HUMUNGO Games – Now With Chickens in Space!

Greetings HUMUNGO Games fans! Mungo here to tell you the latest developments. These are mostly focused around my main game project, Evil Badguy Fantasy RPG. I’m still open for play-through sessions so if you haven’t had a go yet and would like to find out what the fuss is all about, do get in touch. I also make or buy dinner for anyone who plays the game with me.

Enemies Are Now Talkative Twats

Ever wondered what a skeleton would come up with if he was doing a bad Seinfeld impression? WELL WONDER NO MORE. Evil Badguy Fantasy RPG now features:

  • Amateur stand-up comedy skeletons
  • Socialist forest nymphs
  • Camp wasps
  • Depressed Zombies
  • Drag-queen snow witches of ambiguous gender
  • Wedding veils that communicate entirely in haiku
  • Conspiracy-theorist snakes
  • Jilted-lover aliens
  • Christian eyeball monsters
  • Much more

And if you pay careful attention to their declarations, you may just find a clue or two about how to defeat them.

What's the deal

You’ll get to find out what the deal is when you buy my game

Player Characters Now Appear in Battle!

Players in battle

See how Elderberry advances to attack the biker jerk?

Your whole party now appear on screen. This makes the battles much clearer as it is easy to see who is attacking and who is being attacked. Attack anticipations also show who is about to strike – see the translucent ring around Elderberry’s feet on the left.

The Peripatetic Republic of Pullum (Under Construction)

A new chapter is being added. Journey to a faraway land to save Queen-Elect Emelda from the evil Abbot of Songs.

 

Peripatetic Republic 4

Will you answer the call?

 

 

Peripatetic Republic 3

The giant teleporting sun-beam always strikes when you least expect it

 

Peripatetic Republic 2

Find out when you buy my game

I’m going to create a whole new rocky land floating in a star-lit void, alive with cursed chickens and monstrous demonic monsters. Adventure awaits.

Meanwhile in a Different Part of Space…

Some of you may remember I recently made the first two chapters of an interactive science fantasy story. The Thick of It meets Mad Max meets near-light-speed-travel meets Adele. This is We Happy Crew.

 

We Happy Crew

My introduction is literally Shakespeare

Happy news my happy crew! I’ve made a number of corrections and edits, as well as introducing some more consequences following from player choices. If you haven’t checked it out, give We Happy Crew a read.

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Some Dishonored (One) Nitpicks

I am slowly playing through the original Dishonored game. It is, by all rights, a fantastic game. But I’m going to complain about it anyway.

No matter what you do, you cannot unlock all abilities in one run

Dishonored is unique because of its dire Victorian industrial theocratic world, its interesting cast of characters, and most of all because of the powers that you, the player, get to use. You can teleport, you can possess animals and people, you can make swarms of rats eat your enemies and you can do much more. But you can’t do everything because there aren’t enough runes – objects hidden throughout the world – to unlock all abilities. Why?

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Rat swarm in action

The obvious answers are balance and replayability. Presumably unlocking all abilities close to the end of the game would make it unbalanced and too easy. But unlocking more abilities won’t necessarily make the game easier – one can advance through the game using only a small selection. Using a lot of different abilities in a row is actually more difficult than using and mastering only one or two. What the abilities do is provide variety and choice. More abilities mean more fun. Which is why they should be accessible to the player.

The idea of replayability is that a game should be fun to play again after one has completed the main story. So players can unlock new content only when they play the second or third time. I’m often wary of “replayability” as an ideal because to me it can mean locking content away from the player, but it can be done in a non-annoying way. Some games have “new game plus” modes that are to all intents and purposes the same as the original run, but with stronger enemies and more advanced versions of player powers and equipment, making play more difficult. This is an acceptable way of extending a game for players that want more, as it doesn’t make the game longer by limiting the scope and fun of the original run.

Given that most players don’t even get half way through most games, let alone replay them, the only reason why content should not be available in the original playthrough is if locking content actually improves the game. This may be the case with moral choices and character relationships, where if the player does x, characters respond as if the player has done x, whereas if the player chose y then characters respond as if the player has done y. Having people say to you “You should have done you bastard!”, especially if one cannot backtrack, gives the player a sense of agency and responsibility.

But abilities and superpowers are not like this. The ability to teleport is not made more fun because it came at the expense of being able to turn into a dog and devour people’s faces. Quite the opposite – it is more fun to teleport, turn into a dog and devour some faces, and then teleport away again.

dishonored-possession

Plus I want to do whatever funky music this is.

