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About Phobus

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  1. Phobus

    Share a random fact about yourself

    As of yesterday, I'm now certified as an AWS Solutions Architect at Associate level.
  2. Phobus

    What Video Game Are You Currently Playing?

    Turbo Pug DX was quite a pleasant surprise, in the end! As it came out in 2016 and is relatively simplistic, it's a got a strong core mechanic and a few different number-grinding rewards (including, thankfully, deaths). I spent about 3 and a half hours on it in total, mostly marvelling at the glorious 4k graphical effects making an old-school pixel-art game look amazing, but also enjoying the constant movement, timed jumping game play. My record is just under 600m made in one run, but I've unlocked all 12 characters and am pretty content that I've gotten about as much out of the game as I can, short of pushing my personal record or trying to win either of the mini games. So another spin of the RNG and I've landed on Secret of Mana on the SNES Classic Mini. It seems Google's RNG seeds around 7-ish pretty reliably at the moment, as all of the games I've played recently have been from about the 70th row to the 85th, which out of 114 (now 109) rows is about a 7th. 20+ hours of 16-bit JRPG await. I suspect I'll be reaching for a guide at some point.
  3. Phobus

    Musings on Doom Editing

    As 2019 gets underway, I've had some thoughts around Doom and what it's place in my life will be. Seeing the thread on "Mapping Sadness" and my own post in the 2019 Doom goals thread, plus evaluating my response to the 25th Anniversary of Doom and the various articles Doomworld produced has given me plenty to mull over. After a bit of a rant about why I don't like what being in a community has done to my mindset in mapping and modding, it's become clear to me that frustrations with never being recognised for my efforts are probably more down to me than you. I obviously have a bit of an inflated sense of my own capabilities. A few thought-provoking articles on Cracked (of all places) happened to come up or be linked from other recent articles, coinciding with the last few days of introspection and I think I've hit on a few conclusions. I do indeed like making stuff for Doom I don't like trying to compete with the capabilities, free time and efforts of the community I don't have the free time to dedicate solely to Doom that I used to Mostly because I would rather do other things Despite all of this, I have a lot of ambitious ideas (mostly noted down in a lengthy Google Documents file) I have no intention of "growing as a mapper" - my skills and experience should be sufficient to realise any dream, given enough time and realism So how do I get around the contradictions in the above? I think I may have cracked it, to be honest. Using a combination of working experience from my various jobs and some of the stuff I've read and ruminated on this last week or two, I think I've hit on a few ideas to dig myself out of this slump. This may be useful to you, hence the sharing! Idea #1: SMART goals - an irritating acronym used in business, but also not a bad idea. Here's how I see it working in Doom: Specific - go in with a plan. "Mappers block" is basically sitting in the editor not knowing what to do. Get around this by only achieving what you've got planned, then leaving it for the time being Measurable - know what quantifies success. The "1 room per day" project is a pretty good example of this, as are time-limited speed maps, limit maps (10 sector, etc.) and others along that theme. If you can't definitively say "this is the point I am finished at" then you'll probably keep plugging away indefinitely at something before stalling Achievable - make sure that you can actually achieve the above. If you want to make an entire megaWAD, that is a daunting objective. You can't just sit down and do it, so it's not a SMART goal. But to make 32 maps, one map at a time? Nearer the mark. How about for that specific mapping session? Only got two hours? It's either got to be a speed map, or you need to say to yourself "I'll just do this area/room" and then know when you've achieved that Relevant/Realistic - both of these can be used, although realistic overlaps with the above. The first one is more about making sure the goal is actually part of the project, so for any given Doom project that's unlikely to be a problem, but it could be that you start on something that's got nothing to do with actually finishing a map and, in that case, should be stopped or left until the end. A realistic goal simply needs to accept any constraints, limits and hurdles that may need to be worked within. If you can't achieve it in the time you've got, it's not a good goal or a worthwhile ambition Time-bound - make sure it has a clear end point. If your project is going to be finished "when it's done", it is highly unlikely to be done. Likewise, giving yourself an entire month to make one map will probably only serve to either have you rush the map early (to get it out of the way) or leave it until the last few days (because prior to that, you had "loads of time"). You need a decent timeline to get things done in, but you also need time to cover mistakes So for the above to work, I'd suggest you basically plan every mapping session. The number of times I've sat down to "make a map" or "work on this project" and achieved so little in multiple hours of editing time is incredible. That is very much how mappers block and dead projects happen, I think. If I'd have said to myself something along the lines of "right, I need a room with a puzzle in to get the red key and I have an hour on my hands to get it made", that's a SMART goal and better motivation straight away. I know what I want to achieve, I know how I'll say it's done and I've got a (probably) realistic time frame in which to do it. Idea #2: Breaking up monumental tasks - as alluded to above, a large goal is unwieldy and demotivating. How often do you find yourself going "I'll never finish this!" when faced with a deadline and a single big