It’s a new year, and I figured it was a good time to change things up here. The last few months (since the last post here) have been a bit crazy, culminating in an explosion of new people coming to the channel the last two weeks. It happens on Youtube from time to time, and things will settle down really soon – fortunately it’s happening to coincide with a time that finds me looking to slow down myself.
I have a lot of things I want to do that do not include Youtube, and they have all been put aside for the channel over the last few years. My hope is to change that this year. What makes that hard is that I really do enjoy the work of producing content for my channel so it is very hard to stop, or even slow down.
Can I shift the focus a bit this year? I don’t know, we’ll see!
Over a year ago, I set this website down and focused my attention on all things “Weemcast”. Part of moving away from this site was the recognition that I no longer had time to do the things I once was in the Table Top RPG realm. The massive task of recording, editing, rendering, uploading, and promoting Youtube videos for my channel on a regular basis was all I knew, and it was great, but it didn’t make sense to only showcase that here. This was, after all, started and operated for years for the sole purpose of allowing me to express my creativity as it related to the Table Top RPG world.
I’ve had a recent influx of visitors to the site for a number of reasons, and as such I felt I should quickly address the lack of activity here, especially since this post could be the last post for a while again if history is any indication.
I love playing table top RPGs, and discussing them. This includes articles you can find around here related to sharing my experiences with games – for example, most recently Dungeon World. It’s interesting to consider that this style of sharing my experiences with these games seems to have translated over to Youtube, which kind of brings me around to the point.
Youtube is to blame for my lack of time spent here. The last two years have found Youtube dominating my world, in a very positive way. Over the last 10 months especially, my channel Weemcast has experienced amazing growth.
The channel has given me a very exiting and dynamic means by which to share something with others – my passion for video games. While this is something I certainly experience here at theweem.com and via Twitter when it comes to table top RPG’s, Youtube has been an exciting new form of expression I would never have guessed I would become so deeply involved in.
Anyway, this is running longer than I wanted it to – I mostly wanted to let you know that I am still very VERY passionate about table top RPG’s, I simply haven’t had as much time to be as involved here as I would like to be. This site will continue to be updated from time to time with various experiences of mine related to table top gaming – especially with (at the time of this post) the coming of 5th Edition (D&D) materials, of which I am very excited for.
UPDATE: NOV 2013: We ended up canceling this project, so there will be no further C&K updates.
As some of you know, myself and a few others have been working on our own video game over the course of the last 12 months. We recently pushed out version 1.0 signalling the completion of the game (for now) so that we could begin our next project. That first game (Epic Inventor) has now, at the time of this post, been played by some 60,000+ players, and is being played by 300 new players every day!
With that said, I want to introduce you to our new game, Cards and Kingdoms (the project has been canceled, so the site is no longer available)! Cards and Kingdoms is our second video game, the development of which began a few weeks ago. I have a dev blog for it ( theweem.tumblr.com ) where I share various images, ideas and more, giving you a look into the process from my point of view – so check that out if that sounds interesting. If you want to talk to me directly about it, hit me up on Twitter ( @theweem ) where I essentially LIVE these days.
Unless you come here at least a few times a month, you will not likely notice it, but I have made some changes here on site last night and today. I wanted to take some time and explain why they were made because the reason for the changes has to do with a slight shift in focus of the site (sort of… more on that below)
The short story is that I will be posting video game related material here as well as my usual D&D related stuff. For more on this, please continue (if interested of course)…
The purpose of this site has been, since it was created in June 2010, to store all of my various D&D-related creations. Before I made this site, much of that content was being posted over on EN World in various forums etc. However, I found myself telling people, “Oh, let me show you this thing I made” and then heading to EN World to do a search for it (or in some cases simply searching Google for something like “enworld weem muleonomicon“).
Whether the content was articles that could be read, or accessories like cards or maps that could be downloaded, I wanted one place that I could go to when I needed to find something I made. It also made sharing those things with friends easier.
Not all of the content was D&D related, but most of it was. Occasionally I would post a video about a game, or talk about a video game like Minecraft, but this site has always been primarily about D&D.
