Author Topic: Descent: Underground on Kickstarter  (Read 19954 times)

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Offline watsisname

Re: Descent: Underground on Kickstarter
Well, I've been sitting on the fence about DU for ages, for precisely the reasons outlined in that post.  Consider me convinced.  Backed.
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Offline Zacam

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Re: Descent: Underground on Kickstarter
I'm going to jump on the "Backed" train as well.

Simply because, good or bad, success or failure, the market only goes where there is interest.

If you'd rather no game than a "meh" game and said "meh" game doesn't manage any sort of fruition, then nobody is going to bother with that "better" game.

And if it's NOT a better game and still just ends up being "meh"? Well, at least it'll be out there, proving that people want something like it, paving the way for that better game.

And nobody says this means you HAVE to back it. Hell, we're not even saying it has to be your <ration of> of <beverage>.

But at least can some of the negativity and let promotion and support (for at least the idea and the desire) make this a (hopeful) win.

I am a bit worried that I didn't hear about this until only 11 days left. I've seen some projects hit a win with even less time to spare, but they are only half-way there right now.

Despite that, backed it anyway.
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Offline rubixcube

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Re: Descent: Underground on Kickstarter
Damn, I'm so torn, on one hand I really want another descent game, but I also don't really want to support IP.
I'll have to mull this over for a bit
Stuff

 

Offline Sushi

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Re: Descent: Underground on Kickstarter
Those that are not convinced that one of the goals is to  make a game that deserves "Descent" in the title read should read this wall of text (it's really worth it):
http://descendentstudios.com/community/topic/1069-to-kali-skeptics-why-im-a-believer/?hl=drakona

This post is written by a Descent veteran, and there are more of those guys that already support the project (e.g. Jediluke, google his name). Enjoy!!

Quote
The Crazy Ships Mode is not a replacement for anarchy. It's a replacement for single player! It's a replacement for co-op! It's more than that, it's better than that, it's the pilot training simulater we never had!

Actually this is exactly what I'm worried about. I don't want the game focused on the hyper-competitive niche multiplayer scene, trying to "train" pilots up to that. I want the single player and co-op!

It may be a good game for that multiplayer community, but it's not looking good for single-player fans. I'll continue to wait and see, maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised at some point.

 

Offline watsisname

Re: Descent: Underground on Kickstarter
Yeah, I got that kind of vibe from Drakona's post as well, that she is eschewing SP in favor of using the ship classes as a way to bring new players in for the purpose of preparing them for the competitive scene.  But I don't believe the devs have that in mind.  I think their primary interests are the SP and story, explaining the origins of PTMC and the mechs, and, above all, a variety of ship classes specializing in roles for team-vs-team play.  I'm not sure how exactly co-op will fit into it, but this would be an excellent question to ask of them.  And prior posters here are right: the devs are very receptive and responsive to questions and concerns from the community.

The concern amongst the hardcore anarchy players is that, thus far, the available material makes the game seem more focused on this ship classes and team-vs-team play, and its hard to see any place for them in this.  They want to see a game where the flight and weapons dynamics conform to the original Descent games, with strafing, trichording, using your ship, terrain, and weapons fire to control the space around your opponent and dictate their moves -- in short the "dance" that you can sense Drakona gets misty-eyed about when she describes it in her posts.  They'd like to know that there will be a place for them to test their dogfighting skills against one another in anarchy, and that it will feel true to the original Descent they know so well.  Drakona's post is trying to convince them that the devs do understand and appreciate the core Descent "physics" that make its PVP so interesting, and so they will be able to enjoy D:U even though it's not specifically a game meant for their niche.


