This is both a wiki (a website editable by all) and a blog (an online diary about the stuff Alex Schroeder reads and does). If you’re a friend or relative, you might be interested in reading Life instead of this page. If you’ve come here from an RPG blog, you might want to head over to RPG. There are other similar categories to be found on the SiteMap.
Für Rollenspieler gibt es ebenfalls eine eigene RSP Kategorie.
Welcome to the new server! A year later and I’ve finally made the move to Debian Jessie.
My notes: Sibirocobombus.
w3m is a text browser. I use it a lot if I need to test stuff. Recently, I got an email saying that Emacs Wiki had an invalid certificate. Everything seemed to be fine, however. But a few minutes ago, I tried to run
w3m https://www.emacswiki.org/ from my Terminal (OSX El Capitan) and got an SSL error.
alex@Megabombus:~$ w3m -dump_extra https://www.emacswiki.org/ SSL error: error:00000000:lib(0):func(0):reason(0) w3m: Can't load https://www.emacswiki.org/.
As it turns out, a simple reinstall switched from libssl 0.9.8 to 1.0.0 and now it works.
alex@Megabombus:~$ otool -L `which w3m` /usr/local/bin/w3m: /usr/local/lib/libgc.1.dylib (compatibility version 2.0.0, current version 2.3.0) /usr/lib/libssl.0.9.8.dylib (compatibility version 0.9.8, current version 50.0.0) /usr/lib/libcrypto.0.9.8.dylib (compatibility version 0.9.8, current version 50.0.0) /usr/lib/libncurses.5.4.dylib (compatibility version 5.4.0, current version 5.4.0) /usr/lib/libSystem.B.dylib (compatibility version 1.0.0, current version 1197.1.1) alex@Megabombus:~$ brew reinstall w3m ==> Reinstalling w3m ==> Downloading https://homebrew.bintray.com/bottles/w3m-0.5.3.el_capitan.bottle.tar.gz ######################################################################## 100,0% ==> Pouring w3m-0.5.3.el_capitan.bottle.tar.gz 🍺 /usr/local/Cellar/w3m/0.5.3: 23 files, 1.7M alex@Megabombus:~$ otool -L `which w3m` /usr/local/bin/w3m: /usr/local/opt/bdw-gc/lib/libgc.1.dylib (compatibility version 2.0.0, current version 2.3.0) /usr/local/opt/openssl/lib/libssl.1.0.0.dylib (compatibility version 1.0.0, current version 1.0.0) /usr/local/opt/openssl/lib/libcrypto.1.0.0.dylib (compatibility version 1.0.0, current version 1.0.0) /usr/lib/libncurses.5.4.dylib (compatibility version 5.4.0, current version 5.4.0) /usr/lib/libSystem.B.dylib (compatibility version 1.0.0, current version 1225.1.1)
We spent a week in Roscoff, Bretagne. It was the week of Bastille day, of the arrival of the Tour de France à la voile, with the main season just about to start. The weather was beautiful, the water was cold, the food was delicious and Claudia’s insomnia was gone. That surprised both of us. The very first day we were back in Switzerland, it raised it’s ugly head again: one and a half hours of waiting for sleep from Saturday to Sunday, then no sleep until five in the morning from Sunday to Monday. We’re about ready to call for dowsing rods and dowsing pendulums. Grrr!
Here are some pictures of our trip:
A few days ago we were in the Wallis. We visited Saas Fee:
In the local museum, I saw this old map: Vallesia superior, ac inferior, Wallis, le Valais, by Gabriel Walser from 1768. You can download a 6208×5151 pixel image.
A while ago we visited the Rhine Falls.
I want to run fgallery on my laptop running OSX instead of uploading the images and running fgallery on the server in order to generate the album. Perhaps that’s stupid. Anyway, the first order of business is to compile a version of Perl that has threads.
perlbrew install-multiple --both thread perl-5.22.0
alex@Megabombus:~/src/fgallery-1.8.2$ perlbrew exec --with perl-5.22.0-thread-multi ./fgallery perl-5.22.0-thread-multi ========== Can't locate Image/ExifTool.pm in @INC (you may need to install the Image::ExifTool module) (@INC contains: /Users/alex/perl5/perlbrew/perls/perl-5.22.0-thread-multi/lib/site_perl/5.22.0/darwin-thread-multi-2level /Users/alex/perl5/perlbrew/perls/perl-5.22.0-thread-multi/lib/site_perl/5.22.0 /Users/alex/perl5/perlbrew/perls/perl-5.22.0-thread-multi/lib/5.22.0/darwin-thread-multi-2level /Users/alex/perl5/perlbrew/perls/perl-5.22.0-thread-multi/lib/5.22.0 .) at ./fgallery line 27. ...
