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  New invention! 12:16 PM -- Fri February 24, 2006  

Catch the wave! I have just invented something miraculous and incredible. Don't steal it because I haven't had time to patent it just yet. It's called The Arbitrarium. It's a container, available in any shape you want (in fact, you can make your own out of, eh, whatever you like!). You fill it, or don't fill it, with as much or as little of anything you want as you want. Then you display it. Imagine what visitors to your home will say. Here's a sample situation:

You: Have you seen my new arbitrarium? It's full of fridge magnets!
Visitor: Wow, I just got one myself, and it's packed with fresh croissants.
You: Nice! Have you seen Jim's? It's almost empty, just has a set of car keys and a small pile of sand in it.
Visitor:Whoa, I'm outta here, I have got to see that!

Arbitrarium - the most creative thing to happen to home decor since walls. Order today!
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  Snow Day! 08:50 AM -- Mon February 20, 2006  

I have visited snow before, but I have never lived in it. Until now! The wonders of the high desert:

It was really nice. We wandered around in it with the dogs, who apparently have very tough feet. Here they both are, not doing anything wrong:

And we'd throw snowballs for them, and despite the fact that they won't even look twice at a tennis ball, they chased down those snowballs like they were flying rabbits. It was fun and amusing. When they caught them, they'd chew and lick them to bits, although I think sometimes they tried to bring them back to us, but it didn't really work. Here's Mia enjoying one:

And that's the story of the snow day. Did I mention we live in the high desert?

Poor thing. The snow only lasted a few hours, but I think we might be expecting more, I don't know. It's sure cold enough - 21 degrees when I got up this morning. The weird thing is, it was 70 all last week.
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  Next book 04:23 PM -- Thu February 16, 2006  

Okay, I just finished "Downtiming The Night Side" by Jack L. Chalker. It's not recommended. It's a time travel story, and thus is necessarily convoluted, but this one just adds stacks and stacks of complexity on top for no reason. It has this really weird concept of how time travel works, involving jumping into other bodies (like Quantum Leap!), except some people don't... and if you stay too long you become one with the body... and if you don't, you still merge partially with that personality... and you can intentionally swap bodies... and something about being 'in phase' and 'out of phase' that I completely didn't follow. Confusing, and not feeling terribly scientific. There was kind of this generic concept that time would do what it had to to straighten things out, like modern objects (sometimes, gradually) becoming older ones to fit the time period they're brought to. It all seemed quite arbitrary and illogical. But it had pluses - there were some fun time loop issues (people going off to do things they had already seen happen, that kind of stuff), which I enjoy.

All in all, not recommended, and shlocky despite the highbrow complexity. Pretty much what I expected, although I had no idea it would prove to be so complex. I don't know what book is next. There's one more I got at the library bookstore, also of a sci-fi nature. I guess I will delve into that. Good day to you.
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  Sneak Peek: Loonyland II: Winter Woods 07:36 PM -- Wed February 15, 2006  

I am aware that this is the same shot as the last shot, but I wanted to talk about what's happening in the game but not put in the effort to make a screenshot, especially since I couldn't think of anything exciting to show.

So today I made the graphics for a new enemy, the Tin Soldier, which is what you think it is. I also redid the spell selector. It used to be this thing where you'd hold down the magic button and it popped up the 8 spells in a ring. Then you hold the direction of the spell you want, and release the magic button to cast it. You could also tap the magic button to just cast the same spell you did last. Now instead, it's an easier-to-understand, but not as quick to use, system. You hold down the button and a ring of spells pops up, but you tap left and right to rotate the ring to get to the spell you want. Besides concerns about new players being confused (and annoyed trying to get to the diagonal spells), there was one huge reason to do this: I couldn't stand only having 8 spells, and the directional system couldn't have more than 8. So there are now 15 spells! The spells come in 5 flavors: Nature (AKA Earth), Fire, Wind, Ice, and Death. Each flavor has 3 spells and one passive ability that improves all spells of that flavor, encouraging you to specialize. Thusly, the spells are no longer the wonderful unique snowflakes they once were, but they all have their own fun angles. There are no totally ordinary spells.

