Personal Newses

Tastyspleen TastyCast!

A lot of you probably know by now, but I've gotten into a frenzy of productivity lately doing shoutcasts from the tastyspleen server (thanks to quadz for hosting). As always, I'm going to do my best to use the capabilities presented in the channel for the good of the community - I just plain love you guys. *sniff*

Anywho, the playlist file is HERE, and HERE is a link to recorded shoutcasts and videos. Also, over to your right you will see a fun little app that will update depending on the status of the stream. It will be up more often as we start getting interviews, commentaries, and other fun stuff on the playlists.

Also, HERE is a link to my daily progress thread with the channel. Feel free to leave feedback! 2/3/08

Did LiveJournal get cool when I was growing up?

Apparently so. If you would cast your eyes on the link above you, you'll see the link to my blog. I already had an, albiet dead, account there, and it came in handy when I decided to move my blogging activity elsewhere. More ease of posting and stuff. No worries, big articles and news posts will still go here, it's just that more personal rantings will be easier to flame me on now. :)

Is Art possible without the Artist?

I'm somewhat disturbed, and it's difficult to put my finger on exactly what the cause is. Somewhere in there is the whole Games as Art debate (not sure why it is a debate in the first place), as well as the over-trendyness of being "artsy". We're starting to see a lot more of cool looking abstract pop art infused in advertising, clothing designs, anything. This isn't so different from before, but it looks like what's new is the feeling that it's artsy for the sake of being artsy. Arguing that games are Art could very well be related. Back in the Doom days (and still today in the indie field), each map and level would largely be the handiwork and brainchild of a single person, or perhaps two. And the cool thing is that the author would be credited ingame for the level. I mean, everybody *knew* that Romero made E1M1. And you could tell from the levels themselves that they were crafted with care from a unique mind.
Today, we see more of what you could call "assembly line" level design. It feels like we're trading design of level for design of character models and textures (and even those aren't done by an individual any more). It always seems to me that, whatever the definition of Art is, the relationship between the final product and the one who made it fit in as a major part. That relationship today is being underplayed in level design.
This seems very wierd to me. Nobody ever seperates music from the musician. Nobody ever seperates the novel from the author. Why shouldn't game design be the same?
For this reason, AGOKS levels will largely be put together by one person, and that person will be credited for doing so. It's time to bring back the glorification of the individual artist. Without that, I doubt that "art for arts sake" will survive very long. 10/14/07

Engine Rant!

Yeah, no big releases or articles at the moment, but I wanted to rant a bit.
Recently I've been doing some work converting jeh_decay to Quake 3 bsp format. I'm not doing this to improve my portfolio per se, rather it's to have a test level for the AGOKS engine q3bsp support. This has been largely a manual job (removing all entities, copying, pasting, importing textures, making shaders, lighting, ent placement, etc.), and I've gleaned a couple insights from this process.

First of all, Quake 3 weapons and ammo are more... hmm... I guess you could say "effecient" than Quake 2's model. In reality, there are less weapons and ammo types in Q3. What's more, there aren't any bandoliers, ammo packs, hand grenades, and a host of things that Quake 2 has. This isn't nesseccarily a bad thing, but it brings into focus the differences of tactical architecture between the engines. I had to do a lot more to "fill up" the level with items in Quake 3 than the original.

Second, the aesthetics of the Quake 3 weapon models stand out much more than the Q2 ones. They fit more in with shiny, techy maps. Not so much with my dark, moody map.

Thirdly, and biggest of all, I hate it when engines are stripped down to the bare amount of entities and features. Quake 3 is a big culprit here, as so many things that Quake 2 had (such as LADDERS, for crying out loud), simply weren't deemed important for inclusion in the engine. As a mapper, I firmly believe that putting in as much flexibility will surely increase the longetivity of the community. Sure, you can always mod in these features, but then that divides your potential audience by a great deal (unless you just so happen to make something that's globally accepted, like r1q2). Having a limited set of map features in an engine will, in the end, limit that mapping capabilities with the base engine. That seems like such a big "duh" to me, but I see so many programmers stripping engines of their features. So many mistakes have been made with engine modification support... there needs to be a History of Game Design 101 class or something. Maybe that topic could spawn a new series of articles from me.

Anywho, I'm making no big discoveries here. I think converting a map manually is a healthy thing for any mapper to do at least once. It provides some insight into the intricacies of the different engines and games. 10/12/07

jeh_decay is RELEASE!

