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HeXeticOffline
Post subject: Things You Couldn't Do In Descent 1/2/3  PostPosted: Dec 08, 2005 - 04:07 AM
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This is sort of a field-guide for mappers to the enhancements offered by the Doom 3 engine over those used for Descent 1/2 and 3. The idea here is to point out features that the Doom 3 engine has that could help create better representations of reality than the Descent engines could.

Obviously, this is not an attempt to denigrate the Descent engines. They did quite a lot for their time (especially the original). But there are many things they couldn't do or couldn't do as well as Doom 3 can and not all of these differences are obvious to mappers.

Anyone is free to contribute ideas to this list. Probably the best technique is to point out an abstraction used in Descent to represent reality and describe how such a thing would be represented more clearly with the Doom 3 engine's capabilities.
 
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HeXeticOffline
Post subject: RE: Things You Couldn  PostPosted: Dec 08, 2005 - 04:15 AM
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Let me take on some of the more obvious differences.

Monitors
From the very first moment of gameplay in the original Descent, players were hit with the new (for the time) highly animated textures of the "broken monitor showing PTMC logo" walls. Throughout the game, both computer screens and various techno-babble walls are used with the appropriate bleepity-bloop style animations. The transition of monitoring equipment to Doom 3 is not unlike the transitioning between the original Star Trek and The Next Generation. Doom 3 is capable of rendering not only completely legible screens of variable sizes, positions, shapes, and multiplicities, but the GUIs can change based on map triggers as well as user input.

This means that, for example, in Armageddon mode, when the reactor goes critical, all GUI screens could change to show a countdown timer as well as an arrow pointing the right way to the emergency exit. Monitors can also serve as remote viewing appartus - a feature first introduced in Duke Nukem 3D, but enhanced in Doom by the elimination of a need to switch to a full-screen view of the monitor - it's high-res enough that you can just glance at it and see a ship sneak by.

GUI panels in Doom 3, in their role as map-triggered devices, can also do things like indicate the status the reactor, of doors, of the presence or absence of power-ups, of the current score leader, of who has what gun, of a player's current location. (Some of these may require code changes to IC)

Monitors can also display vastly more complex animations; the intro screen and main menu to Doom 3 is, essentially, a GUI that can be pasted onto any monitor surface in Doom 3. Even the intro sequence is running in a GUI on a monitor in the actual gameworld; this is what gives it so much punch when the camera pulls back to reveal Marine Command.


Doodads
Even in Descent 3, the maps are somewhat spartan in their representation of everyday "doodads" that one finds lying about in most occupied places. Bits of wire and cabling, pipes and conduits, work lighting, garbage, crates, America On-Line CDs, computer consoles, dirty magazines, storage lockers, bacon cheeseburgers, microwave ovens, chairs, tables, arcade machines, steam vents, construction girders, temporary gas-powered generators, and more.

All of the above doodads are available already in Doom 3 for placement anywhere in any map. While most action will take place in areas not reserved exclusively to human occupation (the Pyro is an outdoor toy; you cannot bring it into the living room), some of the above things can realistically be placed in mine tunnels, access shafts, and the like - especially things like cabling and work lighting.


Lifts, Cranes & Conveyors
Sure, bots can carry things, but when there's a lot to be carried, usually you want to have a emplaced machine haul it around. Moving machinery was patently undoable in the first two Descent games and only occasionally used in the third, but is used almost to the point of excess in Doom 3. FPS gamers have always been familiar with the lift; of course, this made no sense to Descent, but with the advent of realistic representations of actual lifts (a cage with a door), this is no longer the case - it is not unreasonable to create situations where a player would land their ship inside a lift cage in order to be transported a high-speed up a deep mine shaft.

Cranes in FPS games are more often of the "just there" kind, but even "just being there" is an improvement. The Mars City Underground contains a near spot-on model of a genuine construction crane that could be used for IC maps to add flavour, depth, and something to take cover behind in larger rooms.

Conveyors are eye candy and not for the ship-borne player to use, but they can be in the map to provide both a more realistic environment as well as to give a player an explanation for why a conduit is full of circular saws, pounding crushers, and the like. Which brings me to my next item...


Circular Saws, Pounding Crushers, and The Like
The environments of Descent were singularly unanimated for mines, but the same charge can be levelled against pretty much every FPS before Quake II. Doom 3 allows, like its predecessors, for the implementation of a number of dangerous machinery. The Residue Processing level in Half-Life and the Waste Centre in Quake IV are the most prominent examples of these, with players forced to go along conveyor belts while avoiding pounders, grinders, ovens, and pits of slime. Doom 3 itself featured numerous examples of the above, as well as more bizzare machinery like the "cable connector-CHUNK" thing next to the Plasma Rifle in Tomiko Reactor. The "slime pit" obstacle is, of course, hardly an issue for gravity-defying ships, but all the others can be of use. Map-makers, don't forget about using moving machinery and pain zones (due to heat, cold, whatever) to make life difficult to the player.

Of course, in general, one tries to minimize player discomfort in multiplayer, but some of the most memorable FPS maps (e.g., UT's Healing-Pod, Q2's The Frag Pipe) involved at least one piece of deliberately deadly machinery. Don't forgot that machinery can be triggered by anything: time, presence of a player, control panel being shot or otherwise interacted with, etc. Anything you can use to trigger something in a map, you can use to trigger a trap in the form of a piece of machinery.


Real-Time Shadowing
Descent had an excellent lighting model for its time, but Doom 3 does better, with real-time shadow-casting from light sources. Ignore this feature at your peril; the best maps use dynamic and/or moving lighting and/or shadows to best effect. A skilift-style conveyor is interesting on its own, but if the conveyor's thick arms block the room's only light as they go by, making everything pitch-black for a few seconds at a time, then it's something interesting. The skillfull player will take advantage of the shadows to reposition him or herself and surprise his opponents.

