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Ugh, stop twitching
october 2010 microblog digest
minutiae Posted 2010-11-09 00:02:29 by Jim Crawford
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October 01

  • There should be a Hot 100 for TV theme songs. No interest in actually watching TV, but I bet there are some sweet themes I'm missing out on.
  • Montana woman fends off bear attack with zucchini: -- Impressively detailed blow-by-blow of the encounter!
  • Plane and moon:
  • Oddly enough, my vividest "memory of playing Beyond Good and Evil" is of photographing San Fierro landmarks in GTA: San Andreas.
  • Wow. Remember when I was bitching about Uncharted's combat yesterday? It gets *so* *much* *worse* as you approach the end of the story.
  • You know it's a Naughty Dog game when: the game warps you six feet to the right so that you hit your marks for an enemy's melee animation.
  • You know it's a Naughty Dog game when: you can't tell how close to death you are because the room is poorly lit.
  • You know it's a Naughty Dog game when: you keep playing anyways because you want to find out what happens. Make a fucking movie already!
  • Monkey riding pig:
  • @mrasmus I anticipated this and had Gamefly send a copy to Elena's house. But it turns out there's already one there! ...we could make it 3.
  • 16th annual Interactive Fiction competion is underway. Most stories playable online:

October 02

  • Giant Bomb video preview of Doublefine's Costume Quest: -- It has those wheel shoe thingies.That's fantasy fulfillment!
  • If you're wondering, I've long left the earlobe cyst thread on to fend for itself. Sorry guys, too gross for my blood.
  • Minecraft's Notch interviewed in latest PC Gamer podcast:
  • You want to armor up places that *don't* have bullet holes. Planes with bullet holes in those places never made it back:
  • Wolf in the back seat:

October 03

  • Thumbs up on Castle Ravenloft.

October 04

  • Does "getting annoyed" count as a psychoactive effect?
  • "Users are more likely to click ads if there's nothing else to do. You can increase revenue tenfold by breaking your app"
  • New service monitors your employees Facebook pages for unseemly activity so you don't have to. Convenience itself!
  • -- Why does all fake-HDR photography look highpass-filtered? (Also: cool photos of decaying places.)
  • Library of Congress: "Copyright law followed to the letter ... would brand virtually all audio preservation as illegal."
  • I have a pimple resting right on top of my carotid artery. What was it the earlobe cyst thread advised about that sort of thing?
  • Oh yes: "try to make sure things don't go just wrong enough."

October 05

  • Clint Hocking suggests some verbs to add to fashion design games to turn them into actual games:
  • Have you seen Soulja Boy's video "review" of Braid? Games journalists: more like this, please.
  • I'd take one genuine, unfiltered fan perspective over a thousand journalists trying to objectively assess a game like it's a word processor.
  • (Trying to correct for the time spent rubbing shoulders with PR flacks at catered press junkets when assigning a score out of 10.)
  • "I am apparently no longer a gamer. I paid $60 to become an advertising receptacle." Madden NFL: More ads in every patch!

October 06

  • @fullbright Was it the part in Uncharted 2 when Chloe tossed aside a rocket launcher and jumped off a burned-out car into your arms?
  • @fullbright In this cutscene:
  • This says more about the state of animation than Uncharted 2, but: it's kind of amazing that people touch stuff in Uncharted 2's cutscenes.
  • -- "Seattle man offers Weezer $10 million to break up; band says they'll do it for double"
  • I'd break up Smush for $20 million. Though I guess nowadays that'd probably mean cutting off a limb. "Don't make me separate you, boy!"
  • One-upping the double jump: "Ratchet and Clank Future: A Crack in Time" has a quadruple jump. I guess that's somebody's idea of innovation?
  • Like RPGs pretending to scale up combat by adding more digits to your die rolls. Just put the platforms exponentially further apart, right?
  • @mrasmus I'm a fan of the R&C series, but this particular mechanic made me wonder why they didn't go with hold-to-hover a la Mario Sunshine.
  • @mrasmus I love the quick looks and podcast. And the endurance runs. The reviews I could do without.
  • @mrasmus Reminds me: I already subscribed basically out of charity, but can you sell me on Whiskey Media membership as a value proposition?
  • @mrasmus Reminds me: I already subscribed basically out of charity, but can you sell me on Whiskey Media membership as a value proposition?
  • @mrasmus Yeah, sans the shirt, those incentives are for the sort of fan I'm not. Delayed, SD video is fine, and I have Adblock already.
  • @mrasmus I donno. Like I said I already paid, to support the quality content, I just want to feel less like a sucker about it.

