Amateur Development
Making Levels For Descent 3


In June 1999, I agreed to help out my buddy Chris Ledwith with his contract to program the editor for Descent 3. I became the Lead Tester for Chris, and this also gave me early access to the editor prototype to get a head start on producing levels for D3.
My first level was a remake of my classic level for Descent 1, Greenland. This level features a limited weapon selection, the "green" weapons of plasma cannon, smart missiles, guided missiles and lasers. This level is small and tailored for head to head play.
I went on to produce seven more levels for head to head play, including five more remakes of my classic levels, and two all-new designs. Each of my levels featured a different weapon balance, different gameplay. I combined them all into a mission pack called Mano a Mano.
Most of my level-making focused on team mods, such as Entropy. I led the 300baud Productions design team in producing five major mission packs. You can read more about those levels by following that link.
For the first Steel City LAN in Pittsburgh in 1999, I also produced a level for the Monsterball mod, which is sort of like playing soccer or hockey in Descent. My Monsterball level is called Jump Ball, and it is only fun on LAN, as it is the one level that I produced for team mods that is not at all compartmentalized. (It lags online).
After I left the Descent community and had moved on to Diablo II and Civilization III, an old compatriot from early Descent days, Vlider, sought me out asking for permission to break up my Mano a Mano mission into individual levels, for easier use on the new D3L, the Descent 3 Ladder. I agreed, and several of my levels became mainstays for D3L competition.
Many of my team levels also served as standard fare for play amongst the D3TL, the Descent 3 Team League, which I cofounded with Bash After I left the Descent scene, Bash continued to lead the D3TL through its glory days, whereby dozens of teams and hundreds of players used the competitive system that I devised to play countless team matches.
As such, I had a large impact on the Descent 3 community across the board.
My final level production was a grandiose venture to support sixteen player games for four-team mods on LAN. I called it Space Station Sirius. The level involves four main rings, one for each time, connected through a simple shaft system. As far as I know, the level only got used once, for the big finale team event of the Steel City LAN in 2000. (One needs a major LAN party and at least sixteen players to use the level, so one might describe this as a niche market. ) Lot of work for one brief moment in the sun, but at least my grand finale for Descent level making got completed, unlike my unfinished blockbuster map for Railroad Tycoon II.
I also produced all of the maps for Chris Ledwith's mod, Duel, but I'll talk about that in the next section.
All told, I released over thirty of my own levels for Descent 3 within one year, and I helped others with their levels many times, sometimes quite significantly.

- Sirian

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