ultranos: kino and hermes on a coffee break (i need a coffee break)
I keep putting off posting because I don't think I have anything substansial to let people know I'm still alive.

Anyway. My life has once again gone crazy and I'm just trying to keep up.

1.) Two PC game recs:

1a.) Transistor is really, really pretty. And it's fun and fairly clever. Reviews on the internet complain that the story is a little opaque, but really, it's because they did some interesting narrative tricks instead of laying it all out for you in a linear fashion. You figure it out by putting together what ephemera you find along with the (unreliable, biased) narrator is saying. It's made by Supergiant Games, the same people who made Bastion. And they got Darren Korb to do music again, so the soundtrack is excellent.

1b.) I accidentally 9 hours on Sunday playing Endless Space, which I guess is best described as Master of Orion-meets-Civ. 4X space game that's actually playable and doesn't feel overwhelming with micromanagement in real-time (it's turn-based). I hear the DLC expansion kind of sucks, though.

2.) I somehow got myself roped into staffing and being a plotwriter for a woods-LARP. As a corollary to that, I've found myself with the task of writing an entire critical mechanic system over the summer. Why I do this to myself, I'll never know.

3.) Trying to get my contract extended at work. This may or may not happen, depending on a grant. The probability of getting said grant might increase if I can manage to get a paper submitted. Which is where most of my energy is going. What's not going to that is going to the back-up plan, which is "find a new job". This plan is annoying. (On that note, anyone looking to hire a mechanical engineer with too much EE for her own good, who actually likes fluid dynamics, and has spent more time than one would think doing signal processing for biological systems?)
ultranos: ashley from Trace Memory (white-haired girl) sleeping (sleepy)
*tap tap* Is this thing on?

So I haven't exactly been posting lately. I've been reading, but it's a lot easier to read than post and/or comment. Most of why I've been busy is the new job. Working between two labs is crazy, guys. But it's the good kind of busy. Even if it does mean I'm running between campus and hospitals. ("I need to go to Longwood." "What?! Are you okay!?" "What? OH, FOR WORK. I AM GOING TO LONGWOOD FOR WORK. EVERYTHING IS FINE.") 9 and 11-hour days make scheduling ridiculous, as I need to not work overtime or else the admins will get grumpy so I have to do some creative accounting to make sure everything more or less washes out in aggregate. (I don't actually want overtime. My current theory is lying about that will get me what I want in the long run.)

I am also assuming that I'm currently doing an acceptable job as both labs just keep stacking more things in my lap as I've apparently proven competent and more papers to read as I've apparently proven capable of understanding things.

In other news, apparently the fall TV season started or something. I'm out of the loop. Instead, I found myself reading manga again, and fell head-first into Shingeki no Kyojin / Attack on Titan. I'm currently describing it as post-post-(post?)-apocalyptic survival horror. Really, though, I was sold when Isayama introduced Mikasa. I will have words with you if you don't like Mikasa. (DMark has already declared he will ragetableflipquit the series if she ends up dying. Along with the rest of us.)

I also picked up from Amazon the RPG sourcebook Don't Rest Your Head on Kindle. It looks to be a neat little system, enough that I shelled out for the PDF supplement book Don't Lose Your Mind directly from Evil Hat. System looks to be strongly focused on roleplaying and narrative, rather than mechanics. The mechanics themselves are extremely simple, but the way they serve to bolster the story for the players/GM is quite elegant. I think I need to try it, perhaps running a one-shot or short campaign. I've got some ideas. I also want to see how it fits my theory of narrative torque in RPGs. (Which also reminds me that I've been meaning to run a Kuro campaign for approximately the last six months. Go me.)

Speaking of games, I spend part of the day playing through a nifty little browser game: A Dark Room. I highly recommend it. It's a great example of minimalist game design, where every mechanic and piece of text serves to contribute to the story and world. It's also great in that it'll run in a browser tab and only demand your attention every once in awhile. You actually need to ignore it and let it run for awhile to finish it (resource generation).

Next time in this space: More game talk? Maybe I'll read a book that's not a text book? WHO KNOWS.
ultranos: ashley from Trace Memory (white-haired girl) sleeping (sleepy)
Hi. Yes, I'm alive. There's been a bit of things that happened since my last post.

