healyg: (Healslime)
Heya, peeps! I've been working on a new Knytt Stories level for Fubaka's Epic Level Competition on the Nifflas boards. It is tentatively called "Sleeping Pills" (because it takes place in a dream world, you see) and I got about 14 screens done this week, not counting repeats. They're all in the same area, a kind of gloomy town. I hope to get started on a new area by the end of next week. Here are a couple screens:


The house where you start out
Just outside that same house
healyg: (scheming)
I apologize for being so late with this post; I was rushing to finish my Yuletide assignment and this blog sorta fell by the wayside. But! I just wrote it up and posted it last night, and while there are a couple hitches in it (namely, I haven't checked it for SPAG yet, and there's an extra scene I should write to make it hang together better), I am fully prepared to call it finito Benito for now and work on other projects. Like Currently Reading Wednesdays! Here's what I was reading the past couple weeks:

Top 10: Season 1 by Alan Moore and Gene Ha: This is the superhero police procedural that Moore wrote at the turn of this century. It's pretty good, and I enjoyed it, but there were a couple things that bothered me about it. Mostly it had to do with all the sexual content; none of it's very explicit, of course, but it permeates the entire exercise (like, say, the Martian Manhunter-esque hooker lady), to the point where it seems like the author can't get his head out of the gutter. (Then again, I might just be a ginormous prude.) Also, the police department struck me as a bit trigger-happy; events from the previous few years have sensitized me to this sort of thing. Still, it's a pretty nice book.

Hellboy: The Wild Hunt by Mike Mignola and Duncan Fegredo: This was pretty great, and it advanced the story of the series quite a bit, but it ended on a cliffhanger, which bugged me immensely. I'll reserve judgment on this until I read the next book in the series, but I was a little disappointed in this.

Boss Fight Books: Earthbound by Ken Baumann: I used to really love this game as a little kid, and what with Undertale blowing up the internet right now, I decided to read up on one of its primary influences. This is a very good book; it may be a little too "New Game Journalism-y" to some people's tastes (Baumann spends much of the book relating to Earthbound through his own life and experiences), but I thought it was a good fit for something as weirdly personal as Earthbound. I can't wait to read some of the other books in the series.

Rise of the Video Game Zinesters by Anna Anthropy: I actually know Anthropy from her days back at Glorious Trainwrecks, so I was familiar with her work. Anyway, this is a primer on the indie (or alt, they seem to have changed names when I wasn't looking) games scene, with a look at the history of the movement, their games, their goals, and some of the tools used to create indie games. I don't always agree with her arguments, but this is a fine introduction to independent games and game design, and worth a look if you want to make a game yourself.

(Note that the next two weeks may be pretty busy for me, given that it's the holidays. But I'll try to put out at least one more installment of Currently Reading Wednesdays out before the end of this year.)
healyg: (apology)
Currently I'm reading this screenshot Undertale Let's Play by fellow Brontoforumus member nosimpleway. (Undertale by Toby Fox.) Naturally it contains spoilers for the game, so if you haven't played Undertale yet and want to do so unsullied, you should hold off on reading it.

Anyway, both the game and the LP are pretty great. The writing and art and characters in Undertale are very charming, and nosimpleway's commentary is engaging, witty, and informative. He also takes the time to link to music from the soundtrack, and even uploads videos of boss fights that are hard to get across with just screenshots. My only real problem with it is that it advertises as a blind playthrough, but this seems to only be true for the first dungeon or so. I think he's up to the end of his first playthrough, and he'll likely do a second one to show off the best ending. If you wanna see how someone else plays through the game, or if you're curious about Undertale and don't mind spoiling yourself silly, why not give it a shot?
healyg: (apology)
I apologize again for taking so long to write up a new Currently Reading Wednesdays. I've just been feeling kind of "blah" the last few days (maybe because of all the turkey?) and didn't get around to it.

Anyway, currently I'm reading The Jack Kirby Omnibus Volume One: Starring Green Arrow, with art by Jack Kirby (natch) and writing by various. It's a collection of all the various stories Jack Kirby did for DC Comics in the 50s, mainly for science fiction magazines like House of Mystery and Tales of the Unexpected. (There were also a couple Green Arrow stories in there, like it said in the title, but I didn't really get to them.) The inventiveness of the stories and visuals are a real treat, which is to say that everything is properly wacky in that amazing Silver Age way. One of my favorite stories is the one where a guy takes a concoction that turns him into a flat, 2D man. Kirby's art just sells the transformation and really raises up what would have been just a passable short story into something very enjoyable.

