"Last Man Standing" En Garde Tournament at HoD

Thursday, December 24, 2009

How long can you stay undefeated on an En Garde track? This is your chance to show your strength!

Heart of Dragons [SLURL] will have 3 tracks set up for competition from December 26th. And you have more than a week to attempt to get the most wins in a row. The 3 best players - with the longest winning streaks - by January 3rd, are awarded.

Please don't scrape me

Saturday, December 19, 2009

I spent some time today going through my server logs, trying to figure out why my CPU usage has gone up 200% this week. I found that someone has been running a script to grab the En Garde ranking scores every two minutes. I'm not sure why anyone would want to do such a thing, except maybe to redisplay them somewhere else.

Please don't scrape data from this site like that. If you do need statistics please contact me first; maybe we can work something out.

Whoever was doing the scraping has been banned from the site. So if you're seeing a bunch of "Access Denied" when you try to get to playprocyon.com, send me an email or IM.

Instant Message Chaos

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Second Life has started sending or resending old IM's. It's not clear if these are repeats of messages that were previously sent several months ago, or if they never got sent in the first place and are only now getting through, or even if they were originally sent to me in the first place.

With the large volume of customer requests I get, it makes it impossible to sort out which are the real ones and which are "ghosts." So, if you've sent me a question or request via IM in the past 48 hours and haven't heard back from me, please send it again, but use my email address this time. I can be reached at rifkin (at) playprocyon.com. That's the safest way to contact me.

New En Garde v1.14

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

I've released a new version 1.14 of En Garde! This version does not have any new features. The only change is a patch to close an exploit. Several months back I was informed that someone had found a way to cheat. Fixing the game to close that exploit turned out to be harder than I thought, but it's finally done.

This update is free to all current owners. You can update either by using your remote to derez and deliver new copies of the game, or you can visit my store and touch the En Garde vendor there. It will give you a whole new setup.

The new board comes with a new version of the HUD as well, and you must use the new HUD to play.

Edit your Team Roster

Monday, November 23, 2009

Now that you can see everyone on your team, some people are surprised by some of the names on the lists. It's easy to join a team but there's no way to leave a team (besides joining another team —an avatar can only be on one team at a time). So there's probably some people on your team who haven't been online in months, or have left Second Life altogether.

To clean up your team roster, you can now remove people. Check the box next to their name and click the Remove button. Warning, once you remove someone there's no way to get them back (they will have to join up again, same as they did before).

Team Rosters available

Sunday, November 22, 2009

One feature that's at the top of the request list is for team rosters. I'm happy to say that this is now available on the website.

Anyone who owns a Premiere Line game (eg. En Garde, Can't Stop) has the right to create a team. Teams can compete against each other for spots on the Team Ranking boards. All players can join teams, and a team's score consists of the sum of all the world ranking scores of its players.

Team owners can use their remote control to get a roster of their team members, but due to a limitation in LSL (web pages are cut off at 2048 characters), if your team is too big you won't see all the members.

So now you can go to the website to see your complete roster. Note, this feature is only available for avatars who have a team (customers who have purchased a game).

New Follow Me v2.1

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Thanks to Kas Kwietz who found a long-standing bug in Follow Me which would sometimes cause your followers to teleport in at a slightly lower elevation. This wasn't a problem if you were teleporting at ground level but if you teleported in to the upper floor of a building your follower could miss the floor and fall to the level below.

Anyone who owns a Follow Me HUD should get an auto-upgrade notice. I had a small glitch earlier today when I put this version into the vendor but didn't upgrade the server. It all should be good to go now.

New Follow Me Update v2.0

Friday, November 20, 2009

A new version 2.0 of Follow Me is available!

This version is much more efficient than the previous version. Although version 1.9 was not horrible, it did use an avatar scanner to detect when people teleported. This could potentially add some lag to the sim, so it only checked once every few seconds to try and be nice.

This new version uses the new llHTTPRequest call, and communicates directly with the Procyon server, so no scanners are needed and it can get updates much faster. In fact, if you're following someone and they teleport several times in succession, you'll see their position update in the map window in real time!

