Jun 09

Well, This Rusted Quickly

I’ve very much neglected this blog of late, which is rather sad.

Let’s start with some news. A couple months ago, I joined Rize Up Gaming, an organization dedicated to fighting racism/sexism/bullying within gaming communities, especially within MOBA communities. They also put on monthly charity marathons, which is mainly where I come in, as I’ve quickly gained a reputation as “the guy who plays the odd games” at these marathons (Ignoring the fact that I don’t particularly consider Super Meat Boy odd, since it sold about a bajillion copies, this mainly came about due to my being one of the few streamers with the organization whose focus is single-player console games. Understandably, given the group’s mission, there tends to be a lot of online multiplayer games–League of Legends, Defense of the Ancients 2, World of Warcraft, etc.–on the main Rize Up stream). Regardless, I’m okay with that. I now stream on the Rizeup stream on Wednesdays from 8-11PM EST, and I’m currently working my way through 106%ing Super Meat Boy (For the second time) on those days.

In other news, work on Sylvia’s Excellent Time Usurping Pugilists continues. I somehow haven’t totally abandoned the idea, though it has taken a backseat somewhat as Connecticon draws ever nearer. This has been my first year as a co-director of the electronic gaming department, and suffice to say it’s been quite the learning experience. I’m confident we’ll be able to put on a fun experience in our game room though, between the consoles, the arcade machines, and the tournaments. The rest of the convention should be a lot of fun too, of course, though I’ll be too busy in my little corner to experience most of that.

As for S.E.T.U.P, I have three out of five levels mostly complete, and I’m working on the fourth, which features a bee enemy. It will also feature the first human sprite I’ve done from scratch, as opposed to just modifying an existing sprite. Suffice to say that it looks very different from the rest of the graphics in the game, which isn’t entirely a bad thing.

I’ve also been trying to go to the gym, although I’ve admittedly failed that task of late. I want to lose some weight and maybe add some muscle as well. When I’m “On”, I go 3-4 times a week, doing cardio work, and then any two of upper body/lower body/circuit training. I’ve lost weight before, and I can do it again–it’s just a matter of sticking with the routine, and maybe getting to bed earlier so I can actually wake up at 6 on the days I do want to go to the gym before work.

So I’ve been busy. Hopefully I’ll update this a bit more frequently in the weeks to come.

-EE

Apr 06

Creating a PayPal Donation Button on Twitch.TV- The Update

Recently, Twitch.TV switched to a new layout that utilizes a language called Markdown in lieu of HTML. What this means is that my previous post on this topic is now outdated. I’ll leave it up for archival purposes, but obviously some things have changed with Twitch’s newest update.

Note that this update applies only to Twitch.TV specifically. Justin.TV may well work the same as before, but as I’ve moved over to Twitch.TV, I can’t say for sure (Both sites are owned by the same company, but are now effectively two different services outside of their chat servers).

The good news is that actually getting the button to work is quite easy with the new Twitch layout.

With that, let’s get started.

First, log into your paypal and actually get your Paypal donation link. To do this, log into PayPal, then go to Merchants and Services. Under “Create Buttons”, select the button of your choice. NOTE: Since I wrote the previous version of this guide, Paypal has since added a clause basically saying “If you use a donation button, you’d better be ready to verify that you’re putting your money toward a cause.” In light of that, you probably don’t want to use the “Donation” option anymore. Go through all the options, presumably using the “Customize Text or Appearance” option (If you’re not using a custom image, you’re probably better off just using ChipIn), and save the button at the end.

This will yield something like this (Replace all square brackets with braces):
[form action="https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr" method="post"]
[input type="hidden" name="cmd" value="_s-xclick"]
[input type="hidden" name="hosted_button_id" value="ABCDEFGHIJKLM"]

[input type="image" src="http://photobucket.com/miscellaneous/Donate%20Button%20Test.png" border="0" name="submit" alt="PayPal - The safer, easier way to pay online!"]
[img alt="" border="0" src="https://www.paypalobjects.com/en_US/i/scr/pixel.gif" width="1" height="1"]
[/form]

I’ve bolded the first three lines of the above because those are the tags we’re concerned with.

Next, go to your Twitch.TV Administration page by clicking “Admin” near the top of your stream, then “Edit”. Click the giant plus sign to add a panel. In the title, put whatever you want the title of the panel to be–I simply use “Donate!” Select whatever image you want to use as your donation button–Twitch now lets you simply pull these from your computer, which is nice.

