I started this off on kind of a grim note, but I want to leave on a hopeful one. 2016 was a fucking mess for a lot of us. It’ll continue to be a mess going forward. A lot of people are freaking out and despairing over this, and it’s understandable--but it doesn’t have to be the only reaction. Games have been a major thing that’s kept me going through all the hard times of my life, this year and all years prior, first as a player and later as a developer. It’s easy to downplay games as a whole as being somewhat trivial or just for idle distraction, but that’s a failure of imagination. Games can tell powerful stories, connect us to each other, or even just make the day easier to get through when we need it. Making games can lets us make tiny worlds that are nice to spend some time in, or more closely resemble the ones we wish we lived in and invite others into them with us. There’s so much power to do so many good things with that, and the easiest way to remind yourself of the good in the world is to create more of it.
So if you’ve ever felt like you want to make a game, there’s no better time than the present. I mean that as more than a platitude--the free tools, information, and other resources available to help you do just that are more numerous than ever. I’ve made some that might be useful to you if you don’t know where to start. If making games would make your world a little brighter, or if you want to make other people’s worlds a little brighter too, I can’t suggest just giving it a try enough.
Undertale and Minecraft are two of the biggest "indie games" to make it big, both financially and culturally. People encourage their friends to get into both, not just because they're amazing (for certain values of "amazing") but also because they want to discuss these things with you, and they need you to understand their shared vocabulary in order to do so.
This shared vocabulary enables people to create art that can be widely understood and appreciated. Hence, the piles of Undertale fanwork, up to and including professionally-made musical productions; and the intricate Minecraft creations, up to and including Turing-complete redstone computers.
There are problems with this kind of cultural ubiquity, though. For starters, the amount of attention given to "hit games" literally starves others.
( Read more... )
tl;dr I'm bitter about my fanfiction not being noticed, and should probably just learn to write stuff others like. Damned if I'm not saving *Mute first, though, and damned if I'm giving up on writing meaningful things for underserved minority groups.
Dungeons and Dragons (and its successor, Pathfinder) uses a mechanic called "alignment" to describe your character's morals. It consists of a Good / Evil axis and a Lawful / Chaotic axis, with the possibility of being "Neutral" on either or both.
A lot of people have discarded the alignment system, seeing it as neither a fun game mechanic nor a useful way of understanding people. We don't really like it as it's implemented in Pathfinder, but we feel like the Planescape campaign setting for D&D really showed what kind of potential it has both for storytelling and philosophy.
Planescape portrayed the Chaotic Neutral afterlife as a "Limbo" of swirling clouds of random matter, which change so often as to be essentially formless and static. It noted that there are "anarchs" who can reshape the landscape at a whim, but did not seem to think much of them.
We think that if someone were to make a game where you play as one, though, it'd look something like Microsoft's Project Spark ...
... either that, or the Internet.
Floating islands of games, stories, and content, connected by threads of imagination and lit by sparks of wonder. That's what we feel it'd be like, to live in a realm of pure creativity and personal expression.
We were always told that we'd get to create (and populate) worlds, in the Mormon afterlife. But that was always used as an excuse, to keep us from doing so here and now. We had to "endure to the end," first, and then somehow we'd go from a Lawful lifestyle of self-negation to an eternity of fulfillment. Either that, or we would be destroyed and replaced by someone who would be fulfilled as a Mormon.
I think our family of origin still wants that for us.
I think that's what all conservative religious people mean, when they talk about "loving the sinner but hating the sin."