The update is free to all Follow Me owners. Simply visit the Procyon Games store and touch the Follow Me vendor card there. [SLURL]

Can't Stop Tournament

Saturday, November 14, 2009

There is a Can't Stop tournament at DreamVision [SLURL]. The entry fee is L$100 (pay the board in the center of the game hall). It works using the Local Champion scoring: you can play as many times as you want; each game gives you points (but you get more points the better you do). The tournament continues until 6PM SLT Sunday.

Contact OctRose Fouroux for any questions.

Ranking Glitch Today

Friday, November 6, 2009

There was a small glitch with the Global Ranking script today, and as a result people's scores weren't being updated. All the games played were recorded properly, though, and once I fixed the problem everything got counted as it should; nothing was lost. You might have noticed a big jump in your score just now as all the games you played today were calculated all at once.

LindeX Statistics are Back

Sunday, November 1, 2009

There's a page of LindeX statistics on the Procyon website. It gives some historical data for the exchange rate of Linden dollars. Two months ago when Linden Lab changed their website, my LindeX stat page broke. That's because Linden Lab doesn't provide any easy way to access those statistics. In order to gather them, my web site has to fake a login to secondlife.com and scrape the data off the LindeX page. When they changed the login process, my script couldn't handle the new login procedure.

I finally figured out how to handle the new login page, so the statistics are back up. It's not of great use to a lot of people, but it is kind of pretty and I like having it.

If there's some other sorts of statistics you people might be interested in, post it in the comments here.

Games Triathlon at Events Inc

Monday, October 26, 2009

Events Inc is hosting a Procyon Games triathlon event this week. The best players in Frootcake, Can't Stop, and En Garde will win prizes.

First, you have to sign up at their sign-up board: http://slurl.com/secondlife/North%20Norway/184/34/22

Then, just play the games. Your score is determined by adding together your World Ranking in each of the three games. Lowest score at the end of the tournament wins. The scores will be tallied on November 10th 6AM SLT.

It costs L$100 to enter, and the prizes range from L$1500 for first to L$250 for 4th place.

Stroker sues Linden Lab

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Stroker Serpentine, best known for creating the SexGen line of erotic furniture in Second Life, is suing Linden Lab. I'm concerned.

Certainly, I have a lot of sympathy for Mr. Serpentine. He has to deal with rampant piracy. People across the Grid make illicit copies of his products, and sell them, even under the same trademarked name. That's wrong. Linden Lab, demonstrating its usual level of customer service, really doesn't do anything about it. Complaining to them is a waste of time. The one time they did try to remove an infringing item, they accidentally destroyed every working copy of his bed in existence. If that happened to me, I'd explode.

Except—it did happen to me. Literally the day after I released En Garde, Linden Lab made a change in the LSL scripting language that broke the game.

I accepted it as part of doing business in Second Life. Second Life is a horrible, buggy, unstable platform, and it's been that way for years. It will never get better. The best you can hope for is to find some way around all the ugliness. So when Linden Lab broke my game, I started coding a way to fix it.

Fortunately, Linden Lab fixed it before it could release my patch. And En Garde has gone on to become very successful. I didn't stress out about it too much, and my blood pressure didn't go up.

If I were really the creator of SexGen, I don't think I would get too upset over copyright violations. By most accounts, Mr Serpentine has made over a million dollars selling beds in Second Life. A million dollars. If I felt I was getting irked over people copying my stuff, and I had a million dollars, I'd just book a week's vacation in the Caribbean.

The Class
One thing puzzles me, and I haven't seen anyone talk about it. This lawsuit is being filed as a class action. Class action lawsuits are meant to consolidate plaintiffs when you have thousands of people who have been wronged. It streamlines the legal process and makes it possible for people who wouldn't otherwise be able to sue to gain redress.

But if you read the complaint, the class of people who are allowed to participate are creators who have registered Trademarks and Copyrights.

How many people in Second Life are selling goods with registered trademarks and copyrights? Registering a trademark costs a good bit of money. Copyrights are cheaper, but you still have to file the paperwork. I'd bet there's less than a dozen people, not counting corporations like Coke and Adidas, who actually own registered trademarks on items they sell in Second Life. So who's going to join this lawsuit?

