The People's Republic of Fub
|Mar. 16th, 2014 @ 09:41 pm Ars Magica|
Current Mood: okayI've played two sessions of Ars Magica -- way back, as a break from the Rolemaster campaign I was running for friends then. It must have been around '99 I think. One of my friends was the GM, and unfortunately it never went anywhere due to various factors -- such as these things go.
Later, in 2003, Atlas Games released the fourth edition of Ars Magica as a free PDF and announced a fifth edition. And last week, the Bundle of Holding featured a lot of supplements for the fourth edition. Last Friday (the last day of the Bundle), I asked this friend (who is also a colleague) about his Ars Magica campaign, and he said that there was still something kicking around in the back of his head. I pointed him to the Bundle, and offered to bind anything he would print from the Bundle (like I did with the extra copy of Golden Sky Stories).
Interesting enough, he then started making excuses as to why the campaign would never take off. He would need players -- but I'm sure that can be arranged! I volunteered immediately.
Making characters and a convent is like homework -- but that's part of the charm of the game, so that wouldn't be a problem!
I really hope he finds some inspiration and the time to pull things together. I even found out I own a copy of the fifth edition rules: it must have been a part of a lot from rupertdaily's RPG book inheritance that I won at the auction.
|Mar. 10th, 2014 @ 08:53 pm Parking WTF - again|
Current Mood: amusedSo today I visited the client in Amsterdam again. As I got near, the sign pointing out the parking garages marked 'my' garage as full. But when I looked around the corner, the sign above the entrance itself said there was still room -- and the two cars in front of me went through as well, so I thought I'd try my luck.
I was greeted at the barrier by a guy in a security vest. He told me they had a bit outage (perhaps still the same from Friday?) and we could go in and out all day for free.
So now I have three free parking tickets.
|Mar. 9th, 2014 @ 01:58 pm Paper map copyright protection|
Current Mood: amusedIf you have any interest in maps, you will have heard that map-makers introduce little 'mistakes' in their maps. These mistakes are a deliberate measure to prevent their competitors from simply copying their maps without doing the surveying themselves: if your competitor's map contains the 'trap' you set, you know they've lifted the information from your map.
But sometimes, it goes wrong. Like in the case of Agloe, which was intended to be a trap town in the middle of no-where, until someone used that name for their store in that location!
|Mar. 8th, 2014 @ 04:08 pm Clever restaurant trick|
Current Mood: impressedWe went into the city centre of Den Bosch today, to do some shopping and to enjoy a stroll through a beautiful city in the nice weather we're having this weekend. We walked past a small restaurant, and I saw a really clever trick they had.
They had very small lockers in the entrance, each outfitted with a wall socket. You could charge your phone there while you dined! Obviously you would have to keep it locked up, because they are directly accessible from the street...
That means that you won't be using your phone in the restaurant, but you'll have a full charge when you leave. A very clever way to offer an incentive for getting those phones off the dinner tables!
|Mar. 7th, 2014 @ 10:27 pm Free parking!|
Current Mood: tiredThe past three days, I was on-site with a customer in Amsterdam. They used to be located in an office tower with an antroposophic interior design, which I absolutely loved: lots of wood and no straight lines! (It also meant you could get lost within 10 meters because it was very dis-orienting, too.)
But they recently moved two blocks away into a more 'modern' office block. Apart from having a less inspiring interior decor but a better view over the city, it also meant they lost their own parking space. I now have to park at a parking garage operated by the city. The prices are at a premium: 1 euro per 25 minutes -- and no upper limit that I could determine. That translates to EUR 20 per working day...
On the other hand, there's always space, and they have a door from the garage straight into their office building, which is nice. And when you arrive, the receptionist gives you a card to put the parking costs on their account (I guess with a hefty discount).
My experience was... less than smooth.
The first day, I tried the nearest payment machine, but that did not work. But the machines on the upper level did work, so at least I could leave.
The second day, I tried three different machines, but none of them accepted my original card. I went to the caretaker's office, but they were 'doing their rounds' so I pushed the button that connected me to the central control room. It took the people there a few minutes to actually pick up the line. I told them what my problem was, and they had me recite the numbers on the card. They told me to drive up to the gate and then call again so they could let me out -- without paying. It did take them again a few minutes to pick up the line again.... but then they opened the gate without further comment.
