Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Many things happened!  It's been a good couple of weeks, actually...very good.

I was pretty stressed for my first week at my new job, but it actually went fairly well.  Highlights included going to Mission City Swing on Wednesday with my friend, which I had a great time at!  I also learned that despite Caltrain being my commute option of choice, it's actually not too bad at all to drive up to the city for work, particularly given that there's a $12 parking lot right by where my company is so that's pretty easy.  So I can just drive to work on Wednesdays and head to MCS afterwards using my car, driving back afterwards, and it works out great.  $12 is not something I really want to pay so often, but isn't really THAT much higher than the caltrain fare both ways.  (Though the fact that I'm just getting monthly passes makes that a bit of a moot point if I'm perfectly honest)

I have brought in a small rice cooker to work as well as a bottle of olive oil and some rice and I am all set to start enacting my grand plan of cooking my own fresh lunch at the company!  I may even try to do it tomorrow -- I'm thinking to bring a salmon filet and then maybe a husk of corn, which is trivial to cook using the microwave.

My 2-week break after getting my introduction to the new company was pretty nice!  I spent quite a bit of time preparing Christmas letters and gifts for people, which I'm happy to say was a great success this year!  Although I definitely was packaging and enveloping and addressing things semi-last-minute, it was not like previous years where I pushed myself to get to 40 letters by trying to crank out a whole bunch during the last few days.  And it's a little better this way, I feel.  I basically did a better job at prioritizing and setting goals that are realistic given all of the other things that I want to do as well.  The final outcome was 25 letters, which was not bad at all!  And I was really happy with how gifts turned out this year, actually.  Especially the fact that I had many boxes saved up of varying sizes, which turned out to be super useful.  And as always, I'm super thankful for the post office at Nob Hill, which I always use for my USPS mailing needs.  They are so friendly there and they all recognize me there by now since I've gone to mail out stuff and buy stamps and everything from them so often.

Christmas overall went extremely well this year and I was actually very pleasantly surprised by it.  I received quite a few letters from friends, and I'm also super grateful for those who got me presents off of my wishlist, including Little Twin Stars microfiber cloths (!), hair bows, a replacement Hello Kitty license plate holder, and even the musician's earplugs that I wanted!  Even my parents got me a pair of waterproof hiking shoes (in a size that actually fits!?) that I need for walking in SF in the rain!  I also got to spend time together with various people, and eat some good food too.

I did not spend quite =as= much time working on Rhythm Quest over the Christmas break as I did during my break between jobs.  However I did manage to think about my redesign of the game and start working on it, and I actually made significant progress on the rework.  The levels are now tile-based and notes are handled completely differently, as I'm laying them down using Tiled instead of in a text editor.  I replaced the Kirby-looking character with a character that looks fairly close to the one from Ripple Runner, and redid the backgrounds and tileset as well.  As with Ripple Runner, I'm using a monochromatic 4-color palette for the tileset and backgrounds so that I can use hue shifting to give variation to them mid-song.

In addition I implemented a bunch of other good stuff, including checkpoints and even debug transport controls for quickly jumping to a given checkpoint in a song, as well as manually controlling song position during runtime, even rewinding through a song or playing it in slo-mo to debug any issues I might need to.  Pretty cool stuff!  The game is already looking pretty darn cool again and I'm really excited to see how it's going to shape up, as well as start working on some actual songs and levels for it.

I have been working on Rhythm Quest on my MacBook Air recently and it's been a mixed bag, to be honest.  I don't have a windows partition set up yet, and am not sure whether I want one to be honest.  But OSX's mouse handling is teeeerrrrribbbleee if you're used to PC mouse acceleration curves.  I can't believe how much it actually hinders my productivity when I'm trying to do things like paint tilesets and work on animations.  I ran one of those quick mouse accuracy test games and it turns out that using a mouse with OSX is actually WORSE for me than just using the built-in trackpad, which is terrible.  Unfortunately you can't tweak the acceleration curves easily since they removed that API from OSX (why?), so if you want to actually rememdy the problem you need to shell out money for a custom solution like ControllerMate, and even then it's difficult to get right.  I don't know...it just seems like you can't really win.  It's sad because I'm fine with so many other things about working in the OSX environment, but the mouse handling just sucks.  Bah.  I love love love working with my desktop.

Anyways, despite that, my current plan is to try and work on Rhythm Quest daily during my morning train commute (and on the way back do some blogging like I am now, or letter-writing or something), as that's a good time to try and get stuff done (and my brain won't be dead or anything).  Of course, I'll need to work on it outside of those times too, for times when I need my desktop for composing, artwork, laying out levels, etc.  But I can at least work on coding and simple spriting work on the train.

