When Daikatana Is Better Than Far Cry

29 Nov 2005
Continuing my tradition of playing games way after they come out, I am playing Far Cry. In general, this is a really good game. The outdoor environment is nicely immersive, and there is usually plenty of freedom to choose how to approach the objectives. The enemies show the ability to hide, and sometimes even flank. They still don't learn from the fate of their comrades; they do notice the bodies of their comrades, but they are happy to follow the same path and die in the same way. Seriously, any believable shooter AI needs a healthy sense of self-preservation.

I did not mention Daikatana in the title by accident. In some ways, the greatest difference between the two games is merely one of degree. I am speaking of the sidekick problem. In four years of game development, this limitation of game development has not been overcome: the sidekick that is an idiot. Far Cry is a better game, but not because the sidekick is more sophisticated; as far as I could tell, she isn't. Far Cry is better because the game designers avoid inflicting the sidekick on you as much. It boggles my mind that game programmers can't do something to keep the sidekick who must not die from running into my line of fire. In this category, Daikatana is better than Far Cry because at least I could order my sidekick to stay out of the way!
Update: I just got to the section entitled "Dam." I hereby give CryTek the all-time award for replacing game design with infinitly repetitive game reloading. I have seen this type of map many times before, starting with amateur levels for DOOM where you got a pistol to fight 12 Cyberdemons. Whee. 10 rounds - enough to kill 1 mutant - with a jungle full of them. OK, I suppose if I played this long enough, I could locate all the enemies in the jungle and build a optimum path to run through them to escape. If I even had the binoculars, it would be playable - I could use my vantage point to plan my course FIRST. But, the game designers weren't that generous. I challenge them to prove that someone could play through this game, at challenging difficulty (the setting I am playing at), and actually succeed on this level the first time through it. I don't see how it could be done.

Dystopia Game

25 October 2005
It's pretty sweet mod for Source. Here's my generated .sig from dys-stats.com:

CS:S Mapping: fy_parked

27 April 2005
This map is a 3 story parking garage.  There are ramps on each end and a stairwell in the center.  It's a simple map.  It's pretty complex by fy_ standards, though.  The CT's, starting on the roof level, have the advantage of being able to jump down on the ramps to the second level.  The T's have several places to hide on the bottom level.  The middle level has lots of cars available for cover.
(updated 2 May 2005)
Please give me feedback about this; I am not sure about the balance. I am thinking about moving the spawn points.
(updated 14 May 2005)
I did move the spawn points for both teams, to slow down the CT's and speed up the T's.
place the files included in the zip file into your Steam\SteamApps\your username\counter-strike source\maps\ directory.

Blog. (and other bridges)

4 Jan 2005
Banished Words List :: 2005
Simply put, words like "blog" are important to people at the time. They help move from the old to the new; "It's a log, but on the web." At my previous job, there was a person who really liked the term "eForm." I was annoyed by this, because I felt it was enough to just call it a form; "eForm" should be limited to use during training. The fact that it was "electronic" really wasn't that important. I see now that these words are just a natural stage in the language. From "Horseless carriage" and "wireless" to "blog" and "wireless" :) these words are used when people are adjusting to a new paradigm for how things are done. As illustrated by "wireless," these terms can actually come around again.

At some time, we should recognize that the transitional term isn't necessary and just use the regular word in it's place (unless the writer is trying to make a point).

Relative Awfulness

28 Nov 2004
I have played both Daikatana and Counter-Strike:Condition Zero today. CS:CZ is worse. I can't understand how they could let this product out the door with bots that throw grenades for no reason at all and worse, throw them so they land in close proximity to their friends! I like the variations in the "characters" of the bots - mostly whether they cooperate or not - but there is no excuse, especially for "higher" skill bots, to be so incredibly awful. OK, I know making computers seem smart is very difficult. However, this problem is inexcusable. Many times, a bot or two on my team would toss a grenade well before we contacted the enemy. Usually this would be somewhere that the grenade would bounce back into the middle of my team. That wasn't the worst case scenario. I'd rather have bots that just can't use grenades than this aggravation. BTW, I remember reading some gaming article giving a glowing report of how "human" the CS:CZ bots were. This must not be the same bot engine, because these are awful. Actually, that may be what happenened since this is the product of developer number five for CS:CZ.

I am glad that I didn't go out and buy this as a standalone product.

A more common problem for bots also appears to afflict CS:CZ. It's a problem that I like to call the "brick wall" effect. Low level bots are slow to react and inaccurate. Then, suddenly, the bots become amazingly accurate with incredible reflexes. Not just once in a while, but all the time.