Now is when we’ll use those three pieces of information I bolded. Where it says “Image links to”, put the following: https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=ABCDEFGHIJKLM

As you can see, what we did was join those first three elements. We joined elements 1 and 2 with a question mark, elements 2 and 3 with an &, and within each element, we joined the variable name with its value via an equal sign.

Now just click “Submit” below the panel and that’s it, you now have a donation button!

Note that you may want to have a text link to the donation URL in another panel. You should have the basic idea of Twitch panel creation now, but the specific way to create a link that has text is [displayed text](https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=ABCDEFGHIJKLM) . Don’t look at me, Markdown is wacky.

Hopefully that helps you with donation button creation!

-EE

Feb 24

More Coldly Calculating Polls For Your Voting Pleasure

That’s right, once again you get to help me decide the fate of my streams.

I’m thinking of adding a fourth day to my schedule. This would be a short, one-to-two-hour stream, brought on by my plan to eventually fill in a major hole in my gaming knowledge by playing through the Playstation 2 Grand Theft Auto trilogy. I figure just playing it once a week will take me years to get through, so you get to help me decide, if I were to add another short streaming day, what day it should be. I don’t know exactly when I’ll end this poll, but it’ll be up for the next several weeks at least.

If I were to add a (short, 1-2 hour) fourth streaming day, when should it be?

View Results

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Feb 03

Introducing Sylvia’s Excellent Time Usurping Pugilists (S.E.T.U.P.)!

As I’ve mentioned previously, I recently downloaded Gamemaker Studio and was playing around with it, intending to make a Sylvia-centered Kung Fu remake (A Kung Fu Remix, if you will).

Well, today I can present the first proof-of-concept of this idea, for Windows users. As I get more into how Gamemaker Studio actually works, a Mac version will be made available as well. Sylvia’s Excellent Time Usurping Pugilists (Or “S.E.T.U.P.”, fulfilling a years-old SDA marathon-related joke that “Setup” on the schedules should really be an actual game) is a game in which you control Sylvia, wife of A-Kung-Fu-Master-Thomas (I decided this is his full name in tribute to the arcade version, Kung-Fu Master, in which almost every time Thomas is referred to, the game insists on reminding us he is “A Kung-Fu Master, Thomas…”). After Sylvia realizes that her captors don’t know the difference between “tied on a chair” and “tied to a chair”, she decides to take her rescue into her own hands. As a Taekwondo master herself, free use of her legs is the only thing she needs to get herself out of the temple she’s being held hostage in.

This was an interesting project to start. When I embarked on it, this was basically my first big “milestone” goal, to get one working level out and see if I was still interested in it. Right now, I am, and I want to have it done by Summer Games Done Quick 2013 in the hopes that someone will pick it up and run it. Getting it to this point has been an experience, since I’ve had to do pretty much everything for it, from music (Which I’m actually okay at), to sprite editing (Which, as of yet, I am very much NOT okay at, although I hope to eventually use all original sprites in the game), to whatever programming is required (Which I’m all right at as well, although I didn’t take into account a much easier way of resolving attacks).

Additionally, there’s still a lot of work to do, besides just finishing the levels/enemies/bosses/etc. Because Gamemaker Studio dropped MIDI support for whatever reason, I was forced, for this proof-of-concept, to take the route forged before me by The D (Who, whatever else you want to say about him, has completed three more games than I have as of this writing), and use .WAV-converted-from-MIDIs; for the final music, I’ll either actually record what parts I can or, at the very least, see about using either VST or trying to hook my wife’s cheap keyboard to my computer and get what instruments I need that way. I also need to make the actual intro (For now, selecting “View Intro” just gives you a text synopsis of the plot), and come up with a proper ending and Game Over screen as well.

For now, though, hopefully you’ll enjoy what I have. The proof-of-concept contains one level, a proper title screen, and four songs. There’s also a pre-boss cutscene that can be skipped. Hopefully I’m on the right track to creating something, if not masterpiece-esque, at least fun and playable.

You can download the installer for Windows here.

EDIT: Some notes…If you use Avast! Antivirus (Or Norton, or another Antivirus program), you can ignore it if it tries to put the file into a sandbox or get rid of it. I’m not trying to obliterate your computer. Also, please do read the changelog–it’s less than a page, and it details some of the stuff that has changed and been fixed since the previous version (Mainly, there are now two levels, and the game, or at least the main portion, should now work on Windows XP.).
-EE

Jan 03

A New Poll for the New Year

As I write this, I have 955 Twitch.tv followers. What this means is that it’s time to start thinking about what I want to do for a thousand-follower appreciation stream. I have a number of options, and you can vote for up to three. I figure the top three or four vote-getters will win the day if and when I reach 1000 followers. The poll will be open until I realize I’ve hit 1000 followers (EDIT: the end of January). Get to votin’!

