Above is a randomly generated world created in the game Dwarf Fortress.
Eerily awoken this morning while still dark outside and unable to fall back asleep I continued reading the article which lulled me to sleep in the first place. Reaching over to the kindle that luckily has yet to find it’s way to the floor, I load the browser back up to find myself somewhere in the middle of page two of an article which just recently was posted onto ArsTechnica. Ten Hours With The Most Inscrutable Video Game of All Time by Casey Johnston.*
Now I have been reading Ars for many years and have come across some writers I enjoy and others not so much. Luckily Casey tends to keep it low key and seems to resonate honesty through her words. Why not see what this whole video game thing she’s all up-an-about on.
Mind you I have been a gamer (mostly a non-bias one) for many years. Yes I have heard of Dwarf Fortress in passerby from nasally computer science majors discussions as they crowd around their hacking terminals in the common room. No I don’t personally play now, yet this article might be the things to get me to start or maybe do more research, yet still probably not actually attempt.
Basically I will summarize the article but truly you should give it a read, it’s well worth the time. The author, Casey jumps in to the already limitless and frustrating game of Dwarf Fortress trying to make sense of it on her shear wit alone. She later caves as everyone attempting this game does ( I personally gave it the good old college try and quickly realized “Shit, college is easier than this.”) and dives in to the massive world of guides, forums, and hacks for DF. After a good amount of time has passed, she’s getting the hang of it, she confides in herself that “Losing is FUN” ( the main premise of DF) and keeps on hacking away at her own self proclaimed goal. *Do read the article if you’re a gamer, have heard of this game, or just like a good read.
As the reason we are all here on the internet, I’ve got my opinions! Not really about what Casey wrote but of the game she wrote about. Trust me when I say this isn’t for the faint of heart, nor is it for anyone who’s eager on throwing console controllers with aggravation ( your pc is more expense, don’t put fist through screen.)
If you can and yes you can get past the steep mountainous Everest like learning curve, DF expands into a game that’s far more than a game of you controlling little short hairy people, it beings to be a form of existentialism never thought possible via video games. In my early attempts I had a terrible time getting past the visuals of the ASCII. Mind you I was much younger then, this was around 2008 (college sophomore) when I first attempted to play. I was still high from cutting World of Warcraft off cold turkey and wanted to get the other side of the gaming spectrum, you know understand my gaming roots. Eventually finding DF which has roots as an off-again on-again project back in 2002, scraping its way into alpha around 2006, the essence of the game is there from earlier generations of similar styled games. NetHack being one example.
The troubles I faced then as many do now, beyond the visual impairment, is the menu system. Even with guides, I just couldn’t get past its tough exteriors to find what was then happening to my little controlled humanoids and the little mole hill I had built which they inhabited. Deciphering the menus upon menus of what’s wrong and what could be done about it takes just as much time if not more of researching where one could find the correct menu to fix whatever issue could have gone wrong. These are all things that you can and truly should look past. As I now being to remember and understand where I went wrong myself.
Those first attempts got me nothing but aggravated and frustrated that I completely would stop mid way through, quite and never returned. Until this article written by Casey got me to remember what the main focus really was, “Losing is Fun!”
It’s hard to put a trigger on what DF really is. It’s frustration is immeasurable yet I believe it’s gain is more profound than most give it credit. It’s had countless reviewers explain how it’s too tough and the learning curve is too hard. Hell yes it is, then again once you’ve begun to gather the right information needed to proceed, more than a just the tiny world of letters and numerals showcasing your map opens up and you’re flooded with that limitless imagination we all had as children. That feeling of what’s next…
Will my dorfs die tripping over some cats that can’t keep their litters down to less than five? Will the attackers that appeared actually reach us or will they get distracted? Are these pebbles the right ones to upgrade in to sufficient stones for me to finally build my throne and upon it sit the best and brightest dorf imaginable? All things to consider and think about when you’re in this makeshift world.
Most of the people attempting this game will barely scratch the surface as they will quit before it’s reached ( as I did.) But I’ve begun to realize that back then I was young, naive and just wanted that next high that WoW gave me and I wanted it as quickly as possible. The feverish revitalization that was given to me upon the completion of Casey Johnstons article and it’s subjects more extensive research gives me hope. Hope that I can once again rejoin the world of crafting, adventuring, digging and whatever my imagination wills me to.
