Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Progress Update: art has progressed

 Some things that are done.

1) Hex Map for the solar system - so that people can easily calculate distances between Planets. AS well as create hex maps for new solar systems. 

2) Delta V Map of the Solar System - for those who use Delta V instead. 

3) Cover art has begun. It will be mixed media and 3d. 

4) the Roll Keep Dice function has been commissioned. The Exploding Dice, basic dice script etc... will all be published here and of course the Book will come with the Spreadsheet that will have a Basic World Building script. It just goes through the entire process of building a system. I dont have any time in my schedule to make one that can be more custom tailored. 

5) the d66 x6 (36 x6) Culture Aspect table. 

6) There is a flow chart that will be shared we used to make the Spreadsheet. 

Once the Google Sheet that generates the World is done I can check how good the mechanics are. 

BONUS things if it reaches ever level of Sale Target (with a Survey) 

1) More Art and maps. 

2) More tweaks to the World Generator Google Sheet.  

Things to do When published. 

1) Youtube Videos (with the Help of Nicco to edit and script it) using Google slides and OBS. Basically run through the basics of the system. 

2) Youtube Videos of the Combat Systems. 

3) Pay what you want for the Character Creation Cards. 

4) Character Creation Board Game, and a Youtube Video of it. 


Lessons Learned. 

1) The network and contacts to have Javascript + Google Sheet Commissioned. 

2) That I should probably do the FLOW CHART FIRST, before writing. 

3) Then feasibility of the Software - commissioning someone (most likely meloy) to plan future google Sheet and spreadsheets. 

4) That in the future I make a BOOK and it comes with tools to make prep EASY (google sheets). then I make a youtube video to explain it.  The videos are broken up by topic and is 5 mins long at the most and gets down to DEMONSTRATING a concept. 

Plans after this. 

1) I can start with my Audible Credits since October. 

2) I can start with Nebulous Fleet Command, since I plan to make Space Warfare easier and have a Procedural Fleet Builder - the GM can build the near accurate amount of Ships and the ECONOMIC requirements to maintain them. Of course this is all a bit on the harder scifi side - everything is with propulsions you can find in Simple Rockets and Kerbal Space. 

My Idea is that "What is the smallest Tool I can produce that people can have start having fun with?" With Javascript I'm not anymore as limited with purely spreadsheet funcitons. I can possibly make the ship building a FORM that generates a database of ships created. I could probably have a Visual front End - so Nicco and I can use our kitbashing 3d and make the visualized components. 

Imagine doing this with CEPHEUS engine and releasing a Spreadsheet people can Tweak. 

Hard Scifi Ships would now be more approachable. The trend that as an Open Source project someone will have tools to make it easier for them to PUSH BOUNDARIES. I was explaining to the OJTs how open source works; that we get to see other people Push the boundaries of our work and learn from them, and create a cycle where we all push the boundaries and grow. They take what you've built and quickly improve on it. And you take what theyve improved on and quickly improve on it. and collectively we are all better off. 

The ESCALATION with a harder scifi is more SCIENCE Explaining ART. More professionals from the science itself working with artist and game writers to make a more authentic feel. More People working on a Problem and giving their Divergent POV and experience. 

The Idea is that over the week we watch youtube about the topics, talk about it in the forums, read the books that came out, play with its tools - procedurally generating fluff and inspiration, then playing with the imperfect random things we generate.  Because we generate it with a few clicks we can quickly SCRAP it if need it, and generate new ideas. 

I'm excited for the diagrams about Javascript. a visualization of how the scripts all work for the future ojts - since i learned that one school doesnt teach Javascript and the other only teaches it in first year. Once the skill of visualizing CODE for teach is achieved we do it for GODOT and Python. Tools that allow us time strapped people to follow along and figure out how to code. 


Thursday, May 19, 2022

OJTs and Software Project: my Distractions, Market or Product happens first?

 Its funny talking to 20-year-olds, about my World Generator because I believe by the time I'm 60 and they're 40 they're going to see the edge of what will be the Microgravity manufacturing as space race for orbital dominance will have long term orbital stay of 5 people per year to probably 20 or more. I reflect on my grandfather's short life at late 70s and early 80s and how I may not be around to see so many of what I'm waiting see in a hard scifi prediction. 

Its funny also because I encounter how rare and unlikely the audience for this may be, but the thing is with such works - do the audience appear first or do the products appear first? This is a deep marketing and product development philosophical question - and I believe ATTEMPTS - every attempt creates the Audience. The books that inspired me Created me and the other people realizing: "We want this, but more like this." So hopefully, our book and tools will trigger that "We want this, but more of this...". 

note that I've made it more conservative than the most common scifi, more conservative than most systems. Focusing on just Cislunar Space for a century and another century for the cislunar infrastructure to have an Industrial Complex to build Kilotons a year of vessels/ships. 

I wonder how crazy will my prediction look to 20-year-olds when this open-sourced project probably gets forgotten and they learn some Aerospace Industry terms and metrics only to hear about it 20 years from now. Sir Justin was way off, too conservative or worse too OPTIMISTIC! 

I get distracted explaining metallic hydrogen, gas giants, terrestrial worlds and lesser earths. Emphasizing that this Project is to allow those people who want a bit more hard SciFi in their Storytelling to have the tools and referenced (it links to the Wikipedia, which links to the papers and articles) information for those of us amateurs who are not satisfied with the Scifi and want to have a glimpse of the daunting science - even if we are hobbyists. 

It happens because I have to explain the types of stars and why they are not stable enough. Talking about accretion disks and possible reasons a space station would be set up in OBA stars. From Star generation, The ZONES and positions, to the worlds and how its a Looping script that generates Compion stars and additional Bodies until statistically improbable. 

 

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Software Progress many problems - but art and the book is for Completion

I figured out how to do the software if it has to be on my own. My real problem is the dice which I forgot how to code. As well as I dont know how to make the loop that creates Keep High or Low Dice. 

So I hired some OJTs to set it up and there is a 10-20% chance of success, even with a senior developer guiding them. So I'm going to use the extra capacity of our senior developer (paid of course) to help with the project. Of course I plan to open source everything. This would probably cost me a huge sum. 

So Far What will people get:

  1. First off A set of rules to build A Solar System procedurally and its inhabitants Culture and Political and economic condition. DONE, art and layout is finalized.
    1. Power Structure and Source Based 
  2. d66x6 Culture Feature Table - we identified 36 cultural features and 6 variables these cultural features can manifest differently. The goal is that the GM can use this to describe the inhabitants.  
  3. Blender File to Proceeduraly Generate Planets as a 3D object they can use and Icosahedron 2D Map. Plus a youtube video how to use this.  
  4. 2D Solar System map Inscape/Adobe Illustrator FILE with Delta V budgets of our Solar System. 
  5. Hex Map of our Solar System which has a Variable Hex measure depending on the Position of the Hex Ring (so some hex rings is the Circumference of the Position divided by number of Hexes in that Ring)
  6. Last the Google Sheet that allows the Generation of the Solar System in a few Clicks. Plus all the notes and Flow Charts we used to create it. Plus our notes and commenting so that people can alter the sheet to suit their own world building requirement. (To follow). 
Target price is probably 10usd. To break even I think ill need gold 😅. 

Who would want this Book and all its Products? 
  1. Someone who is new to Scifi and Wanted something easier that the most dense World Building Books, someone who can handle 2 orders of complexity than the Current Cepheus Engine World Building System. 
  2. Someone who will prepare the Worlds for their Players to Visit - not just grab a world from google image search but would probably render and tweak the world so its truly theirs. 
  3. Someone who will use the Delta V maps - print it out on a TARP or on a VTT on a LARGE display and Insert their Artificial Habitats, Stations, Defenses Infra on the map since the Illustrator/Inkscape file is included. 
The products and materials are so Open, Nicco is going to produce his own version of the Maps with his world building in it. He can generate all the planets and details because all the templates are there for anyone to use. Hope anyone who finds the tools useful could show us any challenges of the material. 

