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Of Doom Reviews and DoomCAD

Friday · 30 May 03 · 02:42 PM IST | Posted by Karthik | Category: Doom

It's been a really long time, but I've now finally added some new WAD reviews to the site!

Well, it all started when Chris Hansen released his latest Helpyourselfish.  I promised him some comments on the map, and was going to write about it on a usual update here.  Then I decided that I might as well make it into a review, so I did.  And since adding just one review wouldn't be good, I wrote some more.  So you now have the following levels reviewed:

  • Chris's Helpyourselfish of course,
  • my brother Varun's Short 'n Quick,
  • it's sequel, Short 'n Quick 2,
  • and Darren "Doom_Dude" Finch's recently released Underhalls Remake.
  • As all the above levels were for Doom II, I also wanted to add a Doom I review, and that is of Sarge Baldy's Waste Treatment Center #911.

Keen observers (those who... gasp... read the accompanying text files of Doom WADs) might notice that all the above levels were built with DoomCAD.  This fact is admittedly not of much use to anyone, but I mention it because DoomCAD 6.1 happens to be the editor that I use to build all my levels.

I also made a quick modification to the page that lists the reviews: it will now show you the five most recently added reviews, for your convenience.

On the subject of reviews, I also want to write something for a person called Kak Home.  He has recently sent me detailed reviews of a couple of my levels (and also written several shorter reviews at the Doom Wad Station), but I'm not able to reply to his mails for some strange reason!  Anyway I just wanted to say thanks to him and also in response to what he asked me, that he can always send me reviews and comments of my stuff!

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A new Doom WAD: Simpler

Friday · 30 May 03 · 02:20 PM IST | Posted by Karthik | Category: Doom

I've added a new Doom II WAD to my Doom Levels page.  This is called Simpler and it runs on MAP07.  No, it's not a level release in the usual sense, rather it is a level that I've uploaded simply (pun not intended) to show off a cool trick I discovered.  I actually wrote about this several weeks back - the level has just one mancubus and once you kill it, you will automatically get the yellow key no matter where you are standing.  The level can be completed in 7 seconds (atleast, I did it in 7, my brother did it in 6 on his first try).

I've also modified the page with the list of all my Doom levels.  The list of levels is now categorised as Doom and Doom II Levels, Doomworld Speedmapping and Special Levels.  If you've read any of the text files that accompany my recent WADs, you'll see a list of my previous levels followed by "Plus there are a few WADs only available at my site".  That refers to the WADs in the Special Levels category.  Currently there are three of these - the two that were already there are Karthik2, my very first WAD and Marbelus, a WAD that I made to try out the effect of the 666 trigger.  The new addition to the list, is of course the present level Simpler.

I also updated the pages pertaining to my Doomworld Speedmapping levels - I've now added links to the respective Speedmapping packs.  Previously there was just a link to the Doomworld Speedmapping page.

Oh and I removed the links to the Commentary Demos that I had earlier.  These were recorded with an older version of ZDoom so they probably won't work with what you have - and they were anyway very long and not interesting to watch.

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Movies and other recent happenings

Friday · 30 May 03 · 01:43 PM IST | Posted by Karthik | Category: General

Some interesting stuff has kept me busy the last few days.  I've made some enhancements to the site, I've been working on my map for The Ninth Gate, reading Slashdot been playing some of the new Doom releases.  And I also read a book and watched some new movies.  There's more too, and all that is the subject of this post.

Well, first of all, on 23rd, Chris Hansen released his latest map for Doom II, called Helpyourselfish.  More on that is written in the next couple of posts.  On 24th, I started reading the third book in Douglas Adams's The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy series.  This book, called Life, the Universe and Everything, I finished on 26th.  Although it was indeed very good I still didn't like it as much as the first two books in the series (I thought the second one was the best).

Nowadays I've started regularly reading Slashdot.  Previously, I used to go there once in a while, but now when Ganeshan started reading it, I did too.  Yesterday there was an article about our President Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam's speech in which he advocated the use of Open Source Software.  I was telling my parents and brother about it at night, and just a few seconds later the very same thing was talked about on NDTV 24x7 news!

