John Furie Zacharias
having a bad day in a strange place
Thunderstorms Anywhere

Thunderstorms in the Imajica

 The different ways I don't like you 
 in a list that may never become organized
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JfZ making a mess of the web
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Friday, February 20, 2004
Mouse-over Menus

mo menu 1mo menu, mo menumo menu, mo menu, mo menu!
So, besides playing Quake 2 and Quake 3 Team Arena during my long overnight hours babysitting the Retardo Cat, I've also been making some mouse-over menu templates.  I personally prefer an id software techno-style for navigational menu systems myself, but I was playing with some ideas for different styles.

Since I was thinking in template mode, I also wanted to make some interchangeable parts for the same menu. That way, one could save all the graphic work done for the mouse-over action on the menu buttons and just change out the top and bottom graphics for a different look. For example, like the first and second menu screen shots, one could quickly incorporate a company logo at the top.

Overall, the menu has to load in the browser fairly fast since the majority of the world is like me and doesn't have a high-speed connection to the internet.  Bandwidth and graphic file size is still going to be an issue.  Even if the user/visitor has a DSL, or whatever, the web site owner still pays for page downloads usually so keeping file size small is still a good habit to keep.  Since it is a menu system likely to be on all the pages on a site (in a frame or not), once the browser caches the first menu, it shouldn't be a problem.

The 11 different grafix that make up the 3rd menu (above) plus the html file only adds up to 36Kb.  The first and second menus come in under 20k.  The screen shots above are not actual menu size -- they've been reduced.  The third menu is kind of fun because the mouse-over action is like tweaking beads on an abacus rather than the typical button-depress style of the first two copper/leather menus.

So, that's what I have been up to lately.  If you need a set of menus for your web site, contact me and we can talk about it.  Or you can see what you can make with Paint and Notepad yourself.

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Thursday, February 19, 2004
Intentionally Blank

This day was intentionally left blank.

Wouldn't that be some shit?

Actually, if it wasn't for Melicious, you wouldn't have to endure any more of my rants here or anywhere else.  So, while I'm very thankful and happy, you can blame her.


Wednesday, February 18, 2004
Quake 2 - Power Sphere Quest

Quake 2 - Power Sphere Quest

Here's a review of another good Q2 SP/DM mod entitled, Power Sphere Quest, by Cedar Kraus. All PSQ maps are very nicely done and the action can be described as ... big.

Techno City

PSQ: Call Orkin! Background: As of late, the war on Stroggos has been going quite well. Many empty or damaged Stroggos installations have been looted of all values, and the Stroggos population is scarce now. Rumors have been going around about an alien sphere of untold power, hidden in a secret temple. You happen to come across some coordinates encrypted in a Stroggos storage device, and gather a few friends to go along on the search.
After being air-dropped to the coordinates, your team finds a cave leading to the back door of a city hidden by the large mountains surrounding it. The power-sphere must be found, at all costs!
The Crossover
I played this level pack on medium skill and had to continually cheat my ass off by pausing the game and giving myself health and armor. Techno City is completely infested with some very, very large pests like the big nasty freak shown above. It wasn't until after I had finished playing the entire game, and was looking at file names that I came across the author's instructions to play at skill level 0 (easy) for single player mode. Doh! PSQ: Find the green bridge
The Temple
PSQ: The Temple Rune Originally created for Death Match (DM) play, the maps are really interesting visually. It seems great attention was also paid to details and game flow in the large maps. While I have always been a big fan of secrets to discover in Q2 mods and there are absolutely none here, Kraus does an excellent job keeping my interest peaked in Single Player (SP) game play by forcing you to get keys to advance the story.
Power Sphere
His use of keyed doorways and exits to subsequent levels also turned a necessarily circuitous set of DM maps into a very playable SP game. If you enjoy the challenge of shooting up some of Quake's biggest and meanest monsters, you should play this mod. Cedar Kraus dares you to survive an incredible onslaught in Power Sphere Quest. PSQ: The Power Sphere - batteries sold seperately

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Tuesday, February 17, 2004
Quake 2 - Forces of Evil

Quake 2 - Forces of Evil

Here's the storyline of the great Q2 SP/DM mod entitled, Forces of Evil: 1-4, by Chris Spain. All four FOE versions have incredible maps, superb models and well planned game flow.

