Saturday, May 31, 2008

Dragon Knight For Dummies

Well, I got Dragon Knight up and running and I been jacking around with it for a while now, adding mods to it and reading through everything and figuring out how it all works and where everything is located and making lists of things I wanna fool with, its totally fun to screw with DK compared to something like Mount&Blade where you gotta wait for your crap to load for five minutes before you get the pleasure of bug testing some tiny little change you made to the game that won't even show up until you siege eight cities or something.

Y'know, this editing web page stuff is sweet, you can do it on the fly while you are playing the game, I can totally dig that heh.

And after seeing how easy it was to set up with Dundee's tip about using XAMPP insteada going through the torture of installing PHP and MySQL and Apache separately like a total gear-head, I figured I'd do a little thing here in case there's one of you apes that wanna play around with it too, 'cause its super easy to play around with, yer just editing web pages and maybe messing around with the database a little bit, you don't need to be a systems engineer to do that junk, and you might actually be able to do something cool with it (or maybe you just wanna play the damn thing).

Oh, and its all free open source stuff that you are gonna use to do this, there ain't no part of this where I'm gonna suddenly say that you need to buy something heh.

And I'm gonna assume you are doing this in some version of Windows 'cause if you were in Linux you prolly wouldn't need my crappy help ahaha.

So first off, you should prolly download and install Firefox if you ain't done that yet, and you should start using that instead of Internet Explorer, 'cause that'll spare you some headaches with more than just this DK thingie, eventually.

That's just easy and fun to do, Firefox is slick.

And then you need to download the XAMPP Windows 1.6.6a installer and install that (just go with all the defaults, I've got mine installed in C:\xampp and that'll work fine and make it easier for you to follow me 'cause I'm gonna pretend that's where you installed it no matter what you decide to do heh).

XAMPP is gonna install Apache and MySQL and the PHP programming junk on your machine without freaking you out by asking you ten million things about 'em that you ain't gonna know the answers to.

Toward the end of the install it oughta ask if you wanna fire up the XAMPP Control Panel, do that, and "Start" your Apache (web) and MySQL (database) server from the control panel (the only buttons you are ever gonna need to mess with on the control panel are "Start" and "Stop" for your Apache and MySQL servers and the "Admin..." button for Apache, you won't ever need to fool with any of the other buttons or learn what any of the rest of it is all about).

They should "green light" and say they're "Running."

You can turn 'em on and off all you want but you wanna get 'em both on and hit the "Admin" button for your Apache web server to make sure the junk is working, it'll load up a "XAMPP for Windows" web page (off your new web server) that lets you fool around with it.

The only really important thing on that initial XAMPP for Windows admin web page thingie is the phpMyAdmin() button under Tools on the left, you are gonna need to go there if you wanna donk around with the database (you could make a bookmark for it, but its only gonna work when you got your personal web server and personal database fired up).

You are gonna need to go there now though, just this one time (if you don't wanna mess around with the guts of your database), 'cause you need to make a database for DK to use, which is easy to do, so don't freak out heh.

On that first page of phpMyAdmin, under "localhost" in the middle of the page, about halfway down the pile of text boxes and stuff, is a "Create New Database" section, with a blank field where you can enter text, a field that says "Collation" next to it, and a gray button next to that that's says "Create."

Type "dk" in the box (that's gonna be the name of your DK database) and hit "Create."

Congratulations, you are done with all the database stuff you gotta do heh.

Now you need to switch to PHP 4 ('cause XAMPP comes with both PHP 4 and PHP 5 installed, but its using 5, and you need to use 4).

You gotta "Stop" your Apache and MySQL server from the Control Panel to do this part.

Once you stopped everything, get a command prompt (go to start->run or whatever) and type C:\xampp\php-switch.bat

That'll run a little program where, after a couple seconds, you'll need to enter the number "4" on your keyboard and hit enter to switch your PHP programming stuff from PHP 5 to PHP 4.

It should do a bunch of junk and tell you it worked at the end yay!!!

You are pretty much done with all the scary stuff now ahaha.

Okay, now go and download the "Full Game" DK files, and unzip 'em and copy the "dk1111" directory into your "C:\xampp\htdocs\" directory.

That "c:\xampp\htdocs\" directory is your webserver, the DK stuff in that "dk1111" folder is just a bunch of web pages.

Now you need something that you can edit PHP files with so that it isn't a total pain in the ass to look at 'cause of the way its formatted, I use Notepad++ for all that kinda garbage (that ain't the only thing that could do it, if you are some kinda programmer that has some kinda IDE he likes better, but Notepad++ is nice for dummies).

So download and install the Notepad++ npp 4.9.2 installer, if you gottta, and open Notepad++ (or whatever), and open up the file C:\xampp\htdocs\dk1111\config.php (or you could browse there and right click on config.php and select "Edit with Notepad++" or whatever from the menu, too).

The only thing you need to do in there is add in the name for your database at line 7....

From this:
"name" => "", // MySQL database name.

To this:
"name" => "dk", // MySQL database name.

... and then you can save that file and you are done "programming" heh.

Okay, now "Start" your Apache and MySQL servers from the XAMPP Control Panel again.

And open up your Firefox browser.

And type https://localhost/install.php in your browser.

That'll run some stuff that makes a bunch of tables for the game in your MySQL database and an admin account and some other "game setup" junk like that.

After you finish that, you need to get rid of the C:\xampp\htdocs\dk1111\install.php file or the game will see it and be angry with you (you can delete it or rename it or move it out of that directory or whatever you wanna do with it but its gotta go).

Oh, the thing might grump a little about the way you don't have an email server set up but don't worry about that, DK has some email code to it so that Users can pester the admin and create their own accounts and get verification emails and stuff, but you don't need that working for anything and it won't break nothing.

And now you are done, you can play the game anytime you want (single-player) just by starting up Apache and MySQL with the "Start" buttons in your XAMPP Control Panel, opening your browser up to "https://localhost/dk1111/" and logging in on the admin account you made.

Might as well make a bookmark for that too.

There's an admin panel on the left that'll let you cheat and see all the monsters and items and stuff in your database.

And you can hack all the files in the "C:\xampp\htdocs\dk1111\ directories to jack around with way the game works and add mods and stuff, if you wanna do that.

And you could run this thing on the internet multiplayer and stuff too, it has its own code for forums and a really simple chat box and everything, but then you gotta get an internet accessible website running somewhere to chuck your modified DK1111 PHP web page stuff on (or just share your files with somebody who is doing that) and a working email setup and some place (or somebody) to host your DK database if you can't do that kinda thing from home (or work or whatever) and you definitely need to have a password on your database (you don't, if you've done what I said so far, but then half of the databases in the world don't have passwords on 'em, so its not like you are all alone in that, heh, and don't worry about hackers, trust me, your DK database isn't all that interesting to anybody as long as all you got in there is monster garbage).

Oh the mods for it are over here, mostly the "mods" are people just explaining what edits you'd need to make to the php web pages in your "c:\xampp\htdocs\dk1111" folder to add something new to the game.

The cool thing is that if you get all this crap working (and it ain't that hard), then you'll prollly be able to hack around with the web pages and crap and do something that everybody can enjoy just by sharing what you did, I mean, even if you don't really "get" php at first, jacking around with a game is the funnest way to learn it.

Plus its fun to be an "admin" and cheat your ass off in an RPG game (and probably break the hell out of it) if you ain't never done that kinda thing before (and you can always delete your "c:\xampp\htdocs\dk1111" directory and copy a fresh "dk1111" folder in there if you totally dork stuff up beyond repair and you wanna just start over).

I was in the middle of editing my admin page so that it would be able to add and delete users and monsters and items and all that junk when I came over here, and when I finish that, I'll throw up an explanation of all that so that you can do that too.

And then if you do something cool, you can trade it with me, you selfish bastard.

I mean, there's all kinds of junk you can play with in there, forum code, a chat box thingie, its all super simple and short and perfect to go crazy on if you don't mind learning a little "web programming" and database crap.

Which ain't gonna hurt you none to know, y'know?

Yah here's a new admin.php and ./templates/admin.php for your dk1111 folder that adds add-n-delete stuff to your admin panel so you can add and edit monsters and items and all that and then delete 'em if you don't like 'em while you are playing the game without having to jack around with the database.

Friday, May 30, 2008


Pay-by-the-month is the All-You-Can-Eat-Buffet System.

It doesn't pester people for money.

It isn't a waiter standing there making you pay him a quarter every time you want another bite of a sandwich.

Don't laugh, some people would actually like that pay-by-the-bite sandwich, and it isn't just the folks with tiny appetites who might not be able to eat a whole sandwich, the folks who would be getting ripped off if they had to buy a whole sandwich that they couldn't eat.

