The First Session

So after fiddling around for a few hours, I was able to get a working configuration for the game. As I declared in some form of exasperation, moderately light but not really hiding the true frustration, it really was a 90s video game experience.

But! A cut scene reminding me of the salient plot points of the first game and a new game prompt await me. As I prepare to dip in I have about 15 minutes before I have to tend to reality for a time. We’ll see what comes.

Oh the character portraits are memories.

There’s an assumption that one has read the manual I think, and knows the classes and other options because I have to pick my character portrait before I choose my profession. The bearded robed mysterious and perhaps a bit mystic gentleman it is. Smolder he shall be known as.

The races I remember pretty well but goodness there are a lot of classes! I’m not certain right now that I ever played the expansion, perhaps there’s a whole lot here.

I like to think about character creation. Where’s the fun in this? It’s terribly fun for me, and it’s about the mix and combination of attributes and the personality. Describing the personality of a character and how it connects to the role. That is interesting.

I’ve been thinking about automated character generation a bit for a thing I’m going to be obtuse about because it’s likely not going to amount to anything (much like this blog, anyway). But for that thing, I’ve been thinking about using personality determination systems like astrology or Myers-Briggs but not that one specifically because it’s copyrighted. Astrology isn’t though! Tarot is always cool because of cards but this ain’t no Ultima universe.

I have about five minutes left before I wanted to address some outstanding household duties and I’m going to spend it and probably just a tiny bit more reading these. But uh, I’m kind of thinking this guy is a Bard.

There are Bard sub-classes!

I have to think on the sub classes. Honestly there are compelling bits to any of them. The blade is an arrogant front man, spinning and cavorting. The jester a skilled mc rap battler and the skald is a viking at a rave.

I have returned to my notes for a time. The person I see in this portrait isn’t any of these things the classes are though so I may need to return to the portrait or dig further into other classes. There’s some roguishness and mysticness to the person in the portrait.

Character creation is the promise that a set of properties established at the start will have an impact on how the game is played.

Perhaps this person is a Sorceror.

I’ve played now for a couple of hours total. This person is in fact a Sorceror, though I don’t have a solid understanding of spellcasting in this world. I really think I should read the manual as a starting point, but since my laptop battery is nearly dead that will have to come another time.

I don’t like the combat yet, but that’s because I don’t know what I’m doing and of course, we don’t have very good equipment. More will come in time I think, and I’m quite happy to read guides so I will probably do so. I’ll likely read more about character classes and the impact these choices are going to have on the game as a whole.

The promise of character creation is that I get to role play. The limitation of role playing games is that we can only play within the confines created for us. It’s impossible to know the “right” build but it’s less about whether or not I will be powerful but whether or not I understand the consequences of the choices I am making.

If I as the player don’t have that understanding, whatever it actually is that character creation promises to is, will never be what I hoped it could be.

There is a tutorial feature in the game. It may be worth exploring that a little bit also.

Maybe I'll Play a Game

It’s not like I need a justification, but a justification makes it more fun!

I downloaded Baldur’s Gate 2 and I’m going to play it. It’s one of my favourite games and it would be better if I played the first Baldur’s Gate first, but I don’t have a license so what the heck I’m just going to jump in.

I read the (Boss Fight Books Baldur’s Gate 2 book by Matt Bell)[] a few weeks back. I remember a few things as a result of that, but honestly most of the specifics are lost to me right now. I conflate it with Planescape: Torment quite a bit. For example Minsk, which one is he in? I’m pretty sure not this one.

This game is about becoming a god, or further adventures in godhood? The fact that I can pull this much is entirely because I read the book, though at the time I played it I was reasonably well versed in the Forgotten Realms. I never really played many campaigns there, my group was primarily Rifts but I read several of the early Drizzt books and lots of source books and many, many games.

Anyway, I’m going to write about it as I play every now and then. I like writing and I like video games and hey at least this gives me something to do and think about.

I fancy myself a game developer of sorts. Not really I guess, outside of a few partial projects here and there but I think about game design a lot. I’m a game designer like I’m a writer or a musician or a cyclist. Aspirationally. So I’m going to use this as an excuse to think with intention about games. Maybe. I mean either that or I just made another entry in the typical collection of intent-to-write posts.

One effort I’m going to be making in my writing is to be really lazy about it. By that I am trying to just write without second guessing myself too much. A long time ago, Joel Spolsky wrote about the weight of defending writing against an internet full of uncharitable interpretations and I’ve never had anything even resembling his platform and still feel that pressure keenly.

So, the standard disclaimer* on everything I write here is that not only am I not trying to talk anyone into agreeing with the things I say, I’m not even certain whether or not I do. I’m processing, and for some reason or another I process better when I put things into writing or say them out loud. I guess that’s probably not that unusual a thing, communicating ideas (well, attempting to I suppose) to others changes our relation to them.

Anyway, now it’s time for me to mark this published and start actually playing. I hope I’m inclined to write more about this, or really anything else, sometime later.

