Heroin

Sunday morning phone call,
Another beautiful brain
dissolved in a heroin solution.
Twenty-four invincible
years of high heroism
disqualified you not from death’s favor.

Don’t pray for vindication,
We have no education
on substance, it’s not simplifiable.
Don’t ask for sympathy when
‘sober’ ain’t in your schedule;
We’ve saved it for your funeral service.

Fentanyl spikes and steel spikes,
Piss pushers and quota cops,
Blame fingers point at these disillusioned.
Corporate codeine cowboys,
Herd us all to your good shit;
We’ll aim blame at you when we push it too.

“Dear family, heareth this:
Thoughts and prayers and war declared,
O grandest hindsights we blesseth thee with!”
Close friends and distant unite
to a cause they have time for,
Each believing they’re grieving evenly.

Another beautiful brain,
Needle and the damage done,
Departs this place on pappy foam pillow.

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E3 & the Triforce of Participation

Nintonysoft presents: a Tribute to the Demons of Consumerism

 

press start to begin

[a small campfire crackles] Long ago, in the country of Bethesladoria, a blight was cast upon the beautiful land. The civilization once flourished, but doomed itself to sloth and voracity by digging down the Mines of Oversaturation with vicious reserve. As punishment, the Gods of this land cast upon them a curse of time, slowing its progression until the nights seemed to last years, the days decades. To fight the incoming madness, there rose three Archdaemons to power:

Gamecritic, the wise, her self-aware social commentary and ability to subvert the hype train while also conducting it crafted unparalleled influence across the land. Those who are hollowed, grey and collapsed in the dirt streets, are drawn to the brilliant glow of her staff, which she is careful to shine brightest only in the direction of those who would bring her more riches and influence.

Elder Techceleb, one of the most prominent foremen in the Mines of Oversaturation and still living off the riches of that endeavor, ironically its most sympathized “victim.” He can commonly be heard referring to himself as a former resident– and casualty– of Gameslywood (though never having lived there). Elder Techceleb is unbridled in his ability to incite feelings of nostalgia and contrition in the people of Bethesladoria, and will use those without remorse to kindle their sympathy.

And the twin Streamlings, feared and revered like the melodic screeching Sirens of Bethesladoria’s mythos. The Streamlings are fabled to be incapable of silence, even in sleep, and have been said to grow as tall as buildings in the highest hours of the night.

Unconsumed, unworthy even of demonetization, it is your destiny: overthrow the three Archdeacons. Steal their Triforce in order to head the arrow of the Princess so that she may headshot the Gods, an event of great quicktime that shall surely reverse the fate of this cursed land.

Adversity to Failure

A Conversational Essay

What is there to say about failure that hasn’t been prosed, poeticized, professed, and publicized; what isn’t in an art piece or the front page of some magazine? The regrettable feeling is responsible for more conversation than the weather. Then why is it so that we have no capability to bury it before we battle it? This is the ultimate failure, largely the source of its pain — failure to prevent failure.

That feeling of self-corrosion, doubt, agony that follows failure cannot be attributed to its surprise, but to the understanding that it was predictable. The foresight for failure turns emotion from anger into sadness. The opportunity that would carry one from adversity or desperation was cast, but ultimately missed.

This is a broad stroke with which to paint failure, however. The experience of absolute failure can only be described by continuing and repeat offenses. As desperation grows, so do the consequences of failure, which all move towards a point. Those who have been here are easily identified, though rarely by those who haven’t felt it. Desperation, destitution, depression are only symptoms, and understanding this principle leads to an understanding of what it means to fail. That apex is characterized by some manner of clairvoyance, a “giving up” with epiphany, which is neither pitiable nor respectable, it just is.

It is a death. There is no message or motivational purpose.

First Duchess

A Dramatic Monologue

That’s my first duchess painted on the wall
with frenzied brow o’er each frightened eyeball.
Her last moments are a lovely display,
warning new fans who might want to come play.

It was many, many a year ago
in my summer house by the Lago.
She accused me of borrowing Browning,
so I borrowed the lake for a drowning.

Of course, my dear second hangs over here,
her supple lips straining and tight with fear.
Called me a poser Poe; she was so bold,
the woman thus her artless story told.

By three I had moved to photograph,
Look at Three’s dainty, disbelieving laugh.
I apprised her of her sentence to die,
“A less worthy Wordsworth” her final lie.

“Delinquent Duffy” is your final joke,
when I think about you now, I near choke.
Stop saying sorry, I have heard your pleas.
Put down your pale hands for me and say “cheese.”

Why your Smash Bros for Switch dream roster might be completely wrong

Now that the hype generated from the new Smash trailer shown during March 8th’s Nintendo Direct has quieted from a barbaric cry to at least a quiet roar, we’re starting to see the first evidence of mainstream “dream rosters.” From the ridiculous to the (slightly) more subtle, everyone has some semblance of who they want to see in the new Smash game.

While I’m not one to crush people’s dream[roster]s, I think there’s something people may want to consider when making their lists: this new game is apparently not developed by Bandai Namco. The end of the trailer credited Hal Laboratory (the developer of Smash64 through Brawl) and Nintendo for the game, with absolutely no mention of Bandai Namco.

