I find that buying old prints of books is a more "eco friendly" option as opposed to buying newer print. Though I don't buy entirely into the 'carbon footprint' thing, the burden of climate change rests on the shoulders of the companies that cause more harm than we/I ever will, I believe it at least prevents the book from being mulched or overall wasted, turning a classic into some YA novel with generic plots and even more generic characters, and that they don't need to cut down more trees for a new book. It also has to be said, clearly, that they just don't make 'em like they used to anymore. Books were works of art both inside and out, marbled covers were once a niche norm, many covers had a specific cover which once worked for them, but they're now replaced by covers which just look like movie posters, on increasingly fragile paperback; you'll eventually work a crease onto the face of the protagonist doing cool things like holding a sword, or holding a gun, or just standing there pensively looking out of the cover.
Of course, its not without its drawbacks. I recently bought an edition of The Sketch Book of Geoffery Crayon, Gent. by Washington Irving, which also included A History of New York, A tour on the prairies, and other works by Irving. Its hardcover with beautiful blue marbling... and what I hope is detail on the outsides of the pages and isn't mold. I'm unsure when this was printed, but its certainly old! Unfortunately, the spine of the book is missing, and the front cover and leaflet is no longer attached to the book. I'm afraid of attempting to read the book in case of further damage. Book repair and rebinding services around here are few and far between, its certainly a lost art, but it may have to be necessary to make the thing readable and last until its next owner, probably my children if I'm lucky to ever have any. Anyway, the older these books get the higher chance there is that they've seen tons of damage or markings by its previous owners. And when I bought this copy online it said it had "minimal wear", probably to get it off the store sooner and turn a quick buck on it. Thankfully it wasn't that expensive, but rebinding it will probably be double what I paid for the damn thing. Still, I think it'd be worth it to get the book rebound/repaired, so long as they keep the marbling on the covers.
I'll definitely have to consider asking whoever publishes my novel to make the prints like this! Well, with the spine still attached, of course.
September 27 2023 1657 PST (UTC +8)
My site has an aesthetic to it, that wet rainy misty evergreen forest you can get swallowed in. But other than that, I'm not entirely satisfied with the design. Don't get me wrong, Cascadian woodlands are my jam, but it doesn't really 'pop' either. Which in its own right isn't a bad thing, a lot of sites here either like to get up in your face, or serve as a cozy respite from the web, or some mix of the two. But I feel like mine's kinda... flat? Nothing some CSS can't fix, I can slap rainbow on fucking everything and call it a day, but that would look pretty gross and not fix the underlying issue. This conundrum makes me think about an aesthetic I fell in love with way back in my childhood...
I grew up playing Jet Set Radio Future on the Original Xbox, (the disk that was also packed with Gran Turismo 2002 and a boatload of other xbox demo trailers? Yeah, that one) There were a lot of things I watched and listened to at an early age which all shared this kind of vibe to it that made being in your 20's look cooler than it unfortunately isn't. Specifically, I really liked the look of Vectorheart and min-max designs of the Y2K era. How it looks so flat but so complex, a lot of detail given in very little space. Though the Y2K aesthetic has kind of been fatigued as of late, Vectorheart hasn't seen much love. It makes me want to redesign my webpage into this aesthetic.
Now, when I made this site, I clearly didn't put a whole lot of thought into it. Clearly. You can see it too right? Its about as barebones as I could make it so I could have a site to throw up. Something as aesthetically complex as Vectorheart, on the other hand, would require a lot of pre-planning to make it look right and not be a buggy mess. I also want to attempt to make it look nice on mobile, something that's kind of been a difficulty since I don't have a proper testing setup to test on tiny screens. I also have issues doing basic HTML things like making things display inline as I want them, or arranging things in a proper manner. Pagination is something I just got a hang of.
But, I do like a challenge! It may not happen very soon, but I'll eventually start the process on creating a new look for the site (and have the option to switch back to the old look if you, for some reason, like the current look)
September 23 2023 2323 PST (UTC +8)
My backpack setup
I've wanted to detail my backpacking/hiking/SHTF backpack setup for a while but I'm always afraid of someone who spent $4k on their gear to tell me I'm doing it wrong because I didn't use this $800 bougie backpack. And while that doesn't prevent people from sending me emails or leaving comments on the homepage (please send me emails and leave comments on the homepage I'm lonely) everyone has their own way of packing/arranging their gear in a way where they know where something is immediately and not having to remember what some guy said to know where something was packed. So, without further ado, here's my setup.
