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Author Topic: The Outer Reaches  (Read 7763 times)

Offline Naphtha

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The Outer Reaches
« on: March 28, 2012, 09:40:43 PM »
After about a month and a half of trying to balance working on this with staying caught up in my college classes, I think "The Outer Reaches" is ready to be unveiled... at least in a beta form.

http://www.enspiar.com/dmdb/viewMission.php?id=494

Note the "version 0.9." There are some glaring issues I want help with, but being a newbie and not really knowing my way around, I wasn't sure who to ask and I thought it would be better to see if somebody would volunteer. ^^;

But as this is my first level set, I'm really not sure if I got the difficulty down for a Descent 1 mission.  I've tried the levels out myself mostly on Hotshot, where they seemed a bit tougher than "First Strike," but still very feasible, but me being the creator probably means I'm too familiar with them to really judge.  There are also a couple issues I couldn't seem to iron out with DLE-XP, one being a faulty secret in Level 5 and another being a load of bad cubes in the boss room, which is why I tried to keep the action away from that part of the room.  The problems should be more obvious once you see them; I don't want to spoil too much here without anyone playing first. :P

But there is a .txt file included in the download that lists more of the issues.  Some of them I couldn't seem to fix with DLE-XP and some of them are probably just my own mistakes, but ones which I don't really know how to fix.  I hope it's not too much trouble.



EDIT 06.04.12: Version 1.1 has just been uploaded.  All the bugs mentioned in the .txt file on the older versions are now fixed, and the mission is no longer just single player, but also co-op, supporting up to three players.  The same link given above still works, so please take a look and try it out if you haven't already. ;)
« Last Edit: April 06, 2012, 01:56:53 AM by NaphthaTurisas »
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Offline Kaiaatzl

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Re: The Outer Reaches - Beta ready, help wanted
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2012, 06:57:32 AM »
I can take a look after I'm finished working today.
From the DMDB screenshot I can already tell you forgot to apply lighting in DLE-XP (this will affect Rebirth but not D2X-XL if lightmaps are on).

Offline Naphtha

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Re: The Outer Reaches - Beta ready, help wanted
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2012, 08:56:34 AM »
Oh no, it's there and exactly as I wanted it.  Maybe I should've chosen a different screenshot, but that was one of the room designs/angles I was happiest with.  I can look for a different screenshot, but I did check the lighting very frequently. :P Some of the areas are intended to be unusually dark in Rebirth, but in D2X-XL... well, I'm not sure if they'd be even darker.
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Offline Foil

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Re: The Outer Reaches - Beta ready, help wanted
« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2012, 09:06:37 AM »
Screenshot appears lit properly to me; nice contrast between light/dark areas... :)

Offline Kaiaatzl

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Re: The Outer Reaches - Beta ready, help wanted
« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2012, 10:26:20 AM »
I haven't had time to play past the first two rooms of the first level; but I'm already getting a good impression.
But I feel the need to point out that you really don't need to use midi music anymore.  Really.

Offline Scyphi

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Re: The Outer Reaches - Beta ready, help wanted
« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2012, 11:31:41 AM »
What's wrong with midi music? Personally I think it's fitting, seeing that's the media format the game is designed to use in the first place.
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Offline Kaiaatzl

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Re: The Outer Reaches - Beta ready, help wanted
« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2012, 03:25:55 PM »
There's nothing wrong with it from a listener's point of view.
From a composer's point of view, the player needs to listen to it on the exact same hardware as it was written on to hear it the way you meant it to be heard.  And midi support is minimal on modern operating systems -- personally (on my main laptop with Vista and my netbook with Windows 7), I have a lot of problems with midi tracks, particularly in games, that I don't have with more conventional formats.
From the level designer's point of view, there's the fact that anyone who is using an addon soundtrack with Rebirth or a custom playlist with D2X-XL (and I think that's most people nowadays) will hear their regular addon or playlist instead of midi music; but if you use ogg music both source ports will always play the ogg music no matter whether the player has actually selected to use midi music or not.  So if you use ogg music you always get the player to hear what you want them to hear, unless they're using dosbox (raise your hand if you still use dosbox :P).

Plus I have this wierd feeling that nowadays it would be much easier to find free-to-use ogg, mp3 or wav tracks than midi.  So you don't need to go to the trouble.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2012, 04:56:37 PM by Kaiaatsel »

Offline TechPro

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Re: The Outer Reaches - Beta ready, help wanted
« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2012, 04:01:57 PM »
Bah Humbug!

My Descent 1 and 2 setups are configured for midi, and that's the way I prefer it, plus that's the way many people already have their Descent 1 and 2 setup configured.  Sure, they don't have to, but if a level author wants to have EVERYONE who tries their level able to get the desired experience on the first run of the level, you can be sure of that by using midi.

