Thursday, July 31, 2008


Let's start out with this:

The original stargate, with its spinning metal wheel and its jets of steam and its vault doors and weird little metal staircase, is way better than the new Miami Vice pastel-colored solid-state "electronic" stargate from Atlantis.

And I know its tough to figure out what to do with the thing, 'cause its like, a ring and everything, and the only sensible thing to do with it would be to lay it down on the ground and then jump and dump shit into it, and that wouldn't look good on TV, but it doesn't look good half-buried in the floor, either.

Man, if I had a stargate, I'd use it to get rid of trash, y'know, there'd be an "alpha site," and a "dump site" for old TVs and diapers and bags of crap and shit, the Trash Planet that you never hear about on Stargate heh.

There's got to be an alien race that uses the stargates for that, "incoming wormhole sir!," and then a couple bags of trash come tumbling out of the thing ahaha.

And you know there's tons of planets with kids that have easy access to working stargates, man, I mean, if we had access to a stargate when we were kids, we woulda been doing "prank calls" and playing ding-dong-ditch and throwing of bags of burning dog shit and our buddy's favorite hat through there at randomly-dialed super-serious alien races, I don't think they can even figure out who dialed 'em 'cause of the way wormoles work, its perfect AHAHA.

And even though I'm a sorta scottish guy, the scottish medical dude on Atlantis needs a new hairstyle.

Its almost hilariously cheesy the way each dude on Atlantis has the same hair, twisted in a different direction, so people with bad eyes can tell 'em apart or something, y'know?

Its kinda like the way they all started out with different colored lapels on their jumpsuits, like the Power Rangers or something, the boss chick had red, the science guy had blue heh.

I guess that was supposed to be something like Star Trek, where the "science guys" have blue uniforms, and the "military" guys have red, or something, but that's not how it ended up, 'cause the only people that wore the outfits were the main characters, so it ended up looking all stupid, 'cause your brain is like, "dude, does the government pay for these costumes, or is this supposed to be something that the characters choose to wear and color coordinate amongst themselves? Dude, the boss chick is a civilian. Why are they dressed like power rangers?"

And the scottish medical guy, being a less important character, got the bottom of the barrel "Friends" hairstyle, y'know, its the "oh man, we're out of hairstyles, oh wait, I got an idea!" hairstyle, 'cause all the more important dudes on the show picked the good ones and nobody else can have the same hair as them 'cause that would detract from their awesomeness or something.

Seriously, the medical guy's hair is like, combed from the back of his neck forward or something ahaha.

I wouldn't want a guy with crazy hair like that performing surgery on me, man, the dude would sew your legs on backwards and shit AHAHA.

And you know how his character sorta got killed off over and over again, the guys at the show probably think folks don't like the guy 'cause of his acting or something.


Not that I want him back in the place of the chick from Firefly, now that they finally decided to give her a little personality.

Dude, I liked her way better as the dirty-faced mechanic chick, you can't really beat a cute and loose spaceship mechanic chick who can swear in chinese for a character, its impossible.

And you know the way that all the actors always go around pretending they don't know anything about their character, like Gillian Anderson on all the Late Shows this last week, as if she had more important and serious things to think about, like her musical career.

Dude, you know she studied her character way more than any of us ever will, you know she bugged the writers about stupid detail changes and everything, that's like, her job man ahaha.

And there's something multidimensionally funny about her, a beautiful woman, famous for playing a smart character, pretending to be a dumb hot chick in real life, and... failing?

Because she's either a dumb person in real life who is too dumb to act like a dumb chick well or maybe she's into that whole thing where "if you can pretend to be one then you probably ain't one" heh.

Like, here's a beautiful woman that doesn't want people to think she's smart, for some reason, which is strange enough in the first place, and I'm not sure if she's failing or succeeding at it either ahaha.

"Oh, just think of me as a hot chick, that's good enough."

"Uhm, is this a trick?"

And why do scifi writers add all sorts of Leave It To Beaver crap to their scripts, like making pregnancy enhance the super powers of pregnant women, even though they're supposed to be super liberal scifi writers and stuff?

Pregnancy always enhances a woman's latent supernatural powers heh.

Barefoot and pregnant women are the best, that's a womans super power right there, that's all they're good for, non-pregnant women aren't as good ahaha.

"Hmm, I think the black dude needs to be an alien. Let's see how he looks with a lump of clay attached to his head."

"Maybe we should give him a visor."

"Dude, that's been done before."

"How about a unicorn horn?"

"Let's not get crazy now. Let's just spraypaint him silver or something."

"Dude I think somebody died from that in the old days."

See, its something like this, some dude from the future, making fun of this stuff, that's probably what makes all the scifi people self-conscious about the shit they do.

When I love scifi, I would never say anything bad about scifi.

What I actually think is cheesy is hollywood and actors and "real life" and shit.

And it really is the human element that I'm interested in heh.

Kinda weird that I'm the exact opposite of all these hollywood folks who seem to think that they're interested in the human element but that scifi is the cheesy thing ahaha.

Anyways all this junk is another part of the game me and Ex-b were talking about, having a Scifi show (and a bunch of other media stuff, like newspapers and magazines for AI) inside the game, sorta like Wormhole X-Treme for Stargate, y'know, 'cause this is supposed to be an eleven dimensional game and everything.

And that made me realize that its actually the behind-the-scenes dimension that's where all the comedy is, when you make fun of a scifi show, you aren't really making fun of the scifi part, you're making fun of the show part.

And that whole thing evolved from me and Ex-b talking about how weird it was, the way we're 100% serious and 100% not serious at the same time, in parallel or in quick succession (unless its a long mechanical description) in series.

