Dark Games: One Night on the Road

Feb. 16th, 2019 04:05 pm
elf: Ghostly figure in a dark forest (Ghost)
[personal profile] elf
One Night on the Road is a classic example of "we have a palette of four colors: Grey, black, dark blue, and dark green. We will expand this with pale blue and pale red but only as tiny fragments in the distance." The developer's native language is not English (I have reason to believe it's Russian), which normally isn't a problem, except that it didn't occur to them to find an English beta reader to check their Steam listing text:
One Night On The Road is a quest where you play as a character who ran out of gas in a small town. In search of fuel, he finds a shop where he knock you out down and found himself in a small house. You need to look for items that will help you to get out of the house and leave town.
This looks like an asset flip, the video game equivalent of making a book of nothing but Wikipedia articles. (Okay, the assets aren't all free. It's the video game equivalent of a picture book of royalty-free photographs purchased from istockphoto.) In this one, it looks like they bought a "small town at night" package and maybe threw in some combat details.

A small town with streetlights in the distance

This showed up on my feed because it's tagged "Hidden Object." I like hidden object games. This... does not look like a hidden object game. Normal hidden object games are like Clockwork Tales: Of Glass and Ink (a delightful steampunk-ish HO game) or the Nightmares from the Deep series (also delightful - ghost pirates). Less-normal HO games include weird mobile and Facebook games that add an energy-use mechanism, so you collect "gems" and need to recharge them to do the searches.

This... this does not look like it has any hidden object features at all. Nothing in the trailer (which involves "driving through spooky empty town at night") or the screencaps implies there are any search-for-items scenes. This might be a point-and-click adventure, or it could be a combat-survival game where you have to find weapons, but mostly it looks like a walking sim.

The publisher's other game is a combat-heavy MMORPG with microtransactions; it's a year older and pretty much everyone who tried it, hates it. I suspect the only reason ONotR isn't full of hate-reviews is that nobody buys walking-sim HO games just because they show in in the queue. The walking-sim and HO fans, like me, tend to be more selective than MMO players who will grab anything under $10 with the right keywords.

Violent MMORPG players are not (necessarily) less interested in quality, but their ideas of what "quality" means is different. "Has no real plot" is often not a strong negative; "has great shoot-em-up scenes" can outweigh that. For the walking sim people, there has to be a reason to get this game and not just replay Gone Home or Home Is Where One Starts. Both of those are charming. This? This is not charming. This looks like, at best, the opening act of a real game.

on the state of groceries

Feb. 15th, 2019 05:46 pm
lovepeaceohana: A photo of halo halo, a Filipino dessert made with shaved ice and various delicious toppings. (halo halo)
[personal profile] lovepeaceohana
This week's [community profile] thefridayfive:

1. Do you make up a dinner plan for the coming week?

I prefer having a meal plan for the next several days, yes. It doesn't always happen - sometimes I don't effectively prioritize my time and I don't get around to it in a timely fashion (i.e., before grocery shopping happens), and sometimes I don't because Beau prefers the flexibility to make meals with ingredients we happen to have on hand. Our cooking styles are really different in that respect; I prefer to cook from recipes and do best when I'm feeling inspired by new dishes, whereas he prefers to keep things straightforward and isn't afraid to experiment with just throwing things together.

2. Do you make up a shopping list and stick to it when shopping?

If I've got a meal plan, you betcha, and it's organized by section of the grocery store and the preferred purchase location to boot. If I don't have a meal plan, we upload things we think we need into our shared digital list and work from there. Sometimes we come home with extra things, or with stuff missing because it was unavailable, or because it turned out to be way more than whoever's shopping thought was reasonable (aka "okay or I could go buy it at another store tomorrow for significantly less").

3. What is one thing that you always buy, but never put down on a list?

I'm really hard-pressed to think of something that fits in this category -- probably specific personal hygiene things (esp. treatment for varying skin conditions), those are the only things I can really think of. Otherwise it's gotta go on the list or it's out of sight, out of mind.

4. Is there anything that you always think you are out of and come home with it to discover you already have a year’s supply on hand?

