Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Wordpress Move: Finalized

New blog is here: http://jakejesson.wordpress.com/

And I'm transitioning to using that now.

My current plan, unless I change my mind, is to start punting comments away to the equivalent post on Wordpress.

I'm not currently planning to do much cross-posting, but we'll see.

UPDATE: Deleted a few recent duplicated posts. If you came here looking for them, you'll find them at the link above.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Wordpress Move

I'm moving this blog to Wordpress. Blogger just doesn't have the kind of features that I sort of expect. Not that Wordpress-Free-Version is perfect either, but it seems initially to be significantly better. Been considering this & researching it for a long while, and I think it's finally time.

Especially because the major blog I read these days is John Scalzi's Wordpress-based "Whatever" and I keep envying the format, dammit.

Not quite sure if I'm going to continue to cross-post content here. I'm also not quite sure if I should move all my old posts to Blogger. Currently I'm leaning towards cross-posting new content (though that might be a little... eh), and importing just the posts from the beginning of this year.

EDIT: Okay, Wordpress has an excellent import tool. Now if I can just get the auto-tweeting functionality...

EDITx2: And that's done too. I think I'm going to take off the auto-tweet on this blog for now...


I got another comment from my new friend "sfg", which I've deleted from this post for being off-topic. But, for the curious, I am going to reply to that in a post on the Wordpress blog.

Any further off-topic comments on this blog - for instance, further troll comments to this post - will be deleted. Just an FYI.

Torment Post x9 Combo: The Queer Thing IV

A follow-up on the David Gaider thing from this post: http://jakejesson.blogspot.com/2013/03/torment-post-x6-combo-queer-thing.html 

The Torment devs deleted the 'Gayder panders to minorities!' thread from their forums entirely. Apparently they agreed that it was rather disgusting.

But not before Gaider himself responded, on the Bioware forums...

 Ha! I see I've become synonymous with BioWare, have I? Clearly I am responsible for everything BioWare decides to do. smilie

Rather telling, to be honest. I do enjoy the "excessive pandering to minorities" comment-- because giving content to anyone that isn't part of the majority is clearly bad and unworthy. Pandering to the interests of a small group of hardcore elitist homophobes, however? SO much better. 
I don't know why fans feel the burning need to imagine developers are at each other's throats. Like I said earlier, I look forward to seeing what the Numenara team comes up with. Should be very different and cool, and I imagine the developers don't need the kind of "guidance" that poll is offering to make it amazing.

Context: http://social.bioware.com/forum/1/topic/13/index/15532880/6#16349642

All this is doing is tempting me to try to pre-order Dragon Age 3 (or get it shortly after launch) depending on available funds, which til now I'd only done with Skyrim (and that was a gift) & Torment: Numenera.

It also makes me want to get Dragon Age 1 & 2 for PS3 despite already having them for PC.

And it's making me a pretty big fan of Gaider & Bioware. I already enjoyed their stuff, even though their games do have flaws that I could go into. But all this undeserved hate JUST for allowing queer people to exist and *gasp* letting you romance them just makes me want to fanboy at them forever.

(Good thing I'm allergic to that and just tend to more harshly criticize the things I love... usually, anyway. :P)


UPDATE: Ha! I found how the thread deletion happened:
@ColinMcComb You might want to get some moderation on the Uservoice. Getting kinda reddit in there http://bit.ly/13gL6d2

@koshare2 Thanks for pointing this out. I'll see what we can do.

@ColinMcComb Thanks, Colin. You're honestly the first person in a long time who actually makes me a little bit proud to be a "gamer." :)

@koshare2 That was seriously just some skeevy crap. Ew.


EDIT: Looks like I attracted a troll. As their comment was not interesting enough to merit a reply, it has been deleted.  

Nota bene: If you're going to troll, be entertaining, otherwise, don't bother, because I'm just going to delete your comments.

EDITx2: My new friend is a spammer, so I'm going to temporarily disallow comments on this post. :)

One of their new comments made me laugh, though, so I'm going to quote the part that entertained me:
Deleting my comment, huh? Don't like being called for the agenda pusher that you are? Get the hell out of video games.
 They continued onward with more generic vitriol, but it wasn't entertaining enough to be quoted.


EDITx3: hahahahahahahhahahahahahahaha


I spent the entire morning lurking on the RPG Codex before posting this. Fuckin' brilliant.

I think the main thing I take issue with is being called "butthurt". I mean, I don't have any reason to be butthurt here. Everything's turned out exactly as I wanted. But ah well, you can't have everything.

I also replied to that thread. For the clue-free, I am thedeadlymoose. If my comment isn't approved out of the moderation queue, here it is (though it might not make sense out of context):
I'm not gonna lie. This is my favorite thing ever.

After months of lurking, I didn't think 'y'all finding my incredibly shitty personal blog' would be the thing to make me actually sign up an account.