task? Well... It's not a big task; it's a collection of little ones - identify the pieces and little things that will make up the completion of the big task. Use the SMART methodology above to see if your little ones are small enough. Breaking up a planned megaWAD into "Make MAP01; Make MAP02..." is almost definitely not enough. Each of those maps then needs breaking up into realistic goals that can be achieved in one mapping session It's a hobby; not a job - as I've mentioned, a deadline is a double-edged motivation sword. Too tight and you'll either stress and overwork, or you'll just give-up. Project cancelled. Too loose and you'll probably find there's a big gap in the middle where nothing gets done. However, you're the one setting expectations for both yourself and the prospective player (if at all), so why even have a deadline? Why not instead just have an expectation of the number of sessions to achieve all of your well-planned and highly achievable goals? If you've got 25 goals (25 room ideas, for example), then that's probably 25 sessions, so you should be done after that, right? So you can measure progress even if you can't give a deadline, because you've got real-life to contend with and that should always come first Don't work too hard; do take breaks - do you spend all day in front of the computer? Do you spend all of that time slogging away in a map editor or whatever? That's not good for you. Ignoring the health and social aspects, you simply can't work all day. If you're smashing through 7+ goals in one day and they're each taking you an hour or so, that's an impressive work rate that you probably won't sustain long. It's better to have defined breaks, preferably away from the computer. The alternative, of course, is that you are sat at the computer all day and your breaks are on the internet. You know where that'll get you? Distracted from what you're doing. You'll spend 6 hours with the editor open and probably 4 of those on some Twitch stream when you're not flicking through this forum, your various webchat clients and your news outlet/porn site of choice. Good luck finishing anything like that! The above (particularly that rant at the end) leads in nicely to the next one... Idea #3: Get dedicated, but only in short bursts - I was tempted to get into the whole Agile methodology here, but I feel like enough of a knob with the SMART goals bit, so I'll talk about a very loose interpretation of it instead: Avoid distractions - we're apparently not designed for multi-tasking. What we're doing is flicking between things, instead, quite quickly. This also means that any one thing we're doing, we're doing badly, or we're basically ignoring most of what we're up to so that our main focus (which may not be what you think it is) gets all the effort and attention. Background music is a pretty good example of this. You're either not really processing it (just getting a bit of a mood or whatever going) or you're listening to it intently to the detriment of whatever you're up to (it's why they say loud music is a distraction when driving). So why not close the internet browser, have the music on low and just smash out that SMART goal in a quick half an hour. Maybe even ignore or silence your phone in that time, if you're feeling particularly dedicated When you're finished, do something else - hit that goal, get the rush of achievement (maybe literally tick some sort of list off), perhaps show off your work online, to your family or pet, then move on with your day. You've got games to play, TV to watch, a tan to work on or some sort of relationship to nurture, so mapping isn't your whole life When a project is done, draw a line under it - this kind of links in to the above, but if you've hit all of your goals, then that project is done. It's time to release it, delete it, archive it or whatever you'll do when you're finished. Do you start the next project? Do you take some time off to bask in the glory of your success? Up to you, but this is done. That's the whole point of this - it's to get people (me) to finish stuff without being consumed by the big picture Finally... Idea #4: Learn from experience - go for a full-on post-evaluation, if you like, or just think about it for a minute. Either way, try to learn: What worked - did your one-room-a-day plan produce a fantastic map that you're really happy with? Then you know the sort of scale and time frame that works for you What didn't work - so one hour wasn't enough time to get 2-unit greebles into your entire map? Or did you find that setting loose goals meant your project stalled for months? Did trying to work on something for a continuous month fall apart when your aunt visited for a week? These setbacks are just lessons that should inform your next plan What you enjoy - so you managed to grind out a perfectly adequate map that people like playing... But the whole process was just torture for you? Change up what you're doing, or you won't want to keep doing it. Maybe you only like small maps, or you actually only enjoy thing placement... There's a way around your problem, even if it means going to somebody else What you don't enjoy - I, personally, almost never actually finish a Cyberdreams-style concept map. I clearly don't like making them and this probably stems from the fact that I don't often enjoy the one-hit kill risk of fighting Cyberdemons. So it's probably in my interest not to keep planning them out, even if the idea I've had is a good one As a result of the above, which is probably a daunting wall of text (try breaking it up into bite-size chunks...), I think I'm tempted to try out a week of mapping approximately one hour per day. Experience has told me that my maps average around 6.5 hours to make (number is plucked from the air, but feels about right), so if I plan out 7 sessions of mapping with SMART (ugh) goals and just get into it over the course of a week, I can practice what I preach. It'll mean more planning than I usually do, but that might be good. Anyway, I hope this is of some use to those few of you that make it through.
  4. Phobus

    What Video Game Are You Currently Playing?

