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Hamumu Journal
Recipes07:10 PM -- Thu January 22, 2004

You know what I want to rant about? Recipes. In cookbooks, there's (often) a time indicated, or a few different ones, like "this takes 10 minutes to prepare, and 20 minutes to cook, so 30 minutes total". Those times are a load of crap!!!! I am not a master chef (if I was, why would I need these cookbooks anyway?), but I know what I'm doing in there. It took me a solid half hour of work to do something that said it took 5 minutes to prepare. You know why? Because their 5 minutes assumed that I already had everything in the recipe chopped and lined up on my counter... if it was already chopped, I'm done preparing it! CHOPPING IS PREPARING! Who keeps their bell peppers chopped? They'd last a day and a half if you did.

Cookbook authors have prep chefs. They are out of touch.
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End Of Work11:55 PM -- Wed January 14, 2004

Hooray! My copy of the 'Indie Game Development Survival Guide' arrived in the mail. Should be interesting. I like to read stuff about my business. I always feel like I learn new things, then I don't do anything with the info. Good for me!

The game I'm making is to be called something like "Sol Hunt's Cargo Express" or something... the gist is pretty simple: you travel from planet to planet, buying and selling goods. You want to get the best deals on the goods, so buy them where they're cheap, sell them where they're expensive. But to get from place to place requires actually flying through space as in the Sneak Peek I put up. That ship you're flying there is actually only the nose of the entire cargo ship. It breaks off and you fly it around shooting aliens. The main body of the ship remains in the lower middle of the screen, and it's your job, as the invincible nose, to blow up the aliens and physically block the bullets fired at the cargo ship. As it gets hit, the cargo it carries is destroyed, so it's in your interest to protect it. That's the basic gist! Should be a quick, small, arcadey game, with more than a touch of financial management to it. It's intended to be the 'announcement worthy release' for this month, but I am pretty sure it won't be done by the end of the month. It'll be pretty close though. Maybe. Anyway, I may have another announcement worthy thing anyway. I hope I can meet my goals!

So that's my workday. It's short, and easy. That's because I'm my boss. I'm a very nice boss. Now, it's almost 4pm, and as everyone knows, I'm allowed to play videogames at 4pm. So just gotta kill six more minutes...
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Fresh Air11:24 PM -- Wed January 14, 2004

Okay, I'm pretty much calling it quits on my workday now. I've finished the model for the rest of the ship, to my satisfaction at the moment. I will do some more design work, but right now what I'm going to do is go bike to the UPS store! I still don't have anything to ship, but I will check the PO box and see if there are any orders in there. Actually, this has been a really abnormally bad order day - not a peep! And in fact, I've only gotten one email from a customer today. Don't know what the deal is, but it sure is slow. I do have reason to believe there might be an order in the mailbox, so that may be nice. I'll check in one more time, but then I consider this experiment complete! Not really a typical day, actually, but about as lazy as usual. So I'm off to check the PO box and the mailbox.
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Maxing Out10:32 PM -- Wed January 14, 2004

Okay, decision made. I'm gonna go with my original plan, and to that end, I shall now pop into 3DS Max and get to work finishing up another very vital model for the game... the other half of your ship!
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Sneak Peek: Space Game10:07 PM -- Wed January 14, 2004


Here's the space game I'm working on! As the orange and yellow tone of the player ship would suggest, I think this could be a Sol Hunt game, and we can all agree it's about time there was such a thing. The blue stuff is player bullets (and the glowy blue blob is player bullets popping on the Cuboid), and the red blobs are the explosion of another Cuboid. Not much else to say about it!
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Lunch over09:31 PM -- Wed January 14, 2004

Potato & Cauliflower Fritters (it was a recipe in a book... not that impressed with them personally), cheese & onion bread, and yogurt. Man, that sounds like some kind of hippie chow... well, we are low on food that doesn't require serious preparation (the fritters were leftovers, of course). Then a little X-Play, and then I got telemarketed (semi-legitimately... sorta) by American Express, looks like we will be accepting AmEx cards in the near future. I had considered it from the beginning, but never bothered setting it up, as I tend to get very few orders by AmEx (well, zero, but back when I used a payment processor that accepted them, I got very few), and I live by the theory that anybody who has an AmEx card also has a Visa or Mastercard. Why? Because nobody takes Amex!! I have both myself. The AmEx card is only for going to Costco, since it's all they take (very strange, that).

