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About Ashley_Pomeroy

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  1. Ashley_Pomeroy

    Things about non-Doom video games you just found out

    Ricochet. Just Ricochet. The existence of it. It's one of a tiny number of original games made by Valve - it came out in the post-Half Life / pre-Steam era. It's so obscure it doesn't even have a wikipedia page. Technically it's a Half-Life mod, but it was released officially by Valve and is still on sale on Steam for £4.95. Here's the most substantive article I can find about it: https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=137883201 Steam itself has some oddities that jumped out at me. In theory it's also a video hosting platform. For a while you could buy Max Mad, the film: https://store.steampowered.com/app/398330/Mad_Max_1979/ It was apparently a promotional deal with the game that included all of the other Mad Max films: https://www.engadget.com/2015-09-01-steam-mad-max-films.html And one of the earliest titles, a Flash spin-off of Half-Life called Codename Gordon, was discontinued when the developers went bust and their website was bought up by a porn company, although you can still install the game: https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1199430851
  2. Ashley_Pomeroy

    What "Lost Media" are you interested in?

    Not so much lost, as hard to find, but NASA's historical image galleries have always been a mess. I assume it's because NASA was one of the first organisations to embrace what was then the world wide web, so they have the pioneer's curse. The organisation's images have always been split between different websites run by different bits of the US government, and latterly Flickr for some reason. It's particularly frustrating because it's fairly easy to search for an individual image - NASA has a consistent, multi-decade-old image naming scheme - but actual structured galleries are hard to come by. In particular there's a curious dearth of images from the Skylab missions, and all of the Shuttle missions pre-1994 or so. The crew of Skylab 4 were in orbit for 84 days, but NASA only has a couple of dozen images readily available: https://images.nasa.gov/search?q=skylab 2&page=1&media=image&yearStart=1920&yearEnd=2023&keywords=SKYLAB 4 There's something depressing about Skylab. There's the "we're not going to the moon any more" aspect. There's the fact that the interior colour scheme was brown and pale green and the astronauts wore brown uniforms and looked exhausted all the time. The fact that the interior was so large they had to use a flash, which makes all of the pictures look like a low-budget early-70s BBC television drama. The astronauts trained for Apollo 18-20, but they were cancelled, so they ended up stuck in a broken fuel tank for two months growing a beard. Like in Dark Star. And this was the early-to-mid-70s, when everything was depressing. Johnson Space Centre used to have a simple but easy-to-use image gallery, but it's now defunct: http://images.jsc.nasa.gov/ I mention it because I was curious about STS-5, which was unusual. Columbia originally had ejection seats, because STS-1 to STS-4 only had two crewmembers. Commander and Pilot. The general consensus was that the seats were useless during lift-off - the astronauts would either have been toasted by the SRB plume or killed by hitting the Mach 15+ airflow - and possibly useful during landing but generally not worth the trouble. But for STS-5 alone there were four crew, so the ejection seats were disabled. And for that one mission the Commander and Pilot had to wear a peculiar uniform that consisted of the pre-Challenger disaster blue jumpsuit plus the early gold-coloured launch escape suit. The only image of this configuration on the internet appears to be this, which isn't even officially there any more, and because the JSC's website is no more - and because it used CGI-script-genreated galleries and not flat galleries, the internet archive doesn't have a copy of the thumbnail page.
  3. Ashley_Pomeroy

    Cursed Doom Images

    You know, I remember playing a legitimate map several years ago that had a puzzle involving barrels - you had to gently nudge them with pistol shots, and they were set up so that if you shot the right barrels you could get out. It came from the early, prototypical days when a lot of Doom level designers were fans of Dungeons and Dragons / The Bard's Tale / grid-paper map designs, and also Sierra Adventures-style puzzles. "Click button / 'you slice your hand open on the button, you are dead'". That kind of puzzle. A bygone kind of gameplay that I'm not particularly nostalgic for. I can't remember what it was called. But it was real, it existed, and it wasn't supposed to be a joke. There's something about the heady days of 1994 - some of those maps had ambition.
  4. Ashley_Pomeroy

    Why are monsters ungrateful?

