Monthly Archives: January 2009

Nice Tiny Url Trick To Protect Your Email Address From Spam

I saw this trick at Mr Phil Games website. If you scroll down, you will see a ‘contact us’ link that was pointing to TinyURL.com. The point it to use tiny url and create a link that points to your email address in a (hopefully) protected manner (as in “mailto:your@yemailaddresshere.com”) .

I just created one for myself, try clicking it:

http://tinyurl.com/8b3e22 (yes, it might look strange but it’s safe to click it – it basically just lets you send email to me :)

See?

By clicking that link, it opens your emailing software with my address. Pretty neat trick me thinks.

Word of warning though: I’m not sure if spambots can somehow fetch the email via link, so I take no responsibility if people manage to spam you using this method. I personally prefer using images (tinyurl.com address looks bit non-professional anyway), but just wanted to mention this trick. Use it with caution.

I’m a Darn Proud Cleaner (Are You?)

Yesterday I spend several hours cleaning my email inbox, and got rid of hundreds of unread emails – and cleaned several folders I had created. I didn’t get to zero emails in my inbox, but with this pace I’m there (hopefully) very soon and tend to keep that way. It’s a wonderful feeling to see an empty folder (instead of a folder with hundreds of unread emails).

How many unread emails you have in your email box?

How often you clean your email?

How To Handle Stress When a Dragon Is About to Attack You (I Know, I Just Bought a Car)

Handling stress doesn’t happen like in those self-help books. It’s easy to say “don’t worry, things will go okay” when you are NOT feeling stress. It’s very easy to say that, but how can we really handle stress when we feel it?

Keeping the stress away (with a magical armor)
First I must admit that I’ve never been good at dealing with stress. If I feel stressful, I get anxious. The good news (kind of) have been that I’m good at avoiding stress. All my life I think I’ve arranged my stuff so that I simply haven’t felt stress. This might sound bit odd, but there’s a difference: I have managed to keep the stress away. I’m not working well under stress simply because I haven’t allowed myself to stress.

Here’s a simple analogy which hopefully clarifies what I mean to say: If we would live in medieval times, I would wear a magical heavy-metal armor that simply won’t let me take damage. I’ve managed to find a good blacksmith and a wizard who make sure that I don’t need to deal with the stress – the armor takes care of it. But, sometimes (very rare) my armor has been taken away, and then I’m helpless. (Simplified example, but hopefully you get the point.)

So, I got car (dragons are attacking me!)
I’ve never been a car person. My knowledge about cars has been in such level that when somebody asked what kind of car we had I replied “dirt white”. I’ve never getting euphoric to hear how fast some car goes (I’d just rather stay home… or go for a walk you know).

I’m telling this, because I’d never had imagine that I would be showing a picture of our new car. I bought this after getting tired to use the rope to get our old car’s doors shut.


(There it is, the red car in the pic)

It’s a second hand car, so in English that means: possible stressful ahead.

Dealing with the stress (watching the dragon in the eyes)
I had conditioned myself to expect some repairs, so I had realistic expectations I think. I spotted couple of problems with the car already and started worrying how things would go. I called the car shop and they said that they will naturally deal with the problems free of charge (won’t go into specifics on that).

I still felt bit anxious and I started thinking about my current way of dealing with stress. Now I spotted that I had been wearing magical armor. I started thinking that this stress is a good thing. I told to my brain that this is good practice. I started thinking that now I’m finally getting practice in handling (and not take cover behind a magical armor so to speak) the stress. There’s external element that’s putting pressure on me, and instead of trying to “fix things quickly by dealing with the car shop” I’m telling myself to stop avoiding and start blocking. I simply refuse to feel anxious. I know that when buying a car, all kinds of stuff can happen but I’m going to bear it.

Somehow I feel (almost the first time in my life if I recall) that I’m not trying to make the source of stress go away (“fix the car fast”).

I’m letting myself to deal with the pressure. I’m not waiting for the car shop to “rescue me from my stress”. I’m taking away my magical armor – nobody will help me now. I’m dealing with the situation. I’m watching the dragon straight in the eyes, and there’s nothing between us. Nothing to help me.

You know what happened?

The dragon turned his head and went away…

That Was Fast… (Today’s ‘Making Living’ Offer Is Closed Now)

Things happen fast in the Internet. I’ve already received over 50 applicants for the making a living -kit. The offer is now closed and I’ll be emailing you people today and continue tomorrow.

Please notice that there’s 30ish people I haven’t emailed yet, so not to worry if you mailed me that you’d be interested – I’ll be emailing you soon.

Thanks people.

P.S. Please subscribe to the newsletter for future announcements. By subscribing you get to my “A-list” (so to speak :). In that list are the people who I’m contacting when I have something good to give. (It’s not like regular newsletter you might see on many sites… I only email when there’s something juicy stuff available, and sometimes a couple of months might pass between emails). Okay, enough of my pitch, just get the newsletter. It’s free you know.

Are You Making a Living Making Games? (I Have a Business Proposal For You)

50+ applicants received this offer is closed (for now)

I’m putting together a package that contains noise-free information about making a living making games. For this, I’m going to interview 20-30 game developers who currently have a job in the gaming industry (or who are self-employed game developers).

If you happen to be one (who has a job in the gaming industry or are self-employed game developer), please contact me.

Artists, programmers, producers, composers, testers – everybody (in gaming field) is welcome.

