Organisational imperatives

Just spent about two hours searching every online repository I use, every writing program I use, every text file (all of which have bizarrely cryptic names) that might contain it, five different notebooks and even random scraps of paper. All to try to find an overly complete biography for a character I decided I didn’t want to use but have now changed my mind about. Of course I can’t find it. I did find a four line biography which now makes me suspect whether I actually wrote this thing in the first place. The real problem of course is that I probably shouldnt be checking around fifteen different places for material related to one project. So I bit the bullet and finally bought a copy of Scrivener. I’ve been half using demo versions on and off for the last three or four years but it feels like time I use something, anything, to keep everything related to individual projects in one place (of course I’m saving my files in my Dropbox folder, have to keep the glorious work safe for future generations). I’ll probably still use WriteMonkey for the actual writing as I really love its super minimalist approach. But at least now I know that organisational nirvana is only a quick copy and paste away. Continue reading…

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Ave Imperator – Design Journal – 04 – Money Matters

I’ve been focusing quite a bit on the mechanical nuts and bolts around the nitty gritty of gladiatorial combat. Which is clearly an important part of the game. However another important part of the game is running the ludus, i.e. playing as the lanista. This play is split into three main sections, the first is managing your gladiators, training them, keeping them sweet, buying new ones and so on. The second major part is the political or social end of things, making contacts, settings up bouts, trying to earn a bit more here and undercut a competing lanistae there (actually, as I’ll mention again, undercutting is more or less what you dont want to do). The third part is the day to day running of the ludus, insuring you have enough supplies and money to pay wages, make meals etc. Its this last part I’m going to talk about for a bit. Continue reading…

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Ave Imperator – Design Journal – 03 – System Matters

As I mentioned in the last post after fiddling with the core mechanic for The City I ended up re-assessing the system I was using for Ave Imperator. My original goal for the system was to have to be as “realistic” as possible. Which is somewhat of a silly goal, when people talk about realistic systems they generally mean a system with a decent level of verisimilitude. People want the system to “feel” real. Not necessarily fully simulate reality (because that would be both extremely complex and demanding and also runs the risk of being rather boring). To boil it down even further, all I really wanted was a combat system that felt fairly lethal, as when talking about rpg systems most people equate highly lethal or “gritty” combat with realism. The system I had was decent enough, as far as it went. It was a dice pool system that worked for the most part but had some odd probablity issues (mostly the weird scaling on the probability of success). It was also open to abuse in that attributes were much more useful than skills. Which wasnt really an issue per se as the player would never be manually generating any characters (more on that later). But after playing BRP for the first time in ages last week, and working on dice probability stuff for The City, I just couldnt leave the Ave Imperator system as it was. So I’ve come up with something new, and, I think anyway, better. At least in terms of combat its a bit more involved but also hopefully more fun. Continue reading…

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Ave Imperator – Design Journal – 02 – Mirroring Lenin’s treatsie on steps

The title was just going to be “One step forward, two steps back”. But clearly that wasnt wanky enough for me. This is going to be short because its late and my thoughts, much like the organ they emanate from, are squishy and soft. I’ve abandoned UDK (don’t cry for me Epic) in favour of Unity. I then ran into one of the first problems I had with UDK – lack of cohesive learning material. There are few books for either (and software updates have made the ones that exist somewhat out of date). There are professional video tutorials, but they are a) for slightly older versions and b) despite telling you they will teach you how to use the program they will in fact teach you how to do one thing with the program, generally create a third or first person game. Which isnt really what I want to do. Continue reading…

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30 Days of the terrible things that live beneath the skin of the world – A Summary

30 days ago I decided that I would disseminate a selection of the various weird subjects I had come across on Facebook and Twitter. For two main reasons, the first being that I think most of these things are genuinely interesting or intriguing and its always good to know more. The second being that I wanted to give myself some impetus to read or re-read the rather large amount of material (literally thousands of pages) I had amassed. The second reason has borne fruit and I’m hoping that the first did likewise for anyone who has been following along. I’ve collected all of the “entries” in the “series” here. Continue reading…

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Upcoming “articles”

Well Monday (or possibly Tuesday depending on when I can get shopping) see’s a return to my healthy eating plan so I should have my entries about that back on track next week. I also plan to try and keep up with my update schedule in the new year (which if you believe the lie under the “About” page would be every Tuesday). In particular I want to have my “Best of 2010” entries (Manga, Anime, Computer Games, Swag and possibly Music) all posted by the end of the month (as opposed to ten months into the year in question like I did this year).

Listening to: Blitzen Trapper - Sadie

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If Mick was the Devil (Part 2) Or The Emperors New Clothes

Well due to popular demand (aka one person mentioning it in passing) Ive decided to push the critically important chronicling of my thoughts on Final Fantasy XIII to a later date and continue with this instead. So when we last left our intrepid author he had become the Prince of Darkness, the Lord of Flies, Old Nick, Old Scratch, El Diablo, well you get the picture. However, now that it isn’t five of the offensively early am clock I can see that some elements escaped examination in Part 1. Elements which should probably be addressed before going forward. Continue reading…

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