Well make a discord for Customer Support - if anyone needs us to help with any changes and problems with the books and materials. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Companion AI in Scifi

I can imagine settings where digital companies for mental health would be a right. An external memory of who we are - to better process the context of ourselves. 

as well as Various Habitats and colonies in the Sol System as well as outside of the sol system with Digital Companions. 

to imagine if the Adventures of the PCs are in the context of a Digitial Companion Observer. the shades of gray and the trails are framed by the Digitial Companion as though the Player is the Digital Companion to the PCs. 

Imagining a PC who had so much memory loss the Digital Companion rebuilt the PC from what it stored. Overlaying broken memories over assumptions of the Digital Companion. 




Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Mechwarrior Anachronisms and considerations

 

Notes after a lot of MWO with my team. 

  1. Mechs wouldn't have exposed cockpits, it would be like a modern-day tank or even better built into the helmets of the pilots and monitors in the enclosed cockpit. 
  2. Armor is not all ablative. if Armor Reduced Damage mechanic some weapons that are not up to the scale of vehicles and tanks would deal no damage. 
    1. In MWO a 16 mico pulse laser mech would have a High damage output vs an ER larger laser. It can kill another Assault mech. should it?
    2. If the mechanics change that bigger weapons is harder to protect against Zerg vs Protos or Swarm vs High-Quality units (far above the median) would be tricker and a more fun balance. Right now with the knowledge of drones - a ton of swarming Locusts or Fleas or Pirannah mechs would be more effective. Cost per Ton goes up as the mech goes up. its not a linear relationship. 
    3. Right now in MWO I leveled up my Artic Cheata in a few games to 91 sp vs my heavier mechs. slower mechs just die against a light mech. In the real world, a lighter unit can penetrate heavier armor with a limited opportunity (Rockets). After which the opportunity is lost. 
  3. When one imagines the Quadrillion usd industry of warfare and the amount of material. Imagine that 20ton "Light Mech" Required huge Open Pit mines on Earth or harvesting a ton of Silicate and Metalic asteroid ore. instead of the hundreds of thousands of dollars per unit of a soldier, its like taking more expensive tanks 

Reimagining Mech Combat in a Hard Scifi. 

Mechs are Quickly prototyped, a NON-mech culture will quickly improvise mechs if the terrain and logistics use need it. Mechs are practical in worlds with 0.8 atmosphere and areas with a thicker atmosphere that can provide concealment. 

The combat zone or context terrain is filled with ECM chaff and noise to make obrital superiority as negated as possible. Large Orbital Mass Drivers or Weapons Of Mass Destruction that can make the Low Planetary Orbit inhospitable is this big red button both sides are stopping themselves from pressing.  

Imagine a sector where a large number of worlds are currently contested. Especially when the worlds are heavily fragmented and those with Orbital Access profit from the conflicts. 

For every Ton of Mech there is about 2-3 Tons of Mobile Logistics and Support. a giga ton of mechs is about 2-3 gigaton of support. Several hundred Exaton of material was processed to build all that infra and hardware. 
  1. Supply Lines are made up of Boring Machines, mobile factories and Mining tools. Mobile HQs move around a network of Terraforming Worm Tunnels. 
    1. Non Conflict Zones - an opulent Monopoly of the Trading guilds are where all sides get to meet. A strict tit-for-tat and de-escalation policy - like prisoners exchange or surrendering are part of the terms to keep peace.  
  2. 10-30 Tons - "Light Mechs". These are mechs like armored vehicles like the Oshkosh JLTV or Humvee. But they are designed to range about 500-800km on rough terrain. They carry only 2 pilots: driver and EW/gunner. The primary weapon is a 25mm with some special rounds like HEAT rounds mounted on a robotic Point Defense Turret. Up to 20% of its mass is ammunition. They can carry Missiles - missiles here can one-shot heavier mechs.
    1. Some have anti-radar veil and materials and disruptive camo.  
  3. 30-60 Tons "Medium Mechs" . There are a huge variety of specialized Medium mechs: from Missile/Drone Platforms (Drone platforms are EW platforms), Point Defense Platforms, to Laser Platforms OR a more high endurance Light Mech designed to range 2000km on a powerful reactor.  
    1. These mechs tend to up a crew of 3-4. 
    2. Missile Platforms are designed to remove Orbital probes and targets. 
    3. Point Defense platforms are meant to defend these 
  4. 70-100 tons are "Heavy Mechs". 50% of these mechs range from larger platforms of the Specialized Medium mechs to 50% are Supply mechs to Add double or triple the Light or Medium Mech operational range.  
  5. 100+ Ton mechs are mostly mobile bases and hangars.   
What is interesting is that while the Mech Warrior may run a mech, support an logistics run small armies of drones and automated supply chain tools. Cepheus Engine TL 9 or Mneme TL 11ish would have these end to end supply chains making mech  warfare possible. 

Mech Warfare is only an outcome in Adverse Terrain Ground Combat where mechs would be engaging 5-10km away depending in the curvature of the world and the terrain. In most cases Orbital Superiority is key - but the Complex Worlds mean complex relationships and in this complexity something strange arises - like a world where mech pilots are a profession and there are daily raids into enemy territory as part of a long term strategy to either gain ground or divert attention for a particular strike. 

in this world 
Light mechs trying to sneak in to divert attention and resources for Medium mechs to make calculated strikes.  When heavy mechs appear its for pushes and calculated gambles that can be a set back to one side in years. Bases move, and where people think there are bases are Traps - of either a ready heavy lance or kill drones to displace the main base's position. 

Special Tech
  1. Large Hypersonic Ground Missiles. mechs equipped with missiles that create a huge firing blast radius and can damage vehicles in its wake. Sometimes fired on railgun. Once fired the missile the effects can be felt before the sound and aftermath can be heard. 
  2. Kill Drones (unpiloted mechs). Someone said "why not overwhelm the other side with Drones" which requires a lot of wireless connections - that can be hacked - Human Independent Operations and Augmented with Context Analysis (like hidden orders and event-triggered information) allows human-led teams to go deep into the territory and perform devastating actions.  Kill Drones are kept as patrols where EW superiority is guaranteed in a given location. 
  3. EW Chaff or Natural Interference Active Radar or Sensors will find several gigatons of Chaff littering the battlefield make mechs invisible at a certain range. Also ACTIVE radar is a candle in the night. 
  4. Wheeled Mechs. Light Mechs with a Single ATV wheel in the center is a common ATV mech. The legs fold up for the large but ultra light gyroscopic balanced wheel. It reduces the wear and tear of the leg joints. Some mechs fold into a cycle. 
  5. Armored Personnel Carrier. Exoskeletons have about a 20-100km range depending on the TL level. Some mechs really serve as APCs carrying 100-150kg personnel and their kits to combat zones along with their Mules (mule sized mechs that carry supplies). Special forces with Invisibility cloaks and micronukes are still valuable tactical options. 

Hopefully Found a Developer

I'm busy with my ERPNext projects so I cannot learn Javascript (particularly Reactjs) to make the apps. Its also kinda my advocacy to get more filipinos have access to Open Source technology. The Bill of Materials System would be a FUN project to make an APp or a Spreadsheet for. ideally a Customized APP so other Game Designers can make their Vehicles, Mechs, Buildings, etc... using the Bill of materials system. 

Bill of materials is basically a Table where every row is a component and there are Columns for Cost, Weight, Volume, Power Requirement/Output, and Special Features. Creating a Google Sheet where game designers can put tables of their Components and their Rules for Building a Ship, Mech, Base, Station, etc... would be awesome for world builders like me.
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Bill of Materials is how most of construction and engineering view such projects - teach BOM gamification will help people have fund and be creative with it. 

Monday, March 21, 2022

Progress Update: Delays - bills to pay and Side Projects (more of a work post)

 So my team is delayed this week and probably until the end of the week to next week. This is because i want them to focus more on the future job in doing their 3d part time work. The part time work pays more than what I can afford and is more sustainable in the long term, so I advanced some pay so that they can focus on that one until that job would pay. 

The goal is that the team have a more sustainable side job so in the long term my projects are not going to be a significant source of income. This is where Blender and FreeCad helped people make a living. 

Well my Target was May 1, but real life gets in the way and thats the problem with part time and the natural uncertainty of things. Also I am also a family man so I only got a 1 page draft done this weekend. 

