Farsight Studios just announced on their FaceBook page that Pinball Arcade has been Greenlit on Steam!
Ok, before anyone gives me shit about my politics towards Steam, Farsight Studios has stated before that they only want to sell the Pinball Arcade PC port over Steam. My other options are PSN and XBL, so my choice is obvious here. My one and only concern for choosing the PC over the console versions (besides DRM) is whether or not the physics are linked to the framerate. Being that I play on a CRT monitor my refresh rate is much higher than the average PC user. Of course a hardcoded max framerate would fix this issue, or just remove the physics dependency on framerate.
All ranting aside, I am a huge pinball fan and I'm grinning ear to ear right now! Visual Pinball 9 has been my previous go-to pinball simulator, but to be honest the physics leave a lot to be desired. Future Pinball looked amazing and I had an easy time designing my own table on it a few years ago, but the inconsistent physics made it far less enjoyable than VP9 (although hardcore players really should have both). I spent hours with the PS3 demo of Pinball Arcade because of how well the physics felt. Not to mention it looks even better than Future Pinball! It's like I'm finally getting my dream pinball sim (and don't ever bring up Dream Pinball when talking to me).
So pretty much Farsight is finally going to be getting a good bit of money from me. Yeah I could wait for a Steam sale, if I had patience. I almost broke down and bought every table pack on the PSN, knowing full well that the Greenlight was inevitable. It makes so much more sense to get the games on the platform I prefer and spend most of my time on (I very rarely play PS3; I spend more time playing PS1).
Now I just have to wait for the damn game to launch. I'm literally squirming from the anticipation! Thank you so much Farsight!
Well I figured out why Sergeant MK IV made DOOM Guy a complete nut job in his Brutal DOOM mod. I'm at a loss for words to describe how insane the DOOM comic is. It's awful, but it's so bad it's entertaining in its own right. Mind you I don't read comic books so I can't comment on the drawings, but I can tell you the writing is terrible. See for yourself.
I'm almost glad it exists. MK IV really did a hilarious tribute to it. I'm sure MK IV didn't set out to make a DOOM comic tribute and it's definitely much more than that, but all of its insane dialogue and gore is present. Of course Brutal DOOM's gore looks far more believable and the dialogue adds a heavy dose of profanity; much to my liking I may add. It's pleasing that my biggest gripe with Brutal DOOM now feels justified, though I'd still like an alternate voice pack. Guess that's my cue to get into DOOM modding...
Here's just one of the many lines I now laugh at in Brutal DOOM,
I've got to say, what an improvement over DOOM I! Every now and then I'll fire up DOOM in DosBox since it's the only shooter I play for nostalgia, but the simplistic and abstract levels don't keep me entertained for long. Trying DOOM II in DosBox recently was a real surprise! While the levels still lack a sense of purpose, the gameplay flows from one area to the next so much better than the original. The texture work really helped with the mood and sense of variety (the blue floors in DOOM I always felt odd to me). I never would have thought from looking at the screenshots that the game would undergo such an improvement in gameplay and aesthetics. Finally, I can call myself a DOOM fan!
My favorite weapon from Quake II, the Super Shotgun, makes its debut in DOOM II. It's a damn good addition to what's pretty much the standard FPS arsenal. I've always been found of the DOOM weapon sprites and the game's ability to give them a sense of power with primitive effects; the Super Shotgun's sprite and sounds just add a whole new level of sweetness to the mix.
As good as the game is on its own, I decided to try out a mod I tried earlier this year with DOOM I, Brutal DOOM by Sergeant Mark IV. Previously I felt that Brutal DOOM's advanced mechanics clashed horribly with DOOM's art style, but for some reason the mod fits so well with DOOM II! It's like this perfect clash of old school aesthetics with mechanics that became commonplace in the late '90s. The revised weapon mechanics give each weapon in the standard arsenal a unique feel. While I much prefer tiered weapons over a balanced arsenal (being the old school shooter gamer that I am), Sergeant MK IV did things right with his weapon balancing. Replacing the pistol with the assault rifle that DOOM Guy is always seen holding was a fantastic idea!
