Author Archive for Bruce Webster

Webster has been doing game design since 1980, but only has one actual published game to his credit -- Sundog: Frozen Legacy (Apple II, 1984; Atari ST, 1985). This is his second.

I almost forgot about AI characters

In my (still-being-written) Sundog novel, the ship itself is sentient. As the novel explains here: Interestingly, the same technology that gave humanity hyperdrive also made artificial intelligence – always close, always elusive – actually possible. It turned out that intelligence of any form was a sub-dimensional quantum effect as well. But – singularity proponents notwithstanding – […]

Modeling characters (pt 2)

(Part 1 is here.) Frasgird will include both true non-player characters (NPCs) as well as characters working for the player (PCs), either under the player’s control or — if multiplayer implementation happens — under control of another cooperating player. I haven’t fleshed out completely what their exact roles will be, but here are some ideas. […]

Lessons from XCOM: Enemy Within

XCOM: Enemy Unknown/Enemy Within has easily been my favorite game of the past 10 years. Unlike a lot of XCOM fans, I don’t play it as a roguelike game (high odds of failure; permadeath of character); as I mentioned in a previous post, I tend to focus on building interesting teams. But there’s a problem: once I’ve […]

Lessons learned from Fallout Shelter

I have been playing Fallout Shelter for about a week now. While it’s been fun, that enjoyment is facing diminishing returns, and I’m pretty close to uninstalling it and setting the game down for a while. It’s worth talking about some of the reasons why, since they represented issues I want to avoid in Frasgird. […]

Fallout Shelter (Bethesda Softworks)

Yesterday (6/15), Bethesda Softworks announced — and released — Fallout Shelter for iOS. Being a fan of the Fallout games, I downloaded and started playing it, and was immediately struck by the similarities between it and my proposed design for Frasgird. Like Frasgird, you are in charge of a single community — an underground “vault” […]

Made a few changes to the site

Some aspects of the previous theme were bugging me, so I switched to a new one. Also changed the background image, since I’m no longer using the concentric circle model for the colony (for now, at least; it could come back).

Modeling birth rate

Here’s an interesting question: how fast will Frasgird grow due to both birth rate and immigration? It strikes me that — absent both enabling technology and some sort of incentives — birth rate per se is going to be pretty low, perhaps at the rate of 5 live births per thousand women per year (which […]

Frasgird dashboard / coding update

As mentioned, I have started doing some coding in order to prototype the actual game design and underlying models of Frasgird. I’m going this in NetBeans (and writing in Java). Here’s what the dashboard looks like as of this afternoon (you can click on it for a clearer, larger view): The colony map is the […]

Old design notes

I am transcribing here entries from two notebooks: “Collected Algorithms (& Other Notes)” started 21 May 1981 “Ideas & Thoughts / NOTES” started 17 Dec 1981 I only have a few entries from the first one, which really does have mostly algorithms, either in pseudo-code or implemented in some specific language (anyone need a binary […]

Modeling and presenting rings

I mentioned in an earlier post the concept of the rings around the core colony being concentric circles. However, I am currently doing some prototyping in Java of the colony modeling code and have been looking at a simpler approach. One involves using 2×1 rectangles forming concentric square rings around the colony core. Here’s what I drew […]