I built this bag as a utilitarian backpack; essentially I'll grab it for hiking, walking, or when all hell breaks loose and I need a bunch of things immediately, it's there. That, and this primarily carries several things that I'll typically put into my "First Line" of gear, or my pockets, whenever I'm actively using the bag.I've included links to various stuff I have, they are not affiliate links and I don't generate any revenue if you click on them. I am also not sponsored by any of these companies/brands/retailers, I genuinely put my trust in these products. This does not mean you have to use these specific products, you should find what works best for you, as I have.
The backpack I use is a Savotta Jääkäri M in sexy Finnish M05 camo. The main compartment is 30 liters, the lid compartment offering roughly an additional liter or so. I've later added two six liter side pouches, a dedicated IFAK pouch, and an additional Särmä TST General Purpose Pouch M. The space is limiting sometimes, but I've found that compartmentalizing things into different pouhes while keeping the bigger, important stuff inside the main pouch worked really well for me. I don't buy into ultralight backpacking and I don't really know the base weight of the setup, but if I had to guess it might be 3-4 pounds empty, and when I'm rocking everything its 20 pounds. All-in-all, I have roughly two days worth of supplies, three if I ration them out on top of foraging.
This compartment can be accessed through either the drawstring top or through the side zipper; in the cold season I'll have a poncho liner sitting inside a Bundeswehr shelter half pouch secured by the top lid, so I typically access the side compartment via the side zipper. The poncho in the shelter half pouch doubles as a nice pillow when I'm camping. The main compartment houses a drybag with spare clothes, my so-dubbed "Admin Slab" which holds all my maps and record keeping stuff, such as my expiry report and other things I may want to write down, my mess kit which is a Halulite MicroDualist II, and my 2 Liter Osprey hydration bladder, which fits nicely in the included hydration pocket inside the Jääkäri. I also carry a VS-17 panel next to where the aluminum frame is in case I need to signal someone or something. It may not sound like a lot of stuff, and that's because its stuff I'll need when I set the bag down somewhere and stay there for a while; whether I need to change my clothes out, cook a meal, or check my notes or my map. That, and the empty space does allow me to stuff other things in if I need it in a hurry. The bulk of my gear sits outside the main compartment, which a lot of people seem to frown on. I don't see any issue with it, I don't typically compare setups with other people, and I've hiked miles with this setup just fine.
The bulk of this compartment is an Adventure Medical Ultralight/Watertight Medical Kit, which is a backup medical kit as well as a boo-boo kit for small scrapes/cuts that don't warrant busting out the IFAK. Along with that, I also have a Robens Fjell Trekking Towel, which is a towel that compacts into the size of a glasses case, in case I get too soaked in the rain. There's also two emergency blankets in there. Oh, and one dessicant packet, as this pocket is the hardest affected in rainfall. I haven't had any leaks in this bag so far, but it doesn't hurt to anticipate it.
In one of the 6 liter pouches on the side of the bag, I store all my food in it. I'll eventually have to find a way to store a bear canister in this bag (probably main compartment). I have, roughly, 5,800 calories calories in the pouch, a large bulk of it coming from three Mountain House MCW meals, specifically the Chili Mac, Egg & Bacon, and Spaghetti rations. I nabbed them as they were coming out of production and they briefly entered the civilian market. I also have some shitty food brick in there that's heavy and contains 2,400 calories. It sucks ass but I'll be happy with that if I'm starving in the dead of winter. I'm not going to break down every single food item in there as the list would get pretty long, but I will tell you that I've repurposed spent ZipFizz containers into small pill capsules for multivitamins, caffeine pills and naproxen sodium, and a lot of the snacks in there are carb-heavy to keep me going on a long hike.
In the other 6 liter pouch I have various tools and supplies in there that I'll use for camping and survival, along with a set of extra clothes in case I need to change in a hurry and don't have the luxury of setting down my bag. Namely, I have a wool watchcap, a one-hole balaclava, and two extra pairs of wool socks. As for tools, I have firemaking tools which consist of several matches and wood-shaving firestarters, which is basically like flammable candy floss. I have repair tools, like a small tube of ShoeGoo and a sewing kit, along with CLP, a universal boresnake and spare toothbrush (not for my mouth). Some other odds and ends include a stack of ten ziploc bags which can prove valuable in the case where I need to stow away soaked socks, a mirror, chapstick, a grooming kit, sharpening stone, spare knife, magnesium rod, lockpick set, and a cable saw.
