Sunday, February 28, 2010

Bltyugh fyitf ufytfugk

I sort of lost track of myself in Dwarf Fortress for a few days. I do that sometimes. Find something that completely overcomes my life for a while. Sometimes it's a project but it's usually a game of some sort. I have also stay up mostly the whole night, though I might do that anyway, game or no game.

But anyway yeah, I sort of forgot about blogging lately. Not that anyone reads this or anything, but since when did that stop me? Anyway I started this blog to practice writing and drawing silly doodles, not to have anyone read... though I wish they would, cause I am vain like that.

Now it's almost 5:00 am here and I feel a tad burned out and I realize I wasted another day playing a silly game and not accomplishing anything. I want to finish my silly hack and someday move to possibly other projects but I just can't work on it. I am just not in the mood for it, but even when I am I never get anything done. I only ever actually work on it if I suddenly get into a mood where it just "works". Sometimes things just flow from my mind and I can get a lot of crap done. It's rather amusingly like a "Strange Mood" from Dwarf Fortress where one of your dwarfs suddenly goes crazy, climbs a workshop, kicks everyone else out of it, collects random junk, and starts working madly on a super valuable artifact till it is completed or the dwarf's little mind snaps leaving him raving mad, berserk, or depressed to the point of suicide. Well I already am raving mad so maybe it IS the same thing.

Anyway, poopcake lingerpotter ziggywoot, and such.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


I started playing Dwarf Fortress, a charming little game about dwarves who build a fortress. As opposed to a fortress build out of dwarves, which would just be silly. I heard about it quite some time ago and put off checking it out despite how interesting it sounded because I was afraid it's interface would be a cluttered nightmare of shortcut keys and menus. Which it is, but it's not as bad as it sounds really. Nethack is no worse really, and while I would greatly prefer using a mouse for most of the selection process, it works pretty well. I still wouldn't recommend it to anybody by ultra-uber-hardcore gamers. Not because it's hard, although it is, but because it's just so massively overwhelming in almost all aspects. But if any of my non-existent readers wants to try, look here for help.

Right now my current fortress isn't doing so well. Faced with a lack of food and booze (but more armor then I could possibly ever need), most of my dwarves have been caught up in a "Tantrum Spiral" which basically means they all throw fits which causes others to throw fits which causes others to throw fits until every dwarf is doing nothing but stomping around hitting things and wracking all my stuff. Personally I am at this point waiting for them all to die so I can start over and do a better fortress somewhere else. Yeah it sounds heartless but they are the ones who decided to smash my farm. I am just sad to leave all of the tons and tons of more or less useless loot behind. But I could always go get it in adventure mode, where it is bound to be more useful. Adventure mode is an alternative gameplay mode where you can explore old ruins of forts you abandoned and learn more about the world. It's a lot more like Nethack and other such games where your just one guy exploring the world and getting treasure, except the world you explore is the same one you try and make forts on.

The unofficial (hell maybe official) motto of Dwarf Fortress is "Losing is Fun!". And by and large it's true. You can't really win as far as I know, just hold off death for as long as you can, and when anyone dies, they are dead and thats it. But the interesting thing is the game it's self. The way it remembers all your attempts, the way the world and it's history is created more or less by the computer and grows even more as you play, the way you find new things and interesting ways to do things. I guess thats why it's not for everyone. It's not a simple game with a simple score or a simple ending, it's an insanely complex game that manages to be fun anyway.

I bet I will get bored with it after a few weeks anyway though. I always do.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Why consoles suck

I don't own a 360 or a PS3 and probably never will. I do own a Wii but I never use the damn thing. In fact, all the new games I ever play are for my DS and my PSP nowadays. I have a laptop also, but I don't really play games on it. I do however watch videos of people playing games and watch reviews of games, and I think I can safely say there are hardly any games for them I want to play, and even the ones I do, I rather play in bed on a handheld then bother with a TV screen and stuff. The only thing that annoys me is 360 and PS3 have some indie games like Megaman 9 I would like to try. Why can't they put that as a downloadable DSi or PSP game I have no idea. I have alot of old games on my PSP (although my new one isn't set up to play them right now) and I would certainly shell out the cash for the virtual console versions if they worked on the DSi. As far as I know they don't. Nor any indie games. Although PS1 games work on PSP thats a plus, but it's rather annoying that I need hacks to play PS1 games I already own. I also acknowledge the fact I am cheep as hell and don't have the money to pay for any of this crap anyway.

