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New Here?

By Shamus
on Monday Jul 9, 2012

Welcome, etc.

If you’re looking for information about me personally, or how to contact me, then you should look here. If you want information about the site itself, read on.

This blog is big. I’ve been posting an average of five times a week since September of 2005. If you run those numbers, you will realize that this place has a staggering amount of content. All of this was more or less an accident.

This site began in late 2005. I was running a D&D campaign for my friends, and wanted to write the campaign out in story form. This is why the site is called “Twenty Sided”, even though I haven’t written anything about tabletop gaming in ages. Since I already had a blog, I started using this space to write about whatever stuff amused me at the time.

A year later, my wife got me a bit of comic book creating software for my birthday. Mostly as an excuse to use it, I began writing DM of the Rings, which grew in popularity until it pretty much consumed the site. Then it ended, but a lot of the audience hung around, hoping I would do something else to amuse them.

The last several years have been my response to that hope.

Most Popular

Below are the posts that have interested people the most. They have either generated the most links or sparked the most discussions. One of these may even have brought you here.

The Autoblography

The story of me growing up. Sounds boring, but it led to the #1 busiest comment thread on the entire site. The series became so popular that I eventually published it as a book. If you’re looking for a picture of what it was like growing up in the seventies, what computer science looked like in the eighties, or just want to know about me personally, then this is for you.

Pixel City

The goal: To write a program to procedurally generate a nighttime cityscape in just 50 hours. It turned out really well.

The Terrain Project
This is a project where I detailed the writing of a terrain engine, more or less from scratch. The posts are written in plain language and are readable by non-coders who might be curious how 3d graphics work and what challenges a game designer might face.

DM of the Rings

My crazy little web comic, which looks at Lord of the Rings through the eyes of your typical D&D player.


A humorous YouTube video I made.

Personal Favorites

Below are the posts that I think are the best. These didn’t cause a stir like the stuff above, but among all the stuff I’ve written, these are my favorites.

The Procedural World

A look at how video games could use self-constructing scenery to cut development costs.

Dueling Gameplay

A discussion of how to replace the stupid system of videogame swordplay with something that will look like a real duel.

Self-Balancing Gameplay

The problems with using a “Difficulty Select” option in a game, and how to replace it with something that will gracefully allow players to seek their own level.

I know Kung-Fu (Part 1) (Part 2)

The depth and complexity of the common First-Person Shooter.


I have had a hand in creating a number of webcomics over the years. This list is both a catalog and history of that work.

DM of the Rings

DM of the Rings was my big break. My hit single. It took screencaps from the Lord of the Rings movies and presented them as a Dungeons & Dragons game being played by the members of the fellowship. It turned this blog from an obscure little hobby site read by dozens into whatever it is today. The comic ended exactly a year after it began, and I was henceforth known as a “webcomic guy”.

(Inspired by DM of the Rings, the Comic Irregulars created Darths and Droids. I bring this up because I am sometimes erroneously credited with Darths. To be clear, I have nothing to do with Darths whatsoever except that I read it just like everyone else. Fine folks behind that project, but it’s not me.)

Chainmail Bikini

After DM of the Rings ended, I teamed up with Shawn Gaston to create Chainmail Bikini, a much more story-driven take on tabletop gaming. The best way to find out what happened to that comic is just to read it. Shawn and I did a strip-by-strip commentary and now the comic is basically a story within a story within a story. There’s the story of the game being played, the story of the people playing it, and the story of the guys telling the story. After Chainmail Bikini ended, Shawn went on to make Clockworks. I went on to…


For a while I satisfied my webcomic itch by making single strips to accompany various articles I’ve written on this site. You can see a full list of them here.

Stolen Pixels

This work all led to me joining up at the Escapist, where I publish Stolen Pixels, my twice-weekly videogame comic.

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