I'm also reading Get Real, a Dortmunder book by Donald Westlake, who also wrote the Parker books under a pseudonym. It's pretty good, but it's a rougher read than I expected. Apparently this was the last Dortmunder book Westlake wrote before he died, so that probably explains it. I'll keep an eye out for earlier books in the series, and see if they're any better.

I'm also play/reading Jay's Journey an early RPG Maker game. It's okay, and the humor is actually pretty good for an RPG Maker game from 2002 or something, but I keep having trouble figuring out where to go, which is really not something that should be happening in a game as linear as Jay's Journey. Most of the time it seems to be due to some underclued puzzle solution, like when I spent 15 minutes in one room only to find, when I looked it up later, that a switch I thought didn't do anything actually did something, I just couldn't see it. A hint guide would have helped here, whether in game or just in a text file. Still, I like it enough that I'll probably go and finish it.
healyg: (Healslime)
Hello, visitor to this letter! I'm HealyG (or just plain Healy everywhere but here), and if you're here it's likely because you plan on writing me something, whether you're my assigned writer or plan to treat me or whatever. Let's get things started with some general likes/dislikes!

Likes, Dislikes, and Advice for Tricks & Treats )

Steven Universe )

The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening )

Original Work )

That's all for now. I may go back and revise these prompts later. No promises, though.
healyg: (Frown)
Shark Game is your typical Cookie Clicker/Candybox-type game, with the resource management, the expanding number of options, and the looooong waits for your resources to build up. I practically wasted my entire day playing this game, along with a few boards of Picross while I was waiting for my stuff to get high enough. Anyway, it's not a bad game for its type; it plays decently, with a couple hiccups here and there, and the art is very charming. Just keep your eye on the clock while playing.
healyg: (Healslime)
I'm working on a last minute exchange fic right now, so no long post. Instead, have a link to Chronotorious, a pretty good video game remix album, as far as these things go. Standout tracks: the Magus theme one, the Black Omen one, and the title track.
healyg: (apology)
The past couple of weeks I have just been lazing around, not doing much of anything that would prevent me from updating my blog. And I'm sorry about that! BUT: I do have an excuse for last week. Kinda. Sorta.

For it was right around then that I was putting the finishing touches on... Juni in the Haunted House! *lightning crash*

Spooky, huh?
Anyway, JitHH is another Knytt Stories level, this time a harder, mazier level about exploring (and maybe escaping) a haunted house. It's got thrills! It's got chills! It's got 4 endings and a They Might Be Giants tune you can listen to, if you play your cards right. Finishing up this level was a pain and a half, and it really drained my energy towards the middle of last week, when I was working on it final areas. But it's done now, and you can download and play it! Provided you already have Knytt Stories, of course.

Anyway, this week I hope to put this blog back on a normal schedule. Hopefully I can get Currently Reading Wednesdays on time, too. See you then!
healyg: (Excited)
I am really proud of this title screen.

First, a lttle background: I donated a custom Knytt Stories level to Spring Thing this year, and now, a few months after the comp finished, the level is done. Special thanks to B Minus Seven for picking the prize!

Anyway, At the Zoo is about Juni searching for her friends at, well, the zoo. It's a pretty short piece (only twenty screens) and there are no challenging bits. Instead it's focused around atmosphere and little overheard snatches of dialogue. Give it a try, I bet you'll like it!

(Music is a shortened version of this track.)
healyg: (scheming)
You might be wondering why I haven't written that Alice Saturdays post like I promised. The truth is, I spent the whole of Monday playing Wadanohara and the Great Blue Sea (link here), and the whole of today working on a new Knytt Stories level, which should be out this week if nothing goes wrong. Anyway, to make up for it, I'm going to post Currently Reading Wednesdays early (i.e., on time) and tell you some more about Wadanohara.

Note: This review may contain spoilers )

Anyway, that's all for today! Have a great day, and if I don't update this blog by Friday, assume my computer has exploded. See ya!
healyg: (apology)
Sorry I waited 'til Sunday to get to this! A bunch of stuff just sort of piled up on me last week, and I've been rushing over the weekend to at least get around to some of it. So, I bet you guys are wondering what I've read this week? Well...

The Spirit: The New Adventures by various: It's a collection of new Spirit comics a bunch of artists did in the late nineties. There are some pretty great high points (Alan Moore's crazy reinterpretation of the Spirit's foes Dr. Cobra and The Octopus) as well as some lows (Neil Gaiman's story, which didn't seem to have a point, and which I didn't even recognize was from him until I checked the credits), but even the lowpoints don't bring down the collection. Recommended.

Sledgehammer 44 by Mike Mignola, John Arcudi, Jason Latour, and Laurence Campbell: Another monster smash-up by the brains behind Hellboy. It's basically the same monster-and-nazi-fighting formula as Hellboy, only the hero possesses (literally) an Iron Man-esque suit this time. The only problem I had with it was that the hero's energy powers made for some pretty "blah" fights sometimes, but there was enough going on that it wasn't too big a deal. Read it if you like the other Hellboy stuff.

