31 December 2011

Yappy 2011 (Again)

Happy New Year!

Another fine year comes to its conclusion – and that year is 2010.  "Now hold on one moment, Yappy," you may be saying to yourself (or aloud to the computer monitor).  "I may not be some fancy horologist, but I am fairly certain that the year is 2011 going on to 2012!"  You need not explain that to me nor to your computer monitor.  Someone may need to explain that to the Clan Lord system server.

You may have noticed that iClan has been behaving a tad unusual today with respect to its calculation of "time clanned":

This is actually the result of a small bug on the server end: one of the time conversion routines gets a little confused calculating the correct date on the eve of a leap-year year.  So once every 1,460 days we are all presented with an opportunity to impress our friends with a cheap screen shot of some monstrous hours clanned!

A happy and healthy New Year to all!

18 December 2011

Elements of Style(unk)

I surprised myself by how happy I was to see Sean Kerwin's Stylunk released for the web.  I have always loved the Mac app, and the web version – although in beta – is nothing but better.  The revised shirt/pant selection interface is especially nice, as the window now includes a preview of the clothing colors.

/thank stylunk !

17 December 2011

Eggnog? More Like EggNOD!

This is the time of year for eggnog.

A personal bit of information about myself: I love my eggnog, and I simply can not resist sneaking a cup after dinner.  And after lunch.  And before breakfast.

I shall be relieved when the season is over and I can no longer buy eggnog.  My cholesterol-clogged arteries hurt.

13 December 2011

Where Were We?

Right then.

Now that the Bawkmas content has been (mostly) delivered for V732, I can return my full attention to my projects.  I wish that I could remember which project last had my full attention!

07 December 2011

Toad Eats Puppies

I made a brief stop by the fairgrounds this evening while waiting for the update.  Silliness ensued.

Thanks to everyone who stopped by. I enjoyed your company!

28 November 2011

Ho Ho Huh?

Busy busy busy busy busy.

I have one new script and one modified script submitted to our file depository, and I am racing to finish two new scripts by this Friday (the GM's deadline for V732 deliverables).  In addition to all of these scripts, I need to make some new art work happen, test some new items, add a couple of new monsters – and then I can think about implementing my languishing quest.

Sometimes I wish that I was Santa Claus Chicken, and that I could use my chicken-magic to grant everyone their wish.  And deliver lots of goodies in one evening.

24 November 2011

Giving Thanks

It is Thanksgiving Day here in the States.  As I work on some Bawkmas related projects, I am thankful that I can take an existing script – one that other GMs have worked upon to perfect – and gut it and h4x it and create a new purpose for it.

Other things for which I am grateful:
  • Having good health
  • Having employment in such a crappy economy
  • Having good family and friends
  • Having the opportunity to make Clan Lord a funner place
 If you are traveling this holiday weekend, then please travel safely!

22 November 2011


It occurred to me that the V732 update will take us through the Bawkmas holiday season.

All of my priorities for the upcoming update have changed.

21 November 2011

Filter Denied

Today was a mixed day of productivity for me.

I wrote a new support script for a small upcoming quest, and then – while it was on my mind – turned my attention to a quest that has been simmering on the back burner for some while.  I launched my test server and tested the script over and over again, but the script was behaving unpredictably.

See (and this is where I get a little technical) we have some pretty cool filtering functions to support our scripts.  We can place a filter on a door that would translate into "allow only fighters to pass through this door" (a handy thing to have on the Fighter's Guildhall to keep those nosy mystics away), and we can also have a fancier filter that would translate into "allow everyone except fighters to pass through this door."  The former function is handled by the filtering function, while the latter is handled by the individual script calling the filtering function.

This means that not every script will support this exclusionary logic, and sho'nuff, the script which I was using for my quest did not support this style of filtering.  It took me two hours of debugging to realize that.

Good grief!

