Founded in late 2011 to legitimize the production of Diamond Find for Android, Wolf Butler Art & Software now serves comedy through a variety of digital media.
Do you want your work served here? Email me with a synopsis and sample.
In October of 2012, I gave this book to a friend as a wedding gift. Because nothing can erase the bond of a true partnership -- or black ink.
December 31, 2017
2017: Another Year to Evaluate
It's 8:45 on New Year's Eve, and I've just realized I still need to write one of these year-lists. Gonna blast through it quickly so I can go back to drinking.
10. Calvin and Hobbes
It's good every year, but this year I read the complete collection. So good! My favourite running joke is that Calvin subscribes to and is heavily influenced by a chewing gum lifestyle magazine. There's also a really nice part near the end where Calvin doesn't terrorize Rosalyn the babysitter for once & they play Calvinball.
9. A new recycling system
The pile in the kitchen grows unmanageable in almost no time at all, but this year we got a new bin to hold some of the items before disposal. It's certainly cut down on the clutter, and improved quality of life.
8. New couch
I'm just looking around the room at this point. Yes, the couch allows me to stretch out my 6'4" frame on a single piece of furniture in relative comfort. I recommend... couches.
7. New milk frother
This was on the list last year, but it's still really good! Frothes up that milk real nice for lattes and hot chocolates. Such a good appliance. You're still not getting an affiliate link though.
6. Vinegar store
I finally went to that oil and vinegar store nearby, and, turns out, they give you a spoon and let you taste all the vinegars! When I realized this, I almost cried. An employee came by and asked if I needed anything, and I was like, "I think everything is just fine right now." Pretty sure she backed away.
5. New cat litter system
Instead of the classic way where the cats piss into sand and track it all over the house, and it ends up on my feet and in the bed, etc. this new product uses litter pellets and an absorbent pad beneath a sort of grate. It cuts down on the smell and the constant dirt, and using off-brand pads, it even ends up being cheaper!
4. All the new friends I made along the way
Can't think off-hand who they are, but I think I built some solid relationships this year. If you're reading this: it's probably you.
3. All the old friends who stuck around
Too many to list, obviously, but thanks for making it a good year, old friends.
2. Almost being done this list
Just a little bit more to write before I can push the button on this post and cap it off for 2017 output.
1. Being done the list
I've really gotten lazier this year. Maybe kick it back into gear in 2018? Eh. Leave a comment and tell me to, if I ever build a comments system.
April 15, 2017
Unpopular Versions of Diamond Find I Have Made
It began with a series of barely legible comics.
Who can say why? But in the fall of 2011 I had an idea for an interactive story based on this idea. I became obsessed and so sat down and wrote a little Java program that would construct one in a CSV file. I'd only build the engine to actually read/play the file four months later, after I'd written over 80,000 words of diamond adventures, because I'm committed like that.
Diamond Find: Alpha (2012)
A minimal reader did the job, and with a little character art it was playable:
I sent it around to a few people to do editing and testing, but knew at this point I knew it could be more. I added a second CSV with more encounters and B-stories, including branching consequence trees for finding some of the unique diamonds, and a questionable storyline where the Feds send their best profiler to hunt you down after you assassinate a city councillor for a diamond.
Total users: ~10
Diamond Find for Android (2012)
Designing the game for a phone presented the challenge of text size -- how to fit the content into a screen so small? I was also thinking ahead to smartwatches, which I still believe are the future. It was at this point that I decided it would work best as a speed-reading game, and thus implemented it as a flashy, lightning-fast comedy brain trainer. I even tracked down Volker Tripp, who'd done music for some of my favourite games in the 90's, to license some of his MOD music for the soundtrack. However, he stopped responding to my emails after a little while, which was disappointing, but also saved me 1300 euros. This version was the first to feature HD diamond graphics.
Total users: ~35
Diamond Find LP (2013)
I definitely wanted to capture a hip demographic, and market research pointed straight to vinyl. While it took a bit of editing, I managed to fit the game onto two sides of an LP and pressed a limited edition copy:
However, it failed to attract a minimum bid at auction and thus remains unsold. This collector's item can be yours though, for the right price! Serious inquiries only.
Total users: 0 (still in mint condition)
Diamond Find Terminus (2013)
After dismissing the idea to port the game to the more popular iOS, I decided to make a website where people could play Diamond Find for free! At first the plan was to implement it in Ruby on Rails, and thus I ported the game to Ruby, creating a terminal-based skeleton:
Functional, but I was still more comfortable with Java at the time, and shelved Terminus after only a week.
