The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #168: Logan’s Fighting Style in The Thirteenth Hour

Episode #168: Logan’s Fighting Style in The Thirteenth Hour

My brother recently bought the game Soul Caliber 6 and was playing around with the character creator, which is quite robust. He ended up creating a number of characters from The Thirteenth Hour (the main protagonists Logan and Aurora as well as one of the antagonists, a wizard swordsman in black armor named Klax – their battle from the book is re-enacted below).

I was pretty blown away seeing the screenshots – just like The Thirteenth Hour had been turned into a game. Jeremy also created characters for Lester and Claudia, the protagonists of our current Dungeons and Dragons campaigns and recorded some CPU controlled mock battles of the characters squaring off against each other to show case each one’s unique fighting style.

The timing couldn’t have been better, since this week’s episode is on the unarmed fighting style Logan learns and uses in The Thirteenth Hour. It’s never really described in great detail in the book, but I intended it to be a system utilizing the naturally hard parts of the body (e.g. knees, elbows, heels of the foot), like you see in muay thai combined with a relatively low center of gravity and an emphasis on economy of movement and stability while still allowing for agility (kind of like what you see in ninjutsu). I spent some time in the book describing the acrobatic exercises the Rangers had to learn, though the emphasis really was on improving body awareness, learning how to fall, roll, and recover from a loss of balance as well as conquer fear. Although Logan uses a wall flip at one point to save himself from turning into a mess smeared on a castle wall, I didn’t anticipate these would be techniques the Rangers would employ in combat (unlike what martial arts movies usually portray). Same with the higher and jumping kicking techniques of martial arts legend … again, although Logan does a spinning hook kick at one point to good effect, it was more because the opening was there and ripe for the taking than anything. It goes along with the philosophy that what you learn should always be more than what you actually might need to use, since (in life and) in fighting, we rarely rise to the occasion – we fall back on something much rougher than what we learned (which will hopefully still be enough).

I envisioned he probably would have done more techniques along the lines of these less flashy strikes, like screenshots from Jeremy’s video showing a lead side punch and a scooping kick to block or intercept an incoming leg:

You can watching the whole narrated video here:

Jeremy’s YouTube channel also has links to all of our D and D videos for your listening/watching pleasure.


Between Two Worlds, the synth EP follow up to Long Ago Not So Far Away is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

The bonus track, called “Flight of the Cloudrider” has a 80s movie mashup music video (see if you can identify all the movies!) which is available on youtube.   This app was largely created with the iphone app Auxy.

between 2 worlds EP cover 2

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hour playlist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!


The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #40: Martial Arts in The Thirteenth Hour

Episode #40: Martial Arts

Last week’s episode on the influence of gymnastics on the writing of The Thirteenth Hour leads to today’s episode which focuses more on martial arts.  Although I’ve alluded to other martial activities on this blog and in the podcast before (like archery and knife throwing), I figured it was time to devote more time to martial arts itself.  My experience since I was about 13 was with Eastern martial arts, so I borrowed elements of those arts in the style of unarmed martial arts Logan and his Imperial Rangers comrades learn and practice in the novel.

Here, he talks about how sparring sessions would typically go for him:

“… at this fledgling state in my career, things would progress something like this. In a somewhat paradoxical concern for safety, the instructors had us tie cloth pads around our shins, feet, hands, and head in an attempt to prevent injuries and simulate body armor but said that donning groin protection was “unrealistic” because no one walked around wearing it in daily life. Well, I’ve never seen anyone walking around boxing gloves or pads on their arms and legs either, but hey, that’s just me.

At any rate, then we’d each take a stance and start beating the living shit out of each other. Our trainers strictly informed us “don’t kill each other” since this was just supposed to be practice. “You have to help each other,” they said. Well, that was a load of bullshit if I ever did step in a pile.

Inevitably, the matches would revert to the following: your opponent, in an effort to impress the instructors, would throw a really hard shot, and if it connected, you would show your manliness by getting pissed and creaming him. Unless, of course, you happened to be me. I generally didn’t stand an ice cube’s chance in hell against those older guys.

