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I just released my first album of piano music and it is available on bandcamp!
It’s comprised of six pieces written for various occasions, each with a story behind them. It is only $0.50 for the entire album. Though if you would like to pay more you are more than welcome.
The album will also have a physical version of which I am currently working on!
The album will also be available for free download on my website. This post will be updated when that happens.
This post is a discussion on the Medic and the health meter as meta-game strategy. For a introduction to playing the Medic class, please stay tuned for my Beginner’s Guide to Medic.
Please also note that this article does not take into effect certain status effects or damage modifiers such as Crits or Mini-Crits
It could be argued that the Medic is the single most important class in all of TF2. In “modern”, health comes across as a somewhat arbitrary thing. You take damage, your vision gets blurry and suddenly you’re on the floor dead. In games like Call of Duty there is no health meter that helps you keep track of how much damage you can take.
In Team Fortress 2 this meter is essentially the whole game. The lower your health the smaller your chance of completing the goal. Some will say that it’s not the health that matters it’s the objective and, yes, the objective is the key to winning the game.
If you take a step back and look at the game as a whole, what is the deciding factor in every facet of the game? Health.
Overheal as Offensive Capability
Let’s talk about cp_foundry for a second. The middle point is a classic mid-fight type situation. If you were to go into this with a team of 1 Scout and 2 Soldiers facing off against the same with equal health, equal skill and arriving at the same time the fight would more than likely end in a stalemate. Let’s say this situation is the same but one of your Soldier’s is at half health. The team with the wounded Soldier would be at an extreme disadvantage. Assuming equal skill equates to perfect hits for both teams, the team with the wounded Soldier would quickly find themselves one man down and either retreating or risking losing another player.
Now, bring a Medic into this situation and we get the opposite effect. Let’s add the Medic to one of the teams. On the way to the mid-fight, the Medic was able to overheal the Scout and one of his Soldiers (commonly known in Competitive TF2 as the pocket). The 2nd Soldier has rocket jumped ahead (commonly known as the roamer) and has used his overheal in the process. By the time both teams reach the mid-point, our Medic buffed team has a total combined health that, assuming they all arrive fully overhealed, is almost double that of the opposing force. Once again assuming equal skill levels, the team with overheals will win the mid-fight.
The Medigun as Deathmatch Aid
There have been many a situation where health packs were nowhere to be found. Often times, a player will have to rely on their deathmatch (dm) skills to survive bouts. But what happens when it’s not just a 1v1 fight and a player is forced to battle against multiple opponents.
The Medic is an invaluable tool here. If a Soldier gets into a fight with another Soldier with no source of health nearby, the fight will be determined simply by who can land the most shots first. If you give one of these Soldiers a Medic to supply them with constant healing, the chance of the non-patient Soldier to survive this bout drops drastically.
Even if the non-patient Soldier were to land a hit on the patient Soldier the health lost would be restored in seconds. The medigun, when used properly, can guarantee the win of a DM situation.
Ubercharges as Insurance
Another unique skill of the Medic is the Übercharge. Whether it be stock Über or Kritzkrieg, the Übercharge effect acts as a kind of insurance for the Medic and his team. With an Übercharge with the stock Medigun a Medic can grant 8 seconds of invincibility to himself and any teammate. This invincibility can even be shared with multiple teammates for a short amount of time by switching healing targets mid charge.
The Kritzkrieg is a different type of Medigun. Instead of providing invincibility it provides 100% guaranteed critical hits. I’ll cover this in more detail in a later article.
The Übercharge can be used to make a push on an enemy position, to aid in the defense of an objective or as a buffer to ease the retreat from a dangerous situation. The Übercharge is often a game deciding factor. It provides the team deploying it to go wherever they please without the risk of damage for the length of the charge.
Let’s refer back to the situation I posed at cp_foundry. If one team were to move in with a full Übercharge, they could deploy as the arrived at the point and use the Soldiers to bomb the opposing team. More than likely, they would be forced to retreat, giving the Scout time to capture the point.
TF2 is all about skill. You must have strong DM and an experienced game sense in order to make your actions count. These actions are efforts to whittle down an opponents HP enough that they either retreat or die from their wounds, allowing you to take whatever the objective is.
Aside from health packs, the Medic is the main thing that can restore these points to players and, thus, the class that has the biggest effect on the outcome of a match.
With the advent of Steampipe becoming official I thought I would post how I am running my idle farm for TF2.
The first step, is to make sure that you have updated to steampipe. This should be rather simple as if you start the game at any point past this post the game will automatically update if you haven’t already.
The majority of steps that I used were outlined in this facepunch forum topic, but this forum has since been closed to the public.
NOTE: This will not work on Mac or Linux though I have heard there is a way to idle farm on Linux without Sandboxie.
