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The Future Proof Podcast 032

Podcast episode

Melissa Avery-Weir  0:21  
Hello, and welcome to the Future Proof Podcast. This is our bi-monthly podcast where we chat about stuff we're working on in anything cool. We're planning. I'm Melissa Avery-Weir.

Gregory Avery-Weir  0:32  
And I'm Gregory Avery-Weir and Melissa, you had a bit of fun on one of our friend's Twitch channels lately.

Melissa Avery-Weir  0:41  
I did, I did. Our friend, Jim Ryan, other—also known as otherdoc—ran a paranormal spy thriller mini-campaign. Took us three sessions.

Gregory Avery-Weir  0:54  
"The Top of the World."

Melissa Avery-Weir  0:55  
Yes, called "Top of the World." It was three sessions long, and it used, used Rosette Diceless. It was phenomenal.

Gregory Avery-Weir  1:04  
It was super cool watching and seeing like, people playing our system that weren't us, right? Like, we've been involved in, in virtually every game of of Rosette Diceless we've played. And seeing people use it and like understand the system and be excited by rules in it was super cool. But I didn't get to play in it. You're the one that was, was on camera.

Melissa Avery-Weir  1:32  
Yes. And it was delightful. I've only done streamed stuff maybe two other times, I think both on Jim's channel and was very nervous, especially because all the other players are streamers themselves, like streamers of tabletop role playing games. So I felt a little bit like a rookie, but it was it was phenomenal. Jim did great pregen characters for it. And one of the players built their own; did a great job there. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  1:58  
Folks really seem to get the system. You know, there's there's always a little bit of like, you know, "how, how does conflict work?" Like, you have to learn the system a little bit, but they they seem to get the gist of what was happening and, and how play flowed and kind of where the strategic components were. And these people have played a lot of systems, since it's, you know, their job to one degree or another. So it was it was awesome. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  2:24  
They seem to like the system a lot, which is, you know, very cool to hear. And I think we made something, I think we made something good. Like, I mean, I don't just mean Rosette Diceless. I mean, I think the game was good; that it was a good spy story with some some fun twists. The paranormal supernatural element was distinct and weird, and very good. So I will be linking to the archives of that in the show notes, which I don't know if there'll be on YouTube at that point. But they'll definitely be on Twitch. So I look forward to that. 

Gregory Avery-Weir  3:01  
For sure. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  3:02  
We've also been, as we've talked about before doing a little bit of work on Exploit: Zero Day, and Greg has been doing some design work for a new kind of—something to enhance the puzzles of EZD.

Gregory Avery-Weir  3:15  
Yeah, so we haven't really added like huge new design aspects to the game for a very long time. Like, we've been very focused on polishing and getting story out. But we've had stuff bouncing around for a bit that is new nodes types. 

Gregory Avery-Weir  3:35  
So Exploit: Zero Day, the puzzles are a bunch of nodes on a grid, different little things that do different stuff when you hit them with packets as part of the puzzle. And we for a while, we will occasionally get requests that are like, "Hey, it'd be cool if there was a node that did x," or, or "It'd be nice if there's a way to do this." And some of those, I mean, there are some nodes in the game right now, in Exploit: Zero Day that were not in the original Exploit. And that's sort of part of that design process and that iteration and that expansion. 

Gregory Avery-Weir  4:11  
But we sort of sat down and we were like, "Okay, what are the types of nodes that we'd like to have? And that would actually be interesting to play with? And also, like still make the creation of puzzles kind of interesting and require creativity and have constraints around it, right?" Because like, we could just say, "program the behavior of a puzzle with JavaScript," but we're not. We're making we're making a specific kind of game. So figuring out where we wanted stuff to be available was was really cool. 

Gregory Avery-Weir  4:43  
And so we've got a work in progress sketch of kind of like our intentions, this might change by the time it gets implemented way down the road. But we've got ideas that are based around this idea of "orrupted nodes." So if folks have played Super Mario Maker... 

