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Monday, December 18, 2006

Blogger Beta

It seems that Google has updated blogger, and is strongly encouraging us to "make the switch". Well, I just did, and I can definitely see some improvements!

The one that is most obvious to you, is that I can now add labels to my posts. What are labels, you ask? They are essentially keywords that tie posts together in a way other than by date. For example, I just went through and added "RealmSpeak Release" as a label to all the posts that reference a new release. At the end of such a post, you'll see a hyperlink with the words "RealmSpeak Release". Click on that link, and you will get a list of all the release posts, clear back to version 0.1!! Pretty cool.

It's Christmas in Magic Realm

The bad news: no new release until 2007. I had hoped to wrap up the current version I'm working on before Christmas, but the fact is that time is running out. I've got relatives coming this week, and still a bunch of shopping to do. I seriously doubt I'll have much coding time between now and then.

The good news? Besides the usual bug fixes, the big new feature I've been putting together is player board building. At LOONNNG last, you'll be able to assemble the board as the rules describe, and have some control over the overall game. If you play solitaire, you will place tiles randomly, one at a time, starting with the Borderland tile. If you are playing online, tiles will be shuffled and distributed to all the players, and then each player takes a turn placing a tile. Of course, the auto-build feature will still be there if you want it (I still prefer it for solitaire games).

This feature is mostly finished, but I'm still working out a few kinks. For example, I thought it would be nice if tiles that have no possible placement (like High Pass on the first turn) were highlighted somehow. This has turned into a bit more of a nightmare than I would have imagined. For some reason, I can't get the tiles to update for other players when they should. !!!!!

I also need to handle the situation where the board reaches a state where no tiles can be placed. It's rare, but it does happen! The rules say that in this situation, you are supposed to move back to the previous player, and have them remove the last placed tile, and replace it in a way that will allow the next player to place their tile. I'm not sure how I'm going to handle this, just yet.

Anyway, I hope the holiday season is treating you all well. Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Brutal Game

Wow, that was insane. We played an online game last night (till about 1am), and it was a blast! We ran into a couple of annoying bugs (game crashes if you have combat after a day-trade between characters), but mostly could recover by reloading the auto save. Once we learned what NOT to do, things went pretty well.

Oh, and I learned some new lessons:
1) Don't fire a second Fiery Blast ambush attack on a T Troll, when you are lucky enough to survive the first round as the Sorceror.
2) Don't forget to assign your hirelings after hiring them.
3) The Witch as an absorbed Winged Demon is no match for the T Octopus (damn that thing is fast!)
4) The Dwarf on a Warhorse, and the White Knight with the Bane Sword and the Gloves of Strength is a sight to behold! These two were able to nail 2 out of 3 bats in the first round, even though they both flipped to the dark side! Unbelievable.

Oh, check out how the game started:

That's the Inn on the far right, at the edge of the map. The only way to go, is through the caves of the High Pass (guarded by the Lair, and goblins), and into the valley guarded by the ever-regenerating ghosts! Talk about getting a slow start! Starting a new character was a pain too - takes damn near a week to get through there without getting killed!

All in all, I'm pretty happy with the result. Still got some kinks to work out, but I'm already looking forward to my next game.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Taking 0.39 Out for a Spin

Unless my brother-in-law gets called in to work, I'm hoping to try v0.39 in an online game tonight. The big thing I'm looking forward to, is being able to press the END button without losing my ability to do encounter actions (see earlier post). Oh, that and the kill tally.

I'll let you know how it goes!

Version 0.39 Released

Not much to say, except that I think I've ironed out most of the Seasons/Weather bugs in this release. Thanks to everyone who pointed them out, and for those that made suggestions on how to implement seasons. I think you'll like the new changes.

Oh, for no real reason, except for the fact that I'm somewhat insane (it comes with being the father of three girls), I decided to add a checkbox for playing a "double-board" in this release. It's experimental, but I think it's basically there. I played around with it a bit, and it seemed to be working in all aspects I tried. Still, its not FULLY tested, so don't be surprised if something weird pops up while you are trying it out. If you don't like that, don't use it.

Okay, here's what's new.

  • Rearranged the host game setup dialog a bit, to make your choices a bit more clear:
    • Got rid of meaningless fields (game title, game setup)
    • Separated "host" options from "game" options
    • Moved the weather option out of the Optional tab (too many people not seeing it there), and onto the main tab.

  • Weather info dialog improvements
    • Includes 7th day color magic
    • Shows ALL weather possibilities, with the current weather highlighted

  • [346] - Support for Double Board (experimental)
    • New choice in setup dialog
    • Experimental means that I haven't tried everything yet, so you may encounter some "weirdness".
    • Double-board means more memory, slower startup, and slower initial network connections (if playing online). You've been warned!
    • It is worth looking at - pretty danged cool.
    • Treasures are limited to their own setup cards, and chits to their own tiles, which is wrong I know. It makes it playable, though not as variable as the rules allow. I'll tackle this at a later date.

  • [627] - Choosing a Random Season no longer causes the season to change randomly each time you reload the game.
  • [459] - If you are starting RealmSpeak from the command line, you can include the savegame filepath after "run" to have it loaded automatically. If you don't understand this, you probably don't need to use it.
  • [512],[625] - Persuade/HIRE works with Giants and Ogres again
  • [611] - Characters put to sleep by the Flowers of Rest, will no longer summon monsters
  • [549] - Flowers of Rest will put you to sleep BEFORE you can finish your trade now.
  • [630] - Month length based on days, not turns now.
  • [637] - Kills on character log are working again
  • [638] - Commerce table considered in special abilities and treasures that affect meeting rolls.
  • [639] - Commerce table Block/Battle result now causes characters to become unhidden, just like the Meeting table
  • Fixed responsiveness of mouse clicks on combat sheets - no more clicking 3 or 4 times to get it to place your danged weapon
  • [635] - Roof Collapses appears correctly on combat sheets, so you know it's been placed.
  • [642] - Chapel emits WHITE magic again.
  • [641] - Fatigue dialog allows fatiguing MAGIC chits for weather fatigue
  • [581] - When characters leave hirelings behind in a clearing with natives, the character no longer has an opportunity to buy drinks.
  • [577] - Flying characters will be blocked immediately after landing in a clearing with a monster. No more free HIDE phase!
  • Changed how the dotted (flying) lines are drawn when plotting a FLY move. Rather than end at the "offroad" location, they go to the center of the tile. Flying chits are still drawn in the offroad location, so that they aren't confused with those that are in clearings.
  • [584] - Natives with ponies moving out of caves don't gain pony moves during the turn.
  • [636] - Blazing Light works when you move out of the clearing now.
  • [643] - Ghosts regenerate each week again.