vaecrius: A little yellow ant in the grass on a sunny day. (yellow ant)
Gabriel Loup posted earlier on the ZDoom forums (off topic, link may be dead in a few months) a mental exercise of sorts:

So, I went to the Zandronum forums and I found an interesting topic that I'd like to discuss further, what if Doom games were shorter than what it really is? Imagine if Doom 1, 2 and 64 were 10 maps, each. This gave me the idea of maybe porting some of the Maps of Chaos Doom 1 maps into Doom 2, and having the entire series play in a progressive sort of order, but I have no idea how to port Doom 1 maps into Doom 2 properly, without missing textures, so that will be for another time.


Here, for the record, are his.
Read more... )Dunno if he's pulling a Matthew 1:17 with D1.


Which got me thinking of my own. If I ever make my own mapset, this could be an interesting progression, sort of a Machete Order for Doom...

Read more... )
vaecrius: The blocky spiral motif based on the golden ratio that I use for various ID icons, ending with a red centre. (Default)
About time I started jotting down some of these thoughts that have been in my head about this.

Basic premise: The original Doom games (Doom 1 and 2) are a divinely inspired allegory of a man's repentance from sin.

As all pale shadows of the Truth, this is not a perfect analogy: in particular for this first post, no weapon in Doom is strictly necessary (except rocket against Icon of Sin).

(I should note that this does not work with the lore in Hideous Destructor at all, unless one were to assume an extremely unreliable narrator in the setting fluff I've written for it (which granted isn't too off base).)

Related: http://www.amazon.com/Killing-Monsters-Children-Make-Believe-Violence/dp/0465036961/

There is much to be said for this - the basic plot, the aesthetic, the progression and changing appearance of the levels (especially in the first game, (as far as I can tell at the moment) getting weaker with each new official IWAD), even the monster designs (I am assuming that things represented as demonic influences in the game are exactly that, or at worst they are temptations in this world and our own brokenness) - but it's an unchewably big enough bite that this first post will only be one tiny nibble: a brief summmary of the role of each weapon.

Read more... )
vaecrius: Duke2 Rigelatin overlord: "We'd kill you, you see, but our religion prevents the interruption of suffering." (rigelatin)
Trimming a few of my inflammatory political posts. You know, the "all these fucking evil zombie shits need to be driven into the sea" ones.

Also ditched a few where it was literally nothing but me being a smug pedant about some thing or other. (There's still a lot more.)

Got rid of some linkdumps that were just linkdumps with no interesting comments that weren't just one-liners directly in response to the things linked.

Many musical linkdumps have been purged. Most of the links and embeds are glitched or deleted anyway.* It's... humbling to see just what sort of fleeting lust passes for "awesome" and "greatest shit I've ever heard" that I post and then promptly forget about a week later. The old tag "aural masturbation focus" was much more accurate.

*ahahahaha what the fuck. Almost every single YouTube embed I've got on my blog is linking to the wrong video.
vaecrius: A round squishy plush lobster bursts out of the blue. (cock lobster)
Previous: A large, heavily armed Imperial squad come across an small, unrecorded hamlet that had been recently massacred by unknown hostiles. They investigate and discover an old sarcophagus that turns out to contain a living man who is either an Imperial noble, or an eldritch monster from the depths, or both.


*

Timín wakes up to the stink of death. It is everywhere in the darkness around him. He gets up, moves around, leaves the "house" he is in - the corner of the wall that happens to have a bit of roof over it still - and wherever he goes, it is there. It's seeped into his uniform.

He can still see the faces. The bloated and blue, green slimy bug-eyed stares, wall-eyed but still somehow looking right into him, women and children, old men and maidens. They cry out to him in his sleep: How long? How long must they lie in the darkness of the pit? How long must they go unavenged?

Suddenly the corpses are yellow and brown. The pit is the wine-dark sea, and he is inside an old photograph of the Xiniënar teleport station, before it was burned. The bodies arise - tens, hundreds, all along the docks and the catwalks and down the halls and climbing over the turnstiles - and stare at him. Timín is in an Imperial uniform, an enlisted man, in a style no one has used in decades. The name tag says "Cpl. Gitimurka". It is not his name. His spear is dripping with liquid screams.

How long must they go unavenged?