As a side note, why do game makers make indie games for consoles? Or make "updated" versions on systems I will never own? I think it's because PC game development has become more and more troublesome. But it annoys me that there isn't a universal format for simple games. Ya know, like java or flash only it doesn't suck. I guess thats why I got into rom hacking. Emulators are a lot more universal then any one system.

I feel a lot like I did back in the snes and genesis days. I owned nether, could get nether, and didn't really care, and it's only when emulators became available that I went back and discovered how good they were. But then again, as long as I can watch someone play it on youtube, 90% of the games I find thats enough, and I hardly play games nowadays anyway. Maybe I am just getting old.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Rock is boring.

I created a Pandora Radio station a while ago. I try and seed it with songs I like, though I am rather annoyed at it's lack of video game or some of the interesting remix music I find on youtube, but I guess the whole point is to find real bands with traits I like, and it is interesting what I find sometimes. But I really find half the time I don't like "mainstream" music. At all.

Most of this has to do with over use of the guitar. I hate the guitar. Okay, every once and a while there are some cool guitar songs and solos and stuff, so I obviously don't hate it. Even power chords and other distorted guitar, which are overused to the point where I can hardly stand to admit it when a song that uses them is actually GOOD. Of course, this actually happens with pianos and horns and other musical instruments too. Once a band or genre uses them, they will usually use them in every song, non-stop, until you just want to smash every instrument of that type you see. A no doubt related problem is that all songs by any given band usually sound exactly the same. Even songs I like often are the only songs of any given band that is any good, with some exceptions. I guess it's just part of the bigger problem that most music is mass-produced soulless slop. I guess thats the problem when you have a band composed of 4 or 5 members who each only really play one instrument in one style. And the only reason music tends to follow that formula is due to live concerts. I never attend live concerts anyway. I like studio sculpted music with deep and subtle music, not music blared in your ear until they bleed in a crowd of yelling morons, but maybe thats just me.

Video game music somehow often avoids these problems. Sometimes. I think it's just do to forcing game music to be composed on a theme to fit a variety of different areas or moods. Thats why, for example, Final Fantasy music is so dynamic and rich... each song is fit to it's own theme and they rarely repeat form one game to another. Not only do they have a range of themes, but most songs have different styles, from sweeping classical themes, to hard rock, even to techno or salsa. Other games, like Megaman, also seem to share this somewhat. But few bands do. It's just the same old crappy love song with the same old crappy style repeated over and over. But their are those that don't.

Anyway I am a lot more open to different music then I used to be. I used to only really like game music, but I realized over time, that game music is about the same as any other music really, the difference is they don't play the same song 50 times in a row... usually.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Law and Disorder

So my favorite pr0n site, known as rule34 has been getting a bit paranoid about government cracking down on "lolicon". One example they give is this case which is, to me, a prime example of whats wrong with the whole thing. The problem being, art of any kind being prosecuted for being "obscene" or "wrong" without any attempt at justification. And once again the Protect Act lets them get away with it. See, legal action has nothing to do with right and wrong anymore, or even law, just how much someone can push to have someone convicted.

Also I have to say, as someone who enjoys lolicon for various reasons, I am a little offended everyone who does is assumed to go out and abuse random kids. I think people have completely missed the point on this whole issue. Child Abuse is wrong because a child gets hurt. Child Porn is wrong because children get exploited. These are clear cut well defined moral reasons. But drawings? Because someone might want to maybe abuse someone? Sorry not gonna cut it.

