Month: January 2011

My Last Day at Somanetics, Plus PTFSD Update

No more working on medical devices for me. I loved my time at Somanetics and I’ll miss everyone here, but Somanetics has been bought and the parent company is closing this office. On Tuesday I start my new job at General Motors.

Perhaps now I’ll be able to spend more than 18 months at a job.

PTFSD Update:

Previous Weight: 354.4
Current Weight: 357.4
Delta: +3 Pounds

Blech. I tried to do better this week but got hit with a lot of temptations, “Oh, there’s donuts for the Linux guys,” “Oh, there’s ice cream for the Linux guys,” “Oh, I got KFC for dinner.” I succumbed to all of them.

But Lord, let now thy servant depart in peace, for mine eyes have seen my salvation.

That’s a Marcy recumbent exercise bike. I had been thinking for a while about getting a treadmill, but ones that could support my current weight cost well over $1000. And then I read in The 4-Hour Body about a guy who got his exercise on a recumbent bike – it allowed him to relieve the horrible boredom that always eventually makes me stop exercising. With a recumbent bike, you can read, watch TV or even play video games while still keeping your heart rate in the cardio zone. And this one is supposed to be excellent – not just for the price, but excellent all around. The biggest plus – it’s magwheel-driven, so it’s silent.

Once it arrives (which will take a week since I picked free shipping) I’ll add a new entry to these posts detailing how many minutes of exercise I got each week.

Name That Game 75!

Okay, this is another “I have a point to make so that actual naming of the game won’t be hard” posts. Here are five “classic” top-down RPGs.

Can anyone look at the terrain tiles of these games and tell me what I noticed about them?

Getting Serious

Inaria now has a funding target of $500 on 8-Bit Funding. Should I make this goal, I’ll use the money to get better artwork and some music for the game. Help out if you can, and if you donate $5 or more you’ll get a free copy when the game ships on March 6!

Okay, THIS I can PLAY!

Blizzard is rolling out four new Starcraft II custom games. They are all in beta, but you can still play them. One of them is called StarJeweled.

The gameplay is pretty simple…you gain energy by making Bejeweled matches, then you spend that energy on spawning units or using special abilities. The game goes on until one side loses their base.

Notice how the team I’m on has WAY more energy than the other team. Notice how their base has far fewer hitpoints than ours. And notice how we won the game!

Okay, you can’t see that in the screen shot, but we did! It was my first multiplayer Starcraft win ever. Of course, it didn’t count because it was a custom game, but still.

Also, notice how, once again, what Blizzard calls a “beta” is equivalent to what any other company would call “a month after launch”.

PS on a completely different topic: I am moving PTFSD updates to Fridays, which will put them right before my “off” day (Saturday) I think this will more accurately represent my gain/loss for the week.

A Recent IM Transaction

Megan: Are you on Steam?

Anthony: No, you can play something.

Megan: Good, ’cause I’m $70,000 in the hole.

Inaria! (Sung to the tune of SEGA!)

The good news: Inaria got a mention in Jay Barnson’s roundup of upcoming indie RPGs! Welcome to everyone who is visiting this site because of his mention!

The bad news: It’s the worst-looking game there.

I don’t know what to do about how Inaria looks. The free sprites I found are nice and colorful, looking like 256-color VGA art. On the other hand…that amount of detail makes my own stuff look like ass. As if to emphasize the point, I followed a link from a commenter (DIntent) back to his blog (The Lame Brain) and found out about another blog called Tilting at Windmills.

(Before I go on, I just want to say thanks to DIntent for the kind things he said about me on his blog. He’s writing an old-school RPG too, called SPARK. Check it out.)

But Tilting at Windmills is a blog written by a guy who writes games for…the TI-99/4A. And his biggest project so far is an RPG. (If you don’t want to follow that link to find out what a TI-99/4A is, it’s a vintage computer about as powerful as the Apple II, made by Texas Instruments.)

Check the screenshots out on this page. If they don’t give you the warm fuzzies, then you either hate classic RPGs or you HAVE NO SOUL, and I’m betting the latter. He did all the graphics himself, and just like Daniel Remar, the self-imposed limitations made it possible for him to do them himself effectively.

Perhaps I should do the same? This would also allow me to add some limited animation on the characters (right now there is none because that’s not how the sprites were designed).

Sticking with graphics, I also recently resized the main screen up from 512×384 to 640×480. I did this because I wanted to expand the visible tiles in the world window from 9×9 to 11×11. I originally did this to support 11×11 “arena” maps where combats take place (just like in Ultimas III, IV and V).

