Well, I did spend two hours of my weekend working on the Klik-n-Play Pirate Kart, but when I finally sat down to do it, I discovered that I’d saved none of my refactored map code.  On one hand, that code was confusing and not very good, on the other hand, it was nearly done.  Well, the new code is much better, but took me an hour and a half to put together, most of it spent tracking down a stupid error.

Most of my code errors these days come from syntax errors, and a few come from overall logic errors.  A very very few come from not understanding something about a new library. The former are caught by Chrome’s developer panel, the logic errors are pretty obvious: things where a character moves left instead of right (this actually happened).   The latter error can be really hard to fathom, as it’s something not in my code, per se, but in my understanding. I couldn’t get a graphic to display, and didn’t understand I hadn’t callled startGame() yet. Which is required by the library.

Otherwise it just quietly does nothing, exactly like I told it to.   And that’s a minor example of coding under a timeline.  I was going to come back to it, but I wound up working on some other things, and generally feeling kind of stupid about it. I’ll work on the game (I think it’s an interesting, if not revolutionary idea), but I was annoyed, and my computer is acting up according to plan.

I think, above all, that’s what’s bugging me today.  We’ve been money tight since January (and isn’t everyone a little tight around Christmas?), so I haven’t bought the copy of win7 to replace my release candidate. My computer will shut itself down sometime tonight.  While I have more than one computer, and beyond PC Games, there’s not much I use it for, it still has the power to make me grumpy.  We’re going to try to buy the OS next payday (which isn’t far, since I get paid weekly).  Still it made me not want to sit at my computer and do things like program games.

Feh, I say. Feh!

I did get my DresdenFiles RPG Origin’s game sent off to the proper folks.  I got my linux machine back online (it used to run this blog, but no longer).  I have some gaming plans for that, but they’re still working out.  I need a really long USB cord to run from that PC to my couch — anyone know how long a USB can be before degrading?

I’m a bit rambly this morning, I know.  I played a bit of Overlord II this weekend, and got White Knight Chronicles from GameFly.  I’m still formulating my thoughts about this one, but expect a First Impressions post soon. Borderlands, hopefully, will be here later this week; Girl and I are going to try out the co-op modes on this one.  Hopefully they’ll work well on the couch.

I’m feeling that bit of winter blah today.  It snowed again this weekend, but this week i’ll be warm enough for that stuff to start melting, and I’ll get a bit of color back in my world.   That probably explains the tone of my post today.  I owe you a self-indulgent character diary from Friday, so maybe I’ll do a couple of those this week.

I’m feeling the need to tell stories.

Nothing major to report gaming-wise today.  I went to the local GBox to pick up a game: predictably, Mass Effect 2 was sold out, as were Bayonetta and Darksiders on the 360.  Those were the two main games I went to get, since they fall into a sort of odd category for me.  That category is of games I don’t think I’ll like, but would like to try anyway.

Getting a game like that through GameFly is a bit of a hassle, there’s at least a week’s turn-around on a game, and to get one that you immediately slip back into it’s mailer and put out to be mailed, means two weeks without any decent games.  Sure, I’ve got the 4-game subscription, but I’m playing most of those games.  (Well, I will be once I get the Wii set up again.)

So $2 for a night’s rental (or $6 for the weekend — let’s be honest) is decent enough for a game I might not like — I’ve had Girl take me back to the GBox on Saturday for particularly vile games, but this time around I didn’t even get into one of the games until Sunday.

I wound up getting Darksiders on the PS3, mainly because there was so much reporting about it being Zelda-like.  It took a few hours to get to that, though, and the getting-to-it part was all God of War.  It kind of feels like God of War with some Zelda-esque puzzle and dungeon design.  I’ll write more about it later in the week.

The other game I got was Borderlands, because I figured why not, and I always get two games from the GBox in case one of them is particularly vile. (As I note, has happened before;) In fact, I figured Borderlands would probably be the vile game, as I’d be playing is single player, and it was a FPS on a console.  As it is, I wound up playing it for sometime.  I have my thoughts about that, and I may return this one, since it probably qualifies to be a real GameFly (and thus cheaper, long-term) rental.

