Town of Salem

Main Screen

One of my friends showed me a new game this weekend called Town of Salem.

Town of Salem is a Flash game produced by Blank Media Games that you play in your web browser. The company recently finished a successful Kickstarter campaign to fund mobile versions of the game, an independent PC client, and translations to play the game in other languages. The Kickstarter just finished so those projects are all still in the works.

The game is a more fleshed out version of the party game, Mafia.

For those of you who haven’t played Mafia, it’s pretty simple. All the players sit in a circle and are secretly assigned roles.

The game is effectively split into two teams, the Mafia and the Townies.

The Mafia want to take over the town by killing everyone and the Townies want to live, which means hanging the Mafia members after a swift trial.

There are fewer Mafia than Townies, but the Townies don’t know who the Mafia are.

The game is played in a series of days and nights. The party game simulates night by having everyone close their eyes and put their heads down.

At night the Mafia wake up and silently decide who to kill that night by pointing at people and gesturing wildly. In Town of Salem they can still talk by typing to each other secretly.

In the morning that person is dead and the Townies can vote to hang someone for the murder.

There are a few other roles that occasionally get included in the party game. The Doctor can heal someone each night and prevent the Mafia from killing them. The Sheriff can investigate someone and find out if they’re Mafia or not. Other stuff like that.

Town of Salem gives a special role to everyone. There are Mayors, Lookouts, Escorts, Mediums, Framers, Jesters, Executioners, Jailors. Tons of roles! There’s so many that a wiki page was created to keep track of them.

Town of Salem takes all the intrigue and guess work of Mafia and turns it into an easy to pick up internet game.

Each game has fifteen players. There are a couple different modes, but the classic mode has 3 Mafia members, 3 Neutral people who have their own agenda outside of killing all the Townies or all the Mafia, and 9 Townies that want to eliminate all the evil people like the Mafia or the Serial Killer role.

The game is just like the party game. People die each night and the Townies try to figure out who did it while the Mafia spread misinformation among the townsfolk.

Its a lot of fun and super quick to play as well. You can try it out at Blank Media Games if you’re interested. I’ve also posted a Youtube clip of one of my games with my friends for your viewing pleasure.

-Mister Ed

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Samurai War

It's back, baby!
It’s back, baby!

One of my favorite websites, Samurai War, has returned from the banished depths of the internet!

Samurai War is my favorite website mostly for nostalgia reasons.

When I first started going on the internet in the late 1990s I spent most/all of my time at the GameFAQs boards learning more about the games I was playing at the time.

GameFAQs has a series of discussion boards devoted to every video game ever.

When you post on the boards you have the option of every single one of your posts being followed by a signature. The signature can really be anything and often people would put links in their signatures.

The links could go to the user’s website or to something more fun like a browser based game.

Samurai War was one of those browser based games that I grew to love.

The concept of Samurai War is pretty simple. You’re a samurai/ronin in ancient Japan. Your goal is to become the most powerful samurai in Japan. Maybe you want to be in charge of a noble house or maybe you want to remain a ronin, either way the goal of the game is to advance your character’s stats.

Stats are advanced through training, but you have to pay for training. Where does money come from then?

Well if you click the link above to Samurai War’s webpage you’ll be introduced to the first method of earning money in Samurai War.

The second method is by engaging people in combat. The winner takes whatever is in the loser’s wallet. In the modern world we call this mugging, but in Samurai War it is called honorable combat.

Of course if you’re just stealing money from other players then no new money enters the system. The game fixes that by having a NPCs spawn every few minutes for you to rob and murde- I mean defeat honorably.

The game is extremely minimalist beyond that. It’s mostly text. There are a few images on the site but nothing stunning. There are zero animations in the game.

So with so little to offer in this game, why do I love it so much?

I’d have to say it’s mostly the friendly competitive atmosphere that developed between the me and the other people were playing it.

After you’ve got a decent amount of money you have to rush to use it to train before someone else in the game sees you with a wallet that big and decides to “honorably take it from you.”

And if they kill you after you’ve already used the money, then you get to laugh at them.

It’s a great game and if you’re into little time wasters you should take a look at Samurai War.

-Mister Ed

Editing for Youtube

Making a new video called Blood Knight Adventures.
Making a new video called Blood Knight Adventures.

I started up my own Youtube channel to have another place for my Twitch videos to be watched.

I’ve uploaded my highlights from Twitch to Youtube and I’ve been posting some edited highlights as well.

Twitch is rather limited in how you can edit a highlight. The highlighted video has to be a specific section of the video and that’s it. No other modifications allowed.

So if you wanted to create a highlight that combined a section from the first minute and the last minute of your broadcast, but nothing in between… Twitch’s in browser editing application doesn’t let you do that.

Fortunately, as I’m streaming I also set my streaming software to store the broadcasts to my hard drive. From there I can edit the videos and produce a better finished product.

The two videos I’ve made so far are called “Holy Alchemy” and “Why Mind Control is Amazing in Arena too.”

