-- [1a] ---------- What is Descent?

"Descent is a heart-pounding, gun-wrenching, edge-of-your-seat experience."
-from the README.TXT file in Descent

"The sensation of speed is amazing, and the 3D, texture-mapped graphics
make this game a genuine joy to behold."
-PC Gamer

You are in a full 3D environment with 6 degrees of freedom -- you truly have
the experience of weightlessness and zero gravity.

You are a pilot who must rescue hostages and blow up the reactors of
certain enemy mines. However, there are many, many robot drones out to
destroy you before you destroy them. When the reactor blows, you have
45 seconds to get out of there before you go with it!

You are given an arsenal of different weapons, such as the Vulcan
chaingun-like gun. Also, you have finite energy and shield strength,
both of which may be replenished in the course of the game.

Descent boasts true heightmapping and light sourcing -- the textures
and feel of the game are absolutely real. And the light effects are
terrific -- try shooting a missile down a dark corridor and watch it
light the walls along its path.

-- [1b] ---------- But I already play Doom. Why would I want Descent?

Descent, unlike Doom, has a true 3-D environment with six degrees
of freedom. This means you have three axes of motion and three axes of

Descent also has 3D texture-mapped polygon enemies, and no flat bitmaps
like Doom has. As to which is better is a matter for debate. :)

Descent boasts unrestricted level design -- it's not limited to 90 degree
walls or 2-dimensional layouts.

This is nothing against Doom, of course -- Doom was a revolutionary game
in its own right; but what Doom did for Wolfenstein 3D, Descent does for

-- [1c] ---------- Who created Descent?

Descent was created by Parallax Software, along with Interplay Productions.

-- [1c-2] How can I contact Interplay?

Interplay Technical Support can be reached 24 hours a day through their
Automated Customer Service system, with representatives available during
normal business hours. Their phone number is 714-553-6678.

Other ways to get help:

Interplay Productions Interplay BBS: 714-252-2822
attn: Customer Service America Online: keyword INTERPLAY
17922 Fitch Avenue email "IPTECH"
Irvine, CA 92714 GEnie: type "M805;1"
CompuServe: GO GAMBPUB
Prodigy: email to "PLAY99B"
Internet: email to

-- [1d] ---------- What are the differences between the releases of Descent?

The shareware version of Descent was released in late December 1994,
and is available from many different sites (see below). It contains
the first 7 levels of the full game, and does not contain certain

The registered version of Descent should be available early January,
and contains the full 30 levels of the game. It also contains the
weapons and missiles that were missing in the shareware version.
To order the registered version, call 1-800-INTERPLAY.

There will be a retail version selling in stores, and according to
Interplay, there will be no differences between the registered version
and the retail version, aside from the cardboard box.

There will also be a special CD edition of Descent, shipping in
Spring. It will include new levels, cut scenes, and things like

-- [1e] ---------- Wait, I read somewhere about something called Quake.
Isn't this it?

No. Quake is a game currently being designed by Id software, the makers
of Doom. Quake is promised to contain many of the features that Descent
carries, such as true 3D. But for now, Descent is wholly independent of
the Quake project, and there is no overlap between the two.

-- [1f] ---------- Will a level editor be released?

From Adam Pletcher at Parallax:

"Here's our unofficial stance on homebrew stuff: We're discussing it.
Due to the complexity of our segment structure, it's unlikely a useable
homebrew editor will be made in the foreseeable future. We're
considering several approaches from just seeing what people come up
with, to total release of our editor. The main fear in releasing
the editor we have is that it isn't bug-free and isn't the most
user-friendly thing. Neither of these things is a big deal, but we
don't want Interplay/Parallax to start getting tech support calls
for the thing. I'll tell you this, though: we didn't put in any
code to make homebrew levels hard to use."

-- [1g] ---------- What do I need to run Descent?

According to the README.TXT, the bare requirements for running Descent are:
- IBM PC compatible 386-33 or faster
- 4 MB RAM
- DOS 5.0 or greater

Strongly recommended are:
- 486 or Pentium processor
- 8 MB RAM
- stereo 16-bit soundcard with General MIDI support
- a quality joystick

-- [1h] ---------- Can I play Descent under OS/2?

