Author Archives: lex@magical7.com

Maze Game Update – v3!

Hey all!

Another week has passed, and another update for Maze Game has landed! Click here to check it out.

The major addition this game was inspired by Medley, who actually loved playing Maze Game. But sadly, it did not run on her laptop, because the maze generator uses a complex algorithm that will randomly attempt to create paths in the maze grid. This algorithm can take a long time to complete, and as her laptop is incredibly slow, the game appeared to not load at all.

So, to circumvent this, Maze Game no longer generates mazes. Instead, this feature has been moved to a remote server, which will ensure a buffer of randomly generated mazes is ready to be served instantly. As such, the loading time of Maze Game has dropped significantly.

As an added bonus for me personally, this feature allows me to gain some insight into how often Maze Game is used, as the mazes are marked off once served. On top of that, I can now run maze analyzers to check the difficulty of mazes and this feature is one of the required components for maze highscores.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Same as last time, there are various steps I can take at this point and I haven’t put any thought into deciding which will be the next one. So again, you’ll have to wait and see what’s going to happen next.

Until then, happy mazing!

Maze Game Update – v2!

Hey all!

With some free time today and some help from Lena, I managed to churn out the next version of Maze Game! Click to check it out.

This version focuses on increasing the challenge of the game by no longer allowing you to see the entire maze at once. To compensate, a random set of walls is removed, so there is no longer just a single path between any two points.

As an aside, it baffles me how simple it is to achieve certain things in Godot. Having the camera follow the player turned out to be a piece of cake, with most of the challenge in this update lying in scaling the maze to work with the updated sprite. This makes participating in game jams seem a lot more realistic, so perhaps I’ll share some of that in the future as wel.

As for Maze Game, there’s a few different paths that I’m considering for the next update. However, I don’t want to spoil what I have planned, so you’ll have to wait and see what it’ll be.

Until then, happy mazing!

Maze Game Update – v1.1.0!

Hey all,

Today marks the release of Maze Game v1.1.0. This version makes the game actually playable, allowing you to navigate the maze searching for the goal. The game is still pretty simple, as solving the maze itself is not that difficult. However, I’m expecting to up the difficulty in the next release. Hopefully, that release will also allow me to improve some of the visuals.

Also, if you happen to have some older links you may notice don’t work any more. To add some consistency and remove duplication, I’m going to be sticking to the single Maze Game title.

Happy mazing!

P.S. Lena wants me to mention that she really likes that I’m making games ūüėõ Thanks Lena!

Magical7.com Games

It has been a long time since this site saw any updates. Lots of things have happened in the two and a half years since my last post. A few months before my last I Never post, Lena and I had just founded our very own company called Prizecards.nl, a small webshop dealing in trading card games. About a year and a half later, in April 2019, we rented a location to run our shop as a physical store. Unfortunately, that didn’t quite turn out the way we wanted it and since then we have decided to stop running the company. We have managed to arrange termination of our rental contract and are currently selling the remainder of our stock from our site. Coincidentally, if you’re in the Netherlands or Belgium and are interested in some cheap Pok√©mon TCG, Magic: the Gathering or accessory products, check out our deals at https://shop.prizecards.nl/product-categorie/uitverkoop/.

Anyway, quitting the store suddenly gave me a lot of free time to work with and no hobbies to fill this gap. I have picked up playing Dota 2 again, which is fun, but mostly as an “relaxing” pastime. However, I also need something that I can spend loads of time in, preferably something that also results in actual products that I can share with people who like them.

The biggest obstacle preventing this is my fear of commitment to a single hobby. Heck, the entire I Never series is a testament to my desire to jump from one experience to another. But obviously doing lots of different things meant that I could never develop any skill. So, I have decided to say goodbye to all of my hobbies that I have ever dabbled into or not even started trying and pick a single hobby to focus on.

I chose game development. Which is a pretty broad hobby, covering both design and implementation of any games, be they physical or virtual. But I really like all the components that go into the creation of games and a lot overlap with my previous hobbies, including mechanics design (one of my favorite parts of D&D), art, music, and story-telling. And of course I love playing games, so it all combines into a neat package.

And mostly to force myself to actually dive into this, I’ve created my first deliverable before publicly talking about starting this hobby. So if you’re interested, hop on over to Maze Game 1 to check out my first “game”.

Of course, since I’m just starting out, I have a lot to learn, but that’s really the fun part. That and working towards the creation of the game I have in mind right now. But I’ll write some more about what I’m actually planning at a later point.

For now, I’m excited to work on this new hobby and I hope you’ll tag along for this new ride.

