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  Does He Ever Shut Up? 12:31 PM -- Fri October 27, 2006  

An interview with Captain Jamul about his latest creation

The answer to the title is no.
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  Sneak Peek: Loonyland II: Winter Woods 12:27 PM -- Fri October 27, 2006  

As we head deep into endgame territory, I'm not going to show you what there is to see! How about that?! But here's the one page of strategy guide I've made. It's not a very impressive example, since the quests that happen to be on it are ones that there's very little to say about, but it gives you the basics. It's been fun making it! And now you know what the first 3 quests on your quest list are.

Just the other day I completely destroyed the core of LL2. I needed good music capabilities, so I ripped out the guts and replaced them with the Supreme guts, so that I would be able to play OGG music. As a side effect, it also means that a lot of sounds will now have varying pitch. So when you beat on a monster you get "ooh ahh ow ooh ahh" instead of "ow ow ow ow" (well, it's the same sound every time, but the varying pitch makes it more interesting). It went surprisingly well, but of course the game still spent a day or so unplayable, and still has a little oddness to be ironed out.

In terms of content, there are just a couple areas left (boss fight spots and one path to get to a boss), and two boss fights (sort of three, I guess). I'm having to think about exactly how the ending plays out, and I have to get it just right to propel the overall storyline without giving things away, and to make sure it sets up stuff the best way it can. I can't go back and fix it later! Oh, I also need to create the last two ranks of the arena battles, including an arena boss. Whenever I think about him, having only his name known at this point, all I can picture is the robot that Bender has to fight at the end of his career in Ultimate Robot Fighting on Futurama. Which might be kind of cool to rip off.

It's getting near to the end! Hooray!!! Don't even try to ask me about a release date.
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  Collectagizoink 04:38 PM -- Mon October 23, 2006  

Well, there was quite a muddle involved in the Collector's Edition discussions! The thoughts I reached from all I heard was that the following would probably be best for everyone involved (especially me, and that's somebody I like to help out!):

Note: Everything below this point is not official word, just what I'm thinking. Speculative ideas. Comment on them as you wish, but don't hold me to them.

The game will come in two versions, just like the other 'big games' we have. You can either buy it on CD or download. The difference here is that you get different stuff depending on which you do! If you buy the download, you get regular old LL2 with regular old everything. Wonderful game that will keep you addicted ten times longer than World Of Warcraft ever could (oh no, I accidentally took the hyperbole pills!). If you order the CD, you get the Developer's Cut of LL2, which will probably have a better sounding name than Developer's Cut. It is the same game, but you'll be able to unlock bonus stuff in it, from commentary, which I'm looking forward to creating, to bonus battles and special outfits. Nothing that means players of regular LL2 are missing any gameplay, but a little extra fun. For this privilege, you will pay about $5 more, plus the usual added costs of it being a CD (same as the other CD version games). You should order this version if you are a Hamumu nut and want to be supportive of Hamumu, or if you like me are addicted to the extras you find on DVDs, and listen to commentary on all kinds of movies.

I do still intend to do preorders. The way I'm going to swing that is that you preorder the regular version download. If you actually want the fancy CD, you'll be able to upgrade to it when it is released, for the exact difference in price. So no harm done to you.

Before anyone asks, buying it on CD means you get a download link (to the Developer's Cut) immediately that you can play with while you await the CD's arrival. So if you don't want a CD, too bad - just consider it part of the extra cost of the Developer's Cut. It'll be a much much bigger download that the regular version thanks to the commentary. In fact, if it's too huge, it may come down to making the download link just be the regular edition, and you'll have to wait for the CD to arrive to get the extras (your progress will be kept between versions). Doing it that way would leave me feeling very free to include anything I like in the extras, so it would be better for you, because I wouldn't be holding things back to keep it smaller. And since you have to finish the game to unlock commentary (so as to leave me free to blab spoilers during commentary), you're not likely to need the upgrade any sooner than that.

I also will at some point make a few different T-shirts available, not likely to be very LL2 related, but general Hamumu T-shirts that should be fun to get.

In addition, there will quite possibly be a strategy guide you can buy for LL2, in PDF or in print. So you will be able to craft your own Collector's Edition if you really want to, I suppose. It'll be weeks of work to put together the guide, so I'm still not sure it's going to be worth the effort. But I'm going to plug away a little bit and see how it goes.

Actually, I'll tell you about that! My current scheme for getting myself to do work is one I've done in the past that's pretty fun. I have letter tiles that I draw from a bag. They tell me what to do - "L" means levels/content for Loonyland 2, "J" means make a Journal entry or Sneak Peek, "S" means sound effects, etc. Each letter lasts an hour, or until it's done, or until I realize I'm not actually accomplishing anything. Then I draw a new tile. So I have a "G" in there that tells me to spend an hour or so working on the strategy guide. So far I've made exactly one page, but almost all of that time was work getting it setup just right. I may Sneak Peek that page for you once I have it resized to the dimensions I need it to be, so you can see what the guide would be like.

So, discuss amongst yourselves.
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  Philatelism 04:36 PM -- Fri October 20, 2006  

Hey, check out this forum thread. I'm suggesting the possibility of a Collector's Edition of Loonyland 2 with some wondrous bonuses. Vote in the poll, so I can see who would actually pay so much extra for that stuff. Please be honest and lean towards a no, because I don't want to end up with a garage full of strategy guides sitting around. Right now the votes are immensely favoring "I WANT IT!", but I don't trust those votes. I think most people when faced with "game, $24.95" and "game with bonus goodies, $60" (guessing it'll be $50-60, depends on the costs), very few will actually be interested enough in the bonus. I'm not doing it for the money - it will basically be game price+actual costs of bonus stuff (and nevermind the tons of extra labor involved in making the commentary!). I just like the idea of having something really cool for big fans. But anytime you get into all that real stuff to be shipped around, there's the risk of leftover inventory. Scary stuff! For me.

