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Dr. Zin

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About Dr. Zin

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  1. If anything (and that's a big if) the closer comparison is between Halo and Quake 2.
  2. Awesome! Progress has already started.
  3. I'd like to contribute if you're willing to let me take a slot, I loved the original CC series. EDIT: @Dusty_Rhodes Since @Thelokk's map was removed does that mean MAP12 is open? Just saw that MAP12 is taken, is MAP13 still open? If not, could I be put on a reserve list in case any other slots open up?
  4. Dr. Zin

    unpopular retro opinions

    Yes, ignoring the fact that HL1 was a terrible influence on later games (totally linear gameplay stringing cutscenes together), even taken on its own merits the game started to run out of steam after the encounter with the tentacles in the blast pit. There's a lot of recycled ideas, blatant padding and sequences that just go on too long ("On a Rail"), plus the lack of enemy variety really becomes apparent after the 30th time you're ambushed by HECU with MP5s. The bigger problem for a game so heavily reliant on story is that you quickly run out of goals that aren't transparent switch hunts. "Go to the surface to get help" is compelling, "Flip switch X to open this arbitrarily locked door" isn't. Even reaching the Lambda complex ends up being a letdown since nothing is really explained and you get immediately thrust into Xen in all it's buggy glory, where the plot evaporates completely. It didn't help that the Xen levels looked and played like rejects from a bad Quake 2 expansion pack. Overall, I think Half Life's reputation is totally the result of the time it came out. If the game had been released six months later it wouldn't have had nearly the same impact, since there were (IMO) several games released in 1999 that far outshone it in immersive storytelling - for example, System Shock 2.
  5. Dr. Zin

    Obscure, Hardly Known Bad Games/Guilty Pleasures.

    I'll offer up 1997's "The Streets of Sim City" as a premier example of jank from what had been a first rate developer. For some unfathomable reason Maxis decided to expand their bread and butter franchise of simulation games to include a Twisted Metal knockoff based on the SimCopter engine. Oh, and Maxis had been hemorrhaging money since their IPO in 1995 so development was maybe somewhat rushed? One of the selling points of the game was that you could load your own SimCity 2000 levels and drive around in them, and the result was surprisingly faithful to the original - including 45° slopes that cause your car to go flying into the air at every elevation change. The world is surprisingly empty, just some boxes of loot scattered around for you to collect, and the occasional misshapen humanoid sprite that will trade cash for whatever you've picked up. Supposedly there are enemy cars hunting you down, but their physics are tied to processor speed and they stay in one spot endlessly bouncing into the air on any computer made in the last 20 years. Speaking of physics, interacting with any of the level geometry has non-Newtonian results. Overall, the game comes across as something still in alpha development that was kicked out onto shelves to show Maxis still had products in the pipeline for potential buyers. It must have worked, since they ended up getting acquired by EA. Th music is what makes Streets jank rather than just another forgettable half-baked title shoved out by a drowning company. From funk themes evoking 70s exploitation flicks to the ultra-90s squealing guitar rock anthems, there was way more effort put into the soundtrack than the game deserved. The piece-de-resistance is "Just a splatter on the windshield of life", a masterpiece that transcends the game and is the perfect song to send a friend moping over a breakup/divorce. From a historical perspective, the really intriguing part is what could have been if the game had been given more time and additional resources. There are kernels of potential that would be fully developed by other games released 2-4 years later like Driver, Crazy Taxi, and GTA 3. Streets came out the same month as the original Grand Theft Auto, and had already independently developed some of the same gameplay loops as that 2d game in a 3d space. If Maxis hadn't been treading water and given the game another year of development would it have been remembered as the progenitor of the 3d action driving subgenre?
  6. Dr. Zin

    What do you think about Wikipedia?

    The fact that science entries on Wikipedia are being considered "reliable" by many here is a bit troubling. Looking at almost any article for a subject for which I have technical knowledge reveals tons of errors, omissions, misrepresentations and generally incomplete information. These problems are usually not from malice, just clearly the result of being written by people who aren't familiar with the topic. Let's be real, people with professional expertise on topics don't have the time to edit Wikipedia, so a lot of the content is produced by high school students and undergraduates recycling information from whatever pops up in the first page of results on Google. The adults involved tend to have editing Wikipedia as a hobby, not any deep understanding of the subjects they are writing on either. Of course the most dangerous are those people with an agenda who try to insert it into subject pages, but I think outside hot button topics that's pretty rare. As others have said above, Wikipedia is a good way to get a surface level overview of a subject, but check it against other sources. TL;DR Much like the news, Wikipedia seems reliable until you run into a subject on which you have personal knowledge, at which point you go, "How the hell did they get that wrong?" On a somewhat related note, does anyone else get driven a bit crazy when they run across a page where about 10% of the content is about the actual subject, and 90% goes off on some tangent that isn't really relevant to what most people will be visiting the page for?
  7. Dr. Zin

    How is life in the USA?

