|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.
|I Beat Homelessness||September 6, 2012, 4:50 pm|
In November 2006, I was 15 years old and got my first job working at Subway. Shortly after I set a personal goal to save up $30,000 to put down on a house and become a homeowner before I turn 22. I'm 21 years old, and I currently reside in West Norriton Pennsylvania as of August 24, 2012 with my current fiance Julie and our dog Penny (not shown)
When I was 15 years old, I started earning $6.25 an hour making sandwiches for people 5 days a week. I submitted to reserving 40% or more of my paychecks in separate savings accounts (some banks had better interest rates than others.) and doing my absolute best to live within my means. I used my money strictly for the cell phone bill (my burn phone that could only call and text was about $25 a month) and gas for my car (about $80 a month -- short commute to work) My entertainment depended on playing Doom and designing levels. I listened to the same CDs I listen to today, and I hung out mostly with my poor friends who knew how to have fun for free. I've studied marketing and advertising as a hobby and started analyzing social trends in regards to entertainment mediums. I've since established an irreversible hatred to almost everything such as video games, money, television shows, advertisements, movies, music, social events, etc. I've confided in doing the things that hit all the right notes for me, and sticking with them for long periods of time. This filled in a hold of boredom in me that hardly cost anything during this time frame.
I met my fiance Julie in October 2011 when I started working at Wawa, a gas station / convenience store combo where I currently make $12.00 an hour. Before we started dating, we would hang out every single day after work at midnight in the church parking lot behind her grandma's house where she lived. We stood out in the parking lot talking about anything. We talked for hours and hours into the night in 20 degree weather, just talking about ourselves and how stupid work is and how shitty people are and all that. It was freezing outside but we didn't care. We continued hanging out week after week, during a point in my life where I was convinced love didn't mean anything and to ever consider getting married is to find a woman that you can tolerate and coexist with for the rest of your life. I was wrong.
We started dating shortly after, even though I was hesitant to get involved with a coworker and more importantly, someone who I was a really close friend to. However, our relationship moved forward. As time went on, we would have our occasional tiffs at work. They say that working with your significant other does a lot of damage to your relationship. This can be true because we would often say some rather nasty things to each other just out of stress and time constraints at work. Fortunately we were able to resolve all of our conflicts because we agreed that it was more important to be together than to be the one that's right. (Which I'm sure you can imagine was extremely difficult for me to admit)
I asked Julie to marry me on February 14th 2012. We hadn't been together very long before I made such a commitment, but having spent a majority of my free time with her, day after day, it didn't take me long to understand that this was the girl I wanted to be around for the rest of my life. In due time, My commitment to my financial goal was later amended to be the for the house for my fiance and I to live in.
Here we are now. Notice the giant rock on her finger.
I saved up $30,000 in November 2011, and contacted one of my coworkers who is also a realtor. She was able to get me connected with one of her friends which approved me for a loan up to $158,650 because of my excellent credit score. We began shopping for houses in all the neighborhoods in the area. We looked at over thirty houses before we finally found one we were both comfortable in and agreed on. On August 24th, we settled.
Our house is a twin on a quiet street in West Norriton Pennsylvania. We have three bedrooms, one bathroom, a large front porch, a living room, dining room, kitchen, basement, and unfinished sunroom. We have a fenced in backyard for our dog Penny to run around free in, and a parking space in the back, along with a detached one-car garage.
This is our living room, shown are my brother Randy and friend Francisco. We got pretty much all of our furniture second hand. All of our friends and family have been extremely generous. The couches, coffee table, Playstation 2, and stereo were all free. I got the 55in TV on craigslist for $250 (it also comes with picture-in picture modes so I can do my Home Dooming Station that I plan to invest in in the future), and our cable (all the DVD seasons of our favorite TV series to the right of the tv) were about $150 in total.
Here's our kitchen, messy because this photo was taken while I had company over. We got our kitchen appliances from a coworker who was coincedentally moving out around the same time and had to sell her refrigerator, stove, microwave, and dishwasher that she got new two years ago. She sold me the whole set for $800. The house came with appliances too, but they're a bit older. We moved them into the sunroom where I'm going to clean them up and sell them on craigslist for, hopefully, about the same price. The kitchen table and chairs I got for free from mom and dad. They were taking up space in their basement.