Edit, approximately 40 minutes later: I can’t get the fucking thing to work. I even followed random forum steps to update the version of the emulator and nope, that ain’t it. So I guess this isn’t what’s happening after all.

  • I’ve long thought “Standard Disclaimer” is a good name for a blog

Commuting From Home

So I’m overall pretty stoked to be working from home. The reasons why I’m working from home are terrible, but I take my silver linings where I can.

I’m also a person who, in broad strokes, has difficulties with transitions. I like to be operating in a known context for any number of reasons but changing from one context to another is challenging to me.

I’ve known for a while that a bit of physical activity in my communiting helps with that. In good weather I prefer to ride my bike to my office, and even in the winter I do things like get off at earlier stops to walk a bit.

Commuting has been part of how I meet my baseline physical activity needs for several years, and it’s been my primary tool for that purpose for at least two as I’ve taken a break from running for a while and wasn’t making good use of my gym membership either.

To address my physical activity needs, I’ve been taking regular walks with the dog and doing considerably more daily flights of stairs. These are adequate in the short term until it’s warm enough for me to enjoy cycling again.

I hadn’t really considered my mental transition needs though. It’s been a bit of a challenge for the past week or so, but it is also something I’ve struggled with when I’d work from home for a day here and there historically.

A few days ago almost by accident, I opened my laptop in the morning while eating breakfast. This was a breach in the life/work firewall but no more so than reading work Slack in the evenings while noodling around on the computer anyway.

And that day was easier.

It was easier for several reasons, but today I devised the hypothesis that a transitionary period where I’m doing work outside of the basement might be the thing. It’s a soft transition and allows me to gradually shift focus the way I might during a commute. Instead of expecting myself to walk up the stairs and be entirely home focussed I can do otherwise.

I don’t know, as I get to this point and write it out it actually sounds bad. It sounds like a beachhead of boundary issues, not a gentle transition.

Drafting this post was today’s transition and I wonder if this sort of thing is a better task than actual work. Spending some time thinking and writing is a work brain activity but in a non-work context. Maybe that is the secret.

I’m not a hard line kind of person, but routines are crucial and good habits are the only reason I’m able to ever actually get anything done and ultimately the transition that I’m struggling with most is monumentally larger in scale than where I’m directing my attention in my day-to-day life but this is less a post about having all the solutions and more a return to the style of writing I enjoy the most, which is rambling, mostly pointless and tapers off instead of drawing conclusions.

February, huh?

I have very slowly been noodling at this again, so be prepared for a flood (eg, very slow trickle approximately four years apart) of new content while i noodle and test.

Ain’t nothing like the meta of setting things up huh?

I wrote the above and flagged it as not published, so now I am changing that value to see if that’s all that needs to happen.

It will be nice if it is. I have a set up where I can probably write from my phone and I think that the constraint of dealing with this keyboard will help keep me on the side of publishing without having to address every pre-conceived critique.”, even though the real population of readers is going to be very low.


I think that the actions individuals take is important.

A recent thread on a community slack I’m in featured a discussion about the resource usage (mostly water) of washing a load of rags per week versus that of throwing out single-use paper towels over the course of that week.

It’s an interesting problem for a lot of reasons, probably most of which don’t form a coherent thread which is why I’m posting it here where my navel is the only thing that can be seen. At this time I’m a pretty frequent paper towel user, though it is certainly the case that they consume more resources than a weekly load of rags. We all make decisions, and which decisions we make are where my interest lies.

On the one hand, individual usage doesn’t matter when compared to the waste generated by commercial use. A simple google search suggests that the average load of laundry uses 19 gallons of water. None of this is verified and I could go look as specific specifications if I really wanted to but it’s not really the point of this paragraph. 19 gallons per week is - I can’t help it I’m sorry - a drop in the bucket comparted to what is used for commercial needs.

I think that individual change does matter though because those corporations are emergent entities, as are really any organization, public or private, for profit or not. The behaviour of an entity that is formed of a group of humans is an emergent property of the behaviours those humans are willing and able to perform.

If individuals start making concious decisions and increase their mindfulness around what is and isn’t wasteful then in time those emergent entities could share those values.

I do things sometimes because I think that if I do these sorts of things, then probably other people are doing these sorts of things. I’m not an individual actor. My specific combination of motivators that drive my behaviour may be unique, but many humans are motivated by similar or identical factors. If I make a choice then people who are like me are also making a choice.

I do like the notion that I’m bifurcating the parallel universe Robs each time I do something though and when I am intentional about the decisions I make then I want to be in the infinite cohort of Robs that are working towards the better universe, whatever it is that better is. It’s a weird sort of weight and absolutely on the woo side of reality but I think that a consideration like this is helpful to me.

If we create a new universe every time we make a decision it doesn’t mean there’s an equal number of universes where a decision was made to follow one of the possible paths. Not every Rob is going to experience the same decisions, but many Robs will experience many of the same ones, if only because the number of Robs that make bad decisions probably experiences more death before they reach the decision point?

Anyway, good morning. It’s time to go see if a particular redis connection is working today.