About the site
Send email to me, Rockslider, at the following address: rockslider at badcyborg.net (make that into an address in the usual way). Feedback and Halo chat welcome. I'll be particularly pleased to hear from anyone who's been enjoying some of the fun described at the site. It's always nice to hear other peoples' experiences with it, and for that matter it's encouraging just to know that people are using the site at all! I'm also happy to help out if you're having trouble following my directions or whatever, and would welcome hearing about any typos or broken links.
Viewing the site
The site should look ok in any modern browser but the design is done particularly with Firefox in mind, with default font size set to 12. You should be able to set your default or 'standard' font size in your browser's preferences, and the site will reflect that preferred size. For comparison here's a snapshot of how part of one of my pages looks in Firefox on my iMac, with a drop-down menu activated. If you're using Internet Explorer you'll want version 8 or higher, as the site no longer makes any effort to support earlier versions.
Opera's rendering of Bad Cyborg's default font for the main content - Lucida Grande - seems a bit ugly in comparison to what I see in Firefox and Safari, and Opera also seems unable to italicize that font when the text is bold or larger than normal. If you don't have Lucida Grande on your computer however, none of that will matter because some other font will get used. But Opera also makes a mess of aligning bullet marks.
History and content
Launched on April 22nd 2004, the site was originally created to describe the fabulous rockslide megabattle which I'd been enjoying for many months. I couldn't find anything about it on tips pages, yet to me it seemed like the single most important 'extra' for any trigger-happy Halo fan to know about, so I did a lot of writing and launched the site to help spread the word. A lot more Halo fun followed and in due course I started covering later games as well, though not the bitterly disappointing Halo 2 which I soon traded back to the shop. The original game is easily my favourite, but by now I've got a large section of Halo 3 fun too, and more recently I've got busy with Reach (having only acquired it quite late).
The site's main focus lies in squeezing additional fun out of campaign play, particularly in regard to obtaining novel combat situations, be they serious or mischievous. Most of this stems from my own explorations but there are also quite a few articles based on things I've read about or that people have suggested, which I try to make clear as appropriate.
Most of my articles have a posting date, but all articles relating to gameplay fun are subject to updating when I have any improvements to make, especially the addition of extra material. As such, the date just refers to the original version of the article, not necessarily the version you now see. In some cases I also say "updated later" or suchlike, to indicate that some fairly significant changes have been made since the original posting. A few early articles are undated because I'm not sure when I posted them; I wasn't dating things when I started the site.
Say hello to Suzie
The whimsical Frontline with Suzie series kicked off soon after Bad Cyborg launched. The name 'Suzie Hoffenblatt' was actually taken from the Soapbox page I'd written earlier. I suppose I was thinking that she'd done a nice enough job of interviewing me there, so we'd pack her off to get busy on Halo. Other humour pieces followed and eventually I formed a separate Humour section.
Now with movies and pictures!
For a long time my content was text only, and I used to get pointed remarks from folk who wanted pictures as well. But I didn't have the technology to oblige and I wasn't too fussed about it anyway. As time went on however, I increasingly felt a desire to produce movies to illustrate novel gameplay fun, so I finally got kitted out. In September 2009 the site moved into a new phase as I released my first movies, along with a visual restyling of the site that included my first batch of pictures.
Plus tomb raiding!
In May 2010 things took an unusual turn as I started a section on Tomb Raider Underworld for the Xbox 360, having decided I had quite a lot to say about it. Strictly speaking I could've done with a whole new website for that, but it's just nestling in the 'Other' category as another videogame interest.
By now I have two movie series. The movies in my original 'BCM' series (BCM = Bad Cyborg movie) are relatively short and mostly associated with bits of nonstandard fun described on the site, while my later 'KSR' series is dedicated to kill 'em all speed runs. The movies can be seen at my YouTube channel Bad Cyborg Movies (comments appreciated!) and also on my site, where you'll also find written commentaries and download links. So far they're all H1 movies (H1 being my biggest interest), but later I may do some for other games.
If you're curious, here's the set-up I'm using to create my H1 movies.
A cable leads out the back of my Xbox and branches into four cables. One ends in a SCART which is plugged into the TV, enabling me to play without any lag as normal (i.e. without any lag between controller actions and onscreen response). The other three carry an S-video signal, left audio (white) and right audio (red). These go into a Canopus ADVC-110 (ADVC = Analog to Digital Video Converter), which converts the signals into a DV stream. That gets sent to my iMac via a Firewire cable (6-pin to 6-pin) which also powers the converter. The DV stream is received by iMovie which builds up a large file from it. After completing my gameplay I stop the capture process within iMovie. I can then use iMovie to create finished movies from the raw footage encoded in the DV file. Specifically I get it to export movies in H.264 format using x264Encoder, a free encoder which I found far superior to the default H.264 encoding offered by iMovie.
The iMac has a 2.8 GHz dual core Intel processor, 2 MB RAM, and a 320 GB hard disc that spins at 7200 rpm. That seems to be plenty good enough for capturing and editing.
The Canopus ADVC-110 isn't cheap but it seemed very well regarded by many reviewers when I researched it on the web, and has worked flawlessly for me so far. It includes a feature called locked audio which keeps video and audio in sync, which seems like a good idea to me. The image quality is limited by the fact that it runs off an S-video signal, but the images are clear enough for my purposes at least, though with dark areas the subsequent iMovie processing tends to introduce annoying posterization effects that really shouldn't be there (a failing of iMovie rather than x264Encoder, I think).
I've been using iMovie '09 for movie production because it came with the iMac and looked quite appealing, and other options would've been expensive anyway. It does have some nice aspects, but it also has a lot of annoyances and violates traditional Apple guidelines in many ways, making it a pain to use. One of the most annoying design flaws is the autosave aspect, which not only makes it difficult to experiment (basically you'd have to duplicate your project and then play about with that), but also leaves you in permanent fear of accidentally making a change (which gets autosaved) and not noticing. The undo facility can't be relied on - it's buggy and your project could get mangled by using it - and changes you make sometimes get forgotten by iMovie, which is maddening. Things are especially fiddly and buggy when it comes to the business of adding captions, something I use in a lot of my movies. Basically I have no feeling of security with iMovie. To me it has the feel of half-baked betaware, but if you're willing to tolerate its shortcomings you can certainly produce serviceable movies with it.
Looking for advice?
I'm no movie production expert, so if you're looking for advice I'm probably not going to be much use other than in having described my set-up above. There's plenty of advice on the web though, including some YouTube videos. Search for terms such as "videogame" and "capture device".
As for the future, I expect to be quite busy producing gameplay movies and pictures for the site, adding to the Bad Cyborg experience. Much of that will be for the large amount of gameplay fun already detailed, and it's going to take quite a while to get through all that, if I ever manage it at all! But I've also got a backlog of H1 and H3 fun to post, and there are later Halo games to explore as well. So, lots more to come!