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Let Bygones Be Bygones...

Let bygones be bygones...but where I'm from,
We buy guns and more guns, to give to the young.

And that's how you stay young forever. You never grow old.

Me? I'm less from Compton, more from... Computer.

My Bike

Just as I was planning to start taking the bike a part of my commuting distance each morning, from Kungsängen to Bro, in an effort to drastically improve my state of being come this summer: it's gone. The bike. Gone.

They stole it. Fucking assholes. Chopped or sawed through the solid metal ABUS 46/150 U-lock and rode away with it. Or stuffed it in a truck and rode away with that. Whatever they did with it. Middle of the day. Right in front of the train station. I came back from work to find the remains of the lock just hanging there on a metal rod.

If you happened to read the blog a few years back you'd know I was pretty fond of this bike. I haven't used it as much as I used to use it back when it was bought, but the past years I've been at least taking it back and forth to the train station whenever weather allowed, and sometimes when it didn't - slithering slow in slush and snow - but now those days are over.

I filed a report with the police and insurance company after dinner (who'll no doubt cut a slice off the original price - hopefully it at least qualifies for insurance), and am now looking for new buys again... it probably won't be anything within the same price range, since it wasn't cheap, and I'd hate to lose a new one, but then again you won't get any larger a return on your insurance with a cheaper bike than a more expensive one so... will maybe reconsider when/if that claim goes through.

Also hear there's GPS tracking stuff available these days. Camouflageable.

I'm keeping a close eye on second-hand sites too. If a familiar bicycle just happens to pop up you'd better believe I'll be quick to proclaim my interest in said item. Meet up with the seller. Somewhere dark. Desolate. Wielding a suitably blunt and heavy object to exact justice upon said individual in the event that my precious property not be willingly returned to me...

Well no. I'll probably just bring company.

Company with blunt objects.

Wouldn't that be cool though? If the bike actually pops up on a second-hand site somewhere, I mean. If it's actually possible to get back.

I don't really believe it ever will be, or that official officials will ever stumble upon it either. For now I'm waiting on the insurance claim to go through, and seeing what new and/or second-hand purchase the budget will then allow me. Already looking, but I guess I'm walking to the train tomorrow.

I really liked that bike though. It's not just a financial thing, even if that part does feel pretty sour. Especially since I paid extra for bike insurance for three years... right up till this one. Figures. Don't steal bikes y'all.

Or better yet: don't steal.

Plutonia 2 Shots

So I'm done with Plutonia 2, got rid of the game as promised, and last but not least: just gotta share some of these!

Pictures, that is. I took a few. Mainly of the architectural details, because the architecture's impressive, and especially the latter levels are a work of art not just design-wise, but in regards to what they accomplished with the editor. Like the final staircase. Considering DOOM is built in fake-3D - as the early, ahead-of-it's-time-epic game engine in the making that it was, and single layer, I'm really curious how they built those stairs.

If you haven't thought about it before: look carefully next time you play the game, and you'll notice that levels never have multiple levels, anywhere, only platforms of varying height/location. There's never a first floor directly under the second one, but more so beside it. The designers cleverly make levels in such a way that you never really think of this, though it does pose certain limitations on how a level can be made, and how you need to go about making it feel like it's truly dimensional. So those stairs where you actually walk around the center: really cool. Since it should be technically impossible. Could it be a ZDoom thing...?

Most seem to do a masterful job with this too. Maybe it's easier to work with than it sounds like it should be. One-layer multidimensionalism.

Not to mention the invisible bridges - I've seen some of those before though, the Cyberdemons suspended in the air, the gates that open inwards, the teleportation paths and what have you. Not impossible, but illusive, and clever. I love to find little tricks of the trade like that, and even more so actually figuring out how they did it. Invisible textures. Teleports. Custom animation to give the illusion of movement.

Sometimes it's easy to explain.

If you start looking at the game design as you play there's so much to be impressed with. It's on a whole other level compared to the original Plutonia - even if I enjoyed that one too - but still seems to follow a similar vein considering the arena-type levels with multiple Cyberdemons. The epic dual Cyberdemon gates. The hella difficult finale with three Cyberdemons and an icon of sin amidst them...

I actually cheated a bit with that last level. I had to. Just wasn't ready for it. Maybe I'll replay it again in the future and take on the challenge in full, but for now here's a little glimpse of those bits of design that I love.

Wish I'd taken more. Earlier on. Will do next time.

Splat

(more…)

The Plate Flip Trick

The Plate Flip Trick

Now this really flips your mind a bit.

Gmail Turns 15

Happy Birthday Gmail!

