j a z z t r o n a u t s

informative
video
humorous

#1


What is this?

Jazztronauts is a mod game mode for Garry’s Mod where you drop into a randomly selected map from the Steam workshop and loot everything - down to the walls of the maps themselves - for money. It was developed by a group of talented folks and features impressive scripting that leverages the source engine and the Steam workshop system in order to accomplish some wild stuff. The game has been out for a while and featured on a few streams, but story mode was only finalized very recently.

It has criminally low coverage for how good it is and I would like to maybe do something about that.

Story mode? What kind of plot can this thing even have?

It’s a comedic visual novel with cats and multiple endings. It’s about art history and socio-economics. It features a fantastic jazz and funk soundtrack.

I’ll just, uhhhh… Let the game introduce itself.


Opening and Stage End Music

I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW MORE


The Bartender is a positive thinker! They are nominally in charge of Bar Samsara and the band.


The Pianist’s hobbies include RIPPING and TEARING. She’s the muscle of the band and is very bloodthirsty.


The Cellist is just trying to stay fucked up, man.


The Singer is precious and must be protected at all costs. They maintain the Mewseum.


I’m here to get fucked up responsibly and get paid in anarcho-corporate scrip that has no value outside of buying more guns and tech from my employers solely so I can do my ultra high risk job. It’s a vicious cycle of self-oppression that’s perpetuated by uncaring cats who hunger only for vacation and the suffering of those below them.
*Actual model varies wildly.

So how is this going down?
This will be semi-curated VLP. I’ll try to minimize my speaking part for most of the bar portions.

The talking bits with the cats and some of the early gameplay will be curated, and everything outside that will be cut down to tolerable length since this isn’t a streaming format. Think stream highlights for the smash and grab parts later on. I’ll do my best to explain some of the strategies for getting poorly placed shards. Keep in mind that there is zero quality control on what you get once you jump on that trolley, so I’ll do my best with what I wind up with.

I plan on making a few non-VLP posts regarding engine mechanics, using the packaged mods, and the Mewseum.

The game’s progress is based entirely on the host or server, so I’ll occasionally host P2P MP games so we can go clear out maps and work on fetch quests, which can get pretty difficult and time consuming later on. I’ll see about organizing times if people want to jump in and play with a group, as public MP games don’t give you time for the plot and can become unenjoyably chaotic at times. I’ll see how much interest there is.

Keep in mind I’m in the GMT+10 timezone so that might limit that kind of participation, but feel free to organize groups yourselves. The game is certainly best experienced rather than watched, but I totally understand that people can’t or don’t want to buy a bunch of decade plus old games just to have map prop support for a silly mod of a paid mod.

There’s no real set update schedule as of right now, I’ll post stuff as I edit it.

:siren:There are portions of the game that are probably not good for you if you have epilepsy or sensitivity to that sort of stimulus. The plot has warnings before they happen.:siren:

Let’s get hired.


#2

Jazztronauts is fucking incredible and I adore it. There’s something incredibly satisfying about breaking into a poorly made horror map, stealing everything that isn’t nailed down, going back and stealing everything that is nailed down, then crashing your ride through the barriers of reality to go home. It helps that the writing is pretty superb throughout. Looking forward to seeing what horrors you can uncover. And then rob blind.


#3

I’ve been somewhat avoiding the crazier maps at the start just so I have a little bit of time to explain what’s happening. We’ll get to them later.


pictured: the catchphrase of cowards

Some actual content and getting our first set of fetch quests from the band:

We get to an actual functioning level, talk a bit about brushes and props, and get Cellist’s first scene:


Music:
Fast Forwards: Take Five - The Dave Brubeck Quartet
Cellist: Soulpersona feat. Princess Freesia - You Did It Again (Extended Pleasure Mix)

Some of the stuff in the Mewseum is very educational! It also helps you understand why you can steal some things and not others. Let’s talk about props and brushes.


