Friday, November 27, 2009

EP4 Beta Testing is Underway!

Our Beta Testing for EP4 has started. We actually started it 2 days ago. But with the Thanksgiving Holiday, we didn't get a chance to post it until now.

Most of our testers that have reported in liked our minigame prototype for Lumpy Bounce ... so we'll be refining it and including it in EP4!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving Part 2!!

What's Thanksgiving without seconds? In EP3, YE OLDE TURKEY LEG turned our blue pal into a turkey. Or maybe it was all a dream because everyone kept talking about a huge feast of turkey coming soon?

Maybe it was all a dream? I wonder if Lumpy will be able to partake into this evenings feast of turkey?

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Lumpy wants to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving! This is from EP3, but people can't see it yet, as we are still waiting for Apple approval!

I will be posting a video later today of a movie of this finality! So check back later!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Monday's EP4 Update

Well it's Monday, and I thought I'd give everyone an update on EP4. We have a bunch of new Accessories this round. Three are Christmas related and one will be for New Years. And of course we have the "Octo-Beard". Which really isn't an octo-beard because there aren't 8 "legs". But the name sounds funny, so Lumpy likes it! Ohhh, and we shouldn't forget the tattoos! There are two of them. Most of the Accessories are done already. We're just finishing up on the Octo-Beard and the New Years party hat.

We shouldn't also forget Mr. Fuzzy Wuzzy! Mr. Fuzzy Wuzzy is being debugged right now. He has multiple possible outcomes depending on what you do with him. More info on that later.

We've also been working on possibly getting in a new minigame for EP4. We have a prototype of it up and running. We'll be using today to figure out whether or not it will be any fun or not. But if not, it'll get cut from EP4.

Lumpy's Molar Madness Monday!

Okay, just warning you ... that Candy Cane Poker is not in EP3. It will be in EP4, but seemed pretty funny to put in this screenshot.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Lumpy's Spellbound on Sunday!

What's that? Are Lumpy's friends borrowing citizens of Earth?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Lumpy's Scary Saturday!

Yikes! I'm sure Lumpy won't hurt you!


Friday, November 20, 2009

Lumpy's a Frog Friday

'Nuff said! Ribbbbbiiiittt!

More EP3 screenies on the way :)!

MobileBen Gets a "Gift" ... ala QuitIt! Style?

During production, there are various ways that you lose time. It can be lugging a blue alien blob around to forage for his 3rd bowl of pho for the day, planning out a portion of the game, debugging a nasty bit of code, or even doing *ahem* market research on the latest and greatest game out. During production, you sometimes get tunnel vision. Concentrating so much on the submission that you don't see the benefits of changing course. Take for example, art processing.

People have commented on how smooth and cartoon like our animations are. We are highly appreciative of such comments. We achieve our look by not doing what a good majority of dev groups out there do: flip-book style animation. If you saw the texture sheet for those types of games, it would look like a series of frames of the character. This is a very straight forward way of animating 2D games, but smoothness of animation comes at the cost of large amounts of texture space. Comparatively, our texture sheet would look like a bunch of parts.

Lumpy's main set of animations is around 4500 "frames", while the animation sets for specific Pokers is usually around 500-900 "frames". To put this in time perspective, we animate at 30 fps. So Lumpy's main set of animations consists of about 2.5 minutes worth of animation. Each Lumpy specific animation set to a Poker ranges around 16 to 30 seconds worth of animation. And don't forget that gifts and pokers (not all) are animated as well!

And as if handling that many frames of animations wasn't enough, how about adding that most our objects (ie. Lumpy)  are relatively large. Oh, and you have limited memory. So what do you do to have smooth looking animation using limited system resources? Our method of solving this requires talented artists, some slick tools, and a fair about of CPU horse power.

One of the problems we have encountered as of late is that because our animation data set is so large, it now takes a lot of time to process. Given that time is relative, what's a lot you ask? The worse file can take up to 2 hours. That's right, you read that correctly. But how is that possible you ask? Our process involves subdividing animations into a smaller subset of parts. We then generate a texture sheet and animation data for all the parts. This is relatively straight forward with our tool set, but it requires that combo of art savvy and CPU processing power.

