Monthly Archives: June 2013

More useful to game design than Bartle

To me anyway.  I wonder if I could insist players take this anonymously, but hmm, it would be intrusive so best not really. The rush to collect and capitalise on userdata is now out of hand. Still, interesting.  The link to this quiz has been knocking about on the Wurm forums for a while (told you they’re an interesting bunch). Even I was tempted enough to try it. In case you’d like to do it here’s the link.

URL of the test: http://www.4degreez.com/misc/personality_disorder_test.mv

And my results :

Disorder | Rating
Paranoid: Low
Schizoid: Moderate
Schizotypal: Moderate
Antisocial: Low
Borderline: Low
Histrionic: Low
Narcissistic: Moderate
Avoidant: Low
Dependent: Low
Obsessive-Compulsive: Low

I got no comment. I need to look up my moderates sometime 🙂

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Categories: Game Design and Creation

On the Move (real life)

I have to get everything I own completely packed by 8.30 am tomorrow. No pressure then eh. It is mostly done, I have studiously decluttered and boxed things over the past couple of years, the process has eaten almost all of my spare time, yet somehow now the “last bits” just never seem to end. I guess it’s going to be an allnighter.

On the good side I have working internet at my destination. Service will resume when I have recovered – and I can finally burble here about plant pots and Wurm 1.1, going back home to Vanguard, and going even more home to EQ2 where daughter has purchased herself some kind of glade-cave which looks, as she puts it “aaahsum”.

It would be wonderful to get back to PlanetGardenShed too – but life has an unpleasant way of commandeering all my time – and I do mean every moment – for the most horrible looping activities instead. Ugh. Still, I can hope. At least the packing will be over. It remains to see what will leap into it’s place.

I’m very tired 😦

Categories: Things In General

(sparse) Wurm 1.1 update

It’s kind of hard to comment because see I had this big lunch, and last weekend I didn’t have a proper weekend, so I … um…  did try to log in, but Wurm wouldn’t load. And then I fell asleep. And then I woke up and managed to log in if I disabled GLSL shaders, but the server went down almost immediately. So I can’t really comment but!

From the forums: info on the new stuff

As is normal for Wurm, we aren’t told exactly how the new things work, the idea being that we discover things ourselves (there is debate about this strategy – who knows what are bugs?). This time around it seems we are pooling our knowledge – what a good idea – here is a very useful thread:

http://forum.wurmonline.com/index.php?/topic/82598-wurm-11-what-is-new-and-how-we-can-make-it/page-2
As an aside this thread has (well, I think so) quite fun pictures, but I think those are bugs. The website has had an update and looks much cleaner now – at least I can comment on that!
http://forum.wurmonline.com/index.php?/topic/82691-rock-shard-analyzing-in-wurm-11-knowledge-and-speculation/
I was wondering when Wurmian Balance would turn up: (Every time you add something good, nerf something that was ok = balance!) http://forum.wurmonline.com/index.php?/topic/82622-new-farming-system/page-4
V
hopefully this will turn out not to be too dire. It’s good in a way that more people are beginning to notice the Wurk/real-life balance is off. Chores ingame can’t take this much time without becoming a problem.
http://forum.wurmonline.com/index.php?/topic/82639-how-can-we-mace-new-staffs-with-gems/

I hope the GLSL issue can be resolved because without water reflections, Wurm just doesn’t seem right 😦 I quite envy some of the buggy textures though – the carpet one on walls is awfully nice!

I’m going to pack some clothings now, but I’ll see if I can log in again in a while.

Bizarre pictures (because I like them)

(quick update) more bizarre pics!
http://forum.wurmonline.com/index.php?/topic/82651-ati-card-wrong-and-ugly-textures/
http://forum.wurmonline.com/index.php?/topic/82662-black-trees/
http://forum.wurmonline.com/index.php?/topic/82643-summer-release-11-now-live/
http://forum.wurmonline.com/index.php?/topic/82668-11-problem/
http://forum.wurmonline.com/index.php?/topic/82670-chat-window-renders-as-terrain/

I really like some of  these pictures (should I worry?)

One thing I really do appreciate about Wurm is that you’re never a voice in the night. Post your technical issue and someone responds and tries to sort it out.

and …. Mr Bloodworth was back muhahahaha

http://forum.wurmonline.com/index.php?/topic/82695-photos-of-mrbloodworths-zombies-invasion/

Categories: Life On Wurm

Using Subs to hunt Whales

It makes sense – whales are big and spend a lot of time underwater – should work just fine, isn’t that so? Look for them in their habitat.

