Sunday, June 17, 2018

The Future We Wanted

Ok, last time posting about this.  I just have a bookmark to it on my notes document because I feel like I wanted to say =something= about it, but honestly, what can I say that would mean more than simply reading it properly?

This is a piece by Leigh Alexander called "The Future We Wanted".  I've been following Leigh for quite some time, even back from when she was doing a lot of games journalism.  This is by far my favorite thing she's ever written.  It speaks to...ok, well, half of you have already guessed it by now, but yes, it speaks about the past.

"I’m in, I whispered. But I knew she would never be there again."

Things are alright, I guess.  I have a rash of some sort though, will get it checked out tomorrow morning. -_-  bleh.

Over the past few days I played through ESC, an interactive novel by Lena Raine (composer for Celeste).  It was pretty enjoyable and interesting!  Definitely a story with many layers, and I quite liked it.  Always nice to see interactive novels done right, since as you may know there are a ton of them with...shall we say, less-than-stellar writing quality.

Other than that, been doing more work on music this week/weekend...I have a commission project that I'm finally making headway on, and some other stuff that I'm trying to make progress on as well.

Work work has been pretty alright recently, actually, which is good.  Feels like I have been getting into a pretty regular routine of making my standard saute of rice, mushrooms, onion/shallot, and sausage for lunch every other day, but maybe this week I should change it up a bit; have not used the toaster oven at work much, so maybe I ought to be cooking some more fish fillets or even just sandwiches.  I did try a different type of instant noodle (tofu + bean thread noodles?) on friday with some frozen dumplings added in, which turned out alright.

Dance was interesting on Friday, I think somehow perhaps both fun and not fun at the same time.  Hard to explain, really.  It's like that sometimes, as I've written countless times before.  But in the midst of the darkness, there was a light that was shared.

Been contemplating starting up my playthrough of FFTA...haha...we'll see if I really pull the trigger on that one, or if I decide to do something else instead like Mother 3.

I got asked to DJ at FNW, lol, so I guess that is a thing.  Shouldn't be too hard as I already have to put together music for JaSmix and a different event too.  Speaking of which, we still haven't nailed down the date for JaSmix, but hoping that happens soon.  Bleh.

Have been focusing a lot of Falcon in melee these days, trying to get used to all of the canonical ways to read techrolls and edgeguard and such.  The thing that stands out to me most at the moment is covering missed tech / tech in place with knee; I still get the weak knee a lot of the time which is disappointing.  Well, I'll get it eventually.

I dunno...stuff.

Friday, June 15, 2018

I wish the rain would fall and fall, and block out everything in this world outside of my safe space.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Personality Types (2018)

It's been a while, so I thought I'd go and retake some personality tests and see how my results are doing.


MBTI

From https://www.16personalities.com:
24% Extraverted - 76% Introverted
28% Intuition - 72% Sensing
19% Thinking - 81% Feeling
100% Judging - 0% Prospecting (lol!)
(40% Assertive - 60% Turbulent)

From http://similarminds.com:
My last recorded results that I can find are from way back in Dec 2011.  The results from back then:
Introverted (I) 75.76% Extroverted (E) 24.24%
Sensing (S) 64.1% Intuitive (N) 35.9%
Feeling (F) 66.67% Thinking (T) 33.33%
Judging (J) 75% Perceiving (P) 25%

Apparently the questions on this test are really bad for me now because:
Extroverted (E) 50% Introverted (I) 47%
Sensing (S) 72% Intuitive (N) 28%
Thinking (T) 62% Feeling (F) 42%
Judging (J) 93% Perceiving (P) 20%
Which types me as an ESTJ, which is completely off-base, lol.

Let's try one more, for fun:
From http://www3.psychcentral.com:
25% Extraverted - 75% Introverted
34% Intuition - 66% Sensing
46% Thinking - 54% Feeling
19% Perceiving - 71% Judging

My MBTI type as an ISFJ is rock solid though; that's really not ever going anywhere.  I think the exception is that for a lot of these tests I can imagine showing as more Extraverted since I am a lot more comfortable with social situations now.  They are definitely not energizing to me though; when I am stressed or in a bad place the last thing I want to do is interact with other people in a social setting.

Enneagram

From https://www.eclecticenergies.com:
Type 4 - 12
Type 1 - 10.7
Type 2 - 8.7
Type 6 - 6.7
Type 3 - 6.4
Type 5 - 5

I guess my Enneagram is sort of all over the place nowadays.  The last results I have are from Feb 2011, and look like this:
Type 6 - 8
Type 2 - 6
Type 4 - 5
Type 9 - 5
Type 5 - 4
Type 1 - 3
Type 7 - 2
Type 3 - 2
Type 8 - 1

Before that I identified super strongly as a Type 2 (Helper / Giver), and really was that type of person actually, to a fault.  Actually, Type 4's direction of integration/growth is supposed to be 4, which curiously is my highest score currently.  Seems too good to be true...maybe?  I do feel like I am more self-nurturing/aware than I used to be...

Reading over the type descriptions, I honestly still feel like Type 2 is the only one that really fits (???), but I think it is worth taking a moment to see what has changed that makes it a bit less obvious than it used to be.

I think before, when I was waiting for "those wings to lift me gently from the stream", as Kiki said, I was always felt with an intense desire to be loved, and to generously give to others in an effort to establish my self-value and in hopes of fulfilling that desire.  One of the biggest differences between me now and the me of 7 years ago is that I no longer feel an overwhelming fear of being and abandoned and unloved.  Of course, I still fear change/loss, and also failure, and I think the core fear of worthlessness (your failure makes you worthless and unloved) still speaks to me.  But I think

Still, type 6 being called the "Loyalist" makes me drawn to it by title alone, haha.  Consistency above all else...yes, I love consistency.  Maybe I could be a type 6 after all.  Who knows?  I don't...I could be a type 4?  Blah.

Ocean / Big 5

From http://www.outofservice.com:
My last recorded results for this are from way back in Dec 2011.  Here are the changes:
Openness          30 -> 24
Conscientiousness 97 -> 100
Extraversion       1 -> 1
Agreeableness     74 -> 82
Neuroticism       14 -> 95 (!)

That 100% Conscientiousness and 1% Extraversion, lol!  I love it.  I didn't actually expect to get 1% for extraversion because I honestly feel like I've become =significantly= more outgoing and sociable in the past 7 years, but hey, I'll take it.  The real shocker here is how the heck I managed to go from 14% Neuroticism to 95% when in reality it feels like it should have been the other way around!

I guess what this really is pointing to is the fact that in the past even though I was having a lot of hard times, I would generally keep it under wraps and stay "calm".  I feel like back in those years, I was very much this presence that was very quiet and reserved, yet also had a lot of issues bubbling up within.  Kiki described it very well when she said that "While you were quiet and sometimes a very calming presence, I remember you were quite loud inside that fragile body, with a wildly beating heart, wondering when someone else's wings would fold around your shoulders and lift you gently from the stream."  I am definitely less calm in that particular manner nowadays (e.g. I am way more laid-back instead of being very reserved)...perhaps I am just more aware of my own lapses of judgment and failures of character...before I probably was not even ready to confront them, but now I am pretty aware of the fact that I still really have problems dealing with failure, etc. etc.


Sunday, June 10, 2018

Things have more or less just been continuing on as usual...for better or for worse.

Bathroom remodeling is finally starting to wrap up -- my bathroom and shower are functional again now, woo!

We posted about and shared our final version of Goodnight Meowmie, and are very thankful to everyone who took the time to play it.  I am still finishing up the post-mortem (I had a lot to say), but that should be up soon as well.

