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In Australia, men’s urinals are devices of unique and perhaps even baroque construction.

I say men’s urinals, because even though I have never been in a women’s restroom in Australia I doubt very seriously they are constructed in this way.  I don’t really see any way to use this device collaboratively that doesn’t result in a huge pile of women drenched in pee.  Which is fine if that’s what you’re into, but I suspect that’s something of a gourmet taste.

In any event, using these “grate urinals” is a little like Donkey Konga, if you played Donkey Konga with your dick and stood on a barbecue grill while you did so.  I learned later that I was using the device wrong: I was standing farther away than most of my compatriots, not literally on the grate, because I couldn’t imagine a universe in which you used these things in the way Australians do every single day.

Now that I was interfacing with the device properly, and optimal flow had been achieved, I had an opportunity to find text in my environment and read it which is my Prime Directive.  I saw an advertisement on the ground, stamped with the dirt and unseemly moisture of uncountable attendee shoe waffles, for a local Escape Room.

I think that most people by now know what these are.  People say that The Witness is like Myst, but I’m not so sure anymore, I think that was just a receptacle we had lying around.  The Witness is not like Myst but is instead like having your mind colonized by a hostile psychic fungus.  Escape Rooms are like Myst.

They’re like all kinds of things; I’ve talked to tons of people about their experiences, which vary as much as you would expect something to vary if its creators were all different humans with different experiences creating games in a new medium for live people which include elements of physicality, time constraints, and theatre.  At root, you are in a place and you have to get out.  You can bring your friends and try to crack it together.  I ran Locurio’s The Vanishing Act on my birthday a few days ago, with a crew stacked 8 deep, and we were able to beat it with two minutes - just two minutes - to spare.  Apparently it has a thirty percent success rate, and I’m not saying that to brag - everyone else on my team was way smarter than me.  I said it so that you would curious - locurious? - and test yourself and your friends against it.  You might wonder if you can do it, but I don’t.  I know you can.  You’re fucking gamers.  You’ve trained all your lives for this.

If you live where I live, I don’t consider The Vanishing Act optional.  Breaking into strike teams and roaring at each shared success, reinterpreting the venue and the objects in it, even failing in a hilarious way - it’s better than how I typically fritter away my leisure.  If you don’t live here, but you’re close, come and do it.  Investigate this space, however it manifests near you, in the near term - and be made whole.

(CW)TB out.

My Timeline

I like to take photos on my phone as I work. I do this to keep a sort of digital sketchbook I guess. I like to be able to swipe back through my photos and see the work I was doing mixed in with pics of my kids and stuff. I thought I’d drop a bunch of it here and see if you guys found it interesting. So here’s a quick dump of the last couple months…minus my kids and some secret projects:)

This starts with a comic drawn back on December 10th

Working on December 10th comic

Christmas Present for Jerry

Initial drawing of Christmas present for Jerry

First crack at the bear from Nightlight

Working on Nightlight bear drawing

More Nightlight

Working on Nightlight panel with bear

Another strip!

Working on another comic

First attempt at the monster for the Thornwatch playtest in PAX South.

Initial drawing for Eyrewood Adventure monster for PAX South

Thinking about the new map system for Thornwatch. A series of tiles separated by a “gutter”. What if they were comic book panels and effects placed on them looked like narration boxes?

Sketches of new tiles idea for Eyrewood Adventures

Time for scissors and glue!

Prototyping board tiles for Eyrewood Adventures

Character portraits should “float” above the tiles! Hey this is starting to look like something.

Character portraits floating over board tiles in Eyrewood Adventures

Gotta finish the Monster. Jerry names it the Swamp Choir and I am reminded why I like him.

Completed drawing of monster named Swamp Choir by Jerry

Time to work on individual tiles. Each one should fit within the context of the theme (forest, swamp) but have its own story seeds as well. A Judge should be able to grab a handful of tiles and come up with an adventure. The judge could grab this one and say “alright Thornwatch, a Lookout has lost his father’s sword!”

Making individual Eyrewood Adventures tiles

More tiles. Tonight we venture to the judging stone!

Making judging stone tile for Eyrewood Adventures game

Gotta keep making comics!

Working on another comic

We were getting a new fireplace installed and my dog really liked it.

Picture of dog in front of new fireplace

Tiles can be mixed and matched but if you’re playing a pre-written adventure maybe the center tiles form one large image?

Eyrewood Adventures game tiles forming one large image

The Witness is really hard.

Working on the Witness comic

Watching people play on the map at PAX South. Holy shit they love it!

Watching people play on the map at PAX South

Destiny is such a rad game.

Working on a Destiny comic

Happy Birthday Jerry.

