Mission Name: The Heavens
Level Authors: Nirvana and Sirian
Number of levels: 7
Number of Secret levels: 2
Date Completed: September 7, 1998

Modes of Play: Anarchy
Single Player
Cooperative
Team
Flag
Hoard

Custom Textures: 29 signs
Custom Robots: 2 minor adjustments, nothing noticable
Custom Polymodels: none

Nirvana's level editor: DMB2
Sirian's level editor: Devil 2.2h
Other misc editors: DTX2, Yahoma 2.0, PSP 5.0, Photoshop

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Contents of this Text File

1) First Heaven
2) Second Heaven
3) Third Heaven
4) Fourth Heaven
5) Fifth Heaven
6) Sixth Heaven
7) Seventh Heaven
8) Secret Levels
9) Background Info
10) Nirvana's Commentary
11) Sirian's Commentary
12) Credits and Appreciation

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First Heaven - "Nirvana"

Keys: Red
Layout: Nirvana
Weapons: Nirvana
Robots: Nirvana
Bot Producers: Nirvana
Textures: Nirvana
Lighting: Nirvana
Hostages: Yes
Anarchy: Optimized for 2 or 3 players.

First Heaven is small, and is designed for small games. Players
wishing to play a head to head match (such as a ladder game) will
find this level cozy. It plays fast, and has design elements that
allow a variety of strategic approaches. Large anarchy games are
possible here, and will provide nonstop action.

First Heaven was designed exclusively by Nirvana.

The name for this level was taken from the Bhuddist religion, and
their concept of heaven. (Oh, and it happens to be Nirv's nick too)

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Second Heaven - "Paradise"

Keys: Blue, Red
Main Layout: Sirian
Blue Area: Nirvana
Red Area: Nirvana
Weapons: Sirian
Robots: Sirian and Nirvana
Bot Producers: Sirian and Nirvana
Textures: Nirvana and Sirian
Lighting: Sirian
Hostages: Yes
Anarchy: Optimized for 2 to 4 players

Second Heaven has a flow and tempo quite different from First
Heaven. There are more weapons, including two fusion cannons and
a pack of proxbombs. Secondaries play a larger role here, and
players can gain an advantage by figuring out where the missiles
tend to respawn. This level should be ideal for three and four
player games on the net, and extra weapons can be obtained by
starting the game in First Heaven and then advancing to here.

Second Heaven is named for the most common description of what
people think a heaven would be like. :)

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Third Heaven - "Happy Hunting Grounds"

Keys: Blue, Yellow, Red
Main Layout: Nirvana
Blue Area: Sirian
Yellow Area: Sirian
Red Area: Nirvana
Weapons: Sirian and Nirvana
Robots: Sirian
Bot Producers: Sirian and Nirvana
Textures: Nirvana and Sirian
Lighting: Nirvana and Sirian
Hostages: Yes
Anarchy: Optimized for 2 to 4 players

Third Heaven is ideal for anarchy, and offers players plenty of
strategic possibilities. This level has a pack of smart mines,
which can be particularly brutal if placed well. Weaponry may
appear light in this level, but that is because several of the
items are tucked into secret tunnels and closets, which should
not be difficult to find. You will likely bump into several of
the secret doors just by moving around the level or paying
attention to the architecture. This level is Sirian's favorite,
both for its looks and the way it plays.

The name for this level comes from mythology.

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Fourth Heaven - "The Elysian Fields"

Keys: Blue, Yellow, Red
Main Layout: Nirvana
Blue Area: Sirian
Yellow Area: Nirvana
Red Area: Sirian
Weapons: Sirian
Robots: Nirvana and Sirian
Bot Producers: Sirian and Nirvana
Textures: Sirian and Nirvana
Lighting: Sirian
Hostages: Yes
Anarchy: Optimized for 3 to 5 players

This was originally going to be First Heaven, but it turned
out to be way too large for that. :) So we shuffled it around
until we found it a home, and we decided Nirvana would do a
really small level to kick off the set while Sirian would do a
very large level for the finale. Fourth Heaven sits right in
the middle, and it is indeed the middle range for size in this
mission set. Action gravitates to the main dogfight room, and
plasma dogfights are the mainstay here. This is the first level
in the set to carry any homing missiles (two) while the smart
mines add an element of heightened alertness because while they
are very easy to avoid in this level, you have to do a lot of
flying blind if you retreat at all, and it's embarassing when
you back into a smart mine in a dogfight. :) This is also the
first level in the set to have distinctive missile respawn
locations. Be careful of becoming trapped if you go for missiles
often, tho. This level also provides quad 4s instead of super
lasers, for a change of pace.

