Warp Drive

Showing posts with label Personal Projects. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Personal Projects. Show all posts

Monday, December 30, 2019

Games of Yesteryear

Below is a handful of my favorite classic computer and video games that have been thoroughly discussed in other articles on The Grig Post. I have included snippets from those articles here. I decided to present them in chronological order because I just cannot seem to bring myself to number them.

Chrono Trigger

I first played Chrono Trigger in 2000; one year after the "Year of Lavos." Technically, I first played it on PC, since I used an emulator (Snes9x). Before I played Chrono Trigger, I was not much of an RPG fan. I had a few friends that were very much into RPGs, however. They strongly suggested that I play a few. I was blown away by the depth of Chrono Trigger.

Nintendo Rhapsody (World 6: It's About Time):
What is time? We like to think of it as a straight line from past to present to future, but our hearts and minds often dwell exclusively in the past or future. We rarely exist in the present moment. Time, it would seem, is merely an earthbound construct. It was the year 2000 AD in actuality, but my mind was fixated ever in the past. 1995 AD to be more precise. I was trying to hunt down a copy of Chrono Trigger for the Super Nintendo. I was very unlikely to still find the game in any store, and virtual console services would not exist for another six years. Thus, I settled on an emulator for Windows 98. I downloaded Snes9x alongside a ROM of Chrono Trigger. I would eventually find and purchase the Sony PlayStation compilation with Final Fantasy IV and the Nintendo DS version of Chrono Trigger, but for now, emulation appeared to be my only option. Chrono Trigger begins with a legitimate sense of joy and wonder. Crono is a carefree boy just out to have fun with his friends on the morning of the Millennial Fair. A stark contrast from The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past in which Link's adventure begins with a frantic quest in the midst of a storm. Both story techniques work effectively in their respective games, but Chrono Trigger does a far better job of building tension, and boy does it deliver on surprise twists. From the moment Crono's mother drew open his bedroom curtains, I knew that I was in for something special. Lucca, one of Crono's dearest friends, is a dedicated scientist and a rather talented inventor. Her latest invention, a teleportation device, was about to take the Millennial Fair by storm.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Nintendo Rhapsody (World 8: Pros and Cons WIP + Cliffnotes)

With my unceremonious departure from Cerritos College, and the apparent end of my school career, I fell back on that which I loved. My ongoing endeavors with Goalsoft. In January of 2001, I launched my first ever online magazine dedicated to Goalsoft. It was no doubt inspired in part by Nintendo Power. The Goalsoft MAG featured monthly interviews with the web staff, release dates for upcoming game projects, short stories, poems and one very controversial comedy column. The latter of which was hosted by Dave Smith. Goalsoft's resident comedy writer and beta tester. In the span of time between January and April of that year, I released Sword Quest III: Dimensional Drift, Super Israel World 2 and Swashblood Isle. I had originally intended to develop Swashblood Isle in Glumol, but the tools were unfortunately not made available until much later. I would instead use Clickteam's The Games Factory. Much like Klik & Play, it left something to be desired when developing traditional adventure games. Everything, as usual, had to be created from scratch. That included an inventory screen and dialogue prompt for every possible scenario in the game. Timers were used to tell the game whether or not an event could be triggered, and when and where to display an item. As a result of these limitations and improvisations, Swashblood Isle was more than a little rough around the edges. Clearly, I had an awful lot of free time on my hands. It certainly felt strange being out of school, but I still had a teacher or two in my life. I became rather hooked on TechTV, a cable network focused primarily on the computer industry. Leo Laporte and Patrick Norton hosted a late afternoon show known as The Screen Savers. They covered every computer topic one could imagine, but my favorite segments were the ones where they built custom machines for gaming and whatnot. It would be several years before I attempted such a thing of my own. With 2001 rapidly drawing to a close, I had just one thing on my mind. Nintendo's brand new disc-based console. For the longest time, it was known simply by a codename. Project Dolphin. A name that left quite a bit to the imagination.

