Disney Buys Lucasfilm

It was announced today that Disney has purchased Lucasfilm for about $4 billion dollars.  Disney has gone on to announce they’re working on new Star Wars movies.  Movies in which George Lucas will only be peripherally involved as a creative consultant.  He won’t be writing or directing.  For many fans, this is wonderful news.

For more information, click here.

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StoryBundle

I just recently found out about the StoryBundle.  This is a system very similar to the recent Humble ebook Bundle, where you pay what you want for a group of DRM-free ebooks and if you pay above a certain amount, you get some extra ebooks.

Right now they’re offering Halloween-appropriate books, and their selection of books changes every month, with the majority of the books written by indie authors.  Check it out.

Henge of Denravi

Guild Wars 2 is a MMORPG, that also has a strong PvP component in the form of WvW (World vs. World).  This is where servers are categorized into tiers and then three servers at similar tiers are pitted against each other, with members of those servers meeting on a special battleground where they fight for control of certain control points, gaining points for the server overall.

At the launch of Guild Wars 2, Henge of Denravi (HoD) was one of the largest, if not the largest, servers in the game.  They were tier 1 and undefeated.  But, as the stories go, people started transferring from other servers and joining HoD WvW so they could relay HoD’s battle plans back to their servers of choice.  Also, there can only be so many people in WvW at one time, and the stories say people would transfer from other servers to HoD and join WvW then just stand around to fill up the queue, preventing the more skilled and organized guilds from joining the fray.

Those guilds eventually got tired of these tactics and left the server, joining other servers instead.

Originally Arena Net’s idea, the company behind Guild Wars 2, was to make world transfers, where you transfer your character from one server to another, free at first so players could be sure they were on a server they liked.  Then, after a time, world transfers were supposed to start costing real money, but that hasn’t kicked in yet.  That’s what allowed all of this server hopping to happen.

Because HoD was in first place for so long, it’s still ranked in tier 1 despite now having a much lower population than it used to.  This means that it keeps getting pitted against much larger servers where it can’t make much of any gains, with point spreads of 100,000 for the large servers and HoD with something like 5,000.

It’s expected that HoD will move to a lower tier at some point.  When world transfers are no longer free and when the tiers are reshuffled and rebalanced, it’ll be interesting to see how well HoD starts doing.  Who knows, maybe it can climb its way back up the ladder again.

Politics-Free Zone

It seems like many writers and celebrities feel the need to spout off about their personal politics on Twitter, their webpages, and anywhere else they can get a platform.  Frankly, I just don’t care.

You, the readers of this website, don’t care about my personal politics.  That’s not what we’re here for.  We’re here for the stories and the gaming, for the fun and creativity.  Not politics.  Many of the readers of this website aren’t even from the same country, so in that regard politics become almost meaningless.

So rest assured, gentle readers.  This website will remain a politics-free zone.

By d10tavern Posted in News

Writing Hook: Field Pods

A coolness is slipping through the air and the leaves are turning their subdued rainbow.  Jack-o-Lanterns are popping up here and there, so Halloween must be close.

Here’s a writing hook to help get you in the mood.  Feel free to draw inspiration from it.

***

The moon was soft, rounding sharp edges and painting shadows with gentle strokes.  The stars overhead were bright, but felt somehow expectant.  With a shiver, he pushed into the giant grass before him.  The sky was swallowed in the green waving blades, only glimpses peeking through here and there.  He heard it again.  That whispering susurration that lead him here.  He didn’t know what it was, only that he must follow it.

He moved deeper into this strange growth.  Never had he seen grass grow this tall.  It reached above his head, seed pods as big as this thumb.  Could it even still be called grass when it was this tall, he wondered?  Somehow the name no longer seemed to fit.

The sound was closer.  He could feel he was almost there.  He paused, took a deep breath, then parted the grass before him.  There a thin green stalk sprouted from the earth, slightly shorter than the surrounding grass.  Something round and partially covered in shadow dangled from its end.  He leaned closer to peer through the darkness.  The object turned, bobbing slightly.  It was a face.  It blinked.

Smeg! v1.3

The free role-playing game Smeg! has been updated to version 1.3.  A new entity type has been added, some of the rule explanations have been cleaned up to make them more clear, and a few other silly words were added.  Download it by going to the Role-Playing Games menu above then click on the Smeg! entry to go to its page.

Deciding the Dice

I’m in the midst of writing a new, small, fast role-playing game with a very specific purpose in mind.  It’s going to be based around rolling just one die, but I must decide which die to use.

Currently, I’m deciding between a d10 and a d20.  A d10 will make things even faster and easier and it’s perhaps slightly more unique than using a d20, but it would also give a narrower range of results and be less flexible.  A d20 is more ubiquitous, but people still really like using a d20, and it would give a wider range of results and add more flexibility.

Decisions, decisions.

What Indie Games Mean to Me

If you take a moment to look over this website you’ll see that I’m a big supporter of the Humble Bundle, which promotes indie computer games using a pay-what-you-want system, and recently a promoter of ebooks as well, using the same system.

I’m a big supporter of the indie game scene in general, where you have small independent game developers and publishers creating and publishing their games directly to the public through the Internet, using services like Kickstarter to raise money or simply selling directly through their own website.  This allows them to create games that large game publishers, with their slow development cycles and stagnant ideas, would never green light.

A perfect example of this is Wasteland 2, a sequel to the acclaimed computer role-playing game Wasteland from the 80s.  Brian Fargo went to many of the large publishers asking for the funding to make Wasteland 2.  None of them were interested, thinking that no one would be interested in a game like that.  So instead, he turned to Kickstarter.  The goal was to raise $900,000 to fund the project.  Instead, they raised over $2 million, proving that there really was a desire for such games, and also proving that you don’t have to go through a big publisher and play by their rules to get a game published.

This of course holds many parallels to the ebook industry and authors being able to publish their ebooks directly, but that’s a subject for another post.

So, I’ve been thinking about what indie games mean to me.  I don’t expect them to have the most advanced graphics… after all, they tend to be dealing with smaller budgets… but I do expect the gameplay to be interesting.  They often have very nice soundtracks.  Most importantly, however, I expect them to have good stories.  When I play an indie game, that’s what I’m looking for.  A story that’s deeper, more compelling, and perhaps even more daring than what you’d get out of a main-stream game.

So for me, what I expect from an indie game, and what indie games mean to me, can be summed up in one word:  Story.