Tuesday, April 30, 2013

[Valanas] What a month...


This past week has been very exciting, insanely aggravating, and for the most part productive. Spring weather here in Indiana has finally arrived, rain and sunshine bundled up all into one.

That means work finally picks up and much fun is to be had. In that time, I have had a chance to play around with +RPTools (Now with more Java!), the Mumble voice client and server, and my efforts in putting together an exclusive Valanas Community (Exclusive to those who enjoy a bit of Fantasy with their Legendary Heroics).

Time to brush up on my Macro Knowledge,
We have some fun Valanas Tokens to make!

At the beginning of April, RPTools provided a patch that brings the client up to date to the current Java build. The current collection of developers have been hard at work trying to put something together for all to use. Given that this has been mostly a project of like-minded individuals for the sake of fun, I have been very impressed with their dedication and motivation to keep the project alive.

There have been a number of original devs that have stepped back to make the software the way it is today. This hasn't been without sacrifice as well, and with the fact the devs are trying to keep it up to par with their own standards, and making sure that only those they deem worthy to join in the epic wall painting that is RPTools. Kudos to them, and thanks to that I can at least now can continue, to a degree, building the framework for Valanas.

Seems it may be time to start brushing up on my digital art skills!

Best sound quality we have found so far,
Open Source, and easy Server setup!

Now in the play testing, we have found that getting everyone on the same page in a verbal manner has been pretty rough. Google voice works wonders for quick setup, though as we all quickly found out those who have to run in Linux are left with a rather poorly supported "Auto Soundboost" that causes intermittent wave/tornado sounds when one of the two of us goes silent for a short period of time.

Skype is Skype, and although it does have some good options, it has caused a number of glitch problems on my XUbuntu, poor connection problems, and a bit of a limit on customization. Toss in the fact that if anything happens to the software outside of these existing problems, having to find a solution is near impossible since it is proprietary.

Enter Mumble. There is a fun little Mumble app for my phone, one for my friends Tablet PC, and any number of options for those interested to hop on. It uses Qt, a coding base that has enabled many people to program software for multiple platforms, and has a very friendly sound codex. Despite our sound problems with the earlier software, we have found Mumble to be very high quality with very easy setup.

We have only set it up with about 5 of our 7 man-army, and so far it has provided some very nice and smooth communication, running from my home PC. Only time will tell how much my limited bandwidth will be able to support down the road.

The ValanasWiki

Finally, I have been hard at work exploring the benefits of using Google Sites. Although Google Voice has failed a good chunk of those involved, I was very pleased with the amount of customization that I was able to get out of the domain bundle that I had received from Google for the use with this Blog and various elements as they all relate to my creative outlet.

Back some 7 years ago, I do not recall having as many options and down to the scripting customization that the site provides. Even in recent times as I fiddled with a lot of their extra perks, I have been able to put together a collaborative Wiki that combines the limited administrative rights from their site with Google Docs collaboration in order to provide a Tiered contribution environment.

The site right now is mostly in draft, and mostly is just a matter of copy and pasting a lot of it from the current running document into a easy to navigate knowledge-base. In due time, I hope to have a community using GoogleDocs, Google+ Communities, and Google Sites to host HeroLab files and custom character sheets put together for the benefit of those interested in helping build something great.

Right now, only about 7 people strong, the Valanas play test and eventual full fledged World Setting is shaping up to be one of my favorite things to have shared with the world, and it is truly my hope that others will feel the same way my investment and the passion of those in the world share their experiences.

Special Thanks

In conclusion, it seems that a lot of the ideas that I had set up not even a couple of months earlier are finally coming together. Thanks +B. A. McCray for you continued motivation and support in keeping the project moving forward, to +Natalia Williams for her initial challenged and inspiration to put the world together and helping it to become the wonderful world that it is today, and to all of the players of the current Valanas play test for their continued feedback and friendly attitudes. This whole development wouldn't be the same without everyone.

Now as we continue to move forward, I am hoping to see where my current players take the world and take their input to help make the world their own. It is with this continued development and research that I'll be able to establish a living world in the Mutants and Masterminds gaming system.