I had to deal with annoying issues at work for most of the week this past week, so that was myemie.  Maybe next week will be a bit better.

Made Okonomiyaki on Thursday, which turned out pretty successful!  Seems like that one will be a useful recipe to try out again.

Planning for JaSmix continues to crawl forward at a slow pace.  Hopefully we can nail down all the logistics and then I can start to stress out about what the hell to teach.  ugh.

I'm back at it with doing commission work!  Trying to knock a commission out of the way over the next month or so, so that is pretty exciting I guess.

Overall things are...ok, I guess.  I don't know, really. =/

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Fanime 2018

Ugh, life.  Ok, let's get to it...

Fanime 2018

Fanime was this past weekend and it was a pretty fun one!  Fanime seems to have a different storyline for me each year -- last year, for example, was characterized by a lack of plans and a lot of just hanging out, but also by going to see aivisura perform and staying through B&W ball for the whole time with the rest of the Stanford crew.  This year it seems that the narrative was just taking it super easy and not really doing that much at all.  It was quite a different Fanime experience than I'm traditionally used to, but not bad by any means; in fact I was quite happy with how it went.

Wore the Journey cosplay to Fanime for what seems like the umpteenth time -- since VBall I've been a fully embroidered red cloak!  Next year I'll be adding more to the sleeves, I think...anyhow, I actually never bothered to put on the hood + mask once throughout the entire weekend -- next time I'll probably not even bother bringing it, unless by some small miracle I find it in myself to make another (not so scrappy) one.  I did meet one fellow Journeyer at con and ran into them once or twice throughout the weekend, so that was nice!  Other than that, people liked the costume a lot; someone even just came up and wanted to give me a hug, haha.  Oh, also!  For the first time I had a complete stranger recognize who I was and they told me they were a fan of my music.  So that was pretty awesome.  I've often had people from different slices of my life know the other parts of me, like people whom I meet through dance who happened to know of my music or whatever, but this was the first time a fan of mine just out of the blue recognized who I was.

Went to the Joe Hisaishi concert on Friday and aivisura's performance on Saturday!  Honestly I was way more pumped for aivisura's set, but I guess that's not surprising since I really love their music.  The Hisaishi concert did have some quite nice moments though.  aivisura played a few SU songs, they did their Yuri on Ice cover again which was really great (I still remember getting chills the first time they performed it), and then they also played Diamond Dove, Lonely Rolling Star, and ended with an encore performance of Here's How, which I totally called from a mile away, hahaha.  It was great getting to hear Lonely Rolling Star again and Here's How is such a great live piece, it's always fun.  Also, either it was just me, or Surasshu really leveled up his game!  He sounded so much more confident compared to the first time...good stuff!  Also, I've always been a fan of the aivisura sound in general but this concert gave me another chance to re-appreciate surasshu's drum sequencing -- it's something that I'll probably try and take a few notes from in the future.

No TGM in the gaming hall this year!  Which probably contributed a lot to the fact that I didn't have a ton of stuff to do, haha.  There were a bunch of Melee setups though, and I pulled out my laptop and ran faster melee for a while.  Played a bunch of friendlies with a random Marth main who was there, which was pretty fun, and got to play with some friends too.  No Bishi Bashi or 3rd Strike or anything like that either, but the most random thing they had there was a machine of...KeyboardMania!  Wow!  That's definitely something I didn't expect.  The machine was completely inaudible and neither me nor my friend had headphones so the only way I could hear any of the music was to put my head awkwardly right next to the speaker, but it was still sort of fun anyways, especially when we decided to try a really hard song and both try to "help" each other on the same side -- after 3 tries, we passed in the end!  They had the staples there too -- IIDX and PopN and everything, but it was free play and long lines, so bleh.  It was actually a shame they didn't have some random shmups or metal slug or whatever for me and my friend to goof off on, but whatever.

Let's see...what else...the Roti Canai at IPOH Garden was pretty yummy and there was this running joke about going back there and just continually eating more Roti Canai but in the end we actually never did.  Good to remember that option for future years, though!  The weather was actually pretty nice for the whole weekend -- was cloudy for the first half which was quite nice, until Sunday when the sun came out, but I didn't spend all that much time outside so it was just fine.

Perhaps the thing that struck me most about this time at Fanime was just how many different people and friends I ran into at con that I knew from various places.  I had friends from social dance, friends I knew from music production, and in general just lots of different sets of people; I was impressed by how many people I knew that were all at the same event; I didn't even run into quite all of them either.

Most disappointing thing was definitely the Stardew Valley cosplay "gathering", which aside from a nice Harvey, was unfortunately basically empty.  Whelp...

My loot haul was small yet good!  I got 3 different letter sets -- a Little Twin Stars one from Swap Meet (just $3!!!), and two others (Little Prince!) from Artist's Alley.  I also bought a nice microfiber cloth, also from Artist's Alley, which I'll probably use as a gift since I already have my Little Twin Stars microfiber cloths (thanks BZ!).  I saw some big Cinnamoroll plushies for sale in the Dealer's Hall which made me happy -- of course I had no need for them as I already have my very own big Cinnamon at home, but still nice to see Cinnamoroll getting more love.

As far as other people's cosplays go, probably the most notable ones were:

- A really awesome genderbent Moana (as a guy) + Maui (as a girl)
- Ryoko from Tenchi Muyo!  Wow, did not expect to see her cosplayed!
- A whole gang of chefs from OverCooked
- Apparently there were a few other Gakkou Gurashi cosplayers too, whom I unfortunately did not run into, but that is super awesome!  Gakkou Gurashi <3
- A really giant Totoro

and there was also this guy in the Gaming Hall that looked uncannily like my brother. O_o  Seriously though, he totally looks like it...

Anyhow, that about wraps it up.  Pretty fun times and getting to top it off with the GCC dance on Sunday was pretty fun as well (that meant no B&W Ball for me this year).  Despite not staying at con super long each day, everything must have added up because Sunday night I slept for like 12-13 hours lol.  It was glorious.

Other Life Stuff

Unfortunately my respite was a bit short-lived as I went right back into the grind with more on my plate than I'd like...Monday I finally got around to doing a clean reinstall of windows (server 2016) on my desktop to fix some issues that popped up ever since the upgrade from ws2012.  I ran into a couple hiccups but things are more or less running smoothly again now, though I haven't brought =everything= back online yet.  I'm still trying to get the bottom of this strange issue where SSD access seems to slow down after extended usage, but it's not consistent and disappears after a clean reboot so it's difficult to track.  Hopefully I'll be able to track it down or it'll go away on its own...

We are finally more or less done with Goodnight Meowmie (v2.02), though I still need to finish writing the post-mortem report and make some gifs for promotion and all that.  Hopefully I can make that one less thing to worry about soon -- already got too much to sort out with all the other stuff I need to do.

As an aside, I'm actually feeling strangely unconfident about my music production recently, as I feel like it's been a while since I've properly felt really "in the flow" of things on that side.  I think part of it is I've done some more intellectual projects and need to get back into the swing of just going with my first instinct and not second-guessing myself or trying to plan for anything.  Well, nothing I can really do about that at the moment, though.



Monday, May 21, 2018

On Ludum Dare

While we're on the subject of Ludum Dare, I should take a moment to give an update on my general feelings toward the jam as a whole, and its (arguably) inarguable blend of awesomeness and mediocrity.

