The Dink Network

Dinkerview #8: Magical Man With Pizza Obsession

March 16th 2014, 01:33 PM
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metatarasal
Bard Male Netherlands
I object 
The interview nobody was anticipating! After a rather lengthy hiatus another Dinkerview has appeared out of thin air. Well, more accurately it came out of sir Skull's interviewing skills. So, if you're interested in Skull's Dinkerview 8, check out the comments!

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Hello, every beautiful duck beheader, DDC worshipper and monkey out there! It's Skull here once again, ready to do another of these Dinkerview things that I started almost four years ago (can you believe it's been that long?!). Anyhow, the Dinkerview didn't really end up being the way I originally planned them to be. The goal was to get one out every month, but that just proved to be impossible from the get-go. I tried to keep them coming every few months, but they just got delayed more and more as time went on, and have been released really randomly. So things definitely didn't go as planned, but hey, do they ever here at The Dink Network? And quite frankly, had I gotten these out every few months, we'd have ran out of Dinkers a long time ago.

Just to let everybody know, I was never done with the Dinkerviews. I never stopped making them nor even consider to stop. Let's just say it's a project that stretches out around time, and goes behind everything else I have going on. And I rather keep these a random surprise these days. But to get to the actual point... due to high demand, here it is finally! Dinkerview number 8! And this time we are interviewing a magical being from the country every other Dinker seems to be hailing from. Give a warm welcome to... Magicman!

Q1: Hello, Magicman! How are you doing?

A1: Doing fine. Currently in the job-search mill. Wheeee.

Q2: So tell us a little bit about the magic behind Magicman. What kind of a person are you behind the Dinking scenes?

A2: I'm quite the stereotypical geek. I'm usually quiet, and I sit in front of a computer most of the time.

Q3: Any pros and cons you'd like to share about living in The Netherlands?

A3: I like that you can get pretty much everywhere by train. I dislike that there are no decent mountains to speak of. Then again, mountains may impede the train bit.

Q4: I gotta be honest here. Usually I'm pretty familiar with people's Dink history, and if I'm not, I study it a bit. However, in your case, I'm not extremely familiar with it all. From what I understand (and correct me if I'm totally wrong here), you joined back in 2002, soon after the website was updated to its then-new design?

A4: Yep, I joined 2002, a couple of days before I released Dink Racer. That's actually the reason I joined, too. I made a cool thing and wanted to show it off! Before that, I'd been lurking since a bit after the freeware version came out. I distinctly remember (sucking at) D-Modding during NYE of 1999-2000. I remember a sidebar with the floor-tiles as background graphics. And the forum was on a beach, or something? I honestly don't remember much of that time. Mostly I was just downloading D-Mods and D-Modding tutorials. I still have a printed version of the stuff I got back then, it's quite the pile of paper.

Q5: So tell us a bit more about how you found out about Dink and how it all has led to you still hanging around The Dink Network to this very day, over ten years later?

A5: The usual answer, I think. Found it on a Freeware-CD that came with a magazine. I think it was a ComputerIdee? There were five games on it. The only other one I remember was Freeride Earth, a crappy snowboarding game that my brother and I thought was hilarious for some reason. There's some footage of it on youtube. Dink was definitely the best of the five (fun fact: the Freeride Earth tree is the image I used when learning how to add new graphics). Why I still hang out here? The fact that it's always been one of my bookmarks helps. And it's fun to hang out with you guys. Even though I'm not such an active hanger-outer as I was five or six years ago.

Q6: Any particular funny, sad, or just interesting stories you'd like to share about your times on the forums?

A6: Certainly! I have fond memories of the April Fool's Day pranks that redink1 would pull. There was one where random colours, blink, and marquee were inserted. And one where the word "nobody" would be replaced by your account name if you were logged in. "Nobody got banned today", hehehe.

Q7: Even though you have a long history on this site, you aren't really known for releasing too many files or too many reviews, yet you seem to have a rather excellent knowledge of Dink as a game and the DinkC language. So I'm curious, what exactly in Dink interests you? Do you enjoy playing D-Mods, or do you spend time writing D-Mods and reviews that mysteriously never get released? What is that one thing about Dink that holds your interest?

