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  Workin' 05:18 PM -- Wed January 14, 2004  

I've been taking my game, which consisted of a spaceship you could move around on a screen of stars, doing nothing, and implementing bullets. I really like getting a game to the state of being able to move around and shoot. There's a lot of freedom then to tweak things and see what they do. You can try crazy fast fire rates, really big bullets, super fast movement, slippery movement, dashing abilities, all kinds of things. This is where the true feel of the game is made, I think. How it feels to control the player - that's one of the most important elements of the game. Don't you just hate games where the control doesn't feel right? It's also nice because every little bit of code is a major change and has real visible effects.

Bullets aren't in yet, but mostly. Then I will play around with it for a ridiculous amount of time without making any real progress. I play a lot with special effects too - this spaceship already spews particle fire from its engines, and it can't even shoot yet (not to mention there are no enemies). So what is this game? Never you mind.

I also cleaned the litter box, because a certain cat has issues. It's all glamour and glitz here at Hamumu HQ!
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  Web done 04:42 PM -- Wed January 14, 2004  

Well, the web is never truly done... when I'm supposed to be working, I constantly pop back in and read the latest updates on the different sites. It's an addiction. But now that it's basically done, I need to come up with what I'm going to work on! Just yesterday I got the very basics working on my latest project, so I think I'll hit that some more, maybe end up with something a little bit playable. Until yesterday, I hadn't done any real programming in forever, it's weird and fun. But first, I gotta do that reboot the update told me to do. I'll let you know how my work is coming in a little while!
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  E-mail done 03:44 PM -- Wed January 14, 2004  

There's a grey kitty standing in front of my monitor, so I can't see what I'm typing. Ah, she moved. Turns out my email was all spam except one from Netflix asking me to rate the last movie we returned to them (American History X, 5 stars). Sadly, no orders. Extra sad because I don't get to tell you about packing up orders and biking them down to the UPS Store to mail. Plus it means I'll have to find some other way to get exercise today. Now to the websites! Oh, fat kitty jumped off my lap, I better go put away my breakfast dishes.

Okay, did that and got a water bottle. We keep a collection in the fridge (refilled with fridge water of course, we're not yuppies) and go through several a day - good health to drink water, you do it too! NOW! I always have a water bottle with me. I also turned on WinAmp. I've converted every one of my CDs into MP3s on my computer, so I can actually shuffle through ALL of my CDs at once, which is pretty cool to me because I like them all, and I like to be surprised. Plus, no waiting for them to cycle!

Okay, really to the websites now. I read a lot of blogs, a couple videogame news/review sites, and a couple game developer discussion places. I always end up burning far too much time in the morning reading them. Let's see how much!
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  Waking Up 03:30 PM -- Wed January 14, 2004  

Here we go! It's 7:22am, and I'm awake, showered, and eating Honey Puffs, which are generic Honeycomb, with OJ, because it isn't breakfast if there's no OJ. My lovely wife is going to work right now. First steps of the day: connect to IRC to loiter silently in the #ludumdare channel, open my email and go through all the spams, deleting one by one (in case one of them for some odd reason is a real email). Yay, now I have a big fat kitty in my lap! This morning there are 115 items in my inbox, thanks to SpamAssassin, which killed hundreds more. Oh no, a windows update has arrived! I'll have to reboot after it's installed. Okay, I'll get to my email and spend an outrageous amount of time browsing my favorite websites (but not as long as usual, thanks to that eerie feeling of being watched!), then get back to you and tell you ALL about it. Lucky you.
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  Tomorrow's Journal 09:15 PM -- Tue January 13, 2004  

I came up with a brilliant and wonderful idea: tomorrow, I shall document in excruciatingly dull detail every aspect of my workday to you, as it happens, in this very journal. Ever wanted to know what a typical (or atypical, how will we know in advance?) day for an indie game developer is like? I didn't think you did, but I've been pretty lazy lately, so I can call this work while at the same time having it not really be. There's been so much administrative mumbo-jumbo starting off this year (very little of which is actually finished!) that things are out of sync all around. Maybe having to document what I'm doing in front of an audience will force me to get things done. I'll also put up a Sneak Peek of what I'm working on, because you deserve it. It'll be a surprise!

