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  April's Coming, Fools! 02:28 AM -- Sun March 30, 2008  

And just what are you going to do about it?

Here's one idea I am thinking about: Script Frenzy. It's like Nanowrimo, except you write a movie script. I checked out their explanation of the formatting and such of a script and it seemed fun and easy. The goal is to get 100 pages, which isn't all that much with the way movies are formatted. I want to give it a try. I've thought of about 20 ideas that appeal, but none that kick me in the teeth and call me Grandma.

Another thing I will definitely be doing is LD48 #11. Yes, time for another 48 hour game, to be sure.

Another thing I have in mind is to get all this garbage out of my sinuses and lungs, though I don't yet know a very efficient method for that. Kleenex doesn't seem to make a lot of progress.

I also hope to get somewhere on my game projects, but I can't imagine where exactly at the moment. This little "vacation" has been tiring.

Oh... yeah... and taxes. Great.
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  Spoke Too Soon 12:32 AM -- Sat March 29, 2008  

Still sick. In fact, my fever got worse the second day. Doesn't seem to be entirely gone today either. I know this makes for exciting reading, so that's why I share it with you. Actually, I share it with you to explain why I have nothing of interest to share with you. I must be doing better though, because today I was able to play an hour or two of WoW! I came up with lots of good LL3 ideas while tossing and turning in fever dreams. Well, they seemed good at the time. Perhaps when I recover, giant poodles wearing high heels that build plastic candy canes in honor of McDonald's new value menu won't seem like such a great plan. That's a joke, son, I had real ideas. My fever didn't go that high.
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  Sick 10:54 PM -- Thu March 27, 2008  

If you noticed I was unusually quiet yesterday, it's because I was righteously ill. I am definitely still recuperating today, so nothing of interest to report, just glad to be feeling somewhat better. Mmm, gatorade.
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  Sneak Peek: Loonyland 3 05:19 PM -- Tue March 25, 2008  

Okay, first of all, I clearly don't have a remotely good system for getting drawn images into the computer, because this is real ugly. But here is the map I worked on recently:

If you are a true Loonyfan, you may recognize this place from the overall map of the continent of Loonyland. It is, as it says, Friendship Fields, which is the westernmost country in Loonyland. It is where the next Loonyland takes place (Titan Tunnels/Age Of Heroes/etc). The game itself will contain some form of this map (presumably much cleaner...), probably. You won't get to wander this land, rather you will select quests from the map, and be magically sent to that spot to do the quest. I'm thinking about having Phileas fly you there.

Making the map is really about throwing stuff on to get ideas of what sort of things there will be in the world, what will be there to move the plot along. Not much plot, of course, but a quest is in itself a little bit of a plot. I now have a grand idea for the overarching plot, by which I mean a real simple basic thing, but something big enough to be an ending anyway. The main consideration driving the whole thing (though you'll do all kinds of little quest series with their own mini-stories) is that the neighboring country, Summer Spring, is at war with Friendship Fields. I don't know why yet, but I think we can all rest assured that it's a really stupid reason. You can see on the map if you have good eyes the North War Camp and South War Camp at two of the bridges. Good place to hold the enemy off, tactically. Sadly, the middle bridge lacks a war camp, which makes no sense, but it means that I can have you visit that town and find it abandoned and destroyed. Maybe that's the start of the war, why not? You would think a place like Friendship Fields would be more friendly than this.

Also, if you are a true true Loonyfan, you may notice what's different about this map from the overall map. Don't forget - this game takes place long in the past. Wonder if it will be about that change?
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  Points #2 09:31 PM -- Fri March 21, 2008  

I'm making a note here of my huge success!

Points have driven me to finish up the last issues with the scrolling map in Happyponygate, so now it handles specials and prevents guys from respawning if they already exist (you can now drive the one existing car around, and discover that it's not waiting for you again when you return). Then with that done, nothing immediately came to mind to work on with that game, so I fired up Titan Tunnels! I got it set to import skills and charms from text files, which was a significant matter, especially when I completely deleted the entire contents of skills.cpp. There are now hundreds of errors when you try to compile, since the old hardcoded skills were referenced all throughout the code. So cleaning that up will be a big task. Anyway, got some chores done too. Huge success.

If only there were some cake.
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  Sneak Peek: Happyponygate 08:43 PM -- Thu March 20, 2008  

The points are working! Or so it seems. The first day of a new system is always great. I should just make new systems every other day.

Anyhoooo... I created 3 new Avatar Bits today which you can find in the Yerfshop, allowing you to make a bear or perhaps a half-bear/half-duck monster. Someday there will be duck body parts. It's also worth noting that the bear looks really good in the Hoody body.

