Friday, October 13, 2023

Bad Management → Nice Progress

(This blog post was ported from an official Magical Mary community article on VK.)

๐Ÿ’ฃThe Destruction Platform

Roblox... Let's just say that making a game there is like building a house on a shaky foundation; You might not want to actually do it, as what if the shaking increases in intensity one day and makes your nice-looking house fall apart?

That may seem like a weird comparison, but it's actually a decent one. Roblox, being a live, online "game as a service"(?) platform, sometimes makes amendments and changes to their terms and rules that developers must follow, lest their experiences get taken down.

Recently, Roblox made a controversial and morally wrong decision, altering the terms to retroactively grant themselves almost every right (including sublicensing) to all UGC assets (including things developers uploaded). This violated the licenses of any users that imported models bought from Sketchfab's store, and left only one right to the uploader, "ownership", which ironically doesn't seem to determine who has usage rights, but rather who to blame for any violations involving the property.

That change was bad enough, but it looks like Roblox wanted to see how far they could go before users really became angry at them. On September 19th, they were planning to change developer policies to require prompting users to purchase any unowned clothing/accessories that they were wearing, stop players from equipping anything that's out of stock or unavailable, and, worst of all, disallow the use of any Roblox items!

✨The Legacy

Do you understand how bad that last point is? For years, Roblox has let developers use any of their many bundles (sets of character body parts), clothes, and gear (held items that do actions when the player clicks or taps), which made it easy for them to add gameplay to their experiences and decorate their world and characters. Now, however, they're taking those rights away from the developers!

Xane doesn't find the "classic Roblox aesthetic" too appealing, for two reasons:

  1. Models like the ones used by gear look like something out of the mid-2000's, which is fitting, since Roblox was created in 2006! They're usually rather low-poly meshes with a low resolution texture wrapped around it, and don't represent the capabilities of Roblox's current engine (which can use PBR textures and up to 1024×1024 textures).
  2. Though the classic R6 characters (which use six body parts) like the well-known “Noob” and the original LEGO® brick aesthetic are part of Roblox's legacy and are charming in some ways, they tend to result in more basic, barren visuals.

๐Ÿ‘—(Don't) Be Yourself

Well, clearly that should mean that these changes wouldn't affect Xane, right? Well, unfortunately, they probably would. Roblox used pretty vague wording when describing the rule changes. The only place where they mention Roblox items is in the post's FAQ, which for some reason explains how to report experiences. (This is why users believe they will disallow using Roblox assets, in fact!)

If Roblox's assets might not be allowed in the future, or they're affected by the rest of the changes (including the annoying, shameless purchase prompt hounding), this could very well affect everything they've created, including their character bundles. If that's true, it could ruin any roleplaying game that includes a character editor, such as the one that's found in Royale High, a well-known experience.

In Royale High, your character can use any bundle, many of which you probably don't own… Uh-oh!

Just imagine you're playing Royale High on an account that doesn't own the “Boy” bundle, but you made an outfit that uses it. You enter Dress Up mode, check your list of outfits, then click the “wear” button on your alternative male character. Suddenly, a prompt appears somewhere, asking you to buy the bundle (even though it's free), just because you don't own it, and wouldn't use it on your regular Roblox avatar. Well, the rules still would require the developers to always show that prompt to get that stupid bundle!

๐Ÿง๐Ÿผ‍♀️Execute: Plan B!

While other experiences have too many active players to limit what bundles and clothes that the player can choose from (as it would ruin countless saved outfits in some experiences), Project Magical Mary is still in its pre-alpha development phase, so spontaneous changes can be made without compromising players' saved content. Xane wasn't about to let Roblox inevitably sabotage his “house”, so he started doing something that he wouldn't have considered had Roblox not shot themselves in the foot (as they've done many times in recent years)…

He started making his own character “bundle”.

