Monday, May 29, 2006

Reporting for Duty

Unit 36: An alien android sent to defend humans from an extra-terrestrial threat. Trapped on Earth, it continues to execute its primary protocol.

Yup, I'm smitten. It's only going to cost about $15USD a month...

Now I need to form a Super Group.

Oh, and if you want to solo, it really looks like Blaster types are the way to go (think Punisher). I want to try the Controller type, but I think it might get frustrating to have my butt handed to me by every two-bit hood.

For Truth and Justice

Or at least some heavy duty smacking of evil people (and misguided zombies...). City of Heros: If you can get a trial key, give it a go. It's very much in the mold of World of Warcraft as far as mechanics are concerned, and has a couple of minor issues in its interface, at least for me. On the other hand, the sheer amount of customization to your hero more than makes up for any deficiencies in the control scheme.

The only really creepy thing: the voiceless throngs of anonymous citizens. It's very eerie to run past a crowd and hear no one speaking. And it appears that the automobiles have noiseless engines as well. Really want to try City of villains now, too.

Now ... back to duty. Come Barnacle boy - I sense EVIL!!!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006


I have fear. (Aside: yes I'm going to start posting thoughts and shots from the dealers room, but first I need to rant.)

Yesterday I made a stop at the local to me (my neighborhood that is) Geek Boutique to see if I could get a copy of battlefield 2 cheap. The deluxe version is coming out soon, but I have a hankering' for some new game action (I should get back to Oblivion, but I feel like savoring it). I was stunned with what I found.

Rows upon rows of console titles have squeezed my favorite platform.

I mean, I OWN more titles than these guys had on the 'New' rack.

Wii, eh...

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Post apocalyptica

Tired. Like 'weight of Atlas' tired. But it was a good weekend.
Success goal 1: set up table BEFORE room opens - achieved.
Success goal 2: sell something - achieved.
Success goal 3: have people actually calling me Mr. Poody - achieved.
Success goal 4: have people I don't know ask me for a "Friend of Mr. Poody" sticker - missed.
Success goal 5: pay costs of table - achieved.
Success goal 6: Pay cost of product for table - missed (note to self - at least break even pricing next time!)
Success goal 7: Have good time - achieved.

So, I'm approaching 80%. That's good for my first effort. Un-looked for successes include being dubbed the unofficial "King of Lego" and getting to listen to Robert J. Sawyer shop for used books.

I have shots of most of the people and their booths for a series I'm going to do on the show. More later. Oh as a side note: regardless of the fact that your wife paid the money for charity, drinking a shooter from an atractive woman's bra, while said woman is still in it == BAD IDEA.

Yes, it should have been obvious to me too.

Friday, May 19, 2006


From the floor ...
OK. Table is stacked and ready to rock. Lego bin is placed, signs are up. Doors open at 10AM tomorrow. If you want to check out the spectacle come down to the Radisson downtown on Portage avenue (Winnipeg, MB, Canada, but if you're flying in...). 12th floor - Peregrine room. The dealer room is open to the general public, so you don't need to pay to get in. I'll be taking shots in the am. As for now, on to phase 2 of world domination.

Mr.Poody's Bazaar

Mr. Poody (pictured at left) proudly presents: Mr. Poody's Bazaar!

begins this weekend at the KeyCon Science Fiction convention. Featuring the LEGO(TM) grab bin. Grab a handful of LEGO goodness - just a single Canadian dollar! Which is almost a whole U.S. dollar (grumble).

I'll be experimenting with posts, live from the booth all weekend (assuming I can get Larry to co-operate), so keep an eye out. And if you're coming down - bring your loonies!

(Note:LEGO has small bits which are easily swallowed and choked on, and is there for not recommended for children under the age of 3.)

Monday, May 15, 2006

18 to life... v(2.0)

From the way back machine...

1988:January 26 - Australia celebrates its bicentennial

February 3 - The United States House of Representatives controlled by the Democratic Party rejects Republican President Ronald Reagan's request for $36.25 million to support Nicaraguan Contras.

February 13 - The 1988 Winter Olympics open in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

March 16 - Iran-Contra Affair: Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North and Vice Admiral John Poindexter are indicted on charges of conspiracy to defraud the United States.

April 14 - USS Samuel B. Roberts (FFG-58) strikes a mine in the Persian Gulf while deployed on Operation Earnest Will during the Tanker War phase of the Iran-Iraq War.

April 18 - U.S. Navy forces retaliate for the Roberts mining with Operation Praying Mantis, in a day of strikes against Iranian oil platforms and naval vessels.

May 15 - Soviet war in Afghanistan: After more than eight years of fighting, the Red Army begins its withdraw from Afghanistan.

May 16 - A report by Surgeon General C. Everett Koop states that the addictive properties of nicotine are similar to those of heroin and cocaine.

