July 25 2017

Ethereum & NEVERDIE Walkthrough Published by Browncoat Jayson

I saw this posted by Browncoat over in the Shroud of the Avatar forums and got permission to do a piece on it.

It’s a great article and I figured if I could get it out to those that don’t use the forums in the SotA community, as well as perhaps out past the SotA community, that would be great! The great individual he is, he said yes for the same reason. The more it’s helpful to the better!

So here it is in its fullness and if you are able, you may want to pop over to the forum thread and give him a thank you!
Walkthrough of Ethereum & NEVERDIE Block Chain Token Purchase | Shroud of the Avatar Forum

 

Since there is only a week left to purchase coins during the ICO, I went through the process and created this guide in order to help others who might be interested. However, first there are a few disclaimers:

1. I am not a financial advisor. If you are not comfortable transferring funds, or do not want to expose yourself to risk, I would not recommend you continue. Digital currency is not backed by the standard federal protection that banks and credit cards enjoy, so you will likely not have recourse if they are lost or stolen.

2. This is not a simple process. It involves setting up your own digital account, which may be too complicated for some. Again, if you are not comfortable with the concepts of block chain operation, cryptocurrency mining, and transfer of digital currency, I’d advise against continuing.

3. While not explicitly stated, there is a minimum amount you must convert to purchase the ICO. This amount is equal to 0.07 ETH (Ether, the currency of the Ethereum block chain) per coin type. The value of this flucuates, but is currently about $225 per 1 ETH, so this means you will need at around $16 worth of ETH (but you will need to convert more than that to cover charges for transactions and transfers). If you want both NeverDie Coins (NDC) and Teleport Tokens (TPT), you will need to convert around $40 to Ethereum.

If those have not scared you off, and are still wanting to continue, here is the steps for getting your own cryptocurrency. This guide assumes you have no cryptocurrency available; however, if you already have BitCoins (BTC), you should be able to use your existing wallet rather than signing up anew and can purchase Ether by converting BitCoin. If you are not interested, you can skip these steps and I’ll describe my impressions in the next section.

Walkthrough to Purchase NEVERDIE ICO

1. Download and install Chrome. Not only is it the only browser that you can use to get into the NEVERDIE wallet to make purchases, it allows you to install extensions to make monitoring your wallet easier.

2. Download and install an Ethereum Wallet client. NEVERDIE recommends using the MetaMaskParity, or Mist Browser wallets. I signed up for Parity, but they all function similarly. Parity also has a Chrome extension so I can see if Parity stops running for some reason.

The biggest issue I had was keeping it running. This is because Parity only installs to the C:\Users\ path and doesn’t want to be moved. I found a workaround, since my SSD is small enough that I kept running out of room with 30+ GB of bitchain info on it constantly being written. I didn’t want that anyway, so I moved it to my secondary SATA drive, and it worked fine.

3. The client should start automatically once it is installed (it runs in a command prompt window; don’t close it). Once it syncs, it will open a local site in your browser window where you can administer the application. If not, you can open it manually (https://127.0.0.1:8180/#/home for Parity).

4. Add an Account. Select an icon and enter a secure password. Note the long string (starting with 0x); this is your Ethereum wallet.

5. Purchase Ethereum. There are several places to do this, but I use (and recommend) CoinBase. You will either need to use a credit card, PayPal, or bank transfer to purchase Ethereum. Remember, you will need about $20 per coin type, minimum. Once you sign up at CoinBase and make a purchase, you will see another wallet string. You can click the button to the side of it to start a transfer; send it to your Ethereum wallet address. Note that this will invoke a transfer fee (variable depending on several factors, but not insignificant).

6. Once the Ethereum appears in your wallet (should take about 3 minutes), you can do to the NEVERDIE website. Click Wallet at the top to open the NEVERDIE Wallet; if all goes well you should see your icon and the Parity (or other wallet) logo at the bottom. If not, you will get a message that says No Account Found; verify that Parity is running and you can access it at the local site. You will get a short tour of the wallet before you can continue.

7. Click Get Neverdie Coins at the top. It will show you the amount of Ethereum you have at the top of the page. Enter much much ETH you want to use below the type of coin you want; minimum of 0.07 (~$16.00). Click “Get Neverdie Coin” or “Get Teleport Coin”, depending on which you want. Again, this will invoke a transfer fee in addition to the coin purchase amount. Repeat the process for the other coin type, if you want both. To get a nice round number of coins, bump up the ETH amount. For example, at 1 ETH = $224.93 USD (current), here are some numbers:

  • 65 NDC = 0.07221 ETH
  • 160 TPT = 0.07114 ETH

Last comes the waiting. My coins took around 20 hours to appear, but the Neverdie support says up to 48 hours is not uncommon. You can play around in the Neverdie Wallet, but until you have coins, there isn’t much to do.

