Monthly Archives: June 2013

What I’m working on

I’m working on a number of projects at the moment, mostly centred around No Rest for the Wicked (big surprise there). So this is just kind of a brief run down of things I’m doing at the moment.

NRftW Downtime & Character System

This one’s been stalled a while due to not having a decent system on which to code. It’s really exhausting trying to work on a complex system with nothing but a web-based file editor. Now that I’ve got my new system, I’ll be getting started on finishing the system. Things that still need done on it are:

  • Character system finished
    • Character points calculator
    • Dynamic pages
    • XP spends calculator
  • Downtime system finished
    • support for multiple character XP spends (may integrate into character system)
    • linked to endeavours system
  • Endeavours system
    • private and public endeavours capability
    • view access for endeavours
  • Groups system
    • ability to add characters to groups
    • access to private endeavours
    • potentially ability to view who in your group has submitted downtimes
  • Booking system
    • booking system integrated into downtime system
    • integrated PayPal cart
      • supporting purchases for multiple players
    • tied to downtime system
      • prevents downtime submission if outstanding payments

I’d also like to get it linked to the forum logins for a unified login system, but I’ll need to figure out how to access the phpBB login protocols for that.

Continue reading What I’m working on


I’ve been playing Ingress for a couple of weeks now. I’m enjoying playing, though sometimes I fall out of love and can’t be arsed with switching it on. Other times, it’s taken me out and gotten me to do things I normally wouldn’t like going up and around Calton Hill – something I’d never really done before despite having lived in Edinburgh since 2004.

It’s a big game of red vs. blue, really – a perpetual war over key points on the map that must be secured and held against the enemy, with one difference: it’s actually green vs. blue. There’s a storyline that goes with it and a lot of commitment from both players and organisers, but the central mechanic is beautiful in itself. Portals, those key points that must be secured, are linked to significant locations in human culture. Places of beauty, of history, of culture. Places like Calton Hill, Edinburgh Castle, the Scott Monument, the Scottish National Gallery. They can crop up on any statue, any monument. And I’m almost at my point here: this is a game that encourages geeks to get out into the world and explore, to find new and interesting places. Admittedly, it’s to go there and capture or fortify portals, but you’re getting people out of the house and going to places they might not have done before.

That it works, that people are going and doing that is worthy of praise in and out of itself. That there’s a community built up and you’re meeting and talking to new people as well – that’s even better.

If anyone wants to give it a try, I have a few invitations. You’ll need an Android device (though there is apparently an iOS port), and a Google account. Let me know.

World War Z

I saw World War Z on Thursday. Decided to go see it since we weren’t having a No Rest for the Wicked meeting that night. I should preface this by saying that I haven’t read the book (really must get around to doing that) so I can’t compare the two (unlike The Oatmeal).

World War Z PosterI quite liked it. It was a good film, but I didn’t feel like it actually did a lot. Brad Pitt ran around a lot avoiding nearly all contact with the zombies and apparently took a lot longer than I did to notice that the core of the plot. The ending left quite a bit to be asked for. It was less a film about zombies and the war against them than it was about how awesome Brad Pitt was and how much he cares about his family above resolving the zombie problem. It didn’t even approach any of the story I’d expect from a book based on that story or even from a serious zombie film.

All in all, I enjoyed it, but it didn’t really live up to my expectations.


I’m currently feeling quite a lot of apathy towards Empire. I kinda want to go, but I haven’t booked holidays for it, and I haven’t got costume and I have a severe case of “can I be arsed?”. It’s not that I don’t have other friends going or anything, but I just don’t feel connected to it in a way that makes me want to get organised for it.

It’s odd. I can get excited about Empire at times, but other times – like now, when I’ve just had an email telling me the early booking deadline is coming up – I just don’t know if I can be bothered with the effort of getting myself organised.

It’s a reflection of my depression, I’m aware, but I feel like everyone else is more involved and invested in it than I am and I can’t catch up to that. I feel like I’d be lost and not know what to do, like I can’t possibly get myself organised in time so why bother trying?

It’s hard to describe, but these things are rarely easy.


In a post on his blog, Stephen Fry talks about loneliness and how he feels the contradiction of both feeling alone and wanting to be left alone. That’s a sentiment I share quite often. While he has a different experience of depression than me (I have never felt particularly suicidal except on a few occasions), the feeling of loneliness is something we share – and something he describes better than I can.

In the end loneliness is the most terrible and contradictory of my problems. I hate having only myself to come home to. If I have a book to write, it’s fine. I’m up so early in the morning that even I pop out for an early supper I am happy to go straight to bed, eager to be up and writing at dawn the next day. But otherwise…

It’s not that I want a sexual partner, a long-term partner, someone to share a bed and a snuggle on the sofa with – although perhaps I do and in the past I have had and it has been joyful. But the fact is I value my privacy too. It’s a lose-lose matter. I don’t want to be alone, but I want to be left alone. Perhaps this is just a form of narcissism, vanity, overdemanding entitlement – give it whatever derogatory term you think it deserves. I don’t know the answer.

I too, often feel a lack, an urge to have someone else in my life, but I also don’t want to have someone crowding me – I need my space, my privacy. I don’t know what the answer is, and neither does Mr Fry – someone far more intellectual than I.