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Read through a previous blog post from around this time last year and feel like doing a followup of that socially conscious type stuff.


So, life's still pretty messy right now, eh?

We keep seeing everything Brexit and Trump touch getting worse, yet we don't stop them. Granted, props to the yank's courts and some politicians for taking firm stands against Trump at times; they deserve a lot of respect for standing up against someone as downright dangerous as that dotard :3

I guess its weird for me to see people dig their heels in rather than just concede making mistakes. Remember when people considered recognising errors and learning from them to be a positive trait?


For people who aren't keeping score with Brexit it currently looks like this:

-We pay a tremendous divorce bill that will likely range between £40-£60 billion. Would you like me to write that out with zeros?

Remember that a huge campaign point to leave was all the extra money we'd save by not contributing to the EU.

-We will continue to be aligned with the European Courts.

...But we'll have sovereignity* ofc (no, not that rad card game). Even, if this wasn't the case, sovereignty would have minimal impact on a layperson; it just means some other asshole rules over you...and its not like we've got any particularly competent people in office atm. And that applies to both major partys.

*You will not have sovereignty. No substitions or refunds.

-We're begging for access the single market and customs union.

And ofc we would. Unfortunately, see above. The overwhelming majority of EU policy is for the purpose of harmonious trade. Wont oblige? Then you don't get access to the single market. And all that legislative nonsense about worker's rights. Well, why do you workers want that anyways? You've got just enough sovereignity so that companies can eliminate H&S standards for marginal profit (but hey, its not like you can put a price on human life otherwise).

-Immigration has been reduced. Or, the 'no-one wants to live here anymore effect'.

Aww ****. Now who's going to toil the fields while I play xbox? Don't be surprised when the same legal migrants we belittled and shoved out are given a golden handshake in five years to return. Guess who foots that bill.

-Inflation is ballooning.

Y'know how before Brexit people were saying, 'Mannn, the acceleration in inequality is really problematic.' Yeah, that's not better now.


Sorry, I don't want this to be too Brexit-centric (although, obviously I'm more informed on UK politics). One of the most interesting aspects of it though is the refusal by both major parties for a second referendum. I kind of agree since the alternative is to regularly revote on this topic in case the consensus ever generally does favour leaving again. My main issue though is that 52-48 is not a clear enough result and we should have set a threshold figure, say 70%, to warrant this would-be massive change; if there was a genuine majority politicians wouldn't have to pussyfoot around issues to avoid damaging re-election prospects.


Sorry again, its really hard not to get dragged into this ¬.¬ So, we're still seeing a raise in the political far-right. Jeez, we still might lose Merkel. She's really the last, best hope for humanity right now. One of the more amusing things about this is the British general populace's inability to recognise what the far-right is. Recently, its a become a catch-all insult used by airheads if someone says something they disagree with. Same as snowflake. As a literary man it saddens me to see language become the casualty of politics.


Actually, one more fascinating thing about Brexit. A lot of people who voted for it admonish Trump; "Trump is racist, Trump's an isolationist, Trump only puts his own interests first.". Its phenomenal to me that they can say this with a straight face.


Climate change is still, well, changing the climate. We're actually seeing some improvement in that regard when it comes to infrastructure, but the attitude of the general populace is still the issue. What's crazy is we're really seeing effects, even here in mild-weathered Britain. When grids go down businesses lose money. Those wildfires in the states aren't free for governments to put out. No-one benefits, people almost universally recognise it as 'man-made' climate change yet we continue to behave this way. Its unfathomable to me. Amusingly, someone actually tried to scold me at work this year for turning the lights off in rooms that weren't in use (naturally I reminded them they were not my line manager and that other's shouldn't have to suffer because they're too lazy to raise their arm when entering an exitting a room; Mama Nature's a milf folks, lets help her maintain her youthful exuberance).


Automation scares were a big deal a this year; Heck, 'they took his jooob' was practically a campaign slogan for Trump back in '16. Here's the funny thing about automation and any form of universal basic income; they'll almost definitely never happen (or, at least, in such a watered down form as to be unrecognisable). And its largely because of the people these systems would benefit. Now I'm not talking about the truly down-and-outs like the homeless, the beggars or the otherwise unemployed; they have zero to lose. Its the working classes and smaller merchant classes. And yes, these people would overwhelmingly gain from such social advances but they would lose something, and that something is purely cerebral; they would lose the perceived meaning of the labour (and all the associated struggles of just getting by) that they've performed 'til now. Perhaps more importantly they would lose a level of distinction; out-earning others provides a sense of accomplishment; from this we can gather that some level of inequality is actually desirable by some (to an extent, myself included I suppose).


