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The Future Proof Podcast 004

Podcast episode

Melissa Avery-Weir  0:22  
Hello, and welcome to the Future Proof podcast. This is our monthly podcast where we chat about stuff we've been working on, and things we're going to be doing soon. I'm Melissa.

Gregory  0:34  
And I'm Gregory.

Melissa Avery-Weir  0:36  
And we have been doing a few fun things this past month. Yeah.

Gregory  0:40  
So I think last month, we talked about the Job Editor, stuff we were working on, where we're making an internal tool to create new jobs, or stories, quests, in Exploit: Zero Day, our social puzzle activism game,

and we ran into a few, uh, roadblocks. There were basically there's just a lot of interconnected bits on jobs. Yeah, like, there's jobs, and there's messages and jobs. And each message has some choices, and the choices lead to other things, etc. And it proved real complicated to do using Django, which is our back end web system. Mm hmm.  

Melissa Avery-Weir  1:21  
And I love Python. But Django's form stuff is infuriating. Yeah,

Gregory  1:41  
it's just it's kind of old school. Right? Right. And so we finally looked at everything, we're like, hey, it'll probably be faster to redo this in a front end framework. And, you know, there'll be the extra time of resetting everything up, but the actual implementation will be much faster. So we switched to using Ember--EmberJS, which is a... I don't know, it's barely even new at this point.

Melissa Avery-Weir  1:50  
It's sort of the is actually kind of, I mean, it's almost one of the first gen--

Gregory  1:54  
It's a well established, but yeah, not first gen. It's not like Knockout. It's better than Angular, in my opinion.

Melissa Avery-Weir  2:03  
It's contemporaneous with AngularJS.

Gregory  2:05  
It is yes.

Melissa Avery-Weir  2:06  
Which is bizarre.

Gregory  2:07  
But it's, it's cool. It lets you do easy display of data that comes back from the back end, we're able to use the Django rest framework, which is a very good library for just like throwing data out to a web browser. The browser itself is going to process so I think that was a successful switch.

Melissa Avery-Weir  2:27  

Gregory  2:28  
I think things are going much faster now.

Melissa Avery-Weir  2:29  
I think so. And it's doing this, which is like the second half-attempt of me doing anything in Ember is also helping me learn newer Angular, which I'm doing for the day job. Yeah, yeah, cuz they're all components. It's all very modern, proper JavaScript.

Gregory  2:46  
They've converged a bit yeah.

Melissa Avery-Weir  2:48  
So it's pretty fun.

We do however, get to pour one out.

Gregory  2:54  

Melissa Avery-Weir  2:55  
For our dead homie that is the trademark application. So we applied to trademark the majesty of colors, which is a recent game we released and we got like rejections. quasi rejections, like, not final action, you can appeal this, but like, Hey, we think it's gonna be confusing.

Gregory  3:17  
So we applied to trademark The Majesty of Colors, which is a recent game we released.

Melissa Avery-Weir  3:17  
And we got like rejections--quasi-rejections, like, not final action, you can't appeal this, but like, Hey, we think it's gonna be confusing.

I think we talked about it a couple of months ago.

Gregory  3:18  
And we sent a big thing on it and it got back that, "Okay, fine. We don't think there's going to be confusion anymore, but--"

Melissa Avery-Weir  3:28  
The picture that you sent like the specimen of it in commercial use was from the Flash version which is in browser.

Gregory  3:36  

Melissa Avery-Weir  3:37  
We classified the game as a downloadable game.

That sounds fine. Sounds like you would just give a different picture except that the game was released after we submitted the trademark application and you submit a different kind of trademark application if you have not put it in commercial use yet.

Gregory  3:55  
So we thought it was cool at the mark was in commercial use even though the category was different.

Melissa Avery-Weir  4:01  
Uh huh.

Gregory  4:02  
But it turns out that is not the case.

