Birth - Simulated Space Ships

I tend to keep Birth off to one side of my mind at all times. To some extent the entire project suffers from feature creep, but rather than the usual addition of more and more features, instead it's constant addition of depth to already planned features. A fair amount of this is just that I had never completely decided on the granularity of the simulation to begin with.

So for the last few hours, I've been whiling away the time reading about ion thrusters, and trying to decide on some sort of formal design for the engine of the space ship. Since no engines exist that exhibit the capabilities needed for our theoretical ship, this means a strange walk into "who the fuck knows" land, as I try and guess what parts a non-existent engine could possibly need. Some portion of this is obvious, there must be some form of reaction and some form of exhaust. Whether they are separated parts as they are in a car engine, or contained in the same space as they are in an ion engine is a bit of a hard debate. In large part, it works best if the only segment of the engine exposed to space is a single metal part much like the body of the craft. That way the functional segments of the engine are all available for on-site maintenance and repairs.

But significant questions must remain, does the engine produce the electricity or does it run off electricity? Does it require coolant? Is the reaction explosive in nature, corrosive, or expansive? An explosion would be more like a traditional rocket, it would require large amounts of fuel and also oxygen. Engine based off the basic Ion engine design tend to be highly corrosive to their parts, but require no oxygen and therefore can be very hot but will never explode. Expansive on the other hand gains force from the rapid expansion of a gas in a contained space with release in only the intended direction of force, which can be a pretty low maintenance but fuel expensive method. Technically the first and third methods are almost exactly the same, since an explosion is simply the hot and violent expansion of a source fuel. Perhaps a super high pressure containment unit which leaks a small amount of high explosive material into a blasting chamber would be the ideal form of those two.

The underlying model of the Ion engine on the other hand is high maintenance, ultra low (compared to rocketry) thrust, but super fuel efficient which allows for greater top speeds since it can run significantly longer. Most importantly though, although the engine itself is fuel efficient in terms of momentum/L, it requires an outside source of electricity in order to run. This brings a whole new barrel of monkeys to the field, should it be supplied by batteries, a motor, or a miniature power plant? It would be very understandable for larger ships to feature nuclear reactors, but what are the limitations to that? Should all big ships have nuclear reactors or only military ships? Could this mean a bunch of ships with really big standard ICEs?

Of course, if I was purely interested in making a narrative based game based entirely around piloting this would hardly matter. But since the beginning birth was intended to be largely simulation. Partly because without these levels of simulation it would be impossible to ever play the part of an engineer like Kaylee for instance. Perhaps I'm very strange, but I think it would be fun to see how long and how well you could keep a ship running on a shoe string budget.


The Dream

Lately, I've found myself very torn. I've held two great dreams in life for a long time now, two things that I always wanted to accomplish. The first is to be a game designer, the second is to be an artist, preferably within the games industry. The two have had me torn at odds for a long time now, Game Design I value more, but I have a harder time completing anything in it, even simple projects. Art on the other hand, I've been building a huge amount of work experience with, but still remain hugely limited, like I'm always struggling just to catch up with the coat tails of the artists around me.

The greatest problem though, is that recently a third dream has emerged, and without my even realizing it has completely overshadowed both of those dreams. This one though, is probably the hardest of all to accomplish.

My dream is to build a school, of sorts. I'm sure that most people who know me, and my opinions of the education system, would be very surprised by that. Of course, I hardly plan on becoming a teacher or a professor at a present institution, since the teaching itself is not my dream.

Ever since I was young, I knew I was in the top ten percent of my classes, of my school, possibly even my city. You have to understand I'm not saying that to boast, most of my readers will have probably done as well or better. I was born in a lower middle class family, my father had training in nuclear school while in the Navy, but nobody in my immediate family had, or has yet gotten, a college diploma. I primarily blame this on us all being rebellious fucks, but each of us had... other factors as well.

There have been a number of major roadblocks in my life, my father pushing me out of the school system, and then into college too early, my depression, the simple fact that my family has always been too poor to really afford college, but not poor enough to qualify for any sort of aid. Of course, it doesn't help that I'm a rebellious fuck as well. ~.^ (I'm also mortally afraid of my own shadow, which doesn't help.) My thought is... is this really all that uncommon a story? How many gifted losers are there, out there, right this minute. People who, like me, had the smarts to succeed, but not the tools, not the support system, not the environment.

