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Victory!08:25 PM -- Sun April 29, 2007

Medusa's Lament is complete. I'll upload a more downloader-friendly version to the Gamelets page in time, but for now if you want, you can get the contest entry version right here (2ish MB). It's got a weird creepy song, horrible sound effects (neither my microphone nor my sound editing software work on my new computer!), and, um, instructions. Unzip and play! I am off to relax after a hard-working weekend.
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Way new looks!03:46 AM -- Sun April 29, 2007

Look at all that! As you can see, the crows have gotten fat on Medusa's garden. The game is essentially done now, minus dozens of hours worth of polish. Like for example, the ability to get hurt (frankly, I think it will become nearly impossible once I add that, but then I'll just need to tweak speeds and such), and some sort of score. The background there has 7 layers which scroll independently, so as you climb up, you sort of reveal more. It would've been fun to have surprises to reveal as little rewards for getting far, but it's just a plain old landscape. Maybe I'll add a goat on the mountain if I get time. Looks pretty good in action though.

I'm done for the night... I could sure use a break. Then I have tons of time tomorrow to hit the finish line. One thing that really needs work is the collision detection. Right now you can only gaze at the birds' feet properly. The rest of their body is made of reflective feathers.
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Better09:28 PM -- Sat April 28, 2007

Well, she's still spitting rather than gazing, but look at how her head is attached to her body! Thanks DrPetter, for helping me figure out the conundrum of cosines. And the only real major technical feat in the game is done as you can see - the crows stack! Actually, it's pretty morbid, like I'm standing on a heap of dead bodies. But they're not. They're statues. Remember that! Statues that were living creatures moments before, but hey, I'm Medusa. Now I'm off to do major artwork. The artwork is going to have a big impact on gameplay at this point, since the first thing I'll be doing is making those crows be fat crows, about 3x the size. That will get you climbing much more quickly. It took about 5 minutes of play just to get as high as I am in this shot, and I'd like to be scrolling the screen up ever skyward. I'm gonna have a bunch of layers of parallax scrolling in the background to make it interesting, so I better get on that.
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Slow progress07:59 PM -- Sat April 28, 2007

Medusa's most serious lament is how her head is disconnected from her body and upside down. That's the huge problem I'm having - working out how to render the rotated sprites properly. I gave up on it hours ago and have decided to live with it for now.

Her secondary lament is that her eyebeams seem to shoot out of her shoulder. That's less of an issue. Her final, and intended, lament is that there are crows messing up her garden! So she is zapping them into stone, eventually. Then somehow, via some code I'm not sure how to write, the crow statues will stack up, making a mountain for Medusa to climb. Your score is the highest you reached before dying. You can die from being hit by a bird, hit by a falling stone bird, or falling off your mountain once it's tall enough.

Right now, none of that is in. Birds just show up and you can zap beams all over the screen, to no effect. And your head spins around. You can also run around and jump. These are all temp art, of course, on the off-chance I actually finish (which worries me greatly with these technical problems!), and have time to put in real art.
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Medusa's Lament01:51 PM -- Sat April 28, 2007

I struggled all night to come up with an idea, then as soon as I hit the pillow, it came to me. I had lots of ideas before that, but they were all either too hard to do in time, or the building the level aspect would lead to one simple and obvious 'right way' that would be no fun, or both. But in bed, it all came together. I almost got up to get started, but eh, sleep is nice. So it's now morning, and time to begin


I trust that just from the title you can see how this game will involve "building a level" as you play! I begin!
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LD48 begins!12:05 AM -- Sat April 28, 2007

The theme is "Build The Level You Play". This was my own suggestion! Hooray for me! Too bad I now have to make a game of that theme. I actually had an idea which inspired me to suggest it in the first place, but it feels like an idea that really only applies to a big game, can't be done justice as a little 48 hour job. But, time to think about it and decide!
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Reboots10:57 PM -- Thu April 26, 2007

Well, it's been a busy week, through no fault of getting things done (interpreted properly, that says I haven't gotten much done). My new computer has arrived, and all week has been spent getting it set up for proper use. Just now I've run one of my own games for the first time, and it went swimmingly! A new computer is an interesting time, to upgrade things and change how things are done. I'm trying out this new Getright Pro instead of merely Getright, because it has this feature where you can compare a folder on your computer to one on your website, and auto-copy things in either direction until they are the same and current. That'll make web updates kind of handy, if it's fast. I'm also looking forward to finally installing the latest FL Studio, which I have been several versions behind on for a long time.

Anyway, everything is all new and shiny (extra shiny - it's Vista! Which is something of a concern for many reasons, but hey, I need to be testing on Vista anyway) and quite exciting. My favorite part is that it's a laptop, so now I can carry around all of my work wherever I want. No need to copy over whatever I want to mess with and realize I can't do this or that (such as work in 3DS Max). Everything there is to do is on the laptop. I've got it set up as a regular desktop in the office though. Then I just pop out a couple cables and walk off wherever my work takes me. Usually that's to the living room to hang out on the web while watching TV. I'm nothing if not productive and cosmopolitan.

