Monthly Archives: November 2013

Word Press Users

I’m not sure why people kept signing up to be subscribers on our site – they all looked to me  like automated hack attacks.   All subscriber users have been deleted and the site settings changed to not allow folks to register automatically.

If you are a real person and want to register, let me know via a comment on this post and I’d be happy to add you in.

Pits of Seth 2

Well, I’m supposed to be working on Solar Trader, but Robert sent me his latest draft of Pits of Seth 2 and asked me to try it out…  It’s fun.  If you liked the original, you’ll love the new version.  If not, you’ll like it, but may not appreciate the differences.

It’s close to being ready to be posted.   I found some minor issues that Robert will be tweaking and then I think that’ll be up soon.

Be warned, it’s addictive.  Once you start, you want to go just a bit further.  Now if only I can stop playing POS2, I’ll go back to SolarTrader and try to finish my next round of work there.

Old code…

While waiting for Jesse to finish up his part of Solar Trader, I’ve been reworking Pits of Seth for a long-needed update. Already, I’ve added sounds, better damage controls, and dungeon “area” to give it a more lived-in feel.

But what is most striking is my sloppy code the first time around. This was my first game in excel, and I was still learning as I was doing. Most of the dungeon creation was done with cascading tables – really quite interesting (even beautiful) in a way. But I was still learning VBA – just looking stuff up on the net as I needed it, and doing most of my processing in the cells.

Funny the things I don’t have, like a function to go out and fetch things I need – I’d always pump out a long-winded formula to get it direct. Tedious. So now I’m adding those (as I need to modify the dungeon before the player goes in to add those ‘areas’ I spoke of). Overall, there are a lot of things I’d do different – more code, less cell-processing – if I did it again.

But I don’t know if I ever will – POS is a friendly fun little game, and after these changes, it will be about as good as I can make it.

But we’ll see…

Pits of Seth 2 – update!

Now that I’m waiting for Jesse to finish up a review on Solar Trader (Alpha), I’ve started doing all the changes I’ve promised for POS. And it’s really coming together. New things to look for in the next version…

1) Sounds – mostly in. Some of them are a hoot!

2) Large corridor – more of a hint towards what lies ahead!

3) Special area – there will be new randomized layouts for small areas (barracks, the harem, the treasure vault, etc) that will appear on each level, three per level. These will use the new Large Corridors to help define them.

4) Death-step – I didn’t like that you could go from 4 health to 0 in one hit. So now, the game will grind you down to 1 point but not let you go to death unless you were nearly dead. This means you’ll get maybe ONE chance to perhaps throw a spell or run or something before you get killed. This should make it a bit easier to live. At least death won’t come as a total surprise.

Anyway, all this should be coming out soon. Sounds are half-in and corridors are working. We’ll see if I can wrap this update up quick!

System War One!

Well, this sucks.

There you are, sitting in your tiny scout ship when a massive alien mothership skids in a deceleration slingshot around our sun, blowing out system-wide communications and dumping elements of a vast fleet (complete with dreadnaughts) across inner space. The Earth fleet is scattered to the various planets and all you can do is to assemble them.

You’ll need to play this smart and hot, probing and analyzing and guessing. Maybe you’ll find a disabled civilian ship with a specialist you can use! Or maybe you’ll smash into an asteroid and doom us all the the hive’s feeding vats. It all comes down to how clever and lucky you are.

So probe your way through that inky night. Good luck. We’re all counting on you!

(to download, go to The Games: System War One and pull it down there. Full rules, sounds, screen icons (and, of course, the game) are all in the zip file.


Why we fight

Finally had a little time last night to sit down with Dispatcher and play a bit of a game. I’d play myself, and see how it went.

Okay, first thing I haven’t done in a long time – set up the counters on the “order of battle”. I had to put about a hundred train counters into their starting cities, on the little grid of starting positions. And unfortunately, the game only listed ending cities on the counters so it took a bit of looking about. We certainly don’t do that now in our games. It all happens in a blink of an eye.

So I started playing both sides to see how it went. Hoo boy. See, Dispatcher uses a unique system – phases – though in 1958 they didn’t detail it, only implied it. If a train moves four squares in a turn and a turn is an hour, than that train moves at, say, 8:00am, 8:15am, 8:30am, and 8:45am. A train moving two squares and hour moves 8:00am and 8:30am. You move all the 8:00am trains first, then the 8:15’s, and so on. Even doing it railline by railline, it got confusing fast. I found myself consulting the timetable, thinking did I move this guy? I’m sure there were mistakes galore.

So, yes, the game was a lot of fun (before I gave it up – I’d made a number of serious mistakes). But I’d like to play it more, and I’d really like to see it computerize (so the computer can help you along). So I’ll be looking at this next.

I do want to write it so other divisions can be added – users (or designers) can add their own.

But first, I’ve got to get that Solar Trader Alpha version out to you guys. Jesse’s got it for review.


Avalon Hill’s Dispatcher

While running a train at a model railroad ops session (where we “game” a model railroad into being a real “day” on a railroad), I accidentally brushed a stack of stuff under the layout with my leg. It fell over. Oops. Stooped down to restack it and there was Dispatcher.

Back when I was a kid, I played an old Avalon Hill game, C&O/B&O, a train game where two railroads compete for revenue and efficiency over a 24 hour period. Yes, this was a “war” game, with counters and dice and a board game. I loved it and played it a lot – solitaire – since I couldn’t find anyone else to play.

But I knew it came from a game called Dispatcher, a pair of fictitious railroads locked in conflict. In the time before internet, I’d only heard rumors about it. Never saw it. Had no idea.

And now there it was.

I only have a few minutes to look at the contents. The owner saw me down there, hunched over a game that was 54 years old (as old as I am, since it was published the year I was born). He made a copy of the rules for me in his wife’s home office and I read them on the long trip home. I was fascinated.

Talked to him in the week that followed and finalized a purchase – I’d buy the original from him, with the maps and cards and counters. So in a day or so, I should have it.

And who knows – maybe it will be another game. Keep an eye here for details.