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Audyssey;Games Accessible to the Blind

Issue : 48 Second quarter, 2006

Edited by Ron Schamerhorn

 

Fun, Friendship, Knowledge, Charity

 

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Welcome

Welcome to the  forty-eighth issue of Audyssey. This magazine is

dedicated to the discussion of games which, through accident or design,

are accessible to the blind either with or without sighted assistance.

In this issue there is lots of news on the developer and announcement
fronts.  We have an interview with Thomas Ward of USA Games, another D&D
adventure story,  well-written articles contributed by members of the
community and much more.

Note: This magazine uses plus-signs as navigation markers. Three

plus-signs are placed above any articles or sections. Within these

sections, two plus-signs denote the start of a new sub-section. Smaller

divisions are marked by a single plus-sign. This allows people to use

their search capabilities to go quickly to the next division they are

interested in. For instance, the "Letters" section is preceded by three

plus-signs. Each letter within it has two plus-signs before it. Answers

to letters have a single plus-sign before them.

 

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Contents:

Welcome

>From The Editor

Letters

Trivia Questions

The Next Generation of Accessibility

Chatting with creators

Dungeons & Dragons - Battle of the Hill Giants

Fun on the go

Montezuma's Revenge chapter 1

News From Game Developers

Game Announcements and Reviews

Contacting Us

Distribution Information and Submission Policies

 

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>From the Editor

 

  Finally after a longer then expected release comes this issue of Audyssey
#48.  I completely realize it has been much longer then it should be.  As I
admitted on the new discussion list [read the section on distribution for
further details] life for me the past two months has been in the ultra speed
lane!  To those who have awaited the next issue, I believe it will be worth
the investment of time.

  A few points to mention or highlight that are definitely good information
include the developer section as not only are most included, but out of the
blue is a total new discovery.  The game announcement section also has some
new free games mentioned.

  I'm pleased to know that Audyssey has it's own domain now, and on a
personal note am happy to have left Yahoo behind!  It gave me a lot of
hastles with the various lists I'm subscribed to, not just this one.

As always I've enjoyed putting this issue together and see that the games
are ever changing within the community.  I'm glad to have been involved
[and will continue to be] in keeping up with the accessible games available.
I extend my gratitude to those who have helped me in putting this all
together for this issue. My inbox is always open .

 

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Letters

  Here we will have some posts taken from the gamers list  They are ones
which I have found to be interesting or thought provoking.

 

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Retro Remakes 2006 Big Competition

 

The Retro Remakes 2006 Big Competition - Promoting Accessibility In Games,
has just begun! Programmers have 3 months to make the best remake they
possibly can, with over £4,000 worth of prizes up for grabs this year. The
goal is to make "Good remakes of good games that anyone can play, regardless
of their ability". So this includes games for people with visual
disabilities!

 

Click here to read more about the Retro Remakes 2006 Big Competition:
http://www.retroremakes.com/comp2006/

And click here for more information about game accessibility:

http://www.game-accessibility.com

 

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(also see: http://www.game-accessibility.com and

http://www.igda.org/accessibility)

 

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Hello there!

 

Just wanted to let you know that we are now happy with the list and it

seems ready for members to sign up.

Please visit http://lists.agdev.org/ and sign up to the AGDev-newbies

list if you are one of those interested in beginning AG development :-).

 

We look forward to reading you soon!

 

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Accessibility Game Coding Contest (May 15, 2006)

 

Donationcoder.com (http://www.donationcoder.com/) holds an accessible game

design contest from Jun. 1, 2006 to Sep. 1, 2006. The task is to invent and

program a game in one of two possible categories: audio games and a

one-switch game. Prize-winners can gain over $5,000 worth of prizes!

 

More information about the contest here:

http://www.donationcoder.com/Contests/agame/ (first draft of the website is

currently online, changes may apply)

 

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Hi guys,

I have just seen that their is actually really a sport such as Showdown!

Sort of like table tennis modified for the blind. Below is a link to
information

on this.  I'd be happy for people who want to discuss this with me to

mail me off-list. I wonder where a person gets a Showdown set from. By the

way, the reason why I found this is because I'm looking for information on

blind football.  Because I'd like to start a project to introduce it to
South

Africa, so I'm looking into it. Could people who've had experience in

playing blind football please email me off list, since I'd like to get an

idea of the game and an idea of how it is to play it.

Below is the Showdown link

 

www.ibsa.es/eng/deportes/showdown/presentacion.htm

 presentation in the address is spelled presentacion.

 

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Hi Folks,

I just listened to some new character SAPI voices that sound interesting and

may be good for games from NextUp: Cepstral® Voices

Character Voices  (only $6.99 each)

Shouting: Shouty US English Character Voice

Whispering: Whispery US English Character Voice

Evil: Damien Character Voice

Dog barking: Dog Character Voice

High born female: Duchess Character Voice

 

http://www.nextup.com/Cepstral.html

 

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Subject a new game

 

Here's the news:

The first of many games to come is now open!  It's an accessible

version of the slot machine game.  It's designed for blind people

with screen reading software, but anyone; blind and sighted alike, can play!
The game works, and

the pay outs are nice.  So go try it out!

 

 This is how you get started:

 1. go to http://www.intheshack.net

2. click on the registration link, and register with a user name and

 password.

3. click on the membership maintenance page to purchase some prepaid

credit.

4. go to http://gaming.intheshack.net

5. enter your user name and password.

6. click on the link that says, "Play the Accessible Slot Machine"

7. start playing to win!

 

 Feel free to tell those whom you are absolutely certain can be

 trusted, but first give it a try yourself.

 

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Hi gamers,

I found this quite interesting. I was listening to On Screen from the BBC

World Service, and their was a feature in their about how people sell

virtual items in multi-player online games for real money! What I mean is,

say now some of us were playing a strategy game. I've managed to accumulate

many weapons, and huge wealth. I then go onto ebay and put my

game-accumulated wealth up for auction, and a person who wants prestige in

the game buys it from me with cash! They say their are now game players who

deliberately just collect certain items and large stocks to sell for cash.

They say it's actually become a million-dollar industry. I suppose players

would be furious if the developer reset the server! It's nearly about as

weird as that guy who's selling land on the moon.

 

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Trivia Questions

These submitted to me by Richard [Bean] Sherman

 

1. Name the one sport in which neither the spectators nor the

participants know the score or the leader until the contest ends.

2. What famous North American landmark is constantly moving backward?

3. Of all vegetables, only two can live to produce on their own for

several growing seasons. All other vegetables must be replanted every year.
What

are the only two perennial vegetables?

4. What fruit has its seeds on the outside?

5. In many liquor stores, you can buy pear brandy, with a real pear

inside the bottle. The pear is whole and ripe, and the bottle is genuine; it

hasn't been cut in any way. How did the pear get inside the bottle?

6. Only three words in standard English begin with the letters "dw" and

they are all common words . Name two of them.

7. There are 14 punctuation marks in English grammar. Can you name at

least half of them?

8. Name the only vegetable or fruit that is never sold frozen, canned,

processed, cooked, or in any other form except fresh.

9. Name 6 or more things that you can wear on your feet beginning with

the letter "S."

Answers are below

Answers To Quiz:

1. The one sport in which neither the spectators nor the participants

know the score or the leader until the contest ends  boxing

2. North American landmark constantly moving backward . Niagara Falls

(The rim is worn down about two and a half feet each year because of the

millions of gallons of water that rush over it every minute.)

3. Only two vegetables that can live to produce on their own for several

growing seasons . . asparagus and rhubarb.

4. The fruit with its seeds on the outside . . strawberry.

5. How did the pear get inside the brandy bottle? It grew inside the

bottle. (The bottles are placed over pear buds when they are small, and are

wired in place on the tree. The bottle is left in place for the entire
growing

season. When the pears are ripe, they are snipped off at the stems.)

6. Three English words beginning with dw . dwarf, dwell and dwindle.

7. Fourteen punctuation marks in English grammar . . . period, comma,

colon, semicolon, dash, hyphen, apostrophe, question mark, exclamation
point,

quotation marks, brackets, parenthesis, braces, and ellipses.

8. The only vegetable or fruit never sold frozen, canned, processed,

cooked, or in any other form but fresh . lettuce.

9. Six or more things you can wear on your feet beginning with "s" . . .

shoes, socks, sandals, sneakers, slippers, skis, skates, snowshoes,

stockings, stilts.

 

Congrats to those who guessed correctly and happy Gaming

Rich

 

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The Next Generation of Accessibility

by Brandon Cole

 

            Console gaming has always been an occasional topic of discussion
in the blind community. It is understood that some of us play console games,
and some of us do not. Furthermore, some blind people seem totally unaware
that they can indeed play some console games. As a console gamer myself, I
can assure all of you who are uncertain that console games are out there,
and we can indeed play some of them. But will we continue to be able to
delight in commercial gaming? Or will we be pushed aside by the next
generation. What follows are my personal thoughts and beliefs on the
subject. These beliefs are all based on numerous facts I have accumulated
over recent months. Also, do not be surprised if you catch me making a
prediction or two. My opinions on console gaming, and all gaming in general,
are very strong, and I won't hesitate to place everything I believe in this
article. So read on. Read on into the next generation.

            One of the things I delight in having is a Gamespot Total Access
subscription. It was because of this subscription that I was able to watch
the entirety of E3, (the Electronics Entertainment Expo), live from my
computer. For those who are unaware, E3 is a huge, huge show as far as
console and commercial PC gaming goes. It brings together the top game
developers in the world, and gives them a chance to showcase what's coming
up for them and, of course, for the consumer. It was here that a ton of
information on next gen systems and games was given out, and here where my
data gathering quest begun. Could I, along with my fellow blind crew, move
into the next generation of gaming alongside everyone else? I had to know.

            When things began, prospects seemed pretty good. I already knew
a bit about the PS3, as Gamespot had been given permission to do a sort of
"First Look" article on it. Here, basically, is what I knew.

            For starters, I knew that the PS3 would use Blue Ray discs for
its games. This, friends and neighbors, is huge. Consider this fact. Most
PS2 games are on DVD's, which have a top storage capacity of about 7 GB.
Blue Ray discs have a storage capacity of 50 GB, over seven times as much as
a DVD. To put it in the simplest of terms, this means more of everything.
More graphics for those who can see, more gameplay, and above all, more
sound. No, no, let me take that back. Not just more sound, lots more sound.
The storage space on these discs isn't the only thing that's going to boost
sound output on the PS3.

            Even before E3, I was stunned when I found an article on
Gamespot specifically referring to the audio processor of the PS3. There are
three important things to mention here. First, it rules. The second and
third things are reasons why. Second, where the PS1 could support 24 sounds
playing at once, and the PS2 could support 48, the PS3 will be able to
support a staggering 512 sounds playing all at once. Let me say that again.
512 sounds playing at the exact same time. Imagine epic battles, or even
sports games, with that much audio. But here's the third reason. The reason
why there would still be more audio in PS3 games even if they used DVD's.
The PS3's audio processor also supports layering. What on earth does that
mean? I didn't know right away either. Basically what it allows developers
to do is add just a bit more code to tell the audio processor to put certain
effects on audio depending on the situation in the game. "But this is
already done," you say.

            Not quite. Yes we've had echoing caves, creepy forests, and so
on and so forth, but it was done in a very different way. You see, up until
developers started working with a PS3, all these effects were achieved by
recording separate files with the effects put on them. So even though the
sound of your shotgun creates the same boom, you may be hearing a different
file if you're in a cave, or a forest, or a laboratory. The layering concept
eliminates the need to create these multiple files, and thus allows for even
more audio. Amazing, isn't it?

            Now we get into what E3 taught me of the PS3. Granted the show
mostly showed off the PS3's upcoming games, which all sounded great by the
way, but there were a few things I was able to grasp onto. First, there will
be two marginally different types of PS3's. At first it was believed that
the only difference would be the size of the PS3's hard drive. A 20 GB one
and a 60 GB one. However, it turns out that the differences go beyond that.

The 20 GB version will basically be a hugely chopped down version of the 60
GB model. Here is a list of all the things the 60 GB PS3 will contain that
will be absent from the 20: A wifi port, an HDMI port, memory stick reader,
compact flash card reader, and SD reader. Yep, that's right. The 20 GB
contains none of that, and its only source of internet connection is an
Ethernet port. Suddenly, the price of the 60 GB PS3, $600, doesn't look too
bad. Oh you may be saying "But it does! That's horrendously expensive!" Well
consider this. The 20 GB model will be retailing for $500. So for only $100
more, you get 40 more GB of disc space, plus all that was mentioned above. I
personally call that a deal.

            Another thing I learned is that the PS3 controller, much like
the Nintendo WII controller, will have motion sensing capabilities. Sony
referred to this as "The Six Degrees of Freedom." With the games that
support this technology, you will be able to move your controller left,
right, up, down, forward, or backward to control different parts of the
game. Now I have heard some blind people say that having to use actual
motions will make games more inaccessible. I believe just the opposite. I
believe that it will actually allow us to play a larger variety of games.
Based on audio, this could help us aim a gun in a shooting game, or fly a
spacecraft, or any number of things. I believe this has huge potential.

            I touched on the Nintendo WII back there, and I would like to
discuss it, however briefly. I have chosen to focus primarily on the PS3 for
this article to demonstrate my point, as it would take an awfully long time
to cover all the major systems. As previously mentioned, the WII controller
also has motion sensing capabilities. Capabilities that are actually
supposed to go beyond the "six degrees of freedom." The WII's controller has
nearly limitless boundaries. One game due to arrive at the WII's launch
later this year takes full advantage of this. In this game, known as Red
Steel, you will be turning your hand to open doors, or bashing the same
doors in with your sword. Actual sword fighting will be completely button
free, relying on your ability to actually swing the WII remote about.
Whatever you do with the controller, your character will do with his sword.
Very impressive.

            Unfortunately, I personally believe that this is all the WII has
going for it. this new hardware will make for some good and very accessible
games, but beyond that, I don't see much improvement over the competing
consoles. Nintendo is only just now making the jump to DVD's with the WII,
and it is widely known that Nintendo, like Microsoft, focus a lot more on
graphics than anything else. So it'll look good and it'll play good, but it
won't give you huge, monstrously expansive games like the PS3 will, and it
lacks many of the PS3's features. I wish it luck.

            Now back to the PS3. I won't get too heavy into the networking
capabilities of the system. We're talking about games here, and the PS3 can
do a lot more than play games. Instead, I will bring to light the one thing,
the one problem that I see with the PS3. This may make some blind console
gamers grimace for a second or two, but one need only consider all the
incredible features I've already mentioned to be set right again. Sadly, the
PS3 controller will not be featuring the familiar force feedback vibration
of previous Playstation controllers. Sony felt that this would only serve to
interfere with games that use the motion sensor. Whether or not they're
right about that, I don't feel it's as crippling a blow to us as it at first
sounds. Previously, we sometimes needed vibration to tell us things like
when our character had been hit, or when our character was low on health and
so on and so forth. However, what did I boast about for half this article?
The PS3 is capable of producing MORE AUDIO. And, something I forgot to
mention earlier, up to 7.1 surround sound. Yeah, I think we'll be alright.

            There is one more thing I would like to address here. Recently
on the Blind Gamers list, there has been discussion of the possibility of
accessible games for the PS3 being developed by our oh-so-wonderful game
developers. This is because it is believed that the PS3 runs on a
Linux-based system. Whether this is true or not I cannot actually say, as it
was not mentioned in the Sony press conference at E3. What I can say,
however, is that I do see it as a possibility. Just... Not now. The major
reason for this has to do with formatting. As I've said, PS3 games run on
Blue Ray discs, which is a format barely even recognized in the US right
now. As a result, you're not going to go to the store two days from now and
find yourself a blue ray burner and some blank discs. I would like to
believe that Sony will give little developers a chance to put some things
out, however, and to that end I look forward to seeing what arrives in the
future.

            So now we come back to the beginning. We return to the question
with which this article began. Will games remain accessible as we move into
the next generation? My answer is a resounding yes. Contrary to what I and
several others believed at one time, the next generation is only going to
enhance our ability to play games. We've got so much going for us now that
the accessibility meter for some titles may actually go off the scale. I
conclude with this. Whether the sighted folk like it or not, we're coming.
We'll be there soon. Be ready, and game on!

 

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Chatting With Creators

 

In this section we have a one on one with the people who develop the games
we have come to know and enjoy.  It's still a fairly new section for the
magazine so might yet undergo some changes.  Feel free to send me feedback
on this part.  This issues conversation is with  Thomas Ward of USA Games
Entertainment.

 

Ron: All righty, I think to begin we'll start with some background info

about yourself.

so how about just general info about you?

 

Thomas: I currently live near a small town named Coshocton in North-Eastern

Ohio. I have a wife named Esther, a two year old son named Sean, and a

dog named Tabitha.

Some of my major free time activities include studying History, computer

programming, listening to books on tape, playing accessible games, and

studying the Bible.

 

Ron: What was your first gaming experience?  The title, system etc?

Computer or console

games you've played over the years?

 

Thomas: Back in the summer of 1982 or so I can remember my mom and dad
taking me

to Rolling Achers Mall in Akron Ohio. They purchased a brand new Atari

2600  Entertainment System complete with games such as Combat, Packman,

Space Invaders, and a few other games.

I can remember to this day my dad hooking up the Atari to our TV, and my

mom decided to put Packman in to the unit. I was fully sighted then, and

from the first minute I started playing Packman I was hooked on video

games. It wasn't long after that when I started playing all the classics

such as: Packman, Space Invaders, Demon Attack, Defender, Missile

Command, and so on.

The summer of 1982 was also the year Star Wars Empire Strikes Back was

released at the movie theater. I instantly became a Star Wars fan, and

one of my favorite Atari games was Empire Strikes Back.

In the Empire Strikes Back game the player was a Snow Speeder pilot, and

the player was in charge of defending the Hoth shield generators from

wave after wave of Imperial AT-AT walkers. As soon as the player

destroyed several AT-AT walkers several more would appear. it was very

easy to play, was fun, and because I was a fan of Star Wars I played

Empire Strikes Back allot growing up.

