Currently working on a Goldeneye inspired map for CRYSIS featuring 'dam', 'facility', and 'runway', in addition to a light MP version of 'facility'. I don't have any profiles up, though I have some infrequent updates just in my profile and at Crymod.com (SP Maps/Work In Progress/dam-facility-runway). Cheers

Blog RSS Feed Report abuse 2001: A Space Odyssey REVIEW

0 comments by zahlenbechk on Jun 8th, 2010

2001 A Space Odyssey is one of those films that must be taken entirely in the context of "in it's time". A small bit of this film has relevance today, though it has been done a thousand times over, subsequently better in many cases.

    The opening scene is a pretty good indication of the dreadfully slow pace of this film. I'm not exaggerating; there is literally over two minutes of blank screen followed by an excruciatingly slow depiction of a planetary eclipse (probably not the right term but I don't care).

    The first act entitled The Dawn of Man begins with a laughable scene of a bunch of tapirs (probably because they look rather prehistoric), and a tribe of prehistoric ape-people awkwardly cohabiting a little area in the middle of the desert. This drags on for quite a while, melodramatically showing a conflict between two tribes. Finally, a big rectangle appears, blasting some unsuspecting ape with the cognitive ability to use a bit of bone as a tool [or rather a weapon] and bash a rival ape-dude's fucking head in. The viewer is left to conclude that this uninspired looking rectangular cuboid gave these humble ape-fuckers a little oomph in their evolution which made humanity possible. I'm not even going to get into the silly underlying themes because frankly it is too obvious for me to give half a fuck.

   Now that that is out of the way the viewer is shot out into space (presumably in the year 2001), and treated with a while spectacular, insanely long scene of a shuttle docking a space station. This chunk of the movie, like every other bit of the movie is unnecessarily long winded. In a nutshell Dr. Whoever makes his way to the moon where some of his buddies found another one of these rectangle things. It's point of origin is revealed to be around Jupiter from a radio beacon it sends out.

    This is where the the movie starts feeling less like a prologue, and more like an actual movie. A ship with two conscious crew members, three in hibernation, and a faggy computer AI by the name of HAL 9000 are on their way to Jupiter to investigate the destination of this derelict signal. This is really the meat of the movie. You've probably seen a bazillion and one parodies and ripoffs of HAL, so you probably have a pretty good idea where this is going. The main geek draw of this situation is the wide torn Sci-Fi classic question of "can an artificial intelligence have feelings/a soul/be a complete dick etc.?".

    How does it all end? Well if you really care after reading all of this, watch the damn movie. There is a lot to like about it no doubt, it just has so many annoyances that make it borderline unwatchable. My main problems were the painfully slow pace, and the horrid sound design. Sound design isn't something I'd usually complain about, however I must say this is just obnoxious; the music is distracting, and the sound effects like the endless bleepity bleeping and heavy breathing [while a guy is in a space suit] are just painful for someone of my sensibility. Ultimately, the pace of this film, combined with the hoard pretentious cocksuckers knee deep in praise and over their heads in shit kill this film for me. I can't overstate how good this movie could have been with a few tweaks here and there, and some competent editing. Even for all it's fault, the art design and the influence its had on science fiction puts this in the strangest place among good movies. Finally, yes it does have some mildly interesting themes, however obvious.

THREE STARS [OUT OF FIVE]

Report abuse Something To Do With Mel Gibson: An Avatar Movie Review

0 comments by zahlenbechk on Apr 26th, 2010

I'm late to the party, but I've finally watched Avatar in glorious standard definition!

As the title suggests, being the intuitive, irrational, and introverted individual that I most certainly am, I've drawn the conclusion that this is all some crazy Mel Gibson conspiracy. This film is pretty much a hybrid of a truck load of vastly different movies. At its core, I would describe it as Pocahontas meets Braveheart with about an hour of a discovery channel 'life on Pandora' special lodged tightly in the middle. What does this all have to do with Mel Gibson? OK never mind, granted a touch of foresight, giving this a six degrees of Gibson treatment is about as inspired as the story of this fine piece of big budget trash. I really should stress before ripping on this movie, how sincerely amazing it looks and plays out.