Funny story there -- for a while, this was definitely us with toothpaste. Beau and I both, on several separate occasions, purchased our favorite toothpaste, each time having forgotten about the Costco-sized stash at home. Right now it's Swiffer wet cloth refills and dish soap refills, but that stuff at least won't go bad.

5. Do you get your groceries delivered?

Currently our only deliveries are through Imperfect Produce, and we're considering cutting that just because while it's nice in theory, I'm running into issues with actually using the produce that comes in before it wilts. Less an issue for the many (many) squashes, but a real issue for the aspirational citrus we keep ordering (and, er, only Beau and sometimes the kids eat citrus). I've used a service through the grocery store that lets me order groceries online and just pick them up at the store all ready to go, but a) it was free and b) I was a solo parent that week; it's not something I'd do regularly, partially because I like grocery shopping.

Gamer zine: DIRGE

Feb. 15th, 2019 05:30 pm
elf: Life's a die, and then you bitch. (Gamer Geek)
[personal profile] elf
DIRGE zine logo

I'm gonna be in a zine.
Well, if it funds, I'll be in a zine. (Maybe it'll be a zine later if it doesn't fund? I dunno.) It's a zine for contributors who aren't straight-cis-white-dudes:
We need more diverse games that take us places we never even knew that we wanted to go. We need more diverse voices. Having a diverse range of ideas will keep the industry alive and vibrant. Ten years from now role-playing games will look much different than they do today and encouraging creators to embrace that evolution will be important.
Be nice to me, folks; this is the first time I've sent off my work to a total stranger to be published. Presumably, I get paid for this, although the details are fuzzy right now.

I'll have a short story about my goblins. Maybe an essay about goblin society, depending on space constraints.

The Kickstarter campaign runs until the morning of March 3; it's about halfway funded.

on reassurance and validation

Feb. 15th, 2019 11:36 am
lovepeaceohana: A tiny lonely island in the great big blue sea. (island in the ocean)
[personal profile] lovepeaceohana
So I read this thing and it's giving me lightbulbs: It's Important to Remember that Reassurance is a Form of Persuasion.

I’d think of that [sales] job and what it taught me about persuasion later when others would get frustrated that their first attempt at reassurance didn’t magically “fix” my mood.

When they were effectively trying to persuade me to feel better and took personal offense to the reality that to persuade someone you will likely have to overcome their objections.

This doesn’t mean that they don’t want to feel better. Or that it’s impossible. Instead, it’s the way that reassurance typically functions, like all attempts to persuade someone else of something. You don’t start out at agreeing; you need to be persuaded.

That’s not a sign that there’s something wrong with the person you’re trying to help. That’s how reassurance is.

True, there are times when a person can be so distraught that they’re obstinate, really sticking to their self-hatred, their illogical worries. It happens. Fear and insecurity don’t play by the rules.

But I’ve found it’s much more common that people will provide a partner one reassuring comment and then give up when it doesn’t instantly make their partner happy, or worse when their partner argues, providing evidence that contradicts what they just said. Never realizing of course, how they’ve approached it feels like this conversation to the person they’re trying to help:

“Feel better.”


“Because I said so.”

This is probably the first post written by this author with which I've pretty vehemently disagreed -- not exactly with its central premise, which is that providing reassurance to people is at least partially about overcoming obstacles in persuading them to feel differently about themselves, that's totally true.

Instead I'm coming down pretty firmly on the side of the author's partners who are all "I can’t make you feel good about yourself." I can't hold myself responsible for another person's sense of self-worth and also I don't see that as fundamentally possible in a healthy way, like, I'd never want someone's sense of their own self-worth to be dependent on my opinion of them or my goodwill toward them. And this isn't an excuse to be insensitive to people's needs/expectations/etc, or to be a jerk about someone's appearance or personal habits or whatever, nor is this me trying to weasel out of giving people compliments or praise (I'm not often great at Words of Affirmation but I do like offering praise and compliments when they're genuine!) I just -- my sense of self-worth is my responsibility to myself, and given my brainweasels it's a pretty big one, I'm absolutely not the person you should be relying on for your sense of self-worth too!

