Ready Player One

Posted 8 years ago by Podcast, Uncategorized

Episode 13

Ready Player One is a futuristic novel by Ernest Cline (writer of Fanboys) that presents a dismal future in which most of the population spend all the time inside a vast virtual world called the OASIS. The eccentric inventor of the game was obsessed with 80s pop culture. Upon his death he devised a game to pass off his massive fortune to someone who could beat a series of challenges designed to test the player’s knowledge of the geeky bits of culture he was so obsessed with. Join Rob, Tim, and Tommy as they discuss the book, including spoilers, and try to decide if the pop culture references make the book unique or ruin the whole story.

Google Plus + Dungeons & Dragons: Post #3

Posted 8 years ago by Games

Previously: Post #2 in our Google+ D&D Experiment

It’s been a very educational week in the land of Google+.  We’ve learned quite a bit about running a campaign within the G+ infrastructure.  Some good lessons, some bad.   Let’s get to it!

The One Where Google Hates Me

Last time I told you about the use of custom hashtags to help separate your D&D posts from your animated .gifs of cats.  They still work great…if you remember to use them.  Sometimes in the heat of an adventure it’s very easy to forget to add your hashtag to a post, meaning it can easily get lost among all the other posts or if players only use the saved search to find the latest game posts.  As I suggested before, if you could create an exclusive Circle, where the only posts that would appear in that Circle were meant for that Circle alone, then we’d be in business.  Sadly, Google developers are not hanging on my every word yet, so that feature hasn’t made it into the latest round of updates.

So, I thought of another solution to this problem: Have everyone create a separate G+ profile only for D&D.  I doubt you could use your character name – I’m sure the folks at Google would recognize “Rothar the Destroyer of Worlds and Lover of Puppies” as a fictitious name – but there are plenty of ways you could come up with a name that would pass inspection.  This would allow you to create a campaign Circle and then every post would be game-related.  You could even create multiple campaign Circles if you’re a hardcore player.  Although if you have a friend that is playing in more than one campaign with you, his/her posts will show up in both campaign Circles, so it’s not a perfect solution, either.  However, if you’re only playing one campaign at a time, or you play with completely separate groups of people, this would be a pretty good way to do things.  But if you get caught by the Google Detectives for having a fake profile, leave my name out of it.

It’s All About the Story

My method for telling the story in a G+ campaign has been to have the DM start every thread.  I usually start a new thread whenever we change locations, which means my descriptive text serves as a sort of anchor.  If you’re familiar at all with writing movie scripts, it’s like putting the scene indicator (SCENE VI: Ext – Daytime) at the top of a scene.  Under that, the players post about what they’re doing, including attacking an enemy or attempting to pick the lock on a door.  This allows them to maintain a constant context of where they are, what they’re doing, and it’s easy for them to scroll back through previous posts to see what’s in the room that might be useful.  This is a great way to play, but, as I’ll point out later, is not without its flaws.

As you can see in the screen shot below, there are 21 comments on this post, so quite a bit happened in this room (We had our first encounter!  And no one died!  Well, except for a zombie…) before I posted a new thread after a player decided to go through Door #3.
Read More

Google Plus + Dungeons & Dragons: Post #3

Posted 8 years ago by Games

Previously: Post #2 in our Google+ D&D Experiment

It’s been a very educational week in the land of Google+.  We’ve learned quite a bit about running a campaign within the G+ infrastructure.  Some good lessons, some bad.   Let’s get to it!

The One Where Google Hates Me

Last time I told you about the use of custom hashtags to help separate your D&D posts from your animated .gifs of cats.  They still work great…if you remember to use them.  Sometimes in the heat of an adventure it’s very easy to forget to add your hashtag to a post, meaning it can easily get lost among all the other posts or if players only use the saved search to find the latest game posts.  As I suggested before, if you could create an exclusive Circle, where the only posts that would appear in that Circle were meant for that Circle alone, then we’d be in business.  Sadly, Google developers are not hanging on my every word yet, so that feature hasn’t made it into the latest round of updates.

