crimson diamond gazette  

 

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Game DEMO on Steam (Win PC & Mac)

Game DEMO on itch.io (Win PC & Mac)

Game DEMO on Fireflower Games (Win PC)

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Find game bugs? feedback@thecrimsondiamond.com

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Become a Patreon!

Become a Patron!

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Paypal:

 

Fourthwall Merch Store link

Fourthwall merch store

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MEDIA

YakWaxLips video: Most Anticipated Adventure Games of 2024!

Adventure Game Hotspot's PIXEL ART Adventure Games you MUST PLAY in 2024

Adventure Game Geek's Upcoming Adventure Games 2024...And Beyond!

vicek83's "Plans for Adventure Game Developers for 2024" (guest spot)

Rock Paper Shotgun Screenshot Saturday Monday

Adventure Game Hotspot interview

FireFlower Games interview article

Hello Playdate Podcast interview

FMM Live: Discussion with Julia Minamata Dev of The Crimson Diamond

2D Game Art Tips for Solo or Small Teams -- Pre-recorded panel

Scene World Podcast #160 - The Crimson Diamond with Julia Minamata

vicek83's "Plans for Adventure Game Developers for 2023" (guest spot)

Exposing Decades-old Secrets of The Colonel's Bequest (guest spot)

Adventure Game Hotspot Streaming Event Guest Spot #1

Adventure Game Hotspot Streaming Event Guest Spot #2

Current "The Crimson Diamond Demo" Speedrun World Records

The Crimson Diamond on Speedruns.com

Disaster SquadCast episode

"Talking To Women About Videogames" podcast episode part 2 of 2

"Talking To Women About Videogames" podcast episode part 1 of 2

Joystick interview (in English)

Joystick interview (in Greek)

IGDA Twin Cities Talk: "The Practical Magic of Pixel Art"

Steam Next Fest (Oct 2021) Developer's Let's Play of The Crimson Diamond Demo

The Genesis Temple Podcast #8 – Julia Minamata (The Crimson Diamond, Space Warlord Organ Trading Simulator)

Interviews from the Multiverse: Julia Minamata

Lockdown Con II "The Indie Games Revolution" Panel (first panel of the day)

WIRED.com's Geek's Guide to the Galaxy

WIRED.com article

Pixelles BIPOC Creator Program grant recipient

usesthis interview (interview about my hardware and software set-up)

8-bit Ninja interview about The Crimson Diamond (in German)

CAAD52 magazine article about The Crimson Diamond (in Spanish

HomeTeam GameDev Podcast -- Guest Julia Minamata

Youtube Live-stream Playlist

CityNews - Canada Showcased Through Video Games

CBC Thunder Bay - Superior Morning Radio Interview

TVOntario article

YouTube LP Playlist

Big Boss Battle -- Featured

Escapist Magazine article

Classic Adventurer, Issue 07 -- Featured

Adventure Gamers AdventureX Round-up, part II

Scarborough Mirror Article

Digital Roadmap Article

Medium.com Article

IndieGames+ Article

PC GAMER Article

Adventure Gamers Announcement Article

Adventure Corner Article (German)

The CGG Podcast: # 44 Third appearance, updates since April 2019!

The CGG Podcast: #20 The Crimson Diamond updates & The Colonel's Bequest

The CGG Podcast: #1 Episode featuring me discussing The Crimson Diamond

 

 

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Indie Cup Canada nominee

CanadianGameDevs Laurel

Wordplay showcase

 

 

 

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To view the current issue in browser, click here

Click here for the entire DevBlog

Editor: Julia Minamata - julia@thecrimsondiamond.com

WWW.THECRIMSONDIAMOND.COM

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February 2024

February scenery

Hello, dear readers! Happy February! We've had an unseasonally mild February here in Ontario, so I managed to get out to a park last weekend. The ducks had the same idea!


Robarts Library

We finally got some sunshine in Toronto! It was glorious! Here's a beautifully brutalist building in our downtown, The John P. Robarts Research Library!

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Developer update: Alpha version 2.0 is nearly complete! I'm doing my last checks (with a lot of bug-fixing along the way) and I've made some improvements! I'm excited to get to work on the last set of assets. The end is in sight!

Please wishlist The Crimson Diamond on Steam, it really helps me out!

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Adventure Game Hotspot 2024 list

Adventure Game Hotspot featured The Crimson Diamond in their list "33 Adventure Games to Get Excited About in 2024"! Hooray! Read the full article here. AGH is organizing an adventure games focused event in Tacoma, Washington this summer. They're currently running a Kickstarter! I won't be able to make it, but I hope it goes well!

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VirtualMoose

I love discovering Crimson Diamond posts, and am always glad when people share them with me! Michael Klamerus of Virtual Moose wrote a post titled "Games I’m Looking Forward to in 2024" and included TCD! Thanks so much, Michael!

Check out the blog post here!

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ResetEraPost

Here's a discussion about The Crimson Diamond on resetera from May 2023 that I only discovered recently! I'm always grateful when people take the time to share my game.

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Noclip doc thumbnail

Speaking of discoveries, I was over the moon to find some of my EGA portraits in the Noclip documentary about Return to Monkey Island! What a pleasant surprise! I was commissioned to produce more than a dozen portraits of LucasArts game developers for Limited Run Games' Monkey Island 30th Anniversary Anthology edition. It's sold out now, and tough to obtain. So I was happy to see the portraits in the documentary, where more people can see them!

Noclip doc Ron

Noclip doc Dave

Noclip doc Tim

To see the process of me working on this style of portrait, check out this video! And here's a video of me showing some of the LucasArts portraits!

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Pantsmo Start screen

Here's an incredible Cosmo's Cosmic Adventure mod made just for me, by eviltentacle (via Twitch) and Emmxyzzy (one of my favourite DOS game streamers on Twitch)! My heart is so full. I am now playing Pantsmo's Pantaloon Adventure as my warm-up game before my Let's Plays! I am going to thoroughly enjoy all that Pantsmo has to offer.

I LOVE EGA and I love Apogee 2D scrolling platforming games... But I don't love Pantsmo in his original state (aka Cosmo) where he is non-panted. Thanks to these lovely folks, I can now enjoy this game! Hooray! <3

 

Pantsmo title screen

Here's the title screen. Check out the pantsed UFO and also a familiar face in the bushes!

 

Pantsmo closeup Nancy

Pantsmo game

The wonderfully pantsful gameplay

 

Pantsmo figure

Look at how happy Pantsmo is! If you're interested in spreading joy by modding DOS games, check out Camoto, a collection of utilities to do just that! It can even run in web browser, with no installation!

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CosmicVoid Dan VOD

Dan's back from touring in Australia with Sean Paul! We had a busy stream on February 6. Dantheband was on --and special guest CosmicVoid, the indie game dev who recently released Twilight Oracle! If you enjoy the game, please leave him a review on Steam. Check out his other games here! Pantsmo also debuted on this stream, as seen above!

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fourthwall store

If you'd like some awesome The Crimson Diamond stickers, hats, t-shirts and more, I have some fun stuff on my Fourthwall store!

And if you're interested in setting up a Fourthwall store of your own, here's my referral link (I'd get $15 credit :D).

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Art Stream VOD thumbnail

Art streams continue! I'm nearly finished this museum close-up shot, looking forward to tackling the next background. There's still plenty of art to complete before game launch!

Livestream VOD round-up! All the streams since last gazette are here!

Jan 30th art stream, Feb 6th CosmicVoid/art/music stream, Feb 13th art stream

Crimson C'Tuesday happens every Tuesday at 8pm Eastern on Twitch! Come and hang out!

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High Seas Homicide Ending

After a bit of difficulty (see above screenshot of my inventory corrupting into ASCII), I managed to finish High Seas Homicide! I live for little EGA adventure games like this. Thanks to my stream chat for the recommendation! Here's the finale, and here's the full playlist!

 

Denarius Avaricius Sextust Let's Play thumbnail

I've started a new Let's Play! Denarius Avaricius Sextus, by Thorsoft of Letchworth (1992). Another EGA text parser adventure game! It's a really neat game with a unique interface. I'm having a lot of fun with it!

 

Denarius Avaricius Sextus VOD thumbnail

Even this odd gladiatorial lion-fight minigame was kinda fun! It's in part two of this Let's Play.

 

My completed Let's Plays:

Personal Nightmare (Horrorsoft 1989)

Last Half of Darkness (Softlab Software Laboratories 1989)

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (LucasArts 1989)

Rise of the Dragon Let's Play (Dynamix, 1990)

The Sorceror's Appraisal (Yahtzee Croshaw, 2002)

Cruise for a Corpse (Delphine Software International, 1991)

Mortville Manor (Lankhor, 1987)

Legend of the Sword (Silicon Software, 1988)

Loom (Lucasfilm Games, 1990)

Altered Destiny (Accolade, 1990)

The Dark Convergence (Jeffrey Kintz, 1993)

The Dark Convergence 2 (Jeffrey Kintz, 1994)

High Seas Homicide (Sherwood Forest Software, 1993)

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CRAFT CORNER

Rise of the Dragon Cross-stitch WIP

Nearly complete! I'm very pleased with this little cross-stitch project. Though the EGA brown I have listed below... I might swap that out for a different brown. But because I have plenty of DMC 301, I'll use that one up before ordering the new brown.

Rise of the Dragon cross stitch work in progress

Here are the DMC embroidery floss colours I used for my EGA palette:

EGA DMC thread colour numbers

 

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Little garnets in rocks I found

MINERAL TRIVIA SECTION

DID YOU KNOW: There are indeed garnets in Ontario! The park visit I mentioned at the top of the gazette yielded some more stones to add to my vast collection. I love finding actual garnets on the shores of Lake Ontario, embedded in schist. They're not rare but it's still a real treat to find lovely specimens!

Malinda Prud'homme's photo from malindaprudhomme.com/minerals.html

Above image from https://malindaprudhomme.com/minerals.html

Here's a fantastic photo of an overview of different types of garnets from Malinda Prud'homme's mineralogy site! Malinda has a Youtube channel called Malinda's Minerals, the above image is from the garnet video. Check it out here!

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Holiday card 2022 animation

INTERESTED IN SUPPORTING THE CRIMSON DIAMOND?

Check the sidebar for links to my Patreon and PayPal! Or visit The Crimson Diamond's Steam page follow the game, and add it to your wishlist! There's a FREE playable demo too, for Windows PC and Mac! <3

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Thanks for reading! Happy February! 2024 is the year of The Crimson Diamond!

-- JM

 

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January 2024

Watercolour Dido card

Hello, dear readers! Happy January! Happy New Year! It's the Year of the Dragon, AND the Year of The Crimson Diamond! At long last, I'll be launching my game in 2024. Exciting!

I finally mailed out my holiday cards to my $5+ tier Patreon patrons! I'll be sure to share the 2023 holiday card art in the next issue of the Crimson Gazette.

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Developer update: ALL of the music tracks that Dan's composed are now implemented in the game! And now that the holiday cards have been sent off, after this issue of the gazette is complete I will be back working on the alpha build. I feel like I haven't touched the game in weeks and I'm getting a bit antsy!

Please wishlist The Crimson Diamond on Steam, it really helps me out!

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vicek83's video

As has become an annual tradition, Youtuber vicek83 asked me to contribute to his video "Plans of adventure games developers for 2024"! This is the third (fourth?) time I've promised The Crimson Diamond in the following year... But I really mean it this time!!

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Adventure Game Hotspot video

The year is off to a great start! A few adventure game Youtubers have made 2024 game launch announcement videos and were excited enough about The Crimson Diamond to include it in their lists!

Adventure Game Hotspot gives TCD a mention in their video "PIXEL ART Adventure Games you MUST PLAY in 2024"! Hooray!

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Adventure Game Geek video

Adventure Game Geek made a very funny video called "Upcoming Adventure Games 2024...And Beyond!" in which he slaps some creative adventure game launch dates onto a colourful 2024 calendar! Check it out to see where TCD lands! xD

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Yak Wax Lips video

YakWaxLips posted his video "Most Anticipated Adventure Games of 2024! Top 15 Upcoming Point & Click Games for PC", and it's got a fantastic selection (TCD included)! So much to look forward to!

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IAmFastWolfStream

Over on Twitch, streamer IamFastWolf streamed The Crimson Diamond demo recently! I wasn't able to watch live, but I will definitely be checking out the VOD. I love when streamers take the time to stream the TCD demo, please let me know when you do and I'll do my best to be there!

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Level O NPCs Dagger of Amon Ra Let's Play begins!

The Level 0 NPCs are back, and we've started playing Laura Bow 2: The Dagger of Amon Ra (fantastic thumbnail art by NPC Matthew Goodmanson, as usual!). Laura has a lot more to say in this one, so expect more half-baked Southern accent from me! We're sorta planning to play The Crimson Diamond after we finish Dagger, so expect me to delay this Let's Play at every turn! :P

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fourthwall store

If you'd like some awesome The Crimson Diamond stickers, hats, t-shirts and more, I have some fun stuff on my Fourthwall store!

And if you're interested in setting up a Fourthwall store of your own, here's my referral link (I'd get $15 credit :D).

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January 9 stream video

I'm back, streaming more pixel art! This museum close-up shot is nearly complete, though I still have to make a close-up version of Professor Plummer (whose name is a combination of Professor Plum from Clue and late, distinguished Canadian actor Christopher Plummer).

Livestream VOD round-up! All the streams since last gazette are here!

Dec 19th art stream, Jan 9th art stream (I took two weeks off for the holidays).

Crimson C'Tuesday happens every Tuesday at 8pm Eastern on Twitch! Come and hang out!

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High Seas Homicide thumbnail

New year, new Let's Play! I've started High Seas Homicide (1993) by Sherwood Forest Software. It hits all five of my favourite things:

1. EGA

2. Text parser

3. Mystery

4. Adventure game

5. Set primarily in a house or some other circumscribed location

I'm really enjoying it so far!

 

My completed Let's Plays:

Personal Nightmare (Horrorsoft 1989)

Last Half of Darkness (Softlab Software Laboratories 1989)

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (LucasArts 1989)

Rise of the Dragon Let's Play (Dynamix, 1990)

The Sorceror's Appraisal (Yahtzee Croshaw, 2002)

Mortville Manor (Lankhor, 1987)

Legend of the Sword (Silicon Software, 1988)

Loom (Lucasfilm Games, 1990)

Altered Destiny (Accolade, 1990)

The Dark Convergence (Jeffrey Kintz, 1993)

The Dark Convergence 2 (Jeffrey Kintz, 1994)

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CRAFT CORNER

Rise of the Dragon cross-stitch progress

I've made some really good progress on my EGA Rise of the Dragon cross-stitch! I wonder what I'll be tackling next..

Rise of the Dragon cross stitch work in progress

Here's what he'll look like when he's finished!

Here are the DMC embroidery floss colours I used for my EGA palette:

EGA DMC thread colour numbers

 

Parlour cross stitch framed by fabric

It's a double Crafts Corner this month! My amazing mom sewed a lovely double border for my The Crimson Diamond parlour cross-stitch. I love the "dithered" white and green!

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Ekati diamond mine (photo: Dominion Diamond Mines)

Aerial view of the Ekati diamond mine. Photo: Dominion Diamond Mines

 

MINERAL TRIVIA SECTION

DID YOU KNOW: There really ARE diamond mines in northern Canada, and they're currently active! This recent article, by Ollie Williams at Cabin Radio, reports that the Ekati Diamond Mine in the Northwest Territories may remain active until well into the 2030s, thanks to new technology and extraction methods. The impact on the enviroment is evident from the above photo. Will Crimson, Ontario look like this in the future?

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Holiday card 2022 animation

INTERESTED IN SUPPORTING THE CRIMSON DIAMOND?

Check the sidebar for links to my Patreon and PayPal! Or visit The Crimson Diamond's Steam page follow the game, and add it to your wishlist! There's a FREE playable demo too, for Windows PC and Mac! <3

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Thanks for reading! Happy January! 2024 is the year of The Crimson Diamond!

-- JM

 

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December 2023

Nature photo taken by me

Hello, dear readers! Happy December! There hasn't been any snow accumulation yet in Canada, but I'm sure that it's just around the corner. Another year has flown by!

I'm doing my last stream of the year on December 19th at 8pm Eastern, it'll be my special holiday stream! I'll be giving away Patreon holiday card packs and a piece of merch from my Fourthwall store! Come celebrate with me! Find me on Twitch!

 

Twitch recap

Speaking of the year passing by, here's my Twitch recap! The image is a bit hard to read, so here are the stats: 6.11k hours watched, 59 streams, 450 new followers, 55 new subscribers, and 33k chats sent! "59 streams" requires a bit of explaining: I usually stream once a week, with two weeks off for the winter holidays and the occasional day or two here or there. But when my livestream crashes and I start it back up again, that counts as a new stream!

Thanks so much to everyone who comes to Crimson C'Tuesdays (8pm Eastern!). It's the social highlight of my week. Follow Twitch my channel here!

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Developer update: The alpha version of The Crimson Diamond is now in the hands of my amazing testers. They've already found plenty of bugs, though fortunately nothing too bad yet! My next order of business is to work on finishing up all the art assets. After that, amazingly... The game will be finished. 2024!

Please wishlist The Crimson Diamond on Steam, it really helps me out!

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Patreon holiday bonus pack!

It's that time again! My Patreon NEW Patron Bonus Pack! If you become a new $5 tier patron over the holiday season (defined as now until when I send out my holiday cards, which probably won't be until early next year), you will receive all that you see in the above photo! That's the last three years' holiday cards, a Crimson Diamond postcard, 2023's holiday card, and a little Nancy Maple sticker! Here's a link to my Patreon page.

A heartfelt thank you to all my Patreon supporters. <3

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My new Adventure Game Studio workshop

I recorded this Adventure Game Studio Workshop video for the Hand Eye Society's SuperFESTival 2023! The Hand Eye Society is a Toronto-based not-for-profit organization that showcases and suppports indie game developement. And SuperFESTival is an online-only event hosted on the Hand Eye Society's Twitch channel that featured a game showcase, speakers, and workshops!

This workshop is 1.5 hours and covers all the basic features of Adventure Game Studio 3.6 and will walk you step-by-step through how to use those features!

Two years ago I recorded a 1 hour video of an older version of AGS, but I'd definitely recommend the above updated version!

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TCD is an Indie Cup Canada nominee

The Crimson Diamond didn't win Indie Cup Canada's Rising Star award, but I'm very proud and appreciative that it got nominated. The field was very strong! It was a very well-organized event, and the jury left some helpful feedback. They're also keeping a very professional page on their site for The Crimson Diamond! Check it out here .

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Rock Paper Shotgun feature

The Crimson Diamond was featured in Alice O'Connor's Rock Paper Shotgun Screenshot Saturday Monday, this time with the ol' fish and bucket image! It feels great to get some games media coverage for TCD.

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Level 0 NPC's finishes The Colonel's Bequest

The Level 0 NPCs have COMPLETED The Colonel's Bequest! My very first game as an NPC, and definitely not my last! We did surprisingly well on the Sleuth-o-meter, all things considered! We will be starting up Dagger of Amon Ra in the new year. I'm very excited!

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Benie Plays Games image

Speedy Adventures community member and Twitch streamer BerniePlaysGames was speedrunning The Crimson Diamond demo this month!

I haven't had a chance to watch the VOD yet, but I'm looking forward to it! I try to watch every stream of the demo. It's extremely valuable feedback. I also try to be in chat when the stream is happening, so if you are planning on streaming The Crimson Diamond demo, please let me know and I'll do my best to pop into chat! I will give free hints!

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fourthwall store

If you'd like some awesome The Crimson Diamond stickers, hats, t-shirts and more, I have some fun stuff on my Fourthwall store!

And if you're interested in setting up a Fourthwall store of your own, here's my referral link (I'd get $15 credit :D).

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Charity calendar

A reminder that I contributed a Recommendation Dog!! piece for this 2024 calender project by Xania Lasagna. A portion of the proceeds will be going to adopt an animal through the WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature).

Recommendation Dog!! is a FREE on Playdate Catalog! I did art and art directed the game, which was produced by Strange Scaffold and Sweet Baby Inc.! The other artist on the project was Rafael Batista de Lima, an amazing pixel artist and fellow indie game dev!

charity calendar image 2

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Music Stream Dec12 with Dan Policar

The Crimson Diamond musician Dan Policar has treated us to more music streams since last gazette! As of the publication of this issue, Dan has made two appearances. We've been refining the tracks he's composed live on stream. It's been lovely to revisit the pieces and get them ready to put in the game!

Livestream VOD round-up! All the streams since last gazette are here!

Nov 21st art/music stream, Nov 28th art/music stream, Adventure Game Studio Workshop, and Dec 5 art stream!

Crimson C'Tuesday happens every Tuesday at 8pm Eastern on Twitch!

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The Dark Convergence 2 photo

I've started playing Dark Convergence II: The Hideous Trigoli, by Jeffrey Kintz! I feel very fortunate that Jeffrey himself has supplied me with this copy. Thanks, Jeffrey! Hugo's House of Horrors is a well-known EGA text parser adventure game made by a solo game dev (David P. Gray) of the same era, but I believe Jeffrey Kintz deserves to be appreciated just as much. I have so much respect for game devs in the early 1990s. It was much harder to make games back then, especially if you were doing it on your own. Here's to the trail-blazers!

 

My completed Let's Plays:

Personal Nightmare (Horrorsoft 1989)

Last Half of Darkness (Softlab Software Laboratories 1989)

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (LucasArts 1989)

Rise of the Dragon Let's Play (Dynamix, 1990)

The Sorceror's Appraisal (Yahtzee Croshaw, 2002)

Mortville Manor (Lankhor, 1987)

Legend of the Sword (Silicon Software, 1988)

Loom (Lucasfilm Games, 1990)

Altered Destiny (Accolade, 1990)

The Dark Convergence (Jeffrey Kintz, 1993)

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CRAFT CORNER

Cross stitch work in progress

The Rise of the Dragon Dragon cross-stitch hasn't progressed very far because I've been working on this year's holiday card. I'll be back to it once those get mailed out.

Rise of the Dragon cross stitch work in progress

Here's what he'll look like when he's finished!

Here are the DMC embroidery floss colours I used for my EGA palette:

EGA DMC thread colour numbers

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My Lake Ontario rock collection

MINERAL TRIVIA SECTION

DID YOU KNOW: Rocks come in an infinite variety of colours, mineral compositions, and shapes, and each is completely unique! And they're everywhere. The above photo is my collection of rocks from the shores of Lake Ontario. My loupe helps me see little embedded crystals, specks of colours, and other secrets hidden from the naked eye.

The Crimson Diamond has enhanced my appreciation for rocks, minerals, and crystals of all kinds. Making this game continues to be one of the most enriching experiences of my life. If you've ever had the urge to do something creative, I encourage you to go for it! The process is its own reward.

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Holiday card 2022 animation

INTERESTED IN SUPPORTING THE CRIMSON DIAMOND?

Check the sidebar for links to my Patreon and PayPal! Or visit The Crimson Diamond's Steam page follow the game, and add it to your wishlist! There's a FREE playable demo too, for Windows PC and Mac! <3

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Thanks for reading! Happy December! And stayed tuned for a 2024 launch!

-- JM

 

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November 2023

Cutty Sark photo

The Cutty Sark in Greenwich. Photo taken by me, 2023.

Ahoy, dear readers! Happy November! This month has been full of adventure, so let's set sail with this month's gazette!

 

AdventureX Day 1 selfie

I was in London attending AdventureX and seeing the sights! Here's what I was wearing on day 1. This is a particularly photo-heavy edition of the gazette, so hold onto your hats! (My Sideways Nancy hat is available on Fourthwall)

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Developer update: The alpha version of The Crimson Diamond is now complete! This milestone was actually reached before I flew to London, I just didn't realize it. I'm currently writing the complete walkthrough (which is also an opportunity to go over the entire game) before sending it off to my beta testers. I've also quietly updated the demo (on Steam, itchio, and Fireflower Games) because there was a bug that erased the player's notebook and didn't allow new notes to be added. Yikes!

Please wishlist The Crimson Diamond on Steam, it really helps me out!

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TCD is an Indie Cup Canada nominee

I'm very excited to announce that The Crimson Diamond has been nominated for Indie Cup Canada's Rising Star award! Here's a link to The Crimson Diamond on the Indie Cup Canada's website. Indie Cup Canada was one of the reasons I wanted to update the demo before I left for London. The other reason was Application Systems Heidelberg was hosting an AdventureX Steam event! I did a special Crimson C'Wednesday stream on my Steam store page for that, during which I played the updated demo. I also showed my trip photos, though I did that again the following Crimson C'Tuesday (I link to that stream below).

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My Twitch chat is full of amazingly talented artists, programmers, and developers! Sakanakao has written a program to automate "draw steps" for artwork and has created these gifs of The Crimson Diamond! Follow Sakanakao on Mastodon, Twitter, Patreon, Youtube, and Twitch, as well as their personal site!

animated draw gif of shed

Artists who use SCI Companion to draw their art (Karl Dupéré-Richer, currently working on Betrayed Alliance, is one of them!) can have their backgrounds show the actual steps they took in the process of drawing them. I am using Photoshop, which means I don't get to genuinely show this cool effect! Thanks to Sakanakao, I can get the next best thing.

Animaged draw gif of Nancy eavesdropping

Animated draw Gif of bar

animated draw gif of boathoue

Animated draw gif of xmas card

Thanks so much, Sakankao!

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Level 0 NPC's continues The Colonel's Bequest

The Level 0 NPCs have returned to playing The Colonel's Bequest! This series was on hiatus to celebrate Horror Month by playing (and finishing!) Phantasmagoria, as well as for Krulltember. But we're back now, chattering at length while Laura stands stock-still, staring out at the screen at us. Occasionally and accidentally we do make progress in the game!

Level 0 tshirt

Luke sent me this GORGEOUS Level 0 NPCs shirt just in time for my trip! I proudly sported it on day 2 (see those photos below). I've been a fan of the Level 0 NPCs for years, I'm so happy and proud to be a member now. Check out their channel here!

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fourthwall store

If you'd like some awesome The Crimson Diamond stickers, hats, t-shirts and more, I have some fun stuff on my Fourthwall store!

And if you're interested in setting up a Fourthwall store of your own, here's my referral link (I'd get $15 credit :D).

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Charity calendar

This just in! I contributed a Recommendation Dog!! piece for this 2024 calender project by Xania Lasagna that celebrates the Playdate! A portion of the proceeds will be going to adopt an animal through the WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature).

Recommendation Dog!! is a FREE on Playdate Catalog! I did art and art directed the game, which was produced by Strange Scaffold and Sweet Baby Inc.! The other artist on the project was Rafael Batista de Lima, an amazing pixel artist and fellow indie game dev!

charity calendar image 2

Xania sent me a sample of the calendar -- It's gorgeous! The calendar cards are printed on glossy cardstock and are presented on a handy little wooden stand. The package comes with this little booklet that has profiles of all the contributors! Check it out!

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A reminder that my Patreon tiers have changed! Now, all current patrons will have their names in the credits of The Crimson Diamond when it launches. The default is to have names included, and the name used will be the Patreon profile name. If you'd like to opt-out or use a different name, please message me on Patreon! Here's a link to my Patreon page.

I've also retired my $1 tier, but patrons on that tier will still get their name in the credits, and nothing changes for them! Retiring a tier just means no new patrons can join it.

A heartfelt thank you to all my Patreon supporters. <3

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Halloween Stream

I did a pre-Hallowe'en stream (because I was in London for actual Hallowe'en), but I did want to dress up and have some fun! I did a Fourthwall giveaway, showed my past costumes and spooky art, and started a new Let's Play: The Dark Convergence. It was spooktacular! I've since finished it, it's a very tough text parser game but I love the art and greatly admire Jeffrey Kintz, the solo developer who made it. In fact, Jeffrey found the video of my Let's Play on Youtube and offered to supply me with a copy of the sequel, The Dark Convergence II! I'm very pleased to announce that I will be Let's Playing the sequel next!

 

London Stream phto

If you'd like to see more photos of my AdventureX/London trip with commentary, check out this VOD! I show more food, more bits of art, and tell my story of the Three Harrod's treasures that I encountered!

 

Dan stream photo

We had a Dan on stream! We revisted some Crimson Diamond tracks and Dan polished them up. It's always good times with Dan!

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The Dark Convergence photo

Livestream VOD round-up! All the streams since last gazette are here!

Oct 17th art/music stream, Oct 24th Pre-Hallowe'en Special art stream, Crimson C'WEDNESDAY Steam event stream ,and Nov 24th art stream!

Crimson C'Tuesday happens every Tuesday at 8pm Eastern on Twitch!

My completed Let's Plays:

Personal Nightmare (Horrorsoft 1989)

Last Half of Darkness (Softlab Software Laboratories 1989)

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (LucasArts 1989)

Rise of the Dragon Let's Play (Dynamix, 1990)

The Sorceror's Appraisal (Yahtzee Croshaw, 2002)

Mortville Manor (Lankhor, 1987)

Legend of the Sword (Silicon Software, 1988)

Loom (Lucasfilm Games, 1990)

Altered Destiny (Accolade, 1990)

The Dark Convergence (Jeffrey Kintz, 1993)

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CRAFT CORNER

Dragon cross stitch

The Rise of the Dragon Dragon cross-stitch continues! Roddy (that's his name to me) is slowly taking shape. Slowly but surely!

Rise of the Dragon cross stitch work in progress

Here's what he'll look like when he's finished!

Here are the DMC embroidery floss colours I used for my EGA palette:

EGA DMC thread colour numbers

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Thames rocks

MINERAL TRIVIA SECTION

DID YOU KNOW: Rocks come in incredible varieties, all over the world! I've become very familiar with the rocks on the Lake Ontario shore. When I went down to the bank of the Thames by Greenwich, it was immediately apparent how different those rocks were. They had glossy surfaces, which I initially thought was due to them being wet. I then thought I was looking at fragments of glazed ceramics. But when I saw the large-ish rock on on the upper left in the above picture, it was clear that this is actually a feature of the rocks! Upon doing a bit of research, I've concluded it's a type of chert, specifically chert nodules.

There is a English pasttime called mudlarking, which consists of searching those rocky shores not only for interesting rocks, but bits of pottery, coins, pipes, any number of things. There's a long history of humans using the Thames as a trade route. This has filled the shore with all sorts of objects, with new objects washing up every day. Here's an article on mudlarking. Cloak & Dagger Games has even made an adventure game about mudlarks!

Thames shore

I spent about twenty minutes on the shore, I could've easily whiled away an entire day. What wonderful mysteries lie just at our feet?

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Here are the AdventureX/London photos! I had an amazing time.

AdventureX Day 2 selfie

My AdventureX day 2 outfit. Featuring that gorgeous Level 0 NPCs tshirt and an AGS Blue Cup sticker on my id badge, given to me by ioannis John KarAvas!

 

AdventureX swag

AdventureX swag! Nice to see an ad for Rosewater! Cover art by Hannes Pasqualini.

 

AdventureX Venue

The event was hosted by Greenwich University, and the talks were given in this theatre. It was a good venue, except pretty warm and airless. I'm glad I wore my Flo mask (the most comfortable mask I've tried so far).

 

Adventure Game Geek photo

So happy to run into Adventure Game Geek, wearing his EGA bucket bucket hat! Hat buddies! Adventure Game Geek is a fantastic Youtuber who reviews adventure games, both new and old. Check out his channel here!

 

Greenwich clock

This is Meridian House, Greenwich's former town hall. It was built in 1939. I love the massive brickiness of this industrial Art Deco building.

 

Me and illustrator Graham Round

Here's me and Graham Round! His Usborne Solve It Yourself books made a HUGE impression on me when I was growing up. I never thought I'd actually get to sit down to lunch with him. I feel incredibly lucky.

 

Usborne Solve it Yourself

"Escape from Blood Castle" was the first Solve It Yourself book. The art style, the bright colours, the puzzle/mystery/adventure aspects... It's contains everything I love and want to create.

Book signed by Graham Round

Graham signed my copy and drew this lovely sketch!

 

The card I painted for Graham Round

I made this card to give to Graham, to thank him for meeting up with me. And to thank him for inspiring me for all these years. It combines the characters, settings, and some items in all four of his Usborne Solve It Yourself / Puzzle Adventure books!

 

Graham Round original art

I also got to visit his studio and see some stunning original art.

 

Hangdog, written and illutrated by Graham Round

AND he gave me a copy of "Hangdog" the one published book that he wrote and illustrated!

 

Graham's cat tiger

Here's his cat Tiger, who is a sweetheart.

 

watercolour tubes

Fellow EGA adventure game developer and AdventureX attendee Stephen Schroeder tipped me off to the Greenwich art store that was attached to the AdventureX venue. I found these tubes of Winsor Newton (English brand!) watercolours, some the pricier professional grade, on clearance sale for £1 each!

watercolour colours

Here are the colours. I can't wait to try them in an art piece.

 

Beni, a Japanese pigment

There was a small exhibit on Beni (a red pigment derived from safflowers, which has a Japanese origin) at the Victoria & Albert Museum. The coolest thing about Beni is that if it's applied thickly it appears irridescent green, otherwise it's flat red. Magic!

 

Jamie Benning of Filmumentaries podcast

Another online friend I got to meet for the first time in real life was Jamie Benning, host of the Filmumentaries podcast! He's interviewed many film and tv industry legends, including Walter Murch (Return to Oz), Garrett Brown (inventor of the Steadicam), and Ryan Condal (House of the Dragon showrunner)! He's also co-written the book Return of the Jedi Unauthorized Timeline!

 

English breakfast

I made sure to get my fill of English cuisine. Such as the full English breakfast!

 

Fish and chips

Fish and chips (with the best thick-cut chips and tartar sauce I've ever had).

 

Sunday Roast

And Sunday roast!

 

Harrod's

I suppose this amounts to the Harrod's food court! I LOVE Harrod's. It's basically the best, most opulent department store on the planet. Here's a timestamped link of me talking about my 2023 Harrod's experience, including the 3 Harrod's Treasures that I encountered during my visit.

 

Saatchi's gift shop

I also visited the very excellent Saatchi Gallery and nearly bought one of these ultra vibrant tea light holders from the gift shop. So many tempting goodies!

 

Hokusai's wave

The Young V&A had an exhibit called Japan: Myths to Manga. It had this famous Hokusai print in it. As many times as I've seen this piece online, it's still mindblowing to see an original.

 

Painted Hall's illusory stairs

The Painted Hall in Greenwich was also stunning. One of my favourite parts was these trompe l'oeil (trick the eye / visual illusion) stairs. This is a flat wall!

Departing flight, British Airways

The glorious sunset at Heathrow, marking the end of my adventure. Thanks for coming along for the ride.

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Holiday card 2022 animation

INTERESTED IN SUPPORTING THE CRIMSON DIAMOND?

Check the sidebar for links to my Patreon and PayPal! Or visit The Crimson Diamond's Steam page follow the game, and add it to your wishlist! There's a FREE playable demo too, for Windows PC and Mac! <3

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Thanks for reading! Happy November!

