End of Project

Well my project is finally over and done and published and ….

The last few weeks were hard. There are so many things that want fixing and improving and removing and … whatever you can think of. There are so many things I did not think about before and had to think about before deploying my software. All of a sudden there were tons of requirements popping up which I had either forgotten, ignored or not even known about.

Then the really bad one: the thing was too damn slow. I started optimizing yesterday and today everything was really really slow because my optimization was bullshit. Oh well it took me half a day to find out what was happening. But: I learned what a profiler is and what it is good for. I even downloaded and installed a trial version of Borlands OptimizeIt! Suite … quite fancy, rather complicated and very expensive.

Well now there is a party to go to …..

PS: compiler constructors favorite question: “How do you implement a goto?” – “With a jump!”

Gamers Purity Test

Came along the UA list today, UA is even mentionned somewhere outside the ‘Systems’-section! Take it and tell me how you scored: The Ultimate Roleplaying Purity Quiz!

My Results

Your
Ultimate Roleplaying Purity Score
Category Your Score Average
Hacklust 62.26%
Enjoys the occasional head-lopping
52.4%
Sensitive Roleplaying 45.57%
“But what’s my motivation for this scene?”
48.9%
GM Experience 53.62%
Puts the players through the wringer
65.7%
Systems Knowledge 93.08%
Played in a couple of campaigns
88.3%
Livin’ La Vida Dorka 47.13%
Has interesting conversations in public
58.1%
You are 63.39% pure
Average Score: 65.5%

Bashing Time

Well I have been working very hard the last week and I believe I got very far with the project. I worked a bit longer than usual and a lot more concentrated.

Friday was like this: I worked hard yesterday if I manage to finish programming this feature at 2p.m. I will simply leave and go shopping. But of course I wasn’t done at 2p.m. so I kept on hacking. The next 2 hours were among my most productive ever. I concentrated so hard and every was going really well and fast, because all I wanted was leave into my well-deserved week-end but my own pride wouldn’t let me.

Anyhow at 4:30p.m. I was finally done and left. Which is early for a friday at the company. Most of the team members were still working.

I visited Rolland at work and we went and bought a playstation – which had been on the want-to-buy list for some time now. Of course along came some games (GTAIII, NBA2003 and MK) and so most of this week-end I was trying to click faster than the computer.

Bashing time is also a German saying: “Zeit totschlagen”

I’ll be back ….

Partytime

So this saturday we finally had our grand opening to the public. Oh well not quite. We invited our friends over to show off the new apartment. The first invitation list had about 70 people on it. We reduced it a little and in the end I believe around 35 showed up which was quite enough for the space available. And I shall never again write into the invitation that I’d welcome any food people would bring, there was so much food we have still not eaten it all. Of course we also had too much beer and wine and cidre. But that’s a smaller problem with the roleplayers being so thirsty every Thursday and all that. We got some neat presents as well. My current favorite is the huge black tea mug from the set we got from Micha & Sandra.

I’ll add to the entry later as I have time (currently the cursor is behaving a little odd)

By the way and off topic I am back to playing Diablo.

Don’t try this at home

and why would you. I should open a new category that includes the intersection of Java and Rants and the name would be “Errors I will not repeat” …. today I did the unbelievable: the one and only object in my webservice that cannot be static is the one that opens and closes database connections. Oh well of course the data objects cannot be static either but that is obvious. And I was wondering – when testing my service with multiple clients – where all the exceptions came from “Asche auf mein Haupt”, stupid error. Stupid. Stupid. Don’t try this. And repeat after me: “You do not make the data-base connection static, you do not make the data-base connection static, you do not ….” Oh come on laugh some, I did too (because: oh big surprise it didn’t take me long to localize this error).

Parallel Thinking

Computers are well able to nowadays even though it sounded like some science fiction myth to me when I started my computer science studies at university. Many of my friends took ‘parallel computing’ as one of their courses.

And then there are the operating systems and their multitasking which has come a long way in the last few years.

Fine, everything is fine. But I am simply human and I am neither parallel nor truly multitasking. The first is simply impossible and can only be simulated by talking so fast noone gets it. The latter is often attempted and always ends in a huge mess. Oh yes. And I don’t feel better. My programming may be object oriented but my task-handling is optimized for sequentialization. One thing after another. Not two things at once.

