Thursday, July 28, 2011

Accidental Screenshots: Portal

It's another week and that can only mean more accidental PC screenshots (at least until I run out :D). This week's collection comes from the old meme enthusiast's favourite: Portal.

Incidentally, every time I try to type "Portal" I can't seem to stop putting "2" after it. Perhaps a sign I should get on board with the sequel? I'm kind of waiting until Christmas though; It's bound to be on sale for a pretty good price then.

Anyway, onto those screenshots:

Yeah, looks simple enough.

Your bullets are powerless here, gun turrets.

An old favourite.

No one puts a portal in the corner.

(I'll get me coat)

deviantArt Updates 28/07/11

The summer of wallpaper rolls on with two new additions today. Neon Noise is a slightly iffy one I slapped together back in early January, while Recursion took an image I made in Paint in 2007 and repeated it several times over in 2009. (Putting it up in 2009 would have been far too predictable, of course :D) Speaking of old stuff, I also dug out a coloured in version of Gangster from a zip file the other day, which I thought I might add it to my gallery too, so I did.

Monday, July 25, 2011

deviantArt Update: Tiled Wallpaper Collection

For a while I've been thinking of putting my old bits of tiled desktop wallpaper up on my deviantArt gallery, but the thought of more than a dozen tiny images burying everything else brought me to the conclusion that bundling them up as a collection would be the best way to go. If you still remember what tiled wallpaper was or indeed, if you're still rocking Windows 3.1, the whole glorious collection is now available. Well, apart from a few duds I decided to leave out and a few I already discarded years ago. Even thought I never stopped to ask "do people even use tiled wallpaper any more?", whipping up abstract little wallpapers was one of the quickest and easiest ways to get new content to put on my old GeoCities site in the early aughts. Not that anyone visited that site, but that's never stopped me before (or since :D ). By the time I nuked the site in 2003, the wallpaper page had produced some pretty interesting-looking stuff - a minor miracle given the main tools I was working with: a 486 running Windows 95 and a copy of Ulead Photo Express LE that came with our scanner. To mark this shameless repackaging of the past, I thought I'd take the time to look back on the wallpapers within the collection and the only three I know to still exist that I've left out. Let's start off with a little blue-on-blue action:
Blue Paint
I'm not sure what this started as, but the swirl effect was done with a special version of MS Paint that came with Creative Writer 2, a kid's word processing package that came with our first PC. I'm pretty sure this is one of the oldest wallpapers here, probably dating back to 1999, before we even had the internet.
Baby Blue
Yeah, blue is going to be kind of a recurring theme here as it was kind of my favourite colour at the time. Maybe it still is, though I'm quite partial to lime green too now. :D Getting back to the topic at hand, this is actually just a modified version of Sky Tiles. I'm not quite sure what I did to turn it into this, but I still really like the look of this one.
Colourburst, Frosty, Stained Glass 
There isn't much to say about any of these, I'm afraid. They're all latter period wallpapers I made from scratch in Ulead Photo Express. Colourburst is kind of a dumb name though. I'd expect something called that to be much brighter and more colourful. This looks much more like blurry stained glass to me now.
Perhaps a sign that I needed to give up the tiled wallpaper gig, this originated as a screen cap of the Ulead Photo Express colour chooser thing.
Denim Boxes
A remake of a wallpaper I first attempted in 1999 (the one on the right, though I added the frame around it in 2000). The idea was to use the spray can tool in MS Paint to draw a square that looked like denim. Why? Well, it sounded like it'd be easy to do. Both attempts turned out pretty awful I think. I should have probably excised this from the collection, but I'd already made that totally sweet preview image before I thought of doing it. :D
Digital, Dreams
I don't know much about the creation of these either, I'm afraid, but they both have pretty weird names that begin with "d". I think I went for Digital because the colours evoked a kind of cyber world, while I thought Dreams had kind of a nightmarish quality to it.
Flower Blossoms
I have a feeling that this may be derived from Colourburst (or maybe it was the other way around). This is one of my favourites. It really reminded of the Flower Fields area of the first Paper Mario at the time, hence the name.
This is a textless, cropped version of a banner ad I made for my Orange Theme in 2000. I think this actually turned out much better than the background of the real theme. More to come, including some deleted scenes after the jump.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

deviantArt Updates 22/07/11

You know, I was poking around my computer tonight and there's a bunch of stuff on there that I could be uploading to my dA gallery. Well, that's exactly what I'm going to do over the next few weeks, starting with today's new deviations: Retro and Psychedelic Retro is a combination of two different retro game inspired images that have been sitting around in some form, unfinished since 2007. Meanwhile, Psychedelic is crazy, er, psychedelic wallpaper I whipped up back in January. I know, I'm not getting any better at naming these things.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Accidental Screenshots: Half Life 2: Episode One / Blue Shift

Another selection of accidental screenshots today, from two of Half Life's shorter instalments. Like before, I found that these had materialised in the games' save folders after I'd accidentally mashed F6 while trying to quick save. Let's start off with a particularly troubling one:


Moving over to Half Life: Blue Shift:

No one survives the stairwell shotgun.

