You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant
(Excepting Alice)
You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant
Walk right in it's around the back
Just a half a mile from the railroad track
You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant

Ahh, yet another year that the Thanksgiving Tradition continues. The annual listening of Alice's Restaurant. I'm not exactly sure how many years in a row I've done it, but, it's been a while now!

Went out ta' dads place, and had T-day lunch with them. Besides a little shopping, and the trip out there, I've spent most of the day programming on the successor to Black Nova Traders (there's not a line of the original code left...)

Not to be egotistical or anything, but, I'm getting really good at game programming. There's some grunt-work programming that I wish I could find faster ways of doing, but in general, when I take on a project, the programming end of things go MUCH faster than they used to. And learnin' to work within a set of limitations is always interesting too - however, one remaining hurdle. Content development. That's always the biggest problem now - finding art and sound people for games. That's always going to be a sticking point, IMHO.

Tomarrow, we'll have another T-day lunch - we're makin' our own. And then we'll join our friend Harvey for his family's T-day lunch on Sunday. We'll be bringin' something special - see, we managed to get the proper recipie for Finger Cream Pie. This is a generations old recipe (I can trace it back 6 generations! No kidding!) that I managed to pry outta my Grandmother. We did a test run (well, actually Heabo did - she was already done with all the mixin' before I finally decided I wanted to make some... whoops, moved too slow ;-) This is sort of a big deal - I haven't had it in ages, and I've been wanting the recipie.

Our test run was a partial failure - a whoops with ingredients meant it was 'off' on it's texture. However, it's wonderful! And WAAAAY fattening! I can't really imagine many pies that you could make that are more fattening than Finger Cream Pie. And now Heabo and I are the guardians of the secret recipe for it :-) When we go to Colorado, we'll probably fix a couple (you can't make just one - if you do, you have a problem with people not getting a piece of it. During family reunions, you didn't wait for desert to grab a slice - otherwise, it was GONE before any of the other deserts were touched!) It may not sound like a big deal, but, there's something extremely cool about having this particular family recipe.

And, probably in the next couple of weeks, I'll do the only other thing I consider to be a 'family recipe' - my mom's lasangua (er... sp.) There's no recipe for it really - it's a matter of knowin' what goes into it, and knowing how all is supposed to taste. I've made it once - time for a second try.

Here we go again...

I just got email from eGames, Inc. I have to fix one error in Tile Panic!, and it's ready for publication in a collection. (The error, BTW, is that I need ta' make the Internet based help file into local help files instead. BFD - a 5 minute job.) So, we'll see how much longer it takes for it to actually see a real-world box. Given how long this thing has been drug out, I'm not holding my breath any. However, it would be a nice addition to my monthly checks (granted, eGames pays quarterly, not monthly) from revenues created from sales of a boxed collection with it in there.

The whole BBS thing is fallin' together rather quickly now. I figured out some really slick ways of pullin' off real-time games -vs- turn based play. It really mixes the two, using Apache + PHP + MySQL on the server side, and just a nice little VB app on the client side. Then I'll document the protocols I use (trivial) and anyone can create a client for any platform they want. Theoretically, the VB based client will run under Wine anyway, but, no one really likes that sort of thing anyway ;-)

The cool part of this is that it means I can write games for the BBS without any specialized software running on the server side. $19.95 / mo. for the server side of things means I can get a fairly good profit per customer.

Chat is handled using a Jabber client, since my current webhost provides a local Jabber server for each group they host. Perfect - that gives me some great flexibility. If you want to just use the Java app for chat built into the web page, great. If not, use any of the other Jabber clients out there, and disable the web page client. Also means that I can integrate chat directly into the client programs too. Sweet.

A long lost Sickmon?

I found another Sickmon. Well, actually, she found me. Shannon Sickmon emailed me today, introducing herself and sayin' that we were probably family. Well, there's a really high likely hood of that - she said there's probably only 40 Sickmon left (make that 41 with Heather bein' inducted into the family ;-), and we're all pretty much related. Dad confirmed that one.

Kind of interesting to run into another one of use select few who bear the name ;-) Of course, I've never been much of a family person - I'm aways been more close with my friends than my family. Just one o' those things. Anway, emailed 'er back, and we'll try and see how we are related. Of interest was that her email address was - she worked for a senator there. I say worked for, since he just lost his re-election recently.

