Monthly Archives: August 2010

Ludus Novus 020: Acceptable Losses

Ludus Novus
Ludus Novus
Ludus Novus 020: Acceptable Losses

In this episode of the Ludus Novus podcast, I discuss the basic minion summoning and equipment mechanics of Overlord, and how they both encourage tactical gameplay and maintain the characterization of the player character.

The music for this episode is from “medieval evil” by Baal Anamelech and is available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 3.0 license.


I’m thinking of doing something to bring in a bit of extra money, as things are a bit tight at the moment. One option is to sell a CD-ROM printed-on-demand containing all of my already-released games. My sponsorship agreements would allow me to do so if the games were “site-locked” to only run on a player’s own computer. I’d also make the games ad-free, of course. I could possibly offer source code, although I’d have to do something to protect my sponsors’ investment; the first thing that comes to mind would be including source code but no assets, so that the games could be examined but not easily compiled.

I could also do the same thing, but not on a physical CD; buyers would just get a DRM-free download containing the games.

Would any of the visitors to this blog be interested in some sort of merchandise along these lines? Any special requests or suggestions? Any ideas as to an appropriate price point?

[EDIT: Trythil raised a question in the comments that I should address. Games wouldn’t be locked to a specific computer; they would just be prohibited from being hosted online. Specifically, some of my sponsorship agreements require advertising to be included in any widely-distributed version, and I don’t want to force paying users to watch ads. I also should have said that I’d personally like to make sure ad-free versions don’t get hosted on portals, as that would mean I wouldn’t make money off of it. Whether you consider this “DRM” is up to you; it probably technically falls under the definition of the word. However, the package would contain no digital restrictions on copying or distribution, which is what most people think of when they say “DRM.” This release would not be offered under a CC or otherwise copyleft license, so ethical restrictions would still apply to certain kinds of copying. I don’t believe in enforcing those restrictions, though.]

Exploit Antiblocker Update

Based on a request by Kongregate user Enthernalcz, I added a new type of block to my 2009 game Exploit. His original message read:

Gregory, could you please add buffer nodes that make the blocker node active instead of deactivating it in Exploit? It would then be Turing complete, allowing us to do complete gates.

I think he was actually requesting functionality that would let blocker nodes act as a rudimentary 1-bit memory unit that could be turned on and off at will. However, that’s a bit complex to do with how Exploit handles its blocks, so I went for a simpler interpretation of the request. I’ve added the “Antiblocker” block type, which always allows packets through unless it’s sent a signal from a Buffer node. I haven’t actually done the thinking to figure out if this allows Turing completeness, but it’s probably a step in the right direction. I let this request sit for almost a month, but it only ended up taking me an hour or so to code.

Note that there’s odd timing discrepancies between the life of a Blocker and an Antiblocker. Exploit, to my shame, keeps track of block lifespans using Flash’s built-in alpha variable, which doesn’t always behave as you’d expect. They should each take the same amount of time to recover, but for some reason Antiblockers are recovering quicker for me. Oh, well. If you want a demonstration of the new unit, check out the sample level I made.

I do have plans for an Exploit 2, by the way, although they’re strictly on paper. These plans include social engineering, puzzles with obscured contents, and a virtual gray marketplace where you can purchase (fake ingame) DDOSes and other bonuses with money earned through optional objectives. Perhaps the best features I’ve got written down are scripts and tools. I’d like players to be able to record and replay click sequences, as well as set ports to auto-fire as soon as they recharge. This should eliminate some of the frustration that players experienced with the game’s sometimes overdemanding timing.

Let me repeat that any plans for a sequel are just that: plans. Not one character of code has been written for such a game, and the due date isn’t a question of “when it’s done,” but rather a question of “if I start in the first place.”