Ugh. Fucking Zen. :D

Yep, this screenshot is totally boring.

And Now, Some Terrible Poetry

A great philosopher once wrote...

Don't worry, I haven't suddenly started fancying myself as a poet or anything. :) What I've posted here for your reading pleasure is a cliché-ridden, anti-drug poem I was forced to write over the course of a forty minute religion class in 1998. It was an entry for some drug awareness art competition/exhibition that was taking place in the following days.

Now, I'd never attempted to write a poem before this, was never good at cranking out a complete assignment during class and as usual, was stuck sitting directly in front of the teacher. Despite all this immense pressure though, I managed to cobble together something vaguely resembling poetry that even rhymes. (That's how you know it's good.) As the minutes to the end of class ran down, I was also pressed to come up with a name for literary work. "Who Cares?" wasn't a bad bit of thinking on my feet. It even works on few different levels. I mean, if you're really reaching.

Taking it home that night, I set about decorating it a little, at the teacher's behest, I  imagine. The drugs on top look kind of wonky, but I'm actually kind of impressed with the wild pattern running through the lettering . It's far cooler looking than this piece of crap deserved anyway.:D

Monday, July 18, 2011

Backlog Assault: Mario Kart Wii

In the last few years I've built up a pretty crazy gaming backlog. This year, I've decided it's high time I do something about it. Join me as I begin to regret more than ever all those impulse Steam buys and 99 cent PS2 bargains:

Title: Mario Kart Wii
Platform: Wii

Bought: 01 April 2010
Price: €40.00
Beaten: 20 June 2011

Backloggery Dump:
  • ??/04/10 - I've finished the 50cc cups and I'm about halfway through the 100cc ones.
  • 15/07/11 - Got golds in the last two 150cc cups tonight. Not sure I'll bother with mirror mode though.
Previously on JiliK's Blog:

12/06/11 - I guess I've missed out on the main draw of the game with my crappy broadband connection, but I really didn't enjoy the Mario Kart Wii single player. The AI rubber-banding and the unbalanced power ups, the things people have been complaining about for years, were not only not improved in that game, they were worse than ever.


So, I finally decided to dust off Mario Kart Wii the other day and finish up the 150cc cups, of which there were about six left to do. And I'm sorry to say that I didn't enjoy it any more than the last time I played it over a year ago. As it was the 150cc cups I was trying beat, the AI was, of course, more ridiculously cheap than ever, ramming me like they were playing Burnout and raining blue shells, red shells and lightning down on me like confetti and usually combining the two, just to be sure. :D

This might honestly be the most unfair, unbalanced Mario Kart I've ever played. I mean, previous entries were pretty cheap, but I'm not sure the AI was ever as aggressive as this and I don't remember getting hit by two or three power ups in a row ever being such a regular occurrence. I guess Nintendo is trying to make Mario Kart as chaotic and unpredictable as possible in an effort to make it more fun. Maybe it is when you've got a bunch of people playing. As a purely single player experience though, it's complete bullshit and after this, I think I might be done with the series for good.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Accidental Screenshots: No One Lives Forever

I guess this proves that I'll post pretty much anything on here. Here are a bunch of screenshots I found, accidentally taken by mashing F6 instead of F5 to quick save in No One Lives Forever.

Bonus: I just remembered I had a few NOLF screenshots on Flickr of an SMG floating in the sky. Might as well tack them onto the end of this post while I'm at it. :D

Well, you can never be too sure.

No idea what's going on here.

More compelling content after the jump.

Cooking: Simnel Cake

Serving Suggestion

Blimey, it's been a while since I did a cooking post, but cook I did over Easter as I attempted to bake a simnel cake - basically a fruit cake, with marzipan in the middle and on top of it. I was using this recipe (using marzipan in place of the almond paste), and things seemed to be going well at first. I even had eight Marzipan balls on top to represent Bowser and the seven Koopa Kids. (Those who accept Bowser Jr. are heathens.) Then I realised that you're not supposed to put on the top layer of marzipan until the cake's baked. Queue a pained effort to remove the top layer of marzipan from the sticky cake mixture. I just about managed it, damaging a good streak of it in the process and forcing me to flatten the marzipan balls to repair it.

The baking didn't go too smoothly either. The cake ended up being done more than an hour before the recipe said. I guess the fan-assisted oven might have been to blame. When I took it out, it was a little burned around the edges and pretty dried out towards the outside of the cake, especially on one side.

