The Player-Character Divide

The tension at my end of the table was incredible. Here I was, for once the only party member who had an inside scoop on what was going on, but I faced that one make-or-break question from the DM: “Well, dude, you made a decision how you’re gonna play this?”

Rewind a little. Our adventuring party had struck out to explore the kingdom neighbouring ours. A travelling merchant had disappeared and there was no word of what had happened. We hit a tower and there was no-one there. Everyone had decided simultaneously to up and go. We figured the capital would have some answers so I as the party’s Ranger led them down the mountains towards the city. On our trip we saw nothing. My wolf was uneasy.

We decided not to risk travelling at night so we hung out in an abandoned farmhouse. Being on the lookout for zombies (because there were lots of human tracks and a weird smell in the air), we mostly ignored the DM’s talk of a poster in a child’s room and went to sleep. And then, just when night hit, the raven familiar of our Witch Morgana spluttered out, “Look! Look!” In the distance were hundreds of people, distorted people. No, not hundreds, but thousands. And they were sprinting towards our shelter. We were screwed. With no time to prepare, we got ready to make a bolt for it. In no time zombies swarmed the house. Our illustrious warrior leader Jope and the Arcane Trickster (mage-thief) Switch barged through the crowd. I hung back. Something wasn’t right. Only when a huge, bulbous zombie vomited bile over my two companions did it become clear – our game had taken an unexpected left turn into Left 4 Dead 2. And though it came a little later, I had to make the decision: “Do I clue the other guys in, or do we have fun?”

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A straightforward refactoring

Ever since I started this blog I’ve been concerned about the intended audience. I’ve got posts on hardcore maths, and lots of posts on games and hardcore game design. While there is some overlap, I got to the point where I thought it’d work best if I split the blog in two. This blog remains the lion’s share of the posts – all my news, thoughts and descriptions of my creative projects, primarily Kung Fu Legends.

If you’d like to follow the mathematical stuff, shimmy on over to I’ve ported the old articles (comments and all) over there.

And because I want to test out this funky new poll plugin: [poll id=”2″]

Call for support

Currently my old stomping grounds – Brisbane – is being massively flooded. When I say massive, imagine the entirety of Texas, Kansas and Oklahoma were flooded. Or for those in Europe, close to all of France and Spain. About 50,000 homes across the state are without power and about 20,000 homes will be destroyed by the floods.

Brisbane is a place close to my heart. I spent many years there for university and made great, lifelong friends there. It’s the location of my novel, Breathe. Such a shame to see it being swept out into the Pacific Ocean.

So please, if you can, donate some cash to the flood relief appeal. It’d be greatly appreciated.

The Game in Game Dev Story

I recently acquired a shiny new Android phone. Over the Christmas holidays I spent a lot of time in airport lounges, so I decided to dive into a few little games from the Android Marketplace. One of them was Game Dev Story, a game available for Android and Apple phones. I had heard a fair bit of buzz about this game through the gaming blogs I read, but hadn’t had a chance to try it out. Not long after I started, I declared the game “clocked“. Nevertheless, it got me thinking about game design, especially with regards to mobile devices. As a very late Christmas present, I’ve wrapped those thoughts up for you and presented them here 🙂

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2010 in review

Happy New Year! Let’s review my blog’s first year of being…

Welcome to the new year! Hope you all had a great Christmas and New Years’ period. I did, and got a bunch of new gadgets (including a Kinect – woo!)

2010 was the first calendar year for this blog and I think I’ve done okay. There’s been a reasonable amount of traffic (and not just my friends/family/those I can bully into reading).  I started up at the very end of March and get about 160 views a month. My server isn’t melting from the traffic, but it’s better than tumbleweeds 🙂 The busiest month was August with 224 views. Strangely enough, April was busier (on average per day) but I think the stats program is screwy. Google Analytics provided some neat stats including:

  • There were (allegedly) 333 unique visitors [1. The Number of Half The Beast?].
  • About two-thirds read a single page and bounce out (not surprisingly for a blog)
  • About two-thirds of visits are repeat visits.
  • Most popular browsers (in order) are: Firefox (39%), Opera (19%), Safari (18%), Chrome (12%), IE (7%). Though I think these are skewed by Google Analytics being retarded and not recognizing my views (such as checking to see that a page renders correctly or just viewing the admin interface), and thus promoting my browser (Opera) unnecessarily.
  • Most popular mobile devices (in order) are: iPhone (48%), iPod (19%), Sony (13%), Android (10%), SymbianOS (4%), iPad (4%) and Blackberry (2%). Mobile browser views are a tiny percentage of total views, but I have support for them now, which I like.
  • Most referrals are from Facebook, my own site, some weird Chinese SEO site, and Creations of AmstradHero.

I’ve managed to get back into coding this year, as well as tabletop RPGs, which is neat. I’ve also played waaaaaay too much Team Fortress 2.

Anyway, here’s to an interesting, productive and creative 2011! Thanks for all the comments and eyeballs!