Uh hey there everyone! I thought I would start a blog for anyone interested in stuff I am doing that I may or may not end up finishing or may end up being too niche to interest many people, that way I can learn if anyone has interest in me releasing full scripts or not.
So first off, here is something I have been working on lately. Namely a "accent" script inspired form the system used in Chrono Cross!
It's just an unfinished experiment right now. It can turn text like "\vg[| |I think we should try and go around--.]" into "Like, oh my gosh! I, like, think we, like, should try and go around and junk." or "\catgirl[| |I think we should try and go around--.]" into "Nya! I think we should try and go around, nya." Maybe I will generalize it and give actors notetags with verbs and interjections and stuff.
Here is a unrefined fragment of something I was writing. I wanted to do a "wizard fic" for a while, in the terrible tradition of Complacency of the Learned and Wizardy Herbert (though only Wizardy Herbert is based of a real thing), you know, a weird Harry Potter type thing that isn't related to Harry Potter. I had this idea in my head for a while for a story that partly follows (he isn't actually the main character as such, but he is the introductory one) someone who would be a bit like Dumbledore if he actually became aware of how terrible he could be, in a world that knows about wizards but is slowly pushing them aside in favor of industry. But only today did I start writing any of it down and... well this is my third version of the opening and it's still too terrible and expositiony. Take a look for yourself:
So yeah. Terrible? Might be good? Tell me what you think!
So, Undertale has gotten extremely popular lately and has gotten highly praised. I think one of the things that it uses to sell it's self is the promise of being an RPG where you don't have to kill anyone, and how it really tries to show the consequences if you do. I think though, that it mostly ends up being good because of the sheer quality of it's writing and design rather then because of it's gimmicks. But there certainly is something to the promise of having an alternative to violence.
It's not that I think violence is automatically bad, I really have no moral/ethical objection to violent games and media. It's a fantasy, and I think most people understand that violence is a tool that is to be used only in a last resort situation (if at all) without having to have a game or other piece of fiction spell that out for them. I do think that surrounding oneself with only mindless violent media without any thought or commentary thrown in is unhealthy, but I don't think most people actually do that. Anyway, I am pretty sure that unless you expose yourself to at least a little violence it becomes impossible to form any sort of educated opinion about it.
But the thing is, violence, especially in games, is kinda played out. And I mean that both mechanically and narratively. Mechanically most games over the years have sort of settled into a set of comfortable easy abstractions that are easy to program and easy to understand and lead themselves well to violence of some sort. Everything from Mario's basic physics to simple HP meters and attack rolls abstract violence so well. You don't see many games like FaÃ§ade where the whole game is just figuring out the right things to say to other characters, and to be honest those games don't really seem that interesting to me either except as a curiosity. But there are other games that are about building, or exploring, or puzzle solving, or even farming, that can be compelling without any violence at all. It's interesting I think to see games that use new and different mechanical systems for other things besides violence. But heck, it's fun to see ones that use different mechanics for violence too, like in Dwarf Fortress.
Narratively we have seen stories that talk about or deconstruct violence before. Even Undertale isn't particularly new in this regard, at it's most heavy handed it sounds a lot like a repeat of Spec Ops: The Line in many ways, though I think it's much more effective in that you do actually have a choice in Undertale. There is only so much I think you can actually say about violence before it gets old and preachy and you just have to roll your eyes. It can be an important message to hear once, but if every game becomes like that it's boring. Then again it's also not interesting to ignore the problem if your game has violence in it. If you are doing something with violence, to simply refuse to talk about it at all is very cheep and makes the writer seem ignorant.
That said, a bit of violence is okay to me. I understand not wanting to do anything real wacky and sticking with a normal RPG formula or doing an average story. I just that I don't want to see every single game be the same I guess. I have been working on a game lately and I thought it would be fun to do something sort of like Undertale and have multiple ways to approach encounters, but I wasn't necessarily trying to make a statement, I just wanted to experiment with different kinds of mechanics. I am not sure it's really any more interesting that most games but I was having fun programing stuff... Don't know if it will ever be done or will be any good but I liked coding what I did at least. :3
So I recently heard that last month yet ANOTHER royal YouTube screw up has made tons of people really mad. Yet another example of the automated system screwing up and screwing a lot of people over. Some big name people even. And people complained again loudly with seemingly little effect, until some of it was cleared up without even a peep of an apology or even any explanation for what happened. Same old story.
This wasn't the first time, and it won't be the last. This isn't going to change. YouTube will continue to screw with people and people will complain but they won't really do anything to change it. They certainly won't leave YouTube or anything. They aren't going to risk their livelihood or audience and will continue to implicitly support the broken system even knowing that it is broken and knowing they are doing nobody any good supporting it. Because when it comes down to it, YouTube is a monopoly that can get away with anything.
Except it doesn't have to be.
See, this is the Internet. This is a system where anyone can, if they wish to, install Apache on a old computer and get their own web site online from their own homes. Not the best way to do it of course, for that you need either money enough to rent a server or to find some free web hosting site, not to mention DNS registration fees. But you CAN do it. Thanks to WebM and HTML5's video tag you can even host videos there, though again it would be slow and a hassle and no one is likely to find it.
