Saturday, August 18, 2012


No, that's neither a Roman numeral nor am I typing in cryptograms again; PSXSM is the acronym for PlayStation Style Music and is the title of my latest Doom mod. Though the mod hasn't been fully-integrated into the DoomWorld / id Games Archives yet (i.e. it does not appear in a search with the page where it can be voted upon), it has however been accepted and added to the archives and thus I am able to provide the direct download link found there in the first sentence of this post. The DoomWorld and other various mirrors should catch up in a week or so, at which time players will then be able to vote on the mod and post their valued comments.

EDIT: Just minutes after I published this post, the mod became visible here in the Archives as well.

So now you're likely wondering what exactly PSXSM is and what I mean by "PlayStation Style Music". To put it succinctly, PSXSM is a 94.534MB Doom music replacer WAD containing tracks in .ogg format. While it actually contains no music from the PlayStation versions of the game this soundtrack in my opinion elicits the same atmospheric mood that Aubrey Hodges achieved with his legendary score that was more ambient sound than actual music, hence the title of the add-on.

Faithful readers of my little blog here may recognize most of the tracks included in this compilation; this is indeed a re-working of a previous arrangement I had done. I've given it a new title since most of the tracks have been rearranged and at least half a dozen new ones have been added. If you enjoyed the previous version of the mod, please discard it now and download this version.

There's really not much else that I can say about it, except that I hope at least a few of my Dooming readers will enjoy using this alternate music as I have.

Thanks. Game on...

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Game Booster

Since not all gamers can afford the latest high-end hardware for their gaming rigs, we often have no choice but to do a lot of tweaking to get games to run decently with what we have. Here's a free tool that can help along those lines:

IObit Game Booster 3

This is something that I've known about and used for a while now, but I wanted to test it thoroughly before I made any kind of official public endorsement. While it's by no means a miracle-worker or cure-all, IObit's Game Booster can improve the performance of most games by at least 30-40% on most rigs by shutting down non-essential Windows background processes that could be consuming valuable RAM and CPU resources that are needed for more important things like games. After it has been configured on its first run, Game Booster can do this with just the click of one button, which I love because it saves me from having to sort through and shut down a long list of Windows processes with the Task Manager every time I want to run one of my more resource-hungry games.

Another thing I love about Game Booster is that it can defragment individual games, which is especially useful for me since the drive I install all my games to is 2 TB and it takes forever to defragment it using the method provided by Windows 7. Most of us love things that are convenient, and this program certainly fits the bill for me in that regard. Another neat thing that the latest version does is keep track of the various temperatures inside my machine, which could help prevent permanent damage to the hardware by reminding me when I'm pushing the rig too hard.

As I've said, Game Booster isn't going to magically fix everything that ails your computer, but a 30-40% performance increase for free is pretty good in my opinion. I've been using the program for well over a year and have seen no evidence that it will do anything harmful to one's computer in any way, so I think it's safe for me to now say that it's really a risk-free deal. If you find the program not to your liking it can easily be uninstalled, so I highly recommend that every PC gamer at least give it a try once.

I'm Herculine, and I approve this message.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Neverwinter Nights OHS

I've recently found myself back in the mood to play Neverwinter Nights, and in returning to the game I've realized that I've never gotten around to posting more about it here despite the fact that it's one of my favorite games. I won't waste your time or mine doing a lengthy review of the game; it's been around long enough now and enjoyed enough popularity in its day that most gamers should already know what it is -- and if they don't, more info on this Dungeons & Dragons game can easily be found. In this post I want to instead focus upon what is perhaps my favorite mod for Neverwinter Nights.

Like many of my other favorite games, one of the things I love about NWN is that there's a modding community that has produced for it more custom content than you can shake a +1 Longsword at. However, it took me a while getting around to enjoying the game and its massive library of mods because I thought that it was exclusively a MMORPG. While I might enjoy playing such a game with a few of my close friends, our schedules and interests rarely align to make such things possible; aside from that handful of gamers, everyone else I've met on the internet has proven to have drastically different ideas about gaming and it's likely we'd be unable to cooperate long enough to play an entire chapter of NWN, let alone complete the entire story. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that NWN has a single-player mode in which one can complete the entire game!

But there was just one catch: while there is indeed a lot of single-player content for the game, many of NWN's most popular award-winning mods are designed for multiplayer gameplay and thus would be drastically imbalanced for a single player. If only there was a way to create a party of AI-controlled companions...

