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  Lego My Legos 02:20 AM -- Sat January 5, 2008  

The "big present" I got this Christmas (I got lots of great stuff, by the way, mostly DVDs) was something perhaps a bit embarrassing for an elderly gent such as myself, but I announce it anyway! It was a Lego train set and a bunch of extra tracks for it, and a train station.

I was supposed to also get Rock Band as my other really big present, but it is unfindable for PS2 these days (except for the version that comes with no instruments, and that doesn't do me much good!). So I spent the relative money involved, and maybe a bit of Christmas money, on more Lego trains! Those are awaiting me in my PO box at this very moment. Too bad it's too late to pick them up.

I've got it all set up in our 'retreat' (a small room that has no real purpose, off of our bedroom). I had tons of legos in my youth, so I am using those to build stuff - houses, stores, cars, etc. It's going to be a whole little tiny wonderland. I've taken pictures of it so far, and I'll get more as it builds up. I want to capture the process as the city slowly expands. I want to get set up to build a nifty timelapse video of it going up.


That's the first shot! It's actually got a building added on to that now, but I haven't taken a picture yet. As you can see, it is constructed on delightful foam jigsaw pieces. We got those years ago, and they are a nice surface for exercising, or as we see here, legos. My second train will add a bunch more tracks, so I'll have to find a way to work those in. Wish I had more space! Also, you can see assorted ground plates scattered around. I just dug them out for future use.

See, I've always wanted lego trains, since I was maybe 12 and they were only available in Europe. I always thought train sets were really cool, something about all the miniature stuff. A Lego train set is ten times as good, because you can rearrange it freely and don't need all kinds of expensive paint and bits from the hobby shop. On top of that life-long interest, I also wanted something simple, creative, yet brainless, so I could just zone out when I am totally tired of work for the day, but my wife still isn't home to entertain me. So this is my new hobby! I'm pretty excited about it, however dorky you want to call me. It really fills a specific need I've had that to date has left me sitting there browsing around the web for hours at a time, not actually doing anything of interest, and ruining my eyes and spine.

I don't expect to be cranking out the city rapidly, but it's nice to have it sitting around whenever I feel like messing with it.
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  Jack's Shack 06:29 AM -- Fri January 4, 2008  

I went to see the setting of Short Fuse live and in person today! A bit late for background research, I suppose. We took a hike way up into the hills with a friend of ours who knew where we were going, and checked out an abandoned mine shaft and a shack that belonged to... well, somebody at some point. A miner? It didn't look that old! It did have creepy clown paintings in it, though. Anyway, we didn't get to go in the mine, given that it was a 20 foot drop straight down with a rickety ladder built a hundred years ago, but we looked in. It was a good hike. There was also a spot we saw, quite a ways away from the mine entrance, where a cave-in had obviously happened. That was kind of cool, just to imagine how much of the area under there was lined with tunnels. It's like ants.

I still need to put out a newsletter, but I did get the latest Supreme Add-on up, unannounced. WW6-LM, feel free to grab it. Newsletter tomorrow though. Hiking is very tiring. Good night!
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  Short Fuse Enhanced Edition! 12:46 AM -- Thu January 3, 2008  

I've finally finished the upgraded version of Short Fuse. It's not a huge overhaul, but the editor is dramatically improved. In addition, there are a bunch of new game elements, and 5 new levels to use those elements:
  • Keys & Doors - As you can imagine, you need the keys to open the doors.
  • Heartbreakers - Don't touch them! If you get one, your multiplier drops to zero, meaning no more points for you for the rest of the level.
  • Rockets & Targets - My personal favorite. When you light them, they launch off and hit the nearest Target, exploding.
  • Teleporters - A little more interesting than in most games, simply due to the rules of this game. See the new level Resumption to understand why it's interesting.
So that's what I spent my day doing! I also have finished testing a late WW6 world at last, and should have that and a newsletter for you tomorrow! Enjoy! And make me some new levels!

P.S. I resubscribed to WoW on New Year's Eve. Goodbye cruel world!
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  2008 Hamumu Planumu 05:56 PM -- Tue January 1, 2008  

Well, looking ahead to the future, things are always a bit hazy. It's all guesswork and hopes. But the very act of writing this will have some hand in determining that future. I'll be sure to bookmark this entry so I can refer to it and see what I was supposed to have accomplished when I'm wandering around doing nothing.