Yep, this is his first attempt at modeling a full R15 (15-part character model) bundle! This is based on Roblox's official “Girl” bundle, with the “Woman” bundle's torso size. Xane's custom character model has segmented arms and legs like Roblox's official offerings, but they have been specifically shaped so that their elbows and knees look smooth, no matter how much they bend.

Also, the hands and feet have been given specifically distinct shapes from Roblox's equivalents, with the former having all five fingers and the latter's thinner shape allowing it to represent bare feet, since Project Magical Mary's shoes will probably be extra models attached to your feet, similar to Royale High, but placing them on top of them instead of completely replacing your feet.

The Future of Project Magical Mary

So, how will this affect Project Magical Mary going forward? Well, while the player will still be allowed to join the experience using their current Roblox avatar, they won't be able to use any of their accessories, classic clothes, and bundles for custom outfits (which is different than Royale High). Players will also be unable to wear any Magical Mary-specific clothes, which would only fit the custom body part set.

To help any other developers work around these changes, should Roblox go through with them despite the heavy backlash in the announcement topic, Xane will release this character on the DevForums as both a native Roblox Studio model file (.rbxm) and the source .blend file so developers could tweak body parts as necessary to fit their experiences, and import the meshes themselves, for when the asset privacy system is expanded to support meshes too; If all meshes are made private by default (like audio is, as of this blog post's creation), Xane's character would be blocked from all experiences, which Xane could become unaware of, especially if something fatal such as his brain ceasing to function occurs.

For those needing a tl;dr for this whole post:

  • Roblox is not a good place to develop games that you want to keep alive for years to come, mainly due to their out-of-the-blue, destructive rule changes.
  • Roblox's most recent awful update tried to add new restrictions for the items that developers can use in their experiences, including Roblox's own assets (due to the post's ambiguous wording).
  • Any experiences with character customization could be required to ask players to buy anything that they equip, if they don't own it.
  • Project Magical Mary is going to use its own R15 character model, which will support its own clothing models. The potential rule changes will limit most customization to said model, however.
  • Additionally, Xane will release this model on the DevForums in both native Studio (.rbxm) and Blender (.blend) formats, in case developers need to modify body part shapes or adapt to any “asset privacy” updates, which might make the original meshes private by default, messing up any experiences that made use of this model.

Sunday, December 11, 2022

My (Mental) Life and How It Is Falling Apart: a Rant and History

Let me start this by just saying that I really hate my mind… It's been a pain for many years now but it just gets worse and WORSE. (I really won't ever understand how someone's own mind is this self-destructive and unstoppable!)

Please read this, as it'll tell you the history of my frustrating mind and how it's nearly completely ruined my life mentally.


Back in “the Michael years”, my mind tried various methods to mess with me, whether it's trying to annoy or worry me. Though it tried many things (rendering scissors trying to cut my eyes, making me think that blinking and other automatic functions wouldn't happen, and even forcing me to see the weird, distorted faces of crying infants), it eventually settled on one method, somehow creating its own itches.

Again, somehow, it can rapidly “poke” at the same area of my skin, making it sensitive, then from there can somehow create a pulse that grabs my attention, for seemingly no good reason and for unknown gains. For proof these are not “the thousands of itches you naturally get a day”, they usually always appear wherever my mind forces me to focus on a split second before it happens. Also, they're suspiciously absent when initially waking up from any dream. If they were “natural”, wouldn't they be there immediately?

Anyways, let's get back to the history of this annoyance. After we made it out of those endless motels, we lived with other people for some time after that. With the daily worries of hotel life and possibly becoming homeless home, my mind reverted back to its annoying behavior.

I started fighting back at this point; I had enough of it endlessly poking at me instead of letting me be productive and concentrate like any other human being can. (Ah, the curse of having a “intelligent mind”…) The instant itch thoughts are basically impossible to prevent, being “out of reach” mentally, so while I initially kept quickly looking at something in whatever room I was in or trying to force my focus to shift, I later resorted to forcibly blocking my mind from thinking about ANYTHING by somehow pushing on my forehead mentally (but not physically), known as “fogging” my mind.


