Isqua Istari

The Wise Wizards

Civilizations, Barbarians, and City States

Posted in Articles by Toad Sunday September 17, 2017 at 21:19

Introduction

Ever played the Civilization series? Maybe Endless Legend? If not, these are both examples of what are often called “4X Games“: they’re turn-based strategy games focused on “exploration, expansion, exploitation, and extermination”. This sort of game can also be called an “empire building” game, and the general premise is that the player is an external guide for a people group of some description that usually fits with the modern idea of a nation. Typical examples of this game will be played on a more-or-less 2D map, feature some sort of development mechanic (usually in the form of one or more research trees designed to model scientific progress), and a unit-based movement mechanic that usually comprises both combat and exploration. Units can generally build cities and destroy cities and other units. Cities build more units, and can improve themselves and (by some mechanic or another) improve (“exploit”) the land around them. In these games, the player seeks victory through one or more forms of dominance: the classic victory condition is total military conquest, but over the years more options have been added, ranging from scientific victories (where the player’s nation is the first to achieve some developmental milestone) to diplomatic victories (where the player is essentially elected “king of the world”) and more.

Perhaps the most recognizable example of this sort of game is the Civilization series. Started by Sid Meier at Microprose back in 1991, the Civilization games have long set a standard of quality in the genre and are commonly emulated, cloned, and adapted. (more…)

GR:SO post-mortem

Posted in Articles,Music by Ziggy Friday May 12, 2017 at 06:05

Hey, Paul Spooner here, doing an animation post-mortem of the Good Robot: Space Opera AMV I made.

How it Began

The ground was laid for the project in mid-september 2013. Shamus Young had just started working on a 2d shmup game called Good Robot, and I was inspired to make a 3d model of the eponymous virtuous automaton. The model turned out pretty well, but besides a few renders I didn’t have anything to use it for.

A couple years later, it’s February 2016, and Good Robot is finally scheduled for release. I have the impulse to contribute to the marketing push by making some fanimation. (more…)

Parenting Philosophy

Posted in Articles by Ziggy Tuesday March 28, 2017 at 15:42

I have ranted before about raising children, but I figured I’d post this more concise crystalization.

First, Anna and I are both fundamentalist Bible-believing Christians, and that (hopefully) guides our aims and methods. So, you’re going to have to translate these to match your own principles.

Our core principle is “Children are people”
And then any principle which applies to people in general applies to them, especially:
“People can be trained in any ability which they can control.”
and
“People are responsible for any action or possession that they can control.”

On top of this is our belief that “Parents have ownership over their children”
which leads to two further principles:
“Parents are responsible for their children’s actions.”
and
“Children should obey their parents”

From these six principles, follows our principle of parenting and child-rearing:
“Parents can and should train their children both to obey, and to accept responsibility for any of the child’s actions or possessions that the child can control.”

Pondermull Campaign

Posted in Articles by Ziggy Wednesday March 22, 2017 at 16:16

Back in 2010-2011 I ran a D&D campaign. It was my first real attempt at “doing it right” and I feel like I learned a lot in the process. Most of those lessons you can find elsewhere, and I certainly didn’t innovate to any great degree, but as a means of closure (and since I intended to do so eventually) I’m going to chronicle as much as I can of what happened and why. I’m doing this without most of my notes, so many of the details are incomplete.

To start off, here’s:

The Grand Outline (more…)

Composite VTOL

Posted in Articles by Ziggy Saturday January 28, 2017 at 09:05

Our aerospace industry could be more efficient if we built airplanes in two pieces, a take-off tug that did launch assist for a long-range mission core. Details in this report: http://www.tryop.com/Innovation/CompositeVTOL.pdf

Or just read the text below (more…)

Planet by Oskar, Now with Saves and Keyboard Shortcuts

Posted in Articles,Other by Ziggy Sunday September 18, 2016 at 08:46

Oskar Stålberg wrote this lovely little piece of software which he titled his “Polygonal Planet Project”.

Unfortunately, it had no keyboard shortcuts or save/load functionality… so Dru hacked it in! It’s currently a single-file “quicksave” sort of functionality, but it seems to work in the cases we’ve tested. It makes the game much more enjoyable, we think! Currently saves are hard-coded to /path/to/Planet/planetsave.cfg.

F5: Save to File
F9: Load from File

(more…)

Principles of Animation

Posted in Articles by Ziggy Tuesday July 19, 2016 at 10:11

There are a classic set of “Twelve Principles of Animation” which some Disney guys came up with based on their experiences, and by all accounts they have held up fairly well. What I’d like to do here is explore the principles, draw out some patterns I’ve noticed, and then offer some guidelines of my own.

So, for reference, here’s the video that kicked off my drive to write this article. And here is the list of the 12 principles that he lists, and which I’ll be exploring: (more…)

The Bible and IP

Posted in Articles,Other by Ziggy Thursday June 9, 2016 at 09:26

I have already endeavored to examine (and dismantle) the logical foundations of the idea of Intellectual Property, but before this writing the religious justification or refutation has gone largely untouched.

For this study I will be sourcing exclusively from the KJV translation of the Bible, which you can download for free here. I will be referencing by book and chapter only, and will quote sparing context, as the full text is available and searchable.

But first, I feel it is healthy to address a few of the…

Common Scriptures Referenced in Relation to Intellectual Property

Exodus 20 is often quoted as evidence for the validity of IP. However, this argument presumes both that ideas are property and can be stolen. I would say that neither are true, but either way this passage does not enlighten us on the definition of theft. It does, however, bring up a much more interesting point which I will go into further on, as regards both dishonesty and covetousness. (more…)

Septacrypt Decoding

Posted in Articles by Ziggy Friday February 5, 2016 at 19:40
SeptacryptOverview

Two of four major sides of the Septacrypt visible here.

This is the Septacrypt. I designed it as a riddle and a message. What follows is a step-by-step guide to unraveling its intended meaning. But first, the…

Motivation

This project started several years ago, as I pondered the philosophical quandary in which the creators of Penny Arcade found themselves. I have been a fairly regular reader of both the comic and the news-post, and both their honesty and epistomological despair have often struck me. They both clearly have knowledge of the Scripture, but do not know the Power of God. I was not infrequently moved to attempt a communication, but never with such force as would spur me to action. Further dampening my desire was the knowledge that a great many other persons daily vie for their attention, and if I was not willing to make myself either obnoxious or exceptional, my attempts would surely be wasted to no lasting effect. (more…)

Bee Hive

Posted in Articles by Ziggy Sunday May 3, 2015 at 17:51

A couple years ago, my wife and I defeated a wasp nest. A year after buying our house, we discovered another wasp nest up under the attic vents. They can’t get into the attic itself, and they are pretty far from the doors, so I let them live. Anna was stung a few weeks ago, but it seems like an isolated incident. The wasps are on probation.

Today we had lunch outside. (more…)

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