Tuesday, May 31, 2011

And away we go...!

It took me longer than I intended, but I have transferred over all my posts and comments here to their new home on Wordpress.

The new address for my blog is: http://zombie4hire.wordpress.com

Henceforth, new posts will appear there (and only there).

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Excuse me while I get out the boxes

So, last week, Blogger had a whole mess of problems that resulted in them rolling back all blogspot blogs to an earlier state. Long story short, I lost a post I was happy with and haven't posted in the last week in the hopes that they would be able to restore it.

No dice.

I've commented in all the help forums, filled out all their forms and have gotten zero response. So, I'm done waiting.

While I've been waiting for this situation to settle out, I've been checking out Wordpress. Quite frankly, I like their system for creating, editing, and managing a blog much more than what is available through Blogger. I've decided this whole fiasco gives me the perfect impetus to jump ship.

There will be about another week or so of low/no posting on the blog while I transfer everything over to a new home on Wordpress. I'd post the address here, but I'm currently considering purchasing a domain name just to make finding the blog all the easier, so I can't say for sure right now whether the new blog will be at zombie4hire.wordpress.com or zombie-4-hire.com . Once I have everything set up and ready (next week sometime). I'll post the link in a new post.

See you then!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Well, that sucked... sucks.

As some of you are no doubt aware, Blogger had some problems after routine maintenance on Wednesday. This resulted in all Blogger users being locked out of all their tools for the better part of 24 hours. They started restoring everything early this morning. Obviously, I am once again able to post and edit my blog.

Unfortunately, they restored to the status of Blogger as of 7:37am PDT on Weds, 5/11. Which means I've lost an entire post that I was really happy with, not to mention some cosmetic edits on some other posts. They have said that they'll be restoring the posts that were removed, but I'm going to hold off on making any changes or new posts until I know whether I'm getting those lost changes back.

Honestly, I'm seriously thinking about switching over to a different host. This is ridiculous.

Monday, May 9, 2011

To Infinity...Or Maybe Not!

I've found that what I want to write about is predicated heavily by random confluences of events. I'll have some thought come at me or present itself in multiple ways during a short period of time. It'll get into my head and I'll be compelled to write a post about it. For instance, most of my posts about theatre can be traced back to an experience with a couple clueless theatre patrons and a conversation about a week later with a few other theatrical technicians.

Recently, I've come across space travel a few times. The Doctor Who season premiere featured the Moon Landing in a particularly awesome and inspiring (to me, at least) way. Xkcd had a comic graphing the declining population of otherworldly travelers. And as I was idly re-watching old videos on The Escapist, I came across an episode of The Big Picture where Movie Bob laments the death of the space shuttle and the apparent death of caring about going into space.

All this got me thinking, how do we go from this:
"Do you know how many people are watching this live on the telly? Half a billion. And that's nothing, because the human race will spread out among the stars—you just watch them fly. Billions and billions of them, for billions and billions of years. And every single one of them at some point in their lives will look back at this man taking that very first step and they will never ever forget it."
-The Doctor, about the Moon Landing, Day of the Moon
To this:
"The universe is probably littered with the one-planet graves of cultures which made the sensible economic decision that there's no good reason to go into space--each discovered, studied, and remembered by the ones who made the irrational decision."
-XKCD alt text, May 2, 2011

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Player Agency & Pacing

Today I'll be returning to the well of Player Agency. This week, instead of tracing an issue across the Agency Scale, I'd like to spend some time dissecting one of the hardest parts of running a game where Player Agency is important: Pacing.

While pacing can be a problem even in the most railroaded games, the problem compounds itself when the shape of the plot is largely out of the GM's hands. Even if a GM has filled in enough detail and concepts into a world and is nimble enough on their storytelling feet to fill in anything that he hasn't thought of such that the players can move through it however they want, it's a simple fact that all elements of a campaign are not going to be equally interesting.

Monday, May 2, 2011

How Much is a Free Lunch?

I've been playing the game TowerMadness pretty much since I got an iPod touch, or around the beginning of 2010. The object of the game is to use various weapons towers to stop waves of invading aliens from stealing your sheep (they want their wool for scarves).

Originally, it was supported by ads, with the option of buying an ad-free version for a dollar or two. Before too long, alongside one of their periodic updates and releases of new levels, they began offering extra level packs for a buck apiece. Not something I personally felt like paying for, but I wasn't about to begrudge Limbic Software every chance to make a profit off of their (very fun) game.

Limbic still puts out periodic updates with new free maps as well as offering more level packs. They also offer special weapons for the same prices ($0.99 each). Two of them, flash bait and mines offer different strategies and options. Like the level packs, I find them interesting, but not worth paying for.

The other weapon is the flamethrower. I don't like the flamethrower.

The question I find myself asking now is whether I really have a right to not like the flamethrower.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Lighting Design Simplified: Reading the Script

So, last week, I started my epic depiction of a lighting designer's process with a basic introduction of the goals that a good lighting design should satisfy. Now we're going to start in with how I proceed from Point A - the script - and end up at Point B - the finished lighting design.

And I would like to stress that this is how *I* proceed...usually. Every production is different and every designer is different. Other designers may go about this process differently, sometimes very differently. I go about it differently on some shows. This is not intended as an ironclad list of steps that I believe must be followed, but as an introduction to the craft intended for those who have little or no idea of how it's done.

As I said in the introduction, I'll be using a production of An Enemy of the People (by Henrik Ibsen, as adapted by Arthur Miller) that I recently worked on as an example. Reading the play isn't necessary; I'll be filling in necessary details as I go. So let's go.