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  Where have I been all my life!? 07:11 PM -- Tue September 11, 2018  

Hey gang, a month and a week later, I am back with more bloggy words! I have no particular excuses for my absence. I've just been plugging along on the same-old same-old, and didn't feel like working on my blog! That's something I want to try to improve upon, but then, so are a lot of things - my health, my work, my board games, my ukulele playing, and so on. Doesn't mean it'll happen. But I intend to try!

Robot Wants It All is coming along really well. At this point, I'd say what remains is most of Robot Wants Justice, which is still in pretty early stages, most of Robot Wants Ice Cream which has just barely been ported (you can currently roam around in the level, but can't use any of your abilities, so it's quite limited), and a couple of other minor elements - some achievements, some bonus features, some of the extra maps (only a couple of those though!). It feels like we're really getting there now.

Oh, and of course I have been streaming the development of that game (will do again later today) at Twitch.tv/hamumugames, usually twice a week, so come on by and watch me work. Watching someone program (or do pixel art, or level design) is not interesting to everybody, but you never know until you try! I like to chat with the viewers and get ideas from them as well. Plus you get to see the game as it develops. If you subscribe to my Twitch channel, it will notify you when I start streaming (which I try to do on Tuesdays and Thursdays).

I have lots of other things to tell you about, since I haven't blogged in forever, but let's just save those for another day, so I have reason to come back. See you soon, internet!
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  Robot Wants A Trailer! 10:28 PM -- Sun August 5, 2018  


Yay, we got a trailer made for our new game! Watch it and enjoy it! It's super awesome! I wanted just a straightforward gameplay trailer, but the creator (Katana Video Production) recommended this ridiculous live-action stuff, and convinced me. I think to the benefit of the entire world.
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  Robot Wants JUSTICE! 03:45 PM -- Thu July 26, 2018  


It is revealed! The 6th Robot game is entitled Robot Wants Justice, and it's all about Robot deciding he's done enough for himself (which has rarely worked out well anyway), and wants to do something for others. Exactly what that is and how it works, you'll find out as it goes along. You can find out quicker by watching me develop it on my Twitch Stream on Tuesdays and Thursdays (today!). I missed the one on Tuesday, but I am back today!

In other news we have been beta testing the parts that are done, and moving along rapidly. Our bug list has gotten massive, and then gotten chopped down again, back and forth. We've fixed over 100 bugs at this point, and things feel so much more solid than they did. The funny thing is, the game felt done and polished to me before I brought on the testers, and then they just tore it to shreds. Including some really basic stuff. The things that when I play other games I go "Come on, how could they have even played this level and not come across that bug?!" I guess it happens!
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  Robot Wants Achievements 09:36 PM -- Mon July 9, 2018  

But he's not getting any yet! This is the Awards and Achievements screen in Robot Wants It All. The right side of it shows Awards, which I discussed a couple posts ago - you can earn those over and over. On the left side, we have Achievements, or rather we don't. Those are the blank spaces where achievements WILL go once there are achievements. It just randomly flips some of them to gold right now. But it is progress! Lots of juicy progress even!

And then there's the Stats screen! This is just a big pile of detailed info about how you are doing in the game. It really serves no purpose at all, I just like to get lots of stats on the games I play, so I figured I'd give them to you too. Currently this is the only place you can ever find out what the names of the different aliens are. I'm not sure if we're going to do anything else there... I always think it's fun to have a Bestiary type of feature, but it's so pointless and silly (especially in a game where the monsters are just things I made up out of the blue, with no backstory or logic to them). Maybe.

Anyway, beta testing should be getting underway in the next couple of days! Prepare for excitement!
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  Robot Wants Testers Now! 04:39 PM -- Wed June 27, 2018  

It's HAAPPPPEEENNNINNNG!!!
(Screenshot is Robot Wants Y! A game many of you have never seen, I suspect, but it's been around a long time) We are finally in the market for actual Robot Wants It All testers. The game is far from finished still, but we're setting things up to get good testing feedback which will help us finalize how it works.

So, if you are a Robot Wants fan, and you'd like to check it out, send an email to jamul@hamumu.com with the subject line "RWIA BETA TEST". In the email, you should answer these questions:
  • What's your history with the Robot Wants series?

  • What's your history with testing games?

  • What's your history with Hamumu Games?

  • Do you like platformer games? What kind of games do you normally play?

  • Why will you be an effective beta tester, instead of just a lazy punk who wants a free game?

  • What are your computer specifications?
None of those questions are disqualifiers (although lying on them would definitely be... lying is always a disqualifier), so just let us know your answers honestly. The game does not currently have a Mac version though, so if your only computer is a Mac, that actually would disqualify you. PC or Linux only. We DO want Linux testers, so if you are on Linux, you could be even more appealing to us, as PC will be very common.

