No Man’s Sky is Everything I Wanted from a Game

With the exception of pets and pet crafting, I suppose, but hot-damn does this game deliver in all other respects! Seriously, having played No Man’s Sky over the past couple of weeks, I have absolutely no desire to ever play Star Wars Galaxies or work on SWGEmu mods ever again! I mean, why bother when NMS has everything in it that I like about science fiction, crafting, creating, collecting, treasure hunting, and it looks amazing, and it plays great…

No Man's Sky

No Man’s Sky


Without any exaggeration, I spent thousands of hours of research and development on the four iterations of my solo SWGEmu based Star Wars Galaxies server, Legend of Hondo, only to find that it’s not really fun to play. Here’s why…

Being “the man behind the curtain” of Legend of Hondo, creating all the mods and molding the game into exactly what I thought a solo version of SWG should be, also meant that there wasn’t any mystery; In order to make it, I had to know exactly how everything worked! Worse yet, I also knew where to find all the loot, all the creatures, all the quests, and so on, which didn’t feel very fun. Short of reprogramming everything to be completely random (and I doubt that would even be fun anyway), I’m not sure how one can avoid that problem when programming an RPG.

And then the real kicker is the enormously massive, gargantuan amount of effort that almost all mods to Core3 and the SWG client require. Why? Well, neither have a proper programming reference guide, Core3 is a convoluted nightmare of a program, and the whole damned thing is based on the reverse engineering of Sony Online Entertainment’s buggy mess of a game client. I recently helped out with some programming for the Tarkin’s Revenge server, but I decided to throw in the towel when I took a step back and saw how working with the SWGEmu code base and SWG client utterly consumes my life. Things that would take 15 minutes to do in other projects can take literal days of head-desk stumbling over syntax in custom libraries and multiple languages, waiting for compilations, waiting for the server to boot, testing every possible permutation of the thing to catch the inevitable “gotcha” that some end user will uncover, and so on. In the end, it’s really not that fun to work on SWGEmu mods and given that programming is my hobby, what the hell is the point of doing it at all if it’s not fun? I mean, I love helping friends, but I literally giggled like a schoolgirl when I uninstalled Microsoft Visual Studio 2017, having used it only to help my friends when they were desperate to have their launcher updated. I hate to say it, but I get the same sort of joy when I think about not working on anything related to SWGEmu ever again.

I’d rather work on stuff like RocketTux and play No Man’s Sky!

Hard to believe that I am a year and half behind on finishing RocketTux. Apparently shit doesn’t get done when you don’t do it. Who knew?! 🙂 I ended up boring myself by rigidly sticking to the goal of finishing the art and levels rather than just doing what I felt like doing (which really is what one should do with their personal hobby projects). But I digress…

What’s so great about No Man’s Sky?

1. No Division of Labor? No Problem!
It was basically designed from the ground up to be the polar opposite of Star War Galaxies, in terms of what can be achieved by a single player. Fundamental changes to the combat system aside, much of my time modding SWGEmu was spent attempting to make a game that was explicitly designed to make it difficult for a single person to play alone, into a game that, at the very least, functioned properly for only one person. That’s totally not an issue with NMS, because even though it has multiplayer aspects, it is most definitely a game that can be enjoyed from start to “finish” by a single player.

2. A Strong Variety of Gameplay Systems
You know, No Man’s Sky is kind of a more complete version of Elite Dangerous, only it’s actually fun and it strikes a nice balance between simulation and arcade game… Huh. Anyway, from building your fleet of capital ships and sending them on missions, to cataloging the flora and fauna of millions of planets, there is a lot to do in No Man’s Sky and for the most part you are free to do it at your own pace and in your own way. Here’s a randomly organized point form list of different activities I have discovered:

