m. c. de marco: To invent new life and new civilizations...

A Pyramid Page

Happy Pi Day!

I’ve collected enough pyramid content here and elsewhere to devote a page to it.

Pyramid Randomizer

I expanded the pyramid randomization in the Zoning Out Randomizer to a general Pyramid Randomizer. I was thinking about saving your selected colors, but that hasn’t happened yet. I should also move it somewhere more appropriate than a github fork of someone else’s project, but that hasn’t happened yet either. Enjoy!

Zoning Out Bag Randomizer

I’ve added pyramid randomization to the Zoning Out Randomizer, because it turns out it’s pretty annoying to draw pyramids by size from only one bag, and I was jealous of the Solomids randomizer. I also relaxed the restrictions on game size (previously to just the regular game and the small city variant) so it’s easier to set up Samantha’s toddler games with only one special rule.

I thought about adding a random seed to share challenges like the Solomids people do, but it seemed unlikely to get much use.

Zoning Out Randomizer

I made a Zoning Out Randomizer for a solo pyramid game that I haven’t actually played yet. I spotted the game on the Games Only You Have Played geeklist for this month, and it seemed like my kind of thing (I love Sprawlopolis), though not without the convenience of a randomizer like this one. I also enlivened the scoring sheet to do some of the math for you.

The odd URL is due to it being in a fork of mine on my github pages. I converted the README using pandoc (rather than by grabbing GitHub’s conversion), then added some vanilla modern javascript to do the randomization. You can also manually pick your three scoring goals, or pass some in in the URL. For example, for the first three goals, the URL would be mcdemarco.github.io/321/zoningoutrandomizer.html?1,2,3.


I changed the way I make some recipe indices for my cookbook so that it’s easier to add them; see, for example, my Thanksgiving recipes, by sort-of solving the general issue of tagging my recipes that’s been bothering me for a while. To do so, I followed some advice about adding metadata to markdown without YAML by using link references instead. You can read more about it in one of the READMEs at my repository.


Yesterday’s cat-vacuuming activity was updating my catalog of Twine story formats, inspired by my discovery of AdventureTome in the IFTF forums. I also fixed the misnaming of icon files and dealt with the growing phenomena of not naming your format file format.js and/or not marking your proofing-style formats as proofing formats.

Quick Indexed

I’ve added more recipe indices to my cookbook. Besides the original Instant Pot index, there are now indices for quick meals, favorites, recent recipes, and an alphabetical list of all recipes.

I still haven’t solved the general issue of tagging my recipes; instead I added more flags to the YAML index for most of the new indices, and wrote some sketchy Liquid to generate the alphabetical list.

Instant Indexed

I added an Instant Pot recipe index to my cookbook, since summertime calls for lots of quick, oven-free recipes without the need to defrost ahead of time, and it’s not obvious from the full table of contents that some of my regular recipes also include Instant Pot directions.

I haven’t solved the general issue of tagging my recipes; instead I added a flag to the YAML index I use to generate the table of contents and added a page to render the Instant Pot index with Jekyll.

Amazon Affiliations

This post includes Amazon affiliate links to the book(s) pictured.

I was inspired by today’s BGG Amazon affiliate links scandal to conform my affiliate links to the Amazon TOS and FTC regulations, following this handy advice from Brett Terpstra. It only took a few minutes.

I don’t think I’ve ever made any money from my affiliate links; I just use them for easy pictures of books:

Magnate Roller 1.5.1

Magnate Roller has been brushed up to version 1.5.1. The occasion of the update was my trying out the revised solo rules and having to roll an actual die to place the automaton’s cards. Now the roller can do that part, too.

I recommend leaving the courts out for the solo game. Without an opponent rolling, there never seem to be enough resources to build them, and they end up both clogging your hand and making the automaton impossible to beat.

Magnate Roller 1.5

Magnate Roller has been brushed up to version 1.5.0. There’s a newish option to track players by name while rolling (we were getting confused) plus improved rules for solo play and other textual tweaks. The occasion of the update was my stumbling across a change to the solo rules on BoardGameGeek that I missed somehow back when it was posted.

Link Checked Again

The old link blog continues to link rot, but I’ve cleaned up most of the other links except for some tough jobs like The Accidental Conlanger and the hyperfiction software list. Things that did get a thorough treatment include the Chesterton pages and my cookbook.

Perhaps the most impressive failure to redirect this time was LightLife’s brilliant idea of moving the entire /products/ directory to a /product/ directory, with no redirection.

Boskone 59

Boskone, New England’s longest-running science fiction and fantasy convention, is happening both in person and online this year. The schedule is online, and I’m on it.

Choose Your Own History

Via Reddit: YouTube channel Toy Galaxy gives a brief history of Choosing Your Own Adventure titled The Rise & Fall & Rise of Choose Your Own Adventure Books. New to me were the DVD and Audible/Alexa version, some details of the merger-driven corporate abandonment of the series, the weakness of ChooseCo’s trademark at this point, and (nevertheless) the settlement of the Netflix trademark lawsuit. The only howler in there was his calling Lone Wolf a “copycat” book.

If you prefer an unpunctuated transcript, you can read one here, but you’ll miss the excitingly retro DVD commercial.

DisCon III

Though we were planning to attend DisCon III, the somewhat-postponed 79th World Science Fiction Convention, this winter, their new COVID policy is keeping us away. So I filked about it: Banned from DisCon.

Decision Software

This post includes Amazon affiliate links to the book(s) pictured.

I was inspired to update my hyperfiction software list by my last post and an article, “Design Patterns, Tools and Workflow for Modern Gamebook Creators” by J.M. Green, in Gamebook Zine 2. Most notably, I added a section about making books and ebooks.

Indecision Fiction

Sadly, Decision Fiction has passed from the up-and-comers to the down-and-outers. But don’t despair, there are plenty more where that came from:

  • Sadako compares itself to Twine, ChoiceScript, and Ink, but looks very little like Twine, a lot like ChoiceScript, and even more like Ink
  • Toothrot is a similarly Ink-y choice engine
  • Ramus is an HTML-based (as in, writing your own HTML with a few special attributes) hypertext system
  • Elm Story is an even GUI-er approach to choice fiction than Twine, with ambitions of becoming a cloud service when it grows up
  • Gordian Book is an online converter from (script-free) Twine to PDF gamebooks
  • pangamebook is the pandoc filter successor to gamebookformat
  • Another RPG Engine, the Twine/SugarCube plugin, is up to v3.0.3

Boskone 58

Boskone, New England’s longest-running science fiction and fantasy convention, went online this past weekend. Many panels were recorded, so it’s not too late to catch up on large swathes of the con that I managed to miss while hanging out in the gaming zoom. Next year in the Westin!

National Science Fiction Day

Gentlebeings, happy National Science Fiction Day! I’m watching bad movies on Comet to celebrate, because that’s apparently what the non-sf fans think we do.

A Calculator

Because I didn’t like the baby age calculators already out there, I made an adjusted age calculator that will save dates across sessions and give adjusted and unadjusted ages in various formats. It can also determine due date from the last period or vice versa. Made with moment.js and vanilla JavaScript.