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Saturday, December 15, 2007

Version 0.59.1 Patch Released

A few necessary fixes, and a couple of bonus ones. Here's what's new:

  • [1206] - Fixed a game killing bug that only occurs if you play with development rules turned OFF
  • [1207] - The "Distribute" button was not working if none of the players had inventory, but did have gold. This is fixed.
  • [1072] - If you are blocked BEFORE your turn, you will not summon monsters anymore (as per the rules)
  • [1185] - When you aim to sell items to a native group, you will no longer be charged a TRADE action if you press cancel before proceeding.
  • [1090] - Boots are checked after ALL items are sold as a group, not individually anymore
  • [1118] - Abandoned treasures are no longer face up
  • [1208] - Characters killed by another character's attack spell transfer inventory correctly now
  • [1162] - When you are teleported by WISH, your hirelings will remain behind, as they should.

Patch Coming

At least one person has reported that there is a game killing bug in the last release. I'll get a patch up today, but in the meantime, please be entertained here.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Version 0.59 Released

A bunch more fixes, and a number of improvements. Here's what's new:

  • Character Builder
    • [1190] - Edit Symbol (no longer "Load Symbol") now has an option for disabling the icon invert code for when the icon appears on solid black. This is good for color icons.
    • [1183] - New File menu option to export character graphics alone
    • [1198] - Fixed a problem with monster immunity to "Flying Demon" - should have been "Winged Demon". The Pilgrim will also behave now.

  • Season/Weather Notifications
    • [1180] - Whenever the season or weather changes, you'll see a green notification bar appear on the map. It will vanish the first time you click on the map after its appearance.
    • [1200] - Clicking on the map season icon will bring up a window that shows ALL the detail. Hovering the mouse over the icon shows a quick summary of the weather details.

  • [1099] - A new button on the inventory panel called "Distribute" will appear in development games. Allows you to share all your goods across all characters in the clearing for purposes of earning development stages. Great for solo games.

  • Fixed a problem in the battle builder when you select the Witch as a character
  • [1179] - FLY chits can be fatigued now, when you are hit with Weather fatigue
  • [1189] - Flying companions can follow you when you FLY now.
  • [1187] - No more errors with Broomstick FLY chit
  • [1177] - END button works when the game finishes naturally
  • Clicking on EARNED cells in the victory panel table, shows the calculations now.
  • [1192] - Fixed a mouse error
  • [1191] - Split WIZARD optional abilities into two separate options in the setup dialog
  • [1193] - Phase chits and Boons can't be "dropped" anymore
  • [1194] - No longer allowed to trade Timeless Jewel when it is active. This should end the problem where RealmSpeak was allowing you to trade the TJ and continue with your turn.
  • [1203] - Can no longer rearrange or drop items when you are blocked.
  • [1202] - Curse and PoP, when cast by Imp/Demon, can be controlled with Magic Wand now, as well as any other die modifiers (ie., Lucky Charm)

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Version 0.58 Released

Not a lot "new" in this release. Mostly some necessary bug-fixes to get RealmSpeak back in line since the addition of custom characters. I'm going to start adding unit tests where I can, to prevent some bugs from recurring (something I should have been doing all along), so hopefully that will make RealmSpeak more reliable going forward.

Here's what's new:

  • Character Builder Updates
    • [1171] - Added spiders to the monster immunity page, and companion page
    • [1170] - Choose between two classes (fighter and magicuser) for purposes of random selection in the chooser

  • [1157] - Fixed Map of Ruins treasure AGAIN - Added a unit test to this so it shouldn't break again
  • FLY chit bugs fixed:
    • [1151] - FLY chits available only when you achieve the correct level
    • [1154] - FLY chits are fatigued properly when running away
    • [1153] - FLY chits are properly included in the effort calculation now
    • [1169] - Running away with the flying carpet is working properly again now.

  • [1168] - Dwarf gets his 1 die roll in caves for HIRE and TRADE, as well as MEETING now
  • [1155] - Shielded Lantern is no longer restricted by the "Shield" Item Restriction custom ability
  • [1164] - DUCK and similar type chits are no longer included when determining how much your character can carry.
  • [1152] - When you try to activate a restricted item (per advantages), you'll now get a message telling you why you can't.
  • [1158] - Reset button works on luring page again.
  • [1160],[1165] - Problem with casting attack spells is fixed.
  • [1131] - Fixed a problem where interacting with your CACHE containing heavy items was testing your boots unnecessarily
  • [1149] - Fixed a problem that crashes RealmSpeak when you have a custom character in your "characters" folder, with a name that matches treasure locations (like "Statue")

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


I just played through a game with my custom Vizier character (modeled after the Vizier from the Aladdin stories).

I rather like the design. If you haven't seen him, he has an immunity to snakes, and starts the game with a Viper as a companion. His fight chits are particularly weak for his vulnerability of Medium (intentional), and he's not all that quick. He has four type VI chits, and one type IV chit. This means that he can fire off one type VI spell per turn, and rarely has a chance to do type IV spells without another source of purple magic. He is also unable to enchant tiles.

I thought that initially he would be fairly underpowered, but after playing a game, I find that his advantages are rather nice, if a bit weird. I did lose my Viper to a battle with a T Spider early on, but at least I managed to stay alive. With development rules turned on, I knew that by achieving a new advancement level, the Viper would regenerate (this is the only way for companions to regenerate), and so I aimed to survive long enough to achieve the needed VPs. Since I started at level 4, I knew this would take some doing, especially since losing my companion already put me 2 notoriety points in the hole.

I started the game with 2 spells: Transform, and Fiery Blast. Yeah, hopeful thinking. My first major encounter after losing my Viper was with the T Flying Demon. I hid, and thought it might be worth turning it into a frog and then killing it. Alas, I turned the Demon into a Lion, but thankfully I remained hidden, so the Lion didn't attack. Whew!

I snuck out of the clearing, so I could rest my chits, and the Flying Demon returned to the setup card, which cancelled the Transform spell. I'm not sure that's correct according to the rules (might be a bug) but that was good enough for me. I went back to the Shrine where the Demon had been, and looted it for all it was worth. I managed to pick up the Scroll of Alchemy, which was perfect for the Vizier with his type VI proficiency. I stood near the Chapel and read runes until I learned all the spells. Several curses, and Chapel cleansings later, I had them all: Unleash Power, World Fades, Phantasm, and Dissolve Spell. Not too shabby!

I decided at that point to move through the caves nearby, and see if there was much treasure on the other side. In the caves, I got pounced on by a pair of Trolls, but a quick Transform turned me into an Eagle, and I was able to fly away. Cool!

I came across the Small Campfire, and the Woodfolk were waiting for me there. I rested my type IV chit, and made more purple magic before moving into the evening. The Woodfolk decided to battle me, so I quickly turned into an Eagle, and somehow managed to kill the leader, before flying away. Sneaking back, and looting the clearing, I found one L Bow, M Bow, and both small treasures (Alchemists Mixture and some other potion... can't remember now). With the L Bow (couldn't really use the M Bow - not strong enough), I used ambush to slowly kill the remaining Woodsfolk. I finished cleaning up the clearing, and moved into the Cliff tile.

Whoa! The Lost Castle reveals itself, along with the Lair, Hoard, Pool, and Altar, as well as a tub-full of dragons. I wasn't able to do much but fly away as the Eagle , and land in a nearby woods tile, where the Vipers appeared. With the Vizier's immunity, the Vipers simply watched me rest my chits, and allowed me to move back towards the Cliff. At the site of the Woodsfolk slaughter, the Lancers had appeared (FRIENDLY), and the Vizier was finally able to unload some previous loot, and earn enough gold to hire the Lancers, AND achieve a new level (yay, my Viper friend is back!) With an army of Lancers, a Viper, and a well-oiled bow, I thought it was time to make work of the Dragons in the Cliff, and revel in my riches.

Without going into excruciating detail, I can tell you that we cleaned up a lot of dragons, but ultimately, a few crummy rolls left me in the grips of the T Flying Dragon, with not much else to do but die. It sucked, but the game was fun nonetheless. I considered reloading an earlier save, but I'm thinking I should probably quit for the night, and spend some time with the family downstairs. :-)

Happy Thanksgiving everyone, and may your travels be safe!

