|My dog owns me||November 14, 2014, 4:28 am|
I can't remember if I've mentioned this before, but I've never really been a dog person until I met my wife. I've grown up with cats for most of my life and she's infatuated with puppies, so when we moved in together I became part owner of her dog. Until I've gotten more accustomed to her dog, I was always bothered by the way dogs bark and shout and jump all over you the instant you walk into a dog owners home. I'e grown to be more accepting of it as time passes, and to my surprise most people who've owned dogs or are best friends with a dog owner are too. But sometimes it makes guests uncomfortable.
Speaking of making people uncomfortable, my dog tends to make excessive eye contact as a way of getting attention. Naturally she follows me anywhere in the house I go. I think in part due to her separation anxiety, she needs to constantly be informed where I am at all times. I've kinda just adapted to it, but lately I'm beginning to suspect that she is learning that this is a tactic she can use to get what she wants.
I walk my dog every morning at 5:30am. It's the first thing I do when I wake up besides put on pants and shoes. It chills her out for most of the day and keeps her from doing things like peeing in the house or digging in the trash when my wife and I are out of the house. At 5:30am, It's dark and quiet and free from distractions and beats the neighbors who walk their dogs in the morning too, so my dog doesn't get all riled up and start yanking on the leash and trying to pull me around. I don't have any tolerance for that shit so I usually shorten the length of her walks if she starts acting up to keep her in line. After about the usual 45 minutes of walking her, I get home and take a shower, get dressed, then drive my wife to work, then I drive to my college classes. That's my morning routine almost every morning.
One morning I didn't have to go to school or work and chose to sleep in. At the time I woke up, around 9:00am or so, I went downstairs to watch some TV. As I was laying on the couch my dog, simply walking around in circles around the house as she usually does sits right in front of me on the couch and just looks at me. Unsure, I started petting her head, scratching her back, playing with one of her toys, but these only seem to distract her for a minute and the instant I stop she's back to sitting 6 inches away from my face staring at me with her big ol eyes wide open, occasionally making a quiet drone or moaning sound or something. This is annoying evil cat behavior except with the way my dog is, I find her exhibiting this kinda behavior to be much more noticeable and awkward. I think because cats have a way of acting where sometimes you're not even sure they are aware you exist, while my dog is always constantly alert of my whereabouts and responds to everything I do. I can't focus on the TV show and she continues making me uncomfortable, so against my will I take her outside for a walk in the afternoon in the hopes it would calm her down.
It works and she chills out for most of the day. At least until the next morning. I guess in excitement for going on these morning walks, she's awake earlier than I am. Sometimes I will wake up before my alarm goes off with my dog apparently staring directly into my eyes while I'm sleeping. Only inches away from my face, occasionally making that stupid moan noise, I accept the fact that with my dog's eyes fixated on me the entire time, and sitting invasively in my personal space, close enough that I can almost feel her breath when she exhales from her nostrils, that I'm not going to feel anymore refreshed trying to sleep during the remaining hour before my alarm goes off than if I just wake up now. This is becoming a daily affair and I'm beginning to suspect she's learning to do this conciously as a way to make me nervous and uncomfortable and give in to any of her demands.
Today I woke up at 3:30am. What do?
|trash picker trash picker||September 8, 2014, 8:50 am|
A couple nights ago I started watching a TLC 'reality documentary' series on netflix called extreme cheapskates. I'm a bit of a stickler at times in regards to spending money, and it was a bit relieving to see people so radically in that direction.
On the first episode, first guy they interview, out of all the episodes on netflix I watched, was the worst. He air dries his paper towels on a clothesline so that he can use to dry is hands or clean up a mess as much as five times. He puts a brick in the back of the toilet tank to displace the water so it uses less per flush, sharpens his disposable razors, picks up any amount of loose change, buys expired foods from the liquidation store, even asks people at restaurants for their leftover foods when they're done eating!
The worst of it though was, that his wife and him were talking about their wedding day, and how he had orthodontic surgery the very next day with no insurance. She had a job and insurance, which was the reason he married her.
