2.28.2010

Now he's really dead

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Well, it seems like I did it. The BIOS is gone. We were able to rescue the harddrive, so no data is lost. And I feel it's good that there is no big PC anymore I could destroy. I also feel like getting productive is a good way to go. Unfortunately my keyboard is a PS/2 keyboard and won't work with my laptop. Also, using a higher resolution on external monitors causes strange shifting errors. However, no cable mountain more on my desk! Hooray! It can only get better from now.

2.27.2010

He's dead, almost

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I hate hardware. I really hate it because I can't understand and combine it. I mean I learned how to plug in a new graphics or sound card, how to add more RAM and so on... but in the end it's only a set of actions I can remember if there's a problem. Two days ago I became infected by virus (whithout my knowledge), giving a bluescreen everytime you try to start windows. There was also a power outage and I thought it was a hardware failure. So, 2 days later (today) my dad cleaned the PC (he's an expert in things like that) and found and deleted a virus my scanner didn't detect. Fine. I installed the graphics and sound card again and connected them to the external power supply (I have a mountain of cables on my desk). Well, it didn't work. Somehow. And guess happened? So many so typical things. Like connecting the card wrong and confusing cables. After several tries and many failures it began to smoke. Yes, smoke. I finally destroyed my some parts of my computer. And I don't even know why and how! It's demonic! Really. I never do it right when it comes to hardware. It's just something I never get working right. Today is a bad day and I hope I can find a way to backup my harddrive. At the moment I'm using my laptop, but I need my source codes for working. Oh, hate such things! I began to program just because I wanted to make video games, no strange computer systems! I'm not a technology freak! I think the best is to return to what I wanted to make with computers: video games. Also, I think I don't need powerful hardware anymore. I mean yes, I like all the awesome 3D games, but that's not me. It's not the guy I was before. All this "upgrade your setup for the latest games" stuff came over me like a cloud of paralyzing poison. I mean I have great consoles, a way to create my own video games and that's everything I need to care about. There is no reason for me to be interested in doing everything right, like assembling PCs. It's not my thing and I won't bother about assembling my own PC again. It's too much. It's not my way, it's wrong. I'm getting depressive. I want my blackbox back. I'm only a human and can't think in thousand different ways!

2.23.2010

Guides

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Well, I'm playing Hack'n Slay games since I'm 12 and until I became 17 or so and never bothered playing without a system, a plan. A GUIDE. Yes, a guide. For example, I love Diablo 2 but on higher levels it's too complicated and forgiving. It's no more a game, it's a pain. And since your character depends on fucking awesome equipment it's all over unless you've done millions of runs on specific boss monsters. When I wasn't able to continue on nightmare, I read a guide to help me out and swoosh I knew a lot of things I did intuitively wrong before. I hate that about Diablo 2. You can play like everyone and with luck you will be able to kill Diablo. Maybe Baal, too. But later you need help because a lot of things look so unimportant but play a big role in if you can beat the game (especialll if comes to skilling and which skill is useful, which nor and so... a lot of reading and experience needed to find it out). Ok, if you play a barbarian... it's easy. Really easy. But a necromancer or sorceress definitely need more sophisticated plans. However, I don't want to guide D2 players. Yes, too, but mostly I'm interested in writing guides for Titan Quest! Yes, Titan Quest. The little big game I really love, it has found a place in my heart, especially because the publisher close it's development studios... The game has more to do with intuition and quick testing if it comes to how somebody can get to higher difficulties. It sucks at some points (you can't really play as a pure summoner for example) and newer patches make the boss enemy Typhon (I don't talk about the expansion Immortal Throne) so tough that no pet can help you kill him except if you've only skilled healing and the pet's skills. I like the original, non-patched version, but whatever. So I will start writing down my thoughts on how you can make character combinations in Titan Quest and how far you can come with them. I think I will use a table with column like: how far you can get (difficulty), how to play the character (hit'n run or just slashing, etc...) and some other things I can't remember at the moment. I hope this table will fit here since my blog is... rather narrow. But oh well, I have time to test it out! I have five and a half week free to throw away for timewasters, so I will write some guides for these games. I hate it when fan sites for D2 or Titan Quest start to "rate" guides, if they look like others and such. In the end this doesn't matter. If it's an imho good guide, a lot of things are only explained if it's necessary and don't need many abbreviations or spreadsheets for everything you can find in the game. This isn't the case for most Titan Quest guides, but D2 guide writers are fanatic asses who tear down the game and isolate every part just for sake of perfection. And the worst is that Diablo 2's developer, Blizzard, does support this data-driven shit by giving ultra-hard quest to meet the addicts cycle of doom! Seriously, I'm playing with a study friend and he was so fucking into this game that he even sold whole accounts with characters full with items and gems and runes and whatever shit... THAT'S SO FUCKING CRAZY. And it's really not healthy - mentally and physically. Ok, I'm playing this game too and started characters just to store equip I can't store on my character, but that's mostly because I love collecting and giving things for free - not because I want to do a big show or create a specific character model or something like that. I reached the point where it's no fun anymore. And my friend continues and continues and continues... I hope I haven't directed him into the wrong direction by saying I want to play with him. I also had my bad experiences with Diablo 2 (including many never done homeworks) but he managed the fail some of his exams just because he played like a manic ass. Also, he's stress-resistant and that's a not a good combination if it comes to real stress. However, he managed to come through the first semester without having problems. Congratulations! I'm happy that he did it. Really. Noone should loose such specific times in his life just because he/she was playing too much of addictive games. Therefore I like Titan Quest. It's almost a single player since nobody is playing it online. And that's a good thing! Because Titan Quest is a beauty which shouldn't be destroyed by stupid addicted online gamers.

