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  It's a broken world! 08:25 PM -- Sun July 4, 2010  

Wow, I just discovered something horrible today... the Contact Us page silently didn't send mails to me. I don't know when that started, but I'm kind of afraid it might go all the way back to the release of Clubhouse! I was just thinking "haven't seen a lot of Note From The Website lately..." (that's what the emails it sends me are titled), which combined with someone's complaint about an email not getting to me, made me check it out. Yowza. Fixed now.

On top of that, Hamchat is full of problems. It's had problems from the beginning, but they weren't preventing it from functioning (to a degree). Now, however, if you've upgraded to the latest version of Flash, you'll find that it logs you out every 10 seconds if nobody says anything (works okay for people who haven't upgraded). So yeah, that needs really major work. I don't actually know when I'm gonna have time to invest that work, but it's getting more urgent all the time as it falls apart bit by bit. I really want to give it a solid overhaul, but I definitely have no time for that, at least at the moment.

Ahhhh... clearly the Contact page works now, since I just got some spam through it while I was typing this. Oh, how I've missed that.

Happy 4th of July, Americans! Enjoy some fireworks over a still pond.
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  an entry falls on a still journal. 07:26 PM -- Sat July 3, 2010  

Click this: a leaf falls on a still pond.

It's art! What's not to like? Yeah, you've played it before if you've been around a while, but I really recommend you play it now... and play hard, because there are a lot of very interesting things to find in this new version!

I created this big spreadsheet of all the flash games I intend to make one day, or at least potentially consider. Then I went through and gave them extremely subjective scores in Time To Develop, Difficulty, Profitability, Interest (mine), and Issues (factors other than me that prevent it from getting done, like needing 3DS Max or external art). Then the best part: I rigged it up to calculate a score for each game by combining those numbers! Man, I love meaningless math! I believe the calculation was (100*Interest*Profitability)/(Time*Difficulty*Issues). It ended up with games ranging in score from 1000 points to 0.52. Quite a spread.

I'm not going to just go down the list and do them, but it's a good list to have handy to keep in mind when I'm figuring out what to work on. I ran into a roadblock working on IDIOT because I have to wait on external input, so I figured why not throw down this 1000-pointer you see above? It scored so high because it be quick. Started on Wednesday.

The next highest score is only 300 points, and it's an even quicker project. I just happen to expect it to be even less profitable than this one and it interests me much less, hence the much lower score. I was pretty excited about redoing Still Pond, I've always appreciated its deep and powerful message. Because that next project is so quick, I probably will start on it tomorrow or Monday. It is also a port. Feel free to guess what it is! With any luck, you'll find out next week! I can't imagine how to add much to it for various reasons, so it won't be nearly as enhanced as Still Pond is.
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  Words Getting Dumber 11:17 AM -- Mon June 28, 2010  

I just did something! I did! I did! With luck, you won't be able to tell that I did anything, but more likely, you will discover at midnight tonight that I foolishly messed with Dumbwords without testing it right, and now it'll be ruined tomorrow. What I did was to create a list of questions for it (I have been keeping a list of them for the last... 235 days), and now instead of it having a short little list that I have to manually add onto all the time, it is grabbing a random question from this list each day. It won't repeat any until it uses them all up, so hopefully there are enough there to keep it from seeming repetitive. Ideally, I'll add more to it over time so it doesn't get stale, but it's big enough now that hopefully people won't notice any repetition. In fact, I kind of doubt it'll have any more repetition this way than before, because I often come up with stuff that sounds new and exciting and then I realize I used it before. I figure as long as it's not in the history drop-down list in my browser, it's old enough! Which is exactly how I made this list, when I first started it.

So fingers crossed that you will notice nothing strange about Dumbwords. And that I will no longer have to deal with it bugging me about a low number of questions.

Aside from that, I've been told there shall be Fishy music today (more finger crossing), and IDIOT is moving along, as witnessed below:
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  Idiot Pirates 12:24 PM -- Tue June 22, 2010  

I'm still waiting for music on Robot Wants Fishy, and I'm filling the time with working on the pirate game. It's taking a bit of a turn, because I knew it needed something to add interest, so the first thing I thought of is just what I need to be interested in anything: leveling up! And by "interested in anything", I mean I really don't care what the gameplay is. If it leads to leveling up (with choices of skill points, not just automatic upgrades), I'm playing it. Level me up in Tic-Tac-Toe. But anyway, I was struggling with that concept and I guess it goes something like this:

The game is now vaguely a rogue-like. You adventure from one island to the next, and you encounter items and monsters randomly. The selection is very unlike your typical roguelike, and you have no normal inventory, so it's more like powerups. The things you've already seen are the bulk of it: planks, hearts, shovels, treasure, x2 multiplier. Of course each island is more dangerous than the last, and you will eventually fail (especially since your life drains over time), thus working toward a high score. There will be levels of interest, like Cannon Cove and Monkey Marina, which is slightly inspired by Scarecrow: Heart of Straw. Those will either be at set points, or just come up randomly. I suppose random is always better if it's a roguelike!