Now for some news about The Matrix.  I heard from a friend that the sequel is going to be released here sometime in mid-June.  I'm actually trying to read as few reviews and see as little about The Matrix Reloaded on TV as I can because I don't want the movie to be ruined!!  Anyway HBO has a real treat arranged on June 9 - they are showing The Animatrix: Final Flight of the Osiris at 8:50 PM (wow, can't wait), followed by The Matrix and a special feature on that.  On a related note, I also read an interesting article at Slashdot which discussed how Trinity's hacking of a computer in Reloaded was accurately portrayed unlike in the typical Hollywood movie.

The two new movies I saw were Charlie's Angels on 25th (AXN, 8 PM), which I liked, and the at-times laughable Cyborg on 28th (HBO, actually 29th midnight).  This movie was one where I could actually make out what bad editing meant.  Somewhere along the line, it seems to me that the filmmakers were proud that they named all the characters in the movie after electric guitars and associated equipment!  The only thing good about the movie was that it had some violent and effective fight scenes.

JNTU also announced the B.Tech. IV Year II Semester Marks, and I got a total 344/400, which comes to exactly 86%.  Now that all the marks for my entire Engineering course have been announced, I am still yet to calculate my overall percentage (rough mental estimate is 76%).

And finally, my friend Ganeshan has relocated his site Xavana at  He's got all his older content here (movie reviews, game reviews and other articles) and he now uses PHP and MySQL to manage the site better.  Visit his site and email him your comments.

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The Restaurant at the End of the Universe Drawing

Friday · 23 May 03 · 01:00 AM IST | Posted by Karthik | Category: Art

It's been awhile since I added any new drawings to the site - that's because I hadn't had any ideas recently and I was busy with other stuff.  Anyway after I read The Restaurant at the End of the Universe yesterday, I was totally excited with the idea of such a time/place/whatever, and I decided to do a drawing of it based on the way it's described in the book.  Of course, this is only my interpretation, and may not be totally accurate.  You can see it right now, at my Drawings Gallery.  I started off doing this as a watercolours picture, but it wasn't looking too good.  So the final drawing is a pencil one.

The Restaurant, basically is situated on a decayed rock of a planet, some millions of years from now.  Here, you will get to see the ultimate spectacle - a "gnab gib" or the end of the Universe itself.  Of course, special force fields and time turbines are used so that the Restaurant is always kept near the time of the event.

Oh and some additions to my Doom Levels pages have also been made:

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You Are Here

Thursday · 22 May 03 · 02:44 PM IST | Posted by Karthik | Category: General

In the last seventeen hours, I read three books.

  • Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson, M.D.
  • The Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adams
  • Fish! by Stephen C. Lundin, Harry Paul, John Christensen

The first and the third books, my father gave me to read, the second one I got thanks to a friend.  All three books were fascinating and I enjoyed each one of them.  Each one of these, I read at a stretch (which means that once I started reading, I didn't stop until I'd finished).  Not bad at all, if I do say so myself!

The message I got from the first book was that change is inevitable, and happiness and satisfaction lies in letting go of your fears and adapting.  The third book is about how you can find happiness while working (even if the work you're involved in is something you'd rather not be doing) by having a positive attitude.  Of course, the scope and the issues dealt with in these books are quite extensive compared to the one-line summaries I've written.  They're short and take much less than an hour each to read, but they are really very good and I'd recommend them to anyone!

The second book is the second in Douglas Adams's The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy series and, like the first one, is a "wholly remarkable book"!  Maybe it's because I read it in one sitting - I think I like this book even more than the first!  The ideas and concepts are very fascinating, the story moves at an ultra-fast pace, and the whole thing is often totally hilarious.  The headline of this post is a line from that book, and it involves something called a "Total Perspective Vortex".

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New Movie Reviews

Wednesday · 21 May 03 · 03:20 PM IST | Posted by Karthik | Category: Movies

I added five new movie reviews to the site last night.  These are:

  • Wings of Hope
  • Gone in Sixty Seconds
  • Murder at 1600
  • Hyderabad Blues
  • Cradle 2 the Grave

Not only that, I also coded a quick modification to the Movie Reviews Page - it will now show you the five most recent reviews added.  So go and have a look!  I'm also going to add these review links to the Internet Movie Database's "External Reviews" sections of the respective movies.