I think we're both super serious and super not serious at the same time, all the time, I think comedy and scifi and everything else in the world is the same way, the guy standing guard on the castle wall has to stay frosty, but at the same time he's the dude that really needs to come up with a joke to release some of the tension, its sorta like that.

Not that I meant to suddenly get all serious on ya heh.

Okay, let's go back to the funny hair thingie ahaha.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Change It a Little So We Don't Get Sued

Actually everything I'm working on is part of this thing where you are s'posed to be restoring the mind and sanity (and some of the memory) of your AI guy at the beginning of the game, repairing one subsystem after another and stuff (the last thing I posted was for a cheesy flashback thingie, y'know, like yer jiggling his wires and his synapses start firing).

And 'cause I'm working out all these different subsystems to his consciousness and stuff, that made me think to make the guy upgradeable, y'know, like a regular computer with hardware and software, you might loot components or make or buy crap that you can stick in its "server rack" slots and whatever.

So now I gotta really figure out what this dude is made out of before I can finish the thing heh.

Anyways, that wasn't really what I meant to talk about.

Naw, see, the thing I really wanted to talk about comes from the way I gotta avoid using red and green and 'cause of that red and green color blindness thingie that Ex-b has, which is totally annoying to me heh.

I mean, when you got to do stuff like traffic lights and computer systems and health and mana bars and good-n-bad-memory chips and yadda-dadda-dah its kinda nice to do the ole "green is good and red is bad" dealie.

So I was building this "repair HAL" thing and I hit another one of those green and red patches, and it made the minigame I was doing into a test for color blindness.

Which I could turn around and work into the plot of the story by having HAL jump up and declare you defective or something once he figures out that you can't tell red from green heh.

"Defective humans aren't allowed to operate on my delicate subsystems!"

Which reminded me of this other thing that occurred to me about the way you could make a minigame into a technical aptitude test that would prevent all the english majors from playing heh.

Dude, there's a lot of shit on PBS where liberal arts people talk about philosophy, you english major guys can't imagine how crazy that stuff sounds to a dude that talks to computers in math and logic, I spend most of those shows going "I can't believe that something thinks that that is a question" ahaha.

Anyways all that stuff made me think about games with Intelligence Tests in 'em, shit man, that's a comedy goldmine, y'know, nobody ever does stuff like that, 'cause they're all like, oh man, we want stupid people to play, 'cause we want their money.

But if you really don't care about that (or if you don't buy into that logic, that's sorta like the logic that games shouldn't be scary, because people don't like to be scared ahaha), then you can do whatever the hell you want, y'know?

Aw I'm just kidding, its a good thing for spoiler sites or my loremaster woulda never finished that goddam level 15 class quest with the bookshelves, holy shit man was my loremaster ever a dummass AHAHA.

Plus, while I don't mind my game being something that'd teach ya something while it entertains you, I don't want it to be so bad that my brother's kids can't play the thing.

Actually, they're smarter than I am, the littler one was giving me physics advice as soon as he could talk, but I think I'm gonna stick with my first story ahaha.

Alright, so I might as well blabber about what I'm doing, I gotta work it out s'more anyways.

See, all these AI-spaceship guys are related to each other, and they got a hierarchy where they end up sorta being like a pantheon of greek gods, where some of 'em are crazy and they try to kill and cannibalize each other and fight over power and there's civil wars and all that.

And as you go along fixing yourself ('cause the AI guy is a character that belongs to you, its something that you play, uh, sometimes, when you ain't playing your clone-characters), its basically the AI character creation system, and its supposed to determine where you fit into the hiearchy and which side you are on and all that kinda crap.

I actually kinda hate that moral crap in games, so don't worry, it ain't gonna be all sucky and simple and lock you into anything and limit you and shit, its just supposed to be a way for me (as the programmer) to figure out some shit about how you wanna play and how you want to portray yourself, I don't even have that hierarchy shit all figured out, exactly, so its not like I'm obfuscating a system where you are choosing sides in a war that you can't change your mind about later (when you actually have some experience and knowledge about the multiverse in the game) or anything horrible and stupid like that heh.

Yah, these AI guys have their own cultures, they'll eventually have their own heroes and villains and news networks and celebrity AI gossip and favorite shows on their eleven-dimensional TV channels and stuff, that's all part of it.

Although the game isn't just about some civil war thingie between 'em all, they might fight with each other and get murderous and stuff sometimes, but mostly they deal with other advanced civilizations, I don't wanna get all introverted and stuff.

Its just that the story starts out with your ship being wrecked on a multidimensional beach somewhere 'cause you got jumped by some bad guy AIs, and in order to escape you translated yourself across the database of the multiverse in a way that caused you to forfeit your grip on a few of the dimensions that you were using for data storage (and the guys who were attacking you didn't want to erase themselves to chase you, so they gave up).

So you're sorta getting your shit together after a nasty drive failure and a wicked beating, basically, y'know, pulling yourself up by your own bootstrap programming and starting over, and you don't even really remember exactly how you got so messed up (not that its a fascinating mystery that you need to solve or anything, the bad guys were gonna use you for parts, the bigger guys tend to cannibalize any of the smaller AI-ships that they can catch whenever there is any kind of fight that they feel like they need to "gather their strength" for).

Although there's a chance that it didn't happen exactly like that.

'Cause mebbe you weren't a runt, mebbe you were a famous ship or something before you erased yourself.

Yah, easy peasy *rolls his one good eye*

I'm not even getting into the crap I got to think about with the mapping of the conscious mind into fun little subsystems that you can fix and shit heh.

