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  A Grim Christmas 04:57 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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  Thanksgiving 09:24 PM -- Tue November 25, 2003  

Thanksgiving is coming. So I titled this entry "Thanksgiving". I've got that kind of complex pattern-matching ability in my mind. But I don't have anything special to say about Thanksgiving. What do I have to say? Let's see... I recently installed iRate, which is a nifty little music thing. It downloads music from a very wide variety of artists (mostly indie bands), and puts them in a playlist, then you rate them as they play. How you rate them determines how often they play (and you can click "This Sux" to permanently be rid of something horrid), and the way other people have rated things determines what new songs will be downloaded for you, based on your votes. Get it? So it's like a radio station that plays what you like! Once it learns what that is. The hard part is remembering to click a rating during each song. Normally I just let music play while I work. I've already discovered several bands I want to get CDs from.

I've also been playing a lot of Diablo 2. It's addictive, of course. Best money I've ever spent on a game... I would say I've played somewhere around 500 hours of it over the years I've owned it. That's probably way low, though.

I got to play even more the other day, to help me recuperate - I got sick. Bleh. It wasn't too bad for being sick. I hope that's the extent of the flu for flu season. Wasted two days of my life though!

I've been doing only design work on Grimbelina, but I think it's planned very tightly - it will be a good game! I'm off.
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  Yerfdog Fun 01:23 PM -- Mon November 17, 2003  

Just wanted to pop in and say yay, new Yerfdog! I'll try to keep up with the holidays up there. Sorry his drool doesn't animate, but only his top half is an animated GIF... no reason the bottom couldn't be, just that it hasn't been before. I also replaced the Dumb People counter at the bottom of the pages. That was gone when I put up the Halloween Yerfdog, just because I had copied up my 'test' version of the page generator which doesn't include that. Life is crazy during this season. And cold.
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  Revolutions 09:10 PM -- Wed November 12, 2003  

And lastly for today, I really liked Revolutions. I do see the things people complain about - it's weird how they almost dropped the main characters, and I didn't like how they dealt (or didn't at all) with Neo's powers (it frustrates me quite a bit when he's in "someone else's world", and yet he doesn't realize that he has the power to break rules imposed on him - that's his ONLY power... is it that hard to keep track of?). It was definitely not at all how I would've ended the trilogy. But that's part of what's good - it was a surprise, and it sparked a lot of discussion with my wife about what it all meant. I read some great interpretations on the internet too. Somebody on a website explained to me something about how the final fight ended (which was the thing I really didn't get, in all of it), and their explanation was really good. I like movies that can do things like that. There are a lot of interpretations of it all. Some of them are kinda dumb, but they're getting people thinking.

Of course, most people just say "that sucked", and go on home. I can't blame them, I think that's a fair response to art. I have that response to quite a bit of modern art, and to everything starring Ernest. I just really liked this trilogy. It makes Star Wars look really pathetic. And yes, I do agree that the first was the best, but I also really liked how the second one turned things on their head and changed it all around. Hooray for the Matrix!
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  Amazonia! 09:03 PM -- Wed November 12, 2003  

We got another Amazon.com gift certificate today (thanks to the Ikea spending spree). It's already all used up, and Solee hasn't even come home from work! Hope she doesn't mind what I got. I went overboard, and spent $50 (less the $25 certificate!). We're supposed to spend just exactly the certificate. But I like music. I got 4 CDs! Not bad for $25 really. One is used - Dragline, by Paw. I miss that CD, my roommate had it years ago. I can't wait! Oh Jessie, you're a good dog.

Most of the other CDs I got were apparently what is classified as "emo". I don't know what that is (I gather it has to do with 'emotion', but I'm not sure in what way). I've heard the term before, but never had it affect my life, so I never bothered to learn. Now I am wondering, since I am a victim of it (and apparently, have been for some time - they say Jimmy Eat World is emo, and heaven knows I gotta have my Jimmy Eat World!). I think I'll go google about it a little. I also got a band called "Finch" (which is one of the emo ones!). They sounded very cool, but more importantly, they're from Temecula! Hoorah!
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  Who watches the watchmen? 08:58 PM -- Wed November 12, 2003  

