|Teaching My Girlfriend to Map||July 26, 2011, 1:22 pm|
My girlfriend knows about my obsession with Doom and that I design levels for it, but until last week she didn't quite realize how simple it was. The other day my girlfriend approached me while I was drawing layouts for doom maps on paper. She looked at me quizzically and asked what the hell am I doing. I explained to her that it's a lot easier for me to make Doom levels when I plan them out of paper. I basically draw some shapes and when I draw them in the editor, they become rooms.
She looked at the unfinished half of the layout and said "what are you putting here?" I told her I hadn't decided yet. She told me I should make a room shaped like a heart. I was a little skeptical at first but I have a bad habit of frowning on a lot of ideas my girlfriend has, so I just went ahead and drew the heart shaped room.
Yesterday I was at home, off from work, and began mapping. When I was finished with the bits and pieces of the layout I drew the other day, I used my phone take a photo of the layout on Doombuilder next to the layout she helped me draw and sent it to her. Then sent her a screenshot of me playing the level inside the heart shaped room she designed for me.
She responded to the picture message with "OMG!! that looks awesome! Can I play it so I can see it better?" before then she had only played the first few levels of Knee Deep in The Dead before she was getting sick of getting lost. She needed to. I wouldn't let the relationship continue if she wouldn't play doom with me.
Later that night I stopped over her house and told her about how easy it is to make Doom levels. Just draw some random shapes, adjust the floor and ceiling height, and throw in some guns and monsters and you have a doom level. "I love drawing random shapes!" she exclaimed. Later this week I'm gonna install Doom 2 and Doombuilder on her laptop and play around with it to show her how it works.
I'm hoping I can show her some of my strategies to making simple layouts and show her some cool stuff you can do with thing placement. I know already she doesn't really love playing doom as much as I do, but I think she might have a thing for designing levels. We'll find out in the near future and I'll be sure to upload her work to the /idgames archive.
|Better at Video Games than Real Life||May 4, 2011, 12:56 pm|
What's up with that?
I've always wondered the psychology behind that. What compels people to want to gain experience and become the highest rank in RPG games or get the highest score in the arcade or best kill to death ratio in online shooters? I know video games are there to be some sort of escapism from the ordeals of real life, but are you really escaping from reality, or are you just playing the game of reality very poorly? People like to play video games where the main character is heroic and strong and agile and overcomes any obstacle. Being the most fearsome fighter, sharpest shooter, stealthy stalker may make you feel awesome in a parallel universe, but whats preventing you from being the best at things in real life?
In my observations, I feel as though video games are a more attractive unit than real life because video games force one to focus on a few simple objectives instead of focusing on some objectives that every individual has to create for themselves in the complete open-endedness of reality. In video games, you acquire the identity of a protagonist. One with a predefined goal, agility, a respected title, no responsibilities, no consequences for their actions, and no ability to feel pain or suffering other than what the video game simulates, usually a flashing screen or a pain animation. Progress is presented to you in the form of rewarding music or exploding text, while life's rewards lie in how you perceive your own abilities.
In videos I see of young adults playing video games, let's say Half Life 2 for example, players start the game and jump around on all the tables like a bobcat with its tail on fire. Every person the player comes in contact with behaves as if not worthy to see the "real Gordan Freeman" as the player proceeds to pick up Chinese take-out boxes off the floor and throw it at their face. The player then jumps on top of trash cans and leaps on top of the heads of authority figures and runs away as they attempt to beat him to a pulp. Every lethal blow to the side of the players head with a police baton is followed by nothing more than a shake of the camera and a flash of red. The same players playing in this fashion would never behave in such a way in public but instead not resist portraying themselves with the audacity of a wild stallion in a video game setting that mildly resembles their own.
Video games tend to make obvious the rewards for doing things correctly to such a lucid extent, that people begin to see less and less the rewards of being good at things in real life. Unless the words "GREAT JOB" appear in front of their face every time they become slightly more experienced in a different field, there's no incentive to do anything.
What I think is missing here is that the keyboard and mouse that controls your hero in whatever game your playing is not the only thing you have control over. Your brain controls you. Question whether video games are your sole source of any motivation to be good at something. If you take a moment, considering yourself a character being watched by a third party, would you make a good video game hero? Do you have any skills or abilities that the average everyman doesn't have? Do you have any speed, agility, coordination, or intelligence that makes your life a video game worth playing? Maybe you should open your eyes once in a while and look at what you're capable of. Do a few pushups once in a while. Learn to play a sport. Eat healthy. Set some goals. Work towards those goals. Video games are not the only things you should be playing.
|Unnecessarily Complicated||April 11, 2011, 10:59 am|
I probably sound like an old head but I wanna draw attention to things that will forever be hopelessly irritating to me. So much technology around us which are there to make our lives easier are overloaded with additional features and/or are unreasonably complicated to use.
