Friday, June 30, 2017

Everything Wrong With Last Train to Blue Moon Canyon

Okay, I'm compiling the list of reasons for Everything Wrong With Last Train to Blue Moon Canyon! Leave any good ideas as comments on this post!

Here's a playthrough of the game I did, to help me come up with ideas:

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Three Things Thursday

1. I recently got a copy of The Ultimate Catholic Comic Book, which is a collection of comics from various online cartoonists. It's pretty good, although I'd say it leans a little heavily towards Dad jokes (puns). The comic strip I did in 2007 was pretty pun-heavy, though, so I can't criticize.

I thought the book would be a reprint of all the comics available online, but no! Jason Bach did a bunch of new, exclusive comics for this collection! He's the only cartoonist of the group that I'm familiar with. If I ever try to follow up on my pipe dream of making a Catholic priest adventure game--something like The Shivah--I'd totally try to get him to do the art. He does commissions!

2. The Vatican has released a survey, in preparation for the 2018 Synod of Bishops. The theme of the Synod is youth and young adults. The survey is open to everyone born after 1950, to Catholics and atheists alike, and it's designed to help them get a sense of what people in the world think today. The results are going straight to the Vatican, unlike the survey they did for the last Synod, where the results went to the Bishops, who compiled them and turned them into the people at the Vatican.

The survey is available in English here.

3. It's been about two years since Pope Francis released Laudato Si, his encyclical about the environment. It more or less confirms that global warming is real, and we need to do what we can to stop it. We also need to stop the root causes of global warming, which are harmful to people in general and would cause great damage, even if the environment was untouched.

It's kind of sad that the United States has gone in the opposite direction of science and the Catholic Church on environmental issues, in the time that has followed. Come on, US Government, let's save the planet!

On a side note, I find it odd that the Catholic Church has a reputation for being anti-science, when it agrees with science on global warming, evolution, vaccines and the big bang theory. It's other Christian sects that don't go along with those things.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Old Clock Speedrun Planning 32

Towards the end of the game, you have to call people on ham radio. They give you cues, for the clock puzzle. It turns out that you can enter the first three cues, without making any calls. Great! But the fourth cue double-checks to make sure you did all the ham radio calls. You can enter the correct answer, but the game won't accept it, if you haven't made calls. Shoot. And here I was getting excited about the possibility of skipping the ham radio conversations.

The timing on the conversations is a little odd. You have to call three people. With the first person you call, you can ask them a question after getting the cue. With the second and third person you call, the person ends the conversation before Nancy can ask a question. Here's the timing.

Flute Conversation 1: 1:40
Flute Conversation 2: 1:41
Flute No Conversation: 1:03
Thisby Conversation 1: 2:11
Thisby Conversation 2: 1:55
Thisby No Conversation: 1:39
Pyramus Conversation 1: 2:16
Pyramus Conversation 2: 2:13
Pyramus No Conversation: 1:44

Let's see how the math plays out.

Flute Conversation 1 + other no conversations: 5:03
Thisby Conversation 2 + other no conversations: 4:42
Pyramus Conversation 2 + other no conversations: 4:55

Oh, good, there's one option which is clearly faster than the others! I rounded the times to the second, earlier. If things had been closer, I would have to be more specific.

I suppose I should be thorough and check every single combination of cues. Like, what if the game only checks to make sure you've got the cues for Flute and Gloria? That'd be weird, but possible. But checking all the combinations would take such a long time...

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Old Clock Speedrun Planning 31

The second conversation with Jim Archer is simple. Ask him about the safe deposit key. It's about two and a half seconds faster to say "could this be it?", because if you pick the other option, he responds with "really?" before Nancy shows him the key. He asks you to do a favor, and it's about .1 seconds to say, "Sure!" over "Such as?".

It's about two seconds faster to tell him to get a new seamstress, over asking how much he'll pay. And it's about one second faster to ask how much work needs to be done on the dress, over telling him to say no more.

With the second Jane conversation, you need to pick the second option twice. The first time is faster, because Jane doesn't say "No. You mean...". The second time is faster, because it avoids a conversation about the culprit's motive. When Jane gives you the pie puzzle, it's faster to say "Sounds good!" over "if you insist".