Forces of Evil I
FOE1: tank Background: This level is set before the events in Quake2. To most people the existence of the Strogg is merely wild rumour. The only people who know more are those who work for the Top Secret "Alien Counter-Insurgency Bureau". Investigating unexplained UFO sightings, alien abductions and other seemingly unlikely events, the Bureau has come to the conclusion that behind some of these events there lies a frightening reality.
It is the Bureau's opinion that a malignant alien force (known as the Strogg) intend to invade the Earth at some point. Current investigations indicate that the alien's home planet Strogg lies many light years from Earth, but that they have sent one or more spacecraft here in order to set up some kind of interstellar wormhole device, thus allowing a full scale invasion of Earth from Stroggos. In the last few days contact has been lost with the Freedom Space Station.

All attempts to locate a Strogg earth-side H.Q. have been fruitless. However news has just come in that a group of agents sent to scout-out one suspected site have not returned, raising the possibility that the captured agents might reveal the location of the Bureau's H.Q. under torture...

Now: It's the end of a worrying day at the Bureau. You're just getting ready to leave the Top Secret headquarters building when the Strogg attack! Using overwhelming force, and the element of surprise, the Forces Of Evil eliminate practically every agent within minutes. By chance you were in the basement bathroom when they attacked. Hearing the FOE approaching, you grab your blaster and get ready to fight ...

Forces of Evil II  
As sole survivor of the devastating Strogg attack on the Headquarters of the A.C.I.B., you are the only human who knows of the existence of the alien threat. The information stored on the data CD gave the location of the house in the hills where the agents disappeared, as well as plans detailing a means of access via the sewer system. Unfortunately, you will need to locate the lost agents to retrieve a set of fingerprint pads to bypass the building's security system... FOE2: Space Shuttle
Forces of Evil III  
FOE3: Low gravity - high view It seems that the Strogg launched an interstellar vessel some years ago designed to reach Earth and establish a bridgehead for full scale invasion.

In order to facilitate the invasion they intend to set up an interstellar wormhole device to act as an instantaneous gate between the Strogg planet and Earth orbit. A small preliminary gate is currently being prepared on the Strogg vessel...

Forces of Evil IV  
Having discovered this information you decide that the only course of action open to you is to get in the shuttle and head for the space station. When you get there you're going to show these aliens just who they're dealing with ...

If you can, you're going to stop them setting up the interstellar gate device. If it's already up and running? Well, maybe that thing works both ways, in which case you might just make a home call on the Strogg themselves ...

FOE4: This nasty bastard blocks the gate

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Monday, February 16, 2004
Quake 2 - Loki's Mission: Escape

Quake 2 - Loki's Mission: Escape

As far as Quake 2 Single Player mods go, Loki's Mission: Escape is a good one.

You are the only member of your platoon to be captured alive. You have been imprisoned on a Strogg space vessel on it's way to Stroggos, where you will most likely be turned into food. As luck would have it, you're able to overpower a careless guard in your cell and take his blaster. This is where we begin. What comes next is up to you. Good luck, you'll need it.

Loki's Mission: Escape has the lmctf plasma rifle making an appearance. It fires in 2 modes; spread and bounce. There is a new type of soldier called the plasma soldier. There are 2 varieties; 1 firing a bounce plasma rifle and 1 firing a spread plasma rifle. His model is the same as the other Q2 soldiers but you can identify him by his blue and black skin. His aim is better than normal but he dies just as nicely.
As told, you start out on the Prison Ship map, but soon you must take a space shuttle to the Orbital (map). Some very cool models were made for LM:E. Don't admire the two manned cannons too long or they might turn you into toast, if you don't take them out quickly. The Beyond the Teleporter map is an enormous outdoor canyon with a HFD energy-beam-powered disneyland skytram to take you from one end to the other end, where you enter the research facility.
After you kill everything in sight, accomplish your mission goals Within the Enemy and disable the facility defenses, you make your way back through the canyon and teleport back up to the Orbital. Once back up there, you Run Like Hell and take a shuttle back to the Prison Ship. This is where I accidently dropped the Quad through the friggin' window out onto the space cannon while trying to get a good kodak moment. Doh!
After you insert the data CD and fire the first volley with your HFD space cannon at the planet, some space fighters show up and all hell breaks loose. If you don't run across the bridge and fire the lasers at these fighters, they will continue shooting at the Prison Ship and you most certainly will die. Luckily, it's easy to press buttons in a frantic blind panic on the bridge. The lasers take out the fighters, and you can continue firing the big cannon. After it finally blows up, you get to hear the happy music and see THE END credits screen.

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