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Messages - Villain Mastermind

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General Discussion / Suggestions for YT series features
« on: September 19, 2014, 11:35:22 AM »
Haven't made any YT vids in a while, but planning to start again come October. One of the main thrusts I'll be doing is more in the "VM reads" series where I read/play some IF and give some thoughts on it.

Any suggestions for things to read? If I don't get any suggestions, I'll just choose things randomly.

General Discussion / Re: Gamergate : Bypass the corrupt gaming media
« on: September 19, 2014, 10:59:53 AM »
Btw, Depression Quest was developed in Twine and Leigh Alexander has created a piece of IF or two...

I hope this doesn't hurt the reputation of the genre or the Twine community in the eyes of the larger gaming public.

General Discussion / Re: Gamergate : Bypass the corrupt gaming media
« on: September 19, 2014, 10:56:50 AM »
Good god, so tired... Been on this for almost 30 days now and been fighting a sinus infection nearly the entire time.

My website is a fucking mess... I'm a fucking mess...

But this is so worth it because I'm watching and helping drive interwebs history.

General Discussion / Re: Gamergate : Bypass the corrupt gaming media
« on: September 17, 2014, 10:54:33 PM »
Good lord... This has blown up beyond anything I anticipated. The media-smear campaign has even spread to hit-pieces from publications like The New Yorker and Time (written by one of the main figures in the gaming media corruption scandal, so it is not in the least objective).

The fight has gone nuclear and even 4chan has fallen... Threads are being deleted left and right, people banned for even mentioning Gamergate. Holy hell, entire IP-ranges look like they've been banned. This is madness.

Many of the troops have fled and regrouped at other boards like 8chan and entrench themselves for the long haul.

I know that nobody is really reading this, but I hope that the few of you that read this will join the battle.

Don't let them shape your reality for you...

2 + 2 = 4, goddamnit!

“You are a slow learner, Winston."
"How can I help it? How can I help but see what is in front of my eyes? Two and two are four."
"Sometimes, Winston. Sometimes they are five. Sometimes they are three. Sometimes they are all of them at once. You must try harder. It is not easy to become sane.”
  ― George Orwell, 1984

P.S. Sorry for the melodrama, but this honestly is serious business.

General Discussion / Re: Hypothetical : New gamebook platform requirements
« on: September 04, 2014, 09:25:14 AM »
Was unpleasantly and suddenly surprised to find out that "PixelBook" is already trademarked and had to proactively take my video down to avoid any IP craziness. Kinda sad about it... I really liked that name.

Oh, well... It happens...

Can't get past the prototype stage, keep hitting walls and starting over. But that is just the learning/design process: Create, review, scrap and start again. Sounds boring, but it is actually pretty fun. I learn something new every cycle.

I'm in awe of people that can just pump out software over a weekend. Don't know how they do it. I maybe have a few hours a month of solitude at most a week to work in peace. Still, just gotta keep going.

To all of you that feel that you never have enough time to code/write/draw/etc, don't let it drag you down. Keep chugging along, brothers and sisters! There are plenty of other people that know how you feel.

General Discussion / Gamergate : Bypass the corrupt gaming media
« on: September 04, 2014, 08:48:36 AM »
How do I put this...

Fuck the gaming media and the indie-gaming oligarchy (look up the word, it applies frighteningly well).  A relatively small group of people have hijacked the indie-gaming world and give their friends preferential coverage.

If you somehow don't know about this, watch the very well researched series by InternetAristocrat for the details. He also has some good videos on Anita Sarkeesian and other related persons. (Disclaimer: I don't agree with all of his opinions, but he definitely did his homework in this case. Kudos to him and he won me as a subscriber.)

What can we do to fight back?

First of all, stop frequenting their websites... Fuck them and their clicks. Unsubscribe to their feeds and don't feed the frauds.

Second, use word of mouth to promote games you like instead of sharing links to their articles. Find under-exposed games/developers/artists/etc and promote them to your friends. There are lots of people creating great stuff or showing enormous potential for creating great stuff, and because they get universally ignored, they often will get discouraged and quit or just not have the output they are actually capable of. Note to self: I've gotta get around to making more "VM reads" videos and actually start a series where I play random games from GameJolt or other places where small developers post their work.