My observations have been that the outright racism that sparked last year's entry has largely cooled down. In fact, everything kind of has. Maybe its the emptier bellies lowering motivation. Maybe the reduced immigration figures means we see less supposedly objectionable people. My view is that people are pretty regularly engaging in complete disassociation with the world; we read about Kimmyboy in Korea, how we're Putin up with the Ruskies, and that Trump's always got something funny to say. And then we just go about our day. I suppose its kind of necessary; its out of our hands anyways right? But it feels like people are really sincerely trying to find happiness now, to force it, because who knows when the bomb is going to drop.

Well, I've been at this a while now and more will probably follow in the comments so now here's Tom with the weather...



I've been posting a bit about baking recently so here's some pics of the goodies.


These are the first attempt.The welshcakes came out a little burned obv T.T but everything tasted pretty good.



These are the second batch of shortbread. Had a little dough left over hence the Pacman shaped one.



These were the cookes that became brownies. To make them the soft chewy kind I used brown sugar and self-raising flour, but yeah, came out too big.



And these are the last things I baked. A second batch of welsh cakes that came out looking a lot better than the first.



Eventing 'vs.' Scripting

Hey RMers,


I was motivated to write this post and drudge up this old argument after viewing some script requests on the forum that ask, starry-eyed, for something to be done better via scripting than it could be done via eventing.

And, in some regards, this is not inaccurate view; scripting can be infinitely more flexible. However, something made via scripting is not inherently better than an evented counterpart and the reason is because scripting and eventing are the same thing; events are not a separate entity, they are predefined methods that have been given a user interface. One way that may help to express the relationship between events and scripting is to think of a big box (scripting) with a smaller box inside (eventing); both boxes have an identical purpose however one is able to carry a heavier load than the other.


There's an impressive history of complex systems being evented; menus, battle systems, minigames. Whether such systems would have been better off being scripted is its own question but the end result is what matters. The only time you need to use scripting, the only time scripting is objectively 'better', is when some aspect of the system simply cannot be done via eventing. And these situations do arise due to eventing's limited functionality and their methods can carry associated baggage (like a text box's system interruption) but quite a few posts that 'need' scripts to accomplish something, well, don't; all that is necessary is to comb through the existing methods of the editor and how they interact with one another.


So far this may sound like a very pro-eventing post and, in some regards, it is; in that I would like to elevate the attitude towards events and dissolve the sheen of scripting. Being overly dedicated to eventing has its own problems though. Ignoring its objective limitations (and again, they irrefutably are limited) even the UI of eventing is tedious. Viewing a series of nested conditionals is unpleasant, editing one can be a nightmare. Simple tasks like creating a variable or setting a co-ordinate can feel like they take a lifetime. Bugfixes are tedious because the engine won't crash and give an error message (that's kind of a point in its favour as well though). Eventing is the introduction, its something you are intended to progress from, no other engine I've used doesn't just drop you in front of a script editor. However, that doesn't make the logic that events are capable of carrying out any lesser.



What I'm trying to convey is scripting is great but events are just scripting in disguise and are also great. The next time you can't figure something out with events and you aren't comfortable with scripting yet then try approaching it a different way with events. Then try another way with events. Then maybe re-evaluating what exactly you want out of the system. Then, before asking for helpy, try eventing one more time. You'll be surprised what you can accomplish without ever opening the script editor (and you may be devastated at the reality if you continue to treat scripting as some magical shortcut to complex systems).


A Killozapian Entry

I'm going to apologize in advance for the following post as its often considered poor ettiquette to hold a conversation covering sensitive subjects. And I'm sorry that I should have to be sorry as these are the things that are often most deserving of discussion (but, no, the last thing you ate is juuust as interesting and beneficial -_-).


I feel it will help to make my political stance clear. I try to be very centred (general empathy seems to make me a little left-leaning though); I recognise that even if both sides of an argument do not present equally valid arguments they are clearly equally incensed and that it is the latter that must be remedied (heck, the prior often just gets ignored). It can be hard to keep a clear head and think rationally for a lot of people. I don't mean that in any kind of condescending way; this is just how a lot of people are (I'm probably the outlier by being pragmatic and a little cold).