The school in my mind is not a school as the current education system would consider it. It would be open to high school age on up. The curricula would be solid, I actually strongly believe in the importance of basic education, but it wouldn't be the focus. The focus of the school would be a place for the individual to heal, to be with people like them, to challenge their own personal roadblocks, and to face the world again with a set of tools to support their own unique brands of genius. There would be no regular grading, I'm completely against it. My current thought is tests, though not necessarily the standard variation of test we have now. It's important to me the atmosphere be non-judgmental, it's not about when a student completes their courses, or how well. The point is for the student to develop their own wings, capable of carrying them through the rest of their life.

I'm sure there are some who will think my dream is too kind. But having observed first hand the results of wings broken by life, I find the current system too cruel for my taste. Still, I face a significant challenge, how can I form this particular dream into a reality. As it stands... I have no idea.


The Meme got me.

In response to Ysh's Meme tagging me.

I present you EVE screenshot number 6.

This is my Celestis, my first cruiser. I used it to hop around the higher end of low sec, clearing drone bases for loot and glory. For a while I even tried some exploring with it... didn't work out for me for some reason.

Other than that...

I had the initial glimmer of an idea for this on Monday... truth is I haven't got much of an idea what to do with it. The core concept was a cross between a motorcycle and a snowboard, basically allowing urban snowboarding... though possibly even higher speeds. Maybe I'll work on something resembling a skate clone to put it into, I've also wanted to work on a project involving high speed movement.


The Beast is Back!

My personal computer (the Beast) has, with the help of a power supply aptly named "Beast Power", recrossed the river styx and is currently running just fine.

What does this mean for me? All of my installed games are back. All of my project data is back. I once again have access to professional level photomanipulation and 3d modeling tools. My entire music library once again at the tips of my fingers (sadly I'm not sure it'll ever recover from the hdd wipe of last year though.) Reference Material!

What does this mean for you... don't actually know yet, I'll get back to you on that.


Mechanic: Prayer

I haven't sat down and designed a full mechanic in a while. Let's see if I still have the touch.



Alignment is your relative standing with a particular Spirits. A spirit you have a good alignment with will grant you more power than one with neutral or enemy status. Alignment is a floating scale between 0 and 100.

Sacrifice is the ability to power the prayer yourself by sacrificing something of high enough power/worth to activate the prayer. Levels of sacrifice are item, power item, drop of blood, ounce of blood, digit, appendage, incarnation (you will respawn), soul digit (permanent), soul appendage (permanent), soul (permadeath).

Lore is your ability to decipher the make-up a prayer from it's effects. The exact source prayer is needed in order to counter it's effect.

Lash Back happens when the prayer is invalid or the power source does not cover the whole cost of the prayer. Lash Back will begin a countdown, at which point the character must either sacrifice items enough to make up the power, or it will be sacrificed from their body automatically to cast the prayer. A powerful enough Lash Back can consume the supplicant's soul. If even the soul of the supplicant is not enough to pay for the prayer, the prayer will simply fizzle at end of countdown, and the player will take a 60 second silence effect.

Basic Prayer Mechanic:
A prayer is something the player says in chat. It cannot be a macro, it must be typed directly.

/prayer [prayer type] [aoe var] [power level var] [effect] [duration var] [power source] [target]
/dispell [target] [power source] [duration] [effect] [power level] [aoe] [prayer type] [your power source]

Prayer Words (making it up as I go):
Au - Blessing
Ku - Curse
Lu - Sealing
Hu - Summoning

Oon - Self
Ion - 5 meters
Hoon - 10 meters
Hion - 15 meters
Goon - 20 meters
Gion - 25 meters
Foon - 30 meters
Fion - 35 meters
(r - 4, i - 5, y - 6, j - 7, t - 8, e - 9)
Wano - Target

Ooa - Flea
Ioa - Cantrip
Hoa - Lesser
Foa - Minor
Ioa - Standard
Joa - Higher
Eoa - Greater
Hooa - Greatest
HHoa - Legendary

Ori - Instant
Hri - 1/10 second
Hori - 1 second
Iori - 5 seconds
Hoori - 10 seconds
AriHri - 1 hour
AriGri - 2 hours
EriHri - 1 day
EriGri - 2 days
Era - Permanent

Shutho - Strengthen/Weaken
Whutho - Speed Up/Slow Down
Dhatho - Increase Health/Decrease Health
Hitho - Heal/Damage
Kitho - Cure Blind/Blind
Iatho - Luck Up/Luck Down
Motho - Cure Silence/Silence
(more to come, I'm sure)

Blessings are always buffs. A blessing gains additional power if the spirit powering it is a sympathetic aspect to the effect being used. A blessing may target a player, an object or players/objects in a range around the supplicant.