So, technically, it's back to work. But work for now is going to be more mental. I'm going to work out exactly what I want to do with this game, and post up a sneak peek for you to see at some point.
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Lunch break!08:31 PM -- Wed January 14, 2004

Well, that's it! There are now enemies, and you can shoot them, and they explode when shot enough. I like the feel and the look, to some extent. There's something lacking visually, but it's getting there. Now that I have something playable, I may have to sit back and spend a little time in the design frame of mind again, as there are a couple directions I'm thinking of taking this (of course, I already decided on one and wrote up the whole design for it... but now others sound interesting, as I see this in action). But either way, it's lunch time. I like to have lunch at around 1pm, so I can watch X-Play while I eat. X-Play is a really stupid show that reviews video games. I think I'm just fascinated by the fact that actual videogames are being discussed on the television. It's like a dream come true. See you after lunch!
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Success!07:55 PM -- Wed January 14, 2004

Okay, we have a rabid cuboid munching across the screen. You can't hurt him and he can't hurt you. I think that shall be next. However, odd as this may seem, I don't plan to allow enemies to hurt you in this game, so I'll only have to make you able to hurt him. So I shall implement that now, followed by a brilliant particle explosion, and then it'll definitely be lunch, except I'll probably not get it done before lunch.
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Slacking07:26 PM -- Wed January 14, 2004

Of course it had to happen. I got fed up with monster code and zoomed around the web a bunch more. I probably spent about 45 minutes doing that and answering some emails. I'm a slacker. Guess I'll get back to work on those monsters, then it'll be lunch time! Hoorah!
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Snack06:31 PM -- Wed January 14, 2004

Stopped for chips n' dip. Man I plowed into those. I think I'm hungry. Also added a Toffifay, which is a strange candy you've never heard of, and I recommend. It's a cup made of caramel, with a hazelnut inside, surrounded by choco creme stuff, with chocolate on top. Not easy to explain, but tasty nonetheless. Also, Pirouline is good. Another hazelnut-related treat, that one. Back to making badguys.
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Cuboid!06:16 PM -- Wed January 14, 2004

Just finished a brief stint in 3DS Max, creating a really basic enemy. It's called a Cuboid, and for good reason. I expect to use it in the finished product, but it will be a very goofy little enemy. Luckily, for the type of games I make, something as stupid and simple as a Cuboid is actually a pretty appropriate creature. So now I am off to work on implementing the concept of enemies in the game. That could end up more than an all-day project, depending on how fancy I get with it. I think I'll try to keep it simple at the expense of nifty scriptability.
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Blah blah05:48 PM -- Wed January 14, 2004

Bullets flying all over the place now. Originally they were nifty particle ones with glow fx, but that caused slowdown. And I have a fast computer! So they aren't, but I tried it with ridiculous rate of fire, and it's a-ok, so that's good. Wasted lots of time chatting as well. Ah, why won't lunch arrive? It's cold. Okay, back to bullet mania... not sure what I should work on now that bullets are working. Maybe something for the bullets to hit.
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Workin'05:18 PM -- Wed January 14, 2004

I've been taking my game, which consisted of a spaceship you could move around on a screen of stars, doing nothing, and implementing bullets. I really like getting a game to the state of being able to move around and shoot. There's a lot of freedom then to tweak things and see what they do. You can try crazy fast fire rates, really big bullets, super fast movement, slippery movement, dashing abilities, all kinds of things. This is where the true feel of the game is made, I think. How it feels to control the player - that's one of the most important elements of the game. Don't you just hate games where the control doesn't feel right? It's also nice because every little bit of code is a major change and has real visible effects.

Bullets aren't in yet, but mostly. Then I will play around with it for a ridiculous amount of time without making any real progress. I play a lot with special effects too - this spaceship already spews particle fire from its engines, and it can't even shoot yet (not to mention there are no enemies). So what is this game? Never you mind.

I also cleaned the litter box, because a certain cat has issues. It's all glamour and glitz here at Hamumu HQ!
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Web done04:42 PM -- Wed January 14, 2004

Well, the web is never truly done... when I'm supposed to be working, I constantly pop back in and read the latest updates on the different sites. It's an addiction. But now that it's basically done, I need to come up with what I'm going to work on! Just yesterday I got the very basics working on my latest project, so I think I'll hit that some more, maybe end up with something a little bit playable. Until yesterday, I hadn't done any real programming in forever, it's weird and fun. But first, I gotta do that reboot the update told me to do. I'll let you know how my work is coming in a little while!
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E-mail done03:44 PM -- Wed January 14, 2004

There's a grey kitty standing in front of my monitor, so I can't see what I'm typing. Ah, she moved. Turns out my email was all spam except one from Netflix asking me to rate the last movie we returned to them (American History X, 5 stars). Sadly, no orders. Extra sad because I don't get to tell you about packing up orders and biking them down to the UPS Store to mail. Plus it means I'll have to find some other way to get exercise today. Now to the websites! Oh, fat kitty jumped off my lap, I better go put away my breakfast dishes.

Okay, did that and got a water bottle. We keep a collection in the fridge (refilled with fridge water of course, we're not yuppies) and go through several a day - good health to drink water, you do it too! NOW! I always have a water bottle with me. I also turned on WinAmp. I've converted every one of my CDs into MP3s on my computer, so I can actually shuffle through ALL of my CDs at once, which is pretty cool to me because I like them all, and I like to be surprised. Plus, no waiting for them to cycle!

Okay, really to the websites now. I read a lot of blogs, a couple videogame news/review sites, and a couple game developer discussion places. I always end up burning far too much time in the morning reading them. Let's see how much!
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Waking Up03:30 PM -- Wed January 14, 2004

Here we go! It's 7:22am, and I'm awake, showered, and eating Honey Puffs, which are generic Honeycomb, with OJ, because it isn't breakfast if there's no OJ. My lovely wife is going to work right now. First steps of the day: connect to IRC to loiter silently in the #ludumdare channel, open my email and go through all the spams, deleting one by one (in case one of them for some odd reason is a real email). Yay, now I have a big fat kitty in my lap! This morning there are 115 items in my inbox, thanks to SpamAssassin, which killed hundreds more. Oh no, a windows update has arrived! I'll have to reboot after it's installed. Okay, I'll get to my email and spend an outrageous amount of time browsing my favorite websites (but not as long as usual, thanks to that eerie feeling of being watched!), then get back to you and tell you ALL about it. Lucky you.
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Tomorrow's Journal09:15 PM -- Tue January 13, 2004

I came up with a brilliant and wonderful idea: tomorrow, I shall document in excruciatingly dull detail every aspect of my workday to you, as it happens, in this very journal. Ever wanted to know what a typical (or atypical, how will we know in advance?) day for an indie game developer is like? I didn't think you did, but I've been pretty lazy lately, so I can call this work while at the same time having it not really be. There's been so much administrative mumbo-jumbo starting off this year (very little of which is actually finished!) that things are out of sync all around. Maybe having to document what I'm doing in front of an audience will force me to get things done. I'll also put up a Sneak Peek of what I'm working on, because you deserve it. It'll be a surprise!

So come on back tomorrow and check in often, because I'll be posting often!
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The Patch!09:35 PM -- Thu January 8, 2004

The Supreme patch is here. Now how about if this one is the last one, okay!? We can dream.

In other news, I woke up at 5am this morning with a cold. That's pretty lame. So I'm being a slacker today. In fact, writing this entry is my procrastination from working on TOP SECRET PROJECT NAMED RIGHT HERE WHAT COULD IT BE OH TOO BAD YOU WILL HAVE TO FIND OUT LATER. With my new goals for the year, I feel constantly behind and in need of seriously hammering on this keyboard. But I'm not doing it too much.

Actually, I spent the entire day two days ago working on my sales tax forms (to send in the sales tax I've collected to the government). It's really darn complicated to calculate that stuff, you'd think it'd be easy when you have files of the exact amount you collected, but nooooo... they make you break it down in 17 different ways and put it all back together to discover, voila, it was the same number you started with! Actually, part of the complexity of the task was the fact that it wasn't the same number. Turns out the number I had for how much tax I had collected was wrong... stupid automated system (not mine, mind you!) at Linkpoint was doing it wrong. I think it was counting the tax I had refunded on refunded orders. Anyway, I figured that out by the next day and finally finished it. Now just one other major government issue, and I can relax for about a month, until it's time to actually file income tax! Augh!

I'm gonna add something else to my One Thing A Month plan. I'll do one major marketing task a month. My coffers have accumulated a disgusting pile of cash because I never spend any on marketing. Time to fix that. I have some ideas...
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Happy New Year!11:27 PM -- Mon January 5, 2004

Wow, it's been quite a holiday break. Officially, I suppose I didn't get a break (except those 4 days we actually closed the office), but when my wife is on vacation, I pretty much join her, and don't feel guilty about it. So many cool presents, so much awesome relaxation and accomplishing of nothing. I can't even guess how many movies we watched.

But now the new year has started, and we all know the rules for that: You make up a bunch of lofty goals and behavior mods. Then you ignore them. A new year always feels like a fresh start, and it's always exciting. In addition to the whole numerical newness, I think the fact that we have that huge wad of vacation and holiday time, and such great excess and indulgence, I think that's why it feels so much like starting over. You work all year to get to that sparkling blast of joy and fun, then when it's over, with the last champagne cork popped, reality sets in. It's time to work again. I think it's anthropologically significant that most of the biggest holidays are in the middle of winter, but that's a whole other story.

My goals? They are big as always. I'll share some. I intend to release something every single month of 2004. 'Something' can be as minimal as an add-on world, though. I qualify it as anything worthy of sending out the announcement newsletter. I've written up plans of just what I will be releasing for almost every month, and there's a lot in there that should be surprising and fun (obviously we couldn't release a whole new game every month...). On top of that, there will be one improvement to the website each month. They may be too small to notice sometimes. I'll think you'll notice when I get up the improvement I have in mind for this month. But the main thing is to get me focusing on making the website better and easier to use. Once it's up and working, I tend to just forget about it and dive into more game development. A website should always be an ongoing project.

There's lots of other stuff, of course, but those are the kickers, businesswise. I am hoping to really overcome my inertia problem, Hamumu has been feeling sluggish for a while. One part of work I always enjoy is planning (designing games of course being the ultimate! I do that purely for entertainment), so these first couple of days are great. Too bad they're under the looming pressure of getting my recordbooks up to par! I've got a lot to do...
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