OK, so now for dependencies, which have to be reinstalled.
alex@Megabombus:~/src/fgallery-1.8.2$ perlbrew use perl-5.22.0-thread-multi alex@Megabombus:~/src/fgallery-1.8.2$ cpanm Image::ExifTool --> Working on Image::ExifTool Fetching http://www.cpan.org/authors/id/E/EX/EXIFTOOL/Image-ExifTool-10.20.tar.gz ... OK Configuring Image-ExifTool-10.20 ... OK Building and testing Image-ExifTool-10.20 ... OK Successfully installed Image-ExifTool-10.20 1 distribution installed
I also got myself a copy of the facedetect. When I tried it:
alex@Megabombus:~/src/facedetect-master$ ./facedetect Traceback (most recent call last): File "./facedetect", line 8, in <module> import numpy as np ImportError: No module named numpy
OK, the page mentions opencv and apparently Homebrew offers something like it.
alex@Megabombus:~/src/fgallery-1.8.2$ brew install homebrew/science/opencv ... alex@Megabombus:~/src/fgallery-1.8.2$ ../facedetect-master/facedetect usage: facedetect [-h] [--biggest] [--best] [-c] [--data-dir DIRECTORY] [-q] [-s FILE] [--search-threshold PERCENT] [-o OUTPUT] [-d] file facedetect: error: too few arguments
I guess it works!
OK, so back to my “default” Perl and let’s check that command line.
alex@Megabombus:/Users/Shared/Fotos 2016$ perlbrew exec --with perl-5.22.0-thread-multi ~/src/fgallery-1.8.2/fgallery -f Saas\ Fee/Album/ 2016-saas-fee perl-5.22.0-thread-multi ========== error: cannot execute exiftran or exifautotran for lossless JPEG autorotation
OK, so more problems. Let’s install fbida.
alex@Megabombus:/Users/Shared/Fotos 2016$ brew install fbida ... alex@Megabombus:/Users/Shared/Fotos 2016$ perlbrew exec --with perl-5.22.0-thread-multi ~/src/fgallery-1.8.2/fgallery -f Saas\ Fee/Album/ 2016-saas-fee perl-5.22.0-thread-multi ========== reading completed facedetect: error: cannot load HAAR_FRONTALFACE_ALT2 from /usr/share/opencv/haarcascades/haarcascade_frontalface_alt2.xml error: command "facedetect --best --center 2016-saas-fee/imgs/P7020100.jpg" failed
OK, some data is missing. I downloaded a recent copy of the version 2 zip file and extracted just the data:
alex@Megabombus:~/src$ unzip /Users/alex/Downloads/opencv-2.4.13.zip "opencv-2.4.13/data*" ...
And then I tried again:
alex@Megabombus:/Users/Shared/Fotos 2016$ facedetect --data-dir /Users/alex/src/opencv-2.4.13/data/ --best --center 2016-saas-fee/imgs/P7020100.jpg
And it worked! (No output because it contains no face, I presume.)
So how can we pass this option from
facedetect? I think the simplest solution is to just change the DATA_DIR setting in
alex@Megabombus:~$ diff ~/src/facedetect-master/facedetect bin/facedetect 21c21 < DATA_DIR = '/usr/share/opencv/' --- > DATA_DIR = '/Users/alex/src/opencv-2.4.13/data/'
Oh, and I dedided to install the optional stuff as well.
alex@Megabombus:/Users/Shared/Fotos 2016$ brew install jpegoptim ... alex@Megabombus:/Users/Shared/Fotos 2016$ brew install pngcrush ... alex@Megabombus:/Users/Shared/Fotos 2016$ brew install p7zip ... alex@Megabombus:/Users/Shared/Fotos 2016$ perlbrew exec --with perl-5.22.0-thread-multi cpanm Cpanel::JSON::XS ...
And now, finally, the test:
alex@Megabombus:/Users/Shared/Fotos 2016$ perlbrew exec --with perl-5.22.0-thread-multi ~/src/fgallery-1.8.2/fgallery -f Saas\ Fee/Album/ 2016-saas-fee perl-5.22.0-thread-multi ========== reading completed processing completed generating archive... completed
Yay! Hours wasted but mission accomplished!
Copy it over:
alex@Megabombus:/Users/Shared/Fotos 2016$ scp -r 2016-saas-fee/ alexschroeder.ch:alexschroeder.ch/gallery/ ...
As it turns out, I dislike the stupid exif comments my camera leaves and sometimes I create little text files with alternate captions. Thus, I need the
-c txt option. And then to copy it all over to the gallery.
alex@Megabombus:/Users/Shared/Fotos 2016$ perlbrew exec --with perl-5.22.0-thread-multi ~/src/fgallery-1.8.2/fgallery -c txt -f Saas\ Fee/Album/ 2016-saas-fee ... alex@Megabombus:/Users/Shared/Fotos 2016$ rsync --progress --recursive 2016-saas-fee alexschroeder.ch:alexschroeder.ch/gallery/ ...
An excellent article by Zak, Stay Unprofessional. I laughed, when I came to the following paragraph on alienation.
In short: it’s possible for even indie RPG authors to be so professional they aren’t making anything they want to (or have to) live with. In a curious quirk of early 21st century post-hobby production, they have alienated themselves from their labor, with almost no help from the larger capitalist system.