What game(s) should I stream for my 1000 Follower Appreciation Stream?

  • Hello Kitty Roller Rescue (30%, 35 Votes)
  • TMNT (NES) (24%, 28 Votes)
  • Battletoads (21%, 25 Votes)
  • Magician (15%, 18 Votes)
  • F-Zero GX Story Mode (14%, 17 Votes)
  • Super Mario 64 (Casual) (14%, 16 Votes)
  • NSMBWii Small-Mario Only (12%, 14 Votes)
  • Final Fight (11%, 13 Votes)
  • Darkened Skye (AKA "The Skittles Game") (9%, 11 Votes)
  • Something else: Leave a comment! (8%, 10 Votes)

Total Voters: 118

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Dec 30

*Looks Around, Notes Neglect*

Yeah.

So you’ve probably noticed that my posting here has slowed down of late. This is basically my fault, and while I’d love to say that it’s because I’ve been busy–which is, to a degree true–the main truth of the matter is that I’m just lazy.

At some point during 2013, I plan to update the site’s theme and incorporate all of that fancy twitter and Facebook and what-have-you social media stuff people nowadays use. I also, frankly, need to update the theme just because–this one is five years old, and it shows in both the look of the site, plus the fact that my interests now have almost nothing to do with the banner on the top of the site currently.

I do have other projects I’m working on. I’ve been playing around with Gamemaker Studio, beginning to create a game that will, if all goes well, essentially be a remake of Kung Fu for the NES, only playing as Sylvia. It’s interesting learning what GM:S lets you do, and it’s definitely powerful enough for what I’m using it for. You can apparently use it to make 3D games if you know what you’re doing–which I don’t.

And of course, it’s time to get hype for Awesome Games Done Quick 2013. Mrs. Emptyeye and I will be playing New Super Mario Bros. Wii on Wednesday the 9th at about 3:45PM. Make sure to check that out, since it will either be an awesome run or the first real-life example of Divorce Done Quick.

-EE

Nov 30

This Is Your Monthly Update

So there!

It’s been a busy month in the Emptyeye household. The big news is that Mrs. Emptyeye and myself are now cat owners. Meet Mario the Cat. Mario is an 8-month old, 8.5 pound domestic long-haired feline. He is also very cute. He can do something wrong, like scratch at the couch, and then lay down and roll over and basically ask “Can I have some belly rubs because I am super-cute?”, and we (Especially I) pretty much have no choice but to go “Yes, you are super-cute; here, have some belly rubs.”

Other things of note are that I have participated, and will be participating, in a number of video game charity marathons. Recently, the main portion of the Hurricane Sandython finished up, and this upcoming weekend, I’ll be both playing and commentating in the Nintendo All-Stars Marathon. That should be an interesting experience, since I know very little about the games I’m covering during my commentary shift, other than Metroid Other M was pretty controversial for (Allegedly; I haven’t seen the game myself) breaking Samus’s character, and New Super Mario Bros. U is basically NSMBWii on steroids.

Oct 31

Halloweeneye

Incredibly, I’m not dead. Happy Halloween everyone!

I’m sitting here in my cape, figuring it’s one of the few days of the year it’s socially acceptable. Not that this stops me from wearing it when I stream.

Mainly, I wanted to say that I’m still alive, and let you know some upcoming projects/etc. At the end of November, I’ll be playing in part of a Nintendo All-Stars marathon, playing New Super Mario Bros. Wii. This is to help out The Trevor Project, a charity dedicated to helping out gay, bisexual, and transgendered teenagers.

In January, Mrs. Emptyeye and I will be co-oping NSMBWii for Awesome Games Done Quick 2013. Currently, we’re more-or-less in the middle of the schedule, which is fine with me.

If you want stuff I’ve done for marathons recently past, here‘s my run of Magician I did for the Speedrunning Spooktacular to benefit Lindsey Layne King. Featuring the heartwarming story of Paul, the Magician who hates doing dishes, with a special guest appearance by Marc the Goat’s Milk Addict.

I do eventually plan to post reviews of some of the games I’ve been streaming, both donated and not. Stay tuned for those.

