Sunday, August 21, 2016

HPBDSMF album 3 + coffee hour



new album

and if you missed them, the old ones

also, finally, a new coffee hour is available.

I am aware that I haven't put the podcasts on gameproc yet and I'll get around to it "sometime".

With the album done I have a lot of editing backlog to catch up on which will amount to a lot of smaller individual releases in a cluster at some point.

Since we (hopefully) have dodged a 2016 eviction that should hopefully equate to a huge productivity upswing in winter which follows my standard trends.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

all y'all niggas

Apex U segment 0 finally passes the 50% mark. At 83k words it could stand to lose a bit of weight in some areas, but I am almost ready to send it out to the two feedback manbros again. So far I consider most of the writing fairly solid for an initial concept, but there's a lot of cleanup that can be done. Whether or not that gets done before it goes public is the big question, as I am falling further and further behind schedule.

FF6 is finally getting its shit sorted with encoding and verification under way. I was pretty sure this would be at least a 10 segment release and, assuming my final session takes around a day or so, it will probably be a bit more - with each segment being 2-4 hours long. That will make this quite the lengthy run compared to the initial predictions of 20 hours. I am outsourcing the verification to india for this one, and feedback so far has been everything from absolute speechlessness to hysterical Swedish laughter. I am told it is quite the experience for anyone who is even remotely familiar with jrpgs - which, fortunately for you, is not me!

Alas, stress is merciless and unending, and not much else has been done in this time. It's been enough to try to keep myself from sleeping the day away on the floor.

One of the things I was doing recently was fooling around with Pokemon Go on that tablet the bank gave me a while ago. The Idle Pokemon Master (who is going to kill us all, according to Cystains) who stands around waiting for pokemon to spawn on it. EduardoBongton was born.

Other than the string of "xtacticalbeast" and similar names owning a gym nearby along with a slurry of east indian names, nothing of note has happened. Eduardo plateaued at level 9 due to lack of pokeballs, particularly since the only way to get them other than cash is through those pokestops and there's none next to my house. Only two exist in the same side of the town, and they're deep in ghetto territory. Like I would ever leave the house with an electronic device in my hands. Not to mention I don't have a phone connection or anything.

This did, however, allow me to test an experiment. Shaw is all about these Shaw Open wifi hotspots. If you check their map, the town is filled with clusters of them in the dumbest locations. We took a cat to the vet a few weeks ago to get its nails cut and restock on eye supplies. I decided to try to catch me some fetish monsters. Well, I found a few Shaw hotspots (about 5) and none of them could hold a connection for any more than a second or two. I had better luck with the myriad of unprotected wifi from apartments, but their connections were also too unstable to do anything with. In short, this dumbfuck ISP is raising our prices just to put useless shit in a vacant parking lot no one can even use anyways.

To make things more silly, a patch came out for the game that halved the capture radius of pokemon, dropped their collision sizes, and massively increased the chance for them to both escape the ball and run away from you. They also input read you and will "dodge" immediately after you throw a lot. It also seems to have greatly nerfed the pokemon variety that spawns on you. Since that patch I have not seen anything but Pidgeys and Weedles whereas before at least once a day I saw something evolved or a water pokemon from the rancid pond nearby.

At this rate, the WoW version of pokemon not only seems like it had more thought put into it (what was surely a weekend joyride for some intern) but actually has gameplay to it since you can fight in that version. You can actually pvp in that version too; I did try it once, and it ended with a hilarious stomp with Team Ron Paul. I have considered going back to that given it doesn't cost any money, but maybe I will entertain it more when I can get a control of my video recording.

As far as time wasters are concerned PokeGo did strike me as something fairly unique amidst a world of f2p trash. However, with that most recent patch, it's clear the greed has already taken hold of this google dropout and almost every person I knew to be playing the game has since uninstalled it.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

bumdota replays

Another 30+ replays are available for Blizzard Dota.

So the landlord phones a few days ago and says "the city sent me a letter saying you are leaking water somewhere" and we can only find the first floor toilet making slight dripping noises and that's it. So we shut off the water and now have waited days just to find out when her husband is coming over to look at it (which we still don't know, so either they don't care or they're getting legal papers in order). Seems like a good excuse for them to evict us if they needed one, so everyone is on edge. Add in security salesmen, cars parked outside our house staring at us for hours on end, people hanging around at weird hours, and everything has kind of a surreal, hostile feeling, one that only cements our insane crime rate as it is. After having to break into the house because Granny forgot her keys last time, I know how easy it is to open a "locked" window and slip in at ground level. Considering my life's work and any hope for a future is right there just waiting to be jacked, not to mention the cats, I never sleep easy.  If I sleep at all, given it is a goddamn furnace in here.

