Thursday, January 18, 2018

A happy birthday to My Melody today, and happy belated birthday to Chi Chai Monchan!

Monday, January 15, 2018

Can't sleep, Sanrio Danshi

Well...I woke up at 3:30AM for some reason half-delirious, so here I am now.  Also, allergies have been kind of bad these days =(

We started Doki-doki Literature Club, hahaha.  No spoilers -- nothing has really happened yet, except us being pleasantly surprised at how the writing doesn't suck (we have low expectations for VNs)...I'm terrified though.

In much happier and brighter news, I'm of course following Sanrio Danshi (Sanrio Boys)!  After what was a pretty generic (though slightly entertaining?) first episode, I was actually pretty pleased by what came out of the second episode.  Sanrio is perhaps my biggest "fandom" if you could call it that so it's actually really cool to see and experience these things that they put into anime form, as well as some little details and things.  In episode 1 for example when Kouta notices something about Yuu, for example, I knew he had spotted some Sanrio merch -- there's a sort of "Sanrio sense" that you get after being a fan for so long, where you have the ability to pick out Sanrio items in the middle of a crowded scene.  And the Gift Gate that they mention in episode 2 is a real place -- haven't been to that particular one though...  It seemed like they pulled from real photos in that section, and also the bag that Kouta walks out with is actually a bag design that I recognize too (and have some extras of...)

Anyhow, I'm trying to not get my expectations about the anime up too much, since I expect it to be a lot of fluff, but like I said, so far it has not been too bad!  They set up for a pretty juicy topic at the end of episode 2, and I feel like there's two ways it could go.  The more likely possibility is that they spend episode 3 covering it and it'll get resolved, then they'll move on to something else -- if that happens, I think it's pretty safe to say that we're in for your ol typical episodic slice of life which is "pleasant".  The less likely outcome is that they introduce the topic in episode 3 but don't resolve it until later on in the season...if that happens it will be much better, because these kinds of topics aren't things that should be so lightly resolved -- it feels like if they are, they aren't being treated seriously enough.

But let's be honest here, you all know I'm just waiting for Ryo and Seiichiro to show up with Little Twin Stars and Cinnamoroll, hahaha.


Joking aside though (am I really joking??), they're sending a really nice message and I actually love the atmosphere that they have set up.  I'm also sure that it will be a nice respite from whatever horrors DDLC has in store for us...

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Life goes on...Jammix this Friday was actually one of the better ones I've had in quite some time; I was really feeling it for some reason.  It wasn't like the music was spectacular or anything special like that, just I was in a good mood I guess.  It was a pleasant time hanging out with people and all.

Been thinking more about life, but have not really reached any conclusions that I haven't already.

Playing through Tyrian2000 at the moment!  Blast from the past indeed.  Still have yet to start on Finding Paradise, but am continuing to go through Inuyasha, haha.  At some point I also want to play through Star Control 2, and then of course there is the mysterious Yume Nikki project and associated countdown timer that is making everybody go !?!?!?...

There's an interesting beat cypher / compo / ??? event next week in Oakland that apparently aivisura will be making an appearance at!  I might end up going, though that means I'll have to try and get a decent-ish setup on my laptop for music production, which will probably be a bit of a pain.

Will have to work on my Journey cosplay towards the end of the month as there's actually a pretty nontrivial amount of stuff to add:


I'm taking it from the 2nd-most complicated to the most complicated embroidery, so I'll have to add the half triangles, then the tiny triangles, two more straight horizontal lines of bias tape and the plus-shaped symbols on top.  And then it'll be all done!

Glad to have the 3-day weekend...

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Aaand we're back.  Feels like I'm still not really on top of everything that I want to be on top of, but I'm making forward progress, at the very least, so I am thankful for that.

Ludum Dare results came out and...we took first place!  I've actually been spending the last few days putting out a super detailed post-mortem writeup of the experience -- you can read that here.  I already said most of what needs to be said in the post-mortem itself, but on a more personal note, it actually does feel really great to have done so well.  I don't think getting 1st place in Ludum Dare was ever really a personal goal of mine -- I was pretty happy with the two second place rankings that I already have (Ripple Runner and Match Girl) -- but I think it's a nice marker, especially for us as a team, that we really know what we are doing.

