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Gabe / 23 hours ago

Father and Son Game Jam

I’m not a streamer guy. I don’t like having a camera pointed at my drooling grimace for hours while I stumble through a game. With that said, I am very excited about a stream I have planned for tomorrow. Gabe (who is 14 now) has been learning Python at school and decided he wanted to try and re create Space Invaders as a summer project. He asked me if I could make some artwork for it and pretty soon we were designing a game. Our game is called Too Many Doves and features one Jim Darkmagic. Gabe went to work on the code and I drew him some placeholder artwork so he could test getting images into the game. After a night of work (almost all by him) we had what I’d call a functional prototype.

We’re going to keep working on the game during my normal stream from 1:30 to 3:00 PM PST tomorrow on the PA Twitch channel. I’ll be doing artwork while Gabe codes. He has plans to put special abilities in and asked if I could draw a fireball so this should be fun. Come hang out and help us make a video game!

-Gabe out

There is a very long but also very interesting session of Parliament where a person from EA talks about what it is they actually sell when they sell loot boxes.

Generally, if you listen long enough, people will tell you everything about themselves.  They will tell you things they don’t want anyone to know.  Not necessarily in words.  They might talk around it; they might omit something they want you to believe is unimportant.  They create the linguistic equivalent of lost wax casting - a little hole in the narrative so obvious that its entire shape can be seen.

But this video doesn’t even require such deep bore sampling. These companies are terrified.  It’s quite possible to advocate for their position, but they don’t know how.  They’re acting in a way that begs for further scrutiny.  And they will get it.

Hey, so I’m learning how to play these Auto games, I mean like Auto Chess, not like a car thing, and Amy The Falcon wanted to learn how to play too.  Being such a proponent of Idle Champions I suspect there’ll be some very novel overlaps, and I’m also sure I’ll learn some interesting corner case stuff from the channel if I play it on Stream - so I think I’m gonna.  The one I’ve been playing is DOTA Underlords, not really a Dota guy but they finally got me it looks like.  See you on the stream at 2pm PDT.

(CW)TB out.

Tycho / 4 days ago

Apparently they gave “the doc” a month’s suspension, which is…  illuminating?  We ask the question in the strip: what, precisely, is required to see something akin to action.  They couldn’t make it a week, obviously.  I think they recognized that would be the same as revelling with him in that reeking pisshole.  There are surprisingly few levers with which to shape streamer behavior, though; it’s either “hated exile” or Scion Seated At The Right Hand Of God.  YouTube has a few knobs in this department, but YouTube has its own problems - I’d never recommend it as an alternative, and it’s an incredibly turbulent place to even attempt business.  I’m just saying they’ve been around longer and thus have invented other Rituals of Binding for the wracked and leathery creatures they summon from Beyond the Veil.

I’m not even saying I know what the answer is.  I don’t.  But since there’s no serious mechanism to reach consensus and there’s no incentive to improve, in fact, there are serious disincentives, all that’s left is to continually make and remake hell.  Cool era!

(Also: we made this! And the other things on that page!  But the book is going nuts.  I think people are really curious about the concepts in there, particularly the raft of non-xp rewards and making the party itself a kind of “meta” character we call the Franchise.)

Hey, we’re gonna be playing Children Of Morta from 2-4pm PDT, a “narrative driven hack ‘n’ slash roguelike about the Bergsons family, the guardians of Mount Morta” that has killer pixel visuals and a ton of heart.  Apparently you can play it for free until the 24th?  I don’t know much about it, but I want to, and that’s why we’re gonna play it.  See you then.

(CW)TB out.   

Book Cover Wallpaper

I’ve had a few people ask for a version of the AI book cover that they could use as a wallpaper. I’ve got just what you need!

(click for the big version)

-Gabe Out

Tycho / 6 days ago

There’s a term called Programmer Art that generally elicits a chuckle when used in the proper context.  It’s not really an insult, but it does recognize and bring to the fore the idea that people who are good at one thing aren’t necessarily good at other things, which is just… true.  It’s probably not worth getting too mad about that.  I’ve met a lot of people who aren’t even good at one thing; I’ve only been alive for forty years or so but in my own experience competence is not the norm.

(Our own Jeff Sellak used to work at Nintendo, and he says that at the time he was active there what we’d call “programmer art” was all they wanted.  It was the opinion that if a game was not fun as black squares on a white background, it wasn’t actually fun.  I think might be true.  I often think about DK: King of Swing in this context, it’s one of my favorite games, and I can see it getting pitched this way.  He also said that you couldn’t pitch them for specific IPs, really - you pitched fun mechanics, and fun mechanics got blessed with a nod from the catalog.  I always found that interesting and, frankly, informative.)

If you are playing Cadence of Hyrule poorly, and it is very easy to do this even if you know what a beat is, it will suggest Fixed-Beat Mode as an alternative.  Fixed-Beat Mode is not Programmer Art, but it’s something like a Programmer Name - it doesn’t really tell you what it does unless you already know what it does, in which case the term is irrelevant.  A more useful term would be Turn-Based Mode, because it puts the game into Turn-Based Mode.

I don’t think Fixed-Beat Mode constitutes a degeneration of the game’s principles at all, but when they offer it to you it feels like it might.  Since it still included the term “beat,” it wasn’t even clear to Gabe that it negated the need to play according to the beat.  Between moves, time stops completely.  After you move, everybody else moves - and there can be many, many everybodies.  This moves it into a completely different and at minimum co-equal space as the base game.  In my fantasy universe, you know, maybe you could still attack on the beat in this mode.  But it transforms Cadence of Hyrule into a kind of malevolent slide puzzle, something akin to the classic DROD, to the extent that it’s not something that should be hidden away, or revealed when you haven’t played correctly.  It’s awesome, and even as somebody who likes rhythm games and is aware of the “beat force” that surrounds and binds us all together, I think it’s actually a better game.

Oh!  And it can’t really be said enough.  The official (!!!) Dungeons & Dragons book we made based on a decade of Acquisitions Incorporated play is now available for purchase, alongside a raft of celebratory (British pronunciation) goods which attempt to capture the unique spirit of this, the Age of Acquisition.

You’ve got two choices for A.M. streams today - Gabe’s got his new mics set up for an explosive morning of streaming with Kara for their customary Special Mommy Daddy Time on our own channel.  But!  My friend Ryan, who goes by GoingOptimal on Twitch, plays MTG Arena on there and I’ve wanted to learn at his side for a while, so I’m gonna do that because he lives like a block from me.  I will start at 10am PDT also.

(CW)TB out.   

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