Ludum Dare has always been one of the biggest and most popular game jams, behind Global Game Jam with just over 3,000 entries being submitted for the latest round (GGJ meanwhile has had over 8,000).  LD is quite a different beast than GGJ though -- while Global Game Jam is very structured and involves going to an actual official in-person jam "site" with an organizer running the whole thing, Ludum Dare is this big asynchronous reddit-style mismash that just happens online.  It's coordinated and run by one person (!) and you can do it from anywhere you want -- usually from the peace and comfort of your own home.

The decentralized and lax nature of Ludum Dare has always simultaneously been one of its greatest strengths as well as its largest flaw.  Ludum Dare is super lax and basically anybody can do it.  Yes, there are rules and restrictions (don't steal content, etc.), but there are no prizes and there's no real hard enforcement of the rules.  In fact, since the #1 priority of the entire jam is around people just having fun making games ("your game IS your prize"), there are explicit exceptions made to the rules!  Need to update your game after the deadline to patch up some silly bugs?  Sure!  (Legally) using third-party assets in your game?  Go ahead -- just make sure you opt-out so you aren't included in the respective categories.  And it's for this exact reason that Ludum Dare is great for me -- making a game in a weekend is hard enough by itself, so I really don't want to have to worry about anything else at the same time.  I'm sure GGJ is a great experience, but don't want to go and meet new people and worry about moving my setup to a site and blahblahblah...I really just want to jam on games, by myself or with my best friend.

Ludum Dare is =far= from the only game jam of its kind, but it's the biggest and most well-known.  And really, the whole point of a game jam (versus just choosing a weekend to go off and make a game by your lonesome) is to have a community of people coming together, sharing games, playing each others' games, and giving feedback.  And Ludum Dare really does do that.

That said, Ludum Dare has had quite its fair share of......"issues" in recent years.  From changing to a new website (which many will probably agree is still really mediocre), numerous complaints about organization and administration (remember, LD is run by ONE person!), and more recently, rule violations and allegations of voting abuse, Ludum Dare...honestly could be better.  Ratings feel like a flip of the coin sometimes and this year we had *category winners* that were being ranked #1 in audio, graphics, mood, when they didn't actually create their own content.  ("Wow this music is better than anything else I've heard in all of LD!" ... well, it's also a professional studio album ripped off of SoundCloud that wasn't made during the jam...)

Now, I understand that things will definitely slip through the cracks sometimes -- heck, I've even had to make some small exceptions for myself too.  I think it'd be a mistake to hold people to the letter of the law instead of worrying more about the spirit of the jam itself.  But clearly things could be a bit better.  When people don't even realize they are breaking the rules, that's a bit sad.  When voters also don't realize those people are breaking the rules, it's also sad.  I've done my part as a proper LD citizen and called several people out on their third-party assets -- usually these people actually credit the original source in their game descriptions.  That's always been met with sincere apologies, and the team or individual in question opts out of the appropriate category after I point them to the rules.  Why does this continue to be a thing?  The website has very poor usability; adding multiple people to a team and submitting a jam game together is terribly unintuitive.  There's no search function!!!  If I want to find a game's page on LD by title I literally have to use Google.  The results page is way more confusing than it used to be.  Basically almost everything was better on the old site -- though I understand that the old site was also running on super outdated technology (wordpress???) and simply needed to be replaced at some point.  Still, it's sad that we just have so many issues, after more than a year on the new site.

But it's important to remember again, that LD has sprawled out into a big mess and despite the good citizens of LD's best intents (shoutout to all you good LD citizens; you guys are great), there really isn't anything that the community as a whole can do to fix it.  It's just in the very nature, structure, and foundation of LD to be that way.  It's not run by some organization, it doesn't have funding -- it's literally just one guy's hobby.  Random people from the community can make all the posts they want about how they want to help, or could do a way better job, or whatever...but there's no way a huge decentralized community is going to effect any meaningful change -- it'd be like Reddit trying to get together to write a novel (or think Twitch Plays Pokemon).  In the end, there's no way to call the shots and really effect change without a core person or group.  Could I imagine a stronger core running LD?  Absolutely.  But that's just not the world we live in.

Despite all its shortcomings, though, LD still really does serve my needs as a game jam.  It gives me an excellent excuse to craft my art, and it provides a community of people who will actually go and try your game and provide feedback.  Sure, the site...kinda sucks a bit...and really the whole thing ought to be run better...but I can deal with that.  Probably the most relevant downside of LD for me is that the ratings are really a crapshoot, and that can feel invalidating at times, but even that's really not so bad now that I've sort of "been there, done that", so to speak.  It's also a shame that LD suffered in popularity due to its more mediocre aspects.  But LD is still a great time for me.  I've made *22 games* for Ludum Dare, and each time it's been a blast, and super fulfilling.  For that I'm thankful, and hope that it will continue to be a great experience (while also hoping that it can get its stuff together someday, haha).



"...but if there's a time when everything can go back to the way it was, that'll be great.
I hope things don't change anymore.
Because the most important is the memories.
I don't want a future.
So even though I'm here right now, there's no meaning to it.
If everything goes back to the way it was,
then maybe I'll disappear.
There's no meaning to my current existence.  As I could disappear at any time."
--Ritsuka, Loveless 2



Thursday, May 17, 2018

LD41 results, Goodnight Meowmie, Big Dance 2018, OHC500, etc.

I am fearful of everything
thorns pushing in from all directions
With an outstretched hand, you
reach out to me and remind me
what it feels like to be home

Ludum Dare results and Goodnight Meowmie

Before we knew it, Ludum Dare 41 results were out, and though I did not get as much of a chance to play and rate other games as I would have liked, we at least got a good number of people who played our game (~57 ratings).

I'll be writing up a full post-mortem reflecting on the process and result of the game, but these were our results from the voting:

Overall:    14th  (4.352 average from 56 ratings)
Fun:        276th (3.645 average from 57 ratings)
Innovation: 217th (3.773 average from 57 ratings)
Theme:      115th (4.236 average from 57 ratings)
Graphics:   42nd  (4.500 average from 57 ratings)
Audio:      4th   (4.509 average from 55 ratings)
Mood:       2nd   (4.574 average from 56 ratings - highest ever!)

Average Score: 4.23

We have still not promoted or linked to Goodnight Meowmie as we are still at work revising some key parts of the game.  The current version as it stands is fine, and was well received; however there are actually some important things that it does not really do justice to.  I'm not sure how it happened, but somewhere along the road, Goodnight Meowmie actually became an intensely personal project for me and I think it has taken on a significant emotional meaning.  It is really not often at all that I will be on the train thinking about how to structure a certain part of a game and start crying, haha.

This is what people mean when they talk about making works your own, and making works that only you can make.  As an artist there is a certain something that you can only bring to something if you are truly speaking from and bringing your own strong feelings and perspective about it.  And that is why it is so hard to write a compelling story about a subject that you don't really understand, or draw from a reference photo without really working with the real thing.  Not that there isn't value in trying to just "fake it" and great things can still come out of it, but it's really not the same experience artistically.

Anyways, as an artist this game is really starting to mean a lot to me.  Just like our failed project, "Bird" (which would go on to become "Rain"), taught me a lot, too.  "Bird" was a story about my struggle about loss, the past, and moving on -- the one story that I keep coming back to over and over again.  And I struggled a lot to figure out what the ending of "Bird" was supposed to be, because I was struggling to figure out the same answer in my own life, too.  The happy end was a fairy-tale ending that I knew would never happen.  But I couldn't accept the "we learn to move on" ending either.  I just could not.  And this story along with a lot of other soul-searching and life experiences taught me in the end that there was a way, my way, to continue on without reaching each other, yet without letting go too.  To accept the pain that comes with knowing that you will never see someone again, while still choosing to treasure them and yearn for them.  Because you would never forgive yourself otherwise.