Of course, since it is slow and a hassle and no one will be able to find it, no one does that stuff anymore (except for "dark web" stuff I guess"). The thing is though, even big things like Channel Awesome which DO have their own site have always relied on external video sites for hosting videos. And I mean, fine, I understand why. WebM is a relatively new technology for one thing, and most sites just can't handle the type of load videos get. But the weakness of not hosting their own videos and ads and stuff is they rely on external sites for their content, and any problem or change will effect them and tfhey can't do much about it. They were counted with the ones who were having problems with YouTube's latest round of bullcrap after all.
Ideally, what would be best is to have a YouTube-like site API that can work both as a host for people who can't do it themselves, and as a search engine/cache system for videos on external sites. A decentralized cache would speed up most videos while allowing everyone to host them where ever they want wouldn't it? There would be no need for any one corporation to control the whole system. Heck, it's likely this will happen to YouTube if an antitrust case is ever successfully built to challenge it, since this is kinda what happened to the bell system.
The thing that sort of annoys me though, is that it's not just video that this trend has effected. All of a sudden, most people seem to have flocked to a handful of sites for everything. Facebook, DeviantArt, Twitter, Tumblr, and so on. These few sites seemed to have gobbled up most of the content on the web, and all are controlled by centralized corporations with their own rules and very little competition allowing them to do what they want how they want.
Am I the only one who thinks that the "good old days" where everyone had their own little server somewhere where they could host whatever they wanted was a better system? Maybe, but we can't go back can we? I would like to see more general APIs and decentralized systems and less monolithic corporations. I do kinda think the time where corporations can thrive and do whatever they want is slowly slowly coming to an end, but they are not gonna go down quietly, and not without people who are willing to trade a bit of convince for freedom, at least in the short term.
I probably shouldn't actually use this blog for actual serious opinion blog posts really, but I guess I might as well.
So I found myself watching a video about the whole GamerGate thing again. Is that still even going on? I am not even sure. I hate watching stuff about it because it seems no matter what side of the issue someone takes, they just manage to sound wrong to me. The only exceptions are when people are talking about specific issues with a particular very narrow scope, where they are able to make points on particular questions. If this was an issue about ONLY corruption in games journalism, or ONLY about issues of sexism, or ONLY about the failings of the SJW movement, I might be able to see one sides point over the other, but the fact it gets mixed into a big miss mash and everyone gets dragged into issues they never really wanted to argue in the first place makes it impossible for any kind of right side to emerge if you ask me.
Here is the thing though, I have felt, or more like hoped, for a while now that the game industry was spiraling into another crash. Too many over inflated budgets, too much loss of consumer confidence, too much DLC and microtransactions... even steam seams tio be filling with early access and shovelware now a days. It all leads into a huge mess and sooner or later things are going to have to either change or come crashing down hard on all the greedy publishers heads. And if you think about it, a crash will hurt the publishers and the greedy corporations then the consumer. Games aren't going to go away, all a crash will do is make the money-grubbers be unable to squeeze gaming for money any more.
Recently I started to realize a huge crash will also probably make games not be the "in thing" any more, and at the risk of sounding like a hipster, that can only be a good thing. Idiot man bro frat boys will move on to sports or movies or whatever is the new cool fad, and SJWs will move to where there is a bigger podium to preach their doctrine at. Games will go back to being something for enthusiasts and people who genuinely love the medium. And that is still millions of people. People will still make games and people will still play them.
So yeah, not really seeing a downside here. You might not see very many or any triple A big budget extravaganzas or anything like that, but honestly how many of them lately have actually been that amazingly good? I guess there have been a few, but I haven't played them myself. But I hope it happens soon because it's getting more and more annoying every day I see all this shit.
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?
You ever think back and have that one cartoon you saw when you were a kid and couldn't remember what the heck it was called or maybe anything but a few hazy images or half remembered plot line? I sure have! I saw a heck of a lot of stuff when I was a kid, most of them pretty well established as a part of pop culture. I mean I am sure it isn't hard to remember stuff like Tron, Dr. Who (pre-revival I mean) or Capitan N, even if you can't remember anything about them, you usually can remember what they were and easily are able to look them up and rewatch them anytime you want. And there are probably a number of unremarkable things that you have seen that you have completely forgotten or faded into a generic mishmash because they are so forgettable. But then there are things you have seen that stick with you somehow (even if they are not very good) but have become so buried in popular culture or what I do remember is so hard to explain or search for that a simple google search just doesn't cut it. At worst you wonder if the show is all in your head or you were confused or something.
Slowly but surly I have been able to uncover most of the half remembered things from my childhood. Just today I was looking once again for a show I saw about signing robots from the future with hearts on their chest, and low and behold when searching for "80s cartoon robots" in google image search I found this. Could it be? Sure enough I found it. Only it turns out no time travel was involved. I thought the robots came from the future for some reason.
Anyway this isn't the first time I found something long lost that was buried in my brain. Last time a half-remembered scene about a dog food can logo with a picture of a dog holding a can (on which was a picture of a dog holding a can, on which was a picture of a dog holding a can, on which was a picture of a dog holding a can... zooming in all the way further and further to infinity) lead me to this.
Before that I half remembered a TV show where the villain was a greedy guy who was bulldozing down a forest (and in the opening represented this by him playing a basic pacman like game with a bulldozer as pacman and trees as the dots) and the animals trying to stop him which I found because Jim Sterling (thank god for him) kept using a picture of the villain in his videos (whenever he talks about greedy game corporations... which is a lot).
Before that searching for half remembered show about a painter resting under a tree in a forest and given the ability to talk to animals for a time while he worked to save the forest from a villain who was basically made out of thorns who became good and bloomed into a rose in the end lead to this.