The bad news is I bought World Of Warcraft. Amazon was having a deal (slightly worse deal now, but still $15 off!) where you get both the game and the expansion for $30, shipped free. Since the expansion alone is supposed to be $40, I couldn't turn it down! I won't be signing up my first month of money wasting yet, though. I'm saving it for some sort of occasion. Perhaps the end of Titan Tunnels? Nah, probably not that long! But the future, at any rate. It can sit and tempt me for now (well, not yet - it hasn't even shipped yet).

That's life in the big city. Still getting set up, but I'm gradually running out of things I need to copy and install. Oh! And there's a 48-hour contest this weekend! So once I have this set up, I can inaugurate it with a 48-hour bit of game development. Should be excitotastic as always!
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Sneak Peek: Loonyland: Titan Tunnels04:55 PM -- Thu April 19, 2007

This is obviously not an in-game shot. But it's what I worked on all day yesterday! This is the definition file for the magical properties that items can have. So let's talk items.

I'm completely redoing how items work in this game. First of all, I also finally decided I needed to know exactly what the items were yesterday, so I worked it out. Here's the complete list of different equipment types. Note that each type has a unique way it can be upgraded. So have a look-see:

Axe - Provides Damage and Speed. Upgrade by applying Sharpening Stones you find. Each one applied has a chance of raising your Attack Boost by 1% (more on Boosts another time, but as you can guess, Attack Boost is a percentage increase to damage). The more Sharpening Stones that have been used on an Axe, the less likely they are to work. Eventually you reach a point where it just doesn't upgrade anymore. You decide whether it's worth it to keep trying more stones on the same Axe in the very slim hopes of an upgrade, or if you should save them for another Axe in the future.

Parka - Provides Armor and Stamina. You can find Patches with different bonuses. They mostly boost Armor, Stamina, Life, and Resistance. Stitch any one you like into a Parka. Stitching in a new one destroys the old.

Amulet - Provides Magic and Spell Power. There are springs underground sometimes. Bump into one and you can dip your Amulet into it. It gives the Amulet a random power (things like +5% Nature Magic damage, etc). So any time you find a spring, you can gamble that it will give you something better than what the last one did. New dippings replace the old. The deeper you go in the dungeon, the more powerful the dippings tend to be, but it's still totally random which type you get.

Glasses - Provides Searching and Magic. Searching is the odds of finding hidden stuff around you as you wander. Makes sense for glasses! You upgrade these the same way you used to - sticking in lens pairs.

Belt - Provides Resistance and Life. The higher your Resistance, the less time you are poisoned, stunned, or frozen for (but the deeper you go in the dungeon, the more your Resistance is decreased, so if you don't raise it, you're going to suffer longer!). You upgrade Belts by Bucklecrafting! What is that? You do it with the Junksmith menu. There are two buttons now. You put your selected junk in, and you either push the Junksmith button or the Bucklecraft button, to make random equipment or a random buckle. The buckles pick a random magical power to add to your belt (random, but always the same - 3 Gears will always provide the same power, but I can't tell you what that power is until I try it!). That makes buckles a very nice thing to have.

Boots - Provides Mobility and Stamina. Note that Life, Magic, and Stamina now all have 2 items that boost them, so you can get higher than you could. Mobility on Boots is going to replace the Mobility talent. Get better boots to move faster. Boots have an odd upgrade scheme. You find Left Soles and Right Soles. You can't put a Left Sole into your Boots until you have put in a Right Sole. That's because Right Soles are not good, they're bad! So it's an interesting combination. You get to decide what penalty you suffer in exchange for which bonus you get. So if you are a warrior, you might take -10% Magic in exchange for +10% Damage. Deeper in the dungeon, you find less harsh penalties and better bonuses.

That Left/Right Sole thing is my little protest. Everybody knows sinister means left, and everybody always puts good on the right side. I'm putting it on the left. I'm left handed! And dang if this new wireless mouse I just got isn't right-handed, and really awkward to use! In the picture they showed a neutral mouse.

So anyway, the chart in the picture is the spreadsheet of magical powers items can have. Notice the big string of poison ones. Say you find a magical axe on the 9th floor of the dungeon. Notice the MINLEV and MAXLEV columns? 9 is within the valid range for both Icky and Diseased. So you might get either a Diseased Axe or an Icky Axe. The difference is in the EFFVAL column - Icky poisons for 1 second, Diseased poisons for 4. The money column indicates how much money they add to the value of the item. The last column contains which items the magic can be found on - only axes can be Icky. A "PF" in this column indicates that the magic is a prefix. Other magics, like Sickness and Sneaking, are suffixes. That means you can get an Icky Axe Of Sickness (since it can have both a prefix and a suffix). A "RARE" in the FLAGS column means a Rare power. It of course only occurs rarely, and it also can only be found on Rare Items. See below. There are three "Of Defense" powers (the same 3 powers exist for every skill in the game, which took a long time to type in!). One is a regular +1 to the skill (for Defense, it can be on Parka, Boots, or Belt). That can be found at any level. Then there's a rare, valuable, and only found very deep power of +2 to the skill. Lastly, there's the also rare power that can be found anywhere, which is a +1 to the skill, but it can be on any item type. So you'll never get a +1 to Defense on Glasses, except on a rare pair of Glasses.