The episode continued, and it's the morning before their 25th wedding anniversary dinner. And he had to get her a gift. She said she's given up expecting any sort of jewelry or fancy restaurant or whatever. The self-proclaimed extreme cheapskate spends the day seeking a variety of gifts to get for her wife for their 25th anniversary dinner -- starting with the dumpster. In his searches, he finds four wilted roses, to which he proudly states "nothing says romance like flowers" and a teapot, which he defended his finding by saying she's always drinking tea.
Later on he moves on to the discount food store, purchases a bottled water for $0.15, and a miniature box of animal crackers for $0.30. "Not even expired!" he exclaims. Then he 'splurges a little' this year by buying her a skull shaped stress ball for $0.99. When he gets home, he finds an old greeting card his sister in law gave to his wife when she was ill. He crosses her name out on the card and writes his own, and paperclips a piece of paper reading "Happy Anniversary" over the message in the card!
When they go out to dinner that night to the local diner, she begs him, for this one day a year, not to take other people's leftovers. They bicker about it back and forth on the ride there. When they get there, he says he needs go to the restroom, but instead gives the $0.15 water to the diner staff and asks them to refrigerate it for him, so that they can serve it to his wife in lieu of paying for a normal beverage.
The night proceeds with him giving her the garbage he collected for her. While not ungrateful, she's obviously not impressed. He later starts scavenging tables where the guests left their leftover food for the wait staff to collect, embarrassing her like no other. The episode ends with her consolidating herself by saying these things happen, but she gets over them in time. I thought to myself I would never be like him.
The very next morning I go out to walk my dog just before sunrise. As were walking, my eyes fall upon a trash can. Perched directly on top, is a 21 in flatscreen LCD computer monitor in great condition. Much bigger than my current monitor. It wasn't even in the trash, but sitting on top of an old beanbag, filling up the can. I stared at it for a while, but it was still dark out, no one was around. I hesitated. Started to walk away, then turned around and yanked it out of the can. I took it home, tested it, and it works fine! Much larger than my current monitor which i paid over $100 for, and the colors really pop. It's not in my interest to pick from the trash, but I can't help but feel like I really scored big.
I hate myself.
|Teaching my wife to map||August 22, 2014, 9:21 pm|
During one of our random uplifting chats, the topic of holidays came up and we agreed to spend all the major holidays away from family and only with each other this year. Out of curiosity my wife asked me what I would like to get from her for christmas, and the only thing I could think of wanting for christmas was more Doom maps to play! So I told her I want her to make me a map! She could tell how enthusiastic I was about it, and it wasn't the first time I attempted to show her how to make Doom maps, so she happily agreed if I can give her lessons.
So naturally, I went right to work writing up some sort of a lesson plan on how to teach someone who doesn't know anything but the general gist of Doom how to create a map. I thought something like this might be helpful in case anyone here wants to teach someone how to map.
Hopefully, if I've done a good job, she might complete making a decent short episode for Doom 2 on her own time for me to play on Christmas, and I can share with you guys :)
I've only worked on the first lesson so far; more lessons to come. Could probably use more Doom Wiki and Unnofficial Wad Designer's Handbook reference, but this is basically what I intend to go over with her to get started. I'm thinking Lesson 2 will be placing things, Lesson 3 will be editing sector properties, like light values, sector effects, and floor/ceiling heights. Lesson 4 will be understanding Upper, Middle, and Lower textures, front and back sides, and picking and choosing textures, Lesson 5 would be basic Linedef types (like doors, switch operated doors, lifts, moving floors, etc. Lesson 7 will probably be going over using the F_SKY flat to create skies. I haven't thought too far ahead, but I do hope to eventually go over the basics of texture alignment, trapping the player, difficulty progression, health/ammo balance, skill level implementation, consistent texture themes, layout flow, detailing, and some special editing tricks like instantly raising floors. There's a lot to go over, but I think if I keep it brief and easy to learn, she'll make progress quickly and get a lot of positive feedback.