On the other hand, I rather dislike rape and forced situations in any context, particularly with children, and I do think people who enjoy such are a bit messed up in the head... but it's still not a moral issue until someone is actually hurt.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Artsy smartsy, gamey wamey

I saw a discussion online about video games, if they can be art, if story is important, and such like that. Well actually I have been hearing discussions like that for a while in various places, so I thought I would share my views on the subject, even if no one is here to share to.

First of all, yes, video games can be art. ANYTHING can be art. I think wikipedia says it best: "Art is the process or product of deliberately arranging elements in a way that appeals to the senses or emotions." Or, in other words, art is about invoking an experience or idea though different mediums. It is an act of reflection of experience or ideas. Thus video games can be as much art as anything else.

The problem that occurs is, most modern video games are a blend of classic game elements, and non-game fictional elements, which often have very little impact on each other. It gets so bad sometimes that the game and the story can effectively been seen as two totally different things. You can effectively often skip all a games story bits, and then look at ONLY the games story bits, or visa versa without either one seeming excessively out of contest. In other words, you might as well make a game with the gameplay and a movie or use other medium of storytelling with the story, without either one being really all that different. Thus some people refer to the "game" as only the game parts and discard the story as a tacked on element (It should be noted, even in a pure gameplay perspective, games STILL can be art -- People can and have used gameplay elements as a point in themselves).

This is not necessarily the case however. There are cases where a game and it's story are very closely related. You can for instance use the form of a game as a storytelling medium. In this case most of the time a storyteller will use a game to invoke sympathy and understanding in a character's plight. It is one thing to hear a character's hardships but another entirely to be forced, if only in a limited way, to actually go though them. This is often why video games were used for storytelling in the first place. Another reason to do this is to open a stories progression to multiple conclusions. Athough useualy seen as a way to give the players a feeling of control, it also serves a function for the story it's self. It makes the conclusions more meaningful because, for once, you can understand the alternatives, and appreciate the choice. It is no surprise that most multiple ending scenarios have a "good" ending and several "bad" ending. And when that's not the case it gives the teller a way explore multiple avenues. The thing is, while the player has the illusion of choice, and can explore themselves and others around them based on that choice, the choice it's self is often the whole point. Now you could say games that do this aren't really games. But they still involve game play, so in my mind, they count as games.

You can also do it in reverse, and have a game that uses storytelling as it's medium. This is what a real role-playing game is all about like in D&D and other tabletop games. Doing it in a VIDEO game can be tricky. However it's not entirely impossible. In this case you are given tools and story elements to build a story with, and often making the story as rich and deep as possible is the whole point.

So my point is, yes, games can be art, and story can be important. It's not always true, but it can be.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Time to Take out the Trash... Tomorrow I sware.

One of my problems is my apartment is often a mess. This is largely because, in my mind, chores fall into to categories: 1. Chores too small to bother with, and 2. Chores to large to do anything with on my own, with an admittedly weird fuzzy area in between when I just simply "forget" about them somehow. In fact if I wasn't made to clean and if I didn't have help, I hate to think how bad my apartment would be then. Probably not too much worse, as I do have standards even if I almost never live up to them. I have seen one or two messy apartments/rooms that have been far worse then mine. I guess it may be true I rely on other people to help too much, but really, if someone thinks I am taking advantage of them I tell them "then stop letting me take advantage of you already!" in some cases it's a little more complicated then that though, I know.

Lately my parents have been helping me out with stuff after the housing program I am involved with started showing more reluctance to. I can understand why my housing program gets a bit peeved at me about it. Technically, it's not their job to do that sort of thing, but they often have to anyway due to regulations. Quite frankly it's a tad unfair for both of us. For them because they have to work around my frankly quite lazy attitude and tendency to procrastinate, and for me because it rather forces me to either conform to their standard or become the "bad guy" by making things more difficult for them then perhaps is needed. My excuse, which of course is not really accepted, is mostly I simply can't do things their way without stressing myself well beyond what I will accept. Which honestly is not much. I have a strict 0% stress limit on anything I do. But of course I am doomed either way because arguing constantly is stressful too. But not nearly as much as the alternative. My parents, as far as I know, don't have a problem with helping me sometimes.

