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Messages - Thought

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General Discussion / Re: Stuff you LOVE, baby
« on: July 09, 2013, 05:34:47 pm »
It's impressive how "Bad Romance" has served as a platform for others to make something good. This is probably the best of the lot.


General Discussion / Re: Happy Liberty Day!
« on: July 09, 2013, 04:52:31 pm »
Even 9/11.../quote]

A truther. Right.

For any else following this, allow me to say that there are two main reasons to oppose conspiracy theories. The fact that they are false is potent in itself, but it's how that falsehood manifests in the real world that is troublesome. It's a distraction: conspiracy theories present false solutions to problems that need a real answer.

Consider corruption in government. Conspiracy theories take an us vs them mentality: there's a evil group ruining everything for the rest of us. We're innocent, it's all "their" fault, but if we can eliminate "them," then everything will be fine. However, the solution to government corruption isn't to blame "them" and remove "them" (violently) from power, but rather to elect moral candidates, to push through forceful campaign finance reform, to exterminate corporate influence in politics, etc.

General Discussion / Re: Happy Liberty Day!
« on: July 08, 2013, 06:17:34 pm »
What they do is have bots go through and tag something based on key words, pictures, phrases, etc.

We generate 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day. Simply running through that much data is beyond any government. Tagging and correlating it is effectively impossible, but even if a government could do that, it’d produce something far too large to be useable by a person.

If you're too dense to see what is perfectly possible and plausible, then that's your priority.

You’ll note that I predicted your response by describing the response of conspiracy theorists to individuals who disagree with them. Though to be fair, I should have been more thorough and mentioned the high level of defensiveness and quick retreat to logical fallacies.

Do I say it's impossible to reach a person or two with letters? No.

Feel free to perform a verbal contortion act, but actually, yes, that is what you said:

Do you honestly think letters to your governor or representative actually make a difference?

People don't want to act alone because they've already seen what happened to the others that did; made into terrorists and psychotic figureheads against their will.

Name two such individuals who have been made into terrorists or psychotic figureheads.

… it's the one most able to adapt; and frankly, that doesn't leave much room for honesty or anything other than stepping all over people and using them.

The implication of that study is that people attribute to others the behaviors that they themselves would be willing to engage in. Or, in other words, individuals who believe that others are willing to step on and use people are themselves likely to be willing to do the same.

Speaking as a trained historian, the civilizations that are the most vibrant and that last the longest are the ones where the common good is held above the individual good. It’s the loyalty to the individual or familial good that is indicative of a culture in decline or in a dark age.

Also, speaking as a historian, food shortages are a key component of revolutions. America is currently not experiencing a famine (although we’re about a single pandemic away because of poor farming practices), so revolution becomes much less likely. Another important component is the rapid decline of social welfare programs (specifically, those that result in economically induced famine). It’s not bread and circus that keeps a population from revolting, it’s bread alone.

… and if you think we can just take our freedoms back without violence…

What, you mean like the end of DOMA? Or the success of Women’s Suffrage and the Civil Rights movement? Yeah, we totally can secure our freedoms nonviolently.

General Discussion / Re: Happy Liberty Day!
« on: July 08, 2013, 02:56:05 pm »
don't you think you're being just a bit naive? Do you honestly think letters to your governor or representative actually make a difference?

Actually, yes, and there’s lovely proof of that in the form of SOPA being defeated. See, even if you assume that the government is entirely corrupt (it’s not, but let’s assume), its members would still follow their own interest. That is, they would want to get reelected. If they believe something is a swing issue, they’ll do their best to make sure that the swing is in their favor by appeasing the masses. By writing letters, you’re letting them know what the masses want.

Did you know that the government hones into and watches every bit of the internet that interests them?

First, that’s a non sequitur.

Second, the government doesn’t. Every month, 85 billion hours of internet use are logged. Even assuming that every government employee, from the janitor to the president, was spending every work week monitoring the internet, they would only cover 25 million hours. Or, in other words, 0.029% of total use. We call that “statistically insignificant.” At that level, the government wouldn’t even be able to find more than the tinniest sliver of the slimmest fraction of internet activity that would interest them.

Google Earth is just the public version of…

Your tinfoil hat is showing. Essentially, everything you suggested is either impossible (looking into your living room window from space: only if your window is also on the roof) or impractical (the above noted difficulty of monitoring all information traffic).