Now that I've got that and the taste of Mel Gibson's musky aftershave out of my mouth, I can move on to the consistently amazing level of derivativeness, and unsympathetic stupidity this movie displays. It really is spineless big budget crap, albeit beautiful big budget crap. It all starts with a crippled ex-marine by the name Jake Sullivan; as one may expect Jake not the typical man for the job, Jake ends up in this predicament via some implausible circumstances as any true "chosen one" style hero does. One thing leads to another and Jake is remotely controlling a beautifully rendered blue humanoid creature [navi] in an attempt to diplomatically convince a community of these blue dudes and dudettes to up and leave their home, which is unfortunately located directly above a great deposit of a valuable mineral. Or else Duke Nukem and his band of mercenaries are going to ya know,- make them. Now here is where Pocahontas comes in; Jake meets a girl navi and eventually they,- well you already know how the story goes. Next up, you guessed it: Braveheart! Jake is now emulating a different Mel Gibson character, as he decides to help the adorable blue people out. Finally, the film climaxes with a rehash of Return of the Jedi; only instead of ewoks you got giant blue ninjas riding dragon-birds. Yeah this is just as awesome as it sounds.

I loved this movie; it was an absolute blast to watch. This has to be the only case in the history of movies that I was able to completely suspend my disbelief when looking at such nonsense. I really liked some of the characters. The aforementioned Duke Nukem looking guy was particularly cool, and Sigourney Weaver has a pretty good body for 61. I digress, triple A five star stuff here fellas. Even without 3D it is worth the cost of admission.

Report abuse how to get Steam Deus Ex working with or without mods

0 comments by zahlenbechk on Apr 21st, 2010

Right so I just bought an ultra cheap steam copy of Deus Ex, and initally couldn't get it working due to a stupid speed problem (main menu was super laggy and seized up). Luckily some nice guy provided a fix. See link below.

Get this: Download this archive , and extract to your system folder.
Thread: Forums.steampowered.com

Now that you have Dues Ex working you might want to play some mods. All you have to do to get mods working is replace your mod exe in [in your deus ex/system folder] (e.g. HDTP.exe) with a copy of the CustomDeusEx.exe [which you'v just installed] renamed to the name of your mod exe. See example.

Example [using HDTP]:

0)Install HDTP mod (duh lol).

1)Remove/Backup HDTP.exe.

2)Make a copy of "CustomDeusEx.exe" and rename it to HDTP.exe.

3)Launch HDTP.exe

Please Note the shortcut provided with the mod will NOT work. Consequently you will have to create a new one (shortcut of your new HDTP.exe). I think everyone reading this will know how to do that so no worries. :)

For a bonus I'd like to suggest a mod: DeusEx Ultra High Quality mod. This is simply a compination of HDTP (a texture pack) and the enb series for deus ex (preconfigured).
Helderpinto.com

Report abuse Freeware/Abandonware

0 comments by zahlenbechk on Apr 5th, 2010

This is just bunch of completely legal freeware/abandonware releases, not mentioning the obvious ones like Quake Live or Battlefield Heroes, etc.