19 November 2011

Spamming Me With Science

I came home late Friday night/Saturday morning (boy's night out, don'tchyaknow) and instead of going directly to bed like a good little yapper, I popped online for a moment just to see if anything was happening.

And something was happening!

Slarty was in the fairgrounds sitting very quietly.  I suppose that alone is debatable if it qualifies as "something happening."  But! what Slarty was doing was debugging his latest project: the Clanroid Informer!  And in the name of quality assurance, we sent out some status alerts to test the new application:

Sorry about the spam!  We did it... FOR SCIENCE!

16 November 2011

The Update Update

It was quite the fascinating update.

Without going into details, we had some, uh, "technical challenges" which had complicated matters.  Fortunately we have some pretty smart folk which were able to troubleshoot problems faster than Trinity could slap-and-draw a six shooter.

One problem did come to light: one of my scripts-in-development went rogue and started flooding the server log with a lot error alerts.  What confuses me the most is that I do not recall ever uploading that script to the live server!  How embarrassing for me.

I am excited about this update.  I think that it may prove to be a lot of fun, now that we were able to overcome the technical challenges.

14 November 2011

The Next Big Project

Now that I feel reasonably comfortable (and secure) with my upcoming silly quest, I have returned my attention to two larger projects that have been simmering on the back burner for some time (and by "some time" I really mean "several years").

One of the projects involves a moderately complicated structure, one that I had discussed in brief.  I was contemplating on including instance dungeons, but after a little lot of thought, I believe that I have settled upon an approach which emulates the uniqueness of an instance while circumnavigating the complication of managing instances.

The other project is a rather massive undertaking – massive for me that is, as none of the puzzle technologies exist.  All of the scripts to power this adventure need to be designed and implemented.  The design of this project is still being revised as I try to find that magic balance between fun and complexity whist reducing the tedium common to repeatable quests.

Then there are all of those smaller projects – several small, silly side quests – that still await attention.  I shall make an effort to squeeze those into updates as time provides, but my attention is now on the next big project.

13 November 2011

One Mistake

I compiled the revised quest script on my private test server.  I mentally prepared myself for a lot of work: I was dreading the expected long list of errors and was pleasantly surprised to find one minor bug.

One mistake.  Wow.  I am so happy right now!

11 November 2011

V729 Is Delivered

My quest script has been rewritten!

It is a shame that this script was not included in my submission for V729 (which contains some proof-of-concept areas for a new adventure that my helper and I have been developing).  I still have a little time this weekend to slide the revised script in under the radar, but I have other activities planned that may distract me for an extended period of time.

I am very pleased that I achieved the goal of rewriting my script, but I now need to run the new script through a test server and begin the debugging process.  My prediction is that there shall be bugs.  Lots of bugs.

09 November 2011

Update Week

I have been coasting a bit with the rewriting of my quest script(s) – and by that I mean that I have been rewriting the script at a leisurely pace.  Last night I noted that I had a calendar reminder: this is an update week and content for V729 is due this Friday.

I spent several hours today revising the script in earnest, rearranging sections of code that were infuriating me.  I am pleased to report that I have made fine progress.  I am not done, but I am close to being done – or at least close to done with the first rewrite, at which point I shall run the script on the test server and begin bug hunting.

I really want this quest in for V729, and I am going to try my best to make it happen.  What I do not want to do is to rush the project into the live game and have it embarrass me.  I figure that is less embarrassing to be late on delivering a project – and have it rock solid – than it is to deliver a project on time and have it overflowing with bugs.

"Soon" is real close.

[Edit] In unrelated tech news, Amazon buys voice recognition startup Yap to counter Apple's Siri.

"Yap?"  The company's name is "Yap?"  I don't know how I feel about that.

08 November 2011

Linda, Linda, Linda

I saw a charming movie yesterday: a Japanese film entitled "Linda, Linda, Linda."

This is not a film for everyone, as it is in Japanese (with English subtitles), and it develops rather slowly.  However, it is quite sweet and touching as it follows four high school girls struggling to prepare themselves for a rock concert performance.

