|Baldo_the_Don |Added: February 1st 2016
This month's interview is with modder, Baldo_the_Don.
Occupation: House-husband, 3rd class
Q: Where did Novalogic games start for you?
F-16 Fighting Falcon. Without any clear memory of the exact moment, I'm gonna say it happened so:
My wife had bought our first computer on her own (more on that later). It was the last Compaq Armada 1700 that the store had, and it was a display model, so it was already slightly used and out of date, but it was cheap. It was NOT the most powerful gaming platform, and that was pretty much all I wanted a computer for, so I had get games that would run on it.
I was hot for flight simulators, and one day at an electronics store, I saw the F-16 MRF, saw the specs were low enough, and gave a man 10... I dare say deutchsmarks for it. (So long ago!) And then I had to get the MiG-29 Fulcrum (more fun to fly, but the F-16 can carry more hurt).
Those discs included the original Delta Force demo, which later I also bought.
I then bypassed all other NL games 'cause I fell in love with the Delta Force: Black Hawk Down demo, bought BHD, Team Sabre, and I've been happily stuck there since.
Q: You're into making mods, where did it all start?
"No sights on the machine guns? I wish there were sights on the MGs. What was that? I can do that MYSELF! TELL ME HOW!"
That snowballed into the illustrious modding hobby I have to this day, curse my curiosity. I'd be a happier man if I loved less broken games.
Q: Which works are you most proud of?
The Naval Special Operations: Deadline mod, without question. I wish I could drudge up the oomph to finally finish it. Getbacjac, weasel, tony991, and Silent_J made great orignal content for it. The NSO mod team and the TIO Coop guys were so very generous with their assets and advice. And I hurt my brain learning how to stitch all of it together, and if I can just get the friggin' thing done, well, it's still never goinna get much play in the broader community, 'cause mods are tricky and the numpties don't like that, but other modders would flip out when they see what I've done with what I've had to work with.
Q: Has language been a barrier for you with people from all over the world?
Speedbumps at worst, honestly. Everyone knows some english, most know enough english, and I'm really good at german, for an american.
I refuse to even attempt to decrypting WKsda, I can mostly understand Wingnut, and I'll forgive weedbong any grammar he mangles, he's a good guy.
I never saw a college from the inside, so who am I to complain about anyone's grammar?
I'll say this, though: native english speakers spend their entire childhoods learning the language, twelve years of school supposedly polishing what they learned, and the ones that come garbling at me in alphabet soup about their AWESOME mods... I really have a hard time believing in the integrity of their coding.
I'm kind of a dick that way, I suppose.
Q: Which tools do you use in making mods?
It shocks me how much you can get done in a DFBHD mod with notepad.exe alone. FwO_PFF_7 is good, but I like Jackal's PFF Utility better. PACK.exe comes with the game, and after learning the right line commands and setting up the mod assets in a good folder tree, I can pack an entire new .pff in less than a minute. Darehacker's lwfbuilder.exe was a major necessity for my modding. The TXT2BIN.exe and BIN2TXT.exe tools are some of my favorites. DeSCR.exe is so useful.
Q: Any tips for people wanting to start making a mod?
DFBarracks.com, DFReload.com, and NovaHQ.net. You will find tools, guidance, and support at these places.
Q: Was there a learning curve to pick up?
Stating that learning to mod DFBHD is basically starting a new side career is barely hyperbolic. None of the tools are user friendly, some have bugs, all of them are limited, and on top of that, you'll need to get and master an image editing program to work on textures, and various 3D-modeling software types to make new items.
So, yes, indeed, there is a learning curve. It's steep. There are no casual DFBHD modders. We are mostly, to a man, barking mad, and this helps keep us at it, but... well, I know it made me tired. I'm sure when I'm done looking at imgur, I'll get right back to it.
But I declare: the modder that readjusts the head-tilt in the left lean animation will be praised. And the modder that centers the sniper scope crosshair will be made a god.
Q: Do you make maps as well as mods?
Rarely from start to finish. I mostly set up experiments and test ideas, log notes on what the AI can do and how to make them do it. I honestly believe that I have the highest expertise on helicopter work in the community. I have done a lot of editing on other mapper's maps. I have EXTENSIVELY explored the limits of many things in the mission editor, and if I could remember where I put the notes, I probably still wouldn't write a comprehensive new manual, 'cause, you know, I'm tired.
I'm 99.999 percent certain that the Advanced Ammo check box has no effect on anything in DFBHD. If any readers know diffently, please tell me what you think it does, and how you tested it. I'm so curious.
Q: Any tips for map makers out there?
Change your monitor resolution to 1280×1024 before starting the mission editor. The MED cannot handle widescreen well.
Also: 32768 = 0.5m. 16384 = 0.25m. 49152 = 0.75m. 65536 = 1m.
I am 1.78m tall. 0.78 × 65536 = 51118.08. In MED units, that's: Z: [1 ][51118 ]. Please refrain from aiming your weapons any lower than that, thank you.
Q: Which is your favorite DF game?
DFBHD, hands-down, even with TS. The JO demo was good fun, as was the DFX demo, but from videos I've seen of them and DFX2, I'm not sure the full games would appeal to me much.
Novalogic did a ham-handed, cartoony job of it, but DFBHD was the first - and for a long time, the only - game to address the Battle of Mogadishu. It was the first media of any type to really focus my attention on the event, and I recognized mission bits when I saw the movie, and parts of the History Channel documentary were already familiar to me because of the game. NL made an attempt, and I'll always have a place in my heart for them because of that.
But really, the mission editor is the strongest hook the game has in me. It's a creative outlet I'm very grateful for.
Q: You seem to be an admin on most sites I see, please explain this one?
HA! Kidding! If you're not a complete douche-nozzle, you can have a quiet enough time on any forums you care to join, but if you actually go out of your way to be helpful, you generally awaken friendly feelings toward yourself in forum owners and admins. Then if they notice you have time on your hands, measured in how many spam reports you send them, they might ask if you'd like to help.
At least, that's how I figure it happened. The [YOUR FAVORITE CONSPIRACY] can't be running EVERYTHING in my life.
Q: Where did your name Baldo_the_Don come from?
Late 90s, I found a lump or two needing serious chemotherapy. My hair started falling out so I shaved my head. Wife bought the game Caesar 3 and I wanted an emperory-sounding name with "bald" in it. "Baldy the Don" felt not quite dumb enough, but "Baldo the Don" hit the spot. I've used it ever since.
That story would've been more melodramatically entertaining (maybe) if I hadn't procrastinated so long on getting this interview back to you, 2DNED. Sorry.
Q: Anything you would like to say to the DF Community?
As I write this on January 10th, 2016, I'm still grieving for Lemmy and Bowie (and Dimebag and Randy Rhodes and it never really stops), so...
The Void calls. Always, it calls. We defy it as best as we can, and we defy it together. For now. The Void claims us all in time, and I cherish you as much as I can while I'm still here and I still have you. I like being a NovaWorlder, and even the few of you that I hate, I hate conditionally, and conditions change. I feel hopeful about that.
NovaWorld is a tiny place. I'll be sorry when it's gone, but I'm glad to be part of it.
Thanks for your time.
Baldo's philosophy has two rules, each rule has two versions:
1. Be kind to others. 2. Learn as much as you can.
1. Don't be a dick.* 2. Don't be stupid.
*With apologies to Wil Wheaton