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I’m working through Destiny’s Rise of Iron campaign, as one does, shoveling savory collectibles directly into my craw. I saw Gabe in orbit last night and thought it might be nice to wrap things up with another human; what wasn’t immediately clear at the time was that he was upstairs watching Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping and not actually there.  Our ships wobbled in intimate proximity for a long while; no words were said.  I feel like there’s a metaphor here.  Or maybe a literal?

I’m in that dangerous, restless period between games, what we might call the “Banchan Phase,” where I only want little nibbles of things and I want the freedom to move to the next tiny dish.  It’s made it almost impossible to commit to Telltale’s Batman, which you would think would be perfect for this phase, but slow burn doesn’t work for this ravenous mental gear.

I’m gonna see where I get with Battlerite, which just hit; I’ve liked what Stunlock Studios has done in general, actually.  Bloodline Champions was cool, and I was sad to see Dead Island: Epidemic get shut down because it was stuffed with amazing ideas apparently only I thought were amazing.  I was looking at Fractured Space, and wondering what was going on with the space, specifically I’m thinking of the fractures, and got curious right away.  Reminded me of Dreadnaught, with the camera way, way back.  “Slow League of Legends in Space” is exactly what I want, thank you very much.  I need that to become a genre, and that seems to be happening.

PAX Aus Three Day badges are sold out, so we’re down to the Single Days, which you should seize immediately.  It’s also worth the trip, if you are from elsewhere; you can watch every movie you missed for the year on the flights to and from, and then you can attend a rad show in a rad town where even the alleyways - places of fear where I am from - spill over with unique art, rare books and artisinal meats.  I don’t one hundred percent understand Australia and I don’t have to: all I know is you have to go sometime, and you might as well get a PAX in while you do.  I’m fighting the urge to pack for this show today, which would be a bad idea, because I only have enough of these black shirts for a week.

(CW)TB out.

Tycho / 3 days ago

I had played Paladins at an earlier point in its development, a couple months ago I believe, and while Overwatch was definitely front of mind as a character shooter for some reason I pulled something else out of it - like a mad sommelier warbling about “catcher’s mitts” and “seafoam,” I was catching hints of WoW Battlegrounds, Tribes, and peppercorn.  Because of my sophisticated palate, you see.  Grob Grob has another position, the position of people generally, which is that Paladins is Overwatch not with the serial numbers filed off, but with the serial numbers worn at a jaunty angle like a hat.

Hi-Rez COO Todd Harris leapt into the jaws of Reddit to talk about how long they’ve been making this game, and here’s how it looked, and Overwatch is a thing obviously but look at this ancient footage.  That’s a tough position to be in, I think - where you might be right, but nobody is obligated to care?  That seems like some rough-ass terrain.

And, hey!  I learned how to play Atlas Reactor from the people who made it on this week’s Tycho Tries.

I was terrible at it, and Lockwood isn’t the right character for me.  I play Zuki now more or less exclusively, which probably isn’t healthy; I should explore more of the characters and systems.  But I have her built in such a way that she’s essentially a “controller” in D&D 4e terminology.  I get kills with her, but her purpose is really to guide enemy behavior and cripple their damage potential.  Anyway.  It’s scary being thrown into the deep end for PVP, but it’s the best way to learn it.  If you stick with it, eventually that terror begins to provide something akin to motivation.

(CW)TB out.

I’ve been making lots of stuff

I don’t know about you all, but my family had a blast playing Rise of Iron last night. I had to make Kara promise not to do anymore story missions until I get home from work. My son Gabe was worried and asked if his Mom and I planned on doing quests after he went to bed. It was clear he thought this would be unfair. I smiled, messed up his hair and said “of course we are son.”

One of the best parts of my job is getting to work with developers on games I love. Before PAX I designed a set of Destiny Pinny Arcade pins and they were for sale during the show at the Bungie booth. Well now they are up on the Bungie store! I am really proud of this set and it’s pretty special to me. I actually based each of the classes on the characters in my family fireteam. That’s Kara’s Warlock, Gabe’s Titan and my Hunter. These pins are a little bigger than normal and the finish on them is beautiful. They ended up looking like little stained glass windows in my opinion. I posted one of the original sketches over on my Instagram if you’re interested:

 

The Thornwatch Kickstarter is going amazingly well. I have to thank everyone who has backed it or even just grabbed the print and play. We’ve added a number of big updates to the campaign so if you haven’t looked in a few weeks, I’d recommend checking it out again. Also any help you can give us spreading the word would be much appreciated. Penny Arcade has a big audience but we certainly don’t get out to all the folks who I think might really dig This game.

 

-Gabe out

 

Tycho / 5 days ago

I feel like there has to be a voice for that position; mine will suffice for now, even if it is a fragmentary enunciation of my coordinate.  Sorry; if I haven’t written all weekend, my initial paragraphs come out like this.  It’s like a clearing of the throat.

I’ve mentioned something Warren Spector said at a PAX keynote many times - that art forms are either embraced by the mainstream, or they are annihilated.  I don’t think it’s wrong, necessarily, but this is a phrase which creates the opposing battle lines and arrays them for war.  Right?  Everything isn’t war, and the Internet is stupid, whenever it isn’t being amazing.  But it’s mostly stupid, eternal recitations of the type of grudge we used to chisel into rocks.

    I have said on more than one occasion that “gameplay” would mostly get in the way of Pokemon Go.  A bluetooth device designed to help you grind blindly expresses a deep awareness of the product they have actually made, and my larvae cry out for it.  But what Warren Spector’s adage doesn’t cover is that, for the lover of systems, the adherent, the acolyte of play, the dilution which necessarily accompanies that transition is a kind of annihilation.  And whenever they say so, they get kicked in the teeth for being dead-enders, thralls to a dead god, when what’s true is that they like what they like, and indeed, they liked it first.  But there will always be a place for them, because Steam exists; there’s always gonna be a game where you die and die and die until your accumulated bodies form a kind of bridge toward wisdom.

Hey! Child’s Play has its summer update posted, and it’s a doozy: Gamers Give Back Tour, grant applications, and more - including the date for this year’s Child’s Play Charity Dinner & Auction, on Thursday, December 8th.  Check it out!

(CW)TB out.

Tycho / 1 week ago

Gabz was talking to his dadz the other day, and it goes like this a lot.  At root, his father was party to the manufacture of a creature whose most ordinary mode of operation is completely alien to a person like himself, one who excelled in the doing of useful things.

It reminds me of when I had the incredible opportunity to talk with Amy Hennig at PAX - and by “talk with” I mean “bask in the radiance of.”  We are, at root, people who hear voices.  When I write, and when she writes, because we’ve talked about this exact thing, we are hearing and encouraging unreal people to speak to and ultimately through us.  It’s complex, and using language to describe it is ironically sort of tough to do.

You have to forget to not write, in the same way that Douglas Adams described “flying” as “learning to throw yourself at the ground and miss.”  It’s a common thing for writers to be drunkards; I’m no stranger to it, but it doesn’t help me write.  Amy has to get so tired from trying to write that eventually she can’t fight it anymore, a very Tai Chi principle I think.  For me, I can’t have anything in my pockets, on my wrists, or hands.  If I can systematically remove distractions - for some reason, Gabriel doesn’t count against this number - I start writing almost subconsciously.  The voices are quiet at first, shy almost, and the world is constantly in the way.

It is a very thin line that separates the life I have from a very different kind of life, where I hear the voices and instead of writing down what they say, I respond.  That line is this: I have an audience to tell these things to.  I try not to think very much about what the other way looks like.

(CW)TB out.




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