And finally the start of all this was when I on a whim decided to watch an old anime about a cute widdle unicorn, and was shocked to discover one of the movies he stared in was one I had seen before. I remembered a lot about it to, the creepy evil puppet villain, the way he turned people into flat puppets and made built buildings out of them, how he had this aprentice, how he was powered by hate... But I completely forgot about the hero, I remembered the hero being the apprentice, and remembered him as another toy that came to life and turned good in the end.
So there you go. And with that, the only half remembered thing I remember seeing as a kid I can't remember the title of or anything really about was a live action fantasy movie involving a boy with a sword that could cut through metal (and maybe an invisibility cloak) trying to rescue someone from a tower which was enchanted so you starved to death very quickly when inside it, and if you stayed to long there was nothing left but a white cube or pile of dust. Now that Is going to annoy the heck out of me. Oh well.
Anyone else remember any half-remembered things from their childhood they saw but can't for the life of them figure out enough about to tell what it was?
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.
I was reading this article and is sort of annoyed me. I mean I love Undertale and all, but I don't think it's a glorious subversive step forward for the medium as a whole that will lead to the holy path of being recognized as a legitimate art form or anything like that. And frankly I think it's kind of insulting to every game that came before imply it is. Undertale is a fantastically well-written game that is both extremely funny and heartrending with some interesting subversive elements, but it isn't really anything new. It's not like we haven't had fantastically well written games that are both extremely funny and heartrending before, like take Star Control 2 for example (to say nothing of Undertale's obvious inspiration). And it's not like we haven't had games that have done extremely screwy subversive things before, like take Spec Ops: The Line and Irisu Syndrome! ( I think the Undertale demo's trick of fiddling with the manual as you play was probably directly inspired by this game actually, and possible other things) for example.
I would like to restate something I have said time and time again. It probably doesn't need to be said, but here we go. Anyone who doesn't think video games can be art is completely ignorant about what art actually is. Art is simply anything that is deliberately used to make a statement and/or invoke an experience. That's all it is, all it ever was, and all it ever will be. Anything can be art if used the right way. There is no secret ultimate authority or cabal who decides what is or is not art, and you don't get to decide to exclude it for whatever arbitrary reason you want. If the author intends to make an artistic statement, it can be counted as art. Period. Video games have just as much claim to the tittle of art as film or books have. Just as much claim as paintings. Just as much claim as a stain on your shirt if you intend it to make a statement. Arguing what is or is not art is dumb and just makes people look ignorant or elitist or both. I don't care what so and so said, no matter how famous or accomplished they are. If they don't understand this basic fact they are wrong.
Okay now that we are all on the same page about what art actually is, why is it that people have trouble counting video games as art in the same ways movies and books are? Because to some people, just being art isn't enough, nor is being popular. No, to some people, you need a whole culture of critics and analysis that goes along with the art that elevates it to a level worth caring about. Which is fair enough. No one is going to care much about that stain on your shirt unless other people are talking about it and telling others why it is important. This is what divides art and "High Art", the art that people actually care about and talk about. I mean someone can draw super detailed amazing fanart and put it on the Internet for all to see, but it's probably going to be another piece of art in a flood off stuff very few people care about no matter how amazing it is. The fact is, no matter how many people will want to think otherwise, art is disposable and not vary valuable on it's own. You need a critical educated culture of people who appreciate and make commentary on things to make something worth paying attention to.
Thing is though, video games HAVE that culture. People like me who grew up on an spend their life obsessing over every aspect of gaming are that culture, the same way film buffs are the same for moves. Video games are just starting to sneak in to the academic world as a serious field of study, but they are steadily gaining ground in that arena. Youtube is filled with people who will pick apart and analyze every aspect of a game in insightful and educated ways. So why is it that people still seem to be debating including video games as an art form every bit the equal of film or books?
I have heard the excuse time and time again that video games is a medium still in it's infancy. I disagree. I don't think it has been since at leas the days of the NES. If video gaming isn't already an adult, it is in at least just getting past it's awkward teenage years and is on it's way to collage... where while the industry part of it parties and tries to get laid as much as possible while pissing away it's inhabitance and struggles to pass it's classes, the part that actually cares about the games is actually working and learning and expanding it's horizons and contributing to a better tomorrow.
Yeah I know video games are a young medium compared to others, but that doesn't really matter that much. It's not like the moment people decided to make video games a thing they had to completely reinvent everything they knew about art. It's not like everyone who ever wanted to work on games suddenly forgot about all their language skills or about art theory. Even the technical side of it was mostly grounded in math and computer science which had long been studied. Just film and television borrowed techniques meant for theater, photography, radio, and others as well as inventing it's own tricks, so do video games borrow from traditional board games, computer simulation, film, books, and all sorts of other places as well as inventing it's own ticks. For games technology was the most limiting factor for a long long time, and people still made amazing things with very little.
Go back and look at some NES classics, like the original Legend off Zelda for example. Everything in the first Zelda was focused on providing a particular feeling of wonder and adventure, of recreating the feeling that author had of exploring and finding hidden caves as a kid. How is that not art? How is that not meaningful? And I personally think the first Zelda, actually provided the best emulation of that feeling that the Zelda series ever has. I dare say a lot of older games are even more artistic and better expressions of the medium then most games today which have tried to become too much like films or books.