I also spent some time re-starting Dragon Age, this time on easy with a mage, and using some suggestions from the commenters here about how to play it.  I’m debating doing one of this thinks Kateri calls “a horrible in-character game journal.”  Partly as a talk about the morality system, and some of my complaints about the game.

I am enjoying it much more. I’m almost finished with Ostragar, and no one as died, and I’ve only had to pause to manage my party one time.  This is much more in line with the experience I want, so I hope I’ll be able to continue with it.  I’m not really upset by playing it on easy, I’m not playing it for gamist challenge, but to experience the world and story, and so forth.

I think I’ve largely settled on pygame for the Glorious Trainwrecks thing at the end of the month.  Right now, I’m trying to learn a tool, and get it to a comfort zone so I can make 2-3 2 hour games. It’s a push to get some things started, and I have a few decent, if not great ideas.  The point, I think, is to try and to iterate, and to work.  Over-design and over-thinking are the enemies of getting things done.

The point of the Glorious Trainwrecks is that quality doesn’t matter.  We’re going for Quantity here. Because, of course,  moar==better.

Something about the first of the month has me thinking pen and paper gaming again.  Perhaps Darksider’s Zelda-elements have me thinking about Amaranth, as well.  Girl and I were talking about playing D&D via telecommuting, and I remember that there were several proto-tools for this sort of thing available several years ago.  Perhaps there are better ones (or those tools have advanced) for doing this.  This would let us manage something, perhaps every other Saturday or so, assuming we can find other folks intersted.

I’m also working on reading some background for 4E game I’ve been invited to (I’m going a bit slow here, but I have ideas I need to communicate to the GM).  That, and I’ve been recently reminded I let my My Life With Master game go fallow over the holidays, and I haven’t brought it back in line.  So, there’s quite a bit to do this month.

Well, here we are, the last weekday in January.  At the start of this month, I wasn’t sure I’d get through it.

We’ve had a lot of local drama here, financial stuff with Tam and I, and Girl’s next-door-neighbor went off the freaking deep end.  She’s moving today, to a nicer duplex that also happens to be closer to my busstop, and still in walking distance of where I live.  This makes me happy.

Also, today, Tam and I make it through our own financial mess that had left us strapped for most of the month.   We’re not totally caught up on everything, but we can see the light at the end of the tunnel well enough to know it’s not an oncoming train.  We’ve got our PAX East tickets, and that vacation is mostly planned for, and will be budgeted, etc, within a week or two.

I’ve spent some of my time this month — at least when I wasn’t furiously writing blog posts — learning Python, and working with pygame.  That’ll continue in the next month, although I may try to finish my AIF before I do that.  I have some thoughts about that, as you may have noticed.

Many years ago, I kept an online diary, I wrote about 1K words/day, usually about whatever I was doing that day, or had done. It was very personal, and maybe sometimes had some more thought to it — but not often. The writing I’ve done here in the past month has some of that personal flavor, but I feel like I’ve been able to apply it to the game thought that is largely what Cult of the Turtle has been about recently.

One nice aspect of having such an aggressive schedule is that it’s forced me to narrow my focus and accept some imperfection in what I have to say.  It makes this whole blog feel like a work in progress. I’m not writing essays, but developing ideas in a public and open way.  That may come back to bite me someday, but I’m human, and I’m still alive, so my ideas are still developing.  Just because I said something three weeks ago doesn’t mean I’ve not refined or moved on from it.  Still, it’s a good process.

Which is why, despite the original challenge now fulfilled, I’m going to continue it.  I need to work on other creative projects, particularly both games and my fiction writing, and I’m sure that’ll color what the posts here are about. Like my discussions of Amaranth, the posts here may be about my progress from a design or technical standpoint.

Certainly I’m not done with liminality or transgression, and these both inform what I want to do about games, and my goals there. I don’t know if I’ll be successful at implementing my ideas, but unless I try I won’t know.  And maybe my work will inspire others who can take it further.  As long as there’s life, there’s growth, right?