We struggled quite a lot with the ending of "Rain" too.  In the end it ended up telling quite a different narrative than "Bird", but ended up being very meaningful to me as it was the first time we were able to create such a rich and meditative experience through the medium.  Like with "Bird", Goodnight Meowmie also deals with things that are very personal and important to us, and as we think about the experience and the narrative there are things that are very obviously wrong or right to us and we know it just because we feel so strongly about these feelings in our real lives too.  As an artist I think that is how you know that something is rich and "real", that it really has something behind it -- when decisions are made because of real experiences and feelings, not just "because I thought it would be cool".  And as we think about these narratives it informs our life stories as well.

I can never give up being an artist.

So yeah, I have been hard at work on Goodnight Meowmie -- not to mention, Samurai Shaver still needs that calibration screen put in too...ugh.  I was thinking about it the other day and realized that I am too much of a workaholic in my personal and artistic ambitions to ever be a workaholic in my career.  I know I'm quite fortunate to be able to say this, but when you pit my artistic dreams against job and career, there's just no question which one I need to prioritize...

Big Dance 2018

Well, that's one for the books!  This was a fun one for sure, definitely more so than I remember from last year, actually.  This year was sort of ridiculous in that me and Gem both had Deca rehearsal the morning after from 10AM-1PM (with Gem helping to teach, no less).  Big Dance runs from 9PM to 6AM, so...yeah.  I ended up coming before 9PM too, so I really did it all.  I ended up catching roughly 2 hours of sleep between Big Dance and Deca rehearsal, and successfully made it through before crashing until dinner, haha.  Apparently Gem had had enough caffeine that she didn't even sleep in between...

Let's see...performances were actually pretty great this year; I liked DL's choreos, and oh, Swingtime's new choreo was quite fun too!  "Wopening" was pretty epic and Bob's performance in Ceili was top-notch, hahaha.  Speaking of Bob, I got to partner with him for Dawn Mazurka again this year -- we had a solid set, and as I once did years ago, I got to sprint around half of Roble during the "chase" until he finally was able to cut me off.  Oh yeah, and we also did a lift after the genuflection.  Good times.

I also brought home 1st place in the Intergenerational dance contest with Elise (whom I had never danced with before), which was super duper fun omg!  With a Lindy Hop, no less??  I talk about this again and again, but there is always something exhilirating about dancing with someone you don't know and trying to play off of each other in a way where neither of you really knows what will happen.  It's something that makes me wonder if we can have more Luck of the Draw (ok, fine, "Jack & Jill") events (hint hint) in our community.

Other than that, good dances, good seeing everybody, and I even got to spend some time sitting out by the fountain, which was super nice and relaxing >w<.  My foot cramped up again but only way into the night...will have to use better insoles next time.

System Shock 2

I started up my Impossible playthrough of System Shock 2.  I hope to be continuing that soon (whoops), but in other news we also finished up the game in our co-op playthrough.  Getting through the Body of the Many fight was quite exhilirating, feeling more like a traditional FPS than anything as we tried to just rambo our way through all the rumblers and psi reavers (which seemed quite buggy in multiplayer).  The Shodan fight, on the other hand, was a walk in the park as I just blasted her away with a few shots of my EMP rifle, lol!  That's that...

OHC500

That's right, OHC round 500 happened last week!  It's been forever and a day (basically 100 OHCs) since I last compoed, so it was nice to do it again.  I definitely felt rusty, and whenever I do OHC again these days it always feels like I'm suuuuper slow and clumsy compared to how I remember myself being, but part of it I know is also that I have higher standards for quality and I like to put more attention into detail into things now.  But anyways, that was quite fun and it was nice seeing everyone in chat again and seeing old and new faces alike.  We had some pretty epic entries too...twas a good compo.

Life

In general, things are....rough.  I realized today especially that I need to find a better balance instead of my current pattern of alternatively working my butt off and then giving myself a break when I can't really handle it anymore.  It is really difficult with so many things bouncing around and when I don't have the proper balance and peace in my life, I get really cranky and it just feels like everyone is asking me to do more things and I hate having all of these responsibilities and expectations and UGH!  Gimme a break, guys.  It almost feels like I went back to being in high school again =/  Not really a good look.  In any case, time spent to my own devices is at a premium now and I think the best thing I can do for myself is just to say no, and remember that Drowsiness Is Red Alert.

In my near future coming up, I have...more work on Goodnight Meowmie, more other work on...Samurai Shaver, music, etc...System Shock 2, maybe Super Metroid Randomizer (I'm a bit more familiar with the SM map now)...FNW, Deca rehearsal, and good lord, Fanime is already next weekend (plus GCC dance, wow).  Gotta just hang in there...



Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Song Spotlight

Continued from http://ddrkirbyisq.blogspot.com/2017/06/overratedunderrated-songs.html, but I'll repeat some of those here too because they still deserve more attention...


This time with YouTube streaming embeds!



Raven Delivery Service
A song I wrote for Ludum Dare!  The B section of this song is EPIC.  This song has been coming up quite a few times on my playlists lately and every time it is awesome.  It's a keeper for sure, that progression is just wonderful.



Take to the Skies
Another Ludum Dare song and a solid one that made it into my "Best of DDRKirby(ISQ) - Volume 1" collection.  It's actually got a similar progression to Raven Delivery Service...the whole VI-VII-I thing is one that I fall back to a lot because I love the feeling of it.



Pixel Warriors
This one isn't actually released yet, but dang, this is definitely the best 2A03 (NES chiptune) work I've ever done.  Short but sweet.  Look out for my upcoming all-8bit album someday.



Legend
Still really proud of this one.  Probably my favorite waltz song that I've written.



Memoirs of a Whale
Remains my most involved and proudest work to date.



Devotion
Although "Fortitude" is more interesting, this one is a perfect example of my root style -- upbeat, intense chiptunes.  The halftime drums breakdown at 2:38 is pretty epic.



Frozen Here
From the YouTube comments:
"A quiet town covered with snow, and a hooded girl walking down a dimly lit street at night." -- Mi

Thursday, May 3, 2018

We struggle to stay afloat
when everything precious lies far beneath the surface

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

In this place where our story began, 
even if there are nothing but our promises, 
I will always be alive in your memories.


In this place where our story began, 
no matter how much time should pass, 
I will always be alive in your memories.

I'm on my way to the place of our beginning. 
I have nothing but our promises, 
but in order to meet you, I'll continue my journey.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Just how much of myself have I lost?

Ludum Dare 41, Birthday, Life, more System Shock 2

Ludum Dare

I participated in Ludum Dare 41 this past weekend with my best friend, and we made it out alive, with a game!  I'll get around to writing a full post-mortem at some point later, but a brief summary of how it all went down:

- The theme was "Combine 2 incompatible genres", which seemed to lend itself to some pretty interesting/wacky ideas.
- Our first idea was "farming game + horror game" which we were pretty interested about.
- We struggled a LOT after getting some initial things down.  This has happened quite a few times before but this is the slowest start we've ever had.
- Eventually we scrapped the entire plot and decided to do "virtual pet + horror game" instead, with an entirely different narrative.
- We still had a lot of uncertainty and stress even after figuring out the new idea.
- It felt like we threw the entire game together in 24 hours really.
- We ran 4 hours over the submission deadline putting in the ending of the game (it's ok, we wasted way more than 4 hours of time at the early stages).
- "Dinner" was in-n-out at 11PM, lol.
- Despite all that I'm really happy with what we ended up with and I'm glad we went down the path that we did.  This project actually meant a lot to me, somehow.

