Status Updates posted by GooberMan
Got back from Reboot Develop yesterday. What a conference.
MS bans emulators on Windows Store; gamers rage as they load up Steam instead.
I'm on teh Remedys websites.
DW April Fools suggestion - turn the site in to a storefront selling salt.
There has been none.
Right now my programming focus is on Binderoo, the open-sourced rapid iteration framework using D that I'm developing at work.
Once it's up to a minimum level of functionality, I'm going to port everything I've done in Calamity so far to D. The reasons I stated for using C++ originally, eh, I'm over it. I've wasted far too much time in C++ doing stuff that's simple in D lately. It's time to move on.
More about my rationale for leaving C++ behind can be found in the presentation I made at GDC Europe last month.
Calamity will be a good testbed for expanding Binderoo to handle COM interfaces since the current implementation is DX11 based. This further helps out for UWP apps, as secretly UWP handles are just COM interfaces that the compiler manages for you.
Once the porting work is done, I can get on to the meat of the implementation.
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Interesting Question & Answer.
Question: Say, in an alternative universe where you had a hand in the making of Doom 2 and 4, how would of you approached it?
Answer: I always like to work on new IPs, so basically I wouldn't of made Doom 3 or 4. However if I did, I wouldn't of rebooted the series. I would of created a continuation of Doom 3.
FYI everyone: My talk has been behind a GDC Vault paywall since late August. This one has been 100% public on the GDC website since around the same time, but now it's in a far more convenient Youtube format.
I want to get my video made public, there's plenty of interest outside of gaming in what I have to say and as such not many people want to subscribe just to watch one video.
So rather than continue yet another circular argument with Graf, I decided my post-shipping-Quantum-Break holidays would be best spend avoiding the bulk of the internet. Which worked out rather well. My holidays started the day after release, and I very definitely needed to switch off from everything for a while.
So let's see if I can summarise all the things.
- I got drunk a lot.
- Went to London for a few days. Saw The Book of Mormon finally.
- Finally knocked over The Witcher 3. Fuck that game's mechanically repetitive, but the world building is second-to-none.
- Getting laid more often now that I have free time.
- If I tried to talk about the PC release, I'd quickly break every NDA I've ever signed. It's getting better though (not that anyone cares anymore).
- I actually have no recollection of January through March. Well, I saw Steven Wilson again live, but that's it. I can't even remember what I did with my girlfriend for our two year anniversary.
- I had a moment where I went in to the supermarket and realised every movie I wanted to see at the theaters was already on Bluray.
- I presented at DConf in Berlin earlier this month. Video 1, and Video 2 around 1:49:50. This conference had a better effect on restoring my morale than anything else did.
- I've been designing future-proofed systems and doing SIMD optimisations at work. I'm starting to enjoy work again.
- Tonight, I opened up Calamity and started tapping away at that once more. But I am considering converting all the code to D. Because fuck C++.
- On the subject of programming in my spare time, a chunk of it will likely be taken up by some D code once we open source it.
- I am sure there's some hilarious butthurt threads around about the new Doom. But I rather enjoyed it and I can't be fucked looking through any forum posts for hilarity.
- Dark Souls 3, I am disappoint.
Eh, there's a few D4 complaint threads, but for the most part they're kind of the same old SnapMap, loadout, and Glorykill talk. Other than that, the single player has almost universally been the subject of praise. That crashing-to-desktop-without-an-error-message nonsense just needs to stop, though.
- I got drunk a lot.
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Sorry I can't support you guys on this one GooberMan, this PC version is a trainwreck.
It gets even worse.
For shame, GooberMan, for shame.
So, to unwind after my 12+ hour work days (and because I can't get to sleep straight away), I load up some multiplayer games at home on my Xbox/PS4 and murder some virtual avatars.
Last night, I grabbed the Win10 update for the Xbox One. Decided to download Doom 360 and give it a bash as a result (fairly smooth, but it's not the most demanding application). I looked for a random game, and joined someone starting up a match on E2M1. Not the best map for deathmatch, all the weapons are in the first 1/3 of the map so if you can control them you control the map. I did spawn right near the mega armor though, so that was a huge leg up for me. So I race back, pick off health with the pea shooter, die a few times, and finally get myself the shotgun.
That's when the fortunes changed for my opponents.
The map ended, 20 frags to me. I had only died five times, and the next highest scorer was on 5 frags.
They left the lobby immediately after, so I looked for another random game and wound up in the same lobby with them. Looked at their gamer cards. Then looked at mine and checked the reputation. Of the 4 people I had met on XB360 Live on the Xbox One, one of them gave me a bad rating.
Negative rating for being unsporting.
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The funny thing is that many of the things that article Gooberman linked to calls "spoilsport" attitudes, are actually considered a staple of being "competitive", "pretty damn good", "1337 pr0 fux0r g4mer", "pro", etc.
They are the online equivalent of the macho, sexist taunts that are yelled between football teams, and in fact, in many competitive sports, including "cyber athletics", the attitude one has inside as well (perhaps more importantly) outside of the "arena" is considered important and part of the whole package. More Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy, less Kung Fu Master.
Oh yeah, I'd just abuse this system; more reason to stay off Xbox and stick with PS4 I guess. I've been guilty here lately of reporting the hell out of campers and the truth is, I'm not even sure everyone I report is guilty of it; I'm probably just salty at getting my ass handed to me (but FFS, I've been unemployed for 75% of the last year and put 10+ hours a day into PvP, how am I still not kicking ass and taking names? I guess I just suck. Truth.) I've just been super disgruntled with the modern console kiddies as of late. I keep thinking with the amount of reports I've sent that at some point it'll come back to haunt me; plus I'm convinced they don't really monitor the reports. Still, I hope I fucked up some people's day with a temporary ban. Because I'm a dickhead.
