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Just a place for the odd thoughts, updates, and the detritus of my mind that doesn't belong on social media.

Posted: Oct 21st, 4:14am

Waxing Lyrical about Hypercard

Apple's late lamented Hypercard (lamented by me at least) was my first real brush with computer programming. It certainly led me to become a programmer, and it probably had a lot to do with my later interest in MUSHes and MUDs (which had some coding similarities), which in turn is how I met my wife — so you could say it was moderately influential on my life.

What was Hypercard?

Hypercard was what you'd now call an app development tool, but in black and white bitmaps on old Apple Macs in the 1980s.

If that sounds dry, it wasn't. Hypercard appeared, for free with every Mac, in an era when websites were unknown, and writing software for PCs and (especially) Macs, was a full-time undertaking with a massive learning curve. In that era of gated programming, Hypercard let you create your own software with a few clicks of a mouse, and share it with other people. Hypercard stacks came free on the CDs on the fronts of magazines. You could subscribe to user groups that would send collections of stacks around on floppy disk. Hypercard scripts appeared in fanzines, in much the same way that BASIC scripts had been listed in the gaming mags of the Commodore and Spectrum era.

Grimmoire Hypercard Stack
You want a picture, here's one of my stacks

How well I remember the joy of getting a new Hypercard disk in the post from one of the members of my fan group. I even sent out a few of my own, if I remember rightly (it was 30 years ago). Yes yes, you get all that joy now on the Internet for a fraction of the work, but that was then.

Hypercard also became a commercial tool of choice. If you bought yourself an electronic encyclopedia, catalogue, or educational program for the Mac in the late 80s and early 90s it probably came in the form of a Hypercard stack.

How did it work?

Hypercard let you create stacks. Stacks were a series of cards (screens) each of wh...

Posted: Oct 18th, 7:27am

Recent Artwork

I've been participating in Inktober, as I have for the last few years, and posting the results on DeviantArt for those interested, but I've also been working on some gaming art for various projects.

Game Covers

I recently uncovered (or rediscovered) some old gaming projects that I haven't worked on for years. DiceWars and A Parliament of Rooks. (Want to playtest either of them, let me know!). As part of bringing these games back to life I needed new covers for them, and here they are.

DiceWars Cover Parliament of Rooks Cover

Posted: Oct 2nd, 8:35am

Benefits of Living Standards in D&D 5E

The 5th Edition of D&D defines six levels of living conditions, from Wretched up to Aristocratic with different costs associated. However, apart from hob-nobbing with the rich (or the poor) there are no real mechanical benefits to each standard of living. This leads many players to ask: "Why pay 25gp a night to live at a Wealthy Standard, when I could sleep in a ditch for free?"

The most obvious answer is: "Because you won't have to sleep in a ditch!" but roleplaying benefits are not mechanical rewards, and some people are more focussed on the later than the former, which is a perfectly fine way to play. If you need your gold to buy diamonds for ressurection, you won't want to waste it on expensive inns.

Posted: Sep 17th, 6:28am

Self-Descriptive Writing

There is a writing technique that I have been trying to practice, and describe properly for years. For the purposes of this post I'm giving it the grand title of Self-Descriptive Neologisms, but that's almost certainly a bad name. Bear with me though, possibly my ranmblings will make enough sense that someone else can give me a better one.