-- JM

 

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October 2023

autumn photo 2

Hello, dear readers! Happy October! The colours are changing in our Ontario parks. It's crisp and cool out, but not yet frigid. A lovely time of year, though the long dark winter is just around the corner.

autumn photo

autumn photo 1

I took the EGA bucket bucket hat out for some fresh air! I couldn't be happier with how the embroidery turned out. Get your own EGA bucket bucket hat here!

autumn photo 4

Those five shapes on the right are swans. Reminds me of Loom!

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Developer update: The first draft of all the writing in chapter 7 is complete! Whew! This is the chapter where player choices and what the player learned during the rest of the game really affects what's seen and said. Lots of tricky combinations! After I test this bit, it'll be on to making the assets. A fair amount of art is being reused, but there still is a LOT to do. Onwards!

Please wishlist The Crimson Diamond on Steam, it really helps me out!

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Goemonsama art

I love when people make The Crimson Diamond-inspired art! This gorgeous piece is by Goemonsama, a comics artist and illustrator! Check out his site here. He made this during my Let's Play of Altered Destiny, placing Nancy Maple in the crystal caverns in that game (see below)! Goemonsama is also on Mastodon, and has a ko-fi account too!

Altered Destiny crystal cave reference

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Rock Paper Shotgun screencap

I was super excited to see this mention of The Crimson Diamond in Rock Paper Shotgun! Alice O'Connor writes a feature called Screenshot Saturday Mondays, where she picks some interesting games out of the #screenshotSaturday hashtag every week and showcases them on the following Monday. Thank you Alice, for supporting indie devs!

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Level 0 Horror Month avatars

Krulltember is over, long live Horror Month! I'm a longtime fan of the Level 0 NPCs, and Horror Month was always my favourite time of year to watch their channel. Now that I'm a Level 0 NPC myself, I feel like it's all come full circle. Check out the spook-tacular character art Matt made -- I couldn't be more pleased with my rendition as a witchy-witch!

Phantasmagoria video thumbnail

This year's Horror Month is a continuation of their Phantasmagoria Let's Play! Here's the full playlist. I come in at episode 11, "BabyLife(tm)"!

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fourthwall store

If you'd like some awesome The Crimson Diamond stickers, hats, t-shirts and more, I have some fun stuff on my Fourthwall store!

And if you're interested in setting up a Fourthwall store of your own, here's my referral link (I'd get $15 credit :D).

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A reminder that my Patreon tiers have changed! Now, all current patrons will have their names in the credits of The Crimson Diamond when it launches. The default is to have names included, and the name used will be the Patreon profile name. If you'd like to opt-out or use a different name, please message me on Patreon! Here's a link to my Patreon page.

I've also retired my $1 tier, but patrons on that tier will still get their name in the credits, and nothing changes for them! Retiring a tier just means no new patrons can join it.

A heartfelt thank you to all my Patreon supporters. <3

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vod thumbnail

Livestream VOD round-up! Work continues on the museum close-up shot and I re-start and complete Altered Destiny with the help of a walkthough!

September 19th art stream, September 26th art stream, October 3rd art stream,and October 10th art stream!

Crimson C'Tuesday happens every Tuesday at 8pm Eastern on Twitch!

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finale of Let's Play Altered Destiny

My Altered Destiny is now complete! I finally broke out a walkthrough. It's a fairly short game if you've got the walkthrough, but it's next to impossible to complete on your own. I'm happy I got to experience it, and to see the beautiful EGA art. Here's the full Altered Destiny playlist! I have an idea of what I'll be playing next -- Stay tuned!

Altered Destiny is available on GOG and Steam!

My completed Let's Plays:

Personal Nightmare (Horrorsoft 1989)

Last Half of Darkness (Softlab Software Laboratories 1989)

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (LucasArts 1989)

Rise of the Dragon Let's Play (Dynamix, 1990)

The Sorceror's Appraisal (Yahtzee Croshaw, 2002)

Mortville Manor (Lankhor, 1987)

Legend of the Sword (Silicon Software, 1988)

Loom (Lucasfilm Games, 1990)

Altered Destiny (Accolade, 1990)

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CRAFT CORNER

Legend of the Sword cross-stitch done

My Legend of the Sword cross-stitch is finished! I'm very pleased with how it turned out, though the greens have been difficult to duplicate. Below you'll see my attempts at recreating the EGA palette with DMC embroidery thread:

Cross-stitch EGA threads

The top palette is my current working version of the EGAcolours in embroidery floss, the middle palette is EGA as it's displayed on screen, and the bottom palette is an alternate version of my embroidery thread palette (though the greys, black, white, and yellow are the same for both). I think the light green is the furthest from the target, but the best I've found so far. Maybe I can find neon green, and a neon pink for the magenta? The search continues!

Here are the DMC embroidery floss colours I used for my EGA palette:

EGA DMC thread colour numbers

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my azurite

MINERAL TRIVIA SECTION

DID YOU KNOW: Azurite can be found in Canada! I had no idea! The azurite is the tiny dark blue crystals, the green bits are malachite, and this whole specimens is from the Empress of India Mine in Yukon, Canada. I bought this piece from a vendor at the Bancraoft Gemboree. The Empress of India Mine is located within the Whitehorse Copper Belt. Both azurite and malachite are copper-based minerals. In fact, if azurite is exposed to air over a long period or time, it deteriorates into malachite! That's why these two minerals are often found together. Fascinating!

Azurite scale photo

This photo gives a better idea of the scale of the specimen. I've always loved the combination of azurite and malachite. It looks like an alien landscape.

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Holiday card 2022 animation

INTERESTED IN SUPPORTING THE CRIMSON DIAMOND?

Check the sidebar for links to my Patreon and PayPal! Or visit The Crimson Diamond's Steam page follow the game, and add it to your wishlist! There's a FREE playable demo too, for Windows PC and Mac! <3

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Thanks for reading! Happy October!

-- JM

 

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September 2023

monarch butterly outside

Hello, dear readers! Happy September! The weather has cooled down quickly, with cool breezes and cooler nights. It's a lovely time of year. I've got more treasures from the Bancroft Gemboree to share, raising monarch butterflies, dev update, and more!

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Developer update: The design document for chapter seven is complete, and I've finished blocking out the basics for the chapter! Everything is progressing well. This will be the infamous "test of knowledge / debrief" chapter, where the player will need to make some important decisions and then see how the story ends!

Please wishlist The Crimson Diamond on Steam, it really helps me out!

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The Crimson Diamond presskit

At long last, I've created The Crimson Diamond presskit! I had this info on the main page of thecrimsondiamond.com, but this makes it easier for people to read it and follows a familiar template. I used presskit() by Rami Ismail. I'm not all that tech-savvy and had a heck of a time getting it to work properly (my fault), but it's working well enough for me!

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krulltember video thumbnail

Not only is it September, but it's KRULLtember! The first annual Krulltember, in fact! Luke and Matt of the Level 0 NPCs love this movie, me and Alex and Andrew had never seen it. We had a little watch party and did a commentary track! I had a lot of fun and enjoyed the movie. We will be rounding out Krulltember with other Krull media, including the arcade game, Atari game, and more! Stay tuned!

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carol pasternak's book about raising monarch butterflies

My mother discovered this wonderful book about raising monarch butterflies by Carol Pasternak, and wanted to give it a try! She's been growing milkweed in her garden for a few years now, so the time was ripe!

 

faunarium medium size

I ordered this faunarium off of Amazon for her, it's worked really well so far. The caterpillars can climb up the walls and secure themselves to the black lid to pupate.

 

monarch egg

The first step was going to a park with milkweed plants and look on the undersides of the leaves for eggs. They're tiny, smaller than a sesame seed.

 

caterpillars

Three eggs hatched into tiny little worm-looking things, which in turn developed into these fine caterpillars.

 

j-shaped caterpillar

When the caterpillar is ready to pupate it heads up to the lid, glues its rear end up there, and then assumes this j-shape. After a few hours it magically morphs into a green cocoon!

 

monarch cocoon

The caterpillar can still be seen in here.

 

monarch cocoons

The cocoons eventually becaome opaque and green, and will stay like that for 8-12 days. Notice the beautiful golden points!

 

monarch nearly ready to emergy from chrysalis

When the butterly is nearly ready to emerge, the cocoon becomes translucent.

 

monarch butterly freshly emerged

And here's a newly emerged monarch butterfly! When they're freshly out of their cocoon they will hang upside down and still for a few hours while they dry off and a liquid runs off their wings. When they start fluttering, they're ready to be set free!

It's a fascinating process. One monarch egg in one hundred makes it to adulthood, and monarch butterfly populations are in decline. So raising the eggs in a safe environment and releasing the butterflies into the wild helps them out!

My mom is enjoying her new hobby. Her garden is full of flowers that are full of sweet nectar for butterflies and birds alike (and two hearty milkweed plants). Hopefully we'll see more butterflies in her garden next spring and summer!

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fourthwall store

If you'd like some awesome The Crimson Diamond stickers, hats, t-shirts and more, I have some fun stuff on my Fourthwall store!

And if you're interested in setting up a Fourthwall store of your own, here's my referral link (I'd get $15 credit :D).

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A reminder that my Patreon tiers have changed! Now, all current patrons will have their names in the credits of The Crimson Diamond when it launches. The default is to have names included, and the name used will be the Patreon profile name. If you'd like to opt-out or use a different name, please message me on Patreon! Here's a link to my Patreon page.

I've also retired my $1 tier, but patrons on that tier will still get their name in the credits, and nothing changes for them! Retiring a tier just means no new patrons can join it.

A heartfelt thank you to all my Patreon supporters. <3

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music stream with Dan august 29

Music stream with Dan! We revisited and polished up the "Pursuit Theme", one of the tracks for the game! It's always a good time with Dan. Check out that stream here!

August 15th art stream, August 22nd art stream, August 29th music stream, September 5th art stream, and September 12th art stream!

Crimson C'Tuesday happens every Tuesday at 8pm Eastern on Twitch!

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Altered Destiny video thumbnail

Altered Destiny (1990) continues to be a stunning EGA game! Thanks to stream chat I was able to change the music settings from PC speaker to AdLib, then MIDI, and then back to AdLib (when I decided that the more realistic-sounding MIDI piano music didn't mesh so well with the otherwordly setting and visuals). Here's the Altered Destiny playlist so far.

Altered Destiny is available on GOG and Steam!

My completed Let's Plays:

Personal Nightmare (Horrorsoft 1989)

Last Half of Darkness (Softlab Software Laboratories 1989)

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (LucasArts 1989)

Rise of the Dragon Let's Play (Dynamix, 1990)

The Sorceror's Appraisal (Yahtzee Croshaw, 2002)

Mortville Manor (Lankhor, 1987)

Legend of the Sword (Silicon Software, 1988)

Loom (Lucasfilm Games, 1990)

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CRAFT CORNER

Legend of the Sword cross-stitch progress

My Legend of the Sword cross-stitch is coming along nicely! The top frame is complete, the bottom frame is well on its way. I'm already thinking about what to do next!

Legend of the Sword cross-stitch pattern

Here are the DMC embroidery floss colours I used for my EGA palette:

EGA DMC thread colour numbers

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apatite I got

MINERAL TRIVIA SECTION

DID YOU KNOW: The Schicker Fluorite Occurrence is a rock deposit in Ontario where you can obtain amazing samples, direct from the earth! As the name would suggest, the area is abundant with lovely gemmy purple fluorite. But it's also known for other amazing rocks and one of those is apatite (see above photo for the specimens I gathered!). If you are planning on paying a visit to the site, don't forget to fill out the waiver!

These lovely pieces show the chararacteristic crystal habit of apatite (hexagonal columns). They weren't carved or polished in any way -- They came straight out of the dirt like this! It feels like magic.

apatite photo

Here's how big my pieces are. I'm so happy with them!

apatite photo 3

Here's a close-up of the one with the nicest colour, courtesy of my 30x21mm loupe. The top is mossy green and the bottom is rich red. Stunning!

Apatite photo 4

Apatite has a Mohs hardness of 5, which probably explains when it tends to have cracks and fractures throughout. But I think the fractures give it a nice textured look!

apatite photo 6

Here's a top view, which shows that wonderful hexagon!

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Holiday card 2022 animation

INTERESTED IN SUPPORTING THE CRIMSON DIAMOND?

Check the sidebar for links to my Patreon and PayPal! Or visit The Crimson Diamond's Steam page follow the game, and add it to your wishlist! There's a FREE playable demo too, for Windows PC and Mac! <3

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Thanks for reading! Happy September!

-- JM

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August 2023

Bancroft Gemboree mascot

Hello, dear readers! Happy August! July was hot and rainy here in Ontario, August has been surprisingly pleasant. Cool breezes, not too humid, and some exciting mineral acquisitions! Read on!

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Visual note cue toggle

Developer update: All of the assets and animations for chapter six are now complete! All that remains is to polish up the writing and programming, as well as testing. I'm well on my way to having chapter six 100% complete by the end of August! And then one more chapter to go! The above screenshot shows a minor addition -- The ability to toggle the "Visual cue for notes" that pops up when players complete a notebook objective or otherwise perform a game progression action. I wanted to include a visual cue to accompany the audio cue -- Now, either can be on or off (in the audio cue's case, by turning down the sound fx volume)!

Please wishlist The Crimson Diamond on Steam, it really helps me out!

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Bancroft Gemboree button and crest

I attended this year's Bancroft Gemboree! The button is from years ago, when my parents took me and my sister, and the embroidered patch is this year's merch. The show was amazing and featured tons of vendors, interesting talks, and delicious Kawartha Dairy Ice Cream (I heartily recommend the new S'mores flavour!).

Bancroft Gemboree show

So much to look at... and purchase! I'll be sharing my acquisitions in the next few gazettes. My favourite piece is featured in this month's gazette, scroll down to read all about it!

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Level 0 NPC thumbnail

I love The Colonel's Bequest, and I've been a fan of the Level 0 NPCs Youtube channel, for their fun, banter-filled playthroughs of mostly Sierra adventure games. I'm happy to report that I've joined the NPCs for their latest collab Let's Play, which happens to be The Colonel's Bequest!

We play the game... Not efficiently! It's a lot of fun chatter between friends with some minor game progression. In the latest episode (as of this gazette) Matt shares an anecdote about wearing cut-up onions on his feet to treat a persistent cough. We've also discussed favourite tv show theme songs, and if Laura Bow is made of cake. Here's the playlist so far!

Level 0 NPC cast

NPC Matt drew this amazing rogue version of me. I love it so much.

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Robotspacer with shirt

Merch sighting! Awesome adventure game Twitch streamer and game developer Robotspacer wore an EGA bucket t-shirt on a recent stream! Robotspacer is one of my favourite streamers. Not only does he stream games that I'm interested in (he's started a playthrough of Murder Club in EGA!), he's also creating a Mac game in Worldbuilder, a very retro engine. He plans on porting that game to the Playdate, which excites me to no end. I can't wait to play it on mine!

Here's Robotspacer's Twitch channel! You can also follow him on Twitter and Mastodon!

Want your own EGA bucket t-shirt? Click here for my Fourthwall store !

If you' re interested in setting up a Fourthwall store of your own, here's my referral link (I'd get $15 credit :D).

Youtube store

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Dido birthday card

Birthday card starring Dido! It's always nice to haul out the watercolours and paint. I can't resist all those bright colours!

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A reminder that my Patreon tiers have changed! Now, all current patrons will have their names in the credits of The Crimson Diamond when it launches. The default is to have names included, and the name used will be the Patreon profile name. If you'd like to opt-out or use a different name, please message me on Patreon! Here's a link to my Patreon page.

I've also retired my $1 tier, but patrons on that tier will still get their name in the credits, and nothing changes for them! Retiring a tier just means no new patrons can join it.

A heartfelt thank you to all my Patreon supporters. <3

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Art stream thumbnail

Here's the latest batch of videos of my Twitch livestreams! Progress is being made on the new scene, Bio Menace episode 2 continues, plus the thrilling conclusion to Loom and the start of a new Let's Play!

July 25th art stream, August 1st art stream, and August 8th art stream!

Crimson C'Tuesday happens every Tuesday at 8pm Eastern on Twitch!

The Crimson Diamond office animation

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Loom finale thumbnail

I've finished Loom (EGA)! What a magical experience. I feel like there is something special about this one, and it's not just because all of the other games I've Let's Played have been a lot more challenging, in terms of game design, UI, etc. Not to mention, Loom is an example of a game that is unequivocably more beautiful in EGA than in VGA (and the VGA version also cut out some of the writing!). Here's the playlist for my Loom Let's Play.

 

Altered Destiny Let's Play

I've started playing Altered Destiny (Accolade, 1990) -- In EGA, of course! This game is available on GOG and Steam, but defaults to the non-EGA version. If you install the game from the GOG version, you can then find the setup.exe and run that in DOSBox or D-fend, which will let you choose what graphics mode you want. From then on, the game will launch via the GOG icon in EGA!

This is my first experience with an Accolade adventure game, and it's got a text parser! So far I'm loving it.

 

My completed Let's Plays:

Personal Nightmare (Horrorsoft 1989)

Last Half of Darkness (Softlab Software Laboratories 1989)

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (LucasArts 1989)

Rise of the Dragon Let's Play (Dynamix, 1990)

The Sorceror's Appraisal (Yahtzee Croshaw, 2002)

Mortville Manor (Lankhor, 1987)

Legend of the Sword (Silicon Software, 1988)

Loom (Lucasfilm Games, 1990)

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CRAFT CORNER

Cross stitch progress

The border for my Legend of the Sword cross-stitch is now complete! I'm wondering if I'll even use black embroidery thread for the black lines, or if I'll leave that the black of the aida cloth. Not only would that mean fewer stitches, it might help recreated the impression of the colours being projected from a crt screen, in all their fuzzy glory!

Legend of the Sword cross-stitch pattern

Here are the DMC embroidery floss colours I used for my EGA palette:

EGA DMC thread colour numbers

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River Valley Ontario almandine garnet

MINERAL TRIVIA SECTION

DID YOU KNOW: The Crimson Diamond is set in Crimson, Ontario, a town that was established because of a nearby garnet mine! When I attended the Bancroft Gemboree, my main goal was to obtain a genuine northern Ontario garnet. I couldn't be more pleased with what I found!

This incredible, plum-sized, hefty, 12-sided almandine garnet hails from River Valley, Ontario. It's truly spectacular. Those lines in the faces are caused by the growth pattern of the crystal, which give the whole rock an uncanny, alien look.

River Valley Ontario almadine garnet

Depending on the lighting, flashes of bright red can be seen. It's gorgeous and I can't stop looking at it.

River Valley Ontario almandine garnet size

Here it is next to a Canadian quarter for scale!

 

GeologyIn Garnet chart

Garnets come in a variety of types and a colours. Almadine garnets are most common, and I love their shape the most!

Above image from https://www.geologyin.com/2018/03/garnet-group-colors-and-varieties-of.html

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Holiday card 2022 animation

INTERESTED IN SUPPORTING THE CRIMSON DIAMOND?

Check the sidebar for links to my Patreon and PayPal! Or visit The Crimson Diamond's Steam page follow the game, and add it to your wishlist! There's a FREE playable demo too, for Windows PC and Mac! <3

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Thanks for reading! Happy August!

-- JM

 

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July 2023

Dan and Sean

Hello, dear readers! Happy July! This month has been packed with many meetings and adventures. Dan (The Crimson Diamond musician) swung by Toronto with Sean Paul, I was happily able to see them! Read on for details!

Pause added to TCD

Developer update: The final gameplay room of the final gameplay chapter (chapter six) is well on its way to completion! I'm currently working on assets, those are more any half finished. I took a bit of time away from working on those assets to add a pause function to the game, and I think that was time well spent! Adventure Game Studio games are somewhat infamous for not being easy to pause. Fortunately, fellow AGS dev Francisco González of Grundislav Games dug into the AGS forums and found a solution! When The Crimson Diamond releases, the game will be pause-able at any point, even during blocking animations. Hooray! Support Francisco and his beautiful in-development game Rosewater by wishlisting it on Steam!

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Dan n Me

Dan was rocking out on his keyboards with Sean Paul here in Toronto, followed by a stint in Quebec. I had some Air Canada vouchers so I figured why not do a quick weekend over there to catch a couple more shows, plus meet up with some Montreal friends?

Sean Paul backstage

I got to be backstage at their Trois-Rivières show, so I had a great view! To hear/see more about the shows (and see some short clips) here's a timestamped link.

Karl and me

I was glad to meet Karl Dupéré-Richer, artist of slattstudio's Betrayed Alliance games and game dev in his own right (check out The Amazing Fix on Steam!). Karl is an amazing sculptor too! To see more of his work, check out his instagram and blog. Karl was a guest on my Twitch stream a while back. You can see/listen to that here!

Karl sculpture

Sweetbaby office

More Montreal friends! I was very excited to meet Kim Belair and David Bedard, founders of Sweet Baby Inc. at their beautiful office! I've worked with them on a few projects, including Recommendation Dog!! We are all gathered around this amazing, working, landlined Garfield phone. I wish I'd taken note of the phone number, ah!

Nancy Garfield by Robotspacer

Speaking of garfs, I am overjoyed to have this Nancy Maple Garfield drawing Robotspacer created for me, for his birthday celebration Twitch stream! Robotspacer is one of my favourite streamers, who just so happens to share a birthday with Garfield. What a perfect way to celebrate! If you love watching relaxing streams of new and old adventure games and live game development using retro tools (Worldbuilder!), I heartily recommend his channel! You can also follow him on Twitter.

Tedbob84's Nancy Maple

And speaking of Nancy Maple art, here's a beautiful piece created by Tedbob84! I love the retro anime feel. Tedbob84 is a character and graphic designer -- Here are their links if you'd like to see more!

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Fire all weapons graphic

I love collaborating with game devs by contributing art for their games! I've gotten to work with Goloso Games (Inspector Waffles), Grundislav Games (Rosewater) and now, Jim Makes Games (Fire All Weapons)! Fire All Weapons is a roguelike tactical deckbuilding combat game, currently in development. If that sounds like your jam, please give it a wishlist!

Fire all weapons header

My EGA fish people

Here's a close-up of the animated gif I created for the game. I modelled the bridge to look like the Star Trek TOS bridge. The back screens show a few of my favourite DOS games, including Rampage, Loderunner, and Arkanoid. I also squeezed in a little animated Nancy head and The Crimson Diamond logo! The aliens of the Everlasting Galactic Alliance (EGA) dress a BIT like Nancy Maple, too!

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Drunkerella stream

Amazing retro adventure game Twitch streamer Drunkerella played The Crimson Diamond demo! She grew up on Sierra games, and it shows. She was a super pro! I had a blast watching her play. You can also find her on Twitter!

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Youtube Partner

I'm now a YouTube Partner! Yay! I really like how I can now integrate my Fourthwall store onto my Youtube page. I mostly post my videos on Youtube for people to watch if my streams don't work for their time zones or if they have to dip in and out, but knowing there is another potential revenue stream available to me now is nice. It's also satisfying to see all my videos archived on Youtube (though of course I have my own copies backed up elsewhere).

Youtube store

Speaking of Fourthwall, here is what the Nancy Maple notebook looks like, in real life! It's super helpful when folks sent me photos like this, makes it much easier to see what the quality of the products are. I'm told that the notebooks are quite good!

TCD notebooks

Oneshorteye bucket T

The Fourthwall EGA Bucket tshirt has made another appearance in a OneShortEye video! This time, OSE interviews Ron Gilbert about how he feels about players speedrunning his games. Check it out here, it's great!

OneShortEye's latest video

To check out my Fourthwall store, click here!

If you' re interested in setting up a Fourthwall store of your own, here's my referral link (I'd get $15 credit :D).

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A reminder that my Patreon tiers have changed! Now, all current patrons will have their names in the credits of The Crimson Diamond when it launches. The default is to have names included, and the name used will be the Patreon profile name. If you'd like to opt-out or use a different name, please message me on Patreon! Here's a link to my Patreon page.

I've also retired my $1 tier, but patrons on that tier will still get their name in the credits, and nothing changes for them! Retiring a tier just means no new patrons can join it.

A heartfelt thank you to all my Patreon supporters. <3

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June20Stream

Streaming continues! I finished the museum basement (see below for animated gif of the process) and have started on a new scene! Slowly but surely, we are upgrading all of the graphics for the intro sequence of The Crimson Diamond! Thank you to everyone who comes to stream to lurk, work, chat, offer suggestions, and share your knowledge.

June 20th art stream, June 27th art stream , July 4th art stream, and July 11th art stream!

Crimson C'Tuesday happens every Tuesday at 8pm Eastern on Twitch!

The Crimson Diamond office animation

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June 27LO

I've started a new Let's Play series! It's Loom (EGA)! I've only played bits of it and never finished it back in the day, so I'm very excited to revisit this one. It's a bit of a comfort and a relief to play a game that is so well-loved; firstly because the game is fantastically enjoyable (especially compared to other games I've Let's Played) and secondly because when I get stuck there are plenty of people who can nudge me along (hardly anyone had heard of Legend of the Sword, let alone were prepared to offer any sort of guidance!). Thirdly, there is a lot of interesting trivia about Loom that I'm learning along the way, thanks to knowledgeable viewers. So far, so good!

Loom (VGA) is sold on GOG and Steam. Apparently if you buy this version and open it in SCUMMVM, the EGA option will be available to you! I haven't had that confirmed, though!

 

My completed Let's Plays:

Personal Nightmare (Horrorsoft 1989)

Last Half of Darkness (Softlab Software Laboratories 1989)

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (LucasArts 1989)

Rise of the Dragon Let's Play (Dynamix, 1990)

The Sorceror's Appraisal (Yahtzee Croshaw, 2002)

Mortville Manor (Lankhor, 1987)

Legend of the Sword (Silicon Software, 1988)

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CRAFT CORNER

Legend of the Sword cross stitch

My Legend of the Sword cross-stitch progress! I'm enjoying this one quite a bit so far.

Legend of the Sword cross-stitch pattern

Here are the DMC embroidery floss colours I used for my EGA palette:

EGA DMC thread colour numbers

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Deep-sea Mining image by G. Mannaerts

Image by G. Mannaerts, obtained from Wikipedia July15, 2023.

MINERAL TRIVIA SECTION

DID YOU KNOW: Valuable minerals are not limited to dry land. Deep-sea mining is emerging as a possible option for our increasing demands for crucial battery-building minerals such as nickel, cobalt, and copper. But at what cost? Fortunately, the Canadian government supports an interim moratorium on deep-sea mining, so that environmental impacts can be researched and evaluated. Marine biologists are strongly opposed to this potentially highly disruptive activity on the ocean floor. Let's hope long-term thinking and environmental stewardship prevail.

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Holiday card 2022 animation

INTERESTED IN SUPPORTING THE CRIMSON DIAMOND?

Check the sidebar for links to my Patreon and PayPal! Or visit The Crimson Diamond's Steam page follow the game, and add it to your wishlist! There's a FREE playable demo too, for Windows PC and Mac! <3

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Thanks for reading! Happy July!

-- JM

 

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June 2023

First poppy of 2023

Hello, dear readers! Happy June! The first Oriental poppy of the season bloomed this month! These are some of my favourite flowers. Possibly because of their association with Princess Ozma and her gorgeous Art Nouveau crown, but definitely because of their lush colour and improbable size. I also love that it's an annual plant. It blooms gloriously and briefly, but it will return. I love persistence.

Developer update: The second new room of chapter 6 is now complete! I'm now well into developing the LAST gameplay room of The Crimson Diamond. While there is still plenty of work to do, it does feel like a milestone. I'll be starting on the assets for this last room next week. I'm still aiming to launch this game this year, but I've certainly said that before!

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TCD at Narrascope

Narrascope happened! It's an event that celebrates and supports interactive narrative, adventure games, and interactive fiction! There was an in-person event and an online component. Workshops and talks could be attended via their Discord. It was my first time (online) attending Narrascope, and I think it's a wonderful event.

I was pleasantly surprised to learn that The Crimson Diamond was mentioned during Edmundo Ruiz Ghanem's presentation on the history of Adventure Game Studio (Edmundo is also beta testing TCD!) Unfortunately I wasn't able to catch the talk live, but Narrascope promises to have the videos available on their site at a later date. I'll keep you posted!

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Fireflower games logo

I was interviewed by FireFlower Games about the development of The Crimson Diamond! FireFlower Games is an online store that specializes in story-rich games, DRM-free, for Windows, Linux, and Mac. It's a fairly short written article, check it out here! You can also download The Crimson Diamond demo on FireFlower Games.

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Hello Playdate podcast

Ryan Claytor graciously hosted me on his Hello Playdate Podcast! We had a lovely conversation about Recommendation Dog!! (the Playdate game I art directed and did art for, you can find it here) as well as The Crimson Diamond and our shared passion for cross-stitching! I go into more detail about the production process of Recommendation Dog!!, and my approach to the artwork. You can listen to the episode here.

Toronto Games week

I attended a couple Toronto Games Week events! There was a kick-off event at See-scape that featured a talk by Crypt of the Necrodancer's Ryan Clark. CotN is a game I've actually played AND finished, even though I'm pretty rhythm-deficient! I very much recommend it! (Toronto Games Week logo by Matt Hammill)

Game Boy sewing machine

I also attended a presentation at Fort York Library about video game preservation and conservation, hosted by Derek Quenneville and Chris Young. They even brought some really awesome toys, including this Game Boy sewing machine and a Nintendo Famicom with keyboard!

Nintendo famicom

Their message about video game conservation is this: The best way to contribute is to reach out to family and friends who have a history of working in the games industry, and to document their stories while they're still around. Cartridges and CDs will persist, but the human side to the industry won't be around forever.

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Fourthwall merch

My Fourthwall merch arrived! Hooray! I was super excited to receive it. It came faster than I was expecting, considering all of it is print on demand. The embroidery is gorgeous, the colour on the stickers is nice and saturated (though each individual sticker will need to be cut out by hand),and the bucket print on the t-shirt is big (relative to the shirt, which is small)! To check out my Fourthwall store, click here!

When I set up my Fourthwall store, I got $50 credit to order these samples! If you' re interested in setting up a Fourthwall store of your own, here's my referral link (I'd get $15 credit :D).

Embroidered bucket

Fourthwall bucket t-shirt

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A reminder that my Patreon tiers have changed! Now, all current patrons will have their names in the credits of The Crimson Diamond when it launches. The default is to have names included, and the name used will be the Patreon profile name. If you'd like to opt-out or use a different name, please message me on Patreon! Here's a link to my Patreon page.

I've also retired my $1 tier, but patrons on that tier will still get their name in the credits, and nothing changes for them! Retiring a tier just means no new patrons can join it.

A heartfelt thank you to all my Patreon supporters. <3

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June 13 thumbnail

I celebrated my Twitch Affiliate Anniversary on June 13! I never thought I'd enjoy streaming so much. That's thanks in large part to everyone who comes to Crimson C'Tuesdays. You folks are lovely and friendly and make the evening a cozy comfort. Thanks for hanging out with me!

I did some giveways and designed a custom celebration emote, finished Bio Meneace, and made some progress on my Legend of the Sword Let's Play! Best of all, I finally added a cat to my game. He's a tribute to the famously deadly kitty in King's Quest 3.

May 16th art stream, May 23 art stream , June 6 art stream, and June 13 art stream!

Crimson C'Tuesday happens every Tuesday at 8pm Eastern on Twitch!

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May 16 LP

I'm continuing to work my way through Legend of the Sword (1988, Silicon Software). This game is making my brain tired. Part of the reason is that I leave this to the last part of the night, so I'm starting to run out of gas as it is. Another part of the reason is the way the walkthrough is written; step-by-step directions in all caps, separated by hyphens in long paragraphs. If you miss a step, it's very easy to lose your place in the game. There have been times when the walkthrough instructs me to move in a direction that isn't available to me, or a certain action isn't included. The further I get into the game, the more these inconsistencies are cropping up. Eek! I've been able to bumble my way to 70% of the puzzles achieved, though! Hopefully I can finish it soon! I have my eye on my next EGA adventure game to Let's Play: Loom (EGA!).

If you're interested in playing Legend of the Sword, it's sold on GOG and Steam.The text parser is surprisingly robust for the era!

 

My completed Let's Plays:

Personal Nightmare (Horrorsoft 1989)

Last Half of Darkness (Softlab Software Laboratories 1989)

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (LucasArts 1989)

Rise of the Dragon Let's Play (Dynamix, 1990)

The Sorceror's Appraisal (Yahtzee Croshaw, 2002)

Mortville Manor (Lankhor, 1987)

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CRAFT CORNER

Finished parlour cross-stitch

At long last, the parlour scene cross-stitch is completed! I started it in mid-October. It's 24,610 cross-stitches (214x115 pixels). Success! This was my most ambitious cross-stitching project to date. Just as with game dev, the prospect of the immense amount of work required can be daunting... But if you just do a bit at a time, it will get done. Eventually.

Here are the DMC embroidery floss colours I used for my EGA palette:

EGA DMC thread colour numbers

The light magenta was the hardest colour to choose. I tried a lot of different pinks before I settled on this one. It was important to me that the tone of light pink would match the light grey, so that if you squint your eyes they blend together. The difference between the light and dark magenta is a little drastic though... Nothing is perfect!

And here's my next project: The death graphics in Legend of the Sword! This game uses dither combinations that I don't tend to use, and uses them to great effect; light red with dark green and light red with white. I love the contrast between the graceful "The End" with the roses versus the comical "Tough Luck!" tombstone!

Legend of the Sword cross-stitch pattern

Here's the beginning:

Legend of the Sword cross stitch start

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Ontario rockhound tours

MINERAL TRIVIA SECTION

DID YOU KNOW: If you love geology and mineralogy, Ontario is a wonderful place to be a rockhound! You can even book guided tours and borrow gear AND keep specimens that you find (upon completion of the appropriate permits)! I found this cool site that hosts tours . I'm considering making a trip this summer. I'll let you know if it pans out! Maybe there are similar tours in your area (or a road trip away) -- You might be surprised by what you find!

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Holiday card 2022 animation

INTERESTED IN SUPPORTING THE CRIMSON DIAMOND?

Check the sidebar for links to my Patreon and PayPal! Or visit The Crimson Diamond's Steam page follow the game, and add it to your wishlist! There's a FREE playable demo too, for Windows PC and Mac! <3

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Thanks for reading! Happy June!

-- JM

 

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May 2023

Mother's Day 2023 card

Hello, dear readers! Happy May! The first half of the month was drizzly and cool, but the second half has turned around and delivered some gorgeous weather. Birdwatching has begun again in earnest, as May sees migrating songbirds and shorebirds travelling through Ontario. It's an exciting time, you never know what you'll see!

This year we saw pair of American Bitterns, which my mom has only seen one other time in her fourteen years as a birder (it's the large bird illustrated above). We also saw two Piping Plovers, which is an endangered species. Not to mention a cavalcade warblers: Yellow Warblers, Yellow-rumped Warblers, Chestnut-side Warblers, Black-and-white Warblers, Cape May Warblers, and more! Also stunning Scarlet Tanagers, which are also depicted in the above card. Happy Mother's Day!

Developer update: The second new room of chapter 6 is nearly complete! I'm finishing up the assets, then the usual testing and polish. For this room I had to take some time to figure out HOW I wanted to make and execute it, as it's a bit different from the usual. But that's part of the fun!