There are a ton of features and ideas that of course needed to be cut from the game during the process of development, even major plot points that just couldn't be executed at all.  I don't think we'll be getting all of them in, but we will probably at least make some minor changes and add some small things that would make it feel more complete.

Anyhow, if you don't want to wait until we patch things up and start sharing the game full-heartedly, the current version of the game is hosted here:
http://cocoamoss.com/goodnight-meowmie/goodnight-meowmie.html

Let us know what you think if you try it!

Though it was very stressful, Ludum Dare was a spot of brightness and hope in this life.

Birthday

I turned 29 on Friday (the day that Ludum Dare started).  It actually sort of snuck up on me and I almost completely forgot to disable FB timeline posting this year, whoops!  But I remembered in time, haha.  Thank you to those of you who sent me well-wishes and/or gifts, and apologies that I responded pretty hastily to all of them (since I was busy with Ludum Dare).

I honestly...don't have too much to write about my birthday, mostly because it was such a non-event.  I could write about life in general, but that's literally the next section here, so...

Life

...right then.  Life in general right now is.......not good.  I mean, there's not really too much point in hiding it so I'll just be honest, things are not too happy right now.  Work-related stress has been a large part of it, but I'm also recovering from Ludum Dare so I'm running low on sleep, which always affects these sorts of things more than you might realize.  In general though, I am just really sick and tired of having to do all these things.  It's not physically exhausting, but it is tiring to have to think of what is happening in my future and only be stuck with things that I'm not particularly looking forward to.  There are small things...Ludum Dare was a breath of fresh air, insomuch as a stressful game jam can be at least, melee is fun, and I'm still pretty enamored with System Shock 2 for some reason, haha.  I general I am just sick and tired.  I think it feels like I don't have things that I do look forward to, but it's really more that I am tired of the things I don't look forward to.  I guess I just need to rest.

System Shock 2

I don't know why I'm so into this game right now despite not even playing it very often, lol.  I think the character building aspect just really intrigues me and I even want to just try doing a run on Impossible difficulty, probably with a psi + energy weapon build.  Speaking of psi + energy, in our co-op game we've gotten up to deck 5 now (recreation) and my power level has really shot through the roof!  Whereas before I was mostly support, taking out cameras and eggs with cryokinesis (weak but really cheap psi attack power), I finally spent the modules getting my Energy weapon skill to 6 (I also have the sharpshooter OS upgrade now), and I'm now carrying no less than 3 fully-modified laser pistols.  With all of those upgrades, the laser pistol does a pretty good amount of damage to normal hybrids and monkeys (basically anything that isn't a spider), as well as being really effective against all manner of turrets, security bots, and even the cyborg assassins, but the fact that I have 3 also means I can keep them all on overcharge mode and cycle between them while they're cooling down, so I actually have quite a bit of firepower.  Not to mention, I've also been using the EMP rifle which can 2-shot the huge robots, so that's a great feeling.  I also finally got my Maintenance skill up to 6 (so I can maintain the emp rifle) so our weapons are set for maintenance.  As we get further on we're going to start meeting the more powerful annelid enemies at which point I'm going to need some sort of plan B since the energy weapons aren't really going to be effective there.  I've got two main options: either invest in PSI 6 (7 with a psiboost implant) which will mean pyrokinesis does 13 incendiary damage (that's 26 to an annelid) -- comparable to a sharpshooter modified assault rifle shot (around 28?).

Soma transference would actually do only 20 damage at psi 7 since there's no double damage bonus, and costs almost twice as many psi points.  I probably have the option of getting it, but it doesn't really seem to be worth it.

Rumblers and psi reavers have a LOT of health though (220 and 120).  Even against arachnids (60) I still wouldn't be able to kill them in 2 hits unless I wear annelid armor to put my psi at 8 (maybe an option if I get replicator expert and just buy tons of psi hypos?).  Maybe that's just how it should be though; it's been a long time since I fought either of those two enemies so I guess they are just supposed to be super tanky.  I mean 10 anti-personnel shots with an assault rifle (for a rumbler) takes some time to shoot as well.

The other option would be to go and get exotic weapons (along with molecular duplication) and use the viral proliferator and worm launcher, which would dispatch these in a heartbeat.  That might actually be a better idea (and potentially more fun), so I might go for that.  Theoretically I should have enough cyber modules to go for both of these routes eventually, but maybe going for exotic weapons first.  That will also inform me of how fun the exotic weapons are for if I do end up doing that impossible playthrough.

Other stuff

- I must be some sort of masochist but I'm thinking I might try my hand at playing through x-com again, lol!  No...not the newer x-com game...I mean the original (ufo defense), haha...we'll see.
- I don't know if I ever mentioned this, but I received PICO-8 as a gift a while back and haven't tried using it for anything yet.  I fired it up the other week just to explore the demo projects and get acquainted with the program and it seems
- No recent progress on Rhythm Quest =(



Friday, April 13, 2018

Finding Paradise (and Gakkou Gurashi), other stuff

Frumple Sad Camper Times
I don't want to really write about it nor should I anyways, but last week was so *frumple*.  The *silly cows* were *squeezing the juice*.  It does not even helping!  This week *silly cows* are more like *happy campers*, so we are again doing the *GO! GO*.  I am tired of *spitting* the meaning.

Finding Paradise (and Gakkou Gurashi)
I started and finished playing through Finding Paradise! (the sequel to To the Moon)  I was quite looking forward to it (while trying to temper my expectations) and it certainly did not disappoint.  On a high level it's really more of the same, so you kind of know what you're getting into if you've already played To the Moon.  I was actually surprised that the walk speed was so slow; maybe I just don't remember To the Moon as well, but I didn't really find it too tedious or anything, just a little slower than I expected (surely a deliberate choice?).  All in all though I did enjoy Finding Paradise more.  In both cases I think the plot development is quite interesting and Rieves/Kan Gao tends to really be good at the whole weaving a mystery together thing, stringing you along and pacing things well.  But I found Finding Paradise to present an ultimately more interesting and less kitsch story.  Kan Gao commented on that himself and I think I see what he means.  Anyways, I really appreciated that, especially because I think if there was something about To the Moon that I would criticize it's that the ultimate story was a bit generic in the end; a story about hope, dreams, and love, with a happy ending, yadda yadda.  When I see stories that present a different narrative and a different spin on things, it's always refreshing.

Which isn't of course to say that all those stories about "let's go on an adventure, come back with something learned, and change our lives for the better, also LOVE" are terrible, because that's not true either.  Gakkou Gurashi was ultimately a story about letting go and moving on, so by that metric you'd think I'd really disagree with it, but on the contrary, the way that it presented the struggle to let go of the past was something that really resonated with me; I think it truly made me feel that it was respecting the past and that even though we know that in the end we must move onwards from it, it's not vilified at all.  It's really amazing how it can tell a story where the main "antagonist" who represents the past is not a villain at all.  Compare that to Inception where the person who represents the past is literally named "bad" in french ("Mal").  So yeah, while I think there always needs to be more stories that explore different outcomes other than just "Let's move forward and onward with life, look forward to the future, become a shonen hero, and FIND LOVE", on the other hand there is also room for stories to still tell about moving onward but in a way that is more respectful and resonant of these ideas.  In summary...I love Gakkou Gurashi.

