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Submitted by Mike Hommel, posted on March 29, 2001

Image Description, by Mike Hommel

Here's a shot from my latest game, Loonyland: Halloween Hill, just came out yesterday in fact, so hurry to my website and order up a copy! How can you resist!? I could talk about some of the fancy features, but however fancy they are, they aren't trilinear or mip-bizzled or flange-flipped or anything, so I'll just say it's fun, it's 2D, it's an action-adventure game (Zelda type of thing... get quests, do them, kill lots of monsters), and it includes the Pants Of Power, not to mention a whoopee cushion and potted cactus as special weapons. Demo, shots, info, and ordering are available on my website at Check out the demo and I'd love to hear what you think.

Mike Hommel
Hamumu Software

Image of the Day Gallery


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Archive Notice: This thread is old and no longer active. It is here for reference purposes. This thread was created on an older version of the flipcode forums, before the site closed in 2005. Please keep that in mind as you view this thread, as many of the topics and opinions may be outdated.

March 29, 2001, 03:14 PM

Interesting. The lighting effects on the ground make it look blocky and tiled, but it could still be fun. I'm going to go get the demo.


March 29, 2001, 03:39 PM

Couple of question/comments...

First of all, are you using separate shadow masks for the objects (trees, etc.) or are you just skewing the sprite itself? I notice a few problems with the alignment of the shadows of the trees' roots, which makes me think you're just skewing the sprites...

Secondly, what's with the glowing tiles around your weapon art? Is that supposed to just show where the damage is happening, or is it an artifact of some sort? Seems like an odd sort of artifact (assuming that the weapon effects are being drawn as separate sprites, anyway).

Also, have you considered making several different ground tiles and randomizing them a bunch?

What sort of species is the main character? It looks like a robot or something. :)

Finally, how big is the game, what platform(s) will it run on, what are its requirements, etc.? I love Zelda-style games, but if they're too short and/or can't run under Wine (Windows emulator for Linux) then I'm not interested. :) I'll try the demo out under Wine in any case, if it's not too big anyway.


March 29, 2001, 04:06 PM

Good Job!
I was a little apprehensive about trying out the demo. The screenshot looked a little blocky, and it was 2D. However, It is a fun little game with a good storyline. I didn't notice the blockyness very much in the game since my little slingshot didn't produce that many lighting effects. And the repetativeness of the ground texture was unnoticeable once the darned frogs started chasing me. This game kinda reminded me that games don't have to be cutting-edge 3D to be fun.


March 29, 2001, 04:32 PM


the future of gaming,

i like the fact that small developement studios write games and distribute them with the internet. How many good game designers, programmers, artist don't get recognition for their work because they don't get a publisher?


P>S> I'dd be more willing to pay less for a smaller but shorter game and buy the extra levels afterwards if I find them worth paying for ...


March 29, 2001, 05:14 PM

Yes, the shadows are skewed & transparent sprites. SO much nicer than having to define actual shadow graphics.

The lit up tiles are a glow around the shots as they fly - it's much nicer looking in motion, as it looks a lot less blocky when it's fading and glowing so quickly. It's also used to light up dark caves and provide line of sight in them.

There are actually either 3 or 4 different dirt tiles there, and yep, placed completely at random! I even added a special mode in the editor to randomly select from a list of tiles when you held down the button so I wouldn't have to hand-randomize like I did in my last game.

The main guy is just a little boy - he happens to wear huge coke bottle glasses though.

The game is for win95/blah/blah/blah, requires directX. How big? Ah, gameplay size you mean. It's big alright. I don't know how to describe it exactly... But even once you've done the adventure part, there's a HUGE amount of game left in all the secrets - both finding them, and then playing with them. They include a pile of new game modes besides a gallon of new characters and special features. The secrets are really the big deal with the game. Anyway, the demo is 5mb, and it lets you do... I don't know... the first little bit of the game, before you hit the sort of main mid-game area where the big quests are. Don't ask me if it works in an emulator, I sure hope so!


March 29, 2001, 05:18 PM

That's the magic of the demo! It's the first small part of the game, it's cheaper (free), if you like it, pay for the rest! Saves you the money you'd pay on a 'first chapter' if it was episodic.


