Friday, February 15, 2013

A Lot of Chatter

This week has been filled with chatter. WoM (Worlds of Magic) has a forums setup where people can discuss possible game features, talk about what they want to see (or fear to see) and share their hopes and dreams with the world. At least, dreams about WoM. If you would like to be part of this beautiful process feel free to join us:

Worlds of Magic Forums

As we get more and more traffic to the forums we get more and more questions, which means more and more answers, which means me typing and typing and typing....

As a result I've gotten very little actual coding done this week. Of course, another reason for that was that the code length for the D20 system I'm working on had gotten ridiculously long. In classic Aaron fashion I refused to break the thing up into multiple files until absolutely necessary. Well, somewhere along the 2K line it became necessary. I was literally spending more time moving up and down the pages of existing code than writing new code! So, I had to take the time to break the primary class into around ten sub-files. Now it's much easier to work with and I have high hopes for what I'm going to be able to get done next week.

Over the course of the weekend I tinkered with the terrain generation system. Well by “tinkered” I mean I basically redesigned the way it works. I am VERY satisfied with the results. I generated a world map (just the basics: water,coats,plains,hills and mountains) of over four million tiles (2048x2048) in just over a second. That is unplayably huge, so it can do way more than it needs to. I need to add the extras like forests and rivers, but I don't think that's going to be too bad. Either way, the terrain generation system is well underway.

In other and more CC related news: The site redesign goes well. It's still going to be a few weeks before it get's put in place, but it's getting there step by step. We should have more news soon.

For the moment I have to take a break. My hands are starting to hurt from typing. Have a great weekend!

Friday, February 8, 2013

The weeks pass quickly by...

Have you ever had one of those weeks where you get to Friday and think “Did I do anything this week? If I did I don't remember what it was...” Of course you have! We all have (OK, so you haven't, I'm not talking to you then, just all the rest of us). Well, it was on of those weeks for me. I actually had to go back through my e-mail to figure out what had happened this week.

Before I go into it I want to say that the Console Classix quest moves forward. There have been updates, a few posts and some technical site changes. There is a lot more on the way, but day by day it makes progress. (We can give a big e-hand to the people making it happen.)

For my own part it was a wild and brain numbing week. First, I started off by waking up at 3AM Sunday night/Monday morning and not begin able to go back to sleep. I decided to come down and do a little work on the procedural terrain generator for Worlds of Magic. (I would post a video about it, but apparently I'm supposed to keep a lid on things until they're “ready”.) It went very well and by the time I would normally be getting up (6AM) I had basically banged out the technical issue I had. It's a simple diamond-square noise generator combined with Unity3D's ability to create 2D planes almost a the speed of thought. It's actually very interesting stuff for us tech-heads.

Tuesday and Wednesday were spent working on a tentative spell list for the game. That may seem like a long time to spend sorting through spells, but there are 173 in the base set. By the game's release there are probably going to be somewhere between 250 and 300. It makes the mind go numb after a while. Still, I'm hoping it will become a magic/spell system people will get excited about. It's worth all the effort.

Yesterday was spent re-tweaking the “tile” creation part of the terrain generator. Between myself, the producer and the artist (mainly me) I got the system in my head wrong and the generator kept spitting out unaesthetic terrains. In the end I got it and learned a bit about that end of game development.

Today I am working on information dissemination. After I post this I have to work on a number of forum posts explaining the very basics of the game mechanics. The forums aren't open to the public yet, but I have to get some of this information up so when we do open the forums people will be able to very quickly figure out how the game is going to work.

That's enough for today I suppose. I have a lot to do and less time to do it in, lol.

Friday, February 1, 2013

I'm back

Well guys, it's been a while. In fact it's been a little more than eighteen months... So, my blogging break was a little longer than I anticipated. The truth is that, although I love to talk, and write for that matter, I don't love writing the kind of things I talk about, lol. I'm working on it, however. I am actually going to try to keep up with this blog a bit better than I have in the past.