Ludum Dare came and went, and I did pretty well!  3rd place in audio, and 15th place overall, which is not bad at all!  I actually really liked how my game turned out.  I was very unsure of it at first after turning it in, particularly because I was really struggling with the game design through the latter part of development, but hearing other people's positive feedback was really encouraging and I'm glad people had fun with it.

I also finished playing through the main campaign of Ori and the Blind Forest, which was really fun!  I actually controlled only the movement and jumping (left hand controls) while my friend took over all of the mouse functions and it was extremely fun going through the game together in that way.  Gaming together with friends is a really fun experience, I think, one that can't be replicated online, really.  It's great!

I also watched a good deal of anime lately, including finishing both the first and second seasons of Hibike! Euphonium, which was amazing amazing amazing and is now my favorite episodic anime ever.  Wuaaahhhhhhhhh.  Currently I'm going through the first season of Chihayafuru, heheh.

I did a little bit of experimenting with new recipes over the break too!  Not too many things, but I made three new dishes.  The first was a Kung Pao chicken recipe from Serious Eats which turned out extremely well both times I made it.  Very tasty and will definitely make it again, maybe even try to internalize the ingredient amounts.  It's a spicy hearty dish so it's great for this cold weather, and it also uses chicken, which is great because I don't actually have a lot of chicken recipes.  Also tried to make shui zhu yu, or whatever that chinese spicy sichuan fish dish is.  For the fish meat I used these super duper cheap Zwai nuggets, which I would...not use again.  They were very flavorful and fatty, but too rich, and a little fishy...I dunno, it wasn't the most pleasant.  I will have to try that dish again using a different white-meat fish.  If anyone has any recommendations on which one to choose I'd love to hear it!  I  am definitely still learning my way around types of fish and don't yet know which ones are chewy vs flaky, etc.

I also made a black pepper fish dish with two types of fish that I got from Nijiya (which I was initially going to use for the sichuan dish but didn't).  It turned out pretty great!  I think one of the fish was some sort of cod and the other was bass?  I wish I remembered because they were very different, one being much more chewy/springy and the other being much more flaky/tender.  Regardless, that was a success.  I've also been using red onions a little bit more recently as they go well in the chicken dish as well as this fish one.

I noticed a small scratch on my left lens today, which was concerning but in the end probably not really anything to get worked up about (though I do wonder what I accidentally did to cause it).  However it did remind me of the fact that I don't currently have vision or dental insurance (only health) and should go and get some.  Sigh, life problems.  They also assigned me the wrong Primary Care Physician when I switched insurance companies, so I have to go and get that rectified as well. (edit: this is fixed now, yay)  In brighter news, I got my clipper card in the mail and set it up with pre-tax contributions and started using it today, so yay!

I've written a lot but there's still even more to cover!  I dyed my hair between Christmas and New Year's and it was super fun!  Went to have it professionally done by the lady who cuts my hair nowadys and though it took quite a while, I'm really happy that I finally went and did it.  Initially I wanted to get it dyed some sort of blue color, but unfortunately that's a hard color to get and we didn't want to damage my hair too much by overbleaching it.  So after some bleaching, the bottom half of my hair turned out a pretty lovely light brown color that I was actually pretty happy with too.  I decided in the end to just get some highlights instead of dying the whole thing because the bleached color was cool too!  The blue dye ended up turning my hair a sort of blueish green color which I'm actually pretty fond of, so now I have teal-ish streaks going through the brownish/yellow/reddish hair.  It's great, but next time I see my stylist I'm probably going to ask her to dye all of it because I really like the blue-green color and think it would be cool if all of my hair was that color as well.

Since the bottom half of my hair is bleached now I have to make sure to take better care of it so I've been regularly alternating between leave-in conditioners and argan oil treatments to make sure that it's healthy, as well as really making sure to follow the old adage of shampooing your roots and conditioning your ends.  It's actually pretty nice that my roots are still uncolored because I can just shampoo that part without worrying about stripping the bleached hair of oils or anything.

Fixed a silly bug with Nyamo's Adventure today.  That's right, still patching my game from June 2016! lol.  Also, as the previous post alludes to, people are being silly about Ludum Dare ratings.  I think we can all agree that the rating system is inherently, but more importantly, NECESSARILY flawed.  My entry scored #3 in audio.  Looking at the #1 and #2 entries, I really don't think that their audio is up to snuff.  #1 earned points for doing "procedural audio" despite being an underwhelming game, and #2 earned points for humor as opposed to actually being good music.  But that's how it goes in LD!  That's just how it goes. :)  And that, my friend, is perfectly fine.

Went on another MBTI kick recently.  It's fun!  I tried typing some of my good friends, which was interesting.  My best friend is INFP, apparently two of the other really important people in my life are INFP and ENFP.  Heheh.

Feeling optimistic about the coming year...let's all do our best!

No comments :

Post a Comment