Lo-Mun's Cooking Adventure is a short DSHW machinomic in Dozerfleet Comics history, first completed on Thursday, December 22nd of 2005. It was written by the Dozerfleet founder initially as one of the many short features that were to accompany the Gerosha Prime version of Ciem 3, subtitled "Curse of the Millipede."
Lo-Mun begins by addressing the audience, letting everyone know she's a contestant in a reality TV show about cooking. She complains about how she got passed-over for inclusion in a certain major production, but that she was determined to get on a new show. "Hi everyone! This is Lo-Mun speaking. Don't know who I am? I'll sure fix that soon enough! She reveals that the other contestants are the "little slow on the uptake" George and a certain Emmy Zaidi (really a game NPC force-moved onto the lot) from Hot Dog Hoolee's.
Her rivals seem level-headed and civil at first, but soon reveal their character eccentricities. George points out that the kitchen's design is incomplete, which immediately infuriates Lo-Mun. It turns out that the show's executive producer pulled away some of the show's funds without telling anyone, and used them to sponsor another show. As Lo-Mun demands an explanation for the producers' actions, Emmy begins contemplating what's going to feature on the second episode of a show titled Captain Cheater, a rip-off of Cheaters. It's implied that the funds pulled away from Lo-Mun's show were being used to produce that one.
As Lo-Mun searches for recipes, she finds that only really basic ones are left for the team to cook, the kind that viewers could make for themselves anywhere. George immediately begins baking a dessert, while Lo-Mun makes an egg breakfast. George shows himself to be really efficient at making batter for his dessert, although he has difficulty talking. Meanwhile, Emmy begins snacking on Oreos rather than cooking anything, much to Lo-Mun's annoyance.
George giving baby talk to the batter also irritates Lo-Mun. When she tries to stop him, he starts doing it more; until she complains of a loss of appetite. Emmy jumps in and says it's a good thing Lo-Mun isn't hungry, as Emmy's appetite is twice what it normally would be. Without realizing what she is saying, Emmy betrays the fact that her mother was a crack addict. Lo-Mun is visibly displeased. When she tries to call Emmy naive and innocent, Emmy reveals she has a boyfriend.
Further attempts at a meaningful conversation with either George or Emmy prove fruitless, as Lo-Mun's patience is tested to the limit. She finally convinces Emmy to quit being lazy, and actually bake something. The result is that she start's baking a fish dinner; but has to sing an annoying song while doing it. She calls out to "Bob," in ways that any man would find embarrassing. She even goes so far as to talk about how many babies her and Bob want to have some day, before getting distracted by her own thoughts and rambling on about puppet shows.
Lo-Mun responds by throwing a tantrum, incapable of understanding why she's forced to work with idiots all day long. She finally threatens to punch the executive producer square on his nose. Out of nowhere, George grabs Lo-Mun and smooches her before she can stop him. While offended by what could be construed as sexual harassment, Lo-Mun comments that George has surprisingly fresh breath.
The judges arrive, and immediately begin eating the various dishes that were prepared. Niles and Mun-Yi both enjoy everything they're served without complaint. Lark, however, points out the blatant flaws in everyone's dish. He complains that George's cake had an eggshell in it. He blasts Lo-Mun's dish for being unoriginal. And he insults Emmy for not adding butter to her fish. However, Emmy's idiotic rants and obsession with Bob prevent her from realizing that she'd just been insulted. Lo-Mun again complains about budget cuts, only for Emmy to butt in and defend the budget for Captain Cheater. Lo-Mun, at that point, jokes that Emmy deserved to be stoned to death. Immediately misinterpreting Lo-Mun's remarks, Emmy asks why she'd need to get high, talking about her current sugar rush.
Frustrated, Lo-Mun addresses the audience and states that the show will probably be canceled. She attempts to wish the audience a great Christmas, but the word "holiday" slips out instead. Emmy immediately goes on a tirade about how political correctness is ruining showbiz, a tirade that ends only when the broadcast is cut short by Thought Police interference.