Friday, August 9, 2019

Nintendo Rhapsody (World 7: The End of the Beginning)

I was a very reckless grade schooler one minute, and then the next, a high school graduate on his way to college. I was for the briefest of moments in time, as Ms. Davis said, "the man of the hour." It felt as if life were but glimpses. As I took my first glimpse of Cerritos College, I was filled with a fear of the unknown. The very same fear I had previously felt upon my arrival at California High School and every school before that. I entered into a large enclosed amphitheater. I was taken aback by the sheer scale of the college campus. It gave me such pause, I very nearly forgot the reason for my being there. I approached the front of the amphitheater to collect my entry exam before having a seat. I breezed through the multiple choice questions, but when it came time for the written portion, I struggled to think of anything. It was one of those scenarios where you have to write an essay response to a question. A very specific question designed exclusively for that exam. I consider myself to be a fairly creative person, but writing within those constraints always proved difficult. I had no choice but to take the entry exam over again. During the second attempt, however, I was given more time to wrestle with the question before me. I managed to pass the exam in the end and was thereby approved for three courses. An entry-level math class, a business class and a computer software class. As fate would have it, my computer software teacher was named Mr. Davis. No apparent relation to Ms. Davis. I found my mind a bit preoccupied those first few days in class. Squaresoft's Chrono Cross was set to release that week on Sony's PlayStation. A spiritual sequel to Chrono Trigger. I was eager to dive into the game having known of its existence for months.

Friday, August 2, 2019

Nintendo Rhapsody (World 6: It's About Time)

In just three short years, I had made California High School my own. My performance in the classroom had afforded me the opportunity to choose an elective course or special task around campus. I chose to assist Mr. Hales, the physical education teacher, with his daily routine. I would deliver the sporting equipment to the field for practice, deliver the attendance sheets to the office and report any problems directly to Mr. Hales for inspection. More often than not, however, I spent this time standing around the basketball cart chatting with other students who happened to approach me. One of them was named Shalimar. Her boyfriend, Randy, had recently broken up with her and she was feeling quite down on herself. I would sit with her on occasion. I tried my best to lift her spirits. "Good things can happen out of the blue," I told her. I had personally experienced my own fair share of struggles in life, but something good always seemed right around the corner. I just had to believe in myself. She appeared to appreciate the sentiment. "Out of the blue" became a source of inspiration to her and she would come to remind me of that a few times. And then there was Jovani. We chatted about video games. One video game in particular. The then unreleased Perfect Dark for Nintendo 64. Rare's spiritual successor to GoldenEye 007. We would each comb the web for any clues we could find about the upcoming game and then report back in Mr. Hales' class. It would be quite some time before we actually got our hands on Perfect Dark.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Nintendo Rhapsody (World 5: Nintendo Strikes Back)

With Barbara Dawson Educational Center now firmly in the past, I began attending California High School. The adjustment period was somewhat less unnerving than Hillview Middle School. I credit my early enrollment in summer school. I had a whole month to absorb the campus before the overwhelming invasion of students in September. During this relatively quiet time, I became acquainted with one of the more interesting teachers on campus. Her name was Tamara, but of course, everyone knew her as Ms. Davis. Gone were the days of being on a first name basis. Fellow class members remember her best for her love of pumpkin seeds. I remember, from the moment I first met her, her sense of humor. Ms. Davis was a lighthearted woman, sure, but she also had a rather strict side. It was not wise to upset her. The months flew by in the blink of an eye. Christmas arrived right on schedule. Santa Claus delivered a very exciting present to my brother and I that year. It was none other than the Nintendo 64 and it was not alone. It came with Cruis'n USA, Killer Instinct Gold, Mortal Kombat Trilogy, Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire, Wave Race 64, but most importantly, Super Mario 64. It was not long at all before a debate was had to decide whose room the system would reside in. A few days later, we all contracted chicken pox and the two week quarantine period began. Let the games begin.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Psychoeducation: Preschool

This hand written letter (which I have copied word for word) predates my entry into Orchard Dale Elementary by two years. It appears to be penned by my maternal grandmother, Allene. It paints a clearer picture of my childhood emotional state. I previously assumed the problems to have begun in elementary school. In fact, my wave of destruction began much sooner. For example, I drove a car into my grandmother’s house at the age of two.



Saturday, July 30, 2016

Psychoeducation: The Diagnostic Center

In January of 1991, I began attending The Diagnostic Center in Los Angeles, and thus, the Rossier School chapter came to a close. I wrote at length about this time in my life for Nintendo Rhapsody. It may not have been my first encounter with Nintendo, but it was certainly quite impressionable. When given the opportunity to spend time with the NES in the recreation room, I could easily find myself so entranced I would, for a brief moment, forget I was living away from home. My memory of the actual school environment at The Diagnostic Center remains a bit fuzzy, but some of the reports I have discovered may shed some light on the subject. This is a very much abridged version, by the way. There are twenty pages of mostly boring, deeply versed statistics. "This thing reads like stereo instructions!"