The goal can be so close and so far away depending on the day or the troubles. Right now I wish I could be there helping troubleshoot the rendering issues. I'm more disposed to fix it because my friend left his GT 1070 Asus Desktop with me until he comes back from the US in December (2022). So I can probably prototype those renders faster. I also have the OJTs that I can teach 3D too because they are IT OJTs but they want to do game design and I realized I can teach them 3D as a side gig. 

But I have to focus on a ERPNext migration this week - our vendor is going to give us an image to upload in digital ocean and hopefully migrate baremetal server to digital ocean SG, so we can format those servers to be hypervisors and be remotely controlled with Remmina + OpenVPN. Juggling many dreams - including making the developing world company outside of India very much open source to reduce our 200k usd total cost of ownership yearly (depreciating and equipment for repairs, ISPS, licenses, and the biggest of all GSuite Basic legacy license). 

I assigned OJTs to help john with the javascript problem which is an undefined A2:H which shows up as a "6" is undefined in the World Building Spreadsheet. I honestly wish I can have 2 days to figure this out myself, but I've delegated the programming and I'm not mentally available. 

Whats occupying my mind is the migration, I currently visualizing all the problems and what I will do. Particularly we have to set up ERPNext pop email client so that it can generate a complete backup which we will upload. We will upload first the Sandbox then the Production. Then we will upload to DO, then test it out, then tell the users to migrate to the DO. 

I have to defend my usage of Blender and FreeCAd to the company and fully visualize how it will be used in everything and how its a Win Win to teach as many of the staff and ojts how to do it. Particularly the use of 3d software in planning Construction when I've used it to plan with the wife our move to the new condo. Its strange that I have to justify 3d a lot as well as Maintaining an ASSET library - I dont recommend just grabbing anything off the web and letting the clients "Imagine" something - because what they imagine may be too far from what we can provide and that GAP costs money and frustration. Its Way better to ensure the Client knows exactly what are going to expect from the renders. The MORE we can visualize for the client how the project is Going and What we are going to do the better - the way couples and families fight a lot when it comes to furniture and have the tools in 3D for them to prototype and see how it will look like is SO IMPORTANT. The phenomenon where couples argue in IKEA is alive in well in enterprise fit-out (design and build) but in board rooms instead of dining rooms. 

You can imagine how I'd rather do World Building problems - finish the mechanics, finish the spreadsheet to make it a few clicks not a multi step dice roll, and then proceed to create some Blender models to compliment it. 

Not only do I have to see how Open source tools are supposed to work, but understand what prevents existing users of Autocad (more than a decade old versions) can migrate. What prevents them from understanding the FreeCAD and Blender Workflow... oh and figure out how the Manufacturing Module in ERPNext is supposed to work along side it. 


Tuesday, March 15, 2022

+3D6 Roll but Keep either HIGH or LOW 2 dice is better but harder to communicate.

 I realized in 2D6 adjusting the Roll & Keep (roll 3D6 Keep High 2 or Low 2) is just pretier but hard to communicate. 


Advantage: Any Value Can still happen but we adjust the Bell Curve or Weight Distribution of the odds. 

So if I have a Level 4 Skill in Cepheus Engine and roll 6D6KH2, but i have 5 levels of Disadvantage  I will NET roll 3D6KL2. 

Question: Then what is the Function of adjusting the Target Number? 

Answer: Fine Tuning, the Refree and Players can adjust the Odds in the Give and Take of crafting the scene. Target Numbering being the Default and ADV and DIS being a significant increase while TN having a smaller yet still tangible outcome. 

So a 3-7D6 keep H/L2. will still be TN 2-12. 

https://anydice.com/program/27250

https://anydice.com/program/276a1  

output [lowest 2 of 6d6] named "6d6kl2"
output [lowest 2 of 5d6] named "5d6kl2"
output [lowest 2 of 4d6] named "4d6kl2"
output [lowest 2 of 3d6] named "3d6kl2"
output 2d6
output [highest 2 of 3d6] named "3d6kh2"
output [highest 2 of 4d6] named "4d6kh2"
output [highest 2 of 5d6] named "5d6kh2"
output [highest 2 of 6d6] named "6d6kh2"








Saturday, March 12, 2022

Hex maps with Inkscape and Hex Map Extension by Pelle Nilsson

Hex maps with Inkscape and Hexmap extension Copyright 2008-2020 Pelle Nilsson and contributors

Outline: 
1) Download Inkscape (if you don't already have it)
2) Download the Hex Map Extension in Git Hub


3) Go to Preferences - either go to Edit > Preferences (very bottom) or Shift+Ctr+P
4) In Preferences look for where Extensions can be Found.

 
5) Unzip Hex Map Extensions and copy hexmap.py hexmap.inx to /home/user-name/.config/inkscape/extensions (drag and drop works)  
6) Shut down and relaunch Inkscape
7) In Extension > Board Game > Create Hexmaps
8) in Dialogue Box of Create Hexmaps check the Live PREVIEW


  • Mine was buggy, Stroke 0.01 had to be re-encoded to preview. otherwise it disappears. 0.1 inch is just too thick. So after I played around with the settings, I had to retype 0.01 and the grid appears and press apply. 
  • Add Columns and Rows as Needed. 
  • Drag and Select Everything and Manually Center. 
A2 Hex Grid
2ft x 3ft (24in x 36in) Hex Grid 1-inch hex I got quoted 4usd plus 2usd delivery for this. Hope to get it Printed on Monday. I can always have it cut so I can fit in a small table. 

I currently use Cepheus Engine basic combat for just pure combat games. 
















 



Tuesday, March 8, 2022

One more team member, meetings running long, 4 OJTs

Onboarded another team member. 

His job is to help make the spreadsheet that generate the world. He has some java experience but I shared him my javascript notes and the tutorial that will serve as the first iteration of the world gen form data base. 

The costs will be considerable but i will have some more speed. So launching on May is the worse case scenario. 

Thankfully they are also the same team i'll be using to help in the company's 3d renderings. So after the book they still have jobs in 3d and I can take a break from the writing to focus on my family which I admit i've been neglecting. 

I talked to 4 Ojts and of them 2 are IT and they are very much interested in becoming Game Developers. Typically I require them to make a research paper of their Post Grad Plans which we will refine and update. I want to make sure they watch or read the various Independent Game Development made in Gumroad, Steam, and Itch Io. Particularly how will they balance their constant skill development and their need to make a living. 

I noticed being a Game designer is an easier goal to Understand - you may have a ton skills required but its easy to see the outcome. I noticed there is a HUGE generational GAP - where there really are much fewer TRPGers and Indie games are what is now more accessible. 

I'll be tasking the OJT to research GODOT - which I can justify for the company because its for Walkthroughs in Architectural Visualizations. Walkthroughs are so basic and useful to a lot of people. One of the departments who will find it useful is Mech (HVAC) and Electrical who have a hard time dealing with the 3d Space of HVAC and cabling. A workflow where in 2 days we can produce the areas of work and we can see which is better to arrange: electrical or mechanical or which alternating works has to be arrange given the project - will be aided by 3d Visualization. 

Also rendering Data Centers and the Science behind it has been something I wanted to do. Particularly explaining the science and why our 30 plus years in the biz helps. Particularly how a lot of the concepts and science ties in my Scifi Interests - from near future (next 10 years) to next decades. 

On a personal note that my impression of the IT industry is filled with very dark and depressing realizations which is alleviated by the Open Source and Repair movements. So what I feel about work is mostly upturned by making open source materials more accessible and demonstration and showing how people can make a living (and contribute ) to and with open source. That cutting out middle men and large overheads of management and have small teams of highly professional and high agency workers - delivering critical and high value work at more sustainable prices (prices that are not trying to bleed the next customer or trap people). 

At least I get to Correct and give opportunities I didnt have - the guidance of someone who failed and had to make a living doing something else and watched from the sidelines and appreciated the risks. 

the skills one learns in Game Design where you learn SOOOO MUCH and learn from so many disciplines should be something a lot of Biz Analysts relate to.  



 



Saturday, March 5, 2022

Crash Courses Geography was one of my key inspiration to World Generation Mechanics


 

The Crash Course Geography Series has been a recent inspiration for Traveller. Especially for the Economics and Nuance Side. 

