This year, I learned a few things about implementing text games in languages other than English, or more specifically, in porting a single game across three languages. My IF Comp game, “En Garde” was originally written in French for the 2018 Francophone IF Competition. Subsequently, I translated it to English for IFComp and the game is now part of the 2018 Russian KRIL Competition thanks to translation by Valentin Kopeltsev. I would like to share some practical experience regarding this effort and some of the solutions that I found along the way.
The Russian counterpart of IFcomp, KRIL, went online yesterday with 25 original games, two translated games (one of them mine), and two exhibition games that will not be included in voting. KRIL has been an annual event since 2006, but since I was not involved in previous years, this is my first look at it. I thought it would be interesting to compare and contrast a bit with IFcomp. I should add the disclaimer that my Russian is pretty rusty and that all the heavy lifting on my entry was done by Valentin Kopeltsev, so if I get any of the details below wrong, just leave a comment.
First, I’d like to thank those who ran the competition for staging such a quality event: gathering funding and prizes, maintaining the web site, getting the word out, and supporting authors all the way along. Similarly, a huge thanks to my proofreaders and beta-testers, who probably logged as many hours playing and commenting as I did developing the games.
A quick post about IFcomp 2018, which launches today. Last year, I reviewed all the submissions on this blog, but will not be doing so this year as I have two games in the comp. It’s been a few years since the rules change that removed the gag on authors, but I’m still not comfortable commenting in public on other games, when I’m a participant.
I’ll certainly play through as many of the other games as I can and will be posting some comments privately on the closed forum for authors.
I’m looking forward to reading reviews of all the games in the comp — I’m sure all the authors are in the same boat, sitting on the edge of their seats this morning waiting for the first feedback to drift in.
A brief update to bring the blog current: first, I moved back to the US at the start of August. Between packing, shipping, and visiting family, I’ve had my hands full and not a lot of time to update the blog. So, some quick updates by category: work, radio, IF, electronics, computer stuff, and Greek.
I’ll add more comments as time permits [these were written in August 2018, about four months before the game came out — but I didn’t know that at the time], and Ben will probably do the same on his blog at some point. Whatever other comments we add on about our work on the Cragne Manor project, I’ll link it back to this page.
We wrote up a design document to serve as a reference in writing the characters and their situation. It was particularly helpful in putting together a consistent time line. Initially we stuck closely to the design document, but as writing progressed, the story and characters took their own directions, and we ditched some of the design elements — there is no iron golem, for example in the final story. In some instances, we redacted portions that would either not have worked as IF or that were unnecessarily cumbersome in terms of mechanics relative to their narrative contribution.
While Ben started thinking about coding and integrating standard parts of the Cragne Manor project, I began writing the transcript. Perhaps not the best way to approach a project based on dialogues because it tends towards the linear, but given the time constraint versus volume of text needed to tell the story, we though it would be efficient because Ben could review and implement behind me as I wrote. That mostly worked for this project, particular because we kept the dialogue and NPCs relatively simple — not much in terms of forking dialogue or variability based on earlier knowledge, emotional state, etc. I worked within GoogleDocs and for the sake of loading quickly split the model transcript into part 1 and part 2. The final game resembled these transcripts pretty closely.
As usual, we wrote the code collaboratively, using version control to fold our efforts together, in this case the whole project lives on github.
Well, that went pretty well — about two weeks of after-work operation on 17m FT8 with a low-hanging end-fed dipole and 25W, and I pushed my DXCC count on 17m over 100. Thanks to 9G5AR from Ghana for putting it over the top.
This weekend, Russian-ARISS transmitted SSTV images of satellites hand-launched from the ISS. They used a high-resolution mode, PD-120 transmitted FM on 145.800.
I was set up for FT8, but switched over for one pass and captured this image. My process for decoding was suboptimal — I recorded using audacity on my Mac and then later played the audio back to a PC set up with MMSSTV. I didn’t have an attenuator on hand, so of course the sound level was high for the PC input, but was able to drop the gain a bit in audacity. Maybe I traded off a little image quality, but it worked.
This was a low pass (max elevation of about 12.5 degrees) on a side where I have some obstructions — those horizontal lines are probably tall trees — so probably not the best image I could have captured, but I was just curious if it would work at all.
I’ll be squeezing out what QSOs I can on 17m FT8 through the end of July 4th and will then swap in a 30m element on the antenna for the next couple weeks.
The move back to the US will happen at the end of July, but I will need to pack up most of the equipment in the next few weeks. So, with time remaining, I’ve been thinking about I can get done with less and less equipment — I think the answer is 17 meters.
After I took the hexbeam down, sanded it, painted it and packed it away, I still had a G450 rotor on my hands, so I thought I would try my hand at satellite operation. Over last weekend, I literally lashed together a satellite station — the rotor platform is held to the roof with taut line hitches.
Our house isn’t ideally situated for satellite operation — particularly to the south where some tall pine trees blot out the sky, but in the other directions, the antenna can see down to about ten or fifteen degrees above the horizon.