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stx-Vile: 2005-09-14 06:07:35 pm
The man made of sticks
6 more levels to go! Plus the secret levels. When everything is all set and done, are you going to send all of this to Radix?

I may take another stab at a select few of the earlier levels, but otherwise I'd be satisfied with what I have so far.  They will be submitted, although me and Lag might have to document the changes made by the D1X engine, as this was a concern when the Duke3d runs appeared a while back.  There are no physical differences aside from some obscure bug fixes, since most of the demos will play back completely in the original game (haven't tried all of them, but the ones I did try ran fine).  The biggest changes over the original game are the increased framerate, higher resolutions, being able to rebind weapon keys, and setting weapon priorities (which I turned off completely to avoid switching to a weapon when it got picked up).

Well, there's also the bug where the client will crash while recording a demo depending on how much available space is left on the HD, too.  We might have to track down what causes that.
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stx-Vile: 2005-09-15 09:11:13 pm
The man made of sticks
22 / Neptune Storage Depot - 1:34 - AVI

Well obviously it's a storage depot, I mean... oh, nevermind.  The music does some weird stuff about halfway through.  I forget if it played like this years ago or if it's the SBLive card not behaving when it comes to midi playback.

I remembered this level because of one specific room, dubbed the hell room, or perhaps Vulcan Hell, to be more specific.  It's a large, open and dark room with at least 6 vulcans, a couple cloaked vulcans by the reactor door, and two robot generators that make regular vulcans and cloaked vulcans.  The fastest route requires an unprotected run through the room, but luckily the cloaked vulcans by the reactor room door have a high probability for a successful cloak drop.  It's necessary for the escape, but even so, it's easy to get killed in the reactor room since charging the fusion shot will blow your cover... and most times I only have around 20-30 shields for that room.

EDIT: BTW, the robot referred to as a vulcan, because of its vulcan cannon, is formally called a "Class 1 Driller" by the game, but eh... no snap to it.  Anyway, calling it a Driller won't work well either, since there's another robot called the "Class 1 Heavy Driller" which is the plasma bot.
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stx-Vile: 2005-09-18 06:10:34 am
The man made of sticks
23 / Triton Storage Depot - 1:56 - AVI

The first Fusion Hulk appears here (called the Miniboss in some guides).  Actually, if you visited the first secret level all the way back in level 10, you would have seen it first there, but this is its first normal level appearance.  A hit from one of their shots costs exactly 60 shields.  Passing through the small space into the hulk's room is a bit luck-related, as he sometimes fires off a shot down the middle which can't be dodged while keeping up my speed.  Luckily, another element of weapon drops comes into play here that should be elaborated on.

Some item drops from enemies, like shields, missiles (from the matching hulk, conc or homing) and energy is luck-related.  Sometimes you get none, other times you get many.  In the case of missiles, I believe the number of missiles possible to be dropped are 1, 2, and 3.  The same is also true for cloaks and vulcan cannons from the vulcan bots... sometimes you get what you want, other times not.  However, for the quad laser, plasma cannon, and fusion cannon, the first robot you kill which carries this particular weapon, assuming you don't already have one, will ALWAYS drop that weapon for you.  So, using this run as an example, the quad laser drop at the start had a 100% success rate, as did the fusion cannon drop from the fusion hulk.

There's also a nice little bonus here... or maybe not... the fusion cannon's charge sound did not show up at all.  This can be attributed to D1X, I believe, as sometimes there are bugs in the sound playback that show up every now and then.  Lag can attest to the fact that the spinning fans are sometimes either very quiet or ridiculously loud, and sometimes a robot's idle noise or the ship's crashing sound will come through annoyingly loud.  A restart didn't fix the problem, so I guess it's a permanent part of the demo.  It doesn't affect gameplay, as charging the fusion gun still revealed myself when I was cloaked, but it's an annoying discrepancy.

