Friday, December 30, 2011

Happy Doomyear!

I just discovered this in the DoomWorld Forums news section and thought that it's worthy of sharing here since some of you might not visit DoomWorld often. It's a clickable, sortable list of every file that was uploaded to the DoomWorld / id Games Archives from Dec. 10, 2010 to Dec. 10, 2011. Files can be sorted according to author, title, date, et cetera and clicking on an individual entry takes one directly to the page where the file can be downloaded.

I'm finding this extremely cool because lately I've been spending a bit of time in the Archives looking for megaWADs that I've yet to play. The Archives (at least when accessed from DoomWorld's web front-end) provides a search function, but sometimes it can be a bit counter-intuitive and net 0 results unless one has entered EXACTLY what one is searching for. This list is quite convenient and easy to use, and I especially like the fact that it can be sorted by a column indicating the number of maps in a submission since it's sets of maps that I'm looking for at the moment. MegaThanks to TimeOfDeath for this!

Now, if we just had something like this that covered the entire history of the Archives...

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Dragon Age to Emulate Skyrim?

While poking around the web this afternoon I found this GameSpot article referencing this interview suggesting that the next Dragon Age game might be less like its predecessors and more like Skyrim. (I won't quote the articles here since you all know how to follow links.)

I suppose the idea should be good news to me since I'm a fan of Bethesda's products, but if this info is correct and BioWare actually makes dramatic changes in the next DA game then I can't help but feel that it would simply be an attempt to mimic the big moneymaker Skyrim rather than an endeavor to actually improve upon their own franchise. While I prefer the Elder Scrolls games over the Dragon Age series, I have to admit that I'd have more respect for BioWare if they stayed true to their established Dragon Age formula and simply worked on what needs to be improved rather than attempt to turn the series into an Elder Scrolls clone.

As with most things, however, only time will tell what will actually develop...

Monday, December 26, 2011

Dave Billing

During one of my recent random websplorations in search of old-school Doom content I discovered Dave Billing's Level Design Blog. As the title suggests, the blog is not dedicated to Doom only, but rather is a chronicle of Dave's projects for several different games. From what I've seen so far his works are quite impressive, but rather than bore you with my ramblings I'll simply recommend that you give the blog a look yourself. If you're into any of the games he's produced content for you won't regret it.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Something I've never seen before...

Yesterday I sent out an e-mail or two to friends regarding the most recent inflammatory comment on the file upload for my Doom randomizer mod on the DoomWorld / id Games Archives. I'm not going to reprint said comment here, but suffice it to say that it was yet another of those comments that repeats a single derogatory term like a dozen times (albeit apparently somewhat in defense of the mod this time). Yet upon looking at the Archives this morning, I find that the comment and all subsequent comments have been removed while the previous comments remain for viewing.

So now I REALLY find myself questioning how the "archive maintainer" runs things over there. Exactly what kind of censorship is he practicing? If a comment uses a derogatory term a dozen times to criticize a mod it's allowed to remain for all eternity, but if a comment uses a derogatory term to defend a mod it gets deleted within 24 hours? This doesn't bode well for their defense that DoomWorld doesn't exercise personal biases. It really makes me wonder what other comments have been deleted before I was able to see them, this being the one time that I was actually paying attention.

I used the "report review abuse" button at the bottom of the page to submit a query on this. Only time will tell if anything comes of that query, but if it does you all will be the first to know.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


No, I haven't suddenly become a flag-waving Steam patriot. But even I have to admit that one of the easiest ways to legally acquire almost all of the games I've ever discussed here is to download them from Steam. Thus I thought it would be worth mentioning that the internet gaming icon is having its usual holiday sale, which includes some good prices on just about everything ever published by id. So if there are any holes in your collection that you've been looking to fill, this could be a good opportunity. In my case the sale is too late to be of any benefit; I bought the id Super Pack almost two years ago when it was $69.99. While I've been a collector of all things Doom for quite some time, I realized that I didn't own a single Quake game and thus made my first ever Steam purchase. But if you're like me and are fairly certain that all the "Santas" in your life have absolutely no clue what you'd actually want for a gift this year, now might be the time to do some shopping for a gift or two for yourself.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Aeons Of Death v6

Never let it be said that I'm afraid to let folks see my competition...