Props are generally the things you would normally think of as objects in the source engine. They have a predefined model with textures specifically for them. The reason for having the different prop types is because things with physics properties that can cast dynamic shadows are more taxing on the source engine and your computer, relatively speaking. prop_static and prop_detail are very lean and won’t cause much trouble even if there are a lot of them because their lighting is pre-rendered when the map is compiled and they don’t have physics properties. They’re typically used for filler detail in maps. Think pipes on walls and other such decorations. However, cram in 1,000 copies of a prop_physics on your screen and you can expect to crash shortly in the typical classic gmod way.

There’s a prop type called prop_physics_multiplayer that uses a simplified collision model to make it easier on the netcode, as well as the server or the host.

prop_ragdoll is what’s used for ragdolls. Think dead NPCs. They use up a lot of resources.

The prop stealer can steal all of these things right from the start! We need to make sure we start off picking prop rich maps in order to get enough money for our upgrades in a timely manner.


Brushes are very cheap to render and load compared to models, even when they’re very large. You can also assign various textures to them. Because they have to be convex and are typically constructing using basic shapes, they can’t achieve a high poly look like most props. As an example, those crates in the Goldeneye map didn’t add much to the file size because they were just textured cube tool brushes.

de_vangogh_s was made almost entirely from brushes!

Let’s use some walls for example:


In Hammer (the editor), someone constructs the above wall using a box shape and two panels, then specifies that only the front side is to be rendered. When the level is compiled (aka baking), everything except the visible wall is removed and the lighting for those portions is pre-rendered and set in place so that your computer doesn’t need to do more calculations for lighting every time you look at it. The result is shown on the lower half.

The Ultimate Aim upgrade for the prop stealer will allow us to steal all of these things made out of brushes, leaving behind only the shiny pink void. Larger things take more time to steal, but this time comes down as you purchase more World Stealing Speed upgrades. Stealing very large brushes on the ground or walls will also cause the screen to shake!

Next Time: how to use the dresser, smashing+grabbing with a helper, and more cats


#4

:siren: I’ll announce organized group times here, but I have no idea how many people I can host on p2p so I’ll consider it a stress test the first time around. Due to work murdering me and everyone I know this week, it won’t happen during the weekdays and I’ll try to give everyone a few days’ notice. Feel free to add me on steam if you want. Any time I’m playing gmod I’ll run it as a p2p server unless I’m trying to record cutscenes or something, so feel free to jump in.:siren:

Starting off with more sane maps. Protip: don’t stand up once the trolley starts moving.


Filler Music: Herbie Hancock - Hang Up Your Hang Ups

Herbie Hancock is a highly talented jazz pianist who got his big break playing with Miles Davis. While most people know him for his pioneering role in electronic music with hits such as Chameleon and Rockit, he was also highly influential in changing the sound of jazz through the 1960s, making it much more approachable to non-musicians and giving the rhythm section (traditionally bass, drums, and/or piano) a greater role and more freedom.

Using the Outfitter Mod
The Outfitter Mod is how everyone in multiplayer games can show up with whatever model they want! It allows you to load a model directly from the Steam Workshop and then push it out to everyone else on the server.


First, hit C to bring up the context menu. The Outfitter symbol will be somewhere in the top left corner. Click it!


This menu will come up, showing a history of past models and a few options. Choosing Open Workshop will bring up an in-game browser with the Steam Workshop loaded and the search limited to player models.


Use the search bar to find whatever you want. There’s almost everything on here.


Click the model you want.



Hit the subscribe or select button. The browser will close and you’ll see some loading bars pop up in the bottom right.


Select the model you want (it gives you this option if you subscribed to a pack), then hit Submit to broadcast it to everyone else. The other people will then download the model. Please be courteous and avoid super high poly massive models.


The Autowear option will save your selection, automatically loading and broadcasting it whenever you move to another map on a server/host with the Outfitter.


The Camera button gives you a rotating third person view so you can verify that your new model has loaded correctly, and you’re good to go.