Version 0.57 Released

This release fixes most (all?) of the bugs related to custom advantages from the last release, and adds a whole bunch more new advantages. Also fixed a few bugs from the regular game. Not much else to say, except here's what's new:

  • [977] - When playing a local game (non-network), the gold chit placement dialog will allow you to place all the chits at once, and will not cycle through characters unnecessarily.
  • New Custom Advantages
    • Lock picking (open VAULT, CRYPT, or CHEST without keys)
    • Different starting gold amount with an option for setting maximum recorded gold
    • Item Restrictions (i.e., can specify that Suit of Armor cannot be worn)
    • "Plus One" die mods (disadvantage)
    • Start the game with a companion
      • Many monster types (not all)
      • Transform types (Lion, Eagle, Bird, Squirrel, Frog)
      • If you are doing development, you DO get the companion when you achieve the level
      • Companions regenerate when you advance a level (is this too powerful?)

    • Rest counts double advantage (like Dwarf)
    • Walk Woods ability on the 7th day of the week
    • Monster Immunity - generalizes the concept of "Demon Immunity"
      • Demon Immunity is no longer available on the miscellaneous panel
      • You can specify any number of monsters, including those from Pruitt's expansion
      • Immunity means that the monster cannot attack you, cannot be lured, and cannot block you at any time.

    • Natural armor - character has a natural armor like monsters
      • Dampens attack sharpness as if it hit armor
      • If real armor is hit, it does NOT dampen sharpness again (unless you are playing with penetrating armor rules)
      • Once sharpness is dampened by this armor, the full effect of the attack is taken (i.e., you don't simply get a single wound!)

    • Not really an advantage, per se (it doesn't take up a slot), but you can create FLY chits among your regular character chits
      • FLY chits must have at least one effort asterisk to be valid.
      • FLY chits are fatigued when used, much like MAGIC chits - this is true for regular (daytime) movement, as well as combat maneuvering or running away. Yeah, flying is hard.
      • You only fatigue a FLY chit when you "take off", not for every tile moved.
      • If you "take off", land, and "take off" again, you will be fatiguing TWO FLY chits, if you have them.
      • Because of the changes in the FLY code, if you have other options (flying steed, flying carpet, flying spell, etc) you don't need to fatigue your FLY chits.

    • Other special CHIT abilities:
      • BERSERK-like vulnerability adjustments
      • DUCK-like movement chits
      • DUCK-like fight chits
      • You get to give the chit its own "name" here, but MOVE, FIGHT, MAGIC, and FLY are reserved names. Otherwise, anything goes: take care not to make something toooo long. :-)

  • Character Builder
    • New chit INVALID indicator when chits are not... well... valid!
      • MOVE chits with a strength less than your vulnerability are invalid
      • MAGIC or FLY chits without effort asterisks are invalid

    • Added a new export function, so you can save an image of your character card without the picture
    • Added a "Suggest" button to the description field of every advantage type, so you can get a default if you don't feel like writing it yourself.
    • New "Edit Notes..." button allows you to add/edit notes for your character. This is a good place to keep track of character versions, or mention that you made changes to someone else's design.

  • Reworked flying logic
    • if you have multiple flying possibilities, you get to pick which one you want to use
    • if you will drop items by flying, you get a warning now BEFORE it happens

  • Fixed a problem with giving weapons names with more than one word
  • [1119],[1124] - Fixed problems with custom characters using "optional" advantages:
    • Druid Lull (no site chit summoning)
    • Magician's MAGIC chits don't fatigue
    • Wizard's ability to skip SPX phase
    • Druid's immunity to curses

  • [1120],[1114],[1117] - Fixed an issue with MEETING die roll modifications (affected both Knights, and custom characters with the meeting table diemods)
  • [1125] - Custom Characters with more than one extra phase, will behave properly now
  • [1116] - Added the awakened spell count to the search buttons for Read Runes
  • Fixed a problem where some of the temp files were not getting deleted for the character builder
  • [1115] - Support for negligible weight weapons
  • [1123] - Characters that have the ability to start at the GHOSTS will not crash the game anymore
  • [1130] - A problem with custom weapons crashing the game during combat is fixed.
  • [1133] - Fixed a problem with how tweaked-imported characters were appearing in the character chooser
  • [1135] - Cannot inactivate enchanted items during combat anymore
  • [1141] - Fixed some minor annoyances in the character builder tool
  • [1144] - Fixed the log so it is clear that gold bounty is split across all simultaneous attackers
  • [1136] - A recurring problem with the three Map treasures is fixed.
  • [1122] - T chits without effort asterisks are no longer fatigued when opening the VAULT or CRYPT

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Multi-player Games and Custom Characters

Here is something to note, if you ever play a multiplayer game: each character has its own unique checksum, that is constructed from everything about them. If you so much as change the case of a letter in the name, the checksum is different. The only things that don't change the checksum, are the pictures.

When the host starts a new game, all the host's characters are preloaded, and the checksums are cached. Each player that joins is quickly compared against these checksums: if they are missing a character, or even have a modified version of one of the hosts characters (different checksum), they are informed, and then kicked off the server. All they need do at that point, is get a copy of all the hosts characters, and they'll be set to go. This guarantees that everyone is playing with the same starting crowd. Also, this gives the host some control over what characters can be played. The last thing a host wants, is some rogue player playing a demi-god character with all T1 chits, full armor, and a greatsword!!

I suppose I could have built in an automatic transfer mechanism, but I hesistate to do stuff like that without the computer owner's knowledge. It opens the doors for all kinds of problems: where do I put the transferred characters? do I overwrite existing characters? do I delete them when the game ends? etc. Its just as easy for the host to e-mail an archive of the character set they will be using for a particular game to all the players before-hand.

One more thing: though a joining player must have the same character set as the host, there's no problem if they have additional characters in their custom folder. They still can't use the additional characters in the online game, but at least they don't have to delete or move them to play.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Version 0.56.1 Released

Sorry about the double-release. I just HAD to get the card exporter fixed, and the ACME gif exporter I was using was just driving me nuts (I've completely ripped this out, so the Acme license is no longer needed). Now I'm using PNG files internally, and the exporter creates a JPG file. Plus, you can import images from any of these formats: GIF, JPG, PNG. Both GIF and PNG support transparency, so either of those will work fine for your token/weapon icons.

Oh, and thanks to those of you who have already added ideas to the Wiki. Since a couple were so darned easy, I went ahead and added a few new advantages to the miscellaneous tab.

One final point to make: I plan to always keep the rschar files supported, regardless of which version they were created in. If I ever change the format, I WILL make a conversion tool, so you should never have to make them again from scratch. This release is no exception: if you made any characters with v0.56, they will continue to work with v0.56.1. :-)

Here's what's new:

  • New Custom Advantages under Miscellaneous
    • Enhanced Peer ability
    • Remote Spell ability
    • Timeless Jewel-like ability

  • More graphics file types supported: GIF, PNG, JPG
  • Character Card Exporter works (creates a JPG file)

Graphics Revelation

I had a bit of a graphics revelation this morning. I didn't realize that Java has its own built-in support for exporting PNG files (which do support transparency, as it turns out). Since PNG files can be created without first indexing the image, I will be able to lift the restriction on GIF files for all images. I'm thinking about doing a sub-release this weekend (maybe in the next few minutes) that will enable GIF, JPG, and PNG as import graphics, and will get the image exporter working.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Version 0.56 Released

Okay, I think I'm happy enough with the character builder now to do an initial release. Not a lot of new changes to RealmSpeak except for the addition of the custom character builder stuff.

Here's what you need to do to get started:
  1. Download the latest version of RealmSpeak (version 0.56)
  2. Unzip the archive in the usual place (your RealmSpeak folder)
  3. Double-click on the launchCharacterBuilder.bat script (WinXP)
    • Note: Another way to access the character builder, is to launch RealmSpeak the normal way, and then look in the HELP menu for the character builder.

  4. Select a "New Character" from the FILE menu
  5. Edit and save your character to the default "characters" folder.
  6. Launch RealmSpeak, and you are ready to go!
NOTE: Make sure you allow custom characters by turning the option ON in the "Expanding the Realm" tab of the "Host New Game" dialog. If you don't, only the basic 16 will be available.

Editing a character is easy. Ignoring the graphics (I'll talk about that in a moment), you can copy a premade character in about 5 minutes. You might want to start by naming your character. Change the value in the Level 4 character text field (fourth panel down on the right) from "Untitled" to something of your choosing. Edit the other three level names if you like, or leave them as is.

Once you have a name, edit the chits. Simply click on a chit, and a little dialog will pop up to allow you to change the attributes.

Press DONE, and the attributes are applied. Curious to see how you are doing? Click on the "View Card" button anytime to get a rendered version of your character card.

