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Topics - your evil twin

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I've created a new blog site where I review the hell out of things. Or rather, write insane dissertation/thesis length deconstructions of them. First up is EA's Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars. I find that they did a great job in most areas, but completely missed the whole point of what Tiberium is supposed to be and its role in the story. Kinda important, given that it is in the title of the game. Further investigation reveals that the changes EA made cause the overall plot to make no sense at all!


A year ago there was a demo for Timeshift, and it sucked. Terrible. Thankfully the publishers realised this, and just "7 bugs away from release" they asked the development team if another year would make a difference. One year later, TimeShift is now out, and yes that extra year did make a big difference. It's not amazing, but it is good fun.

Especially the multiplayer. I'll come to that in a bit.

Last month, shortly before the release of the game, there was a singleplayer-only demo. I enjoyed it, but not enough to buy the game. The game seemed to rip-off every popular game around. Your character is a silent protagonist who apparently is a scientist who is wearing a super-powered suit and has become an action hero... hmm, Gordon Freeman? The level in the demo was an obvious rip-off of the City 17 rebellion in Half-Life 2, complete with the bad guy on big screens preaching propoganda, while the graphics were gritty in the style of Gears of War or Unreal Tournament 3. There was recharging health in the style of Halo or Call of Duty, a recharging bullet-time meter in the style of FEAR, and a similar limit of being able to carry just three weapons. It wasn't very original. BUT... there was cool stuff in the gameplay itself - I loved how you could freeze time and steal someone's weapon, resulting in a confused enemy asking what the hell happened and then searching around for another weapon lying around. I had a great sense of self-satisfaction when I saw an enemy kill an ally and I reversed time, resurrecting the ally, and then quickly shot the enemy in the head the moment time returned to normal, altering history and saving a guy's life. The guy then picked up the dead soldier's gun and was slightly helpful against a few enemies.

So yeah, as I said, I had fun playing the demo, but not enough to want to shell out the cash, since there's a lot of good games out at the moment, and TimeShift just seemed a rehash of other games except with cool time powers. Cool time powers alone enough to make me spend £25? Hmmm. But now's there's a new multiplayer demo (that also includes the singleplayer demo level), which includes a couple of maps, and WOW last night I had a BRILLIANT TIME!

The demo includes a deathmatch map and another map that works in both deathmatch and capture the flag. Some of the demo servers are using custom settings such as "Force Echo Rifle" making it snipers only, but if you play on one of the "normal" servers you can have a great experience. The weapons are great. My favourite is probably the Hell Fire, which is a cross between a submachinegun and a flamethrower - as well as doing conventional bullet damage, the bullet damage also sets the enemy on fire - the fire only does a tiny bit of extra damage, but that little bit extra can make all the difference. The secondary fire works as a traditional flamethrower. There's also a gun that fires orange energy projectiles, which you can charge-up like the Half-Life 1 tau cannon.

In multiplayer the time-shifting abilities are used via time grenades that detonate on impact and create a bubble of weird time. The grenades are unlimited, but they use suit power just like the abilities in singleplayer, so you can't spam time grenades everywhere. The suit power slowly charges on its own, or you can speed it up with pick-ups. Pressing G throws a freeze grenade, which uses up half of your suit power, so it takes about ten seconds after spawning before you have enough charge to a freeze grenade, and then you are completely drained. Anyone caught inside the freeze bubble is immobilised and unable to shoot. If you fire any weapons into the bubble they will all freeze on the outer edge of the bubble, and WHAM into their target when the bubble vanishes, as the person inside helplessly stares in horror. Unless they've still got lots of suit power themselves, in which case they can press F and activate a time shield, which cancells out time effects. As well as the freeze grenades (G) and the time shield (F) you can press Shift and F together, which will throw a Slow grenade. This creates a bubble of bullet-time that people can still move around in slowly and shoot out of, but makes them more vulnerable. The advantage of using slow grenades is you still have lots of suit power left over and can use the time shield or more grenades.

There was a sniper that was really irritating me, but I managed to get up into his sniper area, and chuck a freeze grenade. Mwuahaha, climbed up, pulled out my own sniper rifle, aimed the laser dot at his head and fired it at his head from a few feet away. It was great, we both knew he was dead but it simply hadn't happened yet. Five seconds later, time bubble vanishes, "Headshot!" People can also run into/fall into time bubbles, it's great when you see someone is going to jump down somewhere and throw a grenade and freeze the person in mid air 6 feet off the ground, and proceed to fire three rockets at that spot. And then there's the humiliation when you midjudge a grenade and it deonates too close and you freeze yourself, or slow yourself and then try to flee in slow motion and your opponent blasts away at you.

