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About Jambe

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  1. Anyone Remember?

    Necromantic powers, go! I want to hear you goofs laugh about the phrase "feces pieces" (rhyming with Reese's pieces) but I can't find it. /edit: after consulting my ancient gdoc collection of interesting/funny quotes, I found it, so might as well post it. I'd forgotten about the follow-on mentions of Feaster's Peesters and Pheastur's Kweest. Gosh, now I have to throw something in my Coldblum and reminisce about years of joyous thumbschattery. Y'all are missed.
  2. Oh, the second frayed in my first post should've been "flayed". A naked bristle's ineffective, but a flayed one should be done? ... apologies. And yes, the takeaway is that one ought to frequently replace one's toothbrushes/brush-heads, since the bristles are deliberately manufactured with frays, pits, and spindly bits so as to have more surface area with which to wipe away your tooth-bugs. The frays get worn off pretty quickly, though, since toothpaste has polishing media (fine sand) in it, hence the recommendation to replace often. It's like using a mop with the usual coarse string/yarn attached vs, I dunno, spaghetti.
  3. Toothbrush Trivia Time: Y'all introduced me to Quip. I used your URL for the refill discount (thanks) and quite like the tool. Chris said that thanks to the refills, our bristles won't be "frayed, flayed or pooched". In fact, they're supposed to be frayed, though I can't speak to flayed or pooched. Ben Krasnow of Applied Science (and Valve, Google, et al.) took some neat before/after images of new and used toothbrushes using his own scanning electron microscope. He explained toward the end of the video that the extra surface area of the new/frayed bristles more effectively wipes plaque from your teeth. He also imaged the abrasive media in his toothpaste and noted that it was equivalent to 6-800 grit sandpaper.
  4. I'll also miss Danielle's thoughts, stories, and affecting enthusiasm (ntm outbursts of that wondrous accent) on Idle Thumbs, but I'm glad I'll hear them on a new show with Rob (random aside: weird that "shows" applies to audio productions in my mind). I virtually never post, so let me say that you're all interesting people. Apart from being personally germane to me, the podcasts on this network are just damned good aural company; well-produced, earnest, and stimulating. Thanks, y'all.
  5. I'm liking the fivers. I didn't like Alien Isolation even apart from the dumb minigames and shitty time-wasting encounters. I prepped to be scared with appropriate ambiance. The alien quickly became comical. Its routines were so transparent and its animation (outside of cuts) became so goofy after extended examination that I just cooed and chuckled at it like I did at a relative's friendly but amusingly-lanky young Irish Wolfhound. Instead of Frank I eventually dubbed the alien Saul Malone (from Saul of the Mole Men) because whac-a-mole had been called to my mind a few times. If they'd have cut 80% of the door traversals and crafting and ten hours of sneaking/ambling (at least) I probably would have been invested in and thus impressed by the ending. I, too, was of various minds about it, but had the game been shorter it would have at least taken longer for my current ambivalence to set in. Alas, I felt my time was being wasted and was resentful by midway through so the ending seemed flat. My overall experience of the game was like so: imagine yourself mindlessly squishing silly putty. A drab person appears and grabs a pinch of it while strenuously affecting an unconvincingly-menacing smirk. They draw out the putty slowly and excruciatingly into a long strand. The now-stringy strand breaks and falls onto the carpet and gets countless cat hairs in it. Finally, they stare at you like that was exactly what they intended to do. Why did you do that to my silly putty, Creative Assembly? I'm not sure about that analogy. Regardless, I think CA's enthusiasm for Alien and their obvious skill at evoking mood via place should have been in service of a tight five-hour experience. I'd prefer clipping around the levels geeking out at the details and looking at its static art assets to actually playing the game or interacting with its agents. The alien needed to be visible much less frequently and there should've been far fewer interactable agents (there could've been orders of magnitude more agents in the game, but they'd need to be more distant, more set-dressingy, less interactive, because I didn't really buy any of them therefore they appeared as somewhat-artless props repeatedly breaking suspension of disbelief). I feel bad being so negative about it because their care is evident in the set design and their animation chops were good enough that if they heavily pared the game's closely-interacting agents they could've been made far more convincing. I think it was noted but it bears repeating: it's impressive that CA so effectively nailed ambiance and sense of place in an FP game which is new territory for them. I gather they took on some ex-Crytek folks who'd be familiar with the perspective (and good on them for that) but still, it's nice to see an established group stretch out like that. Also: god damn I would enjoy watching ya'll play some Payday 2. Also also: I don't communicate much but I've been listening forever and the podcast is still really great. The genuine interplay between hosts means you could bs about weather and similar inanities and it'd still be listenable. Thanks for the great shooooooooooooooooooow~~
  6. Having long ago exhausted the emotional wherewithal and perseverance required to deal meaningfully with truculently-nonintrospective internet people, I appreciate that others are yet up to the task. I read through this thread soon after the podcast with a mind to say lots of stuff, but smarter people addressed the topic more eloquently than I could. So, I guess: thanks for being good podcasters and a cool community. I don't participate here much because ~time~ but it's reassuring to know this place exists.
