Monday, August 31, 2009

Comic on NintendoDS?


I bought a new comic book recently, GA Geijutsuka Art Design Class by Satoko Kiyuduki. It's a funny story in the same spirit of Azumanga Daioh and Lucky Star. However, I'm not going to talk about the story.

You see, the thing that interests me is the size of the panel. Apparently, it is the perfect size for Nintendo DS screen. I took a picture of it using NDSi camera, and the ratio matched up perfectly! Yes, you too can draw comics using Nintendo DSi. I wonder if a comic drawing program is going to come soon.

We already have Colors! And it would be really neat if it comes to DSi via DSiWare shop. I, for one, would be happy to shell out $8 for it!

Oh, and the story of the comic is pretty good, too.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Pinacola Pain


This Minis March Again Custom Level Design was really easy to design and build, but extremely difficult to complete. As you can see, it is very simple. The original name of the level was "Simple", but I changed it to "Pain" because that was the overriding word that goes through my mind when playtesting it.

The actual build itself was only about 2 minutes. No big deal. However, when I playtest it, I kept falling over. As you can see, you have to be perfect. The level is not complicated, but you absolutely cannot make a mistake! It is definitely a twitcher game.

In the end, I did make the simple level easier to do by adding 3 more blocks on each side. However, when I finished it, I didn't feel proud. I knew there was a higher challenge ahead. I also knew that my skill set was insufficient.

So, I decided to grow my skill. It took a long time, because I'm careful in how I train. I don't want to train for hours and inadvertently trained tired, sloppy techniques. So I trained until I feel like I start to get sloppy, then I stop.

It works. By the time I actually completed the level, it felt like walking in the park. It didn't feel difficult at all.

So, the next time you see something that you feel is difficult, don't be afraid. Ask yourself this: Is this endeavor worthwhile? If so, then learn how to do it, and practice! You WILL be able to do it eventually, and effortlessly, at that.

Growing Pains are pains, but you also grow to be a better person because of it.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Nintendo DSiWare FlipNote Studio Review


I updated my Nintendo DSi system today, and found out that Flipnote Studio has been released and it's free!

If you remember Disney Animation Studio for Amiga a while back, then you know what this is: a program for making animation. There are several differences, notably, you can use Nintendo Touch Screen as drawing surface, which makes it very easy to use. Unfortunately, there's no zoom function, and lots of limits, including limited colors(black, blue, red. That's it!)

The program comes with built-in calendar, which is nice. You can use it as lightweight notepad. And if it's the date, a message on the bottom will tell you that there is "New Flipnotes found!" which is very nice for organizing activities.

You can change the settings, although why it asks for your birthdate, I don't know. It is possible that there is an EasterEgg associated with it. I pretty much turn on the Advanced Tools immediately, which is still simple and easy to use.

The help menu is on par with other DSi titles, and very helpful in explaining what the program does and what the various buttons are. I found out a few things by reading it. The functionalities are well though out, but the user interface is unique, and you should read the help file for thorough understanding of it.

A very interesting button is Flipnote Hatena. This is Ugomemo Hatena website for Ugokumemo Hatena-chou, which is the Japanese version of Flipnote Studio. Unfortunately, I couldn't view any of the animation? There maybe a different settings involved there. I know the animation is exported as GIF format, so sound is non-existent.

You can use SD card to store your Flipnotes. Furthermore, you can string them together to make one long Flipnote!

If drawing is not your strong suit, you can use the camera to import pictures. I find that black and white Graffiti sketches work best. Other pictures with high contrast also works well, but you have to remember that your Flipnote is strictly black and white (well, with blue and red) so black and white images are best.

And if drawing is your strong suit, you'll be happy that there is a draft mode available so you can draw guidelines without affecting your animation. Mind you, this is in addition to dual layer drawing pad.

It's a good thing editing mode is included. Otherwise, copying and pasting images would be extremely cumbersome, indeed. Realize, however, that it is strictly a simple cut and paste operation. Nothing fancy here. You can also set the frame rate from 2 frames per second to 8 frames per second. For your reference: Saturday morning cartoons run at 4 fps. Disney movies run at 12 fps.

You can also add sounds although music lasts only 10 seconds and sound effects only last 2 seconds. No long oratory here. Too bad. I was hoping I can use it as slide show movies.

Overall, I found it to be a useful addition to my Nintendo DSi library. It really shapes up as productivity tools. I hope ebook reader and movie player isn't far behind. BASIC programming language would be good, too.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Pinacola Pyramid


There are several ways to play:

Easy: Use 1 Mario to collect all the coins before setting the others into motion.

Speed: Start the other Marios as soon as the gate is opened. Luck is a factor in my 11630 high score.

DropOnly: Once you put down a pink box, you can't pick it up.

NoTouch: Put all the pink boxes in the beginning, and never touch them again during play. Extremely difficult with lots of luck involved, but it's possible to finish with a gold star.

1Box: Play the level using only 1 Pink Box.

My normal way to play is to set the key Mario to get the card, and as I waited for it to return, I set the other Marios into motion. Wait until they're united, then let them exit. Easy! If you're into speed, though, not so easy. I haven't been able to repeat my highscore. :(

Caligari trueSpace 3D


Caligari trueSpace 3D is now free! Support is non existent since the product has been discontinued, but lots of tutorials on site. Get it now before it's gone!


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Nintendo Minis March Again Upload Issues


Remember when I blogged that my Farsite and Fly levels were denied upload? Well, I made little changes since then, an extra box, moving some boxes. Things that shouldn't change the outcome, had the submission process been good. Those two levels got accepted no problem. Well, huh?

I really don't see why that is. Also, the fact that half a day separates the submissions shouldn't mean that both acceptance should be delayed past weekend. I think that there's some kind of resistance on their part since a lot of the levels are amateurish looking. I notice that my normal looking levels such as Pyramid and Cell has no such problem. It feels like that they're purposely waiting until there's flood of new levels to overwhelm my designs. Since there's no way for users to search by name or go too far in searching new levels, my designs are effectively lost as in needle in haystack. I noticed that "best" levels hasn't changed. I'm thinking that maybe it is self-fulfilling prophecy in action due to the difficulty in finding good levels. Way too many amateurish levels out there. We need a better way to highlight superior designs than limited random selections.

That's too bad. Nintendo DSi has yet to achieve mass market, so local share isn't too feasible. Minis March Again is even less than that and a collection of poor designs means internet level sharing designs a novelty rather than a draw. It has been weeks since I download a new level.

From various pieces on the Web, I gather that my position isn't unique. That there are other people being frustrated with the system as well. I hope there would be a 3rd party repository system available without limits, although considering how tightly Nintendo guards its property, that's not likely. Oh, well.