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AdventureGameGeek and the bucket hat

The EGA Bucket has come to life! Here's the AdventureGameGeek showing off his EGA Bucket bucket hat! The embroidered bucket looks lovely, considering I had to modify its design to work with six specific thread colours and not the glorious fifteen colours of the original Bucket.

AdventureGameGeek on Youtube!

AdventureGameGeek is a Youtuber and champion of adventure games, both new and old. His videos are definitely worth a watch. Check out his channel here! Follow him on Twitter here. The EGA Bucket hat co-stars in his latest video, about Fable (1996)!

Fourthwall store hats

The EGA Bucket bucket hat comes in khaki, grey, and black! Speaking of which, I've finally gotten around to ordering some samples from my Fourthwall Store (including a khaki bucket hat)! They should arrive in time for the June issue of the Crimson Gazette. I'll be sure to share them here!

I also have a merch store on Society6!

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Justajeffy's set-up

Shout-out to my lovely Twitch viewers. Justajeffy took this amazing shot of his set-up on a Crimson C'Tuesday, and tweeted it. Nice big box collection, Justajeffy! Crimson C'Tuesdays happen every Tuesday at 8pm Eastern. A lovely bunch of folks come and hang out, join us!

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Rosewater mystic cards

Last month I shared some of the illustrations I made for Francisco González's upcoming game, Rosewater! Here is the whole set. Rosewater is slated for a 2023 release; wishlist it here! It was such an incredible privilege to be invited to contribute art to one of Francisco's games. He's one of the reasons I get started making The Crimson Diamond, so this commission was a dream come true!

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A reminder that my Patreon tiers have changed! Now, all current patrons will have their names in the credits of The Crimson Diamond when it launches. The default is to have names included, and the name used will be the Patreon profile name. If you'd like to opt-out or use a different name, please message me on Patreon! Here's a link to my Patreon page.

I've also retired my $1 tier, but patrons on that tier will still get their name in the credits, and nothing changes for them! Retiring a tier just means no new patrons can join it.

A heartfelt thank you to all my Patreon supporters. <3

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SenorJeffe1 screencap

Twitch streamer SenorJeffe1 played The Crimson Diamond demo! I love when streamers play the demo with their viewers. I learn so much from watching, and it always motivates me to work hard on my game! Thanks so much for playing, SenorJeffe1! You can check out the VOD here!

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May2 screenshot

Art streams continue! The Royal Canadian Museum's storage basement is filling up nicely, thanks to suggestions from Crimson C'Tuesday Twitch viewers. I'm having a lot of fun with adding little Easter eggs into this scene. What can you spot?

Closeup of shelf

Here are the newest VODs, as of April's gazette!

April 18th art stream, April 25 art stream , May 2 art stream, and May 9 art stream!

Here's a close-up of the larger metal shelving! All done! Check out my weekly Twitch streams, which happen on Crimson C'Tuesdays at 8pm Eastern!

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Legend of the Sword screencap

Legend of the Sword (1988, Silicon Software) Let's Plays continue! This game is a real hidden gem, though I don't care for limited inventory or starving to death! I've started to consult a walkthrough to help me, so I'll be playing something new (old!) soon! If you want to try Legend of the Sword yourself, it's sold on GOG and Steam.

There doesn't seem to be any music accompanying Legend of the Sword, so I'm playing some epic, modern MIDIs during my sessions. I heard this most excellent playlist on FractalMindMike's channel, and he was kind enough to send me the files. It's meant to supplement the tracks for the game "Heretic: Shadow of the Serpent Riders", composed in the style of the original music (by Kevin Schilder). The music was created by a collective called Doomworld. It was released in 2020! Modern retro is near and dear to my heart of course. If you're interested in the music and in Doomworld, check out these links: https://www.jamespaddockmusic.com and http://jimmy.the-powerhouse.net/WAD.

If you want to check out my chat with FractalMindMike on his channel, you can find it here!

April 25 Stream image

My completed Let's Plays:

Personal Nightmare (Horrorsoft 1989) playlist

Last Half of Darkness (Softlab Software Laboratories 1989) playlist

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (LucasArts 1989) playlist

Rise of the Dragon Let's Play (Dynamix, 1990) playlist

The Sorceror's Appraisal (Yahtzee Croshaw, 2002)

Mortville Manor (Lankhor, 1987)

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CRAFT CORNER

Cross stitch, May progress

The end is in sight! I'm dithering the back wall on the right side currently. I'm still saving that painting in the middle for last! Maybe I'll have it all finished for June's gazette... We shall see!

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Ontario fossils

MINERAL TRIVIA SECTION

DID YOU KNOW: The shores of Lake Ontario are full of a wide variety of fossils! I didn't realize this until I shifted my focus from finding quartz or garnets, or shiny rocks of unusual colours. I started looking at what was IN the rocks, and I was very surprised by what I saw! When I take my mom birdwatching, we often end up on the lake shore. It's a wonderful opportunity for me to poke around and see what I can see. I'd been ignoring plain, grey rocks as not being interesting, but as it turns out -- Those are the ones that tend to contain fossils! Lesson learned!

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Holiday card 2022 animation

INTERESTED IN SUPPORTING THE CRIMSON DIAMOND?

Check the sidebar for links to my Patreon and PayPal! Or visit The Crimson Diamond's Steam page follow the game, and add it to your wishlist! There's a FREE playable demo too, for Windows PC and Mac! <3

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Thanks for reading! Happy May!

-- JM

 

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April 2023

Spring crocuses

Hello, dear readers! Happy April! More crocuses! Toronto's been experiencing unseasonably warm weather. I'm enjoying it before the inevitable return of seasonal Spring chilliness.

Developer update: The first new room for chapter 6 of The Crimson Diamond is now complete! I'm testing and polishing it up now, and will move on to the next bit soon. Sooner or later I'll be returning to beta tester and player feedback... But for now, I'll have some more fun creating new content!

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FractalMindMikev video thumbnail

Awesome Twitch streamer FractalMindMike graciously hosted me on his channel, for a 3+ hour chat about The Crimson Diamond, games, hobbies, and more! It's one of my favourite video conversations, check it out here!

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Special SWOTS edition

This special edition of Space Warlord Organ Trading Simulator was sold at PAX East this year! Fortunately musician Dan had a friend attending, so he picked one up and shipped it to me. Hooray! Thanks, friend of Dan!

The standard release version is available in stores and for online purchase at lots of retail locations, produced by Serenity Forge. Here's what's inside!

SWOTS can also be bought on Steam!

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Rosewater tarot

I'm super excited to announce that Francisco González (developer of A Golden Wake and Lamplight City) invited me to create some art for his upcoming game, Rosewater! These are some tarot cards for his alternative history world!

I had a lot of fun coming up with this style, taking into account the era (1850s) of the game's setting. At that time, engravings were a popular form of mass-produced art. A metal plate or block of wood would be etched with an image, which could then have ink applied and then printed onto paper. They could also be hand-tinted with watercolour paints, which is the effect I tried to mimic! Wishlist Rosewater here!

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A reminder that my Patreon tiers have changed! Now, all current patrons will have their names in the credits of The Crimson Diamond when it launches. The default is to have names included, and the name used will be the Patreon profile name. If you'd like to opt-out or use a different name, please message me on Patreon! Here's a link to my Patreon page.

I've also retired my $1 tier, but patrons on that tier will still get their name in the credits, and nothing changes for them! Retiring a tier just means no new patrons can join it.

A heartfelt thank you to all my Patreon supporters. <3

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recommendation dog!!

The Playdate Podcast released an episode that features both Recommendation Dog!! and Reel Steal! The teams got to record sound bites about the games and those were masterfully edited together. Recommendation Dog!! was my first time as an art director. I'm very proud of the work and grateful for the opporunity provided by Sweet Baby Inc.

You can see both Recommendation Dog!! and Reel Steal on Playdate's Catalog website, as well as the Catalog store on Playdate units. They're FREE!

I show Recommendation Dog!! and talk a bit about it in this video (timestamped!).

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March 14 music stream

Return of the Dan! He refined some tracks for The Crimson Diamond, and created new ones! Here's the VOD of Dan refining a "gentle sad" track and creating a looping ambient variant, and here's Dan composing a "sleepy sad" track!

 

April 4 artstream

I continued working on the museum basement for the introductory sequence of The Crimson Diamond! Art streams always consist of me updating the art in the introductory sequence, no story spoilers for the rest of the game!

March 14 art/music combo stream, March 21 art stream , March 28 art/music combo stream, April 4 art stream, and April 11 art stream!

Here's a close-up of some of the adventure game-related items I've put in this scene! Some were suggestions provided during my weekly Twitch streams, which happen on Crimson C'Tuesdays at 8pm Eastern!

museum details

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Mortville ending

At long last! I've finished Mortville Manor! With a LOT of help from watching long plays, my own notes, and the awesome folks in my stream chat. Here's the full playlist for Mortville Manor. Brocanty Games is doing a remake, check it out here!

I'm glad I finally got to start something new...

Legend of the Sword Let's Play

... Legend of the Sword! It was made by Silicon Software and published in 1988. It's an EGA text parser / point and click adventure game with a really cool interface! It's availabe on GOG and Steam! Here's the first video of this new Let's Play series.

My completed Let's Plays:

Personal Nightmare (Horrorsoft 1989) playlist

Last Half of Darkness (Softlab Software Laboratories 1989) playlist

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (LucasArts 1989) playlist

Rise of the Dragon Let's Play (Dynamix, 1990) playlist

The Sorceror's Appraisal (Yahtzee Croshaw, 2002)

Mortville Manor (Lankhor, 1987)

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fourthwall storethumbnail

I STILL haven't ordered any sample merch from my Fourthwall store. I either keep thinking of fun products to add, or other people suggest things! I might try to put the EGA fish in the intro on an embroidered hat. Hmmm...

I also have a merch store on Society6, with a broader range of stuff!

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CRAFT CORNER

Cross-stitch progress

Slowly but surely, the scene is filling in! It's a cozy and rewarding process.

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Scarborough Bluffs

MINERAL TRIVIA SECTION

DID YOU KNOW: It might not be the famous Sierra Half Dome, but it's magnificent in its own right! This is part of the Scarborough Bluffs, which is local to me. The bluffs form an escarpment and are an accumulation of sedimentary deposits, naturally formed by Lake Ontario over 12,000 years. It was really nice to pay it a visit recently. It's a stunning area!

Scarborough Bluffs

Lake Ontario stones

I'm back outside, searching for treasures on the shores of Lake Ontario! The variety, uniqueness, and beauty continues to fascinate me. I find it very calming to get down close and scrutinize the seemingly endless array of stones, picking out the ones that catch my eye. It's also very pleasant to arrange them in sets like this, for comparison and contrast.

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Holiday card 2022 animation

INTERESTED IN SUPPORTING THE CRIMSON DIAMOND?

Check the sidebar for links to my Patreon and PayPal! Or visit The Crimson Diamond's Steam page follow the game, and add it to your wishlist! There's a FREE playable demo too, for Windows PC and Mac! <3

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Thanks for reading! Happy April!

-- JM

 

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March 2023

first crocuses of Spring

Hello, dear readers! Happy March! It's been unusually snowy here so far, but the crocuses have bloomed once again! Spring is just around the corner.

Developer update: The latest beta, which contains The Crimson Diamond chapters 1-5, has been sent out to testers! More excitingly, work on chapter 6 has well and truly begun! I finished the design document and am building the first room and placeholder assets. It feels like it's been ages since I got to make anything new -- It's a lot of fun!

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art panelthumbnail

The art panel that me and Chris DeLeon (of HomeTeam GameDev) collaborated on is now available as a VOD on Youtube! It's called "2D Game Art Tips for Solo or Small Teams" and it's meant for game devs (or people who want to get started in game development) who feel that lack of art training or experience is holding them back. The panelists cover a wide range of approaches and game genres, and provide lots of advice and tips on how to approach making art from a beginner's perspective!

Panelists:

Julia Minamata @JuliaMinamata / thecrimsondiamond.com

Freya C @spdrcstl / communistsister.itch.io

Francisco González @GrundislavGames / Grundislav Games on Steam

Damien Crawford @TheWorstRPGDev /cannibalinteractive.itch.io

Aureus @MoralAnxiety / moralanxietystudio.com

with panel host/moderator Chris DeLeon @ChrisDeLeon

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Recommendation Dog thumbnail

Recommendation Dog!! launched on Playdate Catalog this month! It's been almost two years since the Sweet Baby Inc. / Strange Scaffold team completed work on the game. I've been looking forward its debut for a long time! Recommendation Dog!! is the first game I art directed, as well as the first Playdate game I made art for. I hope it's not my last! Catalog is Playdate's new e-store that lives on the Playdate, making it even easier for players to buy and load games onto their units. You can check out Catalog on your web browser here! You can watch me play and talk about Recommendation Dog!! and Playdate here!I also show the self-portrait I snuck in :D.

Recommendation Dog Stream thumbnail

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Scene World podcast thumbnail

I was a guest on the Scene World podcast! Scene World bills itself as the most eclectic and the world's only Commodore 64 NTSC & PAL diskmag! It's been run by a passionate group of volunteers for more than twenty years. They not only cover a variety of Commondore related subjects, they interview people in the games industry including developers, streamers, historians, and more! Check out the episode here.

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A reminder that my Patreon tiers have changed! Now, all current patrons will have their names in the credits of The Crimson Diamond when it launches. The default is to have names included, and the name used will be the Patreon profile name. If you'd like to opt-out or use a different name, please message me on Patreon! Here's a link to my Patreon page.

I've also retired my $1 tier, but patrons on that tier will still get their name in the credits, and nothing changes for them! Retiring a tier just means no new patrons can join it.

A heartfelt thank you to all my Patreon supporters. <3

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pieceofhannah

Twitch streamer pieceofhannah streamed the new and improved The Crimson Diamond demo! I watched her play some of it -- It's always a real pleasure to see a streamer enjoying the game! She finished the demo with no hints! Congrats, Poh! Check out her channel if you enjoy rpgs and adventure games, particularly retro ones! Here's a link to her The Crimson Diamond demo VOD.

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Feb 28 artstream thumbnail

My streaming continues! I started another pixel art scene to upgrade: The Royal Canadiann Museum storage basement! Here is a list of all the streams since the last issue of the gazette: February 21 art stream, March 1 Stream Mystery Fest Stream, February 28 art stream, March 7 art stream.

Here's a work-in-progress animation for the museum basement:

museum animated gif

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Bio Menace level 7

I got to level 7 in Bio Menace! I faced down a Big Boss Dude too, it was very exciting. But I'm running of lives, I might not be able to get much further! Bio Menace is free on GOG! I highly recommend it!

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Mortville manor video thumbnail

Mortville Manor Let's Plays continue! This game fascinates me. I made a video presenting my spreadsheet of characters' questions and responses, which I then went back to and updated with newly discovered questions and responses! While I was doing that I figured out how to use inventory items, and managed to find a new location! I can't wait to show all of this on my next Mortville Manor stream!

Mortville manor screenshot2

Here's the current playlist for Mortville Manor. Brocanty Games is currently remaking Mortville Manor with UI improvements and real voice-acting! Follow their project here.

 

My completed Let's Plays:

Personal Nightmare (Horrorsoft 1989) playlist

Last Half of Darkness (Softlab Software Laboratories 1989) playlist

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (LucasArts 1989) playlist

Rise of the Dragon Let's Play (Dynamix, 1990) playlist

The Sorceror's Appraisal (Yahtzee Croshaw, 2002)

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fourthwall storethumbnail

I STILL haven't ordered any sample merch from my Fourthwall store. I either keep thinking of fun products to add, or other people suggest thing! I might try to put the EGA fish in the intro on an embroidered hat. Hmmm...

I also have a merch store on Society6, with a broader range of stuff!

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CRAFT CORNER

cross stitch progress

I'm more than halfway finished the parlour cross-stitch! I'll be leaving the painting in the very centre for last. It's a lot of cross stitches, but it's very relaxing and rewarding to watch the design appear before my eyes.

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Garnet closeup

MINERAL TRIVIA SECTION

DID YOU KNOW: There are indeed garnets in Ontario! I found this gorgeous specimen on the shores of Lake Ontario. I'm not 100% sure these are garnets, but judging from what I've seen on the internet, these appear to be garnets in a rhyolite matrix. I took all of these photos using my 30 x 21mm loupe, placed in front of my iPhone's camera!

Here are some other rocks I've collected from Lake Ontario, with bits that might be garnets (photos taken in sunlight, except for the group photo):

This first one is an alternate view of the above stone:

garnet

garnet 2

garnet3

garnet4

garnet5

garnet6

 

Here they all are, without magnification! Also with a Canadian quarter and a measuring tape to show scale.

all garnet stones

 

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Holiday card 2022 animation

INTERESTED IN SUPPORTING THE CRIMSON DIAMOND?

Check the sidebar for links to my Patreon and PayPal! Or visit The Crimson Diamond's Steam page follow the game, and add it to your wishlist! There's a FREE playable demo too, for Windows PC and Mac! <3

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Thanks for reading! Happy March!

-- JM

 

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February 2023

Hello, dear readers! Happy February! Even though it's been an unseasonably warm winter in Ontario, I'll be happy to see the crocuses bloom again.

Developer update: I still haven't gotten started on Chapter 6! Instead, I added a new visual "points" cue to the game and have been testing that out. I also added more notes and notebook pages to the player's notebook and have been testing that out, too. I've also added more music. One track of which will be found in the latest version of the demo, coming out soon! Speaking of which...

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Steam Mysteryfest

The Crimson Diamond is in the Steam Mystery Fest! The event runs from February 20 - 27! I'll be debuting the new version of the demo when the event opens, and I'll probably stream on my Steam store page some time during the event (TBA). Visit The Crimson Diamond's Steam store page and scroll down to "Recent Events & Announcements" to find out more!

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art panel promo image thumbnail

I'm helping organize a special panel about game art for game devs! I'm collaborating with Chris DeLeon of HomeTeam GameDev for this free, non-ticketed panel with some wonderful panelists! Here's the promo video!

I've heard from a lot of gamedevs (and potential gamedevs) who want to create their own games, but they get stuck on lack of art training or art experience. Chris and I have gathered panelists who have gotten past that obstruction and gone on to create wonderful things!

We'll be recording the panel in late February, editing it, and releasing it in March! In the mean time, if you have any questions about this topic, please let me know in the Youtube comments!

Here are the panelists. Please check out their work and maybe that might spark some questions to ask!

Planned panelists:

Julia Minamata @JuliaMinamata / thecrimsondiamond.com

Freya C @spdrcstl / communistsister.itch.io

Francisco González @GrundislavGames / Grundislav Games on Steam

Damien Crawford @TheWorstRPGDev /cannibalinteractive.itch.io

Aureus @MoralAnxiety / moralanxietystudio.com

with panel host/moderator Chris DeLeon @ChrisDeLeon

Art panel thumbnail

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Strange Dungeon screenshot

Computechnosoft was a finalist in this year's Ubisoft Toronto Indie Series, for their game Strange Dungeon! This is the game I learned a bit of Blender and Clip Studio Paint for, and it's turning out great! Unfortunately they didn't win any prizes at the Indie Series, but it was a great honour for them to be nominated. Check out their Steam page and wishlist the game here.

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A reminder that my Patreon tiers have changed! Now, all current patrons will have their names in the credits of The Crimson Diamond when it launches. The default is to have names included, and the name used will be the Patreon profile name. If you'd like to opt-out or use a different name, please message me on Patreon! Here's a link to my Patreon page.

I've also retired my $1 tier, but patrons on that tier will still get their name in the credits, and nothing changes for them! Retiring a tier just means no new patrons can join it.

A heartfelt thank you to all my Patreon supporters. <3

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February music stream thumbnail

Dan was back, polishing up the track for the new Crimson Diamond demo (which will be launching during Steam Mystery Fest!). We'd started this track back in August 2021. It was great to revisit it and finish it off! It's a super-cozy looping track for the tutorial room in the game. Hopefully that encourages more people to play the tutorial! Check it out here! Dan's Twitch channel is dantheband, we raid him on music stream nights!

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Feb 7 artstrem thumbnail

The close-up fisherman is nearly complete! I'm still not 100% satisfied with the hand, so I've taken some additional screenshots for photo reference. I'll use it (flipped of course) on the next art stream! The octahedral crystal in my hand is an awesome bit of fluorite and sadly not a diamond. :-)

photo reference for fisherman's hand

Here are links to all the videos of the livestreams since last gazette!

January 17 art/music stream, January 24 art stream, January 31 art stream, February 7 art stream, February 14 art/music stream!

Old man animated updated

Here's an animated GIF of rough animation for the fisherman!

Bio Menace level 5

A return to Bio Menace! There's a channel point redemption of to play Bio Menace for ten minutes, and it got redeemed twice during the February 14 stream. I'm happy to report I got to Level 5! Woo-hoo! It's FREE on GOG and I highly recommend it!

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Jan31 stream thumbhail

I'm having a lot of fun playing Mortville Manor! Well... Maybe I'm more having fun figuring it out than actually playing it how it was intended. The limited number of questions the player can ask the characters does bother me, which is why I decided to start and restart etc. the game, asking all the characters all the questions that are available. I now have all of that taken care of and can concentrate more on fun!

Here's a glimpse at the spreadsheet I've put together of all the characters' responses to the starting questions. The differently coloured boxes indicate responses that seemed unusual or opened up a new question (the bright green boxes). :

Mortville Manor spreadsheet

Here's the current playlist for Mortville Manor. And a remind that Brocanty Games is currently remaking Mortville Manor with UI improvements and real voice-acting! Follow their project here.

 

My completed Let's Plays:

Personal Nightmare (Horrorsoft 1989) playlist

Last Half of Darkness (Softlab Software Laboratories 1989) playlist

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (LucasArts 1989) playlist

Rise of the Dragon Let's Play (Dynamix, 1990) playlist

The Sorceror's Appraisal (Yahtzee Croshaw, 2002)

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new Crimson Diamond hat design

I've been designing more merch for my Fourthwall store. It's a lot of run and a challege to try to create designs that translate well onto items! Like this embroidered hat, for example! There is a limit of six thread colours, so I changed the brown pixel in Nancy's yellow scarf to dark red and I still think the proper effect is created! And I used the colour of the hat for the black in Nancy's eyes and mouth.

I did the same thing for this embroidered Nancy patch!

new Crimson Diamond patch

I also have a merch store on Society6, with a broader range of stuff!

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CRAFT CORNER

cross stitch progress

Slowly but surely, the parlour reveals itself! I'm excited to work on the painting that's hanging over the sofa, but I might leave that for last.

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photo of diamond trigons courtesy of GemGuy onTwitter

(Image from The Gem Guy on Twitter).

MINERAL TRIVIA SECTION

DID YOU KNOW: Trigons are natural marks that can occur during the development of a diamond? They're a result disruptions during the diamond's growth! Glorious geometry! Read more about them here.

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Holiday card 2022 animation

INTERESTED IN SUPPORTING THE CRIMSON DIAMOND?

Check the sidebar for links to my Patreon and PayPal! Or visit The Crimson Diamond's Steam page follow the game, and add it to your wishlist! There's a FREE playable demo too, for Windows PC and Mac! <3

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Thanks for reading! Happy February!

-- JM

 

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January 2023

Happy New Year, Year of the Rabbit!

Hello, dear readers! Happy January! Happy New Year, and Happy Year of the Rabbit! Here's the card I painted to commemorate the occasion. May your 2023 be wonderful!

Developer update: I'm currently testing the end of chapter 4 of The Crimson Diamond, after the AGS engine upgrade. That should be done soon, and then I'll be testing chapter 5, and THEN starting the last gameplay chapter! How is January halfway finished already? Argh.

Here is the process of the watercolour Dido card!

Dido card pencilled

Dido card inked

Dido card work area

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holiday cards sent out

The holiday cards have been sent out! Hooray! I'll be sharing the design in next month's gazette! It's really cool to see these go out all over the world.

Thank you, Patreon supporters!

Speaking of Patreon, I've modified my tiers! I've retired the $1 tier (current patrons at the tier can continue at that tier, nothing changes -- It only means new patrons can't join at that tier) and introduced a $2.50 tier. ALL active patrons now qualify for a new benefit: Your name in the credits of The Crimson Diamond! This will default to opt-in, using your Patreon user name. If you'd like to opt-out of having your name in the credits or would like to use a different name, please message me on Patreon! Click here to go to my Patreon.

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vicek83's inde game developers video

Every December, adventure game Youtuber vicek83 asks indie adventure game developers about their plans for the following year! I was fortunate to be asked, and I gave the same response as I did the previous year... My plan for the new year is to launch The Crimson Diamond! I mean it, this time! I hope! Ahh... Here's the whole video, it's an awesome resource to catch up on indie devs you already know, and to learn about devs who haven't been on your radar! Also... Please wishlist The Crimson Diamond!

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SaraHyde on Twitch

I'm super excited to report that another Twitch streamer played The Crimson Diamond demo! SaraHyde did a stellar job, check out the VOD here! You can also follow her on Twitter!

SaraHyde streaming TCD

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First art stream of 2023

I took a couple weeks off from streaming for the holidays, but I was excited to get back to it in 2023 for this art stream! I continued working on the close-up of the fisherman, but this time focused on the background and the hand that has to be animated. I also showed a bad ending for Cruise for a Corpse, and started a new Let's Play! More on that below!

Speaking of holidays, I did a holiday stream on December 20! It featured the glorious holiday MIDI music from a Sierra electronic xmas card, some giveaways, and a special holiday backdrop with animated snow! Happy Belated Holidays!

xmasStream

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aniamted gif of fisherman closeup pixel art

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I also finished my Let's Play of Cruise for a Corpse on the holiday stream! The game has beautiful art, but the story (particularly at the end) takes some inexplicable turns. Still, it was a lovely experience and I'm glad I got to play it!

xmas stream Let's Play of Cruise for a Corpse

bad ending for cruise for a corpse

During the holiday stream Let's Play, I tried to accuse the wrong suspect at the end of the game and I got a memory error. I tried again off-stream and the memory error didn't reappear, fortunately. So in my first stream of the new year, I wanted to show what happens when you end up with a "bad" ending! I did try accusing all of the different suspects off stream, it's basically the same ending. But for the sake of completeness, here is one example! And here's the Cruise for a Corpse LP playlist, now concluded!

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Mortville Manor

New year, new game to Let's Play! I started "Mortville Manor" (Lankhor, 1987). It's an EGA mystery adventure game, set in a house! My favourite niche sub-genre! The game uses voice synthesis and an interesting drop-down menu UI. What's particularly exciting about this game is that BrocantyGames on itch.io is working on a freeware remake of Mortville Manor, and it's nearly finished! I'm excited to try the remake. BrocantyGames has also remade another game by Lankhour, the stunning Black Sect 2!

My completed Let's Plays:

Personal Nightmare (Horrorsoft 1989) playlist

Last Half of Darkness (Softlab Software Laboratories 1989) playlist

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (LucasArts 1989) playlist

Rise of the Dragon Let's Play (Dynamix, 1990) playlist

The Sorceror's Appraisal (Yahtzee Croshaw, 2002)

Cruise for a Corpse (Delphine Software International, 1991) playlist

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The Crimson Diamond embroidered beanie

Speaking of holiday giveaways, here's the embroidered Crimson Diamond beanie by Fourthwall I gaveaway on stream! I'm very impressed by how the embroidery turned out. The beanie (as well as other Crimson Diamond merch ) is available on my Fourthwall store and there's other merch on my Society6 store!

My Fourthwall store

society6 store page

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CRAFT CORNER

January 2023 cross stitch progress

Cross-stitching progress on the parlour! Slowly but surely!

January 2023 sketch

Here's my second gazette sketch! This one was done with a Copic Multiliner SP 0.7. They're pigment ink, as well as waterproof and Copic (marker) proof. All housed in a lightweight metal body, with a refillable cartridge and replaceable nib. This sketch is of a cardboard Tetley tea canister filled with some of my craft supplies! I didn't start with a pencil sketch, because I tend to overwork pencil sketches for accuracy. I prefer to sketch directly with pens and commit to the errors and imperfections!

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watermelon tourmaline beads

(Beads enlarged 30x by loupe).

MINERAL TRIVIA SECTION

DID YOU KNOW: When buying gemstones, it can be helpful to research how different kinds of gemstones are graded! There is no universal system of grading, as different properties of different gemstones are desireable. For example: Lapis lazuli is graded for its intensity of colour as well as the proportions of calcite and pyrite that's present. Lapis lazuli isn't a transparent crystal, which means that one of the main methods of grading gemstones (clarity) isn't a consideration. Which brings me to...

My watermelon tourmaline beads arrived!

watermelon tourmaline beads in hand

watermleon tourmaline beads in light

watermelon tourmaline bead size variations

These watermelon tourmaline beads were graded by the vendor as AAA (though this wasn't a formally certified grading, as I'm not sure if that exists. But it can be useful when comparing items from the same vendor), due to their clarity and intensity of colour. When buying online it's important to be aware that a vendor's photos may appear enhanced, either through how the item is lit or with processing after the fact using image editing software. Here's now this exact item appeared in the vendor's photo:

vendor's photo of watermelon tourmaline It's possible that there is a type of light or lighting condition that will make these beads look that saturated in colour. Some stones will even change colour depending on the type of light that is shone on them, or the angle at which the light passes through the stone!

Alexandrite looks completely different in daylight vs incandescent light:

alexandrite under different lighting conditions

Source: Minerals.net

In contrast, my photos of the same item were taken using natural sunlight! I knew to temper my expectations, so I wasn't disappointed by what I received. I also left a review with one of my photos, so that other buyers might get a more accurate idea of what they can expect.

Here's the necklace I strung with my beads. I'm very pleased!

finished watermelon tourmaline necklace

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Holiday 2021 process

INTERESTED IN SUPPORTING THE CRIMSON DIAMOND?

Check the sidebar for links to my Patreon and PayPal! Or visit The Crimson Diamond's Steam page follow the game, and add it to your wishlist! There's a FREE playable demo too, for Windows PC and Mac! <3

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Thanks for reading! Happy New Year and Happy Year of the Rabbit!

-- JM

 

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December 2022

Hello, dear readers! Happy December! First snowstorm of the season! Toronto has been pretty lucky so far, where the weather is concerned. But it was only a matter of time before it got cold and icy. Oh, Canada!

Developer update: Chapter 5 is complete! I've addressed player feedback, too. BUT I also decided to upgrade my version of Adventure Game Studio to 3.5.1 from 3.3.5.10, which has caused a few problems. I've solved them with help from the AGS community, and am just in the midst of testing chapters 1-5 to see if there's anything else that broke! I've already seen an improvement with version 3.5.1 -- Alt-tabbing doesn't crash the game as often, or cause the menus to stop displaying. And the game seems to display better, overall. I'm glad I upgraded! After that, I'll be working on this year's holiday card...

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Holiday patreon

Speaking of holiday cards! $5 Patreon patrons will get the new holiday card sent to their really-real mailboxes, and new $5 patrons will receive a bonus back of previous year's cards! Here's a link to my Patreon.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart to all my Patreon supporters. <3

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GreedyLemming streamed The Crimson Diamond demo on Twitch

I love when streamers stream The Crimson Diamond demo! This month, GreedyLemming did just that! I always try my best to be in chat to answer questions or offer hints, so if you're considering streaming it, please let me know! It's always a very motivating and helpful experience. GreedyLemming had never played a text parser adventure game before, but wanted to support indie devs -- And he came through with flying colours! I'm happy to report he finished the demo in a couple of hours with one very minor hint. I've always felt that the text parser is an immersive and entertaining way to interact with games, and that nostalgia for this style isn't a prequisite to enjoyment. I'm happy to see that this can be the case!

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my Twitch recap graphic

Here's my Twitch recap for the year. It feels nice to see it all summed up here. I'm still surprised that I enjoy streaming so much! That's thanks to all the nice people who come and join me. You're the best!

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music stream

Dan made some more music for The Crimson Diamond! He composed a "triumphant ending", inspired by lots of classic adventure game endings. Check it out here! You can follow Dan on his Twitch channel dantheband!

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art stream image

Work on the close-up fisherman image continues! I'm having so much fun adding dithering and working on a detailed EGA image that isn't complicated architecture or a challenging metallic effect. I'm pleased with the results so far!

Here are the streams from the past month:

November 15 art stream, November 22 art stream, November 29 music stream, December 6 art stream, December 13 art stream!

aniamted gif of fisherman closeup pixel art

Here's an animated GIF of the progress on the fisherman!

Bio Menace playing!

Bio Menace is so much fun! I'm currently on level 4. It's such a treat to play an EGA action game I've never played before. I was pretty fond of Cosmo's Cosmic Adventure, but I think I like Bio Menace's art even more! If you're interested in giving it a try, it's FREE on GOG!

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Let's play thumbnail

My Let's Play of Cruise for a Corpse (armed with a walkthrough) continues! A bunch of interesting stuff happens, including the game starting to glitch and freeze. Eek! But I replayed the entire game from the beginning and I think it's okay now. I got an error about a memory issue, and I suspect it was when I tried to save a fourth save game... I'm not sure, but I'll make sure not to repeat that! Here's the Cruise for a Corpse LP so far.

I was having trouble keeping the characters and their relationships straight, so I made this handy diagram:

Cruise for a Corpse character relationship diagram

(Click the here or the above image to enlarge)!

I hadn't met a lot of these characters until quite late into my LP, so I'm not surprised that a lot of these characters haven't been memorable to me. Hopefully now that I've met them and made this diagram, things will be a bit easier!

My completed Let's Plays:

Personal Nightmare (Horrorsoft 1989) playlist

Last Half of Darkness (Softlab Software Laboratories 1989) playlist

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (LucasArts 1989) playlist

Rise of the Dragon Let's Play (Dynamix, 1990) playlist

The Sorceror's Appraisal (Yahtzee Croshaw, 2002)

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My Fourthwall store

I still haven't ordered any Fourthwall samples yet! I must get on that. I'm particularly curious about the stickers and the embroidered hats! Here's a link to my Fourthwall store! And here's a link to my Society6 store (which has tons of different kinds of stuff on it, from tshirts to iphone cases to... wallpaper?!).

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CRAFT CORNER

cross-stitch progress

Cross-stitching is coming along well! Slowly but surely. A very cozy and satisfying hobby!

photo of my sketch

I'm guilty of havings lovely sketchbooks and really cool art supplies, and never using them. I'm going to try to rectify that by posting a monthly sketch! This one is a sketch with a sketch of the sketch in it, done at a cafe.

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tourmaline varieties

(Click the image to visit GeologyIn.com and read about tourmaline).

MINERAL TRIVIA SECTION

DID YOU KNOW: Tourmaline is one of the most spectacular gemstones of all! It can give fluorite a run for its money when it comes to bright colours, and with a hardness of 7.0 on the Mohs scale (compared to fluorite's 4.0), it's much more suitable for jewellry. One of my favourite varieties of tourmaline is called "watermelon tourmaline". Scroll down to see why that's a perfect name!

watermelon tourmaline image

(Source: Jedora.com)

watermelon tourmaline slice

(Source: Jedora.com)

I've ordered some watermelon tourmaline beads as an xmas present to myself! Yay! I hope to share them in the next gazette.

