Introductions

Cucumber Eye Frizbees

When this family began, the first baby could only just about hold a mouse. Yes, as soon as they could do that they were exploring mimmies computer along with everything else the great world had to offer. It was part of the scene and part of their new little lives along with dandelions, clouds, peas, stones, butterflies and everything else. Then after that we went into about seven years of intense crafting. The productivity of the young is stupendous by the way.

This house became a truly wondrous cave full of glue and sculptures, paint and pictures. Clay, salt dough, old sprirographs collected from charity shops, rescued barbies, rocks, homemade kites, cardboard houses, collages, stars, moons, suns, butterflies, fluffy toys, things that talked to you when you stood on them at midnight, spiders, seedlings, meandering crayons, poetry, practice writing, drawings, paintings. I seldom left the house without glitter in my hair or opened my handbag without distributing sequins upon all and sundry. I liked it very much :) – I think you can tell.  A lot of time was spent clearing workspaces, organising the general production and finding places for everything. The kind of housework I truly do not mind.

About 5 years into that crafting phase school erosion began in earnest, and although crafting continued unabated for a while, mental escape became more of an issue. This happens to us all I think. So, the focus shifted. Suddenly there grew piles of books, an interest in handheld gaming toys. Things that allow you to escape for a little while to another world and have some headspace that isn’t to do with grades, friends, competition. Discretely (and a bit sadly) I began storing the best of the crafted and gently steering the need for a mental haven into making a game ourselves as documented pretty much in this blog. Nothing too hefty, all more exploration and experiment. And above all everyone here and anyone that ventured in was encouraged to play!!!

This paid off of course – is it really all that surprising? The grades of my gamers are uniformly excellent, and years in maths are skipped. Etc. Games make you think, whether playing or creating them. So, that lasted a goodly while too, and now it’s teenagers, and the computer is fading. It looks like it’s going to be a few years of creating our own cosmetics, and otherwise developing personal style. They are finding themselves. (I will continue computer work in the background – I’ve discovered a couple of gaps in the schooling. Plus, I think I just like it.)This is also (as also documented) the best time to deconstruct, declutter and generally redo everything ready for their early adulthood, and my bit where they go off and do own thing. I solo half the time as it is, so that’s not going to be a big strain but at this point I can make my domestic environment more conducive to the things I like. What a lot of words. I’m having a big redo in preparation for the next years.

I will not write our eye-frizbee recipe fully since it didn’t quite work out (cucumber, green tea and witchhazel are what is in it). It was meant to be eye-gel. It smells great! And is quite nice to hold in one’s hand… very cool and smooth, but I think we should try again hahaha – oooo fun! I do hope I’m in for five years of cosmetic production to match the crafting and computer/book phases.

This weekend – avocado!

Categories: Comparisons, Introductions, Oddments, Things In General, Vague Rambly Stuff | Leave a comment

Twitter…

Hmmmm.

Update: Hmmmm !!

I see trending can be manipulated. Even in a good cause it’s still slanting, spinning, distorting things. A campaign today. (I know how to pick my time eh.)

Well, Twitter is very interesting indeed, but I get better clean information from just talking to people as I go about my daily life. Campaigns apart, also there’s an awful lot of regular-ish spam. Looks like bots. Mostly from people with something to sell. Musicians, TV personalities.

What is nice is that once you get rid of those it’s a quick way to check on favourite sites without doing the whole slow-load of an ad-riddled webpage which is trying to datamine you. And also enjoyable, I can find out what’s going on in ITV This Morning without having to watch the bliddy thing on TV. Sometimes they have interesting guests/stories.

Will keep for a while, but on this visit it looked heavily and easily hijacked – albeit in a good cause  – this time.

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C++ – traditional

Well in my day we didn’t have tools like what they have nowadays. I’m approaching the Grandelanguage of coding as a beginner because it’s been so long (more than 20 years), 1, and because I need to be able to explain how to do things to starter humans, 2. I do remember being totally confused, way back then, when trying for the first time to figure out how the tools worked together. Which text editor? What’s a compiler – build? etc.

