As I said in a status update, today I added a second actor who was intended for puzzles and special dungeons. I wanted to talk a bit more about my ideas behind them and how they will work, but didn't want to ramble on my status for 50 pages like I often end up doing so... Hey, I haven't made a blog post thing in a while, here is a good excuse to!
I have said before, but Dwimmerdelve is based a lot on the Mystery Dungeon series of Japanese roguelikes or other games in the same style. While I do plan to do my own little twists on the formula, I want to implement as many features from the series as I can. I think at this point most of the basic stuff has already been done, but I still have a ways to go. Anyway, a common feature of the series is to have a little puzzle/tutorial mode with hand designed puzzle maps, and special dungeons that the player basically need to complete from a fresh character (if the whole game isn't that way already). Both require the ability to "reset" the character. Now originally I had the game do this anyway after every death anyway except for any items the player kept in storage, which is the way Shiren the Wanderer handles things. But I decided that although all your carried items should still be lost and all the player's progress toward your next level, it was better to allow the player to keep their current level and skills and make level 1 challenge modes/dungeons for those who want a more classic hardcore experience.
So I needed to think about how best to let the player keep their progress mostly safe even if their character is reset. I found it the easiest (for now anyway) to just have a second actor who more or less is an identical copy of the first who's status can be discarded and reset at the start of a run. I did come up with a kind of neat idea for how that would work in lore actually. I decided to make puzzles and such take place in a special dream world under my control, hence why the player can't bring anything and the player's character reverts to their 'natural' state. It's not really their body, but a 'dream pawn'. As a bonus it also gave me a more direct way to play with the player! After all, I abducted them to play, but I mostly ended up standing around in my house in game not doing much. Not anymore! Now I can play in their dreams! Even added a little cutscene that shows me casting a sleepy spell on them, and they wake up in bed after.
That also gave me idea of calling the special level 1 dungeons "Nightmare Dungeons". I haven't made any yet, though I have a bunch of old bonus dungeon maps I made ages ago before I really started working on my game properly that might make some good ones. One of them was eventually changed into a normal dungeon, but some of them are a bit too weird to really fit in anywhere. Such as one being a sort of half lava cave half swamp and another being a sort of bathhouse with elevated walkways. Not sure if I should go with my original idea for them though. The way I designed them originally was they were all parts of one big dungeon, and one of the dungeon maps was a kind of 'hub' map with like 5 different exit teleporter places of different colors, each which would take you to a different map next floor, which would have an exit back to the hub. Each map had a completely different look and feel, but one thing they all shared was wrapping borders which could be disorienting unless you were looking at the minimap (wonder if I could make the minimap kinda scroll centered around the player and wrap around too, but eh, maybe later).
Anyway, still have lots to do before i quite have everything working the way I want it too, but the basic idea seems to work pretty well!
Since some people wanted it, here is a list of links to most of the scripts I have scattered around the site I don't think I have actually released that much of note, but hopefuly some people might be interested!
Important scripts - These are the scripts I think every project can probably benefit from:
Word Wrapping Script - Makes stuff in message boxes and item descriptions (and anything else that uses draw_text_ex) automatically start a new line if the line is too long to fit.
Cache Back - Improves the RPG Maker VX Ace cache system so that games should run faster and use less memory.
Note Field Hash - The script I use to load note tags for most of the scripts I make that need it.
Other finished scripts - Scripts with complete documentation and usable features that I think are suitable for release:
NEW! - Crossfade script - Script to change the fades to use fancy crossades like battle transitions do.
Unfinished, undocumented, and/or scrap scripts - These are mostly experimental ones I haven't gotten around to formally finishing:
Simple Database - A fixed up version of my old NPC Database script.
Alternitive Antilag - A possibly more compatible variant of Theo's new antilag script that also may be faster in maps with few events. Doesn't include the optimization for large numbers of events yet though.
Frame Buffer Battle Swirl - An effect when entering battle sort of like the whoosh found in Final Fantasy 7 and other psx era RPGs. (Undocumented, but should just work without any fiddling, may update and formally release soon.)
Free Party Turn Order - Changes battles so party members can act in any order. (Unfinished and undocumented, may be buggy.)
Accent Generator - An attempt to do something like Chrono Cross's where each party member can say a piece of generic dialogue differently (Undocumented, some of the functions are kinda obscure)
Icon Event - Short script to make an event look like an icon. (Undocumented, uses the note field hash script with the :icon_index key.)
Custom Item Menu Scripts - Some scripts to change how item menus work, requires some other scripts. (Unfinished, undocumented)
Final Fantasy 2/SaGa Series Inspired Stat Leveling System - A experimental stat leveling system that tallys stats when they are used and randomly levels them up individually after battle.
Script demos/collections - Tech demos and/or base games for more complex collections of interconnected scripts:
Super Dungeon Demo - Everything related to my modification of Saba Kan's Random Dungeon Generator. Adds a lot of new features and rewrites a lot of the old ones. Also includes my modifications and add-ons to Khas Awesome Light Effects, my old Event Battler script (which was released independently but seems to have vanished from the site for some reason), my autotile update script (which I wrote for this) and lots of other stuff, most of which isn't really that useful on it's own. Lots of documentation available here.
Super Skill System - Based mostly around extensions and modifications to the Graphnode Install script and my own custom skill system to create a modular system to add extra effects to skills. No documentation yet.
Feel free to play around with these and use my code if you think you can do something interesting with it! I like to fiddle around with other people's scripts too so it's only fair.
Here is a sorta weird demo of a skill system I have been working on for a while. It's based on a modified version of this script with lotsa extra features.
It's main extra fetures are the ability to attach skills to other skills, restrict stuff so you can only attach some skills to perticular skills or skill types, some extra animation stuff, and my own custom skills system that lets you have multible copies of skills, each with there own name and configurations of add on skills. It's kinda complex and the menu may not be as easy to use as it should be. I do think it's pretty neat though.
It's probobly gonna have a ton of little niggly details and strangeness I need to iron out. I think for the most part, if you know how to use the grathnode install script, it's more or less the same except you can make skills grathnodes... but there are so many little details to talk about... I may write more documentation later.
Some more info:
Edit: Made it so it didn't check the grathnode's/metaskill's occasion anymore, so you could have items and skills that are set to never and still work as grathnodes/metaskills. Also merged the "Grathnode Tweaks" and "Metaskills Apply" scripts since they overlap a lot, and made my weird minimum tp cost thing it's own script so it could be tweaked or deleted.
Edit 2: Custom skills now cost MP/TP properly now.
I decided to release a small demo/base/thing for my modifications of Saba Kan's random dungeon scripts. Attached here is a very striped down demo, but hopefully some people will find it useful as a base or something.
Included are seven different maps that hopefully show off some examples of different types of levels. Look in the map properties notes for some of the different options. There is only one type of enemy and a dummy chest item for examples in each map for now, and some maps have traps. There are things I wrote that I didn't include here like dungeon enemy level scaling and randomly choosing items for the chest just to simplify stuff.
(Made some basic documentation here.)
Edit: Updated to make traps work right, and added the blank tileset for dummy map.
Edit 2: Few more bugs due to left over code fixed.
Edit 3: Added code to randomize rect devision more, and to subdevide blocks more. Updated the sample dungeons to reflect this (mostly Dark Place, it's insanly cramped and maze like now). Also traps shouldn't spawn on top of other traps anymore, and the entity placement may be faster.
Edit 4: Fixed a big bug related to room lights not being disposed and makeing games not save right.
Edit 5: Added code to make paths across map edges for wraping maps.
Edit 6: Small fix for using this with the new version of my Cache Back script.
Edit 7: Fixed shops and added the missing script to fix the debug shop work.
Since I have become a bit more serious about making an actual game I might as well explain a bit about what I intend to do with it. So, here are my current plans about what I am doing.
First what I have already done:
I have a pretty okay random dungeon generator script and several existing dungeon 'themes' which all look a fair bit distinct and decorative.
I have a basic roguelike combat system in place. The kinks need to be worked out, but it works. For a one actor party anyway.
I have a inventory system with features such as equipment enchantment and roguelike style item identification.
A fair bit of different monsters, skills, and items.
Here is some stuff I am going to need to do:
Right now the only thing the player can really do is roguelike-style bump attacks. I need to redesign the menus/interface to allow for skills and items to be selected and targeted.
Monsters chose skills from an enemy moves list, but I may need to think more about how I choose skills and how range works. Perhaps I should use visible projectiles even?
Rebalance the hell out of everything.
Here is some stuff I may or may not do:
Add support for multiple party members. I have been trying to write stuff in a manner so this is possible, but I may need to totally rewrite how I handle inputs if I want to allow the ability to take full control of the party (which if I am adding party members at all, I absolutely do).
You might notice I haven't mentioned much about the story/setting yet. Partly because I want to get the full gameplay system worked out before I bother that much, but also party because I am still not sure about some of the details yet. That it will be heavily based on lots of the things I have said about fairies over the years here is not in question. The setting will definitely be fairyland... or a fairyland anyway. Perhaps more then one.
The simplest basic plot outline I have in mind probobly is that the player character is a human who was abducted by fairies and perhaps transformed into a fairy. I might want to allow the player to create a character, but that might be tricky to do in way I am happy with. If I can get one of those visual equip script things working, perhaps I will use that to let you choose what the player looks like. Perhaps I could even have transformations and stuff. It might be fun to make it a bit like Corruption of Champions actually. <3 I mean not necessarily the naughty stuff (though I would be tempted), but the way items can change your body parts. And hey, mutation is a thing in some roguelikes anyway.
But it would probobly be a lot easier if I just used a set character, at least for now. Right now the one delving in those dwimmery dungeons is me! Kayzee the fairy! Hehe... I am not sure I want to be the main character though. I think if I show up I am much more suited to be a sort of trickster mentor who helps guide the main character. Though I could also tell my own story, it might be interesting to tell how I became a fairy in the first place, if a bit embarrassing.
