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Hamumu Journal
PAX Over08:47 PM -- Sun August 31, 2008

Actual discussion of how it went down to come soon. For now, it was pretty awesome! Also, I am a rock star.
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Busy Week07:22 PM -- Tue August 26, 2008

Well, it's all about preparing for the monolithic event that is PAX! I have finally developed the free games disc. Check out the menu it pops up when you put it in:


Let your eyes adjust to that mess! It really struck me that I have made a whole lot of games. And quite a variety too. Of course, two of those I didn't make, but it's still a lot. I go for quantity, not quality. It also makes me want to be full of yet more variety. I need to make more games that are really different from my existing ones. I don't know why, I just think that would be cool.

I'm working on the face of the CD right now, printed a sample but it has some issues I need to fix, then tomorrow I can produce, produce, produce. And that's my last day. Thursday is travel day! Gulp.
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Square Planet04:42 PM -- Sat August 23, 2008

Today in IRC, people were discussing what a game might be like if you ran around a small square planet (Mario Galaxy in 2D was the concept, I think). So I whipped up a thing to try it out.
Click in the window, then use left & right to move left and right, and up to jump. It's very wacky and very buggy, it's about an hour's work in a language I am very unfamiliar with. But it was a great exercise in learning flash! I picked up a bunch of new tricks. Interesting things to note include that you can fly and orbit the planet (in a wacky looping sort of orbit) very easily, and that the view rotating doesn't always work right (sometimes the planet gets scared), and that's generally it's very buggy. But it's interesting to check out. Enjoy some square gravity.
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Ow my knees!09:59 PM -- Fri August 22, 2008

Wii Fit arrived today! We tried it out just for 10 minutes each, and my knees are shot. I so need knee exercise. Wow. I'm really looking forward to the changing of my life that wii fit is required to provide. I might be wobbly tomorrow, though.
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Laid Back Gaming05:49 PM -- Thu August 21, 2008

WoW is a really laid-back game (most of the time). It doesn't demand a lot of mental effort, so I sit back on cruise control, clawing elementals in the face, and think about other things. I used to do the same thing while walking laps in elementary school. That was a much healthier way to get my think on.

So today, when I should've been working on Happyponygate, I played some WoW, clawed some elementals (which refuse to drop a dew gland!), and thought about Rise Of Owls. I have to be quite honest and confess that working on HPG is very difficult of late. I'm at a spot where I need to be working on how the monsters function, and it's just one of those things that I'll have to eventually settle down and just try something, but for now I mostly stare at the screen and hope it will write itself. Owls is fun to work on, though, I'm learning a lot and struggling to deal with classes and objects.

So here are the heroes I came up with today. Understand that most of the heroes (at least 2/3 of them) will just be ordinary - they do damage in some way, at some pace, and cost some money. But that's boring to think about. So I'm thinking about the more interesting ones! Here are some ideas (may or may not ever be in the game, but probably, why not?):

- An archer who fires golden arrows. He's way cheaper than he should be, considering how much damage he does (quite high, but not crazy), and his fire rate is rather slow, like 2 seconds. The problem is, golden arrows are expensive! It costs $1 every time he fires. So you don't pay much up front, but you keep on paying as long as he's around.

- An alchemist. He turns owls to gold. That's both good and bad news. He has a very low rate of fire, so he won't get every owl, in fact only a few in each level. Once an owl is gold, it is worth triple money (or more?). The problem is, it takes half damage per hit. So putting one of these guys in makes the game harder in exchange for raising your income.

- a knight on horseback. When he sees an enemy in his range (about half the screen), he charges at it, running right through it to the other end of the screen, hurting all the owls along the way. Then his new position is that end of the screen, where he sits for a few seconds before being able to charge again.

- a wizard with relatively short range. As long as he's not shooting, his power builds up. Then when he shoots, it drains away and does that much damage. So you'd probably put this guy up high in your tower, so the enemies gradually inch along and when they finally get up that high, he's had a long time to charge. Of course, only his first shot is any good (but it's a whopper!) - the ones he fires after that are all 1 damage until he's had some time to charge up again. I'm not sure of the real merit of a guy like this, but that's for the players to decide. I just want to give you a huge toolbox of random things (that eventually end up balanced to some degree), and then you play with the tools.

Them's some random thoughts.
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Say Cheese!08:11 PM -- Wed August 20, 2008

I posted in the forum a request for pictures. I am linking to it here, so nobody misses it! Click here to learn about how you can be immortalized in Hamumudom. It's all part of this big drive towards making the site famous! The more people who send in pictures, the better, and I'm accepting them anytime, now or later.
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Struck A Nerve!02:27 PM -- Tue August 19, 2008

Well, I just sort of threw in an off-hand remark about marketing (and making you people do it), and I can't believe the response! I didn't intend for that post to be a discussion of marketing at all, but it seems to have exploded. I've got people asking what they can do for me, and suggesting things, in my email, my PMs, and on the forums. Maybe some in chat, too, I don't recall! So there is definitely a market for marketing for me.