But I'm looking back at the piece and especially the end, which I quoted above, and find myself frustrated with the whole notion that a person expressing self-doubt or -recrimination necessarily benefits the most from reassurance. When I am expressing self-doubt and self-hate, what I need most from the people to whom I am expressing it is to feel seen: "Oh, you're really feeling some kinda way about yourself regarding this" + some invitation to dig a little deeper and maybe eventually problem-solve, i.e. "What did you learn that you can take with you as a lesson for the future?" -- but only after I've gotten all the way through the feeling and out the other side! -- works a whoooooooole lot better for me than someone trying to convince me that I don't/shouldn't feel however it is I'm feeling, which is what "Feel better, because I said so" basically amounts to.

(Like, I think of an acquaintance of mine who regularly posts self-negative diatribes about how much of a failure she is on FB, and despite her saying things like "And don't try to tell me I'm wrong, I know I'm not," etc., her comments section typically fills up with people who are attempting to offer her reassurance by ... telling her she's wrong, demonstrating for her all the things that are good about herself and why she shouldn't feel the way she does, etc., in ways that always struck me as misguided at best. She's literally said not to do the thing y'all are doing so you're doing it why? Reality-checking her distorted perception of herself is something she already knows how to ignore/distrust? Anyway, tangent.)

And on top of that, I will almost always resent feeling like I've somehow manipulated someone into offering me reassurance about my moral worth by expressing self-doubt/-hate/-recrimination. I'm beginning to realize that feeling manipulative is a pretty big emotional landmine for me, and when I think I'm asking for one thing, but get a response that indicates a different question I didn't explicitly ask may be the one to which the askee is responding, I feel like I've been manipulative and emotionally dishonest. I don't know what, if anything, I can/should do about this, except to have recognized it and get better about being explicit when I'm requesting emotional labor from someone.

So this was a really good conversation to have had with Beau, because we've been having some conversations about my negative self-talk lately, and this article was key to realizing what wasn't quite sitting right with me about those conversations, because yeah, he totally does the thing where he tries for reassurance first and being able to sit with him and say "oh actually what I needed/was expecting from sharing x with you was y" has been hella useful, especially because it meant that I could apologize for it in a meaningful way and not one that feels even moar anxiety-dance/supplicative/manipulative/etc.

Fake People

Feb. 14th, 2019 08:18 pm
elf: Red & blue faces (Face Off)
[personal profile] elf
How to recognize fake AI-generated images - specifically, fake photographs - is an interesting article. The short version: Straight hair doesn't look like hair; watch for asymmetry (despite the whims of fashion, most people wear earrings that match) and weird background images; look at hair that doesn't flow like hair and teeth that don't seem to line up correctly; check patterns on clothes because AIs are terrible at creating realistic weave patterns.

And you may need these skills because... This person does not exist! This is an AI-generated photo. (Refresh for another one.)

Endless userpics for fake Twitter accounts! Less skeevy purpose: random character photos for gaming purposes.

DelphiForums Has Changed

Feb. 13th, 2019 12:19 pm
elf: Computer chip with location dot (You Are Here)
[personal profile] elf
I used to be very active on DelphiForums. They had a forum structure unlike anything that's in heavy use today, and chatrooms (which are now paid-forums-only), and a number of other features which I've mostly forgotten since they switched them to paid-only and my account lapsed. (In about 2006, I think.)

But in the wake of the Tumblrpocalypse, I was talking about witchcraft training with someone, and remembered Jet's Dragon Wheel/Wheel Dancing course, which was an online witchcraft course that tied into DelphiForums as the discussion area. So I went looking again.

...Wow, DF is dead. Also wow, I still have moderator powers, which allows me to see the forum history. (Free users normally only see back 3 months.) Nobody's been there since 2011, and it hasn't been really active since about 2006. So I clicked around--many of the forums I used to visit are deleted now; the rest are moribund. Posted a hello in the forum, which is not likely to get noticed anytime soon, but people who haven't removed their accounts may get a notification email, so. Maybe in a few days someone else will say hi.

Got a private message from someone I don't know: "55 male single Massachusetts you"

Ah. That takes me back. It's been years since I got an A/S/L request.

