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  Is That Gameplay? 08:10 PM -- Wed June 27, 2012  

Not really... it's the gameplay screen, if that helps! Evil red-eyed gnomes are attacking our Gumby-like hero with their volatile 0-damage attacks. At this point, the gnomes do find their way to you, wandering around walls and all that, using the classic Smell algorithm (TM & (C)!) from NPC Quest. I know there were some oddities with that in NPC Quest, where guys would dither back and forth for a while before making a decision, so we'll be tweaking that. I initially used the A* pathfinding algorithm, but it was shockingly hard on the CPU, presumably because my super-naive implementation of it was chock-full of allocating new objects and whatnot. So I figured rather than code that in a smarter way, I'd just use the Smell system, which took about ten minutes to get up and running, and works perfectly so far.

In the interface here, you can see there is a "joystick" of sorts on the left, where you can tap to choose which priority your hero will use. The left features your three buttons: skill 1, skill 2, and potion. There will probably also be a pause button and a game-speed slider.
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  Vote For Escuela! 10:24 PM -- Sun June 24, 2012  

I'm spamming everywhere I can with this, because it's a true life-changing opportunity. My wife runs Escuela Del Sol Tutoring, the cheapest and best tutoring in Temecula (unbiased facts!). She's been in business for 5 years, slowly growing the whole time, but like Hamumu, money is always really tight! Now she's applied for a big juicy grant at Mission Small Business, and the catch is that we need 250 people to vote for her in order to be eligible for the grant. That's where you come in!

It's INCREDIBLY EASY to vote! You need to have a Facebook account though, and I don't blame you if you don't want to join Facebook just to help us. But you know you have one, so come on!

Just visit www.missionsmallbusiness.com, click "Log In & Support" which will log you in via Facebook, then enter "Escuela" in the search box. It will pop up an Escuela Del Sol blurb with a "Support" button, so CLICK IT!

If you've voted for somebody else before, no problem. You can vote for as many as you want. So please, give us this vote, because if by some miracle we got this grant, our lives would be changed immensely. Come on man, do it! What are you waiting for?!

Oh, and if you want to hear all the details on what this is about, you can read my wife's letter about it here. Why haven't you voted yet? Do you hate children?
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  The Wayback Machine 10:49 PM -- Thu June 21, 2012  

Haha... I stumbled across this file while looking for something. I share it with you here to shock and amaze. It's dated Nov 6, 2001.

Planned/Considered Future Products

Dr. Lunatic Extreme

This package is one CD containing all of Dr. Lunatic - the original game, the Fun Pack, the Expando-Pak, and as many add-on worlds as I can get permission from authors to include. It installs in one fell swoop, not requiring the two-step process of the original bundle. It has all bug fixes and a few new features, like the removal of the 64-world limit and other tiny niceties.

Hamumu Dumb Pack I: The SPISPOPD Series

A bundle package, might take two CDs, but I doubt it. Contains Dr. Lunatic Extreme, Loonyland, Amazin' SPISPOPD (modified version that does not require or allow registration codes to be entered - it's just permanently registered), and SPISPOPD and SPISEdit. There are ample warnings about the last two probably not working, but they are there to try.


Of course!

Sol Hunt

The board-game, super-action simple one.

Spooky Quest

Diablo clone with limited online features including chat.

So hmm... I sure came up with a better name than Dr. Lunatic Extreme! And I added a lot more than it says here! I actually don't remember what the Sol Hunt board-game type game is. There have been so many Sol Hunt ideas. Spooky Quest has been something I have planned to do for years and years (clearly more than 10 years now!). It always changes slightly over time, but yeah, it's a Diablo clone! It is truly the game I dream of making one day.
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  Don't Fear The Reaper 12:13 PM -- Thu June 21, 2012  

Everything is subject to change, but for now, here's one of the Farmer's amazing skills! Incidentally, there IS a space between "milk" and "jar", I don't know what is up with this font (it also appears to italicize 3s and 8s).

So I think the way skills work (for now anyway!) is that each class has 6 skills - 2 active and 4 passive - but rather than simply putting points in the 6 skills, you buy the skills for 1 skill point, and then you choose which of 3 aspects of the skill to dump further points into, so you not only decide which skill you want to improve, but exactly how you want it improved.
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  Rare Item Fun 01:26 PM -- Thu June 14, 2012  

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  Items! Items! 07:11 PM -- Wed June 13, 2012  

There are very very few different items and bonuses they can have at this point, but it's sure fun to see their tooltips anyway! Much like "prime stats", I stole the format of the tooltips straight from Diablo 3. I just love that giant number for the main number of the item. I'm not sure why the font I'm using makes 3s that look like they're in italics, though.

