Thursday, August 26, 2010

Now It Can Be Told...

As for my mysterious absences from the blog thingy recently; I have been busy trying to shop an idea for computer-based role playing fantasy game (what we degenerate gamers like to call a CRPG). What is this,you ask? It's basically a virtual world where players can interact with one another while doing super-human things like slay mythical monsters, rescue fair maidens, and give in to their darker, psychotic power fantasies without actually leaving their house...or hurting anyone.

Some of the better-known games my older readers will have heard of or seen advertised: World of Warcraft, Halo, Call of Duty, Prince of Persia, The Simms, and the like. The genre has spawned as many games, and as many settings, as the human mind might conceive, but they all usually have a singular purpose: to immerse the player in a virtual reality (probably because Real Reality sucks so badly). These games are direct descendants of the role-playing games of my youth, like Dungeons and Dragons, Champions, Traveler, Twilight 2000, and others (those are the ones I played regularly from about age 12 right into my 30's).

For a long time now, I have been part of a community of players and tech geeks who have gravitated to a game called Neverwinter Nights, which was an extension of the Dungeons and Dragons franchise. One of the advantages of this game, from the player's perspective, is that the adventure doesn't necessarily end when you've played the game as it came out of the box; the developers have thoughtfully provided additional software for you to produce your own adventures for your own use, or to share with your friends. Some of the more dedicated geeks have even gone as far as to produce what are known as PGW's (Persistent Game World servers), where their personal creations are open 24/7/365 to anyone who wants to play. Some of the better ones have thousands of regulars, who come together to play act and adventure together.

The Neverwinter Nights game itself has spawned hundreds of these servers, many of them in operation for nearly a decade, now, a testament to both the game and the dedication of the community which plays it. I've been associated with a few, myself, building the servers, writing the code, and providing the background material with which the game is played. Well, I figured that since I know so much about gaming, programming, and how these things all work together in the online world, I just might as well develop my own game. It's a project that I have worked on off-and-on for about five years, now.

If you've not tried it, you should. Some of these games -- and better yet, the PGW's on which they are played --are a great way to kill a few hours on a rainy evening.

I went and developed a unique game system, chose a suitable fantasy background against which a plot could be set, and got to work trying to pound it into some kind of shape that would make it an easier sell to one of the bigger game development companies.

And I have (semi-) succeeded! I got one one of the smaller companies to give me a tenative "yes"

So, I have been pretty busy trying to nail down some details (there's an astounding amount of paperwork and legal hoop-jumping involved in copyrighting and contracts over these things), and have landed a "job" helping a bunch of even bigger geeks turn my diseased vision into a (virtual) reality.

I can't identify the company publicly, nor give you any details on the game itself, but perhaps one day (they say a really good game often takes 2 years from concept-to-publication) you'll see it in your local game store, or perhaps even play it yourself.

And to think that when I was a kid, we were told that games like this would make us all stupid, lazy, homocidal, devil-worshiping chronic masturbators who would never amount to anything!

Well, they were right about the stupid part, at least.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Mosque Backers and Protestors Clash...

It was quite the show.

I have a real solution to the problem of the Ground Zero Mosque, but I'm fairly certain no one would listen to me: after all, I'm too smart for elective office in this city. But my solution is, indeed, an elegant one, which preserves both the constitutional right of Muslims to build their mosque and practice their religion, and the right of the September 11th victim's families, the injured first-responders, and all who oppose the mosque the chance to express their feelings in a way that the political class couldn't possibly misunderstand.

I say we let the Muzzies build their $100 million mosque. In fact, the construction unions should drop their opposition, and take the jobs the project will certainly bring -- we need them in these desperate economic times -- not to mention that a $100 million cash injection will help the local economy greatly. After all, they're simply citizens exercising their right to spend their money, and worship the demon of their choice, and if you disagree with that premise, then by God, you must be an Un-American Heathen Obama Lover!

I say: let them build it! Take advantage of the economic boost, strike a blow for freedom of religion, and tolerance! Let that mosque open on September 11, 2011 -- as scheduled -- and let the Raghead community come together to celebrate it's opening... and their cleverness at rubbing the infidel's nose in Islam's greatest victory by using The Great Satan's Constitution as a weapon against him -- itself a second victory!

And when approximately 3,000 Camelfuckers are trapped within, enjoying the heady wine of Allah's Double Triumph ... set the fucking building on fire and let it burn to the ground.

Then we can dance in the streets of Manhattan the way they danced in the streets of Gaza.

I figure we can call it even after that.

*Sigh* But I know it's only a daydream...

You Don't Pull on Superman's Cape, You Don't Spit in The Wind...

...and you certainly shouldn't fuck with killer whales. Especially ones that have a history of attacking their trainers.

The poor woman who was killed last year at Sea World by a killer whale, is, unfortunately, gone. However, there are still many morons left behind to bicker and argue about how a similar tragedy may be avoided in future. There's always the "This should never happen again" phase of any accident, and sometimes, someone actually does come up with a workable solution. Some of those involved represent the business interests of Sea World, some will represent Animal Rights groups, some are scientists, and for damned sure, the biggest bunch of assholes in this post-mortem will have some connection to the courts, the legal profession and/or the government.

In the end, they will cobble together some list of updated guidelines which will fall short of an actual solution; stop riding fucking killer whales, which, in case no one told these "scientists", are top-of-the-food-chain predators, red in tooth and errr...fin. They routinely kill smaller animals for food, and sometimes, what looks like sport. Killer whales will also team up to take down bigger prey, especially larger whales.

A dizzy blond in a wetsuit doesn't present that much of a challenge, no matter what the Rules and Regulations are.

And no, that is not an insult to the deceased: if you enter a giant, saltwater fish tank -- not normally the natural environment of the blond, wetsuit or no -- with a giant mammal possessed of great strength, and great, bloody sharp teeth, you're probably out of your mind.

The article also has a couple of sidebars. one of which has to do with the "trainer's" autopsy, which was quite disturbing (to me, at least. This woman was violently shaken into unconsciousness, and then drowned), and which makes a better case against continuing to ride and "train"killer whales than the new regulations -- and the $70,000 fine -- that will come out of this tragedy will make for continuing it.