Its also the folks that like the attention of the waiter, like the old blue-haired ladies who make their doctors their best friends, 'cause they're lonely or they feel like they're getting more for their money if they can force some poor shmuck into giving them special attention and approval and they might as well make the guy entertain 'em a little while they're at it heh.

And the All-You-Can-Eat-Buffet isn't a salesman that follows you all around a store, either, telling you the prices of everything you look at with cha-ching symbols in his eyes.

And there's a lot of folks that especially don't wanna be followed around in a movie theater by a salesman making cha-ching noises when they're trying to relax and enjoy themselves heh.

That kinda thing is a hostile environment, you gotta keep your wits about you, something is out there that wants to prey upon you, you can't let your guard down and relax.

That's why it can be good to put that "exchange of money" thing out there in the invisible distance with a "less pestering" monthly fee, or better yet, a pay-for-three-months-save-three-bucks deal, so that the money thing ain't always hanging over folks, they can put that exchange-of-money shit right out of their mind and try to make the most of the All-You-Can-Eat-Buffet and enjoy themselves.

There's some sense that there's more ownership involved when you can rent something out for a whole month than there is when you need to pay by the hour too, but I'm not gonna get into that, that's really just some kinda weird illusion, the folks that play a pay-by-the-hour game know they can always get back in.

And folks do think about the pay-by-the-month deal as an All-You-Can-Eat-Buffet, where part of the fun is in how cheap you can make it if you really take advantage of it, don't try to lie to me about that, I've heard y'all say how cheap MMOGs are compared to going to the movies and stuff.

Unfortunately, there's another kind of folks, folks with tiny little appetites don't like the way they get "screwed" in an All-You-Can-Eat-Buffet, compared to the customers with big appetites, which, in today's world of games with monthly fees, is folks with more time to play.

There's folks that don't have a lot of time to make a pay-by-the-month game "pay off" and it doesn't seem fair that they should have to pay the same price as some Hungry Lumberjack that has ten times as much time to spend at the salad bar.

It really doesn't seem fair to me either, man, I'm actually with the tiny appetite people on that one, even though I personally don't wanna be pestered for money every hour (or worse, have a company selling items in some kinda online gambling casino game where they can not only create their own demand but create an endless supply to satisfy the demands they create, that's like an Antivirus Company that can write its own Viruses anytime it wants to beef up sales, y'know, fuck you very much, I got better things to waste my time with than that shit heh).

And there's another kind of guy that a pay-by-the-hour dealie or some kinda "micropayment" thingie appeals to, and that's the Family Guy.

The Family Guys need some kinda family pricing plan already, goddamit, its bad enough having to buy all the machines for everybody and keep 'em upgraded and running, let alone pay all the goddam subscription fees and the initial cost of each copy of the game and all that!

I'm on the Family Guy's side too, even though I only put up with that for a little while before I got rid of my woman and her "wife's computer" heh.

Y'know, you wanna be my woman and play games with me, you better be able to fix my computer and pay for all my shit ahaha.

I'm not exactly sure how to accomodate the Family Guy without a pay-by-the-hour thingie (and maybe a free client where you just need to pay for separate accounts), 'cause anything else I can think of would be taken advantage of by a lot of other folks who weren't Family Guys, and that would piss off the folks who wanna do it the All-You-Can-Eat-Buffet Leave Me the Hell Alone way without any Tom Foolery, and all of these pay-by-the-hour things may or may not donk around with the money you are making as the guy running the game, either by making it cheaper for everybody, or by pissing somebody (or everybody) off.

And there's probably something to be said for the way that monthly payments makes it easier for the guy running the game to keep things running stable and plan for the future and stuff, 'cause his income isn't all wobbly from day-to-day.

I mean, you can't just think about the games that make a ton more money than they need, that's like pretending that every dude with a band can be the most popular band in the world by following some simple ten step plan, that just ain't how things work heh.

Really the simple answer is that a good salesman knows that there's different kinds of customers but every customer needs to feel like they're getting at least as good a deal as everybody else and "making out" and even screwing the salesman a little (just a little), those are the Golden Rules, really.

You don't want PvP between your customers, you want PvE where you are the Dungeon Master playing a Salesman Monster where you are supposed to pretend to fall over and die at the appropriate point in the dance to maximize the entertainment value and satisfaction of the Heroic Customer heh.

This kinda junk gets into things with metrics that are really complex, 'cause you might make more money by charging 2 bucks a month with a free-to-download-client than you'd make with all sorts of fancy footwork and theatrics (like a pay-by-the-hour-in-the-background until-you-reach-the-monthly-fee deal, a combination of the pay-by-the-hour and pay-by-the-month schemes) to make people happy.

'Cause that Two Dollar Whore price-point is so cheap (compared to other things) that people are just gonna be like, "oh fuck it, y'know, its ten bucks a month for me and my wife and three kids to play this thing, and if I bug the guy making it, he's gonna charge me an extra buck for the cost of replacing the calories it took him to get all pissed off at how much of a fucking cheapskate I am!" ahaha.

Plus it all kinda depends on exactly what kinda game you got on your hands, y'know, mechanically and on the subjective side, compared to other things.

I mean, you can easily repackage the idea of a game into "twenty hours of content a month and all the french fries you can eat hanging out at the Oasis for however long you want" and then the monthly fee thing is like buying a sandwich every month and not renting a sandwich or paying by the bite.

And why isn't there a pay-by-the-minute or pay-by-the-second or pay-by-the-day discount plan with special weekend and non-prime hourly rates and all that fun stuff that you'd need a calculator to figure out heh.

And you could always quit calling it a "monthly fee" and start calling it a "door charge" just to screw with people's heads ahaha.

"Dude I don't wanna be trapped in Disney World for a whole month!"

"Can we leave or will they make us pay again when we want to get back in?"

"I dunno I haven't tried leaving yet!"

There's another advantage to monthly fees, in that you don't feel pressured to make the most of 'em, if they ain't expensive compared to other things.

I mean, think about the way you'd think about every hour you were paying for, if you were paying by the hour.

Or every minute, even worse.

"omfg! I gotta make every second count!"

When its a whole month fer cheap, you might just be willing to relax a little heh.

Yah, mebbe not ahaha.

I think that's really how it was supposed to work originally though.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Nailgun Monkey Space Expansion!


Jeesh its taking Dundee like, forever to finish programming my game for me, wtf *snicker*

I like CDO, for Crocodile Dundee Online, its like, "seedy O."

O, O, O, you know what I'm taking about, O.


*sips coffee*

Oh oh and I almost forgot, I'm also gonna need you to come in on Sunday, too, 'kay, we, uh, lost some people this week, and uh, we need to sorta play catch-up, thanks.

Some Conjurer of Cheap Tricks

I'm a Near Death Experience Guy.

And while I ain't all cool like Daniel Jackson or Gandalf (I'm more like the guy that taught Gandalf how to swear and laugh and smoke pipes and light shit on fire behind the school house, if anything), I was a slightly Ascended Being.

For about five minutes.

Not that time is the same thing over here as it is over there.

But I don't want to get into all that junk about whether its real or not (its about a hundred times realer and larger than this little sitcom in a shoe-box of yours is to me, so just imagine what it'd be like to have a bunch of two-inch tall muppets trying to explain to you how you didn't see what you thought you saw 'cause they ain't seen it and they saw something on TV about it and shit ahaha).

And I don't wanna get into what I saw and all that stuff, either, 'cause there ain't no way to do it without it turning into a mess, when I gotta start out by explaining how there ain't no way for me to explain something Unearthly in Earthly Terms with any kind of accuracy (I mean, even if I could do it well, which I doubt, you would still be converting it into Earthly Terms in your own head, 'cause Earthly Terms are all that you got to paint with), and the more detail you want, the less accurate it gets, and it won't do anything good for any of us, and it doesn't really matter all that much to me anyways, except for the way that it keeps me from saying certain things.

'Cause there are Rules.

Sorta like the way Gandalf and Daniel Jackson had Rules about Not Cheating and stuff.

'Cept they ain't all cool like that.

And they ain't written down on a piece of paper or something, they're just something I sorta know, something sorta like the way the game of Operation makes that horrible-ugly electrical buzzer sound when you touch the sides, its a gross-ass little alarm like that that makes you feel a little sick.

Like the way I know that it'd just give me a headache to have to try to explain things to you that you were never gonna understand anyways, 'cause you aren't really interested in listening to or even imagining the perspective of an Ex-Slightly Ascended Being, you just wanna know the Secret of the Fire so you can run off and shoot yourself (or somebody else) in the eye with the shit heh.

Yah, the Rules are sorta like a cross between that and the Much Cooler Not Allowed to Cheat thingie ahaha.

Anyways you know how Gandalf had to find some hobbits to take credit for killing the dragons and shit, right?

'Cause he didn't wanna get busted for cheating.