Now you are going to want some special advantages. Typically, a character has two, and these are typically aligned with levels 2 and 4. You don't have to comply with this, but that's how it's usually done. To edit an advantage, press the respective "Edit" button, and an advantage dialog will appear. Initially, the dialog is empty, except for a couple of buttons on the bottom. Press "New" to start working on a new advantage.

A bunch of controls will pop up. Across the top are the details of the advantage, including name, description, and a badge icon (a default badge is provided). The bottom portion of this dialog has the mechanics that will tell RealmSpeak how the advantage works. To the left, you'll see a list of categories:
  • Die Modifiers - These are all the die roll modifications you'll ever want
  • Extra Actions - This allows you to specify ANY of the day actions as an EXTRA action
  • Color Source - This makes your character a color source (I know, this is odd, but there are some designs out there that will require this)
  • Tactics Change - This lets you design a Battle Bracelet/Elusive Cloak-like ability for your character
  • Miscellaneous - This is just about everything else. You'll find all the usual advantages here, plus a few extra.

Now I know what you're thinking: what if I can't find what I need? As you can imagine, without writing a script-engine for RealmSpeak, I can't anticipate everything you might want. The best I can offer is to try and compromise for the time being, and let me know what you are after. I'm thinking a Wiki page might be the way to go for requests of this nature, and I'll try to accomodate reasonable requests in a timely manner.

UPDATE: I just added a new page to the Wiki for this very purpose.

Okay, so back to the builder. You are done with your advantage, press "Done", and it is applied. Go back and press "Clear" if you want to remove an advantage.

Your character starts the game with a weapon? Easy: click on the "Edit" button in the weapon area (one per level), and the weapon dialog appears.

Here you'll see another blank page with a number of buttons across the bottom. Click "Pick" to select a weapon from the standard Magic Realm set - OR - press "New" if you want to make your own. Note: If you decide to make your own, make sure the name is unique, or the builder will force you to use the in-game weapon of the same name (i.e., it wont let you make a different kind of weapon named "Spear") The weapon editor allows you to select the attributes, and even select a new icon. This part is actually quite fun - take a look at the scimitar and shuriken weapons I created for my two custom characters I'm releasing shortly.

UPDATE: I just added a new page for hosting custom characters. You'll find the two I made there, and hopefully I'll be hosting more from other people in the near future.

Finally, modify the other features of your character: relationships (click directly on the table to change), starting locations, vulnerability, armor, gender, etc. When you are content, save your character to the "characters" folder. You'll end up with a single rschar file that you can use to play with immediate, or share with your friends.

Okay, so I promised I would talk about graphics. I made the builder with the idea in mind that you would be able to custom design your own symbol, weapon icon, badge icons, and even card picture for your character. It does this, but there are a couple of things you need to know about before you dive in.

First and foremost, the builder will only read GIF files. I hear some of you sighing already, but this is a restriction only because of the library I'm using to export GIF files. Actually, there's another reason. Java itself can read JPG, GIF, PNG, and a few others, but GIF is the only one that I know for sure can have transparency, and this is very important. Without transparency, the symbols wouldn't lay over the top of the rendered chit the way they do in game. I know that JPG does NOT support transparency (please correct me if I'm wrong here), and though PNG does, I don't have an exporter for it. If anyone wants to give me some advice here, I'm all ears. I would love to allow any type of image file in this builder. It would sure make life easier! :-)

I do have some size recommendations. If you look in the HELP menu of the builder, you'll see what I suggest. Go ahead and experiment outside of those ranges, but I think you'll find that what I suggest works best. The picture you use for your characters has the most leeway, because the builder actually resizes it for you. Of course, you may not WANT it resized, so just keep that in mind when picking your picture.

My last point about graphics, is simply to give you a couple of links to free tools that I use:
  • GIMP - GNU Image Manipulation Program - This little guy will open ANY image format, and will save ANY image format.
  • IrfanView - A graphics viewer as well as converter (useful if you need to convert a JPG to a GIF, and don't want to mess around in GIMP)
  • - A good place to look up symbols that might be useful to use as your token.

Of course, if you already have access to some version of Photoshop, that will work too! :-)

Okay, here's a complete list of what's new in this release:

  • New Custom Character Support
    • Launch the character builder two ways:
      • LaunchCharacterBuilder.bat (provided)
      • Run RealmSpeak, and then look under the HELP menu

    • Design new characters from scratch, with full control over every aspect:
      • Names
      • Chits
      • Starting inventory (you can create your own weapons, or use the standard ones)
      • Relationships
      • Special Advantages (lots of options here)
      • Icons (token graphics, as well as individual badge icons and even weapons!)
      • Picture

    • Import one of the original 16 characters, and modify at will
    • Characters are saved as a single rschar file, which can be transferred easily from machine to machine
    • Simply drop the the character files into a "characters" folder (same level as "images" folder), and the characters are ready to go
    • Online play IS supported (Every player must have the same set of custom characters as the host, or they will not be able to join)
    • Fully formatted character cards can be generated as a gif at a click of a button, so these characters can be used in F2F or PBEM games too!

  • [1081] - Changed the wording on the "Exclude Starting Worth" description
  • Fixed a couple more windows that were getting stuck behind the main frame:
    • Treasure Setup Card View
    • Combat Frame

  • [1103] - Fixed a problem with fetching the Hall of Fame on Linux systems
  • [1109] - Mission reward calculation displayed properly now
  • [1100] - Added clearing number to Treasure Location chits in notebook view
  • [1092] - Ointment of Bite, Oil of Poison, and Penetrating Grease will now all apply to your dagger in the absence of an alerted weapon
  • [1083] - Dark Forest Hidden Paths on discoveries panel, will show the clearing plus the edge direction, so you can tell which is which now.
  • [1088] - Belt of Strength and Unleash Power place nicely together now
  • [1069] - Concurrent mod error fixed.
  • [1082] - Fixed wording of the VP Assignment option
  • Fixed a game hang when a hired leader is killed (rare)

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Custom Character Builder Coming Soon!

If you've been watching the bug database, you've probably noticed that I've not been touching too many bugs lately. The reason for this, is that I've been working on a new tool for building new characters for RealmSpeak. The tool will let you customize everything: names, chits, relationships, starting dwellings, armor, etc. It will even let you create a weapon unique to your character (a shuriken for a Ninja, for example). It even has a fairly complex tool for adding special advantages to your character.

When you are done, you save an rschar file, and when version 0.56 of RealmSpeak is released, all you do is drop this file into a folder called "custom", and you are off and running. The character will be available in the chooser, and everything about it (weapon, advantages, etc) will be ready to go! Pretty cool, eh?

Check this out: the builder will even let you choose a picture for your character, and then generate a character card. Here is one I generated for my Dark Elf character:

That's how it comes out - no tweaking in photoshop or anything. The picture that you select is even automatically cropped into the typical oval. Pretty sweet!

Anyway, I should have this thing wrapped up in a week or two, and then you guys can go nuts making characters. I'll probably provide a few of my own on my website, and then add to it when people send me their own.

UPDATE - Here's a couple more, just for fun:

UPDATE 2 - I realized I should probably give you screenshot of the builder, so you can see what it looks like. Here ya go:

Monday, October 22, 2007

Shortest. Game. Ever.

I started off as a Wraith (Witch-King level 1). I took TRANSFORM as my spell, and energized my sole IV chit into PURPLE magic. I figured that along with the VI, I could at the very least, cast this spell on myself, and hope for something good.

I moved one clearing away into the neighboring tile, and failed both of my HIDEs. I got immediately jumped on by two Heavy Flying Dragons. Since casting transform on only one of the dragons would do me no good, I cast it on myself (c'mon Lion or Eagle!!). I turned myself into a frog and was killed in the first round.

Game over.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Version 0.55 Released

Not a ton of stuff here, but enough to make it worth the download, I think. The TRADE bug is worth it alone, because I know this has caused more than one person grief.

Anyway, here's what's new:

  • [1013] - Added three layout options to the Window menu, including one that will automatically make your map as big as possible. All three have keyboard shortcuts.
  • Implemented new random number logic:
    • When you load a game, RealmSpeak will restore the random number generator to the state it was when you saved the game.
    • If you do the same actions during the day after a save, the same die rolls will occur
    • No more cheating when you fail that HIDE roll, and reload the game (though I can't stop you from changing your turn around, or adding more HIDE phases!)
    • Here's the best part: when your game crashes right after something amazing happens (roll snake eyes at a treasure site with 1 item), you don't lose the roll, assuming you repeat the same actions!

