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Poll: Blades of Exile

BoE development participation players designers

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Poll: Blades of Exile participation (22 member(s) have cast votes)

Which of the following might you like to do (during and/or following project development)?

  1. Play scenarios for fun (20 votes [25.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 25.00%

  2. Design scenarios (7 votes [8.75%])

    Percentage of vote: 8.75%

  3. Playtest others' scenarios (10 votes [12.50%])

    Percentage of vote: 12.50%

  4. Playtest scenarios to hunt for program bugs (5 votes [6.25%])

    Percentage of vote: 6.25%

  5. Alpha/Betatest the scenario editor and/or the other two programs (7 votes [8.75%])

    Percentage of vote: 8.75%

  6. Contribute to programming and development (7 votes [8.75%])

    Percentage of vote: 8.75%

  7. Contribute art (3 votes [3.75%])

    Percentage of vote: 3.75%

  8. Contribute ideas and suggestions (11 votes [13.75%])

    Percentage of vote: 13.75%

  9. Promote Blades of Exile to others (4 votes [5.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 5.00%

  10. Assist with documentation (6 votes [7.50%])

    Percentage of vote: 7.50%

Were you a player and/or designer when the Blades of Exile community was very active?

  1. Yes (12 votes [54.55%])

    Percentage of vote: 54.55%

  2. No (10 votes [45.45%])

    Percentage of vote: 45.45%

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The Almighty Doer of Stuff The Almighty Doer of Stuff

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Posted 10 January 2017 - 05:25 PM #1 Poll: Blades of Exile

Hi! I'm ADoS, a long-time Blades of Exile player and designer. I'm helping Celtic Minstrel with the development of the Open Blades of Exile project. Specifically, he does all the programming, creative direction, decision making, project maintenance, etc. (the hard part) and I do testing of various kinds, troubleshooting, some graphics work, provide suggestions and ideas, and assorted other miscellany that doesn't involve programming (I don't know how).

Blades of Exile, for those who don't know, is a small software suite that allows you to design and share your own adventures in the game engine of Spiderweb Software's award-winning Exile trilogy (which was later remade into Avernum), utilizing an intuitive, easy-to-use point-and-click system. No coding required, just enter text and numbers, push buttons, and paint the maps, basically. Some amazing stories were told with this system and the community was very creative, with annual general design contests as well as occasional themed contests. Spiderweb Software included three short adventures with the package, and there are over 300 user-made scenarios to download and play.

The program had some annoying and often pointless limitations, but with ingenuity we managed to get around many of them. Now that the software is available under the GNU GPL 3.0, Celtic Minstrel has removed or fixed many of the limitations, loosened many others, and fixed many, many bugs. It now runs on newer operating systems as well. Part of the design philosophy of this project is to keep the look, feel, and play of this software more or less the same, and just fix bugs, add a few spare unobtrusive features, and make sure it runs correctly. There was a short-lived Swords of Exile project, for example, where someone was trying to overhaul the whole thing so it was unrecognizable. That's what we're trying not to do. We insist that all legacy scenarios must continue to play as intended. We think it will be great when it's finished, and we hope the community will reignite.

Unfortunately there is still a good amount of work to do. BoE was a passion of mine for a huge chunk of my life and I don't want to see it wither away, but it can be frustrating sometimes when we don't know who or how many we're working to please. It would be good to know how much interest there is in this project, as well as whether anyone would like to help out more actively. CM would especially like another programmer to help him. So could you take a minute and answer this poll? Thanks!

(I'm posting this in the General forum because I suspect there are many people who don't scroll all the way down the forum list.)
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Posted 10 January 2017 - 06:58 PM #2 Poll: Blades of Exile

I wish there were three or four programmers working on this, not just one more. Ideally, people on different platforms would be great, as I can really only test on Windows 7 (I have a Mac too, but it's so outdated now that I'm not sure if I can call it a decent test). Linux users would be great too; there's already a fork which compiles on Linux, but it's not quite fully functional yet. (From what I've heard, the game is playable on Linux, but the menubar is missing. Thus, the two editor programs would be unusable.)

