Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Rhythm Quest Update 2 - Touch Buttons

Our little guy can jump!

So I've got the touch controls working -- it actually worked out without any big hiccups, though I confused myself with an extra (unnecessary for now) layer of indirection during my first attempt.

Unlike in Watch for Falling Rocks, these new TouchButtons are routed through to my custom InputManager, which means I can write InputManager.Check("jump") and it'll handle BOTH any keyboard bindings that you've set up as well as the touch buttons.  I can also call InputManager.Pressed() from FixedUpdate invocations and it'll actually work properly! -- though I won't be using FixedUpdate at all for this game since everything will be locked to the music.

Also, I realized after my last post that I'm definitely going to have to restructure the Song/Music stuff a bit because I forgot that I'm going to have three separate songs playing at one time!  I'll need to write something that's easily able to crossfade between the three, and I won't be able to use my usual single music AudioSource.  Whoops...

Rhythm Quest Update 1 - Scrolling

Well, I haven't gotten much yet, but I've done some basic groundwork for syncing things to beats and I now have a camera-followed character that runs to the right in sync with the music.

(Click for better quality)
The great thing about already having made a whole bunch of games is that there's never any shortage of placeholder art...

Organizing the code around the songs and levels and such is proving to be a little difficult.  On the plus side it doesn't really actually matter how messy it is in the end because I'm not going to be doing complicated things, but I'd like to at least attempt to keep it reasonable.  Plus, I'd like to fit as much of the generic Rhythm/Song-based code into my Harmonic Unity reusable framework.

Getting the repeating + scrolling background to work was actually more of a pain than I'd like -- this is definitely something I'm building out a reusable component for.  Right now it's using a 3D quad and setting texture offsets, then rendering to a separate camera, which is a little ugly, but for now it's probably fine.

Next I'll probably want to make sure that I can hook up virtual buttons and use them reasonably...

Rhythm Quest development start!

I've decided that I'm going to try my best to crank out a game in the next week-and-a-half!  It'll be a challenge for sure, but I'm fairly sure this is what I should be doing while I've got the time away from work (...yes, I'm taking the opportunity away from working in the games industry on a game...)

Here's the initial concept sketch for "Rhythm Quest".  Pretty much all of the major elements are outlined here.  I'll try to post updates as I work through development and we'll see just how quickly I can actually turn this thing into a reality.  First challenge is to get audio sync working properly, and also to get virtual screen buttons working.

...and of course I'll be doing Ludum Dare next weekend as well.  I must really love game development or something...orz

Monday, November 28, 2016

Wow, big catch-up post!  So many things have happened...

First thing's first -- my Patreon site is now live!  You can now support my music directly by going to and subscribing! =D  Every little bit is greatly appreciated, even just $1!  Plus, pledging gets you access to some cool exclusive rewards, like early access to my WIPs and unreleased tracks, as well as my exclusive new single, "Devotion".

I've gotten some great support so far and already have 6 pledges, for a total of $16 per song, which is great!  Since I've hit the $10 mark, that means I've already passed the mark for my first goal, so I'll be celebrating by hosting a live composition stream sometime soon!  Stay tuned for more details on that as I work out scheduling with my patrons. :)

Apparently there was someone who was a bit salty about me having Devotion as an exclusive patreon-only song, which was a bit disappointing to see.  They left me an angry youtube comment essentially saying that it was unreasonable for me to "lock my songs behind paywalls".  I tried to formulate a polite response but in the end I felt like this person was already in an antagonistic mindset and nothing I could say would really change their stance, which is...unfortunate.  I'm not sure I understand what the big deal is given that this is the only song that will ever be Patreon-exclusive -- I really just wanted to offer something special to patrons?  Perhaps they were just opposed to the idea of having to pay for music at all, as opposed to offering everything for pay-what-you-want.  In which case it's just yet another example of how artists and musicians' hard work are being devalued.  We put knowledge, skills, expertise, time, and effort into these creations; what makes you think that you are entitled to them?  My prices are already FAR lower than the market value -- e.g. $2 for over 20 tracks.  Or why not just download one of the countless albums I have available for free?  All of a sudden I release a single song as a paid promo and now I'm the bad guy?  smh...

In other breaking news, I can finally talk about work stuff.....I quit my job!  That's right!  I'm moving onto the next chapter of my career, and it's super duper exciting!  I'm left my corporate position last week, said farewell to my co-workers, and am starting a new job at an amazing indie game studio called Funomena in 2 weeks!  I'm really looking forward to it -- this is the sort of opportunity I've always wanted but never thought would actually exist.  Though my bank account will be a little sad that I'm leaving my cushy large-company job, I have no regrets and am absolutely looking forward to working at a company that tries to do something unique and evoke emotional responses via diverse experiences:

"We had a girl who said, 'It's the kind of game you want to play when you're having a bad day,' " Hunicke says with a laugh. "A lot of kids would get in the headset and immediately dive in and look all around and put their heads inside of everything, look underwater, and make all these excited remarks. We had one young boy, like a nine year old, who, as soon as the turtle appeared at the end of the demo, dropped the controllers and hugged it.

