Potential Monster for GoblinStomper! (II)

One of the things I like most about drawing digitally is how easy it is to change things. Pen and pencil you have to white out or erase, and that starts making a mess on the page. With digital one click and its gone.

All of this is to say I’m staying the course right now – finishing the picture as originally drawn.  Once I have it as a base, then I’ll see what needs changed and how much.

Of course, this is taking too long. I need to up my game. But I’m still getting used to balancing a Working life with a Creative one.

 

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My Family’s Theme Song This Christmas

You’re getting nothing for Christmas
Mommy and Brother are glad
You’re getting nothing for Christmas
Cause you finally got a job and your own money and you can buy it yourself if you want it so bad my God do you have expensive tastes not every needs that kind of crap what were you thinking you already have two copies of Cathy’s Curse you don’t need the blu ray edition jeez louise you used to have some sense not a lot but some oh no you didn’t just pick up that come on now what are the neighbors going to think if they see that honestly it’s like that whole thing with that Chicken Attack song all over again and if you think we’re going to put up with that again well you’ve got another thing coming Buster Brown, indeed and don’t roll your eyes like that when we’re talking to you land sakes thought you were raised better than that your brothers don’t do that and furthermore…

Talking Up the Sister Site

I mentioned a little bit ago an up tick over on the other site. Well I’m relatively pleased to announce that, for the rest of September, we have reviews going up.

They are as follows:


Sept. 8, 2017 (Today)

Island Claws [BRAND NEW!]

Minnow

Starring: Robert Lansing, Steve Hanks, Nita Talbot

Directed by: Herman Cardenas

Sept. 15, 2017

Blood Beach [GOLDEN OLDIE!]

WHALE

Starring: David Huffman, Marianna Hill, Burt Young

Directed by: Jeffrey Bloom


Sept. 22, 2017

Frankenstein [GOLDEN OLDIE!]

WHALE

Starring: Colin Clive, Mae Clarke, John Boles

Directed by: James Whale


Sept. 29, 2017

Jaws 3 [BRAND NEW!]

minnow

Starring: Dennis Quaid, Bess Armstrong, Simon MacCorkindale

Directed by: Joe Alves



I’ve got two more reviews to write, as well as looking into finishing reformatting the old reviews. A task I’d thought I’d done by now. Underestimated my unwillingness to work again…

It Lives Again… Again!

Next Friday I have a review popping up over at the Sister Site.  Hopefully this is the start of a more regular deal.  But, as the title suggests, it might not.  Only time will tell.

Speaking of which, it is highly unlikely that I’m posting tomorrow.  Apparently the moon’s eating the sun or some such and the family wants to witness the event as it doesn’t happen very much.  This involves a long drive, no doubt done by me alone.  So I might be tired.

A Year With Pricks (II) – I Feel Better?

Until last year I didn’t have a medical doctor to call my own. Today I have a general practitioner, an eye doctor, and foot specialist.

Thanks, diabetes!

Entering this potion of my life came with a litany of woes. Don’t manage your diabetes, you might lose your feet. Don’t manage your diabetes, you might have to have shots right to the eyes.  By the time my dentist started talking the dangers of the disease, I was ready to scream.

Dafy Duck 000The second best part was hearing about how it was a progressive disease. I could be A #1 with my diet and still have it get worse. You can not imagine the joy with which this news what met.

But the best part, the absolute greatest part, was going on Metformin.  Not only was there a chance of diarrhea until my body acclimatized to the medicine, but I also had to take a second drug to protect my kidneys from the Metformin.

I don’t know about you, but taking a drug so I can take a drug isn’t optimal. At all.

(Small digression: Around the second time Mom was in the hospital, a doctor (not the same one who had problems with the charts) decided it was a good idea to put Mom on Metformin. He wasn’t her regular doc, he didn’t talk with her about it.  He just decided it was pill time.

(Mom worked in the pharmacy for years (specifically the pharmacy of the hospital she was staying) so she knew about Metformin. She also knew she wasn’t a diabetic and was in the process of fighting that particular claim.  Thus she didn’t end up ever taking the pills.

