Descent 3 info

Descent 3, the long-awaited sequel to our favourite game, is slated for a tentative December 1998 release.  Features will include:

A completely new engine (that's why it's taking so long!), including 16-bit colour graphics, coloured lighting, bump mapping and realtime shadows.
Vastly improved physics and collision detection, including (quote) "gravity and a whole lot more", with surface combat (ie, a terrain engine) being seamlessly integrated with the traditional mine-based combat.  Gravity generally won't effet powerups or your ship, but if, for instance, you fired a Napalm missile at the ceiling, a shower of napalm will drip down to the floor, and if you were to fire any missile directly upwards into the air outdoors, it will eventually run out of fuel and fall down on you.
Environmental effects - there'll be rain, steam, fire, smoke, fog, and wind.
15 huge levels in the single-player mission, with more emphasis on the storyline than the previous Descent games, giving the game (quote) "a better sense of place than in D1 or D2".
Three different ships for you to pilot, you will start the single player mission with the Pyro GL (a ship similar to the Pyro GX from D1 and D2), and as you progress you will acquire two others - the Magnum and the Starhawk.  Each ship has its own set of strengths and weaknesses, and after you acquire them you will be able to select which ship you wish to use for each mission.  In multiplayer you will be able to select any of the three to fly.
All new weapons:
  • Vauss Cannon - An dual-fire amalgamation of the Gauss and Vulcan cannons.
  • Microwave Gun - Deforms the view of anything it hits.
  • Napalm Gun - A flamethrower, short ranged like the Omega.
  • EMD Gun - A bouncing weapon similar to the Phoenix.
  • Mass Driver - No details known as yet, could be similar to Quake 2's railgun.
  • Napalm Missile - A missile containing napalm that upon impact burns and drips to the ground for ten seconds.
  • Frag Missile - A missile similar to the Smart missile, with fragments being released on impact.
  • Cyclone Missile - A cluster-bomb missile that separates into four parts.
  • Impact Mortar - Similar to the grenade launcher in Quake 2, this will bounce before exploding.
  • Betty Bomb - A bouncing bomb.
  • Seeker Mine - A mine that, funnily enough, seeks out other players.
  • Gunboy - Floating turret mine similar to the Pine mine in Forsaken.
  • Chaff burst - Attracts homing missiles, and can do damage to players.
  • Black Shark - A missile similar to the Earthshaker.  Could be a gravity-well type weapon that attracts players to it before destroying them.  Should be quite a visual fest. :)

The Laser, Super Laser, Plasma Cannon, Fusion Cannon, Omega Cannon, Concussion Missile, Homing Missile, Guided Missile, Smart Missile and Mega Missile will all remain in D3, the rest will be removed.

All new bots:  at least four different bot "classes" have been confirmed - military, industrial, security and a secret class.  Within these classes there will be different types, such as walkers, flyers, etc.  Bots will have the ability to pick up weapons and powerups themselves.   The thiefbot and the guidebot have both been enhanced as well.
Enhanced multiplayer (most important!), including native TCP/IP and IPX support (using your choice of a client/server model or a peer-to-peer/client/server hybrid model).  Dedicated D3 servers will be set up similar to Quake 2, and PXO access will be included with the game.  A 28.8 modem should be sufficient for normal client play.  CTF and Hoard will remain, as well as several other new modes, and an observer mode (where you join a game but don't actually participate, just watch) will also be included.  Support for direct modem-to-modem and null-modem games will also be included.  Full team/clan support will also be built in, PXO will track stats for teams, and support for more than two teams in a game will also be included.
Completely new room-based polygonal level structure (no more klunky cube-based architecture) based on the same principles as 3D Studio Max and Lightwave, meaning more creative and original levels.  It's likely, though not confirmed, that a level editor will ship with the game.
Extensive customisability - although completely new skins for your ship probably won't be possible, ship insignias will be supported.  Three different ways of customising the game exist:  simple scripting for novice programmers, editable weapon table files and DLL-based C++ programming for advanced programmers.  What exactly can be changed with the DLLs is not yet known, but you will be able to create new multiplayer modes, etc.

Minimum specs are suggested to be a Pentium-200, with a Voodoo or Direct3D-compatible accelerator card.   Windows 95/98/NT will be required.  The older 3Dfx Voodoo cards should be sufficient, but a new Voodoo 2 card will of course be better.

Below are images and screenshots from the game (click on thumbnails to see full picture).  For more screenshots, check out DNet's D3 page.

The Pyro GX flying down a tunnel

A demo of one of the new weapons, the Raygun

The new level structure allows a lot more detailed levels

D3 won't lose that vertigo-inducing 3D freedom of movement!

D3 will allow surface flight!

Another external view

Shooting flares down the hall

The Turbine Room

Someone wants in bad!

Silhouette

The new full-map powerup

The new Plasma cannon

The new shield powerup

The new Super-laser

Check back here often as more D3 info comes to hand!