How Smart are Gmail's New Smart Replies?

The Smart Replies feature included in the new version of Gmail offers quick snippets of text mapped to a button to make human communication more thoughtless and cookie-cutter than ever before. But how smart are they? Let's have some fun!

How about we start out easy:
Alright, simple enough. How about another one?
The time questions are an interesting addition to this particular query. It is unclear why this response triggered a time question reply yet the above one did not. Also of note, an email simply asking "Lunch?" did not have any Smart Replies at all.

What if we needs to know a time?
Nice! It didn't even balk at the typo. What about something with a more binary choice?
Google seems partial to Fridays. Far be it for me to argue with the largest information siphon in the world, but let's try another:
No real opinion on colors. I'm kind of surprised it didn't just plug in the two options on such obvious either/or type questions.

Let's try something a little more... Googley.

I Am Dungeon Master - Building game Concept Demo





I've had this little guy kicking around for a couple of years now and, with things in my personal life being as they are, it seems unlikely that I'll be putting much work into him for a while longer (Unless it happens to catch fire and everyone wants more, of course ;) ). Anyway, while not full-up on content and still shy of a couple major features, I Am Dungeon Master is an enjoyable romp and it is long past time to share.

In this one you'll be constructing your own dungeons, stocking it with treasure and critters, and attempting to balance Threat and Fame to keep the place hip and happening without allowing visiting heroes to destroy the magical Tether that anchors your dark wonderland to reality.

Download for Windows




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I hope to come back later and add info, tips, and insight into the design process to this post. Things are just a little bonkers right now ;) In the meanwhile, almost everything has two-stage tool tips (Mouse over longer for more info) and learning via experimentation is half the fun!

PSA: It’s Hot: Clean Your Computer (and other electronics)

dirty-laptop-heatsink

It is, once again, that time of the year to nag you to bust out the toothbrushes and compressed air to give your favorite lil’ electricity guzzling buddies a good grooming. It’s dust bunny hunting season!
Need some guidance? Lifehacker has a guide to cleaning your peripherals and desktops (spoiler alert! Unplug and stick a vacuum hose on open spots). Laptop owners not afraid of opening the case up can check out this Instructable’s gude. Pro tip: Keep a coffee mug handy for all those little screws!

And while were sprucing up our stuff, don’t forget about that scrungy, smudgy smartphone and tablet! While I’m of the ‘Just whack it with a Lysol/Clorox wipe’ opinion (Been doing it for years. Works great unless you use a screen protector), here’s a more by-the-book guide.

You know what else generates tons of heat and has air vents you probably haven’t checked for ages? Your kitchen appliances! Microwaves and refrigerators both have rather crucial air intake vents on the back we seldom think about. Still, there they are, busily scooping up wayward hair from that vicious, man-eating excuse for a pet your spouse brought home. Your fridge doesn’t exactly cool your food well when it can’t bring in enough air to keep itself at a reasonable temperature.

Well, it looks like you’ve got work to do, so I’ll let you go. Congratulations on extending the life of your devices!

Christmas Infinite Flyer Kringle Krunch Updated for PCs and Ported to Android


 Ho ho ho, I come bearing gifts!

*Addendum: This post came out a little dry. For something more in line with my usual style just go here.

The Mrs. encouraged me to re-release last year's Christmas game again this year. Definitely a good idea as Kringle Krunch ended up being released a whole two days before Xmas last year when it was played by, approximately, no one.

I took advantage of this opportunity to give the ol' gal a fresh coat of paint in the form of up-scaled or retooled graphics, a parallax background, hi-score tracking, widescreen support, and, most exciting of all, an Android port.

Kringle Krunch is free on all platforms.

A WebGL browser based version is available at MikeyKae.Itch.Io/Kringle-Krunch
Stand alone versions can also be found at MikeyKae.Itch.Io/Kringle-Krunch (Scroll down to the Download Now button). The .zip file contains versions for Windows, Linux, and Mac OSX operating systems.
Finally, the all new Android edition can be downloaded from Google Play.

Thanks for your support and have a magical holiday season!

Games Wot I Made Page Fixed, Expanded, and Updated

Well, seeing as how my lil' corner of Florida is about to be wiped off the map by Hurricane Irma, it seemed like a good time to finish up some outstanding projects. One of the older entries on the procrastination list was the spiffying up of my games page. Good thing, too. It seems that a bunch of the links to my stuff was completely broken (Thanks, Google).

Anyway, everything should be back online and the page itself, while not the best, is at least something more than a list of link. It has been updated with 'box shots' as well as some designer notes, fun facts, and Easter eggs . Didn't have time to get all the screenshots sorted out, so maybe I'll do that next time I plan on cheating death. Probably got some typos hiding in there too.

Perhaps once I'm gone my art will finally be appreciated. Goodbye, cruel Internet! Be better to each other.

You can visit the revised page here or by clicking the "Games Wot I Made" icon in the sidebar.