During the end of EP3, it was getting prohibitively expensive time-wise to process our animations. Mistakes potentially became half day set back. We came to that crossroad where we needed to decide how to resolve this issue. Do I take the hit and upgrade machines? Do we just live with these long processing times? In the end we took a hybrid approach of getting a faster machine ... not top of the line ... but one that was dedicated for just processing the data so I wouldn't need to worry about getting my dev environment up on a new machine. This meant that I got to get a present!

The good? It was a fast shiny new dual core workstation! But much like things in the world of QuitIt! ... all good things aren't always as good as you think. So just how long did it take for this blazingly fast machine to churn through our data? It now takes the worse case scenario only 1.25 hours to process. Definitely faster. But still not quite fast enough! Looks like Ben needs to find some time for some tool optimizations as well!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Design an Accessory Contest Winners Revealed!

Earlier this week, we started a Design an Accessory Contest. After a couple of days of taking entries and a day of polls, we have our winners! For this contest, we had a lot of entries. Around 180 or so! This made narrowing down the field pretty difficult. In the end, we narrowed it down to these 10 finalists.

  • $ Sign Necklace (Claridosa)
  • Burger King King-ish Beard (Devilishly Good)
  • Dragon Tattoo (Mr. Crazy)
  • Durian Hat (drelbs)
  • Italian Mustache (5duc29)
  • Octopus Beard (spidey146)
  • Paper Hat (spidey146)
  • Pickelhaube (Devilishly Good)
  • Spikey Punk Har (Claridosa)
  • Star Sunglasses (Mr. Crazy)

And after some intense voting and some minor controversies over poll rigging ... again ... we got our 3 winners! The overall winner and new Accessory for EP4 is the Octopus Beard, submitted by spidey146. The two runners up were tied: $ Sign Necklace (Claridosa) and Durian Hat (drelbs).

And check out this bit of awesomeness ...

This started with a slice of awesomeness from drelbs. Then spidey146 pimpified ... or rather GIMPified ... it. Then Mr. Crazy asked about the dragon tat (4th place). And was modified once again by drelbs into this masterpiece honoring the top 4 spots! Although technically, Devilishly Good's Burger King King-ish beard should be shown since it was tied for 4th.

Lumpy fell out of his chair laughing when he saw this.

The one thing tho ... doesn't that dragon tattoo look like curl? Sorry Mr. Crazy!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Lumpy's LA Twilight Premiere Sighting a Hoax!?

Yesterday, we had quite the incident with Lumpy's Agent storming into our offices raising a stink about some paparazzi pictures of Lumpy at the Twilight sequel's movie premiere in LA. Lumpy's Agent is usually one cool character, so it was a little surprising to see him that emotional.

So today, when Lumpy's Agent returned, people weren't too sure what to expect. And after hiding the last of the bagels, everyone quietly slinked off to work on EP4. Much to everyone's surprise his first words were "I'm sorry Lumpy."

As it turns out, the pictures of Lumpy were fake. An overzealous fan (?) apparently made use of Photoshop to composite our boy Lumpy into last year's premiere pictures. All this in order to shakedown Lumpy's Agent for a little blackmail money.

Upon hearing this, Lumpy's reaction was a bit scary. He started spouting off about how he should talk to this guy Montezuma since he apparently knows how to take care of these things. He then continued rambling if anyone was gonna shakedown anyone, it would be his new crew.

A bit after things settled down, I asked Lumpy if he wasn't at the Twilight premiere then where was he? And why was he all moody lately? Apparently he had spent the last few days trying to find the perfect spot to watch the Leonid Meteor Showers. He told me that on Zgrunturos, meteor showers are a common occurrence. How common? No different than seeing a sunrise or sunset here on Earth. But since he's been here on Earth, he's hasn't seen any. So when he heard about the Leonid Meteor Shower ... he had to see it.

Awwww, it seems like our pal Lumpy is maybe a bit homesick?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Lumpy Dissed At Twilight's LA Premiere?

Last night Lumpy came home late. Really late. And when I asked him where he had been, he simply went straight to his room and locked the door. Before I continue, let me back up a bit...

We thought it was odd that he hadn't been in the office for the last couple of days. We first thought that he simply was getting some much needed R&R after all the hard work everyone did for our submission of EP3 to Apple.

