Friday, July 01, 2011

Introduction to me: WolfForever

Hello, I'm WolfForever and this is my first post! Before I get into anything I'd like to say big thanks to Dean for allowing me to join this blog. This post will be about myself and my full experience with Wolfenstein, and quite a long post at that, and some Wolf3D basics for me. In the future I'll likely post features, reviews, and other content as well.

I am from Cleveland, Ohio, USA. I'm currently 20 years old and finally learning how to drive after putting it off for way too long. Additionally I still go to college in some semesters and I have a profession that involved reviewing inspections of pipes, that are recorded as videos that can be played on a computer. My favorite academic subject is math. I passed Calculus I this past spring and plan on going to take Calculus II in the fall, time permitting.

My favorite free time hobbies are weather/meteorology, math trivia, and of course, video games! As this blog is for Wolfenstein 3D, that will be the hot topic for the rest of my introductory post. I started playing games far younger than many - I was only in kintergarden when I first touched Wolfenstein 3D, under my parent's consent as obviously I was very underage. The first time I played E1L1, I played on baby skill and beat the map with no ammo and less than 10% health remaining. But it did not take me long to develop my skills, and within just a matter of weeks or months, I had blasted my way through the majority, and eventually all, of the original Wolfenstein! Aside from the obviously unforgettable maps (i.e. E1L1, many boss levels, and most secret levels), I think the individual level I remember the most right from when I first played it is E4L5 - it took me literally ages to realize the required key was hidden in a secret, and the mazey, gritty feeling of the whole level made it even tougher.

I did my first blast through all three Spear of Destiny episodes almost immediately following my finish of Wolfenstein 3D. I always liked the original (first) mission best, however oddly the many levels in Mission 2: Return to Danger where you can basically run to the exit in a matter of seconds were never bothersome at this young age, but that was because at the time I was focused on finishing the game and nothing else. I always liked Mission 3: Ultimate Challenge more than Mission 2 though, and at first even liked it almost as much as the ID Software original Spear of Destiny mission.

It was not long after this when I came across the Wolf3D Mania CD, and played Wolfen60, WolfGam2, and the many shareware sets that come with the CD. I remembered many of the levels, especially from Wolfen60, even though nowadays it's no more than an average set with a wide array of mappers and levels. And I was so startled when the shareware sets that use the older shareware version would suddenly crash on me, it has in effect, even to this day, made me somewhat tense when playing anything that uses the older Wolf3D versions.

After a couple-year hiatus in the late 1990's to play Doom (which ties Wolfenstein for my favorite video game) and other FPS titles of the era (most of which I rarely play nowadays although I do touch games like the Quake series occasionally), I came to revisit all the Wolfenstein and Spear of Destiny games around mid 2000. I played on baby, and it was still a challenge coming back! It was as this point where I started to realize the distinctions in quality particularly with the Spear of Destiny games - the make a quick dash to the exit feature in Mission 2 quickly lost its appeal as I was looking for levels with more flavor and substance. After briefly experimenting with it years before, I fully began working with the levels in MapEdit. I would often make changes myself or removing things I don't see fit or didn't like, especially in some Lost Episodes maps (particularly Mission 2) and also in many of the registered levels that are on Wolf3D Mania. (Over the time, Return to Danger has lost its appeal to me entirely and I now feel the game is in fact quite poor, although I do maintain my view that Ultimate Challenge is worth at least one play, if you can get it extremely cheaply, or already bought it in the past.)

My first game I played that was not part of any of the commercial Wolf3D-related packages mentioned somewhere above was by Ken O' Brien (which was presented to me around the start of 2001 as if it was an official fourth SoD mission, even though I now know it was really just an add-on). I then received BJ Rowan's "The Renovation" about a month later. The quality stood out above anything I had seen at the time for custom maps, having consistently good and occasionally even great level quality. However, after giving all the games I had many, many plays, I temporarily abandoned playing Wolf3D later in 2001.

However in late 2001 I first began using the internet on my own, and that set the stage for many, many more games to look at on my own when I returned to the Wolfenstein scene once again in mid-2002. The first new game I played when returning was Barry Christian's "Armageddon", and it left an incredible impression to me, with all the (even though they're nowadays quite simple) code changes and 60 seamless, atmospheric, and well-designed levels. I soon played its own sequel "The Road to Neushwanstein" and it left just as good of an impression.