MidnightRyder.Com is almost moved. The whole thing moved to a new server at DreamHost. Wow - what a difference. Quick service so far, and everthing went almost perfectly smooth. Almost - DNS, as usual, is a pain. It may be up to 7 days before the entire world knows about the new location for MidnightRyder.Com. Oh well.

Because of the new site, there's lots o' new stuff that I'll finally be able to do (mailing list archives for the professional mailing lists I run is just one of MANY things I can get away with now!)

I'm whipin' through maze creation for Maze Panic! fairly quickly, but, I discovered that you can only stare at a black & white maze (I'm importing them as height-maps, making the process as simple as possible) maze for so long before your eyeballs burn out, your brain turns to jelly, and you are no longer able to continue. However, luckly it only takes an hour to generate a fairly challenging maze. This is going to make the whole process fairly cool :-)

Ok, off to home - time for other work. Mud & drywall work, as we continue the process of preping the basement offices :-)

More stuff from IGC...

Well, I finally finished the transcript from the IndieGamesCon speech. You can view it by clicking here. Took me a long time to get through the whole thing... sheesh.

You can also see me in the geeky element I was in
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Well, I finally finished the transcript from the IndieGamesCon speech. You can <a href="">view it by clicking here</A>. Took me a long time to get through the whole thing... sheesh.

You can also see me in the geeky element I was in <A href="> here </a> and <a href=""> here. The last one also has an abridged version of the speech from someone who was there taking notes.

Wonder where I'll show up next? ;-)

Went and saw Best Little Whorehouse in Texas at the Crown Uptown. Wow - that was amazingly good. We were setting right beside the stage (as in, resting my elbow in the stage part of the time), and we joked about being able to look up the actresses skirts. That was totally un-nessisary. It's about as bawdy as the movie was - no nudity, but a lot of physically performed innuendo, or downright simulating the act with clothes on. I was a bit surprised! But it was a very cool production of it, and well done just like most of the work at the Crown. Next one I'm dying to see is Clue. Yes, Clue, the musical :-) Apparently the audience gets to pick the ending. However, I'm going to have a hard time seeing clue without thinking of Dr. Franenfurter playing the lead ;-)

Either luckly or unluckly, I've dragged Heabo kicking and screaming into the game company. Actually, it didn't require any convincing - we were discussing how value was added to games, etc., and were discussing what I'd rather see done with something like Diablo II. And it suddenly 'clicked' on how it should have been done. I've talked to Heabo, and her (and possibly Jess) will be working on the story arc for it. My plan would involve a two year long story arc - something that as far as I know has never been done as a game before.

I'm also changing how Maze Panic! is going to be done - instead of buying the game, you sort of 'rent' it. Each month, I add new content to the game. As long as you are subscribed, you get the new content, and the ability to post high scores, etc. Could turn out to be an interesting experement to see how much people actually pay for entertainment. David Michael (the guy who was the co-speaker with me at IGC) uses a model somewhat similar to that for two of his games, and I think it makes a lot of sense both from the standpoint of a developer / marketer, and for the end user. A game becomes dynamic then, and doesn't go stale.

I've been working on slowly but surely getting the network cabling, phones, etc. setup downstairs in the future office. I've got a VERY small desk setup down there, so that I can move my computer down there immediately when I swap the network over to the new comms cabinet. Should be interesting sharing an office with Heabo :-) (No more havin' to yell back and forth between the rooms like we normally do :-)

Hey now, your a rock star, get the show on... (Part II)

Realizing what you are about to say is going to be transmitted to potentially millions of people definitely makes ya' stop and think for a moment before speaking.

While I was at IndieGamesCon, I did a TV interview with G4 Network, and with Tech TV (Tech TV has a worldwide viewship of 75 million they claim.) I did them back to back with about 45 seconds inbetween the two interviews - talk about pumpin' up your stress levels a little. I was tryin' to recover from the first one when TechTV walked up and wanted to do an interview. I was probably a bit more relaxed for the first on than for the second one.