A-U writing slowed dramatically in the last two weeks as I have reached rougher waters requiring description-heavy writing, which I don't know how to do. As soon as I passed dialogue intensive areas and hit the tougher descriptive spots that lacked the radioplay baseline I used for the beginning I immediately succumbed to the same issues TOA had. Curious how I addressed those issues during my short golden age of writing, I looked back at TOA and was utterly bamboozled by how I managed to describe certain areas but also how bad my writing in some spots was. It's clear with Apex my dialogue writing improved significantly, but I never learned how to describe things. Unfortunately, TOA's extremely heavily premeditated designing is probably one of the big things that gave it some leverage in descriptions, a leverage that is very blatantly lost in all areas untouched by the revision. TOA's finale is a huge jumbled mess I cannot even follow and I fucking wrote it! That writing is only like 8 years old, not that old!! fuck. that's old. I'm old. ugh.

Bizarrely, my two QA referrals for early A-U have not pointed at what I predicted to be the worst parts of segment 0 as being trouble spots. Rather, a large slew of super basic stuff I focused heavily on during the brainstorming process and transcription were universally brought up as being a total fucking disaster. I have no idea how that works out, but if the reasoning why continues to trend as I think it's going to, there's no way this project is getting done before I'm out of a home. I definitely underestimated how hard descriptive writing was going to be, even though I assumed I'd need to skip 90% of it just to get anywhere at all. I'm in over my head... but it's all I got left to try to do. Being held up on translating mental imagery to basic descriptions and producing a paragraph a day or week is utterly awful. Feels pretty hopeless, man. But I like what's there currently. I think the potential is there and it's the lowest hanging fruit I could ever reach for. All I need is the motivation to keep swinging at it.

HKS bought me BB:CPE when it was on sale and after some frenchying I was immediately reminded that I have the finesse of a walrus with a controller. God. Damn it. But I think if I hit the record button on these games I can catch some truly amazing ricky babble. I'm gonna do it.

"Do not throw away today for the fear of tomorrow," I tell myself. But words are nothing in the face of life.

Friday, July 15, 2016

see goaT

Well, as of the 13th I am now 29 years old. With the most depressing day of the year behind me, I am hunkering down on slowly grinding through a large amount of video work.

The Starcrafts stuff is also mostly behind me as well. Between this and the switching of Apex to a written work, I am most assuredly never to touch sc2, or modding/game design for that matter, again, except for the very odd request. This transcription project takes priority over the Tech Document, and I have been making steady, if not slow, progress on it since I started.

Gameproc's news posts will now be used to keep track of all of my current work. The CC OP was also updated to use a very similar format.

I am at the end of FF6 but I kind of ragequit again. Need to wrap that up and get started on verification...

Stress is a demon with many faces, tentacles, and anuses, and it creeps up every day, making productivity difficult. However, I owe a great deal of my recent productivity to picking up D&D with a group of loosely related individuals to the community. The two or so weeks I invested into learning that and reading their chat logs helped me settle my mind and stabilize a bit, which has resulted in a tremendous upswing of work.

I currently have probably close to enough footage to create a new XXE, which I plan to start soon.

I have many new heroes videos in production, a large number of which are ranked 5's and many of them are co-casted.

Since the heat hasn't been so bad yet, I would like to go back to the ps3 and finish what I started there (the golden axe game) and start ff13 like I had planned to, as well as do some other, shorter emulated titles, once ff6 is finally finished.

I also started on a new HPBDSM album but given everything else don't expect to see it for a while.

Friday, July 1, 2016

sweaty dreams

News yesterday. Our rent is going up by $50. $50 we don't really have. But... it's starting in October. This could hint they don't plan to evict us soon. A small price to pay for continuing to have a roof over our head for another day, I suppose. Granny seems disappointed. Come on. We could be on the street right now...

I have recorded around 25 hours of FF6 in the last week or so and I believe I am on the last quarter of the game. I've also started tackling my backlog of heroes replays and videos to process, discovering I encoded the same video several times on multiple occasions. Evidently I was rather distracted when doing this.

My work for Carbot nears its conclusion and once FF6 is done I am going to try to catch up on all of the extra shit left over from the last half-year. Things like addressing if Dragonshard is worth continuing, finishing verifying what's left of Spellforce and throwing it on the graveyard, other such garbage.

Some odd audio bug has appeared in three heroes recordings so far.


The first half is the bug. The waveform is pushed down, volume is very low, and there's very little base. It effects both the game and the mic and, queerly, when I tabbed out to mute vent and tabbed back in to record, the right half begins, which is fine. Two entire recordings are effected by this, however, so it wasn't some one-off.