Donald Duck 000(Me, for my part, didn’t have a shoe drop until the next day, when I remembered the chance of diarrhea portion of the Metformin fun.  Mom had problems getting out of the hospital bed, and for regular bathroom trips it sometimes took a while before the staff could get to her (what with the hospital being a busy place and all).  This painted a very nasty picture in my head.

(I don’t want to say that putting my mother in that sort of position, even if just in theory, ticked me off. Because that doesn’t give you the proper measure of how mad I was. I don’t care how many degrees you have, you don’t drop that little bit of fun on people without talking to them first.  Especially when your diagnosis consists of “Oh, she’s overweight so she has to have diabetes.”)

One of the bright points in all of this was the suggestion that if I could get my sugars in order, I might, might I say, get off Metformin.

Now as a Waters I am already by nature against taking pills.  Seriously.  We shun aspirin.  So you know I was going to do my best to hit that goal.

So I started modifying my diet.  I also began taking long walks.  The first person who suggested them said thirty minutes, my doc said an hour, I hit between the two, with the occasional adventurous more than an hour.  If there’s are bright sides to my catching diabetes, the walks are among them.  While some are dull time killers, others have been mini adventures filled with absolutely no danger whatsoever, but a lot of interest.

To me at any rate.

As I went about this, I started visiting my new doc once every three months. during this time I’ve had more blood drawn from me than I ever had in my entire life. I’ve also said the words “Sure, why not?” more often than I ever had in my life.

“You had your tetanus shot?” “Not for fifteen years.” “Want one?” “Sure, why not?”Reanimator 000

“You get your pneumonia shot?”  “They give pneumonia shots?”  “Yes.  You want one?”  “Sure, why not?”

“The hospital’s doing a vivisection workshop tomorrow.  You mind being the subject?”  “Sure, why not?”

Boy was that a weird day.

One of the shots I took was, for the very first time in my life, a flu shot.  That night I woke myself up I was shaking so hard.  No matter how many covers I had on, I couldn’t get warm.  But when the morning came, I was fine.

Now that’s the way to have the flu!

Between the new diet and the walking, there has been a great deal of changes. For starters, I was pushing into size 42 for pants.  I’m now down to 38 with the possibility of 36s in the near future.  I practically swim in my old t-shirts.

There also has been a general change in temperament.  I don’t seem to get as mad as quick as I used to.  Furious Cullen (FC) is still there, ready to throw poop and bananas whenever displeased.  But there’s a buffer there that hadn’t been there.  I spent a good afternoon laughing at myself, as FC tried very hard to get mad over the dumbest things.

It’s kind of nice to have FC as a different part of me.  Not that I really knew he was there, before.

Best of all, I did it.  Doc said I could stop with the Metformin, and I haven’t had a pill for a couple of months now.  Sugars are steady.  There may come a time when that’s not true, that I’ll have to start-up again or even take insulin.  I’ll cross that bridge when it comes.

Overall, though I feel… better?  As I’d have said I never felt bad before hand, I can’t honestly say that.  And yet that’s how I feel.

Better.

On this day, one year ago, I started by first year with pricks, and in the process became a little less like a prick myself.

Not a lot less.

Just a little.

A Year With Pricks (I) – I Feel Fine

Scream Van 000Saying last year was “interesting” is probably overstating and understating at the same time.  I can no longer kid myself that I’m a young man; from here on out I can expect “interesting” times.  That those time will sometimes be worse is a give as I’ve already gone through worse.  But calling it a good year even by those standards is pushing things.

It started early.  Either in January or February, I disremember which, Brother Todd began having problems with urinating again.  While discussing this with a doctor, he learned that his urine was “like syrup”.  Seems he has diabetes.

Okay, fine.  Dad had diabetes.  It’s a known thing.  We can handle it.  Todd started a diabetic diet.  I, being a Good Big Brother (relatively speaking) joined him.  At least as far as I was willing to join him.  I needed to lose weight anyways, this that and the other, so I cutted my pop intake to once a day and called it good.

Meantime he went off script a couple of times, found his blood sugar doesn’t go crazy, and decided that he’s not diabetic.  He may later regret that particular decision; that’s not exactly relevant quite yet.Blog Master Jake 000

Jake died naturally during this period, a shock I’m not sure any of my immediates have really recovered from.  In true Jake fashion, the little creep picked February 29 to do it in, meaning there will never be a time when I won’t be thinking of it.  I loved that little dog to death, but I could just kill him for that.

