Hi. As my great friend, byron says..
GO _ _ _ _ YOURSELF
This image was made in response to a PM someone sent me a few weeks ago as well as conversations I’ve had recently with other artists that are scared to promote their art to in fear of alienating fans/followers.
If you don’t like the fact that we’re promoting our art, or prints, or our services to make a buck to pay the bills and feed our families, then uncircle us. We draw and paint for the sheer love of it, but the banks still want their money. So does the power company, water company, grocery store, gas station, etc etc etc.
As everyone has undoubtedly heard, the folks at OneBookShelf screwed up today. The super secret project of PDF’s being uploaded from Wizards of Coast was inadvertently flagged as being available to Featured Reviewers. Once the emails started pouring into their inboxes, people immediately began to speculate.
What does it mean?
Obviously, the accountants under the WoTC domain finally figured out that there’s a huge demand for out of print products. Duh. And the lawyers were assured that profits overtake piracy. Duh. Big companies don’t make big decisions quickly nor do they do so without pondering the bottom line.
Surely, they jest?
Well People Them with Monsters grabbed a screen shot of what was obviously a work in progress from dndclassics.com. I could link to the site but its a blank page. Not unexpected since OBS began the back pedal once they figured out they were leaching information.
From the screen shots and the various mentions, it appears to include a volume of works covering stuff from prior editions through modern incarnations. Products that were not previously available were uploaded and stuff that had been previously been available via OneBookShelf appear to be headed toward being once again available. Does it mean that OBS will return products to customers who already owned them before the rights were rescinded? No idea. One would hope so but I seriously doubt it. Big companies are all about the bottom line but they are working with a far smaller company.
How long has this been in the works?
Well before November 1st, 2012. That is the date that OBS registered dndclassics.com. Strangely, they may not have had much faith in the project since they only registered it for a couple of years. The registration details have since been set to private. I looked at the domain the information when it was leaked.
Lessons to Learn
You should not test major stuff on sites live on the Internet. You should validate the process with fake data to ensure that your process is correct. So, yeah, OBS, you screwed the pooch.
I doubt it will matter. If the project was key to Hasbro’s strategy, the dollar signs are still there. I doubt they will back out now. Doing so would require an endless series of meetings with a lot of PowerPoint slides. Even internally, they probably cannot stomach that.
Yesterday, I was informed that I’d broken the entries for Wales within the City Name Generator. While I restored the data for Wales, the vast majority of them can be found under England. A mere 130 entries from the original generator data set is not that interesting. Hat tip to James L. for letting me know.
While I was fixing that, I imported a few new countries:
Papau (New Guinea)
The database now contains slightly over 2 million names.
The time for dropping hints is over. The contest has officially launched over at Tenkar’s Tavern. Erik has kindly offered to host the contest and act as a judge along with Master Mapper Dyson, and yours truly.
You can snag all of the maps on this Google Drive folder or from the contest post. While the original maps are the prizes in the contest, anyone can utilize the images under the Creative Commons CC BY-NC-SA license — do what you will as long as its non-commercial.
For those who wish to view the rules in a non-blog setting, you can get snag the Google document.
Now get to creating. I’m going to get to slacking until I have to read all the great entries. All entries must be posted by Feb. 16th.
This morning, I received the 5 digital images of the original Dyson Logos maps up for grabs in the impending contest. Four of the original hand-drawn maps will be given away — the digital variants will be used during the contest.
I did a bit of manipulation on the images to clean out edge artifacts and add sharpness using Matt Jackson’s new tutorial. The released images have been reduced by 50%. Once I’m happy with the originals, I will release the full resolution images. The final images will likely feature a Creative Commons license to maximize their usefulness to the community.
As noted previously, Dyson, Erik Tenkar, and myself will be judging the contest, which will run approximately a month. Full contest details should be available early next week. The map names are direct copies of Dyson’s naming scheme but likely have no bearing on what will end within the delves.
Enjoy the preview.
Super sneaky secret project? No. You will soon be able to snag an original work by Dyson’s Logos the hand crafting mapper from Dyson’s Dodecahedron. Clues have been dropped from Google+, to Tenkar’s Tavern. I’m feeling particularly lazy tonight and suffice to say if you don’t have the sites in your bookmarks, you probably don’t care about the contest.
There are 5 maps. You might be able to snag 1 of them. #5 is not available because I am hoarding it. Like the one ring.
There might be more tips over at the Goblinoid Games forum.
I’ve been pondering relationship modeling and database elements for a few months. On the long, slow drive home this evening, it drifted further afield into the concept of a truly living dungeon ecosystem. The concept of a changing dungeon environment has been around for decades. The locale is not static — adventures and the denizens are constantly changing. So why not toss together some code and shift things about in a mega dungeon setting? Certainly not a novel idea but it would be fun to try.
Start with an open sourced set of maps and perhaps initial stocking. Then completely rethink how monsters, treasure, and such are distributed. My first cut would be encode rooms not as just a specific location but as something with volume / square footage. Groups of rooms should form zones that are easily controlled or should be utilized as a thematic region. Zones could easily span levels if the entry/exit points are contained within them. Dungeon levels are artifacts of system design. They generally contain a specific level of creature / difficulty. While that could be modeled as a concept, I believe an intelligent stocking / disruption model would serve the same goal.
Monsters details would need to grow beyond simple statistics. The region of influence they could potentially control and the desire to do so are interesting starting points. Further, other creatures they tolerate, manipulate or seek to eradicate are far more complicated factors. A group of ogres can dominate the kobolds near an entrance but are afraid of the beholder. If they have a slave or three, how do they utilize them to defend the space they control or increase their status within the dungeon?
Monsters also have metrics for desire. Perhaps they just want to control an area or grab the loot the adventurers might otherwise get. The relationships with other denizens will drive what do on a daily basis. Fear, greed, survival, etc. might all influence what they undertake. Does the desire for treasure lead them to try to overcome something else?
Treasure and traps would be constantly changing elements. If a minotaur steals treasure from a group of adventurers, he’d would control more loot enticing the greedy residents to attack him. Monsters could use traps as deterrents to enter the zone they control or as warning systems. More intelligent creatures would employ more traps but would have to do so at the expense of other activities.
When no one is around, the dungeon would continue to evolve. Based on some fixed time scale, the creatures would continue to live. They might attack others, build stuff, or undertake other activities necessary for daily life. Every action would result in changes within the dungeon which would be reflected in the current state.
An interesting concept but adventurers are the ultimate disruptive force. Why not enable game masters to enter events such as the death of creatures, stealing of loot, disabling of traps. The changes would then cause a reaction throughout the dungeon. The propagation would then be available to others or the same GM to utilize.
The base map would be unlikely to change. Everything else would need to be available as a download in PDF form. Likely in small chunks such as a couple of levels. Coding it would be damn fun. I’m dubious as to the usefulness. Probably best left as a half-cocked idea than a major effort with no consumers.