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  Late To The Party 12:03 PM -- Thu November 29, 2007  

I now have 1555 words done of a Nanowrimo novel! Think I'll finish by... tomorrow? I just had this idea that's been simmering a bit, and I finally tried some words. It's pretty fun, I think I'll continue with it later, though I'm sure it will never go anywhere.

What made me start on that is my new plan to make me do work (hopefully you recall that I come up with such plans about once a month, and they last for about a week). I needed one because after a big Thanksgiving break (a full week of guests and activities), I just wasn't able to get back into work. So I created this latest. It's a thing done in The Journal, where I insert a template into my Daily Journal. The template prints the current time, and a random task from a huge list I made of very specific tasks of all the different things I need to do (and a few things for fun). So I work on what it tells me until I either finish or peter out and stop working on it. No rules on how long I need to stick with it. When this happens, I just drop in another random task. In this way, things will get done! They will!! So the first thing to pop up was to work on writing. This Journal entry can also count as that, I suppose. The cool thing then is that at the end of the day, it doubles as a record of what I accomplished automatically.

I think all my Christmas shopping is now done. That's how good I am. Now just waiting for most of it to be shipped!

Augh, the next task I drew was Kitty Litter. Oh well.
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  An invention! 09:41 PM -- Sun November 25, 2007  

I have just invented Berry Pie flavored oatmeal. It's quite easy, here's the recipe:

- 1 packet Ralph's Organic Maple & Brown Sugar Oatmeal
- a bunch of dried raspberries

Dump raspberries and oatmeal in bowl. Pour boiling water on top and stir until oatmeal has oddly become pink. Yum!
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  Works! 12:31 PM -- Sun November 25, 2007  

Yay! Now testing further, so ignore this...
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  Thanksgave 12:13 PM -- Sun November 25, 2007  

Thanksgiving happened last Thursday (here in America). I don't remember what I wanted to say about it, but I needed to make a post to test out the RSS feed I built. There's a bunch of website stuff I'm working on all at once - fixing up the art gallery (and adding a bunch of artwork I have backlogged) and add-ons, so that they link together with Dumb Accounts. Then on your Dumb Page it will show what artwork and add-ons you've made. I was also working on a rating system for them, but I'm debating that. It could just cause trouble rather than fun. In addition, I'm working on the My Downloads page, and a couple other little bits. There is an awful lot to do on the site!

Okay, let's drop this in the RSS and see if it salutes!
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  Sneak Peek: Next Adventure Of Bouapha 07:26 PM -- Tue November 20, 2007  

I'm still not going to reveal just what his next adventure is, but here's a shot of it so far!

Yep, it's an all-new Bouapha! Well, it's a new Bouapha. He's not all-new since I worked from the original. But he's cartoon shaded now (and his head and eyes are bigger - I find that very important to my artistic integrity). In this adventure, Bouapha has no hammers at all, just an amazing assortment of oddly cheerful weaponry with extremely detailed stats. Unsurprisingly, these weapons can be leveled up. And of course, the leveling process involves jellybeans.

The background is actually Brayka Lake from Sleepless Hollow. I haven't done any map creating yet, I've just been running around firing the H.R. Puffencrush at poor innocent Froggies. The target there is the crosshair which you aim with the mouse. You fire with right-clicks, and can either move by left clicking or with the arrow keys. It's got a good feel to it - the arrow key control is very powerful and useful (see the Retrovirus game on this site for an example of what it's like), while the pure mouse control works for those with less coordination skill, or for me while I am eating lunch.

So, feel free to wonder where this adventure will take place and why he would use marshmallow-based weaponry (not that all the weapons fire marshmallows, just this one. I plan to have one fire rainbows!). This adventure is almost the opposite of Sleepless Hollow - very few puzzles, hopefully not overly difficult, and pretty much solid arcade action. Something like Alien Shooter(but a whole lot less violent), if you have heard of that.
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  An Odd Phenomenon 01:18 PM -- Tue November 13, 2007  

Just a little odd: ever since I've switched to doing my own shipping, about 80% of my CD orders are coming from abroad. Lots of Canada and UK orders, and some assorted other ones as well. Almost no US orders! What does it all mean? I do not know.