By the mid 1980's Atari was going out of business and better game

consoles were out such as the Colleco Vision. It had better graphics,

and one of the very first games I played  on my Colleco was Donkey Kong

by Nintendo. I also played Zaxxon, Avendure, Smurfs,  Poll Position II,

and Mouse Trap.

By the late 1980's my vision began to get worse, but I had moved on to

the original Nintendo Entertainment System, (NES,) which blew everything

away before it. Some of my favorite Nintendo games included Double

Dragon, Legend of Kage, Ninja Turtles, G.I. Joe, and Spider Man. I

suppose like allot of others I played my fair share of Super Mario

Brothers as well. However, what I remember best about the Nintendo games

I played were the ninja and hand to hand games like Legend of Kage, Bad

Dudes, Double Dragon, and other similar type games.

In the mid 90's about 1996 I was getting ready for college, and my

parents went out and bought me a computer to do my homework. It was an

IBM Pentium 166 with Windows 95 and DirectX on it. That was a turning

point for gaming for me. Up until then I mainly stuck to console based

games, and I wasn't fond of the dos games that had been out there for

the PC before that.

With Windows 95 I had really began to find some awesome games that came

out for Windows such as Top Gun 95, Star Wars Dark Forces, Star Wars

Jedi Knight, etc... I loved Windows gaming from the start. It was so

much more advanced and better than console games of the time.

When I began playing Star Wars Rebel Assault and Rebel Assault II they

were so much richer than the arcade Star Wars X-Wing Tie Fighter games.

They had little movie scenes between the major battles, all the sounds

sounded like the movies, the graphics were better, and I could really

get in to games like that. I also really got in to Star Wars Dark Forces

II and Star Wars Mysteries of the Sith. Those were really the last games

I was able to play before I lost all of my vision. Of course, my vision

had been slowly going since the mid 1980's or so.

 

Ron: Do you ever play any arcade or other type games?  Such as card or
board

games? If

so which ones do you enjoy most?

 

Thomas: Yes, I do play some arcade games. I own Troopenum, and I play that
one

quite allot when I don't have much to do. I also like Dark Destroyer. Of

course, Montezuma's Revenge is also in the arcade category of games, and

I play it more than any other arcade game at the moment.

One of my all time favorite board games is called Battle Masters. It is

a strategy game where the player can command either a group of knights

or an army of monsters such as goblins, orks, ogres, wolves, etc... The

game comes complete with a castle/tower which the player can capture and

defend. It is a great game.

Another board game I play quite often with my family is called Dark

World. It is a board game, but has a DND type feel to it. The good

player can pick to be a Barbarian, a knight, a ranger, or a dwarf. The

evil player controls all the monsters including skeletons,  mummies,

orks, ogres, and a ghost called the haunter.

 

Ron: What genre of game do you enjoy playing the most?  RPG, card, FPS and
such?

 

Thomas: I'd have to say any type of game that requires strategy. For
example,

Final Conflict is a turn based strategy game. The only way to really win

that game is planning  all of your turns carefully, figuring out the

best tactics and strategies, and try and guess what kind of strategy the

enemy will try.

Lone wolf, produced by GMA Games, is one of my favorites. One of the

reasons is because it is not a point and shoot game. You often have to

make command decisions how you are going to avoid a mine field, how you

are going to carry out an attack against the enemy fleet, and if being

hunted figure out the best way to escape. It is a game that takes some

skill to play, and  especially on some of the more advanced missions.

Battle Masters, the board game I just mentioned, earlier is one of my

favorite board games of all time. The player literally gets to be the

general of the knight or monster army. The player must decide troop

deployments, which groups will attack and defend, and manages each move

in a long drawn out war.

In short, I just like games where I can command armies, fleets, and the

game is won or lost based on my skills as a leader. Although, I

certainly don't mind playing a good First Person Shooter game now and then.

As far as Roll Playing Games goes up until a few days ago I had only

played them infrequently. I just started playing a game called Sryth

found at

http://www.sryth.com.

 

I really enjoy the game and when not spending time with family, chores

around the house, programming, I am often found playing Sryth of late. I

really enjoy it.

 

Ron: What or  how brought you to the decision to develop games?

Particularly accessible

ones?

 

Thomas: Like allot of kids living during the 80's I was brought up playing
video

games. I think I played video games more than I did action figures, out

door games, or anything else for entertainment. When I began to lose my

sight it got harder and harder to play video games, and when I lost it

totally I had no electronic games to play. Although, I could still enjoy

brailed card games, accessible board games, and so on.

When I began attending Wright State University in 1997 I realized I

liked computers allot, and chose to get a degree in Computer Science.

One reason was I wanted to make games, and the other was I was

interested in the field of artificial intelligence.  I wanted to know

how to make a computer think something like a human, make it talk, and

do more human like things like on Star Trek and other Sci-Fi movies and

TV shows.

On May 15, 2004 I decided to open USA Games. While I appreciate the work

being done by GMA Games, PCS Games, Draconis Entertainment, and others

they haven't really made the games I personally would enjoy. That is why

I decided to start up USA Games Entertainment.

 

Ron: What made you want to start up your own company instead of maybe

working  with a

previously existing developer?

 

Thomas: I can think of three major reasons. At the time I didn't know the
other

developers well, and I wasn't sure if they wanted a partner. Second, I

was already upgrading my programming skills to Microsoft's .NET

Framework, DirectX 9.0, and updating everything to match modern

programming skills. Allot of the developers in the accessible games

community still use Visual Basic 6, DirectX 8.0, and that was to old for

what I had in mind for new games. Third, C# .NET is becoming highly

portable across platforms, and I imagine at some point porting my games

to Mac or Linux in the future using a open source .NET framework called

mono, and some open source gaming libraries such as OpenAL.

 

Ron: How far do you see accessible games going?  Could there be a time when

the blind/vi

community could have comparable titles to our sighted  counterparts?

 

Thomas: That really depends on goals, skill, and time on behalf of all of
the

game developers present and future working on accessible games.

 If we wish to have games equal to sighted games we have to have a goal

of making that blind friendly Tomb Raider, blind friendly flight

simulation, blind friendly Mortal Combat game. We have to set out as a

group of developers and make it a priority to make more and more complex

games rather than continue writing Space Invader clones and other

similar type games.

 To meet that goal though the game developers also need to have the

skills or requirements necessary to successfully program such games. The

more complex the game the more complex skills needed to write it. A

modern sighted game usually has network play, 3D video which we can

replace with 3D audio, actors doing short scenes, save and restore,

custom game scripting, and all of that together takes allot of time to

learn. That doesn't include quality actors to do voice acting for the

games if required.

Finally, there is always the issue of time. The more complex the game

the longer it will take to produce. The only way to save time on such a

large project is by designing a reusable game engine that can be

scripted for several types of games that meets a high quality standard

equal to sighted games. At the moment GMA's game engine which is in Tank

Commander, Shades of Doom, Packman Talks, and other games is on the

right track. It's only fault is the developer can't create networked

games which is something that seams to be in demand for both the sighted

and accessible games market.

Could we have games something on the level of sighted games? I do

believe it is possible. It is a matter if I or my fellow developers is

willing to step up to the plate, take the challenge head on, and make a

truly awesome accessible game engine which can be used to make sighted

quality games.

 

Ron: Why did you choose to purchase the rights to Raceway and Monty?  Were

they titles yourself you were looking forward to playing as a gamer?  If so
does

programming them make you less interested in playing?

 

Thomas: As for Montezuma's Revenge I really felt it was a good idea being
turned

in to an accessible game. There wasn't anything like it being offered in

the accessible games market, and it was about to be trashed. My main

motivation to save the game was to see that all who paid for it would

receive the game, to get it done, and to actually give them a better

game than the one they would have actually received if Alchemy had

finished it.

As for Raceway I really wanted to play that game, but days turned in to

months, months turned in to years, and still no game. I decided someone

had to step in and take over the game who was going to actually do more

than talk about it and finish it at some point. As it turned out the

Raceway game engine was the furthest thing from a complete game. He had

a partly made Visual Basic  6 game engine, started over again in Visual

Basic  .NET, and neither engine was near done. So it's going to be a

while as I will likely have to start from scratch with Raceway and do it

right from the start. I also feel that network racing and other features

will make RW a better game for it.

 

Ron: Why did you choose to do STFC?  Perhaps comparing GMA's version and
such?

 

Thomas: At the time when I started USA Games I was in the process of
learning C#

.NET, pronounced C-Sharp, and wanted to write a game to practice the

language with. I was a huge fan of Trek 2000, new it well, and decided

to make my own version for practice. However, as I got better with C# I

began adding more and more features, received suggestions from the USA

Games community, and what had started out as a practice game became the

game you can play today. I learned how to design enemy AI, self voice a

game, position audio, and to this day STFC is kind of a test bed

application for new ideas I want to try. It just happened to get it's

own following who like it better than Trek 2000, and I have to admit I

was surprised at what a good job I did on the game so far.

As I worked on the game I realized I could actually make STFC better

than Trek 2000. I added self-voicing using Neospeech Kate, all the

effects are from the Star Trek Deep Space 9 and Next Generation TV

shows, better artificial intelligence, include modern Star Trek ships,

and using the Defiant was totally different. For the first time gamers

could have a cloaked ship to put up against the Romulans, Klingons,

Borg, and Cardassians.

 

Ron: Any thoughts on piracy and how USA Games intends to deal with such a

problem?

 

Thomas: Piracy is always going to be a problem for any game developer. I do
have

some plans for securing my games, but how strict I will be about it

remains to be seen. I've looked at some solutions that use online

product activation which are very secure, but unfortunately anytime a

user gets a new computer, does a major upgrade, etc they would have to

ask for a new product key. As a user I personally hate such security

systems as it gets to be a major pain. So as a developer I will need to

decide if I am going to make my customers face similar frustrations

because of a few bad individuals, or use a less secure security system

which does the job, but isn't so restrictive the user needs a product

key replacement every time they change computers, do upgrades, etc...

 

Ron: Can I ask about any hints as to what could be expected that we don't

yet  know about in any of the three ongoing projects?  Sort of something to
wet  the

appetite for the release?

 

Thomas: Well, there are some changes coming up for STFC 1.0 Beta 2. In STFC
beta

2 I will be updating the game to .NET Framework 2.0. I am also adding a

save and restore feature to the game so players can save and restore

games. I am updating the audio processing for the game to use either

virtual 3D or stereo. There are also miner bug fixes on the way for STFC

1.0 beta 2.

As for Montezuma's Revenge I am currently working on level 2. The new

level does have some changes over the Alchemy version of level 2. In

this version there is now a large lake in the center of the first room.

The player will now have to dive down in to this lake to grab gems, and

other items. Even though it wasn't in the original game I have decided

to make the new levels a little more interesting than they might have been.

As the subscribers to the USA Games list are aware I am also working on

a Star Wars First person Shooter game. I've had several false starts,

name changes, but I feel this time I have come up with a good story line

and good design mottle for the Star Wars game. The SW game engine is

completely 3D both in audio and in player movement. the Player will be

able to move up, down, forward and backwards, left and right. On the USA

Games mailing list we have recently discussed training force skills, and

other RPG style elements that might be applied to the game as well.

 

+++

Dungeons & Dragons

Battle of the Hill Giants

by Phil Vlasak and others.

 

This Dungeons and Dragons adventure is in the public Gamer's room

on  Audio-Tips, Sunday night at nine o'clock Eastern time.

Audio-Tips is at:

www.audio-tips.com

 

Note: This story contains graphic descriptions of violence. It therefore may

not be suitable for younger readers.

List of characters:

Dungeon Master: John Proulx

DM-played characters:

Gabriella, Female High Elf Magic User

Nightshade, Female High Elf Thief

Bren, male dwarf fighter

Gillek, Dwarf fighter guard for Sarlon

Mylo, Human personal assistant to  Sarlon

Ed, Human priest of Morlon

Human Drivers, Blade, Barf, , Lucille Slash and Harold.

Skaundish, lizard man driver.

Characters played by others:

CloudStorm, High Elf Ranger

Keladryn, half elf priest of sedric, god of travelers

Lyden, Halfling thief

Mace, Human Magic User/ fighter

Sarlon, Half Elf Alchemist

Sildar, Human Fighter

SpringRite, High Elf fighter

Thunderklak, Sundered Dwarf Warrior

 

To give you the feeling of the actual session, I have kept the dice rolls

and hit points in these transcripts.

 

Transcript March 26, 2006.

DM: After settling up the Red Dragon Inn tabs you head out to the stables.

Parked next to SpringRite's horse is a Yak.

Molbo's Edam.

Lyden will look this thing over not having seen one before.

What's that thing?

SpringRite: That's Molbo's transportation when he's up to it again.

Edam: Bahahahahahaha

 Lyden will walk over to it,  Kind of wide!

I bet I could sit on top of it!

Edam tries to eat Lyden's hair.

Lyden: Or not!

Sarlon: Shit I didn't know you guys had a Yak too!

Hope someone knows how to care for dat thing!

I ain't takin' care of it!

Mylo: ha,ha, reminds me of dat story ou told me one time of dat fellow you

used to go wit dat rode one of dem things.

 What was his name anyway?

Sarlon: Mylo, Dat would be him over dare!

He points to the dead guy.

Mylo: You tell me you know dat guy?

Oah, come on now, you, don't know dat guy!

You ain't never known dat guy!

You know dat dead guy?

Oh, come on , guy.

Oh, now you, now,

Now you gonna make be ride wit him, I know it!

Sarlon: Shut up an get your ass in dat cart!

He ain't gonna ride wit us!

Sometin tells me dough, he's gonna need a lot a room!

Think he could be sprawled across de Yak

and someone could  just lead em?

Den we could lay dat one to rest!

An move on out!

I'm on a schedule.

Gillek with a morose voice says: Oh, it's, Molbo.

I, should, have, known.

As, soon, as, I, herd, Yak.

Come, on, lets, get, him, up, there.

Klak: I know of da old dwarf story about  da dead guy who was strapped to

his pony and leads da whole army into da battle.

Gillek starts to look around in the stalls.

So, where's, Nevin, Where's, Alysten?

I, know, there, here, somewhere.

Sarlon: I hope not!

Stories I've heard about Nevin, Nope,

If he comes, da mission is doomed for sure!

No way!

SpringRite: They were traveling with us for a bit, but they went their own

way.

Gillek: I, knew, there, was, something, I, didn't, know, yet.

This, just, keeps, getting, better, and , better.

OK, lets, go.

DM: Off you drive!

But lets get a layout of how you're traveling.

SpringRite will ride point on the left side.

Lyden in one of the carts.

Keladryn would lay back near Mace.

Klak would want to be in one of the front wagons.

SpringRite: We need a driver for our wagon.

Slash: Ah, so you have a wagon of your own. Good.

That means we can leave one of ours behind.

SpringRite: Fair enough.

Slash starts handing out the assignments for the drivers.

Harold the first wagon.

Lucille the second,

Barf the third,

Blade the forth,

Skaundish the fifth

Slash the last or sixth.

to Sarlon You pick a spot where you want to go.

Sarlon: I always like the middle.

I'll put my crew in the middle.

He puts his cart third right after lucille's.

Klak looks at the first driver and determines that there would not be room

for him, so he asks Lucy, Lucille can I sit in your wagon?

 Lucille: OK.

DM: So Mylo and, Ed are riding in Sarlon's cart.

Gillek: How, fast, are, we, going?

Shall, I bother, to bring, the pony, or should, I, ride, in the cart, with,

Sarlon?

Sarlon: Well, wit all these carts we won't be going too fast but I know your

pony is kinda slow.

You just might want to ride in a cart.

Gillek: Right.

he gets up into the driver's seat next to Sarlon.

 Slash goes over to Mace and says, So, which cart do you want Molbo in?

That is the dead man's name, isn't it?

Or is he going to be up on his yak?

Mace: Put him in the middle cart.

Harold and  Skaundish grab Molbo and heave him into the cart driven by Barf.

Barf: Ha ha, , I got a dead guy in my cart! Cool!

Lyden: How about tying the yak to that cart?

Lyden jumps onto the backboard of Sarlon's cart.

Sarlon: Now, don't you be touching stuff back their, boy!

Lyden waggles his fingers in the air and says "I wouldn't touch anything!"

He then proceeds to take out his dagger and starts carving into the wood of

the cart.

Sildar laughs at what Lyden did.

Sarlon sees Lyden and it does not bother him as he notes it is on the cart

and not on any of his cargo.

 Lucille calls up to Harold: Now, Harold, don't drive too fast!

We need to make sure these wagons stay in good condition!

Harold: OK, Lucille.

Bren climbs up on the first wagon, If we're gonna be fighting I want a good

view of them.

 

Traveling order:

SpringRite on horse left point

Sildar on horse right point

Wagon 1 Harold with Bren

Wagon 2 Lucille with Klak

Wagon 3 Sarlon  covered wagon with Ed, mylo, Gillek and Lyden

Gabriella on horse left side middle, between  Sarlon   and Barf

NightShade on horse right side middle between Sarlon   and Barf

Wagon 4 Barf on parties covered cart with body of Molbo

Edam yak tied to  forth cart

Wagon 5 Blade

Wagon 6 Skaundish

Wagon 7 Slash the last wagon

Mace on horse rear guard

Keladryn on horse rear guard

 

DM: The wagons do have room for a passenger on the seat next to the driver.

The group begins to travel, on a fairly decent road.

It's well maintained.

Moving at a decent pace, the group notices clouds begin to roll in.

 After a couple of hours,

SpringRite spots CloudStorm's falcon circling a bit overhead.

It circles the caravan a couple of times and then flies off to the east, in

the direction the group is traveling.

 SpringRite turns to Sildar  and points up in the  air, Looks like

CloudStorm's friend is up there.

He must be not too far ahead.

Sildar nods.

The party spots the stand of trees.