I have never quit I Never

As time goes on, so must we. And I feel the time for me has come to move on from I Never. When I started this project back in 2014, my goal was to force myself to try new things. In a way, I succeeded. There have been a few things on this blog that I’d never have done if it weren’t for I Never. But quite often, my I Never was about something that I was already planning on doing, or little things I wouldn’t consider worthy of a blog post.

Most months ended with me stretching to think of something to do that’s new, easy to fit into our budget and schedule, and interesting enough to write about. Doing I Never became more of a chore than a method to experience new things.

Must new experiences always be big? Should they always be interesting to read about? I suppose not. But then must I write about it? I guess also no.

So with this comes an end to 52 months of big adventures and small challenges. To those who joined me in this road or kept up to date from these silly blog posts, I thank you for your time. With a closing door, another surely opens, so who knows what new things will be on this blog? Time will tell. Until then, goodbye!

I never extinguished a candle with my fingers

Some months I have big plans for I Never, while other months I struggle to find something interesting. Last month was especially difficult. By the time the month was almost over, I still hadn’t done anything new.

However, with the end of last month also came the end of the year. We had guests over for our New Years party and were playing Truth or Dare. Conveniently, I was dared to extinguish a candle with my fingers two hours to midnight, thereby completing my I Never for the month!

The dare itself was scary at first, but once the candle was extinguished, it turned out to not be so bad after all. It didn’t even hurt. Alright, short I Never, short report. Gonna have to try better again this month!

I have never fed kittens

Over three years ago, I made a life-changing confession to the woman I may now call my wife. Last year, we had a big celebration, where we visited the Lion King musical and I went ice skating for the first time in my life. We wanted to do some similar things this year, albeit a bit smaller. So for this year we planned to go skiing (also an I Never) and maybe go have a high tea.

Two weeks before our anniversary, on Thursday I believe, I started having a nasty cough. I didn’t think much of it, as I usually get some sort of cold in October/November.

That Sunday however, exactly two weeks before our anniversary, we were startled to find our cat Jolie going into labor. We knew she was pregnant; Lena had wanted to breed a litter of Maine Coons for a long time. However, Jolie wasn’t due until one week later, which is very premature for cats. As a result, Jolie’s hormones weren’t completely ready and Lena and I were tasked with feeding the kittens every two hours.

Meanwhile, Lena fell ill as well. Coupled with the lack of sleep brought about by this sudden arrival of cats, we both found no opportunity to recover. The day before our anniversary, I even came down with a fever.

And so it came to be that on the day of our anniversary, we had to hand-feed our kittens every two hours and spent the rest of the day (and the day after as well) in bed. An emergency visit to the doctor’s office after having a 39.5 degrees fever revealed I had pneumonia. Fortunately, the antibiotics I got for that allowed me to regain some of my strength. Meanwhile, the kittens grew up and needed to be fed less often, further reducing the pressure.

Unfortunately, this entire ordeal meant no skiing adventure for me. Luckily, having kittens was a new experience for me too, so it’s not a completely I Never-less month.

Pictures? Pictures!

 

 

 

I have never made ice cream

This story goes back a long way, even before I did I Never. Back when I was still in University and living in Enschede, I had a hobby similar to I Never, called Crazy Ideas. The crazy ideas were more related to food and were a lot wilder than what I’m up to these days.

At Huize Entree, where I lived, I became known for these experiments. One fateful birthday, for this very reason, my housemates got me an ice cream maker. However, this was near the end of my study time, after which I kind of left it to lay around. As time went on, Lena moved in and we got to throwing a lot of our old things out.

Except for the ice cream machine. I really wanted to keep it, and try my hand at making ice cream one day.

This month, the time was finally there. Unfortunately, I didn’t make too many pictures, so you’ll have to make do with my walls of text.

So, first of all, I decided I wanted to make cactus ice cream to make up for September, where I wasted my cactus fruits. However, it turned out that none of our supermarkets sold cactus fruits, and because it was Sunday, I was unable to check the fruit market.

On Monday, Lena told me that the fruit market also didn’t have any cactus fruits. However, she got me pitayas, which is also the fruit of some form of cactus. So on Monday evening, I started working on preparing the ice cream batter. It had to cool in the fridge for another day, so today, on Tuesday, I was ready for the final step: making the ice cream.

Preparation for the batter.

Today, I got the batter, took the ice cream maker’s bucket out of the freezer, attached it to the mixer and turned it on.

And it did nothing. The mixer made some noise, but it didn’t spin. I don’t know if it’s been like this all the time or that it broke somewhere during all the moving.

Anyway, after a trip to the shop, I did end up with a bit of ice cream, even though it’s not of my own making.

