Coming back to myself and Dyson Fall

single cab pickup truck

Things have been interesting for me of late. I am sure that with the ongoing COVID 19 pandemic, that they are interesting for everyone in their own way. My interesting has been trying to find myself again, trying to find a better balance with working remotely, life, and rediscovering the things that I enjoy.

I have been working remotely for more than seven years, so this isn’t anything new. Not being able to visit with other people in person often, being cautious about where I go, and how often. That is very different. However, it’s likely not a different experience for many of you who have dealt with it in the last year and a half.

I found myself working, then getting off of work and not really knowing what to do with myself. I’d nap, watch YouTube, and generally be lazy. I was quite listless in my off work hours. I decided that needed to stop, it wasn’t healthy and was wasting time I could spend doing something fun or productive. I have been gradually fighting back to do something other than nothing.

I started Lair of Secrets with Ken Newquist last year and we’ve been slowly making the show better and more on a schedule. Though picking up kids, scout meetings, migraines, and other life issues does still get in the way, we don’t show any sign of stopping. Tonight we’ll be going over our plans for a season two.

My gaming has been very spotty, mainly due to life/scheduling issues. Last year though, I really wanted to get back into some of the old games that I enjoyed. Gamma World has always been a favorite. Having grown up in the Cold War era, it offered a hope of life after the bomb. Mixed with other video games of the time (Wasteland on the Apple IIe being a prime one) and my prolific reading during those years, Gamma World was one of the games I never really got to play but would spin adventures and characters in my head constantly.

So over the last year or so, part of my brain has been dedicated to a game I am calling Dyson Fall. I want the game to be about the hope and exploration that I felt back then when reading and creating for Gamma World all those years ago.

One of my main inspirations in the modern day are Kipo and the Wonderbeasts. It’s a great cartoon that is at it’s core is about hope and making friends, even when those friends might look like enemies at the start. Once you get to know those people, you realize that they all have their troubles, and sometimes helping them through those troubles can turn them from an enemy into a friend or ally.

So Dyson Fall is about hope and growing a community. It is has the trappings of exploration of strange and wonderful or terrifying places, weird mutations, and the strange friends you make along the way.

I am using the Mythic d6 system by Khepera Publishing and my friend Jerry Grayson. I’m using it because it’s a skill based system, and as Jerry puts it, “all RPGs are super hero games”. Dyson Fall, with all of it’s Thundarr the Barbarian weirdness is definitely a post-apocalyptic super hero game.

Currently I have a small playtest group that has been kind enough to help me test out different scenarios for how the game will play. We unfortunately haven’t been able to play much, see my gaming scheduling woes above, but it has always been productive and given me more to think on after every session.

Journal the day

This is first of something I have wanted to do for a while, mainly so I would get back into writing more often. I’m going to do a short journal of the day. It’s not in any particular format or content, just a journal of things that I did that day.

Today I crammed the start of a bunch of projects. I am sure not all of them will be continued, but I’ve been feeling bored lately and wanting to *do* something.

Here’s the list of projects:

  • Complete rewrite of a friend’s site called Mechanical Wars, using Angular and Nest with NX tooling. It’ll have the additional advantage of getting me more experience with NX and Nest.
  • Bought the Unity 2019 Humble Bundle and started learning Unity.
  • Began a dashboard/grid library project to be used as a library to other Angular projects. Again, using Angular and NX. It’ll also force me to learn more CSS and Sass.

I’ve also done a little woodworking, making cubes for Erin’s upcoming lesson she is teaching. I may have to make boxes to accommodate the larger sized cubes she needs.

The puppy Zeke has been a handful today and has Erin and I a bit on edge. He’s not wanting to be in his playpen, but we can’t let him out for long since he still isn’t house-trained. He’s also teething and seems to find Erin a good chew toy. I seem to have been able to curb that habit with me, but I’m not sure why he still wants to bite Erin.

That’s it for today! I’ll see if I can make this a habit.

On a positive note…

Reviewing the last several posts, it would appear that for a few months that I have been in the doldrums of despair. While that is partly true, it is not where I have spent the majority of my time.

At work, I’ve been working on several projects dealing with online video, digital publishing, and helping out a team re-architecting several systems within a client’s structure. In other words, work has me busy and it’s been the good kind of interesting.

If you’ve been paying attention to the weather in the mid-western United States, then you can guess that I have been mostly indoors during the record cold and snows this year. It’s put my woodworking, and anything in the garage on hold, almost everything.

