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”:

Na na na na na na na …

You might have seen the “Japanese Batman” floating around the internet recently. A guy dressed as batman, on a batman themed trike(?) has been seen in Japanese highways by many people, and pictures like these have been floating around:

Author unknown
Author unknown

Reddit recently linked to an interview that this guy gave to a Japanese TV program.

After watching the interview, I became a fan. The guy is a 40-something that works repairing containers in Chiba’s port. His hobby is “making” things, such as the bat-bike and his costume. He has been driving around as batman for 3 years, and his goal is “to make people laugh”. I find it pretty amazing. I love it when people dedicate themselves to their hobbies, and I think this guy is pretty cool for being proud of what he does.

Ganbare, Chibatman!

Geoquest Title Screen

Ludum Dare 30!

If you don’t know what Ludum Dare is, get the short version before reading the rest of the story :-).

Last week has been Ludum Dare #30. Like every time, I was really looking forward to it — on the week before LD, random gameplay ideas had started popping into my head. I had recently played Ingress, so I was thinking about how I could include geolocation into a game in cool ways.

Luckly, the theme of LD30 was “Connected Worlds” — so I could basically apply all the ideas that were cooking on my head right as they were!

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Failed RPG Experiments – Bring in the dragons!

This week I brought the Numenera campaign I was running for the Kanda group to a halt.

Numenera is a recent game written by Monte Cook. The premise is a Sci-fi Fantasy in a post-apocalyptic world millions of years in the future. Sufficient advenced technology of former generations and civilizations did become magic. The system is extremely light weight, with only three attributes, and a very interesting free-form character creation.

At first these modern design decisions felt like a breath of fresh air. The basic idea of the setting is also something that really appeals to me, as “alien technology behind mysterious magic” is a trope I like. However, after running about 2 months worth of games, I started feeling limited by the system. All players started playing the same, and there was not a lot of good guidelines for balancing encounters or rewards on the core book. This made creating adventures a real shore, and I ended up spending way less time prepping than I should.

I must say, the general idea and setting of the game made me create some adventure hooks that I’m proud of. But the game just didn’t have enough crunch to help me make sessions that used those hooks to their full potential. Oh well.

At the same time, a number of my friends started commenting and praising the new (5th) edition of Dungeons and Dragons I decided to take a plunge and bought the Player’s Handbook in my local game store (DayDream). After leafing through it the past few days I must say: I’m pumped! 5th edition feels a lot like good old 2nd edition AD&D, but with a lot of the improvements that modern RPGs have developed over the years.

I’m looking forwards to writing dungeons again!

Wonderful New World

Today I had a bit of a nostalgia-fest on twitter, as people were talking about Ultima games of old. A friend of mine added that she wanted to add an NPC playing “Stones” in the game, and quickly got a reply from none other than Iolo himself!

I love how the internet make these snap connections possible. Arnold schwarzenegger is someone else who prowls fitness-related subreddits, giving tips and encouragement to random anonymouys on the web. Also recently, I posted my impressions on the movie “Edge of Tomorrow”, and promptly got a head’s up from one of the actors in the movie.

We are living in interesting times!

Late night

Procastination will be the death of me.

I had a short to-do list tonight, a little spill from work. Answer a short e-mail here. Calculate some statistical tests there. Syncronize my netbook with my work computer — by all means this should have taken an hour, most.

but it is 1:00 AM now and I have finally finished everything I should have done. Because of this, I did not manage to clear the one non-work related item in my list: prepare my work environment for Ludum Dare 30… That is not done yet. My friend MME suggested that I try IntelliJ for my dev environment this time around, since last time I was having troubles with Eclipse.

Installation and an initial run went out without a hitch, but now I need to try and see if I can setup a libGDX project in it, and deploy it to android easily (besides setting up the GitHub connection).