Just woke up this morning, so still pretty sleepy. Having trouble coming up with more...

Any thoughts, people?

To try and drag myself out of my rut and finally get something done, I've started a video series dedicated to the "PixelBook Project":

Any feedback, support, etc would be appreciated.

That is essentially the plan...  :P

Build the final product (Digital Gamebook) first and then basic tools (an IDE) to produce said product. While I'm going to build the game-book components first, the planning is being done with the IDE and the development-process in mind.

There was some things I wanted to do that couldn't be easily accomplished in Twine/Twee without extensive modifications, so I started thinking about what would be needed to get what I needed done for these projects with the minimum amount of fuss. There are hundred different ways to go about it and many excellent sources of inspiration which I've been drawing from, but the challenge is making the structure as simple as possible without being "dumbed down". A clean interface, easy to understand code/markup, and an intuitive application structure is the goal.

Twine/Twee shows that a simple tool can inspire people to express themselves creatively that otherwise would be too intimidated to even try... Even if I fail horribly, maybe another brave soul will build upon the spiritual foundation of Twine and my ideas to create something even better.

What I am trying to glean from the community is their requirements for an MVP (Minimum Viable Product). That being said, I have no problem with wish-list features. Getting them sooner rather later is a boon because you can add design/api hooks for their inclusion at earlier stages in the process.

Here is an extremely brief overview of my favorite permutation of the web-components idea:

PixelBook - The root element of the application
  • Displays the designated "Page" element
  • Acts as the primary controller, handling the specifics of basic functions like "Page Turning" and most other logic
  • Stores various elements invisibly in storage-divs walled off from the user by hiding them in element's "Shadow DOM" (e.g. Page, ?VarData?, Pix, and Passage/Snippet elements not residing in a Page element)
  • Contains and manages a "Log" component that can be displayed for debugging purposes
Log - A normally hidden element that is activated when the application is running in debug-mode so it can store various "LogEntry" elements

LogEntry - Text messages that record debuging data like events, state changes, and error messages

Page - Primary display container for templated application content

Passage - A semantic extension of the "p" element (?additional funtionality?)... Can either exist directly in a Page element or be stored invisibly in the root element for dynamic insertion
Snippet - Serves a function analogous to the Passage element, but extends the "span" method instead for containing short chunks of inline text... Can also exist directly in a Page or be stored for dynamic insertion
I have about a dozen different ideas about how to implement variables... Still batting around the best way to do it. Suggestions and brainstorming is appreciated

Pix - An extension of the "img" element with addional functionality?
Tbox - A special extension to the "div" element for additional layout options along with extra functionality like a type-writer effect... Would be useful for "Visual Novel" applications or ones that need that old-school feel.  (Might make that also available on passages)
I dunno... Still playing around with different schemes.
Suggestions and/or Ideas, anyone?

* A Note on the state of the available polyfills *
X-Tags appears to be a partial implementation at best
Polymer requires a web-server, so a purely client-side web-app (which is exactly what I want at this stage) is impossible to build with it

After dreaming up several dozen different ideas and plans, I've settled on one that does exactly what I want in a way that isn't a tangled mess. Actually, it is so simple that I'm almost ashamed and humbled that it didn't occur to me sooner.

Web components! The only way to achieve what I want without a horrendous mess of divs and javascript hacks.

But there is a catch...

The technology is quite literally experimental, which makes prototyping a giant pain in the ass. The latest versions of Chrome Canary have the needed features after tweaking the application flags, but it still acts a bit oddly. There are polyfills and shims, but they are ugly as hell, but I may have to suck it up and use them even to get a proof-of-concept prototype up and running.

Oh, well... *sigh*

I originally started coding it in TypeScript, but the web component angle was such a delicious alternative that I dropped it on the spot.

I'm in the initial design stages, more or less.
My dayjob being a corporate slave and minor related life-events have been delaying progress, not to mention time spent researching and throwing out overly-complicated designs. The simpler the system, the easier it will be to learn, use, mantain, and modify to the user's needs.
Gonna use the "Chaos Model" for this particular project... I found it in one of my research missions and instantly fell in love with the idea.
I'll post more as my life permits.

