Hatchlings Games

Web Gaming 2.0 Revolution

Installing mongrel on Debian / Ubuntu

While installing mongrel on Debian / Ubuntu, you might encounter the following error:

Building native extensions. This could take a while…
extconf.rb:1:in `require’: no such file to load — mkmf (LoadError) from extconf.rb:1

This can be fixed by getting the ruby1.8-dev package using apt-get [replace ruby1.[x] with the version you are using].

sudo apt-get install ruby1.8-dev

Continue installing mongrel, mongrel_cluster, etc.

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April 24, 2007 Posted by | Programming, Web 2.0 | 2 Comments

Chapter 4: The Wind City of Cuelo

We take a break from the Ark arc (ARK ARC LOL) and focus on another character.


In another city across Quasar, Deena ran.Deena’s metal gliding wings, in a cool shade of pale green and grey , were kept straight behind her. The wings caught the sudden gust of wind that blew into her face, slowing her down for a second. But still she ran, now with a pair of wind-shielding goggles on her eyes, and her wings folded tightly. Behind her three boys ran, evidently attempting to catch up to her. Deena was taller than each of the boys, but she did not possess the strength they had. The four children wore uniforms of green and light blue, the colors of the Prodigious Crafting Academy of Cuelo.

“Deena, stop! You’re running on the wrong side of the currents!” One of the boys shouted. None of them stopped.

“Stop chasing me!” Deena turned her head, trying to look over her shoulder while still paying attention to any oncoming traffic. “I don’t know what you guys are talking about, I have nothing to do with Master Avolia!”

“But I saw you together with Master Avolia!” Another boy yelled, this one the chubbiest among the three. “I saw it, he taught you a new hack. Just you! We just want to see it, that’s all!”

“Shut up, Bern!” Deena had her head turned back, avoiding incoming gliders at this busy part of the windtrail. There was a major junction in front, going further down the road led to a sheer cliff towards lower parts of the city.

Before the children knew it, horizontal ground was a thousand-foot drop below.

Deena fell for the first two seconds. She did not look the least bit worried, but merely spread her tucked wings and glided down. Another short fall later, her feet landed on a paved road. Reorienting herself to the vertical part of the city, she continued to run

The City of Cuelo was built on and along a mountain range and its neighboring canyon. Having different laws of gravity than Pamira, buildings and roads were built on the sheer cliff and canyon walls. Along the roads were automatic wind generators, three-bladed metal fans that spun by itself to produce a constant wind current on the road. Cuelo citizens did not travel by vehicles, instead using their wings to glide along quickly.

Deena silently hoped for the clumsiness of her classmates, that they would not reorient themselves on vertical ground that quickly. Meanwhile, she took a sharp turn away from the main currents, losing herself among the alleys of Bolero Town. She smiled at her good luck, the sun was shining on the other side of Cuelo at this hour.

She heard another shout from behind her. Before she could turn around, a green-gloved hand snagged at her shoulder roughly. “Gotcha!” Three young male voices cheered at the same time.

“Emilio! Bern! Nach! How…”

“Oh, we had our eyes on you all the while. You took so many turns that you ended up on the street just by the main road. So we split up to go for you.” the boy named Emilio, the shortest yet most shrewd-looking among the trio, cut her question short. “Now c’mon, just show us your new trick before we tellt the rest of the class tomorrow.”

“Hell, I could tell them now,” the boy named Nach added, touching a thick band on his right index finger which responded by beeping softly.

“But… why? What could you guys get out of this?” Deena cried, “If I actually a trick, that is.”

“C’mon, you know we’re battle freaks,” Emilio said matter-of-factly, “Bern even knows a couple of Fraynian hacks.” Bern nodded sheepishly to that comment.

“I know you don’t care about tournaments, but there’s a big one coming up in Pamira in three days. We can’t afford to miss that one, it’d affect our ladder standings too much.” Emilio continued to say, “Bern says he caught a peek while you were with Master Avolia. He says it… Bern?”

“It all happened too fast.” Bern completed Emilio’s sentence. “It was like… whoosh.”

“So Dee, what’s your decision?” Nach pressed on, the thick band on his finger pulsed in a faint green light.

“No Nach, don’t you dare.” Deena growled, “and don’t ever call me ‘Dee’ again.”

Nach said nothing, but just stared at her. She knew he was all too high-nosed to pass up a chance to challenge the best female battler in class. He had left her with no choice but to disobey her master’s instructions (“Especially not to Emilio and his gang,”). Instantly she came up with a plan. She grinned slyly, as she imagined the outcome of her demonstration.

“Fine then. Now, promise me you won’t tell anyone that I showed you this.”

“Fine by me,” Emilio agreed without a second thought. The other boys nodded.

Deena cracked her knuckles.

“Ready now, blink and you’ll miss it.”

Deena’s body exploded with strands of green energy, enveloping the other three children within it. A split second later their visions cleared. Deena remained standing in front of them, but somehow she looked blurry…

To Deena, time was slowed to a crawl. Experienced battlers would be able to stop time entirely, but she had only learnt it for just about a week and can slow time to a fiftieth of its usual speed – a commendable result for a Time Hack amateur. The grin on her face widened. Still panting from the sudden release of energy, she began her revenge plan.

“What in the…” Nach was only in mid-sentence when he felt a sharp tug on both of his shoulders and the warmth of freshly-crafted metal wrapping around his arms and the rest of his body. He tried to scream, but was served with a mouthful of foul-tasting sticky goo the moment he opened his mouth. He saw his other two friends were in the same state of astonishment, as what seemed like ventrilium twine fused around their bodies and legs. In less than a tec, all three boys stood helplessly bound, glaring at Deena’s trail of residual images with fear, surprise and respect.

There were a few seconds of silence, each one of the boys listening to their own trembling heartbeat and strained breathing as they felt the tightness of the ventrillium rope biting into their skin. Then at the same time all three of them heard a faint giggle from their behinds. Nach turned his head over, lost balance and fell on his butt. He let out a soft grunt through the disgusting gag.

“Mrrrphmm,” Nach tried to speak with his mouth full of goo, probably calling the name of the girl who had just incapacitated him in slightly more than a blink of an eye.

“So there,” said Deena with great exhaustion and a hint of smugness, “How’d you like it?”

“That was awesome, Deena!” cried Bern, wiggling his toes to keep him from falling.

“Now, your end of the promise. A word of this to the others and I’ll hang all three of you on the Academy gates every morning.”

“Yeah, you bet, we won’t tell anyone.” Emilio said, “Now if you could set us free…”

“Eh, it’s just triple-bound ventrillium twine,” laughed Deena. “Nothing that your hacks can’t handle, since I left your fingers free. Obviously it will take a while, you better be quick though, it’s getting dark. See you guys in class tomorrow!”

With that, Deena slowly walked off despite her classmates’ cries of help. She nearly tripped over her feet twice within the short distance from the alley to the main road. Evidently the hack took a high toll on her mental strength.

The three boys watched silently as she shambled her way back to Bolero Main Street. Again there was a moment where nobody did or said anything. A fat raindrop fell into Nach’s eye. As though struck by lightning, the three boys woke up from their trance, crafted metal scraps on their fingertips, and started cutting.


The Quasr Story (can also be read from the game site):

April 12, 2007 Posted by | Encephalon, Quasr Concept, Quasr Story, Quasr World Design | 7 Comments

Pro Gaming is alive in Malaysia

Professional gamers are gamers who get paid to play games in tournaments and leagues. The culture of professional gaming is started by the Koreans (for StarCraft and WarCraft III), Americans (First person shooters, consoles) and Europeans (everything).

Since 1998, MAS-1, Malaysia’s most consistent professional gaming clan is still active and kicking ass. Recently they organize the SouthEast Asia StarCraft League to really boost the scene in the region.

The clan is open to serious StarCraft, WarCraft III, Need for Speed, and Gunbound players.

MAS-1 is mainly sponsored by Saitek and Everglide.

April 11, 2007 Posted by | Malaysia, Pro Gaming | 1 Comment

Chapter 3: The Domed City of Pamira

“I did not know Arky- what?” Ark asked, scratched his forehead. The duo had left the booth some five tecs ago and were walking on the streets of Pamira. His new identity felt itchy.“Arkylezious.”“OK. I did not, I mean, didn’t know Arkylezious is an actual name.”“Me neither. I came up with it on the spot.”“Right.”

“You came up with Mico too. I like that name.” Mico smiled, his wings glowing slightly brighter.

“I guess I could get used to Arkyl- Ark.”

The Base Echelon’s main road was the longest in the whole of Pamira, as it ran a complete circle around the widest platform of the city. Roads that lead to the inner parts of the Echelon branched off every five hundred feet. As the duo watched wrollers whiz past them, it did not take them long to figure out that they were lost.

“I… I think the arena is on the other side.” Mico stammered, frantically scanning for the distinct three spikes of the Pamiran Arena.