When you find the hidden passageway leading to Emily's room, it triggers a conversation with Jane, the next time you talk to her. It's faster to avoid this conversation, so I talk to Jane (to get the sewing needle) before I find the hidden passageway. Also, good news! You don't have to talk to Topham about the Shakespeare book, before you can explore his house. You can go through the hidden passageway and explore his house directly.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Old Clock Speedrun Planning 30

The second conversation with Topham is easy to navigate. He asks if you've solved his logic problem. It's faster to say "right here!". Then you ask about Marcel twice--it's always the third conversation topic--so you can get the key from Emily.

Then you ask about the quartz, which is the third topic. You get to make three choices here, but Topham has the same response, no matter what options you pick. So once again, the fastest way through the conversation is to pick the options that Nancy says fastest. It's about a second faster to claim you're getting it for Nancy's father. It's 0.2 seconds faster to say "really?" over "is that so?". And it's about a second faster to say "Me? Really?" over "Subject? As in...experiment?".

Then you do the random puzzle, where he says a certain line, which is associated with one of five cards. The various lines are...

  • This is which card?
  • What card am I holding?
  • Tell me, what card is this?
  • What card is this?
  • Can you tell me what card this is?
  • What card am I concentrating on?
  • What card am I thinking about?
  • Which card am I thinking of?
  • Do you know what card I'm looking at?
  • What card am I looking at?

From what I can tell, some people get the same answers every time, while other people get randomized answers all the time. My copy of the game seems to have one set of answers for Junior Mode and one set for Senior Mode.

If you save your game and reload, the answers are the same, so you can always do a segmented run, to avoid doing this puzzle multiple times and randomly stumbling on the answers.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Old Clock Speedrun Planning 29

Getting sick of the speedrun yet? After I get the mirror from Jim Archer, I do part of the trivet puzzle. That's not a tough puzzle; it's just long. Then I open up the carriage house. I do the clock, mirrors and dominoes puzzles. All of those puzzles have the pieces in the same starting positions every time, making it slightly easier.

Should you put the mirrors in place before doing the domino puzzle? If you put the mirrors in place first, Nancy says a line about letting light in. If you put the mirrors in place second, she doesn't say that line, but there is a short scene of light being let in, and not reflecting on anything. As it turns out, the scene is about one second longer than Nancy's line of dialogue, so you'll want to put the mirrors in place first.

Going back through the start of the game, it appears the matching puzzle in Topham's is randomized. If you save and reload, all the pieces switch places.

Also, it helps to zoom in on the cat, before giving the cat the mouse. This is opposed to taking out the mouse, zooming in on the cat, then giving it to the cat. That's because the cat's head moves, and it needs to be in the "up" position for the mouse to appear at its feet. This doesn't save a lot of time, but every bit helps!

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Old Clock Speedrun Planning 28

The first time you go to Topham's house, you have to read Josiah's notebook all the way. This triggers the trivet puzzle, and it lets you ask Emily about her mother's middle name. Getting the middle name is simple. Go to Emily and ask her, then finish the conversation immediately afterwards. It kind of stinks that you have to make a separate trip to Lilac Inn just for that, but there's no way around it.

To get the mirror from Topham's house, you have to do a simple matching puzzle. I don't think there's a way to speed it up, besides "have the answer memorized / written out ahead of time". Same thing with the slider puzzle, guarding the mirror piece in the den at Lilac Inn. Both of those puzzles are different on Junior and Senior Detective modes, although it's not like one mode is significantly longer than the other for this puzzle.

Is the clock gear puzzle at Jim Archer's the same on both modes? I think it is. The pieces always start in the same spots, so that makes the puzzle a little easier.

The first Jim Archer conversation is easy to navigate. On the first choice, ask if he's Jim Archer, which is about .4 seconds faster than the other option. On the second choice, avoid talking about Emily, as that leads to an aside about Emily before Jim turns the conversation to the economy. On the third choice, don't mention the depression, or Jim will give an aside about how that talk is pointless, before he gets a phone call, and you can end the conversation.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Old Clock Speedrun Planning 27

Now that I've (hopefully) figured out the route for the trips into town, let's go back to where I was in my speedrun planning. I just finished figuring out the fastest way through the Emily/Jane conversations at the start of the game.

After talking to the women, you can go into town or go to Topham's. There is a piece of paper on the way to Topham's, about the jeweler. Also, there is a book that mentions the trivet, at Topham's. Since Topham's area has two triggers for things in town, and town has no triggers for things in Topham's, it makes sense to visit Topham's first.

