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Posts relating to The Site:

4 years ago

I am talking about MARDEK!

◊ Posted by A β Pseudolonewolf
Categories: Art MARDEKPlansProgress ReportsThe Site
First of all, MERRY CHRISTMAS, since it is apparently that day today! It used to be such a special, important day for me where the whole world felt different, acted different... but these days it's just any other day, and I've been doing work and such.

I've actually been drawing a lot recently! Over the last couple of years, I've really been trying hard to refine my drawing skills in order to have better art for my games. If you've been watching me for a while, you may remember that in April of last year, I drew a bunch of portraits of the primary MARDEK cast. You can see the results in this post here: ∞ Fig Hunter ∞

I've been studying faces a lot since then though, and I wanted to see how much I'd actually learned... So I decided to redraw those MARDEK characters! Here are the results:

I hope that you can see that there's quite a bit of improvement there!! I understand the features of the face much better than I did a couple of years ago, and while I'm certainly not a master yet, every portrait is a stepping stone towards that point!

If you're curious, I made a thing directly comparing the in-game portraits, some drawings I did shortly after the release of MARDEK 3, the ones from 2012, and the newest ones. You can see it here:


While drawing those, I got thinking about MARDEK again... It's odd how a lot of people probably know or care more about MARDEK than I do these days! I mean, there's that concept that TVTropes calls ∞ Old Shame ∞, which is basically when a creative person cringes when looking back on the stepping stones that have led them to their current position. As someone who tries to make a lot of things, I'm on a constant quest to better myself, to learn new things, to improve; you can see from these portraits above that change and improvement can be fairly severe, to the point where the old stuff just looks like rubbish.

For ages, MARDEK had felt like that to me... I knew it was full of flaws, so I basically avoided it. The art was bad, because I didn't understand anatomy, colour theory, flow, etc, etc! The music was bad, because I didn't understand music theory, or chords, or anything about harmony really! The programming was bad because it didn't even use Object Oriented design! The writing was bad because I didn't know about Literary or Narrative Techniques! And so on and so forth. Once I DID learn about these things, it became so obvious that they were missing in my old work.

However, while researching these portraits, I found myself not cringing as much as I would have imagined. I used the Fig Hunter Wiki a lot to read my own dialogue (thank you to whoever took the time to add all the content to the wiki!!!), and I listened to my own music on Bandcamp... And while I can indeed see flaws in basically all that I found, at the same time I suppose I can understand why a lot of people did like MARDEK, and what kept me working on it for years. Yes, it's unpolished, but it's so very MINE and there are a lot of things about it that are very precious to me.

It got me interested in working on MARDEK 4!!!

However. Before anyone gets their hopes up, I want to talk about how feasible that would actually be...

Firstly, it'd be ridiculously unreasonable to drop everything to work on that! Instead, I NEED to get Alora Fane: Creation (formerly DreamQuest) out soon! I need to! Then, if it's relatively well-received, it can be something that generates a trickle of money and new people consistently, because it'll be heavily based around user-generated content...
I'm just struggling trying to write a satisfying plot for it at the moment... My mind is so different from when I started MARDEK. Now, I feel compelled to write a *meaningful* story, one that focuses strongly on my own values or which communicates a certain message, but it's difficult to decide on details. I also feel like now that my muse is gone (Firequill, that is), it's harder to stay positive and write amusing dialogue and... well, it's taking time to sort out my thoughts anyway, though I feel like my plot ideas so far aren't as engaging as MARDEK.

How would I even make MARDEK 4? I've spent the last few years making Flash games, but it feels like the market for those is perhaps dying, being replaced by apps. I'm currently learning how to use Unity, and intend to make games using that in future (I'm still using Flash for AFC though, of course). It might be possible to make MARDEK 4 in that... but it'd probably be unwise to make it my FIRST Unity game, otherwise I'll have a really shoddy base to work with.

Of course, it would also be tricky to sell, because it's the fourth chapter in a long series that was first released several years ago. New players won't have a clue what's going on (I intend to add an "in the previous three chapters" thing, but that'll hardly be the same), and expecting them to play the Flash versions seems a bit much. I'm not really sure what to do about that at all.

At the very least, I think I might start playing around with making art assets and planning story ideas (or rather, refining the old story plans that already exist into something that better fits with my current, older mind), so I'll post those if I do them. It's wise to focus on AFC though, so that's my primary concern.