If you look hard enough, you may find it somewhere on the Internet.  Or if you wish to skip straight to the SPOLIERS and see how the movie ends, you can probably find that, too.

And, after watching the movie, you'll have that song in your head for the rest of the week.

07 November 2011

The Trial Run

The past several days have been busy for me IRL, but I still make time each day for Clan Lord projects.  In fact, I spent some time yesterday creating illustrated instructions for my newest helper, as I am (arguably unfairly) throwing him into a new, challenging project.

Under typical circumstances, a new helper would be assigned some easy-to-do introductory projects in an effort to acclimate the helper with design processes of Clan Lord.  The learning curve varies from person to person, as does the attention span.  After discussing the conceptual project mechanics with the helper, he understood right away what I was trying to achieve (which partially concerns me, because sometimes I don't understand what I am trying to achieve).  I then gave him the unglamorous assignment of entering the data tables for the project – and there is a lot of data for this project.  And this assignment is just for the test project – a smaller, trial run version of the real project.

While he's doing that, I can turn my attention to finishing the rewrite of my silly quest.

03 November 2011


My neighborhood is unpredictable on Halloween evening.  Some years I receive a swarm of trick-or-treaters, and some years I receive none.  My prediction this year was for a busy evening, and I went to my local wholesale warehouse club and purchased a pallet-o-candy.

By the evening's end I had a total of three groups of kids visit me: two large groups of children and one small group of teenagers.  This leaves me with a pallet-o-candy – minus a handful of candy bars – just within arm's reach from my computer desk.

As I rewrite my embarrassingly bad script, I find myself reaching over and OM NOM NOMing a candy bar in between lines of scripting.  I have a lot of lines to rewrite, and I think I have one candy bar to match each line of code.

My pancreas is crying.

02 November 2011

Negative Thinking

I spent the past couple of days polishing the new silly quest, fine tuning the scripts for the quest NPC and chasing down a small speech bug (the NPC was not properly articulating which quest components she was referencing).  As I read through my script I felt something that I had never felt before: I felt ashamed of my script.  My script was just plain bad.  Although it worked well enough, it was poorly designed and the layout was just awful.  I completely Frankensteined the script together, and it was obvious.

To understand my displeasure is to understand some basic scripting logic: throughout a typical NPC quest script, comparisons are made:

if a player has the quest item
 then say some things
 and take the quest item
 and give a reward

 tell the player that they do not possess the quest item

The problem with this format is that it's too (ahem) positive.  The script begins by making a comparison for a true condition, and if the comparison is true, then I do some positive stuff – otherwise the comparison is false, and I do the negative stuff.  This style becomes harder to read when there are multiple positive comparisons:

if the player is alive
  if the player has the quest item

   if the player's gender is male
    then say "Attaboy!"
   otherwise the player's gender is female
    then say "Attagal!"
  then take the quest item
  give the reward
 otherwise the player does not have the quest item
  tell the player that they do not possess the quest item
otherwise the player is dead
 look sympathetically at the player

While there's nothing wrong with the logic of this code (at least I hope so; I have not debugged it!), I find it rather difficult to read.  What I should have done is to design the script to make negative comparisons, and if the negative comparison is true, then do not make subsequent comparisons:

if the player is not alive
 look sympathetically at the player


if the player does not have the quest item
  tell the player that they do not possess the quest item

if the player is not a female
 then say "Attaboy!"
 say "Attagal!"
take the quest item
give the reward

The rewrite is easier to read in that it filters out any of the negative possibilities first; by first eliminating any "negative" conditions, then whatever conditions remains must be "positive".  If the player is not alive, then it does not matter if the player has the quest item: stop here and check no further.  If the player does not have the quest item, then the player's gender does not matter: stop here and check no further.

Who would have thought that negative thinking would have been so positive?