For me when it talks about the History of colonization, definition of development, and social issues and conflicts - it provides inspiration for worlds the PCs arrive in and how their goods, influence shapes these worlds. 

As independent freighters and traders, the more risky underdeveloped, developing and near Developed worlds and the markets these worlds are part of can be pretty interesting. Especially given the opportunity Travel, Do business and with Empathy the inhabitants can be their own universe of culture and narratives.

Travell + Empathy + History/Context + Languages makes the world even more special and strange. 

I hope it emerges from our writing and prioritization of how we designed the world generator that we are want to also see our world - we also want to see all the people and all the cultures - health, finances, and time allowing.  

I want people to find the book and go "Ok so these definitions would help talking a bit of jargon about space.", "this complex idea will be boiled down to this mechanic, but this interpretation of the concept is open to more nuance and subverting expectations."  "Oh wow I just made a world and system in a couple of clicks that can have so much detail that can be put on." "That the material is available for editing if I believe or want to tweak it. The spreadsheet also and its javascript." "Oh they gave me a way to render Planets and 2D terrain maps (Icosahedron maps). 

Hopefully the price is value since the tools save so much time and effort so we can produce more. 

 

 





Friday, February 25, 2022

Technology Levels - in Mneme and Cepheus Engine musings - and youtube video rabbit holes

 the development of a technology or a paradigm shift doesnt immediately mean its actively being used or changing the industry, it takes a lot of time. 

What if TL is measured by adoption of a technology? Then i run into the problem of "By what percentage?" and its not possible to get a census of medieval farmers or people what technology they are using. 

Working back, we want TL to tell us what's available and used. It should tell us what technology do we find when we arrive on a world, setting, or era. 

What's interesting is that DEVELOPMENT - access to technology and tools which multiply the most basic unit - cannot be seperated so easily from TL. if we seperate serf using cultures and slave using cultures - they are almost the same except that the risk is better passed on to the serf from the owner. 

Development - access to tools and techniques. Eastern Roman agriculture discussed in the Appendix of the De Agriculture with notation about the 9-15C agriculture talked about each Eastern roman farmer having better tools but western farmers had crop rotation and better techniques evening out (If I recall correctly; the section was written in the 19C and discusses how 19C outputs per arable land is comparable to roman outputs). 

Isnt Infra also a TL aspect? It takes Tech to have Infra to distribute good tools, while new techniques are advances in TL. Access to tools and techniques are important in Context of TL. a 17C Homesteader and Settler which had more freedoms than slaves and serfs of the same era - definitely had a difference in Tech, Wealth, and Access. Aqueducts, dams, weirs, Water/Wind Mills, etc... are access to power - arent they a matter of TL? 

There are a lot of low hanging TLs, but adoption and access deal with a lot of economic and social forces - particularly development. Remembering that smaller developed countries can easily adopt and deploy new tech and social changes vs larger distributed countries and peoples. When writing TLs, there is the limits but then again its more like painting and there is a color spectrum in water color and we are dabbing technology on points in a line changing the color. Its not a Number Line its a Water Color Paint line.   

Whats weird is that to address the misconceptions of TL it would take a whole lot of writing, pictures, or a 6 minute youtube video - and probably 1-2 mins per Tech level, and 1-2 minutes per Cultural and Development context of a Tech level. Misconception that we hear from new players and old players, that prevent some basic assumptions. misconception like Cutting and Bleeding edge technology and their access - reliability of these technology and the reliability of established technology. Heck - just plain reliability being a FACTOR of tool use. 

I can imagine a Tech level discussion that would be several parts in 8 mins budgets (4 min at x2 speed) drawing from the Crash Courses model of hank and john green. I could probably write the outline but require an editor to polish my script. Each data point having a particular visual structure tied in and working backwards from the Main Concepts of the 8 minute take away.  

I can imagine how much production and work it would take and how little it would earn - how long to run in the red before break even and even when its break even managing expectations that it takes a while to really break even and SHIFT the infra and debts and the financial position of the members. Ordering PCs, setting up Rendering Accounts, lining up script outlines and reviewing them 2-3x a week as project members prepare a backlog of Scripts and Art. 

But it would be Overkill - but a series of videos illustrating the Key Concepts and Generic and universal elements would help break down a pretty robust and universale system like Cepheus engine for new players - making the entire community benefit as they need to just Illustrate the differences. Especially when the pictures and graphics are creative commons and made available. CE vs MNEME TL and the TL of the other settings. 

But then I realize a high youtube consuming audience is typical of a "Millenial" audience able to absorb more stories in video narration and illustration. 

Then I think about the youtube videos of my son which are engineers to distract and scatter their attention because of their structure. It cannot compete - any structured Crash Course is meant for an audience born in the 2000s and not for an Audience born in the 2010s. Unless a parent can shelter their kids from developing the attention problems of the attention fragmenting videos the videos produced for a 2000s born audience will not work on a 2010 born audience... and wondering what would be the 2020 born audience with tiktok 30 second meme videos rabbit holes. Imagining tiktok as mature and immense as youtube with more socially engineered algorithms - ugg 

that fear has to be put aside as we go back with TL and imagining the future and how we changed from written to video to an uncertain learning method.



Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Google Tasks for Writing Projects - what 4 videos failed to explain; Progress Update

 I watched about 4 Google Tasks Videos and they never explained they can open and VIEW DOCS or SHEETS INSIDE of Gmail along all the TASKS.

So Nicco and I were having problems organizing the to do list. So I decided to hit two birds in one stone and to test my limits to LEARN A NEW software add on. I asked my self "Am I still curious or too set in my ways?" even if I encounter problems it would still be ok. Also my IT staff needed better instructions so I needed to level up our organization. 

1) So you can Open Docs and Sheet in Gmail and you can view and edit the doc/sheet while in gmail. 

Go to Gmail and go to your SPACES an choose a file you set up or shared in this space. It will open. 

2) We discovered SPACES has a weird bug no one talks about:

 I can add Nicco or Nicco can add myself BUT 50:50 chance we will not be automatically added to a space. 

If we are added thats BAD, I can just add someone without their PERMISSION. which is weird and dangerous. So basically I can add other people and a 50:50 chance they will be added without their permission. We noticed that when you CREATE a space it will send a JOIN option in the email but if you add people after creation they will be 50:50 automatic join. You can remove and add them back to create more email alerts if they missed it. 

BUT if we cant... we didnt know we can go to our Email Updates and look for the Invite to Join. 

We had that evening just troubleshooting and deciding on the workflow. He was using his personal gmail and I was using my Game in the Brain google workspace - i bought it in 2015 hoping one day I will start a gaming company lolz. 

3) BUGS and CONS: 

a) some tasks disappeared. I had about 3 other tasks that just disappeared as soon as I closed the window. What is worse is I cannot copy the tasks to the GDOC to easily copy it back. What would be good is that I can keep it on both and there is Traceability. I hate this kind of issue: it feels like "gaslighting" or "false memories".  Tasks are not governed by the same version controls as Gdocs and Gsheet and the other apps. 

b) I cannot SUBTASK or CHILD tasks unlike regular Google Tasks, for PERSONAL.  This would organize things better. Its harder to see Critical Path and Chain without dependency trees. 

c) Trade-offs. Not much of a CON reall, its just the reality of the design. I cannot access comments but I have access to Tasks.

4) Why use Tasks: Pros and Features. 

a) Tasks are beside the OBJECT OF DISCUSSION. if the object of discussion is a document. We havent tried Google Draw or Slides but that would be next. 

b) Tasks appear on calendars with schedules/deadlines.  so it appears in my notifications. Nicco and I agreed just to check it off when done and we will review done tasks. In our mon and thurs meetings. 

c) We didnt need to share screen anymore. Because the tasks appeared on the tasks lists and the Gdoc Updated we didnt need to share screen as much. Which means we can share screen images and other things if needed and just focused on the body language and non-verbal communication of the webcams. 

5) Update on Progress.