Friday, April 1, 2016

Psychoeducation: The Second First Grade

In May of 1989, my time at Orchard Dale Elementary came to an abrupt end. I was placed in a non-public school known as Rossier. My memory of this school is also a bit fuzzy, but I do remember some things here and there. I remember carrying a float back from an event in the gymnasium, the wind blowing it from my arms, and trying desperately to retrieve the scattered pieces from the field where I was suddenly ambushed by a group of students on the playground. I curled into a ball and they proceeded to kick at me until they grew tired of this activity. I then walked back to class, empty handed. I learned about karma that day. It was not very nice. I also remember stretching my arms backward while sitting at my desk one day, pencil in hand, when I managed to stab the teaching assistant. Until this very day, I feel as though it was an accident, but they took it very seriously. Below are a set of generalized reports from April 30th, 1990. At present, there do not appear to be any specific incident reports from Rossier.



Sunday, March 13, 2016

Easter with the Haleys

With a lack of progress on Ancestry with the Haleys, my video anthology dedicated to the Haley family remained dormant for a few years. I would often entertain the idea of a new video, but was at a loss for content.

In 2014, I set out to locate the missing Easters. Dad was good about labeling home movies, but for some reason, this egg-filled holiday always fell near the end of existing VHS tapes. Sometimes, it was not labeled at all. The video hunt was a bit like Easter itself. However, just in time for that year's Easter Sunday, I found all but one. I have reason to believe 1997 was not filmed. As I was not prepared to enter the director's seat on an Easter with the Haleys, I merely shared the uncut footage with family. I thought the idea made little sense at the time. Choosing the best moments from Christmas, Campland and Disneyland was difficult enough. Easter has always been a tricky occasion to cover. I know, for some, its religious significance is a turn off. Not only that. Who wants to watch three kids look for eggs for twenty minutes?


Easter 1994

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Psychoeducation: The First Grade

I recently discovered my IEP papers from elementary school and was quite shocked by some of the things I found. I was always a relatively average child according to everyone I knew and spoke to, but as I entered Kindergarten and then Grade 1, I began to exhibit serious emotional problems. I have very few memories from this time, but I do recall being reminded by my parents of a few incidents. One of which left a custodian hospitalized. The following stories come from the staff of Orchard Dale Elementary the month of and month following Easter, 1989. I was six years old. I must warn everyone, it is quite intense!

I am sharing these stories in an effort to show I have nothing to hide. I made some serious mistakes as a child, more severe than most children, but I am certainly not the only one who ever gave in to impulsive actions or judged others before they knew all the facts. If we are to truly become better people, we need to focus on the strengths of others, not their weaknesses. I wish I could comfort the people in these stories. Chances are, however, they would not remember me. It was twenty-seven years ago, after all.



Saturday, February 27, 2016

Computer Love

A short history of my former and current PC hardware. Most of the information below was retrieved from an entry I made on March 8th, 2009. I have revised its contents and attached a few photographs. Yes, the new title is a reference to a Kraftwerk song.

#1. IBM (486/66MHz)
August, 1994

My first PC was a beast. 66MHz of raw computing power, 8 megabytes of memory enhancing RAM, 16-bits of surreal audio processing (Sound Blaster 16) and 2 megabytes of mind blowing onboard video memory. It could run Doom II: Hell on Earth at maximum settings. This PC was originally packaged with MS-DOS 6.22 and Windows 3.1. Later, I upgraded to Windows 95. "Where do you want to go today?"


IBM in 1995

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Dot-com Babble

Due to financial realities, SpaceRuckus.com is no longer host to Space Ruckus: The Official Site and Forum. I, for one, am a proponent of preservation. Beginning a year ago this month, the robots.txt was disabled to allow Archive.org a full snapshot of the site contents. It can be found in the attachment below.

SpaceRuckus.com, itself, will redirect here (TheGrigPost.Blogspot.com) until further notice. If such a time comes as another project is in development, it may redirect elsewhere. Thank you to those who remained loyal over the years. It was a road filled with personal and professional turmoil. A less heart driven individual may have just scrapped everything a long time ago... in a galaxy far, far away. Live long and prosper, everyone!