I experimented with level designing myself by late 2002, and during this period released four small sets of level to the Wolf3D Dome. However, they're all fairly poor quality; I will admit this up front as looking back there's no use in beating around the bush. I even played for a little with the source code, making some basic changes, but quickly lost interest in designing more levels after making just a few levels for a full standalone replacement set I had planned. To anyone interested, all my levels are still available at the Wolfenstein 3D Dome - they are in "Patrick Grey's Funpack" (my name I submitted to the Dome at that time was Patrick Grey out of relatively random choice). But I will warn again not to go in expecting anything of high quality. I lost interest in designing, quickly realizing I have much more fun as a player.

In the mid- and late-2000's, Wolfenstein began to tire me out once more, and for many years I was playing almost exclusively Doom. The only exception was in 2008, when AFADoomer's port of Wolfenstein into Doom gave me a brief urge for the real thing, and in that time (a month or so) the most notable mod I played was Thomas's classic "All this and Wolf3D". But like many classics, Wolfenstein is a game that never permanently loses its appeal in my mind. This takes me right up to the near-present. In late 2010 (yes, less than a year ago), I was inspired by an excellent Doom-engine port Vermil made of the Wolfenstein spinoff "Corridor 7" to, once again, begin playing Wolf3D once more. And it was then, and only then, when I came to the full realization that despite its obviously massively outdated features, Wolfenstein is actually more fun - much more fun - to me than at least 90% of modern shooters, in addition to being just as much fun as Doom had been for so many years. With better skills (I was playing Doom levels on the medium difficulty routinely), I immediately jumped to noraml skill on Wolf3D as well, and from all the years, I find it no harder than it was for me on baby back in the day.

By this point in time there was an incredible plethora of extremely impressive mods released for Wolfenstein games. I played and thoroughly enjoyed many of the "staples", like Totengraeber, & End of Destiny within just a moth or two after restarting my Wolfenstein hobby.

I also have played so many other fantastic mods in the past several months, that naming them all would take up too much space. In addition to the two "staples" I mentioned above, some of my favorite Wolf3D games I've ever played to date would include NovoWolf, Deadly Sleep, W.O.L.F., Castle Assault, the third episode of the Wolfenstein 3D Community Map Pack, Alliance of Powers, ack's registered Wolf3D and SoD sets, and Operation: Letzterschutz, along with possibly a few others I missed mentioning. And there are still some classics I've yet to play.

Just weeks after returning to the Wolfenstein front, I joined the Haven forums as WolfForever (which remains my current name, of course). This was a few weeks before Christmas last year. I always enjoyed posting polls of people's opinions on add-ons or mods, especially my favorites or ones I was/am considering playing. I'm now active on the DHW forum as well, after having to wait about a half a year for registration problems to be fixed.

I first made direct contact in email with Dean after playing Escape from Castle Holle which, while I think it's undeniably a great game, I felt the desire to give feedback on how it could be made even better. I knew he was still very much active in the communtiy, and he had made useful and detailed posts in several of the polls I had posted over at the Haven. Dean thanked me for this feedback, and since then I've been talking with him through email on a relatively near-regular basis. The talk, feedback, and even testing some of the maps he has in progress, are but some of the things that potentially helped lead me to getting this position as a blogger on his site. Again I can not say thanks enough for providing me with the opportunity! :)

In addition to Dean, just some of my other favorite people still around in the community include Areyep, Arielus, Schabbs, ack, and Thomas. They all never fail to produce great levels, and of course Schabbs gets huge credit for being the manager of the Dome, a site the remaining modern-day Wolf3D audience may very well owe its presence to. I could not even begin to imagine what the community might be like nowadays if the Dome wasn't around.

To conclude, that's basically "all about me", just as the title says, and I hope you enjoyed reading this first post and sorry if it was too long. I look forward to doing other posts such as but not limited to reviews and features in the future - quite potentially beginning as early as within the next week. And I must, absolutely must, end my post with yet another huge thank you to Dean for providing me this opportunity to share the blog space. It really presents me to some potentially great future opportunities. :)

All for now,

No comments:

Post a Comment