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ErikH2000
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icon How to Beat the Love out of a Game (+2)  
With a bit of paraphrasing to protect the guilty, these are all things that have been said to me while I was working on a game, usually on double shifts with way too much caffeine in the bloodstream.

* "We want the design to strongly feature elements of successful games currently on the market."

* "We've already negotiated shelf space with retailers. The game will be burned onto CDs by November, one way or another."

* "The main thing is we have to meet Nintendo's quality standards. If we pass their QA, then we can ship it."

* "If you can just spend a day working on this multiplayer feature, that gives us a great bullet point for the box."

* "The dialogue is basically carved in stone. We can't change what the characters say without getting written permission from the content licensor."

* "That seems like an interesting feature, but I can't picture how it would work because I haven't seen it in other games before. Maybe keep that idea for the next game when we have more time."

* "That seems like an interesting feature, but we have to stick to the scope. Did you get a copy of the requirements doc?"

* "We need you to stop working on the main part of the game and whip up a little demo for the publisher to show we've finished the artwork."

* "It doesn't have to be perfect, it just has to look not broken."

* "As soon as we ship this damn thing, we can start work on the next one."

I've said some of these myself just last month. You'll hear them a lot more often working on mainstream commercial games than working on an indie title, where games are often a labor of love. As the years go by, my attitude has shifted more and more towards the assembly line mentality. Because it ensures that games get built to completion instead of languishing unfinished on developer's hard drives. But you always have to make a little time for love. You can't plan for it to happen. It will happen when good people are involved and the environment is right.

Frogs and Mice Dream Team Assembled

Frogs and Mice is the current title we're working on for Garage Games. The team has firmed up now. Mike and I are handling project management. Gerry Jo Jellestad is coding things up with help from Mike. Brett Boyette is doing art. Jon Sonnenberg, our musician for DROD: The City Beneath is composing music. Michael Abbott is handling sound effects. I'm really happy with the level designers we have helping us--all vets from past releases. They are: Neil Frederick, Adam Peterson, Jacob Grinfeld, and Larry Murk.

Call to Action

Would you please, please, please vote for DROD: The City Beneath in the GameTunnel poll? I would not bother you about just any old dumb poll on the internet. This one is actually a big deal due to its potential to bring us much-needed attention. The poll is actually considered a test of a game community's energy, so even if we are astroturfing here, it is entirely expected and encouraged by GameTunnel. I think we have the best community around with a lot of people that care a huge amount about DROD, so there's nothing artificial about representing that in a poll.

As I write this, we are in second place with only a handful of votes needed to push into first past Amaranth's Aveyond 2. Go check out the link to the poll below, and if DROD really is your favorite game on that list of candidates, I would love it if you'd put in one vote for us. It's necessary to go through a quick sign-up to vote, but GameTunnel won't spam you later. If they do, I will yell at Russell Carroll about it.

Vote for DROD: The City Beneath!

Sorry and sorry

Usually, we'd have a contest announcement here, and in fact, there is a contest going on that MeckMeck GRE put together that is really cool. But it's too late to join in on it, because I got this newsletter out late. My apologies to both you, the reader, and MeckMeck. I'll try to do better in January.

And we usually have a list of topic picks, but the guy that puts them together, Tim, is busy. I think a lot of people are pretty busy too with Christmassy stuff. So maybe you can forgive us.

Happy Mucklemas, my friends!

-Erik

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12-22-2007 at 09:00 PM
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Jatopian
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Naturally I send Erik a list of links right after he posts the Illumination.

The Fourth Annual People's Choice Awards Voting
It's still that time of year when we honor the fans who out of the goodness of their hearts (or perhaps other motives; we don't judge here) add spice and replay value to DROD. Come cast your vote, and if you can't vouch for every entry, that's OK! You don't have to vote in every category.
http://forum.caravelgames.com/viewtopic.php?TopicID=19063

Something Happened!
Specifically, a collection of puzzling activities created by forum members was released, in festive holiday form. You like puzzles, right? Solve enough of them, and you might get a peek at a mysterious present from Caravel.
http://forum.caravelgames.com/viewtopic.php?TopicID=19190

The Obliging Yet Artistic Architect
There are players who play every room ever published, whether due to a desire for high scores or simple completionism. There are architects who occasionally include rooms which aren't fun, perhaps to showcase their early efforts or make art out of puzzle elements. Can these two wonts be reconciled?
http://forum.caravelgames.com/viewtopic.php?TopicID=18945

Bossing Around
For more discriminating gamers, fighting through mindless hordes isn't good enough. They want a challenge from every situation. These forumites want to take it further - they've found a few games that consist of nothing but bosses.
http://forum.caravelgames.com/viewtopic.php?TopicID=19182

