Friday, December 30, 2011

Don't Do Drugs

Well it's been a little over a week now since Hypnophobia was released on the unsuspecting public. On GameBanana it's been downloaded 129 times. On it's been downloaded 488 times. And of course, in the in game Toybox on Garry's Mod it's been downloaded on 8,471 separate occasions. As of this writing it's been downloaded a total of 9088 times on the various websites it's been uploaded to.


Like I said, I've been resting on my laurels and generally enjoying my renewed sense of unwarranted self-importance. I've found that releasing a map, and the nigh-universal praise I receive in response is the only way I can inflate my ego anymore. It's like a drug it's terrible.

"But Tyler!" I hear you shout at your screens. "You think you're hot stuff but you're not, surely someone doesn't like the map."

Well, most likely there are such malefactors, but if there are they haven't said anything yet. I'll be sure to keep you all informed if I do. In the meantime, I did receive these:

"This guy must smoke some hardcore weed before he makes map"

-☣ Fox ☢

"awesome but short like shit make em longer I STILL LIKE THEM! btw do you smoke like weed or get a heroin injection when [you] make these maps? lol"


This is something of a milestone. No one's accused me of using drugs yet (I don't). Finally, I'm in the big leagues! So just in case any big name developers like, oh I don't know, Valve are reading this I'm willing to work from home for little pay, have the means to do video conferencing and able to make quality maps in as little as four months assuming I have no help from a creative team and I can sustain myself on little more then saltine crackers and water.

Call me.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The End

Ladies and Gentlemen, it's finished. Hypnophobia is complete!



That's right, after a little over four months, the end of the Paranoia Trilogy is complete. It's been a long journey, full of heartache but it was worth it. We've all learned something about ourselves and about Source.

First of all I would like to thank my play-testers, or more like play-tester because my sister was the only one who consistently tested it during it's development. Oh sure, Idontknow and Ramzca may say they tested it, but that was only once or twice. But whatev's.

I would also like to thank M.C. Escher, if he was here today I'm sure he'd be slightly confused, mainly because his presence would involve time travel. No doubt he'd be more interested in that then these maps. But whatever.

I won't lie, this whole undertaking was my idea, everything you saw here was the work of my own two hands. Is this selfish? You bet your boots it is. But even I have to admit this wouldn't have happened without the help of lots and lots of other people much more knowledgeable of the Source Engine then I am. Half-Wit 2 and the Valve Developer Wiki were the biggest help and I've learned a ton from these two websites.

So what's next for Paranoia? It's hard to say. I don't want to admit it right now, but I have a feeling there will be more maps. Not right now of course, I can't stand to look at Hammer right now and I probably won't for month or two. I'd really like to write some short stories to tie in with the maps, maybe spawn a little multimedia franchise here.

No matter what happens, the journey isn't over. Paranoia will live on. Meanwhile, I'm going to rest on my laurels for a bit, maybe make an earnest effort to interact with the real world (for once). Don't hold your breath though, there's no floating checkerboard tiles or inside-out buildings out there, so there's not much that I want.

Stay tuned.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Penrose Edge of Death

Good news everyone! One of my super-cool Internet friends, Obtusegoose stole one of my ideas.

Alright, maybe "stole" is a bit harsh. Nonetheless, I mentioned that the creation of a Penrose Triangle would be easy in Portal 2 with the use of the linked_portal_door entity. While I was hoping I would be the first one to do it. Obtusegoose beat me to the punch. So good for him, I guess. I'm not even bitter or anything.

Anywho, Hypnophobia? Entdata is currently at 115.7%. Basically, it's impossible to make any more, just to tweak what's already in the map for optimal excellence. I'm serious you guys, it's almost done, I just need to stop having anxiety attacks and actually finish it.

So what actually needs to be done? All this:
  • Fix the timing at one secret spot so something's reaction to some explosions is less casual.
  • Basically fix up all the AI to make it more hateful to the player in general.
  • Make the super-cool ending scene.
  • Cubemaps, what's weird is that I only have like two cubemaps in the whole map, but everything renders just fine, I'm going to have some cool internet friends (who don't steal from me) test it to see if they see the same nice shiny textures that I do.
And that's it! It's practically done, but I'm not going to release this thing until it's good and ready, which will probably be this month anyway.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Critical Mass

Map production took a turn for the slightly weird these past couple days; the oft-mentioned entdata section of the compile log? It is filled to 107.9% capacity.

As I've said before, entdata is the amount of stuff Hammer can account for when compiling the map into the .bsp format. It includes all the brushes (blocks that make up the map's geometry), props, weapons, NPCs, basically everything. And we've filled that capacity to over 100%. Again.