Ludum Dare
Round 41 of Ludum Dare is coming up next weekend!  Team Cocoa Moss will be entering; we're looking forward to working on it with just the two of us again (for the first time since 2016!).  I was worried last week that things would be super hectic around this time so I wouldn't be able to focus on Ludum Dare like I really want to, but maybe that won't actually be an issue, which is good.

System Shock 2
We're well on our way through the Von Braun in our multiplayer playthrough!  With me as the OSA psionics guy with energy weapons, and my partner as the Navy guy who hacks all the crates and wields all of the standard and heavy weapons.  In other words, he is the one who actually does all the useful stuff since the pistol and shotgun are way more efficient at putting out damage (provided the right ammo types) than my psionics or dinky laser pistol.  My laser pistol is *ok* though!  Plus, infinite ammo is nice.  I took the adrenaline psi ability pretty early on and that plus the laser rapier have not actually been terribly useful so far, so I fear that might have been a bit of a waste.  Melee is always tricky, heheh.  We'll see about it I guess, but my guess is that for now I'll be using a lot of pyrokinesis (man that guzzles up a lot of psi points!) along with my energy pistol, which will later be replaced by the EMP rifle, at which point I will at least have a good role because that will hose down any robotic enemies super well.  We're about to stumble on the crystal shard soon, which might be a nice weapon to pick up, but honestly melee is a liability once the Navy guy starts gunning everything down.  Maybe it's best to just skip that and try to shoot for tier 5 psi so I can pick up soma transference.  With soma transference plus emp rifle I actually will be packing quite a bit of power, though of course it'll be expensive to get there.


Sunday, April 1, 2018

COGIATI (2018), Gender Sux

There is this question from the COGIATI (haven't looked at that in ages) which goes like this:

"Suddenly the entire world is magically changed. Now you exist in a world utterly devoid of gender. All bodies are hermaphroditic, utterly androgynous in appearance, both male and female at the same time. The culture reflects this, as does all human interaction. You, however, are still yourself inside, with all of your memories of living in our world as it is now. Your feelings are intact, only your flesh has been changed. In this new world, everyone dresses, acts, and lives however they feel at the time, and there is no such thing as being male or being female. You alone remember the world of gender. In such a world, would you still need to dress like a woman?"

A) Without question. I really love being feminine. It would be a very disturbing world, too.
B) Yes. I really enjoy expressing femininity. I would miss it a lot.
C) I don't know. It would be easier to live how I wish though.
D) how I dress is not really the issue for me. I would just dress how I felt.
E) I guess it just would not matter anymore, would it? This is my dream world.


The question is a little different from how I was remembering it just now, I thought it was asking about "how do you like this world" rather than specifically feelings toward your own desires (which of course makes more sense for this test), but anyways...

I was just thinking about this, and I realized...before I pretty much thought that although gender caused quite some unfortunate things, including but not limited to sexism, feeling out of place or constrained in terms of gendered roles, assumptions, blahblahblah, even despite all of that, I =also= thought that it was a pretty nice thing too, the idea of expressing oneself as masculine or feminine or whatever.  That even though it is terrible to pigeonhole people into these boxes, the boxes themselves are actually pretty cool.

I think nowadays I'm quite a bit more jaded about it.  I think the more and more I think about gender and all of these problems the more I feel like it would just be better if it were to just not exist.  If all of these stupid terrible things could just go away.  Then I wouldn't really care about those boxes; even if they are not inherently bad, they are just causing way too many problems.  It would be better gender just didn't exist.  Or...maybe humans would just end up finding some other way to @%&* it up anyways.

Anyways, just for kicks, let's actually try taking this thing again!

I took it and got exactly 0, lol (pure neutral??).  That makes sense though, given how apathetic I am about it nowadays.  Apparently I took it in 2011 and got a -5, then again in 2015 and got a 20.  That really doesn't tell you anything about the whole story though, as the perspective I have on these sorts of things is quite different than what it used to be.

Houston visit, being out of it, finished Celeste, System Shock 2, etc.

Okay...let's catch up on everything.

Visiting Houston
Last weekend I visited a good friend in Houston!  It was a really nice trip in many ways for me and I'm really glad that I decided to go.  Just being able to see someone again that I care about really meant a lot to me and I was so happy being able to spend that time with them.  I got really sad at the end and didn't want to leave...I feel like I would definitely go again someday.

It was also really nice getting a a 4-day weekend (I took Friday and Monday off), especially since I had been working a bit hard leading up to this time.  Sometimes I get a bit more stressed than I realize and it actually felt nice to not have to worry about so many things anymore.  During the first night of my trip my back actually ended up being pretty sore but I couldn't figure out whether it was because I sat wrong on the plane or something or whether it was just stress manifesting as psychosomatic pain...but either way it was gone after that and I felt really refreshed as a whole.

In terms of the trip itself, I feel like no matter what we did it would have been a lot of fun, but I got to see the NASA space center, see the huge rest stop (more like a department store) called Buc-ee's, and of course eat some yummy food while I was there!  I had BBQ, TexMex, this bun thing called a Kolache, good ice cream, and a Cajun crawfish boil, mmm~  And my friend introduced me to an anime that just finished airing called A Place Farther than the Universe (Sora yori mo tooi basho) which I quite liked so far!  I'll probably watch more of that on the train at some point.  But yeah, all the food was really yummy...

On a side note, I spent a good amount of time during my plane rides...actually working on music!  But not in the usual sense -- I was working with FamiTracker (a music tracker used for writing NES-style chiptunes) to make a Mega Man-styled track.  It actually works quite well since, well, you don't really need a lot to do chiptune tracking, so it's super portable.  I mean, I already don't use much of anything for my normal music production, but with FamiTracker I don't even need a mouse!  I ended up being able to mostly finish the track with the time I spent during that trip, which was pretty nice.

Being out of it
This past week I've generally not been on top of my game...I don't really know why, maybe I'm just off, but in multiple aspects of my life I've just been forgetting loads of things or not concentrating or just not making good decisions.  Not really anything to be super concerned about, but more just....it's unfortunate.  Hopefully I will have better luck this next week, but I guess it's also important to remember that in the grand scheme of things these mistakes (mostly) don't matter too much so although it can be good to express my dismay, it's not something I really need to beat myself up over.

Finishing Celeste
Well, just yesterday I finished the final C-Side level of Celeste.  It's been quite an amazing journey through this game and it really is true what they say about the design leaving no stone unturned.  It really makes me get the feeling like nobody can ever make a game with this same mechanic anymore.  Well, not really, because I know it's already been done, but more like it's really hard to believe that any more could be brought to the table.  I know that's not 100% true, and I'm sure if they really wanted to the developers could come up with another twist or mechanic that they could build another level out of.  But it just =feels= that way, because of how complete everything is.  I guess if there was one thing that felt a bit missing, it was that the C-Sides were fairly short -- mostly it was two or three "warm-up" rooms and then one specific long challenge room that was the brunt of the level.  I think that works too, but I wonder if it would have been more satisfying to have a longer setup, like in the B-Side levels.

Anyhow, I'm not going to bother 100%ing Celeste (leave that to all of the super dedicated people), as the things I have left are the golden strawberries (finish each stage without dying...A, B, and C-side...), and the secret 200th strawberry, which I started trying but gave up once I learned that the jump tricks you need to do to get it are really painstaking to nail.  I think that's super cool...but for me, I'm onto other things!  The absence of Celeste will surely leave a gaping hole in my life ("what do I dooo noowwww??!?") but I think next up is supposed to be Finding Paradise!  So we'll finally get to see how that is...

