Tag Archives: AGBIC

Let’s Write Some Statistically Average Jokes

The AGBIC game jam is fast drawing to a close, and I need to put some statistically average fake band names into the game, because that’s the entirely optional theme for the year, which means we’re doing it! Time for some statistically average jokes!

Like our bad space-themed jokes, these band names will be connected to items you find on the red planet, and we’ll try our best to be funny.

Or at least punny.

Pun and Games

Here are the newest additions. The words in bold are the statistically average band names:

  • You pick up a bottle of lactate- concentrate. The label reads ‘Moo Gourd, rich in Calcium, the other Vitamine C’.
  • You discover a crumpled copy of Football Scoundrel. The cover story reads ‘Tottenbacon’s Runaway Season’.
  • You find a stash of rolled-up Flamboyant Lifer magazines. Rich humans sure know how to live.
  • You pick a thin cardboard sleeve out of the dirt. It appears to contain an audio recording of the Ferry Destroyers. By the picture on the cover, it seems they dislike barbers as much as crossing channels.
  • You find a dusty magazine entitled Apes Spanks. Thinking it better not to ask, you quickly atomize it for parts.
  • You find a jar of Nut Rebuild, but it’s empty.
  • You find a card depicting a gloomy castle. It has Strength 10, Vitality 12, and Endurance 17. Apparently, you’d need more of these to play Fortification Addict.

space rocket travel

    • You recover a copy of Dunk Racket from the dirt. This audio-visual ‘comedy phenomenon’ stars Wes Haroldson and Woopy Pipes.
    • You pull a small, hair-covered jacket from the dirt. It appears made for an Earth-pet and the label says Ensemble Basset in Earth-glyphs.
    • A newspaper clipping lies in the dirt. It reads ‘Naturalization Loan Rollout Begins’.
    • You find a pamphlet for ‘Safari Ski Holidays in South Africa’. The tigers really look like they’re enjoying the hot cocoa. The sales blurb promises ‘Extravagant Thrills‘.
    • You pick up a postcard depicting a human male and female riding in an expensive-looking air vehicle. It says ‘the all-new Clove Beamer is a ride of a lifetime.’
    • You pick up a well-worn issue of ‘Impostor Smut‘ from the dust. Humans are into some weird things.
    • You find a small plastic card labeled ‘Hedonist Credit, redeemable in stores nationwide’.

Well, that was utterly ridiculous. I hope you’ll join us for more, soon.

Convert a String to a Variable Name in JavaScript

Is it possible to write code that doesn’t use its own variables, but still works? It is! You can convert a string to a variable name in JavaScript using eval, and here’s how it works.

Convert a string to a variable name

Our Usecase

Say we’re building a text-based game where we want the player to be able to interact with the resources they’ve collected. In Mars and Crafts, this means typing “atomize [resource name]” into Discord and hitting enter. For example: “atomize dirt” or “atomize concrete”.

There are potentially many variables we’ll need to access, but the user is giving us the name of the most important variable in their input string. So, rather than using many “if-else” statements, can’t we just use the input string to get the variable?

Convert a JS String into a Variable Name

This node.js code loads data from a JSON file into variables, then uses eval to access them with a string. This is useful because the user can type in the variable’s name and get its value, all we need to do is ensure their string is formatted correctly.
// Load Game
const fileSystem = require("fs");
const saveData = fileSystem.readFileSync("saveData.json", "utf-8");
const saveObj = JSON.parse(saveData);
console.log("Loaded save game.......");

var iStone = saveObj.iStone;
var iWater = saveObj.iWater;
var iSludge = saveObj.iSludge;
var iParts = saveObj.iParts;
var iElectronics = saveObj.iElectronics;
var iFuel = saveObj.iFuel;
var iPower = saveObj.iPower;
var iMetal = saveObj.iMetal;
var iConcrete = saveObj.iConcrete;
var iDirt = saveObj.iDirt;

function atomize (arg) {
    // Convert arg string to resource variable name
    arg = arg.toLowerCase();
    var sResPrefix = "i" + arg.charAt(0).toUpperCase(); 
    var sResource =  sResPrefix + arg.substr(1, arg.length);
    console.log(arg + " => " + sResource + " = " + eval(sResource)); 

