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PC Game Editors / Mission Builders

Support - Frequently Asked Questions

TEXTURES

How can I stretch textures?
In Descent2, which textures scroll, in what direction, and how fast?
How does the F6 (copy textures) work?
How do blinking lights work?
How do I custom texture a wall of one cube without affecting every other cube that uses the same texture.

COMPATABILITY

Why can't Devil load DMB2 levels
Does HAMM or DStudio work with levels created in DMB?
What is the latest version of DMB2?
Is there any way to customize the short cut keys?

WALLS AND TRIGGERS

How do I make a Cloaked wall with a switch?
What is the strength value below triggers in the trigger edit box?
I have a blow switch but I don't want the texture2 to be a box. Does it have to be a blowable texture2 for the switch to work?
Can I make a Force Field (wall) that closes auto after being opened like a door?
Why does DMB allow you to enter a negative number for shield strength?

VIEW

Why does DMB2 rotate the view differently than DMB1?
How do you select the "other" cube?

SHAPES

How can I create a shpere?
How do you use the Curve Generator?
How do I join cubes?
Can the coordinates of points be edited?
How does the curve generator work?

FILES

Does DMB2 always save the HOG as a v1.2 file? Can v1.0/1 of D2 read DMB2 files? Will older versions just ignore the new features / functionality? Or does it cause a crash?
DMB2 Error: "Pig file specified in File/Preferences is not valid!"
How do I create a multi-level mission?
Error: "Saves disabled, contact Bryan Aamot for your security number"
Why can't I save files in a directory which has an extension?
How do I create a HOG and a mission file?
Does it allow you to edit or insert new music? How about Mission briefings or exit sequences?
Why doesn't my level appear in the menu when I start a new mission?
What is the dmb_temp.rdl file?
Which PIG file should I use?

OBJECTS

How do you keep hostages from looking like they are floating??
Can I add Vertigo robots to a level? Why don't their names show up?
How do you make a robot maker spawn?
Does DMB2 allow you to change the shape of a robot?

GENERAL

Is there any plans for a Mac version of DMB2?
What did you program DMB2 in?
How long did it take?
How did Interplay pick you to make it?
Was it hard to write all the code, or was the code fairly simple???
Is there a way to get my hands on the programming language you used???
Are there any plans to come out with a book on the Mission Builder?

How can I stretch textures?

DMB2 allows you to move points, lines or sides in the Align Dialog. While this is not obvious, it is a powerful option. Let's say you want to stretch the arw01 texture (the one with the moving red arrow) so that it fills up the whole wall. Just open the Align dialog and select "line" mode on the main window's menu bar. Then use the arrow keys to move the "green" line toward the arrow. Do the same for the other side until you have a skinny rectangle which only shows the red arrow part of the texture.

You can also move points in this way if you are trying to distort the texture. But, be careful not to distort it too much because the Descent engine only puts up with a limited amount of distortion.

In Descent2, which textures scroll, in what direction, and how fast?

To make a texture scroll, you have to use one of the following textures as texture1. For Cube Textures:

Texture Direction Speed water01-1 left slow water01-2 left med water04 down fast lava03-2 down slow lava03-3 down med lava04 down fast

For Wall Textures:

Texture Direction Speed misc100 down/left slow lava05 down fast misc099 down/left slow misc101 down/right slow water05 down fast

Hint: You can also "piggy back" a texture2 on top of a scrolling texture. This way you can make just about any texture scroll.

Why can't Devil load DMB2 levels

An RL2 file for Descent2 has a version. Version 6 was the first version. Version 7 added blinking lights. Version 8 is for Vertigo Levels. DMB2 saves RL2 files as version 7 which is backwards compatible with version 6. At the current date (12/30/96), Devil only loads version 6 RL2 files.

To change an RL2 file from version 7 to version 6, use the RL2DOWN.EXE DOS utility which can be found at:

http://www.lnx.net/~baamot/rl2down.exe

When levels are converted, all blinking light data will be lost.

Custom textures and robots will also be lost unless you save the POG and HXM files from the level's HOG file and re-insert them *before* you use DMB2 again.

How do I make a Cloaked wall with a switch?

