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  Metaprogress! 03:16 PM -- Mon November 21, 2022  

I've finally gotten the 3rd and (presumably) final form of progression in Broken Build Simulator implemented! There will also be some form of metaprogress (unlocking characters, modes, and weapons), but not in the sense that it will boost your character power. Just giving you access to more options to play with. The 3 progression systems I've done are all in-run progression, boosting your power as you go. I have felt like I can't really develop a full game mode until I have all the progression, because the balance will change dramatically as entire new progress systems get added. But now they're all in! I have come to the conclusion that it's good to have a combination of boring and fun progression systems. Obviously all-boring is bad, because it's boring. But I think all-interesting is also suboptimal, because it's nice to have that simple "I just got a bit stronger" feeling in addition to "I have modified my playstyle in a meaningful way and must adapt". So in that vein, let me show you the overall collection:

This is the pause screen in the game, where you do all your upgrading. In the upper left are your weapons (just one in this shot, but you can stack up to 5 weapons). Each one has a level ("01") and up to 8 upgrades that do interesting things. On the bottom of the screen is just a display of your overall stats. On the far right, we have your skill tree. The green icon (and all the icons directly below it) are upgrades to your Ability, which is an active thing you can use regularly. The other 3 columns are your skills, which are determined by which Hero you are playing. In this case, I'll just tease that this is The Bug Queen, and those 3 skills in the top row are Venomous, Skittering, and Sugar Rush which do things you will discover one day! Skills have a huge impact on how you play the game, but of course they are static - you can build differently on each run, but your options are always the same, unlike the random weapons and gems you get.

The important section for today's discussion is the system I just "finished" (officially, it is the boring one): the column of five empty gem slots to the left of the skill tree. That "23" beneath it is how many unidentified gems you currently hold. You get those from Champions and Bosses that you kill. If you click that button, you see something like this:

You're shown a random gem, and you have a few options for it. You can either stick it in an empty slot, or replace a gem you already have. Or you can "examine it closer" (which actually means reroll it, at increasing cost each time), or simply melt it down into Metametacurrency to spend on metaprogress. Sacrifice some potential in-game strength for future unlocks.

Gems can have 1, 2, or 3 stats on them, all of which are equally likely. Clearly, more stats are better, but there's one major problem: if you find a gem that is identical to one you already have, you can merge them together to upgrade the rank. So do you take the 3-stat gem which is definitely stronger, or the 1-stat gem which you are far more likely to find upgrades for? L10 damage bonus is huge. That feels like a semi-interesting choice, but I am having some troubles because I want to offer a lot of different stats on gems, but the more stats I add, the rarer upgrades become. I may end up having to implement a cheat like a 10% chance of getting a duplicate (of a 1-stat gem, lower chance for 2 or 3) in addition to just randomly rolling it. Anyway, it certainly hasn't been balanced or thought through very hard yet, but the basic functionality is in!
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  The State Of The Broken Build 04:35 PM -- Wed October 26, 2022  

Hello folks! As usual, it has been a while since I've talked about game development and not just reviewed a terri[ble/fying] movie.

Sadly, there isn't a whole lot of progress to cover because I have been crazy busy with other parts of my life. I just don't have the time anymore to crank out games all day. Actually, one of the big limiters I have is really sad: I just can't sit at the computer as long anymore. After a couple hours, I just have to get up and move around or my body breaks to pieces. Game development is for you whippersnappers, not tired old men who should've retired in ought-six during the Great Indiepocalypse. I do actually have a desk which converts to standing, but then I'd be standing, and that sounds even more exhausting!

The work I've done of late has been pretty deep in the weeds - everything reasonably scriptable is now scriptable (not particle effects, but I'm just not gonna go that far this time!), and the game is back up and running, and I've replaced the enemy AI, which was Dr. Lunatic style (head straight for the player, if you bump into a wall, wander in a random direction for a second then try again), to where it now has a simple version of pathfinding. It looks pretty good I think, and different from any other similar game, all of which have very single-minded pathfinding - the enemies just flood at you. I still have a random element, but it's a smarter one, where it keeps looking for less stupid directions to go in.

