March 19th, 2002

Your Quest Is Not Over Yet...

Time for another update on the situation of my Doom project "Visions of Eternity". I started two (yes, two) new episode 1 styled maps for it about two weeks ago. Both of them are extremely nice and really close to the "Knee Deep In The Dead" style. You can check out screenshots of these maps below. Sadly, inspiration left me after few days, and I haven't continued these maps until now. I won't, however, force me to work on them, because I believe that forcing yourself to work on something that you aren't really in the mood for will end up in bad results. And I don't want VoE to be released early, but with mediocre maps. And thus I'm going to wait until inspiration comes back before I continue working on these mapas. For now, check out the shots, but please don't drool onto the keyboard.

Yes...yes...yesterday I started another new map, right after I played Doom's episode 3. I haven't made any episode 3 styled maps, apart from some ep3 inspired areas in "Unknown Fate" and "Deimos Control Center", so this is still pretty new for me. But sometimes a break from ep1 styled maps can be very refreshing. Plus, I don't want my mapping to be in one style only, so I'll have a go at different styles too. However, I don't know when and if at all I will finish this map, and I'm not sure if it will turn out good enough to be released. Until now it is still lacking style. I hope that I can clear this up and turn the map into a nice piece of Doom. Here's a shot.

By the way, the photo section that I promised in the last update was delayed, sorry about that. I will need to make some decisions about it, and the page might be up one day, or it might not. I'm sorry if you were looking forward to it. Just have a little patience with me...

March was supposed to be the "Month of 404", as Pablo and I were preparing lots of updates for Fehler 404. We really were in a writing mood. Sadly inspiration left me, I had some really weird stories going on, sadly they haven't been finished until now, and to be honest I don't know if these would be suitable for 404 at all (do I seem to be a little disoriented and indecisive today?). At least, Pablo has posted some stories, and I updated with a story about a "Sunday family trip", including some photos that I snapped (this might partly make up for the delayed gallery, I hope).

Ok, the tone today is really weird, and before you end up sending me "Get Well Soon" cards, I'll better quit talking for now. But, no doubt, I'll be back!

- TM™

Quote: ...nah

  February 26th, 2002

Thank You Mario. But Our Princess Is In Another Castle.

A few days ago I dug up the mean...dug out my old Nintendo NES console. Ah, memories of a happy childhood, sitting in front of the TV for hours (despite the constant beefing by my parents, buy hey, who bought that thing back then?), playing games like Super Mario Bros, Donkey Kong or Ice Climber.

Now, even such a robust piece of technology as the NES shows signs of age after nearly 15 years. The most common problem with the NES is that it starts to produce the infernal and notorious green screen of death (the green shows that there's no Windows OS (where it would be blue) in this console). This is because the connector pins of the NES wear out and fail to get a good connection with the game cartridges. Some time ago I found an article at (link to the article here) which shows a way to fix this problem. You have to open the whole console, take out all interior parts to finally get access to the cartridge slot. Then you can take a needle or small screwdriver to carefully bend the conenctor pins back, so the connection to the cartridges will be restored and improved.

I decided to try this, after all it couldn't get worse than it already was. So I unscrew the whole thing and fixed the problem like it was said on the webpage. After that, I reassembled the console, connected it to the TV and...nothing worked. What was this supposed to be? I decided to unscrew it again and clean all the contacts with a handkerchief. After this, it finally worked! Now I can enjoy endless gaming sessions again. Well, actually most of the games that we owned are somehow lost, maybe we had lent them to somebody and never got them back, or sold them or whatever. The only games that remained are Super Mario Bros, Boulder Dash, Megaman 4 and Tennis. Maybe I'll be able to find some games at a flea market or something.

Why am I sharing this with you? I don't know, but I had fun during this repair procedure, and I took some photos of the disassembled console with my digicam. I'll post some of them here, have fun.

Speaking of digicams, I thought about that photo section and since I have already used 10 of my 20 megs Tripod account, I registered a new one. The page itself is nearly completed, just a few minor tweaks have to be done. I'll upload it either tomorrow or on Thursday.