This seems unlikely to be a hardware issue given it effects the entire audio stream and not just the mic (unlike my fuckup in spellforce which only effects my voice). But what and why... I do not know.

In any event, the upcoming heroes replays include long-awaited ranked 5's so there should be some interesting bits there for involved parties.

I am tentatively beginning production of the next HPBDSM album between other stuff.

I have two AWP's to process amidst it all which you can expect soonish.

Monday, June 20, 2016

The fate of Apex

Six years ago around this time Starcraft 2 entered closed beta. A week in, HKS and I began modding it. From being guided by an employee on how to implement lava to making custom units through XML and MPQ mods, our efforts with the game showed promise.

Research continued after release, but Blizzard quickly banned modding and added CRC checks to archives as well as disabling folder hotloading. RIP Manly Sound Pack. Dreams for reviving my golden age died in one movement. So I looked to Single Player projects.

The editor once, in our hands, proved to be worse than my worst fears. With minor dabbling in niche titles like Age of Wonders 2 and Titan Quest, I had come to expect some level of standards in terms of tools. But Blizzard is known for being abhorrent at tool development and management, a complaint even touted by their lead staff during interviews of Diablo 2.

Nonetheless, research continued for years and years with projects iterating and evolving as more and more limits were discovered. Attempts to branch out all failed. Retribution was a failure. UE3 and UE4 both demoralized the hell out of me and I ended up turning back. Apex stood at a standstill of conceptual hell while research time poured into performance testing and the AI. At every turn, self-titled experts in the sc2 community all shook their heads. "No one knows," "It's a mystery". Experts, who didn't know even how to begin making a simple build & destroy campaign.

Eventually I sat down with HKS and set him on a warpath, and in two weeks we had remarkably effective results. At the end of 2015 we had basically the best AI starcraft 2 could deliver in its melee framework. But the performance was still bad and the rest of the project still laid ahead of me.

Ever since I caught pneumonia at the end of 2013 it seems like this ship has been in a perpetual downward spiral. Everything that can go wrong goes wrong, and things you didn't know could go wrong find ways to do so. And I can say with certainty that if it wasn't for me opening donations last year and some very generous people lending a hand I wouldn't be here right now. Life has been kicking me in the shin and screaming like a choir of angry spider monkeys nonstop for the past two and a half years, and it's only going to get worse.

When I finished Dante's Inferno, I began pursuing the Golden Axe title. Next day I overheard a conversation about life insurance. A panic attack similar to the one from July last year took hold and I spent the next month on the floor trying to pull out like she was 12. But this was a panic attack I couldn't turn around by bringing logic into the situation and mending it. It was a realization that everything around me is about to die. Cats, people, everything.

I have struggled with this fear for a very long time. Since May 23 2006 I have lived in a perpetual cycle of fear and misery. I have seen death so many times I cannot but see death when I see life. Seeing an animal, any animal, pictures of animals, videos of animals, it sends me into a psychological struggle to maintain my composure as I wrestle with memories and experiences from ten years ago. Dogs being skinned alive, cancer, and of course watching them die one after the other. Home sickness, something I'd never understood, has dogged me every step since that day - when we were kicked out. That one day, May 23rd. I'll never forget every moment of that horrible year, but that day in particular is a blight.

You might notice a trend beyond the usual noise of my productivity. Summer is always bad. I usually have a down tempo in early summer and pick up later on. There are many reasons why (2014 - moving, 2015 - anxiety meltdown) but it's also because I am constantly reminded of the past and simply cannot escape it.

I have tried to busy myself to distance my thoughts from reality. So long as I was maintaining a steady string of casts, or pissed off enough at a game to not quite ragequit, I could maintain a shaky but functionality stability. But at the same time, in my heart, I am a creator. A dreamer. I had always desired to bring my dreams to life and have fought tooth and claw for every tiny inch I've scraped forward over my many years of doing so. The trail is long and, unfortunately, rather uneventful.

These last few months I have looked back at those nearly 29 years of life. I took a long look at all the disappointment that is strung up behind me. That I spent 17 years making custom content and the only thing I've ever finished is that audiobook. Disgusting. Digging through old files when I put those 3 files on GP reminded me in greater clarity how badly I had failed myself. There are disabilities, real life troubles, whatever. But I've only myself to blame for this incompetence.

Life is tough. So you've heard. So what? Everyone has a hard time. Everyone experiences loss. Animals die. People die. Eventually we die. We can die any day. I waste so much time and energy being strung up in what happened 10 years ago and what is totally outside of my power. It compounds itself in a perpetual loop and grabs hold and never lets go. The anxiety is overpowering, like a thick black wrestler rubbing my testicles with a cactus.

