*.MSN files define Descent 1 missions and are needed so that Descent 1 lists your mission in the NEW GAME and START MULTIPLAYER GAME dialogs.
It is a standard ASCII text file, that can be created and modified with any
text editor, like MS-DOS EDIT or Windows Notepad.
Here is an example file:
name=My First Mission
Now for the definition of the file:
- The first line is always required (otherwise the mission will not be listed at all). It defines the name of the mission. It is shown in Descent when you select NEW GAME or START MULTIPLAYER GAME.
- The second line is optional and defines whether the level shall be listed in multiplayer mode only. If you specify "type=anarchy", it will not be shown if you select NEW GAME in the main menu. Any other text after "type=" (usually "type=normal") or if the type keyword is omitted, will make the mission show in both single-player and multi-player games. Note that it is not possible to declare a level single-player only, nor can you specify further multiplayer mode specifications (such as "Team-Anarchy only").
- The keyword "briefing=" is only needed if your mission shall show a briefing. In the example above ("briefing=intro") a briefing file called INTRO.TEX or INTRO.TXB is searched in the Descent 1 directory as well as the current HOG. See TXB specs for information on how to create a briefing.
- The keyword "hog=" is very seldom used, yet it exists. It is only there to define a HOG file that has a different filename than the MSN file. Descent 1 Destination Saturn OEM used this to link DESTSAT.MSN to DESCENT.HOG.
- The keyword "num_levels=" is required and specifies the number of levels. Following this line come the level filenames, in our case 2 levels. These RDL levels can be either in the Descent 1 directory or in the current HOG.
- The keyword "num_secrets=" is optional and only needed when you offer secret levels. Again the line is followed by the actual level filenames, however they have a second parameter specifying the level which contains the secret entrance. In our example above, level 2 contains the secret entrance to the secret level.
The Descent community extended the MSN file format with some new keywords to specify additional information like who the author is, etc. Descent 1 does not parse them, however several tools do, incl. recent versions of Descent Manager, Descent Mission Builder and Yahoma. DETLEF Server Tools for example use them to create a DETLEF level database, so its always good to specify these keywords in your missions.
These extensions were first defined and standardized by our very own Mike Menefee and called "MNX Extensions".
- The keyword "author=" specifies the name of the level creator, e.g. "author=Luke Schneider".
- The keyword "email=" specifies the eMail adress to contact the level creator, e.g. "firstname.lastname@example.org".
- The keyword "web_site=" specifies the URL to the website of the level creator, e.g. "web_site=http://www.descentlevels.com/ultralevels".
- The keyword "revision=" specifies the release version, e.g. "revision=V1.0".
- The keyword "date=" specifies the release date.
- The keyword "build_time=" specifies the estimated time needed to build this mission, e.g. "build_time=23 hours".
- The keyword "normal=", "anarchy=", "robo_anarchy=" and "coop=" specify for which game mode(s) this mission is intended for.
- The keyword "custom_music=" specifies whether the mission contains custom music.
If you still have problems to create your own MSN file, have a look at the available tools to create MSN files automatically and also check MSN files of missions by other people.
Browse Descent Network Mission database
Get Yahoma MSN/HOG file builder
TXB specs - How to create briefings for your mission
MN2 specs - Descent 2's *.MSN pendant