This past week, I've been alternating my computer setup from normal to standing mode. In standing mode, I set the monitor up on a crate, and the keyboard and mouse up on boxes, so that the whole thing is lined up for me to stand rather than sit. I can't leave it that way all the time - it wears my legs out, and it's murder on the soles of my feet (can you imagine, I have to wear shoes while working this way! What's next, pants?). So I'm flipping it back and forth every day at lunch time. I do find I'm more productive sitting, because I'm not constantly taking breaks to go sit in the window. But the standing is really good for me, especially the lower back, which muscles I need to take care of because I had a big disc problem there years ago. It's interesting to compute standing. Give it a try! It can definitely be a pain to switch around though. I'm glad I happened to find 3 perfect boxes for it, all of them are exactly the right height, and the cords can all reach just far enough.

Warning: next month is Nanowrimo! Are you in!? I'm doing it again. I have a very basic idea for my novel this time. Not even really a plot, but a couple of characters and a setting. Should be interesting. I even bought the book No Plot? No Problem! by the Nanowrimo creator. It's a pretty rainbowy sunshine book, but it's got some good advice in it nonetheless. So hopefully LL2 will be done enough to let me waste lots of time noveling next month. I guess I better get cracking.
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  Friday The 13th Political Post 12:27 PM -- Fri October 13, 2006  

It's Friday the 13th, so I'll post something political! I was driving home from town today and I saw a sewage truck, one of those tanker things that hooks up to things to suck out sewage, that said in big red print on it, "WHITE HOUSE." And I thought to myself, "Self, that's very appropriate."

Why only on Friday the 13th? Because it's not wise to get political on a website you're trying to run a business from, especially in our extremely divided country. No matter what you say, you offend half your customers! Of course, I think you'd be hard pressed to find someone in any year who disagrees with the assessment of DC as a cesspool. So that's politics for today! See you next Friday the 13th!

In non-political news, LL2 is going to rock. Also, I am down to 93 Primal Strips remaining from my initial supply of 96 (arrived yesterday). Must not eat too many...
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  Sneak Peek: Loonyland II: Winter Woods 04:34 PM -- Wed October 11, 2006  

Same pic! Too bad for you!!

As of yesterday, the underworld is done! As of today, every skill is finally fully implemented with all effects (except one which has the wrong graphics... maybe I can get that done before today is through), and is horribly imbalanced. Actually, I spent most of the day doing balance tweaks to them, but I don't have enough information to really do it right, and it was only on some of them, so others may be worthless or overpowered.

Speaking of overpowered abilities, part of the immense fun in making your own RPG is setting up rule systems. As I was outside watering the trees (not a euphemism!), it occurred to me that I enjoy skills with synergies, as in the more recent Diablo II patches. It's fun to know that once you have maxed out a skill (which isn't very tough in this game, hence the need for excitement), there's still something you can do to squeak out a little bit more power. I also wanted something to encourage you to focus on specific magic schools instead of picking and choosing your favorite spells from all over. So, I threw in something which I am just now verifying for correctness. It's simple: every point you put into a spell of a given school (Nature, Fire, Ice, Wind, or Death, each with 4 spells) adds 1% to the damage/healing of all spells of that school. Simple and fun! And it should greatly reward you for focusing - that's a possible 40% boost in damage. The best (non-artifact) equipment in the game only gives +50%, so it's almost like wearing two amulets. I have to go add a hint message to explain that to the players now...

So hopefully that doesn't destroy the balance. There's been very little testing of how balanced spells are, and they're changing rapidly, so it's not like they're easy to test either. In fact, another thing I did today was to make the skill that boosts your maximum magic also majorly boost your magic regeneration speed, to the point that it's doubled if you max out that skill. That's a huge change, but I think it's a good one. Before, waiting for your magic to recover took forever, making magic a really poor way to do damage compared to just tossing some axes.

Okay, I'm off to make those tweaks, then tomorrow I can get started on the next, not to be spoken of, area of the game! There are currently only three quests that can't be finished, I think.

PS - the other thing I finished today was the artifacts! There are now 24 total, making for no less than 79 different possible magical bonuses an item can have. That, combined with the skills an item can boost and the stats an item can have makes for hundreds of millions of possible items. Granted, the difference between a 9 damage Axe and a 10 damage Axe isn't that exciting, but there's a lot of stuff that is! Okay, back to the spell checks.
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  Can you live without it? 08:56 PM -- Thu October 5, 2006  

I was just looking for a cheaper way to obtain the delicious wonderment of Primal Strips than our local over-priced hey-you're-a-hippy-you-don't-even-know-what-money-is granola outlet. The cheapest I found was at Bulk Nutrition. That's kind of a creepy place to shop, all full of weight gainers and protein shakes and echinacea or whatever it is. But the most intriguing part of all is what their #4 best-selling product is: NO-Xplode (don't click that link, the truth is much less fun than the imagination - also, it's pretty gross). Yes, that's right. You can see why it's popular. If you see NO-Xplode on the shelf, and you don't buy it, you just aren't even interested in living. What, you don't mind exploding once in a while? It's a safety issue, people!
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