• 12 Posts
Joined 1Y ago
Cake day: Jan 28, 2022


This is an older article that I’ve seen elsewhere before, but it’s a good one and I can’t image the problem has gotten better in the intervening time.

I'm honestly not sure how to summarize this video. It's a very interesting look at the way that the impulse to "optimize" gameplay affects the culture surrounding games, especially MMOs and other multiplayer games. It particularly looks at World of Warcraft and the social norms that have developed around and within the game. It's a long watch but I found it really interesting, and I have zero connection to WoW and have never played it.

Yeah, it’s been the one feature that I’m really missing badly. Edge was genuinely a very good UX experience as far as a daily driver browser goes, and if it weren’t for the persistent feeling that I ought to be supporting FF just so there’s a little diversity in the browser space I’d probably still be using it.

Here is a blog post that I know really influenced my feelings about moderation and rules in online communities, and came up a lot in discussions of what we wanted Beehaw to be. I think we all really just want Beehaw to be a place where nice people want to stay…

I switched back to Firefox from Edge recently (I know, dont @ me) and the only thing I’m really missing at all is the way that tab grouping works in Edge. You can just drag a tab over another tab and it will automatically create a new group for them, then you can collapse groups in the title bar if you’re not using them. That plus Edge’s tab sleeping made for some easy and intuitive tab management that I haven’t been able to recreate in Firefox yet. I know there are some tab grouping extensions but none of them let you drag/drop in the title bar, and a lot of the better ones are very focused on tree syle vertical tabs, which I don’t hate but don’t really use much. I prefer tabs being in the title bar, because that space is going to be there anyway so I might as well fill it up with something useful.

Interesting twitter thread from PopeHat about what this might indicate.

It could be just my personal preference of course

I think that’s probably the case here. I really enjoy environmental storytelling, and piecing together a story from bits of lore and clues scattered around a game world. It’s just a different way of telling a story than a more guided or linear narrative. It’s not objectively better or worse than more traditional story forms. I do think that it is a type of narrative that is easier to tell in a video game than it would be in another format, which is why it feels like such a novel experience to me. I had a very different experience of Breath of the Wild from you, incidentally. Which I think just goes to show how strongly subjective these things are. I found BotW to be incredibly engrossing, and I’ve beat it at least three times, the last of which I cleared all shrines. I mostly didn’t approach the game as a checklist of things that needed to be done, though, or as something that needed to be progressed through in order to get to a particular point. It’s not really structured that way. If you want, as soon as you get off the starting plateau you can just go fight Ganon. There’s literally nothing stopping you other than a lack of health and good gear, and from watching speedruns it doesn’t actually take that long to get pretty passable gear anyway. I constantly found myself traversing huge portions of the map in that game just out of curiosity to see what was over the next hill, or around this mountain, and I felt that the game almost always rewarded that curiousity.

I don’t think that Open World mechanics are at odds with good story-telling, I just think that they are better suited to a different type of storytelling than the traditional linear video game story.

I think the problem is more that a lot of studios want to shoehorn a traditional linear narrative into an open world and usually what that ends up meaning is one of two things. Either you have certain places that the game tells you to go to get more story, and the rest of the world is really just sidequest land (looking at you, Ubisoft), or you wind up having a lot of exposition thrown at you while you’re moving from point A to point B (Rockstar…).

I think good story-telling in an open world is possible, but to effectively use the open world it needs to be different. Environmental storytelling is a lot more important in these types of games. I think Breath of the Wild did a pretty good job of this, although it wasn’t perfect. But I think the environment was put together in a way that you could really start to understand the backstory of the world without somebody lore dumping at you. The problem with BotW is that they didn’t trust the player to pick up on the story, so they still included the lore dump. I think Elden Ring also has some really good open world storytelling. It’s opaque but very evocative. You’re given a few details about the past, but the real heavy lifting is done through the environment and the items you find throughout the world.

