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Apr 19, 2014

WarCraft III Map-movie #5: RPG

This was mainly a simulation of what I wanted to make as a game. I knew how to script and program movies on WarCraft, so it was easy to stage things. I'd still like to try actually programming one sometime though.

Apr 18, 2014

WarCraft 3 Map-movie #3 and #4

A two-for one sale today! I wish I could release these more sporatically, as in, between posts about other stuff. Projects have been hard lately with a baby on the way (Monday!) and finishing up finals. I haven't even touched Knight Guy for a week. Hopefully I can get back in the swing and have a summer full of projects! 

This first one, Salem Witch Trials, is not a very impressive one by any means. No dynamic camera, boring landscaping, errors in animation... but I was pretty proud of it when I was 13.

Here's another old one I was proud of, mostly because I thought it was hilarious. Though I am impressed that I could pull off the animation trick well (If you knew how World Editor worked you might be too), it was mostly just for the fun of it. Back then I tended to make lots of little ditties like these, rather than working on bigger cinematics like Apotheosis.

Apr 12, 2014

WarCraft 3 Map-movie #2: Apotheosis

This is probably the longest cinematic I've made. I have no idea where the concept came from, but I'm glad I can show it to you via FRAPS, because when I tried to share it on the internet in high school, its size was so big due to the many imported songs that few even bothered to try downloading it.

Apr 11, 2014

WarCraft 3 Map-movie #1: He's Flying!

I got FRAPS for my birthday! Now I can make some gameplay videos. It'll take a bit of time for me to get the hang of it (mostly just utilizing hard drive space and making the most of the video sizes) but in the meantime, I'm going to start showcasing my old WarCraft 3 maps for your viewing pleasure! These are probably only going to be interesting if you've ever played WarCraft 3, but it's fun for me because I made these when I was thirteen, and hey! another project type to start adding to Pretzel Lectern.

This one is called He's Flying!. A music video I made based on the lost episode of SpongeBob Squarepants. To this day, that episode's every line reminds me of the summer of 2002, which was a really fun summer vacation. It was in the prime window of time when I was both old enough to appreciate summer vacation yet young enough to not have to work (or feel guilty about not working).

Enjoy this filmlet, and there will be several more to come in the coming weeks!
(Probably more other projects too, as soon as I'm done with wretched finals)

Apr 7, 2014

Lost Projects Vol. 1

Lost Projects Vol. 1

You all know I love projects, that I'm sentimental and nostalgic, and that I like creating things. Unfortunately, I have not always been as careful as I should have when preserving projects. I have silly audio files from when I was a Fourth Grader, and tablet drawings from much earlier that I've saved all these years, but there are some projects in between now and then that have slipped between my fingers and into the unknown... forever. My purpose with this post is to at least preserve their memory, and wistfully wish that I could have them to showcase for you today.

1. Storybook Weaver Stories

When I was a kid, we had a game called Storybook Weaver. It was made mainly for making your own stories, which you could write, illustrate, and print out and such. But my brother and I, as with so many other programs we had, found funner ways to use it. We made our own RPG-style game with Storybook Weaver, where we took two characters, changed their clothes to be different colors, and roleplayed as them throughout the game's settings. The only thing I really remember is that we began in a locked room, and in order to get out we had to break through a barred door. To do that, there were different sized rocks in the room, and we had to work out with some dumbbells in order to be strong enough to hurl a boulder at the door, breaking it and securing our escape.

Another thing we would do is make flipbooks. These are some of the things I wish we would have saved the most. The one I remember most is a flipbook of a dragon flying over a village, burning each hut in turn. There was also one of an animated fight between a prince and a dragon.

We would also make illustrated versions of some of our computer games, such as Warcraft 1, and I recall once we made an illustrated chessboard.

The last thing I can recall, besides making a very long flipbook about flying turtles called Turtle World, was making a Choose Your Own Adventure book about being a dragon. I really liked dragons back then.

I really wish I hadn't let these fade away. These are among the most common Lost Projects that I think about and wish I could look at again. Some of them had interesting ideas that would have been fun to resurrect. But alas, I was not careful enough with those .SWD files, and will never see them again.

2. WarCraft II Maps

WarCraft II: Tides of Darkness was my first love when it comes to map editors and programming. One of my earliest memories of elementary school was looking forward to the next time I would be at my grandma and uncles' house so that I could make a WarCraft II map. I sketched out plans, drew ideas down... I even drew up a manual for a campaign I would make on WarCraft 2 called "The Hard Lands." Eventually I got the WarCraft Battle Chest for my eighth birthday and was able to make levels all I wanted, but unfortunately I did not save the maps that I made.

