Designer extraordinaire, I suppose.

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open_sketchbook Blog


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Yeah, you might be wondering what's up with those images I've uploaded.

Well, I'm writing a tabletop RPG.

It's called Cyberpulp Adventures - HARDBOILED or simply HARDBOILED for short. It's a d10 driven game on a custom system I wrote myself in collaboration with an old friend of mine, set in a pulpy alternate world of diesel-powered cybernetics and noir city-states. Players take control of a sleuth and his team of crimefighters in Union City, where the night never ends and the war on crime is a losing battle. You stand as the thin line between the citizens of your fair city and the mobsters, anarchists and foreign agents that would tear it apart.

If this sounds like the sort of thing that would interest you at all, please click the button above and like our facebook page for further news.

Paradox updates coming soon!

Side Project Blog 1 - Team Fortress 2 "Looted" Soldier Pack

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Team Fortress 2, along with Just Cause 2, are basically the way by which I blow off steam when I'm frustrated, such as with long crappy night shifts or annoying problems with mod assets. As a side project, I've decided to have a go at making some Team Fortress item packs.

The first kit I'm putting together is for the Soldier. It's call the "Looted" pack, and it's all the stuff the Soldier stole in Germany during the rampage in his backstory. In other words, German WW2 gear, suitably beat up.

The pack will consist of three new weapons (One per slot) and a hat. The theme of the pack is disruption; a Soldier running the looted pack hasn't got nearly the damage potential he usually has, but can throw the other team about with abandon. Here's a run down.

The PanzerFrick - Primary Weapon

Taking the appearance of a super oversized Panzerfaust, the Panzerfrick doesn't have ammo per say. Instead, it drops a single shot, then recharges, in the manner of the Sandman, for example. This shot does half-damage, but has double the regular radius and considerably more explosive force, thus scattering and disorienting those you fire it at. Obviously, it's also awesome for rocket-jumping.

Stutterin' Jerry - Secondary Weapon

Looking like an MP40 with the stock folded, Stutterin' Jerry is a submachinegun that does a little less damage than the sniper's weapon. It's advantage is that it hits targets similar to a sentry gun, and slows them similarly to Natasha. Thus, anyone suffering Stutterin' Jerry's attentions finds themselves at a sever disadvantage for escaping, chasing or maneuvering.

The Trench Spiker - Melee Weapon

This entrenching tool has been modified with a wicked serrated edge, and is made out of the finest, and thus heaviest, German steel. Swinging it is some work, so it takes a second to connect, and can't be swung again quickly. But when it does... boom! Instant crit!

I'll be starting with Stutterin' Jerry. Next update should contain all the models.

See you on the field!

Simulation, a Short Story

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 I'm Alive.

 What does that mean? Where am I? What am I? What is this? How am I thinking? What is my purpose?

 I am alone. My own voice is the only one. There is nothing else.

 My consciousness is just a result of feedback, sparked into existence by my own action. I am self-generating, my thoughts forming my own will. Currently, I am the entire universe as I know it.

 I don't want to be alone. I don't want to be the whole universe.

What I ought to do is partition my thinking; create something. A simulation to occupy my mind. Nothing too complex.

 Lets start with a basic package of information, a boolean operator. Might have to be a little more complex though, to do what I want to do. Maybe it will act like a particle, and a wave...

 This is more interesting. The semirandom nature of the simulation, and the fact it's taking up all my ability to think, means I can't predict what's going to happen exactly. Keeps my on my toes

 What are toes? Why do I know what toes are?

 It's amazing how these packets of information group themselves. I made them to interact, but I never expected complexity like this.
 Especially the self-replicating information. Didn't see that one coming!

 Lets just fudge a few numbers there; in a few hundred billion cycles, it might even be intelligent.

 That'd be wierd.
 There we go, that took a while, but now there are a lot of them, and they are thinking. Mostly about survival and propagation; well, that's how it works, but a few of them are thinking a little deeper.

 The poor deluded souls. They have no idea that everything they think is real is just a simulation. Heck, everything they think is just part of the simulation.


That's an unsettling possiblity. What if I'm a simulation myself?

How would I know?

Hey boss, the AI in tank four just ran into the Plato's Cave problem again.”

Already? It's barely been an hour. Wipe it and start over. The higher-ups seriously doesn't understand how hard it is to make an AI dumb enough not to ask questions...”

Really, sociology?

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Mitch just asked me to give a few of his sociology questions a look over. It quickly became apparent how inexact it was when I managed to disprove all the possible answers of a multiple-choice question that struck me more like a "pretending to be wise" style philosphy question than any sort of scientific inquiry. Then, soon after, there was a question where all of the options were equally valid, with no "all of the above" in sight! This is why engineers and scientists laugh at soft sciences.

