Bad weekend

I have two papers that I am preparing for the CEC2015 conference. The deadline is on the 18th (two weeks from now). While (most of) the experiments are all done, the writing of the papers is pretty much in the beginning.

Because of my current “publish or perish” situation, I decided that this weekend I would finally forego my first Ludum Dare . I have participated in every LD since LD23, but I couldn’t really find the energy to do this one, and I couldn’t shake the nagging feeling that I should be writing my papers instead.

In the end, though, I did neither. I did not join LD, and I didn’t do any significant progress with paper writing. And I was left feeling terrible about it. To make up a tiny bit for it, I managed to at least cobble together an outline for one of the papers, and I updated my blog.

Keep trucking on.

Burning Blood, and passion for making things.

This weekend, I went to a live house in Roppongi to see “Burning Blood” play. BB is a cover band composed by Ayako’s friends.

Burning Blood!

If you ask me what songs they played, I kinda remember one which I think was called “bad medicine”. I suck at music. But I loved the performance. I suck at music.

Back in undergrad, I would often go to theater and a capella live performances. When I worked in Rio de Janeiro, my supervisor invited me almost every month to a local Jazz show. My favorite games nowadays are indie titles.

There is something about watching live performances that fills me with energy. When I was at that rock show last weekend, I couldn’t recognize any of the songs, but a flood of ideas would come to my head as I watched these people play. I felt like I wanted to sit down there and then, and start making games.

I feel very guilty saying that by the time I got home, that fire had died down to an ember. I need to make a bigger effort…

5th Edition game, Game Report II!

Last week our RPG group played the third session on our DnD 5th edition campain. You can see the previous Game Report here.

Our first two sessions were an “introductory” adventure in a small hand-made dungeon. Now that the characters have survived their baptism by fire by undeads, we have decided to move on to the published adventures “Lost Mines of Phandelver” and “Hoard of the Dragon Queen”.

Goblin art from the DnD Starter Set. Linked from http://dnd.wizards.com

Since both modules start the characters from level one, I’ve decided to make some changes in order to be able to play them in sequence. Most of these ideas I took from reading the DnDNext subreddit and the “Hack & Slash” blog. I’ll post these changes as they show up in the game to avoid spoilers, but for now it is enough to say that Phandelin was moved south of Baldur’s gate, and much closer to Greenest.

The group was travelling down the trade route south of Baldurs Gate. They heard reports of many caravans being assaulted by goblins, and a few sightings of a strange new cult, and wanted to investigate first hand by themselves. They come across the remains of a recent attack – dead horses and humans in an ambush site just under a small hill.

This was the opening scene of LMoP. I have replaced the dwarf NPC (who has been kidnapped already for a few weeks in my game), with a PC who was joining the party that night. This PC happened to be a Human thief with Alertness and expertise in Perception, giving her a whooping 20 passive perception at first level! I’ll make sure to take note of that build when making NPCs in the future (Of course, a master human scout is still shut down by a dark room).

The group stormed through the Cragmaw hideout – clever use of darkness alongside with good perceptions and sneaking rolls meant that the goblins never saw what hit them. By the end of the adventure they handly defeated Klaargh the Bugbear and his cronies — but hadn’t found Sildar Hallwinter yet (who in this game was a mentor for the thief character).

I’m realling liking this 5th edition sessions – combat is streamlined and run as a breeze. I need to play my opponents a bit more intelligently — I completely forgot about Klaargs escape route in the heat of battle. But maybe it is a good idea to roleplay the goblins as dumb creatures, in order to make the contrast with human enemies more stark.

Next game: finishing cleaning up cragmaw hideout, and then doing the Pandelin Missions.

Culinary Experiments: Chahan!

Chahan (or fried rice), is a simple and filling chinese dish which is quite popular in Japan. It looks kinda like this:

chahan

So today I tried preparing some, following this recipe from the internets (google chahan recipe). I prepared about half the suggested amount in the recipe (keeping the proportions for the dressing), and replaced honey, which I didn’t have in hand, for sugar — turned out pretty neat.