Sigh. I’m seeing more and more of this. Studios, bless them, still believe that whales will save their bacon. There are whales, spending whales – I do think though that whale-spending is more related to unpleasant social habits like ganking than to uncontrolled passions for hats. Mind you, I suppose showing off and bragging qualify as unpleasant social habits, so maybe hat-passion still fits my theory.

But from SWTOR’s cash shop right through Wurms price rise I do see a tendency to further monetise the already committed. I can see the barely joined up, ploddy thinking “Well, our subscribers pay the most so that is where we will find whales.” (you need to mentally stretch subscribing to being a payment “habitat”)

“Will it work?” I ask sweetly. I mean, I can’t think of a better way to alienate a playerbase than double-dipping but on you go folks – “f2p + sub” your way to wherever you’re going in peace.

It’s like all those new sandboxes – hehehe – oh come on  “craft-based sandbox f2p”  who do you think doesn’t know this is going to be a sub-based pvp game with added p2win cash shop?  The whales don’t know?  Well…better hope so.

More to the point is that an unpopular game won’t attract whales  (according to my theory). You see… unpleasant social habits require a society in which to operate. Gankers need fodder, hat-passionistas need admirers, and so on. Twould be better to forget the whales and cultivate the society, but you can’t tell bean-counters anything sensible. All they see is beans. And whales. And save the bacon slogans.

Categories: Game Design and Creation

So are we all ready for Wurm 1.1??

Eh? Eh? Well in my case I’m out of my house and into rented accommodation while the builders do their thang in 5 days time so I’m home getting the last of my barang packed up, getting stressy and will use Wurm shamelessly to calm me down via looong action timers, waits while things crash, a bugwatch, all the usual things that go with a version launch. If anything interesting happens I’ll post – and of course as a bonus you’ll have a blogside view of my pre-move nerves, you lucky things!

Categories: Life On Wurm, Oddments

So what to do? (Blender Game Engine)

Firstly let me say that if I was further along re-learning how to code, I’d try to help out with the BGE. At the moment I think my only possible usefulness would be as a guinea pig. Trying to change the direction of some big organisation is just not time and energy efficient given my current skillset. I hope it all turns out well, but just in case….

Remember that long time I spent researching before I even began PlanetGardenShed? Well most of it was looking at what joins to what. Blender’s big advantage remains the accessible source. I figured even if the Game Engine stayed stalled (as it was even then), I can look at the source generated by my Blender prototype and learn from it to build and extend my own solutions.

Commercial solutions to game creation with a free starter kit don’t appeal to me because I know I’ll be paying for them at some point, and I’m not planning big earnings to justify that. I’m doing this for fun. If it goes anywhere, fine, but it’s not an aim, goal or worry. I don’t care – basically. Earnings is cake on top of the cake!

People working with the Game Engine already find their own way when they hit some barrier (and there are many) to their workflow, so this is just one solution of many – it’s the direction I intend to take. Apparently assets created in Blender do belong to me to dispose of as I wish so I will. I will convert them to XML and use them from a python script, parts of which can then be optimised for speed to any extend required (via C/C++ or whatever else it takes). I’ve a long way to go before I can try it and see where the problems are, but that was the plan and is why I’m already learning python and will at some point start learning whatever variant of C I need to know in earnest (at the moment just messing about). It’s why there aren’t loads of GardenShed pics on the blog, just one or two. I’m mostly learning things, not creating things – plan to be doing that for ohhh, a year? two? who knows. I enjoy.

If anyone else is thinking about going this direction, here’s a good thing to read. Dredged from prior research and the reason I chose this direction, all beautifully explained in a sample chapter. I do not know if the book itself is up to date – mainly this just gave me direction – (the rest I can figure out myself):

http://oreilly.com/catalog/pythonxml/chapter/ch01.html

I’d be interested to know what other people are planning, if any happen to stop by here. I’ll still be hoping things work out for the Game Engine too and if I spot a way to help, I will. Blender remains a remarkable and wonderful thing which has enriched my life and enabled me to do things I never would have thought possible a year or two ago.

Categories: Blender, Blender Game Engine

Why it just refuses to die (Blender Game Engine)

In the new Blender Roadmap http://code.blender.org/index.php/2013/06/blender-roadmap-2-7-2-8-and-beyond/, it is admitted that not much time or effort has been spent on the Game Engine. Well, as with governments spying on ordinary people, many people suspected that it was happening but it’s still sad to see it confirmed. Starving the Game Engine of development and resources hasn’t killed it though,  just annoyed its users a lot.

