The Descent Level Network is proud to present:

Orion Nebula Project

by Bradley Schneider and the Orion Nebula Project Team


Last Updated: 03/31/99

ONP is a set of add-on levels available for both Descent 1 and Descent 2 (Commercial versions only). It is the result of about 12 people working thousands of hours and producing the best quality for your pleasure. ONP contains seven, maybe eight (if you can find it) levels with exit sequences, custom briefings that relate the story as it unfolds, and finally and most stunning is the optional !NEW! MIDI music to listen to while you play.



The Story

About 1,500 light years from Earth there is a Nebula. This Nebula is visible from earth and is part of the Orion Constellation. The Orion Nebula has been the site of a major mining operation especially since the discovery of Orium a substance that is harder than diamond, is as light as aluminum, and yet very heat resistant. Unfortunately only one planet has been found that contains Orium, Alpha Pavonis. Orium is very valuable in fact the PTMC has sold a lot of this Orium to Intergalactic Peace Organizations, and has also used some of it to defend the Orion Nebula where Orium is found. There are Defense outposts and other bases among the Orion Nebula. Each station is powered by highly volatile fusion reactors that when set on detention destroy the entire structure and its contents. Since the discovery of Orium many other military and some Alien organizations have been trying to steal this substance in order to replicate it or use it to take over the universe. In most cases they have failed, until a month ago when the PTMC lost communication will half a fleet of robots due to an unexpected communications breach. After which these effected robots began to modify themselves and the robots around them. Soon after all mining operations were canceled by the rebellion of these robots. After several attempt to self detonate the effected mine failed the robots escaped the mine and began to infiltrate the entire Nebula with these modified rebel robots. Now all communication has been severed from the Orion Nebula. The only known solution is to destroy all traces of these robots meaning a manual detonation of the stations' and mines' reactor. You have been elected to lead the Orion Nebula Project. To take back what was lost. The very fate of the universe may depend on your victory or failure. You are the best pilot the PTMC has to offer, that is why you have been chosen. Now without fail Prepare for another Descent...


The Levels

While you were chasing alien scout ships, we lost contact with all stations in the Orion Nebula, including Alpha Pavonis. Alpha Pavonis is the only known planet in the universe that contains the highly dense mineral called Orium. It is harder than diamond, very heat resistant, and yet extremly light. The value of the Orium that has already been mined is uncalculable. The use of the new mineral could enable us to create ships that would not need shields, they could fly faster possibly even faster than our modern warp cores. The labs at Alpha Pavonis have already found a way to enable the Orium to be totally invisible hence a 'True Cloak'. There would be no trace of a ship outfitted with this arrangement. A major communication beacon shorted out after a strong ion storm passed through. When communicatons resumed, 28 mining and defense robots were reported malfunctioning. An order was sent to deactivate and repair the 28 robots, but the number of malfunctioning robots continued to climb. At that point a yellow alert was declared and teams were dispatched to destroy the infected robots. Unfortunately, the teams have not repor...uh, the teams exhausted their weapons before the robots could be eliminated. The PTMC remote detonation capability built into each reactor core has failed mysteriously, also. Our last option is manual detonation of each mine's reactor core. That is your mission, Materiel Defender."

preview.jpg (6141 bytes)

POMAT Laboratory

The most guarded secret of the Orium mining industry is the PTMC Orium Mining Advanced Technology Laboratory, POMAT Lab, on Alpha Pavonis.

preview.jpg (3454 bytes) Storage Base

Many of the advanced robots detected your presence and fled to the Storage Base at the southern pole of Alpha Pavonis. As you recall, the Storage Base is filled with our latest weapons and supplies. They have undoubtedly been coopted for use by the robots. You must recover enough weapons and ammunition to survive as you eliminate the robots.

preview.jpg (3958 bytes) Defense Outpost

Our finest Vertigo squadrons were stationed at the Pavonis Defense Outpost. Tragically, they were vaporized in a surprise alien attack just four days ago.

preview.jpg (5560 bytes) Orium Mine ON701

An unexplained delay in the daily report from Pavonis Orium Mine ON701. They've been experiencing power failures from time to time. Aging reactor, you know.

preview.jpg (3645 bytes) Training Headquarters

The Alpha Pavonis Training Base is under attack. Hundreds of young miners and defense recruits are in grave
danger. In addition the Base contains training models of our most sophisticated mining equipment and defensive weapons. Their loss would be a major setback for PTMC..