ADoS has certainly been quite helpful in discovering bugs (along with a couple others), and as mentioned he also drew some new sprite art for the game - new status effects, new terrains, some UI art such as cursors and the scenario editor toolbar. Luz has also given permission to bundle some of her BoE artwork with the game, though I haven't gotten around to doing so yet. Still, no amount of new art is helpful if the game won't run, or crashes, or malfunctions, and furthermore it's very hard for me to fix a crash that I can't even reproduce on my own computer (which covers a number of ADoS's more recent reports). I haven't been working on BoE at all recently, for various reasons, but perhaps part of it is the fact that all the work is on me. I won't let it die - I'll certainly get back to it eventually (like last time when I disappeared from BoE dev for years). Having more programmers to help out, though, might motivate me to help them out and work on it sooner. Given actual work, I seriously believe that BoE could be ready to release within, say, six months or so? Nearly all the grunt work of porting to new libraries has been done. The new scenario and saved game formats are essentially complete, though still potentially subject to tweaks here and there, and my unit tests to verify the integrity of the save/load code are mostly done but could use another pair of eyes to see if I missed anything (and perhaps a few more tests for saved games). Basically, most of what needs to be done now is just fixing bugs. There are a few bigger things I still want to do (like enabling a pref to scale up the game interface in order to account for today's larger resolutions), but they're mainly things that could be put off until after 2.0 if I had to.

Much like ADoS already said, I want to keep the basic look and feel of the original game, which means no major GUI updates unless they can be made optional (with a preference). (Erdos for example was in favour of completely rearranging the elements of the game interface.) I want the updated version to be able to load saved games and scenarios from the original game; this is important because there's no reason to expect old scenarios to be updated to the new format, and some scenarios shipped with prefabricated parties. I would like to reach a point where the original Exile trilogy could, in theory, be re-implemented in the Blades of Exile engine. (Note: I have no intention of actually doing that, and if anyone else wanted to, you'd need Jeff's permission. But I want it to be possible.) If the BoE community reignites, I guess that would be nice, but I wouldn't say it's why I'm working on this. I have scenarios lying around that I'd like to finish and maybe finally release to an unsuspecting public, and to do that, I need a working BoE. I'd also like to finally play A Small Rebellion and The Za-Khazi Run; the latter I never completed, and the former I never even started, and while it's possible to get the original BoE to run on modern computers (for example in DOSBox or Windows XP mode), it's a huge pain. Trying some of the other scenarios by various designers could be nice too; maybe finishing the few I started (like the babayaga one and the spheres series).

But if I'm the only one working on it, fixing all these bugs is going to take time. Possibly a lot of time. If there's anyone who can program, who can fix bugs and work on the game, please announce yourself, and once announced, please try to stick around for awhile. There have been five or six people who showed up, talked about things, maybe got the game to compile, and then disappeared again. Only two of those actually got anything done; Ultra produced a barely-functional linux port while Erdos managed to fix a few bugs (if I recall correctly) and also contributed brand-new file and application icons. In order to get BoE released in a timely manner, I really need more programmers helping. Myself, Erdos, ADoS and Bain-Ihrno simply aren't enough.
Exile 2 Book of Items (I didn't create it, I just converted it to HTML.)

"Man, I know how you feel. I once spent an hour playing WordPad before realising that it was a text editor." – Thuryl

"Dikiyoba just hopes no one ever blows up Saturn. Getting those rings back into their proper position would take hours."

"—Alorael, who spells phoenetically. No matter how much his orthography is a wreck, intelligibility rises from the ashes."

"I've never played a Spiderweb game. I didn't even know SW made games until I saw this thread." —Nikki

Pliant Giant Pliant Giant

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Posted 10 January 2017 - 08:54 PM #3 Poll: Blades of Exile

Do you know what happened to Chokboyz?  He seemed extremely competent.  It might be worth trying to contact previously involved programmers like him, however many years have passed.
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Celtic Minstrel Celtic Minstrel

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Posted 10 January 2017 - 09:06 PM #4 Poll: Blades of Exile

I don't know what happened to him. I ended up basing my work on Khoth's Carbon port rather than Chokboyz's Win32 port (since I was working only on the Mac at the time), though I did cherry-pick some of Chokboyz's code. His email is probably around somewhere, so I guess I could try contacting him. Hopefully he's still using the same email.

(I also cherry-picked some of Stareye's code, but I don't suppose there's much chance he'd become interested again?)
Exile 2 Book of Items (I didn't create it, I just converted it to HTML.)

"Man, I know how you feel. I once spent an hour playing WordPad before realising that it was a text editor." – Thuryl

"Dikiyoba just hopes no one ever blows up Saturn. Getting those rings back into their proper position would take hours."

"—Alorael, who spells phoenetically. No matter how much his orthography is a wreck, intelligibility rises from the ashes."