In addition to having more spells, there are actually 60 skills total now (well, 58 and two placeholder ones waiting for me to come up with something). I am still unsure on 10 of those. What I did was expand the Magic skills to be 2 pages worth, and then added a new page of skills called the Craft skills. I love the idea of them, but it is a significant amount of more game to make. See, the craft skills are the extraneous stuff. They're things like making your own items, and well, making other kinds of your own items (potions for example, via the Alchemy skill). The teleport to town 'spell' is considered a Craft skill, and I moved a couple of the passive skills there too, since they seemed more like crafts. So it's stuff to expand the game experience. Instead of just slaying monsters and slogging towards ultimate victory, you might want to take a day off to go pick herbs and make potions. I don't know, it's up to you! I really love the crafting stuff in games like WoW, so ripping that off appeals to me. I'm ignoring it for now and doing other stuff though, just in case it seems like too much to do.
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  Cryptowhatchoosit 08:02 PM -- Fri February 10, 2006  

I have finally finished the monstrous behemoth, Cryptonomicon. I give it two thumbs up! It is a very strange book, and you're never quite sure what it's going to be about. It's totally for geeks. There are charts and graphs as a part of the story, and here's an example of some description: "Goto Dengo is seated underneath a can light in the ceiling. His hair stands perpendicularly out from his head, a bristling stand of normal vectors, radiating halogenically." If you know what normal vectors are, that beautifully and geekily describes this guy's buzz cut. There's a lot like that - the characters are computer geeks of one sort or another (or pre-computer geeks - it takes place both in World War 2 and in the present, but many of the guys in the WW2 part are mathematicians), and it reflects how they see the world. But I'm not saying it's some dry technical weirdness. It's totally a human story about what these people are going through, a fair dose of romance, some intrigue, and just generally the weirdness of relationships, especially if you're geeky.

So it is a hard read. There's big fancy words, and complex concepts, like a lot of cryptography, only not nearly as much as you'd expect. But it's so fun, and so funny. It takes these tangents which can last 5 pages or more, about something completely unrelated to the story, but just a really amusing or interesting side story. It's no wonder it's over 1,000 pages. Never dull. Hooray!

Next up is Downtiming The Night Side, by Jack L. Chalker. I'm pretty sure this will classify as sci-fi shlock. The cover looks like a rejected Dr. Who picture. But I'm game for it, especially since it involves time travel, which is always fun.

Working on the Supreme patch today. There are only 3 items left to deal with. The list of changes is big, but it's nothing exciting except for a couple of small editor features that can make it a little easier to know what you're doing. Mostly bug fixes.

Also today I got Toonyland to where I can play it and my progress is saved, and I get resurrected when I die. So it's finally to where I can actually spend more than 2 minutes playing it, since my effort won't vanish on the next run. I can level up and get some skills, do some quests. It's going well. I put in the first little boss... I haven't been able to beat him though. Those Squeakers are brutal.
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  Dog Day Afternoon 05:26 PM -- Thu February 9, 2006  

There are a lot of sayings involving the word "dog". I almost got writer's block coming up with a title for this because of too many options!

So, we have 2 dogs for the moment. Big black lab mixed with something else unknown, that causes them to have white bellies and markings. They've been with us since Saturday. The story is interesting. Sol's friend's dog had puppies about 2 years ago, and she was of course giving them away as is usual. Another person took two of them, and that was that. Until a week ago or so, when she decided that the dogs were too much to handle and took them to the pound! They told the pound scary things - the dogs ate a chicken that got in the yard, they knocked down a guy who was walking his dog. The pound said "Okay, we'll put them to sleep!" And the owner was fine with that - the dogs weren't her problem anymore!

However, the grandma of those dogs (the owner of their mother), found out about this, and was not so fine with it. She fetched them back from the pound moments before their execution, in a daring daylight raid. Now we're housing them until an adoptive family can be found. And when we got them, we were kind of nervous, after hearing how dangerous they were... only it turns out, they're the most needy, friendly, huggy dogs in the world. Literally (and maybe this is partly because they were worn out from having kennel cough from the pound), they'll come sit down next to you and just shove their bodies up against your side for comfort, and sit like that for five minutes at a time, not moving.