preview.jpg (4896 bytes) Orium Mine ON702

ON702 is actually the testing grounds for a new breed of military robots. The mine was chosen for its elaborate interlinked tunnel system. Your mission is to conduct a clean sweep of the ON702 facility. This will not be any easy task as the mine is full of traps and points of ambush. Be prepared for the worst, Material Defender, it will be prepared for you.

preview.jpg (5022 bytes) Defense Deployment Base

The routing center for all reinforcements from Earth is under attack. The aliens have regrouped for the mother of all battles at the Base. They are positioning their fiercest converted robots in strategic locations throughout the Base. In their last transmission the Base staff reported the alien Command Bot has found a way to adapt Orium to his own armor. You must find a weakness and disable the Command Bot before it becomes invulnerable.

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Secret Level: Alien Astroid Base

The electromagnetic shock wave briefly disabled the alien control links, including a remote cloak that was hiding their Orbiting Asteroid Base. I cannot overemphasize the value of this discovery to PTMC. Unfortunately the base re-cloaked immediately after the shock wave passed. We only acquired rough orbital parameters and a likely insertion point before it disappeared.


The Features

The Orion Nebula Project is THE classic amateur single player collection, being the first complete level-set with the following features:


The Soundtrack

The custom music contained in the Orion Nebula Project was composed by Benjamin Brewster and Zach VanderVeen. There are not less than 8 (!) fully new MIDI musics!!

ATTENTION FM-Sound card (OPL2/OPL3) users: If you don't have a wavetable soundcard, only a OPL2/OPL3 chip driven FM-synthesizer, you won't hear the new soundtrack in this release. But this mission has been prepared to have sound on such a soundcard, too. You need the "FM-upgrade for Orion Nebula Project V1.01/V2.01" (which is the same for both D1 and D2 version). Install it in the Descent directory, at any time after or before you installed ONP V1.01 into it. Then run "ORION-FM.BAT" to enable the custom soundtrack for FM cards (but on the same turn disabling the level musics for all other missions :( ), and ORION-FM.BAT again to disable it again and re-enable the normal soundtrack for all missions... However you should take it as a temporary solution! We have made the best to provide the best possible sound on these cards, but this is still *FAR* away from a wavetable-soundcards! As these cards are not that expensive anymore, you should really consider buying one. Probably the best ones are the TerraTec soundcards, visit their homepage at !

The FM-upgrade for Orion Nebula Project V1.01 and V2.01 can be downloaded seperately at at the download section below!


The Revision

It was at beginning of November '96, one month before the initial Descent Manager version, where I downloaded the original Orion Nebula Project for Descent 1. I was immediatly keen on the quality of this level set, mainly because it is an allround-package: not just one or more levels, no, there is a story, custom music, briefings and graphic; made by a team of real Descent freaks! You instantly realise that the whole set was made with love to the detail... And in the same moment I began to dream to be part of that team...

In February '97 Bradley released the Descent 2 version, but I was not that enthusiastic anymore: The briefing logo was replaced with a new one that absolutely was not my case, and -even worse- all songs by Benjamin Brewster were just dropped... I missed the classic quality of the Descent 1 version, that made it into the history of Descent; the new version just looked to me as a quick conversion... I offered Brad to bring out a V2.01 version a few days later with all musics, but it was not released...

Now it is one year after I first saw the D1 version! I have made a name in the world of Descent Developers with such things as Descent Manager, Cool Tips and the Descent Developer Network. I revised Entropy Experiment for Luke Schneider and now am going back to the roots: The Orion Nebula Project! I offered Brad to make a full revise of both the D1 and the D2 version with a new homepage, new briefing design and -of course- all musics in the D2 version, giving back the breath of something very special: A classical Descent level-set... After Brad has looked through my work on the V1.01 version of Entropy he granted the permission for the revision...

Okay, now designing the 1.01/2.01 versions was not an easy task. Orion Nebula Project is THE classic amateur level set, so you cannot just put in the newest special effects. So the goal was to get the highest possible quality out of the mission without destroying its orginality nor compatibility in multiplayer game. I cannot just add custom polygon models, D2 robots or even D2 weapons, just to make it competitive to Entropy Experiment or Phobos Encounter! I had to be aware that Orion is a classic production and not an uptodate production. Compare it to letting Pink Floyd completly re-record "The Wall"... It just wouldn't be the same... But increasing the quality in a special edition is possible...