- TM™

Quote: "Mario and Luigi - They look so goddamn like the same person" - From a funny Mario Flash animation that I found on the net (don't remember where though)

  February 15th, 2002

Yes, it's supposed to be a novel

Today I'm writing with the colour of the sky. Well, it may look at bit too dark in conjunction with the black background. But a sky of this colour has been a rare sight lately. For the last few months to be more exact. Maybe even since last summer. Anyway, the weather is really good right now, so why am I sitting here writing updates for the page instead of running and jumping around outside? Well, that's because there's lots of stuff to tell. But first, let's get rid of this blue sky.

Yes, much better now. I've got a lot of stuff for you, but this time it has nothing to do with Doom. Well, almost. Until further notice, Pablo Dictter won't make a map for Visions of Eternity. He wants to quit mapping for Doom altogether, at least for the next time. He's currently more into Quake editing. So I'll continue to work on VoE on my own. This gives me one more open slot for a map. I've got quite some ideas for base maps lately because I've been playing a lot of E1 styled episodes, like "The Classic Episode" and uh...Knee Deep In The Dead (-: I haven't started to turn these ideas into levels yet, and they're mostly vague ideas about the style, not actual designs. Let's just say that I learned even more about E1 design

Today I want to unveil the mystery about my announced new game section. I think that it won't turn out to be as huge as I wanted, since it seems like I won't do overly much mapping for the game. To give the child a name, it's Daikatana. No, don't run away yet! I know that the game didn't get many good reviews and comments, but I don't care too much about other people's opinions, I like to get my own opinion. And I can say that this game certainly has it's positive sides and is very fun to play. Sure, the sidekicks often don't work like they're supposed to be. I had to retry some areas several times because the bots got squashed somewhere or just disappeared. The patch takes over half an hour to install and doesn't improve anything. The documentation should have included at least a hint about the various specials in the game, like these plants with the orange fruits that you can eat (it took me a long time before I finally got the idea to USE these plants). Many of the puzzles are lacking logic. But if you can live with these things and bugs, and concentrate on the game itself, then you'll certainly have a lot of fun. Travelling through four different ages, each with it's own theme, puzzles, features, enemies and weapons is definitely fun. And since it has four completely different themes, the game is level designer's heaven!
The editor for Daikatana is IonRadiant, Ion Storm's leveleditor, which is a direct descendant of QeRadiant for Quake, with all the added features of Daikatana. This program is really hard to install. You've got to do a lot of work with batch files to unpack the Daikatana data and set the directories. After a few tries, I finally succeeded in installing the editor. Creating maps with this program is fun. It's quite easy to learn once you get the hang of it and know a few basic controls. It even has an - although limited - online help. The worst thing about the Quake system is that you have to compile maps before you can use them ingame, and you cannot compile them back into the editor's format, and thus you cannot look at the original levels. Observing the original maps has been a critical learning factor in Unreal editing for me. In Quake, you have to look at the various tutorials or try to discover it yourself. I was surprised, however, that many of the things and effects were actually quite simple, and so I came up with some nice looking maps in just a few days. Of course I've got some screenshots for you to show.

This is a map that I've been working on in the style of Daikatana's first episode, Future Japan.

This started of as a test map in medieval style, but by now I developed a whole story for it. It's supposed to contain at least two maps where your mission is to clean a castle of evil knights that have occupied it. This one already has nice architecture and should contain some puzzles and nice features

And now I've got another short game comment/review for you. It's about Deus Ex. Won't make this a real review, but I found some really interesting things about this game that I want to share with you. I was highly impressed by the game's non-linear approach and role playing elements. Many games claim to feature at least one of these things, but Deus Ex is one of the few games that really succeed in them. I play it for the second time now (the first time I got stuck in Paris at the cathedral, where my ammo was drained and the only way (I think so) was guarded by a lot of unfriendly mechs, but I guess I was just too stupid to find the side entrance), and I haven't seen about half of the areas that I've seen now in my first game. It's all about to whom you talk to. You get submissions from some people that allow you to proceed in a different way to complete your main goal (maybe by getting a code for a backdoor). Often there are two ways to achieve a certain goal: By brute force or by thinking.
To give one example: In a subway station you have to bomb your way through a barricade to continue your main mission. If you don't have any bombs, you can either talk to a gang boss, who will give you a bomb if you kill a dealer that controls another part of the station, or you can walk around and talk to various people to finally find a junkie who will exchange a bomb for a vial of a drug (of course, you've got to get that drug form somewhere, you may already have found it in an earlier mission or buy it from the dealer). Since the whole game is made up like this, it's not predictable. Depending on which items you pick up and carry along, different chances appear to complete tasks. Same thing with conversations. You might get hints or items from NPC's if you talk to them correctly or help them out in any way.
It is a considerably hard procedure to plan out a whole game like this. You don't have single, independent levels, but the way you act during the game will change your way to proceeding in the game, and will (so it is said) even affect the outcome of the game, making for some extra replay-value.