In the small pouch next to the IFAK is a round mouldable splint, a spare flashlight, and wool glove liners. That's it. If it was empty I'd stick a Nalgene bottle in there.
This IFAK contains a lot of medical supplies in one small package, but the chief items are a CAT-tourniquet, trauma shears, Israeli dressing, and numerous other bandages, tapes, ointments, pads, and other shit you'd expect to find in an IFAK. Granted, this pouch could use some more stuff, like QuickClot and a decompression needle (Assuming I have the training for one of course!) I should reorganize it nonetheless.
Future AdditionsI have two loop straps on the bottom to carry a sleeping system, I'd prefer it to be an AIO system complete with a tent, pad and sleeping quilt in one compression bag if at all possible. Ammo is something I don't store in my bag for safety reasons but there's room for it if need be. I eventually want to upgrade to a folding saw; I won't pack a hatchet (unless if things get that bad) since I'll most likely be cutting branches/small saplings down with my knife. Currently looking for a smaller backpack to stick inside it, in case I need to ditch the rucksack and go mobile. Something "normal" in case I need to blend in somewhere.
Gear PhilosophyI treat my backpack like its a small home on by back, taking me from place to place. Ergo, I like to pack things I know I can depend on, no matter the weight. I don't do ultralight, I don't want to spend $100+ extra on something that cuts off two ounces for half the reliability, but I do cut weight on things that are normally heavy, such as the cooking set. Two people I normally hike with do follow the ultralight philosophy, then one day on a hiking trip one got stung by a wasp and I was the only person in the group that had a first aid kit; they cut out an important part of kit to save weight, and had to rely on me to save them. Its why I try to be as self-reliant as possible and carry everything I need and think I'll need and just deal with the weight, which isn't that bad.
What do I prepare for?Basically everything from taking a short hike to the end of the world. I don't know what will come next, but let it come.
September 22 2023 1710 PST (UTC +8) Images added at 23:19 PST same day
Grand Strategy / Some dumb game idea I had
Paradox is a game studio I'm in a love/hate relationship with. I love grand strategy games, but since they're Swedish developers they have DLC out the ass for every game, to the point where they made a literal COMMON SENSE pack for features/additions that should have been part of the main game to begin with. Still, I try to get by with paying as little as possible for a game I already paid $20 for. I guess those meatballs and IKEA factories can't pay for themselves. My favorite thing to do is run a Paradox Megacampaign, where I play from Crusader Kings 3, to Europa Universalis 4, Victoria 2 and Hearts of Iron 4 through the use of converters between the four games, essentially playing a very long game from 1044 (or 867) to 1950, or whenever I feel like World War 2 ends. Its fun to watch a tiny little provence grow into a war machine or an economic powerhouse in the span of centuries, but the failings lie in each game's core gameplay mechanic and the lack of others.
Crusader Kings 3 primarily focuses on characters and dynasties; crafting dynastic plans to conquer a neighbor, or killing an heir to weaken an enemy for war. But the player rarely if ever has to worry about the economy, just whichever king or queen they play as. There's also very little exploration you can do, since you're stuck in Eurasia.
Europa Universalis 4 deals with trade and economy, exploring foreign land, and leading your nation through an ever-changing Renaissance; but the finer aspects of war, your ruler and the people you rule over aren't there.
Victoria 2's economic system is arguably the best one out of any strategy game, even if nobody understands it. Having to manage people's culture and religion is also more involved, but at the cost of less wartime involvement and even less conquering of new land (Victoria 3 is even worse with this).
Hearts of Iron 4 is full on jingo, where you can customize your armies and draft battle plans to conquer your enemies and their allies. You either completely decimate a front line or you watch as ingame years of fighting barely budge the entrenched war... but virtually every aspect of the previous games are lost. No people management, no living through the ages. You don't even have an economy, just manpower.
Then it makes me think of Sid Meier's Civilization, which is more 4X than grand strategy. Every piece of the puzzle is there, between economy, R&D, military, expansion and diplomacy. And you play it starting with ancient history well into the future. But they aren't as detailed as either of the Paradox games, its more gamified to where you have to play on tiles rather than regions of a map, which feels a bit empty without knowing the region you're actually in. That, and the game can only handle 16 civilizations at a time. Civilizations which have different abilities over another, with an eternally living ruler, and pretty much set-in-stone playstyles. Its not to say that I don't like Civilization, it just doesn't scratch the itch that Paradox games do.
