Hamumu Games, Inc. Hamumu Games, Inc.
 - Home - Games - Blog - Halloween - About - 
Page 1/2 2 >
  Mini-LD! 09:12 PM -- Fri May 30, 2008  

Next weekend (June 6th), I am hosting a Mini-LD contest! It's a new thing over at Ludum Dare (lots of new things there lately). It's just like a normal 48-hour contest, except the host gets to dictate what the theme is, can tweak the rules, and set the time. It is scheduled to happen every month except the months where a real LD48 contest is happening. So a little taste of LD48 is always available, none of that crazy 6-month waiting. There's a host list to sign up to host it, just like our own Mafia games.

I haven't figured out what theme/challenge I'm going to use just yet. I have one idea that's pretty interesting, but might be too hard to use. But one thing I have done (see link above) is announce the rule modifications I'll be using. And this might be a good chance for people who feel afraid of real LD48s to get started and give it a try! For this contest, the rules are relaxed and you can use absolutely anything you want (that's legal), instead of having to start from scratch. Heck, you could modify one of my own old LD48 games, since the source is available here. So I'm encouraging anyone with some hope of creating something to give it a shot. It's a good way to get started in the world of 48-hour development. And by the way, it is not judged, so you are your only critic.

You don't need to do any signing up to participate, other than to create an account at the Ludum Dare site. Come on by, it's next weekend.
7 commentsBack to top!
  A Series Of Tubes 09:31 PM -- Thu May 29, 2008  

I'm currently in a very unproductive phase of the Happy Pony Project, but not because I'm not doing work. On the contrary, I'm working like crazy, it's just not yielding results. Not visible ones, anyway. I have been hacking away at internet stuff, and it is pretty fun to do, although usually very exasperating and confusing.

What I have achieved at long last is a miracle of modern technology: a server that doesn't recognize when people connect to it, but a client that does connect to the server! Or it connects to something anyway. If random characters start spilling out of your fax machine, that's me. But, on the positive side, the server can interact with my MySQL database, which is both awesome and a big deal. Equally big is the fact that I managed to create this server and get it running (with a lot of help) on unix. And best of all, it's cross-platform code - I first was testing it on my PC, connecting to myself, which does work. So I can test locally and run across the internet... eventually, once the internet part works.

There's also something else I did recently. I'm not going to link to it, but many people have heard about this stuff in the past - there are people who have developed homemade WoW servers, which is a pretty mind-boggling achievement. They of course made them in order to save $15 a month by pirating this stuff and hack the game up with all kinds of cheats, but that's not why I got it - I'm still paying my money, and I have my server set up for local play only, nobody can log onto it (and I didn't hack it much, I kept things fair! But I did do some tweaking... after all, I'm alone in the world, I can't make money auctioning things to suckers!). I'm sure even this use is probably also illegal, but only under the absolutely ludicrous and inhumane DMCA, so I don't care - it's definitely not any more immoral than taking apart your radio to see how it works.

So playing that offline (and tweaking it) is cool in itself, despite a large number of weird glitchy behaviors (hey, it's homemade), but the real cool part is that I get to see how these people did this. I am looking at the database structure and stuff, and seeing just how sort of semi-simple it really all is. Maybe there really could be a Loonyland MMO... this simple online stuff I'm doing for Happy Pony Fun Time is the first step, anyway!

The stuff I want to have for HPG is all possible just doing HTTP connections, but I wanted to delve deeper than that. It's about time I got a chat system in-game like I've always talked about doing, and I'm going to go from there. I want to do what I can to make this game a community experience instead of a loner adventure. Of course, it will always be a single-player game - nobody will ever be joining you on the battlefield. But wouldn't it be cool if you could buy and build a freakish monster, and then choose another player to unleash it on as a surprise, with a note attached? I also want auto-updating, because I hope to add more stuff to the game over time. No reason London can't magically expand over time!

