Tales of the Rampant Coyote

Adventures in Indie Gaming!

Reminder: Altered States II and Cirsova #4

Posted by Rampant Coyote on December 26, 2016

I thought that for today, I’d share the opening paragraphs of the two stories I have in collections that have JUST BARELY been released! I’m proud of both of these stories. Just minutes ago, I received my contributor’s copy of Altered States II, so I’m looking forward to sitting back and enjoying some cyberpunky goodness.

PHIL DRAXTON THOUGHT HE glimpsed the figure in the blue windbreaker behind him again. Was it just paranoia? Could it be paranoia if he really knew they were coming after him? Tarvino Technologies had made it clear that they had limited patience for him to turn himself in, and that when their patience expired, so would he.

Doubleblind, by Jay Barnson

Altered States II – A Cyberpunk Anthology

Now available in electronic format – available in paperback in a week or two.

Doubleblind is a story about a man attempting eluding a seemingly unshakeable pursuer after violating his user contract for an experimental brain implant. The implant gives him access to skills he needs to escape… but is it working for him, or is it working for its manufacturer?

The book includes 18 other stories, and an introduction by Isaac Wheeler, editor-in-chief of Neon Dystopia.

Next…

Jesse stared down the barrels of ten bayonet-affixed rifles of the Royal Marines, and raised his hands. In the six months since Marwood abandoned him, he’d imagined many different rescue scenarios. This hadn’t been one of them. He cleared his throat. “I don’t know how the British are doing it these days, but in Georgia we usually greet people by saying hello.”

The Priests of Shalaz, by Jay Barnson

Cirsova Heroic Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine  #4

Now available in digital and paperback formats.

The Priests of Shalaz takes place in the late 19th century. Stranded by a remote portal from Earth on an alien planet, Jesse finds rescue in the form of the British Royal Navy. But rescue turns into a bloodbath when the Commodore takes action to further the growth of the empire and runs up against the ancient and power priests that watch over the portals.

Cirsova is a magazine that has embraced the old “pulp” style. Fun stuff! I’ve enjoyed every issue so far.


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Back in business… Just in time for the holiday!

Posted by Rampant Coyote on December 23, 2016

I won’t call it a “Christmas Miracle” or anything, but I’m very pleased that my desktop (and development) computer FINALLY seems to be back in working order. I’ve had to replace some hardware, tweak some settings, but now… finally… I’m back up and running. I’m still not entirely certain where the original point of failure was, if there was a cascade effect, or if I just got lucky and had a couple of things go kablooie all at once. Fortunately, the video card was under warranty, the replacement power supply wasn’t too expensive, and my biggest expense was probably the trial-and-error and time spent trying to figure out what was going on, waiting for parts to arrive, etc.

So, on the plus side, I’m back in business! Just in time for the holiday!

I’m also enjoying some sorely needed leave time from the day job. I’ve been capped on my vacation time for the last several weeks (and I’m far from the only one right now), so it’s nice to just forget about it for a while. I wish that I could say that every day at the day job is a wild adventure in Virtual Reality, but most of the time my job involves things like figuring out why the alarm isn’t resetting after it was acknowledged after a simulated electrical fault. Still critical, fun in its own way, but not wildly exciting and cutting edge. Just like most of game development.

I’ve got a long list of tasks I want to get completed over my break, including some work on Frayed Knights 2, but I also really, really want to get some gaming in. Gotta make (figurative) room for the incoming games for next year!


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Altered States II Cyberpunk Anthology is Out!

Posted by Rampant Coyote on December 22, 2016

My story, “Doubleblind,” is out now  in the new Altered States II cyberpunk anthology.

It’s currently available on Kindle. Other versions may be available soon. You can grab it here:

Altered States II a Cyberpunk Anthology on Amazon Kindle

Stories by upcoming and established authors, curated by Roy C. Booth and Jorge Salgado-Reyes. Introduction by Isaac Wheeler, Editor-in-Chief of Neon Dystopia.