March 29, 2001, 05:39 PM

Thanks. By 'requirements' I was hoping you could tell me what version of DirectX it needs, though, since Wine's DirectX emulation lags behind greatly (basically, it implements barely enough to run StarCraft and HalfLife). Also, something about memory and CPU requirements would be nice, though hopefully it's coded efficiently enough that those wouldn't be an issue on any modern system. :)

5MB is reasonable enough to download on this crappy 28.8kbps link. :) Guess I'll do that in a bit and let you know if it runs under Wine. Oh, and thanks for explaining about the lit up squares... so it's mostly a tactical thing, not a visual thing, which is what I figured. And you don't have enough randomization in the ground. :)


March 29, 2001, 07:38 PM

I downloaded this, played it and enjoyed what I've played so far. =] The graphics are neat and cartoony, but the gameplay is just awesome. Glad to see someone concentrating on gameplay these days... Now, how do I get that last damn mushroom?! =]


March 29, 2001, 09:22 PM

So that was where I saw the name "Hamumu" before... SPISPOPD!
Man that game stole a lot of hours.

The big evil trees seems to be clipped of a bit to soon and also when you kill one of them there seems to be to sprites drawn on top of each other (a living and a dead one I guess) and as Fluffy said, a few more tiles for variation would'nt hurt.
And the lightning, well it seems alright with the small weapon I got, with a bigger one like the one on the picture... who knows, as you said you have to see it moving. But anyway, great game and I'm glad to see that it's just as much fun to kill frogs as it is to kill/smash pumpkins. And that swampdog is hilarious.

How about the sounds did you do them yourself and if so, would you care to share some tips on how to make good sounds (thinking mostly about sound fx)

That's all, I could ramble on all night. This is my firt FlipCode post after all.


March 29, 2001, 09:40 PM

I found the last mushroom! =]


March 29, 2001, 10:02 PM

you could always ... dual boot windows *gasp* ;)


March 29, 2001, 10:05 PM

There was some reason for Id putting the IDSPISPOPD no clip cheat code in the original Doom. What is the connection between this silly little game and Doom? I'm dying to know.


March 29, 2001, 10:27 PM


you'll never know!



March 29, 2001, 11:39 PM

Hmmm.. the image looks great, but I'd like to see more technical stuff, you know, speaking about how you did the game, and blah blah blah...

Anyway, it looks very good. Good luck, sell a lot, and I'll be looking at the demo.


March 30, 2001, 12:23 AM

I Like this game!!!!

I found one key in underground - will continue to play later.

Is it possible to give this game to some publishers, it can be sold for $15 bucks for example - a value game. Lots of kids gonna like it.

Also you are using SCITECH MGL (or not) - which is portable - have to be easy for compilation under Macintosh.

Games like this and sheep (there is demo on are good examples that 2D is still very very alive.!

Dean Harding

March 30, 2001, 12:37 AM

Ha! I love the "Pete's Tank" comic on your site, funniest thing I ever read! heheh I reall should get out more.

You game looks great, too. I'll download it when I get home tonight...


March 30, 2001, 03:35 AM

Mountains of Saskatchewan, eh?

I laughed out loud at that one (You probably have to be from Saskatchewan to appreciate that)

Good job on the game.


March 30, 2001, 10:47 AM

I tried the game and I feel something needs to be said about it... Great game!


March 30, 2001, 10:49 AM

Can you really see your dog running away for days? :)


March 30, 2001, 11:03 AM

And here I just thought it was a funny name to use for a place.... I didn't know we were making a joke!

I think the funniest thing here is that somebody actually laughed at a Stupid Comic. We keep meaning to make more but haven't.


March 30, 2001, 11:08 AM

I've been the publisher route before, and I don't intend to go there again... some of the worst experiences of my life! I will happily continue to suffer and try to scrape up enough cash for rent before I will go through that again.
It is using the MGL, to some extent, I don't know how portable it is. It also uses DirectSound. I've always thought of porting to Mac, and I imagine sales would be great, since they're SO starved for games (and there's a lot less stigma against independent products I think too - since that's the only place they can get ANY software!), but I sure can't afford the hardware to do it, and the learning curve is a bit much for me when I have more games I could be writing!
I played the Sheep demo too, it was pretty cool, definitely unique.