"I've never played a Spiderweb game. I didn't even know SW made games until I saw this thread." —Nikki

Balladeer Balladeer

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Posted 11 January 2017 - 09:10 PM #5 Poll: Blades of Exile

Love of BoE - Check
Programmer - Check
Mac El Capitan or Windows 10 Platform - Check and Check
Time to Invest - ...erm

Like, what languages are we talking? Doubt the languages I'm used to are the ones its written in.

Celtic Minstrel Celtic Minstrel

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Posted 12 January 2017 - 07:20 AM #6 Poll: Blades of Exile

It's written in C++.
Exile 2 Book of Items (I didn't create it, I just converted it to HTML.)

"Man, I know how you feel. I once spent an hour playing WordPad before realising that it was a text editor." – Thuryl

"Dikiyoba just hopes no one ever blows up Saturn. Getting those rings back into their proper position would take hours."

"—Alorael, who spells phoenetically. No matter how much his orthography is a wreck, intelligibility rises from the ashes."

"I've never played a Spiderweb game. I didn't even know SW made games until I saw this thread." —Nikki

Balladeer Balladeer

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Posted 13 January 2017 - 10:30 PM #7 Poll: Blades of Exile

Ooh... you mean I might actually get to use that language for something other than school?? Haven't touched it in two years... but its like riding a bike right?

Randomizer Randomizer

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Posted 13 January 2017 - 11:27 PM #8 Poll: Blades of Exile

View PostBalladeer, on 13 January 2017 - 10:30 PM, said:

Ooh... you mean I might actually get to use that language for something other than school?? Haven't touched it in two years... but its like riding a bike right?
You keep falling off, um making errors?
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The Almighty Doer of Stuff The Almighty Doer of Stuff

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Posted 15 January 2017 - 08:19 AM #9 Poll: Blades of Exile

View PostBalladeer, on 13 January 2017 - 10:30 PM, said:

Ooh... you mean I might actually get to use that language for something other than school?? Haven't touched it in two years... but its like riding a bike right?

Thanks for the interest in helping, Jewels! (Balladeer, you are Jewels, right? I may misunderstand, but either way!) CM and I are both in the IRC chat right now and will probably be for most of the day, as usual. Please join us! :)
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Balladeer Balladeer

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Posted 15 January 2017 - 05:06 PM #10 Poll: Blades of Exile

/me huggles Vincent.

10am on a Sunday? Silly... I'm always busy at 10am on a Sunday. :p

I was curious enough, the other day, to download the original Mac source code and got it to open on my machine. And then I tried the most recent Mac build, from October right? Needs quite a bit, eh? But it was quite late by then so I didn't do any more exploring.

I've got an essay I need to type up yet tonight, but then I'll stop in the chat if you're there.

The Almighty Doer of Stuff The Almighty Doer of Stuff

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Posted 15 January 2017 - 05:16 PM #11 Poll: Blades of Exile

We are still in there. :)
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Celtic Minstrel Celtic Minstrel

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Posted 18 January 2017 - 06:19 PM #12 Poll: Blades of Exile

Just for the record, anyone interested in contributing (especially to programming) may want to post in the Blades of Exile forum (on this site) so that we know who you are. I can see there's at least one person who said they'd like to contribute to programming without saying who they are.
Exile 2 Book of Items (I didn't create it, I just converted it to HTML.)

"Man, I know how you feel. I once spent an hour playing WordPad before realising that it was a text editor." – Thuryl

"Dikiyoba just hopes no one ever blows up Saturn. Getting those rings back into their proper position would take hours."

"—Alorael, who spells phoenetically. No matter how much his orthography is a wreck, intelligibility rises from the ashes."

"I've never played a Spiderweb game. I didn't even know SW made games until I saw this thread." —Nikki

Tevildo Tevildo

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Posted 04 February 2017 - 05:44 AM #13 Poll: Blades of Exile

Hiya! I haven't been around much lately, everything kind of exploded.

Hmm. I've kind of given up on scenario design by now, writing prose is much easier. However, I would be willing to offer ideas/suggestions and do some programming. I'm lousy at C++ (never mind the functional C++11/14 stuff) but should be able to manage something useful.

Might be better writing documentation though. (Am familiar with that from my time in sysadmin jobs.)

