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  Live Via Satellite 11:09 PM -- Wed February 28, 2007  

No more dialup for me! I am coming to you live via satellite! Actually, it's been a huge trial to get it working, and it's still got some serious issues, like how it pops up my "Connect to dial-up?" message every 30 seconds or so. That's actually a new problem, and most of the other problems disappeared when it arrived, so I kind of like it. Guild Wars won't start up at all, and I have been chatting with their tech support about it. But from what I see/hear, it won't matter. I have a ping of around 1500 on average, which means, for those who are not online gaming savvy, that it takes 1.5 seconds for data to get from my computer to a server and back. Think about it - you hit the button, and 1.5 seconds later, your guy shoots. Not too good. Even dial-up usually gets you about a 300 ping most of the time. That latency is kind of icky on the web and email too, actually, but it still blows away dial-up for the web and downloading because of how fast it goes once it does get the command across. It downloads far more than 10x as fast, and we're using the cheapest/slowest package available.

Anyway, in case you were wondering, satellite is the last refuge for us people out in the boonies who can't get DSL or cable. Nobody would recommend it over those options, ever. But when it's that or dial-up, satellite wins... mostly. Dial-up is still plainly superior for gaming, and a lot of satellite users actually dial in to play games. Not me though! We're getting rid of the land line, since it has no purpose but dial-up, and we'll save almost as much as the satellite costs by canceling it. I miss video games.

But satellite is going to be alright. It does mean always on, no phone involved (except the computer randomly asking to have dial-up back for no reason), and a wireless network in the house - so the Wii is online! I downloaded Super Mario Bros.! And I am typing this from the floor of the living room. I've also been enjoying the wonders of Youtube videos, which load up faster than they play, a miracle to my belagged eyes.
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  Fan Art Museum! 04:19 PM -- Wed February 21, 2007  

Come one, come all, to witness the grand opening gala at our Fan Art Page! Right now it's only got the entries from our Duhcember fan art contest on it.

If you are one of the featured artists, drop me a line in email or forum PM or chat PM if you'd like a more accurate/meaningful description (descriptions are under the pictures when you click on them) or title placed on your art (or want it put under a different name or anything like that). The current stuff I just made up off the top of my head.

Also, I know there have been a bunch of other fan art pieces in the past. I will try to dredge up what I can when I can, but if you have something, please send it in! I'd love to expand the museum. There's a bunch in the Supreme With Cheese gallery, I remember that, but I don't know that I need to duplicate those - they're special treasures included there. I also have some very cool pillows that are half fan art. TDM created the actual artwork on them - stitched Pumpkin Pop pumpkins - and then Sol stitched those up into mini-pillows! I'm gonna get pictures of them up on the fan art page soon. I'll have to dig through the email archives and see what older fan art pieces I can find. We've gotten a lot over the years.

And thank you very much to all the artists who provided it!!
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  Choose Your Own Adventure 03:23 PM -- Fri February 16, 2007  

(Writing that title it just occurred to me that I could make a CYOA out of journal posts... I could put links to entries instead of "turn to page 42"!)

I have been hard at work on Loonyland 2: Collector's Edition. It was called the Director's Cut for quite a while (or Developer's Cut at times), but as someone pointed out in a chat, who exactly was preventing the director from realizing his true vision that he had to release a separate cut? So just Collector's Edition. What do you get when it is finally available?
  • 5 Bonus Battles in the Arena - These only become available once you enter Madcap Mode, and you won't want to try them until you are very beefed up! They are however available at rank 0 if you really want. They feature several brand new enemies, and there is also a new type of battle. It's a money match - you have a set time limit, and earn a smallish amount of money for every enemy beaten during the time. So you can control how much money you make by how well you play (of course, if you don't get enough, you'll lose money!). The final bonus battle is by far the hardest fight in the game.

  • 3 new Artifacts - You find these just like any other, which means you pretty much don't unless you are very very lucky! And lucky you would be, because these 3 are extremely overpowered. Unlike the regular artifacts, these ones are completely ridiculous.