// Some tests
atomize ("dirt");
atomize ("Water");
atomize ("CONCRETE");
atomize ("Stone");
atomize ("sludge");
atomize ("FUEL");

We can figure out which variable the user wants with some educated guesses. In this case, we know our variables all start with “i” and a capital letter. We then do a fair bit of work with the strings, which we could skip if the variable names were simply the nouns (“sludge”, “water”, “stone”, etc.).

Here’s the saveData.json file:


Some Security Considerations

Using eval is like opening a back door for all kinds of deviancy, which is why you’ll still need to restrict which variables are accessible and ensure that only those variables are accessible. Read and understand the eval docs, and let us know if you have a better way of doing this, in the comments below.

Let’s Write Space Jokes for a Game!

It’s Game Jam Friday, so that means I really should be working on my little game. Why don’t you join me…

This month we’re making Mars and Crafts, a game about mining Mars to build Martian defenses against the oncoming human invasion. Part of this will involve tentacles. Another part will involve lots and lots of digging in the red Martian dirt.

Every now and then, you’ll discover random junk, much like if you were beachcombing. This junk gives you machine parts (which can be used to build things) and also tells the game’s story. When is the game set, how do the aliens you play perceive humanity,  what happens when you build war machines out of dirt and goo? That sort of thing.

It also needs to be funny, because life’s too short to forget about the lols. We’ll hit the space jokes pretty hard, and throw in plenty of references to popular media.

So let’s write some.

“Very funny, Scotty.”

  • You pick at the end of a piece of thread. As you pull, more thread rises from the Martian sand. Keep this up and you’ll unravel the whole thing.
  • You pick up a strange toy that resembles a human. Oddly, its head is far bigger than a real human’s head is purported to be, though its vacant stare implies it isn’t very clever. Maybe the humans worship dumb people who look smart?

Captain Kirk Naked - Space Jokes

  • You discover a gold and black spandex suit with a golden badge pinned to it. It looks like it might fit the human’s odd physiology.
  • You pick up a flat, shiny hexagon. Analysis reveals that it was part of a solar array. Anyway, it’ll look great hanging from your flying saucer’s rearview mirror.
  • Your UMT (Universal Mining Tool) detects something below the dust’s surface. You dig a little and uncover a polyhedral structure with numbers on it. Obviously, this is some kind of portent.
  • You find pile of magnetically attached needles. Your UMT detects a grass-like structure inside.
  • You pick up a tiny marble. It looks like it contains an entire galaxy within. Probably just a trick of the light.
  • You pick up two pie-pans that have been glued together.
  • You find a large black obalisk stuck in the sand. There are no markings on it, but if you vaporize it at least you’ll get more dirt and a single sproket.
  • You discover a glove of a prepubescent five-flanged tentaculared cepholopodian. Those guys never pick up their trash.
  • Looks like someone’s been playing EDM recently, dropped beats litter the place.
  • You recover what appears to be… a toaster.
  • Oh look, you’ve found a skull and gear symbol made of a metallic plastic. It seems ominously foreboding.
  • You pick up a paper cup. It says “Starbucks” in Earth-glyphs on the side, but you’re unsure where you can spend this space currency.
  • You pick up a bubblegum wrapper. It contains a joke, written in Earth-glyphs. Something about why the star wanted to take a vacation, because it needed some space. Earth humor, go figure!
  • You pick up a broken toy rocket. Its faded paint is red and white.
  • You find a newspaper clipping. The Earth-glyphs read ‘Oil Discovered on Mars. In unrelated news, America Plans Trip to Mars, Packs Oil Rig.’