Aaaand here's the backyard. Shown is my car in the parking space, alongside with our single car garage. We still have to mow the lawn and scrap that swingset. We'll probably get to that later this week.
TL;DR I've worked some years at a job that just barely transcends over minimum wage, and with a combination of careful determination and smart decision making, I'm now a homeowner living happily with my fiance on a quiet street in a really nice house. Things are looking pretty awesome for me and I couldn't be happier. Also fuck everyone who didn't believe in me and thought I was stupid for acting the way I have been for the past few years because this is where it got me.
|Ignore list||August 20, 2012, 4:14 pm|
Doomworld forums comes with an ignore feature that hides posts by the members who are selected to be on your list. It can be accessed from the user control panel. It doesn't totally hide the fact that the person had posted there, but it does state that the person who posted is being ignored, and only takes up a little space. I've recently been pretty liberal about updating it now and then. The link that says to click to read the post (because sometimes its relevant to the discussion) doesn't seem to work though. Other than that, doomworld forums now has much fewer people who post strictly in the everything else section, have lame opinions about video games and want to talk about the economy and politics and religion (or their lack thereof) and share other rather personal details about themselves that I'd be much better off not knowing. Now browsing through doomworld is a little less taxing on my sanity to read now that I'm reading more about doom and less about stuff that makes me want to kill all of you. That would be all.
Also in before "40oz is first on my list"
|Uses for Condiments||April 21, 2012, 4:45 pm|
I know Doomworld knows a good bit about cooking stuff so I figured I'd ask.
Whenever I go to the grocery store and pick up condiments and sauces to add to my meals, I usually always end up with a ton of leftover sauces and dips and they end up stinking up my refrigerator for weeks. Well it doesn't stink that bad, but it's very annoying to open up the refrigerator after I haven't gone grocery shopping in a while, and find all I have left are bottles of ketchup, mustard, barbecue sauce, french union nacho dip, salsa, sour cream, maple syrup, horseradish sauce, relish, buffalo sauce, and nacho spinach dip, and nothing else edible.
I'll get one bottle of this stuff and it will last FOREVER. Sometimes I just wanna throw it away but a lot of it I've only used once and the bottles are almost totally full. Are there any good meals I can cook or prepare that will make good use of this stuff? Preferably not millions of hot dogs and hamburgers and giant bowls of nachos please.
|The Wifey doesn't want my kids to play Doom||April 12, 2012, 1:09 pm|
As of late I've been on a house hunting quest with my loving fiance. We've looked at a few houses in person and we only have a few prospects now that we're considering putting an offer on. One of the things that we are really hoping for is at least three bedrooms, or two if there's enough property to add on the house.
As of now, my fiance agreed that before we have kids, It is okay that I use one of the bedrooms as a "Doom Room" / Office. A room to myself where I can put together my PC and Widescreen TV combo that I play with a gamepad, and optional split screen with three other PCs on Odamex. Also a dimly lit room with bulletin boards and sketch paper and a wide desk to draw over so that I can continue planning and making doom maps. (At the moment my life is just way too full of distractions to map comfortably.)
While the topic has come up some times before, My fiance would most certainly like to have kids at some point in her life. I agree and have no qualms with that. However, the topic of exposing my children to Doom at a young age, teaching them to map and play the game very well, My fiance has proven to have a rather averse stance on that subject. The first time I mentioned it she said "Our kids are NOT playing doom."
I chose not to get confrontational and I figured with a little more Dooming she might think differently in the future.
Another time it came up, I happened to be staying over her house with my laptop and her young cousins, a boy and two girls ages 3, 5, and 11 were visiting as well. They're very loud and hyperactive kids at times, and it was very funny to see how intrigued they were with the game as I was playing it. I was especially interested in how quickly they were able to figure out that colored doors are locked without the colored key, and tell me what places to go that I haven't explored yet, especially in such godawfully ugly '94 maps I was playing. I let them get a chance at playing a few levels too, and they adapted to using the controller pretty quick. The three year old played the best! It was also funny to see them shouting "GET THAT ONE THATS A BIG GUY" and "EWWW! HE'S UGLY!!" and telling me not to go in the hallways that are too dark!