Introduction Isaac L. Wheeler
Davi Leiko Till Midnight William F. Wu
Expiration Date CC Aune
Droids Don’t Cry Sam S. Kepfield
Doubleblind Jay Barnson
Killadelphia Pedro Iniguez
Twenty Percent R.M. Harper
The Patch Frank Roger
In The Beginning Was The Microchip Erin Lale
PIE Patrick Loveland
Silencing The Machine Tom Borthwick
Hermit Crab Chris Reynolds
Speak Now Thomas Olges
Devils Hat Gary B. Phillips
Limitless Mathew X. Matthew Gomez
When The Worm Turns Tanja Cilla
Biomorph Roy C. Booth
Electric Love DJ Tyrer
The Smoke in Death’s Eye Jorge Salgado-Reyes
Afterword

Enjoy some holiday cyberpunk!

Interesting side-note: This was a story where I experimented a lot with the pulp fiction formula, and an old (1920s?) plot-generation tool. I wanted to see where it took me. I took the seeds of an idea involving the supernatural, turned it into high-tech cyberpunk, and just had fun with it. I hope you do, too.


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Rogue One: My spoiler-free impressions

Posted by Rampant Coyote on December 19, 2016

Years ago I complained about how the sequels to The Matrix were so bad that they went back in time and injected suck into the otherwise stellar original. I think I went back and re-watched The Matrix maybe once since the sequels came out, and it was sad, knowing how stupid everything turns out and how awesome it could have been. That was really when I realized how poisonous the sequels were (up until then, I told myself they weren’t that bad). Maybe one day, when my memory of the sequels has faded, I’ll be able to go back and watch it for what it is and truly enjoy it again. Maybe.

After seeing Rogue One, I feel like it has managed to do the opposite. In my view, it has reached back into time to make the original (AKA Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope) an even better movie. That’s something that the “special edition” (which is now the only commonly available edition) didn’t quite accomplish, although it did clean things up.

All Rogue One does (hah!) is chronicle the events described in two sentences in the opening crawl of Star Wars ep 4. It’s a side-story… in this case, a war movie set in the Star Wars universe.  Imagine an entire movie devoted to the Battle of Hoth, as told from the perspective of a bunch of soldiers on the ground who weren’t named “Skywalker,” “Organa,” or “Solo,” and the best any of them could hope for would be to buy time for an escape, and maybe even survive to hop the last transport out of there. Actually, that could be a hella cool movie. I’d totally want to see that.

Well, that’s kinda what Rogue One is. However, in spite of the grittiness and a darker theme, there are still heroics, explosions, and comic moments aplenty. It’s still a Star Wars movie, and leads right into the opening of A New Hope, and also manages to explain (or at least strongly suggest an explanation) a few of the plot-holes in the original. Plus, it establishes a cinematic precedent for what has already been established by the novels and animated series: This is a vast universe full of storytelling possibilities that don’t directly involve Skywalker family drama.

In a nutshell – it’s great. It really is the Episode III that was supposed to be, IMO, and easily fits in with the original trilogy not only in content, but in quality. Finally.

 

 


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Star Wars, Books, Torment, and Stuff

Posted by Rampant Coyote on December 16, 2016

I’m going to be minimizing my time online today because so many people went to see the new Star Wars Story film last night, Rogue One.  My tickets are for tonight. While we already know kinda-sorta how its supposed to end (right where A New Hope begins), and we don’t know any of the major characters this time around for someone to spoil what happens to them for us, I’m still trying to avoid spoilers.  Because last time, some people just couldn’t help themselves.

However, the rumbling I’m hearing is overwhelmingly positive. This makes me very, very happy. Because ever since I saw the original serial-inspired title crawl as a little kid, I wanted to see the “real” prequel to Star Wars – the real “Episode 3.” The one that tells the story: “It is a period of civil war. Rebel spaceships, striking from a hidden base, have won their first victory against the evil Galactic Empire. During the battle, Rebel spies managed to steal secret plans to the Empire’s ultimate weapon, the DEATH STAR, an armored space station with enough power to destroy an entire planet.”

Sounds like this might be it. I’m excited.

There’s a MASSIVE CHRISTMAS SALE out at Xchyler Publishing right now.  Not only are the e-books on sale (I think the anthologies are all at $0.99), but if you order the paperbacks, you can enter the coupon code “FAHAYVNS” at checkout and get them substantially discounted.  I’m in three of the anthologies:

Terra Mechanica – A Steampunk Anthology:   Paperback (use the code)   EBook

Mechanized Masterpieces 2 – An American Anthology:  Paperback (use the code)   EBook

Beyond the Wail – 12 Grave Stories of Love and Loss:  Paperback (use the code)   EBook

The code expires on Christmas Eve (not exactly sure of the time… but you have a week! Get ’em!). I’m not sure how long the EBook sale will last… but I’d guess it probably expires around the same time.

