Saturday, June 4, 2016

I Got Science in my Eastern Fantasy!

You wanna know what ruined my night's sleep? I'm going to tell you!

So, of late I've gotten to reading Xianxia novels, and I've been a fan of the idea of ascending through sheer effort for a long time. Also, stories about gods and immortals have always been intriguing.

I've also been doing some research on nutrition and longevity, of late, running into the legend of Li Ching-Yuen. Add to this the various revelations about the dangers of gluten and whatnot, and what came to mind was, as follows:

Someone goes to hermitage on a forested mountain top. What do they eat?
They wouldn't have access to grains, and they'd likely scavenge. So they'd live on a diet of mushrooms, roots, berries, herbs, as well as hunted meat. Basically, a diet consisting of superfoods, adaptogens and such.

In addition, they'd be in a rather cold environment, meaning they'd have a lot of brown adipose tissue, participating in altutuide training, and if they happen on a hot spring ( a favourite of your wandering martial artist training on the mountains ) they might also gain the benefits of hyperthermia, such as increased HGH and EPO.

Not to mention, that come spring, they'd be getting access to a seasonal testosterone dosing - pine pollen is basically testosterone - effectively having nature's own hormone replacement therapy, which would benefit them greatly after passing sixty. It may not be a coincidence that the white pine is a symbol of longevity in China.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Doodling something.

Mm... Paper's from a pile of way old print-outs. Might as well use it for something.
There is a definite weakness when using printer paper, when it comes to rendering with pencil, but it doesn't matter much for my purposes right now. I need to do a bunch of studies, to get some modicum of competence and confidence back.


Huh. Went through a lot of my old drawings, and I had the strangest thought:
"I can do better than this."

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Dungeons & Dragons.

So. I splurged.

Sure, I could get the PDFs for free, but it's just not the same.
I saved about 35€ over buying locally, so I got them from the Amazon, Dungeon Master's Guide, Player's Handbook, and the Monster Manual.

I tried to participate in the beta test, but I couldn't get a group together because of reason, but I did peruse the playtest packages.

All in all, this is much improved. It's only less fun on a meta-level, because you could utterly wreck the old 3.x games by outscaling anything reasonable, as well as getting specific blanket immunities. However, for actual gameplay, this is much improved. I'll report more once I actually get the books from Amazon.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Creator Existence Failure


Monty Oum, the creator of Haloid, Dead Fantasy and RWBY is dead.

All I knew of him was his name. I had no idea of his character or life.
Yet, his death had an emotional impact. I found that strange, and it took me some thought to figure out why - I mean, it's not like all the things he did also vanished.

Creative people dying... hurts.  They will never make anything more.
As long as they're here, the... potential range of things they might create, still exists.

News like this underline my own character flaws.

There's a great volume of works within me, enough that I am easily paralyzed by just trying to decide what to focus on.

I'm not saying that any of it is any good, or that it's... coherent enough to be easy to get out, or that I have the ability to do so to my satisfaction.

It's the "Poof, gone" which I find unacceptable.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Will it blend?

I think I used this title before.

I am learning new tricks.

It still has it's flaws, but I think it would be usable Firmly in the uncanny valley, though.

So. Blender modelling... check? Some extra work involved with going low poly, although we've covered making bumpmaps from high poly models.
Still need to get animations grokked --- I have a decent idea about texturing by now. After that, Unity.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Getting back into the habit of blogging.

So, I'm participating in a gamedev class. Peachy keen. I'll be learning Blender + Unity3d.

There's a limited, but expanding list of things made with Unity, biggest name I recognized was Wasteland 2.

Blender skills increasing:
Modeling the character took something like two hours, and was completely painless, so that was fun. No hands or head, since I feel I should do those in separate files. Learned how to port meshes between different .blend files, so no problem there.

New monitor, new apartment, old new city.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Big Eyes, Small Mouth // Pen and Paper Ideas // Game rules and the Narrative

So... My intracranial beehive is working on pen & paper stuff. I'll link some.

How to run BESM inside Solar System. This is a bit fuzzy still, but I think I'm on to something. Perhaps implementing psyche and shock as passive defenses on energy and health pools, respectively

Also, some BESM house rules. Neither of these are likely to make much sense without familiarity with the involved systems.

Big Eyes, Small Mouth is... interesting.

My initial impression of it, wayback, was that it had a nice system for modelling characters, but the gameplay, especially combat,  was rather clunky.
Here's a basic situation:

A skilled combatant nearly always succeeds in their roll: Few levels of Combat Mastery has them failing only on a roll of 12. Even then, a defender rolling under their DCV will defend against the attack, which gets frustrating fast. Seems obvious.