Here are the different tiers of item quality:

Normal - An item with no magical power.

Magic - An item with either a prefix or suffix, but not both.

Enchanted - An item with both a prefix and suffix. More rare than Magic items, of course.

Rare - An item with a special name, randomly generated. It has 3 prefixes or suffixes, but luckily since it has a random name, it doesn't have to find a way to fit those prefixes and suffixes into its name. Rare items can have stats up to 15 instead of 10, but each plus beyond 10 is exponentially less likely. A 15/15 would be a miracle to find. You can't upgrade these items with the upgrades mentioned above. They are what they are.

Artifact - A handmade item with a special name and up to 4 specifically chosen powers, including powers that other items simply can't have. It may also have stats of any value I feel like giving them. You of course can't upgrade these!

So with the benefits of magic items in 6 slots instead of 3, and the new Boosts to be discussed later, you're going to be a lot more powerful in this game than in Loonyland 2. As a result, I'm going to have to beef up the enemies! The tricky part comes in with the various things you summon and Clockbots. Those things will need to be upgraded so they can survive and be useful, but they could end up overpowered in the early game as a result. Balance is hard!

Last thing: notice how it's in a nice spreadsheet? These files will be accessible to the end user. Mod away! It's specifically set up (like LL2CE, as you'll see when that is eventually available) so that you can copy the files and make a mod of your own. Then when you start a game, you choose which mod (or Original) to play. You'll be able to make your own powers and artifacts. I'm trying to figure what else can be modded and how, but most things would just take too much work to set up to be moddable. Monsters are one idea, but probably the hardest one of all. On the plus side, changing them to a moddable format would actually make their code simpler and less likely to have hidden bugs. On the minus side, they would be less unique and different from each other in behavior, and it would be weeks and weeks of work to get them working again.
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The CE CD is here!10:06 PM -- Wed April 18, 2007

Well, it's here for me anyway. I finally got my sample copy of it, everything in it checks out fine, it looks pretty, so I ordered the first run of CDs for you! It will probably be another 2 weeks until it's actually up for purchase, because the printing has to happen (claimed to be 5 days), then the shipping to the warehouse (claims 3-7 days), then the guys at the warehouse have to actually notice it's there. This last has been something of a sticking point in the past, so fingers are crossed that it will work out quickly this time.

Wanna know how it looks? Good, because I spent a long time taking really blurry pictures before I could finally come up with one that looked right! Actually, here are two. The top one shows you what the whole package is like (yes, it is very simple! I like it that way, besides it being cheaper), and the bottom one has a much cleaner shot of the actual CD. Still blurry though. Don't know why I couldn't take unblurry pictures! This camera used to work nicely.

In theory, the hole in the CD is supposed to be the titan's mouth. It kinda looks like he got his teeth knocked out instead.
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Sneak Peek: Loonyland: Titan Tunnels09:35 PM -- Mon April 16, 2007

I'm showing another set of spells! Thought that would be nice, since it is the only new thing there is to show these days. About 95% of what I'm doing is straight-up design at this point. So I said I'd talk Charms and Curses, but let's get this shot out of the way first. Here are some highlights:

You know the first four spells. Then Possession summons a ghost that immediately seeks out an enemy to possess. It stays in him (making him your ally) until it runs out of time, or the host gets killed. If that happens, it finds a new host to occupy. So it's like mind control for a fixed duration, of assorted different enemies. It can't possess bosses.

Curse Of Doom deals with the aforementioned Curses, surprisingly enough. It makes a big hex on the ground that removes all Charms from any enemies that are on it (keep reading to learn about Charms), and also curses them all with Weakness, making them do 50% damage for a while. That can be quite handy!

Deathberry Pie is a very new concept. I've thought since the beginning that it would be fun to have a spell that replaces your fire button with some sort of fireball shooting (so while it's active, you do that instead of throwing/swinging axes). So here it is! You throw evil Deathberry Pies as long as you have this spell on. It's the only spell in the game you can turn on and off at will, be casting it. It costs no magic, but you are charged a small amount of magic for each pie you throw. The last fun thing about the pies is that they increase in damage as you beat guys with them, resetting to normal damage if you take too long between kills. So they encourage a very intense playstyle, trying to keep beating on guys so you don't lose your power level. They are the only thing besides swing attacks that can get critical hits as well (the Critical skill has been updated to indicate this). I did that because I wanted to have more ways to boost the power of your pies, since it is just one isolated skill. But of course the usual Spell Synergy also applies to them, so points in any Death Magic skills help too.