After moving into our camper for a couple months, I decided that enough was enough, and began aggressively trying to stop the itches using that method. I assumed that at worst, this would only cause a BIT of mental destruction, nothing major, so I began to fog the mind constantly, holding off the onslaught of itches.

Over time, I noticed the itches became a bit less of a frequent occurrence, and at times I could actually relax without that unnecessary constant poking. Sure, my mind was getting foggier, but the brief peace was more worth it to me.

On the other hand, things were also getting worse in my brain… I noticed my mind wouldn't automatically think of things anymore, instead only thinking about a lot of things if something that I heard or saw triggered an impulse that led to the next thought/bit of data in my head.

That alone is a massive downgrade, limiting my vocabulary and ideas to a minimum. This has also caused me to basically forget what memories remained in my mind of my younger better years and bits of knowledge, as now barely anything comes to mind automatically anymore!

Do you want to know the worst part about all of this? The itches are still surviving. Yep, that's right; Despite more important parts of my mind being so foggy that even a flood light wouldn't pierce it, it still knows how to make those annoying itches, the only reason why I did that risky crap in the first place. Also, even if I fog my mind and escape the itches for the night, they're back the next morning, but my increased fog remains! This world feels like it works in reverse from how it should in many ways, and let me say this is one of them; If I fog my mind to get rid of an annoyance, that problem should be the main thing that gets affected by it, not the only part that survives my counter-attack.

This and the next problem might not sound like much to you, but believe me, I feel these  mental problems are ruining my one life, and it's amazing that your own mind can destroy everything this easily.


For the longest time, I haven't been able to sleep like a normal human (though my ideas of an ideal human may be tainted by fictional media like games and cartoons that usually show people sleeping perfectly from night until morning). The first time that I would fall asleep, I'd sleep for like 3 hours or so, but any additional attempts to sleep would only give me an hour at a time.

That's already pretty messed up and inconvenient, but it's even worse when you realize that every single time that I wake up, I'm at the mercy of my stupidly annoying mind potentially creating itches to force me awake! (That happened this morning and I've been awake since 8:20AM because of it!)

Since the mental fogginess has gotten pretty thick, now it's even affecting my ability to sleep; Gone is the initial 3-hour sleep, as now seemingly every attempt at sleeping is merely an hour-long nap!

Additionally, even THAT is worse now, as very often, I can only stay asleep for less than an hour, like 30 minutes at a time! This leaves me vulnerable to those dumb itches even more often, and can lead to be being forced to stay awake earlier; Once I've slept enough times, my mind becomes aware of it and starts trying to wake me up. (I'm starting to wish I could take prescriptions that forcibly knock me out with no option to stay awake; That's how hard it is to return to sleep!)


I worried about a lot of things in my earliest Facebook posts but those were child's play when compared to this mind-threatening problem that's taking over me… At last back then I had more brain cells left, and could think of ideas reliably, even with the small amount of natural mental fog that I already had before the fight began.

I took it all for granted, and somehow didn't think it would get this bad. Let this be a warning to you, the person reading this; Don't think that you can escape your mental annoyances by trying to block all thoughts, through self-fogging or another method; It may screw you over for life like me, and once you make the mistake, you'll never get back the intelligence that this will take from you.

I think I deserve a second chance, and should have my former mental health come back to me, with my acknowledgement that I made a terrible mistake and shouldn't attempt that again; Sure, my mind won't let me work or concentrate like I should be allowed to, but at least then I would be able to think again instead of fearing that I'm getting amnesia at least and at worst that I'm gradually forgetting everything like an elder, and I'm only 27!

Sunday, November 21, 2021

Magical Mary - A Necessary Redesign

 Well, well, well… It looks like I've neglected this blog for almost a year now! Sorry, everyone that is checking this, hoping for new posts, but I just haven't felt like writing any blog posts due to…laziness, I guess. That and my mind's recent obsession with creating its own itches constantly, and my throat's inevitable destruction.