Health )

PAX East 2013 )
ultranos: rudy roughnight holding rifle towards camera, with text "say hello to my boomstick" (boomstick)
You know, I don't usually mean to go all radio silence on this. It just kinda ends up happening. I've been fairly distracted lately by mechanics hacking for a high-action LARP universe some friends and I are spinning up. If we succeed, we'll have the new standard for a few years on how to run these. And at least one mechanic, if it's accepted, has the potential to significantly alter how we play these games tactically.

We ran a mechanics test today, and caught a lot of the bugs at low levels. So now to fix 'em. I'm also pretty pleased that I wore my Vibrams, braced both my knees (using a reinforced brace on the bad one), and was able to run around on concrete in a Nerf firefight for 2 hours with no pain. Seriously, I don't remember the last time that happened.

Downing glycosamine tonight to keep this progress up.

Speaking of "Things to Make Me Feel Less Falling-Apart", I've been contemplating the idea of trying climbing. My housemates all do it, and I've been wary because of my knees. But yesterday I was talking to another person who tried climbing for awhile, and she said that although women will use their legs more than their arms as compared to men, climbing really doesn't apply too much torque and strain to the knees. (Bouldering is a different story) I know there are some climbers around here; any advice? Now that my knees survived the stress test today, I'm seriously thinking of giving it a try.

And now to dive back into LaTeX.
ultranos: Actual MIT hack of roadsign. "MASS AVE BRIDGE CLOSED / SUNDAY 04/22/07 6AM-3PM / TO APPEASE GODZILLA" (have you appeased godzilla today?)
1) I seem to have committed Tumblr. I'm not sure yet what I'm going to do with this thing. Well, actually, I know what one of them will be, because a certain friend is a TERRIBLE INFLUENCE and we apparently enable each other. [tumblr.com profile] 3shotsminimum is the collaborative one (in which we learn what happens when a couple of engineers/gamers have far too much free time on their hands). If I'm not careful, I might end up getting brow-beaten into posing Mass Effect fic bits on there. Among other ridiculous projects. ([tumblr.com profile] ultranos is the personal one I have no idea what to do with yet.)

2) Speaking of ridiculous projects, I seem to be writing a SIK game. Or several SIK games. Possibly also a one-night. I blame "One Night in Bangkok".

3) I went on vacation! I nearly got my speaking privileges revoked in the Museum of Science and Industry, because I am basically a snarky 12-year-old with a job. (Thank you, yarmond, for that description.)

3b) The MSI had a full-scale replica of Curiosity! It's adorable.

4) I am now only one season behind in Dr. Who. I am, however, caught up with Leverage, The Newsroom, and Warehouse 13. I am making progress! It would be easier if I didn't keep getting distracted by ME3 Multiplayer (anyone else play on PC?)

5) I kind of forgot I have an unplayed copy of Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep. That might be a good thing to start soon. I miss bashing things with keys.
ultranos: kino and hermes on a coffee break (i need a coffee break)
1) neboat got me addicted to Two Steps from Hell last week. I've been pretty much listening to them and only them since. It has the interesting property of making absolutely anything you do Epic. Highly recommend it for music while writing. (Two Steps from Hell is a group that writes original music for movie and game trailers. Brushing your teeth has never felt this badass.)

Current favorites are "Heart of Courage", "Black Blade", "Protectors of Earth", "After the Fall".

2) I seem to be writing an original fic. What is this I don't even

3) Finishing the Mass Effect series flipped something in my brain, and I seem to be desperately craving gritty space opera. Possibly, more accurately, a reconstructed space opera ('ware, TVTropes). Or sci-fi assassin/spycraft stories. I dunno. My brain is demanding something to chew on like those two (I've been reading a bunch of spycraft and information handling lately), or else I'm going to lose the battle against replaying the damn series.

