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  Maps, Wait, They Don't Love You Like I Love You! 06:58 PM -- Tue February 21, 2012  

(Without googling, does anybody know what I'm doing there?)

It's the level select map! This is a work in progress. And of course it'll have a trail of dots and X's going across it to indicate the levels. The game takes place in Great Big Hole National Park (motto: "That is a really big hole!"), and so this is kind of like the map the rangers hand out which shows landmarks and stuff. I hope to have it all implemented today with the X's appearing for the levels and whatnot. Should be pretty easy, I imagine.
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  Everybody Loves Skills! 12:47 AM -- Mon February 20, 2012  

And by everybody, I mean me. Passionately. These are the four skill trees of the scout camp game. I don't think they'll have visible names, but just as a secret for you, the trees are actually named Rock, Snow, Thunder, and Roll. Yes, Roll. That might be one reason I'm not having the game display the names.

In case you couldn't guess it, only the first tree is set up, and yes, the skills will not all have the same icon when they're done!
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  TV Recommendation 03:49 AM -- Thu February 16, 2012  

I've started watching Prototype This on Netflix. It's very much in the vein of Mythbusters, but instead of testing myths, they arbitrarily assign themselves a random ridiculous product to build a prototype of in 2 weeks. The first episode was giant robots that box each other a la Rock Em Sock Em Robots, but you control them by doing boxing motions (like a Kinect game). The second was a truck that could drive over other cars and parallel park itself robotically, and even parallel park over other cars. That's how much I've seen, but I am intrigued for more. It lacks a lot of the charisma of Mythbusters, and most of the science value, but it's very fun to see what they can do.

Now, the ethos and feel of the show is very much a Ludum Dare kind of vibe. The way they run into problems that set them back and then they have to fix it or just scrap what they're doing and try a whole new approach is exactly the feel of being in an LD contest. The 2-week deadline looks about as tight as an LD48 48-hour deadline, in relation to what they have to do (not a lot of welding involved in game programming). And at the heart of it, it's all the same thing as LD: they're making something ridiculous to have a little fun, and to give other people some fun, and it doesn't have to be great, it just has to work.

So I recommend it for the entertainment value, but I really recommend it if you are into the "game jam" thing. It's pretty much what a game jam TV show would be, except that they have more interesting stuff to show than just programming and drawing. They have welding! Of course, they also do a lot of programming, because the stuff they build has robotic elements. They don't show that though. But they actually acknowledge its existence and vaguely reference that it's happening, which is more than any other show will do!

Update: I started episode 3. It's a Pee-Wee-Hermanesque pod to sleep in, then wake up, shower, eat, and see the news before you exit it.
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  Snowy Morn 02:44 AM -- Wed February 15, 2012  

Inspired by waking up to a yard sprinkled with snow*, I've added the Snow Fort to the game! However, it currently throws rocks just like the Rock Tower. And I've added tooltips (all numbers are just randomly made up and have no bearing on what will be in there once I'm actually balancing things). That's about it. Not a lot going on today. A new tower should be kind of a big deal, but honestly it was about 20 minutes of work. It'll be more than that when I get into the actual snowball part where enemies have to be slowed down. They currently don't know how to be slowed. So that'll be interesting.

The fort, by the way, is actually styrofoam, which is why it doesn't melt. There's a snow-cone maker inside that the scout is using to make his snowballs. That's canonical, but not mentioned in-game. You have to read the accompanying series of novels published by Del Rey Books.

* Not at all true - I just thought of that as I started making this entry. The snow part is true at least, I just was going to make this tower anyway. And to think, it was 70 degrees about 2 days ago.
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  Circles Of Various Sizes 01:48 AM -- Tue February 14, 2012  

Some internal stuff going on mainly... added stats to monsters and towers, which paved the way for upgrading towers, which you sorta see here! That's the upgrade 'menu' - the two smiley face buttons will one day instead display the two advanced tower types that Rock Towers can become.

There's also a big circle showing the range of the tower. These towers just toss rocks horizontally, so they don't really have a big circular range (they can't shoot through walls either). Originally I implemented a thing that actually scanned out for obstacles, showing you a true range (it didn't actually account for the fact that they throw sideways though, just got stopped by walls). But there were several problems with it, to the extent that just scaling a picture of a circle seemed like a much better idea! It's a lot prettier too. It's up to the player to actually look at the terrain and figure out where the rocks can really go.