Although it's been months since it was done, I have an announcement: Mary has a new, 3D design! Let's take a look at her third design iteration!

Thursday, January 21, 2021

The Great Refactoring of 2021

Mary stands on a raised block in front of camera. Beyond her is a big, blue ground with a lowered green area to the left. Behind that, a big pool of water is seen.
How's Magical Mary going? Well, I think this picture says it all; There's not much anymore...
Oh, wow... I really suck at ensuring things are up to date, aren't I? I mean, just visit the official Magical Mary 1 YouTube channel and you'll see the severe lack of any update videos, which is mainly due to the higher standard of quality that is expected of YouTube videos compared to the quick, short, and easy videos uploaded to the Facebook and Instagram๐Ÿ†• pages.

Still, despite the silence, there's still ongoing development and updates being made to the game! It just isn't the most exciting thing to show in pictures since it basically required all of the existing levels to be thrown out; Right now, there's only a very simple test level with ramps, raised blocks, and water. I can still talk about the cool recent updates in this blog post, so let's get to that right now!

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

The Fears of an Ambitious Indie Developer

Whoa, this blog hasn't been updated in months now! With that last blog post, you might've assumed I went insane due to fears of color association or something. Well, despite a certain infamous game's "gremlins" showing me how dumb this world can be with restrictions and morals (which kinda discourages me), I haven't disappeared...though I now have fears that if Magical Mary were to become popular, that people would scrutinize every line of my code and hate me for the slightest offense, though people should be more open to others in my opinion.

My recent (real) fears and frustrations with people aside, Magical Mary's development has definitely slowed down, and this blog post will explain my mind's ideas of plans that are way too massive to go through with...

Saturday, January 11, 2020

My Recent Controversial Fears

Oh, this is going to be a strange post. Back in 2012, I wrote a post on my old Typepad blog stating I really didn't like dark-skinned people and wished I could talk bad about them without being potentially banned from websites, which you can read here. Things have changed since then, as I'm now okay with them, and in some cases actually wish there were more of them (especially in anime)... I even added a dark-skinned girl to my game, Princess Peppermint! (Before then, the only dark-skinned person I made was Michael North from Shushybye, so this was my first OC "of color"!)

Now, however, with things changing in the world about sexual orientation and gender, new fears have come to mind, and no, they aren't about men trying to fall in love with me. That was an old fear. Read on, if you can, but please respect my opinions on this stuff. I know how touchy people are on the internet now, not being willing to acknowledge that other people have different opinions than them.

These flags... They've been around for many years,but I've recently thought about how people on the internet behave, and how they have a weird tendency to come up with beliefs about characters' orientations and/or genders, or how they can associate characters with said things just by seeing them wear those flag color schemes.

Sylveon proves boys can be cuties too...
I think I first saw this with Sylveon in Pokemon X & Y. This really cute Eeveelution looks very girly, but technically is male most of the time. It also has a pink and blue color scheme, like a certain flag. These two things lead to it being linked to transgender, though in this case, I can't blame them for thinking this. I suspicion whether Game Freak did that on purpose. The other case that comes to mind is one of Speeps Highway's pictures, showing Amy Rose wearing the trans flag colors. That isn't as big as the Sylveon example, though.

Now, why am I worried about this? Well, my mind tends to come up with "what if" scenarios, making me worry about the possibility of anything happening in the future, like these:
  • "What if Mary accidentally wears that color scheme, leading to people thinking she supports trans rights?"
  • "What if people see that color scheme in a building and think I did that on purpose, supporting it as a creator?" (I'm in the middle about that, to clarify.)
  • "What if people notice the logo uses purple and yellow just like the non-binary flag and start assuming my game has anything to do with not being male or female?"
  • (And the most random,) "What if people see adult characters in my game's world and start making their own LGBT head-canon about them, leading to the community accepting that non-canon claim?"
Those seem like random, nonsensical worries, but I've seen how people who are fans of a series can be like. They could come up with their own theories and the like, but I wouldn't be able to tell them the truth. When someone isn't in full support of something, like LGBTQ, non-binary, or even common moral stuff (especially relating to children for some reason), they will dislike you at best, and go out of their way to hate you at every chance they get at worst, even when, no matter how bad it is, it's their beliefs, and they should still be respected, no matter how disgusting it may be thought of.

