Monday, November 28, 2011

They Think It Be Like It Is But It Don't

Today Idontknow and I tried to play the most current version of Hypnophobia in Garry's Mod. Naturally, it didn't work out for a number of reasons, but this is to be expected. We weren't able to get a server working but it's probably for the better since my lack of a graphics card would mean the game would be a horrible confused mess of psychedelic colors... know, more then it already is.

Oh! That reminds me, today's lucky number is 85.3%! Whoever is sitting in Row 4, Seat 2 just won a brand-new Mark III travel machine, congratulations! It is now a distinct, but improbable possibility that the map MAY be done by the beginning of January.


What else? Well a very nifty entity in the Portal 2 build of the Source Engine has been brought to my attention, the so called linked_portal_door. From what I've seen so far it can lead to very intriguing topography:

I am going to make an abstract map for Portal as soon as possible and it is going to be all up in this. You realize that this makes Penrose Triangle shaped maps easy? Nay, child's play? I don't even want to try and consider all the totally bizarre possibilities this opens up. It would be the map supreme. It might be the gateway to my life-long dream of being able to break people's minds from across the internet.

Imagine if you will, a map with the same aesthetics of of Insomnia, but still clearly a Portal-style test chamber, twisted beyond any clear function and host to such anomalous curvatures of space-time that the Human brain can't help but surrender to the mematic hazard it's presented with. There would be checkerboard tiles of course, and the whole map would be an amalgamation of a city, swamps and the clean, bold lines of Aperture Science. There would be vortices of brightly colored light and floating platforms in an inky black abyss. Doorways that lead to rooms that are bigger on the inside, hallways that lead back to their start while staying perfectly straight, upside down rooms, the possibilities would be endless. And there wouldn't be a single peep about lemons or cake or whatever.

And player would be forced to burn Wheatley at the end. Nice.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Armory of the Daleks 2: Electric Bungaloo

A while ago I made a post about my ten favorite weapons from video games. Naturally, there's more I could mention, but that'll have to wait for another day. Now, it's time for the seven greatest weapons from media that isn't video games.

Lock and load ladies...

7. The Heat-Ray

Perhaps one of the earliest examples of a Directed-Energy Weapon, the Heat-Ray carried by the Martians in The War of the Worlds was, and still is an extremely devastating weapon, that, if it were to exist, would be nothing short of a Doomsday Device.

The book describes the weapon as "able to generate an intense heat in a chamber of practically absolute non-conductivity". The beam of destructive energy is reflected off a a parabolic mirror like a warship's searchlight. This heat, in the form of an invisible beam of light is able to melt glass, turn water into boiling steam, incinerate anything flammable for miles around and even melt lead like a hot knife through butter. We can only assume that it can toast bread a nice golden brown.

Later depictions of the Heat-Ray get even better as understanding of atomic physics improved. In the 1955 movie, the Heat-Ray is replaced with globs of glowing green energy that disables the interactions of gluons, "the atomic glue that holds matter together". This version turns everything it touches a sickly green before it fades out of existance, becoming immaterial energy "stuff".

Probably one of the only good things about the 2005 version of the movie, the Heat-Ray completely dehydrates it's victims, leaving behind nothing but gray dust and tattered clothing. Interestingly, this version looks and sounds like it's more electrical in nature then previous versions. This actually makes sense, and explains why people's clothing drifts away as if it was weightless, it's the effects of static electricity and an extreme lack of moisture.

6. The Zorg ZF-1

The Fifth Element was a very silly movie, but for all the right reasons. Probably one of the silliest aspects (besides Chris Tucker) is Gary Oldman's walnut of death up there. In the movie, he equips his alien henchmen with the Zorg ZF-1, an "all in one" weapon that puts Batman to shame in terms of sheer multipurpose utility. In it's introductory scene we're shown that it's a high-powered assault rifle that comes with a flamethrower, poison darts, a missile launcher and a freeze feature. Plus, it has a homing device that automatically directs the bullets towards the target, but only after they've been shot...which actually sounds kind of pointless. If the target's already riddled with bullets why go through the trouble to automatically project more bullets at them? Also, that big red button? That's the trigger for the self-destruct mechanism that destroys the gun and it's user in an enormous fireball.