Soul Swallow is an Army Of Darkness reference. Note the description - now that the spells are broken into whole sets, I don't need to use the last line to tell you what kind of magic it is! So I was able to mark off Grab Spells there. This is also a unique skill, the only one in the game that affects your max stats. Got that idea from Guild Wars. It lasts a long time (10 seconds per level), which is good, because otherwise it would be hard to benefit. It doesn't heal you or anything, just raises the limits, so you have to fill up to those limits by other means. As an added bonus, it has a Soula Cola type effect! Not mentioned due to lack of room (and since you'll notice it when it happens) is that the enemy whose soul you borrow becomes "Soulless" (a Curse, see below) permanently. What does that mean? Permanently stunned. Poor guy.

Resurrection is a really simple passive skill - it grants a random chance that each enemy you kill might come back as a Bonehead. It costs some magic when that happens, but it's a lot cheaper than summoning them directly. You need points in the Bonehead skill, or this does nothing at all.

Inner Power is also passive. It gives you the ability to cast spells when you don't have enough Magic. The only minor caveat is that it costs you Life instead. Raising the skill increases how much Magic you can squeeze out of each point of Life.

So there's the Death spells. Enjoy! Now about Curses and Charms. Each creature (player included) can have up to 3 Charms and 3 Curses on them at a time. If you get another one, it replaces the one with the least time remaining. Other than being in separate lists, there is no functional difference between a Curse and a Charm. They are both time-limited effects that do something to you for a while. Of course, as the names imply, all the Curses are bad things, and all the Charms are good.

Weakness as mentioned above is an example of a curse. It makes you do 50% damage for a while. I'm going to convert a lot of the existing spells into Curses or Charms too. For example, Ignite is now a Curse. The only way that affects the game is that when you see an enemy's life meter, you'll see which Curses and Charms he has via little icons (I'm also going to add the monster's level, I think it's nice to see that), and of course the feature that if you try to put a 4th curse on the same monster, one of them will go away. Plague is also a Curse, which is interesting, since it's cursing yourself! That can have a nice effect, if you are fighting a nasty group of cursing enemies. You can remove one of their curses by casting it. Of course, they could also take your Plague away by dumping curses on you. Other curses include Persuasion (and Possession - the same curse, in fact), the blindness caused by a Blinding Trap, and Lightning Rod.

Examples of Charms include Heat Shield, the Extra Soul charm that Soul Swallow grants, and the invincibility that Restoration gives. Speaking of Restoration, it now heals for less than it used to, but it cures you of all Curses. There are a fair number of different ways to heal now, so Restoration is meant to be focused more on cleansing.

Poison, freezing, and stun are not curses. If I had to name them, I'd call them "conditions" (another bit of theft from Guild Wars, there). They are functionally identical to curses, in that they have a negative effect on you for a time, but they don't go in the curse list, so it is possible to be poisoned, frozen, stunned, and cursed in 3 different ways, all at the same time.

As you can guess, all this stuff means that enemies and traps will be dishing out vile curses left and right. Well, maybe not, but they will be cursing you in various ways at various times. Some will be able to Charm their allies in various ways to annoy you. You'll also meet special Charmed enemies. They have 2 Charms on them from birth - one random one (like extra strength or armor or something), and another called Charmed. Both are permanent (unless you strip them via Curse Of Doom! "Charmed" is not removable, however, which you will be glad for). "Charmed" doesn't do anything except make the monster worth double XP. That's my equivalent to the "Champion" monsters in Diablo 2. Just a little twist to make things more exciting.

Disclaimer: I should point out that everything you read here is entirely probably not going to be in the game in the end. I want it to be, but unlike you, I've seen the inside of my design process before. Many many times. So I know that I dream big, and it doesn't all get in. So take it all with a grain of salt. I hope to have all this stuff, but don't count on anything. This painful knowledge is the price you pay for getting to see the game all through design and development.
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Sneak Peek: Loonyland: Titan Tunnels09:36 PM -- Thu April 12, 2007

Not a whole lot different from the last shot... but here's the latest update on development! As of this morning, LL2CE is off. I'm waiting for them to finish making, and then ship to me, a sample of it so I can make sure it came out right. When I get that and it's okay, I'll order up the first (of many hundreds, I hope?) run of CDs for it, and then at last you will be able to BUY BUY BUY!

So while I've been on to that task (and many others - taxes, Kid Mystic's next CD run is also due, business talks, setting up the new Loonyland web site, and assorted other noise), I have been slow on Titan Tunnels. What I did get done was mostly at the library. I sat down and put in all the skills. Or almost all. There are still 4 placeholders in Grappling, and a few in Ice and Death Magic, not to mention however many I may change completely before actually finishing.