October 07

  • Tom Chick writes Dead Rising 2 fan fiction:
  • Ken Levine and Chris Remo interview Kieron Gillen on his transition from games journalism to writing for Marvel:
  • @danbruno Yeah... Part of any underdog culture is being a dick to those the culture perceives as oppressors. I.e. anybody who yells at you.
  • Want to be my Fallout: New Vegas story exchanger buddy? It's been ages since I played an open-world RPG alongside a story exchanger buddy.
  • You'd be all "Dude, crazy shit just happened to me!" and I'd be like "That's crazy! It reminds me of crazy shit happening to me right now!"
  • If geek culture's tendency to aggressively make fun of oppressors is an immune system, then this is an allergic reaction:

October 08

  • @mrasmus Yeah, the accusations of literally joking about rape are specious; the complaints are more about followup behavior than the comic.
  • In a sense, all psychological damage is the fault of the recipient. With a large enough audience, anything you say will trigger for someone.
  • But there are cultural norms and standards, even if they're personal constructs that can only be generalized in a statistical way at best.
  • Some things you can do are much more likely to cause harm. Some are likelier enough, in fact, that people will consider you a douchebag.
  • The line between off-color and douchebag is fuzzy and context-sensitive; you can't expect a high-functioning autistic like Gabe to grasp it.
  • (Pretty sure Gabe is the douche in this situation. I haven't seen Tycho weigh in on this issue at all, and Gabe is openly anti-feminist.)
  • "[user]'s message begins: lmao your (more)" Is OkCupid providing shorter message previews now, or is it just me?
  • Utah to prosecute miscarriage as criminal homicide; defendant must prove she didn't "act recklessly":
  • To be charged with larceny you must control and move a pie, but in the case of a donut, mere rotation qualifies you:
  • Court transcript hijinx:
  • -- "Caught Spying on Student, FBI Demands GPS Tracker Back"

October 09

  • Ivy the Kiwi? I hardly know 'er!
  • Depression treatment scatterplot, X being popularity, Y being effectiveness: -- TL;DR: exercise.

October 10

  • My Radeon HD5570 should be arriving shortly. Man, the last time I opened up a PC to install something must've been... 2003.

October 11

  • Brownie batter in a waffle iron! The only way you could get more crispy edge is by pouring the batter into your CPU's fanless heat-sink.
  • The Friedrich Gulda variations on "Light my Fire":

October 13

  • -- You know what they say: "When your only tool is regular expressions, every problem starts to look like a thumb."
  • I hope "EA Louse" is writing EA/Jim Profit crossover fiction or something, because this is really fucking depressing:
  • [Automatic] Tracking and Reshaping of Humans in Videos:
  • Podcast excerpt, on designing games for a wide range of player ability: (From Out of the Game 17:
  • "You share a room with a subhuman brother and mom says you have to share everything." Mom gets the same $60 from Sloth as she does from you.
  • I always do a little mental fist-pump every time I see an otherwise illiterate person saying "TL;DR." Fuck yeah, punctuation!
  • "The data suggest that women offer more apologies than men because they have a lower threshold for offensive behavior."
  • Sonic 4 using that New Jack Swing snare to evoke Masato Nakamura's music isn't helping the cause. Better to not call attention to it at all.
  • @mrasmus I don't think it would be very crispy :(
  • I could never allow my life to get to the point where I could be so bored about being so awesome:

