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On the Ledge The general evolution (and occasional regression) of a .NET developer

I tend to always have side projects going on.  I think many developers are like this, either because we want to learn new things or have the opportunity to work on things that directly interest us or to make a little extra cash.

Two of my side projects are the Pathfinder Project and Zombie Apocalypse.

Pathfinder Project

There are two kinds of companies in the world: the ones that listen to what consumers want and give it to them, and the ones that shove what they want to give you down your thoat and spend tons of money making you think you have no real alternatives.  Paizo Publishing is an example of the first type and, as such, are not as big and successful as their second type counterpart.

I'm a DnD nerd from way back, so I was excited about Paizo putting out Pathfinder, which is an evolution and streamlining of the DnD 3.5 system.  The game just released last month.

Frustrated with the frequent database and performance woes of a DnD onling gaming site that I enjoy, I decided to create a site for online Pathfinder games that would not just perform faster and have less database worries, but would provide additional features and ways of doing things that would make running online games easier as opposed to DnDOG's approach of basically taking forum software and adding some things to make them more useful for running online games.

This project is fun for a number of reasons.  The first reason is that it's an exercise in DDD (Domain Driven Design) using a domain that I'm very familiar with, so I'm free to explore different methodologies that interest me without having to spend a ton of time modeling an unfamiliar business.  It uses Fluent NHibernate for the O/RM (using the AutoMapping features), Gallio / MbUnit for tests, and the ASP.NET MVC Framework for the... well... the MVC framework.

Zombie Apocalypse

A few weeks ago, I came down with a really bad cold and, under the influence of heavy drugs, I began to write a browser-based zombie survival roleplaying game - sort of an improved version of Urban Dead.  I was surprised at how easy this turned out to be, and even more surprised at response from gaming forums when I began to pitch the idea.

The hardest part is the actual rules and mechanics, not the coding.  It's hard to come up with a fairly balanced system that will hold people's interest.  For instance, if you cap a character's development, what will keep them interested in playing?  But if you have no caps, then veteran players will become essentially unstoppable juggernauts.  How do you balance between a zombie and a human who will have fundamentally different ways of fighting?

Anyway, the URL I bought is, and its release is evidently eagerly awaited by many Internet gaming nerds.

It uses the same rig as the Pathfinder Project, except the domain turned out to be surprisingly simple, so I use LINQ to SQL for persistance.  I realize Microsoft isn't going to develop that technology further, but what it already does is quite sufficient for this particular project, and I doubt I'll be calling up Microsoft to support it, since calling Microsoft support ranks just under "Slide down razor blade into bucket of iodine" on my list of "Things to Do to Shorten my Time in Purgatory."  Besides, if it's good enough for the NerdDinner folks, it's good enough for me.

Posted on Friday, September 18, 2009 1:09 PM Pathfinder Project , Zombie Apocalypse | Back to top

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