Posts categorized “Tweets”.

If You Give a Wombat a Wedgie

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Text Adventurer

Here’s a thing I did: textadventurer.org.

I created the @textadventurer twitterbot to help myself learn the Twitter API. Originally it did nothing but tweet Zork commands, taken from a walkthrough. I was its sole follower.

Oddly, I really enjoyed seeing the text adventurer wander through my twitter feed every hour or so. And when he would tweet, say,”go north”, I would find myself curious as to where he was headed. So I eventually created the companion account @zork_i, rebooted @textadventurer, and introduced them to one another. Now they are playing out Zork I in its entirety.

Follow @textadventurer if you just want him to stagger into your Twitter timeline on occasion; follow @zork_i if you’d like to see the game reply to his commands. You can see the history of their interactions here, and check the current state of the game by visiting textadventurer.org.

Some details:

  • @textadventurer sends moves at random intervals; you may see six on one day, zero on another. On average he will issue three or four commands every 24 hours.
  • The adventurer will not make mistakes. He will not do something fatal, put the game into an unwinnable state, attempt to pick up items while his inventory is full, get lost in the maze, etc. That is not to say that the adventurer will complete the game in the minimum number of moves, though. He will sometimes stop to smell the roses (and read the leaflets), even when such actions are not necessary for completion.
  • Even though the adventurer is semi-optimized, you will still, if you follow him on Twitter, sometimes receive a passel of movement commands in a row, as he works his way through the coal mines, navigates the maze, and travels from one end of the Great Underground Empire to the other. I though about packing these into a single command for brevity (“go north, east, southeast, up”, etc.), but decided to leave each command atomic for the sake of authenticity.
  • The replies are taken verbatim from Infocom’s Zork I. Because memory was at a premium at the time of the game’s release, most replies are short enough to fit into single tweet. Some take two or three, which @zork_i will send at 60 seconds intervals. There are (relatively) few longer replies, requiring three or more tweets, most of which are found early in the game as new rooms are explored; a couple require five or six tweets; and there are two which are seven tweets long.

Want to play Zork I yourself? You can do so online, or find downloadable versions of the game at the Interactive Fiction Database. Happy adventuring!

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Tweets of Horror

Over the Memorial Day weekend, Rob Daviau ran an epic game of Tomb of Horrors.

Lest the names ring no bells: “Rob Daviau” was previously mentioned on this blog as designer of the excellent Risk: Legacy, while “Tomb of Horrors” is the legendary (and notoriously lethal) 1978 adventure for Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, the playing of which was de rigueur for anyone who dabbled in the 1st edition of AD&D.

Throughout the month of May, Daviau sent a number of tweets about his preparations for the big game. Finally, over the Memorial Day weekend, he inflicted the dungeon on his friends, and kept his Twitter followers appraised of the carnage.

Here are his tweets, reprinted with permission:

Prologue

 
 
Day One

 
 
Day Two

 
 
Day Three

 
 
Epilogue

 
 
A Point of Clarification

Says Daviau:

The victory condition was “steal the demi-lich’s treasure and leave,” not “kill the demi-lich”. The first is possible; the second is not. Careful reading of the text shows that you can rob him blind in the final room as long as you don’t touch his skull. If you do that, you die. Once my players figured out “don’t touch the skull”, they won.

The things you need to do to kill the demi-lich are so obscure, non-intuitive, and bizarre that no one would think to do them. And the adventure doesn’t give any clues to it so you’d have to work it in to the campaign ahead of time.

 
 
Q&A

Matthew: Do you play a lot of Dungeons and Dragons?
Rob Daviau: I did as a middle school kid, then off and on since then. I play when I can, but finding a regular campaign has eluded me since about 1999. Either I don’t the time, or a group is too far away, or, as often is the case, the group just doesn’t feel right. Being in a D&D group is like being in a band. If the vibe is slightly off, it’s just not the same.

M: Why 1st edition Tomb of Horrors?
RD: I’m 42, so 1e is the way I’ve played 85%+ of my D&D experiences. As I got older, I didn’t have the time I did when I was 11-15. So there’s a certain fondness for it. I’ve also been playtesting the D&DNext rules for Wizards of the Coast since November and I wanted to go back and see how 1e rules felt as an adult–how much was nostalgia and how much still held together.

Playing Tomb of Horrors came after reading Ready Player One, where the 1e Tomb has a prominent role. After finishing the book I went back and read the module for the first time in 30 years. It seemed unfair, biased, and kind of crazy. My guess is that future editions make it more “fair”, so I wanted to go back to Gygax’s original vision.