I see a lot of people cheering for Mr. Serpentine. But I think a lot of that enthusiasm is borne of the frustration people have felt when dealing with the brick wall that is Linden Customer Support. Would people be so encouraging if this becomes a battle of Linden Lab versus the Fortune 500?

The Remedy
Policing IP infringement is hard. It's hard even when you have a simple website. That's why almost any website, when given notice of a DMCA violation, will immediately take down the indicated content. It's easiest to punish first and ask questions later. Determining if something really is infringing takes work. A human has to investigate the claim, see if the person filing the complaint truly has the rights to the IP, determine if the claimed work infringes (maybe it's Fair Use?)... nobody wants to do all that. So they just take it down, hopefully inform the other party, and let them sort it out in court.

The situation is even worse for Linden Lab. To investigate a claim they'd have to walk around in a virtual mall. Maybe the infringing item is one vendor among one hundred on a wall of vendors. When I'm shopping and I know the item I'm looking for, it can take me ten minutes browsing through the store to find it. I don't think they can simply ban the account either. If someone is selling one infringing item in an otherwise legal store, does that justify banning them? I don't think so. There's too many people complaining about Linden Lab banning them, and being unable to reinstate their account, already. It would be too easy to frame someone for infringement.

There is one solution that Linden Lab could take to resolve this situation. It would actually reduce their enforcement costs. But it's a solution I fear, because it is so simple and obvious -- and wrong. Linden Lab could remove all ability for people to sell items in-world. All purchases would have to be done through XStreet.

If everything was sold through XStreet, then Linden Lab could enforce DMCA takedown requests exactly like everyone else. If someone is selling an infringing item and they get a complaint, then they take down the page. Simple and easy, and nobody could fault them for negligence, because it's exactly what every other website is doing.

Linden Lab takes 5% of every sale on XStreet. So if that became the sole place to purchase items, then every content creator takes a 5% hit. Or they pass that on to buyers.

I sell items both in-world and on XStreet. When XStreet was independent, I accepted the 5% fee as a part of doing business, and a reasonable surcharge for the additional exposure they gave me. When Linden Lab took over XStreet, I grumbled a bit but didn't do anything. If XStreet becomes the exclusive marketplace, though, I will have to raise my prices to compensate.

Frootcake Tournament at Events Inc

Sunday, September 13, 2009

NonsmokerGirl Tulip is running a Frootcake tournament at Events Inc (SLurl: http://slurl.com/secondlife/North%20Norway/217/27/22). The event runs from Sep 16th to Sep 23rd (one week, Wednesday to Wednesday Noon SLT). The scoring is standard Frootcake tournament style: players are ranked based on the Local Customers for games played on the Event Inc tables. Prizes will be awarded as follows:

  • First Place, 1250
  • Second Place, 1000
  • Third Place, 750
  • Fourth Place, 500

Can't Stop Tournament at Confessions

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Confessions is running a Can't Stop tournament through June 18th. The Can't Stop table is just around the corner from the teleport landing (SLURL). It's a standard Local Champions tournament—the standings on the local board determine the winners at the end. I just visited and there's only a couple names up, so anyone can steal first place with just a few games right now. Each game costs $40 to play; the winners will be awarded prizes at 5PM SLT June 18.

Prizes are as follows:
  • First Place $2000
  • Second Place $1000
  • Third Place $500

New Tournaments for Can't Stop and En Garde

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Tyr Akina and Aries Oh are running a Can't Stop Tournament on Saturday May 30th.

Sign up at the Game Parlor in Dragon Nest. There is a $50 sign-up fee to join, but the more people who enter, the bigger the prizes. Right now the winner will receive $1250. There are also prizes for Second Place ($750), Third Prize ($500), and Fourth Prize ($250).

All games played on Saturday are scored in standard Local Scoring format. At midnight Saturday/Sunday, the top 4 scores qualify for a final three games to be played on Sunday.

Nonsmokergirl Tulip and Fruitcake Altstatter are running an En Garde tournament for two weeks, from June 3rd through June 17th.

Sign up by paying $100 to the Yellow sign-up board at Paradiso Mall. This tournament runs on the World Ranking system, so you can play games on any En Garde set anywhere, as long as you've registered for the tournament. Guaranteed minimum prizes are $1500 for First, $1000 Second, $500 Third and $250 Fourth. Your tournament placing is determine by your World Ranking as of the end of the tournament.