The classic Doom mega-randomizer Aeons of Death has recently been updated to version six. To describe it in a nutshell, it pretty much works the same way that my own Doom Upgrade works, but where I did my best to keep things in the original Doom flavour AEoD does its best to cram into the game every possible bit of content from every other game possible. I'm not saying that as negative criticism; I'm just saying that's what it does. But rather than attempt to describe it in text, I'll let you judge for yourself from a variety of videos and screenshots.

The mod can be downloaded from the following links (both files are required):

...and you can read more about it here...

Monday, December 19, 2011

Herculine's Top Ten


Her favorite games are Frogger, Ms. Pac-Man and Space Invaders, and her favorite PC games are Super Collapse and Spider Solitaire.

Her hand-eye coordination is apparently limited to two dimensions. When I attempted to teach her to play Oblivion she couldn't get her avatar to look at anything but the ground.

When shown an image of the universal power symbol, she has no clue what it is.

Quote: "All you and your brother ever talk about is those boring video games."

Video games are a part of pop culture, and her knowledge of pop culture includes such gems as the facts that the aliens with the big ears in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine are called "Fergies" and the big hairy guy in Star Wars is named "Tobacca".

When I attempted to teach her to play Fallout 3 her attention span would not allow her to play any farther through the tutorial than the G.O.A.T. exam and she has expressed no further interest in the game.

In the years that we've been together, she has never looked at my computer monitor and said: "Hey, that looks cool!"

Two years ago as a Christmas "stocking stuffer" I gave her a keychain with a USB flash drive attached. It has never been used for anything other than a keychain. (The same applies to the mp3 player I gave her as a gift for her birthday that same year.)

After reading the epilepsy warning in the instruction booklet for The Sims 2 she refused to play the game ever again because she is convinced that the game will cause her to contract the disorder.

She hasn't turned on "her" computer in over a month.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

SkyEdit (TES5mod)

While we're waiting for the official Skyrim editor to be released, those of you itching to start modding might find SkyEdit useful. Note that I haven't tried it yet myself; I just happened upon the wiki page and thought I should share.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Archive Updated

I'm not really sure why I bother to keep my works up-to-date in the DoomWorld / id Games Archives (the latest anonymously-posted "review" of my randomizer mod was simply the word "GACK"), but I suppose to someone it's worth mentioning that the FTP transfer was successful and the most recent version of my Doom Upgrade mod is now available for download there. Whether it be famous or infamous, it remains a part of Doom history...

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Arrow + Knee = Meme

Given the turn taken by the comments of my previous post, I couldn't resist checking to see if Megan Lee Heart had anything to say about this new meme:

Sure, she's cute... but Tessa was vlogging first...

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The 18th Annual Popularity Awards

Those of you familiar with my gaming habits might be a bit surprised that I'm not more excited about the 18th birthday of my favorite video game and in turn the 18th Annual Cacowards (no, really... that's what they're called). (Or is it the 8th Annual Cacowards? They've called it both on different pages.) I guess it's just hard for me to get excited about a popularity contest in a clique that has done its best to make me not want to be a part of it. I'm not disparaging the quality of the projects that have received awards, mind you, I just don't feel like baking a cake is all I'm sayin'.

And just for the record, "Bloodshedder", the cake picture is on the right side, not the left.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Again With The "Final Version"?

While taking a break from recently-released games that require insta-patches before they can even be played, I discovered a few little things that I needed to fix in my infamous Doom Upgrade randomizer mod (you remember, the one that turns everything into an "unplayable mess"). The first thing that was nagging at me was that many of my PSX sound effects were not working properly, most noticeably the sound that I intended to have play when the player attempts to open a locked door without the proper key. While fixing that issue I finally noticed after countless hours of playing with the mod that one of the custom imps wasn't behaving properly, to the point that he was somehow committing suicide with his own attacks. So while I had the hood up I remedied that issue as well. Since I was editing the DECORATE scripts I also decided that I needed to finally change the spawn frequency of the Cheshire Cacodemon because he was appearing far too often considering how much more difficult he is in comparison to the other Cacodemon replacements. Then, while pondering other possible changes while I was at work this evening, I decided to add just one or two new monsters, including a rocket-launching Arachnotron of my own original creation (despite the assertions of my critics that I'm incapable of coming up with anything original on my own). Finally, just for fun, I added the nice warping effect (a la Quake) to all the liquid floor textures. Now I think the mod is ready for it's umpteenth "final release" (perhaps I should follow the examples of Bethesda Softworks and call this file update version 1.95673482195300347285). I'm updating the link on the blog downloads page, but whether or not I share the update on the Archives will likely depend upon my mood in the days to come.

