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  People listen to me? 09:26 PM -- Mon July 26, 2004  

I don't know if it was my threat of going on vacation or not, but I got so many orders today, it'll make up for all the orders I won't be getting for the next four days! I need to threaten to go on vacation more often! Thanks everybody.

Anyway, I'm off to the vacation you may now be aware of due to the giant picture right above this text (ignore that sentence if you are reading this after I come back). Well, I'm not off until tomorrow morning, but this is officially my last journal entry. That's all I have to say. Away I go!!
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  Oh My Feet! 05:07 AM -- Sun July 25, 2004  

So there I was watching stupid saturday evening television... and my wife comes in with a trash can full of hot soapy water and sets it before me (a clean trash can mind you! The little bathroom kind). She proceeds to wash, scrub, lotion, and massage my feet right there! It was out of the blue, and it was a-ok! Of course, I'm lucky we have carpet instead of wood floors, or I'd fall down and break my back trying to walk on these slippery things. But still, it felt quite nice, and since we do have carpet, I'm assuming it wasn't a veiled assassination attempt. So now you see what I have to put up with.

Which reminds me, we will be leaving for vacation on Tuesday, coming back Friday night, so the site will be closed for those few days. No order taking, no question answering, no nothing! Better order all our games right now!
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  World Of Warcraft 08:38 PM -- Sat July 24, 2004  

I was lucky (?) enough to get accepted into the beta of World Of Warcraft, which if you don't know, is an MMORPG (which if you don't know is a massively multiplayer online role playing game, which if you don't know, is a game where you wander around hitting monsters repeatedly as you slowly gain experience points and suffer a horrible addiction) set in the ... um, world of warcraft. You know, I totally see how people get addicted to this stuff! I can't believe what an amazing job (as usual) Blizzard has done with this game. It's so incredibly huge and diverse. I haven't really played other MMORPGs, so I don't know how they compare, but this game is really amazing. It's a complete world, with thousands of miles of really diverse terrain, monsters, towns, cultures and quests. It's really amazing. And you can play as maybe 8 different races, which start in 6 totally different parts of the world, and a bunch of different classes with unique abilities. Then you get tons and tons and tons of quests, which are all kind of stupid, but compelling for some reason, and of course each different area offers different quests, and each class has a few unique quests, and each race has a few... so it's a whole unique experience for every character. On top of that, half the races are Alliance, and the other half are Horde, so when you get powerful enough, you can go over and attack the towns belonging to the other side. It's a really nifty environment in that you really feel like you're on the same side as the other guys around you, and that somewhere across the world are a couple thousand more people who all want to kill you. It makes it feel much more cooperative than competitive, which is nice. Then the best thing are trade skills - it's so fun to go around skinning the monsters you kill to get leather, then sewing the leather into armor... or mining for ore, refining it into metal, and then blacksmithing new weapons... or picking herbs and making them into potions or enchantments. It's great stuff. I hope you're prepared to see me rip all that stuff off in my games in the future! Anyway, if it didn't cost $5 (or whatever) a month once it is no longer in beta, I'd be stuck being addicted to it! But as it stands, I'm still more addicted to having my money in my pocket than any monthly fee for a game. Good thing... it'd keep me from getting stuff done! But I still get to enjoy it for a couple months in the beta.

Still working on Kid Mystic these days. Got a couple of new levels in, and the first 3 fairies are working. It's pretty cool! Bah, back to relaxing for the weekend.
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  Feelin' Secure 04:25 AM -- Mon July 19, 2004  

This just made me plain mad. Warning: politically charged whatsawhosit ahead! Humiliated, Angry, Ashamed, Brown. Of course, this is just one example of what's being done these days in the name of Homeland Security, but it's a well-written example!

It's always a bad idea to discuss politics on your company site, it's like doing it at thanksgiving dinner, except money's at stake! But you know, whatever. It's my journal, so enjoy my thoughts or don't!

On the unpolitical side, Summer Silliness appears to be over! I got mine done this morning and then went through playing it to test, which involved stopping about every 5 seconds to fix something wrong with it. But after an hour or so I was able to reach 100%. So I think it's in the clear. It's a really unique world. I'll be interested to see if it's easy enough to understand or if it'll be too weird. Actually, this is set to be the biggest double-letter-acronym world set yet. I count seven worlds for it submitted so far including mine! Hopefully one or two more will trickle in overnight too. And on top of that, WTG also sent me four more unrelated worlds today. And on top of that, I have a bigger surprise for you tomorrow or the next day! Never you mind what that may be.
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  The Conspiracy 01:52 AM -- Wed July 14, 2004  

There's a conspiracy to keep me from finishing my Silliness world. They started small, with subtle tricks - making me have ideas for it that are awfully big, making me slow and lazy and unproductive. You know, things that wouldn't stand out in my mind... things I might just take as my usual behavior. But then they started pushing it. First, they made me have a crash from incessant alt-tabbing going to various chats and things while editing my level. That cost me about 1/2 of the work on Camp Doom. Then, and this one was clever indeed, they caused a brownout while I was working a few hours later! I kinda had them fooled there, though - I was just working on some text files for it, so I didn't lose anything at all (I really should get a UPS though, huh?). It did stop me though, sending me off to watch a movie so as to avoid the risk of hurting the computer by letting it get browned out more times.