The world building spreadsheet (which requires javascript for dice and to populate ranges of data) which is also Critical to the Experience will not make the March 31 deadline based on what I started seeing now that I started calendaring the deliverables. It would be April 30 with the spreadsheet. I'll have to add that to the budget. 

6) Outline 

a) World Building Differences with CE. Goals and Limitations (differentiate real science and what trade offs exists) 

b)   Definitions. When we say planet we actually refer to something that is not a star that can be 80 jupiter masses to an Asteroid which can be arbitrary in size - there is no technical limitation what is an asteroid or a meteor... definition in Mneme world gen defines it so that you can say how many Asteroids, Planetoids, Minor Planets etc... is detected or being talked about. These Technical Terms Gives the Players and Referees more tools to describe the solar system and what is encountered. So it would be weird when Players Jump into a NEW solar system only to discover late in the game a Brown Dwarf 60 Jupiter masses  10AU existed all along. something they could not detect would be something like Planet 9 which is 200-300 AU. 

c) How solar Systems are develop. this will help understand why the mechanics work the way they do and what is Unusual or a process of the immense scale of time of a solar system (Billions of Years). 

d) MAIN WORLD building mechanics. human centric - this is what the main world would be given a human-like inhabitant. 

e) Stellar Creation. what sun are we talking about if thats not already a given. this determines the ZONES of the solar system. Zones are a mix of the gravitational pull of the sun against its solar radiation pushing outwards and the centrifugal forces of orbit.  

f) INHABITANTS building mechanics. a Fractal system that allows for creation of Inhabitants.  this system applies solar system wide and can be applied to smaller and smaller chunks of the inhabitants for detailing. 

g) PLANETARY SYSTEMS. Creation of other WORLDS and Disks (like Kuiper belt and asteroid belt) to populate the solar system. with the disclaimer this is what can be detected at different star system and at upon arriving. 

h) Special Features. the Economic and Strategic value or non-value of the solar system and what elements should be and the vacuum that will need to be filled if its not in equilibrium.      

i) Hex Map of Orbits. for campaigns or adventures that need moving Orbits. We will provide one of SOL and to follow based on our sale goals. 

j) Blender Tools to generate Worlds and 2d Terrain Maps. these tools will let the player quickly generate maps with blender so that the world is not stuck merely on a procedure but after buying this and setting it up start churning out worlds. 

k) World  Building Spreadsheet. The idea is buy this book and access the google spreadsheet so they can start producing the worlds and systems THEN judge the mechanics after as well as its usefulness. its easier to start clicking generate than reading the book and learning the system and seeing if the product is worth while. 

Other Goals. 

Sales Goals for other Products. What we produced is the minimum viable product we hope people will like given our limitations and strengths. there are things we wish we can do for it, but we have to be reasonable on the amount we will sell. the Mneme Combat system only sold 30 copies which I am very grateful for. Given the cost of the product we hope X number of sales to commission more materials and details.   

I dont mind the loss and even hope for a break even. I just feel privileged and lucky I can participate in a life long dream (to make games). 



 


Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Significant Milestone: the Terrain Generator using Blender and Presentation/Power Point Template.

Planet Generator Blender File

A significant milestone that is very visible is the Terrain Generator. This takes a Icosahedron in Blender and allows blender to make it a 3d Planet for Render OR to Bake the proceedural terrain on it and import that image into a terrain map. 

The World Building Book will provide the File, Templates, and Workflow and Nicco and I will make desktop recordings of us making it for ease of follow. 

The target is that it takes 5 minutes to figure it out the first time following the tutorials and <1 minute to set it to "Bake" (Generate the UV map) and a simple motion of getting the file and placing it on the Presentation Template. 

Limitations: 

  1. Redering it 2k or 4k (2048x2048 or 4096x4096) varies from computer to computer.
  2. We will come up with a more Detailed Map later on as we get more sales and feedback. What you see so far is the first versions reminicent of some other Map making software tools. 
  3. We cant make it a simple all in one package. 




You will notice Nicco is helping me finish this even if I'm busy with a Migration of Accounting, Purchasing and Warehouse from a manual system to ERPNext (Open Source ERP). I have to rely more for him for help these days because of my duties as a Dad and Work. 

Target is End of MARCH. 

Other Milestones

  1. Final Draft of Gravity. The sad thing about the system is that to be realistic it may be unplayable, but the methods will be a section still. Basically since MASS is the main variable getting the gravity from the mass is one of the hardest parts. Its a 5 step process vs just creating a Table of Rolling Gravity Randomly (which still includes a way to calculate the Radius based on the Mass and Gravity). 
    1. EASY PROCESS: roll Rocky (Terrestrial) World from 0.001 Earth mass (Dwarf Worlds like the Luna and Jupiter Moons) to 10.0 Earth mass THEN > Roll gravity. Gravity table is not tied to the World's mass its possible to roll 0.3G for the largest Earth Mass of 10. 
    2. HARD PROCESS. Roll EARTH Mass > Roll Earth Density (Density of the world as compared to earth with earth's density being 1 at 5.5 tons/cubic meter) > Convert to Earth Volume > Convert to Earth Radius > Derive Gravity. This is an optional system that will be there. 
  2. Changes to Main World. So the "Main world" is going to be either a 10 Earth mass world to 0.01 Earth mass World or a Moon/Luna Sized Terrestrial World. 
    1. HABITATS TL8-9 are possible main worlds and we roll the VOLUME in cubic meters (Noted as Volume Tons as 1 cubic meter is 1 volume ton). THis affects the population roll. 
  3. 1st Draft of Positioning. It just needs polishing and proof reading by Nicco. Nicco will also do the layouting. The formula for Positioning: Where planets are positioned based on their Traits. Starting from the MAIN WORLD, then everything else. 
  4. Planetary Systems.  I just need to finishing the write up of about a page, Nicco will clean it up for me after. What remains is the detail works of generating the planetary systems. You will notice that I'm kinda particular about the workflow as the GM. 
  5. Outline of INHABITANTS. so the outline of the Inhabitants are done. I have already started to detail it with definitions but as for a clear coherent system I've not yet detailed. Then nicco will polish it. 
  6. The Major Art is done: Solar System Formation and Vortexes. 
We will do this in Word and Google Docs.  Google docs first, then Nicco will polish it in Word. Hopefully it doesnt really distort reuploaded to Gdocs. then PDF, then I need to use the tutorial to give it a pdf outline. 

Remaining Tasks. Other than the Tasks above for me what remains are the following

  1. The Cover will be Last before publishing. 
  2. I want 2 weeks to proof read and to send it out to a different proof reader I have in mind. I'm lucky to know 2 physics graduates (one former professor and one who is working in media)
  3. SOL SYSTEM will follow the Creative Common of Beinahegut where we will build on this - the goal is that when people buy it they can start playing in a SOL based adventure - like the Expanse.  
  4. the HEX solar system method.  Hex map of Sol and how to make hex maps of other sytems. as mentioned this may follow but we will have SOL to follow after march 31 deadline. We will add earth and other Planetary systems for such games that just focus on 1 planet system.   
  5. Google Spreadsheet tools will follow once the system is complete (Target March 15 onward). 
    1. So I learned a bit of javascript/appscript for this and I'll be teaching Nicco the scripts how create the Google Appscript Sheet that will generate Systems proceedurally with all the details. A place to Cut and Paste the output in a Player Friendly manner. 
    2. The Basic Main World Creation can be done. My main problem is creating the other worlds -which is either additional Columns or Additional Rows - which would mean the MACRO/appscript will begin to population and position other Worlds. As well as how much detail we will have of these worlds.   
    3.   Main world means Rolling the Main World + Habitability + Gravity + Position + Primary Star + Star Class and Qualities + Disks + Other Worlds + Inhabitants (in Aggregate) + TL + Development + Power Structure + Power Source + Star Port.
    4. Not included in the basic Spreadsheet are the Planetary Systems + Qualities and Position.  
Final Outcome
The book's world building is kinda more intense than the Original CE system.  People may read the Definition and may find it useful in their game. the Audience can either Go straight to the Spreadsheet and Roll for the Main World and Star and Inhabitants OR they can go straight to the Blender tools to details worlds in their game. They can also start detailing the other Planetary systems in their existing solar system. 