Those who participate will be receiving:

  • Chance to help others follow your footsteps
  • Promotion & traffic to your site (most likely)
  • Package for pro bono (that means free)
  • Chance to actually get paid (there’s a catch of course ;)
  • Fame & glory :)

(Please notice that I will first limit this chance to only 20-30 participants, so if you are interested throw me an email sooner rather than later).

Ready to participate? Contact me .

7 Days Has Passed, What Happened?

It’s 7th of January, 2009. Seven days has passed, and I’d have a question: have you started taking action to reach your goals for this year?

Seriously, I have been thinking and planning, planning and thinking my goals for this year, but haven’t really done much yet. (Okay, I have been sick, but that’s still an excuse). It’s “only 7 days”, but that’s already about 2% of the time we have for year 2009.

I don’t mean you’d need to rush or anything… but I think we gotta wake up if we really want to finish the stuff we plan for the year 2009.

If you already have goals, start working on them. If you don’t have goals, set them.

Have you already started taking steps towards your goals?

Micropayments Are Good

I’ve been playing Savage 2 game for a bit, and I think these guys have really nailed how the whole “play online for free (but give your money to us little by little)” strategy should be done. Not sure if this is can be called ‘micropayment’, but at least their 5-10 buck payments are smaller than 20 buck games.

Their concept is really simple:

  • The game is free: it’s not trial. It’s not demo. It’s not “free download”. The game is free. Absolutely free. I think this is a terrific idea for spreading the game. People want free stuff, so why not give it to them.
  • People can pay for some stuff (that’s the catch): They are selling ‘premium accounts’ that give you some benefits (you can see more stats and get some extra perks – I think they could do bit better job saying what exactly all these benefits are). It cost like 10 bucks only. That’s again cheap.
  • People can pay for ‘items’ (that’s another catch): There are runes in the game, and if you spend 5 bucks, you can create yourself rune (or runes) that help your character a bit (like… give you more health or armor etc.). I find this terrific idea: it’s not ruining the game balance, but it’s very good offer for such a small price.

I think they could describe the benefits bit more clearly (so that the buyer really understands what he gets, and how many runes you get and so on), but I really like the concept. It doesn’t feel like ‘trial version’ (although I suppose that’s what it is by definition: feature limited version that you can play as long as you want). I suppose they have done good job hiding it.

That’s something worth checking out and learning.

Unrealistic = Bad?

Yesterday’s blog post about the best RPG character development system is getting series of good comments.

I spotted one comment, written by Jake:

The XP model, whilst commonly used, is weird if you think about it. You kill a load of monsters with a sword, then can spend your XP on magic. It’s totally unrealstic.

I agree that this type of development system (kill monsters, gain experience, spend points on whatever) is unrealistic but there are ways to make it more realistic.

For example, Lorezo Gatti commented:

I personally like (at least in theory) point buy systems, even if they are unlikely to be very balanced, because they are flexible: if some change makes sense (e.g. the GM decrees that during a long cruise everybody picks up some Sailing skill points), it can be compensated with available experience pools and other changes without changing the power level of the characters; if the power level changes (through experience awards or planned inflation) there is the maximum flexibility for converting the improvement to actual power; the character’s point value can take into account gear and other externalities.

This style works (I believe) well in some pen & paper RPGs: if the player can convince the game master that his character learned certain skills, then he can put some points to those skills. This can actually create more drama in the game as you try to find a way to convince the GM.

Another thing to ponder is: is it always bad?

It might be unrealistic, but does that really matter (in all cases)? Most games are unrealistic anyway. GTA 4 – you’d be dead very soon if those car crashes would be realistic. In Left 4 Dead you would be scared to hell if you’d see screaming zombies running towards you. There’s probably not a single real time strategy game where they would always display “failure” after campaign instead of “victory” (there’s no winners in wars) and no civilian kills or mental health aid that the soldiers require after killing people. All the games are somewhat unrealistic.

I think if the system works and makes the game feel fun – even if it’s unrealistic – it can be a good system.

I do agree with Jake, that there are games where this type of “kill monsters with sword, learn fireball spell” sounds dumb, and totally takes away something from the immersion. If it ruins the gameplay, it’s bad.

Your thoughts? (or suggestions for character development system)

The Best RPG Character Development System?

I was discussing with friends of mine about the “best RPG character development system”, and here’s few of the ideas suggested:

  • Using of skill makes the skill better (in other words: if you use sword, you’ll become better in sword usage)
  • Experience points, that can be put to different skills (but so that you cannot develop everything, you need to choose which skills to develop)
  • Description for skill levels (Cyberpunk style, where skills had values from 1-10 and for example value 5 in leadership equals plummer, value 11 is Captain Kirk (the value which you can never reach))
  • Certain natural elements (race for example) define the maximum values, and then the closer the maximum you get, the more difficult it gets to develop the skill.

I personally enjoy a system where you have experience points (and even ‘levels’ – at least in some context) and then can put few points to different skills as you please. In addition to this, I like if characters have options to choose from different special skills, but so that they might need to choose their ‘path’ (bit like Jedi-style: choosing between The Dark Force or The Light Force, which then defines what sort of specialties you can get).

It was interesting to see, that people prefer to have very different ways on how to develop a gaming character. Some guys wanted a realistic approach, while others thought it was boring.

What about you? What kind of character development system do you like most?