Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Launch, Rinse, Repeat

Today I re-launched a new R.M.T.P. Co. Corporate Site (www.rmtp.ca) that's fresher and brighter, with more graphics, more content, and lists more services. It's a nice front to the other service pages I had, but those service pages themselves have not been updated yet. That's the next step and I'll start right in on it tomorrow. Furthermore I hope soon to make a massive addition to Bob's Reviews (bobreviews.webhop.org). It is taking some time though because I really want to update the way those pages are coded. Visually there won't be much of a change, but how it's achieved should be greatly improved.

I was talking to someone today and they mentioned how games will give a "class" of characters a set list of skills that represents their training, and they give bonuses to most of those skills, but they list the bonus and make you go looking for the skill section of the game to find out what the base skill percentage is and it's bonus per level. Makes for quite a bit of page flipping. So I'll add that to the list of things not to do in my own game, not that mine is classed based. I cannot yet foresee changing to such a system either, in the other game ideas I have, except maybe for the one. In any event it is food for thought.

Anybody out there reading want to weigh in on this topic?

Sunday, August 28, 2005

I've Got Game

This has been a slow and overly warm weekend. Certainly much warmer than the middle of the week. I've been working on some material for my Rifts game, not that the game is moving at the moment, though I have been informed that one of the players is concocting something himself. I always like it when the players take the initiative (pun fully intended) and come to me with something they want to do. Some venue of inquiry, some type of scene I'm unlikely to come up with because if it isn't what the player wants then its the dreaded "railroading", whined, puled, and whinged about.

I've put some thought into doing some serious work on my own personal role-playing game that I have on the back burner. I was put onto a self-publisher by someone. That sort of thing is not necessarily the brightest idea from a novelist's standpoint, despite what such web-sites suggest. For an RPG though it may just be the ticket, especially since so much of the industry is given to coming up with a game engine and basing the entire company off of it.
I don't speak of my game very widely because I'm doing something very different at least setting-wise and want to make sure if at all possible that it stays that way. So, pretty much I've never so much as typed an instant message even of anything concrete about it. Not that I worry about the recipient of any message (of any kind) having loose lips, but just the general nature of everything going over the net being available if you have some way to retrieve it.

I can say it's a fantasy and I have ideas for some other settings/genres as well. Busy busy busy in my skull.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Cooler Weather Heats Things Up

The change in the weather is such a great thing. I have done more in the past three days than the week before that. It is so nice. I'm sitting here right, this instant, with only one of the two fans on. The one is on mostly to stir up the air in the basement. The new look for R.M.T.P. Co. is nearing completion finally. The new batch of reviews are coming along nicely. The continuation of my Sun Cycle serialised story is surging ahead. Another story is still languishing though, waiting for some more brainstorming and some plot tweaks. As to the novel, I have one scene reaching the critical stage, soon it will explode into the word processor.

Why am I waiting for it to explode? That's an easy question to answer. I have been thinking and thinking about it and layering in details on top of each other. In a way it's not necessarily a pivotal scene to the plot, but it's something that deserves a lot of attention. It's part of something that is akin to a sneeze that hasn't quite happened yet. The head is tilted back and the air is drawn in and the tickle is reaching an insane proportion. The breathing is quickening, reaching an almost hyperventilative state. Then there is a false moment of silence and seeming relief. Then the sneeze comes! Atchoo!


Monday, August 22, 2005

Fights in Cramped Places

Last night I was watching a movie on TV that I'd been waiting quite a while to see, The Transporter. Old movie by now I know, considering next month the sequel is coming to theatres. Anyway I was watching the fight scene in the cab of the tractor trailer and couldn't help but be struck by a certain sense of pride in a very roughly similar scene in one of the short story to novella sized works that I am writing. Of course my battle is more dire (it's horror you know), and the outcome way less certain. In any event it was a reminder that I maybe should finish up my research I got sidetracked with in doing the story, and get back to actually doing the story.

