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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.
Feb 1: No FFT at all, but lots of TV and 2D RPG game planning, mainly the lists of abilities and spells. I was surprised as to how many spells I had, but, even though I had more abilities than spells, I'd like more, much more. Nothing special otherwise. Current song: FF1 World 95% then FF1 World 70% in bed. Woke up at 4:56 PM and went to bed at 8:46 AM. Feb 2: 53.9 million gil, 332 hours. The day can be split into 2 parts. The first involves continuing the list of abilities and spells, adding a few new ones. I also, at the end of the first half, wrote the overview to my 2D RPG game, but needs a "checkup". It seems too long. The second half is FFT, doing 3 story battles spanning 2+ hours each (thiefing funny-looking sleeping frogs). I've now made Ramza otherwise immune to physical attacks, only if the enemy is blind and I don't have the rear facing the enemy - a 0% chance of hitting. Current song: FF1 World 70%. Woke up at 8:09 PM and went to bed at 12:24 PM. Feb 3: 56.5 million gil and a new video. FFT was first followed by HWW, YouTube, and TV, mainly Mythbusters reruns. Frogs, the funniest things in FFT, confused and sleeping/critical - I tend to call them "ribots" (pronounced as "rye bot") or "ribbiting device". I didn't make any progress toward my 2D RPG game though. Current song: FF1 World 70%. Woke up at 9:55 PM and went to bed at 1:00 PM. Feb 4: 58.6 million gil, 346.1 hours. FFT at first, for the first half of the day, then new adjustments to my 2D RPG game's plans, now with more spells. I also worked out a solution to a lingering problem, involving accuracy and evasion-related stats. I want more abilities than I have, especially for battle. I've almost entirely lost interest in FFT. Current song: FF1 World 70% then Carnival Night 80% 2/3 day (MP3 Carnival Night 75%). Woke up at 11:36 PM and went to bed at 3:29 PM. Feb 5: No FFT, but plenty of boss fights, both Jumping Flash and Bubsy 3D. I processed one video and I have yet to process the two Bubsy ones (boss fights and playing the 2-player level in 1-player mode). I thought of more additions/enhancements for my 2D RPG game, many involve the minigames, but others involve my visions. I attempted to resume the high-res version of the status menu, but saw something in it I needed to add to my plans and once added, I was side tracked by one of my visions of the game and once done, I was too tired to continue. Current song: Carnival Night 80% 2/3 day (MP3 75%). Woke up at 1:28 AM and went to bed at 5:34 PM. Feb 6: The day can be split up into 2 main parts. The first involves Bubsy 3D and a near perfect boss run, done faster than I thought, especially that of level 18. After the boss run was getting the 6 boredom scenes done in a particular way, from unusual locations, of which dominated the day. The second part involved working on my 2D RPG game's plans, mainly the simulation screenshot for the status menu. I've nearly got the basic setup, though plenty of rearranging was done to maximize the space. While the layout won't be final, it should be enough to get an idea on the design. I should be done with it tomorrow. Awake 21 hours too.... Current song: Carnival Night 80% 1/2 day (MP3 75%). Woke up at 3:29 AM and went to bed at 10:47 PM. Feb 7: Status simulation screenshot done, came out a bit better than I thought. TV slew me down quite a bit until the last 2 hours where I focused on the list of spells. I found a major mistake with some of the numbers with the list of spells, of which is on the main document as well. I fixed that on the main document, but got side tracked to adding another header to it for the game's noteworthy spells. Current song: Carnival Night 75%. Woke up at 8:20 AM and went to bed at 12:35 AM. Feb 8: Another cold shower dream, oy! A blizzard, yikes! Eat, daily check, shower, 2D RPG game plans and finishing up the last few thoughts toward my 2D RPG game. I played Bubsy 3D for about 3 to 4 hours first messing around then attempting to get those boredom scenes from unusual places, again. I lost interest due to copyright concerns (I got a big, fat question mark on it). I returned to my 2D RPG game's plans to complete more of the list of spells. I was about to go grocery shopping, but dad didn't come home and due to a malfunctioning phone that seemed to be working (no one told me about it, a somewhat common thing), I was unable to call him. He went without me. I did a few "counters", however - not bothering to carry in groceries, and refusing to hold a dog to settle it down (though I did give it belly rubs and stuff as usual). At day's end, the blizzard hit and I started the website update, and posting the notices accordingly. Current song: Carnival Night 75% 3/4 day. Woke up at 10:58 AM and went to bed at 2:42 AM. Feb 9: Cold! All day, I struggled to keep warm. I got going on my dream journal, adding 7 of 17 dreams, but went very slowly as the cold was slowing me down, weakening my concentration significantly. Around 6:30 PM, however, I left for the grocery store. There were -15°F air temps with a 25 mph wind - 45°F wind chills (mental estimate). To me, that's more like what others in -70°F