It’s been quiet around here lately.

This last semester, I took my first courses in programming. I didn’t realize beforehand that each programming class would be like a writing class, and I was also taking a writing class. So I had like, three writing classes in total.

I tried to keep up with all the work, and it feels like I barely passed my classes. I mean, I did better than that but it didn’t feel like it at the time. I just hold myself to an unreasonable standard, is all.

Anyway, I don’t know how long I’ll stick around to post. It feels like I should be blogging a lot to make up for lost time, but I’ll be heading back into the breach soon enough. I’ve been keeping busy with game design stuff too. I’ll give you a summary:

In the waning months of 2016, I completed a foreshortening of the D&D spell list in anticipation of overhauling the class system. I haven’t returned to that to do any additional work, but a return to that particular bugbear will be forthcoming.

Also in the waning months of 2016, I began work on a skill system that distills the best aspects of every skill system I’ve played with over the years, including 3e D&D, Airship Pirates, Laundry Files, and Traveller, among others. I’ve made some good progress on that in recent months, I’m not sure if I shared my progress. (I probably didn’t.)

Following that line of thought, I began working on a career system comparable to Traveller, for use with D&D, using the aforementioned skill system. Once I’ve finished one or two drafts of the career system, I hope to expand it to cover different eras and technology levels, so it can scale.

I’ve done a lot of work with Traveller recently.

I wrote a couple versions of a program in Java to automatically generate worlds in a subsector. It’s due for another rewrite so I can refactor the code with everything I learned after the post-Spring Break rewrite.

To summarize, I wrote the first version of the program over Spring Break. I wrote a second version less that two weeks later, using tools and techniques I learned upon returning from Spring Break. I learned a lot more after that, but I simply haven’t had time to return and re-rewrite it, much as it would please me to do so.

Similarly, I wrote a program to generate skyloft cities using the rules from Airship Pirates. It’s a lot simpler than the program I wrote for Traveller’s world generation — not because skyloft generation is any more straightforward, but because as I suggested, I’ve learned a lot from the first one.

I have ideas for a number of different generators to come.

For starters, I created algorithms for character generation in Dungeons & Dragons which I had been using to create NPC factions, which I could easily port to Java with what I’ve since learned.

I might have mentioned at some point that I created a program to generate names using the dark elf name generator from the 3e sourcebook Drow of the Underdark. I also might not have finished or published that blog post, I don’t recall.

There are other random tables and generators I hope to create programs for, not just as programming practice, but to give myself mental fuel for future projects. That character generator is just one example. Others include Java adaptations of systems found in Bliss Stage, Fiasco, and Dogs in the Vineyard. Maybe Laundry Files.

If I have time, I’ll hit up Mouseguard too, now that I have a copy.

But let me think, what else did I work on?

Oh yeah, for my group project at the end of my Java class, my group built a single-player adaptation of the board game Eldritch Horror. That was … nuts. I learned a whole lot from that, including some new appreciation for the elegance of board game design. I came away with some new ideas for how to simplify RPG designs so they might be adapted to board games.

We played a lot of Eldritch Horror in the process. Like, a lot a lot.

Also, we got to play some more Dead of Winter, which has me entertaining ideas about how to develop new rules around settlements. OH. Which reminds me about settlement rules development. My goodness. I have just… too much to talk about.

So, with a couple programming classes under my belt (I don’t recommend anyone do what I did, and take sequential classes simultaneously, for your own sanity), I have some new appreciation for how different rules objects interact with one another. I’m bridging my knowledge and understanding of game design and programming, and it is nuts.

Worth its own blog post, if I can find time for it.

Last but not least, there is of course that our family — cookiemonger, myself, and our son — have all been hooked on Steven Universe the last several weeks. It just has so much continuity, so much worldbuilding. As much as I enjoyed Adventure Time, I would trade away episodes and entire seasons of AT for more SU, any day.

And on that note, back to design.