The beta test (and final release) is on Steam, so you will need a Steam account in order to test, but you can create one at any time for free.

If you're wondering what the pay is for testing, it's a free copy of the game. Enjoy! Oh, and I suppose we ought to list you in the credits too. We don't have credits yet, actually...

Hint: Testing is a position where your whole job is communicating to the developers clearly and effectively, so the way you answer the questions is much more important than what the answers are. We want people who are going to be great at giving us information. You don't have to be good at this type of game, we want a mix of player types to get the best information.

We will be ramping up the test in stages, so that we don't burn out all our testers on the oldest/buggiest version of the game. We'll be adding more testers over time from now on until launch. If we don't use you next week, we may use you next month! There's no deadline (other than the launch date) to when you can sign up, so sign up whenever you're ready.

We are still wrapping up the full suite of features for the testers, so we should be adding the first testers in a little over a week from now.

For a broad overview of where the game currently stands: most of all the features are fully implemented, and the main thing missing is Robot Wants Ice Cream, and the new secret Robot Wants game. We're also short a couple of Remix and Easy maps, but even most of those are included already. We're not close to launch yet, but we're getting there...

If you have any questions, stick them in the comments below, or email me!
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  Robot DOES NOT WANT 11:43 PM -- Tue June 19, 2018  


So... I was working on Robot Wants It All on my Twitch stream today, developing the Easy map for Robot Wants Fishy. I decided it would be fun to add a new monster to it, and what you see above was my first pass. It's a lost soul, crying out in despair. It's the kind of existential horror you would face in a Dark Souls game. It was totally out of place in the game. And that is why I rather quickly deleted it and changed it out for a beetle-gator-rhino-thing which is much more cute.

Pretty disturbing though, right? Check out the video from today on my twitch stream (the last several streams I've done are kept for a week or two) if you want to hear the awful moaning and see it leap around. Always fun stuff going on on the stream!
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  Robot Wants Awards! 10:31 PM -- Fri June 15, 2018  


Here is something new and exciting in Robot-land! So, when you win a level, the game dishes out an assortment of what it calls "awards" to you. Not all awards are good - you can see there's one grey one on here (the one with the green arrow), and three red ones. Green awards are good. You gain Moneys for each one of those you get. Red awards are bad, and they cost you money (the red Moneys you see flying in this shot are money being sucked away from your counter). Grey awards, they're fine, no money gained or lost.

So some of this stuff is pretty obvious, like "finish the level very fast" is a really good award, while "finish it really slow" is a bad award. But there are also sneaky weird ones for doing special types of runs that are abnormal. I have plenty more I intend to add as well. In the end, there will also be an awards screen where you can see how many times you've earned each award, and of course the real point of that screen is to wonder at the ones you haven't gotten... how do you earn them!? Mystery, my friend, mystery.

If you're wondering how an award differs from an achievement, that's pretty simple. We will have both in this game, and an achievement is something you earn once (like "You beat Robot Wants Kitty!"), while awards can be earned every time you play a level. Of course there might be an achievement for getting a certain award for the first time, but such is life. There will be achievements for some weird things (you've seen them in the original Flash games - like the one for getting through the undersea tunnel in Robot Wants Fishy without getting hit). You know, the traditional kind of tricky achievements.
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  Latest Hamumu News 02:34 PM -- Tue May 22, 2018  

Oh I'm still working! Mini fundates (those are like updates, but FUN!):
  • On Saturday, I streamed game-playing like most Saturdays, but this time I played VR games. It was fascinating and failed in many terrible ways. But there was also fun to be had. If you're curious, check out the video here. Fast-forward a lot, there are a lot of downtimes where games aren't working, but Superhot VR is certainly one awesome VR game, as well as Beat Saber, which I am totally addicted to. Another one I really enjoyed is Scanner Sombre, but that one was not able to stream, it's just showing a still image the whole time I play it.

  • Don't forget I also stream game development every Tuesday and Thursday, which means today! I hope to be doing so at 2pm Central Time, so show up. Streaming is at my Twitch page.

  • I am still working on the shop in Robot Wants It All, and I recently shared an image of the confirmation screen on Instagram, which shows that the unit of currency in the game is "Moneys". I made that up on the spot, but I'm really starting to enjoy the idea. What do you think? Stupid, or too stupid?

  • The Indie Indie Conversation continues on Youtube. I'm not going to link it here because it's not family friendly (mostly because of me...), but if you're interested in indie developers whining about their work and life in general, look it up! It was reborn about a month ago after 5 years away.

  • There's a squirrel in my yard with a monkey tail.

