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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.


December 16, 2015 / gameofslaves

Oh! And regarding Olga…

I was going to add this to my previous blog post, but I forgot.  Oops.

So!  I got lucky.  Olga, an author who I’d been looking for, happened to do a vanity search (search for yourself online) and stumbled across this blog.  So, lucky me!

She and I have been writing back and forth and she seems to like the idea of what I’m planning.  So that’s looking good.

(Admittedly, I have a half-composed email I need to finish.  It’s been sitting in draft for… far too long.  Sorry, Olga!  Coming soon!)


December 10, 2015 / gameofslaves

What’s news in Cam’s world?

Yes, it’s been over a month.  With holidays and life’s stresses… it can’t be helped.  If this was a paying gig, you can be certain I’d make more progress than… well, what you see.

I have been working through a couple of projects, of course.  The top-down method of project management is working surprisingly well.  It doesn’t feel like it has the same “magic” as inspired creativity, but it also isn’t floundering waiting for another bolt of inspiration to strike nearby.  (Also, my feedback from two testers has been generally positive.)

I’m also writing fiction based on one of my game-design projects, to shunt some of the inspiration to something so I don’t feel like it’s being wasted.

[Mini-Rant BEGIN]

In my world of creativity…  I feel conflicted on a couple of things.

I’ve been reading the writings of a couple of “feminist gamers” and largely finding myself /facepalm‘ing and /huh‘ing with equal parts exasperation and curiosity.  Some of what they say has merit.  Most of it is going overboard.  (In my opinion.)  I strongly suspect they’re asking for the moon in hopes of actually receiving a stone.  It’s a tactic negotiators use…  need ten?  Ask for twenty and show how badly you need twenty… when you’re denied, “settle” for fifteen.  When that fails, and you ask for ten, then you get your ten.   It’s stupid and frustrating, but it works.

I feel like they (the “feminists”) are not seeking to change minds and viewpoints as much as they seem to be attempting outright manipulation… and I resent the feeling of being manipulated, and I want to rebel.

I’m not getting into the flame-wars, debates, name-calling, etc.  I’m simply not getting directly involved.  However, my works are very likely to agitate some people, and I’m going to have to accept that.  Sometimes I write strong female characters who inspire greatness in those around them.  Sometimes I write weak and meek, mewling little cum-sluts who want nothing more than to sate the base lusts of a strong man.

I write a lot of different things.  Not all are going to appeal to everyone.  I write, primarily, to appeal to what I want*… and what I want* changes.  I do not want to limit my diet of entertainment and creativity to one specific flavor-profile.

Oh, and to be clear: ‘what I want‘ is in reference to entertainment.  My real life wants and needs are different than my play-time wants.  I know the difference, and I can keep them separate.

[Mini-Rant END]

So now that I have mini-ranted, I suppose I’m not so conflicted after all.  *proud smile*


October 29, 2015 / gameofslaves

Updates? Oh yeah…

I forgot to give updates!

So yes, there’s been some progress.


Sure has.

Okay, all joking aside, the top-down process HAS been working for me.  As much as I don’t like to admit it, it is keeping me focused and on-task… it’s also helping me sort through some of the logic-flow of certain story elements.  The TWINE interface makes the whole process even easier.  Kudos, again, to TWINE’s developers.

Truth be told, I started using Twine to help me plot-out a work of fiction.  Kinda nifty.  Very handy.

Oh, and since I’m handing out Kudos…  here’s to Ubisoft, for another very interesting installment of their Assassin’s Creed series (Syndicate, this time).  I was fortunate to have a week of vacation come up during the release week, so I’ve had time to play it out of my system for a bit.   I’m a bit of a completionist who likes to explore anyway.  So, I’m feeling groovy.

Since I’ve never been to London… and never been to the late 1800’s…  take it with a grain of salt when I say that Ubisoft did a remarkable job of making me feel like I was seeing an accurate recreation of life in a city during the industrial age.  Templars vs Assassins notwithstanding, it was interesting taking in all the flavor.

There were some things missing, though… and some of those elements may come out in as projects of my own.  We’ll see.

I often wonder how much it would cost to hire people to make my ideas [into reality] for me.  The easy answer is:  “More than I can afford.”

However…  if my ideas could be monetized…  not with the aim of getting rich, but with the intent of being able to spend more time creating and less time working.  (Sadly, this notion has been creeping into my head more and more…) But with enough money flowing into my ‘creativity fund’, I could pay others to make those things I want to enjoy, but don’t have the time to create.

Like with food… I don’t want to spend four hours making a dish I will finish in 15 minutes.  So, I pay someone else to make it for me.

I sometimes find myself saying “writing is easy”… but that’s not quite true.  Being inspired is ‘easy’.  Following that inspiration is ‘easy’.  Putting words on paper (or screen) is ‘easy’.  Conveying the power of that moment of inspiration…  not so easy.   …and not cheap.

Ubisoft spent two years on Syndicate.  They had dozens (hundreds?) of people from around the globe involved in this fine product.  (Yes, I actually paid for it… and boosted my credit-rating in the process.)  I can only imagine how much it cost to make.  …and while I’m not envisioning such a high-end game for any of my projects, I still know they won’t be cheap.