  • Finding a cool ship to buy. There are two ways to go about this, one being standing in space stations and talking to the NPC pilots who fly in, the other being tracking down crashed ships to repair them.
  • Upgrading your suit and multi-tool, which can be done by traveling to new places in the galaxy to find merchants and treasure.
  • Shooting rocks. You can shoot holes right through’em!
  • Shooting rocks…. in space!
  • Seriously, shooting rocks is the basic manner in which one gathers resources. You can also punch trees when you upgrade to a Nintendo Power Glove.
  • Spelunking, aided by the terrain manipulator which can blast holes in the ground (or fill them in, if that’s how you roll).
  • Building bases, with the only limit being 20,000 items per base. You can have up to 5 bases per planet and there’s something like 18,446,744,073,709,551,616 planets, so hop to it, eh.
  • Building and upgrading a freighter fleet.
  • Sending your fleet on (imaginary) missions.
  • Building a base inside your capital ship. This impressed me when I whipped out curved hallway parts, but I literally exclaimed, “shut up! No way!” when I found that I can even add stairs and rooms! Imagine having your own custom Tantive IV and you’ll have a good grasp on feel of the interior.
  • Trading goods in a manner similar to other space truckin’ games. It’s less detailed than Elite Dangerous’s commodities system, yet one misses nothing in the process…
  • Fighting pirates in your ship. This includes attacking capital ships and looting the stuff that you shoot out of their holds.
  • Missions from various individual NPCs and the space station based guilds.
  • Learning languages and exploring the lore of the galaxy by chatting with NPCs and finding interesting places on the many worlds.
  • Building machines to harvest and process resources.
  • Collecting, upgrading, and using the different ground and water vehicles. Yup, there’s a frickin’ submarine even! I just got the basic car today and the handling of ground vehicles is similar to Unreal Engine or Crytek based games, with simplified controls. It’s definitely not like using a ground vehicle in Elite Dangerous, at all (though I actually liked that aspect of ED, for the most part).
  • Collecting stuff and using it to craft the items you need while doing the above things.

There are likely other things to do in the game that I forgot to mention (like following the main story line!), but I think that will give you a good idea of the breadth of the game. One thing that I really appreciate is how all of these things come together in a way that makes the game feel a lot more purposeful than Elite Dangerous. In ED there is basically only one game loop, which amounts to “earn money to get a bigger ship so you can earn money to get a bigger ship…”, and that’s very, very boring. Are there other aspects of ED? Sure, but they’re boring too. No Man’s Sky manages to offer a wide variety of things to do in a way that isn’t boring. Yay!

3. It’s Like I Stepped Into A Classic Science Fiction Novel
As a young man, I loved Issac Asimov’s Foundation series and robot books, and I also very much enjoyed Arthur C. Clarke’s Rendezvous with Rama, as well as other novels of the early scifi era. The art style of No Man’s Sky appears to be designed such that it’s as though the player has stepped into the cover art of a dusty book from store shelves past and begun an adventure almost as wild as their own imagination. While I suspect the post processing effects may be lost on the younger folks, I get what Hello Games was going for and I like it.

A few books I’ve kept though the years…


Now the game and its universe pales in comparison to those which are described by the great sages whose works defined the Science Fiction genre, but all things considered, given the gameplay systems and artwork, what they’ve created is phenomenal.

Picking Some Nits
From the perspective of a boy who grew up in the 80s and 90s on Star Trek reruns, TNG, Star Wars, and a plethora dusty old books, Hello Games has not let me down with No Man’s Sky. From the perspective of a man who went from playing a detailed online Star Wars game to later spending years modding that game into a single player experience, I can say with the utmost sincerity that Hello Games has not let me down with No Man’s Sky. It makes me wonder why I waited nearly three years to play it! That said, I do have a few thoughts on where I think it could improve a bit.

Let’s be real here, for all intents and purposes Earth is the Human universe. It’s literally the only place in the entirety of everything where we know we can exist. This tiny ball of dirt hurtling though the cosmos, slathered in water and a slight dusting of breathable air, is home to countless organisms which are as varied as the biomes in which they evolved. Alas, in No Man’s Sky, as far as I can tell, all celestial bodies have a single biome that covers their entire surface, meaning there are “snow planets”, “desert planets”, etc. (with the exception of planets that have both land and water biomes, I suppose). While it might be interesting to explore temperate transition zones, I can’t fault Hello Games for creating the planets without them, because it’s damned hard to do what they’ve done as it is!

