All posts by technomancerral

Nonpost 04/19/19: D&D Homebrew Prepping

So, yeah, I was hoping to have some normal content today.  This week has been weird, and today I’ve been trying to prep for a D&D homebrew game as a DM.  For a game tomorrow.  Oh, crap.

I am going to have to learn to plan better and manage my own expectations.  Especially when I’m throwing these games together somewhat ad-hoc as I and my players have time for occasional games.  In my head I hear: “I haven’t read through the DMG yet” and “this was supposed to be a tightly woven and cohesive story you’ve worked on for years,” but I’m gonna have to wing it somewhat.  Hopefully things will turn out well, and the players will enjoy themselves.

I have thought about this campaign setting off and on for 10 years or so, and occasionally beef up the world when I think about it.  I want to give the party freedom to explore, which will help me sharpen my improv skills if I don’t flounder too much.  At the same time, I have general ideas of some concepts and story threads I want to work in, but I don’t have them pinned down.  Some of it is a mystery, and I’m afraid it’s not going to connect well if I don’t plan it well in advance, but I don’t have much time now.

Ugh.

Maybe I’ll be able to sketch out more of it in time for the game.

Wish me luck!

Maker Workbench Inspiration

I think I’m going to find or make some signs with some of these quotes to put up around my workbench.  Here are some of the ones I’d most like to have:

“Sucking at something is the first step to being sorta good at something.”  ~Jake the Dog, Adventure Time

“Take chances, make mistakes, get messy!” ~Miss Frizzle, The Magic School Bus

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” ~Laozi, Chinese philosopher

“What’s the point of being grown up if you can’t be childish sometimes?” ~The Doctor, Doctor Who

“Any problem can be solved with a little ingenuity.”  ~Angus MacGyver, MacGyver

 

Beat Saber Updates

Beat Saber has recently put out some updates that couldn’t have come at a better time for me.

I use Beat Saber as my preferred mode of exercise nowadays, and I had gotten kinda tired of playing the same songs over and over again.  Also, I had one set of settings that seemed to really work for me, but it got very repetitive.

Beat Saber has added new songs for free, a new set of songs for sale, and a campaign mode!  The new songs definitely bring more playability back to the game, and the campaign mode mixes it up.

The campaign also finally gives a decent tutorial to the game.  I saw that there were different point values assigned to the hits I was scoring on the blocks, but had not seen an explanation for what criteria went into the scoring.  Now I know how, and I’ve been practicing for score somewhat, so I’m getting new high scores.

The campaign also adds a wide variety of new challenges.  It changes up the standard settings, and adds weird requirements.  Examples are:

  • Move your arms 100 meters (you have to move your arms in the widest motions possible while still beating the level)
  • DON’T move your arms more than 50 meters (move your arms as little as possible)
  • You have a maximum of misses and miscuts
  • DON’T get a combo of more than 25

The one I’m currently daunted by has a minimum combo length AND a maximum combo length.  Particularly challenging with the barriers occasionally obscuring the current combo counter.

Right now I am enjoying playing solo mode with the new songs the most.  I get some new challenges and variety, and a good workout.

Keep it up, Beat Saber, and keep adding new content!

Technomancy Skill Upgrade: PC Building Simulator

I am fond of the concept of games that you can play to teach you useful skills.  I feel that some of my academic skills when I was younger were enhanced by playing educational games.  I’d like to see more (and better implemented) games that teach skills for kids AND adults.

Here is one such game.

PC Building Simulator

It can be found on steam here

This simulator has you playing as a person (you never see them) who has recently been handed their uncle’s failing PC repair shop.  You have to take the failing business and make it work, which is mostly a matter of cleaning, repairing, and upgrading computers to the specifications of your customers.

This simulator teaches you about how to repair and upgrade computers, with the computers and their components being digital recreations of real-world parts.  It goes through the panels you have to remove, wires that have to be connected, part compatibility, etc.

It also makes you learn some about the business side of things.  Making sure you balance how urgent orders are versus how much shipping is.  Completing orders in the right order so that you get paid enough to be able to get upgrades and pay for the parts to upgrade the next computers (since you only get paid upon delivery).

