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Everything posted by *i

  1. Speak with Erika about Garzahd. That should get you started with getting access to his fortress.
  2. Exile III had the central region of Erika's Tower and an entire Vahnatai-style area in the Dragon caves. Both completely inaccessible.
  3. Done. What is the recommended level range?
  4. Restless Souls Mac/Windows Author: Excalibur Difficulty: 1-4 Version: 1.0 [composite=eyJ0aXRsZSI6IlJlc3RsZXNzIFNvdWxzIiwidGlkIjoyMTIxNywidGFncyI6WyJhdmVybnVtIHVuaXZlcnNlIiwiYmVnaW5uZXIiLCJzaG9ydCJdLCJiZ2FzcCI6eyI1IjowLCI0IjoxLCIzIjoxLCIyIjowLCIxIjowfX0=] Composite Score: 3.5/5.0 Best: 0.00% (0/2) Good: 50.00% (1/2) Average: 50.00% (1/2) Substandard: 0.00% (0/2) Poor: 0.00% (0/2) [encouragenecro] [/composite] Keywords: Avernum Universe, Beginner, Short
  5. I for one really appreciate all the time you've invested into this. As a former scenario designer, I can say I'm very thankful you and others are really moving this forward. As Slarty said, it's often a thankless job, but I am thankful and you should be proud in what you've accomplished!
  6. Having the two work the same is good. I went back and forth on whether to make petrification gaze weaker, since it is technically a more powerful ability because it can act at a distance. I'm glad to see how this project is coming along!
  7. Definitely feel free to change. Agree with the part about optimizing fun. I especially like having bless help avoid petrification. I'm also certainly not wed to the exact numbers. I did add some allowance for monster level in mine. I believe the justification was that a level 1 monster with petrification touch should be far less effective than a level 40 one.
  8. Beta testing applications have closed. Windows testing is now underway.
  9. We need beta testers for the Windows version of Avernum 2: Crystal Souls. If you are interested please apply. Beta testing applications have closed. Windows testing is now underway.
  10. After rereading everything, it may be possible to do a 8-10 person game by removing the Darkside Loyalists as a faction and any other characters dependent upon them. They were originally meant to be the "enemy" faction anyway. Roles 1-5: Adventurer, Anama Priest, Gladwell, Oliver, Shanker Role 6: Alchemist OR Craftmaster Strine Roles 7+: Randomly chosen This gives you a game with two factions competing, two merchants, a neutral ally Shanker, an adventurer who could go anyway, and then 2+ other random roles to add a bit of mystery, variety, and stock material for Gladwell or the Anama factions. You'd have to remake the victory conditions and extra actions accordingly too. I would also weaken Gladwell and strengthen the Anama a bit, as Gladwell appeared to be the stronger faction in the last game. Something I considered is making their bonus scale with the number of shrine pieces built, which should balance them a bit stronger.
  11. We'd certainly have to tweak the rules a bit for a smaller number of players. It was difficult enough filling all of the slots in the later games, and my life got in the way, so it fizzled. To anyone who wants to host it, the biggest challenge is being active enough and keeping the order of operations straight. Actions are first-come, first-serve and need to be processed in a timely manner because a certain action by one player may preclude an action of another.
  12. *i


    Having a scenario design community also really helped the broader community. I suspect this comes from the level of investment one has to put in to make a high quality scenario. This investment of time and effort often translates into having an emotional investment into the community of people who play it. For much of the history of this community, the scenario designers and the fans of the scenarios formed its nucleus. Most of them are gone now because life moves on, and we're seeing the effects of it. A new Blades of Avernum could work to revitalize this, but it would be tough to pull off. Blades of Exile hit the sweet spot in simplicity of design but offering enough power for some incredible work. Blades of Avernum had a lot more power, but the learning curve was too high. A Blades of Avernum remake, which is not going to happen, would bring back GUIs for writing dialogue/narration, nodes, etc. that would write the basic scripts for a casual user, but leave the scripting options open for a more advanced user to do really great and unique things.
  13. *i


    In theory "General" pretty much covers most things people would want to talk about so long as the discussions remain civil and do not stray into things like cracks for Jeff's games, illegal activities, or not family friendly things that would scare off Jeff's customers. I'm not convinced personally that having separate subforums for different types of non-Spiderweb discussions would really help. On BoA, agree with what people have already said. Jeff released a product that was difficult to use with a subpar engine. Sales were poor and almost tanked this place. It's too bad, because Jeff will never try anything like that again, even though, IMHO, if done right it could really spur activity here.
  14. *i


    No argument that things have been quite a bit slower in the last few years and the issues you identified have much to do it. Trenton's original post implied that the community is effectively dead. I disagree with that statement. And my point being is that it has seemed a lot worse in the past and yet the community is still here and doing fine, albeit not as strong as it once was.
  15. *i


