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  Nano Write Mo' 01:44 AM -- Tue November 29, 2011  

I gots ta write mo'! November has just about concluded. There are two days left, and I am giving up entirely on making games for them (as I have for the last couple days, recuperating from my Thanksgiving vacation!), so I can make it to the dreaded 50,000 words for Nanowrimo! I'm not actually officially competing because I'm not doing a single novel. And I do understand why that's the rule. It makes sense - keeping yourself on that one solid task for the entire month is a monster achievement. I'm not achieving that. But I am surely going to get 50,000 words of something down! I have to write just under 4,000 words tomorrow and the next day to pull it off. Today I wrote around 4,800 so it's clearly possible. But on the other hand, that's the first time I ever came close to that all month (which is of course why I have so many words left to go!). There were some days where I wrote none at all.

So that's my focus now for the next couple days! If it's all I'm working on, I gotta be able to pull it off right? Nothing works quite like enforced creativity. What I've done with my 40,000+ words so far is about 22,000 words of a novel (a very bad fantasy novel - my theory was that in fantasy, you can just make stuff happen as they go along on a quest, and just keep writing because you can always have something else attack them. Turns out it's still hard to write), a bunch of started halves of short stories of various lengths, and then just a handful of stories written all the way through. Most of those would qualify as flash fiction because I did them in a single day, making them under 2,000 words and some under 1,000. Some of those, just a select few, I think are gonna work! Somebody somewhere might like them, if I edit them up nicely. So I feel like I got something out of this month of labor. Maybe.
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  Witch Game: The Movie: The Game: The Movie 12:50 AM -- Tue November 22, 2011  

Wow, that preview image is shocking looking. The actual video is much less bright, click it to play! Witness the cool explosions I borrowed from FrankieSmileShow (who graciously created them as free art for the Assemblee competition on Tigsource). And other stuff.
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  It's Been A Long November 03:22 AM -- Mon November 14, 2011  

I bet I've used this title before. So, behold something sort of like gameplay in Witch Game! That orange rose is a skeleton blowing up, with a very cool explosion that I borrowed from the Tigsource Assemblee stuff. Free art, very nice (This one is by Frankiesmileshow, to give some credit). So, skeletons limp around, and you throw your broom at them to blow them up. It's nice.

Progress is slow, because the focus this month is on Nanowrimo. I'm only a little behind on that, but I've hardly worked at all on game development. It's not the best break overall because it's nonstop work (750words.com is an evil trap!), yet at the same time, so unproductive. I laze out a lot and play a lot of WoW because I'm trying to simultaneously avoid my two obligations. No TV, though. We're trying to do a No-TV November, and as of today are holding strong. Well, holding, anyway.

I've also created the first boss for Witch Game, though he's not fully implemented. You'll get to see it some other time. It is kind of disturbing, but in a way that you'd need to see it in action to truly appreciate (much like that explosion, which is really great in motion).

Maybe the game really should be called Witch Game, so people can have conversations like "Have you seen that game?" "Which game?" "Exactly!"
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  I want my baby back baby back baby back 10:32 PM -- Thu November 3, 2011  


This is the silliest thing I've ever put in a game. I don't know that I'm actually going to keep it, because it really looks pretty idiotic. But on the other hand, it's quite original! All I've implemented is it walking around (just trying out different settings to see how it would look), but in theory you could attack it and each hit would knock out two rows of ribs (because that's how big one "piece" of him is), shrinking him down until you defeat him. He's certainly easy to hit!
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  Nanomumu 05:38 PM -- Tue November 1, 2011  

You have no idea how hard it was to title this entry without a B.H.E. acronym.

Ah, I have just finished awarding all the Halloweenie trophies. I'm so sad - like every year, I made a new Halloweenie trophy for people who kept making BHEs for all the consecutive years it existed (we're up to 5!), but this year nobody got one! Quite a few 4-timers, but nobody has hit 5. All that beautiful effort gone to waste.

So, that's all over now! The site is back to its usual boring self once again, unless there are still remnants I've forgotten to clean up, like leftover party streamers. That was an exhausting month. And now I have so much I have to do today to get started on the next month. As the title of this entry implies, I am changing my focus for the month. It is November, after all, and that means it's time for Nanowrimo! I'm going to participate in that, but my goal is to write a bunch of stories rather than a novel, so I'm not officially participating. Just trying to write 50,000 words worth of somewhat quality writing. Or at least writing that will warm me up to get better at writing. In fact, this month has been declared (not by me, but by Powers Beyond My Control) an official No-TV month, which is a scary prospect. So, no TV, got some books at the library to get me feeling literary, and 50,000 words ahead of me.

