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  Weekend Code Warrior 09:38 PM -- Sun February 28, 2010  

As advertised, I spent the weekend working on Space Cruise! Well, I spent saturday dealing with a dog that was sick-as-a, and generally moping about, but then today I worked on it! Not hard, because hey, it's the weekend. But it's getting there now. I would share a screenshot, but it looks about the same as before with a couple tiny tidbits different.

The engineering section is completely done now, sounds and all (which is quite a feat for me, since I usually blow that off for a long time), and sickbay is about half done. It's fun because now you can use the mending laser to zap broken bones into health. Eventually you will also need to, and be able to, space-band-aid the injuries once you fix them. Maybe next weekend I can finish it? I dunno! It's a fun little side project.
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  Daily! Sketch #16: Buzzkill 12:38 PM -- Fri February 26, 2010  

This is another scavenger that lurks within the Thorny Ruin. It's called a Buzzkill for obvious reasons. The only real thing of note here is that I drew the bottom one first, and then sometimes a good trick for working out how something should look is to just make as many opposite choices as you can. So I drew the one above it next, trying to do everything the opposite way stylistically (I can't avoid sticking one big feather out of the top of any bird's head, though). Okay, it's not all that opposite, but you can find the points where I tried new things. Then ideally, you'd make a 3rd sketch combining the elements you like from each. I didn't exactly do that, but I did make a horrible attempt at drawing one in-flight (which is probably how you would mostly see them). That didn't go so well. Some things I just have a real hard time with.
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  Answers To Daibaka Model Questions 12:27 PM -- Tue February 23, 2010  

Those weren't 3 different ideas, they're ways the game addresses three different reasons people might give money. They're all part of the game. The purpose of the game is to obtain the money needed to buy 3DS Max, which does indeed cost that much. Once I've got it, I can pay a mere $500/year to keep it updated (my problem is that I didn't do that - I have a 7 year old version that just doesn't work anymore, and is way outside the realm of 'upgrade pricing' now).

It's not intended to be a 'good deal' to pay $30 to create something (although it's way cheaper than the same reward in any of the other few instances where you can do so! Normally such things are either rare contest prizes or cost hundreds of dollars). This is a donation, not a payment for an item. I wouldn't expect anybody to do anything beyond the $10 level (since that level is just plain buying a game). Anything more is a true donation to support Hamumu development. I will also set it up to accept below $10, which would also just be a pure donation, since there's no reward. I do want to include a donors list in the game though, so a little recognition can be your reward.

Also, I'll have to make it not accept Yerfbucks, because of course getting those doesn't get me any closer to my goal, as Autodesk doesn't accept Yerfbucks. It's the same problem as offering T-shirt rewards. I actually need the total amount of money, not the symbolic equivalent.

A lot of peoples' responses seemed to be things like "I don't think I'd pay much more than $10", and I want you to know that that's more than fine. Just because there's a $30 level in there (again, not a real number, just off the top of my head) or a $500 level, or Redbone's $3500 level which sounds very nice, doesn't mean I expect people to give me that or am asking you to. It's just an opportunity to support if you want to. If you paid $1 more than $10, you're just plain giving me money and supporting the cause of Dumb games! That's fantastic. Anything beyond $10 is extremely supportive of you. Even $10 is supportive, though you may just be doing that for your own selfish reasons. But I'll take it either way!

You have to understand, there are people who donate money to me (by buying multiple copies of games they already own) right now on occasion. Some people just like to have an opportunity to support a company they like. I'm like you - I have to hang on to every penny and I only spend money on things I can afford and need. But some people will purchase the fancy expensive levels because they have the money, and they want to support what I do! I definitely want to give people the option just in case they'll take it. It would be the wrong kind of dumb to not offer it.
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  The Daibaka Model 08:53 PM -- Mon February 22, 2010  

Still hacking away at the level editor in Daibaka (maybe someday I'll be able to make a level! That would be a treat). So lemme tell you the key to how the whole game works, because it's pretty unique.

Daibaka is unabashedly an embodiment of me begging for money. It's basically telling you "If you like classic Hamumu games with their 3D-rendered guys, then give me a pile of money so I can keep making them!" It is a game that asks for donations. Now how does it do that? Well, I came up with three reasons why somebody would give me money, and I wanted to hit all 3 of those cases with the game:

1. Extraneous: You're just being nice (or you really want me to be able to make these games for you)

2. Selfish: You want to get something for yourself (you wish to exchange money for goods, rather traditional of you)

3. Altruistic: You want to help out other people (me included)

So, for reason #1, I don't have to do anything. You can just go ahead and hand me money right now. I'm waiting. Go ahead. Dum di dum...

