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Chris Warren
Works at Williams College
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Chris Warren

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Recently read Seveneves by Neal Stephenson. Sadly, didn't like it: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1316451859
In a word, disappointing. I do like the concept of the story, but I find the execution... lacking. I enjoy and recommend to others pretty much everything Stephenson has writt...
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Jay Sachs's profile photoJonathan Butler's profile photoChris Warren's profile photo
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+Jay Sachs Your mileage may, of course, vary tremendously. It clearly appeals to many people, given that it has 4/5 stars on goodreads (and is actually doing slightly better than Snowcrash on that system).
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Chris Warren

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This game is very cool (and written by a friend of mine)
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Chris Warren

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A sample output of an island generator I made:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/plussed/7168129937

Map created by a (very simple) simulated volcanic uplift, from the elevations it calculates watersheds, then simulated weather passes determine rainfall and rivers, and that combined with wind exposure, sun exposure, and temperature determines the biomes. Water is fresh (inland), brackish (largely enclosed but with a narrow outlet), or salt (the main surrounding waters). Heavy current zones are determined by narrow gaps between land areas.
island generation is essentially done at this point - next is building the game part (which will be a while...)
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Chris Warren's profile photoTroy Warrington's profile photoOlaf Meys's profile photoGary Meyer's profile photo
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Well, having played with it for a couple of days, my only comment is: THANK YOU! I just hope that this can be taken further, to be able to make world-maps, and perhaps be a little more configurable to allow choosing some features.
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Chris Warren
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gatherings  - 
 
What: various people playing various board/card/tabletop games
When & Where: Wed, Oct 2 at 8:15-closing time in the Parlor Cafe in North Adams
http://theparlorcafe.com/  303 Ashland St. North Adams, MA 01247  in addition to coffee/tea/etc. they have beer, wine, and mead
Who: you, and/or anyone to whom you pass along this invitation - please share this with friends / co-workers who might be interested

An RSVP would be cool just so I know roughly how many people to expect, but it's by no means necessary - feel free just to show up and join in the fun.
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Thanks for organizing this, Chris.
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Chris Warren

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Anyone know of any good android apps for phone white-listing?
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Chris Warren

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Intriguing post looking at MB personality types with respect to certain types of thinking about the future (in the realm of societal change driven by decreasing energy/resource availability): http://physics.ucsd.edu/do-the-math/2015/04/programmed-to-ignore/
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I think the question is, "How do we recruit some extroverts?"
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Chris Warren

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One of the things I find especially challenging is pushing things from the world inside my mind to the world outside (the so-called 'real world'). I grapple with understanding the factors that affect the difficulty of enacting that transition (I'm guessing most people are always dealing with that one way or another, if not always so explicitly). The, for want of a better word, size of something is sometimes an issue, but at other times seems to be irrelevant. In some instances it feels easy to build, enact, enable, do for long duration and at large scale to make whatever is in my mind exist outside of it. In other cases simply writing or speaking even a single sentence is insurmountable, and not due to any particular content of the sentence - it's just that the energy, or whatever, required to breach reality's barrier is beyond what I can achieve.

One of the reasons that I like working with / on computers is that (for me) at times they make that process at least a bit easier, though certainly not always nor for everything. I also find talking and working with people can be similar for me in this respect - in addition to new insights, viewpoints, skills, load-sharing, etc. that other people bring, the active presence of and interaction with other people makes it easier for me to make things 'real'. The word 'real' is in quotes there because it's not quite the word I want, but I can't find any closer one. Whatever-it-is is already real in my mind. All that making it 'really real' does is allow others (people or things, sentient or otherwise) to experience/use/understand/interact-with it as well. 

There are many directions this sort of thinking can go: communication is/as action/creation and vice versa, the observer-influenced/determined nature of reality, the limits and conditions of transitions, the relation between stories and art and math, energy gradients and tunneling, memes and the noosphere, mind-body duality as a limited view on a line that goes further in both directions, the characteristics and 'cardinalities' of multiverses, and so on ...but hauling more of it out and/or in any kind of detail is more than I can do right now). My questions / discussion points for the moment are: why is it sometimes so easy and sometimes so hard, and what can I (or, more to the point, anyone) do change/control that?
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I think that one's imagination is one factor.  We can imagine what is "real", but until it is discussed with others or becomes closer to reality by actions it isn't "real".  As one does activities (including discussion with others) it becomes more "real".  It is part of why Lew and I find decisions difficult...our imaginations are too vivid.
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Removed google glass from my circles because there's no way to disable the flashing video preview. 
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gatherings  - 
 
Play Time number 2 is scheduled for Tuesday November 12, also at the Parlor Cafe in North Adams. Hope to see you there!
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Chris Warren
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session reports  - 
 
We had a great time for our first meeting at the Parlor cafe. Seven people showed up to play: me, +Osirus Brisbane , +Jay Sachs , +Hank Zill , +Russell Leggett , +Debbie Baker , and someone I knew from work. We had two tables going and switched things up a bit after the first part of the evening. We played Dominion, Rumis, Innovation, NIMBY (an NBGG game), Chicago Express, and Bluff (another NBGG game). 

