A Jazztronomical Score: Part Two

Jazzed to see you all once again for another series of interdimensional GMod heists. Part Two's going to represent what I would diplomatically call a typical session of Jazztronauts: not everything works out the way you'd hope, but there's always something to learn from the experience. The limitations of the Source engine, usually.

If you recall from Part One - which I posted yesterday - we have the primary goal of collecting arbitrarily-distributed rainbow shards across the random user-created maps we visit, but there's also a few side-quests ("fetch quest hell", as the pragmatic Cellist cat once put it) given to us by each of our kitty accomplices. As such, my aim this episode is to find any of the following: cars (for Bartender), dolls (for Singer), Half-Life headcrabs (for Pianist), or vials of random chemicals (for Cellist). The dolls seem like the least likely to happen upon by chance, so I've been specifically picking out Halloween and spookhouse maps in case any decide to go all The Conjuring on us. Success... she is an elusive mistress, as we'll soon discover.

Heist the Second: "Silent Town"

"When the outline of your teeth resemble the Appalachians, you might be a redneck."

Silent Town definitely seemed promising as a spooky map, but I ran into the strangest - and possibly intentional - problem early on where none of the Jazztronauts privileges seemed to be active. The way Jazztronauts works, to digress a moment, is to turn off most of a map's triggers if they're the type to string you along a particular route or series of events, say because they had a particular story to tell. Just imagine that meme of RedLetterMedia's Mike Stoklasa riding in that little fairground carousel if that helps.

When you appear in a map in Jazztronauts mode, you have all the tools you need and can't be deterred by locked doors and other user-made obstacles that would normally be in your path: as well as the prop snatcher baton and the "get out of Dodge" mystical trolley gun, you can also buy "Stan", which lets you pass through walls, and "Run", which lets you run and jump like the Chariots of Fire guy after years of bonus Jedi training.

Without my tools, this was the only shard I could reach. Not like I could get it back home either.
Without my tools, this was the only shard I could reach. Not like I could get it back home either.

All of which was inaccessible upon starting Silent Town. What was active was some incredibly loud and obnoxious jumpscares, and so with no desire to venture further without the prop snatcher and no means of getting back home, I had to restart the mod over. That heist was a wash, but at least it was one that was thematically apposite.

Heist the Third: "[RUS]AutoCONTENT2"

It's no
It's no "Crazy Vaclav's Place of Automobiles," but it's close enough.

A Russian parking lot map? Sounded perfect for this car objective I was after, if perhaps utterly unthrilling by any other metric. However, this one refused to even show up: after hitting the activation button back in the Jazztronauts HQ of Bar Samsara, no trolley arrived and no progress could be made. How ironic, that a map full of conveyances could not be reached by own. Third time's the charm, though, eh?

Heist the Fourth: "Big Boo's Haunt - Super Mario 64"

Diddle-diddle-diddle-dee-doo-doo...
Diddle-diddle-diddle-dee-doo-doo...

Man, I was the most jazzed for this one, so to speak. A faithful recreation of the fifth course in Nintendo's formative 3D platformer killer app for the Nintendo 64. None of the cats had requested blocky eyeballs or a grand piano that tries to eat you (though I'm sure the violence-prone Pianist would've loved it), but I wanted to see it so bad that it scarcely mattered. Alas, something about the map's instability made it impossible to explore: the framerate dropped to the number of good N64 games, and 5fps is no way to play anything. So long-a, buggy hellhole.

Heist the Fifth: "gm_oldmansion"

No Caption Provided

This was a bit more like it. A bit more of a homebrew, rather than some overly elaborate piece of junk. Don't get me wrong, I'm all about elaborate pieces of junk usually. My whole blogging career is built on them. It's just, I kind of want to explore a regular map and not be yelled at by jumpscares or feel like I'm moving through molasses to get anywhere. Deliver me from evil, Source.

Oh great, everything looks like the inside of Peggy Bundy's wardrobe. This is probably what I get for not owning any of the Left 4 Dead games.
Oh great, everything looks like the inside of Peggy Bundy's wardrobe. This is probably what I get for not owning any of the Left 4 Dead games.
At least the interiors are relatively unscathed. Too bad these paintings don't have museum-quality price tags. Got six shards out of it though, so no complaints.
At least the interiors are relatively unscathed. Too bad these paintings don't have museum-quality price tags. Got six shards out of it though, so no complaints.

Heist the Sixth: "ttt_prospektus_b3"

Surely there has to be some headcrabs in this map. You're never more than ten feet away from a headcrab in Half-Life.
Surely there has to be some headcrabs in this map. You're never more than ten feet away from a headcrab in Half-Life.

At this point I was desperate enough that even some bootleg version of Nova Prospekt - Half-Life 2's equivalent of a long, drawn-out root canal - sounded enticing. I doubt there'd be a lot of cars or dolls in a prison, but maybe we'd get enough quasi-industrial set-dressing for the chemicals we need. Heck, if I just had some solid grey walls instead of the eye-searing purple oubliette of the last map I'd be laughing.