Maybe you've seen the signs lately? The blogs? The loading screens?

Been thinking maybe they'll throw in a few extra features to celebrate, but it doesn't seem that way. Yet. Still hopeful though.

In line with their 15th anniversary I've been using the service for just about 14 myself! Been there from the start. Before the beta. From that first phase of true email service innovation, anticipation and promise.

I'm still not a fan of all the design changes they've made along the way, but in general it's definitely been more good than bad. It's hard to find an email service that really compares. Except maybe Tutanota.

Here's to another 15 though! And then some.

DOOM Phase

I've been a bit stuck in DOOM the last week. Maybe two weeks. I'm not sure how it all started, but it ended with me playing through the fourth episode again, followed by the Eternal DOOM megawads TNT Evolution and Plutonia... and then I somehow found out there was a sequel to the latter, which I'm playing through right now.

It's taking a while, because apparently these episodes are hella long compared to the original episodes, and this particular one seems to be way longer than the ones before it.

In the beginning I was honestly feeling a bit tired of the game and the level designs overall, wondering why I'd picked it up again, but also why I didn't feel as into it as I've been before. The first few levels just didn't have me hooked. I pondered dropping the project, but the further I go the better it gets, and recently I'm awed by the aesthetic of each new level I encounter. From looking forward to finishing the episode I've started hoping I can make it last just a little longer with each level that goes; wanting to see what type of architectural quirks they might come up with next.

It's not just in the structure of the levels themselves, but in the textures, certain additional graphics, most recently a little Commander Keen sprite dropped into a bath of fire, and little bits of trickery like I remember from the old levels. Not just the jumpscares and aggravating teleportation hordes, but the lack thereof. The anticipation. The feeling of hitting a switch and wondering if THIS is when that Cyberdemon you've been staring at for the past fifteen switches will finally come to life and shoot a barrage of rockets at you.

That and the houses of living flesh. The invisible bridges. The little details that make it all so worthwhile, and in the latter levels in particular the demonic hordes, spawned not in unison but strategically, one group of foes at a time, more similar to the open-layout levels of Serious Sam than to DOOM. And I loved that game too. It's an awesome hybrid.

Apart from the design the difficulty level is also an extensively higher one, and I've lost count of the amounts of Cyberdemons that've been on lure in these levels at this point. And the masterminds. With each one I thought it was finna be the final level. The boss fight. But no: it just keeps on going. I'm having a blast. So much so that the recent corrupted save file issue (more on that later) isn't bothering me at all right now.

Though I started this session of DOOM remniscia feeling unexpectedly tired of this particular franchise I don't feel so any longer. I'm having a blast. I want to play more. I'm looking forward to trying out Sigil, too, Romero's newest promise: a full fifth episode, albeit an unofficial one, meant to tie in to the original DOOM saga.

It's got me plotting a whole new marathon, with all the original episodes in order again, and maybe I'll catch it on video too and upload it somewhere. Been feeling like these occasional gaming sessions might feel a wee bit more useful if I do. Extra views too. No extra income because YouTube rates are crap these days, plus third-party content with the music and what-not that'd hinder proper monetization anyway, but at least it'd be out there. At least there'd be something to show for all this spent up time.

Speaking of third-party content this latest segment of my dooming sessions features a pretty fresh, dystopian; true-to-the-original-style original soundtrack too.

I've played a fair share of community WADs at this point, but this might very well be my favorite thus far. It's definitely one of them.

It feels like the series is coming to a close, though. i was thinking I'd run through the levels tonight. All of them. But I think I'll leave the last few for tomorrow instead. Something to look forward to. Something to savor. Plus the bobbing motions in these old FPS games still make me mildly nauseous after extended play. Much less with DOOM than say Wolfenstein 3D, or Duke Nukem, or Marathon, or Chasm, or pretty much any of the other ones from the same time (probably thanks to an appreciatively spacious level design with less bobby ceilings right in your viewpoint).

But anyway, what I was coming to was: after this that's it. I get lost in games all too easily, and I need to take a break from this one at least. So when Plutonia 2 is done I'm clearing out my DOOM directory and starting fresh next time I play. It's a good time as any. And a good time to get the latest versions of the mods and ports I'm using, and put them all in a directory uncluttered by a surplus of other experimental files. You forget which ones really serve a purpose. Which ones really need to be there. Sometimes you just gotta do some drastic things. Start fresh.

I know it'll be a counter-productive move until next time I get to playing the game again, but that'll be a while. I'll make sure of it. After this it's time for a long hiatus from Hell - not until the game beckons again but until I really have the time for it. You can't rush these things. The days aren't over yet. It's still a game to savor. Later.

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