My Experiences

So, I went through the process, and you can do it too. Now what?

Um… nothing?

Really, the NEVERDIE ICO is very early on. What it is designed to do is allow game companies to utilize the same currency across multiple games, which all have real world value. This means that NDC can be the “prestige” currency in different games. You can easily link these, transfer them between players, and then cash them out if you want. Sounds great, however its a little premature.

Why? Well, here is what I’ve found (which you can probably tell, based on the instructions above):

1. Its a pain to sign up and maintain your own wallet. Players won’t go through the effort.

2. Getting the money out of the bitchain and back into cash is expensive. Expect at least 3% charge to get money into Ethereum, and 6%+ to get it back out again.

3. It can take up to 48 hours to get new coins. Gamers are not that patient. See also, instant gratification.

4. The games available are… lacking? Only Neverdie’s own ROCKtropia game is currently available, with two more (AmeVRica and Asgard VR) in funding phases.

5. I think game makers, especially ones like Portalarium who already have a successful Add On Store, can easily “roll their own” method to allow players to move cash in/out of the game. This can already be done to some extent, but just one more step would make this 100% possible. I’ll quote myself from the other thread:

6. There are other successful digital currencies that I’d rather see explored that a complicated cryptocurrency. Put Gold CotOs up for purchase with Razer’s zGold, where players get credit toward buying Razer hardware. Amazon Coins are another option.

I’m glad to see Richard joining Neverdie Studios in exploring what this type of currency can do, and looking toward the future of gaming. However, I’m just not convinced that it is a mature enough field for gamers to jump into. Maybe some day, when our operating systems are virtualized and creating digital accounts is par for the course, but not today.

Hope this helps those who want to give it a shot. Let us know if your experiences are different than mine!

Do you have an article appropriate for this website that you would like me to publish? I would love to take a look! Just send that to stile@thecaverns.net

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November 5 2016

Should MMORPG Developers Draw Inspiration from LITRPG?

LITRPG stands for Literature or Literary (varies from person to person), Role Play Game. The most prolific example of this type of work would be Ready Player One by Earnest Cline.

In fact, while this article is not about Shroud of the Avatar, the developers of that game did, in fact, work with Ernest Cline somewhat and using some inspiration from him and Ready Player One put some elements in the game. This is how Row Housing came about.

If you go further back in time with the same company, Portalarium, they also worked with Ernest Cline during the beta stages of one of their games “Ultimate Garage Sale Collector.” While that particular game did not work out, I do remember taking place in the game elements that revolved around a Ready Play One Contest.

Reading Ready Player One myself lead me to my interest in the LITRPG genre. When I say I have read a lot of it, believe me, I have read a LOT. From horrible to amazing I have read just about anything I could get my hands on while the market catches up with me from time to time.

I recently started “Ascend Online” which I am enjoying enough I am willing to say “yeah, go read this.” I can tell it’s going to be fantastic even though I am only midway through the first book.

It is important to understand that the LITRPG genre has a broad range of styles in the genre. The primary theme, of course, is that the feel of the book, in some way, is as if the characters are playing an MMORPG game.

This can vary from only a character perspective, story and plot tone, and scene is presented so as to create the feel that the characters are in some video game. Here is a prime example of that style.

Alternatively and more commonly, the characters themselves are playing a video game, and know they are doing so. This can be from a low level of VR technology all the way up to brain transference and any other number of things in between.

So as I have read and continue to read this genre I have found myself concluding that the books I often enjoy the most, often present game mechanics and gameplay that make me feel like I would enjoy the hell out of the game!

This leads me to wonder how much inspiration developers may get from the LITRPG genre and if they even try to utilize that opportunity. Keep in mind, the LITRPG had only recently broken ground and gained a lot of popularity. Books are coming out now at extremely fast rates by authors being able to self-publish them. It would be very understandable for this to be an untapped resource.

It would be impossible to pursue them all, but putting the biggest sellers on your reading list and pulling inspiration from what people “like” seems like a solid development resource.

So I say yes, most definitely. I think it is reasonable that developers should keep eyes on some of the novels from this genre as a resource for improving their games. I also feel caution has to be taken though as programming and computers are not capable of all that the imagination can provide, and so realistic inspiration is necessary!

