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  In Dev: Moon Invaders 2 08:32 PM -- Thu December 3, 2020  

Moon Invaders! Right? Remember the thrills and fun? This new rendition changes things a lot, but fundamentally it's the same core idea: tower defense where the 'monsters' march back and forth in front of your towers, and of course they march as a group, so cutting away at the sides will make them take longer to descend.

In the past week I've been making the first tower. I spent forever trying to decide just how it would look. You have to realize, the idea of a turret that can only rotate on one axis is weird (well, this particular axis, anyway). There really isn't a real-world analogue that makes any sense. This is what I came up with:
There are elements I like. Obviously it's very flat-shaded looking at the moment, and I may just stick with that. With the 'pixel art' aliens, keeping it simple might be key. The coolest thing is how those bullets work. I spent most of my time working out the animations there, and it's some good stuff. There are little animations for refilling the entire bullet rack when it's empty, as well as individually arming each bullet for the next shot. Totally pointless, but fun for me. The arming will probably be so fast and tiny you'll never be able to tell in-game, but I wanted it to be right. There's even a little door that opens and shuts for the bullets to go in (it's about 80% open in this shot).

I want to get into the structure of the game overall, but let's save it for next time. Party on.
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  An Encyclopedia Of Failures 05:21 PM -- Wed November 25, 2020  

There were more of these than I expected! Enjoy a selection of games I started and have not finished over the past few years:


"Little Wizard 2" - The wizard is purchased art, and the environment is freebie art. But I made that hanging monolith myself! And if you do shoot the glowy thing, there's an explosion and the rock falls and you can use it to jump over to a platform behind it. That's the extent of the gameplay in this game, although there is a evil skeletal mage standing behind you that you can kill, but he doesn't do anything. Also you press LB instead of RT to shoot, weirdly.


"DiabloWizard" - That obviously became this. Originally meant to have a top-down view (that's all the project name DiabloWizard indicates), I liked the over-the-shoulder system much better. The Dumb Golems are shockingly original art (can you believe that? All by myself?), but the rest of the models are purchased/free. There is actually a lot to this. The icons you can see are equipped spells, all obviously the same right now (the only one implemented, a stone shard shotgun which you can see exploding). You 'create' spells with those 4 crystal slots in the icon, by putting gems of 8 different elements in them. This one is "Launcher=stone (shotgun) and Impact=stone (does stone damage, and causes knockback/stun)", with the other two optional slots empty - one modifies the launch (like more shots fired, or homing, etc), and the other modifies the impact (like launching shrapnel, or causing a DOT, or healing you). It was very very cool, a roguelite thing with insane build variety that I was quite excited about!


"Keep It Alive" - I'm not sure where in the order this actually fits, but it was my start to a Ludum Dare entry! The theme of LD46 was "Keep It Alive" of course. It's a first-person puzzler where you are a robot in a spaceship trying to keep the spaceship alive to get to its destination as a wire-chomping alien is wandering about (inspired a bit by Alien: Isolation, it is not a hardcoded puzzle, you have to outwit the AI which is moving from room to room). What you see is about the extent of it as I could not get the wrench to point the right way in my robot's hands. You'd think flipping 180 would do it but it did NOT. The crazy pink glow is actually part of the debugging. At least I built all my own models here! I was mainly doing it as an exercise in how to do a pipeline for 3D art into an actual game.


"Tanky" - Again, not sure what order this goes in. This is a top-down game where you are a tank with big eyes who shoots aliens! The part of it I like is that hatch with the spinning lights - it's the "Dark Souls bonfire" of the game. If you drive onto it, your tank auto-drives into the correct position, then an elevator takes it underground and a roof closes on top, the game pauses (would have a various equip/upgrade menu options in there), and when you unpause, you come back out. It was a cool animation. Also really cool shooting effect and recoil. The part of this I don't like are those weird christmas trees - they are supposed to be coral or some sort of ocean rocks. Really bad.


"Lost In The Woods" - I've already blogged about this! It's pretty darn far along, and pretty cool. But I just lost steam, and mainly this whole process (all the games above) has been a string of me saying "that's too complex for a first full 3D project, let's take it down a notch and try again", which is what led me out of this game and into...


"Moon Invaders 2" - What!? Yeah. I'm excited about this, it's the one I'm still working on. Again, don't expect it to go anywhere based on the track record, but I'm liking it. As you can see, the aliens are actually made of separate cubes, which, on spawn, zoom in from everywhere to form the alien, and on death, fall out of the sky and scatter on the ground. The glowy eyes change color to indicate the health level (green to red). The one cube that's way out of place was just shot. It's actually a terrible effect right now, but I like the concept (they bounce back into place). There is currently no art in the game at all, all the cubes are default Unreal cubes and a default landscape. But one thing I've been too hung up on is building a "real" game of quality, and I'm trying to stop that for this one and just do what I used to do in the 90's - crank something out that is complete, and not worry about professionalism. Not that I want default cubes, but I'm also not going to build this so carefully and get stuck because I can't get that perfect style or hold back assuming I'm going to hire a pro artist later. I'm gonna make my own stuff and just go with it.