Ah, but it all starts with getting this little text client to actually transmit "hi" from the computer to the server. Let's hope that can be achieved... someday.
16 commentsBack to top!
  Election Results 08:03 PM -- Tue May 27, 2008  

It's heartening to know that in our official and scientific poll (note: that will only contain the poll results today, but you're welcome to keep on playing it for other things!), all the most important candidates for President were well represented:

OBAMA19
JAMUL11
CLINTON4*
ME3
HARISONFORD1
STUPID1
GORE1
OPRAH1
NOBODY1
MADONNA1
LINCOLN1
COLBERT1
MCCAIN1
CHTULHU1
HOBOMA1**
SCHWARZENEGGER1
NORRIS1
JONSTEWART1
BOUAPHA1

(* I lumped in a vote for "Hillary" with the Clinton votes - assuming that the vote for Hillary was not for Hillary Duff, and that the Clinton votes were not for Bill)
(** Hoboma is obviously his own separate entity, riding the rails and making inspirational speeches from boxcars across the country, and not a misspelling of Obama)

I find it somewhat disappointing that the obvious best candidates, Stewart and Colbert, each only received 1 vote, but at least they tied with Cthulhu. Still, to be fair - Dumbwords players know that the goal is to come up with what other people will come up with, not to state your own preference. So I'm sure at least 85% choose Stewart for themselves, but they figured Obama was a more likely guess. It's nice to know I came in second, too. I'm not announcing my intention run just yet, though. Anyway, this poll was a lot of fun... I wish I could come up with more similar questions to put on Dumbwords.

Things look a little iffy for McCain, being tied with both Stupid and Nobody (the anarchist vote?). Not to mention Lincoln, who is, by most common measures, deceased. And of course Cthulhu and Chuck Norris, both of whom would crush us all beneath their heel/tentacle if elected.

The weirdest part is how this extremely scientific internet poll managed to avoid being overwhelmed by Ron Paul supporters! Actually, scratch that, the real question is why is no one voting for Kodos?
8 commentsBack to top!
  Imaginary Estate 07:09 PM -- Fri May 23, 2008  

I'm feeling like I'm at kind of a stuck point in Happyponygate. It's a point where some design is needed. There are still a lot of things I could be doing - dozens more enemies to make, bosses, tiles, objects, tutorial system, talking to people, even just plain coins you can pick up! Tons. But there's just an overarching element absent, so I've been moving into a design phase to get it cleared up a little.

What I focused on today so far is what you do with money. Since you will be collecting coins all over the place, you need a reason. And it needs to be compelling and last for at least most of the game. In addition to that, there's an issue that you have an inventory which holds something like 200 items... so what on earth will those items be? It's an awfully big spot just to hold different colors of jellybeans. So I'm working on that.

On the issue of items, I've done a pretty bad job so far. But as for things to spend your money on, I've got a huge thing going. However, it's a lot of work. This is something I intended from the beginning, but while some of it is simple, some very isn't. Anyway, it's buying buildings. There will* be some buildings/houses with For Sale signs. Bump those to buy them if you have the huge amount of coins needed.

The simplest building is one submitted to the Funtest - The Maple Syrup Factory. Once you buy it, it generates money (no need to explain exactly how the syrup is getting shipped, or who is watching over the factory as it runs). Come back to it any time to collect your earnings. Then there are more complex ones. I'm gonna tell you about the most complex one, that probably just about doubles the development time. But it's something I've wanted to have in there since the beginning in some form: Houses.

Buying a house involves the internet. Only one person can own each house (caveat to come), and when you buy it, it enables the editor. You can use the editor to build a level, in standard Supreme style, though with a different set of limitations (for one, I think you'll need to 'capture' all the enemies you want to use before you can use them, so it doesn't spoil the game for you). Then other players walk over and bump into your house and they can enter it (it downloads from the internet when they do). So a chance to make your own stuff, though only one level instead of as many worlds as you like. You just keep expanding and refining your level. You could divide it up into a bunch of mini-levels with teleporters to let the player choose.

The ownership caveat is this: there are only so many houses to buy, so once all are owned, you can buy one someone else owns and be Roomies with them. That just means that when someone visits that house, it asks them which 'room' to visit, instead of knowing automatically. Then once every house has 2 Roomies, a 3rd can join, and so on. So no limit on how many 'rooms' there can be, but it is one per person.

It would save your work on your computer, then when you decide you like it, you hit "Upload" and it replaces the one online. I guess there would be some kind of rating system and stuff too (for both difficulty and quality), to make it fun. And heck, why not, in the process of adding a comment system to those ratings, make each person's house sort of like a bulletin board for that person, like the shoutboxes people have on web pages. You could comment on what the level's like, or just say hi.