Your Space Jokes Can Help

Have some ideas of your own? Got some space jokes you’d love to share? Drop them into the comments with your name and I’ll add you to the game’s credits. Be sure to subscribe to our newsletter too, because I’ll throw some news about the game up soonish.

The 400th Rising Phoenix Games Blog Post

Yes, that’s right, it’s our 400th post on the Rising Phoenix Games Blog! To celebrate, we’re given away a free game!

400 and Counting

Mmm, 400 is a big juicy number.

We’ve shared some great articles over the years, including our Stranger Things Season 3 RPG campaign that tried—and succeeded in many ways—to anticipate the show’s third season before it aired. We’ve run several article series beyond that, including Write Design Program which looks at game design topics, Magic Life Lessons which delves into Magic: the Gathering to learn important life lessons, and our largest series yet, Mini Monday, which brings you miniature painting, terrain, and kit-bashing projects for your gaming table.

Mini Monday Logo

Of all our series, Valkyrie: Ragnarok, our short fiction series, is the one I’m most excited about. It tells the story of Faya, a half-elf outcast trying to surive criminal cults and the city watch in the deadly city of Bastion. Her story is much bigger than her own survival though, but I better not spoil any surprises just yet. The newsletter is the place to read more of Faya’s story, delivered to your inbox each month, so be sure to subscribe.

Of course, we’ve always been focused on our core business, which is producing excellent RPG supplements. The Rising Phoenix Games blog will always be the best place to find out about our newest products and special offers, like our newest game, which is free to download!

D4 Dungeon

D4 Dungeon, is an OSR dungeon crawl RPG I created for the #AGBIC game jam. We’re giving it away to celebrate hitting our 400th post!

D4 Dungeon Cover

The pyramid of Krug lies in the deep mists of the Valley of Bones, drifting in and out of reality as the tides of magic ebb and rise. Four determined tomb robbers have climbed the pyramid’s many black steps to reach the ancient tomb’s pinnacle, and the great door of bone.

Beyond the grim door’s threshold lie the many mysteries and horrors of the pyramid. Those who overcome them may discover great treasures, or a horrible end. Beware, for the pyramid’s power will work for and against you.

D4 Dungeon is a light dungeon crawl and a love-letter to old-school RPGs. It includes all the maps you’ll need to play, four character cards for the greedy Tomb Robbers under your control, a Doom Clock to mark the hour of your ultimate demise, and the rules in a printer-friendly PDF.

Download or Donate on D4 Dungeon’s store page, which you can find by hitting the big orange button below. Can you survive the dark dismal D4 Dungeon?!


You can read more about the “A Game by its Cover” game jam on Itch.io. Be sure to check out D4 Dungeon’s game jam thread, or download or donate on D4 Dungeon’s Itch.io page. If you would like to donate, the best option is through the orange button above. That way your donation will have the greatest impact and help us to keep improving the game.

More To Come

We hope you’ll subscribe and keep coming back for more.
Until next time, keep safe and play good games.

It’s Here! Test Drive Outrun Today – Devlog 5

This is going to be a short post because Outrun’s development just reached a major milestone. Instead of me yakking on, let me give you a copy of the game so that you can take it for a test drive.

Test Drive It Now. Outrun Cover concept. Photo by Connor Botts.
Outrun Cover concept. Photo by Connor Botts.

Outrun is a solo table-top RPG I’m developing as part of the A Game by its Cover game jam, happening through August. It’s inspired by the Rushing Drive Famicom cartridge cover by Philip Summers (on Instagram).  I’ll be posting updates twice a week, right here, so stick around and see the game come to life. You can find our other devlogs here: Devlog 1, Devlog 2, Devlog 3, and Devlog 4.

Gearing Up

Throughout these devlogs I’ve looked at iterations of the game, each building on what came before. Heck, you might even think there were two very different games being built. This morning I put everything together and gave it a test drive, now you can too.

Of course, we’ve still got a way to go, and there could well be bugs, but let’s call this the alpha playtest.