“I’m so tired after all that waiting outside,” Ark sighed and looked up, the dome was partially blurred to shield the city from the midday sun, obscuring Meta. Other than that the sky was clear.

“We should have asked for directions just now.” He sighed again.

Yellow lights coalesced on top of Ark’s head, as though the breath from his mouth formed matter – not something he cannot do, but he did not prepare so.

“ARENA, 12,035 F THIS WAY,” The yellow characters cheerfully bobbed in mid air, and a big arrow of equal size pointed to their destination. Ark’s mouth remained open.

“Did you see that?” Ark pointed upwards and asked, still feeling what just happened was unbelievable for a being who can craft matter at his whim. He peeked at the floating arrow to ensure that it was still there. It was.

“See what? There’s nothing up there,” Mico looked at the finger’s direction, “Nope, not even clouds.”

“It’s not the clouds, it’s… these!” Ark jumped and waved his hands above his head wildly. To him he was grasping at the floating arrow, but to Mico and every other passerby, he was just a hyperactive boy on a sugar high. After a tec of futile grasping, Ark gave up on explaining. “Oh well. Let’s just walk along this road, we should reach the arena in… one hour.”

“How sure are you? I don’t want to…”

“That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you!” Ark jumped agitatedly. “Never mind, let’s just go.”

Ark walked for a while, his stride going faster and faster, turning into a jog, then a run, eventually spreading his wings and lifted off the ground. The pedestrians on the road watched him take flight in disbelief – Citizens of the Windy City of Cuelo had gliding wings to ride the wind currents flowing across and around the city, but a person who would fly without wind was never seen or heard of.

“Much better!” Ark laughed. A drop of perspiration dripped off his arm and splashed on a man’s forehead.

At one hour past midday was a spontaneous carnival. As rays of sunlight shone through a small hole at the top of the dome and hit a well-marked spot – a black symbol engraved in a cube of solid gold in the central park at the highest Echelon – the city exploded into a fanfare of lights, fire and music. A stream of green fire singed the tip of Ark’s hair, clumsily he dove to ground for cover. He was not safe on the ground either, shortly after he landed he was assaulted by a stream of photon confetti.

The revelry lasted for one full tec – ten seconds – returning to the usual bustle right after. A few people still remained standing, stunned – evidently their first experience with this tec-long festival.

“That was… weird.” Ark said, still dazed from the show of lights. “And fun.”

“It’s the Midday Festival. First time here, eh, kid?” A passing adult male explained cheerily, “Name’s Perillo, nice pet there!”

“It’s not…” Mico tried to explain, but apparently the stranger named Perillo wasn’t listening.

“Sorry, no time to chat. Drop by my store some time! You know where.” Perillo waved goodbye and continued walking.

“Sheesh, how rude! He should have kept his mouth to himself. Do I look like a pet? A pet?”

“Maybe,” Ark commented, noticing a few other boys and girls across the street with small critters accompanying them.

“I wonder why did he even bother to be an adult. Who wants to grow up?” Mico continued to complain while Ark just smiled. “By the way, he said you know where his store is. Do you? I don’t think so.”

“I do,” said Ark with a smile, much to his friend’s surprise. Once again the yellow arrow appeared in front of him, pointing towards the other side of the city, two Echelons down. “But let us get on our journey for now.”

Until they reach the Arena, Ark and Mico opted to stay on foot. Along the way people stopped, smiled and waved to the duo. A few intrusive ladies even patted Ark’s head, commenting on his cherubic appearance.

“What’s wrong with these people? They weren’t caring a tenth as much when we were outside.” Mico grumbled, referring to the multiple cold shoulders they faced while queuing to enter the city.

“It’s the whole city itself,” said Ark while delivering a high-five to a boy walking towards him, “You just can’t help but to be happy when you’re inside here.”


The Quasr Story (can also be read from the game site):

April 11, 2007 Posted by | Encephalon, Quasr Concept, Quasr Story, Quasr World Design | 5 Comments

Quasr FAQ

Q: Qu- Qu- what?
A: It’s pronounced ‘qway-zer’.

Q: What does it mean?
A: The name came from the astronomy term ‘quasar‘, or ‘quasi-stellar object’. We used the name because… it sounded sci-fi. Or something. Please proceed to the other questions while no-wing figures out how the name came about.

Q: What happened to Encephalon?
A: For those who have been following our blog, we did mention about Encephalon more than once in the past. Encephalon was the old name of Quasr. Encephalon is Quasr.