    I recently bought the remastered version of Quake. The first mission pack, Scourge of Armagon, has a power-up that spawns a monster to fight by your side. The conjuring process clouds their minds, so they're like a big clumsy dog. The monster follows you around the level and fights to the death to protect you. Like best buddies. Ranger and Shambler adventures dot com. One hundred years Ranger and Shambler, forever and ever, Ranger and Shambler adventures a hundred years dot com. The outside world is our enemy. But the game still treats the monster as a baddy internally, so in order to get the full kill count you have to kill your friend at the end of the map. To this day I've only played the first couple of levels of Armagon because I just can't do it. It's like learning how to butcher a rabbit, but worse because the rabbit is your pal, your partner, your battle buddy. I just can't do it.
  5. Ashley_Pomeroy

    Doomcute thread

    It's the spaceship from GALAXIA.WAD, from 1994: Spaceship escape-ship thing. The level is inspired by a Czech comic, and I did a bit of googling and found this, which makes me wonder if the design was based on the little spaceship in the strip: The big spaceship looks like a rip-off of the Battlestar Galactica, and the overall thrust of the plot resembles The Black Hole. I wonder if it was based on a Czech TV show that used stock footage from Galactica?
  6. Ashley_Pomeroy

    Romero's favourite game is Ghost Recon 1 and now I know why

    I'm going to take a long drag from my pipe at this point and put on my comfortable slippers. My recollection is that the two things that separate Doom from modern (e.g. post-Quake, so not objectively modern) FPSes is the speed disparity and the monster count. I remember being disappointed with Quake because you fought a couple of tough monsters rather than hundreds of weak ones, but the AI and tactics weren't any smarter, so the gameplay felt slower. That was one of the reasons Half-Life felt fresh - it had reloading, which introduced a tiny tiny bit of tactics, and the monster AI was a lot better. You had to sometimes back off and reload, as if you were storming a room. And then a couple of years later there was Rainbow Six and Hidden & Dangerous etc, which tried to emulate real tactics albeit that it was several years before that kind of thing felt natural. I think it took until the invention of cover (in Kill.Switch (2003)) and games like Mirror's Edge (2009) where your character moved and felt like a living being rather than a camera floating in a void, comma, until FPSes lost the arcadey feel. But is that Doom? On the one hand the fast pace and huge monster counts of Doom are refreshing because there isn't anything quite like them - not Serious Sam, which is just big arenas - and the other hand... I can't think of a downside. The simplicity is what makes Doom stand out. It's interesting to compare Rage (2011) with Doom (2016). They're obviously produced by different versions of Id, but I remember thinking that Rage felt at times like a distant prototype of the Doom reboot, but one of the things that irritated me most was weapon reloading. Without a cover system or any tactical elements there are no natural pauses, so weapon reloading in Rage is just irritating whereas in a purpose-built tactical game it might work. Doom didn't have reloading and I didn't miss it. The other thing that irritates me about Rage in retrospect is that despite having dialogue choices and role-playing elements the main character has zero... not even zero charisma, he has zero presence, whereas THE DOOMSLAYER has personality. I have to make an effort to remember Rage. I felt that Doom (2016) had a nice balance between monster/player speeds (you're slower, but so are the monsters) and monster numbers (perhaps inevitable to accommodate console owners) although at the same time I felt sad that the large-scale 10,000-monster slaughter gameplay of some of the best Doom levels hasn't become the norm.
  7. Ashley_Pomeroy

    I Think I Finally FIgured Out Why I Hate Plutonia

    I've always disliked it for much the same reason. Individual levels are great fun - Map11: Hunted is a classic, Map18: Neurosphere is hectic but gives you room to move around, ditto Map19: NME - but then there are maps like Map15: The Twilight, with respawning chaingunners and narrow corridors, and what was the one that I remember in particular? Oh yeah, Map10: Onslaught. That's the map I think of when I think of Plutonia, because there's a chaingunner directly behind you at the start. It's just so cheap and obvious - it feels like a parody of a Plutonia map but it actually is Plutonia map. The map is cramped, it has another respawning chaingunner trap, it's just irritating to play. On the positive side it feels more polished than TNT. Some of TNT's maps play like 1994/1995 shovelware. As you point out it is at least consistent. I just didn't find it entertaining.
  8. Ashley_Pomeroy