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CCT2 Feedback and other Doom stuff!

Monday · 19 May 03 · 11:46 PM IST | Posted by Karthik | Category: Doom

My latest Doom II level Congestion Control 2 was released on May 15.  Already, I've got a LOT of feedback (and many reviews), and I'm really happy about that!  Ismaele was the first one to actually write a review for it.  He sent it to me by email, and from the time on it, it apparently was written and sent just some three or four hours after I uploaded the WAD!  Two reviews of the level have been posted at the Doom Wad Station (here and here).  Apparently, this site has also started covering Doom news, and I was surprised that they had written about CCT2's release and also the screenshots that I posted earlier!  Thanks to them for that!

Also, a person called Kak Home has written a huge number of WAD reviews at that site, and these include all my Doom II levels!  He also sent me a long review of Congestion Control, and I've updated the page with it.  The strange thing is that I am not able to reply to his emails.  Whenever I try to do that, I get a Mail Delivery Failure message back.  Anyway if Kak Home is reading this, thanks!

Yesterday, Daniel "Tormentor667" Gimmer reviewed CCT2 as part of Doomworld's /newstuff Chronicles #129, and my WAD got a very good review.  I would like to thank everyone who gave me their comments and reviews of the level, it's been very encouraging.

Some of my friends who came home for my birthday party saw me play through CCT2.  Needless to say their favourite part was the Quake II secret area with my art gallery (heh)!  I also got a Skill 1 demo of CCT2 from Ganeshan today.  Now, I am going to get back to work on my maps for The Ninth Gate.

Finally, I also got to see the recent Doom 3 E3 videos (thanks to someone who knows who he is).  Worth every byte of the rather large (for a 56k modem user) downloads!

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Recently watched movies

Monday · 19 May 03 · 11:21 PM IST | Posted by Karthik | Category: Movies

Since the last update, I've watched several movies, both old and new - some I'm seeing for the first time and the rest I've seen before.  Here's the (long) list!

  • Gone in 60 Seconds - This was May 9th's Friday Premiere on STAR Movies.  Nicolas Cage is an ex-car thief who gets back into the business to save his brother.  He and his team must steal 50 cars in 4 days.
  • Murder at 1600 - Wesley Snipes investigates the titular Murder at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue (the White House).  Nice movie.
  • Catch Me If You Can - Steven Spielberg's latest, a very enjoyable movie made with lots of flair.  Tom Hanks is FBI Agent Handratty who chases Leonardo DiCaprio's Frank Abagnale, Jr.  Excellent acting, music.  Watched it last Sunday (May 11).
  • Wings of Hope - Watched it last Sunday, soon after coming home from the theatre.  Part of STAR Movies's "Made in India" series, this movie is a melodrama about Ravi Khanna (Ismail Bashey) and Kaajal (Sheetal Seth) who both make mistakes in their lives and separate - but finally re-unite at the end.  Written and directed by Raj Basu.
  • The Rock - One of my favourite action movies.  Sean Connery and Nicolas Cage must enter Alcatraz island and stop Ed Harris, who wants to send poison gas rockets into San Fransisco.
  • Ransom - Superior action thriller with Mel Gibson as a millionaire whose son is kidnapped.
  • Cradle 2 the Grave - Watched this yesterday in the theatre.  Jet Li and DMX make a nice team as they try to find some missing black diamonds.  The movie is stylish and the hip-hop/rap soundtrack is great (I expected nothing less, it's from Romeo Must Die and Exit Wounds director Andrzej Bartkowiak), but the story is extremely generic.
  • The Twin Dragons - Tsui Hark and Ringo Lam directed this very funny action comedy featuring Jackie Chan as twins.  Finally recorded it from STAR Movies (9 PM), after being stuck with a bad quality tape for a few years!  I watched it last night at around 11 PM.
  • Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult - This movie got over just about a half hour ago on STAR Movies.  Leslie Nielsen is back as Lt. Frank Drebin, who must foil a criminal's plot to blow up the Oscars!

