.: December 12, 2003

This must be the parallel universe we keep hearing about. How else does one explain two news updates in two days? This time it's real news, not the fake news I keep reporting. DooMWorld has seen fit to rate The Darkest Hour as one of the top 10 wads in 2001, and one of the top 100 wads of all time. With words like "the best Star Wars conversion for Doom" and "an impressive collection of graphics and the maps are quite spectacular", it's enough to make make even the most seasoned mapper swell with pride. And, although I'm old enough (and hopefully equally mature) not to crave attention, it is gratifying to see one of my projects receive some acclaim. I spent 7 months, consisting of countless hours, putting the wad together, and I won't begrudge my 15 minutes in the spotlight. Heh. You can read the article right here.

.: December 11, 2003

It was a new day yesterday, but it's an old day now.

Fans of Jethro Tull will immediately recognize the reference. Anyhoo, it seem's just like yesterday that DooM turned 10 years of age. Wait a minute -- it was yesterday that DooM turned 10. I managed to wake up from hibernation just long enough for a sleepy "Happy Birthday". Now you may ask: Is that any way for a long-time fan of DooM to react to such a momentous occasion? Well, the truth is that there's been so much happening with me outside the world of DooM that I am often exhausted and not too keen on spending my spare time in front of a computer monitor. Since my last news update in late October I have travelled to Texas, Washington, D.C., and North Carolina; I've moved into a brand new place; and I've been spending most waking moments either at my job or unpacking and getting settled in.

But the two of you aren't here to listen to me whine about what's happening to the world around us -- you probably get enough of that from TV and the politicians. There's been marginal progress on the DooM front -- E1M4 is up to about 80% completed. I toyed with the idea of releasing a 4-wad "teaser" to the Phobos Revisited project on Dec. 10 (DooM's 10th anniversary). But I decided it was a lame idea, and will release the entire package when it's done. I also have a theme and some ideas for my Map24 for the NewDooM Community Project. I'm travelling again soon, but I might actually have to do some work on my laptop in the plane and during my spare time. So it's anybody's guess as to when I will be able to resume work on my DooM maps.

.: October 24, 2003

Welp, E1M3 is complete. I finished adding the enemies and play-testing the level, and it's been sent off to Nigel for additional testing. Additionally, I have completed about 60% of E1M4. Still no screenshots, but they ought to come soon.

.: October 19, 2003

Phoenix. Tucson. Sierra Vista. That translates to a lot of miles in 3 days. Fortunately my rental car was a Grand Marquis, which is the epitome of luxury. Or at least the closest I'll get to luxury, eh? But I'm sure the two of you aren't here to read about my travels to the far-flung regions of this vast land. So on to DooM-related stuff. I haven't finished the gameplay for E1M3 yet, but I have begun E1M4, and would estimate that I've completed about 45% of the mapping. (You won't believe how long the flights are, not to mention the connection time.) I'll put up some screenies when I get a chance.

.: October 14, 2003

Unbelievable! Four updates in October, and it's not even the middle of the month. Anyhoo, I'm calling in to report that all mapping in E1M3 of Phobos Revisited is complete. I need to put in the enemies, test it out, then it's off to Nigel for beta testing. Meanwhile, Arizona beckons, and with it I smell the start of E1M4. We shall see what the Fates deem.

.: October 10, 2003

Fear Station Alpha is available for download.

.: October 9, 2003

Fear Station Alpha is complete. I have sent the file to Nigel Rowand, an institution and a pillar of the DooM community, for play-testing. As soon as I address his comments and suggestions I will release the level. Meanwhile, I have uploaded three new screenshots. After getting some friendly flak on the forums about shooting at walls, this time I've taken the pics while shooting at enemies.

.: October 1, 2003

Terror finally has a name, blah, blah, blah. My new ZDooM map will be called Fear Station Alpha. As promised, six new screenshots are available for your perusal.

.: September 30, 2003

In my last news post I indicated I might do a quick map. And so it has worked out. After more than 5 months I have returned to mapping for ZDooM. A tech-industrial map (big surprise there!) without any groundbreaking features, this one focuses on looks and gameplay. I considered doing several maps in a hub, but then I reasoned that it wouldn't be a "quick map" any more. Plus, I'm only doing this as a break from Phobos Revisited. Screenshots real soon.

Since I got back from vacation I have been gung ho about GLQuake. The game looks sweet (for being 7 years old), and the gameplay is kickass. Unfortunately, with my work schedule and other aspects of real life I don't get to play it as much as it deserves. Meanwhile, I've gotten back into Serious Sam, which is a seriously (pun intended) fun yet simultaneously intense game. After I've decimated a swarm of toxic freaking frogs I have to run for cover from a horde of headless kamikaze bombers, following which a herd of werebulls try to kick the shit out of me, and so on .... I barely have time to think about saving the game between these assaults. Ah, the thrills of adrenaline, that all-natural high inducer.

