Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Baby's First Earthquake

I didn't have to wait long for an earthquake, just three months. It was actually pretty cool. They originally said it was a 5.8 but now it seems the average is a 5.4. I'm near the top floor of my building so there was quite a bit of swaying and my desk chair rolled me around a bit. I have to admit that in the first few seconds I was a little frightened that it was just the beginning of a more massive quake, but no one else seemed too afraid so I just enjoyed it. A nice beginner earthquake.

If you don't got the data that chatta don't matta: Earthquake Data

Monday, July 14, 2008

Obscurity is the best camouflage, nuclear power has had its hour.

I get a lot of spam. I'm sure you do too.

Every once in a while I wonder where all that text at the bottom of spam mails is found. It seems obvious that it is pulled across the internet from random places or from phrase files stored on the spammer's machine. I was surprised when I ran a search and found that someone's semantics and language study website is actually being raped in the name of bypassing spam filters with valid phrases. The website I found is simply a long list of various neologisms delimited with '/' characters. I assume the neologisms were generated with some algorithm which searches a dictionary for nouns and verbs fitting some clever semantic rules. It's funny to see that the automated generation of meaningful phrases has been in turn used to trick a filter designed to exclude non-meaning, and this has probably been the most major use of that project to date.

Here are those neologisms.

P.S. Never kiss a gift whore in the mouth.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Ballin' Outta Control

So, I play this text game online sometimes. The game is fun, I've played it for a long time and I still enjoy it here and there, but every once in a while I'm reminded that it takes a special sort of person to devote their life to building a text based RPG for a small niche community. The creator of the game -- his in-game name is 'Vryce' -- keeps a journal which is accessible only from inside the game. I sometimes log in just to read the journal and I realized that there are probably very few people on the game who know about the feature and even less who use it, so the thoughts of this man's life struggle to build a text game "that will hold your attention FOR ALL TIME, forever, until you die" would go largely unheard unless someone tried to bring them into the light. I just want someone to see the gems I've seen:

-- April 2nd ----------------------------------------------------------

And now for something different! I have many perspectives of my own life,
just as you have for your life.

Here is one perspective of me and Medievia V.

For years and years I have been digging, digging and digging my way
through a mountain of code, ideas, and possibilities that would become
Medievia V, my life's work, my grand dream, your favorite games next

Grand Theft Auto IV comes out this month. They will list hundreds of
developers, many dozens of coders, all working 3-4 years to make a game
that if done well will hold your attention for 30 hours. Those 30 hours
will cost each of you 60 bucks, 2 bucks per hour for 30 hours, an
experience created by hundreds of developers that took them nearly 4

We mostly just get me for the big changes, and then some truly awesome
players who become coder gods and help with the other stuff, as well as

help me figure out my own bugs which is just as important, but mostly it
is me.

We need to make a game that will hold your attention FOR ALL TIME,
forever, until you die, and I have to code most of it myself.

With Grand Theft Auto players expect to play 30 hours before getting
bored, here players expect to play 30 hours EVERY WEEK and not have to pay

DIG MAN DIG! I know it can be done, oddly enough there has never been a
question in my mind about this.

Jump back a decade, I was just done digging through the 'Making Medievia
IV mountain', a whole other mountain of the past and then spent a few
years tweaking it, we got to 700 online most nights, over doubling our
goal. I never stopped digging.

The mountain has changed around me and I kept digging. Medievia IV opened
in 1996. I started working on this version around the year 2000 after
already running and developing Medievia for 9 years.

Then after 911 I quit my 'real' job where I was senior VP and making
$165,000 a year to work on my little hobby that paid me $48,000 a year
when players donate enough.

I started digging faster.

I am a simple person and do not hold great value in money making anyone
happy. I do not run Medievia to make money, but money is now a big factor.


My health sucked, kidney stones, many a year, operations, pain, DIG MIKE
DIG, DIG dig dig.

Soleil [his wife] gets pregnant. Talk about a distraction and a family thing that can suck up time! I can only say this because I know how strong she is about it, we lose that one early with a normal kind of early miscarriage.


Soleil gets pregnant. We have a baby boy Ben. Soleil will tell you that
nothing is more important to me than family and I could not wait to have a
baby with her. I do not mean to say I do not want more kids at all, just
that I knew that now...

Now I am digging only when I have time.

I am watching him every day as we really cannot afford anything else. I
find coding anything very deep much harder as my every thought is on the
family and will the boy choke-drown-or die in the very next moment.
Parents know what I am talking about for that first year with an infant.

The boy gets older, Medievia hardly changes for a year...