Various RPG Maker games by various: Let's see here, I'm playing The Longing Ribbon (already on chapter 4), Standstill Girl (beating my head against an optional boss in the second-to-last area), and Wadanohara and the Great Blue Sea (which I don't think I've made a lot of progress in). I haven't finished any yet, so I couldn't give you any detailed impressions, but so far I'm enjoying myself in each of them.

That's all for now! Tomorrow I'll get around to the Alice Saturday I've skipped, and then we're all caught up.
healyg: (apology)
So it turns out I hadn't read a whole lot of books this week. Whoops! As a substitute, here is an RPG Maker game I've been playing.

Wildcard, by Ace Mercury: I first heard about this game through a review on the late, lamented Frying Bear. This is actually my third replay of the game; on my first I hit some game-crashing bug near the end and didn't come back to it until years later, when I finally beat it on my second replay a few weeks ago. Anyway, what really makes it such a great game is that it's crammed with all this neat optional content. Like, in the battle tournament village, there are these fighters lounging around, and you can pick fights with them and get some good gear if you win. There's also a fishing mini-game that you can ignore if you like, but if you're good at it you can end up with some pretty sweet gear (and a pile of cash). Really, I could list examples here all day, and I'm pretty sure I haven't seen everything yet.

The story is okay, not bad, but not really all that good either. Basically protagonist Ace and his sister come across a sinister plot by the leader of an adventurers' guild called the Dark Stars to get eight magic doodads so they can unseal an ancient evil. They team up with the royal magician and a former member of the Dark Stars to get the magic doodads before him. There's a few twists and turns but that's pretty much the gist of it.

Anyway, if you wanna play it, I've uploaded here; I think Windows 8 and up might have trouble running it, but if you can find a media player that can play midi files you should be golden.

Next week, on Currently Reading Wednesdays: Hopefully it will be an actual book! See you then!
healyg: (Frown)
You might be wondering why I've left this blog fallow for such long periods, even skipping out on regular features like Currently Reading Wednesdays. The truth is, I've been playing a lot of video games lately, and there's one in particular that's got me obsessed: Romancing Saga 3.

Romancing Saga 3 is kind of a hard game to explain for folks not familiar with the Saga series. Basically it's kind of like Final Fantasy 6, only you can choose which character is the protagonist at the start of the game, instead of espers you get skills learnt at random during fights (with some purchasable magic), instead of level-ups you get random stat-ups, it's almost completely non-linear from the get-go, and in fact it's actually not much like Final Fantasy 6 at all aside from some superficial similarities. It's designed by Akitoshi Kawazu, the guy behind Legend of Mana and The Last Remnant, if those names mean anything to you.

The design is a bit too obscure for its own good, but the game has a lot of charm that helps smooth over the rough bits, like rushed questlines, awkward minigames, and hidden event counters that can screw you over. How can I possibly hate a game that has not one, but two Zorro-esque superheroes that you can recruit? Plus you can have an adorable little girl in your party who equips a teddy bear as a defensive item!

I hope to talk about Romancing Saga 3 more in the future, but there are other things that might get in the way (including, ironically enough, playing Romancing Saga 3). We'll see how the rest of the week shakes out.
healyg: (Healslime)
Bad Bang 4 is the latest in a series of fanfic writing fests in which the point is to contribute intentionally terrible fanfiction and/or fanart (some rounds let you contribute one or the other, but in this one participants had to make both). I made two pieces of fanfiction and art for this round:

Magus, a Study, in the Snow: A one-off drabble about the tormented wizard character from Chrono Trigger. I have a lot of trouble writing drabbles in under 100 words, so this is kind of reflection of my frustrations with the format. Written for certs_up.

Frank Castle Comes to Gotham: In which the Punisher teams up with a young Bruce Wayne. I'm gonna level with you guys and say I'm pleased as Punch at how this turned out. Chapter 5 is one of my favorite things I've written (which doesn't make it good, mind). Written for Liviania.
healyg: (scheming)
I signed up for Shufflecomp Disc 2, a music-themed IF minicomp where you send in a playlist of songs and get a random playlist back; you then need to choose a song (or two, or three, or...) to base an IF game off of. I got my playlist on Friday and already have a pretty good idea of what I want to do with my song(s)... but there's one thing holding me back: I need to design a battle system for this game.

Now, if there's one thing that's been drilled into my head in my years of being a part of the IF community, it's that combat in IF games usually suck. I'm trying to avoid that by designing the combat in my game to be less random and more puzzly. But I've never been good at designing puzzles! So how the heck am I supposed to manage this, eh?

