be TEW style difficulty, otherwise you'll get the same love/hate reaction (I got a game over on level 20 of TEW on Trainee).
Also, the E-Bandit was used in the first alien level in D2 Counterstrike.
The thief shouldn't be in any level that has the fire boss, the ice boss, or the Tycho Brahe boss, because he can steal all your matter weapons, and then you can't destroy the boss.

One question: What about the Defense Robot and the Evil Twin? They were included in D2, but never used. The Defense Robot is basically a green Class 1 Heavy Driller with ultra-rapid-fire homing missiles and an energy pulse equal in power to the Baloris Prime Boss, and the Evil Twin is a green kamiaze guidebot (obviously the guidebot's evil twin).

Just a funny side note: Vertigo level 18 was fire themed, and it actually had a couple of Ice Spindles.
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#190
Re: About themes (overall design pointers). 2010-06-07 15:05, 9 Years, 5 Months ago Karma: 5
Alter-Fox wrote:
About the BPer bot... Descent Maximum had them in the alien themed levels (like the PEST), so that may be okay too. (D2 Counterstrike didn't have PESTs in the alien levels either).

Sure. But seeing how many robot designs we have to choose from, the absence of these robots in those themes wouldn't hurt at all. There'd be tons of others to fill their place.


Also, if you're going to un-nerf fusion, the Fusion Hulks/Minibosses probably shouldn't appear until very late in the mission (Beta Ceti), as they're the hardest robot in the game with the D1 fusion (they use the same fusion as the player, there is NO robot fusion... look it up in Descent2.ham... I tested and they do the same amount of damage on every difficulty, even Trainee).


I know about this. In Descent 1 one Fusion blob does exactly 60 damage to your shields on every difficulty setting. In Descent 2 this drops to 30, as the Fusion power was halved. If the Fusion were to be unnerfed, the damage would obviously return to 60 for Fusion Hulks as well.


Otherwise the difficulty would spike too soon, and many unskilled players (including myself) may give up before they're even halfway done... the same goes for the Boarshed (though they're not as hard so you can be a bit more lenient). This shouldn't be TEW style difficulty, otherwise you'll get the same love/hate reaction (I got a game over on level 20 of TEW on Trainee).


Don't worry about it too much. It's not like we'll be making matcens spawning these things. One or two Fusion Hulks in a late Solar System level wouldn't hurt. Plus, if they're placed appropriately, they are close to harmless. The problem begins when you have to face one at close distance or get ambushed. Such cases can be intentionally avoided in the earlier levels. About Boarsheads - if someone can face the 1st Boss in D1, he'll know how to handle those.


Also, the E-Bandit was used in the first alien level in D2 Counterstrike.


Oh well, maybe it was. I don't remember


The thief shouldn't be in any level that has the fire boss, the ice boss, or the Tycho Brahe boss, because he can steal all your matter weapons, and then you can't destroy the boss.


Most players make it a point to dispose of the Thief before entering the red door anyway, so I don't think it's such a grave problem. Ambushing the guy with Smartmines works wonders, after all.


One question: What about the Defense Robot and the Evil Twin? They were included in D2, but never used. The Defense Robot is basically a green Class 1 Heavy Driller with ultra-rapid-fire homing missiles and an energy pulse equal in power to the Baloris Prime Boss, and the Evil Twin is a green kamiaze guidebot (obviously the guidebot's evil twin).


Oh... And I thought they were just unused textures (I examined the .HAM file yesterday). Well, since they were not included, it was probably due to the fact that they were broken and unbalanced. Don't fix what's not broken, as they say! We've got enough robots to choose from as it is, anyway.


Just a funny side note: Vertigo level 18 was fire themed, and it actually had a couple of Ice Spindles.


Yeah, but it's Beta Ceti. Beta Ceti allows for any robot in any theme, that's why I put your Litter Jungle in this system x)
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#192
Re: About themes (overall design pointers). 2010-06-07 15:21, 9 Years, 5 Months ago Karma: 2
Xfing wrote:


Otherwise the difficulty would spike too soon, and many unskilled players (including myself) may give up before they're even halfway done... the same goes for the Boarshed (though they're not as hard so you can be a bit more lenient). This shouldn't be TEW style difficulty, otherwise you'll get the same love/hate reaction (I got a game over on level 20 of TEW on Trainee).


Don't worry about it too much. It's not like we'll be making matcens spawning these things. One or two Fusion Hulks in a late Solar System level wouldn't hurt. Plus, if they're placed appropriately, they are close to harmless. The problem begins when you have to face one at close distance or get ambushed. Such cases can be intentionally avoided in the earlier levels. About Boarsheads - if someone can face the 1st Boss in D1, he'll know how to handle those.



Fair enough... I would go a little further and only put the Minibosses in out of the way places and secret areas (maybe guarding the megas in the Sol System)... somewhere the player doesn't have to go, but can, if they want to take the risk for some extra power.

I just remembered to ask... should all the levels have a guidebot? Personally I prefer to give the player a full map instead, but I can use guidebots if need be.
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