The article didn't really explain it and I don't own an Xbox, but what's to prevent a large group of people from simultaneously rating a person negatively to fuck up their reputation when it isn't warranted? In the age of people sending hate mobs online to fuck up people's day, I could see this happening. Or a whole clan turning against one of their members and plotting against them? People online have been rather sociopathic as of late.
- Enjoying life
- Working on Calamity
- Working on Z-Kart
- Experiencing sobriety
- Getting laid more than once a week
- Spending my tax return
- Maintaining the illusion of being in a good mood
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* Reading old posts from early 2001 https://www.doomworld.com/vb/post/1497032
Hah, needless to say the CD I was talking about in that post was this one. It contained a bunch of the old editors too. I made many broken maps with DEU 5.21/DEU2 because I didn't understand what two-sided linedefs were back when I first tried editing. Good times.
Some of you here must be locals, and I'll be moving there in a month or so for a new job. Just outside of Helsinki. I plan on jetting about all over Europe, but I might as well see what the country has to offer.
Already checked out Suomenlinna while I was over there earlier this month, and a couple of guys I know over there have already shown me a few good drinking holes.
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Yea, all those teens just go sit somewhere, smoke cigarettes and spit on the ground and have contests who can make the biggest pool of spit between their feet.
Makes a spitting impression:
*Ph'nglurr mglrrw'nfhrrgghh RlRlRlRl'lllyeh fhrrr'tagn.. Cthuuu-lhuuu! mmglwh ngll*
I think it would be more interesting to have a spitting contest on distance or accuracy or both.
I've been secretly picking up an editor every two years or so and working on a map since then. My next burst of creativity should be at the beginning of 2012. And I might be able to release it in time for Doom's 20th anniversary.
It's a fairly modest map that can be expanded to a grand hub, but aims to recreate a familiar map in a unique way and feel like a scripted map without actually writing a single line of ACS.
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I quit mapping once, maybe twice. It's like breaking up with a girlfriend. As soon as it's over, you realize everything great about it .
I only pick it up as a break from other game development. It's both a simpler and a more abstract way of laying down an idea. And since my day job is game programming, I made the decision to do Doom mapping without resorting to programming. For a change.
I challenge you not to play this at least twice in a row.
For those of you that have, or are thinking of having, kids:
1) Have you stopped using the "here comes the aeroplane" line when feeding your stubborn child?
2) Are you now using the "here comes the aeroplane" line when disciplining your stubborn child?
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1) Have you stopped using the "here comes the aeroplane" line when feeding your stubborn child?
2) Are you now using the "here comes the aeroplane" line when disciplining your stubborn child?
Don't worry, it's okay to use that line. Unless your kid looks like a skyscraper. Then it's too harsh.
I'm bored at work, so I've decided to finally let loose some of my ideas that were going to be incorporated in to Mooditor.
A few years ago, I got the grand notion to build a Doom level editor. The lack of 3D editing was annoying me. I can't remember whether I decided to start before or after Doom Builder was announced, but needless to say it was around that time. I decided to call it Mooditor, as not only did it contain the word "moo" but the first four letters also spelt Doom backwards and blended rather nicely in to the word editor. A release that loads up a map is still available. Whether it still runs is something I am unaware of :-P
If it does run, you'll notice that it dumps directly in to 3D mode (albeit minus flats drawing). That's because the editor was going to be exclusively 3D editing.
I hadn't worked out how to draw the flats as I hadn't worked out a nice way for on-the-fly sub-sector generation. Relying on pre-calculated BSP trees was completely out of the question due to the fact that moving a vertex would kill the tree. Thanks to my research in to portal engines 4 years ago, I knew that the Doom engine stored the necessary data to implement a portal culling solution as opposed to its BSP selection. A portal engine divides its world in to concave sectors. If a sector is convex, it subdivides it in to concave subsectors. Surfaces where two sectors meet are portals. Culling is achieved by using the view frustum, and adding additional culling planes to the frustum until you can't see anything else. Doom's map format already stores concave sectors and subsectors, and portals can be very easilly represented as a linedef with two sidedefs in different sectors. (SIDE RANT: With that in mind, you may understand why I'm unimpressed with alot of the advanced features like portals going around lately - they're still based in BSP land. Remove the hacks, implement a proper portal culler, and notice just how much easier everything becomes. Yes, it's slower than a BSP tree, but welcome to 2006, modern computers can handle it.)
I was aiming to have little to no keyboard shortcuts. You would move the camera around with the mouse, or a keyboard/mouse combo. Left click would select vertices/lines/sectors/things. Right click would bring up contex menus. Simply left clicking on something and dragging would move that object around. I was aiming to make the editing process faster via intuition rather than assigning hundreds of commands to hundreds of key combinations. Navigation and editing of the map was to be as far removed from the current crop of editors as possible - but due to wide scope of the ideas, it would have been entirely possible to snap a camera to look directly down and move along the X/Z axis thus emulating the current crop of editors.
It would have taken me a couple of months to get everything up and running as I envisioned it. Once it was working, I was even thinking of migrating it to a Doom engine (no doubt ZDoom) and having an in-game editor as standard (as I'd need the portal culler, it would also open up shiteloads of potential by making a dynamic world possible). But, as usual, I lost interest.
My programming interests are far removed from Doom currently, and I doubt they'll go back there. I'm not professionally interested in the current FPS formula, and as a result any research and programming I do in my own time has as little to do with FPSs as possible. Some of the ideas I've mentioned here will be making it in to an editor for a game I'm working on in my spare time, but if any editor author feels inspired by this post go ahead and try it with your own code.