He hears himself narrating in his long-dead grandfather's voice, that mendacious red-jowled old cunt, tinny and warped in a holo-recording long since dumped somewhere in the bottom of the bay: "There were thousands of the skinnies around us! Damn near woulda killed us all if Captain Arramas hadn't blown down the wall to our nine while we were runnin'! We scrambled up the rubble and found three of their necros turning the whole place black with their zombies, poppin' up everywhere! You ever seen those mattresses they pull out of the poor-house, they rip 'em open, the bed bugs just pour right out? Imagine that with a whole lotta dead jellies. Was a glorious day for the Empire, that!"

Zombies. Skinnies. Jellies. Bugs. Young men and maidens, old men and children.

How long?

He looks over at what's left of his 40. Captain gave him a direct order not to touch it in the morning. Captain is asleep. Still dark. No one would know.

He does not touch it.

Read more... )



*(Potentially) Relevant setting fluff*
Read more... )
vaecrius: Duke2 Rigelatin overlord: "We'd kill you, you see, but our religion prevents the interruption of suffering." (rigelatin)
Further yet again to my garbled... garblings (as clearly there was no muse inspiring me in any of that), here is something by people who have done a much better job. Content warning: endorsement traditional Christian views on gender and sexuality, which may well include the ones you, the reader, consider terrible and hateful, or make you think of same )
There's a lot more and to quote all the good stuff would be to quote almost all of it. Little of it may make much sense outside of Christianity, or at least it won't make sense within modernity (while possibly making a good deal of sense if pre-modern pagan societies).
vaecrius: A stylized navy blue anarchy sign juxtaposed with a pixellated chaos symbol made to resemble a snowflake. (anarchy and chaos)
The current setting, predating my conversion to Christianity, held that necromancers could freely enter and leave Hell with their magic. What they could do there or take back was a matter of sophistication and understanding and strength of will. Each necromancer's view of Hell would be unique: Sam has her snowscape, others might see a world of lava and ash, others might find themselves adrift in an endless, lifeless, sunless sea.

Now, unless we simply posit that the setting is in such a totally different universe that life and death don't work the way they do here, as well as abandon all plotlines involving the nascent cult of the Lord of Being, we need to tweak this. [2015-11-18 And, of course, it turns out Civil Deism posits reincarnation so the hades theory wouldn't really be part of Sam's repertoire anyway...]

We can keep everything, but as a layer: the hellscape is not actually true, or at least what the necromancer sees is not actually hell/hades. The "hellscape" would actually be a magical construct formed by the necromancer and the spirits they deal with. What the necromancer believes to represent the souls of the dead is actually a vast cosmic spirit-memory the deceased have left in the world by their words, deeds and thoughts - in this world, momentarily made visible and tangible. The necromancer never actually leaves this world, which is why it is so easy to come and go. The true Person of the deceased is never interacted with in this construct, though much information may be gleaned, sometimes to the point where you think you are dealing with the person themselves. For pure information-gathering purposes, and depending on the quality of the memory, it can be virtually equivalent - like a fossil wherein the entire impression has been filled with rock and none of the organic matter remains.

To talk to a "spirit" in this place would be to gather together an impression that then coalesces into its memory, aided by the speaker's own pareidola if not even actual (non-human) spirits "guiding" the process.

Much more chaotic, uncontrollable visits to this underworld may occur during teleport accidents.

Pure elemental magic is powered by the energy released through the annihilation of these patterns. Where mana is heavily mined, there is an ineffable deadness in the air that everyone feels but no one understands how to measure and some insist, with experimental supporting evidence (which experimenters often get money from the same firms the insisters work for, but let's nevermind that), that it's all in people's heads, or it's just an aesthetic negative reaction to the appearance and sound of the machines.

...so yeah, metaphysical fossil fuel economy. But with malaise, ennui and possible perceived or actual de-existing instead of toxic smoke and global warming. And no plastic from byproducts.

I'll have to think of the geopolitical consequences of this.
vaecrius: a crude scrawl of a grinning, blazing yellow sun. (hier kommt die sonne)
A rewrite of this, as a response to this.

Next: After some more exposition, a random encounter ends in violence.
Whoever is not in his coffin and the dark grave, let him know he has enough.

*

The sleepers dig unclothed in the pit. Naked and unashamed, they span the little abyss with their forms, waist deep in mud. Groundwater and rot, all too easily smelled by the masked men behind. They have been digging for a few hours now: one could see the tiles, the cobblestones, the foundation and a few old soil layers, then where the water table begins and the sleepers slowly work against boulders and packed clay.