Humans have been building paths, roads, towns, villages, and cities since the dawn of time and ya know what, other critters here on Earth build these types of structures too. In No Man’s Sky the entire galaxy appears to be inhabited by creatures who never considered these concept. Nope, they either roam aimlessly or they travel exclusively by space ship. Again, in a game as vast as this one, something’s gotta give – I can imagine the headaches it would cause to create procedurally generated cities, complete with buildings, people, shops, homes, and NPC activity, on a global scale. That could be a game in and of itself…

W = Forward
S = Backward
A = Turn Left
D = Turn Right
SHIFT = Turbo
L CTL = Brake
Mouse Movement = Camera Panning

That’s how ground vehicles are done on PC the man, come on! 🙂 Seriously though, I can live with the mouse moving left/right for steering, as it’s light years better than vehicles in SWG. Space movement in No Man’s Sky also feels better than the Jump to Lightspeed space flight in SWG.

And finally, one space station interior? Really? Just one, for the whole galaxy? Where the NPCs all stand in the same locations? OK, but only because you wow’d the absolute crap out of me with the rest of the game!

So, No Man’s Sky…
It’s a good game. I like it a lot. I like it, because it’s chalked full of awesome; I like it, because I can shut it off and miss a damned thing!

Using the portal at base Psychedelic Hondo

Base Snow Hondo

Base Hondo Under No Man’s Sky

Ps. It play’s alright on my old as dirt computer (AMD FX-8320 CPU / AMD R9 270 2GB graphics / 24GB DDR3 1600MHz RAM) at 1080p using the default settings. I drop to 15 FPS when looking at my largest base (even from far away), but most other times I am in the 30 – 60 FPS range (with some hitching though). By comparison, I can run 3 instances of Star Wars Galaxies, at max settings with 4x AA and 16x AF forced in the driver, while also running the server in a virtual machine and using several tabs in Chrome without the computer breaking a sweat – these 8 core FX CPUs weren’t terrible at everything, eh. 🙂

Legend of Hondo is Dead! Long Live the Commodore 64!

Life is full of compromises and choices. Given that my time is not infinite, I have chosen to focus my “nerd hobby time” on working with a single computer, the Commodore 64. As a result, here is where my previous projects stand:

RocketTux
Side scroller web based game
Will be finished in 2018-2019. Once finished, I will package it as a native application, using NodeJS, for Linux and Windows. Even though it will not be released as a Chrome App for Google Chromebooks, as it was originally intended to be, I am sticking with the goal of having it play well on a low-end Chromebook (instructions will be provided on how to do so).

Legend of Hondo
Star Wars Galaxies Emulator server mods
Will not see further development. Last fall I was working a huge branch related to Bio-Engineer, which would have been finished were it not so tedious to make BE pet versions of some animals – I bit off a giant chunk of work that I just don’t feel like doing, but the rest of the features for that branch were finished. The plain truth of the matter is that I don’t play the game and it takes way more time/effort to develop it than I want to spend on a game that I don’t play!

Loop Dipole and the Chaoties
Blender Game Engine
Game play wise, it wasn’t fun and that really disappointed me so I took a step back from it for a couple years. BGE also proved to be overwhelming to work with after the project grew beyond a certain level, so I will not be finishing this iteration of the game. However, the initial concept of “go fast and have fun getting there” and the rest will be the basis of a game that I make for the Commodore 64 once I have become skilled with Assembly language.

Rescue Girlies
SDL / Supertux mod
I have not updated this game since 2014, just as I said I would not when I released the custom GPL version of the game. It was a “one off” game that truly I made only for my kids, but I released to the open source community as a way to give back some of my knowledge. Play it if you’d like or study the differences between it and SuperTux 0.3.3 for an idea on how to make such mods.

Solozeroth
World of Warcraft Server Emulator mods
Yeah, I don’t really play this one either, so I haven’t bothered working on it in about a year now! Wrath of the Lich King era was the best, but it’s kind of boring to play solo. That said, the TrinityCore server code base was a pleasure to use!

Tux Time, by Fives
Web based educational game
I really wish I finished this game, but for a while there my girls did use it on the tablet to help them learn how to read a good old analogue clock. All that is missing are the voice overs and the sound setup, so I will post the source on Github, but I will not be developing it further.