How did you find DROD?
There are those who say that all things are connected. How did you get hooked up with the game?
http://forum.caravelgames.com/viewtopic.php?TopicID=19132

Utopolis Life, Invisibility Compilation, Val Unrich, An Aumtlich's Quest, Mysteries of the Deep, sam 8, Time Off for Good Behavior
These are all the holds released since the previous Illumination.
http://forum.caravelgames.com/holds.php

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[Last edited by Jatopian at 12-22-2007 09:10 PM : formatting]
12-22-2007 at 09:06 PM
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Tim
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I just wanted to say that Jatopian is going to take over my task of writing Topic Picks for the next few months, while I'm going on a long holiday.

By the way, according to the Registry, I was already gone at December 20, 2007. :)

Let me wish you Good Luck on your task!

-- Tim

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12-22-2007 at 11:43 PM
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ErikH2000
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Oh, one piece of news I forgot to bring up in the Illumination where it belongs. We know the spider has been down for a while. We'll get it fixed and note how much downtime we had at that point. Then all current CaravelNet members will be credited extra time. And if anyone's membership lapses before we get it fixed, then that person can e-mail support@caravelgames.com and ask to have it extended. Sorry for the trouble, folks.

-Erik

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12-23-2007 at 12:51 AM
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slimm tom
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Nice illumination Erik :thumbsup
But is there still no news about the shiny black boxes? (Deluxe edition)
12-23-2007 at 10:40 AM
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Jeff_Ray...
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Man, are these four level designers lucky! I don't even know if the game'll have an editor yet, and they can make levels! If there are no editors planned, now I would cry out loud 'UNFAIR!!!'.

*sigh*

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12-23-2007 at 12:46 PM
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Jacob
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As one of the level designers, I can tell you that it's

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12-23-2007 at 01:08 PM
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Alneyan
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quote:
Jacob wrote:
As one of the level designers, I can tell you that it's


Nah, that's going to be the first feature to get the cut, if you can't meet the deadlines.
12-23-2007 at 01:26 PM
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schep
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Why would F&M not have a level editor? It's just DROD with different graphics, a few new features, and an easier hold.

12-23-2007 at 02:34 PM
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Maurog
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I eagerly anticipate the day people release impossibly hard holds for F&M. Just think about the tasty contrast between cute graphics and brain-splattering difficulty.

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12-23-2007 at 03:18 PM
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calamarain
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quote:
Maurog wrote:
I eagerly anticipate the day people release impossibly hard holds for F&M. Just think about the tasty contrast between cute graphics and brain-splattering difficulty.
Oh, that's been done already in so many games :) e.g. trying to get the real ending of Bubble Bobble.

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12-23-2007 at 03:21 PM
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Elfstone
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quote:
ErikH2000 wrote:

Would you please, please, please vote for DROD: The City Beneath in the GameTunnel poll? . . .

As I write this, we are in second place with only a handful of votes needed to push into first past Amaranth's Aveyond 2.
Vote for DROD: The City Beneath!


I just followed that link and registered and voted. I didn't recognise a single name on the list, apart from DROD - I don't play computer games - but I voted anyway; I take the view that if it's good for DROD and I can do it, I do it. :D
(DROD is now ahead at 21% with Wonderland Adventures at 16% and Aveyond at 15%.) So how about the rest of you? anyone here not voted yet?

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12-23-2007 at 09:03 PM
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Monkey
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quote:
Maurog wrote:
I eagerly anticipate the day people release impossibly hard holds for F&M. Just think about the tasty contrast between cute graphics and brain-splattering difficulty.
Just wait until larrymurk or rheb gets a hand on F&M.

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12-24-2007 at 02:38 AM
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NoahT
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Or Doom or Chaco.

-Noah

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12-24-2007 at 02:39 AM
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Chaco
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quote:
Monkey wrote:
quote:
Maurog wrote:
I eagerly anticipate the day people release impossibly hard holds for F&M. Just think about the tasty contrast between cute graphics and brain-splattering difficulty.
Just wait until larrymurk or rheb gets a hand on F&M.


Larry Murk is one of the official level designers mentioned.

Also, jeebus, my holds aren't that hard. Placing me in the same category as Jacob, Rheb, or Larry is a mistake. Quit whining. :)

On a more serious note, it sounds like a lot of DROD's elements (but probably not all) are in F&M, so it sounds like some puzzles would be possible to replicate in that game. Assuming F&M can't import DROD holds, of course.

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12-24-2007 at 02:43 AM
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Sillyman
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quote:
schep wrote:
Why would F&M not have a level editor? It's just DROD with different graphics, a few new features, and an easier hold.