Anyway, the run itself... not too bad, I guess.  It's an awkward level to run so movement could be better, but I need to proceed if I'm going to finish the whole collection.
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-Suzaku-: 2005-09-19 03:45:49 am
Eternal Understudy
Man, you beat the level at 3% shields, that's pretty risky. Love the runs, stx-Vile. I grew up with the demo of this game (first 7 levels) and I never got to see the later levels until now. Keep it up.
i like to watch.
i played this game years ago, when it was new, and watching your runs prompted me to track down a playstation copy (which i am playing through right now).

i'm enjoying your replays lots.
sda loyalist
Sorry that I haven't been making many demos; I've been doing University stuff like registering, finances, moving house etc. and not had much time.
That said, Drew is still much better than me at the game. Smiley
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stx-Vile: 2005-09-20 09:20:44 pm
The man made of sticks
24 / Nereid Volatile Mine - 0:59 - AVI

Just a few millis shy of 58, but I'll have to just deal with it for now and move on.  I actually got better cooperation here from the bots so I'm thankful for that.  Rest of the comments I copied from the txt file:

"This level is a large maze designed around several circular tunnels leading into the middle, where the reactor is kept.  However, being a maze, it's quite fast once you know where to go.  I shot some robots I didn't need to, which was shortly after the blue key.  They almost ALWAYS block the doorway out, so I was surprised that they didn't this time.  It almost allowed me to shave another second off, but as is, I came way too close... argh."

I did a remix of the music for one level before (taken from the PSX game), which I considered kinda a bonus thing.  This time, I included a pic of the map screen, completely filled in.  It'll give you an idea of how big the level actually is, or maybe show people who haven't played the game what the map screen looked like:

It's a 3D map which you can turn around, zoom in, and basically check out from every perspective.  One of the cheat codes will completely fill in the map, which is useful for finding the best secrets to utilize.  A lot of the tough maps are just hiding all the best stuff. Smiley

EDIT: one last note... that WAS the secret exit I used, since it's the closer of the two exits, like on lv10.  It's the third secret exit in the game.  The second was on lv21, but the normal exit was closer that time.
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Quinn_Zitlau: 2005-09-20 10:21:39 pm
I have a question about these runs. Let's say you're on a level that has a secret level in it. Let's say you take out the reactor like normal and exit out of the chute, all good. But what if you took the secret exit? It would constitute the end of the level, and might be faster than taking out the reactor and such. Or, are you running said missions twice under two different categories, "secret exit" "not secret exit?" Just curious. But in any event, excellent runs stx-Vile.

- Quinn
sda loyalist
You still have to destroy the reactor to get out of the secret exit; they both open at the same time.
Interesting, that's news to me. But in any event, will there be two seperate runs of one of those levels, one with the reactor exit and one with the secret exit?
sda loyalist
We didn't plan on it; the only consideration for single level runs is absolute speed. Of course, if they are going to be glued together, we either need to go out of the normal exit or go through the secret exit and then the secret level, which is... probably longer. It's a shame that the second secret (on Level 21) exit is further away than normal, as the secret level itself would take about 15 seconds to complete.

Anyway, the real answer is 'no'. When/If the runs get put on SDA, they will be purely single-level.
I see. Well thanks for answering my question, Lag.Com :).

Good luck with the rest of the run.
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stx-Vile: 2005-09-20 10:35:54 pm
The man made of sticks
I originally intended to run levels 10, 21, and 24 for both exits in the beginning, as this would be a similar setup to Doom where there are two runs for normal and secret exits.  However, I noticed that the routes for the normal and secret exit routes in this game are very similar.  Only the very end of the run would be different, so there wasn't as much motivation to try for two runs on the same level that I would be satisfied with.

I'm making up for that by running the secret levels themselves, since recording them is a bit trickier than recording the normal levels as they can't be selected from the level menu.
The man made of sticks
25 / Pluto Outpost - 1:44 - AVI

Unusual level design-wise, as well as its difficulty level, which seems toned down a bit.  It's also unusual to not see any homing missile hulks at all on the main route (the level does have a few of them, though).  The level also has a fusion cannon, but it's way too far from the main route to be of use.