Personally I consider myself somewhere between a casual Descent player and a hardcore competitive player.  I started Descent the year it came out, immediately fell in love, and mostly spent my time in the SP campaign or co-oping with a few friends.  It was maybe in the last 5 years that I engaged in the anarchy scene, mostly on D3 servers or D2X-XL with some other HLPers (oh man those were good times).  And let me just say, I know full well what it feels like both to be the ace pilot and the cannon fodder in that environment.  My friends who play casually tell me that I'm essentially untouchable, and any anarch between me and them is very one-sided.  But when I play on some D3 servers, with people who have apparently been playing every day since at least last millennium, I get my ass kicked.  Fast.  They pull off dodges and place weapons fire with such quick, smooth, thoughtless precision that I swear it is dark magic.  It's beautiful.  It's also perfectly infuriating and guaranteed to make any normal person who joins quit out in 60 seconds or less.  (I stuck around, continued to get pummeled, but managed to have some fun (if even in a masochistic sense) and picked up some new skills along the way.  But I totally get why most people would want no part of that, or of a game that focuses around that community.  I don't think D:U will be like that. :)

ed:  Did I say 5?  I meant 10.  I keep underestimating how much time has gone by.  20 years since D1! :blah:
« Last Edit: March 31, 2015, 11:08:20 pm by watsisname »
In my world of sleepers, everything will be erased.
I'll be your religion, your only endless ideal.
Slowly we crawl in the dark.
Swallowed by the seductive night.

 

Offline riomaki

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Re: Descent: Underground on Kickstarter
Since this is the most Descent-related forum I frequent anymore, I really can't seem to get behind this project at all.  I've been a fan of Descent since the shareware days, but this project honestly seems to be Descent in name only.  For all the dedication these devs claim to have, I look at their videos and I'm at a loss, wondering what Descent they were playing back in 1996.  It sure doesn't look like the one I remember.

And since they're putting the majority of their eggs in the multiplayer basket... I just don't get it.  Where is a sustainable multiplayer community supposed to come from?  The Descent "vets" don't want to start from zero.  Why else have they played the same handful of levels for a decade?  That's why they insist on reshaping the design to suit their idiosyncrasies, so they can crush all the newbies right out of the gate.  And do you think newbies are going to buy this whole trial-by-fire bit?  Not at all.  The days of expecting people to die a thousand times to become experts at a game are over.  So, explain to me how the multiplayer doesn't die on the vine, because I just don't see it.

I'm surprised to see the Descent community so rallied around this.  As Scotty said, there's a whiff of desperation here.  The idea that "If this doesn't succeed, we'll never have Descent again!"  But that's not a very compelling argument.  Perhaps they aren't familiar with Kickstarters, but they are a lot like political campaigns.  The devs will make a ton of promises in the fundraising stage, but if they are successful, they have no obligation to listen to them.  All they promise is a game.  Not the game you want.  A game.

I am also skeptical because so many of these devs came from Star Citizen.  While people can and will defend Star Citizen until they are blue in the face, what can't be argued is that microtransactions are a huge part of their game.  Even now, with Descent: Underground, we see a ton of emphasis on "perks" and grinding for rewards.  We have tons of ships to choose from.  We have two forms of currency in the game.  We have a yearly subscription for Alpha/Beta access.  Is all this really necessary?  It all begins to sound like a lot like that other space epic boondoggle.

And that's fine, if space epics are your thing.  But, to me, Descent's ambitions should be a lot more modest and focused.  I've often said that my ideal Descent game, today, would be something that evokes nostalgia for the late 1990s.  A deliberate throwback, visually and aurally.  Something that could hang alongside Wipeout XL, or appear in the background of the movie Hackers.  Something that is proudly abstract, loud, and psychedelic, but with modern design sensibilities.  I actually don't feel there is much to be gained by taking a big-budget "triple A" Unreal Engine 4 approach.  All the pretty graphics in the world aren't going to change the fact that it's a niche game for a niche audience.  Capcom figured this out with Mega Man 9, which did the 8-bit throwback thing before it became totally overused among indies, but it proved a point.  As long as the game is uproarious fun, you didn't need anything more than that.  I think the developers of the successful STRAFE Kickstarter had the right idea.  But that's just my opinion.
« Last Edit: April 02, 2015, 07:54:08 pm by riomaki »

  

Offline jr2

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Re: Descent: Underground on Kickstarter
Well, see, as long as DU is moddable, we will all win regardless, because people will just mod the game to be what they want it to be anyways.  (The vets will mod in the retro throwback and play on their servers, with a nice modern engine to power it.)