I can't think of a better set of people to incoherently tear me a new asshole. <3 br="">
Also, hi, Hiver!

By the way, Hiver: yes, the fact that you're beta-testing did get me to raise my backer level. :P

If that's how it's gonna work, hopefully the fact that I will also be beta-testing will get some more of you motherfuckers to raise your tiers as well. Otherwise I might fag the entire game up with my gay mind control.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Torment Post x8 Combo: The Queer Thing III

....and Colin McComb, in two separate places, has now directly addressed all the concerns I had!

Colin McComb is the creative lead, the guy running this entire fuckin' shebang, so I really could not be happier. Seriously. I'm ecstatic.

Regarding 'letting queer people exist', he responded to this question:
 Reading your interview about Torment on the Penny Arcade Report, I get the sense that you want to downplay player romances as a thing, and I can get behind that. Could you speak to whether or not LGBT characters will be in the game at all?
 With this reply:
Sure they will. But we're just going to put them in, and we're not going to make a big deal about their inclusion. In other words, they're here, they're queer, and so what? :)

That is, we're not *making an effort* to include them. We're just including them. Here's Numenera writer/editor Shanna Germain's post on the subject (read down): http://shannagermain2.wordpress.com/2013/01/28/why-i-love-building-the-ninth-world/
The asker replied:
 That's a relief; the way you seemed to dodge the question in the interview made me a little worried. Glad to see that concern was unfounded. In an industry that treats any inclusion as a effort, it's hard not to make assumptions.
To which I can say: HEAR, HEAR. (And to Colin's comment, FUCK YES.)

Original context here: http://www.formspring.me/CMcComb/q/438826247087218058 (until Formspring shuts down, which I hear it's gonna)

If you're wondering why Colin felt the need to specify the 'not *making an effort* thing', since it's a non sequiter from the question - it's because (I'm guessing) he, like the other Torment devs, is well aware of the accusation of 'pandering' at the suggestion of including queer characters at all.

It's the typical debate tactic of the anti-gay, since it easily wins over people who are casually reading it and don't necessarily understand the subject. And his reply tells me that he does understand the subject, which is honest to gods a huge relief.

Regarding the romance thing, Colin also covered that in this interview: http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2013-03-22-torments-USD3-5m-kickstarter-stretch-goal-is-obsidians-chris-avellone

Relevant quote:
"While we have ruled out physical relationships in Torment, we do intend to leave the question of exploring relationships open, and we're going to do that without regard for gender or race," said McComb. "The Ninth World is a billion years in the future, and humanity has changed in that time. We'll present what we consider alternative relationships today in a simple, matter-of-fact format, and that's because that's what those relationships should be. We don't want to 'earn points' for this - we want to present a logical, coherent world."
 This is utterly fantastic and I'm extremely excited. Once again: FUCK YES.

(Heh - Dare I even hope that they're going to include polyamory? For that, I'm not going to ask, I'm just going to wait and see.)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Torment Post x7 Combo: The Queer Thing II

Stomachache. Can't sleep. Posting more. Gonna pay hell for this tomorrow.

Result of my last post: Even bigger storm of shit, this time, with constant troll comments, promotions of child rape as a valid alternative (one of the pro-pedophilia people seems to be actually serious), and much, much more.

The devs responded to that post with:
You might be interested in these thoughts on the Ninth World by Shanna Germain (editor of the Numenera game): http://shannagermain2.wordpress.com/2013/01/28/why-i-love-building-the-ninth-world/
They gave it a "Status: Considering" (the Race post got a "Planned").

The tl;dr from that link:
Sex, of course, is another matter all to itself. The sexuality of Ninth World humans is as varied as you might expect. Same-sex couples are a seamless part of the world, as are those with a wide range of sexual interests. Yet, not all sexuality is portrayed in a positive light, because again, that wouldn’t be true to the human sexuality as we know it. Sometimes sex is used for nefarious purposes, and you can expect some of that in the game as well.
On the whole, I find this encouraging, though imperfect. In other words, we'll have to wait and see... though honestly, at this point, I'm going to be on the lookout for gay characters actually IN the game.

One of the main things I've had to point out in comments is the sheer number of "obviously straight" people; including most of the main cast of the original game, and many NPCs, "obviously straight" by virtue of being in opposite-sex relationships or expressing opposite-sex desires. (To be fair, some of them may be bisexual, but I'm not going to assume THAT much.)

Many of the commentors seem to think all gays SHOULD be invisible, and if they're visible, it's pandering (and the bad kind of pandering, no less). There's a whole lot to deal with there. Most of the dissenters are trolls, though I've been engaging the ones who just appear to be flagrantly misunderstanding.

(I've also been engaging some of the trolls. Not gonna lie.)

Also, a funny side note....