In other news, I enjoyed the process of making Sleepless Hollow very much. I am now working on a new Adventure Of Bouapha. Some details to be forthcoming eventually. It will be quite different and very funny.
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  HappyPonyGate London 02:47 PM -- Fri November 9, 2007  

I recently got the newly released game, which for purposes of this website we shall call HappyPonyGate: London. I like it, I have decided. Here are some assorted thoughts on this game:
  • It's very buggy. They had to hit that Halloween release date, and so they released it with some major issues. That seems somehow familiar to me... but mine's not nearly as bad as what they've got. Lots of people can't even play it!
  • The icons really stand out to me. Or rather, they don't. The icons and whole interface (like your skills and such) are really awful. Very desaturated and blah, and the fonts they use there look like test artwork, not a complete game. This is one thing where I look at it and go "These might be the makers of Diablo 2, but they clearly aren't Blizzard." Blizzard makes awesome icons and interfaces. You look at a skill icon in a Blizzard game and you go "I want that skill! It's so colorful and juicy!" These skill icons are just muddy. Of course, Blizzard also wouldn't have released a broken game. They'd have taken another 3 years to get it polished to utter perfection.
  • The overall gameplay reminds me a lot of City Of Heroes. It's a very different game, but there's all these little things that just feel like City Of Heroes. When you use a skill, it shrinks down and gradually grows back up to size before it's ready again. The maps are randomly generated, but composed of very familiar pieces you quickly learn to recognize. Even the style of the maps themselves feel like ones from City Of Heroes, just darker. Other things too, it's weird. Just a feel.
  • There are moments where I feel absolutely that I am playing House Of The Dead. I was walking up this staircase in a museum and all these zombies were coming down the stairs as I fired away with a machine gun... that was pure House Of The Dead. And that's good, it's fun!
  • It made me jump last night, so bad my hand came off the mouse. There are these demons that can pop up from the floor, roaring as they do so of course. I know they're coming, I met them all over the place already, but my mind wandered and I was thinking about other stuff when one popped up behind me!
  • I originally thought this would play very much like an RPG that just happens to be in the first person viewpoint. But that is totally not true. It really plays like an FPS (depending on your chosen class), and that's what it feels like. But then there's the tons and tons of RPG stuff to it with all the random gear to go through, and the skills to upgrade and all. It's a true blend.
  • There are a ton of really unique weapons in the game. Normally in an RPG, you choose whether you want the sword of fire, or the sword of ice. In this game, it's not just stats and that stuff, your decisions are also based on the actual functionality of the weapon. You can equip a rocket launcher that sets an area of the floor on fire, a gun that shoots a swarm of wasps that home in and gradually devour everything around, a laser beam that does almost no damage but holds enemies in place, a sniper rifle, and so on. And of course, if the weapons are one-handed, you can combine any pair of them. It's like in an FPS where you have an array of weapons to choose from, only you get to upgrade them and outfit them with special mods to do different things. Like I said, a true blend! Sure makes playing the swordfighting class dull by comparison - unlike everyone else, they do the standard RPG choices (at least they can use a grappling hook in their offhand for a little fun).
  • There are 6 character classes, but it's painfully obvious that there were originally only 3. The 6 are divided into 3 pairs, which are basically just 2 different 'builds' of the same character. That really limits your creativity, and you don't have a ton of skill choices. I would've liked to be able to decide how much of the two sides I was interested in and combine them. Maybe find a clever combo.
  • It has "Achievements", like Gallery Goals! For example, destroy 1000 crates (I forgot to mention, there are just hundreds of destructible objects all around the levels, many of which explode. This greatly adds to the fun), or reach level 10 in 4 hours. It's fun to have goals to shoot for.
  • Speaking of goals to shoot for, it also has a 'mini-game'. It shows little icons in the corner of the screen, 3 things that it wants you to do. These can be things like 'inflict toxic damage on an enemy' or 'kill a Beast' (that's beast as opposed to demon, ghost, or undead - different general classes of enemy) or 'get a critical hit'. Each one has a number on it, and each time you do that thing, the number goes down. When you get all 3 of them to 0, you get a prize and a new set of goals! It's just a fun little thing you can completely ignore, or you can get into it and try hard to complete it. Once I finally learned how it works, I started stockpiling weapons that do different kinds of damage, so I could complete those damage-type goals.
  • All in all, it hasn't grabbed me like Diablo 2, but I am really having a lot of fun playing it. Just the general mayhem of running around and shooting everything is fun, so it all works out. It's rough around the edges, but it seems like they're working really fast to get it to where it should've been at release. It's already been substantially enhanced since I got it on Tuesday.
Them's my thoughts. Think I'll go check it out some more.
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  Patchier and Patchier 07:43 PM -- Tue November 6, 2007  