Ankh Quill

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May 30 2016

Airman Cave in Austin Texas

One of the things I sometimes find very entertaining are the side conversations that come up on occasion with Richard Garriott and others, like Iolo, on Twitter.

Recently some conversation took place about Airman Cave, and well, I am The Caverns! I was curious! This place sounds really cool, and according to Richard Garriott, he went in many times. This place sounds scary! More on that in a moment, let me give you the mentioned convo.

So I did a little research. There is a great article written by someone describing the experience.

You cannot crawl through, you have to get on your back and ‘shimmy’ 1 cm. at a time to get through. Your arms are pinned to your side. Your face is inches away from the ceiling limestone, with its cold dank smell and rough cracked surface. The shimmy process goes on for about 20 feet, but takes long minutes to finish.

You can read the whole article over here on Austin Life.

Wikipedia has some interesting factual information about the place.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airmen%27s_Cave

I haven’t had a chance to go explore the cave virtually with others yet, but have it on my watch list to do so soon! This video in particular looks like its well made.

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May 4 2016

Sounds like Richard Garriott is Going to Make Rapid Transport Happen!

It sounds like things are looking promising so far anyway. Not that I ever had any doubts the first time I heard of this mind you. What I want to know is when someone will do this in my area? Well, someone making it happen and doing it well in one place will cause it to spread. So I am rooting for you on this one Richard!

Not up to speed on the topic and are wondering what I am talking about? Fox7 Austin published an article yesterday which is the most up to date piece I have read yet.

Richard Garriott or “Lord British” as he’s lovingly called in the tech community started creating video games in Austin decades ago.

Very informative but not at all lengthy article. Head on over and read the whole thing!
http://www.fox7austin.com/news/local-news/136388591-story

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April 12 2016

Shroud of the Avatar Keyboard Template for Corsair K95 RGB LED Extended

One of my friends, The Mad Hermit once did a piece on his keyboard. You can find it on his website over here.

I bought the Extended version of the same Keyboard, the K95. I did a light template a while back for Shroud of the Avatar but keep forgetting to share it, so figured I better do so while thinking of it.

Now, this is the first attempt, and I am sure others could do better. If you are not one of them, though this one is somewhat decent. Mode 1 is just a “fun” out of game mode that I like. Mode to is Shroud of the Avatar non-combat. Mode 3 is Shroud of the Avatar combat.

Keyboard SOTA

I hope you find it useful!

Keyboard SOTA

If you don’t have one of these keyboards, the price has come down on them somewhat. I was lucky enough to get mine as a sort of fee in exchange for some tech work I provided (more of a thank you).

It is NOT just about the lights! The keys on these keyboards set above the keyboard in special fittings. This makes getting crumbs, dust, etc.. inside the keyboard not easy. The keyboard itself is made out of aircraft brushed aluminum, and it’s some sexy metal! This thing is built like a tank and is made to last.

The only thing that was bad about it for me was the wrist rest. One of the clips quickly broke, and when I examined it for repair, I felt it was a poor design in general. I get by fine without it!

You can drop over to Amazon here to take a look at them in more detail.

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February 12 2016

Going Beyond The Caverns – Gravitational Waves – But where are they REALLY GOING?!

Im sure there are not many of you out there who have not heard the news that about Gravitational Waves. If you haven’t though jump over and read this article at Space.com.

Something that many do not know about me is that I actually tend to follow (and have been doing so for most of my life) most of the scientific testing, advancements, and inventions that are taking place in the world. For me though I get more excited about “what technology will develop from this?”.

Right now, that honestly makes me want to veer into a couple of side topics. Let’s agree though that as a race we have invented and made advancements way beyond what we see or use outside of research labs. This is due to the time it takes for something to go from “EUREKA, IT WORKS!” onto the shelves of your retail store (or whatever the equivalent would be for the technological advancement).

If you do need an example this is one of the best ones that come to mind, but you can take a peek at some of the related links to the side of it as well. Pay attention to dates, timelines, etc.. You’ll start to understand what we truly are capable of but how long it takes until we can actually USE it as a species to out betterment outside those previously mentioned labs.

I enjoy knowing about these accomplishments and feats that we have made as a race. They are glimpses into potential futures, some in my time and some after my time, based on factual and established creations. In a way it is a sort of time travel. It also always gives me great conversation pieces :).

So when we saw Gravitational Waves my first thought was “What can this lead to in terms of useable technological advancement for the human race?”. I am SURE there are some articles floating around on the internet about this topic. I have not dug deeply into it, but have clicked on some of the articles that have been floating around on Facebook, Google, Bing, etc. This one being one of the better ones I have read.