One thing that I haven't been very shy about admitting is even at my most active I have never been that serious about game development here. I like to code neat scripts sometimes yes, and I do like to experiment, and I love to discuss and theorize, but sitting down and actually trying to make a real game by myself always struck me as kind of too much work for me. Mostly probobly just cause I am lazy, but even so when it comes right down to it I am not sure I ever had a really good solid idea for one. Oh don't get me wrong, I have plenty of ideas that I think are neat, but most of them are either random mishmashes of ideas that don't fit together in any real way or are just too overly ambitious to really get anywhere on. Every once and a while I have this 'big project' I want to work on but don;t end up really doing much with. The one time I tried to team up with some other people didn't turn out that well and I am not sure I am cut out for teamwork.
That being said, I still have been ever so slowly chipping away at my own little block of stone. For all the years I have been on this site I have maintained a RPG Maker VX Ace project that I occasionally fiddle with, adding more and more experiments and random ideas to. It's more of my own personal script testing bed then anything else. I know I probobly should have moved on to MV ages ago but... there is just so much I have done with VX Ace! And bit by bit I think it's starting to pay off. It's still a mess of experiments without much underlying theme or idea behind it, but I am slowly seeing more and more a shape emerge that I might be able to refine.
One might remember my old dungeon demo thing. I have added a ton to the scripts there since I bothered to update it, and it seems like I added another ton jut with in the lat few months. I just more or less managed to finally get a roguelike-style battle system (or as I like to call it a 'one-step tactical battle system', since it's basically like a tactical RPG battle system only things can only move one step per turn, or one could think of it as a 'turn-based ABS' perhaps if that idea doesn't make your head explode) working properly. Now I have wanted to do a proper roguelike for a while, and I basically have all the major parts needed to make one from the random dungeons to even the item identification thing. I have a number of interesting tweaks to the generator to produce what may be some of the most pretty dungeons I have seen from similar style dungeon generators, and a number of dungeon types already done. I have a fair variety of different critters too that move and behave in different ways. Imps that can fly over gaps, Sea creatures that can swim, Bats that can fly and move quickly but erratically, Spiders which are slow but can suddenly jump at their target, Ghosts which phase through walls, and so on.
But if that were all I would still probobly end up with a bit of a disconnected mess of ideas. As much as I think gameplay is more important then story or presentation in games, I can't really deny the importance of theming at the very least. Just blindly programing in whatever idea I can think of without some overall hook to the design to tie it all together probobly will just leave me with what I have been doing for the last few years: Just throwing stuff into a pile and poking it to see what it does. Ah, but fortunately I do have the perfect thing to tie it all together I think, and I didn't even really have to go far to find it! Just look at all the stuff I have been telling people about fairies over the time I have been here. A lot of the details could fit right in with a roguelike actually. Even my older abandoned team game had a big focus on that kind of thing.
I even have a name picked out! How about "Dwimmerdelve: Adventures in a Phantasmagorical Fairyland"? What do you think?
When it comes to matters of faith everyone has their own beliefs and fairies are no different. What does tend to be different for fairies is the way faith is treated. In general the fairy approach to religion can be summarized as 'that which is worshiped or revered gains power'. It is in someways the opposite of the common human approach, which can be sometimes be thought of as 'that which is powerful is worshiped or revered'. Of course it's not that cut an dry on either side, but it works as a good general starting point for the difference between common fairy and common human beliefs. For a fairy, religious devotion isn't thought of as much as about 'belief' as it is about 'choice'. To choose to hold something sacred or holy is to invest power into that thing, the more of one's own energy one chooses to devote to something the more power it gains in their eyes. The more power and renown something has, the more it can do and therefor the more useful it is to worship, but this is often a secondary concern and many fairies believe that worship for purely pragmatic reasons is less potent then devoting one's self to something just because they genuinely want to. Fairies do often hold that such purely pragmatic belief is done in 'bad faith'.
Fairies tend to also similarly look down on the idea of religion being some sort of 'duty' or 'obligation'. To most fairies any religious belief that demands worship or devotion is at best poisonous to the ones who follow it and at worse poisonous to everything around them as well. They also tend to be opposed to organized religious institutions (of significant scale at least) and especially opposed to anything they even suspect to be any kind of religious indoctrination by one. In fact fairies tend to shy away from the idea of having any kind of fixed 'canon' of teachings or beliefs, and instead prefer syncretically following whatever they feel fit. Most religious practices are often thought best carried out in private, and mass public displays of worship are often seen as disruptive or suspicious. This doesn't mean religious gatherings or places of worship don't exist, just that fairies rarely are that overt about prayer or other such rituals and preaching is usually kept to a minimum. Fairies tend to find most common human religions and religious practices to be repugnant, dangerous, or at least very very silly (especially Christianity, on witch there are also many historical reasons to bare a grudge), although most will grudgingly accept a person's choice in following one if they show 'true faith' as a fairy recognizes it.
While fairies do often worship many gods and other spirits (as personalized representatives of abstract concepts and as beings in their own right), they aren't necessarily thought of in the general sense as much more then a human might think of famous celebrities. In other words, often awe inspiring and worthy of respect for their power and fame, but not beings beyond understanding or reproach. To a fairy, gods and other spirits are just like any other being, at least in that regard. A fairy might just as well worship another fairy they are a fan of, or even a human in rare cases, living or dead. A fairy wouldn't necessarily see much difference between a fan convention and a temple, a cosplayer or a priest. What matters to a fairy is the devotion and energy put into something, not the exact form that devotion takes. That doesn't mean that that's all fairies worship however. To fairies anything and everything can be a target of worship, from directly worshiping abstract concepts to revering inanimate objects and everything in between. The wonders of nature are a common choice. Fairies often make little shrines of a sort out of things like a refreshing spring or well, a waterfall, a neat cave, a particularly large tree or pleasant grove, a small hill, anywhere that seems like a nice meeting place. Sometimes fairies may put up some altars made from a pile of stones or standing stones marked with runes. There might be entryways marked by Stonehenge-like gates. Sometimes it's just decoration, but sometimes it means a fairy felt the need to protect a place with magic and a barrier will keep out any who don't go through the gate. Sometimes these gates act as portals to other places.
Well loved objects are thought to be in some sense holy as well. Objects with sentimental value are prized and said to hold lots of power. Indeed, magically a well loved object can be very powerful, and can hold many blessings or sometimes powerful curses. An object's history and it's connection to the history of others is very important to many fairies. Though they don't truly exist in the fairy world, museums are also places a fairy might think of like a temple of a sort. One not only holding precious objects for display, but also in charge of understanding and explaining their history. Many fairies tend to be hoarders of artifacts that they personally find important, even if no one else does. It is even not that uncommon for fairies to, rather then revering or worshiping any particular thing, devote one's self to a concept or ideal. To a fairy someone who devote themselves to something like 'justice', 'love', 'science', 'power', or 'pleasure' are simply putting their faith into something like any other personal belief. And of course, many fairies choose to put their faith in only in themselves or sometimes in nothing at all.
Ritual can also be very important to fairies, both magically and spiritually (in fact magic and spirituality are often seen as deeply connected, but not always truly synonymous). Fairy rituals are often personalized or are part of a large collection of haphazard folk beliefs and practices. The form rituals take often doesn't matter as much as the function they serve and the feeling behind them, and fairies mostly encourage experimentation and improvisation over strict traditionalism or sticking to any one set of rules too strictly. This often extends to 'social rituals' such as manners or protocol, especially for solitary fairies (to a point anyway, there are still basic guidelines to follow if one doesn't want to be seen as rude). The exceptions where traditionalism and/or following a set of strict rules is expected are mostly for those within the Seelie courts and occasionally when fairies need to have a formal meeting, trial, or duel.
Since fairies are practically immortal they don't tend to care much about the idea of an afterlife. Many fairies find the idea silly or disdainful, but often acknowledge it's possibility. Most fairies who care to think about such things might say that things can create echos that might linger long after they are gone and leave it at that. Fairies also don't tend to care all that much about the origin or meaning of existence as a whole. There are speculations about it and a few scattered legends, but many fairies would say that how things came to be doesn't really matter, and what things mean is up to every person to decide. If fairies have any generally agreed upon explanation about existence as a whole, it's that existence is about, if anything, existing. That everyone and everything that exists, real or unreal, is fulfilling whatever role it may have for it's own sake and not for the sake of some higher purpose or god. Often fairies believe that happiness is truly found in loving one's own existence for it's own sake. Loving one's own existence doesn't necessarily mean only loving one's self, but also can include the world around them and everything in it. It also doesn't necessarily mean one can never be unsatisfied or upset, just that maybe one shouldn't let negative feelings ruin their passion for existing. And it certainly doesn't necessarily mean one shouldn't ever strive to change themselves or the world around them, just that maybe they should remember and appreciate where they are and what they are doing. Of course most fairies wouldn't say that in so many words, but it's really kind of important to us. After all, when a fairy doesn't care about existing anymore they die for good.
So in the end, to a fairy wonder and passion can be found in all things great and small. All you have to do is look!
(Been thinking of this for a while, ever since I saw what Flowey says if you start the game after a true pacifist ending, but I felt like writing it out. Really just using Undertale to explore a concept here though.)
Look, I know what the flower said. Everyone is got their happy ending. To go back on that, to rip them out of the timeline and take them back would ruin that. You should know by now, the other possibilities? They aren't so happy. And somethings taint you, somethings are inescapable. Even if you cheat, you still would know you did it. Maybe you don't care. So yeah, taking away that happy ending seems more then a little cruel.
But... Something's bugging you isn't it? Maybe more then one something. Maybe not least of all that happy or not this is still a ending. Yeah, you could leave everyone to their happy life. Except... Can you? What happens to the characters when the story is over? How do you even know if they are really happy? Or heck are even still really there? This is the end of the timeline for you... what if it's the end for everyone else too? Just frozen visions of moments and... nothing after. And really, not everyone is happy, The Empty Vessel, The Jester of Sorrow, The Scion of Hatred, The Forgotten, where is their happiness?
The future isn't written yet, maybe it never will. This is where time stops. Maybe all stories must end. You can go back, to try and rip through reality, find secrets that may not exist. I wouldn't really blame you, even if others might. Isn't that better then a frozen future even if it causes pain? Maybe. Or...