18 Nov 2004
Well, I am done with HL2; it's a great game. However, the designer for d3_c17_13 disappointed me. After all the time and effort I had spent on taking care of my squad, they suddenly became total cannon fodder. There was no warning. On a previous level, Barney's comment that he would send any more citizens up to me was a good hint that my current squad was probably going to buy it. Here's my suggestion for an additional instruction from the NPC at the start of the level:
Don't worry about us! We'll try to support you and keep the striders occupied. You must get through!
...or something like that. The point is that I became frustrated by this map and how hard it was, and the fact that I didn't have sufficient firepower to take down the striders - until I figured out that I would have to ignore my "followers" and just try to make it through. It also took me a while to figure out that the Overwatch troops were going to keep on spawning until I moved up on them. THAT was annoying.

It highlights one of the well designed aspects of HL2, though. I knew that I was doing something wrong when I began running out of ammo. The game designers made sure that I was always able to get ammo when I needed it. I might run out of a particular type of ammo, especially if I was using it a lot, but it was rare for me to be short of ammo overall. Toward the end of the game, when my weapons were taken, I almost got pissed. It was done in a cool way, with a very nice replacement, which fit in very well. I just didn't try the alt-fire at first. I thought I was stuck with a short-range weapon at first, so I was ambushing the Combine troops at corners. I started getting pissed when I figured out that I wasn't getting the troopers' weapons or ammo. Finally I had to get my head "out of game" again, like I had in d3_c17_13 and realize that the designers couldn't be that cruel to me; then I realized I hadn't tried the alt-fire yet. :) The souped up health/armor situation and the absolutely sweet weapon, along with the Administrator's comments, brought to mind a quote that describes that whole part of the game for meI am become death, destroyer of worlds. And not in the Einstein sense, either.

Eventually, I would like the chance to piss off the G-Man.

I would have put in at least one other pod ride before the last one; perhaps by breaking up the initial one? It would have made the last ride make more sense, instead of seeming like a really dumb thing to do. Would Gordon be that dumb? I don't think so. Another little peeve; Combine troopers show the same unreasoning hatred of Gordon that the HL1 Grunts were afflicted with. Just once I would like a bad guy be grateful to me for saving him from a horrific death.

You Magnificent Bastards!

18 Nov 2004
d3_c17_08; It's like you took the idea out of my brain and made it better than I could ever have hoped to. Not the lower part, with the water flow section. That was sweet, but probably not how I would have done it. The upper part, with the hoist and the catwalks and the tanks and Oh My.

Crimes against video game players:

Shaking up the Combine

16 Nov 2004
I stayed up late last night and helped an old friend join the resistance. He got in on a train at 0300 this morning. It took a half to three quarters of an hour for him to process in. Then I helped him get started until about 0700. I'll be back to helping him escape 17 as soon as I get my morning ration. Another benny of the Resistance - sometimes, we get some real food, usually stolen. Sometimes redirected by friends in CP kitchens. MMM! Leftover pizza for breakfast. I have to make it through a couple of blocks to go get it. It will be worth it.
This Gordon Freeman sure has the Combine scared. Anyone, anywhere in the city can see that, just by looking at the tower. That is great, by itself. Even people outside the resistance know that there is something or someone that scares the crap out of the Combine! I hope I can help him get through. We're getting slaughtered by them.

Daikatana Is A Fun Game, Until You Reach A Sidekick.

16 Nov, 2004
I have been playing Daikatana in the background, for the last month or so. More later. The "crematorium" is an excuse for a lot of gratuitous mutilation - not by the player, but the "disassembly line" that you have to watch as you play. It's like being on a tour of a gore factory. bleh.

Playing Unreal for the first time

19 Sept, 2004
I am playing Unreal for the first time, and I am reviewing it as I go.


18 May, 2004
Finally, a new version of es_bottle to release.  I still need to do more texture improvement, and lighting tweakage.  THEN I need to look at decalling & the Cool Gameplay Setup.  This will probably go to release as as_bottle.

Give us the Theatrical Release!

3 March, 2004
In 1997 George Lucas released an updated version of the original Star Wars trilogy, known as the Special Edition. I thought it was a great idea, and I really looked forward to an updated version of these great movies. I am glad that he had the opportunity to improve his vision of his stories.
For an artist to attempt to ignore and hide the original artwork which we came to love? That's plain rude.
It is rude to the rest of the artists who added to and allowed you to realize your vision. It is rude to all of us who watched your story unfold and made it a part of our lives. It is even rude to the George Lucas of 1977, 1980, and 1983 who put his sweat and toil into making the best films he could at that time.
OK, I guess Mr. Lucas is entitled to be rude to his past selves.

One final thought:
It wouldn't matter if noone cared.

Why we will beat the spammers

25 July, 2003: Yep, we will beat them. IMHO, here's why:
1. There's more of us than there are of them.
2. We're smarter than they are.
3. They just make money from spam. It makes us angry.
4. It's about attacking the Internet, stupid!