This time round I’m using code::blocks which so far makes everything very easy. AVG does not work well with it, but making an exception for my project folder seems to have solved things. So far so good anyway. Not very exciting but here’s the traditional:

Trad

In other words, it all works. On we go.

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Heartened by the existence of Moocs

(Massive Open Online Courses)

Now that my life experiment with ignoring the passive media is over, I do dip my toe into one sided information delivery now and again. Saw this article here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2012/nov/11/online-free-learning-end-of-university

I absolutely believe in free and readily available, high quality, real education for everyone, everywhere. There’s no way we’ll keep the world without it. The insistence on monetising such basic things as learning is suicidal for our species as a whole and the world we live in. There are still people walking around who go all wibbly at the sight of an equation!

These are free for now, lets hope it stays that way.

These are to university standard, and wherever you are, whoever you are, if you have the net – you can use them. Now all we need to do is get everyone on the internet eh, and the hive mind will be a live mind. I love the internet. It really is like our collective brain making the first synaptic links and waking up, demons and all. Very strange and very wonderful thing.

Stripped of their cultural cottonwool and flushed out, the not so great characteristics we share with crocodiles and such turn out not to be all that mainstream after all as the less loud and more peaceable amongst us not only find a voice, but discover that in their wishing for a better world they are not, after all, a tiny, marginalised, discredited, deluded minority.

The opposite.

Ha!

Categories: Introductions, Oddments | Leave a comment

… Thingie aka TWoFB

is rapidly getting to the point where it needs its own scrapbook, so I made a page on this blog for anyone mildly interested. After a seemly time, this post will be moved there and I can update it as we go.

I originally set the page up for a sibling, who is perfect blogger material. Well evidently she thought so too, having explored mine, and is setting up shop over at Moonfruit – I have created a Frankenbloggerdynasty.

Muhahahaha!

To Work

I intend the TWoFB page, and possibly other pages to be a record of our adventure, not a how-to or a formal progress report, but more like a story. Are ya sitting comfortably – ok here goes:

TWoFB or …Thingie began in a moment of absolute horror. I gazed at my small daughter, shocked, truly shocked to find out that she was learning “Microsoft Word” in “Computing” in lower school and not much else in “Computing”. Ahead of her, bright and shiny as she was, I saw the years stretch … office applications at school followed by a working life in some ghastly box with marginally insane people. Some serious mum stuff kicked in, I can tell you.

There is no doubt in my mind that it’s necessary to fill the gaps in your standard British, completely productivity-oriented education. I shuffled through various ideas and old abandoned places in my head and came up with creating a computer game. It’s a dream I’m happy to revive. I produced some shareware way back when so it’s not too scary. I’m familiar with both the process and the naysayers. It can be done, at home with basic equipment, by anyone. Even more so now. In those days… we survived on cockroaches we managed to catch off decaying pizzas and had to learn assembler, which I never did properly, because I found some alternatives to doing that. There are enough people in here/passing through/having a visit for it this project to have become quite a lively affair. This is normal for me – people gravitate to interesting activities and it can be quite much (which is why I value privacy, quiet places/obscurity and normal boring things.)

From Shock, Horror and Fury to August 12, 2012

By nature I am an Executor (it’s not a Bartle label, he missed a lot of ‘em).

You can tell. I am interested in glue. And bolts, plugs, sockets, cables, knots, ropes, wire, sticky tape, rivets, dowels… and gravity. Joining mechanisms of all kinds. (It’s a dead giveaway.) Before I even think of logistics or costs I’m at what’s going to hold it together and what needs to be joined to what and how many extra bits are needed to be stuck on for completion and functionality. Because I know that if you cannot stick it together, it won’t work so there is no sense in wasting time, effort and money on anything until that aspect is secured. I also know that how you stick it together is crucial for efficiency and all its little relatives (like profit, incidentally). Of course by nature, I’m also a slew of other labels, but mostly, yes, things get done/made/sorted. And I don’t go in for any of this ‘time-frame’, ‘focussed’, ‘driven’,’ other words that mean ‘force-march!’  way of working. It gets done eh. The oblique words are for people who are about extracting what they can – that’s a different activity.

