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Feb 14, 2008
Feb 14, 2008: My heavy involvement with Final Fantasy Tactics caused a lengthy delay to my site's updates. The overview for the 3.x version of my 2D game is available. I've made quite a few updates to my 2D RPG game's plans as well. I made my first video walkthrough, complete with 3+ hours' narration. Christmas and my birthday weren't as exciting as they were before and one items means playing the waiting game. 21 new dreams were recalled, much less than my normal rate would have. I learned 2 needed programming things, but from an unexpected source. I also found YMCA camp on Google Maps for the first time.
#1 Final Fantasy Tactics: The cause to the very long update delay was due to my high involvement with Final Fantasy Tactics. As it turns out, I actually once rented this game a long time ago, in 1998 I think. When I first played it, the first battle I was involved with was quite easy to work with since almost all of it was automated. The second battle, however, was something I was never able to actually complete. I lost interest in the game after 3 attempts making the rental mostly wasted.
Then, close to a decade later, I got the game again, through Ebay. While I still had the same difficulty on that second battle, I actually completed it and for the first time, saw the game's world map which wasn't as I thought it would be. I thought the game involved a bunch of exploration - searching caves for that elusive boss grabbing treasures and battling enemies in random encounters. This game is much different. I saw an eerie similarity to the very boring FF5, given the job system, and I didn't think I was going to last that long at it. Strangely enough, FFT has since become one of the most played (by total hours) RPG games of all. When I first visited a shop, I immediately knew I'd be very interested in the song and I added it to my collection.
When I first got into random battles, I struggled a bit, but immediately saw a weakness in the game's design - you can reach level 99 with 99 EXP before even reaching Igros Castle or the third battle in Sweegy Woods. This video on YouTube (split into 3 parts) covers the earliest part of the game and my "dash to 99". Back then, I didn't know many of the game's secrets and things. At first, things were very difficult since I needed plenty of phoenix downs, but after a while, things got quite easy for a bit until around level 60 or so, By then, enemies could one-hit my characters (that is, they could deal enough damage where, even with maximum HP, they'd have 0 HP upon that hit). I first found a solution using the "mimic daravon" ability of the mediator to put enemies to sleep. When that worked, I was surprised as to just how easy everything became and I quickly got into using status effect spells, particularly sleep. From there on, I mastered every job in the game (except summoner, which, even though every ability is learned, isn't mastered which seems to a possible class 1 bug). This video on YouTube is of the moment I reached level 99 (with the thief "thiefing" as I often say). I also started the craze with status effects around this point as well (note the two enemies having so many status effects that the "dancing" icon takes more than 2 seconds to cycle through them all). Over time, I found many useful formulas and one of them led to the fastest way to get gil, of which I've used throughout all of my other future YouTube videos of FFT. This video (split into 5 segments) demonstrates the method for the fastest and easiest gil, getting roughly 20,000 gil per minute, at least 3 times faster than any battles or propositions offer (and it's a cheap way to level up and gain JP). I noticed the direct relationship between the character's level and the character's speed. Level*speed gives the amount of gil taken. Increasing the speed (through Ramza's "yell" or the Bard's "cheer song") not only allows for more steals before the others go, it also allows the character to steal more gil in one turn, up to 4950.
After mastering all jobs (learning every ability in all jobs), I finally, already over 100 hours in), got to progressing with the game's story. The first thing that caught my attention was that, while enemies in random battles tend to have levels roughly that of what the character with the highest level has, the human enemies in the story were surprisingly weak. Level 99 characters against level 5 enemies. They're so slow that, by casting "slow" on them only, they need to wait so many turns that "--/11" appears for the turn reference. They were also so weak that my casters otherwise could defeat them in two or three hits when normally they'd take several. Guests, of which I hate the fact they can't be controlled by the player, were a nuisance and was willing to even put them to sleep with all the other enemies (the calculator's "math skill" works wonders for that) so I can get the thieves at taking the equipment from the sleeping enemies.
After reaching chapter 2, I returned to the random battles to see what new monsters I could find, if any. I soon ran across human enemies with equipment you'd find at the end of the game's story. I got the thief going at stealing it for quite a while and while doing so, I recorded another video of various strange things you can do in FFT (5 segments). With several weaklings in the main party (level 8 when I'm on 99), I went at leveling them up and with this, I noticed another mathematical relationship. The list of formulas at the end of this headline contains this formula. When going at "thiefing" enemies, I was amazed by the very rapid rate one can level up, the fastest I've ever seen. In fact, it's possible that I could gain as many as 20 levels within 10 minutes. I have a video of this where I get 10 levels in under 10 minutes with peaks of only 20 seconds between level ups. 20 seconds.... Normally it takes around 5 to 10 minutes for a level up.
After fiddling around in my top favorite area, Bariaus Valley, I found numerous bugs and began trying to get a video containing a list of these bugs. The first one I got is of poor quality (if I could rate my own videos on YouTube, I'd actually rate the first attempt 1 star... seriously). It only contained a small fraction of the bugs I knew and there was a lot of excess stuff in it not to the point. The second attempt took several tries as, for it to work out the way I wanted it, I needed a long stretch of time so I can herd enemies to where I want them. After finally getting the 16 bugs I had at the time (I now know of at least 18 bugs (those in the tutorial not included)), I spent a long time stitching the numerous segments together (nearly 40!) and I even added narration to this one as I knew it would be of use. The video is split into 2 segments and it contains a few of the game's secrets as well, but this one, unlike my first run at it, is much more to the point, though even this I wouldn't rate 5 stars, but rather 4 as there are still some weak points (I had to speak rather quickly for a few times due to the time available to keeping in sync with the video).
After reaching chapter 4, I was getting signed of getting bored of the game (this is active neutralization at work). In one of the battles for the game's storyline, I had a confused, blind, silenced, etc. frog right next to an enemy with "don't move" and "don't act". The frog, when it's rather slow turn came, attacked the enemy (due to its confusion) and after a while, stealing close to a million gil, the frog actually defeated the enemy. I wanted a video of this, but I wanted to take it further. Not one frog going at it, but two frogs. The last video of FFT has this. Shortly after this, I completely lost interest as active neutralization brought motive to near neutral. I didn't finish the game's story, but with over 300 hours' total game play and nearly 60 million gil, I sure was at it for a long time, rivaling that of the time spent toward FF12.
