Lüt's Doomworld Forums Blog

Lüt's Doomworld Forums Blog

Back from Frenchlandica April 11, 2015, 10:05 pm
So my studies took a rather unexpected diversion this semester.

See, I wanted to take this Fiction class for my last humanities credit. I also needed one more honors-section class to graduate with honors.

Imagine my happiness when I got the honors newsletter saying Fiction would run in an honors section in Spring 2015.

Cool. The letter came at beginning of the Fall 2014 semester, so I dropped my section of Fiction that semester so I could save it for Spring 2015, therefore avoiding a needless honors-section class solely to graduate with honors.

Then 3 weeks into Fall 2014, and 3 weeks after dropping the regular Fiction, I get the update to the newsletter: "Sorry, we changed honors Fiction from 2PM to 11AM." Wonderful, except I've got on-site training that day from 9AM-1PM.

Go through a bunch of hassle, come up with one solution: "Study Abroad."

So I ended up in Paris over spring break.

Got to see the cool stuff, got to see the ghetto stuff, got to be a Dumb American™, got to meet Julian again (nearly 10 years later), got to have real wine, got to eat real bread... (I have to say, France certainly has the French Toast market cornered.)

Got my humanities credit, got my honors credit.

All in all, we had a very French time.

An up has been caught :o August 12, 2011, 6:52 pm
Alright, I suppose my rather obscure presence here over the last 2 years demands an explanation - particularly for those who've been expecting input by me or feedback from me - so it's time for a little point-by-point catch-up. A number of things have gone on, but they're best summarized by a single word.

* School: I started taking college classes in fall '08. Self-education was getting me nowhere, and the inability to have real-time interaction with books or online tutorials was growing increasingly frustrating. I was tired of having to search through novels of information to answer a simple question, or waiting days or weeks for the authors to clarify something they wrote (if they responded at all), so I decided I'd turn myself over to the education professionals.

I had no concerns regarding academic standing or acquisition of degrees - I only wanted to learn practical knowledge and application. I started taking classes for stuff I was interested in or stuff I thought was practical for daily living - music, english, graphic design, dietetics, people & society, etc. - without wasting any time on gen eds. I also figured I'd focus on the relevant material in those classes and ignore any obnoxious or unnecessary academia - eat the meat, spit out the bones, so to speak. As long as I didn't fail, I could keep moving up in the areas I wanted. Like the collegiate work ethic says, "C's get degrees."

Then something stupid happened. I didn't get C's, I got A's. After that, the local honors program and the Phi Theta Kappa national honor society asked me to join. So I did. Which is ridiculous, because I barely made it through high school. But I figured, well, maybe I should try to keep it up. And for the last 3 years, I pretty much did exactly that (fuck aural skills, "absolute pitch memory" my ass).

What caught me off guard was the workloads. First semester, I took 4 classes - 12 credits. The counselor told me that was a full-time enrollment, but I didn't quite believe her. 1 hour on Monday, 6 hours on Tuesday and 3 hours on Thursday didn't seem like much, especially since high school was 8 hours a day 5 days a week. What nobody told me was that to get an accurate estimation of the time you'd spend on a class, you're supposed to multiply the credit rating by 4 - 1x for the actual class time and 3x for the amount of time you'd spend doing homework. Once that was in perspective, it became clear that this wouldn't be something I could casually tack on to the rest of my daily activities.

So I put those on hold and jumped into academic mania. 5 to 7 classes most semesters. Best to get through it as quick as possible so I can return to my personal interests as quick as possible. Ultimately, as it became clear that these people actually put good time into developing relevant programs, I decided to get on the degree track after all. I'm planning to wrap up an A.A. in General Studies w/ Psychology focus, an A.F.A. in Music, an A.A.S. in Graphic Arts w/ Creative Design focus, a Digital Photography certificate, a Web Design certificate, and a Dietary Manager certificate by 2013. 5 years at a 2 year school. No idea what I'll do with all that, but it's good to have options.

So it's been a hectic time lately.