.: August 28, 2003

Well, I'm back from vacation in body but hardly in mind. Three and a half weeks is barely enough time to truly chill out, but I made the most of it. Europe was hot and Italy was freakishly expensive and crowded. But I had a great time, particularly in Istanbul, where there was plenty of great food, wine, and lots of time to relax.

Last week I was in Texas, and I had a chance to visit Baylor University, which is my alma mater from misty ages past. I met up with one of my graduate school professors, who is still teaching there, but much has changed, with new buildings and construction everywhere. My department building, which was on the banks of the Brazos River and had grand views, was no more -- a hulking Law School had been built on the site. My old apartment building was still there, though. It looked the same (i.e., shitty) except that the pool had been filled in, and the only sign of it ever having been there was the cracked concrete where the ground was sinking in.

All righty, then. Back to DooM news. During my trip to Texas I managed to make some progress on E1M3 of Phobos Revisited. In fact I'd estimate it's about 50% done. Also, I've put up screenshots for all work completed so far on this page. Meanwhile I've been mulling other projects, but feel sluggish about starting new stuff while I'm working on two longer-term projects. Moreover, I have two other commitments -- Map24 for the NewDooM Community Project, and some mapping for Plutonia II. Still, I can't resist doing a quick map, perhaps as part of the Wicked series. Time will tell.

.: July 17, 2003

It's been almost a whole month since my last update. In between I travelled to San Diego and back, and was buried up to my nostrils in job-related manure. Man! did the stink ride up into my brain! Anyhoo, during my trip to San Diego I managed to put in some work on E1M3 of Phobos Revisited. Meanwhile, Nigel sent me his comments on E1M1, and there are a couple of things I'll need to work on. But it'll have to wait until mid-August, 'cos I'm off to see the great cities of Europe -- Istanbul, Rome, Florence, Pisa. So long, suckers!

.: June 18, 2003

The Wicked and the Damned seemed to have received a halfway decent reception from the DooM community. With that behind me I'm moving ahead with my Phobos Revisited project(s). To that end I have done some of the graphics work for the ZDooM version of the project, namely creating tall skies. Using MS Paint I started with the Episode 1 sky of DooM and painstakingly added hills and valleys to the "front" of the original hills. I also increased the band of sky and clouds above the hills. In this way I created a 240 * 256 sky. Next, I used the new tall sky and replaced the grey skies with a blue sky and white clouds. The ZDooM version of the wad includes a new PLAYPAL lump that converts the sky to a brilliant blue.

Check out the grey sky and the in-game screenshot of the blue sky.

Oh, and did I mention that I've signed up to do another map for the NewDooM Community Project?

.: June 11, 2003

Nigel sent me his suggestions, I incorporated them into the map, and finalized it. Among the changes was a replacement of the default rusted metallic MIDBAR texture. Several people on DooM World's forums indicated that it didn't go well with the grey and SUPPORT2 textures of the map. Nigel whipped up a lighter, silver-grey replacement, which I have used. Many thanks to him for the texture and for his suggestions for improving the map.

I'm off to my old hunting grounds in the Washington, D.C. area for the rest of the week. I'm not sure if I'll get a chance to update while I'm away, but be sure to check into /newstuff for wicked_6.zip (The Wicked and the Damned).

.: June 9, 2003

The Wicked and the Damned is on its way to Nigel for play testing, and he'll undoubtedly do his usual thorough job of checking it out. I have played it several times on all skill levels, but have focused on UV, trying to get the ammo and health balance just right. The map is smaller than most of my maps tend to be, and I can finish it with max kills in just about 8 minutes. I'd say that makes it a smallish map. It's also got fewer of the bigger enemies, another departure from my typical maps. It ought to be coming your way soon. Stand by.

.: June 4, 2003

Finally got around to taking screenshots of The Wicked and the Damned. Without further fanfare, go right to the screenshots page for the map. (I suggest drawing your blinds/curtains and dimming the lights, as these pictures are somewhat dark. I didn't want to brighten them up, because the map is intentionally poorly lit.)

I've made some more progress on the map, and am probably 75% done with the mapping. That leaves the monster, weapon, health, and armor placement, play testing, external beta testing, then release. In the immortal words of the wise-cracking guy in the dark sunglasses -- "What are we waiting for? Christmas?!"

.: June 2, 2003

I'm back again, this time from San Antonio and Austin (Texas). Next week it's off to the Washington, D.C. area, and a week after that to San Diego, CA. I'm just racking up those frequent flier miles, eh? What one must do for God and Country .... oops, make that God and Company.

Once again, the trusty laptop came in handy. I've completed more than 50% of the map I started during my trip to Seattle. And I got most of it done while being high as a kite -- 30,000 ft high, to be precise. Although I started out with a working title of Axis of Evil, I'm considering changing it to The Wicked and the Damned. That's because it fits in with my criteria for a map in the Wicked series -- it does not require a source port to run yet it has a goodly amount of detail, and it keeps sector use to a minimum via sector "merging". Screen shots coming soon. Stay tuned.