  • [1056] - Fixed a bug that freezes the game when a previously controlled bat returns to the setup card
  • [1058],[1060] - Fixed a bug in the TRADE action that freezes the game when you have an item in your inventory worth exactly zero for a particular native group.
  • [1054] - Fixed a bug that was failing to draw the blue X on the pony icon for hired leaders.
  • [1050] - Moving out of Toadstool Circle after using SP phase no longer charges you phases retroactively
  • [1077] - Fixed map season icon, so it doesn't occlude chit view.
  • Development-specific Bugs
    • [1062] - Fixed a bug that was wiping out your relationships before doing the addition at 3rd level.
    • [1067] - Knights adjustment optional rule applies to development characters now.
    • [1078] - Newly gained chits are shown immediately in the chit panel now.
    • [1055] - Gaining new chits while WITHERed will update the chits to fatigue appropriately now.
    • [1057] - Gaining new chits with chit effect (like Belt of Strength) in effect is updated appropriately now.
    • Added a new option to allow you to ignore your starting worth for purposes of advancement
    • Added a new option to allow you to gain your normal relationships at 3rd level (note: this was the default in the previous version, but now you need to turn the option on to get it)

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Version 0.54 Released

Attention! This release requires the new resource pack version 0.54.

It's been a long time coming. From day 1, character development has been in RealmSpeak in some form or another. If you've played RealmSpeak at all, you've seen the grayed out radio buttons in the character chooser that indicate selection of other levels. That's because I designed the character data structure to handle development from the start. I realized, however, that there was not much point to development, until the game had matured to a point where it would really matter.

When you start a new game, look under the "Expanding the Realm" tab, and turn on "Development". This will open this ruleset, and allow you to play a real development game. If you are so inclined, turn on "Extended Development", and you will be able to progress onto the higher levels.

One thing that I implemented here that turned out to be pretty cool, is the concept of "Advantage Badges". These badges represent the advantages that your characters get, and act as a visual cue to what you can do. This is important when you are dealing with sub-level characters, and gives you the feeling of leveling up when you earn new badges.

When you get your first look at these things, be kind: I drew all of them by hand. That said, I'm open for improvement in this arena, and will glady entertain any graphics replacements for those I created. Keep in mind, however, I get to be the final judge, and wont promise that any image submissions will be used. If you do want to send one, they must be 32 x 32 pixels, and I would ask that they be GIF (but I can always convert them if need be).

What's not here? I made no attempt to deal with the rules that END a game when you achieve your VPs. No rewards beyond aquiring VPs is built in. For the most part, you are going to want a double-board, and multi-month game to make playing development worth your while. There's also no way to preserve a character from game to game. I imagine that will come someday, but its not there now.

One reason I'm hesitant to release this version, is that I'm sure that the way I've implemented the development rules is going to differ from how some of you are used to. For the most part, it follows the design in the 3rd-edition rules. There's also likely to be a few bugs in the implementation, though I can tell you that I've been playtesting this thing all week, and its pretty solid.

A fairly minor feature that I added is worth mentioning. When I first added seasons/weather, I put an icon on the main character frame, and though it took a lot of space, it looked rather nice. When I collapsed a lot of the functionality onto the character list window, the visibility of this icon went away, hidden in the calendar window. As one playtester pointed out, having the icon clearly visible added a sense of season to the play, and now that its gone, you lose that aspect of it. Well, I decided to add the icon back, but in a different place. Look in the options menu under Map Options, and you'll see a "Show Season Icon" option. Turn this on, and an icon will appear on your map display:

It shows the season, as well as the weather. If you are playing with seasons turned off, then the icon will not harass you.

Well, I can blather on about every detail, or you can just read what's new:

  • [604] - Character Development
    • You can select a character at less than level 4 ability
      • Fewer chits
      • Fewer spells
      • Fewer VPs
      • Possibily different starting inventory (or none at all!)
      • Different relationships
      • Fewer character advantages

    • Chits are gained with earned VPs
      • If VP assignment is turned off, then VPs earned in any category are credited, otherwise only those assigned categories count, and then only as much as you've assigned!
      • Look on victory point tab to see where you stand, as far as earned VPs, and how many you need to achieve the next chit or level.
      • Development progress bar on main character window gives you an indication of where you are, in terms of points, chits, and levels.

    • New levels bring new advantages (based on 3rd edition rules)
      • 1st advantage at 2nd level, 2nd advantage at 4th
      • Gaining optional advantages is varied (see 3rd ed rules)
      • Relationships are gained at 3rd edition: these are additive, so that if you are using grudges/gratitudes, your existing relationships still modify the ones you are getting.

    • Advantages are represented by a "Badge", shown now above the color magic/curses panel
      • Hover mouse over badge to see text
      • Badges appear as you get them (if using development)
      • Witch's Familiar badge can be clicked on to enable/disable the familiar (this replaces the ugly Familiar button added in v0.52)

    • Extended Development (if you turn the option on) allows development past 4th, with appropriate bonuses:
      • Level 5 = 15 gold
      • Level 6 = Random treasure from any native group
      • Level 7 = 10 Notoriety and 5 Fame
      • Level 8 = Take one horse from any native group
      • Level 9 = Get one BONUS phase every day
      • Level 10 = Get one weapon/armor counter from any native group *OR* record a new spell
      • Level 11 = Tagged as "Immortal", and no further advancement occurs

  • [975] - Right-clicking a clearing on the map, and choosing "Show Clearing Details" will give you lots of information about the contents of the clearing.
  • Added a new option to show the current season/weather icon on the map
  • [987] - New folders for handling seasonal tile graphics. If you are interested in working on new tile graphics, please contact me, and I'll give you more details.
  • [1004] - Character vulnerability is printed on the combat sheet

  • Some Pruitt Monster attributes fixed:
    • [1007] - Tomb Guard F/N is only 6 (not 9)

  • [1024] - Fixed a problem with Great/Light Elf not working.
  • [1022] - Trouble result on Commerce Neutral, will correctly roll on Unfriendly column (not Enemy column!)
  • [1017] - Fixed a bug that prevents hirelings from fighting back, when assigned randomly with Watchful Native rules turned on.
  • [1016] - Restored behavior of Map of Ruins in tiles with Ruins M or Ruins C chits
  • [1020] - Hired Leaders or Controlled Monsters that become unhired (expired term) will "drop" any hireling followers in the clearing.
  • [1026] - Following characters are no longer immune to the effects of frigid weather.
  • [1030] - Fixed a harmless bug generated after you leave the board.
  • [1031] - When you absorb a monster with a weapon/head, you can choose which side to play the weapon/head during combat.
  • Fixed a problem when LOTS of monsters are summoned at once, and you get a really tall narrow window that you can't close.
  • [1019] - Fixed an inventory validation problem when you have a pack horse.
  • [1032] - Tristar enchanted side cave clearings will behave like cave clearings now.
  • [1018] - Fixed a problem that occurs if you are using the Timeless Jewel, and running RealmSpeak with Java 1.6
  • [1038] - Problem with controlling a Wyrm (or any Pruitt Monster)
  • [1036] - Cannot play color chits while between clearings or between tiles anymore
  • [1040] - Fixed a problem that made it impossible to change tactics with Battle Bracelets or Elusive Cloak when you play a double-asterisk chit
  • [1041] - Combat will no longer pause on tactics phase when active character wearing Elusive Cloak is not in the clearing
  • [1042] - For purposes of weather fatigue, being between cave or mountain clearings, is the same as being in a cave or mountain, respectively.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

The Guardian

I'm currently playtesting a version of RealmSpeak that has character development in it, and I have to share this game. Check it out:


For years, Tello wanted to be an adventurer, but his faith kept him tied down to his small town, just east of the area known as the Magic Realm. As long as he remained here, he would always just be an Acolyte (Pilgrim, level 1). Though his parents were very proud of his successes with the church, it was never enough to make him happy. That is why he decided to go west.

He knew, as he approached the famed Inn, that he would have to hire help, if he were to survive more than a day. Patting the 10 gold pieces he had in a pouch on his belt, and saying a short prayer, he was confident he would be able to get a swordsman to guide him through the Realm, and reap the rewards that await.

On entering the Inn, however, Tello's confidence waned very quickly. The rough, perhaps even evil, men he saw there were not those that he wanted to have at his side. More than likely, he thought, they would be the first to stab him in the back, and rob him of whatever gold he had. Several Rogues looked at the timid boy standing at the door, and made crude comments about his parentage. Tello turned and walked out without saying a word.