It’s why I’m only doing the stuff I want for my own games. The amount of effort I put into the Caverns of Slime for Fight On! #15 which never got published showed me that every step of the process has to be enjoyable. If it is not, if it is premised on some later reward and recognition, what happens when the reward does not manifest? Time wasted, that’s what.
Recently, Rob Monroe asked about tools to use when preparing a sandbox.
I listed the following:
Alternatively, I could also imagine running my next game as a point crawl based on the structured input of my players as suggested by +Jason Lutes in The Perilous Wilds.
Jason Lutes then linked to two examples of how he did it in 2013, which are also based on blog posts by the Welsh Piper, random generators by Chaotic Shiny, and all that, in order to create the world and a village.
It looks like a lot of work but it looks super beautiful!
I still think that starting out with a random Text Mapper Map and adding notes and settlements to the text describing the area and using the tool to render a picture of the area still is the best value for my time. See How To Get Started With Text Mapper for more.
This post is a translation of an old post I wrote back in 2014 about the responsibilities of a GM—or referee, as I like to call myself in English. As I translate from German to English, I’ll note that sentences are longer and more convoluted than usual. Welcome to the German Way.
Sometimes I meet people in my games that would like to run a campaign. Sometimes, they just hope that the current group will just stay together and keep playing, at the same location, at the same time. If you’re already playing with friends looking for a new referee, then that’s a great way to start. But sometimes just wanting to run a game is not good enough…
I don’t want to scare anybody. Being a referee is a great hobby. I just want to prevent people from thinking that all it takes is to read an adventure and show up somewhere in order to run a game. There are many responsibilities which end up being ours.
At the time, there was an interesting discussion on G+ where people talked about running a game as a service and delegating tasks. My first reaction to all these responses was always the thought: “I wish!” Yes, I do. But I wrote this list remembering friends and acquaintances, convention games and statements from fellow players, people wanting to take over one of my groups, asking whether I know any players looking for a game, complaining about players not mapping or not writing session reports, or not reading the session reports they wrote, and I think to myself: “Stop dreaming! Sure, that would be nice but primarily, this is your job.”
And yes, there are game systems that do without some of these responsibilities. Some games require no preparation, some games require no explicit referee, but most of the responsibilities I listed remain. You don’t need to prep a plot for Mountain Witch but somebody still has to know the rules. You don’t need to have a referee for Western City but you still need a host. You don’t need to learn about a setting in Dungeon World as you can create a setting together when the game starts, but everything else still holds true.
In regard to Character Burning: In some german RPG circles, there exist the term “Barbie Gaming”. (This might sound a bit derogatory, but it isn’t meant as such.) The idea is that there is, for some folks, a source of fun in tinkering with their character, figuring out how the different mechanisms interlock, how to plot the path to this or that power, how which lifepath choices affect the outcome, etc.
The point here is that what to me (and apparently +Zak Sabbath too) is a horrible tedious thing that stands in the way of actually having fun, is for them one of the big sources of fun in the game. Also, there is the sense of achievement and satisfaction when they figured out that system and end up with something that they really like.
And it’s fun that they can even have when for some reason the weekly game just got cancelled!
It is as if you combine the fun that a kid has trying different dresses and shoe variations on the Barbie doll with the satisfaction of a jigsaw puzzle coming together.
A bit later I wrote the following:
To be more specific in arguing why Barbie gaming is something I dislike: even if some people enjoy it, chances are that not all of the players will enjoy it. If some enjoy it and others don’t, then you’ll get very different characters at the table. They might differ a lot in combat effectiveness, as happened in my D&D 3.5 game, where I distinctly remember having set up a fight with a ranger with humans as favorite enemies, and human slaying arrows, riding a nightmare, to fight one particular character, and using a bunch of demonic boars for the rest of the party because all their characters were hopeless in combat. That’s when I decided that I no longer wanted to run games with rules that afforded this kind of spread. To bring this back to Burning Wheel, I’d argue that spending more time in character creation does result in a wide variety of characters, but at least the spread is more overt. You can have an abbot skilled in words, and everybody at the table will know. Those that did not manage to plan their life paths well enough will end up with less of a leader but they won’t feel totally outclassed. In addition to that, a typical game has a wide variety of skill checks, on the topics you expressed interest in via beliefs and all that, so it’s not as bad as playing D&D 3.5 with a dedicated character builder friend. Specially since there, the gap widens as you go up in levels where as in Burning Wheel I’d assume the gap to close over a campaign as advancement is easier for those who fail at Barbie gaming.
But still, these observations still don’t recommend rules that provide for Barbie gaming. When I run a game, I’ll be careful to choose a system that does not. Even if the effect is not as strong as for D&D 3.5, some players will still want to talk to me about it, have question, and I just won’t care for that kind of conversation. Better to pick rules that don’t afford this kind of conversation. So, even if some people enjoy it, I’d prefer it if they played it as a solo game and didn’t talk to me about it, and didn’t outshine the other players at the table that don’t care for character building, and didn’t bring a big book to the table and talked the others through character creation, establishing a power dynamic at the table based on an interest I do not share.