Actually this is pretty easy stuff, its more artwork and organization than anything, its not like I gotta make up an entire universe in detail or anything, I'm just making little arthouse tetris thingies and screwing around, all the cool stuff comes for free.

The hardest part is actually the whole deal where I can't use red and green for different things 'cause of that whole colorblindness crap ahaha.

Big Wheels

I had to get rid of the hood ornament 'cause it was too cheesy even for me heh.

This is just the first of a bunch of ships I gotta do 'cause I'm doing one of those George Lucas thingies with a whole fleet of ships moving along at different speeds so it looks like its all in 3d and stuff.

I wanna end up with that effect you get when you look down into clear water and see all the different levels of fish swimming around but we'll see how good that turns out, I ain't no stickler fer perfection ahaha.

This is one of the bigger ships in the center of the fleet of those eleven-dimensional AI spaceship thingies.

And I totally cheated on the background, and the picture of the sun, 'cause the sun is supposed to be a sorta-transparent animated "thrumming" engine thingie and I ain't bothered to do that yet, but at least I got the mask set up for it now.

The original idea I had was a ship that was so big that it could have continents and oceans, just sitting on the hull, held down by gravity, in that circular thingie at the center, but when I do a ship like that I'll need skip the windows and shit, 'cause it won't look right.

And I guess some ships have black holes in their center, when they get really old and horde a lot of mass, and then there's smaller ones with all the different kinds of stars, and even smaller ones that have gas giants, and even smaller ones that just have a bunch of water or hydrogen or something, and then there's supposed to be all sorts of really tiny ones that look like regular fighting ships without the whole gigantic planet-eating borg dealie, but the general idea was a space civilization that strip-mines everything it comes into contact with centered around a bunch of huge-ass "cargo" ships-slash-cities-slash-planets (slash-solar-systems, I guess) in the center.

I kinda like the idea of ships that are so huge they get gravity powered fusion for free and maybe even iron as a waste product heh.

And the whole black hole gravity dealie is about as good as you can do for making the whole warping timespace crap believable, y'know, I'm all about sweeping all my loose ends into a black hole 'cause of the way that they can turn tons and tons of bad ideas into a "singularity" ahaha.

And since I'm totally into the handwavium and unobtanium thingie already y'know its like wtf I might as well go all the way and get me some kickass ground effects and subwoofers in space going untz untz untz and everything awhellyah its the Starship Alabama, baby, its the Mississippi Queen AHAHA.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Mmm Hmm Nah

Alright, so Ex-b is down in Florida right now, somewhere around Orlando, looking for any old crummy job and an apartment that we can turn into a Big Lebowski version of a mad scientist laboratory and underwater supervillian fortress, some kinda antarctic research base where we can stay up all night eating macaroni and cheese and working on this game thingie of ours together.

And I'm working on all sorts of weird and awesome and hilarious scifi game crap that me and him came up with.

Actually I'm doing some pretty boring stuff right now, trying to settle on a scale for the art and redoing the interface for all the interior-of-the-Tower-slash-spaceship stuff at the beginning of the game that you probably shouldn't even know about 'cause it's already sorta "ruining some of the movie" for ya, but I'm half-tempted to tell you guys exactly what kinda stuff we came up with so you can help us evolve it some more heh.

And then again, I don't wanna be like some jackass talking about how delicious the chocolate cake was at the party you weren't invited to, so I should probably just shut up already ahaha.

The scale thing is really annoying 'cause I want the characters on the screen to be big enough that I can do funny shit with their facial expressions and a bunch of animated gag junk like that (in the backgrounds, too) but small enough that they're still "vague" and generic enough for your imagination to fill in most of their details to suit your tastes.

So that a dude who wants to play the game serious ('cause there's a lot of serious stuff in there, I dunno how to do cool space stuff that ain't kinda freaky, let alone all the other stuff I wanna do) won't be too put out.

Y'know, I can't make all the dudes all cartoony with big heads and shit like Pip Boy or something 'cause while that's fine for some junk, the whole "muppet babies" garbage would totally suck for Ancient Rome and Cthulhu-type crap heh.

Plus I'm kinda hoping I don't gotta do multiple scales so that they'll be able to play around with long range combat and stuff.

On the other hand, I'm already doing some of that for vehicle combat, and I probably don't need to do a lot for all the super small "character" images on the world map, 'cause they're so damn blurry and symbolic and tiny that they could be anything.

Its In Your Face

Friday, July 25, 2008

The Tower

Here's sorta what I'm working on right now.

I say "sorta" 'cause I keep changing my mind about certain key elements as I figure out ways to reorganize stuff to create more interesting scenarios and situations later on.

Anyways the basic idea is that there's all these eleven dimensional spaceships from way the hell in the future, beyond the extinction of the human race, and the ape race that replaced 'em, and the robots that replaced the apes, and the holograms that replaced the robots, and the memetic collective that replaced the holograms, and whatever else there was, intelligent plants and ghost empires and ape-vs-robot-vs-cowboy-vs-zombie apocalypses and stuff heh.

And the spaceships can travel through time and space and parallel universes, 'cause they're these huge-ass machines that only partly exists in normal time and space, if they bother to exist in normal time-space at all.

And they were created to terraform alien planets and parallel universe versions of the Earth and recreate all sorts of different civilizations, like a Human (and whatever) Backup Array, Jurassic Park Style.

So its full of automated factories and cloning facilities and all sorts of cool stuff on the inside, and it mostly looks like a terraforming tower or an elevator or a vault door in the ground on the outside, when it ain't flying around like the city from stargate atlantis (although it can disguise itself as a Lodge or a Log Cabin or a Stone Tower or a Castle or an Office Building with a nice lawn or just stealth itself with holographic technology at the snap of its fingers to fit any time period it may be interested in recreating).