Q: What is Quasr?
A: Quasr is a game. It’s hard to put it in a specific genre, but let’s just say it’s a Web Trading Card/Board Game. That’s quite a mouthful.

Q: Trading card game you say? I see no trading features on the site.
A: The beauty of web games is that development cycles are fast. At this point we’re still working on adding cool features and eye-candy to the site.

Q: Cool! So what features will you have? When will it be done?
A: There’s no such thing as ‘done’ in web development, we’ll be adding features and polishing up the game as long as we don’t get hit by a bus or something. These features should be available by the end of next month:

  • User subdomains (http://username.quasr.com)
  • Forum
  • Art community
  • A full-fledged game client
  • Card editor
  • Deck editor
  • A lot more new cards

Q: Wait, an art community in a game site? Card editor? I don’t get it.
A: Quasr was developed with more than just a game in mind. While most trading card games exist in paper form, Quasr is fully online (though that doesn’t rule out a paper version in the future), and thus allowing both developers and players to have bigger degrees of freedom.

A big feature of Quasr is that players are able to modify their own cards, for example giving a card better stats or a new power, even naming the card itself or giving it new art from the art community. Quasr is not just about playing a game, it’s also about contributing to the community.

Q: That sounds like a great idea! I’m telling my friends about this!
A: We’re glad you feel the same way as we do 🙂 Please tell your friends about Quasr, the game gets better with more people.

April 3, 2007 Posted by | Encephalon, Game Development, Game Industry, Games, Gaming, News, Quasr, Quasr Updates, Web Gaming 2.0 | 7 Comments

Chapter 2: The First Being takes a trip (and gets a name)

It’s quite tiring to refer to him as ‘the First Being’ all the time.

Here‘s the first part.


The First Being sat on the bed in the middle of his room, bare legs dangling and swinging over the edge and two inches above the cool white stone floor. The ageless boy hummed tunelessly, while his hands tried to cover the wide grin on his face, while his diminutive friend watched nearby, hovering five feet off the ground, arms crossed.“Yes, my crafter, I can see that you are very happy about tomorrow’s trip down to earth.” The First Being did not reply, though a few chuckles were heard from beneath his palms.Above the hustle and bustle of Quasar was Meta, the Silent Moon, the uncontested abode of the First Being. Shortly after he departed from mainland Quasar and arrived on the Big White Sphere in the Sky, he crafted himself a simple home beneath the moon’s surface. His palace had no doors or windows, since the moon itself produced a faint white light by itself.The clock on one side of his wall, a downscaled replica of the First Clock, spun lazily on the other corner of the room, the two interlocking metal discs chiming faintly as they knock into each other once every ten seconds. The dials on the clock marked the amount of time that has passed ever since time started. Currently, it marked 189 years, 37 days, 23 hours and 312 tecs, or ten-seconds. Midnight was approaching.

“Alright, time for us to rest now. Look at the time already,” the friend said as he fluttered towards the First Being. “We have a long journey ahead tomorrow.”

Midnight came and went, and there was dawn. The room walls glowed gently as Meta’s outer surface absorbed sunlight. The First Being turned and stretched on his bed, his head still buried among a hill of putty pillows. On a normal day he wakes up at midday, but today was a very special day. His friend was already up, buzzing busily around the room making preparations.

“Oh wait, we don’t actually have anything to bring along. Good morning, my crafter.”

The First Being’s wings stirred a bit, then in another moment spread to full width. He leaped up from his bed, and another leap he landed on the floor. The clock chimed loudly.

“Is it time to move out yet?” The boy asked anxiously while running towards a full-length mirror not far from the bed. His clothes were the ones he made for himself on that day he finished crafting the world – a long sleeveless robe that covered up to his ankles.

“What should I wear today?” He asked loudly.

“Honestly, my crafter, you already look good in this. But if you really insist on changing, let me just relay some designs from the world below to you.”

After several changes, the First Being finally settled on battler clothing in white with different shades of grey. “What do you think?” He asked his friend as he crafted himself a silver headband.

“I don’t know, I’ve seen battlers dress up in all colors except white. But you look very smart in it,” said the friend as he circled him. “I wonder why white is such an unpopular color though, that’s something I couldn’t figure out.”

The trip down to Quasar was uneventful, though they incited some commotion as they landed on the outskirts of Pamira City. Several pedestrians were slightly shocked to see a winged boy in dressed in white landing on the streets.

