Damn, Gurl, Long Time No See

I dropped the Exit Strategy update on you and just disappeared more or less, huh?

Over the last few – wow, seven – months, I’ve been going through all kindsa big life changes including, but not limited to:

  • Getting my legal name changed.
  • Getting married (hi, Simon!).
  • Moving to a nicer apartment.
  • Honeymooning in Las Vegas.
  • Injuring my feet from all the hardcore standing and walking I did during our move and vacation.

With all those major events going on, you might be thinking to yourself, “Wow, I bet that hoebag hasn’t done a goddamn thing with the game and now she’s going to apologize for being so absent and she’ll promise to be more active from here on out, but that’ll be a goddamn lie and we won’t see her again for another eight months.”

But you’d be wrong! At least about the not having done anything. Caint say I won’t disappear into the cave again ’cause frankly, that’s how shit gets done.


“That Was a Love Tap, Sucka!”

Even though Team Pank returned to PAYDAY 2 after the micro-transactions were removed, we weren’t long for it. I’m not sure why we stopped playing exactly, although I think it mighta just been how things looked to be moving. The h3h3 stuff was coming down the chute and if John fkn Wick doesn’t belong in the crew, YouTube personalities definitely don’t.

It’s been a struggle since then to find stuff that we can all just agree to play regularly. We’re not the type of crew that wants to game hop. We get into one game and we play it for four years straight. It’s part of why I started making The Take! I’m basically trying to get us back into our comfortable groove. To that end, I recently suggested that we return to Left 4 Dead 2, our first love.

And in order to play L4D2 properly, one has to have their HLDJ binds in order. HLDJ, if you don’t know, allows you to play music and sound effects over the voice chat in games built in Valve’s Source engine. Besides our shared library of Juggernaut, Bitch clips, Team Fortress 2 one-liners, and Randy Savage bon mots, each member of Team Pank has their own set of sound effects that they’ve personally curated. Logan favors R. Lee Ermey quotes from Full Metal Jacket. Simon has a bunch of Zer0 lines. Cyborg tends, I think, to only have a few from various sources, rather than collecting in bulk. And I have a selection of Sideshow Bob clips and what meager offerings I could glean from the soundboard on Rockstar’s website for The Warriors, one of my all-time favorite games. Of course, the one I really wanted wasn’t available there: Cleon’s “That was a love tap, sucka!” which I need for unavoidable friendly-fire incidents.

Now, I have the technology to record gameplay footage and I could have collected a clip that way, but it would have been marred by the accompanying noise of the rest of my warparty brawling in the back alleys, the sounds of Cleon’s fists connecting with some hapless Destroyer’s face, the ambient sounds of a restless Coney Island. You know, all the other stuff going on. I wanted it clean and crisp, no interference. HLDJ’s stringent audio requirements already take a huge toll on a clip’s quality.

Yesterday, though, I found a piece of software that allowed me to finally get that sound clip, beautiful and unobscured by the rest of the soundscape. PSound permitted me the privilege of unpacking all 20,000+ sounds in The Warriors to find the single one I was looking for, but I found the damn thing and now it’ll live in all its 16-bit, 10025 Hz glory in Left 4 Dead 2. I grabbed a few others too: Logan’s favorite Lizzie war cry of “You’re not the kind of pussy we like!” and Swan’s “Why don’t you tie a mattress to your back?” I’ll have to go back in later for Virgil’s “Pah-dy pah-dy pah-dy” and Cowboy’s quip about getting a chinstrap for his hat though.

Anyway, what does all this have to do with The Take!?

Access to assets!


This Whole Thing Got Started Because Someone Was Doing an Unsatisfactory Job

It took me most of the week, but I got loud combat AI’s to shoot guns at you and for it to hurt when they do. I’ll need to make some adjustments to their behavior trees – give them more refined decision making – and make sure that all this stuff is replicating, but the main thing is you now have things to shoot and they shoot back.

I basically had to reverse engineer the tutorial I followed to make the AI take damage from your guns. Even though the tutorial I followed to get that also had one for enemy AI that should have explained exactly what I wanted. Two, in fact.

Like a lot of these tutorials, it’s written by a guy for whom English ain’t a first language. More than that, though, the structure is just difficult to adapt to other uses. This particular tutorial is very specific to the game he is making. I’ve managed to cobble enough useful bits and pieces out of it to get to where I am, but man. The book he’s writing is gonna be a hard sell.


Gotta Roll With the .htaccess Conflicts

There’s good news and bad news.

Bad news is that remember how I said I had backups of the website before it fucked itself and I deleted fucking everything, well I don’t. Thought I did but I dint. Once I realized this, I set to work trying to salvage copies of the narrative, since I think that’s the most valuable thing out of all that old stuff. I was able to dredge up copies of “Jumping Ship” and “Nitriles” off the Wayback Machine, but “Transitional Period” wasn’t wayback enough, I guess.

The good news is that it gives me a chance to rewrite them better. With more characterization and a more detailed plot. Because looking back on those first stories, they are admittedly a little thin on characterization. I also thought of a much tidier and more elegant way to tie the narrative into the demo release that I’d like to do once I’ve got a decent enough demo built for you. I’ve actually been putting this page together since the last… well, it wasn’t a CrimeFest last year ’cause they besmirched the good name too hard to use it anymore apparently but, you know, since October-ish. I don’t wanna give too much away, but I’ve been stockpiling a bunch of little extra-curriculars to make a proper update of it.

As far as the game itself goes, I’ve been working on getting the weapon fire to replicate, the “loud” enemy AI, and putting together a nice demo map for you so you can get a basic estimation of what it’s gonna be like. If you want to see specifically what I have done, what I’m doing, and what I plan to do, I have linked the game’s dev map in the menu.

My goal for releasing this stuff is July, but like I said in the forums, I’m still only one person so know that Valve Time is highly likely to be in effect. I’d rather delay than release something half-assed.

As always, let’s keep our expectations managed.

Discord and Forums Now Open!

The Take! Discord and The Take! Forum are now open!

I’ve been setting the forum back up for the last few days, installing the mods to get it modern and such. SimpleMachines forum software is highly customizable, but originally came out when the big contact points were AIM, YIM, MSN, and ICQ. You gotta put some work in to bring it up to the now. The Discord has been set up since Team Pank started playing GTA V again and migrated to it from Steam Chat since we had to have it be voice-activated but with sensitivity adjustments. Gamepad controls don’t have a voice chat button and can’t be edited.

Simon, watching me fight with various website components over the last two weeks, questioned whether it was worth building community features before, you know, the game itself was built. And maybe it did seem very cart-before-the-horse but the fact of the matter is you need to be facilitating community-building before you get anywhere near releasing a game these days. There are tons of games on Steam that would be great multiplayer experiences, if only they had multiple players to play them with. Multiplayer games with no community at launch are dead in the water.

So Discord is an obvious choice as far as community facilitation goes, but I also wanted a forum, which might seem like an antiquated option in this day and age.

Read on…