Saturday, September 23, 2017

Geek Gab Talks Kingsman: The Golden Circle (And More)

The Geek Gab gang got together again today for another episode. Today they talked about the new Kingsman movie, Logan Lucky, and Warpig Rants About Stuff. You know you're in for a good time.

In the live chat we picked up the idea of playing in the setting of the Kingsman films as a RPG. Since no videogames are coming, that means tabletop play, and fortunately there are a couple of easy options to take up. Well, if you can find them. Do note that you're playing a Tactical game regardless of your choice here; your PC is That Guy, not his boss.

  • Spycraft: This is one of the breakout games of the d20 System explosion. I prefer the first edition, but the second is better for all you all-in-one sorts. Minimal house-ruling is needed; just make certain that ONLY the PCs (being the very Kingsmen or Statesmen or whatever) and NPCs of their caliber or better get the use of certain mechanics (e.g. Vitality Points). Play up the gadgets. Restrict the character options. Done.
  • Ninjas & Superspies: It's a Palladium game, so you WILL need to house-rule it, but coming up with a fast-playing game isn't as hard as it seems; the real bitch of it is speeding up character generations. That means slimming down the options, and speeding up the process. Do that, and you're good. Only the GM needs to mess with the Organization rules, and quite frankly that's not even necessary.
  • Feng Shui: Go figure that a game made for Hong Kong action cinema gaming would work well here. What you will need to do is (again) trim character options and adjust setting-specific stuff to suit, but that's all on the GM; for players, it's literally "Show up, pick template, tweak, GO!" and sharing a pair of standard dice is all you need.

Sure, someone's going to come along and say that HERO or GURPS or Special Snowflake System Supreme will be best. Nope. Gotta go fast, and gotta be a real game. HERO/GURPS aren't fast, and snowflakes aren't real games. So fuck all of them. Those are your three best options for playing a tabletop RPG in the aforementioned setting. Have it at.

Aside: Tabletop RPGs that work are ones that you can do cold (no preparation) and stupid (no prior/outside knowledge) that start fast and play fast. That this is still a chronic fucking problem 40+ years on is why tabletop RPGs remain a fucking ghetto.. This is not hard; it's a solved problem, which makes its persistence even more infuriating to me to see people who ought to know better go on about their cargo cult bullshit instead of applying the known solution. And no, you can't shirk this on to the SJWs; you "pros" have been this willfully stupid well before the death cult came knocking.

Friday, September 22, 2017

SJWs, Diversity & Comics Read Your Book!

Yesterday, I wrote about Diversity & Comics and how the SJWs at Marvel (and elsewhere in comics) freaked out over this one YouTube channel accurately documenting the detrimental effect that Muh Social Justice has had on the business. It's gotten to Instapundit as of this post, so to say that word has gone far and wide is not an exaggeration. Also getting around is the story that Mark Waid wants to chat with D&C. Those of us that know SJWs see this for the trap it is.

One. Of. Us.

As Razorfist would say, Godspeed D&C. God-fucking-speed.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

#ComicsGate Has Arrived

That grand-master of science fiction, John C. Wright, had a very eloquent post today in defense of the Diversity & Comics channel at YouTube. The reason for the defense? The SJWs that bore the brunt of the channel's criticism have taken notice, and They Are Not Amused. So, learning nothing from their fellow travelers in Fake Games Journalism, they got into a group chat and conspired to put out hit pieces and otherwise defame and destroy him.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

A Rant About the Waste of Michelle Yeoh in "Discovery"

While others lodge commentary and complaints about the dumpster fire that is Star Trek: Discovery, I have a specific complaint to lodge.

How in the hell do you cast Michelle Yeoh and NOT make her the lead?!

I don't want to hear "But her English is accented?" She's fine, perfectly understandable by anyone who isn't a fucking moron. Nor do I want to hear "But she's not well-known." because (a) she does have a following and (b) she's been a leading lady in feature films for decades as well as a supporting player. She's long ago proven that she has the chops to lead a Trek show; hell, she's overqualified.

She's got the talent to become, by merit alone, one of the most beloved players in the history of the franchise. Write her the sort of captain that Starfleet would want to have in its corps of captains, the sort we see implied well in the now-ruined Axanar, and you'd have another generation-defining hit on your hands.

Instead, you waste her on a minor supporting role to set up a protagonist who isn't even captain of the ship she's on, before handing her off to another captain on another ship to do the same thing. This is a show that doesn't get Trek dramatics, and that's before the SJW bullshit that we knew would be part-and-parcel of this cynical production of anti-fun.

If this is how CBS & Paramount treat someone like Yeoh, I can imagine Issacs not being happy either. Christ. Fuck all this for a game of soldiers. Just stick with The Orville, and pray McFarlane doesn't let it suck and waste his opportunity to out-Trek Trek and not get sued into oblvion (as Axanar did).

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Practical Worldbuilding: Why Blasters in "Star Wars" is Brilliant

Blasters. They're a regular feature of science fiction small arms. George Lucas didn't invent them; E.E. Smith did, a generation before. However, with Star Wars we have an accident of history turn into a brilliant bit of practical worldbuilding. By filming at Pinewood Studios in the United Kingdom, Lucas had access to a lot of weapon props made from de-militarized fireams from World War 2. These props added a lot to the "lived-in" feel of the Original Trilogy, that sense of verisimilitude that every other entry into the franchise lacks.

It's not gone unnoticed. One of the reasons Cameron's Terminator and Aliens have that feel (regarding the Future War scenes for the former film) is because the same spirit is present; the prop weapons are unreal, but you can see clearly the parallels with real-world equivalents, so the effect is maintained.

Across the Pacific, it's no surprise that creators of various science fiction series in Japan do the same sort of thing. Some are far more blatant than others, and some use more obscure referents than others, but the practice endures. It endures because this sort of short-hand is simple, easy, and effective. (e.g. Space Battleship Yamato uses the historic Borchardt C-93 as the basis for the Cosmo Navy's sidearm.)

So, why not do it myself?

For this Space Opera thing I've got going on, I've taken notice of my enjoyment of dedicated rimfire-caliber firearms such as the Ruger Mk.IV, the Smith & Wesson Victory, and the Browning Buckmark (for handguns) as well as the Marlin 795, the Ruger 10/22, and the CZ 512 (for longarms). I'm basing small arms-scale blasters on them, down to how the tech works. (Still mulling over squad-level stuff.)

The reason for this is to make it easier for the reader/viewer/player to grok what the thing is and how it works by using existing familiarity and just adding what is needed to make it relevant to the story or game's setting. This isn't a bad thing; great poets steal, and this is why. It's the iterative improvement process applied to creative works. Using real substance for unreal narratives is not a bad thing at all.

Think about this for a moment. You're quite able to grasp how Han Solo's pistol works, in practical terms, without ever getting into the hows and whys because it looks like a real pistol. Stormtrooper carbines, Rebel carbines, and so on all look like a real firearm in the Original Trilogy. The Prequels' better props are also based on real firearms, even if one step removed. Now, take a look at what Rey used; I have not see a single thing in the real world that looks like that- it looks like a Star Trek reject, and it shows. Don't be that guy; use visual shorthand to help your readers accept your fictional worlds. It works, it's efficient, and it's easier than it seems.

Monday, September 18, 2017

How To RPG: On The Mech Pilot Audience

If proper tabletop RPGs are really about strategic thinking played out at the warband scale, then what are the Mech Pilots looking for- and why do they, inevitably, abandon tabletop RPGs once given something that scratches that itch?

There are two things driving (heh) Mech Pilots. They want viscerality of experience, and they want as fast a pace of decision as they can handle, both of which conflict with strategic-level thinking and leadership skill exercises. If we shift over to movies, these folks are all about action films. They'll eat up John Woo, Tony Jaa, Bruce Lee, and even slower-paced films like the mid-'70s adaptation of The Three Musketeers. Their fantasy is to be That Guy, and they have a competitive streak about it; this is why Fighting Games (e.g. Street Fighter, Guilty Gear, Samurai Showdown) are favorites as are combat vehicle sims.

It also explains two other things: an obsession with Theorycrafting and Rules. The rules set the context within which competition takes place, and Theorycrafting uses those rules to figure out how to maximize performance while minimizing weaknesses. Since being the best means nothing without a scene to dominate, the draw towards large-scale and centralized play experiences is no accident either, which we see in every medium where Mech Pilots have a significant (if not dominant) presence.

This is why you have Mech Pilots dominating Fighting Games, MOBAs, CCGs, any form of PVP in RPGs and pushing for competitive PVE (such as the Mythic Dungeon Invitational for World of Warcraft, and the oft-done note-comparisons for Organized Play in tabletop games). Individual character builds, group compositions, complaints about nerfs and buffs; it's not that different from the guys going on about their fantasy football teams.

Quite frankly, it is long past time for the tabletop RPG scene to shit or get off the pot about this. Since there is no way that any tabletop game can provide the satisfaction for this audience segment that videogames can, they should be shown the door instead.