The Gitlab/Github of the Spreadsheets and Book itself will be available to buyers. So they can modify the system as they see fit. Nicco's art there are creative commons. 

I have budget for the following: 
1) Nearby Stars - so basically will link to nearby space drivethru rpg and give sample stars detailed with the system. We will not provide a map so that people will buy nearby space.
2) Hex map of Earth System, Jupiter System, and Saturn System. For games that will just travel between all these. There is about 2050 to 2500AD of Sol history that happens within Sol. With Mega Structures - Kilo habitat Stations, Space Elevators and Solar Swarms (self replicating mirror satellites that manipulate gravity and solar radiation to move around and provide reflected light to either cool or heat up areas of a planet - like earth, venus, and mars. I imagine them as solar butterflies as 2-5m wing diameters weighing 70-200kg).   

What I want 

So this level of detail is not as Intense as the other Harder Scifi, I made it for people who are like me - slowly learning harder scifi using games. the Definitions and the formulas are great for a beginner and enthusiast. If I look at other harder scifi games its not very popular but we suffer the Chicken and the Egg problem. I believe Game Recordings, Tools to make the complexity accessible, and Summary Material are important to making this accessible. 

So many things need to happen for it to succeed or to sell very well. 1) people have the availability to try this kind of game out. which is why we made it a plug-in able system. 2) one doesnt need to read a lot of wikipedia articles and all the articles studied for the game is linked in the doc. 3) The role of Maps in World Building - if the world builder needs more detailed solar system. 

Limitations of the work. 

1) Cant be too technically complicated because I can't handle too much complexity as a part time job and my own personal budget as a Filipino IT head doing this part time. 
2) I have to abstract a lot and while science allows us to have more precision I cant afford to developers to make software from this. I probably will figure out and find Indian developers who can help make software for this but that would be YEARS off.  Example is the Hex for the Orbits. 
3) How the GM prepares and organizes is up to the GM. the workflow of a GM is unique to the GM. 



Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Hex Orbits Prototype - future project.

 



Just thought about it today. making it creative commons just in case. 

Basically how to make a hex map of a solar system so that moving orbits can be factored. 

  1. Set MAIN WORLD Orbit. set the AREA of the orbital band - circumference in AU divided by hexes. Position the MAIN WORLD or main worlds PRIMARY (if main world is a moon). 
    1. Do this for the other worlds getting their circumference by getting its distance from the Sun as the radius = 2*pi*R.
    2. Circumference / Hexes. 
  2. then set the OTHER WORLDS relative to the movement of the MAIN WORLD. if main world is ORBIT 4 and for every hex move (or fraction of a hex move) of the main world, how many hexes the other worlds move.  
  3. Create a Legend of the Conversions of the PRIMARY world to Other worlds, you can also make the conversions back to primary world. 
  4. You can apply this FRACTALLY in PLANETARY systems like Jupiter, Saturn, Earth etc and its MOONS (Or space stations) with the PRIMARY being the center and the Satelites being in their own rings. 

I'm going to commission Nicco for this along with a comprehensive guide to some of our pregen Solar System based on the wikpedia sample 
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/64/Solar-System.pdf  by Beinahegut 

the art will be creative commons as well for ease of sharing (so that nicco can also get commissions). 

Nicco can also do the calculations and knows his basic astro science which makes it a very good partnership. 

After the Ship Building (target September-Nov) Hope to make scenarios reminiscent of Children of the Dead Earth. Players travelling for Weeks to a destination where they can see where they're going but have so much SPACE that if something were to intercept them it would calculate their Delta-V budget and send drones to eliminate all their Delta-V budget options. The strategy comes in how much of the ships profile is knowable and what hidden counter measures the ship has in store. 



Monday, February 7, 2022

The world you land in - Different ways at looking at World Generation

 One of the reasons I shifted from the classing World Building system to TL, Development, Power Structure, Power Source, instead of Gov't and TL was because as a Developing world Person - when I traveled to HK, Taiwan, SG, US, and EU - that was the first thing I Observed and felt when I arrived. 

I wanted to shift from the Old model to the Model I Noticed. It doesn't matter what the "Gov't" called itself - are the people empowered, disempowered, apathetic, optimistic, etc... You can see it aggregated - Idealism and optimism eventually create a kind of tragedy of trying to do what is good, vs the pessimism of never trying and the death spiral and self-cannibalization of so risk-averse that nothing can be tried. 

The world and people can call themselves "Austere" "Holy" "Democratic" "Virtuous" etc... but in the end of the day when we measure their quality of life we see something we can see when we land on the planet and deal with its people. 

Wanting to do good with Imperfect information will always lead to tragedy, errors, mistakes. Uncertainty is not a very argument for not trying. 

Its like Mono-climate/geography Planets in our scifi - its a wrong idea that we got used to. World don't work that way, unless the world is really small the range of temperature, atmosphere, and conditions can very much vary.  

Now that a generation of gamers and storytellers grew up, loving the old but learning it can be better - why not gamify these concepts we learned in our various Professional Ideas but simplified in a way that its accessible. 

To improve on a system is not saying what came before was bad. The way I cant say that the morales of the next and previous generation is a certain way without the CONTEXT of the circumstance. With the Context of the Information Age, the accessibility of new and better mental models make it only inevitable that some bunch of gamers say "Hey that's Gameable!" with stuff they learn in their professional, practical, and academic studies.


 

Saturday, February 5, 2022

Developing Worlds - in World Building Mechanics



My biz experience being from the Philippines reflects how I make the mechanics for developing and underdeveloped worlds in Cepheus Engine.  

As a child that was carried along by parents to witness the Edsa Revolution, be a history nerd and learn the Economic and Memetic changes undergone by philippine society, and being a TRPG gamer that grew up with Old School gamers with younger brothers and their peers of the transitioning generation of gamers. 

Particularly how the Cost and Reliability of Transactions in Underdeveloped and Developing Worlds as compared to developed, mature and ancient worlds. Being able to simulate a Developing and Underdeveloped world and the value of Potential as compared to a Developed World. 


Hustlers or high SOC are what is found because it's a full time job to Socialize and Network vs more developed worlds that automate these and try to break up social network monopolies and some of the "early" centralizations of power.   This is because the infra, culture, trust, and systems are lacking in an Underdeveloped world as compared a more developed world. 
The cost of Information gathering is HIGH in underdeveloped countries as the infra in both physical and social institution doesnt allow greater bandwidth of transactions. 

These Developments dont have to be in a familiar western model - these can be divergent models of asian, middle eastern, african, south american etc... and alien models. What is important is there is a well understood system that everyone can figure out. 

Communications Infra and stable process make it that low SOC can thrive - that high Edu and Int can participate in the market.  


If trade leaves most parties better off. Anything that increases the transaction rate makes a society able to better be better off.  
Even if trade moves in inches per year or very tiny improvements per decade. 

As the PCs are in a less developing world - finding HIGH Edu and Int is harder. Access to goods with less middlemen or with economies of scale is the challenge.

They arrive and they deal with the customs and gate keepers. These are people who have to keep things as secret as possible. Information assymetry is important and is the main element of the game. As a society becomes more developed systems and the aggregate of the society takes over - and systemic issues become more of the main driver of unrest.  

As they arrive in more developed they worlds systems take over and in older and ancient worlds the system is the tyrant. 



Diaspora is how societies can be reborn back to its optimal form - their ideal growth-to-stablilty ratio.

 You want a society or world - not too unstable to work and live in and grow - but not too stable that its calcified and people are trapped. Systematically Oppressed people leave to found new societies and try again to correct it only to discover the new blind areas of their systems as their societies develop. 

That human development will take millennia and filled with experiments discovering limits of a new system. That every ideal world has a blind spot and that blind spot, people systematically harmed, will find a place to repeat the social experiment and try to improve on the past - only to fail and discover a new mutation and variant of society that was unexpected. 

Mutant Outlier Societies - Variants - and social experiments would be very interesting. Especially if we go by the Ancients/Precursor set up that they seeded worlds with humans to maintain some of their infra thousands of years ago. 