I haven't replied. Debating between "ignore it" (most likely), replying with, "I am none of those things," or opening a conversation with, "Does that work? I mean, does it often get you what you want out of a PM discussion online?" (Which I expect he'd either ignore, or get hostile about.)

Then I looked at the chatrooms that are still open. )

I made a thing! Well, two things.

Feb. 10th, 2019 07:51 am
laurashapiro: Final Cut Pro logo (vidding)
[personal profile] laurashapiro
[personal profile] trelkez made the Self-Curated Vidshow challenge, a super-nifty idea that got over 30 vidders thinking critically about their own work and how to show it off.

I want to sidebar here and say, as I've said before, that fandom's reification of humility or even self-abasement has never sat well with me. I think we're awesome and we make awesome things, and fandom would do well to embrace its collective and individual talents. And that means we shouldn't be afraid to say "here's something that I made and I think it's great." One of the things I love about this challenge (and there are many) is that it gave us a platform for tooting our own horns.

So I made two playlists:

Meta, Criticism, and Other Experiments Seeing what I could do: a chronology

Unsung Heroes Sidekicks, secondary characters, foils -- celebrating the fray-adjacent

Hope you enjoy!

inspired by an episode of Dark

Feb. 10th, 2019 02:38 am
firecat: red panda looking happy (Default)
[personal profile] firecat
What if people walked around in real life with their theme music playing, the way it works in TV, movies, and (especially) operas?

ultimate fanfic tropes showdown

Feb. 9th, 2019 05:13 pm
lovepeaceohana: Eggman doing the evil laugh, complete with evilly shining glasses. (Default)
[personal profile] lovepeaceohana
Via [personal profile] wintercreek , my results are thus:
  1. Polyamory
  2. Found Families
  3. Coffee House AU/Food Service AU
  4. Enemies to Friends to Lovers
  5. Reincarnation/'25 Lives' AU
  6. Snowed-In Cabin/Isolated Together For Extended Period of Time
  7. Friends to Lovers
  8. Unusually Specific Occupation AU, Like, The Author Clearly Has The Same Job
  9. Body Swapping
  10. Hogwarts AU
  11. 11 - 37 )
wintercreek: People with umbrellas in the rain. ([misc] makes the beautiful world)
[personal profile] wintercreek
From.... a lot of people, here's my list for the Ultimate Fanfic Tropes Showdown:

  1. Found Families
  2. Royals/Political Marriage Turns Into Feelings
  3. Fake Dating/Fake Marriage Accidentally Turns Into Feelings
  4. Soulmate Identifying Marks (Tattoo, Red Thread of Fate, etc)
  5. Magical Connection (Telepathy, etc)
  6. Friends to Lovers
  7. Coffee House AU/Food Service AU
  8. Loyalty Kink
  9. Fairy Tale/Mythology AU
  10. Polyamory

  11. The rest )

    Seems legit!
elf: Ghostly figure in a dark forest (Ghost)
[personal profile] elf
Today's "dark game" is Fhtagn! - Tales of the Creeping Madness, which actually looks kinda fun, or it would, if I could SEE WHAT'S GOING ON. It's a choose-your-own-adventure game for up to 4 local players; it looks like all the "actions" are "choose item from menu."
Dubbed the "funniest take on mystic doomsday cults in years", Fhtagn! is a choose-your-own-adventure game where you can play as one of four cultists intent on destroying the world by summoning an Ancient Horror. Decide how you will be preparing for the final ritual by visiting various locations in the unsuspecting town of Arkham and navigating iconic Lovecraftian events. Battle investigators, gangs, corrupt cops and horrors from the Depths to bring about the end of the world!
It draws on silent movie aesthetics; the music is in the style of jump blues, and the choices look like dialogue cards. It's got the creepy-cute vibe (warning: TVTropes) mixed in with its retro aesthetics.

With tiny text. Small grey text on a black background; this needs a large monitor to work. It's not like there's not room for more - they could've just made the text bigger, and the white space (erm, black space?) around the edges smaller, and still held to the same visual trope, but... No, we're going with a whole lot of dark-grey-on-black all around.