Oh, and one special note to those of you (or perhaps just the one of you) who actually downloaded and played previous versions of the mod: I've removed, added and renamed a thing or two, so saved games made with previous versions might not work with this one. If you're in the middle of a set of maps that you were playing with a previous version and you don't feel like starting over, you might want to wait before overwriting your old file with this one. If you find any bugs, please let me know and I'll be sure to fix them in version 1.96673482195300347285.

That's pretty much all I have from the land of Doom delusions for today. Until next time, happy Dooming!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Speculations (?) From The Community

I know some of my readership might not care too much about gaming forums, but in light of recent developments regarding the revelation of Bethesda's plans for Skyrim modding I thought that you all might be interested in browsing this Nexus Forum thread, particularly the first post by the famous Robin "Dark0ne" Scott.

In my honest opinion, I think this might be the beginning of the end of game modding being any fun at all.


(Sorry. Yes, the thread is in the modder's forum, meaning that you have to have a Nexus upload that has been downloaded like 1000 times. It was only a month ago that I realized that I meet that criteria.)


As my friend Nos has opined on his blog, everything is pretty much going to hell in a hand-basket this time around.

Well, it was fun while it lasted. If anyone needs me, I'll be here playing and modding games from 1995 that weren't built entirely around DRM in an attempt to control every aspect of my leisure activities and to suck the money directly from my coin-purse...

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Skyrim Patch 1.2: BEWARE!

I didn't make this video but I feel that it needs to be seen:

I highly recommend that everyone turn off Steam auto-updating for Skyrim until the Bethesda guys can get their heads out of wherever they're stuck. More info on this from the author of this video can be found here.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Skyrim Review

You've read here before that I by far prefer to hear the opinions and experiences of fellow gamers rather than the hype from publishers, developers and even certain forums that I swear must be getting a payoff. This especially holds true for one of the most hyped games of the year, Skyrim. I gave you my own two-cent's-worth on Skyrim, and now my fellow modder and blogger Nos has voiced his opinion of Skyrim as well. I think his post is an accurate review of the game, and if you haven't made up your mind yet about Skyrim I recommend you take a look at what he had to say.

Skyrim Patch Info

I can't vouch for the accuracy of this article but I thought you all might find it interesting. It also mentions this article which our friend Nos mentioned in his blog. Over at the Nexus Forums speculation continues regarding the truthfulness of these statements.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Another Skyrim Patch Expected

Okay, so I'm a day or two late bringing you this newsflash, but Nick Breckon (Bethesda "Community Manager") has posted on the Official Bethesda Forum that we can expect a second update patch before the game is a month old. What this patch will revise and how long PC players will have to wait for their patch after the console patches are released were not specified. But at least they made that all-important 11-11-11 release date.

We now return you to your regularly-scheduled programming...

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Skyrim tweaks

I mentioned one of these in the previous post but, after discovering another tweak mod which I think most Skyrim players will consider a necessity, I want to briefly mention them both again in a new post to make them more visible to the ever-growing masses that are the blog's readership.

As mentioned previously, Skyrim by default is not friendly with some GPUs and drivers. I haven't had any CTDs or freezes, but I couldn't help but notice that my ATI Radeon card will not render things like fire, magic lighting effects and spider webs in the game. In my browsing of gaming forums I've discovered that many players have experienced exactly the same issue. The ENB Series 091 mod is basically a d3d9.dll file that for many of us has fixed all these graphics rendering issues. And one of the greatest things about the thing is that it's risk-free; if it doesn't work for you it can simply be deleted.

