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Volleyball Dice!08:04 AM -- Fri July 24, 2015

Hey, it's time to learn a new game. This is a game I invented a couple weeks ago. It may or may not be good. It's a simple dice game, along the lines of Farkle or Yahtzee. It probably sounds a little confusing at first, but if you play a few rounds you will catch on:

Volleyball Dice

SETUP AND CONCEPT
This is a quick game for 2 players. Each player gets 6 dice, representing their 6 team members. A round is played until one player is out of dice. Then everybody gets their 6 dice back and the scoring player serves for the next round.

SERVE
One player serves by rolling their dice and lining them up in a row in front of them (keep your row nicely aligned - both players need to know which die is in which spot!)

FOOTWORK
The other player does footwork by rolling their dice. They put their dice into a line as well, and they decide which of their dice to match with which of the opponent's. The rules are:
  1. If the dice are equal, both stay.
  2. If one is higher than the other, the lower die is removed from play.
BUMPS
If the receiving player now has less than 6 dice, they can do up to 2 bumps before returning the ball. To bump, you roll one of your dice that are out of play. Put it back in your line anywhere that is unoccupied *provided* that it is equal to or higher than the opponent's die in that spot. If there is no spot it can go, that bump is a failure and the die remains out. You don't knock out the opponent's dice when bumping even if your new die is higher than theirs.

RETURN
Now this player returns the ball. They don't do anything - the dice they have in front of them is their return. The first player has to roll their remaining dice and do Footwork now, followed by Bumps, and then they Return it back, all following the rules above.

SCORE
When somebody runs out of dice, that means the ball has touched the ground on their side of the court, so the other team scores a point. The scoring team now serves, starting a new round with everybody back up to 6 dice.

Play to whatever number of points is appropriate!

OPTIONAL RULE
This is probably a good thing to add: If you roll 3 of a kind on a serve or footwork, it's an Ace or Spike respectively, and you win the round on the spot.

NASTY OPTIONAL RULE
Games going too long? Try this: if you fail a bump, just like in real volleyball, you've dropped the ball and thus the other team scores immediately. Now you're not going to bump unless you have a really good chance to place it!

EXAMPLE ROUND
P1 rolls to serve. They get 5, 3, 1, 6, 4, 2.
P2 rolls for footwork. They get 2, 1, 4, 3, 1, 1. (sad!)
P2 decides to line their dice up as follows:

P1: 5 3 1 6 4 2
P2: 2 4 1 3 1 1


This was actually a bad play (P2's 3 should've been played against the 2 or 1, where it would win, but that would make this example really long!). As a result, some dice have been knocked out:

P1: 5 x 1 6 4 2
P2: x 4 1 x x x


So now P2 tries to bump to get those dice back. The first bump is a 1. That can't be placed in any open spot (it'd have to beat a 2, 4, 5 or 6), so it's no good. P2 bumps again and gets a 4. Hooray! They can put it up against either the 2 or 4. It doesn't matter which because bumps don't knock out the other player's dice.

P1: 5 x 1 6 4 2
P2: 4 4 1 x x x


P2 is now returning the ball (they don't roll, their return is just their existing dice), so P1 rolls their 5 remaining dice for their Footwork, getting 3, 1, 5, 5, 1. They place them like this:

P1: 5 5 3 1 1 x
P2: 4 4 1 x x x


This is a knockout blow! All 3 of P2's dice are gone, and P1 has won this round. Looks like P2 must have hit it into the net. P1 will serve next round and everybody has 6 dice again.

So that's Volleyball Dice. Give it a try with your friends!
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Hamumu Revumu: Enslaved08:08 AM -- Sat July 18, 2015

Enslaved: Odyssey To The West

TL;DR: Don't bother.

Gameplay Gist: It's a 100% linear action-adventure game. You get to level up and apply points to a skill tree, but not in any way that matters. It's basically a movie you have to play through. There's a cut-scene, then a specific setup of enemies you have to 'solve', then the next cut-scene. No exploring, no choice of path. There is platforming stuff too, super simple.