I antagonize that problem by trying to do things I just can't do. Like make mods. The thing is, I realized as I looked at these old BW works, I always felt super confident and super strong about the mods. I had experience and resources and good tools. They had tons of love and devotion behind each and every part. I grew frustrated when I couldn't focus, but they always started strong.

Nothing, I realized, in the last 6 years has that love in it except for Retribution. Retribution, who I had hoped could put a face on my characters in my head after a lifetime of waiting, was the fountain from which my soul flowed through troubled times. Casting suffered during its production because I felt committed. So I worked myself to the bone, maybe nearly to death considering the immense uptime and exhaustion I fought to keep myself focused. A delicate balance of forced insomnia to fight the demons in my head. The same story of Throne of Armageddon, whom I employed an even tougher regime during the highly productive writing at the end of 2009. I was exhausted, but the progress made me proud, and I marched on through fire and ash because I saw myself having a future. But Retribution was a reminder of that failure, that failure in my ability to keep my eyes on the future and keep marching. Retribution only existed because I couldn't make Throne of Armageddon. I sought redemption amidst it all, sought to redeem myself in my own eyes for all the failures of my life. Instead I failed the greatest test of them all. I reached the final stretch and didn't have the skills to finish it, nor did I put my faith in the right person to help. I only had myself to blame.

After the crisis of August I looked at my work with sober eyes. Sober eyes that saw a world that hinged on a knife's edge. I came to realize all of my work and all of my dreams of finishing projects were a curse that weighed heavily on me. I started to see Apex as an opportunity not to finish a campaign, but to try to inch forward in my mediocre graphics skills. I had dreams, as all men do. Foolish dreams, as they often are. But I couldn't work for those dreams. I had to think about now. Now.

Things went awry as they often do. Work for Carbot Starcrafts turned me away from Apex at a critical moment, work that was ultimately minor and shouldn't have done so. But it did, because stress offered me so little working energy. I was supposed to finish FF6 in December, but medical shit happened and spewed into a nearly game ending crisis. I pulled it together with Dragon's Dogma and then stumbled, but began to pick up the slack by branching into Spellforce and others.

Now this. I finish a title as rancid as Dante's Inferno in a few handful of sittings and process it in around two weeks or less from when I first hit record. The energy is there, I tell myself. It's there, waitin' to be harnessed. Then this.

Nothing more do I want right now than to be able to sit down and record. There I am alone, a voice in a machine, away from all this worry and fear. The single greatest evil of my world is not the events around me, not the horrors of the past, but the stress I am trapped in because of them. The fear of tomorrow, the fear of today. Every single time I sleep I have nightmares about cats, cat eyes, and homelessness. Every. Single. Night. I relive 10 years ago over and over and over and over and over. My dreams are always, without exception, at that house. I cannot escape the prison of my own thoughts. It's about finding a thread of thought you can cling to like shit globules on an asshair and ride out into a sea of distraction, and then plugging your ears and refusing the temptations of any stray thoughts that want to yank you down into the toilet bowl.

A phone ringing. The sound of a door outside. These are stress meltdown "triggers", as tumblr might call them. Because I expect any one of them to be the landlord announcing our eviction. Yet she was here two weeks ago, exchanged pleasantries, mowed the lawn, and went on her merry way. I know eviction is coming. I knew it was coming in 2014 because I know there is zero stability for renters in Canada. Knowing she's looking to sell doesn't actually change anything. But my heart longs for a home, my mind races in fearful anticipation of losing my chance to finish my work and it's all far beyond my control. I hate that. I hate that I am powerless. Powerless over myself, of all things.

I looked back at Apex after pulling myself back on my feet and came to understand it wasn't just stress that commanded me in this battle. It was conscious decision making. I didn't want to get involved with Blizzard's shit editor or game any more than I had. Yes, we had functional AI and a good foundation to start. But oh so much work remained to be done. Retribution was painful because sins is garbage and XSI is garbage and Ironclad's converter is garbage. So much time and frustration focused on that pipeline. And this piece of shit that Blizzard tries to pass off as an editor.. with 10-20 second delays on putting individual text... I was to make a total conversion with this...? I'd have to master this to see my work in motion?

No. I had signed up exactly for this. I knew HKS would tap out fast and I expected to be on this boat for the long haul. But I realized I had been looking for excuses to avoid that work. I would rather do graphics for Carbot, experiments for Unreal 4, or just nothing at all than even look at sc2's editor. I couldn't even work on the project with the same bravado all of my invariably dead projects had! I wasn't in it. I wanted to make the campaign, and I know it to be possible... but I didn't want to do it. I had finally understood my heart.