 Woo, this marks the release of my first Quake II map, jeh_decay (From the Flesh). It's been uploaded to the tastyspleen servers, so expect to see it on mutant sometime very soon. Level info is here, and a link to a forum thread marking this is here. 9/29/07

A new job too!

Shortly after quitting the Motel 6 (hey, it got me to Quakecon, and that's important) I got a call back from the people at Pro Gam3r magazine.Turns out I'm going to have the honor of writing for them, so keep an eye on the stands for this excellent new publication. It drew me on based on the fact that there's no marketing hype and publicity as per a normal gaming magazines. Rather, the articles and editorials provide an in-depth look targeted at actual gamers. Oh, and they like Quake.  9/29/07

Shame on me... Shaaaame...

   ...For not updating in ages, not recounting the Quakecon 07 tales, and not writing anything lately. So... some might be wondering - what *have* I been up to lately?  Plenty actually, and not just work either. Suffice to say that there is something substantial boiling under the surface. Not to be too mysterious, but I'm working with a small team on a project that is definitely in the infancy stages.  Suffice to say, we're excited about it. And hopefully, soon, we'll be giving you reason to be excited as well.8/16/07

More scholarly goodness!

   Woo, small update this time around. Just whipped up another map design related article. This time around I'm biting off more than I can chew, but it tastes yummy. Enjoy it if you can, yell at me if you can't. Either way, it's here for the benefit of all. Go read!

Life! It's okay!

   Wow. Again too long without an update. But what else is new? Here's what's new: a beta of a new, screaming map by myself. This marks my first Quake II pseudo-release. I actually got to premiere the beta in a classroom full of students with Q2 running on the projector. Several friends participated in the playtesting, and the result was one happy Jehar. The map is still being worked on, and a final is expected within the next week. Grab it and tell me what you think!
    A new article has been uploaded, this time covering how art movements may be developing in level design. Hmm. Nerdy.
    As a bonus, a special Skulltag Doom map is released. This map was going to be part of the official package of the new version, but it simply took too long to do and got too big and too much. It might not play well at all. But it's there for your to enjoy... or not. Download! 5/19/07

Tastyspleen Logo Contest.

    Yeah, I had a hole in my life. Tastyspleen, the greatest Q2 community anywhere ever, doesn't have a logo that immediately comes to mind. This needs to be fixed. And I'm more than willing to subjucate the masses towards this end. So there's a contest. Whoever wins from a majority vote will have their design printed and used at Quakecon. Whoever doesn't win will still be given the honor of adding more to the community, so I don't see any losers coming out of this. Unless your submission sucks. Head to the forum and read all the details within. All submissions will be hosted on this site for indefinite display.

Quakecon 2007 is a GO!

    Quakecon is still a few months away, but things are so active right now that it feels like it's just around the corner. Deathstalker has his LAN Arena well on it's way to being our heaven for all things Quake. Check out the pics of this awesome location in Athens, TX (about 1.5 hour away from Dallas). Looking over the atendee list, my very conservative approximation is 31 members of the Quake 2 and Tastyspleen communities so far. It looks like we'll be storming the gates of Quakecon with our massive pwn of Quake 2. I couldn't be more excited.

So, there's the Lan party to plan, not to mention Quakecon itself. Words can't express how excited I am. So get donating, because I need cash! 3/4/07

Gawsh, time to update.

   First off, major congratulations are in order to [BTF]DeathStalker for sealing the deal on a LAN arena in Athens, TX. We hope to use this as the site for the Tastyspleen LAN party! I unwittingly took place in a local television interview concerning Quakecon, and the TS lan. I use the term unwittingly because I was not aware that the show would be aired. As a result, I used quite a few expletitives, advocated internet piracy, and insulted both Halo and CounterStrike. I can't help but feel proud. I'll upload a clip if I can.

    Secondly, WE NEED MONEY for a booth at Qcon this year for QExpo. If you don't know what this is, it doesn't really matter. What does matter is that you donate a few bucks down the line... when I get the donation account up some time this weekend. What does this mean for you? You will get to see some classic Quake recognition in a booth this year, and most contributors will be invited to participate with the booth.

    To make things perfectly clear, we require $2500 to buy a 10-by-10 booth on the floor. IF WE DO NOT MAKE THIS AMOUNT, donators can (hopefully) recieve their money back. You can choose not to, though, and the money will go towards events at qcon, the TS lan party, or whatever you wish. PayPal will keep records of who gave what, so I don't expect any big liability issues.