This is slightly annoying because I have a giant pile of games right now, and other than Bastion, I haven't been able to convince myself to play any of them. Bastion, by the way, is excellent, and is currently the bonus game in the Humble Indie Bundle V. All the games in the bundle are excellent, available for Windows, Mac, and Linux, and proceeds go to the developers and charity (Child's Plan and the EFF), depending on how you want the split. In any case, if you're interested or curious, check it out. Or ask me if I think you'd like it if you're not sure. It's for an excellent cause.
ultranos: kino standing, staring ahead (contemplative)
Someone tell me it's a terrible idea to start the Mass Effect series over from New Game+ on ME1. (I'm currently refraining from checking Codex entries in ME2 and 3 because I had an insight into the ending, and really, I should be letting this go and not let myself obsess more. But goddamn, do I ever get like this when a story carves me up inside and leaves me thinking and hurting for days.) The fact that I'm enjoying playing multiplayer with my housemates does nothing to help the desire to play more. Again. *facepalm*

That I should go and goddamn finish my Dragon Age:Origins game that's almost at the end so I can play Awakening and DA2. Or, you know, any of the other games on my very long list. Like Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep or Devil Survivor 2. Or Civ5. Actually, no, let's not play Civ5.

Because, the thing is, I realized that I do need to take time every day to play a game or something because it makes me happy. And maybe I'm not getting the most sleep ever, but it's restful enough and I'm not stressed out. I realized a month ago that I should say to hell with the idea that I should be spending my time "doing something else productive" instead of gaming when that "something else" just turns into "staring stupidly at the internet" because I don't actually have anything else I need to do. My brain finally got the memo that I'm not actually in school anymore, and no, playing a game isn't wasting time. That it's good and healthy for me to take time every day to do the thing that makes me happy because even an hour or two vastly improves my quality of life.
ultranos: Actual MIT hack of roadsign. "MASS AVE BRIDGE CLOSED / SUNDAY 04/22/07 6AM-3PM / TO APPEASE GODZILLA" (have you appeased godzilla today?)
(Subject line really has little to do with the post, other than somewhat celebrating Yuri's Night. Raise a toast!)

I spent last weekend at PAX East, which was very fun and very awesome. There are some really good indie games coming out soon, and some AAA titles, and basically, my wallet is going to once again be very sad very soon.

I possibly did a really stupid thing and started Mass Effect 3 about 2 days before the con. Thus spending a weekend in slight withdrawal, but mitigated by the fact that I was pretty much surrounded by gaming. The stupid part actually comes right now, because I am visiting my parents for 5 days, and thus am about 1600 miles from Bahamut. I'd be installing the game on my parents' laptop if it had a decent video card. As it is, I'm seriously in the withdrawal stage, mostly due to the "oh my god, what happens next?!" aspect. You know, like what happens when you're in the middle of a really good book or something. It's gotten to the point where I'm considering hitting up a bookstore for the tie-in novels. *facepalm* Yeah, I just might have a problem. Way to go, self.

The one good thing is that the withdrawal doesn't really hit unless I'm not doing anything. Since I'm only home for a short time, my parents have been monopolizing my time (as they should be! This is why I flew in, after all) and thus distracting me highly successfully. Seriously, if I were left alone for any significant period of time, I'd be climbing up the walls.
ultranos: kino and hermes on a coffee break (i need a coffee break)
I did not intend to go all radio silence here, but so it goes. I've basically been chilling and having the return of this magical thing called a "social life", which is quite nice. Especially since it basically translates to two of my biweekly gaming runs coming off hiatus (in alternating weeks even!). Well, one is still technically on hiatus, but the group decided to go start a new thing. That being pirates, using the FATE system. (Which is why I'm suddenly reading up on the merchant history of Venice. See, the things I do make sense, really!) The other is DnD 4E campaign where we're all up in Paragon tier. We are so amoral and snarky.

Speaking of amoral and snarky DnD parties, my DnD group convinced me to go read the Dungeons and Dragons comic published by IDW. I was pretty much sold on lines they dropped on me and further sold on the Amazon preview. When I finally read Fell's Five, I realized my group was right, and it really does sound a lot like us at the table. And then I finally realized it's written by John Rogers, which really does explain why the halfling rogue sometimes has shades of Parker. And moved the comic up from "awesome" to "holy fuck yeah!"