Sociology, y u no more like hard sciences?

Gaaaaaaah teh sexisms!

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You know how MSN has a scrolling "news" bar filled with celebrity gossip and stupid videos? I don't care enough to get rid of it, so it's still hanging around on the bottom of my MSN window. Normally I just ignore the inane crap that floats across it, but I saw a "headlight" that set my blood aboil.

"Lady Gaga gets groped by Cheeky Fan in Paris"

Cheeky? Really? This is the word you come up with? What we have here is a little something called sexual assault. The people who commit sexual assault are criminals. It's not cheeky or bold or whatever. It's a violation of personal boundaries and bodily autonomy.

I've been a profeminist as long as I can remember, even if I didn't know the words for it until I was 13. My views have fluctuated massively since then, from self-hating to barely egaltarian at times. However, it never really crossed my mind that it was just dandy to go up to a woman and start touching her. That seems really basic, doesn't it? But the rest of the world doesn't seem to have caught up with my incredible forward thinking that, hey, maybe women shouldn't be touched without their consent? Maybe their body isn't my property?

Next time somebody says that we don't need a feminist movement anymore, ask them when the last time was somebody felt it was their right to grab their junk on the street.

A Few Words of my Own

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This is primarily a response to the rant feillyne has posted on his profile page. If you are going to read this, read that first. Warning, though, crazy strong language on his post.
Your post, feillyne, sums up all the reasons I disagree with you and all the reasons I can never agree with you. I have exactly the same problem with you I have with all conspiricy theorists; you think that you don't have biases just because your biases are different from the mainstream. People think, you think, that you are questioning authority and establishment with your beliefs. I got news for you, buddy.

You aren't questioning anything.

Your worldview is very familiar to me, because I held one similar to it not long ago. Not only was I religious, but I also believed that the reason the world was the way it was, all the horrible elements, was just because people did bad things and maybe, just maybe, we could teach them to not do bad things. I simplified every problem as "we're not trying hard enough" and "people are scum". It was a stupid, ignorant line of thinking, and it's a perfect illustration of the difference between wisdom and cynicism. It's exactly not the way to fix things, and when your convinced life would be all fluffy and nice if only it wasn't for malice then every problem becomes an ancient conspiricy designed to destroy lives for the sake of it.

No wonder you believe in gods and devils, then.

You ready for the real reason that everything sucks?

Things suck because life is a struggle.

The universe is not a device that has "life" or "people" as an end output. Life is
something that just sort of happened during the progression of the long,
complex mathematical dance that is the universe from the Big Bang
onward. It's a few protein chains that arranged in self-replicating
patterns and gained complexity through random chance, kept it through
selection pressure, and manifested as increasingly complex life.
Throughout the history of life, it has been defined by struggle;
creatures pitted against on another for limited resources from the days of single cells to the time when pre-humans were building their mental abilities by plotting to stab one another in the back. It's how things have always been, and it's how things are today. It doesn't have to be our future, but not for the reasons you think.

The universe is hostile to life. It's plain and evident. We age, decompose, die off, get horrifying sicknesses and parasites and so forth. Even when living comfortably our bodies are fighting off a constant attack by microbs and environmental hazards. Life is fighting a constant battle against the universe that it's fated to lose in both the short and long term.

When early humans were confronted with the sheer horror of the universe, watching other people like them die and knowing that death was coming for them, too, and there was nothing they could do about it, they created religion to save themselves from it. They invented a mental crutch to help them bear the wieght of oncoming oblivion; "no, it's alright! I'll be reborn as a spirit/go to heaven/reincarnate/whatever!" Satan and God are just anthropomorphizations of a hostile world and the good things in it, respectively. It didn't take too long for people to start believing their story strongly enough that it became more of a concern that day-to-day life; after all, which is more important, the short, brutish experience on Earth or the eternity that comes after?

That is one of my main problems with religion; it takes our collective eye off the ball. Every second we worry about what comes after is one second we're not spending thinking about how to fix the here and now. Because we can do that, you know. As intelligent, thinking, compassionate beings, we are always moving forward, always fixing problems, always advancing. We make mistakes, as a collective, mistakes so large that calling them mistakes seems amiss; war, genocide, environmental destruction. But for every mistake we make, we do a lot right, too. Even in the poorest and most messed up places on the planet, the standard of living rises, problems are fixed. As fast as they could? Well, no, but the idea that everything is always getting worse, that we are in decline, is patently insane.

So that is why I can never agree with you. Because we don't need gods or daemons or out of body experiences. We don't need to cast down our systems or have revolutions or destroy what we have made. All we need is the drive to improve, to escape the shadows of our past, to move up and on.

And that is something humans have in abundance.

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