Lots In Transit

Man, this is going to be a ramble.

First off, I’m knee-deep in Superhero stuff right now. Thanks to Spider-Man 3, the Fantastic Four and all the rest, my two sons have become serious hero junkies of the highest order. Heck, it’s almost (but not quite) knocked them out of that Star Wars phase they’ve had for the last 3 years. Right now it’s a wierd mixture of the two. Imagine Spidey with a light sabre, and you’re there. Yes, I know.

A few days ago I introduced them to the wonderful Heromachine. It’s an app which lets anyone (even me, a 5 year old and an 8 year old) draw superheroes using Advanced Identikit Technology. And it works, brilliantly. Here’s a few created by the three of us:

http://home.greywulf.net/images/ironlion.jpg
http://home.greywulf.net/images/deadman.jpg
http://home.greywulf.net/images/shadowowl.jpg

Our Spider-Man knock offs:

http://home.greywulf.net/images/crimsonspider.jpg
http://home.greywulf.net/images/sandman.jpg

Heromachine isn’t just for superheroes though – it covers fantasy, modern and sci-fi too. Here’s our Jedi (with a little tweaking from GIMP).

http://home.greywulf.net/images/jedi.jpg

What’s most impressive is that all of these were made just using the live online demo of Heromachine. Go ahead and click the link. Make your own heroes for free :) Have a blast. Just remember you need to take screengrabs to capture your resulting masterpiece, ok?

All that superheroics made me pull out Mutants & Masterminds 2nd Edition and actually sit down and work out how to generate a few characters using it. M&M is a beautiful system that’s immediately accessible thanks to the many, many pre-generated archetypes both in the book and available as additional pdfs. When it comes to generating your own though, it can be quite…. umm…… intimidating. There’s so much choice and flexibility to the system (don’t get me wrong, it’s a good thing) that it’s all too easy to spend 2 or 3 hours just making one simple character. M&M needs something just one step up from the pre-gens, a selection system where you can choose that movement power, this combat ability and that set of skills to make a complete hero out of the different (prepared) elements. I’m sure there’s a product in the (vast) M&M catalogue which does just that. Maybe Instant Superheroes will provide that flexibility. I doubt it, but I’ll take a looksee.

I’ll also still working on the Microlite20 Macropedia print product. Slow going, but getting there.

Outside the wonderful world of superheroes and RPGs, my hayfever has returned (boo!). Painful streaming eyes, explosive sneezes, itchy skin and razor-blade throat; the full-on works. Yuck. Hopefully it’ll pass as quickly as it’s arrived. Yeh, right.

Coding-wise I’m lost in lua and python development right now. Which is a strange combination, to say the least. lua is a beautiful minimalistic language, whereas as whenever I think of python I get a picture of a dodo in my head. Ugly, flightless, clumsy and deserving of extinction. Ugh. The less said about python, the better.

Essential Linux app of the day is the Gnome User Switcher. If you’ve got a shared computer or need a dummy testuser account active for development purposes, the User Switcher is perfect. It’s a taskbar applet which switches immediately between multiple accounts when clicked. In Ubuntu, just type:

 sudo apt-get install fast-user-switch-applet

to install it, then add it to your taskbar. Perfect for giving the kids logins on your precious laptop :)

I’m done now.

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