Monday, January 31, 2005

Doom Review: Under Neith

It has been quite a while since I've done a review for a Doom level.  I played Under Neith a.k.a. Neith 2 a couple of days back in Hyderabad, and here is a review.

I played the original Neith about a year ago and was very impressed with that map, which was set on a UAC tech-base built on an imaginary moon!  Apart from good level design, there were a couple of aspects which made it stand out for me.  Firstly, the map somehow seemed to have an "organic" shape, with curves on the walls and rooms seeming to flow into one another, unlike your typical tech-base.  The map also was extremely atmospheric, and good use was made of Nick Baker's "5th Episode" texture set.

I was therefore overjoyed when I saw that a sequel to Neith was in development.  Nick Baker had also suggested an awesome name for it, "Under Neith" (since this level was to take place under the original tech-base)!  I kept checking on the status of the map once in a while on WADs in Progress, but there was no news of its release.  Well, imagine my surprise when it suddenly gets released one day.

I immediately downloaded it and played through it, and I have to say it's a great level!  There's more of the same dank and dark atmosphere, more of the same unusual organic feel, and some cave-like areas as well.  This time, you don't ever get to go to an open area, as it's all set underground.  It is a pretty straightforward map in my opinion.  It flows pretty smoothly (I was stuck in one place though, which I will talk about later...) leading to an exciting conclusion!

I played this on Ultra-violence skill and did not have any trouble completing the map.  It is not too difficult, and there is adequate health and ammo, as long as you remember to use the berserk pack whenever you can.  I remember when playing the first Neith, I was almost at the end and couldn't kill all the monsters as I'd wasted my ammo.  I was careful this time.

I got stuck for some time in one particular place — this was in getting the blue key (screenshot above).  I eventually looked in an editor to find out how to get those bars to raise.  Other than that the level went by pretty quickly for me.

I noticed a couple of graphical glitches in the map.  There is one area early on in the map with some shotgunners behind some bars (kind of like a jail-type thing).  There is also a bright red section of wall here.  I saw some HOM when standing behind the bars.  I played it with ZDoom only, so I don't know whether the error appears in other ports.  Of course this is not probably something you'll notice unless you're looking for errors!

Other than those minor complaints, I liked the map a lot, and I loved the atmosphere.  If you liked Sarge's Waste Treatment Center 911 and the original Neith, then you know what I am talking about.

Under Neith contains textures by Nick Baker and some made by Sarge Baldy himself.  There is a music replacement (the MIDI from E1M6 of the original Doom) that suits the map well.  It runs on E1M2 and requires a limit-removing source port to play.

Relevant Links:

Back in Manipal

I reached Manipal on 30th January after spending nearly 25 hours on various buses.  Anyway the travel was worth it, because I got to spend a couple of days at home.  I was also able to set up this blog, and watch a couple of good movies, and play a Doom map that I was awaiting for quite a while.

Those movies, by the way are The Butterfly Effect and The Ghost and the Darkness.

  • An interesting fact to note is that the version of The Butterfly Effect that I watched was the Theatrical Edition.  The CD that some of my friends watched in Manipal happened to be the Director's Cut Edition, which has an alternate ending!  I will try to track that down and watch it as well.
  • The Ghost and the Darkness is a simply amazing film.  Thrilling adventure, great acting, great setting, and fantastic music score (Jerry Goldsmith).

The Doom map I played was Sarge Baldy's sequel to his earlier Neith, this one called very appropriately, Under Neith (the name was suggested by Nick Baker).  I will post a review here soon.

Friday, January 28, 2005

The Timeline of Events

Whew, it has been quite a while since I updated, and there have been some important developments.

Firstly, I now have a job!  The Campus Placement Process at TAPMI began on 19 January, and it was pretty much all-out chaos on 18th and on that day.  There were several companies on campus and students were running around here and there, attending pre-placement talks, giving interviews or taking part in group discussions.  The Placement Committee had the task of coordinating all this chaos and they did a wonderful job.

Anyway, I was placed in Tata Consultancy Services in a HR post on January 19th.  I was so happy about this, because I had only applied to a few companies — due to my interest in joining in a HR role in an IT company, and due to the fact that my profile didn't really match with what other companies were offering.  On 19th morning I was waiting for TCS to arrive on campus, and they did at around 11:30 AM.  They conducted a written test, and after that I had one level of interview with Mr. Chakravarthy, and then a telephonic interview with Capt. Girish, Head HR, Bangalore.  After that Mr. Chakravarthy confirmed that "I was part of the TCS family"!

Here is an article that appeared in the Economic Times about our placements.

My location and exact role have not been confirmed yet.  But I was told that my joining date would be about one month after completing my PGDM course at TAPMI.

The next few days went off without event at TAPMI, after which came the 23rd of January, when a particular course called Markstrat started.  Now since I had not taken that course, I had one whole week without classes.  So I finished my MIP Phase 2 and 3 reports, submitted them, and got permission to come home.

I started on 25th night from Manipal and reached Bangalore the next morning, only to find that there were no buses running to Hyderabad until that evening.  My father therefore booked tickets on an Air Deccan flight to Hyderabad.  I waited for about eight hours at Bangalore airport, and boarded the flight at around 5 PM.  I reached Hyderabad about an hour and a half later.

So I am now at home, typing this.  Sadly, this is a very short vacation — I have classes starting on 31st, so I have to leave Hyderabad tomorrow evening, and return to Manipal.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Movies: Musafir

I watched Musafir on CD last night. It stars Sanjay Dutt, Anil Kapoor and Sameera Reddy, and is directed by Sanjay Gupta (Kaante). It was a pretty exciting action movie done with lots of style. There were many plot twists and turns and the movie kept me interested throughout. There was only one problem I had with the movie — at the end of it all, the story seemed pretty nonsensical.

Lucky (Anil Kapoor), a thief, wants to go off and live a happy life with his girlfriend after one last job. The job goes through and he brings back the loot to his temporary place, only to have it stolen by his girlfriend! To make matters worse, he discovers that the money actually belonged to Billa (Sanjay Dutt) a notorious drug lord. Billa tracks down Lucky and agress to spare his life, if Lucky'll go to Goa and do a drug deal for him. Things get complicated there, as Lucky gets the money, loses the money, meets up with Sam (Sameera Reddy) and her husband (Mahesh Manjrekar) who both involve him in murder plots.

Apparently the wife-husband double murder plot is lifted from U-Turn... I haven't seen that movie so I can't comment on this. Anyway I enjoyed the movie overall and would say it is worth watching for all the style that director Sanjay Gupta put in. Lots of great dialogue as well.

First Blogger Post

There are two reasons why I have not updated the site for a long time. One being Placements happening at college — which I will talk about later — and two, the fact that my host has discontinued support for phpMyAdmin on the site.

Until a solution is found, I thought it was better to create a Blogger account and then use that for my news posts. Who knows, I might even use this permanently (after all, it's possible to add comments and stuff to posts...)!

That was an image there. I still have to figure out how to categorise posts (is that possible?)