I'm not taking the month off from witch-game development, but the focus is definitely on writing. I will only be doing game work when all the writing for the day is done. But not today! Today I have so many other things to get done, with bills and royalties and charity and all that fun first of the month stuff! I guess I have to do a newsletter too, and Indie Indie Conversation, and a new T-Shirt of the Month. Yikes. I'm exhausted again.
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  Broom Handler Esmerelda Braves Hauntley's Estate! 04:42 AM -- Tue November 1, 2011  

Danger: work-in-progress, unfinished, crappy shot below.

When my dungeon game petered out, I thought I'd just make a quickie platformer for Halloween, a real simple concept I've had for years and always wanted to do. The idea is pretty simple: you're a witch, and you run and jump and all that, but the unique mechanic is that you can throw your broom, and call it back to you once thrown. At its basic level, this is your attack. But as you see in the screen above, it has more exciting uses - stick it into the floor, and you can stand on the bristles. Stick it in a wall and you can stand on the stick. Stick it in a ceiling and you can hang from it. So you need to employ those techniques (and a couple others) to platform your way around. Simple enough.

But as I started coding, I really got into the way it played and the Ghouls n' Ghosts type of look. So I went one step further! This game is going to bridge the gap between my big adventure/RPGs of yore and my action platformers of recent times. What it is, is my homage to Castlevania: Symphony Of The Night. Normally these games that feature a specific new mechanic are nothing more than that mechanic. But I thought, why? Why can't you have a fun and new mechanic attached to all the usual RPG/collection/exploration/upgrade elements? So it's an epic adventure, all in one giant castle (and the graveyard out front, the caves underneath, etc). It's got lots of juicy RPG elements (very minimally implemented so far):

What I have implemented is the random item generator, and it's way cool. Diablo-style random items with various stats and procs. I'll be sharing more info on all this stuff in the near future, because I'm gonna talk about this game a lot! I'm very excited about it.

Oh, and I don't know what the title is. I have one idea, but I feel like it's the world's most narrow parody that nobody will ever recognize. Let's just say it's the witch game for now. I'm gonna talk more about plans and things in the coming days, so stay tuned. For now, I go to sleep.
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  Belittling Horror Excessively: Halloween H2O 04:17 AM -- Tue November 1, 2011  

This is a movie review... I will not outright spoil things, but if you want to really experience a movie fresh and clean, there is information below that will dirty you up! So beware of mild semi-spoilers.

Synopsis: 20 years after his supposed death, Michael Myers (a mass murderer, if you didn't know) has come back, to hunt down his sister who herself is supposed to be dead, but apparently faked it. Smells like retcon to me. Stabbings ensue.

Scariness Type: So many jump scares that they play organ stings when regular people step in from out of frame. Also a bunch of gore.

Rating: 3/5 Dumbwaiters.

Fun Fact: It turns out that supernatural killer invincibility is actually a genetic trait, as Michael's sister seems to share it.

Good Stuff: Not what I expected to see! This movie is full of real characters, like with motivations and feelings. Really strange and surprising. I was also surprised to see how Michael, except for being utterly indestructible, is really just a regular murderer. It's not only that average people can knock him down with rocks and such, but also in terms of what he is capable of. Instead of being a mindless zombie like Jason, he's out there driving cars, fiddling with door keys, and just generally manipulating his environment like a real live person. So talented.

One other really enjoyable thing was seeing the slasher story kind of played with a bit - the main victim in this movie was completely aware of "the rules". Truly a smart victim, who didn't trust his dead body to be dead. That felt really fun, and it worked both as a wink to slasher movies and in the context of the story - this woman was a traumatized survivor, she knew how it worked.

Bad Stuff: Two contradictory bad things. On the one hand, my wife was yelling at the screen "Just kill somebody already!" after about an hour, and this is a very short movie! It's almost entirely setup, with just a little bit of payoff at the end. But on the other hand, let me reiterate the good thing about the characters being well-written - the fact that they all existed just to be fodder for a silly monster felt like a big letdown. Everybody brings up real issues, all these problems come to a head, and then... everybody runs around and screams for twenty minutes.

And lastly, nothing too interesting about a guy walking around slowly and cutting people up with a kitchen knife. Once again, I defer to Freddy Kruegger and his way of making murder interesting and exciting for everybody involved.

Classic Rules of Film: You know what was fun? Seeing this after recently seeing Behind The Mask. All the classic rules Leslie Vernon discussed were on full display. I loved watching Michael walk slowly after people yet still get ahead of them.

My Take: Surprisingly good really, for what it is. Or rather, in spite of what it is - I don't think this is good at all as a slasher movie. There are very few kills, and most of the movie is just family issues rather than running around trying not to die. But it's an interesting movie and sort of high quality in a strange way. It's not great or anything, it's just a little unexpected. I'm a bit curious what other Halloween movies are like now!

Wow, that's it! A month of movies. I think it came out to 30 movies instead of 31 due to issues, but I enjoyed it all the way. I hope you had a lovely Best Halloween Ever yourself, so good night, and good luck.
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