Last Updated: 07/04/99

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Well, if you have not heard the news yet.

I am doing the Macintosh version of Descent 3 !!!

so I won't be updating my "old" Descent games for a while

Whats New!

v1.27 5/31/99 (getinfo says 1.26)
D1/2 Network multiplayer games work again (Netsprockets & IPX)
D1/2 Slide on works with bank
D1/2 Frame rate display fixed
D1/2 Keyboard config crash fixed
D2 Palettes reset properly after returing from a dialog during game play

v1.26 5/28/99
D1/2 Persistant debris, Tunnels full of floating junk,
D1/2 Zoomed in view now has reduced controller sensitivity, great for snipping
D1/2 Incremental damage only breaks the weapons that you have
D1/2 Ambient fan & lava/water sound now play simultaniously if appropriate
D1 Fixed briefings first page only bug, look for Dravis's new hat
D1 Stars are back in the mine exit scene
D1/2 Better Rage Pro texture support
D1/2 Fixed transparent bot bug
D1/2 Fixed Automap bug

v1.25 5/25/99
D1/2 OpenGL 32bit rendering now optional (hold down option key at startup to get prefs dialog)
D1/2 Music track bug fixed
D1/2 Lots of minor bug fixes

OpenGL v1.24 5/20/99
D1/2 MUCH better texture memory managment
D1/2 ChromaDepth rendering
D1/2 Ambient lighting adjustment
D1/2 Increased controls sensitivity
D1/2 Cleanup & minor bug fixes

v1.23 5/17/99
D1/2 OpenGL verion ready to rock,
No cockpit mode yet
System font Monaco used for HUD
No chromaDepth rendering

v1.23 5/7/99
D1/2 Turned the mouse driver back on, Sorry bout that

v1.22 5/6/99
D1/2 Incremental ship damage after shields are depleted.
10% chance of explosion from each shot, 10% chance of stuck-on control. The randomly selected systems are +/- 6 degrees of motion, weapons & afterburners.
Shield powerups repair a few damaged systems based on difficulty level, energy powerups only repair one.
Repairs are prioritized as such: pitch, heading, forward/reverse, slid L/R, slide U/D, bank, after burner, weapons.
D1/2 Fixed the FINAL save game bug
D1/2 Press the F4 key after dying to get the load menu directly
D1/2 Fixed the command-Q then cancel bug

v1.21 5/1/99
D1/2 More optimizations (Silky smooth updates)
D1/2 Fixed crashes with smooth sprites
D1/2 Added controller deadzone slider
D1/2 Better controller sensitivity increments
D1/2 Fixed save game bug
D1/2 Fixed command-Q quit dialog

v1.20 4/26/99
D1/2 Added smooth sprites option (Draws bitmaps as textures, Uses LOTS of texture memory)
D1/2 Much more VIVID colors everywhere. No more dull/dark mines!!
D1/2 Fixed palette switching bug when briefings are on
D1/2 Fixed death sequence crashes

v1.19 4/11/9
D1/2 Multiplayer IPX Network Protocal (Including Internet play with Kali)
Play against MacPlay & PC D1 pilots may result in strangness
D2 pilots can only play against others with my version of D2
D1/2 Software render version released
D1/2 More efficent frame buffer writes (smoother/faster battles)
D2 Translucent force fields

v1.18 4/4/99
D1/2 Realistic powerup lighting (no more glow-in-the-dark missiles...)
D1/2 Translucent energy weapons & powerups
D1/2 Adjustable explosion animation length, can smooth out battles considerably
D1/2 Mines remaining counter & better drop logic
D1/2 Cloaked Mines at hotshot, ace & insane difficulty levels
D1/2 Even better Sound Sprockets, me thinks
D1/2 Fixed weapon pickup next/prev misselect
D1/2 Command P or Escape required to end pause

v1.17 3/30/99
D1/2 Weapon auto selection order menus!!
D1/2 Ambient sound for lava beds
D2 Secret exits now take you to the secret level
D1/2 Limited the keyboard pitch & heading speeds
D1/2 Fixed gauges Error in demo mode.
D1/2 Fixed transparent Laser Fire bug
D1/2 Cleaned up laser sounds
D1/2 More fiddeling with Sound Sprockets

v1.16 3/28/99
D1/2 Shooting out the lights turns them off (Yes even D1, just no broken light texture)
D1/2 The headlight uses energy, the rate is based the difficulty level
D1/2 Cloaked robots are now just shadows (You've been warned)
D1/2 Fiddeled with the sound sprockets some more
D1/2 Fixed pixel depth switch on quit when not switching monitor resolution


