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...And Now He's Here to F*** US!

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Be Polite. Be Efficient. Have a plan to kill everyone you meet.

The Sniper vs. Spy update is upon us. A free weekend has been announced, so all you cheapskates who still haven't bought the game (seriously, The Orange Box was $10 and you still missed out?) can have fun with Jarate. Hell, Meet the Spy got leaked, re-rendered to poke fun at the leak, and officially released.

Unfortunately I can't say much as unlike the TF2 blog posts, I might actually get fired if I talk about details. On that subject, I was surprised that despite the absurdity of the posts, some people still took it way too seriously.

Anyway, I'll leave you with a little game. You get to guess which of the Sniper achievements from this update was my idea (no, the banner is not intended as a clue). The full list is on the Sniper vs. Spy update page (Day 7)

EDIT: Heh, the Orange Box $10 deal is a past sale that I was just chiding you for missing - some people seem to think it's the upcoming sale. Sorry but unfortunately announcing upcoming sales would probably get me in just as much trouble as discussing unreleased gameplay features :(

That was random...

So I'm browsing around on my computer after a stupidly long bicycle repair job. Somebody else is watching Heroes in the living room...and I hear a song I recognize. Not just any song, but something I didn't really ever expect to hear in anything popular.

I'd embed it, but a link will just have to do: Zircon - Warhead

I don't really know much about Zircon other than I think he started in video game music remixing, but I definitely like Antigravity. Hearing it in a TV show like Heroes was a funny double-take moment.



Another One Bites the Dust

I had trouble deciding between this title or The End of the World as We Know it.

Anyway, Tabula Rasa has been shut down as of 10 minutes ago. We could mourn or celebrate the loss, depending on our point of view, but I think I'll just do the neutral observer thing and post a few screenshots (perhaps I'll get some video up, but somehow my FRAPS set itself back to multichannel audio recording, which means YouTube will cut out the sound after 3 seconds if I don't change it to stereo)

An appropriately named character created specially for the end. (It's "Ragnar Rok" if you can't see it)

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A dev closes in for the kill just as the server lags due to extreme player load. At 8PM CST the admins/GMs unleashed an unending horde of high-level enemies.
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All that's left after the slaughter, since maps that lost all their CPs were then inaccessible (there was no way to lose the CELLAR Arena map)
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Left 4 Dead content modding

I never really got into the Counter-Strike skinning and model-swapping thing, mainly because I never really played any version of Counter-Strike seriously. However, with Left 4 Dead, I have all sorts of reasons to make my stuff sound more like I want it. Personally I want to swap out a couple of weapons but first I have to wait for the SDK to come out so I can properly import weapon meshes and animations.

Anyway I decided that I didn't really care for the original minigun sound, so I spent some time yesterday changing the sound from this:


to this:

The actual goods can be found at

Here's a real one for comparison:

Some people I talk to like it, others hate it, but this is the reason content modding exists in the first place.

I Work for Valve Now

My hands will be all over your ClientRegistry.blob
My hands will be all over your ClientRegistry.blob
Ok, ok. So it's not quite as awesome as it sounds. I won't be making Half-Life 2 Episode 3 (I probaly won't even know anything about it until they want random playtesters). But even then, I just got the call today that I am hired for a position in Steam support! I originally met with Steve McClure, the CFO of Valve, due to a strange coincidence - my mom is in a book club, and it just so happens that Steve's wife is also part of it. I talked about what it takes to get into Valve (they don't hire anybody to the actual development team without prior experience) but that support is open to knowledgable people and that another head would be useful due to the holiday rush. He also gave me other fun how the Tank in the Left 4 Dead cutscene was animated by a number of people who had animated the recent King Kong movie. And that there's a special bonus feature supposedly coming in the L4D SDK that I can't tell you anything more about.

I interviewed for the position last Tuesday, but the main support boss, Doug Valente, was out, so I had to come back yesterday and interview again. I've been a pile of anxiety for the past week and a half, waiting for confirmation. Finally got the call at about 4PM today. I'm hired, and they want me to start Monday! Woo, enough time to reset my sleep schedule.

 Perhaps if you have an issue with Steam and have to send in a support ticket, I might be the one answering it. Oh, and I might finally be able to tell you how PayPal payments work, Karmum.

Of course by announcing this, I've also painted a target on myself. Please, if you have a legitimate Steam support issue, don't try to ask me straight up - send in a ticket. Unless you're a buddy, it'll be ignored and thrown away.

I also have a very applicable video link for this (contains profanity)... Welcome to the Internet Helpdesk

Somebody Call the Doctor

So I played through the single player campaign of the copy of Call of Duty: World at War and finished today, and played a few hours of multiplayer... I actually like the game more than I least the multiplayer section.

The single player I played on Hardened and it pissed me off repeatedly. Notable points of boil-over anger include sniper duels in Stalingrad, the trenches of Seelow, the castle on Okinawa, and anything remotely related to the Reichstag. It's nowhere near as fluid as 4 was, but that's kind of what I expected from Treyarch. Nazi Zombies is actually more fun than I expected, but even then it's still a throw-away section added as (depending on how you see it) a nod or competition to Left 4 Dead. The music could be a little less distortion guitar, it didn't seem to fit to the period very well.