A banner is erected on the ledge behind them: the rich azure, silver and gold of the Empire flickering in the wind, warning off any who dare intrude into the business of the Atharan crown. Atop rests its eye: blinking imperceptibly in the early afternoon sun as it stares through the air around them, the psionic scanner picks up only a few crows, as they occasionally dodge a bored Imperial soldier's slingshot. Its display is perched on a convenient boulder propping up the flagpole that the sleepers had dug up early on, and is not very ergonomic in any way; but whoever had put it there, it seemed wrong to move it afterwards.

It is before this little altar that the men's leader stands bowed, sun-crossed blue cape limp over his shoulders as though asleep, half watching, half staring blankly past, the ethereal screen. Nothing bigger than a crow for miles, save the squad and the one in black standing next to him directing the sleepers. The one in black occasionally asks him for an update; he tells her about the crows. They have long since tired of trying to speculate about what had happened to this place - at least until they have found their buried quarry.

For the past hour there has been nothing worth being seen. Then the one in black grimaces, rubs her temples and walks closer to the sleepers. There is a small commotion as the one in black redirects them, cursing something unintelligible about boulders.

The sleepers dig around it. Another two hours pass as the pit must be widened. After much repositioning and straining and three attempts at a haphazard pulley system set up by the squad engineer, it is lifted up.

It is not a boulder.


Read more... )



*(Potentially) Relevant setting fluff*

Read more... )
vaecrius: The infamous cartoon of Darwin's head on a chimp's body, superimposed with a MSPainted Nazi armband. (are you a monkey)
(This had been in my notes backlog for a while - might as well post it now since it also relates to the whole writing-about-stories kick I've been on (or rather Fr. Stephen's been on and I'm just following him).)

Given a sufficiently large number of people, whenever theories about what makes a good game are discussed, you're sure to run into some ignorant hack who will proudly declare, "I know! A game is good because it is Fun!" and act like he's found some perfect insight that would blow away everything. It shows a contempt not even worthy of being called obscurantist, but it does invite a certain reality check: your theory of what makes a game good must address the preferences of those who are wholly ignorant of your theory, or what you are doing is groundless and pretentious (in the sense of pretending to things it lacks the authority for).

Between the Skinner box approach, the feminist critiques and my own buying/modding habits, I think I've boiled down to the following that a game must do:
  1. Engage
  2. Emulate
  3. Edify
If your game does all three, and they do them in a way that does not offend the player, that player would probably think your game is "fun" on some level.

Engagement is simple enough: the game must provide some kind of stimulus-response-"reward" interaction with the player's input that gets dopamine running. It does not matter if any pleasure is involved (though pleasure may be necessary to get the player started): rage, self-righteous zeal and simple "need" to keep going are all sufficient.

Emulation generally takes the lion's share of the work and is the most likely one to be noticed at the game-buying stage. This may include the game's world-setting and story, as the word may suggest, but participation in a fictional world is not necessary. Emulation may also include the social context of the intended player: whether in collaboration or competition, with friends or strangers, in person or online, whether the game should be a "safe space" for any given identity group. In other words, it is everything in a given game that draws the player into participating in a given narrative or social arena, be it the study of a living ecosystem, glory in combat, or (ostensibly) happy competition with family and friends at a gathering.

Edification has seen a resurgence in discussion in recent years, mostly for negative reasons. Whether any explicit thought is put into it, an activity that sets up a behavioural reward system within the context of getting a reader to participate in a specific narrative of human conduct by definition must be drilling some moral or ethical message into that reader's mind, in a way that is much more easy to implicitly accept - or, rather, much more onerous and unrewarding not to accept ("win the game" as opposed to "type in some cheat codes and fuck around for hours in places the player was never meant to go") - than in a book ("read the book" as opposed to "read the book and scribble long notes in the margins and between the lines with a fine red pen detailing every reason why you think the author is full of shit").