SuperCombiner
Torchlight II Mod
I occasionally play Torchlight II and when I do, I use this mod. It still works and I’m content with its features, so it doesn’t need any further development. Along those lines, Torchlight II itself, with the handful of mods I have downloaded, is also fine the way it is so I won’t be creating any other mods for it.

Music Production
Sunvox and Impulse Tracker on PC
I don’t spend a lot of time tracking music anymore, but I will continue to do so when the mood strikes. The sound produced with these systems is completely different than what I will be creating with the Commodore 64.

Electronics Hobby Computer Prototype
Arduino UNO programmed using a Raspberry Pi Zero
I very much would like to build this prototype, but it seems like a frivolous use of our limited discretionary funds and it likely will not be produced. The major expenses are a basic “ten keyless” usb mechanical keyboard ($35 CAD), the 4″ LCD display ($40-$70 CAD), and misc electronic bits (??$$ + shipping…). I estimate the prototype would cost about $200. If I can scrape together the parts, I’ll totally build this a little bit at a time as a proof of concept, “just because”. 🙂

I would like to thank everyone who encouraged me to work on these projects over the years, especially the supportive folks in the SWGEmu server modding community and the world of kind people who contributed to the open source projects upon which my own projects were based.


My game plan for the future consists of the following,

  • Work through the Commodore 64 Programmers Reference Guide, using a real physical book even!
  • Learn everything there is to know about the Commodore 64 hardware and software!
  • Share my Commodore BASIC programs on GitHub in text format.
  • Share my open source games/software in disk image format using Google Drive.
  • Learn how to program EEPROMs and make cartridges.
  • Make a game that is worth selling and distribute it on cartridge – how cool would that be!
  • Try to make an Arduino UNO compatible electrical system that can be programmed using BASIC.

If you’d like to listen to me talk about this sort of thing for 24 awesome “stream of consciousness” minutes, have a gander at the video below! If not, suffice to say that I am making this change of focus so as to get the most return on my “time spent doing things” investment, while also increasing the likelihood that the things I create may actually be of use (perhaps even after I kick off and walk the stars!).

Programming: The Importance of The Groove

Every good post starts with a deep breath and a long exhale, right?

Most people have their own workflow and accomplish their goals at a pace that is right for them. That seems to be the natural way of things. Personally, I am the kind of worker who excels at stepping onto the highway and driving nonstop to the destination, fuel be damned! This is especially true of my programming projects, for the simple reason that in order to make a complex piece of software, one essentially needs to load all those complexities into his brain and move them around, kind of like one of those jumbled up picture squares that the inevitable health conscious neighbour would give us on Halloween instead of candy. Manipulating all of that information and knowing the constructs and concepts inside and out is “The Groove” and, at least for me, it is the most important aspect of successful programming.

In May of this year I started working on a new project, RocketTux, with the idea that it would be a stepping stone toward creating HTML5/JavaScript games rather than slogging away at C++/Lua based MMO emulator mods or Python/Blender related projects. I put a fair amount of effort into creating a simple, yet effective workflow, using tools that “just work” in Linux Mint 17.3 and that I am already comfortable with. All was going well and I made quite a bit of progress until… Updates to my Legend of Hondo project and helping out with the Tarkin II project happened. Hello mental train wreck, how nice of you to obliterate my house of awesome!

Now, a couple months hence, I am sitting here picking through the rubble of my RocketTux groove, essentially relearning both the software framework and my workflow all over again. And, it sucks. And… it’s my fault.

Losing the groove due to dividing my time between multiple projects is 100% the result of poor discipline on my part. I am self aware, I know how I work, I know how I create, I know how I design… Most importantly, I know better. Truly, I do. For me to actually achieve a goal, I need to work at it exclusively until the damned thing is complete!

Now, this doesn’t mean that I must work on a project at the expense of everything else in my life. Rather, it simply means that I need to confine my thinking, pondering, dreaming, designing, and other cognitive processes used for hobbies to a single project at a time. Focusing on one project is a lot like reading a novel, where you can read a few chapters, put the book down and go to work, then read some more when you get home later, easily picking up from where you left off, because the story is fresh in your mind. Because… you were “in the groove”!

