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Woolie Wool

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About Woolie Wool

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  1. Woolie Wool

    We Need to Preserve the Vanilla Quake Experience

    Ranger has always looked kind of monstrous and inhuman himself, compared to the mugshots of earlier Id shooters.
  2. Woolie Wool

    We Need to Preserve the Vanilla Quake Experience

    Quake was meant to be displayed on a CRT. The display would not scale from 640x400 to 640x480; it would run in 640x400 natively and draw 400 lines on your 4:3 monitor, and their wider spacing compared to 480 lines would "stretch" the "pixels". There are no pixels on a CRT, only lines. Also I've been playing Quake in square pixel 4:3 for years and years and somehow never noticed this despite my familiarity with Doom and Wolfenstein. I've previously always played "low-res" Quake in 640x480, even in DOS. There exists a limit-removing DOS Quake called QDOS, but it is even less accessible than original DOS Quake and running modern maps will often demand more memory than the DOS allocator can deal with and crash the game.
  3. Woolie Wool

    Random Image Thread

    Operation Serpent in LZWolf with WIP new palette.
  4. Why are new space sims always, always open-world space trucker games in the Privateer/Elite mold? Can't we have some good old mission-based space fighter games for once?
  5. It's 1983 all over again, the first time as tragedy and the second time of farce. The second implosion of the American video game industry will turn out to be the greatest concentration of human folly since World War I.
  6. Woolie Wool

    Mapping in Doom before Doom Builder

    That might work for rocks and caves, but for wall textures, there is no substitute for lining everything up yourself so the edges of things like courses of bricks, metal panels, or decorative trim match the geometry...which is a hell of a lot easier in Doom Builder's 3D mode than it would be in an older editor.
  7. Woolie Wool

    Microsoft's GS Wavetable Synth is the best soundfont for Doom?

    No, the GS Wavetable Synth is a software synth, a program on your computer that loads a set of samples. The SC-55 is a hardware synth, a physical box that sits on your desk. It has samples in its onboard ROM but does a lot of processing that no soundfont can truly replicate. If you want true SC-55 music, you have to buy one (they're not cheap, they've been out of production for a long time, and most of the best examples on eBay ship from Japan) and run cables between it and your computer. I also mentioned the SC-88, which is a few years more recent has slightly higher sound quality, but is similar enough to the SC-55 that it will play almost all midis written for the SC-55 without sounding weird. If you choose to get an SC-55, it does have a few limitations that a soft synth does not have, most notably in the number of parts a midi can have (16) and the number of notes that can play at once (24). Some very complex midis in recent mods may have more, and thus notes will be dropped in these midis. The SC-88 has higher limits. I do not recommend the SC-88 Pro or any of the later Sound Canvas models; they are much more expensive, and reproduce SC-55/Microsoft GS Synth midis much less faithfully.
  8. Woolie Wool

    Ion Fury, a new Build Engine game out now.

    Do you have receipts for that "8 billion" figure? Especially since it's just a small part of the Procter & Gamble corporate empire, which made almost $10 billion in profits last year off of around $69 billion in revenues.
  9. Woolie Wool

    Microsoft's GS Wavetable Synth is the best soundfont for Doom?

    I currently have both an SC-55 MkII and an SC-88, and either one of them is about the best you can do for Doom midi, better than any soundfont. They're expensive, though, and I think most people won't be able to justify dropping a hundred dollars to make Doom sound better. But do they ever sound glorious.
  10. Woolie Wool

    Ion Fury, a new Build Engine game out now.