My biggest peeve is found at my workplace. Since I've started working there, I've noticed many changes in the way my workplace operates. I work in a fast-paced convenience store called Wawa. We're known for our fresh coffee and quick built-to-order hoagies. Some things about the functionality of my workplace stem from it's constant desire to provide faster and higher quality service. Unfortunately, instead of giving employees more extensive training, the company relies on more efficient technology. Our hoagies are ordered through a few touch screen menus located in front of the deli, so instead of customers telling us how to make their hoagies, they select the items they want on the menu instead, and when their order is complete, it prints out a receipt with a bar code that they can bring to the register to pay while they wait for the employees to make the order that was electronically received on the other end.
It's certainly fast and efficient. My gripe with it is that no technology is completely unbreakable. If for whatever reason our touch screens are not working, or our printers are not printing, or our monitors are not receiving the orders placed, we have no alternative way to take orders.
We also have a cappuccino machine that provides hot water if someone wants to make their own tea. But every once in a while the machine craps out and they can't get their hot water. Then I have to look like a fucking moron by telling them that I have no way to get them something as simple as hot water because the cappuccino machine can't get it's act together.
Another thing we have is a giant lottery ticket vending machine that happens to regularly have a message flashing on the screen saying "CURRENTLY OUT OF SERVICE" for at least a couple of hours each day for no apparent reason. In an idealistic case we could just hand our customers lottery tickets through the exchange of a couple dollars at the register like most places do but as long as our machine is down there is nothing we can do about it.
Among those things are the many other improvements in technology that are putting an enormous decline in my faith in what our future will be like. My TV has six different video modes even though the only things plugged into it are a DVD player and a Nintendo Wii. Getting a new cell phone plan or changing your number can be the most complicated thing in the world for customer service AND the customer. My cell phone has more apps than I know what to do with, but all I want it for is to have service so I can make and receive calls and text messages, and often times I can't even have that. It's a pain in the ass transmitting pictures from my digital camera to my computer. Half of the buttons on my TV remote literally do nothing. I just can't seem to get the things that I want simplified to few specific things
It's really disheartening to know that it's near impossible to go to Best Buy to get something that will perform a single task very well. Every individual thing wants to be everything at once. Usually you need to call a professional to take care of these overly complicated things you'd otherwise be able to take care of yourself if it made any sense. And even when you do, they do one little things and it's magically repaired.
Makes me wanna start a business that manufactures some kind of device that people will become dependent on in their daily lives, and make it prone to malfunction, and the only way to repair them is with some kind of encrypted password or key that only my business's tech crew will know. That way I don't really have to train my tech crew to know how to do anything besides that simple miracle cure password to all the machines, the demand for service will be high, and so the income flow would be high as well. Unfortunately I don't have the heart (or lack thereof) to do that.
|Anxiety Attacks||April 6, 2011, 2:43 pm|
My girlfriend suffers from frequent anxiety attacks. Usually at the most random times. Sometimes we'll be at a grocery store, or just sitting in my car, or right after sex, and she will tell me she's thinking some really bad thoughts and she starts to tremble in fear.
She's described it to me a few times. She says often when it's happening, she'll start reliving haunting memories, or she'll feel completely vulnerable and like something is going to kill her and there's nothing she can do about it even though she doesn't even know what it is. Sometimes she can detect it just before it's happening and she can convince herself everything is okay before it gets worse. Other times it spirals completely out of her own control and she's just shocked and cries until it dissappears, which can take up to 30 minutes of raw fear.
Sometimes she thinks about worst case scenarios and fears things like dying, or me dying, or me leaving her because she's crazy or something.
I've asked her several times what I should do if she's feeling that way. She said she just needs to be calmed down, like just to hold her or do something random or say something that will make her laugh. The thing is though, is that when I know its happening, I get kinda nervous and instead of being myself, I just kinda lock up or stall or something. I just kinda sit there and think "what do i do what do i do?"
I've looked up on websites before about helping someone cope with anxiety and panic attacks. A lot of times they suggest things like giving a paper bag to breathe in an out of, but she doesn't have respiratory problems when its happening. Other websites say do not get frustrated, do not dismiss the attack by saying "its all in your head" or whatever, do not ignore the person, do not, do not, do not, but pretty much nothing about WHAT TO DO.
One time she was having an anxiety attack and in the middle of it, she took out her iPhone and started playing Skyburger and it kinda wore off from there. Something to distract herself from focusing so strongly on her haunting thoughts. Any ideas?
|iPods are gay||January 6, 2011, 2:48 pm|
yeah i know you know ipods are gay let me finish. God.
So i've been keeping all my music stored on my brothers hard drive because it's significantly bigger than mine and a few weeks ago he's been having problems with his web browser, and so he decided to wipe his hard drive and switch to Windows 7.
I bought a bunch of new CDs with gift cards i got for christmas and I really like them so I wanna throw the songs in my ipod. I had to download iTunes on his computer again and plugged in my ipod. I get a message saying that I was using a different version of iTunes on a different computer so in order to do anything to my ipod I have to erase everything and resync it.
So basically I have to start from scratch, putting in all my cds into the computer one at a time, importing the music from it so I can use it on my iPod. I have 141 CDs.
|Shitty Day||December 20, 2010, 10:49 pm|
|I just endured the full 24 hours of my birthday and none of you fuckers made a map for me. You guys are assholes and I'm quitting doom forever.|
|What's in Demand||December 12, 2010, 12:20 pm|
I managed to pull myself into a state of mind with my Doom mapping that to this day I sort of regret. I don't regret it totally, because my mapping was done with the utmost respect for the community and I had acquired many different skills and understanding of the map editor as a result of it. There were rewards involved and my contributions nominated me for to become this years mapper of the year. I'm extremely happy knowing that I have made a number of achievements here that will be documented for the rest of this site's lifetime. I've also recieved a cake commemorating my achievement from a friend of mine (I love you Julie!) i mentioned in this post. I feel like I could potentially use this award as a quality in my resume if I were to look into a career in video game level design. The drawback is that I am now realizing that I could be doing better. However, it could be different than what you think is better, it's not in my agenda to care.
A common trend that I'm recognizing more now than ever before is making its mark in so many industries. movies, video games, music, and even in this Doom community. There appears to be some sort of reasoning as to why entertainment industries are doing this, being as though it is a legitimate marketing strategy and it's profitable. This trend I'm recognizing is that we allow criticism to dictate our actions. Hollywood is responding to movie reviews of old favorites and attempting to remake the same movie better, using our longlived love for the original as the initial selling point. Modern scifi military shooters are inheriting the same gameplay mechanics from each other. regenerating health, class systems, immersive storylines, cinematic visuals, limited weapon slots, etc. Almost all pop music uses autotuned vocals and features artists singing about their desire to make it big and get drunk and "baby i love you; you're so fine you're so fine" bullshit. This stuff sells so it's recycled over and over as being something that's new and different when its roots and initiative are inherently exactly the same.
There's no profit involved with Doom mapping and I'm actually quite in favor of that. With profit out of the equation, you'd think that would create a counterculture of people where there's minimal incentive to listen to what people have to say about you or your mapping, and just do your own thing. Unfortunately, the train of thought that calls for making wads for attention and notoriety, where the rewards are in the satisfaction of knowing that there are people that can respect you for following all the "directions" of making a good Doom map. All our varying opinions and criticism of each others work boils down to a very strict canonical way of mapping that must be followed to avoid harsh criticism. I think my own mapping falls into this customary category of mapping and I think that helped forward my nomination towards mapper of the year, which makes me feel undeserving of the award.
I've found that my favorite mappers are mappers that are mapping for no one but themselves. Mappers whose thought process is along the lines of "If I can manipulate Doom, this is how I want my Doom to be" instead of "this is what I think people want their Doom to be" Some of my favorite mappers, such as Huy Pham, who created Deus Vult wanted to make an epic adventure, with extreme difficulty to put his own skills to the test, because Doom 2 on Nightmare mode just isn't enough for him. Erik Alm, who is a pretty predominant speedrunner created many maps with extreme numbers of monsters that call for fantastic speedrunning tactics to survive. The makers of Hell Revealed, Hell Revealed 2, and Alien Vendetta also made those wads for that same reason. These wads are timeless despite not meant to please all audiences. Players of these wads have to revert to the ideals of the mapper's playing strategy to enjoy it, and stretches the open-mindedness of the player. There are many other mappers I am sure make maps with this same mindset. If I were more close to these people I could make more mentions, but at the moment I feel that ArmouredBlood, Walter Confalionieri, and Boon Lived meet these qualities. (Again I'm sure there are more, but I'd have to make more time to play maps by various authors to recognize them)
There is without a doubt rewards in responding to criticism with your actions. You fix bugs in your maps, make them more playable, learn to avoid annoying quirks etc. Criticism has been the most important part of the results of my mapping, but it shouldn't be. Criticism shouldn't be most important for anyone. The most important part of mapping should be the mapper's core values. The mapper must pinpoint exactly the things he/she likes or dislikes about Doom and seek to enhance the things they enjoy, and improve on the things they dislike. Not what anyone else likes or dislikes. This allows the players to see Doom through your eyes and not through the eyes of the melting pot of map reviewers everywhere, who eventually all boil down to the same likes and dislikes unless more people were to branch out and spit out their wayward views on the game. Too often I see wads that are strict about aligning textures, having safe, not-too-hard but not-too-easy gameplay, traps tied to specific events, using new resources, simplified puzzles, etc. These things may seem to be the best qualities of a wad, in fact almost all of my maps utilize these things. But I feel as though these characteristics of "good" wads are limiting. Almost as if they serve as a barrier from people outletting their creative potential, and instead conform to these ideals to avoid negative response at themselves and their wads.