This is where the OHS Henchman System becomes invaluable to players like myself. While the default game limits the number of cohorts a player may have and restricts the player's level of interaction with said cohorts, OHS allows the creation of a party of as many custom cohorts as the player is willing to keep track of. Furthermore, no modding tools or knowledge are necessary to accomplish such a feat; everything is handled in-game through dialog that avoids breaking immersion as much as possible.

The mod comes with a variety of pre-made cohort characters that can be summoned from the start of (almost) any module, but I prefer to play with a party of characters of my own creation. The easiest way I've found to do this is to use OHS in conjunction with a character-creation module like PGC3 (and there are several others) to create player characters, save them in the local vault and then register them as henchmen which can be summoned whenever I need them. While these cohorts are not as advanced in AI or as varied in appearance as the companions we've created and enjoyed in many newer games, they are sufficient to fill any roster vacancies in one's adventuring party. Most importantly, the behavior, equipment and level progression of OHS companions can be controlled and managed entirely by their party leader (that's you). I've been so pleased with the performance of my OHS companions that since discovering the mod I've never again used any of NWN's provided cohorts. In fact, I've become so accustomed to adventuring with sisters Dolci and Danuta (a barbarian and a rogue, respectively) that at times I forget that they aren't a natural part of the game.
So if you need an adventuring party for Neverwinter Nights but all your friends are playing Modern Warfare, or if you're just tired of Tomi Undergallows and Boddyknock Glinckle, I highly recommend that you check out the OHS Henchman System. OldMansBeard has done an exceptional job with the mod and deserves all the praise he has received. I feel that OHS has added a new dimension to my NWN experience and I'd wager that you'll enjoy it as much as I have.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


(I'd first like to preamble this post by apologizing to my regular readers for posting this drivel, but I decided to go ahead with the post anyway as I suspect many of you will get a good laugh out of it. Besides, while it's not technically game-related it is a great insight into the mentality prevalent in some gaming communities.)

That's right, True Believers! My self-proclaimed nemesis, the famous DoomWorld superstar Doomguy2000 has apparently dedicated his latest video "burial" to none other than Yours Truly. Apparently this is supposed to be quite the honor, so of course I want to proudly share it here. Let's tune in and take a look, shall we?

Initially I wasn't going to post any sort of official response to this video gem since I know my friends will be shaking their heads over the fact that I can actually lower myself to such a level, but at least one or two things were mentioned in the audio portion of the presentation that I feel I should rebut.

First and foremost, I'd like to address the accusation that I need to create alternate identities to deal with this (or any other) person on the internet. Not true, at least not these days. Almost four years ago, however, was an entirely different story. At that time I had never done anything at all on the internet ever (since I'd never had an internet connection in my home), but I wanted to join the Nexus modding community and start creating and sharing mods for my favorite game at the time, TES IV Oblivion. Having never participated in such a community before, I was uncertain how a female gamer would be received (though I had heard rumors) so I initially created a masculine identity for myself... Salmacis1968. I didn't use that identity for very long, however; I soon discovered that this online modding community wasn't filled with as many girl-haters as I had expected (though such narrow-minded individuals do still thrive elsewhere) so I abandoned the identity and took on the name I still use today: Herculine. This wasn't a top-secret conspiracy, mind you; I politely requested that the Nexus admins ban the superfluous account, which they happily did and thanked me for my honesty, and I've told this story both privately to friends and publicly a number of times since then. But apparently my public honesty on this matter is now being used in an attempt to make me appear dishonest.

Now I want to be very clear here that I have no proof whether it is Doomguy2000 himself or someone else who has searched back through four years of Nexus Forum posts to dig up this information and now use the name to make comments on Doomguy2000's videos. But judging from the displays in this video (and the numerous links provided on its YouTube upload page, I'd wager that Doomguy2000 has done this himself as part of some twisted attempt to create some sort of drama in his perpetual need for attention. He's obviously been closely following my blog here, my DoomWorld Forums posts and the status of my uploads to the id Games Archives, so my imagination doesn't have to stretch very far at all to suspect that he'd also waste untold hours sifting through the Nexus Forums looking for me there as well (though he says he's not obsessed with me). To be perfectly honest, I sincerely hope that such is indeed not the case; if it is then I've attracted yet another creepy internet stalker.

I realize that my admission to having used another identity at one point in my internet life might lead even my closest friends to question my integrity; I can only attempt to assuage any such doubts by saying that ever since then I have used the same name, Herculine, everywhere I've gone on the internet (even in its dark unmentionable places) and I've not been afraid to put that name proudly on anything I've ever said or done... including classic Doom mods that have earned me much ridicule. Thus I will continue to use that name whether it is regarded with fame or infamy and hopefully my word on that will be enough.