01 November 2011

Casual Poll: Quest Rewards

I am working on a new casual quest (the idea belongs to another GM, but I digress).  People who complete the quest would receive a reward – but what kind of award should be rewarded?

I have created an informal poll: what would you like to see as a quest reward in Clan Lord?

30 October 2011

Trick or Tsrrin

I spent a little time this evening hiding some costumes in the land.  Not a lot; just a few.

Have fun looking!

29 October 2011

Facepalm Programming

I spent over six hours of my life on Thursday trying to modify one of the older utility scripts.  I was initially pleased when I activated the script and saw the expected result, but I then grew perplexed when (upon further testing) saw variations in the results.  Some results were just plain wrong, and other conditions had no results at all.

I laced the script with multiple lines of diagnostic code, and ran it again.  And again.  I was not annoyed so much in that the script was not working as I was with the seemingly randomness of the results: I could not predict the result nor could I see the pattern within what was happening.  What the heck was going on with my beautiful script!  At no time did I dread "I broke the script," as my additional code was working perfectly: it was the original code that appeared to be misbehaving.  There was something larger happening that I was not seeing.

I turned to researching other scripts that had similar functionality.  What were their scripts doing that mine was not doing?  I could not see any differences, and my eyes began to tire from all of the reading.  I was about to end my debugging session when I had a sudden realization; within the World Editor Tool there are some "script check boxes" (for want of a better description) which basically set behavior preferences for a script's interaction with the world.  Did I have my check boxes checked?

Nope.  I had left one check box unchecked.  And after checking it, my script worked perfectly and predictably.

Oh brother.

28 October 2011

Cooperative Quests

I had an idea for a cooperative quest where players would trade quest components amongst each other, but there is a major flaw with this concept: suppose that the participants are unwilling/unable to cooperate?

Suppose, for example, that the quest is to collect playing cards, and the goal is to redeem a poker hand of five cards.  The catch is that every time that a player draws a card, they will always draw the same card.  When Gremlins draws a card, then he will always draw the Jack of Clubs.  When Moon Kitty draws a card, she will always draw the Queen of Hearts.  When Super Chicken draws a card, he will always draw a Joker.

The easiest way to complete the quest is to collect five cards of the same value, and then cash them in for five-of-a-kind.  Suppose that the quest reward payoff for five-of-a-kind was the experience equivalent to a dispatch, but something like a full house or a flush was worth the experience equivalent to a kill?  Suppose that a straight flush was worth the experience equivalent of a vanquish?

The structure of the quest is one that encourages trading cards with the community, and the reward for the quest increases by having a variety of cards.  Would you want to trade cards with others players to maximize the quest reward payoff?  What happens if a quest participant refuses to trade?

While this is a rather broad (and exaggeratedly extreme) example of the quest, it has me thinking: even though there are greater benefits to cooperation, I should never assume that everyone is willing to cooperate within a cooperative quest.

27 October 2011

Coding with Crowbars

As the development of my silly quest draws near its conclusion, I now turn my attention to modifying some of the existing world scripts to support this upcoming quest.

Even though I have plenty of experience in modifying scripts, I still grow a little nervous when shoe-horning new functionality into existing code.  Many of the basic world scripts are over a decade in age (the script which I am currently modifying was created in December of 1998), and I am constantly concerned of outright breaking a script, or changing a script to a point where it inadvertently affects all of its dependent scripts.  And I know that I am more cautious about breaking scripts than I need to be: our ServerGM has built a rock-solid system over the years which includes many failsafe systems, and the likelihood of tragedy happening is almost negligible.


I have my crowbar in hand, and I return to prying away some old lines of code to make room for new code.  Making room is the easy part – it's the "make sure that nothing there gets bent out of place" which is harder.

26 October 2011

The Sorcerer's Apprentice

I have taken a new helper, and I think that he may be smarter than I.

While we are waiting for the set-up dust to settle, I have given him a small task to perform: write some jokes that will make me laugh.  We shall see if he is also funnier than I!