Later that day my fiance seemed kinda iffy about me letting her cousins play the game. She said the game is really violent and scary, and that I was out of my mind if I was gonna let my kids play it. She even went on to say she doesn't want our kids to become psychopaths! I tried to deconstruct her argument saying that I started playing the game when I was 3, listen to grindcore, and watch gore/slasher movies, but everything else about me is completely normal. I went on explaining that the graphics are so colorful and pixelated, that it's comical compared to the melancholic gore that they're no-doubt going to be exposed to when the other kids at school are playing Gears of War 6 and Grand Theft Auto 8. And that violent video games have been scientifically proven to pacify a person's mind and make them less prone to commiting any violent acts (Which can be good and bad, I wouldn't want kids that are TOO passive)
Unfortunately, she didn't seem to buy into any one of my points and is still holding her stance. She doesn't seem too strong about this subject as I've seen her on other topics of interest, so I'm not really heartbroken about it. I'm sure there's gonna be a point where I can get her to crack and admit defeat. There's no way in hell I'll censor my kids from my favorite things.
The thought of that makes me wonder if my mom wouldn't let my dad be interested in the things he likes in front of me. As far as I know, I don't really have any grasp on the genres of music he likes, his favorite movies, what he likes to do. He's difficult to interpret sometimes. Not that I've ever had any problems with him, I just feel like there's more to know about him than I already know. I wouldn't want to be a closed book towards my kids, show apathy to virtually everything, and pretend to like things that I dont.
Any ideas of what I can tell my fiance about Doom to help change her mind? Or better yet, a source to direct her to so that she may see it differently than her naive TV-news-influenced thoughts lead her to believe?
|Ya heard the latest Agoraphobic Nosebleed/Despise You Split?||April 9, 2012, 7:26 pm|
|It's pretty sick. Probably the best CD I own. Despise You still kicks ass even after a long hiatus. Agoraphobic Nosebleed sounds pretty awesome too, although I miss the crazy trippy noisecore of albums like Frozen Corpse Stuffed with Dope, I can't say I don't enjoy their newest stuff too. I just felt like talking about it.|
|How do you suck at google?||October 19, 2011, 12:53 am|
Is the question my friends ask me.
I openly tell people I suck at googling stuff. Even though it's not entirely true. Generally, if I need to find an answer to a specific question, I can get whatever it is I need. What I suck at is obtaining information from things I don't know anything about.
Google didn't always suck. I remember when I was in middle school, I would google my favorite bands and find tons of background information about the members, filers from the shows they played, and related bands. I remember pretty distinctly simply searching for "doom" and spending hours scrolling though images and pages reading everything I can possibly know about the game.
I don't really search for the same stuff as I used to, and I don't really know for sure if the internet is just fucking gay now or if I'm just crumbling at the test of time, but I rarely get the kind of interesting results from googling stuff as I used to. The most common problem I have is even thinking of the right terms to search for. I've been wanting to learn more about foreclosed houses, so I searched "foreclosures" hoping to find out what they are, how much they typically run for, pros and cons of buying a foreclosure, etc. Instead I got a huge list websites with home listings that I need to sign up and log in to be able to see the price and pictures of the foreclosed houses they have listed. I generally spend a lot of time switching words around in my searches to get the kind of information I need to know, and often giving up before I even really get started. Searching anything will almost always give you links to really high-traffic ad-infested websites, or to youtube videos that don't tell me what I need to know, or opinionated blogs only marginally related to the searched term.
In fact, I decided to search today "I suck at google" and it wasn't until four pages later that I found an article that shed a little bit of light why google is so lame these days.
I was already aware of websites paying big bucks to land first results for certain keywords in search engines, but apparently all sorts of websites are manipulating the system, making unrelated garbage appear on the first couple pages and attempting to disguise itself as something you might be into. Too often I search for something, get overloaded with potentially interesting links to crap and get discouraged from searching any longer. As far as I understand, many other search engines suffer from the same conditions. Did google always suck or is this just the direction commercialized internet search engines are going?