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Showing posts from 2015

October 2015 Game Musings

I hate online shooters. I don't like any of the emotions that they elicit. I don't like 'beating' other people, and it's never fun getting sniped in the head over and over and over by people you never see. However, the old school Star Wars sets and characters have me trying my best to figure it out in Star Wars Battlefront. The environments are some of the most beautiful/realistic I've ever seen. It truly feels like your on a super extended movie set. Congrats to the team at DICE for getting someone like me to try so hard to expand my palate.
While Star Wars Battlefront is working on expanding my game appreciation palate in the Online Shooter genre, Hand of Fate is starting to... ever so slightly tickle that Collectible Card Game part of the brain that I've never felt before. I got through the first 5 or 6 rounds without dying once, then hit a wall and failed about 10 times on the Jack of Scales round. That forced me to look past the recommended deck buil…

Framing Devices in Videogames

Let's talk about framing devices in videogames.
Ever since the first Assassin's Creed I've been in love with them. When done well they can ameliorate ludonarrative dissonance by couching the contrivances and tropes of video game mechanics in a frame that is already understood as being an artificial construct. Hopefully a few clear examples will make that sentence less gobbledygookish.
In Assassin's Creed, you primarily play a character in the middle east from a thousand years ago. But because it's a videogame there are things that you can and can't do that a real person from a thousand years ago in the middle east would not have to deal with. For instance, you can't walk off into the sunset. At some point there's a wall that will always stop you, because we don't have the technology to build an entire planet simulation yet. (No Man's Sky and Spore are great baby steps, but the detail is so crude that I don't count them) As designers we have a…

Westboro and Dogmatics

http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/leaving-the-church
Here's a really fascinating interview with a former member of the Westboro Baptists. (I should point out that the interviewer, Sam Harris is an atheist, but I don't think anything he says in here should bother most Christians.) They touch on the subject I've been exploring for many years now, and have not found a good way to articulate to most people of faith. That is: the interpretive layer that takes place between your sacred text and what you consider it to mean. (Your doctrine.) Most people of faith don't realize or won't acknowledge that it exists. Fortunately, most faith doctrines don't lead to Westboro (or ISIS) behavior, but the problem I have is that without recognizing the fallible state a human is in, even if the scripture is divine, you can't know you're interpreting everything correctly. In theory, that SHOULD cause you to be a lot more graceful to those who disagree and a less dogmat…

Strategic Intent

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“Strategic Intent entails envisioning a future that seems nearly impossible, then striving to acquire the capabilities and resources to make that future possible.”
Next up on the education docket for me is Strategy!  http://www.thegreatcourses.com/courses/strategic-thinking-skills.html
This course is mostly focused on business strategy though I was hoping for a broader range of applications.  But I think the idea is that strategy from one realm can be applied in any other with a few tweaks.  Starting with the history of military strategy, Prof Ridgely shows how various doctrines can be translated to business.   While I was hoping this course might make me better at chess and Civilization, I’ll roll with it and see what I can apply to the company I hope to build. My Big Dream does revolve around creating a successful business, so I was able to shift gears to try to apply as much as I could from this course to Breath of Life Art Studio and all the aspirations I have for it.  
One thing I wa…

Bouncing Down

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Here’s a neat thing.  Last time I laid out a new diet plan at the end.  
http://www.joshuaforeman.blogspot.com/2015/05/self-control.html
I’ve been tinkering with it paying special attention to how my self-control tank gets depleted and when it seems to be recharged.  The last couple weeks I’ve settled into this pattern.  Weekends I eat a ton of gargabe, weekdays I eat super low calorie.  I haven’t let myself pig out until I’m about a pound under my last lowest number.  This is the result so far.

Looks like a lot of up and downs, but the important thing is the trajectory is right.  It’s going down consistantly, like a ball bouncing down stairs.


A really neat thing about this system is that unlike my previous plans -which featured gritting my teeth and holding out as long as I could, and then feeling guilty when I failed- this has a nearby goal.  It’s like an emotional lighthouse that’s never too far away.  And having that big payoff just around the corner (never more than 5 days or so) ha…

Self Control

I just finished a short lecture series from The Great Courses called Scientific Secrets for Self Control.  
http://www.thegreatcourses.com/courses/scientific-secrets-for-self-control.html
These six lectures could have been 2 or 3 if Professor DeWall didn’t have 2-3 second pauses between each sentence and 3 or 4 redundant ways of saying the same thing over and over and over.  But that’s beside the point.  He started out talking about the primary theories about self control and how it works. He settles on the model I talked about here:
http://www.joshuaforeman.blogspot.com/2015/04/ego-depletion.html
(Though he has a different name for it I can’t remember.) The basic idea is that SC is like a muscle.  It can be depleted of strength by getting over worked, but it can also be strengthened with practice.  Also like a muscle, you can fatigue it with something like weight-lifting, and then find you have trouble sweeping later.  In other words, things that wear out your SC “muscle” in one way, al…

Over the Hill

Well I’ve done it.  I’ve finally become an adult. At least by Common Law I guess.  You can’t be 40 and still be a kid, right?  Anyway, I’m remembering what it was like to turn 30.  http://joshuaforeman.blogspot.com/2005/04/reflections-on-my-30th-birthday.html
I distinctly remember feeling like I couldn’t possibly accomplish what I wanted in life because I fell behind due to a soul-sucking marriage that held me back for a decade.  That, and I was more self conscious about how being in a different decade of life separated me conceptually from those I wanted to hang out with.  Neither of those things are a concern to me on the turning of this decade of my life.  I really don’t care about people who are biased against older people, and I accomplished a LOT in the last decade.  But more important than what I accomplished is the fact that my roadmap to what my life goals are is much better defined.  Having that focus has allowed me to better manage my time and energies and brings me so much …