There's a great powerup that you can pick up, Time Resistance, which means that for a minute you are immune to time effects without using up power. You can have great fun with this, as it means you can safely detonate time grenades at close range, shoot a frozen enemy in the head at point blank and then run through the bubble to other side. OR if you are under heavy attack you can purposely detonate a time grenade at your feet as a defensive measure.

The two maps included in the demo had nice layouts, and also what was cool is that the outdoor map seemed to have dynamic changing weather. It started off really dark and gloomy, but over the course of the match it became a bright sunny day. There's also some nice HDR.

So yeah, Timeshift is a good deathmatch/capture the flag alternative if you are tired of the Unreal Tournament arsenal. And apparently there's a bunch of unusual multiplayer game modes, such as one where both sides have some sort of doomsday machine and whichever team's machine activates first wins, so the objective is to use time grenades to slow or freeze the opposition's machine.

Other Threads / Upgrading RAM - do I need to worry about which type?
« on: September 19, 2007, 03:54:31 PM »
My computer's getting a bit old - 2.8ghz AMD64 processor, 256mb ATI X800XL graphics card, 300 gig harddrive (that's OK) and 1 gig of RAM. Lots of games nowadays recommend 2 gigs of RAM, and I know my PC has 4 RAM slots and only 2 of them are being used, so I figured I'd just go on ebay and grab myself a couple more sticks of RAM.

Question is - do I have to worry about compatability with my old RAM sticks? Since I've got two 512mb sticks, is it OK for me to stick a 1gb stick in or should I stick with getting more 512mb sticks? Or is it more a matter of arrangement, that big RAM sticks should go before small RAM sticks.

I'm not sure what type of DDR it has, but I know that there's such types as DDR1, DDR2 and DDR3, will it cause a problem if I add extra RAM sticks that are a different DDR number to what I have at the moment?

Game News / It's now Tuesday in the UK. Where's my TF2 beta?
« on: September 18, 2007, 12:06:28 AM »
By pre-ordering the Orange Box, I supposedly get access to the Team Fortress 2 beta on Monday 17th September. Well, it's just past midnight here in the UK, it is now officially TUESDAY.

It would kind of be nice if these vague promises and offers actually gave a specific time and timezone, rather than just the date. It could turn out that it'll be released at 23:59 on America's west coast. Or perhaps even later - as long as it is still Monday on some island in the pacific, they can get away with.

Dirty rotten soundrels. I've got work tomorrow, so I can't stay up any later. I was looking forward to an evening of TF2, instead I'll now have to wait till tomorrow evening.

Conversation / The best superpower
« on: May 04, 2007, 06:36:33 PM »
If I could pick a superpower - just one, which one would it be?

I'm convinced that the best superpower is the ability to freeze time. Or rather, slow it down to an incredibly slow crawl so that time looks frozen. Now, why is such a power more useful than any other superpower? Because it is in fact several powers in one!

1) Firstly, the obvious one - you can move so fast that you dodge bullets, or stop someone from killing someone, whatever, you get there in the blink of an eye. And of course you'll never have to be late for anything again or worry about deadlines, cause you can just freeze time to give yourself more time to do something.

2) You move faster than anyone can see - so effectively you are invislble. Point and laugh at anyone who chose "invisibility" as their choice of superpower.

3) Here's the one no movie or comic has ever considered - if you were moving a thousand times faster than anyone else, then if you punched someone, your punch would have a thousand times more energy! Booyah, superhuman strength too! So, this means you can freeze time, go into a bank without being seen, then kick the huge vault door down without needing any tools, and then stoll out with everything. If you don't have the ability to make your car be time warped too then I guess you'll have to carry all the cash on foot, but hey, you've got the time, why not make thirty trips over the period of a week. Then unfreeze time, only half a second has passed. Mwuahaha.

The increased force of your actions does has the nasty side effect that you'd kill someone if you accidentally ran into them while time was frozen, but since time is frozen you don't need to be in a hurry to get anywhere. So you just slowly walk between all the frozen people.