The level designs are very well done in this respect of non-linearness, but the appearance of the maps is somewhat ugly. Some of the areas look very plain, texturing is discreet but not really spectacular (which may fit the dark and gloomy but somewhat realistic environments). Polygon counts are very low often, but very high in other areas (like in the starting mission at the Statue of Liberty). A bit more attention to detail by the level designers wouldn't have hurt the game, especially in consideration of the game's age (not even two years old), but actually it doesn't hurt the game at all. The emphasis here is clearly on the gameplay, not the looks. This works really well and the game is a refreshing break from all simple "Kill 'em All" kind of games.

So much about that game. But now I've got a lot of stuff for another Unreal engine game for you, namely Unreal Tournament. I've uploaded all my UT maps (that's four of them). If you're into the game, make sure to at least try out the map with the funny but insignificant name DM-XXX. This is my latest and best map so far. But the other maps do also provide some nice fights. Sadly my menu bar isn't wide enough to contain a fully labeled "Unreal Tournament" button, so the "Unreal T." will have to do.

Ok, this update turned out to be quite a novel, but I hope that you're still awake. So get up and get to play! (-: PS: Sorry for the lack of updates at Fehler 404 lately. I hope this long update makes up for that.

- TM™

Quote: "You can't fight ideas with bullets" - Deus Ex

  February 6th, 2002

Even More VoE Stuff!

I finished another map for Visions of Eternity yesterday: E1M1. It turned out to be a nice intro level for the episode. MUCH better than the old E1M1, that I released with my "Best Of" pack for Doomcenter's Wadster feature. This new map features some very nice E1-style architecture, very close to the original Doom, and a decent play time of about 3:30 minutes (for me, guess it will take you a bit longer the first time you play it), which is quite suitable for an entry map. It has 52 monsters in UV mode, and 22 in easy mode. That's much more than the original E1M1, which features not more than 29 monsters at UV, and 4(!) at easy skill. (-: All in all I am very satisfied with the result, it's a nice looking map with good gameplay.

While browsing through the junk in my Wads directory some days ago, I recovered a real treasure! It's a map that I started a while back, but for some unknown reason never continued working on. Well, I had run into a problem with one of the secrets, but I was able to solve it now. I'll continue working on that map. It's style is roughly similar to Doom's 2nd episode. Mainly it's dark with a dense atmosphere, using a lot of Metal2 textures. I don't know what to do with this map yet, but it certainly won't be part of VoE. Maybe I'll just release it on it's own. For now, have a look at a screenshot of the map.

I recently bought a digicam. I think I'll post some photos once I get some nice ones, but right now the weather here in Germany sucks big time (as it did continously since last autumn). The camera is a Canon A20, and it's a really good camera with excellent image quality! If you're looking for a good 2 megapixel camera, you should check this one out. Here are a few links to pages concerning the camera. Firstly there's a Yahoo Group about the camera and it's smaller brother, the A10. Members exchange pictures and experiences there. Sadly you cannot see any pictures without signing in as a member. Anyway, here's the address: Recently, we (the members of the group) have started another message board, since the 20 megs of space that the Yahoo Group features are a bit small for a lot of photos. You can see the new message board here: And of course, check out the Canon digicam page at

Today I did a little photo manipulation piece. I took a photo of my keyboard (hehe) and...well, see for yourself.

- TM™

Quote: "I brought my pogo stick just to show her a trick" - System Of A Down

  January 25th, 2002

Cool thing

Not much today, but Pablo showed me a really nice thing: The "Best of Toby M Pack", that came with my Wadster profile at Doomcenter, is the second most downloaded file at Doomcenter! This is really unbelievable. I never thought that so many people would be interested in my maps. Thanks to all you people out there who are interested in my work! (click here to see a screenshot of the download statistics at Doomcenter. Obviously my maps do not belong to any game, but what are they then? (-: )

In the comments to the news post at Doomworld concerning my last update, there were some statements about the map size topic that I brought up last time. Obviously some people don't care about the mapsize, or if it is increasing throughout the episode. This is interesting to know. If you have any comments about this, I'd be glad to hear them. It helps me to decide on the further planning of my episode. Thanks to those guys who posted at Doomworld!