Total users: 2
Diamond Find on FractalFic (2014)
Far more ambitious than what I reasonably had time and money to build, the FractalFic platform was designed not only to run Diamond Find, but also to allow users to write and publish their own Diamond Find-style adventures. For mass appeal, I even watered down the city councillor murder plot by making the gun chocolate.
It drove me into debt and depression, but the Java and web skills I learned during its nine-month build were enough to secure me an entry-level dev job. Success!
FractalFic, however, was a failure. Despite receiving some press coverage (from Clamblog), only a few people ever wrote stories, and the cost of running the server was not offset by the 'freemium' pricing model I'd set up. It ran for a year and a half before I pulled the plug.
Total users: Unknown (did not implement tracking)
Diamond Find, Today
But I couldn't let it just die. Years later, now proficient in Ruby on Rails, I knew I could implement a new version in a very short time. And did I ever!
It's free, open-source, and if you sign up, you can save all the diamonds you find to your profile & even download HD versions as wallpapers. It may be the best version of Diamond Find ever!
So will you just fucking play it? I... I can't keep doing this.
Total users (live count): 76
January 16, 2017
4 Things "Computer World" by Kraftwerk Got Right About 2017
When 'Computer World' hit the techno scene 36 years ago, it was clearly ahead of its time. But who could have believed that it would describe 2017 like a prophetic vision? Let's do a deep dive into Kraftwerk's masterpiece and see what those stylish, robotic men got exactly right.
1. Business, Numbers, Money, People
The evocative refrain is as prescient today as it was in 1981 -- computers DO power business. They keep track of numbers, exponentially more than they could in the past. Who uses computers? No, not animals. PEOPLE. And 'money'? It's like Kraftwerk foresaw Bitcoin.
2. Interpol & Deutsche Bank; FBI & Scotland Yard
These four organizations are still big players on the world stage, and you can bet that each of them makes extensive use of the Computer. Deutsche Bank would have to, if they are accessing the markets.
3. Time, Travel, Communication, Entertainment
When you think of computers, do you think of games? Kraftwerk's sly reference to entertainment may have, to the contemporary listener, brought Pong to mind, but in fact today the entertainment industry is almost entirely computerized. A large medium of communication, the internet, brings this entertainment into our homes, and when we need to travel, I know the first place I look is a computer. Do you remember when they say 'Time' in the song? Well, there's a clock in just about every computer now.
4. It's a "Computer World"
This is pretty indisputable. In 2017, while some shopkeepers may still keep records in worn, paper ledgers, a vast majority are using computers. Even day-spas and flotation tank centers use computers to manage bookings. These machines really have taken over the planet, to the degree that the world could now reasonably be classified as a "Computer" one.
I don't know why no one paid attention before now. But Kraftwerk was right all along, and 36 years later, that's astounding.
And that's not even taking into account what they said about pocket calculators.
December 30, 2016
Obligatory 2016 Listicle
Time to break down another year into an easily-digestable list of positive characteristics. Positive for me, anyway:
10. Got a new cat
We adopted a second cat last winter, this one orange, and even though he steals bread out of the toaster and bites the doorframes, he's a great little animal. There is much photography of him and the more annoying piebald one on my Twitter.
9. State-of-the-art phone
After ignoring peoples' conversations about data plans for almost a decade, I finally found myself in a situation where some knowledge on the subject would have been useful. Luckily, the kiosk reps were more than helpful, and after playing them off each other for my own amusement, I now have a sleek new phone that tells me more conveniently when the next bus isn't coming.
8. The Long Dark
GOD this game is good. Once past the learning curve, it's a perfect balance of chilled-out winter exploration and super-tense making-sure-there-aren't-wolves paranoia.
A sport I can do in all seasons, bouldering is as whole-body strenuous as it is fun. The community at the gym is friendly and helpful, and my unnaturally long arms and light frame allow me to succeed without necessarily being skilled!
6. Guest treatment at Hal-Con
Ah yes, this year the local sci-fi convention Hal-Con invited me as a Local Author Guest, as I am local and published a couple of books. I got car service, a PA, green room access, and all sorts of opportunities to meet actual celebrities.
It was an exhausting three days, but I sold a bunch of books, saw friends, and met new and old fans. And someone showed up with a cosplay of one of my characters!
Though I did have to admit to TV's Aaron Ashmore that I don't watch TV. That was kind of embarrassing.
