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DECEMBER 23, 2004:
"The rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated." -- Mark Twain

It seems there's been a rumor going around that we were cancelled. Of course, since Octopus Motor consists of just me & Lars, I'm not sure who would cancel TCFH without our knowing it. I know I didn't cancel it. Just to be sure, I asked Lars if he recently cancelled the game. Nope, he didn't. So I can only imagine that this cruel rumor hails from the same person who, back in high school, told Jim I liked him. Which was totally bogus. Okay, okay, I did think he was cute, but he would never in a million years have gone out with me. I am so embarrassed. Thanks, rumormonger. Thanks alot. Once again, TCFH is not cancelled. To make things simple, I will update all future posts with TCFH's Abe Factor:

Not dead, everyone just thinks he is.
Dead as a doornail.

Our Abe Factor is currently VIGODA. We will keep you informed of any changes in status.

The other day we had this discussion as Lars coded away and I made a ham n' cheese sandwich in the kitchen:

L: "How many men are in a duck?"
S: "What?"
L: "Crew. In a duck."
S: "Probably two. One to drive, and a gunner?"
L: "Yeah. Like a tank, but they don't need a loader."

And that, my friends, is how weird things are getting around here. BTW, here's what we were talking about -- Weird Weapon RD-113:

rubber ducky you're so fine
Ducks are cute but dangerous.

Lars has also finished most of the water effects: that is, the monsters can now swim and splash around, and you can throw stuff into the water. As you see below, now we can't get the robot to come out of the water, even though his skin's probably shriveled up like an old Juicyfruit wrapper. Here's a new Tech F/X about that, and a few new screenshots. Gameplay video will have to wait until after the holidays, we're swamped.

(Click for animated gif)

SEPTEMBER 30, 2004:
"We aim to try. That's our motto." -- Deputy Clementine Johnson, Reno 911!

We've been prettyin' up all the monsters...for example, Newtrino no longer looks like a waddling baby duck. The UFO is more detailed (check out the claw), the Ant's got a new texture, the Giant Spider's fuzzy now, and The Gob doesn't look like a scoop of pistachio ice cream anymore:

newnewt UFO Ant
Spider, man Gob

We've got a new Tech F/X about terrain scarring, and I also added some more wallpapers and icons under Extras. Coming with our next update -- all new gameplay video, without the crappy music this time.

I Want To Believe This Game Will Come Out
The truth is out there
...and you can see the string.

AUGUST 12, 2004:
"I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by." -- Douglas Adams

Sorry to leave you all hanging so long between updates. Unfortunately for Gregory Micek of DIY Games, we do not yet have a fixed release date. Now he will probably go and post something about us that will make me cry.

Oh, not really. I only cry when Spock gets killed in Wrath Of Khan. Okay, that is a lie too. Actually I laughed when the bagpipes started playing "Amazing Grace" and everyone in the theater got mad and shushed me. I am a cold unfeeling robot.

So where have you been?
Uh, we were at the library studying, and then we went to the submarine races. Okay, really...we've been doing some contract work because, you know, cats gotta have new shoes. Lars wasn't feeling well, had an MRI and found he does not have a From-Beyond-type Cthulhu infestation in his brain, but something infinitely more treatable. I was kind of holding out for the Cthulhu thing, because, hey, Cthulhu. But he's getting back up to speed, and by "getting back up to speed" I mean "working while constantly fussing and griping about his boring medical problems".

But we do have some new screenshots, including a first look at New York. I've updated the Enemy page with some new units, and we introduce the fabulous freak-fighting force that is B.A.M.R.O., the Army's special Brigade of Advanced Monster Response Operations. Or as everyone really calls 'em, Big-Ass Monster Response Operations. You'll find out a lot more about them soon.

B.A.M.R.O. unit insignia

So what have you people been doing all this freakin' time?

  • Custom poster/title loader screen stuff (more about this soon)
  • We set up a better recording studio in our spare office, so we can get more sound stuff done.
  • Monster throwing & grabbing stuff works better now.
  • Bridges and overpasses (with cars driving on them) in the cities now (that was a huge hassle).
  • Added B.A.M.R.O. units, SWAT units, police and firetrucks.
  • Implemented water depth transparency layers, so monsters can walk into the water (instead of on it).
  • Implemented pathfinding algorithms.
  • Fixing bugs! Bugs! Bugs!
  • We've also been refining some of the monster models...some of our early monsters were pretty clunky. There's the new Wandering Eyeball -- click on his pic at right to see him kick the bucket. Poor thing.
Eyeball Death Anim
The eye's had it.
New RobotThe Tin Behemoth got tricked out with some more frontal bling (technical term). His joints are now more detailed, and the tubes on his head glow and animate now (they even explode when he dies). All he needs now is a "Type R" sticker. Next up, Newtrino gets a facelift. And a tail-lift. You'll also be seeing more of the Giant Plant.