A lot of my time since then has been put to post-jam improvements on both Goodnight Sheep (now available on iOS and Android!), as well as Samurai Shaver.  I'll be putting out a mobile version of Samurai Shaver as well, but before that I wanted to finish rounding out the game with a few more levels -- I've already done two more since Ludum Dare ended and I'm working on a third one right now, featuring a whoooole lot of shamisen.  This whole soundtrack has actually gotten me super intimately familiar with my shamisen patch, hahaha.  It's been tricky to work around some of the limitations with my sound set, but also really fun at the same time.  Music is great!

The holiday vacation season has passed and it's pretty much back to the daily grind for a lot of us, it seems.  Weird though because I was working on game dev stuff throughout the break anyways.  Well, at least my life is pretty consistent, I guess.  Heh, there are actually some times when I am in a car or train or whatever and I actually feel somewhat appalled at just how fast things are moving, at the distance that people travel, and just in general the way that people and things seem so prone to flight.  How change is in the air, everywhere, and everyone is going everywhere because they are never content with where they are now.  I mean, I get that, and if that's you then all the more power to you, but I think I try to keep my life as insular as possible to avoid that.  Everything I need is already here with me; I don't want or need anything else...in fact, there are already too many different things in my life; I could use a few less...

It's difficult, though, even for me.  To know where to draw the line, and around what.

I've been on an old game kick recently; been downloading a bunch of super old computer games from back in the day.  I actually have quite a number of different games on my bucket list to go through at some point.  Nothing too remarkable at the moment, but maybe soon.

Dance has been neither good nor bad recently, though Jammix tomorrow ought to be fun, probably.  Sometimes it's a bit of a crapshoot, haha.  I kind of detest that about dance, but I feel like that's really just the way it is sometimes.

Hadn't played much melee over the break, but getting back into it now, and I've been grinding out some stuff that I had been meaning to work on.  Falco combos and tech specifically, which has helped a lot, though there's still a lot to work on of course.  If I really did just main Falco (not that I would) I'm sure I would have picked up all of this stuff already but...all these other characters are just so fun!

Work is OK.  Life is mostly "OK" but I have been pretty stressed lately about not having enough time to just get all the things done that I want to.  Like I said, I am making progress though -- on Samurai Shaver, on the post-mortem, etc.  Pretty soon it'll be time to start working on the last level of embroidery on my Journey outfit as well.  But yeah, just mostly hoping to keep working on everything.  I think I really feel the whole "what you do defines who you are" thing because whenever I feel like I am slipping on all of the things that I want to do and keep up with, I feel like I am losing myself and feel like I don't know who I am anymore.

Just continuing to walk forward for now...



Monday, January 8, 2018

I don't know what mistakes I am making in life.  Only that everything is wrong.

Sunday, December 24, 2017


Happy birthday today to Kiki and Lala, the Little Twin Stars!

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Huge Update (Ludum Dare, Meowmie Rest in Peace, etc)

Quite a bit happened...it was quite the tornado of stuff, as I predicted two posts ago, what with Ludum Dare and everything else happening.  There was even more than I expected thrown into the mix...



Ludum Dare

Ludum Dare came and went, and despite several hardships along the way, was a huge success for our team! I'll be writing a more detailed post-mortem later, but here are the two (!) games that we ended up making in the 72 hour timeframe:

Goodnight Sheep: https://ldjam.com/events/ludum-dare/40/goodnight-sheep
goodnight-sheep.gif

Samurai Shaver: https://ldjam.com/events/ludum-dare/40/samurai-shaver
samurai-shaver.gif

The soundtracks for both of those are also available (linked on those pages).

Even before it started, it already felt like things might be rough for Ludum Dare, as our writer fell ill that week and wasn't feeling well enough to work together with us.  We decided she should take it easy and help us out remotely instead (which also left me with an abundance of extra groceries in stock, haha).  I actually also wasn't feeling the best that Friday either, though thankfully I didn't end up coming down with anything.  Trying to communicate back and forth over chat and video calls was a real challenge and we really struggled to nail down the concept and gameplay behind Goodnight Sheep as a result of that.

Halfway through finishing up Goodnight Sheep we actually decided to start work on Samurai Shaver and just start making that.  Although there were a lot of things that we still needed to figure out about Samurai Shaver still (initially it wasn't even a rhythm game at all!), I personally felt like I had a pretty good vision of what the game should look and feel like, so it felt more certain to me, and I was looking forward to escaping the uncertainty of the screaming lambs to work on something a little more well understood.  However I still wanted to finish up some work on Goodnight Sheep before that, including making the music for the levels, and it was during that process that I made some key realizations about what the game should be like.  So in the end it all ended up coming together just fine -- it just needed some more time to get there.