The first mode I'm developing is as mentioned 20 Minutes Till Lunch, and I created the first boss for it. Meet The Tominato:

He's a very basic boss that just chases you around and tries to flop on top of you (mainly because the first boss of the game I'm parodying is even simpler than that!). He's not really a threat exactly, he just gives you more to deal with as you try to fend off the crowd of Pickles - he's got a ton of health, so you have that constant pressure of him plowing towards you as more and more guys are spawning around you.

I know I'm supposed to be making a little quickie game, and in the old days that's exactly what this would be... but I probably only work on it about 3 or 4 days a week, sometimes only for an hour. I just am overwhelmed with other stuff. But this blog is your official notice that I am still plugging away, and one day I shall finish. Realizing how close the end of 2022 is though, I think my currently listed Steam release date of "Sometime in 2022" might need an update.
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  Scripty Update 11:58 AM -- Tue September 27, 2022  

It's been quiet on the Broken Build Simulator front for a while... So here's your update!

First off, I was on a trip for a week. My first flight since March 2020! Which means of course, without a moment's doubt, that I spent the two weeks following that sick. I thought it wasn't covid (I took MANY tests), but now afterwards, having spent weeks feeling absolutely exhausted for no reason, I am suspicious indeed. I guess it doesn't much matter which it was at this point, but it fuels my desire to never leave my house again which was already at a high 90+% level.

So I have been slow for a while due to that situation. But also, the scripting process! As I implemented scripting for different elements of the game, I just couldn't stop. First it was the skills and abilities, then heroes. Since my illness though, I've added scripting for the game modes, weapons, enemies, bullets, and at this point only buffs remain and I'm going to do them too. Once that's done, I think it's all scripted! The game is currently non-runnable of course, and it has taken many steps backwards over these few weeks, but we're on the uphill climb of that quagmire. Once we're out of it, my theory is that adding new things will be a breeze. I guess we shall see if that's true. It's not going to be like Starcraft where you can make entirely different games in it, as the core mechanics will always be the same, but you'll be able to do a lot with those mechanics.

I have no fancy artwork or videos to show you because the game is not functional. If you're a scripty programmy designy person, maybe you'd enjoy this 'screenshot' of the script for the bullets that the Infestor weapon shoots. I'm not actually sure this script works, because the game hasn't been running since I wrote it, but it's the general idea at least. Most bullets are a lot simpler - this one does some wacky stuff.

	8,8,	; width and height
	3,3,	; visheight, visOffY
	16,16,	; sprite size
	Img_Bullets, ; sprite sheet
	0,0,	; top-left of sprites
	TeamGood,	; team
	BehaviorProjectile,	; basic behavior, just zooms forward and can hit enemies
	3,40,	; base damage and speed
	120	; base range

AnimDef: Attack1(6,1,0 7,1,0)


	; me->speed = weaponflightspeed-weaponflightspeed*(timer/weaponrange)
	; we're slowing down over the course of our time (timer counts up from 0 to weaponrange)
	; accuracy of 100 has no randomizing, accuracy of 0 randomizes by 1 degree per frame

	; special2 is the dot damage, special1 is the dot duration

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  Broken Build Simulator Coming 06:08 PM -- Thu September 8, 2022  

I just got back from a trip to visit family and to nobody's surprise, I am now sick (not covid, according to my first test anyway...). So I am going to just lazily toss out this new game announcement from my quarantine chamber rather than, you know, putting in any effort:

Yay! I've been really enjoying these types of games lately, many of which I have bought just for research purposes, but they always suck me in. So here comes mine! Check out the Steam listing for a little more info, but not too much yet, it's still early.