The Ludum Dare Game that Almost Wasn't but then Was

Ludum Dare Compo came around again. A global 'game jam' competition that challenges participants to develop and publish a video game from scratch in 48 hours based on a mystery theme announced at the beginning of the deadline. Once again, I was in. The theme? Running out of power.



I got off to a fine start. Progress was great after a mere two hours in. The world of "The Last Gladewarden" was coming together nicely. A few of the trickier mechanics were already slotted into place and even Blender's insatiable desire to swallow my soul appeared less vengeful than usual.

Disaster struck as I headed to bed at 5 AM. I realized the spark was gone. There wasn't anything wrong with the Gladewarden, there just wasn't anything new about it. The planned hybrid action/tower defense was far too close to Antagonistic, my last Ludum Dare title. Sure, there were a number aesthetic and gameflow differences, but the code I was writing was painfully similar to that previous title. It wasn't new enough, different enough, 'dare'ing enough.

The next morning I awoke to a sobering realization: I was quitting. Ludum Dare Compo may very well be one of the most grueling technical competitions in the world and I wasn't about to kill myself rehashing the same ol', same ol'. I was out.

A mere hour later, I was back in. A concept had bloomed in my mind so bonkers is simply had to be given a chance. But could I make it? I had already lost nearly 15 of my scant 48 hours. There was only one way to find out!

With only six hours left on the clock, I was still missing the victory/failure conditions and an actual algorithm governing the main power mechanic. It was going to be tight, to say the least.

The game was completed with less than 30 minutes left until the deadline. 

Thus, without further ado (mostly because I'm drifting off to sleep here at my keyboard*), I present Airship Engineer: A gonzo little arcade game that challenges you to maintain three cantankerous steampunk engine contraptions to keep your travel schedule. Admittedly, it is missing a couple of my signature touches (such as an animated main menu), but it is a fine bit of silly fun. I hope you enjoy.

Grab it from MikeyKae.Itch.Io
See what other contestants thought about it at Airship Engineer's Ludum Dare page


*Then I went to sleep and forgot to post this until now ;)

Ludum Dare 38 - I made a game in 48 hours

And, boy, is my everything tired!

One dev. Two days. A mystery theme. Welcome to the impossible world of the Ludum Dare Compo game jam. You might remember I triumphed over these ridiculous stipulations once before with Runty Raptor. Well, with this latest entry, I've set a whole new bar for myself with Antagonistic : Hamburger Hill.



Large scale action and big strategy in a small world!

Fly, spit acid, manage egg production, and lead your army of ants up Hill 943 to snatch the burger from inside beetle territory in this completely new action-strategy experience.

God save the Queen's lunch!

You can grab a copy from MikeyKae.itch.io for Windows, Linux, Mac, or even the full source code (Unity 5.5.2). The official Ludum Dare page is here.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm gonna go collapse on the floor now...

UPDATE 4/24: Patched to v1.1 to fix a couple bugs (Not those kind of bugs, silly!) including the grass system!

UPDATE 4/25 : Fix for workers carrying food when game ends not being counted making it impossible to achieve perfect score.

UPDATE 5/3: Added 'bomber style' crosshair.  Spit travels farther and faster. Acid spit that now expires from being out of effective range disappears rather than explodes. Repurposed particle grass for new skybox. Tweaked lighting to match new skybox. Ant commander moved further to the left and out of your way. Wing flap speed now changes based on move speed and, even at max, is slower for less seizures. Wings made more transparent. Link to in-browser WebGL version added.

Zero Sum : Stalemate Manager - A new type of RTS in which you play both sides

The global financial collapse of 2026 marked the dawn of a new age of chaos around the world. Alliances shattered and revolution burns throughout regions previously believed unshakable.

It is in this dark future that the shadowy Pyramid organization has reassigned your position in Financial Oversight to Conflict Management. Your task: Spearhead Pyramid's new, more aggressive, "fundraising" efforts by manipulating these revolts into unwinnable wars while selling both sides the materials required to continue fighting.


The world order must be restored. Control is your burden.
  • Experience a revolutionary new form of RTS that challenges you to play both sides and avoid victory at all costs.
  • Manipulate the conflict by funding production, creating false orders, and blackmailing the influential.
  • Manage massive stalemates consisting of more than 100 units.
  • Plan your moves carefully to avoid suspicion lest either side uncovering your nefarious plans.
  • Play several challenging scenarios or create your own.
  • Name your own price (even zero!). 

 Now available for Windows, Linux, and Mac PCs at MikeyKae.itch.io/ZeroSum.

Project DFD is now Zero Sum:Stalemate Manager. Also done :)

Just a quick post to close this prolonged chapter of GUO. After about two-and-a-half years, I've finally decided that it is time for Project DFD to see the light of day. Two rewrites, three UI schemes, and half a dozen name changes later, I'm proud (and relieved!) to finally shove this little baby chick out of the nest and hope it goes on to make lots of friends.

While I can only dream that Zero Sum goes on to warrant enough attention to justify continued development, I am, at least, content in knowing that I've managed to complete another game.

Unless something goes horribly wrong, a full post with details regarding distribution will follow shortly.