Jul 22, 2010

Character Assasination

Some of the gamers out there may remember an ambitious "roguelike" game called Slaves to Armok: God of Blood, developed by Tarn Adams from 2000 to 2005.

In 2002 he started working on a sequel, Slaves to Armok: God of Blood Chapter II: Dwarf Fortress, and has worked exclusively on it since 2006. In the past eight years Dwarf Fortress has acquired impressive depth and list of features while still officially remaining in alpha stage. The game has also attracted a number of dedicated followers, exited at the prospect that it will "Drag the world out of the Dark age of Gaming kicking and screaming!"

Now it seems some Goon has decided to create a clone of Dwarf Fortress, called "Goblin Camp", in a move which has been perceived as a personal attack on Mr. Adams.

Goblin Camp is, not surprisingly, quite similar to Dwarf Fortress, as this screenshot demonstrates:

This picture shows a very early camp with a general stockpile for goods, a small farm for growing Bloodberries, a small workshop with an orc working in it, and a protective fence. There's not much else to the game yet, and it is this general dearth of features and lack of polish in a game in beta stage (remember, DF is still in alpha after eight years!) that has led some commentators to already write the game off.

Though Goblin Camp is ultimately developed by some Goon, he has opened the source code, and accepts additions and improvements from volunteer contributors. So far he has had programmers suggesting rewriting the whole thing, preferably in some other programming language, while some other suggestions for features are, well... see for yourself.

Here we see a more advanced camp with more stockpiles, more extensive fence, a bakery and a brewery. Bakery turns berries into pies, and brewery turns berries into wine.

Notice the brown '~' and '#' symbols near the left edge of the picture. They represent different depths of pools of filth; a great example of features internet forums can collectively come up with!

After your camp has reached this state, there's very little to do yet but watch your goblins harvesting berries and your orcs defeating the occasional attack by hostile animals.

Speaking of hostile animals: because, so far, animals can open doors, you have to come up with creative ways to protect your camp from attacks, like this maze entrance:

There's really not much else to say about the game or the Goon behind it. If you feel like wasting a few minutes of your time, here's the official website of Goblin Camp.

Jul 13, 2010

"Go buy yourself a new phone!"

I was cleaning my home and suddenly my phone starts to demand my SIM-card. Trouble was that I never took my SIM-card out. Oh crap. I need to call someone for help... except I can't. So I went to my service providers vendor.  

So I am there waiting for someone to notice me in the phone shop. This paragon of customer service calls me to come to him if I need any help. I walk over there and start explaining my problem. Luckily this man is mixture of engineer and economist - he has social skills of an engineer and a world view of an economist. Rare breed in customer service field, but not unknown. He decided to try if my SIM-card works in other phone and it did! So he quickly concluded that my phone must be broken and told me to go and buy a new phone. He sounded annoyed that I had bothered him. 

I was somewhat stunned as I walked out of the shop without knowing what to do. Only after I was at home I noticed that he could have say... offered to sell me a new phone - I mean I was there in phone shop after all. Or maybe he could have been somewhat nicer. Not so today - luckily my phone started to work again later that day. 

Note: I wasn't happy with earlier draft so this wasn't actually published on standard time as I couldn't edit the post from my now working phone, but I could edit time this post would be published.

Jul 7, 2010

Bob Probert 1965-2010

Former NHL-player Bob Probert died on July 5, at the age of 45.

Probert is mostly remembered as a fighter and enforcer, and his penalty minute total of 3300 is sixth highest in NHL history, but it shouldn't be forgotten that he was also a damn fine hockey player. During his sixteen NHL seasons with Red Wings and Blackhawks he recorded 384 points in 935 games.

His best season was 1987-1988 with Detroit Red Wings. He did set the franchise penalty minute record with 398, but he also scored 29 goals and a total of 62 points in 74 games. In sixteen post-season games he added 21 points, the highest on the team. He was also selected to the All-Star team.

He was an exceptional player, and he will be missed.