Don't get too excited, because I haven't implemented any of the new skills (except those way back when). I've just put them in the list and set up their descriptions as you see above. I'm really focusing on creating a complete set of skills that really interlock in interesting and useful ways, so that if you are going for a certain type of character, there's always some other skill somewhere you could boost (and various types of special equipment you might want) to really maximize its effectiveness.

The selected skill is a fine example. It's a teleport slash, where you just pop in and hit a number of monsters (1 per level, that's a lot of hits!). It's also a Serenity reference! Anyway, it explicitly references the Murdalize (formerly Assassinate) skill right there. If you don't recall, that's a damage bonus and stun for hitting someone while you are stealthed (very nice, since even with 0 stamina or 0 skill points in it, it's double damage). Since this is a teleporting hit, you can assume it's quite a stealthy attack. But that's certainly not the only synergy this skill has. After all, it's an axe attack. So all 10 Attack Skills will boost it in some way (except Axe Mastery - this attack costs no stamina and is instant, so speed is not an issue), as does Strength. Unlike other Wind Magic, this skill doesn't benefit from the automatic Spell Synergy, since it doesn't do any 'magical' damage. Maybe that synergy (and your spell damage % boost) should affect the amount of inviso-stamina it uses with Murdalize. Could be.

So I am creating these 'hidden' ties all across the skill list. There are just dozens of things that could help you with anything you want to use. Another example of how that plays out can be found in the bottom portion of this skill set.

You see, the first 7 skills in each Magic skill set are actual spells (4 you've seen, and 3 new ones). The 8th skill is a Grab Spell (remember, that's a spell you can only cast while holding an enemy). That makes the spell list easier to flip through, having one less spell to go through, while still giving you another spell (when you are grabbing someone, only Grab Spells are listed). This one, Inhale, actually eats the grabbed monster, healing you. I would love to do some kind of Kirby thing where you gain a temporary power based on what you ate, but that's just too big of an issue to deal with!

The 9th skill in each Magic set is a boost to another specific skill (not necessarily in the same set). In this case Whirlygig improves... can you guess? Whirl! It adds a tornado effect to it like Captain Capitan has (sucking in enemies, for more potential damage), and bonus armor while Whirling, at the expensive of Magic draining over the course of the Whirl. So it's sort of a spell, but triggered by doing something else rather than by casting it (another example is the Nature skill Quake, which adds a stunning earthquake whenever you cast Stone Spike).

The 10th skill is a true passive boost, exactly like the Talents, only you boost it with Skill Points rather than through use. This one, Chain Lightning, does just what you might think - it adds a random chance for any enemy struck by any source of lightning to chain a percentage of that damage to a nearby friend. I'm hoping to keep these more exciting and interesting than the Talents, which tend to just be simple numerical modifiers.

So you can kind of see how 'builds' begin to form. If you want to rely on Shock Orb a lot, you'd be foolish not to pump up Chain Lightning along with it. Of course, since Shock Orb is a Wind Spell, you'll also want to put points all over the Wind Magic page, since each point is 1% more damage. Another potential build concept hinges on the Ice spell Icebreaker. It shatters all frozen enemies, shooting out ice shards (no harm done to the shattered guys, except if they get hit by some shards). So you'd combine that with spells that freeze for a long time and freeze over a wide area - you want to shatter as many at once as you can! A Cool-Ade potion would also work well with it. The Ice Grab Spell is called Permafrost. It renders the victim frozen forever (and it radiates cold, temporarily freezing nearby enemies as well). That works very nicely with Icebreaker - you can Icebreak a Permafrosted guy as much as you want, he'll never thaw!

Speaking of Grab Spells and clever combos, the Nature Grab Spell is Healing Touch. It heals the guy you are holding and restores some of your Stamina. Why would you ever want to do that (besides to get some Stamina)??? That's for you to figure out! No, you can't pick up allies. But it synergizes nicely with a few other skills. I really enjoy unique build concepts, so I included skills that are meant for exactly that. I mean, there are 100 skills, and you get around 150 Skill Points total (I may add some, but not many for sure) - that means you can max no more than 15 skills out of 100. You definitely won't be using every skill! It's all about deciding what kind of character you are going to be.

Since you want to know, the remaining two spells on this page are Dust Devil (summon a Dust Devil ally, which sucks up enemies and spits them out, hopefully at other enemies) and Lightning Rod, which both causes the cursed enemy to be hit by lightning repeatedly and also makes any bullet that gets to pick a target automatically pick that enemy if possible. It's a lightning rod in the literal sense and the figurative.