(SP) S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Build 1935 (alpha)
For some odd reason GSC released an alpha build of STALKER. 'Tis extremely instable as one may expect. 
Fileshack.com
Fixes and more info:
Sdk.stalker-game.com

(SP) Hidden & Dangerous Deluxe
A game few people have played. It is rough around the edges but cool nonetheless. Kinda like an old 70's WWII espionage movie. Think 'Guns of Navarone' but less epic.
Filefront.com

(SP) The Suffering
This was a promotional thing from a while back. Requires an active internet connection to play. According to wiki the distribution was discontinued, though the fileshack download is still up. I can't see why it wouldn't work in any case.
Fileshack.com

(SP) Pre/Ex Fallout 3 Tech demo aka Van Buren
Another odd one; a ghost of what fallout 3 could have been. Not really a game, but still interesting for would-be devs to ponder at.
Gamershell.com

(MP) F.E.A.R. Combat + Coop Mod
Free F.E.A.R. mulitplayer. Fun stuff, heavy download. There is a F.E.A.R. coop mod that you can you use with this to fight against AI. Should probably work with just one person with a bot match I would think.
Filefront.com
Coop Mod:
Moddb.com

(SP) Marathon
Ancient Bungie game. Well liked, but it doesn't seem like all that imo. For a game of this nature it has a nice art style to it.
Source.bungie.org

(MP) Postal II: Share the Pain Multi
Postal II multi is by all standards quite weak, but can be a bit of fun in a pinch. Bot supported.
Fileshack.com

(MP) Enemy Territory Wolfenstein
Classic team based multiplayer.
Filefront.com

(SP) C&C Gold, Red Alert, & tiberian sun
Old school RTS fare. -you'll need to cut a disc or two 
Tiberian Sun:
Filefront.com
C&C1 Gold:
Filefront.com
Red Alert:
Fileshack.com
Fileshack.com

Report abuse Aliens VS Predator Demo Impressions

0 comments by zahlenbechk on Feb 4th, 2010

Last night the battle of uh... well last night took place in all its glory with its limited scope and unfortunate issues.

    It all started well enough as I jumped into the skin of a predator and fumbled around trying to figure out the controls, all the while getting my poop pushed in by everything in a kilometer radius. The quick realization came to that playing as this big mean bastard would basically entail running around slashing like a madman and cranking the 'e' grapple key like a fat kid beating on a vending machine with his mega sized o henry ajar, just out of reach of his pudgy little fingers. All levity aside, my redundant problem was the grapple function (basically press 'e', jump on a dude, perform a fancy finishing move) that takes too large a portion of the gameplay of both the alien and the predator races. There is of course more to the predator race, but sadly the fun stuff wasn't nearly as prevalent.

    Now that I was broken and sore from my humiliating backwards romp as the mighty predator, I sucked up what was left of my pride and tried my luck as the alien. The aliens have always been fast, awkward little bastards to control in previous games, but with the addition of motion blur it felt quite disorientating. The grapple came into play to an even greater extent as the alien due to their insane speed and maneuverability. All in all the alien was a bit of fun, a bit buggy but no real surprises.

    The marine oh the wondrous marine, how I admire thee. These poor little dudes have always been the odd man out, taking a proverbial boot to the chops every time they turn around. They are at an even further disadvantage here, due to their inherent lack of motivation. Maybe they are just depressed who knows, but when speed is what you need, greasy fast speed, well you get the picture, these chumps are slow. Slow as they may be, they do have some advantages, such as readily available guns, and uh thats about it. Pickupable guns are a bit of a cow to pick up due to some silly press and hold mechanic. I guess the devs figured moonwalking around the joint wasn't enough. I only found two differnet guns on the provided map; a sniperish gun (completely useless), and a shotty (usless). Amazingly, braving all odds, I had the most success running around with the good old assault rifle. I don't just mean I maintained my dignity, I bloody dominated. This however, isn't so much an excess of skill on my part as it is a major flaw with the other classes.

    After a good thourough play session, I can honestly say that this demo was a pretty big let down. It's hard to say though; just a little tweak here and there would make this a pretty cool game. A lot of this stuff too, would work just fine in single player. In conclusion, it is on my "to buy" list but not anywhere near the top. I'd say this is a good bargain binner.

Report abuse What qualifies as a mod?

0 comments by zahlenbechk on Jan 20th, 2010

Firstly, I should clarify I am talking about SP stuff here.