It's a few acres of trees, not huge, but its there.

DM: to CloudStorm, when the falcon returns to you, what do you do?

CloudStorm would then send him out ahead of the group, or ahead of myself

for a search.

Once he circles back from that circuit, I would send him back to the group

again.

to circle the group several times and then come back to me.

 That way I can gage the way they are traveling, how far and I could

estimate where the group would end up  for the evening so that I could keep

a look out for a good defensible camp site.

DM: OK, you notice that around is mostly open road.

As you go along there hasn't been much as far as good sites for that kind of

thing.

But that may change.

So as the day goes on you periodically spot the falcon in the sky.

coming back and forth from up ahead.

DM: Is the party attempting to move at any kind of speed or or are they just

kind of moving at a walking pace?

SpringRite: I would hope at a pace a little faster than walking.

Since everybody is in wagons and horses probably a couple times walking

speed.

DM: Fortunately for you the caravan is not hauling anything   heavy so you

can probably go at least one and a half times.  Twice would be hard to keep

up for that length of time.

When I say walking, I mean walking for the horses not for the humans.

So eventually assuming CloudStorm is walking the party chances up to him

after maybe four or five hours

depending on if the party stops for lunch.

So it might be 2 or 3 o'clock.

DM: Does the party stop for lunch?

CloudStorm would stop for lunch.

 Sarlon would have no problem eating rations in the saddle.

Keladryn   Since we are early on our travel probably eat as we go.

dm: So the party would catch up toCloudStorm  when he stopped for lunch.

So you've gone past the stand of trees, about ten or twelve miles, and you

spot CloudStorm  sitting on a rock off to the side of the road.

 He is munching on some trail rations.

SpringRite notices him and points him out to Sildar.

He rides back to the first wagon and says Looks like CloudStorm  is ahead. I

think we should stop there for a break and to rest the horses.

 Harold: Oh yeah, I could use some lunch.

Lucille: Just don't eat too much, Harold!

You know you need to loose weight!

Harold rolls his eyes.

Seeing SpringRite, CloudStorm  would stand up and

 would walk over to him and say Hello SpringRite.

How are you doing today?

SpringRite: Very well. Well, met.

CloudStorm: Has the trail been well for you today?

 You seem to be making relatively good time.

DM: With the carts stopped the elvin sisters would ride up to join

springRite.

NightShade: Yeah, been quiet so far.

Looks like we may have some rain coming in though.

CloudStorm   Yeah, looks like we are in for some storming.

A cleansing rain might be kind of nice.

NightShade: Yeah, hope the bunch back there don't mind getting wet!

CloudStorm   looks back, Looks like you got a motley crew.

NightShade: Yeah, tell me about it!

Let me tell Mace what's going on.

She turns her horse around and rides back to the back of the caravan.

Mace: What's going on?

NightShade: Looks quiet, but we might get some stormy weather.

Late summer, you know how that goes.

Mace: so I guess we will make camp here?

NightShade: I don't think it matters where we make camp.

It's not like we're going to find any cover.

Not this close to the city.

Might as well ride through it if we can.

At the mention of weather, Keladryn

would observe the weather.

DM: He definitely can see some storm clouds coming in from the south.

He would guess that they would get in sometime this afternoon.

  Maybe 4 o'clockish.

Keladryn Ah, yes we certainly will be getting rain.

And possibly quite heavy.

I'd say in a few hours.

Mace: I think NightShade is right. I think we should ride through as much as

we can.

At this point, time is money.

CloudStorm    joins the conversation: Up ahead of us is the possibility that

we'll come across some shelters.

 I'm not sure exactly where there at.

But it is possible that before the rain comes we will find one.

That would give some protection to those who are not quite as prepared to be

in the elements.

  NightShade: Oh yeah that's right. I remember those shelters.

They've kind of fallen into disrepair lately since Duke Merdial kind of

stopped keeping them up.

  I don't know what kind of shape they're in.

CloudStorm    It wouldn't be to difficult

to make some temporary cover on it.

We could cut some pine bowls to keep a little  of the moisture off.

However, if you guys want to keep going, that's fine with me as well.

Gabriella: It doesn't bother me one way or the other.

I just know we want to get to Hanmer as soon as possible.

But I know also that if this road gets muddy, we won't be able to go at too

great of a speed.

  I suppose we should let the rest of the group know.

I'll go talk to Sarlon.

She rides over to Sarlon's wagon.

Sarlon: So, what's goin' on?

Gabriella: It looks like we're in for some heavy weather.

I came over to find out if you want to ride on through it or to stop before

it hits.

DM: both Klak and Lyden can here this conversation.

Sarlon: Well, I think my cart can make it, how about the rest of them?

Gabriella: Well, our cart is in good shape. It came through some nasty

weather up north.

I don't know about the ones that we hired, though.

I suppose I'll have to ask Slash.

Sarlon:  Sounds good to me!

Mind you, if it gets too wet, I got stuff here I don't want to take any

chance with. Any moisture gets in to them, their a waste!

  Klak hearing the conversation, looks around, Is dare any tarps to cover

dis stuff?

Sarlon: Yeah, there's tarps over there in the corner.

 But, hey, even that's not gonna water proof dem.

Gabriella: it's a good thing Molbo is in one of the covered carts as well.

We don't need him to smell worse than he already does.

She grins, Probably best that we move forward  you think otherwise.

I'll let them know.

She rides back towards Mace.

CloudStorm hearing this turns to SpringRite, Would you like to ride with me

out front or  should I scout ahead of you?

SpringRite: It looks like your friend has been doing the scouting.  You

could certainly stay with Sildar and myself and have your friend do the

advanced scouting.

CloudStorm: Yes, I will stay with you.

 I've already sent my companion out ahead to make sure the way looks clear.

The road looks like its in good repair.

And is a well traveled route, so even if we get substantial rain its

possible that the road unless we get some washouts will be stable enough for

us to travel without getting bogged down too severely.

  SpringRite: I wonder if all the party knows that some creatures that would

be hostile in other places could be friendly around here such as Orcs.  So

we've got to think before we attack.

Gabriella rides up to SpringRite and says,  Sarlon vouches for the integrity

of his cart as fars as keeping rolling in the rain.

Slash said something like, I don't know anything about this cart, I am just

driving it.

Do you know anyone in the group that can gage the condition of these wagons?

SpringRite: I'm afraid I'm no help.

I can look at it but maybe we should ask the others.

CloudStorm: I am not familiar with those devices.

They make an auffle lot of noise and to me they squeak and rumble a little

too much for my self.

They do not look comfortable at all.

And I'd prefer my feet than to be on one of those.

Gabriella: Well, I'll ask around then.

She asks all the party members and it is a unanimous negative.

SpringRite rides back to Mace, Where did we get these carts?

The drivers don't seem to know anything about them.

Mace: Ooh. I, don't, know.

I didn't ask. I just needed a caravan to hide our activities and drivers and

there they are.

CloudStorm: This is rather disappointing.  It doesn't bode well for

the competency of the people operating these things

Gabriella: Perhaps we should have a talk with Slash then.

SpringRite nods and rides over to Slash, Where did these wagons come from?

It doesn't seem that your drivers are fimular with them.

Gabriella Mace and CloudStorm would also have gone over.

Slash is sitting in his drivers seat with his boots up on the front,

munching some bread, says, I... They were... well, I got them from, ah, they

were second hand.

On short notice, I didn't have a lot of chances to ask too many questions.

If I had a few more days to get things together, we might have had better

knowledge of these things.

CloudStorm: Yes, but can't you look at them and make a determination?

Slash: Well, I can see that they're rollin'.

I don't see anything broken. But, then, I ain't no carpenter!

CloudStorm: Will they make it through a muddy road?

Slash, Huh, ya got, me, friend.

He grins and you notice he's got a gold tooth.

Like I said, I didn't have time to ask too many questions.

CloudStorm would turn and walk up to the front of the caravan.

Then he would head towards the rock where his horse was.

He would collect his pack and get ready to go.

Keladryn would come over to CloudStorm and ask Have you had a chance to

check any of the terrain ahead?

CloudStorm: Not really, I've been going down the road and and from the view

so far I can see it looks mainly like farmland and fields.

There are not that many trees.  There is just that grove of trees that I

spent the night in about five to ten miles back there.   From what I

understand, this is going to be the terrain probably for the next day or so.

DM: Keladryn knows that the terrain in this area is pretty much flat at

least for the next couple of days.

After that there's some hills for a day or two, which is the home of some

Giants.

And then it gets flat again for a couple of more days until you reach the

crossroads.

At which point you would turn south towards Hanmer.

This whole section of the country is pretty flat.

Keladryn: Well it's been quite a while since I've been this way. But my

memory of it is that we'll probably hit some hilly area in a couple of days

or so.

 This is all we have to look forward to.

I suppose we might as well keep going until it starts raining because if we

camp here or farther up we will be in the same terrain.

CloudStorm: My falcon should return when he encounters a shelter. That way I

can get a gage on how far a distance we shall have to travel.

When that occurs, I will let the group know.

So we will have an idea of the distance we need to go.

 Keladryn  That sounds good.

I suppose we should get ready and move on because the rain is coming.

CloudStorm: Yes, I'm prepared.

How about yourself?

Keladryn  I'm a follower of Sedric, I'm always prepared to travel!

CloudStorm: Your deity, it sounds like he's akin to me.

Keladryn  If you enjoy the art of traveling, I would say so.

You apparently like the open air, and being out in the weather, which he is

also very fond of.

CloudStorm: Ah, yes, there's nothing like the open air and the wide open

spaces.

Keladryn  Let me head back to the others and suggest we get moving.

At least until it starts raining and then we can determine if the carts can

take it.

CloudStorm will pull out his poncho since he knows it will soon be raining.

He will not put it on but have it at hand so he can put it on quickly

 

DM: So the party decides to keep moving until two days later when they reach

the hills and CloudStorm's falcon detects three giants waiting up ahead.

The party decides to park the caravan and head up on foot or horseback to

battle the giants.

 

transcript from April 30, 2006

 

CloudStorm and Lyden had run off in attempt to approach the giants from the

rear going up the hill.

Two of the Dwarves, Bren and Klak,  had jogged out ahead of the party, a

distance and and were 200 yards away from the bottom of the hill that the

giants were on and the rest of the party was about maybe 100 to 150 yards

behind them.

CloudStorm says to Lyden, You go in that direction , I'll go in this

direction, so we

can attack from two spots.

CloudStorm is making for a medium sized rocky outcropping underwhich he's

going to take cover.

CloudStorm is now positioned to the North East, about 70 yards away from the

giants.

 Lyden can crouch down and be covered by the grass.

He would be closer to the party more to the North West of them.

Lyden looks for a bolder or something to take cover behind, and spots a tree

stump.

He activates his ring of Chameleon Power.

DM: Sarlon handed CloudStorm a case with several explosive arrows in it, but

you do not know how many.

CloudStorm is going to hold his attack until he sees other

party members coming up the road before he starts his diversion.

The Dwarves can make out the giants a bit at the top of the hill, with the

top of the hill being 100 feet off the ground.

  So it is a decent hill.

And it is a fairly steep hill as well so you're probably  350 to 400 yards

away from the giants in a straight line.

Lyden is about half way down the hill, so when he finds his stump he is

about 50 yards down the North face from them.

Lyden rolls 1d100 for move silently,   gets 22,

so not even CloudStorm can hear him.

CloudStorm is behind Lyden and to his left,  about 30 yards away from him,

behind a rock.

Lyden rolls 1d12 for hearing giants, gets 12.

 so he only hears an occasional grunt.

But he can tell that they are not looking in his direction.

 He decides to take the Chameleon Power  ring off because he doesn't want

the other properties to come into play.

After He takes it off he moves up 25 yards and finds another place to

hunker down again.

Lyden rolls a 1d100 and gets 8,

so  no one hears him, his dice are hot.

While he does that, the Dwarves move forward since they are jogging to 75

yards from the base of the hill.

  The rest of the party is moving at about the same speed, they're keeping

the same distance between them and the Dwarves.

CloudStorm seeing what's happening, and seeing the Dwarves approaching, is

getting his bow prepared.

Klak realizes that if he goes along the road the side of the hill facing the

road is a little steeper. And if he goes right below one of the giants, and

he throws the weapon straight up, that would be just about the maximum limit

he could throw which is 60 yards.

He realizes that going up the hill would be more difficult than going along

the road so he says to Bren,

"Ah, "What da ya have for long range? I'm

thinkin' I'll be goin' along the road tossin' my weapon at them.  I think

day might be close enough to just bairly get em."

   He looks over and says, "Is dat a cross bow?"

Brin pats the cross bow he's carrying.

"Yeah, I bought dis back in town. Ta replace da one I lost back in dat place

where I was fighten' da trolls."

Klak replies, "Yeah, since dare up on dat hill, it would be kinda stupid ta

go up and hand to hand fight wit dem cause day would just trow rocks down on

us as we were tryin' ta get to dem."

Bren: "Deaz guys trow rocks? We ain't got guys like deaz back in Korium yah

know. I'm just gonna shoot dem, dare big enough."

Klak: "I'm hopen my weapon is good enough , ah, its designed for hittin'

giants, so ta speak. Its sort of a giant killer, but I just wish I could get

a little closer to dem."

  Bren: "Yeah, I hear ya."

DM: So Lyden is creeping up on the giants, and one of them turns to face in

the direction of the Dwarves and indeed, just as they get to the bottom of

the hill, on the West side, he throws a rock in their general direction.

    Meanwhile, CloudStorm is also shooting.

Klak sees a giant raise a rock over its head, he says, "Ah lets

split apart so he got two targets ta aim at. It looks like he's throwin'

one!"

Bren: "Ah, you go on ahead, I can probably hit him from here."

Klak speeds up to put some distance between him and Bren.

CloudStorm fires first at the giants, and as it flies through the air the

arrow bursts into flame and the giant roars as it hits him in the left

thigh.

The arrow does hit the giant nearest to him, Giant #3,  which is the giant

on the opposite side of the hill from the one throwing the rock at the

Dwarves, Giant #2,  and

the one nearest Lyden, Giant #1.

(not stated but probably a good hit point damage.)

After his shot CloudStorm moves so that it looks like there's more archers

on the hillside than just the two."

CloudStorm will take one shot per round not two.

Bren stops 90 yards from the rock throwing giant, Giant #2,  while Klak is

running to get closer.

Klak rolls a 1d20 to check if he knows how far a giant can throw a rock and

gets a9. So he would be sure that the giant can hit him at this range and

probably a bit further than that.

 DM: Giant #2, seeing the two Dwarves split up aims at Bren.

Bren is getting his cross bow prepared for a shot, and the rock comes

whistling down and slams him right in the chest.

Knocks him off his feet rolls him over a couple of times, and he ends up on

his hands and knees.

He is not looking too good and obviously the party would see this happen.

After hitting Bren the rock would bounce a few times in the direction of the

party.

Klak following the path of the rock would say, "Oh Dazhak's Divine Thunder

Hammer of Smithereens will get you for that!"

  Sarlon: "You shore dis is a good idea? Damn, Dat just slammed him pretty

hard!"

Mace: "Well, I didn't want to hang around here too much but somebody was a

little worried about their wagons. We're gonna have to do what we have to do

then get out of here"

Mace noting that Klak who is now about 80 yards away from the giants, knows

to do what he wants to do he would have to pass him and go up the hill a bit

to get into range of his spell.

At this point the rest of the party still is keeping 100 yards between

themselves and the Dwarves,  so if they had kept moving they would be about

50 yards behind Bren.

At the end of the round Klak would be directly below the giants.

  Mace can clearly see the giant who through the rock. He is standing  on

kind of a ledge at the top of the hill.

There is a little bit of hillside between the giant and Mace.

So the Giant has a small amount of cover.

But that is not too much since he is 16 feet tall.

The other two giants are behind that giant in Mace's perspective.

>From this point Mace could not judge the distance the three giants were

together, could be between 2 and 20 feet.

Keladryn casts his bless spell on the group around him.

 

Round 1 initiative:

Lyden, 1

Sildar, 3

Mace, 3

Sarlon, 3

SpringRite, 3

Keladryn, 8

Klak, 9

 

Lyden is about 25 to 30 yards away, medium range.

He throws his magical Dart of Homing once and 2 regular darts, aiming at the

one throwing the rocks.

1d20 roll of 6, plus 5 for 11 but he needs a 13 to hit.

Because the dart doesn't hit it looses its magical properties.

does a 1d12 for placement, and gets 7 so it lands a little short.

Rolls 1d20 for the regular darts, gets 4, and 8 for two misses.

SpringRite gets his long bow and Sheaf arrows  ready for 2 medium range

shots, but he has to ride up 20 yards to where Bren is laying.

He rolls a 1d20 and gets a 1, critical fumble.

Rolls another and Gets a 6

As SpringRite is moving forward, he is attempting to get his bow in order,

and the horse's reigns slip out of his grasp and he jerks over to the right

because he almost rode Bren down as he was fiddling with the bow and he

looses both of his attacks.

SpringRite looks at Bren and he is getting up very slowly,

and it looks like he got the wind knocked out of him pretty good.

The breast plate of his armor looks very dented, and caved in.

CloudStorm has moved about 30 yards off but slips on a rock that gets a

giant's attention.

He will still be able to get his next shot off anyway.

 He shoots a fire arrow and hits Giant #3 a second time. The giant roars and

spots his attacker, snatches up a club and starts down the hill toward

CloudStorm.

  There are now a couple of scorch marks on that giant's leg.

Sildar runs forward 30 yards to get into medium range for his cross bow.

Mace plans to run up towards Klak to be in range for his spell, he notices

the far giant #3 has broken formation, he turned his back and is going

down the hill moving from right to left.

Sarlon is going to cast magic missile on the closest giant, so he moves

right up behind Sildar.

 Sarlon 4 rolls 4 spells, 1d4 plus 1, and gets 1, 1, 1, 2 total 5 plus 4

total 9 hp directed to the rock thrower, giant #1, who has not been hit.