That's another thing I'm looking at in making these skill lists - I want skills for different situations. Lightning Rod is a great skill for fighting a boss, or a specific guy you want beaten in the midst of lesser foes (maybe a healer for example). You get the Lightning Rod on him, and all of a sudden your firepower is being concentrated on that target. Other skills are better for general group mayhem. The Icebreaker strategy I mentioned above is all about fighting large groups. The more enemies, the more shards you get! The potential damage is enormous - if the conditions are right.

So that's what it's all about. I want to create a design space where you have enormous freedom to create. That sounds silly in the context of an RPG, but it's true. I want you to be able to discover a really fun combo that works that I never anticipated. Whether it's as simple as a skill that gets boosted really well by another, or more complex like a sequence of skills you use in a row. The fun I have in games of this nature is in developing my character, so I want to give you a lot of toys to play with in that development. As you can see, I've invented my own ideas and combinations in the process. I couldn't very well just randomly make spells and hope they fit together somehow. But I think I've created enough links that there is a lot of potential to make things I never expected. And this is just the skills - items and crafting will provide a whole other angle to tweak your character's power.

More to come on the topic of Curses and Charms next time!
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Propaganda For Loonyland In General07:07 PM -- Wed April 11, 2007

On an odd whim and for no particular reason (except perhaps that I was in a spending mood having just dropped $1500 on a new computer this morning!), I am now the proud owner of:


I don't have any plans to make it particularly wondrous. I'm not sure why I have it. Just another way to come across the Loonyland series, I suppose. You don't need to be keeping an eye on that site. It won't be doing tons of amazing things like this site does. I'll still be doing the Sneak Peeks here, and the game pages will stay here. If anything interesting happens there, I'll be sure to let you know here!

I do have one little idea - just to show the map of all Loonyland there, and let you click on the provinces to be taken to information on them. The two (more to come later!) that have games set in them would link to the appropriate game pages. That's about the extent of my ideas so far. And of course links to the forum and Loonyversity and whatnot, so people who come across that site by googling will see there's a community to get involved with. Then maybe I can have pages about all the different monsters and things that live in that world. Bodzhas!

Now back to that parenthetical aside... I did buy a new computer! I'm excited. It's been more than SIX YEARS. Yes, my old one is getting old. The new one is a laptop, because I've been loving the functionality of using a laptop around the house via wireless, and in town too. I really like the idea that my work will already be on the laptop, just how I want it, since it'll be my main computer. I'll never say "Oh, can't work on that, it's at home!" or be missing a password or anything. Of course, I am also getting what I need to set it up as a desktop, so when I am at work, it'll be just the same as a desktop. Only with wireless keyboard and mouse, which I have not done before. I am entering the woooooorld of tomorrow! It's even got a built-in webcam (no, not going to be setting that up on a webpage!), widescreen display, and a CD burner that can actually print on the CDs (with special CDs). It's an HP. I've had plenty of bad experiences with HP products, so that is my big concern here. We'll see. Ah, so much fun coming! Sadly, it's infected with Vista. But I need to see how my stuff works on that, I suppose.
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Loonyland 2 Propaganda08:18 PM -- Tue April 10, 2007

By the way, I don't think I've mentioned this little gem:

GameTunnel Monthly Roundup for March

Loonyland 2 tied for best game of the month! And they didn't even count the score I gave it, a 37/10! That would've put it right over the top. They should also be posting a full review of it eventually, I can't wait to see how it does there.
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Collector's Edition Alert!10:46 PM -- Mon April 9, 2007

This is a reprint of what I just posted in the forum, for those of you who don't keep up with it.

If you are going to be picking up the Collector's Edition (and what kind of insanity would stop you!?), I'd like to let you know that it's a good idea to get one of your characters up to right near the end of the game. Doesn't matter if they're in Madcap mode or normal mode, just so long as they are ready to win the game soon!

This is because you need to finish the game (either mode) in the Collector's Edition to unlock the commentary. So if you have someone ready to do it, you'll be able to pop right into the commentary! Yes, you will be able to just install the CE over the regular LL2 and continue from where you were.

The requirement to finish the game was just to prevent spoiling things, so that I was free to talk about everything in the commentary, since I know you've won the game already.

There are also various "Gallery Goals" you need to complete to unlock the gallery pictures. Good luck finding them, they are wacky. Some of them can only be attained in Madcap mode. Speaking of which, the new arena battles only exist in Madcap mode, so that's something else to enjoy in Madcap. They are very advanced, so you won't win them until you get a lot of crystals.

According to all those facts, your best bet is to get a character as far as you possibly can, without finishing Madcap. Or if you are adventurous, finish Madcap, then get near the end of it again - that'll have you better suited for the bonus battles, which include the hardest and longest battle in the game. Or finish it 5 times, so you're so powerful you can just walk right through to the end. You'll still have a hard time with the final bonus battle!