“Respect the groove, reward the world!” – words I need to live by! And you can quote me on that. 🙂

Now with that said, as much as I would dearly like to hang up my SWG/SWGEmu modding hat for good, I started something with Bio-Engineering that I would like to finish. It’s something for me, by me, and one day I might have some fun using it! Unfortunately, in typical SWG/SWGEmu fashion, some of the work is super duper whooper tedious (14+ client/server files to add a single new BE pet…), which translates into “will take an ass load of time, while also being very, very boring in the process”, so I have been reluctant to continue on with it; I WANT to be working on RocketTux, but I lost that groove and replaced it with the SWGEmu modding groove again. *sigh* So, I may as well “go with it” and finish the Bio-Engineer mods that I started. Once they are finished though, I am hanging up my Legend of Hondo hat indefinitely and yes, that means I will not finish the project. Honestly, I would rather create HTML5/JavaScript side scroller games, because they are both more accessible to end users and astonishingly more enjoyable to develop.

Mos Espa Tour – My Hondo Housing System Layout

A couple weeks ago I took some time to build my modded layout for Mos Espa. Given how difficult LoH is to setup, I figured I would make a simple video tour to show off what can be done with my admin tools and the Hondo Housing System. The decorations are a little sparse (because making the tangible versions of the static objects so that I can manipulate their positions is so super tedious that I only did for around 80 objects…) and the video is just a quick drive through, but it’s something…

Update March 2019: The video is now in my Google Drive

https://drive.google.com/open?id=16FrEk1ryiFECz0_r1AHveQZopxN8qpVf

Legend of Hondo is Playable Solo Again

I took a bit of break from working on RocketTux to bring to Legend of Hondo back to a point where it was playable as a solo experience again. When I started LoH, before the project even had a name, that was really the whole point of the excerise, to make a SWG based … thing I could do when I felt like it. Later I sort of branched out into making “systems” that might be useful to others as well as myself, which prompted me to try and organize the Legend of Hondo repo in such a way that my mods could be more easily visualized or consumed. That ideal was what prompted me to restart Legend of Hondo again in 2016, putting it into a state where it really wasn’t playable solo (without making up for the lack of other players by using an admin account to do various fundamental things).

Given that I just don’t have the time nor do I have the inclination to constantly revisit content that I have already completed for my project, because the upstream folks felt the need to change fundamental aspects of their project, I locked the version of SWGEmu that Legend of Hondo is based on last fall. Then I took a break from working on it from December 2016 to July 2017, in part because I wasn’t able to sit down and have any fun with it when I felt like it. And so I ended my break by rolling through a raft of mods that brought Legend of Hondo to a state where one can sit down and successfully do everything other than use the Pirate System that I have yet to fully design and implement.

The point form feature notes can be read on GitHub here and the commit history (which I am no longer “squishing”) details each mod as I made them (and each patch/fix as I made them as well).

Some of the highlights are…

– Previously, I rebuilt the Skill Tree, removed/modified some professions, and added the Pirate progression trees. This patch ensures that one can use all of it up to Pirate 4xxx (the Bounty Hunter line) without needing to use an admin account to unblock anything (such as, needing Pistol XP, but not having access to a pistol to earn that kind of XP, etc). The only big thing that is missing are the crafted decorations that were made by the Architect profession, but they will return later as things one can buy from merchants (or loot while pirating).
– My version of the Mos Espa city layout, using the Hondo Housing System, is complete. I haven’t gotten moving some NPCs around and populating the new areas though.
– Resource collection got configured for the single player, “no need to run the server 24/7” concept, by making gathering more active and using BazaarBot to fill in the gaps.
– The Hondo Merchant System has returned, with a few merchants who sell important items and a couple who require standing with Jabba the Hutt. Eventually, there will many more (as they are the primary “credit sink” in the game).

Down the road I will hopefully find the time to make the quests, systems, and content that make up the Pirate progression system, but at this point I am not in any hurry to do so. At least as it stands right now, that’s basically “all” that’s left for me to do – the rest of the game is functionally complete (unforeseen bugs/consequences aside). As such, this will probably be the last update for Legend of Hondo in 2017, while I focus my efforts on completing RocketTux.