I was pretty excited to be making ice cream though, so I’m going to try to get my hands on a new ice cream maker and try again.

I have never tried a Nuzlocke

At the end of last month, I was about ready to quit I Never. A trend in the previous months is that I often find it difficult to do I Never because of time and money constraints. Last month, for the first time, I actually didn’t manage to do an I Never. As a small side-note, I should apologize to Wouter, who provided me with an opportunity to do an I Never, but I didn’t realize cactus figs couldn’t be kept in the fridge for a week, which made me completely waste them :/

But, a few days ago I realized, I did do something that I’d never done before and had wanted to do for a long time: the Nuzlocke challenge. Most people probably have never heard of it, so I’ll give a brief explanation: the Nuzlocke challenge is a run through a Pok√©mon game with two additional rules. 1: you can only catch the first¬†Pok√©mon you encounter on each route. 2: any¬†Pok√©mon that faints is dead and must be released or boxed forever.

If the previous paragraph bored you to death, it’s probably best to stop reading now.

I don’t know how I first got to know of the challenge, but I liked the sound of it and wanted to do it on Pok√©mon Moon. However, starting this run requires a reset of the game, which meant I could no longer play the Battle Tree with Lena. So I was waiting for Ultra Sun/Moon to be released, so we can move to that Battle Tree and I could reset the game.

But at my birthday last month,¬†I got a surprise: Alexander got me¬†Pok√©mon Sun, which meant I could start my challenge! Now, I originally wanted to record my adventure in comic-form, but figuring that would take more time, skill and dedication than I have available, here’s my progress so far:

I started off with my favorite spherical bird: Rowlet! Unfortunately for my derp-head, I made a mistake in determining the areas and missed one opportunity for catching a Slowpoke. Still, my team was soon expanded by a Pikipek and¬† Yungoos. Full of confidence, I made my way through Hau’oli City, defeated Team Skull in the harbor and managed to get my entire team wiped by Ilima. So much for my first attempt. Turns out I have much to learn still. But, I got some practice in¬†Pok√©mon Gold and am ready to make my second attempt in the world of¬†Pok√©mon Sun!

Alola!

I have never visited Valkenburg and Antwerp

It has been a long while since Lena and I took a vacation with just the two of us. Actually, the last time we did was back in 2015, when we went to Hamburg. Lena also told me of the times she went to Valkenburg and how much she liked that, so we decided to take a long weekend to the South.

We went to Valkenburg on Friday, where we stayed for one night. After that, we traveled to Antwerp on Saturday, stayed there for two nights and headed back on Monday.

We definitely enjoyed our time together, and away from our daily lives for a bit. Oddly enough, even though Valkenburg is actually in the Netherlands, our time there felt more like a vacation abroad than our visit to Antwerp. Valkenburg has a lot to do and to see, the scenery is very mountain-like and is obviously designed to attract tourists. Antwerp on the other felt more like we were in Amsterdam or Rotterdam, with big buildings and lots of construction.

But in both places we walked around a lot and saw many things. Valkenburg is known for its man-made caves, of which we toured two. In Antwerp, we spent our first day in the Antwerp Zoo, and some shopping before traveling back on the second day.

But, enough yammering, time for some pictures!

No Medley = cocktails!

Nom nom, heavenly mud!

The entrance to the caves. I’d never been in these kind of caves. I liked it a lot. The temperature was nice and cool with the heat outside. It was pretty creepy at some points too, especially after the second tour, when Lena and I walked to the entrance by ourselves. If we stood still, we would be in total silence. And you’d walk past a lot of “rooms”. The realization that something could be hiding in the dark, just right in front of you, was pretty haunting.

We had a lot of fun at the Valkenburg castle ruins.

It really was quite something to see.

Quite the view too.

Limburgse vlaai!

Coming back from the Wilhelmina tower by cable cart.

Not sure what to say here. It just was a nice photo-op ^^

We found these fakies on the Antwerp Saturday market. Funnily enough, there were also about 4 stalls selling bunnies, guinea pigs and all kinds of birds, which is unheard of for Dutch markets.

Antwerp Zoo fun.

They had a birds of prey show, which was very enjoyable. One cheeky bird just kept coming back for treats while they tried to get it into its cage.

Did you know that the people in Antwerp are insanely irresponsible when it comes to zoos? You could get really close to these penguins, which some people saw as an opportunity to pet them. At another part, we saw someone getting within petting distance of a bird that looked ready to strike, and one parent let their child drink out of a fish pond…

That’s it for this month! I’ve been promising to do something tasty for some time now, and hopefully September can give me that opportunity!