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November 30, 2006

EL405 Hammering away

Don't freak out.

This entry might be about a positive experience that I had in class today. This entry might be in praise of software that I can actually understand and that I may have enjoyed interacting with. This entry may make a certain professor very happy because I know he's only been working all semester with the IT department to make this work. This entry may liken to my first experiences with blogging.

Today our class got to play around with Hammer, which is a "modding" program, from my understanding, for the popular game Half-Life 2. Amanda and I worked together: she was the "pilot" and I was the "navigator," as we called ourselves. (This just means that she was at the controls for the program and I was running through and reading aloud the tutorial for the two of us.)

At first I was absolutely not interested. Much like my experiences with GF2 and Blender, I felt an inherent fear build within me as I approached the task. I feared this very, very foreign concept of "modding." I was not interested in it because I'm not interested in 3D work (it confuses and nauseates me). I was not feeling up to the mental taxing of learning new software.

Amanda and I paired up, thankfully, because I guess it's easier when the two of us can (at the very least) laugh with and at each other. This reminded me of our first experiences with blogging in our freshman year. I can still remember the seats we had in the computer lab in Lynch. I still remember walking over there from Admin, too. I still remember what I was thinking as I tried to come up with a title and write my first post. (Things are coming full-circle, as of late, and this feeling really started bringing the realization that Amanda's graduating in less than two weeks, and I'm graduating in less than six months.)

We made a nice team. Once the whole class got settled down and working on the tutorials that Dr. Jerz created, (and we understood a bit more jargon and navigational stuff) it seemed like we moved right along. Sure, I admit that I still wasn't thrilled with the idea of the 3D "modding" (since I've seen Stephan play Half-Life 2 and I don't think I like it). I was also thinking that I'd like to work more on my project and ask questions... but then Amanda and I made some crooked walls. :)

We started laughing, and I forgot that I didn't like this and that I'd rather be doing something else. We worked together and never actually hit a point where we couldn't make things work on our own. It was a nice, independent sort of feeling (which is a feeling that has been quite rare for me in this course). We actually got through two of the tutorials (out of five... even though the second one was kind of short).

Now, in relating this experience to blogging all I'm trying to say is that I went from resisting the idea to being okay with it. I'm not implying that I'll have the whole game "modded" by next Thursday and I'll buy a PC powerful enough to run the game without strange things happening on the screen (like what happened to Amanda and I today). I'm not saying that I liked this as much as I like blogging (that for sure), nor am I implying that I might like it more someday. I find it highly unlikely that I'll do anything like this after this course is completed, but I won't say that I'm sorry I did it. I'm glad that Amanda and I paired up and worked through it together so that we weren't freaking out. Because I probably would have freaked out like I did when we tried Blender, had I been by myself...

So, in conclusion (and I realize blog entries don't need conclusions), this wasn't really that bad.

Posted by KarissaKilgore at November 30, 2006 10:39 PM


Excellent post. I felt the same...I actually was laughing out loud at my oriental rug covered walls. And ceilings. And I laughed when Dr. Jerz said if there were beaded curtains...and something about couches I think, that I would pick them..haha. he was probably right though....

Posted by: Lori at December 2, 2006 11:42 PM

I agree that I would have liked to have done something else (like the scoring on my Flash presentation), but trying out Hammer was fun. The format of Hammer is what I thought much of the class was going to be like--the first-person shooter aspect of it, anyway--although ours never shot anything. HA.

I think the tutorial helped us along, as well. If we got stuck, we went back. Kudos to Jerz for working with Wink.

Posted by: Amanda at December 6, 2006 4:06 PM

Yes, I wish I had known about Wink over the summer when was preparing all this stuff, but I didn't even get the idea to have the pilot/navigator working in pars thing until after I watched how the class (and EL236) responded to learning new software. There wasn't time to create Wink tutorials for the other tools we used, but I think the Flash Journalism book was so good (and Flash is so well-thought-out) that such a tutorial wouldn't have been necessary.

I'll probably try to work on an Inform 7 Wink tutorial for the next time I teach IF, which probably won't be until Media and Culture in Spring of 2008.

Posted by: Dennis G. Jerz at December 6, 2006 6:34 PM

Wowzers, that's far into the future, don'cha think? :)

I totally found the tutorials helpful. I wouldn't mind learning how to make one... *hint hint*

Posted by: Karissa at December 7, 2006 12:58 AM

Karissa, there isn't a Mac version of the software, but here's the URL.


I am planning to make a set of "How to use your SHU weblog" tutorials, and maybe some similar tutorials for JWeb.

Posted by: Dennis G. Jerz at December 7, 2006 10:08 AM

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