Camen Design

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Tanner Helland Writes: #1

This is one of a series of personal letters written to / from Tanner Helland during 2003–2005. These letters cover—in immense detail—events in my life during that period, including many unfinished and aspiring designs and creations. As a person however, I have changed from the inexperienced, often immature person I was and my skills in programming and web-design have changed just as radically.

These letters have been republished to give deep insight into the way I tick, and to show a lot of background work that lead up to the concepts and skills needed to produce this website, which ultimately I failed to do so back then.

About the Letter

This is where it all begins; Tanner’s first letter to me. There is not much content here, and it won’t be until later letters that things will become clear.

I was running The Lost Alliance at the time (see the introduction to the letters for details), which consisted of a number of people. You will hear DragonFyre (“DF”) mentioned a number of times, and in this letter Wuta and Intrest86—two team members who were ousted from the project for a lack of participation; in retrospect I can say that we did that feeling that it was cutting weight but in reality it never solved any of the fundamental problems in the project.

MSP5 is short for “Music Sample Pack 5”, Tanner had released to the team a number of music packs containing various MIDI compositions he had made to collect feedback on his work. Before leaving, Tanner provided me the last pack of music for me to prepare and to present to the team. The other musician in the team DragonFyre wanted to contribute too before the pack was released, and this is why it is mentioned in this letter.

All of Tanner’s letters were hand written and I have tried to replicate that accurately by maintaining page breaks. The pages appear short therefore because of the tall line-height of the lined paper and handwriting compared to the narrow lines on a computer. Any hyperlinks are to interlink references for explanation of terms and background information.


Hey Hey Kroc,

What up, friend? What’s new in England? Anything cool? How’s CBUK? It looked to be coming along nicely before I left. You’re getting closer to releasing it, aren’t you? Oh, and I never got to tell you about the “Badly Drawn” Map Editor. I did get a chance to briefly check it out before I left. Let’s see how much I can remember… (its been a week since I last saw it, heh). First I remember fixing a whole bunch of dependencies after loading it. Especially the HoTMeaL common DLL. You have it located in some obscure corner of your hard drive :)† And I didn’t have the most recent version of it (since it wasn’t included in your zip) so I just linked it to the last version I had, from the monster e-mail zip. The only problem was that “gradient” wasn’t in that one, so I had to comment out all those lines.

So many hours later, after fixing all that :), I got it to run. From what I remember, the GUI was excellent. Splash screen transparency was especially nice. And where did you get the background paper texture? It turned out quite nice too. Object editor looked good. The animator ran well, and I only wish there were more animations to look at! Keep me updated on BD’s progress. I'm curious to see how far you are able to get with it.

One favour to ask, while I'm thinking of it. If you get a chance to post MSP5 and somehow get the team to comment on it, I'd love a printout of their thoughts — just for curiosity’s sake.

How is everyone now that Clint is back?† Are they happy to see him, or are there mixed feelings? Hopefully he hasn’t said or done anything


too crazy since being back. I still have mixed feelings about his return, but hopefully he’s learned some lessons since he was last around. He seems to be doing better, but then there are times when he shows flashes of his old, … “crazy” self. Like giving up on his RPG just because of a simple collision bug we were able to fix. Guess we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.

Hear anything from Wuta or Intrest since they left? I've yet to write Wuta, but hopefully he’s working hard. Has DF given you any good music yet? Hopefully you’ve already received most of the music you’ll need for the small RPG, since DF is pretty slow & methodical about putting out his music. See anything from Asuka since I last checked? Soon enough I'll be a Canadian too—if only I could speak French, though. How bout Vegeta—gotten some 3D models yet? He seemed pretty intent about helping out with the graphics. Maybe he’ll be a great asset after all…

Tell everybody hi for me. And keep ’em all in line :) Especially Clint.

So far things are going well for me at the training center. We have classes probably 7–10 hours a day (up at 6:30, to bed at 10:30) with scattered gym classes, meetings, meals, and occasional free time. Not much free time though. My only time for letters is on Mondays. I fly out for Canada on April 29th too, and maybe after that I'll have e-mail. Maybe. Well hopefully you get this because international stamps are expensive :) Take care and write back,

DemonSpectre / Elder Helland