The 4 things I like best about FFT are the way status effects work (the "dancing" icon that changes once every 1/4 second). Too bad not everything has an icon (such as slow, stop, frog, chicken, undead, etc.) although I've put 17 status effects on a single enemy. The second thing I like are frogs. They are so funny to look at when sleeping or confused. Confused frogs do back flips repeatedly and when they move, it gets even funnier. This is one thing that kept me at the game for so long - frogs are simply very funny. I tend to call them "ribots" (pronounced as "rye bot") or "ribbiting device". The third thing I like is the challenge - the series otherwise lacks it (FF6 was extremely easy that, although I saw an old friend struggle with a boss fight 12 years ago, I found it so easy that I didn't have to restore any HP). The fourth thing is the game's decent story, though it is a bit short. FFT, however, has four downsides. The biggest downside is the huge number of bugs that it has, most of which should've been spotted and fixed before releasing the game. 18 bugs is a lot of bugs and many of which are quick and easy to fix and could've easily been spotted by testers. There's actually more than 18 bugs that I know of, some of which in the tutorial (classes 0 and 1 mostly). My "A collection of 16 bugs in Final Fantasy Tactics" video lists most of these bugs. This game seems very poorly tested. Fortunately, however, there aren't any bugs above class 4. One of the bugs is borderline between 3 and 4, that of faulty clipping. All other bugs are class 3 and under and there's even a few 0's which are quite rare. There's plenty of 1's and 3's though with a few 2's. 2 to 4 is usually the most common. The second downside is that the battlefields are too small. Most seem to hover around 11x11 panels or so. That's very small and something like 20x20 at the minimum would be much more like it. The third downside is that there isn't anything that boosts physical/magical defense as armor only adds extra HP instead of boosting defense like it does in all other FF games. A fourth downside is that the battlefields should be rotated based on steps of 45° instead of 90° and that there should be much more of a top-down view than is available in the game as there are some areas in some battlefields where you have to constantly rotate the battlefield in order to see something hiding in a corner, but a top-down view will allow you to see this without any rotation at all. As a neutral aspect, using an actual 3D battle field rather than one being isometric would also be nice.
I know of numerous formulas and algorithms in the game and they are listed below. How do I find these formulas? It involves 3 steps. The first step is to identify the variables - what elements cause change. The second step is to gather data changing one variable at a time. The third step is to look for patterns and come up with a formula that matches the patterns for a wide variety of test cases. Take that of JP obtained. I noticed that, without a level up occurring, but the job level increasing, I get 2 additional JP on top of what I was getting. This hints to job level being one of the variables. Then, after 4 level ups, the amount of JP gained increases by just 1. This hints that the character's level plays a role as well. However, level 1 with job level 1 gives 10 JP. Taking job level out (subtracting JobLevel*2 to undo the addition of this amount), this means 8 JP. Level 99 with job level 8 gives 48 JP (24 from the level and 16 from the job level) leaving 8, hinting to a constant. Level 24 with job level 7 gives 28 JP (14 from the job level and 6 from the level, again leaving 8). This means that there's a constant involved where 8 is added to everything. Put it all together, using the laws of mathematics, and you get a formula.
BonusMoneyEarned = [Sum of all enemies' levels upon being defeated]*100; // this is the amount of "bonus money" obtained after completing any battle.
GilTaken = SourceSpeed*SourceLevel; // speed maxes at 50 and level maxes at 99 - 4950 is the maximum gil that can be taken with "gil taking" or "negotiation".
EXPStolen = SourceSpeed+5; // A faster character will steal more EXP from an enemy.
EXPObtained = ((TargetLevel-SourceLevel)+10+Bonus)*Boost; // bonus is 10 if the target was defeated, but 0 otherwise; the minimum is either 1 EXP or 10 EXP and the maximum is 99 EXP. Boost, from "gained EXP up" is unknown (probably 1.5), but it's 1 otherwise. Unknown because it comes so late in the game and everyone's level is already maxed defeating it's purpose.
JPObtained = (SourceLevel/4+SourceJobLevel*2+8)*Boost; // the fractional part of "SourceLevel/4" is rounded down meaning that level 99 adds 24 rather than 25 (from 24.75). Boost, from "gained JP up" is 1.5, otherwise, it's 1.
SourceSpeed - the speed of the one taking action
SourceLevel - the level of the one taking action
TargetLevel - the target of the one taking action
SourceJobLevel - the job level of the job of the one taking action
That's a lot of information I can get from studying game mechanics. A strong knowledge of mathematics can help, along with knowing the scientific method.
#2 Ultima Exodus narrated video walkthrough: When I last updated my website, I lost interest in Ultima Exodus. I then thought of a solution but one that would otherwise be very unique. When you think of walkthroughs, you often think of a bunch of text (and images in case of strategy guide books). I thought, well, why not make it a video walkthrough, complete with narration? I first spent a while recording the video itself playing the actual game doing my usual. As I played along and knew something important was about to happen, I'd record it. After completing the game for the first time, which wasn't all that exciting outside enemies missing the characters (that sound is my top favorite of all, also occuring when using any ranged weapon), I began adding the narration, but this would be taken to an extreme. Earlier, much beyond 10 minutes was often boring. 10 minutes? This one lasts 3 hours, far, far longer. I knew it would be a task that would take several days, but in the end, I finally got the entire process done. With 20 segments, it would also take a long time to upload, but that's still less than that of my Mario 3 video series. It's my first video walkthrough and something like that may not happen for another 6 months! This is that resulting video. If I could rate my own videos on YouTube, I'd rate this one 4 stars as I can see quite a bit of room for improvement, especially toward the end and the numerous shortcuts and tricks I later discovered.