Another paragraph in the Roadmap serves to illustrate why this happened:

“On the positive side – I think that the main cool feature of our GE is that it was integrated with a 3D tool, to allow people to make 3D interaction for walkthroughs, for scientific sims, or game prototypes. If we bring back this (original) design focus for a GE, I think we still get something unique and cool, with seamless integration of realtime and ‘offline’ 3D. (quote) .”

and

“Instead of calling it the “GE” we would just put Blender in “Interaction mode”.

If starving it of resources doesn’t work, I suppose you can always try trivialising it and then absorbing it.

Again, I for sure and many others, thought this was probably how the Game Engine part of Blender is regarded – a neat little toy for artists, a frill, a grudgingly maintained prototyping tool for game makers –  but I’m afraid seeing it written down makes me realise all over again that I think they are chasing the wrong doggie.

The Indie scene is very lively indeed just now (as I predicted at begining of year) and showing no sign of slowing down. It is a bona fide growth industry now with a huge mainstream outlet (apps and handhelds, tablets, consoles) plus there is Steam and its variants, browser use is growing too. Tradional formats for Indie games are still going strong too like the pc. Small developers are now not so niche.And there is a LOT going on.

Indie is, in short, getting very big, very influential and creating a lot of money. It is painful to watch Blender deliberately missing this particular boat. This is a field it could easily have dominated if the effort had been put in.  Not bothering with the Game Engine was a bad choice. I am glad for the inroads into film, but film just isn’t growing as fast and big as development for handhelds and apps – and consoles. The Ouya should be along soon too.

Not dealing with the licencing issue didn’t kill the Game Engine either. Enthusiasts will go to the lengths required to sidestep this limitation, though in all honesty it should have been addressed ages ago.

Plans to subsume the Game Engine into Blender and redefine it as “interactive mode” has caused some debate as is evident in the comments on the link I gave and on various forums. Something of a hornet’s nest. Apparently this surprises some people. Well I think it’s good to get the issue out into the open at last. It’s about time the people at the top had a look at user demand, user experience and saw how their plans and outlook are regarded by Game Engine Users. I don’t see any need for vituperation, but honestly…. “interactive mode???”. It remains to be seen whether this will kill the Game Engine at last.

I hope not. I can offer some insight into why it hasn’t died yet, despite all efforts not to support or sustain it. It hasn’t died because there is a void, a market gap the size of the San Andreas fault, for just such a thing. Here is a magnificent, accesible graphics editor and creation suite, there is a vast crowd of independent game makers, and in the middle are some engines. Blender Game Engine sits in amongst this group like a little island. The others grow bigger and prosper whilst the one that fits best with the graphics stays small and ineffectual under a weight of apathy and quite possibly dislike.

The other engines, (I know, I’ve looked), are buggy/expensive/cumbersome/unsupported/untutorialised/undocumented/don’t integrate with other applications – sometimes all of the above. But most important, they aren’t in pole position to take advantage of Blender’s massive graphic power. What is happening is that game makers who like the BGE use it as far as possible then seek out their own solutions for all the things it does not address (and there are many). This means that the BGE never gets to be in the final credits, never gets to be the big name. It also means there are as many solutions as there are people looking for them. I also will be following this route. Another uncapitalised advantage being that the Engine’s source is accessible. That is such a plus for an Indie. At the moment, it’s a mess, but all this hasn’t killed the engine either, just fringified those who still use it despite the limitations and incredible annoyances of doing so.

It’s needed. That’s why it survives.

In my view, the Blender Game engine, with it’s old code needs a complete rewrite which would be a perfect time to sort out a serviceable licence. It should be integrated more closely with the graphics as planned, it should become feature rich, supported, sustained like the rest of Blender which already operates beautifully as a modular system. What has happened is that one of the modules hasn’t been worked on and has fallen out of step. This can be fixed. But the will clearly isn’t there.

If the Blender Foundation does manage to kill off the engine, something will spring up to fill it’s place simply because something is  needed in the position it currently occupies.

Film is all very well, but it doesn’t have the kind of big future that games do.  It’s amazing how well Blender otherwise covers the 3d field. It is easily used for visualisation, teaching,  a million other things. But on games the Blender Foundation is dropping the ball badly.

As in any gold rush. the people making most money (and publicity)  from Indie gaming are not so much the developers, but any company that integrates with their efforts. Publishers, platform makers, tool makers, publicists, lawyers etc. But apparently… not Blender.