No the simple fact is, video games are not in their infancy and haven't been for a long time. They just haven't yet been rooted into generations of traditional ideas about what media is and are therefor targeted by old media supporters for taking attention away from what they like. That's all it is. I don't see why I should give the whining of that dying subculture any attention, but I guess it feels nice to rant about it sometimes.
I am not sure exactly why, but today I started thinking about the Ultima games. I expect most people today have only heard of them from Spoony, if they have heard of them at all, but I don't think it's hyperbole to say that they act as the foundation that pretty much all modern RPGs rest upon in some manner or another. The series might probably still be going strong today and be rivaling The Elder Scrolls in terms of a popular fantasy RPG that impacts gaming culture had not EA got their insidious claws into Origin Systems.
My only solace is that nowadays EA finally gets the blame it deserves for it's many many crimes against gaming, but that is tampered by the sadness it came to late to prevent so much tragedy. But let's not get into that. I have hated EA for decades longer then most anyone else already, and I could spend all day ranting and raving about how they are ruin everything they touch. Ironically Origin seemed to hate them too before they were taken over if any of the many many jabs in Ultima 7 is any indication. I wouldn't be surprised if EA was run by The Guardian himself... it would certainly make a scary amount of sense to me for him to try to ruin his own universe.
Anyway, it seems to me kind of a shame that the series was kinda left to die and lie forgotten. I mean I guess Ultima Online may still be around in some form, and Shroud of the Avatar now exists as what seems to be a spiritual squeal in part, but the vast storyline and lore has still kind of crashed and burned and the gameplay innovations the series made were never quite followed up on. I guess you could argue that The Elder Scrolls seems to keep the open world fantasy RPG torch alive, but I always thought The Elder Scrolls was comparatively lifeless and uninvolving and were much better in the series earlier entries Arena and Daggerfall, where the focus was on creating a vast mostly randomly generated world without much detail. Once Morrowind came along it all kind of fell apart in my option.
I guess now that I think about it it's kind of a rarity in RPGs nowadays to do what Ultima did and try their hardest to tie the whole series into one long continuous continuity with the same core cast of characters while still having each game be it's own independent adventure. Mostly nowadays I see RPG series just have each entry in the series be completely independent, or have the few that have a continuity be preplanned episodes of a larger story. Ultima however can cheat a bit due to it's Narnia-like rules of world travel and the fact that a number of the cast seems to either travel back and forth from Earth or due to being from another world originally are blessed with long long lifespans. This means 200 years can pass between some games but the same characters can still show up. I won't say it makes perfect sense, because it doesn't. The characters, objects, locations, plot points, and so on that will reappear with each new game can be terribly random and inconsistent sometimes, and subtle retcons or plotholes seem to creep in from time to time (this isn't even counting the last game in the series which is a big rushed mess of plotholes and retcons). Plus the world seems way to small for all the events and history that are implied to happen sometimes though this seems like a problem with most games, particularly older ones (The Elder Scrolls seems to almost have the opposite problem, where the world is way too big for the games to seem like they have any real connection at all).
Though really the fact that computer/console RPGs had storylines at all is something that the Ultima series pretty much invented. Before Ultima 4, storylines in RPGs pretty much were excuse plots to run around a fantasy world and slaughter monsters. Ultima 4 did something different by focusing on character interaction and personal growth, and it introduced the concept of a morality meter, though it did so in a diffrent multi-dimensional way and basically punished you for being a bad guy. It was Ultima 5 though that really got the ball moving on story-based RPGs by having an oppressive government and villains that actually move around and do things involved with the plot. One unique thing is that Ultima 4 and 6 basically had no big bad villain at all, (though you are lead to believe 6 does) and no final boss. They basically exist as pure morality dramas. Most of the others after 4 seem to have a villain because it ties in to the theme of the story the games try to tell.
Most Ultima games after the first three early hack and slash ones have to do with ideology and ethics. Ultima 4 was purely about what it takes to be an actual hero and not just a guy who slaughters their way to the final boss. Ultima 5 has a theme of an ideology being corrupted into mandatory law by a tyrant, Ultima 6 is about what happens when two opposing ideologies clash. Ultima 7 seems to deal with the exact opposite of 5, well meaning people willingly being swept up in a corruptive ideology or group. Ultima 7 Part 2 is a bit more confused but has hints of being about what happens when people reject any ideology all together and/or what happens when an ideology is fractured into warring factions that take some ideals as more important then others. Ultima 8 is when EA started ruining things, but it clearly has a theme of being forced to do horrible things for what you think is the "greater good", and Ultima 9 has a running theme of why EA sucks and ruins everything it touches. I mean, that's not Ultima 9's intended theme, I don't think it really has one, but that is clearly what you will read into it. Maybe some of these themes are heavy handed and misguided, but they did attempt something that was not really done before, inject a little philosophy and higher thinking into a computer RPG storyline.
Also the open nature of the world is something that is subtly different then most RPGs today. I mean, I may bring the series too much as a comparison, but in The Elder Scrolls you seem to spend a lot of time trudging through uninteresting terrain on formally defined quests which NPCs hand out like personalityless vending machines, but in the better Ultima games like 6 and 7, maybe because the world is much smaller and there is a greater continuity of ideas and history to draw from, the terrain is more filled out with interesting things, the quests are less formal, and the NPCs converse with you more naturally and have more interesting personalty and personal history. It's a open world that doesn't feel as empty or impersonal.