Or... You could look at another path in the void of possibilities, maybe even write a future yourself. Go beyond the timeline you knew, You aren't the only one looking. Maybe, just maybe, if all of you keep a light burning, someday a new path will open forward. All stories must end. Or so they say. But for every ending maybe a seed for a new beginning is planted.
So here is a kind of weird and probably impractical idea I thought of a while ago while thinking of how fighting game characters tend to break down into tiers (warning tvtropes, yadda yadda yadda): What if the player could select between differently balanced versions of the characters? Not really even in terms of stats like speed and defense, but in terms of tweaking the moves. I won't necessarily say this would make all competitive balance stuff a non-issue, far from it. But it does allow for a bit more experimentation and shuffling nerfs and stuff around. Plus it could be a great way to make arcade-mode bosses and other stuff.
I have been thinking it off and on, and recently I was jokingly thinking about how my cute fairysona would work in a fighting game (come to think of it they might fit in with the Darkstalkers cast at least, that series could use a fairy character), and how a tier select would work out. Not getting into exact movesets or anything, but...
Name: Kayzee Lalee'lay Lalilulelo
True name: A lady has got to have her secrets. And no it's not 'KilloZapit'. Feel free to guess! :3
Fighting skills: Wind magic, nature magic, basic hand to hand fighting skills.
Low to High Tiers (Normal character tiers):
Quote: "No need to be violent but if you insist, let's play for a while!"
Stage backdrop: Nighttime pond under a full moon with flowering lily pads in a forest with glowing lights and fairies playing or watching... very much like a RPG Maker VX Ace title screen actually. Or maybe a ring of mushrooms.
Stage music: Something like
.Special Moves: Wind cutter, Tornado, Fairy dust
Super moves: Gale, Forest friends, All Seasons At Once (ex)
Other features: Glides or stays in the air when up is held after a jump.
Combos usually involve weaker but fast moves, good anti-air.
Low tier may have more child-like sprites, less reach/priority/damage, but short enough so a lot of attacks go over her
Mid is made to be the most balanced.
High may add teleport dashes, gliding kicks/punches with better priority, but is slower and harder to combo.
God Tier: Nature Goddess (Boss character, Such as M.Bison or Rugal which may have gimmicks that break normal gameplay)
Quote: "Ah, so is ever the tale. Children such as you, ever curious, seek themselves in power, for it is the only language they truly understand. To seek, to gain, or to lose, the game is all they know. Still the curious child is an amusement to us, so let us enjoy a spirited conversation in our first language!"
Stage backdrop: Same with a golden moon, moonbeams glowing from above, more flowers, animals and fairies respectfully and excitedly watching.
Stage music: Something like
.Sprite changes: More adult, closed eyes, glowing light trailing after her, a wreath of flowers, serene smile, may open one eye and smirk a bit when using specials and supers.
Has much of the stronger attacks of high tier while retaining most of the speed of mid tier, can teleport behind opponent when parring.
Eldritch Tier: True Fae (Final Boss, such as Onslaught/Abbys/Galactus which totally break normal fighting game conventions and logic)
Quote: "Tsk, tsk, tsk... You really went to a lot of trouble to get here you know? It's quite rude snubbing me like that. But don't worry, I understand! You just really wanted to see my punishment! Hehehehe,,, Okay. You win! I will make sure it's extra special."
Stage Background: Same forest pond, but shrouded in darkness except for the distorted light of a blood red moon. The fight is watched by shadowy figures with too wide smiles and red glowing eyes. Shadowy insects and creatures shuffle in the dark.
Stage Music: Something like
Sprite changes: A bit more childish, eyes turn red when attacking, has a psychotic smile, otherwise perfectly clean, almost doll-like, animations more artificial.
Can fly around very quickly in the air and teleport when it feels like it, doesn't flinch, teleports when hit enough (often behind opponent). Attacks are quick melee combos and wind projectiles.
Super Attacks: Ill Wind, Dark Miasma, Moonshatter (Ex)
Sprite changes: Causes a wooden tree throne to raise form the ground, sits on it and dark tentacles-like vines sprout from it creating a monster that opens dozens of eyes, all looking at their opponent.
Slow, attacks mostly though the ground with poison vines and miasma.
Super attacks: Falling star, Shadow rush,
Hehe, I know this was silly, just was thinking and I wanted to write something down.
Since some of the features of my dungeon demo are even more obscure then Saba Kan's orginal and at least one person was confused enough to comment, here are some notes on various things:
1. Map Tiles
Mostly the same as Saba Kan's but with some added stuff. You need to set tiles in rows from the top left corner of the map (or x,y 0,0). All rows are read form left to right starting at x 0 and read until a blank tile is found, though some only the first tile is valid.
The basic set up:
row 0: One or more floor tiles, The first is the normal floor, any others are alt floors. These are placed in rooms and corradors, basicly anywhere you can walk.
row 1: The edge tile, only first valid. Any empty tile adjacent to a floor or wall becomes a edge tile.
row 2: the wall tile, only first is valid, but may be blank to create outside maps. A obstructing tile with a floor below it becomes a wall.
row 3: the "object" tile, only first is valid, not really needed in outdoor maps. Any wall that has a floor over it becomes a "object" tile instead.
row 4: the empty tile, only first is valid. This is the default tile.
row 5(new): room detail objects. Randomly placed in rooms.
row 6(new): zone detail objects. Randomly placed on a type of tile. Set the zone for this row to control what type o. 0 for floors, 1 for walls, 2, for objects, 3 for blank, and 4 for edge tiles.
row 7(new): room pillar objects. Set this row to the lover halves of any two tile high decoration such as trees to be randomly placed in rooms.
Like Saba Kan's orginal code, event names are importent. Normaly events are named with a number followed by a symbol.
The number is how it appears on the minimap, and the symbol is what type of event it is. Events with a 1 in the thousands slot will have a hole in the middle on the minimap (used for exits mostly) one with a 1 in the hundreds will never vanish from the minimap once you see it once. The tens and ones didgets control the color of the manimap square (based on your system/windowskin colors).
The symbol is for marking the event as a special randomly clonible event. There are three kinds, enemys marked with * chests marked with ! and traps marked with $ but you can also have no symbol for a event that is just randomly placed somewhere like exits. Enemys, chests, and traps differ mostly by how many of them spawn. By defualt a number of enemys will spawn equal to the "Steps Average" encounter rate of the map in the map properties of the map, a number of chests equal to between that number and 1/3 that number, and a number of traps between that number and 1/2 that number. The number goes up the larger the dungeon floor varible is.
3. Map Note Field (mostly advanced generation options)
Just a list of most of the tags.
Map Generation Options:
:min_rect - Minimum size to cut the map into.
:min_room - Minimum size of the room in each rect.
:room_margin - Minimum distince between the room and rect edge.
:couple_rate - There is a one out of this number chance to make a new corrador between rooms
:max_splits - Max number of times the map can split. (So max number of rooms + 1)
:max_splits_dir - Max number of times a rect can split horizontally or vertically.
:enemy_num - Number of enemys to spawn, overides "Steps Average"
:chest_num - Number of chests to spawn
:trap_num - Number of traps to spawn
:enemy_rate - How much each floor adds to the number of enemys.
:chest_rate - Ditto for chests
:trap_rate - Ditto for traps
:chest_rand - Set the factor chests can be randomly decreased by.
:trap_rand - Ditto for traps
:detail_chance - 1 out of this number chance to add a detail to a room tile
:pillar_chance - Ditto for pillars
:region_detail_chance - Ditto for zone details
:blank_chance - 1 out of this number to randomly add blank tiles in a room
:cave_automata - array of two numbers, a birth and a death value, used to make the cave and swamp maps
:exit_path - Set to true and the exit will lead out to the edge of the map
:exit_event - Set to the event used for the exit, so the event will be moved to the right place.
:grass_walls - Makes higher layer autotiles count neerby walls as the same autotile.
:floor_format - sprintf string foir appending the floor number to the map display name.
There are a few more things related to my ai script and such but I think that will be it for now.
This may be a weird to bring up a kinda serious topic late at night on Christmas, but some things have been rolling around in my head and I kinda want to talk about it. But first, for a moment, let's assume what most of you probably assume. That behind the mask of a cute fairy, there is actually a normal human who just likes to roleplay. If so, what I am about to say is going to 'break character' and talk from the perspective of a human talking to other humans. Because sometimes the outsider perspective of a creature like a fairy is helpful to talk about human issues, sometimes it is not.
I am not going to tell you if that assumption is correct. Maybe I really am a magical fairy and I am just roleplaying a human sometimes. I want to be able to preserve the magic if I can. The magical idea that maybe, just maybe, crazy things like fairies do exist. Or maybe I could be some kind of radical otherkin who completely submerged my human identity and may end up like Tingle, or come up with some kind of coy argument about how my real identity is a construct and that 'human' and 'fairy' are just roles that can be used regardless of my real body or some other possibly vaguely SJW thing. I could talk about the subject of personal identity for pages and pages.
But talking about personal identity is not really what this blog post is supposed to be about. Though it is tangentially related. What I really want to talk about is more about the way people perceive and communicate with each other. Let me paint a picture for you. Imagine if you will, that I was human. That I am even now laying in the bed of the guest room of my parent's house somewhere in North Carolina (and no, this isn't about the bathroom thing either). That right now I am on vacation, and most of my family is here. That means I would naturally want to, or at least be expected to, interact with them.
Now in this possible fictional account we are all originally from the most liberal of liberal towns in New York state (and I still live there) so this isn't going to be a tale involving an icy awkward dinner where no one talks because we have vastly different political views or anything like that. We would naturally agree on many things. But I think it's pretty clear by a lot of the things that I have said in the past, that I would have a radical streak. I have big ideas and tend to talk in overblown ways and do tend to argue a lot. Naturally I would would find it frustrating when most of my family would be totally uninterested in engaging in that type of talk most of the time, and they would find it frustrating that I often refuse to drop arguments. I also am probably impatient and clumsy about it, budding in at the wrong time, not being able to handle more then a one on one conversation very well, being very controlling and selfish, and ultimately liking too much the sound of my own voice.