You have at least a couple of weeks to accomplish this, so go for it! Once I get a chance to make up the CD artwork tomorrow (much too busy with family things the past week!), it'll just be waiting on the printing, shipping, and warehousing, but that is definitely a long process.
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Sneak Peek: Loonyland: Titan Tunnels11:06 PM -- Mon April 2, 2007

I mentioned earlier how I was updating the skill displays, so here are a few examples!

I just included Ice Cube to show a skill that has a bunch of interesting values, since the other two each only had one value in them. But I included the other two for a reason!

First, Pick Lock is a new sort of skill, in a way. It takes the synergy idea from the Magic, and applies it to this specific skill (Pickpocket and Disarm both work this way as well). Basically, anybody can invest a few points and be able to pick locks, but only a dedicated thief - someone who had invested in a lot of Thieving Skills - will ever be really good at it (points spent in the Pick Lock skill are worth far more to your success than points elsewhere, of course). In fact, if you max out the entire Thieving Skill set, you'd have a 100% chance to pick any lock (or pocket or disarm any trap) in the game! I don't think that's too wrong, since it requires a 100 skill point investment. As you can see, Thieving Skills get a notice at the bottom like magic spells do, so there is no confusion as to what counts. I actually could get rid of all those notices now that everything is in full sets of 10 skills - there's a label at the top of the screen saying "Nature Spells" or whatever the group is, so you can't really be confused. Think I might do that. Anyway, sorry you have to do math to figure out your Pick Lock chances, but rest assured that the odds are low and rapidly get higher as you add points. I only have the ability to print out specific values in the skill description, rather than making calculations based on a bunch of stuff. Definitely in the next game, I'm going to make skills display values that reflect everything you have that affects them.

Acid Spray is also a new and interesting type of skill. It replaces the skill I mentioned a few peeks back called Toxicity. That was a passive boost to poison damage. I worried that that was a little too powerful, especially with the added boost of decreasing enemy strength (with the Arsenic talent, it already decreases their armor drastically!). So I came up with something I think is much more interesting. A skill that is activated simply by drinking a potion - and a potion that nobody really thought was of any particular use before. Now it will have a use! I'd like to make other "potion skills", but I'm not too sure of any more that are needed or interesting. It occurs to me now that I should change the description to "per second", though, since that is more universally understood and is in fact how long one 'tick' of poison is! There, just changed it. But you get to see the original! That is some behind-the-scenes action right there.

Another reason I dropped the weakening effect on Acid Spray/Toxicity is that I want to add 'cursing' as a game mechanic. I mentioned that before. The only really worthwhile curse I could come up with for the player to use on enemies, that isn't already covered by existing abilities, was Weakness. So I want to add a Weakness spell to Death Magic. If it's not obvious, Weakness would make the damage the monster inflicts much lower until the curse is gone. Or maybe I'd call it Doom Curse (or how about "!$&# Curse"?), and if the monster dies while afflicted by it, you get a free Bonehead! So many things that could be done... I just have to pick out the best choices and get this game done.

That reminds me of a huge mechanic I dreamed up this past week and spent a while writing out. I won't be including it. It's just too big, and will have to wait for another game. The idea was that you would have a pet Bok Bok that follows you around. You could equip Wingbands and Bok Hats on it. Besides boosting its stats, a Wingband would tell it what to do. Like a "Wingband of Healing" would make a Bok Bok that spits healing bolts at you as needed, and a "Wingband of Slaying" would make it rush at enemies and headbutt them. The Bok Hats would also have a skill on them, but a different type of skill. Like a "Bok Hat of Fury" would allow him to activate a Berserk effect on himself every so often. The Bok Bok would of course level up over time, improving its life and energy. The last element was that Wingbands can hold Feathers. Better Wingbands (found at higher levels) have more Feather slots. Feathers are just simple stat boosts, so the combination of the two pieces of gear and which Feathers you stick in them let you decide just what type of helper you want. Maybe you want a little tiny tank to take hits for you, or you want someone to heal you, or an ally to dish out damage while you take the hits. The cherry on top of the whole concept is that if the Bok Bok is slain, it's gone until you get a Tucson Feather, which is a semi-common random drop. If you have any in your inventory, one is used up and he reappears with half health and energy. So you don't want him to die, because it uses up a limited resource, but it's not such a big deal because the feathers are common. It all sounds fun, but it's such a huge concept it's practically a game of its own.

I am definitely looking to expand the options you have for upgrading your gear, though. Just not that drastically. There will be some new equipment slot for sure. One idea is to have Boots, and one of the two stats they carry is Speed. Then I can get rid of the Mobility talent, and just make the Speed stat on the boots have that effect.