    Things about Doom you just found out

    Well I never. If you shoot one of the panels on the left, inside the crusher, the floor rises up. I didn't realise that. It looks really odd though, especially if the crusher has already been activated. I wonder if it's a bug? I'd forgotten how many crushing ceilings there were in E2M4. The others are very close to the Barons of Hell and I used to love luring them into the crushers. My and my friends used to play that level a lot back in the day because it's fairly large and non-linear. I remember that it was part of the attract mode demo rotation in one of the earlier versions of Doom. Is the eating machine the only example of a piece of actual machinery in the original Doom levels? Obviously most of the E1 maps have computer banks and objects that are supposed to be electronics of some kind, and there are lots of crushing ceilings, but this is the only thing where the crushing ceiling looks like a deliberate human design and not just random nonsense. I like to think it was an industrial press that the demons have turned into a trap because they're mean. The more I think about the crushing ceilings in Doom the less sense they make. They look too regular to be demon-made, but their placement makes no sense from a human point of view, unless the UAC loved playing pranks on the workforce. Containment Area makes a little bit of sense if you imagine that they're supposed to be blast doors.
  9. Ashley_Pomeroy

    Sandy's granddaughter plays Doom

    It'll be interesting to see how he explains that the final boss is John Romero's severed head, and that you have to blow it up with a rocket launcher to win the game. "Now, little lady, this is your chance to make John Romero your bi... to win the game. This is your chance to win the game."
  10. Ashley_Pomeroy

    Is Doom 3 good?

    In my opinion it's more interesting to write about than play. Back in 2004 it was Id Software's big comeback after the multiplayer-only Quake III Arena, but by 2004 most of the people who made the original Doom had left the company and Id Software itself didn't command the same kind of respect it did in the late 1990s. The rest of the gaming world had moved on - the new trends at the time were military shooters and tactical games along the lines of Rainbow Six. Noways a four-year gap doesn't sound like a lot but it felt a lot longer in the early 2000s. Furthermore it came out in the same year as Half-Life 2 and Far Cry, which felt like "the future" - they had open maps, smarter AI and occasional non-linear aspects. Doom 3 has a couple of interactive bits near the beginning but after the first few levels all of that seemed to get forgotten about. I remember that the early E3 demo of Doom 3 showcased some clever monster AI and a bit of stealthy creeping, but in the actual game the monsters either jump at you or run straight for you. Almost the entire game takes place in narrow corridors, or open-looking environments that box you in. In its defence it has some genuinely good jump-scares and a couple of neat lighting effects. I remember one sequence where you have to follow an illuminated machine as it moves through a pitch-black chamber, and a bit where you see the silhouette of an imp through some stairs. But again about a third of the way through the game all of that stops, as if they needed to wrap it up quickly. The environmental audio is very good. Against it, the design is incredibly formulaic. The environments are almost interchangeable. All of the characters appear to be made of modelling clay, even the human characters. Dr Betruger is so cartoonishly evil he sounds like a villain from Scooby Doo. The PDA voice messages are dull and flat, and the pacing is all wrong - three-quarters of the way through the game people are still complaining that their screwdrivers have gone missing. Not only are your guns weak, but there's almost no visible indication that the enemies are taking damage. My recollection of the gameplay is of constantly having to reload. I mean, I'd like to enjoy it. Every time I play it I'm prepared to give it a fresh try. The basic idea sounds great - an uncompromisingly dark horror shooter - but every time I play it I'm just reminded of why it irritates me. And as time goes by the graphics look less special and it gets harder to run with modern PCs. It's a bit like digging up your ex-wife and re-animating her. You quickly realise why you broke up and after eight years buried underground her physical and mental condition have decayed. At least she doesn't smell any more. I'd be grateful if you don't talk about this. Off the top of my head it was the first major A-list title that didn't run on Windows 98 - I took the opportunity to upgrade my PC at the time. To this day I've never actually finished it - every time I play it I give up in boredom around the time you get the soul sphere. I remember thinking it was a tragedy that the team behind System Shock 2 didn't have access to the Doom 3 engine.
  11. Ashley_Pomeroy

    Protagonist Portrait Point ?

