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  Sneak Peek: Kid Mystic 09:31 PM -- Thu September 9, 2004  

In honor of the upcoming beta test, here's a new peek! This is one of those wacky new levels that mix up the gameplay. This one is really silly - it's called Whack-A-Zoid, and I shall leave it in your capable hands to figure out why.
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  Testers Sign up! 05:10 PM -- Thu September 9, 2004  

I will be picking testers later tonight (around 5pm my time, that's Pacific time, GMT-7 these days I think), so if you want to do it, get your application in right now!
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  Mystical Beta 08:35 PM -- Wed September 8, 2004  

If you didn't see in the forums, there is now a Kid Mystic forum, and in it, a call for beta testers, so apply now if you would like to! I will be choosing the testers very soon. The state of Kid Mystic is this: all the fairies are done, all of the first two chapters are done, and the new enemies for the 3rd chapter are mostly ready to go, so I can get on making the 3rd chapter levels. I have 4 fairly decent ideas for those levels, and that's how many I need, so it works out. The beta testers will initially only have access to the first two chapters, since those are the only ones that are done. It's looking good overall, though.

My ears are still imperfect, but recovering. Today Bonsai is at the vet, undergoing something nobody should have to endure, but all pets do. The worst part isn't so much the surgery, but the fact that he wasn't allowed to eat or drink since midnight (which was fun to have him torturing us all night as we had him trapped in our bedroom with us), and then he has to spend all day (until 5pm!) at the vet. I hope they fed and watered him afterwards. He hates to be abandoned, so this is really hard. I feel terrible about it, but I know it has to be done. The other worst part? He has never minded going to the vet at all! Just ran around the room and explored. I think that period of his life is now over. It just really makes me sad. I don't like making people or animals unhappy. I can't wait until I can go pick him up!
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  Eh? What'd you say? 11:40 PM -- Mon August 30, 2004  

So turns out I'm still broken. The antibiotics weren't enough to totally knock out the disease, so here I am with my ear gradually getting deafer, and frankly becoming fairly painful! I'm waiting to hear back from the doctor.

The good news is, we just released a brand spanking new game, totally catching you by surprise! It's not Kid Mystic (I did finish the last of the fairies for that today, though, but there are still 8 levels to make), it's a new one! It's called Derelict, and it's developed by Laughing Dragon Games, with artwork done by myself (the characters and menus, not the backgrounds). I think my style is pretty apparent in the googly eyes. It's a great action game, and you can try out the demo at the Derelict info page, as well as see some screenshots. So tune in and try it out! I've basically been working on it off and on for the past year or so, during my 'free time' after real Hamumu work.

Speaking of free time, I think I'll go take some now. I'm so tired of being tired. I want to get completely well! You don't really appreciate how good it feels to just feel... well, good... except right after when you've been really sick. Then just running to the mailbox feels so great, just because there's energy! Energy is nice. Good day to you, and GO PLAY DERELICT!
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  Recuperation 08:12 PM -- Fri August 20, 2004  

I am a sick puppy. But I'm getting much better now! I really hate being sick.

Random: I will begin to believe the news is actually existing for the purpose of providing the public with unbiased information just as soon as they stop teasing us with stuff like "A very common household chemical can kill you if you look at it funny! We'll tell you which one at 11!". I understand needing time to go into more details, but they hold back one-word or one-sentence bits of info entirely to 'hook' people into watching the whole show, and thus the ads. Profit over public welfare, hooray!

PS - the chemical is dihydrogen monoxide. Beware!
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  Sneak Peek: Kid Mystic 02:49 AM -- Sun August 15, 2004  

One of the main ideas I had when adding new levels to Kid Mystic was to think about the fact that it doesn't have an editor (and still won't!), so I can hardcode things. That means I can really change up the gameplay and do new things. So that's what I've done. Almost every new level adds something new to the gameplay, so it really mixes things up. This level, from Chapter 2, has you hopping on a log to raft down a river. You can't control your speed, all you can do is move left and right. It's a little like the old game Toobin', only not really very much. You have to collect all the orbs like in any other level, but this time you don't get to go back if you miss one! Don't worry though, it's a very short level. Turns out a 128-tile long level isn't that long when all you do is move straight down it. Of course, if you hit a rock, you sink. I also made this level use some modifications of the water effects to make it more like rapids. The rocks make ripples!

Progress Report: Half of the fairies are done, and after one more level, half of the new levels will also be done.
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  Sneak Peek: Kid Mystic 11:30 PM -- Tue August 10, 2004  

Check it out! First of all, that's an Octon, which I really think could use a different name, but there's only so much you can do with the prefix octo-. But secondly, I've implemented a fancy water system! I spent all day working on this even though it's completely meaningless. But it was fun to do. Anywhere there would be water tiles, there is instead this smooth animated water. It ripples gently, and the octons/aquazoids leave wakes where they travel (that's an example in the lower right, I'll explain in a moment why), and make big ripples when they pop up to shoot you, like that one is doing there.