-EE

Sep 28

The Game From The Black Lagoon

I have something of a complicated relationship with the 1992 SNES game Lagoon, most of them having little to do with the game itself. For more on those feelings, you’d be well-advised to set aside a day and check out my playthrough of it.

This, though, will focus only on my feelings of Lagoon as a game. And as a game, it’s…interesting. I’ll first point out that the game was first released on the Sharp X68000 with Ys-like gameplay, where you crashed into your enemies to damage them. For whatever reason, the SNES version uses a different system, such that the game almost becomes A Link to the Past with more RPG elements.

The issue with this change, and likely the main reason people know of the game: The range of your resulting attack is ridiculously short. The best part of this is that the initial sword you acquire is named “Short Sword”. “Okay, that’s cool, it’s a short sword, surely the next sword I get will be longer”, the game goads you into thinking. Nope.

Or rather, the graphical representation of said attack is very short–the actual hitbox of the attack is a bit longer, such that you get used to it fairly quickly when attacking horizontally. You also, eventually, acquire magic spells that alleviate the problem of “Why does my attack have no range?” when not fighting bosses.

Speaking of bosses, some of them are quite challenging, due mainly to that short-range attack I wrote about earlier. In particular, the second boss, Natela, is a challenge pretty much no matter what, and another boss, Ella, is known for her 93977993 attack pattern, but is actually pretty easy once you know that pattern. The rest of the bosses, though, have the annoying sword working for them. When attacking vertically, you pretty much have one pixel along the Y axis you can stand on and hit them. Not my idea of fun, especially when the second-to-last boss in the game stopped me from beating him for about 20 years due to my inability to locate the one spot in the room you could stand to damage it.

One of the more amusing things about the game is how gloriously “stereotypical fantasy” it is. You have your Elves (In a forest), your Dwarves (In a desert), and your Hobbits (In a valley), plus another area names for Gnomes. And the thing is..the plot as constructed would work just fine if all of these races were to be changed to simple humans. It’s like the developers said “This is fantasy, so we need fantastic races, even if they make no difference to the actual game!”

In all, though, I enjoyed the game more than I expected to. Owing mainly to those feelings I mentioned earlier, I expected to be thoroughly miserable throughout my time playing it, but except for a few parts of the playthrough mostly unrelated to the game itself, I didn’t find it to be a bad experience. The music in particular is very enjoyable, taking its cue from Ys in terms of giving a more rock feel as opposed to the symphonic scores associated with the genre.

-EE

Sep 07

Bound By Earth

No, not like this. Like this!

This past Sunday, I finished my on-stream playthrough of EarthBound. I included it as an option in the “What Should I Stream Next?” poll, expecting it to run away with the voting. It really only took the lead in the eleventh hour, though, but I’m glad it did. I last played all the way through the game when I was about 13 years old, and as I mentioned earlier, I didn’t appreciate the charm and humor of the game at that time.

Suffice to say that, while there were times I thought the game liked its toilet humor a little too much, I can see why people love the game as much as they do. It’s pretty obvious that a lot of care went into the game, and parts of it are legitimately pretty terrifying when you stop to think about them (The people trapped in tubes filled with fluid of some kind, asking for help, being a prime example). And of course, the ending is a complete mindscrew, which was only accented by my choice of player name.

Anyway, as I mentioned earlier, it was obvious that a lot of care was put into the game. Most games have a special final dungeon theme, and a final battle theme, etc. Not a lot of games continually give you new themes right up to that point, though, which Earthbound does. There are very few repeat themes in the game, and for that matter, there’s a sound effect that you’re very unlikely to hear, that the developers went to the trouble of including anyway. After you beat the game and take Paula back to Twoson, go into Deep Darkness and ride the bicycle in the swamp. This is the only time you’ll hear that splashing. Amazing stuff.

Which is not to say that it’s a perfect game, the way some of its more devoted fans would have you believe. Besides the “Not-Quite-Always-Easy-Button” issue I mentioned in the last post, the game helpfully provides you a recap of where the Your Sanctuary locations are near the end of the game. Why do I consider this a flaw? Because I feel like the game has to provide you this recap, because the main story narrative, despite the Sound Stone and the Your Sanctuaries being ostensibly the main quest of the game, lets you skip up to half of them with no problem, forcing you to go back at this late juncture. Very bizarre.

In all, I’m glad I played through it again. I don’t know that I’ll make it a frequent thing, but I have a much better appreciation for the game now, despite some of its minor flaws. The cartridge is very expensive, going for lots of money on EBay, but there are, of course, other methods of playing it. Which you should.

-EE

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