The good news about this announcement is that it’s almost irrefutable evidence that this new Smash is not a remake of Smash Bros for 3DS/Wii U, or Sm4sh as it’s more commonly referred to, but a completely new game. This is also given some credence by a tweet from long-time director of Smash, Masahiro Sakurai.

That means that the other, not probably as good, news is this likely means Bandai Namco characters will be out of the equation, doing more damage to dream roster brackets than Duke losing to a 15-seed in March Madness.

The first question you’re likely asking is: what does that mean for returning characters? Well, firstly, since the Xenoblade IP is owned by Nintendo and Bandai Namco, Shulk would be out. Secondly, Bandai Namco owns the rights to Pac Man, meaning Pac Man would also be out. Furthermore, without the pull and financial backing of both companies, we may see characters from third parties such as Capcom and Square Enix leave as well, meaning Cloud, Ryu, and Megaman may be out. It would be unlikely that the partnership between Sega and Nintendo would be in jeopardy here, since it’s been confirmed since Brawl, but if Microsoft buys Sega, as it has looked into in the past, that could mean the loss of Sonic and Bayonetta (doubtful, but a possibility).

Moving on to the elusive “new” roster additions, no Bandai Namco means, well, firstly since I know you’re thinking it, no Goku. Let’s just get that right on the table. Bandai Namco owns the property for Dragonball and all of its offshoots and sequels as far as game-making goes, so any character from that series is out basically (not that I don’t already think it’d be a ridiculous conflict of interest for Nintendo). They also own the rights to Souls, Katamari, Naruto, Soulcalibur, DigDug, Digimon (which is way more common than I thought), and Tekken. Anything from those IP’s would be a far shot as it is, but are now basically out.

Hopefully this doesn’t shake up the community’s expectations, but I imagine this partner departure means the roster will likely lose some favorite faces. I predict the roster may end up being smaller (pre-DLC) than the current one for WiiU/3DS, and we may see the loss of some of the extra-weight characters such as Dark Pit and Lucina (extra skins maybe?), or less popular niche characters like Wii Fit Trainer and the Mii characters.

What are your thoughts? Does this change your expectations or dream roster? I’d love to hear what your dream roster is, and if this alters your opinion.

Abusive

A Poem on Being in an Abusive Relationship

Crafting understanding on a cardboard frame;
Exchanging pleasant memories melodically.
Darker thoughts are dormant, insidious shame,
Whose secret woes will show asymptotically.

Peaceful interactions are all that play out;
Natural conversation, no misplaced complaints.
Crafty, crooked hider with no mouth may shout-
Revealed to have a face when removed of restraints.

A cheeky smile, a kiss turns frown into chuckles,
Each friend taking turns to ease any conflict.
The luring, lurking shadow whitens its knuckles
And bores teeth of homunculus derelict.

Silent war is had with no resolution;
Pretty thoughts are like icing to hide rotten cake.
Meanwhile the creature grows much more hideous,
Gnawing on tension like a gristly steak.

Finally the monster comes out of hiding,
Slashing and biting inject clairvoyant venoms;
Like bee to her victim, the barb left behind,
The poison to future relationships benumbs.

 

The Early Riser

It’s a common -ism in game development that you either make or you play. For those who follow this religiously, you come home from your day thing, whatever it is, and you either sit down and dev, or you grab a controller. And this goes on for long periods, often a week, month, or several months before you hang one up for the other.

For some, though, just one is not enough. And out of this stems the rarest of the game devs – the Early Riser. The Early Riser starts his or her day at 4-5am, when the strange majority of devs are just ending their days. They slump out of bed before dawn, throw a pot of coffee on, and start up their workstation.

What seems to be a rare show of healthy productivity only hides the grab at “having it all,” devving and gaming without exclusivity. You dev, then you work, then you game, then you sleep (often not enough, because the draw of development wakes you early and the draw of play keeps you up late).

Here’s to you, Early Riser, may you always have it all.

Debugged: A Short Story

Alright, let’s open the F12 Developer Tools, inspect this element and see what function this is calling. Found it. AJAX call, returns a JSON string. ASPX file. Here’s what I’m looking for. Why does it return the formatted email here? Why not use a preset? No time to redo this, have to find the source of this error.

Why is nothing sending with my email?

Parse JSON string, looks good. Debug mode, what are my variables set to when this is called? Everything checks out. No errors. No empty objects.

I take another sip of the now-cold black coffee sitting on top of a pile of orange sticky notes, the bottom of which is an exact circle perfectly fit into the center of the square note. It’s so perfect, its radius matches half the length of one side of the square, to the millimeter.

It’s an error in the Javascript. Look at each variable. Look at the syntax. Is the AJAX call written correctly?

I’m wasting my time here, the error has to be in the code behind.

I take my glasses off, wipe them clean. Spray them, wipe them again. I blow the dust out of my keyboard. The control feels good. There are no bugs in my physical interaction, the code in my brain allows me to interact with these objects and control their organization, their appearance, their usefulness, no debugging required.

