***UPDATED*** Well I have pretty much neglecting my own profile so I thought I would update it a bit... Some would notice a new avatar already. --- Anyhow about me, I dont have much to tell, unless I get carried away and type an essay, but sometimes less is more. --- --- What you will need to know about me is that I am a bit stubborn YES, and I am very opinionated YES, and I am argumentative YES. I might be WRONG/RIGHT, But I am not a hater, and I can assure you too, if I had engaged in a simple flaming argument with you over whatever subject, because my opinion differs from yours, I still do sleep at night and very comfortable too.--- --- I actually do consider myself a nice, decent, good, honest and hardworking individual, and in no way do I say I am perfect, or better than you, or anyone else... I can still be a good friend to you if you take the time to get to know me, and equally I will take the time to get to know you.--- ***Thanks for taking the time to read me**

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Where am I

Joe_Shmoe Blog

aaand greetings strangers...

So I am pretty scarce these days, haven't been around for a while, and that is because I have been up to my neck with personal stuff.
So I wrote my first exam, and Aced it =) I now am Microsoft Certified for Active Directory (yay) and now still studying for more MCTS exams, but on the other hand, I have also gotten a temp job for some extra bux. Yes I work at a security adventure shop. I sell everything thats related to security (guns, pepperspray, tazers, alarms etc) to adventure stuff (camping, hunting, paintball, airsoft etc)...

So for those that wondered what happend to me??? Now you know =) Unfortuanately I work 10-12 hours a day, every day (saterday and sunday included), but soon it will change when we hire a third person to help out with relieving shifts and get a new roster in place.

So anyhow, I read Desura for Linux is almost ready! FUCK YEAH! finally =P
I'll be keeping an eye out though, and be back once things at work comes right and calms down.


Brushing up on my mapping

Joe_Shmoe Blog

So I had decided to properly schedule time for my mapping to commit to it once again with the upcoming project. I figure the best way to go about it is dedicate 4hours a day to mapping. During this process I will focus on particular elements that I will once again grasp. Should be like riding a bike right? (forgive me if I dont make sense, I am rather tired.)

Firstly I figured I need to start at basics, do some mapping regarding additive and subtractive brushes. For this it has always been relatively simple to assume indoor levels are best done with subtractive brushes and outdoor more suited for additive. And with that, also use basic materials, then move on to meshes and fixing the lighting up a bit, adding particles and making some basic kismet sequences. Also familiarize myself with special brushes again for volume. and finish off with touch up and polishing.

The subject? Well I had figured redoing the first and second levels of Unreal, since the first level covers indoors, and the second covers outdoor. Should be interesting to see what I can put together. Also I wont have to spend time sketching the levels, for this I can simply just take a few screenshots as concepts and rework that. Oh and also I myself am curious to see what Unreal would look and feel like with UE3.

-------------------------------------- Started this project this evening at 8pm ----------------------------------------

Unreal_Prison cell_Comparison

So I had gotten busy, four hours later, theres a screenshot of my progress on the prisoner holding bay. It is not final, just 4 hours of speed mapping, covered only basic subtractive brushes, some static meshes, some basic static lighting with some spotlights, and material use... Oh and a postprocess volume...

bleh, my UT3 editor crashed after taking this pic, and now keeps crashing when I open the map... I am so bummed right now, cant show any more angles... and I am very tired, I will sort it out tomorrow. I will keep updating the gallery and blog as I progress.
Okay so I reinstalled UT3 and got the problem sorted out, so I uploaded more new pics, no comparisons to the old Unreal though... Think perhaps when I am fully done with the level I might add some comparisons.

So here are the updates to that level from a few angles. (ps: I was tempted to for a little added work, but it is still not complete)


This is just the lightmaps, I took this screen for the purpose of seeing a more lit and detailed view of the map since it is very dark over all.

Unreal_Prison cell_4

Unreal_Prison cell_3

Unreal_Prison cell_2

Unreal_Prison cell_1

Over all I havent tried to apply any of the actual damage to the ship since it supposedly just crashlanded, But I will do that in time... However the atmosphere currently should reflect that almost pretty obviously in the sense that the power is low, so the lights arent as bright as it should be, and also it has a very smokey (foggy) look to it, so there will be quite a few flames and harmless explosions particles to come from electronics abruptly exploding, and loose cargo and other objects laying around as if they were flung during the crash landing.. And also ultimately I want to see if I can rotate the entire map at a noticeble angle, but not too much that you would keep sliding down and have a hard time navigating, But I think that certainly would also give the right impression.

