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Scuba World03:26 PM -- Thu June 30, 2011

This game is progressing super slowly. I think I've been at it almost a week now, and all I've worked on is the background visuals. That's not to say I haven't put in the hours, it's just taking forever! It's actually very complex both artistically and codewise to make this go from bland rocks to something lively and colorful. I think it's doing very well now though! As you can see, there's now a background layer, which gives it some parallax, and means there's something to see when you're out in open water and the older version would've just been one flat empty color. There are also assorted rock-clinging lifeforms, and coral. The rock itself has also gained a bunch of variety, some of which you can see in the shot.

Hey, for that matter, the whole game has gone widescreen! You can kinda tell in this shot, even though it's cropped. I think I'm about at the point where I can finally start adding the new content - the underground cave system. I wonder just how big I can make this map before it completely chokes.
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Scuba Jim Scrapes His Knees03:45 PM -- Mon June 27, 2011

Yeah, his environment is less drab now! I couldn't make good transition tiles just due to the sheer number of possible combinations that exist. I considered doing a layered thing where a coral transition tile was laid on top of a rock tile, but that's still an absurd number of tiles to waste on something so minor. And a lot of work. I might still try something, maybe involving sprites doing things sprites were never meant to do, but for now, this is the transition you've got.

And let's see if you can spot the trouble in this picture...

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Mia's Happy Trophies04:56 PM -- Sun June 26, 2011

Trophies are in! They get awarded when you get awards in the game, so if you already have all the awards, or just don't want to wait until you earn enough to reach a trophy level, go to the Awards screen in the game, and press "A". You won't see anything happen (except in the Hamchat!), but visit another page of the site to see your trophy. If you earned one, that is.
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Pander Bear10:30 AM -- Sat June 25, 2011

This weekend's Mini-LD is themed "All Talk", as in, make a game that is entirely focused on dialogue and communication. Here's a mock-up of what I'm planning to do:

I'm kind of torn because I think "Pander Bear" is a better name, but I like my candidate guy... it would be pretty amusing if he was a bear though. Maybe they should all be bears, but it's always nice when we humans elect a bear to office.

I feel like the idea I have for the mechanics is really solid, but I'm also torn in another way - a while after I started thinking this out last night, I came up with another idea that just blew my mind with awesome chunks. It's more complicated to code, though (not impossible for 48 hours by any means!). So I figure this is the way to go. Not even sure I have the energy to do well on this one as is, but I am intrigued by it!

Here's my other idea for open theft: you're an alien imprisoned in Area 51. You have mind control powers, so you have controlled the guard outside your door. Unfortunately, he doesn't have the keys to the lock, so you have to control him on his trip through the base to get them, getting past other guards and scientists by engaging in dialogue. Being an alien, this is a problem, because you don't know English. But you do have a series of icons that make the person speak various words (which button does what is randomized each game, so like the alien, you must learn as you go). Try to communicate without sounding like an alien. "Hello FRIEND. I like SPORTS." I figure there would be 26 words you know, one for each letter on the keyboard. Raise too much suspicion, and you are caught!

Definitely not as easy as choosing speech options to pander to a crowd!
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Mia's Happy Day Is Today!12:28 PM -- Fri June 24, 2011

It's done, and fancy now! The high score tables have been wiped because of subtle tweaks (and major bug fixes) to how gameplay works that make previous scores no longer valid. It may have also wiped your goal progress unintentionally... sorry about that!

So go play Mia's Happy Day! There are now 3 bonus game modes you can unlock by earning awards. If you purchase an unlock for only $4.95, you get:

- 50% of your payment goes to the The Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation (so use money, because they don't take Yerfbucks).

- Six bonus levels, which include new features like water to avoid, bunnies to eat, and magically appearing biscuits to build your own combo paths!

- A very easy-to-use level editor to build and share your own creations.

- Six new awards to earn (thanks to the six levels, of course).

- "My Levels" page so you can see stats on the levels you've shared.

- Best of all, if you are a filthy cheater, an "Unlock Everything" button, to get around all that pesky earning of awards. I don't condone it, but people always want it!

So go play Mia for free now. For free you get tons of gameplay, because you now can play all custom levels for free, not just the top three. And you can unlock all three bonus game modes for more ways to play every level. So play it, and then you'll see if you want to shell out some cash to a good cause and to me too!

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I thought this game was done!05:51 PM -- Tue June 21, 2011

In a polishing frenzy, Mia's Happy Day continues on! The new version is really coming along, and the newest thing you have to look forward to are three alternate gameplay modes. Yes, one of them is where you get points for all combos ("Free Play Mode"). The others will just have to surprise you.

There's also my favorite new animation, but you can't really see it behind all those particles (also, this being a still image, it's not actually animating, so don't just stare at it for 10 minutes waiting):

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Smells Like Wet Dog02:45 PM -- Sat June 18, 2011

Not as exciting as bunnies, but one or two bonus levels will also include this... water! It's an unfortunate thing to land in. Or not. It depends on what you want - it just teleports you back to where you started the level, and sometimes that might be desirable. It does end your combo though, of course.

I've also implemented a third bonus thing, which is magically-appearing biscuits. What happens is (in certain levels, probably two of them), everywhere you go, you make biscuits appear, once every 3 seconds or so. So as you make your way around the level, you kind of create your own scoring opportunities where you want them.
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Bunnies, Bunnies, It Must Be Bunnies!06:18 PM -- Wed June 15, 2011

New feature for one (maybe two?) of the bonus levels... instead of biscuits, this level has bunnies. They work the same, except for the minor detail that they run away from you, making you work for your points. There's also a new animation I threw in, applicable equally to bunnies and biscuits, pictured in the upper left of the image. CHOMP!