I got a call today from the Better Business Bureau. It was very similar to the call I got from them two years ago. At that time, I had just registered my business in this county (having just moved here from San Diego), and they called and said "wow, we've been getting tons of calls from people about your business, if you sign up, they'll be able to get a report on you when they call and know you're a good business". I told them what a surprise that was, gee, must be because I just registered, you know - B2B companies calling them to check me out for spamming me. I signed up, because I had been thinking that very week how I should be a BBB member. Thought it would be good for business. I believed them that there had been many calls, though I thought they were not customer calls, since I had been harassed tons of times in those weeks by various companies wanting to offer me some worthless service or another. So, a year of membership is the only term you can buy, and I bought it (Side note: the telemarketer seemed genuinely shocked at my cheerful interest in signing up!). For something like $350. For a YEAR. And a PLAQUE.

The story goes on predictably to include the fact that I am unaware of any person ever checking my BBB listing, even though I provided an actual direct link to it on my site. Of course, I didn't renew, and life went on unchanged except for the thinner wallet.

So now they call again, and you know what they said? They've gotten calls for fourteen people just recently about my business, so I should sign up again! Wow, 14 people you say!? Really!? I better rush right in and sign up!!!!!!! Weird how these people weren't calling them during the year I was signed up, but waited until the exact same time of year when they harassed me two years ago, almost as if it was the time of year in which the BBB does a signing-up drive of some sort. So weird!

The question is simple: Who do you call when the Better Business Bureau is trying to scam you? Sheesh.

I did not sign up. What a sad comment on society!
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  Scribbler! 04:05 PM -- Mon November 10, 2003  

I found this link on Blue's News, where I find everything interesting. It's a program called Scribbler, which takes your simple line drawing and sorta scribbles on it... check it out: Scribbler. Here's a picture I made with it. I probably spent like 3 hours trying out different things. This kind of thing is just plain addictive!

Not much else to tell you right now - I'm working hard on graphics for someone else's game, then I'll delve more seriously into the wonder and mystery of Grimbelina.
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  Happy Halloween! 01:47 PM -- Fri October 31, 2003  

Hooray! It's the unofficial Hamumu holiday. To celebrate, look at the upper left of our webpage. To celebrate more, check out our Sneak Peek page. To celebrate most of all, buy fifty copies of all of our games (I'll give you a huge discount if you do, too!)!

I have no Halloween plans. Just gonna sit here, do some work, and give out candy to those who request it (in-person requests only, sorry). It's feeling very holiday-like around here, now that the smoke from armageddon has faded away, and we're left with extremely cold, grey, sometimes a touch rainy, skies. My guts are all amping up for holiday cheer. That's because my birthday is in December, so there's a lot of YAY-GIMME-NOW crammed into the end of the year. Wait, you mean that's not what the holidays are about!? Wha?!

Well, later today I'll be releasing the Halloween Horror Pack 4, so watch for that coming up! Can you believe this is the fourth year we've done that? It's nuts. I have an idea for something different from Winter Wackiness this year, but it'll take a bit of work from me, so no need to be holding any breath for it.

Go eat some candy.
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  Sneak Peek: Grimbelina/Soul Hunt 11:48 AM -- Fri October 31, 2003  

Happy Halloween! As usual, I tried to create a surprise Halloween game for you. Like two years ago, I failed. And in exactly the same way. I decided to create a quick game made out of Supreme's code, and instead made it too involved and unique to be done quickly. The previous result was Loonyland, which ended up taking 5 months. For whatever stupid reason, I have hopes this will take less time than that. But it's not even in the realm of done yet. So what is it!?

It's Grimbelina! Sol came up with the absolutely brilliant notion of naming it Soul Hunt, but I'm not sure yet. Doing that would almost definitely be writing off Sol Hunt for good. Maybe I should have a vote on that. Anyway, Grimbelina is the daughter of the Grim Reaper, who went away to a convention after warning her as he always does when he leaves the house, "Keep your boney mitts off of the Well Of Souls!". Of course, being a kid, she couldn't do that, and now hundreds of souls have been released, and she has to recapture them all before he gets home. To make matters worse, a team of government agents have arrived nearby to investigate the paranormal disturbance. Royal pummelings ensue!

