I Swear I’m Alive

Yes, me.  What have I been doing all this time?  Not writing; I’ve been game-testing a lot, actually.  In case you haven’t heard, there’s a very intriguing game in Alpha currently, called “Project Gorgon”.  Game-testing is something I like to do, because I like to be helpful.  I’d definitely suggest this one to anybody interested; yes stuff needs to be roughed out still, but what they have so far is very neat!

…Ok I lied; I’ve done some writing here and there.  Lying in wait for the “Uncanny Magazine” edition of “Disability Destroys Science Fiction”!  I have a tale, and here’s hoping… I also have something up at “fairytalez.com”, a cute little site, and this appeals to the gaes I applied to myself years ago to keep some of my fiction free for the masses.

I read a fascinating post today by Kristen Lamb: http://authorkristenlamb.com/2018/01/book-business/ As any of you who are writers know, the publishing industry has changed drastically over the past twenty-some years.  Who knew we’d actually have to worry about SEO, something I fully admit I’m terrible at?  I’m a writer, not a webminster, Jim.  Buuut, these days it’s important, even for little story writers like myself.

As the publishing industry changed, yes so did I; and no I haven’t given up on game design:  someday, “Four Horsemen” will be finished and published – somewhere – as will other games.  I hope.  Haven’t worked on it in a bit, but I am thanking myself for writing bug reports regarding it, so that I know where I was in there.  Lol, otherwise I’d be a frazzled mess… well that’s likely to happen anyhow.

So.  After illness, I’m at last beginning to heal, and so back to my writing/game design.  I don’t know which will win out in the end, but the short story business hasn’t changed a whole lot – just gotten more technical.  However, a world where I can still get a nice rejection letter about WHY a certain editor didn’t like what I wrote can’t be all bad.

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Mixing the Old With the New

So, here I am again, back from the depths of illness and life.  Both imploded on me at once, sadly.  But, I have returned!

Recently started working on writing once more.  As you may or may not know, it’s always been my personal policy to submit works both to paying markets and non-paying ones; I don’t intend to drop that.  Currently have now, therefore, two stories out to paying magazines and one to an interesting no-pay one that deals in fairy tales and mythologies. Take a gander if you’re interested:  http://fairytalez.com/user-tales/the-lord-of-all-he-surveyed/

Now, I just need to write more stories… an interesting prospect during the first active lupus and CNS lupus flares I’ve had in a couple decades!  But, well, I figured it out back then, I can do so once more, no doubt.

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Been Awhile, but I’m Back

After being sidelined by some severe illness issues for a long time, I’m slowly working my way back.  Thus far I’ve been focusing on writing, mostly; developing a novella I had been working at into possible novel-length work:  “From the Sea” is at its first editorial draft now.  Not giving up on the “Four Horsemen” game, no; I’ve certainly had a LOT of time to think about it and I have some ideas about what to do.  For now, working slowly at things.

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Cleanup, Aisle X

So, here’s the thing.  I’ve been working slowly but surely at “Four Horsemen” for a while now – ok more than just “a while” – and getting closer and closer to the End of it, where it’ll be playable.  I finally got the whole issue with a “do I use a loop here or what” settled – I thought.  Actually got the section where Player picks a direction to not give me an error message.  Woo hoo, right?  Sort of.  Because, I then worked on the next section where there’s a choice, and I thought it needed a little different coding because it’s not noun variables we’re dealing with anymore.  The book I’m going through, Learn Python the Hard Way – which yes you can also find online – seems to point to that.  But, even though I got no direct error message the game went wonky when I stuck the new code in.  For some reason it bypassed the first choices and went straight to the new ones!


So, there we are at the moment, with the worst kind of error:  one that does not directly say “problem on line x…”  I’ve coded one of them correctly – apparently both – and now need to weed through and find out where and how and what to do.

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Looping, Looping…

Still there.  I got the end down, which was BIG.  But now, I’ve been cleaning up the rest.  I’ve learned a lot from this game, the most important being that I need to focus on keeping it simple.  I don’t mean boring simple, I mean making sure that it doesn’t bog me down and completely confound me with this and that issue.

