Category Archives: Dragon’s Den

Dwarf Fortress

There are games that are considered complete and final upon shipping but, in this internet age, I’ve largely been drawn to games of another classification, ones in a state of perpetual development. I go in, completely unrealistically, seeing games like this not so much for how they are, but for how they could be with enough time and the right development. Like a battered lover, a glutton for punishment, I keep returning to games of this type after being disappointed so many times before. My best example of this is Infantry, which met many of my expectations but fulfilled almost none of my dreams. I could spin similar tales of games like Graal and EUO. Wesnoth happens to be the only real success story, but something about Dwarf Fortress make it seem like it really will deliver.

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Magic Eye Films

Just a random idea I had at some point. Don’t know enough about the technology to know how one would go about it, but . . .

So “Magic Eye” pictures (a.k.a. autostereograms) are those 3D images that you have to stare at a book to get. A few folks can see the images really quickly, some can only see them after staring awhile, and apparently there are quite a few who are never able to see the things.

It’s kind of an interesting effect though if you can get it to work: Hiding information in the background noise in such a way that when you are able to interpret it you can trick each eye into interpreting it differently.

I think one of the things that makes it tough to pick out the 3D image is that there are no obvious visual cues. It seems to me that in a lot of cases with normal vision the human brain is picking out the edges of things, or contrasts and gradations of solid colors that define shape. But those things are absent in autostereograms, so it’s tougher to pick them out.

It occurred to me though that what would happen if you ran together a string of similar autosterograms to produce an animation? The consistency of the 3D image against a changing background might make it easier to spot the image than with a non-animated version.

Voila! I’ve just invented 3D animation without special glasses!

Well, not quite. Apparently someone else already thought of it.

I don’t know if the image portrayed on wikipedia is exactly the best example though. ‘Twer it me, I probably would’ve made the background as a more randomized image (like basic static), rather than a sweeping colored pattern which seems to distract from the 3D image.

Aside from the wikipedia article though I’m having trouble tracking down other good examples of animated autostereograms. Seems to me there should be some small creative sector devoted to them though: Cartoons maybe. Or segments of horror film where a random background (foliage or TV static for instance), kind of becomes 3D and leaps out at the viewer. Or possibly some sort of video game.

I also wonder if there might be ways to color the 3D objects, or have the background pattern be somehow meaningful in the context of the 3D scene it’s self, rather than just the standard splatter painting effect.

Wesband

lighting bolt

Wesband is a modification of The Battle for Wesnoth that I’ve been making. It is a dungeon-crawler, loosely based on ZAngband, but with features unique to the genre.

Wesnoth is a mutli-platform, open source, turn-based strategy (TBS), fantasy game. Originally made as a single player game, Wesnoth has expanded its mod-ability to the point of allowing multiple players to play co-op in a continuous series of scenarios. Wesband makes use of the newest modding functionality that Wesnoth has to offer.

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Whence Baltimore?

So Adrienne and a friend were watching Hairspray the musical recently and I ended up watching most of it with them. For those who’ve not seen the movie yet I’m not spoiling anything by mentioning that at the very beginning the protagonist belts out a song called Good Morning Baltimore in which she soliloquizes the city while marveling at it’s assorted vermin, bums and deviants.

This got me pondering a serious question which seems to have been overlooked by accredited historians and other limbs of what might be called “The Establishment”. I know ya’ll are from Salisbury, but my hope was this might be an issue that some of you folks from the Maryland Krew might be help shed some light on. My question is this:

What evidence can you provide to support the theory that after his death the body of Lord Baltimore was not in fact buried as is commonly thought, but was instead brought to his eponymous city where it is maintained in a tank of formalin and rare earth salts and kept animate through a combination of geomancy (ie. Look at the map of Baltimore for crying out loud! Druid Hill Lake ring a bell? I defy any right thinking person to look at this map and tell me those highways don’t correspond to major ley lines.), ritual magic, and increasingly with an array of modern biomedical devices fed via thick snaking cables and tubes implanted in his back and abdomen; and that he stands at the head of a “shadow government”, controlling the state of Maryland, and indirectly much of our country’s national policy, through a set of political agents working in the Maryland Chamber of Commerce?

And if I might add a corollary question to this, it would be: Which Lord Baltimore is really running things? Are we only dealing with a Cecilius Calvert here? Or is he in turn actually the puppet of the good old original Baltimore, the real power behind the throne: George Calvert, who wanted the land not for the originally stated purpose of giving good Catholics a refuge from the wrath of British tyranny, but instead as a base from which to pursue his own existential domination, first over North America and thence the world?

Dragonball Z: Burst Limit, Review and Comparison to Dick’s Cinematic Combat System

sup

Early fighting games had one status, a life gauge, and it only went one way: down. Some other fighters added another layer in the form of an energy/rage gauge. That too usually only went up until filled to max, then you can use some devastating ability. Dragonball Z: Burst Limit not only employs a third gauge, but the ones apart from the health gauge are freely dynamic, filling and depleting depending on action. This is a lot like my earlier-drafted cinematic combat system.

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Chook: The Vort Conspiracy – Part 6

Here follows the sixth and final piece of the Vort Conspiracy saga I wrote back in the day. Unfortunately a bit on the short side compared to the previous pieces. In theory there would have been more, but from my recollection at this point I’d pretty much used up every scene, character, and detail I’d wanted to include when I originally started out writing the thing.

If one was supposing things that might have happened, then I might have thought up some additional details that seemed interesting enough to include eventually, had I thought about it long enough. But other thoughts came first and no related ideas seemed to be beating a path to my door as they had with these first chapters.

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Chook: The Vort Conspiracy – Part 5 (The Monkey Cube)

Monkeys.

Everybody loves ’em, no one can stand ’em. In some cultures they are associated with of wisdom, acclaimed as blessings of the gods or gods made flesh. In other areas, let’s say your average Starbucks, calling someone a monkey is tantamount to S/H.

Monkeys are many things to many people. Are they cute clingy human analogues or harbingers of terrible disease? Do you see them as maliciously threatening or pleasantly mischievous? It is impossible to tell for the attitudes of a monkey are as mercurial as a breath of air but each emotion as elegantly simple and understandable as those of a young child.

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Chook: The Vort Conspiracy – Part 4

Then one night, many years later, the Grand Oyabun had another dream. This dream began as the first and the Oyabun passed effortlessly over the great Red Stone walled garden. But after his seventh pass he noticed that one of the small, colored paving stones of the garden upon which he had affixed his sigil, was tied to the back of a great lion which roamed the savanna outside the walls. The Grand Oyabun’s stomach felt a bit uneasy. How could the paving stone have gotten over the Red Stone wall?

Sigil atop stone: Stone atop lion: Lion atop ground: Ground atop Li serpent.

The Grand Oyabun saw the world of his dream in an epiphany for one moment. In this moment he felt the Chook below tilt away from him. In this moment his conscious mind balked. The lion was beyond his grasp. His mind could not open wide enough to comprehend it. He reached out to grasp it, but the lion bounded away from him.

The Grand Oyabun hastened after the lion but the beast fled. Down the writhing back of the great Li serpent the lion raced, but even as the Oyabun felt he might grasp it’s tail, the lion whipped around plunging into the grinning mouth of the Li serpent, and was gone from his sight.

When the Grand Oyabun awoke the dream troubled him for a long time. The longer he sat in reflection upon the portent of the dream, the more it seemed to him that the lion had not been fleeing him, but only hurrying toward it’s destination blind to the pursuit of the dreamer. It was this that troubled him most. The grin of the Li serpent remained with him for days.

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