:siren:Cellist’s good stuff flashing lights/colors trip is at the end of this one.:siren:

Time to turn in all that garbage we got.

Next time: the maps get stupid, pipes cries, i crash a bunch, and


#5

let’s talk about art history, part 1


Music:
Maynard Ferguson - Give it One
Maynard Ferguson - Gonna Fly Now (Theme From Rocky) Special Disco Version

Some people who are coincidentally big dumb babies say that trumpets should play in a controlled register with good tones. True heroes die screaming their part up an octave while staring the conductor or band leader in the eye like you wanna stop me you gotta fight me on stage. Maynard Ferguson is Canadian, A TRUE HERO OF THE PEOPLE, and the patron saint of playing trumpets really fucking high and loud. Playing at those pitches is incredibly taxing and unless you’re a freak like him then any attempt at replicating one of his solos without considerable training will probably result in you blowing out your lip and spraying blood everywhere like a shitty horror movie jump scare.

He’s pretty widely considered one of the best trumpet players of all time and there are very, very few people even today who are physically able to play some of the pieces written for him. He was also extremely talented in a number of instruments and was an excellent classical musician first, but that’s not really what he’s famous for. Maynard Ferguson dropped out of high school to become a musician, picked up jazz, and moved down to the US in the hopes of playing in on of Stan Kenton’s big bands. He got famous playing with Stan Kenton and later got picked up as a studio player for movie soundtracks for a while. He eventually got out of that - mostly because his contract didn’t allow him to play in clubs anymore - and got into being a big band leader where he produced a lot of hits during the 70s.

We hit the " good " maps so Pianist is a big meanie.


Music:
John Coltrane - Giant Steps

Imagine being such a huge fucking badass at your instrument that you just make up complicated new music theory and the sheet music that you just jammed out real quick 10 minutes before recording is still perhaps the most difficult jazz standards ever made 60 years later. That’s John Coltrane. Giant Steps is named after the very rapid key changes throughout the song, with each key change being about as far away as you can get from the last one. Despite this, it still sounds good and goes through a very natural sounding cycle of tension and resolution.

The very rapid arpeggiated soloing, high tempo, and the driving hi hat are all staples of a category of jazz called bebop. While it’s not all as fast as what Coltrane plays (it’s really hard to do that on anything that isn’t a woodwind), improvisation is generally less melodic and more frantic. It’s not the most approachable type of music because a lot of the fun of it is seeing how a song presents a challenge to the musician, which leads to some weird sounding things.

*I actually goofed on the sound recording for the second vid which is why you might see some weird stuff like me not turning in quests until after ng+.
Next Time: Ending A


#6

Hey, what is the music playing in episode 6 during the conversation with the Cellist?


#7

That would be Save the Overtime For Me, by Gladys Knight.


#8

No cats, just a bad map montage.


Music:
Stan Kenton - Also Sprach Zarathustra

A pianist turned band leader, Stan Kenton was renowned for putting together big bands with immense amounts of talent and producing very fun arrangements. He acted as a mentor to an immense number of talented musicians and put together some of the first jazz education programs through his jazz clinics. His touring bands were very popular and widely known for their bombastic brass sections, where enthusiasm was often prioritized over “being correct.” Most of the albums included a couple of covers in additional to the original arrangements. Maynard Ferguson was a frequent soloist for the band.

His entire library was donated to University of North Texas, the first university to have a full studio and jazz studies program in the US. I’ll cover that later.

The first ending!

Next Up: fifth cat???


#9

Sorry for the lack of updates recently, been busy. I’ll catch up this week. But hey, at least my jello came in:

do not attempt to cook at home like this

The rolls are really good and I had to give most of them to my neighbors so I didn’t eat the whole pan.

Next Up: non-filler episode


#10

I take the right path during the intro, get Pianist’s next quest, and meet worst cat.

h e l l p o r t a l s

Next Up: bad map bonanza


#11

Okay fifth cat genuinely caught me off guard there. Let’s see how this goes.


#12

Fifth cat is creepy. We’re getting the bad end next, which is really terrible.