Oh, maybe it’s a problem with the front end, it’s only printing the message, not sending it over the AJAX call. Okay no that’s not it, I can see the JSON message in the callback clearly. I go to the definition of a few object in the code behind. I go to the Javascript, recheck my variables.

Version control. Who touched this last?

I made it. I don’t even remember my logic. I’m wasting my time. I lean back in my chair, indicating subconsciously that this is no longer under my control. It’s almost as if the last vertebrae hitting the back of the chair lets out a faint sound, a tiny cry of helplessness.

I bet it’s a user error. I bet it’s a problem with the server. I bet, maybe, the processor is running so quickly it’s occupying the message after the send request is done. None of those are reasonable assumptions.

Open Fiddler, check every call, pore over every RAW, JSON, Web View, it’s here somewhere.

Why did I choose this awful profession? I have no control. Why is this issue even relevant? The user can just copy and paste the contents and send it that way, this tool is just easier. But it isn’t easier for me.

Front end.

I am no detective, why should I be confined to investigate constantly and never find the culprit? At least a detective can accuse, point at something and have others ring in agreement. At least there is semantic leeway, objective consideration, here there is only right, wrong, 1, 0, output, error.

Code-behind.

Seriously, I am running in circles for a half-hour to fix something so MENIAL. It’s as if I got a degree in failure, to be imprisoned in a mindless maze of haystacks and needles, each needle smaller and rustier than the last, leaving your finger bloody every time you find it.

Javascript. Line by line now.

Why work even? The forty years I spend doing this will amount to a cycle of small promotions and an endless quest for the next vacation or weekend.

Line 5. Even the strings. Especially look at the strings.

What even is the point of living? You learn a skill that makes you miserable, you use it for half your life, you explore after you’ve lost your fitness for exploration, you die.

Sender.

Recipient.

Subject.

I notice I haven’t eaten in six hours. Why eat, though? What’s the point if

“Messagee.”

“Messagee,” inside a string, blended like lettuce in a salad, now standing out like the last crouton; I can notice nothing else.

I sit up, coffee cup to its rightful place, glasses back up my nose, pull keyboard to center. Click. Backspace. Ctrl+s. Smirk. Alt+Tab. Shift+F5. Shake my head left and right as the smirk grows. Test the feature. Bug is gone. Alt+Tab. Rebuild Solution. Check out. Check in. It’s a full-blown smile now.

Publish.

Revival

Faulkner said that time is the “reducto absurdum of all human experience, a long diminishing parade in the mind unbroken.” So, basically, the timeframe of my negligence to this blog is absurd, and completely ignorable.

Stay tuned.

Building Something Cool Chapter 3: “If You Love Something, Set It Free”

March 2015.

On March 2nd, Unreal Engine announced it was becoming free.  Along with that, Unreal released version 4.7 of its Unreal Engine software.  It was a huge day for our little capstone project.  Everything seemed to be clicking into place.  Not only were we knocking out a surplus of tasks early on, but we were also on the forefront of a game design MOVEMENT.  We were ecstatic.

Then we read the release notes.  This epic update was not just changing the game design mantra and buffing an already polished design – it also changed a whole slew of inbuilt function headers, names, and so on.  This is good and all, but more than half of our c++ classes and functions had to be re-written or updated, which was a huge setback.

Sam, Isaac, and I toiled over the hundreds of lines of code we had all already written in an effort to fully integrate 4.7.  We deleted classes, pieced together broken function calls, renamed dozens of outdated references, and debugged our butts off.  Though Kurt and Julia were able to continue work without many interruptions from the update, by the time Isaac, Sam, and I were done updating…

April 2015.

… well, you see where I’m going with this.  After a sprinting start in the first week of March, I had stumbled on the usable actor class I was supposed to implement.  Isaac had only finished half of the animations we needed and still had not started testing out the VR mode. Of course, Sam was still popping out c++ classes like it was his job (it kind of was, but that’s a different story).  However, he was now doing so at an admittedly frustrating pace, due to having to relearn many of the class/function declarations he had already learned, along with having to adapt all of the new stuff into an entirely new architecture (we were now using mostly blueprints).

Beyond the setback of the update, we were hurting in some other implementation fields.  Kurt was struggling with the incredibly complex art of AI in Unreal Engine (for which debugging is often impossibly abstract).  Sam was being crammed with not only his work, but most of the overflow of other group members’ issues.  Julia was having to make some hard design choices, especially when deciding which elements were superfluous and which were essential.  As for me, I had no attached sounds, no player market to speak of, and the usable actor class (I finished a couple weeks into April) was proving to be much less useful than previously thought.

And to top all of this off, STEM backed out of their promise to have developer kits out before the middle of March.  The due date was two or three weeks away, and all of the sudden we had to explain to our professor that an integral part of our design, hand motion, was no longer viable.  We had to scrap a huge piece of our user experience, which upset several of the members of the group immensely.

We were in a nuclear meltdown.  A month and a half ago, we were at optimal cruising speed, and now we were in atmospheric reentry with a malfunctioning parachute.

However, we knew what we had to do – plug on and get this thing finished, come hell or high-water.