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honestgamer It's not all an elaborate ruse, some misguided attempt to establish for myself an online persona of dubious quality. I really am dull. If you don't find that unbearable, though, this is my blog that examines just how truly boring I can be.

Title: With the Sonic guide complete...
Posted: April 11, 2009 (05:24 AM)
Now that I've completed work on the guide that I was writing for IGN for Sonic and the Black Knight, I'm free to resume work on HGWars. I still have other things I have to do--basically that means games to play and review--but it seemed like a good time to pour some hours into coding.

The result of that coding is that I've added the 'Build' function to the game. Now players will be able to develop their properties and earn income more quickly than ever. This will soon--perhaps even tomorrow--be joined by the ability to rob other players, something that I expect to add a lot of additional depth to the game and really shake things up. It's likely the last major feature that I will be adding for some time and it's a biggie, so look forward to more word on that as developments occur.

Right now, the only development that's ready to occur is me going to bed!
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Title: HGWars open beta is alive. It's aliiiiiiiiiiive!
Posted: April 01, 2009 (04:18 AM)
Imagine a hokey old monster movie scream right about now.

After weeks of preparation, HGWars has now entered the 'open beta' phase. That's probably a bit on the pretentious side when really all I'm discussing is a browser-based game, but there was a lot of work that went into this and a lot more will doubtless follow.

Open beta is a shot at seeing what sort of audience the game can attract. I've posted about it on the forums--and there's a forum section dedicated to it--and I've posted a news story. There's now an ad the displays throughout the site, as well. I also posted on my LiveJournal page and I encourage all of you to consider posting about it on other sites that you frequent. If you do, remember that you can also use your HG referral ID to earn yourself some HG Points for use in HGWars or toward prize drawings on the site.

I still plan to add features to the game over the coming weeks, but at this point I really need to see how the game acts with larger numbers of people using it before I can better tweak balance and such... if any tweaking is still needed at all.

If you've been interested in HGWars but haven't gotten around to trying it, now is definitely the time to change that. Go for it!
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Title: Say goodbye to your HGWars characters!
Posted: March 31, 2009 (11:41 PM)
It's time to wipe the tears from your eyes and say a meaningful "farewell" to your character in HGWars, because he's going away! Or she is, as the case may be.

I will be wiping all characters and battle records in the very near future, probably within the next hour and a half. Then the new round will begin and will last at least until this time on April 30, 2009. It may last longer or it may not, depending on how things are going.

The game is not entirely finished, but I think anyone who has played it can agree that I've made significant strides in that direction (with your help). Now it's time for open beta and I plan to be offering a prize to users that will consist of at least a $20 Amazon.com gift certificate. I'd like to be able to offer more if I can, but we'll just have to see. If the amount I can offer increases and/or the date the contest concludes changes, it will be announced in advance for users (and not just here on my blog).

I'll be spending most of the next few hours getting PR stuff ready to go--like possibly a small marquee ad for the site--and hopefully adding a feature so that users can wipe their own account at will to start fresh (if desired). I hope to make a big push for the game now that we're ready for open beta and I hope that you'll all help by referring friends who you think may find it interesting.

Remember that if you refer users, you should add your user ID to the end of the URL so that you can receive HG Points for referring them (even if it's only a small amount). Convince friends to sign up for the site through your referral link, as well (found from your main HG Points page). This will ensure that you get the most points possible, points that you can use for prize drawings and for in-game advancements.

I'll see you in HGWars soon... as new characters, with a fresh start and with honestgamer dominating. Oh, yeah!
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Title: HGWars updates...
Posted: March 30, 2009 (06:18 AM)
I've just finished doing a bunch more work on HGWars in anticipation of its April open beta launch. The list of updates and additions is as follows:

* The 'Gear' section is now filled out with a total of mroe than 100 items, many of them added over the course of the last 24 hours. It's unlikely that many (or any) more items will be added anytime in the near future.

* Job listings have been expanded. There are now a total of 18 jobs in the database, up from the 11 that existed less than 24 hours ago.