:siren:Next mp session will be Sunday 0900 (GMT+10) / Saturday 1800 (US Central):siren:

:siren: Filler eps incoming, no cats, just weird maps and hell portals. :siren:

Nintendo port map bonanza.


Music:
Dizzy Gillespie - Manteca
Tiny Tim - Livin’ In the Sunlight, Lovin’ In the Moon Light

Dizzy Gillespie plays trumpet in a way that breaks pretty much every rule of how it’s traditionally taught, from his chin-down posture to his signature puffy cheeks. He perfected a technique called circular breathing, where you use your cheeks as a surge volume full of air so you can keep playing while you breath through your nose so you don’t have to pause to breath. It requires really strong cheek muscles! Dizzy was also known for his trumpets with bent horns, which provided two benefits: 1) increased backpressure, which helps with range and is better for cyircular breathing at the cost of a less open tonal quality, and 2) allows you to duck your chin while still projecting sound up and out instead of into the floor/crowd.

The Goldeneye Dam map again, protips and trolley tricks with Iamgoofball, and a map bad end. :tw: Lots of flashing lights from 2:00 to 2:08 :tw:


Music:
UNT One O’Clock Lab Band feat. Sean Jones - Ray Noble - Cherokee
Gears of War 2 - Landown
Gears of War 2 - Finale
Hans Zimmer - Rangers Lead the Way [Victory Theme]

As previously mentioned, the University of North Texas was one of the first to have a studio and jazz musician program, and is still perhaps the most prestigious major university for jazz education. Remember that Stan Kenton donated his entire music library to them! The Lab Bands are big bands named after the time slot they occupy in the course schedule, with the One O’Clock being the most competitive to try out for. The later Lab Bands (Two O’Clock, Three O’Clock) are where everyone else is filtered in to, but they’re still incredibly talented. The tryouts are hard even by professional standards.


#13

Trying to get more quest stuff and our second to last meeting with fifth cat.


Music:
Charles Mingus - Moanin’

Charles Mingus was a huge angry man who was a double bass prodigy and lead incredibly talented bands. He is perhaps the best ensemble jazz composer and was influenced by the generation of band leaders before him, especially Duke Ellington. He suffered heavily from depression, but was more of the I’m going to smash this $20k bass on stage sort than sad. He’s one of the few people to get fired from Duke Ellington’s band (due to an onstage fight with their trombonist), would often try to fight band members and/or the audience, fired a shotgun off in his own apartment, and punched a guy in the face while they were working on a score.

Of course, he’s better known for leading some incredible bands and pushing the New Orleans style of collective improvisation!

PROP SURFING
So a brief explanation of what the whole standing on boxes and getting flung into the air thing was in that last video: it’s called prop surfing, and is a physics trick in the source engine. The basic idea is that you stand on top of something you can move, then move it towards yourself somehow. In gmod, the easiest way to achieve this is by standing on something, selecting it with the physics gun, and scrolling to drag the item closer to you. We did this to attempt to fly up and reach a shard that was out of jumping distance.

The source engine will try to push you away from the incoming object. However, you’re still holding the object and dragging it into yourself, so the object follows you and continues to push you away. Due to the way that collisions are resolved, this results in you being pushed up and/or away from the thing you’re surfing on, allowing you to effectively fly. You can also freely walk around on top of the object to steer it in different directions. However, this is generally not the most stable thing ever, and your chances of it ending in you getting crushed by your own prop or falling to your death are pretty high. Using a wide, flat object like a tin roofing panel will maximize your chances of success.

Youtube has a couple of guides on it (especially for doing it in game modes where you don’t have access to the phys gun) if you want to see more examples of it.

Card games with cats and a bad end.


Music:
Duke Ellington - Caravan

Duke Ellington was a jazz orchestra leader who got his start in the 20s and really helped popularize jazz around the world. He helped compose more standards than anyone else, toured around the world, and mentored many great musicians. He made his break in Harlem during the Harlem Renaissance while playing in clubs and at house parties. His radio and record hits brought jazz into the mainstream in America during the 20s and 30s.