  7. I'd say that's a failure of extant copyright systems (and it may be a failure intrinsic to all copyright systems; I don't know). This is one of those areas where I wish there was more research, because it just comes down to anecdote. I mean, I know several illustrators who've made successful copyright infringement claims against print shops, shirt sellers, etc. Most of what I hear vis-a-vis copyright litigation is the big stomping the small, though, and I'd agree the current situation constitutes rent-seeking.
  8. I don't want you to read me as combative (just upfront). Yeah, if the war is between the cheap version and the nice one, you'd be right. I'm not sure whether that premise is correct, though. I haven't researched this, but your take seems at best an incomplete account of market dynamics. I disagree (in some sense) with your last sentence. Not every consumer is blind to provenance, and there are (as I alluded to above) plenty of wordy people who'd surely get pissy if egregious ripoffs cropped up in a non-copyright society. I don't think self-policing of this sort would prevent all gross copy-products from taking off, though, hence my non-abolitionism; I'm no cyber-utopian. You're welcome; this topic tends to pinch at my brain for all the strange, passionate argument it stirs up (something something self-described objectivist, something something oh Jesus not this tripe again). Merus might have made the abolition argument above, and I think the retort to it was adequately put to words by Problem Machine. I'm very sympathetic to that argument; it's the basis of why I think we shouldn't just toss out copyright, along with a basal desire that people be paid for their work. I distrust that argument, though, because there's very little robust academic study of the topic and it seems deeply cynical. I try not to be cynical (god help me).
  9. A lack of copyright wouldn't allow them to block other devs from receiving payments. I also don't think developers would engender much goodwill if they resold other people's works sans substantive changes immediately after their publication (it certainly wouldn't be easy to do on the sly). ... not that I think copyright should be abolished, mind. I'm undecided on that as a matter of principle, but as a pragmatic matter I think it should be retained. I think a well-designed and enforced copyright system might actually promote respect for attribution, as I said above.
  10. I like the man and his game design, but not this article. Gaynor didn't seem to support a specific copyright term; perhaps he favors the status quo of life + 70 years (and 120 years after creation or 95 after publication for hired work). The only concrete claim he made in support of copyright greater 20 years is that artists/managers may use profit from past work to create new work (that's the only one I can discern, anyhow). This is a good reason to have copyright law and enforcement, but I have two concerns: Being a legislative minimalist, I don’t think copyright law should be concerned with how artists/managers dispense their profits (they can spend on employee wages, new development kit, old medical bills, fireworks, Ferraris, blow, etc). I do not see how it follows that any specific term of copyright (Walker’s, Gaynor’s, or mine) is supported by this reasoning or by anything else Gaynor said. That second concern is, in a nutshell, my response to the article. Essentially, "I see that Gaynor cares about this topic, but I fail to see meaningful links between the points made and the proper term of copyright." In lieu of more folk writing at length about arbitrary numbers alongside ambiguously-relevant PassionRhetoric©, I cite these studies (pdf): Forever Minus a Day? Calculating Optimal Copyright Term (Rufus Pollock) Does Copyright Law Promote Creativity? An Empirical Analysis of Copyright's Bounty (Raymond Shih Ray Ku et al.) The first study finds an optimal copyright term of 15 years with a 99% confidence interval up to 38 years. I’ll just quote the second: That's my empiricism for the day; copyright should last a million jillion years! As to Gaynor’s article specifically, I’ll attempt a commentated summation (but do read his article first if you want to plow into this): ¶1-3: John Walker et al. are talking about proper copyright terms; Walker thinks 20 years is good. I don’t. ¶4: Artists/managers may use profit from old art to engender new art. Profiting from art is a gamble. ¶5: Making lots of money via art at all is rare, and extended profitability is probably rarer still. ¶6: Restatement of ¶4 in the form of an anecdote about a Washingtonian record label. ¶7: Restatement of ¶4 this time with “devs need to be paid” and “money needs to come from somewhere”. I find everything in 4-7 agreeable. ¶8: Cormac McCarthy should retain copyright to Blood Meridian (1985) for longer than 20 years because 1) he made The Road in 2006 and 2) his publisher used profits from McCarthy’s novels to publish other authors. I strongly disagree with this (with the opening premise, mind, not the veracity of the justifications). Firstly, I don’t think McCarthy was incapable of supporting