I was wondering the same thing. There are a fair number of plants like this in the area that supply parts to Hyundai and I suspect there are similar things happening at most. I also get the impression that our AG is looking the other way as hard as he can on this. Hyundai brings a lot of jobs and money to the state and they’ve got a lot of influence here.

Boo has been around for literally decades in its current form (I’m from the south and I heard it growing up in the 90’s and 2000’s), zoomers didn’t invent it out of nowhere. And it’s almost certainly a variation of ‘beau’ which dates back to the 1700’s. You might have noticed it becoming popular overnight, but it didn’t come from nowhere and it’s been part of the regional dialect here in the south for years. That’s how language usually works, it develops slowly and regionally, sometimes locally, and spreads; or something happens to popularize that variant in a larger english-speaking area.

I’d argue that the singular ‘they’ has been doing just that in the last decade or so, pretty quickly gaining wider acceptance as the leading gender neutral pronoun. I’m not opposed to other alternate pronouns, and if somebody asks me to use one I’ll do my best to remember and respect that, but IMO it’s going to be an uphill battle for neopronouns because they don’t have the foothold that the singular ‘they’ already has in being used in very closely related situations. Sure, it would be “neater” in some ways to have a gender neutral pronoun that used singular verbs, but honestly English is such a mess that it’s not really adding much more confusion. In fact, we already have an example of a plural pronoun that made the shift to being used as both plural and singular: ‘you’. ‘You’ used to be the plural second-person pronoun, with the singular being ‘thee’. However, ‘you’ made the shift gradually to being used in both the plural and singular, although ‘you’ is still grammatically plural, i.e. you say ‘you are’ not ‘you is’ even when referring to a single person. That ambiguity between singular and plural seems to be the main objection that most people have to the plural ‘they’, but most people don’t really have any issues with ‘you’ because it’s been used in that way for so long that it’s been normalized. Likewise, I think the singular ‘they’ will be totally natural for native speakers in a generation or two, barring the complete overthrow of the english-speaking world into some kind of Handmaiden’s Tale dystopia…

Yeah, the modern usage of ‘they’ as a pronoun for a known, specified antecedent of non-binary gender is fairly new, but there are enough related uses of the singular ‘they’ that it think it’s not as much of a stretch for people to adapt to than an entirely new word.

I don’t think ‘it’ would fly in English. It would be quite dehumanizing as a gender neutral pronoun. We generally only use ‘it’ for objects or animals that we don’t assign any kind of sentience to. Some folks in the US will even get weird if you refer to their pet as ‘it’.

I think ‘they’ is probably the best bet we have for any kind of gender neutrality in English. There is a long history of using ‘they’ as a singular pronoun, usually when referring to an antecedent of unknown or ambiguous gender. This practice goes back as far as the 14th to 16th century in English, and most native English speakers will be quite comfortable with this type of usage. Adapting to using it as a singular, gender neutral pronoun in other situations will take time, but less time - I suspect - than trying to convince people to use a neopronoun of some kind.

I don’t completely disagree, but one of the problems with smart glasses continues to be creating a clear display that is unobtrusive, clear, and doesn’t obstruct your view. What’s interesting about this smart contact is that the display is so small and so close to your eye that you basically can’t see the screen itself, but the display is supposedly very crisp. Now whether that’s true in practice I don’t know. And there are a ton of other technical hurdles to overcome. I suspect battery life is probably a big issue, but also the FoV is apparently somewhat of a problem, which they are trying to overcome using eyetracking and software. It’s at least really interesting.

Hands-on: Mojo Vision’s Smart Contact Lens is Further Along Than You Might Think
Mojo Lens seems to have created a "smart contact lens" with a pretty dense display along with a fair number of other features including a wireless radio, accelerometer, gyro, and magnetometer (for eye tracking). It all seems to fit into an incredibly small package which is apparently thicker than normal contact lenses, but still wearable as demonstrated by their CEO. It seems like a pretty exciting piece of tech. I have suspicions that the battery life is probably the most limiting factor but I'm going to be following this with interest.

