Pickle It Updates

Since I published the Don’t Starve Together (multiplayer) version of Pickle It two weeks ago, we’ve already updated it several times to add new features. We also back ported our changes to the Don’t Starve (single player) version of Pickle It.

Pickle It additions since release

  • Pickle sword! A fairly powerful sword that eventually spoils. You can eat it if you get desperate, too.
  • Golden pickle! Pickles have a rare chance of turning into golden pickles when pickling, which provide better stats than regular pickles.
  • Potatoes! Potatoes have a totally unique mechanic. Wild potatoes must be dug up with a shovel and you have to use potatoes to grow more potato plants.

We’ve also made a lot of less interesting changes to improve balancing and fix minor bugs.

Pickle It additions
Some of the new additions to Pickle It

Subscriber feedback

Feedback has been really positive so far. Players have been happy to see the Pickle It mod get updated and ported to Don’t Starve Together. We’ve gotten some great suggestions, some of which have worked their way into the mod already. We’ve also had some totally invaluable comments like “derp” and “pickle it.” 😛

One comment I liked was: “oooooh XD i got this mod very early in dont starve and i just thought that beets and onions were already in the game! I was wondering why i didnt see any in dont starve together…” I’m so happy our mod integrates with the game so well that people think it’s part of the actual game!

We’re currently up to over 34,000 subscribers of the Don’t Starve version and over 5,000 subscribers of the Don’t Starve Together version, including both Steam and Klei. Not bad, especially since Don’t Starve Together is still in beta. We also have 100% positive ratings on both mods, which I think is really cool.

What’s next?

We have some more ideas for Pickle It, which will hopefully show up in updates soon. We’re waiting on art for now (*nudges Sean*). We also have ideas for several more mods, so we’ll be busy for a while. 🙂

The Reign of Giants DLC from Don’t Starve is going to be integrated into Don’t Starve Together soon. Klei announced a public test of the RoG content over the weekend. Pickle It shouldn’t have any compatibility problems with RoG in DST, but we still need to test everything. We even have pickling recipes for some of the RoG foods in the mod already.

Pickle It: Don’t Starve Together Mod

Pickle It IconLast night, we released Pickle It for Don’t Starve Together! Pickle It is a mod that adds a pickling component to the game, making it last longer.

Don’t Starve Together

Don’t Starve Together is an early access version of Don’t Starve that supports multiplayer. It is an open world survival crafting game. The goal is to survive in the strange world as long as you can while maintaining both physical and mental health.

Pickle It

Pickle It is a mod I made with my husband (Nick) and our friend (Sean). Nick and I designed the mod and did the coding, while Sean supplied the art assets. We initially made it for the original Don’t Starve game and knew we had to port it to Don’t Starve Together.

Pickle It adds a pickle barrel that lets players pickle their food to make it last longer (especially useful in winter!). It also adds new vegetables, some of which can be found growing wild in the world. Others have a random chance of growing from generic seeds.

It was important to us to balance the pickle barrel so that it wasn’t overpowered. While it makes food last longer, there is a trade-off with the pickled versions of most foods.

Pickle It: Version 1.3.1

The code for Don’t Starve Together changed significantly from Don’t Starve, so it took almost a complete overhaul of Pickle It to make it work in DST. Adding multiplayer support was tricky, but eventually we figured it out. There isn’t a lot of documentation out there for making mods for Don’t Starve (at least for our mod, which was unlike any other mod out there when we released it), so it wasn’t easy making it work.

We added Xbox controller support, fixed a few things that had gotten broken in game updates, and tweaked the food values.

Since I uploaded the new version of Pickle It to Steam last night, 155 players are already using it. 🙂 I hope it will be even more popular than our original Don’t Starve version, which currently has 24,301 people using it. It’s so cool to have so many people using something I made!

Pickle It mod for Don't Starve Together

Future Plans

We want to back port our changes so they work in the original Don’t Starve version of Pickle It. Unfortunately, it seems like Don’t Starve is still using an old version of the code, so we don’t foresee it being easy.

We also want to add some new things to the mod: more vegetables, new pickled foods, pickled food recipes, pickle equipment, and new craftable items.

Get the Mod

Please check out the mod at the links below and rate, favorite, comment, subscribe, etc. We’d love to hear your feedback!