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Portals are easy. If you know anything about plane mathematics (in this case, how to test what side of a plane a point is on and where a line intersects a plane) then you can whip up a portal culler quite quickly. Consider the edges of your screen as planes, and add the near and far plane to the culler for good measure. The tests you'll need with Doom's line renderer would be:
WARNING: DODGY PSEUDOCODE ENSURES
The clipping function is the slowest there as you'll need a divide - the rest is done with a couple of multiplies. From memory, the Doom engine clips its lines before it renders them, but that's not the reason I put the test in there. By clipping the line, you have a better line to base your portal tests from as you're only using what you can see. If you expand the code to work with 3D surfaces, the clipping test also solves another problem you'll encounter. If the clipping test wasn't there in 3D, there's a chance you could get false positives where a line is outside the current portal culler, but passes the test by having at least one point of the line on the positive side of each plane. Working in 3D data is a good thing anyway - the 2D renderers used in source ports could convert the lines in to 3D surfaces using sector heights and use portal culling to easilly perform height visibility tests. These same portal tests can be generated from a monster's POV to determine if it can see the player or not.
DIE BSP TRAVERSAL!!!!
EDIT: ONE THING I FEEL I NEED TO POINT OUT ABOUT PORTALS
Ideally, a portal renderer would be set up so that each sector is centred (YES I'M AUSSIE) around the origin, and a transformation matrix supplied at each portal to describe how to transform the next sector to the correct world space. This kind of flexibility means that you can dynamically change a portal's linked sector. It also lets you do crazy shit, like walk through a portal, turn around, and where you just came from is no longer there. Just imagine the head-trip games you could do with features like that in your game :-D
(That's also a subtle hint as to how current "portals" can be implemented with the portal culler I described above)
Yup, it sure would be - if there's lots of line interesection with the culler, or if there's alot of portals (linedef with sidedefs on different sectors), otherwise it'd be as proportionally slow as normal. Then again, maps with lots of lines run slow as it is. I remember complaing about Caverns of Darkness when it first came out as, even on a decent (for back then) computer, the final map would chug like a bitch because of the amount of visible lines. Even GL nodes couldn't save me - in fact, I couldn't generate GL nodes as there were too many lines for it to handle.
Conversion on-the-fly of Doom maps to a native 3D format, and allow 3D objects to be described in a 2D editor, would remove the need for a gazillion lines to define detail. Slopes in ZDoom have helped alot with the detail thing, as most detail that uses alot of lines is to simulate slopes.
I'm currently trying to both get a hold of and make a list of all the pewter figurines that are going around with Doom 3. So far in my posession I have:
Baron Of Hell
The only other one I know of that's circulating and that I don't have is the Mancubus.
With the id anthology released a few years ago, a Cyber Demon came with it.
I can't remember if they made a complete set of those things a few years back (the copyright date on all of them is 1997 so I'm guessing they did), but it would be interesting to see which other ones are circulating with Doom 3 and other id products.
So, uh, reply and stuff.
I can't remember if they made a complete set of those things a few years back
Some info here.
There goes all my monies...
Over the past two weeks, I've spent all my monies (in AUD) on:
Warcraft 3 battle chest PC ($80)
Tony Hawks Underground PS2 ($50)
Mario Kart Double Dash GCN ($75)
F-Zero GX GCN ($50)
Enter The Matrix PC ($25)
Half Life Blue Shift PC ($22)
Ratchet And Clank 2 PS2 ($50)
Jimmy Neutron Jet Fusion (aka the game I worked on) PS2 ($37)
Resident Evil GCN ($50)
Eternal Darkness GCN ($75)
Metroid: Zero Mission GBA ($50)
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I've spent all my monies (in USD) on:
Warcraft 3 battle chest PC ($57.66)
Tony Hawks Underground PS2 ($36.04)
Mario Kart Double Dash GCN ($54.05)
F-Zero GX GCN ($36.04)
Enter The Matrix PC ($18.02)
Half Life Blue Shift PC ($15.86)
Ratchet And Clank 2 PS2 ($36.04)
Jimmy Neutron Jet Fusion (aka the game I worked on) PS2 ($26.67)
Resident Evil GCN ($36.04)
Eternal Darkness GCN ($54.05)
Metroid: Zero Mission GBA ($36.04)
why the hell would you guy all those games at once?!
Sale time. I got all those games and am still managing to save money out of each pay packet. Might as well buy them now while they're cheaper.
And heh, Bloodshedder's USD translations do make it seem kinda bad. The flipside to that is if I got US copies, I'd also have to get US systems for the consoles (except GBA AFAIK), and then I'd also have to pay shipping etc to get them over. Another point worth making with those comparisons is that cost of living is less over here but stuff like that costs more so it evens out at the end of the day.
For those of you waiting for more Doom - The Arcade Game, the story comes with the release 1 zip so read through that.
For those of you waiting for more The Gateway Experiments (or Space Station Omega if that's all you know it by), read on.
What you know: The Gateway Experiments started off with the main character from Doom (Russell) being called in by his old friend Aaron (Doom Chronicles Chapter 4) trying to get Russell back in to the Marines. The government had decided it would be a good idea to open up the gateway experiments again, and they wanted Russell back in case things went wrong. Russell got to watch things go wrong, he got out after an invasion occured, Aaron tried to kill Russell after revealing he opened the experiments again, and Russell killed him.
What you don't know: Russell starts having dreams after those events. The first dream he had was him entering a 30's-noir-style hotel. Inside were demons as servants. I hadn't gotten as far as working out what other dreams Russell was to have.
