Building fun experiences for the web

I was going to do some work on my Denweaver site this weekend, but ended up doing other things with family as well as resting on Sunday. However, I did do some work. I was writing down some ideas for the site, and I also played a few other web based games.

One game in particular – which is meant to be a sort of learning game for kids – really inspired me as they have a really smooth and clean way to introduce players into the game. The site is and I started looking at how they onboard new players. They do some clever things with cut scenes, and show you your little home and how to interact with NPC’s as well as a few battles to help you learn the ropes. I really like this kind of “learning by doing” and they also add a bit of storyline and motivation for you to play.

Originally I was going to just tell the player they have a house, and a dungeon and how the mechanics work and let them just start out. But I really like this idea of just putting them in the world, have a short cut scene that introduces the first level of mechanics and get them immersed right away. It’s so much better than the expositional style I was going to go with.

Here’s an example screen

And here’s one with the upsell

They do such a great job with color, design, and everything. I’m super impress with this supposedly kids learning game.

Another example

This is helping me rethink how I am organizing my own game.

Instead of endless menus, and walls of text. I want to put them into the game right away and let them explore.

So, while I didn’t do any coding this weekend, I did learn a lot, and this will have a dramatic impact on the course of my own Denweaver game.

I seem to have survived a major hurdle in my life. I had a minor heart attack in April, and immediately got 2 ‘stints’ in my heart to prevent major damage. But during that time, it seems they determined that I was in an urgent need of a heart bypass surgery. Just thinking about what has happened to me since then is kinda beyond imagining.

However, I’m now almost fully recovered from this surgery and I’ll be going back to work next week. It is with much trepidation as I’ve been super weak and doing my best to recover day to day.

One of the things that has kept me going has been hanging out on Mastodon, and working on my little web game Denweaver. Every day I have been doing a little bit more on the coding side and it’s been helping me to have something to focus on a bit.

Also, to be honest, it has helped me remember why I even started coding in the first place. It was originally because web development is FUN. I just can’t get enough of HTML, CSS, and JS. And having the browser bend to my ideas is just super empowering. I’ve been doing this for a long time, but over the years I’ve kinda lost sight of the fun aspect of things. I’m now spending more time on that – and also I want to blog more. I feel like it will help me process all this stuff I’m going through, and maybe some knowledge or experience I have will interest someone else.

This title is level 54 because I just had a birthday 2 days ago. I’ve survived a major surgery and “levelled up” . Time to put away doubts and procrastination and just DO STUFF.

Denweaver is a game that will have many things to do. Primarily you’ll be creating a home for yourself as well as a dungeon that others can visit and play in. Beyond just the home you create, as you level up you can add more places in your “den” that will be visitable by other folks. This will be sorta like websites in that the place is a permanent link you can point to that others can visit.

You could create a library where folks could check out books. Or a tavern where you might sell drinks. And in the dungeon below you might come up with fun places like a mad scientist lab, or a pool full of man-eating fish. The idea is to take a cozy building sim and combine it with a sort of dungeon crawler.

As I sit before my computer – I’ve had a bit of a course correction for my web based game DenWeaver. I’ve spent some time thinking about Godot Engine and how it’s great for building interfaces, but the app I am building is much more than just a game you might play on your desktop. It’s supposed to have deep links into the web – being able to create your own websites itself, among other things. I spent the weekend playing around with KaboomJS as well as a web application server called Astro.

These explorations have convinced me to redirect my efforts and build this game all in web tech – Svelte in Astro plus KaboomJS. I was able to have some early success testing out some things that had blocked me before with an earlier version of Astro, and I believe I can actually make the thing now.

I want to make a cozy game where you can play online with your friends – building a house that you can share with other players, as well as a dungeon below your home that others can play in.

This is really my passion project. I want to put everything I know into it and make this something special. If I can survive my upcoming medical stuff, then this is what I want to spend the rest of my life working on – and make it a reality.

I keep trying to make this game – and always running into some kind of blocker – but this time around I feel like I will get closer to my goal than ever.

I am also playing around with Appwrite – a cloud based auth and database service. It seems to be actually working on my app server – which feels just like crazy town for me – as usually NOTHING works as I want it to. You can read about the service I’m leveraging to try out auth here .

I’m also going to try to blog at least 3x a week. I want to get back into writing and development in a serious way. The only real way to do that is to commit to something. So starting today I will start blogging every week. And … making progress on this game.