 

Offline BirdofPrey

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Re: Descent: Underground on Kickstarter
I it gonna make it to funding?
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Offline riomaki

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Re: Descent: Underground on Kickstarter
I don't know if they've ever said it would be moddable, but if they haven't, I'm inclined to assume it won't be.  Simply because they're obviously putting  a lot of effort into their economy and tiered unlocking system, which would be a moot point if mods could circumvent it.  :sigh:

 

Offline watsisname

Re: Descent: Underground on Kickstarter
@riomaki
Perhaps I haven't been paying close enough attention, but my understanding was that the alpha is available to anyone who pledges over $80 during the kickstarter, and beta for anyone over $30.  Where did you read about these requiring a yearly subscription?

Quote
And since they're putting the majority of their eggs in the multiplayer basket...

They are focusing on the multiplayer right now because that's the most effective method for balancing the ships and weapon mechanics.  They talk about this quite a bit in their latest video update by the way, I think it's worth checking out.

Quote
"The Descent "vets" don't want to start from zero.  Why else have they played the same handful of levels for a decade?"

There are literally thousands of maps available for Descent, but a lot of them are not that great for multiplayer/anarchy.   I've gone through a significant number of them, myself, and finding ones that were very fun to play and replay felt like finding the diamond in the rough.  The vets don't stick to the same maps because they are afraid of confronting something new or starting from scratch.  They stick to those maps because they are still fun.  They were very well designed for interesting and emergent PvP gameplay, which is something you can't necessarily tell just by looking at them.  It becomes apparent after playing on it for a while.  Ascent, for example, was one of the most fun experiences I have ever had in an anarchy game, and my friends and I have kept playing on it for years.

I think the vets only want the same thing that you do: gameplay mechanics that are faithful to the original.  If they nail that, then the experience is fun for everyone, whether it be SP, CO-OP, or anarchy.  And nobody is going to force you to play anarchy against the top level of players.  They devs are even discussing a ranking system such that players who are interested in competitive play can easily choose to play only with those of their skill level.
In my world of sleepers, everything will be erased.
I'll be your religion, your only endless ideal.
Slowly we crawl in the dark.
Swallowed by the seductive night.

 

Offline CP5670

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Re: Descent: Underground on Kickstarter
This looks compelling, but I would wait for a full release before getting too excited about it. There have been a number of Descent-like 6DOF games in production over the years and very few have delivered or even made it to release, even long before Kickstarter and its trend of games that over-promise things. The only such game I really liked was Retrovirus, which has its own distinct style and combat mechanics, different from Descent.

There are literally thousands of maps available for Descent, but a lot of them are not that great for multiplayer/anarchy.   I've gone through a significant number of them, myself, and finding ones that were very fun to play and replay felt like finding the diamond in the rough.  The vets don't stick to the same maps because they are afraid of confronting something new or starting from scratch.  They stick to those maps because they are still fun.  They were very well designed for interesting and emergent PvP gameplay, which is something you can't necessarily tell just by looking at them.  It becomes apparent after playing on it for a while.  Ascent, for example, was one of the most fun experiences I have ever had in an anarchy game, and my friends and I have kept playing on it for years.

I think the vets only want the same thing that you do: gameplay mechanics that are faithful to the original.  If they nail that, then the experience is fun for everyone, whether it be SP, CO-OP, or anarchy.  And nobody is going to force you to play anarchy against the top level of players.  They devs are even discussing a ranking system such that players who are interested in competitive play can easily choose to play only with those of their skill level.

I was playing D3 online semi-regularly a few years ago, and did find that the community played a very narrow selection of maps at least at the time. It was basically only Varicose Veins and Skybox, which got old after a while. There used to be a much wider range of maps played back in the day, including all the stock map packs and different game modes like Entropy and Monsterball. This tends to happen in many old games that people play for a long time though.

I think Descent multiplayer accentuates skill differences between players unlike any other FPS out there. A really good player can dominate even a slightly lesser player to an extent not possible in most other games. This makes it rewarding to master for those of us who have played for a long time, but means there is a very high barrier to entry for newcomers. Like you, I've been playing Descent regularly in some form for 20 years and get smashed by the current D3 players, although I was able to be reasonably competitive at one point.

