23 July 2012

The Suck Stops Here

I am undertaking a new role on Team Clan Lord: I am now the stunt double for Pre-UpdateGM.

The pre-update involves receiving all of the deliverables/submissions from the GMs, and putting it together in a tidy update package.  This includes new images and new sounds (which we all download at the beginning of each Chaos Storm), as well as the data for areas, monsters, items, and so forth.

It was a lot of fun putting this all together in spite of the complications.  We have some scripts to automate most of the update process (largely eliminating a lot of the grunt work of shuffling files around from directory to directory).  I could not get these automated scripts to function properly on my computer, and this ended with my handling the process manually which, upon reflection, was probably better for me on my first time through this process.  Handling all of the steps manually certainly helped me understand what is involved in assembling the content for an update.

So: if things go well this update, then you may thank the contributing GMs for their awesome content.  And if things go wrong, then the suck stops here.

Many thanks for the tremendous support from my update coaches!

18 July 2012

The Dust Off

This morning I returned to something that I have not done in roughly four weeks: I opened up my text editor and added some preliminary code to a script.  It felt... well... comfortable to be scripting again – as if I had not been away from it for as long as I have.

I hope that everyone is having a relaxing summer!  It's hard to believe that it's nearly halfway over.

04 July 2012

Clan Lord Memories

I have a strong memory from one Fourth of July, and it is related to Clan Lord.

Several years ago I spent my Fourth at home.  It was evening, and I had the television tuned to the fireworks celebration.  There was music and singing and speeches and celebrations, but my attention was elsewhere: I was playing Clan Lord, and I was trying to solve one of the mystic puzzles.

Occasionally I would pause to watch the fireworks, and then I would resume my quest to understand the puzzle.  I spent well over three hours on this puzzle, taking a lot of notes on paper.  Ultimately I solved the puzzle and collected my token.  Ever since then, on every Fourth, I recall how I spent my time celebrating Independence Day.

I am such a nerdy patriot.

30 June 2012

Plenty of Nothing

Real life has whisked me away from my focus on Clan Lord (and I admit that what little free time I have has been spent putting out fires).

I have no materials going in for V762, but I hope to have a lot for V765.

06 June 2012


I made some time today to undertake the unpleasant task of sorting out an issue with one of my scripts.  The problem was not difficult, per se, it was – to quote Strong Bad – a quivering pile of not fun.  I would have preferred to have been doing something more stimulating and enjoyable.

The bird's eye view of the problem was that I had a script reading random, formatted data from a file, but there were two different types of data that I needed to read.  I had to think of a way of adding a second field of data without reorganizing the overall data structure.

I made it happen.  It wasn't a pretty solution, but now my beautiful creation can (metaphorically speaking) dance and sing!  And now that this is done, I can focus on some real fun stuff.

04 June 2012

Box 3-5-0

What do you get when you cross a 1970's children's television show with a Thoom?


All these years later, I still remember the mailing address.

28 May 2012

Out With The Old

I have been wanting to update certain scripts in support of an upcoming theme-related update (and before you ask: I am sorry to say that it is not subclass-related).  This weekend, I was able to commit some time to updating two scripts, which involved retiring some old technology on which the scripts relied.  I also added some exciting, cool new features (and that is a very biased opinion on the features), and developed one new script to work in conjunction with these older scripts.

I still have a little work to do on these scripts.  They work just fine, and the enhanced functionality of these scripts could lead to a fun, quest-filled themed update.

26 May 2012

Something To Do

I was surprised (and pleased) to hear this recent, spontaneous sunstone exchange:
Foster Finn thinks, "anyone around town? Just hanging around with nothing to do."
Eirian Caldwell thinks, "go on the newspaper quest"
Natas thinks, "newspaper quest!"
Xenos thinks, "try delivering a paper"

22 May 2012

The Exclamation Point

The past several days have been a lot of fun for me.

Last Friday evening I was working in my GM office, compiling a punch list for my V756 deliverables, when another GM stopped by.  We started chatting about a project on which we were working together.  The chat slowly morphed into a teleconference: a collaborative assembly of the project components which lasted a little over four hours.