March 30, 2001, 11:21 AM

Technical stuff? I don't know much... made with Scitech MGL, mainly because DirectX code is just WAY too hideously ugly for me to tolerate, made from the codebase of my previous game Dr. Lunatic (which should be obvious if you see the two side by side), but extremely torn apart in the process. It's really a mostly new engine. There's nothing too technical about it though, just basic 2D sprites running around on a tiled map. The only unique or interesting things are:
1. Dynamic lighting - it's tile by tile, so that's the blockiness everyone complains about in the image above. It makes dungeon exploration cool.
2. Particles - I can't make a game without a particle system. You can see a few splattering in the shot above. The bullets being fired actually are also made of particles. They're really wacky looking in action, they bounce along, kind of look like big glowing caterpillars (once you get enough powerups!).
3. particle fire - I think this looks pretty cool. Same as the particles for everything else, except the particles are little triangles. You can see it in the demo in a bunch of places, the first is the Witch's Cabin in town. The way it's used, along with dynamic lighting, in Swamp Gas Caverns is cooler still.
4. Skewed translucent shadows - looks a lot nicer than the shadows you see in most games, usually they use all black, or they use round shadows (which actually I kinda like...).
5. I do all the rendering code by hand - I just get directX/mgl to give me a pointer to a bitmap screen, and have all my own sprite routines and stuff. It's more flexible, and coming from the ancient ancient past, it's what I'm used to, it's easy. I still write the sprite rendering functions in assembly, what can I say?
6. Because of that, I can do some things you can't do with directX sprites. The enemies can be discolored. For example, when anything is injured, it flashes all red, but not solid red, rather it uses the same shading it originally had, but in red instead of all the different colors it was in before. And the enemies take advantage of this recoloration feature, for instance you can see red frogs in that shot, those are actually green sprites (with white eyes) with the green recolored to red. You also see green and purple frogs in the demo, all from the same sprite. Saves a lot of disk space. They aren't totally recolored like when an enemy is injured, rather they just have one hue replaced with another. I use a special palette of 8 hues with 32 shades each, so swapping things is very simple.
7. Another thing I've got is several different types of translucent sprites - ones that glow, increasing the brightness of the pixels they're on by an amount relative to how bright each pixel of the sprite is (a white sprite would crank it up a lot, a black sprite would make no glow at all), ones that glow by recoloring the ground they're on to their color and doing the same brightness increase (basically meaning they keep their original color instead of appearing white).

That's as technical as I can think of...


March 30, 2001, 11:35 AM

Yep, the original SPISPOPD! That's where the best sound effects came from in the history of gaming. Some of them I ripped straight into Dr. Lunatic (the sequel, and vastly different game), with horrible background noise and all, just because they were so classic. If you thought you could blow hours on SPISPOPD, you should see Dr. L - it's the same general idea, but beefed up a million times of course (the fact that the levels don't fit on one screen is actually kind of a letdown though...), but the main thing is, even after you get through all the levels in the real game, there are already about 20 add-on worlds (a world is like maybe 13 levels or so, however many the person makes) available, made by different fans with the level editor. That's why I'm making an add-on for Loonyland that includes a level editor - it's just plain DEMANDED.

I never noticed the trees were clipped, that's kind of sad. But the doubled sprites I always knew about, and yet for some reason I never bothered to mess with it. I kind of like it in a perverse way I think. It's just a matter of the position of the monster and the item not being quite the same. They also cling desperately to any items they launch when they die since they immediately become a solid object. It's kind of funny, and it's an art to extract the items.

If you want to see how the lighting works, head into the swamp and look for a staircase down. There are a couple, and they'll all show you how the lighting works.