The first thing you do in Topham's is find the toy mouse. It is either by the carousel, under the table or under the chair. For me, it's always under the table.

The first conversation with Topham is a little long to get through. As in, there can be five places, where you pick different options. There are some consistencies, like "if you ask about making objects move, he starts a new conversation about his students". The fastest way is to select the second option each time.

The first conversation with Topham always ends the same way. He offers to give Nancy a lesson, she turns him down, and he gives her a logic puzzle. There are three places in the conversation where you can make choices, and his response is the same, no matter which option you pick. With all three, the first option is shorter, so it's faster to pick.

So, the Topham conversation is second option three times, then first option three times.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Old Clock Speedrun Planning 26

I've finished my speedrun at this point, but I still have about a week's worth of speedrunning planning posts. So I'm going to post them, even if they're outdated! Maybe someone will notice something I missed.

---

I tested out the route I talked about yesterday, and darn. "Nancy goes to the Lilac Inn" is the trigger for Waddell finishing the blank. So you'll have to drop off the blank at Waddell's, go to Lilac Inn, then go back to Waddell's.

Unless there is another way to get money! I asked on Facebook and Twitter, and people say Nancy will sometimes get a boot while fishing. The boot has a nickel inside, and it costs a nickel to call Nancy's dad. If there is a way to guarantee Nancy will get a boot nickel, that would be perfect. I could call her dad early on in the game, triggering the ability to deliver telegrams earlier.

I tried to get a boot while fishing. I used a worm on the reeds, which are on the right. That worked twice in a row for me! Hopefully, that's a guaranteed boot catch, and not just me getting lucky.

...Wait. Something occurred to me as I was writing this blog post. Waddell charges you for the quartz when you pick it up, not when you drop it off. You don't need to get money for him earlier. Gosh, I'm stupid. All this testing and planning for nothing.

Is it still worthwhile to get a boot nickel? Not really. It takes about 27 seconds to catch a boot nickel. Calling Nancy's dad early costs a nickel. Calling him is a timesaver, as opposed to him calling you, but that only saves about five seconds. Spending 27 seconds to save 5 seconds isn't efficient. If someone can think of a faster way for Nancy to earn an extra bit of money, then maybe calling him early would be worthwhile.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

E3

E3 2017 was last week! A lot of videogame companies showed off the games they're making. I'm sure it was cool, although it doesn't really affect me all that much, since I only have a 3DS myself. I'll probably get the new Metroid 3DS game, and that's it.

To be honest, I got sick of E3 after the first day. Normal people have reactions like, "Oh, it's a new Mario game! Cool!". But all I saw was, "Oh, it's a new Mario game! Cool, I can use it to insult my political opponents!". Guys! Please don't bring politics into a videogame show! There's no need to make jokes about Mario's feelings on healthcare, or why Sonic the Hedgehog is better than President Trump. No need! Just show us the games!

The worst was the new Wolfstein game. I am unfamiliar with the series, but apparently, it's about shooting Nazis. This led to about a gajillion memes, with both Republicans and Democrats calling each other Nazis. So they both ended up coming across as angry and spiteful jerks, and I stopped paying attention to E3.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Potatoes Anna

In River Heights #11, Karen makes a dish called potatoes anna. I've never heard of that before, so I looked it up. It's a layered potato platter which looks fancy. I tried making it myself, and it ended up being potato chips drowned in butter. Delicious, but not what it's supposed to be!

The recipe calls for six potatoes, peeled and cut into thin slices. In reality, it was three potatoes. The slices are supposed to be a quarter inch at most.

You coat a ten inch skillet with butter. Then you put the potato slices in the skillet. Start in the center and make an overlapping circle design until you've got the pan covered. Add salt/pepper as seasoning, if you want. Coat the layer with butter.

Repeat this twice, so you've got three layers of potato slices, with butter. The recipe calls for 1 1/2 tablespoons butter for each layer, which is a LOT of butter.

The recipe says to heat the dish on a stove until the butter sizzles, at this point. I couldn't do that, because I don't have a skillet. Also, I don't have a butter brush. So I cooked the butter in a microwave bowl and poured it on the potatoes. Maybe that's why the recipe came out wrong for me.