Oh, another thing! I think that I am going to stop using Fig Hunter to talk about my personal feelings!!

I have several websites now, you see, and I intend to use them all for different purposes. They are as follows:

FIG HUNTER: I'll use this for writing about games. All news posts here would be about game progress, then.

ALORA FANE: I'll use this for games specifically set in the Alora Fane world. What sets this apart from Fig Hunter is the fact that those games would share a world, while Fig Hunter games wouldn't. So I could release things like Clarence RPG or MARDEK 4 as 'Fig Hunter Games', but AFC and Miasmon as Alora Fane games. They'd probably update gradually, while Fig Hunter games would be released only when they were done as standalone things.
This site isn't open yet; I'll open it when I release AFC.

SOUL SAVVY: A personality site where I write about personality type stuff. As such, I won't bother talking about that stuff here, either.
You can find it here: ∞ LINK ∞

(INTROVERT SOCIAL NETWORK): This is my newest site, which I made only a few days ago. Some of you may remember that I tried making an introvert 'dating' site of sorts a while back, called 'Willow' (or 'Elysium Glade' according to the page headers, which was fairly silly and inconsistent). I abandoned it before long for various reasons... but recently I've been feeling the need for a similar place again.
However, rather than reviving that place, I tried creating something from scratch that was more like what I needed.
Essentially it's a cross between a dating site and a social network, for people who don't much care for Facebook, who are more interested in finding deeper, more meaningful connections with other people. Introverts, specifically. It can be really tough for introverted people such as myself to find these meaningful bonds because we shy away from social gatherings and even social networks (being on Facebook if you have no Life is uncomfortable, at least for me). It allows you to write about yourself in detail on your profile, like a dating site (though in MORE detail than those), and to view the profiles of other people in that way, but it's more about finding friends than partners. You can also comment about your thoughts on your own profile (like people do on Facebook in the form of 'status updates'?), though it's encouraged that you talk more about how you're feeling or what's been on your mind, rather than bragging about activities that you've done, or things that you've found.
It's not ready to be joined yet, but when it is ready, I'm going to use that place to talk about my thoughts instead of here. So if you're interested in reading them, you can do so there (I'll announce it when it's ready), but otherwise you can just follow my games sites and not have to worry about listen to me whine about something you can't relate to.

So yes. HAPPY MERRY JOLLY CHRISTMAS and, uh... all that stuff!
4 years ago

DreamQuest, Strict Moderation, and Gamer MBTI!

◊ Posted by A β Pseudolonewolf
Categories: Alora FanePersonalityThe Site
I have three things to talk about today!

First of all, I'm making progress with 'DreamQuest'... which I'm probably likely to rename to something like "Alora Fane: Creation" for various reasons. Probably. Perhaps.

The actual quest-making aspects of it have been 95% done for a long time now, but what I want to do before releasing it is to make and include some quests of my own that tell a hopefully interesting story. There'd probably be six of them, each maybe about 15 minutes long or so, so it wouldn't be some immensely long thing like MARDEK or anything, but that means it wouldn't take as long to make.

I've been trying to write the plot over the last few days, and I've got the basic skeleton sorted out now! I just need to flesh in some details, then get to work on it making quests from it, which shouldn't take all that long... though I'll be getting Pokemon X tomorrow, hopefully, so I'll probably be distracted by that for a while!!

I haven't got anything particularly interesting to say about the game other than that, but when it is released, that's what you'll be able to expect: not just a game-making tool, but also a full story by me set in the Alora Fane world, with a probably similar feel to MARDEK. Sort of.

When that game is releasable, I'll also open up the other site that I've been working on. The one with the four factions and such. I've talked about this many times before, but I really do want to ensure that it ends up being the sort of place that I can enjoy, rather than a place I have to endure or seek escape from.

Moderation on Fig Hunter has always been very lenient, giving troublemakers and pests far too many chances. I always feared some kind of mutiny, since it seemed that everyone jumped to the defence of anyone - no matter how vile they were - the moment a ban was suggested. However, I'm going to be much more strict with this new site. ∞ This thing ∞ is, I think, a good description of what happened to Fig Hunter, as well as a good way of ensuring that it won't happen again.

So that's something to keep in mind. It means that some people won't last a day there, much to the delight of many others.