I was right on the money about chemicals. This place is loaded with them. No enemies, alas, but then I'm not sure I've ever met one in a Jazztronauts map. Maybe I accidentally switched something off somewhere?
I was right on the money about chemicals. This place is loaded with them. No enemies, alas, but then I'm not sure I've ever met one in a Jazztronauts map. Maybe I accidentally switched something off somewhere?
Every so often, a map will generate a shard way out of reach. This one's too high to reach even with the Run speed boost, but maybe I can use that lamp as a solid floor to Stan my way up there. Devil Dagger skulls, don't fail me now.
Every so often, a map will generate a shard way out of reach. This one's too high to reach even with the Run speed boost, but maybe I can use that lamp as a solid floor to Stan my way up there. Devil Dagger skulls, don't fail me now.
Ah. Well. These things happen, especially if you're screwing around. However: time is but a window and all that. A short window, it turns out, as Jazztronauts lets you respawn whenever you feel like it.
Ah. Well. These things happen, especially if you're screwing around. However: time is but a window and all that. A short window, it turns out, as Jazztronauts lets you respawn whenever you feel like it.

Interlude: Hangin' With Mr. Cellist

Completing one of Cellist's objectives always leads to an adventure of sorts. A trip, you might say. For reference's sake, here's what happened last time we had a little tete-a-tete:

Anything that gives you an epilepsy warning ahead of time is always promising.
Anything that gives you an epilepsy warning ahead of time is always promising.

Instead, this happened:

He also tells us that Michelangelo's David was made with leftover garbage marble. News to me, but then my particular wasted degree was in a different field from fine arts.
He also tells us that Michelangelo's David was made with leftover garbage marble. News to me, but then my particular wasted degree was in a different field from fine arts.

To find out that all he wanted this time was a chat about the secret history of Renaissance Art was both surprisingly pleasant and unexpectedly enlightening. When Cellist isn't getting so high that he can check out "colors only mantis shrimp can see" (his words), he can be quite erudite. Of course, he only uses this information for evil - mostly for antagonizing the Pianist, which I suppose is one of those "two wrongs make a right" scenarios - but I can respect that he has his priorities in order.

He's talking about paint on wood grain. Next task is to find five paintcans, it seems. No idea what his intentions are, but he'll be in a huff if I don't procure them.
He's talking about paint on wood grain. Next task is to find five paintcans, it seems. No idea what his intentions are, but he'll be in a huff if I don't procure them.

Heist the Seventh: "Elridge: Ocean Horror"

Clever pun or dumbass typo? Man, if that's not the question of an age. Only one way to find out for sure.
Clever pun or dumbass typo? Man, if that's not the question of an age. Only one way to find out for sure.
"Ocean Terror" is right. This map contains a boat, a second larger boat full of corpses, and a whole lot of dark sea that's hard to cut through even with the flashlight. The loud jumpscares are back too, so I grabbed whatever shards I could and bolted. Very few props in this one, let alone any I needed.

Heist the Eighth: "gm_abandoned_halloween_v2"

"GM" stands for "Garry's Mod". See? I'm learning.

One last horror map for the road. This one seems to have a goofy lighthearted nature about it if all these jack o' lanterns are any indication. Wouldn't put it past it to have a whole room full of haunted dolls. McElroys eat your heart out?

Lot of custom props, which means a lot of big ol' errors. Oddly, some of these error props are still visible, like the jack o' lanterns, whereas those weird bomb-things are not. I wish I knew more about how these maps worked - Gmod's an enigma to the less scripting-inclined.
Lot of custom props, which means a lot of big ol' errors. Oddly, some of these error props are still visible, like the jack o' lanterns, whereas those weird bomb-things are not. I wish I knew more about how these maps worked - Gmod's an enigma to the less scripting-inclined.
This map certainly has some affection for the classics. Not that
This map certainly has some affection for the classics. Not that "classic" is really applicable to the Rob Zombie Halloween movie. The word I'd use to describe it does have "ass" in it though, and that word is "ass".
No way is that a real movie. Living internet meme Gary Busey as a psychopathi- nope, it's real. Figures.
No way is that a real movie. Living internet meme Gary Busey as a psychopathi- nope, it's real. Figures.

Overall, today was a bust and then some, but we did find a lot of shards. Enough shards to hit our target of 100, in fact. Maybe we'll save what happens after that for another day: I'm always reluctant to spoil the endings to games, even those as bizarre and non-sequitur-y as this one.

Just goes to show: As long as the map A) actually loads in, B) works as intended, C) lets you use your thievery tools, and D) isn't a wall-to-wall purple eyestrain nightmare, there's always enough money to be made or priceless continuum-warping shards to emancipate to be worth the trip. As we say in the Source map exploration business: "If at first you don't succeed, de_dust yourself off and try again." Check back in next week for what will no doubt be a more carefully curated rundown of the best the Gmod community has to offer.

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