We were about a third of the way through our 72 hours when we decided to start work on Samurai Shaver, which put us quite far behind, but interestingly enough I felt very confident that we could finish it in time.  I knew it was a fairly simple game and we didn't need to make a ton of different assets and such (as we did for games like The Music Box).  And of course, I had a pretty clear vision for the game, as well.  But perhaps the primary reason that I was so confident was because back in Ludum Dare 36 we had also started just as late when we made Watch for Falling Rocks (we totally scrapped our initial idea and started over).  Now that we've done the whole "start a game really late and still finish fine" thing twice, I feel like that will always be a sort of possible "plan B" for us moving forward if our initial concepts don't work out.  Obviously that's not the kind of thing I'd like to rely on, but I think it's a bit comforting to know that because thinking up an initial idea for a game is often one of the most stressful parts of the jam.

Anyhow, I'm quite happy with how both games turned out.  Currently we're a good ways into the rating and voting process, with a little over a week left before results are announced.  I've been playing my fair share of games (around 40 so far), and we've gotten around 30 ratings for each of our games.



Meowmie

Early in the morning on Saturday December 9th, we were woken up to news that the one and only original Meowmie had suffered from heart problems over the night and wasn't going to make it.  We were able to say our final goodbyes before he was put to rest.  It was very hard on us and there was definitely a bit of a crying party that day.  Though I was not his owner, I felt very deeply for the loss, more deeply than I realized that I would, too.  It was a new experience for me as well, since I have never had a pet or anything leave me in that way.  Though it still makes me very sad to think that Meowmie is not around anymore, and the image I have in my mind of him from that day really affects me deeply, I am very thankful for the fact that I was able to see him one last time.  Rest in peace, Meowmie.  You will always be special.  (Thank you)



Work

Work went through a pretty busy period, as we were getting out another demo of our game for PlayStation Experience (PSX) -- more about that here.  Btw, as an aside, I don't know if I've ever mentioned here that Luna has been out now, both for VR (the true Luna experience) and as a 2D port version for those of us who don't have access to a VR headset.  Find that here.

Anyhow, work went through a busy period for sure and I basically had infinity work to do, but I think I managed alright, though there was one day where I had not gotten enough sleep at all and was suuuuuper grumpy as a result.  Funnily enough, once the amount of tasks crosses a threshold, I feel like it doesn't really matter how many other work items there are because I know I won't get to them all, so I just sort of chug along at whatever pace I end up going at and whatever will be, will be.

After that, work has been really strange as we are in the middle of transitioning to a new office (heating?? A/C??  More than one restroom maybe?? what is this madness?  Maybe the floor won't be slanted either?).  The new place is ever so slightly closer in terms of walking distance from the station, but also just in a much nicer area (right across from Dropbox).  I haven't seen it in person yet, but should be exciting to have a nicer office, and I'm sure it will make it easier for my cooking-lunch-at-the-office escapades as well.  Maybe I need to start bringing in a portable burner?? lololol

Anyhow, I'm on vacation now for the next two weeks (much needed) and definitely enjoying some time off to myself.  Should be useful to catch up on a bunch of things after that super crazy busy period that I had (haven't done any work on Rhythm Quest; want to still do more for our Ludum Dare games; have some music I need to write, etc), but also just to chill out and relax.



Games

I went through the bonus content of VA-11 HALL-A, so that's all finished up with (don't think I'll bother replaying the main story again, though there is a bit more to experience there).  I've moved on for now -- I just started playing through Cave Story!  Actually playing the remastered Cave Story+ version since apparently I have it on Steam already, but after some careful thinking I decided I'll go with the original sprites/graphics and original soundtrack.  Well...ah, who are we kidding, it wasn't exactly a tough choice.  I appreciate the fact that they took the time to remaster it and everything, but sometimes the original has a certain appeal that is diluted with additional modifications and I personally feel that way about this.  Though, if I was already familiar with the entire soundtrack (I'm not) I think the new soundtrack would be a nice change of pace, so that is something.