So… we’ll see where things go from here.

Cheers, all.

— Cam

October 29, 2015 / gameofslaves

Thinking, creating, editing

It’s been a month (yikes) since my last post.  Yikes.  I’ve been writing quite a bit, actually.  Not programming so much, but still creating.

Left to my own devices to just amble, ramble, and hit letters on a keyboard I will bang out so many words and say very little.  With a bit of editing I can cut back on some detail and really cut back my word-count.  Now, if I was paid by the word, then… well…  *grin*

For me, word-count isn’t as important as getting the message across.  However, I must also avoid the dreaded “Wall-Of-Text” but also the “TL;DR” (Too Long; Didn’t Read) concerns.  *shrug*

I read an interesting article about how posting updates during the progress of a creative work actually makes it harder to proceed.  Apparently, posting updates gives a sense of accomplishment… which makes you feel like you’re done… and not be so inclined go back to work on it.

Hm.  Who’d’ve thought, right?

It does explain why I feel I’ve accomplished more when I go long periods without posting to the blog, here.

…or maybe more time between posts gives me more to write about.

— Cam

September 29, 2015 / gameofslaves

Top-down or bottom-up?


[Edit – deleting attempt at programming humor. Reason – failed at humor and programming.]

I like to think I am fairly decent at determining what will work, and what won’t.  By and large, I’m not creating for others; I create for myself.  I often need a way to exert some creative musculature or I risk my sanity.  Having said that, I do like to share with others if I think something is worthwhile.   As demonstrated above (my edit), sometimes I just need to prune something.

I have been working on a game idea inspired by a piece of fiction.  I have been trying to find a way to contact the author, but have been unsuccessful…  I don’t know how the author would feel about having fan-derivatives based on their work.  (I do plan on giving credit where it is due, of course.)   [ I mention Olga Turlovna here, on the possibility of the name coming up on a search engine and someone knowing how to reach her will get in contact with me.  (I will probably mention the name in a few more blog posts, just to skew some the odds more to my favor.) ]

In other news, I believe I have explained that I have trouble establishing “scope” and maintaining the discipline to make that happen.  (I mean to say that I have already established this in the past.)  With that in mind, I have begun an effort which should be scope-limited based upon how I am going about making it.  I am going to run through the overall arcs first, at their highest levels.  From there, I’ll build down and into the details.

Generally, most of my work is “bottom-up” — do the details, then build as the flow dictates.

Most people in the Real World tend to approach from “top-down” — start with the overall abstracts, and then address each in its own right (in tiers) downward until you have it functioning as intended.

I gain a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction from adding details and embellishing on something… by “fine-tuning” it.  If a thing isn’t already complete, however, I usually get bogged in the mire of feature-creep and design hell.  …which tears down the good feelings I get from my efforts.

That being said, I am doing two projects using the conventional method of top-down.  While it may not be as much “fun” for me, I hope to have something to show for it.  Something worthy of being shared and, hopefully, appreciated if I have my way.

[ Why am I changing my methods to share with others when I say I don’t create for others?  (Trying to head this one off before anyone else gets to it.)  Because I’m getting frustrated with incomplete games, especially from myself.  For some things, the fun is in the journey… but some times, you want to enjoy the destination a bit, too.  I’m at that point with a couple of my projects.  They’re fun to a point… and then they stop.  I don’t have the resources to demand other creators give more content… I can only push myself.  And, to be fair, in my history my best (completed) works were done through top-down methodologies.  So… yeah.  Go me.  ]

If it works for these two projects, then you can expect it for more of my projects.

Time will tell… do I have the discipline to maintain a “new” development paradigm?  …let’s find out.



September 8, 2015 / gameofslaves

Always forward…

At one place I worked, I put up a sign:

(not the actual sign, but extremely close!)

I don’t want to half-slow (which is “half-fast”) any of my projects, which is one of the big reasons things are taking so long.

Things are progressing forward.  Slowly, though.

I’m working on a preview / demo version of Slave Mastered.  It won’t be fully-featured with everything I want to include, but it will be a start.  It’s in Twine.  It’s coming along well, actually.  It will be more of a short-story than a slave-training simulator… from the other side.

We’ll see how things go.  For all I know, my games will suck with hackneyed writing, improbable plots, shallow characters, and indecipherable dialogue.  *shrug*

Time will tell… because I have yet to share anything worthwhile (my HBL map-travel demo doesn’t really count.)

[As guided by a fortune cookie I just consumed (@01:00 in the AM), “list the positives”.]  Perhaps my  results will not be so bad.

  • I have been working this blog for some time now (almost three years?).
  • I have been documenting my progress on my various projects.
  • My writing has been improving.
  • My ‘visions’ for my projects have become clearer and clearer.
  • I’ve stayed largely optimistic.
  • I can see the requirements to make my projects into realities.

I can make them happen.  I just have to do it.  I simply have to get to my destinations.

Easy, right?


August 15, 2015 / gameofslaves

Still alive and kicking

This summer, I seem to be on par for one post per month.  Not the weekly effort I was maintaining, but still some form of consistency.