I am not seeing much on the topic though, so I decided to do a rare piece for me, and just throw out some of my thoughts. Please keep in mind that I have almost no formal scientific background so it is only my personal speculation!

So we observed not only space but also the fabric of time being affected if I understand correctly. With both a increase and decrease in the speed of time.

If we are able to study and understand this, could this not lead to the potential to replicate the effect in a controlled manner? Potentially leading to an ability to create “bubbles” in which time is moving faster and slower than that of elsewhere.

Applications?

What if we created such bubbles around farms, greenhouses, and other areas of land or buildings? We could grow food, medicine, and almost any other natural resources at an accelerated rate. We could repopulate the forests, oceans, and endangered species.

Non-Renewable resources? Oil? Diamonds? Is there a limit to how much we can speed time up in that bubble? Cause if not and if a billion years can be a minute outside of it, I am not sure we can even imagine what we could create in that bubble. We should take it slow to be careful *grins at pun*.

In short it could lead to restoring the natural habitat and beauty of the planet as well as eliminating hunger. Resources could become more plentiful to all and could potentially eliminate war.

Instead slow time down around a critical patient while waiting for a surgeon to arrive. Slow time down around organs so that they could be kept in a sort of stasis until needed eliminating the waste of hearts, lungs, and other transplants that are not able to get to those that need them in time. Wait lists go away. Surgeons no longer rushed while performing surgeries or patients being in danger of not being able to be seen in time.

Your very own slow down refrigerator, keep food.. or anything else you own from aging until you need it. Talk about archival frames for your most treasured artifacts! I wonder what museums could do with that?

You know you COULD time travel…in a way. Rent a bubble! Take a nap, wake up, and its 500 years later! Keep in mind it’s a one way trip and we have NO idea what will be waiting for you! Sounds better then Cryogenics though.

Conjecture? Crazy? Science Fiction? Maybe so, but it seems a little more reasonable to me today than it did a week ago! Wow, I bet that would take an insane amount of energy though, huh?

What about the ability to analyze what takes place to create a Supernova or in the center of a Star? Could we not then be able to reproduce those events (I would hope on a much smaller and somehow safe scale)? Could that then lead to unlimited energy from matter to energy conversion? I can’t say how viable it would be in terms of safe to ever test such a thing but doesn’t sound any worse then harnessing the power from a black hole!

Crazy speculation for sure, but since I am not seeing much other speculation to go along with what is a new and amazing Scientific discovery, thought I would do a rare article type for myself and toss some out.

You might think that if all that could be done we may lead to a virtual Utopia which could be our own downfall. I say nay, for we have far to go and you have only but look up to see we barely have started. Not to mentioned we can always find adventure and strife in video games, just ask Richard Garriott!

Ankh Quill

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February 6 2016

Help! I am being invaded!

I normally like to post pieces with recommendations, geek news, and other personal blurbs of things I am interested in or want to promote at the bottom of posts that are being put out for SotA news.

In short, I try to put the stuff you may not be interested in at the bottom of my posts where you can ignore it if you want to. I pretend that no one one does and that you all find it utterly awesome stuff and please don’t mess with my fantasy and tell me otherwise!

I am going to break that rule this time and I hope my regular SotA only readers forgive me. The reason is, I do not have any news pieces at the moment and this personal blurb has a timer attached to it.

One because the prices are all over on ebay and I expect the items to not be seen much at some point since they ARE limited edition.

Secondly because I want to un-save my saved searches on it. Which would make doing the article more of a pain later, so… deal with it (I don’t mean that! Don’t leave me!).

Right, getting to the point… SPACE INVADERS!!

As you can see they came out of someone’s Atari 2600 and are coming to get me through my computer!!!

thecaverns.net/Wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/IMG_1553.jpg” rel=”attachment wp-att-18118″>IMG_1553

This item was an exclusive in the January Loot Crate. The first game I ever played on a monitor (or TV) was Space Invaders which I had gotten on an Atari 2600 when it was new. Yes, I could play the shit outta that game and flip the score many times! No, I wouldn’t want to try today so I hope these guys are more friendly then I remember them to be. Otherwise I may regret having them come back into my life on one of my current monitors!

The nostalgia combined with the coolness factor of these items; oh and toss in a dash of they fit on my monitor that had nothing else on it, perfectly, made me want more of them! I jumped on Ebay RIGHT away and got them very cheap compared to what they are doing now (so an investment also, right? I kept the boxes!).