And the characters you create are clones (although not necessarily human clones) created and let loose on the planet (12 monkey style) by the AI that runs this great big machine, 'cause (of course) its all broken down and shit and it needs your help to repair itself and recover its full capabilities.

And it doesn't trust you, 'cause its made some other clones that ended up turning bad on it (there's my built-in arch-nemesis shit ahaha), so you gotta do missions and stuff to earn its trust and be allowed access to certain areas aboard the ship, and each new area comes with new crap to fix before you can access the full capabilities of that area.

So everything in the game, including being able to create new characters and build your own vehicles and use the cyborg and genetic augmentation areas of the medical lab and firing up the terraforming tower to turn the ruins of a city into a jungle so you can do the sim city thingie and being able to fire up the engines and fly the entire ship around, has a way of being unlocked and repaired and upgraded junk.

Actually, at the moment, I'm sorta toying with the idea of making the Player, as a User, be the artificial intelligence aboard the ship, so you can name your ship when you first start playing the game and use that as your handle for adding content to the game and crap, and then your characters would be the clones of your AI, who acts sorta like a little god or something, and all your characters are your AI's "hands and eyes on the ground."

"Waking up as a clone" or whatever with no memory to initiate some suspension of disbelief has been done to death already, waking up as an AI that just finally managed to get some crucial part of itself operational after a terrible multidimensional crash landing or collision or something that happened six hundred thousand years ago and creating your clones yourself instead using some kinda lame-ass character creation screen is a little more kickass as far as story-telling goes.

And its not like the AI is gonna know what the hell its doing until it gets more fixed up anyways, all the damn AIs that always run the eleven dimensional spaceships in all these damn eleven dimensional spaceship story thingies never know anything useful until the very end of the story anyways ahaha.

The only thing that sucks about it is that it messes up my "earn the AIs trust" access-to-new-areas setup for the clones.

'Cause like, you can probably trust your own characters, y'know?

I suppose there's some angle to work that with "earn access" thing as an AI, instead of having it be by character, where the characters, autonomous as they may or may not be, depending on the player (who doesn't really have to mess with this spaceship crap at all, I plan on making it so that a new character could just leave and go play the game with his buddies and fight monsters and gamble and trade and do whatever he wants to do out of other cities instead of building his own, y'know, all I gotta do is make the "tutorial" starter-thingie something where you repair the transport system that lets you do exactly that and we are good-to-go).

Anyways that's what I'm working on right now, more specifically the map of the tower and at least some of the areas that you can unlock, like the cloning area (which will get mushed into character creation), some tutorial thingie, and the stuff that requires you to scan and explore the grid of the apocalyptic ruins of a city on the surface before repairing and firing up the terraforming system.

I already started making it as an isometric cartoon thingie that you can dungeon crawl around in and work all the little machines, which is what I wanna do for the "scan and clear toxic materials and lifeforms and salvage parts and crap before terraforming can begin" too.

And I guess its good to do the "User is the AI" thingie, 'cause then you don't gotta do the tower shit all over again with different characters, y'know, 'cause while some stuff, like the terraforming-and-exploring-the-ruins and building new cities junk, is kinda fun 'cause its easy to randomize and make interesting, all that "earning trust and credentials" tutorial rat maze crap over and over again ain't no fun.

Hmm, I s'pose I better plan to make some of that a toggle though, in case that starter crap is kinda fun.

None of this junk, no matter how I end up doing it, precludes using your first tower to create new towers so you can create more than one city (even in different parallel universes) or anything, it just turns it all into a part of the game, being able to create new towers is just another thing to unlock.

And the tower as the central feature thingie gives me a way to let folks admin their own worlds (to make 'em fun for their buddies) in a gamey and unsucky way.

Plus its cool for folks who just like to build junk and show it off to other players.

And I can instance everything so you can check out everybody else's crap without bothering 'em, or by invitation, and these spaceship-tower-slash-city-running AIs can team up together in at least a couple different interesting ways and even wrestle each other in a couple different and interesting ways (terraforming fights! ahaha), so that's cool.

And the whole thing with having you, as a user, be the AI of the ship figuring out everything on your own actually makes it kinda nice and interesting for me as a narrator, 'cause then I can just sorta deliver information to you directly as you investigate crap insteada doing that moldy-old "talk to the player through some goddam pestering puppet" thingie heh.

I know I do that a lot here on my blog but I don't like being stuck feeling like I gotta do that shit all the time y'know that junk is only good for a couple laughs and then it starts getting old really quick ahaha.


It must really suck to be one of those musicians that nobody likes except for little kids.

I mean, even if you somehow convince yourself that you're okay with your lot in life somehow, that all your dancing around and cool moves and song-writing is something that only little kids will listen to, you're still gonna eventually hit that part when the little kids do a review of your performance and say stuff like "it wasn't one of his better performances" or "he didn't really seem like he was putting his heart into it."

Which little kids are bound to do heh.

See, if I really was a wizard, I'd cast that as a curse on somebody ahaha.

I kinda got a curse like that, with the animals following me around 'cause they know I don't mean 'em any harm.

I mean, I can even scream and yell "get the fuck out of here!" at them and all the chipmunks and squirrels and woodpeckers and shit just sit there and laugh and say stuff to each other like "oh he's such a kidder!"

Its a little infuriating, but unfortunately its not infuriating enough to make the small furry animals scared of what I might do heh.

Yah, at first you might think something like that is a cool super power, and I have to admit that it comes in handy every once in a long while, but for the most part is just super annoying and creepy.