Today, the machines did accept my original card, but they didn't accept the clients account card. So again I went up to the control room to ask for what to do. This time, I found two guys who told me they had a massive malfunction and that nothing worked. They had opened the barrier to let everyone out.
So now I have two client account cards for that parking garage. One of the guards even specifically commented that I should hold on to those because I could use them later to park for free. Not that I have much use for parking there. On the other hand, it's close to several high-profile concert halls (Ziggo Dome and the HMH) so it might come in handy later.
If you'd like one, let me know -- I'm not planning on using them any time soon.
|Mar. 6th, 2014 @ 09:12 pm New project|
Current Mood: busyI've started a new project in my free time -- as if I needed more things to do! Last time we played Pathfinder, there was a lot of stuff to keep track of during combat. We were level 8, which means there were a lot of circumstantial modifiers possible. During a few rounds, I got a +2 to hit and for damage because of the bard singing a Bardic Song of Inspire Competence, I was Hasted for 8 rounds, which gives me my first attack in full and gives me a +1 to hit, I had expended two charges of my Nine-fold Spirit Sword to gain Banish Undead (which adds 2D6 of extra damage against such a creature), I had used my Scabbard of Vigor to gain a +3 to hit and +3 to damage for 3 rounds, and I had Challenged my opponent, which gives me another +2 damage bonus.
Calculating all that three times per round (once for every attack, with the to-hit scores differing) is a lot of work, and you tend to miss one or two things.
So I thought I'd make a Pathfinder Combat Tracker: input your regular attacks, the circumstantial bonuses you could get, and let a machine do all the work! And because you'd want this in a handy form factor, it would have to be a smartphone app. And because I don't fancy coding for both iPhone and Android but would love for the app to work on both, I decided to make a HTML5 application for it.
I've decided on JQuery Mobile as my platform (a good excuse to learn about JQuery itself too), and so far, things have been going quite well. However, I didn't really think things through, so I have had to re-write lots of code when I got new insights.
It'll get done eventually.
|Mar. 4th, 2014 @ 09:08 pm Game: One Way Heroics|
Current Mood: amusedI've bought One Way Heroics for the ample sum of just over EUR 2.50 on Steam, because it looked fun. And it is!
It looks like Final Fantasy 1, but there's a twist: the world is being devoured by darkness from the left side of the screen, and only you (the hero) can save the world by slaying the demon lord who is off far to the right. It's turn-based, so every thing you do or every step you take brings the darkness closer -- so you have to keep an eye out so you don't get trapped, and you have to keep moving to the right.
You find loot, meet monsters, explore dungeons and rest at inns -- and then you go onwards, leaving everything to be swallowed by the darkness.
You won't finish this game in one go -- nor are you expected to. You earn Hero Points (based on the distance, enemies slain etc) which you can invest in perks during a later incarnation. The worlds are randomly generated, but there are also 'special events' every day. You can see the progress of the other players who share your dimension, and sometimes you can meet their ghosts at the place where they were slain...
Afterwards, the fairy who helps you on your quest will give you advice on how to progress even further. You can put things in your 'Dimensional Vault' and pass equipment from one incarnation to the next. And then it all starts over again!
It's a lovely little game. It's not action-packed (it being turn based: the monsters move only when you move), but it's quicky and fun. And it has the same effect on me as Rogue Legacy: you wonder how far you will get on your next incarnation...
And, which is unusual for me, I totally love the background music. I also like that you can play it with a controller (though you need a keyboard during your first run to enter the name of your character, if you don't want to live as 'Nameless'). The resolution is painfully low, though -- but that only goes to accentuate the pixelated look, I guess.
(I do feel that the makers left a huge market untapped by not naming the game 'One Direction Heroics', but that's just me.)
I have one extra copy in my Steam Library that I'd be happy to gift to someone. Let me know in the comments!
|Mar. 4th, 2014 @ 08:15 pm Not a bad joke at all|
Current Mood: peacefulIt sounds like the beginning of a bad joke: "So the Dalai Lama steps into a ski elevator and tells a waitress the meaning of life..." But it actually happened.
