Sunday, January 24, 2016

The seal

Some fiction I guess. I scrapped what I'd been working on so this is what you get.

The Seal

Gods I'm tired. I've been sitting here for what feels like forever. Really, I got over the nigh on unbearable pain after the first few decades. After that, not much to do but sleep. Well, that and the occasional attempt to escape, but really, a decent bit of spell-crafting basically automated that.

Fuck, its been a really boring century stuck here. Ah well, I did volunteer. Dumb ass hippies. The council will believe any yarn you spin if you pout and act remorseful. "We shouldn't kill unique life" my ass, I worked hard to be the biggest asshole of all time. Really, I earned it...

Okay, happy thoughts. Beach. Old wife. Day I became what I am. Life at the AI lab before the world went to shit. Not the days I did the most stupid shit.

Hm, is that an opening I see? Apparently my magic didn't pick up on it. I swim towards it, hoping against hope I can escape and atone.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Writer's block

I don't know why but I've been trying to write and not able to get anything even remotely satisfying. It's not that I don't have ideas, its that my writing out those ideas is crap. If you saw my last story you know I like the cold open. But right now everything I right has way too much set up. Any ways, I've been watching Kill La Kill. How the fuck do these people do this. Its so stupid but its the good type of stupid. I want to be able to do that. Its really easy to look at this stuff and get really discouraged. Well, I guess we get better. There's nothing to do but get practice here.

So I need to fill a blog entry huh. Well lets talk about stuff I think I would like. I'm a big fan of anti-heroic sociopaths as protagonists. Probably comes from Darker Than Black. Good show and you should watch it. Similarly, I like having some powers for a protagonists. It's much more interesting than if they're static, normal people. One of the issues I have with the Cyberpunk 2020 setting is the lack of any real special things that distinguish the player characters from others. Even when you're playing a normal, non-magic characters  in Shadowrun you have edge, a resource that represents a sort of cosmic backing or supernatural luck for the characters. Characters aren't just random schmucks, they're Shadowrunners, with all the implications of that. Compare to the Cyberpunks who don't have much special to them. You can see why one might be more interesting. (Does Cyberpunk have an edge system? If it does, it's not as clearly defined.)

Speaking of Shadowrun, I also like the consolidation of magic and technology. It sort of makes sense. If magic really existed, we would try to evoke modern technology with it. Modern tech has a lot of things going for it. Its reliable and accessible to the common person through easily sold, cheap to produce accessories without having to give commoners access to the actual tools used to make them, limiting their ability to revolt or build weapons. Its a more sensible setting than, say, the average D&D setting where there are old ruins and tombs everywhere for no reason.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Ending of Sword Art Online II

FUCK. I had finals this week and I had nothing good to say and no energy to write so nothing I wrote over the past week got posted. Thank god that's over. I should probably try some more of the creative fiction tommorrow but today It's time for an anime rant.


So I watched the first half, the GGO arc, as it was coming out on Crunchyroll. It was bullshit and we won't speak of it ever except to laugh at it. Because it was so bad I abandoned all hope of the series ever rising to defeat my expectations and contented myself with other shows skipping the second half. Lo and behold my surprise when someone told me Kirito wasn't the protagonist of the second half. "Well," I said. "I guess I'll watch it then since a lot of my complaints are about the stupid harem thing." I was highly skeptical that thry would do it but they did. After a pointless arc involving the discovery of Excalibur, Kirito was promptly shoved away from the main plot like the collossal tool that he is and Asuna finally gets a chance to shine.

Of course the ending ruined it but I'm getting ahead of myself.

See, the arc is about Asuna joining up with a guild who wants to take on one of the uber-powerful floor bosses. Why they want to do that is unknown but what is known is that they are lead by an incredibly powerful swords-woman named Yuki who can kick Kirito's ass. Yes, the almighty Kirito gets his ass kicked. That alone is worth the price of admission. Eventually it's revealled that the entire guild is made of terminal patients who live in virtual reality, explaining their almost supernatural skill in a way that's not "I'm superpowered" the way Kirito's is. The arc examines how technologies like Virtual Reality and other such advances can help with how patients interact with the world. It's pretty interesting.

