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The Future Proof Podcast 024

Podcast episode

Gregory Avery-Weir  0:21  
Hello, and welcome to the Future Proof Podcast. This is our monthly podcast where we talk about what we've been working on and any cool stuff that we've been planning. I'm Gregory Avery-Weir.

Melissa Avery-Weir  0:32  
And I'm Melissa Avery-Weir.

Melissa Avery-Weir  0:34  
We've had a busy couple months since our last episode!

Gregory Avery-Weir  0:38  
Yeah, we've, we've been working away on the supplement for Rosette Diceless. That's the second anniversary celebration, although at this point, it's going to be, you know, a little a little later than then the anniversary, but that's fine. I've, I've been spending a bunch of time moving my home.

Melissa Avery-Weir  0:55  

Gregory Avery-Weir  0:56  
I'm switching apartments. And just generally I think this is, this is a time at which the whole human race and in particular places like the US, we're just, you know, not as productive as we sometimes are. But we're making progress. I just edited a very good article by Melissa on spotlighting characters. And we have cool character sheets that that I did.

Melissa Avery-Weir  1:27  
The character sheets are amazing. I'm in love with them. Absolutely. I'm ready to play with them. Like immediately,

Gregory Avery-Weir  1:33  
We put a coat of polish on our one page character sheet and then added a new two page character sheet that has some extra spacer stuff. And then some of the some spots for some extra features that are highlighted in the supplemental book.

Melissa Avery-Weir  1:50  

Gregory Avery-Weir  1:51  
So we want to get that out soon! There's very little writing left, mostly just layout, images, getting it prepped for for going up on various publishers or storefronts or distributors or whatever you want to call them.

Melissa Avery-Weir  2:08  
Right. Yep. And since this is going to have a print version, we do have to, you know, send off for proofs and make sure that it looks okay in its printed form. So we don't have, you know, a date to give, even though we're pretty close to, to feature complete on it. If it were just digital, then we could, we could say, you know, this plus two weeks, but we're not sure what that shipping time will look like or whether we want to stagger the release or anything like that. We have we have questions and stuff to figure out. So.

Gregory Avery-Weir  2:39  
That's probably something we should talk about at some point soon.

Melissa Avery-Weir  2:41  
Yeah, definitely.

Gregory Avery-Weir  2:42  
We'll figure it out. Don't worry.

Melissa Avery-Weir  2:44  

Gregory Avery-Weir  2:46  
We've, we've also dealt with some... the word "shenanigans" appears twice in our podcast outline.

Melissa Avery-Weir  2:53  
For sure.

Gregory Avery-Weir  2:54  
For forgetting our pod-- just some of the logistics of our podcast.

Melissa Avery-Weir  2:59  
Yes, this is super weird. So we have--this podcast is available on Google Music. Which, if you are one of the five people who uses Google Music, you know it's going away.

Gregory Avery-Weir  3:11  
It's me.

Melissa Avery-Weir  3:12  
Yeah, me too, for a while. What we did not anticipate is that the podcast part of Google Music is being sunset as well. So Google was like, "Hey, click this link. We'll transfer your podcast to the new podcast manager." Insert more acronyms and stuff that all sound exactly the same. We did so and it didn't work. It's not indexing our podcast. So unfortunately, right now, if you try to find our podcast on Google, or whatever Google related podcast app exists now, you won't find this podcast. So this has been like over a month of like, emailing support back and forth to try and get our measly little podcast to show up. And it's not yet.

Gregory Avery-Weir  3:51  
It works on all the other services.

Melissa Avery-Weir  3:53  
It does. And it has involved like, tweaks to the feed, I'm posting on Reddit, like just all sorts of things. And it's like one of the kind of core places to have your podcast show up these days, just because it makes it show up nice in Google search results and, and everything else. So wish me luck. And if anyone has any contacts with Google that I can just be like, "Tap, tap, hey, just index our damn podcast, please," send them my way. So in other operational sort of meta issues, we're dealing with another change of service with regards to Twilio.

Gregory Avery-Weir  4:27  
Yeah, this is this is our second "shenanigans" entry. And this is this is going to be a little technical, so feel free to skip forward if you're not interested in like, hardcore, like DevOps stuff. But we have a service that we use to keep track of what our--what sites are up and like if there's anything erroring out. So like, you know, we've got this, we've got, and, and and all this stuff and some internal stuff.

Gregory Avery-Weir  4:54  
And we've been using an app called Cabot which is an app that runs on Django, and I really like living a lot in the Django/Python ecosystem. But it does mean that there are a lot of projects that people create and work on for a while, and then kind of aren't maintaining. It's sort of like the node ecosystem if there was less long term maintenance. So Cabot is just one of those. It's a great app, it was put together by a company for their internal use, and they published it, and they just kind of haven't been maintaining it as much.

Gregory Avery-Weir  5:30  
And meanwhile, Twilio, which is a service, which lets you kind of have computers make phone calls and text messages, is what Cabot was using to call us if a site went down. So like, if, if Exploit: Zero Day goes down, Twilio would send us a call and be like, "Hey, you need check this out." Unfortunately, Twilio is making a good change to the way that they authenticate their their service--like it's probably more secure than the way they were doing it before. But Cabot doesn't support it anymore. and Cabot you know, is getting very few updates. And so we're kind of like, "Oh, boy, what do we do?"

Gregory Avery-Weir  6:11  
And so we've moved our, like our emergency notifications, the stuff that we want to get phone calls and text messages on over to Uptime Robot, which is a real cool site that Melissa has been using for years to manage their sites. And we've used it with FPG in the past. All well and good. But for some reason, Uptime Robot thinks that like three of our sites are down and have been for days, and they're fine. They are just fine. We've checked carefully. And it's you know, it's like our website. And like, this is no good. Like we need to, we need to have good information about this, we need to know that we can trust our alerts.