About July Mom went into the hospital for the first of three visits.  Infection of some kind.  Not.  Fun.  Ultimately some good came out of it, as for years she’s thought she was allergic to penicillin.  Turned out this is no longer the case, and she’s keeping herself health with two pills a day.  So there’s that.

During her stay they informed her she’s diabetic.  “No,” she replied, “I’m just overweight.”  Which began a six or seven month battle to get that off her charts.  Ultimately they settle for “On the Road to Diabetes”, a diagnosis she takes great pride in.

(Digression #1: Before we continue, let me put in a word about doctors and hospital stays.  During her third trip in she had a doctor walk into her room, open up her file on the computer and talk about changes in her diabetes medicine.  “I don’t take diabetes medicine,” she told him, but this doctor assured her that she did, every day, it said so right there on the computer.

(Which it did.

(It might have helped if the doctor was actually talking to Mrs Walters as the file said, and not Mrs. Waters.  But you can’t have everything, now can you?

(I’d like to tell you that was what sent my opinion down to it’s current low, but that particular nadir happened earlier in the year.  We’ll talk about it tomorrow.)

The first stay encompassed my birthday, so you know how much fun I had on that particular anniversary.  Also during that period our cat Lady passed away.  This one we’d been expecting for some time; she’d been having seizures.  I keep seeing her around the place even now, which considering some of the adventures we had together, is only fitting.

Speaking of pets, we’d been expecting Elwood to go since November 2015.  At one point he stopped eating for a time and he hadn’t been walking much due to a problem with his rear legs pointed to a short time left with us.  That he made it to March of this year proved quite well how much we underestimated him and his Dachshund will.  In how many different ways we will probably never know.

cropped-elwood-and-cullen-000.png(Digression #2:  This is not the best example of underestimating Elwood, but it is my favorite.

(While Mom was in the hospital that first time, Todd and I would take turns sitting with her so that at no point was she alone.  The other would stay at home and tend to Lady and Elwood.  As Elwood wasn’t walking at all, this meant being not only bringing him over food and water, but also periodically carrying over to a doggy mat so he could take care of business.

(I can’t speak for Todd’s portion of this duty, but with me, I had him laying in a little doggy bed near my computer.  That way I could get to him the moment he needed to go.

(Now on the night Lady died, I was concerned that I hadn’t seen her eat that day.  Concerned she wasn’t handling solids, I set up a bowl of chicken broth for her.  She passed that particular treat right up, which was about the time I knew she wasn’t long for this world.

(In any case, I left the bowl down beside me, hoping she’d come for it.  Elwood, knowing damn good and well it’s there, decided he couldn’t let an opportunity like this go by.  He got himself up and hobbled over to the bowl.

(Seeing him do this (a memory that still brings tears about the eyes) I became convinced that whatever caused his leg problems was rectifying itself.  I was, of course, wrong.  A few weeks later even this mobility would be gone and Elwood would content himself to being carried for the remainder of his life.

(This wasn’t the worse diagnosis I’d make that year.  That particular boner I’ll be talking about presently.)

With all the deaths and hospital stays going on, Todd and I decided that as we didn’t know just how much longer we were going to have Elwood, we might as well make what time we had with him as memorable as possible.  Thus the whole family went out on rides.  Sometimes quite long ones.

One of our trips involved hitting a state park that had buffalo in an enclosed place.  Figured we’d show Elwood the true big guys (Elwood wasn’t impressed).

During this trip I made a lot of stops.  I’d pull over to hit a rest room, then in maybe ten minutes I’d pull over and hit one again.  Seemed like I did that a lot lately.

“You know,” Todd said after one such stop, “frequent urination is a sign of diabetes.”

I, of course, scoffed at that.  Scoffed I say.  I couldn’t possibly have diabetes.

How did I know?This is Fine 000

I felt fine.

But, being me, I let Todd’s words prey on me and prey on  me.  Until finally I said to myself, “I know this is just some urinary track infection or something and it’ll just go away, but why don’t I check the sugars just once.  That way I know and I don’t have to think about this crap any more.”

So I borrowed Mom’s meter, pricked my left pointer finger, and tested my sugars.  And the number it said was 498.

