May 1. 2001 – Whole lotta shakin’ goin’ on….

Playing with a game engine, a shortage of time, the day job gets in the road, and SCA…
Playing with the Puzzle Game engine…
For some reason, I got a wild hair, and decided to try a couple of interesting things with the Puzzle Game engine. I had a game idea and decided to see how quickly I could do content development and produce the game.
Loaded up PhotoPaint, and created the game objects. Started a new project based around the engine, and did some programming. MOST of the core programming is done. Timeframe? 6 hours. That still leaves more content development left (levels) and some core programming left, but that was just plain COOL. I have never managed to go from concept to playable game so quickly before (and mind you, it’s not rough quality either.) Unluckly, I’ve yet to have the time to FINISH the game development.
A Shortage of Time
So far last month has been a waste development wise it seems. April just didn’t yeild anything I feel was REALLY strong progress on Jumpman: 2049. Biggest problem is the real world and the day job keeps getting in the way.
I’ve got one really cool customer I’m dealing with at work – General Mills in Kansas City, MO. The only problem is, the software I was sold to do a job with them doesn’t preform up to spec. Rockwell Software can pretty much BITE ME when it comes to the idea of me ever selling a customer a product called RS/Historian again. I won’t bother with the whole sorrid tale, but, JEEZ it’s been a pain and eating some of my off hours too at times. *SIGH*
But the stuff taking the most time that should be used for programming is personal stuff. The entire back yard got re-landscaped, the front yard got a makeover with a very cool looking new flowerbed, and the garden of course. Then there’s the SCA…
Joining the SCA.
After about three years of hanging around the SCA off and on, I finally jumped in and created my armor and authorized as an SCA fighter.
Ok, I know a couple of people are probably asking this question now: What is the SCA? SCA stands for the Society for Creative Anachronism. It’s SORT OF a recreationist group – for a FULL description, head over to The SCA Server. But in a nutshell, the SCA focuses on life in the middle ages. The age of knights, kings, etc. – however, it’s not quite THAT specific. That tends to bring up images of Brittan – but, some memebers represent (in no particular order) Japan, China, the Mongols, The Scotts, the Egyptians, and some other personnae’s I haven’t even seen or thought of yet. The SCA is ***HUGE*** – there SCA groups pretty much everywhere in the US, Canada, and quite a few places overseas. If you’ve never heard of it before, look into it closer – it’s VERY neat to be involved in, and very much a community type feel. And if you ever want to know how much fun the SCA can be, check out Pavel’s SCA page for an idea how fun and insane (in a good way) this organization is.
My focus in the SCA is on fighting and armor. By fighting, I mean just that – people suit up in armor, and engage in combat. Before you get TOO concerned that your favorite game designer (or maybe not favorite 😉 is putting his life in jepardy, these are not metal blades we hit each other with. Instead, they are made of Ratan (sorta a cross between normal wood and bamboo when it comes to structure) – but you can get hurt. But it’s extremely unlikely to get horribly injured – normally, just bruses. When they hit, the ‘guage’ for a hit is that if you had been using a real sword, you would have pentrated chain mail armor. In other words, yes, they hit hard.
Which of course, is the reason for armor – which is what has been eating a great deal of my spare time recently. I’ve constructed almost all of my armor in my spare time in the last two weeks. Building it is fairly fun – there’s a definitely sense of accomplishment. And once you realize that what you are creating is going to prevent a large guy with a very big stick from breaking one of your bones, you definitely take the time to do it right 😉 My armor is neither the best looking or the worst looking stuff I’ve ever seen – and it passes safty requirements.
That’s the other thing – I mentioned being an ‘authorized’ fighter. They don’t just hand you a sword, and say ‘have at it’ in front of crowds of people (called Demos). Instead, you train to learn how to properly handle yourself and how to fight safely (as in, not kill yourself or anyone else around you.) Armor and swords have requirements that must be met for safety reasons, and people must train in a weapon before they are allowed to use it in earnest against thier opponents in ‘real’ combats. Right now, I’m only authorized to use a sword and shield (refered to as sword and board)
All and all, it ends up being a bit more like football or a similar sport than you might expect. And it’s a heck of a blast to do. Except for authorizing. Geez that sucks – normally, combat doesn’t take very long for a ‘one on one’ type fight (keep in mind, the SCA also does combats that might have hundreds on a side at the large wars that take place!) You fight, you kill or die, and move on with a bit of rest. That’s not how authorizing works. They pit you against a fairly good fighter (if you are unluckly, the pit you against a Knight, the highest level of normal fighter) and you have three rounds of fighting: ‘called’ where you call out where you were hit, and if you were hit hard enough. Normal, where you fight, and if killed, fall down. Then get back up and go at it again. And off-hand without a shield (Ie, put the sword in your left hand, and put your right hand behind your back.) This lasted for about 15 minutes… I now realize I’m REALLY outta shape, cause I was dead tired at the end of that, and now my shoulders and arms hurt like you wouldn’t belive! Oh, and my butt hurt for a couple of days. I’m good with the shield so he never hit the front of me – but managed to press in close enough and reach behind me. I have NO armor on my butt besides the fat developed from being a desk jokey. OUCH! x2 – I gotta put some armor there! 😉
Ok, I’ll quit rambling now. The end of this story is that almost all of my armor is done (I haven’t finished my helm, but have a loaner, and need to build guantlets. Being a programmer, I’m being VERY careful about protecting my hands!) Which means this month I can get back to normal programming schedule (every waking moment 😉 with the exception of a trip I’ve got to make to Colorado.
And for those who are currious or are SCA members already – I’m located in Calontir, in particular, Vatavia.
Ok, outta here – my bed is calling me urgently…

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