My Dragoncon 2017 Schedule

Got my Dragoncon schedule.

10 pm Sept. 2:  Hilton Room 208-209
Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality: How Crazy Can the Future Really Get?

We are just scratching the surface of virtual reality, augmented reality, and immersive tech. Zombie games, Saturn voyages, military exercises, 360-degree movies: That’s just the beginning of a universe of applications. What are the possibilities of mixed reality tech, and what do we have to lose? David Maass, Andrew Greenberg

8:30 Sept. 3: 10 Rules for Dealing with Police Encounters, Hilton Room 208-209

Knowing and asserting your rights along with common sense can greatly improve the outcome of any police encounter. Documentary by A question and answer session will follow the film. Andrew Greenberg (Moderator), Kara Chappell

Livestreaming Your Way to a Better Game, Part 1

For years we developers had it drummed into our heads to never allow public scrutiny of a game until it was ready for prime time. The (warranted) fear is that negative previews can haunt a game long after it launches, no matter how good it becomes.

Livestreaming has a similar dictum – if you want to build an audience, play the best games, not buggy piles of cow flop. Most game livestreamers are fans of the products we develop. They want to livestream because they enjoy playing these games and want to share the fun with their friends. Why would anyone want to livestream an unfinished game, much less one that might be horribly broken?

We should want this thankless role. By we, I mean the ones making the game – the developers and testers who have to hunt down all those wonderful bugs about which people like to make snarky YouTube videos. After fans began livestreaming their games, developers followed suit, finding this an excellent way to build a community and spread the word. We also began finding other advantages to livestreaming.

One of the newest, and still least recognized, plusses to livestreaming is the role it can have in quality assurance. For those of you who don’t know, quality assurance is the fancy term for hunting down and squashing software bugs. Most developers and playtesters work in quiet environments, focusing on gameplay, creating hypotheses of what should and shouldn’t work, testing these hypotheses, and screaming in frustration when the game refuses to cooperate. Okay, we only rarely scream then. More often, we scramble to pick up pad and pen, jot down some notes, and begin detailing the bugs in our spiffy bug database.

  1. Ease in Recreating and Communicating Bugs

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20 Ranks in Sleep

Sleep has long been the most useful spell for low-level Magic users and wizards in D&D. I never thought I would include it as a skill on a character sheet, but for infants and toddlers, it is a key stat. I have to admit, however, that as parents, RPGMom and I really failed our sleep training rolls. RPGBaby started life sleeping wonderfully through the night, but for various reasons our pediatrician strongly suggested we start waking her up every few hours. Unless RPGBaby was really exhausted, she has not slept straight through the night since. At some point, generally between 2 and 4 am, she would end up in our bed.

However, with RPGBaby coming up on two years, RPGMom recently began telling her how wonderful it is for her to have her own bed and room. Last night, while RPGBaby woke up unhappily a couple times (once all tangled in her blankets), she stayed in it until past 7 am! When she finally came to our bedroom, she proudly announced that she “slept in (RPGBaby) bed!” Definitely a critical sleep roll. That may be part of the reason RPGMom totally fumbled her own sleep roll last night …