The name for this level comes from mythology.

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Fifth Heaven - "Bliss"

Keys: Blue, Yellow, Red
Main Layout: Sirian
Blue Area: Nirvana
Yellow Area: Nirvana
Red Area: Sirian
Weapons: Sirian
Robots: Sirian and Nirvana
Bot Producers: Sirian
Textures: Nirvana and Sirian
Lighting: Sirian and Nirvana
Hostages: Yes
Anarchy: Optimized for 4 to 7 players

Fifth Heaven is somewhat large, and the only weapons in abundance
here are quad 4s and fusion. This keeps the level from becoming
cluttered if weapons are brought in from Fourth Heaven, but still
gives everyone in the game a usable weapon. This level feels a
lot like the Muses First Half, and plays much like one of those
fine levels. The fusion theme of this level extends to the robots
as well as anarchy, and in single player this is the first really
difficult level in the set. Expect to die some in here. As for
anarchy, this level should be ideal for use on LAN and play well
on the net, also.

The name for this level comes from what many people hope to find
in their heaven. :)

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Sixth Heaven - "Valhalla"

Keys: Blue, Yellow, Red
Main Layout: Nirvana and Sirian
Blue Area: Sirian
Yellow Area: Nirvana
Red Area: Sirian
Weapons: Sirian
Robots: Sirian
Bot Producers: Sirian
Textures: Nirvana and Sirian
Lighting: Sirian and Nirvana
Hostages: Yes
Anarchy: Optimized for 4 to 8 players on LAN

Sixth Heaven is the most integrated of all the levels, in terms of
collaboration on the layout. We each modified areas created by the
other because the main area is more than half of the level, and it
is extremely interconnected. Doing the lighting on this level was
a particular whore. :)

This is the third and final of the seven levels to carry smart
mines. There are two packs on this level, so the mines play a
significant tactical role here. This level also has the greatest
number of gauss cannons in the set (three) and the greatest
number of plasma cannons. This level is optimized for LAN, and
though it gives good overall fps, the frame rates here are the
lowest in the set (meaning fps is REALLY good in all the other
levels, and just PRETTY good here. :)

Robot fighters will find this level a particular challenge.

Sixth Heaven takes its name from mythology.

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Seventh Heaven - "Seventh Heaven"

Keys: Blue, Yellow, Red
Layout: Sirian
Weapons: Sirian
Robots: Sirian
End Boss: Sirian
Bot Producers: Sirian
Textures: Sirian
Lighting: Sirian
Hostages: No
Anarchy: Optimized for 8 players on LAN

The finale of The Heavens mission is Seventh Heaven. This level is
very large, but plays extremely fast with many players due to the
level's interconnectedness and small number of rooms. Players will
be able to locate the action quickly. There are 5 LARGE dogfight
rooms connected by a few short tunnels, and at least two ways in or
out of each room. The weapon load is heavy. ALL guns are present in
this level, including the helix, phoenix, and omega. At least two
of each gun are present, except for the lone vulcan cannon. There
are four plasmas, seven fusions, eight burners, and a whopping ten
spreadfire cannons, which are the "base" guns for this level, and
what many players will be using while fighting to acquire better
hardware. Energy is fairly accessible, but players will also find
it very easy to run out if they are not careful; and in team games,
killing your teammates by mistake is a serious danger.

There are no megas or shakers accessible in anarchy at any point in
The Heavens set, and neither are there cloaks or invuls. No smart
mines are found in Seventh Heaven, but there is a goodly supply of
proxbombs, as well as flash and mercury missiles, four homings, and
a healthy supply of smart missiles (which won't play a large role in
dogfights, but may get some nasty kills in tunnel areas).