I also saw something pretty interesting - myself on TV. Now, it's not the first time I've seen myself on TV - usually it was something totally by accedent (a good example was someone did TV coverage of an Amiga Users Group meeting. Why? I don't know. But, they caught me walkin' around, and I saw myself later. Ug.) But, this time it was for an intererview, with means the lighting was designed to be right, that sort of thing. The TechTV group had a small monitor to double-checking how things looked. I discovered the monitor while we were setting up for the interview (putting the silly little mike on me, etc.) and was fascinated... I looked good on it. I was a bit surprised by it really - not sure what I expected, but, it was pretty damned cool. And it may not be the only time my smilin' mug ends up on TV. I've got a offer from TechTV to show up on SanFran at thier offices and appear on an episode of The Screen Savers. Cool - more exposure for the company and the games. This works out good :-)

The presentation that David Michael and I gave went pretty good, from our point of view. You could tell how interested people at the con were with any given subject by listening to how quite the crowd got - the quieter they were, the more interested they were. Well, it was pretty quiet for our presentation, and for the presentation from the ex-CEO of Electronic Arts. (Ok, I did have to point out to David that one of the reasons why it was quiet was that he and I weren't in the audience this time - we were one of the worst offenders, I think! ;-) It really did go well, and a number of people stopped me afterwords and wanted to know a little more about this or that.

Overall, IGC went pretty well, and Heabo got a chance to go on vacation. Next year's IGC will probably turn out to be a little better, because of the feedback given to the coordinator of the event. I've already stated to the coordinator that I'd be interested in doing it again next year, and speak a little more about what's happened over the past year, new experieces gained from releasing TZ and MP!, etc.

And now for my next somewhat PR trick... Game Design Magazine is a mag for a fairly obviously purpose. Problem is, well... a good number of people who get it are Indie game developers. But, nothing in the magazine is for indies. I'm going to be pitching the idea of a monthly indie column for the mag. That will be another step towards legitimizing indies, and another PR feather in my hat. We'll see how it goes. Otherwise, I'll be exporing starting up an E-Zine instead. But I like the former better.

And starting tomarrow I'm outta town during the days again. *SIGH* Going back to Fredonia to be a high-tech grunt, doin' whatever they need ta' get the job done. Timing STILL sucks, cause I'd really like to get some other things done, game development wise. When ya have to drive about 3 1/2 hours a day, that kinda cuts into everything else you wanna do!

Hey now, your a rock star, get the show on...

Somebody once told me
The world is gonna' roll me,
I ain't the sharpest tool in the shed.
She was lookin' kinda dumb with her
finger and thumb in the shape of an 'L' on her forehead.
Hey now, your an all star, get your game on, go play
Hey now, your a rock star, get the show on, get paid
All the glitters is gold -
Only shooting stars break the mold.

I love that song, for multiple reasons. One, he thumbs his nose at anyone that ever did the "You'll never make it" sort of thing to them. The second reason it just a really wonderful positive energy on it - it always make me wanna grove on some serious work. Go fig.

I'm in one hell of a Rock & Roll mood right now (grovin' to Everclear's AM Radio at the moment - my favorite part being the very begining: "The VCR and the DVD, there was none a' that crap back in 1970. We didn't know about a world wide web, it was a whole different game bein' played when I was a kid." Not COMPELTELY accurate for me, of course - I had video games when I was a kid, but, technology wasn't nearly a pervasive. And I can definitely identify with havin' to listen to the radio to wait for your favorite song :-) (BTW: That was a longer aside than I planned on - might as well expect to see lyrics randomly sprinkled in this post ;-) We just got done with Night of the Living Zoo. While a PITA to get ready for, there's nothin' like scarin' the heck outta kids to make yourself feel pretty good ;-)

I'll admit that I'm vain. And I've got an Ego (capitol E there ;-). So throwin' some cool ass Darth Maul makeup on me (Heabo played Darth Maul for two nights, then we switched tonight, and she did the makeup work on me) feeds both my Vanity and my Ego. Of course, those go hand in hand. I'm actually kinda odd about this sort of stuff - normally, I don't really want people to notice me TOO much. But if I've put myself in a position where I'm going to be noticed, by gods I'm gonna ham it up. In those cases, I bloody well will be noticed, if I gotta smack someone upside the head for it ;-) Just one o' those quirks.