Here’s a couple of auction links if you want one!

Loot Crate Exclusive Space Invaders Vinyl Figure Orange Yellow Variant

NEW SPACE INVADERS mini vinyl figure Atari RARE EXCLUSIVE HOT Loot Crate

One of these days I am going to 3D print the UFO from the game, paint it, and hang it from the ceiling above those guys.

If anyone has the ability to do that for me (I can paint it), and its not to costly, let me know!

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January 31 2016

A SotA Pen and Paper RPG.. Just musing of Stile Teckel

So I was thinking a Shroud of the Avatar RPG would be really cool. Pen and paper that is. You know get together at a table, on a google hangout, or whatever your method and roll dice and speak to people.

It’s been done for other MMORPG’s. Everquest has one.

World of Warcraft

Many others. Now sure, I know what you may be saying. Stile, these are some major games with big budgets. Names large enough PRG companies are willing to partner up or they have the finances to hire someone.

Well sure, but that is where some of my musings came into play. If it was to ever happen, who would be involved in it? How could this be done without spending a lot of money?

Well, what if they made themselves and hired people they knew and had worked with to assist?

You have a very experienced team in place already really. Beyond that fact that the majority of the Developer team have some sort of play experience even if minimal all the way to veteran.

Scott Jones has himself published a very solid pen and paper RPG, Shard.

Denis Loubet was also very involved with the project and its artwork. You can find his Patreon over here.

Tortoise and Hare have already worked with Portalarium doing the Shroud of the Avatar comic book. Beyond that they have worked on numerous Pen and Paper projects doing artwork.

Mike Nystul is currently working on creating RPG and tabletop projects and is in that area, has worked with them before, as well has extensive experience.

Then come on, this is a given. Tracy Hickman! Helped to bring Dragonlance to the world just to name drop. Still working hard in the genre with the recent project of bringing us back ravenloft!

I don’t know if Richard Garriott has ever worked directly on a RPG Pen and Paper project. I know he has had extensive experience both playing and in knowing industry leaders such as Steve Jackson Games.


(great game, I highly recommend it).

However I do not believe he has ever been involved in creating one. Again I could be wrong but I think the same goes for Starr Long. I bet both of them could play small but essential roles on the project and enjoy the experience.

There is probally more development experience among our current dev team and their associates I am not thinking about in my current musings, so no one missed intentionally.

Interesting thought though for a side project in the future if this game sees success. You wouldn’t be able to work on it though until the game mechanics are finalized so you can create a pen and paper working comparable.

Although I think in an RPG version, home ownership needs to take a much smaller role and the Virtues a much large one.

Kickstart it for sure.

All I can say is… I’d Play that!

If they ever do though, they better make sure it uses 6-sides in it somewhere. Given out over 2000 of those things to date!

Caverns Dice

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January 24 2016

Ultima Auction Spotlight – Mum Magazine / Loot Crate Firefly & Serenity themed coming

So this is apparently a Magic magazine with an appearance from Richard Garriott in it. Unfamiliar piece to me but seems kind of cool and wouldn’t kill the bank if you wanted it.

MUM Magazine
Magic – Unity – Might
The Society of American Magicians
January 2009
Volume 98
Number 8

MUM Magazine January 2009 Magic SAM Richard Garriott Shawn Farquar Michael Weber


So I was pretty excited when I saw that Loot Crate is going to be doing a Firefly / Serenity crate.

I have done some blurbs in the past on subscription boxes I have tried. Such as Loot Crate, Geek Fuel, Barkbox. I stopped doing them and do not plan on picking it back up. I love the boxes I just do not have time to do blogs on them.

Subscription boxes have become popular in my family as gifts and so while I can’t afford them for myself often we seem to be giving them to each other a lot for birthdays and such as well as trying different ones and I am becoming quite the expert on all kinds of them.

While I may not have any sort of plans to do a focus on them though, if I can toss a blurb out now and then I may.

This one certainly deserves one!!!

A subscription box that comes out every two months focused on nothing but the Firefly / Serenity theme? EPIC!

I certainly do not know if I can afford to get it re-occurring but I will get the first one! As a side note I personally thought both Geek Fuel and Lootcrate regular subscriptions this month where amazing!!! My daughter is in love with Loot Crate Anime.

Anyway getting back on target, if you want to get on a signup list for information to this (no obligations, just notifications and updates). Head over to loot crate and choose “pick crate’ from the menu, and you will see an option for FireFly. http://looted.by/cgHXf

Tell them The Caverns Sent you!

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