… people have already been doing that for ages.

They’ve also been succeeding for ages. They do more than that, certainly, but given that you’re original stance (which you’ve nicely retreated from) was to do nothing but “talk,” writing a letter is a simple and proven effective improvement.

… by the time we wake up … Do you honestly think that if you managed to change one politicians mind and reawaken in them guilt and shame… We need as many people to be aware of what's going on and for what reasons so that when it finally does come about and their eyes are forcefully opened…  the best interests of the collective.

You’re parroting classic conspiracy theorist rhetoric. The problem with that rhetoric is the “sleep/awake” dichotomy. It dismisses the reality that different people can interpret the same situation differently: if a person doesn’t agree, hook line and sinker, with the conspiracy theorist’s flawed perspective, then that individual is labeled as being “asleep” or a “sheeple” and dismissed, out of hand, as someone who, on a fundamental level, lacks the ability to perceive and rightly judge the world. This worldview also (as displayed in your text) lends itself to violent speech (people being forced to see the “world” through a particular perspective). Essentially, this justifies violence against such individuals, as it can be excused in the name of “awakening them to the truth.” Luckily, you’ll rarely find a lazier group of humans than conspiracy theorists, so outbursts of physical violence is rare.

Now, I am not faulting your statements with the above noted flawed, but I am pointing out that the rhetorical tradition you are tapping into comes with significant baggage and pitfalls which (hopefully) you’re merely unaware of.

General Discussion / Re: Happy Liberty Day!
« on: July 05, 2013, 03:33:21 pm »
Oh, I'm fairly sure that's just how my mind spins the situation. I have a tendency to look for (and be very interested in) distinctions that other people don't really care about. You should hear me talk about the lyrics in popular music, sometime ;)

As for economics, I've found that I've become far more liberal over the years in that regard. While the Democrats do often ignore the middle class, if feels like Republicans often actively attack them instead. I like to say that the Republicans shoved me, kicking and screaming, out of the party with their behavior. And businesses! Good god, those things are usually engaging in self-defeating practices, all so a few people at the top can make a few bucks before the entire thing comes crashing down.

General Discussion / Re: Happy Liberty Day!
« on: July 05, 2013, 01:08:59 pm »
Idioticidioms, you're on the internet. Clearly this means you have the resources to write a letter to your senator and representative.

The problem with talk is that usually it's a replacement for doing, not a precursor to. Humans, we're like monkeys, and you know what they say about monkeys: monkey see, monkey do.

@Boo, I haven't yet been able to fully process my emotional response. First, I'm disturbed that corporations had this info ready to hand over to the government. I trust businesses far less, and they have far fewer restrictions already. Essentially, I view the data as already illegally obtained by the time it came into the government's hands. It kind of feels like we're being made to swallow a greater injustice (corporations collecting this data) by rejecting a lesser one (the government getting it from them). But then, as you said, this is related to the 4th Amendment. But then again, the government didn't illegally take anything from a citizen directly, nor did they hire anyone to do that on their behalf. It's more of that the government is taking advantage of a previously performed illegal search and seizure, and not punishing those responsible. Bleh, as I said, I still haven't fully processed how I feel about that.

I'd say that you miss some of Lindsey's artistry if you just listen to her, rather than watch the videos (or a live performance, of course). Sort of like Steam Powered Giraffe in that regard.

Bond's great, though I tend to have to rediscover them every other year before I forget. Haven't heard about Escala, though, thanks!

Idioticidioms, sorry, I greatly dislike Iz music. No fault of his, really: I was just forced to listen to it, and other very similar music, for a week straight. It drove me a bit batty.


Lindsey Stirling. She's what you get when you mash violins, popular music, and dance together.

I actually like that idea, but when taken into account of "Few-but-Crucial" inventory that we've got going here, this idea becomes nearly useless... unless we can somehow refine it to fit into the core idea.

Well, it will also depend on the length of the game. Three weapons for each character might not seem like much, unless the game is just a half hour long. "Few-but-critical" wouldn't fit with "items=stats" over a long game, but if the game itself is shorter, the two ideas might mesh nicely.

A more workable system would have about five stats: HP, MP, speed (how fast the character can act, how successfully s/he can run away), physical ability (governing the character's ability to hit and dodge), magical ability (cast spells and resist magic). Each weapon gets one stat (damage), each piece of armour gets one stat (damage absorbed).