#3 The Supernatural Olympics version 3.x overview: Version 2.4 currently has it, but 3.0 doesn't. I've wanted an overview document, which explains the features of the game, but I didn't want to replace that of the 2.4 version's content since 3.0 is unreleased (and unplayable too, even to myself outside visions). The fix was to just create another document listing the features, but using a new navigation style. Taking a break from FFT, I spent a few days typing and fine-tuning the document then uploaded it in early January, a month before I started the actual website update.
#4 Good progress with 2D RPG game: While my 2D RPG game, my next project after "The Supernatural Olympics", isn't likely to be started on until the end of the year, I get occasional visions and think of solutions to lingering problems in the plans. The biggest lingering problem was that of action-stopping status effects like sleep being restored from before the effect would otherwise expire. There's still some more planning yet, such as the lists of weapons, spells, items, abilities, armor, enemies, and other things. The progress I made was mostly through the new additions I have and especially the lists of spells and abilities. Until development even starts and I can play the game, it's tricky to know the attributes of abilities with great precision. Creating the "levels and experience chart" was a big boost to precision enhancement to better gauge the amount of EXP and AP gained. By having each "chapter" in the game's story be roughly the same number of levels, I can get a rough idea what abilities and levels I'd expect to see for the story-focused player. I'm a battle-focused player where I get to very high levels early in the game (take my recent case of that in Final Fantasy Tactics where I reached level 99 only 2 of the game's battles in the story line and that of Final Fantasy 12 where I got Vaan to level 35 before first getting a second character in the party and got Vaan to reach level 99 with only 4 characters in the party (I have a video on YouTube of this too) and I could reach level 99 before I first get anyone else in the active party or defeating the Rogue Tomato.). Because I'm a battle-focused player, taking on the role of a story-focused player would be a bit more difficult, especially to deter myself from battles. Using both the levels and EXP chart and the even level chapter spacing, it's easier to judge what the effects will be. Still, however, I'll have to test the game as if I was a story-focused player to make sure it's reasonable in terms of difficulty and the behaviors are as expected. In addition to the plans, I've got a good start on the game's story, reaching "chapter 8", but some parts, especially after chapter 6, need to be either taken out or changed.
#5 2D game progress - cloud shortcut found and mountains done: In my 2D game, The Supernatural Olympics, my plans involved clouds. The clouds originally were thought to take 265 hours in all, 5 a piece. That was only a rough estimate based on past experience. But then, along comes a shortcut which slices that up to fine fragments reducing it to below 100 hours. Then, through throwing numbers and math operators around, I found that 52 total layers wouldn't work as they'd be spaced too closely together to be realistic. The fix had two benefits - enhanced realism, and less time required to work on it. I've done 3 of the cloud layers so far. I'm, currently, questioning about the lighting and how that could be done. Right now, they're entirely all the same for brightness, as if they emitted their own light which is not realistic. The mountains are also finally completed as well in addition to the 3 layers of clouds.
#6 2 programming lessons learned from an unexpected source: Three things (well, 1 now) with programming remained to be learned, but weren't important as I could still make my games without them. Earlier, I had 3 things I needed to learn: dynamically changing the size of an array, using hardware acceleration, and running in full screen mode. Two of these have been learned but from a source that is completely unexpected. The solution to dynamically changing the size of arrays was found: malloc() and realloc() if I recall. I've seen these earlier, but I didn't know what they were for. The second one resolved is the hardware acceleration one through the use of SDL. In my case, it's video for graphics, especially the antialiasing one and possibly the dynamic creation of special effects, which couldn't be done without hardware acceleration (well, it can, but the frame rate won't be pretty (Want to play a game that gets 3 frames per second, or even less? I doubt it.). The one for running in full screen mode, however, isn't resolved yet (it's likely some sort of function call and/or flag being set). I was actually referred to SDL earlier, but I forgot it's name. I have yet to test either of these, though lately, I've had thoughts of a few enhancements to "The Interactive Animation" where I could potentially test it while making these enhancements.
#7 Christmas 2007 - fair quality: What did I get for Christmas for 2007? 2 things I didn't want, one that I wanted I didn't get, another you might find a bit strange but I wanted it, and yet one more was also something I wanted. The others aren't really all that noteworthy. Here's what I got, in order of the most wanted to the least wanted:
2 1000-piece jigsaw puzzles. I've got like 10 puzzles yet, at least 3 where the box was never even opened. On top of that, I haven't done any jigsaw puzzles since probably March or so of 2005... 3 years ago. Why would I get more puzzles when I haven't done any in this long and it'll very likely be much longer. Things are returnable though.... Wanted: 0%.
3 shirts. I was getting a bit low due to stains on others making them useless, this helped to some extent. I haven't used them, however. I don't think that this was on my list though. Wanted: 10%.
Metal detector. Okay, so why would I want a metal detector when I otherwise apparently never go outside? It seems strange, to actually want something like this. Being outside has an affector of 1 on motivation which simply means that it has no effect. So then, why don't I go outside much? There's simply nothing to do outside and lakes are just way too far away, so far that, even if I could use the float run, it'd still take 7 minutes to get there. Everything else requires transportation of some sort, but that is something severely limited to me. By having a metal detector, which means that I could possibly find treasures, one thing that adds motivation. In my area, the times I can do this are very limited. It would likely typically start around late April and continue on until early October or so. This is slightly less than 6 months so, for about half of the year, it is not worthy. There's also things like rain storms and my sleep-wake cycle, but still, there's plenty of opportunities. I'll have to wait until it significantly warms up outside and the snow melts. Wanted: 40%.
Digital camera. Though it's very unlikely to be used that much, there are two things that I like about it and two others I don't. First, I like the movie function it has. The problem with the movie function is that movies are recorded into the MOV format and neither Virtual Dub nor Virtual Dub Mod could open them. The fix was to have some sort of a converter so I can convert it to AVI so I can use Virtual Dub (and my self-written program) to process it in depth. I don't know if it records audio though. There's also an image stabilization feature, but for some strange reason, I cannot enable it (it's grayed out). While I sort of have a fix, I don't know how to implement it. I've heard about it on investigation-related shows where a certain part of the scene that is apparently static is used as the focus point and the images in the frames are shifted to exactly line up with this object to steady the image. I have one video recorded with this where this would be especially useful but I have no such software and I don't know how to program it (considering the contrast is extremely low and the way digital cameras work, it's not easy to do). Overall, however, it's a good camera. There is a special note though. The camera that I got was actually one that came with a photo printer. Thing is, the printer I got has just that. Since sister doesn't, and she got one as well, we did a quick switcharoo. I got the GE A730 which wasn't quite the Kodak Z612 that I was originally looking at, but very close to it. Wanted: 70%.