Currently, upgrading the tower just puts those yellow dots above it, seen on the upper tower. I'd like to have the tower actually get fancier looking, but I suspect I won't be doing that in this game. There are a lot of tower types.
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  Squirmy Camp 03:05 AM -- Mon February 13, 2012  

There's still only one type of tower, but there are two, count em two, kinds of badguys! The Squirmy is the weak, fast badguy to the Beefy's slow and tough. The other new thing is the boxes at the top of the screen. That's the display of the badguy waves. Those boxes slowly inch across the screen, letting you know what's coming up (only two waves in this test level). You can click on a wave to send it immediately if you think you're tough. If there are a whole pile stacked up, you can even send them all at once and get destroyed.

Yep, there are two mouse cursors on the screen! That's thanks to my clever compositing skills.
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  Big Cat In My Lap 04:59 AM -- Sun February 12, 2012  

That's my current status, and also the most interesting thing I can think to tell you. Saturday is of course a day off, and today was spent in maximum chillax mode. I mean way maximum. The TV has not stopped going through various shows on Netflix all day, while I have been in WoW and Batman and eating eating eating. It's very decadent and a little sickening, but we do like to do it once a week. So no, nothing good to tell you. But tomorrow is a work day! I definitely wouldn't have blogged today if people weren't holding me at proverbial gunpoint. Terrible terrible people.

You know, normally I have thoughts I have been thinking and thought I might share, but no thoughts today. Just a kind of boring, relaxed, malaise. I wanted a second paragraph that would turn this nothingness into something profound and wonderful, but I cannot do it. You get nothing, true and pure nothing, the Platonic ideal of nothingness, empty vacuum.

How about a challenge? Why don't you share your big interesting thought in the comments? What philosophy has been running through your mind? Does the refrigerator light really go out when you shut the door? If you prick me, do I not make a sound in the woods? It's clear I'm not thinking, so you should be.
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  Why do you make me do it? 12:12 AM -- Sat February 11, 2012  

Fridays are a day off! I don't have to work today, and I didn't. So what can I tell you? Nothing!!

I baked White Trash Cake today. That's a pretty vulgar name (but I'd like to point out it's also known as "Dump Cake", so really I'm prettying it up), but apparently it's the real official name based on my minimal google efforts. It's so good, and so unhealthy. Wanna know how to make it? One-sentence recipe: pour a can of pie filling (any flavor) in the bottom of a 13x9 pan, sprinkle boxed cake mix over it (not prepared, just the powder), then pour a melted stick of butter over that, trying to get it everywhere, then bake at 350 for 45-60 minutes. Yum! You do want the butter to moisten as much of the mix as possible, or you end up with dry cake dust on top. I ended up sprinkling water on halfway through to try to catch some of that.

Secondary info: I ran a mile and walked another, so that counteracts the cake.

Tertiary info: Yesterday, Barokorcbama followed in Amazinrandi's footsteps and became my fifth level 85 character! Huzzah!

I'm enjoying my day off. I may have eaten too much cake.
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  Click To Build 11:56 PM -- Thu February 9, 2012  

I wouldn't say it's flying along, but this is what you get when you make me blog at you every day! Finally there's some actual menuey stuff in the game. This is the pop-up you get when you click on a blank space (if a tower can be placed there). As you can see, there are four basic tower types, at least at the moment. Next to that is a tower under construction, an animation I quite enjoy, though it doesn't look like much in a still image.

There's a similar pop-up for clicking on an existing tower, which lets you upgrade it or convert it into a fancier tower type. The four basic towers each have two more advanced towers they can become, and upgrading is independent of that. Changing the type just changes what it does, while upgrading is how you make it more powerful. Upgrading is just the classic more damage, faster rate, bigger range thing. The fancier towers are probably inherently more powerful too, since you have to pay to make them happen. I wouldn't know that yet, since there's currently exactly one type of tower!
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  Back To Camp! 03:18 AM -- Thu February 9, 2012  

Look at all that action! There is now a goal (but no way to win or lose). As you can see, the monsters are stealing the food from the camp and carrying it off. If they get back to their dimensional portal (the black smudge on the lower left - it looks a lot more interesting in motion), they zoom away with your food and you are sad. Lose all 5 food items and you lose the battle.

Now you can also see an arrow pointing at the selected Beefy. That's because it means something to select one - You can select one just to check out its health like any tower defense, but the selected enemy also becomes the focus of any tower that's in range to hit it, rather than them automatically aiming at the one closest to the campfire as is normal. Just to spice it up and make it an important bit of gameplay, I might add an actual damage bonus against the selected enemy (and replace the arrow with a skull to make it serious business). To be fair, I'm about 80% sure I've seen this feature in a game I've played, so it's not original. But if I'm wrong, then it is super original! Wow!

Anyway, I can't say I was super productive today, but the good news is that Amazinrandi, my dwarf priest (so named because he looks like James Randi), turned 85 today! Now I have 4 85s, and one more guy within half a level of it. So yeah, a worthwhile day. Good thing I also coded something, or I wouldn't have had anything to blog at you!
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