As some of you know, I (along with a few others) began work on a video game of our own called “Epic Inventor” in the Summer of 2011. It was released in BETA form in December and has been doing very well.
I’ve always loved video games, but working on one has seen me playing even more and in fact last year I began recording some of my sessions for fun and posting them on YouTube. Over the course of these last 9-10 months, the demographic of those who follow my various accounts has changed a lot. Most people following my activities were doing so because it related to D&D, but I’m now rapidly approaching a 50/50 margin where there are almost as many people looking for video game related content from me. Whether that’s wanting to see my YouTube videos, or wanting more information about Epic Inventor, many of them have heard of D&D but never played it or know anything about it. Some had never heard of it until they saw me talk about it on Twitter or various forums.
Instead of being D&D ONLY (essentially) I will now be posting video game related content here as well. Whether that’s actual videos of mine, videos others make or articles related to the topic, these will start showing up here now. D&D content will remain, and I will continue to be involved with it as much as I always have been, but the focus of this site will now allow me to cover both subjects.
The way I have always seen the site is is as a place for me to post my things. However, until recently, “my things” have always been D&D related – and since that is no longer the case, I needed to revamp things here a little to help with that goal. Under normal circumstances, I would expect to do what I want with my site, and that is still the case – but I want to give people a heads up is all.After all, a large number of people get content from this site via the RSS feed into things like Google Reader. In many cases, they may have done so with the (previously correct) impression that this is all D&D content. However, now they will begin to see video game footage and commentary along with D&D content, etc. For those people, I have a solution though…
Top: I always had Twitter, Facebook and RSS feeds up there but now I have an email link as well as a link to YouTube. Keep in mind that my YouTube channel is dedicated entirely to video games and gaming (no D&D stuff there).
Top – RSS: The RSS link now points to a page with some RSS options (instead of linking to the RSS of the entire site). If you were getting a feed here previously, you can how choose one type of feed (RPG or Video Games) so you can filter the other type of content out. There is of course the “Site” feed as well that will give you both, if you are interested.
Left Sidebar: On the left you will see some buttons. These are categories (RPG and Video Games) and some tags for some content types (Mashups, Downloads and Videos). I may add more, but for now you can click on any of those to get that kind of content specifically.
So in short, the focus of the site remains the same (a place to put my things), but what those things are is becoming a little more diversified is all. You will still see much D&D content from me, it’s just that there will also be some video game things in there as well – but I have provided some ways to filter out anything you may consider noise.
My Twitter activity will still be primary D&D related. I will post video game related things from time to time, but it will be mostly D&D related as usual.
There has been a LOT of discussion today regarding Vancian magic vs “Non”. It makes sense of course seeing as how the L&L poll put up today was about this subject. As such, my head was spinning with ideas today. Some were terrible, and others I just wasn’t sure of. As such, I’m going to present an idea here that may be okay, or could be terrible… I’m essentially just talking (or typing) out loud is all and this post is by no means an attempt to state what should be done.
Most of you reading this have a good enough understanding (if not years of experience) with what Vancian magic is so I won’t go into too much detail here. Simply put, it’s the idea that a spell caster must memorize his/her spells every day, the number available of which are limited to X amount per day, depending on the level.
One of the things people like about this system is that there is an inherent strategy involved for a spell-caster when he/she selects spells each day – some find this very enjoyable in fact. On the other hand, some people dislike the limitations – casters can quickly run out of magical tools and have to rely on means that they are not well suited for (crossbows, for example). There are a number of other pro’s and con’s to the system, but again – most of you are familiar with them so I don’t need to repeat them.
The word from Wizards of the Coast seems to be that we will see the Vancian system in the “next” version of D&D, but that somehow (we aren’t sure to what degree yet) there will be other ways to incorporate a different system (point-buy, or even using the 4e A/E/U/D system). You will have a choice it seems. Of course this made me think, “what if you combined some or all of these?“.
Combat vs Non-Combat
One of the things my brother didn’t like about 4e powers was that, for example, a character could have multiple combat abilities that allowed them to teleport (literally), but that he/she could not teleport outside of combat. I helped him with some ideas about how it could be explained, but it wasn’t enough for him. These kinds of things stuck out to me as well, but I could over-look them. In fact, in one campaign I actually allowed some of those kinds of things to be used by players outside of combat, so long as it was not abused and they gave a good description of what they were doing, etc.