But after a day, we were getting a bit worried. But just how does one go to the police to report a missing blue blob? So, we thought we'd give it another day ... or two. After all, Lumpy's always been spouting off about how his new crew has got his back. So we figured, he was safe and was just hanging with them.

So today, at the office, Lumpy was still quiet. And clearly annoyed. Suddenly, his Agent burst in throwing down these pics on the table.

"I already told you Lumpy, you weren't invited to the Twilight Premiere! I haven't said it clearly before, but I'll say it now ... you were canned from the Twilight sequel. Canned!" his Agent screamed. His Agent then grabbed the last bagel and stormed out.

So it appears our boy Lumpy made his way down to LA to be part of the Twilight Premiere! And judging from these photos, it's pretty clear RPattz is still holding a grudge against Lumpy and is giving him the silent treatment.

Once the reality of his Agent's words hit him, Lumpy did the expected. Hope no one has to go to the bathroom for a bit!

Pictures are Copyrighted to their respective owners.

Monday, November 16, 2009

EP4 - And Along Came Mr. Fuzzy Wuzzy - is Underway!

We haven't even finished archiving all our assets for EP3, and people are are already talking about EP4. Lumpy keeps asking what part he's going to play next. All the interns are asking when they can dress up Lumpy in next. And our Beta Testers are asking what gonna be in EP4?

EP4 production already started a couple weeks back. We tasked out some of EP4 assets to back then. And while we were resolving all of the OpenFeint issues last week, we had the other artists start up on the other assets.

And as for the feature set? I promised to tell the Beta Testers what they would be first!

Monday's EP4 Update Updated 11/23/2009!
EP4 Beta Testing is Underway! Updated 11/26/2009!
EP4: And Along Came Mr. Fuzzy Wuzzy Has Been Submitted! Updated 12/05/2009
EP4 Gameplay Video Trailer! Updated 12/10/2009
A Very Merry Christmas from Apple! EP4 is now Ready for Sale!! Updated 12/11/2009

EP3 - Lumpy's Best Friend - Submitted!

At the end of last week, we submitted EP3: Lumpy's Best Friend to Apple! We had to actually pull an earlier submission due to issues we had with OpenFeint. We're currently working on getting up some screenshots and a video as soon as possible. And of course we're already working on EP4: And Along Came Mr. Fuzzy Wuzzy.

The rough EP3 feature list is:

  • OpenFeint Support
  • 4 New Lumpy animations to Pokers (ALAKAZAM!, WHO'S BAD?, BRAIN FOOD, YE OLDE TURKEY LEG)
  • 1 new minigame; Lumpy Hoops
  • 44 Achievements (including ones from EP2)
  • 18 Secrets (including ones from EP2)
  • 8 New Accessories
  • 2 New Interactive Gifts, which includes Zynx!
  • 2 New Food Items, one which will give Lumpy the ability to fall asleep!
  • 1 New Poker 

Stay tuned as we'll also start posting deets on EP4 soon!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Design an Accessory Contest!

The top voted item people wanted to see in QuitIt! was Accessories. And as it turns out, EP3 will be giving everyone 8 more fun accessories. And we have also already secretly finished 5 more for EP4.

Being an actor, it's no surprise that Lumpy enjoys dressing up for his parts. And when he heard that his fans wanted more Accessories, he declared that we should have a contest! And when his royal blobbiness makes a demand ... well we have to adhere. Or endure being chased down by his Agent waving contract in hand.

In QuitIt!, we can support several different Accessory types that you can put on Lumpy. Check out this snapshot some paparazzi took from our set. It shows most of the Accessories possible. And what's that? Is Lumpy sporting a tat? OMG, it is! Those tats are an EP4 feature! So that paparazzi clearly earned his keep!

