Wednesday, 26 December 2007

The Source

I just found this one again, watched it and felt like writting something about it. It's a kind of demos without much code or special effects but just the usual thing that is called art (minimalism, ambience, noise or anything else). In the past when I was hungry for codepr0n, when I tried to watch such kind of demos I either pressed esc and/or gave bad critics on demoscene sites. Nowadays I seem to enjoy those strange demos more and generally when I start watching I am aware that I don't have to expect a classic demo style rather something weird I'd feel like diving into.

It's a scrolling text that is hidden by a rubber bar and scanlines on the screen are displaced randomly bearing noisy patterns. It's like there is something important on the text but we can't totally see it. I can relate to keywords in the text which motivates me to try to fully read and understand it. Later, buzzwords from the text scroll up. The message is fuzzy to read but are the specific words enough to get a meaning? Or is it that there is no real meaning in the text, totally randomly written, yet our dedication to words and sense makes us understand something that is not there?

As much as I am thinking it, it gets more interesting. The second time I have watched it it had the same effect on me, I was totally sucked into it, it has some great atmosphere or something in the text had me stuck there? I don't know. I just felt like writting about this demo (someone wouldn't call this a demo). Btw,. it was originally for ZX Spectrum but there is a PC executable now that everyone can download and watch without the need of an emulator.

Check it here!

Tuesday, 25 December 2007

Action Doom

It seems that I spend a lot of time playing doom WADs, so here is another one :P

What can I say about Scuba Steve's Action Doom? In fact I have played it years ago and remembered it again and tried to replay it again to stare at it's level design and art. I think it is the most genuine doom WAD ever, a marvelous idea, yet it's a bit unplayable at some points.

What we have here is taking the doom engine (zdoom actually) to create an action based game similar to metal slug and contra. The work is astounding, several of the textures, weapons, screens and objects seem to be pixeled and the quality is great (unlike other gfx enhanced WADs where they are mostly taken from other FPS), the gameplay is linear in a sense of walking forward like in action games and if you want to play all the levels you have to not select the very easy difficulty. In the normal difficulty if you are hit by a bullet you die. Just like in 2d action games. And both you and the enemies shoot bullets which float like spheres in the air, yeah just like 2d games. Crazy idea but it gets too difficult at some places where the area is small or there is some tank or cannon which needs many hits to be destroyed,, just like metal slug and contra, but here it needs way too much bullets.

What can I say? It's a wonderfull technical and artistic work as a WAD, there are different paths to take in the 2nd level either driving a boat, jumping over cars in the highway (once you fall off you die, this was extremely hard even with save :P), there are coin ops you can actually play, a super mario world secret, alien bosses inspired from contra, laboratories containing farming aliens in containers, various jokes and references, even great music that is module based I think and not midi, there is a great amount of cool stuff in it and you can only see a very tiny ammount in these screenshots. Freakin amazing stuff!!!

Also check the youtube link of the 1st level to get an idea. What can I say? A WAD of great quality which is although is annoying to play. Will Scuba Steve make Action Doom 2 in the same quality but maybe more playable? (I'd suggest that when you are hit by a bullet and die to continue from that point with a life less instead of starting the whole level from the beginning. That would still be like an action game, wouldn't it?)

Monday, 24 December 2007

More WADs

I've just finished Community Chest 3. I have to say that while the detail and amount of work are very high, it started bugging me near the end. The levels are too big and it's getting too hard near the end that I had to IDDQD in order to finish it (Not that I wouldn't be able to win by pressing the save key every 5 seconds :P). I am playing B2B right now and I'd have to say my favorite recent megaWADs in order are B2B>1monster>CC3. At least in terms of how much I enjoyed playing not detail or amount of work. In the CC3 screenshot above you can see my Doom SNES and XBOX =)

Back 2 Basics by Espi. IT ROCKS!!! Pure oldschool Doom 1 gameplay with some great looking areas, not extremely detail but I like minimalism and here the use of texture and architecture looks great, episode 2 replacing with a great looking sky and simple gameplay that I purely enjoyed. The two screenshots just above and below are from this one.

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Trilby: The Art of Theft

I was quite happy to play the new game release by Yahtzee featuring the Trilby character. In the past I started playing his adventure games created with AGS engine (in the future I plan to write some articles about his adventure games and other AGS games in general) and also his action adventure games (flashback like) that always kept me playing not just for the gameplay but especially for the story/atmosphere he very well plants into his games. When I download a game from Yahtzee I know that I can't be disattisfied.

Art of Theft is an action adventure game similar to his 1213 series but with a stealth based gameplay. Personally these kind of games, while I find them clever, frustrate me a lot because I am too inpatient and have to start all over again. In few words, you must steal some houses without being noticed or tripping onto the laser alarms or zap too many guards with your umbrella. And you get to know that if you are spotted more than e.g. 3 times, Trilby throws a smoke bomb and dissapears. And then you have to play the same stage from the beginning. Someone needs patience with this kind of games and if he doesn't own any he plays more recklessly each time he looses :P

Still, because I was too curious to finish the game and there is also a nice conspiracy story build in the scenario, I did managed to break my nerves and it wasn't as hard as I first thought. Playing the game again from the beginning, I am getting better while I discover that it's not that hard to finish the levels with a perfect mark (which is a Trilby hat :). After finishing the game, there is also a challenge to play all levels non stop with a greater yet limited number of watches and umbrella zaps. I don't know if I'll have the patience for this..