(As yet another aside, sometimes I'm confused by my own vanity. Most of the time I walk around with wild uncontrolable hair, generally lookin' fairly sloppy. And... I like it that way for the most part. How I can be both a slovenly lookin' person and vain at the same time is a wierd conundrum.)

The highlight - tryin' to scare some kid who was in a Spider Man suit. Come up to him, he turns, and without missing a beat, SHOOTS ME WITH THE WEB SPINNERS! Seriously - he had silly-string based webshooters. I friggin' died laughing - it was TOTALLY unexpected! We had to stage it again, and get pictures of it, it was that funny!

Anyway, had a lot of fun, and Heabo and I are already plannin' the next outfit for Night of the Living Zoo. Almost everyone seems to want to do Marvel Super Heroes (actually, looks like it's gonna be Super Heroes in general - which is fine with me. Cooler than doing just a single 'universe' of heroes.) Well, in that case, someone needs to represent the bad guys - and Nick gave me the perfect suggestion. Sabertooth. Big nasty guy, and if I'm going to do it, I'll do it movie-style. Black contacts (which I'll probably use from time to time just to freak people out), upper and lower fangs (ditto), extra facial hair, hair on the back of the hands, and ferral nails. And if I can keep gaining some muscular bulk, I can look the part perfectly (except for height - not much I can do there.) Heck, if I can get a couple o' people to train for it way ahead of time, could even get a good fight or two set up for showin' off. Would be a lot of fun :-)

Now it's time for the next batch of nerves, and next Ego feed. Indie Games Con 2002. Heabo and I have tickets, rental car, hotel room, etc. We're set on that front. The games aren't nearly as far along as I'd like them ta' be, but that's OK. I can show it off a little, but, I don't consider 'em ready to be the focus of the LAN party - just not tested well enough yet for that. However, we'll apparently have a poster with the Trajectory Zone logo on it (I'll have to talk Jay Moore outta that at the end of the con ;-) and be making a presence at the con. And of course, there's the speach.

This is going to be a BLAST. I'm nervous about it - a lot of strange people I don't know will be there, without much social support for me (Heabo probably won't spend A LOT of time there, since it's a pretty geeky deal ;-) But at the same time, I'm excited as hell - since I'm one of the speakers, that puts me in a 'special' group, and the center of attention.

I'm going to see about taking a good portion of this week off to try and finish the games to the point where I'm ready to show 'em off. We'll see how that goes - it's actually a semi-busy time at the moment. Tomarrow I'll be in Fredonia (*GROWL*) so I'll blow that day entirely. Then I've got to finish my part of the Tulsa bid. And I've got an accounting system upgrade that's driving me nuts - it refuses to upgrade!

Ya know, I've discovered something - I think I like getting older. May sound odd, but, it's interesting to see the world evolve around you, and watch yourself evolve, physically, mentally, and spiritually. I've got those 'laugh lines' around my eyes, and I bloody well don't mind anymore :-) I like 'em - I can actually feel when they are starting to show when I smile - sound odd, but, it's cool.

Ok, 'nuff of my yammerin' - I've work to do, of course!

Parties, Alcohol, and IGC

Well, Heabo and I hosted another party, this one a little hedonistic (see her post for more info on it ;-) Lots of half-naked people running around. I did a little bar-tending on this one, splitting the duties with Heabo. She edumicated me before hand, so at least I now know what most of the terminology is (a bit more complicated than one would expect), and how to do it. I'm still messy at it, but, at least that takes some load off of her during parties like that one.

We also introduced our first home-done spiced rum. It's cheap ass rum bought at the store that we poured over top of the leftovers from wassal (cinnamon sticks, apple bits, and other little goodies.) After setting in there a month, it tasted and smelled wonderful - nothing like the original rum that I poured into it. Heabo & I dug up more recipies (some of it for expensive stuff, like Kaluah) and we'll start makin' our own stuff for parties from off the shelf liquors (Rum, Vodka, etc. - the cheap stuff)

I'm also considering the purchase of a Beer Machine. I owned one before, but, the seals dried up and it died. But it did make an excellent beer. And they have improved it a bit - they now have a version designed for bottling it after brewing is complete. It's not REAL brewing though - you don't make the mash yourself (actually, you can if you want to, and toss the ingredients into the Beer Machine), but instead buy a can o' pre-made mash, and pour it in, add water and yeast, then wait 7 - 14 days. Easy stuff, fairly cheap (except the beer machine it's self - the price has gone up, and the new bottling version is $109. Ouch - ok, so I'll be waiting for a while on that one - but I'll snag one eventually ;-). It makes the cost of a bottle of beer about $.50 - cheaper than buying it by the case. And if you do get into making your own mash, it gets cheaper (but messier ;-)