The government considered the situation contained on the space station, so they framed Russell for destroying the station and all on board. All ships that dock at SSO get implanted with a tracker, and consequently are quite able to track down Russell's ship. Elaine (Russell's girlfriend, Doom Chronicles Chapter 5) was taken prisoner, and Russell dealt horrible doom to the marine squadron that infiltrated the ship. Not long after the marines died, Russell gets a communication from a group called MAGE who want him to come on board their ship and have his ship destroyed as the tracker is quite irremovable. Russell goes on board and discovers that MAGE is the Movement Against Gateway Experiments (lame acronym, huh). They had unsuccessfully tried to shut down the experiments before the demons showed up again at SSO. They want Russell to do a hit-and-run operation on a government facility with the intention of using some gateway tech to go to hell and see what's going on there. With the demon's god dead at the end of D-TAG/Doom 2, the demons should have been aimless and useless. Russell decides he needs to get Elaine first/instead (ooh, choices!), and goes off on a mission to get her.
Elaine is being held at a high security holding facility. Russell is able to sneak through the facility and get to Elaine's cell. Opening the cell sets off the facilities alarms, which locks down the facility. After getting Elaine out of the cell, Russell hears sounds of gunfire not too far away. Seeking to find a way out of the complex, Russell instead finds that the demons have decided to invade this facility aswell. Things are made harder as the facility's automated monitoring triggered the self destruct mechanism. After managing to smack down some demons, find a way out, and watch the facility explode in to chunky little kibbles, Russell realises that the demons just won't go away and that his duty didn't finish 10 years ago when he destroyed their god.
After getting back to the MAGE, they drop him off at a secret facility that houses some gateways. Infiltration of the facility reveals that the government was using the refined gateway tech to get in to hell and capture demons for all sorts of studies. Computer reports indicate that they were trying to tame the demons and use them as an unstoppable army. Brainwashing refused to work, and despite the fact that the demons already had a techno-fusion thing happening they had so far been unable to integrate human tech with demon tissue. After avoiding or killing any marines as he went through the facility, Russell finally gets to a gateway. He sets the wavelength to hell and steps in.
The demons on the other side don't attack him unless provoked. In fact, they seem to ignore him. Russell explores to find more of the same behaviour. After more exploring, Russell is confronted by the 30's-noir hotel seen in his dreams. On the penthouse level is a demon chosen to speak to him. The demon world had been thrown in to quite some disarray with the destruction of their god and his seven minions of hell. Civil wars, degeneration of mind to a more primal state, and mass genocide of differing species constituted the first few years after their god was killed. A group of demons finally realised what was happening though. They realised what they are, and what they need to keep things under control. They need a new god (Side note: it's a pity - the demons were on the brink of entering a higher state of consciousness until they foolishly determined they needed a new god). Who better to be their new god than the entity that destroyed their previous one? They want Russell to bring unity back to hell and give the denizens a purpose for living. Russell realises that if he declines, the demons could very well realise they can exist without a god (they had "invaded" space station omega and the prison facility in an attempt to bring Russell back to hell, which is quite an argument for independent thought) and thus could be quite unstoppable, so he agrees.
Russell spends a couple of months in hell bringing things to order. Some demons are convinced he is their new god based on reputation alone, some need convincing in the form of a superior display of power. Eventually, Russell manages to unify hell back in to a big, lumbering juggernaut. After the unification, Russell decides it's time to tell the MAGE what's going on. The MAGE can't believe what's happened, so he takes some of them back to hell to demonstrate. The MAGE is convinced that the demon army is now completely under control.
There is still the issue of Russell and Elaine being fugitives though. It isn't the only case of the government covering things up since the demon invasion ended though. The MAGE has detailed reports of the corrupt activities the government has been up to. Russell decides it's time to use his new found power for a revolution. If he can bring peace and order to hell, he sure as hell can do it for earth. The end of The Gateway Experiments involved Russell using his demon army to overthrow the government and bring forth a new form of order determined by himself. Would he keep the demons and the humans separate, or would he merge them in to a totalitarian state ruled ruthelessly by himself? As with the rest of The Gateway Experiments, the decision would have been entirely up to you.
I bet that got your attention.
I haven't discussed anything Doom-ish since my original blog. I've been wanting to get around to doing this blog for a while, but for reasons soon to be revealed I never did.
Before Doom, there was Lemmings. I discovered Lemmings on the Amiga and got obsessed by it. Those who knew me during school at the time would probably tell you about the fucking idiot that made noises that sounded just like the game. Those in my english class would probably tell you about the speech that we had to write about how to do something - I chose Lemmings and added all the sounds (consequently, the speech I wrote out was perfectly scripted down to how the audience would react). Those who were wondering why I stopped making the sounds one day are probably still under the assumption that I finally realised what a moron I was. I had infact found a new game to obsess over. August 1994 was when I first played Doom.
Let's backtrack a bit though. As far back as I remember, there were always games in my house. According to my father, there were games there before I was born. Games have always been a part of me. I am one of a new generation who has grown up with games. I am a part of a first of a kind. Wankers are happy to call us Generation Dot Com, but it's much deeper than that. Those who are proud to call themselves a part of that generation are, in most circumstances, those who considered computers geeky back when they were kids. Those people are the same that call up people like me to fix their computer when it's broken, and those who go to college to learn IT because there's money in IT or some other equally shallow reason.
I was somewhat naive even though I grew up around computers. I complacently accepted the fact that computers had games I could get that I could play and enjoy. It was only when my dad sold our Commodore 64 to our cousins and revealed the books he had hidden away all those years about making your own games did I realise that you can in fact make your own games. With the Commodore and the books gone, I had no way of finding out just how to do that. Over the next couple of years, I tried to find out whatever I could about making my own games. Dad would buy a magazine that had some making-games-type-stuff in it, so I would futilely attempt to understand it. I latched on quite easier to game makers though, and my first attempts at creating games were with the completely-limited-in-scope Shoot 'Em Up Construction Kit.
August 1994 saw my dad purchase a PC. A week or two later, he got a shareware copy of Doom. It looked completely photo realistic to me at the time, and in retrospect it has some of the best art direction seen in any game ever (especially episode 1, it just works so flawlessly). The gameplay back then was completely spooky, as you were truly walking in to the unknown. Once you knew everything, it turned in to the fast paced monster-fest that most people attribute it to these days, but back then you would jump when an invisible demon roared next to you, and move physically as you tried to dodge a rocket. It worked. And it had me hooked.
