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  Dumb Ideas Ahoy! 08:57 PM -- Sun February 15, 2004  

Well, now I done did it! I have made this month's website update. It's in our Company section, and it's called the Dumb Idea Repository. It's a huge list of game ideas I've come up with, and you are free to rate them in several categories or comment on them, or both. It's a strange feature for a website, but this is a strange website! Sorry, it does not allow you to submit your own ideas - I'm not prepared to deal with that flood! I'm not going to add that to it, I'll get that out of the way now, since that's your first question. It's more of a window into the strange Hamumu thoughts that float around in the hamusphere.

I look forward to seeing what kind of comments and ratings you have! Please, go crazy rating them all, and tell me what you think. I'll be adding ideas regularly to it, since it currently only includes a small fraction of my collection, and there's always new ones coming out. I tried to get the most unique and innovative ones up there, because a lot of my ideas would take even more than my usual wordiness to explain, because their fun and uniqueness is in little details that separate them from the usual stuff you see everywhere. Like Loonyland for example - how could you describe that briefly except to say "it's an action-adventure game where you solve quests and fight monsters". Doesn't sound too intriguing!
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  Food Groups 08:52 PM -- Sat February 7, 2004  

A lot of people think that fruit and chocolate taste good together. Let me now scientifically explain why those are dumb people.

There are 5 Sweet Groups. All types of sweets fall into one of these five groups, or combine more than one of them. The groups are Chocolate, Cream, Fruit, Spice, and Pastry. Examples of these groups are:

  • Chocolate
    • ...Chocolate!
    • Peanut Butter (also has a hint of the cream side, and also can be savory, which has nothing to do with sweet groups at all)
    • Gross root beer-flavored candy
    • That gross black licorice
    • Butterscotch, toffee, and similar
    • White, dark, semi-sweet, and all other chocolates
  • Cream
    • Whipped cream
    • Marshmallows
    • Butter
    • Ice cream
  • Fruit
    • All fruits
    • Any fake fruit flavored candy (Gummi Bears, Sour Raspberry, Runts, Spree, Starburst, etc)
    • Basic tangy sweetness, like Nerds, Pixie Stix, Fun Dip, etc.
  • Spice
    • Any hot candy (Red Hots, Atomic Fireballs, etc)
    • Mint flavor of any sort
  • Pastry
    • Cinnamon rolls
    • Sweetbreads
    • Donuts
    • Pie

Each sweet group encompasses an area of flavor - Chocolate is rich and dark, Cream is light and airy, Fruit is sharp and tangy, Spice is spicy, and Pastry is... bready? You know, kinda bland, but not in a bad way. Wow, flavors are hard to describe! Many foods combine these various groups, like a chocolate donut is both pastry and chocolate, an apple pie has both fruit and pastry, an Andes mint is both mint and chocolate, with a little cream to boot (the mint part of it is fairly creamy). A cream cheese raspberry danish has Fruit, Cream, and Pastry! Cream and Pastry are in fact the only two groups that can be with fruit, ever.

There, now you know what the Sweet Groups are. Be sure to try it at home - examine the sweets you eat and try to determine to which groups they belong. It's good for your education. Now, let's see how the Sweet Groups can work together! The following chart, known worldwide as the "House Of Sweets", due to its shape (actually called the "Gingerbread House" in Eastern European countries), indicates just how Sweet Groups may be combined to create something that tastes good, instead of grotesque and horrible:

House Of Sweets

Sweets should only be combined where arrows connect them, so for instance, Spice should never be used with Pastry. And while Chocolate works well with Spice, Pastry, and Cream, you can't use it to 'link' Spice to Pastry - do not create a Chocolate Mint Baklava. Mikey would not like it. And note how the Fruit group and the Chocolate group are GROSS together!!! Scientifically speaking.
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  MTV-2OON! 08:32 PM -- Tue February 3, 2004  

I had a serious problem sleeping last night. It was really awful - if I laid awake with my eyes open, I was okay, except for a Live song pounding through my head at hyper volume, and a sensation that my heart was racing even though it didn't actually seem to be upon actual inspection (not that I pulled it out to check, but I've discovered there's a way to detect the rate at which your heart is beating through external means - I call it "taking a pulse", and I plan to patent it soon, because apparently patenting the blatantly obvious is the thing to do these days). But when I closed my eyes, I'd immediately fall sort of asleep, only awake. My mind would race around doing something weird, I didn't really understand what, but it was vaguely related to the videogame I was playing yesterday (Rygar for the PS2), but not really connected, and I didn't play the game that long that it should've invaded my brain... it wasn't like one of those awful Tetris fever-dreams, just my mind going nuts. I was seriously going over everything I had eaten, wondering if I had had a whole bunch of caffeine or somehow some kind of speed had been laced in my food. Seriously!