This is actually not extremely sad for me, because back then I did not know how to make a map very well anyway. But I would have loved to at least have that original Hard Lands campaign so that I could remake it on WarCraft III.

3. The Cube

I have no image for this project because it's perhaps one of the oddest things I have ever made. When I was about eight or nine, I discovered PowerPoint. Again, rather than using it for its intended use—presentations—I made a game out of it. I used the game's transitions to simulate a map, moving from one square to another, picking up items (represented by making the image disappear and reappear), and fulfilling little 'quests.' I imagined the game taking place on a cube, so I calculated the slides to make sure that going from one side to the other always came back to the "same" area on the game. When one layer of the cube was completed, the "player" (who obviously was just clicking and watching the game play itself) would unlock the next layer and do it again with different colored slides (the layer being unlocked was shown by a different transition). This was definitely a weird project, and I'm not surprised that it got lost. I remember trying to email it to my uncle to show him, but it was too big a file. So most likely, my mom was the only one who really saw it anyway. I wonder if she even remembers The Cube?

4. Quest TM

Another really weird project I made was called Quest TM (That's kwest tee-emm). It was essentially a Choose Your Own Adventure game I made with the only tools I had available: nothing. I made this game on a computer with folders and text files. The folder would be named after the option you could choose, and inside the folder was a .TXT file that described your situation. As far as I can remember, the game took place inside a dungeon of some sort, but the details are very hard to recall. I remember trying to program the folder's background (back when you could do that on Windows 95) to show the text to make it easier for the "player" to read the description before seeing the options, but it didn't work too well. I even wanted to make the game on HyperStudio (an old presentation program of some sort). I didn't even get very far with this project, but it is something I would have liked to have kept for old time's sake.

5. Heroes III Runescape Map

I am really bummed about losing this project, and I still cannot figure out how the map slipped through my fingers. Ever since my little brother Keaton would create nonsensical Heroes of Might and Magic III maps on the computer and accidentally save over our games, I have been keeping a strict backup system of my game maps. And this one in particular was made very late into my adolescence, when I coudl actually make good maps. I'm baffled and very sad that this map disappeared.

This map combined my knowledge of Heroes 3 mapmaking with my love for Runescape, the popular online MMORPG that has since jumped the shark. I copied the game's map intricately, inserted inside jokes from Runescape into the game (as seen above, "Some noob's been leveling up their Firemaking skill"), painstakingly programmed almost all of the game's quests, and made the main heroes of the game my friends and me, named by our gamertags. The map was incredible well made, from Al Kharid to Falador, from Varrock to Edgeville. As far as I can remember I even made the Wilderness.

I know you probably have to be a very specific type of person who would appreciate a work like this, but trust me—it was a masterpiece. I wish so bad I could find this map somewhere, tucked away in a hidden corner of my parents' external hard drive. Perhaps it's out there somewhere, and it will be a happy day when I find it.

6. Austin's Lair

Austin's Lair was my first and only personal website. I made it when I was 13, which was in the early 2000s when websites all looked horrible. And mine was no exception. I remember before I created my website, I read a book all about web design, and I kid you not, the book actually had sections encouraging you to use emoticons and animated GIFs. It even gave an address to www.gifworld.com, which no longer exists, where you could start stocking up on animated GIFs for your website. It was as if it were a necessary part of web culture back then.
So my site was littered with animated revolving skulls, flames, and frowny faces, and had headings that said things like "Welcome to Austin's Lair, mortal." I made the site through Homestead.com, which had a pretty user-friendly interface for making a website. It also had built-in features like animated and scrolling text, potwice in mine, saying how proud of me she was for making my own website. I remember being irritated that here I was trying to look all hardcore, and here was my grandma making me look like an infant.
lls, quizzes, and—you younger whippersnappers won't believe this—a guest book. Yes, back then we had guest books on our websites where you could sign in and... that's about it. State your name and say "Love your site!" or whatever. I remember my grandma posted
The URL for my site was something like gabumons_inn.homestead.com. This was because at the time I had been frequenting my favorite Digimon site and was thinking of making my own. I think I must have gotten carried away with all of the
fascinatingly evil GIFs and stuff.
Anyway, I remember after about six to eight months of having my own site, and even having an obscure "prize" system where if someone got all of the questions on my Digimon quiz correct I would give them a free Digimon image (I just got it off of Google Images), Homestead announced that they would be charging for their services. I filled out everything on their survey as negatively as possible to try and force them to reconsider, but to no avail. My site dropped off the web, as did almost every other Homestead site I had gone to often.
I wish I would have at least saved a screenshot or something to show you, but these animated GIFs basically sum up its appearance quite soundly. It was a pretty pathetic website, but more than that, it was a token of the late 90s style of web pages.