Well maybe I gotta do something sorta like that too.

'Cause of the Rules.

Maybe, just maybe, I'm not afraid of responsibility and whatever else you are thinking, whatever it is that makes me choose things differently from you sometimes.

Maybe there's some Rules that I gotta deal with that you ain't aware of, Rules you ain't gotta deal with.

Trust me, sometimes I'm tempted to do the Gandalf thing where I grow fifty feet high and give you a whupping that'll make you walk funny for the rest of your life for thinking that I'm just some conjurer of cheap tricks, believe you me, I know some shit that'll leave y'all crooked and lopsided for the rest of your life and dizzy for two weeks after, and its really tempting sometimes.

But I'm a good guy, y'know, even though I swear and smoke a pipe and dig the daisy dukes (we're supposed to love all the gods critters, yah?).

Plus I dunno how to do that thing where I turn fifty feet tall and get all cool like that.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

I Had Another Dream

Man, I had this weird dream that I'm gonna forget unless I write it down.

I was helping some lady do some kind of treasure hunt thing at an Amusement Park or something, there was a list of puzzles or riddles that you had to solve to find a bunch of different weirdo objects, and then you had to bring all them weirdo objects back to this outdoor theater-looking place under a tarp and go up on stage and claim the reward.

And so we solve all the riddles and we find all the stuff (for this lady, remember, I ain't really doing it for myself), and I see that some other dude has solved the Treasure Hunt too, and he's like, racing me to the stage.

So I let him go ahead of me, cause I didn't have all the items, the lady did, and she was way back there.

And so we lost.

Wasn't really no big deal to me, I mean, the dude who won really did win the thing according to the rules and stuff, it wasn't like he was an evil dick head or anything about it, he was just all excited.

But then the lady and her entire family and their next door neighbor kidnap me.

And they're driving me back to wherever they're from in a big old car filled with their kids and their neighbor and shit and its really weird that their neighbor would help them even if the whole rest of the family was crazy off their rocker so I asked the neighbor what the hell was up with him and he got all teared up and explained to me that this was a very sweet and loving family and the son of this family had died and they were stealing me to replace him.

And I was all like, whoah.

And I sorta started to play along, 'cause I felt bad for these folks, 'cause I didn't think they meant anybody any harm.

Plus I have to admit, as bad as it may make me look, that the idea went through my head that my own family was really lucky to have me for all the years they had had me as their son, and these people really seemed like they needed me more.

So I just sorta accepted my fate, and started to make friendly with these folks, to calm 'em down a little (not because they were any danger to me, but just to make the situation more comfortable), and I even played along when a cop pulled us over on the Super Highway, so that they wouldn't get in trouble.

But as soon as I had accepted my fate, as soon as this whole family of crazy people saw that I was gonna play along, they started treating me like a regular guy, insteada like a prized possession and some sorta precious cargo that they had stolen from somebody else.

They wanted me to pay for my own food out of my own pocket at this highway pancake house we stopped to eat at!

(and then everything in the place started breaking down, the only thing the place had to pick from to eat was a pile of gross-ass looking cherry pastries on a big plate, 'cause the place was "technically supposed to be closed right now," the cash register didn't work, they didn't have change for a twenty, they had to get change for me from another customer, it was a huge train wreck, a lot of times, in my dreams, there's this theme that machinery doesn't work, but this seemed like some sort of foreshadowing that things were all gonna go south for me and everybody else in the dream from that point on).

So I was all like, alrighty then, to hell with this mess, I'm gonna figure out a way to escape and get out of here, I mean, I can be treated better than a regular dude no matter where I go, and I don't have to hang out with a crazy family to do it heh.

And that's when I woke up.

And somewhere in the middle of that dream of being kidnapped, the dream reminded me of something that's one of my favorite things from dreams.

Being able to go into a comic book store in Dream Land and flip through the Dream Comic Books that are totally different than what we got over here in the Land of the Awake.

I fricking love to do that, man, that's my favorite "dream thingie" of all times, by far, seriously, I could flip through weird-ass comic books in a run-down and shady-looking little comic book store in Dream Land all night long and wake up happy, 'cause those comic books they got over there are cool as hell and fascinating to me, it's like a combination of a different comic book culture, just as complex and rich and old as our own, and a rack of ideas that nobody (over here) has ever thought of before, there's shit that you can tell is popular and shit that is "underground," old and new stuff, old and new styles, there's all sorts of different famous artists and writers and comic book companies, whole histories of all that kinda junk that are completely different than what we got over here, its just totally kickass and awesome everywhichway, its so good that it feels like cheating in a really huge way or something.

And its all jammed into these tight little stacks or racks or those white comic book cardboard boxes that they sell "back issues" in, where you can flip through 'em all at a million miles an hour and just let all their ideas wash over your brain and soar around in your skull.

And some of the issues are worth more than others, and those are the ones that I really pay attention to, y'know, like when there's issues missing from the back issue boxes, and I see 'em hanging on the wall behind the cash register and shit.

What makes those issues so much better than the others to the folks in Dream Land?

I've never had the guts, so far, in a comic book store in Dream Land, to ask the guy behind the counter to take a look at those ones, I got this fear that the guy will figure out that I ain't supposed to be there, or something, right away, if I try to talk to him, that everybody in the comic book store will figure out that I don't belong there if I talk to anybody too much, y'know, if I don't just keep it to mumbling and grumbling responses when they ask me something, and I got this fear that the Parallel Universe Police, or somebody like that, might show up and arrest me if anything like that happened, if I let myself get exposed like that.

But I do try to figure out what the "special issues behind the counter" are all about from their covers, without looking conspicuous or giving away the ghost on how I'm totally a foreigner to these parts and stuff, so I can't just gawk at everything like I want to and I definitely can't let my eyes twinkle or let anybody catch on to how high my energy level is, I gotta play it all smooth and cool and nonchalant and disinterested.

Which really sucks, man, 'cause every fiber in my being doesn't want to do have to do that at all, y'know, I'm stuck trying to maintain an exterior that looks the exact opposite of how I'm feeling on the inside while I'd rather just be digging through all the comic books in Dream Land with reckess abandon.

But my ability to do that is prolly exactly why I can get away with it so much, so I'm not complaining or anything.

Anyways I think the crazy family in the car that kidnapped me promised to stop at a comic book store along the way and that played no small part in why I didn't fight or anything in the beginning.

UserRatings ParallelUniverse TimeTravel

So you know you are gonna need a User Rating System for User Generated Content, some kinda client-side polling thingie that begs players to Rate Content, in some way, and some fields in the database that are tied to that.

You could do a simple thumbs up and thumbs down poll, you could have people give stuff a number of stars, you could even have Ratings Groups or Ratings Guilds or something that you could "trust" for their opinions over everybody else's ratings.

And then you would need filters built into the client that allowed players to use the Rating System to ignore content in the database that was below so many stars, or below so many thumbs up, or whatever, or not.

But that's not all.

Because of Dundee's thing, with the difference between Random Internet and Fark, you could also have a field in the database for assigning content a Theme, like Random Internet, Fark, Classic D&D, Cowboys Versus Zombies, Ancient Rome, things created by certain Theme Guilds (which is what Fark would be, actually), or whatever.

And client side, a filter would allow folks to turn Themes on and off, so they could play the game only with the themes they wanted to play it with, or switch Themes when they were bored.

That's the Parallel Universe Filter.

And that would also work alongside the Ratings filter, so you could choose to play a Classic Game of D&D (or whatever) and only see content (monsters and items and dungeons and all that, and only the players with your same Theme Settings) that was rated over a certain amount of stars (or whatever).

And then there's the Time Period Filter, a field in the database that assigns content (loot and "monsters" and all that) to the Ages in which it belongs, and that allows you to not only do shit like Time Travel, but it also allows you to play the game in an Historical Ancient Roman setting or a Mythological Ancient Roman setting, using the same Time Period with different Parallel Universe settings, ya dig?

I think of that as a drop down box with stuff like Ancient Rome, Medieval, 1800s, Modern, and Future Apocalypse in it, y'know, whatever, its gotta be something simple and not anything complex and crazy for history nerds-only heh.

If the game needs Fallout-style animated icons for everything, then its gotta be sorta discrete like that, too, 'cause each Age would need its own generic junk so that it would look right and be fun to play for the dude that was playing it as an historical thingie (y'know, he ain't gonna wanna have a Nailgun Monkey for a character class and an icon heh).

So that's the Time Travel Filter.

Although you could turn everything on and all the way up, and have it be the Nailgun Monkey shit where everything goes or whatever, being able to tone everything down allows folks to use the thing as a game system to play all sorts of different games on the same map with the same access to the same pools of content without bugging each other.

So that none of the animal gets wasted.