Step 1) Install Sandboxie
You can get this program here.
Step 2) Set Up your first Sandbox
In sandboxie, create a new sandbox. Name it the name of your first idle account.
Right click on the new sandbox and select “Sandbox Settings”.
Go to Resource Access -> File Access -> Full Access.
Add the drive that you have steam and TF2 installed on.
This gives sandboxie access to the entire drive and the necessary files.
Go to Restrictions -> Drop Rights and make sure the box is unchecked.
I would recommend setting up automatic file deletion to save space in your sandboxes.
Step 3) Set up all other Sandboxes
Create a new sandbox for each idle account and import the settings from the first sandbox you created.
This saves a lot of time.
Step 4) Set up your batch files for each idle account
You need to create a batch file for each idle account to start up steam & tf2.
Right click on your desktop and select Create New -> Text Document.
Copy and past the following, filling in the necessary information.
start /low C:”Program Files (x86)”Steamsteam.exe -login username password -applaunch 440 -textmode -novid -noipx -nojoy -nopreload -sw -width 640 -height 480 +map itemtest
Username and password should be the login credentials for your idle account.
Save the file as a .bat.
You can use this batch file to start up TF2 using an idle account in textmode.
Do this for each one of your idle accounts.
Step 5) Create the master batch file to launch each batch at once.
Create a new .bat file and save as something like “Launch_Idle_Farm.bat”
Include this information.
start C:”Program Files”SandboxieStart.exe /box:name of sandbox to use “C:Path to .bat”
timeout /t 100 /nobreak > NUL’
The first program path should be directed at where you installed Sandboxie. Then, put in the name of the box that you want to launch your first idle account in.
Before steampipe, when I launched my idle farm, you had to have a steam folder for each and every idle account. Which meant either making a copy of each steamapps folder or messing around with symbolic links. Thanks to steampipe, this isn’t needed but a tiny amount of extra work is required when making the master batch. You can’t open all the idles at once.
The 2nd line tells your batch to wait 100 seconds to start the next batch file. This prevents steam from trying to launch the same program by multiple users at the same time which would result in a “Could not connect to Steam servers” error.
You need to copy this information for each and every idle account that you have.
There is probably a better way to do this but I prefer to do it this way.
If you are so inclined, you can even make a setting in the master batch to shut down your computer or quit the programs after a specified amount of time. I recommend doing a little bit of research on batch files and commands if you’d like to learn how to do this.
Step 6) Launch your idle farm.
Save everything if you haven’t already and click on your idle farm launch .bat
Watch as your farm starts harvesting items.
The film “Tryouts, directed by the wonderful Lauren Ciaravalli has been selected for inclusion at this years Sarasota Film Festival.
Visit this link to learn more about Lauren and her film!
Visit this link to learn more about the festival
Four films that I scored and one that I sound designed will be playing at this years First Run Film Festival, hosted by NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. They will be playing this weekend at the following times.
-Friday, March 23rd, 2012-
“Sicky” by Lauren Minerath- March 23rd, 2012 @ 8:30 PM
“Lifted” by Zachary Goldberg- March 23rd, 2012 @ 8:30 PM
-Saturday, March 24th, 2012-
“A Very Tight Place” by Derek Simon- March 24th, 2012 @ 12:30 PM
“The Bear” by R. Jameson Smith- March 24th, 2012 @ 8:30 PM
“Off Book” by J. Steven Madura- March 24th, 2012 @ 2:30 PM
Conway and Jeff had been searching for weeks now with no luck. Their searches took them to the farthest edges of America. There and back again, they found no sign of the crew of the Tesla.
They returned to New York hoping that maybe if they continued sending out messages someone would recognize them.
Conway sunk into a hopeless depression. Jeff did his best to cheer him up. But there was nothing he could do.
One day, there was a brilliant storm. Wind and rain engulfed the city and threatened to rip it from it’s foundations. Conway and Jeff
did not hear the evacuation orders in time and were stuck amidst the chaos. As they hunkered down to try and wait out the storm lightning struck a tree outside their building. The impact shook the building and Jeff screamed in excitement.
“There is nothing more exciting then a lightning storm. Eh, Conway?”
But Conway was preoccupied with something. He stared out at the torrent and seemingly muttered to himself.
“Conway, you okay?”
Jeff placed his hand on Conway’s shoulder. Conway ripped it off quickly and thrust his face in front of Jeff’s.
“To the roof, NOW!”
Conway burst into a sprint, dragging Jeff along side him, until they reached the roof of the building.
Once there, Jeff and Conway realized the strength of the storm. They couldn’t maintain their footing for more than a few seconds.
Even less so when the wind blew harder. They were soaking wet the instant they opened the door.
“Conway! We must get off this building. This is dangerous!”