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photo of pepsi beach glass

I found this amazing bit of beach glass on the shores of Lake Ontario! Thanks to the internet, I learned that it's a piece of a Pepsi Cola Company of Canada bottle from the 1940s. What a treasure!

photo of lakeshore

Here's a photo of that shore, taken the same day!

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Holiday 2021 process

INTERESTED IN SUPPORTING THE CRIMSON DIAMOND?

Check the sidebar for links to my Patreon and PayPal! Or visit The Crimson Diamond's Steam page follow the game, and add it to your wishlist! There's a FREE playable demo too, for Windows PC and Mac! <3

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Thanks for reading! Happy December!

-- JM

 

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November 2022

Hello, dear readers! Happy November! We just had our first snowfall in Toronto, yet there are some green leaves still left on the trees. I hope the winter won't be so long this year!

Developer update: Chapter 5 is nearly nearly nearly complete. I'm currently implementing the second last animated sequence for a cutscene and have one more (simpler animation) left! Inching closer to finishing this chapter!

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OneShortEye's Colonel's Bequest video

OneShortEye is a Youtuber who creates wonderful adventure game speedrunning documentaries! Recently he tried a different format, delving deep into The Colonel's Bequest to reveal obscure quirks in the code. I was fortunate enough to be invited to weigh in on the gorgeous art of TCB! The video is fantastic, check it out here!

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AdventureX Steam event stream

AdventureX was held in London (UK, not Ontario) for the first time since 2019! It's a wonderful event where lots of adventure game fans and developers can meet and show their projects. I showed The Crimson Diamond demo in 2019, when the venue was the British Library. While I didn't travel to London this year, I did get to participate in the accompanying Steam event, hosted by ASH Games. I streamed The Crimson Diamond demo and did a bit of developer commentary. Check out the video here!

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Holiday patreon

It's that time again! Every holiday season I design and print a holiday card, with a handwritten message inside. $5 Patreon patrons will get one mailed to them, and new $5 patrons receive a bonus pack! This year, the bonus pack is last year's card, the year before's card printed on a postcard, and glossy promo postcard of the Crimson Lodge at night. I usually mail out my cards in the new year, anyone at the $5 tier by the time I do my mailing will be sent a card! Here's a link to my Patreon.

This is also a good time to thank my current Patreon patrons. I don't do that enough. Thanks so much for your support, it helps me out so much.

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Space Warlord physical release

Here's my copy of Space Warlord Organ Trading Simulator! It's a bit surreal to have a physical product with my art in it. SWOTS (for Nintendo Switch) has now been widely released, and is available for purchase just about anywhere! I checked online and it can be ordered from Amazon, Walmart, and Best Buy. Probably more places, too! And of course, the digital version is available on Steam and the Nintendo e-store.

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My Fourthwall store

I now have a merch store on Fourthwall! It's got Twitch integration and some other nice features (such as being able to send personalized video/audio messages to people who buy stuff). I have yet to order any samples, but I'll be doing that soon to show on stream!

Fourthwall Bucket tshirt

Fourthwall integrates with Twitch to allow me to do giveaways and I tested this out but running a giveaway in November! The winner of the giveaway was kind enough to send me these photos of the shirt so I could show the quality of the shirt and printing. Looks good to me!

Bucket t-shirt with real bucket and not-real fish!

And he even went the extra mile, with fish, bucket, AND diamond! Amazing!!

TCD puzzles now available on Society6

A reminder that there are The Crimson Diamond puzzles for sale on Society6! If there's a particular piece of TCD art you'd like on a puzzle, please let me know, via Twitter or email (julia(*at*)thecrimsondiamond(*dot*)com.

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Dan stream thumbnail

Dan the Band was back this past month, and composed an "upbeat ending" for The Crimson Diamond! Dan has his own Twitch channel here. Crimson C'Tuesdays always start on my channel at 8pm Eastern!

Stream guest Karl

I had a special guest on stream in November! Karl Dupéré-Richer is an artist and game developer, currently working on Betrayed Alliance with SlattStudio. He's also released a game of his own (with co-developer Nicolas Beaudette) called Amazing Fix! It's a hidden object game with a twist. Find it on Steam!Karl also has Instagram and a blog, where he shows more of his work.

I've put all my special guest streams in their own playlist. Past guests are Anna Vigue (co-host of the Classic Gamers Guild Podcast), Francisco González (of Grundislav games, currently developing Rosewater), Jim Maxwell (Emmy-winning VFX artist and longtime adventure game fan), and now Karl!

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Nov1 artstream thumbnail

Art streams continue! I've finished another animation for the introductory sequence of The Crimson Diamond! All the art streams are on their own playlist, here's a link. In the above image, I'm proudly displaying the completed Dido-cat patchwork quilt, made by my mom!

Dido QuiltGlorious!

Fish gutting animation

Here's the completed fish-gutting animation!

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November 1 LP thumbnail

After a few attempts at figuring out "Cruise for a Corpse" (Delphine Software International, 1991) on my own, I've finally resorted to a walkthrough. So far it seems that the game progresses after you've had conversations with people, plus occasionally pixel-hunting for an item. Even WITH the walkthrough, I had some trouble locating a piece of paper under a chair! Here's the Cruise for a Corpse LP so far, Part 4 is where I restart with the walkthrough.

My completed Let's Plays:

Personal Nightmare (Horrorsoft 1989) playlist

Last Half of Darkness (Softlab Software Laboratories 1989) playlist

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (LucasArts 1989) playlist

Rise of the Dragon Let's Play (Dynamix, 1990) playlist

The Sorceror's Appraisal (Yahtzee Croshaw, 2002)

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CRAFT CORNER

parlour cross-stitch progress

The "Nancy in the Parlour" cross-stich is progressing nicely. It's a perfect hobby that keeps my hands busy and requires a bit of thought -- but not too much! Very relaxing and rewarding, and something fun to display when finished!

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Fire Opal image

MINERAL TRIVIA SECTION

DID YOU KNOW: Fire opals have gorgeous warm red and orange hues, yet often lack the "play-of-colour" that give opals their name! The most commonly known form of opals are milky white, with raindows of colours inside them (if an opal exhibits this iridescence it's referred to as "precious opal"). But opals come in many colours, including black, green, and grey. Fire opals are my favourite (sometimes called Mexican fire opals, as they are famously from Querétaro, Mexico), and are sometimes called "jelly opals" if they don't have the play-of-colour. They certainly look delicious!

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Agatha Christie book, Dead Man's Folly

This 1974 fourth printing of Agatha Christie's "Dead Man's Folly" from my mother's collection frightened me as a kid! But in that way kids can sort of delight in a safe fright. The cover painting is by Tom Adams, a fantastic illustrator who created some of my favourite scary Agatha Christie covers! And I'm not alone in that, as Guillermo del Toro tweeted the same sentiment!

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Holiday 2021 process

INTERESTED IN SUPPORTING THE CRIMSON DIAMOND?

Check the sidebar for links to my Patreon and PayPal! Or visit The Crimson Diamond's Steam page follow the game, and add it to your wishlist! There's a FREE playable demo too, for Windows PC and Mac! <3

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Thanks for reading! Happy November!

-- JM

 

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October 2022

Fall colours photo

Hello, dear readers! Happy October! The Fall colours have been spectacular in Ontario. The weather's been crisp. It won't be too long before things turn cold and grey, eeek!

Developer update: Chapter 5 is nearly complete. Almost all the assets are finished and implemented, except for a cutscene sequence. I still need to do a few close-up screens and those tend to take the most time. But the end is in sight!

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adventure game hotspot logo

The Adventure Game Hotspot is a new adventure gaming news and media site that launched recently! To celebrate, they hosted a 12-hour streaming marathon, featuring tons of adventure game folks: Lori & Corey Cole (Transolar Games) Dave Gilbert (Wadjet Eye Games), Ron Gilbert (Terrible Toybox), Francisco González (Grundislav Games), Anna Mimik (Kapia), Roberta Williams (Cygnus Entertainment), and many more!

Adventure Game Hotspot streaming event

I'm happy that I got to participate and show a bit of The Crimson Diamond demo!

Here are my segments during the event: Part 1 and part 2!

 

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indiecade nominee, SWOTS

Exciting news! Space Warlord Trading Simulator (get it on Steam!) was nomiated for an IndieCade award! We're nominated for the Spotlight Award in the Systemic Design category, as well as the general categories of IndieCade Jury Prix, IndieCade Grand Jury, IndieCade Developer's Choice, Innovation in Interactive Design, and Innovation in Experience Design. Fingers crossed! SWOTS also has a page on Wikipedia!

speedruns site image

The Crimson Diamond now has its own page on Speedruns.com! Thanks again to SpeedyAdventures for choosing the demo for their short run challange for September. I had a lot of fun trying my hand at speedrunning the demo, and was happy to see my times soundly beaten by the pros! I'm keeping a playlist of the current world record holders on my Youtube channel. It's so cool to see my game being enjoyed this way!

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TCD puzzles now available on Society6

A few folks on the Twitch stream were asking if Society6 makes puzzles. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that they do! So I've added some puzzles to The Crimson Diamond Society6 store. If there's any The Crimson Diamond art you'd like to see made into a puzzle, please let me know! I can be reached at julia(at)thecrimsondiamond.com !

Bucket t-shirt

Speaking of Society6 products, the Bucket t-shirt is now available! Someone sent me photos of their t-shirt, to show what the printed colours look like:

photo of Bucket T-shirt in the wild

EGA will always be at its most brilliant on a screen. I'm glad to have photos of the print job so that anyone who might be considering a Bucket t-shirt can see what it looks like in real life!

photo 2 of Bucket t-shirt in the wild

Those pixels look pretty sharp!

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Return of the Dan!

The Return of Dan the Band! On his premiere comeback stream Dan updates us on what he's been up to all summer, and on his sequel stream we get to some music-making for The Crimson Diamond! Tuesday streams always start at 8pm Eastern on my channel. Follow me there to get notified when I go live, and follow Dan on Twitch here!

screenshot of stream

Art streams continue! The fish-gutting scene is going well, I think it'll be finished soon. Here are the art streams I've posted since the September issue of the gazette: Sept 20, Sept 27, and Oct 12!

Fish work in progress pixel art

Here's the fish-gutting illustration so far!

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Sorceror's Appraisal screenshot

I was recently introduced to a Yahtzee Croshaw game that I didn't know existed! I've played through and enjoyed his Chzo Mythos series, so to learn that he made an EGA text parser adventure game was too cool! Here's a one-shot Let's Play of "The Sorceror's Appraisal", check it out! If you'd like to play the game yourself, it's available for free!

Cruise for a Corpse screenshot

I'm very excited to share the beginning of my new Let's Play series: "Cruise for a Corpse" (Delphine Software International, 1991)! The game was released on a few platforms and the best-known version is in VGA. I heard tell of an EGA version, and I'm overjoyed to have been provided with a copy to play! Here's the first video. It's gorgeous!

My completed Let's Plays:

Personal Nightmare (Horrorsoft 1989) playlist

Last Half of Darkness (Softlab Software Laboratories 1989) playlist

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (LucasArts 1989) playlist

Rise of the Dragon Let's Play (Dynamix, 1990) playlist

The Sorceror's Appraisal (Yahtzee Croshaw, 2002)

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CRAFT CORNER

Dido quilt progress

The Dido-cat cross-stitch is now complete! The patchwork quilt is well on its way, too. My mom's doing a lovely job with it!

Parlour cross-stitch

And here's my next cross-stitch project: the parlour in Crimson lodge! It's my most ambitious cross-stitching project so far. I'm going to complete the little cross-stitch Nancy, first! You can see her bottom half and one of her hands here.

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Lake Superior agates

MINERAL TRIVIA SECTION

DID YOU KNOW: Lake Superior agates have a long and fascinating history! They have a special place in my heart because Lake Superior is the closet Great Lake to where The Crimson Diamond is set. Lake Superior agates have varying hues of orange and deep red (crimson!), due to iron leaching into them during their formation. They were created by volcanic eruptions about a billion years ago (in Minnesota!), and were carried far and wide by glaciers between 10,000 and 15,000 years ago.

I acquired a set of these agates and my friend Anna found some incredibly skilled craftspeople (Raincoast Jewelry Design) who lived near her who could cut, polish, and wire-wrap the stones into beautiful jewelry! The results are shown above, and I couldn't be more pleased.

Anna is an amazing craftsperson in her own right! She and her husband run a business in Victoria, BC, creating gorgeous cutting boards, coasters, and more out of recovered and recyled wood. They also do custom wood finishes and staining! Find them on Instagram and Facebook.

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Agatha Christie book

I got my love of mysteries from my mom. Here's her 1975 copy of Agatha Christie's "The Murder of Roger Ackroyd", in pristine condition! She's got so many of these vintage paperbacks -- I think I might start sharing them in future issues of the gazette!

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Happy Halloween image

Happy Hallowe'en! An oldie but a goodie! A while back I created this tribute to some classic EGA Sierra villains (clockwise from centre): Lolotte, Manannan, Ad Avis, and Baba Yaga!

Lazy Game Reviews loading the Halloween image on a PC

Lazy Game Reviews tweeted the image loaded on one of his "oldie and goodie" computers, check it out here!

INTERESTED IN SUPPORTING THE CRIMSON DIAMOND?

Check the sidebar for links to my Patreon and PayPal! Or visit The Crimson Diamond's Steam page follow the game, and add it to your wishlist! There's a FREE playable demo too, for Windows PC and Mac! <3

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Thanks for reading! Happy October!

-- JM

 

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September 2022

Hello, dear readers! Happy September! Fall is nearly upon us in Ontario and the weather is cooling down fast. We've still been having some sunny, muggy days here and there. I must remember to savour them!

Developer update: Chapter 5, section 2 is complete! I'm testing it now, but will be moving onto developing section 3 soon! The good news is, some bits planned for section 3 worked their way into section 2, which means this last section should take a little less time. My goal is to finish chapter 5 completely by October. We shall see...

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Speedy Adventures short challenge!

Speedy Adventures (an adventure game speedrunning community!) selected The Crimson Diamond demo as their "short challenge" for the month of September! I've been curious about adventure game speedrunning for a while now, so it was a very pleasant surprise to learn that the TCD demo was chosen! To read the rules for the challenge, you can join the Speedy Adventures Discord community here. The details are in the pinned post under the "short-challenges" thread! You can also follow them on Twitter here!

Image of one of my speedrun attempts

I tried my hand at a bit of speedrunning, too! I had a lot of fun with it. Twitch chat was very helpful in suggesting possible run categories -- Here are timestamped examples of each kind of run I tried!

100% Completion Run 2:16:09

Any% Completion Run 1:49:95

Open All Doors, Cupboards, and Drawers Run 3:41:68 (I forgot to open both sets of double doors on the ground floor!)

Booze% Run (Nancy becomes inebriated) 0:52:11

All Objects Obtained Run 2:14:42

Shower% Run (Get shower scene ending) 0:45:96

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Dido crafts

This didn't QUITE fit into the developer update... But there will be a Dido-cat painting in the lodge, in the next version of the demo and in the final game! Dido was our family's last cat, the sweetest tuxedo cat you ever could meet. The little cubes are Yahtzee dice, because Dido really liked sitting with us when we played Yahtzee and batting at them. My mom has been requesting a pattern for a Dido patchwork quilt for a while now. Once I had the gridded design, it was easy enough for me to start a cross-stitch version too!

Dido on watercolour card

Dido is also the star of the watercolour cards I paint for special occasions...

Dido-cat in InspectorWaffles

...And she's appeared in a game already! Dido's computer game debut was in Goloso Games' Inspector Waffles! I streamed the process of creating that piece of art, too!

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my playdate arrived!

My Playdate has finally arrived! Hooray! I've had a developer's unit for a while now, but the Mirror app didn't work with that one. The Mirror app allows the user to play Playdate games on their desktop, which means they can be magnified for those who have issues with viewing the small screen; it's a wonderful accessibility feature! This feature also allows streamers to easily stream Playdate games, which I hope to do in the future!

Recommendation Dog!! game image

Speaking of showing and streaming Playdate games: I still can't show Recommendation Dog!! (the Playdate game I art directed and made art for), unfortunately! It was produced by Sweet Baby Inc. in association with Panic. When it's released I'll be sure to let everyone know!

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More fun Twitch emotes! Now that the "fish into bucket" animation has been completed, I've created a few fish emotes -- Including an animated one!

Twitch emotes

fish into bucket animation, iolated

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August 23 stream thumbnail

I'm continuing to update the introductory sequence art for The Crimson Diamond on my Tuesday 8pm art streams. I'm making a simple fish-gutting (not too graphic) scene right now, which isn't nearly as detailed as the fish-into-bucket. It's a welcome change of pace!

Here are the art streams I've done since the last gazette: August 16, August 23, August 30, September 7!

image of the whole fish

Here's the completed fish for the "fish into bucket animation"!

 

fish gutting work in progress

And here's the work-in-progress of the fish gutting animation! Thanks very much to the donor of a remarkable reference photo, it's incredibly helpful (and no real fish involved. It was stuffed fish cat toy!).

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Dan is back in town and ready to stream! We did a "Dan's back" stream, in which Dan gives us an update on what he's been up to -- But it didn't make it into this issue of the gazette, unfortunately! Next time!

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Rise of the Dragon Let's Play thumbnail

I finished Rise of the Dragon (EGA)! There was not one, but TWO arcade sequences to battle through, both with tricky (verging on unfair) bits! But thanks to the helpful folks in chat, I prevailed! BUT I didn't save Karyn -- So I'll be playing one more time! After that... I have more EGA adventure game plans! I can't wait to show what's in store next!

Here is the Rise of the Dragon Let's Play playlist so far.

My completed Let's Plays:

Personal Nightmare (Horrorsoft 1989) playlist

Last Half of Darkness (Softlab Software Laboratories 1989) playlist

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (LucasArts 1989) playlist

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Bucket t-shirts

There's Crimson Diamond merch in my Society 6 store! There is other fun stuff on there (besides buckets), including Nancy walk cycle graphics and The Crimson Diamond logos!

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CRAFT CORNER

Kimi cross stitch is completed!

I finished the cross-stitch portrait of Kimi Kishiro, avid birder and pal of Nancy Maple! I'm currently working on the little Dido cross-stitch, but after that I'm thinking of tackling one of the Crimson Lodge rooms. We shall see!

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quartz vs lake glass

MINERAL TRIVIA SECTION

DID YOU KNOW: Identifying rocks can be fun! No matter if it's quartz, glass, or anything else, finding pretty things on the shore is enjoyable and relaxing. For example, I found this piece of quartz (top, centre) on one of my walks along the Lake Ontario shoreline, sanded and polished it, buffed it with renaissance wax, and wire-wrapped it into a pendant. Pictured are some other bits of quartz(?) I found on the same outing (top and bottom left), some lake glass I also found (bottom middle and bottom right), AND a bit of comfirmed rose quartz from my collection.

I'm not 100% sure that the pendant is quartz. But I've made that conclusion based on the following:

- the other probable quartz bits easily scratch the lake glass. Quartz is harder than glass!

- I have difficulty scratching the lake glass with the pendant, BUT the polished rose quartz has difficulty scratching the lake glass, possibly because it's been polished very smooth. I should've performed the scratch before I'd polished and waxed it!

- the potential quartz is thicker than the lake glass. Most lake glass is fairly thin, unless it comes from the bottom of a bottle or similar.

-the inclusions (coloured imperfections) in the potential quartz look very much like the inclusions that can be seen in the probable quartzes.

- sometimes glass has spherical air bubbles in it. I used my handy-dandy loupe and didn't find any air bubbles.

My conclusion: The pendant is quartz, but I'm happy to be proven wrong! I'm still learning how to identify rocks!

pendant wire-wrapping attempts

Left: My first attempt at wire wrapping. Right: My much more successful second attempt!

 

small quartz stone, rough

Here are the photos of the quartz as I found it on the lake shore (front and back), and after the sanding, polishing, and buffing with renaissance wax. Renaissance wax is a microcrystalline wax polish used by museums to preserve and enhance many surfaces, including wood, metal, and gemstones. We don't get much quartz on the Lake Ontario shores, so to find one that was already so smooth and symmetrical and a perfect size for jewellry was a real treat!

small quart stone, polished

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Updated fish into bucket animation

bucket animation

INTERESTED IN SUPPORTING THE CRIMSON DIAMOND?

Check the sidebar for links to my Patreon and PayPal! Or visit The Crimson Diamond's Steam page follow the game, and add it to your wishlist! There's a FREE playable demo too, for Windows PC and Mac! <3

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Thanks for reading! Happy September!

-- JM

 

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August 2022

Hello, dear readers! Happy August! We've had some hot, hot days here in Toronto, but I'm already dreading the cooler days that come with autumn. Ontario winter never seems to get any easier!

Developer update: I'm well into working on section 2 (of 3) of chapter 5 (of 7) of The Crimson Diamond! Developing new bits is always so much fun, but must be followed by the slightly less fun testing phase. Though zapping bugs and tightening up writing can also be very satisfying!

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Bucket t-shirts

At long last! I've added my EGA bucket to my Society 6 store! There is other fun stuff on there, including Nancy walk cycle graphics and The Crimson Diamond logos! Here's the bucket t-shirt with no background, and here's the bucket t-shirt with background included.

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Dan and Sean Paul

Dan (aka DantheBand, the musician making the music for The Crimson Diamond) came into town recently, touring and performing with Sean Paul! I got to go backstage and meet Sean Paul and the rest of the band, which was awesome because I've been a fan for a while (Dan also gave me a dTb "Dan the Band hat! Woo-hoo!)! Dan was also on the Jimmy Kimmel show not too long ago, performing with Sean Paul and Gwen Stefani! Go go Dan!

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DisasterSquad chat

This just missed last month's gazette -- I had a wonderful conversation with DisasterSquad about indie game dev and adventure games! Check it out here!

 

Karakitsu streams the demo on Twitch

Twitch streamer KaraJitsu streamed The Crimson Diamond demo! I was hanging out in chat to offer hints and answer questions, but KaraJitsu was a pro and didn't need my help! Here's a link to his playthrough!

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I made some animated Nancy gifs and a bucket emote my Twitch channel, and added follower emotes! The animated gifs are subscriber only, but the bucket emote and the standard Nancy emote and Crimson Diamond logo can be used by followers when hanging out in my stream! I hope you enjoy them!

Nancy animated gif 1

Nancy animated gif 2

Nancy animated gif 3

Nancy animated gif 4

pixel art bucket only

Twitch emojis

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Aug 9 art stream

I'm continuing to update the introductory sequence art for The Crimson Diamond on my Tuesday 8pm art streams! I put the finishing touches on my EGA bucket and am currently working on the fish! Here are the art streams I've done since the last gazette: July 19, July 26, August 2, August 9!

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Dan Policar is making the music for The Crimson Diamond, using a genuine Roland MT-32! He's been pretty busy this summer (see earlier in the gazette!) so hasn't been streaming much lately, but we're sure to catch him some time! Here's Dan's last The Crimson Diamond music stream, back in June!

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Augst 9 stream

I'm well into my Let's Play of "Rise of the Dragon" (Dynamix 1990) and loving every minute of it... Except this wire puzzle! This puzzle has finicky hotspots, a kinda-sorta rhythm component, AND an unforgivingly short time limit! Oh, and also you die (nibbled to death by rats or electrocution) if you get it wrong. Also the music is pure chaos. I died a lot. Well, about thirty times. And I knew what to do and even had a photo of the correct solution!

Of course I'm playing the EGA version of RotD, because the EGA palette is my favourite thing ever, and all my other Let's Plays have been EGA adventure games! I hope to continue Let's Playing EGA adventure games! I think I'll be needing to pick a new one soon...

Here is the Rise of the Dragon Let's Play playlist so far.

My completed Let's Plays:

Personal Nightmare (Horrorsoft 1989) playlist

Last Half of Darkness (Softlab Software Laboratories 1989) playlist

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (LucasArts 1989) playlist

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CRAFT CORNER

Cross stitch work in progress

I FINALLY found a perfect shade of light grey for my EGA cross-stitching projects! I finished off Evan, and have moved on to Kimi! This sheet of black cross-stitching fabric is now full, I might try doing a room from the game next! That will be much larger, and take up an entire sheet! Eek! But now I've got all of my colours, I'm excited to try!

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Stones on lake shore

Lake rocks

Lake rocks wet

MINERAL TRIVIA SECTION

DID YOU KNOW: If you look closely and carefully there is a stunning variety of rocks out there, probably local to you! At first glance, the vast amounts of rocks that line the shores of Lake Ontario can seem unremarkable. But if you keep an eye out for something specific like different colours (and maybe wet them a bit to enhance those colours!), you can find some very beautiful specimens.

little rocks

If you look at even smaller bits of rock, sometimes fascinating things can be found!

little rock with light shining through

Here's the bottom-middle specimen with sunlight shining through it. There are lovely things all over the place, when we take the time and care to see them!

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bucket animation

INTERESTED IN SUPPORTING THE CRIMSON DIAMOND?

Check the sidebar for links to my Patreon and PayPal! Or visit The Crimson Diamond's Steam page follow the game, and add it to your wishlist! There's a FREE playable demo too, for Windows PC and Mac! <3

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Thanks for reading! Happy August!

-- JM

 

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July 2022

Hello, dear readers! Happy July! Summer continues to heat up here, but at least the nights are still on the cooler side. My mom's alpine strawberries are ripening. They're tiny, delicious summer gems!

Developer update: I'm back developing The Crimson Diamond again, having taken the last couple of months to work full-time on a friend's project! It feels sooooo good to be back at it, it's been too long.

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Witch Strandings image

I'm super excited to announce that Witch Strandings has launched! This is the second game by Strange Scaffold that I've contributed art to, it's so fulfilling to see it out and about. The player controls a mote of light using a unique mouse-movement mechanic to help beleaguered creatures in a dark and dangerous forest. I love the orginality of gameplay that Xalavier Nelson Jr. brings to his projects. I'm proud to be on the Strange Scaffold team!

Here's the gorgeous trailer!

Witch Strandings trailer image 1

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Strange Dungeon logo

Speaking of games being out and about: Strange Dungeon now has a Steam page, and is available for wishlisting! It's a turn-based tactical roguelike of exploration, diplomacy, and bad fish!

Strange Dungeon screencap 1

Strange Dungeon screencap 2

Strange Dungeon screencap 3

Painted office environment

Here's the spaceship office environment I made for Strange Dungeon. As with the spaceship kitchen I modelled it in Blender, then lit and rendered it, and then exported each object and painted it separately using an impasto-style custom brush in Clip Studio Paint. It's a labour-intensive process but I think the results are really lovely!

And here's the concept sketch!

Office concept sketch

 

June 28 art stream with painting office environment

I streamed painting some of the office environment here!

This is the finished kitchen environment. To see more process work for it, check out last month's gazette!

Strange Dungeon Painted

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Art stream July 12 image

A return to work on The Crimson Diamond means a return to the EGA bucket! At long last! I'll be putting the finishing touches on it soon enough, and then start on the fateful, diamond-filled fish that stars in the scene! Here's the art stream!

Dan's apperance on Jimmy Kimmel

Dan's been busy this summer, including an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel, performing with Sean Paul and Gwen Stefani! Here he is, rocking out on a keytar. Dan's been a member of the Baddabanz for ten years, touring and performing all over the world! He's even been nominated for a Grammy! Well done, Dan! Dan last streamed Crimson Diamond music in June, check it out here!

Streams happen on Crimson C'Tuesdays at 8pm Eastern! I'm a_maplemystery, follow me there and/or on Twitter to get notified when I go live.

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July 12 Let's Play image

After an epic, 11-part Let's Play of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: the Graphic Adventure, I've found the Grail, saved my Dad, and rode off into the sunset! Including some variations thereof! Overall the game was pretty challenging. I'm very grateful to all the helpful folks in chat for the guidance when I needed it. Onwards to the next adventure (game)!

Here is the complete Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade playlist!

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CRAFT CORNER

Cross stitched characters

So far so good! Evan (bottom left) is now complete except for light grey (still need a suitable colour!) and I'll be starting on another character soon! The two Nancy Maples were colour tests, I ended up using the light red (and the light and dark cyans) on the righthand Nancy for the rest of the portraits. I'm also looking forward to trying to cross-stitch a room in the lodge!

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honey calcite image

MINERAL TRIVIA SECTION

DID YOU KNOW: If you love large chunks of beautifully coloured, translucent, budget-friendly rock, honey calcite might be for you! I picked up this sizable chunk for $20 CAD. I love how sunlight passes through it. It has a gloriously glossy, glassy exterior. The honey colour is due to hematite impurities! Calcite isn't suitable for jewellry because of its relative softness (Mohs 3) and it'll react to mild acids, even vinegar! In fact, exposing calcite to a little bit of vinegar will cause it to bubble and fizz (the reaction produces calcium acetate, water, and carbon dioxide), which is one of the ways calcite can be identified. So if you do buy a chunk of calcite, take good care of it!

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bucket animation

INTERESTED IN SUPPORTING THE CRIMSON DIAMOND?

Check the sidebar for links to my Patreon and PayPal! Or visit The Crimson Diamond's Steam page follow the game, and add it to your wishlist! There's a FREE playable demo too, for Windows PC and Mac! <3

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Thanks for reading! Happy July!

-- JM

 

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June 2022

Hello, dear readers! Happy June! There have been a few hot days so far here in Toronto, and a bit of rain. There have also been a lot of gloriously sunny, not-too-hot days, too! I hope the weather is being kind to you, wherever you are.

Developer update: For the months of May and June I've been working full-time on contract, creating art for a friend's game. The contract is two months long, after which I'll return to developing The Crimson Diamond!

I've been learning how to paint digitally using Clip Studio Paint (50% off until June 21) and also learning a bit of 3D modelling in Blender! I'm excited to share the results below!

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Strange Dungeon Concept Art

This concept art of a mushroomy fungal environment is closest to my illustration style (you can see more of my examples of my illustration work here!). I've always been more comfortable defining shapes with linework, not light and shadow, so recreating the painterly style for this projct was a challenge for me!

texture sheet for Strange Dungeon

I started this contract work by learning how to use Clip Studio Paint. It's a similar drawing program to Photoshop, but there is a particular brush that needed to be used to create this painterly style. Here is the first texture sheet I created. I was glad that these assets needed to be painted in grey tones! I could concentrate on trying to defining the forms and not worry about the colours I was using.

Strange Dungeon creatures

After I completed a few texture sheets I created concepts for some creatures that will appear in the game.This time I painted them in full colour and had to build them in separate sections, so each leg/claw/etc could be rigged and animated. I was more comfortable with the painterly style at this stage, and the creatures required more subtle brushstrokes which were easier for me to paint.

Crab separated into segments

Here's the muffin/mushroom crab and all its parts!

 

Strange Dungeon kitchen concept

Next came building an environment! It started with a concept illustration for a spaceship kitchen.

Strange Dungeon 3D model

I learned how to build a basic 3D version of the concept in Blender, with the help of my friend and a Youtube tutorial (scroll down for the link to the video and the first 3D room I created!).

Strange Dungeon 3D coloured

Here's a render of the finished 3D kitchen, with some colours applied to it!

Strange Dungeon Painted

The final stage of this art was to take each object and element in the room as 2D images and use Clip Studio Paint compose them together (in separate image layers), then add more details and brush stroke textures by hand, using the lighting of the Blender models as guides! I streamed some of this process, you can see it here.

tutorial room image

Here's the first little room I created using a very helpful Youtube tutorial by 3DGreenhorn. The video is 15 minutes long and covers a lot of basics very quickly! It took me a couple of days to get through it, but I'm very pleased with the result.

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Witch Strandings (published by Modern Wolf) now has a launch date! July 7! Check out the Witch Strandings Steam page by clicking here!

Witch Strandings image

There's an amazing trailer for the game, check it out here!

Witch Strandings trailer image 1

And here are a couple of stills!

Witch Strandings trailer image 2

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Pre-orders for the Premium Physical Edition of Space Warlord Organ Trading Simulator are still available, shipping this Fall! This is for the Switch, and the game can be purchased digitally on the Switch store, too.

Space Warlord Organ Trading Simulator physical release iamge

Here's a link to pre-order the double vinyl release of the soundtrack!

Space Warlord Organ Trading Simulator Vinyls image

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Art Stream of Clip Studio Paint

Art streams have been less pixel art and more digital painting! In the latest video I'm painting more homey details into the kitchen.

June 7 art stream

Although I did work a bit on my pixel art bucket on a stream too!

Dan music stream image

Dan and I did a combo stream since last gazette! He composed some amazing "final confrontation music" from scratch, check it out here!

Streams happen on Crimson C'Tuesdays at 8pm Eastern! I'm a_maplemystery, follow me there and/or on Twitter to get notified when I go live!

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Let's play stream image

In the past month I've covered a lot of ground in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: The Graphic Adventure! Made it through the zeppelin stage and have crashed in the countryside What a gorgeous game! I've been amazed to learn that there are different paths depending on the choices you've made! In my next Let's Play episode I'll be replaying the zeppelin section to explore one such path!

I post the videos after the fact on my Youtube channel, with the entire art streams but also a trimmed version of the Let's Plays, in their own playlist!

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CRAFT CORNER

Cross-stitching progess

I haven't finished my cross-stitch of Evan Richards, but I'm very close! I'm missing the appropriate colour of light grey to finish this and I still need to fill in the dark blue background on the right! I have to visit a craft store with the two colours of light grey I currently have (you can see them both on the left side by Evan's neck) and pick a tone that is darker than one and lighter than the other. And a bit warmer, too!

Evan character portrait image

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image of Gemstones Youtube channel

MINERAL TRIVIA SECTION

DID YOU KNOW: There's a fantastic Youtube channel that shows amazing mineral specimens and gems that is updated frequently and posts entertaining and educational videos! I've been watching tons of these Gemstones.com videos, the hosts are knowledgeable and enthusiastic. Some of my favourite videos include Unboxing Diamonds, How I Became a Pro Gem Collector, and Unboxing Diamond Imitators!

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bucket animation

INTERESTED IN SUPPORTING THE CRIMSON DIAMOND?

Check the sidebar for links to my Patreon and PayPal! Or visit The Crimson Diamond's Steam page follow the game, and add it to your wishlist! There's a FREE playable demo too, for Windows PC and Mac! <3

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Thanks for reading! Happy June!

-- JM

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May 2022

Hello, dear readers! Happy May! The sun has been shining warmly so far this month. We've had some lovely summery days here, which cheers me up to no end.

Developer update: I've done more assets for Chapter 5, the whole chapter is about 30% complete now. Slowly but surely! Progress is happening!

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Witch Strandings has been announced! I made pixel art for it, it's my second Strange Scaffold project (after Space Warlord Organ Trading Simulator launched last December... More on that later!). Check out the Witch Strandings Steam page by clicking here, and please wishlist it if you enjoy dark fairytales, exploration, and nurturing!

Witch Strandings image

Witch Strandings is being published by Modern Wolf, who have launched a number of games including Cantata, Rogue State Revolution, and Mechajammer! It'll be releasing some time this year!