Next Up: quest objectives in multiplayer, more cats


#14

I get my Kleiner out of the ng++ intro, then Don Corleone, Mac Tonight, and Pepsiman go on a mission from god to destroy all spooky maps (their shipping name is pepsimac)


Music:
Chet Baker - Autumn Leaves

Chet Baker was a trumpeter and vocalist known for his soft, laid back sound. Many compared his voice to Frank Sinatra’s. He struggled with drugs his whole life, eventually dying from a fall from a hotel after speedballing heroin and cocaine. At one point he got all of his teeth knocked out after getting jumped during what most people presume was a drug deal, and he had to relearn his embouchure (basically had to relearn the lips part of the trumpet) with his dentures on.

Next Up: pepsimac, maybe more cats


#15

HACKING GOGGLES
In the next video you’ll see a few times where I switch to an item that causes a bunch of yellow boxes, text, and green lines to show up on the screen. Those are the hacking goggles, which visualize the map’s triggers, which are a type of brush that you normally can’t see. Most of the triggers are trigger_once, trigger_multiple, trigger_look, and trigger_proximity, which are used to help program the map for various things. You can use the hacking goggles to figure out how to progress in a map that’s heavily constrained by triggers, such as a story map, puzzle map, or spooky map.

You’ll see a few jumpscares/spookums in these maps that are trigger_look (it spawns something and plays a sound when you turn around, etc.) and other things that have delayed timing. Triggers that rely on each other are connected by green lines, and you can see a box travel along it and the green line will light up when one trigger is signaling the next. Some of these are delayed, hence the slow moving boxes.

Don Corleon, Pepsiman, and Mac Tonight stumble though a series of spooky “puzzle” maps and try not to crash.


Music:
Jimmy Smith - Portuguese Soul

Pianist puts on a recorder concerto, and it’s bad movie night.

Next Up: Cellist’s last cutscene, more quests


#16

Sorry for the slowed update scheduled, work is slowly killing me.

Cellist’s last scene and naming dolls with Singer.

Next Up: QUESTS~


#17

Serious character development? In my comedy game?! It’s more likely than you think.

Also, -sharp intake of breath- I may not be a drug addict and a jerk about it but man do I relate to the feeling worthless and having the fear that everyone will one day realize that and leave me. Geezus, that hit hard.


#18

It’s based on a lot of the writer’s old friends. Cellist’s writer was really worried that the scene would come off as a cheap blow or too heavy handed out of nowhere. Luckily its been pretty well received.

Also sorry, work’s been killer with all the typhoons blowing through here, but the schedule should be better from now on, except for the part where I’m on travel until the 10th so no updates then either. I’ll probably start only showing interesting maps or ones where I get the super rare stuff (Alyx) because I need to get through a lot of chaff to finish up these quests.

We steal a t-rex, and get Singer’s radiators:


Music:
Woody Herman - Giant Steps

Woody Herman was a clarinetist turned big band leader. He started off with a blues band but eventually moved into jazz and stayed there, and would be famous for including non-traditional instruments into his bands (i.e. bassoons (lol) and oboes) and including rock elements into his compositions. Like many from his time, he made the classic mistake of never paying taxes, resulting in owing millions to the IRS! This somehow never stopped him from performing though.

Next Up: hiatus, vending machines, ALYX


#19

I’m back!

Thanks, ph_storagerooms.


Music:
Lee Morgan - Sidewinder

Lee Morgan often played trumpet for Art Blakely and other Blue Note Label players. Sidewinder was one of his own records and was a big hit at the time it came out, topping both Jazz and R&B charts. He was shot in a bar by his wife after an argument in between sets early into his career.

I’m ready to die on this hill.

Next Up: The last round of quests and the hunt for Alyx.


#20

I got lucky and found the horse statues really quickly.


Music:
Herbie Hancock - Watermelon Man