Here's the first lesson I intend to go over with her tomorrow:
|itchy nose||August 1, 2014, 9:54 pm|
Here's an award winning thread:
almost every day I go into work, my nose starts to get itchy. I feel it on the tip of my nose and the outer parts of the inside of my nostrils. Its a lot like when you visit someone who owns a hundred cats and there's a thin coat of fur on every surface of their house and they just turned on an oscillating can. Its an infuriatingly annoying feeling and I only feel at work. As soon as I go home the feeling is gone. Theres no furry things where I work. I work in food service and the air isn't stuffy or anything, and I don't have any allergies, or a cold or anything. My nose just gets super itchy.
anybody have any idea what's up?
|On The Fence||February 17, 2014, 4:55 pm|
I think I'd truly regret calling this an announcement of my official retirement from Doom mapping, but I think I may be coming to the conclusion that it's time to quit kidding myself.
With certain circumstances in my life sucking up my time and negating my ability to pursue Doom mapping as a legitimate hobby, I've been balancing a weight on my shoulders with rather small unfinished projects that I'm struggling to bring to completion. Things are moving at a glacial pace and my future only looks to incorporate more extra-curricular activities in my daily routine, making my absolute favorite pastime look more and more like something that's only fit to be put in the attic and left alone as a distant memory.
A few years ago, mapping seemed to flow naturally out of me, which is where the majority of my body of work came from. I began to concentrate on more complex design strategies in order to construct more unique looking and replayable doom levels. Unfortunately this started shortly before I bought a house and got married and such. If the kind of levels I really want to make were a piece of jewelry at the bottom of the swimming pool, my responsibilities are the air-inflated floaties pulling me up to the surface. My wife would be offended if she saw me describing things that way but it's about time to admit that Doom mapping wasn't much more than a timesink to get myself to the point in life that I am at now. Now that I'm living it, there isn't much room to squeeze it back in. There really hasn't been much room this whole time and anything I've released since shows it.
While reverting to my older mapping style would probably be much more productive, I'd still have the reminder that "I can do better than this" lingering over me as I play through them. I think there are enough mappers here who can create similar enough maps. I'm not really interested in being a part of that category of mappers.
But anyway, it hurts my ego every time I come back to mapping after a long unavoidable hiatus with an intention to create a design that I feel has finally manifested in my mind after many weeks. The lack of regular practice with Doombuilder 2 is clear in my attempt to rectify it when the design comes out sloppy and inconsistent. I begrudgingly close the laptop lid and go do something else. If I find myself a career path that pays much better and has an unusual amount of downtime and low-stress, I may be able to get back into the groove and nullify everything this blog stands to declare. Until then, I feel as though the only other appropriate time to get back into mapping is when I retire and wait to pass away.
What does this mean for UAC Ultra 2? Not sure. For a long time I've been epitomizing UU2 as a way to "go out with a bang" and encapsulate as many of my ideas as humanly possible into a single megawad and live the rest of my life comfortably with the satisfaction that I've exhausted as much of my potential as I could into a final product. Then I'd leave everyone in the community with a sick megawad to play in many different styles with hundreds of hours of gameplay depending on how one chooses to play it. I'd also hope it would stand as a model for what I'd like to see more mappers do with their maps. I can't say I'm pulling the plug on it, but the rate of its progress is mirrored by my motivation to complete it without an optimistic partner or small team to share it with. I hope I can garner enough strength to make my ideas come to fruition, but until then, I've put a pin in it until things change.
In the meantime, I have no trouble checking on Doomworld and posting every now and again. I still have an insatiable urge to kill monsters and fortunately, playing the game and all the new wads that come out for it is significantly less taxing than editing it is. At best, I think tabling my mapping career may be excusable in exchange for offering myself as a mentor for any interested mappers (PM me!) or volunteering myself for a rather minor role in a major project. It breaks my heart to tell myself that it's time to call it quits, and I'll fight with every fiber in my body to keep the candle lit, but I just wanted you guys to know where I'm at.
|Experts say I'm a lazy apathetic brat||January 14, 2014, 8:11 am|
...As far as I've read into it yet.