October 14

  • Podcast excerpt: Chris Remo on inadvertent genocide in the design of King's Bounty: (Idle Thumbs:
  • "There's a continent full of pretty much purely hostile NPCs, so I'm marching around this country killing everybody." "The king demands it!"
  • I listened to so many podcasts during the San Diego trip. I've got a ton of these queued up, now that I'm back to my audio editing tools.
  • (I'll try to throttle their release as a favor to you, the audience.)
  • Before I showed Get Lamp to my mom, she mentioned that her friend, Mary-Ann, had done her thesis on IF and might be interested in seeing it.
  • And of course, as it turned out, Mary-Ann Buckles ended up featuring prominently in the film.
  • Hunh. Most of the displayed pictures of notable male athletes are from before 1980, but all the notable female athletes are from after 1985.
  • I guess this means UCB didn't have a women's athletic department before 1980 or so?
  • @thealawson Interesting, I hadn't known about that!
  • I've been enjoying Castle Ravenloft a lot. What make is distinct from, e.g., Advance Wars or Final Fantasy Tactics, both of which I dislike?
  • Possibly it's just the social aspect, but I suspect it has a lot to do with tactics games actually being set up like *puzzle* games.
  • I.e. in every given scenario, until you figure out the exact correct move sequence, you're guaranteed to lose big every time.
  • I liked the version of Twitter where the concept of "replying" existed.
  • @PaperDino In "New Twitter," DMs don't have a reply button any more, and I can't find the interface for seeing what an @ was in reply to.
  • @thealawson I think the difference probably just comes down to judging individual works vs. judging them collectively -- or judging people.
  • NPD to stop providing hardware sale data: Just in time to hide the inevitably embarrassing Kinect and Move sales figures!

October 15

  • Podcast excerpt: the horrible price to pay for cohabitating with Tycho: (From PADLC, Doctor Feelgood:
  • "'Hurting other people is my anti-drug.'" "It is! It provides the same thrill. I'm completely off the stuff."
  • Find your ideal alternative therapy: a handy flowchart!
  • Theory: YouTube's "amount loaded" meter doesn't account for VBR. Would explain why sometimes it buffers even when you've "loaded enough."

October 16

  • Environmental Photographer of the Year 2010 award winners: (Personal favorite:
  • Anthropologists study preserved writing in Polynesian islands to analyze cultural/political evolution:
  • New video hardware installed; now to run the software gauntlet. Let's see how many extra browser toolbars I end up with.
  • Oh man, the "Catalyst control center" is optional! I can't quite literally install only the video drivers, but I'll take what I can get.
  • ... Could be a coincidence, but I accidentally clicked a banner ad in the installer and now I'm staring at a blinking cursor in text mode.
  • Totally not pointing any fingers here, but the ATI Radeon HD5570 drivers broke Pidgin, Firefox and the 1920x1080 resolution on my monitor.
  • PC gaming, ladies and gentlemen!
  • Got the latest drivers from ATI's site. Now it wants me to install Lord of the Rings Online, too. Maybe I should, just to be safe.
  • @Laroquod Does the awesome IDE support Inform 6? That'd be a great incentive for me to stop whining.
  • Here's where the fun starts: partway into the driver upgrade, I hear that "USB device disconnected" sound and the display drops to 640x480.
  • As predicted, installing LOTRO fixed everything!
  • "Content-Aware Fill" extrapolated into the time dimension:
  • @Laroquod Hrm, too bad.

October 17

  • Bananas are radioactive enough to regularly trigger sensors used to detect smuggling of radioactive material:
  • Man, crumpets are underrated. Actually, they seem largely unrated. You should try rating them.
  • Cat does not fit in box: -- "Maru is like a great silent film physical comic. Like a Charlie Chaplin or Buster Keaton."
  • I can't recommend Die Antwoord as a band, but as authors of freaky audiovisual experiences, they get my endorsement:
  • Also, in you can see band member Leon Botha, one of the world's oldest survivors of progeria:
  • One issue with Castle Ravenloft: I can't reason about ambiguous rules like "if they meant X, wouldn't they have put it [much clearer way]?"
  • ... because unclearly written rules are all over the goddamn place.
  • Record and retroactively eavesdrop on every conversation held in a huge open space:

October 18

  • Podcast excerpt: Derek Sivers on learning four semesters of music theory in 9 hours: (From
  • "The standard pace is for chumps. If you're a bright person at all, if you focus, you can always do better than that."
  • "An urban narrative set in San Francisco. Discover a new side of the city, while being absorbed in an epic fantasy."
  • "Status and Signals: Why Hardcore Gamers Are Afraid Of Easy Mode":
  • Relevant to signaling: countersignaling. If you're high-status enough, you don't have to bother signaling -- which is itself a signal.
  • As a result, the lowest- and highest-status members of any given group can appear very similar to an outsider.
  • "Wired University: 7 Essential Skills You Didn't Learn in College": -- "Statistical Literacy," yes please.
  • A useful data point if you're planning on building your business model around Facebook:
  • (Or, really, any platform controlled by a single entity. The iTunes store, Steam, any game console...)
  • I'd heard Penumbra was a stealth horror game, but instead it's about a sentient refrigerator box searching for documents using a claw crane.
  • ... I guess that *is* pretty horrifying, in a "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" sort of way.

