Foggy Cornslakes

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Everything posted by Foggy Cornslakes

  1. [Release] The Power of 45 Brains

    Hello, My friend and I worked on a small puzzle game for this jam, taking inspiration from the title "The Power of 45 Brains". **UPDATE** - The game now has 70% extra content and 200% extra features! Try playing it now and forget what you knew about the first version! Based on our shoddy at best understanding of the concept of neural network, the goal of the game is performing computational operations on an input, in order to produce a specific output. You do that by creating a network between "brains". The input is introduced as signals, that are generated one after the other. The signals move along the network in "ticks", and at the end of each tick, every brain processes all the signals that have reached it, and produces a new signal, according to some basic rule. The basic brain type, for example, produces a signal of the type (color) of the signals that have entered it, given that they all share the same color. Otherwise (if no signals have reached it, or if a set of signals that contains more than one color reaches it), it doesn't produce any signal. As the game progresses new types of "brains" are introduced, and new types of puzzles as well. We plan on updating the game over the coming weeks (to make it more stream friendly and so on), and would love to hear some feedback about it!
  2. [Release] The Power of 45 Brains

    Hi - sorry for the delayed response. Thanks for checking out our game, this is some ridiculously constructive feedback, and we wanted to get back to you with some results! We've just updated the game, introducing changes that should address all of your suggestions: We've also changes the art style, added main menu and level selection screens (with temporary art as of now), and introduced many new levels. We are vaguely planning further updates, including sound, better art style, and new levels.
  3. I'll be making a game, titled "The Clone Progenitors/Wrong Thread", loosely based on the "Wrong Thread" thread, and thus passing the "Wrong Thread" diversifier. I have reservations about sharing the game concept at this stage, but on the other hand I need some help from forum users, namely, I need people to approve the use of their username, avatar, and persona as presented on the forums, and I can imagine some would like to know what they are signing up for, so here is the gist of it (highlight to view): The game will be played inside the Idle Forums, or, actually, a clone of the forums, generated by the complex procedure of pressing Ctrl+S while browsing them. In the game, the player will converse with members of the forum, by way of them writing in free text, and other people responding in a mix of scripted posts, and posts containing Markov chains based on the post history of that forum member. I considered using RNNs, but I didn't really understand how they work. It goes without saying that the game will pass no judgment on any user, and hopefully the Markov chains won't produce anything anyone will find offensive. I'll block some words from being used in the generated text and not include posts of toxic tone as source for the chains, just to be safe. And so, I would love to have *your* permission to use your forum avatar, username, and post history. Please either respond to this post or here. Thanks! P.S. - I can't seem to find how to add a spoiler tag ever since the forum redesign, even though spoiler tags from previous posts still function.
  4. [Participation Agreement] The Clone Progenitors

    Sure - I'll explain how this currently works, but keep in mind I'm working on a big update that will make some of this out of date. The first step of the process was designing a really, extremely, bafflingly, shitty 'crawler' bot. I had it go through the posts of users who agreed to participate (sorry, everyone who's still not features in the game, I've been a little busy but I'll make sure to find some time to include you!), and generate a single text file containing a concatenation of those posts. To generate a comment, I pick a user at random, and generate a Markov Chain based on their post history (I only used about 50 comments for each user, since even with the bot extracting the data was a lot of work). Markov Chains, unlike, say, RNNs or deep learning algorithms, are very simple for a computer to generate. They are actually simple models in probability theory, which for some reason lend themselves pretty well into generating reasonably coherent text - I'm sure there's some explanation, Chomsky probably discussed it in one of his books. Having a larger data sample would not make sentences substantially more coherent, I think. What it would do, is make the manner of speech resemble that of the user more closely. E.G. - if I were to use Nick's user, it would probably say "pretty good" more the larger the sample text is. As it currently stands, the only user I found to generate comments by which I could guess who they were is Argobot, since she mainly engages with the Idle Book Club forums, which have a different tone. The player input does have an effect on the replies... barely. My plan is to give, in the Markov Chain model, a bigger weight to comments in the data source that resemble the last comment made by the player. But until then, I just have some scripted events (if the player's comment contains some key word, automatically respond with some pre-written comment). If I wanted to make the sentences more coherent, I would probably have to first connect the Markov chain into some word data base that can tell me whether a word is a noun, a verb, an adjective, etc., and then learn some heavy linguistics and and implement sentence structure into the algorithm,
  5. Idle Thumbs 293: Warmest Greetings