IP holders, such as Wizards of the Coast, are better served making videogame counterparts to their tabletop RPGs with Mech Pilots and their psychology in mind because they are a separate and distinct audience with its own psychology. Refocus tabletop RPGs away from Mech Pilots, and towards the original--and still faithful--strategic thinker audience, and thereafter maintain product distinction so this confusion never comes up again.

Yes, this means that companies like Paizo will have to wholly reinvent themselves. Good. They should, if they want to survive what is otherwise an inevitable, and permanent, collapse of the category that's on the horizon.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

How to RPG: It's Macro, Not Micro

The other night I'm playing World of Warcraft, doing my thing, thinking of what to post down the road when I recalled two things: (a) that the post over at the Alt-Right GM's blog regarding his D&D game are a fantastic example of how you actually play proper D&D (and, by extension, proper tabletop RPGs), and (b) the reasons for why tabletop RPGs have issues with Mech Piloting has to do with a difference between Tactical and Strategic thinking.

You want to know why classic tabletop RPGs don't do that blow-by-blow, second-to-second pace of combat? It's because--even at the scope of a warband--you're still looking more strategic than tactical. For you younger folks, think "more macro than micro", and yes that allusion to real-time strategy games is no accident.

In traditional tabletop RPGs, you're expected to work as the head of a team mostly filled out by NPCs. In Dungeons & Dragons, that means Henchmen and Hirelings. For Traveller, it's employees and other subordinates. That maps well to small-scale warband wargaming, and if you ever played a hero-focused wargame you'll see the parallels quickly. It doesn't matter that your combat engagements are not fast-paced like Guilty Gear, MechAssault, or similar one-man hero played at arcade speeds; that's not the sort of play a tabletop RPG does.

As befits a derivation of tabletop wargaming, proper RPGs are strategic in their nature and best approached that way. Your man is not on his own for long, especially if you're not a pleb and actually get a decent Charisma score (which is the real power stat in old-school RPGs; you want to be a Leader of Men above all else). Even outside of D&D, you're a fool to not get yourself some NPCs as soon as you can. Yes, even if you're playing Robotech; bring your wingmen, because you're the Flight or Element lead (and you are working up to Squadron leader) so you have at least one subordinate with you.

It's a very different--and superior--experience to what the SJWs and the other fucktards pushing their crap want you to believe. To succeed you need persistence, charisma, and discernment. You don't make it being Wolverine; you make it being Cyclops. Send the Mech Pilots back to the arcades and the sim pods, where they belong.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Iron and Clay Don't Mix: On Media Audiences

Once upon a time, there was a dream. A dream that one could tell a story across multiple media, shifting things to take advantage of each medium's strengths in order to maximize the narrative impact, and thereby create world-dominating generation-defining properties that become cultural icons- and evergreen revenue with perennial profits.

That dream was transmedia.

"Transmedia storytelling is the technique of telling a single story or story experience across multiple platforms and formats using current digital technologies, not to be confused with traditional cross-platform media franchises, sequels, or adaptations."

And, like many dreams, it did not work.

Look at that definition again. When did you follow a single story across multiple platforms? You didn't. No one did. No one wants to either, so no one will. That means that pursuing it, and not being a double-talking con-man, requires a shift in the definition, from "story" to "meta-story".

The idea is that you have a big arc that plays out over multiple installments, such as the Infinity Gauntlet arc of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and across multiple media outlets. The result, as we know now, is that the audience does not cross those lines. Hell, there are people who don't watch most other MCU films; they just do Iron Man, or Thor, etc. and skip the rest because they don't care so when they plop down for an Avengers film they get confused- and quickly become angry.

Most people who saw Age of Ultron had no idea that SHIELD provided the Helicarrier seen in the film, or the other resources the team required, because the vast majority of film-goers do not (and refuse to) watch Agents of SHIELD. On a similar note, the Chitauri artifacts that the aforementioned show focused on early in its run were callbacks to and follow-ons from a Marvel movie short: Item 47. (Same with the other One-Shots; few watched, or care to watch, so they don't have the impact intended.)

"But Walker!" you say, "What about the comics?"

Utterly fucking irrelevant. MCU fans don't read comics, and they certainly don't read the SJW-riddled crap that Marvel is now. If not for the films--and just the films--Marvel would be dead and gone by now, and the Marvel leadership knows it. So does Disney, and the Mouse is NOT happy about it; they recognize the comics side as being the IP Hothouse for future films, and thus notice that this well is dry as a bone.

And no, DC is no better. They're arguably worse off. Lucasfilm is no better. (The amount of people who gave no fucks about the Clone Wars and Rebels connections in Rogue One, or the people who will not touch tie-in books, is the overwhelming majority of the audience. Furthermore, given the SJW bullshit afflicting Lucasfilm, it's no surprise that current tie-in books and comics are routinely trash suitable only for use as emergency toilet paper.

"But Halo!"

The crossover between the books/comics and the games, in terms of audience, is appalling. There are big fans who have never even heard of the tie-in books and comics, and would not give a shit if they did. That is not what they are playing the game for!

That's what this transmedia thing revealed: the preference for the audience is to stay with the medium where the thing is, and eschew everything else. The reason is because the audience in one medium wants what that specific medium does best; they don't want what other media do, and if there is information that otherwise cannot be had without doing so they quickly come to resent what they feel (not wrong here) as an imposition upon them- and now that Wikis exist that is not an issue anymore.

Filmgoers want film. TV watchers want TV. Comics fans want comics. Videogamers want videogames. They do not cross the streams, and there isn't a way to make them do so that doesn't do more harm than good to the business that attempts it. That is why transmedia failed, and there is nothing that can be done to fix it.

Which is why the smart people moved on. The successful element of this dream was the explicit recognition of storytelling as the foundation for successful marketing, advertising, and public relations: folks who told (aspirational, often) stories to push their things succeeded wildly compared to those that did not. This is nothing new, as Edward Bernays (one of the founders of Public Relations) did just that in 1925, but it was held (more or less) secret until recent decades when this tranmedia dream put it in the open for all to see.

Thus the Revealation of the Method that is today's Narrative Warfare. Expect future refinements to take advantage of this revealed segmentation in audience preferences, for reasons both fair and foul, and a decline in tie-in merchandising as the fuckups running those campaigns get turfed out and blacklisted for being terminal tossers. (It won't go away entirely, but instead revert to very targeted campaigns focusing on what that specific medium offers: don't sell clothes to a toy audience.)

And remember that not all dreams have happy endings. Most of us end up like Porkins, not Skywalker.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Why I Stopped Caring About GenCon: It Does Not Matter Anymore (For RPGs)

I still follow a number of tabletop gaming communities, pages, what-have-you. I've seen the post-GenCon outpouring of hype about all the new tabletop RPG stuff coming.

I can sum it up thusly: Cotton Candy.

It looks appealing. It may have that momentary thrill, like the sugar rush when your tongue touches that fibrous delight, but I put dollars to donuts that--like the vast majority of tabletop RPG stuff ever published--it will soon be revealed to lack the substance that a real breakthrough product possesses. Nothingburgers don't satisfy, and so back to the solid standards gamers go.

That's why I said a few years ago that the cognitive space for tabletop RPGs isn't as big as folks want to believe, and every year that goes by reinforces my belief in that position as last year's New Hotness becomes Old & Busted and gets dropped like a totaled car once the insurance check clears.

Which is why you can, safely, be involved in tabletop RPGs for the rest of your life so long as you've got these three games on hand:

  • Dungeons & Dragons. Pick any edition that has a significant following and you're fine. Yes, even 5th and Pathfinder. (No, 4th, you get to sit at the kid's table with the Diablo 2 and Starcraft adapatations.)
  • Traveller. Classic will always be best, but Mega has a big following. We don't talk about New Era.
  • Call of Cthulhu. Any edition before 7th will be fine, as they're all compatible; if you get a choice, v5.5 is your huckleberry.

Notice the lack of GURPS or HERO. That's because, believe it or not, you can go most of your life without ever finding enough folks to give either a fair shake- and that's if you focus on what that system does best with its written ruleset. (Superheroes for the latter, and historical gaming for the former.) Palladium's fanboys are loud and proud, but also few and far between offline- and that's if you're going for RIFTS. Odds drop like the Hindenberg otherwise.

Those are the popular also-rans. Storygame bullshit? Outside of SJW-infested shitholes, widely regarded as dogshit and avoided like the plague. Good luck. BRP? Outside of enduring favorites like Runequest, Stormbringer/Elric, and King Arthur Pendragon, no one cares- and of those three, very few give a shit.

And yes, I am not holding out much hope for Starfinder. That sort of thing got attempted before, and soundly rejected every time; I doubt things will turn out differently this time. Gamers, for some odd reason, like to segregate Fantasy and Science Fiction good and hard. (Hence why D&D lost its Weird Fiction roots in the 1980s.)

The tabletop RPG business is notoriously bad because it's a hobby category that is extraordinarily friendly to homebrewing and no less hostile to officialdom-as-business-model. For all that gets talked about Organized Play and convention focused products, most folks still play at home or in (psuedo-)club environments where the traditional way of play remains dominant. We don't need More Stuff, believe it or not, and more gamers are finally admitting it- as shown by the shifts in the bigger tabletop retail world.