Witch Strandings screenshot

Witch Strandings image 2

Witch Strandings image 3

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Speaking of Space Warlord Organ Trading Simulator, I'm super excited to share that Serenity Forge has opened up pre-orders for a Premium Physical Edition, shipping this Fall! This is for the Switch, and the game can be purchased digitally on the Switch store, too. New storylines have been added to the game since launch, including Inscryption, Among Us, and Bugsnax tie-ins! I LOVE that there is a holographic Chad Shakespeare sticker, and it's art that I made! I can't wait to see it in real life!

Space Warlord Organ Trading Simulator physical release iamge

There's also a double vinyl release of the soundtrack, available for pre-order! Here's the link for that.

Space Warlord Organ Trading Simulator Vinyls image

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Inspector Waffles is the first released game that has pixel art made by me! It was a little woolball card (bottom left, #5 slot), with a player called "Dido Maplemata". Dido was the last cat my family had, and "Maplemata" is a combination of "Maple" (the last name of the protagonist in The Crimson Diamond) and "Minamata", which is my last name! I played and finished Inspector Waffles not too long ago, it's a lovely adventure game with a great setting. I very much recommend it! You can find Inspector Waffles on Steam, GOG, and Nintendo Switch!

Inspector Waffles pixel art image by me

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Bucket pixel art screencap

My art livestreams are still dedicated to working on this close-up of a metal bucket for the introductory sequence of The Crimson Diamond. I'm pleased with the progress so far, I'm sure it'll be finished soon! I added clover for an added kick of colour, and I'd like to think that there'll be a four-leafed clover or two in this scene... It's a fisherman's lucky day!

Stream screenshot 1

Here are all the art streams (concluding with Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade Let's Plays) I've done since April's gazette! In chronological order: April 26 art stream, May 3 art stream, and May 10 art stream!

Livestream May 3 image

May 10 livestream image

Dan's been busier with work so hasn't been able to stream as much. But when he does, he streams at dantheband on Twitch! Usually I'll kick off the stream on Tuesdays at 8pm Eastern, and then raid his channel when he's ready. I'm at a_maplemystery, follow me there and/or on Twitter to get notified when I go live!

I also post the videos after the fact on my Youtube channel, with the entire art streams but also a trimmed version of just the Let's Play bit!

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Let's Play image April 26

Speaking of Let's Playing, I'm having a great time with Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: The Graphic Adventure! Castle Brunwald is an infamously tricky, tedious part of the game, so I've been shamelessly consulting a walkthrough to get through it. Twitch chat has also been an invaluable and highly knowledgeable resource. I wouldn't have gotten this far without the amazing folks in chat! Here are the links for the Let's Play videos: April 26 Let's Play stream, May 3 Let's Play stream, and May 10 Let's Play stream!

 

Let's Play May 3 image

Let's Play May 10 image

Here's the full playlist of my Last Crusade Let's Play so far!

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CRAFT CORNER

image of cross-stitch progress

Evan Richards' portrait is coming along nicely! Sometimes when I get busy I use tv-time to do more work instead of my cross-stitching, and that's been happening a bit recently. But I think having this cross-stitch completed by next month's gazette is a very attainable goal!

Evan character portrait image

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diamond loupe website image

MINERAL TRIVIA SECTION

DID YOU KNOW: There are an incredible number of facets to the diamond industry (no pun intended)! I recently founded a site that is a nicely designed aggregator for all sorts of diamond news articles: The Diamond Loupe (great name!). I appreciate how there are popular tags along the top, which make the articles easier to sort through. These types of sites can be invaluable when trying to get an overview of the issues, trends and topics that are being discussed in an industry. I'm definitely going to keep it on my radar!

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bucket animation

INTERESTED IN SUPPORTING THE CRIMSON DIAMOND?

Check the sidebar for links to my Patreon and PayPal! Or visit The Crimson Diamond's Steam page follow the game, and add it to your wishlist! There's a FREE playable demo too, for Windows PC and Mac! <3

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Thanks for reading! Happy May!

-- JM

 

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April 2022

Hello, dear readers! Happy April! Toronto is slowly warming up. It's encouraging to see the crocuses in bloom and the goldfinches swapping their dull winter coats for their bright yellow finery.

Developer update: Development on Chapter 5 continues! I've programmed the first section of it, and am currently creating the assets for that section: Inventory items, close-up views of those items, animations, etc. The art stuff is a nice change of pace from the programming, and is much more straightforward! I'm hoping to have the assets for this section (plus some slight alterations to previous chapters) finished in another week's time!

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Not much new to to share this month, but that's not necessarily a bad thing! That means more time to work on The Crimson Diamond, and hopefully launch it this year. Though the year does feel like it's passing by distressingly fast.

XP Game Dev Summit image

I was on a virtual, pre-recorded panel for the XP Game Developer Summit along with Felix Kramer (Blaseball, Among Us VR, Polytron), Kim Belair (CEO of Sweet Baby Inc.), Louisa Atto (writer & narrative designer, Sweet Baby Inc.), Evan Narcisse (Kotaku, io9, Redfall), and Xalavier Nelson Jr. (Strange Scaffold), but I don't know if it's publicly viewable. It was called "Non-Disclosure Annoyance: When Secrecy Blocks Creativity". You can see the panel description here!

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art stream image

EGA bucket image

I've been making a lot of progress on this EGA bucket on the art streams! It's been a lot of fun exploring the possiblities of this close-up view with folks on Twitch. I like putting this type of detailed artwork in The Crimson Diamond, but it does take more time than a typical screenshot. But it's well worth the effort! Here's the latest art stream of the bucket!

Combo stream image

Dan's continued to make amazing Roland MT-32 tracks for the game on the music streams. While TCD won't have music playing throughout, there are some terrific pieces that play situationally and some wonderful stings for effect. Here's the stream with some stings that Dan composed live!

All art and music streams happen on Twitch on Tuesdays at 8pm Eastern, either on a_maplemystery (art) or dantheband (music). Hope to see you there! I post all of the streams as videos on my Youtube channel, in case you want to watch them later in the week.

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Let's Play Image

I've really been enjoying playing Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: The Graphic Adventure in EGA! I'm playing it for the first time. It's a stunning game, particularly in EGA. I had a temporary setback because the version I was using was bugged, but someone kindly sent me a working version. I do own the game on GOG, but that's the VGA version only. I wish LucasArts was generally better about making the EGA versions of their games more commercially available! Here's the playlist of my Last Crusade Let's Play so far!

Last Crusade game image

Spooky!

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CRAFT CORNER

cross stitch evan

My Evan Richards cross-stitch is coming along nicely! But I have a bit of a bee in my bonnet about getting out my little bead loom and making little seed bead portraits of my characters too. I already have the EGA beads! I think something like that would look stunning if hung in a window.

Evan character portrait image

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image of jasper stones

Left: Picasso Jasper beads. Right, clockwise from top: Brecciated Jasper x3, Bloodstone, Dragon Blood, Ocean Jasper, Red Jasper. All from my collection!

MINERAL TRIVIA SECTION

DID YOU KNOW: While gems are often valued for their clarity (transparency), there are plenty of gorgeous, vibrantly coloured rocks with unique, dazzling patterns that are opaque! Jasper falls into this category. There are many different types of jasper, with just as many names: Bloodstone, Dragon Blood, Picasso Jasper, Mookaite, and many more! Red is the most common colour for jasper (blue is the rarest). Jasper was used by ancient civilizations as far back as 4th-5th millennium BC for bow drills, and was carved for seals found at the Palace of Knossos circa 1800 BC. I love how they look like little pieces of abstract paintings.

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bucket animation

INTERESTED IN SUPPORTING THE CRIMSON DIAMOND?

Check the sidebar for links to my Patreon and PayPal! Or visit The Crimson Diamond's Steam page follow the game, and add it to your wishlist! There's a FREE playable demo too, for Windows PC and Mac! <3

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Thanks for reading! Happy April!

-- JM

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March 2022

Hello, dear readers! Happy March! The weather in Toronto is fluctuating between balmy, sunny days and freezing rain and wet snow. Spring is in the air!

Developer update: I overhauled the code in The Crimson Diamond, thanks to the assistance of James Spanos (AGS dev of Strangeland and Primordia) and Francisco González (AGS dev of Rosewater and Lamplight City)! AGS (Adventure Game Studio) utilizes modules as a way to have scripts / functions separated out from the global script so that they may be reused in other games; I've found they're an excellent way to organize the code into smaller chunks that are then easier to troubleshoot and refer back to. Doing this required some extra work, but it's definitely worth it! This work will benefit my subsequent AGS games, too. I'm hoping to finish testing the game in its new form this week, and then get back to working on Chapter 5! Thanks again to James and Francisco. The AGS dev community is the best!

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Talking to Women about Videogames podcast image

Part 2 of my interview with Jonathan Holmes (on his podcast "Talking to Women about Videogames") is out now! Here is part 1! We talked more about making games, Space Warlord Organ Trading Simulator, and how nostalgia isn't necessary for making and/or enjoying pixel art!

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music stream image

Dan created a "flashback montage" track for The Crimson Diamond, live on-stream! I had very specific requirements for this piece, and Dan came through with flying colours. Sometimes Dan will compose a piece to a sequence that's already been created (like this Hallowe'en animation), but this time, I'll be taking Dan's music as the starting point for the "flashback montage" sequence I have yet to create!

art stream image

I'm happy to report that I finished drawing and animating this opening sequence for TCD! I streamed the entire process, including implementing (with a bit of difficulty!) the animation into AGS!

All art and music streams happen on Twitch on Tuesdays at 8pm Eastern, either on a_maplemystery (art) or dantheband (music). Hope to see you there! I post all of the streams as videos on my Youtube channel, in case you want to watch them later in the week.

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Let's play image 1

Let's Play "Last Half of Darkness" part 3 of 4!

Let's play image 2

Let's Play "Last Half of Darkness" part 4 of 4!

I finished Let's Playing "The Last Half of Darkness" with a walkthrough! I restart the game and finish it in Part 4, in case you're interested in seeing the game from beginning to end!

There's a part 2 to "The Last Half of Darkness", but I won't be playing the second half (of The Last Half?). I feel like I've gotten a good idea of the gameplay and art, so I'll be moving on to ANOTHER EGA adventure game... Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade! I didn't play it when it first came out, it was made by LucasArts, I'm pretty excited. The VGA version is available on GOG and Steam. I did buy it, but I'll be playing the EGA version :D. Fun fact: All the games I've picked to Let's Play so far (Personal Nightmare, Last Half of Darkness, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade) all came out in 1989! What a wonderful year for EGA games!

EGA Indiana Jones

Gorgeous!

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CRAFT CORNER

Evan cross-stitch image

I've started my Evan Richards cross-stitch! It's going well so far. I'm looking forward to seeing if my colours for white and light grey are different enough from each other.

Evan character portrait image

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Gemological Institute of America image

Photo credit: Gemological Institute of America (https://www.gia.edu)

MINERAL TRIVIA SECTION

DID YOU KNOW: According to new research, Mercury may be covered with diamonds! This is due to the abundance of carbon (in the form of graphite) present on its surface, as well as high pressure situations created by multiple impacts of asteroids and comets. While there may be 16 quadrillion tons of diamonds on Mercury, they're likely to be miniscule, scattered, impurely mixed with graphite, and in various phases of development..

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animated gif

INTERESTED IN SUPPORTING THE CRIMSON DIAMOND?

Check the sidebar for links to my Patreon and PayPal! Or visit The Crimson Diamond's Steam page follow the game, and add it to your wishlist! There's a FREE playable demo too, for Windows PC and Mac! <3

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Thanks for reading! Happy March!

-- JM

 

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February 2022

Hello, dear readers! Happy February! February is Toronto at its coldest and gloomiest. But Spring is just around the corner!

Developer update: I'm happy to report that I'm currently building Chapter 5 of The Crimson Diamond! Chapter 5 has three sections and the first section is divided into a further three parts. I'm currently testing (after having built) part 1 of 3 of section 1 of 3!

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Talking to Women about Videogames podcast image

I was a guest on the "Talking to Women about Videogames" podcast! On two episodes, actually! Host/interviewer Jonathan Holmes and I had such a lovely time chatting that our talk got split between two podcast episodes! The first episode is out now, the second part of the interview will be out some time later this month!

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Joystick, a Greek gaming news site, interviewed me about The Crimson Diamond. Here's the article in Greek, and the English translation!

Joystick news site image

 

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Patreon Promo over image

I finally mailed the 2021 Holiday cards and Patreon Holiday Bonus Packs this month! Thanks so much to everyone for your patience and understanding. The March issue of the gazette will show the finished 2021 Holiday card art, and I'll show the process of creating the card on a future art stream! Here's a link to my Patreon page. I'm planning on revamping tiers but I haven't made time for that yet!

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Combo Stream image

Art streams and music streams continue, Tuesdays at 8pm EST! Dan revisited and completed an amazing Ragtime looping track that was originally a demo for Romero Games' Empire of Sin! It's fantastic and will be in a new version of the demo!

January 25 art stream image

I've been working on the opening scene of The Crimson Diamond's intro sequence on art streams -- I'm happy to report it's nearly completed! Slowly but surely, I'm updating the graphics for the intro. I can't wait until it's looking sharp from beginning to end! At the bottom of this issue you'll see part of the animation I've done for this bit.

All art and music streams happen on Twitch on Tuesdays at 8pm Eastern, either on a_maplemystery (art) or dantheband (music). Hope to see you there!

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Last Half of Darkness part 1

I started a new Let's Play! "Last Half of Darkness" is another EGA, house-based adventure game made in 1989! I'm learning that this is a niche subgenre (invented by me) that might be my favourite of all. Celebrated examples include The Colonel's Bequest, Maniac Mansion, Hugo's House of Horrors, Hugo's Whodunnit, Personal Nightmare (but there's also a lot of the rest of the town in it) King's Quest 3 (though KQ3 also had a larger area of a village and other locales). In my newly invented subgenre, the game are based mostly in a house and the immediate surrounding areas. Bonus points if the house includes standard room types that would be commonly seen in houses of the era / culture, such as kitchen, dining room, bedroom, and bathroom. More bonus points if there are outbuildings like a shed, garage, gazebo, etc.

This game is much less impossible than "Personal Nightmare", whew! It's a lot of fun so far.

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CRAFT CORNER

Nessa cross-stitch image

My Nessa Crabbe cross-stitch is progressing well! She's nearly complete! Though I'm having some difficulties getting the light/dark greys and the white to stand out from each other. I think I'll need to try those colour combinations more in my next portrait. Evan Richards has a lot of white and light grey in his shirt, so I think he'll be my next cross-stitch portrait!

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Critical minerals image

Photo credit: American Geosciences Institute

MINERAL TRIVIA SECTION

DID YOU KNOW: "Critical minerals" are minerals "that have specific industrial, technological and strategic applications. They do not have many viable alternatives, meaning if a critical mineral is not available, there aren’t many other minerals that can be used in its place. These minerals are also at higher supply risk due to geopolitical considerations and market demand." (ontario.ca/page/critical-minerals). Some of critical minerals that Ontario is currently producing are cobalt, copper, indium, nickel, selenium, tellurium, and zinc. These minerals are essential for so much of what we all use on a daily basis: batteries, electronics, medical equipment and technologies. I hope my province will be able to produce these minerals and supply these essential industries in a sustainable and ethical fashion. For more info about Ontario its critical minerals, click here!

Here's an informative map and infographic about critical minerals in Canada.

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Reeling fish animation

INTERESTED IN SUPPORTING THE CRIMSON DIAMOND?

Check the sidebar for links to my Patreon and PayPal! Or visit The Crimson Diamond's Steam page follow the game, and add it to your wishlist! There's a FREE playable demo too, for Windows PC and Mac! <3

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Thanks for reading! Happy February!

-- JM

 

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January 2022

Hello, dear readers! Happy January! Happy New Year! Toronto has seen its first cold snap -- I hope those are few and far between! Best wishes wherever you are, and have a lovely 2022!

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New Year's Dido watercolour card

2022 is the Year of the Tiger! I painted a watercolour card depicting Dido the cat as a reverse tiger. She was a black and white tuxedo-style cat, so I thought orange stripes would look good on her. Japanese New Year happens on January 1, whereas Chinese New Year is a month later! According to Google, Japan started celebrating New Year on January 1 in 1873, when the country adopted the Gregorian calendar. Akemashite omedetō!

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Dev Update! I'm going through player feedback to fix bugs and improve The Crimson Diamond's interface. After that, I'll be releasing a new version of the demo. Just in time for...

Big Adventure Event 2022 image

The Big Adventure Event 2022, presented by Hitcents! I'll be doing a special steam on the BAE Steam event page on Sunday, January 23 at 8pm EST! I'll be showing the new version of the demo and answering questions about The Crimson Diamond! Visit TCD's Steam Store page, scroll down to "Recent Events & Announcements", and click the event to read more about it and to set an event notification!

The event is from January 20-24, with plenty of livestreams, demos, and other awesome events!

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holiday promo Patreon graphic

The holiday season may be over, but you can still get the special holiday bonus pack! This is because I'm waiting for COVID cases to come down a bit here in Toronto before I make a trip to a potentially crowded post office. I apologize for the delay. But they're all printed and stuffed into their addressed envelopes, sitting in a box on my desk. Ready to send!

holiday cards ready to mail

New $5 USD tier patrons will receive this bonus holiday package and 2021's holiday card! I'll mail to anywhere in the world!

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art stream image

New year, new light! I bought a ring light to improve the look of my livestreams. So far, so good! The ring light really helps with the chroma key for my green screen. Here's the first stream with the ring light: An art stream / Personal Nightmare stream!

image for my clip in vicek83's video

Here's my green screen looking pretty bad in a video clip (pre-ring light). Eek! I contributed to vicek83's "Plans for adventure game developers in 2022" video! The video is great and packed full of awesome game devs and their games! Check it out!

combo stream image

Dan and I did a special holiday combo stream! My holiday backdrop is a beautiful quilt my Mom made a long time ago. I was very happy to be able to share it with everyone. Dan worked on adapting my favourite Canadian folk tune, "Farewell to Nova Scotia". I play MIDI Canadian folk tunes in the backgrounds of my streams, and this song always caught my ear. Here's the MIDI version of the song. Amazingly, guest of the stream Jim Maxwell did a rendition with a band of his years ago (called The Spleen Bishops) -- You can hear Dan playing the clip on stream here! And here is The Spleen Bishops' full album!

All art and music streams happen on Twitch on Tuesdays at 8pm Eastern, either on a_maplemystery (art) or danthebandmusic (music). Hope to see you there!

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Personal Nightmare Let's play

Here's Part 3 of my Let's Play of Personal Nightmare! I got stuck while trying to get a taxi to crash into a tree, but never fear! I rectify the situation in Part 4! And I didn't even have to play from the beginning again! But there was much wrangling with the very user-unfriendly inventory system.

Let's Play Personal Nightmare part 4

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CRAFT CORNER

Nessa cross-stitch photo

I started a new cross-stitch project over the holidays! It's Nessa Crabbe, Mr. Richards' grouchy older sister. I think I'm pretty set with my EGA palette of embroidery floss, but I will need to do more portraits (and maybe a room in the lodge!) to confirm this! In the below photos, the the bright and dark reds in the two Nancys are different. In the Margot and Nessa cross-stitches, I used the dark red from the left-hand Nancy and the bright red from the right-hand Nancy! I'm pleased with how the dark and bright reds contrast in those bottom two.

cross-stitch all

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Lake Superior agates

MINERAL TRIVIA SECTION

DID YOU KNOW: Lake Superior agate is a gorgeous red-banded stone! The Crimson Diamond is set in a northern Ontario ghost town called Crimson, and Lake Superior is the closest Great Lake. The red colour of Lake Superior agate is due to the presence of iron -- Truly an appropriate hue for a stone that Nancy Maple would find around Crimson! I recently obtained a set of four lovely specimens (pictured above), a very meangingful treasure. You can see some of the banding in them, too!

Lake Superior agate is the official state gemstone of Minnesota! This might sound unusual for a stone found on the shores of Lake Superior, but geology knows no borders! The agates were formed by volcanic activity in Minnesota about a billion years ago. Glacial activity distributed these lovely agates throughout Canada and the United States.

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animated gif of spinning chair

INTERESTED IN SUPPORTING THE CRIMSON DIAMOND?

Check the sidebar for links to my Patreon and PayPal! Or visit The Crimson Diamond's Steam page follow the game, and add it to your wishlist! There's a FREE playable demo too, for Windows PC and Mac! <3

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Thanks for reading! Happy January!

-- JM

 

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December 2021

Hello, dear readers! Happy December! It's been a surprisingly mild December in Ontario so far. I hope you have a lovely holiday season!

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Space Warlord Organ Trading Simulator launched this month! I'm very excited and proud of the work we did. Check out the game here!

SWOTS art

SWOTS trade screen gif

SWOTS stream image

I did a special SWOTS stream on launch day and gave away a Steam key for the game. Tuesday, December 21 will be a special holiday stream, with another SWOTS Steam key giveaway and a giveaway of the Patreon holiday bonus package!

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Developer update! I have been replacing some of the old, placeholder intro art in The Crimson Diamond with the upgraded stuff I've been working on during the art streams! It really does help the overall first impression, which is so important.

river scene progress gif

I've nearly finished upgrading the "fisherman in the river" scene, and will be asking (possibly through a Twitter poll) which scene to upgrade next! I think that'll happen in early 2022.

museum exterior gif

nightscene gif

Click any of the animated gifs for larger versions!

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I'm happy to be able to share this awesome bit of news: Limited Run produced a Monkey Island 30th Anniversary Anthology big box, and I contributed EGA portraits for the collector's edition book! It was an absolute dream job. The Secret of Monkey Island (EGA) is one of my favourite adventure games. It was a real treat to render some of my games industry heros in my favourite palette for this project!

Limited Run Monkey Island contents

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holiday promo Patreon graphic

We're now well into the holiday season, and the special offer on my Patreon is still available! New $5 USD tier patrons will receive the bonus holiday package (see photo) along with 2021's holiday card! I'll mail out to anywhere in the world, and it doesn't matter how long you've been at that tier!


Music stream screencap

Streaming continues! Music streams and art streams are going well, and I've been enjoying playing Personal Nightmare.

Dan treated us to a preview of a special concert performance! He performed at a charity later in the week of the December 7 stream, so he used stream as an opportunity to practice his repertoire. He played a gorgeous piano rendition of The Crimson Diamond theme, and shared some original compositions. Follow Dan on Twitch at DanTheBandMusic to watch him compose tracks for The Crimson Diamond from beginning to end! Dan can also be found on Twitter!

animated gif of me being annoyed

Dan asked me to fill time on-stream while he went to grab his track list for his concert performance. He accidentally put his headset down on the keyboard before he left. Witness me trying to talk my way through a continuous tone, and failing. :D

All art and music streams happen on Twitch on Tuesdays at 8pm Eastern, either on a_maplemystery (art) or danthebandmusic (music). Hope to see you there!

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Let's Play Personal Nightmare screencap

Here's Part 2 of my Let's Play of Personal Nightmare! GOG had Horror Soft's "Personal Nightmare" on sale for $1.89 CAD. While not as chock-ful of excitement as Part 1 (we didn't kill anything, just plugged up a demon in a sink), the game still had a riveting visit to the post office and we enjoyed an excellent and lengthly discussion in stream chat about garbage disposals. Despite its unapologetic user-unfriendliness, there's a A LOT to like about Personal Nightmare. Characters following their own schedules, the bizarre happenings, the gorgeous art... I can't say I recommened it to play, but it's sure fun to visit!

personal nightmare screencap

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CRAFT CORNER

Margot cross stitch complete

I haven't set aside time to return to cross-stitching! Hopefully over the holidays I'll get back to it, but right now I have to concentrate on getting the holiday card out the door!

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geology time image

MINERAL TRIVIA SECTION

DID YOU KNOW: If you're on Twitter and you love rocks, there's an amazing account you can follow! @GeologyTime shares photos of spectacular specimens from all over the world. These tweets always brighten my timeline and make me marvel at the sheer variety of shapes and colours produced by nature. @GeologyTime also shares fascinating, educational articles about how earthquakes can make gold, and also about the discovery of new minerals (which happens a lot more frequently than I'd thought!).

Here's a quiet, contemplative, kinda heart-wrenching video produced by The New Yorker about diamond hunters. "If You Find a Diamond Here, It's Yours".

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animated gif of forest art

INTERESTED IN SUPPORTING THE CRIMSON DIAMOND?

Check the sidebar for links to my Patreon and PayPal! Or visit The Crimson Diamond's Steam page follow the game, and add it to your wishlist! There's a FREE playable demo too, for Windows PC and Mac! <3

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Thanks for reading! Happy December!

-- JM

 

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November 2021

Hello, dear readers! Happy November! The leaves in Ontario are showing their lovely fall colours! Some days are golden and glorious, some are cool and drizzly. Both are preferable to the looming winter weather. I hope you're cozy and comfortable wherever you may be!

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The holiday season is upon us! That means my $5-tier Patreons will be receiving a 2021 holiday card in the mail! Anyone at that tier by the time I get my mailing out will be eligible for a card, and new patrons to that tier will receive the following bonuses: Last year's card, a postcard version of last year's card, a Crimson Diamond sticker, and BOTH Crimson Diamond postcards (daytime and nighttime versions!). The 2021 card will have a handwritten greeting inside, and everything will be signed (except for the sticker :P ). Click here to visit my Patreon page!

Patreon bonuses

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A bit of fun development news! I overhauled the text-based inventory window to be more user friendly. That, plus revamped save/load menus and in-game notebook, mean that it's now easier to play The Crimson Diamond with mostly the keyboard!

Text-based inventory:

text inventory window

And here's the (default) graphical inventory!

graphical inventory

This overhaul (and some more design improvements) are not available in the current version of the game demo, but will be in the next one!

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I did a talk called "The Practical Magic of Pixel Art" for IGDA Twin Cities back in October! It didn't make it into the October gazette, so here it is now! And here's the description:

The Practical Magic of Pixel Art: Pixel art is sometimes seen as nostalgic, a visual throwback to a time when technological limitations dictated game aesthetics. But thanks to hosts of artists and indie game developers, it’s never been more popular and celebrated! Low-resolution, limited palette pixel art may seem restrictive, but its constraints can be efficient, approachable, and creatively liberating. In this talk we’ll cover a (very) brief history of pixel art and its predecessors, tips and tricks for effective and beautiful pixel art, and examples from the past, present and future!

IDGA presentation slide

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Princess Leia costume

Happy Belated Hallowe'en! I had fun creating a quick, no-cost Princess Leia costume with accompanying green screen background! I managed to make little Leia buns with my hair and wore a backwards Puma short-sleeve warm-up jacket that had the right look! Dan wore a LucasArts jacket he bought, which had the name "Arta" stitched in the front. I can't resist having a bit of fun during the spooky season :P.


Back of my costume

Here's the back of my costume :D.

Music stream screencap

Dan composed something really cool for our special Hallowe'en stream! I have a spooky animated clip I made with Adventure Game Studio and The Crimson Diamond assets,and I asked Dan to create a track to accompany it. Usually the music he composes for the game has to be somewhat flexible (and usually looping) to accommodate time for player input. But this animated clip had very specific, baked-in timing, which meant he could approach it more like scoring for a movie or tv show. Here's a link to the stream! Follow Dan on Twitch at DanTheBandMusic to watch him compose tracks from beginning to end!

Spooky animation screencap

Click here to see the clip!

 

Art stream screencap

I started a new bit of pixel art on the art streams! I'm pretty happy with how this nighttime animation turned out:

Nighttime animation

Click here to see a bigger version!

The new pixel art piece features the same fisherman, but he's catching the fish that he is later seen gutting at the campfire. Progress is going well!

All art and music streams happen on Twitch on Tuesdays at 8pm Eastern, either on a_maplemystery (art) or danthebandmusic (music). Hope to see you there!

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Let's Play Personal Nightmare screencap

I've started my first Let's Play! GOG had Horror Soft's "Personal Nightmare" on sale for $1.89 CAD (no longer on sale as of this e-publication date). Inspired by the spooky season (and the sale price!) I decided to give it a try! It's a gorgeous EGA horror game that has a text parser AND LucasArts-style SCUMM bar interface. I'm streaming directly from a walkthrough, as the game is punishingly difficult. I'm mostly playing to appreciate the gorgeous art!

Personal Nightmare LP screencap

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CRAFT CORNER

Margot cross stitch complete

I've completed my Margot cross-stitch! I'm pleased with my renditon of the EGA palette into embroidery thread, though I'll have to do more portraits to see if the other colours work together equally as well.

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My quartzes

MINERAL TRIVIA SECTION

DID YOU KNOW: Quartz has many faces (and I'm not just talking about the 18 faceted faces of "Herkimer Diamonds")! So many of my favourite semi-precious stones are quartz by other names, and I didn't realize it! Carnelian, tigerseye, amethyst and agate are all quartz, and are all present in my rock collection (see above photo)! I did a little rock talk about quartz during an art livestream, here's a timestamped link!

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animated gif

INTERESTED IN SUPPORTING THE CRIMSON DIAMOND?

Check the sidebar for links to my Patreon and PayPal! Or visit The Crimson Diamond's Steam page follow the game, and add it to your wishlist! There's a FREE playable demo too, for Windows PC and Mac! <3

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Thanks for reading! Happy November!

-- JM

 

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October 2021

Hello, dear readers! Happy October! The days are getting shorter and cooler. I love the brisk weather, and try to enjoy it as much as possible before the Ontario winter sets in. May the weather be fair wherever you may be!

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Steam Next Fest promo image

The Crimson Diamond was part of Steam's Next Fest! I livestreamed playing The Crimson Diamond demo directly from my Steam store page. I had a lot of fun and got a nice bump in my wishlists every day the event was on (Oct 1-7). I recommend participating in these Steam events to other devs on Steam, it's worth it! Here's a link to the video on my Youtube channel.

Steam Next Fest screen cap

After I finished playing the TCD demo, I did a rock talk on fluorite! I also showed off the fluorite I have in my growing rock collection :).


Steam Next Fest screen cap 2

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Sept 21 Livestream image

Dan made some intriguing music for The Crimson Diamond! When Dan streams game music dev for TCD, he does so on DanTheBandMusic on Twitch. He creates the tracks from beginning to end live on stream, taking feedback from me and the people in chat. And he does this all on a combination of modern software and a genuine Roland MT-32!

roland mt-32 animated gif

Sept 28 livestream image

I'm still working on the same bit of intro sequence art on the TCD art streams, but I think It's nearly complete! Art and music streams alternate on Tuesdays at 8pm Eastern! Here's a link to the latest art stream video.

Sept 28 art image

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CRAFT CORNER

Margot cross-stitch progress

I've made some progress on my Margot cross-stitch! And I think I've finally settled on the colours I'll be using for the the EGA palette. I can't wait to try cross-stitching the next character! I think it'll be Nessa :).

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fluorite image

MINERAL TRIVIA SECTION

DID YOU KNOW: If you love minerals with bright, transparent colours (sometimes multiple colours in the same specimen!), you'll love fluorite! I did a little "rock talk" about fluorite during my Steam Next Fest livestream, here is a link to the timestamped bit of the video! It's one of my favourite minerals, especially because stunning specimens can be easily acquired for relatively cheap! Etsy has an amazing selection of fluorite points (like the one seen in the above photo)!

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Nancy up ladder animated GIF

INTERESTED IN SUPPORTING THE CRIMSON DIAMOND?

Check the sidebar for links to my Patreon and PayPal! Or visit The Crimson Diamond's Steam page follow the game, and add it to your wishlist! There's a FREE playable demo too, for Windows PC and Mac! <3

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Thanks for reading! Happy October!

-- JM

 

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September 2021

Hello, dear readers! Happy September! The weather is cooling here in Ontario, but still quite warm most of the time. I love this time of year!

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The Genesis Temple Podcast

I was interviewed by Damiano Gerli for The Genesis Temple Podcast. Damiano is a podcaster, journalist, and gaming historian. We had a lovely conversation about The Crimson Diamond and games of the past and present!

 


Multiverse Interview

I was also on a livestream with Robert "Staredcraft" Willing for his "Interviews from the Multiverse" series! Robert's interviewed lots of game devs, including fellow Adventure Game Studio developers Francisco González of Grundislav Games and Dave Gilbert of Wadjet Eye!

 

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Jim Maxwell stream

I had my third guest on stream! Jim Maxwell is an Emmy award-winning matte painter and lover of adventure games. We talked about some of his favourite games and game art, The Crimson Diamond, his work on Vikings, and his book project! He also tried his hand at low-res EGA pixel art! Check out the video here!

 

art stream screenshot

Art streams continue! I'm still working on the nighttime scene with the fisherman and the campfire. I'm making lots of progress -- I think it'll be done soon! Here's the latest art stream video.

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Dan Policar stream

Music streams also continue! Dan composed a tense waltz for one of the later chapters in The Crimson Diamond. He built it from scratch in this video!

Game art and game music streams generally alternate on Tuesdays at 8pm Eastern. Art streams are on a_maplemystery and music streams are on danthebandmusic! When streams go live I announce it on Twitter, so follow me there to be notified (or follow my channel on Twitch!).

 

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CRAFT CORNER

Margot portrait cross-stitch

I've returned to cross-stitching! I'm still testing out a few embroidery floss colours (the cyans and magentas are proving the trickiest), but I think I've nearly chosen my EGA cross-stitching palette!

 

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herkimer diamonds

MINERAL TRIVIA SECTION

DID YOU KNOW: Herkimer diamonds aren't diamonds at all! They are double-terminated (pointy on both ends) quartz crystals with 18 faces. They are gorgeous in jewellry, where their bold, naturally "faceted" structure and stunning clarity can be enjoyed every day!

Herkimer Diamond Ring

 

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animated gif

INTERESTED IN SUPPORTING THE CRIMSON DIAMOND?

Check the sidebar for links to my Patreon and PayPal! Or visit The Crimson Diamond's Steam page follow the game, and add it to your wishlist! There's a FREE playable demo too, for Windows PC and Mac! <3

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Thanks for reading! Happy September!

-- JM

 

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August 2021

Hello, dear readers! Happy August! Summer is well and truly here -- With hot, muggy days and cooling thunder showers. I hope you've been able to stay cool and dry!

Playdate pre-orders are now open! The first batch of 20,000 units (shipping late 2021) sold out in 17 minutes! If you pre-order at the time of this gazette's e-publication date (mid-August 2021), you'll get your Playdate (and possibly the cute, magnetically attached cover) some time in 2022.

playdate link to website

 

The Playdate costs $179 USD and includes 24 games that will be delivered via wi-fi, 2 per week for 12 weeks! Here's what the first season looks like:

playdate season 1 games

 

I've been art directing a game for the Playdate with Sweet Baby Inc. and Xalavier Nelson Jr. of Strange Scaffold! It's called "Recommendation Dog!!" and it's very very cute :). It's not part of the first season of games, but will be coming out some time in the future!

Recommendation Dog!! animated gif

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Francisco Gonzalez on stream

Francisco González was my second guest on stream! Francisco is the amazing inde dev behind A Golden Wake and Lamplight City, and is currently working on Rosewater, a thrilling Western adventure set in the same alternate 19th century world as Lamplight City!