What’s In, What’s Out

The playtest includes the very basic game, without the music and RPG component, which will all come later — once the core mechanics are working perfectly.

How Can I Help?

Download the rules (link’s at the bottom), read it, play it, then give me your creative feedback at itch.io/t/268449/outrun-this-thread or in the comments below. Giving me feedback helps me evaluate the game and polish it up, but it will also earn you a playtest credit in the final version of the book.

It’s really helpful if you can tell me if any rules are hard to understand by pointing them out to me.

Enough Already, Give Me the Book!

You can download the book from:


Test Drive Photo by Evgeny Tchebotarev
Photo by Evgeny Tchebotarev


Rodney Sloan
Rising Phoenix Games

Check out our store, subscribe to our newsletter for monthly updates, and visit us on our blog, our Facebook page and on Twitter.

The Minimum Viable Product — Devlog 4

Extra Credits has this great video about making a Minimum Viable Product (video embedded at the bottom of this post). Basically, you build the simplest version of your game possible, before getting into all the features that aren’t vital to your game.

It's the quest for the minimum viable product!
Photo by Evgeny Tchebotarev

Outrun is a solo table-top RPG I’m developing as part of the A Game by its Cover game jam, happening through August. It’s inspired by the Rushing Drive Famicom cartridge cover by Philip Summers (on Instagram).  I’ll be posting updates twice a week, right here, so stick around and see the game come to life. You can find our other devlogs here: Devlog 1, Devlog 2, and Devlog 3.

Building the Minimum Viable Product

I caught myself designing POD cards for Outrun before I’d nailed down the core mechanics. What a waste of time that’ll be if my core game changes and I need to update the cards.

But what does Outrun’s MVP include? Here are my design requirements:

  1. A challenging solitaire game involving choice, with a low level of randomness.
  2. That’s it.

Here’s what the bare-bones version of Outrun looks like:

Outrun — A Solitaire Card Game

Use a standard deck of 52 playing cards. These represent gas in your fuel tank. Shuffle the cards well, then place them in front of you, face down.

Draw a card face up from the top of the deck. If you draw a red card (Hearts or Diamonds), stop drawing. If you draw a black card (Clubs or Spades), draw again until you have 3 cards face up in front of you or until you’ve drawn a red card.

You can take 1 even card and place it to the side. Queens count as 12, so they’re even. Each even card represents 1 hour of driving, and your goal is to drive for 24 hours by collecting all 24 even cards. Place the other cards, if any, in your discard pile.

Repeat the process of drawing cards and taking an even card, if any show up. If your deck runs out of cards, you’ve run out of gas and you lose the game.

Refueling: If you take a Queen from the cards in front of you, you can immediately shuffle the remaining face-up cards and your discard pile into your deck.

The Pale Rider:  The King of Clubs is the Pale Rider. Whenever you draw him, discard 2 cards from the top of your deck into your discard pile. Shuffle the Pale Rider back into your deck. You may then take an even card if any remain face up in front of you. If the Pale Rider is the last card to be drawn from the deck, you lose the game.

All the lazerpunk goodness builds on top of this minimum viable product. Give it a go and tell me what you thought.

Lazerpunk – A Definition

I’ve thrown around a few definitions in my earlier Devlogs, but here’s one worth defining clearly.

Lazerpunk: Cyberpunk with an 80’s retro aesthetic.

Outrun’s look is what I call lazerpunk — cyberpunk with an 80’s retro feel. It’s Hotline Miami and Satellite Reign smashed into one.

30% Off Pathfinder

We’ve got a huge Pathfinder Roleplaying Game compatible sale on. The sale’s going for a few weeks, then it’s gone.

Till next time, live awesomely.

Rodney Sloan
Rising Phoenix Games

Check out our store, subscribe to our newsletter for monthly updates, and visit us on our blog, our Facebook page and on Twitter.

Here’s that Minimum Viable Product video I mentioned: