Happy New Year!

Happy New Year, everyone!

Well, saying I’d take a little while and update the Arcane Alphabets fonts took … more than a while. I now have 24 font packages on DriveThruRPG — that’s more than 24 fonts, as most of them contain several. It’s the little update that grew. I’ll have to admit, I’ve been enjoying myself. There’s just something viscerally pleasing about creating a font and seeing it go from an outline in a font editor to one that’s right up there on your screen with Times New Roman.

That certainly doesn’t mean that I’ve been slacking off on the programming, though!

There’s another new TableMaster update coming soon. Just a few new commands (none of them exciting … but for table development, sometimes it really helps if you can use a .BEEP, for example) and some bug fixes. I still have three more open bugs in the bug tracker. That’s a bit of a joke: the “bug tracker” is really just a file I list them all in; given that the latest bug is #81 — on certain errors, table files get left open — it’s not really crying out for a fancier solution.

Work on the new Table Pack is proceeding apace. I’m expecting to be done by the end of the month, if I don’t get sidetracked by more programming. I’ll post some sample output from some of its tables soon. I’m particularly fond of the one that creates islands.

And speaking of other programming, many years ago I wrote a little utility program that did basic letter transposition ciphers, either using pre-written transposition keys or generating new ones. I haven’t seen the thing in over a decade; I probably never bothered to transfer it over to the new computer, several computers ago; it got lost in the clutter. So, a year or so back, I decided to reconstruct it. And as y’all have noticed, I can’t not tinker with things. So I added a feature. Then another one. And another. And, well, I realized this thing might sell.

The problem was, I’d written it for myself. My quick-and-dirty programs tend to be, well, very dirty. They have no error checking or input validation, for instance, because I know what the input needs to be, and I’m not going to put something totally ridiculous in there. The controls tend to be obscure in the extreme. I know what that button creatively labeled button_1 does … isn’t that enough? Of course, if it’s going to be a commercial product, that isn’t enough. So I’ve been adding all sorts of error checking, and making sure that certain controls are disabled when they shouldn’t be used, putting pop-up tooltips on the buttons (not to mention labels that make sense!) and all that sort of stuff. When it’s done, I’ll pack Crypter — that’s what I’m calling it — up with a PDF manual, a copy of the basic Pigpen cipher font, and transposition tables to use that to create some of the Pigpen variants (there are scads) and send it to DriveThruRPG with the fonts and all.

The convention schedule isn’t nailed down yet. But when you see my actual table at an actual convention, Crypter will be there in a nice CD case, along with TableMaster (regular and deluxe), 7 Table Packs (8 if you count the Fantasy 1-3 set), probably three separate font packages plus a complete compilation of them, and all the clutter and odds and ends, like the power failure emergency kits, that seem to follow it around.

And I ran a little amuck in the post-Christmas sales on projection lights and their relatives, plus just before Christmas I got one of these. (on sale at a discount store, of course, because I’m cheap) So the Wintertree booth is going to be the one that looks like Steven Spielberg is under the table somewhere. And also has scrolling messages on the back wall, or maybe the ceiling, depending on the configuration of the space. And a physical instance of the plugdie that lights up and changes colors. Because why not?

Oh, and in the personal news, I’m still having complications with The House In Maine, which will probably necessitate me spending a month up there in the spring. And I’ve been acquired by another cat. She showed up on the steps and informed me that she was our new cat. I said that I hadn’t put in for a new cat, but I was informed that was not a consideration. She was our new cat. So there’s now a calico cat named Cricket in the bathroom, upsetting Caesar, who’s rather distressed that there’s this … animal … in his house!