So come on back tomorrow and check in often, because I'll be posting often!
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  The Patch! 09:35 PM -- Thu January 8, 2004  

The Supreme patch is here. Now how about if this one is the last one, okay!? We can dream.

In other news, I woke up at 5am this morning with a cold. That's pretty lame. So I'm being a slacker today. In fact, writing this entry is my procrastination from working on TOP SECRET PROJECT NAMED RIGHT HERE WHAT COULD IT BE OH TOO BAD YOU WILL HAVE TO FIND OUT LATER. With my new goals for the year, I feel constantly behind and in need of seriously hammering on this keyboard. But I'm not doing it too much.

Actually, I spent the entire day two days ago working on my sales tax forms (to send in the sales tax I've collected to the government). It's really darn complicated to calculate that stuff, you'd think it'd be easy when you have files of the exact amount you collected, but nooooo... they make you break it down in 17 different ways and put it all back together to discover, voila, it was the same number you started with! Actually, part of the complexity of the task was the fact that it wasn't the same number. Turns out the number I had for how much tax I had collected was wrong... stupid automated system (not mine, mind you!) at Linkpoint was doing it wrong. I think it was counting the tax I had refunded on refunded orders. Anyway, I figured that out by the next day and finally finished it. Now just one other major government issue, and I can relax for about a month, until it's time to actually file income tax! Augh!

I'm gonna add something else to my One Thing A Month plan. I'll do one major marketing task a month. My coffers have accumulated a disgusting pile of cash because I never spend any on marketing. Time to fix that. I have some ideas...
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  Happy New Year! 11:27 PM -- Mon January 5, 2004  

Wow, it's been quite a holiday break. Officially, I suppose I didn't get a break (except those 4 days we actually closed the office), but when my wife is on vacation, I pretty much join her, and don't feel guilty about it. So many cool presents, so much awesome relaxation and accomplishing of nothing. I can't even guess how many movies we watched.

But now the new year has started, and we all know the rules for that: You make up a bunch of lofty goals and behavior mods. Then you ignore them. A new year always feels like a fresh start, and it's always exciting. In addition to the whole numerical newness, I think the fact that we have that huge wad of vacation and holiday time, and such great excess and indulgence, I think that's why it feels so much like starting over. You work all year to get to that sparkling blast of joy and fun, then when it's over, with the last champagne cork popped, reality sets in. It's time to work again. I think it's anthropologically significant that most of the biggest holidays are in the middle of winter, but that's a whole other story.

My goals? They are big as always. I'll share some. I intend to release something every single month of 2004. 'Something' can be as minimal as an add-on world, though. I qualify it as anything worthy of sending out the announcement newsletter. I've written up plans of just what I will be releasing for almost every month, and there's a lot in there that should be surprising and fun (obviously we couldn't release a whole new game every month...). On top of that, there will be one improvement to the website each month. They may be too small to notice sometimes. I'll think you'll notice when I get up the improvement I have in mind for this month. But the main thing is to get me focusing on making the website better and easier to use. Once it's up and working, I tend to just forget about it and dive into more game development. A website should always be an ongoing project.

There's lots of other stuff, of course, but those are the kickers, businesswise. I am hoping to really overcome my inertia problem, Hamumu has been feeling sluggish for a while. One part of work I always enjoy is planning (designing games of course being the ultimate! I do that purely for entertainment), so these first couple of days are great. Too bad they're under the looming pressure of getting my recordbooks up to par! I've got a lot to do...
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  Foxtrot Goes Dumb! 05:44 PM -- Sun December 21, 2003  

Check out the Foxtrot comic from Dec. 21st! Could it be a Hamumu reference, or a sign that great minds think alike? I don't know the answer to that one, but it's pretty cool! Thanks to asmussen for pointing it out.
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  Murray Crimmus 08:39 PM -- Sat December 20, 2003  

Well, it's been forever since I journaled anything! I've been heavily caught up in holiday mayhem. This is the season of crazy stuff going on all over, and I get so overwhelmed by it. I should just learn to admit it upfront and label December a month off from any kind of development. What IS going to be taken off is 4 days - we're closing from the 21st to the 25th, so feel free to order stuff and send us emails during that time, but we won't be responding or filling your orders until the 26th.