Again, this was a silly movie.

5. The M41A Pulse Rifle

Aliens was a very different movie from Alien, much more action-packed. Good thing too, one movie is more then enough to explore all the hideous Freudian aspects of the Alien's life cycle.

The gun is actually a Thompson sub-machine gun prettied up to look futuristic. It features a handy little display to show how many bullets are left in the magazine and a nifty under-slung grenade launcher made from the foregrip of an SPAS 12 shotgun.

Interestingly enough, the name "Pulse Rifle" seems to indicate that the weapon uses electromagnetism to propel bullets, similar to real-world experimental coil guns and rail guns. They're said to fire caseless ammunition, only adding more weight to this little theory.

That's all fine and good, but what's really great is the sound the gun makes.

Skip to around 3:10. It's that wonderful change of pitch when it fires, it just sounds so futuristic.

Also, I apologize for Private Hudson's language, shame on him.

4. The Auto-9

I've only recently seen RoboCop all the way through. Naturally, I'm ashamed of myself for missing this incredible movie until now. There's plenty to love about it, not the least of which is the creepy-cool ED-209 robot, animated in stop motion, making it look very out of place in the rest of the movie, but in a cool "Oh God, this robot is going to leap off the screen to kill me." kind of way.

Anyhow, RoboCop's main weapon throughout the movie is the Auto-9 machine pistol, in actuality a a Beretta 93R dressed up to look like the silly-huge cannon in the movie. Apparently, RoboCop's gun was originally going to be a Desert Eagle, which is already unnecessarily huge for any pistol. But the gun actually looked too small when Peter Weller held it in the RoboCop costume. So they actually had to make a new even bigger gun to look appropriately menacing in his hand. I can only imagine what a regular person looks like waving that giant metal brick around. Pretty silly I imagine.

When he's not using it (which isn't often), the gun fits in a small compartment in RoboCop's thigh for convenient storage.

3. Ice-Nine

Ice-Nine is less "giant gun" and more "innocuous looking doomsday device", basically the Heat-Ray's evil opposite. First appearing in Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut, Ice-Nine is a special polymer of ice. It's an ordinary ice crystal, except that it's physical structure forces water it comes in contact with to adhere to it's shape, becoming more Ice-Nine. Instead of melting at 0 degrees Celsius it melts at a staggering 45.8 degrees (114.4 degrees Fahrenheit). I assume you can see how this would be a problem.

I really don't want to give away details about the book, so let's just say that it would be a very very bad idea to drop a cube of Ice-Nine in the ocean.

Thankfully, no polymer of ice has anywhere near the same properties as Ice-9. In fact, the real Ice IX polymer can only exist at very low temperatures and high pressure. However, the idea of self-replicating crystals, called seed crystals do have basis in reality. In fact, some malformed proteins called prions can replicate themselves like this. Prions, of course, are the culprits behind Bovine spongiform encephalopathy, more commonly known as Mad Cow Disease.

2. The Langford Basilisk

First appearing in the short story BLIT by David Langford, a basilisk, or "Medusa Weapon" is an image or sensation that is fatal to Human beings, usually in a fractal pattern. This is similar to the concept of a "brown note" or other mematic hazards, they're dangerous simply because the Human brain cannot process the information it's presented with without tearing itself apart. This is similar to what happens when people see Cthulhu, it's so mind-bogglingly horrible that the brain shuts down at the sight of it.

On the subject of basilisks, Langford has this to say:

"...the human mind as a formal, deterministic computational system -- a system that, as predicted by a variant of Gödel's Theorem in mathematics, can be crashed by thoughts which the mind is physically or logically incapable of thinking. The Logical Imaging Technique presents such a thought in purely visual form as a basilisk image which our optic nerves can't help but accept. The result is disastrous, like a software stealth-virus smuggled into the brain."