I was talking with my housemates today, and we got into a conversation about Neverwinter Nights, Mass Effect, and Dragon Age, and our individual playstyles. I rarely, if ever, choose to play as a mage if I get the choice. Yeah, they're DPS gods usually, but it's usually not my thing. If given the choice, I'm much more likely to play rogue. Specifically, rogue-assassin. I was blatantly that path in DA:O and in ME1, I took the path that got me Infiltrator, as sniper rifle proficiency is probably the closest thing to assassin in the ME'verse. What's really interesting is that I only really do this for video game RPGs. I've never played a rogue in a tabletop. Closest might possibly be the Ranger with 2 levels of Dread Commando in 3.5ed, but that's a stretch.

I've also been playing through a strange...action-adventure? game and am almost done with it. El Shaddai is a very visually impressive game. The art is fantastic. The plot is pretty standard "Japanese creative reinterpretation of the Apocrypha" fare, emphasis on the "creative". It's a bit odd at times. This time, it's the Book of Enoch, but apparently taking place before the Fall, since Lucifer Lucifel is around acting as Captain Exposition and your save point...with god on speed dial on his cell phone. I told you it was odd.

One thing that's making me headtilt in a very amused way is that hit points are represented by armor. Get hit enough, and your armor breaks off. Yeah, health state is represented by clothing damage. Only this time, your protagonist is male and at 1 HP, he's walking shirtless. Turnabout is so fair play.

Anyway, where the plot sort of makes sense, some of the design decisions...well, the designers were clearly on the good drugs. The levels have gone from Okami-style line drawings in monochrome to psychedelic mutli-colored moving platform puzzles that make you wonder if you're staring at a Magic Eye puzzle and everything in between. (I'm still not sure why the game decided to make me race through a level in a TRON-sytle crazy motorcycle chase, but I will not deny it was cool.) I think I'm nearly done, but I need to somehow beat the fallen angel who changed form to a teleporting, giant, bipedal insect with a Megaton Kick who also shoots fireballs.

I said they were on the good drugs!
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ultranos: cecilia adelhyde holding spell book (Default)
I've been watching the archives of Extra Credits on PATV (which are completely awesome and I need to link people to them at some point, because there are people I know in fandom who would eat these guys up because they get it). And, for the outro music, they often take tracks made from people on OCRemix, a group of various fan artist who remix video game music and share them. There was an epic rendition of the Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past theme, and, curious, I traced it back to the source.

Imagine my surprise when, upon visiting OCRemix's homepage, I saw the announcement that they'd just released their newest album: Wild Arms: ARMed and DANGerous.

Look, I can understand why some people are like "so what?" The first Wild ARMs game was released 15 years ago for the PS1, with little fanfare. The 3/4 overhead was reminiscent of FF6, and the 3D battles looked like bobbleheads fighting. It got completely overshadowed by the release of Final Fantasy VII in terms of very early PlayStation JRPGs.

Wild ARMs was the very first RPG I played through start to finish. I'd played around with my cousin's copy of one of the Legend of Zelda games, when I visited and he'd let me, but Wild ARMs? Wild ARMs was mine. I'd rented it on a whim in the summer of 1997 and was absolutely hooked. I'd played through Rudy's intro twice because I didn't understand at the time that I had to save, because there was no way I'd finish in one sitting. 10 hours of gameplay later, we had to return the disc, and the next day, I'd begged my mom for a trip to the game store and minutes later, I had my very own copy in my hands.

I never looked back.

Fourteen and a half years ago, I was introduced to a genre that changed my life. If not for Wild ARMs, I would never have been introduced to Square-Enix, Nippon Ichi, Bioware, or Atlus. I would never have dove headfirst into DnD, WoD, Shadowrun, FATE, or homebrew tabletops. I would never have jumped at the chance to join my university's live-action role-playing group, simply because they had the phrase "role-playing game" in the title.

I would not have the friends I have today, nor had the experiences that made me who I am. I would not be me.

Whenever an icon meme rolls around, people generally ask me "who's that in your default icon?" That would be Cecilia Adelhyde, the one female character in the party of three main characters of the first Wild ARMs, from the animated intro to the game. She's awesome. And she reminds me every day of who I was and who I came to be.