A7: So far, ever since I got my hands on DinkEdit until now, I think I've always had an unfinished Dink-related project *somewhere* on my computer. And this is the 4th computer I've put it on.
As for my Dinking history, I've always had an interest in making games. It started as maze games, then text adventures, and then there was Dink, which fit right in. Later, my interest shifted towards programming in general, and programming languages in particular. Again, there's Dink, with a language all of its own. Somewhere deep inside me I was aware that there must be *something* in a computer that can read and understand code, but it never occurred to me that someone could invent their own language. Back then, programs were "just how the computer works". Of course, now I've taken several courses on programming language design, and I've read the engine's source, so most of the magic is gone. Still, it's kinda neat.
My current interest lies in exploiting all kinds of weird DinkC oddities. Playing D-Mods is a thing I occasionally do.

Q8: So despite you not releasing too many files, you have released two D-Mods, both from over ten years ago. First let's talk about Dink Racer. Tell us a little bit about the story behind this D-Mod. From what I understand, it was originally meant as an additional minigame for another D-Mod you were working on?

A8: I... don't even remember how it came about, to be honest. The amnesia-inducing mists of time have taken a hold of me, I'm afraid. I think it mostly started out as a combination of "Wait is this really how animated tiles work?" and "Can I change Dink's sequences?". But yeah, even that's mostly speculation.

Q9: Then little under a year later, you released Beginning of Evil, which was originally meant for the Evil Hero contest. Tell us a bit more about this one?

A9: I'm actually still kinda proud of this one. I know, if you don't get perma-screen-locked in the first 15 minutes, the first miniboss will probably crash the game. If you somehow don't have that crash on you, and the first actual boss doesn't get stuck in that pseudo-state between "no more hitpoints" and "actually dead", the rest is relatively smooth sailing as far as game-breaking bugginess goes. And hey, I got it done. It's a thing, and people have played it, and it may be not too terrible if you're one of the people it doesn't bug out on.

Q10: Is there anything you'd like to go back to and change with these D-Mods?

A10: If I could take my current knowledge of programming and DinkC with me? I'd do a rewrite of the first two bosses. I actually really honestly have no clue why they freeze or crash the game, and I never had it happen to me.

Q11: So later on you've moved on to Development files and stopped making D-Mods. Any particular reason for this?

A11: Not in particular. It just kinda happened, I guess? That must've been around the time when I became more interested in programming languages, rather than making games.

Q12: You've released three Development files to-date: Cooltext, Enemy Healthbar and Persistent Loot (all of which are excellent, might I add). Tell us a little bit about what these Development files do and how they came to be, as well as how did the ideas to make these files come to you?

A12: This is going to be a long answer, bear with me. In order:

Cooltext is a neat script that replaces the standard "nothing to talk to" and "no magic" text by something the D-Mod author chooses. I think it originated by seeing how Paul did his custom "no magic" thing in Crosslink. That code is in there as well, with Paul's permission. I wondered if you could do the same thing for "nothing to talk to" by having a giant invisible sprite floating on top of everything else. I didn't know if it'd work out. I mean, it may just as well have been the case that you'd always talk to the giant invisible sprite, instead of the sign or NPC or whatever, which'd render the entire thing pointless.
Of course, now that there's 1.08 with dnotalk.c and dnomagic.c, this file is pointless anyway.

Enemy Healthbar is the one thing that I'm surprised about that it didn't get used in just about every D-Mod released ever since. Was it just not in the spirit of Dink, was it difficult to set up, did people simply not know about it? I don't know. At least these days it's getting some love. Not that I wanted it to become popular or anything, I'm just kinda surprised it didn't take off at all.
Anyway, it's a script that adds a health bar to a monster. Inspiration came from slayer4990 in the "discarded dmod ideas?" thread of August 2006 (see http://www.dinknetwork.com/forum.cgi?MID=68314). The code I have posted in there is still pretty much the code that I released, half a year after that thread. The major change is that I put the create_sprite() code behind an external(), so you wouldn't have to add lots of lines to every monster script.

As for Persistent Loot, that came about when pillbug in IRC wondered if there was an easy way to make loot stay on the screen. Aaaand... that's basically what it does! I don't expect this to be used much, if only because it uses a scripting style that's not really common in DinkC scripting. Even though I designed it so that you *don't* have to know about the underlying mechanics in order to use the functionality. On the flip side, it means that if you *do* want to know about the implementation, the code is jumping all over the place.

Q13: Any new Development files planned for the future, currently?