As you'll remember, the reason Insomnia ever actually came to an end was because it's entdata was well over 120% and it simply stopped compiling altogether. Thankfully, Hypnophobia is still below the threshold of what I'm now calling "critical mass" and there's still (hopefully) enough room to add what few vital entities are left; basically cubemaps, some more NPC's and some other fun little bells and whistles.

So yes, whereas before I was hesitant to say it, I am now convinced that this map will be done by the end of the December. There will be rejoicing and dancing and much merriment.

This is it ladies and gentlemen, the end of The Paranoia Trilogy is closing in on us.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Empire of the Centipedes

Every so often I'm afflicted with especially memorable dreams over the course of several nights, linked by a common theme. Sometimes it's a vast desert, filled with dilapidated memories. Other times it's a particular word or phrase that seems to have monumental significance over the course of the dream-quest, but the meaning is immediately lost upon waking, such as "Argo" during one long quest about a year ago. Most recently, I have been plagued by dreams of centipedes.

So rev up those Freud couches, because things are about to get crunchy.

The furthest back I can remember was about a week ago. This was the de facto beginning of the dream-quest as far as I could tell, and it's beginning was only a prelude of what was to come; It started with me in my bedroom, it was nighttime and my window blinds were closed. This was a bad sign, my brain was already trying to deceive me by sending me to the one place I would expect the most. Maybe it was trying to fool me into thinking what I was experiencing was real life, in order to make what happened next more terrifying.

Suddenly, millions of ants started crawling around my desk and walls, spiders started creeping around the corners and even lizards would shuffle around. I was trapped, surrounded by all these crawling beasts.

They were everywhere, they started crawling all over my face, it was the worst experience of my life. But it only got worse; materializing from seemingly nowhere, the Centipedes made their entrance.

Now, I'm sure I've alluded to the dream where I turned into a giant slug creature before. That was a fun dream, because my metamorphosis occurred during a ski trip. It was the only dream that I remember growing tentacles in. But this was different, while the skiing slugs were a pleasant bunch, these Centipedes were altogether more menacing, vastly more sinister then other tentacled creatures I've met.

Imagine a creature as long as a man is tall, with hundreds of constantly writhing legs down it's long, crunchy body. The creature stands upright, with only it's hindmost legs holding up it's obscene mass. Surmounting the creature is a head covered in long sinewy tentacles that constantly twist in the air, the head is bright red in color, like blood. They were more like Mongolian Death Worms then any real world Myriapod.

They started crawling towards me and I could see their horrible gaping mouths, like a combination of a lamprey's mouth and the Aristotle's Lantern of a sea urchin. I woke up as they started to prod at my eyes with their tentacles, covered in spiders and ants.

The Centipedes haunted me for the rest of the week, as practically every dream ended with them lashing out at me. Even when the subject matter of the dream didn't concern them at all, there they were; always on time to put an end to my exploration of the ruins of an ancient sports stadium to try and crush me with their hideous face-tentacles.

If this wasn't bad enough, they also had underlings that would creep around whenever the Centipedes made their move. I don't remember them nearly as well but they could only be described as anglerfish with spider legs. It was horrible.

The last dream I had, I was in a dark misty forest. All the trees were dead and black, I could only see a few meters ahead of me because of the dense fog. Surprisingly, the Centipedes were nowhere to be found. Suddenly, I was in the passenger seat of a car driving down a dark highway late at night.

I felt safe. I don't know what radio station was playing, but I remember quiet lounge music. I guess I never bothered to see who was driving the car either. I had a moment to think. I felt dizzy, my thoughts drifted to shopping malls. Malls in all their myriad of forms were always a popular destination in my dreams. Sometimes they would climb so high they would reach into the cold, thin air at the edge of space, their escalators, never stopping, always climbing to the peak. For me, the mall has never been a place of commerce, it was a jungle of steel and concrete, a place where secrets could be hidden. A little world in it's own right, inhabited by indescribable objects with no worldly purpose: twisted, sculpted glass in any color imaginable, scented candles and delicate wire constructions in perpetual motion. Surely, the mall was a place that transcended day-time logic.

But just as quickly as I found myself in the car, I was in an old bathroom, once again surrounded by locusts, spiders and all other crawling malefactors. More lizards appeared, climbing into a heap and started melting. The bubbling mass of decaying lizard-matter was swarmed with ants, even as some misplaced limbs continued to convulse.

Then, they came: the centipedes. Only these were normal centipedes, creepy, but lacking the tentacles or the improbable size that made them so deadly. So there I was, in a dirty old bathroom, surrounded by melting, bubbling lizards and every arthropod imaginable except giant death-centipedes to be found. And then I woke up.

I doubt I've seen the last of my nemeses, my guess is that they're only waiting for the best time to strike. Next time I have a dream where my teeth fall out, I'll be waiting for them. This is now a battle of wits, dream-warfare.