A friend of mine, James Wymore, has a sale on his genre-warping series The Actuator, as well as some other anthologies (including steampunk!). You can check out more details here.

I expect there are quite a few Christmas deals on books right now. Now, are these in the spirit of gift-giving, or in the spirit of giving you an escape when surrounded by relatives over the holidays?  Hmmm…

Torment: Tides of Numenera finally has an official release date. This spiritual sequel to the critically acclaimed classic Planescape: Torment is coming out the last day of February.

Let’s see… other things…  My desktop computer is still sick. I’m glad I have a decent laptop. I keep thinking my desktop is brand new, but it’s really almost two-and-a-half years old. Back in the 1990s, that would be time to replace the whole machine. Actually, back in the 1990s, that would be time to replace a bunch of parts so it was practically a new machine. Back then, I could find computer parts stores in the area and fix things up in a day. Now I have to wait for shipping. (Of course, I’m also buying higher quality components, instead of the generic stuff I could buy back then, so…)

Anyway… have a great weekend, folks!


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NaNo Writing Tools Book Bundle Deal Ending

Posted by Rampant Coyote on December 15, 2016

NaNoWriMo 2016 is over. I didn’t “win” but it was a pretty good kick in the pants for me. I’m still pushing onwards. The 2016 NaNoWriMo Writing Tools book bundle at StoryBundle.com is also coming to a close in about a week. To be perfectly honest, I’m not as keen on this year’s bundle than the last two years, but the books here do cover quite a range from getting started, improving on the craft, indie publishing , dealing with business and contract issues, to professional appearances at conventions.

I have only a couple of the books so far, so I can’t really vouch for ’em all, but Kevin J. Anderson is the curator. That says something. (I still haven’t read all of the books from the previous collections, but some of ’em have been really, really good).

2016 NaNoWriMo Writing Tools Bundle

 


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Rocksmith Enjoys a December Upgrade

Posted by Rampant Coyote on December 14, 2016

So soon after Rocksmith 2014 was transformed into “Rocksmith Remastered Edition,” the game / guitar trainer has enjoyed a new upgrade just in time for the holidays. Many of the changes involved interface improvements to the new features added in the Remastered Edition. Being able to edit song lists from the “Learn a Song” mode will be nice.

One new feature that may encourage me to use the “guitarcade” exercises more often is the endless replay option for a game. Really, I like playing the games, but they go by fast, and the waiting and interface between them was really frustrating.

But the really big news was that acoustic guitars are now good to go in Rocksmith:

While Rocksmith always let you sing along with a microphone, now you can point it at your acoustic guitar and the game will read the notes for you.  Up until now, you could play with an acoustic by using an acoustic pickup. But this is a much better solution. I prefer electric, but I love my Yamaha acoustic also. It sounds great. 🙂  The microphone mode won’t process the input with any effects, which is fine. There are already plenty of songs in the library by now that are based on acoustic guitars. I’d guess there’ll be many more coming.

There’s also a Disconnected mode, requiring no cable at all, so you can just follow the notes, really turning Rocksmith into more of an interactive songbook (with its own unique notation).

Strategically, I’d say this is a solid move for the Ubisoft team. This makes the game useful to all guitar players, as long as they’ve got the computer or console to play the game. Whether you plug in, mic up, or play completely unplugged, it’s of some value. That doubles their potential market, I’d imagine.


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Jay Goes Cyberpunk

Posted by Rampant Coyote on December 12, 2016

Last spring, I decided to write a cyberpunk story. I was actually experimenting with a few things all at once… a particular story structure, an old-school plot/idea generator from the early 1900s, and my love of cyberpunk. I wrote the story fully realizing that cyberpunk wasn’t “the thing” anymore (but maybe with the release of the Cyberpunk 2077 in a year or two, maybe it will be once again), and that the chances of finding a home for the story were slim.

It turns out that there was a cyberpunk anthology currently taking submissions, and they accepted my story, “Double Blind.” It sounds like they are finally finishing up the editing, and Altered States Volume II: A Cyberpunk Sci-Fi Anthology should be hitting the digital store shelves fairly soon. I don’t have an exact release date yet.