And the players cast shadows, too. Put a light at the one closed-off point at a 5-way junction and anyone across from it will be able to tell when someone's up there by the shadows they cast down. In a 6DoF environment, don't forget that lights don't always go where they might go in a 4DoF environment. Illumination from the sides, above, below, and even a point light source in the middle of a room all provide more interesting environments than just plain-old "lights on the ceiling".
 
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Post subject: RE: Things You Couldn  PostPosted: Dec 17, 2005 - 11:05 AM






in 1996 Descent 2 had "breakable" lights which could be shot out...

*vertex lights
*light or dark only in software, very static lighting

2004 doom 3 has lights that can do just about everything but your taxes.

*per-pixel everything
*volumetric
*Bump, Specular and Difuse casting
*textured or non-textured lights
*scriptable and bindable


Doom3 also holds Radiant over things like DEVIL, MINER, DMB2 or D3Edit......no more cube based worlds or polygon limits.


The sound system in Doom 3 is also much more versitale....events can be scripted like anything else.

Descent 3 won awards for it's real-time colision detection code......Doom 3's physics system is fully modable and much more capable of adding elements to gameplay.

The biggest difference is that Doom 3 has a true development environment bult into it (doom3.exe +editor) where as the descent tools were often 3rd party entirely. Also, an SDK was released for doom 3 to aid the development of mods.
 
   
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Post subject: RE: Things You Couldn  PostPosted: Jul 09, 2007 - 07:22 PM
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I'd like to see maps based a lot more like mines than like "levels"... the idea being that whilst we all enjoy good maps to fly around, some of them are less like believable functioning mines and more like a series of twisty tunnels with randomly floating missiles and guns around the place.

So how about thinking how a mine might really be designed, then adjusting that slightly to make it workable as a "level"? Start off with the exterior airlock / docking facility and work down through command and personal levels (most of which may be inaccessible - you wouldn't find large mining mechs or Pyros flying around computer labs). There'd also be loading and shipping facilities (the main shipping dock would most likely be a huge place enabling barges and smaller craft to come and go).

Below the shipping levels you'd start finding the actual mine proper, material processing, any research labs, fuel storage, atmosphere processing / environmental areas and of course the reactor core.

The point being that all this would be laid out with some general formula to it - not random and totally without function. Infact, Doom 3 itself is a good reference guide as it maps out Mars City from the start of the game - showing you how each area connects etc. so that it's not just random.
 
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Post subject: RE: Things You Couldn  PostPosted: Jul 13, 2007 - 06:57 AM
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true, but also, you have to think if such a level would be good for multilayer battle. for example, if you were to take mars_city or mars_city underground and duke it out in a death match, would it be any good. generally it would be a straight end to end level. no twists, no circular connections, starting at the exterior airlock and ending down in the pits. personally i would much rather make a level not consisting of an entire mining complex, but something more malleable, a simple mine. where it would be more sensible to have winding twisting tunnels and small "rest stops" full of weaponry and shields. would be realistic, yet satisfactory for death match games.

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KalfirethOffline
Post subject: RE: Things You Couldn  PostPosted: Jul 27, 2007 - 08:15 PM
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Ahh that is a good point, I was thinking more within a single player aspect (which I know isn't on the cards yet).

I don't see any reason you couldn't take some of each though - have elements of a "working" mine incorporated into the more multiplayer tuned twistyness of a pure MP level...
 
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MandingaOffline
Post subject: RE: Things You Couldn  PostPosted: Jul 27, 2007 - 08:50 PM
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Since we have humanly inhabitable areas where the pyro can't get into why not give the player the ability to get off their pyro to inspect said areas, I'm sure the engine can do it. This would add a new dimension where you may achieve goals in a new way. IE the acces key or code can ony be opened from said terminal, which requires you to get off your ship and go to said terminal through a cafeteria or something. Expanding the players role to accomodate for a lot of things and opens so many avenues of possibility. This could also help in hostage rescuing and such. What do you all think.
 
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HeXeticOffline
Post subject: RE: Things You Couldn  PostPosted: Jul 27, 2007 - 09:00 PM
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We discussed this when first starting work on the mod and the consensus was that out-of-ship play was not on the menu.
 
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MandingaOffline
Post subject: RE: Things You Couldn  PostPosted: Jul 27, 2007 - 09:17 PM
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hmm, will there be npc's that will perform this kind of thing, as it seems very plausable.
 
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HeXeticOffline
Post subject: RE: Things You Couldn  PostPosted: Jul 27, 2007 - 09:21 PM
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You're talking about singleplayer now. This thread & forum was more for multiplayer inspiration. In a singleplayer campaign, we would of course have people in and not in ships, but that's a lot easier than having the player be in his ship and on foot.
 
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KalfirethOffline
Post subject: RE: Things You Couldn  PostPosted: Jul 27, 2007 - 10:03 PM
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Sorry if I stirred up a hive there, it does make sense to sort out the MP aspect, game mechanics that pertain to it, weapon balances, ships and so on - before worrying about what more you can add to it. That way you'll have a solid base to start from rather than trying to balance lots of plates at once!
 
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Post subject: RE: Things You Couldn  PostPosted: Jan 05, 2010 - 05:00 AM
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Is their a way to add switches. So you could have a battle around a deteriorating reactor and the players would have to flip switches every certain amount of time or the reactor would explode killing all players instantly before starting all over again? This could be an interesting twist...
 
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HeXeticOffline
Post subject: RE: Things You Couldn  PostPosted: Jan 11, 2010 - 08:43 AM
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This is already available in the Doom 3 engine. Activate-on-being-hit triggers are available for mappers to place, and these could be used for Descent-style switches and doors.
 
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