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May 30, 2016 / gameofslaves

Short and Sweet update


Long holiday weekend.  (Memorial Day in the U.S.)

I spent half a day dinking with other games to get it out of my system – done.

Since then, I’ve been writing and coding like an idiot.

I’m more than mildly perturbed at myself for an annoying pattern I’ve noticed…  when I post something about a project, I lose interest soon after.  Wait!  To be more accurate:  My interest-level drops; it doesn’t disappear.

Ergo, if I have more interest in another project, I jump to that one instead.

I lack discipline.  I know that.  I have one project which I feel I ‘owe’ to someone, so that’s kept me motivated.  Maybe I should start a Patreon page?  If I feel I ‘owe’ work to someone(s), that might keep me focused.

Interesting idea, I think.  And it might result in less stress in my day-to-day life.

Writing continues.  Coding continues.  Design continues.

“So many projects, so little time.”

–Cam

May 7, 2016 / gameofslaves

Discipline and updates


I recently started a message thread regarding a concept I’d been toying with.  The toying had been ongoing for several weeks, after another week of rumbling in my brain.  I finally sat down and began work.  I wrote some scenes.  I worked on some mechanics.  I put all my notes into order and was making great progress.

…until I posted something.

After I posted my concept’s basics, I lost interest in pursuing it for several days.  When I realized this, I forced myself to work on it.  It was slow, but I had done a lot of planning and note-taking so I was able to push through.  And now, I’m back to inspired progress.

I suppose I could force myself to do the same with my other projects, too.  In general, I don’t write anything (here in the blog or on message forums) if an idea lacks any substance.  One-shot stories, throwaway premises, five-minute games…  they all end up being filed away but never mentioned in public.

It should come as no surprise that I have many, MANY moments of inspiration which you’ll never see or hear.

I want to share most of my ideas, but I don’t have the time… the skill… or other resources to share them.

Several posts back (months? years?), I mentioned how I lacked discipline to see my projects beyond concept.  I’m proving, now, that I have the discipline and skills to push onward.  I have set myself a loose schedule and I’m doing fairly well at staying true to that schedule.  But…  I’m not making any promises as to when I will release Miss Andry to the wilds of the Internet.

Progress is made; it doesn’t just happen.  I am making progress, even when I’d rather be playing a game.  (But, is the game I’m making one that I’d want to play?  Is that a factor?  Hm.)

-Cam

April 23, 2016 / gameofslaves

More updates – Projects


I’m trying to decide which of my projects would gain the most from my limited experience with the Python programming language.  …it’s not as easy as it might seem.

I’ve been coding long enough to know my limitations.  I’ve been thinking about my projects enough to know which ones are more complex and more simple.  I have a “vision” or “feel” of how most of the games should play:

  • Game of Slaves – Multiplayer, very flexible (probably text based because of this), cross-platform
  • Slave Mastered – Story-focused, but swayed by player interest and choice
  • Hell Breaks Loose – Maze-ish, click navigable, ability to explore, Easter Eggs hidden throughout

There are others, too,  (Yes, even some not mentioned in the blog.)

Right now, I’m doing an evaluation of my projects.  I’m trying to determine which game(s) are within my scope of knowledge and experience, which are close, and which are going to need a lot more time.  It sounds simple, I know.  But there are other factors to consider (such as which engine to use and how my proficiency with that engine factors in).

Aside from the aforementioned lists and comparisons, I’m doing small tasks and demos to familiarize myself with the tools I have at-hand.

Tah for now!

April 23, 2016 / gameofslaves

Work continues – Update about me


Learning a programming language does not make one a talented or experienced programmer.  (I like to think I am, but…)

I was going to pontificate on what makes for a good programmer or coder, what I’ve learned over the years, and how that relates to me today.  I’ve decided to take a different tact: the rarely-seen “short version”, a rarity among bloggers these days.

*khem*

Short version:  I learned the basics of Python.  I picked it because it was different from most other languages I know.  Because it is so different, I have to change the way I approach coding.  One of Python’s basic tenets is “simple is better than clever”.  Dammit.  So, I’m writing small blocks of code and tiny tools to get better at coding in Python, earning experience with this new paradigm.

Shorter version: Learned new programming language. Learning new ways to program.  Gaining experience.

And that’s my progress update about me.  Project progress updates coming up.

-Cameron

March 24, 2016 / gameofslaves

The Game – Development continues


Game of Slaves (a/k/a “The Game”) is continuing development.  (I suppose I should update the respective pages.)

I’ve opted to go with a very bare-bones MU* engine which is Python-based – Evennia.   I didn’t want an engine with combat and challenge resolution already built-in.  What I’m planning isn’t going to involve a lot of combat…  yet.

Right now, the concept is more of a social gathering place, but with a fair number of TF options thrown in.

I’ve been on a few chatter/talker sites where you can pick your TF and set descriptions  with a few direct keystrokes.  That’s fine for those sites.  The Game (GoS) is intended as more of a game, though.  I find there’s not much challenge to becoming a multilingual male cat-morph with tea-service skills if you can set your description with

/desc me: is a male cat-morph who speaks six languages and knows how to properly serve tea in the Japanese and Chinese styles.

However, finding a cat-morph who’s willing to help shape you, while you seek out and study guides on proper tea-serving, while learning a few languages, while keeping your mind sharp enough to recall all these things your learning, and training you body to move fluidly as you do all of the above…  that’s a challenge.  And challenges make for a game.

Having said that, I can’t make it too easy.  I also can’t make it too difficult, either.  This is where fine-tuning will come in.  …but that’s all further down the line.

The engine I’m using is up and running on a test box, where I’ve starting my alpha coding.  I will soon put out a request to have some alpha-testers play around with it and give feedback.  With good feedback and a pretty stable engine, GoS will be good to go pretty soon.

I have SO MANY ideas for GoS, but I want to start with the basics and build up from there.

I’m starting with the Orphanage – where you build your initial TF character.  From there, I’ll build the town.

As I build, and as I gain players, I’ll decide if I want to continue to host it on my personal internet connection.  If the traffic impacts my normal usage, then I’ll probably host it elsewhere… and we’ll go over options at that time.

TL;DR: Game of Slaves is seeing real progress.  It’s happening!  (Finally!)  More news to follow as it comes.

-Cameron

February 25, 2016 / gameofslaves

Nearly two months without an update?


Where does the time go?  Apparently, it goes with the territory of after-holiday chaos.  *shrug*

I don’t have a lot of readers (and few subscriptions), but I really don’t care about those kinds of numbers.  I do care about the one person who took to time to write me and ask me if I had given up on things.  So this post is my reply.  I’ll try to keep it short (under a thousand words).

I have not given up on any of my projects.  I did spend many hours playing other games, but I’ve also been working on several of my exiting projects…  most specifically, THE GAME.

Yep.  I’ve been toying around with a MU* engine which is very, very bare bones.  It starts you off with no preset ANYTHING, leaving me free to shape everything to my own will and whim.  Other engines like it only had bare process communication, but few creation tools.  Or, they come with SO MUCH, it would be hard to whittle them down to what I can work with.  This one has tools for building objects and rooms, while also having messaging and permission lock-controls… which are the most basic things you need when building a MU*.

By the way, “MU*” refers to MUDs, MUXs, MUSHes, MOOs, etc…  (those are multi-user environments allowing players to interact via a text mode interface).

The one I’m working with now (and building test areas) has a builtin front-end requiring only a modern browser… and it runs well (four players tested, barely scratched the CPU load time) on my rinky-dink Linux box.  If this explodes into something sizable, I’ll be able to move it to a better box and improve performance.

I don’t have anything approximating an “alpha test” yet…  but watch for further updates as I go.

One of the other projects I’m working on is different than most of my other work…  there’s nothing inherently naughty or TF-related in it.  There will be slaves, but primarily as a commodity (might be more, hmm).  The game will have a focus a bit different than most games available.  I don’t want to give too much away, just yet, but…  I have explicit external motivation to work on that game, so it has been getting a fair amount of my attention.  Sadly, it will also REQUIRE the most attention to make progress.  I’ve given it a few weeks and have a decent idea how I want it to flow and feel.

Yes, I’ll probably add it to my Projects page when I have more info to share.

I have been doing the math… of life and all… and if I want to keep working on these projects, I’m going to have to find ways to monetize some of them… which will give me incentive to actually get things off my desktop and onto the Internet.

My rationale: I’ve had the same job for several years, and due to “corporate financial climate” none of the people in my organization have been getting raises… and this year, there will be no annual bonuses, either.  (Mind you, my group is one of the most lucrative and most advanced in the organization.  That means my group is keeping ‘negative-flow’ groups afloat… with little more than a ‘thank you, good job, keep it up’ to those of us who excel beyond the requirements.)

So…  unless I find a job that pays better, I’m going to have to take on a second job.  Yep, seriously.  Cost of living keeps going up, but my pay is not changing.  And minimum wage in the area just jumped a significant amount, which means the cost of day-to-day stuff is going to go up along with it… making my (above minimum) wages worth even less.

Bleh.  I hope it won’t come to having to make my hobbies and escapes into a way to keep the lights on… but it could happen.  We will see.

-Cameron

December 28, 2015 / gameofslaves

Happy Holidays and Fallout 4


“Happy Holidays” isn’t a PC (Politically Correct) phrase, in my mind.  (PC phrases tend to grate on me.)  I know there are MANY holidays during this time of year, all shoulder-to-shoulder.  Some people choose not to celebrate, and others choose to celebrate multiple holidays.   Your mileage may vary, and probably will.

And in other news…  I’m sure you’ve heard of Fallout 4.  It’s an open-world, post-apocalyptic, first-person action-RPG, if you listen to what most-everyone says about it.

For me, I see it as spec-fic (speculative fiction) along the lines of “What if the US of America maintained its social sensibilities and mores from the 1950s for a hundred years?”

  • The “red scare” of anti-communism ran rampant.
  • Resources were being used up like there was no tomorrow (literally).
  • Atomic energy is used everywhere.
  • Technology advanced in some ways, and did not in other ways.
  • The value of the US Dollar was debatable, but not good.
  • It appeared that the US didn’t have a position on a global marketplace.  (If there was a such a thing!)
  • The US annexed Canada.  (“Sorry guys.  You’re our neighbors, but we need what you have on your land.”)
  • The US and China were grasping for finite natural resources and went to war, specifically for Alaska’s resources.
  • In 2077, atomic bombs dropped onto US cities.

…and I think that covers the majority of things.  All in all, I think it’s an excellent backdrop for telling all manner of stories when you start including special-interest groups, shadow governments, and other nefarious things.

There are so many stories… some are told simply with the placement of objects in the world.  (A skeletal body in a toilet stall.  A bottle of bourbon in one hand, and a pistol in the other.  Chilling.)

Yes, I am still working on my projects… but the folks at Bethesda Games know how to tell a gripping story and take up many hours of my life.

-Cam

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