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  On Air 04:20 PM -- Wed January 13, 2010  

Just in case you thought this wasn't a professional operation:

(And just in case you thought this was a professional operation, the pop filter is too side-heavy for the mic stand, so that's why it's resting on that photo album)

This was the rest of that Christmas money spending I mentioned yesterday. It must be professional because it says "Technical|Pro" on it! Actually, it's a cheapo "get started in podcasting" kit, plus what must be a fairly professional pop filter (how fancy could one of those really get?). Hopefully it will result in nice sounding vocals in my games and Behind The Dumb. I'm gonna try in this next Behind The Dumb to do it purely like that - images, video, screenshots, all with narration through there. I'll be Ken Burns (again). I don't think I'm a big fan of being in front of a camera. If I can't cut that out entirely, at least I can do less of it. The audio on the camera's built in microphone is not so good, and it has no external mic port for some insane reason. It's fun to have a mixing board.

Also, cereal:

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  I Met An Alien Last Night 08:27 PM -- Tue January 12, 2010  

On Christmas, with Christmas money, I ordered Ratchet & Clank: Tools Of Destruction. Everybody knows, I gotta rock the Ratchet any chance I get. It's been so many years since the last one! I replaed all of the previous ones at least twice and it probably wouldn't have been long until I went for another round, but luckily I have been saved by this new one (of course, there's another newer one, but that's still new, I can't afford that).

It finally arrived this weekend, which is crazy slow, by the way. I played on Sunday for a while, and then the weirdest thing happened. On Monday morning (morning would've sounded lame in the title), an alien creature that looked like my wife said "Why don't you play Ratchet, so I can watch Law & Order?" Now, ignoring the logistics of how one enables the other (trust me, it does in this house), this whole experience was incredibly odd and unlike any other in my life. I was in the middle of writing a work email, and told her I would play when I finished. It was some pretty involved serious work I was doing, but how can I turn down a demand like that?

And so that is how I spent 12 hours yesterday finishing Ratchet & Clank 5. I've never binged that hard on a game before, I was just really trying to tear it apart and be done so it could stop haunting me. Unfortunately, having reached the end doesn't mean I'm done. With any Ratchet & Clank, there's Challenge Mode to play! So I'm partway through that now, but the great thing is that once it's done, I'm really done. Don't have to play anymore. It's not like WoW that will never end. Let me tell you, Ratchet games rule.

And they are chock full of design ideas to steal. I just hope all the little things I thought about as I went along don't fall out of my head because these guys know how to design addictive fun. One thing is for sure: an upcoming Hamumu game will feature (as Happyponygate was planned to) tons of destructible objects that spew out riches. That's always the kicker with Ratchet. It never gets old! If you have played Ratchet games (and Spyro games before they got bad), you can see large portions of them that were stolen to make every Hamumu game. I don't remember the specific inspiration for the Madcap Modes that are in a couple Hamumu games, but if it came from somewhere else, it was still heavily informed by the bliss of Ratchet's Challenge Mode. And it will return in future games because I loves it!
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  Sigh... T'map! 07:11 PM -- Thu January 7, 2010  

After extensive endless streams of begging and demands that went on for years and years, I finally gave in and added a Site Map to the site. Or I think I did. I don't really know what they're like and I'm too lazy to find a site that has one and look at how they are done. Nonetheless, this map shows you what lurks behind the big juicy candy buttons atop the screen, so if you ever wondered and didn't have the energy to click on them, I hope you have the energy to click on the words "Site Map" at the bottom of any page.

I'm also "done" with the index page for the site, so many months in coming. Don't look for it, the temporary dud one is still there for now. But after a little more examining and simmering in its own juices, it will be going up. Probably tomorrow. The most exciting thing about it is the adventuresome depiction of an imaginary box for Supreme With Cheese:

(Semi-imaginary - that actually IS the artwork from the original DVD case version of Supreme. You may have one at home if you are a long-time fan!)
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  Cupcakes And 3 Days 07:21 PM -- Wed January 6, 2010  

Let me just throw down that this is really cool, and I guessed like 95% of them right due to my general awesomebility.

This year, all 6 days of it, has gone swimmingly. I plowed through my "first 3 work days=newsletter and putting things up" business, even got to take a reading break when the newsletter went out. That means tomorrow, gasp of all gasps, I have to get to actual work! I'll mostly still be doing site work, because I have to finally put up the front page which has been sitting 90% done for all of December. It's time this site got done (except in the sense of totally working, because there are still a fair number of issues I should be hacking at every so often). So once I have that up... do I have to actually program game code in some way? Do I even know how to do that? Do I know what I am working on? Do I even work here? Who's that guy? HEY, GET OFF MY COMPUTER!
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  Robot Still Wants Kitty! 07:44 PM -- Tue January 5, 2010  

I'm just about done with the updated Robot Wants Kitty. No links at this juncture, it's in a secret little chatroom beta. If you were cool and in the in-crowd, you'd be playing it as I type this! It's got some new tiles, a new monster, a greatly enhanced boss beast, a new powerup, a new area to get that powerup in, lots of little tweaks and balances, timekeeping, a record time list, and chat announcements every time somebody wins it. Tomorrow it will also have trophies for winners, a legitimate page on the site, and hopefully some more fixes due to the chatroom complaints.

So look forward to the exciting new kitty-collecting challenge tomorrow!
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  Dumb New Year! 07:21 PM -- Mon January 4, 2010  

Here we are at last in a new year, and today is the first official workday of it (I got the 1st off as part of a remarkably long winter break). I did a lot, I think, and stuff is moving ahead. Here's how the new year is going to work:

- Each month begins with the first 3 workdays being spent on monthly business. That's putting up Action Photos, Fan Art, Add-ons, the T-Shirt Of The Month, and of course the Monthly Newsletter to tell you about all that stuff. Besides that, I intend to add one interesting new website feature each month (not this month - I need to spend the previous month making this interesting new feature!), and release a new Behind The Dumb (maybe or maybe not this month, we'll see. Again, I'm supposed to spend the previous month making it). It makes for a busy first three days!

- I plan to release two games (of notable size... plus however many Ludum Dare type games) this year. That's the plan, anyway. Exactly which two games those are is quite hazy, ask again later.

- I plan to work very hard during the week and take the weekends completely off except for answering emails!

- All that stuff I listed for the beginning of each month - There's officially a goal to successfully get those out every month. It's also a goal to Journal daily (or at least to sit down at an official journal time and decide I have nothing to say, which should certainly encourage more entries anyway), draw something on paper daily, and read 10,000 pages worth of books, because I don't think I've touched a book in a year or more. I've started with Carl Sagan's The Demon-Haunted World which I got for Christmas. I also have some exercise goals.

And one other thing, not so much for the coming year as the coming days: I'm working on a Robot Wants Kitty update that I plan to release with the newsletter in 2 days (and at that time give it an official page on the site instead of having it all hidden away). In theory it will expand the adventure a bit (not too much - part of the fun is that you can finish it in a short time) with one new ability, a new enemy, maybe a new boss, and a little bit of new terrain to get that new ability. And some alternate routes perhaps, to increase the speedrunning intrigue. It also fixes quite a few issues and improves balance, adds time-keeping (with a penalty for dying), and hopefully will integrate with the site to share your top time on your Dumb Page and offer a trophy for getting the kitty.
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