    I beat Call of Duty 2 last night. It actually took two sittings in the end, as multiple areas took several tries. Particularly the last part of the British campaign final mission (which you play after the brutal slog that is the first US mission) and the final US mission. It seems that the game isn't too tough (although still not easy) when you have to push forward, but on the frequent "defend the area" sections, difficulty is almost entirely beholden to how many places you can be attacked from. The part where you're atop a bombed tower with a sniper rifle picking off mortar teams has no real threat to you at all because you're never attacked directly, but the final defence of Hill 400 has waves of enemies coming from at least three directions. It was, however, a perfect "final exam" for the game, as you run through picking off mortar teams, getting to objectives in time (avoid artillery), fighting from limited cover, taking out tanks and surviving for a set time. Special mention to the strangely bad tank controls halfway through the campaign and the unbelievably frustrating "clown car" houses full of respawning Nazis in the aforementioned British campaign final mission... A final positive mention to the general cinematic, large scale feel of the game and how well it's held up over the years. Quite remarkable. I've spun the RNG already (RCT2, CoD3 and Thief can wait). It landed on StarTropics on the NES Classic Mini. A charming game so far, although one I'm glad I can save scum my way through, as the learning curve in the first combat area was pretty steep and the combat areas since have been pretty difficult and almost enforced trial and error. I probably should've read the controls or something sooner. I'm already mid-way through Chapter 3 after a couple of hours of playing (or 50-something minutes of recorded progress), which I think puts me almost at the halfway point. I suspect the game only gets harder, though, so I won't go predicting my victory just yet. EDIT: Victory could have been predicted, it turns out. After about 5 hours of play time, I beat the remaining 2 and a half hours of the game. In a lot of ways, despite being quite Zelda-y, StarTropics most puts me in mind of Ecco the Dolphin, a game that came out later, but I played before. You start off in a nice cheerful environment, enjoying the unusual setting, before difficulty happens. Then, as the difficulty ratchets up, the setting gets more and more unusual. The final, ball-busting levels are even both on alien spacecraft with a monstrous final boss, plus there's a significant whale and talking dolphins feature heavily in both plots. This was probably the easier of the two games, but not by much. It also has the unexpected minor issue of expecting the player to have a physical letter to dip in some water to reveal a hidden code (luckily you can read about that very easily) and the even less-expected issue of assuming the player is familiar with solf├Ęge, although luckily not by that name, to pass one bit. Still, a good RPG adventure, I think. Next stop, courtesy of my pal RNGsus, is Sonic (the Hedgehog) Spinball from the Sega Megadrive Ultimate Collection on the XBox 360... Which I suspect is basically just an hour or two of Casino Night Zone on steroids, from what little background reading I've done. @Vermil - I found FEAR didn't benefit from high resolutions much, as the HUD didn't scale, but the game itself is still pretty good once you've gotten used to the enemy AI and relatively high weapon damage. EDIT2: Sonic Spinball has a fair potential to be frustrating, but it is fun and you can control Sonic in air a little to avoid the worst of it. Each level is made up of roughly 5 pinball tables (although the last two levels seem bigger and add more connective tissue between the bits that are recognisably pinball tables) that need exploring in order to collect Chaos Emeralds. Once you've got all three of them (or five, in the last two levels) you open up a boss room and have to get in there and then pinball your way to a defeated boss. There's often a risk of falling back into the level, which can be very tiresome and encouraged a bit of save scumming courtesy of the emulating package. Still, definitely a good game. RNGsus has now decreed that I move on to Turbo Pug DX, which I absolutely got for free at some point. I'm not thrilled, but it seems to be short, which will do.
  5. The rocket launcher requires you to run towards it within the first 30 seconds of the map starting, or miss it forever, whilst the BFG9000 is only accessible for a 6 second window after 5 minutes. The idea was that the rest of the map would reward a player who'd waited for the BFG or rushed the rocket launcher (or both) with them trivialising fights in the other sections. However, I never made those other sections, so you've just got these secrets for replay value if you're after 100% completion. As for the release itself... The first two maps being slaughter fare put me off bothering with the rest. I know it's not in the spirit of these projects, but some kind of organisation by difficulty (or at least monster count), or even segregation into different styles or something would be nice.
  6. Phobus

    What Video Game Are You Currently Playing?