With that said, I bet if I got into one of these situations, I would be basically in trouble. I'm from the mid-90's, back when things like this weren't on the front lines. They still existed, as I knew someone that swapped genders. However, due to it not being that big back then, I'm just used to straightness, loving the opposite gender, staying yourself, being 100% male/female, etc. However, now people are bending lines, breaking boundaries.

Due to how I've been all my life, I prefer to stay that way, so my game is made with straightness only. If I ever told someone in my game's fan-base that none of the game's meant to be LGBTQ, and that I'm not in full support, just neutral, they could go against me and cause unnecessary drama, at worst causing everyone to go against my game, refuse to support me financially, stop giving money monthly (if I ever open that Patreon), and cause me to hit rock bottom with nowhere to go.

It's a scary thought, but it shows how much power consumers have. I hope you didn't get offended by this blog post, but I felt all of this had to be said, in case any of it would happen in the future. Remember, I'm not against it, but I'm not with any of it, either. I might not understand it all, and I'm not putting it into my game's canonical world, either, but again, I'm not going to say I'm against it...

This answer on jelloapocalypse's Tumblr blog sums part of this post up, just not the parts about color association:
That’s not to say that headcanons are never a good call, but when it comes to character sexuality and gender, I always think it’s weird to mentally assign someone a sexuality or gender that they canonically aren’t. It feels weird and regressive to me. You don’t get to decide what you want a character’s gender or sexuality. The character does. I’ve gotten flak for this stance before, but  I think “headcanoning” any character as any sexuality they aren’t is equally weird, no matter which way you do it. It’s weird to think of a straight character as bi, a bi character as gay, a gay character as ace, an ace character as straight, etc. All bad.
With this "rant" out of the way, all I can say is, regardless of your orientations and stuff, look forward to Mary's Magical Adventure!

Friday, September 20, 2019

Branching Out: the Growth in Tree Quality

Ah, trees... Believe it or not, they've been in Mary's Magical Adventure since its development began, in World of Kirbycraft v0.75! There's some cool things to talk about that I've been developing just within the last couple days, but first, let me tell you a story about the history of these leafy things...
(This post has an AI-generated voice reading video available. To hear it, play this video and read along!)

Out of Place Cutouts

In the beginning, trees were pretty basic. In fact, they were just like the trees in Doom, a game from over 20 years ago at this point! Just like in that game, they were paper-thin images that rotated to face you. The only thing that made these trees unique was the code ran upon each tree spawning, which gave it a random tree image. I would say these trees were fine, but really, there were two problems with them...

Ripped from Reality

World of Kirbycraft, even back in those days when the game looked pretty bad, still had some form of a cartoony "art style" in it. These trees completely contradicted that, looking like pictures of real trees cut out and glued to the ground, like the game's world is just something a kid and their parent threw together by cutting out pages of magazines... I don't believe I was going for that style, but looking back, it's like looking at early 3D games that intended to look realistic. They were fine then, but now look like a joke compared to unrealistic games.

No Originality

You may think I was just experimenting, seeing what worked and what didn't, but no. I started development of World of Kirbycraft while I was still making Doom II: The Monster Invasion's last iteration (which in my opinion was the worst).

When I needed things like objects and code, I'd grab it from that mod and slap it into World of Kirbycraft, and that's exactly what happened with the trees and grass.

While the "realistic" trees worked mostly fine in Doom II: The Monster Invasion, they completely clashed with World of Kirbycraft's style. Unfortunately, I didn't know any better until years later...