Don’t make me replay you or go back just so I can get the super-sprint power Dishonored, that’s not cool.

The good path is the boring path

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One could write a book about morality and ethics in video games. In Dishonored, killing too many people, especially main characters, results in high chaos, meaning more bad guys, a worse rat plague, and a darker ending. Players can choose what is right – letting characters live – or what is easy – killing those who stand in their path. This, as a general design approach to morality, is sound.

But there are two problems with the good path in Dishonored. First, the win-screen players are given at the end of missions implies that being seen by enemies can increase chaos. If being seen can increase chaos and cause the player to get the bad ending, then once one has been seen the only thing to do is to load a previous save and start again. The “good” game becomes a tedious grind of hide and seek and save scumming.

I looked up the chaos system on the game’s wiki, and it turns out getting spotted doesn’t actually affect chaos. So players can be seen by the dark forces of Dunwall without causing the world to fall apart. But even if the player realises this, and it’s not clearly presented this way, the good path is still boring. This is because there are only a small number of ways players can deal with their foes without killing them – generally they can smother unaware foes from behind, or they can shoot them with sleep darts, or they can avoid them altogether. That’s it. A fairly thorough run of the game by a typical player can take eighteen hours.

Most of the player’s abilities and weapons are geared around killing foes. The game’s advertising is based on killing foes. A large part of the fun of Dishonored comes from the various ways one can kill one’s foes. Try to be good and you are cutting yourself off from the fun of the game.

The solution to this is to allow more non-lethal ways for the player to take out enemies, that are still harder to use than the lethal methods and preserve the trade-off between what is right and what is easy.

For example, the player could have the conventional grenades, which explode and kill their targets, and also have stun grenades, which knock targets to the floor, allowing the player to run in and smother one or two but only if they are quick. Or players could have the option of punching instead of using their sword, which takes more hits to knock someone out, and can be blocked or countered more easily if the player times it wrong. Or what about glue traps, which rather than killing foes, hold enemies in one place, but do not harm them or prevent them from attacking?

But apart from this Dishonored is a great game and I really am nitpicking.

“My prediction for this election is a historic defeat for Labour. Would not be surprised if it is their worst since the Second World War.”

Right. Today’s post is about politics. It is also an opportunity for you to enjoy me having got something wrong. The title of this post is a prediction I made on 18th April, the day Theresa May called a general election, before she put in one of the worst ever Conservative campaigns, and Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour team ran an admirable and effective political campaign.

“My prediction for this election is a historic defeat for Labour. Would not be surprised if it is their worst since the Second World War.”

Lets do a comparison to see how wrong this was.

Here’s what Labour got in 2017:

Labour Seats: 262
Conservative Seats: 317

v218-jeremy-corbyn-get-v2

I find myself strangely attracted to him.

And here are all of Labour’s defeats since the Second World War:

1951

Conservative majority

Labour seats: 295
Conservative seats: 321

Both Labour and the Conservatives won fewer seats last week than in 1951, so one could argue this either way. It was a Conservative majority but Labour were much closer to being able to win next time. Not conclusive.

1955

Conservative majority

Labour seats: 277
Conservative seats: 345

Both Labour and the Conservatives did worse last week than in 1955, so one could still plausibly argue this either way. But the Conservatives had a big majority of 60 in 1955, and the only other party with any representation then was the Liberals, with 6 seats. On purely Labour Vs. Conservative terms, Corbyn did better last week than Attlee did in 1955.

clement_attlee

Clement Attlee looking pensive.

1959

Conservative majority

Labour seats: 258
Conservative seats: 345

Corbyn had a better defeat last week than Gaitskell did in 1959. Unambiguous. Labour’s 1959 defeat was followed by Labour winning in 1964.

1970

Conservative majority

Labour seats: 288
Conservative seats: 330

Like 1951, one could argue this either way, as both both Labour and the Conservatives won fewer seats last week than in 1970. Interestingly, 1970 had Labour 12.4% ahead of the Conservatives in opinion polls, before the Conservatives won by 3.2%. A precedent for the late swings we have seen in the election of Trump and in the Brexit vote perhaps? Labour then won twice in 1974.

1979

Conservative majority

Labour seats: 269
Conservative seats: 339

Gosh there are a lot of Labour defeats aren’t there? Going through past elections is a healthy reminder that Labour governments have historically been a rare exception to Conservative rule, not a regular equal occurrence.