Anyway, around 3AM, I gave up and decided 'occupying' my brain was the way to go (occupying goes in quotes because...) by watching TV. I did. I saw a lot of cool stuff on the news, and some music videos. There's nothing else on at 3am. But on MTV2, I saw an ad that was disturbing. They were advertising their upcoming MTV-2OON Weekend, as in Toon weekend. They were going to be showing anime all weekend. On MTV2. If you're not familiar with it, MTV2 is the channel MTV created to pretend that they still show videos, since they discovered recently that there simply wasn't any time to show them between reality shows. Actually, I take that back. They DO show them between reality shows. Literally! During the credits of every one of their shows, they show a little clip of a video. And that's about it for MTV's video playing. So they brought MTV2 out for the people who actually wanted to see some sort of fusion of music and television on Music Television. It took about 3 months for them to start showing shows on MTV2. But they still mostly showed videos for a while.

Ladies and gentlemen, that age has past. Just as you can know you are at the end of the universe when you see a Starbuck's across the street from a Starbuck's, MTV2OON is the end of music television. When the all-music-video channel dedicates an entire weekend to showing NO MUSIC VIDEOS, it is the end of music television. This was an end we all knew was coming, the signs have been there for years. Seen VH1 in the past 2 years? It's a fashion network, except when it's being overrun with Top 100 lists, or sometimes they mix it up with Top 101 lists, ot Top 87 lists. And just in case you haven't seen it, I want to be clear - these top lists are NOT lists of top music videos. They are Top Car Crashes, Top Sexy Moments In Entertainment, Top Pizza Toppings, Top Funny Moments In Icelandic News Broadcasting, and other such gems. Sometimes, they'll do something like "I Love The 80's", and pretend it has some bearing on music by mentioning 80's music, but you'll note that even when they discuss music videos in it, they just show clips of them, not the actual videos themselves!

So I have two thoughts on all this. The first I had while my mind was racing around in circles seeing this ad last night, and it's quite simple. It appears that music video television is simply not a profitable venture. And that makes sense if you think about it - do people really sit down and just watch videos nonstop? There's nothing investing them in it, it's a very easy thing to drop out of and do something else. Unlike a TV show, nothing is there to make them sit through the commercials for what's coming up next - because whatever it is, it's totally unrelated to what just aired (except possibly in the same genre, which if we're talking MTV in the past 5 years, would be HIP HOP augh), and on top of that, they don't even know what it's going to be, so there's absolutely no reason for them to care. Their favorite video ever might be coming up, but nobody tells them that, so why stick around? Anyway, I think the path that MTV1, 2, and VH1 all have taken proves that somebody corporate has discovered the money lies not in playing music videos. It just doesn't work. And if you think about it, it must really not work, because they're replacing music videos, which they don't pay a dime to create (don't know - do they pay royalties when showing them? Or maybe have to pay some fee to acquire the rights to show them? Probably the latter, which makes it scarier still, because they already paid for all these videos, and they're not showing them!), with reality TV shows which cost them millions to produce and air.

The other thought I had was a little scarier: all these stations have taken to playing brief clips of videos instead of whole videos, in one way or another. Could it be that our attention spans have gotten so bad that a music video is too long and coherent for us to

Ooh, shiny penny!
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  Sneak Peek: Sol Hunt 08:04 PM -- Tue February 3, 2004  

Yay! I'm working on Sol Hunt! I've done almost nothing but develop and tweak the player weapons this whole month. There are now 7 or 8 of them, and each of them has 10 levels of power. You gain experience blowing up aliens which improves the weapons. This shot shows 3 of my favorites.

In the center are the Homies, which are pretty self-explanatory. They home in. Leveling them up makes them home more accurately and fire more rapidly, and of course do more damage.

In the lower-left is the Shocker, which also pretty much tells you what it does. As you level it up, it chains between more enemies. It's a handy weapon because it fires in a straight line, then if it hits a target, it locks on to that target and stays locked until it blows up or you release the trigger, no matter where you move.

The right weapon is the Autocannon, pretty obligatory, but I think I may have hit a videogame record with this weapon: it fires 240 shots per second at its highest level. The shots you see flying off at funny angles are because the more you level it up, the greater the odds that each individual bullet will ricochet off the guy it hits and potentially hit more guys. That adds a pretty negligible amount of damage, but it's a fun effect.