Now I know I am quite selfish in a lot of aspects. I have for a long time believed in a form of "enlightened self-interest" of sorts, and I have long ago abandoned all pretense of being anything close to humble or altruistic, though I try to restrict blatant egoism to a form of self-depreciating humor. But I can be a jerk sometimes. Often I think I need to. Even if I feel bad about it. But it still shocked and irritated me that someone begain to take my laziness personally, comparing it to a sign of a lack of respect. And honestly, they may be right. I don't tend to respect and appreciate people like others do. I could blame it on my condition, but apparently thats been done enough on the net, to the point where you can't even mention my condition without sounding like a giant prick. Can you guess what my condition is? I will give you a hint. It starts with an "A". I could blame it on my philosophy. But not only would that make me seem MORE like a prick, but my philosophic musing has very little to do with it, being mostly metaphysical, and in fact flatly states an opposite moral view it in many ways. Or I could just say I am a prick and move on. But... Yeah. In any case what it is, is a problem.

So what am I going to do about it? Like most people who have problems like this, probably as little as possible. Because I think I have bigger problems. I feel sorry for people who have to put up with my crap, I honestly do. But at the same time, they can always walk away. They can always give up on me. And I wish they wouldn't, because they are useful, and I try to at least treat them with as much respect as I can. Because while some are just doing a job, others really do care. And I simply will not promise that I will get better and work harder unless I really have to. Because that would be an obvious lie.

On the other hand, for the excuses, runarounds, and frustration people get form me, I do honestly truly believe that simply doing what they say is nearly imposable. I always get the same thing. "Why don't you pick up the mess when you make it?" "Why don't you just do something when you see it needs done?" "Why don't you make an effort to remember things?" Because I haven't been able to do it since I was a child and I simply for whatever reason, either don't see the task or automatically dismiss it. And doing work is anguish for me. No matter what. I hate hate hate work. It's like every time I think of it I am physiologically conditioned somehow to assume every task is backbreakingly hard and painful. And hell, it practically is. I sit or lay down so much expending the effort to walk around is almost painful. But that's my own fault I guess. Still I have to practicably hammer half my brain in to get myself to do anything at all. Maybe I just lack willpower. But half the time I don't even see the point.

Maybe I just need hypnotherapy.

Edit: You know, I made this whole long blog post about the mess on my floor rather then, say, cleaning it. What does that tell you?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

My Prophecy

The great clock will break,
and prophecy will fail.
Humanity will no longer be bound by gods or spirits, seers or prophets,
And what happens next, no one can say for sure.

Hey if Nostradamus can do it so can I.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Zen and the Art of Level Design

So as you may know, depending on who you are, if anyone is even paying attention, I am working on a Super Mario World romhack and... wait where are you going? It's better then a normal hack honest! Anyway I got lotsa ASM, some fansy gfx, custom music, a brand new character (my imaginary catgirl named Jiggles), and all sorts of odd ideas, but I continually strugle with the hack, mostly because I just can't get a good grip on a fundamental feature all hacks need... Good level design. Becuase honestly I am not to sure, even after all these years of gaming, how level design really works. Especially Mario-style levels.

Because let's face it, Mario levels have always been a rather random collection of blocks that still somehow is fun to play. When I was young, I was highly confused with Mario's jumbled ascetics. What with floating blocks and coins, random platforms with no support, and generally fantastic layout. But a lot of the levels were fun anyway. Still I couldn't help but be a little put off by it. As I grew up, and saw more artistic renderings and other media, it became something of a whimsical and strange modern Alice in Wonderland look, which was fitting as elements of Mario were indeed based on Alice in Wonderland, especially the size changing mushrooms. But there were still major awkward design elements that stood out. Things like floating "?" blocks and bricks in open skies for example. But more then that it always looked cluttered and blocky. This was mostly in other media besides video games, almost a joke... a little visual reference to remind the watcher of the game origins, not really in my eyes a serious attempt at a new style. And while it has become seen as a rather charming style by many, it's not something I really want to emulate that much.

