Posts tagged wip
Creating a Twitter clone with Zapier

One of the things that I struggle with personally is deciding exactly how “connected” I want to be in my day-to-day. Currently, I use social media like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, for two reasons:

  1. Posting weird Yu-Gi-Oh screen-caps for the podcast

  2. Keeping tabs on important family updates

As weird as I feel about freely giving Facebook any more of my data to sell, it’s also how I found out that my mom was getting remarried, so I feel a sort of obligation to keep it around. (This was a while ago now, and she at least called before the ceremony, so we’re all good.)

The thing is, I don’t want to be obligated to any one company when it comes to either of the above things. I would far and away prefer losing a bit of functionality, even paying a bit of actual money, for the comfort of knowing that what I say to my friends and family stays within that circle, and only gets sent elsewhere when I explicitly opt in. Even with GDPR and social platforms making renewed efforts to keep my data “safe”, I feel that there’s something to be said for knowing exactly where my information is kept. I want to be able to go and see the bytes, I guess.

This isn’t a new concept, and I’ve tried out projects like Mastodon, diaspora*, or even tilde.club to see if it was possible to create something that I could convince my friends and family to use, while satisfying my need to not give Zuck any more free labour.

The quick answer: I haven’t, yet.

But, I’ve made some interesting progress.

I recently started working for the automation platform Zapier (and please know that everything I’m saying here is completely my own personal view, does not reflect the views of the company, etc., etc.), and in playing around with the product, I realised that it gives access to two pretty powerful tools:

  1. The ability to send/receive webhooks

  2. The ability to update an RSS feed

The latter of the two I had already seen used in a number of articles regarding podcast hosting, which may be something I circle back around to. But I wanted to know if I could use these two things to build something like what I was picturing: A way to post “content” within a small group, and know exactly where my data is.

It has a few limitations, which I’ll cover briefly here and then maybe more extensively later on, but you can see the result here:

A couple big things:

  1. There’s literally no security on it, so don’t trust anything written there.

  2. Due to the limits in Zapier (because there had to be some limits), it can only handle 100 posts per month, and displays only the 50 latest posts.

While this definitely disqualifies the solution from wide release, it could be a viable solution for small groups. Because the RSS feed and all of the processing is hosted entirely by Zapier, and can be run using a free (free-as-in-free, not free-as-in-beer) Zapier account, there’s nothing saying that the “client” file couldn’t be kept offline. All you really need is the HTML/JS powering the form and displaying the RSS feed, and an internet connection.

There are still some tweaks to be made here and there, but in the vein of “here’s a weird internet thing I’ve made”, I felt it warranted sharing. From here, there are a few other projects I’d like to explore, given the time:

  • Internet-powered games played on phones or laptops in the same room (a-la Jackbox)

  • Free podcast hosting (as mentioned above)

  • Chatroom-esque spaces that only exist for a short time

  • Determining what an ad-free, user-run social network (that actually works — sorry, Ello) might look like

Help Me Finish This Game
philosophyshitscribble-i-wanna-play-a-tabletop-rpg-where-my-six-28957220.png

A while ago, I was sent this Tumblr post, which many of you will likely have seen: 

God help me, I started working out what this might look like. These sat in my Notes app for a bit, and have lingered long enough. Please, for the love of all that is good: Help me fill in the blanks and finish game.


Critically Acclaimed at the Sundance Film Festival: The Tabletop Role-Playing Game

Congratulations, your film made it to Sundance, and critics say they're looking forward to it! Only problem is, you haven't written it yet. You're more of an avant-garde director, you tell people, and let the characters write themselves.

This game is about being the characters in a witty, hipster-y, rom-com-y feature film that's sure to do well at Sundance, and will make waves at Tribeca. 

1. Character Creation

Attributes

Assign -1, 0, 0, +1, +2, +3 as you like to the following:

  • Gumption
  • Chutzpah
  • Moxy
  • Childlike Wonder
  • The Cut of my Gib
  • A Certain Je Ne Sais Quoi

2. Basic Moves

Get out of Uncomfortable Situation

Roll+Gumption
10+ you successfully escape the uncomfortable situation without causing offense
7-9 the Narrator is going to give you a worse outcome, hard choice, or price to pay
On a miss, things get weird

Help Out

When you help another player with a move they are making, roll +Moxy
On a 10+, your help grants them +1 to their roll.
On a 7-9 your help grants them +1 to their roll, but you also open yourself up to an awkward situation
On a miss, you walk right into an awkward situation without helping
Note that bonuses don’t stack. If two players successfully help out, the target character only gets +1 to their roll.

