My day job is software programming. My passion is games and hacking. I’m not the best hacker, but I find a quiet solace in solving a problem through the various raw tools at my disposal. It is a process of constant learning, which is a requirement for remaining a professional in the software industry.
Unfortunately, there is a tension between my game preparation and my knowledge as a programmer. As I’m working on my games, I see patterns, repetition, and want to create a solution, typically as it relates to content storage.
This quickly spirals into me exploring a technical solution for my hobby. Which in turn leads to the current state of my preparation for GenCon – poor.
I’ve stalled on my Dungeon World conversion for the T1 portion of the Temple of Elemental Evil. I have the monsters in a playable format; Though I still need to run some brave souls through the adventure.
As I was working on the Dungeon World conversion, the programmer side of me, couldn’t help but shudder at the repetition. After all, I was manually applying HTML tags to the chunks of text I was working on.
The programmer in me screamed, “Wait! Make a form for entering the content. Store it without markup! If you do that, then you can easily render the content in any format…so long as you create the view of that content.“ After all, other people are interested in the content.
And then my brain was off. It wanted to solve the problem of normalizing the data input so it could be portable. And what was once a hobby venture quickly got mangled into some crazy amalgam of work and hobby.
Fortunately for me, at this time, I rather quickly abandoned the idea of making a simple application. In my personal experience, I have found the most sure fire way to lose interest in my hobby is to start programming ways to be more efficient at it.
There is a part of me that wants and needs well formed information. The 4E powers are quite appealing to me at this level. They were well defined; I could see data structure. There was a harmony in its presentation.
Zak S’ blog posts, especially the ones with bizarre maps, are a Rorschach test for my gamer brain. His posts do not present information in a uniform fashion. There is instead a creative fury behind his presentations.
I can easily envision his GM notebook; It is a collection of hastily cut out, clippings with mismatched that are stitched together like some kind of bizarre ransom note.
I’m not entirely certain if I can create GM notebooks like Zak, but the other option is for me to mentally juggle half-baked ideas and solutions. So why not hit Cmd+P and find a nice 3-ring binder?
After all, I’m a hobby gamer. If I run a shitty game session, there is always next week.