Melissa Avery-Weir  6:55  
And I'll interject that getting phone calls costs money. Regardless of which service we use, phone calls specifically cost money. So we want to move we want to have another service where we can trust that if it calls us, it's really down. In fact, we often will set delays that are like, let the site be down for at least five minutes in cases there's like a momentary blip within our database server or something. Just like it has to be down long enough to be worth the 10 cents it costs to call us. And so for it to be down for days, and it wants to call us over nothing is unacceptable.

Gregory Avery-Weir  7:29  
And it's, it's weird, because like there's sites on the same literally the same server that Uptime Robot is perfectly fine with. Our best theory at the moment is that the way that Dreamhost's mod_security is set up, it's blocking Uptime Robot because it thinks it's calling us too much or check it so much.

Melissa Avery-Weir  7:52  
 Only from, only from certain locations.

Gregory Avery-Weir  7:54  

Melissa Avery-Weir  7:55  
Yeah. So.

Gregory Avery-Weir  7:56  
So we're, we've put in support with various people, we're figuring it out. But it's one of those things, I don't know, it's it's a "you get what you pay for" thing, right? These services are very affordable. And if we paid more, we'd get like dedicated hosting, or we could manage our own mod_security settings and so on. But, but for our current budget, this is just sort of the sort of problem we have to deal with. But it does mean that there's sort of this nagging thing, I think, at the back of our heads of like, we don't quite know, for sure that everything's okay with our sites.

Melissa Avery-Weir  8:31  
Right. And so the alternative to switching services was to rewrite the code that connects to Twilio for the phone roles ourselves. So we could have like, taken that module out, rewritten it to use the new authentication scheme, we were like, no, that's like, that's a few hours of work is, which is not a lot, but also, we could just switch the service that I'm already paying for.

Melissa Avery-Weir  8:55  
...And here we are. So we, you know, we might backtrack on that, depending on, on how all these support emails go. Everyone's been cooperative and helping sort things out. It's just kind of shenanigans that I've been using this service for many years. And only now is it kind of giving me this grief. So yeah, that's, that's fun.

Gregory Avery-Weir  9:15  
So speaking of 2020 and the challenges thereof just got, I guess, some, some quick housekeeping stuff on like, on like, what our plans are for moving forward with communicating and so upcoming stuff.

Melissa Avery-Weir  9:32  
Yes. So we are switching the podcast and the newsletter to be bi-monthly, meaning every other month, not twice a month, going forward on alternating months. Things are a little jammed up this month. So you're gonna get both the podcast and the newsletter at the same time, roughly.

Melissa Avery-Weir  9:51  
But going forward, December will basically be will have been the podcast month. In January, you'll get a newsletter; February we'll have another podcast out. And that's, that's a mixture of the cadence of news, which is pretty slow right now for us. And also the sort of ratio of, I'll say, like community facing work versus development work? Versus game design and development work. So like, if I have 10 hours a week to work, and I spend five hours of that on the podcast one week and five hours a it of the next week on the newsletter, like, that doesn't leave me a lot of time to write articles. And, and, and sort of do the work of game development.

Melissa Avery-Weir  10:32  
So we're working through the balance of that. So right now, I would say, you know, at least, probably until and through spring, maybe, we'll be looking at bi-monthly. So don't expect us you know, we're not missing, episodes and so on, we're just deliberately chilling out a little bit on the on the pacing of things. So, I mean, I encourage you to sign up for both, if you're listening to this, you're listening to it, but sign up for the newsletter if you're not already, and get pictures and writing and so on and so forth there for the time in between, as well as all of our normal social media stuff.

Melissa Avery-Weir  11:05  
But yeah, that's that's a change that will relieve some pressure on our heads of feeling like we have to every month come up with two episodes worth of content of the news and stuff.

Melissa Avery-Weir  11:17  
And second sort of seasonal thing is that it's the holiday season, which you've already been through various Fall sales and Halloween sales and whatever, but Christmas, whatever labeling we want to put on it, Christmas, holiday, etc, sales are coming up as well. So we don't have and/or can't give dates for when sales start generally. But I will say that we do prefer Itch. It's a great platform: gives a charity, gives a better cut to developers. And so our games will consistently be more discounted on itch than on other platforms. Not, not substantially, you know, we're not trying to eat anybody at a house and home, on, on Steam or anything, but you will find that generally our games will be 60% off on itch, and 50% off elsewhere.

Gregory Avery-Weir  12:08  
And if a game is on Steam, then the Itch version will come with a Steam key. So you'll still get the equivalent. And always worth noting: you can always review a game you bought on Itch on Steam, because the checkbox that you have to click is "I received this game for free" not "I didn't pay Steam for it." So you know even if you have a game on it, you can still review it on Steam.

Melissa Avery-Weir  12:32  
Yep, exactly.

Gregory Avery-Weir  12:33  
And you can keep an eye on our... Twitter's probably the best way to get that updated news. That's at PlayFutureProof on Twitter. All our stuff is on We try and put one, one post up per sale season up there to let you know about the posts. We're on YouTube is Future Proof Games, where you can get archives of the podcast and of our gaming streams that are Future Proof Plays. And I'm working on catching up on my archives of of the Twitch streams that we do.

Gregory Avery-Weir  13:10  
If you've got any questions, comments, suggestions, anything like that--interview requests all that--you can contact us. You can comment on this post. You can write us at You can hit us up on social media, and we're always happy to chat or just hear what you're thinking about.

Melissa Avery-Weir  13:28  

Gregory Avery-Weir  13:28  
Our theme music is "Juparo" by Broke for Free used with permission.