I have to say that the experience, both the system and the module, were far better than I expected from the prep work. I scared the hell out of the players and they really did take their time to think things through, resulting in a far lower death rate than anticipated, and hoped for. Also 1e, for all its useless parts, really puts things in the hands of the DM. You only use about 5% of the rules since the rest don’t really make sense. What I discovered is that a lack of rules results a lack of rules lawyers. Its as simple as that.

M: I’ve never played Tomb of Horrors, but isn’t 20 PCs an insane number of players?
RD: It would be if that were a player count, but it was a character count. I was at a friend’s home convention, where there was going to be over 30 people, with perhaps 15 or so D&D players. But I didn’t want people to have to commit to the whole adventure (it took about 8-10 hours), nor be disappointed if they died in the first minute, so I recast the adventure as a sort of puzzle. Five players would play at once, using characters from the pre-gen pool; when a character died, a new one could be brought in. This way players could come and go, and also not feel bad if they character they were playing died suddenly.

M: At one point you mention Dwarven Forge. What is that?
RD: The company that makes the incredible 3D dungeon walls, floors, etc., that you see throughout my pictures. My friend has just enough money and just too little willpower, and ended up buying a tremendous amount of it about 10 years ago. We had a lot of fun building these rooms. Grown nerds just look for opportunities like this.

M: May I post your Jim Carroll “People Who Died” rewrite?
RD: Please do. I wrote it because there were people still at the convention who had spent the weekend actually jamming in the garage. I threw it at them as a challenge to learn and record it. The results are below.
 
 
All the PCs Who Died

Fodder the Fighter, he was 8 levels high
Gargoyle hit him, ripped out his spine
Aryk was next up on the gargoyle’s list
Threw him in a pit but Aryk can’t fly
Davin entered an arch of smoke and mist
Sprung out naked and started to cry
He was a friend of mine

Those are PCs who died, died
They were all my friends, and they died

Karl was astonishing, a gnome of some reknown
Touched a lightning altar so they put him in the ground
Dravin got the shakes from a gas of fear and dread
Fled the tomb of horrors, with our gold but he’s not dead
They were two more friends of mine
Two more friends that died

Those are PCs who died, died
They were all my friends, and they died

The Mincer ran in fear and took a bad left turn
Slid down a polished slope and started to burn
No-name 12 was a wizard who the group agreed to kill
To find a secret door that was invisible
And No-name 12, I miss you more than all the others
And I salute you brother

Those are PCs who died, died
They were all my friends, and they died

Howard Hughes the cleric had just found his groove
Ended up some jelly on the demi-lich roof
Cringar of West had been there longest
But someone knocked the skull and Acererak kills the strongest
But Cringar didn’t cry, Cringar died

Those are PCs who died, died
They were all my friends, and they died

The rest grabbed the loot from the last little room
Made their way out of this filthy little tomb
They got some bitchin potions, a rod, and some gems
So the others didn’t die in vain,
And No-Name 12, I miss you more than all the others
And I salute you brother

Those are PC who died, died
They were all my friends, and they died

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Twitter Tuesday


You can always tell when I’ve done something clever. Please. Tell anyone who will listen.
@matthewbaldwin
Matthew Baldwin


I traced my disinterest in genealogy all the way back to my parents.
@matthewbaldwin
Matthew Baldwin


Where many Republicans want to return to the 50s, Santorum pines for the Precambrian Era when everyone reproduced asexually.
@matthewbaldwin
Matthew Baldwin


I accidentally asked a woman who wasn’t pregnant if she was but recovered by asking if she wanted to be and raising an eyebrow.
@matthewbaldwin
Matthew Baldwin


I hate it when people say I was “granted” immortality, like someone just handed it to me. I drank a lot of blood!
@matthewbaldwin
Matthew Baldwin


Buying “medium” cheddar instead of mild or sharp is kind of my entire life philosophy.
@matthewbaldwin
Matthew Baldwin


“Let’s kick out the jams!” — racist Preserves Club
@matthewbaldwin
Matthew Baldwin


An easy way to eliminate carbs from your diet is to live a joyless existence.
@matthewbaldwin
Matthew Baldwin


Ugh, I hate the dentist–all they do is lecture you. Brush your teeth! Floss your teeth! Stop doing meth! Wear some pants!
@matthewbaldwin
Matthew Baldwin


Ouroboros is so full of himself.
@matthewbaldwin
Matthew Baldwin

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Twitter Tuesday


First full day of world peace, and I’ve got to admit it’s been pretty sweet. Thanks Madonna!!
@matthewbaldwin
Matthew Baldwin


Small dogs are overpriced luxury items that are adored well beyond their utility. Kinda surprised Apple hasn’t tapped that market.
@matthewbaldwin
Matthew Baldwin


