Wednesday 20 July 2016

I use vim

"I don't always write.  But when I do, I use vim."

Why vim?

  1. Vim is cross-platform: Mac OS, Unix, Microsoft Windows.  Vim works everywhere.
  2. My muscle memory of key commands for cursor movement, text selection, and text edit is very strong after several years.
  3. Vim can be used to write text in any format: Markdown, LaTeX, vimwiki, or mediawiki markup just to start.
  4. Vim has folding.  Get text out of the way you do not want to see.
  5. Syntax highlighting shows your wiki links
  6. The Pragmatic Programmer recommends "Use a Single Editor Well"
  7. You can define your own abbreviations for common terms.
  8. Complete keywords by searching existing keywords
  9. Tabs and splits allow you to jump from one piece of text to another very quickly.
  10. The vimwiki plugin allows creation of linked plain-text files to make a wiki.  The Pragmatic Programmer recommends "Keep Knowledge in Plain Text."  Vimwiki does that.

Admittedly, vim is an even stronger tool partnered with vimwiki, grep and

 I'm going to go into more detail about how I use vimwiki to manage my campaign details in a series of future posts.

Tuesday 19 July 2016

It's the comedy.

I like Role-playing Games and I have for quite some time.

My current favorite game is Pathfinder by Paizo, although I've tried many different ones, from Rolemaster to Paranoia to the FASERIP Marvel Super Heroes game that came out in 1984.

I could name several reasons for playing.  My parents were more than happy to let me spend my time reading, writing and working out basic derived statistics instead of breaking stuff as I grew up. Creating art (even fantasy maps) reduces stress. There's socialization with peers and collective problem solving. That story that's not published yet provides yet more background for the game's campaign setting.

The top reason, though, is the comedy.

I've not tried stand-up comedy.  Yet.  I have given presentations to four hundred people and told jokes as ice-breakers.  There's something about presenting a joke to a crowd and getting a laugh that provides positive feedback to the speaker.  Live actors "get it"  and theater patrons see the actors get this feedback.  I read recently about how Steve Martin honed his act over and over again, partly to get it perfect and partly because he sought out that positive feedback from his audience.

I don't have it in me to become a professional actor nor a successful stand-up comic.  Weekly, though, I am glad to share the (metaphorical) stage with a half-dozen friends.  I'm going to start my turn in the gamemaster's chair soon enough to run the show for them, and I can't wait.

Not all of the campaigns I have run are like Galavant in tone and style.  Most of them are, though.  I don't have the skill as a librettist to create and sustain the twelve act Bardic Battle Opera epic campaign I have had in mind ever since Wizards of the Coast invented a character class who goes into dungeons to sing at monsters.  But if I did, that set of adventures would have dance numbers.

I do enjoy setting the stage, providing the background, and soon enough the comedy shows up.   I set an event and I can see, right away, from the reactions of my friends, what is working and what is not.  Writing a story gets that reaction from readers (when they write back) but the OODA loop is a lot, lot, longer.

All of that is to set the stage for this blog, where I plan to capture tools, techniques and success stories from my efforts to build campaigns, create iOS tools to help role-playing gamers, and yes, maybe tell a joke or too. 

Monday 18 July 2016

Faster, Gamemaster!

"Faster Gamemaster" is not short for "Faster, Gamemaster! Kill! Kill!"

"Faster Gamemaster" is short for "Faster, Cheaper, and Out of Control Gamemaster."

I'm exploring games, programming languages, movies, operating systems, comic books, digital tools, publishing a novel, gardening and raising a family.  Bits of that will wind up here.

I was thinking of the Rodney Brooks paper when I wanted a title for this blog, not either of the movies.