    This is mostly (probably entirely) semantics, but I think 2016 was an amazing year, not just entertainment-wise: Bernie Sanders had a pretty progressive campaign, DAPL turned out better than expected by most, china announced plans to cut meat consumption significantly, Obama gave that great interview about AI that I really enjoyed reading, and importantly - Trump was not the president of the US. 2017 is probably going to be a hell of a hell, and I hope people who yearn for 2016 to end don't feel like that just because as an election year it required them to be more aware than usual of politics, since that trend will probably continue. Sorry for rambling.
  6. [RELEASE] The Clone Progenitors

    Here is my WJ4 entry: It uses Markov chains and scripted events to simulate the Idle Forums (where you are right now!). Full screen is encouraged, or, even better - play from this url: jam itchio/index.html Unfortunately due to a technical difficulty I didn't get to upload it to in time to have it included in the jam page. It is a little buggy, and I plan to continue and update it in the coming days. In fact - I recommend holding off on playing it right now. It is somewhat entertaining, but far from what I what I want it to be. If you would like to have your user added as part of the updates, let me know! I'd like to have as many users as possible. I hope you enjoy it even at this early stage, and have a great day!
  7. [Participation Agreement] The Clone Progenitors

    Pseudo-Release: jam/ (ignore the weird URL) I barely finished something that has any value entertainment-wise, so I'll continue to update it in the coming days. If I didn't include you in the game - sorry, I ran out of time, and getting a user's posting history is a more lengthy process than I would like. I'll update you in as soon as I find the time. Publishing before the deadline also means there might be bugs with the core story progression, but hopefully the unscripted sandbox will be entertaining enough by itself in the meantime. Overall I had a lot of fun, thanks to anyone who volunteered!
  8. The Next President

    Yes, I guess I wasn't as up to date with those elections as I am with this one, but what strikes me as odd is that this is being pushed really hard by more established, mainstream outlets than I would have expected, and that the argument being made isn't that Clinton is doing wrong by the electorate, but rather somehow being un-legitimately hostile to the 4th estate, which just makes no sense to me.
  9. The Next President

    Really weird to me how the US press is so willing to view itself as the victim of the whole Clinton's health thing. As far as I can see, the difference between being able to report on a her illness a few days before is something that should concern tabloids and yellow journalism, not actual politics related media. I mean, you could make the case "look, a big portion of the electorate have the notion, whether it is justified or not, that you are a pathologically corrupt person, and keeping your privacy is helping fuel that belief. And since the stakes are so high, you should have given up your right to keep your health condition a secret, because there was a good chance that wouldn't have worked, in which case, there was a good chance that it will have a bad impact on your campaign, not due to the health issues themselves, but rather because of the lack of transparency". But this is an argument that this behavior is politically irresponsible and/or incompetent - and every article I came across only uses this kerfuffle to justify presenting transparency and willingness to communicate with the press as an actual issue, on par with policy in terms of importance. At any rate, I don't live in the US, but I see absolutely no way this saga could have possibly affected the course of the election, if it weren't for the press making such a big deal out of it.
  10. Idle Weekend September 10, 2016: 4K's Gone By

    R.O.M. is such a weird game...
  11. Idle Weekend August 12, 2016: The Weekend Sky

    I haven't seen Hamilton, but I think that it is less viable to this criticism due to the fact that it directly addresses slavery. If I understand correctly Rob's criticism had less to do with Hamilton making the audience feel better about slavery, and more with it making them feel better about cherishing and enjoying narratives that are very white-male-centric. On a general note, I think that this is almost always the case of the benefits of a diverse set of characters out-weighing the drawbacks, in terms of making good entertainment products that appeal to the largest audience (not in a cynical, capitalistic sense, but in a progressive, inclusive sense. Though these intersect more often than not...). 80 Days does that really well, I think, but admittedly part of its success stems from the writers being aware of the frustrations you and Rob have on the subjects, and establishing early on that it takes place in an alternate history (thus not over-riding actual events). If anything, I think that this kind of reverse-white-washing is much more problematic when applied to works that depict contemporary settings, like Scandal (which I haven't watched) or Quadrilateral Cowboy, because there are clear groups of people who I can imagine feeling like their struggles in society are being ignored (as opposed to the slavery of pre-1865, for example, which no one alive today has actually lived through). Obviously that doesn't mean that depiction of slavery in certain ways or lack thereof can't be offending, but I find it harder to object to this kind of history reimagining than I do to, say, a work of entertainment that depicts police work while ignoring the subject of police brutality. Can you point to an article by a person who has objected to, say, Hamilton, for the reasons that you've described, but claimed to have been personally offended by it, rather than ambiguously saying that in theory it could be offending to some people? (Sorry, this came out way more aggressive that I've meant it to, but I'm not a savvy enough English-weaver to make it any better...) Even in that case, it seems to me that simply including diverse casts is one of the main ways media can interact with social problems nowadays, and it seems that efforts by Hamilton and the likes do succeed in making entertainment better for more people, with almost no sacrifices. Also, great episode! What a great Idle <___> week.
  12. Idle Weekend July 2, 2016: Going Solo

