About

I’m probably supposed to put something super insightful and impressive here.  Maybe later, when I’ve had more experience writing this blog.

So, now for some useful information.  What’s this blog all about, you might ask.  Well, everything and nothing.  I don’t have a particular focus for this blog, so that means everything is on the table for discussion.  I will be trying to avoid specific topics like politics, religion and work particulars (generalizations will occur, I am sure).  And since this is Phil’s Comments, well, it’s going to be about things that I like, or am interested in.  That covers a lot of the traditional geek/nerd obsessions like computers, Star Trek/Star Wars, Dungeons and Dragons, Legos, etc.  I’ll try to balance that with other topics, so it doesn’t get too far off in the deep end :)

So, what do I do?  I’m a software tester by trade.  I like the work, finding it challenging and interesting, if a bit monotonous at times.  I’m not going to mention my employer here, but it’s in the vacation space.  Once I talk to HR and determine what I can and cannot say, I may change that policy, though I do not want this site to become a running commentary on my work life.  If that becomes a large enough topic such that it becomes necessary to split that topic off into a new site, I will do so.

I got my start in testing by working on a game called Alien Cabal.alien_cabal_01 It used a modified doom II engine and unfortunately came out right around the time Quake was wowing everyone.   I won’t even go into the details of trying to get shelf space at CompUSA or similar stores.

Since then, I’ve tested/worked on:

  • multifunction printers (all-in-ones)
  • a medical billing system
  • Windows utility software
  • various websites developed in a consulting house
  • web-based recruiting/candidate tracking/candidate sourcing software
  • customized POS systems
  • document security software
  • vacation-oriented website

Previous to doing software testing, I did the following:

  • worked in management at a fast food restaurant chain
  • worked in management at a sandwich restaurant chain
  • worked in retail (during christmas no less!)
  • worked in management at a convenience store/gas station combo

I’m not sure what else I might have to say at the moment about my experiences other than you might start seeing some funny stories about some of those days waaaay in the past.  Really, all those horror stories about crazy restaurants are true, sorta ( I NEVER messed with peoples food.  That is not cool.  If I wouldn’t eat it, it wouldn’t get served.  honest).

So, sit back and try to enjoy the ride.  I welcome comments.  Email me at philscomments [at] philscomments [dot] com.

4 Comments

  1. Posted September 28, 2013 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    Hello,

    Over at the Doom Wiki we are having a discussion about whether or not Alien Cabal is a Doom II-derived game, as you suggest here. Could you elaborate on this point, and perhaps post some evidence to help clear up the matter?

    http://doom.wikia.com/wiki/Talk:Alien_Cabal#Nomination_for_Deletion

    Thank you.

    • Posted January 3, 2014 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

      Sorry this took so long. IIRC the developer started on the game sometime after Doom II was released. I know he spent some time correcting issues in the original game engine, but I don’t know much about why he chose GOB over WAD. I will see if I can get ahold of the original developer for clarification.

  2. David
    Posted October 17, 2015 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

    Phillip “Phil” McNeely,

    I bought Alien Cabal and have the game on the original CD. Having played it, I think Alien Cabal is a fairly well done game. I like the sound effects that are used, the music that plays on the main menu screen is catchy, and the gameplay, while not quite as fast paced as other FPS games of the time like 3D Realms’ Duke Nukem 3D and id Software’s Quake, is still fun with varied level designs and awesome weapons.

    I managed to get in contact with Greg Taylor, the guy who founded the company QASoft. He released Alien Cabal as freeware, making the full version of the game legal to download for free, this year a few months ago. I did research regarding information about the game engine used in the early Doom games (Doom, Doom II, etc.) and found out that the game engine is not capable of supporting multi level structures (an area with a room on top of another room), nor is it able to create surfaces that are sloped; Alien Cabal has both of these features. It wasn’t until the advent of RORDoom, a Doom source port released in the year 2000, that it would be possible for Doom engine games to have support for room-over-room. As a test, I used the Doom source port ZDoom and tried to run Alien Cabal with it; ZDoom couldn’t find any WAD files, which are required for a Doom source port to run a Doom engine game (Alien Cabal lacks WAD files), and the game wouldn’t run. I did get Alien Cabal to run with the DOSBox program, though, and it worked great!

    The doomwiki.com page that Graham W posted was updated on January 18, 2015 with a comment from Greg Taylor himself. Here’s a portion of the comment from him about Alien Cabal on that website:

    “It was inspired by Doom but uses nothing from it. I wrote the 3D engine myself. The core texture mapper was actually written in highly optimized x86 assembly code. It was fun stuff back in the day.”

    Here’s the source where I got the information about Alien Cabal being released as freeware (I contacted Greg Taylor about the lack of a download link for the full version of the game and he’s trying to get that worked out with the RGB Classic Games website): http://www.classicdosgames.com/game/Alien_Cabal.html

  3. David
    Posted January 10, 2016 at 1:15 am | Permalink

    (This is just as a correction regarding my previous post.) Alien Cabal was released as freeware in 2000, not in 2015.

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