So… not to put too much pressure on my designer, but I’ve actually hired someone to do a design for Granny Squares!
The site as of July 2014.
Its current look was always intended to be revamped down the road — I just needed something simple and clean to get the site rolling. With a few thousand visitors a month now, and with 56% of my users on some form of mobile device, it’s time for a facelift. I’ve gotten a few donations from running the site over the last 3 years, and that’s enough to cover the design costs.
I should have ready-to-implement designs by mid-August. I won’t promise an implementation date yet, but I’ll wrap up whatever version of the site I’m on at that point and make getting the new look in place the priority.
I think the last time I posted a link dump, I was flaking from my new tattoo. This week, I’m flaking from the tattoo’s touch-up! Much less pain for the touch-up, but the itching may drive me nuts if it doesn’t end soon.
In working on my Character Sheet Manager for Geist characters, I’m finally building something that I’ve wanted for a couple of years now in projects at work — an Exception logger. Just a piece of middleware that grabs exceptions and logs them somewhere. In my case that’s Redmine, which has an API for manipulating issues. It’s not a perfect API, alas, because I can’t add notes to issues; I have to update the description of the original item. Django makes this very, very easy to build. I have an app in my project just for this Redmine connectivity, and I can keep its code and tests separate and independent.
I’m never sure how robust to build out something like this. It’s going to prove handy to me in the case of this app and others I’ll be building out, but there’s no way I’m going to try to implement every nook and cranny of Redmine’s API — I don’t need it. If I release it, though, other people could want the things I don’t need. What’s the right balance in releasing a tool?
As always when working on an app, it’s a struggle not to over-engineer things. This Character Sheet Manager project consists of two apps (ignoring the Redmine integration): the Game Manager and the Sheet Manager. The Game Manager is (right now) just a data app — it’s for me (and Greg) to put in Merits, Skills, various powers, etc. The Sheet Manager will be the consumer of said data.
But character creation logic — knowing how many skills someone gets, knowing how many specialties — is really per-game knowledge. But it’s the same for all White Wolf games of this version. …But what if I want to support something like Scion, where the rules differ a bit?
I came down with a cold two weeks ago, and the next thing I know, I’ve missed three of my own deadlines for posting stories, haven’t danced in two Mondays, and haven’t done a lick of the design work for the non-profit I’m trying to work with. In good news, I can sleep soundly through the night again without choking on my own phlegm.
It’s times like these that remind me not to try to “catch up”, but just to keep moving. It’s not like I fell off a bandwagon; I can’t make up for two weeks of missed productivity.
That said, there will be a story this Saturday. It may not be in the morning, and it may be a Witches story instead of a TC story, but there’ll be a story. And then another one no later than Wednesday. …And so on. The moral of this tale is that I should have had a damn backlog of stories. I’ll be getting on that now.
So we’ve been working on Exploit: Zero Day for a couple of years now, but I haven’t talked nearly enough about it here. It’s a web-based cyberthriller puzzle game where you play as a hacktivist, uncovering and battling against oppression and exploitation.
*innocent whistle* Totally not the sort of game I’d want to make or play, no…
It’s been in closed alpha for a while, but we’re ready to offer a prelude season of paid story: “Headless Swarm”. For details on the plotline and how it relates to the continued free alpha access, check out the announcement blog post over at FPG.
I visited uptown Charlotte tonight, amidst the current protests and unrest after Keith Scott’s death. My friend and I had a few tidbits of info on where people were meeting, but nothing concrete, so we wandered along several streets.
In areas where people weren’t protesting, businesses were closed, and the streets were unusually silent for 20:30 on a Friday night. Troops stood in clumps of three on corners, waving or saying hello when you passed them. The occasional humvee or police SUV drove by.
Things were more lively at the Omni Hotel, where folks had covered the sidewalk in chalk. There were lots of media there: it was clearly an “allowed”, acceptable, media-consumable gathering. I’d maybe characterize it as a space for quieter expression of grief, although it was criticized by another gathering as essentially being for the white people. The writings were names of people killed and sayings that many of us are familiar with: “hands up don’t shoot”, “when will we have justice?”, etc. Religious figures were around, praying with people.
Further down Trade St., past the bus station, a group had gathered in front of some government building. My friend and I stayed there for a while. They were chanting “I am my brother’s’ keeper!” and folks were stepping up to share their perspectives. Four National Guards and a cop stood between the crowd and the building (with the aid of crowd control barriers), utterly stoic when the crowd shouted questions at them.
Folks probably know that I make video games as part of Future Proof Games, but maybe not what we’re doing at the moment. Many, many (many) years ago, Gregory made “(I Fell in Love With) The Majesty of Colors”, a very sweet Flash game about balloons and drowning.
As the site stats geek for FPG, I can tell you “Majesty” remains pretty damned popular. (Hell, it just got linked by Buzzfeed a few days ago.) It’s an evocative game that continues to appeal to folks wanting to explore the soft feelings of a big, weird, sessile alien. Problem is, Flash is finally actually dying — no phone/tablet can run it, and some browser configurations require user action before it’ll run Flash.
So we’re bringing “Majesty” to modern devices: Android, iOS, and Windows/OSX/Linux. And holy crap, this game feels great on a phone; moving the tentacle with your finger just feels real in a way that the tiny, mouse-controlled Flash version doesn’t. I’m excited to test it on tablets.
One of the first pictures taken of my newly-dyed locs.
I did it! I’ve had locs twice now, for a total of almost five years, and each time I’ve gone, “I should be bold and dye my hair!”
But it’s very permanent, especially since my natural hair color likely needs to be lightened for color to show much. Plus, lightening hair can be damaging. Last thing I want is to have my locs falling out. I’ve literally spent years growing these things; I’m not ashamed to say I’m a little attached to them, even if I don’t name them or count them.
But finally, with the aid of recommendations from friends and family on a beautician, I got my hair did.
Ossuary—Future Proof’s first commercial game release—is part of the Steam Summer Sale and will be 25% off until July 4. If you haven’t had a chance to play yet, it’s only $7.50 (USD). If you’re on the fence, the demo, “The Hodge-Podge Transformer,” is also on Steam.
It’s been on Steam for a year and a month now, and it’s been a fascinating experience. After watching a few Let’s Plays of Ossuary and “Hodge-Podge,” we released an update in December to improve the tutorial experience and solve some colorblindness issues.
Our current work in progress is Exploit: Zero Day, a cyberthriller where you roleplay a hacktivist by making and solving puzzles. It’s pretty cool, and our alpha players are making really friggin’ awesome puzzles and stories. If you want in, hop on the monthly mailing list and you’ll get a key in the next newsletter.
After coffee with a yogi friend, I was inspired to start climbing back on the yoga horse. Most yoga studios in my area only have Saturday morning classes, so I had very few options for something in the afternoon.
Whatever. I was feeling brave. I signed up for an all-levels Vinyasa hot class at a studio I’d never been to. Ninety minutes.