    What a nice episode! Regarding the magic question, for me, the term "magical", as applied to a scenario, is deeply intertwined with some very specific imagery, which, since I won't find a way to describe without re-using the word "magical", I'll give some examples of: From the newly released BFG All of these seem to me to be very replicatable: wide sweeping camera angles, a color palette containing purple and blue, glowing things in the sky, music-box sounding instruments, and a slow pacing. It's pretty gross to think that one can so methodically evoke "magical" in my mind, and yet I simply can't imagine associating that word with anything that doesn't follow these "rules", or seeing something that follows them without automatically labeling it as "magical". Unfortunately some of these don't really translate to video games all that well. Making glowing stuff in most engines is probably pretty hard, since the only thing I've seen that comes even close to having that effect is the sun in Firewatch. And obviously, most core mechanics are built on responsiveness, which won't go well with a slow pacing. Also, all of these are properties of the visual representation of magical places, rather than that of magic as an action, so maybe that isn't of much relevance. I think that the sorcerer mindset and POV can be very well translated into a game similar to The Magic Circle or Else heart.break();, and maybe just following some shallow visual language rules will be enough to make the push into "true-wizard" sense territory? For starters, you can replace the word "pointer" with "true name" (See Planescape: Torment, the Earthsea series, The Name of the Wind, Rumpelstiltskin). For more linear, less mechanically complex games, my intuition would be trying QTEs, which can be implemented in a way that doesn't spoil the outcome of every interaction and thus retain the mystery. Maybe take a look at Fantasia - Music Evolved, which seems to be going out of its way to replicate via gameplay. I haven't put a lot of thought into the subject, but hopefully some of these anecdotes will be of use. Though, they are based on the baseless assumption that my association of "magical" with that very particular imagery is commonplace. Thanks for the email, and again, for the great podcast!
  13. The Next President

    Well, Sanders acknowledged that on occasions (though it is admittedly not clear whether that is actually acknowledging how social change occurs or just an exciting rhetoric). Unless I'm really out of touch with US politics, it seems that the idea that change can be achieved by electing a single savior president isn't promoted by Bernie Sanders' campaign exclusively or specifically, and is a direct result of having a presidential system. I'm not very well versed in the US political system, but it sounds to me like the president does have a lot of influence over which subjects get the most attention from the public. Would it be wrong to say that some pretty significant policies, e.g. the war on drugs, were mainly shaped by the executive branch? Obviously part of that is established before the election, based on each candidate's platform – but as a president one has more resources and more context to place their agenda in. I think that a president can certainly inform, shape, and have some sort of leadership over a social movement, regardless of their legislative power – and sure, that might very well be truer in the case of republicans if the president will have the support of other parts of the system. For me, as someone who doesn't live in the US, Sanders seemed to be pretty promising in that he reshaped the conversation around the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which up until now was somehow more pro-Israel in the US than it is in, well, Israel. He also talked about the importance of addressing climate change, and has a pretty good record on animal rights (aside from being a carnist himself). Sorry about the long post ): BTW could you link to an article about
  14. [Release] Zombie Train Beyond Earth

    Oh, this is great! Really reminiscent of "The Last Express", IMO. Not sure if it is because the model is especially similar, or because not knowing much about trains makes any train-feature automatically evoke associations to the few train related things I do know. It also has to do with the path you make through the train, which in both cases include climbing out of a window to the roof of the train.
  15. WIZARD JAM 2016 // Welcome Thread

    I bit off more than I could chew by myself for this jam, and am currently choking on my game But the things other people are making are really inspiring and pretty mind blowing to me given the time limit.
  16. Undertale - No need to kill things, even if they try kill you