This was a new — and very positive — experience for me, as I typically assemble my update materials alone.  It was great to have a collaborator ask and answer questions: do we have these files ready?  Did we include this NPC?  Do we have all of the artwork that we need?

Collaborating with this GM has added an exclamation point to an already fun project.

18 May 2012

Late to Bed, Early to Rise

Tonight is my deadline for V756 content.  After I eat a late dinner, I will begin organizing my submission materials.

This has been a long week for me, and tomorrow is going to be a long day (14+ hours).  I really should get to bed early tonight — I can not afford to stay up late — but I know that I will because I simply love Clan Lord too much.

I'm looking at some of my submission materials.  I gotta say that we have some ridiculously talented artists volunteering their time and talent for Clan Lord.

13 May 2012

Time and Money

I just threw away some money, and with that, I also am throwing away around 20 future-hours of my life.

I just purchased Portal 2.

Why do I do this to myself?

08 May 2012

Vanishing Act

I will be largely AFK for all of next week.  This is significant for me in that the V756 deadline is next Friday.

If I want to have any materials ready for submission, then it is in my best interest to have everything ready by this Sunday evening.  And I certainly do have a project that needs to go in this update.

27 April 2012

Cookies and Cola

That's this evening's dinner.

I have been working on organizing content for the V753 update since a little after noon today.  While doing some last minute additions, it came to my attention that one of the merchant NPC scripts does not support a function that I need for this update.  In fact, there are numerous merchant-related scripts and all of them do not support my needed function.  I could write the needed function, but I worry about the time remaining before my deadline.

Cookies and cola are certainly helping with the energy required to help me meet my deadline!  Hooray for caffeine and sugar!

19 April 2012


Fiona wins my favorite Quote of the Week:

I don't know what it is about her comment that made me laugh.

16 April 2012

A Taxing Day

I spent the entire day sifting through the backlog of bug reports.  My eyes are tired, and I feel a little weary, but all of the bug reports have been organized.  I am quite pleased with my productivity today.

Some of the reports contained flattering comments.  Thank you; receiving a couple of Attaboys is always welcomed and much appreciated.  Some of the reports were ideas and suggestions (herpetid omelets, anyone?), and some reports were gripes and complaints (gotta love path finding).

The remainder of the reports were problems, and boy-howdy were there a lot of problems.  I spent some time fixing the easy-to-do bugs (anchors will now work properly within the waters of the Southern Shoals), and I asked for advice/strategies for handling the more complex, involved bugs (such as the Fire Island Drake bug; I will need to wear a long-sleeved shirt just so that I can roll up my shirt sleeves when debugging that problem).

Now that I have procrastinated all afternoon by organizing bug reports, I should probably get to work organizing my taxes.

05 April 2012

The Pensive April Fool

I have closed access to the April Fool's Day areas.  Here are some thoughts about the Magical Kingdom area:
  • This small area introduced some new quest mechanic concepts, including "monster spawns on demand," "quest NPCs which kill players failing to meet the quest prerequisites," and "conditional repeatable hunt master quests"
  • I was a bit surprised that the Magical Kingdom area took four days to find
  • I will need to improve the way that spawns are handled, giving the NPC clearer speech to indicate when a spawn has been triggered
  • The quest reward item needs to be a little more durable (done for V750)
  • I laughed with delight upon seeing "invisible" players in Clan Lord
  • In hindsight, I probably should have added an NPC which healed fallen players, since I was introducing an NPC which killed players
  • Perhaps the next quest NPC using the death-on-failure mechanic should start off a little easier and include a couple of warnings prior to killing the player instead of killing the player outright on the first bump ("This time I've given you only a minor scratch of a wound, but next time I'll go straight for your heart!")
  • The Ninja quest should have been the last of the three quests
  • I see some potential in a rock-paper-scissors approach to quests: making one choice opens one door but closes another

Any other thoughts?

02 April 2012

Math FAIL.

