Posts

Showing posts from 2017

Why I prefer minimalist art styles in games

Image
I'm a big fan of minimalist art styles in games - simple lines and shapes, dashes of color, the occasional complex geometry, etc. I like the way it looks, but there's more to an art style than just the way it looks.
Games have had a long history of trying to mimic reality, especially big-budget games made by large companies for mass audiences. It can be impressive to see how far technology has come, but basing games in realistic worlds runs counter to game design. Real life has a lot of limitations, and games based on real life have to devote a lot of effort to explaining why you can do things that can't be done in real life, or they blatantly ignore such conflicts and go for the "it's just game logic" option. Whether or not you care about immersion, this is a problem that wouldn't exist if the game wasn't based in reality.
Some games are quite clever with how they dodge bullets - they set themselves in futuristic settings, or make magic real. While t…

How I ended up with 1.5 Google accounts

Image
I'm fuzzy on some details, but this is the best I can remember about how it happened.

A long time ago, there was this cool video sharing platform called YouTube. I was pretty young, playing some random game called Super Mario Galaxy 2, when I discovered a couple interesting quirks of the game's gravity mechanics and recorded them with my sister's camera on my family's tripod. I had to ask my parents' permission to create a YouTube channel so I could upload the videos.

On October 18, 2010, I created the YouTube channel LB725C. My online alias at the time was LB, but many sites (YouTube included) imposed a 3 character minimum. Not content to add an underscore, I came up with the clever idea to somehow use 1337 in my username, but in a subtle way. It just so happens that 1337 degrees Fahrenheit is approximately equal to 725 degrees Celsius. Thus, LB725C was born as my YouTube username. Back then, usernames were also display names. I think the email address I used was…

What makes puzzle platformers challenging? What makes them good?

Image
I'm a big fan of puzzle platformers - games like Portal 1 and 2, The Talos Principle, The Swapper, etc. - and I've logged many dozens of hours playing such games, mostly due to community-made puzzles. In fact, I've played over 500 community maps for Portal 2, and I've learned quite a bit along the way. Someone asked me an interesting question that really got me thinking:
When do elements that are individually passable become insurmountable or too convoluted when stacked together? It's a great question, and I think the answer depends on a few factors: how many options plays have at each step, which options players are likely to actually notice, and what players typically think about each option. Every player is different, but that doesn't mean you can't estimate the qualities of a puzzle without players.
An 'option' is an action the player can perform to change the state of the puzzle, and it can either have forward progress (they get closer to the s…

Nobody is "created" or "equal"

The phrase "everyone is created equal" is a lie. It outright denies reality and forwards the idea that people were "created" before we even knew what DNA was.

Right now, almost everyone has different DNA, and even those who have identical DNA nearly always end up with different fingerprints (though let it be known that there is evidence to suggest not everyone has unique fingerprints). Everyone is raised in a different environment because we all occupy different positions in space. To say that everyone is equal is to ignore reality.

For someone to be "created", their DNA (or their atomic structure) has to be hand-arranged by another sentient being. This is not how evolution works, and we have only recently developed the technology to "create" people. In a few centuries we may well be able to say that all new people are created, in similar fashion to Brave New World, but right now as well as in the past, it is entirely not the case.

Furthermore, …