The Imitable Process of Ryan Veeder

or, “How to Write the Way I Write, in Inform 7”

Good afternoon. It may be the case that you have a desire to learn about how I write my text adventure computer games. There are a lot of angles to this subject, and the one I’d like to focus on here is the stage right after all that horrible “coming up with an idea” and “figuring out the story” stuff—the corpus callosum between design and implementation, getting the world to a state where the player can at least walk around and look at stuff.

I’m going to assume a basic familiarity with the Inform 7 programming environment, but if you have no idea how I7 works, you may be able to glean that basic familiarity from this post. Plus you will get to see my terrible handwriting!!!

Okay, so! First I draw a map.

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Dungeons & Dragons: Roll20 Puzzles

When I act as Dungeon Master for my little D&D group, I’m always searching for puzzles to use in my campaign. I steal ideas shamelessly, as mandated by the DM Code, but my constant googling doesn’t always yield puzzle concepts I can use. I have very high standards. Plus, I play on Roll20.

Roll20 is great, obviously. If you want to play any tabletop RPG online, Roll20 has all you need. It is great. For a while, though, I thought Roll20 had no applications for puzzles whatsoever. After a while I changed my mind; I began to think that the only application it had was for jigsaw puzzles. The longer I used it, the more possibilities I saw. I feel a duty to share what I’ve done so far, so that other DMs can steal my ideas—also, I want to share what I’ve done so far, because I am proud of myself. Continue reading

The Death-Bug 💀

Tinkerbell cracked her knuckles, and the gruesome popping made me wince. Tinkerbell scoffed at me. She rolled her eyes.

“Ya gonna be a baby? Ya gonna be a baby? Ya gonna be a baby? Cripes. I’m goin’ without you.” She didn’t mean it, apparently: As she spoke, she bumped her hip into my knee. A tiny cloud of fairy dust flew from her wings and landed on my leg. I started to float.

“There’s six hunnid billion human beans on the planet Earth, I’m stuck with this one. Cripes. Six hunnid billion, sixty billion beans, I’m stuck with you. I wanna cry.” Tinkerbell dragged her hands down against her face, mimicking falling tears, pulling grotesquely at her eyelids.

She grabbed my hand and pulled me away from the bench, flapping her sugary wings into a haze, glittering gold under the park lamps. Then we were above the lamps—I could see the whole park—the whole city.

We were so high up my teeth were chattering. “That one. That there. See?” She was pointing into the maze of streets; I couldn’t tell where. “You go in there. Walk in. There’s a guy. You tell him. Say that, say, you wanna see the Death-Bug. You gotta be less of a pansy-pamby though. Act like a real man.”

Tinkerbell flew up into my face and slapped me in the eyeball.

“What, ya gonna cry? Ya gonna cry? Ya gonna cry? Cripes. Ya gonna cry? Whatta pansy,” she groaned, as I rubbed my face.

I probably did cry, a little, as Tinkerbell dragged me down from the sky and onto Westing Street. I was still massaging my eye when she stopped leading me by the hand and flew up to whisper in my ear.

“That’s the guy. Shut up! He don’t see us yet. Shut up! Just tell him, just say, you wanna see the Death-Bug. Be cool about it, kay? Try to be—just—don’t let him—”

Giving up on that sentence, she flew down to my back pocket, and I cringed as she squirmed her way in. Then I felt her elbow me in the buttock, which I assumed was my signal to get a move on.

I approached the figure Tink had indicated, a dark man in a dark suit, standing outside a windowless building. The three nearest streetlights were all dead—I doubted this was a coincidence. I moved in close before I spoke, and hoped that my theatrical glances up and down the street indicated that I valued secrecy as much as he did.

“Hey. I’m here to see the…”

How long should I pause? Am I pausing for too long?

“…The Death-Bug.”

The man’s eyes glittered, and I knew that even in this light he could see my whole face, my falseness, my anxiety, and the tiny red handprint on my right eye.