A year later, my dad gota CD that had bonus levels. And editors.
If you have any sort of a brain at all, you should know what the result of that was. If you're stupid, press ALT+F4 now and a secret thing will show up that will tell you what the answer is.
Never before had I been able to edit a game. I was like a kid in a candy store (if you'll allow me to use an over-used and utterly meaningless cliche, as kids in a candy store are always limited by both their parents minds and their wallets and thus the kids are always disappointed - but that isn't the point I was trying to make by using that over-used cliche). I tried to consume it all. The lack of anyone there made learning just as hard as not having anyone there who knew programming when I tried a few years earlier. However, I delved into the depths of the CD and found info that would help me in understanding what needed to be done to make my own levels, graphics, and everything for this game. I started to show some competence in my isolated, self-taught methods. I started doing things I hadn't seen in any of the maps that were on the CD, and there was even one thing I did that I still haven't seen in a map to this day (that being skill-based teleport destinations, although I did take that to extremes with the Marine Lemmings level in Doom - The Arcade Game). All those old levels are lost now to father's finger combined with the delete key. I can still remember the layout of the levels though. They sucked.
In the dieing year-and-a-half of high school, I was finally introduced to programming proper. I got a taste of what it could do, and was instantly doing stuff that the rest of the class wasn't doing. I knew I wanted to do more, and after years of deciding what kind of career I wanted to pursue once high school was done, I finally realised that if I learnt programming I would have the power to make my own games, and if I was good I could do it for a living. Despite being in a shitty-dumb-fucks computer class (thanks to the fact that I didn't hand in my subject selection form the previous year until it was two months overdue), I managed to worm my way in to a higher level class thanks to the fact that one of the few people I truly got along with in high school wanted to do a computer course that wasn't offered at the school at the time. The course was completely devoted to programming. I had to do it. He convinced the school to do the course, and I convinced the principle that being the only person in the school to drop courses and pick up others so I could do this course wasn't a bad thing. Maybe there were some teachers working behind the scenes in my favour though - my marks in high school started off as good and declined as I lost interest in everything they had to offer (excepting science, I was always fascinated by that) - but I guess I won't know unless they do one of those silly high school reunion things and a teacher confesses.
Despite the fact that I never did my assigned homework and nearly got kicked out of that course because of it, concentrated solely on the game I was writing for the major assessment, and read through half of the theory offered a day before the end of school exams, the school was able to print out on its fliers it sent out the next year that both students who undertook that course were placed in the top 10 percent of the state.
It was an important year. In 1998, I learnt some basic computer science and how to apply that in regards to programming langauges - something that people I met later on weren't introduced to and consequently didn't understand things properly. I went past what the course offered and delved in to slightly higher concepts. I made a game complete with ASCII art and a data driven format. Surprisingly, the game worked quite bug free, but I still wasn't happy with it. A month after the final exams was devoted to rewriting the game with proper graphics, a slightly larger playing field, improved monster AI, and not much else.
As further trends in my life would show though, peaks are usually followed by quite large valleys.
In the three years in between 1998 and the course I did in 2002, the following things happened: did a TAFE course just so I could have a piece of paper that proved what I already knew; parents split up; realised that girls that are in to the geeky shit you are in to are just as horrible as the girls that aren't; realised that the geeky shit I was in to was quite pathetic in alot of circumstances; tried another TAFE course, gave up after two weeks, and hid it from my parents who still don't know despite the fact that mum was going out with an IT teacher from a different TAFE campus at the time and after dad had paid $500 for it; let my mind get affected by loneliness and usher in a new mindset; got a girlfriend who dumped me 10 days later; let my mind get affected by the humiliation of being dumped by your first girlfriend after 10 days and finally realise that my life down there was going downhill; decided that it was finally time to learn what I needed to make games full time and moved states to undertake a course that I wasn't sure I was going to get in to.
During my last year in Sydney, I took up the Doom editing that I had left behind when I learnt programming. I figured it would be a good idea to experiment with gameplay and using technology to fuel gameplay. I discovered ZDoom and decided that would be perfect for what I wanted to do. I used my memories of what I did back in the day, worked out quite quickly what was crap, looked around the community to see what the standard was, and went and made a teaser for chapter 4 of The Doom Chronicles. The Doom Chronicles was meant to be a filler for the lack of story in Doom. These days I think fan fiction is quite lame and pointless, but back then I was experimenting. The teaser was met with no fanfare, and I think Rex was the only one who played it at the time. Even one person was enough to keep me going, so I experimented some more.
One of those experiments was quite possibly the coolest idea to ever hit the Doom community.
I was experimenting with the episode 1 style, as one of the Doom Chronicles chapters was all about the marines that went in ahead of the main character from Doom. The idea of using tech to fuel gameplay came in the form of an idea I had. I think it was about a time bomb. The gist of the idea was what would happen if you played Doom with an enforced time limit? I gave it a try and realised it gave it quite an arcade-ish feel. I experimented more with scripting and got enemies and power-ups giving you extra time, thus making it feel even more arcade-ish. I put in differing skill levels, with the intention of making the ultra-violence skill level challenging for me. Unfortunately, just about everyone plays on UV so the main complaint was that it was too hard despite the fact I told everyone to play at "normal" arcade skill. The fact that arcade machines have DIP switches that can alter the difficulty of the game dramatically ended out being a convenient excuse I never used for the difficulty. Without a clear goal though, the maps would have been boring. Enter the heavilly scripted sequences and the complete rewrite of the Doom storyline that would later prove to work well with the stuff I had already written for The Doom Chronicles. Back when I first got the arcade idea, I thought of lots of cool mini-game style levels. The first level didn't stick to that idea in the slightest, but the mini-games were too cool to pass up. Enter the bonus levels. I needed a teaser to hook people with. Screenshots and the concept had stirred up some interest, but not enough. Enter the completely scripted in-game intro to Doom that followed the original story introduction pretty closely - even down to striking your superior officer three years earlier. Doom's 8th birthday was coming up. A release date was set. Doom - The Arcade Game Release 1 was released on the 10th of December, 2001. It blew the community away.
