Moments of Inertia by Rachel Crawford

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Warcry Card Creator

I have been working on a little tool for making fighter cards for Warcry, GW’s new skirmish game (wot is very good). Using a template, you can set how many wounds your fighter has, how far they can move, the stats of their weapons, etc.

Check it out!

Here is an example card I made for Grashrak:

There’s still a bit of work to do.

  1. The page saves its state after every change so it can restore it if you close the page and come back, but this functionality is incomplete. For one thing, it doesn’t restore user-provided images. For a second, it would be good to have save slots the user can name.
  2. The page is ugly. Even if I don’t manage to make a pretty background or find a better typeface or whatever, I’d like the interface to be clearly broken up into sections.
  3. Pageview tracking? I think I should already have this but I’m not sure.

Working on this I’ve learned a fair bit about front-end web programming. I grew my familiarity with JavaScript, picked up some JQuery, touched a little Bootstrap. Hosting is handled by GitHub Pages the same way this website is, using Jekyll to build the final HTML from templates.

It was pretty well received on Twitter. Once it’s a bit prettier I’ll find other places to share it.

I hope to round out the feature set by the end of the year and start working on other tools and neat things. Now that I know how to make little web applications, my head is full of ideas for things to try.

Warhammer Underworlds: Edinburgh

I noted back at the end of 2017 that one of my favourite tabletop games I’d played that year was Warhammer Underworlds: Shadespire. That was the first edition, or season of content, or whatever you want to call it, of Warhammer Underworlds, and since then we’ve been through 2018’s Nightvault and now here we are with season/edition 3: Beastgrave.

I’ve been playing the game fairly regularly since 2017 and mostly loving it - I think it’s a very robust system which persistently provides players with perplexing puzzles to parse. While I have some reservations about how certain powerful cards have affected the game (mostly solved by the rotation introduced with Beastgrave), my main complaint has really been simply not having enough people to play with. To address this I’ve helped to set up Warhammer Underworlds: Edinburgh.

Our goals:

1) Weekly meetups. 2) Regular tournaments. 3) Ladder league that resets quarterly. 4) Inclusive and lovely. Towards all kinds of play and all kinds of players. 5) To raise awareness about the game and teach it to people who’re curious about it.

At the moments our weekly meetup is on Tuesday evenings in Edinburgh Games Hub on Lauriston Place. I have a few reservations about this arrangement (Tuesday night is super busy at Games Hub and tbh Games Hub is a little shabby!) but it worked pretty well last Tuesday so we’ll stick with it for now at least.

The next thing is to organise a tournament. This’ll probably be in late November at Red Dice Games in Leith. (Trying to spread the love a bit.)

Anyway. I’ve never organised anything like this before, but I’m mostly following the advice and examples of other gaming communities that I’ve observed both locally and from across the internet. Hopefully it’ll go well and if I do screw up a bit it won’t be too bad!

If you wanna learn Underworlds then get in touch with me or come along to the weekly meetup on Tuesday at Games Hub, I am more than happy to provide a demo game or two.

Whatever Happened to Quiver?

You know how I was working on that pseudo-3d game engine, Quiver? That I was so well stuck into that I even did a presentation about it? A whole year and a half ago? Well, it may be no surprise… but it ain’t really happening any more.

Making stuff in your personal time is a big challenge. You’re at the mercy of:

  • Your dwindling energy levels when working in the margins of a day’s work or a busy weekend day.
  • The cruel march of time. It can be so hard to find enough, and even if you can, can you find the long, unbroken stretches of time you need to really get things done?
  • Your own whims. As your enthusiasm for an existing project dwindles, new interests take flight. And you’d be a fool not to pursue them, really. Life is short.

The last thing I did on Quiver was very satisfying, however. All I did was break apart the game, Quarrel, from the engine, so that it now lives in its own repository. While I’m not sure I’ll ever return to Quarrel, I’m still attached to the idea of returning to the engine and seeing what else I can do with it, or expanding it a little1. This separation will make that return easier.