There’s a saying about that with regards to game design, actually; that it’s a good thing for a game to be complex but not too complicated.  And, honestly, that makes sense:  Dwarf Fortress is very complex, you can do tons in there between hunting and gem-collecting and fighting off goblin or were attacks.  At its best, LOTRO has that, what with traversing Middle Earth, playing as a chicken – I still love that – exploring, hunting, crafting, and so on.  World of Warcraft has that too (without the chickens).  Zork and MUME definitely do!

So now, thinking of the things I love about each of these games, I can play them and see this is where the devs did this or that thing.  However, there’s that one thing left that I’m still banging my head about, and it’s come down to loops.  Conditional, infinite, if-statement/while-statement…


Someday I’ll get this, like I figured out the ending thing.  Not yet, but someday… this is gonna happen!  I’ve whittled “Four Horsemen” down to where it’s really just that (I think).


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Don’t fall over yourself goggling…

Just wrote my favorite piece of code yet:

print "Do you want to play again?"
print "Press enter to continue, anything else to quit."
someInput = raw_input()
print "That's not enter so we're quitting."
for i in range("anything_else", '&E'):
    print "i =", i,
    if i == '&E':
    elif i == "anything_else":
        import sys, random
        import random

Yeah there's probably better ways to do it, cleaner and more
elegant ones, but I don't know those yet.  So there we have it, she looks 
like a functioning game!

...Now there's other stuff to worry about.  But I am PSYCHED!!
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Two Down… Methinks anyway

Ok I’m going with KLL Games as a name;).  It makes sense to us anyway.

I got end credits coded in, and I think, after almost a week, that I almost have the end now set so Player can choose to try again or quit outright.  Goodness knows that took forever to sort to this point anyways!

It’s two things at least down. The heat kind of did me in today – again – so I’m just leaving it at that and watching Olympic Diving Trials.

…All this leaving the head of KLL in a nice frazzled state.  It’s not my favorite kind of weather, there’s been some bag leakage, and I have a doctor’s app next week I *really* don’t want to go to because I detest the guy, plus some blood pressure issues about which I’m kind of nervous.  So, focusing on work at all has been quite the feat!

However, I *think* I can say the first game is closer to a playable state.  Grr, I should have just figured out how to put in a God mode so I could test it more quickly, but never mind.

…And there we are?


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The – Beginning of the – End?

So, I’m writing this at 4AM because I’m alert at this time.  I can honestly say I’m finally starting to be in a place where I can get to work again, or start to do so, after a couple years of nada and then some time of flailing attempts at it.  But this is good – lol, you see when I was a kid I used to daydream about becoming a successful writer, fantasize like I think everyone who goes for it does, and after many years yes, I can say I did it.  Well, it took a long while, but about a week ago I started doing so with regards to game design.  And, that’s how I knew I was ready to go at it again!

I finished creating a text adventure a couple years back, before the mess with my intestines, and that’s the one I want to put out there as my first.  In order to spruce it up and get it ready for play, I still need to:

  • code in an ending that’ll allow for people to choose to go back and start again, or just end
  • code in end credits
  • I suppose I also need to figure out a name for my “company”, whether I just want “JAHowe Games”, or what:)
  • figure out how to make a page online people can get to in order to access the game
  • figure out – for the long run, anyway – how to have some of those games pay-to-play (this first one and some others down the line will be wholly free)

It has been a VERY long road to get here.  I’m still hobbling around, still have to have help with a lot of things – man was I excited to be able to make a salad in the kitchen on my birthday some days ago!  I really miss cooking and doing dishes… but I can at last sit up in bed and have some oomph behind me going, “Yeah!  I can do this!  I’m not making Centipede, nor am I Kim Swift, but I can do this too!”