The story about the chicken was a lie, we have learned. Their other dog ate a chicken. The story of the knocked-down man was sorta true - he got tangled up in his leash and fell down when these dogs came rushing at him (and then got all up in arms, threatening to sue... you know what animals people can be). They told those stories to get the pound to take the dogs. Apparently normally, they only take strays.

That is one thing about them: the male dog (it's a male and female) really doesn't like other dogs. He barks very viciously at them. But he absolutely falls all over himself to adore any humans nearby. They're just the nicest dogs in the world. They're really obedient too, despite really liking to get out of places. We had to go around our yard, carefully plugging up any holes under the fence (found some big ones too!) with rocks. But now they get to run wild and free in our yard and they are really happy about it. And when you call them, they come running fast. They're not well-trained - I think they weren't a big priority in their former home (you can imagine, if they were happy to sell them up the river just to get rid of them). But they will sit with a little effort, and they come very quickly when called. They of course jump up, which is bothersome but a little hard to quash. Actually, if you sit down, they try to jump into your lap (the smaller one is 50lbs... and the one most inclined to jump up is 60 or 70). They like us.

But we don't need more pets. Seriously. So let's hope they're gone soon! But we'll miss them. The cats won't, however.
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  Sneak Peek: Loonyland II: Winter Woods 05:07 PM -- Thu February 9, 2006  

A few things going on in the shot, and a few things not in the shot. In the shot, there's a bunch of stuff that's in the Tundra area. Rocks, lumps of snow, dead plants, and even a handy cave. Gameplay tip: The Restoration spell is in that cave and not too hard to get to. Go find it! All the rocks and stuff keep the tundra from being overly tundratical and empty. I don't know how down I am with the little lumps of snow around each plant and rock. It's a bit weird, I know. The amazingly dense line of trees is actually just a reference I made for the edge of the woods. I'll be thinning that out.

Also, there are now numbers that drift up to indicate damage done (yellow is damage done to you, red is to enemies). So you can see I am pummeling these puppets mercilessly with my mighty 2-damage Ruined Axe. They are hitting me back, which is where that little pip of yellow comes from - it's a "1" indicating me getting hurt. One more of those and I'm a goner (see life meter in upper left)!

The other thing in the shot is an excerpt of a different shot, because it's hard to find a time when it's up. That's the message log in the lower left. It pops up when it has something to tell you, and then fades after a few seconds to not get in your way too much. It tells you what items you find, when you level up, etc. You can look at a backlog of the last 30 or 40 messages in the pause menu. I've been thinking of implementing online chat in this game, which would also go there. But it's kind of silly to have online chat with no online play, and I can assure you there won't be online play. But I confess it would be fun to chat while playing. Pretty unlikely idea, anyway.

Not in this shot is the save/load system I just got working. Like everything else, it's different from the original game. You can't choose to save or load. Instead, whenever you quit, your progress is saved, and you come back to it exactly where it was, as if you had never left. So you can't tell your wife "I just need to get to the next save point!" Not that I'm speaking from personal experience. What I haven't implemented yet is what happens when you die. You get zapped back to the last town you visited, with full health. No penalty in money or experience, I think. Maybe a money penalty would be a good idea. There will be a lot of "towns" in the sense that I'm referring to here, although most will just be a cabin or inhabited cave, something like that. Just spots where you can meet up with one person, and your 'progress' can be saved.

