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Hamumu Journal
LD48 Failure03:58 AM -- Mon August 23, 2010

Well, this LD was a failure. I worked (a tiny bit) on an idea that I've had in mind for probably about 10 years, maybe longer. I've had a design document for it almost as long, though I didn't even load that up, I was just intending to make kind of a 48-hour subset of the general idea. That idea is El Peligro, the side-scrolling adventuresome tale (with lots of Zelda elements) of a Mexican wrestler sent by his mom to save the village from the scourge of the Chupacabra. There's a twist and so it turns out that the Chupacabra is just the first of several bosses.

As, in fact, this game was intended to be the first of several Heroes De Mexico games, all set in some indeterminate past in Mexico, where there is TV which El Peligro grew up watching, but it might be black and white, and there are still banditos roaming the land and horses and swordfights and gunfights. Kind of a wild west but in the 1950's. The next two games each starred a separate Hero: Zero the swordfighting daughter of the town's mayor, and then SeƱor Pistola, who surprisingly fights with pistols. So each game would play very differently in terms of actual abilities, but would all follow the same gameplay concepts - you collect powerups (like in Loonyland - leveling up, but by finding items, not by grinding XP), you meet experts/gurus who teach you new abilities, and you hop on platforms until you get to a boss and blow him up. I also had some wacky concept that you could then go back once you owned all 3 games and play the other games with the other characters, but that sounds like a lot of work for me. Also, the stories would be intertwined in a way - none of the three heroes knows each other, and they don't fight in the same areas, but unwittingly they all happen to be battling against a larger problem that all comes together in the end, courtesy of a singular evil villain that I will not spoil.

Deep dark secrets of my past aside, I was just going to make a little platformer where you were a wrestler and you picked up enemies and threw them at other enemies. I started out drawing El Peligro himself in much-larger-than-I-am-comfortable-with pixel art (32 pixels tall!). This made animating him a scary nightmare that didn't turn out like I wanted at all. So I got this far and then gave up:

Click in the flash to activate it. Use arrow keys to move left and right, do NOT push up or you will have to refresh the page, and push X to punch. You can do a 2-punch combo if you punch quickly (part of the bad art is that you can't really tell his right arm from his left when he punches), and you can do an uppercut by ducking and punching.

I was demoralized by the art woes and gave up quickly. On Sunday morning I decided to try again in a way where art wouldn't stop me:

Again click inside to get control, and the controls are the same, but you are allowed to jump, and instead of ducking, he does a frame of his "holding a guy over his head" animation. Really bad background choice since you can't see half of him half the time.

Aaaand, that's as far as I got! Spent the rest of the day playing WoW, cleaning up the house, and watching Korean horror movies. Why? Because I was demoralized about my pixel art dilemma. Look for a "Help Wanted" post to come pretty soon, because I think I'm going to be looking to hire a pixel artist for a few games. I am tired of my art holding me back, in the sense that I would sell more copies if the art were better, and that I would make games quicker and more of them if I only had to do half the work, and that I would do more interesting things in the games if I knew I didn't have to figure out how to draw them. It's better all around. People have argued that my own personal art is part of the charm of Hamumu games, but it's part of the charm like a new mother thinks the way her kid can't pronounce things is charming. If you weren't my mom, you wouldn't appreciatize it.

The only downside is that working with people is a horrible soul-destroying experience, and that they never ever ever get anything done and are impossible to rely on. If only I had a million monkeys.
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