Of the the three big game creators who have great track records of allowing queer people to exist in their worlds, two of them are big-game companies (Bioware & Bethesda).

The third... is another old-school game company, Obsidian, and they ALSO did a kickstarter a while back for an old-school-style RPG called "Project Eternity". This game is actually run by the original creator of Planescape:Torment. Their concept art shows at least one character who isn't white, and in the last game they did (Fallout: New Vegas) two of the most important characters in the game were gay (and one was a man - yes, that makes a difference, unfortunately).

...I'm starting to get tempted to back that RPG too, with their 'slacker backer' option. Because even though I'm not sure if there were many/any background gay characters (I am certain there were background straight characters, because there always are), that's still a damn good track record.

(I'll probably eventually buy that game regardless... but choosing the backer option is about making a point, if only to myself.)

EDIT: The marvelous Shanna Germain came to respond in person! See her comment in the comment trail.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Torment Post x6 Combo: The Queer Thing

...I may have also forgotten to mention that a large number of old-school fans are incredibly homophobic.

After seeing a lot of angry comments about teh gays, including rage about Bioware's David Gaider (or "Gayder", to several of the homophobes) and his tendency to include teh gays in games he's involved in (Dragon Age; to a lesser extent, Mass Effect), I posted another giant proposal post...

"Let LGBTQ People Exist In Torment/Numenera (Without "Pandering")"

The majority of us can agree - as do the devs - that we won't have much romance in Torment, and no sex. That's 110% fine. That's not what this is about.

My proposal is: If you have people in relationships in the world, don't forget LGBTQ relationships. I don't care what kind, so long as we can exist in the world, same as people in straight relationships will presumably also exist in the world.

We don't need people calling themselves 'gay' or 'bisexual' or even 'straight'. This isn't about identity politics either.

It's just that presumably you'll have characters in relationships or expressing desire for relationships....

FOR EXAMPLE... Maybe that male shaman has a male partner living with him instead of a female partner. Maybe that female prostitute takes only female customers - or, hell, maybe that male prostitute takes both male AND female customers. Maybe an Annah-equivalent will only kiss you if you're a woman (the option not even appearing for a male character).

The first Torment didn't really do this. But that doesn't make it not a classic-RPG thing. I mean, Temple of Elemental Evil generated a ton of controversy for allowing a male character to enter a same-sex marriage, back in 2003 before the majority of the country supported that.

And again: NO PANDERING. DON'T make any huge deal about it. DON'T include a character who aggressively hits on people of the same sex. DON'T make a race of tentacled all-female alien lesbians, DON'T throw in a troupe of flamboyant gay men. Pretty sure no LGBTQ gamer here wants that kind of weird fuckin' pandering. Just let us EXIST.


Something to consider as well, along the lines of the "Let's Be Gay" topic: If there's LOW-LEVEL straight romance, CONSIDER letting us have LOW-LEVEL gay romance too (both genders). NO SEX, just like straight romance. DON'T push it on the player like certain other RPGs have, of course. DON'T turn it into some kind of fanfiction-esque drama. Keep it simple, if you put it in at all.

But the above part is not NEARLY as important as 'let LGBTQ people exist in the world'. If you want to make the PC straight? Make the PC straight. But If gender exists (and gender DOES exist, as already established), so should we.

Because I am not much of a confrontational type and the amount of shit I'm going to get for this is not going to be all that much fun to deal with, I wasn't even originally gonna post anything about that. But after wading through so many homophobic comments, and then the homophobic topic urging the devs to not 'pander to minorities' (code for: teh gays, lumped in with necrophiliacs and pedophiles by many of the supporting commentators in-between homophobic insults)... I just had to, really. Ugh.

Topic located here: https://torment.uservoice.com/forums/197950-game-ideas/suggestions/3763637-let-lgbtq-people-exist-in-torment-numenera-withou

Most of the homophobic comments can be found in the following two topics (plus my individual replies):


I'd say "enjoy", but... you probably won't.

Torment Post x5 Combo: The Race Thing II

People flung a LOT of shit, accusing me of single-handedly ruining the new Torment game. I never knew I had so much power and influence. Also: It turns out there are a lot of racists in the old-school gaming community. Who knew?

However, here's the dev response:
This is something we have talked about a lot. Diversity is something we are striving for, but at the same time many of us are straight-haired white people (well, except Colin…maybe he used to be?). We might need you backers to help catch our blind spots :-)
 This enraged a number of people, but it made me pretty happy, obviously!

 (The Colin thing is a reference to Colin McComb, creative lead on both the original game and this new game. He's bald. Very bald.)

Previous post: http://jakejesson.blogspot.com/2013/03/torment-post-x4-combo-race-thing.html

Link to the topic: https://torment.uservoice.com/forums/197950-game-ideas/suggestions/3750208-don-t-make-us-play-another-straight-haired-white

2013 Goals: Week 10 Postmortem

Novel: 21,000 / 35,000 words.