October 19

  • Podcast excerpt: Jeff Green, a chihuahua, a flaming couch, and the bystander effect: (From OOTG 5:
  • "Who wouldn't do what I did? How do we survive as a species if we can't rally when our lives are in danger?" "You have a chihuahua?"
  • Remember when I asked for a Fallout New Vegas story exchanger buddy? Looks like it's mostly going to be crashing stories:
  • Vague security warnings scare people, with no purpose other than covering the asses of the officials who issue them:
  • Found art in Southwest Florida, via Google Earth:
  • More great aerial photography:
  • Owl lands on your face in slow motion:
  • The English Language in 24 Accents:

October 20

  • @KateSherrod Violet could work. I'd probably recommend something puzzleless or puzzle-light for a first-timer. Photopia is the classic.
  • Podcast excerpt: Circular Saw Dad Stories: (From PADLC, "The Law of Unintended Consequences"
  • "I just can't be that fucking badass, I'm not capable of it. He managed to destroy this battery while his face was over it."
  • As much as I'm enjoying Super Meat Boy, I still think N's floaty controls are the worst thing to ever happen to platform games.
  • @mrasmus The acceleration in N was really frustrating for me, though Meat Boy's is a little more palatable. Have you tried FLaiL?
  • @mrasmus More than anything it's that kicking off of the same wall repeatedly bugs the fuck out of me. If you can do that, why not just fly?
  • @mrasmus Do you know how to trigger the kill screen deliberately?
  • @mrasmus The walljump-in-place trick *is* used to good effect in Meatboy. Pretty sure they could've used parallel walls throughout, though.
  • @mrasmus Never even occurred to me to use the d-pad; I've been just using the thumbstick. Works okay.
  • @danbruno So he named the song after the boat, and the boat after his daughter, and his daughter after Ray Charles, right?
  • Hah god, I'm in the top 100 on the Super Meat Boy leaderboards, with 140 levels finished. *That's* not gonna last. (My thumb is sore.)

October 21

  • @mrasmus I'm "Jim Crawford." I can't imagine 100%ing it. The glitch levels I've met are brutal, and you can't even retry them at will.
  • QT3's DrCrypt on expatriate artists in Berlin: (From QT3 Games Podcast:
  • "All of your friends are in their mid-30s, playing accordion for a living on a street corner, and aren't able to afford heat in the winter."
  • Here's a little slice of 1999: Craig ( and I entered this in the 6th annual IF competition:
  • Prodly the Puffin source code:
  • Alan Turing's *other* contribution to the war effort:
  • Crocodile smuggled onto plane scares passengers, who all run to one side and throw it off balance, causing crash:

October 22

  • Podcast excerpt: Erik Wolpaw's one Portal development regret:
  • "There's a chamber that's supposed to be a testing course for military androids, but the signage was still people."
  • The price we all pay for piracy:
  • I have to respect Team Meat for putting a representative range of difficulty in the Super Meat Boy demo.
  • By contrast, N+'s demo was easy enough for an average player to beat, which is probably unrepresentative enough to legally qualify as fraud.
  • Unfortunately, lots of players aren't realizing that the Meat Boy demo isn't just World 1. The curve's not that steep in the real game.
  • "Nidhogg is a 2 player fencing game with football & platforming elements." -- Sold!