I'm just amazed by the sense of weight MK IV gave to each weapon. Every time I pick up a new weapon I feel like I've found something special, like discovering a new character in an RPG. They have this presence to them that isn't there with any of id's classics. Sense of power aside, they each handle differently and there's more to them than just 'squeeze trigger 'till bad guy dies'. There's pro and cons to deal with, but no weapon ever seems 'situational' considering well placed headshots can bring down bosses (the assault rifle's specialty). I guess they feel closer to the uniqueness of Unreal Tournament's weapons, but the reloading gives Brutal DOOM's weapons much more character.
Brutal DOOM also plays much better for me than vanilla DOOM II. The graphical enhancements and high resolutions on GZDOOM I could care less about (you'll notice in the screenshots that I have texture smoothing off). It's the viscous enemy AI that balances out the enhanced weapons. New attacks and improved path finding makes the classic DOOM II enemies much more formidable. On some user made levels the enemies seemed almost psychic though; they are very difficult to shake on large open maps. To be fair that's an issue in vanilla DOOM, but the enemies had a harder time getting around objects. There's also a good bit of Duke Nukem 3D influence. In addition to taunts there's the mighty boot!
This isn't a review, but if I were to point out any negatives in the mod I'd say the taunts are way too silly. I mean it's pretty laughable when the taunts I'm shouting at the screen sound ten times meaner. This was probably the author's intention. On the plus side flipping the bird and shouting "go fuck yourself" has tactical value. You'll grab the attention of nearby enemies and possibly lore them right into your sights. This works great in the opening level of DOOM II by the gates in the waterway.
There's still much of this mod I have not seen. I haven't bothered with the fatalities, but I recently found out you can grab dying enemies and use them as shields! Picking up and throwing explosive barrels is pretty badass, and probably something DOOM Guy could do considering that he carries half a dozen weapons on him.The whole package just feels like a breath of fresh air and it actually managed to shake my Duke 3D addiction. I'm actually looking into DOOM mapping and I'll have this mod in mind.
From about 2003 to roughly 2008 I made first person shooter games in 3D GameStudio using the included scripts and art assets. They weren't very good and I'm not even sure where the files ended up. I just loved making single player maps. These maps were huge and ambitious, but ugly. I'm still proud of them. The Acknex game engine came with an extremely easy to use level editor and decent tutorials. It was quite unfortunate that the included scripts had awful AI. The actual shooting sucked too.
Now I'm admiring the custom maps done in EDuke32 and yearning to create something of my own. I doubt I'd want to deal with Build engine's Mapper. I remember being able to import Quake maps into Acknex. Being a huge fan of the Quake games I'd probably start with mapping for the original. The old game had pretty primitive levels compared to more recent stuff, so I wouldn't have to fill up my level with eye candy. I considered creating levels for DOOM, but 2.5D isn't really my thing. Quake at least has familiar a little familiar in the technical aspect. I'll probably be learning GtkRadiant if it works well for single player.
Of course with everything else on my plate picking up a new hobby is not a good idea. Especially since I have my narrative prose to work on. But man this is one strong itch! I'd love to do some hell themed Quake levels (you know, like the rest of Quake). Quake 2 is my favorite of the series, but baby steps. The original is also far more popular, so help would be easier to find. My dream would be to finally learn how to map for Unreal, the most esthetically pleasing game I ever played.
In the meantime I'm probably going to start reviewing EDuke32 mods and custom maps on a separate section of this website or a sub website. Not the most original idea, but it's not like I can review modern games if I'm not playing anything made in the last decade. There can never be too much old school shooter love on the internet.
I know it's late Monday night in my region, but my mind is still thinking about the awesome weather I had over the weekend! Despite the fact that I played Duke Nukem for eight hours last Thurday (and another three or four today), I'm a pretty outdoors kind of guy. I spent the entire day airsofting on Saturday and I did bicycling on Sunday. Today I'm still sore from the intense weekend.
Funny thing, I manged to pick up two tan lines over the weekend. I wore a short sleeve shirt on Saturday and got my typical farmer tan, then I wore a sleeveless shirt while biking on Sunday. Now my chest looks more pale than ever. Not that I mind really; I'm not much of a pool guy. I may try to bring my weight set outside though. It would be awesome to pump iron and get a tan at the same time!
