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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Monday, February 23, 2004
The Swiss are strange people

We think our cat is gay

One thing that playing all that Quake recently did for my brain was to make me remember how much fun it was to create maps and levels for Doom and Quake back when "the dinosaurs roamed the earth" and we all had orgasms ripping off Circuit City or Best Buy by returning our old 2400 baud modems in the 28.8Kbps modem box thus getting it the upgrade for free.  Okay, so we're all going to hell for stealing.  Mayhem or Hygelic might ... I think it was one of their bright ideas.

Speaking of dinosaurs, I saw on SNL's Weekend Update that since creationism is now part of the curriculum taught in favor of darwinian evolution in some schools, dinosaurs will now be referred to as "Jesus Ponies".

Back to Quake.  I promise to stop inundating Thunderstorms with mod reviews.  If I start perseverating again, I'll just post-date some entries to have them publish no more than once-per-week or something.  Maybe we can start a "Blood Splatter Monday" tradition?

But, playing Quake again did get me back in front of the monitor thinking about digital grafix.  Here's a web site I came across a while ago with some interesting digital art, so to speak -- XCult.  You people with high-speed connections should have some fun.

Another thing I've been meaning to publish here is the link for the One Word Movie.  I put in the word Melicious and got to see more of that freaky Texas Roller Derby Chick.  So, check that out, too.

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Sunday, February 22, 2004
Q3A - OverWhelming Hostility

It's frag-a-licious!  OverWhelming Hostility is described as a little/medium-sized green gothic map for tourney and Death Match by its  designer Auhsan.  It's really a very nicely done level with an assortment of strategically placed weapons and goodies inside a cathedral structure.  There are only two places to get yellow armor -- very near the rocket launcher respawn location and a more visible spot that seems to be a hub of activity in a courtyard.  This spot is very near where I found myself trying to maintain control of the area where a sole megahealth respawns.

The megahealth ledge offered a nice high-ground advantage to the courtyard and armor shards on the ramp located behind this position would often alert you to anyone sneaking up to blast one in the back of your head.  Unless, of course, you killed the first bot, returned to look out on the courtyard and a second or third bot came up silently from behind before the armor shards respawned.

The majority of the time the armor shards worked as an alarm to check your own six, though.  Facing out onto the courtyard, you can monitor three entrances into this area and two exits.  The first entrance and exit is the ground level hallway and a teleporter in the courtyard on the same ground level is the other exit.  A teleporter destination coming from the rocket launcher respawn area deposits a number of potential victims directly across your position in the courtyard tower.  They are not helpless though, as this is where the plasma rifle respawn is located.  In addition, a bot might just teleport up there with any number of the highly effective range weapons, like the plasma rifle, rocket launcher or a sniper's favorite, the rail gun.

While a happy camper like me can stayed jacked up on megahealth for eternity, Auhsan still makes me go off my perch and hunt down some quick ammo once I deplete it into the virtual corpses of the hapless bots.  Ammo is also strategically placed far enough away from its given weapon to discourage too much static camping.  Auhsan thanked a number of beta-testers in his info file, and I thank them too.  This just goes to show that a good idea for a Quake level gets better with play testing it over and over to tweak it out one more time.  This is an awesome good map for 3-5 players.

Download AUH3DM1A.ZIP from fileplanet, extract the PK3 file into your Q3 Arena directory and launch Q3 Arena as you normally would do to play the game.  After the first menu is shown on your display, pull down the game console (your tilde key) and type in "/map auh3dm1".  The map will load and the game will start.  Then for single player, just go to the "Add Bots" menu and bring on some of your favorite bots to the fight.



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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