It’s not a thrilling game, but it can be relaxing and educational.  So far I’ve never built a PC from scratch, and I’m glad I’m going through this simulator first.  I’ve already learned simple things from it that can be the difference between whether my next computer is a powerful machine or destroying itself from poor heat management.

The only gripe I have is that it doesn’t show or say anything about anti-static precautions, but I guess it got overlooked since that would be difficult to show on the screen.  Don’t forget to ground yourself to the case before working on computer components!

Otherwise, give this simulator a try!  Between the simulator (and due diligence with research) you might be able to save the money you would have paid someone to build your next computer.

3D Print Logging Catchup

I’m trying to catch up on logging some of my 3D prints.  This isn’t all of them, but it’s an update.

wall face 2.jpg

My wizard found one of these as an item on the wall a while back, and took it with him.  I thought I should print one to have on hand for roleplaying.

Wall Face (Acererak)

cat familiars.jpg

Cat Familiar

mockers.jpg

That is totally just a normal chest.  What could go wrong?

Mocker

goblin wolf.jpg

Dog/Wolf Mini for D&D

flatminis guards

I needed more guardsmen for urban encounters.

FlatMinis: Town Guard

pretty woman mini3.jpg

I needed a druid mini for an urban encounter, so I slightly remixed one to add a base.

Pretty Woman

 

The Homebrewery: DM Module Template

Recently I was looking for a template so that I could write my notes for an upcoming homebrew game in a format similar to modules.  If I want to share it later it would be easier, and in any case I thought it might help me to organize my thoughts on the adventure… at least until the party inevitably takes it off the planned rails.

Enter The Homebrewery.

I did a quick search online for a helpful tool, and came across a recommendation to use this site:
https://homebrewery.naturalcrit.com/

Upon inspection, I was impressed.  It uses a CSS editor on the left side of the screen and a live preview of the document you are writing on the right.   The formatting is very similar to what the D&D hardcover adventures use.  It looks nice and professional, and just takes a little bit of paying attention to their frontpage introduction example.  The information in it is useful, and you can use the editing side of the page to learn how to make the effects on the right side of the page.

I’m looking forward to continuing using it.  It’s helping me keep in mind the methods used in professional adventure writing to ease the flow of the campaign.  Box text, subheadings for developments within the same encounter, etc.  It even does the fancy calligraphic letter for the first text on the page at a certain header level.

Sansar Update

I’m giving Sansar another stab.  I’ve tried it a bit before, but at the time it seemed to give me headaches.  I also had issues with intermittent movement when trying to use my treadmill with it.  I would start moving in the world, but it would quickly slow and stop my character.  I did enjoy that they made a couple of locations from Ready Player One in it.

They’ve recently added a quest system.  I’m not sure how extensive it is or planned to be, but it’s definitely more of an incentive to play.  Having a goal in a game is more likely to keep me invested.  You add the quest, fulfill the quest, then earn some in-game money.

In VRChat, you have whatever assets you’ve uploaded or have temporarily borrowed from another location (the avatars, for example).  In Sansar, to get new things you have to spend the coin in-game (unless you are creating content, but I don’t know how that works yet).

I do still have a biiiit of an issue that I’m working with their customer support on (hello, Garth!).  When I start moving forward in the game, I continue in a straight line no matter which way my head (and the headset) is facing at the time.  Thankfully, their support staff responds quickly, as I have already gotten a response from the email I sent on Friday about the issue.

I haven’t noticed headache issues yet this time, but my playtime has been limited by the frustration with the locomotion system.  Hopefully we’ll get this resolved quickly.  I also hope that we get some good quests added to the list in the future.  I recommend adding a quest board.  My preference would be to have a brief description of quests visible in the form of flyers on the board, and interacting with them to get more information with an option to accept after reading it.  I also recommend putting some variety in there to get people to explore the content (if it’s do-able).  “Go to the X world.”  “Stab a target dummy on X world with a sword.”  Stuff that involves going places, and if the detection can be done right, interacting with things that you have to go find in those worlds.

I’m looking forward to exploring those worlds more on my treadmill.  Sansar is the VR-compatible successor to Second Life, and I know that I enjoyed running around there with my mouse and keyboard.