GiantFriendlyTalkingSpiderman GiantFriendlyTalkingSpiderman

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Posted 10 February 2017 - 10:47 AM #14 Poll: Blades of Exile

I am an old exile fan, but I never made any scenarios, I only played through BoE and never finished any of the full games. I planned to play Avernum but didn't like a lot of things about those games and fell out of the franchise.
It wasn't until the Avernum remakes that I came back and finally finished the first game. I still like Exile3/BoE the most mechanics wise and would love to go back to some scenarios I never tried due to not having internet when the community was active.

I can program C++ (though I wouldn't say I'm the most experienced), I have a good understanding of the games inner mechanics and balance. I do have some suggestions such as fixing certain broken skills, though I'm not sure if you are willing to make such changes.

I don't have any real scenarios in mind ATM but would be glad to help someone with their scenario, fan games are always more fun to make in groups and working on your own is quite daunting; I know from experience.
(I'll be interested in helping if you give me a story sample and I enjoy your writing style; or if you have some fun, inventive gameplay ideas)

Currently I am attending post-secondary studies and working full time, but come summer I would be overjoyed to contribute to this project.

I expect a lot more supporters will apear when some details on Avernum:aRW pop up and the forums become more active, don't count the poll results before then.

Celtic Minstrel Celtic Minstrel

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Posted 11 February 2017 - 03:56 PM #15 Poll: Blades of Exile

View PostTevildo, on 04 February 2017 - 05:44 AM, said:

However, I would be willing to offer ideas/suggestions and do some programming. I'm lousy at C++ (never mind the functional C++11/14 stuff) but should be able to manage something useful.
Well, feel free to head over to the Blades of Exile forum (or the IRC channel) and offer your ideas and suggestions. If you want to help a little with the C++ work, you could take a look at the source code repository on GitHub.

View PostTevildo, on 04 February 2017 - 05:44 AM, said:

Might be better writing documentation though. (Am familiar with that from my time in sysadmin jobs.)
I think the documentation is fairly good now, but I'm sure it still has room for improvement. The documentation is also in the source code repository, in HTML format, so you can take a look at it there. Sylae also has a copy up on her site, though I'm not entirely sure if that's kept regularly up-to-date.

View PostGiantFriendlyTalkingSpiderman, on 10 February 2017 - 10:47 AM, said:

I can program C++ (though I wouldn't say I'm the most experienced), I have a good understanding of the games inner mechanics and balance. I do have some suggestions such as fixing certain broken skills, though I'm not sure if you are willing to make such changes.
The chance that I'll do it is a lot lower if you don't tell me than if you do, so please do give those suggestions!



By the way, in addition to the Blades of Exile forum, you can report bugs and offer suggestions right on GitHub. It may help prevent them from getting lost.
Exile 2 Book of Items (I didn't create it, I just converted it to HTML.)

"Man, I know how you feel. I once spent an hour playing WordPad before realising that it was a text editor." – Thuryl

"Dikiyoba just hopes no one ever blows up Saturn. Getting those rings back into their proper position would take hours."

"—Alorael, who spells phoenetically. No matter how much his orthography is a wreck, intelligibility rises from the ashes."

"I've never played a Spiderweb game. I didn't even know SW made games until I saw this thread." —Nikki

WilliamS WilliamS

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Posted 14 February 2017 - 08:52 AM #16 Poll: Blades of Exile

I can code Java.  But I am interested in helping.  I just got an associates in Computer Science.

The Almighty Doer of Stuff The Almighty Doer of Stuff

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Posted 14 February 2017 - 08:56 AM #17 Poll: Blades of Exile

View PostWilliamS, on 14 February 2017 - 08:52 AM, said:

I can code Java.  But I am interested in helping.  I just got an associates in Computer Science.

Thanks! I don't know if we need Java but Celtic Minstrel is in the chat room at http://webchat.freen...annels=#openboe if you'd like to discuss anything. I'm there too but I'll be popping in and out. I'll be there for most of the evening though, most likely.
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Celtic Minstrel Celtic Minstrel

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Posted 14 February 2017 - 08:59 AM #18 Poll: Blades of Exile

Blades of Exile is written in C/C++, so Java isn't really very useful to the project. If you're willing to learn C++ though, you could help; in many ways the syntax is similar to Java, though in many ways it's also very different. Take a look at the code if you think you might be interested.


Exile 2 Book of Items (I didn't create it, I just converted it to HTML.)

"Man, I know how you feel. I once spent an hour playing WordPad before realising that it was a text editor." – Thuryl

"Dikiyoba just hopes no one ever blows up Saturn. Getting those rings back into their proper position would take hours."