Now for the ending. The ending starts with Yuki dying which was forshadowed from miles away. The main cast then deals with the aftermath where its discovered that... everything the terminally ill patients were using was designed by Kayaba Akhihiko, the generic big bad of the setting who was responsible for the original VRMMO "People die when they are killed" death game that the first half of the first season of the anime takes place in. Ever since then there's been this huge push towards "humanizing him that's completely retarded. This is a man who tortured and killed people for fun! I'm supposed to sympathize with this asshole! Fuck you! I like sociopaths as protagonists but they need to at least face consequences for their actions.

Overall, this season is an improvement over the others, but it suffers from the ongoing characterization of Kayaba and Kirito that's thoroughly uninteresting or even pisses me off as it goes on. Maybe next season will be good.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

My totally infeasable fantasy for Cyberpunk 2077

So I spent some time today looking at the cyberpunk 2077 release material. It looks awesome but I have absolutely no chance of having sufficient hardware to run it on release. Therefore, I might as well let out my pipe dream on what I want the impressively ambitious CD Projekt Red to do.


From the looks of the trailer, the tone seems good. I like the focus on the cyber-psycho squad (I did some research on setting by *acquiring* the old Cyberpunk 2020 books) although I think they shouldn't be the primary focus of the game. What I like is when things are clearly not so great, but it takes some effort to dig into just how messed up the world is. I like Legend of the Legendary Heroes, which starts off seemingly idyllic but starts setting its tone by having one of the nobles kidnap a girl and present her to the king as a gift in the first episode. The second one is what gets carried on into the rest of the series, although it never loses the pretense of being comedic and fun, accentuating the darkness all the more. I guess what I'm saying is that while the cyber psychos should be a major part of the game, playing as a member of the cyber psycho squadron might be a little bit like hitting someone over the head with the tone.


So obviously Cyberpunk should be an open world game. If you played Deus Ex: Human Revolution, you know that you could run around the given area but movement between areas was plot driven. I'm mostly fine with that but it's still a bit of a compromise from a game play perspective. Because HR does this, it can portray a somewhat tighter, more cohesive plot. This isn't the false FF13 "We locked you in a hallway because STORY!!!" bullshit, but something that actually benefited from this focus. Still, that's not something CDPR really needs to worry about. They have experience from the Witcher series that makes it actually beneficial to open things up. I suppose that there should also be a mission structure because duh. Jobs will randomly appear on your log and have to be manually accepted sort of like a job board. These quests will have time limits so you can't accept a quest and just leave it. You'll have rep with the various employers and doing runs for them or against them will affect the rep and thus things like bonuses and quality of the quests the employer will give you. Some of these employers will also be weapon vendors and keeping them happy would be important like X-COM Apocalypse. There would be two types of jobs "business runs" where you do a run primarily for monetary gain and rep with a single employer, and "thrill runs" which primarily rewards rep with the various street factions. The actual gameplay would be like a modernized System Shock with more RPG elements like stats for speed and a neat implant system. Add in some of the better elements of Mirror's Edge's parkour and the gameplay would be extremely interesting.


The plot should be given as a series of missions with multiple mutually exclusive missions being the branch points for the story. There should be a Hitman: Blood Money-esque style to it, where there's a lot under the surface (see tone) but the suggestion that there's more to it should be in the back of the player's head the entire game.


While I'm no game designer, this would be a neat start to a design doc. It would take a lot of play testing as it does have a lot of moving parts, but it would be ambitious and cool.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Some BS writing

So this is a bit of writing I did. Nothing impressive, just a bit of fiction that I came up with, just meant to be a preface to some story thoughts I came up with.