    Having thoroughly finished Forza Horizon 4 and the Fortune Island DLC for it, I've also wrapped up Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War: Soulstorm. Beating the campaign as the Chaos faction on a low difficulty was sufficient for me, as there's so little fanfare to winning it and the game is unstable and drags out the whole process anyway, plus I played the shit out of Dark Crusade. As well as that, I've made it to the centre of the galaxy in Spore, played all of the included Galactic Adventures and discovered (and destroyed) Earth, ticking off my in-game bucket list through a painful slog through Grox territory. Doubly painful, as the game reduces your maximum travel distance as you push towards the centre, making you slower and more vulnerable to the defensive ships each enemy star system sends out, meaning you have to go in heavily stocked up like it's a JRPG final dungeon. You then escape trivially as you've got the full movement range back after your chat with Steve. To further this update, my girlfriend and I have played through Child of Light on her PS4 together, which was a pretty fun experience. The JRPG-style battles and 2D platforming/flying world navigation mix together very well, whilst the asymmetric multiplayer (with the second player only having limited input in the game, which player one could do alone) is ideal for allowing an experienced player to support a less experienced one without taking charge or just doing it for them. The art style is very nice, too, although the gimmick of all in-game text being delivered in rhyming couplets like a children's story is incredibly tiresome. As for my ongoing war with my games collection... I failed in my goal last year of beating more games than I gained. "Gained" is the operative word, though, as I was gifted 30, as part of the NES Classic Mini I got for my birthday and one brother bought Age of Empires II: HD Edition and all of the expansions for the other brother for his, when we all share a Steam account. I've built up a bit of a library of older XBox 360 games from a mixture of cheap second-hand purchases (like 50p for Perfect Dark Zero) and gifts, so I'm hoping to make the most out of my 360 whilst it still works. The damn thing is ancient and the disk drive sticks a little, but otherwise it still seems in good health, which is nice. To that end, I've started Call of Duty 2 on Hardcore (I don't care enough about Achievements to deal with the frustration of Veteran), beating the Russian campaign and most of the British campaign before accidentally accepting to skip ahead to the American campaign. Probably only one more sitting in that. I've also made progress in RollerCoaster Tycoon 2, having finished all of the "Real" parks, which are mostly tedious exercises of keeping the advertising going after you've improved the park infrastructure and placed a lot more bathrooms and shops/stalls. Just the Expert parks remaining, which is 17 across the whole Triple Thrill Pack. So... Same goal this year, but I'm way more likely to achieve it as there won't be a worthwhile classic console re-release and I'm going to try and beat 10 games/DLC/expansions between each new purchase. So Doom: Eternal, Shadow of the Tomb Raider and the Resident Evil 2 remake (amongst other things I'm looking forward to) may have to wait a little, but I'll get there. As an exciting twist, once I'm done with Thief: Gold Edition and RCT2 (and CoD2 and 3, probably), I intend to use an RNG to pick a game series for me to play the next entry in from my giant list of unbeaten games. There's 110 to choose from (or 112 if I decide to start running this idea sooner), with a fairly even spread of games from the 80s (courtesy of the NES Classic, SNES Classic and Sega Megadrive Ultimate Collection) through to the modern day, so it could be pretty interesting.
  7. Phobus