"—Alorael, who spells phoenetically. No matter how much his orthography is a wreck, intelligibility rises from the ashes."

"I've never played a Spiderweb game. I didn't even know SW made games until I saw this thread." —Nikki

WilliamS WilliamS

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Posted 14 February 2017 - 09:10 AM #19 Poll: Blades of Exile

Sounds like fun.  Yeah, I'd be down to learn C++.  I'm at work now so I can't be here now but I will be on later.

GiantFriendlyTalkingSpiderman GiantFriendlyTalkingSpiderman

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Posted 20 February 2017 - 11:54 AM #20 Poll: Blades of Exile

View PostCeltic Minstrel, on 11 February 2017 - 03:56 PM, said:

The chance that I'll do it is a lot lower if you don't tell me than if you do, so please do give those suggestions!
I wanted to get a refresher on BoE before making suggestions
I played a couple hours of BoE this weekend, but haven't had time to touch the scenario maker yet due to midterms. Just want to know what kind of abilities, (if any), can be given to custom weapons?

Going back from Avernum:EftP to BoE the only thing that bothered me is how linear warriors are. battle disciplins are gone (though most of them were ineffective any way) and there aren't any weapons with cleave or special scaling (like that sword that has damage based on your INT instead of STR). Obviously this update to Blades wont be adding weapon disciplines; but things like cleave being usable in custom weapons sounds like a good Idea if possible.

I will probably make a thread on adding feasible new mechanics when I get some more free time to play around with BoE and the scenario editor.

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Posted 20 February 2017 - 06:05 PM #21 Poll: Blades of Exile

You can now link weapons to intelligence or any stat, except for CURRENT HP or SP. I keep pestering CM to add that but so far I have been unsuccessful in convincing him. They are available as item ABILITIES, but that precludes the wicked sick bard instruments from functioning as I hope they will someday.

Cleave is where you hit one enemy with a melee weapon and it hits adjacent ones too, right? That'd be cool to add as an ability in BoE.

I expect there is a list of item abilities and their function in the documentation, wherever that is. I think it's on CalRef although CM may have copied it to OpenBoE.com, I'm not sure.
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Pliant Giant Pliant Giant

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Posted 20 February 2017 - 06:58 PM #22 Poll: Blades of Exile

Does that mean the chosen stat is used in place of Str/Dex, in place of the weapon skill, or in some other capacity?
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Posted 20 February 2017 - 07:23 PM #23 Poll: Blades of Exile

Oh, sorry, wasn't clear. Melee weapons still use STR/DEX but can use any stat in place of the usual edge/bash/pole. The new Blades Base has a handful of those of my design actually, even beside the musical instruments.
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Posted 21 February 2017 - 03:43 AM #24 Poll: Blades of Exile

I may be misremembering, but doesn't that mean the selected stat will mostly just be used for the base hit rate?  Which is relevant early on but later on means a high Strength fighter may do more damage with your guitar than a bard with a high music stat...
"I, for one, prefer to believe that the forums are dead and that Lilith, Slarty, and I are all ghosts haunting the forum." -- Triumph

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The Almighty Doer of Stuff The Almighty Doer of Stuff

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Posted 21 February 2017 - 03:21 PM #25 Poll: Blades of Exile

Not really concerned about damage since the damage isn't really the point of the instruments, but CM says you're right, that stat is only tied to hit chance... This will require pondering. Thank you.
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Celtic Minstrel Celtic Minstrel

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Posted 22 February 2017 - 07:28 AM #26 Poll: Blades of Exile

I just want to point out that "current HP or SP" is not really a stat, if you define stats as the things you can put skill points into.

I hadn't thought of using some other skill in place of Str/Dex in the calculations... hmm...

Cleave as an item ability might be doable, sure. I'll put that on the list. (It might be doable with the "call special on hit" ability, but such items can't be carried between scenarios, so even if it's possible it'd be nicer to have it as a dedicated ability.)

The specific help page on items is here if you haven't found it already.
Exile 2 Book of Items (I didn't create it, I just converted it to HTML.)

"Man, I know how you feel. I once spent an hour playing WordPad before realising that it was a text editor." – Thuryl

"Dikiyoba just hopes no one ever blows up Saturn. Getting those rings back into their proper position would take hours."

"—Alorael, who spells phoenetically. No matter how much his orthography is a wreck, intelligibility rises from the ashes."

"I've never played a Spiderweb game. I didn't even know SW made games until I saw this thread." —Nikki





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