Curses are always debuffs. A curse can only be powered by sacrifice. Items that are naturally sympathetic to the effect will give a bonus in power when sacrificed. Items imbued with power from a god with sympathetic attributes give an additional bonus. A curse can target a player, an object, a place, or players/objects in a range around the supplicant.

A seal can be either a buff or a debuff. A seal can be powered by anything, but gains no bonuses from sympathetic power sources, instead sympathetic power sources make it a buff, while antipathetic sources make it a debuff. A Neutral power source will trigger Lash Back. Seals effect everything within target range. A seal may target a player or a place. A soul-seal is a seal that has been powered by sacrificing a portion of the soul, the sacrificed soul material is not destroyed until the seal is destroyed. (Sacrificed soul parts also cannot be used as a power source)

A summon calls a player or ally from one location to another. Summons may be powered by anything, and are cheaper if target is sympathetically aligned to power source used. The syntax for a common summon is simpler, requiring only "[prayer type] [power source] [target]". A summon with full syntax is considered a summoning soul-seal, it can only be powered by sacrificing a portion of the soul and can only target mobs. Summoning Soul-Seals allow the player to summon the target anywhere any time at minimal cost, the summon is then capable of growing more powerful, and gives it's summoner a natural buff when not summoned. A supplicant must have good alignment with the mob's patron spirit, or it can cause the seal to fail or a lingering debuff. (When a player is summoned, they have the option of not accepting the summon, this will not cause lash-back with the summoner.)

An Imbuement is technically a seal, though considered separate for our purposes. Imbuements can only target items, and have no outright effect. An Imbuement places power of the type used as a source into an item, allowing it to be sacrificed for that power at a later date. If it is a weapon, then the player will gain damage benefits related to it's type. Those benefits are proportionally limited by the players alignment with the source of the power imbued in the object. A weapon Imbuement that involves the sacrifice of a player's body or soul is instead proportionally limited by time spent holding the weapon and number of times it is used to attack and can only effect damage output. An item can only be imbued once.



"Listen, Ms. Glaswel-" He began in a calm reassuring tone.

"That's Mrs. Glaswel. It took four years hard fucking to earn that title, so I'll thank you not to forget it." Her manner was anything but reassuring. She shifted ever so slightly in her seat, but it gave the distinct impression of a snake coiling before a strike.

"Yes, well, Mrs. Glaswel... I'm afraid the company is undergoing some, restructuring."

It had been quiet on that particular floor of that particular building until just then. A sort of cloying silence had hung in the air, bringing with it a distinct sense of foreboding. That was changed in an instant.

"I'm FIRED!?" A few more moments of indistinct shouting and even less distinct middle management run around speak passed before the door flew open. "Yeah well you can take your 'inappropriate conduct' complaints and shove them up the nearest..."

Later that night

"So how was work today?" Her wife was leaning back further than her chair was designed to go, the foot she wrapped around the leg of her desk providing only a tenuous amount of support. The drawings scattered around her desktop ranged from barely started to almost complete, without any one really seeming to be the focus of the desk space.

"I... was." She started but couldn't bring herself to finish.

"Oh, you was. Sounds fascinating, care to elaborate?" The twinkle of mischief in her wife's eye set her on edge even more.

"I was fired, okay!" she snapped, glaring off into some unknown space to avoid having to look into her lover's eyes. The chair came crashing to the ground, spilling the young brunette artist out at her feet. She looked down incredulously as the laughing started, but then found herself joining in despite the tears she could feel forming in her eyes.

It was a short drop down to the ground where laughed together for a while. Finally the tears took over and all she could do was sob while the young brunette held her close. "We can't help it now," the artist mused, "might as well just relax tonight. We can worry about what to do about this tomorrow. So... what do you want for dinner?"

"Chinese." She half sobbed.

"Chinese it is then."

* * *

Hmm... I don't feel like this one has a proper ending. Oh well, I just wanted to get something written for now, maybe I'll come back and make some changes later.