Server Migration

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The server glitches that brought things down for three hours on Wednesday have been continuing, with short interruptions on Friday and today. So my hosting provider Linode is migrating my server to new hardware. This will hopefully take less than an hour, and then the server will be back up and more stable. I'll update this post when the migration is complete. In the meantime, be aware that any games you play will not be tracked, so they won't count towards your ranking points.

UPDATE: That went considerably faster than expected. Everything should be back up now, and hopefully more stable.

Will the Lindens shut down En Garde?

Friday, May 22, 2009

The latest pronouncement from Linden Labs is that they are going after camping chairs. People who try to artificially inflate their traffic stats by using camping chairs will be warned that they are in violation of the Terms of Service.

This is a continuation of their previous policy banning traffic bots. Traffic bots are almost universally despised as a drain on the server resources, providing no benefit to the population at large. So that move was largely applauded by the residents. Camping chairs, however, have a larger base of supporters. And this move leaves some people wondering—if camping chairs are banned today, will games like En Garde be next?

I don't deny that En Garde can be used as a traffic draw. In fact, I promote it as a key feature. I added features such as Local Scoring and Teams to give people more reasons to visit a particular site. Rez a copy of En Garde on your land, and people will have reason to stick around.

But I don't think anyone has any reason to fear that En Garde will become illegal. And that's because: It's All About Appearances. Linden Lab is concerned with the image of Second Life, above all else.

Consider, for example, the Linden Lab policy on gambling. Many people are confused by the Lindens' confusing and contradictory pronouncements on gambling in Second Life. Casinos across the grid were shut down, and games like poker and slot machines vanished. Yet other games where people can wager and win money, like Zingo, are still thriving, even though winning at Zingo takes arguably less skill than poker.

The policy becomes clear, though, when you think about appearances. How does it look to someone else—someone visiting Second Life for the first time? Everybody knows what a casino looks like. Everybody knows how a slot machine works. You can see poker games twenty-four hours a day on ESPN. "Everybody" knows that's gambling. It looks like gambling. Zingo, on the other hand, isn't well known outside Second Life. If a newbie wanders into a Zingo game, they might be puzzled over it, but nobody is going to be offended.

Now consider camping chairs, and the appearance they give to Second Life. Imagine you're a newbie. Hey, there's a space with lots of green dots! There must be a lot going on there! You teleport, and indeed there's a crowd of people. Some of them are dancing, or sweeping up the place. You greet them, "Hello! Does anyone want to chat?" but they ignore you. Nobody, in fact, seems to be talking at all. After a few more frustrated attempts, you try another crowded place, with the same results. Second Life seems to be full of avatars doing nothing, affording no chance of interacting with another person. Camping chairs make Second Life seem dull and lifeless.

En Garde, to the contrary, is a fantastic spectator sport. I often enjoy just watching people play. And of course, in order to play the game, you have to actually be at your computer. So if some new player is curious about the game, all they have to do is ask. I've had some people tell me that En Garde is the only reason that they still play Second Life. En Garde makes Second Life fun.

So, don't worry about having an En Garde game rezzed on your land. The Lindens aren't going to ban it.

Server is back up

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Procyon server got rebooted, and for some reason didn't come back up in a good state. So everything was down for about 3 hours. I've got everything back up and running now.

Play Around the World

Monday, April 20, 2009

One of the great things about Second Life is its international community. Linden Lab hasn't published user metrics in quite a while, but here is a visualization from the end of 2007 that shows USA-based players are only 37% of the user base. I'm sure that number has only decreased. Through my store I've met and made friends with people from countries all over the world.

Playing games is a great way to get to know someone. You might not have anything in common with a dentist from Brazil, and not having any language in common might make communication seem impossible. But once you face off in a match of En Garde, the only point you need to make is at the end of your epeƩ. Euro-style games, in particular, force you to get inside the head of your opponent. And that works even if you can't talk to him.