It’s an elusive feeling when you’ve been beaten so many times and yet still get back up to fight another day. Whether that’s by a terrible unjust video game without remorse or the world around you pressing down ever so slowly waiting for you to crack under the pressure. Either way I get back up, I live to fight another day. I begin to remember the fun I’m only now realizing I had with infinite possibilities of exploration at my fingertips that was lost on me in my youth. More games should give you that sense of self revitalization. It was wonderful getting back into the hype that I was once so apart of. This time around I shall take my time, wait for the right opportunity, of course do the prescribed research and then, only then do I dive in. I’m wiser now and more open to admitting my mistakes, giving Dwarf Fortress a second chance and having myself realize that there’s more to this whole thing than a straightforward simple win is all part of having fun, even when losing.
Dwarf Fortress - Official Page
Dwarf Fortress Wiki - The all around best place to get started.
Getting Started with Dwarf Fortress: Learn to play the most complex video game ever made by Peter Tyson - a full color book with amazing illustrations and a great beginner guide.
More off topic but somewhat relevant:
NetHack - Official Page
Kingdom of Loathing - Another great random PC game. Less existentialism more obscure fun. This is here more so that it for some reason vaguely reminds me of Dwarf Fortress. For its sheer massive cult following. I too played this for a summer. It was fun… thats about it.
Recently there was a hoax about the prolific artist named Banksy getting arrested and having his real name released. http://www.businessinsider.com/banksy-arrest-hoax-2013-2
As I obviously read the internet quite a lot and realized that this cant be, I figured to release my own thoughts.
This hoax is giving bigger and better PR to Banksy and his cause than he has in the past year (bad analogy but lets agree it’s a lot.) He will obviously lay low for awhile and I don’t doubt that the British police do have a real task force trying to apprehend him. Let’s look at the bright side. None of us actually know what he does or how he makes money and so on. He could possibly be donating tons of his own money to art schools in the area to keep the arts going or something philanthropic like that. I’m sure who ever he is he just wants to create a message and keep his cause alive, just like ever other artist who believes in his art and work. If they ever do catch him they’d be wise to keep it quite it and have him continue his ploy but with obvious kick backs to help the community. Paint one wall with graffiti, spread your message, then paint two more clear of crappy graffiti from rebellious teenagers sort of thing. Personally being in the art world I’m jealous! To have such anonymity combined with style and the addition of a positive art message (despite the defacement of public property.) Nothing but win win situation for Banksy. From his graffiti to his art pieces and sculptures he has created much more than a brand for himself but a way of life. Never reveling his true identity and going down in to the history books as such a prolific and well known artist and eluder of the law in it self is a better way to go out than many artists alive could ever come close too. Check out his work, indoors and out. BANKSY
This all slightly resembles the work and styling of Ai Weiwei (architect of the Olympic Birds Nest.) Yet another prolific artist whose been under the magnifying glass of the chinese government for his honest portrayals and ability to convey truth of his Chinese home through art. Imagine him never being known and having the anonymity of Banksy. Now that would be a field day for China. Now Ai Weiwei story is far more severe and brutal as he’s been beaten and ridiculed by his own government, yet he still stands tall and precedes to be a light for the people who follow his ideas. If you’re interested in his work and story def read this article from the New York Times.
Now I might have gone off topic. Actually I’m sure I have but I’ve been meaning to get thoughts on paper and post more in my so called blog so here it is.
This is my submission for a contest that 99designs.com is holding to see who can come up with a clever logo for the upcoming PlayStation 4. I personally don’t want another system war to come so soon as we’re still picking up the pieces from the previous one.
Here’s a link to the contest http://99d.me/c/47nv. If you’re on 99designs check it out and Vote for me if you think its worthy. My submission #1929 and my username is TM Graphic Design as all my regular used ones have already been taken.
