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GRATS DING LOL KEKEKEK!05:01 AM -- Sat February 26, 2011


FOR THE HORDEAMUMU CLAN!
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Mmm, Blackberries05:32 PM -- Fri February 25, 2011

I had some in my breakfast, and now I'm working on getting a free Playbook made by them (the company Blackberry, that is). You can too! If you make Flash games. Check out the steps and some really helpful tutorials on the process right here: Flashgamelicense. It sounds fun to me, and should be very little work if these massive downloads ever finish. It's not a contest, it's "if they accept your game, you get a playbook". Not bad. You have to be done and submitted before March 15th, and apparently there's a bunch of paperwork involved that will go slowly, so be aware of that, procrastinators (-ters?).

Now I have to pick a mouse-only game to do. I only have a few that could reasonably fit the bill (without, you know, work). I'm kind of wondering about trying Zoobedoo. I don't want to do a whole lot of updating though, and I'm not entirely convinced of its merit as a game as is. I like its core, but it needs some kind of touch-up, and I'm not sure what that touch-up is. Whatever game, if it works out, maybe it'll finally be the long-awaited (by me) time to port Moon Invaders to Flash, with some little updates (like words), and then submit that too, just because. I mean once I have all this junk installed, why waste it? And because I still want Moon Invaders to be in Flash!

Then there's also Android. Flashgamelicense has a little thing going on for porting to them too, but $50 doesn't quite get me revved up like a big old tablet (they have a video showing the port being done in 6 minutes though, so maybe it's worth it to you!). They also say they have some Droids they want to give out to people who commit to stuff though, so maybe I should suggest something. I need to learn how rough the process of porting to it is. Probably easier than this crazy Blackberry thing I'm doing! I hear there are so many different Droid devices with wildly varying specs that it's just a mess, though. Not sure I want to be involved in that.

Also, in theory at least, you can compile Flash onto iPhone too, but so far the process sounds very daunting. I might try to hire somebody to do that porting for me. I'd love to be simultaneously dishing out iPhone versions of Flash games (or even non-simultaneously, I just want to get them on there, when they are the kind that works on that platform).

Speaking of some of those topics, here's a fun dark secret from the past: there was somebody who offered to port Moon Invaders to iPhone a year or two ago. We got things signed, got it going, they even sent me a working build I could play on my iPod which was really close to ready. It worked, it was fun, it crashed occasionally, it was a little hard to play. But we talked about the tweaks it was going to have (at that point it was almost a straight port, just to get it up and running), and it seemed like things were happening. Then they just vanished, and that was that. No more Moon Invaders. That kind of thing is remarkably common in game development. I know people freak out every time I cancel a game or get distracted, but at least I'm still cranking out (insane numbers of) games, not just disappearing.

Uh oh, my last download is done for Blackberry stuff! Guess I have some massive installing to do.
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Breakin' Too02:13 AM -- Sat February 19, 2011

I intended to take a day off after releasing Pedro, but that day I had for taking off was immediately followed by two days of enforced vacationing (a family visit), so yay, a nice big break! I played WoW for hours today! And this morning, I won Borderlands! And now it's raining! That last one isn't related, but it is happening. And I don't like it. I just taped a dishcloth to the bathroom ceiling to help deal with a leak in a sunroof. That's the kind of class, charm, and roof repair capability I possess.

What else can I tell you? I know what I'm working on next, and it's like 2/3 done already, so that should be cool. And it's going to be very fun.