* Income from properties has been modified. It's now increased by approximately 20%, which will probably eliminate the need for future tweaks along those lines. Income had originally been higher than it is now--even after this most recent round of tweaks--but was too generous. I'm pretty sure that the balance is right now.

* The LCK stat boost from Gear is now properly applied throughout 'Jobs,' so that if you have an item that increases your luck, you'll see its performance affect the outcome of any jobs you attempt. It's still possible to get bad results when performing a job, but it's now much easier to skew things toward a more positive outcome.

* On the stats screen, you'll now be able to see your base and expanded stats reflected in a simple table so that you can see what effect your gear is having on your overall performance. Beasts and thieves will be able to see this information when viewing other profiles, as well. Mercenaries are still not factored into those stats, and I don't plan for them to be at any point in the future, either.

The above is a fairly robust series of upgrades and content additions. It takes the game that much closer to the point that I had hoped for it to reach by now. I do plan to continue adding more jobs in the future, as more ideas come to be and as their addition becomes more important, but for now there's more content to the game than most people playing it will be able to thoroughly explore for quite some time.

We're very close to the wipe and restart now, so watch for word on that in another day or two.
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Title: A Colors-full blog post
Posted: March 26, 2009 (01:31 AM)
I haven't posted for a bit, but I thought I'd check in now to let you all know what song is playing on those Dell commercials. The song is "Colors" as performed by Kira Willey. You can see it here:

You're very welcome.

(Yeah, the song was catchy enough and I was bothered enough that I actually looked it up. Sue me.)
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Title: HGWars structure now essentially complete
Posted: March 19, 2009 (04:54 AM)
I've just finished adding the final significant features to HGWars today. The final addition was the 'Pray' feature, which ironically is one of the first things I had in mind when I decided to even tackle the project!

Basically, players can 'pray' in-game to raise 1 or 2 levels (their choice), so long as they have the necessary HG Points. The number of HG Points required increases based on the number of experience points required to level up. Characters of the cleric class will also receive a discount.

Before I go to sleep, I'll probably add one final tweak to the game--just a navigational thing, not an actual feature--then finally get some shuteye. Any changes that I make going forward will almost certainly be limited to bug fixes and balance tweaks. You could say, then, that the game is officially in its beta mode.

Unless something changes, I will be wiping the character and battle profiles on the evening of March 31 (relatively close to midnight, PST) so that everyone can start fresh on even footing. I'm hoping to be able to offer a cool prize or two... or three... to get people excited about playing competitively and I plan to kick off a wider promotion for the game at that time.

Until then, this is a good chance to continue playing, developing your strategies that will allow you to dominate during the weeks ahead. If you have friends that you'd like to see involved in April's contest, by all means let them know about the game right now so that they can get comfortable with how things work. I do need people to continue playing so that I can add gear and make sure that it's working properly and not unexpectedly breaking the gameplay by overpowering any class on a consistent basis.

Thanks for your ongoing support as we enter the home stretch, and hopefully we can all make HGWars a success going forward!
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Title: HGWars: equipment now added
Posted: March 18, 2009 (06:25 AM)
Last night and this morning (they all blurred together for me), I got the last of the huge feature additions out of the way in HGWars.

It's now possible to buy weapons, armor, helmets, shields, boots and accessories. Or at any rate, it will be once I create the actual items. I've put the framework in place to easily do so, and I threw up a few pieces of equipment just for testing purposes (though they'll stay as the first available gear).

I also went through the battle page and added the digits into the scripts. I haven't been able to test much just yet, but as far as I can tell everything is working smoothly. Combined with mercenaries, gear should give the game that extra bit of depth and customization to make it feel more like a well-rounded experience.

At this point, I'm pleased to say that the game is almost done. I plan to add the 'Pray' feature in the near future, which will allow people to use HG Points for bonuses (I'm thinking that I will limit prayer to one use per 24-hour period to keep it from breaking the experience for others). I also have another secret feature in mind that some of you will probably stumble across soon. Otherwise, I can spend all of my time adding job listings, equipment listings and making small tweaks to streamline the interface (I hope to do so with 'Jobs' in the near future).