Melissa Avery-Weir  4:04  
Right. And any way to kind of patch that up would require more money

and so

after some some sad discussions, some ponderous thoughts... we decided to just cancel it. That it wasn't worth and putting more money into it now.

Gregory  4:23  
It was one of those sending good money after bad things. Like Majesty is not making enough for us to justify trademark protecting it. Right? Like if we spend all of our income on it on making sure that we get all the income on it. That doesn't doesn't exactly makes sense financially.

Melissa Avery-Weir  4:41  
Exactly. So

you can, I could have let the time run out, it would have like, sat for six months. But that seemed kind of uncool. Because that lawyer would have had like this thing sitting on her docket for like, five more months.

Gregory  4:53  
She seemed cool.

Melissa Avery-Weir  4:53  
She's seemed cool.

So I just went ahead and like, formally closed it, cancelled it. So yeah, now I get another deluge of obnoxious emails.

Gregory  5:05  
Hopefully, they'll stop now that they realize that it's over.

Melissa Avery-Weir  5:08  
I'm just marking spam at this point.

Gregory  5:10  
A lot of lawyers are keep hitting us up being like, we can give you legal advice on your trademark thing.

Melissa Avery-Weir  5:17  
We saw you got an Office Action? Would you like help that just for blankety blank amount.

Gregory  5:21  
It's like mildly tempting, at least understand why someone would answer one of those spam emails? Yeah, but we didn't let that slow us down too much. I speaking of the earlier--

Melissa Avery-Weir  5:34  
Oh, god.

Gregory  5:34  

Melissa Avery-Weir  5:35  

Gregory  5:37  
I worked on a big upgrade to kind of our infrastructure. Our deployment infrastructure. Where we had been using a

SASS framework?

Melissa Avery-Weir  5:50  
Compiler? Transpiler?

Gregory  5:54  
I mean, it's it's a combination SASS library, and also--

Melissa Avery-Weir  5:59  
Yeah, well.

Gregory  6:00  
For rendering--

Melissa Avery-Weir  6:01  
That's part of its problem.

Gregory  6:04  
It was a complicated thing, but hadn't been updated since 2014.

Melissa Avery-Weir  6:08  
Yeah. So like,

In kind of our monthly maintenance, we have a checklist that we do, we're like, oh, let's check the versions on various libraries were using and make sure things are fine. And I think there was a while where we were updating this tool. And then we finally just kind of got overloaded with other projects. And eventually, we came back and we were like, this thing hasn't updated in a long time. Yeah.

Gregory  6:31  
And so this is, this is what changes our, our SASS styles into CSS styles and colors and layouts of our of our web pages. And it was finally time where we went, hey, let's figure out how to take this out. And it wasn't too bad. Because one of the major reasons we had compass was for browser compatibility. Yep. And the approach to that has changed since then, over the last five, six years before it was since it was made. Yeah, Compass is older than four years. So we're now able to use autoprefixer, which is a standard way of making sure that all your appropriate browsers are supported with your styles, and all of our compilation and minification and so on is happening in grunt, which is a task runner. And so we're able to take Ruby out of the project entirely because we were running compass with Ruby. And so at one point on one project, we had Django, Ruby node,

multiple front end frameworks, but now it's all just one simple grunt, "grunt watch."

Melissa Avery-Weir  7:35  
And Ruby. So I haven't done serious Ruby development in literally eight years. Like, since, like, Rails was like, Rails 3, and I don't even know what number it's on now. But, um, the, it's like setting up an environment for Ruby. We were always on old-- around Ruby 1.x, whatever.

Gregory  7:57  
It's one of those that has, like, a cutting edge version.

Melissa Avery-Weir  8:01  
And it wants an environment manager, just like we use virtualenv for Python. So it's like, I don't care about rbenv. And is that even the thing anymore? Like, I don't know. So we would just have like, these environment problems when our hosting provider updated all their servers, where we were down for hours and hours and hours, like a long time, in part due to Ruby things being out of date or out of sync with what we had kind of been relying on.