I would propose that this can be effectively simplified further. I wont bore you with the details of my thought process, but your mention of pen and paper RPGs got me thinking about the history of stats, and how (or where) they developed (from). So, perhaps the stat work can be shoved off onto equipment, thereby reducing total stats to just HP, Attack Damage, and MP. Or, in other words, three equipable classes of items. Armor grants any and all HP, a weapon (including items that allow for magic attacks) produce the damage stat only (probably in the form of a range of damage, like 2-8), and some other item that grants MP in the same manner as armor grants HP (that is, permanently lost when used). To hit, damage reduction, speed, resistance, etc. can all be tossed as interesting but ultimately unnecessary sophistication of the basic conflict resolution system.

To add a level of customization, though, perhaps each character has an ability list that is developed through story points. For example, find Robin of Scherlocksley and she'll train one person how to use Longbows. The player gets to select who learns that ability. Or the player find the Magic Johnsmith and he'll teach one person the "repair armor" spell. And so on.

Additionally, I'd propose going with a slightly Metal Gear Solid view of enemies: they are things to get past, but not necessarily defeat. If the party is trying to sneak into a factory, you can do this through fighting the guards, if you wish, but you can also do so through sneaking by, and both are valid. If we add in a time travel component, some of this sneaking could be done by shifting through time periods or the sort.

Alfador redux's prince flung forward in time...

Personally, I'd like to see a little explanation for why he's flung forward in time and the circumstances surrounding it, although mainly just because a fairly cheap but highly effective trick for creating satisfying denouement is to reference things the the Main Character did at the beginning of the story again at the end. As such, the more we know about the beginning, the better the end can be.

CT did this, for example: Leene's Bell marked the beginning of the adventure, Marle's Bell marked the end (and in some endings, Marle comes to wake Crono up, as his mother did at the beginning). Someone gets lost in a telepod accident at first, someone gets lost in a telepod accident again at the end. The movie, Last Holiday, this this a little to excess, but if you've seen it, you probably can think of some of the many many times they did this in that movie.

To add, I like the time traveling element in which levels can be manipulated via time travel. Can't get past a large cliff? Travel to the far past and plant some trees, which when returning to the original time will suddenly have a group of trees you can climb up to get over the cliff.

That reminds me a little of the CT:DS bonus areas, which can be a good or bad thing, depending on one's perspective.

Have 3-4 time traveling era's (prehistory, middle ages, steampunk, and future). Throw a little bit of Secret of Evermore in there, too... Perhaps his item takes upon a different form in each era, with different functionalities? Perhaps in prehistory it's a grappling hook / whip; in the middle ages a magical alchemy device, in the steampunk era a digging claw, and in the future a short-range teleportation device.

Love this idea!

[Game opens with a black screen and a loud THUD. A bedroom flickers into view, in such a way that it looks like someone is opening their eyes. The overall look of the environment is steampunk/19th-century-gone-mad-ish. Lying in the bed is a young woman with red hair. Sitting on her legs is a young boy.]

Brilliant opening. The "waking up" scene definitely is a Chrono hallmark, but not trademark.

Also I  still feel like  if its really going to be made and it's really  going to feel like a Chrono game, it's got to be an RPG.

I'm not sure I agree with that sentiment, mainly because in the years since CT, what "RPG" means has changed so much that I think we can get into a tangle if we try to focus on what an RPG actually is. Back in 1995, having a leveling system and equipeable items essentially made something an RPG. Throw in a story focus, and you definitely had one. But what about Hybrid Heaven in 1999? That was essentially an fighter/RPG (a trend we see continue, though with strong fighter ties, in things like Soul Calibur 2 and Super Smash Bros Brawl). That particular game, alas, had problems with lack of popularity (basically, I think it alienated RPG fans with the fighting elements, and it alienated fighter fans with RPG elements). I think my point is mainly just that while I agree people should think it's an RPG, I think that actually still gives us a huge amount of room. Personally, I think a puzzle fighter RPG (think interlocking clockwork puzzles, not falling brick puzzles) could work beautifully, but then, I'm also crazy.

Though don't let anything I said take away from the truth (as you noted later, Bekkler) that it has to appear to be an RPG. It could be tic tac toe, and if it looks like an RPG, great. But if it's FFVI and doesn't look like an RPG, the project's doomed.