I did the sounds myself and with another voice backing me up. I don't think that qualifies me to discuss GOOD sound fx... I know one thing I did very wrong with all the sounds for this game, until the very very end, is I didn't do a noise reduction on each sample before I saved it. After I had 200some sounds, I decided it wasn't worth going back. But if you have your volume up at any reasonable level, there's terrible hiss, especially noticeable in the really quiet sounds like the villagers yawning and scratching their heads. The environmental sounds were one of the last things I did, so those have the hiss removed. So I'd say THAT's something you need to do to make good sounds. But that's common sense, it was just dumb of me not to do it at first! I don't really know what to do to actually make the sounds in the first place... Almost all of them are the human voice contorting itself horribly and then being tweaked around a whole lot with pitch, speed, and sometimes flanging and reverb. Then there's other things like rubbing the mike across a shirt (makes explosions, or rumbles), tapping it (for almost ANYTHING, depending on how you tap and what you do with it). The BEST way to make a sound effect is to start recording and being going nuts, making the sound in every way you can think that might even remotely approximate it, with a nice pause between each attempt. Then you listen over and over and try to catch on as to which one, when tweaked beyond belief, will actually evoke something of the sound you're looking for. Don't ever be afraid to clear it and start over - after all, it takes about a second to record a new version, so why not try again? You really aren't likely to lose anything precious. The hardest thing is to not get caught up in dropping everything's pitch to subbass levels and putting in super reverb. I do go overboard on that a bit sometimes. There's some deafening bosses at the end of Dr. Lunatic, that's for sure.


March 30, 2001, 12:01 PM

Or you could always get over your lame anti-Microsoft attitude and admit that Windows is better than Linux, ditch it, and get Windows 2000. Why torture yourself with Linux? Even if Linux is faster, what good is it if there are only a few programs for it? You realize that if you got Windows, you could run ANY Windows program without worrying about it running in Wine or not?

Oh well, all you Linux junkies will give in when Windows XP comes out... >:)


April 05, 2001, 01:04 PM

First let me say that I love the game idea, and will download it when I get home.

I believe you must be into some heavy drugs with that attitude. Ok, first... what good is a faster operating system. Well, for one, if I ran a business and had to choose and OS for my server, and Linux runs faster than Windows... which do you think i'd choose? Second, what are you talking about hardly any programs for linux?!?!?! Have you seen any programs for linux. Did you know that Quake 3 Arena was ported to linux and the binaries are free (provided you have the data files from the windows version). Linux has tons and tons of apps, and most are completely free. I hate to tell you this, but windows XP is going to be horrible. Have you talked to anyone that uses the Beta's? Have you seen all the horrible comments all the beta testers are saying? Can you personally say that you've seen and used Windows XP and that it's better than Linux? Have you heard that you actually have to register Windows XP on the microsoft web-site any time you make hardware changes? You have to pay for it (not sure the msrp, but probably about $160) every computer you put it on, because of this registration. On the other hand.. there is linux.. go download it, use it, change it, download apps... and you still haven't paid a dime above your normal monthly internet access. And I am not anti-microsoft, but obviously you're anti-linux. I personally use many microsoft products, and don't ussually have bad things to say about them. Your view on linux users is that they don't like microsoft. What's wrong with competition? If microsoft was the only OS, do you know how much you'd be paying for it? And why would anyone admit that Windows is better than linux? What does it have going for it besides the name and ease of use for complete morons? I mean, there are tons of modifiable GUI's for linux, more user friendly than Windows 95,98,nt 4, 2k. So instead of talking about anyone that uses linux as an alternative to microsoft as having a "lame anti-microsoft attitude", why don't you get off your microsoft is an empire, bill gates is god attitude, and accept that linux is a very good alternative to an otherwise unchallenged OS. And all the Linux junkies will be enjoying Linux when Windows XP comes out, because Windows XP is going to be just as bad as windows 2k, except maybe it won't crash so much? I think you should go download the Windows XP beta (which microsoft charges $10 just to download the beta, and $20 to ship you the beta) and see how it really stacks up. It's rediculous that you have to pay for a beta that expires when you can go download the full linux OS for free, and have free upgrades for life no matter what version it hits. Do you realize that if you got Linux, you could run any linux program without worrying about it being compatible with Windows? Wow, what a friggin conecpt. And to say that any windows program would work just because you are running windows isn't true either. How many programs crash your computer, or give you blue screens of death, is incompatible with your hardware, etc. Oh by the way, Microsoft is trying to tie in more and more proprietary programs into Windows XP to keep out competitors (like Windows Media player because RealNetworks is beating them out). Now, I'm not saying that Windows isn't a good operating system, because it is. Writing a large Operating system is very difficult, and bugs are very hard to work out, but you shouldn't knock linux and linux users just because you like windows. And linux users shouldn't knock you because they like linux. You use what you prefer, and they use what they prefer, and who cares. It's like you think you're better than they are because you use microsoft products, and they use products that run faster and do what they need better.. just doesn't make sense dude.

just my $0.02

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