That aside, here's where the post really starts. I'm really very fearful of the future. Not the far future, we're doomed from so many different causes that its almost comical (if you get bored sometime read up on dark energy and the acceleration of the universe's expansion for our latest dilemma). I mean our demise isn't really relevant when you cast aside our species' ego; our atoms could have taken so many different forms (and have already).


No, my lifetime is what has me concerned (kek, ego successfully cast aside). For the first week or so of Brexit I was in a literal state of anxiety; we had willingly gone from stability to instability and during the dawn of globalisation we gave a middle finger to the world stage. I guess thats fine; its done. And yeah, we've screwed ourselves a bit, but no-one else's fortunes are looking so hot either. The political side is a bother, but its something I've mostly come to terms with. Not least of all because there's another politcal shitstorm in progress and brooding over Brexit won't help. But if its not the political side of politics that's bothering me then eeeehh what's up Tarq?


Well, my poorly parodied friend, its the social side. The people surrounding me repulse me. Like, more than before. People are being openly offensive which is never great but is worse when its invalid. Bigotry is, well, big now. One win for nationalism has overriden decades of developing tolerance for others. Here's the thing about your nationality; you have nothing to do with it. Its where you fell out of your mother. Just because you we're blessed to fall on a particularly good patch of dirt doesn't make you entitled to it; you are entitled to nothing you didn't build with your own hands.


Disagreements in these kinds of affairs rarely work out. And thats fine with me; I don't want to be everybody's friend. But I need to get along with you. And you need to get along with me. That's how society works. And I can't get along with people the way they are currently behaving. And its a failing on my part; I'm the one who can't adapt (although my obstinance in the name of reason is becoming a point of pride tbh). So when I, admittedly foolishly, get myself sucked into these altercations every now and then its my own fault for not just putting my head down and acting like this unwarranted contempt is totally acceptable.


I guess what bothers me most is a lot of these strong nationalists (frankly, often racist) never seem to have spoken to a brown person. No really. An actual conversation; not an acknowledgement or a transaction. And not even something about their culture in some half-pre-determined attempt to learn about 'them'. That person was not a representative of their people. Alot of nationalists have, seemingly, never had a conversation with certain ethnicitiess about idk sports or science or whatever's their thing. And its not that surprising. I mean, those kinds of encounters are what make a person realise we're all y'know people and other hippy sentiments. While it would be wrong to despise a group for a bad interaction with a certain type of person its more understandable than similar dislike from minimal interaction entirely.


Now back my own concerns. I am now a member of a minority; it has become the bottom line of each of these farces discussions that Brexit is the precedent that we don't have to take kindly to tolerance 'round here. And unlike other minority's in this country who shouldn't be thought to hold certain motives due to having the wrong skin colour or holy day, I have explictly expressed my apparently unpopular views. This majority united over their express dislike of minorities; When they succeed in eliminating the visibly different how long before they start removing the other undesirables (like us 'terrorist sympathisers')? With the IPA well underway are the thought police really that far behind?



I often find it hard not to go into tangents (as you've probably observed) so I should probably stop. The TL;DR is we share this planet so just please learn to play nice finally. With everyone. And if you want to hate strangers just do it in private. Or when I'm out the room. C'mon, spare my feelings; I thought you liked white people.


IBN Entry: Highscore Dump

Hey all,

This is just an area where people who play my IBN entry can show off their highscores (game found here: http://www.rpgmakercentral.com/topic/39492-indie-by-night/?p=278306 ) Just take a screeny of your final score and I'll PM whoever has the highest at the end of IBN's judging period with a list of Steam keys and they can pick one. You can post multiple scores if you do better later on - just edit your original post. I'll be adding a secret score modifier to account for which difficulty you selected.

Any feedback about the game, balancing, desired additions, etc., would also be appreciated; it might be nice to while away a few afternoon's making this better.


Anyways, thanks again to Nyuu for hosting this and good luck to any participants.


Why RM Is Bad

So I'm going to spend this last precious hour before bed writing an article everyone's going to hate. Why do I do these things? D:


I love RM. You can cite me in several sources saying that making games is a pursuit that I actively enjoy performing. More so, probably, than actually playing games themselves. And RM happens to be the main tool that affords me this great pleasure.


...But RM is bad.


Its not simply the tired default scripts or the poor RTP that everyone is so down on; its the ethos behind RM. ~'Easy enough for a child, powerful enough for a developer'. Both of those statements are, more or less, true. The thing is we are, most of us, too keen to fall back on the path of least resistance, and too often we're falling into the prior category.