That's an incredibly huge concept. I like it a lot, though. And if we had that level of internet connectivity, might as well add a trading post where people can list items for sale (or can you buy stores around town and use them for that purpose, much like the house system?). Of course, in order to justify that, there need to be a variety of interesting items in the game, which is the other thing I have to be figuring out! When I think about the trading concept, I think the game would be too small to warrant it. It's not an MMO where you'd keep on going forever... but then, with the house-building, maybe it is. You'll always need more ingredients to cook things that buff you up if you are trying out everybody's different and ever-changing levels. I don't know. Just stuff to be thunk upon, and lots of it.

An idea I had way back when was that you could buy a house and lay it out, but it would just be a small room, one screen big or so. And what you'd do is buy various furniture and stuff. It'd just be about decorating (like Animal Crossing), not about making a level. I like this level-building idea much better, but maybe the furniture thing could still be part of it - why not? You could still buy special furniture and things (special enemies, too), and you might be special as the only person who got the purple couch, because it's a rare drop from Super Choco Beast. Interesting prospect. And supports the trading idea. I really could go on about this for hours. I am not easy to shut up.

* If this actually gets implemented. It's just ideas.
16 commentsBack to top!
  Sneak Peek: Happyponygate 06:57 PM -- Wed May 21, 2008  



A few bits of interest. The mission system is now complete and fully functional (well, the one existing mission works - I'll need new capabilities to handle other types of missions...). As you can see in the shot by the handy checkmark (which obnoxiously overlaps the sword on the icon), I have completed the one mission! It's not a very hard one. The big inset shot shows the mission bouncing up and down in the world. You just grab that and it tells you what the mission is and starts the timer counting down.

The other inset shot just shows two things: first, I finally made some icons for the skills! They're very simple, but I like them. A lot more than I like the cheesy pixel-art icons the missions have. And secondly, it now counts your points in skills by those little spots running up the side of the icons.

Oh, and there's the new crosshair, better than a cookie! "Green Computer" is sort of the stylistic theme of this game. Kind of a weird conflict with the whole happy pony thing, but hey, that's their style, not Bouapha's.
11 commentsBack to top!
  Happyponygoals 11:22 PM -- Tue May 20, 2008  

Too late to get a picture today, but there's a major new system in Happyponygate. It doesn't look like much, but still a lot of work was involved. It's not done yet by any means, either, but as the name of this post implies, it is the Goal/Mission system. I think I'm calling them missions, although at this point the pause menu calls them Goals.

You obtain missions in one of two ways: you get the story missions automatically as you go along. As soon as you complete one, the next one is assigned. It's just a linear series of a few missions. There's also another type of mission you get automatically, as you will see in a moment. All the rest of the missions, the vast majority, are obtained by finding the mission icon in the world. They sit there bouncing up and down, as mission icons tend to, so exploring around and finding them all is part of the game. I think that makes for a much more interesting 'hidden goodie' than just coins or packages.

Missions come in 3 types:

Timed Missions - Anytime you pick up a timed mission, all the other mission icons in the world turn transparent and you can't pick them up until you fail or succeed at your timed mission. These are things like "Beat 20 Marshmallow Men in 30 seconds" and other things.

Normal Missions - Well, they're normal. You can have tons of these at a time, and be working towards them all. All of the story missions are normal, as are lots of the non-story missions. A simple example would be "Beat 500 enemies" - you're always making progress toward that.

Mini-Missions - Unlike the other two types, these are repeatable all you like, and automatically start up when you enter a vehicle that is appropriate to them (maybe there will be other mini-missions, but right now it's just car-based ones). There are some wacky ideas I have for these, but they are obviously inspired by Grand Theft Auto, and often are just what you'd think: Get in a taxicab, and you can deliver Gumdrop Guys around town for money (same rules as Crazy Taxi, pretty much). Get in a police car and you get a combat mission, made tricky by the fact that you lose if you get out of the car or it gets destroyed. These missions will be randomly generated, and just something you can do any time for fun and money. Failing these missions is totally harmless, so you can always use these special vehicles just like normal vehicles if you want.