The Crappy Image Legacy

In World of Kirbycraft v1.4, Hell City was introduced. As it was a complete ripoff of Kirby Air Ride's City Trial map, one area was a forest with many trees. Predictably, those were the same exact trees used in every previous version. There's not much to say other than just how out of place they still look.
Just when World of Kirbycraft got renamed to Mary's Magical Adventure in v1.6, the trees were thankfully changed to use better images. Mind you, they still didn't completely fit, but were more cartoony. The best one was the one on the right in the screenshot above, which came from a Terry WAD. It was just too pretty of a tree sprite for me to let it get wasted in a stupid waste of time like that!

Despite getting these new, better images, unfortunately these trees were only used in two places:
  • Hell City's island - In the park
  • City Street Run - Around road corners
Apologies for the short section, but I really thought I did more with these better trees. However, neither version can beat what I've done to the trees lately!

The Perfect Trim

Am I...seeing things? Are these really 3D? Nature finally looks right!
When Mary's Magical Adventure's next version is released, oh, are people in for a massive tree upgrade! For once, trees actually feel like they belong in the game's world, with more 3D, detailed designs that are actually interactive! Let's show what makes these new trees really cool, one point at a time!

"3D Graphics!"

Only a video could do this justice, so...just watch this video of both new trees and admire how 3D and believable they are now. Don't question the weird music, I like messing with Guitar Hero songs' individual channels.
Yes, you're not seeing things. Mary's Magical Adventure's trees are made like more modern games now; The tree itself is a 3D (voxel) model and 2D leaf cluster sprites are placed on top of parts of it, giving it a 3D look voxels alone couldn't give. This is seemingly the same thing a lot of games do for trees, like Oblivion and Sims 3(?), bringing Mary's Magical Adventure into a more modern time, unlike...some things.

I said these are interactive above, and you might not expect all that you can do with these trees. For one, you can knock leaves off of the trees with nearly any attack. If you hit leaves with a hammer, they will scatter and float through the air, but hitting them with a fireball will catch them on fire, making the leaves turn brown, drop to the ground, then turn into flames. It looks good in motion and is satisfying to do. In the future, there will be more of a reason to randomly become a pyro.
Only you can prevent wildfires...if you can resist the urge!
If burning leaves isn't good enough, how about the whole tree? Yes, if you damage the tree itself enough, it'll lose all of its leaves at the same time then collapse. Burn it enough and instead, every single leaf will start burning, then the tree dramatically falls down. If either of these events happen, the tree stays gone, even if you leave the area.

Now, don't worry if you like trees; You don't have to destroy fictional vegetation, but if you want to force all leaves off of a tree without permanently destroying it, just hit it with a cold attack like an Ice Ball and it'll start shaking then jump as it loses all leaves. When this happens, the tree survives and will re-grow its leaves back when you move far enough away from it.

This video shows all three tree deaths:
Now, all of this interaction comes with a cost, and that's a sprite render time increase of 0.02 per tree rendered in "high quality", which is what was seen in the videos. To counter this potential beauty turning into a lag source, all trees are drawn as a single image at far distances, just like the older trees. This results in the game rendering a single image instead of many leaf clusters plus a 3D model, and this is what saves the 0.02 sprite render time mentioned above.

This is actually something games do, more common on games with a continuous open world like Oblivion. I came up with the idea to do this before watching that video, so I had no clue it handled things the same way as my game. Oh well, I guess I can say I did something like Bethesda now. Whether that's good or bad's up to you, because...oh no, does this mean now I'll leave many game-breaking bugs in the final release? I hope not!

Anyways, if you don't like the trees abruptly changing between images and 3D models, you can adjust the distance by changing the r_objdrawdistance CVAR, which is a multiplier that defaults at 1.0. Increasing this will change the distances at which many decorative objects switch to lower quality, though it changes everything, not just trees. If on a lower-end system, it's recommended to decrease this to 0.5 or similar, given you can tolerate more obvious object pop-in.

Anyways, that's the latest update! There's more changes, but the new trees deserved their own blog post.