I'm listening to the OCRemix album as I write this, and I can't really put into words what I feel to hear Michiko Naruke's work remixed by fans who love her work as much as I do. It takes me back to a time when I was 12 years old, playing the game on the floor of my brother's bedroom, and not yet realizing at the time that'd I'd fallen absolutely, irrevocably in love with a medium and a genre like none other before.
ultranos: cam reaching for a sword, with text "guys, you DID check for traps, right?" (TRAP!)
Remember when I was utterly obsessed with Persona 4 (er, as opposed to right now, when I'm only somewhat obsessed) and most of the rest of you were completely baffled by this? They made an anime, and not only is Persona 4: the Animation airing in Japan this fall, but you can get it, subtitled in English, within 24 hours of original air time on Hulu. It's pretty much exactly like the game, minus dungeon crawling. It sends me right to my happy place, and I adore it madly.

In other Things What I Am Watching news, I finally had enough of people beating me over the head and started watching the Eleventh Doctor in Doctor Who and Last Exile (steampunk airships!).

I also seem to have mostly abandoned League of Legends and fallen headfirst in Supreme Commander: Forged Alliance. Not that this is a bad thing, considering it means LAN games with housemates as they teach me about flak and tac d.

It sounds like my old DnD 4E game is coming out of hiatus soon, which makes me a lot less pissed for accidentally forgetting to cancel my yearly subscription to DnD Insider. It's useful now! I'm pretty excited because this was the campaign that was a sequel (set 50 years later) to the first 3.5ed campaign I played way back, and we'd just hit Paragon tier when hiatus happened. So I'm looking forward to getting my DnD back on. (My character is the grandkid of my original character, and she's all kinds of cranky because of it. Such as being utterly convinced that her getting assigned to the party is some kind of punishment but no one is telling her what she did wrong.)
ultranos: girl in gekkougan uniform with monsterous shadow (casting shadows)
So, over the last week or so, a friend decided to take another friend's homebrew Persona tabletop system and write/run the sequel campaign to the original campaign that kind of died a quiet, ignoble death roughly a year ago.

The new campaign is, possibly from my understanding, which of course could be entirely wrong, essentially the Eternal Punishment to the original campaign's Innocent Sin. (Basically, the original GM and the new GM decided by GM-Fiat that the original campaign canonically got the Bad Ending. New campaign is taking that and running from there.) Because of this, my original character is returning for the sequel, is the only PC returning (it's pretty much a new group, and the old GM is now a player, which is great). Except the experience kind of fucked her up bad. How badly? Her Arcana changed from Star to Tower. (The system runs off of the Persona 3 interpretations of the Major Arcana.)

So yeah, I'm pretty excited to play this character again and get some good tabletop going. I'm only currently in one other bi-weekly run, and I realise that I miss it. And it's kind of the impetus to get off my ass and actually write the rules for that Sliders-esque campaign I've been tossing around in my head. I just need to decide if I'll run off of modified FATE or just write a homebrew system for it. GURPS is actually a few orders of magnitude more complicated than what I want for this.
ultranos: greyscale photo of laptop and coffee mug filled with some beverage (coffee and data)
I've been playing my way, slowly, through a second run of single-player for Portal 2, taking the time to really appreciate the level design and voice acting that Valve put in here, not to mention just trying for Achievements (in interest of not spoiling, two with the least-spoiler-tastic names I'm working on are "Smash TV" and "Overclocker", which I keep missing by seconds, damn it). I'm also playing through co-op with a friend, which is also a lot of fun and takes some amount of mind-bending to figure out.

Which means I'm also glad that Valve announced Friday that they're going to be releasing free DLC sometime this summer that includes new test chambers and challenge levels. Score.

The "problem", and I use that word lightly, here is that the time I spend playing Portal 2 means time I'm not playing any of the other games on my very long list of games on Steam. Or on the PS2. Or PS3 or 360. My life is hard.