And of course, later in the game, you'll gain the ability to mark one town as a "home" and zap yourself back to it at will, whether or not it was the last you visited. Or some variation of that concept anyway.
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  web stats 02:59 PM -- Tue February 7, 2006  

I was looking at my web stats today and looked up what Google searches have been used to find my site. A lot of them were not what you'd expect, and I imagine those visitors were disappointed to find so little information on what they were apparently seeking. So in the interests of being helpful, let me provide them with some:
  • Ratchet 4 - Yeah, I want to get that too! But I hear it's basically nothing but deathmatch type stuff (although versus computer for the single-player mode). That's sad, I loved the adventuring of the old games.
  • blockworld - That was the name of a little test program I made once, to see about making a 3D world for Dr. Lunatic type games. It didn't really work out well.
  • beat up your pc games - Hmm. Not sure how to help you. If you're losing to them, in a fair fight, you have some problems.
  • carcassonne addon free download - Don't have any of those, but I do like Carcassonne, and if you're playing without the addon that gives you special scoring tiles, here's a free download of an addon rule for you: Every time you score 50 points (lapping the scoreboard), you must take one of your meeples and put him, laying down, on the 0 point space to indicate those 50 points. It's a good rule because not only does it mark your points, but it also handicaps the leader by denying him a meeple. If all your meeples are in play, you need to pluck one from the board.
  • ikea fagelbo second hand - I guess we'd sell you ours (Fagelbo is the L-shaped couch that pulls out into a bed), but it's broken. And we kinda need it.
  • brilliant idea - Thanks!
  • no soliciting signs - Don't know if I mentioned the conclusion of our No Soliciting Sign experiment, but it doesn't work. It seems to attract even more of them. And I don't have the heart to say stuff like "Hey, look at the sign!". What did work was moving out into the middle of the desert with a huge car-sized gate in front. Not a single solicitor.
  • the dishes are done man - I'm not sure where this occurs on my site, but it's a quote from a bad movie starring Christina Applegate, Don't Tell Mom The Babysitter's Dead. She (watching the other kids since the babysitter has... well, don't want to spoil it!) tells the stoner teenage boys to do the dishes, and later we see them throwing them off the roof and shooting them (I think?), and after the last dish, that's what one of them says. It's a stupid movie with no merit at all, but that line was in the trailer and has become a permanent and vital part of our lexicon here at Hamumu. Still, don't know where it is on the site!
  • What is MAX_INT - Good question. On many occasions, I've wanted to look this up myself and it is surprisingly hard to find (well, that is to say you can't just push F12 on it, at least in the version of MSVC that I have). So here's the answer: 0x7FFFFFFF, or 2147483647.
  • HAMA-MU - That is not the correct spelling! So many people do that (except not in all caps, and not with a hyphen). It's HA, MU, MU. Like two laughing cows.
  • *to get exercise* - Good idea, and good luck with that. It's not easy.
  • guild wars seinfeld - ? Does he play?
  • tony hawk 4 key - As far as I know, there are no keys in Tony Hawk 4 at all. But it has been quite a while since I played it.
  • Jungle rooms for dumb people - We have no jungle rooms, unless you mean levels in jungle-themed worlds for Dr. Lunatic. But if you're a dumb person, come on by!
  • +awstats interpreting understanding guide explain - Sorry, I used to have AWStats, but had to uninstall it, because it had an exploit in it that allowed hackers into my server! I use Tracewatch now. Not that I'm slandering AWStats - I did not have the most recent version, which fixed the exploit.
  • dumb ideas to make money - Try making dumb games! Seriously, it's a dumb idea.
  • daily mail giant rabbit german - Can't help you. At all.
  • german giant rabbit daily mail - Curiouser and curiouser.
  • octons Arcade Game - The only game we have featuring Octons is Kid Mystic... not an arcade game though, it's an action-RPG. But try it! The demo is free!
  • "sly cooper" action figure - That would be pretty cool to have. But I don't. I did like Sly Cooper though, I want to try out #2 and #3.
  • norway desktop themes - It's not a desktop theme, but we do have the best pasta in Norway!
  • Dr Lunatic crack - NO NO NO! You pay me money if you want my games!!!
  • funny no soliciting signs - Ours was just red and said "NO SOLICITING".
  • "thai kitchen" austin texas "soup A" recipe - The Thai Kitchen we go to is in Temecula, California, and I've never had soup there, so I can't help you. But I bet you'd have better luck searching with some sort of name for the soup, not "soup A". If it's not on the menu, ask the waiter what it's called. It's probably a fancy Thai word.
  • burgers away spreadsheet - No... can't help you any more than the giant rabbit guy.
  • la divina uva - Hey, that's a really good restaurant in La Paz, Mexico!
  • dependie - This term means the opposite of an indie. For example, somebody slaving away in Electronic Arts' sweatshops cranking out yet another football game. They are dependent on the big publisher. An indie does what they want.
  • joust scarecrow - You've got two of our Gamelets all mixed up! Killer Kiwis is a clone of Joust, and Scarecrow: Heart Of Straw is entirely different (could roughly be considered a clone of Star Thief).
  • loonyland crack - You and the other guy... you are pushing my buttons.
  • all dumb games - Yes, you are in the right place! All of our games are dumb!
  • free games like boardwalk bowling - I have never heard of Boardwalk Bowling, but we do offer free games, free game demos, and free gamelets, so you can't go too wrong.
  • millipedes in my tile shower - Yeesh, you have my condolences. I think you should move. Or buy a game to take your mind off of them!
No need to thank me, I'm just doing my part to provide valuable information to the internet.
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  Belated Groundhog 06:49 PM -- Fri February 3, 2006  