In order to help me do that I going to change one of the ground rules. I'm not going to focus on classic gaming as much as I did previously. I love retro-gaming (I mean what with starting Console Classix and all that I don't think I need any more proof), but I'm also interesting in a lot of other things. So, I plan to just talk about whatever I've got going on at the moment and see how it goes.

First, as coincidence would have it, I'm back to playing Dwarf Fortress. It really is amazing, as well as being fairly difficult to master. For those of you who would like a lighter version there is “A Game of Dwarves”. It was recently published by Paradox Entertainment. They were very open about the fact that the game was inspired by Dwarf Fortress. I think it's awesome that DF, which is basically an “elite” game, could be the philosophical inspiration for an almost casual game. It's just one of the interesting things going on in gaming.

In other news, I am still trying to get published. I've actually written another book since the book I was working on in my last blog. When I finally got that book to an agent it was his opinion that it didn't have enough popular appeal (it was a collection of my fairly humorous childhood stories). As I'm a nobody, nobody cares what happened in my childhood. I had to admit I could see his point. So, last fall I wrote another book. It's a fantasy that's just over 100k words. It should have a bit more popular appeal. Next week the manuscript is going to be e-shot out to a number of publishers.

I've handed over some of the Console Classix workload to another company. It's run by a close personal friend of mine. I think the injection of new blood (and new ideas) is going to be very good for us. There will probably be quite a bit of news in the near future. Keep an eye on the site.

I've also started working on game development. It's going very well. I'm currently coding a sort-of spiritual successor to Master of Magic entitled Worlds of Magic. We actually already tried (and failed) to raise enough money to produce it ourselves through kickstarter. Although the project wasn't funded it got me in touch with a producer. He runs Wastelands Interactive and is helping us raise the money we need to produce the game. It was originally going to be 2D just like MoM. However, having thought it over I decided to go with the Unity3D engine so I could add 3D elements where they made sense. (Like for the battle board for instance.)

There is a lot going on with the game right now. Artists are working getting us the resources to launch another (and almost certainly more successful) kickstarter project. I am working on a programmatic version of the D20 system for the core combat mechanics. I plan to talk more about it, but this has run long enough for my “I'm back” post.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Changing Gears

Greetings to the faithful few who keep up with what's going on around here. I have a number of things to tell you so this post may get a bit long. Sorry about that...

To start with I haven't been around for about three weeks. That's because I took a semi-vacation. It was supposed to be a week of real vacation, but what often happens with me happened again this time. The fertilizer hit the fan covering my relaxation with a number of interesting smells. It seems I have a gift. Last summer my car bent a rod and I decided to fix it myself, for those of you who don't remember when that happened.

So, what happened this year? I don't even want to go into it. For one thing I can't remember it all. I think it's my brain's way of shielding me. I know that me and Jonathan, the next in line for the CC throne, spent a number of hours/days moving his sister from about two hours down the road back to town. Also, I had to work on my car.... big surprise. A number of computer problems also cropped up mysteriously as soon as I decided that I needed a rest.

Now, I have also started playing new game and that ate up a lot of my time. I say it's new, I should say it's new to me. It's Dwarf Fortress and you have to be a serious man to play it... I decided to take a second crack at it while I was off because I failed to play it once before. The “Getting Started” tutorial takes several hours to play through. The game doesn't have a learning curve, it's move of a learning cliff that most people throw themselves off of before they learn to play. Once you can play it though it's amazing. If any of you play it e-mail me. I want to virtually pat you on the back...

In other news I'm writing a book. I know I mentioned it once before, but now I'm working on it in earnest. Gaming is one of my loves, storytelling is another. You might say I'm an aspiring author. At the moment a lot of my time is being eaten up by the book. I'm trying to get it ready to send to an agent before the end of August. (I really hope to have it ready by the beginning of that month...)

Part of the reason I am doing this is to try and raise some more money I can stick into CC. Things are going well around here, but not well enough to hire the new hands we need. We have got to get an influx of cash and, so far, all the new things we've worked on haven't brought in a great deal of new traffic. General MacArthur said that you shouldn't land where the enemy was, but where he wasn't. I am trying to step out on new ground rather than fighting the same old battle we've been entrenched in for years.