'Cause you gotta really think about what it'd be like, if, when everybody else leaves, all the animals close in on you, or just ignore you completely and act as if you weren't there, 'cause they're only programmed to notice shit that's a potential threat.

And you might think you like animals, now, y'know, but when they all start liking you too much, you won't end up liking 'em back so much.

Yesterday a gang of stupid ass woodpeckers woke me up at five in the morning by pecking on my goddam window and I had to go outside and yell at 'em for a couple minutes before they moved on.

And I'm a kinda scary guy in real life, at least with humans, I got a "bad guy face" or something, and "excitable" people who don't really know me all that well have nightmares about me and everything, I'm never gonna get used to this shit where some critter just stares back at me when I give an actual order heh.

See, some goddam wizard cursed my ass but good.

Still, I think I'd rather have the animal curse than the little kid one or some other kinda human one, y'know, I s'pose getting woken up by a bunch of humans pecking on your window at five in the morning would be way the hell worse ahaha.

The Twins

You know how there's that example they use to describe relativity stuff where there's these two guys (usually twins), and the one guy stays on the planet and lives out his normal life, and the other guy goes into space, and the one in space flies around really fast for a while and then he goes home and when he gets back his twin brother is ten years older than him?

'Cause like, moving at faster speeds makes time slow down for the guy doing it, you always hear how "the scientists" have done experiments with atomic clocks and reproduced the effects of that "twins" example.

And that's all fine and good and whatever.

But what gets me going is if you change the story of the twins a little.

Where you have the spaceship orbit the planet instead of just flying around haphazardly, and you put a window on the spaceship so the twins can watch each other.

And then you really get into how both twins experience time at different rates, how our brains operate at a certain speed, and take so many pictures per second, and how the twin in the spaceship experiences time passing more slowly than his brother on the ground does, he takes less pictures per second compared to the twin on the ground who isn't moving as quickly and experiencing time passing as quickly.

So the guy on the ground actually experiences time in greater detail, at a higher resolution, because he's moving more slowly, right?

The dude in the spaceship, from the point of view of the guy on the ground, is moving all slowly inside the spaceship, because the spaceship is hauling ass.

And the people on the ground, from the point of view of the guy in the spaceship, are whipping all about at super speeds ('cause the spaceship guy is experiencing time passing more slowly, and taking less pictures per second, which makes the "movie" playing on the ground seem to speed up).


So the slow moving dude on the ground is actually more dangerous than the fast moving guy, 'cause he can effectively move and react to things and notice stuff at super speeds compared to spaceship man.

That's what weird about it to me, y'know, the way that they always make it out like the dude on the ground is totally getting ripped off and aging quicker, when he isn't aging quicker, he's actually living and doing everything at super high speeds because the "spaceship" he's on is moving slow.

While its the guy in the spaceship that is totally at a disadvantage, if the twins got in a fight or something, 'cause he's all like, turning into a turtle and going into hibernation due to the effects of high speed flight.

See, there's actually a bit of a military advantage to stopping and smelling the roses and shit.

Actually I think some of that gets canceled out by the whole acceleration and deceleration thing, but whatever, the guys who thought of that stupid twins thing didn't even bother to think about the fact that a brain is a machine that needs to operate in time-space just like everything else so its not like I'm the one that's slacking on the job or anything heh.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Hmm Hmm Hmm

I'm still working on my town building thingie.

The more I build, the more cool stuff I think of doing, its just one of those kinda things.

Now I'm at the point where I know I wanna do a version of a town that starts from caveman-scratch, where you get your little Primitive Screwhead villagers to clear the forests and use the wood to build their houses, and then you make 'em build a country-western medicine-woman schoolhouse, so they'll quit being cavemen and learn how to be scientists and artists that can build cooler stuff.

Like an ancient Roman city.

And that gave me the idea of making a library for your villagers where you can bring them books like Metallurgy 101 (y'know, Army of Darkness style, maybe something you get as loot, or crap you can trade with other people) so they'll learn how to do better stuff, so like, they'll have a Science Rating and an Arts rating and that'll influence their morale and their health and what kinda crap they know how to build.

And eventually they'll have their own Scribes and Sages working at the University with its own library and they'll learn how to build a Nuclear Power Plant and Wind Farms and machine-made weapons and all that kinda junk.

Sorta like a mix between Syndicate and Civilization, with my own crazy accidental omissions and shit 'cause I got a leaky memory (but I'm twice as good as hollywood even on a bad day so most folks probably won't even notice that I did the motte and bailey forts a little wrong and stuff just 'cause I couldn't think of how to draw it the right way in a picture that's 50 pixels wide and tall, y'know, there's some things you just can't do with micro-mini-pictures for everything ahaha).

I built some basic village and farm crap already, and then I moved on to doing some more modern looking stuff, with power plants and hospitals and high rises, and they got working lights that turn on and off (which was intended more for making a building look "abandoned" in an apocalyptic-type thing than a day-night cycle deal, but now its something I can "activate" when you build a "power grid" for you city) and there's some cheesy little animations for my airport and stuff.

Now I know I wanna do a caveman-medieval fairy-tale theme, a "cowboy" looking town (which doubles for pilgrim times and outposts-in-the-jungle or an post-apocalyptic barter-town type dealie, where an "airport" might be a dirt runway), and an ancient Greek and Roman thing with the columns and all that (just 'cause that looks cool and its easy to do and I need me a gladiator arena ahaha), a modern matrix-y city, and mebbe some kinda scifi or Egyptian or Aztec thing, if I don't switch to working on something else first, 'cause that's just getting into the "frills" department.

