Cryptozookeeper: For Sale
Aug 20th, 2011 by Ice Cream Jonsey

Please buy my wares.

I know that many people who get the Planet IF feed are probably already aware that I am selling the two-disc Cryptozookeeper pack on my webpage. You can buy it by clicking here, then clicking the “Buy Now” button and letting the magic happen from there. (If you want it, but find Paypal to be an invention of the devil, just send me an e-mail and we’ll get you set up for a check. My experiences with Paypal have been pleasant and professional. Not an invention of the devil at all.) So I am just going to make this announcement and then stop cramming my greasy, palm-open nattering into the Planet IF feed.

What can I tell you about the packs? Well, I shot a promotional picture of them with an okapi. The okapi was the symbol of the now-defunct International Society of Cryptozoology. I suspect it was picked because it’s an enormous, “Ha ha!” to the doubters, to the haters. People thought the descriptions of the okapi was BS, but then the proper people found it.

(A lot of people have expressed interest in the plush okapi. Someone is going to make a lot of money if they can figure out a way to get a stuffed okapi to bleat Zork at you. “A large platinum baaaaahr baaaaaahr” — wait, that’s a goat.)

With that in mind, Clint Hoagland is the mastermind behind the electronica band Bachelor Machines. I met him through the web forum Caltrops. Clint posts music tracks every few months that just blow me away. Caltrops is pretty tame these days, but it used to be a place where we would routinely say awful things to each other. Clint would then post songs that — to me — became the beautiful soundtrack to a nasty virtual world.

(Bachelor Machines released an album called A House Is A Machine For Living, and you can buy it in digital or physical form here.)

I spent a lot of time listening to hundreds of hours of Creative Commons-licensed music in order to get a soundtrack I was happy with for the game. Due to the logistics involved, the CD is just the work of Clint, with a remix of a Bachelor Machines song from DJ Beatloaf.

The main character of the game, William Vest, was played by actor Gerrit Hamilton. There’s no way to know what Gerrit sounds like just by playing the game, but I can link you to some shorts he’s been involved with that are on Youtube. All of them are funny, and none of them more than a few minutes in length. The first is The Pillow Case, which was made for the 48 Hour Film Project in 2007. He was also part of FREE BAT DAY with many of the same cast and crew.

Jon Blask played Grimloft, and he is a text adventure author himself. Here is a page that acts as a portal to discovering and experiencing his work.

Back to the DVD release, the art is included in a separate .rar file as well. I ended up taking two trips into New Mexico. The second time, I realized I had no photographs of adobes. With my +3 boots of trespassing, I got some shots of people’s homes in adobe form all right. Where I was previously using my friend’s haunted house for locales, I was able to go into a bit more depth thanks to being kidnapped by my girlfriend Melissa and taken to Taos without advance knowledge by my girlfriend. She is amazingly supportive.

(However, I don’t use the term “interactive fiction” or “IF” around her. I’d just been calling them text games. Fast-forward to earlier this week: Melissa and I had dinner with Paul O’Brian, Adam Cadre and Elizabeth Sweeney — Elizabeth is doing her dissertation on interactive fiction, a fact I did not know. When the subject came up, she said something to the effect of, “Well, this is one group that I don’t need to define IF for!” A term Mel has never heard, natch. I got Melissa on the same page as everyone, although after dinner she told me that before I cut in and explained it, the only thing she could think those initials could have stood for was in-vitro fertilization.

There is one more person I gotta thank. My good friend Steve (“Aardvark” on the JC forum) made the sea monkey coupon up top. I opened my mail yesterday, found the personal check he sent and was greeted by that thing. He took the time to scan in and Photoshop what I think we can all agree was the greatest comic book ad ever (sorry x-ray specs; it was a loaded century) into a really hilarious piece of mail. Vark plays a character you see halfway through the game and while I tried to make his fate funny, I’m gonna be honest here. It’s not going to be on the level of a surprise reworked sea monkeys ad.

I still think the pack is a lot of fun, and please feel free to purchase one from the site at any time.

Today In Shitty Sportswriting
Aug 10th, 2011 by Ice Cream Jonsey

From this awful piece of nonsense.

Several Jays had extreme splits in 2010. Bautista, for example, had a 1.118 OPS (on-base plus slugging) with 33 homers at home but an .879 OPS and 21 dingers on the road. First baseman Adam Lind had a .759 OPS with 15 homers in Toronto but a .660 OPS with eight bombs on the road. Second baseman Aaron Hill? His home-road OPS split was .730-.605.

Lookout, guys! Amy K. Nelson just discovered home/road splits and is ON THE CASE! Ha ha ha!

I took a look at Derek Jeter’s home/road splits in 2010. His OPS at home was .790. His OPS on the road was .633. Since this is a greater split than Lind or Hill, I can only conclude that in the few tenths of a second Jeter has to make a decision on whether or not to hit a ball, he is able to identify hand signals of a man sitting 260 feet away at New Yankee Stadium. Possessing the gritty heart of a champion, this is even more impressive when done in New York, because 90% of all Yankee fans are “clogging the signal” by giving each other the middle finger.

