Just a few scattered thoughts and an announcement.
First and foremost, I now have a shopfront over at Shapeways.
This is where I will be offering miniatures for games I’m designing as well as a smattering of other widgets and wodgets. Yes, I’m making Zomblobs! into a tabletop game that maybe someday will be digital, but it won’t be the only miniatures game that I do (yes, there’s another IP I have in mind, I’ll dig into it once I nail down the Zomblobs! and get it out in the wild). It will mean codifying some rules into dice rolls and the like (a convenient excuse to design dice, by the way), but that’s just a fun design challenge. Presently in the shop, I just have some rings I’ve designed as a response to Big Bear Butt’s article over thisaway.
I’ve been meaning to set up a Shapeways shop for a long time, and it seemed like a good time. I still need to finish illustrating my mother’s book, but that’s close, so I’m trying to find ways to be productive and maybe earn a little coin. It beats playing games all the time when there are bills to pay.
A few other things online caught my eye of late:
Doodling is good for your brain, apparently. Seems right to me, but then, I’m an incurable doodler. Even if I weren’t an artist (I planned on a career in the sciences at one point), I’d still doodle all the time. It’s how I’m wired, I guess.
I also consider this to be doodling, albeit origami-inspired… this is where bad Magic the Gathering cards go to die in my office. My coworkers play a lot of Magic, and some of the cards are just… bad. As in, “don’t play with them because it might give you a bad impression of the otherwise excellent game” bad. So, we may as well do something useful with them, right? (Yes, that’s my computer, and yes, I made this. It took a few minutes here and there over about 3 weeks. Apologies for the phone camera shot, it’s all I had at the moment.)
Questing and flow… I tend to think that the problem of losing track of what you’re doing while questing in an MMO task hub is that you have a lot of threads going at once, and that the quests aren’t really linked in any obvious way in your quest log. I wonder what a better log might do; better record keeping and ways to review what you did before and how it connects would be one way to make quests and narrative work better.
Tangentially, I always find it hard to jump back into Final Fantasy XII after a week or month away. I don’t always remember why I’m doing what I’m doing, and the game only gives me the barest direction of where to go. I think a “last time on your adventure…” intro bit (optional, of course, maybe just text tucked away in a log with convenient wiki-like links to key players), like we see in serial TV, in a log would go a long way to making it all feel cohesive. These games are so big and the narrative occasionally so byzantine (or would that be Gordian?) that a pocket primer of what we’re actually doing might be a useful thing. Even in a linear game like FFXIII, time away can diffuse the narrative.
There’s a minor storm brewing about gear and the acquisition thereof that the MMO Melting Pot has been keeping tabs on.
I’ve only skimmed these, but I’ve written on difficulty before and even the “ease” of WoW, but as to gear, well, I really don’t like the lottery drop system. Yes, grinding up currency via dungeoneering to buy special loot might seem like more of a chore than the lucky drop in the first run, but to my mind it’s more honest and easier to plan around. If I’m going to care about gear (I usually don’t, I’m just sayin’), I want to be able to plan for it, not gamble. The few pieces of loot I’ve tried to find to get the best gear for my level 20-capped Paladin in WoW’s Starter Edition are… frustrating. One is a very rare drop from a rare spawn, and others are from dungeon bosses. The randomness of achieving that goal undermine the desirability of doing so. Getting these bits of gear wouldn’t be me achieving anything (I’ve already demonstrated mastery by beating the bad guys before), it’s not me learning anything new, it’s just me outlasting an evil Random Number Generator. That’s not satisfying gaming in my book.
Gaming Addiction? How about putting a face on it? This is a great video from the Extra Credits guys:
And I do try to avoid this sort of thing, but sometimes a financial/political post really just needs to be shared. This is one of them:
It’s ultimately about math and how leverage and exponential functions are killing us, fueling political unrest. We live in interesting times. It will be interesting to see where things go, and just what sort of revolutions pop up. Be prepared and pay attention. Hopefully it’s a tempest in a teapot, but it doesn’t hurt to have food storage, water and emergency preparations ready to go. Even if all the politics in the world suddenly turn really boring and inconsequential, nature can still break stuff and cause some trouble.
If nothing else, you should have enough for pancakes. Everyone loves pancakes, right?