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

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

It's getting to be that time of year, so just a reminder that my wishlist is and always will be located on my official online text profile at  If you ever forget that link, you can find it at my Links page, or on my FB profile.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Teardrop, Game Worlds, Rain

One of those songs that I feel the need to repost every once in a while.  I hope you don't mind that it's one of my own works.

It is a really cool thing when video games are able to create a "space" of their own.  Not in the sense of a 3D space, but in the sense that they are able to hold a tiny little microcosm within them, with their own feelings, stories, and special moments.

Games of course are able to convey narrative in a unique way, but perhaps even more unique is their ability to create these "spaces" for us.  These elements of the game world that don't have any inherent meaning in themselves, but are so rich in atmosphere that you find yourself attaching your own stories to them.

Rain World, for example, really is its own little ecosystem, that you can learn so much about, and really seems to evolve and grow on you over time.  And Journey has all manner of nooks and crannies that people have created their own meaning out of.  My favorite room in Journey, for example, is located in the last level -- it's the last sort of safe haven in the snow before heading out into the storm again and to the so-called "death march".  If you activate the stones in that room, the lantern in the middle of the room starts to spin a bit and glows warmly while a gentle music cue starts playing.  I didn't think much of that space when I first played through the game, but it holds a special place in my heart now, simply because of its cozy atmosphere.  I will always linger for a while in that room, sitting and watching the cold winds outside while huddled next to that lantern, and by doing so I have also encouraged many of my journeying companions to do the same.

The bench in Rain holds the same sort of feeling for me and I always stop there for a while during my playthroughs (I still do every once in a long while; it's quite nice).  It doesn't have any "bearing" on the game, no explicit meaning, nothing like that.  But there is a story and a moment to be had there.  And that is really the essence of Rain, I think -- it is a short experience made of those moments, places, and objects.  We made it over 3 years ago and it is still really significant to me, and remains my proudest work.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Chilling warmth stings
my mind as I walk through the hours
A shadow of a doubt creeps up on me
as I exhale and look away

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Inktober + general update

Well, October has come and gone...I suppose it's time for a general update.

You probably already know, but this year for October I decided to get in on the Inktober challenge by committing myself to writing a (handwritten) letter every day for the month.  I followed through (did you expect any less?) and got through my 31 letters, which felt great!  I mostly wrote them on the train during the ride to work, which also meant that this month I didn't have that time available for other things -- most notably development on Rhythm Quest, which pretty much halted for the month.  Today is the first day where I was actually able to spend my train ride to work doing things other than writing, which was refreshing to be honest, haha.  I played some TGM and got through some more of Cuphead (which has been great fun so far!).  In the coming days I'm hoping to use this time for writing an email or two as well as picking up Rhythm Quest again, although I will also still continue do to some writing here and there.

Christmas is about two months away now and thanks to Inktober I've actually got most of my letters done already -- I already have 25 of them out of the way!  I still have around 5 more to do, but I've got plenty of time to do them, so that's great; now I can start thinking about gift shopping and all that...

Things in general have been ok recently...I've felt a little more drained than usual, probably just due to a combination of different things requiring my attention.  I didn't do anything for Halloween this year, unfortunately, but my Journey outfit may end up making an appearance at Fall Ball anyways.  Speaking of dance, I hosted Dancebreak this past week, which was actually quite fun -- always nice to work with people in a low-key environment and also to help newer dancers out a bit, too.  Giving people the right instruction is really hard, but at least I am getting practice at it.  I have not been particularly enthusiastic about social dance recently and have skipped on it for some weeks so it was nice to have a low-key thing with a good vibe.

Progress on music has been slow recently as I only managed to make a single song this past month, but earlier in the month I also did the album art for Potpourri Mix Volume 1 (which was pretty fun, albeit slightly stressful as I didn't know what to do for it at first).  I've started working on my Made in Heights-inspired album again now, which has been going well so far.  It's always fun to experiment with different styles and inspirations and push your boundaries as a musician and producer.

Inktober itself felt quite nice, especially because it was something simple yet productive to look forward to each day and I think that helped me feel better about myself, especially during those times when I felt like I couldn't quite muster the motivation to do more involved things.  Strangely enough, this year I feel like there are less people that I want to write to for Christmas than usual.  Hah!  But I just checked my past records and apparently that's completely wrong...last year I only did 25 (!) letters, and even in 2014 I only did 30.  So I guess I'm actually doing about average.  But for the last few letters, I really was thinking to myself, "hm, I have already written to everybody that I really need to".  Of course I didn't do some of the really important ones yet because those will take more than one day each, so I will be finishing those off this coming month, but was I think interesting to have that realization that I feel like I have less of those friendships that are either established or "budding".  Not that that is a bad thing, really -- I actually feel relatively happy with my current set of relationships, all things considered.

But overall it was nice and I'm definitely thinking that I'll do this every year so I can make sure that I'm on time with all my xmas deliveries and shipments and everything.  One other thing that it made painfully obvious that my new standard of letter length is half of what it used to be...I am writing all of these single-spaced letters now and it makes me feel a little bit pathetic to be honest, haha.  I mean, a large part of that is just due to the fact that for Inktober I needed to do one of them each day so I couldn't spend a long time on any of them, but I think just in general my letter length has gone down.  I think that is OK though, as long as I am still taking the time to write some longer ones between those too.

Hopefully everyone else was successful with their Inktober challenges too!