See the main Legend of Hondo page on this site or the README file on GitHub for more information on how one can play the game (it’s not easy to setup and, no, I won’t help you with it or do it for you, sorry).

Project Scope – Size Matters

Lately I have been thinking a lot about what I want to do with my “hobby time” and why I want to do it. There are lots of things I enjoy doing in life, but there is only so much time to do it all! It really is imperative that we have some kind of plan to avoid running out of time (or will) and never accomplishing anything. And, that’s where project scope comes in to play.

I’ve determined that there are three basic questions you can answer to determine the correct size for your project, with size being the time, effort, and emotional investment required to finish the project. The questions are,

1. Who is this project for?

2. Why am I doing this project?

3. What is the project about?

To help you understand how this works, I will provide three examples from my own life, Legend of Hondo, Loop Dipole and the Chaoties, and gardening with my family. Each of these projects absolutely have their own scope, their own size, and all three can become completely overwhelming if I lose track of the who, the why, and the what of it all. Writing this post is a way for me to congeal my thoughts, but hopefully reading it will also help you not feel as overwhelmed and paralyzed about your projects as I some times feel about mine.


Legend of Hondo
This is a massive project with hundreds of “moving parts” and by its very nature, taking one game and morphing it into another, it’s something that will take years to complete. And it’s that very “long term goal” aspect which can cause the project to become emotionally crippling – it’s a huge pile of work, with more work heaped on top of it, which can’t really be used until all of the work has been completed. It’s easy to give up on a project like this if you’re not satisfied by reaching incremental goals.

In the beginning, before it even had a name, my Legend of Hondo project was just about making a Star Wars Galaxies Emu server that I could play on alone. Then I got to thinking that I could finally fix some of the stuff about the game that bothered me, which in turn lead to making new content and eventually coming up with an overall theme for a single player RPG. But most importantly, Legend of Hondo was supposed to be for ME, just ME. Unfortunately, my work on the project caused me to get side tracked by fan mail and requests for assistance with other projects, which of course I answered, because I am a nice guy. So all of a sudden my personal pet project exploded into a menagerie of systems and customizations for various SWGEmu based servers, all wrapped up in the need to keep up to date with the ever changing, constantly “refactored” state of the SWGEmu code… As much as I like helping people, doing so made me lose sight of why I was willing to put up with the convoluted science project that is the SWGEmu code base and the game client for which the modding tools are tedious. I’m doing it for ME, so that one day when I am an old man I can sit down and enjoy the game – it doesn’t need to be finished tomorrow or even this year or even at all really and how it works for someone else doesn’t matter in the least.

So to sum that up a little less emotionally…

1. Who is this project for?
Legend of Hondo is something I am creating for myself, because I feel like it.

2. Why am I doing this project?

I am creating Legend of Hondo mainly so that I can enjoy the end product at a later date, but also because I enjoy designing the new systems and creating the new content. I also enjoy most of the programming and some of the artistic challenges involved.

3. What is the project about?

Legend of Hondo is all about making a single player version of Star Wars Galaxies that has everything I always wanted in the original game. It’s the combination of opened ended game play (where you are free to do what you’d like, whenever you’d like) and a sort of choose your adventure type story, where your actions build a meaningful sense of identity for your characters. That day when you finally become The Dread Pirate or The Legendary Pirate or even the Master Pirate will be the day you look back and say to yourself, “Wow, what an adventure the journey to this moment was!”…


Loop Dipole and the Chaoties
Long before it had a name, Loop was a game I personally wanted to play – something that was all about going fast and having fun getting there! Car racing games are alright, but they tend to be about… well, racing cars, which can be more simulation than stimulation. Arcade games like SuperTuxKart and Mario Kart are definitely fun, but they lack certain game play mechanics that are also fun, such as gathering resources and using those resources to customize your character or to solve puzzles, etc. Loop really is a product of those basic desires and that void of content, a reality I have never lost sight of, despite how I have frequently found that building such a game is easier said than done!