The map itself should be able to tell a story without the need of any cinematics. Although I want to play with matinee, I think I will use it outside once you get outside the ship, so instead of running around Neyal falls, it would transition to matinee as the classic fly cam that wil explore the bits of neyal falls.

Anyhow this is the end of update blog 1. Next time I post another will be covering the ducts and the room thereafter. I believe it may be the control room if I remember correctly?

Take care and thanks for reading. If you have any comments or constructive criticism to share, please do so in the comments section, I would like others perspective, might learn a good few things in this process =)

Mod project coming up

Joe_Shmoe Blog

Okay so I haven't heard back from anyone aware of a mod based on the Seven Day Siege revolving around the Human and Skaarj war from the Unreal Timeline. Also I can't find any such projects... However I did find some discussions on peoples idea of how it went down, which mostly is based completely in space, I suppose this is heavily influenced on the map AS-Mothership from UT2004, however I don't see how that covers an entire 7 days. So I propose a more elaborated version of the story and base my mod on this story.

As for the story, it is currently being worked on by current people I have managed to gather, however this mod won't be an overly complex game structure that is too far-fetched. As for now, I think setting up the game to play out tournament style as UT3 story did would suffice, if at some point the project generates enough interest and attracts some experienced talent, we could sway the project away from tournament play-style and incorporate a modified version of the tournament rules to apply for a proper Single Player game. So far we do have someone volounteering to help out with the scripting for this.

a Further detailed GDD will be setup over time to fully cover the game play and technical aspects of this. But to make it rather clear, this will be more of a very simple averege mod, Not that were lazy, but it isn't geared towards being a game changing experience that will be new and fresh. As the focus and scope of the mod isn't geared towards that, but rather achieving a simple goal of learning the process of releasing a completed mod.. (Even if it is shit, some people need to start somewhere yeah?)

Anyhow, this is just me writing my thoughts down, this isn't really a document for the game, there is a more detailed version of the document and it is still under construction as we are working and reworking the story and gameplay as we discuss the game more and more. Once we have a final beta of the document, it will come up for criticism and the lot.

Anyhow, as for positions required, we aren't at that point yet to advertise positions, currently two mappers, a volounteering programmer and an author is what our team consists of... as ofcourse we don't have much to show and tell. But there is one crucial position I feel will be rather necessary even at this point or any other:

We do require a manager:
preferably someone senior with a completed project behind their name. Of course all senior level managers will have better things to do than actively take part in our amateur mod, so committing any skill towards the project isn't required, just the knowledge and experience to guide the project through successfully from start to finish, so to be clear, the role is just to oversee the project, and be a tour guide, guide the project so that the mod doesn't get lost and end up DEAD in a ditch. (and also this will add bonus to the moral of the team, knowing that we have this sort of guide.)

So anyone matching the description that wants to contribute their knowledge and experience, will be greatly appreciated!


PS: Since it is too early to create a profile for the mod, I will be updating my blogs with progress for anyone interested in this project.. Any comments, opinions and constructive criticism is welcome and appreciated throughout the progress!

where I am going...

Joe_Shmoe Blog

So currently I am knee deep in exams... Things are looking alright though, and I'm bound to be finished and qualified by end of next month... (yay)

So far my life has revolved around studies mainly, finding some part time work in town (which there is still no success, IT is such a small portion of this towns industry, and quite frankly, it's all taken up. There are two catches behind getting a job here, the BEE (Black Equity Economy) which basically Afirmative Action for most of you, which I am not black, so I cant apply for those jobs, and then the other catch is to know some people... Unfortunately, I dont know the right people -sigh- So I am most likely to move away to the bigger cities where I do stand a chance.