Um.

That couldn’t be right.  I checked it again.

500.

Um.

Okay, maybe there’s something wrong with the meter.  Those numbers are horribly high, even I know that, and I feel fine.

Todd still had his meter, even though he wasn’t using it, so for a third time I checked the sugars.

497.

Um.

I think I might have a problem here.

Thus on this day one year ago, I went in to see a doctor for myself for the first time in a quarter of a century.

Wait, What Are You Calling It Again?

Pennywise 000

He looks nice.

It’s not 24/7 GoblinStomper! with me these days, though the posts might make it seem otherwise.  I do other things.  Like scream about the Blu Ray Cathy’s Curse (that is a thing I am not joking)  Or reading.  or, hey, writing.

Today I started a short story.  It was initially called The Clown and on the onset it dealt with a guy who runs into a spooky clown in the middle of a night walk.  Promising.  Unfortunately it started feeling a little too much like a Creeptypasta called The Smiling Man.

The link takes you to the story, but someone made a movie based on it that’s up on YouTube.  I’ll post it at the end; it’s really worth your time.

Anyways, It started feeling too much like the other story, so I fiddled with it, fiddled with, until I got something new.

One night this guy spies a clown standing at a street corner.  From then on, at least once an night, he sees the clown, which for some reason he doesn’t understand makes him uncomfortable.  He’d not scare of clowns; he’s scared of this clown.

Last scene I wrote, the guy has gone into a grocery store to buy himself a couple pork chops.  He finds the clown at the meat counter and decides to confront the clown, only to be distracted before he can.  Clown vanishes.

But before the clown vanishes, the clown buys the guy two pork chops.

I know.

It’s not terrifying at all.

And yet the guy’s completely unnerved by this.

That’s what’s drawing me to this story.  The clown’s not doing anything bad, yet the clown’s being scary.

I’m not sure where it’s going, or if I can take it any further.  I don’t even know if it’s a horror story.  I’m writing it like it is, but it almost feels like it should be a comedy.

It’s probably just a weird fantasy.

Not helping is the idea I have for the title: Clownthulu.

What the hell does that mean?

Can’t wait to find out.

Anyways, here’s 2AM: The Smiling Man.  Check it out.

Wilbur, the Goblins, and the GoblinStomper!

Okay.  I have begun work on the opening half of The Green Elf (I), our introduction to the wondrous Nilbog.  I have the Positive Route finished, and the Negative Route finished up to the Big Fight (for the record, Wizard has another Chicken Attack at the border of the forest and Hero extracts him from the situation.) With this particular cut scene the two routes join into a more or less straight line (though I’m mentally leaving the option open for more routes at later places).

That was the easy part.  The hard part was (and still is) the second part.

I’ve dreaded doing this second part for two reasons.  The first of which being the big guy below.

gs-development-039

At the start, he was just a Boss.  A character that the Player fights and forgets.  Only I made a mistake.

I gave him a name.

It was a jokey one–I mean, Wilbur? For the Pig looking guy?–but that was enough.  Soon enough, he started becoming a part of the plot.  A character in his own right, participating with Nilbog.

gs-development-054

Which was fine.

Right up until I committed to have my characters have expressions to emphasis certain moments in the course of the game.

PC Expressions (Hero 1)

If they have a face, they should have at the very least two expressions.  Probably more.

The problem?  Wilbur’s portrait isn’t that of a player character.  He’s a monster.  As such he only had the one expression which came with RPG Maker MV:

monster faces

Small digression to vent: Look at that skeleton character.  Like the rest on this list, it comes with its own set of walking sprites which copies the look.

Which is fine, if you like this look.  Me, it seems more than a little bit… limited.  Which means if I want to have skeletons in this game, I’m going to have to do more mod work.  Which is fine, except it’s more work.  If you can dig it.

(Another digression, if I can be excused: I’ve already done a fair sized chunk of the work modding out a “proper” Skeleton character.  That doesn’t mean I’m any less bitter about having to do it in the first place.)

Anyways, Wilbur needed some expressions made for him.  Thus I spent most of this week working on expressions for Wilbur.  Below are the results (last one on the list is a duplicate; i may change it to something more interesting in future.)