Gameplay revolves around beating guys up with nifty combos, including juggling them into the air, or grabbing them and throwing them around (in the main shot above, you can see she's just smacked one guy downward, which knocked down a few others too, underneath the "G"). By beating them up rapidly and making big combos, you level up and earn points to learn new moves with, or upgrade your stats. There are tons of moves that you gain access to as you proceed, but they're all done very simply, with a two button system (Attack and Jump).

The tiles you see in this shot are just leftovers from Supreme, as I haven't made any tiles yet, but the graphics in Grimbelina will be all new - it's going to have an extremely simple, colorful, cartoony look (you can see that in the characters, I hope).

And yes, you will be able to create your own monsters, levels, adventures, and playable characters! It will require some computery knowledge to pull off, however. And you won't be able to create your own monster graphics. The fun will be in creating new moves and combo possibilities. Of course, that's all subject to change!

So that's Grimbelina, or Soul Hunt, or Grimbelina's Soul Hunt, the big surprising new game from Hamumu Software, coming... maybe soonish!
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  Augh!! 05:40 PM -- Sat October 25, 2003  

So close!! You don't know how so close. I just got back from my Tony Hawk contest. I have many regrets:

  • I didn't know the rules in advance. In fact, I asked him the rules and he said "We don't know them yet, but probably a 2 minute run, high score, on any level you want".
  • It wasn't.
  • It was high score, 2 minute run, 2 players at once (which means split screen, which confused me! So tiny!), CAN ONLY BE TONY HAWK HIMSELF, on The College level, with no upgrades, and no editing your tricks - defaults all around.
  • Tony Hawk is a vert skater. Vert skaters are not fit to lick my wheels!
  • I don't know any of Tony Hawk's specials, which are the key to getting scores!
  • Ah, but here come the big regrets:
  • My practice run (you got 1min practice, then 2min real) was just slightly under the score that ended up winning the competition (350k-ish). But I got that score in only 1 minute!!
  • On my real run... I wasn't doing too hot, lowish score, but then when there was one second left on the clock, I knew I had to get going to win this thing (you can continue after the time runs out, as long as you maintain a combo; once your combo ends, the run is over), so I started The Ultimate Combo. It ruled like nobody in that store had ever seen. It probably lasted another 20 seconds. I got cheers! My run was the most exciting one of the day, the kids loved it!
  • But, at the end, I knew I had to land it, or it would count for nothing, so I headed out onto flat ground, and set the controller down to avoid my automatic instincts to keep pounding buttons. Unfortunately, I was still in a manual at that time, so I fell down. The amount of points I lost by failing that combo would've put my score way above the winning score for the competition. The combo itself was worth more than the total winning score!
  • All I had to do to win the contest was to hit the X button one more time. Once. No skill involved, just tap the X button.
  • Also, the guy running the contest swapped my score with my opponent's - luckily he had done well too, so instead of being counted as 190k points, I was counted as 140k.
In the end, I got 6th place, and the top 5 scorers got T-shirts. I would've been 4th place with my actual score, and of course let's not forget second place (maybe first, about that area) with my score from my practice run (in only 1 minute!! Dagnabbit!), or way out in first with my score if I had just hit that stupid button! BUT, to compensate for the horror of having to play as a stupid vert character, virtually without special moves (I got off a couple special grinds, but never figured out how I was doing it), on a crappy level, which rendered all my awesome practice meaningless, and also the suffering of looking really silly as the only elderly gent competing against a vast army of 20 or so 10-15 year olds, the universe smiled down upon me, and lo 5 shirts became 6. They had 6 shirts on hand, and I am now the semi-proud, sorta-dejected, owner of a Tony Hawk's Underground t-shirt! HOORAH!!

That's really great. I would've been way happier with the game, but I blew it with that stupid X button stunt, so it's my own thing. But the t-shirt is really cool, since I always need more of those for free. So I didn't win Tony Hawk 5... good news for you all, because it means I will actually spend time working on my next game!

Whatever that may be.

PS - you're in even more luck... they're having another contest next month, but it's an SSX contest. And I believe we've discussed in this very space just how horrifically unplayable the garbage that they call SSX is. I will be skipping that crapfest. It's sad... Tony Hawk is the only game (besides UT!) that I'd really enjoy competing in. And I'm good at it! I did so good!! I didn't do 6th place good, I did 1st place good! Oh well... let the kids enjoy their games. I'm a grown up or something.

That X button will haunt me forever.
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