! ! WARNING ! !
Above is Zulu Time!!
The story behind the S.V.S.
First of all, a little bit of inside info about the game at hand.
Descent 3 is the third game in the line of the Descent saga, well known for the use of six degrees of freedom and true 3D rendering technology. Descent 3 constituted a major technical upgrade over its two predecessors, (Descent1 & 2) introducing many ground breaking graphical techniques like portal rendering, procedural texturing and advanced lighting and was probably the most graphically advanced game of its time.
However, this was also very challenging for hardware at that time. Although previous attempts to create fan-made sequels to Descent 3 were scrapped due to issues concerning ownership rights, Interplay has plans to create a sequel should they secure funding for it. Descent 3 has an official expansion pack, titled: "Descent 3: Mercenary", although fans of the game have also made other modifications. They are able to build there own levels with the mission builder which comes with the Mercenary add-on package.
The storyline of Descent 3:
This is shown through several cut scenes throughout the game, and with in-game mission briefings and debriefings. Previously in Descent II, you being "Material Defender 1032" had narrowly escaped the destruction of an alien planetoid he was investigating on orders of the mega corporation “Post Terrain Mining Corporation” or in short PTMC. He was about to return to Earth to collect his payment, but without warning, a malfunction occurred with the prototype warp drive in the ship he was flying. This was deliberately done by Drafus, your employer, so he did not need to pay you your fee!
The opening cut scene to the game shows the Material Defender's ship drifting into the Sun. At the very last moment, just as his ship begins to burn up due to excess heat, a salvage vessel saves the ship. The Material Defender is extracted from his ship, and it is disposed of in the sun.
As the Material Defender recovers, he learns that he was rescued by the Red Acropolis Research Team. The director of the research team tells him of strange things that were happening in the PTMC, as well as the fact that one of her acquaintances in the PTMC was killed by a robot. What made the Red Acropolis suspicious of the PTMC was when they denied that they had ever employed him, even though he had worked with them for years. The Red Acropolis had tried to notify the Collective Earth Defence (CED), a large anti-terrorist and police group, of the PTMC's actions, but they took no action; they dared not mess with the PTMC.
The director also tells the Material Defender that while he was clearing the PTMC's mines of a computer virus, the PTMC were actually testing and modifying it. According to her, the virus was extremely advanced nanotechnology. She wants to stop the virus, and she wants the Material Defender for the job. After some persuasion and offers from her, you give in. At this point, you are shown an animation that revealed that the PTMC had deliberately tried to kill you by disabling the warp drive on your ship.
During the game you are able to bank and turn, pivot, and move back and forward at high speed (afterburner!!!). This while your chased by lots and lots of crazy virus infected killer robots! Which are better armed then you I may add! So you have to out smart those robots with speed and efficiency to be able to survive for one, and to complete the mission. Are you ready for descent Material Defender 1032?!
The graphics aren’t the only thing which are brilliant for a game at that time, the special FX’s are also a necessary and nicely done addition to the game. Furthermore, Descent 3 has his own soundtrack during the game! Which is now downloadable from the official Descent site called: Planet Descent . But of course, you can always mute this music in case you don’t like it, and play your own. What ever makes you happy!
Descent 3 vs. The S.V.S.:
Playing this kind of game inside a cocoon, locks all surrounding diversions out, this would only increase the intensity even more when playing this disorientational game. To top this of it would be fantastic when, it would be possible to put this cocoon inside a gimbal construction controlled by the gamer, this would result in the experience of a lifetime!!
As a bonus, this cocoon would also need to be equipped with a full Digital Dolby Surround Sound System. Furthermore, the gamer should wear a helmet which is equipped with a helmet-headset and mike. Via this mike he, the gamer that is, could communicate with person’s outside the cocoon via LAN connection. To be able to talk to other participants during a multigame session of Flight Simulator X, or one or another fighter plane sim like for instance: Falcon 4.0 Allied Force.
These kind of games are designed specially to be played in multi gamer setting. Descent 3 is also the most fun played in multiplayer. Communication between the participants of a multi session here could only take place through text messaging that appeared on screen. There for it’s necessary to install a azerty keyboard. Nowadays these are available in very compact versions, so they don’t upset the view of the cockpit layout. These keyboards are a little larger then your hand! Perfect for cockpit integration.
The flight should be controlled by means of a HOTAS system, HOTAS means “Hands On Throttle And Stick”, and this is extremely important to be able to stay in control of both the flight AND the battle! The less you need to leave your throttle or stick, to control other things inside the cockpit, or better said, the more the stick and throttle is equipped with knobs, the more they are “hands-on”. This improves the controls during the game.
The three big manufacturers of these kind of game controllers are; Logitech, ThrustMaster, and Saitek. The last one is a very “special” design, and they use there own perception on how a game controller should look like.
The two others are more of a copy of the F-16 HOTAS. Which of course gets more interest from most gamers. The F-16 may be out dated, by the
Euro-fighter for one, but it still has lots of fans!
The origin of the idea:
Some time ago, let's say 14 years back, I've had the idea on the development of a new type of Flight simulator. Something with the cockpit of a spacecraft. The original idea came in November of 1996 during a night session of playing Descent 2 , on my pc, television, and surround sound system set-up, when I thought: "Wouldn't be cool to be able to experience every motion during a mission in reality, inside a cockpit that would be able to turn around all three axis of movement (X,Y,Z) in 360° unlimited, to simulate the same freedom as inside the game!!!". But due to the improved grafics in the third version of Descent, we decided to talk and us Descent 3. Furthermore the storyline is basically the same. You get an objective, and the mission is not over before you are successful! Sound a lot like this project!!
Our logo, is infact the example of the S.V.S.!
Weeks went by, but this thought kept going around in side my head. During one of my night shift at Brussels National Airport, where I worked as an airplane engineer for DHL/EAT, a small group of flight simmers came onboard our A300 flight deck. To get new ideas maybe? What ever, but after this I really started thinking about my idea and if it would be feasibility of it. So, I decided to act upon this, and to investigate on the web if this was possible or just plain silly. What I found was amazing!
A complete unknown world opened up to me, the world of the flight simulator home-builders. The first forum, being the FSCB forum, informed me of the technology behind these pits. So this was not just plain silly?! Nice!!! I started to design, draw sketches, contact people within the FS world, but what started to appear was a large price tag,…a very large one. This acted upon me as a even larger brake to pursue my dream sim. I started doubting the feasibility of the project. Mainly because I only was thinking of a sim combined with Descent 3. All that effort for only one game?
But what if, other sim programs could also be just together with this sim? It became clear that other flight simulators and flight shooter games would also fit in this type of simulator. Like Falcon 4.0 and other fighter plane simulator shooter games. Or space shooter games. Let's just say, all sim's for single seater planes or space-craft. And even later I noticed there was a marked for it!
It became more than clear that there was a future for my idea, resumed my development of the sim. But a sim needs a name,…..? I thought for days about this. Then finally it came to me, of course, “you will fly inside a virtual sphere!” THAT’S IT!!! But Virtual Sphere was already used by another company, damn. Wait a minute, lets call it: “Simbuilder’s Virtual Sphere”, bingo! There are more then one cow with almost the same name!
Article last modified on 15/06/2015