The fun part of writing this story, since its been such a long time since I was really into the genre, was reviewing some of the old assumptions in light of new technology and current events.  Now we live in a world where we are willingly the “product” that Facebook and other social media sell. Our personal technology is often laden with processes that “phone home” to tell our secrets, or to try and influence our choices. We often don’t even “own” much of our technology — or at least not the software that drives it: we license it, with all kinds of caveats and changes that can take place after we’ve made it part of our lives or livelihoods. What does that mean something like neural augmentation comes around?

There are a ton of ideas that I had while while experimenting with this one, so I’d love to write more stories along those lines. But in the meantime, I’ve got one weird, paranoid, action-packed story coming out soon in this anthology, alongside other strange cyberpunked visions of the future by other authors!


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Video Card Blues

Posted by Rampant Coyote on December 9, 2016

Sadly, I didn’t have much time before my business trip to figure out why my computer started getting flakey. Upon my return home, things didn’t get better. It looks like my really awesome and fairly new GTX 1070 card has been dying, which makes for much sadness. I tried everything to analyze and correct the problem in case it was with my computer or a bad driver or something, but my desktop has been rendered all but useless for gaming… or game development.

It’s still working well enough to type on, at least. And after jumping through a few hoops, the manufacturer is sending me a replacement. So I should be able to game again before I go on vacation. Huzzah.

I feel like I have bad luck with video cards (and subwoofers). But really, I just had one bad machine about 10 years ago that I think burned out 3 video cards (two were SLI-linked). I had cooling up the wazoo on that beast, too. I think it was the budget motherboard.

Fortunately, I have a laptop that’s good enough for everything but VR gaming.  So I can still manage to play Rocksmith, if I want to take the time to set stuff up. Or even do game development (on a small screen). But a lot of it is just a reminder to me of how my life is dependent on my computer these days, and if something goes wrong, it screws things up. Maybe I should take this as a warning of how screwed I’ll be when civilization collapses.  But before I get to the point where I’d do anything about it, I’ll have a new video card, and there are games to be played…!


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Programming a Computer with Nothing

Posted by Rampant Coyote on December 7, 2016

I don’t know why this irritates me, but it does. Several times over the last few weeks, I’ve seen memes like the one on the right, generally from programmers who think it’s cute.  As if it really was a mystery. But… if you are not a programmer, or you are a programmer who actually doesn’t know this but doesn’t want the embarrassment of having to admit it, here’s how it works:

You create a programming language with… another programming language. Another compiler / tool. They’ve got tools nowadays that can accept a new programming language in a standardized format, and will convert it to object code ready to be compiled to whatever machine you want to put it on.

Oh, but how do you build the compiler? With another programming language. 🙂

This was a required class to get my Computer Science degree back in the day. Admittedly, it was a tough course. You were strongly advised not to take the compiler course (where you developed your own language, and built a compiler for it) and the operating system course (where you built your own operating system, from more-or-less scratch) in the same semester.

Then you just put that code into a format that the new computer with a way for it to self-boot it (meaning load it up and begin executing instructions) from memory or storage. You just need a way to put a program there in the first place. The usual approach is two write code on an existing machine, and then target the compiler to compile for the new computer, and put that code on a bootable medium (like a CD-ROM, or an SD card).

Or you don’t even use a compiler, and you write it all in straight machine code. In the olden days, they had machines that were kind of like electric typewriters that would allow you to create punch-cards that a computer could read and execute. You can even write code for a machine that doesn’t even exist yet, and compile it for that target machine. In fact, if you go even further back into the 1800s, Lady Ada Lovelace wrote programs for Babbage’s Analytical Engine which was never actually produced. She was the world’s first programmer, and the machine she developed for was permanently vaporware. Sad, huh?

If you aren’t a programmer, and you have no idea what a “compiler” is or what “machine code” means, here’s what you need to know:

Computers understand numbers. Now, we always say it’s “ones and zeros” because that’s how numbers are represented in the computer. But don’t get bogged down by those bits. Just think of it as numbers. A… code. Every processor is different, and understands different sets of codes. Maybe on one machine, the value of “1” means to jump from the part of code you are currently executing to a whole different place. Maybe the value of “2” means to add two numbers together and store them somewhere.  The processor also has some registers, which designate its state and serve as temporary holding areas for values.