Accessories at this moment are can only be hats/wigs, eye pieces (including glasses), noses, beards, mustaches, and of course lower body tats like you see in the image.
  • You may submit as many entries as you want.
  • Only 1 promocode may be won per individual
  • Time of entries are determined by timestamps. Any entry that is the same or similar to a previous entry will be disqualified.
  • Entries must be specific. They cannot be too general. For example, a simple "baseball cap" is too vague. The deets of the baseball cap must be made more specific. Reference images always help!
  • Entries cannot infringe on other copyrights or trademarks.
  • Please do not go back to edit entries. Clarify them using a newer post. This is because it will invalidate your timestamp.
  • Accessories must be "clean". Anything deemed too graphic or profane will be disqualified.
  • Accessories must be able to fit within the area they will be placed. Anything that cannot be made to work properly on Lumpy will be disqualified.
  • Entries can be submitted as comments to this posting, on our TA contest thread, or via e-mail here.
  • Entries must be submitted by 11:59 PST on Tuesday, November 17, 2009.
  • A poll will be taken from the entries we thought were the best. The top 3 winners will be selected from by the poll.
So let the designing begin!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Lumpy's Gonna (Open) Feint!

Well, it's finally happened. We've submitted to Apple earlier today! Actually, we submitted the other day, but we pulled that build. We had gotten word from one of our Beta Testers that he was suddenly experiencing a bunch of random crashes relating to the OpenFeint functionality that we added to the game. We felt the issue was serious enough to keep looking into the matter to try and figure out what was wrong. The problems were created by the OpenFeint SDK/database, but at the end of the day if a crash occurs, users will blame us, not OF.

For those who are not familiar with OpenFeint, it's a Social Gaming Platform that we're using for online leaderboards and letting players compare each other's progress with one another. For social gaming, it is one of the main players in the iPhone market. And while it touts a large community, the SDK and support are lacking. We lost quite a bit of time during development due to bugs in the SDK, very poor documentation, slowness in getting answers to questions, and an inconsistency in how OF performs across different devices. I literally found myself having to dig through their internal code to try and figure out why things were crashing. When you find yourself doing that at 3 in the morning, you know there is something seriously wrong.

This morning, by pure random luck, our simulator build started to exhibit random crashing. That coupled with the information provided by the Beta Tester with the issue allowed us to put the pieces to this jigsaw puzzle together. We were able to fix this problem. Does this mean we're free of all issues with OF? I highly doubt that. Given what I saw in their SDK and how it behaves, there will probably some other cases that will cause crashes. We just happened to get "lucky" enough to get repeatable conditions to figure out this one.

Lumpy and the 2n crew wants to thank all the Beta Testers for EP3. Without their help and feedback, we couldn't have gotten EP3 out!

A special shout out goes to Devilishly Good! He patiently downloaded the new versions, crash after crash, until we could finally isolate the problem.

Afterwards, Lumpy asked about what all the hassles were that delayed our submission. It's a production after all, so shouldn't things be 100% accounted for? So we explained what the problems were and all the hoops we had to hop through. Looking  a bit skeptical, he shook his head and hopped away. Later on, Lumpy's Agent approached us, telling us that upon pondering the issues we had to contend with this round his client said that he felt like he wanted to faint.

It's All About Me!

That was what Lumpy said to me the other day when I asked him why he drank the last of the milk in the fridge but still left the empty carton behind. I don't know what I was taken aback by more ... the thought that all this time Lumpy's been drinking straight out the carton and I've been getting his sloppy seconds OR that he so quickly blurted out the words that I imagined the younger child-star version of Lumpy would have said. To think that I praised him the other day for thinking that he had the chops for being a serious actor.

Recently we asked everyone what you wanted to have added to QuitIt! We even had a poll about it. We listed the following choices.

  • More Pokers
  • More Lumpy Animations to Pokers
  • More Holidays
  • More Accessories
  • More Interactive Gifts
  • More Food Items

The most popular answer were Accessories, interactive Gifts, and Lumpy animations to pokers. As it turns out EP3 has all three of those items covered! EP3 introduces 8 new Accessories, 2 new interactive Gifts, and 4 new Lumpy reactions to Pokers. Including one that will make him look like this!

In future episodes, we'll keep your wishes in mind!

Didn't get a chance to vote? Want to see a different feature? Just drop us a line! Or leave of a comment in our blog!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wednesday's EP3 Update!

It's Wednesday and almost ready to submit. Today is a day of caffeine, caffeine, caffeine. No wait. What I mean. Bug fixes, art optimizations, and clean up! Hopefully soon, you'll all see the "we've been submitted" posting!

Veterans Day Double Trouble!

