Well, another year down! We got the SGVY Holiday Special 2009 out on Christmas Eve. Not bad! It took us a week to make it, and it turned out pretty good.

This year I decided to do the Holiday Special on iPhone and iPod Touch (henceforth I will refer to both as iPhone to save typing, and hell, they're the same thing for the most part). I wanted to make a cute little activity book that could be manipulated with multi-touch. What's really cool about this app is that you don't need an iTunes account or the App Store to get it. It's a free webapp that every iPhone user can use, even the jailbroken ones. If you haven't checked it out yet, click this link on your iPhone: sgvy.com/ixmas

Now, choosing to go with the iPhone means that I left some people out of the fun this year. I feel bad because I want to make everyone happy. However, seeing as Montrose Academy is comprised of only a few people, we only had time to make it for one platform, and we chose the iPhone because it has multi-touch and is the most popular multi-touch platform. That said, I didn't know it was going to be such a controversy to put it on the iPhone. Last year when we made the 3D Holiday Special, I did get a few unhappy emails from those who didn't have red/blue 3D glasses. This year though, I got some emails that could be described as "hate mail".

Please do not think for a moment that I do not understand your pain, non-iPhone users. I too have felt the sting of not having the right equipment. Many, many, many times. I felt it in 1992 when I had a SNES, and I wanted to play Sonic the Hedgehog 2 on the Genesis, which I did not have. I felt it in 1996 when I had a PSX and wanted to play NiGHTS into Dreams on the Saturn, which I did not have. I felt it in 2004 when I had a Gamecube and wanted to play Katamari Damacy on the PS2, which...

Anyway, you get it. Sometimes one has to make a decision based on time, resources, and size of audience, and this was one of them. I am working on a way for everyone to be able to see it. You won't be able to play it, but I think you'll get the idea when the video comes out. I'll probably work on it next week, so keep checking SGVY for updates!

We do not have any plans to put the Holiday Special on any other platform (well, when iSlate comes out next year, it should work just fine because most likely it will use iPhone OS). That doesn't mean that someone can't make an Android or Flash version of the game! Here's the source if someone wants to play around with it and make something. If you do make something with the source, please email me and let me know so I can post it on SGVY. Win fame and the people's ovation forever!

OK, back to explaining the Holiday Special. Here's what one would see if they typed the address into their iPhone. One would push the + in the toolbar below and "Add to Home Screen" to install the webapp. That's what the big "Touch!" is pointing to.

Whoa! It put a special icon on the Home Screen. Check out how the iPhone took the little icon that I made and made a super cool, glossy version. Shit does it on its own! Now that it's installed, just touch the icon to start.

Alright! Let's start! Here's the loading screen complete with the Montrose Academy logo. Looks pretty sweet.

When it's done loading, it tells you to "Flick to continue...", which scrolls at the bottom of the screen. Harry Lime came up with the idea for the marquee, and I think it works perfectly for letting people know to go to the next screen.

And here's the first page. "The Sparkling Generation Valkyrie Yuuki Holiday Special 2009: Myu Myu-chan's Quest!!" is a mouthful, huh? Myu Myu-chan heroically bursts onto this screen from the lower left. It's inspirational.

D'oh! Turned the iPhone! This is the error screen one gets when one turns the iPhone on its side. "The Sparkling Generation Valkyrie Yuuki Holiday Special 2009: Myu Myu-chan's Quest!!" does not work in landscape mode.

On to the story! This is the first story page. Myu Myu-chan rocks back and forth, and Chiaki comes in from the right. It's very animated! Basically what happens on this page is Chiaki announces she's gotten Yuuki the Blue Angel Jessie 2009 Holiday Fun-and-Totally-Not-Full-of-Lead Doll and Myu Myu-chan is happy that Chiaki is happy.

This is what a text box looks like. I really like making borders like the one on this. It's relaxing. Touching the arrow is what dismisses the text box.

Oh noes! Chiaki drops the present which starts Myu Myu-chan's quest.

Chiaki walks away oblivious, and Myu Myu-chan tries to get her attention. I really like this page, but it doesn't work perfectly on the iPhone 3Gⓢ. The 3Gⓢ is too hossome compared to the original iPhone, the 3G, and the iPod Touch, so the animation goes way faster on it. It was a compromise we had to make, and honestly, there are more 3G and iPod Touch out there anyway.

OK, we've made it to the first challenge. Here's what one would see when it finally loads. Each of the challenges starts with text explaining how Myu Myu-chan got there.

Door Knob Challenge!

Before one starts a "Challenge!", there is an hint about what to do. Just think about how one opens a door, and that's the solution. ^_^

And when one "turns" the knob, Success!. It's on to next challenge!

Here's a comparison between the finished "Door Knob Challenge!" and the pencils. The storyboard is even rougher (I think I just drew a door). We used a modified Mighty Marvel Method for this Holiday Special. The IT department explained what we can do with a webapp. Then I took that and made a rough storyboard of what I wanted to happen. They looked over it, and then we eliminated what wouldn't work or was just stupid. Then I made the pencils which I inked and colored on the computer.

When I was inking the special, I made sure to put the different elements on their own layers. Above is a deconstructed "Door Knob Challenge!" Each of the elements became their own sprite. When I was done coloring, I sent it onto the IT department who took it, figured out what I wanted to do, and then wrote the code to make the challenge. When they was done with that, they sent it back to me so I could put the text in. After some bug fixes, it was ready to go!

And here's the second challenge, "Snow Clearing Challenge!" I won't tell you more so that I don't spoil much.

Maze Challenge!

Tip Dumpster Challenge! This has to be the hardest of the challenges.

Dark Dumpster Challenge! This one is my favorite and was the first one we did.

Bunny-Mech, NOOOOOOO!!

The Final Challenge! It's not called that in the game though. I don't want to spoil the rest of the game.

So that's it! Like I said, we'll have a video out soon of the Holiday Special, so keep checking SGVY for updates. Before we go, here's a little something-something:

Here's a textless version of the illustration I used to explain the Holiday Special. I specially made this and the wallpapers I made earlier this month (1440x900 and 1280x960) as offerings to the non-iPhone users so you guys wouldn't feel left out. Cheesecake for Xmas!

I'll have something up for New Year tomorrow. Hope y'all like it!

It's like a decade didn't happen.