Actually I am lucky to work at a company that has some project manangement procedures which reduces the frequency of parallelisms a lot. But I guess you all know what happens when your old long-finished project has a bug? Oh yeah you start juggling the tasks around: ‘nicing’ this one, killing that one, to squeeze in some time for the bug-fix. And then it just takes some time for the normal workday to come back.

Since one assumes some kind of learning curve, each project is better than the previous, so fixing a bug on an old project – which in this case wasn’t even really my fault – becomes a tedious and hated affair because you have to touch code that is not up to your current standards anymore, even worse if it’s a totally different environment (other language f.e.)

So slowly I am calming down, after having spent three very angry hours with my old code, fixing something that should never have happened anyway because someone else put in a linebreak in 1 (!!!) of about 50 logfiles with 50k lines each.

So that’s how expensive one linebreak can become 🙂

The Fishtank

Okay if you want to have fun at a party try this one.

So there is this fishtank, it is about this wide, this tall and this long. In the middle of the tank is a glas panel. To the left of the panel is a fish and to the right of the panel is a fish. How does the left fish get to the right fish?

A hint: you have to accompany the telling with gestures to give an impression of the dimensions of the fishtank.

Another hint: You can elaborate some more on the description. For example the fish on the right is a piranha and the fish on the left is a goldfish. Yes and the piranha is very small. But on the left side there is more water. No and you cannot just take the fish and put it on the other side.

So did you get it?

Well see, I knew you wouldn’t get it.

We have had hours and hours of fun with this one 🙂

Jailbreak@Trokal

Yesterday I went to a local gaming convention with a couple of friends. I had promised someone I would GM some at the convention and so I did. Of course I totally messed up and came more or less unprepared. I had first planned to GM Joy&Sorrow from One Shots but then I asked around on the UA Mailinglist and the people there suggested Jailbreak ….

Well I got to the convention right before I had scheduled my game of course, entering your game on their website wasn’t enough for them to put it up on the list of available games at the con, I should have known. So I post-poned a few hours.

What surprised me a lot was that there was another UA game going on at the con. Everything else was mostly Fantasy games and a couple of science fiction games. All in all the Karlsruhe conventions are not very large so I was not really sure I would get any players.

But when we came back from dinner 5 people had put their name up for the game. Another one came by asking wether I had open slots and two of my friends then decided to join in too. So I had eight players for the 9 available ones in Jailbreak. I only had to give a short rules intro because everyone had played UA before.

I gave them the ‘Intro’ and then a very short description of each character. Then they could choose. Being all rather grown-up helped avoid conflicts and I believe in the end most everyone turned out happy with their role. Left over was Donna in the end. Strangely enough a girl played the ‘Alpha male’ and a guy played the female lawyer. Ella was played by a girl. Uder was played by the GM of the previous UA round which was quite cool because I think he is a little complex to play and it helps to know UA a bit when playing him.

I will give some notes on how the game went below. I cannot quite tell a chronological order because so many things went on at the same time.

>>>> Spoilers to follow <<<<
Everything started out pretty quiet. But then the cons started looking around the house and found several of Uder’s creations. Funkily I managed to keep them away from the cellar forever until very late in the game Ella told one of the players that the thing was harmless.

Very interesting was also that the hostages never really made an attempt to flee or fight the cons. All I did was have Donna get scared of Uder because he was an adept of course and she could somehow see – I decided – that he had done something to Ella. She then identified Uder with the Guru and kept telling the others that ‘he belonged to them’ which made the Uder player rather nervous and was later in the game enough to draw him into a fight.

Sadly the officer was handcuffed until nearly the end since noone made an attempt to free him.

The ‘quiet one’ (forgot name) discovered the doll in the bedroom and brought it down together with one of the other cons. At this and some other points the quetsions who was where in the house came up and only in the end did I notice that despite the map I had a wrong conception of how it was all laid out which gave rise to some confusion.

After seeing the doll the cons started to question Uder and he explained he was a toymaker. So then they wanted to know how this toy worked …. he could not quite explain it and I relieved him by sending in the cops. Everyone raced upstairs and they took Ella hostage and made Uder greet the cops. Worked quite well for them but it was nice to look at the player’s faces while I drew out the cops’ visit. They were really holding their breath – rarely have had such quiet players!

Right after Donna made her attempt to flee but came back in bruised and hurt from the hail. Ella tried to take care of her but Donna was very scared of her and Uder and tried to hide behind Janet who did her role really well, especially her last sentence (yep she survived, oh didn’t I mention the death rate yet?): “Well you know I’ll help you!”