himself in the interim (note that Gaynor only implies he couldn't). Secondly, if his publisher isn't a cabal of cretins, they too should be able to support their business on the merit of their representation, clientele and track record, all of which publishers managed to cultivate when copyright terms were markedly shorter. ¶9: Walker’s analogies between game development jobs and workman jobs is “asinine” because the jobs are different (one is a continuous series of localized jobs with fairly-reliable localized pay and the other is a gamble in which the product of a long, expensive development is heaved upon the Public Sea with Hope billowing its sails). Walker “patronizingly simplifies” these differences. I agree that they're different in the way Gaynor explicates; I wonder how Walker would have drawn an analogy at all were they not. I didn't find anything “patronizing" about Walker's comparison or simplification. I could read paras 4-7 of Gaynor's article as patronizing and banally obvious, but I didn't; I just think he passionately cares about the topic and tried to relate his position as best he could (ditto Walker). ¶10: I’m happy to support good art, both directly and indirectly. I want to make money off of Gone Home for more than just 20 years (if it’s feasible) so I can make new stuff, pay others for working with me, etc. Surely all non-shit folk like to support good work, arty or otherwise. As to the twenty years stuff: it assumes 1) Gaynor will have spent/lost all the money he made from Gone Home in those twenty years and 2) he'll be unable to make money from Gone Home post-expiration. The first may or may not come to be, but the second is untrue. A copyright expiration wouldn’t magically remove Gone Home from digital storefronts, and people could have trivially pirated his game the whole while. Furthermore, as I indicated above, I’d think something was amiss with Gaynor as a developer and/or manager were he unable to support new projects in the interim. People who hit it big and then do nothing else (and/or produce a string of failures) have no inherent right to state support in new creative endeavors, especially not indirectly through the vagaries of the copyright system. They do have a right to seek unconventional funding or new occupations; indeed many artists have "real jobs", as they often define them (though I think they usually do both themselves and "real jobbers" a disservice with such language). ¶11: [direct quote] “John’s article doesn't differentiate between “ideas” and the work itself. Copyright protects the work itself: the actual film or record or game based on the intellectual property (ie the specific game called “Gone Home,” vs. the title, characters, setting, etc. of Gone Home.) This is why anyone can (and seemingly does) make a movie/game/TV show/etc. based on and called Alice in Wonderland and starring Alice and the White Rabbit and the Queen of Hearts etc. etc., but Disney can still claim exclusive copyright to the Tim Burton film created in recent years-- to the work, the film itself inspired by the ideas-- not to the ideas themselves.” The rest of ¶11 is iteration on this bald untruth. The claim that copyright is not about the ideas is strange and incoherent. The game “Gone Home” literally is “the title, characters, setting, etc of Gone Home”. What else could it be? I’ll devolve into philosophical talk here if others want to, but I don’t think it’s necessary; this strikes me as a patently fallacious non-distinction. As to the Alice in Wonderland anecdote: Disney’s ability to use “Alice in Wonderland” and all its characters has nothing whatever to do with Gaynor’s fluffy non-division between “ideas” and “works” and everything to do with the fact that its copyright expired in 1907. If Carroll had written Alice's Adventures in Wonderland in the America of 1924 instead of the England of 1865, Disney's 2010 adaptation attempt would've been shitcanned (assuming they hadn't bought the rights). ¶12: Restatement of ¶4 with “inspiration/perspiration” angle. Restatement of ¶12’s fallacious division, equating ideas to inspiration and work to perspiration. This is a straightforward analogy but it doesn't render Gaynor's ad hoc division of ideas from work coherent, nor is it intelligibly pertinent to copyright (either de jure or de facto). The last two sentences highlight the strangeness of Gaynor's work/idea split. I’ll simply quote them: How would a copyright enforcement system allow the System Shock sequel of Gaynor’s dreams while still protecting the original in any meaningful sense? Either Gaynor can make a spiritual successor (i.e. alter all the words and phrases of contention, use all-new assets, etc, and do more than simply clone the game) or he can do nothing. Surely that’s the point of copyright: it means one owns the thing itself in its entirety with naught but limited, explicit exceptions. If I want to make a movie out of a Cormac McCarthy novel, for example, I must get license from McCarthy. I can’t just crib all his names and ideas wholesale, call the result a “filmic pastiche” and expect to get away with it. Well, I sure spent a bit of time on that.
