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24thJan.2013


08:37 pm - the fiction that we're building towards something
there's this thing in a couple of podcasts - kind of obviously with harmontown, but also with the supertrain thing in roderick on the line - and i think a lot of podcasts have a version of this, it's the fiction that we're building towards something. like we, the hosts of this show, and you, the audience, are part of a community, and we're trying to figure out how to all live together in a colony on the moon, or we're splinter cells all over the world, outside of society but still appearing as part of it, and we're building towards something, and this is what it'll be like when we're in control.

and this is kind of a beautiful fantasy, that we're a community and everyone else is muggles, but you, by virtue of hearing this, you're part of us, and we can solve things and everything will work the way we want.

and there's a kind of idealism in there that i'd like to bottle up and use.

// reply

13thJan.2013


02:16 am - inquiry about group-think decision-making with arbitrary agents
you have a set of agents - people, whatever

each agent has a list of preferences - things they want to do.

each element on these lists is weighted.

the set of agents (abe and barb) have to decide what they will do as a group, based on the set of abe's preferences and barb's preferences.

the simplest case is binary - abe wants either A or !A, barb wants either A or !A, and you apply some logic gate that decides to do either A or !A based on whatever rule (but what rule should you use, in this case?)

but in a more complex case, abe wants 50% A, 30% B, 20% C. barb wants 40% B, 40% !B, and 20% D.

if they want multiple things, should you try to do all of the things, or only the things they most strongly want to do? if they want to do things that contradict each other, should you want to do neither thing, or both, or roll the dice, or what?

// reply

9thJan.2013


09:16 pm - message failure states
message-deteriorates
the message gets wet and is (%) illegible
the message gets burned and is (%) illegible
the message gets transliterated and is (%) scrambled
message-is-destroyed but the messenger doesn't notice

message-is-destroyed

message-is-delayed
the messenger accidentally carries the message to the wrong destination
messenger is delayed in a magical labyrinth
the messenger's means of transport fails and is they are forced to continue on foot
[messenger-is-beset] but manages to escape

messenger-is-false
the messenger is a spy
the messenger is a thief
the messenger is a doppleganger

messenger-defects
the messenger decides to make away with the message and its contents
the messenger decides to take the message to your enemies

messenger-is beset
bandits
savages
enchantress
flesh plague
bad castle

// reply

09:13 pm - all i really want is to be a mad wizard
that is, i want
-to act with impunity
-to be considered wise
-to be unreliable
-to be left alone

// reply

15thJun.2012


01:42 am - notes on medieval currency
copper coins are mice. anyone who can carve or stamp a mouse on a piece of copper, that's a valid coin. a live mouse is worth exactly 1 copper. you can trade with live mice if you don't have copper ones. also, you can eat the mice (mice are a staple of the peasant diet).
silver coins are owls. 1 owl is worth 10 mice.
gold coins are sentinels. an owl-sentinel is a mythical blackbird that hunts at night and eats owls. nobody's ever seen one, but they find casings. the picture on the coin has about ten legs. 1 sentinel is worth 10 owls.
an ounce of salt is worth 100 sentinels.

// reply

17thMar.2012


11:53 pm - Quick Population Generator
I'm very pleased with this generator I've made:
http://www.random-generator.com/index.php?title=Quick_Populations

at Shadow Manor, you may find:

30 monk humans with 7 frogs
a false-prophet, who is a lone deranged elf druid (claiming to know many secrets) (brought there, as part of some ritual)
70 bat-women (disguised as horse/s)
60 pig-headed halflings with 40 friendly goats
7 spiders (who will always tell the truth)

// reply

13thMar.2012


12:57 pm - awesome lady comedians from australia
sarah kendall [link]
kitty flanagan [link]
claire hooper [link]
natalie tran [link]

// reply

3rdMar.2012


01:11 pm - hey matt what should the default key bindings for my pc first person shooter be?
I'm glad you asked.

(some people have different needs than what i'm going to talk about, because they have german keyboards or dvorak keyboards or non-standard hands, so you should let them bind their own keys, but let's assume we're working with qwerty keyboards and a standard set of hands, and you want to bind the default keys to something that doesn't piss most players off)

you're using wasd to move.

know that not everybody uses the same home keys. some people use shift-awd, with the middle finger on w (type i) and others use awdv, with the index finger on w (type ii)

know that some functions are needed all the time (like while the character is moving) so every player should be able to hold w and still get use of those functions.

when holding w, most (type i) people have access to this set: [ctrl]-[shift]-[caps]-[tab]-q-ert-fg-c (but not v)

when holding w, most (type ii) people have access to this set: q-erty-fgh-vbn (but not c)

assume that most people can't hit the keys outside of those sets without hurting their hands.

(there is a larger set, that includes all the keys on that side of the keyboard, that you're allowed to use for any function that the player doesn't need to use, while moving.)

the intersection of these two sets is qer-fg, so those are the only keys you can assume every player always has access to, even while moving - so only use those keys.

c-and-v are almost usable, everybody can get to at least one of those keys. what you should do is map the same function to both keys. have them cycle through spells or weapons or something.

(when I say "only use these keys" I'm being capricious, what i mean is "think about this shit")

// a comment, reply

2ndMar.2012


06:48 pm - star wars rpg
star wars is a bad setting for crpgs because, ultimately, light sabers do not simulate well as rpg weapons. It says on the box - where the box is one of the world's most beloved movie series - that it can cut through anything. You can't do that with dice rolls, because a jedi would not miss that often. If you strike a man with a light saber it should cut off his limbs, not just his bags of hit points. It's a disabling weapon as much as it is a parrying weapon. The same with blasters - in the films a shot with a blaster will kill a man. These are deterministic mechanics. They could be done in a tactics game, where the player controls a small force of expendable units.

In fact, there's a bunch of ways you could design a game to carefully represent the mechanics as they exist in the setting, but what you ought to do instead is design something that plays well. This is the ultimate problem with using an established setting, because a game doesn't play out like a movie or a book - and shouldn't.

If you map exactly to how the setting works, the game won't be fun. If you make it fun, it won't map exactly to how the setting works - and it won't feel like star wars.

// reply

06:44 pm - iron chef
other things that could be redone as iron chef style events
-architecture, building
-drawing, painting, sculpture
-carpentry
-birding
-music
-something fashiony like hair and makeup
-making mechanical stuff: vehicles cars, boats, planes, motorcycles, machines for a given purpose.
-dance
-fighting... getting back into sports here, which is probably wrong.

Should not neccessarily be something creative, but has to be something skill based or competitive.

The whole thing is to take something mundane and make it into an event - with commentators and everything. It's a celebration of stuff we don't usually celebrate, or not like this.

But the thing that makes iron chef special - rather than top model or contender and the rest of those - is that the thing is almost fetishized. They ham it up, and then they play it as if it was straight - and this is important.

The analogy is something like you get when you compare pro wrestling to boxing, for example. This is a hard analogy because pro wrestling is such a terrible show.

But this bit: they make the contestants into characters. They make the contest into a performance - but they play it straight. has to be played straight.

// reply

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