No Time To Play
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Weekly Links #16

As if to compensate for the slow week before Easter, the gaming world returned with a vengeance to give me the most links I had since this year started. Luckily I know how to prioritize, so here we go.

The big news, of course, is that I've been invited to a game in the Storium beta. It's a new web-based platform for roleplaying games, currently running a Kickstarter to fund further development. I gave it a try at the insistence of an acquaintance who's already in love with the idea. In all honesty, I was halfway intrigued by the Kickstarter video, which makes it look like StoryNexus and phpBB met and had a child before moving on.

As it turns out, I was right: Storium is nothing more than forum software with a specific play-by-post ruleset built in. Which begs the question, why not just use the aforementioned phpBB, or Phorum, as I did multiple times before? There are many successful games doing just that. And yes, some of them even get away with charging a fee, presumably for fair moderation, competent game masters and so on.

But for reinventing the wheel? Your players are going to wake up soon.

While on the topic of Kickstarter, I can't pass on the opportunity to mention an ambitious project to document the in-game history of EVE Online -- that is, the player-generated institutions, events and so on. And seeing how wars in this virtual world have made the headlines in the real world more than once, something otherwise unheard of, this book deserves seeing the light of day.

And as if gaming wasn't awesome enough this week, the Danish government recreated the entire country in Minecraft starting from geographical survey data. I'm curious to see what people will do with the data.

On a more personal note, a recent article over at Electron Dance made me think of the way I've been playing less and less as of late. At one point I hoped that my Android tablet (an acquisition I'm still trying to fully justify) would become my new gaming device of choice, seeing as it's good for little else apart from reading and light Internet usage. As it turned out, I did install and play a few games on it: 2048, Mahjongg Builder and Heriswap, a French match-three game that's simple, but cute and well-balanced. And that's it! Sadly, text adventures on the tablet are a chore to play, and even UnrealSpeccy Portable is sitting unused after I fooled with it a few times. As for more advanced games -- F-Droid features several shooters for example -- I'm simply never in the right mood anymore, even if the battery was up to the task.

It's not you, games, it's me.

To end with a link catering directly to game developers, someone wrote a book on game programming patterns and made it available for free. Sadly, it looks like little more than a selection of classic programming patterns as they apply to game development. And I have a very low opinion of programming patterns. Pro tip: don't rush to use objects for everything just because you can.

But that's all I have for today. See you around.