“NO, JEFF! FD, is in charge right now. I must hear what he’s trying to say.”
Perplexed, Jeff rushed up to Conway to try and pull him inside.
Suddenly, lightning flew from the sky and struck Conway, Jeff merely inches away. Jeff was knocked off his feet and sent skidding to the edge of the roof. He slipped off the side and grabbed onto a nearby window at just the last second.
Jeff scrambled to keep his grip, the water and wind making it increasingly difficult. His breathing became quick, his mind was racing, he was going to die!
“CONWAY!!!”, he screamed. Jeff looked up and saw more lightning. It began to strike the building as if someone were using it to lay siege to their home. A large bolt slammed the building and Jeff lost his grip. He began to fall.
Time seemed to slow down as Jeff screamed. He looked up and saw Conway, falling just above him.
Conway opened his eyes and looked into Jeff’s. Conway’s eyes were an unnatural, almost demonic orange with a tint of blue in the center.
Jeff could not look away. He felt at peace while at the same time feeling an inexplicable kind of fear.
Moments later, he felt a crushing impact on the back of his head, and all became black.
Jeff relived his entire life up until that point. All in a second, though each moment felt like a lifetime. At the summation of his existence, he saw a man standing alone looking straight at him. This man seemed lonesome, longing for a friend or a lover. Jeff felt a connection with this man, he felt the urge to search for him. To bring him back to the one’s that he loves.
WHAM! Jeff awoke to Conway slapping him across the face. Jeff yelled and tried to shake off these uncomfortable feelings he had.
“His name is FD,” said Conway.
Jeff got to his feet and looked at Conway.
“The man that you just saw. FD, short for Franklin Davidson. The gunner of my ship.”
Jeff rubbed the back of his head, wincing slightly.
“How do you know I saw him?”
“The storm was FD, Jeff. FD was channeling himself through the storm. He knew we were somewhere and needed to find us. He sent his essence through the lightning and after striking us was able to possess us in a way.”
“I don’t believe it Conway.”
“I do, Jeff. I know where FD is.”
Conway stared at Jeff determined.
“And he desperately needs our help.”
Download Link: Right Click to Save
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Conway sat in the dimly lit cellar drinking his scotch as if it were water. It’s been a few weeks since his crew went missing and it was obvious it was beginning to affect him. He asked me to sit with him so he wouldn’t have to be alone. He then told me the horror story of their trip through hell.
He began to talk in depth about the science behind wormholes. There are so many theories concerning wormholes but no one really knows anything about them.
“That’s what makes facing one so terrifying”, Conway said, “you have no idea what could be on the other side.”
In this case that statement was never more true. Conway spoke of a reprehensible heat that began to bear down on the ship. They couldn’t seem to get control of their ship. Shifting the thrusters to full power forward only made them spin out of control. There were all manner of screams coming from all directions. Colors shifted constantly, objects couldn’t hold their shape, the fabric of space was ripping at the seams in front of their eyes.
Manifestations of their worst fears and insecurities appeared before them. Some of the crew thought they were angels, others saw deeper into themselves.
Suddenly, everything went black. Conway and his crew were standinEsg on the deck of their ship in an empty void.
“There must be something here,” claimed Dr. Esteban, “it can’t be absolute nothing if it’s black.”
“Stow that, Cornelius,” cried out FD, “were lost and that’s that.”
Without warning the ship shuttered and began to tear apart. Cracks opened up in the deck, the engine began to overheat, and the navigation equipment went mad. The crew could not maintain their footing and fell to the floor. The ship lurched to one side, almost as if it had been hit by a wave, and began to topple over. FD and Esteban fell off the edge of the ship into the void. Conway screamed their names hoping it would do some manner of help.
That left just him and Kathryn, hanging from a support beam in the railings. They looked into each others eyes terrified as the ship began shaking again. What looked like meteors began to slam into the ship. Conway began to loose his grip on the ship and on Kathryn. Conway readjusted the grip in his right hand, determined not to loose Kathryn.
“Conway!” screamed Kathryn. Conway looked up and saw stars gathering above them, more than a few of them were nearing the end of their life.
All was quiet again, for a brief moment, when the stars began to supernova. The ship rocked uncontrollably and debris flew as if possessed. A meteor smashed into the ship just next to Conway and he lost his grip on Kathryn. She screamed his name as she fell and Conway could do nothing but look on in horror.
He was alone now, on the deck of the airship. He looked at the destruction all around him, trying to come to terms with his imminent death. He closed his eyes and tried to keep himself calm when he heard a voice. The voice guided him through the events of his life, forced him to relive the good and bad things that had happened to him. He felt a sharp stabbing pain in his chest and screamed.
He let go of the ship and landed in the middle of Madison Square Park in New York City. Disoriented beyond reason, Conway stood up and looked at the world about him. This was not Elytio.