MMO IPs and a little bit of philosphy

Am I the only one who finds the IPs people choose to make MMOs out of kind of... weird? Almost as weird as my tendency to misspell weird 'wierd', thank god for spell-check. Anyways, I'm not just talking about some fantasy vs. sci-fi argument rehash. I mean if I were looking for qualities that set an IP apart for ease of transition, I sure as shit wouldn't pick Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, or Warhammer. It's not that they're bad, it's just... well it's like mining tin instead of gold, lots more mining for comparatively less profit.

Let's take LotR for just a second. It's got the obvious pieces, swords, monsters, a few races and some good back story. Now you need to write a reason for the player to be in the story, either double your work by including both factions or find some way to make PvP somewhat reasonable, and build a world where your players can socialize at different levels without even having full control of your mapping and architecture. If you take a step back and look at pretty much all of the IPs that have been carried over, they were picked for nerdbase (or better put nerdgasm), but all of them require some serious designer two-step and worst of all they need it in places that are basically no-win scenarios with the fan base.

My take? Well first off, we're gonna have to leave the American culture sphere since, honestly, they don't have much that's quite so perfect. So my first three proposals would be Pokemon, Angelic Layer, and Air Gear. Kids, pre-teens, and older teens to adults respectively, hell if you allow some of their nudity shenanigans Air Gear would be more adult than Age of Conan on it's best day. Now why these?

What advantages do these IPs offer? For starters, no death. This means we never have to worry about why all the source material characters were afraid of dieing, when the players have the immortality button. Organized PvP. Not only do we have a reasonable system for players to fight each other, we also have leagues, ladders, duels, team duels, scoring systems, betting systems, achievements, titles, and even story driven battles. Directed social interaction. This is probably the most important of all, and it's tied into the organized PvP but it's just as important in PvE and downtime. These shows have already shown us when, where, why and how the players interact, when they fight, when they cooperate, when they just talk and hang out. Right now there is a lot of complaining about the grind, and people are right to knock it, we've gotten so focused on how every needs to be the hero we've missed something. Practice. Nobody is perfect at first, and sometimes you practice alone, but what really makes practice so awesome is you get to hang out with your friends and see each other grow as you do it. Walk around alone and of course it's just going to suck sooner or later.

Let me get philosophical here for a minute. Game designers have had a good long time to learn how to make a game fun for someone for a little while. We've also had a while to learn how let a few friends have fun and compete for years. So far this has all been in the context of real life, distributed virtual scoring for virtual representation of an identity. The real advantage of an MMO is the unified context, you aren't just doing something, you're doing it with everyone around you and you're all sharing in one great big experience. It's not about solo or group, or anything so fucking divisive, even when you're alone you're in the middle of the great stream of players and activity around you. If that stream slows down, it sucks, but it never stops till the devs pull the plug and walk away.

These IPs have a flow guide, a route already laid out. If it wasn't so apparent that the industry needed training wheels, I wouldn't bother pointing them out. Listen, the reason nobody is going to overthrow WoW is because it needs more than just that perfect storm of publicity. I never thought polish was the right word, and I'm tired of all the debates over the word fun, the fact is it has to be a fundamentally good game and it has to generate enough content to bridge the gap of four years within a month. With these IPs you have one job, render their fundamental hat in terms of fun game play then follow the map making minor corrections as needed. That doesn't mean it can't still be a fun project, and I think there are more than a few big names in the industry who need to get their asses back to the roots of game design.

I know I don't have a job in the industry, and my projects aren't really working out all the time. I've got my problems, but if anyone at the top is reading this, look out. You keep it up with the phoned in performances, and I'm gonna catch up to bite you in the ass. I'm tired of playing around, so consider yourself warned.


Queen of Nor




Hard Learned Lessons

I've learned a few lessons in drawing the hard way. Today I want to share the biggest bitch that comes with learning how to draw in an anime or manga style.

Moral of the story, learn volumes first! Hell, do still life drawing and life drawing, focus on the lighting and rendering. If you can render it right, you can draw it right, but if you can only draw it right, you'll have to unlearn how you see things in order to render it right.

Final Thought:
Everyone can draw a circle, square and triangle, especially since it really doesn't have to be perfect. Therefore, you already know everything about shape needed to start doing still life. The real challenge of still life is to look at something, say an orange for instance, and instead of mentally filling in a shape, circle in this case, to instead see how the contrast between light and shadow is creating that shape. It can be boring, but hang in there and you'll appreciate it later!