DIG MAN DIG AT NIGHT! Sleep is over-rated anyway. I sleep less and less.
My health takes a turn and it seems I am always sick. That was years ago
now. I learned that over-all it is best to get more sleep, like 5-7 hours
a night, and never less, and easier to just not sleep one day a week and
make up time that way. It seems healthier then sometimes just doing 3-5
hours of sleep.

DIG DIG! My eldest son turns 16 and now my daughter is 12 and starting to
grow boobs and want boyfriends. Father time keeps marching and as a parent
I have no control over it.

DIG DIG, everything will some how work out and everyone will grow up

They say no one worries more or works harder than a male between the ages
of 40-45, everyone needs your money and time and you start worrying about
your own future and retirement that is now just 30 years away. Everyone
needs you and no one does anything for you, you can depend on almost no
one except your spouse, you must become the selfless sacrificer. They say the
years for a male between 40-45 are hard.

They are right. It seems my shoulders could never be strong or wide enough
for everyone that depends on me.


Money dries up after World of Warcraft comes out.

Players compare Medievia to a game that took over 400 developers over 4
years to create, test, and bring to market. They do this because the game
is pretty good as it is so simple and easy to learn, yet somehow gives you
a solid 1-6 months of fun before you finally get bored with it. Any ape
could play this game and be competitive. It is one of the first games like
this to even shoot for more than 30 hours of fun [Uhhh, Everquest, Ultima Online anyone?] , they charge a monthly subscription if you wish to play.


More kidney stones, more than ever, often one on each side, and now I get
a stone in my salivary gland, more operations, more pain, yet during this
time as I DIG AND DIG I figure out some coding AI stuff that would make
Peter Molyneux the gaming code guru piss himself. You have not seen much
of this yet in the game btw, it is coming soon. Well now the whole
MEDIEVIA V PLAN has to change!

!^^!!&!$!!**&%^$!!!!^%^$!!!!!!!!!!!! DAMN THE WORLD!!!! Do I have time
to change the plan? Does my family? Can I afford it?

In some ways I become a madman and as that dude from Mythbusters says, 'I
reject your reality and substitute my own'. I cannot ignore what these new
AI and data concepts could mean for this version.

AGAIN, and again I change the plan. Over the next few months the plan
changes drastically and becomes something truly huge and new. No other
game will give players this kind of open sand box of a fantasy world to
play in with their friends.


I amuse myself by thinking, to the creators of WoW your gameworld is a 3-4
year slash and burn procedure, to take as much of your money as they can
and leave you with memories, and a desire to reinvest all over again with
a sequel that will come and surely be less fun and less magical of an

DIG DIG, ignore money, ignore WoW, ignore reality, every lesson learned in
my Fortune for small business magazine talks about early risk and a damn
the world mentality of the little guy with big new unique plans.

The plan grows. In the year 2007 it grew a lot as I coded some amazing new
path finding stuff that I surely should share with the world when I get
time, then some new AI concepts that meant almost anything was possible.


Everytime I recoded this stuf it got faster and took less memory. I am
beginning to think the game can become anything I want, so now the
question is, what is the best game ever made, what would it do if you damn
near ignored CPU needs and memory requirements?


The plan TAKES OFF. I am no longer so much worried about CPU and memory,
these new concepts are amazingly frugal and tight and tested and stress
tested over and over, they need almost no CPU, no memory, and can load and
save very fast.

How can Medievia V be more like being in a living breathing world, as if
you jumped into your favorite fantasy novel?


I will have many mobs that develop personal relationships with every
player: workers, dragons, and pets. The workers will run everything, from
small clan businesses to becoming king of a kingdom.


Players will DEFINE the world geographically with moving towns, abodes,
businesses, islands, and the such. There will be big wars and grand
adventures that will make killing Zekzakmek a boring old thing we did just
to pass the time. The new kingdoms will make the old kingdoms look like
pong compared to Halo.


The game will become a real world, the first of its kind that is so like a
living breathing SciFiFantasty book that it makes headlines. The Medievia
V gameworld will hold grand adventures and keep players attentions forever
as they explore the deep features on land and ocean.


What Medievia V can be is now WAY BEYOND anything I ever dreamed before.

Now I just need to go back redo it all for this new plan with the new AI,
scrap the new AI event module that I coded 3 times aleady with 3 different
plans, the new AI plan is so cool it does not even need an event module! I
needed to re-code all existing mobfactions and AI finite state machines,
redesign the AI goal module. DIG MAN DIG!!!!

DIG DIG DIG, Eagles lose again. Philadelphia has now gone 25 years without
a championship, AND YET, I DIG and DIG and ignore reality, Eagles will win
next year, yes I am a big sports fan. You want reality TV? That sucks,
sports is real, check it out.


