MacBook Pro Cancels Benchmark: Interrupted by Flaming Hot Magma

Posted in Art, Buckeye, Digital Innovation, Epiphenomena, Eschatology, Fiction, Games on October 7th, 2010 by Elijah Meeks – Comments Off

Dammit, I just lost a piece of my life on MS Paint Adventures…  And for this?

Of course, I’m still not sure, but I think this method of storyteller as parser, whether community-oriented or feigned, is somewhere near Sword and Sworcery’s faux authentick.

Stuxnet: Could the Cure be as Dangerous as the Disease?

Posted in Buckeye, Digital Innovation, Eschatology on September 27th, 2010 by admin – Comments Off

Stuxnet seems to be a warvirus, and it seems to be finished.  But if I was in charge of the systems running a major site considered critically important, I’d make certain that when I installed the hotfixes and cleaned the system that the fixes didn’t themselves contain even more pernicious code.

Plans within plans…

Ah the unscrupulous mule! It understands war.

Posted in Art, Epiphenomena, Eschatology, Games on September 20th, 2010 by admin – Comments Off

Millions of books lining the shelves at Borders and stacking up in Googlespace and literature moves on…

One thing to make clear is that I try to make everything an interpretation of the game. If I went around inventing stuff it wouldn’t be fun anymore, because you wouldn’t know what I’m making up and what is the game being crazy. Plus, Dwarf Fortress is such an excellent story generator that it’s always more entertaining to write around what it gives me. It’s a fun creative limitation, and it’s the entire point of this LP, so I don’t take a lot of liberty with physical actions. If Dett has an amusing medical accident, I want the reader to know it actually happened. The only time I broke this rule was the cat counting joke in the first update and that happened because I was still working out the creative boundaries of the story (Exi’s cat did die, though). I do take liberty with social interactions because the extent of what you witness in the game is dwarves talking to each other in the dining hall, and I don’t see the harm in writing amusing conversations and creating these elaborate social dynamics between all the dwarves. That’s part of storytelling so it wouldn’t be the same without it, and really it’s still just interpretation there because all I’m doing is explaining what the dwarves say to each other on a day to day basis.

But in a lot of cases, the social interactions are usually also inspired by something. The Hyte and Dett dynamics with Mar were written because I always saw those two dwarves following her around. Exi and Behem are both miners, so of course they interact a lot. The still is right by the gemcutting station and the room where Frote trains animals, so of course Kesti interacts with them. Stuff that makes sense.

I also tend to play in ridiculous ways. For example, Squib being stationed to monitor the elf beasts in the first update happened. I didn’t want them interrupting work orders.

A couple of the more prominent Dwarf Fortress-based humor bits that aren’t covered by the screenshots and wouldn’t be clear to a non-Dwarf Fortress player:

1. Trame electing himself into several important positions is a reference to how players tend to make one dwarf responsible for the manager, broker, and bookkeeper duties.
2. Exi’s architecture design (and the entire concept of what dwarf culture considers good art) is a reference to how many Dwarf Fortress players just design their fortresses in efficient squares instead of more elaborate designs.
3. The mules showing up everywhere and bothering everyone is an in-game mechanic. Animals you don’t keep in cages are obnoxious.
4. The syntax of the Mittens engraving is a combination of an in-game description of a Forgotten Beast and a description of a crafted object.
5. Dett’s entire concept is based off how (in 31.03 – it’s since been patched) doctors were broken and would either horribly murder their patients or were unable to do anything productive for them. Honestly I would have been fine with hospitals never getting patched for that reason.
6. In the Dett update, she laments the lack of serrated discs and enormous corkscrews as hospital supplies. Those are in-game trap components.
7. Kesti’s reverence of the dining hall is an in-game mechanic. Someone posted earlier that dwarves will be happy despite the murder of all their friends and family so long as they ate in a fine dining hall recently. It’s true.
8. War mules are an in-game mechanic, too, but I had to mod the game files to make them trainable as war animals. This was the only modification to the base game.

You should really go give Tarn Adams a couple bucks…

And so we come full circle

Posted in Art, Digital Innovation, Epiphenomena, Eschatology, Games on August 17th, 2010 by Elijah Meeks – Comments Off

“Dwarf Fortress is really the kind of game that benefits third party viewers most when it’s transcribed and narrated and illustrated, rather than just watched.”

Top Ten New Features of HTML5

Posted in Digital Innovation, Epiphenomena, Eschatology on April 30th, 2010 by Elijah Meeks – Comments Off

Now that Steve Jobs has firmly stated that Flash can be buried because rich internet applications can be written in “javascript” (a new and exciting “scripted” language that little is known about, except for the fact that has a javascript store finder that crashes my iPhone) and HTML5, I think it’s time to look at the top ten amazing new features available to you some time in 2022, when HTML5 may* arrive!

#10 – HTML5 finally solves that annoying rollover behavior that prevents any Web 2.0 application from running on a mobile interface by getting rid of it entirely.  Instead, all mouselike commands will be nested in a <at-steves-whim></whim> tag that will implement shoddy, worthless junk depending on the current mood of populist technocrats.

