November 16, 2022

Memories of Downloading Games in 2000

The year was 2000 - or was it 1999? It was in the good old days of the Internet. When it was still somewhat new and special. Special, in the sense that not everyone had access to it. Unlike today, you had to be clever to find the good stuff. 

Being the teenager I was, I'd spend most of my time downloading game demos from various sites that do not exist anymore. They're just distant memories now. I remember how exciting and endlessly compelling it was to open Netscape Navigator or an old ass version of Internet Explorer, then head to weird sites from which you could download game demos and whatnot. Anything could happen!!

I'm going to share a couple of memories I have of those bygone days. 

First, I was able to trace back one of the best sites I'd download stuff from. It was "Electric Games". Here are 2 screenshots: 

Look at that list, man. Doom, Doom95. Duke Nukem. Holy cow the memories. 

September 26, 2022

AI Generated Images Part 3

 And another batch. Have a good day! 

Artificial Intelligence

September 19, 2022

AI Generated Images Part 2

 Here's another batch of images I made with Dream by Wombo. :) 

John Bajak Flux Capacitor Time Travel Circuit

September 16, 2022

AI Generated Images

Here's a series of images I created using the Dream by Wombo app. I've been able to fine-tune most of my prompts in order to optimize most of the shots below. Specific keywords like photorealistic, trending on artstation, or octane render will help the AI to generate images that look good but also contain enough details and complexity. These keywords will vary depending on what kind of image you're generating. 

Let's go! 

Master of Orion

August 17, 2022

Diablo: The Hell 2 Is the Ultimate Way to Play Diablo 1

I think I might have posted about this several years ago. 

Diablo 1 is a pretty old game that redefined the RPG genre for decades to come. Released in late 1996, most of its systems and features still hold up today. But it does feel dated. 

By default, nowadays, the game's resolution is pretty low and it's in 4:3, so it's stretched out when you play on a widescreen monitor. And it's pixelated. A lot. Add to that the fact that it's a 1996 game, and you'll notice weird user interfaces, like the way you trade with NPCs by scrolling down lists of items without much detail. So weird and outdated. Not user-friendly at all. That's just a small example, here. 

Now, a guy known as Mordor created an extensive, giant mod, that brings Diablo 1 back to today's standards. Again, it's a GIANT mod in active development as we speak. Pretty crazy when you think about it. 

It's amazing. Once you've tried it, you can't go back to old vanilla Diablo 1. I promise. 

Let's check it out. You'll find links to download the mod and everything you need to know at the end of this post. 

August 11, 2022

Get a Free Copy of Starcraft: Remastered with Twitch Prime

Thought I'd share this, in case you have a Prime Membership on Amazon.

Probably for a short time, maybe a month, you can get a free copy of Starcraft: Remastered (the original Starcraft + Brood War) on Twitch, using your Amazon Prime account.

Just log on to Twitch with your Amazon account that has Prime, to claim it.

Click the URL below to check it out: 
Prime Gaming | StarCraft: Remastered

Originally posted on Paranormalis.

June 20, 2022

Slayers Online MMORPG

I thought about this game last weekend for no reason. It’s like it called to me.

Like a couple of weeks ago when I turned to vBulletin and looked at how they’re doing right now, I figured I’d write a post about it. Welcome to another small trip down memory lane, looking at old shit that used to be cool.

This is an attempt at making this a series about nostalgia and good memories. We’ll see what the future holds.

Ready? Slayers Online is a free French RPG game. It’s got (I think) a solid player base in France, but not much outside of it, as far as I know. I don’t think it’s available in other languages either, so I’m pretty sure it has zero player base in English-speaking countries.

But it’s no big deal because just looking at the graphics will remind you of a couple of similar RPG games you played back in the early 2000s. 100% pure old crappy 2D games. It’s all about nostalgia!

June 1, 2022

Create an Access Control List to Block a Country

Paranormalis gets scraped by a lot of Russian bots and it slows it down sometimes. Also, lots of bot/fake accounts, despite all the anti-spam measures in place. I finally decided to go ahead and block the entirety of Russia from accessing the forum. 

This has nothing to do with the "blocking Russia" or "no more business with Russia" thing we've seen everywhere since early 2022. It's 100% about blocking bots. And the number of Russian bots scraping the site has increased a ton this year. That's what made me do it.

We won't miss anything. We don't have any active members (or occasional members at all) from Russia as far as I know. It's only bots. It will hopefully make the site faster and more stable.

I found this tool, which generates IP range lists from countries in the output format of your choice. In my case, I chose to go the HTACCESS way. So I checked "Russian Federation" and "Apache htaccess Deny". I ended up with a list of over 24 000 deny entries that I added to the forum's HTACCESS file.

That did the trick! 
Create an Access Control List to Block Countries or Continents

May 12, 2022

vBulletin Memories

Nearly 2 decades ago, vBulletin used to be the best forum software around. Until they were bought by Internet Brands in 2007, whose only interest is money. 

In the following 3 to 4 years, Internet Brands drove vBulletin to the ground. They lost their employees, and their new releases were all absolute shit. Even today, vBulletin 5 is one hell of a stinker. Stay away from it. 

Then around 2011, everybody moved their forums to XenForo and never looked back. vBulletin was becoming a thing of the past. 

For some reason, something made me think of vBulletin today, so I decided to take a look at their official forum and their modding community, Oh boy, the years haven't been kind to them. These sites are basically dead now. 

April 28, 2022

Wasting Your Time on the Internet in 2005

Restoring long-lost content on Paranormalis using the Chronovisor technique really brings me back to those days I’d spend, fooling around on the Internet, so many years ago. Basically, wasting my time, you know... 

Here’s one of those threads:

It feels like we’re back in 2005 all over again, right? 

What was I doing on the Internet back in the day? Well, I wasn’t doing much, most of the time. Youtube wasn’t around yet. I don’t think we had high-speed Internet yet. You couldn’t plug yourself on Netflix and spend the whole day watching series after series. 

April 16, 2022

Writing About Writing

 I like writing. I often find myself fooling around in Evernote, Dropbox Paper, or Google Docs, trying to figure out which one of these editors offers the best environment for a writer. That doesn’t make me a writer, though. But apparently, it sort of makes me feel like one day, I could be one. 

When attempting to write something, I always get distracted by little details, like the font and font size. Should I use Lato 12? It’s a nice font with good readability. Perhaps Garamond? It’s way more formal and serious but the characters are a little thinner. Isn’t it the font dictionaries are written in? Is my line spacing okay? Would 1.1 be better than 1? Is my Heading 2 big enough? Oh well… 

January 6, 2022

My First Experience at Doom Mapping

Talk about starting the year strong! Mapping for a 1993 game! 

Doom is a game I've been playing on and off for almost 25 years. I used to play the shareware version on an old AMD K6-2 350 mhz as a kid. At some point, a friend gave me a copy of Doom95.exe and I got my hands on Final Doom. What an update! It was now possible to select levels without having to start a new game and resort to cheats!  Nowadays, I have all the official WADs and played them many, many times. 

Doom had something special that no other game had. It still kind of feels that way today, in 2022. Its environments and gameplay are pretty convincing, while still being abstract enough to age well. 

This blog article (part 1 of 3, actually) convinced me to give Doom mapping a try. 

I remember reading it last year and the idea stayed with me for a while. 

Keep in mind that the last time I mapped for a game was probably in 2001 or 2002, for Starcraft: Brood War. I made 4 player F4A map I'd play on with friends over a modem connection. It was fun for a while, but according to today's standard, it was crap.