I'm surprised that no-one seems to have picked up on this superhuman strength thing when it comes to time freezing. The only thing that came close was the sci-fi miniseries "The Lost Room", which featured some time freezing, but in that the guy couldn't move any objects, everything was frozen in place. At least that does deal with the issue of touching objects. But I reckon a time-freezing superpower would give you the strength of superman.

There was an excellent three-part series on BBC2 called The Trap a month or two ago about why in our supposedly democratic societies we have actually ended up losing our freedoms. The whole thing is nowon this myspace page http://www.myspace.com/ws29 (and maybe google video)? and also in small chunks on youtube http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=The+Trap, I VERY STRONGLY recommend it. http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=The+Trap

Most enlightening factual program I've seen in many years. If you don't want to watch it, I've written some of the stuff that I've learnt from it here:

It all happened as a horrible side-effect of the Cold War. During the Cold War the American strategy of mutually assured destruction was based on a principle called Game Theory, where the best course of action was to simply look out for your own interests, on the assumption that everyone else was only looking out for their own interests. Therefore the US and the USSR don't nuke each other because they'd get nuked themselves.

Unfortunately, this system that made sense in terms of a tense nuclear stand-off was then picked up by economists - they reckoned that if average human beings were allowed to do whatever they wanted, they'd do whatever was most adventagous to themselves. Therefore people commit altruistic acts (be nice to each other) because they are likely to receieve some kind of benefit in return, and they don't constantly screw each other over, rob each other or kill each other because then someone else wold screw them over, rob them or kill them. So by giving everyone the tototal freedom to fulfill you own self-interst, you'd end up with the most beneficial result to the majority of the population. So the theory goes.

Economists were able to persuade politicians of this, and various limitations that had previously been implimented for the supposed "public good" were relaxed, as Game Theory argued that in fact the free-market would be the best system as it would allow everyone to be "free" to serve their own interests. There's no point government putting restrictions on corporations, or governing public services themselves, or attempting to manage the economy, as if the people invovled are left to their own devices they'll end up doing whatever works best.

It didn't work, as some people and organisations were in fact far more self-serving than others, or would not think in terms of the long-term benefits they might recieve by not screwing over or stealing from others... so this lead to lots of people being ripped-off, and ludicrous corporate scandals where high-ranking members would bankrupt their own companies in schemes that would allow them to personally line their own pockets.

Yet Game Theory remained popular, and was adopted by politicians. Since according to Game Theory everyone was essentially selfish and self-serving, politicians and civil servants that supposedly worked to serve the "public good" were in fact just serving themselves. The evidence being some corrupt politicans and civil servants. So instead people being allowed to work for the public good, things were changed so that politicians and civil servants and health care services would work to targets. If you met or exceeded your targets you would be rewarded, if you didn't you got a pay-cut. By this means it wuold be self-serving to serve the public good! But the system did not work, at all. People that had previously been doing a job just for the sake of helping people now had to worry that if they did not meet a certain target their pay would be cut, and where if they could somehow make it look like they had helped an unusally large number of people they wuold get a pay raise.

This meant that politicians, the police and the health service began "gaming" the system just like corrupt economists corporate heads had been doing. Not been meeting your crime-reducation targets? Simply reclassify a number of serious crimes as misdemenours! Congratulations, pay rise, it looks like less has to be done about that particular type of crime, crime actually gets worse. Having trouble meeting your target for how long a patient must wait before getting a hospital bed? Simply remove wheels from trolleys, put patients on those and call them beds! Congratulations, waiting time down from hours to minutes, when in reality the patients are still just waiting on trolleys instead of proper hospital beds. Too many patients waiting a long time to be treated? Simply bump all the minor easy cases to the top of the waiting list, as they can be dealth with super quick, reducing waiting lists but making people with terrible painful or life-threatening conditions wait even longer.

This meant that public services that had previously been for the common good but had some examplse of corruption now had the worst of BOTH worlds - the corrupt could still just as corrupt as they had always been, as they could totally "game" the system to line their own pockets, while those that had been honest and working for the public good might be punished for not meeting targets, and so they had to become target-driven instead of moral-driven. There is no longer any room for goodness and common deceny, and so the people stop being good and decent anymore. This filters down to public perception of politicians, civil servants and companies, and the public thinks no-one can be trusted. And since people end up with targets and stuff in their normal lives at work, they end up gaming the system too... and before you know it, the system has actually made everyone selfish and self-serving, without any of that supposed mutual niceness and helpfulness that was supposed to come with it.

