Quote of the Past

Why do most PC gamers like Steam, but dislike Origin?

There’s something to be said for customer consideration and there’s definitely very little of that when you only sell your games on Origin. Steam is the defacto distribution platform on PC and the vast majority of PC gamers use it. Not only that but they enjoy using it. As such, it makes perfect sense to support it (which is why every single publisher does except EA). It’s simply good for customers. It’s also good for business, as your game will receive more exposure and more sales (which is why Ubisoft still sells their games on Steam, even though they have their own digital distribution platform). It’s a win-win situation.

Imagine if every company only sold its products exclusively through its own storefront. Supermarkets, convenience stores, book stores, Amazon… all would cease to exit. Want to buy a box of Cheerios? Sorry, you have to go to your nearest General Mills store. Want some Colgate toothpaste? Check your local Colgate store. Want a new Nvidia video card? Gotta buy direct from Nvidia. Shopping would be a very inconvenient and irritating process. That’s why people don’t like Origin.Jerykk, Blue’s News Commenter, February 2016

My FastTracker II Music

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The contents of this blog post was previously a menu page, but I have since decided to change the menu page into an index of all the blog posts that contain chiptunes and tracker music. Hence this is now a blog post.

In 1995-98, I created 14 official tunes and another 14 unfinished work tunes in FastTracker II.

FastTracker II was a popular DOS tracker in the 90’s that used the proprietary XM file format. It employed samples as instruments, played with alphanumeric notes in patterns of typically 64 rows each. Up to 32 channels were possible. I have converted the original XM music to stereo MP3 for easy listening here.

Acid Jazz
February 1996
This was made in less than three hours without a keyboard.

Ara
March 1996
Originally created in summer 1995 but first finished in March 1996.

Bambi Funk
December 1996
Unfinished work tune. The deep leader from 1:10 was supposed to slide on a lot longer.

My Favorite SID Tunes by JCH

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Wait, who is this JCH now? What a silly abbreviation. Just using his initials – how uninspired. Must be some kind of idiot. Anyway, it says here that he was active on the Commodore 64 from 1987 to 1992.

Question: SID tunes? What's that?

SID tunes are chiptunes created on the Commodore 64, or an emulation of the C64 or its SID chip.

The SID chip in the Commodore 64 was quite advanced in 1982. It had three channels across eight octaves, ADSR, four different waveforms, pulsating on the square waveform, three ring modulators, and multi mode filtering. The music players written for it were usually called 50 times a second, quickly changing waveforms and frequencies to simulate vibrato, drums and arpeggio chords.

I’ve been listening through all of my own tunes in the latest High Voltage SID Collection which was at #65 at the time of publishing this blog post. I selected approximately 200 tunes and created stereo MP3 files for easy listening here. You could call it sort of “JCH’s Greatest Hits” as compiled by… uh… JCH. Yes.

42nd Street
1989 Vibrants
The name refers to the fact that the tune plays for 42 seconds before looping.

Abstract #1
1989 Vibrants

Accident
1989-90 Vibrants
Cooperation between MSK and JCH. The bassline was taken from some pop hit by George Michael.

My Favorite SID Tunes by Jozz

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The Danish pianist Johannes Bjerregaard created a few hundred SID tunes on the Commodore 64 and is regarded as one of the most brilliant C64 composers of all time. He was active from 1986 to 1990.

Question: SID tunes? What's that?

SID tunes are chiptunes created on the Commodore 64, or an emulation of the C64 or its SID chip.

The SID chip in the Commodore 64 was quite advanced in 1982. It had three channels across eight octaves, ADSR, four different waveforms, pulsating on the square waveform, three ring modulators, and multi mode filtering. The music players written for it were usually called 50 times a second, quickly changing waveforms and frequencies to simulate vibrato, drums and arpeggio chords.

I’ve been listening through all of his tunes in the latest High Voltage SID Collection which was at #65 at the time of publishing this blog post. I noted down 78 tunes I liked and created stereo MP3 files for easy listening here. You could call it sort of “Johannes Bjerregaard’s Greatest Hits” as compiled by JCH.

Again It’s JB
1989 Johannes Bjerregaard

Alf TV Theme
1988 Johannes Bjerregaard
Conversion of the theme from the TV show “Alf” by Tom Kramer and Alf Clausen.

Balloon
1990 Johannes Bjerregaard

My Favorite SID Tunes by Future Freak

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Kim Christensen, known as Future Freak in the European C64 demo scene, barely released more than two dozens of tunes on the Commodore 64. He was only active from 1987 to 1989.

Question: SID tunes? What's that?

SID tunes are chiptunes created on the Commodore 64, or an emulation of the C64 or its SID chip.

The SID chip in the Commodore 64 was quite advanced in 1982. It had three channels across eight octaves, ADSR, four different waveforms, pulsating on the square waveform, three ring modulators, and multi mode filtering. The music players written for it were usually called 50 times a second, quickly changing waveforms and frequencies to simulate vibrato, drums and arpeggio chords.

I’ve been listening through Future Freak’s tunes in the latest High Voltage SID Collection which was at #65 at the time of publishing this blog post. I picked 18 out of the 25 tunes I liked and created stereo MP3 files for easy listening here. You could call it sort of “Future Freak’s Greatest Hits” as compiled by JCH.

All of the tunes also have mono MP3 alternatives from SOASC created using a real C64.

An Old One
1987 Dexion SOASC
Made in Rob Hubbard’s music player.

Chopper
1989 Flexible Arts SOASC
Made in Laxity’s music player.

Cooperation Demo
1987 New Life / Dexion / Zargon SOASC
Made in Jeroen Kimmel’s music player (perhaps better known as Red).

