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Reika's Mods, Maps, and Other Game Content

This is my site to both showcase the content I have made for a wide range of games, as well as provide a central "hub" from which descriptions and download links can be readily accessed. Each game or project has its own section of the site.

This site is largely intended as a successor to my old Google Sites page, which has grown unwieldly (especially the changelog page), and never had the ability to document any of my other content, much of which was relegated to steam workshop items or entries on a game-specific site. While I do not plan to stop using the Steam Workshop or the various mod portals, this site provides a more readily navigated view of my content, as well as more extensive and more easily-maintained descriptions or demonstrations for individual items.

About Me

I am an Aerospace Engineer by education, holding both an undergraduate (ie B.Eng.) and graduate (MASc) degree in the field. I live - and always have lived - in the Toronto Metropolitan area - or as we call it here, the G(reater) T(oronto) A(rea) - and am pretty much as "indoor/city person" as it gets; beyond the occasional trip to a beach or something, pretty much every voluntary activity of mine occurs indoors, usually involving a PC in some way. I spend the vast majority of my free time either playing or making content for games, or developing other software, with the (small) remainder largely composed of things like digital artwork and music composition.

This was reinforced by the fact that I was always that "quiet kid" growing up, which means my interests were pretty much solitary from the beginning. Combine that with my rather strong interest in various scientific and other technical topics, and it is no surprise that as a kid I used to say that my only friends were textbooks (and the various builder kits I used, such as various electronics kits (usually of the "build one of X number of experiments with our component board/denshi blocks" varieties) or mechanical ones ("Capsela" being a particular favorite of mine, aside from its appetite for batteries that I always had trouble sourcing).

I grew up in the 90s and early 2000s, so it was pretty much perfectly timed for me to grow up with - and thus be massively drawn in by - what could be accomplished with computing, given their rapid rise in both ubiquity and power during that time frame. Back then, of course, I was mostly just playing games, usually of the "educational" variety (or at least what I was able to convince my parents was educational). But entering the 2000s I had started to "peek under the hood", so to speak, and it was not long before I started the path onto not just playing games, but modifying them.

That story can be found on the "Origins" page.

My Name

Reika (or the full form of 'ReikaKalseki' I use when simply 'Reika' is unavailable) is not my real name, nor does it have any kind of deeper meaning. I simply made it up while waiting for the GO train one day in the summer of 2011; it is not intended to resemble or reference any particular theme, region, entertainment medium, or existing name or phrase (and indeed, I regret the fact it does have some resemblances to some of those things). I just took random phonemes and assembled them into a "word" which was both easy to say and acoustically pleasing. Also, it is pronounced with a long A (like in "wait"), not a long "E" (or anything else someone might think up) and a short "a". So, "Ray-kuh", not "Ree-kuh", "Rye-kah", "Ruh-Kuh", "Roo-Kuh", "Ray-Kay", or so on. Normally this is not something that much matters, but I do prefer people not say it incorrectly when saying it in audible media (eg Youtube videos), as it leads to more corrective work for me later.

Why I Make Mods/Maps/Etc

At the core of it, because I enjoy it. I greatly enjoy the design process - aside from when I am suffering from lapses in creativity, at least - and (generally) enjoy the actual implementation as well, including even the programming. I am also generally strongly motivated by the end result, both in terms of gameplay - I generally only implement features I want to play with, and if something I want does not exist, I tend to create it - as well as the fact it does greatly please me to see others enjoying content I have created.

More often than not, when I get into modding a game, it is because there were tweaks - or large-scale changes or additions - I wanted to make to the gameplay experience. For smaller-scale changes, this is often either an irritation with a specific balance decision, or my desire for what is usually termed a "quality of life" feature. Larger mods and ideas tend to grow out of those small ones - many of my largest mods started as tiny single-feature projects designed to address a single element of the game. Many examples of this are described in the "history" section of the various game pages, which details the general course of my "career" making content for that game.

How This Website Was Made

For those who are interested, this website is actually the fourth iteration and attempt at making a site for all my content; the first three all were abandoned in various stages of completion due to various issues arising during design. Some of the content here does survive from earlier versions - for example the dynamic background generator on the Minecraft pages is largely copied from the two prior iterations. The original version was modelled after the site I designed for my private MC modpack, with a php backend used to process and deliver the downloads, as well as provide some level of dynamic page construction based on the serverside data. Subsequent versions tried a more javascript-heavy approach, but those ran into performance issues and headaches with people who disable all JS on principle (thus resulting in complete site breakage).

This version is built with a new kind of tool, a variation on the concept of a "Static Site Generator" (as suggested by a far more experienced developer I know). I took the Apache Velocity engine - which is a Template engine very amenable to dynamically constructing HTML - and wrote a Java application to use it to generate the HTML pages for this site (based on "content definition" files indicating what pages to create and what to populate them with, as well as a few base templates for things like the navbar and footer). The net result of this is that the site, being made mostly of static HTML, is both secure and fast, though some JS remains necessary for things that have to be dynamic (eg the aforementioned background). That developer also helped walk me through modernizing the frontend web data packaging process, allowing for major improvements in the performance of the CSS and JS, as well as provided fixes for the more finicky CSS (read: anything involving nonstandard positioning or dynamic behavior).