And what's that other ship next to the player? That's your cargo ship. The C-clamp at the front of it opens up to grab your ship when it's time to dock and leave the level. The six pods on it are placeholders for wherever you don't have a cargo bay, turret, or other handy item. You can customize what you want to put in those 6 spots however you like. Your fighter jet is indestructible, so it's your job to protect the cargo ship from harm. Actually, it too is indestructible, but getting hit causes you to lose some of the cargo you're carrying, and since the goal of the game is to make money, that's bad. I haven't decided yet if it also will take real damage that costs money to repair, or can destroy your cargo pods themselves. I don't think such drastic measures will be needed.
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  Recipes 07:10 PM -- Thu January 22, 2004  

You know what I want to rant about? Recipes. In cookbooks, there's (often) a time indicated, or a few different ones, like "this takes 10 minutes to prepare, and 20 minutes to cook, so 30 minutes total". Those times are a load of crap!!!! I am not a master chef (if I was, why would I need these cookbooks anyway?), but I know what I'm doing in there. It took me a solid half hour of work to do something that said it took 5 minutes to prepare. You know why? Because their 5 minutes assumed that I already had everything in the recipe chopped and lined up on my counter... if it was already chopped, I'm done preparing it! CHOPPING IS PREPARING! Who keeps their bell peppers chopped? They'd last a day and a half if you did.

Cookbook authors have prep chefs. They are out of touch.
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  End Of Work 11:55 PM -- Wed January 14, 2004  

Hooray! My copy of the 'Indie Game Development Survival Guide' arrived in the mail. Should be interesting. I like to read stuff about my business. I always feel like I learn new things, then I don't do anything with the info. Good for me!

The game I'm making is to be called something like "Sol Hunt's Cargo Express" or something... the gist is pretty simple: you travel from planet to planet, buying and selling goods. You want to get the best deals on the goods, so buy them where they're cheap, sell them where they're expensive. But to get from place to place requires actually flying through space as in the Sneak Peek I put up. That ship you're flying there is actually only the nose of the entire cargo ship. It breaks off and you fly it around shooting aliens. The main body of the ship remains in the lower middle of the screen, and it's your job, as the invincible nose, to blow up the aliens and physically block the bullets fired at the cargo ship. As it gets hit, the cargo it carries is destroyed, so it's in your interest to protect it. That's the basic gist! Should be a quick, small, arcadey game, with more than a touch of financial management to it. It's intended to be the 'announcement worthy release' for this month, but I am pretty sure it won't be done by the end of the month. It'll be pretty close though. Maybe. Anyway, I may have another announcement worthy thing anyway. I hope I can meet my goals!

So that's my workday. It's short, and easy. That's because I'm my boss. I'm a very nice boss. Now, it's almost 4pm, and as everyone knows, I'm allowed to play videogames at 4pm. So just gotta kill six more minutes...
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  Fresh Air 11:24 PM -- Wed January 14, 2004  

Okay, I'm pretty much calling it quits on my workday now. I've finished the model for the rest of the ship, to my satisfaction at the moment. I will do some more design work, but right now what I'm going to do is go bike to the UPS store! I still don't have anything to ship, but I will check the PO box and see if there are any orders in there. Actually, this has been a really abnormally bad order day - not a peep! And in fact, I've only gotten one email from a customer today. Don't know what the deal is, but it sure is slow. I do have reason to believe there might be an order in the mailbox, so that may be nice. I'll check in one more time, but then I consider this experiment complete! Not really a typical day, actually, but about as lazy as usual. So I'm off to check the PO box and the mailbox.
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  Maxing Out 10:32 PM -- Wed January 14, 2004  

Okay, decision made. I'm gonna go with my original plan, and to that end, I shall now pop into 3DS Max and get to work finishing up another very vital model for the game... the other half of your ship!
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  Sneak Peek: Space Game 10:07 PM -- Wed January 14, 2004  

Here's the space game I'm working on! As the orange and yellow tone of the player ship would suggest, I think this could be a Sol Hunt game, and we can all agree it's about time there was such a thing. The blue stuff is player bullets (and the glowy blue blob is player bullets popping on the Cuboid), and the red blobs are the explosion of another Cuboid. Not much else to say about it!
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  Lunch over 09:31 PM -- Wed January 14, 2004  

Potato & Cauliflower Fritters (it was a recipe in a book... not that impressed with them personally), cheese & onion bread, and yogurt. Man, that sounds like some kind of hippie chow... well, we are low on food that doesn't require serious preparation (the fritters were leftovers, of course). Then a little X-Play, and then I got telemarketed (semi-legitimately... sorta) by American Express, looks like we will be accepting AmEx cards in the near future. I had considered it from the beginning, but never bothered setting it up, as I tend to get very few orders by AmEx (well, zero, but back when I used a payment processor that accepted them, I got very few), and I live by the theory that anybody who has an AmEx card also has a Visa or Mastercard. Why? Because nobody takes Amex!! I have both myself. The AmEx card is only for going to Costco, since it's all they take (very strange, that).

So, technically, it's back to work. But work for now is going to be more mental. I'm going to work out exactly what I want to do with this game, and post up a sneak peek for you to see at some point.
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