How to Hang'm or Save'm

If you can use a text editor and a simple graphic editor like MS Paint, you too can create customized versions of either Hang'm or Save'm. Victims can be contemporaries or figures from history; they can be real people, cartoon or fictional characters. You can even hang or save a caricature that represents a group that you like or dislike, such as hang or save an environmentalist. Best of all, creating a game gives you a chance to tell to world why you like or dislike someone. In addition to creating another tasteless game, you can provide some quality content that will amuse and inform others.

Here are the basic steps:

1. Download the Hang'm and Save'm Construction Kit into a folder and unzip it.

2. Go to the 'images' folder and edit the 8 picture files that represent your character. You'll need just one picture of the person you want to hang or save (hint: do a Google Image search). You then cut off a leg and save, cut off the other, save, cut off an arm, save, and so on until there is only a head. Add captions and you're done.

3. You'll then load one of the sample games into your favorite text editor and follow embedded comments to make a few changes to the file, such as adding your own messages to appear in the game, adding the list of words to be guessed, and providing informative bits to enlighten players as to why you think someone should be hung or saved.

4. You can then preview your creation using your browser and play your game.

5. To allow others to play, upload your game to the web.

6. Finally, send me your website address so I can link to your game, and you'll start getting visitors. If you build it, they will come.


More detailed instructions follow:

1. Create a folder, maybe called "hangsave." Download the Construction Kit (click here) into this folder and unzip it. You will now have two sample versions of the game; one called "hangrush.html" and another called "saverush.html." There is also a folder called "images" and one called "sounds."

2. The first thing you might want to do is to open up the "images" folder and look at the images. You can make your own scaffold, but you don't have to. You will need to make for own versions for 8 files. Let's say you want to hang someone called Mr. X. Take a look at the file "5jf.gif" for an example. If you can, find a full frontal picture of Mr. X, or at least a frontal face shot and paste it on to someone's body. Once you have something, resize it so it will fit in a 255 by 255 pixel area with some room at the bottom to spare. Use the example file to locate Mr. X under the rope hanging from the scaffolding. The number 5 file is the one that appears just before the player wins or loses. The figure should have something under their feet to indicate they are not yet hung. Save this file as "5mx.jpg" or "5mx.gif" whichever is your preferred format. Now hack off a leg and remove the stand, then save as "4mx.jpg." Hack of another leg and save as "3mx.jpg," and so on until only a head is left, which should be "0mx.jpg." Go back and reopen "5mx.jpg," then save as "7mx.jpg" which is the final "saved" picture which you might want to alter so Mr. X looks happy to be saved. Now, starting with "5mx.jpg," edit out the stand and perhaps close the eyes, tilt the head, drop the arms, or whatever to create the final "hung" picture. Save it as "6mx.jpg." You can now (or later) go back through the files and add comments Mr. X might make.

3. Now load the appropriate sample game into your favorite text editor or html editor. Since you want to hang Mr. X, load the "hangrush" file. The games are written in JavaScript, but you don't need to know any. Ignore all the programming stuff and look for comments embedded in the code. Instructions for modifying the program are near the beginning of the file. The absolute minimum change you need to make is in the line

var picturefiles="rl.gif";

which you need to change (for this example) to:

var picturefiles="mx.jpg";


4. At this point you could save the file under another file name, then test it out using your html editor or click on the file to load your browser. The pictures you created should be used in the game, but all the text messages and hidden words will be inappropriate. Go back, if you didn't already, and edit all the messages, word list, title, and other text to finish your customization. Do a bit of research and include interesting quotations or comments so the rest of us will know why you like or dislike someone. You could be doing worse things with your time.

5. To upload your game so others can play it requires that you find some place on the web to host it. Your Internet provider may provide you with free space for your game, but you'll need to figure out how to activate and access it. Otherwise there are free (ad-supported) web space providers you can use. What you need to do to upload will vary, so I'm not going to go into it. Just keep in mind that you need to upload the "hangsave" folder and/or all its contents, including subfolders. There is plenty of help out there on how to put up your own website if you look for it. You can also get free counters so you'll know how many visitors you are getting.

6. Finally, send me the URL of your website so I can link to it. You want others to play your creation, right?

With slightly more effort, you can create custom sound files for your game. If you have a microphone, it is not difficult to create short comments, and save or convert them to MP3 format. Many sound effects can also be downloaded for free. Don't allow yourself to think all of this is too difficult, and just have a lot of fun customizing your game. You'll learn a lot along the way too.