July 3 - Iran Air Flight 655 shot down by missiles launched from the USS Vincennes ship

August 9 - Wayne Gretzky is traded from the Edmonton Oilers to the Los Angeles Kings in one of the most controversial transactions in hockey history.

August 19 - Ceasefire begins in the Iran-Iraq war
August 20 - Iran-Iraq war ends, with an estimated 1 million lives lost.

August 29 - The first WWE (WWF at the time) SummerSlam main event featuring Hulk "Hulkamania" Hogan and "Macho Man" Randy Savage versus Andre the Giant and "Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase is held in Madison Square Gardens in New York City.

September 17 - Summer Olympic Games in Seoul, South Korea open

September 29 - NASA resumes space shuttle flights, grounded after the Challenger disaster

October 11 - Women are allowed to study at Magdalene College, Cambridge, for the first time. Male students wear black armbands and the porter flies a black flag

October 30 - Philip Morris buys Kraft Foods for US$13.1 billion.

November 8 - U.S. presidential election, 1988: George Herbert Walker Bush is elected over Michael Dukakis.

November 18 - War on Drugs: US President Ronald Reagan signs a bill into law providing the death penalty for murderous drug traffickers

November 21 - Canadian federal election, 1988: Brian Mulroney and the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada win a second majority government

November 22 - In Palmdale, California, the first prototype B-2 Spirit stealth bomber is revealed.

December 9 - The last Dodge Aries and Plymouth Reliant roll off the assembly line in a Chrysler factory.

December 15 - JP turns 17.

December 19 - The Consumer Product Safety Commission bans the sale of lawn darts following the deaths of three children.

December 21 - Pan Am flight 103 is blown up by Libyan terrorists over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing 259 on board and 11 on the ground.

(geeze i'm bad at html... it only took 4 edits to get this sort of the way i wanted it.)

Friday, May 12, 2006

A big fat picture...

From the design file...
Ok, here are some notes for the curious. So far the PBEM concept rocks. Problem is running it by hand for more than one or two players gets fancy. I keep emailing the wrong (or worse, incorrect) files out. I'm just too sloppy an organizer to do it right twice a day.
The biggest issue I'm having right now (systemic issue) is with the dungeons, however. Up to this point I've been using a card based dungeon idea to randomly generate the dungeons. If you've ever played Chainsaw Warrior, it's like that. You can skip down a bit.

If you haven't it works like this:
The player has a deck of cards. Each card represents a location in the dungeon. Each location presents a challenge to be faced, like an encounter with bad guys or a trap. If you resolve the card, you get to flip the next card over. Mixed into the deck is a "boss location". This card is the goal. When/if you flip that one over you fight an extra special encounter. This simulates exploring the dungeon.

Problem one is the cards come together in a disjointed, random manner, so the dungeons never have character. Problem two is, because the base set of cards was designed to be used as part of a game that was intended to last about 2 hours, they are not very diverse. You end up with a chain of "corridor", "stair", "store room", "corridor", "corridor"... it's like a Hanna-Barbara dungeon.

So I resolved to fix this. My first idea: full blown AD&D style dungeons (yes, I know it's not called Advanced Dungeons & Dragons anymore - I'm old, don't bug me). This gives me maximum fidelity when it comes to style. Now every dungeon can be a master piece, complete with thematic encounters, clever traps and evil. Problem is, I remembered after trying to do just one dungeon this way, every dungeon has to be a master piece. You can't just make it up off the cuff or the map starts to get out of whack, and in a way it's worse, because you've elevated the expectation of suspension of belief, and are now failing to deliver.

That brings us to cut three. See picture above, which is a graphical note on what I hope is going to be a better dungeon generator. I'm going to experiment with an Interactive Fiction style of map. Some of you (older than 25) may remember IF from the way back days when the Commodore name was home computing. There was a whole genre of games based on a text presentation of locations and parsing English (or at least English like) commands typed in at a prompt. They work like this.

Each "room" is a node on a network diagram. The nodes are attached by links in directions of the compass, and in many cases up down. Some times Up/Down links are direct - "You see a set of stairs going UP." Some times, they are indirect - "You see a ladder. It extends into a hole in the ceiling of the room.", in which case you would say "climb ladder" or "use ladder" and get up. But I digress.

I think the node based dungeon mixes the key points from both. It's still random. This is important as I want the players to be able to return to a dungeon area and explore it repeatedly, I don't want them to have to put up with the same 19 rooms each time. Well, at least not in exactly the same order.

I can create the dungeons with thematic groups.
For example I could plug in a secret lab, tower, observatory chain. I believe this mixing of "tile sets" is similar to how Blizzard works the map making logic for Diablo and Diablo II. So, now I just need to make a tool with all the rules and all the room sets that can, with the click of a button, whip up a new dungeon. Problem solved!