It’s a Whole ‘Nother Year

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 :D

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 :P

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.

Salamandastron (2006)

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Salamandastron (2006)

Atlatl, Plutonia Revisited, MAP29 (2011)

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Atlatl, Plutonia Revisited, MAP26 (2011)

Tricyclic Looper, Back to Saturn X E1, MAP15 (2013)

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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 :sun:

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
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Tater Tot Tempest
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UAC BBQ Processing
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Mekworx Blue Plate Special (detailed by Xaser)
Screenshot_Doom_20140101_183149Screenshot_Doom_20140101_183142Screenshot_Doom_20140101_183123

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 :P . So here they are again, in all their colorful, slightly-unfinished-but-still-pretty-finished glory!

Screenshot_Doom_20131210_224934Screenshot_Doom_20131210_225032Screenshot_Doom_20131210_225121Screenshot_Doom_20131210_225144

Screenshot_Doom_20131210_225253Screenshot_Doom_20131210_225324Screenshot_Doom_20131210_225452Screenshot_Doom_20131210_225518

Screenshot_Doom_20131210_225703Screenshot_Doom_20131210_225738Screenshot_Doom_20131210_225820Screenshot_Doom_20131210_225836

Screenshot_Doom_20131210_225923Screenshot_Doom_20131210_225955Screenshot_Doom_20131210_230004Screenshot_Doom_20131210_230059

Screenshot_Doom_20131210_230132Screenshot_Doom_20131210_230205Screenshot_Doom_20131210_230230Screenshot_Doom_20131210_230355Screenshot_Doom_20131210_230434

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 :sun:

Not ded just lazee

Hello internet, long time no see :) . Yea, this poor place has been neglected by me as of late. Truth be told, I haven’t felt like posting anything. Mostly because I haven’t done much Doom-related things lately. Chalk it up to lack of motivation/being burned out/etc. But I figured a small update might be worthwhile, at least to make the site not look so dead.

First though, I want to share some links. First, check out Cage’s Corner. Cage is the main graphics guru working with me on Supplice, and he is an extremely talented dude. He also has a portfolio (which he recently updated), but Cage’s Corner is focused more on video game artwork. He has some resources posted there as well as some tutorials and previews of some projects he’s working on. I believe he will be adding new tutorials over time, so be sure to check those out!

The other link I want to share is Doom Radio. It is a podcast which initially started out as Tango TV (I prefer that name because Tango is da man :P ). The idea was to have interviews with members of the Doom community, including mapper’s, coders, speedrunners, comp players, and so on. The idea grew and its a pretty popular podcast now, which I enjoy listing to! Granted this is probably going to be more interesting to people who are close to the Doom community, but I figured it was worthwhile to mention here. Tarnsman and Alfonzo run most the interviews and discussions I believe, but most of the questions comes from the community at large. I’ve been offered to do an interview, which I think would be pretty cool! But I don’t have a mic so I don’t know if or when that will happen :P

I’ll be adding both links to the sidebar by the way. So if your looking for them and you can’t find this post for whatever reason, they will be under the links section.

So I guess while I’m here I should say something in regards to my various projects. So hey, let’s do that!

velapax_logo_g

I sent out private test candidates of Vela Pax after I finished up making my fixes and edits to MAP05 (you can see some screenshots in that link). I got a ton of great feedback from the testers that reported in. My good bud Jimmy even took the time to stream a complete run of the finished maps on his Twitch.tv channel. You can check out the streams here – Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. Also as you can see above, Vader was able to help me tweak the logo! I had plans to make the logo semi-corrupted by demon flesh, similar to the logo in a NES game called Abadox. But all of my attempts looked terrible. So Vader stepped in and made those awesome edits! A huge thanks goes out to him for his help :D

Unfortunately I haven’t touched Vela Pax since I released that test candidate. I pushed pretty hard tweaking and fixing the complete maps beforehand, and I think I just burnt myself out pretty bad this time. Usually when I do this I’m ready to do more mapping in a few weeks or so. But lately I have had zero motivation to map or play Doom or anything. I still lurk forums and see what people are making, but that’s about all I’ve done. Attentive readers will probably remember that I was planning on finishing Vela Pax before the end of 2013, which would be a pretty cool thing to do since Doom’s 20th birthday is coming up. Is that still going to happen? The short answer is “no”. The long answer is, I have no idea when its going to be finished, but it definitely isn’t going to be finished by the end of this year. Which really sucks, I admit, but I won’t work on the project when I’m not in the mood. Otherwise I’ll end up making something that will suck and that’s just a waste of time.

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I can’t remember if I announced this here or not, but Supplice has been in a state of hiatus for many months now. There were a couple of reasons for this, but the catalyst for the decision was because our resident artist Cage was having some life-related issues. So I just decided to put the project on hold. Though don’t get “hiatus” and “cancelled” confused; Supplice is far, far from being cancelled! The team put in a huge amount of effort before we stopped, and I think most of us really needed a good break. I was planning on finishing Vela Pax before even coming back to Supplice in any active capacity, and I believe Cage was hoping to get back to work on HacX 2.0 after getting some more free time. So Supplice has been simmering on the backburner and, rest assured, we will continue making progress at some time in the future!

Note that I have plans to make some DM maps for Supplice. So what I may do sometime soon is use some of my past 32-in-24 maps and retexture them with Supplice’s resources. That would at least give me some screenshot fodder :)

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When I’m not being completely distracted by watching longplays, TAS videos, or playing Tribes: Ascend, I’m working on the many facets of Retrograde. My creative interests tend to run in cycles, and our current mini-project has been the focus of my mental ponderings. I’m starting to think that the many years of Doom mapping are taking their toll on me, because I have a really powerful drive to create something that isn’t Doom related. And we have been making some pretty awesome progress on this latest project because of that.

I’m hoping that sometime soon we’ll make a dev-blog post about the project. The project in question is codenamed “Build-a-Bot“, and we announced it over a year ago as you can see. Since then the project has been moving slowly but steadily towards a point where we will be able to start making gameplay and visual content. I recently finished a revised design document which has refined some of the mechanics in the original concept. The game is going to be a mix of Armored Core, Bangai-O, Soldat, Gunstar Heros, and some other games.

So far we’ve got the following dudes on board – VortexCortex, Jimmy, Vader, and myself. Vortex is the code guy and overall genius. Jimmy is the musical genie. Vader helping me with concept art and may also lend his fantastic skills to the rest of the game. And right now I’m the main game design creator trying, but failing, to sketch out some game entities for the concept art :P . Overall the general project’s goal have got me extremely excited and I think that excitement has been pushing me very hard lately. Which could be one reason why I haven’t touched Doom in a while, heh.

Oh, and wouldn’t ya know it? Mekworx’s 5th birthday just flew right past me! So hey, a big ole thanks goes out to Wartorn for continuing to host this place even though I neglect it so badly :P