We often have several projects running concurrently, which is why it takes so long for any single one to get done. Naturally our projects grow out of our interests.
The School was a project even before it was mentioned in the Wizard Cycle. The central notion of the School is to provide a generalist education. The curriculum includes fundamental understanding of a wide range of academic specialities and emphasizes the commonality between disciplines and the kinds of problem solving that can only be done well by someone with a foundation in two or more areas of knowledge. It did not escape our notice that such an education is exactly what a wizard would need. Any resemblance to Chris' college education is not entirely coincidental.
Written sporadically over the last twenty years, mainly by Don and Chris, the Wizard Cycle is a humorous set of stories and story fragments about a wizard and his bumbling but enthusiastic apprentice.
We took an old press, several fonts of hand-set type, and added enough equipment and supplies to make a modest but functional printing shop. Of course, there's the modern desktop publishing stuff too.
Why are so-called role-playing computer games such sorry, emotionally uninvolving hack-and-slashes combined (or not) with tedious puzzle-solving? When the game world and the computer-managed characters are not believable the player can't help but withhold some of their emotional involvement. The Destiny Project is an evolving game engine with the goals of creating and managing any number of believable game settings, and of maintaining characters with which one can have a genuine conversation, hold a strategy-planning session, or just paint the town red.
The current focus within the project is the AI (artificial intelligence) of non-player (computer-maintained) characters.
What does a wizard's wand need to do anyway? It all started on an airplane trip to New Mexico (from Los Angeles) in 1975. Chris spent most of the trip making a list of functions and detailed implementation sketches for a wand that could emit high-voltage sparks, flashes of light, and other wizardly effects. To get around the volume limitations of a wand, Chris and Don developed several designs for a staff as well. Various effects modules were prototyped for both staff and wand, culminating in an utterly memorable "test firing" in Chris' back yard. Ironically and delightfully, continued trends toward miniaturization and higher power capability in electronics over the ensuing years have made many of the staff-only functions feasible for wand-sized instruments.
This electronics tutorial is being developed by Don in an effort to teach Chris some electronics.
Inspired by the wizard's wand and staff projects, and augmented by years of volunteering to craft stage props for halloween shops and science fiction convention costume contests, Don started a business to design and manufacture electronic toys and costume props. His work combines the world of electronics and a wealth of curious materials and places them in the service of fantasy.
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© 1999 by Elsa Die Löwin and Christopher M. Albrecht