However, the madness will be slowing down soon. One more semester and I'll have most of my core courses out of the way. Music theory, aural skills, music lit and class piano will be done; all I'll have left are some lessons and ensembles. Nutrition planning, sanitation standards and medical nutritional therapy are done; all I'll have left is an internship at a food service facility. Graphic design and desktop publishing will be done; all I'll have left is... well, the other half of the program. And some gen eds.

But the point is, the brainbusters will all be out of the way by the end of this year, and I'll finally be able to return focus to completing personal projects and getting back in touch with the people and communities I've put on hold.

In the meantime, things have been going fairly well. Since I did good enough in the core music courses, I'm currently in talks with the music department to become their private tutor for music theory and aural skills this coming school year. I'd see people one-on-one for an hour at a time. The pay wouldn't be great, and would depend on how many people decide they need my help. But it would still be the first job I'd have any satisfaction in doing, so hopefully it goes through.

And to think I didn't even know what a triad was before I started the music program. Honestly, it's a bit troubling how much of an academic nerd I've become. Last year I even got nominated for honors president by the original president and the PTK president, but I turned it down because I wouldn't have time to take the classes I wanted. I wonder if that makes me a bigger nerd than the actual president.

Anyway, now that I've got a little downtime during my 3 weeks of summer break, I'll address a few Doom/DW-related issues.

* The Espi Files: When Espi passed away, it was publicly announced that I would receive his Doom directories from his family, and that I would sort through them to find any noteworthy unfinished or unreleased projects of his and pass them on to the community. The DVD of 7,606 files totalling 4.08GB arrived a few weeks after his funeral, and I spent another few weeks doing an overview of the contents and learning his somewhat haphazard organizational schemes. Though I still haven't opened or played every single file, I've found everything I believe to be his, based on his filing methods and the things he told me about in IM conversations. I told my findings to a few close contacts, but never publicly announced them to the community as a whole.

The reason for my silence was simply that there were no noteworthy unfinished or unreleased projects of his to pass on.

That isn't to say that there were no items of interest. He kept multiple in-development versions of his maps, a number of which have alternate scenes. The EDIV Map27 development history is incredibly thorough, and it's intriguing to see it progress from a linear river with 2 block piles at each end to what is now known as one of the most epic maps in Doom history. There are a few higher-detailed scenes in B2B that had their designs reduced to make it a vanilla-compatible WAD, the most notable being a version of E2M9 with all the buildings in one open space instead of multiple separate spaces. And there's the beginning of an E3 replacement, which has a whopping unfinished 2 rooms and a hallway. But since his final and preferred versions of all these maps are already available, and since he had no concern for his little E3 brainstorm, I didn't consider the release of his development histories to be an item of priority. I'm still going to sort and post them eventually, but for now there are more important things than these mild curiosities.

* Millennium: It still exists. I'm still making plans for it. I haven't had the time or energy to focus on it. When I last did, the engine had developed a glaring portal bug that rendered all our maps quite broken. I was putting together a Hub 1 all-up at the time, and I decided it would be a good time to update to the latest engine. I overwrote an old custom build from SoM for me, and it ruined the entire all-up. Since it was a custom build, the earlier public release was missing some of the necessary features entirely. The all-up fell into limbo while waiting for the engine to be fixed, and by the time it was working again, I was buried in classwork.

However, even though I haven't done much editing on the computer, that doesn't mean I haven't had it under consideration. I've been looking at the maps in what little spare time I have, paying attention to consistency issues and getting an idea of -exactly- what needs to be done. I've been making sketches of design options to implement when I have the proper time. I've learned a lot of good file management practices in the graphic arts curriculum, and I'm currently organizing the absurd amounts of resources and their various versions into an easily navigated archive. A lack of organization has caused numerous inconveniences and a few outright disasters in the past - now this will no longer be a problem.

