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Tycho / 5 days ago

The PAX 10

This has got to be one of the best PAX 10 crops of all time, and we’ve been tending that field of indie excellence practically since the birth of the show.  Here they are - your PAX 10:

Boomerang Fu by Cranky Watermelon
Deathbulge: Battle of the Bands by Five Houses
Deleveled by ToasterFuel
The Devil’s Calculator by Cinq-Mars Media
Epic Tavern by Hyperkinetic Studios
Final Assault by Phaser Lock Interactive
Heartbound by Pirate Software
Plunge by Spooky Buns
Sunless Skies by Failbetter Games
Wytchwood by Alientrap


Tycho / 1 week ago

I didn’t actually entertain the idea presented in the strip, but when it was happening, I did apportion a very small part of my brain to consider the idea that my counterpart in the strip would absolutely do so.

It’s all fixed now obviously, obviously, but sometimes air pressure in the garage would tell the alarm system that the door had been opened when it hadn’t been.  I think I would have let it ride, having been so ill-used by this sensor before, if I hadn’t also seen a motion light out there trip.  Even this was not sufficient to generate true alarm, however, because this neighborhood is fuckin’ cat city.

I went down simply to verify that I was doing what I typically do, which was worry to no profitable end, but I was wrong.  I looked out a window to get a better look, and she passed right in front of me without noticing I was there.  Which was good!  Because I had no pants.

After I went back upstairs to get pants, I opened the door to the garage to find her in Brenna’s car.  I told her that she needed to get the fuck out of there, and she told me that I needed to get the fuck out of there.  She had just come back from college to this, her parents’ house.  She was looking not in my car but in her mother’s car, for a check her mother said she would put there.  Then she said I was crazy and that she was going to call her mother.  She “pushed some buttons” and then claimed to have put her mother on Speaker Phone, holding the phone toward me, but the screen didn’t come on and nobody said anything because she’d done no such thing.  The level of investment in this bit indicates to me that she could find success in virtually any industry - it escalated over the course of fifteen or so minutes, eventually “her dad was on the phone,” an inspired escalation of the dramatic arc.

I told her that her story wasn’t super good and I didn’t think she’d thought about it very hard.  I’d just come out of the house she was ostensibly calling.  I said that was a plot hole, at best. Eventually I made up a story about what kind of security system I believe I said it could record “HDR,” (?!) and this seemed to inspire her to move elsewhere.  The power of Jargon, I suppose.  More nearby houses told me they’d experienced intrusion attempts later in the night, which by that time had become the morning.

(CW)TB out.   

Tycho / 1 week ago

I’m fucking losing it over here.  This happened when I got really into Warmachine, and then life conspired to alter the level of enthusiasm I could invest in people who were less than two or three inches tall.  But some of those limitations have evaporated and now the sort of competition and simulation‚Ķ hang on.  Let me go back.  The kind of focus these games offer as a hobby is completely unlike anything else.  It’s akin to being able to craft an entirely custom god and then spend your leisure hours worshipping it.  Oh!  And you also get to set you god against somebody else’s god without the usual problems associated with that sort of thing.

But, yes.  Like the strip that will appear on Wednesday, a tale of confronting a thief in your garage, this even more harrowing tale is also drawn from real life.

We’ve been playing Wargames on the stream most Tuesdays - of course, not this Tuesday, because I’m fuckin’ mentioning it - playing rounds of Warhammer 40k: Kill Team with the armies we got in the starter box and goosed with some strategic purchases after the fact.  We also painted them on stream, partly because it’s cool to see, but also because it’s not something I’m comfortable with really and I think it’s important to show that, too - and that it shouldn’t keep you from this amazing type of play.

I would say the game I’ve played most in the last few months, and it’s not even close, is Tabletop Simulator.  I mean, pursuant to the topic at hand.  I play a lot of games on there that are difficult or time consuming to enact in real life for a variety of reasons, games I’ve been meaning to try for ages, and it’s the lion’s share of what I wanna do when I sit at the computer.  It’s a mess in some ways, like reality in that respect, uncouth with pointy elbows, and the Steam Workshop for it is functionally a bazaar of deeply stolen goods.  I have a lot of thoughts about it that I can’t get to today, because I’m actually in the woods and this was written days earlier.  I’ll try to approach it Friday if I can.  I have a lot of feelings about it, because it’s a “place” where I spend a lot of my free time.