Today’s discussion on magic, and my brother’s issue of a power having one purpose (combat) had me thinking that you could use the Vancian system of memorizing spells, but add in new “at-will” functions to most/all spells as well. I saw a number of people say today that, “I don’t like Vancian magic – but I could be fine with it as long as I have some at-wills to use too”, but this is not exactly what I’m talking about. In that scenario, some spells could be used at-will, and other (completely different) spells could not. What I’m talking about is looking at each spell and considering that it could have multiple functions, or purposes.
With this idea, each spell would have a Primary purpose (ex: Damage, Utility) and a Secondary purpose, the secondary of which may or may not also have another special effect or benefit. Additionally, many spells would have some quick examples of “Tricks”, these being minor things a caster could do very easily because of their experience with said spell.
Finally, for times when a point-buy system is used, the Primary and Secondary purposes could also have a point cost (ignored by casters not using said method)
Let me give a few cases, using those examples above. In these examples “P” is for Primary, and “S” is for Secondary, and the bracketed  number would display a cost for casters who use a point-buy system (numbers used are merely there as indicators)…
(P: Damage, S: Damage)
The Primary use  (one time use per memorization) of this spell would be the typical Fireball effect, putting out a lot of damage to a large area. The Secondary use  (at-will) would cause a “moderate” amount of damage, and/or could have (for example) an increased range, or a blinding effect, etc. Tricks: Ignite combustible materials, quickly warm a small room/area
(P: Utility, S: Damage)
The Primary use  (one time use per memorization) of this spell would be the typical Telekenisis effect, moving an object with your mind. The Secondary use  (at-will) could allow you to fling objects for a “moderate” amount of damage, and/or could have (for example) an increased range (though lighter weight objects) Tricks: Move multiple (tiny) objects without concentration
(P: Utility, S: Utility)
The Primary use  (one time use per memorization) of this spell would be the typical effect, allowing you to breath under water. The Secondary use  (at-will) could allow you to swim at a faster rate than normal. Tricks: None
UPDATE: To clarify: I imagined that the at-will “Secondary” uses of these spells would be available always, even if the Primary use had been used for the day.
It would likely need to clear that you can not employ the benefits from the Secondary purpose on top of the Primary purpose. In most cases, this would be obvious, but in the case of “Water Breathing” above, a player would likely want to breath underwater (Primary) but also move faster while down there (Secondary). In some cases this would not be that big of a deal, but it others it might – so for simplicity sake, it would be best to stick with keeping them separate (except in cases where the DM saw it to be fitting of course).
I liked this idea because it…
1) Uses the Vancian system of spell memorization and daily limitations (many people like this)
2) Provides the means for casters to have at-will spells (many people want this)
3) Includes point values for casters to refer to if they use a point-buy method (a method I’m guessing we will likely see as an option)
4) Connecting said at-will abilities to spells they have in ways that makes sense. You can cast a massive Fireball? It stands to reason you may have some other ways to manipulate fire, even if to a lesser “Secondary” degree as well as via small tricks (I think this is awesome, and it addresses my “teleport” dilemma from earlier)
5) You can incorporate the effects of many spells into others, which means you could cut down on the huge list of spells. For example, a Levitate spell might have a Secondary purpose of Feather Fall (makes sense, right?) so there’s no need to waste 2 slots (and in some cases, there wouldn’t be a reason to include certain spells in the game at all when they are already aspects of another spell, etc).
With all that said, there are likely any number of downsides to it or problems I am not thinking of. Again, I am just typing out loud here as it is coming to me.
A few notes
No Encounter abilities? As Kevin Kulp mentioned, he was not against Encounter powers, but rather was FOR simplicity, in which case Daily and At-Will seemed a good way to go – and I agree. My initial idea had encounters included, but when I think about how to track that info as well as relate that info visually, I can see the problem. Additionally, there’s only so much you can do with a spell so keeping it simple (2 uses) is nice and clean – a primary which we’re used to, with one additional purpose.