For single player this is also the big finale with the boss. This
level is easily the most difficult, and inexperienced players will
have a hard time making it through. Because much of this level's
threat comes from bot producers, which can malfunction and fail to
produce in coop mode, this level is considerably tamer in coop than
single player mode. We hope that players will give it a try in
single player, to get the full robot experience. Extra care was
taken to up the ante when playing The Heavens mission on insane,
by making the robot producers go through extra production runs.

Seventh Heaven was made exclusively by Sirian.

Its name comes from many traditions, wherein seven is the divine
number and therefore the Seventh Heaven would be the highest, best
of all possible heavens.

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Secret Levels - "Secret Garden" and "Secret Grove"

Keys: None
Layout: Sirian
Puzzles: Sirian
Robots: Sirian
Textures: Sirian
Lighting: Sirian

The Secret levels offer players an additional incentive to give
single player mode a try. The only way to experience these two
levels is to play the mission in single player; and since the
game does not allow players to save and restore while on a
secret level, players will HAVE to wing it and hope they can
prevail. ;)

Secret Garden is the first secret level. It should be easy to find
if players pay attention, because there is a HUGE clue to its
location built into the level where its entrance can be found.
This level is very light on threat, and presents modest puzzles,
some of which will require skilled use of guided missiles. There
are three extra life powerups on this level. See if you can find
them all! Rewards are granted to those who are thorough.

Secret Grove is a bonus level, with challenging bots and a very
particular tactical setup that will require a lot of thought and
may take several attempts to master. This level is CLEARLY not
designed for anarchy: it is strictly a puzzle level, and it will
demand a very different approach than what is required in the rest
of the mission. This level has two extra life powerups as well as
an earthshaker missile. See if you can figure out how to get all
three! Oh, and don't take ALL the guns and missiles Sirian has
stored up in his "Secret Cache" please. He may need some of those
in his IDL ladder matches. ;)

Finding the entrance to Secret Grove may be a challenge. It is
very well hidden and not likely to be triggered open by accident.
You may have to actively search to find it. There IS a clue in
the rest of the level's architecture, on the level where the
entrance is hidden, if you pay attention and notice the right
things. :)

The secret levels were designed exclusively by Sirian. ALL items
in the secret levels are accessible, so if you see an item, you
can get that item if you can figure out how. Enjoy the challenge.

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Background Info

Nirvana is: Anthony Galica Email: agalica@ix.netcom.com
Sirian is: Bob Thomas Email: sirian23@earthlink.net

As of the release of The Heavens mission set for D2, Nirvana has
completed and released nearly 100 anarchy levels for Descent. He
has collaborated with other level designers more than any other
designer ever, and has also made more custom levels upon request
than any designer. Some of his best works include Vamped, TheDojo,
Bow to Phoenix, Repressed UsuL, Kiln's Fusion Farm, and the
massive mission set Vertigo Dementia. Sirian has not made levels
for two years, but his works include Laserdeath, Pro Laserdeath,
Gunfight, and Pro Lightning, as well as several D2 adaptations
of classic D1 levels from First Strike. Sirian also has extensive
experience with all game modes in Descent, including single player
and cooperative modes. Sirian founded the Descent Rangers league,
and wrote the rules system that is still used, largely unmodified,
by the Rangers to this day. He is also part of the staff for the
Invitational Descent Ladder, and this combined experience gives
him a unique grasp on the elements of what makes a good level for
both head to head play and anarchy, as well as bot hunting.

The level designers first worked together on the Bow to Phoenix
mission set, which Nirvana made at Sirian's request. Sirian
provided specs for number and size of rooms for both levels, as
well as the weapon loads. Nirvana designed the layouts, and
Sirian requested three changes on level 1, and an even dozen
structural changes on level 2, as well as specifying the number
and placement of energy bays. Nirvana did the texturing and item
placement, as well as the custom polymodels and effects for the
black fusions in level 2.