So, back to the real point - I worked on Happyponygate today and accomplished something I had been thinking about over and over for a week or two. When I originally started the project and was trying to keep it as simple as possible (ah, dreams of a second Sleepless Hollow), I didn't think a freely scrolling map would be possible. But it only took this morning to do it! This morning and a couple weeks' worth of intensive thinking sessions while I was walking. So that's what I built. Now, I make the town in 100x100 maps, and those maps are seamlessly connected, along with an infinite forest surrounding the town. So there's just one map as far as the player is concerned! And it oughtta be big, I hope.

This has other nifty benefits, like when you destroy things or kill monsters, they respawn. But not based on time or anything, just that if you travel far enough from where you did it and return, they are back. All without me actually doing anything to define it, it's just a side effect of the map system. Also another odd side effect that is not particularly useful is that you can walk into the forest surrounding the city and continue on... forever. I could make the woods more dense to actually block your movement, but it's fairly amusing to think that someone might just keep on walking in the hopes of finding something (and yes... I could actually set a special zone up so that if you go 20 screens off to the east, you end up in a secret area! Don't think I would, though, that's cruel).

So I'm pretty excited about it, and it works very smoothly after I got the kinks out. Building the maps will be sort of annoying, though, since I'll have to make them align perfectly. I'm sure there will be a lot of flipping back and forth to get that stuff right. I may also have other maps for interiors, that don't do the seamless effect. But really, I don't think the game needs them. There'll be plenty of city to wander without ever going inside anything. Oh, but I just remembered there are the Happyponygates to consider. So it will need to support that for those.

There's a productive day for you. How will the point system fare tomorrow?
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  Want Some Chevre? 08:56 PM -- Wed March 19, 2008  

Fun for me! My friend Brian (need wedding photography? briankinyon.com) got World of Warcraft, and we started new guys to play together from the beginning. It's super easy with 2 people working together, and it's fun! It has led to some staying up late as we struggle to coordinate a cross-continental schedule, but it is wowsomely fun to do.

And that is currently my problem - I'm definitely suffering the pain that so many many before have gone through with WoW taking over their lives. I've set the parental controls so I can't do it before 3 PM, but I'm still totally unproductive before 3PM. It's like it saps your will to function (much like the web does, which is where I spend most of the rest of my day). I don't actually think it's really WoW's fault, but it makes both a convenient scapegoat and a convenient outlet for the nonproductive urges that are currently crushing my success.

So like so many times before, it's time for a new productivity plan. Here's the one I'm trying now: I get points. I have these cool little colored chips that stack up, and it takes 18 of them to stack up on my desk to the height of a little side-wall my desk has, so I declare that it takes 18 points for me to be done working for the day and be free to do what I wish. I earn those points with various productive things, including chores as well as work (I haven't been cleaning this place up too much, either), and even some basic exercise things. The exercise stuff works doubly well - I'm motivated by the prospect of getting points as well as the fact that by doing it I can avoid working. So I should be very healthy soon! Of course, things like that and other little things are just one point, so they won't get my day done quickly. If instead I accomplish tasks for work, suddenly those points get burned through a lot more quickly!

We'll see how that goes. Seems like a good plan anyway. Working for yourself makes motivation really the biggest challenge.
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  Hot Or Not? 01:48 AM -- Tue March 18, 2008  

Well, now you can rate Add On Worlds! Since often times worlds have been put together in world packs, you'll just have to rate the packs as a whole (which is fair - the player has to download the pack as a whole). Be kind to your fellow builders if you ever want them to build you anything again. And if you don't, be kind anyway, because your rating will be deleted if it's rude!

It is of course Web Monday, so that's what happened, along with a few new bits of Fan Art getting uploaded at last. I guess it may not sound like much, but hey, there's a whole new(ish) website feature, right?

Since a couple weeks ago, it has been spring here. Flowers popped out all around, the trees started budding, and it was warm and awesome. This past week, I had the windows open most of the day, with lovely warmth flowing through.

Then it snowed Saturday night. A lot. Now it's freezing cold, though the sun is struggling to right the wrongs of the weekend. Truly, these are the end days. Dogs and cats, living together... it's mass hysteria!
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  P.S. 06:30 PM -- Fri March 14, 2008  

I forgot to add a way to make money... I don't like that in Moon Invaders, the Mines reward you for performing badly (the longer you take to finish a level, the more money you make from mines). Well, I sort of like it, it creates a weird competing pressure, a reason not to be as powerful as possible. But anyway, I didn't want that here, so here is what I added:

SCRAPPER
Upgrades: flight speed, capacity, life
	Launches a Scrapbot.  If it's destroyed, another one is launched immediately.  Scrapbots go collect the wreckage of your enemies and haul them back to the Scrapper to be turned into Moonbucks.  This is the only way you make money, so having a reasonable supply of Scrappers is important.  Wreckage fades away if it's not collected for a long time, so you lose out on potential money if you don't have enough Scrappers.  You can upgrade the Scrapbot movement speed and how much wreckage it can carry.

(and under RESEARCH OPTIONS):
Scraptanium – Scrapbots are invincible.  Scrappers, of course, are not.

