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Hamumu Journal
Foxtrot Goes Dumb!09:44 AM -- Sun December 21, 2003

Check out the Foxtrot comic from Dec. 21st! Could it be a Hamumu reference, or a sign that great minds think alike? I don't know the answer to that one, but it's pretty cool! Thanks to asmussen for pointing it out.
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Murray Crimmus12:39 PM -- Sat December 20, 2003

Well, it's been forever since I journaled anything! I've been heavily caught up in holiday mayhem. This is the season of crazy stuff going on all over, and I get so overwhelmed by it. I should just learn to admit it upfront and label December a month off from any kind of development. What IS going to be taken off is 4 days - we're closing from the 21st to the 25th, so feel free to order stuff and send us emails during that time, but we won't be responding or filling your orders until the 26th.

So, what have we been doing around here? Not much, I suppose... I have lots of new video games I have been playing. I'm quite far in the endlessly frustrating Simpsons Hit & Run. Note to self: do NOT force the player to exhibit perfection in order to proceed. Perfection is reserved for big bonuses and bragging rights. Basic game progression should only require mediocre skill. If you fail a Simpsons mission repeatedly (which you will!), you eventually are given the option to simply skip it, but then you don't find out what happens as a result of that mission, and you'd have to go back anyway and do it later to truly finish the game. It's just simple things they could've done better (REALLY simple!): like the race I'm stuck on, you're given 2:11 to finish 3 laps. I have some runs that I do good on, some I do bad on, but my best laps of all run about 40 seconds. That adds up to 120 seconds, so 2 minutes. So if I did my absolute best on all 3 of the laps I have to do consecutively, I'd squeeze by with 11 seconds to spare. That is not how it should be. If they added 20 seconds to the alloted time, almost anybody could complete it (frankly, it'd still be high pressure to me!), and skilled people could do really well on it. Add in rewards for doing exceedingly well, like bonus coins, and bam, it's fun for everyone. Rewards for the exceptional, progress for the competent, and only the incompetent need fear failure, as well they should (then leave in that Skip option for them too!).

Oops, I ranted. I got Fire Emblem for the GBA too, it's really cool. Yay! Happy holidays to all, and to all a good day.
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A Grim Christmas02:57 PM -- Wed December 3, 2003

Been Christmas shopping lately, which is very fun. Well, it's fun shopping for my wife. I don't like shopping for other people. Of course, I just get her everything I want. In a nod to Homer Simpson, we deem any gift chosen for the purposes of gratifying the giver instead of the givee a "bowling ball". Don't get me wrong though, most of what I got her was on her (very extensive) wish list! And no, of course there are no bowling balls involved. At least not figuratively...

What's happening with Grimbelina? Isn't that the next Hamumu game!? Why yes, it is. But having been caught up in doing art for external projects, and dealing with family time (it's that time of year, friends!), nothing has gotten done on Grimbelina except some idea consolidating and planning. The end result is that I came up with a very wacky experiment to try. This is it, and it's just totally crazy: I will design the entire game in complete detail BEFORE I make it! Can you imagine such a thing!? I'm gonna try it and see what happens. The idea is to prevent the insane rampant feature creep one finds in Hamumu titles. I don't want to spend 6 months tacking on more and more little things - I'll have a fixed set of features, and my only task will be to implement them. The risk is that the ideas I have simply won't work, but that's why it's an experiment (and we all know it'll be a lot more flexible than I plan). The real question is, how long am I gonna spend planning? And will I learn how to make a detailed and coherent document that's easy to follow?

The overall design is becoming clearer all the time, like a ship coming out of the fog. An idea I had for Supreme With Cheese is going to be almost a central focus of this game. See, I had this notion, which is much too big to cover in detail here, but basically, you could play any level you've already beaten as a new character, Happy Stick Ninja. He levels up by beating badguys, and you can assign points he earns to different skills. Then here's the nifty bit: you take him online and you can watch him compete against other players' Happy Stick Ninjas, using the skills they've chosen (it's impossible to just max out all the skills - you pick and choose the style you want). You don't control it, it's all computerized, but it's a chance to see how your planning works out (since the same computer brain is controlling both sides). Grimbelina will feature something similar, with online rankings. You can get heavily into that and try to develop the greatest character ever to dominate the rankings, or you can ignore it entirely and just play the game single-player. I've got a good feeling about this...
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