I'm looking down the barrel of a pistol. “Wonderful,” I mutter under my breath so that my assailant. This rich brat calls me to this alley behind his oh-so prestigious private school and then has the sheer audacity to try to rob me. I might almost be impressed if the blood red sweater-vest over the white dress shirt with the khaki pants didn't make him look like an absolute tool.
“Look,” I say somewhat more loudly, in my most diplomatic tone. “Why don't we put down the gun and you won't to get blood in that pretty-boy blonde hair of yours.”
His eyes flare up in anger. Mistake. “How about you stop treating me like a little kid,” he yells at me, despite being all of 5 feet away. His quivering voice fails to disguise his stress or imply that he's in charge. “Drop the stuff and walk slowly away or… or… I'll shoot! I'm in charge here.”
I slowly take a step forward. “Look, let's not get-” BANG! I see a muzzle flash and feel a sharp pain on my forehead as my head snaps back and my vision goes dark.
Fuck! That hurts you spoiled brat!” I say in a tone of annoyance as I wipe the blood out of my eyes. I look up now that I can see again. Ah the look on his face immediately cheers me up. I don't know if it's the abject horror that I'm still standing after getting shot or the fear of what's going to happen to him, but it just makes me feel all fuzzy inside, like the warmth from a campfire, minus the smell of burning human. I slowly walk forward and say slowly “now see, I'm going to have to hurt you. We can make this easy or hard.”
He slowly backs away, trembling, then quickly turns and runs in terror.
Hard it is then.”
Inflict suffering. Charge.
I pool magical energy into my right arm, cloaking it in darkness as I rocket towards my target, leaving a black smog in my wake. I stop just short of the preening fool, punching him with my right arm and forcing the energy into his back, causing him to scream in agony as sparks of magic leap through his nervous system, leaving no permanent harm but still causing him to writhe in pain as he falls down.
I spit on his fallen body. "Maybe you'll remember next time," I say as I rifle through his pockets. "Ah, here's the money I need." I take the money I was due before he acted so rudely. "Pleasure doing business with you. Let's try not to make this not so eventful next time."
I walk away from the scene. After all, I got things to do and places to be.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Why Sword Art Online isn't my thing

All right, back from vacation and on to the first blog post of my new resolution. What to say, what to say. Welp, I'm too lazy to talk about programming right now (next week I have finals for my current 3 classes because my school's scheduling is messed up, so it's crunch time) and I don't want another school rant on my record. Also, I need an excuse to talk about something where I can easily rip images off of google images for embeding. Anime might be a good place to start.
Oh. Shit.
So I'm not a massive fan of SAO up there. The animation quality is top notch and the basic premise is cool. I like Log Horizon and .Hack. However, SAO really fails in its execution and devolves into this stupid harem rather than actually do anything interesting.
Every girl except the god damn fairy has a crush on the guy in the middle.
One of the things I really love in video games, books, TV shows, and movies is world building. Anime like Chrome Shelled Regios and Legend of the Legendary Heroes actually bring a lot of this to the forefront and I enjoy those shows despite their harem aspects.
Both these series take place in somewhat unusual settings as does SAO but the difference is that these tend to place world building towards their top priorities while SAO usually takes a more narrativist view on what's important, where only plot important things get mentioned. Chrome Shelled Regios has the main character working in a maintenance and cleaning position in his break hours, and LotLH(I am not typing that title out every time I refer to it) has the main characters chasing the relics of old heroes and has interesting details like each country having its own, fairly secret, brand of magic and groups responsible for protecting that secret. I can think of no part of SAO where it matters that the characters are in the game in the main plot, as for all purposes it may as well be a standard fantasy setting for the first season, and a generic wasteland style setting for the first half of the second season.  Also Kirito is uninteresting as a character. For an example of what I like in a character meet Ryner Lute.
"I would say hi but that's a pain"
Now see, Ryner lives a kind of harsh life. He's the carrier of the Alpha Stigma, a magic power that gives its wielder the ability to analyze and copy magic but is well known for the fact that it's users generally lose control and wreak havoc. He's not the most well liked guy because of that, needless to say. He got drafted from a young age as an assassin and it leads to his somewhat defeatist attitude on life. He generally doesn't care what happens so long as it doesn't affect him and he's very lazy and prone to napping a lot. Compare this to Kirito, whose general personality goes from "I'm a badass" to "people suck".

Just to be clear, I don't begrudge people for liking SAO. I'm just saying that it doesn't match my taste. I'm not a huge Bruce Willis fan either. SAO appeals to the otaku equivalent of that, but its not my thing.