I’m not totally sure where you’re disagreeing with this video. I don’t think he’s trying to claim that CoD singlehandedly invented the war shooter, just that its gargantuan popularity and the way it handles its themes and its feedback loops are at odds with the subject matter.

In all seriousness, this is simultaneously cool and absolutely distressing in a very dystopian way.

This is a cool song. Kirk Hamilton (formerly a writer for Kotaku) did an episode about it on his Strong Songs podcast and it was neat because I’m not that familiar with Steely Dan.

You know, that’s fair. I think you’re probably right that the video isn’t necessarily conflating the religious right with evangelicals. I might have been reading that into the video when it wasn’t actually there.

This is a decent overview, but I think it misses a few important factors.

One is that there is an ongoing realignment within christian denominations between conservative and progressive wings of even the mainline protestant denominations. These splinter groups, like the ACNA (Anglican Church of North America) and the group that is in the process of breaking away from the United Methodist Church probably wouldn’t be considered evangelical in the technical sense, but they are absolutely part of the religious right. I think the number of “evangelicals” in the political sense (not necessarily the theological sense) is probably higher than is being estimated in the polls cited in the video, but I don’t have any concrete evidence of that. There is also a very strong fundamentalist Catholic wing of the republican party that was very visible in the rise of the alt-right and the Trump administration in particular. Overall, I think that “evangelical” is probably a flawed term to use for the religious right.

The second is that he fails to address the very significant part that opposition to desegregation played in the early formation of the modern religious right. This article goes into some detail about the racist roots of the religious right, and that opposition to abortion rights was in many ways a pivot to keep momentum in the movement going.

I’m not sure I can trust this currency, where’s the complicated distributed consensus mechanism? I don’t have to light a forest on fire to interact with it! The value isn’t even fluctuating wildly! 0/5 stars /s

As I’m re-reading this, it occurs to me that point 2 is pretty close to your own point. I think the things are related, a lack of diversity in gaming communities made gatekeeping worse and gatekeeping made lack of diversity worse.

I think this is probably an important part of it, but I’ve been thinking about this recently and I think there are some other factors as well. This isn’t particularly well researched, although I’ve read some interested articles about the alt-right pipelines and that sort of this, this is just my own musings especially about how the right tends to weaponize nostalgia.

  1. Nostalgia - Gamer communities have a strong sense of Nostalgia, looking back at some previous golden age of games as the golden age that they wish they could go back to. Like other backward looking groups, I think this leaves them vulnerable to right-wing propaganda, e.g. “Gaming was so much better before all of this woke nonsense”. It’s the start of a radicalization pipeline. When you start to think that minorities or diversity is the reason the thing you have built your identity around is getting worse, it’s a natural pipeline to right wing ideology.

  2. Gatekeeping - Gamer communities have always been very prone to gatekeeping. In my mind it’s not hard to connect the dots from, “you’re not a gamer if you didn’t love FF7 as a kid” to “girls can’t be gamers” to more explicit racial/gender hate and homophobia, because the people who gaming catered to in those “golden ages” were overwhelmingly white middle-class boys so the unconscious mental image of the in group “Gamers” is white and male.

I think you see these elements in play in Gamergate, which used the already existing tendency toward misogyny in gaming communities, as well as a strong sense of nostalgia, to radicalize a lot of gamers into alt-right ideologies with a paper thin veneer of defending “ethics” but actually just attacking women and minorities in gaming spaces.

Really interesting look at elitism in music from Tantacrul, who is a classical composer (among other things). I think it’s good as a POV from somebody with an inside view of the classical music scene, although he’s a bit more gentle than I might like, and unfortunately he doesn’t specifically address the recent shitstorm around the Grammy nominations in the Contemporary Classical category of Curtis Stewart and Jon Batiste which @alyaza posted here a few days ago.

