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Caravel Forum : Caravel Boards : The Illumination : The World's Smallest Bureaucracy (Our News for May.)
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ErikH2000
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icon The World's Smallest Bureaucracy (+3)  
Independant game developers are supposed to be more quick and flexible than those large developers that produce games for retail publishing. And mostly, I think they are, but somehow Caravel and the DROD community is weirdly bureaucratic.

For example, if you decide to make a hold (level collection) for DROD, people will be extremely irritated with you when you publish the hold without first putting it up for peer review on the "Architecture" board. Call it community pride or small-minded orneryness, but don't be surprised when you are grabbed by the epaulettes, and somebody screams, "How dare you sully the holds section with your shoddy, untested hold?"

And then last year, we added a third tier of quality to holds called "Smitemaster's Selection". To author a Smitemaster's Selection hold, you would first need to release a non-Smitemaster's Selection hold rated 8 or higher. Are your eyes glazing over yet? Beyond that, you'd need to privately test the hold and submit it to a shadowy panel for review. At that point, you might be turned down or given the nod to proceed. And following acceptance, it may take anywhere between 2 to 8 months before your hold resurfaces in a blaze of brilliance.

Our annual budget is... ummm... oh, I guess we don't have one. We've only got two full-time personnel, and everyone else is a part-timer. There is no physical headquarters, although two team members are often simultaneously in the same Brigham Young University computer lab. It's hard to imagine that from these paltry building blocks, we'd have six different internal groups, and two more groups beyond that to which players can claim membership. And to exacerbate the Kafkaesqueity of it all, we allow any CaravelNet member to create his own private board and invite selected people onto it.

With more procedures and processes, departments and divisions than a city government, we have an astoundingly high per-capita bureaucracy. But bureaucracy isn't always inefficient or myopic--it's just more complex. The convolutions we come up with are mostly good convolutions that ensure certain results. We really do want authors to jump through twenty hoops to bring you a Smitemaster's Selection. It may take a village to raise a child, but it takes a bureaucratic institution to raise a...

Spring 2006 Smitemaster's Selection

Henri Kareinen made a very cool hold called "Extermination Mission", which he renamed to "Forgotten Memories". And then I went through it, sacked pretty much all of his story, and renamed it to "Beethro's Teacher". Henri was more than sportsmanlike about my manipulations and put in a lot of time scripting rooms to support the new story.

Imagine crusty old Beethro taken under the wing of another smitemaster. Beethro thought he was good, but a new teacher will perhaps humble him. Somewhere on the road between the Perfectionist Complex and Rooted Hold, Beethro finds his new mentor, and of course, new challenges for them both.

This great new hold is not on CaravelNet yet, but look for it in a few weeks. So why do I bring it up now? Because the only way you can get a Smitemaster's Selection CD containing this hold is to order it before I send away in a few weeks for the CDs to be manufactured. If you're already got a subscription, then don't worry about it.

Let me tell you more about what is on the next issue of the Smitemaster's Selection CD...

The Shiny Disc Itself

CaravelNet members will have downloadable access to Beethro's Teacher soon enough, but if you are a Smitemaster's Selection CD subscriber, you will get that plus everything below shipped to you on a nice printed disc with keepsake-worthy cover illustration:

* Beethro's Teacher - a new hold by Henri Kareinen that tells Beethro's story of a newfound mentor.
* The Shadowman - Part 2. The adventures of Emille Song continue in the next half-hour episode.
* The CONvergence - The hero of this scifi audio story must come to grips with a transdimensional situation.
* Recorded interview with Thom Robertson of Aggressive Games.
* Two full-length orchestral songs from the Morning's Wrath soundtrack.
* More music from the DROD games. These CDs are like extra volumes of Deadly Music of Death.
* More freshly released indie games for Windows, Mac, and Linux. We'll be including demos for a couple of RPGs this time, Avernum 4 and Morning's Wrath. And you're going to find a bunch cool indie games you've never even heard of.

Remember this harsh but easily-overlooked fact: it's unlikely you'll be able to order a Spring 2006 CD after two weeks from now. The economics of the situation dictate that I manufacture just enough CDs with almost no extra copies. So order now or forever hold your peace!

Ordering and other info for Smitemaster's Selection CDs

Good News and Bad News

First the bad news: as previously threatened, new CaravelNet members will no longer get every single Smitemaster's Selection hold we've released. They'll get the last one we released and every other Smitemaster's Selection hold released during the time their membership is active. If you think about it, this is a pretty sane decision, and we did warn everyone about 3 months in advance of the change. Keep in mind that this change only affects new members, and the new members probably don't have enough context to be grumpy about it. Ha ha!