Towards the end of the evening a whole bunch of MCLA students showed up to hang out in the cafe and when they learned what we were doing they expressed a lot of interest in joining us next time. With luck the next NBGG Play Time will have quite a crowd.

The Parlor Cafe was a delightful place to do this event.
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I had a blast! Great to meet all of you!
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Chris Warren

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I got a chance to play a bit in the Diablo 3 open beta this weekend. It was interesting and fairly fun, but I'm still on the fence about whether I'll actually buy it. On the plus side, it is beautiful (in a creepy, zombie-ridden kind of way), it has a good story, the visual and audio effects are great, and collecting stuff is fun.

On the minus side.... I'm finding it a little harder to articulate. One big, obvious issue is the connection-always-on requirement. That made things a bit laggy, limits other use of our net connections while I'm playing, and generally has too many dependencies on external factors (e.g. there was a nasty storm for a while in the time I was playing - had I purchased the game it would be extremely frustrating not to be able to play a single-player game if my net connection went down).

On the strategic game design side of things, in many ways it boils down to things feeling too streamlined and limited - essentially issues of lacking meaningful choice. Aside from gear, every character of a given class and level is identical to all other characters of that class and level. While this does prevent 'bad builds', it also removes the fun of figuring out what the good and bad builds are and why. While characters do end up with different gear, that's often more a matter of 'what did I find' rather than 'what path did I decide to take'. I think Magic: the Gathering is actually a good analogy in many ways. Playing Diablo 3 felt like buying a set of pre-built magic decks - there is choice in which deck you play, differentiation in capability when the deck is shuffled, and there is definite skill, interest, and fun in playing a given deck as well as possible. However, for many of us who played Magic the process of designing and building a deck was often as much or more fun than actually playing it. Diablo 3 does not feel like it offers that kind of experience - each class is a pre-built deck.

At the tactical design level a player can certainly choose different builds to play, but because a build is so ephemeral the choice feels less meaningful. Access to new abilities/skills is also purely level dependent, so only the really high level characters have full access to what build customizeability there is. In many ways this inverts the build experience of Diablo 2. In that game builds diverged immediately, with the first few skill points, but at high levels additional skill points had a small marginal effect. In Diablo 3 the initial path of a class is very restricted, but at the game goes on the available customizations increase, and a single new level can open a wide range of potential builds. I can see the appeal of this in theory, but in practice it makes much of the early level play feel like a grind which must be endured to get to the 'real' game.

For the actual play experience it felt like everything just happened a bit slower than I'd expected - perhaps that was my machine or net connection, or perhaps it was part of the design (slower low levels allows more 'room at the top' for items and abilities that speed things up). I felt like I was doing more clicking than for previous versions of the game, though that may reflect on my memory more than the game. However, I did find that picking up items was a pain - it required a very precise click on a small target. Automatic gold pickup was nice. An analagous (not identical) system for items would have been good. Making town portals an innate ability was a good choice. The default zoom level was pretty good, but I would have liked to be able to adjust it a bit - the simple zoom-in level was neat for seeing the design in detail, but too close for actual play. I also wish I could zoom and/or drag the mini-map (perhaps that was possible and I just didn't figure out how).

From a fun-factor perspective, there were ups and downs. On the up side, the secondary character (minion) and tertiary character (town-based crafter) were well done. They offered real choices, useful effects, good flavor, and had satisfying sub-goals. Also, killing monsters and getting treasure is still fun :) On the down side, the process of swapping between skill was a huge pain in the butt and really took away from my enjoyment of the game. One of the things I had a lot of fun with in Diablo 2 was adapting my use of skills / abilities to the tactical situation. Diablo 3 effectively forces skill / ability selection to be strategic. I certainly don't have a problem if other people want to play the game that way, but for me it's a lot less fun. It feels like a really arbitrary game design decision to have removed that whole possiblity of tactical skill choice play space, and even to have severely limited the super-tactical/sub-strategic space (i.e. not changing up skills in the middle of a combat, but easily being able to switch skills around between combats). Also, I found the primacy of the DPS stat of the weapons to be off-putting - it really pushed me towards thinking of the game in very math-y, spreadsheet-y terms (I actually like math, and even spreadsheets, but I'm not looking for either in a dungeon-crawling game).

In the end, I think it's still a good game, but it's not wholly the game I was hoping it would be. Buying Diablo 2 was a no-brainer, and I got many, many enjoyable hours of play out of it. Diablo 3....? I'm not so sure. I'm finding myself asking if that's actually the most fun I would get out of $60, and considering what other things I might do with my time that would be more fun than playing Diablo 3.

#diablo3beta #diablo3
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Matthew Rust's profile photo
 
Wow, very nice post! I agree, I wish it was a little less streamlined, but that seems to be the direction games are going in unfortunately. I still had plenty of fun playing it though and will probably spend my time playing though it on multiple occasions.
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In his circles
250 people
Have him in circles
199 people
Monique LeBlanc's profile photo
Mike Dye's profile photo
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Shay Foley's profile photo
Chris Warren's profile photo
Street Lamp's profile photo
Brian Hoffman's profile photo
Jay Sachs's profile photo
stephen o'grady's profile photo
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Software development (web, desktop, mobile, DB, etc.)
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  • Williams College
    present
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gardener, potter, builder, biker, gamer, baker, coder
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