Things I wanted but didn't get:
Xbox 360. This was something I didn't want much at all, but sort of did. The system, being expensive, and the 1 in 400 chance of finding a game of interest really took down the wanting of it. It was on my list, but at the bottom of my list of priorities. I wasn't disappointed when I realized that I didn't get it. Wanted: 10%.
Visual Studio 2008 Standard. I was very disappointed in that I didn't get this, even though I was willing to pay half of the price. Though it's not extremely important for several months, I'll likely need it during 2008. It has some features that the free edition doesn't have and it doesn't have the annoyances. I figured that, since my birthday was barely 2 weeks away, I figured I'd put it on my birthday list solo. Wanted: 100%.
#8 My 24th birthday - it's a waiting game: The headline's title has "waiting game" in it for a reason, but first, let's get a background. On Christmas just 2 weeks earlier, I wanted Visual Studio 2008 Standard, but didn't get it as my parents didn't know what it was, even though I mentioned what it was on the Christmas list. Having not gotten it, I figured I'd have it for my birthday instead. Then, when my birthday came, due to insufficient funds even though I'm paying half of it (about $150 or so), I realized I needed to wait until a payday. When it came, something happened that caused it to not work out and since then, it's just been a waiting game since. Even to this day, over a month later, I still don't know if I'm going to be getting it or not, even though I was promised.
#9 2 orders of the old, flawed 2.4 version: The 2.4 version is flawed due to Gamestudio and Molebox combined. Gamestudio poses a limitation in that it merely copies files making them readable to anyone, including scripts (except the ultra expensive pro edition). Molebox, a solution, caused things to go corrupt which causes the key file to not be read properly. Out of nowhere, despite the numerous indications of strongly advising against ordering it, I ended up getting 2 orders of it.... The problems Gamestudio and Molebox cause are explained in the FAQ of the 3.x version's overview document.
#10 YMCA camp found on Google Maps - finally!: I noticed that Google Maps had updated their maps of my area with higher resolution images. I began investigating its location again and used the few clues I had. The first was a small inland lake with a dock a foot above the water. There was a semi-steep slope across with a building (where I ate) beyond in the same direction. I eventually scanned the area very thoroughly for the area right next to the lake and found it here. I don't remember what some of these buildings are anymore or exactly where things are located (such as the riflery and archery ranges, the area where the lake swim and windsurfing took place, what cabin(s) I was assigned to, etc.). The entrance gate is to the northeast of the pond. I doubt I was in the cabins to the north and northeast of the pond though. I think I was in those to the south, however, but only 60% certain, at least, that for the first year. I don't recall the second. While I'm not 100% certain that this is it, I have a comfortably high 98% certainty that it is.
#11 The return to Ramen noodles: I forgot the last time I had them, but it's something like 8 years ago. They come in rather small (and surprisingly cheap) 2-serving bags. The noodles are all bunched up into a block. There's a seasoning packet provided that gives flavor. I recalled the blue (oriental), pink (shrimp), and the tannish-brown one (chicken mushroom) where my top favorites (in no particular order). Due to all this time without them, passive neutralization has nearly brought the motive for having them to near neutral. There was a new flavor though that I haven't seen before, "lime shrimp". This one tasted horrible and I found it a bit strange. Why? The "lemon lime" flavor for drinks is my most favorite flavor. I get it twice as much as almost any other flavor due to the 40% higher compatibility. I also like the "shrimp" flavor of the Ramen noodles (of which I used to call "silly soup"). But, for some unknown reason, combining lime and shrimp seems to have the exact opposite effect. It requires many dishes, of which two are especially troublesome - a pan (all but one are worthy enough due to stains), and a drainer (2 available, one has paint stains) with a third somewhat troublesome (my spoons, of which take a long time to find and I have few of). This together means that it'd be quite rare that I'll have it. Pizza rolls are the best though and most likely since only one dish is needed (but they're not as filling so it actually means 2 dishes).
#12 Wikipedia image troubles: Roughly 2 months ago, I was, after finishing Ultima, attempting to update Wikipedia with new images of the game, which didn't have any. When I first logged on after a long time, I found that many of my images were deleted due to a faulty robot and that fact I get no warnings of anything in my E-mail. While Wikipedia is a great source for information, it lacks any E-mail warning system for things like this. I spent several days trying to figure this out and reuploading those images, for articles that didn't have any. There first seemed to be contradicting information related to the rationales for nonfree images. Some of my images had rationales and others didn't and either way, they were flagged as invalid and the image got deleted within 7 days, all without some kind of E-mail warning about it. I hate the fact that, after 2 weeks or so, you automatically get logged out.
#13 GameBridge/Genesis workaround - VCR: If you recall the effects I have with a direct connection with the Genesis to Gamebridge, you likely recall this screenshot:
Well, the only fix I can come up with is to use a VCR and record my gameplay on a VCR tape. Since I know GameBridge works fine with VCR's (no distortions), I figure that, if I record my gameplay onto a VCR tape, then use GameBridge to record from the VCR, I should, hopefully, be able to get videos of the original Bubsy, the one I've spent 4000 hours playing. My only problem with this is... no VCR. I know there's a few lying around, but I don't know where they would be. I got the VCR tapes though, but as soon as I get a working VCR, I can test this method out. You'll almost certainly (99.5% likely) see YouTube videos of the original Bubsy if I get the VCR and the method works. It'll obviously result in lower quality, but videos on YouTube have significantly lower quality than a VCR set to the poorest quality recording setting (EP). I'm surprised that VCR tapes are still sold in retail stores, considering that DVD's are so common nowadays. Another alternative, which is a bit expensive (and a gamble), is to get a different TV tuner card. Finding one without a noticeable lag... that's a problem and the reason why its a gamble. Down the list of alternative methods, which results in poorer quality than even YouTube, would be using my digital camera's movie mode. This will result in no sound being captured (or poor quality sound). The only other alternative beyond this is an emulator, but I strongly prefer to avoid that route even though I quite badly want videos of the original Bubsy.