I worked just a bit on E1M1 of VoE. I reduced the size of the big room (which is shown on the VoE project page, the room with the grates and the soulsphere (sphere won't be there in the final map)), because it was way too big. I also found another old map of mine that had a really nice small outdoor area with a good architecture, very close to the original "Knee Deep In The Dead" style. Since the map was abandoned, I copied the area into E1M1.

Pablo complained about the lack of detail in my recently completed VoE map. This brought up some new thoughts. That map has got an architectural style similar to Doom's original first episode. That means that it does is not crowded with detail. It's just pretty basic architecture, with a big emphasis on gameplay, rather than on looks. E1M1 is even less detailed. Some other maps in VoE feature more detail, but in general I won't go crazy with the details. No Pablo Dictter kind of detail, that is. (-: Go to the project page and check out the screens of E1M5. Is it a reasonable amount of detail or does it look plain? Also, look at the other maps like E1M6, that one has more detail, but I don't think it's like they're worlds apart in terms of style. Here's a screenshot of the rather undetailed outside area of E1M1.

Pablo Dictter has released his map "...And Death Came Along" today. It a really good base map, very challenging and fun to play, with incredible architecture. It's really big, and it has an interesting unlinear approach. I'd say this is a "must have" map, so head on over to Pablo's Place and get it. You won't regret it!

Ok, this has turned into a bigger update than I thought (-: See you!

- TM™

Quote: nah..

  January 22nd, 2002

Subverted Visions of Eternity

Good news! Yesterday I finished one of the maps for Visions of Eternity. It is the map with the worktitle "Subver", it was sheduled to run at E1M4. However it has evolved into a rather large map, so I will change it's place in the episode. I thought about E1M5, but when playing the map together with the already finshed E1M6, I realized that the latter is just about half as huge as the first. Now, I cannot simply swap the positions, since all maps have a progressive style element: The farther you come in the episode, the more hellish signs will appear in the bases. In "Subver" there are just some marble faces, whereas in E1M6 there are room parts covered in skin and snakes and broken pillars with skin on the inside. Now the two choices that I can think of right now are those:

a) Enhance E1M6; which I wouldn't like to do because I love the map and it's perfect as it is.
b) Leave it as it is and hope that noone will notice. (-:

I'll think about more altenatives and I hope that I can come up with a good solution. Crap, why do I need an ongoing story after all? Let's just cast it overboard and we're free to place the maps where they fit best. Hehe, no way! I actually created the story for VoE last week, too. It's quite cool. Of course it's just a story that justifies the massive bloodbath, but hey, this is Doom!

Anyway, here's a little action screen of the new map. Usually there are more enemies around than in this scene, though.

Btw, if you wonder what "Subver" means, I named the map like this because it was originally planned to be for Pablo Dictter's project "Subversion". But that was a long time ago...

I am thinking about using a new sky texture for VoE. I've got one lying around. I made it just for fun and later proposed to use it for The 9th Gate, but we decided to not use any new textures for 9th Gate. This sky fits my VoE story quite well. Basically it's similar to episode 2's sky texture. I created it from a photo that I got from the net, just like id did with the episode 1 sky. But I heavily modified the image. When I tried the sky with the new map I noticed one thing that I haven't even noticed during the map's creation: It doesn't use any sky at all! (-:

I'm sure you all have noticed that Pablo recently released a map called "A Lonely Place to Die", which was originally part of VoE. We took it out because it didn't fit the style of VoE. It looks more like an episode 2 map, well not really, but it certainly doesn't fit the episode 1 theme of VoE. That said, there IS a rather huge change in style throughout the episode, check out the pictures of the later maps like E1M7 at the project page. Pablo's map is definitely great, I love it and I shed tears when deciding to drop it )-; Get it here, it rocks!

In his recent site update, Pablo notes that he has started some editing for Quake 1. I've seen some of his efforts and they look extremely good already. Just like the original maps. You can defintely look forward to play these, they're going to be great (like all of Pablo's maps).