So, I thought of another solution to this problem: Have everyone create a separate G+ profile only for D&D.  I doubt you could use your character name – I’m sure the folks at Google would recognize “Rothar the Destroyer of Worlds and Lover of Puppies” as a fictitious name – but there are plenty of ways you could come up with a name that would pass inspection.  This would allow you to create a campaign Circle and then every post would be game-related.  You could even create multiple campaign Circles if you’re a hardcore player.  Although if you have a friend that is playing in more than one campaign with you, his/her posts will show up in both campaign Circles, so it’s not a perfect solution, either.  However, if you’re only playing one campaign at a time, or you play with completely separate groups of people, this would be a pretty good way to do things.  But if you get caught by the Google Detectives for having a fake profile, leave my name out of it.

It’s All About the Story

My method for telling the story in a G+ campaign has been to have the DM start every thread.  I usually start a new thread whenever we change locations, which means my descriptive text serves as a sort of anchor.  If you’re familiar at all with writing movie scripts, it’s like putting the scene indicator (SCENE VI: Ext – Daytime) at the top of a scene.  Under that, the players post about what they’re doing, including attacking an enemy or attempting to pick the lock on a door.  This allows them to maintain a constant context of where they are, what they’re doing, and it’s easy for them to scroll back through previous posts to see what’s in the room that might be useful.  This is a great way to play, but, as I’ll point out later, is not without its flaws.

As you can see in the screen shot below, there are 21 comments on this post, so quite a bit happened in this room (We had our first encounter!  And no one died!  Well, except for a zombie…) before I posted a new thread after a player decided to go through Door #3.
Read More

Google Plus + Dungeons & Dragons: Post #2

Posted 8 years ago by Games

Previously: Post #1 in our Google+ D&D Experiment

Our adventure has officially gotten underway!  The three main characters – Finora the Wolf Slayer (Fighter), Oraine (Ranger) and Gerrex (Cleric) – have met with the head of the largest shipping company in the port city of Enathal, a man by the name of Suzdal Razin.  Razin’s daughter, Kythera, was snatched off the streets along with some of her handmaidens, and thus far, all signs point to the Blood Diamond Clan as the most likely culprits.  Local legend holds that the Clan has a secret mine where they harvest precious gems.  To supply their workforce, rumors say they kidnap unsuspecting citizens to use as disposable slave labor.  Could Kythera have become the latest victim of the Clan’s nefarious operation?  Or is it all just an urban legend meant to add to the Clan’s already dark reputation?  The adventurers are heading to the Clan hall now to look for clues and to meet up with Tyrion the Monk to complete their party.

As someone who hasn’t DM’ed a game in over 20 years, it’s been so great to get back to storytelling.  And thus far, Google+ is holding up pretty well as a method for playing.
Read More

Google Plus + Dungeons & Dragons: Post #2

Posted 8 years ago by Games

Previously: Post #1 in our Google+ D&D Experiment

Our adventure has officially gotten underway!  The three main characters – Finora the Wolf Slayer (Fighter), Oraine (Ranger) and Gerrex (Cleric) – have met with the head of the largest shipping company in the port city of Enathal, a man by the name of Suzdal Razin.  Razin’s daughter, Kythera, was snatched off the streets along with some of her handmaidens, and thus far, all signs point to the Blood Diamond Clan as the most likely culprits.  Local legend holds that the Clan has a secret mine where they harvest precious gems.  To supply their workforce, rumors say they kidnap unsuspecting citizens to use as disposable slave labor.  Could Kythera have become the latest victim of the Clan’s nefarious operation?  Or is it all just an urban legend meant to add to the Clan’s already dark reputation?  The adventurers are heading to the Clan hall now to look for clues and to meet up with Tyrion the Monk to complete their party.

As someone who hasn’t DM’ed a game in over 20 years, it’s been so great to get back to storytelling.  And thus far, Google+ is holding up pretty well as a method for playing.
Read More