A13: Since writing Persistent Loot, I've been meaning to write up a tutorial-style rant about the different ways that you can jump between bits of DinkC code, or run scripts from within DinkC. If only to explain the kind of jumping Persistent Loot uses. I should really, really finish that rant and either make it a forum post, or write it up as a tutorial to be added to my released files. Before Phoenix makes it obsolete by completing his Lua support (which I'm really looking forward to) Other than that, nope. Nothing planned. It seems more request-based lately. I'm usually available in the Dink chat to talk about DinkC scripting, and I'm happy to write up DinkC hocus-pocus. If at some point I feel like something I write could be useful for D-Mod development in general, you might see that released.

Q14: Are you ever going to make another D-Mod again, based on how you feel today?

A14: Yes! Though I can't say anything about a release schedule. Maybe I should have a hype-thread of myself, and try to update that on a weekly basis, or something like that.

I'm actually working on two projects right now. One is a rewrite of Beginning of Evil. I have an unfinished twice-as-big version on my computer that's a direct continuation of the one that's released right now, and there are some ideas in there I want to show off. Sadly, where the one that's released is buggy from the start and incredibly frustrating not much further in, that one continues this trend tenfold. So, yeah, I'm going at a steady pace of one-script-per-month with that. Hopefully I can get the motivation, time, and energy together to work on this before Cocomonkey plays the current version in his Crazy Old Tim series.

The other project is more experimental in nature. It's not going to be your classic D-Mod, but not something so completely unrelated to Dink that it seems out of place. I'm writing a dungeon generator in DinkC. Every time you start a new game, it creates a new maze for you to walk through, without use of any external programs. That bit actually works already! I'm now pondering about a way to add randomized quests to it, but I need to rewrite some bits in order for the data wrangling to work out. And yeah, I'm fully aware that the resulting mazes and quests will get kinda dull after a while, especially when compared with high-quality hand-crafted ones, but I hope it'll at least have some novelty value and make people say "Wow, I didn't know DinkC could do this."

Q15: How long to the future do you see yourself hanging around on The Dink Nework, in general? And has it ever come close to the point where you were going to leave?

A15: At least until I've published that rant I mentioned earlier, and released some version of the dungeon generator. The BoE remake is, I think, a longer-term project, which I'm mostly doing for personal satisfaction. I have considered leaving a couple of times in the past, but in practice that means checking the board once a week, instead of whenever I'm bored or need some kind of distraction.

Q16: Who is your favourite Dinker?

A16: Hard to say. There've been many excellent Dinkers in the past, and there are a lot of excellent Dinkers now. Each and every one of them has brought something of themselves to the DN. I'm not sure if I can really pick a favourite out of those.

Q17: And what is your favourite D-Mod?

A17: Hrm. Stone of Balance will always be covered by a delightful pink haze of nostalgia, but I'll have to go with Initiation. I must admit I've not been keeping up with D-Mod releases in the last few years, though.

Q18: Worst D-Mod of all time?

A18: "The Scary Beast" is one of the worst things I remember playing.

Q19: I've noticed around 80% of the people I've interviewed for these Dinkerviews, are from Netherlands. I haven't planned it or anything, but it just seems that half the people on TDN are from there. In fact, there might be more Dinkers from Netherlands than any other country. Why do you think this is? Netherlands is a rather small place, so it's surprising. What do you think it is about Dink that draws the interest of people there?

A19: I honestly have no idea. I got into the game through the ComputerIdee magazine. Christiaan actually bought it. shevek joined through Debian and Freedink... Seems like we're all from different walks of Dinking.

Q20: Since Netherlands is such a small place, and there are tons of Dinkers in there, do you happen to know any other Dinkers IRL?

A20: I didn't know any Dinkers before getting to know them on the DN, if that's what you're after. I introduced one friend in highschool to Dink, and that resulted in a D-Mod for computer class, but I don't think they've ever made an account here.
As for Dinkers I've met IRL in general, in approximate order of meeting them: Christiaan and Joycielaanie live in the came city as me (and within walking distance... though I have no problem walking for an hour, so I'm not sure how meaningful that is <_< , and we still occasionally hang out. I don't know where metatarasal lives, but I think he's nearby as well, also studying at (or having studied at) the same university I was in. Oh, and I've actually had classes with Simeon. Though we've never talked, that I remember. I'm not even sure if he knows who I was.