The good news is that CaravelNet members will finally be able to have real downloadable hold files to use for backing up their Smitemaster's Selections or transferring them to other DROD installations that aren't connected over the internet. If you are a CaravelNet member, have a look at this new page that Schik created:

New profile tab

It's bound to happen that people will miss older Smitemaster's Selections because they didn't have a CaravelNet membership when those holds were released. Very soon we'll be selling individual downloadable holds at $9/hold. It's still easier and a better deal to just be a CaravelNet member, and that's what I'm hoping people do. But if you do end up missing an older release, you'll be able to pick it up whenever you want.

Don't let me confuse you with that and the CDs through. To summarize about availability of Smitemaster's Selection holds:

1. On CDs with all the bonus content--you can probably only get them by ordering in advance of when they release.
2. By download--you can probably get these whenever you want, but it's cheapest to have an active CaravelNet membership.

Man, all this stuff is hard to explain.

Lover, Not a Fighter

Ezlo has created perhaps the most non-violent contest in our history. As a "Death to Death" contestant, you must make a hold where winning requires that Beethro not kill anything. As I write this, there are ten days left before the deadline, so why not jump in and make something? Or if you're more into playing DROD than making levels, come back around May 20th and try out the holds that contestants made. We will need people to vote on which one is best.

Contest Info

RoboBob3000, A Man for All Seasons

Following my new tradition of awarding nice things to people who don't ask for them, I've picked out forum old-timer RoboBob3000 (Ryan Berry) for this month. I notice that something like 1 in 4 of Ryan's posts get modded up. Why? Because when he starts typing a post, it's going to be something helpful or funny or slightly more brilliant than a cheese sandwich. And he's too good-natured to go around insulting people or acting petty. Ryan hosted the ambitious and popular "DROD Survivor" forum game and more recently posted about a type of puzzle he invented called "Mindsweeper". "Not drod", his Notpr0n-inspired hold, was well-appreciated too.

In recognition of these robo-virtues, I bestow an extra 3 months of CaravelNet plus 1000 mod points.

Topic Picks for May

You can pick your topics, and you can pick your friends, but you can't... Oh, that was lame--I'm sorry. Anyhow, below I have listed some interesting topics on our forum right now.

I Know We Have Some Artists
I encourage the artists on the forum to come out and play.
http://forum.caravelgames.com/viewtopic.php?TopicID=10286

Who is Danforth Strout and Why Is He Making Me Angry?
A painful elaboration of the worst mistake I made this year... so far.
http://forum.caravelgames.com/viewtopic.php?TopicID=9969&page=1#106812

Stick To The Script
Zoombini gots to know, which holds with an emphasis on scripting are worthwhile?
http://forum.caravelgames.com/viewtopic.php?TopicID=10255

Illusion Island, Lost Temple, Jimmythins First Hold, The Zombie Problem, The Super Spy, Tiger2, Spare Rooms, The Defeat of the Goblin King, King Pilchard VIII's Dungeon, Conquest of Paradise, Roaches Revenge, Ice Cap Vision, Island
These are all the new holds (level collections) that have been released since the last newsletter. Fans of Larry Murk should try out Lost Temple. People are really liking Pilchard's hold too, which is 159 rooms large!
http://forum.caravelgames.com/viewboard.php?BoardID=11

MetDROiD
Skell's new stepping game borrows from DROD and one other game whose name I won't mention.
http://forum.caravelgames.com/viewtopic.php?TopicID=9044

Wiiiiiii
I suppose there's lots of places you can talk about E3 2006, but only here do you get the smitemasterly insights.
http://forum.caravelgames.com/viewtopic.php?TopicID=10269

Interpol, Smashing Pumpkins, Minus the Bear...
Recommending music to someone else is an art that few have mastered. In the future, only robots will do it, and Jeff Bezos will hold all the patents.
http://forum.caravelgames.com/viewtopic.php?TopicID=10201

Coming next month: a secret offer in the Illumination that is only viewable by e-mail.

-Erik

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[Last edited by Schik at 05-11-2006 12:06 AM : Fixed a link]
05-10-2006 at 11:47 PM
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coppro
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icon Re: The World's Smallest Bureaucracy (+1)  
Wow. I never thought of things that way.

Still, I wouldn't exactly call it a bureaucracy. After all, we just want to have fun. You want that 8-rated hold as a boon to you, not an offense against someone with a 7.9. Who wants to sort through that stuff we see on the holdsboard that you oh-so-kindly mentioned. Also, I hereby nominate larrymurk for next month's bonus. He deserves it.
05-11-2006 at 12:31 AM
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miketo
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icon Re: The World's Smallest Bureaucracy (+2)  
Civil Service Bureaucratic Motto: A Difficulty for Every Solution
05-11-2006 at 12:44 AM
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gamer_extreme_101
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icon Re: The World's Smallest Bureaucracy (+1)  
quote:
coppro wrote:
I hereby nominate larrymurk for next month's bonus. He deserves it.
Now now, don't forget about the whole Anti-Aladdin principle.