So its got me to thinking if I were to combine the two. Naturally it would be a major undertaking to create such a thing, but one can conceptualize and dream.
Firstly, I would most likely make this an open source game. Not only would I want Paradox to quake in (whatever Swedes wear on their feet) and treat their consumer base better, but having the ability for people to contribute to a game while having open modding support is only a good thing. I might not make boatloads of money off of it, but knowing I'm letting people have fun is enough.
I also feel its a bit limiting to only have pre-existing nations, so on top of having historically accurate nations (as best as the community can make it) I'd also want the player have the ability to start off as a pre-historic tribe and grow into their own nation and have their own unique identity, values, strengths and weaknesses, while the AI can either form their own generated identity (or form into a generic pre-existing nation).
Due to the randomness factor I'd be aiming for, AI-generation for flavor text and descriptions would also be a key feature. In most Paradox games there's rarely ever an event, path or mission for those going off the beaten path, especially in EU4 where it will often force you to fight against a specific nation against your will. Having a narrative written about a pitched battle, the reign of a ruler, or a series of events spanning years complete with its own name and timeline would be engaging. Imagine the AI documenting the series of events leading up to a hundred year war between two nations and its famed battles, generals and war heroes. Imagine hundreds if not thousands of years later you come across an artefact which came from that event (The artefact/museum system is my favourite thing in Civ 6) like a spear or a war banner with a detailed description, and links to a shared encyclopedia of different things achieved, discovered and accomplished by other nations, all written by AI (and edited by human players). Granted, such a model would need extensive training and would require a lot of resources to handle on the end user's machine, not to mention such an encyclopedia would become quite large, but I'd like to imagine we'll one day have AI small enough to package in a game if there isn't one already.
Now let me preface this next few paragraphs by stating that every mechanic you've ever witnessed in games has been borrowed by some other game. Hell, everything you've ever consumed was borrowed from something else, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. Now that said, let's take some pages out of the books of our inspirations.
Warfare is the more exciting part of grand strategy, just about the only part of the game you aren't staring at a map. I really like how HOI4 deals with combat and warfare, but not *everything*. The front line and the points to advance are all well and good, but the fact you have to manually assign every corps to a leader is exhausting, and should have conferred to Victoria 2's hands-off approach on how generals are assigned. Granted, the player should have the freedom to assign a general or a unit however they see fit. Naval combat is something really glossed over by Paradox and even Civ games to an extent; Paradox is mostly just a "who has more ships" context wheras Paradox treats them as just standard units ~~but on water~~. How I would handle naval combat is more on composition, skill of the leaders, and the quality of their ships. The navy doesn't just throw every ship out at a target, they instead launch strike groups with a specific composition of warships. It would be up to the player to figure out the best strategy for their composition, though I hope I'd be smart enough to not have some meta loophole where this one composition wipes out everything.
Economy is also the driving force of grand strategy. As I said before I'm a huge fan of Victoria 2's economy, but I'm not sleeping on EU4's economy either, as EU4 does have you consider the route you're taking to get your trade goods, though in a pretty goofy way. The straightforward approach would be to have baseline materials in each area/provence, then factories would convert that into other resources (i.e. a water wheel would convert a river into mechanical power, mechanical power turns wheat into flower) then players can provide these new resources to other nations in a trade deal using a mode of transportation, so in the early game they would have to rely on roads and wagons, then later rely on trains or even teleportation. Players would have to plot these courses out themselves, weigh the consequences of having to travel through the mountains or taking the longer, level path to their destination. The trade deal would involve some exchange, such as providing 200 units of wood for $50 whether as a one-off or on a schedule. And these goods would also rise and fall in price as demands and availability change; wool would become less desired as cotton becomes more widespread when the mechanical loom is invented (Maybe the country would create some sort of cultural identity as being diehard wool users, who knows?)
Population management isn't very important outside of Victoria. I feel like it should be an element not entirely in control by the player unless if they're willing to do extremely unpopular things. Its sort of why EU4 plays almost always the same, since you're rarely not in control. In Victoria 2, if you have enough of a militant rebel populace you can have a revolutionary war which would turn your country into a different ideology, such as Jacobin rebels turning your country communist. Immigrants and refugees would also be an interesting feature; as civilians flee from war the fighting parties slowly run out of manpower due to mass migrations. And those migrants may enlist in the armies of the country they migrated to and have a Revaunchist buff when attacking units of the country that forced them to migrate away from their home, on top of the migrant populace greatly supporting a war against that country.