Because I wanted a choice of some skills when you leveled, I ran into a control conundrum. There could be a simple "arrow key to cycle through upgrades" situation, but I didn't like it, and I batted some stuff around and was unproductive until I finally just decided to go all out and make it mouse-controlled. So now it's also Crimsonland(etc.)-inspired. You move with arrows and aim with the mouse. That obviously opens up mouse control for clicking on the upgrade you want when you level up, and it also greatly expands the possibilities for leveling up... now I can add powers that you can click on when you want to use them! I haven't actually decided to make any, but it's opened up a basically infinite design space if I want it. It feels a lot more free to me, and I always enjoy aiming with the mouse.

First things first though: I have to get the basic gameplay working! I've also ported this game over to Flashpunk (and then re-ported when Flashpunk released a completely different new version a day later) from Flixel, because Flashpunk suits my style much better. It's getting confusing working with both in different games, but eventually I think I will be moved over completely. Daibaka is definitely going to be a lot easier to deal with in Flashpunk after a very painful porting process. I really felt like I was hacking Flixel to bits just making basic concepts like bullets come out the way I wanted in that game.
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  Robot Wants Stuff 11:43 AM -- Fri June 18, 2010  

Robot Wants Fishy is done! Well, I'm waiting for music, but my work and even testing is done. I can't release it, in part due to the music thing, but also because I have some business stuff I need to do with it. But now feeling so free and easy for a couple of weeks, it's time to get back to work on Infinite Deadly Islands of Terror! If I can remember how that works.

Remember, I am Riding The Wave. As opportunities pop up - and they sure do - I keep getting forcibly sidetracked into things I have to do. But I surely do enjoy these little projects! And they mean I can make games that are free for the players, but I still make money. Really good deal, especially considering that when I do charge for stuff, people just steal it anyway, and I don't have a big enough audience to make a living from the people who do buy it.

Robot Wants News: Robot Wants Ice Cream is next, but I may turn out to not have to make it. It's a nice end to the quadrilogy though, what with a very deep and moving story. I enjoy doing this series, and I really could do 20 more and have fun the whole way (and so many more upgrades Robot could find! He still hasn't gotten a grappling hook!), but it'll be good to move on to different characters. I made Robot Wants Fishy for some fairly complicated reasons, but basically the gist of it is that I made two versions of it - Fishy, and another one skinned with a certain website's characters to put up on their site (the fact that they wanted a skinned version is the whole reason I made the game). Making their character, which is an animated humanoid instead of a wheeled robot, got me realizing how fun it would be to finally be playing something other than a wheeled robot! So I look forward to that. And with all the trailers and news coming from E3, I got a bunch of ideas for things I want to rip off!
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  Willfully Obtuse 10:49 PM -- Fri June 4, 2010  

I feel dirty giving away shots of bosses so often, but it seems like most of this game is bosses! Billions and billions! And look, there's a boss life meter now! It adds such panache to the proceedings. Fingers are crossed to be code-complete by Monday (but not sound-complete by any means, or bugless-complete). Well, gameplay code. Menus and such come during testing.

Also seems like I ought to have done a newsletter by now... or last month, or possibly the month before. I should do it. I can find the time (it might be buried under WoW perchance), but yes, I would like to throw out the classic busy excuse for whatever that's worth. There is very urgent need to complete this game immediately.
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  NO CAN HAS! 07:36 PM -- Fri May 28, 2010  

This is the first boss in RWG. All done and functional! He's nothing terribly exciting, but I am hoping for many bosses this time around. Two have been drawn, but drawing large (anything but nonteensy, actually) pixel art is a lot of work and I'm not artistic enough to pull it off, especially quickly. Consider his awkwardness part of the charm. The map in this game is split into six areas, hopefully with some semi-notable theming to each, so you don't get too lost. The first segment is done now, in a basic sense. I hope to make this one much less linear than the last, and part of building a good speedrun will be figuring out the best order to do things in, and just what you should skip. It also has some more unique and interesting abilities very new to Robot.
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  The Curse Of The Badge 06:14 PM -- Fri May 21, 2010  

I am really mixed on getting badges added to my game on Kongregate! By the way, there's a "Kongai Card Challenge" on it now, which is an extra special big deal.

I noticed again with Robot Wants Puppy as I did with Robot Wants Kitty that getting badges added resulted in a massive drop in my rating. For the first 100,000 plays it settled a bit, definitely drifted down a little, and then was steady for days, around 4.15. It is no longer in the fours, and it got there literally overnight (without a whole lot more plays!).

