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Davis the giant red squid
Segment 5: A Very Important NetMeeting

Originally encoded on December 4th, 2018 and published on January 10th, 2019

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Squids

Davis and Ghugmur

squids

It was a long time coming, but it was finally time to reveal who that strange, deep-voiced guy behind the new Pentium Pro computer and the new exciting Voodoo3 for exciting Peanuts gaming was. Yes, he is a squid, and he has a voice synthesis module surgically implanted in him because he is incapable of talking otherwise.

Ghugmur on NetMeeting

I considered this to be an evolution of the bass videos everyone always keeps begging me to make more of. Here, the characters actually establish some complex depth to them, and find themselves in highly anthropomorphic struggles with themselves. I never really got around to developing them further apart from goofy photoshoots since making this video, but they at least seem to do their job well there.

Ghugmur the giant blue squid

The two clips of the squids talking to each other were prerecorded; I first recorded the voice tracks I needed, gave each line some separation, and loaded both of them onto a laptop to play back at the appropriate filming location. From there, I'd just shake the squids' heads around to the voice, and since they have really big heads, it wasn't hard at all. Just had to hide my body behind something like a couch.

Webcams pointed towards a large monitor displaying videos

Once I finished recording the clips, my intention was to play them back through actual FireWire devices. Supposedly, Windows has supported FireWire since Windows 95 OSR2, and support must've gotten better in 98SE, but I have not been able to get a single device to work with NetMeeting. I eventually gave up and did it the cheap way, the way that I know works: hook up two webcams, one to each computer, and point them both at a larger computer monitor that will play back the two videos! Maybe I should've done that from the start, as it ended up working wonders. Of course, then I would have to dub the original audio clips in editing, making the whole conversation sound less authentic... couldn't I have just used an audio line input somewhere? Dammit!

Not only that, it also accidentally added a tiny joke to the video that had me burst out laughing. These squids were never meant to be able to teleport, let alone so suddenly... but when I left the call too late, one of the clips looped, and Ghugmur returned as soon as he jumped away from the camera! It's actually kind of freaky to think about teleporting squids like that, but hey, just remember that giant red and blue squids are the most important people in the universe and you accept this to be true.

The fifth segment was one of the last I had to really work on. As soon as both sections were filmed on December 2nd and 3rd, it would only be a bit longer before I had most everything behind me, well before the new year even kicked in. I can't tell if I think this style of production where I have to meet deadlines is better or worse for me... getting such a giant load done far ahead of time, all prepared and rolled out consistently was more satisfying, but when my mind runs dry on anything, that pressure of time can end up making the production dreadful.

These squid plushes are huge! If you want one for yourself, they may be available for purchase on Etsy. Although the price has gone up quite a bit since I got two of them, they're very well made, so if this sounds like the kind of thing you'd want, go for it!

Active Desktop...

I've intentionally avoided the first edition of Windows 98 up until this point, but now I think it's become a necessity to show it for what it is... what a great start, too, when Windows 98 Gold crashes bigtime on an AMIBIOS 440LX board, a chipset it officially supported! The damn thing was so buggy that I couldn't complete an installation on some Super Socket 7 board I got months later unless I used Hierma to preload a chipset driver. Windows 98 Gold legitimately encapsulates all the stereotypes of Windows 9x being so crash-happy. It's that fucking bad.

Watch video: How Windows 98 Gold works (MP4)

Windows 98 Active Desktop Channel Bar (US)

But hey, Windows 98 was far ahead of its time, right? Placing advertisements on the fucking desktop and all, completely standard-issue with a fresh installation of an operating system... but that just proves Windows 10 to be a severe regression. There's pretentious OEMs bundling a shitton of pointless softwarez, and then there's Microsoft forcing you to keep Candy Crush installed. I don't know about you, but I see that as a damning sign that the operating system should not be used at all. Can't believe people are still okay with that shit after the Update 1809 incident.

So... could there be any use to those stupid ass Active Desktop internet widgets at all? Believe me, I tried to see something in it when I was making this... I entertained the idea of it being useful in some intranet for administrative purposes, but seeing how poorly executed this "feature" was just makes it that much more pointless. It had no reason to exist and I'm glad it was exiled, but what we ended up getting in exchange later on turned out to be far worse.

Well, these days you can load this web page as a desktop gadget, it'll render perfectly fine... is that really what you want to do with your life, though? Use Razorback as a bandage for Microsoft's shitty ideas that are rotten to the core? SAD!!!