Maybe the instructors noticed my incompetence and felt I needed more practice, or maybe it was just a punishment, but it always seemed that I had to spend twice as much time on fighting drills as anyone else, part of which involved more time with the practice dummy …”

Logan may have just been more honest about his shortcomings, but actually his isn’t an uncommon experience for folks.  Of course, consistent practice takes care of a lot.  Eventually, though, Logan learns enough to defend himself quite well.

logan profileWM  logan hook kick2 rm

Logan kicks!  He wouldn’t be doing these kicks prior to his training – guess it paid off.  These high kicks make for flashy pictures, but I mostly envisioned he and the other Rangers spending most of their time practicing more utilitarian low and mid range strikes as well as those that utilize the body’s naturally hard spots (like knees and elbows – which he uses in the final fight).  


Pixelart animation of Logan doing a sliding side kick.  This was from The Thirteenth Hour game that didn’t get finished.

As always, thanks for listening!


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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #30 Bonus Track: Homebrew Games – Tomb Raider, Chimp Fighting, 80s Bboying, and The Thirteenth Hour

As mentioned in the 30th episode of The Thirteenth Hour podcast, my bro and I tried to make video games when we were kids.  Tried is the operative word, since many didn’t get finished.  My brother completed more than I did, but unfortunately, they’ve been lost to the ether of the internet, at least for now.  So instead, this is a page of games I worked on.  I doubt I’ll get around to finishing them since I’ve basically forgotten how to use the programs we used, Klik ‘N Play (KNP) and The Games Factory (GF), so this is a of museum of sorts.

I don’t know if you can find these programs easily today, but you can download a more advanced, free version called Clickteam Fusion (CF), which I think should open any of the game files below.  There are links to compressed folders below where you can run the .exe file to play the game (if it was completed); you can use CF, GF, or KNP to open the .gam file to see the levels and the sprites.  WARNING – these games don’t run very well on today’s computers!  Just a warning that the gameplay, which was never stellar, is even buggier than it was back in the day …

If you wish to use any of these sprites or elements of these games in your own indie games, please feel free to do so; I only ask you please link back to this page!

Tomb Raider: The Unicorn Quest

You can download this game here.

My first completed (fan) game, finished in 1999 or 2000, where a young Lara Croft goes on a search for a unicorn with her mentor.  Not long after they find one, their guides turn rogue after deciding they want the unicorn for themselves.  Lara’s mentor is killed, leaving Lara stranded in the woods.  She decides to save the kidnapped unicorn and avenge the death of her mentor.  I hand drew the animations for Lara, as well as a first person point of view perspective of her shooting dual pistols.

Sounds better that it really was.  The gameplay, 20 years later, is basically ASS 🙂

Nonetheless, here are some screen shots:


The title screen


The intro


Lara’s job interview – how she finds a mentor


Lara’s mentor gets in trouble


The first level


Lara flips while facing the first boss


One of the mindless bonus levels where Lara gets shot out of a cannon (?!) and goes flipping around a room getting power-ups.


Lara’s in trouble!  3 motorcycle riders with machine guns are racing to find her, in true 80s movie style.


Lara steals one of their bikes …


… you get to this very frustrating level to play – you control Lara as she rides along the desert landscape trying to inexplicably avoid boulders falling from the sky.  I programmed it so the boulders with target your movements, but due to the shite control, it is irritating to play. 


Like a retro Lucasarts game, you don’t really die in this game … if you run out of hearts, the level basically restarts.  In the interim, you see this screen.


First person shooting in a boss level – the animations of the guns (slides going back, shell casings ejecting, etc) were hand drawn, then compiled in the games program.  

Tomb Raider: Shadow of the Wolf

Never finished, but you can download the working .gam file here, which you can use to make a game of your own.  For animated gifs, see the post immediately below.

I wrote about this game here, so won’t repeat myself, but the story (I think) revolved around Lara trying to recover a mythical sword rumored to be part of the Regalia of Japan before a group of ninjas intent on finding it first do.  ‘Nuff said!  I do, however, have a little backstory script written for the plot which I may add to and make an actual fanfic short story one day, which may give me something to do with the pictures I drew.


You can download it here.