Offline Kaiaatzl

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Re: The Outer Reaches - Beta ready, help wanted
« Reply #8 on: March 29, 2012, 04:38:36 PM »
Umm... no you can't be sure of that using midi.  Unless you assume everyone is using Vanilla Descent.  Read my wall of text again.  Because that was the entire point of my post.  And ask Karx or Zico how it works if you think I'm wrong.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2012, 04:57:51 PM by Kaiaatsel »

Offline TechPro

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Re: The Outer Reaches - Beta ready, help wanted
« Reply #9 on: March 29, 2012, 06:54:39 PM »
I'm not disagreeing, I'm just saying that most users are set to midi ... unless they intentionally take extra steps and even then it's a simple settings toggle to switch to midi.  By using midi, you nearly insure that everyone can hear the music provided with the level.

Also, they don't have to be using "vanilla" Descent in order to use midi.  They can use any Descent 1 or 2 flavor they wish.

Offline Kaiaatzl

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Re: The Outer Reaches - Beta ready, help wanted
« Reply #10 on: March 30, 2012, 02:53:11 AM »
If they're not set up to use midi it will just keep playing the music it usually plays in their installation though.  I know because that's what I normally do and I don't really care about custom midi music unless I know it's there.  And everyone else I know in r/l who plays Descent does the same.
Vanilla Descent is the only Descent where you will always hear custom midi music.  For Rebirth and XL, it will only play custom midi music if you have it set up to play the regular midi music; otherwise the only way they will play custom soundtracks is if they're NOT midi.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2012, 02:55:22 AM by Kaiaatsel »

Offline Scyphi

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Re: The Outer Reaches - Beta ready, help wanted
« Reply #11 on: March 30, 2012, 06:15:20 AM »
Well that explains why I can't seem to hear the custom midis anymore. I'm gonna have to fix this now...whose bright idea was that anyway?

At any rate, though, I'm more than aware of the fact that the music we're hearing may not be heard the way the composer may have heard it when composing it when it comes to midis, but I don't mind anyway. In my experience, it is still more than close enough to get the idea. Point is that clearly not everyone minds, so save the fact that Rebirth and XL apparently don't play custom midis for reasons that allude me that I will be quickly fixing with my own setup (once I figure out how), I see no problem with using midis.

I could also play the "we're off-topic" card for this too.
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Offline Naphtha

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Re: The Outer Reaches - Beta ready, help wanted
« Reply #12 on: March 31, 2012, 04:28:18 AM »
I'm trying to work through the bugs at this point.  I managed to fix the concave cubes in Level 5, which I believe created a negative space you could get stuck in close to the ice rock in the middle of the main room with the three bridges.  There's a lot more of those negative space bugs in the boss room in Level 6, and I'll probably end up spending a long time fixing those cubes as well...

The boss room required more than 450 cubes for all of its detail, and DLE-XP would crash if I went over 700 in the entire level, which is why it's relatively short aside from the final fight.  The item placement was tricky, too, because I tried to place most of the powerups in the boss room... symbolically, for lack of a better term, but I also tried to keep the action from getting too close to the parts with the buggy cubes.  I don't know if I completely accomplished that, so fixing that is going to be one of the toughest and most time-consuming issues. :/

The reactors not displaying properly on the automaps (they display as either matcens or normal cubes in Rebirth's automap, at least) is kind of a minor gripe I wish I could figure out, but the biggest issue is the unreachable secret level.  No matter what I do to the alternate exit door, DLE-XP doesn't seem to acknowledge that it's there and treat it as anything other than a regular door.  It also doesn't help that the editor seemed to forget at one point that the secret level was a secret level, and moved it into the Level 7 spot until I fixed it in the .MSN file.  Even after that, the exit that should take you to it is still acting up, and I don't know why.
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Offline Kaiaatzl

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Re: The Outer Reaches - Beta ready, help wanted
« Reply #13 on: March 31, 2012, 05:48:33 AM »
I finished the first and second levels, and despite being small they were great.  I'm very impressed especially because this is your first work -- I might finish it all this weekend because of the stupid flu which stops me from being useful.

Offline Scyphi

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Re: The Outer Reaches - Beta ready, help wanted
« Reply #14 on: March 31, 2012, 08:10:32 AM »
I wish I could take the time to play it, because I love good D1 SP level set, but it's finals week, and I expect I'll probably either too busy with homework/studying, or too burned out to play games.

As for the issues with the reactor not showing up correctly, is the reactor placed in a cube labeled as "reactor cube" in DLE-XP? Because these cubes are what show up as red in the automap, so if there is no cube set as "reactor," it's obviously not going to show up.

As for secret levels, that's a bit trickier, but it can be managed. What you want to do first is make sure both the level and the secret level it is to lead to in the same hog file (I have every belief you have this done already, but I'm just making sure). Then bring up the mission toolbar, which should list all the levels that are in the hog file in the window on the left. Find the level that is to connect to your secret level, add a comma at the end, then add on the file name for your secret level. If I remember correctly, that should do it, but if not, I'm sure someone will say so. Unfortunately, I do not have DLE-XP on the computer I'm writing this from, so I have to go from memory here, and it's been awhile since I've messed with secret levels.

As for the alternate exit door, I believe you have to make sure it's trigger is a secret exit and not an exit-exit, but again, I'm just going from memory.
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