I haven’t had a chance to check it out in VR, and I would say generally if a program gives you the choice of using it in VR as well as using it in some other fashion, it hasn’t received the kind of attention that would make the virtual experience worthwhile.  But a “game” about manipulating virtual objects in a pretend place might be that rare case where it actually makes sense.

(CW)TB out.

Tycho / 2 weeks ago

It’s such a delight when people erupt in my Twitter feed with photographs of the official Acquisitions Incorporated book - either their own copy, or of the copies that have arrived in the faraway places they live, like Scotland or Australia.  Obviously those places are not far away from those places.  Scotland is (in fact) very close to Scotland - so close as to be indistinguishable.  But they are very far from where the book was written, and printed, and a great journey was required to get them there.

Ordinarily, this being the Internet, I would make the words “official Acquisitions Incorporated Book” a link.  But our store is completely sold out of the book, so if you’re still down maybe this is a chance to scour their shelves of the product.  We do have other stuff, I guess.  I could link that.

It’s been a creature in the world for a few weeks now, and it seems like it’s doing alright out there.  Which is nice.  You always hope that when somebody takes a chance on you, you can repay their faith.  In a couple months, when we can look at real reporting in the bright, cold glare of morning, we can determine if this is the sort of thing we should be doing more of.  The book began its life as a possible Kickstarter, and was most of the way done by the time it became official; it had stretch goals and everything.  What I’m saying is that I know exactly what comes next because we already did a bunch of it.  For now, though, I like knowing that a younger iteration of me would be completely dumbfounded by this state of affairs.  He was notoriously difficult to impress.  But I suspect getting a campaign beatified might - might - penetrate his inner sanctum.

It’s customary if you’ve written a book to sign them if you see them in the wild, it’s not that weird a thing, and Gabriel has done this a few times at the shops he frequents.  Enough times, certainly, for us to imagine things going (perhaps) another way.

(CW)TB out.   

Tycho / 2 weeks ago

Gabe hung out on Mixer for a bit this weekend, trying to figure out the deal.  I think that we’d been content to say that it was “Another Twitch,” whose utility used to be an edge case, but I’d like to know there’s someplace else to go if they aren’t gonna take shit seriously.

Mixer is pretty cool, actually.  It has “embers,” which map fairly cleanly to Bits, but it also has Sparks which have no particular analogue on Twitch.  Essentially, they are like the free currency in an F2P game - a commodification of your time and attention on the service, in a way.  The difference is that you can spend them on whatever channel you want once they’re earned, and streamers can cash them out.  It’s a much more immediate streaming experience, latency feels different, so conversations with Chat feel different.  The service has integration of game mechanics and novel interactions with the channel in as fundamental assumptions.  In many ways it’s a streaming service made with conscious intention as opposed to an accretion of strange limbs strapped hastily upon a writhing and mutated IRC.

I had a Nook instead of a Kindle, and it was way better but it doesn’t matter and nobody cares.

You can ask why Mixer doesn’t receive the kind of coverage other streaming services do, as I have, in the bathroom mirror.  But it’s simply a fact that Facebook and YouTube streaming aren’t part of the conversation either - nothing is, but Twitch.  And the true audience for media in this twilight age is not the people who will read it but the algorithms that will lead people to it.  This is an era where there is more information than ever but you must rely upon a kind of metastasized phone book to grant you access to it, except this phone book also has opinions about what you should want.  So if you want people to read what you write, you can’t just write about a cool golf game you found that is somehow also a card game(?!).  You also can’t post, like, three times a week.  That is a privilege we have, one you have allowed us to have.  Everybody else has to type keywords as fast as they can before the VC money runs out.  Imagine musical chairs, less seats every cycle, but for your fucking job.  I have nothing but sympathy, and I mean that.  There is no hidden knife here.

Most of the streaming audience is bottled up - Twitch is streaming, for all practical purposes, like YouTube is video and like Jell-O is gelatin.  No man cometh to the father but by it.  In this metaphor, the “father” is the kind of audience that can catalyze full time streaming.

(CW)TB out.   

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