I've done practically no work today... I am excited about this update though, it feels like I suddenly had a burst of ideas on how to make this game way better. The polish I should've had before release is suddenly coming together.

On an unrelated note: I have been doing something for almost two weeks now. It's not Hamumu-appropriate, so I can't link to it. But if you are okay with hearing a fair amount of profanity, I know it's something that would be very interesting to a lot of readers here. So if you are interested, I suggest you google the phrase "indie indie conversation". I and several other indie developers discuss the biz! I won't mention it on this site any further, since I'm not actually "allowed" to, but it's an ongoing thing, so subscribe to it if you are interested! This is your only notification!
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Mia's Later Day09:39 AM -- Tue June 14, 2011

I'm working on a big update to Mia... There will be 6 bonus levels for buyers, and all custom levels will be available to NON-buyers! Also, I'm going to add a couple more level listing features of some sort, I think. Mainly a thing for builders to see their levels and how they've been rated and all. I think I might tweak some gameplay/scoring stuff (more points for backflips, and making them slightly slower so you can't do one on a rail and stay on it).

And look, here's a video of somebody making a *monster* score on Cary Road (beware, it's super loud):

In other news, I won Infamous as a goodguy! It's so good. Haven't been obsessed with a game in a long time. This one is made by the guys who made Sly Cooper, which explains why it's good. I can't wait to play evil too.

In other game news, what's with Heavy Rain? It's so boring. It's like a movie, but only if the movie included everything the characters do to an absolute mindnumbing extreme. I think there's something interesting in there, but first I have to get myself a drink of water and look at a painting on the wall and sit down and cross my legs. And feed my child dinner and tell him to do his homework. Ooh, the drama! Of course, it helps the boringness that it's an absolute depression overload, thematically. Most maudlin game ever made. I am not sure if I want to continue or not.
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You will be soft launched, by me10:38 AM -- Mon June 13, 2011

Mia's Happy Day is now available! I'm not publicizing it widely right now, this is what we call a "soft launch". But if you want it, there it is! You can play the regular game for free, or pay to have the custom levels and editor.

Next step, finishing up the fancy versions that will sit on other websites. There are a few different ones, which is a pain!

But enough of that, enjoy! Make Mia's day happy.
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Slacker Attacker02:56 PM -- Wed June 8, 2011

I'm writing this post to avoid working on Mia's Happy Day! Right now, I'm trying to get the website set up to sell it. Last time I made a game for sale was like two years ago. There's so many little things I need to set up on the site. Don't go looking for them, I'm doing them on my offline copy. But I'm getting there!

So on that topic, this is how Mia's Happy Day is working. You can play the official levels for free, but if you want to build levels and play other peoples' levels, you have to pay up, cash money! It's $4.95, and half of that goes to charity (The Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation), so if you don't buy it, you're a scrooge. The free version shall be splattered all over the web, and I'm thinking about trying to put MochiAds in it too (all the more reason to play at Hamumu, where we don't do ads!). So hopefully it will drag people here to Hamumu as well as getting them to pay up. I'm also going to see if I can get into the Kongregate microtransaction beta, so that people can buy access there as well, instead of coming here. That's important because people do not like signing up at new places, and there are lots of people signed up at Kongregate!

Still so much to do. It's a lot harder to make something for sale than to just put up a free game. Yeesh.
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Sony Mea Culpa, Ergo Carpe Ludum!07:01 PM -- Sun June 5, 2011

So, Sony got hacked, and I got free games out of it! I chose Little Big Planet and Infamous of the choices available. I'm very pleased with my choices, both of them seem really awesome. I felt like a kid again sitting here all day and plowing through Infamous for like 6 hours. I die an awful lot, but I keep enjoying it. Like any game, it got even more fun when I gained the ability to grind rails (you have this ability from the start in Mia's Happy Day, just to maximize the fun). I only played Little Big Planet for two or three levels so far, but it's really impressive. I just want to keep cranking on Infamous! Instead of working!

In other games-I-am-playing news, I finished Lego Batman 100%! Fun like Lego games are. I also joined Goozex (that's a referral link, just in case anybody joins! I would love some freebies). It's a game trading site, basically like swapping games with your friends, except for a couple differences: it costs $1.99 to get each game, and you don't trade one-to-one. Instead, you list games you have, people request them, and you earn points (more for better/newer games) when they say they've received it. Then you use those points to request games from other people. It's a good system, with a bunch of protections against bad traders, and so far I have disposed of about 20 of my games, and received 2, with 2 more in the mail. Because you list all the games you're interested in, and it matches up what it can based on who is offering what and how many points you have, I managed to end up with two Metroid games (Prime 3 and Other M - from 2 minutes of testing out each, Other M seems infinitely superior! But alas, I must play in order) as my first two games. That's a little lame, but I am excited to be soon receiving Heavy Rain and Madworld.

It's been years since I played significant amounts of non-WoW games, so this is kinda special and new to have this ongoing source of new games, and it's really firing up my game design organs. Every game I play fills me with ideas to rip off, and I can already see dozens in just the little bits I've played of these. As much as I like to joke about "doing research", the truth is that playing lots of different games really is great for me, and not at all a waste of time. Sure, it becomes a waste of time when I keep plugging away at every game for hours and hours until I finish them, but that's the part of the game-playing that's for fun. The other part, the first few hours with each game, is real honest-to-goodness quality research. It's as useful to see stuff I like and want to steal as it is to see terrible things I should avoid. Sometimes, on moonlit nights, I even see things that inspire me to have my own semi-related original idea rather than just stealing!

In other news, Mia's Happy Day is really-super-almost done, and I have something else I'm doing that I will discuss later!
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