Categories: Blender Game Engine

In May the Fruit Salad Exploded (Neverwinter, Guild Wars 1, Wurm, CoS, PoE, Rift…)

Which was a dilemma because in May I had only a half-hour here and there to play – an hour if I was very, very lucky. I apologise – my views on the games I did play are coloured by this. Life’s like that though and gets more like that the more you progress through it and the more engaged you are. It cannot be helped. There’s money in that – if anyone ever works it out. I can’t put it more simply and I’m deaf to cries of “casual”. Games fit into life or I can’t play and won’t pay for them. Not to worry I’m not going to do any diatribes – just note which ones fitted the best. To those went our entertainment budget and the rest, along with films and restaurants got diddly squat. But I might buy a film dvd this month. Maybe.

So now I’ve done my explaining, here are my adventures:

Most time, but not most pennies was spent in Neverwinter which has the double benison of running well and being new and shiny, I get along well with Cryptic games until I hit the gates, so I only ever spend token amounts to say thanks for the levelling experience. If my alt is going to get stuck further down the line by needing a guild or whatever, I’ve no incentive whatsoever to spend money on him/her. Having said which the levelling experience contains quite a lot of solo content and will keep me occupied for a little while still. At least they made the effort. I bought a very few zen to say thanks but it can sit there in my account until doomsday for all I care, or until I get an alt with a future.

I’m not far along – my Guardian Fighter is the highest at level 24. I find it a fun class to play in tandem with my Devoted Cleric at 21. The cleric until now was somewhat overpowered and more of a tank than the tank. I also had the most fun playing her, I’m sure there’s a correllation. (That’s right, I like tanks :)) Since the patch,  the cleric is somewhat diminished – but still just fine. I anticipate playing Neverwinter through June too.

On June 20 Neverwinter officially goes live. There have certainly been a few hiccups, mostly exploit-related. Neverwinter seems to have weathered the storm though, and I’m guessing it’s pretty popular. I’m also guessing it’s popular because I’m not the only person with limited time, who is pleased to see some (limited) effort put into solo content. Or could just be that the combat is such a blast.

Next up and out of the way is Wurm which got time since I’m doing the last shuffles. That involves one last deed to shut, one last sailboat to bring home – and an attempt at earning some coin which might turn out to be more bother than it’s worth. I’m not feeling very enthusiastic about Wurm just now. But, but!!! There is my village role at Dulcinea, which cheers me up on the glooooomiest days and has saved me from that moment when I throw my hands up in the air and think “you know what, it’s a great game, but it’s soooooo worky.” I think, I seriously think, I’ve been close to quitting on more than one occasion lately. I sincerely hope that my restructured deed plus the lovely village company will keep me.  Wurm 1.1 isn’t far off, but I feel no particular urge to speculate about it. Decaying plant pots would be nice I suppose. I’m close to snap point with it though and something silly could easily cause a quit.

Third most time spent goes to Guild Wars 1 which is something of a special case. Instead of shutting it down, it has been put into automated maintenance mode. They did that just when I was thinking I might buy yet another copy! Tch. I’ll pause now and see how things look in 6 months but if it’s still going, I’m buying. It has the same replayability as Torchlight or Diablo, I suppose. Or I just like faddling with the builds. Over the years I’ve spent many hours in this game – sometimes not really playing but just wandering about dozily looking at the scenery and listening to the music, othertimes going on a personal zerg to destress from real life. I hope automated mode works out. I’d be happy to pay for a single-player of this.  Heck I’d be happy with a sequel. I know there is Guild Wars 2, but it’s too different and doesn’t have the same pull at all for me. Plus it doesn’t run well, whereas Guild Wars 1 goes like a rat  down drain while still looking absolutely gorgeous.

I’m  going to put City of Steam aside and visit later. There’s a discrepancy. I’m seeing a generic, bland, simplified, buggy browser game which runs poorly and has an overpriced in-your-face cash shop.  But when I look on the forums I can see that somehow this game has garnered for itself a devoted and loyal playerbase. I’m assuming I’m not seeing it at it’s best and that it was or could become something special. Only time will tell. I love the graphics and I think the combat is ok. But because of the bugs alone it’s not worth playing  right now. Sticking in scenery, unable to loot, unable to open doors. I did laugh – I had an escort mission at one point and the npc was rubberbanding on the spot too. Also, Unity Web Player makes my heart sink whenever I see it loading. I know it’s helped a lot of Indie games see the light of day, but it doesn’t work very well (yet). It crashes and/or stutters horribly. City of Steam hasn’t improved since my first look, alas. Maybe it will over time.