I am excited and hopeful that this new helper can bring some fresh perspectives to my growing list of projects.  Moreover, I am hopeful that we now have a chance to actually finish these projects!

24 October 2011

The Front Burner

Yesterday I spent some time running around in Puddleby, and bumped into a couple of GMs who happened to be online at the same time.  After exchanging our greetings (which were largely just a bunch of juvenile insults: "Hey, I see that you're still ugly!"), one of the GMs and I fell into discussion about one of the larger projects which had been placed on the back burner.

While the details of project are unimportant, the point of my mentioning this is that I have been thinking about the project since my chat with the GM.  In fact, I spent the better portion of this morning outlining the logic of the super quests.  I have not compared my new notes to my old notes on this project, but I already know that the new ideas are better than whatever I had previously put to paper.  This creativity excites me and drives my desire to redevelop this project.

I am in the process of competing my silly quest, and once that has been removed from the front burner, then I will have room to move this massive project forward from the back burner.

23 October 2011

Laser Tag

I went to a birthday party on Saturday.  The party was basically "dine out at a local Mexican restaurant, drink some sangria and margaritas, and then play a round of indoor laser tag at a nearby gaming facility."

I had never played laser tag, but I have played nearly 2k hours of Team Fortress 2 – and that's almost like playing laser tag, right?  I figured that I would be an instant expert at this game and that I would dominate the playing field.

PRO TIP: One's mediocre computer gaming skills does not translate well into real world settings.  I had enough team-versus-team online gaming experience to check around corners and to watch my back when moving around the map, but boy-howdy I had zero gaming experience on dealing with swarming, screeching children.  The kids' tactic was a basic wolf-pack "surround and pound the adults!" and as one of our base's few adult defenders, I got seriously pwn3d.

I had a blast (pardon the pun), and look forward to playing again soon.  Although their RED team crushed my BLU team, I can boast that I had the high score for my team.  That's right: I was able to out-gun the children on my team.  Maybe my mediocre computer gaming skills accounted for something!

21 October 2011

Another Update Completed

I have made a lot of progress on the scripts for my silly little quest.  While I was unable to complete everything in time for the V726 deadline, I must say that, overall, I am pleased with the progress that I have been making on this project.  Heck, I am pleased that I am making any progress on this project!

This evening was deadline evening, and I spent my evening assembling my content for V726.  The materials which I submitted were for a couple of projects in development, and both were produced entirely by one helper.  It will be a while before we see either of these new areas in game, but both of the new areas are shaping up to be ambitious projects.

20 October 2011

Hitting the Books

I've been working away at a frivolous quest – one that I have been wanting to do for some while.  The primary quest item is a "smart" item, and by "smart" I really mean "Zo smart", in that it has special data that it needs to track, kind of like how a healer's shirt is smart enough to remember how it's been dyed.

The nuts and bolts of the quest are working well enough, and I am trying to polish it so that it will be ready for V726.  That means that I have only two days to complete debugging.

07 October 2011

Mass Experience

A new entry on my To Do list is a way of bringing mass experience to players.  Now, before you start drying the corners of your salivating mouth, permit me to explain.

I have shared some thoughts on the CL experience system.  The TL;DR summary is that experience is – with some exceptions – largely centered around combat and the non-fighter classes rely on the fighter classes for experience.  I was inspired by another game to try an experiment by simplifying certain experience payouts: if a monster dies and you're there when it happens, then you get the experience payout.

While such an experience system is not new (Clan Lord already has a such payout system: it's called the Treasure Chest), I would like to apply this mass experience payout to boss monsters.  I envision a system in which defeating the monster itself is an automatic slaughter so that the focus is to defeat the (ridiculously challenging) boss and not to "get a tag."  Once defeated, a healthy reward is given to everyone within the area.  And in addition to this mass payout, perhaps the monster boss will have a treasure chest, too!

