most immersive moment in a computergame

The day before yesterday I got Half Life 2 (HL2) and installed it in the afternoon. Although Steam is kind of embarassing it worked fine. Then, still being in the office, I started to play it. And I have to say it is absolutely amazing, stunning, and whatnot. In the evening I continued to play until 2AM yesterday. I do not yet know how to make screenshots ingame, but I definitely have to work that out. There was one scene/incident in a concrete water-reservoir, diving in the water, a corpse of a killed combine-policeman floating above me, and the bubble trails of the projectiles fired at me by his colleague from above, around me. It definitely was the most immersive moment in a computergame I ever experienced—pun intended. As soon as I know how to take screenshots I will try to restage that scene and then will try to provide an atmospheric picture.


the white room

The white room“The White Room is a set of photographic prints resulting from an in-game photo shoot that documents a series of constructed disasters. These interiors were set up by the artist using the videogame Max Payne 2, a ‘Film Noir’ thriller that tells a tale of lost love, deception and betrayal. The shoot took place within the game’s developer mode using the GOD and GETALLWEAPONS cheats and BenDMan’S ‘bloody mod 1.2’. By transforming the game environment into a ready-made urban studio space, the objects and interiors were altered using the in-game weapons with the gore from dead enemies being used to ‘paint’ the sets before being unceremoniously blasted out of view and the scene captured. The events implied never happened in the game, they are not representations of ‘real-life’ crimes nor are they illustrations of fictional crime stories. These are silent witnesses, containers demanding context, they are waiting places.”


the new gods

The New GodsHaving returned from the last LAN-party (the Fighternight 6) — where I again was fragged big time. Lucky me that we didn’t play one second of Counter Strike (CS) ;) — I am very much into Quake 3 Arena (Q3A) again. At the LAN someone had a movie of some Q3A grand champion doing incredible jumps, stunts, and tricks. If, following Harold Schechter, the comicbook superheroes are the new gods (Schechter 1980), they meanwhile have evolved into computergame characters. And among this breed there is an absolute upper class, the creme of the Pantheon, if you wish: the hardcore champion players. Imagine that: Your avatar inside the game already can do things, humans are not capable of. Great deal, agreed. But then there is the top of the heap of the players, and by sheer skill they can make the avatars do things unseen before — and of which the average player (I am not a mediocre player, I am a genuinely bad one) can not do and may even never have dreamed of. I wonder if the game-developers have dreamed of the things those guys do inside the worlds they have designed. So I wandered around the net and found an amazing movie-collection at planetquake3. I downloaded some, watched them and am completely stunned. Now I go back to what I should do at the moment: Writing a concept paper for the university.

edit: No concept paper yet, instead I learned how to do the ‘plasma-lift’.



The range of graphic styles of Max-Payne mods
In respect to their graphical style computergames and their modifications can be sorted into a continuum ranging from photorealism to uttermost graphical abstraction. Most of the mods created by members of the MP-community are located towards the middle of the continuum—maybe with a slight tendency in the direction of photorealism. This may well be determinated to a certain degree: Firstly the original MP-games are located near the same spot. And the majority of the modders seems to be inclined to emulate the style of the creators of the original game. The official modding tutorials by Remedy of course suggest exactly that style—accordingly the engine and the released tools are optimized for it, too. Secondly most of the available textures match said style, too. Not just the textures of the original games, but also most suitable textures to be found scattered all over the net.
    The farther a modder tries to break away from the “determinated” graphic style, the more work and effort this means. But exactly that is what modders are going for. Which is a part of the explanation of the fact, why TCs are in the highest esteem inside the community. The heretofore unseen, not-yet-experienced, the creative original stuff is the ultimate goal and desire—both of modmakers and -consumers.
    On the other hand a part of the reason for the longing for TCs may well also lie in the scarcity of original twists in mods (storywise) and gameplay-tweaks.
    The screenshot-clippings above are taken from [left to right]: Max Payne [the original game], and the modifications: The Family, Polar Payne, XiaoXiao, and Sketchbook Sam. The creators of the original game clearly went for photorealism. In fact Max Payne was the first computergame wherein phototextures were extensively used. in The Family the realism was kept, but in order to create the film-noir ambience, everything was reduced to greyscale. The cartoonesque Polar Payne recreates feeling and action of Tex-Avery-style classic cartoons like Tom&Jerry. XiaoXiao was inspired by the original movies by Zhu Zhq and features stick-figures in 3D-space. Sketchbook Sam is by far the most radical approach, reducing the MP-engine universe to a 2D-sidescroller.