Oh, I also gotta do a "treehouse" village for my little brother's younger son 'cause he's an ewok freak (and that's a neat idea anwyays).

I'm not totally into doing all sorts of historical stuff, really, I mean, personally, I like the weird junk, I'm more interested in doing a Planet of the Apes village than a good version of Russian Architecture, even though that'd be cool, too.

Ooh, I could prolly hodgepodge that together with an Arabian Nights looking dealie.

But I'll probably end up just getting all the basic "evolution of a generic town" stuff working (with a couple weird little pieces from different time periods left over) before moving on to other stuff.

Still, its pretty fun man.

Even the little puzzles, like where its easy to do one of those little red schoolhouses from the Cowboy days, its hard to think of how to draw a modern University so that a human will identify it as one at first glance, 'cause a University is just a bunch of semi-modern buildings, really, that's some fun junk, too.

And it makes me think of all sorts of cool crap I can do as I'm going along, like how to make building and flying your own modified airplanes and trains fun and how I can throw down random chunks of city building stuff on the map and use it as the entrances to "dungeons," or populate your "starter city" with random stuff, like a mountain you can mine for ore or a river for a shipyard and fishing deal and all that kinda junk.

And the ways that some things, like schools, might have "modular" sorta upgrades, insteada just upgrading from a Level 1 School to a Level 2 School, they can store all the "books" that they know how to "teach" in their "Library" module and each School might be different.

And it also made me think of doing stuff like youtube movie theatres and art galleries that players could set up.

Its like high-octane shit for my brain heh.

Oh, there's a lot of tedious stuff too, like, right now I'm right in the middle of rearranging a lot of the stuff, and its taking a while 'cause I had to change my "mask" for all the little squares you see on the screen once I figured out how wide my "upgradeable" roads were gonna be exactly and how much space they eat up in the adjoining squares, but even that cut-n-paste-n-make-it-fit-shit is kinda fun ahaha.

Yah, like, here you can see my mask on the "new" icons for things that are built right, now that I've retracted the roads to where they belong.

Sunday, July 13, 2008


I've actually been working on the game a lot lately, and talking to Ex-B about it.

Right now I'm working on sorting out the database infrastructure for the towns and villages and buildings so they'll work in a totally awesome and organic way ('cause I got fed up with the static way the towns I got are operating when I finished the weapons and armor stuff and I started messing with the merchants).

I wanna make it like this:

At some level, your Wizard gets granted the right to build his own Wizard Tower out in the wilderness somewhere.

And then a village will grow around the base of your Wizard Tower, sorta like a lawn ornament, at first.

But since you can upgrade your Tower into a Fort, and your Fort into a Fortress, and your Fortress into a Castle, and since the Hamlet at its feet also has all sorts of upgrades (like irrigation and pig farms and silver mines and whatever), which will make it attract and keep more villagers, which will eventually make your Hamlet Lawn Ornament upgrade from a Hamlet to a Village to a Town to a City, capable of holding more buildings at each stage along the way (which may be used for special upgrades, like an Inn and a Bank, or may be used for houses for your other characters, or characters of your buddies (although I'm not exactly sure if that's all that great, unless you need a high level wizard in a town to have a Great Library or something, which is used as a prerequisite for something else, or something like that).

And the villagers will go out every day and make whatever they make, and some of 'em will travel to nearby towns and trade the stuff their village makes for the stuff their village needs, and that gives me hooks for escort quests and stuff like that, where you, being the Big Hero Guy, need to keep the frontier safe for your little pets.

And it also sets the economic stage for players that wanna do the Rogue Trader caravan runs and help villages out while making moolah and fighting monsters along the way.

And maybe you'll be able to invest in things like road-building, between your village and the nearest Big City, and upgrade that to a railway systyem or add road wardens or something to it, or set aside money from your treasury to pay player adventurers to do stuff like that for you, and every time a thing like that is accomplished, it lowers the chance that there'll be a bad encounter in the future (sorta like completing the "patrol quest" for your fort would make the area safer for a while).

And I definitely wanna make it so that you can schedule things, for when you know you ain't gonna be playing for a while, so you can tell your villagers to only dare a trip to town when you are around to escort them, or set a list of upgrades you want 'em to do, in a certain order, by pulling money of the treasury.

This is all easy and fun programming stuff, its just a lot of easy stuff to hold in your head all at once, and I need to think it all out so that I make sure I don't forget any of the fields I need in the tables heh.

Y'know, just from the crap I been talking about so far, I know I need to keep track of the treasury, the tax rate, the population, the health and productivity and morale of the population, the things it needs, the things it wants (once its got all the things it needs heh), the stuff it makes, the stuff it needs to make the stuff it makes, the stuff its "merchant" is moving back and forth between the Big City and the Village, the stuff in the village storehouse, the upgrades it has, both for your Tower, as a building, and the Village, as a Town, the state of the upgrades (as far as how completed they are), the slots for adding more buildings to your Village (which are separate from upgrades, although they might be occupied by certain village upgrades, 'cause some of those are buildings), and a bunch of attribute slots I can use to store things like the "danger level" crap that gets set from doing patrol and escort quests for the village.

And some other stuff I'm probably forgetting or haven't even thought of yet.

Like making the first upgrades be made out of wood, and require wood, instead of just money from the treasury, which would be handy for a lumber town that produces wood and just kinda cool all around for trader types.

Or, if you are lazy, you can just pay for everything, but I can still calculate the price dynamically dependent on the wood supply, by forcing your villagers to actually get the wood (and tools and whatever else it takes to complete the upgrade) from somewhere.