Back when I started roleplaying, I truly wanted a rule for every situation, AND I wanted to use the official rule, if such was available. This lead to me gaining a Master level understanding of Dungeons & Dragons 3.x ruleset.

The downside of this, rather simulationist-gamist approach, is that you easily end up with hundreds of rules to remember. When I became a Dungeon Master, I spent a lot of time creating things using established rules.

At some point, I ended up getting excited about BESM, and I bought the rule book. Character creation was fun, but I couldn't quite grok running games, and tests didn't seem that impressive - I did come from the mentality of a player squeezing every drop of power available, to survive in a rather hostile world, where the overgod (DM) quite literally was out to get them.

I never got that much enjoyment out of killer DMing, but I see the fun in playing under one: Every time you survive anything, it feels like an accomplishment, and you don't feel at all bad for doing what the character would do under such circumstances - jockeying for maximum power and survivability.

During a lull in D&D gaming, I began wandering, reading other rulebooks - The Shadow of Yesterday, Spirit of the Century, various White Wolf games, and at some point the narrativism started to click.

This did show up in my DMing, and I began homebrewing classes and coming up with house rules and rulesets. I mean, if a player wanted to play a, a Ninja / Evoker hybrid, why make them jump through the hoop of digging through a library of rulebooks, when I could just write a class that suited them in an afternoon, while also making sure they fit into the world.

At this point, I was starting to get fed up with some aspects of D&D, such as an experienced wizard being a better fighter than an experienced militia member, just due to their level bonuses. I began looking for satisfying alternatives, while thinking of the kind of things I wanted to run in games.

Exalted had impressed me with it's idea of Stunts, and having a carrot to induce player behavior, as well as the amount of agency it gives to players.

In D&D, you can describe jumping to tables, swinging from chandeliers etc.... but either you end up spending your turn doing those things instead of attacking, while making skill checks with real consequences if you fail, for no real benefit allowed by standard rules... or you just roll attack, the same as everyone.

Just because you can have fun games with flawed rules, doesn't mean the rules aren't flawed.

Back to BESM, and a skilled attacker always succeeding in their attacks:
In stories, Goku doesn't fail in attacking with a kamehameha, Kenshin doesn't fail in swinging his sword, nor does Ranma punch improperly.

Basically, the importance is in using Trick Shots, (What I learned from BESM Ex) which apply a penalty of +1 to +6 to both you and your opponent, or as it was pointed out in the Manga Kenji....
What is important in a real fight, is just not strength and timing. If your opponent is good, they can read or guess your intention, and thus counter even the best attack in the world. You must add deception to your attacks, so they won't be able to defend against them.

Of course, there's a problem with, well, the Crunchiness.
Even if game is good and solid, and well thought out, if you need the equivalent of a Bachelor's degree to even play the game, it's not that good.

I'm looking at you, Exalted 2nd edition, and your ten-step attack resolution.

Then again, if you end up with very little crunch and very narrative-driven game, it eats away immersion into character, as well as suspension of disbelief, for me. One of the reasons I'm not really quite fond of action points, fate points, and similar - not their usage, which is fine, but their theme, of fate and destiny intervening.
It means my character isn't good enough to survive on it's own, doesn't it?

Partially, it's just a naming thing. Solar System used Vigor, Instinct and Reason, and those worked fine, for me.

Neither doesn't necessarily affect gaming, although crunch heavy kind of often does. I think the gamist aspect is...

Gamist aspect is simultaneously the most, and the least important bit.
Without it, a game tends not to be fun, unless it's basically narrativist-driven drama - so that sort of compensates, but without a game, you cannot test your simulation, and there's no order in the chaos.
However, calculating a bunch of three-digit numbers, checking against immunities and resistances and so forth, just isn't fun.

So... how do we handle sufficient amount of gamism - enough fun rules to play with, resources to spend, gain and lose, difference in having the high ground, between a knife and the Excalibur? Yet, not getting into multi-digit numbers, multiplication and division, stacks upon stacks of tables?
...I'm working on it.

I'll get back to it in a later post. Promise. Something about Descriptors, Tags and Aspects...

Narrativism doesn't necessarily take any 'space', but it's useful, as while the game tells you if you're hitting that guy in the face, narrativism is about why you're hitting that guy in the face.
Having some game effect supporting the narrativium is also good: It gives an impetus for everyone to insert some role and story into their game, as well as giving some formal structure.

Say, according to your backstory, you're looking for the six-fingered man who killed your father. When you're deep in the undermountain, this may fade into irrelevance quite easily, but what, if, like in Solar System's Key Framework, you gained experience or advancement points, whenever you heard a rumor of the six-fingered man? What is finding out a fact about him, or seeing him gave you more? What if getting your revenge will net you the equivalent of an immediate level-up?

You'll be HUNTING that bastard who killed your father!