He snorted. “Tell ‘er Vick said nice try,” he muttered, and then he punched me in the stomach. There was enough fairy dust left on me that I flew all the way across the street, in slow motion, like a crash test dummy.

“Cripes, whatta idiot, cripes, cripes. Cripes, cripes, cripes…” Tinkerbell’s shrieking filled my ears and then faded away as she pulled herself out of my pocket, flew into the air, and disappeared among the stars. Then my head hit the curb; then I blacked out.

 🌙

Westerado: Double Barreled: Additional Title

I was lucky enough to get in on an advance version of Westerado: Double Barreled, a remake by Ostrich Banditos of their Adult Swim browser game Westerado. I wrote all about Westerado a while back, and I have plenty to say about the differences between the remake and the original—and what the differences mean to me as a game designer, and what they mean to me in terms of game genre theory—but let’s get the most superficial facts out of the way and work from there.

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My Wii Fit Trainer amiibo mod

Addendum, 3 September 2015: I did this project with a Wii Fit Trainer from the first amiibo run. I am led to understand that the reprints are better-constructed, and in particular the foot and the cast are glued much more securely to the stand. People who have executed this mod with the reprints have had to “club it straight off and mighty glue it,” albeit with gorgeous results. It’s still very much possible to execute this mod with your newer WFT amiibo, but you probably won’t have as easy a time as I did.
conceptThis is what the Wii Fit Trainer amiibo was supposed to look like.

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Labyrinth Doesn’t Make Any Dang Sense

Labyrinth is a movie for girls with hardly any female characters. That’s not the part that doesn’t make any dang sense; actually, the film uses this setup fairly effectively. The part that doesn’t make sense is the central conflict: Sarah Williams endures dangers untold and hardships unnumbered to rescue her baby brother Toby, whom she hates. Exactly how much sense this doesn’t make will be made clear at great length in this essay. First, let’s examine my claim that Labyrinth is a movie for girls:

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Roman License Plates

Panchero's Again, Naturally

The Best License Plate?

The singularity of this license plate was almost lost on me. I noticed it as I was pulling out of my parking space, and I thought: “Hey, ‘Civ 104’, like the 104th entry in the Civilization series! Boy, it’ll be a long time before they get to that one. Kind of like that other hypothetical Civ game, the one they’ll call ‘Civ CIV’, because it’ll be the one where the number of the game is ‘CIV’ in Roman numerals…” Continue reading

The Tree Shaped Like A Monster

CHAPTER ONE

Heather and Nicole were in love. They sat under the tree shaped like a monster and spoke about the things of love. They got out a knife. They tried to cut their initials into the bark of the tree, but blood came out of the wood.

CHAPTER TWO

Then in Fall when they raked up the leaves that fell off the tree they found Heather and Nancy’s skeletons under the leaves.

The End

The Dark vs. Ghost Question: A Rope of Sand

This was a post on Google+, but it ended up being so long that I’ve convinced myself it belongs here too. It is an analysis of Pokémon types.

I was wondering what the philosophical distinction between Ghost and Dark Pokémon was, and my friend Zach said that Dark is evil, while Ghosts are dead. This sounded good at first, but as we thought about it it seemed overly simplistic. For one thing, it’s not totally clear that Ghost Pokémon are straight-up dead Pokémon. Maybe the better word for Ghost Pokémon is “spooky”?

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An Interesting Choice in EarthBound

NOTE: I played a little further in EarthBound and I realized that this post only makes like 45% sense. Maybe I should revise it? Hmm.

I’ve been replaying EarthBound on the Wii U Virtual Console and thinking a lot about the decisions involved in constructing its narrative. A particular choice caught my attention, and I am going to analyze it here, but since it involves spoilers from the tail end of the game, and because I have a feeling you might not care about EarthBound at all, I will place my analysis on the other side of a break thingy.

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