Moving Day: Gremlin Edition.

I… haven’t been keeping up here like I should, have I?

Regardless, just here to gloat. About a month ago, Shamus Young announced on his blog, Twenty-Sided Tale, that he would be moving and as a result, he would be without internet for several days. Cue much complaining about ISPs and how their service is awful and their policies for changing that service are even worse.

I don’t know what ISP Shamus Young has, but I have Century Link, and today is moving day for me.

I’m posting this from my new apartment. I called the ISP on Monday, talked with the agent for less than half an hour including hold times, and informed them I would be relocating on November 6-10, and asked if they could get the internet turned on over here on the 6th and off over there on the 7th. Agent said “Sure, no problem.”

So let’s see, shall we?
Price: Century Link costs half what Comcast does. Advantage: Century Link.
Service: Century Link gives me 2x the download speed and 0.5x the upload speed that Comcast advertises. Well I guess the difference there is whether you’re watching or hosting. Me? I’m mostly watching. Advantage: Century Link.
Quality of service: I have had ONE outage with Century Link, and it lasted eight hours. Six of those were while I was asleep. I’ve never used Comcast, but from what I hear, their service reliability is, shall we say, spotty at best. Advantage: Century Link.
Changes to contract: I just wrote a post about this. Advantage: Century Link.

Looks like a clean sweep to me.

Let’s make an RPG part 4: Skill Labors

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.“— Lazarus Long

We’ve got some character points.  We’ve bought some stats.  Let’s do something with those stats.

Most tabletop RPGs have some sort of “skill check” system.  The most obvious example is if a thief wants to pick a lock.  This is a fairly complicated action, requiring understanding of lock-picking techniques, as well as the physical dexterity to manipulate lock tumblers into their appropriate positions without the aid of the key originally designed to do so.  Additionally, someone who has some practice in picking locks will, naturally, be better at it than someone who doesn’t, regardless of how smart or dexterous the second person is.

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Let’s Make an RPG Part 3: Balancing Point

So in my all-fired-up push to get pen to paper, I neglected to mention something VERY KEY to tabletop RPGs, and in fact, gaming in general: Balance.  Specifically, how you balance the overall power level of your characters.

There are a few ways to do this.  D20 and Palladium both promote a dice-rolling system wherein a character’s stats are determined randomly.  That’s fun and all, but let’s be honest, it’s fun for about the first 6 characters you make, after which you realize that the dice aren’t going to turn you into a god every time, or may give you a really awkward stat loadout.  “Well I could use a little extra Wisdom and I don’t need quite that much Dexterity, but all I’ve got here are a bunch of 16s and 11s.”(in D20, stats run from 3 to 18, though it’s incredibly rare to see a character with a single stat below 10, which is average.)

If only there were some way to trade points from one stat into another.  Some sort of… “Point Buy” system.

I said Point Buy, not Best Buy!

I said Point Buy, not Best Buy!

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Let’s make an RPG Part 2: Statistically Speaking

RPG stands for “Role Playing Game.” It’s a game in which you take on a role of a character, in a world which might be very similar to your own or vastly different. The idea is that your character is participating in a story. A story you get to be a part of.

So we need a character. And we’ll want to describe that character. Is this character young or old? Male or female? Does he tower over members of his acquaintance? Do they tower over him? And most importantly, how many dice do I get to roll for damage when I land a double-critical with my Greatsword of Overwhelming Munchkinism that technically cost more than I told the GM I paid for it?

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Let’s make an RPG: Part 1

May as well use that Tabletop Gaming category, right?

A noble band of four stalwart heroes

A noble band of four stalwart heroes

This is actually a project I’ve been on for several years.  And yes, like anybody else who has ever tried to make their own Dungeons and Dragons clone, the first draft was as unplayable as it was uninspired.

The second wasn’t much better.

But it’s been a couple of decades since then, I’ve played a few different systems, studied even more, and had a lot of fun in the meantime.  I think I may actually have a solid concept, for a change.

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Anime Review: Log Horizon

An anime about people trapped in an MMO. Now where have I heard about that before?

The similarity ends here.

The similarity ends here.

