Weeknotes: 100

Work

I needed to put together a fake government service to demo something to the team, so I whipped out the old “Apply for a Barking Permit”, which we used in the GDS Learn to Code sessions several months ago (back in the before times, when people would visit the office):

Screenshot of the service, showing one previous application in the state “observing good boys”.

I think it went down pretty well.

We had a meeting to discuss a roadmap for launching some sort of public demo and to discuss exactly what sort of features we needed designed and implemented for that. I think that’s a good step forward, as we were somewhat languishing in the state of design and development being totally decoupled, with developers wanting to get on with implementing things but designers wanting to spend lots of time researching and testing things.

With some more concrete dates in mind, hopefully things will get moving.

Books

This week I read:

  • My Tiny Life: Crime and Passion in a Virtual World by Julian Dibbell.

    A really interesting look into LambdaMOO back in the early-to-mid ’90s, starting with A Rape in Cyberspace, but also with essays on more topics. This is definitely a good read if you’re interested in online culture. Despite it describing events of 25+ years ago, much of it is still very familiar today.

  • The Kobold Guide to Plots and Campaigns by Michele Carter et al.

    This was another great book; with the Guide to Gamemastering being a bit of a let-down I worried I’d lucked out by reading the Guide to Worldbuilding first and that the rest would be bad, but no, the Guide to Plots and Campaigns was all great. In fact there was a lot of good general advice, I think this should have been called the Guide to Gamemastering.

    One interesting point which came up in a few of the essays was about giving your campaign a name, to emphasise the theme and to distinguish it from every other campaign in that setting. I realised it’s something most of the games I’ve been in have lacked, and some of those games were actually kinda generic and hard to come up with a good name for. This is definitely something I’ll be thinking of going forward: a campaign premise should be interesting enough that you can give it a good name.

  • Memories of Ice by Steven Erikson, the third of the Malazan Book of the Fallan.

    And a third great book! I was lucky with my reading this week. This takes place concurrently with the previous book, Deadhouse Gates, on a different continent. The stories link up in a few parts, but they’re about very different events, not just two different perspectives on the same thing. I’m now thoroughly hooked, I’m definitely looking forward to reading the next book in the series.

I’ve read 60 books in total so far this year, and we’re now at the end of week number 33. I aim to catch up, and finish at least 104 books this year if I can.

Games

I’d been toying with the idea of running a Traveller one-shot after the current arc of my Call of Cthulhu campaign, after having seen Seth Skorkowsky’s youtube series on it. I put the question to my players after our D&D session, and they’re all up for it. So we’ll be playing that in about three weeks.