For reason #2, I have a very simple concept: if you donate $10 or more, you get access to the level editor in the game, and the ability to play levels by other people. In this way, it's exactly like Costume Party (but this has no expansions). So you are paying for a game, simple as that.

Reason #3 is the interesting one. The game will only have 1 built-in level available at launch (the built-in levels are free to play for anyone). The remaining 349 levels will have a tag over them - the second level is "$10!", then "$20!", and so on, up to "$3490!" (I should probably add an extra level, since I actually need $3500, but I have them neatly arranged in sets of 5!). Everytime the total sum of donations reaches that amount, that level unlocks! So you are in essence buying the game for everybody. If you donate $5, and your friend donates $5, both of you (and everyone else on Earth) can now play one more level. If you find 20 strangers that all are willing to hand over a mere dollar, you all get 2 more levels!

Also, every set of 5 levels, in various ways you will discover, gives you an opportunity to obtain one each of the weapons, devices, and superbombs. So there's that to look forward to in the levels being added. The levels are a set of 4 regular levels in which your goal is to collect Evidence, and then the lair of the Villain you just collected Evidence to find. You don't have to play levels in order, but you do have to beat all 4 of a Villain's sub-levels before you can take him on.

Of course, the levels can't actually unlock until I make them (and their associated villains, weapons, etc), so I will try to keep up (fingers are crossed that keeping up will be very difficult!). It would be unfair for people to pay up and then not be able to get anything for it in a reasonable time.

And then there's one more thing that makes it all the more exciting... I haven't worked out exact amounts here, so you can't hold me to this, but I am picturing that if you donate $30 or more, you get to invent a weapon, device, superbomb, or one of the villains themselves. How you invent that is up to you - if you want to provide the artwork, I'll stick it in (within reason), and of course you get to come up with how it works and what it's called and all that stuff (again, within reason! And limited by how capable I am at implementing your idea - we can discuss the possibilities beforehand). You could also donate more to be able to invent more, maybe every $10 beyond that lets you add one more design to the pile, but I will probably limit you to one of each thing - I don't want one person to design the whole game. Unless that person is me, of course.

And before somebody says this, because somebody will, this isn't me rubbing my hands together and cackling that I've got people paying me to make my game/whitewash my fence. I'm the one who has to do the work. Implementing the code and drawing all the needed frames and elements is hard work. Coming up with ideas is absolutely fun, and I would not have any problem throwing down 70 ideas for each thing myself. I look forward to it, and I'm always bubbling over with ideas (bubble gun! BAM, there I go!). If you think coming up with the ideas isn't fun, well, you can still donate $30+, you aren't required to invent anything when you do!

I thought ideas like giving a t-shirt with a certain donation level would be cool, but then I realized that defeated the purpose of the entire exercise. If I have to spend $10 sending you a T-shirt, now I need $10 more to buy 3DS Max! So while I want to come up with more interesting donation awards, I have to come up with ones that don't cost me money. Or I have to subtract what they cost from their effective value, and that's just tacky. I wonder if I could offer some kind of Behind The Dumb appearance or something...
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  Space Cruise: The First Generation 07:38 PM -- Sun February 21, 2010  

So I am giving up for this weekend... I bit off a pretty big concept (well, four really small concepts, but even one reasonably big concept is easier than a bunch of different games), and it ain't getting done in a weekend. I need to get back to priority projects, but I'm gonna try to come back to it next weekend and any weekend until it's done. It really should be easily doable in two weekends, but I wouldn't count on me to put in the time to pull that off. I need a break sometime!

So the game is this: it's an arcade game and your goal is to bravely travel where no person has previously been (translated: get a high score measured mostly in distance traveled). There are 4 stations on the spaceship - the bridge, sickbay, engineering, and tactical. Each station should be pretty easy to do, just simple reflex arcade stuff, but the fact that new troubles keep stacking up and you have to jump back and forth and try to handle them all at once will eventually overwhelm you. The controls are (as in the Mini-LD rules) keys 1-4 do something, depending on which station you're at, and keys 7-0 jump you to the different stations.

Sickbay is about half done, engineering about a quarter done, the bridge is just a background picture (see yesterday!), and tactical is untouched. I don't know if this will be a fun game (I kind of worry about the "it just gets harder until you lose" kind of thing - that can be fun, or it can just be frustrating), but it's definitely unlike any game I've played, and I want to get it done and see what it's like. Plus I think the sickbay at least will be fun.
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  Now you know THAT's exciting... 11:05 PM -- Sat February 20, 2010  

Working on my game for this weekend's Mini-LD contest.
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  The Levels, They Are A-Changin' 07:09 PM -- Fri February 19, 2010  

Yes, this game shall have an editor! It's actually quite a bit like Costume Party in most ways, with the exception of playing totally differently. So think of how that works regarding creating levels and playing user-made levels and such, and that's about the Daibaka way (difference being this game includes vast amounts of Hamumu-made levels, it's not entirely about user levels). I think level editors greatly enhance the appeal, longevity, and interestingness (in terms of having something to talk about) of a game, so I definitely try to include them when it makes sense and isn't crazy work.