(Link found here)
|Mar. 4th, 2014 @ 07:35 pm March Forth|
Current Mood: okayToday, it's International GM's Day -- a day to appreciate the GMs who run the games you enjoy. I've sent out a thank-you mail for the GMs of the campaigns I'm in. And tomorrow, I'll be hosting another session of the Streamdales campaign myself -- because I enjoy doing it, and I appreciate that my players are entertained enough to amble around in my world for more than a year now.
|Feb. 27th, 2014 @ 07:44 pm Useless travel|
Current Mood: annoyed and pleasedOne of 'my' clients is based in Rotterdam -- at the other end of the country. To make things worse, their office is in the city centre. Their parking space is so cramped that one of my colleagues had to leave his car through the boot one time. If I have to go there, I have to battle my way through highway traffic and city traffic. If there are no traffic jams (which hardly ever happens), it takes me 1:15 to get there. (The people are nice and the work is fine, though -- I just don't agree with their choice of office location. ;)
Today, I was scheduled to start with a new project for them. Yesterday I mailed my contact that I would be arriving 'early' and to ask him to arrange a parking spot for me. I didn't hear anything from him, so I just assumed that everything was fine on his end.
Since klik has to leave at 18:30 on Thursday evenings to get to her classes on time, I got up at 06:00 so that I could leave at 06:30 -- with some parts of the country being on holiday and it being early, I figured I could arrive somewhere between 07:45 and 08:00. That meant I could leave early as well, avoiding the worst of the evening rush hour, which would allow me to have dinner with klik before she would have to leave.
I had just turned off the highway to get into Rotterdam proper -- in fact, I had just passed the city limits -- when my phone rang. It was my contact, who had been taking the day off yesterday. He had three interesting things to tell me.
The first was that I could do the work for this new project at the office in Nijmegen. The second was that he did not have a parking spot for me, because he had assumed I would be in Nijmegen. The third was that he was still at home and would not be in on time to meet me.
It was then 07:45 -- time enough for me to turn around and get to the office in Nijmegen by 09:00.
When I told this to the account manager, he told me my working day had started at 08:00 today, and that I could leave early, and to write a full working day on the client's account. I got to go home even earlier than planned, which was very nice. So I was both pleased and annoyed, which is an interesting emotional state to have.
Still, it's a bit of a bummer of the 216 kilometers I drove needlessly.
|Feb. 20th, 2014 @ 09:05 pm Seven more|
Current Mood: okayAfter getting the new kitchen installed, finding some sort of routine with klik's new job(s) and preparing for the new adventure in the Streamdales campaign, I have some time to catch up on reviewing the anime of the Winter 2014 season.
Z/X Ignition: Portals appear all over the world, and monsters come out of them -- lots of carnage ensues. And then, some years later, teenagers can control some of the monsters through cards. And they're from five different 'worlds' (conveniently color-coded), and these worlds are at war, with the humans caught in between.
It's quite plainly a marketing vehicle for a card game. That's not too bad in itself, but it's also not very interesting to boot. The characters are bland and the plot is very thin.
Nobunagun: The second series this season to focus on Nobunaga! This time it's Shio, a school girl on a school trip to Taiwan who is a reincarnation of Nobunaga. Monsters attack while the class is relaxing in a sea-side park, and then agents of some shady agency appear: they're incarnations of famous historical figures, wielding themed weapons. Things don't go as planned for them, and Shio awakens to her heritage. This includes creating a big gun out of thin air and using it against the monster!
Action, monster of the week and historical figures appropriated to create weird weapons. It didn't grip us, but I was mildly curious to see which weapon the Ghandi incarnation would bring to the battlefield.
Inari Kon Kon: Inari Fushimi is a middle school girl who lives close to an Inari shrine. One day, she rescues a fox pup who had fallen into a ditch there. The same day, she sees her crush Kouji talk to her pretty and popular classmate Akemi -- she is heartbroken. Then she meets the deity of the shrine who thanks her for saving one of her familiars! She gives her the power to shapeshift, and she chooses to turn into Akemi. Of course, that's not a great idea, and things don't go quite as hoped.
I liked it: it's a simple story about a friendly but rather plain girl trying to realise her dreams, with a touch of shinto supernaturalism. It's not super-well animated, but that didn't bother me one bit.
And if the name Fushimi Inari seems familiar, that's because it's the name of the main shrine devoted to Inari, the god of rice and good fortune. We've been there twice, and it's quite impressive. And "kon kon" is the sound of a dog (or fox, the familiars of Inari!) sniffing the air.
Youkai Watch: When you get the Youkai Watch (as in: an actual watch), like Keita does, you can see the Youkai all around you! And then you can summon them and help solve their problems! That is, if you're a little kid who likes watching anime that are marketing vehicles for card games.