I have a few comments to add:

-The previous story for Henri's hold was mine. It sucked. I had very little time to explain the events that happened in it or to even make the story completely fit in with the Canon. I say this only because Erik refers to sacking most of his story, making him seem worse at writing than he actually is.
-Congrats, Robobob3000! You surely deserved the bonus!
-Subtle advertising for the artist post. I'd really like to see some of the work that could come out of it.

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05-11-2006 at 01:58 AM
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Syntax
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icon Re: The World's Smallest Bureaucracy (+1)  
Erm... before posting... did you guys even bother signing form E-11??
05-11-2006 at 02:47 AM
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ErikH2000
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icon Re: The World's Smallest Bureaucracy (0)  
quote:
coppro wrote:
Still, I wouldn't exactly call it a bureaucracy. After all, we just want to have fun. You want that 8-rated hold as a boon to you, not an offense against someone with a 7.9. Who wants to sort through that stuff we see on the holdsboard that you oh-so-kindly mentioned.

I guess it was my point that not all bureaucracy is bad. And it seems a modern misconception that the word "bureaucracy" always has negative connotations.

-Erik

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05-11-2006 at 02:49 AM
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coppro
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icon Re: The World's Smallest Bureaucracy (0)  
Well, I don't want to get into a big discussion about this, but the odds are its going to happen anyway. I didn't say it had negative connotations, I just wouldn't call it a bureaucracy yet. That's kind of like saying that Sourceforge is a bureaucracy. If a few rules makes a bureaucracy, then I am very surprised.

As a tidbit, bureaucracy literally means "government desk".
05-11-2006 at 02:55 AM
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Rabscuttle
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icon Re: The World's Smallest Bureaucracy (+2)  
quote:
ErikH2000 wrote:
I guess it was my point that not all bureaucracy is bad. And it seems a modern misconception that the word "bureaucracy" always has negative connotations.



Bureaucracy reaucs! :punk
05-11-2006 at 06:30 AM
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Briareos
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quote:
ErikH2000 wrote:
And it seems a modern misconception that the word "bureaucracy" always has negative connotations.

Well, "bureaucracism" would probaly fit that bill a bit better, similar to "democratorship"... :D

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05-11-2006 at 07:47 AM
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John259
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icon Re: The World's Smallest Bureaucracy (0)  
"The best form of government is a benevolent dictatorship." :) - John

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05-11-2006 at 08:02 AM
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Znirk
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icon Re: The World's Smallest Bureaucracy (+1)  
quote:
coppro wrote:
As a tidbit, bureaucracy literally means "government desk".
Or rather "government by the desks". Makes sense in a way:
quote:
Somebody once wrote:
Those who do a lot do many things wrong.
Those who do little do few things wrong.
Those who do nothing do nothing wrong.
Those who do nothing wrong get promoted.

05-11-2006 at 01:51 PM
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RoboBob3000
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icon Re: The World's Smallest Bureaucracy (+2)  
Wow guys! I'm very flattered! I don't know what to say! Thank you so much!

It's really weird to see "2 out of [four-digit number]" when hovering over the moderation links. One-thousand-plus points is a huge responsibility. I have no idea how I'm going to spend them all in this lifetime. I'll have to start being excessively generous, I guess. Or I suppose I can go about modding down people with more rank points with me.

Or better yet:

*puts 1000 mod points on red*

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05-11-2006 at 10:23 PM
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Mattcrampy
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icon Re: The World's Smallest Bureaucracy (+2)  
Black, 25. You lose.

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05-12-2006 at 07:40 AM
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jbluestein
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quote:
RoboBob3000 wrote:
Wow guys! I'm very flattered! I don't know what to say! Thank you so much!

It's really weird to see "2 out of [four-digit number]" when hovering over the moderation links. One-thousand-plus points is a huge responsibility. I have no idea how I'm going to spend them all in this lifetime. I'll have to start being excessively generous, I guess. Or I suppose I can go about modding down people with more rank points with me.

Or better yet:

*puts 1000 mod points on red*


Go RoboBob! Did you ever solve the whole Puzzle Boat thing? My team hit a wall at 23 puzzles solved and so far haven't managed to crack it. (Although I confess that DROD has distracted me somewhat.)



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05-12-2006 at 02:56 PM
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RoboBob3000
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I know the DROD team managed to make it all the way through after getting stuck at about the halfway point. If you'd like to see the remainder of the puzzles, you should go ahead and log in as us. Team name was "The Smitemasters" and the password was "DROD".

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05-12-2006 at 06:49 PM
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jbluestein
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quote:
RoboBob3000 wrote:
I know the DROD team managed to make it all the way through after getting stuck at about the halfway point. If you'd like to see the remainder of the puzzles, you should go ahead and log in as us. Team name was "The Smitemasters" and the password was "DROD".


Tempting...but I still have this dream of being able to solve more of it. Having all the answers within reach would probably kill my desire to solve it the hard way...


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05-12-2006 at 07:05 PM
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