The Sine Wave Archives
The Sine Wave
Games and Stories
Other Junk - A collection of various programs I made a long time ago.
River Canoe Trip - The story of a field trip for the School of Environmental
Photo Log 2001 - A limited photographic record of my first year at
Computer Game Link Pages
Doom levels (389 K)
Sites I Visit Sometimes
Technica Open Forum
Dope Message Board
- 24 -
The two Sky Island variations
I did as a joke for April Fool's Day take up more than a megabyte, and
they're not really worth much, so I'm getting rid of them. It's funny
how a megabyte used to be no big deal but now it seems like a lot of space
with these new restrictions. The original Sky Island can stay because
it doesn't have any huge pictures of Jennifer Lopez or William Hung, and
it's only 34K. I might also get rid of Auropolis, but only if I know
someone else will host it. I made it for the Golden Guardians clan,
which I was in for a while, but I don't know if I'm still in it or even
if it's still around. On the plus side, I uploaded the game and program
collection, and you can download it here.
I also added more links to sites I visit sometimes. It's not a complete
list, but it's more comprehensive than what I had.
- 23 -
A rude awakening
Well, I don't know when this
happened, but it seems my ISP just lowered the amount of space I'm allowed
to use on my personal web page from 100 MB down to 20 MB all of a sudden,
so I'm going to have to be a good little customer (or customer's offspring,
as the case may be) and clear up some space on here. The first thing
to go will be the field study pages, because although they don't take up
the most space, they do require thousands of files to be placed in the
same directory because my ISP doesn't allow subfolders last time I checked,
so my FTP program has to load a huge page table every time I do something.
I haven't had feedback on it in ages and it's just a big bloat on the system,
so into the trash bin it goes. If there are any people out there
who have been silently admiring my tales of travel and would be just devastated
by their deletion, don't worry because I'm going to make .zip archives
of all the trip stuff and if you send me an e-mail, I'll send you all the
files. I'm also getting rid of some big Drakan levels, and all the
ones not made by me, and some failures like Spellcaster. You can
still find them on Planet Drakan or somewhere, so they're not lost forever.
The latest Azenera version is still on there, but I haven't been working
on that for so long. I'm sorry I have to say this, but don't count
on Azenera being done at all. It's just too much trouble for so little
in return, and there are really some little things about the gameplay that
I wish I could change but I just can't due to fundamental limitations in
the game design. I've changed the front page and the Drakan links
page so that the deleted content is no longer listed, but you may encounter
some broken links in the archives.
- 12 -
Puzzles? What puzzles?
Today I was saving and reloading
my way through one of Darkened Skye's many jumping sequences when I started
to wonder: why do so many people call them jumping puzzles?
I mean, there's really nothing like a puzzle about most of these jumping
segments. It's really more of a timing and spatial challenge.
A true jumping puzzle would involve some kind of strategy or trick.
For example, in Jak 2, when you're in the temple and there are platforms
with a grid of floating colored blocks between them, and you have to jump
on only one block of each color to get across, that's a jumping puzzle.
However, in Turok: Dinosaur Hunter, when you have to jump across a group
of evenly spaced floating platforms hovering above a yellow abyss, and
the only challenge is getting all the jumps right, that's not a jumping
puzzle at all. There's a better word for this kind of challenge,
and that word is torture.
- 11 -
Taste the painbow
I said I had enough games, but
today I did a naughty thing. I went out and picked up two games for
a low price. One of the games is Wheel of Time, which I haven't started
yet, and the other is Darkened Skye. That's right, I went and bought
the Skittles game. Seriously, Darkened Skye is a third-person fantasy
action game where you have to travel through strange lands, jump across
platforms (more on that later), and find Skittles. These aren't just
any Skittles, though; they're magical Skittles that let you cast spells
such as one that lets you see through illusions and one that shoots out
a colored blast of energy. It's actually not a bad game, considering
how it's part of an ad campaign for a candy company, but it's not great,
and there are a lot of shortcomings. First of all, there are way
too many places in the game where you have to jump across a sequence of
platforms and you die if you miss a jump. To make matters worse,
the jumping controls aren't so great. You can't jump very high, and
sometimes you fail to jump if you're running downhill as you press the
jump key. There are also clipping issues that are annoying but sometimes
work in your favor, warping you on top of a platform even if you miss the
jump. One good thing about Darkened Skye that keeps it from being
unbearable is the script. It's pretty silly, and it doesn't take
itself seriously at all. They even make fun of the fact that it's
a video game that's part of an ad campaign. I guess that's the only
way to make the script any good, because it would just look stupid if you
had a serious epic storyline like Lord of the Rings, but then you had the
heroes looking for some magic candy to stop the Ultimate Evil.
- 10 -
Constant moral guidance
One of the things I noticed about
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is that everything you do is judged
right then and there as a light side action or a dark side action.
Also, it becomes clear that the ends never justify the means when you're
a Jedi. Generally, whenever you give away more credits than you need
or refuse a reward, that gives you light side points, and when you persuade
or bully people into giving you more, it gives you dark side points.
If you're a total light side character, then even if you're trying to get
enough credits to buy a really good suit of armor so you can face a tough
enemy, and that armor is your only hope for survival, you can't ask for
more money for the various tasks you do around the galaxy because that'll
give you dark side points. Also, I don't want to spoil too much here,
but it seems like you can totally ruin the public opinion of the Republic
on the planet of Manaan and risk losing it to the Sith in the long run
without gaining a single dark side point. Granted, if you're on the
light side path then you'll be going to defeat the Sith right at the source,
but it still doesn't look right seeing the Republic lose face like that.
I'm guessing these kinds of moral ambiguities won't be much of an issue
when I take the dark side path. I'll just go with the dialogue choices
and actions that look the most evil, and I'll only look out for myself
and maybe HK-47 as well.
- 9 -
I'm still around
For a while it looked like you
wouldn't have old Salix to kick around anymore, but now here I am back
on the scene and ready for action! It's midway through the summer
and I've gotten so many games already, and I haven't yet finished most
of them. I finished Halo and the light side path of Star Wars: Knights
of the Old Republic, but I still need to finish Tron 2.0, Eternal Darkness,
Beyond Good & Evil, Sonic Advance 3, Mario vs. Donkey Kong, the single
player mode of Unreal Tournament 2004, and the dark side path of KotOR.
Wow, that's a lot of games. I guess I'll just be staying inside this
summer and disappointing my parents yet again. This is my first update
since May, but I made a quick music-themed June page for the sake of continuity