#14 21 new dreams, 2 high-rated ones, one noteworthy: Despite the fact that it's been 3 months since the last update, I've only recalled 21 dreams putting the total count at 682. While I often hear of others recalling maybe 2 a year, 21 dreams over 2 1/2 months is roughly only 55% of what I'd normally get and the cause, like I had with my time spent on Final Fantasy 12, was due to my high involvement with Final Fantasy Tactics. Normally, in 3 months, I'd have around 45 dreams recalled. However, 2 of those dreams have very high ratings. One of which, involving slime, has the highest weird rating, at 20, of the new ones. I also got another nightmare, a rarity for me. While, for the most part, it's decent, it's the ending, which helped me remember a dream I forgot from nearly a month earlier, that really did it, with a spike for the scary rating going to 150. It's still far from the worst of the worst though as that spike of 150 needs to be a sustained value 6 times higher at 900 just to match it. The noteworthy dream is the 2D surfing game one, of which I wished was actually a real game, one where I could easily spend 100+ hours playing in one level.
#15 Mind game event: lifeguard rescues: Having watched those shows like "Beach Patrol", I've had many cases of this. As it starts out, I'm running along side a beach at great speed. I'm quite distant from the shore where hardly anyone is. There are also two 200-foot-tall cliffs spaced about 2000 feet apart. For a bit, I'm charging up the speed blast and blasting off straight for these cliffs, crashing into them every time. After a few rounds, a call goes out stating of someone in trouble. I quickly run off toward the shore and see the one in trouble. The life guards are already heading toward the area and have quite a ways to go. Without even going in the water, I start doing my usual thing - casting spells. The "move" spell is usually the first I do. With it, I take the victim out of the water and have him/her hover about 5 feet above the surface. I then accelerate the victim to shore, reaching close to 50 mph then slow it down to an area that's open. While doing this, the crowd looks confused and somewhat scared. The life guards watch in amazement, though confused. The victim is placed gently on the sand. I then make use of cure, heal, normalize, life-cure, etc. to fully restore the victim and get him/her going very quickly.
#16 Mind game event: the robbery: This is yet another one of those strange mind game events. As it starts out, police have a building surrounded with the robber inside. I mention to the police that I could help them by adding status effects to them and the enemy. I mention what "defense up" does (boosts resistance to physical attacks) and I cast the spell on all. I then mention haste where time slows down for the target, which, to an outsider, makes them look like they were going very fast. Things to them would seem like they were going in slow motion. Then, for the bad guy, it's "slow" which makes time to them flow very quickly but others on the outside make it so that he seems to be going very slowly. With the setup complete, the police go in. The event ends here.
#17 Sonic lakes and mountains animation: I've had this playing in my mind a lot and I've been really thinking about making an animation of it... at 60 fps. The scene is very easy to make and relatively simple. It involves a lake. The close part of the lake has a scaling of either 16 or 32 (where 16 or 32 pixels of movement on the foreground will move this one pixel; 32 is most likely) and the far end has 64. There are two sets of hills with 4 common scaling value setups: 128 and 256, 85 1/3 and 128, 64 and 85 1/3, or 64 and 128 for the scaling values. I'm playing as Knuckles and there are many cliffs and things around. I especially just play around with the background. I first climb a vertical cliff 12 "bumps". This is based on the 64-scale part of the background. A "bump" means that the background has moved a pixel. I jump, which causes another "bump" then fall down the cliff. I execute a glide-hop on a powerup that respawns to double the height, to 25 or 26 bumps, about that of the span of Casino Night's background in Sonic 2. I glide into another vertical cliff which gives another 8 or so extra bumps giving a total height of 34 bumps. The 16-scale part of the lake, if it was 16, would be 136 pixels down from the center, off the screen. 32-scale would put it at 68 pixels down instead. After reaching the top here, with the height at 0894 (hex). I jump over the cliff and attempt to do another glide-hop off the respawning powerup. The first time worked successfully and I soar to nearly 70 bumps high. I then just fall all the way down. When I pass 32 pixels per frame, Knuckles falls off the screen (usually it's 16 or 24 instead but 32 is what it should be - it's very tricky to get that fast). With this repeatedly going on in my mind often, sometimes with failure and other times without the extra boost in height, I've really been thinking of making this as an animation, but with over 2000 frames for 60 fps, it's too much for my manual method so it'll mean having to create that animation creation program. I know how to do it, I just haven't had the motive to do it.
#18 Good ads, ads, junk, and spam: Whenever I watch TV and advertisements come on, they are "rated" in one of four classes. "Good advertisement" is rare and have less than a 2% chance of being muted. Yes, muted. I'll get to that later. Such "good ads" are ads that have very good music (like that one Fresca ad with the computer animated scene of the cat jumping around), or ads for shows on the station, especially those with at least some interest (and there's a good chance of this happening). "Advertisement" is for something that is neutrally liked and have a 30% chance of being muted. "Junk" is used to reference any ads that are annoying and/or play very frequently. Also, ads that do not apply to me at all are also junk (such as car insurance, poison (alcoholic beverages), stock trading, life insurance, cars, cell phones, etc.). Such ads are muted with a 95% chance. The last group, spam, seems to be the most common. These are guarenteed to be muted. They include anything involving weight loss, exercise equipment, the human reproduction system, very irritating ads (such as those with whistling or "head on"), and probably some others. Because "spam" is so common, and they repeat like 4 to 8 times for the duration of the show, it is very rare that a "perfect" ad session comes along. A perfect is basically when muting is not done through the entire 3-minute ad session (typically) and typically about a 2% chance of occurring, about that of a single "good" one. Normally, when one ad gets muted, all other ads after it will also get muted until the main show resumes again. If a "good" one comes along, however, it has a 60% chance where I unmute the TV and will remain unmuted until another bad ad comes along that makes me mute it again until the show resumes. This is my rather strange TV-viewing behavior.