The position of these numbers is important, too. A number three might be an instruction, the literal value of three, or an address (the third byte of memory), or even an offset to another address stored in a register. Or… well, it depends on the processor.  To avoid confusion, we poor humans use symbols and keywords make all that slightly more readable. So if the instruction “1” means to jump to a new location in memory and resume execution, and we wanted to execute at the memory location 1, we’d probably write it as “JMP 1” instead of “1 1”. But if we’re looking at the raw values in memory, they’ll be the latter.

Now, back in the old days, you might write complete commercial software at that level.  You still can, but it’s a slow, hard way to go about it. It gets very complicated to do even a very simple operation.

Instead, we write things in a higher-level language that is a lot more readable for humans, and encapsulates a lot of complexity in a simple format. So we might write an instruction that reads, “Healthbar.SetValue(100)”, which might actually represents hundreds of instructions of machine code. We use a compiler to convert that higher-level code into machine code.

So… I hope that clears things up. There are C++ compilers actually written in… C++.  But it’s not really brain-twisting. You use compiler A to build compiler B, and compiler B may be for a totally different system. As long as compiler A understands how to convert stuff down to machine code for the new system, it’ll all work fine.

Now… what if you have no tools like that and have to do it all by hand / from scratch / etc.?  Well, the earliest PCs were that way… the rudimentary Altair interface used a bunch of switches and lights for its UI. You could program it that way. I wouldn’t want to write Skyrim that way, but it works.

I hope you feel enlightened.


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Returning From Utah Winter Faire

Posted by Rampant Coyote on December 5, 2016

winterfaire2016_640I arrived back in town on Thursday night, just in time to run off to Utah Winter Faire the next day. No break for me. *Sigh*. At least it was totally worth it.

Utah Winter Faire is kind of like a Christmas-themed Renaissance / Fantasy / Steampunk Fair. It’s (almost) all indoor events, so no jousting. But you have stuff like the Armored Combat League fighting with real steel and armor, which is pretty dang hardcore. Plus lots of performance arts, and lots of vendors. If you wanted to get a friend or family member some unique home-made soap, a Tardis pendant, a Hogwarts uniform, or a set of chainmail, it’s the place to go! Or, of course, a great speculative fiction book!

For me, Utah Winter Faire was a blast. It usually is. There were lots of fun things going on, and some great costumes. I danced with Clockwork & Gears Vintage Dancing, as usual. We got to perform a few numbers, including an unannounced “flash mob” presentation (that apparently people really liked!), and we also taught people to perform some simple, fun vintage dances.

Our Xchyler Author booth was busy, especially Saturday. Maybe it was the variety, but I’ve never sold as many books at an event as I did this weekend. I think I did 2x better than usual. I actually sold out of my copies of several books, and had almost nothing to take home (except copies of Cirsova 4… my “years’ supply” had barely arrived the day before). Not that I had a massive supply to begin with… I hadn’t re-supplied prior to the faire, but I definitely need to buy some more copies before my next event.

But really, the best part was meeting with people who have actually *gasp* read and enjoyed some of my stories. That’s tremendous. It’s the part that makes it all worthwhile. Same as games. It’s really easy to get stuck in your own head-space, and in both writing and making games, you are taking stuff that exists only in your imagination, and translating it (never as well as you’d like) into a real-world form. The point being, of course, that this way other people can experience it. But as a creator, particularly a relatively unknown one, you don’t get much feedback from the audience. But then you get an event like this, and you get to talk about shared experiences in a world that you still kind of think of as your private little world in your head. It’s like, “WOW! You’ve been there, too! Tell me what you thought!”

That, and it’s just a lot of fun to meet people. I’m not exactly extroverted, but I do enjoy meeting and talking with people 1-on-1.

Anyway… a very cool party. I am glad I went.


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Book Signing at Winter Faire This Weekend (and NaNoWriMo Results)

Posted by Rampant Coyote on December 2, 2016

cirsova4coverHi folks! I’m going to be at the Utah Winter Faire this weekend… or at least today and tomorrow. Yep, going directly from one show to another. I’m going to be so exhausted next week. It’s a really fun event. There are a lots of vendors with holiday / geek / general stuff for sale… so it’s great for Christmas shopping. Plus, there are events going on constantly, like medieval fighting (with real weapons! Yikes!), and of course dancing. It’s a good time. 🙂

Anyway, I’ll be selling & signing books, for those interested. My copies of Cirsova #4 also came in (in the nick of time!), so I will be selling & signing copies of that one. And I’ll be dancing. I won’t have red shoes and we won’t be dancing the blues, but we’ll be teaching vintage dances from the Victorian, Regency, and even earlier periods.