And mini-Hamumu Revue: Borderlands is great. It's really a very straightforward cross between an FPS and Diablo 2. Like it Landed perfectly on the Border between the two! I would gladly go back and play more and more, taking the other 3 classes through the game, and maybe even play the one I won it all the way through "Playthrough 2" (or as I tend to call it, Madcap Mode! No cool crystals to buy though, you just level up like normal). I could see going on with this for nearly as long as I did Diablo 2 (years). But I am trying to be variety-packed in my game playing, so I'll try not to do that. Just as I make a special effort to not only play WoW all the time. I just don't have the gaming time to waste it on plowing through the same games over and over. Which is sort of sad. I mean, if you like a certain game, then hey, that's entertainment for you, enjoy. But I really find that every single new game I play gives me something. Some piece to a puzzle in my head that has no picture of a solution. Every game has lessons to teach me (sometimes by being horrible in a certain way, so I can remember that to avoid it). Like everything in life, it's too easy to get caught in a rut and miss out on the benefits of variety.
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Pedro And The 100-Year Quest!11:20 PM -- Tue February 15, 2011


Pedro And The 100-Year Quest is here! Go play it! It's a side-scrolling platformer, but very different from most. Kind of a unique puzzle involving dealing with the fact that you only have two hands. Your boss has sent you into the basement to collect lost back issues of Boys' Life, only as you go around, he'll find lots of other jobs he'd be happy to see you do. But the 100-year anniversary party is starting in 40 minutes, and they need to show off those issues... how much can you get done before it's too late? There are also secret codes in the game that you can find in Boys' Life magazine to gain some very nice bonuses.

And just to be upfront about it, yes, the boss's voice is a terrible attempt at doing Bill Lumbergh. I've always done him in my head, and just never knew how poorly it would come out when employing my actual vocal cords. Curse these cords!!
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Tablet Dragon05:11 PM -- Tue February 15, 2011



Why am I sharing a poorly drawn scribble-pic with you? Well, I am telling you about further attempts to enhance myself! When we cleaned out our office a few months ago (which was truly an epic undertaking, and frankly it still looks like an ancient ruin overgrown with papers and old video games), I found my Wacom tablet and since then I've kept it sitting around, always planning to give it a shot.

History: I bought this thing... well, it looks like these were new in 2001, so probably close to 10 years ago. I was so excited to get it, to be able to draw things on the computer just like on paper. I tried it for about an hour, got frustrated, and tossed it aside (quite an expensive disappointment!). I just couldn't reconcile the screen up there with the tablet down there. But I thought I should give it another try. I've always wanted the kind where you get to draw on a screen directly, since that really IS like drawing on paper, but those are way expensive. And I notice that real artists seem to get by just fine with these tablets.

So I am trying it! It seems a lot easier than I remember. Now obviously, that picture is full of tilty lines I couldn't quite control and so on, but it's my first effort. I really feel like there's no reason I can't pick it up. I even uploaded the file using the tablet (to click on the FTP program and all, I mean), so it's not like I can't point it where I want. I'm gonna keep it plugged in and try to make myself draw stuff with it in the future. I think the trick will be to copy a drawing rather than make something up. When I am cartooning freehand, I tend to just go with things as they happen. Case in point: as you can tell by his worry lines (the top where his eyes meet each other), this dragon was actually supposed to be looking to the right when he was first made. I'm not sure how the rest of him ended up facing left, but it did. I just went with it. The shape of his jaw is also pretty much wherever my hand happened to go. So working from an existing piece, where there is a "right" thing to do as opposed to whatever I want, should help with control. Or frustrate me into leaving the tablet aside for another 10 years. I'm impressed it still works right after all this time, anyway!
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Data Input05:27 PM -- Sat February 12, 2011

Time for an update on what data is going into my head!

Reading:
  • Finished Anathem by Neal Stephenson. That's the kind of complex brainy book that will build new pathways in your neural cortex.

  • Started and finished The Name Of The Wind by Patrick Rothfuss (clearly not updating this often enough!). Adventure funtimes.

