- It was really good to unplug. I did no gaming, youtubing or redditing, and minimal twittering during these days. My brain feels rebooted and resetted.
- I also had no coffee the entire week. My last and first cups were in the airplane.
- I was really impressed that every train station had great wifi. It was very useful to download last minute travel info.
- I used the iPass electronic money card for all the public transportation, and it had an obscure system where from time to time it would not charge us any money. I still haven't figured out how it worked, but I was glad for it!
- We used taxis two times, and both times the taxi drivers scammed us. But other than that, the trip was hassle free.
- My feed got destroyed after two days of heavy walking. I was hoping to last more than that... :-(
- Chinese temples are so over the top with decorations, with hundreds of dolls in hundreds of positions everywhere. I wonder if they are built all at once, or evolve over time.
- Air China's economy class chairs were really comfortable, but the movie selection was poor. I slept my way in, read a book my way out.
- In the event "buddha meets the gods", one of the caravans visiting the temple was playing the mickey mouse club song. Did Disney finally bought their way into godhood?
- There is probably much more to say about the trip, but if I try to write everything I will never post this, so there!
I have recently read the blood Blindsight, a "hard scifi" about modified humans meeting aliens species for the first time. I don't remember exactly, but I think Jon recommended it to me. He's just cool like that.
The book was fun, if a bit hard to get into at first. I wrote a review thingie that you can see on goodreads through this link (Don't need an account to see the review)
My friends in the gaming group have suggested that I start preparing another Sword and Sorcery Megadungeon. The idea is that this would be a "backpocket" game, which I could pull out and GM whenever we don't have enough players for whatever the main game is at the time.
Backpocket game is a game that I can run with minimal session preparation, and with a small, un-fixed cast. A megadungeon would in theory be perfect for this: 1) There is minimal story besides the experiences the players had in previous sessions; 2) the characters are disposable, and (in the case of the Sword and Sorcery system) can be done very quickly; 3) we can fill in the player gaps with retainers.
In practice, the last time I tried this it didn't go that well -- it was very hard to resist the temptation of chaining sessions together, and running roleplay focused games. Soon, players were getting attached to their characters, and the idea of the characters being disposable, or playing without some characters being around became less appealing.
To avoid that, this time I will try to lay heavier house rules to avoid "town game" and adventures exceeding sessions. The main idea is to force players to flee the dungeon at the end of every session, and have a penalty table to roll for those groups that didn't make it in time. You returned to town, with monsters in tow, in your last hit point, and having dropped almost all your gold pieces, but you did return to town.
Also, I am making the dungeon more mystical and "fun-house"-y this time, borrowing heavily from Etrian Odyssey -- this should encourage the players to see the game more mechanically. I hope!
Last week I went to the Maker Faire at Odaiba, Tokyo
From what I could see, In most of the stands people were presenting their hand-crafted electronics. Half of the presenters were showing some sort of robot (My favorite was the guy with the "hand extender" - a phone would film your hand, and the robotic hand at the end of a pole would mimic the movement). Then we had the raspberry Pi hacks (and its Japanese versions). After that, a little bit of everything, like the guys who made super detailed star wars costumes.
The most interesting part, however, were the children workshops. There quite a few of them. In one, a person was helping the kids build elaborate paper planes and fly them through hoops. In another, this old dude was teaching kids how to program in Scratch. There was an "experimental" one, with multiple tools like air blowers, and the kids could do whatever their wanted.
At the end of the Faire, I saw a stand selling the Arduboy, a tiny programmable pocket console. While I certainly would love having one of these, what came to my mind was trying to make a Pico-8 powered hand held using some mix of Raspberry pi, a small led screen, a disassembled controller, and much more experience putting electronics together than I actually have.
I wonder if there is some sort of workshop that would help me with the steps necessary to make this project...
Also, for the first time, I participated as a group instead of individually, and it was an extremely interesting experience. You might have noticed that the graphics of the game are much better than my usual fare. This is thanks to the amazing work of Felipe who also did the music and part of the sound effects. It was a bit hard to collaborate on the one-file-per-game pico-8 cartridge, but we made do with a common dropbox folder to a "code" cartridge and an "art" cartridge back and forth. The end result was certainly worth it. Felipe used the entire PICO8 sprite sheet to create monsters, fireballs, a background and animations.
The feedback so far from the Ludum Dare has been great. Original idea and animations seems to be the strong point. On the other hand, many people found the game to be "too slow" or "passive", because the main game play is to just sit and wait until the monsters die by themselves. I guess I must agree. In the first monster, the cyclops, there is a small bit of strategy where you can try to stay close to the monster so that it uses its strongest attack and, if you can dodge it, die faster. But for the other two monsters there is no such strategy. If I were to add anything new to the game, it would be an option to "taunt" the monster and make them use a stronger attack at you, to add an element of "risk vs reward" play to the game.
There are, of course, many other smaller additions that I would like to make, such as a better title screen, and some more special effects, but I am very happy with the final result. Please play "Shy Guardian" and let me know what you think!
The part of the dream I remember starts with me sending a flirty message to a guy I follow on twitter. This prompt him to send me multiple "send nudes" messages, which creep out dream-me. You reap what you sow, I guess.
But it gets worse: I flee from twitter into this suburban town, and no one is on the streets, because of zombies roaming about. I see an old lady inside a house, and I am now talking to her. She tells me she will show me her house, but the dwarf who is following me (!) says that we should check the basement instead.
The old lady agrees, and we are walking through a poorly lit dungeon, where she says she keeps he mithril weapons (!!). She shows us a dagger, and I notice that it looks a bit like bone. As I handle the dagger, it starts to look like a skull, and moves! The lady says that the mithril daggers use zombie bone dust in their making, and I comment that this is a security risk, the zombies could come back through the zombie-infused weapons!
The last thing I remember before waking up is me in the front steps of a large building, as a group of people run through the streets. As I wake up, I curse the old lady whose carelessness released zombies from her weapon cache into the town.