Looking at what has come before is a good start )

Anyway, I'm probably worrying too hard about this. After all, it's only due on...(checks date) April 25!? oh god only three weeks away
healyg: (Book Reading)
Video Games: I'm on bit of a tactical kick lately, so today I dug a little into Advance Wars (the first one). So far I'm getting my ass kicked by the tutorial missions. Last mission I tried I lost two of the units I needed to beat the map. I'm starting to think that strategy games and tactical RPGs are not for me. Even so, it's been a lot of fun; there's actually a little story threaded through it, so when you beat the enemy commander on one mission he responds with some upgraded weaponry on the next, which causes you to respond with some superior firepower of your own, etc. I doubt I'll ever get to complete the game, but it's a nice ride while it lasts.

Food: Still going strong on my no-soda Lenten challenge, by the way! I've even cut down a little on my non-soda sugary beverages. This week I found a nice, mint-flavored black tea, which tastes fine without sugar or milk. It's a big help when I need an extra kick of caffeine to stay awake, like today, for instance. Speaking of sleep, it's my bedtime now, so I better hurry off to bed before I fall asleep in my chair. See ya!
healyg: (scheming)
Welp, guess who didn't get any sleep last night! (Spoiler alert: it's me.)

Now, those of you who have read my last entry might be asking yourselves, "So did you stay up all night playing Final Fantasy 5?" And the answer is: Of course not! I stayed up all night play Final Fantasy Tactics Advance. Completely different situation.

Healy on FFTA and more under the cut! )
healyg: (apology)
Currently I'm reading Final Fantasy 5 (GBA version).

What? It's an RPG, it's got text and words. It's got a lot of words.

Who wants to read me blog about Final Fantasy 5? None of you? )

Also, an actual book I am reading this week is Jeph Loeb and Time Sale's Batman: The Long Halloween. This is actually a re-read; I read it before and kinda hated it but all the details of it slipped outta my head the instant I put it down, so I could never put my finger on why. Looking at it now, I think it's partly because it's got such a sour, cynical tone. I'm not bothered by the only two Frank Miller Batman books I've read, though (Dark Knight Returns and Batman: Year One), and while you could argue that tonally they're cut from the same cloth, I think the difference for me is that Frank Miller is much more knowing, or perhaps honest, about the effects he's reaching for; he knows what he's doing when he makes the Mutants such horrible S.O.B.s, he knows why he's making the Gotham Police Department so incredibly corrupt. Loeb, though, seems to be adding in these dark, gritty details because what else do you do for a dark, gritty story? That's why, even though the Frank Miller books have objectively worse shit going on, The Long Halloween feels meaner to me.

(Another thing I don't like is how played out the whole thing feels; everything in the story has been done elsewhere, and likely done better. Sure, all your favorite villains are there, but their schtick is so overdone you'll be begging for their part to be over. I guess that's what makes it such a great beginner Batman story, though, since it's likely a new fan wouldn't be bothered by this. As I remember some guy on a web forum saying, even the worst Batman stories still feature Batman punching all the bad guys until there are no bad guys left to punch.)

I won't deny it hits a couple grace notes for me, and I do like the art, but overall this re-read of Long Halloween didn't change my opinion of it much.

Next time, on Currently Reading Whenever I Get These Things Out: Next week I'll probably review Comic Book Rebels, by Stanley Wiater and Stephen Bissette. (Hooray, a straight answer this time!) It's a series of interviews with famous comic book personalities from the early 90s. I was gonna review it this week, but I had barely begun it by the time I wrote this post. Next week, though!
healyg: (Healslime)
I am way too proud of this screen. It pops up two or three times in the level.

Hi! I don't know if you guys knew this about me, but every now and then I create new levels for Nifflas's Windows platformer game Knytt Stories. Today I just finished a new Knytt Stories level called A Visit to Grandmother's, and you're all invited to play it! It's a short-and-easy level that focuses more on exploration and environment than challenge. You can download the level from the official Knytt Levels archive here, or from this alternate link over here.

If you don't have Knytt Stories, you can download it from the creator's site here. Then, when you first start up Knytt Stories, you click the "Install Level" option on the main menu (you should see a screen with a bunny on it). Drag and drop the .bin file onto the game screen, and things should go smoothly from there. If you haven't played Knytt Stories before you might want to try the tutorial before playing this game, although I tried to make it very easy even for a total beginner. Remember that you jump using the "S" key!

Here are the songs used in the game:
"Mellotron" by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

"Two-Headed Dinosaur Main theme" and "Intro 2" by Ben Bartlett
(Tracks available here)
Licensed under Creative Commons: Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/

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