    But that puzzle had Toriel guiding you both to the top and the bottom of the grid. In undertale you can't really walk the middle ground, since the outcome of any single encounter can't be neutral. So I don't think it actually translates to what actually goes on in the game very well. The more I think about it, the more I agree with this claim, but I'll try to explain what why my initial take away from the game was very different: I thought that determination was an in-game narrative explanation of a mechanic that is often left unexplained (saving), as an attempt to suspend disbelief. Explain is maybe not the correct term - since it is more than an excuse to include a non-realistic system (obviously Undertale isn't concerned with realism, and the determination metaphor is far more effective than the Animus thing in AC, with which at first I thought it shared a purpose). The little snippets of text about determination, I thought, were meant to draw parallels between the emotional state of the player as they reach a checkpoint and that of the character. This at the time made sense to me, since it is very clear that Undertale is very much aware of how it affects the player's feelings and thoughts, and has in-game content that is meant to reflect and parallel these thoughts (in a varying amount of success, depending on the player, of course). I now realize it is kind of the opposite of that? That instead of trying to justify the save system with the determination thing, the game's narrative does revolve around determination to begin with - and the Save system is a comment on how powerful the power of determination is, which is a pretty straight forward case of mechanics as metaphor. I'm not sure how productive assessing which of these two approaches is correct, as it comes down to what Toby Fox meant, not what the actual game contains. For me, in any case, the former was what I took away after my first playthrough, and it did make me feel like most of the meta stuff, and the commentary on violence/how games present violence come off as pretty shallow, and even gimmick-y. However, in the light of some of the things expressed here, I'll certainly rethink my position on the game.
  17. Undertale - No need to kill things, even if they try kill you

    Then I probably missed something. For me, the game's main message had to do with the role of violence in conflict. I didn't read any of the game as a comment of commitment to a philosophy or fundamentalism (in the sense of having principles, I'm not sure that this is an actual correct usage of the word). With this subject matter in mind, I found the binary (I guess trinary, including the neutral endings) moral system to be a really off-putting approach that felt like simplification not because of lack of resources, or for the sake of clarity, but rather from a place of genuinely not having a very good grasp about what violence means and how it affects the world, or a having a very skewed moral system. To be fair to myself, I formed this opinion of the game after my first playthrough, which was a Pacifism one, and I suspect that on subsequent playthroughs I just filtered anything that didn't match my already formed opinion about the flaws of the game.
  18. Undertale - No need to kill things, even if they try kill you

    Does anyone else feel like there is something to be said for the no mercy (and maybe also the pacifism run) being achievable by killing % of "enemies", instead of killing all/none of them? Unless I'm missing something, I think the message will stay intact (maybe less so for the pacifism ending), and less prior knowledge of the game would be required to reach a large part of the content. I guess you could say that Undertale is extremly aware of how people interact around games - - but I think that the game is too commited to letting these meta-jokes inform it's design, in a way which drags it down a little, in this case.
  19. To Rob's point on Spec Ops: The Line being a commentary on modern action-war games rather than on actual war - The lead writer has refered to it as anti-heroic rather than anti-war, but I think that the game criticizes both the way media portrays war, and the narrative many soldiers actually see themselves as taking a part in. The comparison between the Far Cry games and Spec Ops: The Line is particularly interesting, as Both SO:TL and Far Cry 2 are loose adaptations of Heart of Darkness - which is a direct criticism of Imperialism and Militarism, and, as far as I can tell, never comments on how other books of the time presented these issues.
  20. Idle Weekend March 4, 2016: Soft Spots

    I don't know - it might be true that in that The Witness is in fact teaching useful skills more so than the average game, I don't know because I haven't played it. It is also very probable that, as you say, the expectations people form of the game are different because of its subject matter. But personally I've felt similar expectations of pretty much every particularly challenging game I've played - and I think that there absolutely is a reason to discuss whether a game meets those expectations. Of course The Witness isn't held to the same standards as any other game in regards to what it teaches, because it requires much more time and thinking than most games. I don't think anyone is debating that. But I think that it is perfectly reasonable to criticize the game in relation to these different standards, rather than on a more "leveled" playing field with other games, because regardless of their cause, these expectations do inform the experience people have with the game. Games that stick closer to teaching skills that have clear applications irl do exist, and I think that for some people, including myself, they do offer an experience that is, intrinsically, better than that of games that challenge to master systems that have no relevance outside of the game. Examples would be SineRider, Euclid the Game, Else Heart.Break(), Hack ‘n Slash, CodeSpells, TIS-100. Should we maybe move the discussion to another thread?
  21. Idle Weekend March 4, 2016: Soft Spots