This was the second game I finished – a chimp fighting game.  As a play on the Afro-Brazilian martial art, capoeria, it’s called Chimpoeira.  The game doesn’t run very well on today’s machines – the movements and controls are too erratic to be very enjoyable, but on the 200 MHz machine I had in college, I had a lot of fun playing this game after I made it.


The graffiti style title screen


The training screen


Fighting the grey chimp – you ever-present arch enemy


The Drummer’s Beat

Never finished, but you can download the working .gam file here, which you can use to make a game of your own.

While I was working on the above games, I was also working on a bboy game where you play a kid in the early 80s running around the Bronx learning how to breakdance.  You have to convince a group of local bboys to teach you in exchange for helping them find a place to practice (a constant real-life hassle for most bboys and bgirls).  The title comes from the Herman Kelly and the Life song “Dance to the Drummer’s Beat,” a good old school breaking beat.

This ended up being a pretty ambitious project, since in addition to making all the animations for the dancers and a breaking battle engine, I wanted to make a city for your character to run around in to give it some RPG elements.  Interestingly, the latter part was what I got hung up on and eventually stalled the project.  The battle engine was more of less done, though it wasn’t great in terms of gameplay, and most of the animations – arguably the more tedious and time consuming part – were done, so if someone wishes to make a 2D breaking game, please feel free to use the above file.  I’ll be first in line to play it!

(If you’re interested in playing an actual, finished bboy game, I’d recommend Bboy for the PSP or PS2, especially since actual OG bboys were used as character models. Unfortunately, that game hadn’t come out at the time I was working on this.  It does most of what I was trying to anyway.  Though I haven’t played it, I heard the PSX game Bust a Groove is another, earlier game where you can apparently bboy).

I didn’t have a chance to go through the myriad animations and turn them all into animated gifs, but here are two:

6step animated gifone of the footwork animations

mills animated gifthis windmill-nutcracker-backspin combo took forever to animate!

Here are some screenshots:



Intro screens


Your main character is the kid on the left, watching the bboys practicing outside your apartment.  Little do they know you’ve been trying to do what they do in your room.


Eventually, you get up the guts to ask them to teach you something.  They sort of agree, once you show them what you’ve been trying to do.  Ah, hip hop, the great social equalizer.  However, they’d like your help in finding a better place to practice …


… so you start running around the city, where you can enter stores and talk to people.


Unfortunately, if you get hit by a car, you end up in that big cypher in the sky.


You could eventually earn some cash, which you could spend on things like apples for more energy or better clothes to make it easier to do spinning moves.  OR … you could apparently blow it all on a prostitute, haha!  I totally don’t remember adding any of this but laughed out loud when I found the “Death by Prostitute” level I had apparently included.


If you blew your $$$ on a hooker, though, things didn’t end so well for you in this depiction of pre-AIDS antiretroviral medication (a midi file of “Sexual Healing” would be playing on this screen).


However, if you managed to avoid these temptations and kept practicing, you’d eventually be rewarded with more moves and better gear.


The Thirteenth Hour Game

Although I’ll have to do a separate post on this later, I originally thought The Thirteenth Hour might be best as a game rather than as a book (before I knew about ebooks), so I set out on the ambitious task of making it into a video game.  Not surprising I didn’t finish, but given the length of the book, I’m impressed as how much time I managed to sink into this clearly unrealistic goal.

output_B3j4UO  I modified a Mega Man 2 character sprite to make the main characters – here’s Logan and Aurora on Lightning.

logan lightning animatedThis one is different.  I think I drew this one from scratch and have since used it in the original trailer and other videos.

Here are some screen shots:


The intro, with lyrics from Alphaville’s “Forever Young” (playing in the background, of course)


The classroom scene – seen out of Alfred’s eyes as he gets drowsy …


… and falls asleep.  In the background, you can hear 13 chimes going off to mark the ringing of the 13th hour.


Once asleep and dreaming, Alfred encounters two shadowy figures who tell him the tale of The Thirteenth Hour


At some point, our heroes will encounter this guy …


This grainy animated gif shows the little intro to the cast of characters …

I’ll have to go back and take a closer look at this pre-game, so for now, to be continued!