Gregory  8:29  
Which is not really a hit against Ruby, per se. It's just that Ruby was the side thing we were using in addition to a bunch of other tech.

Melissa Avery-Weir  8:36  
It's totally our problem for like not keeping up on that. Yeah. Not like--

Gregory  8:42  
It was just too much for us to keep up.

Melissa Avery-Weir  8:43  
Yes, yes.

We had a lot of project going I just when we were running multiple projects at a time, as well as trying to do maintenance and stuff like that. So

it annoys me to have it have Compass there still. So every time I open one of these projects now, I'm like, when are we getting rid of Compass?

Gregory  9:00  
But everything has been stripped out.

Melissa Avery-Weir  9:02  

Gregory  9:02  
We have one unified way of doing all front end preparation and deployment.

Melissa Avery-Weir  9:09  

So which matches what we've been doing in our professional day job for the last--

Gregory  9:13  
Yeah, yeah, the standard way of doing things now.

Melissa Avery-Weir  9:17  
So Compass was good. Pour one out for it, too, I guess. Yeah, it served uss well.

And the the last big thing we've been working on has

been a one shot that we're going to be running at the end of this month.

Gregory  9:34  
For those of you who aren't into tabletop, or live action role playing game. Yes,

Melissa Avery-Weir  9:38  
It doesn't involve any guns.

Gregory  9:41  
It's like a campaign. It's a game of a role playing game that you run, but it's designed to be done in one session.

Melissa Avery-Weir  9:47  
Right. So anywhere from two to four hours

for like three or four people and a person that's your storyteller or Narrator. And then it's done. And you could ostensibly like take those characters and keep playing with them. But it's designed to be a complete story in that one session.

And so the kind of in vogue thing is to do this on Twitch.

Gregory  10:13  
Yeah, we're using it to promote Rosette Diceless, which is our consensus based role playing system.

Melissa Avery-Weir  10:19  
Mm hmm. And that is September 30 which is a Sunday I don't actually have the time of day which I should...

Gregory  10:28  
We should figure that out.

Melissa Avery-Weir  10:29  
Yeah, um, but

make sure to follow us on Twitter or Facebook. We will definitely be posting once we have like we know what channel it's going to be on

once we have a fixed schedule there'll be a blog posts and stuff like that so.

Gregory  10:46  
Yeah, this game is being done with Jim Ryan, our good friend who's also one of our play testers for Rosette. You can find out more about him at GM Yes, that GM calm

Melissa Avery-Weir  10:57  
And he is currently a regular streamer.

Gregory  11:01  
Oh, yeah.

Melissa Avery-Weir  11:01  
Of role playing games. So he's, he's cool. I'm really excited to do it. I'm nervous. I'm I'll be running it. So that's nerve wracking. And as we were thinking about like, what kind of what kind of plot do you want, right? Like what's the setting? How much do you want to to put in what's an appropriate like, capsule size thing for a one shot of Rosette? You want to show off the system without getting too bogged down in setting, you know. And so I went through a few ideas, some of them dealing with sort of fantasy settings, but I don't... I have a major aversion to just being like to putting something out there that seems like it's like, oh, The Lord of the Rings-ish type story.

Gregory  11:49  
Yeah. Like, like, that's not the strength of Rosette. The strength of Rosette is that it can handle systems and situations that other rules can't or aren't good at.

Melissa Avery-Weir  12:00  
Exactly. So after kind of bouncing around some ideas, we ended up sort of paring down to this

What was your term Southern-- 

Gregory  12:11  
Southern gothic horror with a creepypasta feel? 

Melissa Avery-Weir  12:14  
Yeah, that's, that's a really good, I like that. Um, so in 1971, the players go to a rural valley to find out why the various elite that are funding a perfectly charitable research project are dying, and they'll attend a genuine Southern picnic at a immaculately well kept former plantation house

where things will pretty quickly turn gruesome.

Gregory  12:46  
We were inspired in some ways, by the horrific situations like the Tuskegee syphilis experiment, and other cases were marginalized and disadvantaged people were taken advantage of.