Hunicke was pleased with how the game resounded with women. "A lot of women would just take the headset off and say, 'I didn't think that VR was for me. It seems like it's an intense experience. I was a little afraid to give it a shot, but it was so relaxing and calming. This is exactly the kind of game I would play!'"

"I want it to be an expander title that someone can download and share with someone with very little experience and go, 'This is why VR is magical.' It isn't all shooting stuff or things flying at your face. It can be kind of a chill, creative, meditative experience," Hunicke continues. "That's what I wanted to build, and so to hear that, we were just thrilled."

And I'm even more excited about working on games that focus on a different kind of narrative:

"A lot of games are about getting revenge or going back in time to fix mistakes, but that's not how it works in the real world," Hunicke says. "In the real world, when you make a mistake, you have to kinda learn to talk about it, share your story with other people, and then by listening to their stories realize that you're not alone.

This is something that I've been writing about in a few of my letters recently, actually -- the idea that as an artist, with games as my medium, I really want to explore narratives that show people what it's like to go through life with values like compassion, understanding, forgiveness, and love.  And of course, narratives that are about the past...because you know me -- I'm all about the past.

Anyways, so that is super-exciting!  I'm nervous for my new start but know that it'll be a good one.  In the meantime, I've got two weeks that I'm hoping not to squander!  We'll see if I can crank out a new game or album with this precious time that I've got on my hands. =X  It's a bit stressful, to be honest, but I'm hoping to approach it calmly and recenter myself with this time.

Other things that have happened...Thanksgiving came and went, along with a bunch of yummy food!  I also managed to use this cauliflower soup recipe from Serious Eats to pretty good success!  It came out pretty well, though I don't know if I'm the biggest fan for the taste personally -- it's definitely good, just not my favorite.  I don't think it'll become much of a mainstay recipe of mine, especially given that it's difficult to make a smaller portion -- I used a single head of cauliflower (which, mind you, is pretty huge) and it was definitely enough for 5+ servings...

In terms of giving thanks, I'm actually thankful for a lot of things recently.  I'm incredibly thankful for the opportunity at Funomena and think that it will change my day-to-day life a lot in a good way.  I'm really thankful for all things meowmie.  And I'm thankful for my current living situation, though recently I think the water heater has been struggling to fight the cold temperatures -- the shower temperature has been a bit sinusoidal.  I'm also thankful that everyone at work was so gracious and appreciative during my last few days -- it was actually super nice having people say their thanks and goodbyes to me and feeling appreciated.  Not to mention we had a pretty epic sushi dinner at Fuki Sushi as a farewell, haha.

Went to a friend's dance party in Pleasanton!  Looks like I'll be driving a bit further for dance these couple of weeks, as FNW is taking a two-week break, and I'm hoping to head all the way up to Two Left Feet in Danville (!) next Friday, assuming all goes well.  It's been a while since I've done any serious WCS, so that should be fun/exciting!

As I've been mentioning, waltz has suddenly turned fun and interesting again as I've discovered a bunch of new things that I've been trying to work on.  It's great!  I've also recently become super interested in helping other people out with their waltz in whatever way I can -- so if you're looking for help or ways to improve in your cross-step or rotary, please let me know and I can work with you!

Now that I no longer have my work laptop (and I'll be using a windows desktop over at Funomena -- exciting!), I went ahead and got myself a MacBook Air, both so I can still have a laptop on hand, and so that I can still have an OSX machine on hand as well.  Decided to go with the 13" MBA even though it's a few years old, as it seems like the best compromise between size and processing power.  It's actually got better processing power than the new ultralite macbook but is still real light and much cheaper than the other options.  Not to mention it still has the standard ports, so no dealing with usb-c and all that mess (yet).  The main downside is that I couldn't manage to get a model with 512GB storage so I've only got a measly 256GB to work with, which is a bit problematic if I expect to be dualbooting Windows.  I haven't actually decided yet whether I WILL be dualbooting windows yet, though -- to be honest I almost never did with my previous MBP...keyword "almost".  I feel like it's something that really isn't that useful...until it is.  Anyways, even if I do end up dualbooting, I can say for sure now that I'll be in the OSX partition most of the time, so for now my strategy is going to be to keep a small ~50GB empty partition reserved.  If I end up needing windows, I'll already have that space reserved, and if I decide that I don't, I can just expand the OSX partition.  I'll also be doing some additional computer work soon as I have a new external HD coming in -- will be doing some backups and data management to make sure that all of my bases are covered.  Also going to be ordering a case for the MBA soon, to make sure that we don't have any..."incidents".  I actually spent a fair bit of time trying to look into which one to get, and also whether it was worth considering getting custom skins or decals or custom cases -- I could maybe make one with the All in a Day's Work 3 artwork, for example.  It was tempting, but in the end doesn't really seem worth it -- the print quality probably won't be the greatest, it's too expensive, etc etc.