The badges are a curse! I know I'll make a lot more ad money this way, so that's good. I just hope it makes up for the decrease in prize money. The tenor of the comments changed completely too (could just be imagination, of course). It seemed to go from hugely positive with the occasional complaint to a massive screaming hatefest that I have NO interest in reading anymore. Interestingly, before the badges, negative comments were almost universally downrated, and now they are almost universally uprated. I don't think either one is really the right use of the comment rating system, but nonetheless, it says something about the crowd visiting the page.

My only theory is that the kind of people who want to get the badges are not the kind of people who are playing the game because it appeals to them, so they're gonna rip on it. Before badges, people chose the game because it looked interesting from the screenshot. After badges, people are choosing it because they "have to" earn the badges, so they're suffering through it, but not suffering gladly.

And that said, I'm not saying I don't want badges in the future! It's probably worth the abuse to get the ad money and more hits on my website. And I appreciate the time and work the badge guy puts into doing them (he actually plays through the whole game! Imagine the horror!). I just wish the human race wasn't a wretched hive of scum and villainy and ugly bags of mostly water. But I'm always wishing that.

For the record, I think this might be the best game I've ever made. I've played it through many times, and I always enjoy the thrill of tossing a cat on an alien's head! I know something like Supreme has vastly more to it, and if I could only play one, I would pick Supreme, but in terms of quality of development, polish, fun factor, style, and innovation, as opposed to raw content, Robot Wants Puppy is something I'm very proud of. Naysayers are welcome to not like it, that's fine too. It's not the existence of haters, it's the massive influx of them the second badges were added that is my concern here. And by "concern" I mean "whine", because there's nothing broken or wrong about it, it's just a sad fact.

In Robot Wants Goldfish, Robot will throw bombs.
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  Riding The Wave 08:39 PM -- Thu May 20, 2010  

It's just crazy here. I don't mean that I'm crazy busy, although I am constantly, at least 3 or 4 times a day, suddenly finding something that needs my immediate attention (an update to a flash game, an offer from a business, the usual customer/forum stuff, something from somebody else I was waiting on that arrives). What I mean is that I am just riding a wave of stuff. I don't know where it's taking me, and I don't have much control over it. I could just hop off and go back to doing whatever happens to appeal, but the wave is made of dollar bills, so I'd like to see where it's going.

What does this mean? Well, I had a list of all the flash games I was trying to get done, as well as a few large projects that were supposed to come after, all in a nice ordered plan, but at this point, it's all I can do to keep up with the projects, updates, and offers that are pouring in on this wave. I can no longer say "I.D.I.O.T. is next!" or "Daibaka will be done on February 14th" (not sure I could say that in the first place, but I did say it anyway!). I don't know what I'm gonna be working on, and as these opportunities appear, I have to hit them right away and get them done, or I'll miss out. And I do need them at this point.

There will be two more Robot games (at least), and they will be the two next things I do, unless something else jumps up in between, which is how they got on the list in the first place. If you want to complain and beg for fancy 3D adventures, I'll just have to recommend you go play Torchlight or WoW (I always recommend WoW!), because I have to go where this wave is going until I'm riding high enough to see the shore.

I'm definitely looking to get 3D Studio as soon as I can reasonably do so, but not for 3D games. I want it to make my trademark googly eyes in more flash games. It'll be nice to have it handy for when I have a chance to make something big too, though!

I really want to get IDIOT out soon too, because I have an artist hanging on the line who wants to get his cut from it! Check out how cool it looks now (work in progress, some tiles are clearly missing, don't know if I will keep the sizes as is):

So I will be trying to progress on that. I'm hoping to make it sort of a Roguelike (but fast and extremely short - no end, just see how long you survive, like it is now), but very simple. Still keeping a lot of the basic concepts that the original had, just getting more emphasis on fighting and leveling up and getting upgrades. That's more of an idea than something I've actually worked on. Mainly what I've worked on is getting the new art into it and converting the whole thing to the Flashpunk library instead of Flixel.

So that's how it is... lots of crazy offers from lots of places, lots of opportunities, and I'm going to take the ones I like and see where I can go with this flash stuff. I'll share what info I can as appropriate, but of course I don't think I should be talking about deals that are underway. I will say this, I owe a 3rd Robot game to MaxGames, so that will be coming. The 4th Robot game is unrelated to them, and hard to explain how it came about. Actually, I think it will be the 3rd one.

Find out more as the wave cruises on across the seas of Dumbness.
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  Robot Wants Puppy! 06:24 PM -- Fri May 14, 2010  

Play Robot Wants Puppy now!

It's here at last! There's nothing I can really tell you about it that you won't find out quicker and better by playing it. Try it, you couldn't possibly dislike it.

And if you want to be really cool and helpful to Hamumu, how about playing it on Kongregate and rating it 5 stars! Then I can win the weekly and monthly contests for best game. I will be very pleased with you if you do! It's gonna be spread all over the internet both by me and the sponsor, so if you find it on other sites, feel free to rate it highly there too, if they let you rate. Hamumu appreciates your support! A lot.
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