In the late fall and early winter season of 2005, the Dozerfleet founder was attending LCC and the Campus Ministry Center at 704 Abbott Rd. in East Lansing. He often wa a part of the Wednesday night meeting for domestic students. Often, some of the internationals would show up for the domestic students' events. One of those regular attendees was Younghee Kim from South Korea. Another Korean in attendance was, who was less of an attention-getter.
Around that same time, the Gerosha Prime version of the Ciem webcomic trilogy was being completed at the Grand Ledge House. Since Ciem 3: Curse of the Millipede was very short in length, and the entire thing was going to be included in a package for Dana's Christmas presents, it was decided that there needed to be two or more short stories that accompanied the main one. One of those short stories was Star Flops. Another was Corando's "Don't Lose Hope" Music Video, designed as a sort of love song with Dana implied to be the love interest. This was before she showed her true colors, which caused the Dozerfleet founder to lose all interest in her. However, a third piece was needed. And that piece was missing.
Initially, it was considered that When Bikes Argue 2 could complete the package for Dana. However, a meeting one Wednesday night at Campus Ministry revealed to the students there which ones had Sims in Ciem 3 that were modeled after them. Of all the students present, only Hoyun didn't get a cameo. She wondered why she was left out, sounding almost offended. Embarrassed, the Dozerfleet founder promised to make her a comic separate from the Ciem trilogy; one in which she would be the main character. In addition, it was decided that this side-comic would satirize the ever-decreasing quality of reality TV in the 2000s. The basic premise for Lo-Mun was born.
The HP Pavilion that served as Dozerfleet Main from 2003-2007 was used to capture images for this piece. Due to its limitations, images were at a very low resolution. Exnem's food mods at Mod The Sims were heavily employed, as basic food items in the game would have made for a very dull production. Shots were often problematic, as the game struggled to render arms properly during certain shots. George, for example, had his arms nearly mutilated by the rendering engine in one scene where he tricks Lo-Mun into a liplock.
Since the rendering engine could barely handle Nightlife, due to only having 384 MB of RAM to work with, even the sets had to be scaled back from their more-desired designs to really simple ones. Too many polygons in one room made the game so slow, that it was difficult to move the camera around. That was before any attempts to get the actors to perform their parts, which also proved difficult.
Character design and personality modelingEdit
In addition to Lo-Mun being made to look like Hoyun, several others characters that were supposed to be cameos in Ciem 3 also managed to feature in various roles in this short. Lo-Mun's hair was digitally lengthened, as the original model was too short and made Hoyun look too old. Nick returned as Niles, with his personality intact. Younhee returned as Mun-Yi, also with personality intact. However, Mark's character Lark was turned into a Simon Cowell parody. Emily was little more than a random character generated in the game, assigned a hot dog stand worker's clothes. George was generated with the Tombstone of Life and Death, and asked to play a character as dumb as he was thought to look.
Hoyun's attitude of resentment for being left out of Ciem 3 was played up for laughs in Lo-Mun, where she is a misunderstood contestant on a reality show simply wanting to make an impression. Everyone from studio to budget manager to her fellow contestants are shown to be so utterly incompetent, that they torment her endlessly with their failures. Making Emily airheaded and George mentally retarded was merely a way to push the direction even further.
In order to make the theme of cooking even kitschier than it already was, Lo-Mun's Cooking Adventure was outfitted with the cheesiest UI it could be offered. Page backgrounds were a repeating pattern of textured black-and-white checker tiles. The page image and text frame field were bordered with a thick border that also looked like a tiled kitchen floor. A solid pink frame held together the entire story per page inside of the surrounding massive tile floor that was the page background. A shortened version of the title card served as a navigation button to the main page, in case anybody wanted to begin the story over.
This design was implemented before the Dozerfleet founder had properly taught himself CSS, so old HTML 4.01 Transitional standards were heavily employed in setting up pages. While the overall-resulting design is acceptable in appearance on older screens with a 1024x768 screen resolution, and passable on a mobile phone, it looks dismal on screens capable of 1080p-or-higher resolution.
Hoyun herself was slightly amused by the end result, although she didn't get all the jokes. Dana complained about it, saying that the story was too weird for her tastes. With the passing of time, it was ruled too dated by its references to warrant a reboot.