So I came across this website that I thought I'd give a whack called allexperts.com, which is like yahoo answers except slower, but you send your question in a particular subject to volunteers with the credentials to answer the question, and they respond within three days. So I gave it a shot.
For the past few years I've been concerned about my shitty appetite and loss of weight. In the past few months I've reduced myself to one decently sized meal a day, with one or two snacks in between, and that would be enough to get me through the day without feeling hungry, and I feel uncomfortable with the health problems that may lead to so I picked out a person to help me. I submitted my question to a dietician/nutritionist a few nights ago and they wrote me this crazy novel:
I was hoping for something like "drinking this kinda tea or mixing these two seasonings together have been known to increase appetite" but now I've just been sent on this spiritual adventure. Anybody wanna help me translate this?
|Greg Wang||July 2, 2013, 10:10 am|
Gregory Wang is a cousin of mine. We live on opposite sides of the United States so our relationship is pretty distant, but occasionally we get to meet up during family events and such. He's a pretty cool dude.
He's also an extremely talented pianist. He's been practicing piano since he was in second grade and has since performed in many concerts, was a four-year winner in music competitions in his school, performed with Johnson City and Maryville Symphony orchestras, competed in the Russian International Music Competition, presented with scholarships to various schools, and is currently studying at Indiana University Jacobs School of Music
I wasn't able to find any videos of him playing online but I've seen DVDs of him performing and it is jawdropping. I'm not even one to listen to classical music but his performances are completely outstanding. During holidays, he will occasionally sit down play requests on my grandparent's piano, from Charlie Chaplin to Lady Gaga. He has an amazing gift of being able to play music by ear.
I haven't contacted him recently, but I've been contemplating the idea of getting a piano keyboard, and some midi recording software and abusing his talents to record music to use exclusively in my Doom levels so I don't have to be concerned about people not liking the music in my maps ever again.
|Joe the Tortoise||June 18, 2013, 11:21 am|
Last week, I noticed a flier posted outside of my workplace concerning a lost pet. Joe the Tortoise, with contact information with any help of where he was last seen.
Today I was walking my dog along a rather busy street and spotted something rather disturbing on the side of the road. Shell split in half, head severed, unusual intestines I'm not used to seeing (I've never dissected an amphibian before.) A certainly gruesome sight. I can tell by it's size that it's not your normal pond turtle. I think I have a duty to report it to the person who posted the flier, but I feel a little uncomfortable delivering the news.
RIP Joe the Tortoise.
Anybody have any suggestions on how I best tell this person?
|Oblige Adventures||May 25, 2013, 9:39 am|
Anyone play around with this much anymore? I've kinda steered away from it for a while since it's not so much the hot new thing anymore. But I decided to kill a few hours of my night playing around with its large amount of selectable configurations in hopes of generating a vast array of "what if" scenarios. Little did I know I'd dig myself deep into a downward spiral of time-wastery by voluntarily torturing myself with a series of monumentally horrendous megawads.
Allow me to state that this is by no means a rant about how Oblige is a terrible level generator. It's no cacoward maker, but it does kick slige in the nuts in a couple areas, and with it's huge level of customization, I'm granted the freedom to create horrible abominations that should never exist to be played by any doom marine. Rest assured, hilarity ensues.
I started my fun playing with the monster selection, where oblige offers the entire list of Doom 2's bestiary, with a drop down menu allowing you to pick the probability in which each monster appears. Out of morbid curiosity, I selected each monster and set them to "None at all" and lastly setting revenants to "INSANE" in the likely event of creating an all-revenant megawad.