The giant reacts like he has been bitten by four mosquitoes.

Sarlon: "Shit, What the hell is up wit my spells today?"

Gillek turns to Sarlon right before he moves and says: "What, do, you, want,

me, to, do, chief?"

 Sarlon: "Well, ya got something to throw at it?  I don't think ya want to

go running up dat hill!"

Gillek: "Right." and he gets his cross bow out and takes a position next to

Sildar saying "Just, stay, behind, us."

Ed: "Yes, we will."

 

Giant #1 scratches his arm picks up a rock and throws it generally in the

direction of the knot of people around Sarlon.

Giants being not to bright is targeting Sildar.

At the beginning of the round Keladryn was about 10 yards behind Mace and

160 yards from the giants.

Sildar moved up 30 yards, Sarlon behind Sildar   and Keladryn is 50 yards

from Bren.

Keladryn is 120 yards from where Klak and SpringRite are.

Keladryn addresses the group: "Remember, they get confused easily, so now is

the time to split up and give them different targets to concentrate on."

Keladryn moves off to his right onto the tall grass away from the others and

will not take any action at the moment.

Sildar aims his cross bow at the nearest giant and fires.

He rolls a 1d20 and gets 13 for a hit.

A 1d4 damage gets a 1.

Giant #1, in his language says,

"Another one of those mosquitoes!"

Klak notices the giant in the middle, Giant #2, looking down at him. It

looks like he aims to throw a rock as well.

NightShade is going off to the left through the tall grass.

Gabriella is going to move off the road as well and needs to close a bit to

do what she wants to do.

 The middle giant throws a rock at Klak who dodges slightly and it misses

him and it bounces down the hill to his right.

Klak judges that he is within the 60 yards and as he swings his hammer in a

circle he says the command word, then throws it at the giant who attacked

him.

Klak rolls a 1d20 and gets 15 for a hit.

The party is momentarily deafened by a double clap of what sounds like

thunder that echoes off the hills.

Klak rolls a 1d4 for damage gets a 1 with 19 bonus points for a 20 points of

damage on the giant.

Giant #2 lets out a loud bellow, and picks up his club then runs straight

down the hill towards Klak.

Klak stands there and watches the hammer return to his hand like a

boomerang which takes about six seconds.

 As mace rushes towards Klak he notices the giant running down the hill,  so

he pulls up since he only needs to be within 80 yards of the target.

He is 30 yards from Klak and realizes that Klak may be able to handle the

oncoming giant and judges that he is also about 80 yards from the other

bolder throwing giant.

Giant #1 takes aim at Sildar and hits him a glancing shot

off his shoulder for 14 hit points damage.

Sildar is knocked back a step or two.

Sarlon seeing the rock head right for him says: "Dats headin' right for me!"

So he runs off away from Sildar.

Gillek shoots his cross bow but misses wide right.

Round 2 initiative:

Klak 4

Keladryn 6

Sildar 7

Lyden 8

SpringRite 9

Sarlon 9

Mace 10

 

Gabriella pops off a few magic missiles and gives the bolder thrower, Giant

#1, a few

more of those Mosquito bites.

Giant #2 reaches Klak and swings his club at the same time Klak swings his

hammer.

Klak rolls 1d20 and gets 19 for a hit.

Rolls 1d4 for damage and gets 2 plus 9 for a total of 11 points damage.

 The hammer smashes into the chest of the giant and the party hears a loud

boom!

The group hears the other bolder thrower, giant #1  shout something  and the

giant who

is pursuing CloudStorm, giant #3  stops and then starts running towards

where the rest of the party is.

giant #2 attacking Klak hits him on the head with the club for 14 points of

damage.

(Klak's  Ioun Stone absourbes 9 hit points so he is down 5, his total is now

57 )

Klak exclaims" Ouch! Grar!"

Bren now on his feet seeing Klak in trouble charges in.

Keladryn is hanging back observing, the giant attacking Klak, is 100 yards

away within medium bow range.

  He pulls out a flite arrow

Sildar  is about 80 yards from the giant fighting Klak, he readies his cross

bow for another shot.

Sarlon is looking for cover,   he heads left and goes onto the grass.

But he notices giant #3 running towards him.

Sarlon: "I ain't goin' dat way!."

Sarlon wants to keep the giant in sight and within range but get away enough

so that he doesn't get trampled.

Then he will stop and try to get his magic missiles off.

Gabriella after firing her magic missile decides to dash across the road

towards Keladryn away from the oncoming giant #3.

 

DM: By Sarlon and Gabriella running all around, they make nice targets for

the rock thrower, giant #1.

He lifts a bolder and has to pick from four targets.

He picks Sarlon.

Sarlon seeing the rock heading his way, "Oh shit! He don't like black boys?"

Sarlon runs off and gets nicked in the back by the rock and gets 7 points of

damage.

 It still sends him sprawling.

Sarlon: "Oh that Mother is goin' down!"

He spits out dirt and says, "He's goin' down good!"

The running giant is heading directly towards Keladryn and Gillek and ed.

Ed seeing it heading towards him  says, "Uh?"

Mace is aiming his flash spell at the bolder thrower, giant #1.

The giant's eyes light up surrounded by a flash and it roars a bit but it

saves and is not blinded.

Giant #1 is dazed and blinks a few times before it can see his targets

again.

Lyden looks up at giant #1 still on the hill and it is behind a ridge of

rocks from the knees down.

Lyden tosses 3 darts at giant #1,

rolls 1d20 and gets, 12, 5, 6 for 1 hit.

rolls 1d2 and gets 2 plus 3 for 5 hit points damage.

Lyden glues himself down to the ground and tries to make himself very small

and activates his ring of Chameleon Power.

Keladryn  sees giant #3 bearing straight at the group in front of him about

40 yards away.

Ed starts to run back towards the carts.

Keladryn aims his bow at giant #3 heading towards Sildar and intends to back

off so that Sildar is between him and the giant.

rolls 1d20 and gets 18 for a hit

rolls 1d6 and gets 5 hit points damage.

 

SpringRite has been riding around looking for a giant to hit in the back

with his sword.

To get to the one fighting Klak he would have to ride his horse up the hil,

a little tricky but it could be done.

He decides to wait for the battle to unfold differently.

He uses his bow and readies a Sheaf arrow

aims at the bolder thrower, Giant #1.

rolls a 1d20 and gets 9 for a hit.

rolls 1d8 and gets 8.

Giant #1 roars with the arrow in its chest and looks a little woozy.

SpringRite has a smug smile on his face from his great shot.

Sildar sees the running giant heading directly to him.

 But giant #3 takes a big golf swing at Gillek knocks him up out and over

Keladryn and into the grass.

Gillek: "Oh, that, really, hurt."

Sildar swings his magic sword at the giant near him.

rolls a 1d20 and gets 1.

then rolls 1d20 and gets10 for a critical fumble.

Sildar gets caught up in watching the dwarf fly over his head, giant #3

barrels into him knocks the sword out of his hand.

The sword goes skittering across the road and lands next to Keladryn's

horse.

  Keladryn sees that the giant is 15 yards away and no one between them.

He decides to forgo his arrow shot and splits  with the horse away from

giant #3 going back down the road towards the caravan.

SpringRite gets his second shot, aiming at the bolder throwing giant, Giant

#1.

rolls 1d20 and gets 18 for a hit.

rolls 1d8 and gets 4.

A flaming arrow from CloudStorm comes  flying into the hill over giant #1

and lands between the two halves of the party on the grass between the

bolder thrower and Mace.

The party sees a small puff of smoke and the grass starts burning.

Klak's between-rounds attack:

1d20 is 7 1d4 is 4

That is a miss, bouncing off the giant's leg without

causing any damage.

 

 Round 3 initiative:

Lyden 3

Keladryn 3

Mace 4

Klak 5

Sarlon 8

Sildar 9

SpringRite 10

 

Klak and Bren will continue fighting the Giant.

SpringRite will still use his bow on his horse.

Keladryn and Ed have run back towards the caravan.

Ed stops about 100 yards off turns aroundand is watching things.

Lyden will head up the hill towards the ring of stones about 15 yards away

to get close enough for a dagger throw on Giant #1.

Mace plans on casting lightning on the bolder thrower.

The giant that hit Sildar is about 30 yards from him.

Sarlon plans on casting an acid cloud on that giant if Sildar is not close

to him.

Sildar plans to head for his sword the giant is 5 yards away while the sword

is 10.

 Gabriella is hiding in the tall grass.

NightShade is sneaking up the hill.

 

DM: OK, here's where everyone is, centered on the top of the hill.

 

At the top of the hill, in the middle of a three-foot high ring of

stones, is the boulder-throwing giant, Giant #1, who is currently dazed by

Mace's Nystul's Flash spell.

 

North of him, behind the wall of rocks and about 5 yards from giant #1,

is Lyden.

 

Further down the north side of the hill, having retreated in the face of a

pursuing giant and thus now about 175 yards away from the top of the hill,

is CloudStorm.

 

Somewhere else on the hill is NightShade.

 

On the south side of the hill, about 50 yards down and slightly up the

hillside from the road, giant #2 is engaged in melee with Klak and

Brin.

 

Further down the road to the east is SpringRite, who is still on

horseback and is riding around, trying to present a moving target to the

boulder thrower. He still has his bow out.

 

Back to the west, about 75 yards from giant #2, giant #3 is standing in

about the middle of the road, having essentially run through Sildar.

Sildar himself is down on one knee, recovering from the blow, about 5

yards north of the giant. Sarlon is about 15 yards south of the giant,

crouching in the tall grass off the side of the road. Off to Sarlon's

right, about 10 yards away, Gabriella is also crouching in the grass.

Somewhere behind Sarlon is where Gillek landed.

 

Further west, about 100 yards further along, are Keladryn and Ed, who

are trying their best to stay out of the combat.

 

Mace is approximately midway between giants #2 and 3, standing in the

middle of the road as well.

 

CloudStorm: Can CloudStorm  see any cover?

DM: Not a whole lot beyond the tall grass itself. A couple hills

to the north there are some trees.

 

CloudStorm: I am assuming that you realize that he is wearing his cloke of

elven kind, and his mask.

DM: I assumed the cloak, yes. That's part of why the giant

couldn't find him.

 

CloudStorm: Now that he has had a chance to see these guys up close and

personal, what

does he see.

 

DM: They're big, they're ugly, they don't use deodorant, they

don't brush their teeth, and their clubs are bigger than he is.

 

CloudStorm would look for some cover to blend into.  He would also

get ready to take a shot at the giant that is up on the top of the hill if

he is within range.

DM: Yes, he is. For the moment, he's still in the position from which he

took his last shot (the one that went past the giant and over the hill).

Mind you, he's on the border between medium and long range, but the

giant is a nice big target.

 

CloudStorm: Where is his falcon?

DM: His falcon is with him. I figured he wouldn't want to risk

sending him anywhere near the giants for fear of them playing baseball with

him.

CloudStorm  would send the falcon into the air, telling him to stay clear of

there projectile weapons.  However attempt to caus a disturbance in a

direction

that there is currently noone is at right now.  CloudStorm  would move in

the direction where he sees the nearest cover.  He would stop short at the

point where his initiative would allow him to take a shot this round.  He

would attempt

to do this without being seen.

 

Round 3, Segment 1

 

Giant #1 shouts something, and Giant #3 looks toward him and shouts

something back.

 

Sildar rises to his feet and looks around for his sword, spotting it

just on the other side of Giant #3.

 

SpringRite wheels his horse around, ready to make another pass while

firing his bow.

 

Lyden begins creeping slowly up the hill toward Giant #1.

 

CloudStorm's falcon takes to the air, flying off toward the north, as

CloudStorm moves back toward the rock he abandoned earlier.

 

Segment 2

 

Giant #3, apparently in response to Giant #1's bellow, moves away from

Sildar and starts moving down the road toward the rest of the party.

 

Segment 3

 

Lyden, nearly up to the rock wall, silently pulls a dagger from its sheath.

 

Keladryn spots Giant #3 turning away from him and begins to walk his

horse back toward the rest of the party.

 

Also, Sildar takes this opportunity to dash across the road and snatch

up his sword from where it was lying in the grass.

 

Mace begins chanting something while Giant #3 comes toward him from

behind. Mace, absorbed in his spell, does not notice this.

 

Segment 4

 

Lyden pulls himself up against the rock wall and takes a breath, ready

to cast his dagger.

 

The falcon, having flown a decent distance away, begins making loud

squawking noises and beating its wings around in the grass. The

boulder-thrower briefly looks in its direction, but then brings its

attention.

 

A small fire is now burning among the grass about halfway up the hill,

directly behind Giant #2, generating a fair amount of smoke.

 

 

Sarlon's plan, now that Sildar is not in the way, is to hit (I think)

giant #3 with Ice Storm from wand... I may have to pursue him tho to do

this and that's ok.

 

Klak noticing Bren running towards him out of the corner of his eye, will

scream at the giant,

"I blow my nose at you, you empty headed stink pot!"

Holding his shield in one hand Klak will swing his hammer and say,

"May Dazhak's Hammer smash your balls into pancakes!"

 

Sarlon: Ice Storm (from Wand)

3d10 is 8

 

Mace: Hopefully this'll make the giants hair stand on end

5d6 is 16

SpringRite targets the giant he has been shooting at before. He shoots his

arrow, but keeps moving on his horse to provide a difficult target.

SpringRite then takes a minute to ensure Gabriella is still okay.

1d20 is 3

1d8 is 2

 

 

Segment 5

 

Sildar, having retrieved his sword, surveys the area, watching the giant

move away from him toward Mace.

 

Keladryn, slowly closing in on his horse, begins to prepare his bow.

 

Mace completes his chant, and a small spark shoots forth from his

fingertips. Just before it reaches the giant at the top of the hill, it

flares into a full-fledged bolt of lightning. The giant barely has time

to move, but part of the damage is turned aside by the giant's thick

hide (ST: 9, saved), and the giant takes only 8 points of damage from

the strike.

 

Segment 6

 

Mace, his spidey-sense tingling, jumps and turns around quickly to find

himself standing nose-to-kneecap with Giant #3, who is bellowing at him

and bringing his club to bear.

 

Lyden, sensing an opportunity, tosses the dagger he'd drawn, but giant #1 is

still thrashing around and the dagger flies between his legs

and clanks against the stone wall in front of him, landing inside the ring.

Lyden's rolls

move silently 1d100   gets 6

1d20  gets5 so no hit.

 

Brin, finally in combat, yells "Take this, yer barmy rock-throwin'

reject from Acheron!" and swings his hammer, but it misses wildly

(1d20 roll of 3).

 

Segment 7

 

Sarlon pokes his head up briefly from the grass and says "Stupid Mace in

my way now...shit, he better get outta there afore I hit him too!"

 

Giant #1, angered by the lightning bolt, reaches down to pick up another

mini-boulder.

 

CloudStorm moves up to about 30 yards below the rock he used previously

for cover and ducks down into the grass to prepare for another bow shot.

 

Segment 8

 

Klak takes a swing with his hammer, causing 10 HP damage and a loud

explosion.

Klak's rolls

1d20 gets 11 a hit

1d4 gets 1 plus 9 bonus for 10

 

After swinging his hammer and smashing the knee of the giant, he raises his

shield up to try to fight off the blow.

 

Lyden curses his bad luck, having panicked into tossing his two best

weapons at the giant, and ponders his next move.

 

Sildar appears to come to a decision, and charges toward Giant #3, sword

in hand.

 

Sarlon mutters something under his breath about stupid white boys

getting in his way and tucks the wand back into one of his robe pockets.

Segment 9

 

Keladryn has his bow at the ready now, and reaches into his quiver for

an arrow.

 

Sarlon hears a morose voice behind him say "Stay, down, chief...I, need, to,

find, my, crossbow..."

 

As Mace takes in the threat posed by Giant #3, a boulder comes sailing

down from the top of the hill, just glancing off his right hip (d20: 15)

for 4 points of damage.

 

Segment 10

 

Sarlon lets fly another swarm of missiles, hitting Giant #3 for 15

points of damage.

 

Giant #3, in some amount of pain, swings his club in a mighty arc and

clubs Mace atop the head (d20: 19) for 16 points of damage.

 

Mace d100 roll for system shock check, and Mace's Armor spell has now

expired.

Mace rolls 69

Segment 11

 

Mace, knocked a bit loopy by the giant's club, staggers backward a

couple steps, then falls on his rear end.

 

Giant #2 swings his club at Klak, but Klak's raised shield turns the

blow aside (d20: 6).

 

Gabriella, seeing Mace stumble, tosses a volley of missiles at Giant #3,

causing 9 points of damage.

 

Segment 12

 

Keladryn lets fly one of his arrows, but it falls well short of the mark.

 

Another arrow flies up from somewhere on the east side of the hill,

causing 3 points of damage to the boulder-thrower, Giant #1.

 

Segment 13

 

Giant #3, having clocked Mace, turns around to face the charging Sildar...

 

Segment 14

 

Sildar, his sword emitting a golden glow now, plunges the sword deeply

into the giant's right thigh. A gout of blood rushes from it, and the

giant starts to topple backward...

 

Segment 15

 

SpringRite shoots into the air at Giant #2 as he passes it, but he

overcompensates in his attempt to avoid hitting the combatants, and the

arrow lands on the hillside.

 

Giant #3 completes his topple. Mace just barely rolls out of the way as

the giant lands sprawled out on the road. However, Mace is now covered

in giant blood.

 

Segment 16

 

SpringRite continues to ride forward. He spots Gabriella in the tall

grass next to Sarlon, and waves to her, smiling. Gabriella shouts "One

down, two to go!"

 

Segment 17

 

The boulder-thrower, Giant #1, seeing one of his comrades fall, steps over

the

stone wall and charges down the hill toward Sildar.

 

Segment 18

 

Sildar, seeing the threat coming, rounds on the new threat, yelling

"Come on, giant! I'll take you down, too!"

 

Segment 19

 

A second arrow from the eastern hillside sails over the charging giant's

head.

