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  Latest Hamumu News 02:34 PM -- Tue May 22, 2018  

Oh I'm still working! Mini fundates (those are like updates, but FUN!):
  • On Saturday, I streamed game-playing like most Saturdays, but this time I played VR games. It was fascinating and failed in many terrible ways. But there was also fun to be had. If you're curious, check out the video here. Fast-forward a lot, there are a lot of downtimes where games aren't working, but Superhot VR is certainly one awesome VR game, as well as Beat Saber, which I am totally addicted to. Another one I really enjoyed is Scanner Sombre, but that one was not able to stream, it's just showing a still image the whole time I play it.

  • Don't forget I also stream game development every Tuesday and Thursday, which means today! I hope to be doing so at 2pm Central Time, so show up. Streaming is at my Twitch page.

  • I am still working on the shop in Robot Wants It All, and I recently shared an image of the confirmation screen on Instagram, which shows that the unit of currency in the game is "Moneys". I made that up on the spot, but I'm really starting to enjoy the idea. What do you think? Stupid, or too stupid?

  • The Indie Indie Conversation continues on Youtube. I'm not going to link it here because it's not family friendly (mostly because of me...), but if you're interested in indie developers whining about their work and life in general, look it up! It was reborn about a month ago after 5 years away.

  • There's a squirrel in my yard with a monkey tail.

  • I know we said a long time ago we'd be getting testers for Robot soon, but we're still in that space where things are just too in flux and broken. We're working on all the general stuff now, like menus and game saves, instead of adding the last 3 games in (Robot Wants Kitty, Puppy, and Fishy are basically done), so once we have a stable core, we will begin to get testers before adding in those last 3 games. I don't know when that will be, but keep on following the game!

  • I have to go do some marketing work, so goodbye Hamumians!
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  Robot Wants To Buy It All 08:50 PM -- Fri May 18, 2018  


This week, I got really down and dirty in the code and artwork for robot's shopping experience. I wanted to make something a little different. It's not that different - it's still just a bunch of icons and each one costs a certain amount of money (not real money! Toy money! No IAP), and you click to buy. There is a "tree" to it, like a skill tree, where you need to buy certain things before other things, but you have the freedom to work your way around pretty much how you like. The idea of the tree is that it's more exciting to progress towards what you want instead of seeing a list of everything imaginable and just picking your favorite (fun at first, and then progressively more dull as the remaining options are less and less appealing!).

I also spent some time considering a Mortal Kombat style shop. I'm really fond of the Krypt system they had in that game - all the items are there to purchase, but you don't know what they are until you buy. It's kind of like gambling, but you always win (just not always as much as you had hoped). That's still an option here, but I think we'll stick with knowing what you're buying. I'm still going to keep the items that are not available to buy secret until you unlock them though!

I also thought about having some items locked behind achievements or other goals. That's still on the table, we'll see.

I'm proud of how this incredibly massive layout looks - it's like some weird alien space object made of TVs. Just the layout makes it almost like there's a fisheye effect going on, it's almost an optical illusion where the stuff in the edges seems to curve away. It also does a cool animation when it loads in, which my Twitch viewers know about (Check me out there on Tuesdays and Thursdays if you want sneak peeks of this game! Also on Saturdays I stream playing games).

Fun fact: the cursor is Kitty inside an ejection pod. We've got full controller support in this game, which is tricky on this screen... no easy way to navigate that noise with a controller, so I just copped out and made the controller move the cursor around. That's always a little clunky to me, but it's just for this screen. Our other menus function in the traditional up/down/left/right system from days of NES past.

Now the real question is what to do with that extra space on the edges of the screen... oh yes, I have ideas. We can't waste a single pixel of potential metagame!
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  Still zooming along 03:00 PM -- Tue May 8, 2018  

I don't have a lot to report, or rather I do have a lot, but it's all little things. We continue to grind away on Robot Wants It All, and it's going really well. But there are constantly things that feel like they need to be done before we have any testers.

Right now, we're neck-deep in save games. We initially had classic saves like the Flash games did - it would remember the basic stuff like what powerups you had, and just put you at the last save point (and penalize your time, so it was like you had just died). This turned out to be a bit of a problem with various game elements, like the Mutators that add randomly placed things onto the map. So now we've moved on to the most hardcore of save features: full game states, like emulators use. Assuming this all works, it will save every last detail of your game every time you exit, so you can continue from that exact moment.

Which leads me to the biggest problem we face with this game, and it's one that I fear has no solution at all: cheating. Obviously, it's a single player game, so to a degree, we don't care about cheating. But there are online high scores, and those high score boards are 100% guaranteed to be filled with cheaters, and become completely useless to any real players. It's trivial to cheat at an offline single-player game, it takes literally less than a minute to set up a "game shark" style software to lock your time from changing, or to simply set your time to zero right before you finish, or any number of other cheats. We could spend weeks trying to plug every imaginable hole there, but it's pointless. In the end, what you have is a piece of code that is in the hands of the player, so the player can do whatever they want to it. There is no way to stop them from just removing any checks or limitations you place. Imagine handing a padlock and a key to the same person, and trying to figure out a way to keep them from unlocking it.

That problem has been a constant thorn in my brain for a couple of weeks. My original solution is probably the only good one: limit the leaderboards to only show people who are on your friends list. I don't like it because it removes the worldwide competition and the fun of trying to beat the top players, but as soon as you introduce real competition, everyone will cheat anyway, so it is fundamentally unsolvable. I suppose if there develops a community of people who are serious about speedrunning these games, they will have to share videos of their runs to prove them. There are a lot of technical solutions we can use to try to verify scores (or even manually check them, but that's completely insane), but in the end, there will always be ways around them, and they could cause our leaderboards to use an unreasonable amount of data - we do have something like 8000 separate leaderboards for every combination of levels and mutators.

So yeah, didn't mean to turn this into a big rant about high score cheating, but that is clearly the big thing on my mind. I'm pretty much ignoring it as we continue to develop though, so I can focus on actually creating fun content like this...

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