Exactly. Won't DROD get a patch after F+M is released? A feature-giving patch?

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12-24-2007 at 08:26 AM
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eytanz
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quote:
schep wrote:
Why would F&M not have a level editor? It's just DROD with different graphics, a few new features, and an easier hold.



I can think of several reasons that F&M will not have a level editor. For one, it's created by commission for Garagegames, designed to be a more casual version of DROD, and maybe a level editor does not fit into their vision. And even if Garagegames don't care, Erik might be hesitant because adding a level editor to F&M might reduce motivation for F&M players to move on to DROD.

Not sure whether there any of the reasons offsets the benefits of having an editor, I'm just pointing out that it's not just a clear-cut situation.

disclaimer: I am not involved in F&M development in any way and I don't know anything about it that's not public knowledge.

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12-24-2007 at 08:37 AM
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Maurog
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I can think of just one reason for F&M to have a level editor:
quote:
Erik Hermansen wrote: And we'll include the level editor so people can publish their own level collections.
From here.

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12-24-2007 at 08:51 AM
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eytanz
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quote:
Maurog wrote:
I can think of just one reason for F&M to have a level editor:
quote:
Erik Hermansen wrote: And we'll include the level editor so people can publish their own level collections.
From here.


Oh, I missed that, thanks.

(Though strictly speaking, that's not an actual reason for F&M to have a level editor, it's just a reason for use to think it does).

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12-24-2007 at 09:17 AM
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Dex Stewart
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quote:
eytanz wrote:
(Though strictly speaking, that's not an actual reason for F&M to have a level editor, it's just a reason for use to think it does).


I don't know... having said that you'd do something seems to me to be quite a good reason to do said thing... expectations and all that.
12-25-2007 at 01:13 AM
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Oneiromancer
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What Erik said is a reason that F&M does have a level editor, not a reason that F&M should have a level editor (which is what the argument was about).

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12-25-2007 at 04:04 AM
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Maurog
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Eh, you people are overanalyzing it. The reason I meant was "so people can publish their own level collections".

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12-25-2007 at 06:22 AM
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mrimer
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quote:
Elfstone wrote:
I just followed that link and registered and voted. I didn't recognise a single name on the list, apart from DROD - I don't play computer games - but I voted anyway; I take the view that if it's good for DROD and I can do it, I do it. :D
(DROD is now ahead at 21% with Wonderland Adventures at 16% and Aveyond at 15%.) So how about the rest of you? anyone here not voted yet?
Thanks for your support, everyone.

Woah! Wonderland Adventures has somehow managed to acquire six more votes than DROD, so we're in second place again. There's one day left, so if anyone hasn't voted yet, please sign up and vote today! It will only take a minute, and I can second Erik's statement that Game Tunnel won't spam you.

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[Last edited by mrimer at 12-27-2007 04:15 PM]
12-27-2007 at 04:12 PM
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ErikH2000
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Patrick just put out his newsletter. :( I actually jokingly suggested it when I e-mailed him about something else. :((((

Wonderland Adventures is out in the lead now. If anybody was on the fence about voting, well... we need you to save Christmas! Santa Claus and Al Gore will die if you don't vote.

-Erik

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12-27-2007 at 05:40 PM
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mrimer
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quote:
ErikH2000 wrote:
Patrick just put out his newsletter. :( I actually jokingly suggested it when I e-mailed him about something else. :((((
Ugh. I guess some people just can't take a joke.

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[Last edited by mrimer at 12-27-2007 05:44 PM]
12-27-2007 at 05:44 PM
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Alneyan
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I'd hate to be the bearer of bad news, but Wonderland Adventures went up by some 25 votes while DROD gained a mere 2. Looks like it'll be second place, unless we still have a hoard of delver hordes somewhere...

It seems my cunning scheme of being a voting hero failed, though... waiting until the last day to vote, and thereby save the day by giving us that one last vote, that sounded like a good idea. Ah, well.

[Last edited by Alneyan at 12-27-2007 07:42 PM]
12-27-2007 at 07:35 PM
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Well, 2nd place is better than nothing! :|

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12-30-2007 at 07:03 PM
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eytanz
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quote:
Jeff_Ray... wrote:
Well, 2nd place is better than nothing! :|


Indeed, it's better than 3rd place, or 4th place, or 5th place as well...

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12-30-2007 at 07:57 PM
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Syntax
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quote:
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Indeed, it's better than 3rd place, or 4th place, or 5th place as well...

Erm... or sixth, seventh or eighth

Ninth, tenth, elevent or twelth.

Hmmm... I can see why you stopped ;)
12-30-2007 at 09:41 PM
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Thirteenth! :P

:tomato

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12-30-2007 at 10:33 PM
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