12/02/2007 @09:59:24 ^10:43:42

Fixed connection?

I finally plucked up the courage to use the phone and managed to get them to send a technician out. 15 minutes of call, half of which was muzak and recorded messages, the rest some phone monkey with an intractable accent, at national rate. Anyway the guy who showed up was very helpful. He told me the reason my connection kept cutting out and the modem rebooting was because it was being flooded with too much signal. This surprised me as I was sure it wasn't getting enough! Oh well shows what I know. He put an attenuator on the end of the cable and also for some reason replaced the modem with a newer model of the same variety. Of course I had made the effort to completely dismantle my desk so if he needed to he could get at the box on the wall where the cable comes into my room, but of course he didn't need to do that. Still I'm told this whole thing was an achievement - I successfully used the phone! - and I shouldn't belittle it.

Randomised idents

The Debian package of nullidentd supports returning randomised idents (like "7J4zB4aN") if you pass it the string "RANDOM" on the command line. I didn't know this and only found out when I looked at the source to see about adding such a feature. It is documented on the man page but not very prominently and isn't mentioned at all in the package description. (For my purposes nullidentd is more than enough, any other identd is overkill)


I keep forgetting to mention that the bug-fixed version of duplex.wad (that is, DAC2005 map07) was finally released to the archives. Since I made the effort to debug it I was pretty pleased!*

* Unwarranted self importance

Uglee.wad is a small base. It tries to have real world features like bathrooms and canteens and kitchens and offices, but only uses the IWAD textures to do it, so it ends up having the characteristically weird look of real-world Doom maps. What makes it worse is the author's inability to use certain textures on linedefs that are large enough to hold them - SW1COMM, the 64-wide silver switch, uncentred on a line 52 units long, the various BIGDOORs at widths less than 128 and so forth. Gameplay is rooms and halls, and very easy. You open a door, fire, all the monsters in the room wake up. You sit on the entrance of the room firing into it until everything is dead. Repeat as necessary. I found a couple of places where you can get stuck, too. It's not very exciting and given its name I doubt even its author has a high opinion of it (or just has no self-esteem)

Hollow Minds** is a large sprawling map of various styles, mostly episode 2 hellish base style, but for Doom 2. It's by one of the authors of the Death Tormention series, and if you've played the big castle map in the third you will recognise the style I think. As I said its theme varies a lot, from base to castle to hell, and there is a high level of detail, but it never looks ugly. Gameplay is basically follow-your-nose, there's pretty much one way to go, you go into an area, get a key or press a button, find the next thing to do. This is one large map. It has 400+ monsters, it took 46 minutes to finish even when I knew where to go. But the monster density is quite low and it was easy. There was only a few places where I felt in danger of death (the teleporting archvile past the yellow door, the western outdoor area, which lacks cover) As for bugs the only problem I found was monster teleporters that can be made to fail if you're standing on its exit point when it goes off. I don't like Boom conveyor teleporters, they're more trouble than they're worth really. Anyway I can recommend this if you like really large maps that you can explore without feeling in too much danger.

** Weird fact that nobody else will care about: for some reason I posted a link to this wad on Usenet just after it came out but didn't play it.