General Discussion / Re: Hypothetical : New gamebook platform requirements
« on: September 28, 2013, 09:10:34 AM »
Off to a good start... A little confusion as to which set of project stakeholders I wanted to gather requirements from, but I was going to ask for Dev-centric requirements next anyway.

No matter... Maybe I should have just asked for requirements for the Devs in the first place. Alls well that ends well...

Currently, I am researching software/API's similar to what I have in mind to take a survey of how they tackled various problems.

General Discussion / Adventures in the Game Industry
« on: September 19, 2013, 07:19:24 PM »
I was wondering how many of you out there have worked for a big gaming company (or even a small one) and what your experiences were...

The company I worked for was, and still is, one of the largest in the world... Among other things, they are well known for their ridiculously popular sport games, particularly a game named after a certain coach and color-commentator. I was a QA tester and had only been there for a few weeks, and since I wasn't a part of any cliques and/or suck up to any Team-leads or managers, no one could remember my name... but that wasn't uncommon in the case of new QA testers because we were hired in large batches and considered disposable.

I was going to tell the entirety of my story, which was woefully short, but I'm kinda tired of retelling it in full. So I'll just skip to the almost comical way it ended.

1) Manager whom I have never met or seen before calls me into a meeting: "Hey, you... We need to have a talk."

2) I am lectured on how my attendance and performance are not up to par, which I found odd considering that I was always on time and hard at work when everyone else was talking about sports.

3) Then I am addressed by a name that is not even remotely mine and handed a non-disclosure agreement (company secrets and such) to sign that had that same erroneous name on it.

4) After informing the manager and team leads present that the name is not mine and belongs to the gentleman that sits beside me, I am left alone for at least a half-hour to wait. Seeing as this all appears to be a bureaucratic mistake, I feel secure in the knowledge that I have dodged a bullet meant for someone else.

5) Eventually, a single team-lead wordlessly comes in with a non-disclosure agreement with my correct name on it... I am forced to sign it by security before I am escorted out of the building. In the parking lot, I see my former neighbor with a box containing his things.

6) On the drive home, my state of shock and confusion fades and I piece together what had just transpired. They had fired me just so they wouldn't have to admit they'd made a mistake. I then pull over and proceed to scream obscenities and the most vile of curses into my closed-face motorcycle helmet.

Does anyone else have any stories, good or bad?

General Discussion / Hypothetical : New gamebook platform requirements
« on: September 14, 2013, 11:49:37 AM »
A gamebook is a work of fiction that allows the reader to participate in the story by making effective choices. The narrative branches along various paths through the use of numbered paragraphs or pages. (From Wikipedia)

Please excuse any typos... This post was written in a bit of a rush...

Hypothetically... If someone was to make an alternative to Twee/Twine, what would the minimum requirements be for a working alpha?

My idea is to expand upon the precedent set by Twee/Twine and start sketching out a design. I have a couple of models kicking around in my head and I've been leisurely playing with them for months, but I want to get some suggestions from the community.

At this stage, I am merely looking for requirements at the "application-level"... specifically, what the end-user should be able to do and/or experience with the program. And just to clarify, the "end-user" (we can use the acronym, EU) in this case is the reader/player.

To keep this from devolving into a list of "it would be cool if x did y", I have a simple form I suggest for responses:
  • Feature/requirement
  • Description/clarification
  • Percieved priority (Chrome, Very Low, Low, Medium, High, Very High, Critical)
As an example, here is the first two requirements that cover the basic definition of a "Gamebook" -
  • Requirement: EU should be able to view text and/or images that convey a narrative
  • Description: The text and/or images would by default be displayed in a format remenicent to a page in a book
  • Priority: Critical
And the next one -
  • Requirement:  EU should be able to make choices and/or interact with the narrative
  • Descripion: The EU should be able to effect the narrative through various means, thus determining the path of the narrative to an extent determined by the author
  • Priority: Critical
That is about as "high-level" as it gets...

"Wish list" items are fine, but keep in mind that the requirements are for the creation of the desired experience in the reader/player.

Discussing Game Design / Re: Writing/Game-design as personal therapy
« on: September 08, 2013, 07:35:38 PM »
It was one of those "Funnier in hindsight" situations.

And that last post came off a lot darker than I intended...

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