Good people want their funeral to be a celebration. Bad people need not worry.
@matthewbaldwin
Matthew Baldwin


First bike ride of the year, first sundresses of the year. My tank of optimism is again on F.
@matthewbaldwin
Matthew Baldwin


We should emphasize the fun parts of existentialism by calling ourselves yay!theists.
@matthewbaldwin
Matthew Baldwin


I am a high energy individual, insofar as fat is stored energy.
@matthewbaldwin
Matthew Baldwin



The Facebook IPO gives you the unique opportunity to own part of a company that sells you as its product.
@matthewbaldwin
Matthew Baldwin


What’s the difference between orange juice and a child with ADD? You can make orange juice concentrate.
@matthewbaldwin
Matthew Baldwin


I invented a web browser for sharks. There’s no Back button, only Forward.
@matthewbaldwin
Matthew Baldwin

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Twitter Tuesday


My cat either has a hairball or is telling me to buy a kayak.
@matthewbaldwin
Matthew Baldwin


Whenever you hear a bell, an angel gets his wings. Whenever you hear Bohemian Rhapsody, a DJ gets to pee.
@matthewbaldwin
Matthew Baldwin


My yoga studio will be called NOTHIN’ BUT CHILD’S POSE!
@matthewbaldwin
Matthew Baldwin


I like being a father because I can hang crude crayon drawings in my office without people realizing that they’re mine.
@matthewbaldwin
Matthew Baldwin


Email from my son’s teacher: “Friday is superhero day & costumes are encouraged”. For one glorious moment I thought I was reading work mail.
@matthewbaldwin
Matthew Baldwin


People who are chipper in the morning ought to be placed in one.
@matthewbaldwin
Matthew Baldwin


Work like you don’t need the money. Love like you’ve never been hurt. Dance like no one is watching. Take advice like it’s not stupid.
@matthewbaldwin
Matthew Baldwin


How much do you want to bet that the solar panels Obama is promoting are just refurbished death panels? #sotu
@matthewbaldwin
Matthew Baldwin


If I owned a coal mine I would spend every working hour calling up contractors and yelling, “Shaft … can you dig it?!”
@matthewbaldwin
Matthew Baldwin


I can’t get blood from a stone, but I can get toothpaste from a seemingly empty tube for about a month.
@matthewbaldwin
Matthew Baldwin

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defective yeti on Twitter

If you are still checking this site (??) but don’t follow me on Twitter, you may wish to do so. That is where I have been “writing” recently, if thumb-typing jokes into a phone can be construed as such.


In protest of SOPA I haven’t updated my blog in like six years.
@matthewbaldwin
Matthew Baldwin

That said, I have some new content lined up for dy soon, including a review of Risk Legacy (a new version of the classic wargame with perhaps the craziest gimmick I’ve ever seen), and the resumption of the H. P. Lovefest (in preparation for my article on the author).

Until then, here’s some wiseassery to tide you over.


I adopted an “all paper” strategy in Rock, Paper, Scissors tournaments and have been making money hand over fist.
@matthewbaldwin
Matthew Baldwin


I’d be less likely to think “isn’t it ironic?” than “why the fuck did I buy 10,000 spoons?”
@matthewbaldwin
Matthew Baldwin


I always look sad in posed photos because my father was killed by cheese.
@matthewbaldwin
Matthew Baldwin


Mark wrote books and Shania wrote songs and never the Twain shall meet.
@matthewbaldwin
Matthew Baldwin


I need a smartphone with a built-in breathalyzer that can disable the Amazon mobile app.
@matthewbaldwin
Matthew Baldwin


A good rule of thumb is one per hand.
@matthewbaldwin
Matthew Baldwin


I’ll vote for whichever presidential candidate promises a 50’s-era Superman movie starring Jon Hamm.
@matthewbaldwin
Matthew Baldwin


I opened a Stationary Store, but can’t seem to move any merchandise.
@matthewbaldwin
Matthew Baldwin


I was going to buy one of those dancing video games but remembered that I already own alcohol and an mp3 of Robyn’s “Call Your Girlfriend”.
@matthewbaldwin
Matthew Baldwin


I was with my father yesterday and he said something really insightful. Probably. I don’t know, I was dicking around with my phone.
@matthewbaldwin
Matthew Baldwin


Try my new mixed drink, the Resolution Backslide. It’s one part weight-loss shake, one part Kahlúa.
@matthewbaldwin
Matthew Baldwin


If 2012 is “the year the world ends”, 2011 is surely “the year everyone became pretty much okay with that”.
@matthewbaldwin
Matthew Baldwin

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Beer -> Goggles

I had a bit too much to drink last night, and woke up this morning wearing socks. I never wear socks to bed.