Not that being empty or impersonal isn't always a bad thing, it's just that you need to design the game to focus on some other kind of engagement, like randomization and creativity like in Minecraft, or extreme character customization and freedom like Daggerfall. But I think the newer The Elder Scrolls games and other open world RPGs in that format are still trying, and failing, to really capture what Ultima 6 and 7 did so well, but maybe that is just me. Not really saying they are bad games, they are just a bit misguided I think in their design focus. Oddly the one The Elder Scrolls game I think that really does seem to capture that kind of Ultima-like feel is Battlespire, which feels a lot like the Utima Underworld games. It's kind of a pity Battlespire was such a buggy mess because it's really nice in several ways. I especially like how you can talk to a good amount of the game's enemies and get some to turn on each other or help you. I would have liked to see what happened if this sub-series developed further. Of course Battlespire is a linear dungeon crawl and not open world at all (and Ultima Underworld kinda ends up more like a metroidvania in a way, you end up backtracking a bit but it isn't really open world either).
And look, my point with all this is not to say that they are the best games ever and are so much better then the games they make today, because they aren't really. There are a lot of things wrong with the series. My point is simply that I don't think they should be forgotten, and I think most RPG fans, particularly "JRPG" fans have ever heard of them. The early Ultima games were pretty big in Japan too, and it can be argued Dragon Quest is basically a simplified Ultima clone, and that Final Fantasy is a simplified Dragon Quest clone, so I think JRPGs owe a lot to Ultima as well. And it seems a lot of ideas from the series didn't really get picked up on or were dropped or simplified over the years. So I just want people to be able to remember the series and maybe take it's lessons to heart for the next generation of great innovative RPGs.
Not to be anti-intellectual or anything, but I do sometimes question the wisdom of actual academic ideas of video game design. Partly because serious academic interest in the subject still seems like a relatively new thing, but also because I sort of worry it may be too reductionist. The world of video games is now more then ever right in the middle of sort of redefining it's self and what a video game can be, and I am not sure if the formal teachings really mesh with the reality right now.
Let's take a example. The game Portal was based heavily on a game designed by students. Now Portal is a great game, and I don't think anyone would argue about that. But Portal seems to be a product of a very formal idea off how games are made and what a game is. I have seen quite a few student games that follow the same kind of idea, you take a single mechanic, work out the implications of that mechanic, and design the whole game around that. Which is fine, it works and lets you explore a mechanic to it's ultimate end. It's neat and tidy. But I think it would be a mistake to design all games that way.
As a counter example, let's look at Dwarf Fortress. It's a messy messy game. The UI is a mess with lots and lots of menu options and keyboard shortcuts. The gameplay involves tons and tons of mechanics haphazardly thrown in for no other reason then because the designer can. And yet, while it would be wrong to say it's an objectively better game then Portal, in my eyes it's at least a more interesting one. And then we have Minecraft which sits somewhere in the middle. And we have lots of art games witch exist totally outside the whole spectrum.
My point is this: I am just not sure how much game design classes actually tell you about the vast world of game design and all of it's many incarnations. I am too old to take them myself, and don't have the money anyway, so I guess I will never know. There is a heck of a lot going on in game design that seems to go outside the formal patterns.
I guess this is probably true of literature and film studies too though, so it probably isn't anything new to say that. Really, if you ask me, the whole collage system is practically a scam anyway, at least in the USA. It just costs too much money and doesn't do enough to prepare people for the real world. But that is a whole other problem that I have been rambling about for years. And also the whole job market.
You know one big problem I tend to have is that I have absolutely no interest in like 99.99% of all of the RPG Maker game projects I see, even ones made by people I think of as my friends. Really I think one problem is I no longer have as much interest in RPGs in general and JRPG-style games in particular, and most of the other genres of games commonly made by RPG Maker uses (such as horror games, more pure narrative games) don't really hold that much interest in me either. It just kinda seems like most game projects I see seem to kinda end up seeming the same to me.
Ultimately, I think I am just getting old. I am sure 10 or so years ago things might have been different. Maybe even five years ago. I think I have gotten more and more picky and lazy about games since then. Ever since around the end of the PS2 era at least, when I basically decided I didn't really have that much interest in any newer consoles. For a while I switched mostly to handheld games like the DS and PSP, but eventually I sorta almost fell out of gaming altogether, only partly getting back into it with Steam a few years ago.
It's not really that I "grew out" of gaming either. Gaming is still a major part of my life. Almost 90% of how I entertain myself online is gaming related somehow, usually in the form of let's plays, or game reviews/discussion, or something related to gaming culture. I just don't really play very many anymore. It's just a lot easier to watch and discuss then to play.
Part of that is no doubt because games in general have become much more focused on story and "cinematic" elements to the point where it's almost pointless to play them anymore. I still haven't actually played Undertale for example, though I own it, partly because I was waiting for a Linux version (which is moot at this point since my laptop with Linux is being replaced by a new one with Windows 10 installed anyway), but mostly because I just don't think playing it myself will really add that much to the experience.
It really won't. I never was the type to believe that experiencing something myself made it any different. Everything for me just seems like random sense data anyway. It's not that I can't tell the difference between reality and fantasy or anything like that, at least intellectually. But emotionally it seems more and more that everything is almost equally out of touch and remote. I guess it's kind of like depression only I am not sure if it actually is. Maybe this is normal for fairies actually.
This doesn't mean I don't enjoy games, I just think it means I enjoy different types of games. I am more interesting in mechanics I can play around with, things with a huge possibility space, like a lot of roguelikes, or Minecraft or Dwarf Fortress, or any game where you explore and tinker and do things. RPGs can be like that too for sure. I guess that is one reason (along with others) I hate Final Fantasy IV with a passion (though the DS version was way better) but really liked Final Fantasy V (and thought VI was merely pretty good, and VII was probably the one I thought was the best in the series, but over all liked the SaGa series more).
That doesn't mean I hate stories either. Stories to me after all are more or less just the result of an author playing a game in his own mind. Kinda like D&D really. You have the rules you set for how the world you are making works and work out the implications. You have a personality and traits for a character and work out what they would be like and what they would do. It's really a fascinating process, a way for the author to create their own worlds. Games and stories I think are in the end almost two sides of the same coin, two ways people try to do the same thing.
But when I am playing a game I want to basically create a story, not be told one. And let's face it, even a beaching storyline like Undertale with many clever paths and things it keeps track of is still you being told a story. All the paths are there from, the start and you just choose one. It's The Stanley Parable problem really. I won't deny that as a artform story and gameplay can reinforce each other's point in some cases. I would never deny Undertale should have been a movie or a TV show or anything like that. I am just saying watching someone else play is just as impactful as playing it yourself, if for different reasons maybe. I will say that both Undertale and The Stanley Parable basically require a player, but whether you are playing and reacting to events or whether you see how someone else reacts to it I think doesn't matter as much.
Blah, okay maybe all that is sort of besides the point. I am sure I have said that all before I think. The point is, I find it hard to take interest in most games that are narrative focused. But honestly? The fact they are narrative focused is only part of the problem. Maybe even not the main part, though it might be the easiest part to pinpoint and try to justify.
Another big part is just that a lot of games are tedious. They are annoying. JRPGs in particular. It's hard to get into menu based combat sometimes, though at the same time I often want to defend it, because honestly realtime action-rpg combat is worse, especially in RPG Maker. My favorite style of RPG combat personally is roguelike-style single step turn-based on-map combat, and has been basically since one of my first RPGs, Ultima VI. It's fast, gives you a ton of tactical depth, allows a unified way to explore and fight things without switching between screens, and still gives you plenty of time to plan everything out. Alas, that style of combat has basically completely vanished outside of rougelikes. Anyway, yeah. That's another big reason. I know it sounds kinda like the kind of dismissive of JRPGs and people do enough of that but that's just how I feel sometimes.
Another big part, and this is hugely subjective, is setting and style. I just don't care that much for most typical medieval European fantasy, or Tolkien-style "high fantasy", or typical sci-fi settings, or mystical eastern settings, or modern day settings, or post-apocalyptic settings, or Judeo-Christian mythology based settings, or basically any kind of setting that hasn't been done a million times before, and let's face it most of them have. It's not that you can't do creative stuff with these settings, but I am just not interested. Really the only exception is if you really really do your research and make something that has so many references that it seems to weave seamlessly into an existing mythology/setting already, and even then I am not sure.
I guess there are other reasons, but that's all that comes to mind at the moment. Though I have to say there is one common exception that always seems to perks my interest. One kind of RPG Maker project I still play sometimes. Naughty X-rated RPG Maker games. The more depraved and fetish filled the better. I know, I know, I am a total pervert, and truth be told most of them are quite bad or forgettable, but they can usually be relied on for some brief, ahem, "entertainment" at least. What can I say? Sometimes I have a one track mind. Tee-hee!
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.
You know I have a bad habit of bugging people and being a pervert sometimes and offending and hurting people. I think I have a worse habit of completely forgetting that some people want to be left alone and bugging them again not learning at all form my mistakes. I think I am far to insensitive when it comes to interacting with other people and just treat everything as if it is a big game. And then I hurt people and drive away people I really want to be my friend.
And you know, I guess I want to be most people's friend for all the wrong reasons. I should really stop PMing random people that have cute avatars I see around. I am a very selfish person sometimes, and honestly I think it try to treat a lot of people like playthings almost, and I can see why people don't appreciate it. I can be nice and friendly, but sometimes I don't really think I have grown past being a child in some ways.
I try to think of tons of excuses for my actions, figuring out ways to twist it around in my mind so it's not really my fault. I was joking, or someone needs thicker skin, or people are just overreacting, or people have issues they need to get over, or people are stereotyping me into some category they hate, or that I have aspergers, or any other number of empty little things I tell myself to get over the fact I hurt someone. And honestly sometimes those excuses are true. But they all kind of ring empty when it comes down to it. It doesnâ€™t heal the hurt someone is going though, and all it does is make me forget the hurt I feel when I hurt someone else.
I do kinda wonder when it will be time for me to leave and move on from RPG Maker, and if people don't want me here I will just leave, but I am not posting this to start a pity party, and I am not really even posting this because I really want take charge and try and fix my flaws. It's more like... a reference sheet, maybe a reminder to myself, maybe for other people to look at and decide not to answer any of my PMs.
You know what, this is stupid. If anything says "I am a huge idiot" it's this whole post. I know this is going to sound ether inflammatory or a grab for attention, and I have seen this kind of post a million times before. But sometimes I think you need to be an idiot. So I should at least be a happy fairy idiot! Wheeeeeeee! *sprinkles fairy dust everywhere*
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.
One thing I am almost entirely sure of, is that "copyright", as we know it anyway, is going to mostly or totally go away... eventually. Don't get me wrong, it's not going to go away anytime soon or without a hard fight, but after a while it's just going to be impractical. It may take a while but the signs are already here, happening now as we speak. What signs am I talking about? Well here are a few:
Linux won. Oh yeah yeah, I know the majority of desktop users probably still use windows. Doesn't matter. Linux is used for practically everything else. Servers? Mostly Linux. Smart Phones? A good number of them are Android which is a version of Linux. Most embedded devices? You guessed it, Linux. And let's face it, desktops are mostly dieing anyway, even businesses are starting to do "Bring Your Own Device" more and more. Even Steam is embracing Linux, so windows gaming may end up being a thing of the past soon too. And of course because of this,
The idea of "Free Software" is winning too. Big business is becoming a look more open to practical collaborative methods of programing. Google for example, are a big big pusher of open source. It's just an easier and simpler way of doing things. This has spilled into games too, but not as much as other areas. Most every application you can think of though has a free version, and most of them are just as good. Do you really want to pay $600+ for photoshop when gimp is offered for free with just about as many features? But this doesn't only apply to software because,
Creative Commons licenses allow the same type of freedom outside software. Wikipedia already uses it for most of it's content, and there are lots of places that use it to make free art, sounds, and music. Nowadays it's actually not that hard to look online and find sites dedicated to royalty free artwork, sound, or music. Some of it is made just for games even. But even without this type of thing,
People ignore copyright anyway. For most people I would guess, copyright is an afterthought, if they think about it at all. There is the matter of out and out piracy of course where people just copy things anyway, copyright laws or no. Not all of them even think about it, just copying a song or two out of habit. But that's not all there is to it. There are also remixes and fanfiction, works of art made from or based on other works of art. But how would people make money off of this all you ask if they don't have control over copying? Well,
People don't have to make money just of selling copies of something. Let's face it, half the Internet runs on ads anyway, and even if I don't particularly like that fact and block them on every opportunity, they still make money. People now can raise money for projects by themselves, and donate to a person they think is worth it. These aren't all viable all the time I know, but the point is alternative ways of making money exists. Even if it didn't there is still the fact that,
People hate Copyright more and more each day. Let's face it. Every time you hear about Youtube pulling some Content ID crap, every time you hear about one more unreleased game from Japan or old game that has been abandoned by publishers who hoard the rights but never do anything with them, every time some asshole makes a DMCA strike on something you like, every time the government caves in to lobbyists and makes a bill like SOPA and PIPA, someone gets even more fed up with all this bullshit. It's only a matter of time before the dam breaks.
I am not saying everything is going to change right away, I am just saying I wouldn't be surprised if within at longest the next hundred years the idea of copyright as we knowing slowly gets widdled down to nothing. And good riddance. But I kinda think it's worth thinking about at least. That's not all, The Singularity (the point where technology can recursively improve it's self on it's own and we all likely either die off or become cybergods) I heard may happen as soon as 2045. Will we even need copyright if, say, we are all connected as a super AI network?
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.
You think I am just a hopeless nerd
And you've played so many games
I guess it might be so
But still I can not see
If the hopeless one is me
How can there be so much that you don't know?
You don't know...
You think there is no art in the programs
A program is just a dead thing that runs the game
But I know every sprite and thing and feature
Is an object, has a class, has a name
You think that the only some art matters
Only the graphics or the story or the sound
But if you take a look behind the surface
You'll find things you never would have found
Have you ever found the wonder of the code
Or danced with the numbers and the strings?
Can you design the classes of the objects?
Can you code with the completeness of Turing?
Can you code with the completeness of Turing?
Come learn the wonders of recursion
Come risk a bit of pointer math
Come take joy in the algorithms all around you
And for once, never worry about feedback
The object and the function are my brothers
The method and the lambda are my friends
And it is all connected to each other
All just machine code in the end
And how was this game made?
You never look to the program you won't know
You will never see the classes or the objects
You will never see the completeness of Turing
You can play the game an still
All you can see is the game until
You can code with the completeness of Turing
(inspired by some of the discussion on this thread, see if you can figure out the tune it's meant to go with)
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
Here is a thing I wrote randomly trying to sort out my feeeelings:
Allow me first to set up the context. Context for what I am not sure. Maybe my whole life. Right now it is nearly 3:00 am on October 8th, 2014, and will no doubt be much later by the time anyone reads this. If anyone reads this. If I even put it in a place where anyone would possibly see it. But I feel like typing it anyway. No doubt anyone reading this in the distant future, if anyone even can besides myself, may well be able to understand, in retrospect, the strange period of history I find myself in. I am betting the next few decades will be a period of great change for humanity. I have heard predictions that The Singularity will come as soon as 2045, though I am personally not quite convinced, even if I am rather hopeful something interesting will happen by then at least. I have heard not to long ago that robots capable of doing most of humanity's work may come about even earlier, and nanotechnology may be right around the corner, provided the drug corporations don't put a stop to it.
Personally though? I think corporations are starting to decline. Large corporation just can't sustain themselves much longer with the bloated budgets and short-sighted money grubbing management. Smaller, more flexible companies I think will thrive and, while a few big corporation will survive, they will not be as powerful in general as they once were. Cloud funding, while sometimes being scams to be sure, will come to be the easiest way to get anything done. I honestly think it's likely for computers to reach the upper limit to how far they can be pushed fairly soon, and nanotechnology will probably be the next big â€œrevolutionâ€. How far nanotechnology is able to go I couldn't say, but hopefully far enough that humans are able to become practically immortal and immune to most disease. Then of course, growing populations will probably push us into space, and after that all we basically have to do technology-wise is mega-structures.