I have dropped Java.  It was very slow-going and the payoff was not worth the effort.  It reminded me why I stopped using C/C++ and opted for other higher-level programming languages.  It had power, yes.  But it required so much low-level work I spent more time focused on ensuring variables were assigned right than I spent on being creative.  At one time in my life, it was a worthwhile penalty which could be accommodated.  Now, I just have too much going on in my life to do it.

I have started studying Python.  In terms of rapid application development, it loses some performance compared to Java, but it makes up for it in several ways.  It is different enough from other languages I know where I’m not confusing the keywords and syntax.

I’ve been impressed with all I’ve seen of Python.  There’s tremendous community support, tools, and options.  So much yes!

I have begun work on a couple of new projects…  one of which might result in some cash-flow.

*deep breath*  While I still insist that I do not want to program in a business environment, getting some compensation for my efforts would be nice.  (Those who are not close to me will not see my efforts, but they are there.)  I don’t plan on charging money for my work, but accepting donations or maybe a Patreon system might be doable.  …and when it comes to The Game, it will cost a fair amount to maintain it, so I want to keep my options open.

More to come on this…

Speaking of The Game…  I had decided, a while back, that I wanted to use CoffeeMUD for The Game.  Now that I’ve dropped Java, however, I’m rethinking that decision.  (CoffeeMUD is AWESOME, please do not misunderstand!  It does everything I want, and so much more!  …and that ‘more’ is part of the issue… so much would have to be rewritten, I don’t know that it’s worthwhile.  Also, Java.)

I’m looking at MU* engines and codebases in Python.  We’ll see if any of them meet my needs (multi-platform, without requiring cumbersome software installs; open license, so I don’t have to make my code public or pay to use it commercially, etc).  If I don’t find the right option for my specs, then I can go back to CoffeMUD… and invest myself in it.

I’m still trying to get most of my story ideas out on paper.  It’s a challenge.  I was writing up a brainstorm sheet and… well…  I got a few ideas down, and while I writing one idea’s details I found myself exploring a couple of variants of it and then I was just listing more and more.  And then I wanted to start working on one of them.


When inspiration hits me, it hits hard.


I’ll write more for you… probably soon, as summer is coming to an end.


July 14, 2015 / gameofslaves

Storytelling problem – Starters and stoppers

This is kind of a “fluff” post, because I want you all to know I’m still alive… and because it’s on my mind.

I don’t have a big problem telling stories… shaping scenes… making characters, directing them, giving them a voice, and then putting words into that voice.

For me, well-rounded characters don’t start at the chapter one and stop at the epilogue. I want them to have their own motivations and have some depth.  This brings me to one of the biggest problems I have when writing:  when to start and stop the story.

I find inspiration in all manner of places and things.  Sometimes it is from someone telling me about the exploits of her best friend’s family.  Sometimes it is from hearing just a fraction of a conversation in passing.  From there, it is simply a matter of filling in the details.

The devil is in the details.

…and how true it is.  Eventually, I have to stop filling in details and get to the heart of the matter – the story.

Again, knowing then to start and stop is one of my greatest challenges.

My side-project du jour is set in a setting which I have a fair amount details worked out.  Yes, the environment is a character in its own way, but it is not the main character.  While writing, I have to remember that.

I wonder if this is related to the feature-creep I experience while coding.

Updates on projects will be forthcoming…

– Cam

June 24, 2015 / gameofslaves

Updates and meh

Well, it’s been nearly a month since my last update.  Meh.

I spent a few days playing with my Sugarcube / Twine release of Hell Breaks Loose!, and then lost my steam.  Meh.

On a brighter note… I have been using Notepad++ as my non-coding text-editor-of-choice for a few years.  (The built-in spell-check is extremely handy.) It has a lot of support for coding, but I’ve never really used it for that.  I was doing my writing for Twine in NP++ and then pasting it into Twine and then have to edit THAT for the code-aspects of Twine.  Meh.

Now I have an add-on for Notepad++ which does on-the-fly context-coloring for people who are writing Twine.  VERY handy, very nifty.  Now, all I have to do is actually set aside time to write.  Meh.

I’ve spent a good portion of the last few weeks working on moving stuff (actual physical boxes) from one storage location to another and it has been a fair amount of work… but since it’s largely manual labor, my brain has been going over-time creating ideas for stories and games.  Lots of creative + little output = Meh.

I did spend some time playing a game where you train a princess and turn her from prim and proper to slutty and depraved.  I figured out which engine was used and have studied it a bit.  Turns out there are more than a few commercial games which use that engine (GPL’d, so no charge to use even for commercial purposes).  I have more than a few ideas for ways to use that engine… but still, no time.  Meh.

Also, the engine (Ren’py) lends itself to graphics-focused play.  Games / stories without images seem VERY bland and dull.  Now, I just need a talented artist who can portray the images in my mind… or I can learn to draw.  Double-meh.

Aside from that, the moist heat we’ve had the last couple months is draining my will to… anything.  Meh, again.

But I have air-conditioning (at work and at home)… so that helps a lot.  That’s the brightest part of this update.  No need for a meh.


— Cam

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