It’s past time for me to finally say farewell, then, at least for now. Bye-bye little project!

  1. The outstanding major features I wanted to implement were textured walls, ceilings and floors, a scripting system, and a pathfinding and navigation-graph-generation system. 

Grief

I’ve been meaning to write this for a long time.

It has never really gone away and I don’t expect it ever will. I didn’t move past or through the pain of loss so much as accept it into myself and change around it. I didn’t heal; I became a different person.

We’re always changing, from year to year, month to month, day to day, down to the nanosecond. We’re never who we used to be. Sometimes the sadness, the resistance, is just that last remaining part of our old selves, clinging on, fighting for the world to stay the same. Fighting, without success and without hope, to go back.

As time has stretched away from the event (at the end of July it will have been four years) it has become easier. My mind has become less and less occupied with the how and the why, less aware of the missing pieces, less conscious of the parts of me that are different now. Most days are just normal days: I get up, I am grateful, I do what I can and I keep moving. Then there are the days like today.

I’m not sure why I am like I am today. Perhaps it’s just the weather. Thick fog, unrelenting rain and distant thunder, finally unleashed after gathering ominously for the past few days. Maybe being at Edinburgh Pride on Saturday, meeting old friends in the sunlight, stirred the pot of memories and emotions and let grief come bubbling to the surface. It could be a subtler mix of things, built up over the weeks and months since my last low point, carefully suppressed, dodged and hurdled until it became unavoidable.

When Danielle died my mother looked after me in the immediate aftermath, making sure I ate, slept, bathed. She watched me and held me. She’d just returned from a trip to China and had brought a gift for me with her: a small metal necklace-watch. It wasn’t well made but I wore it every day until the clasp broke and the lid wouldn’t close any more. I wore it until the lid fell off. I even wore it for a while after it stopped telling the time accurately. Around my neck, close to my heart, held tightly as I took deep breaths, it reminded me simply that time was passing. While the seconds crawled by, it ticked. While I couldn’t move, it turned. It showed me that the world was changing around me, that I was changing, even though I felt trapped in one long, eclipsing moment of stasis. I could look at it and feel hope that the day would come when this dark period would be behind me, that the tunnel had an end.

It wasn’t just the passage of time that let me change. It took work. It took counselling. It took the support of strong friends and caring family. I am so, so grateful for it all. When I look at my life I don’t hesitate to think of it as blessed, lucky, so goddamn fortunate I struggle to put it into words or know what to do with it.

I didn’t sleep much last night, and when finally it was time to get up and go to work, I couldn’t. I cried. Natalie held me and we cried together. A dam had burst. After the first rush of tears, the rest will trickle out over the coming hours. I will rebuild the dam. I will build it stronger. I will build a better spillway. I will tend to the refilling lake and the rivers that feed it. Again, and again. It will be a reservoir of life, of good things, both happy and sad. As it fills with droplets of sorrow, it will ripple with the echoes of her laugh.

Each wave will be her smile.

Feral Vector

Last weekend I was lucky enough to attend Feral Vector with Natalie. Feral is a 3-day event about games and game-adjacent things, taking place in the leafy valley village of Hebden Bridge (in Yorkshire, I think?). Over the course of the days a variety of talks and presentations are given, videogames are demoed, creative workshops are run, role-playing sessions are held, and the evenings are given over to socialising with your fellow attendees – who are, to a fault, nice as heck.

Highlights were:

  • A professional wrestling match between Videogames and Art. Really.
  • A game of Ghost Court lasting the whole afternoon, with six or so different judges cycling in and out as cases came and went. Oh, and it took place in the town’s actual courtroom. Me and Natalie played a couple of living divorcees disputing who should take custody of our pet ghost dog.
  • Making new friends and catching up with old ones!

If you get the chance to go to this thing next year or another, please do. Highly recommended.

(There should be a photo here, but I did a terrible job of taking any.)