Space Ruckus: The Official Site (Archive.org)


Space Ruckus on the World Wide Web:
Blogspot  •  Facebook  •  GoDaddy Photo Album  •  Internet Archive  •  YouTube

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Nintendo Rhapsody (World 4: Trial Separation)

Nintendo's undisputed reign over the Haley household was, for the time being, at an end. Just as Mario hung his hat for a well deserved rest, an edgy new platforming star was beginning his own adventure. Sonic, a mysterious blue hedgehog without a speed limit, was set to conquer far more than my television screen. In no time at all, I owned everything from Sonic the Hedgehog sleeping bags to plush toys to comic books. I would eagerly visit the nearby Ralphs supermarket each month to score a new issue. It was almost as exciting as the animated series. Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog aired Monday through Friday at seven in the morning. Once I began attending Hillview Middle School, I had no choice but to record them onto VHS tape and watch them after school. Hillview was a whole new experience. There were an unnerving number of fellow students. Having been enrolled in non-public schools for many years prior, I was not prepared for the often twenty something students per classroom - or the fact I now had six classes a day. It was quite a bit to process. In retrospect, I always found smaller classes more focused and therefore rewarding experiences. One of those classes was, thankfully, a more intimate environment and it was there in which I began to take computers seriously. Previously, I saw them as rather dull educational instruments. I was assigned a floppy diskette and a desk terminal. My assignment was simple: Build and maintain a town in Maxis' SimCity. A town which continued to function whether I was present or not. It was like Quintet's ActRaiser, but without the action platforming stages. Computers were rad and all, but I really just wanted to get home and play the Sega Genesis.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Nintendo Rhapsody (World 3: Genesis)

In the beginning, there was the Magnavox Odyssey. Utilizing an array of on-screen lights and television overlays, it marked the start of a worldwide phenomenon. One of many smiles, tears and jeers. Twenty years later, the video game industry was a bustling business. With the increasing popularity of the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and Sega Genesis, a whole new phenomenon was just beginning. As for the rambunctious Haley bunch, we arrived home from Toys "R" Us with the SNES in tow. It was quickly decided the system would reside in my brother's room. I cannot say for certain if this was punishment for my wrongdoings at Murphy Ranch Elementary, but whatever the event, it was rather effective. I would next attend Barbara Dawson Educational Center, where I would finally learn to read and write. I have Diane to thank for her encouragement, persistence and unique approach to instruction. I recall one book reading session in-particular for its use of non-linear progression. A "choose your own adventure" story in a world filled with stories fixed in stone. My mind was suddenly set ablaze. It would be quite a number of years still before I could write well, but she laid the foundation. I gradually became more proficient with practice of my own. I missed out on so many funny mistranslated NES games, but I had a plethora of dialogue heavy games to look forward to on the SNES. Of course, the first game to grace my brother's television screen was none other than Super Mario World - and it was good.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Nintendo Rhapsody (World 2: Back in the Cradle)

With the experience of The Diagnostic School behind me, I moved onward to Murphy Ranch Elementary. My home life would gradually return to normal. I was in that awkward phase between Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. The Nintendo Entertainment System's reign, however, would continue for another year to come. Our home library was a bit limited, but thanks in large part to Blockbuster Video, we could play a different game each week. I also owe a debt of gratitude to my brother-in-law, David, for allowing me to borrow his gold plated copy of The Legend of Zelda. Of course, as would any true fan of Nintendo, I owned permanent copies of the Super Mario Bros. games - and Duck Hunt. Decades before the Nintendo Wii, I was firing at things on-screen with a pointer device. The NES Zapper was quite a marvel for its time. It was super exciting, but at the end of the day, all I really wanted to do was shoot the laughing dog.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Nintendo Rhapsody (World 1: Far From Home)

When I was eight years of age, I lived away from home for a few months in East Los Angeles at a facility known simply as The Diagnostic School. It was a wretched experience. I slept in a dormitory-style bedroom with other children like myself. All the while being monitored from just outside by a member of their staff. My medication was also closely monitored. Various drugs and dosages therein were administered. At one point, a patch was applied to my back. If a child was especially naughty, they would lock them in a padded room devoid of light, until they were willing to cooperate. Needless to say, I was quite the school trouble maker to have found myself in a place like that. By day, I attended classes per usual and ate what everyone else ate from the cafeteria. I grew to loathe cafeteria food.

Monday, March 16, 2015

The Grig Saga (Work in Progress!)

The Grig Saga is a *work in progress* origin story and potential reboot to Space Ruckus. I, however, have no intention of developing this into a video game. It is merely a story; a work of fiction. Try not to take things too seriously.



