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Xmas vs. Christmas... really.

ÐiamonÐ Blog 5 comments

I'm all for understanding another perspective; it's typically the only way to reconcile differences or at the very least comprehend why people believe what they believe. What I find baffling is the sheer incorrigibility within certain individuals who do not even go as far as to step into another man or woman's shoes, and immediately judge them on face value.

Some of you may be familiar with the recent Xmas Indie Bundle released here on Mod DB. It's not a topic that recently became relevant here, but has come to the point where our mass media is giving way to describe how them "damn liberals" are tearing apart Christianity by removing "Christ" from Christmas.

Truth be told: whether we like it or not, Christian values are well imbedded into our legal and punitive systems. People say "Jesus Christ" not in admiration of a son of God, but because they just witnessed something staggering. It's a figure of speech that makes no ulterior intention of referencing religion.

So here, we have traits in our criminal justice system and in our vocabulary. Does this correlation of having all these qualities of "referring" to Christ tacit approval for the causation that we believe in Christianity?

Absolutely not.

What people need to understand, by now, is that Christmas has become, more and more, a non-religious holiday. It's a day where you spend time with your family under sheets of snow plummeting your yard, exchanging gifts and considerations toward others. It's a day of love, where you get together with family and friends and enjoy the company of others. It's now a part of culture.

How do some Christians view Christianity? A day of remembrance to their Savior and the only son of God: Jesus. No doubt, we should respect religion. Perhaps we may not believe other people's belief structures, but that in no way leads passage to intolerance and the use of personal attacks. And, you know what? Christians can do what they please on their day of remembrance. No disrepect.

However, the populous who believes their religion is being attacked for being called Xmas is projecting utter baloney. There is a time and place to hold questioning to a use of rhetoric, and this is certainly not the time nor place. As stated before: Christmas is seen by most as a day with family. It's a part of culture to Hindus, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Pagans, Atheists, and the likes. Simply because one is involved in the day of great gift giving and a feast with turkey does not mean a Bible verse will be read in each home.

People need to understand: we are a pluralistic society. We are composed of peoples with a variety of belief structures. And those belief structures, despite what some of you may think, are not ideals of separation or violence. We can sit together and appreciate our differences, and understand that fighting over the use of "Christ" is ignorant. Who cares if people use the word Christ, and who cares if you don't? This should not lead astray from what truly matters: Christmas is a time to get together with your close companions and appreciate life. Our diversity should be celebrated. And if you feel the darn "media leftists" are striking down on faith, maybe you should consider that the world isn't a target range; not everyone's out to "get you." Paranoia is what sums up the recent debacle of the "Xmas" debate.

Becoming an Intellectual

ÐiamonÐ Blog 6 comments

Education is highly valued in almost every infrastructure all across the globe. Parents argue that by taking courses, doing homework and school-related projects, and being tested on those topics with short second-party access to informative sources, one can become smarter at said subject. Parents often argue that the one way to become generally smarter is by taking higher education - that outside of high school, such as university.

Do these higher educational institutions truly provide an outlet for smarter people? Do they actually help us become more knowledgeable about the outside world? Are we, as an inherent product upon finishing such establishment, apt to greater intelligence than that of peoples who did not attend universities?

As controversial as it sounds, I maintain the answer: no. We do not become smarter nor should we think for a second that we do. To think that we instantly become smarter by attending classes and acing tests is ignorant if not dangerous, since we close ourselves to the possibility that we may not know enough. As one grows of age, the opportunity to gain experiences flourishes, but does one seriously think that everyone grasps for that opportunity of wisdom? Can you not name some 50-60 year old politicians in your country who have remarkably immature stances when it comes to the use of rhetoric and informal logical fallacies? Could you point towards child prodigies who have far exceeded those in their age group?

Age does not access your actual aptitude, but more-so only gives the chance to gain knowledge and have empirically-based experiences. In the same light, university does not offer it's subjects intelligence, but the opportunity to gain such intelligence. For example, various student organized groups permit students to congregate and discuss on a social level, applying what they knew in high school, various low-paying jobs, etc. into community service or competitive fronts such as Mock Trial or Model U.N. Do most people actually take the jump and attend these events? Do many students find curiosity in attending colloquies, challenging their questioning ability and granting inspiration to potential future contenders of the field, or enter a library with nearly infinite resources and information hubs to gain an understanding on said subject matter?