Finally, I was in a lecture for my Game Art course thing today talking about game design and players and such, and the lecturer guy started talking about MYERS-BRIGGS at length. You can imagine my elation!!1 He went on about how it corresponds to different play style preferences, or 'Bartle types', which are basically the four 'temperaments' (not THOSE temperaments) that the Myers-Briggs types are commonly classed under (Protectors, Creators, Intellectuals, and Visionaries).

These Bartle types use two different dichotomies: 'change' and 'structure', and 'internals' and 'externals'. They are:

Killers - These types correspond to the SP Myers-Briggs types (the yellow ones; ISTP, ESTP, ISFP, ESFP). They are SENSATION-SEEKING and like EXTERNAL CHANGE; basically they want to alter the state of the game world through force. They tend to prefer games that are about visceral sensations, like killing things, blowing stuff up, fighting things, etc. It doesn't necessarily need to be violence (though it usually is); anything that essentially makes them feel like they have power over the game or other entities in the game. A quote:
Killers (or, as I prefer to call them, Manipulators) ... can be difficult to understand in a gameplay context because most virtual worlds have encoded rules that marginalize their play style as "griefing" (i.e., upsetting other players) and try to prevent it. As Bartle puts it, "Killers get their kicks from imposing themselves on others." He also points out that Killers "wish only to demonstrate their superiority over fellow humans."

They tend to prefer FPS, action, and Fighting genres, probably.

Achievers - These types correspond to the SJ types (the red ones; ISTJ, ESTJ, ISFJ, ESFJ). They are SECURITY-SEEKING and like EXTERNAL STRUCTURE; they are concerned with things like building stats, getting achievements, gathering resources, either building or hoarding or things like that. Essentially, they like to COLLECT stuff, and build up foundations that give them security. They're actually fond of grinding, which other types might consider an arduous chore.
"Achievers regard points-gathering and rising in levels as their main goal" and "Achievers are proud of their formal status in the game's built-in level hierarchy, and of how short a time they took to reach it." Leveling up, leaderboards, and the accumulation of vast quantities of looted items are all behaviors that are driven more by a security-seeking motivation than by other motivations such as powerful sensations, understanding or self-growth.

As such, I imagine they're fond of things like RTS, stat- and loot-heavy RPGs, and perhaps MMORPGs?

Explorers - These types correspond to NT types (the green ones; INTJ, ENTJ, INTP, ENTP). They are KNOWLEDGE-SEEKING and like INTERNAL STRUCTURE; they enjoy things like understanding the world's lore, or might want to try to talk to every NPC they come across in order to have all of the information available.
As Bartle describes Explorers: "The real fun comes only from discovery, and making the most complete set of maps in existence." Of the core motivations -- sensation-seeking, security-seeking, knowledge-seeking, and identity-seeking -- exploration as "discovery" is most closely aligned with the Rational's knowledge-seeking preference. For the Rational/Explorer, once the principle behind the data is revealed, that's enough -- understanding is its own reward. These gamers can enjoy imparting knowledge to others, but no extrinsic reward for doing so is needed or expected.

I bet they love the Elder Scrolls games!!1

Socialisers - These types correspond to the NF types (the blue ones; INFJ, ENFJ, INFP, ENFP). They are IDENTITY-SEEKING and like INTERNAL CHANGE; they enjoy plots, social interaction, character growth, etc.
Socializers are described by Bartle as "... interested in people, and what they have to say. ... Inter-player relationships are important ... seeing [people] grow as individuals, maturing over time. ... The only ultimately fulfilling thing is ... getting to know people, to understand them, and to form beautiful, lasting relationships."

In the lecture, we each had to mention our FAVOURITE GAME, and while I almost totally said MARDEK (totally), I ended up saying Xenoblade Chronicles. It's not my favourite game ever, but I did enjoy it a lot, and thought I'd have some interesting things to say about it if I was asked. And I was asked! One of the things I said I liked about it was how the innumerable sidequests actually affected the relationships of NPCs, which they did; each town place thing had a bunch of named NPCs, and a special menu thing showed a web of their relationships with eachother, like ∞ this ∞. Doing quests changed these relationships; you might get two people to fall in love, or hate eachother, or maybe one person's respect for another would increase and so on. That was infinitely more satisfying to me than just getting a bunch of loot or experience or whatever (I think you also sometimes got items, but I barely cared about those at all).
And in MARDEK, I included the talk-to-your-allies thing and focused a lot on character and dialogue and so on because, well, they're the most important things to me.

