Category Archives: Game dev

Nonviolent communication

Another read recommended in Unknown Worlds Slack. You’ll probably hear that “everyone should read it”. I’m sure that magical solutions do not exist, but it turned out that Marshall Rosenberg’s book is very close to that.

NVC is a process that enables empathic collaboration. It can be used to handle very complex issues, like mediation. I’d call it a special language that requires a lot of practice, time and consciousness. Sadly, I’m not very good at keeping language skills when not using them on a daily basis (sobs in German). I’ll probably have to re-read the book to make some good notes about the most important stuff.

The most important takeaway for me was not the communication with others, but… internal dialogue. I think of myself as a kind person, so I didn’t have to work on the basics. Thanks to NVC I now remember about one thing when talking to others – their point of view. That changes a lot. It’s easier to understand the reasoning and wording of other people.

Back to the internal dialogue thing! The book showed me something that I never considered – I’m too hard on myself. I was raised in a way that makes my life hard sometimes, and the book helped me realize that. I’ve read it a few months back, and now I’m sure I have to revisit it soon…

Think like a game designer

Charlie Cleveland recommended this read to the UW team. I wasn’t ever interested in game design, so I decided to finally change that and check out the book. Justin Gary’s work has a subtitle “the step-by-step guide to unlocking your creative potential”. I never had any great game ideas, so I doubted that.

After reading it I had to admit that I was surprised. Gary’s systematic apporach to design seems like a no-nonsense approach that could produce game ideas that could be easily verified. I wish I had time to verify that, haha.

Contents, for future reference:

Part I Understanding Design 19
Chapter 1 Learning Fundamentals 21
Chapter 2 Getting Started 25
Chapter 3 Overcoming Obstacles 35

Part II Learning the Core Design Loop 39
Chapter 4 The Steps of the Core Design Loop 41
Chapter 5 Inspiring 43
Chapter 6 Framing 53
Chapter 7 Brainstorming 59
Chapter 8 Prototyping 69
Chapter 9 Testing 77
Chapter 10 Iterating 85

Part III Refining Your Designs 91
Chapter 11 The Phases of Design 93
Chapter 12 Engine Design 101
Chapter 13 Engine Development 113
Chapter 14 Component Design 119
Chapter 15 Component Development 125
Chapter 16 Polish 131

Part IV Building Great Games 143
Chapter 17 What Makes Games Great? 145
Chapter 18 Elegance 147
Chapter 19 Excitement 155
Chapter 20 Depth 161
Chapter 21 Motivation 169
Chapter 22 Engagement 177

Part V Making Money 185
Chapter 23 Monetizing Games 187
Chapter 24 How to Be a Professional Game Designer 193
Chapter 25 How Can I Get My Game Published? 197
Chapter 26 Game Business Models 203
Chapter 27 How to Make Games That Last 211
A Final Note: Living the Lessons 217

Ansible in an hour

I stumbled upon a nice server automation course made by an expert I follow. I don’t do many tedious, repeatable tasks in my daily work, but I wanted to prepare for future.

Ansible is useful for bulk server configuration, application deployment, and other automation tasks. The course I finished is very compact, but it explains the most important topics:

  • Prepping Ansible for use (installation, management node, inventories)
  • Ad-hoc modules (running commands on all servers)
  • YAML configs (playbooks)
  • Facts, variables
  • Playbook creation (generating SSH keys, using variables, loops, groups, creating users, conditionals, file operations, tags, templates, firewall config)
  • External roles (using playbooks from Ansible Galaxy, Docker containers)
  • Creating own roles (complete web server setup example)
  • Ansible Lint (config validation)
  • Ansible Dynamic Inventory (useful for large server farms)
  • Ansible Vault (credentials storage)
  • Ansible AWX (free counterpart of Ansible Tower; a web interface for playbook management)

Looks like a quite useful, pretty complex tool. Sadly, most of the Linux servers I use are handled by Laravel ecosystem tools, so I might need to wait a while before putting Ansible to use.

Jenkins, SSL, and cPanel

Straight to the point. The basic idea is to hide Jenkins behind an Apache reverse proxy. I’m using cPanel on CentOS – and cPanel doesn’t like fiddling with httpd.conf. You’ll find lines like this in it:

# To customize this VirtualHost use an include file at the following location
# Include "/usr/local/apache/conf/userdata/std/2_4/user/*.conf"

I created two config files – I want to set up proxy and redirect non-HTTPS requests to HTTPS:

ProxyRequests     Off
ProxyPreserveHost On
AllowEncodedSlashes NoDecode

<Proxy *>
 Order deny,allow
 Allow from all

ProxyPass         /  http://localhost:8080/ nocanon
ProxyPassReverse  /  http://localhost:8080/

RequestHeader set X-Forwarded-Proto "https"
RequestHeader set X-Forwarded-Port "443"
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} !^/.well-known
RewriteRule (.*)$1 [R=301,L]

After that, run commands to refresh the configs and restart Apache:

$ /usr/local/cpanel/bin/apache_conf_distiller --update
$ /usr/local/cpanel/bin/build_apache_conf
$ service httpd restart

And we’re done!

UPDATE – iptables rule to block port 8080 traffic outside of localhost:

iptables -A INPUT -p tcp --dport 8080 -s localhost -j ACCEPT
iptables -A INPUT -p tcp --dport 8080 -j DROP