I try to keep the language-specific components of my games to a minimum, so once you know how to play you're not hampered by an unintelligible interface. But that "once you know how to play" can be a barrier. So I've started to add translations of the game rules to the website. So far I have Frootcake in French, and En Garde in Italian. These were both contributed by bi-lingual players (thanks to Jyzabelle Andel for the French rules!). If you or someone you know can help translate rules into another language, you can either email it to me or drop a notecard on me in-world. A Spanish or Portuguese translation of En Garde would be great -- I know there's a fair number of players who would be helped by that. There's also quite a few Tinies who like to play Frootcake, but I suppose I could just make a copy of the rules in a really small font.

Do you have a story about meeting/playing against someone from another country? Post it in the comments here!

En Garde review at New World Notes

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Kanomi Pikajuna is the new games reviewer at Wagner James Au's New World Notes blog, and for her first review she has chosen En Garde! It's a nice write-up and should hopefully bring a lot of new players to the game. I'd encourage people to post comments there -- especially if you're running tournaments and want to bring in some fresh blood.

Kanomi Plays: En Garde

En Garde Tournament

Monday, April 6, 2009

NSG Tulip is running an interesting En Garde tournament. Instead of doing it with an elimination bracket like most other tournaments, she's using the World Ranking system to determine the best player. Here is the info:

The En Garde World Open
You can enter the tournament here by paying the Yellow Tournament Board 100 L.
UPDATE: This SLURL will take you directly to the board if you couldn't find it before (it's hidden in a corner of the mall)

Tournament Begins April 8th 12 noon
Tournament Ends April 22nd 12 noon

Thousands in Prizes!!!

1st Place 1500
2nd Place 1000
3rd Place 500
(prizes are guaranteed minimums)

The Details:

  • You can play any player in SL...regardless of whether they have entered the tournament or not. All your games count!
  • You can play ANY player ANY number of times. All your games count!
  • You can play on ANY En Garde Platform ANYWHERE in SL! All your games count!
  • To Win prizes, you must have entered the tournament. Non-entrants will appear on the scoreboard, of course...but they won't win any lindens! Also, they will be considered decidedly uncool.
  • To enter the Tournament, please click on the Landmark Below, and pay the Yellow Tournament Board 100 L.

How to Enter the SL World Open

Standard En Garde Rules apply.

The Tournament Ranking system will be The SL world ranking system. If you want to check your ranking quickly, just hop on any En Garde Platform., and you will see your up-to-date rank. Or, check your rank at the Procyon Games web site.

To Win, you must enter the tournament. The highest ranked tournament entrants will win 1st , 2nd , and 3rd place.

Server Upgrades

Monday, March 30, 2009

I'm upgrading the Procyon Games web server to the latest Debian release 5.0 ("lenny"). We'll keep our fingers crossed and hope that after a short reboot everything will be ok. I'll update this post after the upgrade is complete.

UPDATE: Everything is back up and running, and seems to be going smoothly. I'll keep a close eye on it for the next few hours. If anyone notices something that seems off, please tell me!

Can't Stop Tournament

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

NonSmokerGirl is running another Can't Stop tournament, starting today and running for one week. This is her second Can't Stop tournament — the first one didn't work so well because she discovered several bugs in the game's payment system. So I've fixed all the bugs and let's cross our fingers and hope it works this time, ok?

This is a pay-to-play tournament, so you pay money for each game, but if you win then you win the game pot. Like all Procyon games, the Local Champion scoreboard gives you points for each game you play. The better you play, the more points you score. At the end of the tournament, the top three players win prizes: $1000L for First Place, $750L for Second, and $500L for Third.

There's two tables -- no waiting! (It doesn't matter which table you play on; the scores are added for both tables)

Teleport now to North Norway Mall and start playing!

En Garde Player Matchup

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Here's a new feature on the Procyon website for En Garde players. (I'll be adding a similar feature for the other games). First, go to the registered players section. If you haven't registered your avatar with the web site, it's very easy. All you have to do is touch the registration board at Procyon Games and follow the link it gives you.

Once you're registered, click on the En Garde link to see the games you've played recently. Below that list is a space where you can type in any avatar name. The field will auto-complete for you, so you can just type in part of the name and then select the full name from the list. Once you click go, it will show you your complete play history against that person. It calculates your overall win percentage, total score, and shows you every game you've ever played.