Note I added a corresponding research option. I always like symmetry, and having a research option that applies to each building is nice (though one option covers two buildings instead, and there are two options that cover all buildings, but I like that too).

And I also wanted to add that you can see here that this isn't really an informative enough document to make a game. It's really just notes to help me remember that I had this idea at all. The various details only really exist because it's fun for me to make them up. But now, years in the future, I can dig this file up and read it and have a laugh. Or I can actually build it! Who knows?
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  It's not a LOT like work, but... 06:05 PM -- Fri March 14, 2008  

Fridays are called Design Day at Hamumu lately, which means I get to play! Not actually play, but play around with ideas. Discussions in chat lately got me playing Moon Invaders (You should too, it's so fun, and you know I don't normally toot any horns). I was thinking I wanted to make Moon Invaders 2, so I thought I'd share with you the idea I just wrote up for that. It's kind of instructive also in that you can see how I write up ideas in rough form. Not a lot of numbers to be had, because those will always come out in testing - not much point deciding on them now! It's more about how it will feel and what options the player will have. So with no more such ado, here is the design document I wrote today:

MOON INVADERS 2

Oh no, now that the invaders have landed, they are heading into your secret caverns beneath the moon's surface where your moon people actually live!

This is still a tower defense game, but now it's a side scroller.  You are the enemies in a side-scrolling shooter.  The enemies actually maneuver and shoot.  There's an element of attrition, because of that.  Turrets take enormous abuse before dying, though.

You get to build your things on the top or bottom wall, which affects their usefulness, and badguys will try to avoid them, or maybe attack them.

LAUNCH BAY
Upgrades: rate, life, life of ships, damage
	Launches little suicidal fighters that dive into the enemies.  They can be shot.

BIG BAY
Upgrades: rate, life, ship life, damage
	Launches big attack ships that fly up and down shooting at enemies.  They gradually head towards the level start, so they can only do so much damage.  They pass right through enemies themselves, only dangerous by their bullets.

MISSILE TURRET
Upgrades: rate, damage, life, radius
	Fires homing missiles at a low rate.  They do big damage over a radius.

GUN TURRET
Upgrades: rate, damage, life
	Fires very rapidly and not too accurately.

TRACTOR BEAM
Upgrades: slowdown, pull, width, life
	Fires a beam that slows any enemy caught in it, and drags them toward the tractor beam.  It won't drag them closer than super close, no crashing.  The slowdown effect can reach 100% with max points (or with two or more tractor beams working together), but it is capped at 90%, and for each extra enemy in the field after the first, the effect is weakened on all of them by 5% (still, you can get 90% on many of them at once by having an overabundance of beam to start with).

CRUSHER
Upgrades: rate, limit, life
	Fires a death orb that can't miss and instantly kills the target.  Unfortunately, it will only fire at targets that are below 5% health.  Upgrading Limit raises how healthy the target can be.  It can also of course only fire so often, hence the Rate upgrade.

SHOCK GUN
Upgrades: effect, rate, targets, duration, life
	Fires an electrical beam at 1 or more targets, shocking them so they take more damage from all other attacks.  Effect upgrades boost how much extra damage they take.

RESEARCH OPTIONS:

Shields – All buildings have shields, which take damage before their life does.  The shields replenish over time, rapidly.

Repair bots – All buildings repair slowly over time.

Triple Shot – Attack ships fire in a triple shot formation.

Shrapnel – When a Crusher explodes, it fires out shrapnel in 8 directions, each doing 1/8 the damage that the crusher did (so raising Limit will boost this damage, as will the enemies simply being tougher).

Overload – Shock guns overload the weapon systems on the affected ships, cutting their fire rate in half.

Piercing Shots – Gun Turret shots pass through enemies to hit more.

Knockback – Missiles and kamikazes push the enemies back when they hit.

Shield Drain – Tractor Beams vaporize any shields the affected victim may have.

ENEMIES

Weenies – regular guys who shoot straight ahead.  They won't attack turrets, but try to line up to shoot your ships.

Bombers – Bigger, tougher, slower guys who fire diagonally up and down.  Their shots will of course hit turrets a lot.  They don't maneuver at all, just head in a line.

Boss – Super big, super slow, super tough, equipped with shields that replenish over time.  Fires a big spread shot that tends to annihilate your fighters and hurt your turrets a lot.  Also has a turret that fires directly at the nearest target of any type.

Missile – Doesn't attack at all, just rushes in very fast, with very little life.

Evil Missile – A red missile, just like the regular missile, but even less life – why evil?  Because it tries to divebomb your turrets (suicidal) for huge damage.  You definitely want to stop these.

Cruisers – Has a turret that aims at your nearest target, and shields.  Tougher than Weenies, weaker than Bombers (except for those darn shields).

Waves consist of an arrangement of all the enemy types (usually not all, of course).


So what do you think of that? Don't expect it to get made or anything. It's just another on the immense pile of ideas.
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