On top of all this I have got to get a lot of meat and potatoes work done around here. So, for the next little while you're only going to be hearing from me now and then. If any of you want to know what's going on come by the forums or shoot me an e-mail. Once I get some of this stuff under hand I should have time to get back on videos and blogging and the whole deal.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Back To The Point

Eventually I do plan to get back to the point and start doing “elements” posts again. Today however, I'm just not up to it. I'm working on a book (Shhhh, that's not exactly public knowledge.) and I feel written out in a lot of ways. It's one thing to get on here and blabber about whatever I'm thinking as I think it. It's another to lay out a philosophical position point by point underlining some running theme. So, for a second Sunday in a row I fall down on the job.

In truth I have got to give myself a vacation soon. It probably looks like I'm not doing anything from you guys point of view, but there's always a lot going on in the background. This video thing really eats up a lot of time, but it really is working. Honestly we've only touched the surface with it as well. We plan to do more even soon. It is like I don't have enough hours in the day though. I get up at six, even on weekends, and before I know it it's time to head to bed. I was waiting to take a week off when SWTOR came out, but it doesn't look like it's going too this spring. If it's not out in June I am taking a week off anyways.... I am worn down, lol.

This week I really hope to get another video or two up. We have the funny one we are working on and if Daggerdale comes out this week we hope to get it up as well. There's more going on than that, but I am going to cut it here. I just started playing Dwarf Fortress this weekend. It is CRAZY and it's calling to me. I'm sure you all understand what I mean, lol.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Congratulations Guys!

Well, Tim and b5a0ed44-6ada-11e0-ae5e-000bcdcb2996 (if that is your real name...) both of you have won a copy of Star Raiders. Shoot an e-mail to me here: and I'll send you your keys.

I do wish we had had a few more entries, but I guess it worked out for you guys. I think we may have to up our prize packages to bring a little more attention to all this, lol.

Either way, once you guys have played the game a bit post your thoughts here if you don't mind. I'd like to know what you think of the game.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

You Know, Just Hanging Out

In truth I've been doing a lot more than that although you guys can't really see what's going on in the background. That's why I decided to take the time to do a full blog post about it. The number one thing eating my time right now is playing games. Yep, that's right. I have spent countless hours playing a number of games getting ready for overview videos and something else we're planing.

In fact I've decided to tell you faithful few about the other project. I wanted to call it “To Hack With It”, but that got booed down, so now it's “The Video Project Without A Title”.... Anyways, one of the things I do for fun (when I ever have the time) is hack games that I've played in the past to add some interesting element or facet to the game. For instance what I've started with is Dragon Warrior. You all may remember how the game goes on FOREVER and how you start with nothing, not even clothes. Well, it struck me as funny when I was playing it for the overview. You are the decedent of Erdrick, who was the greatest warrior in the world. Apparently your family blew all his money on cheap wine because you start with nothing. So, I hacked the game and with the change of one byte I went from starting with nothing to starting with Erdrick's Armor, Erdrick's Sword and the Silver Shield. Believe it or not even starting with that it still takes HOURS to top out your character.

Anyways, the point is that I want to make funny videos where I hack some game to add something cool to it. Like starting Final Fantasy with the grown up versions of your characters. What do you guys think? Can anyone think of a title better than “Fun Time With Aaron”? Post a comment and let me know something...

In other news Atari has already told me that I can get a copy of Daggerdale to review when it comes out, so that's cool. The new game reviews seem to be bringing in more traffic than anything else. I honestly think we need to start trying to do one new game review a week, but I'm not sure we can fit it into the current time table. Plus I really want to continue to tie things into the whole “classic” theme around here. Of course with Daggerdale I feel like it's a D&D game and that probably appeals to a lot of our fans anyway. How many D&D games do we have on the site? A lot...

I also need to get those games moved into the new boxes. So far I haven't gotten one game moved... I need more time or more help or if I can get it both... Either way, I'll try to let you guys know when when I make measurable progress on any of this stuff.