Additionally, one of the discoveries I was happiest to make in Espi's archives was a set of completed metal textures. Earlier in Millennium's development, I put a variety of Quake2 textures into the resource. They were meant for a few specific scenes in a single map that were distinctly separate from the rest of the map. Of course, when I had a crew of designers revamp certain sections of the game during the work rush so many years ago, they plastered these textures haphazardly amidst scenes full of standard Doom2 textures with no regard for the stylistic clash. Replacing them with Doom2's Metal# textures left the scenes too plain and overwhelmingly redundant, so one of the reasons I was organizing the all-up was to pass it on to texture artists who could look at the context and recreate them to match Doom2's style. It seems Espi went ahead with this anyway, and now I can eliminate one of my biggest irks from the maps.

I'll look forward to resuming proper management of the project next year. The time away has given me fresh perspective on essential elements vs personal preferences, and the time spent working other projects in the graphic design department has given me a much better grip on handling large multi-faceted undertakings. It probably won't go as quick as I'd like, but constantly chipping away at something really does add up eventually.

* Eternity: I was anxious to try out the first official release of Eternity in a very long time, so I unzipped it into my Heretic directory and booted it up. Skipped to E4M7 and found myself shooting gargoyles and disciples with invisible shotguns and chainguns. Seems not too much has happened regarding Heretic development. Isn't this what the big GPL debacle all those years ago was about?

More importantly, is this engine still capped at 35 FPS? I looked through the menus (nice redesign btw) and couldn't find anything related to framerate. I think I've become spoiled after using ZDoom all these years, because this is... quite unplayable. I can probably get used to it for testing purposes, but... I doubt it will be too thrilling an adjustment :\

Still, I'll be trying it with the levels made for it soon, and I'm looking forward to seeing all the portal improvements in action.

* Team Insanity: Even when I was active years ago, the site was on indefinite hiatus. As of now, I have no plans to re-initiate it. The /newstuff chronicles dissipated any urgent need for WAD review teams when they began, and now that they're open to anybody who wants to write a review, I see no point in resurrecting a less efficient and exceedingly redundant review system. Safe to say, the site is retired. It was fun while it lasted.

Alright, that's it for now. I'll be going ninja on everybody again in a week. Beware :o

I just bought 2.36 lbs of yellow watermelon June 24, 2011, 9:02 pm

Seriously, I didn't know this stuff even existed.

Deviant math December 30, 2009, 1:22 pm
Gallery Stats for olo-floof:

Overall, his deviations received 0 comments and were added to deviants' favo[s]u[/s]rites 1 times, while he commented 5 times, making about 36.48 comments per day since he joined DA. This means that he gave 5 comments and received none.

I bought the Tricks And Traps condo November 26, 2009, 5:02 am
So, over the last few months, I've been looking for affordable housing around the Chicago suburbs. In any other year, that kind of oxymoron would have stopped any searches before they began, but thanks to the so-called economic collapse, low-class bums like me were able to scour the bottom end of the housing market for possible purchase options.

Absurd property taxes put even the cheapest houses out of the question, which left condos. I looked through about 20 tolerably-sized 2-bedrooms, most of which were $130,000 - $140,000. The few that were cheaper needed about $20,000 of maintenance and more time than I had to spend working on them.

The best floorplan was the smaller Tricks And Traps layout in the complex where my parents moved 2 years ago. The 2 largest models have an octagonal foyer that has 6 or 7 doors leading to the various rooms. The one they got is this epic 1850 square footer. Most condos are glorified apartments - these are stacked houses.

The smaller version is 1450 sq ft. Still felt like a mini-house rather than an apartment. I knew it was the best layout when I walked through it, but the price of the 2 crappiest units I've ever seen in my life were $134,000 and $140,000. The first one had orange stains on the carpet around all the furniture, grout that randomly transitioned from white to black, cracked plastic cabinets, suspended ceiling light tiles turned yellow and brown to match the shape of the lights above them, a collapsing ceiling in the hallway, and half the entire master bedroom ceiling was bloated with water damage. The second had wallpaper. Everywhere. On every wall. Over half the baseboard. On the front door. On the closet doors. On the metal bi-fold doors. On the cabinets. On the sink. And I doubt the carpet had been cleaned since the complex went up in the '70's.