I would wonder why I bother communicating my ideas to them in the first place sometimes. I would wonder if I really wanted to have a real conversation or if I rather have a soapbox like this blog to shout out my opinions into the aether. Maybe I would more just want an audience. But I don't think I really want that either. I have been thinking for a while about the odd obsession people have with fame. Why do they want it so much? Doesn't it just make everything more complicated? Plus today I found myself watching some videos relevant to the topic. For example, anyone remember Phil Fish? Not to drag up old wounds, but watching
recount how he self destructed under the spot light made me wonder why people seek fame in the first place. Also there was that game, The Beginner's Guide. And watching
about it also made me think about if we should really need validation or try and share a message. And then there is
about gamergate (and oddly applicable to a lot of today's political issues I feel).
I am not saying all those videos are necessarily unbiased or accurate about the people and things they are about, nor am I trying to make some sort of stupid comment on human nature or the dangers of technology. I am just saying, it's kinda the same thing as well I talk to my family. Most people aren't interested in what I have to say, and it makes me wonder if it's worth it to try and get my ideas out there. And honestly? I have to wonder why I want to. Because again, I am not really good at it, and I often feel I just want a mindless audience. That's not how this works though. I either say almost nothing or I become an asshole to someone.
And honestly? I can deal with that. I don't think I really need validation one way or another. I am not sure if I really am interested in having conversations with people or if I just rather self-aggrandize myself and hear my own voice and I just enjoy writing things. In some ways I feel like Coda in The Beginner's Guide in that way. Like I am writing these blogs for me, not anyone else. But it's nice when others read them too, I am just not sure if I would be happy if I suddenly got famous. I would probably end up as either disengaging with the public or being an ass if that happened. Or both at once.
Generally speaking fairies have very different ideas about some things then humans do, mostly because fairies have very different and often incompatible sets of ideals for how people are supposed to act compared to normal human ones. Humans that become fairies are mostly either already preconditioned to reject normal human ideals anyway, end up slowly accepting fairy ideals, or end up isolating themselves from other fairies.
One of the big differences relates to sexuality and gender. Most fairies do not really have a strong interest in ideas about gender, both in sense of identity or orientation. Of those that do identify as a particular gender, most think of themselves as female. Their is a real advantage to fairies in the female form because of the utility of being able to lay their own eggs, and so many fairies stay in a female-ish state most of the time. Fairies that prefer a male-ish state are not exceptionally rare, but still not as common. Many even prefer a state that mixes genders.
To a fairy, a person is a person, for the most part. Sure, a number of fairies are more or less attracted to, or more or less inclined to identify as, a particular gender, but most don't end up thinking in quite that way. Because many fairies can alter their bodies and become whatever they feel like at any given moment, gender is more a kind of fashion. That is to say, a fairy will often treat gender as a human treats the type of clothing someone wares, as a sort of statement about who a person is sure, but not a defining part of it.
Another big thing that is different is the fairy idea of romance. Romance is for fairies purely defined by how much someone in a relationship actually feels something special for another. Anything could be romantic, and it tends to be that to a fairy almost all of their interpersonal relationships are thought of as in some way romantic. Other times fairies can attach very little importance to any interpersonal relationships at all.
The most basic relationship that is often thought by fairies as romantic is friendship. Fairies don't always have tons of very close friends, but many of them can be very friendly. Fairies are naturally polyamorous and there is not often a lot of distinction between 'friend' and 'lover'. Even casual friends can often do things that to humans may seem shocking, such as going out as a couple, kissing, and engaging in sexual activity. Even so, many fairy friendships do not and lots of fairies do only do that kind of thing as part of a deeper relationship, either deep and lasting friendships or something a little bit more.
Fairies value honestly and mutual openness about each other's romantic expectations when it comes to friendship. Being dishonest or hiding activities with others tends to strain or break friendships. Sometimes fairies can take friendships very seriously and when friendships break it can get messy. Other times fairies don't take it nearly as bad and will simply move on without much fuss. It's not always easy to see how a fairy will react to such a break up.
Beyond friendship, fairies do have a loose sense of 'family' as such. Since fairies do not have normal offspring, they don't tend to have the same concept of 'family' as humans do. Often fairies will have those that they refer to in similar ways, such as thinking of another as a sibling, child, or parent. Sometimes this is just a way to show deep friendship or respect, but it can go far beyond that.
Often fairies who want to be bonded as 'family' will preform particular magical rituals. These rituals can be involved, are often sexual, and tend to alter the fairies who participate in subtle ways to become more alike. A 'family' formed this way is often called a 'brood'. Fairies of course have no incest taboo whatsoever, and in fact being bonded in this way is often motivated by becoming closer both in body and soul with another. A brood could have many members, but usually it is most stable for around three to five members to live together per steading.
It's possible to undergo another ritual to become part of a new brood, but most fairies tend to think becoming part of one overwrites any others. Without such a ritual, it's still possible for fairies to form what is often called a 'kinship'. Kinships are much more informal and such relationships can be formed and broken on the fly. A kind of mutual adoptive sibling kinship can sometimes be thought of almost as a kind of marriage (which outside of the higher social levels of the Seelie court is not a tradition fairies often practice), and the adoption of a child by a parent can have it's own social implications.
Often fairies, especially the Unseelie court, will also play games of domination and submission and a common relationship is that of the master/mistress and their playthings. This is an especially attractive option for those fairies who are too jealous and controlling or otherwise selfish to deal well with other kind of relationships. In such a relationship, the plaything is totally at the mercy of the master/mistress and will have to obey or else just be used to sate any desire the master/mistress has. Despite this, it is still often very romantic and a good number of them are mutually loving and caring relationships. They are also not always sexual.
The Unseelie court engange in this as part of their game too. An Unseelie may capture another to make into a plaything, but failing to make an Unseelie your plaything usually means the fairy ends up one themselves and the Unseelie gains all the playthings that fairy had collected. Seelie on the other hand only allow this sort of thing with permission and attempting to force a solitary fairy is likely to get the offender banished. Sometimes though selfish fairies will attempt to capture humans who are sometimes seen as fair game. But I would never to do that to you! Honest!
Aren't you glad you learned about fairy culture?
I think it's kind of obvious that even if Hillary ends up winning somehow, the democratic party failed. They failed when they turned their back on Sanders. They failed when they didn't understand the issues. They failed when they sided with wallstreet. They failed when Obama bailed out the banks way back when. They failed. and maybe America has too. No not just America. The whole left spectrum everywhere in the world (except maaaaybe Iceland, and even then they didn't get ahead).
I know why they failed to. Because yeah, they got too greedy. They fed into a broken financial system, tried to tie everything up into a big global market. But globalization failed too. So did wall street. It was obvious it would really. Republicans got greedy too of course. They fed more and more anger and frustration until from out of nowhere they got exactly what they asked for and realized they made a mistake.
To everyone who supported Trump, I get it. Your angry. You want to smash the systems. You know what? I kinda wanted to also. But not by giving into insane bigoted reactionary rhetoric. Well congratulations. Now you are going to have to deal with what happens next. You could have waited to next election when I guarantee this election is going to make some waves. Though if Hillary somehow juuuuts manages to win, that is probably the best case scenario to me. But if Trump wins?
Well we might manage to be okay. I don't hate all Trump's policies. No I am more nervous about his ego and the message it would send to hateful reactionary people. If your going to be mad, be mad. But why Trump? It's just such a horrible idea.
So, yeah. Taxes. No one really likes paying them, but that's the price you have to pay for living in society right? People need government programs funded with tax money of some sort don't they? Some would say we need to keep the roads paved and the bridges maintained, others would say we need to fund the military and police to protect ourselves and our interests, some would agree we need some kind of welfare system. So yeah, governments and taxes are pretty damn important right?
Except it's not that clear cut. First of all there is very little accountability or real choice in what exactly happens with their money and who ends up benefiting from it. Regardless of who pays and who benefits, taxes are not the best way of funding programs or systems. For every good thing government programs do, and they do tons of good things, there is at least one thing they do. The endless maze of bureaucracy and red tape involved insures they waste more and more resources and are subject to the whims of the powerful. Remember how all around the world (except Iceland) governments spent huge amounts of tax money to bail out irresponsible banks? Does the phrase 'too big to fail' ring any bells? How exactly will abuses on wall street stop or bad social programs reform if there is no accountability?
Secondly no one likes the idea of someone demanding money by force in the first place. This isn't simply a matter of the 1% vs the 99%, this is true for everyone regardless of how rich they are or how big of a burden they have to shoulder. Taking about people needing to paying their 'fair share' is a flawed argument. The old maxim of 'the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few' sounds great if you are one of the many, often not so much if you are one of the few. Ethically I tend to think the best course is one that maximizes freedom of choice for all. I understand that that is harder then it sounds because of how some people can choose to block choice for others, but I am still pretty sure the tax system is not that.
The thing is, I basically live off taxes. I don't work, and honestly not only am I not sure if I really can at this point, but I am not even sure if I am really inclined to try. But I don't think of myself as 'entitled' exactly I think. I may ask for money but I won't demand it or get angry if it's not given to me. I much rather if people did it was because they cared about me and wanted to, not because they were forced to. I am not I could survive without a welfare system, but that's no one's problem but mine. Well, okay, if I died in a ditch somewhere I am sure you would all regret interacting with such a charming and intelligent wonderful person like me, but I am sure you could say that about anyone.
I wonder though. If people weren't forced all the time to buy in to this huge crazy system, would there be any soup kitchens and homeless shelters? Would there be programs to help people like me who just don't, by choice or otherwise, fit in to the normal job market? I think there might be. Because people care, and also more possible workers or thinkers is good for everybody. Could organizations that do this be crowd funded with all the money people save on taxes? Would more people be more willing to give if they don't have taxes hanging over them? I am not sure. But getting social programs out of government's bankroll is probably going to be more and more necessary if Trump's tax cuts go through anyway.
Another thing to think about is corporations. So far I have mostly been talking about individual people, should just corporations and businesses be taxed instead? They aren't people, legal status or not. What if they were run by AI instead of humans someday? Not that far fetched. AI tech is getting bigger and bigger while more and more machines replace humans in most jobs. Factory and manufacturing jobs are not coming back no matter what middle America and Trump hopes, and soon more cognitive jobs may vanish. Could the world evolve into a place where all the businesses are run by computers? If humans set up the protocol and laws right could that mean a future where most humans live off universal basic income provided by machine-run organizations? some people have implied as much. But if that was the case, would we need money at all?