Other than that, Finding Paradise (the sequel to To The Moon) is out now!  Haven't gotten it yet, but I'm sure I will be going through it at some point.  I wasn't 100% sure what to expect, but apparently Kan Gao himself says the game is "utterly, disgustingly terrible", so now I know exactly what to expect!  (I'm sure it'll exceed expectations, hooray!)  It's all a bit tongue-in-cheek, but to be honest, perhaps it was really warranted after all, because I went into Rakuen expecting a lot out of it and came out disappointed.  So maybe I'll temper my expectations this time.  Though to be honest, how could you not get hyped after THIS trailer???  Hahaha.

Besides that, we are making our way through Secret of Mana still (just finished up Ice Country), and have taken a bit of a break on Life Is Strange (but will pick it up again I'm sure).  My brother also came over and we raced through Mega Man 1 through Mega Man 4, which was a blast.  I had a bunch of problems and lost most of those races but was way ahead for Mega Man 3 (also the one that I played the most as a child), so woot.  Mega Man 5 and 6 will probably be real challenges for both of us as we're really unfamiliar with those -- I think I've only finished each of them once...

Started playing a bit of Hollow Knight, but unsure exactly what I'll do with that one as I think I want to actually just go through Cave Story first.  It still looks like quite a fine game, but perhaps not as unique or special.



Dance

Not too much of note here as dance events are sort of on break for the end of the year.  A little birdie told me that Unjammix might actually be happening again sometime, so that is super duper exciting!  Also, it's getting to be a few months before Viennese Ball again, so probably sometime next month it'll be time to whip out my Journey dress and add on the final layers so I can be a fully-embroidered red cloak.  So cool that this costume has been evolving along with me over the past 4 years!!!

The last Jammix of the year was not too notable and actually was pretty low-energy for me, but I did end up connecting with someone unexpectedly, which was quite nice.



Anime

Was skimping on Inuyasha for a while but finally watched another episode, hahaha.  But more notable than that, I watched "The Night Is Short, Walk on Girl" (by the same director and writer as Tatami Galaxy), which I enjoyed a lot!  I've watched a handful of other things in recent months too actually, including A Silent Voice (good) and most notably, The Case of Hana & Alice, which I really loved!  Quite an unusual movie I think, but it's really good, really fun, really well-done.  Currently also watching Evangelion (the series), which I watched most of before (but not all?) but largely forgot about.  Have not watched any movies recently -- haven't yet gone to go see Coco or Star Wars...



Xmas

Xmas stuff is coming along well!  Like I keep on saying, I still have some DIY gifts to handle, but other than that, everything is pretty much squared away.  It took a lot of work but all the letters and stuff are mailed out and all the gifts are wrapped (and some shipped).  I still have to go on my Santa delivery runs at some point this week but that should be fine :)



Cooking

Have been trying to make Shui Zhu Yu recently (the sichuan boiled fish dish) to varying degrees of success...I'm finding it quite a difficult dish to get right since there are so many factors, like type of fish, everything that goes into the liquid, the different spices, etc.  I think I am getting closer, and definitely am learning more about what to do and what to avoid, but I'm not nearly there yet.  We'll see.



Melee

Melee stuff has been good recently; I've been feeling a lot of confidence as Marth especially when I am doing crazy stuff like getting pivot grabs and stuff like that.  I haven't really paid much attention to my Fox but I am trying to grind out some stuff with Falco because my Falco definitely needs some work on tech and punishes, so trying to get better with that.  I'm feeling increasingly comfortable with Falcon but am still figuring out how to place my aerials to go for reads on techchases and how to place moves correctly to combo well.  Perhaps the most exciting development is that I am finally starting to "get" Sheik for the first time, as I'm dedicating some time to learning her as a character.  Like Falcon, she feels really weird in neutral to me, and I had to adjust to learning how to boost grab instead of jc grab (feels really weird....also really weird that you don't =always= boost grab, so you have to do it situationally), but I think my experience with all the others characters (esp Falcon) is helping me understand it more and I feel like I am starting to get a handle on her, which is great since I've always wanted to learn her as a character.  I'm going to try and work that up to par for a while before moving onto Peach, which will require a lot more grinding of techskill since she's a whole other animal.





Overall life is in a pretty good spot right now; it's nice to be on vacation finally and to feel like I'm on top of things now instead of juggling around a million different things at once.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Cinnamoroll x Wish Me Mell

Did you know?  Wish Me Mell is designed by Miyuki Okumura, the same designer as Cinnamoroll!



