Wednesday, April 01, 2020

Augmented Fourth: 20th Anniversary Day

Twenty years ago today, on April 1, 2000, I released my text adventure game, Augmented Fourth. After an awful trumpet audition before King Goosen of Papoosen, you're cast into Orchestra Pit where you discover a peculiar community living in a dormant volcano.

Since everyone loves round-number anniversaries, I have released an updated version of the game today:

  • Updated cover art.
  • Added a 20th Anniversary Retrospective to the HELP system.
  • Updated one puzzle to reduce the amount of unnecessary NPC cruelty required to win.
  • Adjusted various room exits for better map geometry.
  • Added a few more gentle hints to various obtuse puzzles.
  • Fixed text parser disambiguation issues and minor bugs reported by recent players.
  • Cleaned up source code formatting.

You can sample the game online with Parchment. If you want to be able to save your progress, you'll need to download the game file and an interpreter to your computer.

Hope you enjoy it during your self-quarantine doldrums!

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Monday, March 30, 2020

End-of-the-Month Highlights Day

New photos have been added to the Life, 2020 album.

  • Events
    • Earned my first Microsoft Azure cert on S 3/1. Had London Broil for dinner with Tammy in the evening.

    • Voted in the primary on T 3/3.

    • Dad-daughter dinner at Marumen on W 3/4, followed by free S'mores at Cascades Overlook.

    • Had the Uri grandparents over for steak dinner on F 3/6.

    • Visited Larry and Janice and kids in Rockville on S 3/7.

    • Family dinner at Burton's on S 3/8.

    • First dinner on our screen porch on M 3/9.

    • Started self-quarantine on H 3/12. Numerous delivery / take-out meals and family dinners on the screen porch through the end of the month.

    • Relocated our self-isolation zone to Sperryville for two nights, F 3/20 - S 3/22. Had delicious microbrews and take-out dinners. Hiked the Furnace Springs Trail with Maia.

    • Had a virtual game night with Anna, Ben, Larry, and Janice on F 3/27.

    • Had a virtual game night with Sara, Karl, and Michelle on S 3/28.

  • Projects
    • Screen porch completed on T 3/3.

    • Pushed out another minor release of Sparkour on S 3/7.

    • Did our taxes on S 3/8.

    • Finished the Paravia Wiki after 13 years on T 3/24.

  • Consumerism
    • Playing Elder Scrolls Online.

    • No amazing shows this month.

    • No great new music, although I'm enjoying revisiting the bands I liked a decade ago to see what I've missed.

March's Final Grade: B-, Self-quarantine is weird, but I got a lot done this month and have spent lots of valuable time together with Maia.

tagged as day-to-day | permalink | 0 comments

Friday, March 27, 2020

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Patchwork:
This is another 2-player game with as much replayability as Lost Cities or Apotheca -- you spend buttons to buy different Tetris shapes to cover your quilt board. Game rules are very simple and setup is quick. There's tons of strategic depth although there are just enough variables that it makes it hard to tell if you're actually winning until the final score comes down. All of our games so far have been decided within a few points of each other.

Final Grade: B

Recover by Lenka:
This is a 20 minute EP of covers, pleasant enough other than the five and a half minute rendition of Bob Dylan's Mr. Tambourine Man in which she sings "Hey Mr. Tambourine Man" at least 80 times on the same pitches.

Final Grade: B

Sleeping with Other People (R):
The skeleton of this movie is predictable -- a romantic comedy featuring flawed leads who are better with each other. What saves it from banality is the supporting cast of familiar faces (including Adam Scott, Natasha Lyonne and two of the leads from i'm sorry) and the easy laughs they induce.

Final Grade: B

Matinee by Jack Penate:
The debut album of another musician I liked a lot in 2008 then forgot about -- Matinee has a catchy bounce and infectious songs. It reminds me a little of The Hives.

Final Grade: B+

tagged as reviews | permalink | 2 comments

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

List Day: 8 Ways We've Passed the Time During COVID-19

  1. I've run 1 - 2 miles each day while watching Better Call Saul and iZombie.

  2. Rebecca and Maia have gone to the park many times, but often seem to run into our parent friends with the same idea.

  3. I've gotten hooked on playing Elder Scrolls Online, after trying World of Warcraft again and getting bored almost immediately. I also have Borderlands 3 in my queue but the first 20 minutes felt identical to the previous 2 games so I haven't gotten any further yet. I'm looking at Half-Life: Alyx but am unsure whether I want to lug my computer downstairs for VR all of the time.

  4. Rebecca and I have played a lot of the 2-player board game, Patchwork, on loan from Larry and Janice.
  1. I'm wrapping up work on the 20th anniversary re-release of Augmented Fourth (April 1).

  2. Maia has only watched 30 minutes of television during the entire quarantine, because she's so happy doing other things.

  3. Yesterday, I finished adding the penultimate Wars of Light and Shadows book into the Paravia Wiki, closing out a task that started 13 years ago.

  4. On Monday, I finished the cartoons for the 6th issue of the Uri Tech Primer, on open-source software.

How are you keeping busy and/or sane?

tagged as day-to-day | permalink | 1 comment

Monday, March 23, 2020

Weekend Wrap-up

This weekend, we took our self-isolation zone south to Sperryville for a two night stay in a private cottage. What was originally going to be a parent getaway planned weeks ago evolved into a family vacation in the face of the world going viral. We took all necessary precautions along the way: no stops to pee, one person on sterile take-out duty throughout the weekend, and only interacting with the innkeepers when handing off a growler for take-out beers.

The weather was wonderful Friday evening and we enjoyed a beer flight that was 9 for 9 in "beers I would drink again" on our private porch. Maia and Rebecca walked along and in the Thornton River until they fell in. Rebecca was more startled than Maia, who spent the rest of the weekend talking about how "mommy lost her sunglasses in the pond" but it's okay because "mommy has lots of sunglasses". For dinner, we had take-out pizza and then Maia took 3 hours to fall asleep in the exciting new cottage.

Rebecca went hiking at Buck Hollow early Saturday while Maia and I stayed home and practiced sleeping in each bed in the cottage. The innkeepers delivered two breakfast omelets made with smoky cheddar cheese and goat cheese and Maia ate all of the kiwi.

After breakfast, we drove into Shenandoah National Park to find it overwhelmed with visitors taking advantage of "No Entry Fees". It was pretty difficult to find a place to get out and hike responsibly distanced but we eventually made it to Skyland Lodge and Furnace Springs Trail. By the time we left the park at 1 PM, the overlooks were beginning to fill up like someone had advertised fall foliage months too early. It was definitely not a scene full of people taking COVID-19 seriously, although we can't impartially judge since we were there ourselves. "You aren't in traffic, you ARE traffic!" as the saying goes.

Maia's favorite part of the trip was when I made Annie's mac and cheese for lunch and all of the pasta was shaped like bunnies. After nap/quiet time, we picked up a lamb sandwich with a side of "balls of fire" from another nearby restaurant we used to get burgers at. The "balls of fire", fried balls of jalapeno macaroni and cheese the size of a stress ball, were serious business and even Rebecca couldn't finish one.

We drove home on Sunday after a breakfast of Eggs Hopkins: eggs over easy, prosciutto, and spinach drizzled over crunchy toast.

How was your weekend?

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