Exploration and colonization is a small part of EU4 but I enjoy it sometimes. In Civ it seems more like a chore than anything else, which sucks because there's a lot of potential to be had when exploring the world. I'm not 100% sure how to improve exploration any further than "have this unit walk around a bit". Maybe if I actually sit down and design this thing I'll find out.
That's all I can feasibly put on paper. When I have it 'up here' its very difficult to put it 'down somewhere'. Maybe this will one day become a game, maybe this is just another idea I'll shelf and completely forget.
September 17 2023 0127 PST (UTC +8)
In my Gallery page I showcased a few concept art images about a game in "Indefinite Hiatus". I figured some context is needed.
The game was going to be titled "The Scoop". It would have been a mystery RPG, with its mechanics focusing around gathering journalistic evidence to then compile it into an article. This would have been the main gameplay loop, you'd have to write X amount of articles per week in order to get your full paycheck, but not every article was some complex storyline, some were just simple reports. Naturally, how you wrote the article would affect the world around the player, and their "Truth Score", essentially how close to the truth they were to the story. But as Damien Lewis, the protagonist, uncovers a conspiracy which demands time to work on, numerous obstacles get in the way of him fully uncovering it, forcing the player to sacrifice time, money, and even relationships to get to the truth and write The Scoop of The Century.
The story takes place in the same universe as my novel, Interloper, but 6-7 years after its events in the year 2045 in the city of Seaoko, Washington. Seaoko is a city ruled by a mysterious multi-billionaire simply known as "The Benefactor". As terrorist acts suspiciously start to happen around the city, Damien uncovers the fact that this is a ploy by The Benefactor in order to reignite a Third Korean War.
I worked on this game with my best friend Sumouse. They were the art lead, I was working on the programming and writing aspect. We were mostly in the design stage, when I felt that we needed a dedicated programmer to work on the game with us. We knew nobody who would work on what was essentially a passion project for us, and as the years passed we didn't get a whole lot done. We had a lot of ideas (A Trello board full of them) and writing, but nobody to really put them into action. Sumouse quietly dropped from their position as art lead, and I had what was left of everything.
It was pretty overambitious of us to try and make a full-length RPG with just two developers, if we have six or even ten people working on it we might have had a shot at releasing the game two or so years ago. However, I did try to design various forms of time-saving measures, such as creating an article and evidence framework by calling a database. I say "try", I hardly have a grasp on C# or Java. But, I do have some old design docs I can show:
I sometimes look back on this project. It was a springboard for Interloper, as I came up with the concept for Interloper and the entire backstory through this game. I hope I can live to see the game come to fruition under my guidance. Maybe I can use the royalties for my novel to pay a dedicated team. Maybe I'll just have to do this whole thing alone. Whatever the case, I really want to start working on this again, but I have very little idea on where to start.
September 13 2023 1321 PST (UTC +8)
Tears in this forgotten pocket of the world
I grew up in this forgotten pocket of the world, time seems to be a flat circle here; the old people just stay old while the young slowly but surely join their ranks. Naive as we all are we think we'd have it our way forever.
Before I knew this land as Cascadia I became intimately familiar with the woodland that surrounded my home. Each grove, each game trail, the routes the logging trails would snake. The moss would dangle down and swell up to meet me, my worries about elementary school fell away from me as I'd play with sticks and rocks in the tangled undergrowth. Bushes of rhododendron would be the pink contrast to the needles of the cedars and pine. When the rain fell, it only meant my clothes would be muddy and wet when I got back inside, wet soil staining the creases in my palms and rainwater running down my nose like a gutter. Storms were my favourite event, the trees would sway back and forth to the constant noise of hard rain falling on the roof, the wind a choir and very rarely would the thunder act as percussion. My favorite spot was straight past the backyard, where the plateau dropped off into an evergreen expanse. A rotted out stump would be a holder for sticks I'd call wands and I would name it my "Wizard Workshop". And just down the hill was a cemetery, graves dating back to the 19th century. There was a schoolhouse there, established in 1920, used as a community center. I never visited the center, but seeing it every time I passed through warmed my heart in some way. What tales that school could speak, were its walls to talk! Not far from that, a bridge erected over the creek leading to the beach; the old dock posts there from over a century ago, when the ferries would take passengers to Seattle, still stand there today. During the wet season you could watch the choppy waves flood in the tide, the mountain vistas across the water would be nigh impossible to see past the fog.
But the more I got older, the more I took these things for granted, the less I visited these places, the less I explored, became complacent with the day-to-day throes of high school. I did not wonder, I did not wander, nor did I ponder, nor did my heart fonder for the unknown; everything had some answer to it, and I could find the answer in my pocket or the machine in my room. The world became that much smaller. That was when the landscape around me began to change. The dense overgrowth in the front yard was cut back by my father, years after that the two tall cedars fell. The grass yellowed and hardened, the bushes receded like a hairline. There's nothing there anymore, nothing remains of my adventures except a solitary stump that I remember sitting on, and that too was destroyed for "ants".
Then, the back yard was torn apart; what was once a pleasant entrance into an obscure world was now torn away, flattened out, landscaped, now only some shitty Costco gazebo stands there to mock me. Where I once found joy in the unknown was now flattened out and covered in wood bark and hardpack. Then, the old school burned down. They said it was because of an electrical fault. The only thing that stands is just the foundation and its welcome sign. I don't know if the community can even recover from that.
And the winter, by god the winter, I once embraced the forecast of snow when it would close the school for a day or two. Now, we get no less than two feet and no more than three and a half. And here in our forgotten pocket, the power companies and repair crews only ever consider us last. The cities only get the privilege of having heating and refrigeration restored in less than a day, we have to suffer in the white death for close to a week. And the power outages were no longer a winter occurance, the lightest of rainfall would be a possibility of not having the lights on for the rest of the day. The old growth trees at the bottom of the valley only grows older. We've pleaded, many times, for these trees to be trimmed back. But we've hardly any voice anymore; the old here are only getting older, the young move away from this forgotten pocket of the world. And these days its only what the young want for the old to stay relevant, also belligerent to the fact that time only flows in one way.
I still find old relics I left behind from those days. Some whittled stick or a knife I used to carry back then. Reminders of simpler, carefree times. I miss those days.
September 12 2023 1104 PST (UTC +8)
I hate Emojis
You knew this was going to happen.
I hate reading things online nowadays, because my eye is immediately drawn to the contrasting, brightly coloured characters people like to sprinkle onto their sentences like it was seasoning. And boy, these people do not know how to cook. I remember roughly 10-11 years ago when they were a little more niche, I had to install some weird keyboard to even use one. But as I grew older they propagated like wildfire. So much so that pretty much everyone uses them. You might be thinking "This belongs on Internrant", but this is something that escaped the digital ocean.
I genuinely do not understand the appeal of these graphical nightmares. They've seeped to movies and games, and even found its way into the flesh world to market to people. Nobody can read a sentence anymore without some dumb yellow face expressing some dumb emotion, or a trail of 20 multicoloured hearts to say "I like this thing". Its basically jingling keys for those with so short an attention span that they cannot read a single sentence without an emoji every 10th word, or subway surfers at the bottom to hook their attention.
It gets worse when I am forced to use them when I want to use the emoticons I grew up with. A lot of sites and apps will automatically convert :) to a smiling emoji, as if to say "These people do not and will not understand your ways, please dumb yourself down and use the silly faces to hold their attention". Now I just use the Kaomoji to express things in places I can't use standard fucking internet lingo in ヽ( `д´*)ノ
Gods help the next generation when they can't express anything outside of emojis. I was raised on computers, but iPad babies are something else entirely. I grew up on books and children's TV until I was 4, but the crucial developmental stages of a toddler's life today are supplemented by YouTube videos filled with emojis and weird bizarre fetish art. How are they going to learn tone without a yellow face next to a paragraph to tell them the tone? Are they gonna buy houses with the mortgage rate marked with a money bag emoji? Are future books going to be printed with emojis to keep their attention? I'm scared for the future of my children, if I ever have any. I remember the internet being a mysterious but beautiful place, now I'm not sure if my children will have the same experience I did.