I've been a huge fan of Francisco's since his days developing his Ben Jordan series. It was a pleasure to be able to hang out with him on stream and chat about making games, creativity, and our feelings about puns :). Check out the video here!

Lamplight City link to Steam store page

Rosewater link to Steam store page

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Dan the Band livestream


Dan the Band is back and streaming with me! Dan is composing all of the music for The Crimson Diamond. Music streams (which happen just about every other Tuesday at 8pm Eastern) are a great way to watch and hear music made from scratch, using a real Roland MT-32! In the latest music stream video, we reviewed all of the music he's composed for TCD so far -- And happily, he re-discovered a demo track he meant to send John Romero for the Empire of Sin soundtrack (Dan composed a lot of music for EoS, you can hear it in the game)! Dan played the demo track on stream for us. Maybe we'll hear it in new Empire of Sin content in the future!

Empire of Sin link to Steam store page

 

I'm still hard at work on the art streams, upgrading the pixel art in The Crimson Diamond's introductory sequence! Thanks to helpful suggestions from Twitch chat, I'm been able to make a lot of improvements to this nighttime scene. Thanks so much!

Art stream image

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CRAFT CORNER

my diamond necklace

I made myself a diamond necklace! With real diamonds! They're tiny, the strand of them cost about $80 USD, but I'm a huge fan of minerals and I couldn't help myself. These chip diamonds are tiny and the holes that have been drilled into them are even tinier, if you do end up ordering something similar I recommend 30 gauge wire (or thinner) for stringing! I got my chip diamonds from Fire Mountain Gems.

Here's a close-up of some of my tiny little diamonds, photographed using my loupe and phone camera:

Diamonds close-up

 

My hand, for scale!

Chip diamonds to scale

 

And here are some crafts I shared recently on stream!

 

My EGA polymer clay bracelet:

EGA polymer clay bracelet

 

My EGA seed bead kumihimo necklaces!

EGA Kumihimo necklaces

 

And my 3D printed Nancy Maples! The one on the left is coloured sandstone, printed by Shapeways. The one on the right is from a home 3D printer, made of a wood substrate, that I painted!

EGA 3D Nancys

 

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Closeup image of chip diamonds

MINERAL TRIVIA SECTION

DID YOU KNOW: It has been theorized for many years that Canada may have diamonds, but it's only fairly recently (1991) that their existence has been confirmed! All of the world's diamond deposits have been found in ancient shield areas. Canada is famous for its Canadian Shield, which is such a region!

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Boathouse Day and Night animated gif

INTERESTED IN SUPPORTING THE CRIMSON DIAMOND?

Check the sidebar for links to my Patreon and PayPal! Or visit The Crimson Diamond's Steam page follow the game, and add it to your wishlist! There's a FREE playable demo too, for Windows PC and Mac! <3

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Thanks for reading! Happy August!

-- JM

 

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July 2021

Hello, dear readers! Happy July! Southwestern Ontario has been stormy and unpredictable this month. I hope you've been staying dry and safe!

I'm continuing to have fun making pixel art on Twitch streams, including revisiting this Henri Toulouse-Lautrec poster that's in the game,and creating an even higher resolution version of it!

Pixel art stream image

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Witch Strandings has finally been soft-announced! It's an experimental open-world Ghibli-esque fairy tale set in a haunted forest filled with cursed creatures, actively fuelled by necromancy and witchcraft!

It's the second game I'm working on with Xalavier Nelson Jr. of Strange Scaffold, and the rest of the Space Warlord Organ Trading Simulator Team (SWOTS is set to launch some time this year).

Witch Strandings art

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Here's more Space Warlord Organ Trading Simulator (SWOTS)! As per the Steam store page: "Buy, sell, and trade organs in a strange and evolving universe. Dive into the quivering innards of alien capitalism in the sci-fi body horror market tycoon game you didn't know you needed."

There's a trailer on the store page too, please wishlist it if you like what you see!

Space Warlord Organ Trading Simulator header image

Space Warlord Organ Trading Simulator screencap

Space Warlord Organ Trading Simulator animatedgif

I recently completed another batch of character portraits for SWOTS! Xalavier's creative briefs are fantastic. The greasy greaser duck was a result of the following description: "Menacing, buoayant". :D

New game portraits

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LockdownCon2 panel

LockdownCon II was a ton of fun! Thanks so much to Neal Hallford for organizing and hosting such as amazing event. Xalavier and I were on the kick-off panel, titled "The Indie Games Revolution". Check it out here!

LockdownCon2 Music Panel

Dan Policar (musician and composer for The Crimson Diamond) was also on a LockdownCon II panel! "The Score: Composing for Games" closed out the event!
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Livestream with Anna

I had my first guest on stream! Co-host of The CGG Podcast, The Crimson Diamond beta tester, and small business owner -- Anna! I actually got to stay with Anna for a few days in gorgeous Victoria, British Columbia a few years ago (along with Australian friend Jess!). We traded an EGA portrait for a lovely hand-carved maple leaf pendant made of maple wood (see above photo!).

Anna runs a custom wood finishing, custom-built wood furniture business, and also produces knife blocks, cutting boards, and coasters with endcuts and reclaimed wood! Her business is called Translucent Finishing and is based in Victoria. Check out her work on Instagram and Facebook. More examples below (from my personal collection!).

Anna's coaster

Anna's coasters

 

LockdownCon2 Music stream panel
Livestreaming happens every Tuesday at 8pm EDT. Sometimes it's art on my channel, sometimes it's music on Dan's channel! Come hang out with us, it's a fun time! :)

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CRAFT CORNER

chrome diopside necklace

chrome diopside necklace closeup

I made a necklacing using my chrome diopside beads! They're a gorgeous green colour, which can be a bit difficult to find in the gem world. Emeralds are the most well-known green gems, but chrome diopside is far less expensive (but also more brittle). Both chrome diopside and emeralds are coloured by the element chromium, and both can disply vivid, deep shades of green! The chrome diopside beads I purchased are fairly low grade (as can be seen in the closeup that I took using a loupe and my phone), but higher quality specimens do exist... Read more below!

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chrome diopside gem

MINERAL TRIVIA SECTION

DID YOU KNOW: Gem quality chrome diopside does exist, and it's GORGEOUS! Here's a particularly nice faceted specimen. In fact, the green of chrome diopside can be so deep, that when there are larger stones they can end up looking almost black! For this reason, it's rare to see chrome diopside gemstones larger than 3 carats.

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Over the hill day and night animated gif

INTERESTED IN SUPPORTING THE CRIMSON DIAMOND?

Check the sidebar for links to my Patreon and PayPal! Or visit The Crimson Diamond's Steam page follow the game, and add it to your wishlist! There's a FREE playable demo too, for Windows PC and Mac! <3

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Thanks for reading! Happy July!

-- JM

 

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June 2021

Hello, dear readers! Happy June! There have been some hot days, some rainy days, and some lovely cool days -- I hope you're enjoying the month, wherever you are!

Chapter 4 of The Crimson Diamond is getting a polish, development continues on! I've been keeping busy with other projects too. I'm pleased I can finally announce...

screencap of livestream

... I'm making a game for the Playdate! The little yellow box of cranky joy! I'm the art director for Recommendation Dog!!, a game by Xalavier Nelson Jr. in association with Sweet Baby Inc. It's my first time as an art director. I'm learning so much and having a fantastic time! Here's the Playdate Update video! If you look closely you'll see my name in there :).

Recommendation Dog animated gif

And here's the title card I made for Recommendation Dog!! :D

 

lockdowncon image

Dan and I are going to be on panels for LockdownCon II (June 26-27)! I'm on the kick-off panel "The Indie Games Revolution" at 1pm EDT, along with six other panelists including Xalavier Nelson Jr. (with whom I'm working with on the aforementioned Recommendation Dog!!, Space Warlord Organ Trading Simulator, and another unannounced project)! Dan's on a composer panel at 7pm EDT on June 27!
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music stream screencap

Livestreaming continues, every Tuesday at 8pm EDT. Dan Policar streams music composition for The Crimson Diamond every other Tuesday, and I do art streams! I post all the streams as videos on my Youtube channel. The whole archive is there! I can't believe we've been streaming for more than a year.

screencap from art stream
Highlights from the past month include Dan composing this excellent new cozy mystery piece, and me taking Adobe Photoshop Creative Cloud for a test drive! Here's the beginning of an Art Nouveau recreation I made live on stream.

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CRAFT CORNER

finished earrings

I made another pair of earrings this month! This time I used lapis lazuli stones and (C-grade) rubies, gold seed beads, and some gold-coloured wire. I buy a lot of my supplies from Fire Mountain Gems & Beads. They have an amazing variety of gemstones and crafting supplies! They're based in the States, but ship to Canada at very reasonable rates. They have great customer service, too! I highly recommend them.

Rubies are popularly seen as shiny, bright, transparent red gems. But the reality is, as with all gems, there is a vast spectrum of quality that affects the price! I'm a rock nerd, I wanted rubies to have rubies -- The quality was secondary to me. But I also think these rubies are beautiful and economical and I'm happy to use them in my jewellry.

earring materials

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screengrab from outside magazine online

MINERAL TRIVIA SECTION

DID YOU KNOW: Crystal hunters climb the French Alps during the most treacherous seasons in search of mineral treasures! Here's Outside magazine's fascinating article on these intrepid explorers!

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animated gif

INTERESTED IN SUPPORTING THE CRIMSON DIAMOND?

Check the sidebar for links to my Patreon and PayPal! Or visit The Crimson Diamond's Steam page follow the game, and add it to your wishlist! There's a FREE playable demo too, for Windows PC and Mac! <3

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Thanks for reading! Have a lovely June!

-- JM

 

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May 2021

Hello, dear readers! Happy May! The weather continues to warm up nicely, flowers and trees are budding and blooming. It's a lovely time of year.

Development on The Crimson Diamond continues, with more text parser responses being added this month. I'll also have to test the new chapter!

I got a new webcam! A Logitech c920s, on Dan's recommendation. Here's what the live streams look like now, compared to the built-in camera on the Wacom Mobile Studio Pro (top vs bottom). Same lighting, too!

image from new web cam

image from old webcam

I'm very pleased with the results! I was wondering if I needed better lighting, but the camera has taken care of that concern.
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mother's day card

Every year I paint my mom a card for Mother's Day. This year we had some migratory birds pass through the garden, so I wanted to feature them! From left to right: Hermit thrush, great crested flycatcher, white crowned sparrow, black throated green warbler, and black and white warbler. Dido the cat is also in attendance. While dearly departed, she continues to live on in the cards I paint. She was the sweetest cat ever. In front we have my Mom's garden gnomes. She got a new one right on Mother's Day, but he will have to wait to be included in a future card!

mother's day card inked

Mother's Day card pencilled

 

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streaming video image

I'm still livestreaming art dev and Dan Policar is still steaming music composition for The Crimson Diamond! We livestream art and music on alternate Tuesdays at 8pm EST on my Twitch channel and Dan's Twitch channel. I've also been showing earrings I've made (pictured above) and doing little talks about the semiprecious stones I've been using for them (see Craft Corner below for more details!). All livestreams get posted as videos on my Youtube channel, in case you'd like to check them out later!

Dan Stream image

Dan composed some "cozy mystery" style music for our latest music livestream! I'm always fascinated by the music-making process. I'm very lucky to have such a talented musician working on The Crimson Diamond! Here's the video.

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CRAFT CORNER

I'm going to make up for the recent absence of Craft Corner features with TWO little projects I completed since the last issue of the gazette!

I bought some gorgeous 18mm cabochons (dome shapes) of different semiprecious stones, as well as settings to glue them into. And earring findings, too. The results are easy crafts that I can wear and enjoy!

The first pair is carnelian. Carnelian is a vivid translucent red that has reminded people through the ages of cherries. One theory for the name "carnelian" is that it's related to the Latin word (cornum) for a type of cherry. I'm glad I went with long stems for these earrings - It helps them look more cherry-like, but I wasn't intending that at the time!

carnelian earrings

 

The second set of earrings are malachite. Malachite has been a long-time favourite of mine, for its bright, saturated green colour and its delicate banding. Malachite was used a lot in East Asia as a paint pigment. A word of warning: Malachite is copper carbonate hydroxide. The copper is what gives it its lovely colour, but also makes it highly toxic if inhaled in powder form. Don't try to polish dulled malachite on your own! Because malachite is relatively soft (Mohs hardness 3.5-4, rubies are a 9) it will scuff fairly easily. So reserve it for applications that won't see a lot of wear and tear, such as earrings and necklaces.

malachite earrings

 

Attesting to my love of both carnelian and malachite, here are my attempts to replicate them using polymer clay. I think I have the technique down, but I'll try for more subtle banding in the malachite if I attempt it again.

my necklace

 

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MINERAL TRIVIA SECTION

DID YOU KNOW: Both carnelian and malachite have been mined since antiquity! Carnelian was used in beads as early as the Early Neolithic era, and malachite was extensively mined in Britain 3800 years ago!

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animaged gif of a toast

INTERESTED IN SUPPORTING THE CRIMSON DIAMOND?

Check the sidebar for links to my Patreon and PayPal! Or visit The Crimson Diamond's Steam page follow the game, and add it to your wishlist! There's a FREE playable demo too, for Windows PC and Mac! <3

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Thanks for reading! May your May be wonderful.

-- JM

 

April 2021

Hello, dear readers! Happy April! Ontario is warming up nicely. It's an encouraging sign of fairer weather to come.

I'm happy to report that chapter 4 of The Crimson Diamond is officially complete! Of course I have to test, refine, and edit it (and add a few more text parses), but it's playable and all the assets are complete. What a journey it's been so far!There will be seven chapters in total. Let's get to work!

geek's guide to the galaxy image

I was a guest on WIRED.com's Geek's Guide to the Galaxy Podcast! It was a for a panel on adventure games, along with Kurt Kalata (author of The Guide to Classic Graphic Adventures, among many other books!). We discussed favourite games, The Crimson Diamond, and Kurt's book with host David Barr Kirtley. It was a great conversation and a wonderful time! There's also an accompanying article on WIRED, you can read that here if you like!

wired magazine article
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sweet baby link

I'm working with Sweet Baby Inc. on an unannounced game! Sweet Baby Inc. is a narrative development company based in Montreal. Some of their clients include EA, Valve, and Ubisoft. I'm super excited to be working with them, particularly because it's my first time as an art director! Here's the tweet thread about this secret project :).

After 10+ years as a freelance illustrator and then transitioning to a career as a solo indie game dev, I don't have much experience working on teams. I've been learning so much, and meeting so many amazing people! I can't wait to show this project in a future gazette.

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youtube VOD link

Dan Policar is the incredibly talented musician working on The Crimson Diamond, using a genuine Roland MT-32 (pictured on the right in the above image) to create wonderful original tracks! We livestream art and music on Tuesdays at 8pm EST on my Twitch channel and Dan's Twitch channel, respectively! Dan improvised a couple gorgeous outdoors exploration tunes on a recent stream -- Check out this timestamp to hear them.

youtube link2

On art-themed Tuesdays I stream my upgrading process of the introductory sequence art for the game! It's nice to be able to be productive and social at the same time. Here's a recent art stream!

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CRAFT CORNER

I'm afraid I have nothing new to share for craft corner this month. I will try to be better about my hobbies next month. Goals!

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Peridot by Wolfgang Sauber

Photo by Wolfgang Sauber. Natural History Museum, Vienna.

MINERAL TRIVIA SECTION

DID YOU KNOW: Peridot is a beautiful green stone that sometimes comes from outer space! The above photo shows peridot crystals in a pallasite meteorite from Xianjiang, China. Peridot is more commonly found and mined in Arizona, but it can be found all over the world!

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animated gif

INTERESTED IN SUPPORTING THE CRIMSON DIAMOND?

Check the sidebar for links to my Patreon and PayPal! Or visit The Crimson Diamond's Steam page follow the game, and add it to your wishlist! There's a FREE playable demo too, for Windows PC and Mac! <3

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Thanks for reading! Have a lovely April!

-- JM

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March 2021

Hello, dear readers! Happy March! The weather is warming up slowly, but there are still a few blustery days to remind us that winter still lingers.

Very exciting news this month! I was fortunate enough to be selected for a Pixelles BIPOC Creator Program grant! It's sponsored by the Canadian Media Fund, and offers funds and mentorship for Canadian game creators. Congrats to the other recipients: Farfama (Concrete Cataclysm), Visai Studios (Venba), Shine Spark Entertainment Ltd. (PeoPoli), Kadeen Dunn (Unannounced project), studio FIGHTY (Rabeea Syed & Victor Martins, for Hijabi Hijinks), Redfeather Studios (Featherbent), and Indigo Doyle (Rollergirl)!

Pixelles BIPOC image


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Font stream

Dan and I are still streaming on Crimson C'Tuesdays, at 8pm EST! I recently showed how to use Fontstruct to make custom fonts and implement them into Adventure Game Studio and Windows! I made the in-game fonts for The Crimson Diamond with Fontstruct, it's a very easy to use in-browser program! Click here to see the font tutorial video!

 

image from inventory tutorial video

I made another video covering some Adventure Game basics, this time how to work with inventory items. Thanks to some AGS devs in chat, I learned a few things, too!

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The Crimson theme

Dan treated stream to a gorgeously improvised version of The Crimson Diamond theme. He's been polishing up some of the tracks he's composed live on-stream, it's been lovely to revist the music. We start on my Twitch channel at 8pm EST with dev updates and news, then raid Dan's channel at around 8:30pm!

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image of semiprecious cabochons

18mm cabochons. Clockwise from top: Tiger's eye, crazy lace agate, African "jade" quartz, lapis lazuli, green aventurine, carnelian, malachite.

CRAFT CORNER

I finally have some fun things to show for Craft Corner! I orderd a bunch of semiprecious gemstones and jewellry-making supplies, and they've finally arrived! Diamonds! Rubies! Chrome Diopside! I'm planning on making some earrings to wear on stream with the supplies. I can't wait to get started!

 

semiprecious gemstones

Top to bottom: lapis lazuli, rubies, chrome diopside, diamonds!

 

jewellry supplies

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chrome diopside

MINERAL TRIVIA SECTION

DID YOU KNOW: Chrome Diopside is a gorgeous green gemstone! It has a Mohs hardness of 5-6 (compared to emeralds, which have a Mohs hardness of 7.5 - 8) so it unfortunately has limited use in jewellery, but for items that don't see a lot of wear (pendants and earrings) it can be a beautiful and economical choice!

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animated gif

INTERESTED IN SUPPORTING THE CRIMSON DIAMOND?

Check the sidebar for links to my Patreon and PayPal! Or visit The Crimson Diamond's Steam page follow the game, and add it to your wishlist! There's a FREE playable demo too, for Windows PC and Mac! <3

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Thanks for reading! Have a wonderful March! Spring will be here soon!

-- JM

 

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February 2021

Hello, dear readers! Happy February! A big, Canadian "Sorry!" for the tardiness of this month's gazette. I had a deadline I needed to meet, so a lot of stuff got a bit pushed back! The deadline was for something pretty cool, can't wait to share it when I can :).

My lovely, skilled, master quilter of a mother made this gorgeous Nancy Maple quilt! Amazingly, she had all these perfect colours on hand <3. The whole thing consists of 1298 carefully pieced pixel patches, and is 121 x 46.5 cm. It took her 37 days to make. I can't wait to proudly show Patchwork Nancy at events!

The Crimson Diamond quilt

 

Speaking of completed projects, here's one of The Crimson Diamond puzzles! It's 750 pieces and is 24 x 30" (61 x 76 cm, approx). It was surprisingly tricky to finish!

The Crimson Diamond puzzle


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Youtube image

Awesome Youtuber YakWaxLips made a video about his favourite game demos from The Big Adventure Event! I was super pleased to see The Crimson Diamond featured. The video is a great overview of some really cool games, check it out if you have the chance!

 

Livestream thumbnail 1

(Crimson C'Tuesdays!) on Twitch continue, at 8pm EST! The past few streams I've been showing the text parser feature in Adventure Game Studio, as well as some Adventure Game Studio basics!

Livestream thumbnail 2

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Dan stream thumbnail

Dan continues to stream live music composition for The Crimson Diamond on alternate Tuesdays. We love taking feedback from chat to create some awesome tunes for the game. Come join us! We start on my Twitch channel at 8pm EST with dev updates and news, then raid Dan's channel at around 8:30pm!

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CRAFT CORNER

Unfortunately I can't report on any progress with my crafts. I really need to carve out some time for my hobbies! I have put an order in for some jewellery supplies and loose semi-precious gemstone bits n' bobs, so hopefully by next gazette (or the one after tha!) I'll have something to show for it!

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emerald image

MINERAL TRIVIA SECTION

DID YOU KNOW: There are many ways to enhance the look of gemstones! Some techniques go back thousands of years. Late last year I bought a "semi-precious emerald" pendant. I wasn't sure what a semi-precious emerald was, so I asked a customer service rep. They replied it was a composite stone made of emerald shavings. I was intrigued! Sure, it's not a fancy or expensive, but I like the idea of using discarded bits to create a pretty piece of jewellery. The same techniques that were used to create my semi-precious emerald pendant are also used to improve the appearance of more spectacular specimens. Want to learn more? Read this article!

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Cooking animated gif

INTERESTED IN SUPPORTING THE CRIMSON DIAMOND?

Check the sidebar for links to my Patreon and PayPal! Or visit The Crimson Diamond's Steam page follow the game, and add it to your wishlist! There's a FREE playable demo too, for Windows PC and Mac! <3

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Thanks for reading! Have a wonderful February! Sorry again for the lateness of the gazette!

-- JM

 

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January 2021

Hello, dear readers! Happy New Year! Canadian winters are pretty gloomy, so any sunny days are a real treat. Make sure you're getting enough Vitamin D, fellow Canucks!

I'm pleased to finally share my holiday card design for 2020! $5-tier Patreon patrons have either received their physical copies in the mail, or should soon! The design is inspired by Alphonse Mucha's lovely Art Nouveau poster titled "Princess Hyacinth".

holiday card 2020

Another Alphonse Mucha poster can be seen in The Crimson Diamond, in the lodge! He's one of my favourite artists. Here's that poster, along with my pixellated version:

Alphone Mucha poster: "Job"

Pixellated Alphone Mucha poster: "Job"
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CanadianGameDev logo

The Crimson Diamond was nominated by CanadianGameDevs.com for Most Anticipated Canadian Game of 2021! Unfortunately TCD didn't get the most votes, but it felt great to be nominated. Here's a post with more details. Congratulations to Paralives for their win, the game looks amazing!

 

image of my slideshow presentation

I was invited by a teacher of a Grade 10 Graphic Communications class to talk to his class about The Crimson Diamond, pixel art, and the EGA colour palette (group video call). It's about 45 minutes long. You can watch it here, if you like!

 

image of a livestream

Dan and I are back to regularly streaming on Tuesdays (Crimson C'Tuesdays!) on Twitch at 8pm, EST! Here's a screenshot of me showing a "The Crimson Diamond puzzle" I got printed! Here's the whole video, if you'd like to see more. Here's a bit of the progress on the puzzle:

The Crimson Diamond puzzle

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middleagedsteam image

Super awesome retro game streamer MiddleAgedSteam played The Crimson Diamond demo, and I was hanging out in the chat! He managed (with a few hints!) to play the entire demo, and we had a blast! Here's the stream!

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Space Warlord Organ Trading Simulator image

Space Warlord Organ Trading Simulator has finally been announced! I've been keeping this one under my hat for a while, so it's wonderful to finally be able to show it. I created pixel art for SWOTS (Trader portraits and Organ inventory items)! The rest of the team was amazing to work with: Xalavier Nelson Jr. (direction/design/writing), Ben Chandler (UI & 3D art), Sam Chiet (tech/interaction design), RJ (sound/music), and Judy McCroary (key art)! Hunter Bond provided marketing support and Gary J. Kings cut our fantastic trailer. Please check it out and wishlist it if you like what you see!

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big adventure event image

The Crimson Diamond is participating in The Big Adventure Event (#theBAE), presented by Hitcents! There are plenty of other awesome games that are in the event that you may recognise: Rosewater, Inspector Waffles, The Darkside Detective, and more! I'll be livestreaming The Crimson Diamond demo on the Steam store page on Thursday, January 21 at 9pm EST. Hope to see you there!

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image of my mom's quilt

CRAFT CORNER

This month is a special edition of Craft Corner! This particular craft isn't by me, but my talented master quilter of a mom. Only using the fabrics she had on hand, we managed to select colours that are surprisingly faithful to the EGA palette! Once in-person events are possible again, I can't wait to have the finished quilt on display at my table :).

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image of lapis lazuli grading system

MINERAL TRIVIA SECTION

DID YOU KNOW: There are all sorts of grades that can be assigned to the quality of gemstones! The most well-known is diamonds, which are graded according to their cut, colour, clarity, and carat weight. Other gemstones have different grading scales -- Including one of my favourite stones, lapis lazuli! Fortunately for me, I prefer the look of lower grade (AA or A) lapis lazuli over the higher grade stuff, which is more expensive. Lower grades of lapis lazuli have more colour variation and streaks of white calcite. I think those "imperfections" look lovely!

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animated gif of Albert unpacking

INTERESTED IN SUPPORTING THE CRIMSON DIAMOND?

Check the sidebar for links to my Patreon and PayPal! Or visit The Crimson Diamond's Steam page follow the game, and add it to your wishlist! There's a FREE playable demo too, for Windows PC and Mac! <3

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Thanks for reading! Have a wonderful January! Happy New Year! Best wishes for 2021!

-- JM

 

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December 2020

Hello, dear readers! Happy December! Happy Holidays! There have been a couple short snowfalls this month, but fortunately it all melted away each time. I hope the weather is favourable, wherever you are!

The holiday card for this year is officially completed, printed, delivered, and ready for me to mail out! Every year I mail a "The Crimson Diamond" card out to my $5-tier Patreon patrons. I'll be mailing them out in the next couple of weeks so there's still time to join my Patreon, upgrade your tier, and/or provide/update your mailing address!

past xmas cards

The card on the left is from two years ago, the one on the right is the one from last year. This year's card will be the larger size! I can't wait to show the art -- It'll probably be in the January issue of the gazette!
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my usesthis interview

This came out just after last month's issue of the gazette! I was interviewed by usesthis.com! I talked about all the hardware and software I use for making The Crimson Diamond, streaming on Twitch, and maintaining my website.

 

link to The Crimson Diamon on Fireflower Games

The Crimson Diamond demo is now available on Fireflower Games! Fireflower Games is a Swedish-based company that provides a showcase and storefront for story-rich games. I'm happy to give players another option for obtaining the demo -- It's on Steam and itch.io, too!

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xalavier's game team tweet

I've got a few other gigs going on behind the scenes, and this is one of them! I can't really talk about a lot of it, only that there are some fun things to look forward to in the future. Xalavier was recently recognized as a member of The Game Awards' Future Class! He is a visionary and a creative powerhouse. I'm so happy to be working with him.

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My art for Goloso Games

Inspector Waffles is a mystery adventure game by fellow indie solo dev Yann of Goloso Games! I met Yann at AdventureX last year -- He and I were both showing our respective games. He has a demo of Inspector Waffles on Steam, I high recommend you check it out, and wishlist the full game if you like what you see! Yann invited me to create a bit of custom pixel art for this game -- I was so pleased to do so!

link to my Goloso Game art stream

I livestreamed the process of making this art from pretty much beginning to end. I used the EGA colour palette, too!

watercolour art of Dido cat

Yann's game has cat characters, so I naturally went with my go-to cat character: Our dearly departed family cat, Dido! Dido stars in the watercolour cards I paint for my family for birthdays and other events during the year. I dressed Dido up in The Crimson Diamond's logo colours, gave her the number "9" (a suggestion from Twitch chat, for the nine lives of cats!) and put a little diamond icon on her jersey. I can't wait to see the art in-game!

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image of my Crimson Diamond cross-stitch

CRAFT CORNER

I've started cross-stitching again! I've very slowly working on Margot's portrait. I'm still testing out embroidery thread colours (the light red of Nancy's skin tone is different between the left and right portraits, I prefer the right-hand portrait light red) -- And I'm having a bit of trouble finding a good light magenta colour (see Nancy's freckles in the right-hand portrait, her left cheek vs her right cheek)! Nothing will compare to the saturated brightness of colours as they exist on a screen, so I must make do!

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news image from CTV website

MINERAL TRIVIA SECTION

DID YOU KNOW: A new and unusual discovery has been made in Canada, by Canadian researchers! An area of Nunavut has geological similarities to the largest deposit of gold in the world -- The Witwatersrand Goldfields in South Africa. And when the researchers started analyzing samples, they found that there was not only gold, but diamonds, too! It's very rare to find gold and diamonds in the same sample. While the diamonds are small, their presence does have interesting implications for Canada's $2.5-billion-per-year diamond mining industry. Readers may be surprised to learn that Canada is the fifth largest producer of gold in the world (Behind China, Australia, Russia, and the US)!

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looping animated gif

INTERESTED IN SUPPORTING THE CRIMSON DIAMOND?

Check the sidebar for links to my Patreon and PayPal! Or visit The Crimson Diamond's Steam page follow the game, and add it to your wishlist! There's a FREE playable demo too, for Windows PC and Mac! <3

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Thanks for reading! Have a wonderful December. Happy Holidays!

-- JM

 

 

November 2020

Hello, dear readers! Happy November! Ontario has been fortunate enough to have had a lovely warm autumn so far, but that looks to be changing soon. I tried to enjoy the weather as much as possible!

I finished work on Chapter 4 section 2/3 last week, and I WOULD be moving on to Chapter 4 section 3/3 this week... Only I have to design this year's holiday card! I already have an idea, and I'm excited to make it. Looks like the next section of Chapter 4 will have to wait!

Annual holiday cards are mailed out to my $5-tier Patreon patrons. If you join that tier any time before I actually mail them out (which will be a date to be determined) and provide a mailing address, I'll be sure to send you one! Here are the designs from the past two years:

animated holiday card

holiday card 2019
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LGLoyal screencap

Amazing Twitch channel LGLoyal (Luminosity Gaming) interviewed me for EGLX Toronto 2020's online-only event! We talked about The Crimson Diamond and being an indie game dev! I'll be sure to share a link if/when the video-on-demand becomes available.

 

EGLX 2019

I can't believe it's already been a whole year since I showed The Crimson Diamond at EGLX 2019! It was a great time, and my first experience showing the game at a large gaming event!

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8-bit Ninja gaming blog

German gaming blog 8-bit Ninja interviewed me recently about The Crimson Diamond! The site is in German, so my responses have been translated. I'm always excited when gamers in other countries and in other languages are keen to discuss my game!

 

CAAD52 magazine iamge

In a similar vein, Spanish language magazine CAAD52 interviewed me for their October issue! Juan J. Muñoz Falcó did a wonderful job with the content and layout of the article!

CAAD52 magazine interior iamge

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Hallowen stream image

Because I send out the gazette mid-month every month, I didn't get to share Hallowee'n stuff in the last issue! This year I did a bonus Hallowe'en livestream, in which I worked on an EGA de-make of Supergiant Games' "Hades".

Oh, I also did the stream in a Sadako costume :D

Halloween stream image2

Halloween stream image

Halloween costume image

 

Dan Stream image 1

We've also been livestreaming Dan composing music for The Crimson Diamond! The music he's been creating on-stream has been for events that occur in later chapters, so we have to be pretty vague with what we're going for -- But we love getting feedback in chat about how the final piece should sound!

Dan Stream image 2

All our streams start at 8pm EDT on Tuesdays. On Dan days, I do a pre-stream on my channel, before raiding Dan's channel when he's ready. On art days, it's my channel the whole time! I try to mix it up by sharing past artwork, game art dev, and EGA de-makes.

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Still Life Painting

CRAFT CORNER

I don't have any new crafts to share this month, but here is a still-life I painted in college that includes a hunk of Ontario amethyst! I showed this piece and a bunch of others on one of my art streams. Here's a timestamped video, if you want to check it out!

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Lake rocks image

MINERAL TRIVIA SECTION

DID YOU KNOW: There is an infinite variety of rocks to be collected and enjoyed! Minerals have a unique chemical composition, while rocks are combinations of minerals. Read more here! The above photo is my collection of rocks obtained from various locations along the shores of Lake Ontario. It's easy to look at thousands of rocks on the ground and dismiss them as all being the same, but once you really start looking, there are some wonderful specimens.While it's true that there are certain kinds of rocks that occur more than others, that only means the unique ones stand out all the more. It's a wonderful hobby that merits closer examination!

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Animated gif

INTERESTED IN SUPPORTING THE CRIMSON DIAMOND?

Check the sidebar for links to my Patreon and PayPal! Or visit The Crimson Diamond's Steam page follow the game, and add it to your wishlist! There's a FREE playable demo too, for Windows PC and Mac! <3

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Thanks for reading! Have a wonderful November :).

-- JM

 

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October 2020

Hello, dear readers! Happy October! The leaves are changing colour here in Ontario. I'm seeing some of the EGA colour palette in real life, which is lovely!

Chapter 4 is progressing well. I'm hoping to start work on Chapter 5 next month. The Crimson Diamond is planned to have seven chapters, but it still feels like I have a long way to go!

This is issue #24 of The Crimson Diamond Gazette, Happy 2nd Anniversary!
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The Crimson Diamond Logo

The Crimon Diamond has a new trailer! Dan and I did a special stream where we made the trailer from beginning to end -- You can watch it here.

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Neil Cicierega's "Mouth Dreams" album cover

This may look a little familiar! Neil Cicierega's latest album "Mouth Dreams" came out recently, and the cover reminded me of The Crimson Diamond title screen / logo -- So I couldn't resist making an EVEN MORE similar version:

My version of Neil's album cover

If you've never heard Neil's music, I definitely recommend it. I like this track, in particular!

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1-900-Hotdog artwork I did!

I'm super excited to share this artwork that Seanbaby commissioned for his humour website 1-900-Hotdog. Seanbaby is best known for his writing for Cracked.com, as well as Attack of the Show, Adult Swim, and EGM. 1-900-Hotdog is a Patreon-based site, where every weekday he and his team of writers deliver some of the absolute best humour writing the internet has to offer. I wholeheartedly recommend their articles! And there's a podcast, too!

1-900-Hotdog full art

This image contains 25 "artifacts" that represent some of 1-900-Hotdog's best articles of the past seven months. It was a pleasure to get to read them! This was the first time I'd used the CGA (cyan, magenta, white) palette for pixel art. I must say, I'm a huge fan! In terms of colour choices it is certainly a very strange palette, but I have massive soft spots for nostalgia and bright colours.

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Screen cap from a pre-stream

Dan and I continue to enjoy streaming game art and game music dev on our Twitch channels! Streaming happens on Tuesdays at 8pm EDT on my Twitch channel and Dan's channel.

Screencap from an art live stream

Often, for the art streams or the pre-streams to Dan's music stream, I'll show some other stuff like some of my old freelance illustrations, sketches, etc.!

I post all the live streams as VODs (videos on demand) on my Youtube channel!

