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Author Topic: D1 ties to D3's Nomad Level?  (Read 4322 times)

Offline Scyphi

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D1 ties to D3's Nomad Level?
« on: July 30, 2014, 08:54:31 AM »
So I was replaying D3's Martian Nomad level...y'know, the level following the attack on Red Acropolis where you go to recover the crashed Phoenix...and after reading the briefing in detail like I normally do, I went into the level thinking about the established history of the nomads, and the failure of the colony that resulted in them. Now, a lot of people think that their failing colony and the destroyed PTMC Mars colony in D3 Merc are one and the same at first glance, but closer examination shows this obviously isn't the case; D3 Merc's level 1 could've only taken place a few months to a year previous at most and that's estimating very high. The nomads, however, have very developed society, culture, and housings that are clearly the work of several years worth of development, operating on a mishmash of both clearly new and very old tech. Furthermore, the briefing itself, in explaining them, explicitly states the failing colony that brought about the nomads took place "years ago," implying some event well before the events of Descent, most likely. In short, the nomads have been around for quite a long while in the Descent universe, in all likelihood.

But that's not what I'm here to discuss. In thinking about the nomads, that got me to thinking about when their little colony DID fail, and got me wondering if there was any visual clues in the structure of their little habitat (which we don't know if it was built off the remains of said colony, or a new separate structure the nomads later built). The furthest back we know about Descent's history, though, is D1, but my personal headcanon had always been that the D1 mines were among the oldest in the PTMC's possession (when you consider how mankind would've ventured out from Earth and into space, this makes sense). Long story short is this: I got to wondering if maybe this colony the nomads had originated from was maybe built in the "D1 era." And with that in mind, I started to notice things that I hadn't really thought about before, things that might clue to tie the level back in with D1.

We'll start with the obvious, the Homunculus.

(Sorry, the pic's a little dim; got it just as the cutscene was starting to fade to black)

There are clear references to D1 in his design. Note the Class 1 drones located in his mouth...

...and that his claw on the right bears strong resemblance to a D1 era Advanced Lifter.


But I started to notice other little things that bear faint resemblance to things from D1, enough that, though indeed faint, one has to wonder if it's intentional...




They're faint, few, and obscure enough that I could entirely be imagining it, and without getting in contact with one of the actual level developers of this level, we don't really have any means of confirming it one way or another. But the possibility exists, so what do you guys think? Am I just imagining things?  :-\
« Last Edit: July 30, 2014, 08:56:33 AM by Scyphi »
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Offline D2Disciple

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Re: D1 ties to D3's Nomad Level?
« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2014, 10:34:27 AM »
Interesting theory. I think the architecture reminiscent of D1 textures used heavily in Mars-based mines could be more coincidental, since both D1 and D3 attempted to use reddish-hued colors because of the natural color of the planet's crust. But since D3 included the most obvious throwback via a burnt-up Lunar Outpost in mission 10, it's possible that the developers could have been influenced heavily by D1 architecture, and some of that may have shown through.

Side note: I hate the kamikaze Class 1 drones pursuing you in the Homunculus room. I always run into one while circling around the Homunculus.
I, for one, hope this is much, much more than a reconnaissance mission.

Offline Scyphi

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Re: D1 ties to D3's Nomad Level?
« Reply #2 on: July 31, 2014, 06:54:13 AM »
Yeah, I excluded the red martian textures by automatic when putting this argument together for that very reason. But now that the thought's been put in my head, I can't help but shake the feeling that at least ONE of the developers was trying to include throwbacks to D1 in this level. I mean, if you're going to do throwbacks to D1, this level seems like the obvious one to do it with (next to the recreation of D1's level on in D3's level 10, of course).

My recent playthrough on the Homunculus when getting these pics actually went surprisingly well. Normally the Homunculus gets all up in my face and pounds away on me, leaving me with significantly less shielding than before. This time, however, I somehow managed to keep him away from me enough to wail away on him, and none of the class one drones managed to touch me. Only damage I received was from bumping into some of the other bots in the room as well as one of the pieces of the ceiling that fall during the fight, leaving me with surprisingly minimal damage. Not sure how I did it, but I can't complain. :D
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Offline VANGUARD

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Re: D1 ties to D3's Nomad Level?
« Reply #3 on: August 01, 2014, 09:10:13 AM »
It's quite possible. They linked Descent 3 Level 10, with descents first level. D3 level 4 and d3 mercenary, level 7.


Wasn't the super thief level linked with another d3 or merc level?

Offline Kaiaatzl

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Re: D1 ties to D3's Nomad Level?
« Reply #4 on: August 01, 2014, 09:19:54 AM »
And D3 level 15 is linked to D1 level 5.
Though you wouldn't know it unless you went to the objectives screen and actually read all the objective descriptions.

Offline D2Disciple

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Re: D1 ties to D3's Nomad Level?
« Reply #5 on: August 02, 2014, 05:25:17 AM »
Quote
And D3 level 15 is linked to D1 level 5.

I'll have to check this one out. I never noticed this before... Makes sense though.

I, for one, hope this is much, much more than a reconnaissance mission.

Offline Scyphi

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Re: D1 ties to D3's Nomad Level?
« Reply #6 on: August 02, 2014, 08:25:36 AM »
Nor have I, I'll have to remember to check out those objectives when I reach that level next...but yeah, it WOULD make sense...dang, if that's true, how I never made that connection myself before now?  :-\
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Offline Pumo

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Re: D1 ties to D3's Nomad Level?
« Reply #7 on: August 02, 2014, 10:38:59 AM »
Because nobody beats Kaiaatzel at analysing that kind of plot elements, even if they're totally hidden and not obvious at all.
He's an expert at that, that's why he's assisting with story-writing on Sol Contingency! :D

Offline Kaiaatzl

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Re: D1 ties to D3's Nomad Level?
« Reply #8 on: August 02, 2014, 02:36:57 PM »
Naah, the detail was put in a place where nobody ever looks.  Just proves that I'm the biggest nerd of you all. :D
It's not any kind of hidden subtext or images or textures or level design... literally just sloppy writing.  The screenshot shows the full extent of what I'm talking about.

The reason I was made the writer on Sol Contingency was that I happened to have an outline for an abandoned project written that included all of the elements Max hoped we could include in our story, so I was able to adapt it to the project faster than any other prospective writers could write one from scratch. :P
That kind of critical reading is a skill that doesn't really have much to do with writing.  When you're the writer you already know about those hidden connections, you don't need to look for them because you're the one who put them there in the first place -- sometimes even on purpose!
« Last Edit: August 02, 2014, 02:59:08 PM by Kaiaatzel »

Offline D2Disciple

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Re: D1 ties to D3's Nomad Level?
« Reply #9 on: August 02, 2014, 04:49:00 PM »
Well gosh durn it, there it is. Never saw that. Good find, Kai  ;D

Side note: D1 level 5 is one of my favorites. Love the winding, twisty hallways; it's one of the most mine-like levels. Great geometry and level architecture.
I, for one, hope this is much, much more than a reconnaissance mission.

Offline Kaiaatzl

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Re: D1 ties to D3's Nomad Level?
« Reply #10 on: August 02, 2014, 05:37:47 PM »
Also had the same music as the last level of D1.  Coincidence?!?!  ... probably

Offline Scyphi

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Re: D1 ties to D3's Nomad Level?
« Reply #11 on: August 03, 2014, 05:29:59 AM »
Dang, I feel one-upped now...normally it feels like I'm the one who'd know these sort of things before everybody else, but obviously that's not the case here.  :P Kudos to Kaiaatzel for being more thorough than any of the rest of us.

In other news, this totally changes my view of that level. Next time I play it, I'm going to be going through it with a fine-toothed comb trying to find anything that directly, or even loosely, matches with its D1 counterpart. It might be hard; it really isn't an obvious reference, not helped that Dravis apparently went and built new stuff on top of the old for his sanctuary, further masking it.

But that means we've found two, possibly three if I'm right about my observations about the nomad level, direct references back to D1. This means D3 was a lot more retrospective than I had ever suspected it to be before now.  :o

I like it.  ;D
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Offline D2Disciple

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Re: D1 ties to D3's Nomad Level?
« Reply #12 on: August 03, 2014, 01:10:11 PM »
Floating around an empty Dravis's stronghold with a full map (I love cheats  ;)), I didn't notice any really solid connections to D1 level 5, sadly. I figured that, if anything, a heavily modified form of the large, five-door room where the yellow door resides might slip in, but alas, I could find none. In terms of overall design, the only similarity I could see was that underground caverns were designed to disorient: few halls in either level have very clear floors and ceilings. Also, lava rests in some of the lowest portions of both levels. Further, although D1 level 5 uses primarily green and blue hues and D3 level 15 uses warmer earth tones, I did notice the presence of blue and green lights in some of the underground caverns. Of note: Reactivating a reactor deep in one of the abandoned caverns to restart energy centers is an objective, and while the surrounding architecture doesn't resemble D1 level 5, it is interesting that a defunct power core lies deep in the level.