Kombat Kuality: No. The fighting is bad. You fight with a staff and you have weak and strong attacks. But you don't mix them up in wacky combinations, you do weak, weak, weak, strong. And that is IT. You never do anything else. You CAN, but it doesn't do anything special, it's just individual attacks if you don't follow the basic combo. Aside from that, you can shoot laser beams at guys, but there's limited ammo for that, so you never do it outside of specific scenarios because you never know when you'll get more ammo. And since there's no re-visiting areas, or exploring, there is a fixed ammo supply. I hate that.

Story Stupid? Meh. Mediocre. Very very sexist story to be sure with the damsel in distress who constantly screws everything up, but otherwise semi-sorta-interesting. What's strange is that there is kind of a big twist to the story, but the entire twist is contained in the final cutscene. They really needed some stuff to build up to this twist (well, there are these flashes you get, and you wonder why, but that never builds up towards anything, it's just a total mystery until the final scene explains it bluntly). It felt weird. It seemed like any other game would have peppered in clues, and then had the revelation happen over the course of the final level in pieces, to make the final showdown meaningful. In fact, the 'final boss' in this game is basically the usual second-to-last boss of a game. Sort of a big showdown to get you into the throne room, where you would normally have an ultimate battle. Only in this one, there's no battle in there, just the last cut-scene. Last remark: the ending also kind of cuts itself off - it seems like it should have a big choice between one ending and another, but then it just picks one, and you never know what could've happened.

Wrapid Wrap-Up: I kept playing this game to the end. I didn't really want to, as the leveling-up is pointless, and the gameplay was never quite fun, but it was never bad enough that I didn't want to reach the conclusion. It did manage to pull me on with the mystery - I wanted to know what was going on. I was tempted to go to Youtube to find out, but finding the 'solution' to each battle was just barely interesting enough to keep me playing (the most helpful thing was looking in a FAQ to see how many chapters there were, so I kept thinking I was close enough I might as well finish). Not a terrible game but truly truly a mediocre one.

Super Score: 57/100 Illogical Technologies.
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Steam Summer Gaming07:45 AM -- Sat July 18, 2015

So, the Steam Summer Sale came again (in the summer!). As always, I stocked up on insanely cheap games and lamented the death of the game industry. But I got a lot less than I used to, because with a backlog of well over a hundred games in my Steam account, and maybe an hour a day to game, I realized it's time to get picky. So I went in with a mission: I wanted action-RPG (or 'action adventure') games with skill trees and leveling up. That's the kind of thing that absolutely hooks me, so why waste my time with lesser games?

Of course, in the end, I found very few such games I didn't own! It was kind of depressing. And yeah, I got more than a few games of other sorts, but I did manage to keep it way down from my usual.

But then I took another step - I spent an hour or more going through my Steam list and breaking it down into categories! Oh how I love organizing data. So here it is. "Favorites" are games I'm currently actively playing (Clicker Heroes isn't exactly a game, but I do load it up every day, which I should stop doing because it's stupid....), "Active Fiddling" are ones I'm not really playing, but I'm theoretically coming back to every so often to peck at a little more.

"Big To-Play" is where it's at - these are the 'big games' that I'm planning to play through to completion in one fell swoop, one at a time. This list is bigger than I had expected, currently at 61 games. Odds are I won't actually play them all, and many I will try out and quit because they are terrible, but I am glad to have this handy list of monster games that intrigue me. Without such a list, I'd probably just spend the rest of my life opening that "Borderlands" category exclusively, and that's not good for me!

After that self-explanatory "Borderlands" category, there's "Check Out" which are games that intrigued me enough to buy them, but I don't know if they're really worth playing, or in some cases, I don't even know what they really are. So I hope to open those up and eventually move them to another category.

And then it goes on with other specific categories in case I want to pop open a fighting game or a puzzle game someday when I am in the mood. But my main goal is to crank through those Big To-Play games. I really enjoy immersing myself in a fun action-RPG and figuring out what skills I want to pick up in it, so away I go!

I've started this process already, a few weeks ago (when the summer sale happened!), and I'm actually a few games into it at this point. I plan to bring you reviews as I go. Stay tuned for your first review, up next!
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I'm a celebrity!01:27 PM -- Tue July 14, 2015

It has been a few minutes since my last journal entry. Perhaps time for another.