That's a very different thing than Metaplace, its almost the exact opposite of Metaplace, actually, where everything seems like its going to be sorted into separate boxes (not that I'm an expert on Metaplace or anything heh).

Everything in this Nailgun Monkey thing is assigned to layers or overlays that sit on top of each other with filters and that'd work sorta like instancing, with all of that user generated content stuff attached to the same skeletal combat and loot-value infrastructure, based on some kinda generic D&D-like thingie, where a Time Traveler could look at an auction house (or whatever) in Ancient Rome, and fight Ancient Roman stuff (and choose to fight mythological junk, or Ancient Roman Fark stuff, or Historically Accurate stuff, with a certain amount of User Rating Votes) but he wouldn't be bothering players that weren't playing the game the same way he was.

I wanted to get all this out of my head in a semi-orderly fashion only 'cause there's actually a few things that are super interesting to think about beyond all this stuff.

Like how to mechanically do the deal with money in the game, when you got all these different Ages and Cultures and stuff (I think its easier to think about it if you have the game server assign value and stats to all the items in the database, like, Shirts +1 are worth so much to an NPC merchant, Shirts +2 are worth this much more, etc) insteada getting into how to do something like an Auction House in a game where people would only see the things for sale that made sense to their theme.

I like the idea of a game that could teach me about all the different kinds of money that there ever was (everybody loves treasure heh) but goddam your Cowboy is gonna be pissed when he forgets to trade in those Confederate Notes and Roman Coins and stuff before traveling to the future.

And certain things remind me of "Hardcore Mode" settings, like wanting to play in an Historical Parallel Universe based around Ancient Rome or a Classic D&D thingie would sorta force you to make a new character specifically for that, something that fit into that Parallel Universe, who may or may not be able to Time Travel and move between Parallel Universes and stuff.

Which makes me think about the setups that you'd need that controlled when and how folks were allowed to change their filters, I mean, on one end, for the folks who don't give a shit, you could just say "knock yourself out," but then, even in that subset of folks, there's folks that would want to only be able to Time Travel and Parallel Universe Hop with a Time Machine or something, and at the extreme other end, you got the Hardcore Historical Reinactment Folks and stuff that don't wanna be bothered by Time Travelers or anybody else.

Gawd do I ever hate having to think of snappy endings for shit like this where I exhausted myself getting as far as I did heh.

Anyways the reason I'm driving at this is because this game system is really the first time I've ever believed that Parallel Universe and Time Travel junk could be done in a game in a way that not only totally didn't suck, but actually ruled in all sorts of different ways, y'know?

You gotta have the User Generated Content to support that, you need the help of the entire Earth to make the content for a Time Travel and Parallel Universe game heh.

And the system requirements gotta be as low as you can go to get the most help on that end as you can, you want every gang of dudes that play D&D in every hippy-ass neighborhood on the planet (and everybody else) to be able to add their own adventures and stuff to this thing.

Its the More the Merrier, y'know?

Plus I can always just turn the junk I don't want off and make it disappear from the evening's entertainment.

And if the thing stays sorta Symbolic, graphically, like old school miniature RPG stuff or Monopoly Pieces, with a map of the Earth for the World Map and 2d pictures for items and monsters and all that, then you don't gotta have fifty thousand models for everything and your computer won't explode when you go to the Time Traveler Auction House at the End of the Universe 'cause of all the different Eyebrows everybody picked to customize their avatar with heh.

Although there's nothing wrong with them uploading a link to a picture of their avatar for that customization type stuff, something that other folks could inspect, something that wouldn't make everything bog down and explode.

And that would allow folks to go all the way to Maximum Uniqueness, actually.

The Nailgun Monkey Online Timeline

1. Dundee talked about a web-based RPG game idea he had that would use random pictures from the Internet for the monsters and loot and items and everything, and being what he is, he had actually built a little program that gave a player a random picture for their character based on what character class they picked (the character classes were Monkey, Robot, Pirate, Ninja, Princess, and Fairy, things that were good for Random Pics off Google or whatever, y'know).

2. I thought that was totally cool 'cause it's like turning the entire Internet into a dungeon full of monsters that you could kill with household appliances, so I started thinking about character classes that would look right fighting the Entirely Random Internet, which is where the Nailgun Monkey stuff came from.

3. Dundee immediately changed the whole idea of the thing for me by photoshopping a picture together of an Epic Weapon for my Nailgun Monkey.

4. 'Cause that ain't Random Internet, that's Fark.

5, So that's when I started thinking about organizing the database for User Generated Content, the Monster Manual Idea, on top of the Random Internet thing, 'cause that's actually what Dundee seemed like he really wanted to do.

6. Well, he seemed like he wanted to make something that could do both the Random Internet thing as a Default (which is especially nice when you ain't got any other content), and the user-generated Fark Parallel Universe on top of it (which would populate itself more slowly, but when it finally did become populated enough, you could probably turn the Random Internet thingie underneath it off, and just play with Fark Shit, instead, y'know, if you wanted to, you don't have to).

7. During this whole mess, I was doing drawings (in ghetto-ass Windows Paint no less) while watching TV and stuff, just to see if I could still draw shit, 'cause I ain't drawn anything since long before I was old enough to drink legally, so that was just for fun and it doesn't actually have anything to do with anything, although my cartoons were inspired by the junk I was thinking about, and I'm all strange and powerful and exotic like a bird of paradise and stuff, so it may seem like more than it is heh.

8. Oh and I bugged people to come up with a better name for this thing than Nailgun Monkey Online (there's something multidimensionally funny about NMO when you say it out loud really quick over and over again but its still a godsawful name heh) but I didn't like anything anybody came up with, I mean, even though Jeffool did pretty damn good, the rest of you weren't even trying ahaha.

9. So we're still waiting on that one.

10. Now I'm gonna lay out the User Ratings, Parallel Universe, and Time Travel thingie, 'cause that's fun enough for its own section, I think, and I can't do that in the format of a little list with numbers at the beginning, 'cause it'd get too messy.

11. Mind Reading Robots from the Future attack.

12. Somewhere in the middle of this I was talking about Karaoke on Voicecom and Drinking Mini-games for multiplayer and using Google Earth (or something like it) for a worldmap so folks from all around the world would be able to build fortresses and dungeons in their own Real Life neighborhoods and turn the thing into a Travel and Cooking show (with recipes as loot) and all sorts of other cool crap like that but I don't wanna have to redo all the numbers 'cause that'd be a lot of work ahaha.

Pictures of the Dev Team

If I see a picture of a Dev Team, and they're all like, sad and stuff, then I think, "gawd, these losers wouldn't know what fun was if it came up and bit their asses off."

I don't wanna see no pictures that makes me feel pity for anybody, that doesn't make me wanna sign up to be entertained by them heh.

And I definitely don't wanna see no pictures of a bunch of nerds pretending to be normal people, that's like looking at a shaved monkey or something ahaha.

And if I see a picture of a Dev Team, and they're all like, super cheerful "looks like somebody has a case of the Mondays" and shit, then I think,"gawd, these losers wouldn't know what fun was if it came up and bit their asses off and and spit their asses back into their faces."

"They look like they're scared to death."

"They look like they're all on Advil Cold&Sinus."

"Look, that one over there has got the sweats."

"Dude I think this one is out-of-focus because she's vibrating."

"Dude, these are the kinda people that use those smiley-face emoticon thingies."

And if I see a picture of a Dev Team, and they're all like, super serious, then I think, "gawd these losers look like somebody already bit their asses off."

"Or somebody that likes to bite people's asses off."

"...'cause they think they're vampires."

And if I see a picture of a Dev Team, and they're all like, a bunch of midgets dressed up as gnomes smoking cigarettes, with little gnome hats and curly-toed shoes, with one big "regular sized" fat guy in the middle, in his own little gnome costume that doesn't fit, then I think, "ah, now here's a bunch of people that really know how to party."

Hahaha I'm just kidding about that last one, I just wanted to see if you would actually do that.

No wait, actually I'm not kidding about that midget thing.

Cannibal midgets smoking cigarettes around a big cauldron with bikini babes and bits of carrots and shit floating in it would be even better, but cigarette smoking gnomes with a Fat Guy Mutant "Baby Huey Junior" Gnome in the middle are easier for handlers to deal with if you gotta do it Live Action.

A picture of a bunch of super serious Amish-looking folks with pitchforks and shit would be good too.

Or something like this.

Or a bunch of dudes dressed up like Killer Bees.

With this guy as a lead dev.

See, that's the kinda thing that an Underground Comics Version of a Game Dev Team would do.

And just because you didn't do the Hairband Rockstar Band Photo thing where you got one guy laying on the ground in front of the rest of 'em with their arms around each other don't mean you did it any good, y'know?

Simple Tricks for Simple Folks

Here's a trick that I do to learn shit.

When you wanna learn something from somebody, get 'em to talk about the shit that they really love.