Dialogue box next to the card Way of the Gee'Tee Eff-Oh

I mean, I get it. You The Protagonists are the only source of color in a grey and dreary world, so why not destroy it with elder tentacled beasties? (Who are ALSO GREY AND BLACK. I mean. If you're summoning eldritch horrors from beyond the veils of madness, why not give them psychedelic colors? Nyarlathotep should look like this, not like this.)

Fhtagn! sells for $9.99, and is rated "positive" - 93% liked it. That's 93% of just under 30 buyers, right now, so, "those who heard about it in advance and bought it when it came out, have enjoyed it." Not quite the same as "93% of the people who found it while searching through tags liked it." There are only two negative reviews: one says it's got limited strategic options and isn't worth a second playthrough, but the developer replied after they released an expansion. (Included expansion, not purchase-separately DLC, yay.) Another review talks about the aesthetics: "Artistically it is pretty neat but the overall experience is just not worth it. Perhaps with some tweaking the game would become much better to play (mainly stop the background song loop, make the text bigger, make the icons easier to understand and polish up some dialog)."

The positive reviews say there's a few problems with the interface, but that the game is as fun as the trailer makes it look. What they don't say: "Why doesn't this town have an streetlights?" As far as I can tell, once you summon The Dark Ones to destroy the earth, nobody is going to notice because they still can't see what's going on more than three feet away.
firecat: red panda looking happy (Default)
[personal profile] firecat
(I'm from Michigan. Although I haven't seen snow in about 25 years, so I'd probably be bartering monogrammed yoga mats for a slice of cauliflower pizza, just like the Seattleites depicted in this here Twitter thread.)


"I've never witnessed anything quite like Seattle grocery stores when locals are preparing to brave 4-5 inches of snow."
"Oh no. They've started looting. People running out of stores with armfuls of Yerba Mate tea."
"Wild packs of Goldendoodles are roaming the streets."
"I've been afraid to admit I'm originally from Minnesota. I'm too timid to lead the survivors."
"Why, just now I witnessed a young man letting several others huddle inside his beard for warmth."

Flight Rising: Moar Draggnz Edition

Feb. 8th, 2019 09:09 am
elf: Purple and blue dragon with iridescent wings (FR Dragon)
[personal profile] elf
Flight Rising has finally added Hibernal Den Space, which is "extensive space for dragons who don't actually do anything." They're also adding tabs in lairs so you can sort dragons better. We'll enjoy that, but it's not a game changer. The hibernal den, soon to be known as the showcase, will change how the game works.

Dragons in the H'Lair do not/cannot:
  • Eat (this is the big appeal for putting them there)
  • Breed (must not have a breeding cooldown)
  • Fight in the coliseum
  • Be listed in the Auction House
  • Bond with familiars
  • Be traded/sold
  • Be exalted.
Scion does not need to do any of those things.
Purple coatl dragon from Flight Rising

They can be scrolled and change clothes, skins, familiars, and bio info without removing them, which is good, because removing one kicks off a 30-day hibernal cooldown; they can't come out and then go right back in.

The biiiig difference here: Hibernal lairs have up to 400 spaces. Players start with 5, and they can unlock 300 through item trades (starting small--first extra space unlocks with 20 clay; next is 20 gravel). There are 4 visible unlock trades at a time, so you're not stuck with "gather this one before you know what else you need." And there's a user-developed guide being created as people have info about the requirements. Another 100 spaces can be unlocked via gems, at 50 gems/space.

I can have a WHOLE TAB OF JUST GLITCH DRAGONS. I can level them all up to 11 without feeling like I'm wasting lair space on dragons that aren't for sale, aren't good breeding colors/genes, and aren't going to be coli fighters. I can start doing "dragons that match familiars" again. I'd done some, then we got more colors and genes, and I ran low on lair space and pretty much stopped.

I can level dragons up to 25 and throw them into hibernation while I wait for buyers. (Anyone looking for an unstoned L25 shadow nocturne in Shadowbinder colors?) I can level up fodder and wait for bonus gene/breed days.

...omg stockpiling for dom pushes is going to get ridiculous.