    I am pretty sad to see both Danielle and Rob having reservations regarding Danielle's initial criticism about The Witness not relating enough to skills that are applicable in the real world. While I see why some people are upset about this claim, personally I have felt similar things about other games (I haven't actually played The Witness, but I get the feeling that the debate has expanded its scope to games in general). I think it is absolutely legitimate to criticize a piece of media for its negative possibility space, because this is something that actually affects the experience one has of the game. I think any discussion about a game has to be based on the understanding that whatever the source of the game's success is, there will be some people who will care less about that aspect of the game, and will be bothered be other aspects which you may consider irrelevant or negligible parts of the experience. Imagine if Danielle's criticism was about the graphics of the game - even if The Witness has pretty much universally praised graphics, most people would take it as obvious that different people have different aesthetical preferences, and the issue wouldn't even be raised. It seems to me that as game criticism starts diving deeper into what makes games tick (beyond surface level properties like graphics), people expect it to produce a universal conclusion which will be relevant to all people, regardless of their past experiences and preferences – despite there being no logical reason for such conclusion to exist. If you found Danielle's comments objectionable, I think the more productive thing to do would be to explain how you approached The Witness in a way that allowed you to get out with a positive experience. Some people expect games that require a lot of learning to teach some skills that have use outside the game, that is a fact, and it is also a reasonable expectation as far as I'm concerned. Instead of trying to deny the legitimacy of these expectations, which in turn means denying the entire life and experiences that made people form this kind of expectations, why not simply share what other aspects of the game, which these people may have paid less attention to, actually shine? My point is - if someone had some experience in a game, you can debate what that experience stemmed from, but not deny the conclusion that the person had drawn about the game based on the experience they had. To be clear, it might be that Danielle actually changed her mind about this issue, I'm not denying that. But I do think that the backlash for her criticism of the game was unwarranted. I'm really sorry if that came off as rambling, I'm having a hard time putting my thoughts into words. Also, I really didn't mean this to be so rant-like - I am genuinely confused about this issue. Regarding the works of Kitty Horrorshow - they are great, and I think that each one gets further away from both the horror tropes and the video game tropes that were common in her first games, to form a much more personal and cohesive experiences.
  22. Regarding the use of games for therapeutic purposes - (Spoilers for Firewatch)
  23. Firewatch Spoiler Thread | Henry Two Hats

    Just finished my third playthrough, I really enjoyed my time with it. I wonder if it could have been possible to close the plot without a "someone was watching and guiding your actions this whole time" twist (regardless of whether that someone is Ned, Delilah or some conspiracy). I think many games use this plot point because it is a straight forward way to ensure that the challenges the game presents make sense. In real life, since there is a huge amount of ways you can interact with your environment, almost every problem you are presented with can be solved (I'm talking about problems in the adventure/puzzle game sense of the word, not poverty, sexism, illnesses or the like). For example: In games, however, since the player is limited by the input device used and by production constraints, mechanics have to be simplified. This means that it is really easy to make an impossible game. If you were to have an algorithm create a level in Mario Maker by randomly placing objects, it would almost certainly be unbeatable. On the other hand, if you were to place random obstacles in a corridor, one could probably pass through. In narrative heavy games like Firewatch (or say, Portal), I think the devs feel the need to justify why the game is beatable, because when you have a puzzle that can only be interacted with using limited mechanics, it doesn't normally makes sense for it to be beatable - unless it was designed to be so by someone. Hence the test chambers in Portal, and, I think, the fact that Ned guides you through the game for a pretty long time (to the cut off communication lines, then to the camp, and to his hideout). There probably are some other ways to give challenges in games a narrative context that explains there solvability, but I don't really remember ever seeing it done any other way, which is why I thought there was something a little disappointing about the ending - though that disappointment was cut short by the ending of the Henry-Delilah arc, which I thought was masterfully handled. Apart from that - I think my only real criticism of the game is that there was no need as far as I see for there to be more than one choppable tree and one overgrown trail, and that I really, really didn't like the teens' dialogue. Sure, it wasn't important to the character development or the plot in any major way, but it came across as really patronizing to me as a young person. Also, the "drunk-talk" was handled much better with Delilah I think, than with Lily and Chelsea. This post is getting really long, so I'll just leave these two videos that I found entertaining (sorry if they were already posted): Sorry about my English...