Archive for the ‘ Code and Design ’ Category

Author’s Note: MadeOfLions and ThePinion from SSG’s Dev team have addressed the Calaquendi issue – the current prologue text identifying the player character as having dwelt in Valinor is incorrect. Their quotes will follow the text of this post.

To preface this post, I’ve been playing LOTRO since 2008. I’m a massive LOTR fan – enough so that our Rebekah’s middle name is Luthien. One aspect of LOTRO’s IP that can sometimes be frustrating is the fact that they can only use The Hobbit and the LOTR Trilogy – not the Silmarillion, or the other entries into the posthumous Tolkien canon. That being said, Standing Stone Games, the successor to Turbine, decided to add the “High Elf” race to the available choices, coinciding with the release of the upcoming Mordor expansion. The announcement was greeted with excitement, as well as some trepidation in some quarters. Here’s an interview snippet I want to share, to start with.

Pay close attention to it, because it will be important.

MMO-C: All righty. Let’s turn back to happy fun Made of Lions. We want to talk High Elves. You guys have already said there won’t be a new class coming out like what happened with Beornings. And Professor Olsen, of course people are going to ask him what he thought about it on his livestream on the official last week or the week before. He said the High Elves would by lore default be Noldorin like Galadriel or Sindar like Thranduil rather than Vanyar cos they never came back from Valinor. So if this happens, will we be getting a new starting instance for them to explain how they’re coming back to Middle earth because High Elves are the ones who went to Valinor and came back.

Libby: Well, that’s primarily the case but for our interpretation, one of the things that we’re thinking of going with is that it’s not only Elves who went to Valinor and came back, it’s also their descendants. We’re going with the concept of… and this is one of those things I think is sort of necessary in our game, in that you’ll need to be… you may have some proportion of High Elf in your blood, for instance, in order to in a way power you down slightly, so that you’re not Galadriel running around, because that’s not really the power level I think we can suspend disbelief on all that well in there are hundreds of High Elves running around and they’re all Galadriel-level people. I think that’s not a realistic way to present it, so we’re going more with the concept that there are people and characters of High Elf ancestry in addition to the sort of straight-up High Elves that we know from the book like Galadriel and in that way, we could have High Elf adventurers that weren’t mentioned, for example, like we traditionally have done with several of our other races and classes. I’m not sure that Grimbeorn had hundreds of kids running around, but for our game, you can make a Beorning and have Beorning adventures. So for the High Elf, you would be a High Elf in that you still have the benefits of being a High Elf and maybe some of the drawbacks that there might also be, like still working out gameplay concept for all of this obviously, but Sauron is going to be especially unhappy about High Elves and that might cause some difficulties for you. You’re going to be feeling the call of Valinor more strongly than other people, than other Elves even. And, as for the original question, we will probably have some starting instance of some stripe, but I don’t want to get into what that will entail at the moment.

Snook: I would say that, and Professor Olsen will probably appreciate this, we do have a fairly large what you might call a lore-doc in how High Elves would fit into Lord of the Rings Online, and that’s something we’ve been looking at, and a lot of it is a little behind the scenes kind of documentation, but we’re looking at a way to perhaps distill that for community read to help kind of place where they will fit into the game.

Ciccolini: Yes. I would love to see the community sort of have more insight into the gratuitous amounts of lore documentation that we generate.

Snook: (laughter) It’s a massive document.

Ciccolini: The community just doesn’t see some of this fantastic stuff.

Snook: I was like, ‘why is this PDF so large?’

So, with that in mind – spoilers incoming. Seriously. Lots of spoilers.

Read the rest of this entry

I really have to ask…

Why on earth does anyone still use blogspot blogs?

The interface stinks, the comment platform is terrible, it can’t do trackbacks to save its life, and the “plugins” are laughable. Why on earth would you use it? It’s mystifying to me.

Week 4’s topic was “Theology and Apologetics”

Here’s the audio!