(no subject)

Feb. 7th, 2019 10:32 am
firecat: campanella staring at a rock (curious campanella)
[personal profile] firecat
I've lost touch with some people I used to know, such that whenever their name appears in the sender line of an email, I know the email is a phishing spam. I sometimes feel sad about that. Usually not so much because I've lost touch with them, but that phishing spams are the primary reminder I get of their existence.


Feb. 7th, 2019 07:54 am
bibliofile: Fan & papers in a stack (from my own photo) (Default)
[personal profile] bibliofile
Gratuitous cat post.

Face of Home cat, who is mostly grey and somewhat floofy, dozing in the sun on the sill of an open window. From a day with less ice in it.

click to see the kitty )

(no subject)

Feb. 6th, 2019 03:57 am
firecat: 3 totoros. the largest one has an umbrella (totoros in garden)
[personal profile] firecat
"It may be that your whole purpose in life is simply to serve as a pillow to others."
— something the person I live with said to me, while their head and our cat were both lying on my tummy
firecat: red panda looking happy (Default)
[personal profile] firecat
"Nonviolent Communication Is for the Privileged" by Raffi Marhaba

A zillion people posted this link in the last day or two. Most posted it without much comment, which annoyed me, because the headline is really unclear.

So here's a summary of what the essay says:
Marshall Rosenberg's book called Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life is flawed because it overfocuses on similarities among people and doesn't take into account differences in culture, language, education, power and influence. Also it appropriates communication tools that were widely in use before Rosenberg's method (NVC) existed.

"In conclusion, NVC can be a useful tool to resolve interpersonal conflict, to explore what our feelings mean, to take accountability for our actions, to improve ourselves and the way we communicate and it can also be a dangerous and violent tool that allows for people in power to feel good about themselves while benefiting from oppressed people."

Publishing in 2019: Business Trends

Feb. 5th, 2019 10:20 am
elf: Angry muse: "So are you going to write some poems or am I going to tear your balls off and hunt ostriches with them?" (Blank page)
[personal profile] elf
Kristine Kathryn Rusch has a blog with a whole lot of business tips for writers, and her end-of-year wrap-up and plan-for-next-year post has expanded to a miniseries of 6 posts (so far) about major changes in the publishing universe, and what that means for pro and would-be-pro authors.

The short version: KEEP YOUR DAMN COPYRIGHTS. Books may not be "dying," but they're definitely not growing, and other related industries are. Traditional publishers don't know what's going to be big so they've decided they need to grab all the rights so they can be ready to exploit them, and they don't care what happens to authors who can't make a living while they're figuring it out.

These are under her Business Musings category, and right now, they're the most recent 6 posts. I haven't finished reading them, but they're solid enough that I'm considering putting them all in an epub so I can read them all as one long piece instead of broken up. OTOH, her business writing's dense and thinky enough that I may prefer the breaks between them.

The Current State of Disruption (Planning for 2019 Part 1): The disruption in traditional publishing has gone on for nearly two decades now. It began before the Kindle made self-publishing easy by giving writers an easily accessible audience. Traditional publishing became ripe for disruption in the 1990s when the old distribution model collapsed.

Many of you saw it from the outside—the decline of the small bookstore, the loss of bookstores in small towns, the rise of the bestseller only in chain bookstores. All of that came from a collapse in the distribution system, from hundreds of regional distributors down to about five.

She goes on to discuss the disruption, and four identifiable stages of disruption, and provides a simple chart showing how the "old" and "new" systems work in the business world.
We're at the point where the curves meet. )

Final notes: Be aware of how copyright law works for authors, and treat your pro writing as a business. Publishers are rival businesses - maybe you can make a deal that's mutually beneficial, but don't assume that's their goal.

(no subject)

Feb. 5th, 2019 10:28 am
firecat: red panda looking happy (Default)
[personal profile] firecat
In some alternate universe where time machines were invented, Philip K. Dick retroactively received royalties for all the films made out of his stories.

Arabella in Czech

Feb. 4th, 2019 10:15 am
davidlevine: (Default)
[personal profile] davidlevine
Here is the cover for the Czech translation of Arabella of Mars!

IMG 5708

And here's an amazing promotional video for it!

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