My megawad opened up staging me in MAP01: "Data Refinery" which is where all the revenants live for some reason. The level started with me having to outrun hordes of screaming revenants, dipping left and right to direct homing missiles into themselves, despite being immune to their kin's firepower. When reaching the other side of the room, I am within arms reach of a chaingun, followed by long stretches of bullet clips scaling the walls of the room. It was a thoughtful gesture of Oblige to give me a weapon better than a pistol to calm this raging riot, but I was offended by it not taking into consideration how long it would take me to put a dent into this giant pile of 363 angry skeletons that occupy this territory that I so gracefully intruded. Attempting to run past them all was no use, as each corner turned was announced by overlapping RRRAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH's. Obviously I grew tired early of the lack of superior firepower and the inability to incite infighting. I retreated to Oblige's interface to create something new.
I wanted to give my Oblige experience a little more Super Shotgun lovin. Fortunately, the "I LOVE IT" option for weapons is the maximum availability for the Doom Weapon Control menu. I also wanted to stir up some good infighting too. I knew from past experiences, that setting the "monster strength" often opens up an episode with light monsters, which slowly progresses into armies of cacodemons and hell knights. I wanted to skip straight to the hard stuff, so I left all monsters set to "None At All" except for Imps, Demons, Chaingun guys, revenants, Hell Barons mancubi, arachnatrons, and archviles.
"It will be just like Hell Revealed 2!" he said.
I ran the megawad, accompanied with HRMUS.WAD to set the mood. Each level's starting room opened up with a weapon, a small group of ground troops, overcompensated by tremendous piles of health kits. Seriously, health bonuses on top of stimpacks on top of medikits on top of more medikits on top of stimpacks on top of megaarmors. Much like how selecting the Nightmare skill level is immediately followed with the question "Are you sure?" this was Oblige's method of communicating to me "Trust me, you are going to get hurt. a lot."
At least Oblige is honest. As each level successfully pitted me against insurmountable odds, with rooms so crowded there appeared to be no correct way to go without digging yourself a deeper grave. Opening a door only ignites a different variety of monster roars, unless of course I catch myself breathing a sigh of relief whenever I opened a door into one of Oblige's obviously prefabricated rooms, which are apparently too complex to house monsters. However it wouldn't take much for said rooms to be overcrowded by the resulting swarms of the next opened door.
In one map, aptly titled "Welcome to the Enigma" I had no trouble subduing the introductory Hell Barons with my unparalleled circlestrafing skillz. I ran up some stairs where I found myself waist deep in green armors, and a few medikits, and stumbled into a giant parade of arachnatrons. Seriously, probably the second largest fleet of arachnatrons I've ever endured in one sitting. After investing a good 15 minutes of my life crushing all of them with my super shotgun, I made a dash for the next door where my next task awaits. Unfortunately, my unsuspecting ambitions turn into a horrible nightmare, awakening a sea of archviles which flooded the room, driving me back to my starting area, permitting them to successfully reconstruct my entire arachnophobic death factory, leaving me in my starting room with 18 shells and 6% health, completely surrounded by an uncanny swarm of terror with no other purpose than to turn my screen very very red.
I played a few other maps which were usually stupidly unplayable, due entirely to my choices in selecting obviously game-breaking settings for my generated megawads.
In hindsight I probably should have provided screenshots and seed numbers. Maybe I will later as I delve my stupid self into trudging through these disgusting piles of crap.
|UAC Ultra 2 diaries||May 17, 2013, 3:36 pm|
I want to preface this blog by saying that this isn't a means of responding to everyone's reactions to it, and I'm not posting this for more detailed feedback. At this risk of sounding like a cry for attention, I'm hoping this is interpretted the way I intended it and less like "PLEASE LIKE MY MAPS!!" I'm just laying out my thoughts on how the first episode panned out and how the results were different than what I expected. This is helpful for me as a mapper, to spell this out for me to review during times of need, instead of letting it dwell in my mind, abstaining me from moving forward.