System Shock 2
Actually I lied!  Next up wasn't Finding Paradise, but surprise surprise!  I've been building up this itch to play System Shock 2 again and I finally installed it along with all the community mods and patches.  I hope to play co-op with a friend soon, but for now I actually just ended up starting a game on Hard difficulty (OSA character), and I've actually made it quite far -- to the end of hydroponics, actually!  I'm certainly much better at navigating the corridors and objectives in SS2 than I was X years ago when I last played it; that's for sure (to be fair, it was probably well over 10 years ago).

I started getting a little bit of the 3D game motion sickness that I tend to get for some games, but it seemed to help when I turned the FOV up slightly and disabled any view or weapon bobbing, so that's quite cool.

Stardew Valley
We just reached Winter!  As I mentioned earlier, I've been having brain farts left and right so I made some really silly mistakes this last session -_-;  But anyhow, we've reached winter!  We have 2 sheep and a pig now (we just installed heaters in the coop and barn), and we've got a bunch of crops happily growing in the greenhouse.  I think my goal for the start of winter is to ensure that we can still have a steady cashflow coming in...expanding the amount of crops in the greenhouse (I finally got enough iridium ore to make one or two iridium sprinklers), and then maybe starting to plant wild seeds for winter.

Other Stuff
Spring has definitely made its presence known this past week -- it felt like the seasons changed during my trip to Houston.  My respiratory system is....not pleased, so far. *achoo!*

Decadance rehearsals continue...I've finished rehearsals for my first piece and I'll be starting the second one up next week...

I skipped dance last weekend since I was in Houston, and skipped this week as well...should be good to go back again next week.

Monday, March 19, 2018


This track really helping me get through life right now.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Whether it be through music, stories, dance, or drawing, it is always a special feeling to communicate with a fellow artist using art alone.  There's a certain kind excitement about thinking about a stranger's work and imagining what kind of person they might be like, and what they are trying to express.  When something resonates, it often feels as if there is a moment of shared understanding, even if you're not sure.

I'm...feeling quite a bit better today.  Made it to the end of the week, it's Friday, I got a good burst of energy, and more importantly, I think I mostly hit the bottom of being in "the grip" last night.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

This week has not been the greatest for me, as I have been feeling a general sense that life is not quite worth fighting for.  Sometimes when I think about how something that I believed in and wished for is no longer within the realm of possibility in this transient world, it feels like I have no choice but to sit down and simply stop moving.  There was a path that I was following, but like the rest, somewhere in the middle it was cut short; derailing from the other end, opening up into a wide chasm of nothing more than unrealized hopes and dreams.  When confronted with that, would I turn around and start walking down yet another path?  Would I plunge into the emptiness and try to swim to the other end, knowing that it would only bring me futility and grief?  Or would I simply stand there, unmoving, and silently wishing for what never was, what was never meant to be?  Waiting.  Because even if I were to give up and walk away, it would always remain in my mind forever.  And someday if I finally reached an oasis in the desert, would that really be a success?  When that mirage would continue to haunt me forever.

I don't know which dream to hold onto anymore.  Only that I am too stubborn to let them go.

=====

Unjammix happened last week, which was pretty fun.  We had some blasts from the past, including Dive Deep and Lucid Dream, which I made wayyy long ago for Celestial Melodies, as well as my remix of Puru - Toki.  Overall the music seemed more tame than I remembered, but then again the last one was 7 years (!) ago, so I wouldn't trust my memory of it anymore anyways.  There were some really good ones sprinkled in here and there though, so I enjoyed that.

Also I love Celeste.

Been working through a Phendrana Drifts remix, in the style of Sentience, but good lord it is taking a long time.  It's turning out alright I think, but just a real struggle to figure out which direction to take it for each new section, so it is taking forever as I throw different ideas at it in an attempt to see what sticks.

There are some potential exciting changes coming in the near(ish) future for me, so that...is another thing.

If there is any respite, it's that I will be reconnecting with someone next week.  Something that will probably be a healthy break for my weary soul.

=====

"This is it, Madeline. Just breathe. You can do this."



Thursday, March 8, 2018

Quiet and Falling



This track has really worked itself into my mind recently (just finished getting all the collectibles in the Mirror Temple this morning).  The progression and mood is just...chilling; it really works well.  If I was more well-versed in theory I'd be able to give you a better rundown of how exactly it accomplishes this, but for now I'm content to say that it inspires me to try similar things with my own music sometime.  This type of feeling and texture is something that I'd definitely like to try working with in the future.

Celeste is quickly becoming one of my favorite games of all time.  It's these kinds of works and music that make me think that all I want to do all day is create things.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Physical Social Media Recap, Stardew Valley, Melee

Well, the whole writing out my social media posts on physical media was pretty interesting and fun, but overall not something I'd really imagine continuing with.  Here are my assorted thoughts on it, in bullet form:

- It was nice to set aside time and actually write down my blogging on the train.  Though, I found that it also sort of took away from my normal letter-writing time.
- I felt like I was disincentivized from really being as thorough as I would have liked since things took longer to write down.  This is a net loss in an era where I'm already trying to fight a battle against whether to write down all of my thoughts (good) vs. not really bother (bad).
- There were also definitely times when I feel like I felt like blogging but didn't because I wasn't in a time and place where I could fully dedicate myself to it.  This might seem like a straight downside, but in reality part of the whole point was to be more intentional, so I feel like this is neither a positive nor a negative overall.
- I'm not really sure what other people thought of my posts.  I can only conjecture that they seemed more novel and interesting, but I have no idea whether more or less people bothered to read them.
- I feel like the hardest part of the whole thing was actually getting good photos of the letters after writing them out, lol.  Overhead lights make things really awkward to set up since trying to take a photo from overhead results in a nasty shadow.
- Commenting on other people's posts in written form felt super awkward, like I was trying to be obnoxiously hipster for no good reason.  It was fun, but I don't think it really made sense unfortunately.
- Initially I had the idea that blogging like this would let me show off a bunch of my different letter pads and sets, but in the end I actually just ended up reusing the same few designs for all of it.  Perhaps this would be a different story if this was back in college where I was just in my room all day (insert forlorn pang of rememberance here), but I did most of my writing on the train this time, so that didn't happen.

So yeah, that's that...

We've been playing more Stardew Valley together, which has been oodles of fun!  It's a little bit of a different experience since nothing is really new or novel anymore on the second playthrough, but that hasn't really made it less fun really.  We currently just made it to autumn and I hope to lay out our crops (including some rare seeds and of course a metric crapton of cranberries) soon.  So far we seem to be resource capped on wood quite often; probably because there are the same number of trees but two of us to split the wood between.  I've been trying to very aggressively plant seeds in various places though -- not just in our farm but all around the valley -- hopefully those saplings will mature before too long.

As far as Melee stuff goes, I still peruse PP's assorted thoughts on Marth every so often, as it's a great resource in trying to further my understanding of the character (and of Melee in general).  As I said before, I've realized that I have an issue exerting pressure against Falco's lasers without relying on dash attack (which is actually okay in this situation, but not the "cleanest" option) and walk up fsmash/ftilt/dtilt (lazy, bad mostly, though fsmash is surprisingly not the worst here).  If the Falco is doing braindead approaches where it's SHL into telegraphed aerial where I'm standing, then I can win the situation every time because I can just dash back after every laser and then get a grab.  However, I've clearly recognized situations where I need to not dash back and give up space because they are doing more "keepaway lasers", so the correct thing to do is aggressive movement and threaten them -- i.e. call out their lasers.