The downside to this idea is that it still relies on the conquering of an opponent and does little in the way of addressing my prime concern of players being rewarded for simply doing their job.  On the other hand, if all of the players do their respective jobs, then the Big Boss will get conquered, right?

Big Boss Rewards: On The List.

06 October 2011

Much Obliged

A helper recently submitted some content to me.  I could not open the file.  I advised the helper to resend the material to me, but to compress the file before sending it.  The helper obliged.  I opened the file and imported the content.  I found a mistake.  I advised the helper to correct the mistake.  The helper obliged, and sent the updated material to me.  I found another mistake in the updated material.  I advised the helper to correct the new mistake.  The helper obliged, and sent the updated material to me.  I could not open the file.  I advised the helper to resend the material to me, but to compress the file before sending it.  The helper obliged.

This is pretty much how the development process goes.

04 October 2011

The Drawing Board

I'm back at it.

In between gaps of buggy coverage for Apple's live iPhone event, I spent time revisiting projects that I have not touched since May of this year.  Most of my time spent was reviewing notes and procedures – lots of "this code is sloppy" and "this can be done more efficiently" and the occasional "whoa, I must have gotten dumber over the summer months because this is way too smart to be my code!"  And this was all from reviewing just one project consisting of six core scripts!

One observation has been that NPCs don't really recognize Puddleby Knights outside of the Hall of Chivalry.  Personally, I think that it would be cool to have an NPC say "Greetings, Sir Yappy," for all of my friends to hear.  I would like to expand the acknowledgment of such organizations, and the NPCs seem like a good starting point.  If I'm clever about it, I could expand that acknowledgment to associations.  How cool would that be!

23 September 2011

Web-based MMORPGs

I have been playing a web-based MMORPG: Realm of the Mad God produced by Wild Shadow Studios.  This game is even more retro than Clan Lord (if you can believe that) as the graphics are a blocky, pixelated throw-back to the old Legend of Zelda game.

This game does a number of things very well:
  • It allows many people to play online using just a web browser (and the Flash plugin).
  • It is free to play.
  • It relies on microtransactions for revenue.
Long have I dreamed of seeing Clan Lord move from an application-based game to a web-based game, and RotMG is an example that such a transition is possible.  One of the major downsides is that there is rampant cheating within this game – apparently it is quite a simple matter of writing an add-on which enables one to boost the character's stats, granting unlimited health/speed/defense and such.  It may be possible to move from an application-based format to a web-based format but, based on the current security technologies, it does not appear that such a transition would be beneficial for Clan Lord.

Cheating aside, RotMG is still a fun game to play.  I have found myself repeatedly spending a couple of dollars for a few vanity items.  I have thought about microtransactions in Clan Lord, but in its current format, CL doesn't really need microtransactions.  If CL were ever to become a free-to-play web game, then perhaps such a business model could be reevaluated.

Maybe I should learn how to write Flash games for the web!

17 September 2011


I'm covered in them!

I am reviewing all of my uncompleted projects.  Sheesh, I have a lot of unfinished stuff!  Time to start moving things from the "To Do" list to the "Done" list.

Right then!  Where were we?

30 May 2011

The Cooldown

For a while I had been a scripting fool.  I had been alternately focusing upon three different quests.  One is very close to being complete.

But then summer happened, and I now find my attention elsewhere.  My To Do list continues to grow, but right now I'm experiencing a Clan Lord cooldown.

I'll return to scripting "soon!"

27 March 2011

Scripts Like A Butterfly

I spent all day today touching numerous scripts that I had once started and placed on the back burner.  I didn't stay with a script for very long – just long enough to develop some ideas and add some functionality.  I felt like a butterfly floating from flower to flower.

I managed to complete one of the scripts and submitted it for V696 – but the accompany quest item will not appear until V699.  Numerous other quest-related scripts saw much development, which is certainly more than they have seen in the past six months.  It's all coming together, albeit slowly.

Yappy Ali
Scripts like a butterfly
Debugs like a bee

That made absolutely no sense.