Aside from these, I also got to see two episodes of South Park recently ("Li'l Crimestoppers" and "The Return of the Fellowship of the Ring to the Two Towers") thanks to a friend.  And also, four episodes of The Animatrix ("Program", "A Detective Story" and Part I and II of "The Second Renaissance").  I watched the trailer for The Matrix Reloaded also, and I can't wait to see it!

Yesterday I attended the party organised by TIME for all the students who were successful in getting selected into the top management institutes in India!  I got to meet and thank many of the faculty members and also met many friends.

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Thank Yous...

Sunday · 18 May 03 · 02:49 AM IST | Posted by Karthik | Category: General

There's quite a lot of stuff I have to thank many people for, so here goes!

Firstly, thanks to all the people who gave me birthday (it was on 15th by the way) wishes, cards, emails, instant messages, forum posts (heh) and gifts!  Thanks Varun for his card, and Tobias for the Flash card he made!

That evening, my parents had also arranged a birthday party (with cake and all) for me, and a few of my friends came home.  We had a great time and I want to thank them all for it.  That day, my site also crossed 10000 hits, which I feel very happy about!  For that, I must say thanks to everyone who visits this site, and I hope that you will keep visiting.  I don't have a screenshot of the 10000th hit, but Ganeshan caught #10001.

There is also quite a bit of Doom stuff I have to talk about, which I will do in a later post.  Tomorrow there is another party that I've been invited to, this one is organised by TIME for all their students who have been selected in various management institutions in India.  This is at 7:15 PM.

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Congestion Control 2 Released

Thursday · 15 May 03 · 12:26 AM IST | Posted by Karthik | Category: Doom

Ah.  It is now 15 May 2003, my 21st birthday.  And the date that The Matrix Reloaded is being released in the U.S.  Also exactly two years from the date my brother Varun released his very first Doom level, The Anomaly Part II.  Also, it is seven months since my Doom II level, Congestion Control was released.

AND, as promised, it is now the time for me to upload the sequel, Congestion Control 2 (CCT2 in short)!!  I finished the level some days ago (fine tuning, playtesting and all), and the last couple of days I've just been putting some last minute finishing touches on it.  I've also written a very detailed HTML file along with it, which serves as the documentation for the level.  Well, the whole thing is ready now for you to download!

CCT2 also comes with an extras package, which contains the above-mentioned HTML file, and the CCT2 story in the form of a one-page comic.  The entire ZIP file is 902 KB in size.

Go to the Congestion Control 2 Download - Info - Screenshots Page and get it!  By the way, you can also view the HTML documentation online from that page (you may want to take a look while downloading).  I hope you like the level - comments, reviews, demos are, of course, welcome!

There were also some other updates I was thinking of making (mainly concerning the addition of a number of movie reviews, my thoughts on the new Doom 3 screenshots and stuff, and adding a Congestion Control review that I received today by email), but then I decided I'd do all that tomorrow.

Oh, one more thing - my site's hit counter (on the bottom of the main page) is almost at 10,000 hits.  If you are the 10,000th visitor, I'd very much appreciate it if you sent me a screenshot!

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Congestion Control 2 Screenshots, Release Date

Thursday · 8 May 03 · 08:25 AM IST | Posted by Karthik | Category: Doom

I've spent a long time on it, and it's at a stage where I can announce a release date!  I am of course talking about a Doom II level called Congestion Control 2, which I have been working on since March.

Go to the page linked above and you'll see five new screenshots have been added.  In addition to that, a release date has also been mentioned, which is sooner than you think!  I had a lot of fun making it, and I hope you'll enjoy it too when you play it.  You will need a port to play it though, because it's too detailed to run under normal doom2.exe.  But any engine which removes Doom limits will do just fine.

By the way I should also mention that I've reduced the size of the thumbnail images on the CCT2 page, thanks to the features of the PNG image format!  All I did was to reduce the images to 256 colour and the total size of the thumbnails came down to one-third the size they would have taken up otherwise.  There's no visible difference in quality.

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Movies and Movie Reviews

Thursday · 8 May 03 · 07:57 AM IST | Posted by Karthik | Category: Movies

This is not a typical time for me to update.  After all, it's holidays now and I can, and do, usually wake up late (11 AM).  But somehow I got up early today, and I thought, why go back to sleep when I can do some useful stuff?