It was another fairly decent night last night as far as temperature and humidity, so I actually felt like getting to some work. It's been so hot this summer that I've spent most of my time reading, brain storming, and surfing around for information. It's sort of a disappointment to not really be writing.

When I read I want to write. When I write I want to read to certain degree, get the story without the work. Ultimately it is a blessed thing that the satisfaction of completing a good story is such a high, such a feeling, that I prefer to keep having it. Reading a good story is great, but crafting it and seeing people's reactions, that's the real fun.

Off I go to have my fun. (This should have been posted last night but the stupid DSL was acting up. I have no idea why it just goes dead and won't run the HTML protocols, or the FTP protocols, yet other functions continue to work. It's nearly enough to make me go back to dial-up.)

Friday, August 19, 2005

Thunder Only Happens When it's Raining

I swear that someone at the power company purposely shuts down the power for a few seconds every time there is a thunderstorm. It never fails. There was a lot of thunder and lightning. It was loud and then still loud, then still loud, then there was one slightly louder crack of thunder and then the power went out. The thing waited until I was away from the computer to do it of course. It's also only off long enough each time to mess up the clocks, and force my computer into shutdown via the APC software.

So I came back down to the computer after and I find it sitting on, thing didn't shutdown, but it did reboot. Silly uninterruptible power supply. Of course the computer lost what it was doing, these brief blackouts never happen when nothing is going on. I then shut if off and went to bed early, this was 4am or thereabouts. When I got up to the bedroom I set the clock, in the dark, to just one after midnight since it was blinking midnight anyway, the battery backup has been non-functional for years for some reason.

Prior to this "excitement" I was updating the HWA Ontario Trillium Chapter website of which I am Webmaster. Got in our first picture for the gallery, hailing from back in 2004 at the Stoker Awards weekend. Prior to that I was brushing up on some material from the RPG Palladium Fantasy. I was white on rice with the rules for Diabolism, which is the use of magical wards.
Pretty interesting material. The character class and the magic style are somewhat limiting unless you are playing them in a decidedly salubrious or choice game. It's not much for hack and slash, or games that never give your character any time to do anything. It's meant for "real" games and perhaps "real role-players". It takes forethought, planning, and more than a modicum of (game) smarts.

Next I'll be reading about the Summoners who not only summon but are masters of magical circles.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Not so California Dreaming

I don't know what it is but I've dreaming like crazy the last few months. Seems like almost every night is one dream after another. I'm doing all sorts of things in these dreams. I'm a spy, I'm a undercover cop, I'm in a wheel chair because I've become too lazy to walk, I'm floating around a house haunting it, I'm a documentary maker, I'm the subject of a documentary, I'm a super hero's sidekick. Just everything. It's like being in a hundred movies or playing in a hundred role-playing games. Some of them even reoccur, often continuing where they left though, occasionally just repeating what happened.

I see a lot of places in my dreams now. It used to be they always happened around familiar places, though sometimes what was familiar was often in the past. It took years before I dreamed about the high school I went to. I still don't dream much around Toronto yet. Haven't caught up to that era yet I guess. Not that I'm complaining as long as I wake up with some semblance of having rested.

The plots in these dreams sort of suck, mostly from being the merest snippets, nothing long lengthy. The settings though, woo-boy, some of them are awesome fodder for my writing. The casts of these dreams are pathetic though. Way too much of the time it's only me that I can see. Sometimes I'm not even me though. Those ones are cool. One of those already spawned a complete story, even though the dream only covered two small scenes, and I dumped a third one from the dream because it just didn't fit.

Some of this morning's dreams will be useful, so I'd best work on getting them down before they fade.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Beavis Las Vegas

Viva Las Vegas! I watched "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" last night. What a trip. Gee-whiz-terwilliger. I got a contact buzz from just watching. Now, I've never done any illicit drugs in my life, not even taken a drag on a legal cigarette, but man that movie was seriously tripping. I was like wandering during the commercials and I feel really zoned out of it.