Dec 1: Ultima and lots of battles for GP, 5000 EXP already. Major progress with 2D RPG game plans, especially the world map and the story's rough draft. On a 1 to 10 scale, it's a 6.5 to me, but then again, story beginnings are usually low. Even FF7 started low but went up to a 9.5. The first round off the first event only got 4 score (excuse the rhyme). Because I don't have the world map done (which looks like a redo is in order), there's a limit as to how far into the story I can get. Current song: Ultima Exodus Towns 80% 3/5 day. Woke up at 2:37 AM and went to bed at 7:42 PM. Dec 2: Eat, daily check (losing motive for GIMPTalk forums due to the excessive popup ads), Ultima and continuing the battles, then the 2D RPG game's story made up the day. It was 6.5 yesterday, now it's 8. Despite more than 6 hours at it today and 12 total, I'm still only at the beginning. I almost think I have a name for the 2D RPG game. Much of what I have in the story is something I can already program. Current song: Ultima Exodus Towns 80% 4/5 day. Woke up at 4:35 AM and went to bed at 7:27 PM. Dec 3: Method for clouds mostly tested. The technique works but takes a lot longer than expected and the quality needs a more thorough check. Still, however, I can easily cut the time by more than half. Further testing is needed. I also reached an intended goal with Ultima. Now I can focus more on the walkthrough. No story progress was made with my 2D RPG game, but I thought of another character and a menu-related enhancement. Phases 1 and 2 of mountains layer 4 are finally reached - lots of good stuff on TV. I now need to process the lighting and finalize. I also got an unexpected order for the old 2.4 version. Current song: Ultima Exodus Towns 90% 2/3 day. Woke up at 5:44 AM and went to bed at 10:04 PM. Dec 4: Here dreams, here dreams, dreams, where are you!? I finally completed Ultima and the video of the walkthrough. Now it's forming the basic design then the narration. I finished mountains layer 4 and updated the checklist right before going to bed. Ultima dominated the day. Current song: Ultima Exodus Towns 90% 2/5 day. Woke up at 8:24 AM and went to bed at 2:07 AM. Dec 5: I spent all day processing the Ultima Exodus video walkthrough and now, only finalization and adding the narration remain. I intend on keeping the narration to a minimum as much as possible. The walkthrough video spans roughly 3 hours so I expect 2 or 3 days at it. TV and further testing with the clouds were also done while waiting for the processing. The more clouds in a layer, the faster the process is (more clouds done in roughly the same amount of time as just one). I simulated layer 5's basis. Forming the base shape is the slowest and most boring part, the same with the hills and mountains. Final Fantasy Tactics is coming too. Current song: Ultima Exodus Towns 90% 1/5 day, Village Zone 96% 2/5 day (MP3 Village Zone 85%). Woke up at 10:32 AM and went to bed at 3:47 AM. Dec 6: A strange mud dream.... Some progress was made with mountains layer 5, an hour's worth (a point). Major progress was made with the walkthrough - 30 minutes of 2.8 hours done, slow during the part covering the races and professions in the game. 3 days to complete seems doable. Current song: Village Zone 85% 3/5 day. Woke up at 1:48 PM and went to bed at 5:54 AM. Dec 7: I started my daily check but took shower for grocery shopping. I finished the daily check then spent roughly 6 hours working on the Ultima walkthrough. While grocery shopping, I had another idea for the 2D RPG game. After the 6 hours at the Ultima walkthrough. I added the details. After abandoning GIMPTalk (due to popup ads being excessive), I've otherwise had little internet activity/time. Current song: Village Zone 85% 3/5 day. Woke up at 2:56 PM and went to bed at 6:23 AM. Dec 8: 12 of 14 mountains of layer 5 are done in the first phase. 96 minutes of the Ultima walkthrough video are done - 2 days left. Early in the day, I did quite a bit of research on digital cameras and found the Kodak Z612 as one of interest, outside the batteries. It's a medium-low priority item for my Christmas list. Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 Standard is the highest and really the only thing I want with 100% certainty. Current song: Village Zone 85% 2/3 day. Woke up at 4:11 PM and went to bed at 7:36 AM. Dec 10: A good dream was recalled, but vaguely. Layer 5 is done and the checklist is adjusted. I'm now actually 1/3 complete overall. The walkthrough is finished, but I have yet to finish processing the rest of the video - splitting it into segments. Getting the last of the vocal track dominated the day. The first part involved the mountains. Then it was eating, finalizing the mountains, adjusting the checklist, then working on the vocal track. The archived version is done though deamplifying the game's sound track is questioned, though likely. Current song: Village Zone 85% 1/2 day (MP3 80%). Woke up at 6:40 PM and went to bed at 10:00 AM. Dec 11: I spotted 2 mistakes in the video near the end and made an adjustment - deamplify the game sound track by about 8 dB. I reprocessed the video while I played the game for EXP. I segmented it making 2 adjustments. I uploaded the first 6 segments of 20 to YouTube. While uploading, I worked on layer 6 of the mountains, the last layer. I finished the usual start (height marking, gradients, and, extra, the noisemaps) and 4 of 17 mountains. At day's end, I adjusted the spreadsheet plans for the clouds - 240 versus 288 pixels high for the closest group and the spacing of 4000 or 5000 is debated on. Current song: Village Zone 80% 9/10 day. Woke up at 8:44 PM and went to bed at 11:06 AM. Dec 12: A good dream recalled! 10 mountains of roughly 17 done for layer 6, 13 of 20 segments uploaded. A new method for getting gold 3 to 4 times faster was found. 