Also note the music... you've noticed the reused score here, like previous levels, but it's really a lazy approach to it.  Levels 23 through 27 use the music from levels 1 through 5, in that exact same order.  As such, level 27 uses the level 5 music, which is rather dull... depending on how long the run for that level takes, I wonder if my choice for a remixed avi would work.
The man made of sticks
26 / Pluto Military Base - 2:16 - AVI

Quite an addicting level, though one could hardly tell that this is merely one level away from the final boss encounter.  Powerups are provided at just the right points in the route and a fusion bot is robbed of its weapon for the reactor advantage, so there were no pitfalls to overcome here.  I was once again teased by milliseconds when I received a 2:17.03, and it took a bit longer to get this time.  I believe it was a high .90 this time, 2:16.9x, which gives me more incentive to just move on.
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stx-Vile: 2005-09-25 03:43:18 am
The man made of sticks
S2 / Asteroid Military Depot - 0:09 - AVI

I took a break from trying level 27 and figuring stuff out to do this one, since me and Lag knew for a long time that this would be the shortest of all descent levels.  There's no shortcuts here; the level was just designed to give you a lot of freedom.  You could either run around collecting hostages and all kinds of powerups and weapons, or just take the key, destroy the reactor and be done with it.

This is also the only time in these descent sessions where I can say with confidence that the time is optimal.  The exact time, using Lag's timer program, is 9.99591.  I had tons of runs in the 10.0x territory before finally getting this.  The following is stuff I just snipped from the text file:

"It seems like I don't utilize tri-chording as much as I could be, but the shots are used more strategically than it first appears.  The first 6-7 shots, once I enter the level, are used to open the first door, the door on the far end of the middle chamber, AND the door to the reactor when the red key is picked up.  By opening these doors as soon as possible, I lessen the chance of my upcoming barrage being caught by the reactor room door opening.

The reactor itself must be hit by all 5 conc missiles for it to blow up without me having to sit still and continue firing upon it.  There's a super hulk sitting in front of the reactor, so the first few lasers will push it out of the way so the next lasers and conc missiles will be able to hit the reactor without interference."

Since the level can't be accessed with the warp menu, the way I had to record this was finish level 21 with bare minimum of equipment that one would have when starting a level from scratch, save the game at the exit of the mine, then just reload from that point to record.  In this case, 100 energy and shield, the dual level 1 laser, and 5 conc missiles (in Hotshot skill, that is, since the number of missiles the player starts with does vary depending on the skill setting).  The save file is included in the rar with the demo and text.  To use it, the file has to be renamed to match your player profile, otherwise it will be ignored.
I love YaBB 1G - SP1!
This is the first secret level video you've done? How many others are there? Two?

It's awesome to see that you're almost done, I forgot how close you were. Is there only one boss level in the entire game before the final one? I just remember level 7 or something, nothing else.. that's a bit disappointing.

Hopefully you'll do D2 or something as well. Tongue Though a well-deserved break would be understandable.
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stx-Vile: 2005-09-25 04:22:46 am
The man made of sticks
Yes, two more secret levels... and there are only two bosses in the game.  That leaves three undone levels.  I'm going to try improving the earliest levels when I get done, as I got better at tri-chording as I progressed.

Recording Descent 2 would be a bit tricky... the D2X client, which is basically the Descent 2 version of the D1X client used for these runs, is not as developed.  However, I did get the client to run, but with lagged sound effects.  If I manage to fix that, maybe running the game in that condition would be acceptable.