Fuelled with community support and ideas left over from D-TAG, I started experimenting again. The ZDoom editing community was quite impressed when I showed off the fake space-ship-flight trick using the camera paths I had mastered in D-TAG and applying that to a skybox viewer. The example map can still be found on Randy's ZDoom server to this day. The computer I whipped up for the final section of D-TAG needed further experimenting. I console bound some keys to a simple script that would scroll through text choices displayed using the at-the-time-underused hud text functions. The speech script was born in under 12 hours. Gears in my head were shifting, tieing the D-TAG story together with The Doom Chronicles. A sequel set 10 years later was born. I set to work on it, but work soon stopped when I found out I was accepted in to the course I wanted to do.
2002 was a hell of a year, another one of those peak years. I did virtually nothing Doom related. The original idea with The Gateway Experiments was to release one a week in a TV-show style episode format. That proved to not work in the slightest. I was doing full time programming again and learning a horrendous amount of new concepts. The concepts thankfully clicked half way through the course, so I was free to experiment with coding. Experimenting with things that are 100% your own creation is quite superior to experimenting with technology you already know the limits to and regularly exploit. I had no initiative to complete The Gateway Chronicles, and even attempts to finish it only ended out in the map getting bigger and bigger with no end in sight. As my programming improved, my mindset changed again. I was one of the top programmers of the course, but I felt like I was one of the worst. I could experiment with code all I wanted, but I felt hollow. I felt like a machine, and no one was there for me to provide me with humanity. After the course had finished, it all came to a climax. My mindset had changed radically throughout the year. I knew less than some people at the beginning of the year yet knew an immense amount more than the same people at the end of the year. None of that stopped me from nearly sticking a knife in my wrists. I managed to stop myself from continuing. Not long after, I watched Fight Club for the first time and it echoed many thoughts in my mind that I had not put words to. I started to see purpose in my life, but it was not yet completely clear to me.
Around the same time as all that was happening, I got a job thanks to one of the programs I had worked on during the course. I decided that I should finish The Gateway Experiments at all costs, and finally it got released a couple of weeks later. I aimed to make a seamless, flawless level. How many people fell down the busted elevator shaft and noticed that you did indeed fall five floors, that it looked like you fell five floors, and that one of the floors had a slightly open door that you could see through? How many people used the draw-no-flat water surface thing and have a teleporter seamlessly teleport you to an identical section of air duct to seamlessly fall down a floor? How many people have gone through all possible paths in that level? It was compared to Deus Ex when it landed a slot in the Top Ten Maps For 2003 list for Doom's 10th anniversary. I doubt it had the same effect on the community that D-TAG did, but it still managed to blow people away.
In between the time I got my job and now has been another one of those valleys. I've only recently noticed the trend, and I can already see the peak that I'm climbing towards. It's a fucking huge climb though. It's all to do with my purpose in life. My purpose in life is to shake up the games industry. Right now, the industry is completely stale. There are plenty of misconceptions out there right now - things like the games you can buy off the shelves are good (only true for a select handful of titles), and that it takes a large team to make a good game. I'm out to prove that wrong now. Currently, I'm biding my time working to put games on the shelves, but it has the double effect of being a good place to observe and learn what not to do. The independent game scene is currently quite pathetic (although it has produced Gish within the past month, which is the best game I've played in a long time). The shelf-space game scene is also quite pathetic, but in a different way. We need a new Apogee, or at least a top quality independent developer that will be an icon for all aspiring developers to look up to.
And there lies the entire point of my calling this blog to the attention of those that enjoyed my maps. This blog marks the offical retirement of myself from all things Doom-mapping related. If I tried to lie to myself and keep with Doom editing, I'd just be holding myself back in the long run. I regularly get emails saying that they can't wait for the next <insert project here> map. I haven't replied to any of them as I couldn't bring myself to tell them there probably won't be any more. I finally stopped giving a fuck about my own insecurities to write out this huge blog to tell people what the deal is. The only regret I have is that I didn't get to finish The Gateway Experiments. The complete story for that is quite possibly one of the coolest Doom-based stories used in a project to ever hit the Doom community, and would have pushed the tech-gameplay thing even further.
The climb to the top of the peak sure is a lonely one, but at least I can take comfort in the knowledge that the tumble back down will be just as lonely.
For those of you who are interested, the results are in for the 48hr programming competition I entered. Short story, I fail it. Not as short as the short story but still rather short, I came second. Slightly longer than the not as short as the short story but still rather short story, the team of two people who came in first place only just managed to get first place on the last vote. Not bad considering I only did it to see if I could do a game in 48 hours.
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GooberMan, that is so cool. :D
Though may I ask something? When you go over items and press up, what does it mean when it has the little white bar and the guy widdling his arms? Thanks. :D (I know it's searching for something as the txt. says, but I am just wondering if it is for anything else. :D)
DOOM Anomaly said:
When you go over items and press up, what does it mean when it has the little white bar and the guy widdling his arms?
Once it's all finished and non-48-hours-of-work, searching the item fully (ie no more white bar and item) will result in you getting puzzle pieces, bonuses, or absolutely nothing.