One of my surprise areas had a surprise itself: some of the data was incorrectly set because I did some bad math.  Bah.

Once the problem is resolved (the mistake was corrected but the script needs to be restarted), then I'll extend the accessibility to the area by a couple of days.

[Edit]: The fix has been applied, thanks to ServerGM.  Whew.

31 March 2012

The Joke's On Me

I threw the switch and opened this year's April Fool's Day ("AFD") area.  While I was busy doing some last minute fussing, I noticed within the player window that one player's name had suddenly changed.  I went to investigate and I found, to my horror, that the old Angbang area was now opened.

This came as a surprise to me, because this was an area which I had not opened!  I did a quick check and discovered that (somehow) the portal leading from the current AFD area to town was not leading to town — as indicated within my copy of the world file — but instead was leading to the old AFD Encore Nexus.

Ugh.  I quickly applied a patch so that the exit portal to town actually lead to town.  I would have left the old Nexus area opened, but some of the areas within the encore required preparation (and bug fixes) which simply had not been prepared (nor fixed).

I hope that this is the only joke played on me for this update!

29 March 2012

Like A Boss

One of the super secret additions that I included this update is a "Boss Template," a generic monster that can be used (and modified) as a Big Boss Monster.

The idea behind the boss monster is that the boss will always be a slaughter, regardless of how much of a terrifying histia/troilus/detha combination it has.  I want the focus to shift from "let me as an individual tag so that I can get my experience" to "let's work together to bring this beast to its knees!"  I have had some thoughts on such design, and I now enter the phase of testing this concept for viability.

It is an experimental template — I assume that it will work! — and perhaps this weekend I can ask for some suckers volunteers in the fairgrounds to test it out.

[Edit]: The part that I forgot to mention was that, upon the Boss Monster's death, everyone within the area would receive experience.  It will not matter if you tagged or not.  You receive experience when the boss is defeated.

22 March 2012

Ready For A Change

I can't believe that I got everything done, although after staying awake past 2:00am, I am certainly paying for my labors this morning.  Nothing that several cups of coffee can't cure!

There were two scripts that I wanted to modify and both goals were achieved. The first change concerned one of my favorite scripts which powers "itemless" quests.  One of the issues that I discovered whilst using this script is that there is more math than there needs to be: I struggled to find the sum of bit fields, such as 2^15 + 2^11 + 2^7 + 2^0.  I created a shortcut for this script which eliminated my need to provide the calculations; the script now cheerfully does this math for me.

The second change was a little nerve-wracking, as it involved adding a new feature to our filtering function.  I am always nervous when modifying any of the major scripts, and filter.func is a major script.  I added a small hook which enables other scripts (such as sayinitstring, our major speech script, or the reward script which runs almost all of the New Ash quests) to check the bits of an itemless quest.  This opens a lot of options for quests and, in a weird way, nearly eliminates the need for the itemless quest script itself.

And as a bonus I added some giant spider-chickens.  These monsters are both terrifying and a challenge and okay no I didn't really do that.  Updating those two scripts were challenging enough!

I am ready for the changes of V747!

21 March 2012

One Hundred Percent

Sometimes I get a little lucky.

The V747 update has been postponed until Thursday which gives me an extra day to fuss with my scripts for this update.  I am entering precarious territory, as I am now seriously thinking "well, what if I were to try making such-and-such changes to this script, and then hook in support for that script, and then do this and this and that..." — which is no different from how I typically think! — but now there is a firm time frame in which such changes need to happen, and not a lot of time to test a lot of changes.

My kid sister, a CPA, was once told by her supervisor "I'll back your work 100%.  All I ask in return is that your work be 100% right."  I view my relationship with the other GMs with that quote in mind: they'll support (endure?) my rascalities 100% as long as my work is 100% right.

...even when I am still updating scripts on the eve of an update.

20 March 2012

Update V747

... is in my rear view mirror, but I find myself watching the mirror rather than watching the road.  While I can not change any of the content that I have submitted (60+ areas: my helpers have been busy!), I can still upload and edit data files.  I am not yet satisfied with some of the scripts, so I have been uploading changes well past the Friday deadline.

