Excellent Descent successor Overload gets a level editor

Overload

Overload is one of the best retro FPS revivals out there. Simply put, it’s Descent 4 in all but name, developed by the original crew, complete with a soundtrack from the combined composers of the original three games. The only real complaint I had about it in my mini-review of it here was that it was a little on the short side, despite an excellent New Game+ mode. That became less of a problem this week, as developers Revival Productions released the level editor for it, along with a basic tutorial video within.

You can grab the level editor via this Steam forum post, although the maps should work on all versions. Sadly at the moment it’s a Windows-only thing (the game supports Windows, Mac & Linux). It’s a pretty heavyweight editor, too – while the game’s level geometry is relatively simplistic, there’s potential for making just about anything with this editor if you put in the time and effort. You can get a first peek at the editor basics in the video below, with more to be published later on Revival’s YouTube channel.

I’m really excited to see what fans can produce with the editor. The campaign levels have very little fat on their bones, with many textures only used once or twice, and the entire final stretch of the game having its own unique aesthetic and set of enemies to fight. There’s a lot of material here to remix and combine into fresh experiences, and as Doom has proven over the years, with a good range of guns, enemies and environment types you can remix and refine almost infinitely. My only concern now is that too few will make the effort to try and learn the ropes. Fingers crossed, eh?

Overload is available via Steam and GOG for £23.79/$30, you can download the editor here, and find a playable demo of the game here.

24 Comments

  1. racccoon says:

    To be honest if your going to spend an enormous amount of time in a level editor you may as well use unity or unreal and be done with it. :)

    • mitrovarr says:

      Wouldn’t it be more rewarding to make levels for a good game than to try to make your own crappy game without the resources necessary? Overload has great physics and really reproduces the feeling of Descent 1-2, and reproducing that in Unity/Unreal would be nearly impossible.

      • SBLux says:

        Overload was developed with Unity 5.

        • mitrovarr says:

          Hmm, I didn’t state that as clearly as I intended.

          It would be nearly impossible not because Unity/Unreal are unsuitable engines, but because that feel and sense of movement is very difficult to achieve and the Overload team had the original Descent designers. So they have a huge advantage in that area.

          • SBLux says:

            I see what you mean, my apologies. I do agree with you that this is a great thing to have in the game. Designing levels in all 6 directions is very appealing.

    • Caiman says:

      You may have heard of a concept of “modding”, where interested players who are invested in the game want to create content of their own, to express their own ideas, to learn how to create content, or just to have fun. It’s quite popular, you know!

  2. Szhival says:

    Here’s to a small hope they’ll transition the same way the original Descent games did – into Freespace.

    • Batrigore says:

      Ah, yes! Those gems of space combat games I so fondly remember too. Tell you what; this time around, let’s change ‘transition’ to ‘branch’, and you an I can say we agree with one another.

    • Caiman says:

      The devs have hinted that, if Overload does well, a future project may well be a space game. And as these are largely the same team that did Freespace… well, it could interest you.

      So yeah, buying Overload not only nets you an awesome game, it increases the chances of a Freespace spiritual successor.

  3. Veav says:

    Soundtrack by the original composers? O.o Brb, rocking out.

    • Veav says:

      …I would happily buy this soundtrack on its own, but Steam won’t let me without buying the base game, and I’m no longer a guy who would get much out of that. Do they have a tip jar anywhere?

      I had the original games on a three-disc set and I would listen to their redbook audio constantly back in the day. It’s still fantastic and just the few tracks I’ve heard of Overload already have me blissed out.

      • Caiman says:

        I’d suggest writing to Revival Productions (link to playoverload.com), they’ve generally been really helpful during development. They sent me a FLAC copy of the soundtrack (although I had already purchased it).

      • Premium User Badge

        Leucine says:

        Fortunately, the soundtrack can be bought on its own over at link to store.cdbaby.com

        Unfortunately I can’t speak to how reliable that site is but a cursory look elsewhere shows they seem to be reputable.

        • Veav says:

          Noice – good looking out!

        • b00p says:

          cdbaby is legit. they’ve been around for over 20 year. they allow independent musicians like myself to purchase a relatively-reasonably priced package of distribution that disseminates to streaming and paid digital music services without the need of being on a label. they also do their own store, give you options to produce physical copies and various other kinds of services.

        • Papageno says:

          Wow, glad to hear that cdbaby is still around and apparently still here in my city of Portland, Oregon. I bought a CD by Red Delicious* from them back over 15 years ago.
          *The band from LA that performed this awesome tune, included on the “In the Lounge” tracks disc for the first NOLF game: link to youtu.be

  4. HumpX says:

    I bought the game and I loved it. unfortunately it seems (to this old bastard anyhow) that the current generation of gamers have little passion to do community content/mods etc. I hate to be the guy that whines “things were better back in the day”…but, they really were.

    *sigh*

    • Dominic Tarason says:

      Nah, community just needs to be encouraged and supported. See Redlynx’s Trials series, which rack up hundreds of thousands of fan-made levels each, shared cross-platform, many of them bafflingly complex.

      Just releasing a level editor is only the first step. You need community hosting and resources to get people creating and sharing their stuff.

    • Caiman says:

      Check out the Overload Discord, there’s plenty of work going on in there to create levels (several of which can be downloaded already). I’m actually tempted to give it a shot as well, reportedly the editor is quite easy to use once you get past the basics.

    • sLLiK says:

      You’d be genuinely surprised at the unparalleled level of activity going on in the Overload Discord server, right now. It’s the busiest Discord I’ve ever been a member of, and it’s a very healthy mix of new blood and Descent vets.

      Honestly, I’d joked a couple of times recently that Discord has become the new Kali, sans the ability to launch games. And now Discord is rolling out a feature that lets you launch games too, so there you have it. Come join us. :)

  5. Sly-Lupin says:

    I’m sure this is a great game and all, but since you have to mention Descent, I am now super depressed that after nearly two decades not only have we not see a proper Freespace successor, but the entire genre is dead, dead, dead.

    • mitrovarr says:

      I mean, we had that wave of kickstarted space games a while back. It’s just a pity that all three projects went awry (with No Man’s Sky and Elite Dangerous forgetting to put a game in and Star Citizen going into development hell forever).

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