Shock, horror, fury happened almost around the same time I started quitting WoW, embarked on a serious life declutter, began the process of getting this house renovation started  in earnest, began this blog and a buncha other startup stuff I already completed and forgot. It was a changeful time.

Between then and now I have been researching and gathering minimal hardware and software resources and as many thoughts, ideas and drawings as we can spit out.  Hardware: We have: 2 old laptops, one external hard drive, one printer/scanner/copier, a wacom pen and tablet, an extra keyboard, a webcam – and that’s it. On the list to get next: Asus gaming laptop, 2nd hard drive, 3rd old laptop (to mess around with sounds), digital camera. Thoughts/ideas/drawings – got tons. Don’t be fooled by the apparent simplicity of this set-up. Nothing was bought or acquired without a lot of reason and research – there is a huge difference between uncluttered due to poverty (including poverty of thought) and uncluttered by choice.

Software will follow mostly from our process. For now, five-finger excercises. So Blender, Unity 3 free, the Gimp, LiveBrush. Next: adventures in scripting and code, web design, upload/download sites, have a look at server achitecture and network. Hosting. Quite a lot, but I’m not rushing or rushing anyone else.

Right now, I am diminishing the research to background. This phase (initial research)  is finished. Tonight’s the very night I hit that spot. I know it internally – it’s part of my nature (as an Executor-when-I-use-that-label) to recognise it. More research will be done, of course, but the focus shifts (to learning our tools). I am satisfied that the parts can be joined up into a coherent, working whole. That took, what, 8 months. But it was done in spare time and when we felt like it, so for future reference, that could be hugely compressed by doing it full-time.

It’s very late right now, I just did the last few days of the research task, checking into server hosting, setting up that website for playing with, (and learning about).

And in devspacewhen you press “play” a small sun orbits a very small flat untextured square and sheds light in all the right places. One tiny cotton-wool-ball-cloud hangs in the sky, also receiving “daylight” when it is day.  Awwww :)   (sum)

Vague Plan

this changes all the time and I’m not going to write date-stamped updates. It’s a simple plan and changes are no big deal.

Learning all our new stuff, software and hardware. (five-finger-excercises)
Trying out some very small ideas and small apps – this is like doing quick sketches or jotting down notes.
Sending some tiny apps/ideas through the pipe. From gleam in eye to zipped download.
Building on one or two of the above (slightly bigger apps/ideas) (a light stress and security test)

Go through thoughts, ideas, drawings and decide which ones we will work up some. Get some web stuff in place – site, hosting etc.

Review – summary posted here when I do it,  after cavorting through all the above.

Big Stuff

We have no mission statement, no timeline, no goal we must achieve. There is nothing bigger than a clean horizon. “We are making an (m)morpg” sums it up. What kind of (m)morpg will be decided as we go and find ideas we like. (Edit: no now it’s changed to an (m)mopvw (persistent virtual world)).  A few things have solidified though, even at this early stage:

Sandbox, definitely. Persistent changing “living” world, yes.
Interaction with environment and terrain, yes.
Multiplayer, yes and possibly massively multiplayer. There will be a very long alpha friends and family phase, possibly that will be where we stop.
If we decide to go further, short beta (might change this, but it would be a test thing, not marketing, so defined tests and trusted beta testers).

Payment model – will experiment. Velvet rope is most likely.
Ability to invest in and develop avatar – absolutely.
Housing – in right from the beginning.

Pvp, no.

The rest we’re still thinking about. A lot more can be done with instance/open world mixes for example. Current solutions are not very satisfying, any of them.

Secret stuff

As mentioned before, we won’t share our sparkliest, best, weirdest and most innovative until a time frame set  just before launch, if we launch that is. However, if you beat us to creating the type of game described above, we won’t be sad at all :)

Categories: ...Thingie, Blender Game Engine, Game Design and Creation, Gimp, Introductions, Things In General | Leave a comment

Extremely late and happy June fruit salad

It’s the hols! No apols!

Anyway I’m out of my rut & having fun. Gaming still – of course. Now and again I played Sacrifice which you can dip into when you please, and it’s fun and it doesn’t hurt your brain too much. It’s one of those games where you work out your strategy and try to outmanoever the other person (or in my case the computer). I find it hard to stop playing:

Wurm Online continues to entertain since I’m building that new deed. I know full well once that’s over I’m overdue for one of my irritated with the maintenance phases. But having fun for now.