This world is a lot of work! I now have 2 of the levels done, and a third underway. It's craziness. And the scary thing is, I can't really tell how it will turn out much at all until I'm a lot closer to totally done, because it's not like a normal world where each level is just a separate thing to be tested all on its own. You'll just have to see! It's a little like Jungle Quest, except it has no quests whatsoever.

Oh no, the conspiracy is striking again!!!! They're dragging me off to play video games in this insane heat, out of the doubly insane heat of the office with the non-functional window! Aiyeee!
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  Summer Silly! 06:07 PM -- Sat July 10, 2004  

I am a health food junkie! Why, here I am drinking a healthy protein shake made with berries, soy milk, some honey, ice cubes, and protein powder (and okay, we added in some ice cream when we decided it was missing something)... and eating a Krispy Kreme donut!

I'm also working on my Summer Silliness world. It's kind of frustrating because I feel like it's wasting time I should be doing Kid Mystic, but it's something I want to do. This world is crazy! I've barely gotten started on the actual construction, but I've made charts and diagrams up the wazoo, and I have a lot more charts to go. It's SO complicated and interwoven that I just hope it all works out! And is actually fun to play. You should see the ridiculous spreadsheet I've made of all the items you earn and how you earn them and how you get through each part of each level. But I can't show it to you, or you'd figure out some of my levels!

Work on Kid Mystic has been slow, but I think I'm getting to a point where it can be faster (once the whole SS thing is over with). There's a new system I've added: Fairies. You have to find Fairy Bells to wake up the fairies, and once they're awake, they're on the overworld. There, they run away from you if you get close, so you have to catch them. If you do catch one, it goes into your Fairy Box. You can select any of the fairies you've caught to provide a bonus power to you, but you can only change them on the overworld, so you have to pick the best one for the level you're going to play (each one has both bonuses and drawbacks... you can probably pass almost any level with almost any fairy, but some will make some levels much easier or harder). In order to have places to put these bells, I need to add several more levels to each chapter, which will be cool. I've added the first level already, and the first fairy, Grabby. Grabby helps you collect coins by sucking them towards you, but he makes you earn less experience than normal, so it's a trade-off: do you want to level up, or earn money? I already know what the other 15 fairies will do, it's just a matter of making them and surprising you with them!

News update: I have finished my shake, although Bonsai tried to get his share of it. I also finished my two Krispy Kremes. Man, that's wrong.
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  Sneak Peek: Kid Mystic 09:22 PM -- Thu July 1, 2004  


Well, working on Kid Mystic. If you pay close attention, you'll note that this shot has a significant difference from the Kid Mystic you've seen in the past. There are 9 more items to buy in the shop! They do some funky new things you'll definitely want. This will make the game easier, since they all help you, but also make you need to collect more money, since you'll want to buy them all. There will be lots more changes as well, though, so how the balance will change has yet to be seen. There will almost certainly be more levels than before, so more opportunity to earn money. Should be interesting!

I really need to modify the Chicken Feathers image... you can hardly see them at all.
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  Lazy Saturday 06:03 AM -- Sun June 27, 2004  

We watched Underworld tonight. It was dumb. My wife doesn't know why I like bad sci-fi movies. But here's the thing with it: the plot was really intricate and convoluted and almost entirely made sense. The thing with sci-fi (and fantasy) is that even when the writer or filmmaker does a bad job, they can still have been working from a really interesting idea. That's what I like about sci-fi, the ideas. You watch some horrible Sci-Fi Channel Original Movie (and they are all horrible!), and it's stupid, and often it's painfully dull (I don't like that, actually - give me either action and excitement, or just such stupidity that I can laugh), but if you think about the plot and actual events they crafted - not so much the fine details, which are often ludicrous, but the overall concepts - you find a really interesting story and set of ideas. Underworld was a really great one, because not only are they interesting ideas in a scientific sense (not that they're remotely scientific, but they're interesting in their rules and whatnot), but the actual events of the story and how they intertwine is complicated and multi-layered, plot-twists galore. It just happens to be poorly done in the sense that it's all very overwrought and silly. Classic trying-too-hard-to-be-cool syndrome.