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little sculpts of homestarrunner and homsar that I made

CRAFT CORNER

Speaking of showing other stuff in pre-stream and art stream videos, here are Homestarrunner and Homsar sculpts that I did years ago! I show the process on the October 13 pre-stream VOD, here's a handy-dandy timestamp.

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rough, natural diamonds photo

MINERAL TRIVIA SECTION

DID YOU KNOW: Diamonds are pretty cool minerals, and don't have to be expensive if you know what to look for! I've gotten more interested in diamonds as I've been making The Crimson Diamond, and I'd like to add them to my mineral collection. I don't want anything large or spectacular, just a specimen that showcases their hardness, sparkliness, and rough shapes. I have my eye on this strand of diamond chips from Fire Mountain Gems! As a bonus they have holes drilled them, so I can make jewellery and wear them, too! The 8" strand costs $79.71. If you have rock hound friends who will split the cost of the strand for a share, even better!

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The Crimson Diamond animated gif

INTERESTED IN SUPPORTING THE CRIMSON DIAMOND?

Check the sidebar for links to my Patreon and PayPal! Or visit The Crimson Diamond's Steam page follow the game, and add it to your wishlist! There's a FREE playable demo too, for Windows PC and Mac! <3

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Thanks for reading! Have a wonderful October :).

-- JM

 

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September 2020

Hello, dear readers! Happy September! I really love our short-lived autumns here in Canada. I'll try to enjoy it while it lasts. I hope all's well with you!
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image of the jitter stylus cursor issue. Also a link to a timestamped video!

The Crimon Diamond's development has been a bit stalled, thanks to my attempt to upgrade my hardware from the Microsoft Surface Pro 2 to the Microsoft Surface Book 3. Among other issues, the cursor jitters when using the stylus (Microsoft Slim Pen) with the Microsoft Book 3 -- So much as to be unusable (here's what it looks like). I've been spending a great deal of time troubleshooting and acquiring and testing other stylus peripherals. Microsoft says the stylus may be defective, so I'm exchanging it for a new one. Fingers crossed!

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Link to video clip of my Photoshop revelation on Twitter

Here's something lovely that happened since last gazette: Cabel Sasser, co-founder of Panic, caught one of my earlier art dev streams (this one) and related very strongly to the Photoshop epiphany I experienced -- An epiphany that wouldn't have happened, if not for some some helpful Twitch viewers! Cabel asked me if he could edit a clip to put on Twitter, and here it is. It's currently been viewed about 49k times, which is amazing to me! I've really loved reading people' comments on the thread. Apparently this feeling of "indigant relief" is pretty common :).

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photo of me and my new green screen!

I got myself a green screen kit for streaming! I showed it on the Sept 15 stream and I'm writing this the same night, so I don't have the VOD available on Youtube yet. Here's a link to the stream on Twitch, but it'll only be up for 60 days! The stream crashed a couple times so it's up on Twitch in segments. Sorry about that.

Streaming happens on Tuesdays at 8pm EDT on my Twitch channel and Dan's channel. We alternate between game art and game music streams! I do a pre-stream stream when Dan is in charge (from 8-8:30pm) to give a general update on The Crimson Diamond progress and share a craft or two, then we raid him!

roland mt-32 animation

Dan uses his genuine Roland MT-32 to compose TCD's music, just like in the old days! He does a fantastic job with it, and composes live on stream!

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Photo of my ceramic sculpture

CRAFT CORNER

Here's another one of my many hobbies -- Sculpting! Well, I've only sculpted this one bust, but I want to do more! Here's a timestamp on a Youtube video where I show the entire process.

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link to Canadian diamond find article

MINERAL TRIVIA SECTION

DID YOU KNOW: There are actually diamonds in northern Ontario! And some pretty spectacular ones, as that! This month this incredible news story was broadcast on CTV, of a flawless 102-carat diamond that was discovered in the Victor Diamond mine. That's not to say that Crimson, Ontario has diamonds... But it's possible ;).

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Animated gif of Albert unpacking

INTERESTED IN SUPPORTING THE CRIMSON DIAMOND?

Check the sidebar for links to my Patreon and PayPal! Or visit The Crimson Diamond's Steam page follow the game, and add it to your wishlist! There's a FREE playable demo too, for Windows PC and Mac! <3

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Thanks for reading! Have a wonderful September :).

-- JM

 

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August 2020

Hello, dear readers! Happy August! Ontario continues to be hot and humid, but I know I'll miss it when winter comes. I hope you're doing well!
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I'm still working on section 2 (of 3) in chapter 4 of The Crimson Diamond. Most of the basic stuff is roughed in and I'm fairly pleased with my progress so far!

Steaming on Twitch continues to be a fun way to socialize and interact, and promote TCD. I hope you'll join me and Dan (he's making the music for the game!) some time (Tuesdays 8pm EDT)! Onward to the gazette...

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HomeTeam GameDev link

I was fortunate to be invited to be a guest speaker with Chris DeLeon's HomeTeam GameDev! Chris turned the talk into a HomeTeam GameDev Podcast episode that can be found here. I discuss my path from art school to freelance illustration to solo indie dev, and my general advice for freelancers!

I only recently learned about HomeTeam GameDev. I got to sit in on the session preceding my talk, and I was pretty impressed with what I saw. It's a flexible, supportive online community (that is in turn supported by a bevy of industry pros and mentors) focused on producing games from start to finish. You choose the roles you'd like to fill, as well as your level of involvement. Could be just a couple hours a week! The key is working on teams to develop more ambitious projects with greater scope and in less time than can be accomplished alone. They've shipped 95 games over the past 4 years!

There is also a vast library of resources (e-books and video courses) that cover everything from game design principles to coding to general productivity.

HomeTeam GameDev costs $17 /week and there's currently a waiting list. I've never been a member so I can't vouch for it in detail, but I believe in "you get what you pay for" -- This looks like something that's worth it.

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Livestream gif animation

There's so much to learn about livestreaming! Thanks to knormalizeknitting and Dr. Mikachu, I now have sound/animated notifications on my Twitch channel! Well, only three -- One for subscriber notifications, one for follower notifications and one for bits. I'm using some of Dan's "point score" sounds for TCD, and a few animated gifs from the game, too. I'll be showing them on steam on August 18, 8pm EDT!

link to Dan's Grammy certificate bit

Dan and I are having a blast with the livestreaming. In one of our recent ones, Dan shared his Grammy nomination certificate for his work on one of Sean Paul's albums. Dan streams on his Twitch channel every other week, showing his music development process for The Crimson Diamond using his genuine Roland MT-32!

link to my Aseprite demo

I recently showed the features I like in Aseprite for making animations. I'm still learning how to use it, but I do like it a bit better than Photoshop in some ways.

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link to video clip of earrings process

CRAFT CORNER

I'm still working on my EGA cross-stitching, figuring out which colours go together! I'm hoping to make another online order for a few more colours -- Then maybe I'll finally have my definitive list of DMC embroidery thread colours I'll be using going forward!

I also really love using polymer clay to make bits of jewellry, this pair of earrings is my most recent creation! I showed the process on stream, here's the timestamp for that bit. And I'm wearing the earrings in the video!

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link to coldrivermining.com

MINERAL TRIVIA SECTION

DID YOU KNOW: If you like camping AND minerals, you may be in luck! There are campgrounds in Ontario that offer mineralogical activities for kids, which is well in keeping with Ontario's long history of mining. Toronto North KOA and Barrie KOA have this available, where kids can use a sluice to sift through mining rough and find awesome minerals! But please check ahead -- My sister and her family did the mining experience at Toronto North KOA but as of time of writing, it's closed.

It's also possible to enjoy this experience in the comfort of your own home, either by buying a bag of "authentic mining rough" from one of these sites and taking it home, or (possibly) ordering online!

I spent a very relaxing couple of hours sifting, rinsing, and then examining each specimen with my handy-dandy loupe! The bags have added arrowheads, crystal points, even rough rubies and emeralds, so it's guaranteed that something interesting will be found :)

Close-up of mineral specimenslly

It's so cool to see the variety of textures and shapes!

Close-up of an emerald, using a loupe

My emerald, viewed through a 30x magnification loupe!

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Nancy climbing a ladder

INTERESTED IN SUPPORTING THE CRIMSON DIAMOND?

Check the sidebar for links to my Patreon and PayPal! Or visit The Crimson Diamond's Steam page follow the game, and add it to your wishlist! There's a FREE playable demo too, for Windows PC and Mac! <3

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Thanks for reading! Have a wonderful August :).

-- JM

 

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July 2020

Hello, dear readers! Happy July! It's been hot hot hot here in Canada, I hope you've been keeping cool wherever you are!
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I'm currently working on the second of three sub-sections in Chapter 4 of The Crimson Diamond. Each chapter is designed in sections. It helps me figure out mini-arcs in the story. I also try to end each chapter on mini-cliffhangers!

July was a busy and exciting week for The Crimson Diamond in the news! Onward!

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TVO

First exciting bit of Canadian media is this wonderful interview by Matthew O'Mara for TVOntario. We talk the origins of The Crimson Diamond, as well as my career transition from freelance illustrator to solo indie dev! Click here for the article.

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cbc

Second bit of lovely Canadian media was this radio interview I did with CBC Thunder Bay's "Superior Morning" host, Lisa Laco! Crimson, Ontario may be a fictional town, but the location and geology is something I've researched to create a realistic setting! The James Bay Lowlands is a diamondiferous region in northern Ontario, with a currently working diamond mine. "Diamondiferous" is my new favourite word!

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CityNews

And here is the third bit of Canadian media about The Crimson Diamond! On Canada Day I was in a CityNews segment on Canadian game devs who are setting their games in Canada. That was an awesome surprise and the perfect way to celebrate Canada Day!

If you're interested in reading other articles about TCD, check out the sidebar on the left! <---------------------------

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stream1

I've been having a lot of fun livestreaming game art dev on my Twitch channel! I'm excited to share that I'm now a Twitch Affiliate! I'm still figuring out what that means and what I can do with Twitch -- So much to learn! So far, I have a Nancy Maple emote available that viewers can buy with channel points. Channel points accumulate as you watch (no money involved) -- I don't think it takes many points to unlock it, woo!

stream2

I'm still live-streaming working on this building exterior for the introductory sequence of TCD, but I'm also mixing it up a bit with sharing some old college artwork! I stream at 8pm EDT on Tuesdays (actually alternate Tuesdays, trading off with Dan -- See below!), and post the videos on my Youtube channel for folks to watch at their convenience.

stream4

Dan Policar is the musician making the music for TCD, using a genuine Roland MT-32! Every other week (Tuesdays, 8pm EDT), Dan's streaming game music dev on his channel, and I'm there on video too, hanging out! The music dev videos end up on my Youtube channel, too!

stream3

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portrait

CRAFT CORNER

I've finally started some EGA colour palette cross-stitching! I'm still not 100% happy with the cyans or magentas, so I'm ordered some more colours and seeing what works. But I'm pretty happy with the progress so far! My goal is to eventually do a cross-stitch of some rooms in the lodge. I'll need to buy larger aida cloth (320x200 stitches, plus some extra for margins), but for now it'll be more colour tests and portraits!

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fluorite

MINERAL TRIVIA SECTION

DID YOU KNOW: There's an abundance of gorgeous minerals in the world, but unfortunately a lot of them are too soft to be practical for jewellry! Fluorite is an example of one such mineral. There are loads of spectacularly large fluorite crystals (octahedrons) ranging in colour from green to purple -- But with a Mohs hardness of 4 it isn't suitable for rings or bracelets, where it could come into contact with surfaces or objects that could scratch it. But it could still be good for earrings and necklaces! Pictured above are some fluorite beads I have, as well as a couple crystals. I'm not sure what I'll do with the beads yet, but I will keep their physical properties in mind.

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SpinGif

INTERESTED IN SUPPORTING THE CRIMSON DIAMOND?

Check the sidebar for links to my Patreon and PayPal! Or visit The Crimson Diamond's Steam page follow the game, and add it to your wishlist! There's a FREE playable demo too, for Windows PC and Mac! <3

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Thanks for reading! Have a wonderful July :).

-- JM

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June 2020

Hello, dear readers! Happy June! The year is half over, whew. I've been keeping busy with work and hobbies. I hope you're doing well, too!
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Chapter 4 of The Crimson Diamond is now 30% complete! I've been learning how to use Aseprite for animation, I'll discuss that later in the gazette. There's been a bit of a learning curve but so far, so good!

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stream

Livestreaming has been a lot of fun! I played through the The Crimson Diamond's intro during the last art stream and added some dev commentary :).

I also worked a bit on upgrading the intro sequence's art. I'm thinking that the art streams going forward will be relaxing pixel-painting streams!

RCMold

RCMnew

Dan Policar (the musician on TCD) is streaming a game music dev stream this week (June 16, 8pm EDT). He'll be sharing some of his older compositions, among other things! He'll be streaming on his channel, and I'll be hanging out too. Come join us!

I eventually post all the streams as videos on my Youtube channel, so if you can't make the stream, you can still watch in your own time!

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aseprite

Thanks to a lot of recommendations, I've finally started using Aseprite! Even though I'm just starting to learn the progam, I can already see how much better it is for animating than Photoshop CS2. There's a timeline for the animations that reminds me a lot of Flash. There's an "onion skin" setting where you can see the other frames in the animation. And there are some lovely, helpful Youtube tutorials to help me learn the ropes! I'm a fan of MortMort's Aseprite videos. There's a short animation at the bottom of the gazette that I created in Aseprite :).

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crosskit

CRAFT CORNER

I'm nearly finished this cross-stitch kit! I've really been enjoying this one. Yellow and purple is such a striking colour combination. I still haven't gotten my EGA embroidery thread colours in the mail, so I may be returning to some beaded kumihimo necklace-making! I've just found all eight bobbins and received some new seed beads with my bead order, so I'm pretty excited about using them!

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pietersite

MINERAL TRIVIA SECTION

DID YOU KNOW: There's always something new to learn in the world of minerals! During one of my livestreams, one of the folks in chat mentioned "pietersite", which I'd never heard of before! It's a gorgous version of brecciated (fractured) tiger's eye. I discovered many fine examples for sale on GemSelect. Which is a site I just discovered that I hope doesn't lure me into buying more lovely rocks!

newnecklace

My favourite online bead store is closing, so they've been having some great deals. I bought these varied sizes of AA quality labradorite beads for 50% off! This photo shows 10mm, 8mm, 6mm, and 4mm round beads. I love that fiery blue "labradorescence"!

I made this necklace with some #18 Steel coloured Superlon bead cord and sterling silver plated chain I bought at a craft store. I love making simple jewellry - It's a lot faster than cross-stitching and kumihimo!

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jack

(Jack, animated with Aseprite!)

INTERESTED IN SUPPORTING THE CRIMSON DIAMOND?

Check the sidebar for links to my Patreon and PayPal! Or visit The Crimson Diamond's Steam page follow the game, and add it to your wishlist! There's a FREE playable demo too, for Windows PC and Mac! <3

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Thanks for reading! Have a wonderful June :).

-- JM

 

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May 2020

Hello, dear readers! Happy May! Yesterday it was February, today it's May. Who knows what tomorrow will be?
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I'm happy to report I'm currently developing chapter 4 of The Crimson Diamond! After months of squashing game bugs and improving the UI, it's nice to get back to the fun stuff :). The most recent version of the game demo (for Windows PC and Mac!) can be found on Steam and itch.io.

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promo

I'm having a lot of fun live-streaming The Crimson Diamond's art and music development! Dan Policar (the musician on TCD) and I alternate between doing art dev and music dev streams. We really enjoy hanging out and chatting with viewers, so please drop in and say hello, if you're able!

We stream on my twitch channel and Dan's channel. If you aren't able to come to a livestream, I post all the streams as videos on my Youtube channel! All seven livestreams we've done so far are on there now!

The next livestream will be on Tuesday, May 19 at 8pm EDT. It'll be an art steam! I'll be "de-making" a modern game: Taking a game screenshot and converting it to the same 16 colour EGA palette that I use in The Crimson Diamond! Here's an example I made, with Animal Crossing: New Horizons:

process

To add to the de-make fun, I photoshopped the finished art onto a 3.5" disk and an old school pc!

game

disk

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roundtable

I'm excited that I got to be on Josh Bycer's (of Game Wisdom) first adventure game design roundtable livestream! Also on the roundable were Dave Gilbert (Wadjet Eye Games), Francisco Gonzalez (Grundislav Games), Nathan Hamley (Sick Chicken Studios), and Lori and Corey Cole! (previously of Sierra On-line, now of Transolar Games). Distinguished company, indeed! Here's a link to the video of the livestream.

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cross-stitch

CRAFT CORNER

I'm happy to report that pixel art and cross-stitching go hand-in-hand! My mom really liked this drawing, and asked me to make it into a cross-stitch. I'm very pleased with the results! I made a pixel art version of the original artwork, superimposed a grid, and started stitching!

I got some black aida cloth in the mail and am waiting on some EGA-coloured embroidery thread -- The Crimson Diamond cross-stitch projects are going to happen!

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labradorite

MINERAL TRIVIA SECTION

DID YOU KNOW: Labradorite is named after Labrador, Canada where it was first identified! It features a gorgeous iridescent effect called "labradorescence" (really!) The lovely specimen photo above is from RocksAndGemsCanada. I've never ordered anything from them, I just think they photographed the stone so nicely! And as of this gazette's publication date, you can buy it on their site :P.

earrings

Here is the pair of earrings I bought at the Victoria & Albert Museum gift shop while I was in London showing The Crimson Diamond at AdventureX last year. They feature red agate and labradorite stones, and they're by Ottoman Hands. I love how the neutral grey translucence of the labradorite reveals that brilliant "labradorescence" at certain angles of light. Ever since the wonderful time I had during AdventureX, labradorite has become one of my favourite stones. :)

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process gif

INTERESTED IN SUPPORTING THE CRIMSON DIAMOND?

Check the sidebar for links to my Patreon and PayPal! Or visit The Crimson Diamond's Steam page follow the game, and add it to your wishlist! There's a FREE playable demo, too, for Windows PC and Mac! <3

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Thanks for reading! Have a wonderful May :).

-- JM

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April 2020

Hello, dear readers! Happy April! I've always enjoyed the strange windiness of early Spring in Ontario. There were flurries today, but I know not to take them too seriously. Goldfinches are back!

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apple

I'm excited to announce that The Crimson Diamond demo now has a Mac version, thanks to Chad Armstrong! Chad has also ported Feria D'Arles (by Tom Simpson) and Stair Quest (by No More for Today Productions) to Mac.

The Mac version of The Crimson Diamond demo is available on Steam, itch.io, and direct from www.thecrimsondiamond.com. Please pass the good news on to any Mac gamers you think might enjoy a bit of Canadian mystery!

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youtube

I've started to do livestreaming! Dan Policar (he's working on the music for The Crimson Diamond) had the idea that it could be fun and interesting to show some of the music development progress. We've done two livestreams so far, Dan's taken the lead with showing how he composes music, underscores, and incorporates sound effects, all with the Roland MT-32! The MT-32 was the synthesizer that Sierra adventure games would be composed for, although most people (myself included) had a much cheaper Soundblaster or Adlib sound card. I'm super excited that The Crimson Diamond will look AND sound like a classic adventure game!

Here's a link to the video of our first livestream, and here's a link to the video of our second livestream!

We stream on my twitch channel and Dan's channel, the videos later get posted on my Youtube channel.

The next livestream will be on Tuesday, April 21 at 8pm EDT! I'll be showing my EGA pixel art process, with a bit of discussion on techniques. Hope to see you there!

artpromo

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gamewisdom

Speaking of livestreaming, I got to (virtually) sit down with Josh Bycer of Game Wisdom and we talked game design and The Crimson Diamond on his Youtube channel! It was a great conversation, Josh is very knowledgeable in all aspects of the video game industry. He's a writer, critic, and public speaker!

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I was a guest on the Retro 'Rents Podcast! It was a lovely chat. It's always a lot of fun to talk to fellow adventure game enthusiasts! I got to talk about the history behind the character of Kimi, and so much more!

retrorents

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cdg logo

I've been following Canadian Game Devs for a while on Twitter, so I was extra thrilled to see that they selected The Crimson Diamond as a "made in Canada" game to wishlist on Steam! Check out their podcast episode here, where they discuss TCD and some other cool Canadian games!

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cross stitch

CRAFT CORNER

I'm really enjoying cross-stitching! I finished this kit not too long ago. It's a very relaxing craft. Mistakes can be undone and re-stitched, and if you get caught coming to the end of your thread, you can just start another bit of thread right where you left off. I'm hoping to start some Crimson Diamond pixel art cross stitching projects :).

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pearls

MINERAL TRIVIA SECTION

DID YOU KNOW: Canadian pearls exist! Freshwater pearls from river mussels have been found, particularly in Quebec's Ungava region. The District of Ungava existed from 1895 to 1920, and encompassed bits of Quebec, Labrador, and Nunavut. Canadian pearls are fairly rare, and are often treasured by their keepers: "The Book of the Pearl" (first published in 1908) recounts that many were held by farmers who were unwilling to part with them unless offered far more than market price. I'm unsure what sorts of prices they'd fetch today, but they're probably priceless family heirlooms!

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process

INTERESTED IN SUPPORTING THE CRIMSON DIAMOND?

Check the sidebar for links to my Patreon and PayPal! Or visit The Crimson Diamond's Steam page follow the game, and add it to your wishlist! There's a FREE playable demo, too! <3

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Thanks for reading! Have a wonderful April :).

-- JM

 

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March 2020

Hello, dear readers! Happy March! Spring is in the air and the robins have returned. Exciting times!

PAX East was wonderful. I reunited with some awesome folks and met new awesome folks! On the right (proudly rocking his special shirt!) is Dan Policar, who is making amazing music for The Crimson Diamond (he did the theme music and the dining room waltz, both can be heard in the demo!) and on the left we have Benj Edwards of Retronauts! Retronauts is a legendary gaming podcast, I highly recommend it!

PAXEast1

 

I was super happy I got to meet up with the Adventure Game Geek, who made this totally amazing video about The Crimson Diamond!

PAXEast2

 

The highlight of PAX East for me was the panel. I felt super fortunate to be on this, with Dave Gilbert (Wadjet Eye Games), Katie Hallahan Rahhal (Phoenix Online Studios) and Francisco Gonzalez (Grundislav Games). Click here to watch for the video! Retro 'Rents Podcast was kind enough to host the audio-only version, here's that one!

PAXEast4

PAXEast3

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agp logo

I was recently interviewed on the Adventure Games Podcast by Seiorse Gorka Dunbar! I met him at AdventureX last year, and got to talk to his colleague Laura Cress. Seiorse and I had a lovely chat, I hope you give it a listen!

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MattChat

Here's something cool that made it under the wire for the March newsletter! Matt Barton invited me, along with Francisco Gonzalez and Mat Bradley-Tschirgi, onto one of his amazing Matt Chat Live videos to chat games and our current projects! It was a ton of fun :).

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I haven't had much time to work on any crafts, so this issue of the newletter will cover a mini-adventure I had in Boston after PAX East! I bring you...

TRAVELOGUE CORNER

I had an extra day to explore Boston after PAX East, and one of the places I wanted to visit was a gem wholesaler (yes, I truly love rocks!). Unbeknownst to me, the particular gem wholesaler I tried to visit wasn't open to the general public. Fortunately, I discovered it was in fact one of many vendors in something called the Boston Jeweler's Exchange Building! The vendor I visited was on the top floor, so on a whim I decided to don my adventurer's cap and go exploring, working my way down the building. I'm so glad I did.

Boston3

The building was full of jewelers who have been in the business for decades. They're craftspeople who do repairs, diamond setting, and custom work by hand. Apparently jeweler's exchanges are the traditional way these businesses operate; one person would buy a large venue and then sublet to other jewelers. Nowadays I tend to think of businesses wanting to operate away from each other to reduce competition. I'd never encountered this type of arrangement! Walking through the halls and catching bits of conversation, I really got a sense of fellowship and shared history.

Boston2

Boston4

 

Each floor had historical photos from the 1900s, which is when The Crimson Diamond is set. Boston is full of wonderful buildings and there's so much to see!

Boston5

I'm not usually one to talk to strangers, but I had a couple incredibly engaging conversations in the Boston Jeweler's Exchange Building that day. Maybe I was coming down off of a PAX East high. I've always had a deep respect and admiration for craftspeople, which I think made me more open and chatty.

First was a gentlemen jeweler with one of the larger shops. A lovely necklace with multi-coloured gemstones caught my eye, and as I started to ask him questions he started showing me other cool stuff. He showed me a display case of "estate jewelery" which, when I responded with "estate jewelery?" he clarified cheerfully with "secondhand, used jewelery!". We had an interesting discussion about the value and impact of lab-grown diamonds from his perspective. He said the Milennials are all about the lab-grown gems because you get bigger bang for your buck, but he wasn't sure if they'd hold their value as a mined diamond would. He wasn't bitter about this, his concern seemed more rooted in his inability to advise customers who were concerned with investment. We talked about how North America is very much into diamonds, but Europe enjoys coloured stones like rubies and emeralds more. I did notice that in London.

The second amazing talk was with an Armenian master whose shop looked partly like laboratory and had a huge safe in it. I wandered in because I could see cases with loose stones in them (see the photo below) and I asked his son if I could seem some lapis lazuli. I love how unpretentious these workshop/shops are. Those plastic cases labelled with tape contain many thousands of dollars in gemstones, but they are stored in an efficient, non-glamourous way. I felt at home. Arto told me about jeweler's schools in Armenia where they'd get trained and then emigrate to other places. I had noticed a lot of the vendors in the building had Armenian names, Arto included. Pinned up behind him on the wall were hundreds of metal casts of jewelery settings, all made by hand by him. He said that working with his hands is relaxing, which I totally understand. He offered me coffee and told me if I have any more questions, I could call him. I was very touched. Nothing is better than making a genuine human connection.

Boston1

It makes me wonder how many more amazing stories there are, hidden away in other buildings. There's never enough time to find out.

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gemExpo

MINERAL TRIVIA SECTION

DID YOU KNOW: Toronto has its very own Gem Expo, and it's open to the public! It's happening July 24-26 at the Hyatt Regency. I'm hoping to attend! There's also a smaller show called The Jewelry Gem & Mineral Show & Sale! It's labelled as a trade show so I don't know if that one's open to the public, but considering my experience in Boston, maybe I should be a bit more intrepid :).

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gif

INTERESTED IN SUPPORTING THE CRIMSON DIAMOND?

Check the sidebar for links to my Patreon and PayPal! Or visit The Crimson Diamond's Steam page follow the game, and add it to your wishlist! There's a FREE playable demo, too! <3

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Thanks for reading! Have a wonderful March :).

-- JM

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February 2020

Hello, dear readers! Happy February, 2020! Even with the bonus Leap Year day, I have a feeling this month will go by just as quickly as its predecessor!

pax East

First and most excitingly, I will be on a panel at PAX East this year! It's on Saturday, February 29 (the aforementioned bonus day, I'm making the most of it!) at 2pm. It's called "What's Next for Adventure Games?". Francisco Gonzalez (Grundislav Games) will be moderating. The panel will include Dave Gilbert (Wadjet Eye Games), Josh Mandel (ex-Sierra, Transolar Games) and Katie Hallahan Rahhal (Phoenix Online Studios). Distinguished company, indeed!

If you're in or around Boston, I hope to see you at PAX East! I've got new postcards that I'll be handing out to promote The Crimson Diamond.

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I'm busily working on the next section of The Crimson Diamond, which involves the player *finally* being able to explore outside the lodge at night! This has given me the opportunity to really play around with the EGA palette to produce some spooky effects (no palette swapping, it's the same sixteen EGA colours -- Combined with plenty of dithering!):

game art

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xmascraft

CRAFT CORNER

I'm happy to report I finished my first cross-stitching project! I learned a new new stitches along the way, too! I really enjoy having crafting hobby where I use my hands- It's a nice change of pace from being in front of the computer all day!

I'm working on another little cross-stitch kit, and then another, and then I'll look into designing my own! I'd love to turn some of my Crimson Diamond game art into cross-stitching projects.

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trivia

MINERAL TRIVIA SECTION

DID YOU KNOW: Games imitate life! Recently, I was amazed to discover this New Yorker article profiling Eira Thomas, a real-life Canadian redheaded lady geologist who discovered and opened viable diamond mining sites in the Northwest Territories and Quebec. She graduated from the University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Science in Geology, and is now the President/CEO/Co-Founder of Lucara Diamond Corp. She's known as the "Queen of Diamonds" in the industry, how cool is that?

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animation

INTERESTED IN SUPPORTING THE CRIMSON DIAMOND?

Check the sidebar for links to my Patreon and PayPal! Or visit The Crimson Diamond's Steam page follow the game, and add it to your wishlist! There's a FREE playable demo, too! <3

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Subscribe below to get this newsletter direct to your email!

Thanks for reading! Have a wonderful February :)

-- JM

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January 2020

Hello, dear readers! Happy January, 2020! It sounds so futuristic, doesn't it?

There's a new version of The Crimson Diamond DEMO available on Steam, itch.io, and direct from my site. It's bug fixes and feedback that I received from EGLX and AdventureX last year, no new story content.

I made a few things easier, such as "talk to people" will talk to everyone in the room, and "ask people about..." will ask everyone in the room, too! There are parser shortcuts for this, so "a pp ab lodge" will ask everyone in the room about the lodge. Of course, you can still address everyone by their names! Spacebar repeats the last parser entry, which has been a feature for a while but it's useful to remind folks who like to ask questions :).

Big thanks to Hannah Flynn, Communications Director of Failbetter Games for giving me feedback on my Steam store page! She pointed out I didn't have a "Coming Soon" bit on my store page, I fixed that and now it's even easier to wishlist The Crimson Diamond! If you have a Steam store page you'd like her to critique, every Wednesday on her way to work she tweets on the train when she's available to take a look at Steam store pages. This can be tricky for North Americans because it's usually around 3-3:30am EST, but it's well worth it!

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I have a few extra xmas cards! There's still time to become a Patron at the $5 tier to get a personalized card mailed to your home!

Here's the final art, followed by the sketch:

xmasfinal

xmassketch

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I had the pleasure to meet Jupiter Hadley at AdventureX. She's a games journalist, blogger, and owner of some amazing game sites, including Big Boss Battle! Jupiter wrote a lovely feature article for Big Boss Battle about The Crimson Diamond and I'm excited to share it!

BB3

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necklace

CRAFT CORNER

Here's the neutral-but-still-sparkly plaited, beaded necklace I was working on since last issue of the gazette! It has seven different colours of size 11 glass seed beads. I hand-strung them all because there were some vague rules I was following to give the necklace a random yet well-distributed colour variation.

My next beaded kumihimo project will be a bit more colourful. It's going to be five to seven beaded kumihimo necklaces that will then be plaited together, or maybe eight beaded kumihimo necklaces that I will kumihimo into one big necklace. I haven't decided yet! If I end up doing a kumihimo necklace made of kumihimo necklaces, that'll be... 64 beaded strands. That will require a bead stringer, I'm pretty sure.

Bonus craft! I met Cathy Feraday Miller at the Hand Eye Society Ball in Toronto a few years ago. Cathy runs Rocket5 Studios with her husband Tim Miller and they're both industry veterans from LucasArts, amoung other places. Cathy mentioned to me that the pixel art of The Crimson Diamond reminded her of cross-stitching. This has been in the back of my mind ever since, and just this past holiday I acquired a new hobby! This is a kit for creating an xmas tree ornament (must roll it up into a cone shape). I plan on creating my own Crimson Diamond patterns, but I want to practise with a few of these little crafting kits first! cross-stich

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book

MINERAL TRIVIA SECTION

DID YOU KNOW: This is a fantastic book! It's chock-full of amazing mineral trivia! Eric Chaline's "Fifty Minerals that Changed the Course of History" is part of a series that includes "Fifty Plants...", and "Fifty Railroads..." those are written by other people but I'm sure they're just as awesome! The book's full of great photos, too!

Here's a fascinating bit from the book: Inuit people in Greenland worked iron into tools and weapons for centuries, despite there not being any sources of iron in the region. So where did it come from? A giant meteorite that had landed thousands of years ago! It's called the Cape York meteorite, and you can read more about it on Wikipedia!

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clear dishes

INTERESTED IN SUPPORTING THE CRIMSON DIAMOND?

Check the sidebar for links to my Patreon and PayPal! Or visit The Crimson Diamond's Steam page follow the game, and add it to your wishlist! <3

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Subscribe below to get this newsletter direct to your email!

Thanks for reading! Have a wonderful January :)

-- JM

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December 2019

Hello, dear readers! Happy December. Another year goes by. I hope it was full of joy and creativity.

This is my first holiday season with a Patreon. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to those of you who are Patrons, and to everyone else who supports me in so many different ways. All Patrons will be the first to see The Crimson Diamond holiday card, and $5 tier Patrons will receive a physical card in the mail! There's still time to become a Patron to enjoy these bonuses. I reckon I'll be mailing the physical cards out in a week or so!

I've included a rough sketch of the artwork below. I'm using Medibang Paint on my iPad and it really is a lovely app.

xmassketch

 

The Classic Adventurer is an utterly gorgeous magazine written and designed by Mark Hardisty. I was blown away by this feature he did of me and The Crimson Diamond for his latest issue! It's a free PDF to enjoy in both desktop and mobile versions. He designed some amazing spreads and the whole magazine is well worth a read. It's also availble to order as a print on demand physical copy, either in a premium or economy version!

 

classicadv

 

I met Samantha Nelson at EGLX here in Toronto and we got to have a chat! Samantha writes for Escapist Magazine. I was super pumped to see this terrific write-up on the Escapist's site! Thanks, Samantha!

escapist

 

That brings us to my most recent bit of news! I had the privilege of streaming The Crimson Diamond demo with DarthHelmet1986 for the YouTube Adventure Roundtable's weekend streaming marathon to benefit The AbleGamers Charity. The AbleGamers helps people with disabilities by developing and modifying assistive technologies to ensure everyone can experiences the pleasures of gaming. Here's a timestamped link to my bit of the marathon. It's about two hours long!

YAR

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18strand

CRAFT CORNER

I'm happy to report that I've finished my 18-strand, beaded, plaited necklace! I wanted the colours to give the effect of garnets. Some of the strands look a bit loose, but when the necklace is worn everything seems to even out nicely. Because the size 11 seeds beads are made of glass, it has a pleasingly hefty, comfy feel when worn :). I'm currently making another version of this necklace, something more neutrally coloured but still sparkly. Something I'd wear every day, with everything!

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lapis

MINERAL TRIVIA SECTION

DID YOU KNOW: Lapis lazuli may not have the glittery cachet of diamonds, but it's a stone that's been prized the world over for many thousands of years! It's one of my favourites, and the above photo is my bit of it. It's often used in jewellery, perhaps most notably in the funerary mask of Tutankhamun. The brilliant ultramarine blue seen in Renaissance paintings and illuminated manuscripts is made from ground up lapis lazuli, and is beatifully resistant to fading. Here's a very educational article about lapis lazuli! One last note: Lapis lazuli isn't a mineral, because it's composed of a number of different minerals, including lazurite (blue), calcite (white), and pyrite (gold-coloured).

