Does DXX use portals?
I seem to remember in the original Descent using a level editor to create rooms with 'loops' with the portals, like the kind of stuff you would see in the valve 'Portal' games.

If so did any "official" Descent (1 or 2?) maps do anything unconventional with the portals like creating loops or putting rooms in such a way that they overlap?
The engine does not directly support non-contiguous areas linked by a teleportation portal. It does tolerate overlapping areas, although there are some undesirable consequences to using overlapped rooms (robots will attempt to target players in the other room; area effect attacks without regard to which room the parties are in; some visual artifacts may occur if the engine tries to draw both rooms). In some cases, the engine may become confused and warp a player from one segment in room A to the overlapped segment in room B. This is rare, and may be connected to particularly ill-formed segments.
Ah ok that's interesting.

Overall a really nice source port. I think the Descent scene geometry was kind of sparse, so having debris and lighting and transparency effects really helps.

I also find uncapped turning makes it a bit more playable with the mouse, actually with a trackball it's very nice.

Is there any way to turn off the 'float' bob effect or to otherwise hack to make your ship more maneuverable in single player like with increased acceleration or braking?
None of those flight changes are available in the published builds. If you are willing to create a custom build, those are all easy. Remove PF_WIGGLE from the player object to prevent the bobbing effect. Change maximum acceleration at the bottom of similar/main/kconfig.cpp:kconfig_read_controls by changing the limits passed to clamp_kconfig_control_with_overrun. Active deceleration (through pressing the reverse key) is simply acceleration in the opposite direction, so it obeys the same rules as forward acceleration. Passive deceleration (as the ship coasts to a stop when you release the flight keys) is handled through the thrust and drag members of physics_info in similar/main/physics.cpp:do_physics_sim. Raise drag to increase the rate at which the ship loses speed.
Thanks, might give that a try. Got pretty far attempting to build in an MSYS2 environment but eventually ran into link errors. Maybe I"ll have better luck on Linux.

For now I think I will give up on Descent II Insane difficulty and stick to Ace =)
Please open a separate thread (preferably as a Github issue, if you have an account there; but if not, a post on this forum is fine) about your problems using MSYS2. I have a goal that any reasonable environment problems be detected by the configure phase, so if you hit a link error at the end, you found a bad configuration that I didn't detect early on. If I detect it early, during configure, I can print a message advising the user about likely causes and solutions. If it fails at the end, not only is that more frustrating for the user, but my ability to print useful advice is much more limited.
Thanks for looking into this:

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