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Archive for the ‘humor’ Category

Dice are excellent support for the base of a “lucky bamboo” plant.  The mechanical design of Tinker Dice may or may not confuse the plants, but their brown coloring may be sufficiently dirt-like to compensate.

Lucky Bamboo

Disclaimer:  The luck-based nature of dice may or may not have a substantial effect on the luck imparted by the bamboo.  Project Khopesh, Tish Tosh Tesh and Tesh may not be held responsible for what may or may not happen due to luck.  Please consult a witch doctor before leaving your life in the hands of luck.

 

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Dice are excellent for teaching the difference between Platonic solids and Romantic solids.

Platonic vs. Romantic

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What happens when you get a bunch of quirky kids together with their uncle who loves mad science and making weird fudge?

Peep Fudge

Peeps are weird treats.  I can’t stand them, but to each their own.  They make a good marshmallow substitute in fudgemaking, though, so we wound up… experimenting.  We swapped peeps in for the marshmallows and added a dozen crushed mint OREO cookies at the end.  The fudge is a mildly minty “cookies and cream” fudge that just happens to look like stroganoff.  Luckily, it doesn’t taste much like it, though.

There are probably some moral messages in there somewhere, like “don’t follow the crowd”, “be careful with what friends and parties you pick”, and “don’t trust a boiling hot tub”, but it was mostly just a fun evening with a crazy idea.  Happy post-Easter candy sales!

PeepFudge_018 PeepFudge_019 PeepFudge_020 PeepFudge_021 PeepFudge_001 PeepFudge_002 PeepFudge_003 PeepFudge_004 PeepFudge_005 PeepFudge_006 PeepFudge_007 PeepFudge_008 PeepFudge_009 PeepFudge_010 PeepFudge_011 PeepFudge_012 PeepFudge_013 PeepFudge_014 PeepFudge_015 PeepFudge_017

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Syp of BioBreak and Syl of MMO Gypsy contacted me a little while ago, asking for some art for their newest project, the Battle Bards Podcast.  I’ve been looking forward to this, since I’m a big fan of video game music, and these two have tipped me off to some great stuff.  MMO Gamer Chick is on board as well, and it sounds like they are having fun with it.

The soundtrack for Chrono Cross by Yasunori Mitsuda is perhaps my all-time favorite album in all music genres.  (Though it has stiff competition from The Piano Guys, Chrono TriggerSleepthief, Enya, Austin Wintory, and pretty much any Nobuo Uematsu CD.)  I’m still just dipping my toes into the MMO music scene, but from what I’ve heard so far, there’s a lot there to like as well.

So go check out what those Battle Bards are up to!

Oh, and here’s a set of 1080p desktops of the art that I did for it, and even some shirt options, or maybe a mug, should you feel so inclined.  There’s just something entertaining about an Epic Lute in the MMO conversation space.  Yes, that has to be bolded and italicized.  And purple.  Do not question the Epic.

EpicLute1080pRightText EpicLute1080pLeftNoText EpicLute1080pLeftText EpicLute1080pRightNoText

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Yesterday I was experimenting in the kitchen again, starting with a simple request for white fudge.  I made one batch, then decided I had enough materials for another one.  I figured I’d try a variant, a French vanilla fudge.

What happened was a glorious failure.  I wound up with something more like French Toast fudge than French vanilla.  It’s my favorite non-chocolate fudge… so far.  I’ll do more experiments later, though, no rest for the mad scientists around here.

The recipe, for anyone interested:

1 egg

1 tbsp vanilla

2 tsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp butterscotch flavoring

1/8 tsp toffee flavoring

1 1/2 sticks butter

6 oz. Evaporated milk

2 cups white sugar

1 cup brown sugar

4 large marshmallows

1 jar (7 oz.) of marshmallow cream

12 oz. of white chocolate (chips, chunks, whatever)

*****

Beat egg, vanilla, cinnamon, butterscotch flavoring and toffee flavoring until well mixed. Set aside.

Mix butter, evaporated milk, and the sugars, bring to boil over medium heat, stir frequently.

Stir in egg/spice/flavor mix, boil for 5 minutes, stir constantly. (Keep that egg from clumping and keep everything from burning.)

Add marshmallows, marshmallow cream, stir to smooth a bit, then add white chocolate. Stir until smooth, pour into 9x13ish pan, let cool.

(…next time, I’m going to add some syrup in the marshmallow phase. Just to see how that turns out.)

There’s room to fudge the measurements, a little more sugar, a little less marshmallow, less butter, whatever, and the butterscotch and toffee are really just a garnish.  They could be emphasized or ignored, depending on your tastes.  The key is making sure the egg mixes in nicely and doesn’t clump up.

So… what?  What does it matter that I made some weird fudge?

Well, I’m a creative type.  I like to make new things.  That’s why I make my own games, like Zomblobs! and Alpha Hex.  This weekend I was brainstorming a game for hexagonal or circular cards, because I played Spot It! with my kids, which sparked some ideas.  I wanted to see what I could come up with.  I also found that TheGameCrafter.com and ArtsCow.com make such cards as print-on-demand projects, so I want to leverage that to maybe make a game I can sell.  I love to make game systems and art and photographs, and then throw them to the wild and see what happens.  The act of creation is fulfilling on its own, but seeing others have fun with them, and maybe making some money as well, that’s icing on the cake.  (This is also why I have a Zazzle storefront and a Shapeways shop.  They won’t replace my day job, but I like to offer some of the oddball things that I’ve concocted over the years.)