Wilbur

So for the most part Wilbur is in the bag.  He’s ready for his first big moment, which is speaking to his troops (well, Nilbog’s troops, but you know what I mean.)  About six or seven Goblins.

Trouble was, there’s only one set of walking sprites for the Goblins.  That would be the sprite for Wilbur.

Fortunately, I’ve already bought a program for modding out (and creating) sprite figures.  So I worked my little magic and came up with this set of sprites:

Goblins

Not too shabby, eh?  And I’m going to use them in one fashion or another in the game.

Just not in the cut scene in question.

See, All I did to make all the colorful Goblins was change the hue.  Call it a palette swap, which it kind of is.

This palette swap change not only the Goblins’ skin tones, but that of their clothes as well.  As I wanted them to have a sort of unified look, this meant either a.) coloring over the “wrong” colors with the “right” ones or b.) cut-and-paste the “right” costume via copying the original sprite and erasing everything except the clothes.

As this struck me as a lot of work, I chose option c.)  Meaning I made a whole new set of characters.

Which might have been even more work than what I was trying to avoid.

And now that I think of it, all I had to do was recolor one clothing layer, make duplicates of that layer instead of working on each individual frame for each sprite.

Huh.

Ah, whatever.  It’s done now.  And, frankly, I think it’s an improvement over the first attempt:

Goblins (MEFEM)

You might notice a couple of full sprite hue changes/pallet swaps here too.  I feel this is more in the acceptable difference range than the earlier attempt.  In any case, if I change my mind, it’ll be easier to do three sprites than eight.

Anyway, all that needs doing is getting all these sprites as Events in the game, get them into position, and write up the cut scene.  Shouldn’t take too long to do that and get the bugs out.

We advance!  Slowly.  But forward.

The Grand Opening of GoblinStomper!

Okay, after some heartbreak and no little effort, I finally have the first two cut scenes, Grand Opening and First Fight done and a video up for viewing.  It is below and is more or less self explanatory.  The two scenes currently come back to back at the very start of the game and I have no current plans to change this.  Also, there’s a small bit of “bonus footage” at the end I’ve added for comparison at a later date.

More comments below the video for the curious:

And here are the further notes:

  • wizardYou might have noticed some odd distortion on the marching guards in the Throne Room and with Wizard himself.  This is neither RPG Maker’s fault nor XBox (how I captured the video).  Instead, it happened during the transfer to YouTube No clue why or how to fix it.  I am… displeased.
  • My original intent was to have one long movie like cut of Act One, hitting all the Cut Scenes at once.  This would have delayed things a bit, as making these things work takes time.  So the plan is installments as I go, with a massive “film” once every cut scene in the Act is completed.
  • heroA benefit of doing things this way is showing the “routes” through the game.  Currently this amounts to whether or not our Hero Hero gets a companion from the get go or not.  This “route” ties up with the next Cut Scene: The Green Elf.  I don’t know how many “routes” will appear during the course of the game–this one wasn’t exactly planned in advance–but it’s nice to give the Player a feeling of control, if only a small one.
  • Speaking of control:  You might notice that there are four choices, but I’ve only mentioned two routes.  While the positive answers all go to the Positive Play-through and the negative ones the Negative Play-through, that doesn’t mean the choices don’t matter.  There’s are hidden “meters” keeping track of the various choices the Player makes that will add up over time, leading to new “routes” (probably somewhere in Act Three or Four).  Right now there are six meters going with the potential of more being added.  Because I’m crazy like that.
  • While we’re on that subject:  Each of the positives will lead to a different (small) set of dialogue.  When I make the “Master Movie Play-through” it will be the “Positive Route.”  Also, there will be no changing of the names, for reasons that will become clear on the viewing.
  • Speaking of noticing: You might have noticed that, with the exception of the names, at no point does the Player have control over anything Hero says.  There is a reason for this.
  • On the combat:  That’s just a bare basic showing.  When we get further along into the game making, I hope to strength it a trifle.  Right now it’s just what the game gave me, with an altered game image for the chicken and two newly made attacks for the monster (only one is shown here.)

nilbogI think that covers everything. On to the next part, where we are (re)introduced to our next… er… hero: the divine Nilbog.  Been looking forward to her.

Except for the little fact that her introduction involves a crowd scene, and I’ve never done one of those before…

Oops?