Got to try out Overcooked recently with my brother!  Was super fun :)  Can only imagine what it'd be like with 4 players, hahaha.

Went to see Vienna Teng's concert at Berkeley!  It was pretty amazing, as the last one was, though of course with a bit of a different flavor, some different songs, some different feelings.  Soooo worth.  Got a chance to hike around campus (so pretty!) and see the Botanical Gardens at Berkeley too!

Ludum Dare is coming up in two weekends (that's right, right before I start my new job), and it looks like things will be proceeding more or less smoothly despite some minor bouts of LD drama (again...but not nearly as much as last time).  It should be an interesting one for me...not exactly sure what will end up happening.  I'm also going to take this moment to admit that I never did a proper post-mortem for Watch for Falling Rocks =(  I also never got to do a comment-back for every single person who gave me a comment, which I said I would do =( =( =(  I DID go through and play all of the games that were on my "looks interesting, bookmark for later" list though.  LD36 was...very interesting, being a no-rankings event.  Overall I don't think that is the way to go moving forward, but it was actually a pretty nice changeup to not have to worry about ratings for once, and it was also amazing to see the community actually step up and make sure that the event remained successful -- and in some regards even better than usual.

Other random things...I randomly randomly had the urge to play through MissionForce: CyberStorm again (super old turn-based mech game on a hex grid), so I've been going through that on hard difficulty.  Crushed the first two systems without too many problems, so now all that's left is to build up my forces and then take on the final mission.  I also booted up the PSP again to see if I felt like doing something more with FFT but...I don't know if I do.  You can't even do the rendevous missions without connecting with another co-op partner (which means I can't), so the only real thing left is the deep dungeon...meh.

Christmas Letters -- I just finished number 9, probably have around 15 left to go!  I'm going to have to be dilligent, but it looks like we'll be ok this year.  The more pressing issue is that I need to get started finding presents, as I still need to find a big bunch of those.

Contemplating (again) dying the tips of my hair...hahaha.  Saw someone who had colored tips and it looked pretty cool!  Hey -- if worse comes to worst, I can always chop them off...

I should post more often...

I've been in an interesting mix of happy and sad recently.  I'm doing okay, but at the same time there is definitely a lot of longing for the past.  I mean, there always is, but I guess the difference is I don't know if there is anything really "pulling" me towards the future right now.  I'm hoping that over the next two weeks I can spend some time to myself and figure that out.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

No matter how many times I stumble on it, "occasionally" still trips me up remembering that the 'c' is doubled and the 's' is not.  I think my first guess usually ends up being that both are doubled, so I get "occassionally" but I guess that does look wrong now that I think about it.

Monday, November 21, 2016

That feeling when you need to double-tap an I piece to the left without resetting lock delay during Death 400 and you aren't quite fast enough...

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Omg, it's amazing!  I think I've finally gotten past the plateau that I've been at for so long in cross-step and rotary waltz!  I have a bunch of cool new stuff that I'm working on -- haven't had this many new ideas in forever!  Some of it is from the thinking I did in my own head at the waltz intensive last weekend, some of it is from some videos, and some of it is trying to transplant some WCS ideas into waltz.  Super exciting!

Friday, November 11, 2016

Christmas letters: 3 down!

So...a few things.

First, as someone who suffered from a debilitating and lengthly bout of "RSI/CTS/whatever" and made a full 100% complete recovery, I must urge people to ensure first that you are not instead suffering from a misdiagnosed case of TMS (for which the treatment is completely different, and fortunately, much more effective), and also that you make sure you take care of yourself emotionally as well as physically regardless of what your treatment may be.  I don't know how common these things are but I always worry that people are straying down the wrong path because of the constant pressures of society.  Let me know if you have any questions about TMS.  Blah.

Also, for those of you who want an xmas wishlist for me, the URL you want is  (This link is also on FB, on the "Details About ___" section)  I've compiled a detailed wishlist for this year that I'll be keeping up-to-date, so that's what you want to reference.

I won my quarterfinal match for our MtG league!  So I'm in the top 4 now :D  We'll see if I can squeak out another win...