Nigeria, fraud, and counter-fraud
The trophy roomYears ago, at the very beginning of my “journeys into cyberspace”, I was quite careless with my e-mail address. As a result I became the target of junk-mails, spam-mails and what you have. Meanwhile I’ve got a powerful firewall and filter which kicks all of them into killfile-oblivion. Only two categories of junk-mails still manage to sneak through: A heap of advertisement from Korea (Which I can’t even read—the bot ignores the most obvious of all ‘cultural borders’, the language-barrier-reef. ‘Cause of that those advertisements vanish into oblivion, too.) and mails from Nigeria which promise midean fortunes to me … and others. My poor old e-mail address (which I still keep for nostalgia’s sake and as a default-option) has fallen prey to the Nigerian-Connection’s search-bot.
    “This is really a very interesting adoption of culture, isn’t it?” — that was KerLeone’s comment on the Nigeria Connection back in 2002. The advance fee fraud scheme (that has been in existence through regular postal mail for more than 20 years) via e-mail now is internationally known as 419 Scam — so named after Nr. 419 of Chapter 38 of the Nigerian Criminal Code Act which applies to it. The problems with those frauds from Nigeria, which exist since about 1989, grew bigger, the conmen scored big wins and serious incidents have taken place: People who have been lured to Nigeria have been abducted or even murdered. Police forces all over the world go for lengths to fight the scammers: “In one month alone, in the summer of 1995, [U.S. Secret Service] agents extricated seven U.S. victims from Nigeria, though one American was murdered […] Apart from this dramatic ‘real-life’ efforts authorities and others have public education material about 419 online. Nevertheless, maybe due to the nature of the internet or humanity itself, the scamming goes on.
    P.T. Barnum once complained: “You can’t cheat an honest man.”—at other times this saying is attributed to the king of con-men, Joseph R. “The Yellow Kid” Weil. By that logic, if a greedy person is a good target, a professional con-man makes the best “mark”, or “mugu”, to use the Nigerian scammers’ own term, of all. Consequently this ‘adoption of culture’ has been adopted itself, the scammers have new enemies who entangle them into a complex play of tricksterish reality-satire, deception, and counter-deception, the scambaiters: “Baiting a scammer involves replying to the emails with the knowledge it is all a scam. Often the scammer will think you are a real victim and try their best to extract money.” There are different reasons for scambaiting, some want to create amusing stories, others want to educate the public, and some even want to reverse the scam and receive a few token dollars. The hilarious results can be viewed online.


polar payne

Maddieman [aka Jonathan Hallier]. 2003. Polar Payne.
Polar Payne

mod-type: total_conversion

release date: 18 August 2003
release package: [44MB]
package contains: Polar Payne.mpm [54MB] | Manual.pdf [396KB] | readme.txt [2KB] | Dinky.avi [9MB]
download: at filefront

accompanying readme.txt:

Polar Payne

This is the final version of Polar Payne, bugs and all; and it is highly unlikely that any further re-releases will be available. No serious plans for a sequel are in the works at present.

You’ll need Adobe Acrobat Reader in order to open the full Instruction Manual, which is in PDF format.

You can download this for free at:

Running the mod

Extract the Polar Payne.mpm file into the same folder where your MaxPayne.exe is. Copy the Dinky.avi file into the ‘movies’ subfolder. Then run the game.

Before clicking on “Play”, select the “Polar Payne” mod from the list at the bottom of the dialog.

You will need the latest DivX video codec in order to view the intro video. You can download this for free at

Team Dinky is…

Steve Royer
Hairless Wookie

Evan Preston

Special thanks to Flp for making the Eskmio skin.

Full credit listing can be found under the credits section in the game menu, and during the end sequence of the custom level.

Polar Payne is a non-commercial, user-made modification for Remedy Entertainment’s Max Payne videogame. Under no circumstances should it be repackaged or re-released commercially or for financial gain. You’re welcome, of course, to send us donations. ;)

N.B. Please contact Maddieman at jonathan.hallier[at], if you would like to create additional custom levels for this modification, or for permission to re-publish all, or part of this modification in your own work.