  • Reading Little Brother by Cory Doctorow now. It seems aimed at teens, the way it's written. Going well so far.
Watching:
  • We have called a moratorium on TV! We both felt like TV (and WoW) really stopped us from spending time doing worthwhile things, so for the past week we have been underway on a 1-month commitment to no TV except one day a week. That's how I did so much reading. I'm trying to use the time to do creative things too, besides actual work on games. We've even reduced our Netflix to 2 discs at a time! It's a monumental shift in life that could kill us all. We shall just have to see. I like TV.
Playing:
  • WoW, moratorium or not! I am allowed 10 minutes to go in and do my daily cooking quest, and until yesterday, to research inscriptions. I now know them all! Except the ones you need stupid 200g Books Of Glyph Mastery to learn. They really need to fix that so those drop from current content. There is also one big exception to my WoW rule - when my WoW buddy emails me to say he is playing, I'm allowed to play as long as he is. It's socializing, that's good for me! We've only done that a little bit so far this week, but the exciting new patch that lets you get guild credit for 3-man dungeon running is going to send us into some exciting adventures if certain Hamumians ever log in, B******K! WoW remains fun.

  • Champions Online has been installed, and played for free, since you can do that now! If it wasn't an online game, it'd be a lot better. It has a very actiony style to it, which really conflicts with being an online game (odd, since games like Quake work fine). A lot of times trying to use a skill is awkward and doesn't fire off, or you can't charge it all the way if it's a charge-able skill, or you teleport backwards a little bit, stuff like that. There are also dumb interface things, like TAB-targeting enemies will cycle through guys that are 3 miles away. I saw an option to limit that, I might want to mess with that. The other thing that blows my mind about this game has been carried over from City Of Heroes. For some reason, instead of humans writing perfectly normal, sane descriptions of your skills like any other game, they've implemented this automatic thing that translates the actual game scripting into English. I don't have a skill in front of me, but skills are worded something like "Self-activate. Ranged 40ft. This only activates under certain circumstances. Ranged fire damage of 40-47 to target." Ahhh... I can't even do it justice (tried checking a wiki, but they're written more normally there). It's this mishmash of random things which you can almost vaguely piece together into something, but you're mostly guessing. Then there's a spot you can click to view the "advanced description", where it throws out another assortment of nearly random data, and for some reason repeats it twice. Totally insane, can't figure out any reason why they would release a game like that. It looks like debugging information. Nonetheless, I have a guy named Roast Beef on... some server. I don't know which. He's a mighty level 9 inferno guy.

  • Lego Indiana Jones is finished! 100%!

  • Then I got back into Borderlands which I have played a ton over the past year or so, but still not won (I keep leveling up 4 different guys, as is my usual, but I've been focusing on one now who is getting very near the end). That's a great game, and now that we have an actual modern TV, I can even read the descriptions on the items you get. Those were so blurry on my CRT TV, I nearly killed my eyes trying to figure out which weapons did more damage. I love having a real TV!

  • Castle Crashers! Fun and exciting. I always love those side-scrolling beat-em-ups, and all the more so when you can level up. It's really excessively hard, though. I may have looked at a FAQ a couple times. I tried playing 2-player online with a friend and discovered that they ramp it even more ridiculously with 2 people, and we couldn't even get past a fairly early bit after about 5 tries (the panda bear-man boss with Rammy helping him). Well, we beat him once but were so dead that we died immediately after in a normal fight.

  • Bulletstorm demo. I was pretty hyped about this game, but the demo cooled me off a bit. It IS fun to whip a guy over to you, kick him away in slow motion, wrap a chain grenade around his neck, and then blow him up. But... I don't know. I would be interested in playing, sure. Not ready to bust out the launch day kind of money or anything. It's almost that it's too complicated to control or something. I'm not sure exactly what it is. I've run the demo several times though, I do get a bit of a kick out of it.

  • Rift beta. I wrote a whole big post about my thoughts on this previously, so check it out if you dare! They invited me again to some final beta event. Maybe I will try out some other classes when that starts, because one of the creative things I was doing this week was making up character classes for a (currently) fictitious game, and one of them was very blatantly "inspired" by one of the souls in Rift (only I made it way cooler, because I'm cool like dat). Playing games really does work as research, lemme tell you.
Listening:
  • Still listen to all my CDs on random.