If you're in southeastern Pennsylvania you're well away that just a few weeks ago we had a snowstorm. Looks like spring finally snuck up on us! Perfect timing too because last week sucked for me. I hate going a week without posting, but last week was one of those weeks (hence the eight hour Dukefest. My neck is still sore from that!). And besides, how could I get on the computer with sunny sixty-five degree weather all weekend?
Anyways I finally have a few YouTube gameplay recordings planned this week. Eddy Zykov (I think I spelled that right) just released a new Sonic the Hedgehog game update and I need to play through it again. I recorded it before for a blind Let's Play, but I had my mic switched off the whole time. With the new version out I can finally record something relevant.
Well this new weather has me back in gear. Maybe I'll get to working on some short stories...
For me I find it awkward that I'm not writing narrative prose like short stories or novels because I use to do that all the time. Just a year ago I was writing a novel at an extremely fast rate. Now the closest I get is screenwriting, which is really a whole other animal. Screenwriting reads and writes fast; very, very fast. And it's more of a set of directions rather than a product in its own right. In my fiction writing I tend to be a bit too vague in my description, this is actually something valued in screenwriting. Essentially, I think I do screenwriting well. Novel or short story writing is something I'm bad at.
My stories are good. If they were bad I wouldn't write them down, but it's the writing down part that's the challenge for me. In a way, I often make it harder on myself. Part of why I love screenwriting is that in my narrative prose I love to write in a third-person objective narrative mode. I don't come across too many works of fiction in this style. Not to mention I don't read much fiction to begin with, but the non-fiction novels I read are close enough to what I try to do.
I can definitely write, if this website is any testament to that. Getting a few thousand words written in a day is a pretty easy feat; and I have no disillusions of my first draft draft being gold. With a large piece of work like a 100k+ word novel it's easy to get tired of it, but in my case I grow to hate my own work. My old websites were taken down for a reason; I didn't like anything I had posted. I've definitely improved in my journalistic type writing quite a bit over the last year, but with so little time devoted to narrative prose I can't imagine I'm much better. However, my screenwriting has without a doubt honed in my story telling skills.
This harshness towards my work also extends to others. When reading other people's prose I often feel like I'm subconsciously their editor. I'm always thinking, "This sentence would read better like this," or "This is breaking the rule of show don't tell!" You'd think that would make me a better writer right? I make all these mistakes myself! Of course I can fix all those mistake in the editing phase, but when I stop and read over fifteen thousands words of crap, it's really discouraging. This is the reason I never finished anything in the past. A novel needs to be started and then finished. I only just recently learned that you shouldn't stop mid way through and start editing your crappy first draft! Talk about a motivation killer.
When looking back at my old stuff, I also see a lot of patterns and consistent themes. While I agree with other writers that say this isn't a bad thing, for some reason I fear readers picking up on things in my fiction. With my articles I feel that I am in complete control of what thoughts and emotions are written out, but in my fiction I feel as though I'm going to let out something about myself I never meant to reveal. It's as though I write fiction at a primal level. I admit that I try to make things raw and realistic. In the screenplay I'm writing the dialogue is very much based on real life conversations I've had, but the screenplay is again not a finished product; there's still much more room for other artists to get their hand dirty with it. This fear even extends to people picking up on my political views. It's like I'm afraid people will loath my work because they think I'm a liberal or conservative (I'm not anything, in case you were wondering). I guess this is ultimately unavoidable and something I need to get over, but this is my biggest obstacle in getting started back up.
I think Chuck Wendig gave the best advice for writers. He said something along the lines of, "Write as much as you can, as fast as you can, as often as you can." I think that's it. Doing just that with narrative prose will get me where I want to be. Yeah I'll still need research, consultants, and other pairs of eyes to look at my work. But if I don't finish anything then none of that stuff will even matter, so no worries on the first draft right? It's just that fear of doing the same thing over and over again. The fear of revealing things about myself. It's strong, but it cannot overpower me. Launching Autonomous Voice took a lot of courage since that was a platform to voice my political views; now I just need to dig a little deeper to bring out what I need to write narrative prose again.