As far as appeal and getting people to play goes, I suppose edification can be subsumed into emulation. Or perhaps emulation is too broad to be a useful category and edification too narrow. I will revise once I get another alliterating trio.
vaecrius: Duke2 Rigelatin overlord: "We'd kill you, you see, but our religion prevents the interruption of suffering." (rigelatin)
First, Fr. Stephen's post about something not directly related to stories* at all (though, of course, all things are at least indirectly related to stories*):
http://blogs.ancientfaith.com/glory2godforallthings/2015/10/19/excuse-me-you-are-not-rational/
Someone commented with a recommendation for John C. Wright,** which led me to this blog post:
http://www.scifiwright.com/2015/10/my-elves-are-different-or-erlkoenig-and-appendix-n/
Meanwhile, Fr. Stephen posts the following:
http://blogs.ancientfaith.com/glory2godforallthings/2015/10/28/about-fairy-tales/
Characters in good stories (particularly good children’s stories) are more than simple individuals with complex and unpredictable behavior. Such individuals would be of no more use in training a child, than reciting random numbers is for teaching math. What we want in a character, is, well character. We need them to be a certain kind of person (or dragon, etc.). People, including children, make sense of the world through the stories they know. Children without stories are forced to stumble through the world without a clue.
The underlined portion describes the modern approach to fiction we are all too familiar with. It speaks well of us that most of us fail miserably. (I am thinking particularly of the anti-Mary-Sue pontifications that I'm sure anyone reading this already knows - which tend, if followed literally, to produce characters as described in the underlined portion.)

In the comments, someone comments with a link to this:
http://www.ancientfaith.com/specials/orthodox_institute_2012_culture_morality_spirituality/dr._vigen_guroian_the_childs_moral_imagination
Which includes an excellent example*** of how to write fiction in imitation of Scripture. (Dr. Guroian didn't have time to mention Psalm 68(67):23; there's bound to be other stuff in there.)

The above led me to read the following two book synopses, listed in the order I read them. One left me feeling nothing; the other had me immediately searching for a copy.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glory_Season
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bambi,_a_Life_in_the_Woods
The former tries to stand for so much, but nothing in the story does so - it's just a bunch of stuff that happens. In contrast, every moment in Bambi is fat and heavy with meaning just being there. (Interestingly, the Bambi synopsis has no separate "Major themes" section; such things are irresistibly inferred through both the plot and the book's reception.)

And now for something completely different:
http://www.webscription.net/chapters/1439132852/1439132852.htm
Basically the literary equivalent of playing an FPS.** *****


*I had typed "fiction writing" and then moved on, then came back to add the parenthetical thinking I had typed "stories", then corrected what I previously typed accordingly. Maybe that's the problem: we're (I'm) not even trying to write stories anymore.

**Yes, I am aware of both these authors' involvement with certain recent controversies. I do not make this post with the intent to endorse their positions on such matters and I am endorsing their work inasmuch that I am willing to read past their real and perceived flaws, as one must always do when reading anyone.****

***In other news, misleading description of the day: Cinderella: a young girl uses her mad freerunning skills and commands an army of dinosaurs to secure her reign as queen and execute vengeance upon her enemies.

****Re: flaws, more Wright than Correia. The latter's explanation of the Sad Puppies movement makes a lot more sense than what (admittedly little, but Correia describes it accurately) I'd been reading before getting his side of it. The former's explanation of his stance re: enemies, taken at its best, is indistinguishable from a pagan perspective despite the claims to Christianity, and the best thing I got out of it was the realization that Christ's admonition to Peter about swords could also be read as a prophecy about what would happen with the Western Church over a thousand years later.


*****2015-11-01 19:14 EDIT:
But we have to be taken back to when Parker was fourteen years of age to fully understand what moves him throughout the story. In that year, at the fair, Parker set his eyes on a tattooed man whose entire body, from head to foot, was covered with images. O’Connor writes: “Until he saw the man at the fair, it did not enter his head that there was anything out of the ordinary about the fact that he existed.”
[static]
I was able to finally see the Guardian. He was a giant of a man. Every inch of his skin had been covered in strange tattoos. The ink lines moved like living things. He looked right at me across space and time.
[static]
...a perfect arabesque of colors... (this song was one of the first that had randomly come up as I read the essay)
vaecrius: A little yellow ant in the grass on a sunny day. (yellow ant)
In response to this comment:
I’d be very interested in the atheist-to-orthodox “take” on this sort of discussion.
I'm not even sure if I count, since I was brought up as a Christian before I became an atheist (de facto in my teens, explicitly in my twenties), but it did get me to try to articulate just what might've been going on in my head in the months leading up to my visit of St. John of Shanghai Orthodox Mission on the evening of February 1, 2014.*

Read more... )


*a date that I've always remembered as January 30 or 31 until I checked the day of the week just now. The reading of the life of St. Brigid I remember more distinctly.
vaecrius: A stylized navy blue anarchy sign juxtaposed with a pixellated chaos symbol made to resemble a snowflake. (anarchy and chaos)
A co-operative board game similar to "Sorry!" or snakes-and-ladders but where the goal is to endure as long as possible. Mostly inspired by Killing Floor.