There's just one problem, evidenced by the wake in the lower right with no monster attached. The problem is, to save memory and keep the code simple, the water 'texture' which gets rippled is only 256x256 pixels, and it's then doubled up in size to take up 512x512 space. What that means is that you get odd repeats of ripples. You don't notice it at all with the regular ripples, but the ones caused by monsters can be noticeable sometimes. That wake in the lower right? It's the wake of an octon just off the screen to the lower left - you can see it's a duplicate of the wake on the lower left. I've minimized this effect by not allowing off-screen guys to make any wake (that wake was made just before he left the screen, if you can't guess by the direction it's headed!), but it still is a problem. My only real options are to enjoy it as is, or to make monsters not make any wake (or change it to be bigger, but I don't count that, because I don't want to change the code!). I think I like what they do enough to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous criticism. What do you say? Assuming you understood that intense explanation, that is. (Oh, also, this is one of the new levels from Chapter 1, "The Docks").
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  Sneak Peek: Kid Mystic 01:21 AM -- Sun August 8, 2004  

Yes, I'm really still working on it!! This is almost a random assortment of new things for the second chapter. All the new stuff for the first chapter is in. This is a scene from a new level called The Hidden Temple. All those robots don't actually belong here, they belong inside the temple! This is the welcome mat puzzle, which is fairly nifty, and I won't explain it further. I put the robots on it so you could see them, and so I could test them.

The little grey robots are Blockheads, made in the Blockhead Kiln to the upper right (they're supposed to be made of stone, kind of some sort of ancient Incan technology). They just constantly chase after you like crazy. And the kilns pump them out at a rapid pace! You have to plow through their hordes to take out the kiln before they overwhelm you (in an homage to Gauntlet). They actually have wind-up keys in their backs, because the ancient technology is only up to the wind-up stage.

The big gold robots are ... well, they don't have a name, since they're invincible and you never see their life meter. In the code they're called Megablockheads though. Anyway, they are much like Death Patrols, pacing back and forth. The difference is that their eyebeams are absolutely lethal (and the aforementioned invincibility)... you just plain can't walk in front of these guys. In fact, I'm being killed by a combination of the beam and the blockheads in this shot. It should be pretty easy to go behind their backs though. Just watch out for the hordes of Blockheads when you do. The temple will be a fairly dark place, so you might want to bring a lantern.

I have a couple other ideas for Chapter 2 levels that should bring some new and different things into the game. Wonder what they could be?? PS - If I haven't shown it already, this shot is also proof that the supreme lighting FX are in Kid Mystic.
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  Preaching to the choir 05:47 PM -- Sat August 7, 2004  

There was a discussion on a forum I read about whether it's spam to send emails to your customers who haven't opted-in to a newsletter. There was talk about whether it's legal or not, whether it's moral or not and so on. This rapidly diverged into a big morass of ethical mumbo-jumbo. I typed the following comment, but decided it was just too preachy and unrelated to put there. I wanted to share it anyway though. I'm not a preachy, self-righteous hippy (I'm a quiet, reserved hippy!), however this sounds, so I hope you're not horrified.

I will always be one of the people trying to save the world, because we have to. You can't just leave it to people who are stronger than you. I believe, personal philosophy, that I should apply to my every decision the concept of "what would the effect be if everyone on Earth decided this the way I did?" (don't try applying it to the details though... if everyone on Earth flushed their toilet at the same moment you did, there'd be a BIG problem) - so I use less energy, I don't eat meat, I recycle, I let people in in traffic, and I don't get in other peoples' faces electronically or actually. No, not everyone will do that (not everyone will even agree what's best for the world!), and I'm not even in ICBM distance of perfect, but I am one tiny part of the prevention of armageddon, and an example for other people, and at the end of the day I go to bed knowing that I did less harm than I could have (maybe not less harm than good, but I'm trying, and being a human being in the USA, you're always doing some pretty serious harm to the world). It's a more comfortable life for me. And as my philosophy says... if everybody did it, the world would be saved!

PS - in regards to spam, I believe in sending nothing unsolicited, because I make business decisions with this filter: "How would I want to be treated by a company?" - and I HATE the spam that floods my inbox.
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  Mysticality 12:37 AM -- Wed August 4, 2004  

Back from our vacation, I'm back to work on the Kid. I added a new monster today, currently called the Octon. You can guess what it looks like. It's pretty cool. You can only hurt it when it pops up from the water. I'm going to try to add a new monster, a new level, a new fairy, and a new minor feature/bugfix/something every day until the 15 new levels are all in. I don't think I'll be able to keep up frankly. But I made a pretty tricky level. Chapter 1 should be about done now - it's got 3 new levels (the other chapters will each have 4 new levels, but in Chapter 1, I put one of the fairies in a Beginnerton house to introduce you to the concept), two new types of monsters, and 4 fairies to find. I'm hoping to find a way to add some new elements to the gameplay, new things you can work on advancing besides just leveling up, but I haven't come up with any ideas that would be simple enough. Hmm, maybe I should move new monsters to every other day... not like the game needs 15 new monsters! And besides, monsters are the most time-consuming part of the whole thing.
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