13,000 EXP too! I need another video for this.... FFT should likely come tomorrow. Current song: Village Zone 80% 4/5 day. Woke up at 10:50 PM and went to bed at 12:38 PM. Dec 13: Mountains layer 6 done (while waiting for video segments to upload), mountains done. Walkthough done, 2 more videos of Ultima Exodus were added (mark of kings in 8 minutes and the fastest method for gold discovered yesterday). I also messed around as well. I'm still attracted to the case when enemies miss ("missed, dot" is what I often say and I watch the bottom right very closely for this to appear). It's not at all funny when ranged weapons are used, but the effect is far more intense when it comes to enemies missing. Current song: Village Zone 80% 1/3 day, 75% 1/3 day (MP3 80%). Woke up at 10:58 PM and went to bed at 3:33 PM. Dec 14: 2 dreams in one night - yay! 19,250 EXP for Vig in Ultima. I started on the clouds but hit a snag: how tall are cumulus humilis clouds? Another snag is that getting the right shape at the huge 240 pixels tall size is very difficult. I have the fix for that. Then, just as I went to bed, I discovered a problem. Wikipedia states that 1500 to 3000 feet is the expected altitude of such clouds and the plans call for 7000 to 8000. 240 tall is too tall (without increasing scaling spacing) and 160 or even 120 is more likely (for layer 1, the closest). Current song: Village Zone 75% 3/5 day. Woke up at 3:20 AM and went to bed at 5:49 PM. Dec 15: A dream gone wrong - I hate those! 3/4 page though.... Not much really happened. I was mostly at Ultima. I then thought of posting 2 screenshots of Ultima for Wikipedia and found that many images disappeared due to contradicting information. I spent some time reuploading them, and the Ultima ones and posted a question about this. Then it was working on the plans for the clouds. Being in a mountainous area, cumulus humilis clouds get to around the originally planned 7500 feet. The main problem is cloud height and horizontal spacing. 50 was the original, but now, 80 is more likely. 75, 80, 90, and 100 are the most likely. If the height (around 400 to 600 meters) and horizontal spacing (2400 meters, 8000 feet) are resolved, I'd be cruising, but another problem remains - intensity. From 1/5 to 1/3 all white center is planned, though now even 2/3 to 4/5 is thought as an option. At day's end, it was the list of enemies for my 2D RPG game. I added 3 new enemies and 3 bosses. Current song: Village Zone 75% 3/5 day (MP3 OWTLI 75%). Woke up at 3:07 AM and went to bed at 5:35 PM. Dec 16: Malloc/realloc - the solution to the dynamic array issue and from an unexpected source. 3 cloud layers done in one day! Before the shortcut, it meant working at maximal rate and with reduced quality. Yet, I had enough time that 6 to 8 could be done... minus the lighting. I updated the checklist after finishing the first layer - 36 fewer hours due to the plan changes. I played Ultima to check out the Lark. I really like it when an enemy seemingly forgets how to hit, snatches (my favorites), pirates, and manes mainly. Current song: OWTLI 62.5% 2/3 day, 90% 1/3 (MP3 80%). Woke up at 5:18 AM and went to bed at 9:02 PM. Dec 17: For the first half of the day, I was frequently checking to see if Final Fantasy Tactics arrived, but it didn't. I was involved with Ultima during the start. I then looked into an Action Replay cheat to get debug mode for Sonic 3 since I can't get it to work otherwise, but was disappointed in that frame advance and soft reset don't work, things I enjoy a lot (frame advance especially). I soon got involved with the competition mode races and wanted a video of my capabilities. Next was the elusive debug mode in Sonic and Knuckles and I now seem to be able to reproduce it 100% of the time. I uploaded the one involving competition mode to YouTube. The debug one needs another redo, mainly for length, but also mor explanation of usage. I need better confirmation of reproduction - 2 in a row is good, but 5 in a row is much more convincing. Current song: OWTLI 90% 2/3 day (MP3 80%). Woke up at 7:23 AM and went to bed at 2:00 AM. Dec 18: First it was the usual - daily check and eating. Afterwards, it was getting the video of debug mode in Sonic and Knuckles. 4 successes in a row - very convincing that I can reproduce it at will. Final Fantasy Tactics finally came and wow was it tough at the start, and I finally completed a battle struggled with a lot many years ago. I soon got much better at it from upgrading weapons and armor. I especially like the music for shops. The last part of the day was spent toward battles, which are surprisingly long and challenging. I have yet to get the guide.... Current song: OWTLI 90% 2/5 day (MP3 80%). Woke up at 10:54 AM and went to bed at 4:01 AM. Dec 19: Level 13, shop song extracted and processed - wide speed range (4x span - 40 to 160% true speed). Part 1 of 3 is the best, but 2 and 3, which are quite similar, have a low compatibility. I also recorded a video of what I've been up to, processed it, and uploaded it to YouTube, after segmenting it). Current song: OWTLI 90% 1/5 day, FFT Shop 85% 1/10 day (MP3 FFT shop 74%). Woke up at 12:28 PM and went to bed at 6:15 AM. Dec 20: That did it - now the battles in FFT are a lot easier and level 50 is easily within reach. With 3 chocobos, I had one battle going on for almost 2 hours. A bit later, the same case had the battle over in just 20 minutes. "Choco cure" is my only main concern when it comes to those chocobos, but my new methods now make it so that enemies hardly have a chance to do much. FFT, a long daily check, eat, FFT, then a shower were the main things - the shower immediately before going to bed. Current song: FFT Shop 85% 1/4 day (MP3 68%). Woke up at 3:29 PM and went to bed at 7:51 AM. Dec 22: I woke up just in time for grocery shopping, but couldn't go (no one could).... Level 44 and the challenge now resumes. Monk+squire - the perfect combo! The squire's "accumulate" ability combined with the monk's "punch arts" one, especially chakra, makes it easier. Extra accumulation means more HP/MP restored per use. The enemies can defeat magic-based characters in two hits and Knights/monks in 3 or 4 hits. The characters are rather low with max HP (no one in any job has 200 HP). I've mastered a few of the game's jobs (learned all abilities - squire and monk mainly), though geomancer and ninja have for one character only. I also figured out how to ensure 100% physical hit accuracy. I found a quick/cheap way to level up and gain JP. I don't have weapons or armor for some jobs (spears for the lancer, whatever for the calculator, etc.). With 2 monks with the squire's "accumulate" ability, I can make quick work of any enemy, once doing the maximum of 999 damage. Current song: FFT Shop 85% 1/5 day (MP3 varied speed). Woke up at 4:36 PM and went to bed at 8:13 AM. Dec 