In which I wax philosophical about Steam and my relationship to digital distribution )
ultranos: souji with his head stuck inside a tv (tv is eating my brain)
I promised more detailed bits about my weekend, and I probably should post it before the next one rolls around.

Anyway! Last weekend was a Weekend of Gaming. It started out with a set of countdowns on Thursday night promising something crazy on Friday. First was another Mayonaka TV countdown to the official trailer for Persona 4: the Animation. Which looks awesome. The other countdown was part of Valve's ARG for Portal 2. The ARG had been going on since April 1, and on Friday, revealed GLaDOS@Home, a spoof of SETI@Home, Folding@Home, and other distributed computing projects. The gimmick? Play 13 indie games the ARG used for enough time, and getting enough potatoes for completing certain tasks in them, and Portal 2 would release early.

Cue Steam running a copy of one of the 13 games Friday-Monday.

When I wasn't doing that, I was playing in the Assassins' Guild 3day game, "Fistful of Promises", which was written by a friend of mine. The premise was that you're in a doomed city in the Bronze Age. The enemy's at the gates and has been for three years and the city will fall, and all debts are coming due (enforced by demonic power!). It was an intriguing look at inevitability. (Almost half of the in-game deaths were suicides) I very much enjoyed playing my character, even if she was an absolutely terrible human being. (There was a line. My character was three miles past the line with no intention of stopping.) Except it was kind of Momento-style in that she didn't remember she was a terrible human being, and playing that break when she realized the truth was utterly fascinating (the character completely snapped, and suddenly, Nos was not in control of her own body for much of Saturday).

My character ultimately killed herself Friday night, which left me free to then go to Iron Gamer IV. Iron Gamer: couple thousand MAME ROMs from arcade games, put in a randomizer, and then two people have to play whatever comes up. It's crazy and fun and usually very, very funny.

Sunday was more indie games, to the point now where I see colored blocks whenever I listen to my music (thanks, Audiosurf), 3-day wrapup, and then a post-mortem of the game between myself, one GM, and another player involving drinking. Best kind! Especially since I had off Monday and could sleep it off. Which I did. And then got up to play more indie games like Defense Grid (grid-based tower defense!) until Portal 2 came out a whole 10 hours early. Leaving me 2 hours to play it Monday night before I decided to be A Responsible Adult and go to bed at 2am. Despite the fact that I didn't want to, because the game is gorgeous and absolutely incredible. Valve certainly knocked it out of the park with this one. (No, I haven't finished it yet)
ultranos: kino and hermes on a coffee break (i need a coffee break)
1) Saw Sucker Punch on Friday with the Usual Suspects. I suspect this is a movie that people will either enjoy or hate. Me, I enjoyed it, but I completely turned off my brain after the last trailer ended and was highly sleep-deprived. If you think about it too hard, you will probably be disappointed. It probably also helped that I had zero expectations beyond "stuff exploding". Which happened! And there were clockwork Nazi zombies. So, you know.

It was video game movie. Those are always terrible, but at least this was entertaining, which puts it a cut above most. Sucker Punch does not exist as a game, but I watched it and kept thinking "I played that in Dragon Age, and that in Time Crisis, etc." I was left with the desire to go play Ninja Gaiden or Bayonetta afterwards. Especially Bayonetta.

2) Went up to NH today on a whim and ended up at one of the Borders' closing sales. Where I happened to score the first season of TSCC for $15. Win.

3) BlazBlue continues to be fun. I need to figure out which characters are the lightning bruisers or fragile speedsters, because that's my play-style for fighting games and until I find them, I will suck. The game is also fairly challenging even on Beginner mode, which is cool. I'm less excited about fighters where I can buttonmash and end up winning arcade mode (Soul Calibur 3, I'm looking at you).

4) I finished Usurper of the Sun by Housuke Noriji last night. I might do a more thorough review later, but it was quite good if a somewhat hard-SF novel about first contact that follows the female protagonist from age 16 to age 40+ as humanity tries to figure out how to deal is the kind of thing you like. Which I do.
ultranos: balthier holding out his hand (come along with me)
One thing I saw when I was at PAXEast and wandering around Indie Alley in the Expo Hall was a little localization company called Aksys Games. They're the people who've brought over fighting games like BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger, BlazBlue: Continuum Shift, and Guilty Gear XX, as well as such games as 999: 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors, Arcana Hearts, and Super Dodgeball Brawlers to the US.