When two things are released in quick succession, with very similar premises, and you know that one of them was good, there are pretty much two possibilities for the other. It’s going to be terrible, or it’s going to be amazing. With this in mind, I watched the first few episodes of Log Horizon with a cautious, but open, mind.

Log Horizon is definitely the latter of the two options.

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Clockwork Gremlin plays Kerbal Space Program Part 4: The Last Horizon

Kerbal Space Program 0.23 is set for release TOMORROW(Tuesday, December 17), and it’s going to completely overhaul a few things, like how SCIENCE! works.  This will be the last update for my 0.22 LP.  Maybe the next one will go better.

Anyway, when we last left our heroes, they had accumulated this much SCIENCE!

Filling out the tech tree rather nicely.

Filling out the tech tree rather nicely.

There are a couple of things that I just unlocked, which are REALLY COOL!

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Blizzard Adventure

So, I get up this morning and go to work.  It’s snowing a little, but blowing off the road easily enough.  When I get out of work five hours later, it is to the worst driving conditions of the year.  Ridiculous bad.  Awful.  Atrocious.  And so I’ve decided not to leave my house until further notice.  But what to do with my time?  The weather guys are pretty elusive on when the blizzard-like conditions are going to let up, so I have a lot of time to fill.



Pretty right?  WRONG.  Utterly horrifying more like.

So, we’ve been meaning to do a craft adventure for a while and I figure this is the perfect time for it.  Milli and I have decided some time ago that it is time for us to build a cardboard city, then dress up as monsters, and then destroy said city.  We got the idea from (around year 2010) out of the blue one day, and have been collecting cardboard ever since to save up for our own city.  The monster costumes may be beyond our ken, but we aim to try.

And that being said, I’m going to go take a nap instead.

Clockwork Gremlin plays Kerbal Space Program Part 2: Sub-Orbital

When we last left our intrepid Kerbals, Jebediah had just gathered me some Science!  Where exactly he got it from is largely irrelevant.

Science to SPEND!

Science to SPEND!

The important part is that we’ve got some science.  So let’s start spending that science.

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Fun with Procedural Images: Back to Square One.

November 1-3 this year, there was an event called the Colorado Springs Startup Weekend.  It’s not annual, because there were two this year, but this was the second one.  I perhaps was not the kind of person they usually expect to have there, but I attended with plans to learn about starting a company and maybe show off what I could do, and I achieved everything I had initially set out to do.  OK, mostly.

Most notably, I ended up working on a program that had some rudimentary GUI functionality, which meant I had to refine and learn some new portions of how the user interfaces with the computer.  Particularly, a mouse, and panes.  Hey wait, I can do mouse inputs now!  That means no more of this:

The worst way to make pictures

The worst way to make pictures

It’s time for this!

Click here to get it!

Werkkzeug 4, by Farbrausch, who are awesome.

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Fun With Procedural Images part 2

I’d love to say that the reason I haven’t made any posts for the past week is because I’ve been hard at work on my game engine, but no.  Actually what happened is that I started watching Breaking Bad, and while it wasn’t good enough that I would recommend it to anyone, it wasn’t bad enough for me to abandon it, either.

But that’s unimportant.  This post is in the “Programming” category, which means we’ll be talking about programming!

So as you can probably guess from the incredibly dry and unreadable last post, I’m not terribly happy with parts of my image generation library.  It’s monolithic, messy, disorganized, difficult to maintain, and lacking certain key features.  When faced with a challenge like this, most programmers…

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Thinking Out Loud

When working on math homework, I would sometimes encounter a problem where either I didn’t know how to proceed, or I thought I had the process right but the numbers at the ends weren’t adding up.  When this happens, it usually means you’ve missed a small detail somewhere, and the best plan is usually to call for help.

The funny thing is that it doesn’t really matter who you get help from, because the first thing you’re going to do is explain the problem you’re having and the process you’ve been using.  During the explanation, you’ll typically discover exactly what you did wrong, and more often than not you could literally be talking to a brick wall and it would be just as helpful as a genius with multiple Doctorate degrees in the field of the problem you’re having.  So if you don’t mind, I’ll just think out loud for a while.  This is going to be pretty dry, and I don’t expect to post a lot of pictures, but we’ll see.

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