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Drat! Outdone again!04:34 PM -- Tue January 2, 2007

I like to promote Hamumu as a company that really pays attention to the fans and helps you out immediately and thoroughly and all that stuff. We sure are much better than any "big" company, by a margin so wide you can yell things across it and they echo. Or are we...?

I am very impressed with ArenaNet, the makers of Guild Wars! They totally beat me this year by sending out Thank You cards by mail, hand-signed by the development team, to 1000 people that they recognized from online forums as having been real supporters of the game. That is so cool, and think how exciting it would be to get one of those! That is definitely fan service, and not in the anime sense.

The closest I came to that this year was backwards - Isparklesalot (a member of our forum) sent me a Christmas card! Thank you! Now I know how exciting it is to get one of those!

So, now it is 2007. I guess I need some goals. My only goal last year was to read 15,000 pages. I got pretty close, but I was 1,500 short by the end. I just get very busy and have trouble finding time to read. I always mean to do it in bed, but by the time I go to bed, I'm tired! So my solution this year is to not set a reading goal. If there are interesting things to read, I shall read them because they compel me to. It's not like I don't get enough brain exercise with the thousands of words I read every day on the computer just doing my job! So, forget reading. What else?

Exercise, we'll throw that in there. But you don't need to hear about it. Very necessary though! How about business stuff? That's what you want to know about! I will finish LL2. My goal is to release it for real by the end of January. Then the Collector's Edition done by the end of February (but maybe not released, I'll need to get the CD production done and all). That leaves 10 months to make another game. Sounds pretty reasonable. So let's say one more game released in 2007.

I decided a while back just how I would do the next game. A fun experiment: design it all on paper first, and then I am not allowed to stray from the design at all. Not that I can't do anything else (like a monster or item idea that comes up), but all the crazy extra modes and bonus features I always throw on at the end really drag out development. None of that - I have to come up with all the crazy modes in advance! No, I will actually try to keep it focused. You know how much extraneous LL2 there was? All 3 'crafting' things, achievements and modifiers, artifacts, talents (that was a doozy!), the split path of the game (so twice as much middle game to make), and I can't think of any more, but there's more. If you conservatively call that 1 month per thing in that list, that's 5 months! So we'll see how this experiment goes. I'll probably just front-load that phase and have a list of fifty different game modes to make.

So, those are modest goals. I think they can be achieved with ease as long as I continue to resist buying WoW. But resolve weakens on that front every day...
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