So if you really want to know who is the better player, now you can look up the stats to prove it.

See how much Frootcake you've been eating

Sunday, March 1, 2009

I've added Frootcake to the Registered Players section of the Procyon Games website. If you've registered your avatar (all you have to do is click the Registration Kiosk at the Procyon Games Workshop), then you can see all the Frootcake games you've played over the past two weeks.
Recent Frootcake games

New Can't Stop version 1.04

Friday, February 27, 2009

I've released Can't Stop v1.04 which has several bug fixes and a few new features.

  • NEW Reset functionality
    • Only the owner of the game can Reset it
    • Hold down for a second (won't reset with just a click)
    • Stronger reset, can fix broken scripts
    • Aborts game in progress and ejects players
  • FIXED Sometimes players who had just played a game couldn't pay into the pot in the next game (Commercial Edition only)
  • NEW More robust player re-join:
    • A player can leave the game and return later
    • If the current player leaves, his turn ends
    • Missing players' turns are skipped
  • NEW Chat levels. In the Settings menu, you can change the chat volume from Normal, Whisper, and Silent
  • FIXED A bug where the pot total could carry over from one game to the next has been fixed.
  • NEW The game will now refuse to set up if you don't grant it Link Permissions
  • FIXED Some cases where the game would not reset properly have been fixed
  • FIXED The game logo now always displays when the game was idle.
This is a free update to all Can't Stop owners. You can get your updated copy of the game with your game remote (wear it and say "/8 deliver game") or by touching the Can't Stop vendor at Procyon Games.

Time to Drop the Linden Dollar?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Is the time of the Linden Dollar coming to an end?

There have been some developments recently which have me thinking about moving away from the Linden Dollar.

First, Amazon recently rolled out their Simple Pay system. This gives merchants an alternative to offer their customers. I could set up the Procyon Games website to allow Amazon payments. If you have an account with amazon.com, you could buy a Procyon game with your Amazon account, and never have to spend Linden dollars.

Second, Linden Lab acquired XStreet. There's two problems with this. First, Linden could use their monopoly power to force people to buy everything through the XStreet interface. It costs more to buy a game through XStreet; they charge an extra 5% commission. That means I either have to raise my prices (and accept lower sales), or accept less money.

The other problem with the XStreet acquisition is that it opens Linden Lab up to additional liability issues. PayPal has been notoriously draconian in their enforcement against the sale of pornographic items. There's plenty of objectionable items on XStreet, if you object to that sort of thing. XStreet kind of segregates things to their "uncensored" server, but the enforcement is lax and in any case, simply segregating the content might not be good enough for PayPal. If you sell items of a sexual nature, PayPal won't let you cash out your money.

So there's a not insignificant chance that anyone who sells items in Second Life might find their PayPal account blocked, because Second Life is XStreet and XStreet sells pornographic items.

If I enabled Amazon accounts through my website, I'd just have to add another big yellow button, next to the two you see now that say "Buy Procyon Games in Second Life" and "XStreet SL". You could buy any game right on my website, and it would be delivered to you in Second Life.

What would be the advantages of Amazon Payments?
  • It would be cheaper. Right now Linden Lab charges 3.5% to cash out Linden Dollars. Plus there's an additional 5% "tax" if someone purchases through XStreet. Amazon only charges 2.9% for items over $10 (currently about L$2600). Most of my games are at least that expensive. So I could lower my prices a bit. Or offer people a discount if they purchased through Amazon.
  • I wouldn't have to worry about PayPal freezing my account, because I wouldn't be dealing with PayPal at all. Amazon would be handling the whole transaction.
  • Customers wouldn't have to buy Linden Dollars to buy things. I wonder how many times I lose a sale when a customer wants to buy something, but finds they don't have enough Linden Dollars in their account. You never have to "add money" to your Amazon account; they simply bill you at the end of the month.
But then there are some disadvantages as well
  • A customer would have to have an Amazon account. It's not hard to sign up with Amazon. And they are the biggest retailer on the net, so I imagine many if not most people already have an account there. But it is a hurdle.
  • You have to have your web browser open. I know some people have computers that can't handle the stress of running Second Life and a web browser at the same time.
  • It's new. Nobody else is doing this that I know of. Some people would be scared off simply because it's different.
I'm putting up a poll asking how you feel about buying items through Amazon. Vote!