And we'll be updating a lot more often.

That over there on the right is a tasty in-game-sized gif of a B.A.M.R.O. mech, because apparently the News page isn't at its best without some animated woobiecoo jumpin' around like a furious spider monkey.

MAY 10, 2004:

"He's good enough for one thing, I should judge -- he can outjump any frog in Calaveras county."
         -- Mark Twain, The Celebrated Jumping Frog Of Calaveras County

froggy went a courtin'...

Deadly Rocket-Assisted Robot Frog,
Actual Size
robots n' frogs
Froggy went attackin' a giant robot and he did ride, uh-huh...

Yes, we've finally implemented Weird Weapons, which include ROBOT FROGS, superheroes, and fire-breathing llamas. ROBOT FROGS appear in units just like tanks do. They hop (naturally), belch fiery plasma balls and are a menace to any giant monster. ROBOT FROGS, people. What more could you ask for? Besides the game actually being finished, that is.

That's all for the amphibian news. Here's the -- well, we originally called it the Monster Garage a few years ago, but then that TV show came along and, well -- I don't need Jesse James coming over to kick my ass, so lets just call it the Monster Customization Screen. The background of this screen is a shot of Istvan MacGuffin's Special Effects and Auto Body Shop in Los Angeles, where many of effects for Harold Haxton's movies were created. Besides his work in the film industry, Istvan often repaired Haxton's Studebaker, as Harold was as bad a driver as he was a director. MacGuffin's Special FX and Auto Body
Click for bigger
And finally, here's a shot of the Monster Customization screen with the monster customization stuff on it. After picking a monster body type, you can customize its abilities, weapons, and defenses. At top left is a headshot of the monster, its name, buttons to change the monster's color and use the autonamer (let the computer name your monster). Below that are the monster's core attributes, like strength, speed, health and energy. Under that is the energy generation block, which defines what your monster eats, absorbs, etc. in order to create and recharge its energy pool (which is used for moving, attacking, weapons).

In the top center column are abilities, such as force field, regeneration and invisibility. Clicking on these will open a pop-up box where you can customize the ability. Below is the monster's mental/control block, where you set how easily your monster loses and regains control when its angry, hungry, damaged or scared.

At the top right are two weapon slots. Clicking on these opens a pop-up to select and customize the weapons. Below that are defenses, which are broken down into various fundamental attack types. Each monster has a multiplier (from immune to 10x damage) and a base resistance for each damage type. Base resistance is the minimal amount of damage that must occur in a single hit to cause any damage.

Now we're off to E3! More updates when we get back.

MARCH 7, 2004:
" The The City".
         -- The Tick

I'm working on New York City. Lars is speeding up pathfinding and working on the loader- that's the code that lets you set up the game options, choose your city and monster, and customize your monster. And here's my very own TECH F/X, explaining the tedious process of TCFH city creation that is the bane of my very existence. Besides Meg Ryan, that is.

JANUARY 27, 2004:
" People, People who need people, Are the luckiest people in the world..."
         -- Barbara Streisand

As promised, we have a few new screenshots showing some of what we call the "victim variants". Yes, besides your everyday soldiers, SWAT teams, scientists, and folks on the street, we've got prisoners, cops, businessmen clutching their tiny briefcases, and little naked desert revelers. Monsters are leaving footprints now, too -- here's Newtrino swimming and making friends with some scientists.

Wait 1/2 hour after you eat. Weird. Science.

We were tweaking the effects of bomb forces and, well, this small bomb dropped on the Incendiary Guy Festival packed an unexpectedly hefty punch. Also note how the green Porta-Potties stay fixed to the ground, despite the blast. Who woulda thunk it? Gotta fix that. (Hit "reload" to relive the oh-so-magical-animated-gif experience again)

No, you da bomb.
In the event of an A-10 attack, seek the nearest Porta-Potty.

This month's Computer Gaming World mentions us in their Digital Underground (p.47). Guess they didn't notice this screenshot featuring their offices being menaced by a giant pea (the blue-green glass building on the left)...

Click for bigger

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They Came From Hollywood is a registered trademark of Octopus Motor
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