WordPress appears to be running very slow and having troubles with my screenie of Sacrifice – it may appear magically later? Who knows.

I also payed a visit back to EQ2 and went through the usual cycle – it’s such a great game. Always something new to discover. This time it was the mentoring system, which I didn’t know was there and that allowed me to actually get transmuting going. I had wondered how that worked. It’s also just fun to mentor down – when I first started playing (I realise) I missed a lot just because everything was so new and strange. The first months were spent more learning some of the game & I think I didn’t pay my usual attention to small things. Even so I remember being very impressed. So there’s that part of the cycle, then, over time, the ineptness of SOE makes itself felt and I feel uneasy, eventually unwilling to log in. Nothing in particular set me off this time, just… dunno… like something creepy is going on. I have learned to trust my instincts.

Someone called it Forsaken Underpants and when I find that again, I owe you a link. I don’t know why I like playing it, some things in life are just a mystery. My highest forty something alt isn’t going to get much further I don’t think. Forsaken World is impressively guild-strangled, forced grouping is… well you can’t any do instances at all without a group and half the systems lead nowhere. So progression in any sense is pretty much out of the window. I captured a nightmare and I was happy. At forty something the underwear problem isn’t so bad.

Since the Blizzard offering failed on the first steps – download, install, run (duh) – I tried Torchlight, and have had a wonderful time with it, I must say. Perfectly charming, replayable, enjoyable, fun game. I really do like it and anticipate many happy hours with it. Good stuff. Hope the next one is as good – having seen and played this I will be looking out for it.

I can’t remember anything else – must admit I’m not in the mood for anything even vaguely worky tonight, not even looking on the desktop to see what I forgot. I like the hols. I like people being allowed to relax for a change. It’s good for us. To continue that theme June’s fruit salad is late and… relaxed.

Categories: Fruit Salad, Introductions, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Curling Up With A Good Bloog (Newbie Bloggers Initiative)

Link:

http://nbihq.freeforums.org/

When the rain is storming outside and it’s cold and dreary, when the hail is beating down and the fires are being stoked to keep us warm, beneath my fur, in my cave, not willing to venture out in the wet and wind, I curl up with a hunk of, well usually pizza, but a hunk anyway, and go looking for a good Blog on the prehistoric laptop – well people keep telling me it’s prehistoric when I complain their games dont run..

I’m not an old enough Blogger to give advice really so I’ll do encouragement instead I think, and the first point is about getting readers. People do like reading blogs, people like me. I go looking for them, and I enjoy them. If there’s anything I’m interested in, I go look for a nice meaty blog on the subject. So there’s that. My first blog I wrote just for me, and didn’t bother about readers, but readers are fun. It’s nice to see someone’s had a look. When I realised that first blog wasn’t quite it, I closed it and redirected non-existent people to here. This time, I thought, I’ll see if I can get some readers. It turned out not too hard. I said hi to some bloggers on their blogs and put what I’d thought about what they wrote. And they came and had a look and said hi back. Some were nice enough to mention me – I got readers from that, and someone must have put me on some other places…. Other bloggers were very nice. The few that didn’t say hello back stand out only for being so very few, and I’m sure they just probably didn’t notice… I mean very few - not even  3 I think - so don’t be scared to say hello. The only other thing I did was tell a very few (again around three) people in real and on games I play that I had a blog and that was it. So now I’m back to not worrying about readers again :) Your mileage may vary of course, but basically a little effort, a tiny bit of courage – voila! Readers!

Inspired by other bloggers, I’ve had a happy time of it indeed. It is pleasant to organise your thoughts, put a point of view, or just ramble and rant. And it’s curiously sociable. It’s better than what I used to do which is mutter to myself, I hope not aloud, nobody ever said, but who knows. Because you decide when, how and whether to blog, it doesn’t need to feel remotely like work. You can make it into work if you try, people probably do, but there’s no need. Few things in life escape becoming work. I value blogging for not being work. I know some really good bloggers that don’t write for ages and you check their site on an offchance to find they have been doing other things, as is normal, but there they are again with something to say. I don’t feel I’m competing… but then I’m bit resistant to that anyway… other worky things… no deadlines! ummm no boss!! ummmmmmmmm no office politics !!!!  My second point is have a go because blogging is fun!