The answer, yet again, is no.

I am deeply bothered by how one suspects a college graduate to be smart or worldly given their bachelor's degree. True, only 1/3 of all people in my country are within the grasp of this type of education, but this 1/3 is not better nor more intelligent than the people who did not enter these facilities. It what the student or individual does outside of the book work or class - the individual must have curiosity and strive for greater understanding completely self-willingly. One could argue that entering a higher education is the largest waste of money, given that a highly patient and focused individual could open books on topic matter in a public library and know more than the person attending class half-awake, who hastily read the classes' readings 5 minutes before class. True, this is an exaggeration: but it is clear that if one sought for knowledge and actively pursued it, it becomes a second nature to them. They find a closer proximity to intelligence given that they actively want it, and this is what makes one intelligent. The chance for experience is not equivalent to experience itself, and legislatures should assess this discrepancy when providing it's citizens with laws restricting access to resources on the basis of age or educational background - since these things prove little.

The Dillema in Modding

ÐiamonÐ Blog 1 comment

Usually, in order to do a full fledged mod or video game production, or quite frankly any major project whether it be for school or work, requires the total potential of all people in it. The role of the leader is especially challenging, however.

When I started a Natural Selection High-Definition pack three years ago, I was naive. I had very little experience in a big group of 10+ people, all with unique talents to achieve different goals. Textures, modeling, UV mapping, animating, sprite design, compiling... the works. I gathered a very good group of people who were at the time, and still are, incredibly skilled at what they did. Eventually, it came to the point where I felt as though I was... useless. Tom was doing arm hacks (at the time, I had no clue around arm rigging), Kevin and Ben was modeling, John and Matt was texturing, and Bradley and John was doing sprite work. It came to the point where I became that annoying small man, pointing fingers at big, skilled people who were so much better than me in every way imaginable. I wanted to do something, but my skills were overshadowed to people with greater experiences.

My naivety crawled up to me, of course. My organization skills were poor. I made a thread for models, a thread for sprites, etc. My desktop was a total mess of things. I lacked the capacity to give a constant slew of media releases to motivate my team. My powerlessness became overpowering. Quite frankly, I didn't really know what I was getting myself into.

What really bothers me is that I never really was focused to the goal at hand. Usually, when we gathered in a single Steam group chat, we'd just... have a good time. A nice conversation, a nice game, great laughs. Eventually, the only thing we really ended up enjoying is... being together. Friendship is a power figure, and I feel like I've made great friends in modding.

However, friendship got in the way of overarching goals of our Natural Selection project.

As the naive, powerless, inexperienced and small leader, how am I to ask others what to do? For example, how can I possibly ask a friend to remodel every Natural Selection NPC? That's a hefty demand, even for our pack. What ends up happening is that instead of asking people to do things for me, I hesitantly back down in asking altogether, and we end up getting nothing done. Asking people to do all the code, or do all the sounds, or do all of anything really, puts pressure on me because I hate being that guy to ask major things from people. I don't want to give people trouble/stress. I just want to be their friend.

What ends up happening is that things fall apart. Most of the team leaves as I lack in motivating everyone to do their job, which wasn't even clearly addressed to them to begin with. The project is no more. In time, I am forced to gather what resources we developed in an incomplete Winrar file, and call it a day.

What was the purpose of me writing this? Well, I feel as though I'm in the same position today. I do indeed have ambitions for a total conversion modification, but I feel powerless in that I lack to capacity to produce such works of art and motivate others to assist me in my goals. In my current project, Blue Shift: Reassignment, I have taken the same role as I have in my Half-Life pack; I don't like asking people to redo all the models for me, so I gather resources from sites, rig our new arms on a unique skeleton, and produce something fresh without relying on someone to produce models from scratch. The only reason I do this is due to the fact that I am inept in motivating others in doing their task, and I willingly choose to replace all models, sounds, and sprites for Blue Shift on my own. I don't like asking people to do all the code for me, because I hate putting people in a obligatory position to do enormous tasks for me. It gives undeniable stress to the other person, but also to myself because I hate putting people in this sort of position.

Being a leader is very challenging. I still don't know if I should be doing this, but I haven't exactly lost hope in this. Part of the reason for my hiatus in the community is due to this feud with myself: should I pressure people into doing things for me, or should I maintain long-term ties with good people? I just... cannot compromise both simultaneously.

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