I finished recording a new rock instrumental. I hope you enjoy it.
My Portal2 Map Featured on PCGamer.com
I found out a week or so ago that PCGamer.com did a feature on 13 innovative Portal 2 maps, and they start things off with my Quantum Entanglement maps.
“It’s by turns baffling then enlighteningly brilliant.” — PC Gamer
AWESOME! These maps keep getting more love from the community, and that makes me really happy.
link: Portal 2 maps: 13 inventive, innovative community challenges
Strong4Life Responsive Design
Last week we launched a Responsive Design for Strong4Life. It was quite a challenge figuring out how to get all of the elements into a small layout, but I am really pleased with our results.
We used our own variation of the Extra Strength Responsive framework to handle all of the media queries and CSS, based on our determined break points. This framework made it pretty simple to convert a variety of different page layouts to the flexible responsive grid.
I’ve been tinkering with a new Digital Audio Workstation software recently called Reaper. This software is amazing, and does so many incredible things. I’ve been doing home recording for quite some time, but always on a very low budget. Reaper provides a great deal of features for a very low price.
Last night I was playing around with a mix using audio tracks I downloaded from mixoff.org. I wasn’t happy with the way the drums were sounding, and I wanted more options. I had heard on the Home Recording Show podcast about a technique for using the recorded drum tracks to send MIDI signals to a drum machine or drum plugin, so I thought I’d give it a try. This turned out to be SUPER EASY in Reaper.
Here’s how you do it:
1. Add the Reaper Gate plugin to the original track, like the bass drum track, for example.
2. Adjust the leftmost vertical slider down to the point that the gate is triggered (opened) every time the kick drum is struck.
3. At the bottom of the ReaGate window, check the box for “Send MIDI on open/close”, and put “36” in the “note” field. 36 is one of the kick drum notes on the EZDrummer plugin, you might have to change it for your setup.
4. Set the “channel” field to 10, which is the MIDI channel typically used for drums.
5. Now let’s setup the drum plugin to listen for the MIDI signal. In Reaper, go to the top menu and choose “Insert/New Virtual Instrument on a new track”. Click the “FX” button on that track and choose your drum plugin. I use EZDrummer.
6. On the EZDrummer track, click the “I/O” button and it will display the Input/Output window for the EZDrummer.
7. Click “Add New Receive”, and select your kick drum audio track. In the Routing panel, select “MIDI: 10 -> ALL. This will tell EZDrummer to listen for MIDI events on channel 10 and use them.
8. Now you can pull down the fader for your original kick drum audio, and you should hear the EZDrummer kick drum playing the exact same part. If notes are missing, you can adjust the gate level down again to make sure every hit is triggering the gate.
This is just one example of the amazing tools you have at your disposal in Reaper.
Project Launch: Take It From The Top
My brother Phil and I love to talk about guitar players. One day we decided that nobody had a decent website where you could go to learn about all of the amazing musicians that don’t get all of the press and fanfare that they deserve.
So we launched Take It From The Top (www.tifttop.com). It’s another WordPress site that I put together where we talk about lots of musicians, some famous, some who deserve to be.
It’s a fun project, and we’ll see if we can connect with other folks who love guitar music the way we do.
More Quantum Entanglement
I finally posted the next episode in my Quantum Entanglement series for Portal 2. I spent a great deal of time on it, coming up with some puzzles that you have not seen in Portal 2 before. I don’t know if word will spread the way my first map did, but I am pretty happy with the results all the same.
Quantum Entanglement II is available in the Steam Workshop at:
One of my games has been reborn!
A few years ago, I worked on a downloadable game for Cartoon Network called “Dropple.” It’s a creative puzzle game that we built in Flash, and we were very proud of it. We put a lot of effort into polishing the gameplay, animations and particle effects.
I suppose they decided to give it a longer life, because they recently updated the artwork and re-launched it for online play at cartoonnetwork.com.
Go and play “Splashback.” It’s a lot of fun!
At Moxie, we just launched a new version of the Strong4Life website.
We built this under a very tight deadline. It gave me an opportunity to learn more .NET server code, which will come in very handy.
I just launched a new WordPress site for Westminster Presbyterian Church.
Theme: “Modernize” by Goodlayers. This theme is AMAZING. Lots of built-in tools, and it made building the site really fun. There is so much flexibility in this theme, as it lets you rearrange a lot of the content, and it does a FANTASTIC job of Responsive Design. It formats really well on tablets and phones.
If you’re looking for a really powerful, mobile-friendly WP theme, this is one you should seriously consider.
A while back, I created a Portal 2 custom map, Quantum Entanglement I, using a new puzzle mechanic that links two cubes together. Quite a few people in the Portal2 community ThinkingWithPortals.com played it, and it got a pretty good response.
Since Valve launched the Steam Workshop, I modified the map to run within that environment so it would be easier for more people to install and play it.
Quantum Entanglement I in Steam Workshop
The response has been overwhelming! It was the #2 most popular map of the day yesterday! Unbelievable.
I have already started on the next installment, and I hope this will become a series of puzzles that present unique new challenges to the game.
Update: #4 Most Popular Portal2 map this week in the Steam Workshop! Over 20,000 total subscribers! Wow!