I think it's becoming increasingly clear to anyone who has actually been paying attention that almost everyone is pretty much screwed at this point when it comes to money. Or maybe that's just the impression I get from what I have read. The banking system has more or less rotten from the inside, the government is increasingly revealed as corrupt, more and more rich people are putting more and more money into offshore tax havens, the gap between the wealthy 1% and the rest of the population is getting larger and larger, and yet at the same time the money that the 1% has is becoming increasingly worthless.
The current banking system cannot hold, and fortunately an alternative seems to have presented it's self from nowhere to save all the world's money, at least theoretically. Cyrptocurrency. It's actually pretty amazing that an unknown hacker came in from nowhere and introduced this whole new idea of money and pretty much vanished. Right now a single Bitcoin for example is worth about $700 and more and more individuals and companies are trading it and using it. Even traditional banks are increasingly interested in the idea of using the 'blockchain' for their own distributed ledgers.
But I am not going to sit here and say their aren't problems that need to be fixed. Cyrptocurrency is still to volatile, there are concerns of new quantum computers ruining the encryption scheme it relies on, it often can be used to make tracing the flow of money difficult and possibly could make tax avoidance even worse, regulation could crack down on it, 'forking' and other community disagreements could split the base too much... And yet it seems this underground economy is becoming more and more mainstream and I have heard some people say it may take the place of traditional government controlled fiat currency someday.
Overblown hype? Maybe. Maybe not. The idea that cash would one day totally be replaced by credit sticks was a really common trope in sci-fi and futurist ponderings and that never really ended up being true. This isn't quite the same thing though. Cyrptocurrency isn't simply an account being managed by a bank or central service somewhere, it's a system of distributed encrypted ledgers where everyone is always double checking everyone else's copy. It's harder to trace and some of the new Cyrptocurrencies offer complete anonymity to make it nearly impossible. It's probably perfectly possible to even print out paper versions of bitcoins with unique keys that can serve the same function as cash.
Could this really replace old forms of money? Maybe. But if it does we will have to think about what that means and how that would change things. If we remove the government's control of currency, do we also remove their ability to collect taxes? If not, how will they be calculated and collected? If so, is there a better way to fund public projects then taxation? If banks are either gone or decentralized to the point of not mattering much anymore, how will lones such be done? Could 'smart contracts' help any of these problems?
If you hear
, then the world is going to be changing very so to something very different. The old institutions will fall and so on and so forth. I can't help but be more then a little skeptical. I think it's more likely that it will continue as a sort of small part of a larger economy which is more centralized. But I do want to see what happens next and if I had extra money I might try seeing if I can get into it.
Yes it's time for that discussion. Now I know me talking about politics in some form or another is probably not going to surprise anyone, but this is different. I am not going to talk about abstract pie in the sky theories or narrow issues (or at least I will try to tone that down). I am not going to be spewing radical solutions that involve the total reformation of society. I am going to talk about what is going on right now in the USA. Yes, yes, I know, the world is bigger then just the USA, but that's where I live right now and that's mostly what I know. I have also been following events in Iceland quite a bit and may have things to talk about a few other things happening in the world, but mostly this is going to be about dumb American stuff.
Okay first of all, I think a majority of those who are following the US election for the past however long will probably be asking the same question: What the hell happened? How did it come to this? And I am sure everyone is going to give a different answer to that question. But this is my blog so I get to answer right now. So there. Anyway here is my answer.
On the Republican side, what happened was years and years of catering more and more to outrageous reactionary rhetoric and outrage. Let's face it, whatever the merits and values of conservatism should ultimately be, Trump is the ultimate expression of outrageous reactionary rhetoric and outrage. The Republican Party created their own monster with Trump. They whipped up more and more anger at the 'liberal elites' (not all of it unjustified) and everything they stood for, becoming more and more reactionary and belligerent. And they got the candidate just perfect for that, and some of them are just now maybe realizing maaaaybe there was a line crossed somewhere. *Slow claps.* Good job for figuring out what most sane people realized decades ago.
On the Democrat side, Hillary has been in politics a long long time. She has many enemies, but also many many allies in various places. Whether you choose to see that as proof of some sort of insider conspiracy or just proof of someone who knows how to play the game (if you even see a difference between those things) is up to you. Fact is, Hillary has been pushing hard on this for years and years. She will politely cater too all sorts of agendas and positions if it means getting ahead politically. She will plan everything she can out and push as hard a she can to get ahead. She works hard and is probably not above even bending ethical principles if she thinks it's for the best. In short, she is a politician, for better or for worst. And a skilled one too if nothing else.
I don't think I need to spend a lot of time detailing the flaws of each candidate, since that topic has been reiterated over and over again in the media and online. I will say though that I believe both of them have sort of gotten a bad rap.
Trump seems like a childish brat who doesn't know how to control himself or be the least bit self aware (as well as possibly being mentally ill), but doesn't strike me as actively trying to be malicious as such. I also think he does occasionally raise some good points, he just doesn't think his plans through at all. Also I am sorta skeptical about all of the accusations made against him I have to say, but I am sure at least some of them are true. But even so, I think it all adds up to more of a spoiled brat who because he was rich and famous never learned that actions have consequences, even ones like groping. Keep in mind I am not forgiving him for his actions or ignoring them. Yes it's despicable if he really did grope woman and thought he could get away with it, and I am inclined to believe he may have. But I am also willing to believe if he did, that he really genuinely can't help himself. Still would be an awful president either way.
Okay, quick aside, and I really hope this doesn't skirt the line into victim-blaming or anything because that's that last thing I want to do, but if someone gropes you like that or worse, go to the police right away. Seriously. It doesn't matter if you are afraid they won't believe you. It doesn't matter if you are intimidated by them. Heck it doesn't even matter if you end up enjoying it. If this shit is going on an no one reports it, it's going to keep going on. They are going to think they can get away with it and molest you or other people again. Bringing it up years later when circumstances are convenient does nothing to help any other potential victims in the meantime and just casts doubt on your story. Always always ALWAYS report sexual assault as soon as possible to the proper authorities. Period. If that doesn't work, at least raise a stink about it right away. I know it's not that easy. But silence just allows things like this to happen more.
Phew, anyway. Hillary on the other hand has been basically constantly smeared and attacked by her political enemies basically since she started in politics. It's gotten to the point where frankly I am not sure if I should take any accusation against her seriously. Oh sure, I am pretty convinced that she is not completely innocent or blameless, but it's kinda no wonder she is so... constructed is a good word for it. Everything about her is a mask, a shell. The real Hillary found that she needed to retreat more and more into the mask, that she needed to force her way because the world set it's self to oppose her.
She wasn't always this way. Used to be she was an outspoken feminist who made very loud and controversial (at the time anyway) statements about how she 'could have stayed home and baked cookies and had teas, but what I decided to do was fulfill my profession' and how she wasn't 'sitting here some little woman standing by my man like Tammy Wynette'. Now most of that edge has been ground away or deeply hidden by a constructed cynical mask. Does that make her a good person? Probably not. But I don't think she is a bad person. Maybe a bit paranoid and with a bit of a temper though, but I am not sure I blame her.
So let's talk about what is at stake. Right now Russia does seem to be really pushing the US, trying it's hardest to destabilize and discredit where ever it can through hacking, bombing civilians, moving nukes around, possibly breaking treaties on nukes and so on. If Trump wins, there is a fair bit of talk that he would be in Putin's pocket and he has questioned if we should really be committed to helping out our NATO allies... or at least not with them paying a bigger share. And honestly? I sort of almost agree with him on this point. Should we really be so involved in wars, alliances, and deals on the other side of the planet for little direct benefit to us? But then again can we really afford to leave Russia, North Korea, or ISIS alone? I have been told Hillary is a 'war hawk' and is pushing too much for a fight. I am not sure I really believe it, nor am I sure that even if she was for using the threat of military action to push her agenda with other nations that that really means she would want the kind of apocalyptic confrontation some people are worried about.
I kind of doubt Russia is going to start WW3 if it can help it, North Korea doesn't quite have the capability to nuke us yet, and ISIS is kind of falling apart as everyone pretty much want them stomped out. It's possible that the USA caused most or all of these problems in the first place and that maybe the best thing we can do for everyone is go back to it's pre-WW2 level of self isolation and limited with world politics. If there IS a WW3, I don't want to be living somewhere that may end up being a part of it. I am pretty sure that's not going to be possible now. Even if Trump would tried to avoid the conflict better then Hillary, he isn't winning at this point anyway. I don't think Hillary will do anything that gets us all nuked, but who knows what Russia is going to do next.
Best course of action I can think of? Maybe moving to Iceland. The political situation over there is getting very very interesting, and more a little exciting. Okay so the story goes something like this, as far as I understand it. Back in 2008 the would wide financial crisis happened and the banks in Iceland were in trouble. There was a huge shake up about it but things ended up settling down to normal. Unlike over here in the USA where the government (foolishly) bailed them out, Iceland decided to let them hang. I believe the people blamed greedy bankers and investors and made clear they were not going to take any of their crap. Then the Panama Papers came out, implicating high ranking government officials in having offshore tax havens. And everyone in Iceland went completely ballistic. A huge storm of protests and such sweeped the nation, and eventually a early election was decided to be held. The current government parties in power were seen more and more as despicable and the radical Pirate Party which called for radical government change started sweeping in the polls, as well as a few new parties. On October 29 the decisive election will take place. If the Pirate Party win, they have lots of very interesting reforms, a new constitution, maybe direct democracy, and promise to turn Iceland into a 'Sweden for data'. It seems like if any real change is going to happen to the world, it might start here. We will have to see.
Other then that, what do I think is the most practical way forward for the USA is? Well, Hillary is going to win most likely, and I am sure Trump will throw a hissy fit and accuse the election of being rigged but I am not sure if he can really do much. I don't think he has quite enough followers that are going to be committed to starting some sort of civil war, though their might be some violence. Hillary is probably going to have a rough time as president, and unless she really makes some real change is probably going to be kicked out next election (or even assassinated maybe). I think we badly need to take a new approach with Russia, either to back off a bit or find a way to get even more forceful without risking too much of their ire. Honestly I think Putin is mostly just a troll who is poking at for weaknesses and will back off as soon as he is actually threatened, but I wouldn't bet on it. And anyway, it's possible he has a point. North Korea probably just plain needs to be stopped at this point. There is nothing good about North Korea. ISIS is, as I said, pretty much going to be taken care of because everyone can't stand them. There are other concerns and problems I know, but those are the ones I know most about. I have no idea about what's really going on in Syria or anywhere else.
I guess that's it for now.
All this mess surrounding YouTube and it's rules lately makes me want to exposit about my feelings on rules in general. Rules are tricky things. Not very many people like them very much in truth but most are still comforted and grateful for their existence in a way. Now I have many times called myself an anarchist, but what that actually means is a bit complicated. I am pretty sure at one point in my life I believed rules did nothing but hold people back, and for some of it I thought that some rules were okay to follow and some of them were just dumb and I should ignore.
Nowadays though, I generally hold that following rules is more or less a good thing (I am still skeptical if rules being codified as laws for everyone is as good, but that's besides the point). Rules help create precedent, tell people what they should expect. They tell you that if x happens then y is the result, that you should do x in y situation, that x is not acceptable and y is, and generally make it easier for everyone to get along without testing everyone's limits and figuring out their whole brain. It isn't always about punishing people, it's about protocol, it's about making sure everything goes smoothly and everyone can work on an equal footing.
The problem is, a lot of rules don't really do that, or exist to propagate a system where some people can benefit off the system at the expense of others. Some are so vague that the people who enforce the rules can basically pick and choose and wiggle out any interpretation they want, which defeats the whole point of rules. Some are so complicated that most people have no hope of understanding them. Some are arbitrary or meaningless and don't serve anyone. A set of rules is a social contract, one that all parties should understand and agree to, but that's often not how it seems to work.
Here is the thing though. Trying to break the rules without getting caught or working around them with loopholes or technicalities isn't going to solve anything. It's just going to make the rules more strict and probably more confusing. If there is a rule that you really don't like that much that you need to follow to use a service, the best thing to do is to do the hard thing and refuse to use that service, Find one (or make one if you can) that you can feel comfortable using instead. It's harder and harder in today's world where more and more of the web people use is gobbled up by a few big corporations, but it's the only course of action that has any real long term impact.
If the rules offend you in some way but really aren't bad enough to make you quit, well there is nothing wrong with complaining about them and hoping your voice will be heard, but in the end you have to decide if the rule is offensive enough to quit if it isn't changed and if it is, you should quit. I think most rules for a lot things are pretty reasonable personally, but then again I don't post a lot of content everywhere.
So apparently a big fan project that has been in development for years was released... rrriiight in time for it to be slapped with A DMCA claim and shut down. This is nothing new. Fanworks are often hit by this stuff. There are too many examples to really even list, nor am I really going to. Heck there are a few examples of fanworks by members of this very forum that I fear may spark this type of reaction in the future.
To be honest, discussing the problem is kinda making me nervous so soon after I was banned for comments that could be seen to encourage piracy and/or plagiarism even though that wasn't the point I was trying to make. I think I will avoid talking or mentioning any particular project names for now, and try hard to avoid doing anything that would be seen to encourage breaking any laws. But I feel this is a problem that I think does need to be talked about.
Fans work hard on fanworks because of a passion they have for the material. They do their best to make sure to share that passion. They most often do their best to make sure to recognize and support the original creators. They often act as free advertising for the original creator's project. Most of them are fairly humble and see themselves as nothing more then fans engaging in a hobby. And yet none of that matters in the eyes of the law. Thing is, fanworks, especially ones that use actual copyrighted materials, are always in a legal gray area at best and downright infringing at worst. They are always going to be stomped down when they get big enough. And really for a lot of fans, they grin and bare it, because they love the work. Because they "understand".
But the really screwed up part? The companies that stomp them down in the mud still benefits from them having made the work. They still get their name in the lights. They still get to show how much their fans love them. They still get the publicity. Everyone will grumble and still "circulate the tapes". Heck, sometimes they don't even want to shut them down, but due to how copyright law works they basically have to.
And that's why I think, unless copyright is abolished or majorly reformed, most fanworks are a bad idea. And I feel bad saying that, I really do. Because I do like a lot of them and there are many franchises I think the fans can do a good job expanding on and making better, even if it's not "canon". Because quite frankly, if someone tells you that you aren't allowed to take something and remix it into something you like better, they don't deserve for you to make it better. If someone tells you something old and forgotten isn't allowed to be polished up and remade for a new generation then maybe it should just be left to be forgotten. You might as well just take inspiration from it and make something new.
And the fact is, as long as people cling on to franchises and the past for their imagination, the more they will be seen as more valuable then quality and the more corporations will seek to tighten their hold on names rather then the spirit they represent. If we are to break the hold of these corporations on things we love, maybe we will have to learn to let many of them go, and make new more open things that everyone can feel happy to be a fan of.
Okay, this is a topic I am not sure I should really say anything about, because I am pretty sure a lot of what I have to say might offend people. This is an issue that most everyone in America probably new about for a long long while, and it finally really starting to boil out of control faster then anyone thought possible. So I have a few things to say about different aspects of the culture.
Here is the thing about cops: Cops are just people doing a job. A dangerous job, yes. An ultimately necessary job, most probably. But it is a job. They knew from the moment they agreed to become a cop that it would be dangerous, that they might die. Putting their life on the line doesn't mean they should a free pass. They aren't above the law. They aren't all automatically heroes. They aren't a mob family that needs to protect each other and be loyal to each other no matter what. They do have rules, they do have bosses, they should have accountability. They shouldn't get away with things just because they are cops. And right now, they are.That is unacceptable, period.
On "Crime Culture":
That being said, thing is, and as much as I hate to say anything that may be seen as defending racism, a lot of the racial profiling of black people may be partly their own fault. Because it seems to me like an unfortunate number of black people have completely allowed themselves to fall into a culture filled with violence, filled with crime, and filled with hate. I am not saying all black people do this or that all black culture is negative. And yes, I know black culture is probably the way it is in large part because of backlash from racist authorities, and that racism is still a problem. But still, is it any wonder when cops see more amount of people with a easily identifying mark like skin color rallying around mottos like "fuck the police" that it might make the problem worse not better? I do wonder why there is not a stronger movement to encourage people to disassociate themselves form violent media and culture. I am not saying violent media is the cause of this problem, just that the fascination people have with crime and violence and the cultural trappings that get interwoven into it are taken as bad signs.
Of course, one of the reasons this happens is because so many black people are born in poor families or bad neighborhoods, and it certainly is not only black people who fall into this culture or cultures. But black people are the ones that seem to me most in the public eye for this, and if that's because of racism, it's because of racism. Point is, racism is a really big hurtle to overcome, and that kind of public images isn't helping.
On Gun Control:
Frankly I kinda hate guns, and despite having a strong bent in the direction of anarchy when politics is involved, at this point I have to admit it's clear to me and just about everyone else (except the NRA and the politicians in their pocket) that gun control is A Good Thingâ„¢. Thing is? I am not sure it will work in America, because there are just too many guns floating around in the shadows. Maybe I am wrong, and I hope so. But I think it's going to take a long time before a good amount of guns leave circulation, and I can understand the frustration of people who think the only way to protect themselves from a gun is with a gun. But still, I think it is probably worth trying. Ideally I would rather it not be necessary and rather the government not have to regulate everything, but unless gun shops just universally decide to do it on their own or something what can ya do?
People might have noticed that I was suspended not to long ago, mostly because I was running of my mouth and said something that I don't really mean that basically was encouraging people to ignore terms of service on scripts. I have already started this in a status message but let me be clear: I do NOT think that simply because you might not agree with a law/rule/common practice that you should simply be a rebel and ignore it. There is a time and place for that certainly, humanity would not have gotten this far without a bit of rebellion, and I do count myself as an anarchist. But actions have consequences, and you better be damn sure it's worth it before you start breaking rules willy nilly.
This was a case of me not thinking about what I was actually saying. The point I was trying to make was more about how arbitrary peoples idea of what counts as "fair use" and what doesn't can be, not a call for people to actually break or even test the rules. It was a stupid point anyway, because it basically assumed the hypocrisy of a straw-man and took two examples in different context and tried to compare them. And it was a pretty trolly thing to say anyway. Not my smartest idea of a thing to say all around. I think I was in a particularly bad mood that day, as my mood really has kinda been going down hill lately, not that that is an excuse.
My suspension is not really what I wanted to talk about though. As far as I am concerned it's over and done with. I served my time, and I hopefully won't be repeating the same mistake twice. It did make me want to examine my position on copyright though, and talk a little about some of the doubts and concerns I have with my way of thinking. Because I realize it's often quite radical, even for most people who are for serious copyright reform, and I always find myself going back and forth on some issues:
I often want to push for getting rid of copyright altogether, but I sometimes want to hold back from insisting people go that far, mostly because I can see the argument that it isn't always practical for most people to make a living that way, at least not yet. I have often insisted that donation and croudfunding are both still a viable way of making money in a post-copyright world, and I still think that's true. It's a big economic shift though, and one that is likely to take a long long time.
Honestly even a basic reform that gets rid of most or all of the huge unnecessary extensions that lobbyists like Disney put in place so they could continue making money off their old stuff and a crackdown on copyright trolls would probably be enough for me to be more or less happy, if not completely satisfied. There are lots of ways to reform copyright that will make it better for everyone without completely abandoning the concept.
But I continue to wonder if it would be better to do so or if it would be better to do the hard thing and abandon the concept while rebuilding a whole new economic model. In the extreme long term I tend to think that any system that relies on people simply following the rules is going to fail. This may be too far away to worry about, but what happens when people start going into space and just vanishing and doing their own thing? How will you enforce the rules then? Even now in today's world there is trouble enough and more and more game companies are turning to micro-transactions and the free to play model out of fears of piracy. For each government crackdown, more and more pirates seem to slip through the cracks. Perhaps that is a sign that the rules of the game needs to be changed?
