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Author Topic: Descent 2 mission in the works - Modding and misc help requested  (Read 8171 times)

Offline Naphtha

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Descent 2 mission in the works - Modding and misc help requested
« on: November 18, 2012, 10:01:13 AM »
(Sorry in advance for such a long post... There's a lot of basic/not-so-basic info I felt I had to give on this idea! :P)

After taking a bit of a break following the release of "The Outer Reaches," I started getting a lot of ideas for my second mission.  It's much bigger with concepts for roughly 20 to 25 levels right now, several of which I've finished alpha designs for.  The mission is tentatively titled "Descent Dreamspace," but I realize there's already a mission on DMDB with a very similar name so I'm open to suggestions for a rename.

The reason for the current title is a design motif for parts of the mission: Surreal, but still beautiful.  I don't want to take the surreal element to the "Look what we can do with the editor" level that is "Levels of the World," mind you.  I'd rather come up with tasteful ways to take design ideas that might not have seen a lot of use elsewhere and possibly even make them a primary focus in certain levels.

Most of the levels are conceptualized in some form, but I'm willing to accept substitutions for at least a couple ideas if any other level designers would like to take part.  If you'd like to contribute a level, keep in mind it would have to be for standard Descent 2 to allow for a wider audience. (Make them D2X-XL only and I wouldn't even be able play them! XD)

Tentatively, the mission would be split into four worlds or chapters.  Each would likely be made up of roughly five obligatory levels (although I wouldn't mind if this varies a bit) and one secret level, and of course each would have its own texture scheme or story concept:
- Chapter 1: Environmental disasters as an underrunning theme.  This could end up using GROUPA.PIG or WATER.PIG, depending on the nature of the levels.
- Chapter 2: Subterranean expedition.  The main element here is "earth," which I'm hoping to distinguish from the "fire" element of Brimspark-like levels.  Color scheme used is ALIEN1.PIG.
- Chapter 3: Trapped under ice.  ICE.PIG, of course.
- Chapter 4: Techno industry.  These levels may have a secondary theme for background/outdoor sections, but a base or facility would be the main focus.  ALIEN2.PIG.

Finally, a list of what I'm looking for help with:
- Robot mods.  I know Descent Valhalla has a download of the Robot Construction Kit, but it doesn't seem to be complete and I can't get it to run at all.  If somebody has a full, working copy and a can transfer it, that'll be great.  If you can coach me on how to use it as well, that'll be awesome.  If not, I'll do what I can and at least sketch out concepts of new robots I had in mind.  Ideally, I'd love to have a near-full set of replacements for D2 robots.
- Story fine-tuning.  I have a rough concept, but I want help fine-tuning it and hunting for plotholes.
- Graphics for each chapter, hopefully (in the vein of Descent 1 or "The Lost Levels").  I had an additional idea for the briefings to set them apart, but because I can only work with specific media, I'd need help with some of the graphics.
- Advice on balancing the set and/or help building a .HAM to slightly balance the weapons.  Most of my knowledge of Descent 2 item placement and weapon balance comes from observing other single-player missions, but I wouldn't mind an extra point of view to consider in trying to balance this mission.

I'll be happy to give more info, or upload some robot designs or examples of what I've completed so far.  If it'd be easier to discuss this project on an instant messenger rather than via PM here, I do have an AIM handle I'll give out on request.  But really, if anyone's interested, let me know, because any help would be great. :)
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Offline Scyphi

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Re: Descent 2 mission in the works - Modding and misc help requested
« Reply #1 on: November 18, 2012, 10:32:16 AM »
Story fine-tuning? Oh I can SO help you there, and then some!

I'd love to contribute a level too, but unfortunately the only level I have complete that's even worth mentioning is of D2X-XL design, and I don't have the time to build anything else at the moment. Well...actually I DO, but that's time that should probably be better spent at present, probably even more so than I've actually been spending it at the moment...long story.

But story fine-tuning, or anything pertaining to story creation/writing, I can quite readily help with. :D
"I thought I had a great idea, but it never really took off. In fact, it didn't even get on the runway. I guess you could say it exploded in the hanger." -Calvin and Hobbes
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Offline Kaiaatzl

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Re: Descent 2 mission in the works - Modding and misc help requested
« Reply #2 on: November 18, 2012, 03:36:29 PM »
I'd be offering to do the same thing as the Sythyry except he offered to do it first.
I mean the Scyphi.