1) Select a side where you want the wall to go (between two cubes)
2) Choose "Insert/Door/Normal" from the menu
3) Press the space bar to select the "other cube"
4) Select a side of a cube to add a panel switch
5) Choose "Insert/Trigger/Control Panel" from the menu
6) Press space bar again to choose the door
7) Choose "Tools/Wall Edit" from the menu
8) Select "Cloaked" using the "Type" list box
9) Enter the percentage for "Cloak"
10) Select the other side of the door and repeat step #8 and #9
11) Select "Tools/Trigger Edit" and select the new trigger number from the pull-down list
12) Change the "Descent 2 Type" to "open wall" (instead of "unlock door" default)

Why does DMB2 rotate the view differently than DMB1?

DMB1 only has 2 pair of rotation buttons. So, I made one pair rotate along the vertical screen axis and the other rotate around the X axis of the level. It seemed to work even though it was not very accurate.

DMB2 has 3 pair of rotation buttons which rotate around the screen horizontal axis, vertical axis and center point. DMB2 does it the "correct way" but DMB1 is slightly easier to use.

Another feature of the DMB2 rotations is the ability to rotate using the mouse. Hold down the Ctrl key and the Shift key, then move the mouse. This does the same as the first two pair of rotation buttons. If you want to spin, then use the mouse to make a circle in the direction you want to spin. When you complete the circle, the screen will have rotated relative to the center point of the screen. It takes a bit of getting use to but it saves you from having to click on buttons.

How can I create a sphere?

First you need to learn how to use the "current" cube and the "other" cube. Press space bar to alternate between these two. Select the two sides you want to join. Then, use "Ctrl-S" to join sides. If the sides are close together, then the current side will move to the "other" side. If they are far apart, then a new cube will be inserted for you.

Trapezoidal shapes make nice rings (see the tutorial). If they don't join when you complete the circle, then join the 1st and last cubes together as described above.

Spheres are hard to make. The easiest way to make them in DMB is by using the "Mirror" option when inserting cubes. Start out with a trapezoidal shape cube, then mirror it until it loops back to itself. Then mark the cubes and cut & paste a few of them together. After that, you can join them together.

Another thing you can do is try DesEdit or the DesEdit builder. It has some interesting shape generators and a way to user define some shapes.

How do you use the Curve Generator?

The curve generator uses both selection cubes. The "current" cube and the "other" cube are used to tell the curve generator which two sides to connect together. The "current point" of these cubes will be connected.

Start out by making an U-shape tunnel and connect the ends of the U to make a rectangle. Read the directions on the screen after you start the curve generator.

Another useful trick is to insert a 1 cube on each of the two cubes *before* you start the curve generator. It makes it easier to bend the curve without bending the original cubes.

Also, make sure your cubes are far enough apart and face each other a little. Otherwise you will get weird shaped curves.

What is the latest version of DMB2?

v2.1b (as of 12/30/96).This is the same version that is on the CD. The 'b' does not stand for "beta", it is just the minor revision.

DoesHAMM or DStudio work with levels created in DMB?

Yes. In fact, if you planon making missions with more than one level, they you will need to use one of these HOG managers.

Try them both out and see which one you like better. There is also some DOS based tools on the Action Games forum of CompuServe if you prefer.

DoesDMB2 always save the HOG as a v1.2 file? Can v1.0/1 of D2 read DMB2 files? Will older versions just ignore the new features / functionality? Or does it cause a crash?

DMB2 saves files as follows:

Version Version Read Written D2 v1.0 D2 v1.1 D2 v1.1 D2 v1.1 D2 v1.2 D2 v1.2

(Note: All Descent 1 files are the same revision).

New files are created asD2 v1.1.

From the info above, you can see that the only way to create a D2 v1.2 level is by starting with a D2 v1.2 level. DMB2 does not "promote" D2 v1.1 to D2 v1.2.

Descent 2 File Version Version What happens
--------- ------- -------------
v1.0 v1.1 Blinking light data is ignored
v1.0 v1.2 Aborts
v1.1 v1.0 Ok
v1.1 v1.2 Aborts
v1.2 v1.0 Ok v1.2 v1.1 Ok

(Note: Abort means that the program will exit to a DOS prompt, not crash).

If you create a v1.2 mission file (see the vertigo mission file for details) and you try to load a < v1.2 level or you don't have the new vertigo HOG file, then Descent2 v1.2 will crash.

DMB2 also creates two new files which it stores in the HOG file. These are HXM and POG files. These files are ignored by Descent2 v1.0 and v1.1 and the level plays just fine (except the textures and robot attributes are not changed).

DMB2Error: "Pig file specified in File/Preferences is not valid!"