Game Theory was also adopted by biologists with the idea of the Selfish Gene. This in turn gave the economists and politicians that supported Game Theory additional support, as they could say that in fact self-human nature - and fake examples of altruism and "niceness" - were fundamental laws of nature at the genetic level. But the biological selfish gene theory has in fact been pretty well dubunked now.

When the USSR collapsed America helped out by sending a bunch of US economists over to help out. They all believed in game theory, and overnight they relaxed all governemtn controls on everything and turned everythign over to the free market. The result? THe Russian economy completely collapsed, money became worthless, people sold all their possessions in the streets, and factory workers had to be paid in their own goods, which they then sold. The next stage of the reform was that everyone recieved shares in their own compaies... this didn't work as everyone was in porverty and so could only think in terms of the short term rather than long term, so a few sceheming buisness then bought everyones shares in return for money, often a hundredth of the actual value of the shares. This meant that all Russian buisness and services were now owned by a few corrupt buisness that became as the Olagarchs. Yep, totaly democarcy, free market and Game Theory really worked well, lol. So the supposed demoracratic government was kicked out and replaced with a hard-line government that had strong contols over many things. Peole didn't care about democarcy anymore as long as the government could control the economy and buisness. I guess the system became inbetween democracy and communism.

The original creator of Game Theory has stated that although it works for huge nations locked in a Cold War, it doesn't work when applied to normal people. Some people will totally serve themselves despite possible future disadvantages, other people will nice and non-scheming and end up being scrwed over. You don't end up with natural mutually-beneficial equilibrium. Tests and surveys have shown that in fact the only play that actually thing the way Game Theory supposes they do are economists... and psycopaths.

HL1 style replacement sound pack for Combine soldiers and metrocops. Works in HL2, Episode One and all HL2 single-player mods.

The best feature is that Combine soldiers use what I call the "intelligent sentences system" where they shout Gordon's distance and use randomly generated squad names and numbers and stuff. They'll remember them too... so, for example,  if "delta four" reports seeing the player, then if he gets killed another soldier might yell "Delta four down" or "Delta two request backup".

Fileplanet: http://www.fileplanet.com/173012/170000/fileinfo/HL1-style-Combine-soldier-voicepack,-with-intelligent-sentences-system
Filefront: http://files.filefront.com/HL1_style_Combine_voiceszip/;6568964;;/fileinfo.html

I used GamingLord's hgrunt sounds for the metrocops as I wanted them to sound more human than the Combine cyborg soldiers. The metrocops don't have the intelligent sentence system though, as there aren't enough names and numbers for it to work. Doesn't matter though because GamingLord's soldier sounds kick butt. And the Combine soldiers sound perfect with the original Half-Life 1 hgrunt voices, plus I modified the sounds a bit so they'd speak a little quicker than in HL1 and without pauses between the words.

This was hard work. I was going to save it till the new version of SMOD Remastered, but I figured I might as well release it as a standalone download so that even those that aren't interested in playing my mod can still enjoy the sounds.

Help Desk / Unable to connect to Steam at the moment?
« on: December 16, 2006, 12:18:15 AM »
All of a sudden I can no longer connect to Steam. It says "Steam - Warning. Steam is having trouble connecting to the Steam servers." It occured to me that perhaps I just had my password wrong or something (and Steam had a stupid misleading error message), or someone had stolen my account, so I tried creating a new account with a new email... and that didn't work either because it said it couldnt' connect to the master server.

Anyone else experiencing this? Or has something gone wrong on my computer? That would be weird because I haven't changed any firewall/router/antivirus settings lately.

Other Threads / Has my computer got a virus?
« on: December 02, 2006, 12:49:33 PM »
I have AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition, and AVG Anti-Spyware. Earlier in the week I got a trojan horse on my computer, which AVG detected. Although AVG kept finding a trojan horse and getting rid of it, each time I switched on the computer it popped up again. So I installed Trojan Hunter and that found what AVG missed - something in the computer's registry, and some other trojan file elsewhere on the compouter. After that, both AVG and Trojan Hunter report that everything is clean.

Yet when I do Ctrl Alt Delete to bring up the task manager, I notice several instances of something called svchost.exe. I don't know what it is, or why it should have several entries on the task manager. Some are listed as SYSTEM, some are listed as NETWORK PROCESS and some are listed as LOCAL SERVICE. If I try to end any of these processes, I get a message saying that my system must now shutdown because the process was ended. There's a 60 second timer and then the system shuts down.