They’re pretty basic. I highlighted a specific card in each video from my early Arena runs on my Twitch stream. I edited all the shots of those cards together and slapped some music on it.

Playing with my new editing software was fun. I started using Movie Maker which is a freeware editing program put out by Microsoft.

I took a video production course in high school that helped me learn the basics of video editing. The program I learned on was called Final Cut Pro.

I’d like to use Final Cut again. It has a lot of things that Movie Maker doesn’t. But it also costs $300. 😦

The first hurdle I had to jump over with Movie Maker was the file type for the recorded videos from my stream.

Almost every internet video site, Twitch included, broadcasts their videos using the Flash file type (.flv). My broadcasting software saves the recorded videos to my hard drive as Flash videos as well.

Movie Maker can’t understand Flash videos. Kind of dumb considering that Flash is the most popular video type now, but whatever.

I had to download a converter to change the recordings into something that Movie Maker could understand.

After that it was simple enough, throw the video in, pick which sections I want, delete the other sections, etc.

I remember Final Cut being easier to work with and having more options than Movie Maker.

Movie Maker hides transitions under the Animations tab. Adding titles is also hidden under the home tab.

I’m still unsure if Movie Maker allows custom title movements, cropping a frame, moving a frame, or even multiple audio tracks.

It might that I just can’t find these things yet within Movie Maker’s interface or maybe there’s nothing there for me to find.

I’ll stick with Movie Maker f it does have those options and I find them. Final Cut’s software is better because I know how to use it. Once I’ve mastered Movie Maker there won’t be any reason to switch.

Go check out the videos if you like Hearthstone! I added in some public domain music from Youtube’s audio library. Enjoy!

-Mister Ed

Quantum Roll

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I mentioned that my group uses Roll20 to play D&D.

Roll20 started as a Kickstarter. They got successfully funded and released the beta to the backers before releasing the official version to everyone a bit later.

The folks who make Roll20 have a payment system common to most internet businesses.

The program is free to use if you’d like, but you can also pay a monthly or yearly fee to get access to new features sooner, more dataspace, and fewer ads. Pretty similar to WordPress’s system if you think about it.

Roll20 has an additional feature on their payment system though.

The website doesn’t have the vast following that WordPress has. They don’t make enough from ad revenue to keep the site going like WordPress does.

Roll20 relies almost entirely on people paying for the extra features. Thus is the site has a little tracker saying how many subscribers it needs to “keep the lights on.”

The tracker has other levels it can go up to though. There are a total of five different levels of support on the tracker.

The first level is keeping the servers on to support all the traffic that Roll20 gets.

The second level is having occasional updates done by the developers. This isn’t enough money for Roll20 to be their fulltime job, but its enough to convince them to work on weekends.

The third level is full time work by the developers. The tracker is currently a little ways into this level.

The fourth level pays for a publicist and additional developers to come up with system specific features for Roll20.

The fifth level allows for even more developers to be hired for projects beyond just Roll20.

With the third level not yet complete, the developers are coming out with occasional updates. The new one for May is a bit ridiculous. You can check it out on their blog post here: Quantum Roll

Random number generators on computers aren’t exactly random. It’s complicated to explain, but you can trust the programmers on this one. They wouldn’t lie about a deficiency that they have.

This is frustrating for some people that use Roll20. Real dice are random, shouldn’t virtual ones be random too?

The Roll20 development team has solved that problem by hooking its dice rolling program up to data from a light beam splitter in Australia.

The light splits randomly giving random data details. Roll20 uses those numbers to decide the outcome of a die rolled on the website.

It’s so ridiculous that most of Roll20’s fans have been calling it an April Fools joke or overkill for the problem.

My opinion? It’s a pretty damn cool way to solve the problem using freely available methods. I won’t notice while playing, but I like that the developers care.

That’s all for now!

-Mister Ed

Warlight

My friends and I have been playing this online game called Warlight a lot lately.

Warlight is a lot like Risk, but it allows for almost every custom rule that Risk has ever had and more. The basic rules of the game are the same as Risk though, so if you’ve played Risk you will understand how Warlight works.

Warlight is played through your web browser at this site, on a tablet or smart phone with an app, or through Google Hangouts with an app.

You can play Warlight with your friends, with other random users on the internet, or with computer opponents.

The coolest thing about Warlight is all the different maps on the site. The traditional Risk Earth map exists among many others. There are larger maps of Earth, smaller ones of specific countries and regions, maps of established fantasy worlds (Westeros is a favorite of mine), and tons of other fantasy maps.

Warlight has so many awesome maps because it allows anyone to submit a map to play on the website. There’s tutorials on how to do it along with a free software program to design the maps in.

My friends and I latched onto the idea and I created a Warlight map version of one of our D&D campaign worlds. We’ve enjoyed playtesting it a lot and will release it soon. The map is called Gurutama. If any of you readers end up trying Warlight, maybe you’ll end up playing on my map once its released!

That’s all for tonight!

-Mister Ed