Reminds me a little of Psions augmenting their powers. When I thought of this, I was instantly reminded of the way Psionic powers worked in 4e. Psions could “augment” their power for better effects. This is similar in that it is one Spell (power, etc) that has more than one function, but in the case of the Psion, the effects were mostly the same only slightly better from a numbers point of view. In this case, we would be talking about changing the way something worked (Fire Spear vs Fireball) or even allowing it to do something completely different (breathing under water vs swimming faster).
Spells are not powers. In my teleport argument, it is clear that I am talking about powers or abilities as opposed to something that is memorized and immediately forgotten when cast. It could be argued I’m comparing apples to oranges. As such, it may seem like a stretch that a caster who memorizes and forgets Fireball every day should have any kind of fire manipulation abilities (via Secondary uses and Tricks in my examples) – but I don’t think it’s THAT big of a stretch and… well, I just think it’s damn cool!
Anyway, that’s about it. Forgive any typos or grammar issues as I jammed this out as quickly as possible. Please feel free to comment – let me know what you like and what you don’t… what might be awesome, and what would totally fail.
My alarm went off at 5:40am this morning, as it is set for most work mornings.
For a brief few seconds the radio blasts a song from the 80’s before being abruptly cutoff by a slam from my palm. Sometimes this song ricochets through my brain throughout the day, and in some cases I will even find myself humming or singing it. It might happen while furiously typing out CSS code at my desk, or while standing at the urinal… well… urinating – you never know.
But no song would distract me this morning – something else was occupying my mind as I sat up in bed. We are often inspired by our dreams, and in my case (and those of a few of my fellow web developers), we often discover the solutions to a work-related problem we had the previous day. We have those “ah-ha!” moments somewhere between deep sleep and just waking up. Sometimes, we pull out something much more random, and in those waking moments/minutes this random thought can appear to be something very deep and important.
I recall one morning, while living in Cupertino (across the street from Apple), I sat up at the sound of my alarm as I always had. As I sat up and gazed out the window, a voice echoed in my head… “Behold, the amazing, JORBA!”. It was such a strange thing for me, to hear a voice from my dream while knowing I was awake. It was 4am and raining outside, but the orange glow of the street lights offered me a clear view of the reality that I was indeed awake, but I simultaneously knew (without a doubt) that Jorba was a giant bear, the star of a circus show I had attended (even if only in my dream, as I would soon discover).
I would go on to use “Jorba” as my online handle for a number of years, the incident had clearly meant something to me for whatever reason.
So, back to this morning… queue the music. It was Aerosmith. “Walk this waaay, talk this waaay” was all I heard as I silenced it, and then it hit me. As the room filled once again with the dull hum of my air filter, I heard it… an echo of a voice… it said, “Beards are serious.”
This phrase would follow me to the bathroom. Even as I started the shower, eyes half open, I was pondering the implications… what could it mean? Beards are serious… Okay, but why… I must be missing something.
In the shower, I continued to mull it over. For some reason I imagined the phrase printed on a shirt, and all of a sudden this serious phrase (or at least it felt like something serious and important) became utterly ridiculous, likely marking the point at which I had finally become fully lucid. In fact, the idea of a shirt with this printed on it caused me to laugh – you know, that half laugh you emit when you are barely awake. That laugh that, at least in my case, feels more like a Sheldon laugh than a real laugh. Your body says it’s funny, but your brain is still trying to “get it”.
Dreams can be inspiring and give you ideas. They can help you solve problems, or give you a better understanding of things…
…but sometimes they just give you beards and giant dancing bears. Take what you can of value and run with it.
Well, today marks one month since we started down the road to creating our new PC game “Epic Inventor”, and we’ve come a long way already.
At this point we have a build that let’s us do the following…
– Move around in the world (including jumping) and can explore the entire map including randomly generated caves
– Gather resources (which go into the inventory and includes a timer window indicating how long the gathering has left)
– Manage inventory (move items around, merge stacks and trash them)
– Equip armor and have it display your total armor value
– There are some crafting aspects in, but we aren’t going to go into details there just yet
Anyway, we’re very excited about it! This weekend I put up some forums so consider checking them out – come learn more about the game!