My days of making mods is over. It was over a long time ago. I denied myself because I wanted to learn. I did learn. I fucking learned. I had kitbashes with custom UV's, a worgen female I had success in fixing, I made a basic animation for TAC, and I helped Carbot. I'm ready to walk away, now. I'm ready to walk away and never look back at Blizzard or anyone else's game ever again. Trying to remain and trying to eek out productivity, especially when I feel like this, just invites further disappointment.

It's over, I can tell myself with relief. I have no more responsibilities.

But Apex will not die.

I have invested far too much time building up this world, this world I was willing to fight so long trying to build. I have decided to take a gamble and try something different. Or old, depending on your view. I'm adapting the scripts to a light novel format and plan to release them on CC/GP on a per-segment basis. I may, at some point, make fairly light audiobooks out of them. But for now I'm just writing. Between this and the tech document I just want to bring closure to what drove my modding.

I'm a petty man, and it feels like I can never quite find a comfortable place to sit down. I can only hope I have it in me to at least do the job standing. This is my personal quest. I am at war. I don't expect it to make much sense; it certainly doesn't make any sense to me. But it is what it is, and I can't let it go.

Friday, June 10, 2016

long

I was heading to sleep at the ripe hour of 10am this morning and the phone rings. Typical stress meltdown, etc. But I noticed something odd. The voice was rather hard to understand. I thought nothing of it until Granny called to ask me what the message said. I begrudgingly got up and checked.

20 minutes later I'm still standing there, trying to decode the message. One thing's for sure - it's a really bad text to speech, and that text was written by someone who didn't have a grasp of English. Something about a "case" against "you" (no names given) and "phone me or legal consequences" in some form. My Indian radar is signally more red flags than Best China, and a quick google search on their number yields thousands of complaints from exactly this subject. I called it. East Indians goading dumb white folk into bogus tax scams.

I went back to bed. Granny proceeded to get at least another call from them (which, given she got a random unintelligible call from some kind of Dumjeet Daliwha a few days ago, is probably call #3). I told her to phone Telus and get them to block the number if they phone again.

Then, when I woke up, Granny told me there was some kind of event going on in Little India. A peak out the window yields the modest dead-end behind us is filled with about 20-30 expensive vehicles in neat rows. They know we are resisting their divine will. They are coming for us with their towels and their curry.

The sole segment of Planet Alcatraz I recorded earlier this year is now available on the Graveyard. Schwa informs me there is a ton of hidden game overs in dialogue that can be costly on progress, and I'm not exactly thrilled to follow in her footsteps given how far behind the stress has taken me on everything else. Spellforce is also similarly considered dormant given how badly I fucked up a segment's audio and how tedious the game is getting, and risks cancellation entirely. That project's decision will ultimately be determined by how I feel when I finally knock FF6 out of my queue. I have my eyes set on the castlevania games Nef noted to be similar to symphony of the night. I'll probably try to do those after FF6 if I can get started soon.


Work continues on what I considered "extra" elements for the tech document while Schwa redos a bunch of editing she somehow lost during the dark years of the Earth. I am having success building some of the low hanging fruit for environments and I have one of the characters basically finished, though admittedly one of the easiest. I'm going to take a step up in difficulty soon and try to make the Fear's avatar next. Wish me luck.

I've recorded some of my work on this project. What should I do with those recordings?

The diagnosis for Smokey is pretty satisfactory. Probably allergies, maybe related to ear wax. A resupply drained me to the cent and I'm back where I'm always at during the end of any month - totally bankrupt. At least we have some frozen sugar that may or may not be helping the stress situation.

Landlord was here a few days ago to mow the lawn. No news on when we're getting our notice. Not yet, at least. No news is good news, but I cannot shake the shock of overhearing those conversations yet. Not even two and a half months later. I realize my stress is probably at a completely unmanageable level now, and really wish I had some kind of medical solution available to me. But I don't. I've tried to record Coffee Hour and I just can't do it. The subjects are too hard to cite without having an attack of some kind. At least I'm working on something. It isn't much, but it's something. I need to go back to FF6. I need to pull this around like July last year. Somewhere, somehow, I have to find out how I did that. It's the only way to survive for a while longer.

The VCR transcode idea is likely to be a full bust and given how old the VHS tapes are it seems unlikely I will ever be able to recover whatever is on them. At this rate I will be lucky if I can ever get the capture card working again. Currently, I crashed the firmware, and windows claims the drivers are unsigned for who knows why (I crashed it after I forced unsigned drivers).