As for multiplayer, well, of course it's basically Call of Duty 4 with old new guns and a couple maps with tanks. I actually like the tank maps as they're the size I wish that some CoD4 maps would have been for larger PC battles (PC limit is 32, which is probably hackable to 50 like some CoD4 servers). The tanks are stuck in first gear and unless you're running the Greased Bearings perk, track the turret slow as molasses, but it's probably more balanced that way. I'm enjoying it, especially because hardcore feels less spammy than CoD4 (at least until somebody drags a PPSh-41 in). My personal weapon choice has been the G43 with silencer, and I've been exercising my mouse clicking finger...which is the reason for this title post. I tested myself on this silly webapp at 6.5-7 clicks per second after playing...which means I can basically run the G43 at a rate of fire similar to if not greater than the StG44 in the game. Hopefully I don't get any repetitive stress injuries...

My only lament is the ACOG telescopic sight is still a piece of shit...slightly less of one...but still.


Game Overload

Oh yeah, I've waited so long for my digital por- I mean Mass Effect
Oh yeah, I've waited so long for my digital por- I mean Mass Effect
So it's Christmas day/Solstice/Saturnalia/whatever the heck. I guess I don't feel so bad about celebrating since even Richard Dawkins does, plus it's more a festival of consumerism here these days than anything about Christianity.

So, in the spirit of consumerism, I got:
Prince of Persia (PC)
Mass Effect (PC)
Call of Duty: World at War (PC)
Super Mario Galaxy
Mario Kart Wii

And a sweater. Not a bad one though, I'm actually wearing it right now (and not just to be nice).

Video Games - No Longer Just a Kid's Toy

I'm here to teach you everything about homicide... apparently
I'm here to teach you everything about homicide... apparently
Now what I'm about to say is probably obvious to those of you who frequent these boards. But there are still old fossils in government who believe that games are children's toys and that any violent games are created either for the express purpose of corrupting our youth, or have the "careless side effect" of doing so.

According to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project, fully 53% of all adults play video games. Even considering that a large number of these people likely only play casual games, a good number of subjects of the survey likely play what are considered violent or morally questionable games

For example, at an estimated 6.2 million copies sold worldwide of Grand Theft Auto IV between its April release for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 and July, and a total of approximately 34 million consoles, 18% of console gamers, or more than 2% of American adults, likely purchased GTA IV.

This does not account for games purchased for play by multiple people, nor does it account for used game sales. Even considering the number of these sold to or for use by children, this percentage is probably largely self-correcting for this oversight due to correlation between game and console sales for children or adults.

Do we have 6 million cop killers on the loose? It sounds ridiculous when it's put into context, but some people would like you to believe it.

Pew Research Center - Adults Are Players Too
NPD Group - Leading Market Research Firms Join Forces...

Black Mesa [Source] Gets a New Trailer

I'm ashamed to admit it, but I haven't finished Half-life 1. Ever. I'm currently trying to remedy that by playing it (a copy I got for the tenth anniversary 98¢ price). Of course, I had previously been holding out for Black Mesa, thinking it might come out in some reasonable amount of time. I was wrong, but holy crap, I think it might have been worth the wait:


Here's the 720p from Filefront

The funny thing is that this was basically a recap up to the last level I finished in HL1 yesterday. Also, I like that they've basically un-nerfed the Glock. The rate of fire limit in the original makes it almost useless.

Black Mesa official site (may be overloaded for obvious reasons)


Addicting Flash Game of the Day - Auditorium

This is one of the more complex levels of the preview.
This is one of the more complex levels of the preview.
Usually I'm not one to like Flash-based games, but every so often one comes along that has great gameplay, good sound, or pleasing visuals. Usually I'd say all three is asking too much from a Flash game, but sometimes such a game comes along. Last time it happened for me was flOw (obviously the original Flash version), and now comes Auditorium. It's intended as a preview for a full game that hasn't been completed just yet, but it comes with a good 15 levels, slowly introducing new mechanics as it goes along in transitions to new "seasons." The basic point of the game is filling all of the "Audio Containers," squares that look like digital VU meters, in a level simultaneously. Each level is set with a stream of white particles pointing in a certain direction, and a number of tools to redirect the flow of the particles. Later levels the particles will need to pass through colored circles in order to be the proper color to activate an Audio Container.

If you're wondering why the heck the goals are called Audio Containers, it's because each one controls a track in a piece of music. Each container controls one part of the music, so the more Containers filled, the more coherent and full the music will sound. It's a fusion of audio and gameplay somewhat reminiscent of Lumines, and I'd say just about as well-done, too. It doesn't hurt that the visuals are simple but pleasing, and gameplay elements are straightforward and relatively self-explanatory.

This isn't to say that the game doesn't have its issues - if you want to double-check the function of one of the placable redirectors, you have to hover over it to make it show its icon. No option exists for hints or level skipping, so if you're stuck somewhere, you're on your own. There is no reset button, which may just be a personal problem as there isn't truly anything to reset - all of the redirectors may be repositioned and their power changed at will.

FYI, the game goes to fullscreen automatically when you click to start it. You can press ESC to go to the browser window without losing your place, and F will return it to fullscreen again.
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