(Yep, the biggest news for me was Fantasy Flight's new mini wargame for Star Wars. Hope it plays well.)

If the tabletop RPG publishers want to get out of the malaise, they need to retool their businesses to sell stuff that users at home cannot do for themselves so easily. I said that before. It's bearing out now. Adapt or die; I care not which, since I need you not.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

On the Matter of Dealing With Fake Journalism

This is Razorfist, talking about Cuphead and the corrupt cunts crapping their pants over being called out as incompetent fuckwits for either (a) being so sucktastic that they couldn't do the tutorial and thus shitcanned the game out of spite or (b) the cascade or craptitude that followed in defending this fucktarded attitude, which inevitably invoked #Gamergate as a boogeyman.

I am all out of fucks. Fake News must be destroyed.

The lack of practical accountability--the lack of "And what are you gonna do about it?"--for these paid propagandists fronting for frauds is a big part of the present problem. Given what they care about, the sanctions easily imposed by us won't hit them because they place no value over what we can readily influence. For all that destroying Gawker did, no one actually suffered harm to anything these whores care about. They are insulated well from the lawful consequences of their actions.

In practical terms, we have to consider what measures we can employ to hit them where they will actually feel pain. There are short-term answers and long-term answers. Both are necessary, as neither is sufficient alone.

The long-term is repeating the Gawker op, and that's why it's the long-term answer; accomplishing this task will take years, even with men like Hogan stepping forward to sue and men like Thiel bankrolling the suit. The pain takes a long time to be felt because this approach is like playing Go; you're slowly constricting their space of operations until they're boxed in and collapse. It's the Fabian Strategy (the one that broke Hannibal Barca), and its discipline is best done when supplemented.

The short-term answers are that supplement, and they need to be switched out regularly as circumstances shift. Right now, the short-term answer is to assess what this crowd actually values, see which people are most vulnerable to their validation being disrupted, and then go Full Alinsky on them. (e.g. the recent shut down of Devin Faraci returning to the Alamo Drafthouse) The objective is to make each target akin to Typhoid Mary; so untouchable that mere association is putting one's life into the hands of a drunken meth addict needing a fix.

You can see why this is short-term; once a critical mass of such individuals suffer such destruction, the circumstances regarding the bigger picture will shift and thus necessitate shifting approaches. This is the tactical level; going Fabian on the press is Strategic. Both, in differing ways, hit their logistics and thus advance towards the goal: Death of Fake News. It's Rabbit Season, and we're not dealing with Bugs Bunny. Time to go hunting.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

The Geonosian Queen of Star Wars: Kathleen Kennedy

World Class Bullshitters released a video that is an open letter to Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy, and calls her out as the common source for all of the franchise's problems since George Lucas sold the company to Disney. This is short; you can listen to it--it's really an audio track--over your coffee break at the office, so take a moment and listen.

That was kind. That was reserved. As they show in their excerpt from the drunk commentary for Force Awakens, they can and do get mean. They live up to their self-proclaimed title.

And they're right.

Kennedy's entire career is being a moneyman's busybody. That's what Executive Producers do: stick their noses into the business of the people actually doing the real work of filmmaking to ensure that the moneymen are satisfied. They're Political Officers, Commissars without the Commie part, and otherwise just useless stand-ins for their masters. You get no simpler an example of the Agent-Principle concept in action than with an Executive Producer who is NOT also one of the moneymen. She has never had actual skin the game, and now that she's been de facto unleashed she's pushing her own goals over that of her now-detached Principle (Disney).

She is, in the jargon of certain subsets, a "bugman": an individual who sacrificed whatever unique cultural and religious identity that was her posterity in favor of the false promises offered by being a bland, soulless global non-culture drone that is our current mega-corporate economy. At best, she aspires to be the Queen Bee of her own hive within the swarm, and Muh Feminisms is the path to that goal.

One of the tells of these "bugmen" is a lack of creativity, which includes a lack of discernment where people are concerned. She sees each film as a product, and each product as a component in a revenue-generating machine, and her demonstrated contempt for the population echoes down through the organization. It's astounding that men like Dave Filoni endure in such an environment; the drop in quality before and after the Lucasfilm sale of all things Star Wars makes that crystal clear, and it is in who runs the show. George cared. Kathy doesn't.

Fortunately, this is a situation that has a remedy. The problem is in using it; you need enough pressure put on Disney to compel a regime change, which is difficult because Disney is also run by bugmen. (It hasn't been Walt's company for a very long time and it shows.) You need to suborn or replace the gatekeepers in order to use the remedy, so either pressure them where they're weak or just plain replace them with someone willing to act.

For we on the outside, the best way to apply pressure is to Fork & Replace. Make our own Star Wars, and use the inevitable success of our superior visions to replace the official brand over time; either they adapt and conform in order to compete or they collapse and get forgotten. Nick Cole (w/ Jason Anspach) has a series of books in this vein, "Galaxy's Edge", starting with Legionnaire, and he's not the only one. My own "The Ghost Fist Gambit" will be out with the PulpRev Sampler Anthology, at a time and price To Be Determined.

So no, don't take this crap lying down. At the very least, deny the Mouse your dollars; many of you already refuse to buy the real revenue stream (the merchandise) so why not go a little further and refuse to see it in theaters or buy it on home video (of any kind)? Find the alternatives, or make up your own, and scratch that itch in a far more satisfying manner instead. All bugs must be squished.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Relics of a Past Lost: Old Films on YouTube

Last night, while writing my post for PulpRev for this week, I came across a gold mine of classic cinema: entire YouTube channels and playlists dedicated to putting up in their entirety classic films from the 30s and 40s. Many of these were Mr. Moto (also deserved classics), and (of course) the classic Sherlock Holmes films of Rathbone & Bruce.

Much like the playlists for Legend of the Galactic Heroes and other anime not licensed for commercial release in North America, these too tend to get banhammered from time to time; due to enduring popularity, they will inevitably return, so I'm not at all concerned about posting this one here.

So, why am I posting about this?

Folks, it's not just the glories of the Pulps we lost since World War II. Even if you're not a fan of the Hays Code, you can't help but to see that the movies of the past reflected an era of civilized behavior far superior to our own degraded culture today- and because these films still exist, we can compare ourselves to that past and see how much we've lost. Yes, even after accounting for the Funhouse Mirror Effect that popular media imposes upon us, this remains true.

As my professors would often say, "The past in a foreign country." and this is one of the reasons why. I won't get into the hows and whys behind the change--that's for Empires--but the fact remains that it is gone, willfully destroyed, and replaced with the venal mess of a non-culture we have today.

Look at what we've lost. We've got a long way to go to get it back.

Monday, September 11, 2017

It Won't Go On Forever

I had my say on today's anniversary yesterday at Empire Must Fall, so I will not repeat myself here. Similarly, the many tributes to the late Dr. Jerry Pournelle have been quite moving. If you haven't seen any, start with Superversive's and branch out from there.

Together, what I'm getting at here today is that everything about Man and Civilization is not to be taken lightly- or for granted. It can all be gone in an instant, and that is because Civilization--being the result of Man's use and cultivation of tools and the knowledge thereof--is a machine. Like all machines, all tools, it must be maintained if it is to performance as desired. That means that the knowledge behind the tools has to be passed on properly.

We are not doing that now. Too few comprehend properly what is necessary for Civilization to exist and function as intended, and too few possess this knowledge and wisdom because our predecessors have not seen fit to maintain the most fundamental function of the very machine that is Civilization: the deliberate yoking of Adversity to harden the succeeding generations and prepare them to receive this very wisdom necessary to sustain Civilization.

In short, every generation has to ensure that their successors have skin in the game. We are NOT doing that, have not since at least the second World War, and we are now suffering the consequences of those derelictions of duty. All of the dys-civic problems we face not only in the West proper, but in globally-extended Western Civilization, stems from this abandonment of ensuring that those who come after us have a stake in maintaining this Civilization as we received it from our predecessors.

It is NOT theirs, so they don't care about it. Until they do, the problem will persist. It's that simple.

Which is why fixing it will be a pain in the ass. The government mechanisms put in place to protect people from their own stupidity, or that of their parents--while well-intentioned--has had nothing but deleterious effects and need to be demolished if Civilization is to endure. Why? Because those same mechanisms impose a mentality of a child, and children have no stake in the matter so they cannot even begin to think in the long terms necessary for Civilization to function as intended.

In short: Progressivism Was a Mistake.

And yes, what we're getting now--the SJWs, the terrorism, the Muslim invasions, the perpetual wars perpetually pissed up, the cultural degradation, the hatred of Christianity--all stems from that rotten root. It's the results of Rabbit-think, and it will stop one way or the other. Either it ends with the barbarians ransacking a ruined Civilization, or it ends with hard--but civilized--men doing what is required to burn out the rot and restore the engine of Civilization to proper function.

For my part, I'm ready for the helicopter rides.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

The Cuphead Incident: A Narrative Warfare Slipup

As I write this post, I'm listening to the latest episode of the Metro City Boys podcast. Right now, Oliver Campbell leads the boys on the topic of failure and building your way iteratively to success via mastery. This, for those not following the stupidity of the Fake Journalists lying about videogames, is about Dean Takahasi's shameful display of gross incompetence when he utterly failed to pass the tutorial of a fantastic independent game called "Cuphead"

The immediate Narrative shift was to harp on "skill shaming" (That is not a thing!) instead of putting on one's man-pants, admitting that you suck, and Git Fucking Good. Not that many of us didn't see that shift coming, as this is the second high-profile display of Fake Journo failure at the most fundamental skill of the job: not being ass at videogames. Remember that ridiculous video of the Fake Journalist failing to play 2016's DOOM? This is the same basic thing, only more shameful.

We're not asking for EVO-level skills. We're asking for sufficient familiarity that the reviewer can actually play the game as intended. That is what is lacking here. Yet the reaction is to lie, double-down, and project like a whiny bitch caught being bad at what he's said he's good at doing. Why?

Because this is a threat to the Narrative. Specifically, what Frame Game Radio points out as a critical component: the frame that journalists are the arbiters of truth. If people come to challenge that frame, they will begin to reject it more and more; rejecting that frame rejects the authority created by that frame, and therefore the power that authority confers. By means of fraud, the Fakes make war upon the population with the aim to rule over them.

And that's why you got to hammer these fakes. They're lying to maintain a frame of perspective that isn't any good for you, and nothing but a racket for them. The sooner these crooks get wrecked and replaced by truth-tellers, the better we'll all be.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

My Life in Fandom: Gundam Wing in HD, Now Online Free & Legal

Fellow Gundam fans, are you aware that the Gundam Official channel on YouTube started uploading the HD remaster of Gundam Wing? Do you miss your Boy Band Badasses and their Gaudy Gundam Goodiness? Do you miss one of the most Bright-Slap faces outside of the Universal Century timeline? (Relina, that means you.) Do you miss the brilliant magnificence that is Trieze Khrusrenada? Well wait no more! Here, for your convenience, is the lesser of the two Gundam shows released in 1995, now in glorious High Definition:

As of this post, there are only six episodes in the Playlist and they're adding three more a week. Once you're finished with the Universal Century shows and Iron-Blooded Orphans, come see what actually got briefly popular in North America due to airing on Toonami about 10 years ago- just before the anime crash. Yes, Endless Waltz is in there somewhere. Yes, this can be blamed (fairly or not) for the pretty boys of SEED/Age/00. Yes, this series would be improved with liberal employment of Bright Slaps.

But it had some good mecha designs, so I don't mind watching it again. Also, Treize's ranting against Mobile Dolls was prescient about today's talk about automating warfare and its ability to enable the feckless and cowardly to establish and sustain tyranny and despotism. That means that, for all its faults, this truly was a Gundam series that had something to think about for its audience- and done better than a lot of others approaching the subject.

Oh, and the OPs by TWO-MIX remain catchy fun songs- something else most Gundam shows lack.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Ahoy Presents: POLYBIUS - The Video Game That Doesn't Exist

My man Ahoy finally has a new video. It's long, but you know he's worth the time. Set your DVR and watch this first.

This is the Ahoy you've come to expect and love. Videos with fantastic voiceover, well-researched, well-presented, and full of fantastic video editing that makes all of it come together as if done by Kurosawa or Miyazaki. If you are not subscribed to him on YouTube, you are wrong and you need to fix that mistake right now.

And this video delivers. Welcome back Ahoy! We missed you.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Reflecting on Year Two of the Blog: Part One

With the passing of Labor Day in the United States, the Summer season has ended in all but name. (That comes in a few weeks, when the weatherman on the TV proclaims that Fall arrives.) Public and private schools at all levels are back in session, Summer seasonal business are either shutting down or changing over to Fall business activities, and the major Summer events are all over now. (Well, the Minnesota Renaissance Festival is still ongoing until the end of the month, but I haven't been out there in 15 years. Not that I expect much other than the site itself to be different.)

All of the major gaming conventions are over. All of the major fan conventions are over, with Dragon Con being the bookend. What we have now is the lull before the brief blip of Halloween and the launch of Holiday Oscar Bait Season (and the family-friendly holiday blockbusters). The next Thor movie and the next Star Wars film come out in November and December (respectively). There's nothing but fail on television anymore, so that's not even a concern.

In short, for a lot of us it's the Dull Time. This is the time to clear out the backlog of books to read, games to play, stuff to watch, etc. that we didn't get to previously. It's also time to review what's gone by, see what worked, see what didn't, and make changes accordingly to improve performance going forward. The transition in preparation for Winter is a perfect opportunity to wind down major operations, assess results, and prepare for the next big launch (traditionally in the Spring).

In short, take this time to breathe.

This month is the end of the blogging year for me. I launched this blog--and my daily blogging habit--on October 1st of 2015, days before my birthday--and this natural turn of seasons ties well into my own annual end-of-year wind-down. I'll take my own advice, look back on the year's performance, and see where I can make improvements going into Year Three.

I know that, soon, I'm going to need to ask for help. Some of the things privately inquired about can't be done with the seven-year-old laptop I currently use for all my computing needs. I don't need a $5K beast like Totalbiscuit does, but for some of the things I'm looking at doing (e.g. livestreaming at Twitch) I will need more than this potato; something like this is what I think I need (I could be wrong.) and will last for five or six years. (Side note: Anyone wanting me to play PS4 or Switch stuff with them, go here or here and call it a birthday gift.)

I'll follow this up next week with more concrete details. Throw any suggestions in the Comments below.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Transmedia Fail: The Phasma Tie-In Targets the Wrong Audience

This bullshit comes over my Twitter feed today:

Some dumb motherfucker at Lucasfilm got the bright idea that they can use tie-in products to shore up bad characters in the feature films, and the current buzzword to justify this is "transmedia". Since the man who founded the company that pioneered the practice was a mentor to me when he was a young man at Palladium Books and I was a punk kid in high school, I have good reason to trust his judgement on what works here:

"Transmedia storytelling, according to Gomez, is the process of conveying messages, themes or story lines to a mass audience through the artful and well-planned use of multiple media platforms. It is both a technique and philosophy of communications and brand extension that enriches and broadens the lifecycle of creative content."

That Phasma tie-in? That's ass-covering using transmedia as a cover. Much like a lot of stuff about Rey never got into the film, and therefore does not count, so it does not matter the Lucasfilm crew are doing the same thing here- and for the same reason. It got out that Phasma, like Rey, is an unlikeable cypher--a nothinburger on shit shingles--so this is narrative damage control. It won't work for the same reason most incompetent goes at transmedia don't work.

Normies don't go outside the films.

"But in the novels-"

Not in the films. DOES. NOT. EXIST. The Wachowski Brothers found this out the hardway when the videogame tie-in to the first sequel got completely ignored (mainly for being sucktastic) and therefore no one knew or cared why Morphius ex-GF and her crew were there to save his ass during the highway chase. Normies don't do tie-ins. They don't do transmedia..

So who in the hell is Lucasfilm fooling here? The audience seeing the next film will not read this book. The attempt to fix Phasma as a character is wasted here because the people Lucasfilm wants to see it won't, so any knock-on effects on her screentime in The Last Jedi risk being completely dissonant and thus risk damaging the sequel trilogy further than has already occurred.

The target for Star Wars is the massive normie feature film audience. They're there for what that medium offers, and that's it; the merch you sell is the wearables--clothes, etc.--and toys to their kids. Not books. Not comics. Not even games, really; gamers (video and tabletop) are distinct subset of the real audience and always have been. You got a problem with a character in the films? You fix it in the films! Not in tie-ins of any kind, because your audience does not go there.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Narrative Warfare In Action: How SJWs Keep Normies on the Reservation

Over at the Goolag Plus, I caught a post by a normie who saw this video on YouTube:

The normie, being a tabletop RPG gamer, posts honestly about his concerns. The SJWs in tabletop RPGs immediately fall on the post and try to keep him on the reservation by pushing The Narrative good and hard.

This was no subtle use of Rhetoric. No sly implications. Nothing slick at all. It's brute-force blame-and-shame Narrative Warfare, right up to one of the worst of the lot--Cam Banks--flat out saying "Everything is Political" in utter sincerity. These are the grunts of the SJW Death Cult doing their club-over-the-head technique of Narrative enforcement on normies.

Note the normie's wish to just leave him and his hobby alone, to play his elf games in peace and leave politics out of it- something that the SJWs immediately attack and shame him for. They saw a Narrative threat, and they swarmed to crush it good and hard.

Note the flat-out lying going on in that thread, and the utter cluelessness of the SJWs doing the grunt-level bitchwork here. This is why they fear normies getting red-pilled; they know they can't keep people on the reservation once they see the Narrative for the fraud that it is.

And that is what SJWs push: a fraud. SJWs always lie. They lie to push an agenda, which is the definition of fraud. Fraud is a criminal offense, and we all know what to do with criminals now, don't we? Pay attention, people, because that's how everyday Narrative enforcement occurs.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Razorfist on Harmony Gold Going After Harebrained Schemes

If you're a BattleTech or a Macross fan, then you are well acquainted with Harmony Gold (of Robotech infamy) and how they single-handedly keep all things Macross out of North America (with a few exceptions such as Macross Plus). Guess who's back to fuck with another offering yet again?

Fuck Harmony Gold, sideways, with a Zentran-sized shovel covered in giant-sized shit and burrs. It's because of them that we never got commercial releases for a lot of merchandise related to the three series comprising Robotech or BattleTech. Forcing a lot of fans, like Legend of the Galactic Heroes fans, to go to grey sites or not-so-hidden playlists at Dailymotion or YouTube to watch them by doing so soured a lot of North American fans on the company.

And no, the legal justifications are Patent Troll levels of fucking retarded, as the video gets into. I concur with the man: fuck them, lawyer up, and ream Harmony Gold a new asshole in court. No retreat, no surrender, no mercy.

If any other firm with reason to fuck over Harmony Gold can aide Harebrained Schemes, get on the hotline right now and make it so.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Gaming History: Jon Peterson's "A History of D&D In 12 Treasures"

This video needs to get passed around Gamerland more. Also, Jon Peterson needs to talk more about what he did with Playing at the World. Folks ought to know how this gaming thing started, no matter if you're a tabletop titan or videogame virtuoso.

It's a shame that the man doesn't do more videos. There's only three on his YouTube channel; I wouldn't mind seeing a few more.

I won't recommend the aforementioned book to everyone. It's an academic work, thick like HERO 5th Edition, and not light reading. I'm also a historian, so I can dig this, but most gamers aren't; this is by far a better way to get this sort of information across, and man does it show just how different RPGs really are than most people today think that they are.

Side Note: Did you catch the bit about how player and character weren't separate and distinct for quite some time? We've long since gone full circle, once the fork in RPGs that lead to their videogame counterparts gets accounted for, especially in MMORPGs where Mech Piloting (as I call it) has long since been the norm (and thus easily facilitates such lack of distinction).

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Razorfist Pitches a Daredevil Game (Or "How To Give Value")

Never let it said that Razorfist didn't try to do something useful to improve the things he loves. Below, we see him try to find a way to get Daredevil and videogames together to make some sweet, sweet ludological lovechild. This is the archive of his livestream from the night before, so don't sit through it unless you've got nothing else to do, but it was worth attending live- try to do so.

That was over two hours of brilliance that anyone can do. While he entertains an audience by playing a game, he takes questions from said audience (who are live in the adjacent chatroom that the video does not show you), he brings in some revenue by taking donations from said audience, and he lays out his take on how a Daredevil game ought to go.

It's the first and the last part that's most useful, and because of that he is able to make taking questions something other than a shitshow dominated by trolls and garner the respect sufficient to make it cool to give him money. Folks do like to watch others play games, and folks like to talk about trying to make games, so when you seem to know what you're doing/talking about that gives others the impression that you're someone to listen to- even heed. That's because they see value in what you're giving to them.

Keep at that long enough, consistently enough, and you get a regular audience willing and able to earnestly and honestly ask you questions while you're live. Keep at it longer, and they'll give you money to help you keep the value coming. This is all about that "building an audience" thing that entertainers--and that is what you're doing here--talk about now and again. Your brand depends upon your authenticity (which is why "selling out" is a crime), and your value is what builds your authenticity.

And that, folks, is why chicks who trade on their tits to make it as a livestreamer rarely make it to the top. Fake Gamers.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Razorfist Concludes Mad Max Month: Fury Road Follies

Razorfist finished Mad Max Month with the last one, Fury Road. It get complicated.

I said that it gets complicated, but I mean that it gets more plotholes than a block of Swiss cheese. Razorfist loves the film, despite its deep and abiding flaws. I do not. However, it's clear the George Millar lost his mojo by this time and it shows on the screen. There's a reason for that: Mad Max is an extraneous character in his own film. There is nothing about this story, this plot, or any other part of this narrative that requires Max to be there to make it work. Furiosa could've--and should have--done it all herself. The film would have been a better, stronger, story had Millar had the balls to cut Max out entirely.

Which leads me to my chief objection: George Millar lied to me. He sold me a Mad Max film, and did not deliver. Bad as Thunderdome is, at least Max is a critical part of that trainwreck. The first is all about Max, and the second has Max as the catalyst that sets off the narrative and drives it forward. Even the game is all about Max. This film? He's a cypher, a nobody, without whom not one part of the actual story, beat for beat, changes. That's why it feels like sanctioned fan-fic (which is the most damning thing I can say, given that the creator helmed this film).

"Sanctioned fan-fic" cannot be tolerated as commercial products from IP holders. Like SJW Convergence, it does nothing but weaken the value of the IP and the reputation of the brand associated with it, and continued for too long it will lead to its collapse and fall into oblivion as the audience--repelled by the drop in quality--return the betrayal of expectations with mockery and abandonment. It has to be punished early, punished often, and punished severely if those who value the property wish it to endure, thrive, and continue to hold its value generations after its creation. The sake of our culture demands that this duty be done.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Convergence is Crookdom

Once thing I notice that the Fake Geeks, whatever part they infest, have in common is the presumption that because they control the traditional medium that they will always do so and therefore they win.

These Fake Geeks don't comprehend that The Internet Changed EVERYTHING. They're the Fake Geeks in SF/F that don't see how or why Castalia House is eating their lunch, or that Amazon already shattered the relevance of Traditional Publishing's entire business model (including the dying retail world). The Fake Geeks in tabletop gaming also cling to traditional retail being a relevant thing, despite online sales (and online play) already becoming more important. The Fake Geeks in videogames are still fixated on AAA and see indie only as the farm league.

They're short-sighted, lack vision, and betray their fakeness by being obsessed with status and signalling thereof over substance and competency. Of the latter, though at times difficult, the reliable tell is this: fundamental misunderstanding of the medium that they seek to dominate. They're wanting to be Grand Admiral Thrawn, and fail to be Lieutenant Fuckup.

They don't see that we don't need traditional retail. They don't see that we don't need traditional media coverage, or coverage from media converged by their fellow Fakes. They don't see that we don't need them at all. They are utterly, totally, completely disposable, expendable, and fungible- they can be replaced, so they are and they have.

They can't see it because they build nothing, understand nothing, and therefore can only use low cunning to co-opt and control all Mean Girl style- and even that falls before the exploitation of their glass jaws. (It's the soy, and the lack of lifting.) Build tall, build think, and you build strong enough to keep them out of the Alt-Geek stuff we're going to make to cut them out and route around them (correctly interpreting them as damage to get around)- especially if the response to entryism is a broken nose and a shattered ego. Fakes are crooks, and crooks get the rope.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Razorfist Presents: Razorfist Arcade - Underworld Ascendant

Last weekend, Razorfist held a livestream where he and Terran Gell took questions while playing through a very early demo build of Underworld Ascendant. He also showed that the studio working on this game actually knows how to handle the development of a game as well as create, maintain, and grow interest in it while you work on it.

As you can hear in the man's voice, he's a big fan of the old Ultima Underworld games. This is the same level of hype he has for the Elder Scrolls games (pre-Skyrim), so I know he's into it, and sine his taste in videogame RPGs is similar to my own then I know I'm going to want to keep an eye on it.

This is how you run a videogame Kickstarter. You allow your backers to play your builds specifically to get useful feedback from your intended audience. You allow them to make videos or livestream their play of the builds so they do your hype-building for you, and let them pass on useful feedback garnered to you in turn. You don't need to take time out to do it yourselves; you merely curate the ones done by your backers and spread those links around instead.

This is what real gaming, real gamers, real game design, and real game publishing looks like folks. This is how you do it properly, and not relying on millions spend on ad campaigns by people who don't know gamers or gaming or give a shit about either. Just as the tabletop gaming world doesn't need mass media mindfuckers to shill for thrills, neither does the videogame world; we can, we should, and we are better served by doing it entirely ourselves through direct word-of-mouth networking facilitated by a free and open Internet.

We don't need Fake Media and the Fake People that come with it. Time them to fuck off forever.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

My Life as a Gamer: "Legion" is the Beginning of the End for "World of Warcraft"

Today, World of Warcraft launched its biggest content patch since the launch of Legion. This is Patch 7.3, "Shadows of Argus", and it's the continuation of the expansion's narrative payoff. This is the final act, narratively speaking, for not only this specific expansion, but also for the game as a whole.

The reason I say this is because, when this expansion concludes, one of the biggest villains--and the faction he controls--shall be struck down (and the faction destroyed, respectively). When I say "big", I mean "cosmological" levels of bigness. The leader of Big Evil in the game, until now, will be gone.

The problem is that the only way to go is to take on the actual Big Evil in the game's cosmology now, which is where everyone not on the WOW development team expects that this will go. As with Wrath of the Lich King, the devs have once more written themselves into a corner. There is no way that this doesn't result in the game's final expansion before Trump completes his second term; this is the beginning of the end for World of Warcraft.

And I think some of the senior people on the team know it. There's only so long you can play the up-and-onward escalation game before, like Gurren Lagann you reach the Final Boss and that is that: win or lose, you're done. There's no more worlds to conquer, and the game is all about finding and wrecking opposition for glory and treasure, so the game is done.

Quite frankly, it's about time. As fans know too well, no king rules forever. Sooner or later, the top dog has to go out. If the folks at Blizzard don't see this as the case, then the chances are that they're going to fuck it up so profoundly by trying stave off the inevitable that--in classic Greek style--they will only hasten it instead.

Joseph Campbell has a great quote from The Hero With a Thousand Faces that's relevant here: A god outgrown immediately becomes a life-destroying demon. That's what happens when you try to retain something whose time has gone; it becomes cancerous, and turns against what it once sustained. As it is in real life, so it is in the virtual worlds we create.

I give this game, at most, the full eight years expected of President Trump's administration. If it still here after that, either it will do so vainly to extend its life and position, or will be "World of Warcraft" in name only and actually be another game entirely. Neither is preferable to just letting the game die.

Learn to let things go when their time is gone. Just as you cannot resist an idea whose time has come, neither can you retain an idea whose time has gone. So it is with all that lives.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Tip That Fedora Faster, WOTC: Making D&D "More Queer"?

Kotaku posts an article where Wizards of the Coast wants to make Dungeons & Dragons "more queer".

Motherfucker, what does that even mean? How the hell do you take a medium of entertainment derived from, and still driven under, tabletop wargame norms "more queer"?

This is the most nothing nothingburger I've seen out of virtue-signalling faggotry in gaming in years, and that includes such train wrecks as the entire Walking Simulator genre in videogames, bullshit non-games as "Breaking The Ice", whatever retarded crap comes out of the SJWs calling themselves the "Storygames" crew, and some dumb pretentious crap out of whatever the ex-White Wolf people call themselves this week.

Tabletop RPGs work just like the wargames they're a fork of: you get a scenario, you have objectives to reach, resources to work with, constraints to work around, and rewards for success (because failure usually means death). Who your man is does not matter. Certainly not where your man likes to wet his dipstick.

Since "queer" isn't even a consideration, how you do make this "more queer" without perverting it into something it is not or just inserting bullshit that doesn't matter and can be completely ignored at the table? You can't, and--try as the SJW death cultists at WOTC might--you won't. There is nothing preventing users from just excising whatever they don't want from their game at their table.

Which means that this is futile, nothing more than a waste of time and resources on empty platitudes that have no substance, add no value, and just piss the audience (and therefore the customers). I'd like to see the moron(s) behind this fired, blackballed, and sent to their rooms without supper. But Wizards of the Coast is wholly SJW-converged (as is Paizo and most of the tabletop RPG "industry") so all that will happen is a lot of sound and fury about Muh Diversity and Muh Representation and then it quietly goes away when the data comes back that it's a stinker that's sinking the brand and the game.

Die in a fire WOTC, and take Paizo and the rest of the SJWs in the Seattle-Tacoma era with you. Better that the scene be dominated by Kevin Siembieda than you incompetent death cultist morons. You are all Fake Gamers, and more and more of us see you accordingly. We don't need you, or your Fake D&D (or your other Fake RPGs); we can--and have, and do--roll our own. All hail the Old-School Renaissance.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

No Catwoman For The Shadow

Here I am, wondering what I'm going to write here on the main blog today, when I see this come over my Twitter feed. Of course, it's a Razorfist post featuring The Shadow, and it is BRILLIANT!

And that, folks, is why The Shadow shall always be superior to Batman. He nips problems in the bud well before they become chronic conditions.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

It's Been a Great Week for Geek Gab

This has been a hell of a good week for the Geek Gab gang. All three of the podcasts aired this week, and all three are worthy of your attention.

Brian Niemeier's "On The Books" is one of the best writer and writing-focused podcasts around, especially for those that prefer to listen to such things on their breaks at work. This short episode got well into the subject, as it matters to those making the things, and then took off when they got the job done. You can count on this sort of thing on the regular from Brian on this show. If you're not either tuning in live (preferred, due to the live chat)

Friday, August 25, 2017

Expectations In Action: Razorfist on the Mad Max Videogame

While I addressed last week's video about Beyond Thunderdome at the Study (see "Other Blogs" above), since Razorfist gave me a great opportunity to talk about storytelling, this is about the videogame prequel to Fury Road so it's here.

I've watch Razorfist and Oliver Campbell livestream playthroughs of this game. I think it's better, as a story, than Fury Road. As a game, it is much as Razorfist says: clunky, glicthy, and otherwise unfinished copies of mechanics seen in better games previous to this one.

That usually means two things: Executive Meddling and Unrealistic Expectations. Further, it's usually the former that builds upon the latter which creates shitshows like this game. Remember what I'd been hammering all week? Here it is, in action, again. Had the team been properly managed (they weren't), this would've been a fantastic hit and not only benefited from the associated film's release, but also returned the favor by making the film look better by being so good itself. (Instead, both were deeply flawed fuckups.)

You don't do a Mad Max game without knowing what the audience, without you promising a damned thing, expects. You should already be familiar with the existing films, and in this case with the new film you're intended to tie into, and therefore know what is already expected of you before writing a single bit of code. That's what we have here: a game made by people who don't comprehend what is expected by the audience. That they managed to make it good enough to compare favorably its movie is significant on multiple levels.

Go watch some playthrough videos, such as Razorfist's recent ones, and see for yourself. Fulfilling the expectations set is key to success, and that did not happen here. Had that been the case, we would have seen a huge hit. Learn from these examples, and adjust yourself accordingly in all things.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

It's About Making Expectations Conform to Reality

For the last two days, I've talked about the necessity of setting and fulfilling expectations when you're doing business. EA and DICE have screwed the pooch more than once, and did again the other day, which is a fundamental factor contributing to their trouble making the sort of Star Wars games that BioWare and LucasArts formerly did. Blizzard Entertainment are far better about this, but they are not perfect and you will see missteps from them.

It doesn't matter what you do. If you're writing a book (regardless of genre), making a movie, cutting a podcast, manufacturing the next great safari rifle, coming up with a better soda than anything ever done, or running for office you're going to have to figure out how to ensure that the expectations that you set for your endeavor matches up with what you actually deliver upon.

Like the folks at Blizzard, I've had--and am having--to learn this by doing, fortunately through observing others' mistakes more than my own. (Another vital skill and habit you must cultivate; you don't have enough time to learn-by-doing all on your own.) This is why I don't talk up my stuff that much; I learned to wait until I have substance before I bring the hype train out of the yard.

I'll return to this as a recurring topic in the future, both the successes and the failures, so that everyone can learn from the examples, but for now it's enough to hammer the point one more time:

Success requiring ensuring that you fulfill the expectations that you set.

The rest is details.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

The New World of Warcraft Patch Looks Good

Yesterday, I talked about setting expectations and how fulfilling them is key to winning and keeping your audience (because they are the buyers who make your business work). The folks at Blizzard Entertainment did one of their livestreams from Gamescom today, and the World of Warcraft did a reveal on the 7.3 Patch (which goes live next week). Whatever else they do, they're getting good at matching the setting and fulfillment of expectations. Observe.

That's the start of the hype train, the setting of expectations, and in this respect the WOW team at Blizzard are no different from their colleagues at EA or DICE. The difference is that they're far better at matching the set-up to the payoff, and here's one of the big tools used: videos to summarize and display what you actually get. This is the tempering of expectations.

This is before the patch goes live. Players can be told, here and how, what they're getting when the thing goes live. They don't have to follow livestreams. They don't have to watch endless videos. They don't have to suffering through WOWhead's shit coding to find information. They can just watch one short video and have their expectations properly set so when they start playing next week what they see and what they get will be in line with what they expect.

That this has to be pointed out, time and again, to people creating entertainment in all media says that there is a fundamental crisis of basic business competency throughout the world. This is despite the fact that "Underpromise and overdeliver." is so old as to be Ancient Wisdom. How do you fuck this up so badly or so often?

Yes, there's a bit more at work here--the dev team have finally gotten a content release pace that actually works, so now all we dread is another year of Final Patch Syndrome--as the final raid instance won't be open until closer to Halloween. Pacing release of content also matters, but that's for another post; for now, what matters is that know what to expect and when to expect it also plays into the proper setting and fulfillment of audience expectation that anyone with two brain cells to rub together has to figure out if they want to retain (nevermind expand) a loyal base of paying customers.

And if you think this only applies to videogames, you have not been paying attention to film, television, comics, SF/F, or any other business or political environment. This is fundamental to success in any such endeavor, and you can tell the fuckups by how routinely they get this wrong.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

EA/DICE's Battlefront II Isn't Looking That Good

Recently, EA & DICE released this trailer for Star Wars Battlefront II. As with the others, this is very well done and did much to build up a hype train.

Some motherfuckers at EA and DICE need to go back to Business School, because they keep fucking up the fundamental rule of Expectations: If you cannot fulfill the expectations that you set, then your customers will take your failure for betrayal and desert you. Yesterday, at a press event at Gamescom, this failure of expectation again appeared.

Yeah, that's actual gameplay footage from the Gamescom event. You had several issues present, but theose that will wreck this if it's not fixed before launch are the following:

  • The fighters aren't fast enough. Go back and watch that trailer again. Go watch clips of the movies, or of Rebels and The Clone Wars (plenty on YouTube alone), where dogfighting happens. Do you not see that speed in action? Compare that to this gameplay footage, and you can see that they're slow and sluggish all around. I know why this is the case: the actual gameplay arena is too damn small to properly recreate the desired experience. They pussied out, again. Attack speed is way faster than what we see here, which is cruising speed at best. Don't tell me that this can't be done; it has been done, decades ago, with the X-Wing/TIE Fighter series. Someone's either cheaping out, or is too incompetent to do it properly.
  • The fighters' specs are WRONG. Bombers are NOT flying tanks, yet that's what we're seeing (especially the TIE Bomber), and some dumbfuck is going to go all "Muh Gameplay!" as the excuse. Motherfucker, that's not how bombers works, and your own source material directly contradicts this bullshit time and again. There's also way too much ordinance flying around; this should be far more about gunnery than missile trajectories, as it uses pre-Beyond Visual Range dogfighting as its inspiration. More Dakka, Less Itano Circus. Let's hope the Clone Wars stuff isn't so bad.
  • Not enough reason to group up. Dogfighting, even in Star Wars is a team sport, but the game doesn't reward this enough (or punish Leeroy Jenkins enough), so you get An Heroes flying around trying to win battles by themselves and then wonder why it ain't working. Especially for TIE pilots, this has to be pushed and pushed hard. This? This is lazy as fuck.
  • Objective focus is not strong enough. Flat-out, the matches need to be solely about getting your job done; all the readouts on individual efforts are not only distracting, they promote Leeroy bullshit over proper teamwork. Not only should you get no readout on your performance until the match is over, you should get no reward for anything that does not directly and immediately push the objective. This is a team effort; work as a team for the team's goal or get the fuck out. (This is also present for the ground-pounder side of the game.)

While this is a clear improvement over the 2015 game, it's still not fulfilling the expectations set by their own marketing, and if they don't fix that right now then the game will meet the same fate as the previous Battlefront: have a pop at its launch, and then crater once word of mouth gets out (especially via livestreams) that it's still a shallow and hollow experience by people who--contrary to marketing--don't know what they're doing and don't care enough to figure that out so they can do it right.

Barring a miracle, this is also getting a pass. Don't pre-order this game; wait for your trusted people to give you the good word before you spend those hard-earned sheckles, and if that never comes then give it the hard pass and punt it entirely.

And when you get the chance, you tell Lucasfilm, EA and everyone else whose corporate brands on this game that they failed to meet the expectations that they set. Until they either stop writing checks with their mouths that they're asses can't cash, or they adjust their hype so they set expectations that they actually can meet, No Money For You!

Monday, August 21, 2017

My Life in Fandom: Good Reads for Your Monday

It's Monday, and for those of you with a normal workweek, it's SuckDay. By now you should be well into the daily de-stress, so if you're not catching up on yesterday's Metro City Boys podcast you may be looking for good news. While I am thrilled that my submission for the PulpRev Sampler Anthology got accepted, that may not boost your morale. Likewise, while I enjoy Vox Day's Darkstreams, that's not everyone's cup of tea either. (By the way, A Throne of Bones is free on Kindle today only. Get on that.) So, here's something good to get your spirits up.

This week is Gamescom in Cologne, Germany. It's the biggest videogame event in Europe, and two of my streamer pals are going to be there as guests of Blizzard Entertainment (because they're World of Warcraft streamers). Blizzard already announced that they're adding Kel'Thuzad to Heroes of the Storm, Junktown is coming to Overwatch, and they've got regional finals to qualify for BlizzCon going on also. EA & DICE have more hype to spread about Star Wars Battlefront II, and SquareEnix just released the announcement for the PC version of Final Fantasy XV.

GenCon was last weekend. I wish I could say there was something truly astounding coming out, but I haven't seen anything yet. (That is not the same as "There is nothing." If you've got something, put it in the Comments below.) What I did see, however, is now on my Wish List for my birthday and Christmas: Fantasy Flight Games announced a 30th Anniversary edition of the original West End Games version of the Star Wars tabletop RPG.

Oh, and if you haven't read Daddy Warpig's post at Castallia's blog on How to Write Pulp, fix that now. Great read. Those who heed this advice will, in time, become the true successors to E.E. Smith, E.R Burroughs, R.E. Howard, H.P. Lovecraft, Walter B. Gibson, and the other past masters of the Pulps.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

My Life as a Gamer: Tabletop Scratches for Mad Max Itches

In addition to Car Wars, tabletop gaming has other offering to get your Mad Max fix, but most of them are not in print anymore. (Which is sad, depending on your tastes.) I'll go over two that I know of, and I'll welcome others in the Comments.

Dark Future was Games Workshop's go at this genre, and like Steve Jackson's Car Wars they decided to up-gun the vehicles for the same of making it easier to design and play. This is a boardgame, and not a role-playing game at all, not even the bone thrown in Car Wars is present here. You're either one of the Outlaws or one of the Bounty Hunters after them. Being a Games Workshop game that wasn't one of the two main Warhammer games, it got some hype and then shelved Because Reasons.

If this sounds interesting, and you're willing to either hunt down used stuff or roll your own, hit up Future Highways and get started. Otherwise, you can wait for Auroch Digital's PC adaptation which they hope to have out this year so hit up the Steam Page.

Maybe you want something else? A proper RPG, perhaps?

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Narrative Warfare: Disney Star Wars is a Train Wreck

Recently I posted about a YouTube channel by the name of "Midnight's Edge", as that channel covers the ongoing trainwreck that is the Star Trek franchise and the imminent failure of Star Trek: Discovery. If you haven't checked out that channel and watched their videos on the matter, please do so; the inside baseball alone makes it worthwhile.

Of course I wanted to find one for Star Wars, and--while by no means as informed on the business end as the Midnight's Edge crew--the people at World Class Bullshitters. They're a crude bunch at times, but they are on point. Watch, but not with young kids around.

What got my attention was this video by one of the crew therein talking about how the merchandise is still rotting on the shelves, especially Rey and Finn action figures.

Remember the source of George Lucas' wealth: getting merchandise rights from 20th Century Fox over Star Wars. He had no shame in turning every possible element of the film into something you could be in the store, and we who grew up with it remember that too well. Of course Disney would continue doing that, and--hear me out here--this is a smart idea.

The problem is that you have incompetent twats driven by ideology over data calling the shots. The reason this is not a bad idea is that you can track your merchandise sales to find indicators of what your audience is, what they like, and what they would rather punt down a shaft into the Death Star's reactor. Use that data to improve your product.

I can hear the MBAs going "Basic Bitch Business 101, duh." from here. Guys, Lucasfilm doesn't do this because it's run by cultist ideologues. You'd think the combination of (a) all that Rey merch rotting on the shelves, (b) massive fan hate for Rey, and (c) equally bad mockery of Rey would result in a top-down directive to change fucking course but that's not happening because Lucasfilm's head is a death cultist pushing Muh Feminism as an executive mandate.

In short, you have an irrational business plan being implemented and enforced by an irrational individual working off Muh Feels and not any objective data or other empirical information- other than how to deflect criticism of The Narrative. Comics, games, movies, TV- all the same bullshit, for the same reasons, producing the same results and getting the same reactions: Double-Down! This is textbook insanity, folks, driving by a textbook cult.

And that's why I can only hope that the crash is truly colossal and catastrophic, because nothing less will dislodge the death cult from the franchise so it can be taken up by sober-minded people who know how to run a global media corporation competently. (Yes, that means taking Lucas back on in an advisory capacity; don't force him back in the driver's seat--he's retired, so let him stay there--but listen to him when he talks about his own creation, dammit.)

In the meantime, I encourage everyone who has the skill and the will to do so to fork and replace Star Wars. It's long past time for Alt-Culture to become a thing.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Narrative Warfare: Pay No Attention to the Men Behind the Curtain

The Supreme Dark Lord threw out a great summary of the real axis of conflict in the world now, and did it in a Tweet:

He's not saying anything new. Alex Jones said it years ago, and he was not the first either. What's different now is that the social mood shifted, and--despite appearances--not to the Globalist's favor. This is something few understand, but Vox Day does- and so does the God-Emperor.

Remember that Voltaire quote, the one about knowing who rules over you by what you cannot say? There's a corollary, and it comes as measuring the weakness of a position by the vehemence leveled at those who challenge it. You don't see massive coordinated hits if the threat is not real and viable; that's not strength or confidence. That's fear and anxiety acting out as freak-outs. They're going to the big guns now, because they fear--rightly so--that if they don't annihilate us now then they won't be able to later.

What they don't know is that it's already too late for them. The de-platforming looks potent, but it's not; workarounds and other replacements already exist, already are in place, and already blunt the impact down to inconvenience levels of damage. That's why I said the other day that this will escalate next to SJWs in banking getting activated and deployed to cut off credit and deny access to financial services (including one's own personal accounts); this is a moment that they cannot let pass, so they are all-in with a hand that's weaker than they think it is.

What was true at the time of the Tower of Babel is true today, here and now: a one-world state is impossible, contrary to Natural Law, and doomed to fail no matter how it is attempted or who attempts it. The People's Republic China alone is sufficient to put down this folly, and that government is by no means on the side of the angels. That's before accounting for other countries who are capable of resisting (e.g. Japan).

No, what we are seeing here is an incompetent international body of death cultists freaking out and deploying their disposable cult army (covered by their minions in the media and government) to cover their asses before they get seized and dragged off to courts they don't control to be tried by officials they don't own under laws they did not write and condemned by judges they don't own for crimes they most certainly did commit and get displayed as examples for one and all what happens to traitors and quislings (since it did not take last time).

And once the lawsuits by the Alt-Tech Alliance members against Big Social get going (or, for some, just complaints to the Federal Trade Commission, or its foreign counterparts), that's the point where this rearguard action turns into a retreat to the banking sector (which will bring on more lawsuits and complaints) prior to it becoming a rout. At that point, the physical violence will escalate to home invasions, which will be so badly done that the FBI will immediately get involved and RICO prosecutions ensue.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Narrative Warfare: The Goal of Big Social's Censorship

Today's post comes from a Tweetstorm written by Daddy Warpig. I will not embed the entire thread, but I will quote it in its entirety. Rather, I will quote the first Tweet (so you can click through and read for yourself thereafter), and then blockquote the rest.

The Left wants the new social norm to be "Anyone who criticizes Leftwing violence is a Nazi, and they will be dealt with as such." It's blatant intimidation tactics. They intend that, if you criticize Antifa, BLM, or any other Leftwing violence, you will be punished.

They want you to think that Apple will turn off Apple Pay, YouTube will demonetize you, Cloudflare will drop you, and you will be fired. Not to mention the implicit threat of—and often actual manifestation of—violence.

"Cross us and we will destroy your life."

I'm not saying they can do this, or will do this.

But they want you to think they will.

Self censorship is most effective censorship.

But one thing they can and will do is this:

They will do their damndest to make you socially radioactive.

They will tar you as a Nazi.

They will smear you on social media, at your job, in the news media, to your friends, anywhere they can. It's ugly and vicious, and I don't see it going away anytime soon.

Welcome to the (for now) New Normal, courtesy America's Left.

In short, what this really is comes down to nagging harridans screeching like the harpies that they are. Do you want to know how you handle this problem? You stand up, take a deep breath, and proclaim I don't care! Then you backhand the harridans until they stop, one way or the other.

What they can't do, and they know they can't do, is exterminate their targets' online presence entirely. They know that the Alt-Tech Alliance exists, as they've constantly come at Gab to show that this is true, and they fear the potential for an unassailable parallel Internet infrastructure where their shaming attacks have no power. Why? This makes censorship useless.

Want to know why the Alt-Left escalated to domain seizures and working ICANN? Because that's the next level where they are able to strike with potency, and already there's a move to build a free speech registrar with DDOS protection services. Payment processors are already coming up and gaining purchase. That's why, as I said yesterday, this ends with Alt-Banking becoming a thing.

Anti-fragility is a real thing, and as more people targeted by the Alt-Left see that they can become so by siding against them in this manner, that's going to take the bite out of this censorship- and move the fight into the courts and legislatures while attacks in the streets escalate.

And once that happens, this becomes a fight we will win.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Narrative Warfare: We're Going To Need Alt-Banking

It's going to come down to the banks, and with it the international central banking system. As the Alt-Left continues to freak out and move to silence, de-platform, render homeless, etc. their targets the Alt-Tech Alliance will continue to outmanuever them by their creation of parallels that fork and replace the SJW-converged companies and institutions. This will freak the Alt-Left out further, and compel an escalation of their censorship schemes.

In time, this will move from the tech world to the financial world. The point of departure will be the success of payment processor replacements such as Hatreon and crowd-source alternatives such as Wesearcher and Counter-Fund. At that point, the Alt-Left will lean on the SJWs in the banking sector to cut off all banking service access entirely. The resistance here will escalate to the point where the central banks will sever access to the system, at which point the final nail will be place: the replacement of the global banking system in its entirety.

By that time, the digital balkanization that Vox Day speaks of here will have passed the Point of No Return. I expect that physical balkanization will be close to the same level of development, as that which cannot co-exist will not. Either one side exterminates the others, or they separate more-or-less peacefully into homogenous enclaves to resume peaceful existence with their own kind.

And when that happens, a decentralized alternative to the current global central banking system will not only exist, it will be utterly necessary and proper. If you know some based bankers, now's the time to get them into the Alt-Tech Alliance and get them on the task of setting that up and putting out based alternatives.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Narrative Warfare: The Attempt of Narrative Genocide in the United States

Dragon Award-winner (and nominee again this year) Brian Niemeier had a great post at his blog, Kairos, today. The substance of the post concerns how the Leftists seized control over all of the institutions surrounding the cultivation, publication, and promotion of Science Fiction in the 20th Century. Specifically, the erasure of history therein in order to promulgate a new political narrative so that their cultural corruption can continue with little or no opposition.

Does this look familiar to you?

The death cult known as "ISIS" routinely vandalizes and destroys all cultural relics and institutions in the areas that they seize and hold. The purpose is to erase the culture of the conquered so that resistance to indoctrination and assimilation into their slime mold culture ceases to exist. A people that does not control their past has no future. It does not matter to what those relics or institutions belong; they are not of the cult, so they are Other and must be obliterated. This is celebrated as "justice".

Does this sound familiar to you?

The Alt-Left (Praise be to the God-Emperor for making that term known.), by way of their Antifa front, are no less a death cult. They too seek to destroy the history of the American nation, first with its institutions (see Gramasci's "Long March") and now with the relics placed as physical anchors for our history and heritage.

Why?

The goal is the same: to seize control of the culture by erasing all outside its grasp. This is Narrative Genocide.

It's straight out of Orwell's 1984. Stalin could not have done better than what the Alt-Left traitors--and yes, if you seek to genocide the history and culture of the American nation, while claiming allegiance or citizenship thereto, you are traitors--are doing now. Fortunately, the Attorney General is already investigating the Charlottesville affair; once the charges come for the major, the deputy major, and Governor McAulliffe (all of whom knew of, participated in, and gave orders to support government agents' willful abandonment of their duties) the crackdown on Antifa and their allies will come in earnest.

And such action comes none too soon. We're already pushing perilously close to countrywide political violence, aided and abetted by traitors in city, county, and state-level government. If the Rule of Law is to survive, then the hammer has to come down now and come down like the fist of an angry God upon one and all. Not just charges, but felony convictions with life-ending prison terms in maximum level security prisons. Let's see how well these fools do in a yard filled with hardened gangsters- many of which look on them with utter contempt.

The alternative is Civil War. If that occurs, then kiss the demographic trends goodbye- along with the Republic.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Narrative Warfare: Big Social SJWs Double-Down

The Big Social push to exercise editorial control by choosing, on political grounds alone, what users may exist or do therein will backfire. There are legal doctrines in place that those affected can resort to for remedy, and we shall see lawsuits succeed based on those doctrines presently. Discord, thanks to a rat-out by Laura Loomer, removed the Alt-Right server; this is exactly that sort of control, and it will hurt them badly in Federal court when--under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and the Communications Decency Act--those affect do bring the pain back to the whip-wielders. (By the way, file those suits as soon as you can; Discovery alone will compel settlement.)

If the management at those corporations were actually competent, they would be as silent as the grave on all political matters; they would not heed any political pushes from without, and ruthlessly purge political agents within. Unforced political activism is bad for business, and not just because it gives rivals and enemies an opening due to one's own unforced errors. (By contrast, when such is forced, it can and does get results; the anti-gun traitors still haven't figured out why they're losing, and it's because they forced the gun industry to be politically active to stay in business.)

The reason I don't take this Big Social threat more seriously is because the Alt-Tech Alliance is already at work forking and replacing every one of these SJW-converged corporations with properly-run alternatives. I'm already at Gab and Minds, and as soon as a non-SJW replacement for YouTube comes along I'll set up there. (Yes, I have a Vidme account; it's as active as my YT account.) I use Brave for my browser, and I'm looking at email replacements. (Once done, the current ones will be depreciated to spam-filters and non-serious use.)

So the big threat of Big Social? Not that much of a threat. But what is a real threat? Legal entanglements. Which reminds me: I live in a state where "criminal defamation" is a thing, so do mind the language and do your homework, lest you fly into my state and right into the arms of the State Patrol with an outstanding arrest warrant for you.