Game Development: Common Knowledge Site

This page is my original writing for Divided Skies MUSH, where I as the lorekeeper was tasked with creating a guide for players so they would understand what they would reasonably know or not know and be able to role-play within this Dragonriders of Pern setting as chosen by the game staff.  While the game itself didn’t remain open for very long, I found the research project stimulating and am still very proud of the work I did for it.  The page references other pages I wrote for the game that I’ve included as separate posts and linked in.

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Writing – Excerpt from an Old A-Z Guide

This is an excerpt from a 20-page A-Z reference guide I once wrote over a decade ago about seaQuest DSV… yes, that TV show from the 90s that had the dolphin.  This excerpt is used to illustrate the results of painstaking… and sometimes painful… research.  You remember their use of the internet, yeah?  The names in parentheses at various points refer to shorthand names for the various episodes, although these days, I would have been better using a numeric shorthand such as S01E04 to refer to the fourth episode of the first season.

[ Begin excerpt ]

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Chronology: seaQuest DSV and 2032

Just for grins, I excavated this from my archives.  It’s part of a 141-page document I have with a number of cool quotes from the early 90s TV show seaQuest DSV and the rebranded seaQuest 2032.  The first 20 pages of the document represent an A-Z glossary of people, places, things in the series and their relationships to one another, such as Robert Bridger being the son of Nathan Bridger who was killed in action before the series started, that sort of thing.  This is one of the earliest fun non-gaming chronologies I ever researched.  Do enjoy!

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Official Incarnations of Immortality Chronology


This page represents a reprint of my chronology of Piers Anthony’s Incarnations of Immortality series that was hosted on which I ported here to my site.  The original page remains on Spundreams as an archive with a redirect here so I can keep all the good stuff in one location. Please note, this is considered by his own words as his official chronology of the first 7 books of the series.  It is listed by URL and me by name (although Mr. Anthony thought I was a bloke) in the Author’s Note of the 8th book in the series, which takes place in the past of an alternate reality very much divorced from the first 7 books, so I never revisited the history.  That being said, do enjoy the chronology as much as I enjoyed doing the research, because I’m a lore nerd.

EDIT: Feb 10, 2018:  I have since learned through social media and research that a specific word is in lamentable frequent use in pop culture that refers to certain nomadic peoples once thought to originate in Egypt.  I had unknowingly used this slur in this text, as it was in the books as such.  However, I choose not to contribute to the ignorant use of this slur, so I have changed the references to Nicolai and Tinka’s people to call them by their polite and correct name: the Romani.  For any Romani whom I had unwittingly offended by this ignorant use of the slur, I sincerely apologize and will do my best to never commit such an error in the future.

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[Gaming] Vol’jin

WoW has a leadership problem. I’m not talking about the executive team at Blizzard Entertainment, but rather how Blizzard writes the leaders of their MMO. The history of the Warcraft universe has never been one of much peace because peace is boring and hello, it’s not called Peacecraft. However, as players who focus on one of the two primary factions to the exclusion of all else, we can see how each faction is treated by Blizzard, how their leaders are written, and we tend to get riled up when we see our faction losing out to the other. Myself, I’m primarily Alliance-leaning, although I play Horde almost as much. I can see both sides of the argument as a proper moderate should.  The rest of this article will contain massive spoilers for the upcoming expansion Legion, including the Broken Shores instances currently live in-game.

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[Gaming] WoW’s Class Buffs as a Social Tool

One of the more passively social aspects of World of Warcraft is class buffs. Before the Legion pre-patch (7.0.3), players could add limited-time buffs to other players, either via single-targeting or self-targeting in a party or raid. These class buffs used to be five or thirty minutes and not raid-wide in Burning Crusade, but were turned into 1-hour buffs until the pre-patch in July. With all the class changes in 7.0.3, this one has caused some consternation. With the default UI, many of us got used to seeing the buff icons in the upper right near the minimap, so it now looks a bit weird when they’re not there, and more than one person has caught themselves hunting for their now-missing buff key to restore the buff.

Blizzard baked much of these effects into various specs with the overhauling of the classes, so most classes and specs don’t have any buffs to offer, other than retribution paladin. While it’s easy to understand the gameplay aspect of things, to be more tactical about what kinds of characters to bring to a raid, we now lose out to some extent. Who hasn’t been out minding their own business whilst questing and then seeing the spell effect of a random priest casting Power Word: Fortitude on you as they ran past in the middle of their own business?

It took little more than a target click and hotkey press, but players buffed others even though it did themselves no real good outside of group content. When I’ve been out and about and hitting random players with Kings or Might or Wisdom (yep, ret pally here), I’d even get an occasional thank you and the other player would reciprocate with their own class’s buff it they had one. In group content, some pugs or guild groups made a game out of who’d get the last buff in before the boss pull.

I’m fairly sure Blizz wasn’t thinking of the social side of things when they redesigned ret pally buffs, for example. Before, any paladin could buff themselves and anyone in their group, and the game didn’t care how many people you hit with Kings. It’s readily evident how the new system, with only ret pallies having access to the buffs, plus with the new mechanic of one person total per buff, makes it a gameplay choice. A paladin has to decide whether to buff themselves OR a tank with Might, themselves OR any DPS class with Kings, or themselves OR a caster with Wisdom. While the selflessness of a paladin is a lore and story fantasy for the class, I can see paladins being selfish about the buffs even in group content unless threatened with a kick. Even with the DPS from a buff is reflected in the paladin’s DPS meter, it’s still a social issue.

Yeah, the social aspect of the class buffs while out in the open world is almost akin to a person who tweets support for victims of a crisis without actually volunteering or donating to help out, but it did instill a small bit of random goodness into the game that is now gone. I don’t expect Blizzard to go back to the way things were, that’s not really their style, but I will miss those open-world encounters that were about doing a good deed, not getting ganked.

Opinion: The Game Industry’s Workforce Problem

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted, but I figured it was time to write something new.  This is an opinion post based on what I’ve observed with the game industry, mostly relating to video games versus board games or tabletop, so your mileage may vary.  In it, I will cover two main issues involving the industry’s workforce:  Crunch and Layoffs.  At the end, I will point out what I believe needs to happen for a healthier workforce.   Unfortunately, I am well aware that it would require massive change on the part of the industry to enact any of these ideas, but if no one is willing to point out the elephant in the room and name it for what it is, then no one can begin to look into alternatives.

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[Spoilers] Star Wars: the Force Awakens Belated Post-Mortem

Note: This article contains SPOILERS for the movie. If you haven’t seen it and miraculously haven’t seen spoilers on your social media, you might want to give this a miss until you’ve had a chance to see it or just don’t care anymore if you’re spoiled as to most/all the major plot points.

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