 

Segment 20

 

In a hasty attempt to get his shot off at the retreating giant,

CloudStorm fumbles the arrow out of his hand uselessly as the top of the

giant's head disappears beyond the hilltop...

 

End of round 3!

between-rounds attack

Brin swings his hammer at the giant's calf, and it connects (d20: 13)

for 3 HP

(1d4) of damage.

 

 Round 4 initiative:

Sarlon 1

SpringRite 4

Klak 9

 

Segment 1

 

Lyden stands up and clambers over the rock wall, looking for his dagger.

 

Ed begins moving back toward the group, sticking close to the right-hand

side of the road.

 

Klak takes a couple steps backwards, preparing to throw his hammer. As

he retreats, the giant takes a mighty swing, and Klak just BARELY ducks

under the swinging club!

 

Sildar looks over his fallen foe, then runs to meet the one charging

down the hillside, who is quickly closing in on him.

 

Segment 2

 

Sarlon reaches back into his robe and draws out his wand once more.

 

Lyden, having retrieved his dagger, glances around to see a very large

sack sitting on the back edge of the ring of stones.

 

Keladryn, seeing no immediate danger, continues riding toward the prone

giant.

 

CloudStorm calls his falcon back to him and continues his climb up the hill.

 

Segment 3

 

Ed calls out "Chief, does you or the dwarf need my help?"

Gillek replies "No, I, found, my, crossbow, already, thanks."

 

Lyden takes his dagger and pokes at the huge sack in front of him. It

doesn't move.

 

Segment 4

 

Keladryn reaches Mace's side. He asks Mace if he needs assistance, but

Mace shushes him, saying "I'm. Not. Here."

 

Sarlon points his wand in the general direction of giant #1. A stream

of small bits of ice shoots forth from it, hitting the giant and

covering the ground beneath him. The giant flails about with his arms

for a moment, then slips and falls...

...and starts sliding down the hill RIGHT AT SILDAR...

The ice storm also puts out the burning grass.

 

Transcript May 7, 2006

 

SILDAR seeing Giant #1 pinwheel at him, decides to try and get out of the

way by turning around and running in the opposite direction.

He is right on the edge of the ice field.

SILDAR dexterity check roll 1d20 gets4

SILDAR easily gets a good running start in an arc off to the side out of the

way of the slyding giant.

  But SILDAR looses his attack for the round.

The sliding giant #1 will miss Keladryn, but it will be a close miss.

The easiest way for Keladryn to miss would be to ride closer to Mace.

 Bren takes a swing at giant #2

rolls 15 and gives the giant 4 points of damage.

 Mace lying behind the unconscious and bleading giant #3 hears giant #1 fall

and scream,

"Ah!, Thud! Roar ah!

Mace to Keladryn Padre, I don't think this is a place you should be."

He gets to his knees, and surveys the situation.

I don't know what you're here for but do what you got to do and get out of

here!

 Keladryn observing the giant sliding down the hill would let Mace know

about it.

 

SpringRite picks out his next target.  He selects the closest giant.  He

will keep moving to confuse the giants and to prevent being hit.

Giant #2 turns to face Bren, and SpringRites arrow thunks him dead center of

the chest.

1d20 is 20

1d8 is 7

A critical hit for 14 points of damage on giant #2

This guy looks really bad, like you could blow him over with a stiff wind,

but he's still standing.

The giant wavers just a little bit, then starts to bring his club down on

Bren and pounds him into the ground.

14 points of damage kills Bren.

He is now negative 12 so joins his brother Fren.

SpringRite seeing this, is in great dismay because he feels he might have

caused Bren's demise.

 A moment later NightShade's arrow comes flying at giant #2 from off on the

hill side, hitting him right in the back.

The giant falls backwards, and fortunately there is no one back there.

 He crashes to the ground, dead.

SpringRite seeing the second giant down, turns his horse around and heads in

the direction of the sliding giant.

Gillek: "Well, there, goes, my, target, again.

Sarlon to Gillek, "Well, if ya want another target, ya can go over and get

the one I just knocked over! Just don't get stepped on"

Klak about to throw his hammer at Giant #2 watches his Dwarf friend get

pounded and the giant dispatched, turns to see giant #1 sliding down the

hill on his back about 40 to 50 yards away.

He yells, "You damn giants! Killed my friend! Now you get it!"

 He says the command word Thos" and throws his hammer at giant #1.

1d20 is 5 1d4 is 3

With the giant being prone, the roll turned into a hit for 26 points of

damage.

The party hears a loud Boom as the hammer smaks into the side of the giant's

head.

That's enough to take giant #1 out as well.

 

Giant #1 slides to a stop at the feet of giant #3.

SpringRite yells out, "Do these giants have and gold or anything of value

with them?"

He rides over to the closest giant to check him out.

Keladryn to Mace, "Well it appears the giants are done. Although we should

probably make sure"

Sarlon comes out from the grass and comes slowly over to the fallen giants

now that folks are gathering around.

 Sarlon: "Hey, you find any gold? That's fine but I'm gonna get somethin'

dat may be more valuable!

Show me where one of dem wounds are."

 Mace: "Well, weht we really need to do here is get these giants off the

road, and get those caravans through here. We shouldn't be hanging around

here too long."

Keladryn: "That is wise. We do not know if there are any others within

range."

 Looking at Mace he says, "How are you feeling, do you need some healing

right now?"

Liden in a piping voice calls out from the top of the hill, " They don't

have any gold, but they have silver!"

SpringRite yells out, "Did you find the silver on them?"

Lyden,"Big sack!"

SpringRite, "Good stuff!"

By now NightShade will have risen from the grass, "Ah, everything allright

down there?"

 Klack will yell up to Lyden, "Can you carry it down or do you need help?"

Lyden, "Me? I can't carry all that!"

Ed comes over to Sarlon, who is filling up a bottle with the giant's blood.

"Ya need me to heal you chief?"

Klack seeing what Sarlon is doing says, "wow, giant blood is valuable,

you're gonna need a barrel! I'm gonna go up the hill and help the little

one."

 Sarlon: "I ain't takin' it all. Depends on if dare any impurities."

 But it can always be useful for sumtin'."

Looking at Ed he says, "Well, I got bonked a little bit, but I think I'll be

OK."

Ed: "Well I'll go look after the Dwarf then, he looks quite beaten up."

SpringRite calls over to Mace, "It's all fine and good to get out of here as

fast as we can but we should collect any silver and gold!"

Remember, we still need to bring Molbo around and it's not gonning to come

cheep."

 

Gillex slowly makes his way out of the grass.

Keladryn seeing that Mace looks horrible, casts a cure moderate on him.

rolls 1d10 plus 1 for a total of 7

Mace looks a good deal better now.

Keladryn goes over to Bren to see if there is anything he can do for him.

Mace: Well I'll go back and get the caravan.  Sarlon I don't know what

you're gonna do about your cart, but I'm going back to get the rest."

"You guys gets these, tings, off the road!"

SpringRite: "Mace, these giants are several tons in weight! Do you have any

idea how we can move them?"

DM: Giant #2 is on the hill side, so he's off the road.

The other two make an upside down T in the middle of the road.

Giant #3 is parallel to the road right

 in the middle of it.

Giant #1 slid to a stop right at the other Giant's feet.

SpringRite: "I think we better get some ropes and horses and see if we can

haul them off the road."

Sarlon: "Well, you guys are gonna have ta do dat,I'm gonna go back wit Mace

and make sure things are in order."

Lyden is up on the rock wall scanning the cuntry side looking out for

anything that might be coming.

 He sees CloudStorm coming up the back of the hill.

He also sees the falcon circling overhead.

 

To condense the rest of the session in breaf,

They use four draft horses and a rope to drag the giants off the road,

taking a few hours.

Klack brings the sack of the giants down after getting help from Lyden's

spell.

They burry Bren at the top of the hill with his weapons, after taking his

money pouch and backpack.

There is 20 gold in the pouch which Klak will share with the others who

fought the giants.

  Klak puts the giant's sack into the party's cart and they count it at the

next rest stop.

They divide 180 silver pieces to each of the 10 fighters.

So each person gets a total of 20 gold in value and 20 xp points.

At the bottom of the sack Sildar discovers a gem encrusted dagger.

Klak guesses 750 gp

mylo checks dagger for magic 3 gp from Sildar

no magic detected.

We pass through the hills and at the last hill find a camp site at the top

of the hill.

We stop for the night with the caravan at the bottom of the hill.

adjusted watches

lyden, Sildar, and Gabriella  first watch

mace, spring, slash second

klak, nightshade, gillek third

cloudstorm, kaladrin, and sirloin forth

 

Klak's caltrops given to gillek

Keladryn heals Mace and  Sildar.

klak down 5 gets healing 3

2 for sleep night to get back to max.

In the morning everyone is at max hit points.

falcon checks out bridge 3 miles away

sees bulky creatures with large mouths and weapons.

 

Battle Experience Points for killing the three giants earns each player 818

points.

 With this increase, SpringRite and Gabriella go up an experience level.

 

The end.

 

+++

Fun On The Go

By Michael Feir

 

I was defending a future Earth from an attacking alien fleet. Ships screamed
down from the sky attempting to reach the surface before being blasted by
one of seven sonic cannons I controlled. They came down fast as I had
survived over fifteen prior waves. They had begun firing lasers at me a few
waves ago and I had to quickly raise the shield to deflect the energy bolts.
Things were becoming very fun, frantic and exciting when suddenly, seemingly
with no Rhine or reason, I lost a life. An enemy had somehow travelled down
the playing field and hit the ground without making any noise at all. As
Sonic Invaders is a purely audio game, this should have been impossible. I
should have at least heard my killer's descent even if it was one of the
disappearing enemies. How had this happened?

 

It wasn't because the program was buggy. Neither was it the result of the
computer intentionally cheating. The answer had to do with the fact that I
was playing Sonic Invaders on a laptop. The Earth and I had fallen prey to a
weakness common to laptops. A whole lot of effort goes into making laptops
small yet still easy to see. A graphics card with extra memory came with my
laptop so that it would display the highest quality graphics without
effecting performance. Plenty of research goes into making the thin monitors
used on laptops easy to see. Probably just as much goes into making the
keyboards as friendly and comfortable as possible. Sadly, in the interests
of cost, power efficiency and portability, laptops almost always fall very
short in the audio department. The speakers are pretty much uniformly small
and don't allow you to hear the richness and detail in sounds or music. In
the interests of increasing overall portability as well as power efficiency,
this is somewhat understandable. However, I've found it particularly vexing
and unfortunate over the years that more capability wasn't included for
handling sound in laptops. This is much less forgivable. The built-in sound
capability in my laptop lets only twelve streams play at once. This may
sound like a lot to the unseasoned veterans out there. It must seem quite
sufficient to the majority of sighted users. However, sight is their
dominant sense. Speech technology takes up one stream. Having music playing
in the background takes up one or more streams. If any warning noises or
alerts play, they take up yet another stream. Games can tax a laptop's sound
capabilities while running just fine on most desktops. Just to even things
up, we should make sighted people use a monitor which can display a mere
twelve distinct colours at once instead of the thirty-two million normally
available and see how they like it. Certainly adequate for many tasks but
likely not very attractive for longer game or work cessions. I often
wondered how hard could it be to miniaturise the components of a good sound
card so that it could slide into that PCMCIA slot in the side of my current
and previously owned laptops? Better yet, why couldn't even the more modest
capability of playing up to thirty-two streams at once be built right into
laptops right from the start? That capability has been available for well
over a decade to desktop computers. I guess the answer must be something on
the order of "pretty damned hard indeed, you audio ingrate!" I deduce this
because I've conducted a rather thorough investigation over the past while
in an effort to improve this one critical shortcoming of the excellent
laptop my generous parents recently obtained for me.

 

Considerable efforts are being made by the various sound card companies to
attempt to address this problem. However, they almost all use the approach
of taking up a USB port and having something stick out from your laptop
which you must then attach to powered speakers requiring that at least two
electrical outlets be available for any sort of proper use in addition to
cables connecting the speakers to the laptop. Good grief! I wanted to use
one of my USB ports for a pair of USB-powered speakers which I could then
send sound to. It didn't seem right to me that I should have to use two USB
ports, one for speakers and the other for one of the USB external sound card
options, just to get decent sound from the laptop. Finally, I hit upon an
excellent solution. Not making any claims to omniscience, I won't say this
is the only solution which would have satisfied my requirements. However, it
certainly fulfils and even exceeds them. Its total cost was around $230
Canadian.

 

There are two components to getting brilliant sound out of your laptop. The
first and most critical of these is the Creative Audigy2zs Notebook sound
card. Mine cost around $120 Canadian. It has the following system
requirements which you should take note of:

Basic requirements

. Genuine Intel® Pentium® III, Mobile Intel Pentium III, Pentium M,
Celeron - 1.2 GHz, or equivalent AMD® processor, or faster

 

Intel, AMD or 100% compatible motherboard chipset

Microsoft® Windows® XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) or Windows 2000 Service Pack 4
(SP4)

256 MB RAM

600 MB of free hard disk space

Available Type II CardBus slot

CD-ROM/CD-RW or DVD-ROM drive required for software installation

 

Additional requirements (for advanced features and DVD-Audio)

. 512 MB RAM

 

Soft DVD - DVD player: Intervideo's WinDVD® 2000 or CyberLink's PowerDVD®
3.0 and above recommended

DVD-ROM drive: 2nd generation 6x DVD-ROM drive or later for DVD Movie and
DVD-Audio playback

Graphics processor for games: DirectX® 9 and OpenGL® compliant 3D
accelerator with at least 32 MB of texture RAM

Headphones or amplified speakers (optional)

 

As you can appreciate, older laptops may not meet all of those requirements.
You can elect to use the card in standard mode if you don't meet the larger
memory requirements of advanced mode. This will still drastically improve a
laptop's sound capacity. As long as your laptop has what it takes, you'll
certainly enjoy the dramatic improvement in sound if you have speakers or
headphones which you can attach to the output jacks on the card. With the
Audigy2ZS Notebook card, you can have a maximum of sixty-four streams
playing simultaneously. It also takes full advantage of EAX technology
should any games or other applications use this. If you have them, the card
comes with a sort of docking cable which will let you plug your laptop into
surround-sound or home theatre systems. This long narrow port, a combined
microphone/line-in jack and a headphone/line-out jack are the three ports on
the end of the card which sticks out of your computer. If you have a DVD
drive as many laptops do these days, you can enjoy movies in full sonic
glory.

 

When inserted into your computer's PCMCIA slot, the sound card sticks out
around three centimetres from the side. Due to this, I recommend that you
take the card out of the laptop when it's not being used. The only other
alternative which wouldn't risk damaging the card would be to find a case
which would allow the laptop to be packed sideways. It comes with a carrying
sleeve that you can keep the card in while it's not needed. The manual is in
compiled html format so it works terrifically with Jaws for Windows. Sadly,
the same can't be said for the on-screen display and control setup they want
you to use. I was able to find a copy of the Creative Audio control console
which works fabulously and is fully accessible. I may have inadvertently
installed the wrong options and thereby not automatically gotten the audio
console from the actual CD. Rather than try to reinstall everything, I chose
the circuitous route of searching out this handy application using Google.
Creative uses it with many of its sound cards. I've come to very much
appreciate it on my desktop PC with its Audigy2zs card. One thing I haven't
examined is whether I lose a lot of battery power to the sound card. I don't
think it would cut down too significantly on this but I could be wrong.

 

With that card installed and a pair of headphones, you're ready to rock and
roll in your own private sonic paradise. You'll never have a situation where
a game tries to position too many sounds for your setup to handle properly
and can enjoy accessible games in all their thunderous wonder. That's all
well and good. However, what happens when you want to share presentations,
demonstrate accessible games, or just listen to the countless audio files
you can pack on a forty-gig hard drive with others? I plan to do as much of
this as possible and also don't relish having to always wear headphones when
I use my laptop. I certainly don't recommend the extended use of those
earbud style phones which come bundled with the sound card. Not only are
they uncomfortable but they also negate any ability to hear what's going on
around you. As long as you don't have the volume terribly high, you can at
least hear such things as people calling you or fire alarms in your
vicinity.

 

The other half of my solution to the laptop sound problem comes from Altec
Lansing and will definitely put at least a small dent in your battery
charge. It's an excellent small pair of USB speakers. They're less than
twenty centimetres tall and probably not even five centimetres wide. I doubt
the entire package weighs any more than half a kilogram. The XT1 speakers
come in a nice carrying case which lets the two speakers and cables be
stored neatly in your laptop case's spare compartment or in a small carrying
bag. The speakers cost just over $100 Canadian and will improve the quality
of sound your laptop produces regardless of whether you have the sound card.
Used on their own, they won't increase your laptop's capacity to handle
sound. Despite the fact that they're treated like a separate sound device,
they're only speakers after all and you'd still be subject to the same
processing limitations your laptop's built-in sound chip places on you. What
you actually heard would sound far better through these speakers than
through your laptop's though. It's like day and night. Just plug the
combined stand and joining cable into the speakers and stand them up on a
stable flat surface to either side of your laptop. I've grown accustomed to
using an old TV table which isn't exactly ideal for these speakers. They
have stands which aren't all that great at keeping them upright. Even on a
stable surface, they're relatively easy to knock over. On the bright side,
these speakers seem to be built very tough and will stand up to normal
incidents of falling. The stands are joined by a cable which feeds sound and
power to the left speaker which has no

 

jacks or buttons on it. The right speaker has raised up and down volume
buttons right near each other and a well separated on/off button. They feel
identical but are positioned so that there can be no confusion at all. An
audio input jack plus the place where you attach the USB cable which then
goes into a USB slot on your laptop are also found on the right speaker. I
personally don't like the retracting USB cable that comes with the speakers
preferring the folded higher quality cable which feels something like a thin
rope similar to the other cables. I have no doubt that the thin plastic
retractable cable would work but I don't like the retracting spool the cable
comes out of.