On Wednesday, 3/16, the CEO announced that 100% of the profits from their online store until 3/24 will go towards charity efforts for Japan.

I'm still super impressed by this, and my estimation of this little indie company has grown quite a lot. So if you're interested in picking up a good 2D fighter or quirky RPG or puzzle game, check them out.
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ultranos: kino standing, staring ahead (contemplative)
I've been thinking about game mechanics and storytelling a lot lately. Specifically LARP mechanics, but that's because I'm writing a tenday*. But I've also been poking at writing rules systems for tabletops, both d20 expansions, homebrew, and Fate, just for fun. And I kinda want to talk aloud about some of this stuff, and I'm probably driving some of my friends I hang out with nuts at this point. But hell if I know if you lot want to listen to this either.

Therefore, poll!

Poll #6218 Gaming talk
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 6

Would you like to hear me write about my experiences and thoughts about writing game mechanics?

View Answers

6 (100.0%)

No, this interests me not at all
0 (0.0%)

Something else I will describe in comments
0 (0.0%)

* If you have no idea what I'm talking about and would really like to know, please ask.
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ultranos: kino and hermes on a coffee break (i need a coffee break)
I've decided that digital distribution is going to be the death of me. Or at least my wallet. I thought it was bad with Steam, but I finally bit the bullet and bought a few albums off iTunes (Yoshida Brothers) and AmazonMP3 (Ladytron, Little People). This plus Grooveshark? I am this close to buying the discography of God Is An Astronaut, which is apparently my latest obsession along with the Yoshida Brothers. The latter of which I somehow got hooked on while asking Pandora for chiptunes. What is this I don't even.

Speaking of digital distribution, I should figure out within the next, uh, 7 days if I'm pre-purchasing Dragon Age II off Steam, or if I'm going to wait for a few DLC packs. I downloaded the demo, but haven't gotten around to playing it, and don't really want to until I finish Origins and Awakening. There's also the problem that I've been thinking of picking up KH: Birth By Sleep and possibly a Layton game before PAX East. Yes, my life is hard.

In other news, I'm working on a tenday for the Guild, and recently got convinced to write a three-day as well. I'm clearly crazy. Recent discussion among Guild members has made this a fraught endeavor. Ironically, we started designing the game as a backlash against some of the recent trends in Guild writing, because we wanted to be a bit edgy and different. Now, it looks like there already is a backlash, and these things are going to be demanded of us. It's taking a bit of my focus to recalibrate things, just because the environmental dynamic got shifted. It's not a bad thing, necessarily, I just fear that we (the GMs) might be under a harsher microscope. Luckily, we have roughly 11 months.

Then there's Ides (a game mechanics writing talk/discussion session for Guild writers), which of course is happening the same weekend as PAX East. I was thinking that I really wanted to go to Ides this year because I seem to have acquired the job class "Mechanics GM" recently. That, and my zephyr class has turned into a source of mechanics discussion lately. But I've already paid for a 3-day pass to PAX. At least it's on the Sunday; I hit my threshold for being able to deal with crowds Saturday night last year, so we'll see. I guess it depends on if there are panels I'd want to see.
ultranos: rydia looking at the camera, with sky behind her (i know what the land speaks)
So, today my alarm went off. I flailed at the snooze button, rolled over, then remembered something and checked my email on my phone, found out that the Institute was closed today for all non-essential staff (I'm not essential in the least), and then burrowed further into my blankets and went back to sleep.

Yay, snow days. Yeah, Boston got buried again. And I'm saying this as a former Midwesterner, so I know snow.

Thus my day was mostly spent gaming and drinking tea. Well, tea and then homemade hot chocolate made from Mexican chocolate with Guajillo Chili (from Taza Chocolate). It was gooood.