Happy belated groundhog's day! Definite shadow here - yesterday was the first day since November that I opened up the windows and let the world come in. Tomorrow we are hosting a groundhog's day party. We are also hosting two dogs for a while, until a new owner can be found. My fingers are firmly crossed that the owner won't turn out to be us. Please! We have too many pets! Including a fish that still won't quite die.

I worked on a Supreme patch today. I have a timeslot set up for that now, friday afternoons. So maybe by next friday it will be ready. I don't know though. The only thing of any notable interest (i.e. not a bug fix) is that there's now a meter showing the progress of the loading on the World Select screen. Whee!!

The final spell is now in for Loonyland 2. It's a cool one, but after I had spent two hours creating the art for it and implementing it, I suddenly realized that it's almost identical to one of the non-spell skills. Wish I had thought of that sooner. Still, it's not quite the same, and one relies on you being focused in magic, while the other very much requires you to focus on your Throwing skills before it is very powerful. But it's kinda lame anyway, so I make seek a way to replace the Throwing version with something else. Probably not though, it sounds fun, and it has its own little twists. So that's in, and all of the special powers that magic items can have are in, so things are looking good. Yay!
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  Awoooo 10:05 AM -- Wed February 1, 2006  

Big nature note, wow! I ran to grab the camera, but wasn't quick enough, especially since I sat staring with a cat in my lap for a while first. There was a coyote in our yard this morning! It was cute. We have some holes under our fence we really need to fix. So that's our first coyote, hoorah.

On the topic of less-cute predators, something really awful is being discussed on Penny Arcade. You know how you sometimes think this or that is a conspiracy, and then you go "that's silly, people can't be that evil!" and such? Only, it always turns out there really is a conspiracy, because people are seriously evil? Here's an excerpt of a message they got after having posted about dirty PR tactics of game companies:

I have in my possession a marketing plan for NBA LIVE 2004 (don't ask how I got it... ). This marketing plan actually refers to "Hiring viral specialists to advocate NBA Live online via chat rooms targeting gaming fan sites" and "Placing offensive, defensive and PR shills into common gaming chat arenas." It goes on to outline a full page of tactics for said "Guerilla Online Marketing for Core Gamers."

So there you go... don't believe the hype! About anything, ever. What they're talking about is people being paid to hang out in chat rooms and forums and advocate their products subtly. The earlier message a few days ago talked about how they were required to sign up at tons of different forums (with different names) and act normal, insinuating themselves into the community as a trusted member, and then come out with the spam. And of course, phrasing the spam as an honest recommendation from a friend. And they basically have a whole 'farm' of people doing this, like a telemarketing center, only secret.

Does that give you the heebie-jeebies too? I mean, word of mouth is almost a sacred thing. When some average joe says "Hamumu rocks!", you accept that. It has value, it's not an advertisement. But now... how do you know he wasn't paid to say it?

Well, I guess one hint would be that if he's saying Hamumu rocks, you can be quite sure he wasn't paid. I can't afford that kind of PR!
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