31 July 2013

Noodlin' and Doodlin'

I spent a small portion of today noodling around with some Clan Lord areas, but it otherwise was a very unproductive day development-wise.

I fussed around with a couple of new areas, and I invested a little time in reviewing some new content from a new helper.  But otherwise I spent the day watching bad television and half-heartedly playing video games.  I had envisioned myself being more productive than I was.  I have a heap of scripting to do before the v819 deadline.

30 July 2013

Here's Your Sign

There's a lack of signs in Puddleby.  Specifically, there's a lack of signposts.

If you are unfamiliar with signposts: they are items which rarely turn up in town.  Bumping the signpost will reveal an action bubble and some text.  The rarity of such signs is – in my personal opinion – because of the risk of abuse in using the signs.  That is not to say that we GMs are concerned with players using adult language within the text: we're far too busy to be policing in-game language.

My perception of the problem is a (simple) technical issue: once a signpost is placed into play, it is there, and there it stays for the duration of its life.  I equate this to placing down a pretzel box that hangs around for an hour or so, regardless of how many player bump the box.  And I have seen the pretzel box maneuver several times: it is a clever way to creating a short-life obstacle for players which can not be circumvented by the sword, as with kudzu plants.  A couple of well-placed pretzel boxes on a narrow bridge makes that bridge impassible for as long as the pretzel box remains there.  In that vein, a couple of well-placed signposts could conceivably block players from entering (or leaving!) the library for much much longer than a life of a pretzel box.

I see a need for signposts.  They are great tool for in-game communication.  They just need an adjustment so that they are able to perform their job without behaving like a brick wall.  Or a stack of pretzel boxes.

I am working on a solution, and I hope to have revised signposts available for this upcoming update.

29 July 2013

if ( debugMode )

I have been struggling with my recent scripting project, and I found a simple solution: add a lot of announcement checkpoints throughout the script so that I may follow the script's progress:
    if ( debugMode ) log( "Scanning " + theIncomingText );
This was incredibly helpful in finding bottlenecks, missing data and other shenanigans caused by me whilst attempting to write this code quickly.  As a result of these internal announcements, I was able to find numerous bugs, squash them, and get my script running in an "as expected" manner!

Next up comes the long, dull portion of adding controls and restrictions (silly stuff, like "don't use a tinderbox while the player is under water" kind of logic).  But I am pleased to be reaching this point, as it is an indication of progress!

28 July 2013

Mystics and Shadows

There are two nice reports over on Thoomcare worth reviewing: one regarding mystics and one regarding the Shadowguild.

/narrate Cue dramatic music.

27 July 2013

Ice Cream Break

A very important part of scripting is to take an occasional ice cream break.  I am taking mine now (albeit a very, very late one).  I am making slow progress on my new tool – having found a seldom-used script which is similar in function – and I felt it was time to reward myself for this afternoon's work.

I am making a conscious effort to avoid dripping chocolate ice cream all over my new keyboard.

26 July 2013

When Easy Becomes Hard

I am developing a new tool.  The goal is to make the interface of this tool easy to use – roughly as simple as typing a macro trigger.

The challenge here is dealing with all of the possible variables in which a player may encounter.  Such quasi-relevant conditions for which I must plan: in what area is the player?  Where within the area is the player standing?  Who else is in the area?  Are there any environmental restrictions within the area?  How close are the players standing?  Is there any other activity surrounding the player?  What has changed since the last frame of action?

The more I think about what needs to be done on my part, the more daunting the project becomes.  All of these conditionals need to be reflected within the script if I want it to work simply and be easy to use.  I sincerely thought that this would have been a script which I could have written in two evenings.  I am on my second evening of development now, and predict that I may be working on this script all weekend.

Not that I am complaining.  Scripting is a nice way to spend the weekend.  I just wish that it wasn't so hard to write an easy script!

25 July 2013

Gaming Gear

I broke my last keyboard (the G key was permanently depressed) as well as my mouse (the scroll wheel would not scroll), so I went out today and dropped $100 on some new Logitech equipment: I treated myself to a G105 keyboard and a G100s mouse.

I've always like Logitech and I have had good experiences with their gear (with the exception of G330 headset: there was some interference with the volume knob, so I often heard static – but I digress).  I bought the keyboard and mouse at a local computer store, and while I stood in the checkout line I saw something troubling printed on the bottom of the boxes: the system requirements for both peripherals was Microsoft Windows system 7 and up – no mention at all about Macintosh compatibility.  I was feeling lucky and took a gamble (or I was too lazy to leave the checkout line, pick one) and made the purchases anyways, with the thought that I could return them if I was unable to use them.

Before opening any of the boxes or breaking any of the seals, I went onto the Logitech website and, much to my delight, discovered that – at the very end of the list of operating systems supported for their gaming mice and keyboards – was the Mac OS X download link.  I now have a programmable keyboard and mouse, and I can record keystrokes on-the-fly and save them to a hotkey.  This has some wild and awesome potential for me when I am running spur-of-the-moment invasions.

There are two features missing from this keyboard: (1) it lacks USB ports.  This is unfortunate, and it was a feature that was on my "must have" list (which I completely forgot to check while shopping).  And missing feature (2) is the Macintosh command key.  It's a Windows keyboard, so I must instead use the Windows key when I want to command-click or command-key something.  This Windows key is in a different layout position than what I am accustomed to using, so I find myself ascending a bit of a learning curve (the Mac keyboard layout is, from left to right, control, option and then command; the Windows layout is control, Window and alt).  So I need to remember if I want to type option-G, then I need to instead type alt-G – using the third modifier button instead of the second button.

But boy, does it feel nice to have working equipment again.  Now that I know that much of the Logitech gaming gear is supported on the Mac, I almost regret not buying the super-deluxe versions of both keyboards and mice (one mouse had 20 customizable buttons, while another had small weights which could be added as to customize the feel of the mouse).

I suppose I now have something to look forward to when I break the new equipment!

24 July 2013

Yappy Anniversary

It's hard to believe that it was six years today that I became a GM.

7/24/07 10:29:38p Yappy thinks, "eldon I can use my sunstone without a sunstone?


23 July 2013

How YOU doin'?

It's been a while since I've made any comments here on my blog.  Like, exactly one year to the day.

I had a nice chat this weekend in the Fairgrounds.  The point of my chat was basically "it's summertime, a lot of GMs are away on vacation, so do not expect much in terms of content for updates."  I am included in that group of summer frolickers: I have been traveling and will continue to do so through the beginning of Labor Day.

But as soon as the words left my mouth within that Fairgrounds chat -- "yeah, don't expect much from me" -- I was subsequently inspired by some of the players and I find myself fervently scripting and designing.

So much for that summer break!