Steve Royer maintains character copyright over Dinky the Polar Bear and Eskimo character models and likenesses. Contact him at Steveroyer24[at] for more information regarding permissions.


the chateau 1.1

theHunted [aka JcDenton999 aka Grazer]. 2003. The Château 1.1.
The Chateau

mod-type: level, gameplay_tweak, fx_tweak, music_tweak
release date: 20 June 2003
release package: [18MB]

package contains: chateau-v1x.mpm [34MB] | readme.txt [2KB]
download: at filefront

accompanying readme.txt:

//================== The Château 1.1 ==================
//a Max Payne, KungFu Edition 3.0, map addon
//Creator: theHunted aka. JcDenton999 aka…

//mailto: JcDenton999[at]

The Château is a very small map, based on The Matrix Reloaded Movie.
In Combination with KungFu it brings you a cool Fighting Experience
to the wonderful Max Payne.

– New Map
– few new sounds and music

– KungFu 3.0 (of course)

– fixed the “white screen” when trying to replay

– Extract the file “chateau-v1x.mpm” to your main Max Payne installation folder
(C:\Programs\Max Payne – for example). Start Max Payne as usual and from the Message Box’
“Choose Customized Game” pulldown menu, choose chateau-v1. Now start the game.

//Known Bugs:

– Transparent stripe on the floor. Seems to be Max-FX related, because of too big texture res.

– Maddieman: big time thanks for your help on getting all features of KungFu
i wanted to have into this map.

– Sepiroths-SoN: many thanks to you for the beatiful menu and loading screen. I love ’em :)

– Ken_Y: sorry, i couldnt ask you for permission. you seem to be a busy man these days.
thanks for getting the ultimate KungFu experience into Max Payne.

– and of course the beta-testers: Maxey, Sepiroths-SoN, Luther[imf], Honny Bunny and ildu

//Personal Notes:
I thought it was about time to have an alternative to the good old Lobby Shootout by kemical.
This, in combination with the hard time getting it done in maxed (the personal challenge was part
of my intensions to realize this) made me do this. I’d love to see this map being released with
new cool modifications later on, so all of you coders out there: feel free to rip the sh** out of this ;)
(yes placing my name in the credits would be nice, blablabla, nobody’s gonna read this anyway)

The Chateau


megaman and xiaoxiao

Mega Man and XiaoXiao
Picasso once said that the only thing he regrets is to never have done a graphic novel (vulgar term: comic; high-culture french term: les bandes dessinées). Today, I guess, he’d strive to do a computergame. I thought about this yesterday, and — quite matching — today I stumbled (via searching updates to the Star-Wars-Kid story and dropping by at the force net while doing so) into the 8-bit theatre aka Bob & George. Something about it: “Bob and George, arguably the very first sprite-based webcomic was started in April 2000.The original idea was for the comic to be hand-drawn and featuring a set of college kids. However, after discovering that sprites made for a much better comic, the change was made permanent and the rest is history. The comic is not only the basis for two sites, a chat room, and a message board, but it has also been the catalyst for hundreds, if not thousands, of sprite-based comics. Over 11,000 readers visit the site every day and the active fanbase is well over 1000. […] Essentially the comic takes place sometime after the 7th Megaman game but sometime before the 8th. The characters know they are in a comic, and while the situations into which they find themselves are certainly not normal for the games, the strange events that surround their lives are probably due to the presence of the Author figure, who occasionally comes into be abused and belittled.”
    A hilarious online-comic preying on and referring to a 2D-computergame, thereby reflecting quite a bit of cyberculture. And while you are on it, don’t miss another web-classic: XiaoXiao — the definite proof that Flash can be art! See the original Flash versions by Zhu Zhq and lots of fan-films at the Stick Figure Death Theatre. There was a XiaoXiao-modification for Max Payne 1 well on the way, and much awaited by the community, but it quietly died and finally vanished. I will report on that later.