There are also 2 artifacts in the mix, and I've gotten them a couple times (the game right now just starts up with your bag filled with 16 random items, there is no gameplay or shop for obtaining more)! I think they might not be rare enough. Artifacts are akin to Loonyland 2 - handmade named items that happen to be quite good for their level. Or quite terrible, whatever happens to be amusing.

A quick overview of what a Prime Stat is: Every stat is valuable to every character (see the previous post for what they are good for), but your character's Prime Stat has one teeny little extra advantage. It boosts the damage you do. You may note that none of the stats affect your damage directly (Speed improves attack speed, which does boost your DPS, but nothing increases the actual damage done), so that's up to whatever happens to be your prime stat. It should make an interesting point of differentiation between characters, because Farmers will obviously put lots of points in Strength for its prime stat benefit, which means they'll have great carrying capacity automatically. A wizardly type guy will be maxing their Brains, which means they'll get items for cheap automatically. Each class just magically gets a 'specialty' without even trying.

And to a comment on the previous entry - no, in this sequel, you pick a class at the beginning and that's it, unlike NPC Quest. Because there are skills specific to each class that you spend points in, it wouldn't make sense for your class to change as you assign attribute points. There are also 'story' reasons of sorts. If you're a Farmer, I want you to be the Farmer for the whole game. Of course you're welcome to start a bunch of different characters! In fact, you should.
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  Pretty Pretty 08:03 PM -- Mon June 11, 2012  

This is classy gaming at its finest! It's kind of freeing to not care at all what the art looks like. It's also kind of difficult. Like the farmer portrait there... I could've whipped out a one-color stick figure in under 10 seconds much more efficiently, but I spent a minute or two drawing a really bad picture of a farmer instead, because I couldn't not do that. I don't think it will delay the game too badly. I kind of like the hand-drawn button shapes instead of proper squares (nevermind that I could've drawn them faster using a box tool).

Anyway, this is the first character class I'm working on, which you can clearly see is called the Farmer. His prime stat is Might (if you play Diablo 3, you know how prime stats work!), and his weapon is a Pitchfork of course. Each class has a unique weapon type, but otherwise uses all the same gear as everyone else. As far as I know so far though, there won't be any item sharing, so it won't matter whether they can equip the same items or not, since they will only see items of their own. That could change given time. It's all coming along pretty well!

There's nothing playable yet, just a title screen, this character creation screen, and a partial town screen. It's interesting how much I'm having to modify the design based on just how small the screen is combined with how big the buttons have to be for your big fat thumbs. I originally had 10 player stats, and I've cut that down to 5. I have a sneaky suspicion that these simplifications will actually end up making a much better game, even though I'm making them for a totally non-game reason. They definitely made me spend a long time thinking hard about what each stat is for and how important it is! I refused to drop Charisma. This is a game about shopping, so a stat that makes your prices better matters! I did rename it though, to Brains.

If you're curious, the current 5 stats in the game are:
  • Might - Determines how much weight in equipment you can equip.
  • Speed - How fast you move and attack.
  • Defense - Reduces the amount of damage you take.
  • Life - How many hit points you have!
  • Brains - Reduces the prices you pay (and raises the money you get when you sell stuff).
It's all up in the air and subject to change. I'm sad to lose the Stomach stat from NPC Quest, that's an entire game element I will be removing, the need to eat. I normally hate games that make you deal with food limits, but I thought it was a nice touch in NPC Quest because of the unique nature of the gameplay. I could still include food, and just not have a stat that controls how much you eat. But I probably won't.
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  Title Quest 11:44 AM -- Sat June 2, 2012  

I've been talking with developer friends about making my new game (which so far has exactly 0 lines of code and 0 pixels of art, but it's really revving up to reach 1 of each soon!), and there has been a lot of concern about the name of the game. What do you think when you hear NPC Quest (besides the already-existing Hamumu game)? Is it good or bad? Is it funny or generic? Does it tell you things or tell you nothing?

This is just kind of an off-hand chat, because as some of you are actual NPC Quest fans, this isn't the best place for unbiased input, but I thought it would be a worthy thing for discussion anyway. What do you say? I'm going to work on coming up with a list of alternate ideas to consider in the near future, so it can fight them for supremacy.

I'm gonna keep the discussion of this game rolling right along when I can, we are doing wide-open development on this one! I hope to have an early alpha version available for people to peck at in the next few weeks (again, starting from zero, so not sure quite when...). It's going to be PURE programmer art in the sense that I'm not even going to try to make the art remotely acceptable, just crank out as fast as possible to have images that are comprehensible. My idea is that I don't want to spend time on art that will be thrown away, and that I don't want to hire the artist until things are more settled, so that they're not doing a bunch of art that will have to change too.
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