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 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:

Samurai Shaver:

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.


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 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.


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.


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.


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 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 :)


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 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