Game of Life on Google

So I spent almost all of my weekend preparing my intensive lecture for tomorrow (and playing some minecraft >_>). The lecture is about artificial life and artificial intelligence, and I decided to find a link for an online version of Conway’s Game of Life.

So, I go to Google’s homepage, write “Conway’s Game of Life”, and suddenly on the corner of the screen a mini version of the game of life started animating. Google, oh you!

If you are too lazy to type “Conway’s Game of Life” on google, you can probably see the easter egg in this link.

Little Saturday

This weekend I’m slaving away at a intensive class that will be held Monday and Wednesday for visiting high school students in Tsukuba.

For a break, I went to the Nagareyama City central library. I find it fantastic to go to these libraries, for there are always people from all ages reading different stuff. Today, a large number of “ojisans” were reading newspapers in a long table, while two school-aged girls were peering over some musical score. This library had a CD selection, and right on top of it I found a disk with Dragon Quest musics performed by the NHK orchestra. Awesome.

On the way out, I saw this tiny coffee shop. The owner probably fancied himself (or a close friend) a cartoonist, for there were a bunch of different picture books from the same author, along with many drawings in the same style as the books along the walls and menus of the coffee shop.

As I was having some coffee, a group of 10-15 small kids were doing their own version of a matsuri parade, carrying a big box that said “Ice cream” in the style of a mikoshi shrine.

And that was my small break. Now time to go back to work…

Some cool links!

Found some very cool stuff on the internet recently:

“If the Moon were Only one Pixel”. This is a map of the solar system – to scale! To paraphrase the website itself: “the problem with a scale map of the solar system, is that there is a lot of empty space. To fill the void, the site starts with some witty remarks, but eventually changes into some pretty interesting insight about the place of humans in the universe. After scrolling around for a while, click on the small “C” button in the bottom right corner to set the scroll speed to the speed of light — prepare to be surprised!

If you enjoy this map, you might also enjoy Neil deGrasse Tyson’s podcast, “Startalk”.

All of Minecraft: Pre 0.0.9a to 1.8: Minecraft has recently released its newest major version: 1.8. To celebrate it, one user has created a video that shows all the new features that were added since the early alpha versions, back in 2010. It is worth a watch to see how far the game has come.



Game Report!

Today was my first D&D 5th edition game! We decided to play this last week, after a botched numenera adventure. I bought the new Player’s handbook, and was, honestly, pumped about it.

Two of our regular players were missing today. Add that to the new system we had to learn, and I decided to prepare a really simple, short game to get everyone comfortable — including the Game Master. A local noble had his Jewels stolen, and asked the players to get it back to them. I drew inspiration from this image:

Original from Skycam on Deviantart

The group had three players: A dragonborn paladin of Torm, a human cleric of Ilmater, and a tiefling warlock. We spent almost one and a half hours creating the characters – some of the delay was because character creation has a surprising amount of crossreferencing necessary: background and class choices influence in equipment, so you have to go back and forth among three chapters to take into everything. But I assume that if one is more acquainted to the system, this can go pretty quickly. After building the characters, though, combat and social encounters went much more smoothly.

If anyone is reading this ;-) let me know if you want a more detailed game report.

Geolocation for Desktop

In my recently finished Ludum Dare Game, the level that you play is determined by your geolocation. In other words, as you walk around the world, the game presents you with sligthly different levels.

Calculating an user’s location was reasonably straightforward on Android, but I had no idea how to implement it on the Desktop. The basic idea is to get an user’s IP address, then access some sort of geolocating service to get the location data from that IP address. But how to do it, and what geolocating service to use?

There was this very cool Ludum Dare Entry that used Geolocation to show the location of all participants. Better yet, the source code for that was pretty easy to grok. Diving into the code, I found out that they use a service called “Geolite2″ from “Maxminds”. Link diving brought me to this page, which has pretty much all the info that I need. In the short future I will be able to update my game to read your location even from the Desktop :-) (I hope!)

If you want to play my game “GeoQuest”: