Thursday, May 24, 2018

Mouse Wars Fails Again In China

If you've been following the ongoing dumpster fire that is Mouse Wars, then you saw this coming light-years away.

Remember that China doesn't have a generation of nostalgia to burn through. They see things as they are, and act accordingly. Every Mouse Wars film has failed horribly in China to date, and Soylo is no different. It will continue to be like this until the regime changes and the new management turns things around.

And that means Culty Kathy has to go.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

In Case You Missed It: EM-8ER, The Mech v Kaiju Game (Still In Development)

Veteran game developer Mark Kern has had a Mech-v-Kaiju game (Em-8ER) in development for a long time now. This crowd-funded game gets backer updates in a public fashion via video updates as well as via their Discord server. It's not going to be on the shelf for a while yet, but just seeing a videogame go from elevator pitch to complete product is a fascinating process. I'm embedding the video for the other day below so you can see for yourself; links are in the video description.

I like what I see. I just hope I have a computer that can run it when it goes live.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

The Templin Institute's Second Pilot Season Begins

The Templin Institute's growth remains explosive. They're spending this week pushing pilots for a new programming slot, and the first of them dropped today: a geographic series named "Atlas". If you're not already subscribed to them on YouTube, fix that now because you're missing out. Catch their Twitch streams also, and if you can spare the scratch throw them some sheckles at Patreon.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Revealed Preferences in Gaming: Send In The Clones

If there is anything that MMORPGs and now online virtual tabletop gaming has revealed it is this: most players just make Expies of their favorite characters, and they favor RPGs (regardless of the medium) that facilitate the fulfillment of their Fountain of Expies fantasies.

As the above links show, people clone favorites for the explicit purpose of enjoying them as they desire when the original creator cannot or will not satisfy that urge. RPGs are very good at doing just that, so many do so. (To the point that "Drizzt Clone" is a thing, for an example specific to D&D.)

It's not Mech-Piloting, but it tends to go along with it. The player wants to play his favorite character, so he rolls a clone. This character is an Iconic Hero, and resents all pushes to change the character away from the icon as that negates his reason for playing the character and thus the game. It is this iconic quality that makes it friendly to Mech-Piloting.

While professionals clone for reasons other than satisfying personal desires (sometimes), for gaming this revealed preference shows another truth about the medium: it's about taking a man you dig and seeing if you can do that man better than the creator did. It's why the scenario doesn't matter that much--hence why Muh Storygaming falls flat--because the player desires to prove that he's a better icon than the icon's creator and that requires thinking entirely in terms of competitive gameplay and not Writing Room bullshit.

I can't say that this is bad as such. Folks clone because it's fun to play your favorite characters. The issue is when you go Full Retard about it; you're all there to have fun, so don't harsh on the others' fun by being a dick about it. It's a long-standing revealed preference, so work with it.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

My Life as a Gamer: John Carter is a 9th Level Fighting-Man

The aging Original Gamers will not find the following at all controversial that a given D&D game can go from Tolkien's Middle-Earth to Conan's Hyboria to Burrough's Barsoom without skipping a beat, or without changing so much as how you roll the dice. Today that assertion routinely leads people who really ought to know better that you can't do that because you need to change the rules with every shift.


That's artifact of Mech Piloting, because it betrays the belief that you can't get shit done without moving some mechanical lever or another. All that is actually required is that the Game Master have sufficient familiarity with the source material to present the environment appropriately and make rulings consistent with the spirit therein. You don't need a rule to handle it; you need a dude to say "No, that's not how it's done here, get over it."

That world-hopping thing I mention above? What I say applies no matter how you take that. It's valid as literal world-hopping during a game, or as metaphorical world-hopping where the same group plays games in each world using the exact same ruleset. While I can do this with D&D's earlier editions, other publishers built business models around this concept (Palladium, HERO).) and all that a Game Master has to do is decide what content is allowed for players use. (A D&D game in Barsoom has no Dwarves, Elves, or Halflings.)

How you roll your man, how your man operates in the environment, combat and recovery, etc.- all the same from game to game and setting to setting. One game can satisfy your gaming needs and wants for the rest of your days if you just let go of the Mech Piloting bullshit- which is why that gets pushed so hard by publishers seeking to exploit that psychology for their commercial benefit. That Game Master is the strength of the tabletop RPG medium; embrace that shit, and the hobby- and let the industry collapse into a pile of ashes and dust.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

The RPG Pundit: "The OSR Is Cutting Edge and Will Change How You Play D&D"

If you've only played a recent D&D edition (including Pathfinder)then you're missing out on an older and richer realm of tabletop RPGs, and Canada's best expatriate cut a video to talk about it. Sure, he shamelessly promotes his own material, but that's not unexpected- he didn't get to where he is by passively waiting for senpai to notice him. He also talks about other people's stuff, and as you're likely unaware that this stuff exists then you'll benefit from watching the video- and then looking up what he talks about at Amazon.

Wizards of the Coast and Paizo Publishing are not the only players in the game, folks. Time to go off the reservation, and the Pundit's good at getting you going, but it can get even more adventurous and I'll talk more about that tomorrow. For now, consider the following: if you use a Basic D&D basis, the amount of rules changes you need to go from Not-Tolkien to Not-Barsoom is ZERO.

That's right. To go from this-

-to this-

-you don't have to change a single rule.

Save your objections. You'll want them for tomorrow's post.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Counterpunching SJWs: Know Them, Know Their Weaknesses

If you're going to get into this fight, then you've got to know your enemy. Yes, having copies of SJWs Always Lie and SJWs Always Double-Down is essential; they're right next to having Sun Tzu's Art of War in importance. But you need to know how shit got this bad, and that means history. QuQu Media did this for the SF/F world in the West last year, but it's still relevant now. We need more such videos, etc. for related fronts.

Knowing your enemy, especially how your enemy got where he is, gives you the intelligence required to make your counterpunching far more effective by being able to target their weakest points with your strongest attacks. As you refine your mastery of Rhetoric--another vital skill you have to have, so get yourself a copy of Aristole's volume of the same name (alone or in compilation with other works by the man; see the link, it's free as of this post)--your rhetorical counterpunches will gain potency due to your habit of hitting where they are weak, provoking spergouts that do damage to their optics where and when it matters most- getting and keeping popular support.

Yes, there are counters to this, such as obfuscating Points of Contact for legal purposes. The SJWs in the Furry fandom are going to find out the hard way that this specific counter isn't effective:

Which should tell you something else about your enemy: most of these SJWs are utter fucking morons, so you only need to worry about the High Sparrows that provide what passes for leadership, as most of these SJWs can be shut down with appalling ease but you still have to counterpunch them.

(Note: I'll get back on the gaming beat tomorrow; this week's emphasis shift was due to an event I could not ignore.)