I hope the above is encouraging. I’d also like to point out that if you are a scatbrain like I am about somethings, your blog serves as a quite handy place to store clips and sites and urls and stuff that you like at the same time as you share them with other people. I got tired of googling the splendid Wallaces Workshop which is why I put it here. Now I just log into my blog and follow my link – bit of a cheat. And anyone else following the link is in for a treat.  The last thing I’d like to say is if you make it so that people can find things easily you get more interesting and detailed feedback. Most hosts give you a way to see what people liked and found interesting. On this one, WordPress,  I can check my posts and see which ones were read the most, or which words people searched for within the blog (or on Google). Make things easy to find. I encourage you to use categories, search boxes and archives if you like to see how well received your posts have been in order to get that feedback. Because as well as being a pleasure in itself, you can get a boost and a lot of motivation for other things from your

Blog

Categories: Introductions, Oddments | 13 Comments

More lightbulbs

No, not more 4 a.m. theories :)

I figured out how to approach the follow-on guide (Wurm Begunners Guide) yay, working on that now. I have a little alt that can do an adventure following on from where I left the first guide. Life on Wurm (trying out diary form) isn’t working out for me. I feel like one of those superior older players doing it, you know the kind, get them in every game – lot of mention about how long they’ve been there, their progress, who they know etc etc, status flags everywhere. Trust me I’m not interested in game status, oh ho, so very, very, very not. Fun and fun only for me these days. Will fling a Life on Wurm post in now and again there. When something fun, or interesting crops up.

I like working on stuff and updating, makes it fresher and makes posts under construction nearly “live”.

Weekend soon also yay! Hungry people will be home from school soon and underfoot, big pork roast with rosemary is in the oven already and the house smells great. I love Fridays.

Had some  ‘…thingie’ related ideas which I’ve jotted down at great speed. Seems to be an idea day today, long may that last. I got the printer cartridge I needed, must apply to printer! In fact I feel a big todo list coming on. Todo lists are great, they clear your head and stop things going around in circles in there. While researching stuff for …thingie, I’m struck by how seriously programmers take themselves. Wow. Good thing I have that steel in me because they often seem hell-bent on disuading others from trying to make their own game, it’s so hard, takes so long, pitfalls, problems, coding is so hard…, graphics take ages…. Rude noise to all that – doing it anyway, so nyah!

Categories: Game Design and Creation, Introductions, Things In General, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Life on Wurm

I spend some time on Wurm Online most days – have to or my fields would turn to stubble, the farm animals would starve, all the mine doors would fall off and of course every item I own would rot to nothingness. And I’d never grow up to be skilled! I’m going to try doing some descriptive posts while I arrange my thoughts for the second Wurm guide. I’m logged in now, actually, doing the rounds. It’s night. And nights on Wurm are daaaaaaaark……

I nearly missed that little newborn lurking deer. Lurking deer are smaller than normal deer and jade green. Like little jewels. This one’s mum is diseased because the pen got crowded when I was downsizing. She is in quarantine, tamed by an alt and also offline (you can set tamed animals to be offline when your alt is). So now I know offline animals can drop their young which then suddenly appear online – and diseased deer still breed. It’s a worry…. she’s been diseased for quite a while now with no improvement. I don’t like crowded pens and I think I have the population right now, will have to keep an eye on it though…. life on the farm eh… haha ok here’s a clue -

I’m safe in a field while I farm – but can you imagine what it’s like out there in the dark With Spiders!  There is in fact a wolf just beyond the fence. He howls in the night… I consider hunting him but I’m in a hurry this evening, just feeding the animals before bed, really, and attending to one or two small things.