I'm really getting back into the swing of things, fortunately. Hopefully I can keep it up.

Here's the weird thing, though. I've written over 1/5 of the book, if it's going to be 100,000 words.

But I'm only in the fifth chapter. Introducing the fifth of five POV characters.

...This may end up being significantly longer than 100K words unless I can figure out a way to trim, or rearrange. Maybe clip up the opening chapters? Hm. Or... just keep the first chapters significantly longer to keep the 'introduction to characters' thing, but flip rapidly through characters as we get further into the novel.

Perspective: The first draft (which I never 100% finished, to be fair) had each character with 12, 13, or 14 POV chapters total. If I kept this word count up, they'd have more like five each... and that's not taking into account that I have a completely new fifth POV character. Jesus.

I'm currently leaning towards shorter chapters as the novel progresses. Maybe once I'm done with this draft, I'll go back and try to figure out how best to break up the opening chapters. Or decide if they're going to stay the same.

We'll see what happens!

Working Out: 4/4 times. 

Didn't fall behind. Phew. And I worked out today, so I'm off to a good start for this week.

Blogging: 4/3 posts. (+1 from earlier weeks, ideal total 4)

WHEEEE. Success. I'm back on schedule again.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Weekend Novel Update

Gah. I've written a lot today, but I also threw a lot of excess wordage away. In terms of word-count, that's two steps forward but one step back.

Ah well. I would have had to cut that stuff anyway. Sigh. And the shortest chapter I've written so far is due to get some critique next week. Maybe they'll demand that I expand it!

Nah, I shouldn't be thinking of it that way. The goal is only technically word-count based. It's really all about getting to the end... and if I do that with a lower word count, then I still succeed.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Torment Post x4 Combo: The Race Thing

God, I'm really into this game, aren't I?

Today the game devs opened up a forum for people to voice their opinions on game ideas. Here's mine:


The post is titled: "Don't *Make* Us Play Another Straight-Haired White Person"

Text follows:
This is suggestion with two versions aimed at the same goal.

One of the things I loved about PS:T was how startling the protagonist looked. He was clearly human, but... he wasn't some generic white male model like the guy plastered on the Mass Effect covers or wearing the Dovahkiin helmet. He was a six-foot-plus gray-skinned zombie with dreadlocks and features that obscured his ethnicity. He looked more like Frankenstein than a mass-market-approved ultra-Aryan dude.

In mass-market fantasy RPGs there's an extremely limited palette. Like... you know how in Dragon Age and Skyrim, you can't be a black person without straightened hair? And you can't be an Asian person at all? Ethnic cleansing's a bitch, I guess.

That shit's going to be even weirder in Numenera, which is supposed to be Future!Earth.
I know we aren't going to get much PC customization... and that's fine. But here are some things I WOULD like to see.



* Let us change the race of the PC. Black, brown, Asian, at least.
* Let us have curly or afro-textured hair. (If you don't know what the former looks like, go see "Brave". If you don't know what the latter looks like, google "natural hair" or "afro-textured hair".) And dreadlocks! The Nameless One had dreadlocks, dammit. You don't even have to google those!
* While you're at it? Throw in a couple beards. This is off-topic, sure. But let's call it 'diversity'. Yeah, that's the ticket. Seriously, everyone wants beards.


* If we CAN'T have the above... then instead of MAKING us play a white PC, then make the PC look at least as racially ambiguous & unique as The Nameless One. The current artwork for the female PC is lovely and badass-looking (seriously, I love that painting), but she's no racially ambiguous gray-skinned dreadlocked zombie. She's a white chick. Assuming the male PC currently looks the same.


This is sort of the like the 'more portraits' topic but much more specific & basic. Which is why I'm putting it in this forum, instead of the stretch goals one.

PS yes, I'm poking fun, but this is a serious suggestion. I spent years as an artist. I know exactly how it is to only draw white people or straight-haired people because that's pretty much the default that you're taught to draw. That's why I think it needs to be a suggestion in the first place: it's something the devs may not have thought of.

Finally... I'd be disappointed if Torment, after bucking this annoying trope in the original game, went right back to it on the second go-round. Isn't Torment SUPPOSED to be bucking RPG tropes, after all? Why not this trope too?

Let's see if it starts a clusterfuck or not. I honestly really hope it's non-controversial and that the developers think it's a good idea. But... Heh. We'll see!

PS: Yes... I engaged in some oversimplification... But it was already such a wall of text. :P And there's some problematic assumptions with "racially ambiguous"... but I would definitely prefer that to the 'default white' route that I'm worried they'll go in. Personally, at least. Feel free to argue that point in the comments.

I basically included what I thought would be a "good start" that's conspicuously missing from a video game. If you're as into "Torment" as I am, feel free to go weigh in there.