18 March 2011

That Eureka Moment

After rooting around for some old notes relating to some current projects, I found a stack of notes concerning the design of a complex quest which I started over a year ago.  The rediscovery of these notes annoyed me, as I was reminded how I had started this project in earnest and allowed it to slip down The List.

The basic premise of the quest is a logic puzzle which needs to be different for each visiting player.  The overall design of this quest is really hard, and it is at times like this I find myself wishing that I was born intelligent instead of gorgeous.  My tiny brain struggles with the organization of the quest's concepts, which I analogize as playing 52 Pickup with all of the cards facing down and being instructed to only pick up the red cards (I guess that would make it 36 Pickup).  The red cards need to be in a different arrangement when I play, so that the previous player can't just tell me the positions of the red cards.

As I reread my project notes, I began to recall why I abandoned this quest: it was simply too complex for my ability as a designer.  But, on the other hand, the idea for the quest is such a cool idea.  It pained me to let this idea languish On The List.  I brought out some blank paper and, as the saying goes, went back to the drawing board and started afresh.  This was Tuesday night, and I spent the remainder of the week jotted down notes and ideas.

Today I had a flash of insight – a sudden, surprising idea which actually caused me to shriek "that's it!" aloud.  I believe that I found a way organize this quest in such a way that would enable me to script it.  I am very excited (and relieved!) to have experienced that eureka moment which propelled this project forward.

14 March 2011

ADD Multitasking

I spent today bouncing back and forth between developing two different scripts: one for a quest, and one for a puzzle.

It all started with updating some items which I have yet to submit, which lead to several "oh yeah, and I need to update this script..." which in turn lead to "ohhh yeahhh, I need to update that script..."  In fact, I realized that the first (quest) script needed a separate supporting script, and after noodling around with it, I drafted some design notes on how the script's function should (in theory) behave.

By the end of the evening, none of the scripts were completed, but I managed to settle on developing just one of them (the puzzle script).  It's coming along, but it's slow work – especially when I am so easily distracted.

10 March 2011

The Bugaloos

I spent a portion of this afternoon going through the V690 bug log and categorized/fixed what I could in the time that I had.  There have been some cool suggestions made (sharable chocolate boxes), some observations which aren't technically bugs but require addressing (Deadly Hornets not making any sounds upon a hit – they do make sounds, but they're poorly chosen sounds), and the ever-present "it's raining indoors here" weather-related reports.

It was my understanding that another GM was going to handle the "interior precipitation" problems, but evidently the other GM could use some assistance in resolving this matter.  I believe that I shall help.

While closing bugs this afternoon, an old children's television theme song ran through my head:

The Bugaloos
The Bugaloos
It isn't fair
They're everywhere...

I made myself laugh.

One Less Task

I spent Wednesday evening scripting.  It has been a while since I have scripted in earnest, and I was pleasantly reminded on how fast an evening can pass whilst focusing on a project.

This all came about earlier in the day after noticing that the V693 update was over 4MB in size.  Four megabytes!  I was both mortified and intrigued – why would the update be so large?  The answer was a bit of a let-down (this update includes some uncompressed sound files), but after poking around the new content, I was reminded of an NPC of which I had wanted to add some functionality for the past three years (or remove functionality, depending on one's view).  Last night was the night that I made those changes happen.

One less task to do on the To Do list!

17 February 2011

French Fries, Beer and Clan Lord

I was craving french fries earlier today.  I ignored the protests of my cuisine snobbery and went to a local "neighborhood grille" franchise.  I ordered my fries, a tall beer, and opened a legal pad of paper and worked on a Clan Lord quest.

Without revealing too much, the quest that I had in mind is similar to World of Warcraft's instance dungeons for a group of players.  I had envisioned one player holding a key to the dungeon, and – much like Puddleby Housing – the key holder would unlock the dungeon's entrance and the group would follow the key holder through the entrance.  A second group holding their own key would unlock their own copy of the dungeon.  But then I got to thinking (or maybe the tall beer was affecting me in a positive way): what would happen if two groups tried to enter the dungeon at the same time?  How would the dungeon differentiate between multiple groups?

