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4 years ago

Weekly Update!!!!

◊ Posted by A β Pseudolonewolf
Yes, this is a WEEKLY UPDATE, which I write every week without fail.

I've been playing Pokemon X recently! I finished it about a week ago, but it's rekindled my desire to work on Miasmon again.

Miasmon's actually been half-finished for a while now... Or rather, the current version of it has. I've been working on it for literally years now, which is annoying, and it's gone through two entirely different versions. There's the first, pixelated, top-down one with characters like Zaffre and Cerise and Francis Marmalade and so on, but I abandoned that one because it was getting impractical. The other, newer version started as 'Programon'; it includes side-scrolling travel between places, a customisable player avatar, and a world that expands through frequent updates rather than being released all at once as some kind of Finished Game. That's the one I'm working on now.

I've been struggling to decide on a STYLE for it for a long time now, which is the main reason I'd been putting it off. I think I've decided now though, and I've been drawing some monsters in the style that I'm going to use. Behold!!

You may remember some of those designs from a while back, while others are new! I'm particularly fond of Coconoct and its evolutionary relatives myself.

To add the graphics to the game, I'm likely going to just trace over these and do them as vectors in Flash. So what you're seeing here is how the final graphics will look. Yes.

I've been really indecisive about what to actually do in regards to mechanics, though. One of the things that I like most about Pokemon is the TYPES that each Pokemon can have. It excites me when I see unusual type combinations, and I really like the idea of moves having types and gyms being based on those types, too. It's such a simple and elegant system. I don't want to copy it directly though, so I've been experimenting with variations.

I do want to have types of SOME sort... In the original, pixelated version of Miasmon, I had maybe sixteen types, and each monster had one or two of them, like Pokemon do. Moves had elements, though - fire, water, air, earth, light, dark, fig, aether, or physical - and each type had a set of weaknesses and resistances to these elements. The undead type was weak against fire and light but resistant to dark and fig, for example.

Since Miasmon will be set in the Alora Fane world, though, I want to use the six sentiments that I've come up with. You know, courage, fear, bliss, destruction, creation and sorrow. I'm fond of those, and it fits with the idea that monsters are emotions made manifest.

Each monster will have a sentiment, but it seems limited that way, so I've also added 'body types', which are more like Bestial or Avian or whatever. Similar to the types that I had in the original pixelated version. As such, each monster has THREE types in total; a sentiment, and one or two body types. Coconoct up there is Fear/Plantoid/Undead, for example.

This makes weaknesses and resistances tricky. I've already got a cyclic set of relationships sorted out for the sentiments... It looks like this:

Each sentiment is strong against the one clockwisely adjacent to it, and weak against the one anticlockwise. So Courage beats Fear but is beaten by Sorrow, and so on.

There are twelve body types, and I've tried to set them up in a cycle too... I have two rather different possibilities so far:

The Undead type is called Nightmare there, as that was its old name.
The way this one would work is that each type would be SUPER EFFECTIVE against the TWO next to it in a clockwise direction. It'd do reduced damage to the one directly anticlockwise, and it'd do zero damage to the one two spaces anticlockwise.
So, for example, Warrior would do double damage to Bestial and Avian, half damage to Draconic, and no damage at all to Golem.

Some of the matchups were odd, though, and I didn't like how types would do normal damage to most other types... so I tried to redo it:

In this one, each type is strong against the THREE clockwise of it, weak against the two anticlockwise, and utterly ineffective against the one three spaces anticlockwise.
For example, Warrior here deals double damage to Undead, Draconic, and Bestial types, half to Golem and Arcane, and none to Amorphous.

And how does this work with sentiments? I'm not entirely sure yet. What seems like the most likely way of going about it would be to divide all moves into physical and magical attacks, like most games do, and physical attacks would use the body types while magic would use the sentiments. So you might have a skill like Scratch, which is Bestial, as well as another called Rage, which is a fiery Courage spell. Or something.

You may be curious about what these types actually mean, or what they'd be used for, so I'll explain:

WARRIOR would be knights and such. Weapons and armour. Primary warrior types would mostly be humanoid, though monsters with Warrior as a secondary type might be armoured or they might have weapons or weapon-like appendages or whatever.
UNDEAD is used for, well, undead, but also dark/ghost/evil sorts of things, possibly.
DRACONIC is used for dragons, but also for dinosaurs and lizards. A snake and a lizardman might be draconic even if they aren't dragons as such. Reptiles, basically!
BESTIAL is mostly used for 'beasts'; mammals, mostly.
AVIAN is birds and bird-like things. Unlike Pokemon's Flying type, it'd explicitly hint at feathery designs with beaks and talons and such.
PLANTOID is similar to Grass from Pokemon.
PISCINE is used for monsters shaped like fish or dolphins or whales or mermaids or other sea creatures.
INSECTOID is insects, of course.
SPRITE is basically like the new Fairy type in Pokemon, though I came up with it long before I knew that Pokemon was going to add such a type!
AMORPHOUS basically just means 'without a fixed physical form'. It could be used for things like slimes, ghosts, monsters made of liquid or gas or plasma, etc.
ARCANE is similar to Psychic, though it's also like 'wizard' or 'magic' or something like that. While sentiments are used for magic, this 'body type' hints at mage-like or supernatural creature designs.
GOLEM is used for monsters that have bodies made of inorganic materials. It's similar to Rock and Steel from Pokemon, though it can apply to a wider range of creatures.

So there you go! Now you know.

I'm currently working on this game, then, trying to sort out things and make decisions and such, as well as designing monsters. I thought it'd be wise to use this motivation while I have it.

I'm still also working on 'DreamQuest', which I'm likely going to call 'Alora Fane: Creation' instead, for various reasons. Did I mention that already? I can't remember. What I want to do before I can release it is to make a full 'official plot' for it, both to show what it's capable of and to make it appealing to people who aren't interested in making their own adventures... I think I talked about this last time. I've got most of the plot sorted out, but I'm lacking the inspiration to fill in several holes, so taking a break will probably be good.

I've also been spending a lot of time working on some personality website thing!! I bet everyone's totally interested in that. It's because apparently more than half of the money that my website generates is coming from the temperaments mini-site thing, which I feel is outdated. My new site talks about all the personality stuff I've learned over the years, and it's fun for me to write and probably profitable in the long run! I won't link to it yet though because it's not done.

I'm also still at university. Gasp. I've yet to settle in socially or find a group of friends, and maybe that won't happen at all, which will be disappointing... My problem isn't that I can't approach people, but that I've yet to find the kinds of people I'd like to approach. The Game Art course doesn't exactly seem to attract shy, sensitive, emotional people. I've probably talked about all this before too.

So yes. That's what I'm doing. I'll get back to drawing monsters now, I think!
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.