On the other hand, I don't look at my scripts as that important, and mostly think of them as small hobby projects. If I ever did a large/serious project, I definitely think I would have to think more carefully about if I would want it to really be in the public domain or not, especially if anyone else wanted to contribute. It's just more practical and lets me not worry about things as much. But wouldn't it be hypocritical for me to do so? I am not really sure if my weird brand of ethics is really comparable with copyleft, but practical concerts may end up winning out in this case. I will cross that bridge when I come to it anyway. Heck if it's public domain and someone wants to contribute, they could GPL it without my permission anyway so it might not matter.
Also also, in the end maybe I shouldn't worry quite as much about it more then I have to anyway. I don't produce much, and the rest of world is the way the rest of the world is. Truth is, I am very rarely personally effected by copyright. I really don't pirate things at all, even though I used to when is was much younger I guess. Nowadays it's just easier to buy games on steam then to get them any other way, and I think it's a pretty good way to fund developers actually. Donation is a hassle because I really don't use credit cards at all. Buying a steam gift card though is pretty easy. Heck I almost wish steam had a donation system built in so I could use my steam wallet to fund games I like. I don't even buy or play games all that often, and most of my time is spent reading free fanfiction or free youtube videos.
Copyright annoys me, but is it really THAT big of a deal? Probably not. Still think it should be reformed or be abolished though, and I still have very strong feelings about it. Probably more then most other political issues, even some of the real important ones. At least it's one of the few issues I feel strongly about that I think most humans are likely to understand my position on.
This isn't related to RPG Maker and I am not sure it is really applicable in the same way to 2D pixel art, but I thought I would talk about it anyway.
The other day I was watching footage of Underworld Ascendant (a project that I am extremely skeptical about regardless of the credentials of it's creators, having a lot of neat ideas, and being a "sequel" to one of my favorite games, but that's besides the point), and I noticed a sort of unfortunate trend in it's presentation. Granted it's a very very early alpha, but I think it's basic art direction is one of the things that will probably stay more or less the same. Besides I have noticed the same trend in other modern 3D games too, especially first person ones, compared to earlier examples of the same type of game. The most notable example is what I have seen of the new doom game compared to the original.
See, the thing about the original Ultima Underworld games, or indeed the original Doom games, is that the levels were very abstract and had juuuuust enough detail that you realized what they were supposed to be even if they didn't exactly look like real places. There were a lot of restrictions on what kind of things 3D games could do. Now though, I feel we have the opposite problem with a lot of modern 3D games, the problem of having way way too much detail to deal with to the point where levels get cluttered with random stuff that just serves to make everything look busy. The continuing trend (despite much outcry) of having games have a more muted color palette dominated by a single tone doesn't help.
See, in an abstract level the bare minimum of detail means game objects stand out, such as items or monsters or even walls. It's very clear where everything is, and with a bit of experimentation what everything is for. Having random cluttered details everywhere doesn't serve the gameplay very well. This is also why the immersion-breaking practice of highlighting interactable objects in bright colors or giving them particle effects is more and more necessary. Because you can no longer reasonably parse the world in a lot of games to figure out what is a meaningful game object and what isn't.
I am not going to be like a lot of other people and say that the root of the problem is that the restrictions like those imposed on early game devs forced them to be more creative and make better games and that's why with the restrictions removed games are so much more generic and boring. Because that's dumb. No seriously, it is. Maybe it is kinda true that restrictions help creativity and tightness in design, but what they mostly do is annoy and frustrate those who have ideas and want to play with them. And no not all ideas are good, but the more different ideas that can be expressed, the better it is for everybody. Some people may work better with limitations sure, but some just want to get things done.
No, I think the root problem is the old "
" (tee-hee) problem. Or to be more specific, too many artists in a pipeline pumping out more and more art assets to build levels. Huge teams, or even overly art focused small teams, can often build environments based only on what looks nice with no regard to how well it plays. The problem is that when you focus so much on catering to the artists whims, you make gameplay elements less important, and you make the game design less focused.
And it wouldn't even be so bad if 99.999% of it were not completely pointless static objects that had no function, or if it did had so many extra details and busy visual design that it would be hard to figure out what that function was. Not to mention how difficult it is to solve the problem of funky hitboxes and getting stuck in terrain that is just there for decoration in the first place. I am not saying extra aesthetic details are automatically bad, but if the whole gamespace is built with them you have a problem.
Pew... Okay. I have talked about this kind of stuff before in various places, but it's a topic that keeps getting brought up over and over in gaming circles and I don't know if I ever really sat down and made a blog about the subject. Partly because I suspect 90% of people really really do not care, or if they do, are completely sick of hearing about it or talking about it. The other 10%? Well probably 90% of them have already made up their minds no matter what I say. So likely only 1% of people will actually care about and pay attention to anything I have to say about the subject. But I feel like blabbing about it anyway so here we go.
First of all, lets ask an important question:
What exactly is feminism anyway?
Feminism is, as far as I am concerned, a number of movements which concerns it's self with a subset of the larger subject of Identity Politics and is in particular focused on the liberation and promotion of the "female" identity. It is not, as some people would insist, simply the promotion of gender equality. For many if not most feminists solving the problem of gender inequality is, has been, and always will be, the primary goal of feminism, true. But feminism is not a goal, it is a rhetorical method. The method can be and has been used for different ends, even up to and including the promotion of the domination of the "female" identity over the "male" identity. This however is again a goal and not one a vast majority of feminists share.
Therefor, one thing that is incredibly important to realize is the goals and ideals of particular groups of people who use feminist rhetoric are not necessarily the same. Making blanket statements about all feminists or anyone who uses similar ideas and methods is incredibly misguided. If you have a particular objection to a particular recurring argument or a foundational criticism of feminist theory, then those kind of debates and criticism are far more valuable then just blatantly attacking a goal that someone may not share. On the flipside, if someone is using feminist rhetoric to argue for a goal or position that you disagree with, then arguing directly to oppose that goal or position is far more valuable then attacking the theory behind the rhetorical devices they use to push for it.
In short, feminism is a tool. If you oppose the tool's usefulness, debate the tool. If you oppose the people's use of the tool, debate the individuals who use it.
I have my own objection to feminist theory and to the whole field of identity politics, but on the other hand I also share the same goal as most of the people who are into it do: The ever murky idea of "equality". I just don't think identity politics as it exists is the best way to go about accomplishing that goal.
So, what, exactly, is the problem we should be trying to solve?
They say life isn't fair. Maybe that is true, but I don't think of it that way. Life is very fair. People are born in the same way as basically everyone else, and everyone's life has the same kind of random factor to it. Are you born as a particular race or gender? Roll a dice. Are you born with some genetic disease? Roll a dice. Are you born in a particular area of the world? Roll a dice. No it's not truly random, but from a personal perspective it might as well be. Everyone starts out pretty much the same, as a helpless baby. Everyone has pretty much the same odds of being born in any particular position starting out as any other.
No, it's society that's unfair. It's society that judges you for your birth, not life. Life just doesn't care. It drops you in the middle of things at some random point and leaves you to sort it out. Society wants to sort you, to put you in a nice box. Sure society protects people, but only for it's own interest. Unlike life, it cares about you, but only in how best to use you. The uncaring wilds may chew you up and spit you out but they won't judge you. Except if you count in retrospect by how many babies you managed to pop out and genes you manage to spread, but that's coincidence not intent. To life society is just complex tricks to increase the amount of wiggling things that can be wiggling together at any one time. To society, life is just a source of things to put into different boxes and judge according to what boxes things were put in.
So people are put into boxes like "male" and "female", and much more then just biological traits are put in these boxes. Ideas, behaviors, rules, everything is divided up into these boxes. There are boxes for gender, boxes for race, and boxes for other things. Some boxes are put inside other boxes to make a neat tree so everything gets cleaned up and organized. People are expected to take what box they are put in and use it to model their entire life around it. If they can't be put in a box or refuse to be put in one they are just thrown into the "other" box and distrusted and scorned. Once a group of people in the other box with some arbitrary number of traits the same emerges they can be given their own box. And so the cycle continues.
People of one box can find it easy to hate and scorn people from another box. People who identify as a box with fight furiously to defend and promote their box over other people's box. And boxes who gain some sort of "power" will try and dominate other boxes. Some boxes will be put other others. It has happened time and time again, and will continue to happen. Life doesn't care as long as that means more wiggly things everywhere. Society delights in it's happy little boxes without caring about the contents of the boxes at all. So what fights for us? Well we do of course. Nothing else will.
So what then is the solution to this problem?
I can tell you for sure what is not the solution. Playing society's little games with boxes. And that's exactly what identity politics is. If you insist to define yourself as "male" or "female" or "gay" or "straight" or "black" or "white" all you are doing is putting yourself in another little box. It doesn't matter how much you fight for the cause of your box, because your still fighting for the broken system that causes you to be oppressed in the first place. The only way to free humanity from this system therefor is to systematically tear down the system of boxes that people are placed into.
And yeah, that's really really hard to do. But maybe not impossible. Maybe as technology advances and humanity can change their bodies more and more in ways that they see fit, the need for these types of classifications will vanish. If people can change their gender whenever they want or even be in between, what need is there for gender identity? When people can change their skin or appearance what need will their be for racial identity? When people finally develop a post scarcity economic system what need will their be for class identity? But until that day comes, and maybe it never will, it will be hard to simply refuse to put ourselves in little boxes. Buit I think it's still something we should look to as an ideal if nothing else.
I have talked before about how I hate current copyright laws and how I think they will one day change, maybe even to the extreme of abolishing copyright all together. I did not however speculate that much on what kind of legal systems will be put in place in the future, with the exception of my belief in the eventual domination in the economic systems of crowd funding, open source, free software, and creative commons.