I have restarted this project a number of times, each time because the process of building it is a learning experience. I started it by programming in C++ using the Cafu engine. Later I thought it would be better as a mod for SuperTuxKart, which lead me to using Blende. Using Blender lead me to thinking I should just make the whole game in Blender! Then actually using Blender Game Engine to make a full sized game lead me to the understanding that BGE isn’t particularly well suited to making a full sized games. So now I am sitting here in 2017 once again contemplating on where I want to go with it. To 3D or not to 3D, that is the question! Mobile, desktop, web based, who knows?!

1. Who is this project for?
This was a tough question to answer, but the truth is that Loop Dipole and the Chaoties is a game that is for everyone, not just for me.

2. Why am I doing this project?
I am making Loop, because I enjoy the process of making games, but I am also making it to prove to (again) that I can finish making a game. So, it is important to me that the game is finished and that the game is, at the very least, easily available to be played by others.

3. What is the project about?
Loop is about the joy of speeding around blowing stuff up while collecting other useful stuff. Yet it’s also about bringing order to chaos by solving puzzles and by learning about yourself and how you like to play the game. Loop Dipole is an energy being who collects various forms of energy that allow him to take on new shapes that have different attributes and abilities. He also uses this energy to balance out the chaotic energy of his world. You see, at one time Loop was nothing more than a Chaotie himself, only vaguely aware of his own existence. However, one day he passed through a fog of chaos and emerged with a sense of self and with the determination to share his gift with his world.


Gardening With My Girlies!
I know initially said it was gardening with my family, but truth be told, my wife’s idea of gardening is looking at the pretty flowers and eating the fruits and vegetables that magically appear in the yard. The kids on the other hand are much more willing to get their hands dirty on a regular basis!

It’s hard to believe how much time has passed since then, but looking back I have to say that our best years for gardening were definitely 2012 and 2013. Abby and Baylea were still quite young then, so I had to do a lot of the work myself and unfortunately I did spend a little too much time playing the roll of the scare crow, otherwise known as “grumpy daddy who yells at me while I run, carefree, through the garden”. What can ya do, right? Kids will be kids and squashed plants don’t grow. 🙂 In any case, when 2014 rolled around the girls were “all gardened out” and it wasn’t until 2016 that they really took an interest in process again.

This year we’re going back to the traditional style of garden, as our experiment last year with the “living sitting area” (known as Girlie Grove) wasn’t as inspiring or as useful as I had imagined it would be. In retrospect, it probably would have been a big hit back in 2013 when our eldest, Neillia, was still into playing “little kid games”. Man… they grow up so fast, it’s just not fair…

Anyhow, here’s the skinny on my gardening project with my family.

1. Who is this project for?
The gardening project is for everyone in my family.

2. Why am I doing this project?
When I was kid, my dad had a garden that he put a lot of effort into. I wish I could say that we spent countless hours having fun with each other in his garden, with him teaching me all about life and all about himself, but the truth is that I mostly helped him get his tractor unstuck on the days he was plowing. I also happily ate his magical produce and occasionally squashed some tomato worms. Eventually I came around and appreciated his effort and what gardening meant to him, but wouldn’t you know it, I also went away that summer for no good reason and he died the next spring. Such is life.

I want to give my kids the connection to their parents, to each other, and to themselves introspectively, that I lacked when I was growing up. I want to spend time with them showing them how their efforts and their attention will be rewarded.

3. What is the project about?
Gardening is an emotionally relaxing, yet physically vigorous way to connect with my kids. From forging the furrows out of sod to preparing a meal using fresh picked beans, gardening is an experience they can hold in their hands that will live a life time in their hearts.


Well, I hope my examples have given you a some idea of how I used those three simple questions to define the scope and size of my projects. Answering those questions, and keeping the answers in mind as often as possible while working on your project, will help you naturally limit its scope. Understanding who the project is for and why are you are doing the project in the first place will allow you determine the size of the project: If you’re doing a project to prove the point to yourself or to the universe at large that you can accomplish it, then it makes sense to keep the project small and tightly focused so that you can finish it in a timely manner. Break it down into manageable chunks, set clear milestones, and avoid adding more to it beyond refinements to the original design, and you will finish it. And on the other hand, if you’re working on project simply for the joy of doing so and that project will likely take many years to complete, then try your best to keep that in mind so you don’t stress yourself out for not finishing it fast enough. That kind of long term project can be as big as you’d like, because it can’t be finished quickly anyway!