What the hell? If this is a virus - or something left over from the virus - how in the hell do I get rid of it?

And if it isn't a virus... then why the hell does XP have some windows processes that you are not allowed to shut down? Obviously I expect shutting down some processes to cause the compouter to crash, but this isn't a crash - this is something that says that because a process was terminated, the system must shut down, I've got 60 seconds to save my work. This is MY computer and so why should Microsoft be able to tell me what processes I must keep running?!

Conversation / Gabe Newell ackowledges the Gearbox expansions
« on: June 06, 2006, 10:03:45 PM »
Gabe Newell and Erik Johnson were interviewed by Eurogamer about Episode One, and it Gabe briefly mentions the Gearbox expansions. Not just the ones on PC, Opposing Force and Blue Shift, he even mentions Decay, the 2-player game that came with the PS2 version of Half-Life.


I've been sick and tired of people saying that the Gearbox expansions are "unofficial" and not part of the true Half-Life storyline, simply because Valve said they weren't going to use any of the stuff from the expansions in any new Half-Life games. Well, Valve certainly aren't saying that the Half-Life expansion packs didn't happen in their story. Gabe says that the previous expansions further illuminated the events in Black Mesa; he wouldn't be saying that if as far as Valve didn't care what Opposing Force or Blue Shift or Decay said happened in Black Mesa.

Eurogamer: Last time out with Half-Life 1 you evolved the story very differently by having a set of expansion packs told with the same timeline but from different characters' perspectives. This time you've gone for a linear approach. Why?

Gabe Newell: Well, [Episodes One to Three] aren't expansion packs, right? [In Half-Life] we liked to continue to illuminate these events through different sets of eyes. With Decay we were pretty amused to see these two sets of women carrying the crystal to the test chamber or whether you're Adrian Shepherd [in Opposing Force] or Barney [in Blue Shift], so we liked that aspect to it.

Source RELEASES / [HL2] SMOD Remastered
« on: May 29, 2006, 11:39:16 PM »
It is finally done! This is a mod of a mod - it is my redone version of SMOD.


It does not require you to already have SMOD to play, as it includes all the files. If you are a fan of regular SMOD you should probably backup SMOD by moving the folder to somewhere else on your computer.

Features include a load of cool weapons like the OICW, Overwatch Sniper Rifle, a new MP5 and new MP7, a jackhammer auto-shotgun, original Half-Life-style human grunts helping out the rebels, Civil Protection SWAT teams, night vision, and a third-person view (including an option for a Resident Evil 4 perspective!). There are also more cloaked soldiers and stalkers than in original SMOD. My favourite feature is the weapon randomization - in most maps, the enemies's weapons are randomly determined from a list, with each map having its own weapons list. Gives the game a bit of Sin: Emergence feel, as when you die and reload your game the enemies you encounter can be differently armed.

The readme includes full credits for everyone that helped me out - let me know if I've got something of yours and it isn't credited!

Daza400 warned me not to include any content from F.E.A.R., so no worries, this mod does not contain any retail content. I got the Command and Conquer/Red Alert sound effects from C&C/RA/RA2 Windows themes, and the music is freely available on hundreds of websites, including the composer's website and Planet Command and Conquer. Same goes for the old 60s Doctor Who theme tune and the Millennium music by Mark Snow, findable on google in about thirty seconds.


Mods / SMOD: Evil Edition
« on: April 11, 2006, 08:41:22 PM »
I am in the progress of extensively modfiying and customising SMOD on my system, and once I've got it totally to my satisfaction I'm planning to put all the altered config files and new models into a zip or rar and stick it up on the internet for others to download. The name SMOD: Evil Edition sucks, I only called that because it is made by your evil twin, it isn't especially evil.


1) No Combine armed with low-tech weaponry. Why on earth would Combine soldiers be using AK-47s, Grease Guns, or a kar98 with bayonet? Expect more laser guns, and...

2) OICW rifle as medium-tech weapon inbetween the MP7 and the pulse rifle. I have currently got it replacing the AK-47. I tried making it a new custom weapon with a working scope, it worked great as a player weapon but NPCs could not figure out how to fire the gun. Hoping to fix that. Uses SMG ammo rather than pulse rifle ammo and fires regular bullets rather than pulse energy. OICW model shamelessly stolen from either Missing Information or HL2: CTF.