Despite a fairly dry outer layer though, the cake didn't turn out too bad. I'm not sure the marzipan added much (I'm sure the home-made almond paste would have been preferable), but the cake itself was a nice and rich, not too dissimilar to a traditional Christmas cake. Just the thing to have with a nice cup of tea as you come to the end of a Mass Effect 1 & 2 marathon, which is how I spent most of Easter.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

And It Was All Going So Well...: The Steam Summer Camp Sale

So, I guess Steam's summer sale is annual now. Pretty bad news for my gaming backlog, but how could I resist these fine deals?

Day One: 30 June 2011

Oblivion: Game of the Year Edition (€6.80)

I may have had to pull myself away from Morrowind last year for fear of never finishing another game ever, but I enjoyed the hell out of the fifty or so hours I put into it, and I've been chomping at the bit to try out Oblivion. I passed it up during the holiday sale for €10, but now I'm slightly glad I waited, cheapskate that I am.


This looked awesome when it debuted on WiiWare, so it was a no-brainer for €2. . It plays a lot like Tomena Sanner, another WiiWare game. It's kind of a rhythm game masquerading as a platformer. In each level, you automatically run from left to right, encountering a series of obstacles, which you need to avoid by hitting the appropriate action button at the right time. When you do, a little beep or bloop is played, which form into an 8-bit style ditty, when you pass a bunch of obstacles in a row. Pretty neat, but it does get pretty hard pretty quickly.

Day Four: 3 July 2011

Torchlight (€2.99)

I've heard a lot of great things in this, mostly on the Bombcast, but I've often had to turn down a discounted copy on Steam in favour of some other, more desirable goodies. On the 3rd of July, I said "No more!". (Not really though.)

Day Six: 5 July 2011

Beat Hazard Ultra (€1.12)

I picked up vanilla Beat Hazard during last summer's sale and enjoyed it a ton for a few days and then, sadly, kind of forgot about it. Hopefully, this cheap and seemingly large piece of DLC will rekindle my love for music-fuelled, twin-stick shooting.

Day Ten: 9 July 2011

id Super Pack (€29.99)

The big one. I've been lusting after this since I first joined Steam in 2008, but it's always seemed a bit too expensive to grab, even for €30 during the previous sales it popped up in. This time, I hadn't gone too crazy with my spending beforehand, so I decided to finally throw down the required amount and finally get to play some Final Doom, Commander Keen, Hexen etc. and not for id's over-inflated asking prices. Seriously, €20 for Doom 3, €20 for Quake III, €10 for each of the classic Doom games. Is there anyone out there who'd pay that much for those games in this day and age?

Eternity's Child (€1.00)

I remember this was slated for a WiiWare release at one point. I'm not really sure what happened there, but I always quite liked the art style and it's got to be worth a go for a euro.

NyxQuest (€2.50)

A WiiWare game that did actually make it out, I really enjoyed the demo for this that Nintendo released a while ago. I guess I'm legitimising their disinterest in demos by going ahead and getting this on Steam instead of WiiWare though. Sorry, everyone. :D


If my calculations are correct that brings my total spending to €46.39. Ouch! A bit more than I was expecting to drop, especially given how frugal I was last during last summer's sale, not to mention the size of my backlog (again). Still, I'm glad I finally grabbed the id pack. When it didn't go on sale during the holiday sale, I was afraid I missed my last chance to get hold of it for €30. Now, to get source ports of all those games up and running and then never touch any of them ever again. :D

Site Update: It's a FAQstravaganza

Nobody remembers except me, but it's roughly nine years around now since my brief, pathetic tenure as a writer of gaming FAQS. In the couple of months I was screwing around, I managed to produce only one complete FAQ for Worms on the PC, as well as maybe 10% complete ones for Blast Corps and Mario 64.

Reading through the Mario 64 FAQ, it looks like I intended it to be my first one, but the size and complexity of both it and Blast Corps meant doing a FAQ for either without a TV of my own would be quite a bothersome task. Worms was a much more manageable undertaking. I had ready access to a PC at the time and I had played that game to death over the previous two years. In the end, I don't think it me too long to crank out the FAQ and I had it up on GameFAQs a day or two later. Of course, a bunch of other cheats site had nicked it for themselves within a few days, with only one or two actually bothering to ask permission. Bastards. :D

To celebrate this momentous occasion, as well as giving the Worms one a much-needed spelling, grammar and formatting overhaul, I've also unleashed the the two unfinished FAQS for the first time on the my web site. Why? Because what else am I going to do on an idle Sunday night? What? Get on with those Backlog Assault entries? Don't be ridiculous.