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Too big to Succeed

I believe that Hasbro is too big to be a long term “host” for Dungeons and Dragons. Their size and corporate success leads to high expectations of all their business units. Dungeons and Dragons is essentially an expensive boutique game with very demanding customers, and cannot support the expectations of the parent.

A company like Hasbro is used to high volume, high margin sales. They loved Magic, which has minimal production costs and maximum profits. Dungeons and Dragons is not the same. It would seem that the natural cycle (market supported) for new versions of RPG products is about 10 years. Since their acquisition, Wizards have released a new edition every 5 years more or less. Each time, there has been a significant, and rising backlash. Each edition has seen the company “do more with less”, with fired developers outnumbering the in-house staff by several multiples. By releasing so soon, and fixing things that were not broken, Wizards have created their own competition, and staffed them. Every single competitor to D&D is headed and staffed by people who had worked for Wizards since their acquisition of the brand.

I am attending a local con (FanExpo) where we have the spectre of Monte Cook demoing his new system, Ed Greenwood running a game in 2nd Edition D&D, a group putting on some 3.5 Ed games, several tables of Pathfinder, whereas I am putting on a mere 2 tables of D&D 4th Edition and a Delve. Wizards tell me I can’t even demo their playtest D&D Next.

My fervent hope is that Hasbro spin off the Wizards’ D&D line, and allow Wizards (or their successor) to develop and release D&D product on a much slower schedule - in line with gamer expectations. They could maintain their connection to the brand itself, and contract to create such things as board and card games featuring the brand.

Software

So I initially installed Arch Linux, wanting a minimal, controlled experience. However, after much struggle I found that installing ROS would be a non-trivial task - no-one else seemed to have succeeded with the task. Also, between the planning and the action, the official distro had been changed from Debian Squeeze to Raspbian (based on Wheezy), and this had two advantages:

1) Some people had succeeded in getting ROS working on Raspbian,

2) The hardware floating point instruction set was utilized in this port.

I therefore downloaded the raspbian image, installed it, did the resize thing, updated it and installed ROS - which took me all day what with compiles etc.

Another piece of software that I found incredibly useful was WiringPi - a simple library to let me program the GPIO pins in Arduino-like software, and a command line tool to test that everything was working. By that evening, I had a flashing LED working using this library and a breadboard.

Raspberry Pi - unboxing

So my first Pi arrived courtesy DHL (and their absurdly high “handling fee” - $4.57 taxes, $10 + tax handling fee). I did not waste time actually going back into my home, but tore open the package right there on my front porch.

Pi in a box
Pi in a box

A peek inside
A peek inside

Contents laid out
A peek inside

Close up of the card
A peek inside

PiDuinoBot checklist

So - on to the components. I have checked off each piece that I already have (or have studied/used, in the case of softwre):

This is (I realize) a pretty ambitious shortlist. I intend to get the electronics up and running on a breadboard first, get the Arduino and ROS programming working to a first order (start, stop drive motors), then proceed to assembly on the chassis, get “drive to” type commands working, hook up the rangefinder and do some collision avoidance. Then work with the sensors to get dead reckoning. After that, mapping and layout stuff.

pwnieexpress:

Pwnie Express is happy to announce the initial release of Raspberry Pwn! Security enthusiasts can now easily turn their Raspberry Pi into a full-featured security penetration testing and auditing platform! This fully open-source release includes the following testing tools:

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