I think AI is probably possible, but I am not sure it will ever exceed the capabilities of humans except in specialized areas. Achieving a kind of meta-consciousness with an AI that can create sentient sub-programs may be possible, as is the ability for humans to partially or fully automate our brains to do the same thing may be possible... in a way we already do this, creating programs and tools to do things for us, and dividing our attention to multiple things at once. It seams reasonable that with the right tech we could simply create copy minds that processed stuff for us and reported back, but we still have yet to make much progress on AI in general.
So basically right now there is all this â€œcool stuffâ€ that may happen within the next few decades, and I am sort of wasting away, just waiting for it, without a job, or much money, or anything I have really done in my life that is really worth much to most people. I kinda want to just get out of this body and into a new one already, to at least get some of my problems fixed. But all I have is a possible future that is still some time away. And I sort of just find myself completely unable to really love in the here and now. My mind is always somewhere else, either hoping for the future, or lost in a world of imagination. It's not that I hate the life and times I live in, I just can't really get myself to spend much time there. And now it is almost 4:00 am... sleepy...
It is now the October 26th, about 3 and a half weeks since I wrote the above, and it's bound to be a lot longer since anyone reads any of this, if anyone ever does. The above is only half of what I originally intended to write. I wrote of the future and now I must write of the past. Nostalgia is a powerful thing, and I think there are many alive today that are bound to it or blinded by it, and I am not sure I am an exception. It could be the now is always going to be a place where people feel unconformable, and they always look to the future or back to their past. But, I am not sure that is actually what is going on here. I am not sure how notable it will be in the due passing of time, but things are happening and have been happening for the past few years, perhaps since the beginning of the millennium, that seem to be threatening a lot of things I hold dear. Of course a lot of good things are happening too, and even a lot of the bad things may end up being good in the long run.
Avoiding the whole â€œwar on terrorâ€ thing, which recently seems like there is a chance it may flare up again, I mostly am concerned about the state of various forms of media. Perhaps that you could accuse me of being childish, and perhaps I am, but it seams to me like media is the very framework we use to conceptualize our ideas, to share our thoughts and out feelings, and to experiment with new ways of looking at things. And to be quite honest, I find myself uninterested and unimpressed with most of it, finding most of my time is taken up with watching random youtube videos of other people playing games or people reviewing things, and sometimes read fanfiction or online comics. Not that there isn't value in that mind you, but it does make me wonder why professionally done books, television, and film, as well as playing the games myself, can't really compete with that. I think I have come out of it a bit more lately though.
Fact is, I think maybe the entertainment industry in general, and especially the game industry in particular, are heading right for a crash. And the sad truth is... maybe it should. Game publishers crank out squeal after squeal, spending billions of dollars for games of inferior quality, or flooding the market with shovel-ware, and movies and so on arenâ€™t that better. And yes there are real gems in there, and I won't deny that or try to say all new games, movies, television, books, and such are crap. Because they are not. But there is too much big business and cooperate greed squeezing every penny out of them, and trying to control everything about them.
There is, of course, a lot of promise in crowd-funded projects and things like Steam and Netflix and Ebooks to let people self publish faster and easier then ever, and that is fantastic, but we still live in an industry mostly run by money and big corporations that muddle and control everything. And really this has been the way it has always been, but it sure seems worse now. Maybe because people are just complaining more and refusing to accept it. Maybe because the corporations are getting more and more frantic to make a quick buck as the walls crumble around them due to their own mismanagement.
But really it's bigger then that. When I look back at all the things that were once dear to me, so many of them have gone away. Granted, a lot of them were pointless to hold on to in the first place, but still. My parents moved from my childhood home a few years ago, and mentally, I am not sure I am over that. I still have dreams of going back there sometimes. Even before that so many things from my child hood are gone... old toys my parents got rid of, old files locked on a decaying broken hard drive from who knows how many years ago, that sort of thing. I even remember when I was a kid making some very silly books about my adventures with my stuffed animals... but I don't know what happened to them. All gone now I suppose. I had a bunch of cassette tapes I used to keep in my nightstand, some I recorded myself... I think they are all gone now. I kinda wish, I had more backups, more data, transferred more things to digital formats and such, but it really is all kinda silly, but still.
And even going further back, before even my own birth, oh how much history I have missed! Those strange days in the 60s and 70s where so much happened and so much changed, the whole history of the two world wars and their bloody aftermath, as awful as they were. How much the while world has missed!.Before little more then a hundred years in the past not one person living was even alive! Those times and those people will never be again.
But of course I can't change the past, or even view it as more the someones reconstruction. But to be honest I don't really want to. What I want, I guess, is even if this time period right now isn't to great, I want to live through it... I want to see the future and know I have seen this past. And I don't really want to every stop living, not even after the stars go out and the universe grows cold. I want to find a way to open a rift and move somewhere new then... and even if I can't... I am not sure... but I think just living alone in a dead universe would be enough if I can remember even a fraction of all that, if my imagination still works, if my mind still operates I could create my own worlds in my head. Maybe it's already happened... but... well... we will see what happens won't we?