You cook it in the over at 450 for an hour or so. The potatoes should fuse together. Take a spatula and flip it upside down, onto a plate. You cut it into wedges, like a pie. When I tried this, the potato slices all fell apart. Like I said, it ended up being potato chips, drowned in butter. Oh well.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Preparing for Confession

I got a comment on this blog, asking how to prepare for the sacrament of Confession. People normally make an examination of conscience, to help prepare for confession.

I like to take some time, by myself in silence, just to think over my life, see where I'm at, figure out what I'm doing wrong, what I need to improve on, what I'm doing right, where I'm going, that sort of thing. I also like doing this, during Eucharistic adoration, because I can concentrate and focus better.

The marriage group that Katie and I are in, Teams of Our Lady, recommends a similar practice. Each month, we sit down and discuss our marriage, our lives, our family, and so on. It's very good, and I'd recommend it to anyone who's married, even if they aren't in a religious marriage.

Some people prefer reading a reflection to prepare for Confession, or to go through a list of probing questions. The US Bishop's website has some samples, as an idea of what you can do. I've seen multiple guides, based on the ten commandments. I imagine there's probably one based on the seven deadly sins.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Copyright Strike

I got a copyright strike against my channel, one of the full-blown "video is immediately removed" copyright claims. The video was part of the Agatha Christie: And Then There Were None walkthrough, and it comes from the book owners, not the videogame owners.

I have deleted all of my Agatha Christie videos, which is a bummer because there were over 100 of them. Here's a vlog I did about the event:



Normally, I'd be a lot angrier about this, but it's out of my control at this point, and I've got the baby to take up all my attention. The good news is that this strike is only three months long, as opposed to the strike I got against the Japanese bodyguard dating sim, which lasted a year or so.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Idle Heroes

Another videogame I've been playing lately is Idle Heroes, which is an RPG for the phone. The basic premise is that your heroes auto-battle every second of the day. So you can close the app, open it ten hours later, and your characters will have earned a ton of EXP and gold. It's great!

My main beef with the game is that you can't pick and choose which characters you have. Characters are assigned randomly. I've had bad luck, and I've been stuck with a group of forest-based heroes. I need a fighter-type hero who can serve as a tank, but nope.

There is a "replace the hero" function which you can use, but all that does is replace one hero with another randomly-assigned hero. And to use this function, you need a premium currency. There's also a premium currency for leveling up characters, for summoning a specific hero, for equipment stones, and for summoning monsters.

So, yeah, it's a modern phone game with lots of micro-transactions and paywalls. I'm at the point where you basically can't proceed, unless all your characters are five star heroes, at max level 100, with max equipment. That's why I can't replace any of my forest heroes; getting a single five star hero is so difficult, you're basically stuck with the ones you get.

The weird thing is that I'm not even a third of the way through the game. How can there be so many levels left, when you basically need maximum everything to win a level? I'm told--and I can't confirm--that you can combine two five-star heroes of the same type into a six-star hero. That's probably the only way to proceed, but jeez. Getting a single five star hero is hard enough. Getting two of the same type, especially when the type is randomly determined? That's a rough paywall.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Terminator Genysis: Future War

I've recently been playing Terminator Genysis: Future War. It's made by the same people who made Vikings: War of Clans, and not to be mean, but it's basically the same as that game, but with different graphics.

I was hoping for a story of some sort, something to continue where the movie left off. The movie was intended to be the first in a trilogy, with the second movie coming out this month. Clearly, that didn't happen. I'm okay with the story being continued via videogames! But sadly, there's no story to the game. You're a commander in charge of a base, in the futuristic "humans vs robots" war.

There are a few dozen buildings at your base, which do different things. One increases experience, one increases the base's defense, one trains soldiers, and the majority of them produce materials. There are five types of materials, and you need materials to upgrade buildings. I'm at the point where I log onto the game each morning, select a building to upgrade, and get told it will be 6 hours to finish. I say, "Cool." Then I log in the next day and do the same thing.

There's also a fighting component, where you can build up and army and fight other players. You can join clans and get into battles at resource locations. I basically ignore all that, except when I pick what building to upgrade, I also send my commander off to fight the nearest robot, for some easy EXP.

I plan to keep playing the game, to the point where either it takes too long to upgrade without spending money, or people fight me (and steal my resources) so often, I can't upgrade.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Procedural Mystery

Yesterday, I mentioned that the Boxcar Children are pretty generic mysteries that abide by a series formula. Some Nancy Drew books also abide by a strict formula. You could even turn it into procedural game! Just make a program that randomly selects from these options.