That brings you up to speed! That's what I haven't been blogging about because none of it's going anywhere. I'll try to improve on that over time. Just posting about it gets me a little more interested, so maybe that's part of the process.
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  Burned out still 12:21 AM -- Sat November 21, 2020  

The following is me engaging in public therapy. Engage at your own risk!

Long-term readers will be familiar with the fact that I got WAY burned out running Growtopia, and after we sold it, I spent a year wandering the wilderness in aught but a loincloth, howling at the moon and foraging from the land.

Eventually I made Robot Wants It All, but it was really too soon when I did, and it was a real drag that probably drained me even more. Since then, I've been crunching away at random mini-projects, just trying to recapture the creative spark and have some desire to produce work instead of playing video games and eating cheez-its.

At this point, I've been officially burnt out for about 4 years. That's much too long, and it doesn't make sense. Surely not working for that long would be plenty to recover my energy. Unless you think about the world in which I have been living. Then you start to think that maybe it's not so much burnout as it is depression. Right at the same time I began to work on recovering from 4 years of Growtopia development, the world fell off a pit into a shark-infested volcano. So I was trying to recuperate while simultaneously being bombarded by horror at every turn.

This theory was proven out on November 7th, when I was out running errands and got a text from my wife that the election had finally been called. Immediately, a massive weight leaped off of my shoulders. I drove around with the music cranked and my mind instantly was jumping to all the things I could do. Nothing I was actually prevented from doing before, but suddenly I wanted to - I considered practicing my ukulele, writing a short story, making several different game ideas, cooking things. Creativity run rampant. I was fired up and ready to DO. Just as simply as hearing that things might return to normal in the real world. Even knowing that there were still a thousand massive battles to be fought, I suddenly had this feeling that it was no longer all on me. Obviously it never was, but the oppressive feeling that everyone above me is against me is a huge psychic weight. And with that one call, that was flipped - suddenly the top of the chain was on my side, so I felt like I wasn't fighting alone.

Since then, things have changed for the worse. Obviously, my country is currently in the middle of a coup attempt, and the outgoing administration is trying to do as much damage as humanly possible, and things are uglier than ever. So it doesn't feel good anymore. I'm back to the depression I was in. But I remember that spark I felt when there was a brief moment of hope. So maybe... on January 20th, if we're not actively fighting a civil war, maybe that will be the day that my energy floods back and all of these things seem easy, or at least possible. It felt amazing on November 7th. I want to feel that again.

For now, I'm poking away at a couple small projects, still trying to find my footing after all these years. I'll tell you more about what those projects are in the next update! But don't hold your breath waiting for anything to come of them.
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  Hamumu Halloween Home Horror Hoedown #2020-32: Halloween Roundup 2020 01:53 PM -- Sun November 1, 2020  


To finish up 2020's Halloween, I spent all of Halloween day (sort of) watching movies nonstop. Join us, spoiler-FREE this time, for quick reviews of 11 movies, and a little bit of reminiscing about a month of joy in the midst of a year of terror.

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  Hamumu Halloween Home Horror Hoedown #2020-31: Candyman (1992) 10:51 AM -- Sat October 31, 2020  


To round out our year of movies, we like to hit a classic. So this year, it's "Candyman" (1992)! Candyman Candyman Candyman Candyman.

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  Hamumu Halloween Home Horror Hoedown #2020-30: A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night (2014) 01:56 PM -- Fri October 30, 2020  


Riveting action just in the title alone! "A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night" (2014) is a black and white film, made in America, that is entirely Iranian. And that's the least confusing part.

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  Hamumu Halloween Home Horror Hoedown #2020-29: The Food Of The Gods (1976) 01:19 PM -- Thu October 29, 2020  


"The Food of the Gods" (1976) is based on a portion of a novel by H.G. Wells! The portion with giant rats and chickens.

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  Hamumu Halloween Home Horror Hoedown #2020-28: Final Prayer (2013) 01:19 PM -- Wed October 28, 2020  


"Final Prayer" (2013) is about Vatican dudes checking out a miracle in a podunk town, via the miracle of found footage!

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  Hamumu Halloween Home Horror Hoedown #2020-27: Uncle Sam (1996) 01:59 PM -- Tue October 27, 2020  


Just like it sounds, "Uncle Sam" (1996) is indeed the story of an undead Gulf War soldier who comes back to murder anybody who disrespects the USA, or just offends him mildly. And this guy's got a nephew. And is named Sam.

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  Hamumu Halloween Home Horror Hoedown #2020-26: The Skin I Live In (2011) 01:03 PM -- Mon October 26, 2020  


A multi-layered tale of the things we all cloak ourselves in, "The Skin I Live In" (2011) could also be about Tony The Tiger, Dr. Frankenstein, and Supergirl. It's in Spanish.

Content warning: This one has a lot of talk of sexual assault in it.

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