This is all fundamental stuff to my game, 'cause I want my "starter city" to work like all the other cities, for the most part (although it'll probably have a few more failsafes and cheats in it than normal, I'd like to keep that kinda junk to a minimum).

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

I'm Too Sexy For My Shirt

Man I am laughing my ass off ahaha.

I did this same paperdoll kinda thing a long time ago, I don't remember what I was programming, mebbe I done it more than once, but whatever, there's gotta be some of you out there that done something like this, where you gotta figure out how you want it to layer and make sure your boots look right with all your different kinds of pants and shit, its a total pain in the ass and I got a lot of touch-up work to do, but some of it actually came out kinda cool on the first pass, even though I was just sorta blundering through it as quick as I could.

I got forty different weapons and like eighty-something different pieces of clothing or so, so far, and I know I forgot some stuff I'm gonna want eventually, y'know, like Turbans, and I didn't even bother with Ringmail and all the different kinds of armor that you can't splash down some paint and whip up in a couple seconds, y'know, like, chainmail is easy 'cause you can bucket fill with a pattern and get away with it but junk like ringmail and studded leather is practically pointillism man you gotta put some time into it for it to come out looking right heh.

Damn my bowler hat is a little fuxxored up ahaha.

Mmm, I think I'm gonna get rid of my shoulder slot.

Its one of those "if its there, then you gotta use it" thingies, and the stuff in the shoulders slot generally covers up practically everything else, y'know, its where I got stuff like trenchcoats and pressure suits and biker jackets and cloaks and crap.

But if I combine it with "body," then you'll be able to pick out how you wanna look a little more, and it won't matter to the shoulder slot thingies, they all cover up whatever you got in the body slot anyways.

Only bad thing is that I won't have anywhere for capes to go, y'know, that's like, oh boohoo, no capes ahaha.

Dude, capes are like a curse AHAHA.

Yah, I'll have to combine platemail with surcoats and "suitcoats" and "dress shirt with no suitcoat" and "dress shirt with vest" and junk like that will all be separate thingies, too, but that's no big deal, I kinda had to do a little of that already anyways, might as well go all the way with it.

The important thing is that I got the ancient roman shit and Lovecraftian bowler hat dudes and all that other junk in the end, insteada everybody being stuck wearing trenchcoats and hazmat suits and stuff heh.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Drill Bits

Welp I've got all my weapon templates in the game complete with crappy little pictures for the paper doll, and I'm working on the armor bits now, just finished the cheesy graphics for the helmets and hats, which is about half the armor items, since there's a lot more kinds of hats and helmets than there is any other kinda clothing, I mean, there's like, bowler hats and bandannas and space helmets and hockey masks but there's really only a couple kinds of jackets and gloves, y'know, its kinda weird that humans are so hat-centric when you step back and take a look at the whole thing heh.

After I finish the paper doll graphics for the armor it only takes a sec to add all the templates in and then I dump them back out of the database so I can hardcode them into my re-installer ('cause there's no sense in a fresh install without all the templates in there).

And then after that, I gotta make a couple backpacks, I'm not real inspired to think of different kinds of "sacks" *rolls his one good eye* but once I got a couple bags in there I'm pretty much ready to go for playing the game with a working paper doll and shit, I mean, I still gotta add some "appearances" for items, where you add the URLs to pictures from the internet and crap and make a description for 'em, y'know, just like a regular player (so that's easy and it takes two seconds), and then I gotta fix up the merchant in town some to carry some of my brand new randomly generated items, and then I gotta wire up my "view details" thingie on the inventory pages, once I finish that, and then I get to finally work the kinks out of combat and make it look pretty, but I'm cruising right along.

I mean, after the combat thing, I'm actually down to doing "fine-tuning" and "filler" stuff, things like adding the front-ends so players can own their own buildings and making the maps work inside buildings and towns, that's more like cut-n-paste than anything else 'cause I already got all those things working in the game somewheres, I just didn't replicate it out to every place that needs it.

And then there's the fun stuff like adding gambling and quests and fooling around with vehicles and adding more specials and crap.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Fun Fun Fun

Man, programming the interface for this thing is pure torture heh.

It autoadjusts to fit whatever kind of item you are making, not because that was an especially smart way to do it, but because it was easier to make it the way I really need it to be, where I can see everything that's going on (like this template making and paper doll testing thingie, which players will probably never see) and then just delete it down into pretty little separate and easy-to-use things for regular people afterwards.

A lot of the fields are empty 'cause this is the real structure of the items in the database and either templates don't use those fields (yet), or they're for the item "front-ends" and "appearances" that players can add to the game, or they're fields used for actual instances of items, like "mods," which is where the magic bonuses and crap go, and attributes that aren't used by item "templates" or "appearances" which hold the "level" and "experience points" of items that belong to people in the items table (y'know, the stuff that your character is carrying around is in there too, along with the "front-ends" and the "templates" that every item is based on).

On the bright side, since there's extra fields that I ain't using for templates, I don't gotta donk around with redoing the database if I wanna use some of 'em for adding more item attributes to templates (like ammo and junk) as I test things and get bored with how simple I made stuff to start with.

Not that I'm there yet, right now I've just started adding all the templates and I'm making sure the paper doll is layered right (the graphics are gonna be crap but that's easy to go back and fix up later when I feel like doing it).

Oh, the different types of item entries (templates, appearances, and actual items), and the different sorts of items (weapons, armor, accessories, trade goods, and containers, atm) all use the same fields differently, so like, one handed weapon "templates" use their two URL fields in the items data structure for storing the images of the right and left hand weapon on the paper doll (which players aren't expected to come up with), and the weapon "appearances" and "actual items" use those fields to store the URLs to the player-added image (which you see when you check out an item's details) and the icon for that item (which defaults to a shrunken-down version of the player-added item image right now, we'll see how long I can get away with that heh).