There was a lot of talking and yelling and running around the house. They made Uder tell them what was downstairs and he said his workbench. So they grabbed some candles and wanted to go downstairs and that was when I let Bors drop his chest. Of course Alpha and Quiet One went upstairs to look and they opened despite loud protests from Uder (which started a fight downstairs) the box and out came Bors. I had ruled that in order to control Bors, Uder had to see him and role his Mechanomancy. At least while involved in a fight and all (the ruling worked out quite well I think). So Uder of course noticed that Bors was coming and he frantically screamed commandos upstairs.

At that point everyone except Donna was involved in the fight. The Dog was biting Icepick – who had kept up his hardass-tour nicely – and Icepick tried to stun the dog (only four rounds later he first hit him and was really pissed at the little effect). Uder was trying to defend against someone. Miss Lawyer tried to get back to her pepperspray of which she had been separated. Ella was looking for weapons in the kitchen. The Puerto Rican was also looking for weapons and trying to keep Janet from her pepper spray.

Upstairs Alpha was trying to shoot at Bors and when he noticed that that did not hurt Bors a lot, he and the Quiet one decided to run away.

Then I did the most evil thing: in the middle of all this fighting, Bors came downstairs, Ella saw him and then I gave her the revelation and she took the meat hammer and attacked Uder. He was in shock at his wife now also attacking him. I just cannot remember all the stuff that happened. Finally Ella stopped attacking Uder and yelling: “How could you have done this to me!” So then Uder commanded Bors (successfully) to attack everyone that had attacked Ella before. That was when Bors first landed a successful hit. As he does firearms damage that one hurt. This decided the fight into a flight for about most of the players. Alpha who had also been hit by Ella – which was a deep blow to his ego! – was already running for his live.

At the garage the Puerto Rican killed Bors with the Axe in a dramatic fight which nearly killed Alpha too! Inside though Icepick tried to throw a cell-phone at Ella pretending with “Believe me!” it was a grenade. Which did not much interest her at that point. Uder had failed a stress check at seeing that Ella – who was now hurt – was one of his creations, so now he was cowering helplessly on the floor. The handy-grenade did not work, so Icepick decided to drop the hard-ass tour and finally RUN like hell. On the veranda he met some others who had decided to leave the fight (the lawyer and donna).

At that point inside there were only Ella and Uder how was slowly recovering from shock. Outside the players were debating how the hell to get away from these freaks. They opened the garage only to see the small VW-Käfer (really small car) in which they would not all fit, then they found out there was gas in the tank but the car would not drive. It gave them a fit. The quiet one took on last look at Bors but when he looked into his eyes he realized what kind of things this Bors was or rather what he was not and he freaked. He took the left arm of Bors as a weapon and ran into the house where he attacked Ella who had just reconciled with Uder. Ella took the Meat Hammer and hammered it with one stroke (lucky attack 01) into his throat. Hearing his death scream made the Puerto Rican come in who had just moments before destroyed Tristan. He saw the dead body of the other con and attacked Ella. Ella took the arm of Bors and hit the Puerto Rican just once and pieces of brain were decoratin the living room. Icepick and Alpha who had followed in at the screams saw this and while Alpha decided to restore his ego by attacking Ella who subsequently killed him (she was on a real spree, I think I should have given her some violence or self check) with the arm. Icepick was saved by the officer who drew him away from the scene.

The surviving players outside: Donna, her lawyer, the officer and icepick took the hood of the car, the gas they put in some kind of bottle or whatever, and protected by the hood they went out into the storm. Icepick had already decided to go back to prison. I think he even hired Janet.

Ella and Uder had decided to get Ella repaired move to a different town and there Uder wanted to try and turn himself into a clockwork too.

So there it is. The end. Very chaotic in parts I had fun, the players said they had fun. A lot of dead players too.

Another interesting bit is: after the game the players discussed their roles and what I had not noticed they had. Icepick came across as a real hardass, while the Quiet One came across rather creepy. The lawyer was great, just as in the book. Donna rather like a freak. Everyone was really puzzled and later scared about Ella. The Alpha Male did what he was supposed to …. so they played the roles which was soo cool. And most even used their ‘special skills’ at least once. Ella and Alpha really disliked each other.

So this is enough I think. If anyone played in the game and wants to comment or correct some …. there are probably some wrong things in the story, I have never before handled a group of 8 players ….