There is still a little smoothing to do on one portion of one script, and I hope to have that resolved by the time the server reboots on Wednesday evening.

05 March 2012

let num == ohnoes

My eyes are burning from staring at a script for four hours.  Normally this would not be a problem, but this time it is because I am staring at a math problem.

Longtime readers may recall my relationship with math.  I am trying to do something comparatively simple — or it would be simple if I knew what the heck I was doing! — and I am very close to having the correct mathematical solution.  I currently have the "almost chicken" solution (as in "'almost chicken' doesn't make good soup"); the script is almost doing what I want it to do, but it is also doing a lot of things that I do not want it to do.

A casual glance at our informal poll indicates that many people are interested in a new April Fools' Day area.  I will begin building some new areas as soon as I can get my goofy numbers to add correctly!

28 February 2012

April's Fool

I recognize that it is not quite yet March, but I have realized that April 1st is sooner that I think.

In Clan Lord terms, April Fools' Day falls within the V747 cycle, which means that any of my content needs to be delivered by the March 16th deadline.  That's just a little over two weeks away.

While I am very fond of the Boardwalk areas, I feel that this year deserves something different.  I have included an informal (non-binding) poll above: what would you like to see for this year's April Fools' Day area?

27 February 2012

An Update Update

The deadline for V744 has come and gone, and I did not submit content for this upcoming update (my last update-less update was V723).  I am happy to report that, although no content was delivered by me for this update, work continues on projects!

One of these projects requires two critical scripts to power the quest/event, and I finished one of these scripts late Saturday morning (I admit that it was the easier of the two scripts).  I was unable to submit this script for the V744 update because the areas which rely on this script required updating to reflect the latest changes within the script — and those areas were also updated late Saturday morning, far past the submission deadline.

V747 will be a busy update for me!

16 February 2012


I follow Diablo 3 news, and a topic caught me eye: a fan asked "when?" and the response was "soon!":
[Question]: Do you think they were almost done, but decided to all go get sno-cones and play a few rounds of backgammon first? But now, called out for their slackerly ways, will finish it post-haste?

[Response]: It doesn’t matter, man. It’s not worth spending time trying to justify our processes, just stuff happens when it happens, we can maybe drop some hints, sometimes, other times we may not, but ultimately it’s done when it’s done and that drives some people INSANE. Can’t be helped.
Somehow saying “soon” makes people less insane, or even giggle. It’s like magic.
I found this amusing, only in that HelpfulGM has been using the term "soon!" for years.

14 February 2012

Elvus Has Left Town Center

I caused a little mischief on this Valentine's Day.  I only managed to make one sketch:

In addition to the Burninluvs, there were some Luvmitenders and Yurteddi Bears.  Nothing quite says Valentine's Day like blood thirsty monsters named after Elvis Presley songs.

21 January 2012

Star Wars Uncut


You may or may not have heard of this project: the Star Wars movie (episode IV) was divided into 15 second clips, and, after reserving a clip, anyone could reinterpret the clip as they wished.

The entire project has been completed and is available on the site (or on YouTube).  I found some of the clips to be amazing—there are some very talented people out there—and some of the humor is simply outrageously funny.  If you are a Star Wars fan and have two hours to burn, then give it a look.

Here is one of my favorites clips:

Star Wars Uncut - Scene 248 from Jason Garrattley on Vimeo.

07 January 2012

Heel Draggin'

My heels.  I'm draggin' 'em.

Truthfully, that is a little misleading.  Pesky real life has been demanding more of my attention as of late which in turn is restricting time for my projects.  My delivery deadline for V738 is next Friday; I will need to review my list of projects and determine what (realistically) can be delivered by this deadline.

I dream of one day having a thematic update, as practiced in Team Fortress 2.  How cool would it be to see "The Mystic Fireball Update"?  (And before you ask: no, there are no plans for a Mystic Fireball Update.)

I like the idea of a thematic update, and wish to make it one of my project goals.  It's challenging to reach my goals when my heel are draggin'!