Oh, and just to clarify: the "i" is pronounced like a long "e"; I am neither a luxury cruise ship nor a railroad franchise. The name was gleaned from Greek mythology by way of Roman mythology (as was the name Salmacis); I merely feminized it a bit by changing a letter or so. Actually, I can't even take credit for that; I first read the name in the memoirs of Herculine Barbin. Why would I adopt such a moniker? Well, while I'm doing the blatantly honest thing here I will reveal that I'm a lesbian with a (perhaps weird) penchant for futanari, so the sad story of persecuted Herculine Barbin has a lot of meaning for me. While I am not at all ashamed of my sexual orientation (in fact being quite proud of it) and thus do not keep it a secret, it is also something that I try not to bludgeon folks with because it's really not appropriate to do so. I only mention it here because my integrity has been questioned and the way I deal with that portion of my life in my opinion demonstrates that I've got more integrity than most people you will ever encounter.

Do I need to hide behind an alternate name to speak of the works of Doomguy2000? Hardly. Let me prove this by again expressing my opinion here in the blog bearing my widely-used pseudonym. While many Doom purists might join the argument that the Duke Nukem shotgun indeed does not belong in Doom, I have to ask you, Doomguy2000, what the fuck do you think they'd have to say about Justin Bieber, Pikachu, the huge single-frame likeness of yourself and the plethora of other MS Paint atrocities you insert into the game in your mods? Dude! Really? You claim that I aspire to be as famous as you; to be perfectly honest I'm mortified that my name has been associated with you in any way whatsoever. If I'd known in advance that my Doom Upgrade would be compared to the crap you're constantly attempting to peddle (except when the DoomWorld admins have the wisdom to instantly "hell" your posts) I'd have immediately ceased work on the project and forever deleted it from my computer. I rue the day I uploaded my YouTube video because it attracted you to me; if I want to be anything in life, it certainly is not you.

Which brings us to the next point... Doomguy2000, you say I'm obsessed with you and I need to comment on your videos to make myself feel as important as you. Let me again remind you that I'd never heard of you or your mods and likely never would have paid either an iota of attention, but it was you who first came to my video page posting insults and not the other way around (as you apparently would have others believe). You obviously wanted my attention, but once you got it now you've decided that maybe that wasn't such a good idea after all. Furthermore, it should be noted that I've refrained from insulting you in my comments on your videos of your Doom mods; I've merely suggested that they might be more successful if you'd take a more serious approach to your work. If anything, I tried to make a friend rather than an enemy. You say I'm the one who can't handle criticism, but you certainly seem to fly to extremes when folks attempt to give you friendly suggestions. I'm not the one making YouTube videos of myself ranting every time someone doesn't agree with something I've said or done. I hate to crush your obviously huge ego here, but ALL comments are blocked on my uploaded videos, not just your comments. I took that precaution (and have since continued to do so on all subsequent videos) because when you leaped to leave your insults on my first-ever YouTube video mere minutes after it had finished uploading it served to remind me that the world is full of people just like you and honestly, I'm better off not having to deal with any of you.

I don't take criticism well and all I do on this blog is cry because people don't like my mods? Partially true, I suppose. Truth be told, however, I actually enjoy constructive criticisms of my work and am always asking for such feedback. However, the definition of constructive criticism does not include degrading insults; I'm certain you know what I'm talking about here because we both get it from the DoomWorlders all the time. Calling someone's mod "vomit", "a pile of steaming turds" or making elaborately insulting comments like: "I'd rather have two NFL teams play tug-of-war with my scrotum than play this" are not constructive by any definition. (I didn't make up that last bit; I actually read it somewhere in the Archives.) If getting upset when I hear that sort of thing makes me an overly-sensitive whiner like my furry avatar, then hell yes I am one whiny pussy! As I alluded earlier, I've participated in a number of modding communities for a couple of years now. During that time I have never struck at any of my fellow modders like that (whether I thought they deserved it or not) and as a firm believer in the Golden Rule it infuriates me to be the brunt of such blatant attacks. Sure, I should probably just roll with the punches and keep my mouth shut (in the end it would likely be better for my reputation) but sometimes I can't help but try to defend myself though I know that my voice will be drowned out by those of the countless idiots that form the internet majority.

Lastly, Doomguy2000, you predicted that I would respond to your video here in the blog by trying to make you "look retarded". If it seems that I have purposefully done such then I owe you an apology...

...but honestly, you're doing a pretty good job of that sort of thing on your own without any help from me.

(In closing I would again like to apologize to any of my regular readers who read all this and wasted twelve minutes of their lives watching that video. What can I say? I was feeling bored tonight.)