Quote of the Past

About achievements in video games:

Achievements aren’t so much player incentive as they are backdoor statistical aggregation. What makes them annoying is because they’re completely superfluous at best and intrusive at worst.

They’re intrusive because the obvious statistic aggregation pops up, ‘hey, you used the jump key!’ forty times in the first couple of hours, as proof to the publisher that, yes, you played the fucking game, and no, you’re not a vegetable.

They’re annoying because the best way to throw you right out of whatever immersion you’re actually getting from a particularly emotional moment in the game is to have a fucking achievement pop up right in the middle of it. “Hey, your good friend just sacrificed himself for the greater cause, 20 points!”

They’re stupid because just going through the list of achievements for a game is a spoiler for just about everything there is to do in that game. Which would you prefer: Discovering some Cool Thing™ on your own or being told that there’s this Cool Thing™ and then having your experience of it ticked off some like some theme park itinerary?

They’re superfluous because if they’re not skinner box shit, they’re things like “find every collectible in the game” and “complete the game on insanity using only your left pinky toe,” where you wouldn’t do them if the game itself wasn’t fun because nobody in the world gives a fuck about your achievements, and if the game was fun you don’t need any extra incentive to play it.Nalano, RPS forums, July 2012

My Favorite SID Tunes by Link

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Klaus Grøngaard, known as Link in the European C64 demo scene, was the first person to use my music editor on the Commodore 64. He was active from 1989 to 1991 and created more than 150 tunes.

Question: SID tunes? What's that?

SID tunes are chiptunes created on the Commodore 64, or an emulation of the C64 or its SID chip.

The SID chip in the Commodore 64 was quite advanced in 1982. It had three channels across eight octaves, ADSR, four different waveforms, pulsating on the square waveform, three ring modulators, and multi mode filtering. The music players written for it were usually called 50 times a second, quickly changing waveforms and frequencies to simulate vibrato, drums and arpeggio chords.

I’ve been listening through all of Link’s tunes in the latest High Voltage SID Collection which was at #65 at the time of publishing this blog post. I noted down the 32 tunes I liked and created stereo MP3 files for easy listening here. You could call it sort of “Link’s Greatest Hits” as compiled by JCH.

Most of the tunes also have mono MP3 alternatives from SOASC created using a real C64.

Abnormal
1989 Vibrants SOASC

Action Guy
1990 Vibrants SOASC

American
1991 Vibrants SOASC
The bassline and synth riff in the first 15 seconds was taken from “You’re the One For Me” by D. Train.

My Favorite SID Tunes by Drax

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Thomas Mogensen, known as Drax in the European C64 demo scene, created almost a thousand SID tunes on the Commodore 64 from 1987 and up. Most of these were composed in my music editor.

Question: SID tunes? What's that?

SID tunes are chiptunes created on the Commodore 64, or an emulation of the C64 or its SID chip.

The SID chip in the Commodore 64 was quite advanced in 1982. It had three channels across eight octaves, ADSR, four different waveforms, pulsating on the square waveform, three ring modulators, and multi mode filtering. The music players written for it were usually called 50 times a second, quickly changing waveforms and frequencies to simulate vibrato, drums and arpeggio chords.

I’ve been listening through all of Drax’s tunes in the latest High Voltage SID Collection which was at #65 at the time of publishing this blog post. I noted down more than 100 tunes I liked and created stereo MP3 files for easy listening here. You could call it sort of “Drax’s Greatest Hits” as compiled by JCH.

Most of the tunes also have mono MP3 alternatives from SOASC created using a real C64.

24th Amaranth Grand Prix – Selector #1
1991 Vibrants SOASC
24th Amaranth Grand Prix was supposed to be a racing game similar to Out Run, only here you were riding a motorcycle instead. It was never finished.

24th Amaranth Grand Prix – Selector #2
1991 Vibrants SOASC

24th Amaranth Grand Prix – Selector #3
1991 Vibrants SOASC

The Witcher 3: Pretty Pictures, Part 3

Here’s a gallery of 14 HUD-less screenshots I saved while playing Hearts of Stone – the first expansion pack for The Witcher 3. Most of them are from the upper right corner of Velen as well as Oxenfurt.

There should be virtually no spoilers in these screenshots – it’s mostly just Geralt and nature.

I’ve used a Jetpack plug-in for WordPress to show the gallery in a nicely tiled manner. If you’re reading this in an RSS feed, open the blog post in a new tab in order to browse the screenshots in a viewer.

The Witcher 3: Hearts of Stone

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Developer: CD Projekt RED | Released: 2015 | Genre: RPG, Third Person

It took me almost 17 hours to get through the first expansion pack – main quest, secondary quests, treasure hunts, question marks and all. Again the writing of the story and quests was of a very high quality, and there was a lot of both awe and humor to behold. If anything, some of the tasks fulfilling the three wishes of Olgierd von Everec were quite arduous and that actually held me back a few times.

“Should I play some more today? Urggh, that wedding/heist… I think I’ll watch some Netflix instead.”

I was also slightly disappointed at the generally higher difficulty. The last half of the vanilla game had lulled me into a great feeling of superiority, defeating monsters with ease, but in this expansion pack I constantly had to be on my toes. I reckon most players like that, but I’ve always liked having it a little easier. And it was not just the bosses. A giant toad and a mage with crazy tornado skills were tough, but as bosses that was kind of expected. The new enemies like boars and spiders ran all over the place and it was hard to get close to them without using freezing bombs. Even old vanilla enemies were not easily defeated.

Screenshot
Geralt of Rivia, Gaunter O’Dimm and Olgierd von Everec – the three main characters of the expansion.

There was also a new “temporary” love interest in the expansion in the form of the red-headed medic Shani, which unfortunately I couldn’t remember at all from the previous games. She reminded me a whole lot of a younger version of Catherine Willows in CSI.