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  Ho Ho OW 12:42 PM -- Mon December 27, 2004  

Here's my Christmas story for you. I woke up early Christmas morning, excited to go see what was out in my stocking, so I pulled on my shirt... and fell on the floor gasping and yelling. It turns out that once you're older than dirt (30), shirts are something to be feared. They can strike without warning and grip you in their iron clutches, mercilessly tearing at your flesh and bones. So I spent my first old man Christmas laying on the couch and floor, with my back thrown out. From trying to pull on a shirt. It actually still hurts a lot today, and I can't turn my head all the way to the right, but on the 25th, it was unbelievable how painful it was. Really quite an experience. I decided it was teaching me that on this Christmas day, not everybody can enjoy presents and fun. Some people, such as me, instead must lie in pain, or hunger, or just plain poverty. So I took a moment to reflect on that between agonized moans.

But mostly we carried on our nice Christmas celebration together, our first ever with just the two of us and the cats. It was really quiet and nice, especially since I didn't have to do any of the cooking or cleaning as I lay on the couch. We had monkey bread for breakfast, opened lots of cool presents (including one of those TV Games things, so we can play Ms. Pac Man, Pole Position, and most importantly Mappy on the TV with great ease!), and settled in to watch holiday movies. We saw Bad Santa, The Hebrew Hammer, and Elf (actually not all on Christmas day, but thereabouts).

That's my Christmas tale! I'll pop back in in a day or two to share the near-future Hamumu plans, now that the Supreme patch is finally done.
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  Board Games 10:49 AM -- Mon December 20, 2004  

Still working on that patch, just cleaning up the loose ends. In the meantime, here's an update on some Hamumu board game ideas that may or may not ever happen, so you can drop me comments to say what you think of these ideas! All titles are temporary, just what we've come up with offhand.
  • Dramedy - A party game where players divide into two teams, and one person from each team goes up to be an actor. The two actors act out a scene together (the scene chosen by combining phrases from cards), and each one has an emotion card which tells them which emotions to be using during the scene. Their team has to shout out what emotion they think they are seeing to earn points. But there's a tricky bit... either actor can yell "Cut!" at any time to end the scene and collect their points (only the one who cuts gets points), so you want to hang on to get more of your emotions guessed, but you also have to cut the scene before your opponent!
  • Arthouse - Another party game. Every player but one draws a picture, then they must present it to the one who didn't draw (the Critic), who ranks all the pictures secretly, then auctions them off to the players in a standard bidding system. Then the next player becomes the Critic, and the same thing happens, until everyone has been the Critic once. Then the rankings of pictures are revealed, and the person who has the most critically acclaimed art collection wins! It's a game of guessing how a given Critic will like a given piece, and outbidding your opponents.
  • Art Attack - Moving slightly more towards strategy, but still pretty partyesque. Inspired by the previous game, in this game each player gets a hand of cards with things on them such as "Eye Beam - All monsters with two or more eyes fire eyebeams at a chosen target, doing 1 damage for every 4 eyes they have (minimum 1 damage)". They study the hand of cards they're dealt, then have 60 seconds to draw a monster any way they like. Then they all slap their monsters down on the table, have a good laugh, and go around playing their cards in order to hopefully kill the other monsters. The meat of the game lies in the arguments over what exactly is an eye, or whether that whiplike appendage counts as an arm, or especially on some of the more unique cards, questions like "which monster looks the most like it needs glasses?".
  • Thanksgiving Dinner - A solitaire game of laying tiles. You draw tiles and place them to create a thanksgiving dinner table and the people sitting at it. You score points by putting people together that would be happy chatting, keeping enemies apart, avoiding lefties bumping elbows with righties, and putting hungry people near the turkey and vegetarians near the salad. Try to beat your high score!
  • Allowance - A card game where each player is a kid from the 50's, trying to save up money for the toy you really want during the summer. Which toy that is is drawn from a deck of cards, so one player may need to save up for a bike, while another is just going for a yo-yo. That would be unfair, but the one saving for a bike has much more Motivation, which is the 'currency' you use to bid on chores you're willing to do to earn the money. Other special cards like friends that come over and summer jobs that provide a steady income add to the mix. First person to save up enough for their toy wins... but watch out for Fads, when suddenly everybody wants the newest thing!
  • High School - A very unique and fairly abstract game of laying down cards. Each card has a bunch of people on it - Punks, Goths, Nerds, and Jocks. The goal is to make large groups of one type of person - a Clique. But to claim a clique, you need to play a special item adjacent to it: a Switchblade, Skull, Calculator, or Football, depending on the type of Clique. There are also Principals that disrupt Cliques, and Lockers that just take up space. Each Clique also has special bonus point rules, like Jocks are bullies, so you get a bonus point for each Jock in the Clique that neighbors a Nerd.
I haven't test-played any of these games, and most of them don't even have all of their cards designed. I'm really exploring different avenues and ideas, and I can't wait to see what happens this Christmas when I try to get my family to play the two party games. What do you think of them all? There are a bunch of others too, but these are among my favorites, and the ones that are easier to describe (there are a few others I really like, but they'd just be too hard to explain, given my exceptional verbosity). Later, I'll post complete rules to one of them that can be played with a standard deck of cards. I still have never had a chance to try it, because it requires at least 4 players, so I have no idea if it's even playable, but maybe you'll try it and let me know!
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  Workin It 04:51 PM -- Fri December 17, 2004  