Mystery
  • Sabotage
  • Theft
  • Murder
Suspect personalities
  • Angry
  • Comedy relief
  • Best friend
  • Incredibly good-looking
  • Intense
  • Innocuous
  • Sneaky
Suspicious Incidents
  • Threatening note
  • Nancy almost gets killed
  • Nancy chases after the culprit
The baby interrupted halfway through this blog post, and I forgot what I was going to write. I was probably going to add a list of circumstantial evidence, because every suspect needs a piece of circumstantial evidence that gets hand-waved aside at the end of the book.

Of course, the computer would randomly pick the culprit from the list of suspects, too. There are some books where it feels like the culprit's identity was picked out of a hat.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Boxcar Children Review Series

Here is my review series, for the Boxcar Children books.



I've read books 1-11, and Book 35.

The review series is on hold for now, but my overall plan is to read Books 1-19. Those are all the books written by the original author. I might continue onto the ghostwritten books after that. We'll see.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Boxcar Children

I find the history of the Boxcar Children series to be quite interesting. The author, Gertrude Chandler Warner, wrote the first book in the 1920's, for one of her classes. It's designed to help children how to read, with simple words and a easy-to-follow story.

The book got reissued in the 40's, which prompted her to write a sequel. She wrote a new book in the series every 1-5 years until she died in the 70's. I'm kind of surprised it took her so long to write these books, considering how simple the stories are. They're classified as mysteries, but that's debatable, in my opinion. Some of the books are clearly just "the Alden family has a fun time", with a 2-3 chapter mystery slapped onto it.

From what I can tell, she didn't think of it as the Boxcar Children series. She thought of it as the "Alden Family Mysteries". That's the name which is on the inside of the older editions. That name makes way more sense, considering there are no boxcars in the series, outside of the first book. There are also no numbers on the older editions; the books are listed in order, but not numbered.

The books are owned by Albert Whitman, but in the 90's, they partnered with Scholastic Publishing. Together, they turned it into a full-blown series, which has published about four books a year, ever since. The name changed to "Boxcar Children", the characters were modernized, and it became a standard mystery series. That is, the mystery is always the focus, there's always four suspects, always three suspects, and so on. If I had enough time, I could probably figure out the series formula. Book #35 is the only book I've read from the ghostwritten series.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Dishwasher Drama

We had some dishwasher drama recently! The dishwasher stopped draining. There was a pool of water at the bottom, every time we ran the dishwasher. This had the side effect of giving us really dirty dishes; it's hard to clean dishes with dirty water.

I tried fixing it myself. I managed to unscrew the pipe to the garbage disposal and clean it out. That didn't appear to do anything. Then I tried unscrewing one of the pipes on the bottom. Water started spraying out over the floor and me, like some kind of crazy sitcom. It took about eight towels to clean up.

I called a repair person, who basically said the dishwasher is done for. We can pay $700 to repair it, or we could buy a new one. We decided to get a new one, but the installation people refused to install it because it's too large. Why? Apparently, it's standard in the dishwasher industry to say a dishwasher is 24 inches wide, when in reality, it's anywhere from 23.5 to 24.5. Also, they'll sometimes list the size of the box the dishwasher comes in, rather than the dishwasher's actual size.

So we're going to be washing dishes by hand for a while.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Random DBZ Fanfic

The other day, I had the idea to write a DragonBall Z fanfic, where Frieza and Gohan have high school romance drama. I'm not sure why. The idea seemed hilarious to me, at the time.

Well, here's the start of the story. It's not polished at all, and I probably won't continue it, because I don't have time. Still, I'll add it to my pile of unfinished fanfics.

---

Deep in HFIL, Frieza was meditating on his favorite topic: Goku. Why hadn't Frieza been able to kill that wretched Saiyan? Was there was a problem with his final form?

Maybe that was it. Maybe four final forms wasn't enough. Frieza needed a new final form. Something purple and gold, but shiny like a car's hubcap.

No, that was a terrible idea. Maybe a form that was dark and scary, like Dodoria's mother-in-law.

Frieza was startled out of his thoughts by the sound of clanging. He looked up to see King Yemma, opening the door to Frieza's prison cell.