.: May 25, 2003

Welp, I'm back from Seattle, and contrary to popular opinion it does not rain there every day. Every other day, maybe, but not every day. Despite the cloudy and occasionally damp weather, I thoroughly enjoyed my stay there. The Cascade and Olympic mountain ranges are spectacular, as are Puget Sound and Lake Washington. I even managed to see Mt. Rainier in the distance a few times. One evening I headed East to Snoqualmie Pass and the Falls, and the drive was magnificent. Seattle is a happening place too. (Unfortunately, the Mariners took a pounding from the KC Royals while I was there, and probably wish they were somewhere else). Had a couple of beers at a club called the Liquid Lounge, and lost a bit of my hearing listening to a four-man band playing what I can only describe as "retro-thrash". The sound they were going for was be-bop on speed.

One of my stops was at Ft. Lewis, where I got to check out the real time battle simulator. A page right out of DooM, if you ask me ;) I also got to kick the tires of the new Stryker Infantry Carrier Vehicle, which typically carries a nine-man infantry squad plus a crew of 2, is armored with kevlar-sandwiched ceramic plates bolted to heavy steel, and has a remote weapons station that controls an M2 .50 caliber machine gun, or MK19 40 mm grenade launcher. A page right out of Quake or Halo.

On the interminable plane rides there and back I managed to put in some DooM editing time. I've started a new map for DooM2, which I've tentatively named Axis of Evil. More on this later.

.: May 16, 2003

I've added a whole new page of screenshots. These are of my Map18 (Sudden Death), which I've submitted for the Community Chest Megawad. Fifteen new pics in all their jDooM glory. Check them out at the Sudden Death page.

In other DooM-related news, this week I have had the privilege and the pleasure to play-test what is destined to become one of this year's hottest wads. I speak, of course, of Chris Hansen's soon-to-be-released HelpYourSelfish. In my comments to him, this is some of what I had to say about it: "Wonderfully atmospheric, beautifully executed architecture, challenging gameplay, excellent use of varied textures. An all-round must-play wad." You're just going to have to wait to see if I was on the money with my comments.

I will be in Seattle all next week attending some conference or another. I will have my laptop with me, so hopefully I'll make some progress with Phobos Revisited. I've nearly finished Map E1M1, which I'll send off to Nigel for play-testing. (I finished Map E1M2 months ago, and Nigel has kicked it around plenty.)

.: May 11, 2003

Many thanks to all of you who have visited here during the past two days, and a special thank you to Doomworld [did I get it right this time, Cyb? ;)] and New DooM for posting news about my site. The site received close to 300 visitors during these 2 days.

I have had to make a couple of changes to the site. (Actually a few hundred changes, but it was mostly cutting and pasting from one page to another.) To most users the changes wouldn't be obvious at all. But to those of you using IE 6.0 with Win XP you will immediately be able to tell the difference. Apparently, IE 6.0 with Win XP has a problem displaying bitmap format images. Many thank sto Nigel 'Enjay' Rowand for pointing this out. To fix the problem I converted the bitmap format images to .gif format, reloaded them to the host server, and renamed the relevant file names in the HTML source. As practically every page had .bmp files, that was over an hour's worth of work.

In other non-DooM related news, I just got back from a weekend in Naples, Florida. It was hot and humid (which gave me an excuse to have more beer), but was fun to visit. The beach was a blast, plus I was eating as if food was going out of style. I guess that comes with the territory, being on vacation and all.

.: May 9, 2003

The time has come, the Walrus said, to talk of many things....

First, about this site. I designed it way back in January and February of this year. Why has it been sitting on a shelf these many months, you ask? Well, in January I received an offer of hosting at DooM World, which the cognoscenti (people who know anything worth knowing) immediately identify as one of the premier DooM-related sites. Anyhoo, after waiting more than 3 months with nary a word about the hosting opportunity I have given up and decided to put this site up on my own. Many thanks to 50Megs.com for hosting it.

Next, seeing as how you clicked on the "News" link, I suppose you'd like to know if there's any news. Indeed there is. I'd like to officially announce my newest project. It's for The Ultimate DooM, and will replace the entire first Episode. I have named the project Phobos Revisited, and you can get more information on it from the "NewStuff" page. (If you're interested in a scientific discourse, read Rodin, Korablev, and Moroz's paper entitled Condensation-Driven Vertical Profile of Water in Mars Troposphere: Phobos Revisited.)

Phobos Revisited will come in two flavors -- a vanilla DooM version for all you so-called "purists", and a ZDooM version. Now before you say "WTF? If that dimwit ReX expects me to download two files to play the same levels over he can kiss my hairy [donkey]", I want to point out that the ZDooM version will use a hub system, will have many ZDooM features, and will even have differences in map design and gameplay. So there.

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