Table of Contents
- Chapter 1: Worlds Divided
-- Act 1: Pride of the Galaxy
-- Act 2: Rogue Inquiry
-- Act 3: Basic Training
-- Act 4: Storm of Storms
-- Act 5: The Great Confrontation
-- Act 6: Goodbye Orthian Pie
-- Act 7: Heavens Above



Act 1: Pride of the Galaxy

Orth, fifth planet of the lonely Zeboran system. Home to a relatively peaceful race of bipeds, having only recently begun to harness the power of the universe for their enrichment and evolution. The proud Orthian race has established orbital bases in neighboring systems, and even colonized a few previously inhospitable planets. Their mission is one of exploration, growth and sustainability.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Game Over Day at Gridline Games

In all my years of writing, no story has been more difficult to explain than the A Day at Gridline Games stories. In essence, they are satirical takes on office life, often based on real life experiences encountered during Space Ruckus: The Great Invasion's development. A game project of mine that was perhaps troubled from the very start, with too much ambition and not enough resources to actually make it happen. Working with and keeping together the team necessary to produce Space Ruckus was often a nightmare scenario. In one notorious case, a musician left the project in a fit of rage simply because I had recruited another composer to help with the soundtrack. In hindsight, I may have tampered with the sacred musician's code! In another particularly troubling case, a modeler began posting his Space Ruckus models on a public forum for all to see. This may not have been quite so bad had he let us know in advance, but he was soliciting feedback on a very important asset from a group entirely unrelated to the project. Ay, there were times when I just wanted to say, "SPACE RUCKUS IS CANCELLED!" Then, drop everything and dash off to Disneyland. Or any old place, really.


Highway to...

Friday, December 20, 2013

Happy Holidays!

Happy holidays from Space Ruckus and The Grig Post! May your holidays be bright and merry, and may all your heart's desires be met.

Space Ruckus' developers have moved on to other things over the years, but I am almost certain that they are together in spirit for the holidays. Be on the lookout for Micheal Cross' A Night at Camp Ravenwood in 2014: http://www.ravenwood-game.co.uk. Everyone else at camp will definitely be on the lookout! Micheal was and is the greatest concept artist in which Space Ruckus ever had, and his new game is sure to be a hit. If you happen to be in the mood for some awesome game and film music, also be certain to check out Aubrey Young's music site: http://aubreygyoungmusic.com. Aubrey once composed a few tracks for Space Ruckus, and they are still the very best in the project's collection. And for those that missed it, the Space Ruckus site received a face lift this year, but it had less to do with Space Ruckus itself and more to do with building a slightly better template for use in other places: http://www.spaceruckus.com. All things considered, it is still a prettier vault for all that old content!

As for Space Ruckus' very own Bill Grig, he looks on from Ralin V with a smile on his face. Peace has come to his and the Velorian people. All that war effort was really just a drain on both economies. Working together has accomplished so much more for both races. They have nearly wiped out all diseases! It would seem that the Velorians still do not care much for the Ralin V fleet's silly helmet design, though. You cannot win them all!

Peace to everyone this holiday season, and a very happy new year!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

A Final Day at Gridline Games

In 2007, I wrote a satirical take on office life at Gridline Games. I dubbed it "A Day at Gridline Games." It was panned by several of the then-developers, and for good reason. I had a less than favorable view on some of them. Still, it was a rare attempt to apply comedy to the nightmare situation that was Space Ruckus' game development, and I certainly had fun while writing it.


Dave, one of A Day at Gridline Games' leading characters.

Fast forward to 2013. Space Ruckus is but a distant memory, lost in the records of time. The developers have all moved onto other things. Some, it would seem, greater things than others. I have not spoken to many of them in what seems like years. Disappointingly, I even had a severe falling out with several of them. Mind you, it was unrelated to Space Ruckus. Some of the issues seem trivial now, but certain things were said and done on both ends. It too is but a distant memory.

With all that sad shit said, now seemed like the perfect time for another satirical take on office life at Gridline Games. I dubbed it "A Final Day at Gridline Games." The meaning of which will soon become quite clear. Hint: It may take place on Gridline Games' final business day. If you pay close attention to the little details, it may even blow your mind.

P.S. meelWORM has a very special and very real life announcement to make. Be on the lookout for that within the story. It is not what you think!


Be ready. Soon, your mind *may* be blown...

In closing: Question everything, but always keep an open mind. Live in peace with respect for others, no matter what they may or may not believe. Namaste, everyone!

NEW: Departing a Day at Gridline Games is meant to serve as a revealing prequel! Read this after A Final Day at Gridline Games! Happy Holidays!