"Okay, Frieza," King Yemma said. "Two of your followers are bringing you back to life. We gotta let you go."

"I've been dead for ten years," Frieza said. "Why would it take my followers THAT long to bring me back? Unless it was those two incompetent goons..."

---

Frieza suddenly found himself on Earth. Two giant smiling faces blocked his view.

"It worked!" Tweedledee said. "It worked! He's back!"

Tweedledum hugged Frieza. Frieza instinctively threw Tweedledum through the nearest mountain.

"Your wish is granted," Shenron the Eternal Dragon said. "What about your second wish?"

"I know this!" Tweedledee said. "For our second wish, we want Frieza to be stronger than--"

"Whoa, stop!" Frieza ordered. He cleared his throat. "I'll, uh, I'll take it from here."

"But Lord Frieza! We were going to wish for you to be stronger than Goku!"

"Goku's dead," Frieza snapped. "He's no longer the strongest person on this pathetic excuse for a planet. The strongest person is the universe is now Goku's son, Gohan."

"Gohan?"

"Yes, but Gohan's power is only triggered by emotions. Anger. Fear. And the most powerful emotion: Love." Frieza turned his attention to Shenron. "Eternal Dragon! Is Gohan in love with anyone?"

Shenron's eyes flared. That was an unexpected question. "Uh, there's this one girl named Videl who he has a secret crush on, but..."

"Perfect!" Frieza said. "Then I want the ability to turn into her, whenever I want!"

"Uh...okay," Shenron said. "It is finished! Now please don't bother me again."

Frieza smiled as Shenron disappeared. His new final form would be Gohan's undoing!

Friday, June 9, 2017

Religious Laws

I've seen a few people say that the government should never impose any religious laws. I disagree.

There are good religious laws, such as "do not commit murder", "do not steal" and "do not lie in a courtroom". Those are in the Ten Commandments, in the Bible. It doesn't matter that they have a religious source; those are good laws to have and enforce. "Do not rape" and "do not break binding agreements"

I would also argue that it's impractical to only have non-religious laws, simply because the scope of religion and belief is so broad. Atheism, humanism and environmentalism are considered to be religions by some people. So anything coming from those mindsets falls under the category of "religious beliefs", too. If you're going to rule out all laws made by theists and atheists by default, you're not going to have a whole lot of lawmakers to choose from.

To give a more traditional Catholic response, it's impossible to have laws that are independent from religion, because all laws refer to justice, and all justice flows from God. Since God is the source and foundation of law, all laws refer back to him. Hence, we can claim that "an unjust law is no law at all"; God's justice is a precondition for the existence of proper law. Further, Jesus Christ is also directly tied to law and justice; he is referred to as the Eternal Judge or the Just One, "who will judge the living and the dead".

To sum up, I think the government should impose good laws, just laws. Any true lover of justice is not going to reject a law, simply because it has a religious origin.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Vertical Game

On the latest episode of "Oh, A Podcast", we mentioned game resolutions. I want to do something wacky, like make a game with a triangle-shaped screen. More realistically, a game with a vertical screen could work! Instead of a game that's 640 by 480, why not a game that's 480 by 640?

Well, okay, people don't do that, because most computer monitors aren't shaped like that. A couple of phone games are, though.

I can't think of any real reason for doing a vertical game, though. Like...would it be a game where you're trying to go up (or down)? Is it maybe a double-decker game? Like, it's an apartment building, and you can see two apartments at the same time for some reason. I remember hearing that they used to do double-decker stage plays with religious themes, where Heaven is on the upper deck and Earth is on the lower deck.

I dunno. I think the idea of a vertical adventure game is neat, but I can't think of a strong reason for it besides "it'd be a neat gimmick".

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Flying Girl and Her Chum

Last August, I was contacted about "The Flying Girl and Her Chum". Back in 2008, I started (and stopped) turning it into an eBook for Project Gutenberg. Someone else wanted to finish the project, so I gave them all my files.

Well, it looks like the job is finished! The eBook has officially been posted!

I still have fifteen or so books that I got, in the late 00's, with the intention of turning them into eBooks. I checked just now, and only one of them has been turned into an eBook. (It was the short one.) I should really finish those projects someday. Maybe when I don't have a baby who requires constant supervision.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Old Clock Speedrun Planning 25

Continuing from yesterday, is it possible to deliver a telegram in place of playing minigolf? The timing is, um, iffy.

