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Hamumu Journal
Why Happyponygate Is Canceled03:26 PM -- Sun November 2, 2008

Sorry folks. And I really mean it... I am very sorry that I am canceling this game. But canceled it is. There are several reasons why this is necessary, and I'm just going to lay them out there:

- Way too ambitious. This was a game that completely overreached. Not a first for me! But this was just going too far. If I'm going to make an online game, I need to start simpler. To complete this project would've taken 2 years, IF I actually worked really hard nonstop from the beginning. Given my usual work ethic and other necessary tasks, we'd be looking at more like 3 or 4 years (and don't forget to calculate in the engineer's fudge: multiply by 3 and move it up one order of magnitude, for a total of 9 decades). Just too big. Bigger than Supreme in every way except for number of levels, and of course I didn't make all those levels!

- Money. I can't make games that take 2 or 3 years. Much more important than the direct income is the notion of being 'off the radar' for years at a time. That costs me in terms of publicity, since people forget I exist, and in terms of actual fans, since people get bored with no new game and wander off, forgetting to return and keep track. And of course there is the direct income - a game that takes me 2 years to make doesn't make me 12x as much money as a 2 month game! Not even 2x as much, most of the time.

- Technology. The Dr. Lunatic 'engine' is incredibly outdated at this point. It was behind the times when I was first using it in the late 90's, and it's completely archaic now. What does that matter? Well, two problems. The lesser problem is that it's not updated for current operating systems and uses a resolution that some video cards actually don't even support anymore! Or at least for a while there was one NVidia driver that didn't. The greater problem is that it looks like crap. I really like the characters and style I made in Loonyland 2, but they came out looking blocky, rough-edged, and discolored because of the limited resolution and palette and lack of blending. To put it bluntly: I can't release another 256 color game again. Ever. This isn't the kind of thing that was costing me the actual hardcore fans - you guys have liked the stuff I made all along, you'd be happy with more of it! But new people coming by and seeing that stuff are immediately turned off. They just won't give the game a chance if it looks so old and crummy. Unfortunately, presentation is necessary to pull in new people.

- Hard! It got unwieldy and ugly to the point where I was not enjoying working on it anymore. And when I reach that state, I have a real problem. A real problem that usually results in "just one more quick WoW session". It's not a matter of saying "I don't like this anymore" and throwing it aside, but a recognition that because I don't like doing it anymore, I won't be able to force myself to get it done. It's just going to get slower and more unproductive until it eventually fails at some point. Recognizing that early and quitting is a trick I'm still trying to learn, but this is better than some of my past attempts! Some people will see this as a cop-out, but it's not. I've learned through decades and dozens of failures to spot when things just aren't viable anymore. There comes a point when I know a project can't ever reach completion, and I have to drop it. I'm getting better at spotting that sooner, I hope.

I really liked Happyponygate. The storyline is a load of fun, the gameplay that I had was great (I never did get cars remotely enjoyable, but running and gunning was extremely fun), and it really worked online, chatting and all! Well, not necessarily online - it worked over a loopback connecting my computer to itself. But in theory it would've worked online. And before you ask, no, I can't let you play what I did get done, because it requires the server program to run and a connection to a MySQL database and all kinds of things. Just not something shareable without the server having been setup (and I can't set up the server - only early versions were ever compiled on Linux, and so I shudder to think at all the new incompatibilities that crept in during the year or so I developed it on windows).

I also loved how it was made out of the ideas of forum people! And that's a large part of what I'm really sorry about. I feel like I owe the winners a chance to have their stuff in the game, but then, I still owe Hammered the presence of the Hammer Family in Super Happy Go Go Ninja Time too! I'm going to try to figure out a way to get those things into other games in the future to fulfill that. You did get Yerfbucks out of it though, it's not so bad. And we all had fun coming up with the ideas (that's my favorite part of the job!).

In the end, I realized that the only thing keeping me from saying it was done and throwing it away was the guilt and abuse I would take from the Hamumu fans for doing so. That's no reason to keep pushing myself on an impossible task. I have to just take the abuse and go on! I need to keep the company going, keep income coming in, keep Hamumu in the 'news' such as it is, and keep myself busy on work that interests me. It's as simple as that.

So I am again very sorry for the loss of something that was highly anticipated, but I can assure you, it was never going to happen. The only result if I kept working on it would've been to waste time on a dead end rather than moving on to greener pastures. Both you and I are far better served by new games coming out instead!

And tomorrow, I'll discuss what interesting work I could be doing.
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