Out of all my fonts, Medu — the authentic hieroglyphic one — is probably my favorite. (it’s for sale on DriveThruRPG if you’re interested) And, probably unlike the average person (but then again, are any of us gamers average people?) I have played around with real papyrus a time or two. Naturally, these things converged.
Specifically, they converged in that this morning, I successfully printed some text (the Negative Confessions) in Medu on a piece of real papyrus!
The example to the right is a detail from the printout. A picture of the full page, and more information about how I printed it, is after the break.
This isn’t the biggest change of all time, but it’s a darned useful one. Once again, it’s using ! to extend an output formatting code.
Almost long as there has been a TableMaster, there have been the \C and \c output formatting codes. They arrived with embedded subtable calls, back in 1994 I think. And since 1994, it’s been bothering me that if that embedded call returns more than one word, only the first word will be capitalized. Most of the time, that’s what you want. But sometimes, you need a 2-word (or more) result, and you can’t just capitalize it in the table because that table is also being called elsewhere and shouldn’t be capitalized there. So for 24 years it’s been bothering me.
I just got back from the printer wit the box of new manuals. They’re beautiful. And the DVD case TableMaster is packaged in will (just barely) still close. Though I do hope nobody thinks of anything else that needs to be added to TableMaster, because I’ll need to cut the font size or something to get it in there; they’re definitely at the maximum possible page count now.
MegaMooseCon is coming up this weekend. If you’re anywhere within driving distance, go there! It’s worth it just for the food truck on Saturday. Oh, yeah, and there’s a whole gaming convention, too, of course. And Wintertree Software, with a few fun things.
My investigations into the source material have led to some interesting finds. In particular, I got my hands on a scan of the original Strand magazine from 1903, and looked at The Adventure of the Dancing Men therein. And, indeed, the drawings were very much different. This is definitely going to come into play with the font.
I’ve been working on getting ready for MegaMooseCon, filling orders, dealing with my aunt’s estate, prepping the TableMaster manual for the printer, working on the Mac port (just found where a leftover Windows system call was hiding!) and all sorts of other chaos, mostly all at once. One of the major parts of that has been preparing the font package for a relaunch, 20+ years later.
Actually, it’s two font packages now: Arcane Alphabets, a major reworking of the old one, and Cryptic Ciphers, which is almost entirely new. (one font, Astrologer, moved over from AA because it fit better in CC) It’s the latter that I’m working on right now, and the font I’m currently taking a break from is the famous Sherlock Holmes “Dancing Men” cipher, which I’ve called “Slaney“, named for the villain of the story.
Since I’m surfacing from font-editing for a little while, I figured I’d spend that time talking a bit about the design process that went into Slaney, with some asides about fonts in general.
MegaMooseCon is approaching very much like an oncoming express train. Running around buying pickup trucks, even one just the one pickup truck, hasn’t helped. :p But one critical thing is now done and ready for the proofreader: the new version of the dead-trees manual.
As I mentioned in the last post about the new .ASK command, I hadn’t settled on how I was going to handle variable types. There were a number of alternatives, including separate commands, but I finally settled on having .ASK check to see if the user’s input is valid for the variable type given, whether it’s text or numeric.
That, of course, led to the question of what happens if you want to do that at some other time, not just with an .ASK. The answer to that is probably indicative of why TBL, at last count, has 83 commands and another 64 synonyms for some of those commands: I keep thinking of things that should have a command, so I put one in. In this case, it’s .CONVERT.
Also, there’s a new they-variable. More after the jump.
Just a notice: I’m going to be out of town for my late aunt’s funeral service and to (hopefully) resolve the issues with her estate. Back next week. For obvious reasons, no orders will be shipped (or emailed) until I get back. I’ll be in Lubec, Maine, where my cell phone service will be irregular at best (it’s out where the T-Mobile don’t run), so if you need to get in touch in the interim, contact me through the Gmail account, wintertree.software, naturally at gmail.com.
Hopefully this will be the end of the estate-related chaos (which has reached the point of involving a lawyer) and I’ll be able to turn my attention back to being a software company.
Oh, and make a will. Your heirs (and their customers) will thank you.
Update: Back. Busy being a software company again. Getting ready for MegaMooseCon. Adding some last few changes to TableMaster before the manual goes to the printer for its next iteration, alternating with working on the heraldry font. (note: need an artist who can draw lions rampant, etc.; contact me for details) Hating on American Airlines, whose screwed-up scheduling led to me running through Charlotte airport to make my connection (turns out I can cover over a kilometer of airport in less than 8 minutes, at the cost of my right knee). Still sorting out the aunt’s estate, too, but things are a lot less chaotic than they were.
I even had a vacation! We spent part of an afternoon at Quoddy Head State Park, walking along the cliff trail, taking pictures of the lighthouse, etc. That’s a vacation, right? I mean, it doesn’t have to be a full day or anything?
First, no news on the forum front. Still need to dig into that on a system level. I was going to be going after that today, but a little issue of hexes, or at least hexadecimals, came up.
Since the beginning, some TableMaster players have been Traveller referees. If you’ve played Traveller, you know that not only can your character in fact die during character creation, but if it does survive, one of the things produced is the Universal Personality Profile, a string of hex digits. And, since TableMaster is not system-specific, there was never any way to really do this with TBL.