Wish Me Mell is super unknown here in the states, but is sort of a secret fave of mine behind the regulars (Little Twin Stars, Cinnamoroll).  I actually didn't know she was designed by the same person until today.  Makes sense, though!  I'm a fan of the Wish Me Mell design style and it has actually been really cute seeing Cinnamoroll in the same style recently.  I'm sure they would be great friends!


Did you know that Wish Me Mell was aimed at people who are too shy to express their feelings?  She's actually really shy and withdrawn but had her heart touched when her friends wrote letters to her.  So now she delivers mail as a job!

Did you know that her image song is called "Stay the Same"?

No matter how far away we are
I think of you
There is nothing that changes this way
We all will stay the same

Wish Me Mell <3

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Aaaand we're back.  Well, really we were "back" a lot earlier than this, but I just hadn't gotten around to posting another update yet.

Last we left off, I was really grumpy and having a hard time due to two separate things that were going on in my life, but we're all in the clear now, so that's good.

Since then, let's see...

These days I've been watching Nagi no Asukara, which a good friend recommended to me.  I'm currently around episode...18 I believe?  It's been quite enjoyable so far and I'm interested in seeing what comes out of it.  More on that later, perhaps.

Been continuing to play games on our SNES classic too!  I made my way through Super Castlevania IV, which was...actually not terribly difficult, aside from a few places that gave me trouble.  Ultimately more impressive was the fact that I also made my way through Super Ghouls and Ghosts, which was quite difficult, especially in a few key places (like beating level 7 on the second loop with the bracelet, argh!!!).  Thank goodness for essentially unlimited continues.  But now I can check that one off my bucket list.  The remaining "hard" (to some extent) games that I still need to go through include Contra 3 -- which I'm sure will also be brutal --, F-Zero, Super Punch-Out, and the two Star Fox games.  Haven't decided what to do with Super Metroid yet, but I'm sure I'll have fun running that in some way as well (RBO run?).  In the meantime I've been going through Secret of Mana with my housemate which has been fun as well.

Oh, and, I finished both Cuphead and VA-11 HALL-A!  Both were quite enjoyable -- I ended up getting 100% on Cuphead...don't think I'll go for >100% with all the expert-level stuff, but I will go through and at least play through the bonus content included with VA-11 HALL-A.  Cuphead was great fun, very whimsical and beautiful, very old-school, as expected.  The difficulty was pretty good I think; there was enough challenge there, without anything seeming tedious or frustrating (except for trying to beat Mr. Dice before I realized that you have control over the dice roll, lol!).  VA-11 HALL-A's gameplay was...interesting, I guess, but actually was pretty fun, and the characters were actually quite adorable in their portrayal in some regards.  So that was cool.

Rhythm Quest has been rolling along slowly -- I finished up level 1-4, and also reconstructed the project file for level 1-1's music, which I lost due to what I can only assume was a really random freak FL studio accident of some sort.  I also went through all of the music I made so far and got rid of any phase randomness effects that I had on because they sound terrible on phone speakers (where the L and R speakers are basically right next to each other).  Whoops.  I improved the design of the doublehit enemies a little bit as well, though I may still need to come up with a different visual concept for those that is a little more intuitive.

Music work has been slow recently, as it has been for a while, but my Patreon is at least pushing me to keep on trying to make things at a steady rate.  Besides the level 1-4 music for Rhythm Quest, I started another collab with A-zu-ra, which should be fun to work through.

Ludum Dare is next weekend!  Theme voting has already started and this week is the week for us to prepare ourselves and make sure we are stocked up on groceries as well as ready in terms of our planning and ideas.  We will have a writer with us this time!  So we'll be working our game design around that...exciting!  This week is supposed to be a little busy at work unfortunately but I'm planning to take a half day or WFH on friday so we can be all set to go on Friday.

I kind of took a break from Xmas stuff but I'm starting to pick it up again -- I only have 2 (?) more letters to do and I managed to do an inventory of my gift stash; it turns out that I actually don't have much more shopping to do at all, which is great.  I have some handmade stuff that I need to work on though, so I will be trying to get around to that.  In other news, I bought myself some stuff off of my own wishlist -- put in a big order for a bunch of pen stuff that I wanted, and ordered myself a new microphone too, yay!

Anyhow, despite a stumble here and there Thanksgiving has actually been very relaxing and nice for me and I'm hoping that that energy will continue from here on out too....though that is probably a futile wish as best because we all know that Ludum Dare will basically be a tornado.  Ah well, but it should be a great experience again, as it always is.

Saturday, November 18, 2017