The Organization


My gaming group had its second play of Oath, although it was really our first "real" game, as the previous one was the tutorial. I had done more reading on board game geek forums and also watched some lets-plays which included the legacy stuff, and was feeling comfortable with the rules and general game play this time. A thing that really clicked for me was using the terminology as written in the rules. Not trying to translate "favour" into coins, or "supply" into action points. I loved giving the Longbows some favour in order to muster warbands, that kind of thing. This embedding of terms into game play created, for me, the kind of narrative i had read about when deciding if i was going to purchase the game. We got the game done in under 3 hours, and some of that was setup and getting tea and then the chronicling at the end. I do think we could get it down to ~2 hours with some more experience. Although we are only playing with 3, so we should really be able to get that time down! Next game will be exciting as it will be the first where we have the legacy element coming into play. The Chancellor won, by a lucky die roll at the start of the 8th turn. One of the exiles had had a Vision of Rebellion, and was holding The Peoples Favor. I would not have been able to wrestle it back on my turn, and so, the game was won on a roll. I know that this kind of randomness is not for everyone. That is cool. But I am coming to love this game. The look, the feel while playing, just awesome. Excited for more.

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Have been at a low mental place the past couple of weeks due to triggering a lower-back problem that i've had to deal with for 20+ years. The pain and inability to physically do the things i want to do become a drag after about a week, and i start to get "depressed-light"? Anyway, am coming out the other side now, which is, you know, nice. I was able to appreciate the first robin song and sighting of the year, so things can't be too bad.

As part of this low point, i've been struggling to "stay on target", being intentional with my time. I have falling back on youtube and reddit for mindless time passing. Which is fine for a little bit, but have not been feeling good about the amount of time i have been spending on those sites. Even mastodon easily becomes a time-suck, as i am a completionist at heart, and can't stand just jumping to the top and scrolling down a bit to catch up... nope, gotta go through 300+ messages! It is either disengage or take the time to really really trim down my follow list.

So, one thing that got me thinking of game projects again, was this How To Make Good Small Games post. While i am (mostly) honest with myself about wanting to solve technical problems more than actually "make games", i do think there are things that i would like to complete, and might better be able to by following this kind of manifesto. We will see, i have had similar epiphanies before, with little real change to my behaviours.

I also wanted to note Manu's I'll read it post for giving me an extra push to "just write something".

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Playing Oath

Played Oath this weekend. We setup and ran through the intro game round that the game rules sets up. We then continued the game from there, just to get a feel. I really enjoyed it, and am looking forward to playing the first "real" game, and then seeing how the legacy elements play out. Need to schedule up the next game-play now! Have also been binging on some play-throughs, and reading a tonne of the bgg forum posts about the game.

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I purchased Oath this weekend. Very excited to actually play it with other players, rather than just solo testing/learning. It seems less difficult and complex than i expected? From all the reviews and such i was a bit trepidatious about it, but maybe my expectations are warped from playing A Feast for Odin? I wont be able to say for sure one way or the other till i get a chance to actually play it. It does look as good "in person" as expected, and if it gets played a couple times, i'm totally going to get the deluxe components. Very very excited. Now i just have to wrangle everyones schedule to figure out a time to play...

Speaking of reviews, this is the one you should watch.

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Ten percent of the way through

Hey, if you are into chill puzzle play, maybe checkout our game demo on steam? Triversal

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I don't know what i'm doing

With all the minecrafting going on, i though i'd look at using the VR setup... Vivecraft was what i tried out, and it is surprisingly good. Am going to keep experimenting with it, i don't think it will be good for creative building though. The movement is not as conducive to strafing/clicking... but maybe there are VR specific interactions that are good for building? I will do some searching around.

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Lost in a haze

So, some shit has happened, and i'm not going to talk about it because i'll just end up screaming obscenities.

Setup Rss Bridge on the server, so i can get web-comics that are only posted to Instagram. Was very easy to setup, i also put it behind some basic auth so it doesn't get used by random yahoos. I guess this also protects from possible bugs/exploits in the code, since it is not open on the web to everyone.

Have been running a survival minecraft server for the kids and myself for ages. I have become more interested in running a creative server, and working on different architectural constructions. This comes from Rory getting into doing some builds from youtube tutorials, which i did not know was even a thing. Kind of amazing, actually. This might be the one i try out first... I guess i could also run both a survival and creative server.

Wow, i didn't know about spectator mode, have been using it to cruise through canyons and also peek underground at the massive cave systems. The world generator is pretty spectacular, i have to say.

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First Monday of the new year.

Really, what more need be said?

Played some Minecraft Dungeons with Ciara and Rory on the switch. That was quite fun. Oh and regular Minecraft too, with Conor as well. Everyone has a nicer house than me, even Ciara, who just played for the first time! I did build an underwater glass tunnel to an observation dome, which is pretty cool, so all is not lost.

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Why do you tempt me so

GDW is tempting me with its bundles for Classic Traveller. All the little black books! It would actually be more interesting to get them as actual reprints rather then PDFs... But really the last thing i need is more TTRPGs that i'm never going to play. Although just reading all that source material is fun in itself...

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MMO for me? For u?

Did the tutorial to Albion the MMOG. Pretty fun actually, although in reading about it, and thinking about the impact you can have on the environment, i'm not really sure i'm that interested in spending time there? I still prefer the classic Minecraft style of world-interactions? Being able to gather, and craft and build however i want, within the games limitations, is pretty great. I would like a more MMOGy style game, but using the Minecraft engine? I am pretty sure there are mods for it that might bring it closer to that? I should check...

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And things go upside down

Things have been extra hectic "in real life", with multiple family members dealing with Covid-adjacent issues, and home quarantine. This has driven my time for externalities like blogging into the negatives. However, we are past the nadir, and so... a post!

No new work on the game, but have spent some time on the Flow library. Learned a bunch about the build pipeline, which is going to help in our current game project, so more evidence that side and personal projects help your "real" job.

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Rain Rain

Got the dang Dijkstra Maps stuff working in the game finally. I had obviously made some dumb programming error when i first coded it up, but i don't know what it was. I threw it all away and started from scratch, which was the key to moving forward.

I now have a "players distance" map, that NPCs can "roll down" towards the players. Will probably split this out into per-player maps, so NPCs can use the player map for the player they are interested in. And still have to figure out the whole multi-maps with desirability coefficients.

DijkstraMapVisualization Yeah, numbers on the tiles, that is what we needed!

Still trying to workout what i want this to be? Is it "just" a roguelike game, with the multiplayer aspects? Is it some attempt at building a distributed meshed shared world? There are things i can, and want, to try to do, but also don't want to be just another , there should be something new that i can bring to the table. Maybe the multiplayer is enough? For now anyway? I'd like to have a bit more interactivity for the players in the prototype, so something there should be my next focus... And i'm kinda set on environment actions -- digging, making, breaking...

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The Ides of October

Have been working on the game project a bit, but in a non-exciting-to-show kind of way. And it is actually a side-track, and i am trying to decide if i want to keep doing down this path, or get off and try to find the main route again. It involves in-game chat, and auto-translation. I actually have the auto-translation working, via IBM's Watson service. But the UI for this feature is catching me up, as i have a bunch of specific "looks" that i want to try out, and not the box-with-text-in-it-in-the-lower-left-corner style. However, just in order to put this behind me and move on, i might just do that for now.

Oh and also, because it is text, i've been trying to find a good pixel font that is localizable. This is remarkably hard. I've actually only really found 2 options, LanaPixel and PixelLocale, and only LanaPixel has the Japanese, Korean and Chinese glyphs. Unfortunately it does not work with Unity3d's text mesh pro font rendering... There is this alternative font renderer that works better, but still not 100% great with the LanaPixel font. Anyway, this is another huge side track. I should just drop it for now, and get back to the "main" stuff... But! In my tests with other online players ("tests", ahahah, like 1 time playing with somebody else) i really wanted in-game chat. So here we are.

The end result is that i have to set a reasonable goal to finish up this feature. Which will involve no pixel fonts, no localization, and probably just a box of text in the lower left corner. So it goes.

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Got some work done on the game, actually have a displaying map and constraining the PCs and NPCs to open spaces. Very unoptimized, but, this is all kind of still just an experiment or prototype, so, i'm trying very hard to be ok with that. Having the map actually makes a huge difference to feel. And it is fun to have a map to run around in. Using Perlin Noise for the "cave" generation, as it was quick and easy. Oh and the NobleWhale Connect and MatchUp assets to make the networking easier, for the players anyway, if not me. Although it is better for me too. Need to reassess what the next steps should be...

Gameplay Yep, it is a dungeon

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New Games

Ikenfell just released today. I had to look it up, Chevy Ray has been working on this for over four years now. I remember way back when I first heard about it, years ago, and I had wondered if it had fallen into the "never to be released" pile. But no, it looks amazing, great soundtrack. And on switch! Played about an hour, and am enjoying it so far.

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Wanted to do some work on tgthnn last night, but just couldn't focus. This had been a problem in the past, but the whole Covid thing has really jacked up the difficulty of getting things done. I don't really like the idea of motivation, and believe that you just have to do a thing, but i couldn't even get my brain to "load in" the code of the project, and start programming. Just too much noise in the neurons.

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Map Fail

Soooo, didn't really get the map setup, but did fix some bad code with how the clients were sending their move updates over the wire, and the server/client code to handle them. Also moved the responsibility for asking the NPCs if they are interested in moving to the "game manager" (nee map manager).

And i updated the GFX for the NPCs and PCs to be nicer, and implemented a pixel perfect camera system.

Game Play Not very exciting yet

Next "sprint" i'll do the map stuff. Really.

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Game Project

Still working, slowly, on The Game That Has No Name. I have the NPCs working with networked players in a turn-based way. The "time" system is actually an "energy" system, allowing for different actions to have different costs, and so quicker and slower NPCs and Players.

Then next step is a basic map, shared over the network. I am trying to not even worry about display of the map for now, just the ability to have one, and that the Players and NPCs use it. That is my goal for tonight, get the most basic version working. Then worry about a simple rendering layer.

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Really? Again?

Next steps on the game that has no name, aka tgthnn (this actually sounds, well, reads, like something a dark being would utter while casting a horrible spell on you). I think probably a map, and player movement on the map. It is going to be turn based, and tile based. And multiplayer. And Roguelike. First steps first. A basic map of walkable tiles, and character controllers that obey the map. I already got the network connecting and shit like that, so map and better player controller is next. Have been re-reading some of the Rogue Basin articles. I am still very taken by the Dijkstra Maps stuff, and would like to integrate it into whatever AI thing i'm going to make.

Also time, and how turn based gameplay can work for multiplayer. Ages ago there was an article about Surreal Time for a roguelike, and i have been forever smitten by its ideas. Sadly it is either gone from the interwebs, or my google-fu can not draw it forth from the bowels of google, so i have will just go with what i remember about it. Each player has their own "local time", and NPCs are assigned to a player's "time" based on whatever rules you'd like. To begin with it would likely be distance to player, but also interactions with player, etc etc. This way one player on a level is not stuck waiting for another player to take their turn. I will also be starting with the easiest time system, where everything takes the same about of time, and we just loop through all the entities over and over.

A critical thing to keep in mind for me, is to not over scope any individual bit of this process, if it is to have any chance of success. Super simple steps, one at a time. The simplest thing that will work.

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