Journal

Much of the old blog's contents consists of timeless articles, that are now scattered throughout the various thematic sections; however, some blog posts were highly time-dependent, and were preserved as such. A separate page for posts made from 2011 to 2015 was considered, and rejected: old posts belong with the new. Mind the five-year gap.


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2022-06-14 Assorted

You'd think people would be on vacation by now, but if anything activity is picking up again.

To get an ugly story out of the way: “Abusing you was by the book” (documenting two years of abuse from Game Journalism, after sharing my #metoo… the whole painful story all in one place). Just in case anyone thought that stuff was over by now. It's never over.

But there's also game design, a couple of things this time even:

And in the way of assorted news:

Which made me go on for way too long again, so enjoy, and see you in July!

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2022-05-21 Updates

Took long enough, but it feels like the great wiki cleanup is finally getting somewhere. The full effects should be seen in another couple of months; for now, the wiki finally got its mission statement, a must-have if it's going to function as a wiki, as opposed to a glorified dumping ground. Current plans include:

  • continue migrating old articles to the main website;
  • phase out the underused and broken tag system;
  • profit!

Speaking of which, this is a good opportunity to thank a couple of recent donors, whose generosity ensures the domain and hosting for this site are covered come June. With any luck, No Time To Play will be around for a while yet. Join the joyride!

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2022-05-21 Assorted

It's spring! Three weeks into May to be exact, and there's been a lull in game-related news, so might as well.

For one thing: NFT Market Collapses Just As Square Enix Sells Tomb Raider To Bet Big On Blockchain (followed by GameStop a few days later). No comment.

In better news, we have a couple of game design pieces: Designing the City of Glass and The AI of DOOM (1993). Good article, I just have a nit to pick: what the game does is really scripting, just in a hidden way. This is why you want to do it on purpose instead of improvising.

Anyway, we can also learn a lot from history, so let's move on to Playing It The European Way – A Discussion On The European Gaming Market In The 80s, and also Business Wargames: Early Complex Text Games, a surprise bonus from the 50 Years of Text Games project, as the book is taking shape.

Last but not least, last month's momentous release of Inform 7 as open source also got some French language coverage. Enjoy, and see you next month!

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2022-04-30 Assorted

Another month, another link roundup. And what a month. For one, the end of April brings up the news of the season, or possibly the year, in game development.

No comment, really. In other news, we have a couple of game-adjacent write-ups:

Yep, that's Nathalie Lawhead. In simpler news:

Before I finish, let me go back for a moment with a couple of RPG news:

But this got scary long already, even without commentary, so until next month!

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2022-03-30 Assorted

It's the end of the month, and I'm so distracted. There wasn't a theme in March, either, and links came haphazardly, but I can still do this. In reverse order:

Moving into the first half of the month, there are some personal news:

  • My new article on scripting was translated to Russian! Site appears to be some sort of forum or collective blog; looks legit and safe enough either way.
  • On the same note, I wrote about what we lose with progress (graphics are almost a theme this month).

And near the start, on an adjacent topic:

Whoops, this got long. Cheers, and see you around Easter.

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2022-02-25 Assorted

Hello, everyone! My intention was to wait for the end of the month to post another link roundup, but weekend is coming and chances are small that many more headlines will gather until Monday. So let's see how things went in the world of games during February. Without comment:

But also:

And then:

Last but not least, some actual game design talk; CityCraft: ten tips for building better game cities. See you!

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2022-01-28 Assorted

It's been a month since the No Time To Play newsletter was discontinued, but the site goes on, and the world of games isn't standing still either. For the past ten days, there's been a whole bunch of headlines that don't fit in other sections, but they're worth sharing anyway. Without any comment:

Not bad, given the circumstances. See you around.

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2021-12-10 Programming

This post expands on a recent conversation from Discord.

As of 2021, I'm the proud owner of a 2008-vintage Dell Optiplex 780 with a Core 2 Quad CPU. People go "tsk tsk, poor you" when I tell them, but my previous machine must have been even older, probably from around 2005 or so.

On that older machine, I made a voxel renderer that ran in real time in software. In Python. It was kinda slow at 25 FPS, so I also ported it to Lua. That version ran at 40 FPS on the same hardware, or 60% faster.

On my new PC, the Python version runs at the framerate cap of 60 FPS without maxing out the CPU. I have no idea how fast it is.

That's the exact same code. Never touched it again since the first release. And it was naive code in the first place, because that's how I roll. No fancy tricks. The simplest thing that can possibly work.

Then again, my old computer could emulate the Super FX chip in software. In a web browser.

Do you realize how inefficient an app must be to slow down a configuration from at most five years ago? While doing much less? And using the GPU as well?

There's simply no excuse for bloat. None whatsoever.

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2021-08-18 Programming and community

Over on Mastodon, a friend essentially asks why someone would use GitHub when they make software to self-host. I gave a short answer there already, but let me make it very clear: GitHub's real value isn't as a software forge.

  • You don't need GitHub to make software.
  • You don't need GitHub to publish software.
  • You don't need GitHub to collaborate on software.

People go to GitHub to make themselves known. It's the Facebook of software development. That's it. Everything else can be done better elsewhere, but people don't bother because what's the point if no-one hears about it?

And just like with FB, we need to figure out some sort of alternative already. But it's not going to happen any time soon, because just like with FB, nerds are focusing on the technical solutions. Self-hosting! Federation! Go! Rust!

Fossil has been around for literally decades at this point. It powers a lot of websites. I run across it in the wild all the time. And nobody's heard of it.

What we need is communities of practice with shared values. Apps are easy.

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2020-10-07 If programmers built bridges

If programmers built bridges, each bridge would last for only a year and a half before having to be torn down and replaced. After repeated protests, they’d finally come up with an “extended support” bridge that lasted for all of five years. The catch? It would be designed for the traffic from ten years ago, making it obsolete from opening day. Yet somehow it would still require maintenance every three or six months, so only half the traffic lanes would be open at any one time, making the bridge unusable in turn for cyclists, then buses, then trucks… breaking something else every time a problem is fixed.

When asked why things have to be that way, the builders would say that if they took the time to anticipate future needs and build something to last for five decades instead, a competitor would just erect their own bridge a hundred meters away and everyone would be using the shinier alternative.

Because, isn’t it, essential infrastructure is built for profit and/or bragging rights, as opposed to everyone’s benefit. Ah, modern technology.

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