Frustrated at being unable to locate any allies at the Inn, Tello decides to head out on his own. One Rogue, standing on the porch next to a large axe, laughs at his stupidity, knowing that he is certainly going to his death.

The Acolyte, green as the grass he tramples, and perhaps blind as the rocks around him, enters the Deep Woods, a place he has never gone before. The trees close in around him quickly, and the sound of a distant roar sends the poor boy into shivers, and rapidly muttered prayers to the all-god. Coming across the bones of some poor adventurer nearly sends him running back to the Inn, but the face of the laughing Rogue keeps him stalwartly proceeding forward.

After a couple of days of careful movement through the woods, the boy notices a change in the trees around him. The stink of smoke reminds him of an encampment he had heard about somewhere in the Nut Woods, and gives him confidence that he had made it through the Deep Woods. Knowing that the natives may be more of a threat than any monster he may encounter, he decides to turn quickly south, towards the large mountain known only as the Crag.

Creeping into the mountain, the boy knows that he must be very very careful. Reports of a large flying dragon around this area may be myth, but he is not taking any chances. As he finishes a difficult climb, and moves into a large clearing, he realizes he is not alone. With a dodge and a roll, the boy avoids the killing blow of a Heavy Spider, and somehow manages to plant his small ceremonial dagger into one of the large eyes of the overgrown horror (I rolled snake eyes on the fumble!!) Tello manages to pry himself out from under the corpse of the spider, and after another quick prayer, moves on.

The next clearing opens up onto a large cluster of boulders, as big as the Inn, covered in what could only be scratches. Tello shivers to think what may live here, but decides to stick around and search. After a full day, Tello learns who's home he has invaded: the Flying Dragon is no myth, and comes home to roost with some sort of cattle in its claws. Thinking quickly, Tello covers himself in the strange mud (which he knows now is dragon doo), and hides under a rock outcropping. The dragon appears disturbed, but never locates the boy.

Days of frantic searching go by, with no success for Tello, and he begins to think he was in fact killed by the spider, and now wandering aimlessly in purgatory. Then he sees it: a curiously round boulder blocking an opening in a cluster of rocks, apparently placed there by something other than random chance. There is enough room around the side of the boulder for Tello to move, and he discovers the treasure site known as the Hoard!

The first item that Tello finds, is a strange magical belt that grants him strength like he's never known before. With this newfound strength, he is able to work quickly to search the Hoard even further: the Lucky Charm, the Poultice of Health, and then... the Sacred Grail. Tello cannot believe his eyes, but there it sits, casting the entire area in gleaming WHITE magic.

Grabbing the loot, knowing that a Flying Dragon, and strangely, two Giants are prowling outside, Tello is able to sneak away from the Hoard, and move back down to the Nut Woods. After a quick conversation with a local native, Tello learns of a path to the Chapel, where he knows the Grail will be welcomed.

The Realm remains mostly quiet during his trek to the Chapel: Curst Valley, Linden Woods, Cliff (where he has a close encounter with a Demon guarding the Altar), the Borderland and finally the Chapel in the Dark Valley. At first, the Knights question the boy strolling out of the Borderland, but when he tells them of the Grail, they drop to their knees in reverence to God, and quickly bring the boy in for a hot meal.

The Order, as it turns out, was very much looking for this Grail, and rewarded Tello with a Warhorse, and a Greatsword (actually, I sold the grail and some stuff, and then bought these items). The Order also named Tello, formal Guardian of the Chapel, and said he was welcome anytime he returned.


This is where the month ended. I'm going to continue this campaign later (gotta go eat dinner), but so far so good. I'm amazed I survived as long as I did, but now I've got a pretty brutal weapon, and a FIGHT T2** chit to boot! (Belt of Strength). Oh, and because I went up a level, I'm now immune to Demons... I'm thinking the Altar is my next target. Wheeeee!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Version 0.53 Released

Hoo boy. Some interesting new features here, and a couple of necessary bug fixes. It appears that my quick patch didn't really solve the ALERT phase issue discovered in version 0.52, but rather made it a bit weird. That's what I get for doing a "quick fix", and releasing a patch. I can assure you that the bug is fixed in this version, so those of you frustrated with the inability to ALERT your weapons, will find that this is back to normal.

The biggest new feature here, is what I'm calling a "Comprehensive VP Page". If you have ever flipped over to the victory point tab on your character frame, you've seen the bland table that's been there forever. A number of rows and columns, with not so much as a single tooltip or hint to let you know what is going on. I've never liked this interface, because it always leaves people questioning whether or not I'm doing the calculations right.

No more. The new table has more columns, and more breakdown of the numbers that go together to make up your score, as well as colored sections to keep related info together. The best part, is that you can click on any cell in this table, and get a quick picture of how the number is derived, right down to the details of individual treasures you've acquired during the game:

The cell of interest is always bordered in blue, and if other cells are involved in the calculation, you'll see them bordered in green. Having never been a fan of the whole VP endgame built into Magic Realm, this interface actually makes it a bit more interesting. It helps you make decisions about which items you should keep, and which you should sell, and keeps you attuned to the bizarre logic from which your score is derived.

There's another feature I added, that has been requested multiple times. The reason I've put it off for so long, is that I thought it would be an annoying and useless feature. Turns out, after adding it in, I discovered that I rather like it. Take a look in the options menu under "Popup Window Options", and you'll find an option for "Turn End Results". Turn this on, and a window will popup at the end of your turn to let you know which monsters were summoned to your tile. Of course, if there are no monsters summoned, no pop up will show. Try it out!

Ok, here's what's new:

  • New comprehensive Victory Point page
    • More columns break down the points to more detail
    • Every cell can be highlighted for more information:
      • Calculation of cell broken down into an equation
      • All treasures that make up the highlighted score are shown

  • [989] - Gold Chit dialog now has a "Place Random" button that will place a random chit in a random box, if you don't want to pick one yourself.
  • [1002],[234] - Option to show turn end results. Right now, all this does is show you which monsters are summoned to the tile (if any).
  • [991] - A tweak to the map mouse clicking logic that should yield more reliable map clicks (important when you are plotting your moves)

  • [978] - Enchanted Cards in a cache will show face up now
  • [982] - Fixed a harmless error that is generated when dropping items while using the Timeless Jewel.
  • Some Pruitt Monster attributes fixed:
    • [983] - Fire Drake head has length 14, not 7
    • [984] - Frost Giant RED-side: move speed 5, not 4
    • [985] - Cockatrice length is 3, not 0

  • [981] - Fixed an error that crashes the game when you have an encumbered follower.
  • [992] - Fixed a problem where if you start placing gold chits, and then let the computer finish them off, you can end up with multiple chits being placed per box.
  • [1008] - Fixed a bug that would raise an error when you have the ASHES curse, and you are selling items to natives that offer/demand gold with a negative penalty (ie., OFFER GOLD -5)
  • [980] - Treasure Site Cards will remain visible on the setup card.
  • [1001] - Truly fixed ALERT phase bug - this will work correctly in ALL characters now.
  • [996] - Hired tremendous monsters, when using the remodeled chits option, cannot be flipped during combat anymore.
  • [1000] - When running away, after enchanting the Deep Woods and losing the path, you no longer get a free round of combat.
  • [974] - Native relationship shown when "Buy Drinks?" dialog is displayed.
  • [993] - All Hire/Trade windows (including those when you don't have enough gold) show the offer (ie., Offer - Price x 3)

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Version 0.52.1 Released

Sorry folks, I had to release a patched version because of a nasty bug that was preventing the ALERT phase from working! If you already downloaded version 0.52, you're going to want to download version 0.52.1, which is online now. You might have to hit "refresh" in your browser when you go to the download page to see it.

Here's what I changed:

  • [971] - Fixed ALERT phase (broke this in 0.52)
  • [973] - Fixed a harmless error related to cancelling placement of gold chits

Friday, September 21, 2007

Version 0.52 Released

Every few months or so, I get a new RealmSpeak user that decides to hit the game really hard, and report bugs. I love this, because it's always good to get new eyes on the program, and get a new perspective on the interface. It's also a chance to get someone's honest first impression, which in turn gives me a chance to improve the interface.

