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February 19, 2019

GearHead RPG

The Adventure System

Today I updated GearHead Caramel’s adventure system. This is the bit that allows temporary content to be added to a campaign and then removed later- the same kind of stuff as GearHead 1 and GearHead 2’s random plots.

GearHead Caramel inherited its plot system from Dungeon Monkey Eternal, and while DME has the ability to add and remove adventures to a campaign the method for doing so is awfully kludgy. I won’t go into the gory details here but suffice it to say you needed a dead pheasant and access to a graveyard at midnight.

In the refurbished adventure system, you can simply define an adventure object, and this will be inherited by all subplots. You can end the adventure or any individual subplot any time you like. Similarly, when you create a new scene you can define it as temporary. When the plot that created it ends, the scene is removed from the adventure (along with all of its children).

One problem right now is that if you end an adventure while the PC is still inside one of its temporary scenes, bad things happen. I’ve stuck a notice in the code that you should only end an adventure when the player character is leaving that area. I’m sure I’ll find all kinds of other problems, limitations, and unintended consequences as development continues.

by Joseph Hewitt at February 19, 2019 09:24 AM

February 18, 2019

Free Game News


Aurora is a roguelike space exploration game, in part inspired by Star Control 2. There are loads of features already implemented, incluing randomly generated galaxies, various star systems with planets and ships, simple space combat, planetary exploration, research, a dialogue system, quests, a global story, a diplomacy system and more. It looks really well-made and I appreciate the huge variation in gameplay elements that it's built around.

Planet exploration with combat in Aurora.

by Imerion ( at February 18, 2019 12:13 PM


2v2 Tournament February 23rd 2019

There will be a 2v2 tournament at 19:00 UTC on the coming Saturday, February 23rd. Click here to see the tournament thread.

February 18, 2019 09:32 AM

February 16, 2019

GearHead RPG

Commissions Open for GearHead Caramel

In order to fund the hiring of some C++ programmers to write an open source PyGame extension for recoloring sprites, I’m opening social media avatar commissions. Want me to turn you into a zombie? Draw your OCs? Show what you’d look like as a post-apocalyptic hamster? Get in touch. And please, spread the word.

by Joseph Hewitt at February 16, 2019 07:35 AM

February 15, 2019

GearHead RPG

Fine Tuning the Portrait Generator

I’ve spent most of today fine tuning the portrait generator bits, moving the anchors around a pixel or two at a time, and I am now so burnt out on faces that I don’t even want to look in a mirror.

While researching how other artists draw cartoonish or caricatured faces, I found something that I hadn’t noticed before: many Japanese cartoonists draw the cheekbone really low. Instead of placing the sharp point of the cheek just under the eye, they’ll move it to under the nose or even beneath the mouth.

Left: Ataru Moroboshi from Urusei Yatsura by Rumiko Takahashi;
Right: Konata Izumi from Lucky Star by Kagami Yoshimizu.

I realize that this stylistic feature is probably old news to most people, but I am partially faceblind and this is a way to abstract faces that I never could have imagined. Sailor Moon creator Naoko Takeuchi does a lot of creative things with faces, and her use of this style is pretty interesting. For characters who are young or cute, she typically draws the cheekbone beneath the nose.

But for characters who are older, more serious or statuesque, the cheekbone rises to the level of the nose or all the way up to a realistic position right under the eye. I suspect that the lowered cheekbone resembles chubby cheeks, making a face look younger, rounder, and cuter.

I found some nice evidence for this theory in the character designs from Mobile Suit Gundam.

Cartooning is complicated stuff, especially when it looks really simple.

by Joseph Hewitt at February 15, 2019 12:39 PM

February 13, 2019


Server update: Autohost and Ratings

Today there has been a server update. There have been changes to the way autohosts and the rating system work as well as many minor changes.

Known issues

  • The ladders are missing many players and display unranked players as rank 2147483647. Will be fixed on the next downtime.


Autohost voting has now been streamlined to avoid long vote periods:
  • Directly after each battle there is a 35 second discussion time with no polls.
  • Afterwards, a map majority vote is called. Vote for one of two maps using Yes/No, the map with the most votes wins after 25 seconds. This will be extended to four maps as soon as the UI has been updated.
  • Once the map is selected and if there are more than 6 players a start vote will be called.
  • If the game hasn't been started, normal votes can now be called as usual.

There's also a new option to join small team battles. If there are more than 12 players in the big teams host when a game ends, players will be offered to join small team games. If a player declines he won't be asked again for 10 hours. The team games are created using a modified version of the matchmaker. People waiting in the teams matchmaker will be included if possible.


  • Ladder ratings are now chosen such that the rating system is 75% confident that the player has at least that rating.
  • Ratings now have higher variance, meaning they will allow for bigger changes between days.
  • Ratings will change faster the more games are played.
  • Fixed an error in the formula to calculate ratings from team games.
  • Rating uncertainty has been replaced by standard deviation. The +- numbers shown represent one standard deviation.

Minor changes and fixes

  • Fixed some user flags being incorrect.
  • Prevent users from vandalizing empty autohosts by setting custom maps on multiple of them.
  • Only count custom matches for Elo if the teams are even.
  • Spectate afk players on game start.
  • Allow anyone to call !spec to spectate afk players.
  • Only allow allies to vote on in-game kicking.
  • Abort MM battles if a player doesn't load in and ban that player, use !force to circumvent this.
  • Reduce force start time from 180sec to 160sec.
  • Fix autohosts getting deleted on every server restart.
  • Add the logged in player to the end of the ladder if he isn't on it.
  • Add a searchable ladder page with the full ladders.
  • Make sure the Space Lobster rank is unreachable.
  • Prevent an exploit where players could spoof awards and force start games.
  • Fix XP not being given out for some battles.
  • Disallow joining matchmaker if the player is still fighting in another battle and that battle has been going on for less than five minutes.

February 13, 2019 12:09 PM

Free Game News

The Dark Mod - 2.07

Impressive stealth-game The Dark Mod has got a new update. It's primarily a stability release that improves many of the new things introduced in the last release, such as soft shadows. There are also various smaller improvements to gameplay and a few new assets. As before, this is a very polished and nice looking game!

Sneaking around in The Dark Mod. Notice the impressive shadows!

by Imerion ( at February 13, 2019 12:00 PM