    As long as I'm asking for cash, I've set up a little donation button for anybody who feels compelled to donate to a starving student. I don't expect much, but hey. It's there.

    The Training Camp Video is on it's way, I swear! Life is busy as... life at the moment, but don't think I'm forgetting what really matters. Rockets and Rails. 2/8/07

Suck it down, ZDaemon!

    The time has come for the masses to see the power of OpenGL Doom Deathmatch as it is given to us in the new version of the ever-popular Skulltag. Besides the OGL rendering, there are new modes, tons of maps, and an unending supply of cool little things to make you tweak-happy. So go download it and get the Doom fraggins on!

Mangy Mutt Radio

    Clan BTF members keep pumping out the good tunes, and MangyMutt is no exception. You can now listen to his Shoutcast station whenever he has it up, which we all hope will be often.

Michael Krause Compilation WAD

    One of my all-time favorite Doom mappers, Michael Krause faded from the community a while ago, but I still enjoy his maps immensely. By way of appreciation and showcasing of his work, I compiled all of his maps into one wad file. Go ahead and download it, and enjoy.


    But you probably already know that. What you might not know is that a few days before the event (which lands on 8/2-5 this year), a Tastyspleen Lan Party is being organized to celebrate Quake II's 10th birthday. This event is already big in the minds of a few, and it's just going to get bigger as time goes on. Stay tuned for updates in the upcoming Tastyspleen Wiki and the related thread. 12/22/06

Rip and Tear!

    That's right! The 13th birthday of our beloved Doom is approaching! Yes, it's been 13 years since the first telefrag... it gets me all bubbly just thinking about it. In honor of this birthday, I will be hosting a free-for-all event on some classic maps on the increasingly-popular Skulltag source port. If you need any help setting up, just contact me, Xtyfe, or Lemonzest (the other TS Doom Dudes), and I'm sure somebody will be glad to give you a hand. Those interested go ahead and reply in the forum thread, and get downloading! I hope to see a fun, rowdy group of people on the server tomorrow night, the 10th!

Sconfig madness.

Gator's Sconfig (Xfire Link) server has been proving to be a very fun and insane server to play in. The fast rails, fast rockets, and high kickback shotguns all contribute to, in his words, "brain melting fast" gameplay. Deathstalker will have some demos up shortly, and I've got some screens to show off.

Fanboy time...

I will be going down to San Mateo during my Christmas break to meet up with John Romero (if he agrees) to conduct an interview with him. I would like this event to benefit as many people in the community as possible, so if you have any interesting questions you would like me to bring up, feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of this post, or make a reply in the forum thread.

Lastly, I have uploaded a small essay I did for an english class concerning violence in videogames and how they impact society. All stuff that's been said before, but if you feel like putting in your two cents, feel free to leave some feedback. 12/9/06

Friends! Pros! Newbies! Lend me your rockets!Q2 TrainingCamp

    Oh boy! An update! You may well have heard this tidbit of news already, but that won't stop me from yelling about it - a video I spent Too Long(tm) on is finally out, and available at the Quake 2 Training Camp site. Details within. I have to thank daelmun for the news article over at, as well as quadz for permitting me to abuse his bandwidth with the 66mb video file. At least it's also up on Google Video, eh quadz? Eh... heh...

So, yeah. The big thing that needs to be tackled with the Training Camp is the fact that not a lot of newbies are jumping into the server with all the grown ups, it seems. I had to assure some people that this is built for them, and they are a large part of the reason we are pursuing this project. So, next time a session comes down my grapevine, tell people. Drag em in by the rocket launcher if you have to... Nicely, of course.

For those wondering about those articles, I will be continuing the series, as more sessions happen and I get more things to write about. Also, finals are coming up, which is another factor in this apparent sluggishness. Things are moving. I like that.

Feel the Disco... Feeeel iiit.Disco Ditto FM

    The third TS500 concluded oh... about week ago now, and here is the slowest news response in that regard. I was shooting to at least beat Adam, but hey, being on the scoreboard is good enough for me. Props go out to my friend Raine  for getting an impressive score (a few off from 100) considering her relative newness to the game.
    Shouts to the new radio stream hosted by BTF's own DiscoDitto, so go tune in for groovy tunes and other goodness.
    Randypants will be teaching at the third Training Session over at the Camp soon, so be sure to stop in. This time around I will be making some efforts to archive and better record the events, so future neophytes can benefit. I truely believe that nothing quite like this Training Camp has really been done before, and I'm putting what I can into it. As far as those articles go, I plan on continuing them as often as possible. Hold on for the next one.

