Sverok now has an RSS feed

Swedish roleplaying and boardgame organization Sverok has an [RSS feed]( now, after I had requested it in a polite email.

They are using the [Typo3]( CMS, and it seems it now has RSS support.

Flickr search plugin for Firefox

The productive Christian Heindel, who created the Plazes .NET launcher has done it again. A Firefox search plugin for public Flickr tags.

That means that what I wanted to do before is now very, very easy.

And the search for [freeform]( works like it should. [Roleplaying]( yields the same Stockholm pictures, now in more traditional RPG company. Who wants to take pictures of dice, and then publish them?

Runestone – Game Development

Ã…rhus-based game developer [Runestone]( is an interesting case of *our guys* using their resources and aiming for the sky. [Greg Costikyan](’s latest call to action in [Escapist]( [Death to the Games Industry, Long Live Games]( might have an answer in the courage of these Danish souls. A game on a smaller budget, with a different gameplay and a message of its own.

OK, let’s get the basic facts out of the way:

[Runestone]( is a game developer in Århus, north Jutland, Denmark. 15 employees. Established in 2003 by Lars Kroll, Anne Ratzer, Alex Uth, Jan Roed, René Kragh Pedersen, Søren Maagaard and Nis Haller Baggesen. Game in development: **Seed**.

## Our guys #1: Role-players banding together

Role-players using their story-telling power/knowledge to reform CRPG design. By making a CRPG. From the ground up. They have a different perspective on RPGs and a different take on a CRPG product.

For instance:

* No battle in the game

## Our guys #2: Agile programming believers banding together

The CEO Lars Kroll is a firm Agile believer, and very active in implementing core XP practices in the company’s development process. There are parts of the whole “make a CRPG” activity that by their very nature preclude certain practices. For instance, code ownership needs to be non-collective, as the different problem domains are highly specialized. AI programming differs a lot from doing 3D graphics engine programming which differs a lot from network programming. The people are not interchangeable.

Runestone uses Bugzilla for a bug-tracking system, and Lars Kroll filed the first bug:

> “There is no game.”

“I had to do that. It was on principle.” A powerful message. Go fix what’s broken. Let’s get going.

The team is also using continuous integration: “We use CVS for version control and commit every day. We have a day-old release ready at all times.”

Freeform role-playing in dictionary form

[Tobias]( and I have now condensed our thoughts on role-playing in the form of [a wiki](, but that fails to attract others, being hard to read, follow and use. Especially off-line.

The solution was to rewite some of the material and to collect it in one, accessible place. We had already bought [](, and set up a blog there, so now you can find our newly repackaged material at [](

This is quite exciting, and I hope it is a way of sharing our thoughts, and revising them more often.

**Double-geek contents note**: A Ruby script for some HTML transforms, a CSS file to style the resulting HTML file, and a Makefile to run the whole thing, and to upload the new files to the website. And, yes, all text is in a Subversion source-control repository. Future plans include moving the text to Markdown format, to be easier on the editors’ eyes, and controlling the action from a Rakefile instead. Scripting everything in Ruby is… more fun.

Why do you do roleplaying games?

I was asked the hardest question in an email, a while ago, and then I had to answer, and now that I go back to it, looking at it, it sounds very much unlike me. Why is that? Why does your own speech of the past sound so alien a bit later?

From: Juhana Pettersson
To: Olle Jonsson
Subject: Re: Interview yes!

So, Olle, why do you do roleplaying games?

OK, I do role-playing games because I get to **tell the beginning** of stories, I get to **do the talking**, and **pull people into “my trip”**. When the feedback effect of the players’ minds starts churning **I get electrified** by the creative momentum. The **pliancy of the material**, the “softness of the wares” so to speak, is the main thing with role-playing games, to me. This softness allows for real-time editing of the story in very direct ways, which in turn allows for **the exploration of limits in the players** – how far can we take this?

Something like that.

What kind of a question is that, anyway?

Skype, friends

Just came back from a conference in Norway. Cold, friends. But very sunny and friendly.

Met up with millions of good poeple again, and now we all need Skype, the free (as in beer) phone solution for us who have a computer and a headset. Headsets are cheap, and most laptops already have the microphone inside them, so those of you with laptops just have to put on the headphones.

Especially the folks in the expat community (read: Joc Koljonen) need you to install the application, which is available for Mac, Windows and Linux. And it is a small download.

In the making of the now-tested roleplaying scenario The Upgrade!, my gang of Jeeps held phone conferences (yes, conferencing works, too!) to add productivity.

I hope to be able to report on the conference itself real soon. The book, yes, the book: am reading it. Jiituomas and Mike Pohjola are already read. Eetu’s text is next, I guess.

**Edit**: Like this: callto://olleolleolle you can link to the Skype username on a webpage, or in an email. Clicking the link makes the browser ask what application to open this type of connection with, and after the user has selected Skype once, all links like that will work seamlessly. Neat, huh.