Interestingly, while particular elements of this kind of thing are seen throughout platformers, most do it quite a bit more subtlety, either by having less open areas over all, or fixing areas closely to themes of more real world locations. For instance, Megaman. In sharp contrast to Mario, it was much more focused and consistent. When you went though an area, you often knew exactly what it was for, and it's layout had much more structure. Of course it's downside was it's environments were less interactive on a whole probably, but it did have many many set pieces and gimmicks to make up for it, but these gimmicks had limited use really. Then there was Metriod, which had a few special blocks and was focused on exploring a vast world, but suffered form sameness, and a bit more of Mario's non-logical layout. Then there is Doki Doki Panic/Super Mario 2, which has a noticeably non-Mario ascetic in many ways. Even though I love it more for it's gameplay then it's levels, it has a much more, in my eye, natural feel while still being fantastic in it's own right.

When I started my hack, I started doing things mostly in Mario's way simply because the set pieces are set up to use it, and some of my romhacking associates donated a few levels mostly in this style as well. But I am not sure I really want to use floating coins (which are now cookies, although sprite coins are still coins and do something else) or blocks you primarily hit from underneath. In fact I kind of want to move to a style more similar to Doki Doki Panic/Super Mario 2, in some ways, maybe with Megaman and Metriod elements, but my big problem is, I don't have a really good set of pieces for what I want to do sometimes, and I have no IDEA what I want to do some others.

But it's about more then just looks and ascetics, and I know that. It's also about gameplay and how it relates to the levels. Mario is almost a pure platformer where your cheif method of doing anything is jumping, jumping, and more jumping. So, naturally, most of the levels and enemys invovle floating things and jumping aerobics. Megaman is more of an action game, and so levels are set up more as a progression of fights then of aerobic jumps, even though the later is still there. Metroid is exploration based, and it's twisting levels with loads of secret passageways reflect this. Doki Doki Panic, is almost a middle ground between the three. There is less action then Megaman but a tad more exploration. The gameplay elements of riding and throwing things are put to use both as an action element and a platforming element, and although it has much much less exploration then Metroid, it still has some, if you want to look for hearts and alternate paths in some areas, and the final level is almost 100% exploration based. One of these things these games don't feature very much is puzzles. There are a few, and some mario hacks have alot, even though they strike me as less "puzzles" and more "find the obscure bug and exploit it to proceed".

As for my hack, I think I need to take a good hard look over the gameplay elements I have programed and what ones I have planned and what ones I have already programed, and deside what ones to ditch, and what ones to add for the sake of interesting levels. My Original plan was something rather more like Doki Doki Panic then Super Mario World even though I ended up doing some more Super Mario World levels so far. This is mostly because it has been sorta frustrating doing alot of the ASM hacking involved. Still I have done FAR more ASM on the hack right now then most anything else, to the point where I wonder if it it is even worth it. The fact is, my ASM is mostly in silly areas that really provide no practical gameplay elements to level design. For example, I made a full inventory system you can use at any time. But I never really planned a use for it besides "this seems like a cool idea". And it is a cool idea. But it has no real use beside storing extra power ups which the player can bye at a little store I made. Which is again a cool idea, but it doesn't help me build levels around it. Besides the idea of bombs to find secrets maybe, which is harder then it sounds to do because SMW's bombs don't interact with the level at all, so I would probably have to code in a new explosion routine or a new sprite for it. It's on my todo list, but given the insane about of things on it, I may never finish it, and until I do, I really can't build levels around it.

If I worked on it more I may get something more done, but at this point I lack the energy or concentration to do a lot of the little leg work involved. But that may change soon... I finally got my sleepy-time mask that helps me sleep today. I totally forgot about mentioning it until now. Maybe I will tell you (nonexistent) guys how I do with it tomorrow.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

I got nothing.