Today is Veterans Day. We had a special day made for it in EP3. Unfortunately, we're on the verge of submission, so Lumpy's fans won't be able to see it in-game. Lumpy suggested we post an image of it.

So in our studio this morning, we took a quick picture. Seems like we caught Lumpy and Zynx in action.

Much to our confusion, there were two Zynx. And if that wasn't enough they were flying around Lumpy doing what Lumpy called later a Buzz Attack.

I asked him later if he got hurt. He let me know that Zynx is his BFF here on Earth and they were just horsing around.

I didn't have the heart to tell him that Zynx is nothing more than a toy dog!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Many Faces of Lumpy

Our boy Lumpy is an actor. On his home planet, when Lumpy was a young lad, he gained notoriety from his snarky one liners and his once ever so popular catch-phrase "It's lumperrific!". Like many child stars here on Earth, Lumpy never quite transitioned from a cute and snarky to a serious actor. He nailed the teen heartthrob roles, but that marked the apex of his career.

His arrival here on Earth was to broaden his acting horizons. To get the street creds to be considered a serious actor back on Zgrunturos. Or so his Agent claims. Word on the street, or more precisely in our office, has it that Lumpy actually is suffering through some financial problems back on his home planet. So he's here getting roles that he couldn't or normally wouldn't get/take on Zgrunturos. In a bizarre way, not unlike how certain American celebrities do cameos for ads in Japan, like this:
I'm not sure if that's true, but I'd have to say I'm starting to become impressed by Lumpy. When I first heard we were getting some bratty ex-child star from another planet to star in our show, I thought we'd get some prima donna strutting around the office asking for 30 degree temperature water or no brown M&Ms.

While he does have his demands, I'm thinking maybe he has way more acting chops than people ... errr ... aliens think!

I mean, what other actor could pull off this range of roles?

You'll be seeing these many faces of Lumpy in EP3. And even more in future episodes!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Monday's EP3 Update

We've come to another EP3 Monday update! This will hopefully be the last Monday update for EP3! Over the weekend, we've been getting in a lot of artwork. We've also been putting in more of our Achievement and Secrets support. This includes Open Feint integration. The OF system and our system pretty much match, so if OF isn't your schtick, then you won't be affected. Right now, we're currently testing it internally and will very shortly give it to our Beta Testers!

While there are still a slew of issues we need to handle before submission, it should be very soon. And now that Lumpy's washed off all that flour, he's been running around like a school kid. I guess after quasi-hibernation ... you have lots of energy!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Redemption of Lumptacius Hrudkovity

During this past Halloween, Lumpy was disappointed because he thought he was going to be able to dress up and go trick or treating. But much to his horror, he discovered that everyone thought he was already in costume! And when he took first place at a local costume contest for his "Casper" costume, well, that was just too much.

Through his Agent, Lumpy demanded that we have a poll to prove to everyone that he does not indeed look like one Casper McFadden. Well the results are in! People generally agree that our blobby blue friend does not look like Casper. Upon hearing this news, Lumpy was relieved. So much so, he resumed his normal activities of talking about his new friends and cleaning around the apartment.

He was spouting off about his new friends telling him they had a super important cleaning job for him soon. As he had not cleaned in the past few days he was a bit overzealous, worried he was out of practice.

During vacuuming he knocked over a container of flour, causing a huge flour dust storm all over the place. And afterwards, once everything settled ... he saw a quick glance of himself in the mirror!

Oh great. I just heard the lock on the bathroom door!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Help Us Improve QuitIt!

Game development is hard work. But it's fun hard work! How many other jobs exist where you contemplate what the emotional state of a blue blobby alien would be when poked by a stalk of celery?

Clearly, we have some pretty odd ideas over here at 2n. And while we all really really really enjoy working with Lumpy and on QuitIt!, we're not just making the game for ourselves. We're also making it for you the fans! We're nearly ready to submit EP3. And we've actually already secretly (well not any more) been working on EP4. During our last production meeting, Lumpy asked ... but what do my fans want?

Well, we want to know! Help us improve QuitIt! Let us know what you'd like to see. We've already had some great suggestions in the past like the JOY BUZZER, and CINCO DE MOLAR. And recently we've gotten cool suggestions like the GOLDEN MARSHALL (see the comments).

