I just noticed that I've been saying "fuck" a lot. Well, tough.
Hey, I'm actually feeling sort of human today. The beast had moved to my lower back for a few days, but after a solid beating from various fluids and analgesics, I think I might just about be back to normal. About fucking time.
We now return you to our regularly scheduled yammering.
So, I went to the doctor on friday (after getting another massage, which helped a bit), and she poked and pushed and pulled a little bit, and said, yep, you've got muscle spasms real bad, but it's not any spine or disc related thing. She gave me a prescription for some muscle relaxants (skelaxin) and an anti-inflammatory (naproxen), and said that if it didn't get better after a week, to call her back and start making arrangements for physical therapy. So, that's fun. I thought that I was pretty much done last night - my back wasn't hurting at all, and things had just moved up into my neck and shoulders, but I woke up this morning (da da da dum) and the knife under my shoulder blade was back. Fuck.
In other news, I managed to sit and concentrate at the computer long enough to hit my deadline last week, and I haven't heard anything from anyone since, so I appear to be in a slack zone for a little bit, which is good. I've got the core stuff for Parallax pretty solid, I think, so now it's time to start coding in earnest. But first, more drugs.
My back's been spasming something fierce for the last week or so, pretty much fluctuating from low grade aches to shooting pains, sometimes up around the shoulders, depending on what I'm doing. This hurts a lot, and makes it hard to sleep, or sit at the computer for any length of time. Upshot: not getting a whole lot of rest, and making it no fun to concentrate on work. Also, we're doing Buddha Fist in "tai chi" class right now - although it's more a shaolin thing - and there's no way I can do that like this, so, skipping class until it gets better.
Not sure how to go about making this better, really. Bernie made me go get a back massage, which was nice, and made it feel better for, oh, about an hour. Laying flat helps a bit, but again, not for long. So, spending a lot of time doing nothing, drinking a lot of water, taking hot showers, and chugging ibuprofen. Probably see if that massage therapy has anything to it again sometime soon, and I think it's time to bug the doctor again, see if she can say anything about it.
On the upside, Bernie made some espresso, then went and got me a dozen Krispy Kremes last night. The sugar rush seemed to help my concentration a bit. Still, on the 4am-noon sleep schedule, which really isn't great for interacting with the real world much. Bah. Looking forward to lying on the couch and doing exactly nothing this weekend.
So, busy and stuff.
I've been working on the idea of character flaws in a play setting, as a method of limiting the out-of-control power spiral that often happens in certain open-ended games. I think this is an elegant way to build "release valves" into characters that may otherwise just continue on the treadmill to demigod-hood. Instead of just becoming more and more powerful, until it is no longer fun to play them, play with them, or create a world challenging enough for them to play in, characters may have explicitly defined "fatal flaws" that may be discovered and exploited by other players in a competitive setting, or by the players' enemies in a "scripted" setting. These must be interesting enough to be accepted as an essential part of story and character development, so the player won't feel cheated, while still being inevitable enough, one way or another, to eventually knock the character's standing down in some way another, so they no longer present an insurmountable opponent to those playing against them.
The exact implementation of this in the game I'm currently working on is still undetermined, in the process of being mulled over and figured on, but I've been playing with some really stripped-down mechanics to test different theories. One of the results of this fiddling is a card game, Tragedy, which captures some of the feeling of probing and exploiting, but in a much more drastic way, more suited to a quick game than an ongoing play session. I've run a handful of tests, trying different things (giving an attacker half of your cards when they hit the right "flaw" card rank, eliminating the high/low hints, different hand building strategies, etc.), but I think this one is a good first shot at balancing the screwage with relatively fair game play. It's still a little random for my liking - I'd like it to be a bit more stategy-oriented than luck-driven, and it's a lot less fun with just two players - but for now, it'll do.
If you use Netflix, and you want to surprise yourself, go to your queue page, and use this bookmarklet to randomize your list. If you're feeling lucky, throw a document.forms.MainQueueForm.submit(); near the end there to make it shuffle and submit the form for you.
Me, I've got stuff to do.