UPDATE: Epic Inventor is being worked on once again! At the moment the project is known simply as Epic Inventor 2 and while I am not working on it this time around, you can learn more about the project via epicinventor.com.
So yea, Epic Inventor. Many of you have seen me mention it here or there, but I wanted to take a minute and explain what this thing is that I have been plugging in case you were curious. I really haven’t shared much except a link to the Facebook page (toss us a “Like” if you go there!), or a hint of some kind of game and I figured it was time to share a bit more for those interested.
If you don’t care to hear how we came to create Epic Inventor, just scroll down to the “Epic Inventor” heading below.
Otherwise, begin the brief history here…
This game blew me away when I first came to understand what it was about (and play it). I even found ways to bring it into this D&D world from time to time. Many of you have played it, but for those that haven’t it essentially drops you into a world that has been randomly generated… a HUGE world, one you can explore both above, and below ground. You can dig all the way down until you hit lava, swim across oceans, and literally craft everything you need to survive. Did I mention monsters come out at night?
I was thoroughly sucked in. The idea that you could do whatever you wanted, create what you wanted and explore areas unseen by anyone else really appealed to me – much like D&D has for years.
When Terraria came out, I was again enthralled. This game took the elements I loved about Minecraft, but brought some of the focus more towards combat – killing monsters, getting loot, challenging bosses, etc. It was also a side-scroller which appealed to me in that “let’s play Mario Brothers again” kind of way. The possibilities were endless, but there were also goals (crafting better gear to take on harder bosses, etc).
The downside was that once you hit the end game and kind of “got it”, it was very easy to repeat that success and there simply wasn’t anything else to do. Right now, many people are finding themselves waiting for content before playing again, having attained everything they can…
In playing Terraria, a friend of mine (who is also a co-worker) had mentioned he thought he could program a similar game. It wasn’t said in a “this would be easy” tone, but rather a “this could be fun to try”. Before long, we had pulled in another friend (and former co-worker) who was also a programmer, and I was working up what the game would be.
We liked Terraria so much, we knew this would be a side-scroller and that there would be things to fight, but that was it initially.
After a few weeks (and a few ideas chosen and later discarded) I came up with the story for Epic Inventor. It’s still a work in progress, so I won’t go into that yet (and it could change a bit anyway), but the concept of the game is as follows…
You are an Inventor, and a newcomer to this world. Like Terraria, you will gather materials and craft them into items. There will be monsters to kill, caves to explore and more. But here’s where it gets interesting (we think)…
There will be RTS elements to the game. In this case what that means is that you not only will be creating standard items for yourself to use (armor, weapons, etc) but you will be building “placeable” items and structures that will benefit you much like various building types do in an RTS. For example, in Terraria you can place decorations (torches, tables, etc) but in Epic Inventor you will also place things like…
a Lumber Mill that will generate Wood for you (so eventually, you won’t need to go gather wood)
a Steam Engine that acts as a source of power for other structures
an Auto-Crossbow Turret to… you know… kill things that approach
…and many more! *salesman voice*
You will also be able to advance along a “Tech” tree, deciding in which areas you wish to specialize. Benefits from some of these “techs” could include increasing the production from a lumber mill, or decreasing the time it takes to craft certain items.
One of the key differences between Epic Inventor and Terraria is that there will not be any digging of dirt, or chipping away at stone. Resource materials (such as stone, wood, and various metals) will be visibly different than the ground blocks you walk upon. There are a number of reasons for doing this, the primary of which is that it presents us with some great opportunities in other areas (that I can’t yet go into).
Anyway, that’s the very basic run-down of Epic Inventor, but at this point it represents the most we have said about the game to date. We just put out the very first build allowing us to run around in a generated world. We could only walk around (and jump/fall), but it was amazing to see for the first time. I have a few screenshots on the Facebook page, though remember these are all very early stage ideas and screenshots. We still have much to do and many things are bound to change.
With that said, I do want to clarify that comparison to Terraria is simply from an inspirational standpoint. We do not expect to be as successful. We’re not attempting to go toe to toe with them or with Minecraft. We love both of those games, and this one is simply inspired by them! If we complete it and can get a handful of people to enjoy it, we would be very happy.