Then, Rift is going free to play. So I had a (very quick) look at that. It runs now. On low settings, and is playable but not very gripping. It got fifteen minutes or so of my time. I will investigate further maybe, but feel no pull. Same goes for SWTOR – I also had a look at that, just to check if it works for me. It does, at low settings. Nowadays I don’t think anyone is desperate enough to play with ugly graphics, but who knows. I also looked at LotRO which now runs for me. It’s a bit different to the two preceding games. It doesn’t seem to matter what how I set the graphics apart from I can’t do the very highest quality. At settings below that, no matter what, I get something like a foxtrot. Slow, slow quick-quick- slow. Somewhat quirky –  and irritating after half an hour, but pretty. And on occasion I do log in just to admire the scenery, which is beautifully done.

I spent time being killed in NeoScavenger again. Ehm. It’s totally infuriating, but quite hard to stop after one go :). Then, there’s Proteus, which I had downloaded in a bundle, looked at and smiled and forgot until a child couldn’t sleep. Well, it’s a surprise hit with the young yins. They have played it more than me. They also, for reasons unknown descended on Forsaken World like a flock of starlings. I must check to see what the attraction was. Also played by the young on their little handie-things: Loco Roco 1 and 2 and Zelda Phantom Hourglass – it was a nostalgia binge. Much moaning because Minish Cap has succumbed to chocolate in someone’s pocket and won’t run anymore.

I downloaded Dragon’s Prophet to be treated to stutter-stop views of my alt’s breasts in various settings. Quite bizarre. It doesn’t run for me, but the hookerwear looks nicely designed. Repulsively, my alt not only was compelled to look like a streetwalker, but had to perform suggestive poses too. If I was a man I’d hate to be stereotyped as a leering, dribbling, one-dimensional mark. Or don’t they notice?

More breasts, or rather nipple-covers, somewhere near the beginning of Path of Exile, Path of Exile made me laugh and it has the best waves I ever saw in an isometric game. I like Path of Exile. I’m going to keep playing it. There’s something off-beat about it which calls to me. Caveat is that I’ve only just started and simply not had the time to play it much, but on the few half hours I did play, I enjoyed this game.

There’s actually more. While the AAA scene stumbles through some slow endless foot-shooting loop, the Indie scene is heaving like a carpet of fleas with new ideas, and I… I’m overwhelmed by all the stuff there is to play!  My standbys, EQ2 and Vanguard didn’t get a look in last month but I’m beginning to miss those and will run home soon. Oh yes, I also played some STO but got overwhelmed and haven’t made a new Klingon yet. I’m totally sure I’ve forgotten some games. All played only for small bouts alas, but my goodness, I do hope things calm down a bit in June. I’ve writen all their names on bits of paper, the games on my drive, it’s got that bad – and they go in a hat when I get a bit of playtime. Seriously. It’s that good. Runescape, Jade Dynasty… basically, I just ran out of time long, long before I ran out of options.

I enjoyed Neverwinter and Guild Wars 1 the most and played those the most. I enjoyed Path of Exile. I know I’ll enjoy STO when I do get to it  (it makes me happy!). The rest go in the box marked “Interesting…”

Categories: Fruit Salad

Best Blender Explainer!

Whenever I try something new in Blender the first thing that happens is that I don’t know where some basic, very, very basic button is. Or what the shortcut is. A gibbering gerbil whizzes along on Youtube to ooohs and aaahs, and it’s all marvellous, but I end up looking for someone less speedcrazed from whom I will learn more. I can get back to gerbilspace later, armed with Knowledge.

I have never used the UV editor before but I wanted to play with it this morning. After looking at stunning things for a little while I was driven to things labelled beginner and found this tutorial where I learned exactly what I need to know. Brilliant.

Hmm now the everchanging WordPress embeds the actual video when I link. You can find it at YouTube by looking for:

Blender 2.63 Image UV Mapping Texture for Beginners (Mephesh’s channel)

I hate when applications second-guess what I want to do. Maybe it’s YouTube that’s changed. Maybe the sun is going backwards. Maybe it’s me. I wish people would stop ‘improving’ things that work.

Clear explaining meant I was done in a half hour – 15 mins watching, 15 mins fooling about. I made a basic textured cube, and on we go (thank you mephesh).

blcl

NOW BRING ME A GERBIL !!!

Categories: Blender, Useful Things: Blender

Updating Blender

  • No need to uninstall old version before updating – it makes a new folder for the new version and both can happily sit on the drive. Blender files are separate discreet entities (one reason why I use this) and won’t be affected.
  • Url for updating is: http://www.blender.org/
  • Releases come thick and fast (and good!) – 2.67b as I write and 2.68 pending. The project does rely on users for debugging so dowloading the newest release and giving it a test drive, is a nice way to say thanks for all the work. Reminder to self to do that!
Categories: Useful Things: Blender

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