This version of Descent I requires the original MacPlay retail, or the Apple Bundled version data files in order to run. There is also a version that uses the data files from the Descent I demo. And a version that uses Descent II retail levels is also available. The original games can bought from Mac-O-Rama for $10 each. What a deal!!!
The latest Apples Game Sprocket Extensions (SoundSporcketLib, SoundSprocket Filter, InputSprocketLib, NetSprocketLib) are also required to be in the extensions folder. These can be found here

The best way to install the program is to run the Installer from the original CD. Then run the original game, this will create a preference file in your system folder. While you are at it tool around for a minute or two. Just for the sake of old times. Next copy the Mac Descent 3Dfx program into the main Descent folder. The CD is not required to be in the drive in order to run. If you have any 3rd party levels they need to be in the data folder. You MUST now create a new pilot your original settings will not work. Saved games for the original version won't work.
Hold down the Option key when you start the game to acces the Game Prefs Dialog.

Now you are ready to really ROCKem Sockem them Robots..

3Dfx Graphics

There are many enhancements to this version over the original. The most obvious one is the 3Dfx renderer. Just about any PowerMac should run at between 60 to 75 frames per second. This will be silky smooth compared to the software renderer in the original (great for it's day). I have tested it with the Techworks Power3D, VillageTronics MacPicasso/Overdrive and the GameWizard VooDoo2 (iMac GW) cards. You can toggle on the frame rate readout with control-F2. You can adjust the length of time explosions take to smooth out battles. I have removed the regular details level menu, it is not needed any more.

The Brightness slider adjusts the Gamma level that the VooDoo card uses (GlideHack will overide this setting). All the way to the right may be too bright for some card/monitors to handle and will have very messed up colors. If so just move it a notch or two to the left. The Ambient Light slider adjusts the level of the overall light in the mine. So if you find the level to dark add a little ambient light. The Refresh rate slider will change the frequency the 3Dfx card uses with your monitor. But your monitor must support a give frequency at 640x480 otherwise it just uses 60Hz. The rates are 60, 70, 72, 75, 80, 90, 100, 85, 120 from left to right on the slider (3Dfx Tweaker will overide). The iMac GameWizard ONLY runs at 117 so this slider has no effect. The smooth sprite option uses texture maps for all the bitmaps (except cockpit gauges). This uses a LOT of texture memory & is not recomended for 4Mb cards.

OpenGL Graphics

The OpenGL renderer is designed to enhance play on Mac equipted with the ATI Graphics Acceleration Chipset or Card. I have tested it with the Rage Pro (iMac rev B) & Rage128 cards. Rage II chipsets (ie. Beige G3s) will not work, A minimum of 64Mb of REAL RAM is required. You can toggle on the frame rate readout with control-F2. Holding down the option key at startup brings up the prefs dialog where you can turn on 32bit color rendering, this is only recomended for Rage128 owners as it takes away from the all important texture memory. You can adjust the length of time explosions take to smooth out battles. I have removed the regular details level menu, it is not needed any more.


Another scene feature is the addition of ChromaDepth coloring. This feature is designed to use a pair of ChromaTek HoloPlay glasses to provide stereo vision. This is WAY COOL. The glasses can be purchased for about $10 from ChromaTek. When this feature is turned on the cockpit will turn red and the rest of the Mine will fade from Yellow/Green to Blue. The Robots, Weapons & powerups are their original colors so they stand out from the mine background. There is a slider in the options menu to adjust the level of depth color intensity. All the way to the left being off. I am using one of the old detail values (Wall_render_depth) for this slider in the preferences. That's why it may be set to something at first.

Controller Inputs

Other changes are the simplification of the menu structure, mainly the options menu. The controls menu has been replaced with the Apple Input Sprocket Configuration Dialog. I have left the original keyboard dialog for keyboard configuration. The Input Sprockets have all the functionality that the keyboard has. Using the BANK ON and SLIDE ON functions are very useful with a mouse or 2 axis joystick. There are special control items for use with mouse/trackball/trackpad devices. These work much better than the standard axis control items which should be used with joysticks. My favorite setup short of the Space-Orb 6 axis controller is to use the mouse for pitch & heading control and a joystick for forward & sideways thrust, with a button for bank tweaks. Some times the CH flight stick will not respond if the mouse is the first device moved. It's Apples problem!

The Joystick/Mouse sensitivity slider acts as a multiplier from 0 (nothing at all) to 8 (hair trigger). Play with it till you find what you like. This also effect the speed of keyboard turning.