Not just the shit they say they care about, the shit that they really care about and appreciate and understand.

'Cause that's the only information they got that's worth a damn to you.

Actually, that's the only information on this planet that is worth a damn.

People are stupid about the shit that they hate.

And people are smart about the shit that they love.

Its pretty simple to remember that.

That's why some of your teachers are a bust, and other ones are really great and make you learn all sorts of shit that you don't even really care about, y'know, 'cause they love the shit they're talking about so much that its kinda infectious.

You just gotta get good at steering people the right way to take advantage of that trick.

Its not really all that hard to do 'cause folks usually like talking about the shit they like.

Unless they like is something that's totally fucked up.

Then you're gonna need to take my Advanced Course on "Keeping a Poker Face in Alien Environments" ahaha.

Me and my little brother still joke about this Science Teacher we both had in Junior High that taught us WAY THE FUCK TOO MUCH about Pine Trees, I mean, we know how to make fucking tea out of pine needles and everything, man, this dude really loved Pine Trees heh.

Monday, May 26, 2008

The Dirty Mary Song

Some of the lines are messed up a little and there ain't no pictures but its close enough for government work.


A long time ago I wrote a thing called the Ole Bald Angus Manifesto.

On a forum.

Where the Famous Janey was posting.

And the Manifesto was all about how I didn't want to be famous, sorta as a pig-tail pulling thing on "the Famous" Janey, which is always fun to do, 'cause she's a very serious person and a great straight man who also has the capacity to explode into hilarious and ingenious monologues.

But I was also being serious at the same time.

'Cause my gentle giant of a godfather, the cool-ass friend-of-the-family Uncle I got that was my real dad's buddy in Vietnam and one of the few human beings from real life that I actually look up to 'cause he was always more of a father to me than my real dad was, the one that all the kids loved especially because he always pretended to hate kids in a funny way, the one who shared his Groo Comics with me and taught me to like Conan, the guy that was the first dude to have Cable TV in the hobbit-like hippy neighborhood I grew up in where everybody partied and drove speedboats around on the river and played volleyball and set off fireworks every night, that guy, told me this thing once, when I was younger.

I said something about how I wanted to get rich and famous and steal him away from his job as a Truck Driver or something so we could travel around the world and party.

And he said something like, "if you got famous then I probably wouldn't like you anymore."

He meant it as a joke, he was the kinda guy that hardly ever laughed out loud but his eyes twinkled like Santa Claus when he thought something was funny.

But its things like that that are where the most wisdom is hidden sometimes.

That was a pretty serious course correction for me, I had to realign all of my atoms after that.

'Cause of a joke.

And I like myself better this way.

Oh, I learned my lesson five hundred times over the hard way, too, don't get me wrong, I'm the kinda guy that learns the most from my own mistakes, a good percentage of me is made out of scar tissue from all the stupid stuff I've done over the years, but that bit of wisdom about being famous has always proven right.

Its better to be rich than to be poor, but I'd rather be poor than famous.

That's Gypsy Wisdom, there.

And this world ain't so tough that I need fame to get what I want out of it.

You'll Be Laughing Three Days From Now

Ah, I had a feeling that Dundee had Mad Scientist Disease, which is why he was being so quiet.

Which is weird, 'cause Dundee is the one guy that my Amazing Psychic Powers totally don't work on, even though he does seem to think that my Amazing Psychic Powers do work on him, 'cause things get all awkward and he seems to get a little angry with me whenever I guess something wrong, as if I was guessing wrong on purpose when I shoulda just used my Amazing Psychic Powers to read his mind ahaha.

But that is why I like him, y'know, 'cause he's always surprising me, this Parallel Universe gets pretty goddam boring when you know what everybody is gonna say three days ahead of time.

Well, no, actually, its still funny, the things people are gonna say three days from now are still funny, its just funny three days ahead of when it should be funny, which is why I'm always laughing to myself, seemingly at random.

But then when the day finally comes around that you actually say what I knew you were gonna say three days ago, it isn't as funny anymore, y'know, for me.

Plus most of my attention is spent wandering around three days ahead of me, looking fer new shit that'll keep me cheerful, so I don't have a lot of concentration left over in the boring-ass totally-played-out present to pretend to laugh at all the tired-ass jokes I heard you tell me three days ago just to make you feel better or whatever heh.

And sometimes I even steal your jokes from three days in the future and use 'em on you, so you think I thought of 'em.

Just because its funny to see what kind of face you'll make at your own joke ahaha.

But I don't always do that on purpose, I mean, its kinda hard to tell whether you thought of 'em, or whether I thought of 'em by just imagining what you'd say three days from now.

Well, whatever, you'd know what I was saying if you were Amazingly Psychic heh.

Plus there's that whole thing where the only reason that you might have even thought of the joke is 'cause I gave you some sort of hint about it three days ahead of time.

And there's that whole deal where you think you are stealing a joke from me when you use it on somebody else, but actually you are just stealing your own joke back from me and saying it for the first time without Psychic Assistance, which is what I saw you doing, three days ago, which allowed me to steal your joke from you while you thought you were stealing the joke from me and telling it to somebody else and feeling a little guilty about taking credit for it.

And then I gotta feel a little guilty about the way my Amazing Psychic Powers are constantly adding Guilt to the Universe ahaha.

Anyways, I'm pretty good at reading minds, but with Dundee, I can only read about five minutes into the future, insteada three days.

And that's on a good day.

He's totally unpredictable as far as reactions and all that stuff goes, too.

And the clock is counting off five minutes from the last time I heard him said anything, and since it takes me at least five minutes to read the shit he said, I'm already in the red as far as Time Travel goes heh.

And the Regular Human Knowledge and Experience I could draw on, insteada using my Amazing Psychic Powers, is like, super old, from before he signed an NDA to start working on what would eventually become SWG, 'cause he turned all half-smarmy and fake and quit being prolific after that ahaha.

Its the same thing with Sundry Chicken, actually, but that's even worse, 'cause Sundry seems to be able to detect whenever I'm starting to read his mind and then he automatically switches directions every time I do it.

Which will be great when we have to fight against the Mind Reading Robots in the Mind Reading Robot Apocalypse.

Y'know, three days from now.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Long For the Days of High Adventure

Mad Scientist Disease

My Mad Scientist Disease is not letting me give this user-generated Nailgun Monkey Online thing a rest.

Its not the Art thingie, that's actually a separate disease, that's Doodler Disease or something heh.

Naw, see, Mad Scientist Disease is the thing that wakes me up in the middle of the night with stuff it figured out by using the unconscious parts of my brain that I have it locked away in, stuff it thinks might convince me to start building this gigantic-ass thing it wants me to build.

It even does salespitch crap to me, trying to win me over to its side, but I'll spare you all that "hey buddy we're in this together!" and "aw c'mon buddy you love Linux, Linux is fun!" and "its good to start small" Farmer's Wisdom shit it does to me ahaha.

Its still stuck on that "Build a Monster Manual" thingie, though.

"If you build it, they will come."

"stfu u! need 2 sleep!"

It says that we ought to build a web-front-end that allows people to make their own accounts in a MySQL database.

And a web-front-end that allows folks to add monsters to it.

And something to browse the monster database with.

But that's for "developer" type accounts only, 'cause part of the appeal of Nailgun Monkey Online is that whole idea where you never know what you're gonna get out of it, its the Game Is Like a Box of Chocolates thing, y'know, its supposed to be unpredictable and full of surprises, and the "players" will be randomly browsing the Nailgun Monkey database by playing the game.

Well, sorta randomly, 'cause actually the players will have filters that'll allow them to control what they get out of the database.

And they'll be controlling what sorta junk they get by where they explore, too, 'cause even though everything (even dungeons) might by populated by random-encounter tables, those tables are still organized by level and location (as in Russian or African or Chicago Monsters) and terrain (as in Desert or Jungle or Fresh Water) and stuff.

Well, actually, "player" type accounts need to be able to browse the stuff they've added, in case we want to add drop-downs to make combat more complex or something later on.

Well, if folks are into that, 'cause you can always have a simple "default" for combat statistics and stuff calculated off of the Level of the monster (or whatever there is in the database).

Anyways, my Mad Scientist Disease says that starting out by thinking about what we'd need to do to build the Monster Manual will not only drive us to define a lot of the important infrastructure stuff for the game (like combat and loot and all that), but it'll also allow folks to start being a part of everything, and allow the game to start coming alive on its own.

And so Dundee's Deal about starting out by monkeying around with that Dragon Knight thingie is making a lot more sense.

'Cause you could modify that to access your modified Monster Manual database and actually use that as a test platform to actually play the game (a little).

And everytime you add some new component, like a Weapons and Armor and Whatever-Kinds-of-Loot Database (which would work just like the Monster Manual), you'd just need to monkey around with things a little more to make it "fit."