The title artwork was painted by a friend of mine named Dall-E. You can kind of tell it's AI art, it has some of those little oddities, but I liked the concept and the overall feel. I might consider it a base for redoing, but hey, it's kinda cool as is. Hey, I am gonna be less lazy and take you on a Dall-E journey! What you do is type in any text prompt, and Dall-E will give you 4 images in return. You can do it again for 4 other images, or ask for variations on one of the images you got, or just try a whole new prompt. I'm just gonna show you one image from each set of 4 (and I'm skipping some, I went through a lot of prompts!).
I started out just seeing what Dall-E thought, by asking for the exact title: "broken build simulator, digital art style" (Asking for 'digital art style' tends to give you really nice bright colorful images). In retrospect, I'm not at all sure what it was thinking.
So I tried "enormous broken machine, sci-fi, digital art style", which gave all pretty cool results. I really liked this one. A title image for this game is tricky because there is no one real 'thing' to show - there is no main character or big badguy or special location. It's just a melange of insanity. So I'm going more for something conceptual. I did some tests with actually using this image and I did like it.
I liked it so much in fact that I asked for variations on it, and this was my favorite of those, but didn't really want to use it.
I wanted to try other directions, so this is "a watercolor painting of an enormous broken robot". It's not bad at all, but not really the vibe of the artwork in the game.
After having converted some into the game's palette, and greatly shrinking them down (the game has a 256 pixel vertical resolution), I thought something that is just sort of vague shapes might be the way to go, hence "an impressionist oil painting of an enormous broken robot with dark colors".
To better match the style, I thought I'd try Synthwave (I hadn't heard that style before, but Dall-E tips suggested it. It's basically Miami Vice/Cyberpunk/Rad Racer/1980's style). So this is "a synthwave picture of an enormous broken robot with dark colors", and incidentally, this (very cool) image was one of the alternate options of the image I actually used, which you can see on the steam page. So this prompt gave me results. I also tried making variations of the one I used, but I'm not even going to show them, they're awful.
After getting awful variations, I thought I'd try describing the one I liked and see if it could make others along those lines, with "monochromatic synthwave art of a robot shattering through glass". The results were all kind of pencil/ink type art, not very synthwave at all, and this one has a little too much Hitler to it.
I didn't really want to go with the big mech robot style, since that's not a part of this game. I was looking more for a general machine, so I asked for "monochromatic purple synthwave art of a broken machine smashing through a window". These were an interesting way to go, but I decided against them. All of them had this kind of Office Space style, like employees are shoving the copier out the window.
I wanted to lean into the actual gameplay of the game, so I tried "a broken machine firing hundreds of missiles in anime style" (I thought anime would give me some nice colorful cartoons - I was picturing something like Robotech where dozens of missiles swarm around each other). It really came out more like manga, just pen sketches. This was the most colorful one, looks like a manga cover. But where are the missiles?
"a broken machine firing hundreds of missiles, digital art style" gave better results. This picture feels like the game - stacking tons of guns on until you're totally overpowered. I really liked this image, but downscaled and color-reduced, it was not very workable.
Still hoping to get a sky full of swirling missiles, I asked for "many missiles launching, digital art style", and that did not give me what I wanted. One thing I find kind of amusing is that (in all 4 options it gave me) it didn't make all the missiles the same. That would make the most sense as well as being simpler. But you can't predict AI and it's probably better at organic images.
My last-ditch effort was "many missiles launching from a destroyed citadel, digital art style". It's alright, but not what I needed.
This is unrelated to the game, but it's my favorite response to "a donkey wearing a sombrero, and a cowboy is riding the donkey. They are in atlantis."
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  Scripted Comedy 10:47 AM -- Thu August 18, 2022  

I don't know how interesting this is to the average reader, but I do feel like I should try to squeeze some Hamumu game development talk in between my scary scary podcasts. So let me tell you some technical biz going on with the new project!

The game was unplayable for a week or so and is now almost back to where it was before that. So what happened? Well, after implementing the first 15 or so skills, the code was already looking pretty hacky, with special cases all over - "If you get hit by a bullet, check to see if you are currently using Shell ability to block it, then if so, do you have points in the skill that lets Shell reflect bullets? Okay, reflect it". I could see a future of spaghetti stretching out before me. So there's only one solution to that (besides making a simpler game without tons of skills, and that's not me!): scripting!

By implementing scripts, all of that becomes cleaned up and the complexity lies in the scripts themselves (but that's not super complex either). It also opens the door to mods big-time. Anybody can edit these text files to create their own skills, abilities, and heroes. I'm not scripting everything because I don't want to make a super-detailed language that can do everything. For now at least, you're limited to the bullets and enemies that are built into the game (and there's no way - yet - to script your own game modes). But making skills is pretty fun!

For the curious, here's what the script for the Shell ability looks like:

	"Become invulnerable for @1s."
	16	; icon
	2400	; cooldown
	180	; duration
	180,0	; value1, value2
	1	; charges
	"Raising Shell","Reflective Plates","Regrowth","Regeneration","Juggernaut"
On_Hurt: If(AbilityDuration > 0) Cancel Endif End	; cancel makes hurt not occur
	if(T1 = 0)
So that's pretty simple. If you know a bit about coding, you can interpret that fairly easily (the On_Render function is simply drawing a flickering shell over you, by drawing it every other frame). The five names in quotes are the skills attached to the ability. It's a bit of a cross between assembly language and C, whatever was easiest for me to implement! The Abilitydef section though is simply a bunch of data. It would've been pretty annoying if you had to actually script that part, like "Set_Name("Shell"); Set_Icon(16);", etc, etc.

And just for good measure, check out the reflect ability I mentioned!

	"Reflective Plates"
	"While ~C1Shell~C0 is active, ricochet bullets for @1% of their damage."
On_Hurt: If(AbilityDuration>0) 
		ReflectBullet(V1) ; multiplies the bullet's damage by this percentage
As you can see, the more complex things are just simple functions you call (you don't even have to specify which bullet, it can only operate on the bullet that caused the hurt script to be called). So what you can do in scripts will be a bit limited, but since I'm going to use these scripts to make hundreds of skills myself, I'll eventually implement most things you could ever want to do! It's a fine line to walk between making it good for modding purposes and making it quickly so I can actually finish a game. The best for modding would be to script everything, right down to the bullets, but that's the opposite of best for getting the game done. Now I gotta get back in there and get the unimplemented skills back in action so I can finally move on to some new stuff!
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  Recent Biz 11:37 AM -- Wed August 3, 2022  

Feels like it's been a while, and I see it has, because it's been over a month! Let's see how the project is coming along...

New Project (title's a secret!) is moving along. Slower than I would like for a simple game, but I've built a ton of important infrastructure in GUI stuff, fonts, and so on. It is definitely not a game yet, but it has a fun feel. It is a top-down twin-stick arena roguelite shooter. There are a variety of heroes to play (well, one so far, but you know), with different skill trees and weapons. The skill trees are kind of the unique feature - usually all the upgrading in a game like this is about randomly choosing one of three upgrades. We have that here, for the weapon upgrades, but we also have the skill tree for a more fixed build aspect. You might want to adjust your build based on which weapons and upgrades you get.
This is the main menu, and as you can see, we plan to have several game modes, but currently they are all "20 Minutes Till Lunch" (which in itself is nowhere near done). As you may be aware if you have seen 20 Minutes Till Dawn (a game I recommend highly!), the game modes are sort of parodies of popular roguelites. Or at least some of them are. I have some ideas. 20MTL is a simple 20-minute survival against demonic foods, with fixed waves. At the bottom, you can select which hero to use (Bug Queen being the only one that exists so far), which weapon to use as their primary (you can gather five weapons as you play, but you start with one), and which special ability to use. The Bug Queen and her primary weapon, the Infestor, are actually at the more exotic end of the spectrum, definitely not the stuff you'll start out using. I wanted to start there to just dive into the deep end and implement some of the more complex skills and upgrades, so that when I go back to the simpler characters I can just buzz right through and not have a lot of special cases and new abilities I haven't already handled.
And here's the upgrade funtimes! Your skill tree has 3 columns, each with a different focus, and then you get a 4th column to upgrade your ability. You're definitely not required to match a particular weapon or ability with a particular hero, but there is some connection between their skills and their 'native' ability and weapon to encourage it (in this case, Bug Queen's left skill line is all about dealing damage over time, which means the Infestor is an ideal weapon for her). As you can see by the row of 3 swords at the bottom, I haven't implemented all of Bug Queen's skills yet. But I did make all the skills for Shell! Shell is a long-cooldown ability that gives you a decently long period of invulnerability. My favorite skill for it is Juggernaut - while it's active you can just plow through enemies and fling them aside, dealing big damage. The Lootbox at the bottom of the screen is how you upgrade weapons. When you kill enemies, they sometimes drop lootboxes, which give you the traditional choice of 3 weapon upgrades or new weapons. Weapons can also be leveled up (level ups appear in the lootboxes), all the way up to level 99 if you're playing a shockingly long game mode (as the name implies, 20 Minutes Till Lunch is not shockingly long). The level ups slowly increase the damage for the weapon, so you still have some way to get stronger at those really high levels when you've maxed things out.

Everything I do is a little slow these days as many other parts of my life require attention. Two of those are worth noting here: The Hamumu Halloween Home Horror Hoedown is on the way back! Theoretically! We've decided to try doing one a week forever and ever til death do us part, instead of destroying our lives for a month of every year. Of course, we decided that about 4 weeks ago, and since then, we've recorded 3 episodes, and watched a 4th movie, but I have yet to fully finish editing any. So once it does get going, I'm not so sure you can trust it to be exactly 'weekly'. I really love the conversations and the watching, but man, the editing is not in my wheelhouse.

In other news, the Rock Rose Foundation, which is the foundation my wife and I created over this past couple years, has finally opened up for grant applications! So if you are a non-profit operating in the area of Bell County, Texas - or just know somebody who is - check it out! We want to make Killeen and Bell County an amazing place to live. That's been a very big project for the last 18 months and it's very exciting to finally reach the point where we can actually give out some money.
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  What's next at Hamumu? 01:34 PM -- Wed June 22, 2022  

With the launch of the Sci-Fi Pack and Candy Quest, it's time to move on! There is probably a contingent hoping to see Moon Invaders 2 coming up, since it was pretty far along... and I might join that contingent, but as the guy who makes this stuff, I don't want to do the work that requires! It's gonna simmer on the back burner a bit.

Instead, working on Kid Hallow has really lit a fire under my simple-2D-game butt. It's been a blast to be able to have an idea and it comes to life in a matter of hours. And I do have lots of ideas I'd like to explore. So I am embarking on a project of unknown length, where I am going to create a series (possibly a series of 1, but let's hope more) of games that all follow some general criteria. I like to think of this as a fantasy console of sorts, because there are going to be technical elements they share as well. Here's the current idea, subject to change:
  1. 2D, obviously. Could be side or top view. Pixel art.

  2. 256px vertical resolution, with as much horizontal resolution as you need to fill the screen (For example, if your screen is 1920x1080, you'll get 480x256, at 4x zoom).

  3. Limited color palette. I haven't set a specific rule here, but for my first game, I went online and found a palette I liked which had 42 colors. It would be kind of cool to say that's the palette of this 'hardware' and do all the games in it, but I'd rather fit them to the style of the game, I think.

  4. 60FPS (just because it looks like an old console doesn't mean it needs to be clunky!).

  5. No transparency. In my current prototype, I've implemented shadows by having them be pure black, but only drawing them every other frame. At 60fps this makes a very nice transparency. Kind of a silly restriction, but I like the authenticity.

  6. Same options menu for all the games, and a unified GUI system - can be themed differently, but we need the same basic options for everything and the idea of only implementing that once is very exciting! Same simple profile system and all that.