Nancy can't deliver telegrams, until she talks to her father. Her father calls, after she meets Jim Archer. My current route is this:

Trip 1: Half of trivet quest, get mirror from Jim Archer.
Trip 2: Second half of trivet quest, get dress from Jim Archer, pay Waddell to do the quartz blank
Trip 3: Give the finished dress from Jim Archer, get quartz blank from Waddell
Trip 4: Go to Jim Archer to open Topham's safe deposit box.

You have to pay Waddell to make the quartz blank and pick it up later. If you try picking it up immediately, he yells at you. With the proposed "get money from delivering telegrams" route, you have to delay paying Waddell to make the quartz blank, because you can't afford it. So it would have to be...

Trip 1: Half of trivet quest, get mirror from Jim Archer.
Trip 2: Second half of trivet quest, get dress from Jim Archer, get first telegram and deliver it
Trip 3: Get paid for first telegram, pay Waddell to do the quartz blank, give the finished dress from Jim Archer
Trip 4: Get quartz blank from Waddell
Trip 5: Go to Jim Archer to open Topham's safe deposit box.

Ugh, that gives me an extra trip into town! I don't know about that.

Well, it depends on what the trigger is for "Waddell finishes making the blank". If the trigger is "Nancy goes to the Lilac Inn and back", then yeah, another trip is necessary. If the trigger is "wait a minute of real time", then maybe I can pay Waddell, do the stuff with Jim Archer, then pick up the quartz from Waddell. I will have to test this out. Hopefully this works! An extra trip into town is probably still faster than doing minigolf twice, but it'd be nice to NOT have to do it.

Another possibility is that I deliver the first telegram and get paid for it right away, but it just seems like a waste to deliver a telegram right next to Lilac Inn, then go back into town to get paid. It just makes more sense to deliver the telegram when visiting the inn, then getting paid when visiting Mr. Archer.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Old Clock Speedrun Planning 24

Earlier, I decided that Nancy would have to play minigolf twice, to get through the games without delivering telegrams.

Someone commented on this blog, to the effect that it might be faster to deliver one telegram, over playing mingolf twice. Maybe I could split the difference, and do minigolf/telegram delivery one each. Let's see how the math plays out.
  • Toys required: 5
  • Toy from general store: 25 cents
  • Toy from minigolf: 10 cents
  • Money from telegram delivery: 25 cents
  • Money Nancy has to spend: 100 cents
That math checks out! Deliver one telegram to have 125 cents, which is exactly what you need to get all the toys from the general store. I just have to cross my fingers that you can deliver one telegram, without needing to get gas. Otherwise, you'd have to deliver two telegrams--or play minigolf--to cover the gas fees.

I checked it just now, and it takes about a minute and forty seconds to deliver the first telegram. Most of it is the telegram guy talking to you, and Seymour talking to you. The actual delivery isn't bad, as the telegram office is close to the bank, and Blenheim Nursery is close to the Lilac Inn. I always get that as the first place to deliver telegrams.

A minute and forty seconds has to be shorter than two full rounds of minigolf, right? I generally take three minutes to do a minigolf game. Obviously, I'd aim for a faster time while speedrunning.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Old Clock Speedrun Planning 23

Once Emily tells Nancy about Josiah Crowley, you can end the conversation and leave. That's not a good idea! You have to talk to her about Jim Archer, or else you can't meet him at the Main Street Bank.

This conversation is simple. Emily is reluctant to visit Mr. Archer. Nancy can say, "Not one of your favorite people, huh?" or "You don't sound very happy about it." If you pick the first one, Emily assures you that he's nice, before complaining she's bad at business. If you pick the second one, Emily complains she's bad at business. It's about 4.5 seconds faster to pick the second option.

Emily will ask Nancy to visit in her place. Nancy can say "Sure" or "I guess". She says "I guess" slowly, so the faster option is "sure". It's about .2 seconds faster. Then you can end the conversation, and you're finished with all the conversations at the start of the game!

Of course, what you do after the conversations is go directly to Topham's, so you can meet him and have a conversation. I guess the start of game conversations are not over.

I think there are two other things you can do at this point.

1. You can do the clock puzzle in the den at this point. You could do it earlier, after talking to Jane. Or you can do it later, when you go back to the inn to ask Emily what her mother's middle name was. There's not really a time that's best for solving the clock puzzle in the den. You can do it whenever. Similarly, there's not really a time that's best for asking Emily what her mother's middle name is. You can do it before or after your first trip into town; you just need to have it done, by the time you're ready to go into the carriage house.