#9 – HTML5 actually implements full Semantic Web capability, and will implement your very own Semantic Web whenever you’d like, just by giving a #start-semantic-web command.  Please note, however, that this is theoretical, as even the Google techs that got Quake working in HTML5 forgot to try this, so while the Semantic Web is now a distinct possibility, it remains as unlikely as it did when it was impossible.

#8 – HTML5 will actually learn to code for you, so that all those times when you neglected to learn how to code and claimed you were just waiting for a really solid open standard will be forgotten because not only will HTML5 teach you to code and learn it for you, it will purposefully make the apps built by code literate losers who learned how to code (albeit in awful, awful languages) run less efficiently out of spite.

#7 – HTML5 contains <ideological> wrappers that allow arguments to be viewed based on their merits, thus solving thousands of years of senseless conflicts.

#6 – HTML5 also contains <wittgensteinian> wrappers that may or may not restore all of those senseless conflicts, just for kicks.

#5 – HTML5 will always render Joan Jett as a young, rebellious hellion, even if the video is of her appearance on The Ellen Degeneres Show.  In HTML5, Joan Jett punches Ellen right in the eye.

#4 – HTML5, while technically incapable of restoring your childlike optimism, contains <polyanna> tags that allow you to force your own twisted corruption of it upon others.

#3 – HTML5 contains </terminator> tags that can be used to deactivate killer cyborgs as well as allow Monsanto-engineered crops to produce viable seeds.

#2 – HTML5 also contains <terminator> tags (necessary for compliance) that should only be used by very responsible individuals.

#1 – In HTML5, Soviet Russia finally gets to tag you.

*No really, 2022.  Remember, HTML5 is also part of the Semantic Web Zombiepocalypse, so even though its arrival will fix everything, you have to weigh that value against the distinct possibility that, like the Zombie Web, it may never actually get here.

MacBook Pro Cancels Benchmark: Interrupted by Flaming Hot Magma

Posted in Digital Innovation, Eschatology, Games on April 27th, 2010 by Elijah Meeks – Comments Off

The folks at PCAuthority discovered something we already knew:  Dwarf Fortress is for serious performance testing.  Apparently, they used the WorldGen feature of everyone’s favorite roguelike fantasy world simulator to turn the i7 MacBook Pro into a really attractive griddle.

This iPhone 4G menaces with spikes of lawsuit.

Commons-Based Peer Collaborative Pixel Pushing

Posted in Art, Digital Innovation, Eschatology on April 21st, 2010 by Elijah Meeks – Comments Off

Playpen allows you to draw some extremely pixelated Harkonnens, but it does have Dwarf Fortress.  Don’t try to rescue the beard mite, though, it’s a lost cause.

Apple thinks COBOL is evil, “GOTO 10″ Bullshit

Posted in Digital Innovation, Eschatology on April 14th, 2010 by Elijah Meeks – Comments Off

There’s a great post on the entire Adobe-Apple debacle over at /dev/why!?! that not only explains the technical issues at play with Apple’s closing off of the iWhatever to outside SDKs but also points out that this “makes it a license violation to include a language interpreter inside a game.”  (Interestingly, enough, this apparently already violates the current SDK)

I don’t know contract law (thank God) but wouldn’t you think that inconsistent enforcement of a legal contract would somehow damage its value?

This is why we can’t have nice things

Posted in Digital Innovation, Eschatology on April 8th, 2010 by Elijah Meeks – Comments Off

The more I code, the more I think coding is for tools.  For tools, by tools, to keep all the power in the hands of the needy pedants that have the time and delusion to keep track of the absolute normative disaster that are programming languages.  For instance, let’s just say you want to have a little border resize to your image in your wee Flex app, that should be easy, right?  Just get the size of the image and change the border to be a bit bigger.  Oh wait…

  1. width is the width of the Image loader control and not the loaded image’s. If this property is not set, it will be adjusted automatically based on the loaded image’s width. The auto adjustment will not occur in the Image control’s complete event. This value will be updated in the last updateComplete event (the one after the complete event).
  2. contentWidth is the width of the loaded image when scaled. The loaded image has not been scaled yet in the Image control’s complete event so you won’t get the correct value, you will get the original width instead of the scaled value. You have to wait for the Image control’s updateComplete event after the complete event finishes to get the correct value.
  3. content.width is the width of the loaded image without regard to scaling. This will be immediately available during the Image control’s complete event. Note that content is actually the loaded image.

Right?  And Actionscript is one of the easy languages (reason number two why it’s now cool to hate Flash, along with “Steve told me to.”).

And Sometimes the Internet Scares the Hell Out of You

Posted in Eschatology on April 2nd, 2010 by Elijah Meeks – Comments Off

Guess What 14-legged Monster Just Got a Taste for Humans - Be Afraid

Apparently, the ocean is sick of being abused and it’s sending up armored hellbeasts to devour us.

See Isopocalypse 2010 for more.  In all seriousness, the guy there is the closest thing you can get to an Isopod expert, and gives a great expose on how breathless reporting of strange creatures can go from divorced-from-reality to full-blown-crazy-talk in no time flat.