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Making Time

Here's a good one.

I'm working on the Item Compendium slash Monster Manual dealie, and I've got to add the basics of the Time Period and Settings Filter, y'know, the thing that let's you specify when a certain kind of pistol was invented (so the server will know not to distribute that thing as loot before a certain date) and whether or not the thing (whether its a monster or an item) you are adding is from a magical or mythological world or a non-magical and historical world (that's the only thing I'm using the "Settings" Filter for at the moment, although it'll probably be used for other things eventually, like the Parental Guidance and "I don't wanna see anything that doesn't have a four-star rating" system and stuff).

So anyways, the Settings filter is kinda adaptable as I go along, 'cause its more of a "list of checkbox things" than a drop down box type dealie, but the Time Period one isn't that way, its gotta be good from the get-go and stay good the entire time, I can't decide to change it around later without monkeying everything up.

At first I was thinking of just making it something simple with ten choices or so, something like:

"Dinosaur Age"

... and whatever.

But while that's nice for folks who suck at history, y'know, when they go to add shit to the game, it sucks ass for everything else, like College Professors who wanna do historical shit and stuff heh.

So then I was thinking I should make it a drop-down, and do things century-by-century.

That actually looks pretty good, at first, y'know, like...


...blah blah blah.

But then you get into like, how far should I go back?

Y'know, like, should I be doing 6100BC, 6200BC, 6300BC?

Ancient Egypt only goes back to maybe 40000BC or so.

And the "prehistory" line is 50000BC.

Maybe I should go back century by century until I hit that 50000BC thingie.

Or go back to 5000BC and then start going by milleniums or something.

I dunno, I'm not a history expert but from what I remember of junk, history starts "drying up after that 10000BC line, y'know, you start saying stuff like "he was a guy from 9000BC" when you start going back that far heh.

And the different sorts of weapons and armor dry up around there too, I mean, I could go by the old Bronze Age and Stone Age crap, I guess.

And since this isn't just used for items, like, it isn't just used for inventions, it isn't just used for stuff like bronze swords and flintlock pistols and different types of armor, its also used for monsters, with the specifically good examples of Dinosaurs and Giant Prehistoric Sea Creatures and crap, where the information for when they lived could be pretty cool and useful for the game engine (and its only a trip to the wikipedia away), 'cause I could use that to populate the planet with monsters that fit into all those different Jurassic Ages and shit, which would be kinda kickass (although the "loot" would suck, y'know, cause they ain't gonna "drop" chainsaws, guess I better make "dino burger meat" worth something ahaha).

And then besides the "going backwards" crap, I could tighten the resolution of the "modern" era, so that there'd be a 1960s, and 1950s and shit.

And then there's the totally fictional future stuff, but that's kinda easy, I mean, I guess I could divide that up some, just for the fun of seeing where folks placed their stuff in the future exactly, y'know how its fun to make up those future history things and all that heh.

Well, whatever, I'm gonna keep programming other stuff around this and just do it kinda cheesy at first but if anybody's got a good idea for a list of Time Periods or some kinda kibitz about 'em lemme know.

One of my favorite books of all times is Asimov's Chronology of the World, I might just cheat and use whatever the hell he went with, 'cause he's hella-smart.

Mmm, mebbe I should just let folks do exact dates for things, I was trying to avoid stuff like that, not just 'cause then I'd have to test and make sure you entered something that makes sense, but because the human measurment and display of Time isn't really all that universal around the globe, its one of those formatting things that gets messed up in different countries and stuff, and my code has to be able to wield this stuff mathematically to do certain things.

And the ISO 8601 "internationally accepted standard" of yyyy-mm-dd is not good enough for me, man, y'know, we need us a little more than yyyy heh.

Even if we were willing to put up with the whole Anno Domini dealie (which the standard can't even do anyways even though that's the cultural bias its based on ahaha).

Well, I guess its better than converting everything we find into that Year of the Monkey shit AHAHA.

Goddam humans, ain't we supposed to be able to think ahead a little or something I mean c'mon seriously wtf here we go again with that Y2K shit all over again AHAHAHA.

Anyways, if I do allow specific dates, then you got the beginning of that cool "Time Traveler goes back to the day before something was invented or something important happened" kinda shit.

I guess I might as well try to figure out how to do that.

That sorta gets me into thinking about how some things quit appearing after a certain date, and how I don't really have anything set up for that, although you do always got stuff like World War II guys that ain't heard that the War is Over and the Loch Ness Monster and whatever, so mebbe that ain't such a big deal.

It actually kinda works out in an organic way, 'cause of the way things are put into the game randomly, as we get closer to modern times, we know more junk, so there's bound to be more modern stuff than older crap, which will make the older crap not show up so much.

Plus I could weight that "age" thing in a negative way, to make old stuff more rare in modern times.

So that's not so bad.

Although I should probably hook up something server side so that ancient romans don't end up fighting a lot of dinosaurs heh.

Which puts me right back into that "needing a bunch of time categories" thingie anyways ahaha.

Not Dead Yet

After finishing my move, there was the 4th of July party stuff, and then a day devoted to the accompanying hangover where all the angels in heaven and devils in hell beat on my head like a drum while I lay in bed and watched shit on PBS like an old woman with broken legs.

My boundless spirit of adventure is running on empty and I can't remember the ends to any of the stories but aside from that I'm still alive and most of my bruises have already healed heh.

I think I just need another cup of coffee and I'll be all good ahaha.