So… I haven’t posted jack here in a good long while.

Here’s why.

1. We have a baby due within a month.
2. Our kids play soccer now – which consumes the better part of 4 nights/week.
3. I’ve started a game modification project.

Rebekah is due November 7th, but my wife has a history of delivering early. She’s VERY much hoping that trend will continue 😀

Soccer is… wild. I’m assistant coach on both teams, and it’s the time sink of doom. it’s fun, but exhausting.

The mod can be found at

So, umm… I’m busy. Yup. Blogging may or may not resume in the near future. I’m going to be severely hit or miss for the forseeable future, in any case.

Gregarius Aggregation

The folks in the Gregarius IRC channel asked me to write up a tutorial for how I did the Vox Apologia aggregator through WordPress, using Gregarius.

So, here’s a quick and dirty tutorial.

1. Install Gregarius. The instructions can be found here. Enable the RSSView plugin, in the config of your admin section. This is essential.

2. Add your feeds.

3. Navigate to the folder you’d like to aggregate to an external source – in our case, Vox.

4. Scroll to the very, very bottom of the page – you’ll see a tiny link entitled “RSS” – that’s the key to it all.

5. Use that link in the tool of your choice, and begin displaying your aggregated content.

Now, that’s the quick and dirty tutorial. Nothing I’ve done is hard, but you need to tweak a bit to get WordPress to display it correctly.

I’ll forget steps one through 3 – it’s easy, and documented elsewhere. The difficult part is knowing how to format it to get it to show up correctly in a call from javascript or from within WordPress.

Tools required:

1. A WordPress blog
2. External script to format the RSS feed for display
3. Plugin to enable php to be executed from within a page

For number one, I am on WordPress 1.5 for one blog, and WordPress 2.0 for the second.

For number two, I am using rss2html, designed by feed4all, which parses the RSS output into html, to be displayed on a webpage. What I prefer about this, is that I can host the script *on my own site*, without having to rely on yet *another* external application.

There are external options, however. Feedroll and FeedDigest can do much the same, as well – but, they do so on *their own* servers. Which are often slammed. Like all free services, you get what you pay for.

For number three, I use the runphp plugin, from Mark Somerville. It works. You type whatever you want to run from within special html-looking brackets – and it works.

Easy stuff. What, however, do I run? I run the script listed above – rss2html_full.php. What this does, is format whatever the feed inputs are into html, however I want them to, using a stylesheet and template. What you can also do, is run feedroll or feedigest the same way – but they display with javascript. This way is much, much better. I would venture to say that trying to do this with an external tool wouldn’t be very nice, at all.

For sidebar RSS updates, there is a smaller rss2html script that displays it in a more compact, “headlines” style format. I use this as well – and export it to several places.

This combined setup (Gregarius, rss2html, WordPress) does the following things:

Aggregates the RSS feeds on *your* server. *Exports* the feeds you’ve just aggregated – which no other “on my own server” aggregator software/setup I’ve found can do. Plus, it lets you take that exported, aggregated feed, format it and display it in your blogging software, on it’s own distinct page. Nothing against Gregarius’ server-side display – but you can’t put that on *anyone else’s site*. Which brings me to the thing I really wanted to mention – also, with this setup, I can export the *aggregated* feed – *with* formatting, to *anywhere* else.

Gregarius gives you the aggregation muscle, and the distinct advantage of *exporting* an aggregated feed (which, I might add, only blogdigger allows you to do, from the external aggregator tools – and they are notoriously slow!). Rss2html gives you formatting options on that aggregated, exported feed – and allows you to display it anywhere.

It’s a powerful combination, and I hope someone else finds it useful.

Vox Apologia Info Box – The Code

I’ve been telling you, for some time now, that I was going to write some code for everyone to see when/where Vox is going to be, and where it is right now. I got it.

Here’s the code:

[code lang=”javascript”][/code]

Hope it’s helpful. Now, remind me to update it regularly, will ya?

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