Earlier I had a picture of a cat resting in the partly assembled shelves of a bookcase I build last year. That cat, Angel, is kind of the neighborhood cat, and since her original owners didn’t take her in anymore, we’ve had her wintering in the garage. She’s quite happy there, but a little stir crazy like all of us since she can’t go outside. She’s even gotten into the house a few times, and while our dog likes her, the cats in the house, one of which is a daughter of her’s, definitely do not like sharing the house with the newcomer.

I’ve been working on a talk about Grunt, a task running utility that I use at work to reduce the redundant things I do (building, running tests on code, and making deployments). I’ve applied to give a talk at Chicago Code Camp in a few months, and plan to give the talk before then to the people at work.

I was planning on going to the Game Developers Conference (GDC) this year, but that doesn’t seem to be in the cards given the current focus of projects at work. Though I should be seeing Jim Van Verth next month, and he will be speaking there. He is wicked smart, and now works at Google. Sometimes I hope by being in the room with him that I get better at my own math skills.

So until it warms up outside, I plan on continuing the inside hobbies. Oh, I’ve also played far to many games while stuck inside this winter, finishing Batman Arkham Asylum, Arkham City, Tomb Raider, and playing many levels of Orcs Must Die 2 with Erin (my wife). When it warms up, the workshop will be aired out, and I can continue on the secret project. Until then, I am endeavoring to not distract myself from writing and editing the writing I have done. It’s a losing battle right now, but I hope for at least a Pyrrhic victory over my procrastination.

Erin hasn’t seen the Avengers movie yet, and I am making sure that she is fixing that gap in her knowledge now. So until next time, stay warm.

Life, it’s never dull.

[Warning: This is an update post, and may ramble a bit. Carry on!]

Things at the tail end of this year have certainly been interesting. Interesting times indeed, in all of the senses of the word.

You’ve read hear about some of the things that have gone on, and if you haven’t I invite you to take a look. I can wait.

Back? Good.

In addition to family health issues, building a deck, participating in HoNoToGroABeMo, and the normal things like work, raising kids, etc. I’ve been pretty busy. I’ve been working on my Secret Project, though much less of that lately. I’ve built a 3D printer, the PrintrBot Simple, and it’s printing nicely now. I’ve also been researching Machine Learning and Adaptive Bitrate Streaming, trying to see how the former can work with and for the latter.

Over this last week, things continued to be interesting.

On Monday, I was told that my new MacBook Pro had arrived and on Tuesday I had it in my hot little hands. I’ve been working with it and my Windows desktop off and on since then. I will have a post soon about the reasons why I switched to a Mac from Windows, and how my switch has gone so far. A teaser: It’s going pretty well, with the normal bumps of getting used to the different places for the things I normally use.

Tuesday night, I found a fairly heavy package sitting on the kitchen counter when I got home. I have been expecting my Kickstarter order of my FATE Core and FATE Accelerated books (along with a few others) to come in soon, but this package was far too heavy and large for a few books. What could it be?

To my great surprise, I found that the 3D printer parts for the Eventorbot had arrived! It had been over a year since I backed that Kickstarter, and given that the creator had disappeared for nearly three months, I had resigned myself to never seeing it. The creator had a bout of depression, and in my opinion, was overwhelmed to an extent that he stopped communicating. Which unfortunately made the problem worse.

So now I have parts for a second printer. So what will I do with it?

Well, I’ve written a book on 3D printing, I enjoy learning the technology, so I’m diving into it deeper by putting out a 3D printing show. My friend and former co-producer on The Game Master Show, will be joining me as I delve into the current events of the 3D printing industry, and tackle subjects both beginners and experts of the subjects can learn from.

Is that all? Nope!

Tuesday evening, Erin called me with news about her father. He’s doing much better, still not great, but he’s sitting up, eating, and has a positive attitude. The ICU nurse let Erin sneak the girls in to visit, and he really perked up when he saw them, vowing to get better and get out of the hospital so that he could be with them more.

So after a very interesting several months, more good things than bad are starting to happen. I’d like to take credit for planning it, for navigating my way through the storm, but I can’t. I tried my best to make my own luck, but it wasn’t all me. It was a combination of people, of supporters, of genuine luck (that’s what you call it when you can’t pin down the butterfly that caused the events).

So the light is shining. The deck is nearly done. My beard does itch (go donate!). It’s a good time right now, just in time for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and the start of new year just after.

Life. It’s never dull unless you let it be.