Lumpy suggested we start a poll on the right sidebar to help you better point out what you'd like to see worked on sooner versus later. Do we have a feature not listed there? Or do you have a more specific idea for a Gift or Poker? Then just leave a comment here!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Lumpy's One Smooth Criminal!

You may not know it, but Lumpy is a huge fan of MJ. Not only does he like Michael's music, but I suppose he can also relate with the struggles that another once-child star goes through.

His Agent is quite insistent that Lumpy has met Michael before. He further claims that Lumpy was also supposed to have had a cameo in Michael Jackson's This Is It movie. Unreliable sources say it was cancelled due to the other dancers complaining that Lumpy's dancing skills were upstaging them!

During the early production of EP3, Lumpy's Agent approached us, contract in hand, demanding all the Lumpy get to share the moves he had been practicing for the movie with everyone. 

At first we were reluctant. But after we saw the blue blob move ... we were sold. 

It also seems that Lumpy recently has a fondness for acting like he's a bit of a toughie. Lately he's also been donning MJ's Smooth Criminal hat. But that's probably just because This Is It just came out.

Rumor has it that if you do the right thing in EP3, Lumpy will do a special dance just for you! And just maybe you'll be able to get that hat too!

Pho Garden Challenge ... the Aftermath!

It's been a few days since our boy, Lumpy, partook in the Pho Garden Challenge. Lumpy managed to finish the challenge in a record break pace of 10 minutes flat. A time so mind-boggling that Pho Garden owner Brenden Lam declared that from that point on, only humans would be allowed to take the challenge!

After finishing, Lumpy asked for seconds.

Before they could bring out a second bowl, the original bowl got its revenge on Lumpy! Apparently a little known fact about Zgrunturians is that when they eat too much, they enter a quasi-hibernation state.

The last few days at the office and at my apartment have been quiet. And if I dare say, I think I may be missing the energy of having his royal blueness around!

Now I feel like eating some pho...

Friday's EP3 Update

This has been quite the week! Between Lumpy taking the Pho Garden Challenge and being in Beta, time has really flown by! On to the deets on the EP3!

We are still in production. We've almost finished tuning our minigame, Lumpy Hoops. And right now we're plugging in the Open Feint achievements as well as all the achievement and unlock points in this Episode. This time around, we're will make getting some of the Achievements and Secrets easier! We apologize if EP2 was too hard.

EP3 will also have some Thanksgiving themed items!

Our current goal is to try and submit by Monday! This is an ambitious goal, but as Lumpy keeps telling us ... "If you don't aim for the stars, you'll always be on Zgrunturos." He assures us it is a saying that sounds better in Zgrunturian.

On a sad note. The other day we found out that Lumpy's animator's girlfriend's Mother passed away. We're deeply saddened by this news. Lumpy and the 2n team sends our condolences to their families.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Celebrate King Tut Day with Lumpy ... with a SALE!

On November 4, 1922, King Tutankhamun's (aka King Tut) tomb was discovered in Egypt's Valley of the Kings.

Today is King Tut Day ... a Holiday we had included for EP3. But since we're still in Beta testing, the fans won't be able to see it until next year or if they change their calendars. Then again, maybe we'll be putting in a special mode later on to see all the different rooms!?

Lumpy felt bad that such a cool looking room is in EP3, but that it isn't available yet for his fans. So he wanted to give something to the fans.

King Tut was 9 years old when he became pharaoh. And his reign lasted about 10 years. He died at the age of 19. When Lumpy heard about this, he thought why not a 19 hour sale for $1.99?

Lumpy's Agent disclosed the details of the sale to us this morning, saying it the 19 hour sale would be from now until 11:59 PST.

When someone in the office mentioned from now to 11:59 PST is less than 19 hours, Lumpy's Agent simply remarked "This interview is over."

So, as his royal blueness requested ... celebrate King Tut Day with Lumpy with a sale. Today only until 11:59 PST!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Lumpy Takes the Pho Garden Challenge!

Life around Lumpy, for the most part, has been a pleasant experience. Learning about a new alien culture is not an opportunity that everyone gets. But sometimes, we also end up learning about the quirks of another culture. And in the case of Zgrunturians, one of the bigger quirks is the sheer volume of food they go through each day.