Although Labour won fewer seats last week than in 1979, I would still argue Labour had a better defeat last week. Corbyn had to contend with far more minor parties than Callaghan did, and on purely Labour Vs. Conservatives, he did better.

p01wzvc3

Sorry Jim.

1983

Conservative majority

Labour seats: 209
Conservative seats: 397

Labour undeniably did better last week than in 1983.

1987

Conservative majority

Labour seats: 229
Conservative seats: 376

Labour undeniably did better last week than in 1987.

1992

Conservative majority

Labour seats: 271
Conservative seats: 336

One could argue this either way, as both Labour and the Conservatives won fewer seats last week than in 1992. This was followed by 13 glorious years of uninterrupted Labour rule. (We can have a discussion about just how glorious this was elsewhere.)

wa574527

He was the future once.

2010

Conservative largest party, formed coalition with Lib Dems

Labour seats: 258
Conservative seats: 306

One could argue this either way, as both Labour and the Conservatives won more seats last week than in 2010.

2015

Conservative majority

Labour seats: 232
Conservative seats: 330

Corbyn’s defeat last week was unambiguously better than Milliband’s defeat in 2015.

ed-miliband-3

Yet still my love for this man knows no bounds.

So how did my prediction fare? Not well. This election was a defeat for Labour, but one of their better defeats since World War Two. One could argue just how good a defeat it was, but it was in the top half. Well done Labour, you lost, but you lost better than usual!

I will follow up soon with an investigation into why things didn’t go as I predicted and what can be learned from this. If you have any thoughts, questions or criticisms, let me know.

How to Avoid Endless Online Discussions

As a man who writes a lot online, I am something of an expert in avoiding endless online discussions or arguments. Here are some words of wisdom. You’re welcome.

mocking_bird_argument

“Engard!” “Actually it’s ‘engarde'” “THEN WE FIGHT! ON GUARD!”

  1. Engage. Always engage. If they write something, write something back!
  2. Mock the other person’s character. The scurrelous twunt.
  3. Distract the other person by bringing up unrelated issues.
  4. If the other person brings up an unrelated issue, follow them into arguing about that.
  5. Exaggerate the other person’s claims.
  6. Smash your keyboard with your fists. Show that keyboard who is boss!
  7. Hyperventilate. This gets the blood rushing to your brain and makes you super smart.
  8. Argue against the claims you want the other person to have made, not the ones they actually made.
  9. Google nothing. Research is weakness.

    googlelogo_color_284x96dp

    This is your enemy. Avoid it at all costs.

  10. Concede nothing. Conceding is weakness.
  11. Avoid relevant visual imagery or data. Discussions should be as abstract and metaphysical as possible.
  12. Assume that your alternate believes the same things as others who appear superficially similar to them.
  13. Ask nothing. Questions are weakness.
  14. Use long and unusual words. Not like me here. This language is stupid and makes me look like a scurrelous twunt. Better.
  15. Deny everything the other person claims as a matter of course.

    dreamstime_denial_intext

    Talk to the hand, ‘cos the face ain’t listenin’ to an [insert assumed ideological leaning here]

  16. Make the discussion about your character and their character. The issues are secondary. They’re a bad person and must be made to recognise this fact. Once you have shown them they are a terrible person they will bow to your wisdom and accept everything you say.
  17. Never compromise. Compromise is weakness.
  18. Instead of having one or two strong justifications supporting a conclusion, make hundreds, even thousands, of superficial or nonsensical claims. When it comes to online discussions, more is less.

    scattergun___team_fortress_2___prop_replica_by_longestne-d64gzq8

    A good argument is a like a Team Fortress 2 scattergun blast. Each claim (or pellet) is weak, but together, many weak pellets can take out a Heavy, assuming the Heavy has already been hit by a Sniper shot and set on fire.

  19. Take your first or least charitable interpretation of the other person’s argument and run with it.
  20. If they change their argument, keep attacking the original argument. Or better yet, keep attacking them as a person (see 14).
  21. Make jokes that are unfunny and miss the point.
  22. Provoke your opponent. They’ll appreciate your cleverness almost immediately.
  23. The object of a discussion is not greater understanding, or even entertainment. It is victory.
  24. In defeat, malice. In victory, revenge.

    batman-benaffleck

    Here’s a picture of Batman.

HUMUNGO Games Latest Update

Hi everyone! Mungo here! I was away last month but I have returned! Here’s what has been happening at HUMUNGO Games.

1. Business Cards

Yes! My wonderful artist Lucy has designed fabulous business cards for me and herself. They’ll be arriving this week.