It also appears to chop visually quite a bit when certain effects take place... that would be rather ugly as well.
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slYnki: 2005-09-25 04:17:59 am
That AVI actually made me laugh, I have no idea why. I think my only contribution to this run would be suggesting suicides, talking about the "strafe flying," and saying good work. But, I know a little about the last boss. I just know he warps around from square to square randomly... or maybe randomly? Not sure if he goes in a pattern or not, but if he does, it would be a good thing to take note of, especially if you place yourself perfectly for this next strategy. If you see how many missles it takes to finish him off, you can launch the final mega missle at him right by the exit chute, and you're laughing. If memory serves, the exit chute is in that same room. I only mention this perfect placement because I'm not sure the mega missle can fly around corners and such and hit him. If it can, well that's cool. Although, you could just tri-chord into the chute from afar, but this may just shave off a few precious seconds. Also stx-Vile, I'd like to help and suggest somethings if I can for the beginning missions when you redo them.
The man made of sticks
Actually, being close to the exit isn't a big concern.  When the boss dies, he'll spin around for several seconds before finally exploding, which is when the exit chute finally opens up.
Ah, good point... rofl. Say, stx-Vile, I know you're opposed to this, but are you going to include deaths in your re-runs of the beginning levels?
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stx-Vile: 2005-09-25 05:04:17 am
The man made of sticks
No, having more than one standard would be kinda confusing... that would be like having two incomplete tables.

EDIT: One last note about the secret level run that I forgot is the reactor itself.  The reactors in all three secret levels are very weak compared to ones that would be encountered in the normal levels at that point in the game.  For example, having just reached that second secret level from lv21, which has a significantly stronger reactor, this seems a bit strange for the reactor in the secret level to be so weak, but it's true.
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stx-Vile: 2005-09-26 02:48:02 am
The man made of sticks
27 / Charon Volatile Mine - 1:47 - AVI - remix'd

From the text:

"I'm as happy with this run as I can be, I suppose, since the boss' teleportation is completely random, so there's no way to anticipate exactly where he will go.  That's why this level inevitably becomes frustrating to speedrun, but at least I can say that I did act appropriately based on how he moved so that I could grab the appropriate powerups AND consistently keep my fire aimed right at him.  There were many different possibilities, such as just sticking with the spreadfire that's provided at the start, or going to the secret room in the boss chamber and picking up more mega missiles, OR do the quad laser strategy, which I did here.  This was ultimately the route I felt most confident about, as my main concern was not wanting to leave the chamber once I arrived.  Bringing an invulnerability from the red key stock room was part of that plan, as well... I'm unlikely to return to this one, but I can say that I am satisfied, at least."

Be aware that the teleportation effect in D1X is visually bugged in playback.  That is, the effect of the boss cloaking just before teleporting doesn't show up in the demo, so it appears that he teleports around without any hint to the player when in fact you could tell when he was about to move ingame.  This was the same deal with the lv07 boss... an annoying discrepency, but oh well.  We've seen that demo support in this game AND D1X is a bit odd.

The remix is just the same run only using music from Descent 2, since the music in this level was rather dull for a final boss... I couldn't submit it that way, as stated before.  It's just for amusement.
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Lag.Com: 2005-09-26 07:39:23 am
sda loyalist
Now, this is the last level in the standard game, but Drew is working on improving the first 4 again; those were run without any real reliance on tri-chording, so the times are out of date. I feel sorta sad that I haven't contributed a demo to the final time after starting it up, but he's better than me. Smiley
Once Levels 1-4 are redone, I will glue to the entire thing together and capture it, and provide the final time.
Of course, on SDA the levels will be listed individually to promote further competition, but I like being able to see the whole thing. Smiley
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stx-Vile: 2005-09-27 06:31:19 am
The man made of sticks
S1 / Asteroid Secret Base - 1:04 - AVI

Not too bad... could have a few moments smoothed out, but that would come hours later with little to show for it.  Anyway, this run does have something rather unique about it.  As you can imagine, this game does not offer as many speedrunning possibilities as, say, Doom or Quake, where new tricks and shortcuts are discovered over years of honing the record times.  Since the locked doors are the ONLY portals to further sections of the level which cannot be circumvented by fancy jumping, the only hope for faster running is route optimization and practice.

This level, however, was the one exception that we are aware of, as it contains the only known sequence-break in Descent.  Only one of three keys was needed to finish, and this was not an intentional design element.  You might already know about this, but if not, enjoy. Smiley

Another funny thing about the level is that most Descent players would recognize it, even if they never visited it themselves.  This is a level featured in one of the demos that comes with the game, so you'd get to see the fusion bots long before you ever discovered them personally.

NOTE: Secret level 2 was already finished.  Check a page back in the thread to find it.