All the missions belong in one of 5 categories: Hero, Vandal, Racer, Warrior, and Helper (I hate that last name, but I can't think of a better way of describing it). So if you get a mission to go smash a bunch of mailboxes, that's a Vandal mission. Completing missions of a given type gives you points of that type. I don't yet have a particular reason why you want these points yet, except that 5 of the missions are "Get 10,000 points of this type". I'll come up with something a little more substantial eventually, but mainly they're just there to accumulate as you play. I also may give out points of the different types as you play - 1 Vandal Point for every object you smash, 1 Warrior point for every enemy beaten, 1 Racer Point for every few seconds spent driving faster than a certain speed, and I don't know what for the other two.

So that's a very major part of the game. It's also very incomplete and just barely begun (similar to all the other parts). I hope to have literally hundreds of missions, but it'll probably be a bit of work to come up with them, so I have no idea how many will make it in. But hey, I managed to finally make a crosshair today!

13 commentsBack to top!
  Your Real Face 04:53 PM -- Mon May 19, 2008  

Everybody knows when a telemarketer calls you, that they are bothering you. They know it as well as you do. You don't want to talk to them. I don't even know why companies use telemarketing, I guess there must be some sales made that way, and probably a lot to justify that kind of expense and ill will. But anyway, they call up and act totally obnoxious. They talk right over you, and when you very clearly say you don't want what they offer, they explain why you are wrong. For a loong time, even though at the end of their repetitive spiel, you're obviously just going to say "still no".

But when they call, I'm totally polite to them. I don't interrupt their spiel or anything, I just wait for them to actually stop, minutes later, and then say "No thanks, I'm not interested." And this just happened, but it's happened before more than once too - they hang up on me (of course, this is the second run of their spiel - their flowchart tells them to give it twice and then hang up if they are still not making headway). Once they know they aren't going to get the sale, their time is valuable. They want their commissions, so they drop you like a bad habit and go. Because saying "Alright, have a great day, goodbye!" would be too much work. No, they show their real face. They are people who hate the people they call, because day after day, they make these calls and whether the person they call shows it openly or not, the victim hates them. Everybody hates telemarketers, it's not a tricky thing to figure out. So every day they call people who hate them and harass those people. I imagine that's very unpleasant for them. I wish they'd stop for everyone's sake.

So anyway, my point is this: It's bad! I stayed polite the whole time, acting completely kind, because to me it matters what people think of me (to an unhealthy point, but that's a separate issue). These people are willfully destroying their potential customer base. Nobody who's been hung up on by a company is going to go back later and say "Hey, what was that company again? I think I'll check them out." Maybe they could change their flowchart - "End every call with 'Okay, but if you ever need X in the future, think of Teletronic Industries!'" Not that I'd deal with a company that telemarketed me in the first place, but the odds are better at least. The irony is that it didn't matter what he thought of me. He wasn't going to buy games from me, and I would never interact with him on the street. I just personally didn't want to be thought of as a jerk. He had no such qualms. It's a nasty world.

One last more specific note: When I said "No, I don't want a new merchant account, thanks" (nevermind that it would take weeks to change over!), he explained to me that he wasn't offering me that. He was trying to give me a free service of comparing how much money I pay now with what I'd pay on his service. Think that one through a minute - I rejected his product without even knowing how much or little it was and yet somehow I would be interested in spending my time discussing what the differences were. Now obviously, what he really means is "let me convince you by showing you how much better ours is", but that's not what he said. He said no, here's a free service, don't you want the free service? Which is moronatronic! That's like sitting around discussing whether Superman or Batman would win in a fight (Superman - he's literally invincible. Unless Batman gets a piece of kryptonite, in which case Superman is absolutely helpless. Not a very interesting fight either way) - it just doesn't matter and it's a waste of time! And it's not even fun like discussing superhero matchups might be.
11 commentsBack to top!
  Sneak Peek: Happyponygate 05:09 PM -- Thu May 15, 2008  

Well, I guess I did make that WoW-style talent system, after all! I call it Skills though, to fool people into thinking it's different. I just had so much fun building up the ideas for the different skills, I went with it.

This shot shows the Pause screen, if you flip it to the Skills tab (see tabs at the bottom). Obviously, the skills don't have icons yet - those boxes won't be blank! The headers will also be nicer looking than that plain green font. I'm also going to have little dots running up the sides of the icons to show how many points you've put in, instead of the numbers they currently have.