Recently, I got a new user (alias Yxklyx) that took this to a whole new level. He began discovering little nits here and there, and decided to report every thing he found that was either wrong, or difficult to use. A large part of his bug reports were simply "It would be cool if" types of requests, and I decided to implement a bunch of them. He also found some pretty gnarly bugs that have gone unnoticed for some time. Did you know that with version 0.51, that if you are between clearings, you can move to any clearing on the board? :-) Of course, this kind of reporting is what keeps RealmSpeak on track to becoming bug-free, and user-friendly.

Yxklyx joins the top ten RealmSpeak reporters of all time:

  • vincegamer - 178 Reports
  • dwfiv - 152 Reports
  • dewkid - 135 Reports
  • Yxklyx - 52 Reports
  • srschacher - 37 Reports
  • gambulator - 36 Reports
  • mcknight - 35 Reports
  • Netzilla - 21 Reports
  • Brightstar - 20 Reports
  • ahiggins - 17 Reports

Of course, bug reporting isn't just about the number of reports. Quite often I'll get somebody who reports a couple of bugs/ideas, and really makes a big difference. Thanks!!

Lots of neat interface enhancements in this one. One of my favorites so far, is the character notebook (a Yxklyx idea). You'll see a new tab on the character frame:

Anytime you discover clues (Peer), learn something from magic sight, or see what the natives have to trade, it will be added to this window. You can even manage your own custom notes!

I redid the spell selector window for spellcasters, so that you can manage your color chits and spell selections at the same time. I know, I know, that just makes too much sense. Heck, you can even see how many slots you have to fill!

One piece that was sorely lacking, was the code that allowed you to place visitor/mission/campaign chits. You know, that clunky thing that forced you to step through three windows, with not even a wink or a smile. Thanks to Yxklyx and vincegamer's suggestions, I compiled the code into a single dialog that has a complete library of information at your fingertips for making the tough decision as to what goes where.

The last new interface improvement I want to point out (you can see all the new changes listed below), is the addition of "Castable Spells" above the character icon in the battle windows. This gives spellcasters a quick look at what they can do, and acts as a reminder to cast spells in the evening.

Ok, it's late and my daughter has an early soccer game tomorrow. Here's what's new:

  • A bunch of interface improvements:
    • [932] - Treasure Locations show clearing number on Discoveries Tab
    • [927] - Prowling row(s) highlighted on setup card.
    • [930],[942] - Choosing spells and starting chit enchantments now occur at the same time.
    • [933] - Treasure backs on Setup Card show Large/Small, and Spell backs show type.
    • [926] - New option in the options menu, to allow you to visualize clearing numbers on mouseover. This can be very handy when a lot of clearings are covered by chits!
    • [949] - Display game phase (BIRDSONG,DAYLIGHT,EVENING,MIDNIGHT) in the title bar of each character window.
    • [949] - Added current season/weather to title bar on game map window
    • [951] - Added a submenu to the View menu for viewing all 16 of the character cards.
    • [954] - Added some more information to the TRADE PAYMENT window, so you can see the current relationship, and roll result.
    • [956] - Character Spy window (the one you get when you double-click a character row in the upper left window) includes following hirelings, and active curses
    • [941] - All castable spells are visible on the spellcasters combat sheet during combat (but only for the owning player!)
    • [935] - You can drop active inventory now (no need to deactivate first), unless of course the item cannot be deactivated (ie., potions)
    • [934] - Fame/Notoriety value of inventory has been added to the detail view.
    • [957] - You can view the price lists from the VIEW menu now.
    • [879],[931],[937] - Character notebook tracks information you learn throughout the game:
      • Clues (local or remote)
      • Perceive Spell
      • "I Wish for a Vision"
      • Native & Visitor Treasures/Spells
      • Custom notes can be added to your notebook by clicking a button

    • [962] - The Witch has a new button that will enable her to turn her familiar ON or OFF. This is useful in long games, where the familiar becomes fairly useless.
    • [928] - Right-clicking on the treasure setup card will enable you to view the back sides of all the counters
    • Horses, Clubs, and Dragon Heads (if any) are now shown in the popup window on the treasure setup card.
    • [929] - Revamped the gold chit (mission/campaign/visitor) placement dialog to include lots of relevant information
      • Relationships for visitors
      • Relationships for natives in the respective boxes
      • Mission/Campaign stats are shown
      • Visitor's stores (treasures, spell types) are shown
      • Types of spells (if any) that your character can learn
      • Chits that have already been placed

  • [692] - By clicking the pony icon in the phase window, you can now lock the pony extra move, and use regular moves. This will enable non-pony-mounted followers to stay with you as their guide. Pony-locked moves are represented by "M!" instead of "M".

  • [917] - Monster die is red again
  • [925] - Casting a spell while hidden, no longer causes your hidden hirelings to be unhidden.
  • [913] - Fixed a problem where the Swordsman was not getting one die on rolls on the Commerce table.
  • [921] - Fixed the Warlock's special pricing to comply with 3rd edition rules, which really is a reflection of 2nd edition rules + The General's Errata.
  • [918] - Fixed the representation of ownership on Native Horses from extra boards.
  • [920] - Option to abandon Dragon Essence (and other enchanted treasures) before energizing permanent spells.
  • [902] - Boons taken by hiring are now treated the same as those taken by buying goods.
  • [899],[924] - Fixed a bug that would crash the game on loading a save game where a player is between tiles. Fix should also address other issues where RealmSpeak is trying to determine the location of a clearing before the map has been drawn for the first time.
  • [915] - Fixed a bug that would crash a multi-player game, when more than one player is in a dwelling at the same time, and needs to buy drinks. I think this same bug is responsible for other in-combat crashes, so I believe you will find it to be a lot more stable.
  • [908] - No longer able to make a controlled T Monster RED-side-up by simply flipping it in the Luring stage.
  • [869] - When all hirelings are held by Red-side-up monsters at once, and the character is absent/hidden, random assignment no longer locks up the game.
  • [960] - Balrog (Pruitt's Monster Set) is now armored, as it should be.
  • [914] - ALERT phase can be used to turn weapon counter EITHER-side up.
  • [954] - No longer able to close BUY window by pressing the RED-X (close button). This complies with 3rd ed rule 7.6.5.
  • [963] - Fixed a game crash that would occur when a hired leader or controlled monster created a new CACHE.
  • [959] - Fixed a problem with how the third H Spider returns to the setup card in the Pruitt's monster option. Also fixed a similar problem with the Minotaurs.
  • [947] - Getting blocked during the day no longer affects whether you can do day-end trades, or not.
  • [964] - Map of Lost Ruins, and Map of Lost Castle no longer tied to specific board in a multi-board game (I could have sworn that was in the rules, but alas it is not!)
  • [966] - Frigid Air will no longer cause fatigue when you cancel an action.
  • [953] - Trade window shouldn't hide behind the main frame anymore.
  • Fixed a problem in the battle builder, where characters were not getting the default starting native relationships.
  • [935] - Enchanted cards are always active inventory now.
  • [922] - Transforming into a Mist will prevent your own underlings from following now (they are left in the last clearing where you were solid).
  • [965] - Enchanted cards acquired from Remains of Thief will properly radiate magic.
  • [874] - Flying away from combat properly drops horses, if applicable.
  • [944] - Underlings are left behind when flying, if applicable.
  • [903] - Hired Leaders no longer keep the FAME for themselves when selling items with a FAME value.
  • [943] - Controlled Monsters will drop all inventory in the clearing when the spell ends, instead of moving it to the SETUP card.
  • [901] - Campaign/Mission Chits can no longer be sold.
  • [895] - Enchanted cards will now remain face up on the treasure setup card.
  • [418] - Spellcasters limited to a maximum of 14 spells at any time. Added an option in the house rules tab, to disable this limit.
  • [872] - When casting POP as a Demon, you now appropriately get credit for multiple kills with Terror result.
  • [968] - Orc Archers will properly use the MISSILE table now.
  • [955] - You can enter the mountains in Easter with a Pony now, when you only have 2 phases.
  • [970] - Can no longer move from between clearings to any clearing on the map (ouch!)
  • [722],[969] - Fixed a serious bug that crashes the game if you end up between tiles after flying away, and then stay there for a day (intentionally or unintentionally)

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Version 0.51 Released

Well, I'm slowly recovering from my hard drive loss, so I don't really have much to say about this release. Here's what's new:

  • [896] - Added the clearing color magic to the mouseover display
  • [883] - A new option in the option menu allows you to display monster numbers on the monster chits, where there is more than one kind of monster. This is helpful (for example) when you need to identify which Bat is which.