I could see things moving, it looked like my hands left trails of light. So I went with it, I started making quick jerky scared movements like Johnny Depp. Oh boy, Depp is nothing short of amazing in a film that is pretty much senseless, pointless and must be inviolate of something. It's Terry Gilliam on something much stronger than any of the Monty Python days.

Back to Depp, what was with the bald head? I was like man, eat your heart out Jim Carrey you got nothing on this certifiable nutjob. The way Depp was moving as the character was a character all its own. Rock on. It was like a real role-player's wet dream. If I didn't know it was Depp I'd have asked who was that wicked awesome king of actors on the screen. I thought he was hugely different back in "The Ninth Gate" but here was an even less Depp, Depp (or is it more Depp?)!

Bring on Corpse Bride! (A year with two Tim Burton/Johnny Depp films, woo hoo!)

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Gasfest not Much of a Gas

Well, "Gasfest" was not much of a gas. Less seemed to be going on this year than even the last year. Things were busy in the morning with a big set of events for the dog owners. "Is your dog a good neighbour?" was the theme. Dog people, and their animals, were in and out by the dozens. The earlier afternoon was good for the kiddies no doubt. Some sort of concert for youngsters, apparently toward the younger end of the spectrum based on what I heard blaring from the opposite end of the baseball field.

Rounding the field, away from the dog area, which was nearly empty of people and seemed totally empty of four-legged friends, the sound of music from the "Beer Gardens" came thumping out. Yet when nearest the Gardens it didn't seem that loud. Perhaps with the end of the children's programing, a failing attempt to get them to sing 'bye' to the song leader's 'good', they turned their sound down. In any event I walked through, looked at the flea market offerings--very child oriented--and didn't see anyone I knew. On the way home I met up with three different people I knew and then I settled in to watch cooking shows with a can of Diet Mug.

Last night I finished my first "Super Character Sheet". For the longest time I've wanted to practice what I preach and make a character, then stat out its progression through different levels of experience. That way, when the time comes and I need an NPC for a game that I'm GMing I can open one in the browser and set everything to the level of experience the character will need. What I've done is mixed 's with links for each level of experience I want to stat, and Drop Down text links for things that change too radically to fit in the same frame or don't change at all but want up out of the way. The DD text links don't send you to a different page they just spill out more text beneath them. So I statted out one character and then I started on another. It's maybe only busy work but I hope to make use of it as more than just a novelty. Only time will tell.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Big Day Tomorrow

Tomorrow is a big day here in Selkirk, its the annual local community day/festival, not quite a fair, but pretty close. Again this year its called "Gasfest", not a name I would have chosen, but it all ties into our heritage as one of the first places in the area to tap natural gas wells. It's a fairly big to-do still, though not as big as in its heyday. There's a parade, there's sporting events (one of the biggest places of decline, in fact it used to be called Sports Day for the longest time) most revolving around baseball. There's the perpetually popular Beer Garden (something somewhat recent, being only the last 10 or so years). There are food vendors, and flea market stalls, a barbecue and two or more different church sponsored dinners to chose from. The weather isn't shaping up too great but the "fest" has always gone on rain or shine, especially since the creation of the covered pavilion in the park where most of the events are held.

Today I'm starting to blog, which you reading right now. I am also working on more reviews for my site. That means not just writing, editing, and cleaning up the reviews but also coding all of the HTML. I am surging forward on my javascript driven website pages. I collected a lot of javascripts just this week, some useful and some for fun. I finally have two of the most important scripts I've been dying to have. The first to make text appear when the user hovers over a link. I can get rid of all those eyes representing the sneak peek of the review that I was using simple because images have "alt" tags for the visually impaired. The other script is to make text that can be collapsed. All in all things are looking good for my web pages.