  • And still Podcasts. One thing I should mention is Frogpants Studios, which is the home of a ton of podcasts. I listen to like half of those. It's crazy to me. Scott Johnson runs that, and he is the host or co-host of at least 2/3 of those podcasts. I haven't added up the numbers, but I'm pretty sure he spends more than 24 hours a day recording podcasts. And about once a month or so, he makes a new one, without ending any of the previous ones (the latest addition, long after I was floored by the sheer amount of his voice that is out there, is a 4 day a week show that is 2.5 hours long!). It's really like some kind of loaves and fishes miracle, and it disturbs me. But I specifically like to listen to Film Sack which discusses bad movies that are available on Netflix streaming, Hypothetical Help which is a funny advice show, and The Instance which I wouldn't really recommend unless you're a true WoW addict like me. I tried about 10 WoW podcasts when I first discovered the magical world of podcasts, and they were all super boring, super annoying (craaaAAAaazy morning show guys! HEY HEY!!), super pointless (thanks for telling me how your guild did on the latest raid!). But The Instance is good. It's professional, not stupid, and gets some insights. I always already know the stuff they're talking about, because I read it online before I hear it on their show (true WoW addiction transcends mere gameplay), but they have a spin on it that's of interest to me. I listen to lots of other podcasts that contain his voice, but those are the most interesting. Some, like FourCast (guests come on and share their guesses for the future) started out really interesting to me, but now they're just kind of in my list out of habit. There's only so many times I need to hear someone predict that the world will be engulfed by nanobots. I occasionally do some pruning.
Now you are updated on my latest inputs.
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Betatesteroids!06:13 PM -- Fri February 11, 2011

We have beta testers! Thanks for applying, I picked a bunch. The only rejections were for having tested the previous game. You'll know if you are a tester, because you now can see the Beta Testing forum on the forums. Go to it! I need to release this game quick, so find everything wrong!
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Looking For More Betatesteroni02:13 AM -- Wed February 9, 2011

Here's how I did it last time!

I am seeking beta testers for the jungle archive game! It's not nearly ready for testing, but I'm going to start early and push along through it, because I have to get it done as fast as possible! If you want to be a tester, send me an email telling me so (that's test #1... let's see who pulls it off). These are the criteria I will be employing this time around:

1. You have to be an upstanding Hamumu member - somebody who's already a member, not somebody who signs up just to do this, and somebody who has contributed to Hamumu in a good way. The more, the better your odds!

2. You have to have not been destructive and horrible to the Hamumu community. The more, the worse your odds!

3. I am going to bias towards picking people who haven't tested a bunch of stuff recently to give new people a chance.

4. I will only pick a few people, so don't think I'm calling you a destructive noobie if I don't pick you. I just want to have a couple testers - around 3, I think.

So, if you like jungles, astronauts, monkeys, and robotic fish, magazines, rat lasers, vacuums, and Johannes Gutenberg, sign up! It'll just be real simple. The game will be available to you, you play it, and you tell me what is breaking horribly when you do! I'll pick in a few days, because this thing is moving fast.
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What Lies Beneath02:03 AM -- Wed February 9, 2011


Deep below the Boys' Life archives, horrifying creatures lurk. Of course, there are also little blue rats. This game is very near completion. I need to start requesting testers actually... I think I'll look up how I did that for the last game and do it again.
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The Hamumu Revue03:20 AM -- Sun February 6, 2011

Herein forthwith shall I review my few hours of the Rift beta! This is all kind of shorthandy, probably doesn't mean a lot to people who don't play WoW, but since those people are a small minority with no redeeming worth, we can ignore them.

Let me start with the final conclusion. Rift is a good game. If it had no monthly fee, I would buy it and play it. The problem is, as soon as you get a monthly fee, suddenly it's a direct comparison. Almost nobody pays for two monthly-fee games. Not just because that's a lot of money to pay, but more importantly, the second you pick up another one, you're suddenly getting less for your money out of the first game! You only have so much time in a month, and moreso only so much MMO-playing time. I can pay $13/mo to play WoW for 20 hours a week, or I can pay $26/mo to play WoW for 10 hours and Rift for 10. Not cost-effective!

