hooray for chinese food! hooray for me!
     Monday, January 21, 2002 "i like to play"     


I'm standing on an open window ledge of a massive skyscraper, over 100 stories tall. I look down at the miniature street below, I take a deep breath, and I jump. I stretch my hand upwards and shoot my webbing. I catch a building with my projectile and begin to swing, as a pendulum of justice. I swing from building to building, continually nearing the earth. I reach the ground, amidst the masses. Then I wake up.

Seriously, a couple nights ago, in a dream, I was Spiderman. That was the extent of what I remember of the dream, but I was most certainly swinging through the air as one of the coolest superheroes, and it was very good.

This past week has been fairly interesting and enjoyable. I survived through my first week of classes, most of which are very cool. I came across the 5th Mix of Dance Dance Revolution, and though I've yet to put much time into it, oh yeeeaah, it's the bomb-diggity. Most importantly, though, and most time-consumingly, I started and nearly finished programming my game's map editor (version 0.95).

What you have downloaded, assuming you clicked that link, took me 5 days to program. Granted, I spent varying amounts of time on it each day, so it's hard to judge accurately, but I did, in fact, start programming it last Wednesday, and I'm very pleased with what I've created in that time frame. With the exception of some yet-to-be-visualized special features I may still add to it, all that remains to be done on the editor is file saving and loading. That's it. And that's going to be easily implemented, so I should be done with that by the end of today, day 6.

Programming that has been my primary focus this last week, and, as such, I haven't put much (read: any) time into game designing, such as script-writing and battle-system design. So, you won't get to see as many design docs this week as I had hoped, but you get to see my map editor, so that should balance things out.

What you do get to see, game design-related, are four things: the game's opening script, (brief) character descriptions, monster descriptions, and a sketch of the game's map.

For the record, the map editor (with the exception of example tiles, ripped from the VERGE 1.0 demo game), game map, and all design documents are copyright me, Andrew P. Bilyk, 2002. I encourage suggestions, questions, criticism, and compliments, so if you feel like telling me something, please do.

If you don't know what the spoon I'm talking about, click the little link up on the top right that takes you to my last column, that should straighten you out. Speaking of my last column, nobody even tried to guess where "appreciate... the funk" came from. The quote is from the song "Ignition" by Funkstar De Luxe, and, at present, it can only be heard on the music game Frequency, to which I give a hearty two thumbs up. This week's is easier, though I could anticipate there being other "correct" answers out there which aren't what I'm looking for, so hopefully someone will stumble into my train of thought.

This week's letters lie in slumber below. Wake them!

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    Guess the Quote Contest
    Try to guess (be specific) the quote towards the top of the page. If you're the first one to email me with the correct answer, I'll mention you in my next column. An individial may not win the contest twice in a row.

    giving myself a hand
    Mighty Shield,
    I'm a long time reader and really like your take on things. I was wondering if you could help me out with something. I was thinking about sitting down with Xenogears again and I thought I remembered reading somewhere about an application on a PS2 to smooth some jagged lines and edges and give some games an overall cleaner look. I figured that if this were possible, Xenogears could rock even harder than it already does. Does such a thing exist or am I just deluding myself? Thanks in advance.

    Smiling Toast

    Actually, Toastmaster S, you're right on track. Back in the day, when I was a newsie here at RPGamer, I wrote a story about the PS2's backwards-compatibility performance on various RPGs. And sure enough, looking back at it, you'll see that Xenogears is reported to have "better textures" and improved 3D. So, hooray for you!

    portable/non-portable part two
    On the back of my Game Boy Advance package their is an advertisement that shows a linke cable coming from the GBA to the Gamecube that allows you to play them GBA games on the big screen.

    I'm currently playing Golden Sun, and would love to get this running from here, but I couldn't find the cable at 3 stores I went to today, and I can't find it on several web sites, most probably because I don't know what the official name of this cable should be.

    Do you know where I can find one of these cables, or the official name to help me with my Internet search???

    Thanks in advance,


    I sincerely doubt you read my column last week, because you would have seen my reply to the statement of unknowing, "I was wondering if it's possible to play GBA on your TV." Since my reply did not mention the cable you're talking about, it obviously can't be used to play your GBA on the TV. But don't feel horrible, because there are others like you, in the dark and confused about the matter.

    Yes, there will be a cord that connects your GBA to your GameCube, but first, it hasn't been released yet, and two, its purpose is to let you use your GBA as a GameCube controller. It does not, I say again, allow you to play GBA games on your TV through your GameCube. Games like the new Kirby Tilt 'n Tumble will use the GBA, connected to the 'Cube, as a controller, using both the TV and the GBA screen for displaying the game, when applicable.

    As a concrete example of how this could work, when playing the Kirby game, you're initially rolling around on the TV screen. If you fall off, you'll "fall" onto your GBA screen and will have to play on it until you find a launcher that shoots you back onto the TV screen. Cool, eh?

    There is a way, unofficially, mind you, to play GBA games on a TV, so if you haven't already, click that link above and check out the answer I gave last week.

    automated proofer
    Why don't game designers/translators use spell check?


    That's a good question, but it's hard to really answer. I'm sure some of them do use spell check, but certainly that won't stop all errors (lead in place of led, etc.). I'm sure some developers don't think they need it, and some probably don't want to bother with yet another step before they hit completion. When it comes down to it, the difference it would make most likely wouldn't affect sales, so leaving well enough alone could be justified. But perfection is worth shooting for, right?

    End of the Road:

    The remainder of the few, few letters I received either dealt with Chesh's quote from yesterday or contained opinion questions about things I know little to nothing about. Since I don't know whether Chesh wanted to give away that golden tilde himself, and since I'm sure you don't want me to reply "Sorry, no comment." to a good few questions, I'm going to end here. Next week I'm bringing topics back from the dead, as they should kill, with a single stone, the two birds of directing letter content and increasing letter volume. I hope you like (or at least don't hate) my turning the column's focus towards game development, and again, don't hesitate to write in regarding what you see here.

    Andrew P. Bilyk has canned heat in his heels tonight.

    Until next time,

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