The scourge of many a gamer from the C64 era are the immortal words: "Another visitor. Stay a while. Stay forever!" For the uneducated, those were the memorable words uttered at the beginning of each game of Impossible Mission. Speech was memorable back in those days as it was rather hard to get digitised sounds on home computers. Of course, the fact that the game was fucking hard to finish also made it memorable to most people. I think I'm the only one I know of who has ever completed that game. Mind you, the first time I completed it was 13 years after I first played it. Those fortunate enough to work out how best to avoid the robots often stumbled on the password puzzle system. Having the manual helped here, as it explained how it worked. Putting the pieces together to get a letter of the password was still tricky though, thanks to duplicate pieces and pieces that didn't form a whole being able to pieced together.
The first thing I'll say about Impossible Mission 2 is don't play the Amiga version as it is complete and utter balls. The C64 version is superior to the Amiga in terms of controls, feel, and surprisingly graphics. Now with that out of the way, I can say that IM2 was both harder and simpler at the same time. The rooms were harder. There are some rooms that I've been unable to find an exit to without killing yourself - bad design for sure. Some rooms require the use of robot power off's, which is also bad design thanks to the final room requiring them. Speaking of the final room, it's a pain in the ass. The room itself has a time limit of something like a minute or two. Dieing takes time away from the normal time limit, so if you happen to kill yourself too many times you just lost aswell. I finally reached that room just then, 15 years after I originally played it, and now I've got to go through the game again to get to it once more (I failed the room completely). The puzzles are simpler. This time, you only have to get enough numbers of each colour to make up the correct combination to progress to another tower. Before you progress to the tower though, you'll have to get the musical sequence. There are 6 actual pieces and 2 fakes in the 8 towers. Once you exit a tower, you can't go back to it. Despite all the things I've found wrong with it, it's easilly just as addictive as the first one.
For the 48 hour programming competition I entered, I decided I would do an Impossible Mission clone. The results speak for themselves. While not being exactly like the original, it captues the feel. I've decided that I want to expand upon what I did in those 48 hours and create a full 20th anniversary tribute to the original game. My programmer art skills reek of pure programmerness, so I started questing for people willing to make the graphics required for a tribute game. Unfortunately, it seems no one wants to do art unless it's 3D or it involves money. As I discussed in a previous blog, I only entered that competition to see if I could do a game in 48 hours. Where's that spirit with everyone else? I'd like to get this game done and looking real nice, and then once that's done try to track down Dennis Caswell (the creator of the original game) and show it to him and see what he thinks. I can do the code easilly. I can make the rooms easilly. Making decent looking textures is beyond my patience levels.
darknation has generously offered to do the art. What a champion. Anyway, for his benefit and yours, here's what he has in store for him.
The number of tiles on each screen is 40 across and 30 down.
The images used currently assume a tile to be 16x16 pixels. The images can be saved in any format that DirectX can read. I prefer PNGs, but if you choose to use GIF or JPG or TGA that is fine as DirectX reads those files in.
Animation is defined through a .set file. It is a text file that states the animation name, the time (in 1/60ths of a second) it takes to progress to the next frame, and any number of source images that specify what that frame should look like. The limit to the number of frames in a single animation is 4 billion and something (2^32), so don't feel restrained or anything.
The player takes up 2x3 tiles. The animations the player has is:
Most are pretty self explanatory. Search is the player facing the background and searching an object.
The robot takes up 2x1.75 tiles. The 1.75 was a code hack. Originally it took 2x2 tiles, but the collision used isn't pixel perfect and consequently it was quite difficult to jump over the robots. The animations used are:
My robots completely suck it. The original ones actually pivoted on the spot instead of just turning their dome. Something to that effect would be great. If not, pivoting dome will suffice. Originally the robots were going to be grey scale with the ability to specify what colour should be applied to them, but that would look like balls. Go wild.
The robot's laser is currently 3x1.75 tiles. I am considering lengthening it to at least 5 tiles to more accurately represent the original's laser beam width.
Floors consist of two graphics - the one facing the camera, and the one placed above that at about 1/4 the height that player/robots draw over. These are each one tile, and tile according to the width of the floors.
Same as the floors. The width of the lifts is 3 tiles, but the texture used is one image tiled 3 times.
This is the job with the most freedom for you. Make up graphics for common household items (animated if you wish) scaled to look decent near the player (2x3 tiles). Don't feel limited by the objects in the original game, as some of them seem quite out of place 20 years later. Use some from the list and make up other cool items if you wish, or follow the list religiously, it's up to you. The objects in the original game include:
lounge chair/lamp combo
kitchen sink with microwave
study desk with chair
some kind of funky computer thing
another kind of funky computer thing
chest of drawers
old style computer tape backup machine
Each computer will have at least one operable computer. There should be a graphic for placement in the rooms. Pick a tile width and height that looks best, and I'll code accordingly. There'll also need to be a computer screen and a font for use on the screen. The screen won't be limited by tiles. The highest resolution the game supports is 1024x768, so don't go above that else all the extra detail will go to waste (it doesn't need to be particularly detail though - it's a monitor screen).
I shall get back to you on this one.
There'll need to be more stuff for use in the elevator shafts outside of the rooms, and also for the interface used outside of the rooms for solving the puzzles. I'll get back to you with detail information on this, as none of it is coded and I don't have a screenshot of the C64 original to show you for comparison. Another thing that will be needed will be menu graphics, a finish screen will have to be decided upon, and a totals screen (I'll whip up a mockup so you have an idea what should go where).