However on another note, I have been contemplating a lot of the issues revolving around attaining a job in the IT field, and figure, perhaps I should take up another field? I have been getting back into my art again (still paper and pencil), so perhaps I could expand on that? Also, I've been trying out modeling on blender, wasn't so bad, but then the new interface I had to relearn, making it a slight bit inconvenient. Anyone have an opinion on an alternative field of study and work that can make do with my artsy talent?

I havent really touched my art and modelling in a while, ever since I got my new PC (yay) I have been fiddeling around with UnrealED again, On UT3 I have been mapping some "ART" like designs with no real gameplay in mind, and then also started on the Vortex Rikers map from original Unreal, remade with UT3 assets. I have read alot of queries on a remake of the original Unreal, but it doesnt seem like anyone is really touching it. But why should they? I have found new Dx10 and 11 renders (or renderers?) for the engine, as well as some neat S3CTextures... Personally I havent yet had the oppertunity to download and see it for myself, but have been contemplating doing a "revision" mod instead of a remake... So currently I have been working towards buffing up the levels from Unreal, adding more BSP and detailing out the levels a little more, The power of todays PC should be able to support it, but I will have to test it out with a few maps... Over all with new detailed Maps, and the download of the new S3CTextures packs running along with a Dx10 render/renderer it should look fairly up to date.

The only question is, has anyone been able to update the model textures like the weapons and trees and characters? Or I think perhaps just creating new models could be much more useful?

So anyhow... I'm not sure if I should do the mod or not... I will take some time after my exams to finish up these maps and take screenshots, perhaps see if that sparks interest in anyone that may want to take on the "revision" of old unreal....

Whats happend to the FPS genre???

Joe_Shmoe Blog 3 comments

I have been thinking rather hard lately
about games. As I too want to participate in the creation of games
and entertainment and persue this dream of mine, perhaps not for a
living, as I'm by far not confident enough in my skills. But I have a
problem, as much as I want to create something, or perhaps even be
apart of something, I cant help to notice my loss of interest in
games. It seems strange as I do love games, but this love coming from
years back, and still today I can enjoy the good old classics, such
as Doom, Hexen, Heretic, Half-Life, Duke Nukem, Zelda, AVP gold,
quake, etc.. However, very few games of today actually entertain me

Why? now I dont mean to sound pessimistic at all, but it
feels like modern FPS games have really taken a dive, and is slowly
dying. It seems that almost all FPS game developers are trying to win
the consumers over with the CoD like familiar game play (and also the
whole modern warfare and "realism"). I have nothing against
CoD, I think their game play formula rocks, and sure its their
formula, and so its not bad reusing that formula for the CoD
franchise, even though it is kinda getting a bit stale. But other
titles and franchises using the same formula, thats bugging the crap
out of me, thats whats making the FPS genre stale! Damn copy cats. To
use a few examples: the new MoH was practically an exact replica of
CoD (just a different campaign, and branded with MoH), Crysis is
basically CoD with a nano suit (which just adds a tad more game play
creativity next to weapon customization), Borderlands felt like CoD
too, so did FEAR2, and I can go on... (and it seems some mods
seem to be doing the same)

Some games like DooM3 for example
was a bit different though (in an old school kinda way), which was
nice, but I think the FPS game that really did make an effort to not
be a CoD copycat has got to be Bulletstorm. It felt nothing like CoD,
or any other game that uses that formula. And it is this initiative
to break away from the norm and explore new creative ways of doing
something (in this case, new creative ways of killing people). and
then I smile... Was this never the intention of games? Expressing or
new ideas and art forms, to escape reality into a virtual fantasy
world of your own? Whats with all the uber realism in games nowadays?
(even worse is, it's not totally realistic, only to a point that
suits the player)

So anyhow, this has been the reason why I
got into playing mods and indie games, where the more original and
creative content is bound to pop up more often than on the shelves
(ie: overgrowth & depth). But I've noticed that a lot of bigger
mods are remakes of old classics, like Black mesa, opposing force,
project far cry etc... (and it is just a matter of time before the
remakes will be out dated as well). Not that I'm really complaining,
it is a nice sentiment, and the progress sure does look worth the
trouble, however I still feel all that energy, time and talent could
have been spent on something of their own, something new to break
away from the the CoD experience and create a new experience,
something better than CoD in the FPS genre.

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