So, what have we been doing around here? Not much, I suppose... I have lots of new video games I have been playing. I'm quite far in the endlessly frustrating Simpsons Hit & Run. Note to self: do NOT force the player to exhibit perfection in order to proceed. Perfection is reserved for big bonuses and bragging rights. Basic game progression should only require mediocre skill. If you fail a Simpsons mission repeatedly (which you will!), you eventually are given the option to simply skip it, but then you don't find out what happens as a result of that mission, and you'd have to go back anyway and do it later to truly finish the game. It's just simple things they could've done better (REALLY simple!): like the race I'm stuck on, you're given 2:11 to finish 3 laps. I have some runs that I do good on, some I do bad on, but my best laps of all run about 40 seconds. That adds up to 120 seconds, so 2 minutes. So if I did my absolute best on all 3 of the laps I have to do consecutively, I'd squeeze by with 11 seconds to spare. That is not how it should be. If they added 20 seconds to the alloted time, almost anybody could complete it (frankly, it'd still be high pressure to me!), and skilled people could do really well on it. Add in rewards for doing exceedingly well, like bonus coins, and bam, it's fun for everyone. Rewards for the exceptional, progress for the competent, and only the incompetent need fear failure, as well they should (then leave in that Skip option for them too!).

Oops, I ranted. I got Fire Emblem for the GBA too, it's really cool. Yay! Happy holidays to all, and to all a good day.
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  A Grim Christmas 10:57 PM -- Wed December 3, 2003  

Been Christmas shopping lately, which is very fun. Well, it's fun shopping for my wife. I don't like shopping for other people. Of course, I just get her everything I want. In a nod to Homer Simpson, we deem any gift chosen for the purposes of gratifying the giver instead of the givee a "bowling ball". Don't get me wrong though, most of what I got her was on her (very extensive) wish list! And no, of course there are no bowling balls involved. At least not figuratively...

What's happening with Grimbelina? Isn't that the next Hamumu game!? Why yes, it is. But having been caught up in doing art for external projects, and dealing with family time (it's that time of year, friends!), nothing has gotten done on Grimbelina except some idea consolidating and planning. The end result is that I came up with a very wacky experiment to try. This is it, and it's just totally crazy: I will design the entire game in complete detail BEFORE I make it! Can you imagine such a thing!? I'm gonna try it and see what happens. The idea is to prevent the insane rampant feature creep one finds in Hamumu titles. I don't want to spend 6 months tacking on more and more little things - I'll have a fixed set of features, and my only task will be to implement them. The risk is that the ideas I have simply won't work, but that's why it's an experiment (and we all know it'll be a lot more flexible than I plan). The real question is, how long am I gonna spend planning? And will I learn how to make a detailed and coherent document that's easy to follow?

The overall design is becoming clearer all the time, like a ship coming out of the fog. An idea I had for Supreme With Cheese is going to be almost a central focus of this game. See, I had this notion, which is much too big to cover in detail here, but basically, you could play any level you've already beaten as a new character, Happy Stick Ninja. He levels up by beating badguys, and you can assign points he earns to different skills. Then here's the nifty bit: you take him online and you can watch him compete against other players' Happy Stick Ninjas, using the skills they've chosen (it's impossible to just max out all the skills - you pick and choose the style you want). You don't control it, it's all computerized, but it's a chance to see how your planning works out (since the same computer brain is controlling both sides). Grimbelina will feature something similar, with online rankings. You can get heavily into that and try to develop the greatest character ever to dominate the rankings, or you can ignore it entirely and just play the game single-player. I've got a good feeling about this...
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