2. Minigolf! You can do minigolf before talking to Topham or after talking to Topham. Since minigolf is a difficult/random challenge, it's probably best to put it here, as close to the start of the run as possible. That way, if you really screw up at minigolf, restarting the run from the beginning again is less of a disaster.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Old Clock Speedrun Planning 22

With the second Emily conversation, you can ask if this sort of thing has happened before, or you can ask if Emily used the stove last. If you ask if this has happened before, Emily sputters a bit before vehemently denying that she's responsible. If you ask if she used the stove last, she denies it right away. Since Emily sputters for about four seconds, it's about four seconds faster to indirectly accuse her.

After this, Emily goes on a tangent about Josiah Crowley. And here, for the first and maybe only time in the game, Nancy has three possible responses, not just two.

1. "Maybe he didn't leave you anything because he didn't have anything." Emily responds that he was rich, and that he left everything to Richard Topham. Nancy has two responses to this.

1a. "How did Josiah know him?" Emily says Josiah liked to disguise himself. Then she says he let Richard Topham live in his house.

1b. "Why did Josiah leave everything to him? "Emily says Josiah liked to disguise himself. Then she says he let Richard Topham live in his house.

2. "Was there a problem finding his will?". Emily says it was lost for months. Then she says Josiah liked to disguise himself. Then she says he let Richard Topham live in his house.

3. "Did he have any family?". Emily says that he thought of the Crandalls as his family. Then she says he liked to disguise himself. Then she says he let Richard Topham live in his house.

It looks like, no matter what, we learn that Josiah disguised himself, and that Topham lives in Josiah's house now. The fastest conversation is the third one, about family. The slowest conversation is 1 to 1b. That's about 18 seconds longer than option 3.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Old Clock Speedrun Planning 21

Secret of the Old Clock starts off with a lot of conversations, doesn't it? I mean, you are forced to talk to Jane, who tells you to talk to Emily, at which point you're forced to talk to Jane again, then forced to talk to Emily again.

The second Jane conversation is about a minute long, and there are only two places where Nancy can choose which dialogue option to pick. First, Nancy can ask what caused the explosion, or if insurance will cover it. If you ask about the explosion, Jane explains that a burner was left on. If you ask about insurance, she says she asked that the fire chief, and he thinks there could be a problem. Nancy asks what the problem is, and Jane explains that a burner was left on. So either way, Jane talks about the burner being on.

It's about 5.6 seconds faster to ask what caused the explosion, because that way, Jane goes straight to the burner conversation, without detouring into insurance.

Next, Nancy can ask who was in the kitchen this morning, or where Emily went. Jane's response is exactly the same, no matter which option you pick. It's about .2 seconds faster to ask who was in the kitchen.

At this point, the conversation is interrupted by a phone call, and Jane leaves. Nancy hears Emily upstairs and goes to her.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Food Problems

Is food racist? Here in Portland, there was a big backlash against a Mexican-themed food cart which is run by two white women. White people selling ethnic food?

It was argued that this is cultural appropriation, with a side of racism. They were forced to close their business. Some people are hoping to build this momentum, in order to close down every white-owned restaurant that serves non-white food, including my favorite Mexican restaurant in Portland, Santeria.

What do you readers think? I understand the argument that it's bad for a rich white person to come in, and put all the poor non-white restaurants out of business, by stealing their food recipes. But I don't like the argument that white-owned restaurants can't sell non-white food; that sounds too close to food segregation to me. I have a particular fondness for multicultural buffets, which wouldn't be allowed under "you can only make food that fits your own ethnicity".

Follow-up question: What about the reverse situation? The place where I regularly got lunch in downtown Portland is Hope's Deli. That's an Asian-owned restaurant which only sells American food, burgers and salad. The Internet tells me that they used to sell Korean food, including a great orange chicken, but I never saw that available; their lunch menu was only burgers. Are they guilty of cultural appropriation, non-whites selling white food?

Another follow-up question: Is there a point, where it becomes inappropriate for a white person like me to eat non-white food? Like, are there circumstances which would make it racist for me to eat a burrito, ever again? I would be sad if that was the case. Burritos can be delicious.