I've also looked into a still - I've found them both in kit form and in DYI directions. Unluckly, I'm still a bit hazy here on the law - I need to make a phone call to the state one o' these months and find out what the law is for sure. Of course, running a still is a much different process than making beer - and much more dangerous. With beer, the worst you can do is blow up the container by letting it develop too much pressure (and if you have it vented properly, there shouldn't be an issue.) With a still, well, you can blow yourself up. You are workin' with fire and alcohol vapor in a closed vessel - if the two ever mix, BOOM! Shrapnel everywhere. I'm not as keen on working with a still - I'd almost rather go out and buy Everclear as a base, and mix ingredients to create flavored alcohol or liquors of choice from that.

Live is still busy, but, I've let things slow down a bit. Trajectory Zone's ship date is going to slip (intentionally), and we're putting a new product in the middle. That gives us more time to perfect the game, instead a' rushing this. Now that we are concentrating on making a deal with a real publisher, the rules change considerably. Everything about the product has to be tight.

So we started the Maze Panic! project. It's another Torque based game, and it's already partially done. I looked for the simplest possible game that could be ran pretty much without modifying the engine or scripting system very much. I think I accomplished that, and right now a small sub-set of the TZ team is now working on MP!. As you might have guessed, it's a 3D maze game. However, it can be played single player, multi-player race, or multi-player war (war just adds two weapons - the freeze gun, and the kicker. Hit 'em with the freeze gun, and they are stuck for 5 seconds, giving you time to get some more distance between you and them. The kicker explodes, tossing your opponent around.)

However, it's not as simple as you might expect. I'm breaking some of the typical rules for mazes. Not all mazes are Right Hand Rule compliant (normally in a maze, just place your right hand on the wall, and you will eventually find the exit. There are ways around that.), some are multi-level, some have mutliple solutions (great for multi-player race - the goal isn't just to solve the maze then, it's to find the optimal solution :-) It's not going to be a huge hit or anything, but, provides a great 'filler' game while we finish off getting TZ ready (not sure what the ETA on that is now, since we're changing our distribution focus. It's now reverted to "When It's Ready", I think.)

Heabo and I have tickets, hotel room, and car rental setup for my Indie Games Con trip. This should be fun :-) David Michael of Samu Games and I will be co-speakers for "Can I Make Money as an Indie?" David and I broke things down into 10 minute segments where we tag-team it. I'll be speaking first on project selection and self funding, then David speaks about some real numbers for how much you can sell, then I speak on managing the project to completion instead of burnout, and then David speaks again on selling your software over the Internet. Then we open things up for the remainder of the time (which should be about 20 minutes, probably a little less) for questions and answers. David came up with the tag-team approach idea, and it sounded pretty cool. Jeff Tunnell's original concept was for us to speak for 15 minutes, have Q&A for 15 minutes, then switch speakers and repeat the process. This will allow us to both to concentrate on certain areas, and tackle the Q&A session together.

This will be a good opporunity for Midnight Ryder Technologies PR wise, and should be a good opportunity to meet a lot of the people in the GG community that I've been talking to off and on. (And someone else pointed out to me, it could also be a good opporunity to become a speaker at these type events, possibly even the "big show" - International Game Developers Conference. Ok, I'd go to IGDC as a speaker, no problem - that would save me almost a grand in ticket costs just to get in the door!)

One more thought about the party we held - it was interesting to note the mix of styles. Some people who showed up were pretty conservative about things, and some weren't at all. Jess showed up Lady Gediva (sp?) style - she just placed her hair strategically, and wore a skirt (which I really didn't notice for quite a while - it wasn't until we were working the bar together that I realized she didn't have anything on under that hair!), but Dave showed up in boxers and a Tshirt, with a robe on over it. It was a really strange mix of styles, and I should have gotten more pictures just for comparison's sake.

