Happy 20th birthday Escape!!
(31 Aug 2016 at 23:39)
Wow, it's really been 20 years since I first uploaded my puzzle game Escape to AOL in August 1996. I was only 16 then! The original was written in QuickBASIC and assembly for DOS.
Being old is not that impressive; it happens by itself. When we celebrated its 10th birthday in post #874, I was actively working on the modern version of the game, which eventually got to a pretty good state. I didn't touch it much over the last ~7 years (full time job, adulting, etc.), but there is still a pretty good community of puzzlers putting together some brilliant stuff. Despite my attempts to make it timeless, the app recently stopped working on new versions of OS X, and the code was getting a bit intractable. But I found some time this month to get it back into shape, and uploaded new versions for 64-bit macOS and Windows to the escape home page. I can now compile it with all free tools, so it's easier for me to develop, and I've been doing some painful but basically relaxing modernization of the source code too. Anyone who has poked at it will be happy to know the famously atrocious move.h is now gone. I've got some more cleanup to do and then some bugs to fix, but after that I can make some more substantive user-facing features. I don't plan to change the core game really at all, but I at least want to make it easier to navigate the thousands of levels for both new players and experts alike. Suggestions are welcome!
As I was thinking of making an image to celebrate, I found myself trying to draw a cake in the Escape level editor, and it coming out so badly, and then vaguely remembering that I tried and failed at the exact same gag 10 years ago! Instead this mechanically reproduced meta-hugbot:
Hugbot just wants to love you into the lasers
Since the previous feedback thread is rather bursting at the seams, it's also time to designate this as the new feedback thread.
That image is kind of how my ears feel right now. This one was difficult for me, and I'm assessed a penalty of at least -1,000 POINTS for Album-a-Day rules violations, including a 6 hour bike ride in the middle of day 2, and probably exceeding 24 total hours of work. But I like don't think the rules apply to me man.
Some things that made this one hard: I'm definitely out of practice playing the guitar, writing guitar songs, and recording. Most of the guitar songs were a slog and sound derivative to me, and hurt my guitar fingers. I wrote a lot of techno songs, which came out more easily, but the default tempo has increased from 100 to 120 BPM, and I think I get more readily bored with repetition, and so I'd often find myself spending a solid hour at the piano roll and then find that the song is only 1 minute long. But I finished, and there are some parts I like!
Some songs of note: Business Logics is my attempt to write jazz (ha ha). Dude ascending a staircase was the only guitar one that came out Metamucil-style. Bromides was my absurd attempt to cram the zillions of suggestions for song ideas and titles on Facebook into one song. Song about owls for children is by request for my nieces and nephew, and I'm trying to channel TMBG here, but obviously failing. You can mix and match or listen to the whole thing; it's only 20 minutes.
Note that #28 makes this a whole month of solo AADs, if that month is February and it's not a leap year.
Oh, shoot, another month has run out of days, and I didn't finish anything to share yet. Probably nobody cares about my house projects, but how about this cryptic spoiler?
Too soon to tell whether it will turn into anything interesting, but at least it's not a dead end yet.
On a positive creativity note, tomorrow starts a 5-day weekend. It's traditional to do an Album-a-Day over Independence Day weekend, so I'm getting myself psyched up in hopes that I'll feel the prerequisite energy tomorrow. Song title suggestions go in the comments! (Or crickets.)
Sorry team, not much new to lay forth for May. As usual, the gears turn, the projects mature or go into cold storage, the TODO list continues to demonstrate its asymptotic superiority to my work output. I have a brief story about a bird,
At the start of the month this bird showed up and started trying to build a nest in a pretty silly spot, right in the corner of a window near my front door. However, its nesting was totally ineffective; all the straws just fell to the ground and accumulated on my porch:
It got a lot worse than this, the pile I mean, and while I'm pretty cool with a bird building a nest on my house, it just seemed sad and useless for it to be trying all day to build a nest and making no progress. And why doesn't it just get the scraps that fell on the porch and try again with them? I mean rather than root around the neighborhood for new bird sticks to drop on my porch? To deter the bird from returning in a humane and brand-appropriate way, I put this sculpey monster on the window sill right next to where she was trying to make nest:
Which, kind of amazingly, worked:
And I didn't see her for a few weeks. BUT THEN a few weeks later, that bird learned how to make nests, or a different bird who already knew, came back and was not scared by the tiny motionless monster any more, and set up shop for real. Since she is not so easily spooked, I put my Nest camera (née Dropcam) up there instead of the monster, so that I can check on her antics and make the pun "Hot Nest-on-nest action" (the camera does really get pretty hot; someone should check on that). Example:
I've since cleaned up the mud on the window and inched it much closer when she's away eating worms. If I get any good nature on camera that's not too heart-breaking, I'll post pictures or video. We've already got some eggs which I'm pretty sure is the first step in nature:
New T7ES mini-album: DTMF Jam for Dummies for Dummies
(30 Apr 2016 at 20:13)
Good day! Since moving (I think I have mentioned here that I bought a house last year?) I have not actually hooked up much of my music gear, probably because I'm wary of the outcome where they get shittily fixtured because it seems like too much work to organize them into some modestly better arrangement, and so they stay embarrassingly messy (i.e. XLR cable across the middle of the floor) for years. So I'm trying to only take stuff out of the boxes when I have a good place to put them. This includes my Roland SC-880, which is a fancy MIDI machine that I pretty much only use to generate sawtooth waves and square waves for my Tom 7 Entertainment System "band." So for a while I've been without the sawtooth waves, and this is weird because a very common habit of mine is to sit down for an hour and write a little idea of a jam and then not finish it and leave it on my hard drive. So since this thing is not hooked up, I've been screwing around with software synthesizers, which are of course completely capable of making sawtooth waves and so much more, but also have way too many knobs for my liking and often generate stupid and annoying sounds. So I made a bunch of songs and left them on my hard drive, and then today I gave myself a monster headache by finishing some of them up and dodging the clipped bits and putting together a mini-album, since it's been a few years!
All these songs use ridiculous synthesizer sounds, which I feel is sort of cheating, but maybe you like. Heart emoji indicates favorite, with Facebook Phone being like on the rainbow dolphin sex end of the spectrum and Wires comin' out being on the alien death disco side.