Looked at a bunch of other stuff in the range of 800-1100 sq ft, also running an average price of $130,000. Saw lots of nice decorating and lots of crap, but they were all just apartments that people decided to sell instead of rent.

The thing about the place where my parents live is that it went into construction around 1970 and was marketed as a luxury complex, so a lot of people who were either retired or at the end of their careers sold their house after their adult children had moved out and moved into that complex. Now 40 years later, they're all making their final move to the graveyard, and half the units for sale are being sold by the children of people who've either died or been moved to a nursing home.

Last Thursday, one such estate sale comes on the market - $119,000. Owner died, kids wanted to ditch it ASAP. Saw it on Friday. I was certain from the price it was this other 1150 sq ft model, but turns out it was the Tricks And Traps model. And not only was it not trash, but it was good. They cleaned, patched, repainted and recarpeted. Nothing for me to do but bid. Offered $110,000 on Saturday. Prayed a bit. They returned with $115,000 on Sunday. Took it.

And behold: The Chateau

Of course, I'm too lame to manage the downpayment and credit check myself, so it was joint venture between me, my parents, and my recently deceased grandmother who left us a fair bit of savings. It'll run about $1,100 a month after association fees and taxes, but for the upgrade from my 558 sq ft 1-bedroom apartment which is up to $790 a month and heading past $800 at the next lease renewal, I'd say it's worth it. Especially considering somebody just paid $141,000 for an 1150 sq ft unit on the floor above me.

Now I just need to add 2 more doors to make it a true Tricks And Traps setup. I could add a secret entrance to the bedroom closet - it would be more of a shortcut than a secret, but it would work. I could also add one to the right wall, but that would open into the shower, so I'd rather not. Maybe I should just install permanently locked yellow and red skull doors on the walls instead. And turn the hallway into a crusher :D

W00! November 12, 2009, 8:59 pm
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So apparently Santos Ramirez owns my car August 23, 2008, 1:43 pm
I got pulled over by a state trooper while on my way to pay for classes this morning.

He asked me who legally owned my car. I honestly wasn't sure, but I thought it was my dad. I used to own my car when I lived at the house, but it was a trash heap that was always causing both of us trouble and one day I came out to find it had been replaced and somehow it never got discussed, so I just went on driving the new one.

Anyway, the guy tells me, with no lack of a compulsive superiority complex, that neither of us own the car and spends 10 minutes going through all my IDs and insurance and registration and a list of questions about where I was born and grew up etc. before letting me go and telling me to get the car in my or my dad's name if I wanted to stop getting pulled over because the car's on some kind of list that he didn't specify.

It already WAS in our name and we'd been paying insurance/license plate fees and all that for like 5 years, so I have no idea what this is all about. At least he didn't seem to notice I never went to traffic school when I got my last speeding ticket over a year ago.

Blood (This Consumes You) July 14, 2008, 5:33 am

Coloring Mae July 9, 2008, 2:06 am
Espi finally explained to me how to configure Photoshop to color in line-drawings without either coloring over the lines or having the edges remain uncolored along the transitions from black to white, so as a test, I colored one of his old drawings, Mae:

It didn't turn out too bad, considering I really had no idea what I was doing and just wanted to see how different colors turned out with the multiply settings. It took a little over an hour. I kinda got carried away trying to do the wing's color transition. I was hoping to fade them from blue to silver, but I couldn't find a way to create silver nor transition it, so it only ended up going from dark to light blue.

3 Steps To Nowhere March 28, 2008, 11:15 am
Floof & Sap Art Images presents:

<font size=4>3 Steps To Nowhere</font>

A photograph of mine...

A photoshop of Espi's...

And a complete reliance on a picture being worth a thousand words for the sake of avoiding another long drawn-out introduction:

(10 steps short of a Pantera song, but I don't think it would suit the scenery very well anyway.)