Played more melee today.  Gooooood stuff.  I was actually pretty on top of things with Falco today, and Marth was great as usual.  My Falcon is actually improving a lot, which is super cool.  I still have a LOT to learn about Falcon, but at least I'm starting to get a handle on it.  Also I finally realize how extremely vital it is to shieldstop with Falcon, so you can do shieldstop sh nairs.  Very very good.  Fox hard -_-;  ugh, I really need to put in more reps with Fox.  Even things like shine turnaround edgehogs, shine bairs, ledgedash, etc etc are just not under my belt at all.  And I also need to do some more canonical stuff like following uthrow with uair on platforms to cover missed tech.  And edgeguard better.  Fox is so hard.

Been feeling a little shaky/tired lately.  Today was a pretty good day though.  Fall Ball is tomorrow, followed by the Waltz Intensive on Saturday!  Pretty exciting :)

In other news, America exploded this week...

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Booted up TAP again and got a Master S9 on my first try (spent too much time recovering from mistake(s) in one section and probably failed the tetris requirement on that section as well).  Looks like I'm still good at this game :)

Christmas letters 2016 -- mission start!  One down, about 25 more to go...I started with a long one this time, so my hand already hurts, lol xD

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Happy 42nd birthday to Hello Kitty!

You're no longer my favorite Sanrio character, and haven't been for a while, but as it still falls (mostly) upon you to carry forward the Sanrio spirit to most, I'll of course continue to support you as I always have.  (HK for president!)

Recently I stopped by Kinokuniya and was pleasantly surprised at their collection of Sanrio goods imported from Japan -- it was a real breath of fresh air considering that the Sanrio boutique shops have all closed down and the only Sanrio presence I see nowadays is the lackluster store at Great Mall.  It made me happy to see that there is still a place for my Sanrio friends here.

And of course, let's not forget -- a happy belated birthday to Charmmy Kitty and Kuromi! (both born on Oct 31)

Current stats:
Xanga: 3,780 posts (archive)
Blogspot: 355 posts
Letters: 963 written over 9.34 years (avg 1 per 3.541 days), 260 received (3.7:1 ratio)
Wallpapers: 3,116 (across 99 categories)
Anime: 2,409 Episodes watched (40.8 days)

My "days per letter" stat went down a whole lot, good god -- It used to be at 1 per 3.358 days.  On the plus side, I'm still on track to have 1000 letters written before 10 years is up, which is good.  I'll be starting xmas letters very soon, so hopefully that number will be getting a little better before the year is up.

Things are going ok!  We finally finished up everything that needs to be done for Watch for Falling Rocks, so now I just have to take updated screenshots and a video demo and I'll be able to publish it for mobile.

I'm currently 2-1 in my MtG Kaladesh sealed league at work after losing g3 of an otherwise close match in round 3.  The game itself was pretty uneventful as I kept a 1-lander after mulliganing to 6 on the draw, scry'd to the bottom and never found a second land.  However it was a pretty bad matchup for my deck in general as my creatures and removal suite just don't line up very well with his beefy green creatures and such.  I got some decent additions to my pool with the last pack so let's hope that I have better luck in round 4.

Halloween went OK this year.  I wore my Journey costume again (as expected), which was received well.  Missed the Halloween party at work, but still ended up wearing it yesterday through most of the day (including a trip to Nijiya for some groceries).  I didn't do any preparing for trick-or-treaters or anything, and actually couldn't anyways, as after work I basically just did groceries, took out the trash, cooked dinner, and ate, and then had to leave pretty soon after that.  Maybe next year?  I do admit that I was a bit sad that I didn't really get to "hang out" or do anything with other people while in costume on Halloween (e.g. trick-or-treating, etc).  Again, maybe next year.  I did get to hang out at a friend's Halloween party on Sunday though, which was pretty fun! :)

Been getting into Japanese cooking recently!  I've been making sukiyaki a few times, which is actually extremely easy and rather foolproof.  I bought some packets of instant dashi which will probably come in handy as I try cooking some other things like maybe gyuudon or something like that.

Started up a new song on Sunday night!  This is going to be an exclusive for Patreon supporters -- I'm planning on setting up Patreon once the song is finished and once I get a chance to produce a simple intro video or such for it.  The song is sounding pretty legit so far and I'm really happy with how it's going.  It's pretty similar to Infinity and has similar inspirations.  I was a little nervous when starting it out since it really has been a while since I've produced anything at all, but looks like things are coming out just fine, which is a relief. :)

Started watching Vivid Strike yesterday while eating dinner, and I'm also going to be following the 3rd season of Haikyuu.  Feels quite strange to be watching things as they air, as usually that's not my style, but so be it!

Overall, things are going pretty ok for now.  There's not too much to complain about, and some things to look forward to as well.  I feel that my emotional mood is somehow a little bit underneath where that would usually put me though.