The other day, I was playing Wolfenstein (The New Order, fun) when suddenly my computer died. And I mean DIED. I've never seen this happen before. It just flicked off and went silent, nothing functioning at all, except my UPS which was screaming in agony. After a bunch of random flipping of switches and plugging of plugs, I discovered that my UPS was fine, which is bad news, because it means my power supply was dead.

For the first time in my life, I figured it was best to have a professional check this out - I knew I could buy a replacement power supply and I knew I could install it (I built my previous computer), but since I wasn't computery enough to be sure the power supply was the problem, I might've wasted a few hundred bucks and a couple days of computer usage waiting for it to arrive.

So I headed down to the local computer repair shop, and the guy there took my computer, and collected some information from me. When he got to my email address, which I always spell out because there's no point in trying to say it, he said, "H-A-M... Hamumu? Like the software company?" I was shocked. This was a new experience. Well, he quickly explained how he had heard of me - it turns out he went to school with someone else famous, someone you may have heard of who goes by the name of SpaceManiac! He said SpaceManiac had given him all my demos, but made sure not to give him the full versions, so thumbs up on that. Plus, he said he felt like he was meeting a celebrity, so that makes me one. And I was wearing my "Robot Got Kitty!" shirt too.

So okay, maybe I'm not actually a celebrity, but it sure felt funny to walk in somewhere and be 'recognized'. If not a measure of my immense popularity, at least it was a nice demonstration of epic coincidence. Yelp returned about 5 computer shops within a few miles of me, and I picked the one where SpaceManiac's buddy worked.

Dramatic epilogue: they fixed my computer in a few hours, and as a bonus it was a lot cheaper than if I had fixed, because it turns out I didn't need anywhere near as powerful of a power supply as I had. So I got a much weaker one, which clearly is still running all my stuff just fine (and quieter too), for about a third of the price. All in all, a successful adventure.
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The Maelstrom02:14 PM -- Tue February 10, 2015

The past few years have been a whirlwind. I have really had no time to sit back and relax for at least 2 years. I mean, I've taken vacations (and maybe spent upwards of 8 hours in a row playing games at times...), and that kind of thing, but if you've ever been the person in charge of setting up a vacation yourself, you know that's far from relaxing, it's just more work! And every vacation I've been on, I spent time each day checking in on every aspect of my business, so I was never really free to just relax.

That's been half the reason why I never blog anything anymore - I'm just overwhelmed with things that need to get done. The other half is that I don't feel like I have anything much to say about what I'm doing. Well, and the third quarter on top of those halves is that I'm embarrassed to discuss some of the things, not to mention most of it has nothing to do with Hamumu. The Hamumu story is simple (another 1/17 of why there's not much to blog about): I make updates for Growtopia. It's all I do, day after day. And they're secret, so I can't tell people about them until they're out, and even then, we don't spoil things about the game, we leave them for players to find. So if you want to know what I've been doing work-wise, that's it: updating Growtopia for 2 years. I've created some amazing stuff including entirely new games inside the game, things that I'm proud of and didn't even think could've been done, but there's still not much I can say about it. Except one hint: another 'in-game game' is coming soon!

So, this maelstrom churns around faster and faster the closer you get to the center, and I think I'm right on the tipping point of being sucked down - hopefully to Atlantis and not into a giant squid. In the past month, craziness has built up to a speed I don't think most people ever see in their lives. We went shopping for houses this past weekend in Texas (not for the first time, this has been a year-long process), found one, and put in an offer. By the end of the weekend, our offer had been accepted and the closing date was set... for two weeks from now. So in the next two weeks, I will be cleaning out my house, packing up, most likely buying a new car, selling two cars, handling the specifics of selling our current house, making another update for Growtopia (gotta keep em coming every 2 weeks!), working with the guys doing the website redesign, and working with the guys working on NPC Quest 2. And a few other things. I'm a lazy, laid-back guy. This is all so much more than I have ever dealt with. This is more than I usually have to deal with in a year!

But the dream and the hope is that once this 2-week span is up, it's all smooth sailing. I'll be in my new house relaxing by the pool. Ahhhh. I don't think that's the reality, but it's certainly going to be a lot calmer than it is right now. So back to packing up our game room. I'm gonna be one of those Austin indies you always hear about!
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