During last year’s 24 Hour Comic Day challenge, I created a silly comic book about yo-yos called “Believe it or Knot”. I’ve been yearning to make a book like this for years and I think it turned out awesome. You can download it for just $3 here, or you can get it for free when you support me on Patreon.
The book was created almost entirely on my iPad using Procreate and an Apple Pencil. The only non-ipad stuff was the fonts I added in photoshop. I sure wish Procreate supported fonts.
I was at a holiday party a few weeks back and made a joke about making tiramisu with animal crackers and calling it “tiramizoo”. I’ve been thinking about it ever since, so I had to make it!
I’ve never made custard before, so I was lucky that Christine was around to make sure I wasn’t messing it up, but everything else was pretty straightforward. I essentially followed a pretty basic tiramisu recipe (find it here), but used animal crackers and homemade coffee whiskey (recipe here). The end result was fantastic and the animal crackers could really work as a basic substitute if you don’t have lady fingers lying around.
Have you ever wondered what items would be on the menu in a cosmic-horror-themed diner? Me too! Well not at first, but I had a fun Twitter handle (@eatroastbeef) that I wanted to do something neat with, so I thought it would be fun combine a bunch of unspeakable descriptions from Lovecraft novels along with tasty menu descriptions from various local restaurants and fast food chains. Ideally, the bot would then send tweets with a name, short description, price, and calorie count. Like this:
Christine had written her own Markov Chain script for a similar project earlier this year, so we thought that would be perfect for this project. While Christine worked on the code, I collected as many descriptions as possible to feed to the bot. This was the most tedious part for me as I had to scour the web hunting down good sources, then usually needing to click copy and paste multiple times on each item on their menu and add them to our list. Many sites didn’t even have this info on one page, so I had to load a new page for every single item. This was hours of work, but it was so much fun to see the bots descriptions improve and change with each new menu we feed it. For the Lovecraft text, I started off by just feeding in all of his novels, but that often yielded some boring tweets. I was lucky to find Yog-Blogsoth, which collected every single Lovecraft creature (no matter how obscure) and listed it along with the specific block of text that describes it. This meant all of our Lovecraft text was just the gruesome descriptions, with none of that plot stuff to get in the way. It was still a ton of copying/pasting/checking for duplicates, but it saved a ton of time.
We had some decent names to choose from, but ended up calling our “diner” Roast Beef Dunwich. I banged out a mascot and logo and the end result is online now. We don’t curate the feed, so there’s bound to be some gibberish, but so far we’ve seen some great tweets. Be sure to give @eatroastbeef a follow for a small dose of absurd tweets throughout the day.
Fun fact, we have yet to see a single Shoggoth or Cthulhu callout since our bot went live. I think I’ll freak out when it happens.
My latest gaming obsession is a roguelight real time strategy game called “Bad North” (Steam link here). The game’s low-poly aesthetic combined with brutal battles is what pulled me in, but I’m really love the minimalistic gameplay which works surprisingly great as a console experience.
The game’s basic strategy comes down to a rock/paper/scissors dynamic: Pikemen beat knights. Knights beat archers. Archers beat pikemen.
Loading screen tips:
It’s that simplistic concept that makes the game easy to get into, but there’s a lot more going on beneath the surface. What islands are worth attacking, when to level up, what units to assign items to, when to restore a unit, etc. A lot of the games nuances take a little work to figure out, but many of the basic tips are randomly displayed during loading times. Unfortunately these only appear for a few seconds, so I wanted to compile the list of them here for anyone to find. If I missed any, please let me know in the comments.
Replenish squads in houses to bring them back to full strength
You can flee an island on an empty ship if the battle seems lost
Ships can stun your troops if they are too close to the beach
Archers are vulnerable in melee
Your Pikes can’t fight while moving
Troops with shields can block arrows
Your Militia are basic troops that can be upgraded
The large viking brutes pack a punch – be careful where you face them
Pay attention: all units have their strengths and weaknesses
Adapt your strategy to the shape of each island
If your commanders fall in battle, they will be lost forever
Shields can only block one threat at a time
Stunned enemies are vulnerable
I tried running a grep to find these loading screen tips in the game’s directory, just like I did in this Fallout Shelter post, but I couldn’t find them. Luckily one of the developers shared a list on a Steam forum, but I still feel some are missing.
A few other basics:
Archers always target the closest units or buildings to them, so so let it be your knights. As far as I can tell, their shields will block all (or most) of the damage.
Some units, like the Berserkers with the red and white shields, will go straight for the nearest unit instead of a building. This means it’s easy to lure them up a ramp where you pikes are ready to demolish them.
Game state is saved between islands. I’m not saying it’s okay to force quit when a battle goes horribly wrong… I’m just saying.
Falling into the water is instant death. So you can position your pikesmen to push units into water or use items like bombs or hammers to fling opponents to their watery deaths. Be careful though, bombs can damage your own troops too.
Focus on one upgrade at a time, there’s no reason to spread your gold out too thinly. I always start by turning my militiamen into the three basic units, starting with my archers then knights, then pikesmen. After that, I do the basic upgrade on each unit in that order, then the full upgrade, before I start messing with upgrading items or other units. If I gain a fourth army of militiamen, I will convert them to a second archery unit asap, then keep them in the rotation of upgrades I mentioned before.
Once you’ve clicked on an island, you can leave it before a battle begins without losing troops. This means if you open it up and don’t think it’s defendable, or the risk isn’t worth the gold (because there aren’t enough buildings), you can select another island instead.
Don’t rush to the end. Try to maximize the gold you can gain on each island before they disappear. Sometimes it might be better to go for an island with more gold than it would be to go for an island with a new army or item to unlock.
Use the highground. Pikes work great at entrances to high ground, and archers seem most effective from higher positions too. Pikes also work great for narrow passages, but knights only seem to fight one at time in these narrow areas, so it seems best to keep them on flat ground when attacking.