And of course, within a few hours of the patch release, people were already reporting more issues. So I'm working on that. And, hush hush, I'm working on a super awesome bonus for this new version. A whole new gameplay element that I have been enjoying today while I test it, and 5 more goals (not 5 more comics though, but there are ... things to see as a reward. They're ... informative?).

I don't know when I'll release this patch. That same balance thing I talked about yesterday comes into play - the longer I wait, the more bugs get reported, but also the longer the game is imperfect so people can get into trouble. It's a tough call.

One word, people: electrofishing.
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  Patchy Pants 10:59 AM -- Mon November 5, 2007  

Get the Sleepless Hollow patch if you own it!

I hate having to patch games. It always happens... Inevitably, when you open the game up to a wider audience (from the select few testers it started with), you've got tons more eyeballs and fingers crawling over it, and they end up getting into places none of the smaller group ever did. If I had vast riches, I could hire hundreds of testers, and I'd be simulating that wide audience to begin with. But on my budget, a few is all you get! Of course, in this particular case, it didn't help that we were under an extreme deadline. From start to finish, this game took 2 months, all testing included. The testing actually went on while the game was being developed, which was another tricky aspect. Still, it worked out really well (guess it helped that it's a modified version of a game that is known to work well!). Except for one issue, which I still can't figure out the explanation for (the missing yellow key - I played this game to 100% completion without cheating, so I don't know what that's about! Well, I made some changes while I played, so it must have been somehow in there), it's all just ways to mess up the puzzles that I hadn't accounted for.

I'm sure more will be discovered over time, but I had to balance between waiting until a good proportion of the issues were discovered, and getting it out quickly to save people from the pain. That's the balance you have with a patch. If I had shot it out right away as soon as the first bug was announced, I'd have patched it daily since release! That would drive people nuts (me most of all), and just complicate matters, not to mention being a whole lot of work on my end.
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  DumbWords! 10:09 PM -- Sun November 4, 2007  

Hey, if you haven't seen it yet, you need to get in on DumbWords. It's the latest game here, and it won't take up more than 20 seconds of your time once a day, so come by and do it every day! You will win Yerfbucks and trophies, and it is fun to do. The rules are very simple, so go check them out! You of course need a Dumb Account to play. You'll always find it on the Dumb Folks section of the site, so just hit it every day, and see how you are doing!

It's the first of the web games to grace Hamumuland. This one is designed for everybody to just casually drop by each day, but there will someday be others with different concepts, like ones you sign up for a specific session, or drop in and play real-time. More games, trophies, avatars, and other fun stuff will continue to appear on the site. I hope you like this game though, and I hope you get hooked! A game like this is only fun when lots of people participate.

On the more tragic side, we've got our new Chatroom available now, and really it's not working so well. It kicks people out a lot, and sometimes locks people from getting in. It's all we've got for the moment, but hopefully someday we'll have something better or it will get upgraded. In the meantime, come visit - it's connected to the forum (you can access it from the Quick Links menu at the top of the forum), and so you are automatically logged in when you enter. I may actually end up having to shut it down, because I've been having some real issues with pages loading today and I'm afraid it relates to the bandwidth and CPU time that the chat is using up, but we'll see. I have problems with the inernet occasionally!

And hey, bookmark DumbWords! You've gotta hit it every day.
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