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Things that Need to be There

I’ve been off for quite a bit and I know it; battling my own internal demons.  Severe depression is, well, severe and hard on a person, and if you add a sizable amount of stress like I’ve been having, it all adds up to some badly disabling stuff.  Today was literally the first in ages when I’ve awoken to actually feel like doing something.  And, it’s led to some remarkable ideas.

Nobody I’ve ever heard of has had disabilities in comp games – oh sure, pirates have peg legs and there are eye patches galore in tales.  Historically, “twisted” or dwarven people used to commonly be used as the kings’ jesters.  But what about a disability actually being used and thought of as an asset?

Wheelchair swordfighting anyone?  Why not?  In LOTRO at the moment there’s fighting on horseback – don’t worry veterans of that horror; I am going to work at it so it’s less cumbersome in a chair – so it’s feasible as far as I’m concerned.  Also, let’s not forget World of Warcraft where you can fight on a flying mount, and its copycats.  And then, people with one eye actually have a ranged weapon advantage; those with two have a tendency to close one orbit to aim.  I myself, having only one working so I don’t need to do so.  Knights may often end up with PTSD, which wasn’t talked about (till now).  Actually, those who’ve read The Lord of the Rings might have noticed that Frodo Baggins shows signs of it by the end, and it’s more blatantly mentioned in the movies.  It’s useful, though, I think; not something to run from, not in Kritter.

These things have been running around in my head tonight; these thoughts.  Once I’ve figured out the mechanics, Players of games from Kritter will for the first time be able to be badass in a wheelchair, and see the scope of possibilities for other things as well, because disabled people really need to see that they’re still able to do things in fantasy.


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I’m Definitely ‘Learning Python the Hard Way’. And I like it.

The first time I tried learnpythonthehardway, it was three years ago at least, and I skimmed it – well, not skimmed, exactly; I did read the entire site/book.  But it felt too daunting and time-consuming at the time to do the exercises, so no, I didn’t.  Did I learn anything therefore?  Not sure.

This time, however, I am indeed going through the entire site/book AND doing all the exercises.  After at least three years of it I’m considering myself at least sort-of ‘intermediate’ at this language – which is a little different than “I’m intermediate in Italian by now”, i.e. I have a bit of reading comprehension and my vocab is getting better – which in this case means I can write and comprehend small bits of code.  Anyway, I decided to go over the learnpythonthehardway site/book again due to that, but this time taking it more slowly and doing all of the exercises.  I’m on chapter 7 by now, and I believe some of it’s sticking.

I mean, I’m able now to recall some symbols used in the language – like, %r is good for debugging, while other letters are better for variables – and, the other day on the way home from a doctors’ appointment, I passed the time considering some programming/dev issues.  Being able to do that in my head is something I’d never have thought of back when I was going on my first round through the “Hello, World!” book, I can tell you.  But I’m finally seeing it, or beginning to do so.  After so much hard study and interruptions by severe illness/hospitalizations, that’s a damn coup in my book!!

I seem to have learned more than I thought I did from the past couple years:  more Patience with myself.  Oh, in some senses I’ve still got an impetuous nature, that makes me overdo it in PT and so on, but at the same I’d be moaning and groaning – no I actually remember doing that – at the thought of doing a ton of exercises over and over again.  You ever run across that problem?  How did you fix it?

By the by, I’m also still game-testing, which likewise fit into my inner debate of the other day:  lol, my husband was shaking his head when he heard I’d conquered Death, but any gamer knows that’s an important topic.  Implementing save areas seemed like a good idea to me, when I finally realized it (takes awhile sometimes).  Being able to save and start from there if you want to is good, I hear, and since I don’t plan to do MMO’s – no, there will not be some gigantic “Kritter MMO” or anything – it’s an important thing for me to learn about.

I have an idea how to implement these save areas, but I’ll see whether I’m right or not.  I need to finish the site/book for my intermediary level, first!

How did you guys feel when you suddenly knew you weren’t just a green beginner anymore?  (doesn’t have to be just regarding programming)  Did you celebrate?  Did you get impatient and move on farther too fast?  Did you just buckle down?


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