Melissa Avery-Weir  5:03  
Oh, yeah.

Gregory Avery-Weir  5:03  
...They will know that if you pick up a type of block and like shake it, you can get a different form of that block. And that's sort of the idea we're going with here, where each node type has a corresponding corrupted node. And so the existing... what are they called? Sensors and semaphores? That are the flat blue and yellow nodes that are the equivalent of the flip flops and buffers. They are... they're, those flat versions are going to become corrupted versions of the non-flat versions. 

Gregory Avery-Weir  5:40  
And then we're going to add a bunch of other things. We've got ideas for a node that lets one packet through and then turns to a blocker. We've got ones that only allow packets through vertically or horizontally. We've got an idea for one that kind of alternates between being a block and being not a block, kind of like the latch node, the teal cylinder that we have currently. And a lot of these are just based on, like, what are places where we've made systems, or we've seen other people make systems and they've had to, like do something a little too complicated to do, like, a common task. 

Gregory Avery-Weir  6:20  
So that the—Yeah, the, what do we call, I think we call it the "one time pass node" that is—

Melissa Avery-Weir  6:27  

Gregory Avery-Weir  6:27  
Let, let one packet through, and then it turns into a blocker. That's the like, one of the things that we feel like we do the most, right? There's all sorts of places in puzzles where you want to, like, let one packet through to cycle around in an area, but they shouldn't be able to add more or it would swamp the, the mechanics of the system. So all of them have sort of that feel. I'm excited to do it. But it will be a while like these plans might change.

Melissa Avery-Weir  6:57  
Right? And this is, this is in the, our sort of beta set, I think, instead of you know, our alpha. So there's that. But you know, we also have Headless Swarm and things like that. But yes, it's on the docket. I'm excited. I think, you know, there are these places where it will take us anywhere between two and five nodes to produce the pattern at hand, if you're doing it, you know, without these corrupt nodes. And to have it be one node will be cool. And we get to build a tutorial around it. So yeah, otherwise, it'll be like, "Here's 10, 20 kinds of things you can drop on this puzzle. Welcome new player!" Just a little, that's, that'd be a lot. So it's yeah, that's exciting. 

Gregory Avery-Weir  7:41  
Yeah, I'm looking forward to it. And we're, we're, I guess we're sort of focusing on new players a bit. And because we've gotten a quest as part of some of our Rosette Diceless promotion stuff that we've been doing that is something that I think we want to do that we have not provided to players before.

Melissa Avery-Weir  8:01  
Yeah, so someone requested example characters and a clearer way, way than we've provided in the past. So we do have, I think, two or three example characters on the Rosette Diceless site now, but they're like scanned in pencil or pen versions of our character sheets from our home game. 

Gregory Avery-Weir  8:21  

Melissa Avery-Weir  8:22  
Which were pre-pandemic. So they were on paper, handwritten. So now one, we have digital versions of those, because we've been playing virtually. Two, we have other examples of characters so that people don't need to, like, listen to, you know, Tabletop Garden, and then deconstruct what the characters were there. So we're gonna provide example, sci fi and fantasy. And I guess, I mean, I don't know that we've...

Gregory Avery-Weir  8:48  

Melissa Avery-Weir  8:49  
Normal? Yes.

Gregory Avery-Weir  8:50  
Mundane. I mean, the Tabletop Garden characters were, were non-fantasy.

Melissa Avery-Weir  8:55  
So we'll be providing those in some sort of nicely organized fashion, so that folks can see what starting characters and not necessarily even starting characters look like. I don't think I can reliably reproduce my, you know, five year old home game character's, original stats. For one, that was a few versions of the system ago. And we used to—you know, our attribute values were different at that point. And for another, it is interesting to see, you know, what happens in character growth, like do you keep adding superlative Traits? Do you...? And how do you fit it all on a sheet or two sheets? So we'll be providing those soon. So stay tuned on Twitter and our blog and newsletter and the next episode of this for links to that. And then we have one final little baby that we're working on; that Greg has been, has been working on. An odd bug report came in.