Oh my, what did I write here? I feel like a mother saying killer games are bad and all children should only play puzzle games. Also, writing guides is some kind shitting wisdom. I mean who the fuck does it read except the one who wants to know specific things or can't pass a boss or so? It becomes so much of an elitist writing. Strangely enough, I'm kinda one if it comes to rhings like that. But admitting it is still better than saying nothing about it. The cool thing is that Titan Quest is forgiving enough to allow players to combine dozens of things on the fly just to test if it works. And you can also a lot of money to reskill your characters.

2.21.2010

One step further

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I though about what will happen when the main character dies in my titanic projects. Guess the best idea is to perma-safe the body where he dies and then player have to restart but is able to collect the loot his old body to ensure that nothing is lost if he is able to get to the place where he dies. Imagine! Your dying short before a huge massive monster. Then you'll back with less valuable loot, combining the old equipment with the new one to finally defeat the evil bastard who killed you.

I think that's great.

What and what not

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The last days I realised that what I really want to do. Saying that I refer to why I tend I'm a programmer and not a game designer. At first, I love technology more than designing and making videogames. I always ask myself: "What should I do from now? What do I want do in this game I'm making since one and a half year? What is the technology I need to make it true?". But in the reality it's an open question. The state of beeing able to limit what technology you want to implement to archieve what you really want is a gift - if you know what you want. I'm not able to decide what my game will be like, except that it will include everything I love with every technology I want to implement. And I want to implement EVERYTHING if it comes so far. That's the problem. Coding everything AND designing everything is far too much. And I don't to collaborate with others since it's my personla project. My home, my castle. It's also like huge fucking challenge. If somebody read what I wrote about my game, he or she willll probably know how insane the combination is. And performance-hungry. And performance-effective. And complex. And simple. And flexible. wut? I need months to implement things in the code since I want the perfect integration of it. I see my code is far more prototypey than I thought and requires a lot of work. But hey, I have 6 weeks of free time now and I guess I will start coding again. Just because I need something to do. Playing Diablo and Titan Quest all the time gets boring and I really dont want to review these 6 weeks under the knowledge that there is much stuff to do on it. I'm not in a devlock like many other indies when it comes to titanic projects like this. I feel bad when writing small pieces of code just to make the game run. No, I love the have a huge pulsating system of virtual communication system and data trees connected with eachother to form a fucking bizarre construct. I probably just like the idea and thinking about it itself. I mean that's like porn for me. I get awesome ideas and wild visions but in the there is nothing but the fiction and a desire for more. The reality is different and my dream can only come true when doing by myself. I have dozens of techniques I want to prototype there. Dozens to things where I'm not sure if have the motivation to implement them (mainly because I need a specific goal for what I'm doing - otherwise it would be strange prototypey stuff). That's a huge concern of mine and at days like today I really dont know what to do. Did I mentioned I continued playing Diablo II online? I switched to Expansion and was immediately satisfied by how complex and possible the options in it's system can be. Once I was interested in modding it and did also a lot of cheat tools to test what the game is able to do. The game has to possibility to make great things, but it doesn't them. Isn't it weird? They have dozens of features for items and such but they don't use them. There literally hundrets of spells done with a more or less flexible particle system and complicated stats formalus. It's like they knew how complex it could be, but in the end the technoloy isn't that awesome. It's awesome to get a moment when you break the intended. When you found a way to play a character that wasn't intended. And after it there is still the fascination about the system behind. Because it's a simple system, but people can change it to do dozens of things. That's what I love about this game. It's not the gameplay itself or the visuals. It's the technology. I'm playing it since I'm twelve and I was always fascinated by how well it works even with thousands of magic projectiles, transparent sprites and thingies. I know, nowadays this is typically, but must understand my computer upgrade story. I began with a 200 Mhz Pentium I processor and Windows NT when there where processors around with 6 times more power (I guess it was like that). Only build-in speakers, a 640x480 resolution and fucking big keyboard from IBM. I had this setup for years, my father gave it to me (he's a hardware freak with all kinds of fucking old and boring things) and I really hate that he gave me such a stupid little machine. But what I learned when I programmed on it was great, because the machine was slow and I had to watch out how much is happening on the screen. Then I decided to buy a 3.00 Ghz Pention 4 and everything changed except my attitude towards fast code for games. I began to program because I wanted to make games. No specific things. Just games. I had some awesome ideas and after RPGMaker and Blitzbasic I lost the interest in making the games I had ideas of because I know had something more interesting - more programming possibilites. It needed two commercial Basic variants to finally discover C++. Then it took me years to realise whats to awesome about it - but I kept on coding. I focussed pretty much on lowtech things (gamedev-wise) like software rending and memory management, it was a greate challenge. I mean I also had the ability to stick with my Basic languages and code games. But I wasn't interested anymore in designing them, so the reason for game programming flew away. No more reasons, no more need for it. My gamedev crazyness ended but I still say I'm coding a video game. I'm coding a video game. I use as an excuse for stopping game design. It's something I say for me, no for other people. I don't code games anymore. I code weird combinations of performance-heavy technologies and combine them to form virtual worlds. I don't even think about design anymore. I only have ideas about technology and that I want them to be combined in one piece of work. I love code. And I love alghorithms. It's weird and feel kinda technosexual saying this. No, not really technosexuality (since I'm gay enough to love men more than artificial objects). But it feels like that. I also share the weird love for letters, fonts and ASCII games. I mean they are great. I see them and I'm immediately satisfied. More than a modern 3D game can satisfy me. And thus I'm trying to combine. My love for code and alghorithms and my love for text. Most of my "game design" ideas are no game design ideas. They are exact representations of virtual worlds the user can explore. I think them game isn't appropriate here. When I'm thinking about what the final "product" will be, it's more like an area of interaction and exploration. There is no goal except the ones you set yourself. My visions are connected interacting systems where everything game-related comes by the user, not the program. I really don't know how to describe it exactly, but I feel like it's the only explanation for it. I see no future for me as a game developer or game designer. Maybe there is no desciption for what I'm doing.

