Thursday, April 16, 2015

playing video games... and I can draw apparently

Hey look! I haven't posted in a couple of weeks! I actually started working on the next post for the Remus map... but I got stuck again and I started rethinking my approach towards how to make the thing... but that will be explained in another post.

What I have been doing with my time is playing video games, specifically Bloodborne and Grand Theft Auto V. Man, I love those freaking games! My wife and I bought a Playstation 4 so she could play the Final Fantasy 15 demo when it came out... and I sort of took over the PS4 after that... I am really enjoying my experience with the system so far. I have even stopped playing computer games which is normally my go to for most of my gaming.

Also, I watched this video today...


and I drew this while following along with the video...


See look! I can draw! So says that guy up there!

Anywho, I didn't really have mush to say... I just felt bad that I hadn't posted in a little while... so look, I posted something now :)

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Remus - this map took me a week...


Alrighty... this one took me a week to come up with... yeah I know, it's not much. I'll explain why this took a week for me to figure out. The short answer is that I got hung up on details until I decided... fuck it. That certainly doesn't explain much so I think you'll be needing the long answer.

The long answer

If you recall in my last post, I had figured out the size of my planet and the ratio of land versus water and how many continents it would have and a rough estimate of the square miles of each continent... Yep, that all happened. 

So I fired up Fractal Mapper and started messing around with the software, trying to bend it to my will. I found that you could put hexes directly on the map which I thought was rad, but what was even more rad was that I could define how big the hexes are based on miles. SWEET! That made me think that I could measure how big each continent is by measuring how many square miles there is per hex and then adding them altogether so I can make them a semi accurate based on the last post's measurements. 

Well that's what I thought at least... and I'm sure that statement is true, but I couldn't figure out how to make that happen in Fractal Mapper. I had kind of hoped that I could just enter in the square miles of the landmass that I wanted to create and Fractal Mapper would spit some shape out that would roughly be that size... nope.com. Mind you, I didn't read that it could online or anything (I don't want to misrepresent their product), it was just something I assumed or dreamed it could do. No biggie.

That led me down this path over at The Welsh Piper. This guy had figured out the square miles of each hex based some math voodoo that my A.D.D. didn't have time to figure out. His hex map templates were very handy to help steer me in the right direction, but I got lazy (FUCK IT!). That's when I started doing this...

Yep, that's me figuring out prime numbers. Why you ask? I needed to figure out what the length and width of my map would be based on the square miles of the planet and I didn't know what the easy math solution was to find that answer, so I came up with the junior high math version of finding my values. PRIME NUMBERS! That's what the top and right part of this picture is showing me figuring out. Funny thing, I actually went and figured out EXACTLY how big it should be... and then I just rounded the numbers off to make it even (FUCK IT!). Go math!  

With that data figured out, I input the values into Fractal Mapper and made the hexes 25 miles across and did some more dumb math to find out that there are 4114 hexes on this map. Now again, I went back to Welsh Piper's hex voodoo math and tried to figure out the size of continents gave myself a headache... so I did more prime number math (represented in the lower left hand side of the picture above). Knowing that I wanted Remus to be two thirds water, I multiplied 4114 by .33 and got 1358. So now I have 1358 hexes of land to fill on this map. I then split 1358 into three not so equal numbers and broke them down into prime numbers so I could figure out roughly how many hexes to draw the land masses by width and length. The picture at the top is the results of all of that.

For the next Remus mapping post, I want to start fleshing out one of the continents and start placing city and town locations based on work that I did following the Medieval Demographics site. 



Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Remus - mapping a place for the stuff

I'm not going to lie, I have attempted to make maps of Remus before. Unfortunately, mapping Remus has become one of my many unfinished projects. Well not this time! Remus needs a world map and I want to fill Remus with stuff and stuff needs maps! My previous attempts at mapping Remus included trying to follow guides from cartographersguild.com to make digital maps and hand drawing my own maps. I prefer to hand draw my maps if time permits (I like to draw) but I wanted to try something different this time around. I wanted to try to use Fractal Mapper by NBOS Software for at least the world and regional maps. I will probably always hand draw my dungeon and town maps... but I can give Fractal Mapper a try for those types as well.

I think that the reason I failed to finish a world map of Remus has been because I couldn't figure out the scale and spacing of the thing. For instance, if I try to draw coastlines for a huge North America sized continent, how big should I draw the little peninsulas? How many rivers should I make? Am I drawing too erratic of a coastline? Did Michael J Fox draw this (low blow... sorry)? So basically, I would get to drawing it and it just wouldn't feel or look right to me. So I'd abandon the project and try to start over again after a few months. That's where I think Fractal Mapper will help me out.