originally posted at ethno::log

the strange case of the star wars kid

The Star Wars Kid
Some time ago on “my online-community’s” IRC-channel someone pointed us to a small movie-file showing a not-really-athletic kid dancing around with a broomstick, clearly impersonating Sith-Lord Darth Maul of Star-Wars-Episode-I fame. Being reminded of myself as a kid when “Star Wars” hit the silverscreen for the first time in 1977 I felt quite some sympathy for the boy — and we had some minutes of good amusement watching him wielding his imagined double-bladed lightsaber. Afterwards I forgot about that. Today, while skimming through the german online-magazine Telepolis, I found a whole article on this movie and the still developing story surrounding it. In a nuthshell: Ghyslain, a 15-year-old high-school kid of Quebec (Canada), filmed himself doing the martial-arts sequence in the studio of his school in November 2002. The tape was forgotten about, unless the contents were discovered by a “friend” of Ghyslain. This friend and his companions digitally encoded the movie and put it on the internet. Unexpectedly the movie instantaneously became a great success in cyberspace. Bryan Dube enhanced the movie by adding lightsaber-glow to the broomstick, and sound-effects from the Star-Wars movies, calling the result The Last Hope. Another guy made a Matrix-reloaded version from it … Till today far more than two million people worldwide downloaded the movie and the remixes made from it. Andy Baio, whos weblog was hit by heavy download-demand for the movie, thought about the whole case, and came up with the idea to compensate the “Star Wars Kid” — meanwhile Ghyslain is known by this alias — for the embarrassment and personal humiliation he suffered from the unauthorized online-publication of his martial-arts moves. Baio started an online-fund-raising to be able to buy the Star Wars Kid some digital equipment. Quickly more than 4000 USD were collected! Besides that the whole story had found a tremendous response in the media. Several major newspapers reported about the case and Fox-television even broadcasted the movie twice on US-television. The mass of online-responses is equally heavy. Lots of people made fun of the Kid, but quite the same number voiced their sympathy, as he reminded them of theirselves — just like I had felt when watching the original movie for the first time. The majority of the geek-community wholeheartedly embraced Ghyslaine — the result of the fund-raising is ample proof of this. But on May 29, 2003 the whole story took a new twist, as an offline-power jumped into the game: Ghyslain’s family is thinking about taking legal steps against the ones who put the original movie on the net; a lawyer already is on his way and tries to pull away the media-pressure from the family (Read the english transcript of an interview, Radio Canada did with the family’s lawyer). Nevertheless Ghyslain will accept the presents generated by the fund-raising (including non-cash gifts like a Darth-Maul-lightsaber-replica signed by Ray Park, the actor who impersonated Maul in “Star Wars: Episode I”), and doesn’t intend to take legal action against the fundraisers or those who generated the remixes … to be continued, I guess.
    P.S.: A personal side-note. When I watched “The Last Hope” today, I was dazzled by how deeply I’m infected with this piece of popular-culture, and how much I’m still a kid myself. I started the movie on my laptop, earphones on the head, and clicked on my audio-settings icon, to increase the volume. Immediately the lightsaber-sounds from the movie were like echoed — I completely had forgotten that a long time ago I had replaced all the default-system-sounds of my comp by Star-Wars-soundeffects … normally I don’t hear them, as audio is switched off most of the time.

originally posted at ethno::log

hell’s kitchen

Hell's Kitchen
Maddieman—one of the most respected modders in the whole community—has put up his new website called Hell’s Kitchen:

9th March 2003
The site is up! \o/

A bit crappy at the moment, but this is my first attempt at my own web site—feel free to check out the available sections.

Thanks again to biXen for setting this up for me.


Katana 2

No doubt by now, most of you will have seen the k2 video, made by the ever impressive StratonAce — if not, you should, he’s done some fantastic things with it. I should inform you however, that the mod is by no means complete. There is still a long way to go before it’s finished; but when it is, it should be something to look forward to.

In the meantime, check out some of the media — I’m hoping to get some gameplay videos up soon, and I plan to update the screenshots on a monthly basis. Stay tuned — you haven’t seen the half of it yet. ;)

Modding Tutorials

On a different matter, I would like to briefly mention tutorials. I did promise a camerapaths tutorial and a 3ds max update to my animation tutorial. However, due to the way things are turning out, it is very unlikely that I’ll have time to write them. All is not lost though, I’ve taken the time to compile a list of links some of the more useful forum entries at 3d Realms. Be sure to check out the links section.

Levels, Mods, and why most TC Teams fail

Also, a few months ago, a discussion arose about the distinct lack of decent single player maps in the Max Payne community. Some very good points were made, and one the Remedy mappers, mixuk, offered some invaluable advice that will no doubt be of interest to mappers and modders alike. You can read it here.

Rusty Widget / Tapeworm TC

In other news, Tapeworm, formally a Max Payne total conversion hosted by Zer0mods, has progressed on to the Half Life engine. Nukee, its creator, has set up a very well designed site offering information about modding, 3d art, and illustration. It contain some great links concerning illustration and 3d media. Do me and him a favour and check out his site – Rusty Widget. []—RIP

Finally, as you may have noticed, Zer0mods is damaged beyond repair (hence why I jumped boats). The forums are down, and I can’t see them going back up anytime soon. Furthermore, the server crashed and wiped our uploaded data, meaning that all the media links are down and I can’t upload anything new. Put simply, the site is dead — some of the downloads still work, I believe.

Thanks for taking the time to read this,

—Jonathan Hallier, aka Maddieman