Every few months I embark on a new schedule to make myself work. It always lasts a couple weeks, then sorta fades away (unless some big interruption happens, like a holiday or a trip - then it just drops dead). I always really enjoy it though, especially making up the schedule, which is quite entertaining, putting things in boxes and all. I'm messy and lazy, but I love organization and planning. It's fun.

This latest schedule was started this Monday. I include categories for all kinds of things, not just working on games, for a couple of reasons. Foremost is that I very rarely do any work on marketing or the website or other business things, so by scheduling time for that, I make sure I actually end up doing some. Secondly, I schedule time for other things that aren't business, like chores, playing around with Fruity Loops (my music program), time set aside for "Art" (without requiring what the art is for), and for "Fun Read" (reading fiction) and "Work Read" (reading stuff that will help me in work or in life), and others. I schedule these because if I am left to my own devices, I will just take the path of least resistance: programming and art on a game for 6 hours or so (heavily interspersed with mind-boggling amounts of web-surfing), then crashing and watching TV or playing games the rest of the day. It hurts my overall energy level, probably hurts my productivity, and means I never actually do anything but work and laze about. So scheduling these other activities, which I enjoy but never do, keeps me ... I don't know, more a part of the world or something. Makes me more complete. It's too easy to just lounge around, life is better with a little challenge. I don't know how challenging reading fiction is, but if I don't schedule it, I never make time for it.

So, this schedule is being pretty fun. One thing I got done is visible atop your browser - the pages now have good titles instead of all being called "Hamumu Software: Dumb Games For Your PC" (the home page is still titled that). I also contacted a site about advertising, finished the Supreme patch pretty much (coming soon!), and actually did a chore or two, which may be a record. So it's good. I actually only have 10 hours of the week scheduled for game development (plus 2 more hours for updating old games and 5 hours for working on board games), which is probably much too low, but it's the right thing for now - I haven't started in on a new game yet, and I'm just using that time to patch Supreme. I don't consider the schedule set in stone or anything, it'll change when needed, and it's good that I'm putting effort into some other directions of my life. When I'm in the middle of serious game development, I'll up it to 3-4 hours a day or so (and when I get really into it, I'll be doing it in my off-hours too). If this schedule lasts that long! It has to make it through Christmas and New Year's!

Journals are boring, huh?
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  Happy birthday to me 05:34 PM -- Fri December 10, 2004  

So what's been going on? Well, we're back from the trip, and a large part of the initial return involved cleaning up the house and shipping tons of orders (felt good to ship that many in one day! Except for how horribly much work it was! If I ever succeed to the point were I'm selling 20 CDs a day, I'm really going to need to set up a better system for it). Now things are more over with and back to normal (good pile of orders still though, hooray!). I'll get back to some Supreme updating today, I've got several specific issues to work on there. Also, today Sol will pick the top 50 Winter Wackiness names, and I'll try to get the voting up ASAP. I'm going to make the voting period just a couple days... it's not life or death as to which names get picked! So I don't yet know the official WW schedule, but it should start soon. And the new Supreme patch should be out later this month with luck. That's what's going on.

I've also gotten obsessively into board games (as you may have heard) - and by the way, Chez Goth is not very good - and come up with about a dozen board/card/party game ideas that I really want to do something with. One of them is the fairly obvious choice, Dr. Lunatic Supreme With Cards. Problem is, that's a whole lot of cards! It could easily be done as a collectible card game (like Pokemon or Magic: The Gathering), but I would feel like I was robbing people with the way those games work. Maybe it'd be a basic set and an expansion or two. There are over 200 monsters in Supreme, you know, and I'd like to have more than just monsters in the deck... but can you imagine a deck of over 250 cards? That's 5 normal decks tall! Try shuffling that. Well, there'd be savings with stuff like only having one Roly Poly, and stuff like that, but it'd still be well over 150 monsters.

In general though, I'd like to add non-computer games to the lineup, but I'll have to try out my designs and see if they're any fun first. Then I have to figure out how to get the components made and all! Kinda fun really. Speaking of what I see in the corner of my screen, I better change Yerfdog over, he's still eating leftovers from Thanksgiving. And I need to do a newsletter... gee whiz.
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  Flyin' Free 03:58 PM -- Wed December 1, 2004  

For the first time ever, I've found a place where I can actually use wireless internet for free! It's so cool! I can just walk around our hotel room watching spams download! And it's fast too. This is the second hotel we've had on this trip, and the first one offered "high speed internet" via ethernet cable which was low-speed. This wireless stuff is moving right along, maybe faster than the DSL at home. Close anyway.