 

Implementing this solution proved quite easy in retrospect. I say that
because I had some overly optimistic hopes and assumptions going into
things. These led to some rather tense moments when I briefly feared I would
require sighted assistance in order to get my laptop speaking again. These
fears were entirely unfounded. Installing the sound card was simplicity
itself. You just slide it into the card slot. Put in the CDROM with the
Creative software and drivers and go through its installation using your
existing sound. The only caution to make here is that it uses Flash which
some screen-readers might have more trouble with. Jaws did a nice job of
handling that for me though. I had no trouble other than what I made for
myself. I hit the second graphical button. They're not labelled accessibly
but given the limited choices, it's not rocket science. I thought I'd be
clever and choose the custom installation having read that it might install
some unwanted extra software otherwise. The best move is to let it install
everything and then remove what you don't want once you're fully up and
running. My other mistake was not realising that the sound card doesn't make
use of your laptop's speakers. You have to connect external speakers or
headphones to the sound card. Due to this lapse in judgement, everything was
up and running about ten minutes before I realized that fact by thinking to
plug in headphones. There was Jaws as cheerful and responsive as ever. I
hadn't needed to reset three times and wait for the laptop to perform
scandisk trying to correct a problem which didn't exist in the first place
other than in my own mind. I was initially disappointed that there didn't
seem to be a way to get sound to come out the USB speakers since the
Creative software wouldn't recognize them. Any audio processed by the sound
card has to be sent through one of the audio outputs mounted directly on the
card itself. However, I then remembered that extra patch cable which would
normally be used to connect an additional audio source like an I-Pod to your
speakers which would be powered by your laptop. I used this cable to connect
the headphone output on the Audigy2ZS Notebook card to the extra input jack
on the right speaker. There at last was the sound and speech that I had
briefly feared I had lost. Everything worked like a charm. The improvement
in sound was absolutely spectacular. I had left the land of tinny distorted
sound behind. It's not as good as the sound you'd get from larger stationary
speakers. However, it's absolutely remarkable given their size and
portability. I'm not an especially large fan of base but I don't think fans
of more earth-shaking stuff will be all that disappointed considering how
light and portable these speakers are. Games sound absolutely wonderful
through them as do movies and music.

 

The only thing I hadn't fully counted on was having three cables plus a
cable for my laptop's recharger involved. Fortunately, it's not much of a
bother at all to keep things untangled. It's going to take some more
practice for me to set up and pack up these speakers with any degree of
speed. You first have to get them out of the pack. You then attach the USB
cable to the speaker and your laptop. Next, put in the two stands and place
the speakers where you want them. Get the sound card out of its sleeve and
put it into the laptop. Connect the patch cable with the two headphone-style
plugs into the sound card's output jack and into the right speaker's input
jack. Finally, turn on your computer and you're up and running in no time
with amazing sound. In contrast, the only thing to keep in mind when using
the Audigy2ZS Notebook card is to take it out after you turn off the
computer and put it in before you turn it on. If you forget to put the card
in, don't worry. Your laptop will still come up talking if you're a speech
user. You just have to insert the card when you want its benefits which is
pretty much always except possibly when simply writing things down. Even
then, I suspect I'll still put the card in and hook up the speakers if I'm
going to be using the laptop for more than half an hour.

 

You have to decide whether to use things like Winamp or your microphone
through your laptop or through the sound card. I found this out the hard way
when attempting to chat recently. Nobody could hear me despite all the
settings in the volume control indicating that I should have easily been
heard. At last, I thought to check which device was being used for audio
input and recording. I switched this over to use the Audigy2ZS Notebook card
and my troubles went away instantly. Similar slight inconveniences will
doubtless occur as I fine-tune things.

 

I'm not usually a big fan of buying peripherals in order to enhance gaming
experience. I've never understood people who think nothing of having to buy
a certain controller which only helps you derive more enjoyment for one or
two games. We're just coming into a time where I can see that having a
joystick of some sort is at least within the bounds of reason for blind
gamers. I wouldn't dream of getting a force-feedback steering wheel.
However, investing in better sound capacity and speakers such as those I've
chosen will dramatically improve your overall enjoyment of all accessible
games at once. It also makes movies and music sound much better. You can
actually play a song for somebody and not feel like you're doing your
favorite pop artist a disservice. Even those synthetic voices most of us
have come to cherish sound, . well. about as good as they ever will. If your
laptop is also your main computer, or if you do a lot of travelling, I think
it well worth the investment. Keep in mind that unlike so much else, you can
always use the same sound card and speakers with future laptops since
nothing's

 

actually built in. Having a laptop loaded with accessible games is about as
close as blind people can come to the truly pocket-sized portable game
systems available to sighted people. It's about time that more of us got in
on that action.

 

As I trust I've made clear, I couldn't be happier with the improved sound of
my laptop. Stability of one's working surface is about the only concern
there is regarding the speakers. While you're actually on the way somewhere,
installing the sound card and plugging in headphones is simplicity itself.
When you're reached your destination, get out the XT1 speakers and share
your auditory fun with others present. Setting up the speakers takes no more
than a couple of minutes. It's just a matter of becoming proficient with
attaching and detaching the three cables. I hope some of you with laptops
are able to take advantage of my success and obtain these benefits for your
own computers. Reviewing hardware is a bit off the beeten track for me. This
hardware has such tremendous effect on accessible games played on a laptop
that I think it's entirely relevant.

 

+++

Montezuma's Revenge

by Thomas Ward

 

Chapter 1

The Visitor

 

The sun cascaded through the open office window illuminating the office

with bright sunlight. Angela picked up the three-ring notebook, and

quickly reviewed her notes. So far there was not much there to read.

Information about the missing treasure of Montezuma II was scant at

best. Non-existent was more like it if she was to be truthful about it.

Yet, that had never stopped her before.

Some years ago, inspired by Raider's of the Lost Ark, Angela had gone on

her own quest to find the lost Ark of the Covenant, and had found it.

Unlike the movie Angela had traced the Ark's history and oral legends to

a church deep in Ethiopia. During her quest she had been guided by

priests to an island in the center of a lake where Ethiopian legend says

the Ark was held for centuries. Upon investigation she had found ample

proof that the Ark had indeed been on the island. She continued on

following the oral legends until she reached a small Ethiopian church

which clamed to have the one true Ark. Angela had managed to gain access

to the churches under ground sanctuary, and had found what she had been

looking for. The priests who tended the Ark had showed Angela an ancient

letter from the prophet Jeremiah which stated that God had commanded

Jeremiah to send away the Ark to a place where it would be safe from the

Babylonians. It all made perfect sense as Angela had long time suspected

Jeremiah of knowing something about the Ark's disappearance. He had

wrote himself in the old testament book, Jeremiah, that the Ark was gone

and none should miss it. That suggested to her that Jeremiah had aided

in the Ark vanishing from historical view. Until now it had simply

disappeared.

Now, Angela was attempting to find the lost treasure of Emperor

Montezuma II, and to do it she would have to start with the beginning of

Montezuma's long and bloody history. Knowing the Aztec culture as she

did bloody was hardly the word for the mass murder carried out during

Montezuma's life time.

Emperor Montezuma II lived during the early part of the 16th century

just as the Aztec Empire was coming to an end. Long before Cortez

invaded central Mexico Montezuma was a conquering king, who frequently

waged war against his neighbors in a pretty successful effort to expand

his empire. He kept the gods on his side

with a regular regimen of human sacrifice. While the Aztecs had a long

history of ritualistic human sacrifice, the art had never known a patron

like Montezuma.

  At the time, such sacrifices were performed with ritual daggers atop

the Aztec

pyramids. According to some accounts, Montezuma sacrificed tens of

thousands of prisoners at a time, which is a good trick considering each

one had to be individually killed.

  A 1519 account detailed the procedure: "The usual method of sacrifice

was to open the victim's chest, pull out his heart while he was still

alive, and then knock the man down, rolling him down the temple steps,

which were awash with blood." Montezuma apparently had a pretty good

run, annexing several nearby kingdoms and allegedly running a virtual

police state with an iron fist.

Of course, it's difficult to know exactly how bad life under Montezuma

was. As

In modern times, the Aztecs were defeated by some extremely convenient

intelligence findings, which may have been more colorful if true.

  Hernan Cortez, leader of the Spanish Conquistadors, first met

Montezuma in 1519,

and his arrival was a big ordeal. The Aztecs had a legend about the

end of the world, in which a bearded white-skinned god would come to

herald the apocalyptic end of Aztec civilization.

   A series of bad omens had reportedly occurred in the months before

Cortez arrived to claim Mexico on behalf of Spain, including a strange

comet sighting, a lightning strike on the temple of the Aztec war gods,

the capture of a bizarre bird with mirror eyes. The combination of all

these factors led to rampant panic

That the time of the Aztecs was coming to an end.

Worried, Montezuma made an extremely foolish decision. He sent gold and

baubles to Cortez as gifts, in an effort to dissuade him from coming any

closer to the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan. Cortez saw these gifts and

decided to raid the Aztec Empire  for plunder.

Historical accounts are clear that Montezuma was wounded, and then

captured by Cortez's army. A new leader replaced Montezuma, and a war

broke out in 1520 which lasted 80 days of bloody fighting. Some Aztec

warriors  openly committed suicide while many went down in a blaze of

warrior glory. Afterwards Cortez's army looted and plundered what had

been once the greatest Empire in central America.

As Cortez's army plundered the Aztec cities roomers began to circulate

that Montezuma had hidden a huge store of treasure somewhere in the

Aztec temples. The temples were raided, and many of the unwary Spanish

raiders died for unknown reasons. Myths and legends grew up around these

deaths saying evil living skulls, giant spiders, and huge snakes guarded

the treasure. Angela would have brushed it off all as superstitious myth

if not for her uncles confirmation of these things when she was a little

girl.

In 1984 her Uncle Joseph Smith, nicknamed Panama Joe, had gone exploring

the Aztec ruins for the lost treasure. Panama Joe had returned alive,

but shaken from his experience. He had told Angela tales of mysterious

living skulls, snakes, spiders, electric force fields, and other

unbelievable things alleged to exist in the temples. Now, 22 years later

it all sounded like a bunch of wild tales, but she had always wanted to

know if the treasure itself existed. "Perhaps," she thought, "it does."

Suddenly, the sound of the knock brought Angela back to the moment. She

spun in her swivel chair to face the office door. She hadn't been

expecting any visitors for a while, and she had already had some

disturbing phone calls which made her uneasy. Knowing what happened to

her Uncle Joe no one could blame her for being nervous these days.

However, unlike her Uncle Joe Angela had taken self-defense training

while in college, and could handle herself in a fight if she had to.

Back then she had just been worried about a string of unsolved campus

murders, and wanted to protect herself. Now, she had a very real need

for her hand-to-hand combat training.

Some months after her Uncle Joe had returned home from Mexico he had

mysteriously been found at home murdered. His house had been looted, all

of his notes on the exploration was missing, and all the gold, gems, and

other items recovered simply vanished. To date the murder had never been

solved, and Angela wondered constantly if those responsible might now

target her.

Angela stood, and walked slowly to the door. As she opened it she

glanced to see who was there. Fortunately, the halls were still filled

with college students, heading to various classes, and now would be a

good time to find out who she was dealing with. As she opened the door

the visitor asked, "are you Dr. Angela Smith?"

"Yes, I am, and you are?"

The visitor gave her a grave look. "I was a good friend of your uncle.

He left me in possession of some information I think you will need to

continue his quest. Especially, now."

Angela stepped back, and looked directly in to the man's eyes. One thing

she had learned is the eyes were a good look in to someone's soul. What

she saw there was honesty as far as she could tell. However, there were

pathological lyres that could disguise even that hint.

To be safe Angela decided to play the dumb blonde act. "What quest are

you talking about?"

Some annoyance flashed in to the man's eyes. "I think you know what we

are talking about. Let's just say I have a map left by your uncle which

will give you the best route to enter the Aztec temples. That's all I

will say here. I need to give it to you quickly as the same people who

murdered your uncle now know I have this map, and will kill to get a

hold of it."

Angela let out a deep sigh. "What makes you believe I am on a quest. For

The man reached in to his jacket pocket and pulled out a rolled up piece

of paper. "Look, Angela. I know you don't trust me. However, I knew when

you decided to go in to Archaeology that you would follow up on your

Uncle Joe's work someday. Especially, after that CNN press conference

some years back when you discovered the Ark of the Covenant."

The man handed her the paper, and as quickly as he had appeared he

turned his back and left. Angela closed her office door, and quickly

glanced at the map. It was indeed very important as it gave her the

exact route that took her Uncle Joe to the Aztec temples, and outlined

the best way in to the temples.

Seconds later Angela froze as several loud shots sounded down the

hallway. Without thinking she dove for the carpeted office floor. As she

did so her office window exploded inward and glass, bullets, and debris

flew everywhere. She swore as she hit the floor. These guys certainly

meant business, and with her in particular now that she had the only

known map leading in to the Aztec temples holding Montezuma's treasure.

Angela quickly rolled on to her knees, and began crawling to the other

side of the room. Any second now she knew one of those thugs would be in

here looking for the map, and she had to be behind that door when they

showed up. Even as she crawled she heard running foot steps out side her

door, and she crawled faster.

Just then she heard someone turn the knob, and she rolled behind the

door, and came as fast as she could to her feet. A man rushed in with a

Browning 9-Millimeter in his hand. His eyes searched the floor no doubt

looking for her body. Angela stepped out from cover, and delivered a

round house kick to the side of the intruder's head. The intruder

crashed forward in to her desk spilling pencils, notebooks, and papers

to the floor.

The intruder, face bloody,  rebounded and spun to face her. As he

brought his right hand up to fire the 9-Millimeter Angela grabbed his

wrist, gave it a quick and powerful twist, and heard a loud crunch as

his wrist broke. The intruder screamed as the Browning fell to the

floor. Angela absently kicked the 9-Millimeter away as she grabbed a

miniature stone statue from her desk, and brought it down on the

intruders head.  A moment later the intruder collapsed to the floor

unconscious.

Angela grabbed her own jacket, and moved out in to the hall. There were

very few students left in the hallway so Angela was able to make it to

the South exit very quickly. She stepped out in to the rain, and passed

by her car. If they were this determined to kill her car was

more-than-likely a death trap.

With no more attackers in sight Angela walked to the bus stop. A bus

had just pulled to the curb. At the moment she did not know or care

where it was headed for. She walked aboard, and took a seat where she

could watch people board and depart the bus. After some time the bus

began to move, and Angela sat back and waited until she could make it to

the airport.

 

To be continued.

 

+++

News from Developers

 

++

News from the AGRIP Project

July 05, 2006

 

Hello everyone and a very big thanks for the feedback so far on our

survey.  We will publish the detailed results when we believe everyone

that wants to has had their say.  In the meantime, some news from us

about what we've got so far (be prepared for cool stuff to be

mentioned).

 

This e-mail is quite big so I will tell you what it covers.  We can

discuss individual parts in separate threads at a later date.  That date

will probably be around the start of August, as that is when I return

from all the conferences I'm going to this academic year.  So please

bear in mind that this is all about stuff we're planning, and not stuff

that will happen any time in the next few months (or even this year, for

some of it).  It is, however, all very cool and has been prompted by the

answers we've got so far from the survey, so I wanted to share it with

you soon.

 

Please give us feedback on if you think the plans are sane, so we can

avoid wasting our and your time, as well as ensuring we do new stuff

that is worthwhile for the whole AG community, not just our little part

of it.

 

I'm going to briefly discuss news in the following areas:

 

* Time spent on AGRIP

* ``Customer'' Support

* AQ development

* Stats development

* Future new engine development

* Future map editor development

* Improved development process

 

Here goes...

 

* Time Spent on AGRIP

 

My workload since October last year has increased to the point where I

felt it was becoming impossible to maintain, let alone develop, AQ and

the rest of the AGRIP project.  The same thing has happened to Sebby.

However, a large percentage of answers indicated that most of our users

want to see development continue and grow to realise all of our roadmap.

 

For a number of reasons, this has meant that AGRIP's goals and those of

my work may be slightly closer than I was thinking.  I'm going to try

spending a little more time on AGRIP when I return from the conferences

I'm going to, at the start of August.  If by the end of summer, things

are still going well for both my work and AGRIP because of this, I will

do my best to keep that time investment going.  That, along with any

help we get from the community (*stares right at you* ;-)) along the way

could ensure that the cool stuff this e-mail's about will happen.

 

I am interested in improving the situation further by streamlining

several aspects of the way we do things and possibly recruiting members

of the community to help us do things like supporting users.  On the

development side of things, we could look into sharing out development,

or at least making better use of the contributions people have made.

 

* ``Customer'' Support

 

We are currently looking into web-based/e-mail-based systems to improve

the support you're getting from us.  As our time is limited, it would be

handy to have some extra help here and that would definitely require a

centralised system to be put in place.  Even if nobody is able to help

out, at least it will enable us to track what types of bugs, problems,

support people require and if we've followed it up yet (currently that's

more difficult than we imagined).

 

Please let us know if you have suggestions for the support system and if

you'd be interested in helping us out (remember, this is all done in our

spare time).

 

* AQ Development

 

This is planned to continue, as per the roadmap.

 

* Stats Development

 

I'm working (and have been for some time) on improving the stats system.

The new system is not yet ready but is getting there.  It will support

the authentication and clans too.  It should also be more accessible.

 

Later on I will continue looking for more up-to-date / scalable

solutions for future games and projects we get involved in.  I would

like to see the whole thing written as a mod_python web application with

a nice database back-end.  This would take years, however, so we're

starting small with a better re-implementation of what we've got (where

better is equal to more extendable and easier to maintain and

redistribute for others who want to use it).

 

* Future New Engine Development

 

We're thinking about what comes next after AQ -- your suggestions would

be much appreciated.  We want to do another FPS at the moment... which

one should it be, and why?  Bear in mind that a finished product is at

least a year away, dependant on how much help we get from the community.