Despite having grave reservations about some of Sirian's requests,
Nirvana gave them all a try, and he was suprised at the quality of
the results. So when it came time for Nirvana to complete a level
he was making at Kiln's request, and Kiln was unavailable due to
family concerns, Nirvana turned to Sirian for advice. Once again
he was leery of some of the suggestions he got, but he tried them
out and was pleased with the outcome. Result: Kiln's Fusion Farm.

So it really came as no surprise to either designer when, one day,
Nirvana asked Sirian, "Hey, do you still know how to use Devil?"

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Nirvana's Commentary

This set is definately a rocking experience. Although it started
out shaky, and there were many conflicts with ideas, I think it
came out awesome. I don't think that ever before anyone has been
able to make a level/set that *properly* included anarchy, co-op,
and single player modes. But we did, and its DEFINATELY worth
trying out in all modes. Horse (oops.. hoard ;) and flag are
included, but the levels have not been designed specifically for
those modes in mind. It was fun working with Sirian on this
set, and I wouldn't have reservations about doing it again. Have
fun with it, we had fun making it! ;)

Thanks to: Sirian (you know why), #300baud and the IDL, and all the
Rangers, Wildcards, and ->descent<- folk that I talk to on a regular
basis ;)

-Nirvana (The Cannibal Level Builder)

 

(The Cannibal Level Builder is ©1998, Prescience)

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Sirian's Commentary

Thanks go to Nirvana for talking me into doing this project. :)

I hadn't worked on any levels for Descent in an actual level editor
since Pro Lightning! Long time to be away, and now I remember why I
quit making levels back then. It takes a LOT of work to make a good
level! Ah, but I did enjoy it: a labor of love. I have no idea how
Nirvana can crank out level after level after level and get such
good results. I'm exhausted after this project.

The levels were made in the following order: Fourth, First, Seventh,
Second, Sixth, Third, Fifth, Secret Two, Secret One. I think that
Third and Fifth are the most architecturally pleasing, and perhaps
there is no coincidence in the fact that we completed these last. :)

Seventh Heaven is the first all-new Descent level I have produced in
over two years. I learned a lot in the making of The Heavens, and am
certainly at my most enlightened stage in terms of designing. How
many more projects I may do in the future, if any, is yet to be
determined, but "the itch" can strike at any time. We shall see.

If this mission set gets a good amount of play and there is demand,
we will port it to D1 and do up a version with D1 robots. Whether or
not we do this will depend on the kind of support and usage this set
gets in D2, so if you like what we've accomplished here, then pass
the word around, and also let us know of your interest in further
development on these ideas. If you have any memorably enjoyable
experiences in this mission, in any play mode, feel free to drop us
an email and tell us all about it. We'd love to hear from you. :)

 

- Sirian

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Credits and Appreciation

Custom Textures: Nirvana (Nirv put a LOT of work into them)
Sign Placement: First Heaven, Nirvana; rest of set, Sirian
HXM file: Nirvana
POG files: Nirvana
Text file: Sirian
Debugging: Sirian (With shared lighting, Devil MUST save last)
IR Heaven pic: http://www.phy.mtu.edu/apod/ap980128.html
Dog Kennel pic: http://www.frenchbulldog.org
Rat Haven pic: http://www.geocities.com/Hollywood/Lot/5521/rats.html

Anarchy Beta Testers: Sekmu, Kufyit, SoniC, ZappaFan, Grax, VaiN, Glock21
Coop Beta Testers: Gwar, ZappaFan, Sup, VaiN

Thanks, guys, for all your help.

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Copyright

The Heavens mission set for Descent II, along with all its contents
including layouts and customs textures, are Copyright 1998 by
Anthony Galica and Bob Thomas, all rights reserved.

You may NOT use these levels to build upon, or as a macro, or modify
the design in any way, without express written permission from both
authors. All comments and suggestions are welcome.

You MAY distribute this mission, provided you include this file, with
no modifications. You may distribute this file in any electronic
format (BBS, Diskette, CD, etc) as long as you include this file intact.

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We hope you enjoy the mission! :)

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