Moddb has over 6000 mods in its database, 2845 of which are released. Quite a few are just random features, or skin packs etc. packed as mods (ie partial conversion). Another brave lot are the levels and level packs presented as mods. Finally, there are the true blue total conversion mods. I guess in a general sense they are all undeniably 'mods' by definition. The question at hand here however, is what separates a map/map pack from a mod. Here is moddb's consensus:

----
"BRAND NEW mods or JUST STORYLINES / IDEAS will not be accepted. You must show a significant amount of progress, e.g. screenshots (or concepts) of models and maps that you are working on. Please read our new profile tutorial.
Do not submit maps / levels / model packs here. They belong in the addons section.
The mod is unique and original and not in violation of another's intellectual property.
The mod is not a duplicate of another mod listed on the site.
The mod information provided must not violate the sites Terms of Use.
The mod information provided is free of spelling and HTML formatting errors.
Submitting a mod and then posting 'help wanted' requests does not constitute activity. Your mod must BE IN ACTIVE DEVELOPMENT with either a team of people or yourself producing content."
-----

Moddb clearly specifies not to submit maps, levels, or model packs. One would then assume that for your project to be a mod, you need simply to have more than one level with some continuity. Obviously this isn't written in stone due to really freakin' huge levels in some open world games, so we're back where we started; asking what separates a map/map pack from a mod. It is nearly impossible to draw a reasonable conclusion here due to the many little exceptions. On one hand there are excellent total conversions with little to no custom stuff (eg minerva), and on the other hand there are not-so-great glorified map packs with a womp-load of custom skins, models, etc. No one feature can define a "mod".

The only solution to this issue I can think of is for moddb to start by restructuring their site, separating the total conversions from the partial coversions. Once everything is in it's correct place use a rating system to demote lesser mods to "map packs".

Report abuse Kev's Blog

2 comments by zahlenbechk on Jan 18th, 2009

Hello everyone, this is my first blogging attempt; it will cover an array of not mod related things.  Today's issue will be about the PC port of GTA4.  The reasoning behind this is all of the terrible vibe this game has been getting to do with bugs and performance. 
   To start this off with a bold friggen statement; the GTA4 PC port was not to the slightest bit unstable on my very common setup.  My specs are as follows: 8800GT, E6750 (not oced), 2gigs of standard OCZ ram PC6400, Gigabyte P35 mobo, and cheap Chaintek sound card).  The graphics options are extensive for a console port, featuring texture res control, display res, render quality, view distance, detail distance, vehicle density, and shadow density.  The big problem that people have been having is that it is impossible to play the game with the texture res set to high with almost all [if not all] of today's hardware.  The problem here is video memory; it takes a mind boggling 600mb of memory in addition to evetything else to run the game with high texture setting with the view dist. set to 21.  I know it seems pretty crazy, but technically the Med res textures (which look fine BTW) are still sharper then that which were used for the console versions.  Basically what I am saying is that you can look at it optimistically, or pessamistically each are valid arguements, but when nobodies listening it's always best to be quiet and take it as it is.  All of the other settings have varying performance impacts, but nothing killer.  I have my settings with texture to medium, render to high, and everything else slightly above their default slider positions (can't remember the specifics) and it looks and plays fine; no performance problems at all. 
    The game itself is something not to be missed.  It is simply great; terrific story with all of the quirky characters you would expect from a GTA game, great controls, everything about it is very polished. There are faults as you would expect such as; gunplay dynamics not good in certain situations, some merciless missions, friends can be annoying once the luxuory has worn off, missing phone calls due to inturuption like getting bumped with a car or falling from a height, and a few others that I can't think of right this moment, but you get the idea.
   All in all with all of the negetive this game is kind of a gamble.  If you have a similar system as mine you should be better off than not.  If you don't; get it for the xbox360 or PS3 if you have one or take the risk and pick it up.  You should also note that I have the latest drivers from nvidia.

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