Well well, it looks like we made it through another year in one piece! The last month~ish has been a fairly busy one with all of the festivities and food-devouring and gift-giving. There were also a lot of note-worthy things I had thought about making posts for, but I didn’t because I let the lazy sink in too deep. So instead, I’m opting to do a big “end ‘o da year” post
I guess one of the first things to say is that I turned 27 as of a few days ago. That coincided with the usual Christmas festivities, as it always does. My folks took me out for some awesome food and they bought me a few presents (including some awesome vintages games). So hey, pretty cool! Here’s hoping I’ll make it to 28 without any troubles
I don’t usually keep track of modern gaming all that much anymore, but I did play some pretty awesome games this year. So here are some of the worthwhile games I played this year that I highly recommend:
– Tribes: Ascend: An amazing FPS and definitely in my top 5 all-time favorite shooters. It has a very high skill ceiling, but once you get decent at it you’ll fall in love with the jetpack + skiing mechanics. Just don’t give HiRez, the developer, any money if you can help it…they employ some terrible practices that are a plague on the business. The game is free-to-play so, if you don’t like it, all you really lose is some of your free time.
– Spelunky: Probably one of my all-time favorite games now. It is a rouge-lite platformer that is hard as nails but tons of fun! Rest assured that you will die over and over and over when playing this game. I have this for my PS Vita and it is so much fun to play. You can download the free version as well, which is still very fun but not nearly as polished.
– Muramasa: Rebirth: This is a hack n’ slash 2D scrolling game that was originally released for the Wii. But this version was released for the PS Vita, and it is definitely one of the most artistically beautiful games I have ever seen. The animations are super fluid and the environments are colorful and interesting. The gameplay is very frantic and solid to boot!
– Phantasy Star Online 2: This is just an honorable mention, unfortunately. But what little of PSO2 I played seemed pretty promising. The game was supposed to release in the US in the Spring of 2013, but Sega delayed it. And nothing has been heard about it since. The game is available to play in Japanese (which is ok with the fan-made English patches). But the threshold of availability is too high for most US players, meaning it is too difficult to play with people that speak english without lots of planning ahead. I really hope this sees the light of day in the US and other countries besides Japan.
This was also a pretty amazing year for music, atleast for me. Two of my favorite artists released albums this year, in particular one which hadn’t released material in many years. So while my musical tastes are probably a bit esoteric for most people, here are some releases that I greatly enjoyed this year.
– Autechre — Exai
– Boards of Canada — Tomorrow’s Harvest (I wonder if anyone got that post title reference…heh)
– Ochre — National Ignition
– Grizzly Bear — Shields
As far as personal projects go, 2013 has been a fairly uneventful year for me. Most of the things that I’ve worked on haven’t seen the light of day. In fact, this year seems to have been a really slow one in terms of making progress. I’ve had little motivation to do Doom mapping, most likely because I have too many simultaneous projects to deal with. I would love to remedy that by finishing Vela Pax as soon as possible. It seems as though I’ve lamented more about not doing work on Vela Pax this year than actually doing any actual work. So making some good progress on Vela Pax this year is going to be a big goal of mine…and, ideally, I’ll finish it before the year ends. But that isn’t a promise
Now for something really cool! Revenant made a fantastically cool script which will render out Doom maps from “start to finish” in a .gif animation. Technically it just draws the lines as they are ordered and isn’t a line-by-line drawing as the author made it. But in most cases, it gets pretty dang close to the chronological order of a map’s creation. You can view the map creation .gifs for most of the Doom-engine related games right here. It’s pretty awesome to see how some of the original maps were pieced together! Of course, as soon as I saw this neat little program, I immediately wanted to see if it could handle one of the finished Vela Pax maps. At first it didn’t like numbers larger than 32768, but that was quickly fixed by Revenant. After about 5 hours of waiting for the .gif to completely render out, I ended up with this beastly animation of the creation of Vela Pax MAP01! Note that this was rendered using the “draw-shapes” option, since line mode created a .gif file that was about 45~ish mb in size and likely would have taken an order of magnitude longer to cycle through. As it stands, the current animation will take about 5+ minutes to completely cycle through.
Here are a few of my other maps that have been rendered out using Revenant’s handy script.
Atlatl, Plutonia Revisited, MAP29 (2011)
Tricyclic Looper, Back to Saturn X E1, MAP15 (2013)
Hey now, what about some map releases? Well, I did say that 2013 was pretty uneventful, but some of my handiwork did get released this year! Back to Saturn X E1: Get out of My Stations released early this year and even won a Cacoward! Oh right, you guys should also go and read the 20th Annual Cacowards too! Anyways, out of this massive release, I only had a single map to be showcased – MAP15: Tricyclic Looper. If you’ve played BTSX E1, then you’ll probably know its the stupidly large map with the secret exit. I really wanted to do have at least 2 maps per episode, in particular I wanted to do at least one extra techbase map. But alas, it wasn’t meant to be as there were a ton of other super high-quality maps in E1, and I was too busy doing maps for E2 and E3. But on the flip-side, I did quite a few more maps for E2 and E3
And of course, the YEDS team was able to plop together a delicious platter of 32in24 maps before the year ended. Coincidentally (or perhaps purposefully), this was the 13th 32in24 session, just in time for the end of 2013! This time the theme was Boom-compatible DM maps suited for 4-8 players, but with a small catch – the maps needed some sort of reference to food items, be it in their design, detail, or simply in the map name. I went totally overboard with this session, creating a grand total of 4 complete layouts, of which 3 were detailed by me and the 4th detailed by the almighty Xaser himself. I’m gonna post some screenshots right now since I didn’t bother to upload any shots of the finished, detailed maps after the release. But first, grab this delicious feast of a DM set!
Marmalade Murder Mansion
Tater Tot Tempest
UAC BBQ Processing
Mekworx Blue Plate Special (detailed by Xaser)
That pretty much wraps up my 2013 releases. But oh wait, there’s more! Doom recently celebrated its 20th anniversary, so my Supplice gang and I decided that it might be cool to release something related to the project in honor of Doom’s 20th. If you read my previous post, you’ll know that I had been working on converting some of my previous DM maps to the Supplice resources. We had talked a small bit about doing a DM map set alongside the main project because of all the awesome new textures and graphics Cage and I had been churning out. So all of us pooled our time together to get some textures and maps in a screenshot-ready state, and I plastered a ton of screenshots in our project threads on the birth date. I was gonna post some here too, but…you know, da lazy never sleeps . So here they are again, in all their colorful, slightly-unfinished-but-still-pretty-finished glory!
And that should just about do it for this post! I hope everyone had a nice holiday and here’s to hoping that 2014 will be a great year