http://www.geocities.com/gooberman_and_friends/screenshots.html - reference screenshots of the current game
http://home.arcor.de/cybergoth/epyx/impstrategy.html - screenshots of the c64 original
Sleeping isn't working. I'm going completely crazy instead. This coming weekend is the weekend I'm going down to Sydney for my brother's 21st. I will also be seeing my in-limbo-ex whilst down there. Originally, she had commitments on the Sunday to go see relatives a couple of hours north of Sydney. She had no plans for the Saturday, so I was looking forward to spending at least a day with her. I got an email from her this morning stating that she now has stuff to do on the Friday and Saturday, which means the only time I'll get to see her will be for my brother's 21st dinner, which will only be a couple of hours at most. This is, as you'd imagine, a very huge disappointment to me. I was hoping to spend some time speaking to her in the day I wanted to spend with her about the whole possible-relationship thing, but now I might only get a few minutes to spend on it, so I'm going over what might happen in my head. My projections in regards to my love life are never accurate, but this time it's different. My mind always goes through unlikely scenarios, but each time I try to compose something to say in my head I know exactly what her response would be. I know there's something between us, and it's not just a one-way thing from my direction. I know she cares alot about me, and that she trusts me possibly more than she's trusted anyone else. Events in her life (such as the father of her child not wanting anything to do with her for example) will stop her from acting on it though. She doesn't want to lose me, and as a result she won't pursue a relationship because of how previous ones have ended out. I completely trust her, and she means more to me than anything. The irony with her not wanting to persue a relationship is that she gained my complete trust by dumping me originally. It was only a bit over a week in to our original relationship. She was up front and said she still had feelings for her ex and that she thought it would be best for us to just be friends. It was the right thing to do - would you rather your girlfriend tell you that or go behind your back? In the time since, we have grown quite alot closer, and I'm convinced we can grow even closer still in a full time relationship. She's the only thing truly good and that truly means anything to me in my life. I don't want to rush her in to anything, but I don't want to stand by while she throws away something over irrelevant fears. I'm going to be driving myself crazy for the next week until I see her though. It's definately going to be a long week to back up the long three months since I last saw her and the hopeful possibility of a relationship became a real chance.
Who would have thought an gargantuan retarded would cause the "unofficial" blogs forum to be one of the most used forums on Doomworld? What started as a forum where people give personal updates is now turning in to a spammers paradise almost equal in scale to Post Hell, except minus teh funney (well, apart from the gargantuan retarded thread and darknation's always-funny comics).
So just to bore the fuck out of you forum trolls, I've decided to give an overview of the happenings concerning myself outside of the internet.
Work's starting to get a bit full on, except I'm wasting my time making sure the game works properly instead of actually doing something productive. I always try to code as if I was coding a data-customisable system, and as a result I've made alot of the things I work on data driven. This has a two-faced benefit in the form of a reduced workload. More data driven equals less code, which gives me not as much actual coding to do. It makes things easier for coding, but what do I do with my time? I spend alot of my time making sure the data has been entered correctly of course. A level builder comes up with a problem, so I have to work through it, and most of the time its because the data has been set up wrong. Sometimes they discover a minor bug in the code, which is easy enough to fix. Actual hardcore coding is few and far between.
Enter the 48 hour coding competition. Work hasn't been challenging me, so I decided to see if I could actually get a game working from scratch in 48 hours. The last time I tried to speed program was about 5 years ago. Back then, it took me 6 days to get a Pac-Man clone working in QBASIC, and even then I used a pre-existing code base in the form of my Diamond Dash Special Edition code (the original edition used ASCII symbols as graphics and was my high school coding project for the programming course I did). I started at the stroke of midnight on the Friday night, and decided to call it quits at 10pm on the Sunday night. You Doomworlders can't tell me you didn't download the entry, as the page statistics on Geocities tell me that the most popular downloaders came from Doomworld :P Compared to the other entries, it has a very real chance of obtaining first place. Voting hasn't commenced yet. If I had my way, one of the other entries would get first place (Ignorador, a bird management simulation, quite addictive). I entered the competition thinking that I was doing it to see if I could. In retrospect, I'm wondering whether I did it to show what I am capable of if given freedom and a time limit. Either way, I couldn't care less if there is a prize.
There is also another reason why I chose to enter the 48 hour programming competition that I found out about 28 hours before hand. Devoting my mind to something like that would leave little room for other thought. Thoughts involving my ex in particular. If you think about it, the situation with my ex is somewhat pathetic - she was my first and only girlfriend, it only lasted 10 days, and I've never been able to truly get over her. I can push her out of my head long enough to take notice of someone else, which will then comsume my thoughts, but that always ends on a down note. In retrospect, I know when I've gotten over someone because I start thinking of my ex again. I always manage to push aside those thoughts using the usual reasons - "nothing's ever going to happen again" and such. When I went to Sydney over the new year break though, I managed to find proof against those thoughts. Much kissing happened on new years day and the day after. We're not back together though. She's currently not sure she wants to be in a relationship of any kind, but she did promise to think about my wanting a serious relationship.
In my experience, that's just a way for a girl to say "I don't have the heart to tell you no right now," but I trust her so I'm going to give her the benefit of the doubt. I'm currently going crazy trying to work out what she'll say about it. The price I pay for loving someone though is that I don't get to be with them, so I'm pretty sure the answer will be no. Going from that, I'm working out the possible reasons for the no answer. There's the reasons she could give concerning herself - she's disillusioned with relationships; she doesn't trust herself in a relationship - and then there's reasons involving me. She's always said she likes me just the way I am, but just the way I am is now just the way I was. I have changed over the past two and a half years since I moved state. She has noticed that. I have no idea whether she likes or dislikes the changes, and whether that would have an outcome on the whole situation.
I'll be going down to Sydney again in a couple of weeks time for my brother's 21st, and of course I'll be seeing her while I'm down there. Hopefully I should be able to get the answer while I'm down there. I won't have enough energy left for the whole relationship thing after this if it ends out as it always does, so it's just a matter of waiting. One of my changes over the past six months is that I've been gradually separating my emotional and non-emotional mindsets as a way of clearing my mind of all that stuff. This situation will either see the process complete itself or reverse itself. I'm not sure which one will be the better alternative.
There you have it. Blogged to the maxxx!!!