Nine-ish years ago now, there was a movie named The Cell. It stared Jennifer Lopez and Vince Vaughn, and to be perfectly frank, I don't hold either in esteem for their acting abilities... But the concept... a hell of a concept, there, dream diving. I only saw parts at a time, but the cinematography and visual style were almost spot on... almost.

Six years later an anime named Paprika was released. The concept was revisited. Again it was a thriller, though this time not a crime thriller, at least not in the sense The Cell was. The acting of the drawn characters, and the voice acting behind them is clearly professional. The stylistic tone changed from obnoxiously loud to thoughtful and colorful.

At one point the conceit is carried slightly too far, but it is used to convey the final connotations of the theme. Also to finalize the exploration of the characters and their subtler motivations.

I'm not sure what I think of The Cell, to be honest. It was good, in it's way, but not a great work of cinema. I'm not sure how I feel in it's entirety about Paprika... because I am simply in awe of being allowed to witness such powerful and sublime cinema. Or to put it simpler, it would be like comparing the difference between a Micheal Bay film, and Schindler's List. For whatever faults I can eventually nit pick out of examining Paprika, I find so much more, that I hadn't even been aware of as I watched, that leaves me in awe of their writing and directing.

I only regret not watching it sooner.



Kedy was a teddy bear, a plain brown teddy bear. Her stitching was a little gilded, and her edges were looking worn. She loved a little girl named Karoline, who hugged her every night and told her what a good teddy bear she was. For five long years she kept by Karoline's side, through laughter, tears, and many hugs.

One day Karoline asked Kedy a question. It was an odd question to be sure, who else would have thought to ask but a young girl who loved her teddy bear. "What do you want to be when you grow up?" Kedy thought long and hard, hard and long, before it finally occurred, "I want to be a little girl, and laugh and sing and play with Karoline!"

"But teddy bears can't grow up to be little girls," Karoline told her. "But I want to do it anyway!" Kedy replied. "You can't do it, Kedy!" Karoline scolded. "I just want to be a little girl and laugh and sing and play with you! Don't you want that too!?"

And Karoline was quiet for a while, then stood and left the room. Kedy could only wait, wondering if she had hurt the best little girl she'd ever known. Karoline came back, with something hidden behind her back, "now Kedy, tell me really, no games, and nothing impossible, what do you want to be when you grow up!?"

"A little girl, is all. It's all I'll ever want!" But Kedy's answer made Karoline angry, and she pulled out what she'd been hiding. With one swift stroke her first stab landed, the knife cutting brown and gold. "I'm sorry" cried the little bear, as her only love attacked. "Sorry!?" Karoline called with manic glee as she ripped the bear to shreds. "How dare you say such awful things to me, stupid bear, stupid useless bear!"

The police arrived the following day, but called others on there way. It wasn't there's to take her, despite the gruesome scene. The men in white would come for one who holds her little girl and screams, "What a bad little teddy bear you've been! You should have listened to me!"




Four friends having tea.

It was dark outside of the starkly decorated room. A low table in the middle surrounded by velour cushions was the only furniture in the room, and the way the paint on the walls danced as though the water on the walls was real was it's only distinguishable aspect. Out of the open rear door, the descendants of cicadas chirped into the lonely mountain night.

Inside a woman with silver hair and eyes, wearing a worn training gi, poured tea into four handleless cups. The red headed woman nodded and said something polite as her cup was filled, the black haired man following her example, while the blonde haired man skipped the pleasantries all together to launch into conversation.

"Well, it looks like all our special training has finally paid off," he says.

"Oh yes, well some of us had more special training than others," the red head replies, glancing over at the silver haired woman.

"Be nice Mara," the black haired man warns.

"What, it's only true," Mara replies.

"I am only property, I do as my mistress commands in all things," the silver haired woman interjects.

"So you don't deny it then, Shiala," the blonde interjects.

"Oh come off it you two," the black haired man says.

"Interesting choice of words, Jenji" Mara says, prompting a laugh out of the blonde, and a coy smile from Shiala.

"Come on, you can't say you've never been the least bit curious," Mara smiles at Jenji.

"Well nothing like you and Tion seem to be... but, do you really do it just because the master tells you to?"

Shiala smiles and shrugs slightly, "perhaps."

"Typical, an answer as clear as mud," Tion laughs.

