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  Told Ya 07:14 PM -- Mon March 22, 2010  

Wow. It only gets more overwhelming. Still looking for that moment of relaxation. I have been getting bits of work done though. I've been cycling days: Space Cruise, Daibaka, Robot Wants Puppy. Today none of the above just to actually clean up the house a little. And sleep. More things have piled up all over the place, so it's... really nonstop.

I finally figured out how the bridge "negotiating with aliens" part of Space Cruise would work. And it works as seen above! You get no more details than that at this time.

In Daibaka, I haven't done anything visible, just got the network stuff working right, so it now saves your editor work-in-progress on the server, and when you start the game, it fetches your player profile from there. Some tricky business involved in that whole mess!

In Robot Wants Puppy, I've accomplished precisely zero, because I started out with the goal of updating Robot Wants Kitty to the new version of Flixel. I got that done, but it runs in super slow motion, so I've been doing nothing but trying to figure that out. I really should just move on, because I intend to strip out most of the game anyway for Puppy (it was written pretty badly, as usual! I want fresh badness). But I was hoping to be able to update Kitty a bit, maybe fix the 'rocket into nothingness' bug I hear about occasionally.

So a little bit getting done everywhere, but not a lot, because most of my time is taken up with walking dogs and making sure dogs and cats don't kill each other and going to dogtors, and taking care of sick spouses. There's a lot going on. I feel like I've completely neglected Hamumu, despite actually working on games for it. Not sure what I need to be doing, but some effort and involvement would be nice. It's almost the end of the month, and I have a guest coming to visit then too... how to squeeze in Behind The Dumb and all the other month-starting activities? It boggles the dizzied mind.
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  Priorities 11:32 AM -- Mon March 15, 2010  

I don't think much is going to get done at Hamumu this month. Mia the dog got to come home two days early! The vet said she was very agitated being trapped in the kennel and they thought she'd just manage better at home even though we can't do all the fancy medical stuff they can. She has definitely been doing better, and is definitely needy.

So we've basically realized after two days of this that she doesn't handle being alone well. Hopefully that's an issue with having been abandoned for a week and will get better quickly (she didn't whine when I went off to the bathroom this morning, that's good!), but for now, it's how she is. She's supposed to be kept imprisoned and slow-moving for six weeks which is crazy considering how much she's already trying to race around. So she needs someone with her at all times. Good thing I work at home! To make this work, and still keep her trapped in small space, I have moved my entire office into the retreat where we have her:

(for the uninitiated, the retreat is a little room off of our bedroom. I think we call it that because we heard the realtor call it that. Don't know what else it is, except as you can tell, board game storage. When I say small, the reason this is two separate pictures is that the room is too small to get far enough back to show both the couch and desk in one shot). It's a messy situation, and I need to go interact with her about every 10 minutes to keep her happy. This isn't conducive to work (or playing WoW! Aiyee!!), but that's priorities.

Speaking of priorities, the big success of Robot Wants Kitty has shifted those too. It's awesome to know that I can make money. It's also awesome to know how to make money (well, it depends on how successful other flash games are, but it seems like it works). I will probably be packing my schedule with lots of flash game development and sort of squeeze the 'real' games in between instead of vice versa. Paying for life is definitely the priority. It helps that I love making these little games too! None of the stress and endless cycle of making the big games. But despite the wild speculation on the forums, Daibaka is not vanishing. That's the current project, then mphrmmphmphmph is next still. But I'm putting more emphasis on getting Space Cruise done (was supposed to do that this weekend, but Mia's first weekend home was a big challenge), and then Robot Wants Puppy. I will be doing both of those simultaneous with Daibaka Max.
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  Life = Crazy 09:58 PM -- Thu March 11, 2010  

Where to begin on this great journey...

I was peacefully moving along on Daibaka Max when we discovered that our dog Mia had some kind of problem. She was slow and stiff. We took her into a vet and he said she probably had Lyme disease, and got her going with antibiotics while tests were done. The tests confirmed that she had Lyme, so we were doing the right thing. After about a week of this, though, she wasn't getting better. This past Sunday, she was just so bad, unable to even stand up most of the time, and stumbling and falling over, that we took her to the emergency vet.

They told us that it wasn't Lyme disease. While she presumably does have that based on the blood tests, it's not causing her problems. It was a spinal problem with neurological consequences. If not treated, it would lead to paralysis (and until treated, would be constant pain). Now, most of a week later, she's been living in a box at the animal hospital all alone, and yesterday finally got the surgery she needed to correct that. We don't get to pick her up until Monday (that gives her over a week in a box alone! This is upsetting to me and to her), but we're at least going to visit her soon.