Man, my Mad Scientist Disease still hasn't come up with any good names for this thing.

Guess I need to get one of my other diseases on that heh.

Y'know, we need a name for the Monster Manual database thingie that won't get us sued, for starters.

And I only like the "Its a World of Hurt Online" gag 'cause of the way its sorta like "World of Warcraft" 'cept its got a funnier abbreviation.

Y'know, its either Wo HO (yah yah "Whoah, Ho!" is actually funny in more than one way) or WHO, depending on how you wanna do it.

I wish I coulda done WOOHOO but daaaaamn that's a lot of O's man ahaha.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Classy Classes and Racey Races

Pirates Versus Ninjas

I've realized that I don't actually "get" the Pirate versus Ninja thingie.

It can't really be all about who would win in a fight.

I mean, was there ever a Pirate who could fight?

I musta missed something if there was.

Now, Ninja versus Samurai, there's a gooding fighting one.

Y'know, unscrupulous assassin versus honorable guy, both of them super disciplined and masters of their own individual martial art forms.

But Ninja versus Pirate?

Its not about who would win in a fight, right?

Its about who is better.

Like, who you'd rather hang out with.

Then its Pirates, no question.

Not a lot of "personality" in the Ninja world.

Except for the Ask a Ninja guy.

Ninjas just ain't all that and a bag of chips on the party scene.

Neither are Samurai, actually.

Samurai would probably actually lose to Ninjas on the party scene.

I think Ninjas can dance pretty good, though.

'Cause of all that martial arts stuff.

Prolly better than Pirates, actually, if Ninjas weren't so shy and stuff, y'know, compared to a Pirate.

Ninjas are wallflowers, man.

But that's 'cause they're all into "fading away into the night" and all that stealth and evasion and the "art" of avoiding confrontations.

They don't get a lot of practice being a social butterfly.

Plus they're usually type A personalities, perfectionists with all sorts of weird self esteem issues, so they really can't handle rejection too well.

When things don't go right for a Ninja they don't know how to play it off all smooth, it gets all jarring and awkward and embarrassing for them, and hilarious for everybody else.

Where Pirates don't give a shit, Pirates are all missing teeth and eyeballs and limbs and hair and stuff but that doesn't stop 'em from asking your wife to dance.

There's prolly a lot of 40 year old virgin Ninjas, y'know?

I feel sorry for the Ninjas, actually.

All that hard work in seclusion, perfecting special "kicks" and "eyeball attacks" and the "finger of death" and all the other Ninja Arts and junk, and its like, for what?

That ain't gonna help you get any Daisy Dukes or Trailer Park Chicks or Waitresses or anything, man.

You gotta build up your resistance to the exact opposite of all that Ninja junk to get some of that action, y'know?

That's Pirate stuff.

So Pirate Versus Ninja, from the perspective of a Pirate, is all about who you'd want to party with.

Where Pirate Versus Ninja, from the perspective of a Ninja, is all about who would win in a fight.

'Cause that's all those poor little guys know about.

Its so sad, really.

Especially if there's some chance that a Pirate might actually beat a Ninja in a fight on top of everything else, y'know?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Its Hard To Turn It Off

Statement of Disinterest

I'm not programming anything in anything yet.

Well, I looked at all the stuff out there that we could steal from until my head started to swim from weighing all the different options, y'know, like, whether to just build the whole thing from scratch in C with a non-web-based client or in Flash (and worry about how well that'll scale up) and Java (and worry about how bad the perfomance will be even though I ain't so worried about how it will scale up, Ex-b don't want no Java attaching to his database heh) or base it off of something like Dragon Knights (what Dundee was saying) or Crossfire (which me and the Real Life Dwarf have messed with before) or the Arianne/Stendahl and Marauora thingie (all of which would need to be stripped down to a few bare wires and have their services separated out and replaced with other things and then the bare-bones client would need to be rearranged some before you could even start using all that for something that needed to be able to scale up like a business app).

And all the programming and stuff I did with the UO emulators helps me know what I gotta do on the game server end but that's like, the easy part, y'know?

Plus that thing didn't even use a database (or separate servers for chat) and it really couldn't handle the kind of traffic we'd have with what basically amounts to a "click to enter" game (it could handle about as much as the extreme-end of deathmatches in FPS games but it wouldn't be dieing because of graphics lag heh).

The UO emu isn't the only one of those kinda thingies I've ever messed with, though, I mean, I think I actually learned a lot more about what I'd need to do for a MMO by jacking around with the EQ emu, and me the Real Life Dwarf been building these web-front-end database back-end business thingies since the earliest days of doing that kinda junk, that's pretty much the bread-n-butter of big money IT consulting work.

So anyways I was building up this huge list of crap that I was gonna need to install on my poor machine (I'd need to run all these different servers just so I could incrementally test my programming, and I'd probably need to put Linux on my second hard drive in this box, 'cause if I gotta program a lot, and run all these servers like I think I'll need to, I'd prefer to do it over there).

And then I realized that no matter what this thing was based on, and no matter how much of the content was created by players, I was going to have to do a lot more artwork crap for structural things than I had thought about ('cause I know a lot of people that can program but not a whole lot of folks that whip up cartoons and graphic design shit like I can), and I ain't done artwork stuff in like, forever, so I decided to see if I could still do it and knock some of the rust off while I was at.

And now I'm all like, okay, if I gotta do all this art shit (which ain't even a twentieth as bad as what it took to put the UO client together 'cause I don't need to do items and landscape tiles and all that, but its close enough to make me not wanna think about it all at once heh) to make the animated icons and UI picture frames and titles and gods-knows-what-else kinda junk I'm gonna eventually need to do, and do all the programming and testing and everything else, that's too damn much.

When I could be just having fun laughing at my own jokes like an idiot and writing stupid little stories and stuff.

I mean, seriously man, there's hella-easier ways for me to get helicoptered down to the Bikini Beach Blanket Bingo Bamboo Bar and Grill on the tropical island than all that horrible-ass hard work and honest shit that Dundee and all them likes to do ahaha.

"Have a beer, you've earned it."

"Ugh, earned beer doesn't taste even half as good as totally undeserved beer."

Plus, Dundee ain't been talking for like, four days now, so I dunno if he thought I was serious about ripping him off or if he's just busy at work or what.

He's a struggler, y'know, I don't really understand how they think heh.

If I really was gonna do something like that (build this thing, I mean, not rip Dundee off), I'd just get Dundee and everybody else to do all the work for me, and then, when y'all finished and were totally exhausted off your asses and in a totally weakened state, I'd take advantage of the whole thing with some kinda kickass marketing weasel spin doctor coup de gras somehow, bliggie blam, Supervillain Style ahaha.

But then who would I have to drink with, y'know?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Cheap Thrills

Groin Shot Is a Maybe, Baby

Yah see here's a Flash Google Earth (and other cool stuff) thingie that's totally kickass.

Think of something like that as the world map in Fallout or UO.

With thumbtacks for dungeons and points of interest and player houses and auction houses and whatever-the-hell.

And an overlay that breaks up everything into "areas" or "zones" that'll let you localize chat and do random wilderness encounters and loot selection type crap based on area.

And then dungeons (and building interiors) would be a separate and instanced thing from that.

So I need to make me some kinda cheesy build-your-own-dungeons-n-interiors thingie too.


Its bad enough that I gotta draw me some crappy little animated Monkey and Robot player icons.

With splatty death animations and everything ugh that sucks.

And vehicles too ugh man that sucks.

You can still add your own vehicles to the game with pictures and descriptions and stuff as a player but I don't think there's an easy way to steal that animated icon stuff and get away with it.

Unless I don't do 'em animated.

But that'd take some of the old-school rpg feel out of the thing fer sure man.

Ugh I gotta do animated icons for something to represent monsters too oh man this is really starting to suck ahaha.

The Name Game

Okay, me and Ex-b are trying to think up names for the Nailgun Monkey Online Game.

Something better than Nailgun Monkey Online.

'Cause me and him are gonna actually start fooling around and trying to build the thing and get it running.

I've been looking at Flash and google maps and he's talking about accessing the database through Flash and all that already (Flash looks nice so far 'cause it seems super portable, I want to eliminate as much of that kinda stuff I possibly can, y'know, I want poor smart kids from all over the world to be able to play the thing and I don' t want them getting hung up on anything).

Anyways the "We Need a Name for the Band" Name Game is always fun to play, especially after it gets rolling for a while and everybody gets frustrated and slap happy 'cause nobody likes anybody else's ideas heh.

But I'm not gonna do the joke about how I should just get the players to come up with it.

Ex-b: How about Project Blueball? Although that's kinda... ewww, weird, y'know, 'cause why is it "ball" instead of "balls?"