Updated Don’t Starve Together version of Pickle It:

And here are some links to the original Don’t Starve version of Pickle It (which didn’t get updated):

Pickle It’s First Review on YouTube

Someone posted a review of Pickle It on YouTube earlier today; how cool is that? 😀

Here are the current stats of Pickle It on Steam:

  • 1584 current subscribers
  • 98.4% retention rate (people who have stayed subscribed)
  • 84 ratings (100% are positive ratings)

We also have 153 downloads from Klei’s site.

Version 1.2

Pickle It: Beets, Onions, & Radishes

We just updated Pickle It to add some new veggies (beets, onions, and radishes), which can be found growing wild in the world.

We also added pigs feet, which can be cooked and pickled.

Pickle It: Initial Response

Wow! We’re blown away by the feedback we’ve been getting on Pickle It, the pickling mod Nick, Sean, and I published on Sunday for Don’t Starve.

We currently have 718 subscribers and a 100% positive rating on Steam. From Klei’s site, we have 117 downloads and a 5/5 star rating.

Feedback

We’re so geeked by how much people are loving this mod. One person went so far as to say:

I love this so much! This is the best mod in the steam workshop by far!

Someone else even recommended that Klei Entertainment incorporate our mod with the core game. ^^ Another person asked if they could use our pickled food in their mod (of course you can!). We’ve seen several references to the Portlandia sketch, too:

And we’ve had some great ideas!

Now we just need pickled pig’s feet ;D

We’re going to work on this in an upcoming update. There are humanoid pigs in the game, but they only drop meat and pigskin at the moment, so we’ll have to figure out how to add pigs feet to their loot.

Would it be possible to see crockpot recipes using the pickled food in the future?

This was an idea we’d tossed around, but seeing someone request crockpot recipes with pickled food made us want to do it. So far, we only have a few recipe ideas, but I’m sure people will suggest more once we put this in the mod.

Version 1.1

Pickle It Version 1.1

On Monday, we updated the mod with 5 new pickling recipes: carrot, corn, eggplant, mushroom, and pumpkin.

We’ll have a new update soon that will add some more veggies. Then, we’ll move onto some of the more fun things on our to do list. 😀

Pickle It: Don’t Starve Mod

Pickle It IconMy husband (Nick), our buddy (Sean), and I published a mod for Don’t Starve today! As its name would imply, “Pickle It” lets you pickle food, so that it lasts longer.

Don’t Starve

Don’t Starve is an open world wilderness survival game developed by Klei Entertainment. You are thrown into a strange world with the goal of surviving as long as you can while maintaining both physical and mental health. You can gather resources and craft items and structures to help you survive.

Pickle It

Don’t Starve has a big fan base and Klei made it fairly easy to mod the game; all but the very basic elements of the game are written in Lua. We got to work as soon as we had a mod idea, which was to add a pickling system to the game. Nick and I experimented with pickling cucumbers IRL this year, so that’s how we came up with the idea. 🙂 Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of documentation yet for anything other than characters, creatures, and equippable items, so our mod was a bit challenging.

Pickle It Mod Screenshot

The current version (version 1.0) of our mod introduces the pickle barrel, two new vegetables (cabbage and cucumber), four pickled food recipes (sauerkraut, pickle, pickled egg, and pickled herring), as well as pickled mush for invalid/failed pickling attempts.

Future Plans

We already have some more ideas for the mod in the works. We’ll be adding new vegetables and pickling recipes soon and I’m sure we’ll be fine tuning stats and whatnot as we get comments from other players. We have a few surprises planned, too. 😉

Get the Mod

Please check out the mod at the links below and rate, favorite, comment, subscribe, etc. We’d love to hear your feedback! 😀

Steam Workshop: http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=196051302

Klei Forums: http://forums.kleientertainment.com/files/file/392-pickle-it/

GitHub Repo: https://github.com/mariewest/Pickle-It-Dont-Starve-Mod

Goodbye, Google Reader :(

Yesterday, Google announced that Google Reader will be retired on July 1, 2013. Like the rest of the internet, I’m super bummed. Someone even started a petition to keep Google Reader running.

What is Google Reader?

Google Reader is an RSS reader (it aggregates web content). I’ve been using it for years to follow blogs, webcomics, news, etc. Rather than having to check each of those individual websites everyday for new content, RSS readers pull all the new content into one location.