Killers want to beat people;
Achievers want to collect stuff;
Explorers want to learn about stuff;
Socialisers want to learn about people.

OBVIOUSLY we all have many different, overlapping reasons for playing games. Obviously! I know that I enjoy marveling at and exploring fantastical worlds; it's one of the reasons that the aforementioned Xenoblade Chronicles really appealed to me. However, we might find that if a game doesn't have our preferred gaming style thing, then we're not likely to enjoy it very much.
I've played - and to some extent even enjoyed - fighting games before, but I would never count them amongst my favourite games because they lack 'social' elements like a plot or character development. I also hate games like Tetris or Angry Birds because they're devoid of the whole reason that I enjoy games at all. This is something I've always known, though it's interesting how it lines up with personality types like this!

Interestingly, I think games that tend to be liked by the widest variety of people - Zelda games, for example - tend to appeal to all of these four gaming types. Zelda has story, stat-building, combat, and collection, so it caters to everyone... though different people might be enjoying it in different ways. I'm reminded of how I'd always raise an eyebrow at people who talked about loving FFVII, then talking about their party's build and how they'd reached level 99 and so on and so forth, since I would have said I loved it because of the plot. Surely they would have liked the plot too, just as I got at least something out of beating Ruby Weapon, but I suppose our *priorities* were different, leading to us talking about the experience in different terms.

This is all just something to think about, really! It makes me aware of how better to structure my own games, though!
4 years ago

Four Factions

◊ Posted by A β Pseudolonewolf
Categories: IdeasThe Site
Oh gods how I hate knee-jerk, hostile reactions to basically every new idea that I come up with. It's one of the biggest reasons I stopped posting on Fig Hunter, because it seems that peoples' heads fill with all kinds of negative assumptions about whatever I suggest, which make them firmly oppose it. It destroys my motivation and feels like it seriously hinders my ability to be creative.

I'm at university right now, but I'm struggling to meet people because the way in which I prefer to communicate is relatively unusual... or rather, it's more subdued, so it's difficult to find others who prefer the same style. I don't like 'laughing and joking with buddies'. That kind of interaction doesn't appeal to me in the slightest. I find it tedious and I want to escape. However, I love discussions where I can probe deeply into someone's mind, and where they're doing the same to me. Serious conversations about personal sentiments, without any need for joking or keeping things 'light'. Other people hate this 'heavy stuff' though and are guarded about revealing their soft underbellies. This is understandable. We're not all the same.

I did meet one person who I seemed to have almost instant rapport with because we were both communicating in this same penetrating style, while I've talked to others for much longer but never felt like we're quite on the same wavelength because their subconscious preferences are so different to my own.

It would be wonderful to have a place, a haven, to come to, knowing that other people shared my interaction style and that I could have discussions that were really satisfying to me without the threat of people coming in and telling me that how I think or behave is wrong. Is this such an objectionable concept? Isn't that the very thing that made this community appealing to so many of you in the first place?

Anyway, the whole 'site split' thing has been my way of addressing this particular concern, but I've never been sure how exactly to handle it, since I know that many people would join the 'sensitive' section I set up for myself even if they don't belong there, rendering the whole thing pointless. Splitting things based on general preferences for interaction styles seems like an effective way of allowing very different types of people to have their own 'havens' that they can turn to if the conversation styles of others get frustrating.

I know that this isn't even a desirable idea for other people. Largely the idea appeals to me because of the years of embittering that Fig Hunter has inflicted upon me. However, I've also never cared about 'group unity' at all. Other people do, though, and I realise that. Socionics comes into play with things like this. For example, here's a general description of the 'delta quadra' types, of which my type, EII, is a member:

Groups made up of primarily Delta types tend to be focused on working on projects, enjoying physical recreation, or finding out interesting things about each other. Laughter is usually subdued and brief; instead, people smile a lot and try to be witty and welcoming. Groups need to be focused on some specific productive activity or topic of discussion, or else they fall apart. In Delta groups, there is a lot of splintering and decentralization. This allows for more focused and productive interaction with only those who share your particular interests or sentiments. People jump from small group to small group easily to keep up their interest level. No one demands that the entire group listen to one person or that everyone do the same thing. Delta Quadra types believe that if everyone just pursues their own interests and makes some accommodations for others, the group will be better off anyway. Delta Quadra types do not focusing on building group identity or unity of purpose, but prefer for the group to remain splintered and decentralized.