When it comes to hobby projects it is important to not stress out about them, because the whole point of having a hobby is to do something that is fun! If you find yourself stressing out or no longer enjoying your hobby, ask yourself the questions I presented above. Hopefully your answers will help you rediscover your passion for the project or maybe your answers will provide you with the closure you need to move onto new challenges.

Hondo – A Copy of my Development Server Virtual Machine

To make it a little bit easier for folks to play around with Legend of Hondo (particularly the admin tools that are handy for general SWGEmu “world building”), I’ve uploaded a copy of my VirtualBox VM to my MEGA storage. You can find it here,

LoH_Public_Server_Dec_2016.7z.

It’s exactly what I use for developing Legend of Hondo (apart from having an anonymous git configuration) and it’s perfectly fine for use as the “server” portion of the single player game. The documentation is included in the zip file. Further documentation is in the github repo and here on this site.

The 20GB vdi file was compressed using 7zip on ultra compression, bringing the final file size down to 3.3GB.

At this point, it should be noted that if you do happen to get the client and server setup, I don’t recommend actually playing the game yet. Quite simply, I haven’t finished making the fundamental game play systems, nor have I completed the new player experience. So, if you did start playing now, you’d end up in situations like not having any resources to craft with or not being able to craft at all if you didn’t start as an Artisan (because you don’t have a crafting tool and there isn’t anywhere to buy or loot one). Besides, I haven’t made any of the pirate system or story content yet anyway.

I’m busy re-working the layout of the profession system at the moment and once I have finished that, I will be working on the new player experience. That way you could actually play the game without needing to use the admin account to make up for the lack of other players, etc. Time frame for that? Early Feb, 2017?

Personally, I am not playing Legend of Hondo yet, because it’s not really ready even for a “head start”. It doesn’t need to be complete to be playable, but it does at least need all the “gotchas” to be solved. Legend of Hondo Classic on the other hand is playable, because I solved all that stuff first – sometimes I wish didn’t start over again… *sigh* 🙂


Warning: Don’t use Legend of Hondo as the basis for a multi-player server. I have changed some systems that work great in a single player game, but will allow nefarious folks to grief others in a multi-player situation.


Disclaimer:
https://github.com/Tatwi/legend-of-hondo
Legend of Hondo is a personal, open source, free (as in beer!), development project. When I am finished, the sum of its parts will be a single player pirate adventure, based on SWGEmu and Star Wars Galaxies.

You are welcome to use any code, concepts, and documentation within this repository, however you do so entirely at your own risk, in accordance with the following guidelines:

R. Bassett Jr. (Tatwi) and SWGEmu disclaim all warranties of any kind, either express or implied, as to the software provided in this repository, including, but not limited to, implied warranties of fitness for a particular purpose, or non‐infringement of proprietary rights. Neither this agreement nor any documentation furnished under it is intended to express or imply any warranty that the operation of the software will be uninterrupted, timely, or error‐free.

Under no circumstances shall R. Bassett Jr. (Tatwi) or SWGEmu be liable to any user for direct, indirect, incidental, consequential, special, or exemplary damages, arising from or relating to this agreement, the software, or userʹs use or misuse of the software. Such limitation of liability shall apply whether the damages arise from the use or misuse of the software (including such damages incurred by third parties).

Information provided in this repository is done so “As-Is” and is not promised or guaranteed to be correct, current, or complete, and may be out of date and may contain technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Any reliance on the material in this repository is at your own risk. R. Bassett Jr. (Tatwi) and SWGEmu assume no responsibility (and expressly disclaim responsibility) for keeping information current or to ensure the accuracy or completeness of any information provided. Accordingly, you should confirm the accuracy and completeness of all information provided in this repository before making any decision related to using any part of it.

By using any software, files, or concepts provided in this repository, you waive the right to SWGEmu game client support from SWGEmu and you acknowledge and accept that you will not receive support from R. Bassett Jr (Tatwi) of any kind.

Legend of Hondo is not supported or endorsed by SWGEmu.

GNU AFFERO GENERAL PUBLIC LICENSE Version 3, 19 November 2007