This is also relevant when taking look at “artsy” games, like the PS3 gem Journey.  Y’see, it effectively bankrupted the company that made it, thatgamecompany.  It’s an “experience” game, all about the journey, if you can imagine.  It’s short, beautiful and atypical.  It won a handful of awards at DICE, well deserved.  Austin Wintory, the composer, won an award for the soundtrack, and it was the first game soundtrack that earned a Grammy nomination.  That’s srsbzns, or whatever the kids call it these days.  Journey is kind of a big deal, artistically.

Commercially, however, it wasn’t all that and a bag of chips.  It eventually paid for itself “and then some”, but we’re not talking blockbuster Halo, Call of War numbers.  There’s a bigger discussion there about commercial viability, gamer tendencies and the intersection between art and commerce, and maybe I’ll dig into that more at some point (there are plenty of articles out there on it already), but at the moment, I just wanted to underscore the creative impulse.

Sometimes, creators just want to create.  Sometimes we want to share.  Whole communities are built on that philosophy.  I think it’s a healthy part of this human condition, and that’s why I keep coming back to this blog and what I do in my “off hours”.  I do make games for a living.  I also make them on my own because it’s great fun to do so.  I write about them and share them because, well… sharing somehow makes it more real, that I’ve contributed something to the world.  I kinda like this place, and I want to do my part to make it a little nicer.

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Grazing

Spring cleaning is traditionally done in the spring, for reasons unknown, but my family always tends to have a post-Christmas bout of cleaning as well.  We try to declutter a bit, maybe just to compensate for all the new clutter from the holidays.  I find myself doing this with gaming as well, going through my game library and either finishing games or uninstalling them and calling them “done”, mostly so I can get on with playing other games in the bits of time I get here and there to play.

…and there’s the crux of the matter; I almost never have blocks of time to play.  I get an hour here, fifteen minutes there… and that’s about it.  That’s part of why MMO subscriptions are a pathetic value for me; I simply don’t get 20+ hours a week to sink into any gaming, much less devote myself to a single game.  There are way too many good games out there to tie myself down like that.  (As my Steam library, GoG collection and Humble Bundle folders will attest.)  So, I have a large library of games, and way to little time to play them.

As a result, my gaming is more like grazing than gorging.  I nibble a little on something like Uncharted, then I go munch on Tactics Ogre, then savor a little bit of Guild Wars 2.  (By which I mean, I create my characters before the game inevitably crashes, then maybe move around the starting areas a little bit.)  The next week, I ruminate a little on Journey, then chew a little on LEGO Batman with the kids.  Once upon a time, I’d ride an exercise bike and play FFXII for a nice 45 minutes or so, but circumstances have made that indulgence obsolete.  (And I find that FFXII just doesn’t work well as a game I only play for 15 minutes in a sitting.)

So it’s no surprise that I play more Plants vs. Zombies, Symphony, Triple Town and Puzzle Pirates these days.  It’s all I can sneak into the schedule.  I still haven’t finished FFXII, and I have FFXIII, FFXIII-2, FFVII: Crisis Core, Blue Dragon, Infinite Undiscovery, Lost Odyssey, Batman Arkham City, LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean, LEGO Batman 2, LEGO Harry Potter and a host of other, smaller games that I really want to dig into… but just can’t right now.  They aren’t really grazing-friendly.  Heaven help me if I get the itch to play an MMO.  I still have WoW, STORIFT and GW2 installed, and I grudgingly uninstalled LOTRO.  I want to play all of them.  I probably never will.

…there’s something sad about that.

Still, I’m not complaining.  I have a lot of gaming options, and that’s a good spot to be in.  Since I work in the industry, it behooves me to play a variety of games, and be aware of what’s out there, rather than simply be a game fan and devote my gaming time to a single or few fandoms.  And then there’s the fact that my kids and I still love Minecraft (if I only had one game for the rest of my life, that one would do), and my oldest wants to learn the Pokemon card game… yeah, my plate is full to overflowing, but it’s all I can do to nibble at the edges.

Is it any wonder why I like the Tauren, perhaps?  Moooooo

Tishtoshtesh, Tauren Druid

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2013

For 2013, I hereby resolve to:

Play more games than I buy.  (HumbleBundle.com, IndieRoyale.com, IndieGala.com, GoG.com, Steam… sorry, guys.)

Play games I already have before getting new ones.

Get Guild Wars 2 working.  (I got a new nVidia card to make the framerate more than 10fps… and it hard freezes the computer now.)

Revise Zomblobs! and maybe even get the 3D models done and offered via Shapeways… and maybe work on a Kickstarter for it.

Take more screenshots.  (Thank you, Steam, for F12!)

Blog about stuff.  Maybe even interesting stuff.  Include screenshots.

Write more of the Project Khopesh story.  Lots more.

Explore a ghost town.  Take lots of photos.

Do more art, and make some stuff to sell on Zazzle.  (I’ve earned $2 so far, wooo!)

…and maybe, just maybe, sleep through the night.  With child #4 coming in June, I know it’s not likely, but these lists aren’t complete without one really outlandish resolution.

Tally ho!

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