It should also be an Open Source game engine, so that we can ensure you

get all the freedoms you have with AQ (sadly this discounts Unreal

Tournament for the meantime).  Note that AQ is not going away any time

soon -- we are looking for very early ideas as to which future games

you'd like to see (or hear, touch, ...)

 

* Future Map Editor Development

 

We will be working on this at some point.  It is my hope it'll happen

before the above section, so it can be used for AQ.  Lots of you asked

for this and I would like to see it applicable to other accessible games

too -- it's up to developers of those games to get in touch so we can

work out how, closer to the time.  I will of course be publicizing this

on the appropriate developers' lists when the time is right.

 

* Improved Development Process

 

There are lots of ways we are starting to improve the process; making

more code available for you all, trying new means of supporting users

and beginning to document cool stuff like auto-installing modifications

and so on.  If you feel there are any major omissions or mistakes being

made, please let us know.  Thanks in advance!

 

!!! The End

 

Once again, a huge thank you to all those that filled in the survey so

far, as well as all those who are about to :-).  It has helped

tremendously to see exactly what we are doing right and wrong and where

we should be going next.  I'm pleased that I am now able to spend a

little more time on the project and really do look forward to seeing

these plans come to fruition.

 

Thanks for reading this; I hope that it has allayed any concerns you may

have had about what direction we're going in.  I also hope it will

generate some discussion about things you'd like to see improve and how,

now that we seem to be at an appropriate point in the history of the

project.

 

I look forward to really getting my teeth into this at the start of

August (in the mean time, I'll keep up with the discussion)...

 

best regards,

Matthew T. Atkinson

[email protected]

 

++

News from All In Play

 

Press Release 15 June 2006

 

All in Play Announces that the World's First-Ever Fully Accessible Online
Version of Texas Hold'em Is Now in Open Beta and Will Be Free to All for a
Limited

Time

 

Shrewsbury, MA (June 15, 2006) - All in Play announced the debut of its
latest innovation in accessible online gaming, All in Play Texas Hold'em.
For the

first time, the world's most popular variety of Poker is now playable by the
blind, visually impaired, and the fully sighted as equals.

 

All inPlay announced that everyone will be able to play the game completely
free of charge until June 24th. The introduction of All inPlay Texas Hold'em

will be highlighted by a grand 24-hour tournament, starting on June 23rd,
which will also be completely free.

 

"The addition of Texas Hold'em to the All inPlay community will create yet
more ways for friends, old and new, to come together around the All inPlay
table,"

said All inPlay Co-founder and Community Director Paul Silva. "Texas Hold'em
is a worldwide craze, and All inPlay is excited to be the first to make this

craze available to the visually impaired community."

 

With slick graphics and a rich, dynamic soundscape, All inPlay brings the
excitement of Texas Hold'em from the dining room table to the global
neighborhood.

Thanks to support for all major screen-readers and magnifiers, including
Jaws, Window-eyes, ZoomText and Dolphin Supernova, All inPlay Texas Hold'em
is

equally playable by the blind and visually impaired. As with all of All
inPlay's software, the game is easy to learn and uses a small number of
keystrokes,

so you can be playing like a pro in no time. The game allows up to eight
players to come together through the power of the Internet to enjoy a
friendly

game or a high-stakes battle with fake chips. A vibrant soundscape draws
players into the game as each turn of the cards brings new possibilities.
In-game

text chat lets players banter with their friends as if they were in the same
room.

 

"For years now, Texas Hold'em has been the centerpiece of a night out with
friends, and that's the dynamic we hope to achieve with All inPlay Texas
Hold'em,"

said Jeremie Spitzer, All inPlay's Co-founder and CEO.

 

The free open beta runs through June 24th, ending with the free 24-hour
tournament, starting on June 23rd. To try the game for yourself and become
part

of the All inPlay community, please visit:

http://www.allinplay.com

 

++

News from Azabat Software

 

I'm based in the UK and have produced a range of accessible computer games

which I designed for blind and partially sighted people. They are a

commercial product and aimed more at computer novices of all age groups.

I've made them incredibly easy to use - they are self-voiced, no screen

reader or speech engine required, plus they run off the CD, so a blind

person with little computer experience can receive a CD in the post and play

the game straight off without having to install and configure things.

 

I have 18 games, arranged in 4 different volumes. Producing them as volumes

is more cost-effective.

 

Volume 1 is a collection of 4 easy-to-play games: Yahtzee, Blackjack,

Klondike (Solitaire) and Connect 4.

 

Volume 2 is a collection of 6 word games: Hangman, Anagrams, Target,

Kount-down, Number Crunch and Link-words.

 

Volume 3 is a collection of 4 grid games: Battleships, Memory, UXB (Windows

Minesweeper) and Sudoku.

 

Volume 4 is a collection of 4 strategy games: Backgammon, Dominoes, Draughts

(Checkers) and Scrazabat (accessible clone of Scrabble).

 

There is more information on my website:

www.azabat.co.uk

 

Thanks,

Steve

 

++

News from Blind Adrenalin

Date: Saturday, June 17, 2006 2:43 PM

 

  Boogie booga.

  First of all, I will be in the game chat today on for the people at 3PM

eastern.  I will answer any questions about the Rail Racer beta, as well as

play the game live for anyone that wants to listen.

  The beta is ready to roll.  I have to clean up a couple of tutorial files,

and tweak a few tracks, but other than that it is done.

  The only snag now is that I have changed obfuscation software, and the

company I bought the new package from hasn't sent me my download links yet.

Hopefully, I will hear from them today, and if so, I will release the game

tonight.

  If not, it could be Monday before I can release.

  Either way, you can count on a release by Monday night at the latest.

  I apologize for the delays, but I have to know my code isn't going to be

easily hacked before I release it.

  One good thing to come from the wait is I was able to include a new

feature in the game called Force shields.

  These shields are a wall of energy that only allow passage under a certain

speed.  If you try to go through them too fast, you will be brought to a

screeching halt.  These more or less act as futuristic chicanes on the

track, and really keep you on your toes regarding your speed.

  As with all the other track features, Force Shields will be included in

the track editor, so you can populate your own tracks with them.

  The force shields add a very interesting element to the races, and make

for some very intricate tracks as well.

  I will update the list as soon as I get a hard release time.

 

  Che

Blind Adrenaline Simulations

Games by one of us, for all of us.

http://www.blindAdrenaline.com

 

+

Note that due to not having anything newer from Blind Adrenelin, it would be
best to check out the website as I'm certain it's since been released.

 

++

News from Draconis Entertainment

 

Greetings gamers,

 

We'll save the best for last, and give you some small pieces of news

before the bigger items.

 

First, if you've missed it, our game titles of Alien Outback, Change

Reaction, Dynaman, and ESP Pinball Xtreme have all been updated to

work with the brand-new Draconis Score Servers.  You can view the

scoreboards, and not just the top ten, by visiting

www.draconisentertainment.com and going to the Fun Stuff

area.  Updates are free to registered users of those titles.

 

Next, we have new titles that are well into development.  The first

of these releases will be available in the next few weeks.  Watch our

main page for details, a trailer, and more!

 

+

>From the Draconis main page

 

. 19/June/2006 -- Web Display of DSS Score Boards Updated

 

The Draconis Score Server (DSS)

has had its web interface updated. Now you can view all the scores for

Pinball Party Pack, Volume 1

online, and we have to say, some of those scores are pretty impressive! The
score boards for the three new tables can be found in the

ESP Pinball Xtreme Score Boards

area. Happy gaming!

. 12/June/2006 -- Release of Pinball Party Pack, volume 1

 

We are very proud to announce the release of the first ever Pinball Party
Pack! Now, one of our most beloved titles can be made even more extreme!

The pack includes three new tables for ESP Pinball Xtreme, which you must
already own a license for, for the new tables to be added.

The three new tables are:

 

. The Revenge of ShockRa -- Face off as DynaMan against the sizzling hot and
wickedly evil ShockRa, sister of the Sparx Brothers. No mazes this time,
just

one angry villainness bent on destroying DynaMan forever! Can you short
circuit the Emperess of Electricity while avoiding open circuits and being
sucked

into wormholes?

. Old Man Stanley's House -- Old man Stanley's come home from a long night
o' drinkin' at the Silver Dollar saloon. He thinks he's gonna kick back,
relax,

maybe watch a little TV, until you show up. The more mayhem you create in
Stanley's house, the more points you rack up! This table is the most complex

and audio rich accessible pinball table ever created, weighing in at nearly
30MB all by itself!

. XTreme Wild West -- In this revamp of the Wild West table, you're back in
the town of Silver Dollar with all your old favorite trouble to be gettin'
into,

but also with a lot of new things to do as well. Hitch a ride on the train,
light some dynamite and blow this town to smithereens! Features digitally
remastered

audio from the classic table, all new sounds and dialog, music, and much
more!

 

All three tables will support the new Draconis Score Server

Pinball Party Pack, Volume 1 is shipping now, and retails for $14.95.
Download your copy from the Download Center

and purchase your license from the Draconis Shop.

 

++

Kitchen's Inc

[July 4, 2006]

 

Hi,

 

I have put two new files up on my web site.

 

The first is version 7 of my golf game.

File name wingolf7.exe file size 1.5 meg

In version 7 I have revamped the club selection menu, instituted a return to
main menu feature, an F7 golf log file review, an automatic rating system
for the courses that you create and reconstituted the k speak key toggle
feature.  And there are now 49 included golf courses.

 

The second file is 7 new monopoly board files

File name winmbf2.exe File size 65k

7 new board files for the monopoly game

Aircrafts, Beer, classic rock, computer, Quito, Rock 'n' Roll, supermarket

 

Hope you enjoy.

 

BFN

     Jim

[email protected]

http://www.kitchensinc.net++

 

++

News from L-Works

 

Hi gamers:

 

This is the latest from LWorks.

 

Our new game Judgement day is coasting along quite well.  I hope to release
an official trailer with in the next week or two.  Judgement day is like
space invaders with a twist.  You can beat the game, but beating it once
isn't quite enough.  As you play you will unlock trophies for completing
different tasks: having a high enough shooting accuracy, completing the game
with out any enemies causing damage, beating the game with cheat codes, and
more.  these trophies then add up to unlock bonus games, hidden

game modes, and even hidden audio.  And with all of our games, you will be
able to post your scores to our real-time scoreboards.

 

The following description comes directly from our site.

it is the year 2015, and the world is at war. This war has been the most
catastrophic to humanity. Two powers are fighting for control. The allies
and a

group of nations calling themselves The Supreme Evil. Little is known about
this group and it's motives, but one thing is clear. This group has advanced

weaponry. Over several months, the Allies have been slowly destroyed by
strange and lethal weaponry. The commander of the Supreme Evil known as
Supreme

Commander Ather has quickly dispatched several countrys in the span of a few
months. In one last effort to retain any hope, the allies have gathered all

their forces in one area. A defensive station was built, and plans were made
to finally lay the Supreme evil to rest. However, this task may prove to be

harder than one thinks. and this is where you come in. Your job is to fend
off the group of The Supreme Evil's forces, as well as deal With supreme
Commander

Ather.

 

You command the only allied defensive post left. Your job is to fend off the
enemies. Compared to the Supreme evil, your weapons are primitive. However,

they can be effective. You are given a machine gun with unlimited shells, a
supply of rockets, and a small supply of sky clearing nukes. Your crew will

do there best to keep the base undamaged. If there's no damage, they may
even find time to replenish your nukes and rockets if you're running low.

 

the target release month is July, but I'm not certain on an exact date.  Two
weeks before the game is released, LWorks will offer a chance for people to
preorder and lock in a copy of the game at a lower price.  The full product
will retail for US $25.00.

 


LWorks also offers several other fun games which you can read about at

www.l-works.net

including the first ever accessible side Scroller.

 

Liam Erven

www.l-works.net

 

++

News from PCS Games

 

In working on the Sarah game I ran into a few bugs so I created a smaller

game  to test the bug fixes out.

When I get all of the bugs fixed I will release my bug tester as a free

game. It is named, SuperDog's Bone Hunt.

This game is similar to L-works Super Egg Hunt, but with a few movement key

changes and completely different sounds. I recorded my little dog, named

SuperDog, doing things like barking and eating and running through the grass

and I made a game of him hunting after

milk bones which he loves to eat.

I've also included a cat that can interfere with his hunt.

In this game you move forward at three different speeds with the up arrow

key and turn left or right 15 degrees with the left and right arrow keys.

After uploading the free game, I will continue working on the Sarah game

which has taken a lot longer than I had planned.

 

+

Date: Friday, June 02, 2006 12:49 PM

 

Introducing, SuperDog's Bone Hunt

A free game from PCS using the GMA Game Engine.

 

The aim of SuperDog's Bone Hunt game is to Try to help him find as many

bones as you can in three minutes.

Move SuperDog around the lawn with your arrow keys and when he gets near a

bone, he will pick it up and eat it.

The bones make bell like sounds so it is easy to locate them.

SuperDog barks like crazy when the cat gets near and in the hard difficulty

level, he runs to the fence to try to get it.

 

SuperDog's Bone Hunt game is self-voicing and its size is 21 MB.

It can be downloaded at:

http://www.pcsgames.net

 

The game was inspired by Liam Erven's Super Egg Hunt available on the  L

Works web site.

 

No dogs or cats were hurt in the making of this game.

phil Vlasak

[email protected]

 

++

Mithril Games

[July 8, 2006]

 

We invite you to acquaint with our new game.

 

 In the "Haunted Factory" you play the role of a hard-working worker in

some factory. Your job is to put packets on an assembly line and group

them according to specific rules. This work is pretty easy at the

beginning, but you have to show good spatial memory, logics and quite a

lot of reflex.

 

In the full version you get:

 

- Many available game modes, which are discovered while gaining

experience in the game.

 

- The possibility to compete with family members or friends. Every mode

has its own independent score list.

 

- The possibility to compete with players from all over the world in all

modes thanks to the lists of high scores on our website.

 

- Two nicknames which you can use while signing in your scores on our

website.

 

-  A whole bunch of funny stories told by a ghost, which will surely

make your game even more pleasant.

 

- Possibility to play your own music during the game (folder Music)

 

In the DEMO version of the Haunted Factory there are only the first two

modes available. The player can use the lists of the high scores and

send them on the website with the best scores.

 

www.hf.mithril-games.com

 

++

USA Games News

June 23, 2006

Montezuma's Revenge

 

Good news gamers! We would like to announce the immediate availability

of Montezuma's

Revenge version Alpha 1. This breakthrough release is a completely new

and powerful

engine designed from the ground up by USA Games Entertainment. For those

of you who

have tried the version previously owned by Alchemy Game Studios you will

find the

USA Games Montezuma's Revenge game engine has far superior improvements,

changes,

and updates.

New in Alpha 1 all sound effects have been upgraded to the highest

quality sound

and music our sound engineers and developers could find. Enemies such as

snakes now

move and attempt to attack you rather than remaining stationary. Spiders

now have

a poison bite which requires a healing potion to cure. This version has

it's very

own unique character, Angela Smith, which replaces other Montezuma's

Revenge characters.

Other changes include support for Microsoft's DirectX 9.0C libraries,

and the Microsoft

.NET Framework 1.4.3.22. As with our other titles Montezuma's Revenge

uses the highest

quality of self-voicing speech system using Neospeech Kate.

If you would like more information about Montezuma's Revenge click here

to visit

the USA Games home page

http://www.usagames.us

to find out more information and download the Alpha 1 demo.

Note, I am still awaiting on extra download mirrors so if the download

is slow wait until the other mirrors are up so we can hopefully serve as

many interested parties as possible.

Thanks.

 

+

July 08,2006

 

Greetings gamers.

All of us at USA Games Entertainment would like to announce the

immediate availability of Montezuma's Revenge Patch 1. This patch

release fixes a number of problems with jumping, audio processing, and

falling off ladders. In addition several new features have been added

such as the new view map viewer mode as well as monster and object

detection scans now speak the distance to object or monster.

Using the new map view features is quite easy. If you are in an unknown

area pressing the v key will load a map of the temple, and let you use

the navigation keys to explore the temple without moving your character.

The map viewer will announce such items as gold, gems, ladders, edges,

lava pits, and more. To exit the map viewer and return to normal play

press escape.

In addition to the map viewer feature Montezuma's revenge Patch 1

includes better object and monster scans. Now, when the m key is pressed

for monsters or o is pressed for objects the item is named and the

relative distance is then spoken. This will aid players in locating

objects and warn players when a monster is to close.

In the prier release scrolls, torches, and ropes were not detected by

the object scan. In patch 1 they are now detected with the object scan

and as with all objects the distance is given.

Finally, jumping has for the most part been fixed. Previously the space

key was pressed followed by the arrow key. This resulted in unexpected

deaths of the game character. Now, the has been changed to only press

the space key which will jump the character in the direction she is

facing at the time.

For more information or to download the patch visit our download page at

http://www.usagames.us

and click on the download link.

 

++

News from VIP Games Zone

Date: Friday, May 19, 2006 10:26 AM

 

Hi gamers!

  We have completed testing of our new title Lords of the galaxy. This game
is an economic strategy game [similar to monopoly] with shooter and action
features.

  You can play this game not only with the computer, but with your friends
over the Internet too.  It is a multiplayer game, you can play this game
with 5 opponents. Now you can download Lords of the galaxy from our site

  http://vipgameszone.com

  Download and join us!

 

  Sincerely yours

  Igor and Alina

 

+++

Game Announcements and Reviews:

Below are some of the new games available.  Though an old treasure or

two may be discussed also.  It's noteworthy that in some cases it's only

an announcement of a game, taken from the email list, and may not be a

full review,    or an official notice from the developer.  Reviews of games
will not  appear in any particular order. The only exception to this will be

when  we have more than one review for a game. In this case, reviews will be
placed consecutively so that it is easier to compare them.