Astonishingly, Jacoby Ellsbury’s home/road splits in 2010 were .304/.556 in favor of playing on the road. Now, I should mention that Ellsbury only played 18 games last year, but making wildly retarded conclusions based on complete fucking nonsense that is obvious noise to anyone with a fourth-grader’s knowledge of baseball would seem to be “in bounds” for what Ms. Nelson came up with here.

I fucking love how a profession — baseball writer / sports reporter — that literally could not have cared less when steroids were making a mockery of the game is now suddenly sounding the alarm, throwing elbows and putting the gumdrop on the police cruiser because Black Dad looked at the miserable lineup he was left with last year and told everyone to swing for the fences. You don’t get a Sports Pulitzer for figuring out why Jose Bautista became the best player in baseball “suddenly,” assholes.

They’ve been playing baseball for over a hundred years. This clenched-lip determination to ensure that Jose Bautista doesn’t make a fool of everyone covering the sport is adorable. But it is almost inevitable that a guy who was unheralded was going to hit like Babe Ruth Lite suddenly. I’m willing to explain what happened, however, and it goes to the first rule of reporting: nobody covering an event or story is going to know what happened better than a fan of the team.

Jose Bautista could always crush left-handed pitching. He’s not really doing anything new there.

Jose Bautista entered a few organizations that have no idea what they were doing (Pittsburgh, Baltimore) and who had no idea what they were doing in 2004 (Kansas City, Tampa Bay).

Jose Bautista was acquired by a team (Toronto) that found itself finally admitting, after 18 years, to start a youth movement and see what they had in a few vets. A lot of people gave Cito Gaston shit for the way he managed when he came back to the Blue Jays, but the guy is one of the few managers in the history of the game to win back-to-back championships. If you ignore things like lineup construction and logic when giving guys “days off” he’s pretty good at what he does, and it was a travesty that he never ended up getting a managerial job with another team. Because of the laughable salary commitments the current state of the game afford a couple franchises in the American League East, Toronto was absolutely primed to unearth nuggets of talent passed over by other teams. Randy Ruiz, in a small sample size, had similar numbers to Bautista in 2009, but elected to play in Japan when he was getting jerked around by the Jays. The same people that saw that Bautista’s play was sustainable did not think Ruiz’s was, and that was proven to be correct.

No I’m just kidding, there’s a man wearing white who can freeze time and give all the Jays batters hand signals regarding what pitch is coming. This is why Aaron Hill went from belting 35 home runs in a season to belting 35 pop-ups in a week last year.

This Post Does Nothing But Get You An Icon File.
Aug 2nd, 2011 by Ice Cream Jonsey

Jon Blask, who was wonderful playing the part of Grimloft in Cryptozookeeper, very nicely provided me with an icon file for the game. You can download it here, (please right-click and download) and then use your favorite Internet Search Engine to figure out how to make it appear as an icon to Crypto instead of whatever the default icon is. I will now tell a story.

There are things that are recognized on the Internet as being cryptids of note, and there’s trash like the hand spider. I can say with complete confidence that I wasn’t aware of any particular example of them when I decided to put one in my game. I just… I knew there was gonna be human DNA, and I knew there was gonna be spider DNA. When you combine the two, you really get a licensed Marvel Comics character with more than 40 years of backstory, storylines and history, all of which they tossed in the shitter to make the execrable third film. I felt that putting such a character in my game might be a bit “off-limits” in the current entertainment climate. Thus a hand spider. I see now that there are a few other examples through Google Image Search of people riffing on the same idea.

I think the biggest fake creature involving spiders that people can just use without getting their ass in a sling of litigation is that of the camel spider. The camel spider is supposed to be inspired by a real thing, Solifugae, and the Solifugae has a website — You’ll note that the opening page says Welcome to our website. This is because spiders of all forms are sentient, evil little pits that should never be trusted. Even if their websites look like they are either from the late 1990s or a typical state-of-the-art FM radio station.

The thing is, you don’t need much source material to fake a spider story. They all look like they’ve just arrived fresh from galactic slaving schooners, so they don’t become any more terrifying if you introduce the “giant” spider or whatever. You can’t multiply great evil by great evil and get something useful, which is why Lewis Carroll was such a poor suspect for Jack the Ripper.

I have an update coming soon about a limited-edition hard copy pack. It’s not limited edition because I am trying to play games with people, it’s limited edition because I am afraid I’ll lose my ass, financially, and I want to minimize the damage. More on that by the end of the week.

OK, I guess this post did something else than get you an icon file, but the ico file is the real star here, and I think you will agree. Here’s the link to Cryptozookeeper, hosted on if you’d like the entire game.

»  Substance:WordPress   »  Style:Ahren Ahimsa