A quick note on my new game editing project that I announced when opening this site: I'm still at it, it looks cool, but by now I'm quite sure that nobody will give a damn about it. But that won't distract me from it, since I'm doing it because I like it. I'm going to prepare the new section, and once I have a decent amount of stuff to show, it'll go online.

- TM™

Quote: "My brushes touch each other. They love each other." - Pablo, Quake editing

  January 15th, 2002

More Visions of Eternity

I uploaded the Visions of Eternity Project Page. Currently I'm reorganizing the project. Some maps may be shifted around again. There is a map that I'm building together with Pablo Dictter that was supposed to be E1M2, although no screenshots of it have ever been uploaded. Each of us has built one room at a time and then passed the map on to the other dude, who would add another room etc. Thus the map has quite a unique style, and it doesn't really fit into the episode. I am thinking of making it the secret level instead. Currently I'm also working on a "Super Secret" in this map, so it might fit the secret map theme even more. Not sure if I'll definitely use this map yet, I'll see how the final map looks and decide whether it fits into the episode then.

If you look at the screenshots of Pablo's other map for VoE, E1M5, you'll notice that it doesn't look very much like an episode 1 map, due to the gray-green "Ickwall" textures. Pablo is eventually going to create a new map for VoE that will be used instead of this one.

And we close today's update with a few shots of the above mentioned Pablo/Toby cooperation map.

- TM™

Quote: "Hate having to look for quotes for every update" - Tobias Münch

  January 9th, 2002

Visions of Eternity

In case that you are experiencing problems with the page, I already know about it. As you can read in my latest update of "Fehler 404" (you should know about Pablo's and my gossip page by now, we randomly shattered links all over the 9th Gate team member's sites), webdesign is giving me quite a hard time right now. The menu wasn't displaying correctly in 800x600 resolution or less. This is fixed though (thanks Karthik for helping me out again). If you encounter any more problems, especially when viewing the site in Netscape, let me know.

I uploaded my manga drawings to the site. The manga page contains various manga-style drawings (no, really?) that I made a long time ago (-: There are no new pics (that haven't been shown on the old page before), and sadly I'm not drawing much anymore (although I'd like to), so there's not much new content to expect.

But now look at this: Yesterday I worked a little bit on my Doom project "Visions of Eternity". Well, I only made one room for E1M1, but at least this is something after months of not doing anything. I really want to get ahead with this project. Sadly I'm not into Doom that much right now. I was thinking about cutting VoE down, taking some levels out or merging them together, and releasing a short episode with five levels or so. But I'd rather like to release the whole thing, so I'll try to get my ass to work on the project. Meanwhile, enjoy this new picture. The room isn't finished yet, stuff might change, but I guess that's normal with in-progress pics. Sorry if the pic is a bit too dark...

- TM™

Quote: "Good morning! *yawn*" - Tobias Münch, arriving at work this morning

  January 3rd, 2002

Back online!

Finally I have a personal homepage again! It was about time for me to create a new one to share my stuff with the world. Let's come straight to the contents:

Currently only two sections are up: Guitar Tabs and Doom.

The guitar tabs page contains all those tabs that were present at the old "Worlds of Toby M". No, actually if I remember right I wasn't able to upload the tab for Him's "One Last Time" before NBCi closed down their sites, so this will be a new tab for you. I still have some more new tabs that will be uploaded in the next time. I tabbed out Orgy's new song "Faces", which is featured on the "Zoolander" soundtrack. It is so new that obviously nobody has tabbed it out yet, so I tried my luck and it was actually quite simple. So this tab will come soon.

As long as Doomcenter's servers are down, this site will host a simplified "Phobos Wad Lab". It will mainly contain my released maps. News about my Doom work will also be posted here. For the good news, I have a new map release for you! So hurry up and follow the signs to the Doom page, hehe.

During the next time I want to upload all the old sections again, all game pages, the manga section and the "What's Up?" column. I also have big plans for a new section, but I won't tell you anything specific until I'm ready for it. Only one hint: It is about a game. And no, it's not the game from the quote below. (-:

Now this is not much, but it's a start. Expect more stuff soon!

- TM™

Quote: "Open for business!" - Caleb, Blood