Who Lives, and Who Dies.

I just finished a fantastic book which really brought a poignant point home for me; our favorite characters mortality.  We cheer them, we weep for them, we urge them on and we at times curse them; we become so very attached.  Then as we approach the end, we sometimes see loss.

It’s inevitable I suppose, mostly the books I read (fantasy, sci-fi) are action based, there’s battles, there’s wars, crusades, magic, lasers, and a plethora of ways to die.  But our favorites soldier on unmolested at times in almost inconceivable ways.  Even through all that implausibility we feel they earned that right to live through it all.

It used to be a cliche that the main characters always lived, except maybe for the token martyr/sacrifice.  Then (for me) Game of Thrones came along and shattered that.  2 major events in that book left me shocked, aghast and deeply emotional.  I’m not exactly a huge emotional person.  Staid, solid, reserved, these are usually my adjectives.  Well written books give me that opportunity to step inside these worlds and really connect with them, so that I often feel more strongly about them than things in the “real world”.

After this last book I have discovered an even more immense respect for authors who have to make that decision.  It’s not an automatic “duh”, it’s a cruel, horrible decision that I’m sure they wrestle with for days, if not weeks.  I greatly enjoy the escapism of these books, but I also incredibly value the way they make me stop and think at the end.

Authors, I salute you.  You give me whole worlds to explore.

 

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Stuff and Stuff

Never sure what to do with this site.  Once upon a time I had big plans for my gaming empire.  After a stint as a developer with a fairly popular MUD, I jumped into browser based games back around 2004.  At the time the few browser games were fairly simple and I felt it was a growing market with a lot of potential.

 

Boy was I ever right.  Sadly I never managed to capitalize on said revelation.  Although I jumped into game design with a passion and sketched out a half dozen games I never managed to release a single one.  I learned a great deal about php/mysql, about optimizations and frameworks.  I was already fairly technical and knew server/network administration so things came pretty naturally.

I built a game framework of my own wanting to keep it lean  and highly focused and avoid bloat.  I then used it on various games.  Rather than wisely setting goals and focusing on one I bounced back and forth between the various endeavors as the muse descended or left.

Predictably this failed miserably with numerous projects just on the cusp of being realized.

I had a game tentatively called Dominion, featured town building, actual map with geographical movement. (back when you had a list of names to click to attack), it had research, it had trade, it had roaming npcs you could hire, common today as heroes.  It had armor crafting and weapon crafting, training, troops you could then customize.  Attacks where your army had to actually travel and return and was visible on the map and could be intercepted.  None of this is particularly exciting today, but I had all this working in 2004.  Got to about 80% completed, and abandoned it.

I had another one called wilderun.  It was my plan to build a MUD in a browser, using fancy javascript, room based chat, and all the normal rpg/mmo stuff skills,inventory, levels, monsters, spells, weapons, etc, etc, etc.  Got to about 50% completed before abandoned.

Had a western meets magic one.  6 shooters against goblins and ogre shamans.  Winchester rifles and bowie knives vs Imps and trolls.  Got about 90% completed.

Had a space based one, resource management, research/build hulls/shields/engines/weapons where different planets had different “quality” of materials so one section of space might have better than average shields, but poor armor.  While another had really great weapons, but slower engines.  Got to about 50% completed.

Had a witchy one, based around covens, adventure, and a bit of farmville.  Growing your nightshade, etc with a very customizable “garden” and tower.  Teleport off to the woods to hunt down do-badders (the opposite of do-gooders) or gather materials.  Designed around facebook, with a shared tower your coven could build together.

Had a horror/survival one, alien spaceship crashes in city.  City is quarantined off.  Play as various citizen types and monster types.  Both trying to survive and obtain goals, like blowing up the ship, or seizing the town hall.  This one didn’t get too far, design and very basic prototypes, 10% maybe.

Had zombie ones, had vampire ones, had pirate ones.

Had resource management one about being a knight and going around the countryside participating in tourneys with jousting, archer and melee competitions with your retinue. Your crew gained skill, you gained cash and fame and better equipment.  With political/intrigue stuff in the various courts.  Heavily inspired by A Knight’s Tale .

Thought I was pretty good at sketching a game idea, looking at the various methods and pulling things together to fit coherently.  But as I now know, ideas are poor currency. Implementation is king.

So fast forward nearly a decade.  Some years nose to the grindstone practically doing it as a second job, then feeling intolerably guilty at any free time that I wasn’t doing something productive.  Other years just putting it all on pause, giving myself a “vacation”.  Note, I had a full time job throughout all this that often had its own set of headaches, stress and overtime.

The last few years I’ve been turning away from html and looking to more graphical options, playing with various engines; esenthel, ogre, heroengine and others before finally settling on Unity3d.  Unity is great, I felt like I could see progress and was learning it.  I sketched out new designs with these paradigms, investigating the world of mobile, the new “browser” games, and then tablets.  I sketched out more ideas and started in on them.

And now I find myself stalling again.  I love designing games, I love getting in the zone developing them.  Losing 12 hours on a weekend barely looking up from the editor or console.  I recently found a browser game I played around 06 or so.  It was fairly new, small userbase, got to know the developer, even helped him with some database design and combat code then drifted off.  It’s still thriving.  How many opportunities did I miss by failing to push those 60, 80, 90% games on to completion back in the early days of casual game explosion.

So now i’m wondering if I should go back to regular browser games and give up on “graphical” game development.  Or find a new hobby.  backyard blacksmithing perhaps?

 

P.S. – I remember this site so infrequently that ever time I check it I have to update wordpress.  again.

 

 

 

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Bloggerific

My personal site needed some semblance of content, thus wordpress.

Yay.

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