Anyway, I hope you’ve enjoyed it — I know I’ve liked and enjoyed the feedback that I’ve gotten, and look forward to more.  That’s the primary way I’m “paid” for what I do.  So, as I go forward, I hope I’ll interest you enough to keep the feedback loop going.

Thanks to everyone for a good month in this new year, and hopes for more to come!

My Goddess Daughter evidently didn’t get the memo that the only thing she should bring home from school was refrigerator art, so all of us wound up catching the stomach flu she shared so well. (Momma always taught me to share, after all.)  The good news is that I had a day off for MLK Jr Day, the bad news is I spent it sleeping.  At least I’m not losing pay for a holiday my temp service doesn’t pay for (although my “real” employer treats it as a paid holiday).  I had hoped to do some writing today, and get some game playing in.

I did get some of the latter done, I admit, but it was pretty lightweight.  I started BioShock up in Easy mode — evidently I’ve not played BioShock under my XBOX360 profile (I played it at Girl’s house under a different profile, and I own a PC copy that I never got very far in).  I’m not feeling very invested in it — I certainly know the coming reveal already, but every time I play BioShock, it makes me miss SHODAN.

I have an embarrassment of riches here, on the PC.  I spent around $80 over Christmas on the Steam Sale, and have somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 games (some of which were purchased over the past year), none of which I’ve gotten very far in.  I have several big RPGs: Fallout 3, Dragon Age:Origins, Morrowind:GOTY (my third(?) purchase of that game!), Eschalon:Book 1, Mr. Robot, Witcher:Enhanced Edition, Sacred 2, Torchlight, Hinterlands, and StarWars:KOTOR.  I also picked up a NWM2 module on someone else’s sale, I’m not even sure I can install Neverwinter Nights at this point (I have my keys, but do I remember any of the other DRMific info?).  And that, my friends, is just the list of RPG or strong RPG-elements games.  I bought the Indie pack, I’ve got some FPSs, I’ve got some RTSs, and a pleasant handful of Adventures (Loom!, the Space Quest collection!)

Now I hate it when games do that thing where they give me too many choices.  It’s one reason I only play Final Fantasy games with a guidebook in my lap. I’m given too many choices without any idea what the consequences of my choices are.  Several times in the past week, I’ve sat down at my computer looked over my list of games (over half are installed) and ponder what I’m going to play.  Then I go over to FaceBook and play TikiFarm for a few minutes, then hit Kongregate up for a Tower Defense game.  It’s just easier than deciding.

Given that the much-vaunted first quarter releases have few things I care about, I’d hoped to write some about the games from Steam, but I’m just not playing them.  It’s kind of funny, really. I have enough games to keep me busy for a year, and I can’t focus enough to play one.  I’ll admit I’m trying very hard with Dragon Age, but I’ll write a bit about that tomorrow.  It’s still instructive, though, even if things are occasionally frustrating.

In one week, I had three devices fail on me.  One was somewhat expected, and one was no surprise, the third destroyed my confidence.

My Xbox 360 red ringed on me. Again.  This  is the third one Tam and I have had, and is one of the newer models, with the fancy heat sink.  That was the one that wasn’t surprising. I mean, it’s an Xbox 360, right? They die.

For years now (more than a decade) I’ve been running mail and websites out of my home. It’s cheap, and I’ve got enough technical no-how to manage it. There are problems when power flickers or cable screws up.  Goddess knows that Time Warner was down two or three times a month (our current cable provider is much much stabler. And faster.)  The machine, which I named Sarah Bellum after the Power Puff Girls character, has been through a lot.  A five year old sprayed cleaner in her, and she got an upgraded mother board, and some new hard drives.  But she was getting old, and going down two or three times a week.

A couple of days after the 360 red ringed, Sarah B. refused to boot at all. She powers on, and then off. Nothing.  I’d already moved mail off of it — but hadn’t moved a couple of mail accounts (mine and one other person) actual mail off of it.  The websites and their mySQL databases were on the three hard drives.  But I’d bought a new machine that ran Ubuntu nicely, so I had a plan for that. I just hadn’t quite gotten to it fast enough.

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