 

Offline riomaki

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Re: Descent: Underground on Kickstarter
My statement about "yearly subscriptions" comes from their own Kickstarter.  In the Add-Ons section of their rewards, they describe a plan called The Underground where $79, yearly, gets you access to their private forum, design minutes and alpha/beta access.  How that jives with the beta access pledge stated in the right column, I have no idea.  Maybe it's on top of that.  Either way, it's a subscription, and it struck me as weird and reminiscent of the "perpetual development" that Star Citizen is in.

As far as level variety is concerned, I have never accepted that the narrow selection of popular maps was born from how fantastic they were, mostly because I never got the sense that the vets bothered to give new maps a serious chance.  Perhaps if they spent 100 hours playing X instead of Minerva, they'd see it has several gameplay qualities as well.  I just feel the whole "exemplary gameplay" justification came after-the-fact.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2015, 11:20:21 am by riomaki »

 

Offline CP5670

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Re: Descent: Underground on Kickstarter
There used to be a much greater variety of maps played back in the day, during the one or two years after D3's release. All of the stock Outrage map packs were common, as well as a few fanmade ones. I have a lot of great memories of maps like Core, Half Pipe, Steel Vapor, and Kataclysmica across a variety of game types, but nobody plays them today. :no: This is something I've seen with other old games too though. In UT for example, CTF is dominated by Facing Worlds with Instagib and a bunch of fanmade mods.

One problem with making a niche Kickstarter game like this multiplayer-focused is that it tends to die out quickly and has little lasting value.  There are quite a few multiplayer indie games that I liked a lot, but which I discovered a year after their release and were barely played by anyone online at that point. This is something Retrovirus did well. It has an extensive singleplayer campaign, even though the multiplayer is essentially dead.

 

Offline watsisname

Re: Descent: Underground on Kickstarter
Cross-linking another Drakona post.  A very impressive post, which first analyzes Descent's ship and weapon "physics", then goes deeply into the theory of level design, how it has evolved over time, and what elements lead to different kinds of game-play for different kinds of pilots.  It is a wall of text as usual, but if you want to understand why some levels seem overplayed by the community, while others seem largely ignored, then I highly recommend giving it a read.
In my world of sleepers, everything will be erased.
I'll be your religion, your only endless ideal.
Slowly we crawl in the dark.
Swallowed by the seductive night.

 
Re: Descent: Underground on Kickstarter
My statement about "yearly subscriptions" comes from their own Kickstarter.  In the Add-Ons section of their rewards, they describe a plan called The Underground where $79, yearly, gets you access to their private forum, design minutes and alpha/beta access.  How that jives with the beta access pledge stated in the right column, I have no idea.  Maybe it's on top of that. 

You can get alpha access starting from the 80$ packages. Subscription is not required for alpha access, but as a subscriber you would also get it (on top of whatever package you have).

 

Offline riomaki

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Re: Descent: Underground on Kickstarter
While it's nice to have someone who can obsess over all the little details (I remember the Homing Missile tracking discussions in DX-Rebirth), I do question their ability to see the forest for the trees.  Particularly in this thread, where she asserts that only the pros know what's best (and therefore has no faith in DXX-Rebirth or Sol Contingency because they didn't listen to her every word).

I'm not saying the vets shouldn't have a say in things - after all, they are essentially your only customers at this point (and probably the reason I don't bother with Descent anymore).  But at the same time, you can fall into a trap of listening to them too closely (as Top Gun remarks).  They want to build a game that they are innately comfortable with, but what comforts them is not necessarily what makes the most design sense 20 years later.

To Descent: Underground's credit, although I think their levels are oversized, I have to admit they are exploiting the heck out of the Z-axis.  I mean, why is it that the most popular Descent levels, years later, are essentially 2D levels with uniform 20-unit-tall ceilings?  Kind of defeats the point of 6DOF, right?  That mystified me back then and it still mystifies me today.  You'd think that "skilled" pilots would invite a challenge in the style of D1 Level 10's majestic opening room, instead of these tight, claustrophobic layouts that are all the rage.

And ultimately, I do hope that the next incarnation of Descent, should there be one, dictate some brand new ideas for everyone to mull over.  I'm not a huge fan of this game's ideas, which I feel diverge a bit too much from what I feel Descent should be, but I would prefer developers that come in with a fresh set of eyes.
« Last Edit: April 06, 2015, 04:59:36 pm by riomaki »

 

Offline jr2

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Re: Descent: Underground on Kickstarter
~393K / 600K, 3 days left.  Hmmm...  Hopefully gets a big surge at the end.

