MINERVA: Episodic, Single-Player Half-Life 2

Reflex Action -

I've spent the last week away from home, so I've been trying to keep up with email without spending too much on dialup. If you've sent something and expect a reply, hang on a while and I might still get back to you!

The response to my little map? Overwhelming. Even proper games journalists seem to have noticed it, and the vast majority of random forum and email comments have been most definitely positive. And with only one real question: when's the next chapter out? Well, let's see...

I'm hoping to get some sort of media out every Friday - in this case it's a couple of mysterious, tangential backstory fragments as recycled from Parallax. I wrote them something like four years ago, but they're still immensely important to the plot. Continue with the speculation, of course, it's something I particularly enjoy reading... ;-)

So far a couple of bugs have turned up in Metastasis 1. The most serious is that for many players, the text messages simply don't appear. Since these players also don't seem to get chapter titles in Half-Life 2 itself (it's the same subsystem I've co-opted) and that there seems no correlation between hardware or software, I suspect the bug isn't of my making. If I find a fix, I'll let people know - in the meantime, completely reinstalling Steam and all Valve games apparently works. The word 'overkill' springs to mind, of course!

Other bugs include a dropship occasionally getting stuck in a watch-tower, soldiers wandering out to sea, music overlapping with other music (solution: slow down!) and messages showing at inopportune moments (again, slow down!) - I hope to fix all these in the version to be distributed with Metastasis 2.

As for the mod's popularity? As I type, Das FileGoatMatic(R) reports a hefty 25328 downloads through my site, and that doesn't include Bittorrent or anyone else's mirrors. In case you're wondering what the hell FileGoatMatic is, it's a glorious load-balancing distributed download system I wrote in an afternoon. It's currently serving all the images on the MINERVA site as well - the public end is around 20 lines of very ugly PHP, but it's been working gloriously. And why the very, very silly name? I'll leave that as a final mystery for you all!

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