Ok, back to work - just thought it was time to update the journal, so that people know I'm still alive and kicking, and that things are indeed going well :-)

Hey, what's this thing?

Oh, yeah, that's right - I have a live journal ;-)

Ok, I've been busy as hell. I predicted this was going to end up being probably the busyest time in my life - I wasn't wrong. It got even busier. So I'm doing more load reduction.

I hired on Ryan Hagan, the ex-President of Inca Gold USA to handle finding a publisher and some of the marketing details for Trajectory Zone. Yet another professional has joined the team. Considering everyone is workin' off nothing but royalites, it's amazing how many people have joined the team that are honestly professionals in the field. Somehow, I've been deeply blessed with one hell of a team. Not sure what attracted them to the project, but, I'm definitely not complaining. They have all done a hell of a job so far - and I'm sure to tell them what I think of thier work!

Oddly enough, my Day Job seems to have heated up a bit. Been putting in some serious hours in the last two weeks to handle a fiberoptic job, and now I've got to bit two more fiber jobs, and help do my part of a $2 million bid for a plant refurbish job. Sheesh - timing couldn't be worse. Last thing I was wantin' was to have to contend with it all at once.

I've been feelin' pretty bad about the time I spend with Heabo - namely, the lack of it. I came home bearing (cheap) gifts last night. A rose, and a big bottle o' Arizona Green Tea. Just wanted to do somethin' so that she knew I haven't forgotten about her. I've been feeling really guilty about that. I haven't done shit for housework lately (managed to get part of the trash out last night :-/ ), I've been living in my office, and in general I'm not living up to her and I's housework agreements. *SIGH*

However, this is temporary. Come Nov. 4, things change. Trajectory Zone will be out the door. I can be less stressed. I can have a normal life.

I'm not gonna do things this way again. Next time, I'm gonna find a better way.

Fear me.

I wear a speedo now. Fear me. Fear the white pasty still a little out of shape 30 year old ;-) Actually, I don't look too bad in it really... heck, Heabo asked me how I managed to look better in my speedo rather than my shorts. I kinda thought that was funny.

A new thing added to the routine - tanning. I'm going to make an attempt to become tan. My muscle structure will show a little better that way (of course, it would show even better if there was just a little less fat on it ;-)

I've been invited by the president of Garage Games to be a speaker or panelist at the first IGF (Indie Game Festival - not sure what the acronym is really - it's a big game development gathering that will be happening in Eugene, Or.) Heabo and I are plannin' to try and make the trip somehow - I'm sure we'll come up with a way to pull it off :-) Actually, if I can get ahold of a friend of mine up there, I might see if he might be interested in providing us crash space while we are there.

Needless to say, the invitation is awsome. While I never looked for it before, this definitely makes me feel a little more 'legitamate' - I've now been around long enough and doing this long enough that I've been asked to tell others about it. Cool - good for the ego, I suppose :-)

Well, I'm going to get involved in Night Of The Living Zoo this year, and am going to be a randoml unnamed Jedi. Clayton asked if I would help out with choriography (however that's spelled), and I said no problem. Of course, the minute you put a sword in my hand (well, a stick. A glowing one at that ;-) I'm all over it, and decided to get involved. However, I'm not spending $300 on a light-saber like part of the group did - instead, I plan on spending $30 to build me one (and another $50 to build Heabo's - she is Darth Maul, which means she needs a double-ended light saber.) I had already checked out some of the components before, but, the only electro-luminesence type stuff I could find is wire - after some thinking and a suggestion from Heabo, I managed to come up with a way to get the 5 mm double-core EL wire have as much solidness light-wise as the much larger EL surfaces of the $300 saber. granted, I'm not going to construct the handles out of aluminum - I really don't feel that ambitious, and the room for error working that way would be too tight for my tastes. The design is simple, eligant, and rugged - the drivers for the EL wire is a nice little unit the size of a quarter designed to take abuse. Once it's mounted and anti-shocked in the handle, you can do anything you want, and that sucker can break :-)

Home loan is pretty much done with - thank the gods of banking for that.

Trajectory is getting 'close' - we've got audio working for the most part, but, are having problems with distances. Explosions work great, up close. But some of these need to be heard for quite a distance. Models are still a problem - haven't found a modeler yet :-( Other than that, things are going well on that front :-)

OK, time for bed :-)