Hozuki no Reitetsu: Hozuki is a middle-management bureaucrat in (Buddhist) Hell. He gets to deal with problems his underlings can't handle, such as Momotaro making an ass out of himself. During lunch time, he talks with his boss, King Enma, about his next vacation, and his big passion: growing goldfish flowers.
It's the banality of being middle-management coupled with the weirdness of Hell that makes this series quite appealing to me. And I quite liked the visual look too!
Wizard Barristers: Benmashi Cecil: In the future, magicians live alongside non-magical humans. However, their awesome powers mean they can do things that normal people can't. If they break the law, they get tried by special courts, and it's the Wizard Barristers that assist the accused during their case. Cecil is one of these, and she gets into trouble even before she arrives at the office for her first day!
It's an interesting concept, and I'm eager to see more. However, Cecil's personality takes some getting used to... Shares the visual style of Mezzo DSA, probably because of the same character designer/director.
Nisekoi: Raku always carries a pendant with him: it's a sentimental memento from his childhood, when he promised his sweetheart he'd marry her. Of course, he hasn't kept in touch with her, you know how these things go. Then he gets into trouble with Chitoge, and he loses his pendant! The two really dislike each other, and when Chitoge finds his pendant and returns it, she vows never to have anything to do with him. However, Raku's father is the head of a yazuka clan, and recently they ran into trouble with a rival clan. To smooth things over, Raku's father decides that he should date the daughter of the rival boss -- and of course that's Chitoge!
Romantic comedy with an over-the-top yakuza clan as a background, with the two would-be lovers annoyed at each other? It sounds cheesy, but we thought it was pretty funny.
|Feb. 11th, 2014 @ 07:58 pm Not impressed|
Current Mood: bitchySo far, Facebook seems like LiveJournal to me, but then with a confusing interface and the very real possibility that you will miss something your friends post.
|Feb. 9th, 2014 @ 08:59 pm Found elsewhere|
Current Mood: amusedSaw this on Imgur. The first comment nails it!
( Skyrim players understandCollapse )
|Feb. 8th, 2014 @ 10:52 pm How to syndicate posts onto a Facebook Page|
Current Mood: accomplishedI've succeeded in syndicating the entries for kliktikfix onto Facebook, where I created a Page for the site. However, the process is a lot more complicated than it is with Twitter, mostly because of the way Facebook uses access authorisation. Also, there is a lot of outdated info to be found when searching for a solution, so I've decided to post the solution I'm using, in hopes it is of use to others.
Please note that this code works at this moment. Future API changes might invalidate it, which it did with so many other posts about the subject.
I'm assuming you know your way around PHP and that you have access to a site that runs PHP scripts.
( My use caseCollapse )
I'm guessing if you want this, you're already on Facebook. Next step is to create a Page that you will syndicate to. If you don't know how to do that, this page will tell you how to go about it.
So far, so good. Now we have to register a new 'App', so that we can get the keys to the proverbial kingdom!
( Registering a Facebook AppCollapse )
Next, we'll be creating a PHP script to get a so-called Page Access Token. The whole Access Token thing is explained in the documentation, but in short, here's what we'll be doing:
( Our flowCollapse )
Follow these steps to create the script to get the Page Access Token:
( Getting the Page Access TokenCollapse )
Now we have our Page Access Token. Remove the PHP script from your server, so that it can't be called by someone else -- we don't need it anymore, and we don't want anybody to stumble upon it.
The next step is to create a PHP script that posts to our Page.
( Testing posting to the PageCollapse )
When I had it working, I saw the entries appear. There was only one problem: only I saw the entries! Other users or viewers who were not logged in, didn't see them! This gave me a few headaches, but in the end the solution was simple.
( How to publish your AppCollapse )
It took me quite a bit of time (and some frustrating moments!) to get this working. I hope this posts helps others achieve the same -- with less time wasted and less frustration!
|Feb. 5th, 2014 @ 09:18 pm (no subject)|
Current Mood: accomplishedIt seems like I have to retract my previous post -- now I'm using something else to post to Twitter from the kliktikfix website.
After the posting to Twitter was done, I proposed to include a thumbnail of the photo in both the RSS feed and the Twitter post. Resizing images with PHP is not much of a problem, and including an <img>-tag in the RSS feed is trivial. But uploading media to Twitter seems to be impossible with the Twitter library I was using.