Y'know, 'cause we're gonna use google maps and the Blue Ball of the earth is the map for the game.

See this is getting good already ahaha.

And I guess I should add that I'm just going with Dundee's original class and race system, where you can be a Monkey or a Robot or a Princess and all that kinda weird junk.

And the game will involve adventuring around the map of Planet Earth (also known as the Planet of the Apes, if you are a Robot from the Future), old-school rpg style (well, a little better than entirely old-school rpg, I mean, I can prolly do it a little smoother and cooler looking than UO was heh), with chat zones and random wilderness encounters based on geographic area.

With planes (and airports as "dungeons") trains, automobiles (post-apocalyptic recreational vehicles for the ultimate in group travel), motorcycles, boats (explorable luxury liners, even), stagecoaches, and (of course) helicopters ('cause that's all cheap as hell to do in Flash or whatever I gotta use).

And it'll involve Time Travel ('cause you can easily filter content to the "age" it belongs to) and Parallel Universes ('cause you can sort the Earth's content by themes), and it can even have totally made-up geographical crap like Atlantis and Underwater Supervillain Bases and even Spacestations and stuff in it.

The Moon and Mars maps will be the first two Expansion Packs heh.

So its a... well, if you could say what it was, you would prolly have a good name for it.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Value of Cool

If you have a game with an auction house where there are no stats on the clothes and shit you can put on your paper doll and everything had equal rarity (let's just say for the sake of argument), then the value of the clothes on the auction house would tell you how popular that piece of content was, 'cause its value would be determined by how cool it was.

Easier to think of if everything has to be done by bidding wars.

There's more to that, though, 'cause the highest price things will go to most vicious bidders on the auction house.

So if you measure "cool" like that, you might be accidentally weighting what's cool to the tastes of the most vicious bidders.

Ex-bouncer Is Online

In real life, although we're both actually a lot a like like Terminator Robots or something as far as base systems go, I'm the artsy off-the-grid Big Lebowski guy, and Ex-bouncer is my John Goodman, totally, complete with yelling at all the Donnies and everything.

He sold his first Business when he was 18, so he's also like, my Smed, which sadly means that I'm much more of the Brad type, although I'm actually more like that evil monkey from the Golden Compass, and then Ex-b would be that evil hot chick, 'cept he ain't anything like a hot chick, he's more like a "thinking man's" John Goodman crossed with Curly from the Three Stooges.

Anyways I knew he would be totally into this user-content-web-mmorpg-LOLapalooza thingie, 'cause he's an old internet business guy and this is the kinda packaging that makes it easy for him to wield it in his mind and do stuff with it, compared to the average pegasus-crossing "let's get rich selling telescopes!" MMO game idea heh.

Its more like porn, y'know?

And he's done all that internet user community manager stuff before too.

So I'm telling him my idea on the phone and after I laid down the initial infrastructure of the idea he's all like, cutting in and guessing everything I'm gonna say five seconds ahead of time, so I know he's totally into it.

We went through the whole thing with User Ratings for content and how you could have filters that would allow you to only use content that had been approved by some group and/or select content based on other preferences, like whether you want it to be all medieval with pegasuses and stuff.

And then I got to that meta layer with the way it would allow kids in China and Russia and Africa and everywhere to add stuff to the game and learn our Drinking Games and stuff, and how that would totally be like, something good we could do for the world, sorta like Star Trek ahaha.

And you know how I said that 200k people for a buck a month is 10k a month per guy for a team of 20 or 5k a month per guy for a team of 40, and then you can swap out some of those people and use the money for servers and monthly contests and stuff?

He was all like, dude, you should donate at least one of those slots to charity.

And my brain turned over a sec and then it realized that I could be the most horrible guy in the universe with the most disgustingly random and awesome game ever and come out smelling like a superhero.

"A portion of all profits goes to world charities."

See, that is why I need to keep him around, none of you fuckers are looking out for me and the fate of the children of the world like that!

I can't help that I'm powered by a combination of reckless appetites and hedonistic energies and a total disregard for anything that ain't taboo to Aborgines, somebody needs to produce the goods, man, and that's the only way I know how to do it.

But as long as I got Ex-b around, I know that me and all the innocent children of the world won't be left for dead and that my power will be put to a good use heh.

And all you drag-asses are coming 'round here, scratchin' yourselves and being all like, "hey bro I need money for drugs" and stuff ahaha.

I'm on a mission from God.

Now he came over and we're all gonna get drunk talking about how we could try to get money out of Black&Decker for advertising a certain kinda Nailgun for my Nailgun Monkey.

'Cause this game has all that in-game advertising shit working for it in a big way heh.

Its like Andy Warhol Online with cans of Campbell Soup in the loot table and shit ahaha.

Dude, although the game doesn't have traditional MMOG crafting ('cause you can add your own photoshopped t-shirts and stuff to the loot tables directly to get rid of your jones for crafting armor, and add pictures of actual houses and buildings and stuff for player houses), you could have auction houses located in big cities like Chicago and an economic overlay that'll allow you to go around like a guy from a Frontier spacetrading game making money transporting commodities between places that consumed a certain amount of player-looted porn and cigarretes to increase morale and cans of Campbell Soup for food and Tight Levi's Jeans for mating rituals or something, y'know?

Cash Register Noises

So we need a few servers if you wanna do it right.

Yah yah, authentication, chat, game, database, web, meh.

If we can get a couple hundred thousand people to give us one dollar a month for an account in the Soon To Be Formerly Known As the Nailgun Monkey Online Universe, Where Players Matter, that's ten grand a piece per month for a team of twenty, man.

Or five grand a month each for a team of forty.

Convert a few of those "guys" on the team into servers and bandwidth (or people willing to host all that crap for a cut of the profits) and I'll still have way more cigarettes and drinks than I need on the tropical island.

And that's with a free client.

And if we charged two dollars a month... I doubt my liver would last long enough to really enjoy it.

Dude, with that kinda money, I could hire Richard Bartle to haul me around in a wheelbarrow.

Let alone ten bucks a month, where you'd only need to get twenty thousand people who were into it to be back at where I was at the beginning of this with two hundred thousand people.

And two hundred thousand people is like, a sucky game, man, we could do way better than that, our game has zero barrier to entry, lower machine specs than WoW, and its like, way the hell more in touch with the masses of Planet Earth than that Night Elf crap, our game is the masses.

Plus we can have Night Elfs innit, if we want *cha-ching*

With a scandalously delicious Nude Mode Pay-to-Activate Toggle *cha-ching* and a Jiggly Torso Sexpansion Pack *cha-ching cha-ching* made in Germany *cha-ching cha-ching cha-ching*

And if we take a chunk of our change and do random "golden ticket" Lucky Looter Lotteries (which is okay to do as long as we're located on a tropical island, right?) and give out prize money (or jobs) to the users who created the highest rated content every month, we're talking about a license to print money, baby.

Its like a Dread Pirate Roberts Online pyramid scheme or something heh.

Dude we better find a HUGE-ass tropical island for this, we're gonna have to take turns standing on dry land and treading water, there ain't gonna be no room to have any fun ahaha.

All we need is somebody we can all trust like Sunsword to write up some kinda contract that'll make sure you bastards don't screw me out of my Nailgun Monkey Online t-shirt, action figure, pet sweater, electric blanket, and collectible pewter pencil sharpener merchandizing money and I'll get to work putting the thing together.

Oh, we don't need Dundee, man, I'm just gonna steal his whole thing, he didn't sign nothing, sucker.

Oh, okay, maybe I'll hire him as a playtester and let him add his stupid little superhero photoshop thingies to my game, we need some "starter" content so people don't feel like they just wasted a dollar or something.

But I get to punch him in the back while he's trying to work whenever I want.

More Nailgun Monkey Online Notes

You know how the Monster Manuals and Fiend Folio from AD&D worked, yah?

Well, if you don't, they were basically Encyclopedias devoted to monsters, where every "entry" was a different monster, complete with statistics that told you how tough they were to fight and what kind of dice you needed to roll for damage when they attacked people with their claws and how many times they use their "acid breath" per round and a bunch of text that explained their mating rituals and social structure and treasure hoarding habits and phobias and weaknesses and crap like that.

Anyways, what we need is a web-based front end to a database that allows everybody to add their own monsters to something like that, complete with drop-down statistics like what sort of dice it uses to roll for damage with its claws (3 attacks at 1d4-1 per round!) and links to pics from google or mebbe even an upload function so they can upload their own drawings and crap to somewhere and then add the links to that so that it don't actually need to store anything.

Not just for the funny fark stuff but for the folks who wanna add crap they drew on their computers or something their kid drew or whatever, there's no sense in excluding anybody just 'cause they're poor or they ain't into photoshop or they wanna add "serious" monsters or whatever.