So all things considered, the game structure is about 90% complete and should reach the 100% mark as soon as (possibly) tomorrow. It's looking increasingly likely that we'll be able to start our first tournament on April 1st!
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Title: HGWars: of fortresses and mercenaries
Posted: March 16, 2009 (05:46 PM)
Okay, so I added another feature to HGWars today, but only because it's one that I'm really excited about.

Now you can place mercenaries within your fortress. They cost varying amounts apiece and they will boost your stats, depending on what mercenary types you hire. I believe that I have successfully coded them into the battle system so that everything is working, but it's early to tell because right now I can only afford one mercenary and people keep kicking my butt before I can even recover. But whatever. I'm not bitter at EmP them. Not one bit!
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Title: So, I added another feature to HGWars after all...
Posted: March 16, 2009 (03:43 AM)
More people should call me dishonestgamer, I guess, because tonight I made a liar out of myself and added another feature to HGWars.

This feature won't do anyone much good just yet, but it's laying the groundwork for important stuff.

It's now possible to buy a fortress. The way this works is that you have to start with the weakest fortress. You can only buy it if you meet certain requirements, which include your character level, gold required and property in your possession. From there, each upgrade has its own requirements. As you continue to improve your fortress by purchasing upgrades, you'll find that you have the capacity to recruit more mercenaries.

Mercenaries aren't implemented yet, but they will be eventually. The general plan is that each mercenary will add 3 points to a given stat, depending on the type of mercenary you hire. Once you hire a mercenary, he'll stay with you until you decide to dismiss him, so it will be a great way to improve your chances in battle on a long-term basis.

Buying a fortress will remove a set number of properties from your possession, but you'll be able to buy more to replace any that you lose if you want to bring in more income. This system ensures that it's not possible to recruit mercenaries and then not be able to afford them, so it seemed like the sensible way to go.

I hope to add the mercenaries feature soon, and after that the ability to buy weapons and armor. Then the game will be much closer to a true beta phase and we can start looking for more people to play than already do.

Anyway, I'm not sure when the 'Mercenaries' feature will be added. I doubt it'll be tomorrow, but I do seem to be addicted to adding important features so it's hard to say definitively. Anyway, that's it for tonight's update!
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Title: HGWars tweaks to plug loopholes
Posted: March 15, 2009 (05:44 PM)
As stated previously, I won't be doing a lot of big changes to HGWars for awhile, but I got up late enough today that I couldn't really attend to my other project in a meaningful way before getting ready for work (where I am expected to make an appearance in just over an hour). My brother-in-law needed some help getting his wireless running on the computer he got, plus I had to eat and I need to hop in the shower.

Anyway, the time I had went to working on HGWars. Even though I didn't have a lot of time to devote to it, I stopped up two important loopholes... in addition to one that I fixed late last night/early this morning. The three total changes are as follows and probably won't affect most or any of you, since you likely didn't know about them:

1) I prevented the 'meta refresh' leveling trick from working, going forward. It was possible to save a URL to your browser, set a meta refresh to a certain amount of time and thus have the game level up your character--slowly, I'll admit--overnight while you were sleeping and the browser was left running. This is no longer the case.

2) I updated combat so that you can no longer attack yourself, and so that the option to do so is no longer visible when viewing your own profile. The problem here was that players could attack themselves, lose a minimal amount of HP and gain experience, then just repeat the process as they liked to slowly build up experience without significant risk or cost. That's no longer possible.

3) Espiga had informed me that selecting to withdraw or deposit negative amounts of gold from or to the vault would result in some serious gain for the player. It was basically an exploit that could let a person build an unlimited fortune with just a few clicks. That exploit is no longer there, thanks to espiga's honesty. I probably never would have figured out what was happening if someone else found the bug and decided to use it without reporting to me how it was happening.

Anyway, the above fixes make the game that much fairer for everyone. There's a remaining glitch that prevents battle count from tallying properly, but it's not a priority fix right now. I'll try to get to it soon. Otherwise, I think I'm caught up on tending to known issues.
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