Happy Birthday Jerry

-Gabe out

Tycho / 3 days ago

I wanted to watch a video about the Skills in The Division, and it asked me my age.  I entered “40,” which is apparently a number, and it was the first time I had even considered that I might be forty years old.

That’s really the only time I get a sense of how old I am anymore, is when a game trailer wants me to choose the year of my birth.  Except I usually don’t go all the way down to my year, because it’s too far.  I usually choose the first year that will be a valid entry, and that year is always getting closer.

I’m like a Goddamn vampire; a dude at PAX South brought a picture of us from when we visited Texas more than a decade ago, and it was a revelatory Exhibit A.  In this span of time, Gabriel has gone from “angular, discarded insect husk” to a creature more in line with the thick, mid-range portion of the human graph.  I look exactly the same.  Which is to say, I look like a mole rat.  The philosophical questions ask themselves: is it better sport an appealing form and then lose it, or to simply begin life as a vile grotesquerie, and never visibly decay?

Everyone wants me to think certain things about this Integer.  And you’re always supposed to be very conscious of X, where X equals whatever is most important to other people at that moment.  But I only care about this, filling this field with text.  This has to be some kind of disorder.  I wanted to say I did it because everything else in my life is hung off it, like a mobile; many people rely on it in many different ways.  My house is warmed, via some convoluted mechanism, all somehow connected to typing.  But I was doing it before all that, so I can’t even pretend toward some form of covert virtue.

I would be “typing” this on a discarded microwave, in an alley, with no pants if you hadn’t enabled the current configuration.  This is much, much better.  For everyone.

(CW)TB out.

Tycho / 6 days ago

When Gabriel told me the story, it was at once completely silly and eminently sensible.  It reminded me a little of The Mancraft Saga, insofar as they both map cyberverse and regular ‘verse at a one to one ratio.

Videogames are definitely simulations and not “real” in terms of being constructed out of the typical materials we surround ourselves with.  But the virtual worlds and the people that populate them still bear all our human metadata; our brains are ridiculously compatible with these places.  Maybe it’s not weird at all that they can do that.  I’m not a brain person.  I guess most of the things we make in there resemble conceivable space.  It’s a hell of a trick, though.

Playing games online via the kind of Internet you get on an airplane is typically a non-starter, but you can do okay with some card games - and I ended up playing Duelyst for probably four straight hours.  I’m officially obsessed with it, so obsessed that I sicced the business guys on them so that we can try and do some kind of a project together.  I’m lucky that I don’t have to send them out just to keep the lights on; I can send them out to make treaties with Houses that I legitimately respect and want to work with.  We’ll see what happens with that, hopefully something, but if I’m gonna talk about the game as much as I want to I feel like that sort of has to be on the table.

I’m not a competitive person as I have said a thousand times in this space.  I make a point generally to emphasize that I am not good at games, nor am I compelled to dominate others, so that multiple senses of the word are enunciated.  Gears was an exception, in that the slower pace and legitimately horrifying death animations compelled me to great feats.  In Duelyst, making a TCG less abstract and more spatial allows me to conceive of the higher order strategies at all.  I got in late in January, but made it up to rank 14 before they started the next Season, which is so unlike my normal usage pattern that I’m trying to figure out what’s happening here.  I usually wash out as soon as it gets mean, when you crack 22 or so.  And I did stall there, like I always do.  Usually I can’t accept that I’ve learned the game incorrectly and everything I think about it is wrong and stupid.  But not this time.

(CW)TB out.

Tycho / 1 week ago

There is probably someone who likes Dick more than me, but I don’t know them.  Where I am typing this now, at home on my primary machine, I have no less than four Philip K. Dick books within reach - and this isn’t even where I keep my books.

I’ve been trying to push Gabriel into this lifestyle for ages, they’re just very meaningful, formative materials, and as long as you don’t mind occasionally wondering if the toast you are eating is real toast you’ll probably be fine.  But I tried to get him into a book a long time ago which he should have liked, and might even like now, but the blind faith just isn’t there anymore.

I feel like Philip K. Dick books are fully compatible with modern living in a way that modern books often are not.  Now, everyone wants to make a legacy or some shit.  Everybody wants to write some kind of fucking secular bible their first at-bat, or they write a good book and now nobody can’t tell them nothing.  Philip K. Dick books are short, but not scant.  They plant an egg in your esophagus and it grows until the version of you that started reading the books is dead, and in its place is someone like you in every way, but you trust all of your senses just a little bit less.

It’s true, though; The Man in the High Castle is the only book of his I’ve never read to my knowledge.  After PAX South, Gabe basically shotgunned the entire Amazon series in a night.  Most of the way back from San Antonio, he was reading Philip K. Dick.  When he’s done with that book, when he’s ready, I know which one he should read next.

(CW)TB out.

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