Archives for: March 2009
March 29th, 2009
Published on March 29th, 2009 @ 10:57:18 pm , using 601 words, 593 views
I just saw the film Knowing. I know, I have never talked about stuff outside the game...but this is strangely relevant given the film's subject matter. Knowing is the new Nic Cage movie by Alex "Dark City" Proyas. The film takes the philosophical elements of Waking Life and The Matrix, throws in a dash of the Book of Ezekiel, and layers it over a grand apocalyptical science fiction movie. I could go into details about my interpretation of the movie but that would ruin it. If you want an explanation, you won't find it. It pays itself off by giving you enough for satisfaction. There was one point where the film began explaining itself where I thought it was going off the rails...then it kept going and I realized it never left. And I would like to ask people who hate this film how they would have ended it? Truthfully...any other ending would have been a slap in the face or taste of as much improbability... Considering how much the film is about determinism and chaos, I found a lot of parallels between in and Amethyst.
I've been writing about similar topics for some time and when I watched this film, I was overjoyed. It proved that such subtle storytelling is possible and can actually be successful. There is a mention of the perception of reality and the dependability of science and the ironclad rules we rely on for the universe to function. I postulated in Amethyst how society would adapt if these rules were to change. Could you create something truly fantastic without relying on a deity for an answer? Critics point at the resolution of the story as "improbable"--as if any other ending would have been more pragmatic. Is it possible for there to be causality in the world without a religious explanation? On top of that, humanity are pattern recognition machines. We want there to be patterns. We find them in nothing and yet we are also creatures of chaos, seemingly forever fighting between the ordered and syntropic natures of our own personalities. If we, as a species, could actually control the universe as we wished, would it be controlled...or would it be pure chaos?
I feel Proyas touched on similar subjects in Dark City. The Strangers had complete control and a single man threatened to destroy it. If you could choose to shape the world, would you maintain the status of science or would you want it wild? I think many people would prefer the unpredictability of a fantasy world--of a world where you could break the rules of science. We read Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter and Twilight. It doesn’t matter how amazing the world is; we’re born to covet the impossible. We accept the world as it is presented, allow it to become tedious, and desire it to change. I am not saying this is my choice or the proper choice, but people would prefer there to be a force that commands authority over rules mankind are slaves to. We seek patterns in the void and not only that, we want those patterns written before our birth.
Why? Why do we want that level of control taken from us? The Wachoski Brothers dealt with same the thing. By the end of Knowing, we have a payoff, but no answer--a mirror for our society as well. There is a biblical order of death in Knowing and God, if he's out there, remained silent through it all. Our faiths, and our certainty or uncertainty about it, remained unchanged.
March 22nd, 2009
Published on March 22nd, 2009 @ 10:46:26 pm , using 43 words, 711 views
Yes, after many months of teasing, we are finally ready to release the NEW AMETHYST COVER!
Of course, this one lacks the DEM and Goodman logo, a subtitle, borders, and even a proper title layer, leaving just the cover and all its glory.
March 18th, 2009
Published on March 18th, 2009 @ 02:14:04 am , using 416 words, 1068 views
Three weeks ago, we finished the ladders--the biggest rule addition we have made to the 4ED ruleset. After our Close Combat Specialist class was finished, I dared my crew to create characters for that single class, but select a different ladder for each one. With our new batch of martial feats, we started up our first Mixed Martial Arts brawl. I drew an octagon on the map and we went one-on-one with our builds.
I played an aging shaolin kung-fu master. Conan played a calculating sambo wrestler, Mike, a massive juggernaught with meaty fists, and Schuyler, an agile taekwondo expert. Yes, there really is all that variety out of single class dependant on your ladder and feats chosen. I won’t say who won (IT WAS MEEE!).
Over the past two weeks, we got all our other classes down. These include Infiltrator, Faceman, Sniper, Gunslinger, and Combat Authority. We merged Engineer into Manipulator, and Driver into Faceman, though you can still choose driver powers via feats. Manipulator is our hacker class. We have been trying to approach the vernacular of NeuroSpasta with a fresh perspective. So gone are the “deckers” and the “riggers” and the “jacking-in” and the “plugging-in”. A few days ago, we got to looking back and reminiscing about older cyberpunk novels and games of the 80s and 90s and snickered at the inaccuracy of their predictions. Although the concepts of an urban sprawl and the privatization of the government as well as the encroaching control of corporations were prophetic, few of them could properly predict the advancement of computerization and the speed in which computers would evolve in processing power and graphic potential. The hardest hit were the role playing games, which endorses truly fantastic and ludicrous concepts for the sake of "being cool", regardless of its logical application. Manipulator is more than just a corporate hacker, as they are able to tap into someone's blackberry, Iphone, or even their brain implants. And no, hacking does not take place on a grid map or a hexboard. There is no graphical representation of it at all. This was a simple decision as the concept of adding a dimension to something which has none seemed against our mission-statement.
So yeah, there could be a functional product by the end of March. Does that mean it will be out sooner? Nope, just more time for testing. The game still won't be released until the end of the year. Hell, we don't even have a logo yet.
March 14th, 2009
Published on March 14th, 2009 @ 11:23:15 pm , using 312 words, 260 views
With a new GSL on the scene, a few people have been asking if the D20 3.5 version of Amethyst will be put back on sale. The removal of article 6 of the GSL would obviously allow it. The answer is no, we won’t be putting the 3.5 version back on sale...at least not officially. Obviously, the main reason is that we don’t want to divert attention away from the 4.0 Edition version of Amethyst due in a couple months. I also believe this new version is much closer to the actual Amethyst as I conceived it. Now that being said, we do still have a dozen or so softcovers in a box in storage. We were using them as personal stock but there are still some mint, shrink-wrapped to cardboard. Those wanting them should contact DiasExMachina personally and we can organize a donation and we’ll respond with a few books. Once these last few copies are gone, they are gone forever, never to be sold again.
One of the elements of the old book you’ll never see are the old maps. A lot of people know I was not terribly happy with our maps from the 3.5 book. With a new edition comes a new cartographer, Jeremy Simmons. He’s done work for Goodman, Bastion Press, and Monte Cook. He has replaced our pencil world map with a full color digital one. We won’t have the zoomed sections in this book (they’ll be in the second) but at least we’ll have a full two-page color spread in this first book. Jeremy did a real bang up job and we all look forward to working with him further, both in Amethyst and in NeuroSpasta. He has tackled the dungeon maps for the included module as well as the free-RPG in June. He also made our character sheet as well.
March 11th, 2009
Published on March 11th, 2009 @ 08:25:54 pm , using 53 words, 202 views
...sorry about the delay in posts. 50,000 words into NeuroSpasta will do that to you. We have a new Best of Techan Podcast which takes all the best moments of all the techan podcasts, and puts it all in one. Hope you enjoy it and I'll have more for you in a couple days.