    The death of this community has been predicted numerous times since at least 1998. I recall the days before Spiderweb hosted its own forums, when the primary place for our community to interact was Aceron's (you still reading this Aceron?) forums and there would occasionally be posting droughts (no posts, not a single one) for days. Those were depressing, especially considering we didn't really have now over a decade and a half's worth of history to inform us that these were temporary blips of inactivity. So yeah, things are pretty quiet right now for reasons others have said. Nonetheless, we've seen much quieter times before. Expect a bump after summer and a flurry of activity in the weeks following the A2 release. Moreover, I don't really see this community fading away until Jeff finally decides to retire. People go, but new ones arrive.
  16. We are looking for beta testers for the Macintosh version of Avernum 2: Crystal Souls. We'll be picking testers in late August for testing for a release in early December. We need testers with Macintosh desktop and laptop machines running OS X 10.6 or later. Please apply if you are interested. We will also be looking for Windows testers in a month or two. Keep an eye on this space.
  17. While the knowledge acquired in humanities and social science courses is often not directly applicable to a job, the analytical and communication skills required to get through those courses is quite valuable regardless. College offers a great opportunity to develop and, as far as an employer is concerned, demonstrate those skills. My experience hiring engineers is that many candidates tend to be strong in the scientific, mathematical, and technical areas, but are lacking in those others, and I do not hire them. Like it or not, most STEM jobs involve working on teams, communicating work both verbally and through writing, writing proposals that persuade sponsors to fund you, interacting with those sponsors, managers, or policy makers (who are not always technically savvy), drawing connections between ideas, assessing the abilities of potential collaborators, etc. Many of the skills I listed are not going to acquired in any classroom, but through life experience. Others, like the ones involving critical thinking and communication of ideas, are, in my estimation, developed better in liberal arts courses than in STEM ones.
  18. It's a long and, at times, emotionally draining ride, but it's not as bad as it feels (and I'd know!). An undergraduate degree focused on math, physics, and chemistry can give you a good foundation, but you are right that it is very difficult to make any significant contributions prior to that. After that, you'll probably end up going to graduate school, and there you can really drill down and focus on the learning the highly-specialized knowledge you'll need. This typically takes about two years. Adding this up, if you can get through undergraduate in four or five years, then that's about six or seven until you really get to start contributing in a significant way. So definitely not the path of least resistance to a successful life, but if this is your passion, once you make it past all of that the rewards are worth the journey. And while we never know how the economy will shift, you'll have plenty of broadly applicable skills that have historically been in high demand for quite a while.
  19. Many of the BS and BA liberal arts majors/degrees often do not lead to a job in that particular discipline. Universities exist to give people a diverse background, which makes them versatile to many employers. There are many jobs out there that require an educated person with critical thinking skills, but not really specialized knowledge that can be taught at a university -- that's what on-the-job training will address. Now, there are plenty of exceptions out there, but a BA or BS in a liberal arts major is certainly not a waste of time, you just may not end up doing a job that relates to your major. The professional and STEM degrees are usually different. There is simply too much specialized knowledge required in those jobs for on-the-job training to address in a reasonable amount of time. The people I hire have to have learned the basics of how nuclear reactors work and how radiation moves through matter, which itself requires a reasonable level of mathematics and physics to understand. I can certainly teach my people in ways that supplement their knowledge or help them fill in gaps, but I simply do not have time to go over everything taught in the requisite courses. So for me, I cannot simply hire an intelligent critical thinker with a liberal arts undergraduate degree and have them be productive in any reasonable amount of time. I do know other people with jobs that are non-technical or semi-techical (requiring basic math, computer skills, etc.) who certainly can.
  20. Completely agree, Alorael. Unfortunately, I'm just stating facts about the world in which we live (hard GPA cutoffs for candidates that are mandated by company policies), not the one that ought to be (GPA is treated as a rough indicator of performance and is one of many factors that is evaluated to assess a candidate's future potential at a company). I also should have stated in my original post tht I'm assuming a 3.0 normalized on a 4.0 scale.
  21. I'll give you how I hire people generally and close with some specific advice for you. As many people around here know, I have a PhD in engineering and have hired students for internships and am going back to academia. So I've seen all sides of this. In terms of hiring people, I've used GPA only as a filter for a threshold (my institution has a minimum of 3.2, so that's what I use). Otherwise, GPA is the least important aspect that I evaluate as a candidate -- I've interviewed people with 4.0s, but I have yet to hire a single one. The next thing I look for are relevant skills. My work emphasizes computation, so I had better see one or more programming languages listed, as well as other relevant computer skills -- "skills" like MS Office or Excel do not count for me, as I just assume anyone who has the more specialized ones can use them. This narrows things down to the type of candidates I'm looking for. I then look at work experiences or involvement in professional societies as it indicates that the candidate is motivated and has soft skills. Having no involvement in anything other than coursework is pretty much a death knell for otherwise promising applications. If a candidate clears this, I'll generally give a phone interview. During this process, I try to establish the communications and critical thinking abilities of the candidate. This usually involves asking them to communicate course or work projects, teamwork experiences, etc. I also ask open-ended technical questions where the answer is "it depends" to help assess thinking. If the phone interview is successful, I'll ask for unofficial transcripts to look at specific coursework and grades in those courses, a writing sample, and a couple letters of recommendation. There may or may not be a follow-up phone interview if I have any additional questions. From there I'll decide whether they are someone I'd want to hire. I then rank those candidates holistically, and hire the number I can afford at the time. In terms of specific advice for you: * First, a candidate needs to demonstrate a positive attitude. While you are not interviewing here, your post sounds quite negative. This type of attitude will not get you employed. A candidate has to show confidence that they can do the job and convince an employer they can work well on a team. A person who is constantly negative is not good for employee morale, and that attitude will justifiably scare off employers. * Boost your GPA. It's below the threshold of many companies hiring STEM careers. * Get involved in relevant technical professional societies. This offers networking opportunities. Also, run for officer positions. These make your resume more noticeable. * Get internships on campus and off-campus if you can. This will help you acquire skills that look attractive to employers. * Impress people on who are established in your field (e.g., professors, supervisors, etc.). Internships help here, as does doing independent studies with professors. My rule is that if you can't get at least two established professionals in the field to say good things about your intelligence, attitude, and work ethic, I'm not interested. Also, for the record, I have zero family connections in my field. In most STEM careers, you, by and large, sink or swim by your merits -- caveat emptor that I'm sure you will find exceptions somewhere. During my five years at my job, I've seen a lot of people have family connections get internships (typically undergraduate level) at my workplace; however, the division I worked in did not end up actually hiring a single person who got an internship though family connections.
  22. In principle, the universe in an inflationary scenario could expand faster than the speed of light. As it is believed to have done in the very early universe. But wait? Doesn't this violate special relativity? No. Those rules only apply to information (light and matter) not space itself.
  23. *i