feel. It's my extreme weakness to cold. The warm end has a similar thing, but below 74°F is when I start getting uncomfortable in terms of being cold. For speed and motive, knowing the past, I tried to watch TV as well, but hardly anything was on. I was often laying down by the heat duct and at day's end, barrely 13 hours awake, the cold put me to sleep. Current song: Carnival Night 75%. Woke up at 11:46 AM and went to bed at 11:00 PM. Feb 10: Lots of time doing stuff for my sister, planet stuff. As a result, I didn't get anywhere with my site update. I did get some progress with my blog, but cold got the better of me. Cold, however, wasn't a problem beyond the first 5 hours. I found one site of great use not only for my sister's project, but at least 2 of mine, one of them questioned. Current song: Carnival Night 75% 3/5 day then Carnival Night 85% 2/5 day (MP3 Desert Zone 90%). Woke up at 12:16 AM and went to bed at 2:20 AM. Feb 11: 2 dreams in one night, including a nightmare with an eerily similar theme. The other is very weird. My dream journal is done - 678 dreams. I got a start on the daily entries. There's a problem with the headlines, however. Due to the 2 1/2-month gap, I mostly forgot what happened for the most part. I could almost finish tomorrow, if I use my speed-up tricks. The big one, watch TV while working on the update, is the fastest and most likely method to ensure a high progress rate. In a typical 150-second ad session, I could get 2 daily entries done, sometimes only one if it's a lengthy one. When "garbage" was on (2:00 AM = paid programming = annoying), I knew troubles with progress was going to occur so I took out Super Monkey Ball 2 to record a "world tour" video, touring the game's many worlds in depth. That went quite well. I went to bed immediately afterwards without processing it. Processing is for tomorrow, likely after 2:00 AM. It's over an hour, but still shorter than I thought. Current song: OWTLI 85% (MP3 Desert Zone 96%). Woke up at 12:45 PM and went to bed at 4:11 AM (±2 minutes). Feb 12: All daily entries, except Feb 12, are done. The duration of the "world tours" video was too long for worlds 6 and 7 (these have a lot of detail). Around 2:00 AM, I returned to getting that video again and did much better, though I had to leave some things out. I fully processed the video ready for upload. I added the new dream making 21 (water dreams were mysteriously left out for some strange reason). Only one daily entry and a few headlines remain, finishable by tomorrow. Current song: OWTLI 85% (MP3 64%). Woke up at 3:33 PM and went to bed at 7:10 AM. Feb 14: Rats! No dream recalled! I finished the website update. 2 weeks to do it... wrong! It took 5 days instead. After the update was done, uploading the segments of the "world tours" beforehand while doing so, I played FF6 mainly for a few battles to gain a few levels. I then was about to start on a slight redo of "The Interactive Animation", but lost interest 30 minutes later. However, I got started on the character for my 2D game, redoing it mainly for antialiasing and improved/more realistic looks. I'm drawing at 4x size. I used to struggle with this, even at a 3x size, but a trick discovered while making the clouds allowed a solution and the result was wonderful, especially the hand. The method for processing lighting is still questioned. Current song: same as yesterday for 3/4 of the day. Woke up at 5:17 PM and went to bed at 9:53 AM. Feb 15: 5 action states done, for the basis (outline and lack of lighting) - stand, jump, fall, fall-glide, and level glide. Dominating the day, keeping me awake 3 hours longer than I wanted, was SMB2. I was originally intending on getting a remake of the "world tours" for those other areas that need to be redone. Current song: same as yesterday for 2/5 of the day. Woke up at 9:01 PM and went to bed at 2:56 PM. Feb 16: Slept 11 hours.... Daily check, eat, 2D game, SMB2, finalize world tours, 2D game, eat, then 2D game made up the day. On the first run of my 2D game, I hit a snag with the float run - where should the head go? I went after SMB2 and getting the rrest of those world tours videos - some left out, others for redos. I soon had the solution then went onto my 2D game again and got going until another snag - the feet orientation. I ate then had the solution. Another snag was hit - how high does the character float above the ground in the float run? Both my mind game report and dream journal didn't mention it... odd! It's typically 2 to 3 inches though so 2 2/3 is my basis, 4 pixels on the actual size, 16 for the enlarged one. Stop is for tomorrow. Current song: same as yesterday for 3/4 of the day (MP3 changed to 78%). Woke up at 3:20 AM (±15 minutes) and went to bed at 4:16 PM. Feb 17: Yay, a dream! Stop state done, and it's now my current favorite in terms of looks. I fixed that of level gliding and fall-gliding - the 3D effects were incorrect or missing. I attempted 15° pitching up, but hit a snag - GIMP's rotation leaves behind a jagged, odd-looking edge. It's extremely distorted, so much that it took a good chunk of an hour to mostly finish the outline where motive went negative. I attempted the easier, undistorted +90° and -90° pitches, but forgot