I spent some time this weekend working on a mini chooser screen for Denweaver – this is just laying some foundations for the features.

I’m working on my personal project – renamed from project Maji to Denweaver. It continues to evolve as an idea, but I’m finally making progress. Here’s a splash screen shot:

Progress is very slow, but I’m no longer thrashing around. All effort is moving things forward, so incremental progress is a powerful thing. I have a codebase, an idea, and a way to build it. I’m using spare time to add small pieces and parts as I go, and not worrying too much about making it perfect.

If you want to follow along on this project you can visit it on

Testing a blog post

test image

Tonight I continue to work on my “Project Magi” in small ways. After a long day’s work and resting a bit. I’m spending some time gathering information, as well as going through some Godot tutorials. I see other’s catching on to the insights I’ve been having about “Playful Applications” but I don’t feel threatened by this. I only hope I can invest enough time and energy into my own projects to make a decent showing of it.

I appreciate all the effort folks have put in to things like tutorials and courses, because they not only want to see some kind of return, they also genuinely want to help other folks to do cool things.

One course I’m taking is helping me learn about how to build GUI’s in Godot Engine called “Complete Godot Course: Game User Interfaces Masterclass” by Alfred Baudisch. This course is going to supplement my knowledge of Godot Engine so that when I begin creating the Magi app, I’ll have a good idea how to organize it.

Godot has this meta theme to it, where it is built upon itself, and you can use Godot to create extensions for it. What this means is you can create applications which can create new kinds of things that can be “played” by other applications you create. It’s quite mind bending in some ways – but freeing in that you have the ability to do whatever you like and explore ideas.

Learning things from others who’ve come before can really accelerate your progress, and supporting folks to teach is always a good thing. I just gotta get that baseline level of proficiency, then look out world…

Image by Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke from Pixabay 

Today starts the day when I begin to do things “my way”. Which means I give my little project a funny name to inspire me to work on it and continue to develop it. I’m still trying to find my voice with this blog, but writing plainly right now seems appropriate. Hopefully I’ll learn to write in a way that is less abrupt or curt, but for now just getting the ideas down is the most important.

I’m calling my Godot Engine based playful writing tool “Project Maji”. The idea is to have someone feel like they are playing a game, but the output of the game is a creative work – be it a story, artwork, music, or game. I’m going to focus first on writing – as it’s closest to my own desires – and focus the first part of the tool toward that.

I also need to figure out the back story for the game aspect. I’ve been thinking about having it were you are a beginning magical student at an academy. You choose your courses and teachers and through the gameplay you end up creating something as your “final project”.

I’m just walking blind into this, but to be honest it’s what I’ve wanted to build pretty much all my life. A new kind of thing – a “Playful App” or “Appliplaytion” or something. And it won’t be the only one.

Inspired by such things as RPG in a Box, and the Storytelling Collective as well as One Stop for Writers, I want this so bad.

I created a github repo, and will be investing in learning how to do things with Godot and Supabase.

You’ll be able to log in to an account – add notes and gameplay – and see how others are doing. I want to add some aspects of NeoPets in here, but we’ll see how far that goes.

Right now – baby steps.

I don’t even know if the “app” will be called Maji, it just has some great connotations to it, and it sounds cool. And that’s what I need to stay motivated and make this new thing that I’ve never seen anyone else pull together.

I’m also inspired by this Learning App from GDQuest. I seriously love how it’s using Godot itself to learn Godot!

Photo by Fariborz MP:

I’m trying to make a thing. This thing will be a combination of many of my ideas. It’s hard to make progress on this – because usually I think about working on it, but do not spend much time getting the details down. It’s even hard to write about it here, on my blog.

And given that – I’m going to use this blog to begin to materialize it. Kinda like what you might see in a Star Trek episode — first the lights come on – then a faded image appears, and then the final product.

I’m tired of wasting time, so maybe this stream of consciousness writing can help nail some things down .

I’m trying to build something that allows you to create a work of fiction – while you are in essence playing a game. I’m going to use Godot Engine to make it, and Supabase, along with several bits of web technologies to support the output content.

There’s a learning curve here for me, but there’s nothing stopping me from getting this off the ground. Which is what I’m doing tonight. Getting a bit of a stake in the ground with this blog post.

I will blog about random stuff, and I’m going to stop worrying about if something is blog worthy. This may include progress reports here, as well as musings about things completely different. But the point is – I AM DOING THIS.

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