You should setup the key commands in the Keyboard dialog first thing. As there are many new commands that need to be set or weird things can happen. You can't take 3Dfx screen shots, through the probram but GlideHack does a great job! The key assignment are: F1 Save Game, F2 Options Menu, Control F2 Frame Rate, F3 Switch Cockpit modes, F4 Load Games, F5 Start/Stop Recording


Other changes to the controls are the addition of an afterburner & headlight just like in Descent 2. The "New" afterburner has a much bigger kick than the D2 afterburners so watch out. Yippeeee. The headlight effect is less noticeable with ChromaDepth turned up. It used energy based on the difficulty level. The new zoom features are mostly cosmetic but its fun to zoom way out & spin around a busy room, it might even make you puke. <INSERT STANDARD LEGAL DISCLAIMER HERE>. The light can now be shot out, and it changes the lighting for everyting in the area, Translucent objects are everywhere, shields, energy & some weapons. The mines are nearly invisable at the higer difficulty levels, and cloaked robots are just shadows of thier former selves. Once your shields are depleated you don't die at the next hit. The pyro systems take damage and the controls degrade. Pick up shield & energy powerups to repair the damaged systems. Blow up a bot & watch the parts go tumbling, tunnels full of junk!


The IPX network protocal is now supported. Internet play may be accomplished with the IPX/Kali network control panel. Playing against MacPlay/Interplay & PC D1X versions is possiable, but my result in strangness (being droped due to timeouts for example). I am also releasing a software render version so 3Dfxless pilots can play. D2 players can only play against others with my version!! The network code thinks its D1.

Apples Net Sprockets (TCP/IP & Appletalk) are supported. A default port number for TCP/IP is the one that Apple defaults to & may need to be changed if conflicts arise. If you join a TCP/IP game and mistype/goof the address the sprockets take a long time to timeout, about 5 minutes and return to the menu. So get it right the first time.

Music / Sound

The sound system has been replaced with the Apple Sound Sprockets to provide very good surround sound. If you are close to a wall & fire a missile with the speakers turned up. Well, you know <INSERT STANDARD LEGAL DISCLAIMER HERE>. The increased frame rate/responsiveness combined with the mega afterburner means you will be bashing into a lot of walls. This is perfectly normal, but if it persists consult a therapist. The redbook CD audio is mostly working, you can't mount a new CD during the game, and track looping does not work on non-apple CD-ROM drives (a good thing?).


This work has taken a year & I enjoyed the challenge. I hope you enjoy the update. I can't charge for this since the original code was generously released by the great folks at Parallax. But it's not FREEWARE its CAUSEWARE. So, I request a different form of "payment". Everyone who uses this program is required to ride their bike or walk on an errand or to work/school where they would normally take a car. This one little act will allow you to play Mac Descent 3Dfx guilt free. It's not a big request but you will feel great & the world will be a better place because of it.

The Author

So, let me know of any problems or enhancements that might be cool. Drop me an e-mail.

Duane Johnson -

PS: I have changed the master cheat string. e-mail me for hints.

Screenshots - click for large image

descent02[1].jpg (40738 bytes) The new version has 3Dfx VooDoo or ATI Rage graphics acceleration that renders at 60-75 frames per second, that using dynamic lighting and beautiful bilinear blending
descent04[1].jpg (41250 bytes) Exclusive to Mac Descent 3Dfx/OpenGL is ChromaDepth rendering, which uses the color fades to visualize 3D in stereo. It works with ChromaTeks inexpensive HoloPlay glasses to add perceptable depth the to game.
descent01[1].jpg (42298 bytes)

Another major inprovement is Apple's Input Sprockets, done RIGHT for the first time in ANY game. Special input items are used to provide the best of both mouse AND joystick support

All new commands that make weapons selection a snap, Plus Weapons prioritys just like Descent 2

descent06[1].jpg (38842 bytes) Apple's Sound Sprockets are used to provide 3D surround sound,. Get hit on the port aft hull, hear and feel it there.
descent05[1].jpg (42470 bytes) Apples Network Sprockets make setting up a multiplayer melee a snap. IPX/Kali and TCP/IP support means that you can blast away over the Internet any way you like. AppleTalk networking is great for LAN games.
descent07[1].jpg (42066 bytes) Additional features like the Headlights and Afterburners are also implemented. The new zoom capability can really blow your mind. New transparent Powerups & weapons, Shootable lights that effect their surroundings


Other Stuff


Hit Counter accesses on the Mac Descent 3Dfx/OpenGL page since 4/4/99