I believe I was successful in creating what many of my listeners said were overly ambitious. I created levels that could be played in single player, cooperative and deathmatch. I designed the maps to play quite differently in all skill levels, with each skill level optimized to a different style of gameplay per player. All done, without reducing the volume of monsters that appear in each map. I designed the levels with a high volume of large secrets to heavily expand the gameplay if the player so chooses. I also designed the levels with many different possible routes to the exit, so that coop players could spread out and attack the same monsters from different angles, and in Nightmare, respawning hordes of monsters wouldn't crowd up hallways, blocking the only paths the player can take. This was also exciting to me as the designer, as with almost every demo I watched, the players each had a different approach to each map, none of which matching my usual runs. It seemed almost every player had a different experience, even though most of them conceded on it being rather boring.
Watching the demos of my players in my maps was infuriating at times. The way many of the players skulked around corners, picked off monsters from a safe distance, and played highly defensively was absurd to me. It appeared as though they were expecting any step to activate the trap that jumps out and slits their throat. Like the use of light monsters was supposed to lead up to something deadly. When truthfully, I wanted my players to play highly aggressively, utilize all their weapons, ration out their ammo, and crash through this thing. Instead, players weren't very observant of the ammo items, were hesitant to press onward, and resorted to infighting to conserve ammunition. With six levels with the same style of gameplay, where players were quite obviously missing the point, I couldn't help but scream "WHAT ARE YOU DOING!?" while watching some of the demos people made for me, as they simply wandered around crowds of monsters, even while carrying powerful weapons and tons of ammo, and unintentionally ignoring the hitscanners that devastated them. Apparently distracted by the array of directions to choose from, which was the type of gameplay I designed the easier skill levels for. I was expecting people to approach these levels with the same aggressive enthusiasm as they would Knee-Deep in the Dead, or Hell Revealed 2. From my observations it looks as though the foreboding atmosphere and lack of highly threatening monsters implied a different method of gameplay, and the players obliged.
I was beginning to be concerned that with a game as black and white as Doom, that people seem to have a need to be told what to do, and that even with an increasing demand for non-linearity in the Doom community, it's the levels that pit the player in situations where "the only way out is through" are the most successful. It became increasingly depressing as I wondered how the creator of Garry's Mod might feel, after creating a mod designed for infinite possibilities, the majority of it's player base uses it to show off Gman making silly faces.
It was comforting when I retreated to my playtesters to ask where I went wrong, and they responded that I have successfully created levels that were perfect for the type of player that I am, and that what is perfect to me may sound good on paper, but in practice, it is so specific to my own taste that it's discouraging when another player, even one who does like the same gameplay as I do, has a mild disagreement with it, especially with a brand name that people will play with specific expectations. Just give it time.
I hope time is all that it is, but it feels as though my time is up now that UAC Ultra 2 is residing in post hell. I still have hopes that after UAC Ultra 2 is completed, that players may recognize its beauty and how careful I was at designing it after playing and replaying it a few times. That is, if they can reserve the strength to give it a second chance even after it left them with a sour taste in their mouth the first time around. Who knows how long that will take. It may take decades to even consider playing UAC Ultra 2 in Nightmare coop or in Deathmatch. And I could simply be completely full of myself to be expecting that, especially when a quick sadistic zinger at the end of my opening post is all it takes put its credibility in ruins for most people. But I certainly hope not.
I'm hesitant to move right on to making the rest of UAC Ultra 2. Even though I have set high standards for myself, along with any doom level designer, I'm in full confidence that I can create the amazing Doom experiences that I can envision in my head. I'm just concerned whether I can successfully design something that will appeal to the types of people that enjoyed Speed of Doom, Alien Vendetta, Scythe 2, and the Memento Mori's without compromising the goals I set for myself in the first place, especially because many of the scenarios that appear in these wads cannot be recreated without a UV-only like design. It will take a lot of careful planning to make them work in the many game modes I wish to appeal to, and simultaneously create a unique and fun experience for the people that won't play in anything other than UV. I'm taking my time with it, but I refuse to ship out a rushed product, and can assure that every map that appears in the completed megawad will have to endure a cruel and severe level of quality control monitored by myself.