That fits fairly well with my idea of splitting up the site into small groups with similar sentiments. Compare and contrast that with the description of the 'alpha quadra':

Inclination for comfortable and pleasant group atmosphere, in the emotional, sensorial, and intellectual aspects. An ideal Alpha group situation is the exchange of light-hearted jokes while discussing imaginative ideas, movies, or sometimes sports, all while enjoying pleasant food and drink. Narrating personal experiences usually takes the form of telling a joke; funny personal experiences are preferred over "serious" ones. The exchange of sober concrete details are avoided. If the group is playing a game together, the fun and jokes that go along with it are at least as important as the game itself. They avoid generating "heavy" moments; any dramatic expressions are limited in time, most often in service of a joke. Alphas are also perhaps the most likely types to participate in group use of mind-altering substances.

Alpha discussions tend to go off on tangents, in whatever direction seems most interesting or funny at the moment. Unusual personal observations are common, resulting from the analysis of the idiosyncrasies or inconsistencies of everyday life. If many in the group share the same observations, they are likely to express their agreement emphatically, so as to create a kind of "mental harmony" which enhances the group dynamic. If a new problem is encountered, it is expanded and developed in as many ways as possible, until some kind of satisfactory conclusion is reached.

Alphas make no distinction between "insiders" and "outsiders", easily drawing people into a conversation once it has begun — though they tend to just as easily withdraw if the person is not receptive. Likewise, they prefer to have the same behavior at work as at play; they find formal speech and dress to be pretentious, unnecessarily limiting, and even ridiculous. Alphas dislike the idea that there is something going on "behind the scenes", preferring to keep things (especially personal motivations) as open and straightforward as possible.

As you can hopefully see, those describe very different interaction styles. I would definitely enjoy a situation that would fit into the delta quadra preference description, but I'd hate to be in a group that ran in this 'alpha' kind of way. Indeed, many groups I've seen so far at university have that feeling about them, and it just makes me feel like I'd never fit in at all because I can't do and don't enjoy that kind of interaction. I'd never even want to be part of a group at all; more than three people would be too much for me. I can see those who have that kind of group-preferring mentality being hostile about the idea of a group splitting up, though, as they have a much stronger sense of group identity and a desire for everyone to be together at once. It isn't even an extroverted thing; each of these 'quadra' things has as many introverted types as extroverted ones.

My idea for the 'factions' mainly caters to my specific desires, but I do think that it could have some value for everyone. I feel like the forum thread I started does a poor or misleading job of describing what I actually have in mind, so I'll do so again here.

Essentially, there'd be four factions which would play a role in the fictional world (as religion/nation kinds of things, with names like Attanga, Baktash, Cantor and Dwyru, or something), as well as being a feature of the site. You'd be able to select your faction from the settings menu. Each faction would have its own forum that only it could post in... However, the full forum might look something like this:

The Site
Other Games

Welcome Room
General Chat
Look what I found!


Feelings & Support

Entertainment & Media
Science & Technology

Religion, Philosophy & Politics


Faction A forum
Faction B forum
Faction C forum
Faction D forum

As you can see, *the majority of the forum would be shared*. The factions would each have their own room to retreat to if need be, but that'd only be a very minor part of the forum experience. There'd also be chatrooms for each faction, but I imagine most people would just spend their time in the common chatroom instead, retreating to their faction rooms only in rare circumstances where they wanted to talk to someone specific or where the general chat was too much to bear.

So it's not as if this idea would segregate you from your friends so then you'll never see them again. Instead, it gives different kinds of people their own 'safe room' where they can talk about things that are meaningful to them in a way where they're likely to get the kinds of responses that they'd be most appreciative of. Why is that so objectionable? It's the kind of thing I'd absolutely love, and which I wish there was more of in other places.

Anyway, it really is frustrating how people just dismiss basically every new idea out of hand as if everything is some terrible threat to the status quo. If it were up to the masses, everything would probably just stagnate, and we'd never develop or evolve at all. New ideas wouldn't even be tried because they'd be assumed to go badly if they were unusual, and... well, sigh, that just makes me feel so weary as a creative person who's always interested in trying new approaches.