"You three don't seem to be worried about tomorrow at all," Jenji says. "I just can't stop worrying about it."

The mood sours slightly, and Shiala picks up in the absence. "We're all nervous Jenji, some of us possibly even more than you, we just each have our own way of dealing it."

"I'm worried I won't be able to notice the soul of the sword speaking to me," Mara says while spots of rose blossom on her cheeks.

"Hell, I'm worried what happens after we meet our swords. Do we get to stay here till we feel ready to go, or will we be sent off to serve some lord or other. Or worse, are we just going to find ourselves out on our assess to fend for ourselves," Tion says, placing his hands behind his head and leaning back slightly.

"Even if that happens, I don't think you three have anything to worry about. I mean, Mara, you attack like the wind, and you're only getting better. Shiala, you've got the greatest balance of all the students, some of them say it's even better than master's. Tion, well, I don't think anyone outside of this room, except master of course, has even managed to touch you lately. I don't think I have anything like that, so what would I do?" Jenji says.

"Haha, you're in this room for a reason Jenji. You may just need some time to find your own strengths." Mara smiles to him.

"In fact, Jenji, you may be the most talented of us all. You've managed to keep up with all of us despite our specializations, that takes no small skill." Shiala adds.

"Anyways, tomorrows the big day, so let's drink up! To the Master and the pursuit of honor!" Tion interrupts.

"To the Master and the pursuit of honer!" the rest repeat.

I realize I'm a little late.

So before the EVE bomb hit, everyone was discussing the announcement of the 300k subs in WAR. I would have said more earlier, but I didn't quite feel like making a one line post consisting of "I fucking told you so!"

Actually, my views have shifted a little, I'm not so down on PvE these days. And arguably, the relative inadequacies of their PvE may have cost them the most. I still stand firmly by the simple truth that you won't get WoW's numbers with a new MMO. And a large part of that is something that I had already put in words sometime around the end of GDC '08. "Any new game will be, on release, a categorically worse game than every other game on the market." Of course, I didn't account for releases within a short period, but basically a new game simply cannot hope to stack up to a mature game in terms of quality and quantity of content, it's impossible.

(By the by, the friend I told that too said that he had been told almost exactly the same thing by Scott Hartsmann while at GDC that year, thus how I know the time frame. Which reminds me, I consider oHai the next big project to watch. The last one, with audio verification to prove I'm not changing my mind in hindsight, that I considered that way was Metaplace, and lately they've completely blown me away. And that also reminds me, there is a beta and I have 10 invite keys if you want in too.)


Worth Watching

Raph has a link to one of his newest Keynotes on his blog.

This one is particularly good.


Holy F***ing S***

BoB gets bitten by Goonswarm corp theft.

Man, if I had the money... I would so resub right now.



Up until about 4pm(1600) today, I'd been having the day from hell. After 4 it was more normal, and since I'm hopefully going to go see Paul Blart: Mall Cop in a little over an hour, the day will end on a high note. But what made the first part of my day so hellish? Sentences and speech.

It's often said that particles are the glue that holds sentences together. Particles are words like the, is and it, at least I'm pretty sure they are. Anyways, as of three AM this morning I found myself given an object lesson in just how much bullshit that saying really is. As it turns out, there is actually some segment of the brain that you need to pass the words through in order to glue them together and form a sentence.

I know this with absolute certainty, because when I woke up at 3 am this morning, that part of my brain was almost entirely out of commission. The greater part of my mind was still working, in fact I was examining my condition with great fascination, and thoughts and ideas continued to form. However, it felt as though there were some amount of white noise foremost in my mind. I conjured up a few words to say to test my faculty for speech, "i" "can" "speak", had the words ready, and then underwent a herculean process of breaking through that white noise enough to form a sentence with a words. I then had to battle my mouth to make it form the tongue and lips into some formation that would create a sound other than "aaaugh" before finally being able to speak my short sentence. I'm pretty sure my voice sounded like crap just then, and in review, I may have been slurring a bit, but at the time it was one hell of a relief to get out that first sentence. A relief tempered by the fact that once out, the sentence was gone and would have to be reformed from scratch.

I went through two more test sentences in those next few minutes. Truth be told, I was rather fascinated by the processes I was feeling work in my mind. The way the words would slide around the edge of the white noise, as though trying to form a new path to each other to make those important bonds that underlie a sentence. During all of this, I felt rather like shit across my whole body, any cold air that reached my legs felt like ice, the covers didn't seem to impart any warmth, and what felt like a fever even though my forehead wasn't warm to the touch.