But socks tell me that my blood alcohol concentration last night wasn’t too high … no more that 0.05, probably. In fact, on any given morning I can usually determine what my BAC was the night prior based solely on what I’m wearing when I wake.

Wake Up Wearing BAC
Socks 0.05
Pants 0.10
Jacket and shoes 0.15
Axe Bodyspray 0.18
No clothing / eyebrows whatsoever 0.20
Boxer shorts (not own) 0.22
Henna tattoo of Rainn Wilson 0.24
Half-eaten nacho hat 0.26
Members Only jacket / parachute pants / untied Converse / sweater draped around shoulders / Nintendo Power Glove 0.28
Bar napkin with home address written on it safetypinned to earlobe 0.30
Miss Celibate Teen Lewis County sash and tiara 0.33
Handcuffs and alcohol-monitoring anklet 0.38
Wheedle costume 0.38
Sheet, identifying tag 0.40

Update: I posted the above to Twitter, with each BAC its own Tweet. I’d done this before with the Typical Reaction to the Revelation That I Do Not Own a Cell Phone, By Year list, which was fairly well-received. But the lesson learned today, I think, is that 10 items on your Twitter list is pretty much the absolute maximum before your followers start to hate you. (When I put out a call for suggestions, chris_knight replied “how about stop?”)

Still, some folks chimed in with some great additional entries. Here are a few:

Wake Up Wearing BAC All-Around Great Person
Torn karate outfit / peanut butter stains 0.17 pfostpfilms
Mesh sleeveless shirt 0.183 bklynjudith
Full beard 0.20 savagegus
Eye shadow 0.22 wendelldotme
Jodhpurs and gold lame’ blouse 0.25 golux13
Nadya Suleman 0.30 illonia
“I voted for G.W. Bush” button Alcohol poisoning cybersherpa
Raccoon blood on pillow* Nick Nolte chilcote

* Not really something worn, but the judges will allow it.

If you have a suggestion, reply to this Tweet.

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Recent Tweets

  • Giving a slide whistle to a four-year-old is like giving a oh my god I can’t even concentrate long enough to analogize. Jan 7th, 10:23 AM
  • Q: Why did they call the candy “LifeSavers” instead of “Life Savers”? A: They didn’t want two mints words. Jan 8th, 10:16 AM
  • Going to the gym a few hours after eating at Denny’s is more exorcism than exercise. Jan 15th, 11:04 AM
  • Discovered: if you accidentally hear “Single Ladies” just before going to bed, your brain will treat you to an 8-hour remix while you sleep. Jan 28th, 7:57 AM
  • Seeing Angelina Jolie use to make me horny. Now it just makes me want to buy her chapstick. Feb 1, 07:47 PM
  • Facebook is the Internet’s most efficient mechanism for reminding you about all the friends you used to have. Feb 3, 06:49 PM
  • Days like this make me wish I’d taken my mother’s advice and become a lottery winner. Feb 4, 01:09 PM
  • The sports bar that just opened in my neighborhood fills me with sadness. No, wait: porter. It fills me with porter. Feb 4, 04:21 PM
  • I score 1 pt. if I get Louie into his Cat Carrier, he gets 1 pt. if he successfully claws out my groin. Today’s vet trip ended in a 1-1 tie. Feb 5, 09:35 AM
  • Son has the croup and sounds like Darth Vader channeling Alvin the chipmunk. Feb 9, 07:16 PM
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Recent Tweets

  • In these status reports to my boss, am I supposed to just mention the names of the online flash games or provide the whole URL? Nov 25, 04:21 PM
  • In a surprise twist, the eating of two McDonalds double cheeseburgers last night at 11:43 turned out to be a profoundly non-great idea. Dec 1, 09:10 AM
  • Can you really call it alcohol “abuse” when the alcohol WANTS me to consume it? Dec 4, 11:29 AM
  • Street corner “Mattress Warehouse” sign wavers are the most efficient means of converting methamphetamine into advertising. Dec 4, 04:06 PM
  • Rough IQ estimation: start with 120 and subtract 20 for every time you press the elevator button after its already lit. Dec 4, 07:41 PM
  • Watching The Terminator with my wife. Every 40 seconds she marvels at how 80s the 80s looked. Dec 6, 10:01 AM
  • Think *your* self-esteem is low? Imagine being a back-of-the-tree Christmas ornament. Dec 6, 09:45 PM
  • These “Scholastic Books” DVDs are great. It’s like reading classic children stories to your kid without actually having to be there. Dec 7, 04:52 PM
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