3) More SMOD-specific NPCs throughout the game, eg houndeyes, invisible-camo soldiers, jumping elite Combine. Care taken to ensure new locations make sense, though.

4) New NPCs in the Combine citadel once you have the gravity gun, a part of the game that is currently unmodified in SMOD. Expect snipers on high perches, invisible camo soldiers and jumping elites ready to surprise you, stalkers... stalking the place, and sentry turrets. Might add Singularity Generator grenades as an extra weapon you can pick up and use apart from the super gravity gun.

5) No weird out-of-place NPCs like a killable Barney on Highway 17 or the G-Man as a Combine soldier in Nova Prospekt. Storyline will be totally consistant with HL2 and HL2: Episode One. Might keep Kleiner as an ally NPC in Forget About Freeman, but give him ludicrous health so he won't get killed. Also might keep Grigori as an NPC on Highway 17 since he is unkillable anyway and therefore it doesn't screw up the storyline.

6) Gore level slightly reduced, gorier than HL2 but not as ridiculously gory as the SMOD maximum. Higher default health for gibbing so people aren't constantly being splatted all the time.

7) All graphics/sound settings can be set to the maximum quality/coolness using one simple console command, or disabled just as easily (and I might make maximum quality the default setting). Except for the motion blur effect caused by explosions, I hate that. (How are you supposed to appreciate distortion shockwaves from grenades if you whole screen is messed up by your concussion?)

7) Pulse rifle secondary ammo and Singularity Generator grenades now share the same ammo type, and the model for the pulse rifle secondary ammo is changed to be a Singularity grenade. Amount of pulse rifle grenade ammo that you can carry is increased, and it is up to you whether you want to use it up by firing pulse balls or throwing singularity grenades. Be able to use singularity grenades from Eli's lab in Black Mesa East onwards.

8) Laser gun damage greatly reduced so it is not overpowered. Model altered to instagib rifle from Instagib: Source (though so far only got a working v model, NPCs can't figure out how to use the w model). Name changed to Particle Rifle, since a laser beam would be able to pass through Combine shields (since they are transparent).

9) Flare gun changed from being a cheat weapon to a normal weapon that can be picked up in the game. Ammo changed to that of magnum .357. Though obviously a flare gun would not use such bullets in real life, it makes more sense than the current version that uses normal pistol ammo, making it an unbalanced cheat weapon. Maximum carryable magnum ammo increased to 36 like in old Half-Life rather than 12. (But magnum ammo will still be as scarce, so it is up to you if you want to save it up or not.)

10) Antlion spawning put back into the attack on Nova Prospekt - that bit of the game just makes no sense without Antlions.

11) Bugspawner weapon removed from canals section, made cheat weapon only. Might keep Scissors or Banana bomb in but change them to using magnum ammo or grenade ammo to stop them being so overpowered. Might put PSP UMD launcher into game as easter egg, maybe using magnum ammo. Also might put in laser tripmines as a weapon using grenade ammo.

12) Friendly soldiers altered to be Half-Life HECU grunts rather than "friendly Combine". Also squads of friendly soldiers replace some of the extra squads of rebels.

13) New metrocop/combine soldier voices so that you can actually understand what your enemies are yelling about.

14) A few new music tracks added to sections. Planning to not remove any of the existing music, the idea is to add content to HL2, not remove it. Plans for music currently include Command & Conquer.

Areas that I currently need help with:

a) W model for instagib rifle is from a multiplayer mod and NPCs don't know how to fire it. Need help from a modeller or animator or someone so that NPCs recognise it is like a pulse rifle.

b) If a weapon normally uses a small sub-machine gun model and the model is replaced with a rifle, NPCs can't figure out how to fire the gun, because it is too big or they are trying to use the wrong set of animations. Wondering whether it is possible to alter the w model for the OICW so that the NPCs think it is an SMG rather than a rifle.

c) This needs a better name than SMOD: Evil Edition. It isn't turning HL2 into a game about the evil dead or anything. SMOD: Redux? Hehehe.

Conversation / Great Half-Life/Half-Life 2 story info on Wikipedia
« on: January 01, 2006, 03:40:49 AM »
As many of you may be aware, I consider myself quite the expert on the Half-Life/Half-Life 2 storyline.  I'm not suggesting I can't make mistakes, I just really care. :)  Until Half-Life 2, I was convinced the G-Man was Black Mesa's administrator!  What a fool I was.