Codebird does allow uploading media along with a status, so I changed the feed-mechanism once again to make use of it.
Today's entry is online: it has both a photo and a haiku, and I've activated the new feed mechanism in time for the 21:00 cron job. It ran without a hitch -- so there's now thumbnails on Twitter and in the RSS-feed, which is syndicated here on LJ as kliktikfix!
|Feb. 5th, 2014 @ 11:39 am Service resumed|
Current Mood: accomplishedI've just repaired/rebuilt the RSS feed for kliktikfix, which had been broken since the server migration last April. That also means that the LJ feed (which syndicates the RSS feed) will now be resumed as well.
I have also used this example to get the posting to Twitter on the @kliktikfix account working again. (Tip: Don't download his zip-file with the files that are needed -- download them from the source at the github page, because they work with the v1.1 of the API.)
|Feb. 2nd, 2014 @ 08:29 pm New anime for January|
Current Mood: okayWhat with all the things going on at home, I haven't had much time (or energy!) to review the new crop of anime. Now it's time to rectify that!
( Monster-post containing reviews of 13 new seriesCollapse )
That's not all, more to come later!
|Jan. 29th, 2014 @ 06:11 pm PCGen|
Current Mood: impressedAllow me to sing the praises of a program I have been using for a few years now: PCGen, a d20-based character management program.
You see, I find the character creation and advancement rules of the d20-system (also known as D&D 3), confusing. Sometimes you gain a feat, sometimes you can add 1 to a stat... but it's not clear to me when what happens.(*) And it's not like I've made an extensive study of the d20 ruleset, so it takes me a lot of time to chase down all the available options for the character.
Now, with PCGen, you choose a class and press a button to add a level. And then you simply get a list of things to do to level up! No more forgetting that you could get a bonus feat, no more forgetting to add skills.
We're currently playing through the Jade Regent campaign by Paizo, which uses the Pathfinder ruleset -- which I've heard described as "D&D 3.75" -- which is also supported by PCGen. Even the special traits that you can select when creating the starting character are present!
Last session, we had to start out by levelling up. Luckily, we were playing at our place, so I just booted up PCGen, pressed a few buttons and made a few selections, and I was done!
During the course of the session, I acquired a special weapon with some magical abilities. PCGen allows you to create your own equipment by taking the base item (in this case, a Longsword) and adding any modifiers you need. Then you can rename that item and simply add it to your character's inventory to equip it. And presto: all the numbers on the character sheet reflect your new awesomeness.
I also really like the fact that it's free and runs on Linux...
*: I've heard people complain about the so-called complexity of Rolemaster, but at least in RM levelling up always uses the same process. No matter if you go from level 1 to level 2, or from level 20 to level 21: you always do the exact same things.
|Jan. 29th, 2014 @ 08:48 am One day late! Sorry!|
Current Mood: festiveHappy birthday, sillie82!
|Jan. 27th, 2014 @ 12:04 pm Opening ceremony|
Current Mood: okayThings I (think I) learned by attending the opening ceremony for the Zen.nl zendo in Hilversum last Saturday:
- You can hear the difference between someone who learned a sutra in a Japanese monastery, and someone who learned it from the syllables written down;
- The sutra Enmei Jukku Kannon Gyo is, essentially, the (Zen-)budhist version of the Hail Mary;
- When singing a sutra for several repetitions, it's hard to keep count;
- Sisal carpet is a good (and cheap!) substitute for tatami. It even leaves similar impressions in your knees. Luckily, pillows were available to sit on;
- I somehow managed to sit (relatively) still for an hour without any back support. Sometimes I amaze even myself;
- People like dark green, but ocher is less distracting;
- There are special molds to create a 'flan-shaped' pile of incense ash in the incense burner. (The form is similar to the pile of sand in the garden of the Silver Pavillion, which itself is also a Zen temple). The new insence is burned on top of this pile;
- But there are also special tools to create an ash pile like that -- if you want a meditative moment (and to do everything with attention and care, the aim of Zen), then you don't use the mold but you use the tool to 'carve' the pile manually;
- If you don't have that specialised tool at hand (and good luck getting it anywhere outside of Japan), you can also use a cheese slicer, because it has a similar shape;
- It takes an expert an hour to form the perfect pile of incense ash;
- Decorations can make use of flamboyant flowers and yet be tastefully understated at the same time;
- Advanced zen practitioners (at least the Dutch ones) are all very pleasant people.