Don't have much to say today or yesterday. Not that you care. (Yesterday I was thinking of ranting about the Disgaea series and it's spin offs for no reason, but I didn't. I was mostly was gonna complain about how grind-tastic it was and how it needed more character customization, but eh.) I hope I don't give up on this blog, because ranting randomly is fun! (even if no one pays attention)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Whine whine whine...

Come on guyz... no comments? Reactions? At all? Anyone?

Le sigh...

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Horror is boring.

I have been reading though the archive of a silly little quest forum game thing called that can found here. I found out about it do to random pr0n I found on Rule34 (the best site evar). And I thought, "Gee here is a fun looking game with some cute furry animal things" but then I saw it and was like "OMGWTF! RUN! MONSTERS!" only not really. Yeah it involves mutant zombie things and lots and lots of gore, and is basically about a bunny girl with a GIRLY FIGURE and a kitty boy with a MANLY PHYSIQUE who do their best to survive in a seemingly overrun medical research place of some kind, and stuff. And then it tries to be weird and mess with the players' heads. But heres the thing. It's not really that scary. It's kinda interesting sometimes, and it has some cute moments, and even a few awesome ones, but it gets rather old with the horror stuff.

And when I think about it, not much horror is scary at all. And I realize that everyone probably says that, but really, the most frighting horror ever got was probably Lovecraft, and thats only more of a vague conceptual horror. The idea of the universe being filled with harsh unmentionable nameless things that could squish humans like ants, is rather unsettling, but I doubt very much the universe is like that. And anyway I don't much see the point. If I wanted to scare myself silly I have no further to look then real life. I much rather read stories that mean something, not that all horror stories don't, I just have much more fun deconstructing the symbolism involved and elements of how their worlds work then I do with the monsters jumping out and going boo, or a slightly foggy or dark world spattered in gore.

Also, I feel rather sad for the characters in horror stories. Well the ones who are not tottal pricks. They are thrown in a world that hates them, forced to act in stupid convoluted ways for the sake of the plot, and they often end up broken mentally and physically for no other reason then to shock and scare. Why can't I have a playful romp with cute critters who have fun adventures and maybe some sex? Oh yeah I guess thats too shallow for you guys.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


Let's make one thing clear. Being terminally angry doesn't make you cool, or witty, or a better person. People like that aren't popular in real life, so I don't see why they should be popular on the internet. Yet almost every "cool" internet person is like that. They only express hate and anger at everyone else. Also being a troll likewise doesn't make you cool, or witty, then anyone else. It just makes you an ass. Somehow I think the internet fails to realize this. I am not saying n00bs and idiots should be let to multiply and fester, but come on.

Actually I think the root of the problem is people seem to naturally me elitist jerks who naturally tend to segregate themselves into little groups and declare war on everyone else. Why? Because they desperately want some form of control. Some reason to exist. Crap like that.

And stop making fun of my spelling damn you! I have spelling dyslexia (bullshit excuse)!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Blogging is fun!

Every once and a while I find some silly little web thing to do, and then I end up staying up all night fiddling with it and still never am quite happy with it. Oh well, would probably have stayed up all night on TV Tropes if I didn't. Damn you TV Tropes!

I sorta want the rainbow bg to be fixed attachment but I won't because it's baggy and I care about you. See what I sacrifice for my readers? Now if only I had some. Le sigh.

Bordem and Werewolfs

Why hello again internetland. It's been so long. Did you miss me? No? Well screw you too. Can't sleep, the clowns will get me... or not. But I find sleep harder to come by these days, because you see, I am a vampire.

No actually I am not. In fact I hate vampires. Buncha smug bastards is what they are. And emo too. "Oh I am sooo tormented to have all these powers and crap, cause like... stuff, ya know?" Werewolves are hella cooler. Like Liru. She can do it doggy style with me anytime. Rrrrraaawwrr!

Anyway I wanted to talk about how I was slowly messing with the layout to this blog... cause I love CSS and HTML and crap. But I guess I lost track of what I was doing.