And hey – NaNoWriMo just ended. If you’ll recall, I committed to it, even though I acknowledged that November generally sucks for me anyway, and this November was going to be particularly harsh. It was actually worse than I expected, as I wasn’t expecting to have to travel and work a trade show the last week of the month. Still, I managed to get 41k words written, which was a big chunk of progress, on top of 15k I’d already written. So while I didn’t “win” it was still good to force myself to work on it daily. With a bunch of 11-13 hour workdays programming, game dev programming wasn’t really happening most nights, but I could usually devote an hour or two to writing. Well, at least I intended to. There were some sessions that ended with my falling asleep at the desk, exhausted, but at least I managed to get some time in to both get words written and to “wind down” from the work day.

So… it was a good experience. I think I learned a bit more about myself as a writer, at the very least, and how my process needs to be managed. And, after three years of focusing on short stories, it’s been good to spend time working on the longer form.


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What I’ve Spent Crazy Hours Working On

Posted by Rampant Coyote on December 1, 2016

gs_vrsimOkay – so… this is what I’ve been working insane hours on. Well, okay, in part. There’s actually a lot more to it than this. This press release is a tangible result of it, though… a brand new product offering from my company… a VR Crane Simulator.

Mostly, the work has been all the underlying technology to overhaul our simulator software–rebuilding most of it from the ground up–and get it up to the point where we could integrate VR technologies into it. As often happens, the most impressive stuff was often the easiest, and the stuff that we didn’t think much about turned out to be the most time-consuming. We still have a lot to do, but this trade show was a pretty big deal. We had a bigger presence than we’ve had in the past, and I’m lead software engineer.

Pressure? Yeah. Just a bit.

But on the other hand, I have been waiting TWENTY FIVE LONG FRICKIN’ YEARS for VR to get to this point.  Since shortly after reading Neuromancer the first time and finding out what real research was going on to make VR a reality, I’ve been expecting it to arrive “any year now” in the consumer & commercial space. I  hoped I would have a chance to jump in when it was new enough to still be experimental, yet practical enough to be able to be make things  that real people could use. And now… BAM. I’m here.

We’ve been able to push ahead in a very cool direction to solve some thorny issues that have been bugging everyone in this space, primarily mixing tactile reality with audio and visual virtual reality. You need both, when you are training skills that require physical action. This has been cool, even if my job description has required me to delegate some of the really fun, cool tasks to other people on the team. But the project has been great fun overall, even if the hours haven’t. We have one more day of the show left as I write this, and while I personally have a tough time not seeing the faults, missing features, and limitations, so far the feedback we have received has exceeded our expectations. The real proof will come later, but it’s off to a great start. We’ve had a chance to share with people some of the potential of the platform for practical training. Which, IMO, is already huge and is going to expand very quickly as the tech matures.

On Monday, I get to go back to focus on our more traditional simulators, which are still incredibly cool and powerful. Because we have contracts and customers and deadlines that still need to be satisfied. And the VR side of things is really just a tiny piece of the whole,  and the whole still needs a lot of work. I was pretty stressed out about this trip, but being able to show off what we’ve been doing has been a great experience, and probably a bit cathartic. Whew.

 


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No Man’s Sky – Greetings from the Hilbert Dimension

Posted by Rampant Coyote on November 29, 2016

nms-2016-09-21-22-22-26-54Before its release, I once said that I’d be happy with No Man’s Sky even if all it did was provide me with some cool, inspirational screen-shots that reminded me of vintage sci-fi covers. It did. In spades. In fact, it was pretty easy to get jaded to that style after a while. Since its release, I think I put about 100 hours into it (aside from Rocksmith, I haven’t really had time to play anything else). I got pretty used to it pretty quickly.