Another major issue experienced by us all has been the game's buggy interface, particularly the fact that custom key-bindings don't work the way they should. This hard-coded key tweak has solved most of my issues in that regard. Now my re-mapped function keys work as they should, and I can even use my directional keys to move the world map around the way it's supposed to work. Games are so much more fun to play when the controls actually work. Like the graphics tweak this is also a single file, a text document that can be easily deleted if you feel it's not working for you.

So far these two easy-to-install tweaks have made the world of difference in my Skyrim gaming experience. Hopefully you all will find them useful as well. Until next time, game on...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


If you're a fan of the Elder Scrolls series of games you'll probably like Skyrim as well, regardless of any flaws it might have. I suppose it'd be fair to say that I fit into that category of fans, but despite that it's my intention to be as impartial as possible in presenting you with this glimpse of Skyrim gameplay.

As far as getting started is concerned, Bethesda hasn't altered the formula much from the previous games. In Skyrim you start as a prisoner and must escape an Imperial dungeon before you can get on with it. (Sound familiar?) There's a long animated sequence of you and your fellow prisoners being hauled around in a horse-drawn wagon, a scene which I have no doubt was designed solely to show off Bethesda's handiwork this time around. The sequence is nice enough to watch the first time through, but after that you'll be wishing there was some way to skip the whole thing and get straight to naming your character.
For the sake of continuity (and because there are no Ainmhi in Skyrim yet), I created a Nord character complete with the war-paint.
Much as it was with the character generation in Oblivion and Bethesda's Fallout games, it appears that you can fine-tune the facial features of your avatar just about however you want. I say "appears" because it seemed to me that all the sliders were moving along a series of presets and couldn't stop anywhere else in between. Still, there are enough variations that I think it would be difficult (but probably not impossible) to create exactly the same face twice.

Once that's out of the way, you can go put your head on the chopping block so the Imperials can execute you. But don't worry; your untimely demise will be promptly interrupted by the first of the game's many "Look! We can animate dragons now!" scenes.
One thing however is distinctly different about this game's tutorial sequence. Depending upon your actions (or in-actions), you will be led through the escape from the dragon attack by either a Nord rebel or an Imperial guard and will have some encounters with one faction or the other as you make your way out of the dungeon. The end results are basically the same, but knowing what I do about how intricate quests can be in Elder Scrolls games I can't help but suspect (and hope) that the rest of the game will contain such alternate paths as well.
As usual, among your tasks in the tutorial are to learn how to sneak and pick locks. Here it's worthy of note that the lock-picking interface/mini-game in Skyrim is basically the same sort of thing as it was in the Bethesda Fallout games.
But enough about the tutorial; let's get out and take a look at the world...
As you would expect from an Elder Scrolls game, the world of Skyrim is huge with plenty of room for exploration (and later, modding). I haven't traveled far enough yet to know whether or not the world is surrounded by a "You can't go that way! Turn back now!" border. Fast-travel is available to locations you've already visited, and other places of interest such as quest locations get markers added to the 3D world map as you go. And speaking of quests and maps, fans of Oblivion's compass and map quest markers will be pleased to know that in Skyrim you can follow a floating marker to your goal without wasting any time with RPG stuff like trying to figure out where you're supposed to go.
(I haven't figured out yet if that marker can be disabled by default, but if it can't you can bet that someone will eventually make a mod to get rid of it.)