House Rule: Code your own webpage before you go on the internet, use an emoji and you're grounded
September 11 2023 0847 PST (UTC +8)
The Arechi Comeback
Arechi is a NEOTOKYO map I made back in 2020, and abandoned it there. It was the second map I ever made for the game (Tachiagari was the first) Its main inspiration was the New World Mall in Bangkok, Thailand. In the single paragraph of lore of NEOTOKYO, Japan was nuked again by North Korea, and the only map that really reflects this is Desolation, another community map. So, Arechi was built around the idea of the mall being part of a destroyed cityscape as result of a nuclear attack. Of course, back then I was still a new-ish mapper and I made plenty of errors in the beginning that would hinder me later. Things like off-grid geometry and various design decisions made the map a mostly vertically playing nightmare that I couldn't fix, and as such didn't see much playtime, and then development was dropped when I started to work on Marketu, a "fixed" version of Marketa. When I started BonAHNSa I kept the map in the Community Map Night rotation so it wouldn't kill the playercount.
In the few times it was played, people surprisingly liked it. I spent a lot more effort on my more recent maps like Uptown and Commute, but Arechi was something a lot of people actually liked playing. The verticality was counterbalanced by how defendable the bottom floors were, and how the stairs left you exposed to all angles. This was a project I abandoned three years ago for something I was a little more proud of.
The only gripe people seemed to have was the alarm I had in one of the shops; there was a random 1/8 chance that a player walking into the mall would trigger the loud theft alarm. Remember, this was my second map ever, so when I wanted a sound to play everywhere on the map, I would check the
Play Everywhere flag, which would play the loud alarm to every player in the map, regardless of distance, at the same volume. I did have a mechanic in place that if someone were to trigger the alarm and wanted to shut it off, or simply wanted to ensure a silent entry/exit, they would shoot an electrical box at the other end of the room in order to shut off the barrier system altogether, but nobody ever really grasped it. So I pushed a fix a few nights ago that removed the loud alarm, which was kind of like going down memory lane.
If you've never used or even seen Hammer before you probably have no goddamn clue
HOW FUCKING HARD IT IS what's going on. Basically what happens is the player will walk into the
trigger_multiple which sends a message to the
logic_case entity. Cases 1-7 will trigger the relays responsible for lighting up the green lights on the barriers through
ShowSprite. Case 8 will instead cause the lights to have
renderfx 10, or "Faster Strobe", trigger the
ambient_generic to sound its annoyingly loud alarm, and last for 10 seconds. But this depends on if the electrical box, a
func_breakable, is intact or not; if this brush is broken then it simply disables the
trigger_multiple until the next round.
Its got me to thinking about working on it again, even if I wasn't 100% satisfied with the project, people apparently enjoy it. They don't even seem to mind the "Reeses's Puffs" colour scheme of the dev textures. So, alongside my other map Commute, I might work on a redux version of Arechi that doesn't suck complete ass.September 10 2023 1800 PST (UTC +8)
What the heck is a Dennogin anyway?
I get asked this question a lot, between what my screen name means and what my avatar is supposed to be. Truth be told I don't really know or remember how I came up with "Dennogin", but I adopted the "Dennogin" username in 2013. I hovered between several usernames leading up to it, most not being exactly "unique". My old usernames included 'Death Box', 'Jameson Hadlock' (Which was an OC I had in middle school), Faolan, and 14natgor (Which was my elementary school login, lol). That's pretty much the history behind the name. My friends call me "Denno" for short.
The face behind it is more recent. Back in 2019 I was in a Discord server with an annoying person that everyone sort of clowned on because he was being a clown. We wanted him gone but the admins didn't boot him out or anything, so we all collectively used "Remove Jason" whenever he was being quirked up. Then, I had the idea of using the Remove Kebab/Serbia Strong meme, and putting my "face" on it as a spin. I got the hair and the frame of the face down, but for sake of brevity I gave myself a scarf and kept the eyes white. Below is the gif of the final product.
I spammed this and the associated song a lot, and I would eventually become associated with the image. And after updating it to what it looks like today, its pretty much become my online identity. I leave a tag of the face on my NEOTOKYO maps, its featured in a lot of my videos, and some people even drew fanart of him.
For some reason my mom and dad love seeing him when I animate him for a video, though I use the term "animate" loosely, its mainly just keying in movement frames and swapping out the images to make him blink and other stuff. I have numerous variations and redrawings of him for this purpose, and also to just meme around. I do aspire to one day animate him better, maybe with Flash or something, and create better Youtube videos with it.
That's basically all I can really say behind the name and face of my avatar. Its as much a mystery to me as it is to every passerby wondering the exact same thing.