Major Releases
  • Adventures Of Bouapha 3: ??? - Coming soonish.
  • Loonyland: Titan Tunnels - I still want to do this, but we'll really have to see. I left the code in complete disarray when I turned to other, more urgent, projects, so I may be stuck when I go back to it. When something is completely torn to shreds like that, I'm mentally holding up the various pieces in my mind, and taking on other projects lets them drop back into a jumbled mess. I think it's not as bad all that, though. I'll have to see.
  • Another Smallish Game - Like Sleepless Hollow. I don't know what, I don't know when, I just think there really ought to be one! I had huge fun making that, and it only took a couple of months, and it's provided a lot of joy (and frustration) and proved very popular. Maybe this could be a Sol Hunt game. Those always get finished, right?
Minor Releases
  • Another 48-Hour Game in April - The next Ludum Dare contest is in April, so I should hopefully have another little mini game for you then!
  • Another one! - There will likely be another Ludum Dare contest later in the year too, like this one we just had in December, so that makes 2 such gamelets.
  • 3 More Webgames - I like having the webgames. They keep people coming back and provide an automated way for people to have fun and accumulate Yerfbucks. I know exactly what I want to do for the next one (you might be able to guess what it is if you own a Wii), and then there should be 2 more in this coming year. I don't know what they'll be about, but surely they will entertain!
  • Avatar Bits! - Hundreds of them!
  • Custom Title Changes - As was written in the scrolls of eld, someday you'll finally be able to buy title changes in the Yerfshop.
  • Something Else In The Yerfshop - Something other than avatar bits and custom titles should be buyable in the Yerfshop. More stuff to spend your Yerfbucks on is a good thing.
  • T-Shirts - It's really way past about time for there to be Hamumu t-shirts. This is something that just keeps hopping onto that back burner and getting burned up. But in 2008? Maybe! Sorta maybe. Honestly, I'd just like to have some for myself!
Other Stuff To Do
  • Daily Journal - I need to get down to putting something in this Journal every day. We can call that one a New Year's Resolution, but that just makes it sound scary. It won't be too boring, there really is new stuff worth mentioning almost every day. I am just a lazy old man.
  • Finish This Stupid Site! - There are still things on the site that just aren't done. Fan Art page needs integration into Dumb Accounts (and lots of fan art is unposted still), My Downloads is still not running (that's 99% done, I really just have to test it and upload it), and other little issues.
  • Integration - Working on code to allow future games to really tightly integrate with Dumb Accounts. That in-game chat I've talked about, progress stored on the server, achievements on the Dumb Page, and so on. Not much retroactive, though. The older games will just suffer.
Pipe Dreams
  • A Musical - It's still my dream to release a game that's a musical. It's just got to happen someday!
  • The Loonyland Series and Adventures Of Bouapha - The entire mythology of Loonyland is written. It's all worked out, it's got more twists than your large intestine, and it's awesome. Now all I have to do is make the 4 or 5 games that make it happen. Huge games. Sigh. But I mentioned the other one because I have figured out what the last Adventure Of Bouapha will be (the name, by the way, is "Final Exam", so don't say I never tell you anything), and it's going to also fit into the Loonyland series, tying the two together. It should come out just before the last Loonyland game. The last Loonyland game (which also has a title, and I'm not telling you!) will completely wrap up the entire saga of Bouapha, Dr. Lunatic, and Happy Stick in a perfect bow. When you finish that game, you'll be able to look back and see how everything fits together from the very beginning. It will be my crowning achievement!! You will weep! So that'll be coming out in 2044.
  • Ichabod Steamshovel: Mythchaser - Writing comics for this guy got me very interested in his character and what he does. I want to someday make him a series of games. They'd be very different - all about going around and finding clues and taking pictures to, of course, chase myths! There's no fighting, just a lot of photography, sneaking, and using various high-tech devices. The idea is quite compelling, though it is nothing more than an idea at this time.
  • An MMORPG - Hey, who doesn't want to make one of those?
So there you have it. Everything I plan to do, everything I hope to do, and a bunch of things I have no intention of doing this year, but like to think about. We'll see what actually happens, won't we?
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  2007 Hamumu Reviewmu 05:01 PM -- Tue January 1, 2008  

Like everybody, I think it's a good idea to do a wrap-up now, and after this, I'll post a look to the year ahead. So let's see what happened this year...

A lot, actually! Much more than usual. The year began with the official release of Loonyland 2 in February, though many many people were already playing the beta version which released in December 2006. That was my first foray into allowing people to buy a beta game. I think it works well for both sides - I get paid sooner, you get a game sooner, I get free testing and lots of it (thanks!), you get input into the finished product. That seemed to be a big hit, so I guess I'll be doing that more in the future!

A couple of months later (in May) saw the release of the Loonyland 2: Collector's Edition, my first experience doing commentary. That was a lot of fun all around, and people do seem to like it!

Then the middle of the year was very quiet. I spent almost all of it working on the new website and Dumb Accounts. I was also clicking away at Loonyland: Titan Tunnels, but not a lot of progress actually occurred.

Then, blammo! The end of the year came! In rapid succession, we had the new website arrive, the release of Sleepless Hollow (I began working on that at the end of August in secret, deciding that for once, I needed to successfully create a Halloween surprise), the release of DumbWords, and the release of T.A.G., and the release of Short Fuse (well, not entirely released yet, but you can play it). We also had The Best Halloween Ever, which indeed was pretty best.

Other highlights of the year:
  • Loonyland 2 and NPC Quest both mentioned in Games For Windows magazine
  • many glowing LL2 reviews around the web
  • Summer Silliness, Halloween Horror, and Winter Wackiness as usual (still count as highlights!)
  • Switching to 'glorious' satellite internet here at the Hamumu HQ... well, it's vastly superior to dialup as long as I'm not gaming on it, anyway.
  • The scary California wildfires which we got to find an alternate backwoods way to drive around when we returned from a trip. Within hours after we got home, we learned that the roads we took were no longer open!
  • Netflix's new Watch Instantly online feature... it may not mean anything to you, but it's been awesome for me!
  • A trip to the emergency room for a fainting spell brought on by the most intense back pain ever, followed by a month of physical therapy and another month of just plain recovering. Maybe we'll say this is highlights & lowlights. Memorable moments.
  • My wife's launch of her own business, Escuela Del Sol (after-school tutoring - I helped on the website!). I absolutely love that she is also doing her own thing. I believe everybody should run their own business, and we can all buy indie things from each other! Down with big corporations!
That's really all there is to 2007. More releases than I can recall of any previous year, and some of our best games ever. A whole new website paradigm, and as you can see with Sleepless Hollow, gradually more website integration going on. Future games will do even better with that. And now that I've played Steam games, I've got more ideas on how to swing that (without being as annoying and intrusive as Steam is...). Now I just need to get an XBox 360 to see what Live achievements are like too! It's research, people!

I'm calling 2007 our best year yet, so we'll have to figure out how to top that. I've got ideas. See the next journal entry!
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