Rift is better than Lord of the Rings Online and D&D Online. It's very similar to those games (it falls into the "drab brown dwarf-packed medieval fantasy" realm they fit in. I dare you to distinguish screenshots of the 3 with the UI hidden! That sounds like a fun facebook game), but does everything in a more streamlined, easier way, and feels less clunky. Is it better than City of Heroes, Champions Online, or DC Universe Online? I dunno, those are a whole different kettle of fish. I'm inclined to say no, because they interest me, while this brown world of trees and goblins really doesn't.

Make no mistake, Rift is a true WoW clone. I mean, TRUE. In any place where they could have done something any millions of other ways, they did it exactly the way WoW works (I instinctively tapped P when I wanted to see my list of skills, and N to see my list of talents - both worked!). Yes, there are differences and innovations, but at its core, it's not just the same type of game, or "inspired by", it's clearly the result of people poring over WoW with notebooks in hand, scratching their chins and saying "mmmm, yes. Indeed". My favorite example was their totally original "Transmogrify into a squirrel" spell as opposed to "Polymorph into a sheep".

They did a good job on this cloning, so the resulting game is good and solid. It's still not as polished and good as WoW of course - they're not Blizzard. And that's the fundamental problem. By duplicating WoW, they are explicitly making it one or the other, and they are guaranteed to lose there. If you want to play something like this, play WoW. It's better. If they had done something unique (see Champions Online for example), then that can appeal to people who are into superheroes instead, or who prefer the way Champions does things, since there is an actual difference there.

And hey, I am sick and tired of drab brown forests. Look at WoW, people! It's gorgeous and colorful! It's a fantasy, make it fantastic! The real world alone is more colorful and pretty than these games, and it's real.

The class/skill system in Rift is pretty cool, though it does result in a large pile of repetitive skills (since you get to mix any 3 'souls', you're guaranteed a very redundant set of basic bolts and blasts, because they had to make sure every soul offered those basic features). One other thing they have going for them that I want WoW to rip off is a very small thing that is nice: AOE looting!

I have this main complaint about Rift, and this is why it will never come close to WoW: they appear to have copied WoW the way it worked back when they started making Rift, several years ago. But in all that time, WoW has been improving. All the quests I've seen in Rift (up to level 10ish) have been totally blah. Not once have I manned a catapult or ridden a giant's back, not once have a I flown a bat around dropping bombs, and not once have I changed the world around me with my victory. I collected things and killed things. Total basic MMO biz. That's fine, but it definitely doesn't give me any reason to choose this over a game that has all of that good stuff going on constantly.

So Rift: it's better than WoW was 5 years ago. If you don't mind brown.

Revue OVER!
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The Power Of Caffeine01:45 AM -- Thu February 3, 2011


Pedro In The Office

I haven't been able to sleep in weeks, and I'm nearly run down to complete non-functionality. But today I tried the innovative approach of downing a giant Coke. BZZZOOOOOMM!! Got a bunch of Pedro done! Here he is, vacuuming up the office. There's tons of stuff to see in that shot, so squint down tight and find what there is to find. I mean, there's no magical secrets, I'm just saying there are a lot of different game elements going on there, and you are welcome to find them.

Now my caffeine has worn off and I sink into dizzy confusion. Enjoy. Let's hope the caffeine crash can help put me to sleep.
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Jamul's Lament03:06 AM -- Tue February 1, 2011

Yeah, I've been sick for the past week (or 9 months, however you want to count it), and so far the cure is significantly less pleasant than the illness (a sinus infection). I'm hoping it will get easier to handle as it goes, but man, I'm exhausted and yet completely incapable of sleeping. I am also not getting much done, as you might have guessed. I have gotten a bunch of Pedro done, but sharing screens is too much work. And it's not nearly enough, so I need to keep on trucking when I have the energy. I seem to be solar powered now. And it's night time, so adios.
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