Musical elitism is a vast topic that touches on class, gatekeeping, education, snobbery, wealth, privilege, aspiration, historical legacy and popular culture. In this video I take a broad look at all of these.

Not sure how I feel about this. Seems like lots of nostalgia goggles and circlejerking about how things were so much better back in some golden age, but as somebody who lived through the good old days, there was a LOT of corporate shovelware in pretty much every era of gaming, it’s just that nobody remembers any of that crap any more.

Honestly, it strikes me as “Gamers” mad that AAA gaming isn’t laser focused on catering to their specific demographic. Sure, there are bad trends in gaming, but there have always been bad, exploitative trends in gaming. Gamers that flip out about microtransactions ruining gaming always seem to forget that the majority of the industry for decades was focused on making games that could extract quarters from kids as efficiently as possible.

But for all the crying and raging, the last decade of video games has produced some incredible games, both AAA/AA and indie. We’re IN the golden age right now, and some people are so focused on the past that they can’t see it.

It reminds me of the way people talk about Classic Rock. People act like there was only great music in the past, but if you look back at the charts there was tons of disposable, forgettable junk that has rightfully been forgotten. I think the same thing is happening with gaming. Sure, there were some real masterpieces. But I know from experience there was a ton of barely playable garbage, too.

That game looks cool, but the thrown spear isn’t really what I was thinking about. I feel like games do a slightly better job representing that.

It’s the spear as a main battle weapon that I think doesn’t get represented well in popular culture. For example, Vikings in games usually are depicted with axes, but spear and shield were probably more common.

The same goes for really any medieval or faux-medieval setting. The vast majority of fighters would have had some variation on the pointy stick as their main weapon, because they were so deadly effective.

There’s also a commonly repeated argument that spears might be the main weapon in massed battle, but in small groups or one on one combat it would be ineffective, but I’ve seen plenty of HEMA matches and recreations that show that spear users can beat sword users, often with very little experience with the weapon.

I always want it to be the spear, but I find that most games don’t really get spears right or just generally make them a worse choice than some type of sword. Spears or something in the spear family were the weapon of choice for the vast majority of human history. This is true both in contexts where fighting would have been done in tight formation and in times/places where it was not. It was more common than the sword, and in many places and times would have been considered a fighter’s main weapon, with a sword acting as a kind of sidearm. In games, however, spears are almost always less effective than swords, while reach advantage is usually very minor or negated altogether.

Discussion of this article on other sites has been awful, so I'm interested to see if Beehaw has any thoughts. The book looks really cool, it's more tempting than a lot of the more recent books that Wizards has released.

This style of video essay is a mixed bag for me. There are some content creators that I can watch hours long videos from and it doesn’t feel like a huge time investment (Hbomberguy, Folding Ideas), and then there are others where even 45 minutes feels like way too long. I think a lot it boils down to good scripting and editing. Folding Ideas and Hbomb are both pretty carefully scripting their content and then pretty heavily editing it - it makes it feel like the video is going somewhere even when it’s long and there’s a lot of content. There are other creators with videos around the same length, or sometimes even shorter, that I’m never able to finish. A lot of those are more the “Sitting in front of the camera with a glass of wine and rant about pop culture for an hour” style of video “essay”, but even some of the more scripted and edited stuff I have a hard time with (Philosophy Tube, Contrapoints). I suspect it’s just a matter of taste and style but I can’t put my finger on exactly the difference.

Side note: I actually found written transcripts of several of Philosophy Tube’s videos and found them much easier to digest, so maybe in her case it’s an issue of slower delivery or editing style - not sure.

Yeah the author is a philosophy prof apparently, so it seems like some of his arguments are considering philosophical positions about epistemology more than real world positions. I do think that it provides some insight into possible problems with hyper-rationalist thinking in other areas of life, though.

Also, I think his analogy about witness testimony is probably flawed like you say, but I think the point stands. We often know things without really being able to articulate why or how we know them. Our brains are fantastically complex machines and it can be difficult or impossible to interrogate every step of our thinking, particularly when intuitive or tacit knowledge are involved.

