crimson diamond gazette  

 

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Game DEMO on Steam (Win PC & Mac)

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

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Find game bugs? feedback@thecrimsondiamond.com

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MEDIA

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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Wordplay showcase

Get Crimson Diamond merch on my Society6 store!

 

 

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Editor: Julia Minamata - julia@thecrimsondiamond.com

WWW.THECRIMSONDIAMOND.COM

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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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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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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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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bargif

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 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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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 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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cookingGIF

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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!

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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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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almonds

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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!

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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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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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! 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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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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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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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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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!

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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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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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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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