23: Level 57 and enemies are extremely dangerous capable of almost 200 damage which'll one-hit anyone with a job offering average HP and below so I've had to resort to new methods. The monk is a definite must have to defeat the enemies (300+ HP, twice that of the magic-devoted ones). I got the strategy guide just today and even without it, I found out how to permanently raise the brave and faith values. I only did 5 battles, but they spanned 100+ minutes each. I gained 4 to 8 levels in just one battle. I now require a monk (for actually defeating enemies, the only reliable way I can), and an oracle for the "sleep" spell which makes the battle much safer. The time mage is helpful as well, especially haste. The mediator is used to raise the brave and faith values - 80 brave and 90 faith are my targets. Current song: FFT Shop 85% 1/3 day (MP3 varied speed). Woke up at 6:49 PM and went to bed at 10:33 AM. Dec 24: Awake for 19 hours.... FFT dominated the day - level 74. While I reached the 85 goal for brave and faith, the warning that appears bothers me. Maybe the faith should be 80 instead.... At 11:00 AM, I went to the grocery store as I was almost out of everything. I also did some quick Christmas shopping. Current song: FFT Shop 85% 1/10 day. Woke up at 8:37 PM and went to bed at 2:11 PM. Dec 25: I first ate then did my usual daily check. I played FFT until 7:00 AM then opened presents. See the headlines above for the list of what I got. Both me and my sister got a digital camera, but since the one I was going to get had a photo printer with it and that I already have one, we did the ol' switcharoo. I have no idea if I got the "Visual Studio Standard 2008" though. I needed a memory card for the digital camera so I looked into them on Newegg, but hit a snag. 40x speed - does that mean 6 megabytes per second or 6 megabits per second (MB is sometimes falsely used for Mb which messes me up adding confusion). I played FFT while waiting and reached level 85 and found a cheap way to get gil - over 500,000 in one battle. I ordered the card and went to bed afterwards. Current song: FFT Shop 85% 1/5 day (MP3 95%). Woke up at 11:49 PM and went to bed at 5:40 PM. Dec 26: Level 99 for a few! Not only that, but I recorded the full 4-hour video of this 3 1/2-hour battle where the enemies had tons of status effects (as many as 13, 9 being cycled through with the "dancing" icon. With 5 enemies, it takes quite a few seconds to figure out if any enemy doesn't have a particular status effect. After that record-long (and entertaining) battle and the usual checking of stats and abilities, I began processing the video, completing stage 1 (which took 3 hours - TV helped). Current song: FFT Shop 95% 1/3 day. Woke up at 1:55 AM and went to bed at 6:01 PM. Dec 27: Daily check, processing yesterday's video while eating, attempting to crop it having only key moments used (but then just went with a short segment after 2 hours at it). I uploaded it then went to FFT getting everyone to level 99. Now it's mastering all jobs and getting 3 more recruits and repeating the dash for 99. Late in the day, I unexpectedly did some stuff for sister, taking an hour. Current song: FFT Shop 85% 1/4 day. Woke up at 4:16 AM and went to bed at 7:58 PM. Dec 28: 2 weeks without a dream and I finally get one.... FFT dominated the day. Around the level 50 area, I thought only a monk or two with "accumulate" was the only way I could defeat enemies. Beyond this, it was using status effect spells - "don't move" then "sleep". Then, along comes the calculator which really simplifies everything where most enemies are frogs before they get to the characters which makes battles easier than they were at level 3 or 4. Once frogs, it's getting the numerous status ailments on them that really makes things fun, 13 too! 3.7 million gil - most of it "thiefed" as I would say. Memory cards came! I got those other 3 jobs as well - Samurai (no katanas available), mime (nothing to learn), and "dancer" so that means more JP to get.... Current song: FFT Shop 85% 1/4 day. Woke up at 7:20 AM and went to bed at 8:32 PM. Dec 29: Another order, and more key file troubles - oy that Molebox and Gamestudio. As to FFT, I'm still at mastering jobs - turning enemies into frogs makes things easy and with the calculator, if it wasn't so slow, quick and easy for easy JP. I've got almost all jobs mastered now. I spent an extra hour browsing FFT's guide in bed. Current song: FFT Shop 85% 1/4 day (MP3 55%). Woke up at 8:54 AM and went to bed at 9:36 PM. Dec 30: I spent a while figuring out how I could adjust the key file then make the changes. That was the first thing. Then it was pizza rolls using a method thought of yesterday for faster degreasing which worked very well. As to FFT, I've practically maxed the clock out, only 5 minutes short (I later found out that it was already over 100 hours but didn't know that on this day). Mom interrupted it around 5:00 PM - 100 minutes of unwanted cleaning and putting stuff away. Also, the summoner doesn't seem to master, even though everything is learned with over 1000 JP to spend. I've got very few jobs left to master. Dancer and Lancer are the worst jobs with lots of JP needed. The fix is to make them a thief and boost their speed to 30 to take 4950 gil, the maximum possible. 4.4 million gil already. Current song: FFT Shop 85% 1/3 day (MP3 115%). Woke up at 9:08 AM and went to bed at 9:46 PM. Dec 31: Yay, a dream, a semi-good one. 110 2/3 hours! 6.7 million gil and 2 characters are learned clean with 3 on the edge of doing so. Then it's those level 2 and 3 characters.... At 8:44 PM, (±3 minutes), those pranksters are at it again. If only I had the "slow" and "defense down" spells.... It's 2008! Clock was over 100 hours, though the memory card's displayed save time doesn't say so - bug! Current song: FFT Shop 135% 1/4 day (MP3 124%). Woke up at 9:15 AM and went to bed at 12:04 AM (±2 minutes).
The news entry headlines in bold are color-coded for a reason. They tell how big the event was for the headlines and how good my day was for the daily entries. From May 2006 onward, a slightly different system is used, of which has triple the precision. For dates prior to this that use color coding, from the white color, skipping two to red and so on is used. Here's what each color represents (for updates to before May of 2006):