I should probably rename my RPG tag... )
vaecrius: A little yellow ant in the grass on a sunny day. (yellow ant)
[Include this paragraph if there is any chance that someone may believe you are heretically praying for the salvation of the animal's personal soul. Which is usually.]
I do not know, Lord, and am unworthy to inquire, what plan of salvation you may have for this creature. But I beseech You, who in Your unfathomable wisdom have made even Your sinless creation subject to futility in hope of salvation from corruption into Your glorious freedom, to extend all such mercy You have planned for that with which we have had this privilege of sharing Your gift of life.

[Include this paragraph if we were responsible for its unnecessary death.]
Forgive us, Lord, in our haste and our brokenness, poor and unprofitable stewards of these Your gifts, and ever guide us to repentance that we may do all things in accordance with Your will.

Lord Jesus Christ our God, bless this Your creature in accordance with its kind, as it returns to its dust whence it had been brought forth from Your living earth, that all your creation may be restored to the joy of Your salvation, O Resurrection and Life, in Your everlasting mercies with Your unoriginate Father and All-Holy, Good and Life-Giving Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.


[Written for want of anything remotely resembling such an occasional prayer in either the little red Antiochian prayer book or the green Ancient Faith prayer book, and the total inappropriateness of attempting to use any existing prayer for the dead as a base.]
vaecrius: A stylized navy blue anarchy sign juxtaposed with a pixellated chaos symbol made to resemble a snowflake. (anarchy and chaos)
Suppose you had a red circle and a blue circle of equal size.

Then shortly after the circles are taken away and you see what looks like a dark purple circle, the same size as the first two.

It is labeled "woog".

There are 3 interpretations of what woog means:

1. A third circle that is dark purple in colour, made from the original two circles.
2. A third circle that contains both the original two circles.

Now you have some people who insist that what we're seeing is
3. The original two circles overlapping each other.

These people never, ever use the word "woog" to describe it.

Each group thinks the following: )

Without reading the cut text if possible, does the second interpretation mean the same thing as the third, and, assuming you can't move any of the circles or look at them from the side or otherwise measure depth, how would you be able to prove it either way?
vaecrius: A little yellow ant in the grass on a sunny day. (yellow ant)
n. Someone who purports to say something in jest, when in fact he has left the listener no reason to believe that what he is saying is not what he actually believes in his heart, but who nonetheless strives to convince the audience, to varying degree of success, that what he are saying is acceptable because he is - or can reasonably be said to be - ironically making fun of it. Especially if involving rape or murder.

v. The above act of feigned jest.
vaecrius: The infamous cartoon of Darwin's head on a chimp's body, superimposed with a MSPainted Nazi armband. (are you a monkey)
And so we trudged along the frozen waste.
We found a wall of stone, ten feet in height,
Rough from wear and carelessness, easily clomb.
Stains, and a great stench, covered it--
Rotting, sulfrous protein, slime and shell.
Bubbling I heard: not below, but unseen.

Read more... )
vaecrius: a crude scrawl of a grinning, blazing yellow sun. (hier kommt die sonne)

This is an excellent video for anyone who wants to know what goes on during the Sunday morning service in an Orthodox church.
vaecrius: Duke2 Rigelatin overlord: "We'd kill you, you see, but our religion prevents the interruption of suffering." (rigelatin)
Following up on these garbled musings after a night's at least two nights' sleep.

This gets BADLY rambly. There is no organization because I do not even know what my thesis is, which is one of the implicit questions I am struggling with, and thus cannot delete something as irrelevant to such a thesis. )

2015-07-12 EDIT:
The distinctive role of the person of the Theotokos in God’s plan for the salvation of humanity is the source for the empirical, typological symbolism according to which the liturgical function of women in the plan of divine οἰκονομία is parallel to the work of the Holy Spirit, while the liturgical function of the male is parallel to that of Christ.

I know this

if life is illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. I live, I burn with life, I love, I slay, and am content.

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