He wandered for days, happy to be free of the hell in the wormhole, but unsure of what would happen next.
That’s when he met with me.
He said that he’s sure that the voice must have been an angel. There was nothing else that could have saved his life.
The weird thing, he says, was the angels voice sounded an awful lot like mine.
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Conway Cooperson is an airship pirate, and captain, from Elytio (el-eeshio), a floating city in a different dimension from ours. His ship is crewed by three others. They travel in an attempt to rid their world of their oppressive government.
One day, Conway was placed in jail and tortured. His crew promised to free him. Five years later on the anniversary of his arrest, they arrived in the Airship Tesla and rescued him. They made a run for it but were quickly pursued by the Brotherhood of Virgil, Elytio’s police force. But the Airship Tesla was too fast.
The Brotherhood’s captain, upon realizing that he would never be able to catch Mr. Cooperson, decided to take drastic measures. He ordered every police ship other than his own out of the area. Conway and the crew of Tesla were confused but took the opportunity to escape. Before they could, the Brotherhood’s captain fired an experimental weapon, built into his ship the ES N. Copernicus, that opened a hole in the fabric of space and time.
Conway ordered the crew of the Tesla to put all their effort into avoiding the wormhole, but they could not surpass it’s mighty strength. The Airship Tesla, as well as the N. Copernicus, were sucked into the wormhole and never heard from again.
At least in Elytio.
One day, Jeffrey Brice, a young traveler and musician, noticed something strange in his room. He heard voices and music coming from inside his walls. The noises appeared frequently until, one day, stopping all together. The next day a portal opened in his room. It took him into a kind of nether world where he saw the Airship Tesla and ES N. Copernicus, both burning and abandoned. He first checked the N. Copernicus and found the experimental weapon, intact. It was not operational but had a series of knobs and buttons on it. He looked it over fascinated. He dusted off the nameplate to see what it read. “The Drop”. He flipped a switch and it began to hum. Manipulating knobs he saw that he could change the sound, variating it’s pulse, it’s timbre, among other things. He packed it the best he could and brought it back with him.
On his way out, he saw something shining on the deck of the Airship Tesla. Jeffrey walked aboard the ship, immediately receiving an awkward lonesomeness. He approached the shine and found it to be a CD along with a note simply saying, “Help -CC”. He brought the CD and the note back with him along with the weapon.
Jeffrey took the CD and the weapon and began to combine them, creating music he’d only ever heard in his dreams. He finished a number of songs and put them together. Taking samples from the CD and the name from the only words of instruction still visible on the top of the weapon, “Anger Push Mode”.
A few days later, he was contacted by Conway Cooperson. They arranged a meeting and Conway explained his plight. He told Jeffrey about being put in jail, the escape, the chase, and the N. Copernicus. He told Jeff that the Airship Tesla was pulled through Hell and in the process he lost his crew as well as his ship. He is now stranded in our world. He doesn’t know why, but he was drawn to contact Jeff. Jeff told him all about what he had seen and what he had done with the music. Conway saw this as a sign and enlisted Jeff to help him find his crew and his ship. In return, Conway agreed to help him with his music, and even bring him to Elytio, if he so desired.
That brings us to now. Jeffrey and Conway have begun searching and releasing music that they hope Conway’s crew members will recognize.
Kathryn Cooperson: Pilot.
Dr. Esteban Cornelius: Navigator
Sir Franklin “FD” Davidson: Gunner
The crew of the Airship Tesla. Lost in our world.
“Are you worried, you know, about your friends?” Jeff asked.
“I’m not worried about them, they’ll stand by our pledge.”
“None shall die, unless all aboard the Tesla.”
Love is a warm blanket
Love is a cold drink on a hot day
Love is running around with your best friend
Love is playing hide and go seek when the power goes out
Love is understanding
Love is a burrito from Tito’s Tacos
Love is dancing to your favorite song
Love is singing along even if you don’t know the words
Love is a soft shirt
Love is a sunrise and a sunset
Love is the first bottle of wine with your wife
Love is lying in an empty field and looking at the stars
Love is a song
Love is a melody
Love is an english horn solo
Love is an expression of your belief
Love is a suspension of your disbelief
Love is letting go
Love is is letting in
Love is finding out
Love is Jesus Christ
Love is running and never stopping
Love is exploring uncharted territory
Love is stepping out of the rain
Love is singing in the rain
Love is getting lost in your favorite movie
Love is the meaning of life
Love is him
Love is her
Love is sharing your time
Love is caring
Love is a newborn child
Love is old friends
Love is the every chapter of your favorite book
Love is a balloon
Love is ice cream
Love is wasting time outside
Love is recess
Love is a fine meal
Love is from your heart
Love is from your mind
Love is from your soul
Love is what you make of it