“Pamira,” exclaimed the First Being as he looked up at the domed city in front of him, awestruck, “Looks so different from the ground, isn’t it.” His friend nodded, equally stunned by the sheer scale of it. From Meta, the city was but a yellow-and-grey snowglobe.

The biggest and busiest city on Quasar, Pamira City was an architectural oddity by itself. One half of the city was built on concentric circular Echelons, or platforms, tapering to a minimum of a two-hundred-foot radius at the top Echelon. The other half of the city was built suspended in a large pit, symmetrical to the upper half except decreasing in radius as it gets deeper. Not only that, it was as though the normal laws of gravity do not apply here; buildings were built on both sides of anEchelon. Covering the entire city was a massive dome of a tough, spongy membrane to regulate the weather and temperature within.

“Well, let’s go in then,” the First Being said, brushing off a thin film of sweat from the back of his neck, “It’s sure warm out here.”

“Why yes, we’re in the tropics now. You know, the cold quadrants don’t reach this place,” his friend quoted from his compiled data.

For a grand city like this, the gates to Pamira are sure unceremoniously dull, thought the First Being as he stood in queue to the identification check station. Though all that required was a mindprint scan, the pedestrian line stretched a quarter mile long, each one sluggishly trudging under the sweltering mid-morning sun. The First Being took off his right glove and wiped his forehead. He tried to start a conversation with a lady that stood behind him a while ago; apparently no one was interested in talking.

“Looks like you need a change of clothes once you get in, it’ll still be another good half-hour before we reach the ID station.” the friend fluttered around impatiently. On the road beside them chains of wrollers whizzed past. Wrollers – bulb-shaped automobiles – travel on mostly gravity with a little help from solar-powered cells on slightly deep tracks. Pamira was a wroller driver’s dream – the roads were fashioned such that no matter how one moves in a wroller, he will always go downhill.

The air grew warmer as the tecs ticked by, and finally it was almost the First Being’s turn. He could clearly see the relief in the people who went inside in front of him, that the regulated climate of Pamira City was a most rewarding thought after an hour standing in queue.

“It just occurred to me that I forgot to tell you something.” The First Being’s friend said while scratching his chin.

“Huh?”

“You need a valid identity to go in, else you’ll have to register one manually over there. For that, you need a name. And I need one too.”

“Can’t we just tell them that we have no names?”

“They won’t take that as an answer.’ Before the friend could finish talking the mindprint scanner beeped. A tall woman, wearing a skintight dark blue uniform with a loose coat over it walked to them.

“Good morning, boys, my name is Byati. It seems like we don’t have your ID data. Please follow me, this way,” the tall woman smiled hospitably.

“Uh wait… we have names!” The First Being added anxiously as the three of them walked away from the line to a small booth nearby.

“Of course, sweety, everyone does,” Byati chuckled, “You just need to give me that and some other details, and you’re free to go in.”

The registration booth was less than six feet wide and across, but the air was cool and the couches arranged along the walls looked soft and comfortable. The First Being and his friend both gave a sigh of relief in unison as they stepped into the booth. Byati instructed them to sit, while she remained standing. A translucent screen materialized in her left palm.

“Let’s start with you first,” said Byati, pointing to the First Being, “Please tell me your name, age, city of origin and purpose of visit.”

“We’re here to battle!” exclaimed the First Being as he jumped up from the couch. Byati laughed, and scribbled something on the screen with her right index finger.

“OK, so that’s one question down. I still need your name.”

“Um… I’m…. uh…”

“Arkylezious. Or Ark for short. His name is too long that he forgets it once in a while. Heh, heheh. We came all the way from Cuelo. Yeah.”

“Um… that’s it, I think, heheh. Say, er, Mico, how do you spell my name again?” The First Being was quick to catch on his friend’s act.

“No problem, I think I got it. We had two Arkyleziouses last week,” said Byati as she continued scribbling on the palm-screen, “I always thought you people have issues with getting attention.”

“Uh well, I thought it sounded cool. Heheh.”

“Precisely. Age?”

“One hu-”

“Thirteen.” ‘Mico’ interrupted.

“You’re pretty short for a thirteen year old, isn’t it.” Byati said as she switched off the screen with a light sweep using her right palm. She walked towards the boy who will be further known as Ark. Lifting up her left thumb, she pressed it gently on Ark’s forehead. The boy felt a sudden jolt of warmth coming from it.

“And there’s your identity mindprint. Welcome to Pamira.”


The Quasr Story (can also be read from the game site):

April 3, 2007 Posted by | Encephalon, Quasr, Quasr Concept, Quasr Story, Quasr World Design | 4 Comments