  • I know we said a long time ago we'd be getting testers for Robot soon, but we're still in that space where things are just too in flux and broken. We're working on all the general stuff now, like menus and game saves, instead of adding the last 3 games in (Robot Wants Kitty, Puppy, and Fishy are basically done), so once we have a stable core, we will begin to get testers before adding in those last 3 games. I don't know when that will be, but keep on following the game!

  • I have to go do some marketing work, so goodbye Hamumians!
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  Robot Wants To Buy It All 08:50 PM -- Fri May 18, 2018  


This week, I got really down and dirty in the code and artwork for robot's shopping experience. I wanted to make something a little different. It's not that different - it's still just a bunch of icons and each one costs a certain amount of money (not real money! Toy money! No IAP), and you click to buy. There is a "tree" to it, like a skill tree, where you need to buy certain things before other things, but you have the freedom to work your way around pretty much how you like. The idea of the tree is that it's more exciting to progress towards what you want instead of seeing a list of everything imaginable and just picking your favorite (fun at first, and then progressively more dull as the remaining options are less and less appealing!).

I also spent some time considering a Mortal Kombat style shop. I'm really fond of the Krypt system they had in that game - all the items are there to purchase, but you don't know what they are until you buy. It's kind of like gambling, but you always win (just not always as much as you had hoped). That's still an option here, but I think we'll stick with knowing what you're buying. I'm still going to keep the items that are not available to buy secret until you unlock them though!

I also thought about having some items locked behind achievements or other goals. That's still on the table, we'll see.

I'm proud of how this incredibly massive layout looks - it's like some weird alien space object made of TVs. Just the layout makes it almost like there's a fisheye effect going on, it's almost an optical illusion where the stuff in the edges seems to curve away. It also does a cool animation when it loads in, which my Twitch viewers know about (Check me out there on Tuesdays and Thursdays if you want sneak peeks of this game! Also on Saturdays I stream playing games).

Fun fact: the cursor is Kitty inside an ejection pod. We've got full controller support in this game, which is tricky on this screen... no easy way to navigate that noise with a controller, so I just copped out and made the controller move the cursor around. That's always a little clunky to me, but it's just for this screen. Our other menus function in the traditional up/down/left/right system from days of NES past.

Now the real question is what to do with that extra space on the edges of the screen... oh yes, I have ideas. We can't waste a single pixel of potential metagame!
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  Still zooming along 03:00 PM -- Tue May 8, 2018  

I don't have a lot to report, or rather I do have a lot, but it's all little things. We continue to grind away on Robot Wants It All, and it's going really well. But there are constantly things that feel like they need to be done before we have any testers.

Right now, we're neck-deep in save games. We initially had classic saves like the Flash games did - it would remember the basic stuff like what powerups you had, and just put you at the last save point (and penalize your time, so it was like you had just died). This turned out to be a bit of a problem with various game elements, like the Mutators that add randomly placed things onto the map. So now we've moved on to the most hardcore of save features: full game states, like emulators use. Assuming this all works, it will save every last detail of your game every time you exit, so you can continue from that exact moment.

Which leads me to the biggest problem we face with this game, and it's one that I fear has no solution at all: cheating. Obviously, it's a single player game, so to a degree, we don't care about cheating. But there are online high scores, and those high score boards are 100% guaranteed to be filled with cheaters, and become completely useless to any real players. It's trivial to cheat at an offline single-player game, it takes literally less than a minute to set up a "game shark" style software to lock your time from changing, or to simply set your time to zero right before you finish, or any number of other cheats. We could spend weeks trying to plug every imaginable hole there, but it's pointless. In the end, what you have is a piece of code that is in the hands of the player, so the player can do whatever they want to it. There is no way to stop them from just removing any checks or limitations you place. Imagine handing a padlock and a key to the same person, and trying to figure out a way to keep them from unlocking it.

That problem has been a constant thorn in my brain for a couple of weeks. My original solution is probably the only good one: limit the leaderboards to only show people who are on your friends list. I don't like it because it removes the worldwide competition and the fun of trying to beat the top players, but as soon as you introduce real competition, everyone will cheat anyway, so it is fundamentally unsolvable. I suppose if there develops a community of people who are serious about speedrunning these games, they will have to share videos of their runs to prove them. There are a lot of technical solutions we can use to try to verify scores (or even manually check them, but that's completely insane), but in the end, there will always be ways around them, and they could cause our leaderboards to use an unreasonable amount of data - we do have something like 8000 separate leaderboards for every combination of levels and mutators.

So yeah, didn't mean to turn this into a big rant about high score cheating, but that is clearly the big thing on my mind. I'm pretty much ignoring it as we continue to develop though, so I can focus on actually creating fun content like this...

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