So, how it works is simple. If you played WoW, you already know all of this, but basically, there are 4 Skill sets - Choco, Cute, Snuggle, and Sweet (okay, that part's not in WoW). As you can see, the skills are greyed out below the top row, until you spend some points. You need to spend 5 points in a given skill set to unlock the 2nd row, 10 points for the 3rd row, and so on. That encourages you to pick one set and focus on it, so you can get to the good stuff at the bottom. Unlike WoW, every skill can have 5 points in it. You hover the mouse over a skill to see the details.

You gain 1 Skill Point per level, so it's possible to get 98 Skill Points (maybe a few more from missions, I am not sure), and there are currently 52 skills (2 of which are not yet invented...), so that means you could put about 2 points in every single skill, if you wanted to be extremely widespread. You definitely wouldn't do that, I hope, and so if you max out one set, that's 65 points spent, leaving you enough for a smallish investment in one other set (enough points to get all the way to the bottom of it, though, should you choose!). I like that, very much a choice to be made. And you needn't worry about making bad choices and ruining your game - this is no RPG. You could probably win it without ever spending a single skill point. Not that it would be easy! But I will probably add a Skill Reset you can buy for lots of Canadian moolah. I always hate to do that, because it discourages you from playing the game over - why do that when you can just reset and try out a new build right away?

Anyway, here's a little inside stuff about the four skill sets:

CHOCO - Obviously chocolate-based (chocolate, caramel, nougat, nuts). Critical Hits with Choco attacks cause Stickiness, which slows the victim for a while.

SWEET - Sugary stuff that isn't chocolate (lollipops, cotton candy,... I can't think of any offhand, but there's a million things!). Critical Hits with Sweet attacks cause Tooth Decay, which is exactly the same as poison in other games (you turn green and take damage for a while).

SNUGGLE - Love stuff (hugs, hearts, cupid arrows, gifts). Critical Hits with Snuggle attacks cause Heartwarming, where the victim leaves flames everywhere they go for a while (which in turn hurt others that step on them, as well as the victim itself).

CUTE - Cute stuff, surprisingly (bunnies, kitties, puppies, rainbows). Critical Hits with Cute attacks cause Awww, which temporarily swaps the team of the victim, so they help you out for a short time (AKA mind control).

Each of the four skill sets has a certain emphasis (besides generally working to improve the attacks and critical effects of its type, and defense against those things), although it's a little bit muddled:

CHOCO - defensive things, like more life and taking less damage, and getting healed.
SWEET - raw damage, and enhanced speed for obvious reasons (you know, sugar?).
SNUGGLE - also damage, but a bit of a focus on super powers (see below).
CUTE - focused on making the Awww effect powered up to the point where you are sort of having an army fight for you.

Each set has 2 Super Powers in it. Those are special abilities you can click on to activate (all other skills are automatic effects, not something you use), that do something super like raining hearts down all over the screen. They also work with the set theme, like Choco has healing and invincibility for powers, Cute has a summon power and one that Awwws everybody around. Super Powers are only limited by a timer - Each one needs a long while to recharge after use.

There you go, a pretty technical design-based sneak peek. Now, if you are intrigued by these skills, how about making up your own? It's the latest Happyponygate Contest! Enter now!

Don't forget also that the Happyponygate Boss Contest is still going on too.
9 commentsBack to top!
  Sneak Peek: Happyponygate 07:11 PM -- Tue May 13, 2008  



If you are PurpleKoopa, you know what I accomplished today. If you're not, you may not realize. This shot actually depicts PurpleKoopa's house, in the game! So I've implemented the utility to import peoples' buildings. And I have to say, putting this one in was an ugly pain, because it actually resides right on the dividing line between two sectors. The top row of the roof there is on one map, and the rest of the house is on another. There was a lot of guesswork and moving around of pieces. I'm sad that there's an entire row of houses in that position. I need to work on my placement better.

The cookie, by the way, is what I'm using temporarily as a crosshair. I need to get some graphics for that... Also, you can see that the guns now shoot marshmallows as advertised, and what you can't see is that the marshmallows come out of the right place. I devised a system of 'firing points' for the 16 facings of your character, and so while I'm testing the game, I can press some keys to adjust the current firing point, and it saves that out. It now looks a lot better than it did when I calculated the firing point automatically.