I didn't feel scared until what felt like probably five minutes in. The point at which it occurred to me that this may not be temporary. When I began to very vividly imagine a future in which I returned my full faculties of thought, but could never speak to, or be understood by anybody again. At this point I began to attack the noise head on, pushing as much thought as possible into and through the region. Within a few seconds, the noise began to diminish, and in around or perhaps a little under a minute, the noise went away and I was able to function normally.

I don't remember much of the next few hours. I finished watching the series Samurai Champloo, and tried to focus on some bits of writing and fluff for Ronin Beat. I had agreed to give someone a ride at around 9, so I wound up awake until about 9:30 when I saw them and was apparently still looking bad enough that they offered to put it off until tomorrow without my saying a word. I slept till 3, waking up more tired than when I had gone to sleep. My day finally started at around 4, and like I said, it's been pretty all around normal since, other than being very tired... well actually that is normal.

So how was your day?


Ronin Beat - New Testing Build

Testing Ready Build 2

- The damage model has been changed. Now you have a damage limit, when exceeded in a single hit you go down. When dealt over 75% of your limit in a single blow it counts as a gash. Under that is a glance.
- The d20 roll has been modified slightly. 1-15 are still dodges, and 16-18 are still normal hits. 19 is a 2x damage hit, and 20 or natural 0 as it's reported deals 2.5x damage on it's hit.

- Levels! You now have a level, and it has an effect on you. Unfortunately you do not gain experience at this time, instead you can test duels between equal level characters at levels 1, 5, and 10.
- A PC gains 20% increased damage and damage limit per level. A NPC gains 10% damage and 25% damage limit per level.

- The damage reporting segment has been updated to reflect the combat changes.
- Placeholder portraits have been added for the combatants.
- The program now has icon art.

Where to get it:
Please leave a comment in the thread if you are participating in play testing.

Also if testers could send an e-amil to RBeat.Update@gmail.com with the word "Tester" in the subject line. It'll be very helpful in allowing me to send out surveys and what not. I'll also try and keep more regular updates going out through it, and see if I can't fit some goodies of sorts into it somehow.

Ronin Beat - Levels

Early Leveling flow concept

NPC exp reward curve

1 - 1
2 - 8
3 - 24
4 - 72 - swordmaster
5 - 216
6 - 648
7 - 1944 - General
8 - 5832 - Big Bad
9 - 17496 - Lu Bu (An incredible soldier from the three kingdoms period of chinese history.)
10 - 52488 - Musashi (Most famous Japanese swordsman... EVER. A living legend in his day.)

78729 total if killed in row

PC exp requirement curve

1 - 0 - Has basic motor skills to lift a sword.
2 - 3 - New Apprentice
3 - 9 - Practiced Apprentice
4 - 81 - Swordmaster
5 - 243
6 - 729
7 - 2187
8 - 6561 - Master Kuron/Shin, Master Ken (Wanderer without title)
9 - 19683 - THE Master Ken (Most famous swordmaster on the planet)
10 - 59049 - Once a century talent, true living legend.

88545 total required to reach 10

9816 difference

PC level growth:
+20% damage output per level
+20% more damage required to wound per level

NPC level growth:
+10% damage output per level
+35% more damage required to wound per level

Some Notes:
I wanted the players to be constantly seeking someone the next level up or better, since that will drag them pretty much all the way up a level. The difference growth will, I'm hoping, mean that battles between the greatest masters will draw out a bit. Also, while a level 1 player can't one hit a level 5 no matter what, it isn't certain that a level 5 will one hit a level 1 player. It'll probably be most comfortable fighting those within a couple levels +/-, but losing isn't certain until you get closer to a 7 odd level separation.

As for the rarity of level 9 and 10s... Lu Bu was considered one of a kind in all of China, but there were probably a couple people that could have beat him... in theory. Musashi on the other hand... Musashi beat his most serious opponent, a man famous for his long sword (about 7" longer than a regular katana), with a long wooden sword he reportedly fashioned from the spare ore of the boat that was bringing him. He was cagey, for certain, but let's face it he was also completely awesome. (Or the historians of the time just suck and he really assassinated him with the help of his students... for our purposes, we'll stick with the popularized version of him.)