But then I found a quite important bug in the original D2 version 2.0, to be precisely in level 4... DEVIL had made some shit, assigning a hidden door as an exit (additionally to the normal exit door)... So flying through it ended the level instead of its real task: opening a locked door at the opposite... I talked to Brad to let him decide what to do: let the bug or fix it making it incompatible in multiplayer games with V2.0... He decided the second way and so I fixed it... So unfortunately you won't be able to mix it with V2.0 in a multiplayer game :(... you first have to let everybody in the game update to V2.01 first... (by the way, V1.0 for D1 does not have this bug, so this does not apply for the D1-version...)

And now it is finished and I think I was successful and accomplished my goals... Of course I am open for critism, just decide yourself... But even independant of this, something has been fulfilled: A dream has come true, I was working in the ONP team... A great feeling... Thanks to Brad for giving me this opportunity!!

Heiko Herrmann of the Descent Level Network Team

Here is a list of what exactly is new:


The Download

Descent 1 version: Any commercial version including Desination Saturn can be used for the Orion Nebula Project. However to be able to play it in SVGA graphics, you might want to update to V1.4 or higher first. And yes, you have read right, unlike the D2 version you can use the OEM version, Descent 1 Destination Saturn, to play...

Descent 2 version: Commercial V1.2 is required for prober play. If you have V1.0 or V1.1 please update to V1.2 first. If you only own Descent 2 Destination Quartzon or the Descent 2 Interactive Demo, simply forget it: these versions are not compatible to Orion Nebula Project!

These versions of ONP: These are the improved V1.01/V2.01 versions of the Orion Nebula Project! News since V1.0/V2.0 include revised briefings, separated credits screens (V2.01 only), improved music handling and full author informations. However, V1.01/V2.01 stay fully compatible in multiplayer games with the orginal V1.0/V2.0 versions and can be mixed with these with the exception of V2.01 Level 4 due to a bug in V2.0 (read chapter above for details)... The changes were done by Heiko Herrmann with explicit permission of Bradley Schneider.

sign_download.gif (151 bytes) Download Orion Nebula Project level set V1.01 for Descent 1 10/27/97 (533 kB)

sign_download.gif (151 bytes) Download Orion Nebula Project level set V2.01 for Descent 2 10/27/97 (1130 kB)

sign_download.gif (151 bytes) FM upgrade for OPL2/3-Soundcards on ONP V1.01 and V2.01 10/27/97 (13 kB)


A very big thanks to the numerous people who made this all possible, including the makers and distributors of Descent, the people who made such wonderful level design tools such as DEVIL, DMB, DesEdit, Descent Studio, HAMM, Descent Studio, Descent Manager and many others I forgot to mention. Thank you one and all!

Yours, Bradley Schneider, Orion Nebula Project Lead Administrator


WebHits counts accesses on the Descent Network website page since 02/08/97.

Orion Nebula Project - A Descent 1 & 2 Level Series / Lead Administrator: Bradley "N2chiefs" Schneider / Music Administrator: Benjamin "SandStone" Brewster / Briefing Administrator: Mike "Cavecrawler" Sunderman / Level Editor: Luke "Vizor" Schneider / Level Designer: Tim "TobThumb" Fredericy, Jean-Etienne "Zeldo" Lavallee, Bradley "N2chiefs" Schneider, Luke "Vizor" Schneider, Mike "Cavecrawler" Sunderman, Baron "Gamefreak" Reznik, Zach "Agent000" VanderVeen / Other Contributors: Louis and Kathryn "Shelties" Piscitelle / Briefing Writer: Mike "Cavecrawler" Sunderman / Graphics Designer: Alex McMorris (D1 version), Bradley Schneider (D2 version) / Some Graphics are by Parallax Software / Music credits: "Extention" (Level 1+5), "Voyager" (Level 3) and "Asention" (D1 EndGame, D2 Credits) by Benjamin "SandStone" Brewster, "Roll" (D1 Briefings, D2 EndGame, homepage), "Space" (Level 2), "Desert" (Level 4), "WebSpin" (Level 6) and "Sharp Melody" (Level 7) by Zach "Agent000" VanderVeen / FM upgrade production: Heiko "HH-Software Images" Herrmann / V1.01+V2.01 design and production: Heiko "HH-Software Images" Herrmann / This page was made by Heiko Herrmann for Bradley Schneider

LEGAL INFORMATION: All MIDI music is used with permission of the respective owners. Do not copy, re-use or distribute these MIDI titles without their permission! Do not copy or redistribute any piece of this Descent mission. It is to remain in one mission and is not to be used in making other levels without the permission of Bradley Schneider and the Orion Nebula Project Team!