 

Offline watsisname

Re: Descent: Underground on Kickstarter
Quote
You'd think that "skilled" pilots would invite a challenge in the style of D1 Level 10's majestic opening room, instead of these tight, claustrophobic layouts that are all the rage.

They would get bored of it very quickly. :)  A good design for singleplayer is not always a good design for anarchy.  Often quite the opposite.

The main thing is that it takes too long for skilled pilots to kill each other in an open space.  This is not a problem of aim.  It is a problem of dodging.  They’ll dodge nearly everything that is thrown at them, whether it be laser, plasma, or full racks of homing missiles.  A very skilled pilot can even dodge the mega missiles in a space barely twice as wide as their ship.  Trust me.  I’ve seen it.  The space required to dodge any D1 weapon besides the vulcan (or the fusion just because of its large hitbox) is remarkably small.

Put a bunch of them in a large room, and you’ll find that the combat trends towards pilots keeping their distance and scoring hits with the highest-velocity weapons available.  Pretty much the only D1 weapon that is practical then is the Vulcan, which happens to be the lowest DPS of any primary (and not by accident).  Otherwise, one might try to get in close to where they can slide faster than the opponent can turn, and score hits that way.  This is generally the option that involves more risk than skill.

So, what the small, claustrophobic spaces are doing is twofold.  It forces combat to happen at shorter range, and it limits your options for movement.  If you’re good, you can still dodge any given shot just fine.  But now it becomes possible for you to use your own ship and fire to further limit your opponents options.  And vice versa.  Instead of playing "who can aim-and-click faster or out-strafe the other better", you’re playing a fast paced game of chess in three dimensions.  It requires a very different set of skills, and is something which is often poorly understood by casual players.  But it played a huge role in how level design evolved over time.  I think it’s also a large part of why there is this big division in the Descent community between people who prefer playing D1 anarchy or D3 anarchy.  (I’ve played a lot of both, and enjoy both, but they are very different, largely for the reasons being discussed here.)  I’m hopeful that D:U’s gameplay (assuming it’s even funded; looking pretty grim at the moment) will be fun for both.

I totally agree with you about the vertical component though.  With the D:U maps seen thus far it looks like they are utilizing the third dimension extremely well. :) 
« Last Edit: April 08, 2015, 05:34:33 am by watsisname »
In my world of sleepers, everything will be erased.
I'll be your religion, your only endless ideal.
Slowly we crawl in the dark.
Swallowed by the seductive night.

 

Offline riomaki

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Re: Descent: Underground on Kickstarter
Well, hopefully any future Descent game would investigate some of those weapon shortcomings.  Your argument is well-reasoned and, to me, it's a shame that the mechanics of the game don't truly support the 6DOF gameplay that people expect.  I personally enjoy the big, glorious dogfights that would tend to happen in larger levels, and I believe it's what most gamers think Descent multiplayer is supposed to be about.  Back when the game was new, that's what a lot of people did, "tedious" or not.

The fact that the game "evolved" into this extremely twitch-based don't-blink-or-you're-dead affair... yeah, I can see why the die-hards like it.  It alienated me really fast.  So, that's why I've always treated multiplayer and its vets like they live in their own little world.  I see Descent: Underground, ostensibly a multiplayer effort, and I fail to get excited when I see those same people trying to dictate its design.  That's not the Descent I'm interested in.
« Last Edit: April 08, 2015, 12:50:25 pm by riomaki »

 

Offline CP5670

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Re: Descent: Underground on Kickstarter
I agree that game design primarily catered to multiplayer veterans will not result in an active or long-lasting game, and would just drive away new players. However, large open spaces are not really conducive to multiplayer. This was a problem with the outdoor areas in some D3 maps, where any weapons except the Vauss and MD were useless, and stalemates were common until someone eventually ran away and went indoors. However, you can definitely have smaller and more cramped levels that are still spread out in the third dimension, which maps like Minerva or Veins are certainly not. In D3, Core was a better example. I recall another good one called Get 3D for D2 that we used to play here on HLP.