Earlier this year I added to the Half-Life entries on Wikipedia, an online encylopedia.  My most notable entry was creating the section on the Hazardous Environment Combat Unit (Half-Life's military force).  There is still debate as to whether the HECU is supposed to be a new type of Special Operations Force, or a sub-division of the US Marines, or a permanently established composite force like the Joint Special Operations Command.

I'm pleased to see that since then other people have been busy at work, adding their observations about Black Mesa, the HECU, the Half-Life characters, the aliens, the Combine empire and its weapons and technology.

It's also great to see that now throughout these entries the miltiary force has become referred to as the HECU.  Annoyingly, this hasn't been changed in the Opposing Force or Blue Shift sections, so I might set about doing it myself.  It was also quite gratifying to see that clearly someone must have read my old Lambda Project website, as in the Black Mesa section the Lambda Complex's main teleporter is referred to as the Large Main Displacement Field Generator, which was a name I made up in my fictional history of the Black Mesa facility!  I'll be happy to hear alternative suggestions for what to call that machine, and I might edit the page as I think a machine called the LMPDFG sounds a bit crap.  Also, the section on Xen has a reference to a past theory of mine, that the various Xen rocks could be orbiting an unseen object.  It doesn't mention my other theory that perhaps the entire Xen world is a vast living organism (the Xen islands have hairs and pores and look organic), so I might mention that.  And I want to make a new section or page about the Xen crystals, and possibly dark energy in HL2.

Anyway, here are links to a bunch of interesting things.

Main Half-Life section: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Half_Life
Main Half-Life 2 section: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Half-Life_2
Xen (and info regarding the Combine & Race X): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xen_homeworld
The Black Mesa Research Facility: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Mesa_Research_Facility
The Combine Empire: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Combine_%28Half-Life_2%29
The G-Man: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G-Man_%28Half-Life%29

Be sure to check out the links within the pages - there are thourough sections on Gordon Freeman, the G-Man headcrabs, Vortigaunts, and pretty much everything to do with Half-Life, Opposing Force, Blue-Shift, Decay, and Half-Life 2.  It kind of makes my Lambda Project redundant - I don't know how I'll manage to make my website without inadvertantly ripping off some of the stuff on this site!

Oh, remember that while anyone can register and edit Wiki entries, if you disagree with what someone else has posted you should discuss it by clicking on the discussion tag at the top of the page, rather than just screwing around with stuff.  Of course, if it is a minor edit, or you are adding extra info rather than contradicting someone else's, that isn't necessary.  I intend to create a new section or sections about the portal storms, the dimensional rift, and the Combine's initial invasion.

I've been screwing around with the muzzleflash effects for the pulse rifle, and I've made it look like the pulse rifle fires warps in space!  It also effects the impact effects, and the pulse rifle ball.

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Mods / Instagib rifle into Pulse Rifle
« on: December 13, 2005, 12:58:34 PM »
I don't mean to distract from the awesome Pulse Assault Rifle Mk2 that is being worked on at the moment, but since mods like SMOD have several weapons that use the pulse rifle model it's good to give people a choice of lots of different pulse rifle replacements! :)

I'm trying to convert the gun from Instagib Source into a repalcement for the HL2 pulse rifle (or the laser gun in SMOD) by editing the scripts for the pulse rifle/laser gun, since it seemed the instagib gun was based on the pulse rifle, and its script file refers to the pulse rifle's animations.  For those that don't know... this is the instagib gun:

... but I've hit a few problems.

  • It seems the instagib gun doesn't have a draw animation, so it just immediately appears in your hand when you select it.
  • There's no muzzleflash when you fire it (and in SMOD, the laser isn't attached to the gun barrel).
  • There's no reload animation, since in instagib your gun has infinite ammo, but when firing it actually does a cool reload-like animation.

So, it seems it isn't possible to get the gun to work correctly just by editing the scripts.  Any suggestions?  Could someone try actually try messing with the animatinos or properly convert the instagib gun model to the pulse rifle?  It can have the pulse rifle's draw animation, and the reload animation could be the things on top moving that are currently in the firing animation.  (Example movie: http://pospi.spadgos.com/projects/instaSource/index.php)

The website for the Instagib Source mod is here: http://pospi.spadgos.com/projects/instaSource/index.php

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