En Garde Price Increase

Monday, February 2, 2009

En Garde continues to gain in popularity. The number of games played, the number of active players, and the number of games sold each week keeps going up.

That's all great, I'm happy to see the game do so well. But En Garde is more than just a game, it's a whole system. The name textures on the scoreboard, the world rankings, and the website all work together. I've designed everything to scale as much as possible, but the one thing that can't scale is my time.

So I need to raise the price of the game. If you currently own En Garde, this will not affect you at all. All existing owners will still have free upgrades for the life of the product. However, if you were planning on buying En Garde, or you own it and you were thinking of purchasing additional licenses, you might want to do so sooner rather than later.

I haven't yet decided on a new price. If you have an opinion on the matter, please comment on it here.

System downtime Saturday Jan 31

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I need to take the Procyon Games website down this Saturday for some back-end maintenance. If all goes well it should only be down for 15-30 minutes, starting at 8AM PST. During that time, no game plays will be recorded. That means that any game you play while the site is down will not count for World Ranking or any local tournaments you are playing in. I will update this posting right before I take the site down, and again when it's back up.

[UPDATE 7:15AM] I'm starting a little early. The server is now down. All games should continue to function normally, except scores during this downtime will not be recorded.

[UPDATE 8:00AM] And we're back! Everything seemed to go smoothy. There may be a couple hiccoughs today but I don't think you'll notice.

Personalized Play History

Sunday, January 25, 2009

This is something that a lot of folks have been asking for.

You can now link your Second Life avatar with the Play Procyon web site. What that means is that you can go to the Registered Players section of the web site and see your personal play history. Right now, to start, the first thing I added was En Garde games. So you can see every game you've played in the past two weeks, who you played, where you played them, and what your scores were.

In the future I'll be adding more games, and maybe more options too, like a versus feature that shows you how you're doing against specific players. Game owners, too, will have their own section that will let them manage their teams and see how their game units are being used.

Registration is very simple. All you have to do is visit the Registration Kiosk at Procyon Games and click it. Then follow the link to the Procyon Games website. It sets a cookie in your browser -- you don't have to sign up, give me an email address, or even think up a password.

Seven Days of Frootcake

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Nonsmokergirl Tulip is running another Frootcake tournament. If you think you're good enough to win money at the game, here is the place. The tournament runs for seven days until Wednesday the 29th. You have to play at the table in North Norway, but every game adds to your score and the top three scores at the end of the week win prizes (in addition to what you win for each game) — First place is 1000 L$, second place is 750, and third place is 500. Remember you can check the Frootcake main page to see who has been playing lately, and you can also join the Frootcake Players group to look for players.

In-world issues

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Second Life has been up and down, pretty much all day today. It's frustrating for me, it's frustrating for my customers, and pretty much everyone who wants to use Second Life.

I remember when Philip Linden, back when he was CEO, made a big deal out of his promise to bring stability to the grid. And when Mark Kingdon came on, he made the same vow. I don't think they've made any progress, stability-wise, in the past year at all. I mean, look at the log. It's ridiculous. They keep taking the system up and down, up and down. It makes me believe that they don't really know why the system is so unstable. If they knew, they wouldn't keep bringing it back up, would they?

Linden Lab points to the increase in concurrency as a rebuttal. I say that's beside the point. So what if more people can connect to the grid, if it still provides the same inferior service to all of them? "Yeah," they seem to be saying, "we're flinging crap at everyone, but these days we can cover ten times as many people in crap as we could before!"

As a content creator, I find these continuing outages especially distressing. Imagine if you ran a store in a mall (a real-life mall), and the mall operator randomly shut off the electricity several times a day. Not only that, but also locked the doors so none of your customers couldn't get in to your store. Now imagine that the mall operator does all that, but not just at random, but instead watches your store to see when it's busiest, and then shuts you down. Because that's what's happening. Second Life shuts down during its peak hours. The times where there's the most customers in the grid, the most people willing to spend money and by my products. The worst time for them not to be able to see and play and buy my games.