In normal circumstances, this would not be a problem. But as luck would have it, Lumpy forgot to pack his microfusion powercells for his food replicator. Since then, we've had to find Earth food that he could eat. Which really hasn't been too much of a problem. Except for people around the office. On a fateful day back in August, our blue buddy was introduced to a dish called pho. To say he likes it would be an understatement. Ever since then, Lumpy has demanded pho nearly every day.

As of late, it's really taken it's toll on everyone. As mealtime roles around, everyone suddenly has a reason to be somewhere else. And who's left to handle the dietary needs of our Star? Yours truly. Normally, I'm a fan of pho. Really, I actually like it quite a bit. But after multiple meals of pho ... daily ... how would you feel?

Just when I was feeling I was reaching my wits end, I discovered something ... big. In San Francisco, there is a restaurant called Pho Garden. At Pho Garden, they have what is called the Pho Garden Challenge. And just what is this challenge? Try 2 pounds of noodles and 2 pounds of combination beef with tripe! If you can finish that ginormous bowl of pho within 60 minutes ... it's on them. For me, it wasn't about getting a free bowl of pho. It was about teaching his royal blueness that too much of a good thing isn't always good!

And just what happened when Lumpy took the Pho Garden Challenge? The full story can be found on our website here.

And if you want to check our more pics of Lumpy in action during the challenge ... go here!

Pho Garden is located at 2109 Clement Street in San Francisco, CA. Deets on Pho Garden and the Pho Garden Challenge can be found on their website:

Meet Zynx Part 2 ... and Monday's EP3 Update!

Hope everyone had a Happy Halloween! Aside from out little problem with Lumpy not getting to wear his costume on Halloween, things have been going swimmingly.

We started Beta yesterday and will continue adding in our last features as well as tuning the app. Since we realize that EP3 will be the version everyone will have around Thanksgiving, we decided to add a few delicious Thanksgiving goodies for you in it! Stay tuned for more deets on that.

We also wanted to show you a bit more of Lumpy's new BFF, Zynx. Check him out in action in a little video we made. This is still a work in progress and some things are still being cleaned up.

Something weird happened to Zynx over the weekend. It seems that he has a special ability that we didn't discover until we were filming him. You can catch that bit at the end of the video. Can you figure out what the heck he's doing?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

EP3 Beta Underway!

We just started our Beta testing with our AWESOME! AWESOME! AWESOME! Beta testers! Lumpy and the 2n team wants to thank all those participating! We expect to be in Beta for probably a bit more than a week. We want to add in a few more features since we missed that Halloween window!

Interested in Beta testing? Let us know. We work with a small group, mainly because we like dealing directly with everyone to get the feedback. And we like getting to know them! So we usually work with people that communicate with us via our threads on Touch Arcade, through e-mail, or through comments here on this blog.

Lumpy Takes First in Local Costume Contest!

Yesterday was Halloween. Lumpy was excited at the notion of getting dressed up and going trick or treating. Before going out, Lumpy was quite insistent on ... *sigh* ... getting some more pho.

Walking down to one of the many pho restaurants we're regulars at, a strange thing happened. I started to hear a lot of "Your boy is sooo cute!", "What do we have here? A little ghost?", and "That's the best ghost costume I've ever seen! It looks so real!". At first I thought I was overhearing conversations between other people. Then it slowly dawned that they were talking to us!

And just what ghost did they all seem to think he was? Why Casper!

Everyone apparently thought he looked so much like Casper that he even accidentally won first place at a local costume contest.

Lumpy was so distraught about this that he had his Agent demand that we make a poll to prove he doesn't!

If you check out the sidebar to the right, you can vote on it. Does Lumpy look like Casper?

Help put Lumpy's mind at ease by voting No. Or give him a complex by voting Yes. Or better yet ... keep him wondering by voting Maybe!

In the end? Our blue little buddy never got a chance to dress up! It seemed au naturale won out as the best costume.

And how did Lumpy take this disappointment?

After first locking himself in his room. Then the bathroom. Then his room. He came out declaring all the crying has left him dehydrated and hungry. But nothing that a few bowls of pho couldn't cure. So here I sit, blogging this on my iPhone. As Lumpy gently sobs between mouthfuls of pho.

Someone ... help ... me ... please....