I'm just not phased by negative response anymore. I'm not going to seek to make people hate my maps, but for now on I'm going to stop following routine and strive to put emphasis on my mapping strengths more so than ever. I'm gonna exaggerate my favorite things about Doom and what makes doom so great. and make maps based on things that I enjoy about Doom and less about what other people think makes the best maps. I encourage anyone who wants to make wads for Doom to do the same.
|Non-relationship relationship||December 6, 2010, 1:17 pm|
There's a girl I work with that I've grown to be pretty good friends with. She moved in here about a month ago from Philadelphia because of something her mom got into; she doesn't like to talk about it, but she's kinda isolated here now because all of her best friends are in Philly and she doesn't drive. I started hanging out with her outside of work after she told me she was off for a few days on the same days I was off and that she was gonna be stuck at home bored as hell. Assuming she was trying to lead me on into asking her out on a date, I opted to chill with her for a little. (I later found out it was totally happenstance and she wasn't insinuating anything)
We've been hanging out pretty regularly. We'll spend long hours into the night doing dumb stuff and making fun of each other and messin around. Just the other day we built gingerbread houses. We really open up to each other about stuff at work and friends and whatever and found that our lives are very similar. We've talked about relationships and stuff and we also kinda realized that we both have a lot of friends, but no real best friend. In addition to that, in our experiences with people, usually when a group of friends makes a plan for a road trip or something, it almost always falls flat and the trip 99% of the time doesn't happen. We both shared a common trait that if we were to get a trip organized, we would totally go through with it, and planned a trip to Canada in the next couple months.
A few speculative people at work had asked us if we were dating. It certainly fucking looks like it being as though I find myself hanging out with her more in a single month than I have with some of my closest friends in the past year. We do stuff that I wouldn't usually do with someone that is just a friend. Last week we went bowling, went out and saw the movie Tangled and ate at a restaurant afterwards. The thing is, I don't really think either of us see each other as being a real good mate. We always make a joke out of everything; we literally told everyone at work that we were going to Canada to get married just to fuck with them!
Yesterday the two of us were gonna hang out, and she told me her friend was bartending in Philly and can get us in. I was out at work until 11pm and we were gonna go together so I wouldn't have to do so much driving. Her mom was going to drive us over and we would take a train back, but for whatever reason, her mom changed her mind and got all pissy about it. I suggested we take a train up too but then she got all pissy too and just wanted to drink. We kinda bickered over other things (stuff like what any couple would argue about) and eventually ended up with her telling me she was gonna just go to Philly by herself because she didnt want to get to the bar too late. I thought that was pretty lame of her and I told her she was the bitchiest person ive ever met. She told me to fuck off and she left for the bar.
If I had had that same argument with someone I'd consider to be my girlfriend, it probably would have been followed by a break up. Relationships always have so much tension. The thing that was crazy about this, is that 30 seconds later I wasn't even mad about the whole thing. She drunk dialed me that night at like 2am as I was playing Doom. She was all apologetic and asking if I hated her. I told her everything is cool (and it is) and she was like confessing her love to me and wishing i was there and whatever. I just kinda played along with it, making fun of her as usual just to tick her off since we never really get mad at each other over anything. I called her this morning to tell her about how she confessed her love for me and we just laughed about and she didn't feel awkward or offended or anything about it at all.
I don't know if this is a kind of relationship or not but if it were it's probably the most stable relationship I could ever have. I mean, I could ask her to marry me right now and be set for life. I'm not gonna do that yet because I'm too young to become an adult and get married and have a family. I still get enjoyment out of acting impulsively and not knowing the future that lies ahead. She'd probably say no anyway for the same reason. It's confusing but not in a bad way.
|Shortest song ever||December 2, 2010, 7:45 pm|
1:49 minutes in, fastcore band named "xBraniax" Track #47 - Trekkie Killer
My Ipod says 0:01 seconds long. I listen to it on repeat.