about the 3D effects. Interest dropped and SMB2 took over - 36 consecutive strikes in bowling. In bed, I thought of a possible solution, but I have yet to test it, and it's not as accurate, though very close. The glide one looks a lot like the underwater swimming one, more than I thought. It may mean slightly less work to do, considering that the 10 main angles are the same as gliding. The float run also needs it, but fewer angles due to slope differences and not as extreme. Current song: same as yesterday for 2/3 of the day. Woke up at 1:00 AM and went to bed at 5:18 PM (±3 minutes). Feb 18: The base image for level ground is done and got a big boost on the scenery programming, nearly completing the prelake hills. I experimented with malloc, but hit a snag, 2 strange ones actually. The effect/behavior was as predicted and expected based on the plans, though movement was faster than I thought. The visual quality was also better than I thought and surprisingly realistic. Current song: same as yesterday, all day. Woke up at 3:58 AM and went to bed at 6:23 PM. Feb 19: Yay, a dream! I didn't get a response to my issues [with GIMP's rotation?] so SMB2 took over, mostly Monkey Target 2 (14,000 points with 3 rounds and 1 ball, my current record), then, mainly, monkey baseball, of which dominated the day. It may be a normal shift or a left shift, but all cases seem like its a foul shift - 15 consecutive fouls isn't unusual. I can aim straight very well, but off to the sides is what I struggle with (even with pausing). 2 or 3 fouls (pop flies) went completely out off the stadium. I tested the 4:1 slope method (14.04°), but the same thing happens. I attempted the grid method but found it too confusing and slow (I was in a rush due to TV), mainly in knowing what to do. I worked that out 15 minutes later, but needs testing. The glide and float run are the main ones that need this, in multiples of 15°. Underwater swimming uses 45° but still needs it. Current song: same as yesterday, all day. Woke up at 6:20 AM and went to bed at 9:00 PM. Feb 20: Mega programming progress with the scenery - prelake hills, postlake hills, and the mountains are done outside the antialiasing effect. I started the ground but ran across a very strange bug that, for over 6 hours, I couldn't solve but found many clues. The struct would only fill up to the point where the highest "index" was, 2232, even though it ran the 30,000+ times it needed to. It's illogical along with some of the warnings I get - complaining of a conversion from int to short, even though the line in question does not use any ints at all, only shorts. I apparently did a miscalculation as well. I thought 4x resolution was the best possible [for the ground] but 16x is. I was amazed as to how the scenery looked at the small 640x480 size I have. Current song: OWTLI 78% (MP3 still at 78%). Woke up at 6:14 AM and went to bed at 1:55 AM. Feb 21: I reverted back to the original intent with the ground, the more realistic one [from the dynamic scaling method]. The CPU usage was a big concern, but I found that AlphaBlend is 3 times faster than DrawDibDraw. This drastically improved the likelihood of smooth frame rates with reasonable CPU usage. I finished adding the ground in full, but even with a rather poor 64 ground quality, it was not good enough for 60 fps - it gets 55. Then, I found a fix - optimize to reduce the draw count. I can now use 16 quite well with 60 fps. I could even use 4, but it takes more time to calculate positions than to draw using my optimization tactics. Much lower than 7 or 8 is unnecessary until resolution goes above 1024x768 and below 5 for 2048x1536. I'm using 640x480. It's dependent on the vertical span (the 480). Doing this dominated the day. I grabbed 2 screenshots of this, including the rather simple ground fog and posted the best-looking one on the overview document. Current song: same as yesterday, all day. Woke up at 11:32 AM and went to bed at 4:57 AM. Feb 22: I slept only 6 hours.... Eat, showever, half of daily check, grocery shopping minus pizas, finished daily check, then testing the Genesis > VCR > GameBridge method proposed months ago - failed (same distortions). The 2 grocery stores I went to didn't have any of my pizzas. They had tons of pepperoni and supreme, but not cheese. I also tested the idea proposed months ago. Since GameBridge works fine with VCRs but not the Genesis, I recorded some gameplay on a VCR tape. I then hooked the VCR to GameBridge and played the tape - the same distortions were present. Wondering if it was the VCR, I wanted a control, recording something that I know worked with GameBridge - that was fine. I figured that I'd process the video for getting assistance and did. I hardly made progress to my 2D game due to this long shopping trip (4 hours!), the test (failure) and the long daily check. Current song: same as yesterday, all day. Woke up at 12:32 PM and went to bed at 2:45 AM. Feb 23: Ground drastically optimized, now matching my visions. Much of my time was spent toward getting the texture right. I also added another special effect - the blurring of textures with great distance. The fog and this effect needs to be optimized to reduce the draw count. 