We did a lot today, all kinds of different shopping, and came dangerously close to getting another new kitten, since someone was giving some away in front of Target. That would've been really wrong. Yeesh. And we ate at Thai Kitchen. That place is great. It's late. I'm tired and incoherent. I'm currently downloading wacky video game remix songs from OCRemix. That's not really an official endorsement, because I haven't heard a single one of them yet, but remixed video game songs can't be too bad, right? There are Mega Man songs!

Oh, and speaking of huge bittorrent files, yesterday I was accepted into the World Of Warcraft beta test! So I got the privilege of download 2 GIGAbytes of stuff to play that. And I played it some. It's pretty cool! Acutally, it seems pretty pointless, but oddly compelling as well. I need to play more to pass judgment. Definitely designed to suck your time away, that's for sure. But I can never get into the way MMO games always have such pointless combat. You swing, you wait 2 seconds, the monster swings, you swing, 2 seconds later you repeat. I know it's an internet limitation, but surely this could be done better, with some strategy or something. Imagine if it played like Final Fantasy Tactics (only with real-time turns, since this is over the internet) - you maneuver for best position, choose from a variety of options, use cover... something! Standing there smacking each other until someone falls over just isn't the most elegant method of resolving a conflict. Good night!
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  The Galaxy Is Go 10:36 PM -- Wed June 23, 2004  

Okay, Eddie Galaxy is now released! Go buy it! RIGHT NOW!!! I SAID SO! Okay, now that you've done that, read on.

Hmm, I'm not sure I have anything else to say. The next project is of course Kid Mystic. I have some ideas for enhancements to that, but I've got to give them a shot first before I say anything - I don't want to promise the world and deliver the original game with fancy lighting! Which by the way, it does have now. I've implemented the smooth lighting and a couple interface improvements so far (the speed that the monster life meter and other such things move was based on your computer speed before, and it gets really out of hand on fast systems!). Anyway, I've got good ideas that should hopefully add a lot to it. It's a great game to begin with, though. I got to playing it the other day to see what to fix, and ended up halfway through Chapter 2 before I quit. It's definitely got some fun to it! So, starting tomorrow, Kid Mystic will be underway more directly.

Bonsai is still keeping us up at night (more so in the morning... if I wanted to wake up at 6am, I'd use an alarm clock), and harassing the other cats a LOT more than I would like. He's only safe when he's asleep. Which is a lot, but unfortunately not at the right times. He just hops on them, completely latches on, draped over the other cat like a cape, and proceeds to bite onto any part of their head he wants. Huzzah pretty much ignores it until it hurts. Zazzy flips out from the get-go. She has bone problems, so she doesn't deal well with being squished. That's the feline update. Carry on with your day.
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  Galaxy of Stuff 08:43 PM -- Thu June 17, 2004  

Eddie Galaxy is all ready to go! Almost. The full version is totally done, all packed up and everything, the demo version is done except for the part that's supposed to annoy you until you pay me money, and the packaging for the CD is done except for putting screenshots on the back. Basically, during this last week of school, I'm waiting on Sol having more than 4 minutes of spare time, so she can take screenshots while I play! I can do them myself, but it gets very awkward, and a large percentage of the shots include me being blown up. Oh, and I also have to make the webpage for the game.

While waiting on that, I've started up on Kid Mystic a little bit. So far I've just done a couple quick fixes, but I've played a bunch (I'm partway through Chapter 2!), and it's fun! What a cool game! Whoever made it must've been really cool. I'm going to try to get in a few interesting additions to the gameplay (as in levels, probably), but it's tricky to work that sort of stuff in with the way the game is set up, like how it has a spell in each level (and no, I'm not adding spells - there aren't any more numbers on the keyboard!).

In other news, I released the new gamelet Retrovirus which works on both PC and Mac. Please download it and give it a try! I know it's not much gameplay-wise, but that's not the point of it! Your feedback on it will be very valuable, since it was invented for the sole purpose of seeing what people think of some plans for Sol Hunt (the control scheme and the graphics library). Do you like the controls? Are they too complicated for you? Does it run at full speed on your computer? Does it run at all? These are handy bits of info!

I've also put up a "Supreme Level Of The Week" on the Home Page, which will change randomly each Sunday. Is anybody going to try to unseat DavidS as the complete lord and master of this week's level? I hope next week it's not a level with moss in it again... I'm going to see if I can implement a rule for the high score system so that each person only gets their best score on the chart for each level. That way DavidS would only hold the top position and other people could get in 2nd and 3rd at least (unfortunately, I can't fix things retroactively - only the top 3 scores are stored). But in the meantime, dethrone him!!
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