I don’t know why I ended up here. I had opened several browser windows and apparently this was one of them. Using my sensitive dowsing powers, I was drawn here for…some reason. I don’t think I have much to say, and only feel maybe 25% compelled to say anything, but it’s taking up some time I might otherwise spend looking for something else to do, so here we are.
Although I posted about it just yesterday (I think), 3D modeling continues with nothing significant to share. I have taken it upon myself to create some OC — a space ship of some sort.
I have come to the realization that I am absolute garbage at thinking up new stuff, or at least new stuff that pleases me. I signed up at a site called Miro which is an online “mood board” (I hate that term for some unexplainable reason) and have been collecting images of ships and ship parts that might be useful in kickstarting ideas, but any ideas I have been able to generate have left me with a serious “amateur design” feeling.
Considering sci-fi is my favorite genre and that there are so many examples out there to draw from, I’m thinking that I’m suffering from a lack of oxygen to the brain.
Here’s a stream of consciousness for ya: folks in my Star Citizen organization Discord were talking about head tracking with TrackIR in the game, so I decided to break out my TrackIR and try it. I swear by VR in Elite Dangerous but unless/until VR makes it to Star Citizen, I’ll be OK with plain old head tracking.
I installed the software and set up the hardware, and jumped into Arena Commander so I could spawn inside a ship without interruption, but that’s when I noticed my HOTAS (joystick and throttle combo) wasn’t working at 100%. None of the lights on the stick were lit and the ship didn’t respond to movement or button presses.
Panic ensued, not only because 3.12 is sure to drop in the next week or two (bringing much needed improvements) but because replacement hardware is A) hard to come by and B) stupidly expensive these days. I have the Logitech (né Saitek) X-52 Pro, which was release in 200-freakin’-4, and still goes for almost $300 “new”. There are less expensive options out there, but most feel cheap and plastic-y; there are more expensive options out there, too, but to re-create what I have now with this top-tier hardware would be somewhere in the neighborhood of $1000 USD, and require several weeks of waiting since they’re mostly out of stock wherever they can be purchased. Aside from these high-end devices, no one seems to be making quality HOTAS devices anymore.
So I broke out the screwdriver and proceeded to take the stick apart. I had done this before when some of the buttons stopped working, but assuming there was a loose wire in the base close to the power connector, I went the easy route and just opened the base. Everything seemed OK to my completely untrained eye, so I closed it up and decided to look at the 6-pin connector cable and wouldntchaknowit, one of the pins was bent in a way that prevented contact with it’s intended target. Bending that guy back into place fixed the issue. Crisis averted.
I had been working on a personal project (when am I not, right?) in C# that was intended to fill a gap that I feel exists in the tabletop RPG world, which is a tool specifically for writing and managing a TTRPG campaign. I had originally started this project a few years ago, but it got lost in the reeds when the form diverged from the function (I got too enamored with the bells and whistles of the tech), so with hindsight being what it is, I thought to revisit it.
The idea is that this app would allow TTRPG creators to write a campaign, made of modules, which in turn are made from scenes. Each scene would have a collection of items, NPCs (characters and monsters), encounters, and maps which are available from a user-created library specific to that campaign. Users would employ a standard rich-text entry tool to write up their project, which would also allow linking to various items in-line so when the content is used, GM’s wouldn’t have to dig through an appendix to find a reference to a creature or an item they needed right then and there. Sessions could be run directly from this tool via a formatted interface, and notes could be kept alongside the core campaign information. For GMs on the go, the entire campaign, module, or scene could be exported to PDF. In order to avoid (or attempt to avoid) being tied to any licensed systems, users could create their own forms for tracking characters, NPCs, items, and encounters; we would only store the form layout and the underlying data. The tool would not support actual game system calculations, nor would it handle dice rolling. It’s not intended to be a VTT, just a tool aimed at TTRPG content creators. Most online tools are aimed at “after-the-fact” or game-day recording (like Obsidian Portal et al), and aside from World Anvil, Fantasy Grounds, or lo-fi tools like Google Docs, there doesn’t seem to be any tools out there that allow GM’s to create a campaign.
This has since moved to the back burner as I got the itch to go back to 3D modeling, but I have been slowly building a Notion.so workbook with all of the technical specifics and implementation ideas, so when I get back to this particular project I should be able to pick up where I left off.
Stadia and Cyberpunk 2077
Despite having grown up with cyberpunk being one of my most favorite genres of all time, I had been on the fence about Cyberpunk 2077. Open world games and I have had a tepid relationship over the past few years, and the more I logic’d the thing out, not even an “official” cyberpunk game seemed able to change my tune. Add to that the fact that I feel that I don’t have a system capable of running the game without a melt-down (not even my current PC, which is now 2 generations behind in the video department) and I didn’t seem much of an opportunity to approach the game for anything less than a disappointing experience.
However, I did decide to pick it up through Google’s Stadia online streaming service. I know that for many Stadia is a non-starter because they are ill-equipped to handle the bandwidth requirements, or because Google has a history of hyping a product one minute only to shit-can it out of the blue the next. In the first case, I recently upgraded my connection to a gigabit-down tier, so I certainly have enough bandwidth to hang myself here. In the second case, I have spent more money on games that I haven’t even played than I have on Cyberpunk 2077, so I can’t claim that I’m against throwing money out the window when it suits me. Google also sweetened the pot by offering a free Chromecast and Stadia Controller if I bought Cyberpunk 2077 through them, so if nothing else I’ll get a free controller out of the deal.