But now that I’ve added that feature, I’m at the crossroads. Single or multi-character? My dungeons are now just underground maps filled with NPCs and items; there’s only one “puzzle” and that’s in how the dungeon is laid out.

I think what I need is more special tiles. Hidden doors, triggers, traps, teleporters…I need all these and more especially if I stick with a single-player game.

So I think that’s what I’ll work on next, along with the graphics. Don’t be surprised if the next version of Inaria looks radically different.

PTFSD Update, 1-19-11

Previous weight: 356.8
Current weight: 354.4
Delta: -1 pound, 4 ounces

My personal assessment of the past week: Good. Trending downward again. And soon I’ll be okay to start exercising which should make things go even faster.

I’ve been reading a book…well, it’s sensationalist propaganda, honestly. It’s by this guy named Tim Ferriss, who came to fame with his book The 4 Hour Workweek, which can be summed up as “don’t have a family, invest your money, and use technology as a force multiplier and you too can live like a rich person even if you’re not”. Since I already screwed up step one, it’s not that useful to me.

But now he’s got a book called The 4-Hour Body which is getting lots of press, so…I figured I’d check it out.

Here are his five dieting rules:

1. Don’t eat anything white and/or starchy. This means that my beloved, beloved rice must go by the wayside. Also no potatoes, pasta or bread, because as we all know…

Instead, eat proteins like egg whites (Tim’s favorite, and frankly there’s almost no downside to them), chicken and lean pork. Get your carbohydrates from vegetables. This is where Ferriss differs from the abominable Atkins Diet, which would have you cut out carbohydrates altogether. His favorite vegetables are lentils, which have both protein and carbs, and spinach, which which has so many necessary vitamins and minerals that it’s no wonder it tastes awful.

2. Make a mealplan for a week and then follow it as closely as you can. Ferriss points out that eating the same thing every week can seem restrictive, but if you actually tracked what you ate for a week you’d probably discover that you eat the same things over and over anyway.

3. Don’t drink calories. This is pretty much a given. Even if you drink diet soda, try not to drink more than two a day because the aspartame can cause you to retain water.

4. Don’t eat fruit. Fructose, the sugar found in fruit, is easily digested and almost instantly turned into fat unless you’re doing something to burn it off.

5. On one day a week, ignore all of the above and eat whatever you want – but just for that one day. Also, this is not optional. You must eat at least one “binge” meal a week. Why? People who go on very restrictive diets tend to lose weight…until their body panics, goes into “starvation mode” and refuses to give anything up.

I have personal experience with this. I’m not sure if I ever told this story before or not, but back in 2002 or so I lost about fifty pounds and got under 300 for the first time in years. But it didn’t take because I was literally killing myself doing it – I was eating so few calories that I was falling asleep on the drive home from work. Eventually my restrictive diet stopped working, I got pissed and dumped it, and went right back to where I am now. If I had followed rule five back then, we wouldn’t be talking about this now…and a lot of bad stuff might not have happened to me.

Overall, I like these rules. They’re a pretty good encapsulation of modern dieting. Since carbs are so damn caloric, getting them from your veggies instead of straight pretty much ensures that you will eat under the necessary amount for weight loss even without counting calories.

I haven’t gotten to the workout part of the book yet. We’ll see how much that agrees with me, since I hate exercising.

Forums Actually Working!

Thanks to Shawn for pointing out that while the forums were open, it wasn’t possible to actually register for them. This is because I hadn’t finished setting something up in the basic registration (in my defense, the setup instructions for Vanilla didn’t mention this). You should now be able to create an account and access the forums; if you still can’t, please either email me or post a comment here. Thanks!

Name That Game 74!

Let’s name that game! Trust me, it won’t be hard. It’s indie, but it’s a, you know, popular indie.

Name and developer, please! If you win, I promise that the next time I cast fireball I’ll make sure you’re out of the blast radius. Even if you’re the warrior and get to wear plate and have TONS of hit points. Cheater.

Forums Open.

I have now, in the words of Graham Goring, raised the number of places you can make a git of yourself on the internet by one.

Forums are now open at Come! Stay! Talk about my non-existent games!

I used Vanilla forums since PHPBB is still apparently the easiest thing to hack on the internet. I don’t like the layout or color scheme, but those can always be changed later.

Ah! Speaking of changes, I’d been wondering for about the last two weeks why Google Analytics was claiming this site got no hits. I then realized that I changed the site’s theme, and the analytics code is embedded in the footer.php file of the theme…if you install it yourself.

So I didn’t. This time I used the Google Analytics plugin for WordPress. This should give me the data I want while allowing me to switch to any theme I desire (and I will be changing the theme, probably to match whatever I come up with for