Gregory Avery-Weir  9:53  
Yeah, so we our first release as Future Proof Games—our first commercial release was Ossuary. Our cool, I don't know, horror comedy Discordian underworld game, what's an adventure game are all the inventory items or sins, vices that you're manipulating people with? And we got a report on Steam, I think that was, "Hey, when I move diagonally things really lag," and we're able to reproduce it. And it's one of those weird ones where it's like, nothing has changed in Ossuary, right? 

Melissa Avery-Weir  10:28  
No, it's been years. 

Gregory Avery-Weir  10:29  
We, yeah, it's we haven't done anything to it other than I think, I think our latest update was like, "Oh, we need to replace an expired security certificate."

Melissa Avery-Weir  10:38  
Right. And maybe something for 64 bit Mac, which actually might have just been checking a box inside of inside of Steam. I don't remember.

Gregory Avery-Weir  10:45  
Yeah. So it's one of those things where it's like, we're not sure right now, whether it's—maybe this is an issue that's always been there and it's more obvious because computers are faster now, maybe? Or, you know, what, maybe this is a thing that just just some weird change in compatibility. But that's the thing we're gonna have to dive into. And it's, it's interesting, how, like, there's a, developers have a, an idiom they use, we say that there's something called "bit rot." 

Melissa Avery-Weir  11:19  

Gregory Avery-Weir  11:19  
Which is that programs and data somehow, like, gets worse over time, if you don't maintain it. And it's, it's kind of true, like, theoretically, if you got a computer from back then and used, it would be fine. But just like a bunch of little minute changes in system architecture and speeds of, of processors and stuff can mean that new bugs appear, or things that weren't—that you didn't realize were issues when you initially implemented it turn out to be ones, right? Like you can easily you can imagine, like, there might be a thing that's like, something steadily gets worse over the course of the decade after you release a thing. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  11:19  
Mm hmm. 

Gregory Avery-Weir  11:21  
And so like, year after year, maybe this bug continues to get worse and worse, because there's some math being done poorly, or something in, in your code. So, so that's a that's a thing that I'm going to get to boot up Flash Develop, which it's been a while since I booted up my Flex ActionScript 3, development IDE and dive into—

Melissa Avery-Weir  12:24  
Check that IDE for the log4j vulnerability. Actually, it might be too old for that, actually. 

Gregory Avery-Weir  12:32  
I won't let anyone make external HTTP calls to my Flash IDE. It's funny, because like, this is one of the few places in which Flash, like I can code in AS3 and do Flash development and haven't be deployable, right? Because right, because Adobe AIR is this weird, like self contained thing. But hopefully I can fix it. It may be that we end up going, "Yeah, I don't know. Here's a workaround, maybe and sorry that it's kind of kludgy." But we'll see. Hopefully, we can clean up that jankiness. It might be something simple; I mean it really might be the—if, game developers will understand it really might be that we like didn't adjust for time elapsed since the last update or something like that. And so there's some cycle running 10,000 times every second.

Melissa Avery-Weir  13:24  
Right. My first thought was of the sort of classic, uncapped framerate situation that can happen with old games played on modern systems where it's like, "Oh, no. Oh, no." So yeah, hopefully, it'll be something simple. It can hardly be something terribly complex, right? 

Gregory Avery-Weir  13:44  
Yeah. It'll, it'll either be simple or we will be completely stumped. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  13:48  

Gregory Avery-Weir  13:49  
So we'll see.

Melissa Avery-Weir  13:50  
...On this decade old game. I will say... it's, actually it was, it was 2013 when it came out. So not quite 10 years. 

Gregory Avery-Weir  14:01  
We're getting there though. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  14:02  
We are. So along with Ossuary and everything else, you can find all of our stuff over at We're over on Twitter at @playfutureproof and on YouTube as Future Proof Games. Hit us up with any questions or comments you have either over on the blog or on social media. And our theme music is Juparo by Broke for free, which is used with permission.

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