    Nope, they walked back their walking back, so now everyone is pissed off over a texture most people would otherwise never notice! Good times! I've been playing through this in software mode, and this is the Metal Slug of 2.5D FPS games--it looks that good. The palette and art style mesh together perfectly in such a way as to blow Id Software and 3D Realms sprite work out of the water. There are little details and subtleties seemingly everywhere you look, huge complex outdoor areas that humiliate just about anything made for ZDoom, and the most beautiful weapon sprites I have ever seen, the Ion Bow especially being a crowning achievement in spritework. Fullbrights (especially reds) are used extensively to reinforce the '90s-future neon hellscape of Neo D.C. and they look absolutely fabulous. That said, I hope you like that '90s-future neon hellscape, because there are no episodes in this game and you will be staring at concrete and neon for about 15 hours. However many thousands of variations upon this theme live in the .art files. it gets very tired by the end of the game. I think a more traditional three-episode structure would have made the game's pacing a lot better. Instead we get seven "chapters", pseudo-hub worlds which function as adventure maps on a truly gargantuan scale. And they're all epic adventures, and linear ones too, with exploration leading to cute environmental setpieces, supply caches, terrible "humor" (more on that later, I assure you), or monsters, but almost never to an alternate route through the level. Even air ducts, which riddle nearly area in the game, are usually very short and bypass one or two rooms at most. And they are just too damn large--pretty much every player who played my Wolf3D mod Operation Serpent complained about how humongous the levels were and how they dragged--but the largest of those levels only took one hour to beat. You'll be spending two or three hours in each chapter, seemingly traveling miles but never seeming to get closer to your goal, insofar as you have a goal besides "kill this vaguely defined villain". These chapters would function much better as 20-40 minute maps, as the first episode of a three-episode, 21-level game (which in the end, would still be shorter than the game we actually got)! There are some standout levels, though, especially Heskel's House of Horrors, an almost totally self-contained segment of the fifth chapter, a very tightly-executed romp through a Gothic horror mansion and its outer courtyard with complex multi-level gunfights and a welcome infusion of wood, carpet, stone, and other nice, pleasant things in a game that is otherwise saturated with metal and concrete. Making this worse is that there's no sense of progressing towards something until the last two chapters of the game, set in Heskel's laboratory. Until that point over 10 hours in, the levels get harder and the monsters get bigger, but there is no clear progression from one concrete jungle to the next, and it feels more like being lost in a seemingly infinite monster-infested wasteland than being on a great trek. Heskel is a worthless antagonist who speaks often but communicates never, a stupid bald head spouting empty boasts and threats like an insecure, cowardly knockoff of Blake Stone's Dr. Goldfire, whose only line was "Ha ha ha ha ha, you'll never succeed!" but made Blake Stone players live in fear of him for his ability to drop in seemingly anywhere, anytime, and fuck you up in a heartbeat. And no, a baroque, bloated boss battle at the end cannot make up for 15 hours of neither putting up nor shutting up. Likewise, Shelley "Please Forget About the Whole Bombshell Thing" Harrison is an empty protagonist to match the empty villain, and really her problem is only the most obvious symptom of a contradiction that goes right to the heart of the entire experience and people picking up on it may have caused this stupid "controversy" in the first place. Ion Fury wants to follow in the footsteps of Duke Nukem 3D, but it doesn't want to be, you know, irresponsible about it. But Duke Nukem 3D was a game about being exactly such an irresponsible, sociopathic asshole, indeed its primary selling point for the overwhelming majority of the audience who would play the game once or twice without ever bothering with mods or developing an appreciation for fine level design. Shelley, of course, was once "Bombshell" without any other name, with a cartoonish porn star body and the bare minimum of clothing, one of the Duke Girls orbiting Duke's mighty manhood. The original version fortunately never made it to the final Duke Nukem Forever, but she's now apparently 3D Realms' full-time ersatz Duke, and she does not work, at all. Having any link at all to the "Bombshell" idea from the DNF design docs was the first terrible mistake, because it does nothing at all for her and comes with some rather unsavory baggage that works directly against her new role as a mass-murdering hardass. And of course, she has to look like a "bombshell", so whereas Duke is massive and rugged, Shelley is scrawny and delicate with magical hair, a look as absurd as the hopeless position she is put in trying to satisfy both reactionary pigs and woke Twitter, both object and subject, intimidating and eye candy, playing a male role without taking on any masculine coding (can't have any scary gender ambiguity!), being offensive without offending anybody. Now I don't think the gap can't be bridged, but it would have required Ion Fury to critique Duke 3D and its successors while building on them--not just jokey references to other games, but satire with actual teeth. This, however is a fan product made by fans for fans with a fannish mindset and fannish priorities, and it's not going to upset the Duke3D community's apple carts. It would have also required perspectives and life experiences at least tangentially related to actual women at some point in the creative process to make Shelley a fully realized character, to make her jokes have actual points rather than a collection of unfunny non sequiturs. Many of the things she says are references so apropos of nothing they sound like verbal tics or stereotypies more than anything somebody would intentionally say. She's an edgy character with an edge that doesn't cut butter. The same with the environmental humor, which is relentless and relentlessly dreary. Ha ha, foreskins. Ha ha, '90s reference. Ha ha, pornos. Like Beavis and Butthead, but instead of you being in on a humiliating joke at the expense of Butthead, you get to be in Butthead's mind and experience his pride in his idiotic caprices. A slew of '90s pop culture is referenced, but never commented on or subject to real satire (that would be irreverent, and this is above all a game that is reverent of '90s pop culture). And it's ladled on way too thick, with a joke seemingly around every corner and jokey textures reused many, many times over the course of the campaign, and as I progressed I began to disconnect from the environment and game world and just focus on the fighting. The game does offer some good fights. I am playing on "Wanton Carnage", which seems about on par with Dusk or Blood on their respective medium difficulties, and it plays a lot like a truly 3D Wolfenstein 3D--movement is very fast but also very tight, with just a tiny bit of acceleration to facilitate the shoot-and-dodge rhythm dance that is key to the gameplay loops of both Ion Maiden and Wolfenstein 3D. Dancing and jumping around will dodge some of the enemy attacks, but not all of them--they're not hitscan, but enemy bullets and crossbow shots move extremely quickly even if they are visible projectiles, so many fights become a mad rush from cover to cover to cover, being chased around by enemies from multiple directions and using their telegraph animations as a cue to duck behind the next pillar--but not for long, because it will just expose you to enemies from another angle. In one of the few modern influences, Ion Maiden has no real weapon hierarchy, with instead a range of situational niches and tools to fill them, and providing enough ammo to let you get some mileage out of all of them without really relying on any of them. The headshots are not perfect--how can they be with 2D sprites?--but they work well enough and being able to land headshots consistently with the shotgun, machine guns, and ion bow is an essential skill you have to learn to survive on higher difficulties. Even enemies that appear to be massive bullet-sponges, like the late-game melee enemies that look and behave like overgrown cyborged versions of Quake's Fiends, go down much more quickly if you can land multiple hits to the brainpan. Successful headshot kills result in spectacularly loud and gooey monster deaths to reward your efforts, and blowing several heads off in a row gives me some grim satisfaction. The monsters, at least after the first couple of chapters that are overwhelmingly dominated by three or four different grades of Man With Gun, are highly varied in shape, size, behavior, and threat level and have different weaknesses that call for different tactics and give all the weapons of your arsenal moments to shine. There are, however, way too fucking many of the little spider creatures. Tiny enemies in sprite-based FPS games are always a nightmare, especially in software rendering with y-shearing, but here instead of being an occasional nightmare used in fights built around their unique traits (see Blood's hands for such an enemy used well), they're in virtually every fight, where a larger, bulkier melee combatant in the vein of the Sabreclaw, Axe Zombie, Pinky Demon, or Dusk's Leatherface would usually be more appropriate. Also, the lack of true hitscans for the player annoys me. By all means, let me dodge their bullets but a player shotgun or machine gun works best with hitscans for that instant punch that you just don't get even with the heaviest projectile weapons. I have enjoyed Ion Fury (except for the second boss map which was complete bullshit to play and eventually slowed my computer to a crawl, even at low resolution--and I have a Ryzen 5!) and I certainly wouldn't consider being one of those jerks who demand a refund for a game they've already played. I hope, if nothing else, this does not relegate Voidpoint and Ion Maiden to being another one-and-done commercial failure like so many other retro game efforts (alas poor Overload...). I think this team has enormous potential and they could outdo themselves next time, with more experience, a clearer vision, and perhaps backing away a bit from the Duke Nukem "character FPS" concept in favor of a more somber, impersonal, Id-like approach.
  11. Woolie Wool