  11. to Merus above: We can also compare America to England. Here's Charles Dickens writing to his American brother-in-law about our scurrilous word-piracy in the mid-1800s: That's the 19th Century equivalent of "anything one publishes will end up alongside tentacle porn on the internet." I don't think copyright should be abolished, but I think repealing the DMCA and reducing terms from "life + 70 years" to something like "5 years + one or two 5-year renewals for living authors" would at least make the law somewhat reasonable. The strong moral position here is promulgation of a robust public domain free of greedmongering litigiousness. I would agree that copyright and attribution are different things but I feel a reasonable implementation of the former would at least allow (if not inculcate) respect for the latter. Contemporary copyright law and its schizophrenic enforcement are absurd enough to invite violation on their own (that is to say, current legislation & practice is so out of touch with "common sense" as to promote violation regardless of digital stuff's trivial copyability). I'd add that copyright is actually not at all close to meaningless for creators; n.b. countless YouTubers whose videos are routinely marred by spurious DMCA shenanigans (manual and automated flags). A friend of mine got in touch just last week to complain about a game video being auto-pulled for a non-appealable music-related violation despite having no music in the video. Copyright clearly harms many creators, but its benefits are less clear. I'm not sure copyright ever made art fiscally profitable, though it surely made artists who achieved profitability (ditto their agents/studios) more profitable than they otherwise would've been, which is not at all the same thing (nor is it a clear moral good; probably the opposite, actually). John Walker linked his friend Nick Mailer's excellent piece on IP and copyright, should anyone want a reasoned, heavily-cited take on the absurdity of the status quo, still accurate eight years on: When Metaphors Attack: How Intellectual Property Frustrates Access to Knowledge in a Networked World.
  12. I think you'll find that was the sound of the robot's Biota Reduction Sac engulfing Jake's body to dissolve it (save for the teeth) prior to reconfiguring itself in his image. It is very disturbing, yes. Were Chris and Sean implicitly threatened with some unspeakable horror if they didn't continue the show without comment, or were their minds made placid and pliable by a chemical-and-nanomachine concoction pumped into the room? ... perhaps they had already been assimilated.
  13. The Thumbs didn't call Terraria a ripoff of Minecraft. I didn't notice it mentioned in the podcast but it's of note that Finn "Tiy" Brice, the lead developer of Starbound, was the principal sprite artist on Terraria until April of '11. Having played both far too much, I can't really say I prefer either; I like them both. I don't think either game allows for more creativity, really... perhaps in the sense that Minecraft has an extra dimension, but that's rather apple/orangey. Terraria has the gather/build/survive aspect of Minecraft but it's got much more stuff (objects, tools/weapons, blocks, etc) than Minecraft and the combat aspect is much more developed (far more monsters, boss creatures, and NPCs). It's a systemic Metroidvania-style combat platformer which also has a core sandbox mechanic. Terraria just got a big holiday update, fwiw, if anybody wants to give it a try (it also got a Halloween update this year, which was fun). I gather the Terraria author was convinced by a friend to update Terraria instead of working on Terraria 2, but Terraria 2 is still in the works... Starbound is totally worthwhile. I'd recommend it over Minecraft to those who don't enjoy the sandboxiest games; it has an absurd amount of writing and many prebuilt (minimally-procedural) zones. People who are interested in Terraria/Starbound but want more streamlined PvP combat might check out King Arthur's Gold.
  14. Idle Thumbs 134: Sports

  15. Frozenbyte's also doing the Steam API store thingy but with other company's games I guess? Weird. http://www.hugeseal.com/ There's a profile-based Steam Coupon incentive program and a buy-3-get-1-free scheme. Hm.