World Building - if Automated and Procedural - allowing the GM and Players to work with uncertainty and challenging their comfort zones can be as source of development for the gamer in a skillset that allows them to better look at systems of behavior and society. To be able to observe GM and player behavior given these options and see if the challenge feels like something they can take on to see if they can make themselves try something a little bit outside their comfort zone. 





Wednesday, February 2, 2022

Objectively Moving the Story Forward

 what is the objective measure of pushing a story forward in an enjoyable way? 

Pulling back the veil I realize in storytelling I realize the traditional scene is the GM set up and the Players decision. The scene stalls when the players decide on a path that leads to no escalation, the story or plot doesnt move, or when the whole scene is scrapped. 

Mechanics like in 2D20, Fate, and other Storytelling mediums Push the scene to the Players and the GM becomes an editor - correcting the scene if it lacks Risks/Threats, Tension, Stakes, Clear Conflict, Engagement for the other Players etc... 

GM "Yeah ok, so your going to go to the Kings Court/ Dragon/ High Priest with this? Ok what are the stakes and risk?" 

Ideally the players DONT WANT the rewards handed to them. That there is a cost to what their PCs want and its in this Trade Off where character development happens. 

One of the weird things where the people who Play TRPGs need to align are "Your PCs motives are that they want X - but they have other Conflicting fellow PCs and they cant just get what they want for nothing right? What development and trial will the PC's go through? What will make the Player want to experience some set backs for catharsis? 

The Dice is to determine if Unlikely or Likely events happen. That what would be unusual or usual happen to the character. It is to organically create the setbacks that build up the story. 

In fact if the challenge is very overpowered to the PCs, we wont beleive the PCs are over their head unless the dice statistics show that and their strategy show that. That our own ability to judge the story for engaging is being able to accept the likeliness of the events. 

What objectively moves the story forward - is the mutual agreement of the Parties invovled that there was Tension and Catharsis. That we have Tools in the game system that allows us to take on my Tension (Risk and Obstacles) for Catharsis. 

In storytelling - Failures are the backdrop of what would be a High Stakes scene! 

That the Players agree in a criteria where they will have something to modify the Odds as they take on setbacks. So that the setbacks are not indefinite. 

Monday, January 24, 2022

what does high will look like? is being changeable or unchangeable high will?

Is it willpower, resolve, discipline to detect, identify, confront biases and deal with them?

Is a person with such great discipline without bias? 

I think someone with such high stat is more able to identify their biases - with a great effort of will it will be handler their ego and be able to listen and understand another person. I speculate.

A person with great will is not what a lot of movies and stories make it to be someone perfect, full of conviction, and so sure- but someone who is deeply flawed, aware of those flaws, and exerting incredible effort to redeem themselves - or live in a way they can accept.

The perfect Saint ideal removes struggle and the hardship that really happens when you build a life in learning from mistakes and constantly changing and growing.


Got myself meditating what is a high will score? Is it stubbornness? I don't think so, denial is easy - accepting something I don't want to is hard.

The hardest thing is being vulnerable - to want something, enjoy it, and letting it be free and possibly being hurt by it.

Having others have power over oneself is harder. To have agency and to be so hurt by rejection and others requires a lot of will.

So I like role-playing believable characters and I like checking different cultures in how certain ideals, virtues, and vices are presented.

I like pretending in imagination to be certain characters and get in their head.

I like using this to humanize real people as well as so much does to dehuamize others and remove context. 

Sunday, January 23, 2022

Emotional Labor in Games - High Will and Resolve Characters.

 It was my wife and women in my life who had to explain to me the importance of just being Present and being able to listen. While most of my mentors are men in problem-solving and critical thinking, the women in my life had to teach me the value of emotional labor and intelligence. 

In a TRPG we don't have situations of emotional labor, but in real life - Holy crap the amount of emotional labor we have to face outweighs the Problem Solving. Problem Solving can be Googled or you can Youtube it or Crowdsource it - Emotional Labor is like Muscle and Bone density and disposition - you either have it or don't. 

So when I saw Lucina the Brave Herder - I realize she is Sub Optimal in Conan. In a Conan story she would be a damsel in distress - an empowered damsel "unFrazetta Sexy" damsel - but in need of Brawn. 


Emotional Labor in Games are scenes where someone has to Listen and Take on large amount of Stress. Like Listening to End Users and their problems, BUT resisting the urge to solve it for them and instead get it out in the open and make the person feel like they can communicate their problems without their worth being diminished. 

Understanding how we as a society are dysfunctional in the ability to talk about problems is essential in understanding how to frame how Important and life-changing - and dramatic and epic Emotional Labor can be. 

Agency - what we crave in the game - the feeling that despite the odds we matter - is a seed that springs from feeling we matter and someone who makes us feel we matter. When people make bad decisions and in the AGGREGATE all these problematic behaviors create a dysfunctional and scary society - Resolve, Empathy, and Understanding are powerful forces that drive a character to act in a heroic context. 

Too often in Stories focus on the ACTION. while ignoring the CAUSE OF ACTION or CALL TO ACTION. Information/Knowledge - that we matter, that there is someone to protect or care for makes a character into a hero of a story that is interesting and engaging. 

Emotional Labor = the work done by social workers, councilors, suicide hotline volunteers, mediators, therapists, friends and loved ones - is TIME these people will not get back given to another person to repair and recover their agency and their ability to make sense and master their future. 

Imagine if we were taxed by our Time and not money, how "equal" things will be, and how much empathy can we have for people in systemic problems and ills of society. If one cannot value time - it's hard to see our effect on the time of others and those around us. My gamer mindset is always trying to see things in a different set of mechanics and systems. I realize some narratives are not appropriate for some games - i don't think it would be appropriate for this kind of meta agency analysis in a Conan game. Its more for CoC or Kult. So I realize the character is sub-optimal for the sample adventures given, especially when Violence is the agreed-upon catharsis of the group.  


Thursday, January 20, 2022

How do maps work in Player Decision making and immersion?

 My problem of running a Hard Scifi Game is how to make the solar system relevant without overloading the Players. I don't want the players have to figure things out the PCs would know being a spacer. 

If I ran a game where I present a prepared model of the solar system for the players when they JUMP into the system's largest Lagrange 1 point, 

to the planet nerd it would be - "that ice giant rains diamonds... the gravity there makes hydrogen into a metal as powerful as dynamite, that planet is the safest place from a solar storm, I expect vacuum airships in that dense atmosphere world..., that world doesn't belong in this solar system (A rogue planet that is captured like Triton and some moons)" 

Ive considered making the knowledge have a strong Strategic or Economic Value - "that dark side is behind the jump point, anyone jumping will detect everything in 40AU but not behind that Giant." Or an Economic advantage "There is only one place to refuel salt water nuclear fuel here at less than 1,000cr per metric ton and they hold all the cards..." 

Solar System creation is Scifi Map Making. The way we learn how tectonic plates kinda work so our mountains look realistic. How forests work and what kind of areas they occupy and why they don't just take over plains and steppe.

Different players have different relationships with Maps in the TRPG. How do I make the map something they will enjoy like a Fantasy TRPG map? How do I make it spark their imagination without overloading what an enthusiast knows? Or how do I make sure my enthuziasm doesn't get in the way of the game? 

TIL adding Accretion/Circumstellar Disks Aka asteroid belts breaks my PC because of the calculations involved. 😅

TIL at less 0.3 Earth Masses there is not enough gravity for hydrogen to stay put. and a gas plant bleeds hydrogen. Jupiters rocky core at 32,000km diameter

https://sciencing.com/jupiters-core-vs-earths-core-21848.html





Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Slow but Sure: Stellar Classification Table

Ok that was a lot of work. 
Yeah creating tables for Stellar Classification. Roll the Star up.

I made a mistake, I wasn't supposed to allow for O type since it's only 0.00003% of the Observed Stars. 

I wanted to add LTY Classes, the really dark classes - the kind of stars the James Web should be able to see. Imagine in a few days now and a month maybe how many Infra-Red Stars and Brown Dwarfs will we detect in our neighborhood? Imagine Travelling in the scale of Hundreds of AU instead of Light Years. Visiting Brown Dwarfs outside our solar system? What if we detect SO MANY nearby brown dwarves just 2 light-years /120k AU away!? 