And I was just recovering from the last one. 


    Here comes the third Tastyspleen 500. For those that don't know, it's a FFA tourney open to the populace... with a fraglimit of 500.  Generally this means a looong match... the last one was nearly two and a half hours. My cheeks were sore, and my eyes burned with the orange glow of city64. I place rather high value on this event, as placing in it really helped me get a foothold in the community, and probably had something to do with why I have this webspace now (thanks quadz) This one will most likely be played on the map Fusion, though it's still up in the air. Be sure to get your input in on the threads, as we will want as many bodies piling up in the map as possible :) See you all there.

In other news, the new Quake Training Camp site is up, and the people behind it are really getting into gear and making this a valuable resource for neophtes and veterans alike.

Also, scar3crow over at Inside3d has made a post concerning an upcoming SpeedMopping event, which is a team event geared towards combining the efforts of mod coders and mappers to create some mods that actually have maps made for them. This is something that I have always felt was lacking, especially with my own interests in DoomFu; great mods, but no maps designed with the mods in mind. Major props go out to the Inside3d community for this event. I'll be keeping my eyes open. 11/11/06

Another year, another cake, another article.

    Woot. And I mean that. Really. I turned 19 on the 31st, and actually had a good time this year. My thanks to the great friends who refused to let me sit around waiting for people to show up at a LAN party (as happened last year.). They made this AWESOME CAKE. I don't think I've ever seen a cake so cool. *sniff*. Anyways, after about a 2-week hiatus due to schoolwork (why am I doing that anyway?), I've gotten the 5th article done! Yay!

Also, DeathStalker hosted the second (beta) session of the Quake Training Camp. I got in late, but DaHang was there, giving some great commentary for duels. I must say that I got a lot out of it, and my only disapointment was that more students didn't show up. Believe me when I say that this camp is going places, and it's going to prove to be a great resource for really getting inside the game. My point is: Come Join Us! DeathStalker is a nice person, I swear.11/8/06

Grats to Mum / Article #4

    It may excite, impress, or irk you that my mother has just recieved her manuscripts for her first novel. These will be used to send to reviewers or whatnot. She's been working locked away in her room for the past year, and this is what she has to show for it. It's got a nice font.

Moving on, it may also excite you that I just got done (with bleeding eyes) with the fourth installment of the Quake Metagaming Series, so go check it out. Now.

When the going gets tough...

    ...I become a week late on the article. Sorry about the hiatus, but this week was rather heavy on the schoolwork. I do my best to do these weekly on Monday nights, and I have no plans to make this biweekly or anything. All it takes is a clear head and a free night. Anwho, Article #3 is here, enjoy. And I want some comments on the forums! Heheh.

In other news,  word is coming around of a third Tastyspleen 500 ffa tourney being planned. I had a blast at the second one, even though my cheeks got glued to the chair (Around 2 and a half hours of straight Q2). I'll definitely be attending this one as well!

Good buddy  HappyFriar mentioned a mod called Chaos 2 in this article, and it got me thinking that it's high time we get some more varied mod-based servers going, especially some of R1CH's mods that look to be rather insane and fun. Light is the key word here. Anywho. Just some thoughts. 10/20/06

Wow. Another update, another article!

    I know it's late, and it's not quite on the day I said it would be, but I got the second part of The Quake Metagame Series up! If it's a little heady, forgive me, but the people at Doom3World coerced me to jump ahead into this seedy topic. Major thanks to The Happy Friar for sending a link to the first article to jube over at PlanetQuake. That really made my day, and I probably owe a lot of why I decided to continue this to him, as well as the other fine people at Doom3World. The people over at PlanetQuake don't get enough recognition in my book. Sure, it's a GameSpy thing, but they do and excellent job of drawing the important news from all over the community. And now, I can class myself as "important  news" I guess, heh. Anyways, enjoy the article! 10/10/06

I guess I better update. School is a leech.

    Well well, what's new? First and foremost, little ol me got absorbed into the greatness that is clan BTF. The guys are the best, and I'm proud to be part of that. Secondly, I drawn your attention to this article that I whipped up last weekend (thanks to HappyFriar for pq newse) on the subject of metagaming. I've gotten some really interesting feedback from the people over at Doom3World, and you can expect some interesting topics for the next one (planned for release Sunday night).
School has been sucking up a lot of my modding\mapping time, so not a lot new on that front, but I do need to get some better 'time managment' skills, whatever those are, if I want to get anything done this month at all. My birthday is coming up again (halloween), and I'm actually looking foward to it this year.
Now...  the main event. Clan BTF and Clan EoM just had a bit of a bout over three maps  as a friendly joust. We thrashed em. Hard. No apologies here, that's just how it went down. Enjoy the screenshots :P 10/7/06

I think I can get some sleep now...