The rest of the night’s farming is uneventful apart from when I fall off a cliff, and dawn finds me fishing to feed the dogs. It’s nice doing this. It’s raining but I’ve arranged it so one of my shacks opens directly to the water, can look out over the lake and be dry and safe from crocodiles which is helpful when you are afk scribbling your blog. Usually I just enjoy the scenery while fishing, it’s a long timer per action. Or read a book. Or chat to a friend. Nobody I know online just now. The phantom ducks are quacking though, and the water laps… sooo peaceful… phantom ducks – well you can hear them but there are no ducks in game, or female pheasants. I keep checking pheasants juuuust in case, but                          how do you spell friend? it looks funny, I’m sleepy :)

The farming isn’t always this tranquil. Sometimes I get chased by a crocodile. Or a bear. If I’m playing a stronger me I’m up for a fight too. Having alts is slightly suspect, sort of, due to pvp spies but I like having more than one deed and travel takes ages. It is easier to have mayor alts that each look after their place. I rotate premium through them since I’m not intent on maxing anything. I really just like being here in this unusual virtual world. Each deed gets its share of premium attention – actually others in the family play too and a friend, so we would end up with more than one deed anyway. But has to be said, they tend to dabble – leaving ma here to keep things ticking over. I’m glad we rationalised though – it’s worked out well. The dogs are soon fed and the fields are soon tended. I decide to go for a walk on the tundra, hoping to find a male dog – but the creepy mine that leads up there has caved in yet again… so I work on building a sailboat instead for a little while. I really am sleepy though.

I like it when games balance life – I spent today very actively in real. A little farming and fishing was lovely pre head pillow collision.  I log out at the skilling deed – (apologies I have my graphics settings on low tonight, no real need for that, was fiddling with them earlier in the week and forgot to change)

all is well

Categories: Introductions, Life On Wurm, Things In General, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Here is wherever I am

Free at last!

At some point during my time as a guild leader I found out that much as I like the people I play with, some times I fancy being on my own –  doing what I like, when I want to. I began to roam. I began to try out other games – I unilaterally decided that having social choices in an MMO is perfectly valid. Some days I want company. Other days I don’t. Some days I have time for prolonged group activities, other times perhaps for months, I don’t. At the point where the next step up in the game I was playing was to become hardcore, I sniffed the wind, smelled the freedom of not doing that, and bolted. I demoted my main game to just another one of the choices and headed for horizons new, and experiences untrammelled.

It should have been a bit sad – lone play is not supported in any meaningful way by most MMOs at the moment (2011). You can wander around, possibly do some quests or craft a little but mostly you are supposed to forgo progress, and are deemed unworthy of endgame and the best loot  like some digital pariah. It should have been a step down. But the sheer freedom of doing whatever I please when I want to has proved exhilarating – and it’s not very lonely either I may add. Most people are capable of making friends in the normal course of events online (and offline) and meeting new people naturally is very much part of the solo player’s spectrum.  As is waking up and not worrying about some digital dilemma, knowing instead that at some point, if it is convenient, I will dip into some game & enjoy myself thoroughly. It all feels far, far more pleasant.

My playground is  comparatively limited  though, I cannot deny it. I am in no doubt that my style of play is on the whole not catered for – often actively discouraged  (I don’t really care why – marketing is their problem, maybe I’ll think about it some other time).

And the attitude of some players can be blinkered I suppose… the best loot is generally reserved for the ubergamers, the dungeons and raids are all too often not accessible unless you group. Gosh it’s awful  … I think I’ll stick with it   :)

Having got that out of the way

At the moment I am bouncing around in Wurm Online, EQ2x and World of Warcraft, so I’ll probably blog about those. Other games being played in our house are Guild Wars, Glitch,  Stranded 2, Forsaken World ummmm… – I think thats all of it. Today is a bright, sparkly, frosty winter’s day & I’m off to do things while it is light. The sun sets early in winter here, that’s when I escape to more exotic climes online.

A brief note on finances – although f2p is completely wonderful for checking games out initially, I usually pay my way if I like something or if solo access to content is above the norm. Wurm has had a  good subsidy from me for a while now due to being outstandingly solo-accessible, though some (other) things are beginning to niggle  and I should probably take a break from it. I like to vote with my purse and again I don’t give a hoot whether my contribution is a drop in the ocean (market share = their problem). Even taking that into account, I am spending less money and having more fun.

Categories: Introductions, Things In General | Leave a comment

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