October 23

October 24

  • Rob Hubbard's "Commando" for Commodore 64:
  • "i wuz listening to here comes the sun, an sum1 said this is bettr! WTF!" You know what's also better? A delicious grilled cheese sandwich.
  • From the Bionic Commando Rearmed soundtrack: -- Hunh. Was Bionic Commando supposed to be the sequel to Commando?
  • At the Jejune Institute. I'll keep you posted if I can.
  • There's no way I can liveblog this. Recommended so far, though.
  • If you go when it's raining, bring a sealable sandwich bag.
  • Back from the Jejune Institute trip. Highly recommended. It's basically a 2 hour treasure hunt, following clues through San Francisco.
  • You will need: government-issued ID, $1.50, a phone, note-taking materials. They have limited hours so plan on being *done* by 5pm.
  • We got mixed up early on, and the group behind us was dogging us the whole way, like Belloq in Raiders of the Lost Ark.
  • Rock Paper Shotgun on Arkham Horror: -- With a bit on one of the joys of board gaming that automated games can't provide.
  • "It delivers that Lovecraftian hopelessness through the tick-tocking of a clockwork terror machine, designed to break you the fuck down."

October 26

October 27

  • Podcast excerpt: Denmark's "most avid atheist" steps into the God Box: -- From All in the Mind:
  • "I was certain there was this white, skinny, golem-like creature near my feet. I started to hear scratching noises."
  • Alright, Futilitris is done enough that I'm going to call it done.
  • In other words, hey guys, here is another small game that I totally just made!
  • Design notes: I put the "aspect ratio" in there basically to get people playing long enough to reach the ending.
  • And I set the aspect ratio as Y/X because X/Y was leading to tedious play.
  • But for the record, it *is* possible to reach the ending by playing "well." It just takes forever and you get cataracts.
  • The reverbed version of the music is a second mp3 file that I crossfade to. An expensive trick, but what's a few megabytes between friends?
  • The music was suggested by Chris Hampton (a.k.a. beek, a.k.a. chrisjh, a.k.a. @ast0r, he of moderate chiptune fame: .
  • Chris was originally going to do the cover as well, but that didn't work out because he's on a multi-month trek through Europe and Africa.
  • Firefox plugin to trivially hijack the session of anyone who logs in to Facebook on the same network as you:
  • Hard-to-read fonts make you smarter:
  • -- Time travelers? In *my* Chaplin behind the scenes footage? It's more likely than you think.
  • Here's where gender-based product coloration actually matters: this clothing repair kit never imagined I'd repair something khaki colored.

October 28

  • At Hacker Dojo for TIGJam 3. Productivity tiem!
  • Idea: sports management genre applied to MMO raids.
  • I've been delighted so far, when asked what I'm working on, only one person didn't know what "stealth roguelike" meant.
  • (He hurried away, his phone ringing as I explained that "roguelike" is a storied term that means different things to different people.)
  • Put in a solid six hours or so today, but never quite managed to slip into the zone of self-perpetuating productivity. I'm getting old.

October 29

  • "Saving," as a UI concept, is inexcusable nowadays. Editors should save automatically -- including undo history going back to file creation.
  • Due to a freak accident of available hardware, I am conducting my first Rock Band Pro Keys session in utter silence.

October 30

  • @Johnicholas Yeah. Flash, for now. Possibly busting out of the genre, but for now trying for turn-based stealth in generated scenarios.
  • Why to vote third-party: if mainstream parties suffer enough split-vote losses, they'll have reason to fix our joke of an electoral system.
  • Alright, time to nail down this FOV-culling bug. FOV-culling bug, it's time to nail down you.
  • The FOV now *looks* right in my test cases but is still creating invalid triangles. It's gonna break in actual use, I'm sure of it.
  • Workin'! It's still occasionally generating empty triangles, but I'll deal with that after I've worked on something fun for a bit
  • I'm working on my desktop and doing Internetty stuff via a netbook. Not bad! I can still do research when needed, but goofing off is a PITA.
  • Overheard at TIGJam: "Desert Bus 2: Space Bus."
  • Costume Quest has me romanticizing Halloween the way Brutal Legend did for metal and Psychonauts did for summer camp.
  • Notably, I didn't care very strongly about any of these things before playing these games.

October 31

  • Overheard at TIGJam: "You don't *look* unwashed, and the camera can't tell if you stink."
  • Looking over Derek Yu's shoulder. The Spelunky XBLA deathmatch levels are defined as hardcoded string constants.
  • At the TIGJam dinner one guy was showing off an augmented reality iPhone app he's working on that does real-time translation via the camera.
  • He recognized the font on my "neocortex" shirt as one his OCR was having problems with.
  • "You always want an exit strategy. I worked at Bethesda Softworks for two weeks shrink-wrapping boxes, made $130, and bought a skateboard."
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