Well… I guess I’ll have time for that tomorrow! Time to finish cleaning the dishes and go to sleep. 2:00 AM already! O.o

Comic Sans Criminal

The Facebook winds bring me this link: “My Parents Open Carry”, on Amazon. I am not sure about the message in the book, but when the entire thing is typeset in Comic Sans, you know something is wrong :3

Today was a rough day — I decided to spend the day in my office to work on a problem I was having on a simulator hosted there, and instead spent most of the day procastinating on the net :-( baah. At least I managed to clear out most of my “documents to write” list. Still plenty to do, though.

At night, RPG time. I am GM’ing a game of Numenera, a sci-fi-ish fantasy game. I got a very good idea for the current campaign arc, but procastination + moving means that I have spent very little time preparing. I am excited about the general ideas I want to implement in the story, but not motivated at all to work on the details :-(

This weekend is Ludum Dare. I’m looking forward to it, but I’m also dreading a bit, since I have not touched libGDX since the last LD…


New House, New Host

I have moved two times this week: Firstly I moved from my apartment in Midorino, to another apartment in Nagareyama Central Park — another station in the Tsukuba Express line.

Nagareyama Central Park is a “kakueki-only” station, meaning that only the slowest trains in the TX line stop here. Accordingly, there is not much in terms of buildings or commerce – the station is as bare as they go. That said, we are whithin walking distance from both Nagareyama Ootaka no Mori and Minami Nagareyama, two largish stations with plenty of stuff to do.

In front of my building there is a hospital being built. I decided to take a picture of the building process every morning. When the Hospital is done, I will put those pictures together in a timelapse – something I always wanted to do in my previous building. Construction in Japan is impressive in how much they can get done in such a short amount of time.

Talking about construction, I have recently spent a lot of time playing Prison Architect, a building/administration game that is still in alpha stage, but has a lot of emergent interaction goodiness going on it. Another game on the same vein that has been keeping me up awake late at night is Rim World, this one set up in a space/firefly environment.

Finally, you may notice that the site is a bit different (hopefully this means that you used to visit this site in the past! XD). I have moved hosts, and decided to take the chance and shake up my ancient wordpress installation a little bit. Look forward seeing more changes (and a lot of broken links) in the short future.

And that is it for today!

Snow adventures

Yesterday there was the biggest snowstorm in the last twenty years in Kanto, and I was caught right in the middle of it. This is a short report of my 36 hour adventure.

My father and his son were visiting me for two weeks, and supposed to leave on the Saturday. It dawned a snowy morning, and maybe much of this would have been averted if I had checked the weather forecast beforehand, but that is spilled milk.

We had a nice lunch in Tsukuba, and got on the bus to the airport. It was snowing quite a bit. During the ride, my dad’s wife called, warning that the flight had been canceled. Since we were already midway to the airport, I decided not to worry about it until we got there.

At the airport, the company changed my dad’s flight to another leaving at the same time. I thought it was settled. We waited a bit, said our goodbyes at the security gate, and I headed to the return train.

That was when the troubles started piling up.

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A Link To The Past 2

Felipe was playing a zelda game in his 3DS, and while watching him play, I had this nagging deja-vu like feeing:

- That map you’re playing, It reminds me a lot of LttP.

- Yes! It is because this is Link to the past 2!

I knew that nintendo had released a new Zelda, but I didnt realize it was the continuation of one of my childhood’s favorite games (and my first SNES title). I guess I know what is next in my to-play list.

Talking about to-play games, the latest Humble Bundle has a suberb collection. To The Moon was a fantastic game. The story is really interesting, and should make you stop and reflect about your own life. Some people complain that this game has too little “game” in it, but in my opinion, maybe it has too much. Or too put in a better way, the few game-like elements were a bit disconnected from the narrative, which felt distracting sometimes. But overall it was worth it.

I wonder if I would change my memories before death. I feel more like I would just like to let someone else experience them – a bit “speaker for the dead” style.

Also the bundle has Surgeon Simulator 2013 and Reus, two fun games. The others I havent played yet.