I'll see about doing level design, you could put me down tentatively.  Though my style may be a bit too realist for this project.
Your chapter 2 theme does give me some texture scheme ideas, at least, though.
The good thing it is that the you is not looking for soundtracks from the me, for the me already has two or three soundtracks to work on.  This should do the explaining that I am not volunteering for soundtracks even without being asked or indicated in any way, like I usually do.
« Last Edit: November 18, 2012, 03:42:43 PM by Kaiaatsel »

Offline Scyphi

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Re: Descent 2 mission in the works - Modding and misc help requested
« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2012, 07:59:38 AM »
Quote from: Kaiaatsel
...the same thing as the Sythyry except...

That's a new one.  :o
"I thought I had a great idea, but it never really took off. In fact, it didn't even get on the runway. I guess you could say it exploded in the hanger." -Calvin and Hobbes
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Offline CrazyEnzo03

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Re: Descent 2 mission in the works - Modding and misc help requested
« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2012, 08:21:36 AM »
Naphtha,

I would be happy to help you in all things custom robots, custom weapons, level design, storyline, and possibly weapon balance.  I'd like to see if I can get Blarget in on this as well.  He taught me half the things I know about messing with custom content.  The other half I learned on my own.  I have a near-fully working Robot Construction Kit (I have everything that is useful working) and I can walk you through the process of getting it to work... on a VM.

You're welcome to use my custom Pyro-GX model as well.
« Last Edit: November 19, 2012, 08:29:13 AM by CrazyEnzo03 »
Some people are like Slinkies. They aren't really good or even useful for anything but they always manage to put a little smile on your face when you give them enough of a push down the stairs.

Offline Naphtha

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Re: Descent 2 mission in the works - Modding and misc help requested
« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2012, 08:35:29 AM »
Awesomeness.  I'd definitely love to have a copy of the construction kit for sure, and in the meantime, I'll work on any additional sketches to upload more robot ideas to work off of.  I have a few unique ideas for things I'd love to exploit, but I might need even more help to set them up, so I'll be sure to include any details I had in mind when I message you with the scan links. ;)
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Offline CrazyEnzo03

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Re: Descent 2 mission in the works - Modding and misc help requested
« Reply #6 on: November 19, 2012, 09:10:24 AM »
I will say a few things about the Robot Construction Kit:
1) The version on Descent Valhalla is, in fact, complete.  Or at the very least, contains everything you really need.
2) you have to use Windows XP or earlier for the RCK.  Therefore, I recommend you either get an older computer or I can show you how to set up a Virtual Machine with Windows XP on it; it's basically like emulating a computer with WinXP, but better since you can transfer files to and from the VM.
3) It is recommended that you have rbotedit, which works great even on Win7 x64,
4) While we're at it, if you have any plans on editing player weapons at all, you'll need to use the DOS version of HAXMEdit.  This can be problematic to run and more problematic to learn, but is worth the trouble.  Blarget knows his way around it better, but I've done cool things with it tool; for example, I used both GXEdit and HAXMEdit together to make a legitimate Instagib cannon.
5) Very important to note: I'm a multiplayer guy.  I'm not too keen on single player weapon balance and things like that.  For these kinds of things you might be better off asking someone like DarkFlameWolf.  On the other hand, I've been wanting to get more into single player stuff for years and I know a few twisted tricks of my own that make levels extremely interesting.
Some people are like Slinkies. They aren't really good or even useful for anything but they always manage to put a little smile on your face when you give them enough of a push down the stairs.

Offline Naphtha

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Re: Descent 2 mission in the works - Modding and misc help requested
« Reply #7 on: November 19, 2012, 09:48:23 AM »
I'd much rather have the VM.  IThere is a working XP here at home, but I'm only home from college for the week of Thanksgiving, so...

I do have RBotEdit, and I think the only things I'd really need to know about it are what some of the parameters mean as well as the save options.  The "bitmap area" parameter in particular is confusing, since I was thinking I'd only need to say what robot to replace once.

The weapon mods also weren't going to be too major.  I was only planning on making tweaks to damage and energy consumption to keep certain weapons from being too overpowered or useless, but not a full set of new weapons for now.  Just a little rebalancing. ;)
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Offline CrazyEnzo03

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Re: Descent 2 mission in the works - Modding and misc help requested
« Reply #8 on: November 19, 2012, 10:44:59 AM »
For a VM I recommend VMLite Workstation.  If you have an XP CD handy, you can use it.  VMLite also installs Windows XP Mode as an XP OS.  This is what I use.

Well regarding RBotEdit, for me it's like I took my first bike ride in 6 years.  I don't remember about the bitmap area thing because yes, it is very confusing.  I think it had to do with the fact that you can normally only use a specific number of textures adjacent to each other in the game files.  You have to be a bit careful messing with them, but it's not too bad.
Might even be worth it to make a .POG or something with the right textures already set so you don't have to screw around with all of that ugly stuff.

Again, if you're doing any weapon mods at all, you'll still need the DOS version of HAXMEdit.  Even with this, it's less intuitive than it should be to change up or tweak weapons.  But in HAXMEdit32, you are completely unable to change player weapons at all iirc because it could lead to *multiplayer cheating*.  GXEdit screws with the damage you take in multiplayer, though that can easily be fixed.
Some people are like Slinkies. They aren't really good or even useful for anything but they always manage to put a little smile on your face when you give them enough of a push down the stairs.

Offline Naphtha

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Re: Descent 2 mission in the works - Modding and misc help requested
« Reply #9 on: November 30, 2012, 02:02:29 AM »
Well, back at college until December 12th and then I'll be back home to try and mess with the Construction Kit on either the XP desktop or to figure out the last couple kinks.  I got a full version through a link set up by Krom on DescentBB (found here) and it seems to start up okay, except that I can't get past the splash screen no matter what I press.  I don't know if the VM is missing in the download and that's why I can't go further, but it sounded like it should work as it is.

I haven't gotten around to their troubleshooting suggestions just yet because the last few weeks of the semester are keeping me too busy to be online for long, but in the meantime, I figure there's something else I can do, which is upload what I have so far for the levels themselves.  It's all in a winzip that I uploaded through Dropbox, and I'm sending a PM with the link to anyone who may be interested in designing for the mission, just to get more of a feel for what I might be looking for.

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Offline CrazyEnzo03

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Re: Descent 2 mission in the works - Modding and misc help requested
« Reply #10 on: December 13, 2012, 10:36:50 AM »
There is a strong chance that I may be unable to help out much this winter.  Classes went quite a bit south.
Some people are like Slinkies. They aren't really good or even useful for anything but they always manage to put a little smile on your face when you give them enough of a push down the stairs.

Offline Naphtha

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Re: Descent 2 mission in the works - Modding and misc help requested
« Reply #11 on: December 13, 2012, 11:47:29 AM »
Damn, really? D: I'm hoping it didn't go as bad as you're expecting, but please let me know what the next few months are going to look like as soon as you have the grades in.

But just in case, should I try to contact Blarget to help out?
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Offline Naphtha

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Re: Descent 2 mission in the works - Modding and misc help requested
« Reply #12 on: December 16, 2012, 02:31:09 AM »
Updated the winzip with one more level, and I might be tweaking some of the other ones as I go.  I initially had a slightly different plan for Chapter 1 that I didn't want to reveal too much, because it would've been a surprise Descent 1 theme before the modded robots would suddenly start appearing in the first boss's chamber.  But that's no longer the plan I have in mind, so I might update or completely redo the other Chapter 1 level from scratch.

Robot sketches are still pending, since my attention has been elsewhere lately.  I've at least been trying to balance the robots in terms of weapons, so partial descriptions may be sent to someone who can help me test the actual balance of the entire cast, but I realize the polymodels will probably have to be completed before anyone can truly test them.  Uploading one sketch every other day would probably be a bit fast for anyone who could work on the polymodels, but I do want to get the ideas out there, so the winzip will likely be updated every couple days with new sketches and ideas.

As for the plot idea, I might drop a Notepad or Word document into the winzip as well so Scyphi isn't the only one to see it.  Anyone else who's interested in helping out, just send me a PM and I'll get you the Dropbox link.
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Offline CrazyEnzo03

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Re: Descent 2 mission in the works - Modding and misc help requested
« Reply #13 on: December 17, 2012, 08:38:52 PM »
Good news.  I should be able to help out.
Some people are like Slinkies. They aren't really good or even useful for anything but they always manage to put a little smile on your face when you give them enough of a push down the stairs.

Offline Naphtha

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Re: Descent 2 mission in the works - Modding and misc help requested
« Reply #14 on: December 18, 2012, 11:17:09 PM »
Sweetness. :D I'll definitely need you on board to help with more of the mods and that portion of the mission.  I added a .TXT file with some specifics of what I had in mind for mods that I didn't want to mention here, along with the rough outline of the storyline.  That probably has a ton of plotholes in it, so hopefully Scyphi can help me out there.

Come to think of it, if anyone has an AIM account, I wouldn't mind discussing things over there in a group chat one of these days.  It feels a little more convenient because of the pseudo-real time behind an instant messenger, so it could end up being a productive way to trade ideas.  Until that's sorted out, of course, you're all free to message me back with suggestions and ideas, or any extra/updated files to throw in.
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