I realize that Solar System Generators is MAP MAKING in scifi TRPGs. I enjoy map making and I still keep the maps I drew back in High School in 1996. Now I'm learning how to make "Solar Systems" a different type of map-making. Its like learning how to make Isometric Maps, Hex Maps, Square Maps, or maps with Inkscape. 






Thursday, January 13, 2022

Tech levels are tricky.


I like the Neolithic Revolution and Human Era (Popularized by kurzgesagt 


 

I like looking at the world as whole and not just the europe. 

The terms in Wikipedia are pretty good and gameable. I know its changeable but that's the great thing about learning - we may have to update our understanding - and the nice thing of using Wikipedia as a source is that it's Open. 

There are a dizzying amount of Technological Markers, for me the Schelling point was the Axial Age - which is when there was that explosion of thought - Hundred Schools of Thought, Buddha and Reflection, and Meditation. 

So there are HUGE Medieval History Groups and Roman History Groups and the Technology of the Medieval Period 500-1500 CE kept making progress and there was SOOOOO MUCH technology happening in these eras Its hard to say ONE piece of technology defined it. 

Its fun to know that the Eastern Roman Era, Kept Records and Had great agricultural equipment WHILE crop rotation was catching up and exceeding roman productivity. 

De-Agricultura for me is one of the most important works in knowing my Archiac setting because it documents methods and techniques and makes me realize that Cato could see the performance of his properties across regions in a Macro data analysis - the way Administrators of Ancient Persia and Mesopotamia must have seen thousands of years prior to the Romans. 

I guess cause I'm a Filipino with both a western education with Asian background and heritage - doing a lot of biz with Indians and can't help but see my circumstance in other Developing World people who are attending the ERPnext training made up of Africans, and Middle Easterners.   

I want my stories including a lot of different peoples and stories. 


Saturday, January 1, 2022

Sanity vs Trauma - reviewing CoC7e,

Learning the Sanity mechanics of COC I get to reflect a lot on my own mental quirks.



Note: Spectrum of Behavior and probability. Some dice rolls make somethings all equally probable but our experience and if we do some research some behavior is more likely than others. Most importantly they manifest in subtle ways. 
 
Comments on the Rules
  1. Sanity Points: 0:50 - basically Sanity HP. 
    1. Trauma mechanics in Mneme Variant for Cepheus Engine I have uses "Conditions" instead of hitpoints since Conditions are: 
      1. simplifies the range of deterioration to a qualitative measure instead of a quantitative measure. 
      2. more flexible for GMs and Players if things have de-escalated or escalated through the conditions. 
      3. Allows for compounding Conditions. 
  2. Sanity Saves 2:45 -  % roll equal to Sanity Score.
    1. Clarification of Sanity loss is for the Experience and not the Quantity of the experience. 
    2. Any Loss of sanity is a involuntary reaction determined by the keeper. 
    3. What is a 99% Sane? Some deep discussion about human nature and the mind with this. Does it mean a perfectly working brain? A sociopath is perfectly sane and rational is that 99% Sane? Guilt and the Irrationality of Empathy is "Insane?" but Altruism can also be perfectly rational and irrational if a person behaves mostly consistently to prevent unnecessary suffering? How do you know sane is not in some form of denial, willfully ignoring things that don't compute?   
  3. +5 San loss. Roll INT, success causes Temp Insane. 1d10 hours of Temp Insane.
  4. Indefinite Insanity. Losses 20% (1/5) SAN in a "Day" 
    1. protip: mark the 20% of SAN. 
    2. Up the Keeper
  5. Stages of Insanity:
    1. Bout of Madness. Its interesting that characters just have it - there is no filter or resistance to the Trauma (which coping mechanisms and our world view is for, some world views allow us to better process disturbing thoughts and experiences).
      1. Change one element of backstory except for the special one of the PC. Whats interesting is the EQ of the group who can identify changes and the implications of the backstory and personality. 
      2. 1d10 rounds if there are people to get them out of it. or 1d10 hours if everyone else is suffering or alone. 
      3. See bout of Madness Charts help. See alternate tables and insanity dice. 
    2. Underlying Insanity. Back in control but still insane. 
      1. Any SAN loss triggers a Bout of madness. 
      2. Any failed push rolls has new consequences. 
      3. Delusions and Hallucination. 
        1. Players can ask for a Reality Check (Another SAN roll). I realize that if the player triggers this or if the PC triggers this based on their backstory and psychology. If its the player and its testable that the PC will want to accept this delusion or Hallucination this might raise problems in the game. 
    3. Encounters with Strange Entities. Write entity, loss and maximum loss. This maximum loss goes down. 
    4. Insane Insight. free successful idea roll. 
    5. Mythos Hardened. When the Mythos is higher than the SAN, they lose half as much SAN from mythos. This is a threshold which once reach is a permanent trait even if they recover SAN and go higher than their Mythos. 
  6. Interesting about the randomness of the Shock and Stress of Trauma. Straight to Delusion and Denial, and the stronger manifestations of a source of stress. Forgetting the other symptoms that lead to this stronger manifestation: Confusion, Distraction, Agitation, Hostility, and Apprehension and Hesitation.
    1. Coping and Defense mechanisms - like bad habits and agitation to avoid or numb the experience typically happen first. 
    2. This would be a handy chart.   
  7. And in Game mechanics, when your this is a penalty to the Skills or anything that Needs Attention, Willpower, and Initiative. 
  8. Recovery: 
    1. Sanity Rewards. Catharsis - resolving an issue. killing or ending a threat, and uncertainty, or removing a source of stress gives a release. Seth had to remind Keepers that you recover as much as you lose from a source. 
    2. Raising a skill 90% or higher. 
    3. Psychotherapy. If you follow mental health as a hobby or for your own mental health realizing that the coping mechanisms and institutions had a lot of abuse and mismanagement this allowing the PC to recover is a dubious way to get better - with the following as the primary sources of getting better: loving and supportive family (biological or non-biological), a counselor, a place to work on ourselves and allow us to distract ourselves (a job that has a lot of idle mental time and easy repetitive tasks). I think Asylums are a kind of 
    4. Cost of living and Wages is the fall back technique for Seths challenges 4 years ago. I'm sure he's figured it out by now 2022.  

Trauma 

I can't say I have something Traumatic in my life, but there are certain experiences that lead me down dark paths and I cant seem to escape from. I've seen people who are changed or calcified by these experiences.

If I have mental quirks, pauses where I have to wrestle with my emotions, and I don't have a particularly traumatic life who am I to judge harshly people who have gone through worse or what dark thoughts other people are grappling with. 

If you talked to me about Psychological Trauma 10-20+ years ago, I wouldn't understand how such experiences cause Trauma. The thing is Sanity is not a good word to describe this and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or simply Trauma is better in explaining how a character can be rendered "unplayable". 
 


If we started talking about Trauma and how it can debilitate anyone - then I would understand how an experience can make someone lose control. And just even the small things that cause us Trauma - for me in particular - remembering my experience with gaslighting and compulsive liars and how they make me believe the worse in me and doubt myself is painful and traumatic for me. it causes me to pause, it creates the dark path for my mind to and I have to consciously avoid and control my thoughts to prevent myself from going there. Then there are other concepts like "aggregate human behavior is an illusion of a mind" that a group of people - a stereotype - an organization - or people who share a common belief - and their behavior makes them act in a way that my brain tries to simplify as a "being" which is wrong. Its an illusion of a mind, and thinking its a mind - that it can control itself and avoid doing harm - is the scary part of this realization. A well-intentioned Institution or Organization - an aggregate of human behavior - is not a mind that can exert autonomy to avoid harm. 

Going dark paths in the web also reveals this scary human nature, toxic social media as well, and all this harm that can be found makes me realize - as a Stat or a mechanic we are not respecting the importance of mental health and how fragile we are. 

https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/225597/GURPS-Mysteries 

https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/224854/GURPS-Horror 

https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/128304/Call-of-Cthulhu-7th-Edition-QuickStart-Rules

https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/167631/Call-of-Cthulhu-Investigator-Handbook-7th-Edition

https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/150997/Call-of-Cthulhu-7th-Edition--Keepers-Rulebook