  • Development Gallery - You need to find Gallery Passes (well, green scrolls - I don't know what they're called yet) when playing the game to access these pictures. I'm not sure how you'll get them yet. I am thinking about setting up some sort of Gallery Goals again, but there are far less than 100 pictures this time. In fact, I think there will be 12. That's all the development artwork I could dredge up. Anyway, the pictures are various concept artwork and maps, comparisons with the finished work, that sort of thing. A fun one is closeups of all 20 Potions, so you can see what their labels actually look like.

  • Developer's Commentary - This is definitely the most work. I've barely got any done and I've worked for hours and hours on it. Once you have won the game once, you'll be able to toggle between regular music and commentary. Each room has its own commentary, so as you go through the game you can hear about the development. This covers any topic you can imagine, it's like the commentary on a DVD. My favorite so far is the room that contains outtakes. I only had 2 from the making of LL2, so I threw in something I had from the past which is embarrassing amusement. Since I've only done about 8 rooms so far (of 64), I can't be sure, but at the rate it's going, there will be about 3 hours of commentary to "enjoy". I have a huge list of stuff still to discuss, but I have to wonder if I really have 3 hours of things to say, or if I will be too tired of myself by then. Aside from me, Sol Hunt and Ollie the cat have so far also appeared in the commentary.

  • An Editor?! - Yes. This is something I thought about a bunch, and decided that it was already in there, so why not? The editor is actually built into the game, it's just disabled in the versions I release. So for the Collector's Edition, I have enabled it, so you can enjoy the wonders. I also implemented a system by which it can have add-ons in a specific folder, and you can choose which one to play when starting a new character. However, stop jumping up and down in your chair! It won't be as amazing as you think. Why?

    • Clunky! - This editor is a slightly upgraded version of the original Dr. Lunatic editor, which most of you have never even seen. It's an ugly, clunky thing to mess with.

    • No documentation! - I am not going to help you figure it out! Well, I will help a bit on the forums, but mostly it's up to you guys. I don't have the time to support something so complicated and so badly made. It was never meant to be used by other people, and has lots of odd quirks it adds onto the Dr. L system to complicate matters.

    • Hardcoding - This is the biggie. There is a lot that you can't edit. You can't change what any characters say, what the quests require and reward or anything like that, and many many weird little things are hardcoded so that you have to be very careful what you do when editing to make sure that your adventure still even works. As a very simple example - when you start a new game, you begin in Woody's Cabin, with Woody talking to you. That's map #5, I believe, for no particular reason! But that's a simple one. The real stuff is specifics like when that guy comes and rescues you from that place (no spoilers here!), the exact coordinates of where the wall breaks are locked, and things like that. So you will need to work around all that stuff, and test for centuries to make sure it all happens as it should.

    • The Arena - You can change the layouts of the arenas, but you can't change the battles (I know that would be fun, but you can't). And by 'change the layout', I mean change what the 5 specific arenas are like. You can't, say, make To The Pain! use one layout, and Don't Get Shot use another, because they both use the same "small room" arena.

    • What you can do - You can decide how the maps are laid out for 90% of the game (just make sure you leave that 10% alone!), and make all kinds of crazy places to adventure and so on. You can specify what types of monsters and herbs are in each place, where towns are, where you meet characters, where you find items and skills, etc. I think it would be possible to make a really cool, really huge, remix of the game if you wanted. You could also trim the whole thing down and just make a little mini challenge where the player picks up a set of skills at the beginning (maybe force them to choose one of a few different sets, like picking a class), and then enters a labyrinth that's only a level long. It is possible to force completion of a quest, so you could have them finish off Klonk when they're level 5, and give them credit for the final quest, winning the game right there. I think it would even restart the same adventure in Madcap! Boy, you'd be doomed playing Madcap at level 5.

    So the possibilities are enormous and sort of endless, but don't get carried away - you don't get to make up your own actual adventures, and it's very hard to get it working right in the first place.

There you have it. Some great deals. I look forward to seeing if anybody can ever make a working adventure! I hope I'll need to create an Add-On page for LL2!
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