Anyway, the last few days, I've been busy with a little Doom II level called Congestion Control 2, so that's why the lack of updates.  More on that in the next post.  I've also started learning driving (from May 1).  Many people who know me would say it's about time I learnt to drive a car, and it's finally happened.  This is in the afternoons and by the end of this month I will get my drivers' licence.

And as usual, I watched a few movies, old and new:

  • The Craft - HBO, May 1 - Interesting movie about 4 high-school girls who just happen to be witches.
  • Hard Target - STAR Movies, May 1 - Jean-Claude Van Damme is hunted by Lance Henriksen!  This is John Woo's US debut, and is a great movie.  STAR Movies is showing it again at 7 PM this Sunday.  Last night, I wrote a review for this, which you can find on the Movie Reviews page.
  • Tales from the Crypt Presents Bordello of Blood - HBO, May 2 - The most evil vampire the world has ever known is resurrected, she sets up a bordello under a mortuary, to prey on unsuspecting men.  Similar themes as (the superior) From Dusk Till Dawn, but fun.
  • Snatch. - HBO, May 3 - Guy Ritchie's follow-up to Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.  An assorted group of characters are after a diamond.  Two boxing promoters, a gangster and a gypsy boxer (Brad Pitt) also figure in the plot, although I am going to have to see it again (and hopefully read the script) to understand it fully.  Very enjoyable though.
  • Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me - HBO, May 3 - The first Austin Powers movie that I saw, and really liked.  I wrote a review for this, it is of course, on my Movie Reviews page.

Speaking of reviews, I've now added quite a few of mine to the Internet Movie Database.  If you look at the "External Reviews" section of certain movies (Operation Condor, Cold Harvest, Ring of Fire II: Blood and Steel, City Hunter) you will find a link to my review.  I am planning to add more.

The soundtrack of Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me has a very good hip-hop/rap song called "Just the Two of Us", (which is sung in the movie by Dr. Evil to his clone Mini-Me), this song I downloaded a couple of days back.

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Dark Fate and Congestion Control 2

Thursday · 1 May 03 · 12:21 AM IST | Posted by Karthik | Category: Doom

This week, The /newstuff Chronicles at Doomworld was a little delayed in being posted - because there was a huge line-up of WADs for the reviewer (Hyena) to go through!  Anyway, it was put up a couple of days back, my Dark Fate got a good review there.  I must say, Hyena did a great job in patiently going through so many levels and writing useful reviews for them!  I've updated the Dark Fate Info page with the review.  And I should also thank Virgil the Doom Poet for sending me a first-try demo of Dark Fate.

And I am really pleased with the way Congestion Control 2 is coming along.  Did a lot of work on it over the last couple of days.  But at this point of time I don't want to reveal any more than that - let's just say that more information is coming your way... soon.

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Test Your Might

Thursday · 1 May 03 · 12:10 AM IST | Posted by Karthik | Category: Movies

I haven't really been that much into the Mortal Kombat video games.  I got the first one long ago, but never played it much.  Well, I got re-aqcuainted with the whole MK thing because HBO announced that they are showing the first movie version, Mortal Kombat (directed by Paul Anderson) in May.  A couple of days back I got the MP3 of "Encounter the Ultimate" (the theme music) by Immortals.  And yesterday, I played a little of the Gameboy version of Mortal Kombat II (on an emulator of course).  This afternoon I watched the second half of the first movie (Varun recorded it about four years back when it was shown on STAR Movies), and at night I watched the sequel, Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (also taped at about that time).  When they show the movies (I'm expecting both) on HBO, I'll watch them again, and I will hopefully set aside the time to write reviews for them.

Speaking of movie reviews, I've decided to add the URLs of my reviews to the Internet Movie Database.  I've submitted the link for my review of Operation Condor: Armour of God II.  If this is accepted, then I'll submit all my other reviews too.

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The Author

Karthik Abhiram

27-year old Taurean (birthday 15-May-82), Assistant Manager - HR at Tata Consultancy Services Ltd in Hyderabad, India.  Previously, did Post Graduate Diploma in Management from T A Pai Management Institute (2003-05) and before that, Computer Science Engineering from Sree Nidhi Institute of Science and Technology (1999-2003).

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