I feel a warm sun melting the winter ice on my face. It's 9:30 am where I live. Time to do something.

2.09.2010

Why ASCII

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There was a little "discussion" on TIGSource about ASCII games and text as art instead of bitmaps. It was in a thread about an ASCII shmup with pretty good usage of ASCII art - animated and colorful with lots of moving things on the screen. Someone felt to give a rant about ASCII in general and I really don't understand why. I mean different people like different things. Some are 3D whores, some are pixel enthusiasts, some like smooth animations. And as a fixed font fetishist, this is really what I love about ASCII or text games in general - they consist of pure symbols. No such silly bitmap files, no too concrete things. And you may guess what I want to say here: it's symbolic. That means there are lots of ways to interpret how it could look in reality and your fantasy begins to play the game, too. Ever read a book and wasnt satisfied by the movie? Because your imagination gave you another understanding of it, another scene? A lot of people read books especially because they can choose how it looks in their head. That's the power of imagination. And the first time I played Nethack I had this exact feeling. Why is it a goblin? Why is this a statue? Could it be that this is the head and this it's sword...? Don't you see the cold, wet cave walls infront of you? Close to the Succubi throwing kisses and poisened magic at you? Look at her satanic eyes, smell the blood the on their lips and finally decide to kill her with two slashs from your previously imbued holy sword to give what she deserves - a death between thousands of other precedic creatures, leaving corpses where you stay just to look at them later when you'll return to where came. And all this happening in huge labyrinthic dungeon with dozens of new possibilities every new level you'll be able reach. Imagination is a powerful weapon and far more immersive for people like me. I can imagine a lot of things if there's no concrete representation. Games like roguelikes which only work with characters are really intensive. The power of words and screen characters. NO other kind of game visual can deliver that awesome feeling a roguelike can give. I don't talk about graphical roguelikes. No. They don't work that well. My personal vision is to make a game consisting only of text and font symbols - using all the light, effects and physics shit you can find in modern 3D games, too. To form something unique, something absolutely ASCIIrotic. Yes, that's my vision. And it will come true - even if it will take several years to make. I want to take text games to a new level of quality. The next level of text games. Next gen imagination.

NASA.TV

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There's an interesting thing on the internet. NASA.TV is it called. You can watch videos of space stations, the control center and so on, listen to transmissions and whatever else NASA-related. It's somehow cool Since I love having such things as background videos while I play games or talk/chat to other people. Sometimes it's even better than normal TV, but that's probably just me and my nerdy space love. Also, it's nothing theoretical. You can see all the stuff that's going on up there 24h long without having annoying comments by pretentious science journal readers. However, I love this stream. I can think about everything just by watching slowly moving images of our earth, space stations, stressed people in the control center and advertisement-like breaks. I'm not sure if it's live. But even if it's not, it's great.