'Cause I think a mix of serious and funny and photoshop junk and badly-drawn stuff is better than good, actually, and you could always give folks a drop-down to categorize their junk so that you'd be able to use a client-side "theme" type filter later if you just wanted to use "serious" monsters or "random internet comedy" ones or "everybody and their cousin."

And then you are gonna need a button for folks to "dismiss" any stupid stuff they find in the database so that they don't have to bother with it when they're actually playing the game, too.

Or a way for players to vote for stuff so you would end up with a rating system that that you could use in a filter if you wanted to, like, you only wanted "four-star-and-above" monsters of a "serious" nature or something.

And then you'd need to do the same Monster Manual type thing for all the different sorts of treasure and equipment, y'know, like magical beer helmets and power tools +1 and stuff.

And you could even do something like that for places and NPCs and junk so that you could build some sort of Forgotten Realms campaign-style setting up from a combination of Google Maps (or something) and the Forts that 4th Level and Above Nailgun Monkeys get to build and thumbtack into the game universe in their hometown (maybe on some kinda filterable overlay) complete with travel guides and crap for interesting spots in the surrounding area or something.

What else, I'm prolly forgetting like half of the stuff I should be remembering, meh, whatever, you get the idea, the idea is that you need to think about it from the perspective of the players, 'cause you wanna make it fun and easy for them to add crap, 'cause every time they add crap, they're adding monsters to everybody else's randomly generated encounter tables and stuff, and as long as its all filterable to your preferencs as a player, you can either play it totally random complete with all the pictures of cocks and tentacle porn that are bound to get in there or play it according to some high-faluting set of guidelines that players would be allowed to police themselves through a rating system for stuff that pops up in their games.

The problem of the random encounter system providing you with a monster that is way too tough for you or something isn't that big of a problem 'cause you can set limits based on certain statistics (at the point of entry into the database AND whenever a 1st Level Nailgun Monkey has to fight anything) and randomly generate everything (treasure and all that, too) based on some kinda game-server-calculated Difficulty Class system (so that a party of six Nailgun Monkeys doesn't ever have to fight more than four second level Sadomasochistic Robots or whatever).

You can even tie your random wilderness encounter system into the map so that you'd have certain areas (like Siberia and the Amazon and the Congo) that were full of higher level monsters, that'd be pretty cheap and easy and fun to do, actually.

Actually I think you need to organize it like that for a few other reasons anyway.

And you could add some sort of dungeon builder to the thing so you could put together content for your buddies who wanna go dungeon crawling in the area around chicago that other people would be able to fool with later (that'd encourage folks to add more content crap to the game).

As long as treasure is randomly determined based on value and difficulty class of the monster, and "adventure areas" are "filterable" thumbtacks in the map that don't hog the actual map, you don't really gotta worry about giving people the power to do crap like that.

You don't really need to build-your-own fed-x type quest garbage system with NPCs and stuff but that'd probably end up being pretty goddam funny if you did have something like that.

See, you build something like this, all in one game world, and sit back and watch all the pretty fires ahaha.

And you'd prolly get some cool-ass shit if folks from other countries got into it, 'cause it'd be like, part role-playing game, and part hilariously fucked-up (and sometimes serious) travel guide (and maybe even part cooking show if you let folks add junk like that as loot with recipes in the text description).

Y'know, like, we get those kickass furry hats +1 for our paperdolls whenever we adventure in Russia and shit.

Gotta have paperdolls though, man, and some kinda drag-and-drop inventory system that doesn't suck, and it'd be nice if it had something to auto-size the pics down to icon level or whatever fit on the UI when you inspected it for details, 'cause if you make the players do all that in Paint or something, some of 'em'll get lazy or frustrated and they won't add as much junk.

Oh yah, you need to have something set up for miniatures or figurines or Monopoly pieces (like the Top Hat and the Car and the Shoe) folks could use to represent themselves (or their party) on the maps as they move around ('cause that's really the best way I can think of to generate random encounters and stuff and make things fun).

And if you do that, you can even do travel options like boats from NYC to Africa and stuff with sea monster attacks and shit.

I could probably do all that kinda stuff as cartoony artwork so you'd have an Nailgun Monkey that looked cooler as he levelled up, but he'd look just like every other Nailgun Monkey then.

Oh yah, the classes and races thingie.

Yah, I think that (and the combat and random encounter system and random treasure distribution and experience rewards and data structures and data limits and all that) should be the only part that ain't player-generated.

'Cause then you can grant stuff as folks level up (like the right to build a fort, not necessarily special powers) and keep some level of quality control on the thing so that it feels at least a little sport-y and gamble-ry.

Plus you need to do the muscles and bones infrastructure of it ahead of time so you can make it easy for players to add their own crap into it.

It doesn't need to be all that fancy, either, simple automated dice-rolling combat stuff is fine, the more generic the better, actually, 'cause folks would be adding lots of bizarre-ass weapons and stuff.

Don't need all that MUD-inspired write-your-own heal-the-tank-chug-potions macros garbage, just let my Nailgun Monkey shoot his nailgun and dodge attacks 'till the monsters he's fighting are dead, old school Bard's Tale stuff, no special 1-2-3-4 1-2-3-4 hotkey mashing with "nailgun specials" and elemental damage types and damage resistance vs. damage mitigation math required.

Save that for somebody who ain't seen it all a hundred times, y'know, this ain't the kinda thing that oughta need a forum to argue about templates and Flavor of the Month Builds for Nailgun Monkeys and stuff, you gotta be able to play this game drunk, that's a non-negotiable Design Spec heh.

Even with keeping something relatively simple like that you still got some interesting junk to program (if you want to) when it comes to Group Fights and stuff, like the AI for monster's choosing targets and maybe Monster Morale and all that ('cause its easy to do "wounded monsters running away" and stuff in a cheesy icon game), and whether you wanna get all crazy with adjustable group formations like we used to do in pen-n-paper, when the point men get beat up, they move to the back and somebody else takes over, stuff like that.

Don't really need crafting in a game like this 'cause being able to add stuff to the loot lists is crafting.

Y'know, 'cause part of the incentive for adding stuff to the treasure system is that eventually you might get your own damn crap back out of it.

And actually there's "monster crafting" and everything else too.

So what's wrong with this thing?

Dude, this is exactly what computers and programming were invented for heh.

The barrier to entry is super low, what with it being a 2d (and sorta web-based) thingie with no twitch-gameplay and (so Ex-b won't have to take dramamine to play it ahaha).

And there's nothing to it that you'd need to read a manual for, even when you wanna add your own content to the game.

On the backend, the web-based front-end for the database thingie is a pain in the ass, usually, and unless things have changed alot since I last messed with that junk in the IT world, they usually have a middleware server (like IBM's Websphere) between the two things to act as a connection and service manager.

But there's prolly something you could use for that in Linux already.

The chat server is easy, there's fifty things you could use for that.

And voicecom is game-independent, although it'd be nice to organize it somewhere.

And the game server part is pretty easy too, tons of stuff you could use from Linux for that too, this isn't really even as complicated as the average MUD.

It might seem like it is only 'cause you are connecting all the visual stuff together in your mind into one big picture when those things aren't actually connected together like you think, the game is still basically just a bunch of data stuctures and some functions that mess with 'em (like rolling on tables for random loot) and some junk that prints out some crap to describe what its doing when you fight and stuff, drag-and-drop paperdoll inventory dealie and a click-to-move-around-a-map-overlay thingie that's dinosaur shit as far as programming goes.

It'd be nice to build it so that it could scale up cool, with players running the servers and sharing the load and keeping the database synch'd up, so it'd continue to be one humongous-ass game world (still filterable on the client side), but that's in the Player Management section that I ain't even really though much about yet.

And database stuff ain't really my bag, I mean, even though I could build my own crappy version of SQL from scratch, the Real Life Dwarf always hated it when I messed with his "area of expertise," and there's tons of free crap you could use for that, but they've all got their own weaknesses and stuff you need to avoid that a pinball-wizard database guy knows how to design around so that it'll kick some ass and he won't have to sit there and babysit the stupid thing.

Oh yah, you know what this game really needs?

A name heh.

Its gotta be something better than Nailgun Monkey Online, man, that doesn't really do the thing any justice.

"Yah mom I been playing Donkey Dick Armstrong Online its the best thing I ever seen in my entire life!"

"I know all about it! I'm a five-star contributor to the Parallel Universal Database of Meta Drinking Mini Games!"

That's just hideous, man.

Can't be nothing dorky like Meta Place though either ahaha.

Yah, there's gotta be something good you could call it, its like a retro old-school RPG, a travel and cooking show, an asylum run by the inmates, a Hitchhiker's guide for Multidimensional Travellers by Multidimensional Travellers, and a world-wide grassroots peasant rebellion all at once.

It needs a good name.

I might be kickass at Feature Creep but I really suck at naming shit.