Nov 041999

The latest Halloween Story is up.

Every year I do a live storytelling thing on LegendMUD where I improvise a short story in front of a live audience without any preparation. This year it was called Breathe.

I got to attend some of the local Austin Game Developer’s Conference yesterday. It was good to meet Serafina Pechan of Atriarch (we had lunch) and to see Chris Hecker, Warren Spector & Mike McShaffry and other friends. Jeez, some of these guys live here in town and I still never see them…! Warren said he couldn’t slip me a copy of Deus Ex… darnit, I wanna play that game…

Game talkMiscMusicRecent News

 Posted by (Visited 10485 times)  Game talk, Misc, Music  Tagged with: , , , ,
Oct 131999

Whew, been a while since I updated. Let’s see, the latest news:

We’re in a new house now. I have to replace the deck, but other than that it’s nice. I’m very glad to be out of temporary apartment housing… The VR Worldcon thing was a lot of fun. It was great to hang out with Dr Cat again. It had been quite a while since I had spent any time with him… Also, I have to say that I think Furcadia is probably the most successful non-gaming, socially oriented graphical mud I’ve seen. I was promised a log of the two things I did (a roundtable on managing obnoxious behavior online, and a general q&a session) but they haven’t materialized yet.

Thanks to Richard Bartle, looks like I’m heading off to London in a couple of weeks to give the opening address at Online Games ’99 on the 3rd and 4th of November. I am supposed to speak on “Current and Future Developments in Online Games” as well as (another) panel on managing obnoxious players (something everyone seems to want to know about!)

This is my first trip across the Atlantic–all my travels thus far have been in the Americas–and I am looking forward to it!

My CD is mastered! I’ll be duplicating it soon. I am not sure what I am going to do with it once I duplicate it, though (other than give it as a Christmas present to friends and family). Are there any of you out there who want it? Post on the Guestbook if you are interested in it. (I bet I see no activity whatsoever). To help you decide, I’ve put up a new mp3 in the Music/What I Play section, called Maybe Free. It’s the opening track on the CD.

Game talkWorld Con

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Sep 021999

I’ll be a guest at the first official VR Worldcon (yes, as in the World SF convention–the non-VR part is in Australia this year) being held this weekend, along with my friends Dr Cat and Jeff Dee, the Fat Man, and Harvey “Witchboy” Smith. Harvey and I worked together extremely briefly at Origin for a while… We’ll be at the portion that is hosted by Furcadia. A Q&A session has yet to be scheduled, but I am signed up to participate in a panel called Building A Better World: Managing Online Gaming Communities Effectively that will be on Friday, 8PM-PST 4AM-GMT 11PM-EST.

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Aug 231999

So I went to Seattle to visit the Microsoft Hardware Lab and upon arriving at the hotel found a message from my wife to call her– even if it was in the middle of the night (3am Seattle time, in fact). Turns out that a smoldering fire started by an electrical short had pretty much destroyed the kitchen, and smoke and soot damage had gotten the rest of the house. Kristen and the kids weren’t there–they were in fact dropping me at the airport while the house was burning–so the family is fine, except for our dogs, all of whom died in the fire.

Amazingly, the book collection, music collection, musical instruments, etc, all survived intact and largely undamaged. So in an odd way, we came out largely unscathed (we’ll still max out our insurance though).

I was going to write a long and eloquent essay about this, kind of a way of clearing it all out– “My God, what if it had been during the night when we were home” “What must it have been like for the dogs trapped in the house as the air slowly went bad and it got hotter and hotter” “Look at what we invest with value and what we care about losing” “Boy, I really feel guilty over terribly missing my dog Mika, and not terribly missing the other dogs” “Aren’t the connections you make with people you never met amazing” — this latter after getting an anonymous letter written in a childish scrawl, from An Ultima Online player, with three dollars cash enclosed…

But in the end, I never did write it, and doubt I ever will.

Mostly it reminded me again of the fragility of life, and the value of the connections we make, and of how important stuff is to our sense of identity (it’s amazing how panicked you can get over losing a stack of books you read when you were a kid and haven’t read since)…

I do really miss Mika, my dog, though. I’ve put up another MP3 for a guitar instrumental I wrote about her in the Music/What I Play section. She got my wife and I through some very tough times emotionally a few years back and was the smartest dog I’ve ever had. I’ll miss her.

In other news, I may be giving the opening address at the Online Games ’99 conference in London. Have to sort out the plane ticket yet, but if that gets worked out, I’ll be there! My first trip across the pond… and Richard Bartle and I will finally get to meet after trading emails for years and years…

Bruce Sterling tells me that he’s going to be posting the Laws of Online World Design to his Viridian mailing list, of which I am a member. These Laws sure seem to keep getting around…

Oh! Almost forgot. I’m not working on Ultima Online anymore. I’m on a new project, and no, I can’t tell you anything about it yet. Be patient! We’ll redefine online gaming if you give us time. 🙂

ArtArtwork update

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Jul 011999

It’s been a while since I touched the Artwork section. So I figured I’d toss up some of my recent doodles (under Artwork/Pencil). No, really. They are fairly elaborate doodles. Plus some of them have tentacles.

Game talkNew Links section in Gaming

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Jun 301999

I’ve put up a whole new section under Gaming–it’s links to useful sites for online game designers. I haven’t done the nice little graphic for the contents bar yet, but I’ll do that once I get home. 🙂

In the meantime, enjoy browsing around to all the sites.

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Game talkMusicWritingImaginary Realities Reprints

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Jun 271999

Just got word that Imaginary Realities (to my knowledge the only webzine covering muds in any serious manner) has reprinted a couple of items from this website. They also reprinted Marian Griffith’s essay on mud critique from the MUD-Dev list–definitely worth checking out.

On the music front, the CD is mixed but not mastered.

More news once it’s actually done! 🙂

Game talkMusicWritingCD being mixed

 Posted by (Visited 9216 times)  Game talk, Music, Writing  Tagged with: ,
Jun 171999

So we’re at the mixing phase on my CD, and I’ve gone ahead and put up a rough mix of one of the tunes. You can hear it under Music/What I Play, and read the lyrics there too. I also put chord forms for it (not full tablature, sorry, don’t have the time just now!) under Music/Guitar Stuff.

Let me know if you learn it, if you like it, if you think I should never be heard in public again, or whatever, on my Guestbook…

In other news, I am off for the next few days to Chris Crawford’s Interactive Storytelling conference at his home in Oregon. Should be a lot of fun, and a welcome break. I’ve got some thoughts I recently articulated on Usenet about the forms that “plot” takes in online games, complete with a 3d grid… I’ll have to post it once I get back.