Read the room

When you try to get a feel for a situation, roll +Childlike Wonder
On a 10+ hold 3
On a 7-9 hold 1
While you are in this room or situation, you may spend hold 1-for-1 to ask the Narrator a question from the following list:

- What happened here?
- What are people trying to hide?
- What is the biggest threat?
- What’s my best way out of this?
- What should I look out for?
- What’s going to happen next?
- Are things going to get worse before they get better?

On a miss, you reveal some information to the room or someone you’re talking to. The Narrator may ask you some questions, which you will have to answer.

Witty Banter

When you exchange biting words with someone, roll +The Cut Of My Gib.
On a 7+, you and whoever you’re talking to become engaged in verbal repartee, and inflict embarrassment on each other. The usually means that you inflict embarrassment equal to the interpersonal skills you have equipped, and the other person deals embarrassment to you.

When taking embarrassment, you subtract the amount taken from your Self-Confidence. If you are lowered to 0 self-confidence, you proceed to a "Second-Act Montage".

If you roll a 10+, choose one extra effect:

- You gain the upper-hand: take +1 forward, or give +1 forward to another player.
- You are especially witty today (deal +1 embarrassment)
- The other person gets tongue-tied (take -1 embarrassment)
- You put them exactly where you want them

On a miss, you suffer embarrassment, and do not deal any embarrassment to the other person.

Manipulate Someone

This move is used when getting someone to do something they don’t want to do. To get them to do what you’re asking, you’ll need a good reason, or some kind of leverage.
Once you have given them a reason, tell them what you want them to do and roll +A Certain Je Ne Sais Quoi.

For a normal person:
10+: They’ll do it for the reason you gave them. If you asked too much, they’ll tell you the minimum it would take for them to do it (or if there’s really no way).
7-9: They’ll do it, but only if you do something for them first, to show that you really mean it. If you asked too much, they’ll tell you what (if anything) it would take for them to do it.
On a miss, your approach is totally wrong: they’ll take offense or get angry.

For another player:
10+: if they do what you want, they mark experience and get +1 forward
7-9: they mark experience if they do what you ask
On a miss, they decide how angry or annoyed they are at you. They mark experience if they choose not to do what you asked.

To The Rescue

When another player is about to suffer embarrassment and you swoop in to protect them, roll +Gumption.
7+: You protect them, but you’ll suffer some or all of the embarrassment meant for them
10+, choose an extra:

- You suffer less embarrassment (-1 embarrassment)
- All eyes are now on you
- You inflict embarrassment back
- You hold the other person back
- On a miss, you make things worse

Movie Magic

At the end of the day, you’re still living a movie, so a lot of weird stuff is possible. When you want to accomplish something that isn’t necessarily possible in real life, roll +A Certain Je Ne Sais Quoi.
10+: the improbable movie magic comes through without issue. Choose 1 effect from the list below.
7-9: it works... imperfectly. Choose 1 effect and 1 glitch.

On a miss, it’s out of your control. This isn’t going to end well. The narrator picks 1 effect that happens immediately, but does not expose you to immediate embarrassment or awkward situations. They may also choose one glitch that could change that.

Effects:

- Inflict 1 embarrassment on a target
- Confidence Boost (Your interpersonal skill gains +1 Embarrassment and +magic)
- Do one thing beyond human limitations
- Prevent a single person from finding something out
- Remove a person or bad influence from a place
- Introduce a new character
- Communicate with someone you do not share a language with
- Learn a secret about someone
- Heal one point of self-confidence

Glitches:

- The effect is weakened
- The effect is of a short duration
- You take 1 embarrassment
- You draw immediate, unwelcome attention


The blanks still to be filled:

  • What roles would players actually play as? What unique moves would they use?
  • What would a typical session set inside a hipster rom-com look like? 
  • How will you know when it ends? 
  • What tools can we give the Narrator for creating a plot-line and propelling the characters forward?