Yet if you learn to play well, it gets quite fun! Finishing a level in less time, without any guard/alarm noticing you, no zaps used and getting as much loot as possible gives you better marks (C,B,A and a hat for the best) which either gives you reputation points or reveals more surprises at the end of the game. Gaining enough reputation points you can buy various moves/tricks, like rolling down, climbing on the ceiling, more zaps/watches, better door/safe unlock abilities and quite more stuff I haven't bought yet. There is even a wardrobe where you can get several new outfits as a bonus :)

You will love it, especially if you are patient enough and enjoy stealth games. I did like it while I am not used to play such games!

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Sequential by Andromeda

I recently watched this demo in youtube and I liked it very much. It has something unique compared to several other still good Amiga demos. Something that makes this demo very special to remain in my mind.

Usually, I enjoy most Amiga trackmos for their code, music and transitions but most of them look the same. They bare some usual characteristics that make you think this is a genuine Amiga demo but you feel like you have seen that somewhere before. There is always a glenz cube, a dot sphere, flat polygons, transitions using those flat polygons that hide parts of the screen, the same sine scrollers, shadebobs, cooper effects, similar minimalistic color design, the same dot effects, etc. Well, I always applaud these demos since they are very well coded and designed, yet they all look the same.

Sequential starts with a very nice presentation with jelly letters and bubbles and there are at least 3 effects/parts that are very unique and haven't seen them somewhere else before. There are still polygons, vectorballs and lines yet it's not only the more unique 3d objects they build but also the special way they are used here. I loved to see a nice smooth flat shaded magnet attracting some vector balls upon it's surface and was especially astonished by the combination of lines and vector balls to form a plant that looses it's seeds as it waves around in the air. I think every screen in this demo is unique, like the flat rollercoaster, mirror cube, the electric plasma sphere, even the regular 3d wireframe show which now has unique objects, not the predictable ones.

I like the demos which instead of showing the regular cube, tetrahedron, dodecahedron objects, they show human like objects like a hammer, a keyboard, a computer chip, a bottle, etc. Why doesn't everyone try to think of more original parts instead of copying screens and ideas we have seen before? I guess I should ask the same about my own demos. Sometimes it's the urge of newer coders to create demoparts resembling those made by our scene grandfathers. Or maybe lack of time before the deadline to think of something more original. And other reasons too..

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

The Man from Earth

Yesterday I laid back in the couch to watch some movie with my brother and we have randomly selected The Man from Earth. Judging from the poster and the genre it was not what anyone would expect. Yet I was immersed from the very beginning and wondered if it will be similar to this all the way till the end. I loved it and I am gonna watch it once again more carefully!

I think this is a kind of movie that a specific group of people will like and the opposite group will get bored of it. There are people out there who get sattisfied by the inner substance of things while others stare at the package/external beauty. The movie starts with a man who packs his stuff and says goodbye to his close friends as he decides to leave his homeplace. Everybody wonders what the reason for that decision is and the man while hesitant at first decides to reveal his secret. His origins goes way back in the Cro-Magnion age, who as a caveman for some unknown biological reason does not age over 35 years old. He has lived through all human history under diferrent identities accumulating knowledge and wisdom from different places and times. Of course nobody believes him at first.

Later, this emerges into a thrilling dialogue with his friends (Who are professors of anthropology, history, religion and similar fields that match the story) combining philosophy, history, religion, psychology, being a wonderful mix between scepticism and belief. It's really interesting to observe how people react to his story, their change from disbelief to belief, their anger, their bore, their hypothetical questions that challenge the reliability of his story, their feelings, their primary beliefs being challenged. "How would you react if I just told you that I am a caveman who has survived for 14000 years till this moment?" is the first hypothetical question that the protagonist raises to carefully start this conversation. Really, people's attempt to find flaws in his story and the challenging hypothesis that the protagoinst shares remind me very much of John Titor's timetraveller story. Hmm,. the protagonist is also named John in all his IDs..

While someone would expect the plot to shift from the philosophical forum under the influence of Johny Walker to some kind of action/different setting (maybe a visual flight from the beginning of John's past till today?) it ends up in the same room where the caveman reveals more about his story to his friends while being challenged to the bone. Boring? Fascinating!

If you like philosophy and you can enjoy the inner essence and atmosphere of a told story without expecting something external to please your senses then this is for you!

Sunday, 9 December 2007

1 monster megawad

It's finally here!

Each map contains one single monster type. I especially enjoyed the first imp map, the shotgun troopers and chaingunners maps, the first demon map and the cacodemon one. There are 25 levels (Few monsters share more than one map) with lot's of action and interesting details and textures. I really enjoyed beating the crap out of this map!

At the same period I am (still) playing Community Chest 3. It's a huge megawad finished by various members of the doom community and each map is unique in detail and size (sometimes I am tired running around specific confusing maps though) and there are several good maps with great surprises either in design or gameplay. I might post some more screenshots and details when I finish playing this one. The screenshot below is from CC3 and not from 1MW, while above you can see a screenshot of the cacodemon only map with a very atmospheric archway.