  7. Small games, quick development time, cheap on Steam. Likely also releasing as Early Access. Besides Kid Hallow as my inspiration, Vampire Survivors has also been a big one. To see that be a smash success when it's such a small simple game (with a lot of Dumb stuff) really inspires me to try a bunch of quick games. I like to reach the end of my work a lot more than being bogged down in the middle of it! Of course if I do find something catches on like Vampire Survivors, I guess I'll be stuck updating it for a while! That's alright, I can do that... for a while anyway.
I'm into the idea of this as a pretend console, with a little boot screen and everything, but I probably won't go that far. Just a series of similarly-styled games.

My first release is going to be the slowest of the bunch, because (with the help of SpaceManiac) I'm building out the core of the whole 'system' - fonts, GUI buttons, sound, controls, profiles, all the basics which will hopefully only need to be done once, making the next game a whole lot quicker. I can't tell you what this first game is called yet, but it is a twin-stick shooter roguelite/like (who knows what terms mean anymore?) which is intended to be as meta as humanly possible. Here's a sneak peek of the prototype in development. The frowny faces are the badguys:

P.S. I cannot think of a good name for the fantasy console. Ham64? It's not very 64. The HamCube? HamStation? HamBoy? Maybe something without Ham in the name? I don't know.
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  The Sci-Fi Pack is here! 09:45 PM -- Wed June 1, 2022  

With a gigaton of big changes, the Sci-Fi Pack and Candy Quest are now here in Kid Hallow.

This free update adds over 150 new levels, an adventure mode to find them in, 3 new costumes, and a ton of new tiles, features, and weird insane interactions.

Maybe most interesting is a whole set of new abilities for all of the existing costumes, thanks to the Power Pill which can upgrade your costume. I mean, you want Santa to have a gatling gun, right?

Enough said - you can check out the many update videos that cover all the individual features if you want to see that, but I say just download and dive in! It's sci-fi time.

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  More Hamumu Source Code! 10:08 AM -- Mon May 23, 2022  

Surprise release! I dug up some source code to games that haven't had their code released yet: Eddie Galaxy, Spooky Castle, and Stockboy (I also tried to get Amazin' SPISPOPD but I can't find the code!).

You can visit this folder to grab them. Of course, as this was inspired by SpaceManiac himself, you should visit SpaceManiac's HamSandwich Github where he has set up a repository for his HamSandwich tool which is already updated to work with these new releases.

And don't forget to stop in the Discord chat where you can chat with other people who are messing around with this code.
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  Kid Hallow: Sci-Fi Pack Update #16 02:58 PM -- Mon May 2, 2022  

The Sci-Fi Pack is coming to Kid Hallow! It will be a free update with 25 new tiles/monsters/etc, 3 new costumes, 3 new backgrounds, new music, and some special features.

The Sci-Fi Pack is almost here! This is our final video hyping it up, and we will leave the last few tiles as a mystery - they include the 'final boss' of the pack and various tiles to help it function.

In this video, we get to see The Glob in action. This is far different from every other costume, as this one can just run straight up walls and stick to ceilings. It's tricky to get used to, but it's a slip-slidey good time, as you instantly consume any enemy you run into... unless you're already full.

Candy Quest is also finished now, barring testing and tweaks (of which there continue to be many!). It has over 150 levels and I admit they get a bit tricky towards the end, but it's a long smooth curve to get there and I think it'll be a way better introduction to the game than anything you've seen so far. Even veterans are going to learn a lot of nice tricks - at the very least they'll learn about all the new stuff they've never seen before!

Also in this video, I snuck in the new Buzzsaws (and Grooves, which guide the buzzsaws sideways). Nothing particularly special, just whirling blades of death as you would expect. You can use Chains (previously purely decorative) to guide your Buzzsaws vertically, or Grooves to guide them horizontally. Chains and Grooves also work to control Hovercrates in the same way, so you can now make nice little Hovercrate elevators and moving platforms without having to kick them off with electricity.
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