Use the BROWSE button in the File/Preferences dialog to select a PIG file. Make sure it include the full name and path (not just the name or just the path). DMB1does this differently. DMB1 only requires the path. But since Descent2can have multiple pigs, then both the path and file name must be included.

What is the strength value below triggers in the trigger edit box?

This is used for shield and energy drains. It think it also sets how "strong" a blastable wall is.

I have a blow switch but I don't want the texture2 to be a box. Does it have to be a blowable texture2 for the switch to work?

I don't believe so. Once you have a blow switch that works, try changing the texture2 to a "-light" type of texture and see if it still works.

CanI make a Force Field (wall) that closes auto after being opened like a door?

Hmmm. Good question. You might try this. Make an auto door, then change the texture1 and/or texture2to Force Field. You should see a force field when you start the game. Then after you shoot it, it will turn into a door as it opens, then it will close as a door. I know this is not quite what you were looking for, butits the closest thing I can think of.

How do I create a multi-level mission?

You can either make multiple hog files and then edit the mn2 file so it lists all the levels. Or, you make a single hog file by using one of the following hog managers.

HAMM page: http://www.ozemail.com.au/~prunge/hamm.htm DStudio page: http://www.toto.com/JeffFerguson/DStudio/

Error: "Saves disabled, contact Bryan Aamot for your security number"

This is caused by pressing the Esc key when the About dialog comes up on the screen. This skips the part of the software which enables saves.

Solution: Select Help/About and click on the picture or press any key *except* the Esc key. You only have to do this once when the program starts or any time after that.

Is there any to customize the short cut keys?

DMB2 is a Windows program and like most Windows programs, the accelerator keys (also called shortcut keys) are stored in resource file which is compiled into the program. There is no standard way to make these keys user definable.

How do you keep hostages from looking like they are floating??

Just move them down toward the floor.

1) Select object 2) Select side 1 (for most cubes) 3) Select OBJECT mode 4) Press 7 or 9 key to move object

What did you program DMB2 in?

Borland C++ version 4.1.Actually, I started with Turbo C 2.0 for DOS, then went to Turbo C++ 3.1 for Windows. I switched to Borland C++ 4.1 after I was about20% into DMB2.

How lond did it take?

DMB took about 1000 hours,DMB2 took an additional 1000 hours. This includes the program, help file, readme file, installation script, and the tutorial.

How did Interplay pick you to make it?

They did not pick me --I picked them. It took me 3 months to set up a demo with them, then another3 months for them to reply to me, then another 6 months to sign the contract. By that time DMB was 90% complete.

Was it hard to write all the code, or was the code fairly simple???

The texture mapping stuff was tricky and learning all the particulars about how Descent uses the data. Other than that, it was fairly straight forward.

Is there a way to get my hands on the programming language you used???

Borlands tools are all I used. I wrote all the 3d and texture mapping stuff myself. I had to get out my math books from College and buy a book called "Digital Warping Techniques" to make these things happen.

Are there any plans to come out with a book on the Mission Builder?

Not at this time.

How do I join cubes?

To join cubes, you need to use both the "current" cube and the "other" cube. You can switch between these two cubes by pressing the space bar. You need to select the side on each of these cubes that you want to join together. Make sure they are not to far apart. A good distance is about 1 cube away.

DMB2 does a little better with joining. It allows cubes to be much farther apart and does not have a limitation on how close they can be.

Can I add Vertigo robots to a level? Why don't their names show up?

DMB2 does not allow you to insert any of the new Vertigo Series robots and there is no plan for a patch at this time.

There were a number of reasons why DMB2 does not allow you to insert a Vertigo Series robot:

1) The Vertigo Series was released at the same time as DMB2. In fact, the same beta testing team at Interplay tested both. This nearly prevented me from adding any support for these new robots because they were not finished when I needed to finalize the software.

2) There were some technical problems with supporting the new robots. The RL2 file format and the MN2 file format for the Vertigo Series was changed to let the game know it needed to load the extra robots. This created some compatibility problems with version 1.1 of Descent2. There also had to be a way to prevent the vertigo level from appearing on the menu if you ran anv1.0 or v1.1 of D2. This would cause confusion to anyone who tried to play a v1.2 RL2 file with v1.1 of Descent 2.

3) The Vertigo Series is really just an extension of Descent 2. It adds new robots and a new multiplayer mode. The Vertigo Series files are copyright material and should not be distributed. But, if the Mission Builder allowed you to insert new robots, then it would encourage people to distribute the Vertigo files. On the other hand, it might also encourage people to go out and buy the Vertigo Series.