So that means here we are in a hotel after spending two nights in the hospital. Sol Hunt has given birth to a 1 pound bouncing baby kidney, and is currently recuperating here in the room. Everything went just great and she's already chipper and bouncy herself, in a dazed, nap-filled, plodding sort of way. So hooray! Both she and her cousin are recovering very well and it looks like it's ideal in every way, not that I enjoyed seeing her in pain.

Hmm, wrong yerfdog's up, but too bad, I can't fix it until next week. I am going to have a ton of CDs to ship out the day after I get home. I'm surprised so many people went ahead and ordered. There's a warning it gives to let you know the game won't ship until we get back, but I guess that didn't deter anyone.

I bought a pile of non-computer games while we were here, because there's a cool game store by the hospital (which you can reach by walking underground - half the city is connected by underground tunnels, because this is cold country). Last time we came I got Carcassonne which is highly recommended (whether geek or not, it'd be great for families), and this time I added an expansion for it, two Cheap Ass Games, and one called Chez Goth which looks interesting. Haven't even played two of those games yet, but I can definitely recommend Kill Doctor Lucky, it's sort of like Clue, only you're trying to commit the murder instead of solve it. I also of course wrote down ideas for 3 board/card games of my own. I tend to get inspired when I can't actually do work. That's about it. The End.
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  01:13 PM -- Tue November 23, 2004  

Well, tomorrow we leave for our trip. So I've pretty much rigged the site up to run itself! Provided I can check email at least daily, which I believe should be quite possible, I can run things like a real business (which is to say, much less responsive than usual, but still within 24 hours). It'll be two loooong weeks. Especially for my poor kitties. Should be business as usual by December 7th. Oh well, here we go! Let's hope everything works as expected. Good luck surviving without me.
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  Also, WoW! 11:44 AM -- Wed November 17, 2004  

I just want to also add that officially starting today I am going on a mini-vacation. You see, World of Warcraft is going to be released early next week. Once it's released, it will cost $15 a month to play. So as you can imagine, early next week will be the end of my WoW career (I am in the beta test, so it's free). So I need to get to it and play like crazy! What an amazing game, and boy will it be influencing Bad Graphics (although you probably won't even be able to recognize any of the influences... they're very different games!). So forget work, somewhat! Time to level up!
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  Still here! 11:32 AM -- Wed November 17, 2004  

I am still alive and still working! I've made a lot of progress on the Supreme patch. It's got a lot of new editor features to spice up levels with, although they're all pretty subtle - you'll really need to be a serious world builder to take advantage of what they offer. But if I'm right about them, they'll give you great new powers to make players suffer in new ways!

I'm also working on some website stuff. I've already (finally) automated the newsletter signup process, but I still have to add a way to actually send to the new automated list. I've also beefed up the ordering process (this is not online yet) to check orders more thoroughly before sending them to me, so that I can feel safe with part 2 of this process, which is at long last having automated downloads. So now when you order a game (on CD or download), you'll get a download link immediately, as well as your CD or emailed download link later. There's another problem with the ordering, which is that it rejects an order any time it encounters a special character (like accented letters), which is common with orders from foreign countries. I still don't know quite what I can do with that, but I'll try to come up with something! The drive behind getting these changes in was actually the fact that at the end of this month, we will be leaving for 2 weeks straight! So I want the orders to be handled automatically. I'll still be checking email, but I can only do that once a day or so, and it's a serious pain. CD orders during that time will be postponed until we get back. There will of course be a notice so nobody is surprised by that!

Why are we leaving for 2 weeks? Not for fun! I will now let you all know that my wife is going to be donating her kidney to her cousin at that time. Really! She's pretty amazing. Of course, once we get back, she's got another 5 weeks of recovery time where the doctor says she's not allowed to lift more than 10 pounds. So guess who gets to do everything around here?
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  And PS 10:59 AM -- Mon November 1, 2004  

Vote here even if you're not American or not 18!

The Hamumu Election 2004

Polls close in 5 days. We're a lot more lenient than the US.
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  Just a reminder 10:22 AM -- Mon November 1, 2004  

If you are a US citizen 18 or over...


And don't believe anyone who tells you there's some little rule that means you can't vote. You can. There are provisional ballots, there's election-day registration, and other rules to make sure that everyone can vote (these vary by state - google your state and "voter rights" or something like that to look up the info if you're not registered now). It's really important. Really really important.

I'm not going to try to sway you one way or the other - the important thing is that you place your vote according to what you believe personally! Which of course means you better know all the information you can get. Unfortunately, pretty much every source of information is badly biased to one side or the other, so I hope you've heard lots of things from every side, and you know who you can trust. One place you can probably trust is www.factcheck.org, the site that Dick Cheney meant to point people to in his debate. Unfortunately, it's not a general information site, but rather a site debunking the lies that come from both sides. If you know a site that you think is really non-partisan and informative, post it in the comments!

And just in case you didn't hear me the first time...

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