Reinstalled Supreme Commander after the Great Windows XP Crash of 2010, so I expect SupCom parties in my near future (MONKEYLORD!). During the installation and patching process (which took...some time), I watched Yarmond play Valkyria Chronicles, which is no-really-we-swear-not-WWII. Where the Empire might be either Germany or Soviet Russia and the Federation is the allies, and as far as we can tell, you might be Lithuania or some other small Baltic state. The map is we-swear-it's-not-Europe-see-Italy-is-missing. It's kind of hilarious. But most importantly, you have a tank. A tank that goes "RRRRRRRR'. No, seriously, the tank has comic-style lettering next to it when it moves going "RRRRRRR". It's kind of ridiculously adorable.

And then I managed to get myself horribly addicted to playing Dragon Age: Origins, which I bought as part of the Dragon Age Ultimate during the Steam sale on Christmas Day for $25. It's totally worth the $25. I've played for 6 hours, and I'm disappointed I have to stop because I have work tomorrow.

I have to admit, I'm pretty impressed these days with Bioware. I remember being kind of "meh" about Neverwinter Nights the first time I played it, but I was very much used to JRPGs. This isn't JRPG, but it's engaging enough in the story to trigger that part of my brain and engage it. The inability of a lot of western RPGs to do this is pretty much why I don't play a lot of them. Sandbox games are fun, but I find I enjoy an RPG a lot more if the story and/or characters are engaging. And DA has that, even if I only have Alistar and Morrigan as my party members right now.

(And I'm so very, very glad that Claudia Black is doing a lot of voice acting work. It's not a visible job, but it's a lot, and let me tell you: after sitting through years of terrible VA in video games, good voice actors are worth their weight in gold.)
ultranos: Actual MIT hack of roadsign. "MASS AVE BRIDGE CLOSED / SUNDAY 04/22/07 6AM-3PM / TO APPEASE GODZILLA" (have you appeased godzilla today?)
I am alive! Really! I've just been kind of busy at work, and then coming home and either catching up on Leverage or buying and playing way too many games on Steam. (Steam, why do you keep having such wonderful sales?)

For the record, it's really hard to type fast when your fingers are covered in potting epoxy. Just throwing that out there. The presence of black potting epoxy on my hands might make going through airport security in...3.5 hours really entertaining.

Oh! Due to my excessive watching of Leverage and comments from friends earlier in the week about Shadowrun and recounting our crazy SR campaign that took ten runs to get our first kill (we were amazingly effective and non-lethal! In Shadowrun 3rd Ed.) somehow convinced me that Leverage-themed SR campaign would be hilarious.

I also got myself addicted to Online Dominion, which is...Exactly What It Says On The Tin. Hurray for euro-cardgames? It's to the point where I was dreaming Dominion strategies last night.

I, er, have been poking at [livejournal.com profile] fandom_stocking for people. Sort of. I think all my writing points have wandered off to the tenday. Or are hiding like ninja.


ultranos: cecilia adelhyde holding spell book (Default)

Memoranda from the Usual Suspects

Media List:

Currently Watching:
-- Supergirl(hiatus)
--Pitch (hiatus)

Currently Playing:
--[null] (PS3)
--[null] (PS2)
--Fire Emblem: Awakening (3DS)
--[null] (PSP)
--[null] (XBox360)
--Endless Legend (PC)
--Fallout: New Vegas (PC)

Currently Reading:


-The Rook, Daniel O'Malley
-Fortune's Rising, Sara King

-Ratf**ked: The True Story Behind the Secret Plan to Steal America's Democracy, David Daley


"So she's good cop, he's bad cop, you're morally-questionable cop, and I'm set-things-on-fire cop."

"Sounds about right."


"WARNING: When attempting to be clever, make sure you not actually just being stupid."


"Did you remember to sacrifice the goat before burning the ISO to the DVD-R?"

"Crap! Um, I've got a charred piece of meat here."

"That's called a steak. That's dinner. What about the sacrifices?"


"I escape through quantum-tunneling. What do I need to roll for that?"


"Why is it called a 'Monkeylord'?"

"Because it looks like a spider."


"I have a moral objection to this problem. It implies microwaving a steak."


"Did you eat the crazy cookies this morning?"


"The GPU goes 4 by 4, hurrah, hurrah."

April 2017

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