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cheers

INTERESTED IN SUPPORTING THE CRIMSON DIAMOND?

Check the sidebar for links to my Patreon and PayPal! Or visit The Crimson Diamond's Steam page follow the game, and add it to your wishlist! <3

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Subscribe below to get this newsletter direct to your email!

Thanks for reading! Have a wonderful December :)

-- JM

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November 2019

Hello, dear readers! Happy November. What a month it's been so far, and we're only halfway through!

AdventureX has come and gone and it was the trip of a lifetime. The event itself was a lovely time with like-minded fans of narrative games from all over the world. I met lots of people I only knew online, as well as some very welcome reunions with people I met during PAX West. I can see why attendees return year after year; I hope to do the same next year!

AdventureX

Before I get into that, I'd like to share a couple lovely articles.

Grant of The Digital Roadmap Podcast wrote about The Crimson Diamond, he visited my table during EGLX here in Toronto. It was a pleasure to meet you, Grant!

cggpodcase

And my local newspaper The Scarborough Mirror published an article about me! Mike Adler met with me at University of Toronto Scarborough campus, and interviewed me for the piece. The Scarborough Mirror has been delivered to my parents' doorstep for years, so I really got a kick out of this :D.

I picked UTSC because not only is it in my neighbourhood, but they actually have a Rock Walk which is a selection of different kinds of rocks that are helpfully labelled on signs! They have a terrific selection of glacial erratic boulders, much like one that's in The Crimson Diamond :). You can read the article online here!

Mirror

erratic

Oh, one more thing: Version 13 of the demo is available to download now, and it features new, original theme music composed by Dan Policar, a Grammy-nominated musician! You can hear the new theme when you launch the game. It's AMAZING. This is pretty much the same version of the demo I showed at EGLX and AdventureX, but I don't think I mentioned it in a previous issue of the gazette.

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Now, on to AdventureX and London! This my first trip to the UK and it was incredible. Warning, this is a photo-heavy issue!

Here's me in front of the British Library, the venue for AdventureX. It's huge and chock-full of rare documents, including Shakespeare's first folio!

library

Here's me with my set-up inside the library! I lugged an LCD monitor from Canada and back again, as well as checking my stand-up banner as fragile/oversize baggage. Thankfully everything survived! I played the trailer on loop on an iPad because I couldn't imagine myself packing TWO LCDs :P.

mytable

I was happy to see Francisco Gonzalez again, developer of Lamplight City and A Golden Wake! He's currently working on Rosewater, which got a sweet write-up in Rock Paper Shotgun. We're watching Dave Gilbert (Wadjet Eye Games)'s opening talk, which was candid and compelling. Watch it here!

FG

I was so happy to meet a couple fellow Classic Gamers Guilders who were ALSO showing at AdventureX! CGG is a Facebook group I help admin, we're a friendly bunch who share our enthusiasm for video games of all kinds.

Giannis Chatzopoulos of Noema Games is making Aurora: The Lost Medallion, a sci-fi / fantasy point and click adventure game! And Shaun Aitcheson of Cloak and Dagger Games is making Sumatra: Fate of Yandi!

Aurora

Shaun

AdventureX was an inspiring and educational weekend with great talks (subscribe to their YouTube channel to watch them!) and the best group of devs and gamers I've ever had the pleasure to meet.

I hung around London after the event to take a look around. Naturally, I found myself at the Natural History Museum :D. They have an outstanding rock collection. Dozens of display cases stretched down the length of this vast hall. Some of the most amazing specimens I've ever seen! There was a great showcase of the fluorescent properties of diamonds. Nancy Maple won't be able to test for fluorescence in The Crimson Diamond, though!

minerals

fluor

My sister took me to an award-winning, science-themed afternoon tea at the Ampersand Hotel. So glorious!

teatime

Saw the Rosetta Stone in the British Museum. It's awe-inspiring. I don't really have anything else to add. I'm glad I got to see it.

rosetta

The Victoria & Albert Museum was my favourite. It was stuffed with jewellery, glass, ceramics, and sculpture. I visited it twice and I still have so much to see! Everything there is beautiful, including the cafe. cafe

I bought this pair of gorgeous red agate and labradorite earrings in the Victorian & Albert Museum gift shop. They were crafted by Ottoman Hands. Yay pretty rocks <3.

earrings

Ooh, this just in! AdventureGamers.com just published part 2 of their wrap-up of AdventureX and The Crimson Diamond is included! logo

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beaded

CRAFT CORNER

I saw some very pretty beaded, plaited necklaces in London! I decided to try my hand at making one with my plentiful supply of size 11 Japanese seed beads. I tested a few plaiting techniques before settling on the one pictured here. This is just a sample, using some beaded strands I happened to have on hand. I'm currently in the process of stringing eighteen strands with a select palette of colours! I hope I can show the finished necklace in the next issue :).

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geology

MINERAL TRIVIA SECTION

DID YOU KNOW: The Natural History Musuem in London also houses the Earth Science Department, with facilities devoted to the study and analysis of mineralogical and paleontological specimens! They also offer consultancy services and seminars!

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INTERESTED IN SUPPORTING THE CRIMSON DIAMOND?

Check the sidebar for links to my Patreon and PayPal! Or visit The Crimson Diamond's Steam page follow the game, and add it to your wishlist! <3

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Thanks for reading! Have a wonderful November :)

-- JM

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October 2019

Hello, dear readers! Happy October! Here in Ontario, sunny autumn days are weather perfection. We've got to enjoy them while they last!

I'm gearing up for EGLX this weekend (Oct 18-20) at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. It's my first table at a big gaming conference, and I'm a little nervous. I got a bright, beautiful retractable stand-up banner printed, so I'm excited to show that! I'll tweet my table location when I know it. Follow me @JuliaMinamata or @thecrimsondiam1 for that info!

I'm now a client of KStar Marketing & PR! Here's my very first press release by KStar, to help me get some attention for The Crimson Diamond leading up to EGLX. For press opportunities, please contact: kstarmarketingandpr@gmail.com

EGLX

 

AdventureX is just around the corner! There's a Pre-AdventureX Game Writers' Networking Event happening on Friday, November 1 that I'll be attending. It's a free event (you've got to register for tickets). I'm looking forward to meeting some new folks!

adventureX

 

The CGG Podcast recently celebrated its first anniversary, and I was back on with Ric and Paul catching them up with what I've been up to since the last time we chatted. If you've been reading my devblog you'll already be up to date, but it's a fun conversation you may still enjoy.

cggpodcase

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Nancy

CRAFT CORNER

I'm back to playing with voxels in MagicaVoxel! I'm thinking about 3D printing some little Nancy pendants eventually, possibly a reward to myself for eventually launching The Crimson Diamond! ShapeWays has a bunch of different metal options for printing and polishing up all shiny :).

 

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diamond

MINERAL TRIVIA SECTION

DID YOU KNOW: There are still geological and mineralogical mysteries out in our wide world! Recently an intriguing "diamond inside a diamond" was discovered in Siberia! As I write this, scientists are studying this unique Matryoshka Diamond (as it's been named) to learn how the void inside the larger diamond was formed to contain the smaller one. Fascinating!

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INTERESTED IN SUPPORTING THE CRIMSON DIAMOND?

Check the sidebar for links to my Patreon and PayPal! Or visit The Crimson Diamond's Steam page and add it to your wishlist! <3

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CLASSIC GAMER? JOIN CLASSIC GAMERS!

I help admin a thriving classic gaming community called the Classic Gamers Guild on Facebook. We host plenty of events during the week, as well as contests and a bunch of other great stuff. We even have a podcast and I was the first guest!

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Thanks for reading! Have a wonderful October!

-- JM

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September 2019

Hello, dear readers! Happy September! Time's flying ever faster, isn't it?

PAX West has come and gone. It was an unforgettable event. I apologize in advance, as this will be a particularly photo-heavy issue of the gazette.

Before I dive into all that wonderful stuff, here are a couple things that'll be happening in the near the future: I'll be showing The Crimson Diamond at EGLX here in downtown Toronto at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, October 18-20!

eglx

The Crimson Diamond was also selected for an exclusive adventure game showcase (AdventureX) in London, England at the British Library, November 2-3. I've never been to London. I'm so excited!

AdvX

And now, to my PAX West experience:

It was a pleasure and privilege to volunteer at the Transolar Games (Hero-U) table. While I was there, I tweeted my location and a Crimson Diamond fan (technically the brother of a fan, but details, details!) came by for a visit! I was so thrilled. Just when it couldn't get any better, I noticed his and his girlfriend's Puzzle and Dragons lanyards. I mentioned I was a fan of that game and missed out on the photo op with Executive Producer Kazuki Morishita because I was volunteering... So they GAVE ME one of their swag bags, which included a signed Morishita card, keychain, and a PAD lanyard! Thanks so much, @SocStar5 :).

booth

CGG Admins/Guilders at the Transolar table! Most of us were meeting for the first time :).

transolar

Me and the Transolar team! Lori & Corey Cole, Roberta Vaughan, and Cidney Hamilton.

soc

This made my day , @SocStar5 !

PAD swag

I'm so proud of this swag, thanks so much <3

I met people I never thought I'd meet. I still can't believe it all happened. I actually met the artist of The Colonel's Bequest, Doug Herring. I've been an admirer of Doug's for years, and The Crimson Diamond is very much in debt to his EGA SCI style. He kindly signed my The Colonel's Bequest big box. <3.

DougHerring

Me and Doug Herring. We got to talk art and games and I loved every minute.

I met Dave Gilbert and Francisco Gonzalez. I look up to them so, so much. They make Adventure Game Studio games, and they make a living from it. As far as I'm concerned, they're living the dream!

DaveGilbert

This is a good time to recommend Wadjet Eye's "Unavowed". I'm playing it currently and it's great!

 

FranciscoGonzalezFrancisco's "Lamplight City" has just celebrated its one-year anniversary! It's a terrific mystery adventure game!

The PAX panel Adventure Games: Then and Now was fantastic and a great way to conclude an amazing weekend. Space Quest Historian Troels Pleimert (he graciously included me and The Crimson Diamond on his Youtube channel) hosted the panel, which comprised of Lori and Corey Cole (Transolar Games), Al Lowe (Leisure Suit Larry), Dave Gilbert (Wadjet Eye Games), Ivy Dupler (voice actor) and Francisco Gonzalez (Grundislav Games).

TroelsPleimert

Me & Troels! I never thought we'd meet in person! I'm so happy this happened!

PAX panel

From left to right: Space Quest Historian (Troels Pleimert), Corey Cole, Lori Cole, Al Lowe, Dave Gilbert, Ivy Dupler, Francisco Gonzalez.

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stones

CRAFT CORNER

This month, I'm happy to share the crafts of my dear friend Anna, who runs a millshop called Translucent Finishing with her husband in Victoria, BC Canada. The gorgeous bit of wood that is under these pretty rocks is repurposed fruit wood. It's stuff that would've been burned or turned into woodchips, but Anna and her husband have saved it, and many others like it.

They cut, sand and finish them with a special varnish, then sell them as drink coasters! I love how the outer bark is retained, for a rugged "live edge" look that makes them even more unique.

Anna also sells cutting boards made from off-cuts of a variety of beautiful woods. They are extremely high quality and reasonably priced:

boards

The lovely maple leaf pendant is also a creation of Anna's. Her friend Steve hand-carved it from Canadian maple and she finished it with the same process as the coasters to give it a smooth and protective layer. I bartered with her for this pendant, and proudly wore it during the whole trip <3

me

PAX West was amazing in so many ways. But I'm glad to be back and working on my game again! Thanks for reading this rambly marathon :).

-- JM

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stones2

MINERAL TRIVIA SECTION

DID YOU KNOW: Rocks are some of my favourite souvenirs from my travels! Here are some new specimens I picked up during this PAX West adventure.

Clockwise from the leftmost, huge chunk of fluorite: Aforementioned huge chunk of fluorite was $12.95, the most I've ever spent on a rock. But just look at it! It's three times the size of my other fluorite crystal and such a lovely colour.

Next is a bit of obsidian from friend and fellow CGG (Classic Gamers Guild) admin Ric. I think this is an Ultima (rpg) reference! This was my first bit of obsidian, so I'm happy to have it!

Beside the obsidian is a Wavehill Agate from the Northern Territory in Australia. This agate is a gift from my friend Jess, who travelled all the way from Australia to come to PAX. It's a real treasure.

The grey/green and white rock is called "Dallasite" which gets its name from Dallas Road in Victoria, BC. Before PAX West, I spent some time with Anna and her family in Victoria and found this in a local rockhound shop. It's the best kind of local souvenir.

And lastly, the pink/white/grey rock is rhodonite from Courtenay, BC. I didn't visit Courtenay, but it's also on Vancouver Island, north of Victoria. There aren't very many sites in Canada where rhodonite is found, so I thought this was pretty cool!

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August 2019

Hello, dear readers! Happy August! What a busy month it's been, and it's only half over!

First exciting bit of news: I'll be at PAX West this year! I don't have a table for The Crimson Diamond, but I will be volunteering at the Transolar Games (Hero-U) table and generally milling about. I'll also be attending the PAX panel Adventure Games: Then and Now at the Hydra Theatre on Monday, September 2 at 1pm!

I'm also planning on visiting SIX (Seattle Indie Expo) so maybe I'll see some of you nice folks there!

PAXWest2019

 

Joel Couture wrote a lovely article about The Crimson Diamond for Indie Games +! I'm always super pumped to see people writing about my game. It's always such a rush <3.

IndieGamesPlus

 

Speaking of which, Stephen Schroeder over at Medium.com wrote an article about The Crimson Diamond, too! He does some wonderful side-by-side comparison of TCD and The Colonel's Bequest, and really goes into detail!

mediumArticle

This month was my first time doing video chats/interviews, and I did two! The first one was with the incredible Space Quest Historian, who is actually hosting that PAX West panel on adventure games! He's got a ton of playlists on his channel showcasing classic adventure games and is full of interesting Space Quest trivia.

SQH

 

The second video chat/interview was with Matt Barton, who hosted me for a Matt Chat. Matt is a video game scholar and historian, who has interviewed legendary game devs like Lori and Corey Cole, John and Brenda Romero, Alexey Pajitnov, and Richard Garriott! It was a pleasure to sit down with him and talk about TCD and adventure games in general..

MattChat

 

And this one was a complete surprise to me! Alice of Ask_Alice streamed The Crimson Diamond demo too! I jumped into her chat for a bit to answer questions and hang out. it was a fantastic time!

AskAlice

Here's a handy-dandy YouTube playlist of The Crimson Diamond demo videos so far. If you know about one or are making one, please let me know so I can add it! https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLBdoc9qVoIjlXu1egyHK-o2XC3-hX2cWP

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beads

CRAFT CORNER

I love round rock / semi-precious gemstone beads and tons can be had by the strand for fairly cheap! I recently knotted strands of carnelian (red) and malachite (green) using coloured embroidery thread. It's a fun and easy craft!

Have a safe and fun summer!

-- JM

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ccfms

MINERAL TRIVIA SECTION

DID YOU KNOW: There is a non-profit group of rock, mineral, and lapidary hobbyists based in Central Canada that is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year! The Central Canadian Federation of Mineralogical Studies (CCFMS) . Of particular interest is the CCFMS Online Resources, which have a wealth of information about many rock-related topics including: associations, geotours, mineral sites, and more!

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Check the sidebar for links to my Patreon and PayPal! Or visit The Crimson Diamond's Steam page and add it to your wishlist! <3

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CLASSIC GAMER? JOIN CLASSIC GAMERS!

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July 2019

Hello, dear readers! Happy July. I'm over the moon! I'm showing The Crimson Diamond at AdventureX in London, England this year!

Gaz9_AdvX1This is a real dream come true for me. Ever since I learned about this convention I've wanted to go. It's a celebration of the types of games I love the most. It's happening Novemer 2-3 at The British Library. It'll be my first time in the UK, and I can't think of a better reason to go! I can't wait to meet adventure game fans and devs! Below is a list of the exhibitors:

AdvX_Exhibitors

More exciting news! YouTuber extraordinaire PushingUpRoses posted a video about The Crimson Diamond! Here's a link to a YouTube TCD LP Playlist, with PUR at the top of that list. I've been a fan of hers for ages, so this was definitely on my bucket list. I'm super honoured.

YouTube Playlist

Someone on Twitter asked my about how I use Photoshop to animate my sprites, so I made a little video:

CRAFT CORNER

Here are some simpler bead necklaces I made, using my closest approximation of the 16-colour EGA palette plus some gold size 11 seed beads. I strung them on a wire, but I might just try some cord and see if that sits better around my neck. I still have to try something on my bead loom -- Maybe recreate some pixel art!

Have a safe and fun summer!

-- JM

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MINERAL TRIVIA SECTION

DID YOU KNOW: There are many, many sites around Southern Ontario for rockhounding (hunting for rocks and minerals)! Mindat.org is run by the not-for-profit Hudson Institute of Mineralogy, and it's a great resource for all things mineral! Of particular interest to me was this article on the accessibility of mineral collecting sites in Southern Ontario. Of course, follow laws, by-laws, and common sense when exploring, and be prepared!

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INTERESTED IN SUPPORTING THE CRIMSON DIAMOND?

Check the sidebar for links to my Patreon and PayPal, or paypal.me/JuliaMinamata ! Or visit The Crimson Diamond's Steam page and add it to your wishlist! <3

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June 2019

Hello, dear readers! Happy June. This is a special early issue of the gazette! There's been a lot of exciting news since the last issue and I couldn't wait to share!

The Crimson Diamond Steam Store is live! The game is now available to wishlist, which is an easy and important way for folks to support the game. The more people wishlist TCD, the more prominently it'll be shared with others in previews, etc. The game demo is also available for free on the store page, making it even easier to download and try!

link to Steam Store

 

PC Gamer (via Tom Sykes) published an article on their site, previewing The Crimson Diamond!

PC GamerIt was really cool to see the article. I made a Google Alert for "The Crimson Diamond" ages ago, and this is the first time it pinged! Yay :).

 

egaCRAFT CORNER

I finally settled on sixteen colours of transparent, size 11 seed beads for my EGA kumihimo projects! Here is a work in progress using a light grey cord. I chose transparent beads because I wanted the light to shine through them, kinda like how light produces colours on a computer monitor. I still haven't tried out my bead loom, I want to try kumihimo with wire first!

Sorry again for the early edition. I hope your June had a good start!

-- JM

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crystal

CRYSTAL TRIVIA SECTION

DID YOU KNOW: Crystals can be enjoyed on a budget! Some of the more famous crystals tend to be pricey (such as diamond!), but if you keep an eye out, there are some samples that show beautiful structures and only run a couple bucks each. The top example in the above photo is Aragonite and this one is 5cm long. It cost me $1.50 Canadian! The piece of Optical Calcite (middle) is 4cm long and was $2. The little Fluorite crystal (1.25 cm long) was also about that much. They're each great examples of how crystals form into distinctive shapes depending on their chemical compositions and environments.

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CLASSIC GAMER? JOIN CLASSIC GAMERS!

I help moderate a thriving classic gaming community called the Classic Gamers Guild on Facebook. We host plenty of events during the week, as well as contests and a bunch of other great stuff. We even have a podcast and I was the first guest!

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June 2019

Hello, dear readers! Happy June! This is a special early issue of the gazette!

The Crimson Diamond Steam Store is live! The game is now available to wishlist, which is an easy and important way for folks to support the game. The more people wishlist TCD, the more prominently it'll be shared with others in previews, etc.

link to Steam Store

There are $1 (coffee n' tea!) and a $5 (personalized xmas card!) tiers. I've applied to show at PAX West this year, and will be applying to AdventureX in London soon. I'm hoping Patreon can help me offset travelling costs. Of course, the best thing people can do is share The Crimson Diamond with anyone they think might be interested! Oh, and follow me on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram (see sidebar!).

I'm always psyched when folks are keen about The Crimson Diamond, and one of the coolest examples of this is when they take the time and trouble to make Youtube videos of it. I'm happy to share two examples of this that happened this past month: SkippyGranola and CrankyTemplar! Here's a Youtube playlist of all the current Let's Plays of The Crimson Diamond!

listen

SkippyGranola and I streamed the whole demo on Twitch and he's posted the video on his Youtube channel. I show him some fun Easter eggs, one of which was a lovely surprise for him :). We then went on to play through the Hugo trilogy, developed by David P. Gray. He's another solo indie dev and an inspiration of mine!

More recently, CrankyTemplar posted a timestamped version on Youtube (no commentary) . The video is the full game demo, showing some of the text parses and all the notable events. This is a great way to pick and choose which game events you'd like to see!

And of course, Youtuber LateBlt was the first to make a video about the demo, here it is!

EGA beadsCRAFT CORNER

I've been amassing a collection of size 11 seed beads so I can craft the ultimate EGA beaded kumihimo necklace! An example of an already completed beaded kumihimo necklace is in The Crimson Diamond Gazette #6. That one is an 8-stranded necklace; naturally, the EGA version will be 16 strands! I hope to get started on this soon. I also have plans of doing some bead loom work, maybe bead up some character portraits or sprites!

That's all for this month, thanks for reading!

-- JM

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mining report

ONTARIO MINERALOGY TRIVIA SECTION

DID YOU KNOW: Ontario is responsible for one-third of Canada's mined metal production! Northeast of Thunder Bay, The Ring of Fire represents one of the world's largest chromite deposits and is a recent discovery. The development of the chromite mining industry in Northern Ontario could encourage the establishment of more extensive transportation networks in that area, potentially opening up more resource-based industry. I hope this is done with care and with the input of the First Nations communities that will be most affected. Ontario Nature published this 2017 report on "Mining in Ontario" and it's worth a look. It's provides a great overview!

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April 2019

Hello, dear readers! Happy April! I'm afraid I can't report too much development progress this past month -- Because I was busy researching and prepping for my thirty minute pitch as a finalist of the Ubisoft Toronto Indie Series, presented by National Bank!

I got to share my love of EGA and text parser interfaces with the panel. I gained valuable experience creating and presenting a pitch. I met some wonderful people. I ate delicious donuts with real dark chocolate on top. I didn't win any prizes, but it was still an amazing time! To read more about the event, click here. And of course, congrats to the winners: Gloam and Washbear Studio!

gazetteHere's The Crimson Diamond up on the big screen. It was a real thrill to see it up there!

listenI was standing near the back, but my friend Tim Miller of Rocket 5 Studios said that when this screen came up at the awards ceremony, of Nancy in the dining room, there was a wave of murmurs of recognition -- People knew the style! <3

 

cggpodcastI WAS ON THE CGG PODCAST AGAIN!

Ric S. Lee, Paul Korman and I discussed Sierra On-Line's overlooked classic The Colonel's Bequest, which is my favourite Sierra adventure game and a major inspiration for The Crimson Diamond. I also share some game development progress (this was before the Ubisoft Finalist pitch) since last I was on! For that first CGG podcast episode where I was guest, click here.

 

 

garnet necklaceCRAFT CORNER

I REALLY can't help myself! My first red beaded kumihimo necklace didn't look... garnet-y enough for me, so here is version 2.0! Check out issue 5 to see version 1.0. I'm working on version 3.0 as we speak. My habit is being fed by Fusion Beads. They have a vast array of seed beads in soooo many colours! I'm using size 11 Japanese seed beads and Amiet beading thread for these projects. Garnet-y necklace v3.0 will use Superlon Bead Cord #18, which is a bit thinner and MUCH cheaper than Amiet. We'll see how it goes. Both Amiet and Superlon are much easier to use than the embroidery floss, which was hard to string beads onto and resulted in sore fingers. Fusion Beads has $3 shipping to Canada, which is a major bonus!

That's all for this month, thanks for reading!

-- JM

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howlite

CANADIAN MINERALOGY TRIVIA SECTION

DID YOU KNOW: Nova Scotians can lay claim to a very cool mineral! Howlite was discovered in Windsor, Nova Scotia in 1868 by Henry How. He was a chemist, geologist, and mineralogist. I'm sure Nancy Maple would've looked up to him!

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March 2019

Hello, dear readers! Happy March! I'm well into developing the third section of The Crimson Diamond. The intrigue gets kicked up a notch, as Nancy Maple must investigate TWO crimes!

And now for some super exciting news... I'm a finalist in the Ubisoft Toronto Indie Series! I'm totally psyched. I get to stand in front of a panel and talk for thirty minutes about how much I love the EGA colour palette, how much I love text parser, and how with the support and mentorship of both Ubisoft Toronto and National Bank (and a $50,000 or $25,000 cash prize!) I could share my love of these things with even more people!

ubisoft

It's a love letter, it's a Dragon's Den pitch. And I'm going to give it the same level of care and attention to detail as I have given the game so far. I help moderate the Classic Gamers Guild, so I know how much people care about adventure games. I'd love to hear your thoughts, maybe I can share them with the panel! Send them to: julia@thecrimsondiamond.com.

listen

A NEW WAY TO LISTEN

In the previous issue of the gazette, I discussed allowing players to press and hold the arrow keys down to move Nancy around the screen. When I was watching people play the game at WordPlay 6 last year, I noticed this is what most people were attempting, but my game was lacking. Unfortunately, when I made this type of movement an option, the messages prompting players to stop and listen at doorways would clear too quickly for the player to read them! So I changed how those "listening prompt" messages were displayed, so they wouldn't be missed. This new version of eavesdropping is in the latest playable version of the demo, download and see for yourself!

3D Nancy

CRAFT CORNER

I can't help myself! More kumihimo braiding, as well as beaded kumihimo. The top bracelet is 8 strands, with one strand being a metallic red. And it's done in The Crimson Diamond logo colours! The beaded necklace is also 8 strands and uses size 11 seed beads, three different colours of red (silver-lined light red and dark red, and transparent red). Both use black embroidery floss, which is kind of a pain in the neck to use because it's pretty thick and some of the bead holes are too small! I think the necklace looks... A little pixellated? I'm thinking of buying a bead loom so I can actually make a beaded Nancy Maple. Hobbies and work collide!

EGA PORTRAIT COMMISSIONS

portraits

I'm still open for EGA art commissions! This is a self-portrait of me, with a plain background. The working size is 100pixels square. I upsize the final art so it's still crisp and clear, but still retains the beloved chunkiness of pixel art. This format is perfect for profile photos and social media avatars! This format is $100 USD. Click here for more details!

I also offer payment in installments, I'm sure we can work out an arrangement to create the EGA art of your dreams. Email julia@thecrimsondiamond.com.

That's all for this month, thanks for reading!

-- JM

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ONTARIO MINERALOGY TRIVIA SECTION

DID YOU KNOW: Both garnets AND diamonds have been found in Ontario! My game is somewhat geologically accurate! Wonder what other marvelous minerals can be found in Canada? Alpine Gems has a great listing of gemstone occurrences, broken down by province.

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CLASSIC GAMER? JOIN CLASSIC GAMERS!

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February 2019

Hello, dear readers! Happy February! The second section of the game is complete and is currently being beta tested! In this section, players can finally explore the grounds surrounding Crimson Lodge.

The downloadable demo available on the site remains mostly the same, but a little different...

PressnHold

A NEW WAY TO MOVE

Which brings me to what IS different in version 6 of the demo! There is a new movement option for those who prefer the arrow keys: Press n' hold! Press and hold an arrow key to move in your desired direction, release the key to stop. "Tap n' move" is still an option that can be toggled in the main menu, but a lot of players found that method a bit hard to use. Tap n' move is the traditional adventure game style of movement; tap the arrow key once to start the character moving on the screen, tap the same arrow key again to stop movement. I grew up with the "tap" style of movement so it didn't occur to me that it would be strange for new players -- This is why watching people play the game is so important! I added mouse-click to walk for the same reason. I like to give players options, so they can move as they please!

3D Nancy

NANCY IN THE THIRD DIMENSION

Inspired by CJ Dugan's incredible Pixel Quest figures (which may bring on nostalgic vibes for certain beloved classic adventure games), I've created 3D printed and coloured Nancy Maple figures! I designed them in MagicaVoxel, which is a free program that is perfect for making pixelly creations in 3D! Nancy's got a giant kumihimo sash in this photo. I made a bracelet with her colour palette -- Now I want to do one for each character, of course! The 3D printed Nancy Maple isn't for sale yet, but if/when that happens I will be sure to let everyone know!

EGA PORTRAIT COMMISSIONS

portrat

I'm still open for EGA art commissions! This is a self-portrait of me, with a plain background. The working size is 100pixels square. I upsize the final art so it's still crisp and clear, but still retains the beloved chunkiness of pixel art. This format is perfect for profile photos and social media avatars! This format is $100 USD. Click here for more details!

I also offer payment in installments, I'm sure we can work out an arrangement to create the EGA art of your dreams. Email julia@thecrimsondiamond.com.

That's all for this month, thanks for reading!

-- JM

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ONTARIO MINERALOGY TRIVIA SECTION

miller museuj

DID YOU KNOW: Ontario universities sometimes have mineralogy museums that are free to visit! I've been to a lovely one (Miller Museum of Geology, photo above ) at Queen's University and the University of Waterloo has one that's also free! It goes without saying that the Royal Ontario Museum has a spectacular mineralogy exhibit too, but that one has a fee. Worth it!

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January 2019

Hello, dear readers! Happy New Year! I hope everyone's had a lovely holiday and is ready to make 2019 a great year. I've been working steadily on The Crimson Diamond and the second section is nearly complete! The demo will remain the same, though; I don't want to spoil too much for players ;).

Speaking of which, Version 5 of the demo should be uploaded to the site by the time you read this. No new content has been added, just bug fixes. Tell me if you've played it! I'd love to hear what you think!

Top story this issue is a big one! Awesome Youtuber LateBlt played the TCD demo. He seemed to really like it! He played it for a FULL HOUR and I couldn't be happier. Here's a link to the video. It's doesn't spoil much, so feel free to watch and enjoy!

I've been a fan of LateBlt's for years, so to hear him read out my dialogue was a real rush. I'm blown away.

Next up, another fun bit of news: I've begun accepting artwork commissions! I will EGA-ify a photo of your choice, so you can have that classic nostalgic look. Here are some examples:

portrait

This is a self-portrait of me, with a plain background. The working size is 100pixels square. I upsize the final art so it's still crisp and clear, but still retains the beloved chunkiness of pixel art. This format is perfect for profile photos and social media avatars! This format is $100 USD.

portrait2

This is another portrait I did, but with a background. Same working size, 100 pixels square. This format is $125 USD, because of the added background.

gazetteJan

And finally, this one is a good deal more elaborate. The working size was 200 pixels square, because of the level of detail required for two faces that are much smaller than the previous two examples, as well as the more elaborate background. This would start at $200 USD, I'm happy to offer estimates of any image you might have in mind!

I also offer payment in installments, I'm sure we can work out an arrangement to create the EGA art of your dreams. Email julia@thecrimsondiamond.com.

That's all for this month, thanks for reading!

-- JM

Ontario Mineralogy Trivia Section

DID YOU KNOW: Bancroft, Ontario has a Gemboree that's in its 56th year! My parents took me and my sister when we were kids, and I'm kinda hoping to go this year. It runs from August 1-4. There are vendors, mineral collecting tours, and more!

gazetteJan2

I got a kumihimo kit this past holiday season, and I'm going to try to make a bracelet with all sixteen of my favourite colours. Kumihimo is a Japanese form of braid-making. I think I've acquired yet another enjoyable hobby! I also finally painted a face on my Nancy Maple minifig. I couldn't resist furnishing her with some appropriate accessories.

Oh! One more thing! I help moderate a thriving classic gaming community called the Classic Gamers Guild on Facebook. We host plenty of events during the week, as well as contests and a bunch of other great stuff. We even have a podcast and I was the first guest!

Oops, yet another thing! This Valentine's Day the CGG is hosting a live stream of LEGENDARY game developers Lori and Corey Cole playing their very own Quest for Glory 2: Trial by Fire! QFG2 is an EGA text parser adventure game and a major influence for TCD. Subscribe to their YouTube channel if you want to watch it live or after the fact! There will be contests, trivia, prizes, and more! One of the prizes will be an EGA portrait commission, by me!

Okay for real this time, I'm done. Thanks for reading! - JM

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December 2018

happy holidays

Hello, dear readers! Happy holidays! Apologies for having this issue follow so closely on the heels of issue #1, but like many folks I'm looking forward to zoning out for the last two weeks of the year!

I've made a printable version of this "Season's Greetings" image that's all ready to be folded up into cards to give away to family and friends. Click here for details! The blue cup on the tray is a tribute to Adventure Game Studio, which has a blue cup mascot :).

Our top story is some compatiblity news! A friend of mine has done a bit of research and has run The Crimson Diamond on macOS using WINE, which is a compatibility layer that can run PC stuff on macOS, Linux, and more! Android phones also get a little love, as there is an Adventure Game Studio app that can run TCD, too! Copy and paste the following link to grab the app: www.adventuregamestudio.co.uk/releases/finals/AGS-3.4.0-P2/Android.3.4.0.14.APK.zip

android phone

Sorry the photo is so long! I wanted to show the whole phone. I'm glad I implemented click-to-walk because now Android users can tap around the screen to move Nancy around.

Here's how to get TCD working on Android phones: Make a folder in 0 called "ags", then put the game folder called "Compiled" into it! Let me know if this works for you!

sample

I'm working my way though the next little section of TCD. Nancy (that means YOU!) gets to do some field work! Look forward to some rock facts, if you are the type of person who would look forward to rock facts.

That's all for this month, thanks for reading!

-- JM

Ontario Mineralogy Trivia Section

DID YOU KNOW: Ontario has a working diamond mine! Canada has become famous in recent years as a source for "conflict-free" diamonds. Victor Diamond Mine just so happens to be located roughly in the same area where The Crimson Diamond is set -- The James Bay lowlands, north of Sudbury.

amethyst photo

The above photo shows the holiday card printed! I got mine done at Staples!

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November 2018

Hello, dear readers! Welcome to the inaugural issue of The Crimson Diamond Gazette. Here you'll find news and fun info about The Crimson Diamond (TCD) and some of my interests that led to me developing this game.

This newsletter will be monthly or less, depending on if there is anything worth reporting.

The main story this month is the newest build of The Crimson Diamond Demo (v4). It's up on the site now!

I've added a "click-to-walk" option for players who aren't used to the classic "Sierra-style" method of movement; this involved navigating using the arrow keys and having players continue moving in one direction after one key press, until they bumped into an obstacle or pressed the arrow key again. I watched some players test TCD at WordPlay 6 in Toronto this November, and this style of movement was giving them trouble. So now players can choose click-to-walk or movement using the arrow keys in the main menu.

I've also added a Tutorial Room, to teach players how to use the text parser interface. This feature is available at the title screen.

tutorial room image

The Tutorial Room walks players through the more common parser commands that are used in TCD and familiarizes them with features such as the inventory and notebook. Many players aren't used to this type of game, so I want to help them enjoy this genre!

That's all for this month, thanks for reading!

-- JM

Ontario Mineralogy Trivia Section

DID YOU KNOW: Amethyst is Ontario's official gemstone! The northern Ontario region of Thunder Bay is home to Canada's most productive amethyst mines, and they're open to the public from mid-May to Mid-October! Read more about it here.

amethyst photo