I think what bugs me most about the latest iteration of RM is that it really offers very, very, little in terms of new features except yet greater ease of use . Now on the one hand that's just great businessing. It is. EB! took their USP and embellished it and hat's off to them for both recognising it and acting upon it. Its done a really great job on upping the 'for a child part', but what exactly has been accomplished for the dev? (Lets not actually get into that here, there's already been a handful of threads in that vein.)

Why do I have such an issue with greater ease then? Well, around these parts at least, there's a saying that goes 'smooth seas make for poor sailors' and the more RM does for you then the less you have to do for yourself. Learning is an incremental process and since RM is streamlining the easy parts you're not learning them; consequently, you're going to have a tougher time tackling the harder stuff. I think a good example is the removal of three-layer mapping in VX. Many XP users bah-humbugged or smugly continued using XP, while VX users went on to develop parallaxing, which, so far, offers greater graphical possibilities than other mapping methods and seems to largely disregard the benefits of MV's upgrade to 48x48. Ofc, parallaxing has its own shortcomings and I'm not ignoring those, but, again, I think its a great example of a distinct lack of a feature encouraging elbow grease and of said elbow grease paying dividends.

I'll give just one more example in this style but somewhat reversed; I, personally, was very grateful for the character generator provided by VXA despite many user's malcontent. I suppose said users had never had to sprite from scratch before? Either way, it made for very detailed bases which could then be edited. The quality of my sprites has somewhat improved but I've probably become a worse and lazier spriter than I would have been by now due to this shortcut.


Another issue, and I do not advocate cost barriers or even barriers to entry in general, is that RM's EULA is way too generous for the optimistic to pass up. Publish whatever you want for a one-off payment of, what? Fifty bucks? Twenty for XP? It shows a distinct disinterest in both the user and quality control of the end product when compared to, seemingly, most other engines that offer various forms of support at the cost of percentage of earnings; these latter folks actively benefit from improving the commercial viability of your product. Commercial viability such as, oh idk, making a decent game.


Well Ol' Papa Time's scolding me that I have to get sleeping if I want to be awake when that whole work thing comes aknocking tomorrow. Say some mean stuff to me below and we'll continue this :3


Idle Games

Well, there wasn't much outcry (or even attention ;.; ) from my last entry so I guess there's no harm in another.


During a Sm4sh session a little while back a friend asked ~"Clicker Heroes?! How can you even play that!"

The response was "I don't" (followed by a JC bomb to fair). And its true; Sure, I open it up most days but I don't play it. I don't think anyone does. It sits in the background and does its thing while I play guitar or watch something, and on days where I simply don't have enough free time to set aside to play a 'real' game it provides me with the feeling of having played something, even if I didn't.


There's really only two reasons I can conceive why someone would have a problem with the recent surge in 'idle games'. The first is reasonable enough; that the blatant skinnerboxxing and almost prideful imbalance can be pretty offputting, to phrase it nicely, to someone design conscious. I suppose the microtransactions in the games aren't great either. None of these aspects are unique to this genre though, even if they are taken to new realms.


The second problem gamers seem to have is a little more perturbing; that these games are below casual. And, in a sense, that's true enough; The idle games I've tried out are all kind of like campaign strategy games except they require no strategy due to the absence of a fail state and the difference in the rate of progress from optimal play being marginal.

Honestly though, I don't think this is inherently bad. Listening to the radio on the drive home today, an elderly person wanted to find an easy game so she could bond with her grandkids; this kind of game, while banal, struck me as a fitting (lack of) challenge for both demographics.


I'm hesitant to throw out these edgy words like 'toxic' but it does sadden to see the gaming community's exceptional displays of elitism when suggesting ~'others don't know how to enjoy themselves properly'. Wouldn't it be better to use these games as a gateway for the uninitiated, rather than using them as some sort of litmus test to decide who is worthy of inclusion?



What are your thoughts on these idle games? Perhaps you play some yourself or you consider them indicative of a black cloud in the market's future. Throw words at me below!


Gameplay Vs. Graphics

Good afternoon class. Please, take a seat.


I wanted to talk a little today about the importance of direction in design and, specifically, the age-old argument of graphics vs. gameplay.


Before we get all analytical and historical and all the 'cals', I want to make my position clear; As someone who is slightly older than the average user of this forum I've lived through a great deal of modern gaming's history. My earliest console was the NES, or perhaps our household had our GBs first, and I've owned most consoles released since then. One of the greatest joys I got out of pc gaming was researching and emulating many of the great games I missed out on before consumer capitalism became what it was today; as beautiful as it is monstrous. So, like many of us here, I'm sure, I consider myself something of an expert in the field of videogames after receiving both an ample amount of content and, more importantly, the analytical toolset provided by first-hand experience of game design.


I'll save tldr folks the effort of scrolling down: Graphics are important to games. It's obvious. Stop being silly.


Anyone who's familiar with my posts around the forum will probably be surprised by that statement: I'm not only firmly rooted in the gameplay camp but my reason for being there is from form theory. Videogames are videogames because gameplay; its a popular idea. But its also very inhibitive idea. After all, graphics are undeniably part of videogames; its the delivery method of the gamplay experience.


Its pretty common to hear people harkening back to the golden ages; that those games didn't rely on graphics to sell games or that they weren't as expensive a part of the gamemaking process. Well, they did. And, they were. And that's just how it was so there's not really room for debate there.

"B-But, they didn't have the same technological capabilities back then so there was more focus on gameplayyy." This train of thought is erroneous as the industry has always been pushing its limits graphically, and specialists always require specialist paycheques. Obviously, in ten or twenty years our machines will look even more archaic than the NES looks to us now as technology continues to develop faster and faster.

What's worst about this kind of mindset though is the unabashed wishful thinking, the rose-tinted glasses as they say. There have been a lot of now outdated games that I've enjoyed over the last few decades that I was fortunate enough to not only live through but be conscious and mentally independant during. But they are outdated. They may possess the most incredible design decisions, the most poignant narrative moments, and ofc the most exquisite graphics of the time ( ;)). But even the absolute best will also be burdened with gameplay decisions designed around accomodating the primitive hardware and simply the poor logic of a medium in infancy (for example, falling down a hole in early LoZ's will cause the player to respawn before removing the heart leading to Link spinning around at the last entered doorway, a rather bizarre sequence for falling to death). And the superior gameplay is what you're all about right?

Now, don't misunderstand me; enjoy your nostalgia to your heart's content (I do!). But this kind of thinking has little place in critical discussion.


So what does belong in the discussion? I'm so glad I asked.


We are so incredibly lucky to be on the cusp of gaming's renaissance. No, really, we are. Its like we're in Victorian England at the introduction of the novel, or at Woodstock in the Sixties. There's a whole lot of mud and grime but some people are doing some really amazing things and I would put most developers into one of three tiers (regardless of their motives):


-Developers that want to make a game, any game, and are willing to lean on existing conventions.

-Developers that understand existing gaming conventions, and are attempting to manipulate them in new ways.

-Developers that are attempting to establish entirely new gaming conventions, either internally or through borrowing from other mediums.


Why have I put this across? Because gaming is unlike most artisitic mediums in that it encapsulates most existing mediums, and the visual ones, arguably, most heavily. Not only making individual graphical assets but also composing them on-screen are both very artistic endeavours. Not only creating cutscenes but effectively directing the player for most impact is very much like choosing the mise-en-scene or the editing process in film-making.


"But Tarq, time and money is spent making things look more realistic than they need to be!"

Is that strictly true? I would say that for a great many games that are intended to recognisably take place in the real world, or a variant of it, that replicating reality is a worthwhile effort. Even most games that are not intending this will still desire immersion, something that is easier to perform with a less jarring visual transition between our world and the game world.

There are, absolutely, games that have little to no reliance on graphics (a text-based adventure, for example) but the developers are still, or should be, redirecting their efforts elsewhere.There is no shortcut or loophole in gamemaking.


Which leads nicely into my next point; we are seeing some serious min-maxxing in game design nowadays. And its awesome. Why read a book when you can play it? Why watch a movie when you can walk through one? Obviously, the quality of the content itself would be the deciding factor for a lot of people, but considering we're seeing the form of story-telling being taken to these new and exciting levels, is it really that surprising that the visually creative want to leave their mark on our medium?



Wow, I've been writing this for a while and I've still yet to scratch the surface. Let me know if you've enjoyed reading this, or perhaps why you didn't. Let me know if you'd like to read more stuff like this, or mayhaps we can just continue it in the comments. And also look out for an update here


in the next couple of days. Going to be pretty cool, I promise! :3

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