Playtest! Last call!

I sent out the material for the final playtest of Serial this morning. I’ve had several volunteers from new friends and old who have never played the game before. They’ve offered to print out the forms, listen to the audio, and let me know how well this format teaches the game. Getting help is truly a great thing!

If you wanted to playtest the game, but did not receive an e-mail this morning, let me know in the comments.

I can haz vocabulary?

Been playing FreeRice: Help end world hunger

If you don’t know about it, it’s a vocabulary game that donates rice to the UN World Food Program every time you get a right answer. I generally hover around levels 42 and 43. There are 60 levels. Which just go that I like big words, but could stand to learn a lot more of them. Plus, I like to eat and figure other people do, too.

What’s your level?

[Serial] Print is easy, Sound is hard.

Making a recording of game rules that you intend to sell as the final product is proving to be a learning experience for me. In case anyone else decides that this route is right for their game, here’s some things I learned along the way so far.

Use a pop filter
Jeff Lower suggested I pick up a pop filter to stop my “p” sounds from exploding in my listeners’ ears. Even I can hear the difference.

Listen to your playback
This sounds really, really elementary, but I recorded the first few tracks without listening to any of it. When I did listen, I heard this horrible buzzing sound. Turns out my microphone jack inserts a buzz even when nothing’s plugged into it! I tried to remove the noise in Audacity, but then it sounded like I was talking inside a coffee can. Luckily, Rob Bohl suggested I pick up a USB microphone.

Get someone very talented to do the music
I spoke with Russell Collins at Dreamation about the project, and he agreed to do a short intro for me. It sounds great, and sets a pretty high bar for the rest of my recording to live up to.

Record it in stereo
This past week I recorded all the tracks. This morning, when I tried to add in Russell’s excellent music, I found out that I had the microphone set to MONO rather than STEREO, which means that unless I want some people to only be able to hear the game from their left speaker, I have to record everything again. This will push playtesting back, but only hopefully a few days.

More updates as screw-ups warrant.

[By The Stars] Anthropological Survey of Cetus-Four, Part 1

from the Anthropological Survey: Cetus-Four: Unauthorized Colony head surveymanager: Wunfife Aye-fortree

The surveyteam’s insertion went exactly according to protocol. While in transit to Cetus-Four, each team member engaged hyperlearning techniques to master the indigenous languages, as had previously been decoded by the surveyrobot stationed in orbit two years ago. The team prepared itself to endure and dissect the planet-bound, indigenous culture through clothing its bodies in replicated indigenous clothing and rehearsing plausible rationales for unknown humans traveling freely in society.

For the benefit future action of Singularity human resources on the surface of Cetus-Four, it should be noted that physical resemblance to the indigenous population is achieved very easily. Evolutionary divulgence from the basic genestock of the Singularity has been minimal in the 3,542 years since the planet’s illegal colonization.

The rationale for unknown humans to be wandering is far more challenging. In the end, this surveyteam decided to capitalize on the fact that the indigenous peoples still use surfacecraft to traverse the planet’s many oceans. Our rationale involved washing up on shore after a storm. We explained our presence as survivors of a shipwreck.

The difficulty faced by more plausible rationales lies in the most central and peculiar of Cetus-Four’s social structures. The presence and strength of this structure caused continual confusion among this surveyteam, as well as excessive overtaxing of archival, obsolete anthropological sources. One tangental majorityopinion was to marvel at how far humans can devolve in three-half short millennia of isolation. In the time since these criminals defied Singular will and colonized here, the indigenous people have resorted to living in families.

To Be Continued…