    Wow... Quakecon is over with, but I feel like things are just beginning in the community, with this as the catalyst. I'm downright excited. I had an awesome time meeting people both from the community and id software. I even spent a few minutes in discussion with Cloud and Wedgwood about the possibility of dynamic texture delayering, among other things. Shaking the hands of these guys was certainitly heartwarming, but feeling like I made an impression is even more valuable. Shortly before I left, some random guy needed a room, so I obliged. Turns out he's the guy behind Digital Paintball, and I'm sure he's getting tired of me saying how awesome his water shader is. Well, it's the best, simply put. Lot of guys wanted that in their projects. I'm gonna talk to Echon to see if he can't throw it in EGL. Anyways, I got a load of pics up here, and later when I get some sleep I'll make a pretty gallery page, along with a journal of the happenings, of which there were many. We had a good turnout from the TS crowd, and the sign attracted quite a lot of attention. See you all on the servers! Link to Quakecon pics. 8/7/06


    WooT! I head out tomorrow! I hope to see a few TS people there, so be sure to look for me under a poorly-contructed banner sporting the TastySpleen name. Emphasis on poorly constructed. If that ploy fails and anybody needs to get a hold of me (I may even have hotel space for a couple), get me at my cell at 530-340-0175. Or, just prank call me... whatever. Anyways... QUAKECON WOOT! 8/1/06

QExpo... like you Q2 people give a hoot!

    Well, I don't know how much of the TS community knows about this, but it's pretty much a Q1-centric (though welcoming Q2 and Q3 material) virtual convention... don't worry, it's cool. LINK IS HERE. I felt I had to contribute something, so I wrote a little rantish bit on the community in general... I believe whole-heartedly that every man, woman, and child should read this. It's not on the QExpo site at the time of this writing, but it should be very soon. In the meantime, head over to Articles and check it out. I don't care if you like Quake 1 or not, read it! 7/21/06

Updates! And... Quakecon!

    Okay, yeah, it's been a while. This summer has been so much more busy than I have expected. I've been working myself down to the bone in the gravelpits. This has meant cashflow, but it has also meant less times for all things Quake.Things are looking like they are refocusing here. I may not have as much turnout product-wise as I hoped, but I am dedicated to doing all the research and study on design I can, looking at the deeper aspects of things. I've been burnt out and out of ideas for the last few months, so I'm having to regroup and take another look at everything. In the end, this will benefit all, I believe.

Had some interesting frags in Sheridan yesterday (Sunday). Nothing serious, but it was nice to be in a server with the TS gang... it's been too long. Crappy demo here.

On to the big excitment... QUAKECON OMG. I count myself as lucky that the date and location are just  *barely* decent enough for me to pull off flying down to Dallas and attending my first Quakecon. I am hoping to meet up with some others in the Darkplaces and Tastyspleen community... so let me know!

So, in conclusion, life is hectic, but things are steaming right along in the ol' noggin, and I'm hoping this means some results by August. 6/26/06

Summer almost here! The Quakings cometh!

    Wow, been a bit more than a week, eh? Cwazy. Anyways, summer is coming up, along with my graduation from the dredges of high school. What this means to other people is that, in theory I will have time to dedicate myself to this host of Quake and Doom projects I have gotten myself wrapped up in. Q2-wise, I hope to do a couple (at least) tdm maps, and hopefully dilute the horrible monopoly of Q2DM1 on the teamplay servers. So... keep your pants on and your fingers crossed on this time thing.

In other news, I discovered a cool article by Rev. Fulton Sheen on the subject of controversy, and why we need more of it. I do enjoy it when I find some solid rational thought in the Church. Too often these days people get too uppity and... strange. 5/20/06

Site Up.

    My thanks to the kind folks at Tastyspleen for hosting this modest personal site. I would like to take advantage here and set this up as a personal soapbox for all things Quake. The world in general needs more opinion articles. I hope to find some way to fill this gap up with random rantings, reviews, concepts, thoughts, and observations gleaned from the world in general, and, specifically, Quake. 5/12/06