    Direct Democracy

    Goldenking, I think you have to assume that changes in investment in education or defense spending lead to a predictable perturbation in value added to society. The problem with both education and military spending is their effects can be disruptive to the entire market, and therefore very difficult to predict. You can certainly calculate wage differentials, but I would claim it almost impossible to calculate the value added to society by investing in education. How much a person makes and how much they contribute to society are certainly correlated to a point, but not perfectly. For example, a university professor can apply her education to publish new ideas (funded by government grants usually) that spur innovation in the private sector elsewhere. Since she was not the one who brought it to market, she does not directly see any income. Consider that Jon Von Neumann, the father of computing and founder of many disciplines, was not incredibly wealthy, but you can certainly argue that his theories led to entire industries being formed and incredible amounts of wealth generated with quality of life improved for everyone. Just looking at his salary and comparing it to someone without education does very little to capture the value added for him having had access to education. In this case, as happens now and again, a single educated individual can create a large disruption to the economy. The same alternate universe experiment applies to military spending as well. Again, the economic methods you suggest sound like they would work if spending an additional (or lesser) amount on the military leads to a small perturbation in the overall wealth of society. Unfortunately, for defense spending either too little or too much can lead to very large effects that a market cannot perceive. Spend too little and you may risk outright invasion and the loss of the entire nation. Spend too much and you can bankrupt the economy and cause an internal collapse from the resulting political instability. Both cases result in a near total loss of value in a society, and I am unaware of economic models sophisticated enough to predict such large disruptions. The only way one could truly measure the value of either is to run an experiment in two alternate universes. One where the government invests in education (or military spending) and another where it does none. After a 2-3 generations, you would then take the difference in GDP of each copy of the nation, if it even exists. The next best thing is to compare different countries and try to correlate with education or military investment, but even this is sketchy because of the lack of a good control and the fact that these things may be highly non-linear. EDIT: I suspect this is also why economics has had such a hard time assessing the impact of income inequality. The national GDP can be doing great right up to the moment when the poor decides they've had enough of their governing elite who is so far removed from their concerns, and storm the metaphorical Bastille. Consider that while the pressures were building for decades, the Arab Spring began with the self-immolation of a street vendor, leading to massive unrest in the region. Such a moment may be inevitable, but exactly when it occurs is inherently unpredictable.
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