I definitely appreciate any (legal) efforts made to get the word out. That is awesome. The tricky thing is I want to develop a program by which you could be rewarded for such efforts. I can't come up with anything which really encompasses all the elements such a thing would need, though. Here are 2 ideas I have:

1. Allow people to type a username into the coupon field when ordering. Then I can reward anybody who gets such a referral (say 30% of the purchase price, in yerfbucks). I've already got a program rewarding you for bringing new people to Dumb Accounts, but it's the sales that matter - if you got me a sale, I have a tangible result, and I'm more than happy to pay back.

2. Develop a mini-game that is not for sale. Nobody gets a copy but me. You can see screenshots, maybe video. You want a copy? All you have to do is email me a true story of how you spread the word of Hamumu. The game's page on the site could contain summaries of each story, too. As long as your action is remotely worthwhile (and not illegal or harmful), you get the game! It's up to you whether you want to do something fairly significant like spray painting the moon to look like Yerfdog, or a smaller thing like getting five friends together for a Hamumu party to show them the games. The only rejections would be lies and things like "I invited my friend Bob over to play Kid Mystic." Of course, if you really did that, you could still parlay it into something worthwhile by getting Bob to make a Dumb Account, thus earning you a trophy!

Both of these plans are probably good ideas (though #2 will require developing the game first!), and address different needs. But neither really goes anywhere near far enough. Ideally, it would be great to provide a way for people to get very real benefits by promoting Hamumu - AKA cash moneyz! That's much trickier to do, what with tax implications and all. Affiliate programs do that sort of thing (and have the same problem, tax implications), but in the end, I would like people to be promoting my site, not their site that sells my games. It's sad because I'd have no problem giving up 30 or 40% of every sale that someone brings in. The problems are the tax forms and properly crediting the salesperson.

So what I'd like to do is get you people all as one giant international Street Team, spreading the word everywhere. The tricky bit is I don't know how to provide rewards on a level that would inspire that kind of behavior. It would be great if I had something in place significant enough that people would actually go out and spend money, in the hopes of getting a real return.

Feel free to keep the ideas and suggestions coming, whether they are for ways I can market things, or ways I can get you to market things. It's all good food for thought at any rate!

And in the meantime, just put it all out there - let people know what Hamumu games you like, tell them to just compare the clocks, tell people to have a Dumb afternoon, everything. If you cast a wide enough net, you're bound to catch something.
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Progress, Releases, And Nike09:39 AM -- Mon August 18, 2008

Well, the plan was to spend the last week learning flash and seeing what position Rise 2 was in to decide what I should be spending my time on. Of course, the reality was that for the last week I've been doing all kinds of other things, because it was Summer. School starts this week, so that's in for a change! At least until next week, when I lose the end of the week to PAX.

So, decisions must me made, and success must be had. The issue is this: I can't succeed, and in fact am gradually losing ground and income, by releasing huge games once a year (or slower!). I need to be on the radar more often. Of course, a much bigger improvement would be had simply by doing marketing, but since I don't know how to do that, I'll settle for an increased rate of releases. So the gist is that I need to get a game out soon, which Happyponygate cannot achieve.

On the flipside, I can't let that game molder and fade away, or I will lose track and never be able to finish it. This puts me in a pickle. A sour green pickle of pain. The answer that I see, at least the best one I can come up with, is to work on both at different times. And when Rise 2 is done (let's hope that's soon), replacing its timeslots with another mini-project. Hopefully a faster one as I become more skilled. So I have a reasonably fast flow of lesser games while we await the big hits. Of course, it makes the big hits slower, and for the matter, the lesser games slower as well! But there's just one me, and time is fixed, so something's gotta give.

I don't know, I need to figure out how to do some marketing... you guys do that. Go tell everyone to come to Hamumu!
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Blog!?09:11 PM -- Sun August 17, 2008

So I accomplished the below feat of wonder! It has no loading thing, so the actual graphics take a minute to show up. Hopefully they will load before the owl escapes the screen.
That's obviously at half size, don't fear that it's just a teeny tiny game. Flash is pretty nifty. And the black circle is a thing from testing, not an evil moon.