  • [877] - Expansion tile Lake is properly distinguished from Ledges now.
  • [892] - Woodsgirl no longer gains ONE DIE advantage when in a clearing with her own cache.
  • [878] - Accidentally allowing characters to choose Visitor/Mission chits, and then changing your mind, will no longer leave the Choose button active.
  • Fixed a couple of problems with the Pruitt's Monsters option:
    • [873] - Game crashes when also using the expansion tiles
    • [898] - Game crashes when starting the Witch King with the ghosts

  • [887] - Denizens returning to the setup card will correctly have all bewitching spells canceled
  • [897] - Mandatory "Gold" special action buttons (Assign VPs, Energize Spell, etc.) have been fixed.
  • [885] - Using Power Gauntlets with Battle Bracelets no longer prevents changing your attack.
  • [888] - Moved "Unassigned Hirelings" warning to the SEND button, so it doesn't harass Timeless Jewel users.
  • [871] - Fixed a problem where RealmSpeak wouldn't allow you to pick up FOOD/ALE if your FAME was negative, even though FOOD/ALE only charges Notoriety.
  • [886] - Inert spells (ie., Transform) that are nullified by Melt-into-Mist, will no longer energize when Melt-into-Mist goes Inert.
  • [884] - The T Dragon from the Transform spell is now armored, as it should be.
  • [876] - World Fades no longer allows you to hide during combat, when you also have the SQUEAK curse.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Fried Computer

Last Monday, my wife turned on my computer, and after running for about 10 minutes, it shut itself down, along with a slight electrical smell. Not good. I asked her to unplug it, and it was a good thing: the plug was really hot, and might have even caused a fire if left alone.

Since I purchased the computer from one of those computer building shops, and I had a 5-year labor warranty on it (at least that's what I thought before they charged me $110 for labor - still not convinced I didn't just get robbed), I decided to let them replace the power supply, and get this thing back up and running. At least that's all I figured it would need.

As it turns out, not only did the power supply burn up, it took the motherboard, and my primary hard drive with it. According to the guys that fixed the computer, the hard drive spins, but just isn't recognized as a peripheral by the computer BIOS, so there's no way to get at the data. No cheap way, that is.

The good news, is that I ALWAYS make a backup of my code, and carry it around on a USB stick, and occasionally (2-3 months) make a backup of my repository to a CD. Though my last backup of the code repository is way back in May, I have the most current code safe and sound in three different places now (I made a bunch of copies after the incident). I'll lose a bunch of "checkin" history, but the end result is safe, and that's good enough for me.

I did lose a number of other things: a couple months worth of digital pictures, documents, a number of e-books, and who knows what else. I guess I'll just have to say goodbye to those things. I am considering buying a SATA external drive enclosure, and see if I can get at the data at all, but I'm not really holding up much hope for that.

Did I learn any lessons? Despite never having lost a hard drive in my 25+ years of computing, it can still happen, and there is no excuse for not having a good backup strategy. Granted, it could have been worse (I would have cried for weeks, if anything happened to RealmSpeak), but it could have been better.

I'm looking into some real backup software for the first time in about 5 years, because my strategy of "oh, I guess I'll burn some files to a CD now cuz it would suck to lose them" just isn't sufficient. A friend of mine recommended Dantz Retrospect, but if any of you PC users out there have any suggestions, I'm all ears.

I do have a new version of RealmSpeak nearly ready, so I may get that online pretty soon. It really depends on how long it takes me to get the fixed computer back up to a point where I'm able to build and upload the software. Of course, when that happens, you'll see it here first!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Backtranslating RealmSpeak

A couple of months back, I got an e-mail from a RealmSpeak user (Jorge) who was stuck using a Mac with an old version of OS-X. Apparently this version (10.3) did not support Java 1.5, and so he was unable play the latest version of RealmSpeak. He suggested to me that I look into an open source project called Retrotranslator, that allows you to take a Java 1.5 compiled project, and backtranslate it to Java 1.4, without doing any coding. I tried it, and it actually works!

If any of you are in the same boat as my friend Jorge, then I recommend you look at the new RealmSpeak Tools Page (someday I hope to add more here). There you'll find a link to a page that gives you instructions on how to process the latest RealmSpeak.jar into Java 1.4 compliant code. Though I strongly recommend you use the latest Java available, this will get you going if you can't.

Some of you will ask: "Why don't you simply provide both versions?" The primary reason, is that the need is going to be fairly low, and I really don't have any interest in maintaining two files instead of one. However, if you are one of the people that need the conversion, it will be as simple as running a translation script.

Hope this helps!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

On Vacation Next Week

I'm going to be on vacation next week, so no updates or RealmSpeak bug acknowledgements for awhile. If you find a bug, just add it to the tracker, and I'll get to it when I return.


Update 7/31/2007: I'm back! I'll get to issues again in the next couple of days.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Version 0.50 Released

Only have a couple of nights work in this one, but its got some nice new features. First off, is the ability to build a board using a mix of the expansion tiles. I'm not going to go into great detail, but the jist is that the regular tiles are randomly mixed with the expansion tiles to allow some variability. Of course, this is an optional feature, so if you don't want to mess with it, don't.

I added a new option in the Options menu that will allow you to change the look and feel. By default, you are using what is called the "System" look and feel, but this has caused some problems for my Solaris 10 user (users?). The new option lets you switch to the "Cross-Platform" look and feel, which is supposedly more robust on these machines. I'm hoping this will enable him to get around the conflict he has encountered, and actually be able to play this game again.

Still no progress on Treachery, but I think that is my next area of focus.

Anyway, here's what's new:

  • [440] - Added a new option (Option Menu) to allow you to switch the look and feel to "Cross-Platform". Hopefully, this will resolve the strange graphics problems on Solaris machines.
  • Hidden Enemy status shown in character spy window (the one you get when you double-click a character in the character list window)
  • Backspace button allows you to "unsend" your recorded turn, in case you change your mind before the other players have finished recording.
  • Option to include a random mix of expansion tiles
    • Ambush always starts enchanted side up, to facilitate placement
    • Paths/Passages attached to tile edges work like one-way gates. For example:
      • Tile A Clearing 1 connects to the north edge of the tile via normal road
      • Tile B Clearing 5 connects to the south edge of the tile via hidden path
      • You can move from A1 to B5 without knowing the path
      • You must discover the path to move from B5 back to A1
      • There are only two tiles where this matters: Dark Forest and Pinnacle

    • Chasm logic is not implemented (normally prevents woodswalking across chasm)
    • Volcano logic IS implemented:
      • Red-clearings cause daily fatigue
      • Orange-clearings cause daily wounds
      • White-clearings cause daily serious wounds (1d6 wounds)
      • Hirelings are NOT affected by any of these (I agree that doesn't make sense), but for now, that's how it is

    • If you do a multi-board, you will not necessarily end up with two of every tile, but you will still have:
      • 5 "Mountain" tiles for every board
      • 5 "Caves" tiles for every board
      • 5 "Valley/Swamp" tiles for every board
      • 5 Woods tiles for every board

    • NONE of the rest of the expansion (spells, treasures) is implemented: this is just an inclusion of the new tiles
    • If you don't like this ruleset, then don't play with this option turned on

  • Fixed a problem where recording a turn, and then saving the game would create a situation that made loading the game impossible
  • Clearing plot (the yellow line that shows which clearings you are planning on moving to) is updated when different characters are selected in the character list. This is only applicable if you have multiple characters, and are plotting their turns simultaneously.
  • [867] - Changed the threading logic on a major piece of the program that I'm hoping will eliminate the possibility of a deadlock on Solaris 10 running Java 1.6.
  • [821] - Fixed a strange bug that would occasionally crash the game on a double-board.
  • Fixed a graphics anomoly that was appearing on triple/quad boards
  • Added an optimization to the map building code that has a noticable speed improvement in the auto-builds of multi-boards.
  • [729] - Shielded Lantern, when activated in a cave with the Timeless Jewel, will properly allow you to take a bonus phase.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Dwarven God

Just thought I'd share. I played a game with the Dwarf last night. I used the Productive Dwarf rules, which allows the Dwarf to get the same number of phases as anyone else, but must pay an extra MOVE for every non-cave clearing. This appropriately punishes the Dwarf for having short legs, but does not penalize his ability to do non-move things, like resting, and searching. I did notice that there is a problem with getting the Dwarf to move from a Cave clearing, and into a Mountain clearing: since you only get 2 basic phases for being in a cave, and the Mountain costs 3 to enter, he's stuck. The only workaround is to run from the cave clearing during combat, so that he's outside during Birdsong, but that ends up costing two days to do, and really hurts the Dwarf speed. Another workaround is to simply have the Dwarf follow another character, but that doesn't help in a solo game...

