Fantasy

On Dungeon Generation

As a gamer, game master and former (minor) game developer I am always interested in ideas and concepts that make a game out of an activity. In this case, I stumbled upon a blog about game programming patterns. This particular blog post is all about the random generation of dungeons. It is really an interesting read and you can retracte the several steps as the author, Bob Nystrom, made a simulation for every necessary step. Really nice!

One of my earliest memories of computing is a maze generator running on my family’s Apple IIe. It filled the screen with a grid of green squares, then incrementally cut holes in the walls. Eventually, every square of the grid was connected and the screen was filled with a complete, perfect maze.

My little home computer could create something that had deep structure—every square of the maze could be reached from any other—and yet it seemed to be chaotic—it carved at random and every maze was different. This was enough to blow my ten-year-old mind. It still kind of does today.

Stuff with Stuff: Rooms and Mazes: A Procedural Dungeon Generator

 

Gary Chalk Interview

Lone Wolf Logo

Remember the LoneWolf Boardgame I supported on Kickstarter? I wrote about it here. I never actually played it although I still plan to do so. Today, however, I found this really interesting interview with illustrator Gary Chalk who was the main reason for, well, everyone to fund this game as he is the original illustrator of the Lone Wolf Game Books from the 80s. I learned several lessons from the interview:

1. Gary Chalk was working for Games Workshop

2. The Lone Wolf Boardgame rules are from a never published Games Workshop game (I think I knew this before but today it was new to me)

3. Ian Livingston and Steve Jackon are not only the authors of some fantasy game books I own, they are also founders and ceos of Games Workshop and brought AD&D to Europe

4. There is a Mobile Game Book named Gun Dogs featuring illustrations by Gary Chalk (apparently only iOS)

 

Take a look: Amazing Stories: Interview with Gary Chalk

 

Image: Series logo from Mongoose publishing taken from Wikipedia

Game of Thrones: Hodor Translation

One of my favorite characters in Game of Thrones is Hodor, the so called "gentle giant" although there are more nameworthy giants in GOT aswell. Hodor is only able to say his name, but as actor Kristian Nairn statet, he has found 70 different ways to do so. But, to be honest, his leaked script does not emphasize the one or the other way to pronounce it.

In the course of the show it became revealed, that Hodor was not always simple minded but that some incident in his past changed the stable boy to the Buddha-like Hodor we know. What happend, was revealed in Season 6 Episode "the Door". If you don't know it yet and don't want to be spoilered, you should avoid reading about GOT in the web. Otherwise you can see here a nice example of a classical translation problem: A word (the name "Hodor") reveals a hidden meaning a long time after you used it the first time so you have had no possibility to adapt the word in a way that allows to reveal the hidden meaning adequatly in the target language aswell - and now you've got to deal with this. How could one ever know, that "Hodor" is kind of an abbreviation of "Hold the door"? For languages similar to English as German, it was a comparatively easy task as the word "Hold" in German is "Halt" and the word "Door" may be translated with the related word "Tor" (which actually means "gate" but it may be tolerable to be used for doors aswell), so you can make "Hold the door = Hodor" to "Halt das Tor = Hodor" without problems. Other languages as Russian have had bigger issues with this, as you may see in this interesting overview or even hear in this "language test". 

 

Image: Kristian Nairn speaking at the 2016 San Diego Comic-Con International in San Diego, California by Gage Skidmore

Harry Potter and Politics

While my generation was politically influenced by Benjamin Blümchens more or less sublime left wing messages, the millenials may attribute their political orientation on Hogwarts education...

Kids who grew up reading the Harry Potter books are voting in U.S. elections. And now a new study says the adventures of the young wizard might have cast an enduring spell on its fans, subtly shaping their values and political views. The Millennial Generation is actually the Muggle Generation.

io9: D​id Harry Potter Influence The Political Views of Millennials?

Anakin Skywalker was a borderliner

Sounds like they have found a perfect example:

The tragic hero of the "Star Wars" prequels displays patterns of instability and impulsivity in the second and third films that make him an obvious candidate for borderline personality disorder (BPD), according to French psychiatrists and psychologists.

Live Science: The Psychology of Darth Vader Revealed

Drug or Sci-Fi Quiz?

It is harder than one would guess, but: Can you tell if this is a fictional character/thing or the brand of a drug? Great quiz (and great text!) at Lexicon Valley

1. Alixia: Non-human female? Or cancer chemotherapy?

2. Arborlon: City? Or cream for itching?

3. Autloc: Aztec priest? Or blood pressure medication?

Lord of the Rings Astronomy

In shaping his vision of Middle-earth, Tolkien sometimes ran into "difficulties" of a scientific nature. One he frankly and openly admitted was in the area of biology: "Elves and Men are evidently in biological terms one race, or they could not breed and produce fertile offspring – even as a rare event: there are two cases only in my legends of such unions, and they are merged in the descendents of Eärendil." Given his mindfulness of natural laws, one may ask did Tolkien incorporate astronomical lore and fact into his universe? The answer is, in far more ways than can possibly be explored in a talk of this length. Astronomy helped, and haunted, Tolkien as he set out to develop his universe – or Eä, as the Elves would say.

Dr. Kristine Larsen, Professor of Physics and Astronomy: Astronomy of Middle Earth

Smaugs macro economic impact

Smaug the dragon is typically viewed as a fiscal phenomenon, depressing economic activity by burning woods and fields, killing warriors, eating young maidens, and creating general waste and destruction. Yet peoples - whether elvish, dwarvish, or human - have considerable capacity to rebuild. Why did the coming of Smaug lead to a prolonged downturn in economic activity, rather than a short downturn followed by a period of rebuilding and growth?

Worthwhile Canadian Initiative: The Macroeconomics of Middle Earth

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