Anyway, boy have I seriously ruined my blog-a-day plan. Let me try to get back on that. See you tomorrow!
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Owls Arisen02:27 PM -- Wed August 13, 2008

Here's some of the stuff I'm thinking of to keep Rise 2 a smaller project, but still make it involving and interesting:

  • Obviously, a whole lot more heroes. If I can get 200 in there, so much the better! But the goal is a minimum of 100. They're fairly easy to make, but I want them to be unique too, which complicates it. It'd be boring if 10 of them were Archie at 10 levels of power.
  • The original vision of the game doesn't involve all this wacky cloning. Rather, you can have one of every hero. Once you've bought one, he won't show up in the inn anymore. After all, these people are unique individuals! That of course is what necessitates such a huge number of heroes.
  • On the other hand, I also want to include a second game mode, Clone Mode or something. In this mode, you hand-pick 8 heroes from the entire collection, and your inn is permanently stocked with those 8 heroes all the time. You can of course buy more than one of the same in this mode! So this mode is like a collectible card game - build a deck and see how well it works.
  • Haven't decided exactly how this should be, but I originally wanted a skill tree of sorts. So you might lay down lots of archers, planning to invest points into skills that improve arrows. That sort of thing. The skills would be general upgrades to all your units, or certain types of units. Something that would be fun, but probably wouldn't make it in, would be to add special powers in there. So for example once every 60 seconds you could click on an icon to make it snow, keeping all enemies frozen for 10 seconds.
  • Lots of little achievements to complete, to give you more of a goal than just finishing the game.
As for game modes, I thought there'd be a few different 'quests', which would be sets of levels. Some real easy short ones, some long and crazy ones, and then of course, you can't leave out Survival mode that never ends.

Here's a really fun idea I had that definitely isn't going in, but would be an awesome sequel (Rise 3: The Leavening). You pick 3 heroes, and they go on an adventure. They function exactly as they do in the game normally (same ranges and all that), except that they move to wherever you click, in a sidescrolling world. They kind of run in a line, one following the other. That just sounds pretty awesome to me. You'd have to decide if you want a Jessie in the middle to make your other guys powerful, or if you are better off with a 3rd person dishing out damage. Oh, and of course, you just start with Archie, and you get money by killing monsters which you use to buy better heroes and add to your party until it's 3 people, then swap guys out until it's the mighty force you've always dreamed of.

So, guess I better learn actionscript!
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The Owls Have Risen10:34 AM -- Tue August 12, 2008

Rise Of The Owls is here! It's a freebie, and it's short, sweet, simple, and strategic! It actually is, I swear. You may find that it's easy to win, but can you get the top score? My record is only 570,000, but there are isolated reports of over two meeellion points!

As you may know, I on occasion take 48 hour games and make them into something more. Such is my plan for Rise Of The Owls. However, I'm releasing it as is - that's Rise Of The Owls. Rise Of The Owls 2 (The Risening? Owlectric Boogaloo?) is a whole different story.

This is the plan I am thinking of right now.
  • Step 1: Learn to program Actionscript (flash).
  • During Step 1: Make Rise Of The Owls 2 in flash.
  • Step 2: ??????
  • Step 3: Profit!
Perhaps I should add some details to step 2 to help clarify it. I want to make Rise 2 a flash game, which you need to be logged into your Dumb Account to play. You'll earn and unlock new heroes by getting trophies! And other hidden ways. It'll truly be integrated right into the site in that way.

Don't want to get your heroes the hard way? Lucky for you! There is also a downloadable Rise 2 which either gives you all the heroes right away, or maybe has you unlock them in simple in-game ways, like accomplishing simple goals like "Get 10 kills with Archie". That costs money.

So if you like free stuff, you can play the free version (good news from my end: to get all the heroes, you'll have to buy my other games! Can't earn all the trophies without owning some of the games, right?). If you like easy stuff, you can buy the pay version.

Such is my plan for Rise 2. I think it's good to be learning worthwhile skills like flash development instead of endlessly iterating over that same dead old codebase. I think I'm going to spend this week on some of that learning mumbo-jumbo and see at the end of the week if I think I'm better off continuing that full time until it's done, or getting back to HPG and considering flash something for my spare time. Tomorrow I'll blog about some of the features of Rise 2. It will be at heart the same thing you see here, same type of game for sure, but major key upgrades that make it all worthwhile.
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Welcome To The Journal02:51 PM -- Fri August 8, 2008

We've got fun and games! Actually we don't at the moment. I have not blogged in quite some time. Next week, I will endeavor to fix that, but for now, I will just tell you that another fine LD48 contest is coming up this weekend, and I shall rip it to shreds with great panache by making something that makes WoW look like Atari 2600 Adventure. Or, I'll make Guess The Number. We'll see on Sunday.

The monster maker is done now, except for loading, saving, and testing (in any form). Loading & saving is nothing, I just haven't bothered since there's nothing worth loading or saving yet. That's because the testing is held up by the same thing everything else is - I need to make monsters actually function! Right now the guy in the tank can only walk in circles, no matter what kind of moves you give him. I need to implement the whole concept of the creature choosing and executing the various attacks. It's actually going to only take a couple of hours, but nonetheless it is what remains between me and functional adversaries.

As always with summer, it's been pushed around by other things, like helping the lady get her classroom set up, the occasional minute or two spent on WoW, preparations to embarrass myself at PAX, family, and general summeryness. It's pretty frustrating to have things moving along so slowly, but at least it feels like it is getting made. Someday it will be done, we just don't know when!
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