ANYWAY, I got distracted. The reason I'm posting, is the amazing luck I had with this little guy. He had just finished killing a Bat and two heavy trolls (love that Duck T3!!), when he discovered the Vault. He opened it, and immediately scored the Garb of Speed. This thing is a sweet treasure to have when you are a heavy fighter like the Dwarf. If you don't remember:

    ** = Speed 3
    * = Speed 4
    - = Speed 5

The conversion of his chits is phenominal:
Move H6 => Move H5
Fight H6 => Fight H5
Duck T3* => Duck T4*
Fight H5* => Fight H4*
Move H5* => Move H4*
Move T6* => Move T4*
Fight T6* => Fight T4*
Fight H4** => Fight H3**
Fight H4** => Fight H3**
Move T5** => Move T3**
Fight T5** => Fight T3**
Fight T5** => Fight T3**

The only chit that suffers, is the Duck T3* chit, which loses a point of speed, but all in all this is a pretty nice setup. The Dwarf ends up with 2 Fight T3** chits, which can just about undercut anything on his sheet, and he has plenty of asterisks to fatigue, especially since he doesn't really need the Fight H3** chits.

A bit more searching in the Vault yielded a couple more amazing treasures: Battle Bracelets (replace Fight over 4), and the Golden Arm Band (M armor vs Swing). Since the last two treasures of the Vault were now a bit too hard to aquire, the Dwarf moved onto the caves, where he found the Pool. After dispatching a Tremendous Troll, another Bat, and couple of Flying Heavy Dragons, the Dwarf went to work looting the Pool.

Feeling rather powerful already, the Dwarf made a rash decision to skip hiding, and simply do two loot actions in the Pool The first two treasures he found were the Power Boots (an asterisk free Move H4), and the Elusive Cloak (replace Move over 4). Laughing with all the power I had in my hands, I noticed for the first time the monster die roll: I had rolled a 3. The Octopus was coming out, along with 6 axe goblins……. and I’m unhidden.

Not giving up, I put the Octopus in the first red box, and then divided the goblins between the other two. I targeted the Octopus with a Fight T4* (unalerted axe, of course), and played the Power Boots as my maneuver. The Octopus lined up, and died right away, but the other two boxes changed tactics. Now I’m looking at some particularly nasty goblins. Rounds 2 and 3 brought down two of the angry goblins (thank you Fight T3**), but also demolished the last bit of armor the Dwarf had. Round 4 delivered enough wounds to leave the Dwarf in a very broken state, and despite a hard fought combat, left him dead in round 5. Dang it!

I probably could have played that better. Getting slaughtered in the caves by a bunch of Goblins was NOT how I wanted to go, but at least I got to play with some neat treasures.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Version 0.49 Released

Needs New Resource Pack v0.49!

Another big batch of bugs and features to get out to you guys. I'm seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, and its inspired me to work even harder on this stuff! I've very nearly cleared out all the issues on the bug tracker for RealmSpeak, and that's pretty darned nice. Granted, there's still a number of bugs that crash the game that I've never been able to nail down, but I think that a lot of the stability I've been building into the code lately, will make those bugs more and more rare.

Big new thing in this version, is a feature that's been needed since day one: character blocking. Yes, at long last, you can block your buddies, and block monsters to your hearts content. Simply turn on the blocking feature for each of your characters, and other characters will require approval to pass through your clearing. Unless, of course, they are hidden, and you haven't found hidden enemies. I added a couple of new icons to the character frame to account for BLOCKED status, and whether or not you've found hidden enemies.

The other big thing in this release, is the ability to do trades/rearrangement after combat, but before the new day. Look for the "Day End Trades" checkbox on your character frame to enable this feature. Turn it on, and you'll have an opportunity every evening to trade amongst your characters, and/or rearrange your belongings.

Most of the rest of this release, is really just fixing bugs. Here's what's new:

  • [75],[313] - Characters can block other characters now
    • Each character has a "BLOCK ON/OFF" button on their frame
    • When this button is active, all characters passing through your clearing must get approval before continuing with their turn
    • If you are the blocking character, a "Block Now!" button will appear that will allow you to determine whether or not to block.
    • Once approval has been given, the only way to reset, is to turn the button off, and then on again
    • Midnight resets all block buttons
    • You cannot block hidden characters, unless you have found hidden enemies that day

  • [313] - Characters can block monsters now
    • Activate the "BLOCK ON" button when moving through clearings with monsters
    • If there are monsters to block, a "Block Now!" button will appear
    • Pressing the button gives you an opportunity to block the monsters in your clearing

  • New icons in character frame
    • Block icon shows if you've been blocked
    • Hidden Enemies icon shows if you've found hidden enemies - mouse over to see who, if you found enemies using magic sight

  • Battle Builder has new option to specify whether the character has "Found Hidden Enemies" or not
  • [552] - New "Day End Trades" checkbox on every character frame, allows players to do trades/rearrangements once combat has ended (but before MIDNIGHT)
  • [618] - Missions are affected by season now (if you are playing seasons).

  • [854] - Using a color chit during the actions phase will no longer disable the run button.
  • Daily Combat button state will be remembered when you save/load a game.
  • [360],[406] - Added a "flip" hotspot to the luring stage for hirelings, to allow the owner to choose their initial side.
  • [557] - When doing random assignment, you can no longer add monsters to natives with a Red-side-up T Monster on their sheet.
  • [861] - Trading the belt of strength while activated no longer leaves your chits in the enhanced state.
  • [855] - Fixed a bug that sometimes prevented you from flying away after transforming.
  • [508] - When you have multiple inert absorb essence spells, you will get to choose which one becomes active when you are in the presence of a permanent color source.
  • [814] - The strength of the transmorph spells are now considered when dealing with conflicts (ie., Absorb Essence cannot overpower Transform)
  • [753] - "Wish You Were Elsewhere" will properly cancel combat targets on the wished victim.
  • [619] - Map of Lost Castle and Lost City no longer give you the bonus BEFORE the chits are discovered.
  • [862] - Problem with Discover Chits in a tile with Lost Castle or Lost City before chit reveal, is fixed.
  • When you are energizing an inert Transform, or just looking at the spell info, you can now see the target animal (Dragon, Lion, Eagle, Squirrel, Frog, or Bird) that it will turn you into.
  • [863] - The "End Game" menu item now reads "Exit Game" to distinguish it from the END game button, which does an entirely different thing.
  • [774] - Hired Leaders that find hidden enemies during the day can be deployed to hidden targets during combat now.
  • Charging a hidden character now requires that you find hidden enemies.
  • Switched the wording and logic on the "Decline Opportunity" dialog, so that it doesn't require a voting mentality to figure out which way to go.
  • [796] - Fixed a nasty bug that would crash combat anytime an unhired native HQ was killed, and grudges/gratitudes is in play.
  • [793] - Denizens transformed into mist become unassigned, and cannot be randomly assigned, lured, or deployed against.
  • [858] - Fixed the mission logic for multiple boards.
  • Fixed a issue that was causing missions/campaign from BOTH boards to be summoned
  • [829] - Fixed cross-board specials
    • Lost Keys match to Vault and Chest from same board
    • Maps of Lost City/Castle match chits from same board

  • Pressing END game does some additional work:
    • [799] - All Missions/Campaigns that are underway are expired, and the owning characters punished appropriately.
    • [537] - All spells (of every type) are cancelled.

  • [624],[818] - Treasure setup card improvements:
    • Visitors are all available in the sidebar
    • All cache's appear on the sidebar
    • If the cache belongs to you, you can see all the treasures face up.

  • [669] - When buying items that are worth less than zero from a native group (commerce rules), they will give you the difference in gold to take it off their hands.
  • [806] - Witch's familiar can follow the witch when she flies
  • [729] - Shielded Lantern, when activated in a cave with the Timeless Jewel, will properly show a bonus phase in the display.
  • [521] - Native horses no longer grant an extra move in the caves.
  • [866] - Positioning stage is enabled every round of combat (used to only show when there was somebody targeted). This will enable the strategy of extending combat while hidden, by playing two asterisks during this stage.
  • [792] - Followers that get blocked, can still finish the follow activities.
  • "Find Hidden Enemies and Paths" Peer result was NOT setting the hidden enemies flag (Only "Find Hidden Enemies" was).

What's next you ask? Think "Treachery"... :-)