While working on my second tall beer and a way to differentiate group access, another thought occurred to me: suppose a second group wishes to join the first group.  How would that work?  Would the key holder need to come out and unlock the dungeon door for the second group?  Suppose if the key holder was dead, or if the entire dungeon party was dead, and no one could come out to unlock their copy of the dungeon.  What then?  I feel that Clan Lord has taught us that some area access restrictions can impact rescues (like the Game Preserve or the Mushroom Hut).

By the time I had finished my second beer and my order of fries, I decided that perhaps instance dungeons were best avoided.  At least I think I thought that.  I can't remember.  I'm such a lightweight when it comes to drinking and designing.

30 January 2011

Roger the Jolly

I ran a silly little invasion this evening.

There were numerous younger exiles within town earlier today, and all was peaceful.  I thought that it would be fun to run a lower-end invasion for them.

A ship sailed undetected to Puddleby docks, and Darshak poured forth onto the beach.

The younger exiles rallied to defend the town, and with the aid of some of the more experienced exiles, the citizens of Puddleby managed to control most of the battle.  The Darshak were strong-willed and would not be denied the prize of Puddleby Beer.  They pushed forward!

After much back-and-forth fighting, the captain of the raid, Roger the Jolly, took to shore and faced the defenders of Puddleby...

 ...with predictable results.

Thanks to who participated in making the invasion a lot of fun, and special thanks to the other GM who added some wonderful details to the event!

27 January 2011

If I Only Had A Brain

The V687 update brings some new, subtle changes to the Clan Lord universe.  One new change is not so subtle: the problem concerning logs of wood inexplicably vanishing should now be resolved.

I had printed a copy of the script that powers the log of wood, read through it, and marked a lot of notes within the margins.  The script is not small by any means – it filled six printed pages!  I was mildly surprised that something as simple as a log of wood could be so lengthy and complex.  Moreover, as I reread the script, I realized two things: (1) I was out of practice in debugging scripts (shame on me), which lead to (2) I could not locate the cause of the problem within the script.

As the update drew near, I made a comment to the other GMs regarding this bug.  LogOfWoodGM responded by applying a patch to the script, and I would like to acknowledge that it was he – not I – who made the final fix.  My heart was in the right place, but my brain was not.

09 January 2011

It's Log, Log, Log!

I spent a couple of hours this evening reading through the bug logs.  My guestimate is that there were 250 bug reports awaiting categorizing!  I filed away around 50 – maybe a little less than that.  Some of the bugs were "one minute" fixes (correcting spelling errors, removing NPCs from under chairs).  The most popular bug that I have noticed has been the "Log Of Wood" bug.

This bug is very basic (and apparently it is also very common): a player attempting to harvest a log of wood who is then interrupted will typically lose the log of wood without any notification.  Wood behaves less like a log and more like a fragile balloon.

This will be the first script that I tackle for a V687 repair, making it better than bad.

06 January 2011

The Magic Elves Have Been Away, Too

I noticed that the bug log is behind within its categorization and organization.  I had secretly hoped that the magic elves would have maintained the bug log in my absence.

I know what I'll be doing this weekend!

05 January 2011

Yappy New Year!

How YOU doin'?

One of my New Year's goals (and I am quick to note that this is not a resolution, as I seldom keep those) is to return to activity within Clan Lord.  I had a nice 10 week break – plenty of time to relax and gorge myself on Team Fortress 2 – and I feel ready to return to work.  I have numerous projects that need attention!

I stopped by the fairgrounds for some shenanigans after the V684 update:

Here's wishing everyone a healthy and happy New Year, and that 2011 brings us lots of gaming fun!  (That reminds me: I need to change the splash screen and update the copyright notice.)