Before I draw my map, I need to figure out how big Remus actually is. With a little bit of Google research, I found out that the surface of the Earth is around 196,950,000 square miles with about two thirds of that being water (139,440,00 square miles of water). That's a little too big for my lazy ass to map out... How about Pluto? Pluto is small and hardly considered a planet. The size of Pluto shouldn't make my eye twitch as much. *Googles Pluto square miles* The square miles of Pluto is about 6,500,000 miles. Yes, I can work with that. So if I were to follow the same idea of Earth being two thirds water, that should give me 2 million square miles to work with. Since the planet is so small, I'm thinking maybe three major continents should work. I figure most of the games will really only take advantage of one of the continents for the most part, but we'll see where the story takes us. The first continent will be about 800,000 square miles, the second will be about 700,000 square miles, and the third one will be about 500,000 square miles.

Now to figure out how many people live on the tiny planetoid, we'll check out this sweet write up on Medieval Demographics. It's filled with very clever math stuff to help guys like me figure out how many people might live in place like Remus. So if I apply the math stuff to my three continents, the first continent will have about 24 million souls, the second will have 21 million, and the third will contain 15 million. I'm guessing that those numbers would includ "civilized" people (humans, elves, dwarves, whatever) and the less civilized people as well (orcs, lizard folk, baddies). I figure any group of folks that congregate and live in a community that falls under the four different town categories dictated in the Medieval Demographics page (villages, towns, cities, and big cities) they count towards this number.

Since I'll be concentrating on only one continent for the moment, I'll apply more of that math stuff to find out how many people live in a city as opposed to a village. The results for continent 1 (I'll name this shit later) yield a mere three cities and forty four towns. The biggest city tops out at 88,000 souls, the second city's population is 60,000, and the smallest city ends up with 15,000. Now whats great about knowing how many people live where, I can use that to figure out what cities and towns have what services and shops. For instance, is a town big enough to support an Inn? Based on the Medieval Demographics site, a town would need about 2000 people living there to support an Inn. So smaller towns won't be getting inns. I don't think I'll be using these numbers to flesh out every single soul in Remus.... that would be crazy.

The next time we talk about mapping Remus, I'll talk more about what I came up with using the Medieval Demographics site and how that will affect my choices when it comes to actually mapping this thing out. Perhaps I'll actually have some maps drawn from Fractal Mapper to show you as well. Who knows! Gotta love surprises!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Remus - intro to the madness

I mentioned before that one of my hobbies is playing role playing games. More specifically, I play pen and paper role playing games like Hero System, Palladium System, and Dungeon World. I of course never feel like I have enough time to indulge in this hobby as much as I would like to... but I get by. Most of the time, I end up playing as the GM or the Game Master which is something I really enjoying doing... but it takes A LOT of time to prepare for regular gaming sessions. Among the group of people that I play with, there has only been one or two other peeps who have tried to host and GM games. And as I've said, I like to GM and host and take charge and stuff. I actually think I have become a not so good player in these things since I am always playing GM. I find that I get bored really quickly when I play as a player and I'll just sit and draw pictures of my character or pictures of the scene we are playing or whatever to pass the time. 

So because I GM a lot, I always have these ideas in my head of stuff I would like to use for future gaming sessions and building the gaming world and whatnot. The problem I find is that I am terrible at just sitting down and getting these ideas on paper (hence one of the big motivators for this blog) and I tend to forget things and I lose track of my sweet ideas. What will normally happen for most of my game sessions is I'll try to improv most of the details for the story and I feel like I am cheating the players by not being properly prepared. Mind you, everyone says that they are having a good time and they enjoy the games (and I am sure that they are) but I really want to step it up a notch make these games truly epic. 

With all of that in mind, I have an EPIC MEGA SUPER goal for achieving the GM greatness I want to be remembered for. I want... now picture this... to build a whole planet of people and history and places and record it all digitally (remember, my hand writing blows) so that I will be UBER prepared for all of my future gaming sessions. Now what the fuck does that mean? To be honest, I have no idea... but that's why I am writing this down, to figure that shit out :) To give you an idea of what I am thinking about, let me tell you a little about the world I have had in my brain flesh for many many years. It's a place called Remus.

Remus you say...? I have heard of something or someone called Remus before. Well yes, I believe you have! The person they call Remus was man from the old story of where the city of Rome came from. Basically a dude named Romulus and Remus wanted to make a great city to show off how awesome they were. Unfortunately, neither brother could agree on who's version of the city they were going to create, so the brothers fought and Romulus killed his brother Remus. Thus the city that was created was called Rome. If you want to read more about the whole story, this is a good place to start.