    This is misleading. The actual National Parks have a shitload of rules, most charge an entrance fee and require signing up for specific camp sites. You're probably referring to the National Forest system, which is run by a completely different agency (USDA vs Dept. of Interior), and generally has fewer rules and regulations (though this varies between the different forests). There is also Bureau of Land Management land which as even fewer rules and regulations, but most of that is in desert areas of the west. In any case, all of these agencies implemented camping time limits (usually allowing only two weeks within 60 days in a particular district) to combat people squatting on the land. This is confirmation bias, extroverted people are going to draw most attention in social situations. There are just as many introverted people in the US as anywhere else, but they aren't going to walk up and introduce themselves to you (for obvious reasons). One other common stereotype about Americans is that we talk loudly, which may also play into this idea that everyone is extroverted. That may be partially true, since at least when I was a child (in the 90s) there was a specific emphasis on clear enunciation at an early age in elementary school. For example, there were times you were required to speak in front of the class, and were instructed to talk loud enough for the entire room to hear. As students we were definitely encouraged to speak "clearly" not "mumble," which contrasts with some cultures which in my understanding encourage speaking softly to avoid appearing "rude." The only Americans who drink Budweiser, Miller, or similar swill in the last 10 years are either over the age of 50 or college students too stupid to know better. These days almost every town in the US has a local micro-brewery, and the sales of Budweiser et al. have been in free fall for the last ten years.
  8. Dr. Zin

    Wads similar to Deus Vult 1 and 2?

    Community Chest 3 MAP12. You might also want to check out CC3 MAP29 (For We Are Many) and possibly CC1 Map 29 (Citadel at the Edge of Eternity), though the latter is very divisive due to its obtuse progression. CC2 MAP32 (Sodding Death) might also be up your alley, though it isn't as big as Jade Earth or Deus Vult.
  9. Dr. Zin

    Most influential ZDoom maps?

    While definitely more than a bit dated, Assault on Tei Tenga (1999) is arguably one of the most important early map sets released for ZDoom in the sense that it extensively used the program's scripting features and was an inspiration for later projects.
  10. Here's a last minute update to my map. It's mostly some small visual fixes (misaligned textures, fixing cutoff textures, adding breaks between different textures on the same surface) and a couple of subtle modifications to map geometry to make it less likely to get hung up on certain points, plus I added some minor health and ammo pickups in a couple spots. EDIT: Goddamnit, checked the map again in DSDA Doom and found a bunch of Zdoomisms. Fixed those and have uploaded the fixed version, filename is ZinDevDevTrueFinal.wad. ZinDevDevTrueFinal.zip
  11. Another thanks to @MFG38, the limitation was very interesting and from cursory perusal of my fellow contributor's maps there was a lot of creativity and quality work. I can't wait to see what order MFG puts the maps in the compiled set.
  12. Here's my updated submission. Changes include: -Fixing a bunch of texture misalignments -Replaced revenant at UV entrance into the fortress with a chaingunner -Adding a third SSG visible from the HMP starting area -Making a rocket launcher visible from the nukage hall to direct players towards the RL area -Added another route to access the RL area from the BFG room -Moved the switch for the west SSG to the ground level near its tower -Changed the original west SSG switch to open another secret -Added additional health and ammo across the map -Fixed all windows that should have been blocking but weren't (that I could find) -Reduced the number of revenants and added demons to the revenant pen for the final battle -Added an additional green armor near the HMP start ...among others. Since Saturday is the due date consider this my submission, though if additional bugs are found or more gameplay changes are needed I'm willing to modify it. ZinDevDevSubmit.zip
  13. No worries, this is the exact kind of critique I was looking for. I had some concerns about weapon placement when putting together the map, but it was hard to determine if the effect I was going for was achieved* since I know where all of the items/weapons are. I assume getting the chaingun on HNTR isn't too much of an issue since all of the nearby areas have Chaingunners (and the player starts with an SSG) and HMP starts with a CG, so I'll make one more accessible on UV (probably replacing the Revenant at that entrance to the building with a Chaingunner). One thing I did want to capture on UV was the player not having ranged weapons at the start and having to run from the initial group of enemies, but I agree that it is probably best for the player to get access to a gun before they get to the first fork in the path. I'm also going to tweak the placement of east SSG to a more central and visible location and add a third one somewhere else, so the player has more options on HMP and UV. Also, I think I have an idea to make it more obvious where the rocket launcher is from the nukage area, and will see if I can add another way to get up into the rocket launcher area from below. Of course there a are couple other tweaks I thought of after submitting the beta version, and I'll try to get a revised version posted by the end of this weekend. *The first concern for the player should be finding weapons to take on the red key and exit fights, but the weapons should neither be frustratingly difficult to locate nor so trivial to acquire that whatever choices in exploration the player takes are meaningless.
  14. Here's a beta version on the map, any advice on game play balancing would be most appreciated (I don't really play the game much anymore), in addition to any notes on misaligned/bad textures and other bugs. Map name: Upon the plane of Eden Author: Dr. Zin Play time: 30 minutes? Music: "Short Circuit" by Sam 'Metabolist' Woodman (originally used in Hell Revealed 2) Difficulty settings: Monster and item placements remain the same between difficulties. Depending on the difficulty chosen the player gets a different starting weapon and warps into a different quadrant of the map: HNTR starts with SSG in the west; HMP with chaingun in the south, UV with berserk in the east. Description: This map is a brick fortress floating in space. Progression is nonlinear, and only the red key is needed to exit. A major part of the game play is locating and acquiring weapons, with UV not being given a ranged weapon to start. The action is intended to be run and gun, using high powered weapons to take down medium monsters. Notes: This map should use the sky "OSKY33" as set in the UMAPINFO lump included in the wad. ZinDevDevBeta.zip