Some new tweaks on the web site

Saturday, January 17, 2009

I've done some minor tweaking on the web site. The main change is I've added a list of recent blog entries in the sidebar, so you can see all the latest news from every page of the site. And I made some spiffy "Buy my games" buttons. I think I've got all the bugs worked out, but if you get any errors or broken links please let me know.

Frootcake Recent Games

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

And now we have the recent games listing added to the Frootcake page. I'm on a roll!

En Garde Recent Games

Sunday, January 11, 2009

I've added a recent games display to the En Garde page at Procyon Games. My hope is that if you're looking for someone to play, or just interested to see who's been winning lately, you can use it to meet new players and find out more about the En Garde community.

You can see it here: En Garde

New Frootcake v1.15

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Have you noticed how vicious those tinies can be?

You know who I'm talking about. They're those little tiny avatars, no more than a couple feet tall. Oh sure, they look cute and all, but take it from me, you don't ever want to get on their bad side!

The Tinies have gotten into Frootcake, but there's a small (heh) problem. When they try to sit at the game, it positions them below the table. This is a common problem for tinies. Most sit animations are made for regular-sized avatars, and so when tinies try to use chairs and such it doesn't work so well for them.

This didn't interfere with them playing the game, mind you. It just looked a little weird.

So I got some requests that I add a feature to Frootcake to accomodate the tinies. And I added it to my to-do list, planning to get to it eventually.

Then I got some more requests, and more, and more. Those tinies really pile it on! And they never give up.

Faced with their unrelenting attacks, I was forced to cencede. So I've released a new version of Frootcake. When you sit down, you can toggle "tiny mode" on and off by hitting the up arrow key. If you're a Tiny, then tiny mode will seat you properly. If you're not a tiny, it will scrunch you up and make you look weird. Toggle it off.

I've also recompiled all the scripts into Mono for greater speed.

Merrily Lightfoot wins the Golden Frootcake

Congratulations to Merrily Lightfoot, who is the Golden Frootcake Champion of 2008!

Merrily found the game during Winterfest, but she took to it with a passion. I had to remind her to take breaks to eat and sleep in between games—and I wasn't kidding! Merrily was the top qualifier for the Final Round, and she got there by playing nonstop for two weeks.

The final battle was played in three games, with the Golden Frootcake to be awarded to the player with the highest total score at the end. It was a close match, with less than 100 points separating the top three players. But Merrily pulled it off in the end.

You can see the Global Frootcake Rankings on the Procyon Games website. In addition to the Golden Frootcake trophy, Merrily will have her name displayed there for all to see. Once again, congratulations, Merrily!

Golden Frootcake Finals this Saturday

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The quest for the Golden Frootcake ends this weekend. Come to the Frootcake Diner Saturday 2PM Pacific to witness five people pass cakes until they pass out! Okay, it won't last that long. Just three games. The winner will earn a Golden Frootcake trophy, and a spot on the Procyon Games website.

Come cheer on your favorites! Plus, I'll be spinning tunes live on the air! It's Frootcake fun for the whole family.

Congratulations to the Golden Frootcake Finalists!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Winter Faire is over, and the Golden Frootcake qualifying round is complete. Congratualtions to the five finalists who played hour after hour of Frootcake to get their names to the top of the chart:

  • Merrily Lightfoot
  • Chellee Yue
  • Vaj Vultee
  • Gai Thor
  • Sidney Fredriksson

and the five alternates (who will compete if one of the finalists can't make it):
  • Talesain Caerndow
  • Skyy Jayaram
  • Isis Sinatra
  • Annabelle Edgeworth
  • Mairead Montgomery

The final event, where the Golden Frootcake will be awarded, will be held sometime next week (I need to coordinate a time for all the finalists to make it). I'll post again when the details are complete.

Roll them bones!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Do you need a little more randomness in your life? How about a pair of dice?

These red lovelies are my freebie for January. They're based on the dice from my latest release Can't Stop (actually, the Can't Stop dice were based off of these. It was the first part of the game that I made).

Rez them, click them, watch them tumble. Guaranteed to give you a pseudo-random result between 2 and 12.

You can pick up your own copy at the Freebies table at Procyon Games.