Melissa Avery-Weir  13:01  
Yeah, in a way that that

where it certainly feels like... Well, I mean, justice was not served, right? And so there's a way to take a situation like that and say, Well, what if? 

Gregory  13:17  
Yeah, and we want to make sure to do it in a way where it's not

demonizing the victims, right? Like, it's very easy to do that sort of horror thing and end up with Oh, and then the people you hurt turned into monsters. That's not the right way to do that horror, because that ends up actually kind of playing into the hands of the othering of those people.

Melissa Avery-Weir  13:38  
Exactly. Yeah,

definitely not that.

Gregory  13:41  
And I guess our original inspiration was masque of the Red Death. Right? The Edgar Allen Poe story. Yeah.

Melissa Avery-Weir  13:48  
Which kind of led us down this path of,

you know, what was the plague in that story?

And what does that look like? So, to step back a little bit into sort of the mechanics of the thing in the Edgar Allan Poe story, the people end up separated, kind of individually attacked, and that doesn't really work as well in a role playing system like ours. Like,

it's the way that the collaboration and the improv stuff works. If you put each person in a silo and then kill them all, like, it just isn't.

Gregory  14:25  
Especially if it's set in a time when there wasn't like when they wouldn't have been on cell phones and Bluetooth headsets with each other.

Melissa Avery-Weir  14:29  
Exactly. So that didn't work like as a you know, it wasn't just a taken do a modern interpretation of that. So we had to--we kind of played around things of what's a, what's a setting with a sort of veneer of gentility and you know, I will forever be inspired by movies like "Get Out," I think, at this point in my life. 

Gregory  14:50  
Yeah, I'm sort of thinking of the mix between "Get Out" and the "Hidden Figures" picnic scene, though. Those picnic scenes are what stands out in my head as like

this, this sort of like social situation. Of course, those were those were black picnics.

Melissa Avery-Weir  15:11  

Gregory  15:11  
And this is decidedly I think, going to be white picnic, which is very different context. But But yeah, that playing around with the weirdness of Southern social mores. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  15:21  
Yeah. So as far as kind of like the technicalities of how we set this up, like I'm writing this as if I were going to do it at a table, except I'm pretty I'm premaking all the characters so I'm only gonna probably have three players in the game. And I'm probably gonna make four or five characters so they can pick and choose Yep. So folks can pick and choose

but I'll have, you know, most of the beats setup of the kind of the conflict design and we've we've posted some stuff for about conflict design, including one of my very overwritten

conflicts, probably?

Gregory  15:57  
I don't know that it was overwritten. I think that you prepare more than I do when it comes to preparing game sessions, and conflict and so on. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  16:04  
Yeah. So a mixture of notes, pregen'd characters, a little bit of stuff using the Roll20 tool that kind of have reference stuff up like how do you calculate your defenses on the fly and stuff like that? So I'll be doing a lot of that this weekend kind of like getting the final bits of that nailed down.

Gregory  16:22  
So cool looking forward to probably spectating maybe I'll end up being roped into being a player to see

Melissa Avery-Weir  16:30  
You might be in chat helping answer questions.

Gregory  16:33  
I'm happy to be an assistant GM.

Melissa Avery-Weir  16:37  
All right. Well, you can as usual find all of our stuff over at You can find us over on twitter at playfutureproof and on Facebook as Future Proof Games.

Gregory  16:49  
Hit us up in the comments if you've got any questions if you've got any suggestions for tech or for one shot ideas or if you want us to run a one shot on your streaming channel.

Melissa Avery-Weir  17:03  

Gregory  17:03  
We are happy to do so. We are we'd love to get grows at in front of as many as we can.

Melissa Avery-Weir  17:08  
Despite my nervousness at this doing this.

Gregory  17:11  

Melissa Avery-Weir  17:13  
Yes. Our theme music is Jupary by Broke for Free, which is available under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license.