Interestingly, though, some of D3 level 15 throws back to the first D3 demo.

Believe it or not, I actually could not find the demo online. While the Outrage D3 site does still exist, the installers are now corrupted and only serve to install malware onto the computer (I guess that's what happens when a site lies dormant for nine years). However, I do recall the demo mission being significantly longer than the final PICCU station mission; I suppose this was due to the inclusion of keys in the demo before the concept was scrapped completely in favor of purely-objective-based missions. I took a couple of screenshots of a uniquely-shaped energy center connected to a moderately large room with multiple pipes and ring-like structures.

A quick dive into the past revealed that screens of this larger room are still up on Moon's Descendarium (apparently, the second key and quad lasers were found here). My screens and Moon's screens will be posted below. I couldn't find pictures of the accompanying energy center, but I clearly remember it being in the demo, so I got a shot of that as well.

Why D3 level 3 was cut short, I don't know. I do know that the fight with the super thief was added in place of the cheesy UFO where the virus sample was found. I wonder if other architecture from the demo found its way into other missions...  ;)

Strangely, these rooms in D3 level 15 don't really serve any particular purpose.

Side note: does anyone else prefer the demo's crosshairs? Because I do...
« Last Edit: August 03, 2014, 01:26:54 PM by D2Junkie »
I, for one, hope this is much, much more than a reconnaissance mission.

Offline Scyphi

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Re: D1 ties to D3's Nomad Level?
« Reply #13 on: August 04, 2014, 07:04:48 AM »
Yeah, there is a lot of recycled geometry from the demo, perhaps done because the game's crew liked enough they still wanted to use it, or to give a sense of uniformity among PTMC mines (which is another effect it gives, one I rather like, actually). It's also possible that, with it being the last level, they were on the clock to finish it and rushed it by recycling previously made geometry, but that's speculation on my part.

Dunno why the geometery was cut from the demo version either, but I had always assumed it was due to a mixture of data space and time; either they decided making every level that large would be too demanding of the average system of the day and cut back to play it safe (and if so, that may have been a good call, remembering what the tech was like back then) or they didn't have time to give such treatment to all the other levels and cut back on level three so it'd be of more equivalent length to the other levels that didn't turn out as long or complex.

It's also possible that level three was the crew's testbed level, which they used to test out the game and its engine, to make sure everything is working all right, and was originally that big due to them testing more than one idea, to see what worked and didn't work. This could also explain the crashed alien ship (though indications suggest this was more originally due to a different approach in D3's story that, for reasons unclear, they opted to abandon).

As for finding the D3 demo, Techpro recently discovered that someone had ported the whole level to standard D3 a while back, and it remains as true as it can to the demo. You can find it in the list offered here.

Little disappointed that D2Junkie wasn't able to find clearer references to D1 level 5 in D3's level 15, but not terribly unsurprised either. It really does lack the same sort of visual clues, so much so that it's probably not surprising so many of us never connected the two. I'm starting to wonder if when it was first being developed, the makers had plans to make it akin to D1 level 5, then for some reason changed their minds and took a different direction, and the one reference in the objectives got overlooked and not adjusted accordingly (I mean, that objective list is probably overlooked by most players 90% of the time, as it's not really that needed. I only ever knew it was there myself because I once had a stuck key on my keyboard (or something like that, it was by accident at least), and it'd bring that up instead of my automap).
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Offline D2Disciple

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Re: D1 ties to D3's Nomad Level?
« Reply #14 on: August 05, 2014, 05:28:23 PM »
As for finding the D3 demo, Techpro recently discovered that someone had ported the whole level to standard D3 a while back, and it remains as true as it can to the demo. You can find it in the list offered here.


Thanks! Downloading to play through now. I remember it being a really long, solid level before being nerf'd for the full release. I'll check out some of the rooms not present in the final product to see where else they might have ended up.  ;)


« Last Edit: August 05, 2014, 07:02:41 PM by D2Junkie »
I, for one, hope this is much, much more than a reconnaissance mission.

 

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