I think a key realization is that when I put myself in that situation I had not developed the answers for pushing in aggressively and I think my mind just thought that I need to "push in somehow" so I try to dash inwards.  I think in my mind I was hoping that they will try to aerial at me and that I will cross under them by just yolo dashing straight into them, but really that seems like a terribly inconsistent plan unless they really are overshooting all of their aerials consistently.

I think there are a couple things I need to think about in this situation.  One is that dashing actually removes some options for threatening with, namely dtilt and jab, because you can't do them out of a dash.  You can still side-b though which is useful because if they try to laser or aerial and you hit them out of it with a side-b, you are now at a threatening range but they do not have laser threat anymore, which is good for Marth.

Another is that I need to recognize my own threat range and exactly which threats I can use against Falco in this situation and what will work against A) Falco coming in with an aerial or another laser vs B) Falco continuing to laser in place.

*Outside of tipper fsmash range*
I think this range is the most important because it's actually the trickiest for me right now.  This is because dash attack is the only threat that will actually reach Falco from this position.  Because the onus is on me to approach closer than this range (because this is not my optimal range), I need to figure out how to do that.
My two main options for approaching closer to this range are to dash in, or wd in.
Something else that's important about this range is that Falco cannot overshoot an aerial from this range -- i.e. if he attacks me, he will be forced to attack where I am, which means I can dash back around the aerial.  HOWEVER, this does not work if I dashed in, and it especially doesn't work if I WDed in.

If I think the Falco will attack after a laser at this distance, then my options are:
- take the laser, dashback
- shield the laser, retreating fair
- take the laser, jab (or side-b, but jab is probably better here)

If I opt to press inward (e.g. I didn't predict Falco attacking), then most likely one of these two things will happen:
- Falco will attack with an aerial (or another SHL)
- Falco will shoot another laser in place

If Falco shoots another laser in place, then I will end up taking (or shielding) a laser, but I will have moved forward some amount of space.  The ideal amount is such that my tipper fair can hit Falco.  At this point we can consider that I have the advantage, but I still need to decide what to do next -- approaching fair, run up grab, jab, sideb, shield, observe, dashback?

If falco attacks with an aerial while I decided to dash or WD in, then I'll probably get hit unless I approached into a shielding option, which seems bad.  Maybe that's the mixup, then?

Either way, after moving forward I think the options are either, run up grab, run up shieldstop fair, run in rising approaching fair, or run up take laser. (or run up shield, but that is not the option we want)

I played around with these options some more and just generally thinking to "threaten Falco's space" in general and it actually seemed to give a lot of good dividends yesterday, so that's good.  I felt like I was much more threatening as opposed to passive, and I think if I keep that up I will be able to force respect for my spacing.

I taught a brief lesson on preps for the kids at Dancebreak on Monday, which was pretty fun.  Maybe this is the right way moving forward?  It's at least better than what I was doing a year ago (i.e. nothing), so there's that.

I've been a bit lacking on sleep this week...hopefully I can catch up.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Handwritten Social Media

I have been wondering what various forms of social media would be like if we handwrote all of our messages instead of typing them.  I have always been a believer in handwritten works but I don't believe that they are or should be mutually exclusive with other forms of online interaction.  Can you imagine what it would be like when your posts and comments involve that sort of pensive sort of self-reflection instead of being throwaway responses?  When instead of single-click "likes" you have actual, physical stickers you can affix to your comments?


Now that we live in the era where taking and posting photos is so easy, it's more than possible.  I will probably try an experiment one of these months and try to use physical handwriting for all of my posts and comments for that month.  Let me know what you think and whether you'd like to join me :)

If I try hard enough, will I be able to return to whom I once was?

Will I be able to escape your grasp?

Monday, January 22, 2018

DDLC, Sanrio Danshi, Passing Notes, etc.

Skipped FNW this past week and we finished playing through Doki Doki Literature Club instead.  It was indeed creepy at parts and had some jump-scare-ISH moments, but (lucky for us?) it was wayyyyyy tamer than I had imagined.  For me personally, 90% of the horror came from those times when I was only half-conscious and drifting in and out of sleep while also thinking about the game...basically my imagination was way more frightening than what was actually there.

So, there's that.  They definitely could have pushed that element a LOT more if they had wanted to, but having played the game I don't actually think that is really what they were trying to achieve at all (even though it is the most infamous aspect of it).  It was more of trying to explore the VN genre a bit and provide some deeper "what-if"s, I think.  There is quite a bit of breaking the 4th wall a-la OneShot, albeit with a different sort of flavor.  There are a good number of easter eggs and little tricks along those lines as well, which I enjoyed.

Overall I found it pretty interesting...there was definitely a lot of suspense and anticipation, haha.  There were a few parts that were definitely falling into the "mediocre VN" territory, though I think those were more intentional than not.  So yeah, overall pretty interesting.

I watched the third episode of Sanrio Danshi and...unfortunately I was right -- they resolved the issue at the end of the episode and are moving on to other things now.  So now we all know what to expect from now on; it's just going to be a "topic-of-the-week" sort of deal, and pretty light-hearted.  Which is a bit of a shame to be honest, since some of these issues are pretty important and deserve a better treatment.  But eh, some light fluff is okay too.

On Friday I went to an interesting event called "Passing Notes" that I heard about from Aivi & Surasshu, who were going to be showing up as the guests.  It was a small music producer gathering where we met up to make music for two hours and share...basically an in-person compo of sorts.  It actually ended up being a ton of fun -- I haven't compo'd in quite a long time and it was a real rush getting in the zone and just letting the music flow out again.

Instead of a theme, we were provided with some different piano riffs that Aivi herself had recorded beforehand to base our tracks off of.  I've never really made a track built around sampling something else before in this way, so it was really fun to give that a whirl!

It was also just really fun meeting up with other producers in person, as that's not really something I've had the opportunity to do.  It definitely had the same vibe as OHC did, only a little cozier since we were all actually there at the same place.

Anyhow, I'm hoping to release that track in the near future, so stay tuned for that!

Went back to Mission City Swing on Wednesday, which was kinda fun...obviously my WCS is really rusty, but it was nice to do some again.  It's really interesting -- I feel like I could sense through my dancing that I have loosened up a little, not just as a dancer, but as a person.  It's...an odd feeling, to have that change shown to you so readily.  I don't really know how to feel about it.

Been working my way through Tyrian2000...I'm on the last episode and have gotten to a super-difficult Gyges level.  All of these later episodes are actually brand new to me, as I've never played them before, but to be perfectly honest, it doesn't really feel like I was missing out on all that much, haha.  You can assemble a max DPS combination around halfway or maybe a little bit further through the game (laser, rear mega pulse, zica supercharger, and battleship class firebomb), so past that it's just a bunch of flying around and blowing up a whole bunch of stuff.  Still, Tyrian really is a classic, and it's one of those games that just has a seemingly endless amount of content...there's arcade mode in addition to the normal full game, there's local co-op, there's a collection of secret ships to play through, there's minigames, and even a realtime scorched earth-type game called Destruct.

Samurai Shaver is finally out for iOS and Android and I can breathe a little easier knowing that I'm all done with that project.  It felt really nice last night especially, just going to bed and not feeling like I'm scrambling to be on top of everything.  Of course, there's still always more stuff to work on...currently my missions are to finish up the song from Passing Notes, and then to get started on the work for my Journey cosplay, but before that I think I can afford to take a bit of a breather and just treat myself nicely.



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...