And then there's the people of the Dink meets in 2010 and 2011. I've hung out with MsDink, Erwin, shevek, Sumurai8, and Sharp. And a couple of weeks or so after the 2011 Dink meet, MadStalker was in Amsterdam, so I went there as well. That makes 10 Dinkers total! Another fun fact: theprophet (remember theprophet?) actually lived somewhat close to me when I grew up. Not walking distance close, but I've definitely gone there by bike. Next town (or two) over. I don't think I've ever actually met him, though. Maybe by accident.

Q21: How do you like spending your time, other than hanging around old duck beheader cults?

A21: I'm working on a linguistics-approved translation project with some friends. Next to that, I supervise a math summercamp for highschool kids. When I'm not doing either, I tend to surf the 'net, or read a book.

Q22: Any favourite TV shows, movies, video games and/or books?

A22: TV shows: I like Doctor Who, QI (both are BBC shows), and the Dutch TV show "Wie is de mol?" (known in English-speaking countries as "The Mole"). I'm not really a movies person. I *did* do a Harry Potter marathon last year, and I'm kinda looking forward to the new The Hobbit next year, but that's about it. Video games... lately not so much. About a year ago I was really into Binding of Isaac, and later Rogue Legacy. I keep meaning to play more, as I really enjoy gaming once I get into it, but for some reason I never get around to starting.

When it comes to books, I like fantasy series. A Song of Ice and Fire (George R. R. Martin), The Wheel of Time (Robert Jordan, continued by Brandon Sanderson), The Kingkiller Chronicles (Patrick Rothfuss), The Dresden Files (Jim Butcher), anything Terry Pratchett manages to churn out, and Cherie Priest's work; Boneshaker is excellent.

Q23: And just as a random addition to that, any favourite board games?

A23: Oh, man. I'm really into co-op board games. Stuff like Pandemic, its little brother Forbidden Island, Arkham Horror, Betrayal at House on the Hill, Battlestar Galactica. When it comes to non-co-op games, I like 7 Wonders, RoboRally, and the Game of Thrones board game.

Q24: Here's a question I like to ask Dinkers who've been around for longer than most: How do you think the Dink Community has changed around the years? Any major differences you see these days?

A24: I think we've become harsher at D-Mod releases, and/or more demanding of ourselves.

When it comes to the board, there was a while when there were at least two flamewars raging at any given time, and occasionally they'd overlap. It was a sucky time to be a Dinker, and I can't with good conscience claim innocense there either. The waters have calmed down now, and I much prefer this peaceful quiet to those dark wilds. Of course, above that I prefer lots of friendly banter going around the place, but hey, what can you do. I'm not a great conversation starter

Q25: Cookies or bananas?

A25: No doubt about it. Bananas.

Q26: Tal vs. SabreTrout, who will win? Choose wisely.

A26: SabreTrout. Though I bear Tal no ill will, he's a good dude.

Q27: I'm gonna throw another "versus question" here that I'm gonna start asking now on from everyone who I interview. Blue TDN background vs. White TDN background?

A27: The white background is starting to grow on me . The best part of the old site layout was definitely the header, with Dink launching the fireball.

(coughwireframepillbugnostalgiacough)

Q28: Oh yeah! Once again it is time for the question you've all been waiting for! The question that stops time itself! What is the meaning of life?
You can't answer Sex, Street Fighter, 42, Coffee n' Chocolate fudge, Creativity, "Why would there be a meaning? Life is. You can fight it, deny it, try to give it a meaning or try to live with it. I'd choose that last option... ", gloves nor survival.

A28: To crush your enemies, see them dri... Actually, no. Let's settle for pizza.

Q29: Any last words you'd like to say to your friends, enemies, those in between, fans, God (aka Redink), Mr. Smilestein, the Cast Knights, Quackers and all the Dinkers out there?

A29: Make cool D-Mods, LPs, reviews, and forum posts. But above all, stay frosty!

Q30: Any last words you'd like to say to the female Dinkers out there?

A30: On the one hand, with a question like this and a nick like mine, it's really asking for a joke involving "magicwoman". On the other hand, that's kind of creepy. And even besides that, the only thing I can think of right now would be a Fleetwood Mac and/or Santana reference, and this isn't the community for pop-culture references. I think I'll stick with what I said before:

Make cool D-Mods, LPs, reviews, and forum posts. But above all, stay frosty!

And there you have it. After my interview with Magicman, we sat down to play a game of poker (at which he cheated with his magical skill of course), up until Martridge showed up. Magicman immediately went up to him, demanding his money back that Martridge had apparently stolen at the Magnificent Magical Misfits convention back in 2007. Martridge denied this ever happened, so the two decided to place bets on the on-going tennis match, to see who would win. After this didn't quite work out due to biased officiating, the two decided to take it to the wrestling ring, which had to be stopped for Martridge illegally using a steel chair. After this, we determined a pizza-eating contest would settle this once and for all. Obviously, Magicman won in the end.

Erm... yes. Anyway, I wanna thank Magicman for taking the time to answer all these crazy questions, you for taking the time for reading these, and applepie for being awesome (I've actually never eaten applepie, but the word sounds sexy). It was really fun doing one of these once more, and I'll keep on doing them in the future, don't worry. When will the next one be out? Hopefully sooner than later. As I said, these go behind everything else I have currently going on in life, and believe it or not, they do take some effort so the breaks keep the making of them much more enjoyable. Again, thank you all for reading them and giving such positive feedback. I wouldn't be doing these if it wasn't for you awesome Dinkers!

Some interesting statistics from the Dinkerviews so far, that I thought you might find interesting:

Bananas vs. Cookies
Bananas: 5
Cookies: 2

Tal vs. SabreTrout
Tal: 1
SabreTrout: 5
March 16th 2014, 02:30 PM
spike.gif
scratcher
Bard Male Finland bloop
cigarette bonca 
Huh, I had no idea magicman didn't officially join until 2002.

lol, newbie. ;P

To crush your enemies, see them dri...

March 16th 2014, 03:44 PM
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SabreTrout
Noble Male United Kingdom
Tigertigertiger. 
Take that, Templar guy!

Interesting as ever. I thought Magicman was around earlier than 2002.
March 16th 2014, 04:06 PM
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Skull
Peasant Male Finland bloop
"I'd like to be a tree..." 
Seems like Metatarasal forgot to include the smileys that were in the post originally. Oh well, at least it's posted now. Thanks, Meta!
March 16th 2014, 05:08 PM
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metatarasal
Bard Male Netherlands
I object 
Smileys reincluded upon request. Checking text make up turns out more difficult than expected...
March 16th 2014, 07:16 PM
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iplaydink
Peasant Male Sweden steam
Hmm.. 
Wow.. the dungeon generator sound very interesting!! Can't wait to try that one!

Oh.. and you watch QI..? That makes you an amazing person!
March 17th 2014, 01:31 PM
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merder
Peasant Male Netherlands xbox steam
The Voice in the back of your head! 
another great dinkerview.

we need more victi... err "volunteers" for this
March 17th 2014, 02:21 PM
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Skull
Peasant Male Finland bloop
"I'd like to be a tree..." 
Give me some suggestions on who you'd like me to interview next.
March 17th 2014, 02:45 PM
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leprochaun
Peasant Male Japan xbox steam bloop
Responsible for making things not look like ass 
Why not Cocomonkey for his triumphant return?
March 17th 2014, 03:39 PM
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Skull
Peasant Male Finland bloop
"I'd like to be a tree..." 
I was, in fact, considering Tim for this one. But he has so many articles going on currently I would've felt selfish bothering him with even more writing. But if he sticks around, I'll definitely have him in a future one.
April 27th 2014, 01:16 AM
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shevek
Peasant Netherlands
Never be afraid to ask, but don't demand an answer 
Thanks Skull and Magicman!

any favourite board games?

That was a great question, and the answer was even better! I like co-op games, but didn't know many good ones. I'll try to find these. I've played forbidden island once, and really liked it.
April 29th 2014, 05:21 PM
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DackFight
Peasant Male United States
Making Topics off-track faster then you can say it 
If there still taking sacrifices for the DDC's interview, I volunteer myself and for skull to give himself a interview while trying to trick himself(interviewer).
April 29th 2014, 05:30 PM
wizardg.gif
leprochaun
Peasant Male Japan xbox steam bloop
Responsible for making things not look like ass 
Or pureevil could take up the mantle once again and give skull an interview.
April 30th 2014, 09:08 PM
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DackFight
Peasant Male United States
Making Topics off-track faster then you can say it 
But I want a Dinkerview, I'd even be willing to buy cookies and eat them during the interview[if it will get me the interview] and I have a webcam that I haven't used in about a year or 2.