Yes! Descent runs PERFECTLY under OS/2. All you need to do is to increase
your memory settings for a Descent object to 8 megs or more, and you can
run it fine. You should change "DPMI_MEMORY_LIMIT" to 8 megs or

It even runs inside a PM window, although the frame rate
isn't great... :)

-- [1i] ---------- Can I play Descent under Windows?

You can, although it is not recommended. There are certain timing
problems which interfere with Descent's performance when you play
through a DOS Window (whether full screen or windowed).

The best performance will be achieved when you exit Windows entirely
(by File/Exit), and THEN load Descent directly from DOS.

-- [1j] ---------- Where can I get Descent?

You can download the shareware version of Descent from the following
sources: (two files: and

:: Interplay BBS: 714-252-2822, 24 hours, up to 28.8k baud, 8N1
:: Software Creations BBS: 508-368-4137, 24 hours, 8N1
or telnet to
:: CompuServe: "GO GAMBPUB", in the Interplay software libraries
:: America Online: keyword "INTERPLAY", in the software libraries
:: GEnie: type "M805;3", then search for "Interplay"
:: FTP sites... in /pub/msdos_uploads/descent in /pub/incoming/games in /pub/msdos/games/interplay in /pub/games/descent in /pub/cs/csua/descent in /incoming OR /pub/ibmpc/games/misc

You can get the registered version of Descent directly from Interplay, or
you can buy it in retail stores starting in mid-January.

-- [1k] ---------- Is there a Descent newsgroup on Usenet?

Yes! Most sites carry the newsgroup "". Ask your
local news administration to carry it if they don't already.

-- [1l] ---------- Is there source code available?

Descent is a commercial product, and hence, no source code of the game
is available.

-- [1m] ---------- What are the differences between the different robots?

From the introductory info:

Class 1 Drone (Yellow) :
Standard utility robot, apparently modified for combat. Should
pose little threat alone, but could be trouble in groups.

Class 2 Drone (Blue) :
Aggressive when cornered. Relatively weak weapons, but fires

Medium Lifter (Green with arms) :
Normally used to burrow through porous rock. Recon cameras
have witnessed this robot shredding anything in sight -- including
hostages! Stay away from this robot -- because he has no
projectile weapons, your best bet is to fire from far away.

Small Hulk (Green, bulky) :
Standard borer robot. Tough and agile.

Medium Hulk (Yellow/Brown, bulky) :
Heavily armored for explosive deployment deep in mines. Slow
moving, but very dangerous.

"Spider" Processing Robot (Red, 4 arms) :
These mechs were designed to pick up rubble for processing in
their body cavities. Explodes into smaller spiders when hit.

Unknown name (Silver) :
This robot is vicious, as it fires its vulcan guns (chaingun)
at you immediately when it sees you. Don't stay in its sight
too long!

SuperMech (Red; fires homing missiles) :
These guys are like the hulks, but about 200% more angry.

Mega Hulk (Yellow, huge, cloaks) :
This robot is huge and cloaks whenever you hit it. It reappears
somewhere else. For hints on how to kill it, see section [2d].

-- [1n] ---------- What are some popular control configurations?

"I use a basic analog joystick, along with the keyboard. I use
W,A,S, and D to strafe, and F to accelerate and V to reverse.
Ctrl fires and space bar fires a missile. The joystick controls
where my ship is pointed."
-John D., aka Bruin on #descent

"The mouse is the best for me. Pitch up is the mouse, y-axis
inverted. Pitch down is the mouse's x-axis. Fire primary is
mouse left button, and fire secondary is the mouse right button.
(If you're using a 3 button mouse, use the middle button to fire
the secondary, and right button to go forward. W,A,S, and D
to strafe, and Caps Lock for a reverse view. Reverse
acceleration is left shift, and forward is space bar. Everything
else is default."
-"vxl" on IRC/#descent

To submit your favorite configuration, e-mail it to for inclusion in this FAQ!

HTML version of this FAQ done by DrChandra on 95.01.05.