What alternatives are there?

I really hope Google changes its mind about Google Reader, but in the meantime, I’ve already started looking into alternatives. Some of the options I’ve come across are:

Any luck with the alternatives?

I’ve tried a few of these and Feedly is the most promising alternative for me so far. Feedly currently syncs with Google Reader (which makes switching to Feedly really easy) and they promise a seamless transition to their Google Reader clone once Google Reader goes offline. Their Android app seems sufficient, but I don’t like their web UI.

So for now, I’m going to keep using Google Reader, knowing that I can switch to Feedly in July if I don’t find anything better by then. If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know! 🙂

How I Keep My Email Organized

While studying for a job interview last week, I stumbled upon an interesting question someone was asked during an interview:

How do you keep your email organized?

My email organization strategy has been to get email out of my inbox so that only important email shows up there. I catch unimportant emails with filters and tag them with labels that I check at my leisure.

I have roughly 100 filters that tell incoming emails to apply labels, skip the inbox, forward, mark as read, etc. For example, I have all store mailing list emails skip the inbox and apply a special “Mailing” label. I then go through the unread “Mailing” emails whenever I feel like getting around to it.

Between Google’s spam detection and my filters, not much gets through to my inbox. I also archive email once I’m done with it, so my inbox stays pretty empty. The dozen or so emails I keep in my inbox are things that I am waiting for or need to attend to. They include things like receipts for Groupon, Google Offers, and Living Social purchases that I have not yet used, current freelance work correspondence, emails about upcoming events, and emails that I have not yet responded to.

I have found that keeping my email organized like this takes the hassle out of email. I’m not bombarded by tons of email that I have to sort through each day and I know that when I get an email notification (through Google Talk and/or my mobile phone), it is something that probably needs my attention.

Desktop Help Request Client

My Windows desktop application (formerly known as Info Gatherer) is now on GitHub!

Direct link to the GitHub project: Desktop Help Request Client repository

Prior to today, I had only used the version control system Subversion, so Git was completely new to me. The GitHub tutorial made it easy to get started. Learning about git status was helpful, too. 😛 I still have a lot to learn about Git, but it’s fun to learn something new. 🙂

A slightly customized version of Desktop Help Request Client (DHRC) was installed on the University of Washington Information School lab computers this week. I’m pretty geeked that people are going to be using it. :geek:

Info Gatherer

Project Scope

My husband, Nick West, works at the Information School at the University of Washington. Yesterday, Nick told me that the team he works with could use my help. They needed a desktop application that would run on Windows (specifically, Windows 7). The application would gather some basic system information about the computer, along with information from the user, and then post the data (in JSON format) to a given URL.

Info Gatherer
My Info Gatherer application

The information they wanted was:

  • Machine name
  • Username of logged-in user
  • Local IP address
  • List of running processes
  • Timestamp
  • Name (submitted by user)
  • Email (submitted by user)
  • Comments (submitted by user)

The application itself would be a form with name, email, and comment fields and a submit button for submitting the data (the system information would be hidden from the user).

Continue reading Info Gatherer

Airfoil – Audio throughout my Home

The Problem:
I couldn’t hear my music throughout the apartment anymore because my desk is now in an office, separate from the rest of the apartment. I wander around the apartment a lot, so I wanted a way to be able to listen to my music as I walk between the office and the larger living area.

Details:
I have a Windows PC in my office that has all of my music on it  and I still wanted to control which music is playing from my computer. I play my music using iTunes (are there any better options than iTunes out there?). I have a Mac Mini hooked up to my TV stereo system in the living area of the apartment (the Mini serves as a media center).

AirfoilThe Solution:
It seemed obvious enough that the solution was to get the centrally-located Mini to play the same music that my computer was playing. But how? Well, a program called Airfoil does just that! You have to pay for a license for the computer that sends the audio, but Airfoil Speakers is free for the computers that receive the audio… and it runs on Windows and Mac! Woot!

Thoughts:
I’ve been using Airfoil for a week or two now and I love it! It does exactly what I wanted it to do. The audio output stays in sync, so I can walk from one room to the other without the song jumping. I can also transmit the audio from my computer to multiple output devices (if I wanted to). It doesn’t only work for iTunes, either; I can output the audio from any program I have running. Problem solved! 🙂