Wandering around towns and talking to NPCs is just as you'd expect it to be in an Elder Scrolls game. You can gather information, get side-quests, barter and so on just as you're accustomed to doing.
As I've been playing thus far I've felt that the developers actually took some cues from Oblivion modders this time around. Many things that weren't available in Oblivion without an overhaul or some other major mod have been included in Skyrim. Notable among these are the dual-wielding of weapons or spells (or both), minstrels actually playing instruments in taverns, sprinting, containers with lids that open when I activate them and flora that changes visibly when I harvest ingredients from it. I've also been told by a blacksmith that I can craft my own weapons and armor, though I haven't gotten around to trying it yet.
And yes, there are followers and companions! So far they remind me of followers using some of my favorite companion mods; interaction such as giving orders or accessing the companion's inventory is accomplished through the same sort of dialog interface used with other NPCs and so far they follow and fight just as I'd want them to do.
And speaking of NPCs, fans of mods like Children Of Morrowind and the fact that there were children in the Bethesda Fallout games will be pleased to know that for the first time ever in an Elder Scrolls game (that I'm aware of) the developers have finally aknowledged the fact that folks are not spawned fully-grown into the world. There are indeed children on Tamriel (or whatever the heck the world is called).
Dungeons so far are pretty much what we're accustomed to from Oblivion. There are zombies, skeletons, Necromancers, bandits and such... and some traps that look very familiar...
So that, in a quick nutshell, is the good stuff. As is usually the case with Bethesda, the bad stuff is mainly in the technical aspects of the game. For starters, the interface takes a bit of getting used to and re-assigning certain functions to certain keys will make those functions not work at all half of the time. Visually, the graphics don't seem to be quite as breathtaking as I think many fans expected them to be. I should note that I took all these screenshots with FRAPs while playing at 1280x720 resolution with the textures set at medium, so there is some room for improvement and possibly pushing the specs of my system. Still, even with the display settings maxed the game doesn't feel like it's being as hard on my system as I had expected it to be. Better performance is always a positive thing in my opinion, but still I think visually this game has not lived up to the expectations of many players. I should also note that many players have reported having issues with the game depending upon their GPUs. Until I had downloaded and installed this mod (a d3d9.dll tweak), things like spider webs and the lighting effects surrounding the Standing Stones were totally invisible to me.
So, in closing, I'd say the game is pretty great overall so far, but as usual the developers have left us plenty of room to mod, improve and fix their product. On a personal note, I hope one of the things that can be edited is the loading screens. While the 3D renderings of the dragons and various characters are pretty cool, things like this floating mace are just plain boring...

Friday, November 11, 2011

Skyrim Peek

Not everyone has been able to get Skyrim the moment it hit the light of day, so for those of you who are like me and might have to wait a while, here is a video example of what we have to look forward to. (Narrated by Todd Howard.)

(It's actually three segments, so don't get impatient with your clicker...)

NCCS v0.8

The latest version of my favorite companion mod for Fallout New Vegas is now available to the masses. You can read more about it at Nos' Mods and download it from the New Vegas Nexus.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

PSX Doom/Doom64 Soundtracks

I've mentioned here before about my favorite Doom soundtrack being the music by Aubrey Hodges for the PlayStation incarnation of Doom. But no matter how much I babble on about it, nothing I say can really compare to simply letting you hear it for yourselves:































But let's not forget that Mr. Hodges also created similar music for Doom64 for Nintendo. Many of these tracks have a more "techno" feel than their PSX counterparts in my opinion, but still do just as well to set the ambient mood for a sci-fi/horror shootout:





















Now be honest: doesn't hearing these make you want to play Doom with them?

Saturday, November 5, 2011


Like I was saying in the previous post, I've been experimenting with some new (new to me, anyway) sourceports to run classic Doom. During my websplorations (yes, I just totally made up that word; in five years everyone will be using it) I discovered that gzDoom isn't the only open-GL sourceport based upon zDoom. There was another, called ZDoomGL. Don't expect any new developments here; work on this apparently stopped in 2004. But if you're looking for a sourceport that's neither zDoom nor gzDoom yet is something in between, then this is exactly the thing for you.
As you can see from these screenshots from the first map of Raven, I couldn't get it to work in widescreen mode (it lists the resolutions, but the image will be stretched). But it works just as well as zDoom or gzDoom with my favorite launcher, zdl3.1a, thus allowing the loading of several multiple external files simultaneously. On the plus side, it's based on zDoom so things like MAPINFO and DECORATE lumps can still be used, but on the minus side it uses the old syntax which makes most of my recent works using the new syntax incompatible unless they're converted back to the old syntax. Still, if you're looking for a sourceport that's not as hard on your system specs and compatible with older video drivers, this could be the answer.

Anyway, I'm still websploring, and will share with you new discoveries as I stumble upon them (and have time to type and screenshot)...