Another thing along these lines is that there WILL be a shared stash between characters. Not the whole stash - if you have family members playing, you can keep some items to yourself. But a page of stash will exist to swap items between characters. This lets you 'twink' your new characters (pretty important in a game with dozens of classes that has special achievements for each class to earn). As a result of that feature, I'm adding an 'anti-feature' of sorts. Something you might not like, but which is important for maintaining some balance and adding a sense of progression and something to look forward to. Requirements on items. So if you give your newbie a magic Axe with 10/10 stats, he won't be able to use it for a long time. The other thing I like about adding requirements is that it makes finding equipment more of a challenge and more exciting. One problem in LL2 is that you can get 10/10 gear by the time you're level 10, or close enough (and with axes, you often don't want 10 damage, so you can find 5/10 or something like that even more easily). So now getting a 10/10 that actually suits you will be tricky. Requirements will be randomly either a straight level requirement, or a skill. So an item might require that you're level 20 before equipping it, or it might require that you have 7 Axe Mastery to use it. This also makes it easier for a fighter character to use heavier weapons, because Axes will either require a level or any random Swinging or Throwing skill (making 2/3 of powerful axes unusable to a magic-user). Similarly, Amulets will either require a level, or a random Magic skill (a little tricky, since there are 50 magic skills - maybe the Energy skill will be picked half the time). And so on... I can also add a talent that lowers item requirements ("Fashion Sense"). Of course, you'd be fairly high level by the time you maxed it! Anyway, it's interesting how adding a simple limitation like that can add a lot of complexity to the items.

And lastly with regards to adding equipment complexity, there will definitely be some sort of 'socketing' feature. I've already got a simpler one - sticking lenses into glasses. But I'd like there to be socketable regular equipment, so for example, you might find a non-magical axe with 2 sockets in it, and you stick in runes/gems/flowers/sandwiches (whatever the socketing thing is) to make it a flaming axe that gives you +1 to Axe Mastery. That way you can hand-craft items that have exactly what you want, but not quite as powerful as Golden items can be. You trade off the top bit of power in exchange for actually having a chance of finding just what you want. I haven't really come up with how I want to implement socketing, but definitely something. Some way of enhancing items.

Oh, and lastly lastly, I really need to add one more type of 'crafting'. I think I mentioned that before. Any ideas? Something like Clockwork, Alchemy, and Junksmithing, but obviously unique in some way. What else could you craft, and how could you craft it?
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Pay up, pal!10:13 PM -- Mon April 2, 2007

Just a nice little note... I finally got Plimus to fix the lack of Paypal in our ordering options! So in case you were sitting there going "gee, I want a Hamumu game, but I have access to no money that isn't ensconced in Paypal", your problems are solved! You'll find Paypal in the list of payment choices on the first page of checkout. I'm very glad that's finally up and running.
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I Can See Through Time....03:09 AM -- Sun April 1, 2007

No, I kid. We made a curry dish this evening and it was great! It was not at all hot, however, so my Simpsons reference title is a terrible lie.

So I have not been notably present around here lately. What's up with that? Well, a couple of things. First, and less incriminating, it is Sol's Spring Break. So I'm kind of vacationing too. I'm still working, but whenever she stays around here all day, even though we might be on different ends of the house, or not even both in the house, I just don't feel like working. It feels like a vacation, so it becomes one. I always want to see what she's up to, or find something pointless to do with her like watch yet more Netflix. But even if not, it just feels like not the time to get things done. I guess part of it is a flow issue - if I think I don't have a bunch of uninterrupted hours, I can't get started doing stuff.

Ah, but there is a more significant and pressing concern. For you see, I recently obtained (thanks to a huge sale at Circuit City), the game Titan Quest (plus the expansion - $30 all together)! It's awesome. I am completely hooked. I mean, it may not actually be such an amazing game, but it's the perfect game for me. It's a total Diablo 2 clone. So it's like I get to play that again, only with all new skills and items, and I don't know where everything is yet. Mmmmmm. I haven't been this hooked on a game in years... since Diablo 2! I think I played something like 8 hours one day. And then the next day. In fact, I got it about halfway through my 10-day WoW guest pass, and it took precedence very quickly. Forget WoW! I just need more Diablo clones. I hear Silverfall, which just came out, is another one...

Anyway, so I haven't done much in a week. I did get the merge built. Bad news there - its the last one, at least for a while. The participation is once again horribly low (4 builders), and it's just too much work for so little result. I mean, it'd be fine, except I can spend those hours working on an actual game! I don't mind doing extra stuff, it's all part of building the community, but when there's so little interest in it, it's just not worth the time.

Aside from that, just done some LLTT design stuff, and a little bit of work on it. Many inspirations from Titan Quest. I tell you, playing games gives me ideas! LL2: CE is just about ready to go. Still haven't gotten around to recording that last commentary, but I promise tomorrow! Then it's just a matter of making the installer and creating the disc and waiting for it to get produced and stored in the warehouse, so I can start taking orders! Everything else is done.

So that's the big update finally after a long delay. I'm still slacking. Spring Break has another week to go! But I'm getting things done a bit, and will do better as it gets less new. Tomorrow's busy - the whole first of the month thing. A bunch of addons to prep and release, the newsletter. Fun for all!
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