    Amid Evil: Full Release

    At first I wasn't entirely sold on this game, with the incoherent storyline, and the rather generic enemy and level design in the first episode. However, now I'm in the third episode, and this game is really fucking good when it gets rolling. Each episode brings not just enemies with new appearances, but different threat profiles and weaknesses, encouraging different play styles. There seems to be a weapon for every situation (except the Whisper's Edge, which is distinctly meh), and all of them are memorable. The level design in E3 is clearly done by people who are veterans of retro FPS level design and know what makes a good level (unlike, for example, the ROTT remake). I swear I've played a Quake level that's almost exactly like E3M3 before, though... And might be the best gaming moment I've had all year.
  12. Customer service is "king" in a young, competitive market. When markets mature into oligopolies, nobody has to give a fuck anymore and they can and will fuck over the customer over and over and over because they can get away with it. And you can't even "vote with your dollars" because Bethesda's advertising reach is inescapable and their will to keep fucking you over will win over your will to completely give up on all the IP they have ever acquired or will acquire forever. And they can just keep buying studios and properties until they have the one you just can't resist. They don't have to care. They don't care. They will never care, and will continue to get away with not caring until the economy collapses and nobody can afford to buy or make video games at all. AAA games are on a cost par with tentpole movies with all-star casts, not "B-movies", whose primary distinguishing factor is low budgets, about one-tenth that of an AAA video game.
  13. Woolie Wool

    WRATH: Aeon of Ruin (a new game from 3D Realms)

    My god this game looks sick. Will there be an option for 256 color rendering?
  14. Woolie Wool

    unpopular retro opinions

    That's the problem with "personalities"--their actual opinions and ideas end up inevitably being overshadowed by their gimmick. Yahtzee was much better when Zero Punctuation was young and he wasn't 110% in-character 100% of the time. I would call them small games made on a small budget in an era when a lot less work went into the making of a game? Commander Keen was not particularly thin of content or poorly designed by the standards of its time, nor was the fact that it was essentially two games plus two standalone expansions with largely the same visuals and gameplay notable when that, too, was standard industry practice in a PC market where most PCs were old and would be expected to run until they died, because they were so expensive. If half of your customers still have an 8088 machine, why bother with a VGA renderer and all-new assets?