I also really appreciate that he drills down on the problems associated with axiomatic thinking - that one can use deductive reasoning from a few simple “self-evident” principles to derive an entire philosophical or moral system. It’s an appealing idea, but I think it leads to a lot of problems.

This post is a little more narrowly focused on a type of thinking that this writer calls “Rationalism” rather than the internet rationalist subculture, but I thought it was an interesting look by a philosopher at some problems with this type of rationalist thinking.

Haven't seen much really heavy music on here, so I thought I'd post this. This has gone one of the most brutal breakdowns I've ever heard, as well as an incredible deathcore style vocalist.

I don’t mean to “not all white people” in this comment, by the way. Alabama is absolutely a white supremacist state. White supremacy is baked into the constitution and structure of the state government. Folks are working to change it, but while old lies like the “Lost Cause” narrative hold sway and while white folks in this state continue to be ignorant of the white supremacist roots of the institutions in this state, then it will be an uphill battle.

I will say that it’s not that way everywhere, or with everyone. There are younger, more progressive folks in some the cities, but conservative (white) power is entrenched in Alabama and enshrined in its institutions. The third article in this series is mostly about revisionist history in Alabama, but it also talks about how power is concentrated in the state government at the expense of the towns and cities. This, of course, has the effect of concentrating power in the hands of white conservatives and taking away the ability of cities (often majority black cities) like Birmingham and Montgomery to pass more progressive ordinances the way that cities do in many other states.

This article is the first in an excellent ongoing series by writer Kyle Whitmire, called State of Denial. About the series, Whitmire says, "Alabama has been poisoned by old lies. “State of Denial” is a year-long initiative looking at how Alabama’s past corrupts its present and deprives the state of a better future."

I love this. More always needs to be said about the enormous, usually unacknowledged debt modern music owes to black musicians like these. Bands like Zepplin and the Stones and musicians like Eric Clapton got rich and famous off of black musicians’ works and the blues sounds that they created.

It was interesting seeing this headline over the weekend. RPG platform DrivethruRPG has also come out with [a similar statement](

NASA said that commercially operated space platforms would replace the ISS as a venue for collaboration and scientific research.

This distresses me more than I can articulate. I know that some progress has been made by commercial space flight companies, but the idea of our exploration of space being primarily driven by for-profit companies is beyond disheartening to me.

Not for the Mini crossword, at least. You can go to right now and you’ll get a login prompt, but there’s an option to continue without an account.

I had almost the opposite experience from you. I primarily played D2 for the PvE content, I didn’t care about PvP at all, but Bungie’s insistence on trying to balance PvE and PvP sandboxes together meant that good PvE weapons were often getting senseless nerfs because of issues with the PvP meta. It was really frustrating. And it felt like the amount of grind just increased every season, after a while it felt like a job just to play the game.

It’s a shame, because the core gameplay of Destiny is hard to beat. The game feels good to play in a way that not many other shooters manage.

Disappointed to see so much mention in the press release of Bungie’s experience with Live Games, monetization, etc. Those have absolutely been the worst aspects of Destiny. That game has so much potential, and the studio has a lot of talent, but as long as they are designing around FOMO and grind, it’s going to keep the game from reaching it’s potential IMO. I had hoped that whatever Bungo did next would be a little less aggressive on the grind, but it’s sounding like they will probably be leaning into that aspect even more.

You’re probably right, but NYTimes doesn’t currently require a paid account for all of their puzzles. Me and my wife do the daily free Mini (it’s a little baby crossword) every day and don’t have to pay for it. You have to pay for access to their puzzle archive and for the main crossword though.

Obviously we’re not there yet, but anybody have any alternatives to coffee that work for them? I have tried switching to tea because of anxiety but I think the tannins in black tea actually made it worse. Green tea wasn’t as bad, but I just didn’t enjoy green tea very much. I may have been doing it wrong.