Lots of people have expressed hate and fury over unkept promises and overblown hype surrounding the game. I admit, I would like it to be more than it is. I finally “won” the game a couple of weeks ago, making my way to the center of the universe (or galaxy? The game kinda interchanges the two…) the “hard way.” Yay, success, and then I found myself tossed out into the Hilbert Dimension.

unity-2016-11-08-00-29-47-43

I was going to write a final post about the relative emptiness of the feel of the game (which is still probably applicable) and sort of my “last words” on the subject, having apparently put more time into it than most of the army of disappointed gamers. But… this article has been stuck on the shelf for a couple of weeks, and now I hear that a mega-patch has just come out that adds a whole bunch to the game. So… ummmm….. this half-written article has been mostly scrapped. At least I only had to scrap half.

nms-2016-09-19-23-35-11-83Anyway – so the new patch offers a whole bunch of new stuff to the game, and I won’t be able to check it out until next week. I somehow doubt it’s going to win over the people who felt misled by the hype, because NO GAME EVER could have satisfied the hype. Seriously. Now, I could agree they should have managed it better, and Murray did say some things that turned out to be untrue… an amateur mistake that indies make when they have BIG IDEAS that they honestly expect to see come to fruition that doesn’t survive the harsh realities of schedule and budget. But I feel like gamers let their imaginations run away with them. Maybe I’m just too jaded after decades of playing games with procedural content. They always end up feeling… procedurally generated. Random. Go figure.

Not that I wouldn’t like more. And maybe there’ll be more. After finally “finishing” the game after way more hours than I expected to put into it, I can’t say I’m super-enthusiastic to jump back in and try the different play-modes. Maybe when I get back from my trip (and fix my new GTX 1070 cared, which started getting all stuttery on me a few days before I left).

In the meantime… this article was originally entitled “Final Thoughts from the Hilbert Dimension.” Now… well, maybe not final. Aside from the magenta core, I can’t see anything different from the Hilbert Dimension as from the original Euclid Galaxy. But since I can still take the Atlas shortcut (I deliberately avoided it on my first play-through), maybe things aren’t as final there as I thought.


Filed Under: Impressions - Comments: Be the First to Comment



Heads Up on Next Week

Posted by Rampant Coyote on November 25, 2016

I have no idea what my access or time is going to look like next week. I’m not going to officially put the blog on hiatus… I have a couple of half-written posts that I hope to finish up before I have to head out on a plane for a business trip this weekend.

I’ve already posted about how crazy my schedule has been, so I won’t reiterate any of that. I think after next week, things level off a bit. Not “back to normal” but “less hair-on-fire frantic.” We’re still busy as the proverbial one-legged-man at the butt-kicking contest right now at The Day Job, and I’m still forging ahead as I can on the writing and game development fronts, and trying (TRYING) to get some actually reading & gaming done in bite-sized segments. And man, let me tell you… finally getting around to being able to read & play games for pure pleasure these days is like dropping into an overstuffed recliner after being on your feet all day. I’m afraid any of my “impressions” articles I’ve done the last quarter of this year might have a bit of opinion inflation, simply because any water in the desert tastes sweet.

Anyway, hopefully next week’s updates won’t be TOO sporadic! We’ll catch ya on the flip side!


Filed Under: Rampant Games - Comments: Read the First Comment



Happy Thanksgiving, and Frayed Knights on Sale!

Posted by Rampant Coyote on November 24, 2016

Frayed_cover_finalHappy Thanksgiving to those of us here who celebrate it.

In other news, Frayed Knights: The Skull of S’makh-Daon is on sale on Steam for half-price during the fall sale! It’s a great, off-beat, comedy fantasy RPG with old-school sensibilities. Knock monsters through summoned windows with Power Word: Defenestrate! Battle papier-mâché dragons and hobgoblin wuzards. Amass loot and attempt to obtain membership in the Adventurer’s Guild! Uncover a conspiracy, and be very, very careful of imp-modified magical artifacts!

In other news, for game developers, ProBuilder Advanced is discounted right now at the Unity Asset Store. I’m in love with this tool for level-building. Whether it’s just for prototyping, or for building final levels (indies are using it for both… and we’ve used it for both with Frayed Knights 2), it lets you work within Unity’s editor and even play the results as you go. Like any tool, it has its limitations and takes some learning to get used to, but it’s pretty powerful for laying down an FPS-style 3D level.

Anyway, enjoy your day! Have fun!

 


Filed Under: Deals, Frayed Knights - Comments: Be the First to Comment



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