Author Archives: Mania

Six-Month MRI

I went to the doctor today to get the results of my six-month post-operative MRI. Although I am still showing some signs of post-op trauma – that is, my leg is still freaking out about losing a bunch of muscle tissue – there is no sign of cancer at this time. Good news! I’ll have another MRI in three months

My First Dung Beetle!

Dung BeetleI logged into WoW on Christmas day to pick up my presents from Father Winter. One of the presents – from a previous year – is Father Winter’s Helper, a mini-pet.

(Although Blizzard has gone to calling them pets or companions, I’m still more comfortable with the term ‘mini-pet’. It’s less ambiguous, especially when everyone knows that ‘pet’ very clearly means a real pet – a hunter pet.)

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Hitting the Reset Button

2012 was not a good year for me. It started with a doctor’s appointment in which my doctor freaked out a bit about the lump on my leg and ended with my six month post-op MRI. In between I lost a goodly chunk of the muscles in my left thigh and a slightly larger chunk of my savings to cancer.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but the year has done a number on my mental health as well. I battled creeping depression for much of the year – and lost all too often. Those of you who still bother to follow this blog know that I have only posted a handful of times this year. Those of you who follow WoW Petopia or Warcraft Mounts or WoW Tabards or Dark Urban Fantasy know that I have been sadly MIA on all those sites for much of the year.

Those of you who have been helping me hold things more or less together deserve every particle of thanks in the universe.

But things change. The calendar flips. The world moves on. This too shall pass. Yadda yadda yadda. I’m hitting the reset button with the new year. Not in a big showy everything-is-great-now doomed to fail way, but in a quiet ‘I’m going to stop obsessing over the failure that was 2012 and start picking up the pieces when and how I can’ way.

I hope to post here more often. Well, I hope for a lot of things … we’ll see. In the meantime, enjoy the new devilsaur-flavored blog theme. (And for gods’ sake, do not get me started on how badly WordPress has screwed up child themes!)

Project: Gorgon … or, See Mania in Action

As some of you may know, my husband Eric Heimburg and I are game developers. Most of our income comes from contract work on smaller online games, usually doing programming but often game design tasks as well. (One example: a while back, we built the bulk of a combat system for a Facebook RPG.)

But we’ve also been working on a game of our own! Project: Gorgon is a 3D fantasy MMO that’s grown out of our desire to run our own game, plus our love for some of the older MMOs like Asheron’s Call. It’s a little old-school, a little modern, and rather … shall we say, quirky?

For the past three-ish years, we’ve worked on Project: Gorgon in between contracts, in a careful balancing act between keeping a roof over our heads and keeping some momentum on the project. And we’ve come quite a ways: we finished a pre-alpha testing phase with a few dozen players that stabilized the server and client, and we’re very close to a true alpha phase with several hundred players. Most of the game systems are fully designed and many are already complete (if slightly broken) in code. Content is well underway with zones and dungeons and quests. And -

Project: Gorgon Combat Example

Project: Gorgon Combat Debuff

Well, look. It’s coming along well. You can read more on our main development blog,

Point is, we need art. (You have to giggle at some of the art we are using now.) Plus more audio, especially sound effects for the skills. Plus, if we could devote more time to Project: Gorgon and less to paying contract work, we could get this baby out the door that much faster! (And as you may know, I’ve had some setbacks lately that cost us some of our savings.)

So long story short, we’re running a Kickstarter campaign to raise money.

Project: Gorgon Mantis w/ Hat

"Bruiser mantises wear more pedestrian hats, like this bowler."

If you aren’t familiar with it – Kickstarter is a pretty cool idea. Basically, people post a project they are trying to complete and the money they need to get it done. Then other people can pledge money to help them reach that goal. If the project creators don’t reach the funding goal, no money changes hands. If they do reach the goal, they use the pledges to complete their project – in our case, buying art and whatnot so we can launch Project:Gorgon.

Our funding goal is $55,000 – which seems like a whopping amount (even to me!) until you start looking at what decent player character art costs. Three races times at least a few heads times several sets of armor times … well, it adds up fast.

You can pledge any amount you want from $1 up, and depending on the project and the amounts, you can also get rewards from the project creators. I think we may have gone a little over-the-top with some of the Project: Gorgon rewards … But some of them are pretty cool - like a digital copy of the soundtrack, the chance to design an NPC, or two vials of wolf spit.

Anyway … if you have a few extra dollars and want to make a pledge, please do! We will both be immensely grateful. (And hey – wolf spit!) Even if you can’t, maybe you could mention it to some friends? It’s up to us – and now you, because I am assigning the task to you (also known as begging for help) – to let people know about Project: Gorgon and this Kickstarter campaign.

So if you have a chance, check out the project page, check out our Elder Game blog, watch the video … And thanks, ahead of time, for any help you can give us spreading the word about Project: Gorgon.

[Incidentally, there is a picture of me on the Kickstarter page, and I am in the Project:Gorgon video as well. So ... do me a favor and don't make fun of the pasty fat woman, okay? I am a programmer, after all. *grin*]