Now my version of the story asks the question, what happened to Remus? Did he really just die? Is Romulus a dick for killing his brother? Are unicorns real? SPOILER ALERT!!!!! Remus doesn't exactly die. He somehow ends up on a different planet far far away and his story picks up from there. Since I really enjoy playing fantasy style games with dwarves and elves and magic and stuff, the world he ends up on is pretty much that, but with a twist. 

I can't take full credit for the whole Remus idea. A very old friend of mine who has sadly passed on had talked to me a tiny bit about how he was writing a fantasy novel based on the Remus idea. He was basically asking the same question, what happened to Remus after Romulus killed him? Well I never got to read any of his stories on that subject, but I always remembered that question he wanted to answer. So I borrowed his cool idea and I have taken it and made it my own over the years in my games. 

Because I am infinitely lazy and I have mental road blocks up about writing shit down, all of this stuff is just swimming around in my brain flesh (look at me pointing out again that I need to get shit out of my head and onto paper... WEEEE!). I've used the Remus idea in most of my fantasy based games, but they have always just been improv'd (AGAIN! IT'S IN MY HEAD!!!!!) But I do have some ideas on how to get things jump started so I can start laying the framework for this GIANT SIZED project that I'll probably never truly finish. I want to use all of the sweet little worldbuilding game mechanics and systems that I have read in all of the RPG blogs out there. Stuff like the West Marches Sandbox from Ars Ludi and How to make a Fantasy Sandbox from Bat in the Attic. I'll attempt to use their systems and many like it to piece the world together and then I can start filling it in with the stories I have in mind and hopefully answer the question of Remus and his origin. 

Friday, March 20, 2015

the rambling starts now

So I've been here before. I have started a blog or two (maybe more, who really knows) and they have all gone the way of the dodo. But I have always wanted to contribute to a blog and have it be something that I do for longer than a week... so here we go again! Why do I want to run a blog so bad? Fuck if I know... but here we are anyways. OK, I can actually answer that question honestly because I really do have a few reasons why I want to do this.

Why are you doing this thing to us??!??

  1. I want to learn how to direct this stream of consciousness into words... and preferably digital words because my handwriting sucks ass. I've never fancied myself as much of a writer and I think it would be swell if I could work on that. I think that when I am not trying to explain something complicated and I just write like I talk, then I do OK. I'm thinking that writing here will help me out with a little practice and hopefully remove some of the self proposed barriers that I have placed on myself. In light of that information, this blog may end up sounding like more of journal than anything else. Mind you, I don't intend to say anything here that would or might hurt the people that I care about... but I would like try to speak frankly about whatever is on my mind. We'll just have to see how that goes of course. 
  2. I thought it would be sweet if I could try to talk about some of my hobbies and projects. Perhaps I could timeline some of stuff I am working on so I can see its progress overtime and look back on my crap and laugh and laugh and laugh (and laugh). I tend to read a lot of cool role playing game blogs where the author will talk about how they drew a map and how they did it or how they came up with some dudes crazy back story or whatever. Yeah, I think that would be cool to do.
  3. I bought the domain name darthbutternutz.com many years ago and I didn't do a single fucking thing with it. I think using this little demonstration of cyber vanity should amount to something more than just $12 a year and broken dreams. As I am writing this, I am still waiting for Google Domains to pick up my domain from the previous registrar so this isn't even technical using my old domain name... Fuck it, no one is reading this thing anyways :)
  4. Never in a million years do I expect a single soul to even read this thing I am trying to create and I'm pretty much cool with that. Like I said, it's probably going to look a lot like a journal that's personal (but not super personal (I have warts on my dick! (just kidding, I don't(no seriously, I don't)))) so I suspect that if I actually log regular entries, that I'll have something super swell to look back on as I enter the next stages of my happy little life. 
Now I know that if I say "I am going to post something EVERY FUCKING DAY!!!!!" then it will never happen and I'll get all discouraged and butt hurt... and we don't really want that do we... So I'll just start writing whenever the mood takes me. I'm hoping that I can pull off at least once a week. In fact I know that I am about to start what I think is a very big project for my role playing game crap and I would like to document some of my decisions along the way.

Oh and I say fuck and god dammit sometimes. I think cursing is a beautiful thing and I don't believe in a higher power. Sorry if that bugs you. You've been warned.

OH SNAP! It's my mom's birthday!