My youngest is now 4, my oldest boy is 18 and going to college next year,
my daughter will soon be 15. Family takes a lot of time and I am
determined to be the best dad I can be, Medievia TO BE DAMNED.

Damned it has been as Medievia V is still not ready.

DIG AT NIGHT has been the plan.

For the last year and a half I have woken up around 5pm when my wife comes
home, worked until 6:30-7pm, spent a few hours with family, then worked
and or coded new stuff until 10-11am. I tried to get 6-7 hours sleep a
night, any less and my coding and concepts suffered. I take 1-2 days off
sleeping every week, and try to work that in with doctor appointments
which always have to happen when the damn sun is up. These days Soleil
needs me to watch the boy as she is now always on business trips as she
gets training and trains others, etc. I cannot complain, she makes more
money than I do now.

DIG DIG DIG! There is no going back, no changing the plan again. I said
that 3 months ago in a previous journal.

There is just ONE more thing I am not positive how to implement, which has
to do with the economy and new tradegoods created by the 13 clan

The rest is ready to come on board. The DIGGING is nearly over.


Everything will change for you in the game, every feature in some way will
be affected by what is about to happen. That may sound scary but I am here
to promise you and to assure you that most people will absolutely love
most of the changes coming, except for one thing.

One thing everyone will complain about.

The economy.

I am sorry but I must say, HOLD YOUR BREATH, the only thing I predict is
pure economical madness.

The new ship trading and new wagon trading mixed with the clan businesses
alone will change everything we thought we knew about Medievia gold.

DIG MIKE DIG, figure it out! There must be a way!

Weeks have passed. I have not figured it out.

DIG DIG! I finish some more modules.


Fayla comes back and saves the day for class changes! (mage warrior cleric
thief) This was a project I did not have time to code and the last coder
quit when it was 1/2 done. It is one of the biggest things I ever had
another coder attempt and it did not work well so... CHEEEEEEER! I allow
the gods to totally redo classes just once a version so it is a big deal!
They plan and work on 46 changes to classes, Fayla is amazing and really
pumps my spirits up. These class changes that comes with many eq changes
are now in final testing BTW.


I suffer a chronic torn rotator cuff. I goes days without any real sleep,
in terrible pain, get massively long needles and stuff, go to physical
therapy, man nothing takes me off my strange coding night time schedule
like doctor appointments do. They slow everything down. I slowly get

DIG MAN DIG! More modules are made ready.

Do I allow the tradegoods created by clan businesses to be sold into the
regular system at trade posts or do I say that they are 'bulk' goods and
can only be bought and sold at docks, for ship trading. Of course I have
damn near refused to take this easy way out, but it is complicated!

Right now the 'capital' when you trade goods via wagon is very low, what
you spend for the stuff is low and would have to go way up. Right now the
trading equation is mostly all about how much that post has and how far
you had to go, that 'how far you had to go' becomes almost meaningless now
as you may have got it right next door. Tricky stuff. The current trading
equation will have to be scrapped. The few lines of code that control so
much of our economy will have to be scrapped.

Days pass, DIG DIG, finish all kinds of modules, dig dig.


DIG DIG and I swear this morning I felt like I was at the end. I was
removing that last big boulder, and then the next and I will be THROUGH to
the other side of this mountain that has been before me for 8 some years.

I had to stop and write this journal as I know it has been a long time.

This morning came and I gave up. I decide I will simply try the hard way
and allow the economy to get blown apart as we try to figure out what is
best. That was the break thru, me giving up on knowing for sure how it
will work out and just doing it.

We will try to have ship trading and wagon trading and clan businesses all
work off the same tradegoods, to be damned with how hard that will be to
figure out economically speaking.

That was the last boulder and I am through. The future economy will just
have to suffer as we figure it out 'on the fly' and after the features
have been implemented, as best we can.

Now everything comes to a crossroads.

The plan is here and done and simply needs to be implemented.

My family needs me more than ever.

Medievia needs me more than ever.

This is the story of my life right now and the story of your favorite

I hope to code and dig all day, dig all night, and dig all morning and go
to bed 10am tomorrow, back to my normal schedule for a while. This journal
took an hour to write, though I did do a few more emails, is it a waste of
time? I do not know, like Soleil says, if it gets one person to donate it
is probably worth it. I suppose she is right in that I must let people
know what is going on.

I really do plan on doing a journal almost every day when the new features
bring daily changes and I can simply and briefly talk about the changes of
the day. Until then and until I finish these last few worker AI modules
there will be no more journals,


Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Rompiendo la MonotonĂ­a del Tiempo

You'll be a magnet for love.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.