See ultra-high-res versions by encountering us in real life.

2. Evil Badguy Fantasy RPG is back

Yes, my main game project is going to be called “Evil Badguy Fantasy RPG” once more, because you guys prefer that name. I’m not going to put up a screenshot though because the art is all in flux right now.

3. Genesis

This is a working title. My latest interactive story almost certainly won’t be called “Genesis” upon completion. It’s a piece that I started work on last weekend that I’m going to pitch for this digital commission on 1st July. Its a fantasy comedy-thriller about spaceships, fascism and political compromise set in humanity’s sunset. Here’s what the story plan/structure looks like so far:

I’m using twine to make this, which is very easy and accessible. If you want to write an interactive story, check it out!

As you can see I’m only a few pages in, so there’s a long way to go before I have a pitchable demo. What makes me smile and want to jump up and down about it is that it will be genuinely unique and novel (plus also as high-quality and professional as you would expect of me :P). Most political games are all about stats – you basically make calculations so that you can maximise x over y, and all the effects are just abstract numbers. See the Democracy series, Tropico, Super Power and so on. There are some great exceptions like Crusader Kings II, which simulates thousands of individual characters, with family trees, professions, aims and personality traits.

Image result for crusader kings ii

Sadly I could not create this kind of thing by myself in a month.

But what I want to do is to create a small, intimate political game with a cast of ten or so main characters, where you can really get to know them like a family over an hour of gameplay. These characters will be invested in the outcome of your decisions and they will judge you for your choices. The closest parallel I’ve encountered to what I’m trying to do is Telltale Games’ Game of Thrones, which I would highly recommend to anyone interested in interactive stories. That is a brilliant game, but was sadly hampered by being tied into an existing franchise. Your aim is to try and survive as a small family in the face of the evil Boltons, but you know you can’t do diddly-squat about Ramsey because that would ruin the series’ continuity.

Image result for telltale game of thrones

Excellent nervous pouting here.

My game will be shorter, with only one main character, and no tie-ins to any franchises. This means readers cannot be certain of anything when they open up the story. And it also means that I can hopefully write in a reasonable range of consequences for player decisions. It won’t be Game of Thrones-style people-die-all-the-time stuff, rather the choices the reader makes will affect what their staff think of them, will change the environment of the ship, and ultimately will shape what happens to Genesis and the last humans left in the universe. No biggie.

Gameplay screenshot. Your character has vivid colour experiences. Read into that what you will at this stage. I won’t spoil it for you.

9 Observations From My First Two Full Days in Argentina

Yes my photos aren’t all great but my words are all fabulous so fuck you. Also I know this is later than the title says, my internet connection sucks, like really sucks. Jesus get off my back!

1. Patagonia looks like Red Dead Redemption.

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Aunt (left) and mum (centre) in unpopular Red Dead Redemption DLC.

Reddeadredemption_012.jpg

It’s like they based it on real environments visually similar to the one I am in or something.

2. I am readily willing to spend £20 to have seven days of inconsistent roaming data.

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Refresh and wait all you like, this image will not load.

 

3. A twelve hour flight really isn’t too bad an experience for me.

I read one and a half books and saw two and a half films and didn’t check Facebook once. Achievement unlocked innit.

achievement-unlocked-awesomeness-men-s-t-shirt

Also Everybody watch Manchester By The Sea it’s a fucking amazing film. It’s super sad at times. I almost cried and I’m dead inside.

 

4. The air in Patagonia is more pleasant and clear than the air in London.

Oxygen-breathing-fresh-air

It’s like being in a tampon commercial.

 

5. Almost nobody was talking in any of the three flights I was on.

Boring observation!

SURPRISE! NO PICTURE BITCHES!

6. I feel calm and free.

Preparing for a holiday can be stressful. This holiday is, in part, a holiday from preparing for this holiday. On Saturday evening I was all breathless packing and running through everything I had forgotten and so on. Now I am a Buddhist cow in a bath, floating gently with a calm smile on my face.

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Closest available image.

 

7. I have read three books already. I did not bring enough books.

book-club-recomendations

This is what books look like from a certain angle.

 

8. I know he’s being sarcastic but I think Tim Montgomerie is onto something.

Tim Montgomerie onto something

 

9. At a traditional Argentine restaurant my mum and aunt were asking a lot of questions.

I told the waiter (whose English was excellent) that they were “grilling him”. He did not appreciate the pun. He was correct.

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