One stupid little thing I've done is vaguely detectable at the bottom. Since the enemies fire the same bullets you do, I wanted to differentiate them a little, so you know what to dodge. So the enemy bullets flicker dark and bright (you can see one really dark marshmallow, and two really bright ones). This has the added advantage of making them stand out visually.
12 commentsBack to top!
  Tids & Bits 12:24 AM -- Tue May 13, 2008  

Firstly, this weekend marks the sad day when I got 100% complete on Ratchet 4 (for the second time), so I am now officially out of Ratchet games unless I get Size Matters (which I hear is unwise), or a PS3. Or I re-get #1, but to be honest, the thought of all the mini-games makes me loathe to do it.

Guess that just leaves WoW to entertain me! I've really really been enjoying that of late, teaming up with a friend of mine across the country on the rare occasions when our schedules match, and getting my guys up to level 40 where new and exciting things happen (horseys, and usually some other good stuff, depending on your class). Really, I have gotten almost nowhere in months, but I am enjoying it. I'm changing my strategy from moving all 10 characters up 2 levels at a time, keeping them in sync, over to picking 2 guys and just focusing on them until some unknown future point. That will be nice, because I won't be doing the exact same quest five times right in a row, it'll be spread out. I also read a lot of exciting news this weekend about Wrath Of The Lich King which makes me quite excited about that. I may end up sacrificing poor Dedmanwalkin to make room for a Death Knight when the time comes. We'll see.

Today in Happyponygate news, it's starting to feel like a game. Don't get the wrong impression, as it isn't even in anything close to the realm of alpha, and won't be for a very long time, but it feels more functional now. I have most of the first sector map done, and I can wander around that blowing up streetlights and gunning down poor Marshmallow Soldiers, and both my gun and I gain experience. Originally, you had to feed your gun jellybeans to level it up, but that was extremely awkward and annoying, since you had to go into your inventory and drag them to the gun one at a time. Now they gain XP as they inflict damage, and that is a lot more fun.

I spent a couple hours today also drawing up a talent system exactly like WoW's (with 4 talent trees, one for each element). There's still a ton of holes in the game design and I've toyed with a million different things to do in terms of how you improve and advance. This is just the latest. I have no idea what the final outcome will be, all I've done so far is write down the talents in a lovely color-coded spreadsheet. Spreadsheets are my favorite toy.

Originally, I really intended this game to be an outright parody of the game it is similarly named to, and so I had based a lot of things around that, but one by one, those things are melting away. Then it started turning into GTA, and now I'm debating whether you will be able to drive cars! I do want there to be, but even if they control well, they really require a hugely expansive world to make driving worthwhile, which is a massive commitment in map-making.

It also creates an issue - if you can just run down the monsters, using your guns is foolish. Running them over is a lot safer and you can just buzz through the whole game. On the flipside, if you can't run them over, cars are useless, as you smash into a monster every 3 feet. I actually do intend to upgrade you from no-roadkills to roadkills (remember, conventional weapons - cars included - have no effect on Happy Ponies!) during the game, but I wonder how well it can work out on either side of that exchange. It really messes with the Crimsonland/Alien Shooter vibe that is the one focus I have never lost from the beginning. You need hundreds of guys pouring at you from every direction to make that exciting, and whether you can run them down in a car or not, that is a conflict with the idea of cars. Either the car can't ever get anywhere, or it's far and away the best option at all times (of course, you won't be able to run down every monster, bigger ones will be more like a head-on collision, so there will be excitement in terms of trying to avoid hitting those). I don't know, I think it may work out... your car can take damage as you hit guys and you eventually need to get out. But there will always be so many cars around... Well, we'll see how it goes!

Oh, and of course, on the other side of that issue, I've made a huge list of different cars and missions involving certain cars. If you read that document, you'd think that's what the entire game is about! I love the idea of those missions, so it seems cars are important. But if they are remotely well-balanced, will driving missions be possible at all, given the endless hordes of badguys? Probably not. Quite a tangle, this is.
9 commentsBack to top!
Page 1/2 2 >
Copyright 2018, Hamumu Games Inc.