Terrifying! Of course, I'd never have an image of a real basilisk here, that would be irrespon-

1. The Dalek Gunstick

The ultimate weapon, the egg whisk of death: The Dalek Death Ray.

I'll be honest with you people, I know very little about Doctor Who outside of what immediately concerns the Daleks. If they made a show just about the Daleks, I'd watch it. I'd totally watch it, even if, nay, especially if, it was just them shouting "EX-TER-MIN-ATE!!!" for an hour.

Probably the best part of the Daleks, besides the voices and the plunger arm and the light bulb ears and the everything, is of course the Death Ray. Sources are vague on exactly how the Death Ray works, but from what I understand it's been claimed in Expanded Universe novels that it liquefies the internal organs of it's victims. Hideous! We're told in these same novels that the Daleks actually dial down the power on their weapons so it takes longer for their victims to die and even as I type that I am disgusted by the Daleks, shame on them!

Apparently, the beam can be deflected by a sufficiently reflective surface. Also, the gunstick is made from a metal called Silcronian which is heat-resistant and can repel laser rays or ruby heat which the Daleks used as ammunition...which doesn't really make sense.

Like the M41A, the Death Ray has a very distinctive sound which I can only describe as an ear-shattering shriek, like the sound of glass breaking, ran through a synthesizer and mixed with the scare cord in a horror movie soundtrack.

And that is why it is #1.

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Name of the Game

Ladies and gentlemen, Hypnophobia is now at an unprecedented 81.4% of it's entdata capacity. But don't bust open those champagne bottles just yet, there's still more map to come.

We've come a long way in a surprisingly short time, but there's still the matter of placing cubemaps, AI nodes and all sorts of other little bells and whistles. For now, I'm working on an extended action sequence. Without giving too much away, I will just say that it involves a house, a Tunneling Entanglement Device and snipers. Fun!

This area is at an awkward stage in it's development where any pictures will just make it look bad. This is the best I can do for now, yet it is inadequate for representing what I have planned.

I can reveal little, except that this map has been designed to torment the player with various hazards. I expect that Hypnophobia will be at least a full 64% more actively hostile to the player then it's predecessors, so assuming this is actually finished before year 2012 begins be prepared to put on your thinking caps.

I think before this map is truly finished, I will need to go back to some already-finished areas and deadly them up a bit, I'm thinking poison gas, or car crashes if at all possible. Environmental hazards are now the name of the game.

And sprites, we need a lot more of those. You can't have enough glitter.

ALSO, in case you haven't already noticed, I've been toying around with the blog's HTML in order to take advantage of all the empty space on either side of the screen. It was just sitting there, not full of words and pictures and being generally useless, so I did what had to be done and fiddled around with programming I don't pretend to understand and the blog is now a better place because of it.


Thursday, November 3, 2011

A Conspicuous Lack of Hypercubes

So here I am, thinking everything is fine and good, compiling the map when I check the entdata...

When no one was looking SDK compiled 68.9% of the map's entdata. It compiled 68.9%. That's almost as much as 70%.

And that's terrible.

I can only guess how quickly this map will be done at this speed, I'm not yet entertaining the notion that it'll be done this year. Maybe it will, maybe it won't.

Either way, let's take a quick peek at the exciting world of Hypnophobia, a work in progress...

The Paranoia Zone really does have a lively nightlife, you just can't see it because it's invisible.

An ever expanding wall of miasma, spewing chairs from it's spongy surface which are collected by the locals.

Is it an apartment building that's been turned into a prison? Or is it a prison that's been turned into an apartment? The choice is yours.

I blame my obsession with building places like this on that one episode of The Simpsons where Homer eats that psychedelic chili pepper. I must have watched it when I was very young and it's stuck with me since.

I've been wanting to make a creepy playground since before Paranoia was made, now I've finally gone and done it!