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Classic Games (Games) Games

It's Time For the Descent Games Return 251

An anonymous reader writes "Gamers of a certain age will probably remember Descent, a game that combined first-person shooters with flight sims in a way that has never really been replicated. GameSpot has an article calling for a new entry in the Descent series, and it reminded me of all the stomach-churning battles I had as a kid (when the game wasn't bringing my 33MHz 486 to its knees). 'Here's where modern gaming innovations make Descent an even more tempting reboot. From the two-dimensional mines of Spelunky to the isometric caves of Path of Exile, procedurally generated levels help deliver fresh experiences to players in a number of genres. The mines of Descent would be perfect candidates for such creation, and they wouldn't have to be limited to the metallic walls and lunar geology of past Descent games.

Imagine exploring organic tunnels carved by some unknown alien creature, or floating past dazzling crystalline stalactites in pristine ancient caves. Perhaps the influences of Red Faction and Minecraft could also come into play as you bored your own shortcuts through layers of destructible sediment. All of Descent's dizzying navigation challenges could be even more exciting with the immersive potential of a virtual reality headset like the Oculus Rift or the Sony Morpheus. Feeling the mine walls close in on you from all sides could get your heart racing, and turning your head to spot shortcuts, power-ups, or delicate environmental details could greatly heighten the sense of being an explorer in an uncharted land.'"
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It's Time For the Descent Games Return

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  • by tomlouie ( 264519 ) on Thursday May 22, 2014 @12:56PM (#47067693) Homepage

    Was it really 2x faster? I thought that it was only 41% faster. Vector math: square root (1^2 + 1^2) = 1.41...

    With three axis, you'd get a 44% boost. cube root of (1^3 + 1^3 + 1^3) = 1.44....

  • D2X-XL (Score:5, Informative)

    by jerpyro ( 926071 ) on Thursday May 22, 2014 @12:57PM (#47067717)

    For those of us who still have the binaries around, the D2X-XL project ( has ported the game engine to OpenGL and has added a number of great things to the project. It supports more players, TCP/IP, and tons of additional features. As with any community project (or commercial project recently) there are bugs, but some of the builds have been quite good. I encourage fans to check out and contribute to the project :)

    I would absolutely play it more if there were a community of descent players ready to go online against (a matchmaking system, for example).

  • by tomlouie ( 264519 ) on Thursday May 22, 2014 @01:01PM (#47067775) Homepage

    Argh, bad math. 3 axis, square root of 3 = 1.73... so a 73% boost.

  • Re:Hell Yes! (Score:5, Informative)

    by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968 AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday May 22, 2014 @01:55PM (#47068531) Journal
    Descent was the single handed cause of insane numbers of joystick sales because myself and every gamer I knew back in the day tried that game ONCE on keyboard and then practically ran to the store to grab a joystick with a hat button. Between Descent and Mechwarrior many a joystick was worn out and i would happily find some room on my gaming table for another stick for a new Descent and Mechwarrior Mercs.
  • by angel'o'sphere ( 80593 ) on Thursday May 22, 2014 @01:58PM (#47068577) Journal

    That was not a bug in Decent but applied physics.
    Ofc you are faster if you strive over three dimensions and use three 'forward' thrusters simultaniously.
    Should be obvious!

  • by Smidge204 ( 605297 ) on Thursday May 22, 2014 @02:01PM (#47068619) Journal

    That's not a bug - that's how physics actually works.

    Your walking speed is limited no matter what direction to go since you only have one pair of legs. But in a space ship, the thrusters add up using typical vector addition... in all three dimensions.

    It was literally a feature, and a good one! The most unrealistic thing about it was only that the top speed was limited, which makes no sense for a spacecraft in a vacuum.

    I suppose you have to draw the line somewhere, 'cause real free-floating 3D with proper conservation of momentum would be a real pain in the ass.

  • Re:D2X-XL (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 22, 2014 @02:20PM (#47068805)

    So this Slashdot article mentions that GameSpot ran an article saying how nice it would be if a new Descent game was released.

    How about some actual news, about something that has actually happened in the last three months (from the time of this article being posted)?

    Descent 2 @ Steam [] has been made available for $9.99 (on February 19, 2014). Related videos have also been released: Descent 2 video @ Steam: Opening []
    Descent 2 video @ Steam: Game Play [] ... or, for those who wish to get even greather value per penny spent: Descent 1 and Descent 2 @ [] (one payment of $9.99 covers both games). Descent @ Steam [] ($6.99) is also available.

    For Descent 3, once again GoG seems like it may have an edge:
    Descent 3 with Expansion, @ [] ($9.99)
    Descent 3 @ Steam [] ($9.99)

    So, regarding this parent post recommending:

    For those of us who still have the binaries around

    ... for those of us who have suffered hard drive crashes, floppy disk damages, or were just too cash-strapped as youth, there are now some convenient, legal ways to get access to those binaries.

    Descent 2 Source Code @ Descent Developer Network (DDN) @ [],
    Descent 1 Source Code @ Descent Developer Network (DDN) @ []. The code for Descent 1 includes the MINER level editor. It does not include some of the code that was copyrighted by someone else, such as low-level code related to serial port (including modem) handling, and sound libraries. The license says non-commercial use only. A forum post [] indicates that there are some troubles with those download links, and recommends the Icculus D2X Project [] for source downloads. That website has Source Code for Descent 1 for PC @ [], Source Code for Descent 1 for Mac @ [], Source code for Descent 2 @ [], plus the source code for the Icculus D2X project, and other downloads like shareware versions and Descent 2 game patches, and references to resources like Descent Developer Network (DDN) [] which might be of interest to anyone wanting to enhance the source code. Hyperlinks to download official updates/patches for the second game were found at that site, but not for the first game. However, patches for the first game are available, and may be found at TOOGAM's page of Retail Games: section related to Descent [] (my site which has hyperlinks to download from Interplay, and also hosts the game patches in case Interplay stops hosting those downloads), and mentions other projects like MacDescent3Dfx, and D1X Project.

    The web page for the D2X-XL [] project, a project mentioned by this parent post, starts with a giant banner that states, “This Project Needs Funding”. (That seems very questionable, as it may be running afoul of the non-commercial clause of the source code release...) The Descent Level Editor (DLE) [] on the same website, does not have that same funding-se

  • Re:Hell Yes! (Score:4, Informative)

    by antdude ( 79039 ) on Thursday May 22, 2014 @02:45PM (#47069083) Homepage Journal

    For me, it was on 26400-28000 dial-up connections including Kali [] (it still exists). IIRC, the shareware/demo(nstration) had 20 minutes time limit so players would just disconnect and reconnect to rejoin the game at any time. Haha.

  • by UnknownSoldier ( 67820 ) on Thursday May 22, 2014 @03:16PM (#47069371)

    Exactly. Game glitches invented all sorts of new things ... []

    #6. A Bad Mouse Click Leads to Lara Croft's Rack
    #5. A Racing Game Glitch Gives Birth to Grand Theft Auto
    #4. Space Invaders Accidentally Invents Difficulty Curves
    #3. A Disgruntled Employee Invents the Easter Egg
    #2. Street Fighter Accidentally Invents Combos
    #1. A Programmer Sucking at Games Gave Us the Konami Code

  • Re:Hell Yes! (Score:4, Informative)

    by Adrian Harvey ( 6578 ) on Thursday May 22, 2014 @06:45PM (#47070917)

    Drifting off topic, but if we're talking the gaming ports, they weren't serial. They were much, much worse. The joystick potentiometers were connected across pairs of pins in the connector, but then, instead of just making them an input to a DAC or something simple they were basically hooked up as the variable resistance on a 555 microtimer so that the position could be read by triggering the timer and counting how long it took to drop back to it's base state. I know DACs were expensive at the time it was designed, but this choice led to some programs having to busy wait to measure, endless issues with different processor speeds needing to be compensated for, and the requirement to regularly "calibrate" the joystick in each game. I suspect the chances of that precision timing working well on a multi core, variable speed CPU with a real (preemptive) OS and possibly a VM in the mix too, is small.

    A USB device that works as a DAC and pretends to be a modern joystick interface would probably improve the controller no end.

    And yes, I bought a joystick just to play Descent too. But a simpler one than the GP.

  • Re:Hell Yes! (Score:4, Informative)

    by Spiridios ( 2406474 ) on Thursday May 22, 2014 @09:59PM (#47071745) Journal

    D3 was a serious let down for the series, followed up by "Free Space" and by then, the ride was over. While Free Space was a decent game, it's inclusion in the Descent series made it drift too far from what made "Descent" Descent.

    FreeSpace came out before D3, and it was never intended to be a Descent game, nor is the universe the same. It was was only named Descent because "FreeSpace" on it's own was trademarked for a disk compression tool. I never played it beyond the demo, but a lot of people enjoyed the game in it's own right.

  • Re:Hell Yes! (Score:4, Informative)

    by djrobxx ( 1095215 ) on Thursday May 22, 2014 @11:14PM (#47072005)

    The original Descent and its sequel were open-sourced, there are Direct3D versions of it now that run on modern OSes. I used to use D2X, but there's []

    which seems to be popular now. Configuring an old game controller should be a non-issue, the game supports full configuration of whatever inputs your controller supports, and the USB/Game port adapters will map all of the available controls to DirectInput pretty cleanly. I played Descent with D2X using an Xbox controller and it worked great. Today's modern controllers with dual analog sticks and buttons galore are great for Descent. :)

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