 

++

 

Hello Everyone,

Here is a cool list of online text-based games:

 

 Anacreon (

http://www.the-underdogs.org/game.php?id=55):

Anacreon: Reconstruction is, without a doubt, one of --if not THE-- best
strategy games ever made. It was released in the 1988 and bombed, mostly due
to

its high price and ASCII graphics. It is a 1 to 8 player game in which you
build and manage an intergalactic empire. You can build armies, starbases,
turn

entire planets into chemical plants or shipyards, terrorize and mine trade
routes, build stargates, launch long-range cruise missiles, decide whether a

planet should be isolated or requiring constant supplies from outside, (if
you should addict your loyal subjects to labor-improving drugs), and much,
much

more.

 

 Arenascape

http://www.arenascape.net/login.php:

Text based MMORPG.

 

 Bootleggers (

www.bootleggers.us):

 

 B.O.T.S.

http://blue.bots2.net/index.php:

A robot-managing fighting game.

 

 Castle Quest 2 (

http://cq2.mct.nu):

Powerful wizards roam the land and inhabit great castles. They summon
dangerous creatures and send them off to battle it out with their rivals. A
thriving

economy forces the creation of new cities. Powerful, magically enhanced
items are scattered throughout the world and can be used by your Creatures.

Welcome to the world of Castle Quest.

 

 Cypher (

http://www.extremecast.com/cypher/):

 

 Dark Galaxy (

www.darkgalaxy.com):

 

 Dark Throne (

www.darkthrone.com):

 

 DopeWars (

www.treadon.us):

Join over 7,500 active players and try your hand at creating an online drug
empire! Buy your favorite narcotic at one subway station and sell it else
where

for profits! But that's not all, the more you make, the more you can
pimp-it-up with bigger, badder jackets, weapons and armor. You can use these
to jump

other players and steal their goods or increase your trafficking volume.

Then take it a step further and form an online drug cartel with your friends
or people you meet in the game.  Build up purchasing power, and increase
your

odds of successfully jumping weaker dealers! And in the end, work your way
to becoming the cities most powerful, and richest dealer!

 

 Faith (

http://www.dragonclawstudio.com/faith/):

Faith is a Kingdom management browser game.

In Faith, you play the role of an Emperor on a holy quest for dominance. You
must pick a Religion and fight off other Religious Emperors with all your
might.

 

 Fantasy Empires (

www.fegame.com):

 

 Freekick

http://www.freekick.org

another football management sim.

 

 Hattrick (

www.hattrick.org):

Hattrick is an online football game where you trade players and coach your
team in competition with hundreds of thousands of simultaneous opponents
from

all over the world.

 

Hogwarts live

http://www.hogwartslive.com

You become a hogwarts student and have to fight creatures in the forrest.

there's also the places too, like diagon alley, where you can buy weapons

etc.

Once you have enough experience, you go to hogwarts and fight a professor in
order to

move up to the next level.

 

Imperial Conflict (

www.imperialconflict.com):

 

 Kingdom of Loathing (

www.kingdomofloathing.com):

 

 Kings of Chaos (

www.kingsofchaos.com):

 

 Kings Online (

www.kingsonline.be):

 

 Knights of Noblemen (

www.konoblemen.net):

Travel back to twelfth Century England, and become a Nobleman. Hire
mercenaries and train them into a team of adept warriors, equip them with
the most destructive

weaponry and take satisfaction in decimating those that would fight against
you or your alliance!

 

 Land Wars (

www.landwars.com):

The biggest city wars and the dirtiest tricks will be played upon you! Grab
your walking stick and your pen. And build the greatest town of all!

 

 Last Knights (

www.lastknights.com)

 

 Lords of Legend (

www.lordsoflegend.com):

Online RPG fantasy war game. (Humans, elves, orcs, undead, etc.)

 

 Lost (

www.lost.no):

 

 Materia Magica (

www.materiamagica.com):

Materia Magica is an interactive, text-based massively-multiplayer game
where immersive role play, action and adventure occur in real time,
twenty-four

hours a day.

 

 Mech Crusaders (

www.mechg.com):

 

 Mediwar (

www.mediwar.com):

 

 Nukezone (

www.nukezone.nu):

Featuring real-time team-orientated gaming, NukeZone can also be played
individually. Your goal? Build your province into an international Nuclear

power and destroy all opposition along the way with your army of air, sea
and ground forces. Our wide range of top lists and medals mean that there
are

many ways to play NukeZone as well as many strategies.  One to match every
playing style.  NukeZone has always been and will always remain free to play

 

 Omerta (

www.barafranca.com):

 

 Pimp War (

www.pimpwar.com):

PimpWar is a free web browser based game where you play the part of a
ruthless pimp on a quest for power and money. You will become a master at
the art

of pimping your hoes, commanding your thugs and battling your enemies to
protect what you have and to help your empire grow.

 

 Planetarion (

www.planetarion.com):

Planetarion is a space-themed game, which has won numerous awards over its
previous rounds. In Planetarion you manage a single planet in the vast
wilderness of the universe. Your planet is in a galaxy, and it is up to you
to make your galaxy work

together so that you can overcome the various dangers from outside. A galaxy
that does not work together is a dead galaxy. However, your galaxy is not

your only means to survive. You can also rely on your local cluster of
galaxies for aid as well as an alliance if you choose to join one. - game
manual

 

 Planetia (

www.planetia.net):

 

 Planet Battleground (

www.planetbattleground.com):

Planet Battleground, or P:BG for short, is a web game where players interact
through their web browser in a strategic fashion. After you have registered,
you attack

other people of similar rank and from there you earn credits. These credits
can be earned to buy units, just as in Tiberian Dawn. This game was

based on. It's quite simple, and requires little or no experience to play.

 

 Project Rockstar

http://www.projectrockstar.com

The premise of this game is to take fifty thousand dollars and see if you

can make a go of it managing a music band to the top of the charts.

Each day you make decisions for your band or bands such as should they
promote, write a song, play a gig, etc.  Then at the end of each day you are
sent a report telling

you how things went.    I highly recommend you go through the online help
guide when you first get started.

 

Sryth: The Age of Igthion

http://www.sryth.com

You sign up for free,  then you can purchase an Adventurer's Guild
subscription that grants you  access to the entire game. At twenty bucks a
year it's well worth it.

 

 Starsphere (

www.starsphere.net):

 

 The Five Pillars (

www.thefivepillars.org):

 

++

 

New game: Descent into Madness

 

Descent into Madness is a horror-themed adventure game from the team of
students of the University of North Carolina who name themselves "Sounds
Like Fun" and who previously developed Sonic Zoom.

 

The story of the game is that you awaken one day to find that you have been
kidnapped! Starting with no idea where you are, you slowly piece together
clues that you have been the test subject of a scientist trying to find a
cure for his wife's maddening disease. However, the experiments have had the
unfortunate consequence of driving their subjects mad as well. Now it's up
to you to find a cure for yourself and escape before you experience the same
fate of the 51 test subjects before you.

 

There are no visuals - the game plays like an elaborate spoken story. The
gameplay is similar to old computer adventure games. There are three actions
a player can choose: Move, Use Item, and Examine. The player solves puzzles
and unfolds the story through voice recordings left behind by the scientist.
The only controls are the arrow keys, the space bar, and the esc key, which
are all relatively easy to find for a blind user. The game contains over 300
sound files.

 

The goal of the project is to create a framework that allows other people to
program their own stories and puzzles as well. Currently, user-created
content still requires a bit of programming experience, but a secondary goal
if we have time is to make user-created content easier to create through
text-to-speech and scripting tools.

Click the link below to find all the links to the game:

 

http://www.audiogames.net/db.php?action=view&id=descentintomadness

 

++

 

Blind Puzzlers Resource List

Created by Katherine Schneider, Ph.D., [email protected]  July 1, 2005

 

For those interested in swapping information about accessible word and

logic puzzles, please join my email list, blind puzzlers, by going to

www.smartgroups.com

 

Puzzle a Day/Week Email lists

Brainbashers daily puzzle in your mailbox, sign up at

www.brainbashers.com/puzzles

Braingle brain teaser of the day in your inbox, sign up at

www.braingle.com

Daily brain teaser, sign up at

www.afunzone.com

NPR Weekend Edition Sunday puzzle synopsis by email, send a blank email to

[email protected]

 

                                                Fairly Accessible Puzzle
Sites

A Game a Day

www.agameaday.com/

Barry Is Puzzled

www.barryispuzzled.com  brain teasers, articles

Bill's Games

www.billsgames.com/  word scrambles, brain teasers

Caught at Work

www.caughtatwork.net

Clever puzzles

www.cleverpuzzles.com/

Ed Pegg Jr.'s math puzzles,

www.mathpuzzle.com

Enchanted mind brain teasers,

www.enchantedmind.com

Etymological word game

www.etymologic.com/

Games links

www.gameslinks.com/puzzles/brain_teasers/

Jim Loy's puzzle page,

www.jimloy.com/puzz/puzz.htm

Logic puzzles

http://perplexus.info/

Math puzzles 1

www.mathpuzzle.com

Math puzzles 2

www.mathchat.org

National Puzzlers League

www.puzzlers.org

Nick's math puzzles,

www.qbyte.org

Oxford dictionary word games

www.askoxford.com/wordgames/

Philip Carter's puzzle site

www.knowl.demon.co.uk/

Puzzles,

www.puzz.com/

Puzzle choice

www.puzzlechoice.com  word and logic puzzles

Puzzle links

www.puzzles.com (more added every two weeks)

Rebuses for kids

www.niehs.nih.gov/kids/brainteasers.htm

Riddles

www.iriddler.com

Word Mania

www.wordmania.org

 puzzles for English as a second language

students

World puzzle championship links,

http://wpc.puzzles.com/

 

Puzzles and Word Games Set Up for Screen Reader Users

Audio Games including some word games,

www.audiogames.net

United  Kingdom's Game Room

www.yrguk.com/entertainment/gamesr  oom.htm

Zone BBS

www.zonebbs.com/ several word games including anagrams

Blind gamers' puzzle site,

www.omninet.net.au/~irhumph/puzzles.htm

Talking crossword puzzle software (testing the beta version is free)

available from  American Printing House for the Blind,

www.aph.org

Word games for kids who are blind or visually impaired, American

Foundation for the  Blind,

www.afb.org/braillebug/games.asp games include word games and

brain teasers,Conundrum Braille puzzle magazine, available for purchase

from Royal National Institute for the Blind or for U.S. residents free

subscription from your regional NLS library

Screen reader friendly crossword and anagram puzzles available at

special discount to  blind-puzzlers list members from Roger Myers, email him
at

[email protected] updated July 15

Will Shortz "The Puzzlemaster Presents" volumes one and two, available

in Braille for  purchase from National Braille Press,

www.nbp.org

Payne Trip "Crosswords for Kids" available for purchase from American

Printing  House,

www.aph.org

 

++

 

Hi.  Someone sent me a link to a trivia site and it looks ok.  Sorry if

you've seen this before.

 

http://funtrivia.com

 

++

 

Hello, everyone. I just discovered earlier this evening that Sonic Invaders

is a free game now. Get it from:

www.mytaras.com

For some reason, my wife gets a video memory error when she tried to play it

on her computer. I don't get that error on mine though. Has anybody else

managed to fix that?

Michael Feir

Creator and former Editor of Audyssey Magazine

1996-2004

 

++

 

2 new tracks have recently been added to my ftp. The Track Of Trouble and

Weird Track. Currently 53 tracks and 55 cars on the ftp.

Feel free to come grab whatever you need.

 

Thanks djc I shall add those to my website for those who would also like to

download them.

http://x-sight.brandoncole.net/topspeed.php

 

Regards,

Damien

 

++

 

Hello,

I've found an online cricket game, cricket manager

www.cricketmanager.co.uk

Problem is, I want to try and play it to see how it works and if it's

playable and accessible, but to register, it has this Word Verrification

thing, like with gmail and yahoo. When I've registered, I'll email the list

about the accessibility.

 

++

 

Hello all. I was on the game chat earlier and was asking about alter ego. It
was a game I played in the eighties. I did a google search and found it! It
is very cool. You set up yourself and then have to make life choices. Check
it out.

http://www.theblackforge.net/

 

++

 

I was just looking through National Braille Press's summer catalog and found
that as long as supplies last, they're giving away a booklet of ten sudoku
puzzles and answers free.  They can be found online at www.braille.com or
toll free by phone at 800-548-7323

 

+++

Contacting Us

 

All material for inclusion  in upcoming issues of Audyssey should be sent

to me at the following snail or email address:

 

Ron Schamerhorn

1180 Dorval Dr. #303

Oakville On L6M 3G1

[905]-842-1933

[email protected]

or

[email protected]

and to chat find me at

[email protected]

for Windows/MSN messenger no email to this one please.

 

+++

Distribution Information and Submission Policies

 

This magazine is published on a quarterly basis, each issue appearing

no earlier than the fifteenth of the publication month for its quarter.

All submissions to be published in an issue must be in my possession a

minimum of two days before the issue is published. I use MS-Word to

produce Audyssey, and can therefore accept submissions in pretty much

any format. They may be sent either on a 3.5-inch floppy disk, or via

e-mail to:

 

[email protected]

 

  Please write articles and letters about games or game-related

topics which interest you. They will likely interest me, and your

fellow readers. This magazine should and can be a

highly interesting and qualitative look at accessible gaming. To insure

that high quality is maintained, I'll need your

written contributions. I reserve the right to unilaterally make changes

to submissions if I deem it necessary to improve them grammatically or

enhance their understand ability. I will never make changes which will

alter the spirit of a submission.

All submissions must be in English. However, people need not be great

writers to have their work appear in Audyssey.

Many of our community come from different countries. Others are quite

young. Where possible, I try to preserve their

different styles of expression. The richness that this adds to the

Audyssey experience far outweighs any benefits

gained from having everything in prose so perfect as to be devoid of

life. Audyssey is a community and magazine built

on the need for blind people to have fun. There are no formal

structural requirements for submissions. Within reason,

they may be as long as necessary. Game reviews should all clearly state

who created the game being examined, where it

can be obtained, whether it can be played without sighted assistance,

and any system requirements or other critical

information. Although profanity is by no means banned, it should not be

used gratuitously. Submissions not published

in a current issue will be reserved for possible use in future issues

if appropriate.

 

* Those who are on the Audyssey  discussion list should be aware that I

often put materials from the list in the "Letters" section if I feel

that they warrant it.   Anything posted to this discussion list that in

some way stands out from the common and often lively ongoing  discourse

will be considered fair game for publishing unless it contains the

author's wish that it not be published. From now on, this is official policy
of the Audyssey community.

This magazine is free in its electronic form, and will always remain

so. I'm writing this magazine as much

for my own interest as for everyone else's. Your articles, reviews, and

letters, as well as any games you might care to  send me, are what I'm

after. Send any games, articles, letters, or reviews via E-mail, or on

a cd or 3.5-inch disk in a self- addressed mailer if you want your

media returned to you. Please only send shareware or freeware games. It

is illegal to send commercial games unless you are their creator or

have obtained permission to do so. By sending me games, you will do

several things: first, and most obviously, you will earn my gratitude.

You will also insure that the games you send me are made available to

my readership as a whole. If you can, I recommend that you send e-mail.

I can send and receive attachments with ease. This way, no money will

be  wasted sending me a game I already have, and you'll get my reply

more quickly. You are responsible for shipping costs. That means,

either use a disk mailer which has your address on it, and is either

free matter for the blind, or is properly stamped. I can and will

gladly spare time to share  games and my knowledge of them, but cannot

currently spare money above what I spend hunting for new games. I

encourage all my readers to give my magazine to whoever they think will

appreciate it. Up-load it onto web pages and  bulletin board systems.

Copy it on disk for people, or print it out for sighted people who may

find it of value. The larger our community gets, the more

self-sustaining it will become.

Recently the Audyssey list has undergone some changes for the better.  The
first of these is our own domain which is

 

http://www.audyssey.org

 

  The discussion list formerly [email protected] has been moved and
the magazine only list will shortly be doing the same.  Those subscribed to
the discussion list have made this transition with no difficulty at all.
This will be the last issue sent through the magazine only yahoo list.  The
plan is to get the list of addresses from Yahoo and then just create the
issue only group.  Once this is finalized I will put in the appropriate
subscription info here.

The Audyssey discussion list facilitates discussion about games

accessible to the blind between the publication of issues of Audyssey.

All are welcome as long as they respect their fellow community members

and keep in mind that the topic of the list is supposed to be games.

Other topics are allowed within reason as long as they don't begin to

monopolize the list traffic for too long. Newcomers should be advised

that  traffic is frequently fairly heavy.  Anyone participating in the

discussion list will have issues of Audyssey automatically sent to them

via E-mail. Representatives from all major developers of games for the

blind are actively participating on the list.  There are two moderators

keeping things civil and orderly. Be certain to read the Audyssey

Community Charter as all list members are expected to follow its rules.

If you want an active role in shaping the future of accessible games,

this is where you can dive right in. To subscribe to this discussion

list go to

 

http://www.audyssey.org

 

>From this page you will find a link to subscribe and set various email
options just as you can on other email lists. So join up and take part in
the ongoing conversations about gaming.

 

Stan Bobbitt has made Audyssey Magazine available in HTML format for

easy on-line browsing. To take advantage of this, you are invited to

visit our home-page. People can easily and quickly navigate through the

various articles and reviews, and directly download or visit the sites

of the games that interest them. This will be of especial benefit for

sighted people who wish to make use of Audyssey and/or join the growing

community surrounding it. The Audyssey community thanks Mr. Bobbitt for

his continued efforts on its behalf in this matter.

 

  Darren Duff also provides a home for Audyssey.

 

http://www.angelfire.com/music4/duffstuff/audyssey.html

 

Where the issues can be read, downloaded individually or one zip file

of all the issues.  Thanks Darren!

 

Another location to find Audyssey current and back issues is

 

http://www.audiogames.net/page/audyssey

 

Thanks to Richard and those at Audio-games!

 

We extend our gratitude to Kelly Sapergia who has provided a place for all
the issues of the magazine. .  You can find them at

 

www.ksapergia.net/audyssey.html

 


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