Truly this is a piece of work that I did a while ago for a re-design of what the new Dual Shock Four controller packaging could look like. It was featured on kotaku! All in all I know Sony will never really go for something too exotic or exuberant but it’s always really fun to think that one day they’ll just bust out something from left field and it will be awesome, new and fresh. All those things is what I intended to do for the Dual Shock Four packaging design, that and having to create a folding carton but thats more from the design brief and class I was taking.
I’ve got another clever thing I’m trying to accomplish connected with this. The addition of a simple little box originally formed as a concept for the four and it’s transformation in to the final four logo you see above. With some careful after effects and time I’ll post it up here.
Love @amazon #Prime. Two day free shipping turned into next day in my hand. Now with new sketch book ready for business!
Django Review - Typical Wonderful Tarantino
*spoiler* Possibly but covering my bearings -
It seems Tarantino has been up to his usual trickery. Truly I didn’t take Django nor do I take his movies as seriously as they where once taken like, Jackie Brown and Reservoir Dogs were definitely his two best in my opinion. Both serious, gritty, naughty noir style flicks. Then the fame hit after Pulp Fiction, which I do enjoy, just doesn’t hit all my buttons like Reservoir Dogs did.
Hence I also expected nothing less from far fetched after Kill Bill, he’s been doing his “western” thing. Seems to work for him. You’ve got a samurai western, then a car chasing movie in the open plains, sort of western, then a Nazi western and now a western oozing with slavery. This is definitely a great movie, fun to watch and hilarious too boot. After finally seeing it I began to make many connections to Inglorious Bastards right from the get go. Besides staring the always magnificent Christopher Waltz the two films have the same edge. A guy trying to get by/or doing his job (Django the slave/Brad Pitt the Nazi killer.) Both groups of people are out after the main bad guy for some reason or another, here being that the main bad being a slaver whose taken Djangos lovely wife and Inglorious Bastards being that well the main bad guy tried to obliterate a whole race of people, Hitler. In the end both parties triumph yet not with out some or most of the parties dying. All in all both great plots and wonderfully directed. Just began to see far too many connections from his previous film.
I did have some discrepancies mid film to which I was awed about yet not that amazed. The random rap/hip hop music intervened. Truly I would have been more than happy with the original score to flow unanimously through the entire film instead of the wacky rap but it also didn’t surprise me either, Tarantino gets goofy and that sure did it for him. I will say that he’s got a great team of cinematographers and editors cause his sometimes choppy stories and plot lines get dulled when you get to see the fluid scenery and well done cuts he makes through out his movies.
All in all Great Movie.
Ps. This is a neat poster/t-shirt design I found. Star Wars Fans will appreciate!
Reading Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Just finished Ready Player One by @erniecline whose managed to combine many of my loves and childhood memories into an exciting, insightful and a just fun story to read! I screamed through this movie. Took me about four to five days of reading and if I didn’t have to sleep, eat or work I’d have finished it faster but happy I did regardless. I’m not much of a reader but when I get hooked I just can’t stop and that was exactly what happened with this book. I’ve read reviews of this book that its too cheeky and stark but I was totally entranced with it. I’ll post a review soon more detailed about the actual writing and story plots I found most intriguing but for now just know that it’s a wonderful book for any gamer, comic book fan, artist, or really anyone who remembers growing up in the 80’s. Excelsior! – View on Path.
Working on some night time designs. Inspirations come at most obscure times. This might be the way I go on one current project. Nice way to organize a cluttered mess that it’s currently in. Streamlining the space to make it seem more compact. Going to have nice solid colors here too, center of the page. Ya Ya, this feels good. Better than how I’ve felt prior. Should all work out well. Nighty Night Now!
Just recently picked up this new and 100% locally created book from The Learned Owl (one of the best local book stores in and around Akron/Cleveland area.) This is an amzing rendition of work comprised of writer Justin Glanville, artist Julia Kuo and designer Lee Zelenak gathering all the nitty gritty fun and wonderful things that our home town Cleveland has to offer. If you’ve ever lived, visited, or had a lay over in Cleveland this book is a Must Buy! Support local! The illustrations are worth the price alone, but you get more than just them. Plenty of information on the neighborhoods and unique experiences to be had all around the North East.
Check it out here - http://newtoclevelandbook.com