    The earliest animated status bar face I can recall is from Domark's awful Friday the 13th for the 8-bit machines. It came out in 1986. Your character's hair sticks up as he or she gets more scared. It's terrible but at least they tried. In the case of Doom it's one of those things that lightens the game and makes it feel darkly funny instead of being pompous. I remember one of the criticisms levelled at Quake was that the brown colour and Nine Inch Nails soundtrack made it feel humourless, as if Id were trying to turn it into a serious work of art, even though it was just a simple action game. The first I can remember is Swords and Sorcery from 1985, for the 8-bit machines. It's simplistic - you lead a party of one - but it's notable for having a real time 3D dungeon at a time when the likes of e.g. The Bard's Tale had flick-screen: It wasn't very good and even at the time it was very obscure. Knightmare, the TV show, also had an animated head-turning-into-a-skull life force meter, but it was prerendered and only appeared at intervals: Z, the Command and Conquer clone, has quite detailed protagonist portraits, but that came out in 1996, several years after Doom.
  12. Ashley_Pomeroy

    Games with infighting

    It's one of the things that made Doom stand out at the time. Most games until that point had baddies that couldn't even hurt each other accidentally, because their projectiles didn't harm other baddies, and in plot terms most other games have relatively intelligent monsters - the baddies in Doom are essentially dumb animals driven into a frenzied rage.
  13. Ashley_Pomeroy

    The Complicated Dynamic Between Doom 1 and the SSG

    I can clearly remember playing Doom 2 for the first few times, and a couple of things spring to mind. Back then I had no idea that you could snipe with the chaingun or pistol - the realisation that the first shot is always bang on target didn't strike me until years later, and I don't think it was common knowledge back then. As such the standard "sniper weapon" for me and all my friends was the pump shotgun, because it had a nice tight spread and killed the former humans easily. The super shotgun felt a bit naff, because its shells went all over the place. They had vertical dispersion, whereas the standard shotgun fired in a neat line. As a consequence I didn't use the SSG very often back then. Nowadays of course it's a monster unless the map forces you to fight baddies at a distance. I have no idea how popular the SSG was in the wider Doom scene circa 1995, although I imagine multiplayer players loved it. Also, my recollection is that at least initially Doom II felt like more of a slog than Doom, simply because it had more monsters. Nowadays I can blaze through the maps at lightning speed, but back then I took a patient approach, which works but is boring. Akin to Wolfenstein, popping out from corners and sniping baddies, which again doesn't showcase the SSG very well.
  14. Ashley_Pomeroy

    Which side of CONSOLES is meant to be facing?

    My subjective opinion is that the glare in the monitor screen is supposed to be light coming from above, in which case the grey "rackmount" boxes are at the top, but that feels wrong. Perhaps the people who made Doom were unfamiliar with computers. They were pretty expensive back in 1993.
  15. Ashley_Pomeroy

    Doom in other genres

    I like to think that if the designers had slightly different tastes Doom might have turned out a bit like Space Hulk, the 1993 Warhammer game - with you controlling a squad of Doom marines in real time, with slower-paced, more tactical gameplay. The entire FPS genre might have been slightly different if Id had gone for that kind of gameplay. One thing the Doom games seem to completely ignore is outer space - UAC must have space battleships etc, but they never seem to play a part. Perhaps the spaceships in the world of Doom are largely automated and the demons simply crush them. Text adventures were pretty much dead by 1993, but if Doom had been developed ten years earlier for the 8-bit machines we might have had to GO WEST and PICK UP ARMOUR and SHOOT SERGEANT and TURN ON RADSUIT etc. SHOOT CYBERDEMON. What with? ROCKET LAUNCHER. "You shoot the Cyberdemon with the rocket launcher. He shrugs it off and kills you. You are dead." Rhythm game? Management simulation, set before the events of Knee-Deep in the Dead, where you have to keep the base stocked with supplies and arrange for damaged weapons to be repaired?