    Doom Year Resolutions 2018 vs. 2019

    2018 was a year in which I had a wide range of goals for life, gaming and Doom. Most of this weren't met, or were delayed or even actively failed. I've carefully been tracking my progress in the thread for 2018, but that time has now passed. In acceptance of my diminished interest and participation in the Doom community at large and also my own hobby as a mapper, this year the goals are much lighter. Do not, under any circumstances, sign up for any kind of community or team project I only let people down 90% of the time anyway and end up with more unfinished stuff Finish something - this may be a new project purposely started for a quick finish, or any of the following already-started and planned projects: Persephone vol. 3 (and the full 3-volume compilation) ~75% done Plan currently hinges on Warpzone II being done, although an alternative plan of using a different map has been suggested Bigger Woodchip (single big UDMF map picking up where Big Woodchip left off) Resources compiled ~1% done Escalation III (single UDMF map with exactly 250 monsters on all difficulties) Resources compiled Triacontathlon (30 limit-removing maps, each working to a different limit/challenge) Resources compiled 11/30 maps made 1 reject map Warpzone II (single big map made from a compilation of various deathmatch maps and other stuff I've got laying around) ~60% done Darkened Heart (21 ZDoom-in-Doom format maps for Ultimate Doom with 3D floors and custom monsters) Resources compiled 1/21 maps made Suicide Missions (27 ZDoom-in-Doom format speed maps for Ultimate Doom with 3D floors and custom monsters) Resources compiled 3/27 maps made 4th map is ~5% done The problem is that I'm an adult with stuff to do and, although I do have plenty of free time, going out, playing games, watching Netflix, reading books and reading stuff on the internet (like news) all seem more interesting than making yet another map for Doom, or putting even more time into another ambitious project that's stalled. Particularly when there's little reward for the work anyway. I wish I'd had my current Doom skills when I was young enough that actually finishing a megaWAD or a giant map was exciting and carried dreams of wide recognition and internet fame. Alas...
  8. E3M5 has a red skull door with this problem, as does the yellow skull key exit door in E3M6. Otherwise, I've just nipped through all three new episodes in 3 hours or so. I had a blast! The classical game play and old-school style meshed together really well for a good time and still provided a challenge at points. Particularly the starting maps of E2 and E3, but also the secret levels. Great work!
  9. I've found a lot of your recent speed maps to be unreasonably difficult, so I was really happy to play something of yours that's more accessible. It's a very cool map - a perfect showcase for modern GZDoom, with a great mixture of 3D floors, models and features whilst still implementing a fast-paced game play that is recognisably Doom II.
  10. I've given this some thought over the day and checked out my full list of games I've beaten. From 2010 to 2018, my answer would have to be Doom (2016), but with the caveat that I've not played The Witcher 31 yet, none of the Assassin's Creed2 games, BioShock: Infinite3 or any Saints Row4 or Batman: Arkham5 from this decade yet, all of which would have potential to unseat Doom, I'd say. Doom does shooting and mobility incredibly well, creating an exciting experience, whilst also telling a story through text and world building very well... But it is quite a focused game. Something that does more, but to a similar standard, would stand out to me as the better game, I think. Forza Horizon 4 seems to be the best racing game and GTA 5 is probably the best game that isn't a dedicated shooter or racer. Honourable mentions go to Red Dead Redemption6, Mass Effect 27, Serious Sam 3: BFE8, Wolfenstein: The New Order8 and Resident Evil VII: Biohazard9. I'd also like to shout out Duke Nukem 3D: Megaton Edition for being my favourite game-resurrecting port and Leisure Suit Larry: Reloaded as my favourite HD remake so far. 1 It's meant to have been an instant classic, but I've got to get through the other two first 2 I'm thinking either IV: Black Flag, Brotherhood or Revelations have a formidable enough reputation that, if they capture what made Prince of Persia: Sands of Time fun, they could be awesome 3 I've liked the previous 2 and people say this is the best 4 Saints Row 2 is incredible, IMO and probably rivalling GTA 5 5 Arkham Asylum was spectacular, so if any of them are at least as good, there's a contender 6 Unseated by GTA 5 for being an even better and more involving open-world story game 7 Better than Mass Effect 3 due to ending better 8 Unseated by Doom (2016) as best shooter(s) I've played 9 I was going to say Alien: Isolation, but it went on too long, which reminded me how much I liked this
  11. @Voltcom9 Interesting concept. Looks pretty good so far, although I hope the hitscan enemies won't be so deadly as they are in ROTT! A couple of screenshots from my effort today. These are both from E1M2: The Great Hall:
  12. "E1M4: The Forge" Fully made, with difficulty settings and all that, like "E1M1: At The Gates" is. 2/27 on day 6/30, but with ample time to play catch up today. Unfortunately, when you look at days I'm actually free this month, in practice today is day 3/18, or thereabouts. Some of these later speed maps may be particularly rushed.
  13. Phobus

    What's your favourite band?

    I've been into an expanding range of rock and metal for years, with some rap/hip-hop and pop when I hear something I like. For me, pop doesn't get any better than Michael Jackson, and Eminem is a clear winner on the rap front (although he's definitely past his prime, IMO). Overall favourite, though? Steel Panther. Not only do they play awesome metal in the style of the top 80s glam bands, but they're hilarious and a great live show.
  14. So, I'm at the start of day 5 and have so far only had one day to work. The result? Today is my second real chance to make a map, but I've only got about 3 hours or so, by the looks of it.
  15. Phobus

    What are you listening to?

    I was at the Slayer farewell tour last night, with Obituary, Anthrax and Lamb of God in support. Very cool and about 4.5 hours of gig time. What I'm listening today is tinnitus.