After all these discussion swere thrown around for about two weeks, the decision was made not to support the new robots in DMB2. This gave me the time I needed to fix up all the other little bugs in DMB2 which I could not have done.

In short, I believe Interplay made the right decision.

Can the coordinates of points be edited?

No.

Why does DMB allow you to enter a negative number for shield strength?

For Descent1 levels only: If you put a negative Strength for shield draining or energy draining triggers, your shield/energy will increase. You can actually increase your shield/energy levelbeyond 200 which some people think is a bug.

Why can't I save files in a directory which has an extension?

This is a minor bug with DMB. DMB2 corrected this problem.

How does the F6 (copy textures) work?

It takes each of the six sides on the "current" cube and replaced their textures with that of the "other" cube. If the "other" cube does not have a texture on a particular side, then the "current" cube's side is not changes.

You need to add a trigger to set off the robot maker. Try this:

1) start a new level
2) press insert 3 times
3) select "Insert/RobotMaker Cube" from the menu
4) press space bar to select the "other" cube
5) select "Insert/Robot Maker Trigger" from the menu

When you fly from cube 0to cube 1, 3 sets of 3 robots should appear from the robot maker.

DoesDMB2 allow you to change the shape of a robot?

DMB2 can not change the model data for the robot. But, if you want a Class I drone to look like a Medium Hulk and act normal, you could just insert a Medium Hulk and set its attributes to that of a Class I drone.

Does it allow you to edit or insert new music? How about Mission briefings or exit sequences?

DMB2 does not modify the music, nor does it have a built in briefing editor.

How do I create a HOG and a mission file?

DMB:

DMB has a bug which will not allow you to save HOG files. Just save the file as an RDL file instead.

DMB2:

Just save the file as a *.hog file in the Descent2 missions directory. DMB2 will automatically create a *.MN2 file for you with the same name as you give the hog file.

Why doesn't my level appear in the menu when I start a new mission?

Could be a few things:

For DMB2:

1) Check the File/Preferences and set the name. This can be different than the file name (and usually is).

2) Make sure you save you file as a HOG file in the missions directory if it is a Descent2 level.

3) If you're using DMB, save the file as a RDL file in the Descent directory.

All files and sub-files used in Descent and Descent II use the 8 character naming convention. The File/Preferences in DMB2 is the name that will appear when you start a level and can be much longer (length depends on what is you can see when the menu appears).

What is the dmb_temp.rdl file?

This is a file that DMB/DMB2uses when creating HOG files. It will be created in the "working" directory of DMB/DMB2.

Is there any plans for a Mac version of DMB2?

No.

How do blinking lights work?

DMB2 automatically decides which sides get dimmed when a blinking light turns off. There is about20 or so numbers associated with each light and it would be too much work to manually edit each one of these, so I made it automatic. In fact, if you load a Parallax level, then save it to a different hog file, I re-calculate the blinking light effect even if you don't change anything.

A good rule of thumb to use is that cubes that are up to six cubes away will be effected. The farther away, the less the effect. Cubes which are behind the blink light are not effected (although some people have been able to fool DMB2sometimes with really thin cubes).

How do you select the "other" cube?

Just press the space bar or click on the "Other cube" button in the cube data dialog.

Which PIG file should I use?

For Descent, use DESCENT.PIG. If you're using DMB, then select the directory. If your usingDMB2, select the full file name.

For Descent 2, you can use any of the PIG files that come with Descent2. Descent 2 comes with several PIG files that are installed on the disk as long as you do a Medium install of the game or higher. Descent 1 only has one pig file called descent.pig. You need to set your preferences to the pig file you want your level to have. For descent 1, it should always be descent.pig. For Descent 2 you should make it groupa.pig unless you prefer to use one of the other pig files which are nearly identical anyway.

Howdoes the curve generator work?

The curve generator uses a spline based algorithm. It makes 4 point spline between the centers of the "current" side and the the "other" side. Then it makes the rectangles to form cubes. The red lines are the end points of the center two points of the spline. You can adjust these with the [] keys or by bending the cubes.

It is best to make two new cubes at the end points of where you want the curve to go. This way you can bend the lines without effecting the structure of the rest of your level.

How do I custom texture a wall of one cube without affecting every other cube that uses the same texture?

Make sure that wall has a texture which is not used anywhere else in the level. Then modify it using the "edit" button on the texture dialog. There are hundreds of textures to choose from, just select one your not already using.



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