240 is very high for this at 640x480. I've had thoughts of removing the 2 side panels containing debug data, and making a debug panel instead. Current song: same as yesterday, all day (MP3 changed to 60%). Woke up at 2:10 PM and went to bed at 6:10 AM. Feb 25: Another day with major programming progress... if it wasn't for that bug! I converted to my 1024x768 basis for testing. With odd artifacts showing with my original BMP font processing function, I wanted to redo it from scratch. Writing the code didn't take long but one bug alone took 4 hours to mostly fix - mostly as it still lingers under rare conditions. Spaces cause problems, but, for the most part, it's fine. Support for bold and different font sizes were added. ... and I thought the ground was problematic! Earlier, quality 9 was the upper end for a constant 60 fps frame rate, but now, it's 3, even with the much higher resolution. Below 6 isn't even necessary. With 7, it's 2000 draws per frame. 3 has 4000. Even 20 still looks very decent, though some fine-tuning is needed in order for even more optimizations - the ground and fog effects. Toss in the lakes, forests, and landscape.... I was awake long due to both programming stuff and forgetting to charge my MP3 player's battery (if only I could run it off the grid...). Prank calls again! Current song: OWTLI 70% (MP3 unchanged). Woke up at 4:16 PM and went to bed at 11:02 AM. Feb 26: This time, it wasn't programming progress, but, rather, a new idea I thought of and an abnormally long daily check. The new idea - forget 16 challenges or even 24, but 40! Yes, 40! The deails beyond this are currently classified. While working on the list of these, I needed starting locations. I looked at the terrain map and found many problems with it, mainly in realism. The slopes are too constant and unvaried. Yes, a redo is in order. Going up 2 1/2 miles of mountain on a 5:4 slope with hardly any change.... At day's end, after writing the details of the new enhancement, I got started on the sky. I struggled a bit with the formula then got started making many mistakes. Before the idea came, I was trying to find a basis for the sky and needed the field of views for various resolutions, mostly the vertical. This is so I can find patterns and take a reasonable midpoint for best accuracy. Since I didn't know the standard widescreen resolutions [e.g. 1440x900, 1680x1050, and 1920x1200, all 8:5], I spent 30 minutes browsing Newegg to get details. I thought widescreen used a 16:9 ratio not an 8:5 (16:10) one. Current song: same as yesterday, all day. Woke up at 8:16 PM and went to bed at 10:46 AM (±1 minute). Feb 27: Yay, a dream! It's another ice-water one (what's with those?). Dirt added, underwater darkening effect added, sky finished and added, and a video demo of progress added. I also experimented with different resolutions as well to see what effect it had on the draw count. 2500 with 800x1400 (windowed mode - oddballs excepted). If the 2 ground effects (texture blend and fog) were optimized, it could drop to 1400. There's still the landscape, clouds, character, city, special effects, decor, text, and other things as well yet. Unless I can find something ten times faster than AlphaBlend or something, then the system requirements may need to be raised a lot. I don't know how much faster the release version is than the debug version.... Near the day's end, I recorded a video touring what I have so far. It took 9 takes, 2 bad, 2 from mistakes, and 4 others didn't sound or look good (or was taking too long). Take 9 got the green light - it was good enough. Current song: OWTLI 70% for 3/5 of the day, 65% for 3/10 (MP3 unchanged). Woke up at 7:59 PM and went to bed at 9:56 AM. Feb 28: No programming progress but 8 1/2 miles of the new version of the terrain done [version 4]. The previous version had its slopes too static, hardly changing in the long run. The new version is much more realistic. For the first mile, it's decent, by by 200 feet into the hills, it starts dwindling some. I've reached the right slope of Twin Peak [east]. Clouds at 7500 feet? I'm going with 5000 instead. This dominated the day. When I checked YouTube, I was surprised as to how many were interested in the 3.x version. I reprocessed Desert Zone for my MP3 player at the end of the day. Current song: OWTLI 65% for 3/4 of the day, Desert Zone 92% for 1/4 of the day (MP3 unchanged). Woke up at 8:59 PM and went to bed at 1:51 PM. Feb 29: Leap year day and I get a good dream.... 24 miles and the peak of the tallest mountain reached, Mount Sky. Dominating the day is working on the terrain map, a whole 15 1/2 miles in one day. I'm now just shy of the halfway point through the mountains. I must be done with the mountains by mile 46 to suit my original plans. I'm a bit too far, but the next bunch are shorter making it pretty much on track. The side I left off on has one of my oldest known visions - float-running up a 4:1 slope just above the clouds and a 3:1 slope just below. The clouds span from 5000 to roughly 6690 feet. I was about to go grocery shopping but was too tired a few hours beforehand. Current song: same as yesterday, all day. Woke up at 12:56 AM and went to bed at 2:59 PM.
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):