One nice thing in this game is autotiling. I created what you see in the shot by just scribbling, and the only tool that exists right now is blank space, so it automatically carved all those corners and everything as a result. None of that tedious work finding just the corner piece you need. Incidentally, I made the tileset today too - let me tell you, it takes a lot of tiles to cover every combination. 47, I believe, unless I forgot some.

This weekend is a Mini-LD contest. I think I will give it a try, so I may have a mini-er game to show you after the weekend!
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  Daibaka Development 08:47 PM -- Wed February 17, 2010  

Look, there's a menu now! This is the equip menu, which as you can see contains precisely one weapon. The 402 in the weapon description is actually drawn from the weapon's stats, and changes as it levels up (maxes out at 2400). It is hoped that there will come a day when it instead contains 70 weapons, 70 devices, and 70 kabooms (not soon - this game won't be, and doesn't need to be as you will find out, complete at launch). Kaboom was the best (well, now I'm questioning that seeing it written here...) suggestion for a 6-letter word that would mean superbomb. I'm wondering if it should be X-Bomb instead. The other tricky bit about them (that Kaboom doesn't support) is that many of them won't be bombs. They'll be time stoppers, cloaking devices, super-repair droids, EMP pulses, maybe other weird stuff. Anything you'd have as an emergency trick you can pull out only once or twice rather than firing constantly.

Anyway, this page will contain notably more information than it currently does at some point. Like it'd be nice if it told you what level you were about to play, and your current level and XP and whatever. Maybe a picture of Quasar (that's the guy who builds and repairs Sol's spaceships and weapons) would be appropriate. Maybe Q-Bombs should be the superbombs, since Quasar makes them.

But anyway, I'm so glad to be past painful bugs and feeling like this thing is moving along and making sense now. It's going pretty fast at this point, even if there's still no gameplay per se. Do you really need gameplay when you have a menu with so many potential items in it?
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  What are you DOING here?! 06:05 PM -- Mon February 15, 2010  

Take the poll!

I made a poll to get some handy info. Please put in your info. It would be very handy to know such things. Thanks!

Man, I've had another sketch sitting around for like a week and I'm just too lazy to take the picture and upload it. For that matter, I ought to sketch more sketches since, you know, "daily". Today's an interesting day, not so much a productive one, but some stuff has happened. Haven't touched Daibaka though, that's tomorrow's job. Speaking of jobs, I need to come up with a new web feature to add this month, don't I? Hrmmm...
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  Yar, Boarded By Bugs 07:03 PM -- Fri February 12, 2010  

In this picture, you can see who is the first crook Sol Hunt will face. Remember him? Also, you can see several new things. For one, Sol is holding her superbomb in the non-gun hand (in this case, it's apparently a giant bowling ball. I just made a random shape to test it, but really, that could easily be one of the bombs. Not sure what it would do!). For another, on her back is a Device. Devices are a passive bonus of some kind, whether it's extra armor, radar tracking, boost to your weapons, or something far more interesting like a radioactive pulse that hurts all enemies a little bit every second. And the last new and interesting thing is that the gun arm, flame, shells and bullets are all now antialiased. They look way better! That was a nice feature in the new version of Flixel I am now using, but I'll probably end up having to turn it off as the game fills up with monsters and bullets everywhere. It slows things down.

So yeah, that new Flixel version. They just released a major update for it yesterday, and I decided to switch to it when I read about the things it offered (mainly faster collision checking - I knew I would have tons of bullets in this game, and that could prove very important). It's way better than the old version! For one, it's a lot faster. I no longer experience slowdown in debug mode with all my bullets and shells flying. It's also got a lot of great features and it makes a lot more sense to me too. I really like coding with it. On the downside, I'm having some serious problems. For one, I had to take that screenshot with Daibaka facing right, because the backpack and bomb both refuse to flip when you face left. I have no idea why, and I can't find anything that makes them different from the other parts which do flip. The other major problem is that I can't for the life of me get Daibaka to collide with walls anymore. The bullets have no problem hitting walls, but she just zips right through them.

These are really frustrating issues because I have the complete source to Flixel, I can dig right in there and I do. I put trace() statements to see what's going on, I check everything, and it all seems to be working just fine... it just doesn't! Total mysteries.

I'm not blaming the fact that the game will not even be hardly started on February 14th on these issues, though. It is nowhere near far enough long to get finished either way, and I accept that. I have been slow on it. But I am having fun, I am enjoying the game concept, and I feel like I'm learning a ton about making flash games.
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