Now I'm not saying dog surgery is expensive, but I spent quite a while thinking about the concept of Daibaka Dog, let me tell you.

So in the midst of this, and constantly worrying both about the dog and about how we were going to stay alive with no money in the world, Robot Wants Kitty was finally released by the sponsor. I say "finally", but they weren't slow about it. It's just that the bidding process was incredibly long before that. So that became the side adventure - I got to work rereleasing Robot on Hamumu, and putting it up on flash sites.

Side side adventure, when looking to put it up on Kongregate, I discovered that someone had stolen it off of the MaxGames website and put it up themselves! Ordinarily, this would be cool, because the idea is to spread the game as far and wide as possible, but on Kongregate, you earn a portion of the ad revenue the game earns, so this guy was flat out robbing me! So there was the battle against him, clicking every contact and report button on Kongregate. I think the winning stroke was when the community here got involved and clicked those things too. Within about 10 minutes of that, the guy was banned and the game was gone! I put up my own copy, and we return to the side adventure:

Because Robot Wants Kitty got popular! For some reason, people like my game! I got really great comments, and kept updating the game to address the myriad of psychotic complaints (so not all great comments), resulting of course in new complaints about the updates. Then I noticed the monthly and weekly contests on Kongregate... which Robot Wants Kitty was on top on! If it's the #1 game at the end of this week, I get big bucks! If it's still #1 at the end of the month (a lot less likely), I get crazy bucks bazoom! I still get some good cash if I'm as low as even 9th place for the month, which I think is a good shot. Between those contests, and the ad revenue, and the sponsorship money in the first place, it doesn't feel so much like being broke anymore. It doesn't cover the expenses, but it sure looks like a great way to make some much-needed money.

In the meantime, I was also on jury duty this week. They just make you call in each night to see if you have to come in the following day. My previous bouts of jury duty were just a week of calls like that, and then I was free. This time, of course, that only lasted a couple of days and then I was in fact called in. So I spent today doing civic duty, which was interesting. I got put on a case, but wriggled out of it with the old "I'm self-employed, so nobody is going to pay for me to miss work" bit. I've always been afraid of the idea of jury duty, but actually being in the courtroom got me really interested. If the judge hadn't said it was going to take until the end of March to finish the case, I would've stuck around.

Yeah, so all that happened. The crazy fun success of Robokitty has me completely revved up to do Robot Wants Puppy (and who knows what else Robot Wants?), and get Space Cruise out there too. I always thought this flash biz was not a good direction, but I'm sure seeing the merits now!

PS - go give me 5 stars on Kongregate! I need to keep my rating up!
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  Daily? Sketch #18: More Thorns 07:08 PM -- Fri March 5, 2010  

Just another Thorny Ruins scene. I thought to give the ruins something more to them, there could be the skeletons of giant beasts, leaving us to wonder if the city was destroyed by these creatures or what. Nobody knows! I don't actually know if we'll add the skeletons in the end, but it's what I drew while watching Lost last week.
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  Behind The Dumb Episode 10 08:27 PM -- Thu March 4, 2010  

Show Notes (Watch it first!)

- To prepare for this role of a lifetime, I studied under the greats. I watched David Cross's impression of James Lipton on Youtube (seeing the original himself would just be too raw, too fresh).

- The second letter to be read has a really ugly block of grey on it that doesn't integrate well... that was an unfortunate necessity to cover up some private information in the letter. I wish I had thought about it earlier in the process and just done it with tape in reality instead of having to blot it out in editing.

- The weird blorping of the tiles in Daibaka is an artifact of the video recording, not how the game works. The tiles are quite stationary in the actual game.

- As always, I am distressed by my camera glitching out on occasion. Maybe I need to make Daibaka Camera to earn money for a new camera (with a microphone input so I don't have to rely on the bad on-camera mic too!).

- Speaking of that glitching, check out the end when I say thank you for joining us. There's a very weird and specific glitch (may not be visible at Youtube resolution...) where just my eyes suddenly flip out. It's weird.
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  Daily? Sketch #17: Robot Arm Thingy 09:26 PM -- Tue March 2, 2010  

This has nothing to do with concept art at all, and is obviously futuristic, not fantastical. It's just a random roboticization. I do that when I don't have a planned object to draw. I make a triangle (the middle one of the bottom thing - actually a quadrilateral, but usually I do a triangle), then start expanding out on it without any plan. I think that might be the next Daily? Sketch that you can vaguely see through the paper here.
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