But not to long ago I got to watching
, which is mostly about 3D printing and the vaguer legal situations behind some of the practices. In it a lawyer for a 3D printing company has some very interesting things to say about copyright, even if he uses my oh so despised buzzword of "intellectual property". The points he makes, in brief, are that any attempt to come up with either a hardline legal system to sue everyone who redistributes things without permission or come with a complicated DRM scheme that locks people out of doing what they want are both going to do nothing but drive away customers. However, he goes on to insist that basic verification of where something comes from and how it was made is of paramount importance. It's important, as per the example he used, to verify exactly who designed a replacement part for a plane and who manufactured it.
This got me thinking. It was similar to something I always insisted was true when it came to "intellectual property". Copyright and patents can go screw themselves as far as I am concerned, but trademarks are important. No not just important, important. It's vital that when you buy a product or service you know exactly what you are dealing with and that who you buy it from can be trusted. Without this, all commerce completely falls apart. And it also made me wonder if the attempt at combining copyright, patents, and trademarks into one thing like my oh so hated propaganda term "intellectual property" implies might not be so far from the mark. Of course it still needs to be approached form a completely different angle, and "intellectual property" is still a dumb, backwards, and rather scary concept, but still, credit where credit is due.
So, here is my not so modest proposal about some principles that a new system of laws should hold to:
Information isn't property. First of all this ridiculous fiction of "intellectual property" needs to stop now. If businesses and livelihoods dedicated to creating art or technologies need to be protected, and I agree they do, this isn't the way to do it. It simply isn't. No more talk about "stealing" information. No more propaganda about "ownership" of abstract things. No. This is another issue altogether. This has no more to do with ownership then free speech or privacy does (except to the degree that you own yourself), and in fact has a lot more to do with those two things. Information is something entirely different.
Brand and reputation are important, not content. Let's face it... if, for example, Disney did lose Mickey Mouse's copyright to the public domain (like they should have decades ago)? They would still have trademarks to fall back on. You might be tempted to say that kind of thing is an abuse of trademark law, and maybe it kind of is... but at the same time it kind of is not. A trademark is supposed to protect buyers from making fraudulent purchases. If you buy a movie that has Mickey Mouse splashed on the cover and featured in a staring role, you expect it to come form Disney, and you expect that to mean a particular type of content or level of quality or authenticity. The content hardly matters, you are being sold the brand. That's how basic trademark law works, and it can support a lot of businesses just on it's own.
Remixing content is not the same thing as ripping people off. Lets look at something that sorta exists on the edge of copyright. The good old
. We could talk about a lot of stuff here, like fanfiction, fanart, and good old Rule 34, but I am choosing abridged series because it is closely derived from the original material. Is it legal that you can cut up a bunch of footage form a show and make your own thing from it? Apparently yes because it's a "parody". But, a reasonable objection might be that label of "parody" is rather subjective. Heck, if I had a dime for every video on youtube that was called a "parody" without really being a parody at all... So why not allow all sorts of uses? Telling new stories, creating new fan episodes... and the answer is mostly context. Fair use exists to allow content to be shown in different contexts. You will also notice many later abridged series works, and a hell of a lot of fan fiction, show a little disclaimer at the start like the one at the start of
. Thing is? This type of "I don't own this" disclaimer I am pretty sure is completely without legal function. But if it does have one it is to insure that the watcher/reader understands that the work is made in a different context, and that this work should not reflect on the original brand. As far as fair use is concerned, in many situations this shift in context is implied with particular works, but not all, and anything outside of these particular works there is no shift in context and therefor they are unprotected. I say all works that are made in a different context and which do not try to deceive and cannot be taken to be an official product should be.
Creators should be compensated for their labor, but that's it. The original intent of the copyright law was to encourage creators to create, not for them to sit back and reap the rewards for past works, and certainly not to have the rights to all their old works hoarded by huge corporations for decades and decades past their death. The fact is that copyright law has had almost the exact opposite effect: It's stifled innovation and just created a culture filled with parasitic middle men and money grubbing suits. Okay you think a creator should make a living off creating? Fine. You think they should maybe have some exclusive time to distribute works? Okay maybe. If it's no more then ten years. Tops. Maybe it made more sense to have longer terms before but in today's rapidly evolving world there is no point in it. You want more money after that? Be someone worth paying money to!
Redistribution is a matter of trust, respect, and good service, not entitlement. Let's face it, piracy is not going away. Yet it hardly matters as much as it once did. Digital download services are booming, largely because the companies involved learned the most important lesson: Offer a trusted way with good service that lets they pay creators they respect, and most people will do it. Try to enforce your self-entitled belief that you deserve to make money on x thing because you happened to make it and people will ignore you or actively push back. To have trust, the users must be sure they are getting what they think they are getting and paying the people they think they are paying. To have respect, the users must know and understand the reputation of the people they are paying. To have good service the people that they are paying must work for the uses, not opposed to them. It's really that simple. Without trust, the users will find someone they do trust more. Without respect, the users have no reason not to try and get everything they can for free and wouldn't likely by it anyway, and without good service the users will be frustrated trying to buy form you at all. Now does that mean the legal pressure on pirates should just vanish? Eh... maybe not. But on the other hand, I see no reason why people should be protected from them for not having enough of any of those three things.
That's all for now. Maybe some of these don't match up together perfectly... But I think it's a good start to think about at least.
So... Anime and/or Manga. There are so many people who are are absolutely obsessed with them, and after finding myself on yet another YouTube channel dedicated to reviewing and discussing it it made me want to talk about some of my feelings too the mediums.
Or are they genres? Honestly I kind of think they are something that is somewhere in between, perhaps "supergenre" or "metagenre" would be more appropriate. And honestly as much as the animation of Anime and sequential art of Manga are two different mediums, they do sort of share a common visual language and common tropes more then most any other. This is not even including visual novels and light novels and how they influence things, or the collection of video games that use a lot of the same elements.
Perhaps it would be better to define the whole thing more in terms of an art movement or a culture then any thing else. Perhaps not. Regardless of how you define it, I think of it as a set of art within a distinct aesthetic spectrum. It's a common mistake to think of it as more or less a single thing or a single genre. It isn't. All sort sorts of different types of stories and different types of art styles fit into the same general category. Cowboy Bebop is a much different kind of thing then Doraemon.
As much as I hate thinking in terms of national or racial divisions of culture, the most common and easiest to understand way of defining this sort of nebulous thing is simply to use the would "Japanese", but there are still a few edge cases that may or may not be included simply based on a whim. Should Avatar: The Last Airbender be included? Should Crayon Shin-chan not be included? It's really up to how people define it.
But all of this I think is kind of commonly understood at this point I think, because people have argued back and forth about what is or is not included in this category and why for decades. It should be noted that in Japan, "anime" and "manga" basically mean "animation" and "comics" in general. I think it's interesting that, in the USA at least, we think of "anime" and "manga" as distinct things independent of "animation" and "comics" even if they really sort of aren't.
And yet at the same time, they sort of are. Here is the thing... though I have mixed feelings about a lot of the stuff that can get lumped in the same nebulous category, I have to admit the style and imagination of most of it far outshines a vast majority of the stuff I see from what can be thought of as "The West". Most of this is just my personal sense of aesthetics. I hate how a lot of "western" style art looks. I hate "western" comic book style. I hate the over exaggeration of lips, I hate the smaller less expressive eyes, I hate the square jaws, I hate the proportions, ect, ect. And "western" cartoons seem to have evolved to vastly exaggerated and weird nonsensical lumps of shapes that look more like abstract art then anything recognizable. The common Japanese "Manga" style though? I like the simpler, more expressive art compared to comic books while being much less abstract and inhuman then "cartoon" style. Also Moe is cute. There I said it.
But... Even if I like the art style most of Anime/Manga style works and like a lot of the basic character archetypes and story elements, well... I don't want to be racist or anything, but there is so much about the Japanese cultural sensibilities that sneak into these works that frankly bug the hell out of me. And yeah, examining Japanese culture form the lens of Anime and Manga is often kind of like examining American culture form the lens of Hollywood. Which the Japanese totally do by the way, but that's besides the point.
Thing is, it's actually in my mind a totally fair thing to do, as long as it is done with the understanding that: 1. The perceived flaws in the popular culture of a race or nation does not imply that all or even most of the people of that race or nation share those flaws, 2. An outsider who has not grown up in that culture is more then likely not going to have all the contextual background needed to understand it, and 3. Culture is a nebulous thing that people may or may not prescribe too, and not all examples of trends in works equate to deeper cultural trends.
So, if people do happen to look at American popular culture and see a unfortunate implications pointing to Americans being bunch of gun happy, imperialist, xenophobic, racist, and sexist assholes who care about nothing but militarily, economically, or culturally dominating all other peoples, then, well, yes. Yes their are a lot of unfortunate implications to that effect. Believe me, there are a lot of us who are very very much aware of how screwed up our culture is.
Japanese popular culture though? Well... they have a different problem. And no, I am not talking about otaku culture or hikikomoris or NEETs. Those are just symptoms. I am talking about something much more fundamental to the "Japanese mindset". I am talking about shame culture and social pressure. Maybe it's just me who was raised in something closer to a guilt culture (and has formally rejected both, and every other, form of social control), but I find that sort of social manipulation of the individual absolutely appalling. Yet if you look at anime, it happens all the time, and is treated as a good thing.
What do you think all those "friendship speeches" are really about? In a nation where so much pressure is put on individuals to succeed in school and conform to a traditional lifestyle, it just really gets under my skin. And maybe that's not fair of me to say. But then again, if my interpretation of a particular anime is correct, at least someone agrees with me. This isn't of course the only problem. I can see a lot of undercurrents of sexism and xenophobia in anime as well, a lot of trivialization of social problems, a lot of collectively looking the other way whenever having to deal with things. The degree of how much this stems form shame culture, I am not sure. And it's not like it is any worse then any other problem that people have. I don't know.
Anyway, I am not going to judge a whole people for a few niggling moral concerns about the entertainment they produce. Just... a lot of anime really bugs me. I guess it's the same way Hollywood often bugs me. It's corporate produced and mindless a lot of the time and it often pushes a status quo which, if you really think about it, isn't exactly most people's ideal society. Oh well.
Bah... why do I get the feeling I am going to half to defend myself later? Oh well... That's just my gut reaction.