5. Someone reviewed my shit
I was validated as an 'author' when one of my unsuspecting Hal-Con customers decided to review Snapback for local alt-weekly The Coast. Luckily he did not trash it. Might have had to shut down the company.
4. Two kitties sitting on me at once
The orange cat I mentioned earlier sometimes teams up with the piebald one to be ultra cute. Right now they're sitting on my lap, between me and the laptop, just licking each other all over the face. I'm pretty pleased about this, as I had specifically requested that I wanted this to happen on the adoption form.
3. Hella good Ruby on Rails jobs
My first programming job was good, compared to non-coding jobs, but it was, retrospectively, at a terrible company. After I left early this year, I got a much better job at a small crowdfunding agency, and when that contract ended, I had a few weeks to relax before starting at this new place. I'm using Ruby every day and the benefits are excellent.
2. That thing I can't tell you about
Look, I can't say a lot about this, but something good happened, and for one reason or another, it can't be printed here. I apologize for that -- this company prides itself on its transparency. But trust me: it was worthy of spot #2. Which places it right above...
1. This new milk frother
Working at the 'Bucks in high school got me the taste for lattes, and a stovetop espresso machine has been ever-present in my kitchen since. Frothed milk, however, has always been the challenge. Those Bodum hand-pump frothers never seemed to hold enough, and the wand-style spinny ones were terrible. Plus, microwaving the milk and skimming off the fat was always annoying, not to mention washing all the damn dishes.
As such, I've let my morning coffees get pretty sad over the last few years, often doing little more than adding a splash of cold milk to the espresso before I slam it back.
But my girlfriend noticed this severe life decifiency and got me an automatic frother appliance. I put milk in the jug, press a button, and it becomes frothed to my desired temperature. And the jug rinses out in seconds! My lattes are so good now, and it appears I can also make hot chocolates.
So, I'm sorry this ended up to be more of a "Best things I can remember from the last 3 days", but 2016 was long, and I didn't keep detailed notes. What, did you want an affiliate link for the milk frother? Fuck you.
Play for free today!
Explore the soulless Diamond City and trek to the legendary Diamond Mountains on a hypnotizing hunt for DIAMONDS! As owners of Diamond Find Inc., Shannon and Brahma want nothing more intensely - but can you help them find enough to unleash the fabled diamond magic told about only in delusional legend? Perhaps today will be the day you find the Ghost Diamond!
Get ready to devour Diamond Find, the massive Story Choice Adventure featuring over 85,000 words, 100 high-res diamonds and over 500 insane endings.
Welcome to Magnetifax, Nova Scotia's newest futuristic municipality. With a serial killer on the loose and someone abducting Metal People (robots -- but don't call them that to their faces), it seems like Detective Stebbins' day can't get any worse. But the clues to a grisly murder spell out 'Ghost', and Stebbins realizes he's going to have to watch his back -- unless he's just losing his grip on sanity.
In this spine-chilling crime-thriller-comedy, follow the investigation of the Magnetifax Police Department as they square off against costumed murderers, ghost experts, obstinate technology and adorable raccoons, on the way to uncovering a mystery that goes all the way to the top. But it's not just any crime they're out to stop -- it's
by Christian DeWolf
Paperback, ePub + PDF available
Cover art by Bruce Delo
Just another week on the fourth floor...
Father Gray is a successful real estate agent at SootCo, coasting on the work of others while he hides in his office, perfecting his hazelnut cappuccino recipe. But Cat City favours the cats, and when the other animals decide to rise up and take over, the SootCo team gets embroiled in a battle that they want absolutely no part of.
Threatened by a well-armed strike team from competitor Real Estate Unlimited, as well as the possibility that the third floor might contain ghosts, Gray and his coworkers need to use all of their swivel chair expertise to protect their lives, their jobs, and their reputation with the fancy lobster place across the street, which does not look favourably on cancelled reservations.
Temporarily out of print!
Precious Metals Reserve
The Precious Metals Reserve has been liquidated.
Its business model, while only fractionally flawed, was ultimately undermined by market forces, notably the lackluster global demand for precious metals co-opted for comedy.
While the Reserve will re-distribute no more metal, precious or otherwise, its legacy will exist in the pieces it
did pass on.
In 2013, the comics and metal from Silver Stock were distributed to members of the now-defunct Precious Metals Reserve.
Silver Stock will return soon.
Go is the most popular board game in the world, and yet, no one at Felix's high school has heard of it. When his classmate Lindsay proves herself a natural genius, word travels fast, and soon an old friend from Felix's past arrives to see for himself. But beneath his curiosity lies something far more sinister...