October was a very busy month which is why I haven't had many blog posts or even much sign that I was even alive. Work on Microlite81 has continued, however. In fact, I'm going through the last draft one last time to try to catch a few more typoes and errors. While there have been over 250 downloads of the release candidate, there have been only a small handful of typo reports. Either I'm getting better at catching them or, more likely, I'm simply getting better at not making immediately noticeable typos. Assuming real life allows me to keep most of next week free of doctor appointments and lab work for my wife, Microlite81 1.0 Silver should be available for free download next week.
Now for my excuse for not posting much to this blog in October. My wife had three MRIs, two CT Scans, x-rays, a barium swallow test, a number of doctors appointments, etc. in October And since with her back problems she can barely walk, let alone drive, I've been her transportation.
As if this did not eat up enough "spare" time, my wife's hard drive died mid-month and I had to put a new drive in and (re-)set up her Windows 7 and her software. I put Pro on this time instead of the Home Premium that came with it. After doing this and seeing how much faster her system was cleaned up, I decided it was past time to bite the bullet and reformat my system to clear out 2.5 years of cruft (many software installed to test for clients). As I now have a copy of VMware Workstation, I'll test software for clients in a VM on the refreshed machine. This should help keep the core system cleaner.
The news on my wife's back was not good. Surgery probably would not help. Pain management and PT look to be her best options. Her annual head/neck CT scans (for cancer) came back with no changes at all, however. That's very good -- especially as her ENT was worried that a paralyzed vocal cord could be a sign that the cancer was returning, just lower in the neck than before. These tests have really run up the bills, however. More fund-raising is in my future. :( We used the money saved for our property taxes to get this stuff started, which means I need to raise about $3200 by the end of January (or we lose our house). Donations to the RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund would be much appreciated (you can donate via Paypal). I'm putting together a large package of giveaway items now and all donations made after this post will qualify.
Over all, October was a very mixed month, but my wife being still cancer free is a good thing. Over 5 years now. November looks to be better, at least in the spare time department. As mentioned above, I plan to finish work on "standard" Microlite81 next week. Then I'll work on first drafts of Microlite81 Complete and Microlite81 Expanded. Microlite81 Complete will be standard Microlite81 with more complete descriptions of spells, monsters, and magic items and a few extras like an example of play which will hopefully make the game more friendly to players with less experience with old school gaming. As much of this is "boilerplate", it should not take too long to get a first draft out to donors. Microlite81 Expanded will be Microlite81 with my house rules from the 1977-1983 era. Most of the house rules used in Microlite74 Expanded will also be used in Microlite81 Expanded (modified to work with B/X based rules), but many of the extra classes and optional rules included in Microlite74 Expanded will not be in Microlite81 Expanded -- as they will be a better fit for Microlite81 Advanced. An early draft is available to donors now, but it needs some major work.
I also hope to have time for more blog posts this month -- and I apologize for being missing for most of October. BTW, if you have found typos in the release candidate for Microlite81, there is still time to get them to me (and get a proofreading credit in the Silver edition of Microlite81 1.0). Please send them by email to the temporary email address listed in the introductory material in the Microlite81 release candidate, which you can download here (48 page PDF, about 890K).