Maybe I'm old school, but it just seems so much easier to make a SNES-era style JRPG as our first outing and as a true Chrono Trigger spiritual successor.

The one problem I would see there is that while we want it to feel like a SNES-era JRPG, I think we'd want it to be notably different and tuned to modern gaming sensibilities. I think we might want to look at modern successful RPG's and see what concepts and techniques could be presented in a SNES-era-esq JRPG-esq format. The new Star Trek movies did this fairly well: they took modern sensibilities, wrapped them up in 70's concepts, and made something that largely felt like it could belong in both time periods.

So, I guess that would mean that I'm saying "SNES era JRPG feel"=good, "SNES era JRPG clone"=bad.

We need the "what" before we can move to the "how".

I agree, though I'd propose that the project might need a "who" before a "what." I really think that projects like this are made or broken based off that one or two people who'll drive forward like crazy until other people can't help but clamor to help. To my understanding, that is how Crimson Echoes got finished: the project "started," had problems, then some programming genius came through and starting doing almost everything themselves, until other people were... well, not falling over themselves to help, but definitely being less passive. Although, as CE proved, that person doesn't need to be the team lead, like had been previously discussed. Just someone passionate enough to get things done, and someone charismatic enough to make others want to help.

Well, to try to spark further discussion, perhaps a humorous take on your idea? Instead of "cool" inventions, T.E. keeps getting the bottom of the barrel stuff, like hair in a can (acts like a disguise, letting T.E. sneak by foes), parachute pants/jackets (let's him fall from great heights), bump-its (lets him break blocks, Mario-style), or Chia Pets (summons a chia familiar to attack enemies).

General Discussion / Re: Quote Digest
« on: June 12, 2013, 12:38:34 pm »
Quote from: Howard Taylor
"I think it was Patrick Rothfuss who [described getting mean spirited reader comments] ... as a turd in his bowl of oatmeal, as I recall. You can't eat the oatmeal around the turd."

General Discussion / Re: Stuff you LOVE, baby
« on: June 11, 2013, 11:11:39 pm »
Really, no one has loved something since April?

Well then I have a doozy for you. It was a Hugo nominated short story (2009), it will take you about 5 minutes to read, you'll love it, and it's free online. I present to you Mary Robinette Kowal's

Evil Robot Monkey

That looks suspiciously like a sonic screwdriver...

Anywho, I took a look at two games (Vulpine Adventures, Outernauts), partially because they are quasi-pokemon re-imaginings (and I have fond memories of when the series was new), but also because CTDS had quasi-pokemon elements.

Outernauts is really just pokemon in space, although quite fun, partially because enemies are visible on the world map, you get a nice level of customization (dress up your character, decorate your home world, and not only can you affect your creature's stats, you also can affect traits that will determine how they grow).

Vulpine Adventures focuses more on a single creature and it's development, with equipment. Both are fun, though outernauts has a lot to it, while Vulpine can be beat in a half hour.

The separation of player v battler also got me thinking about Final Fantasy: My Life as King. In that game you're the king of a town. You design it, build it up, and send heroes on quests (they bring back the stuff you need to expand the town further).

So I tried to think of how to smash those together with CT and Time Travel (since TT is a key element of CT feel, I wanted to make sure it was specifically addressed in my thoughts, hence why it's not just a mashup between the games and CT). The end result was something I'll call "The End of Time: The Video Game."

A short little adventure about a future historian/scientists who attempts to craft a device that can look through time (to put historical debates to rest: gee, can you tell that I'm a historian?). Device goes wrong, opens up a time portal, and sucks him to the End of Time. To return home (Quantum Leap reference?) he has to change time so that his experiment never went wrong (yeah, paradox, but this is a game, so that's okay). I'm imagining he does this via the use of tiny time portals (too small for him to fit through) and temporal goo native to the place that responds to his thoughts (thus, becomes alive).

The game would focus on sending this goo on missions via the portals to change the past (giving us mini story-lines: what if the french revolution didn't go guillotine happy, what if Trotsky, not Stalin, came to power?). While the goo is on a mission, the player goes around and build up a home in the end of time, so then be able to access later missions.

That's, of course, a first pass at the idea: as I've said, to get to something really great, one has to drill down a few layers to the originality. But perhaps this can be mashed up with yet something else.

EDIT: Instead of real world history, I could see a somewhat philosophical game develop on affecting one's own personal timeline.

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