Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Things That Scare Me: Part 1

When I was very small, I used to be afraid of the hallway to my bedroom. It was dark and potentially full of things. I used to run through it to minimize the danger. I knew, intellectually, that there probably was not a monster in there. It was a hallway, there was not a lot of room for something to hide and lunge at me. On the other hand, though, why take chances?

Eventually I realized there were no monsters in the hallway. This coincided with me discovering the light switch. It was a bittersweet revelation, as I left for college shortly after that, but I digress.

Now as a grownup who has mastered the light switch and has access to both edged and blunt weapons (just in case), I am no longer troubled by monsters in dark places. My anxieties have taken on much darker, more sinister forms.

The Stock Market
I do not know what this is, but it troubles me. Oh, I know what it is: its a big place where people work and somehow numbers are involved. That is the problem. I do not know what the numbers mean. Up seems to be good. Down seems to be bad. Yet, I live in fear that somehow the numbers will go sideways and for reasons I do not understand, I will end up living with my mother and selling my comic book collection to make ends meet.

Note to my Mother: No Mom, I would love to live with you. It would be spiffy. Really. But not right now. I . . . ummm . . . have a date. Yes, with a girl. No, she is not plastic. Sorry, gotta go. Blogging.

Tomorrow: Part II – Things that go bump in the night. Into my car. Raising my insurance.

Friday, July 27, 2007

A Polite Request

I love video games. This is patently obvious, considering that I actually work in the video game industry. My two big loves are Role-Playing Games (RPGs) and First-Person-Shooters (FPSs) though I do appreciate a wide variety of games.

I, therefore, have one simple request for my esteemed brethren in the industry:


I am getting really tired of games starting with:

You wake up in a dark alley, clad in a pink tutu and combat boots, your only possessions a Barbie Doll with one arm missing and a machete. You cannot remember your name, where youre from, who your Prom date was, or why lima beans make your cry, but you know one thing: someone is going to pay!

There are other ways to prevent the player from learning pertinent information. True, these ways are harder and require a bit more work, but I, for one, would appreciate it.

Here is one for free: The hero is a highly trained government assassin who is targeted by his own side. Rather than giving him amnesia, maybe his superiors have been purposefully feeding him misinformation. So when he goes to the super-secret hideout, its just a Chuck-E-Cheese. Now he is uncertain that his information is good and the game can proceed normally. Easy, is it not?

Now, I am not suggesting that games can never use amnesia. Im sure it could be done well. Just do not use it if there is a viable alternative.

Here is a thought: Make a game where everyone has amnesia. The hero, the large-breasted love interest (there has to be one in every game, its a rule), the postman, the dog, your neighbors, everyone. Now that could be fun!

So, please, do it for the children.


Thursday, July 26, 2007

Apply Directly to the Brain!

Whilst eating breakfast this morning, I happened across yet another commercial that I found interesting, so to speak. This is for a product called Head On. The whole commercial seems to be a woman happily pressing this product to her forehead, while an announcer semi-shouts Head On! Apply Directly to the Forehead!

The thing I found interesting, other that the extreme annoyance of the commercial itself, was that it never described what the product actually does. I would guess its for headache-relief of some sort, but Im not sure.

The question then becomes, what the hell does this product do? Does it remove wrinkles? Does it improve memory? Cure warts? Enable you to recite the Preamble to the Constitution? Does it, perchance, teach you Klingon?

It is a mystery.

However, it does unlock a whole range of potential Blank-On products.

Pit On! Apply Directly to the Armpit!
Sinus On! Shove it Right Up Your Nose!
Ass On! Stick it . . . Well, Yknow!
Communism On! Rub Vigorously On the Proletariat For Generations While Propping Up a Crumbling Economy!
Get It On On! Cues 70s Soundtrack and Disco Lights!

The possibilities are endless.


Tuesday, July 24, 2007

A Tale of Woe: Part 2

At long last, everything was ready. I hit the Launch button and an error message appeared. I tried again and was given the three original options again. I tried #2. A new error. I tried #1. Same error as number 2.

I decided to do some research and learned that DX10 only worked on Vista. I do not have Vista. I will not even think about installing Vista until Service Pack 2 comes out. The question then became, had I hosed MB by installing the DX10 bits? I dunno. Maybe. Possibly. So I uninstalled, intending to reinstall from the disc.

And what happened? Nothing! Yep, I now had a new error on trying to install MB (something not found) from the disk. I tried again and then again.

At this point it had been two-days since I purchased the game. I was beginning to break out in hives. My mouse-hand was beginning to atrophy from disuse. I considered an animal sacrifice, but all I had was a boneless chicken breast in the fridge. I stabbed it anyway. It didnt work. And then I thought: Steam! I could download the game! I could, theoretically, play MB at some point in the near future!

I started the download from Steam. It took roughly ten hours, but eventually, the percentage hit 100 and the Launch button lit. I pressed it and chose option#1, Launch MB.

Error. I tried #2. Same error. Pixel shader version detected: 2.0.

I used my own special swearword. I do not use this word lightly. It could, in the wrong hands, tear a hole in the space-time continuum and utterly undo existence. Yes, I was that irritated.

So what the hell did Pixel shader version detected: 2.0 mean? I ventured onto the web and discovered that MB requires pixel shader 3.0. Now, I have a badass video card. It was top-of-the-line two years ago and while old, it is still quite capable. But not anymore. Its pixel shader only goes up to 2. 3 is right out.

So, now what? I do not wish to buy a new video card, yet I would like to play MB (which at this point, had better ROCK!). If theres an inexpensive shader 3.0 capable card, I may just buy it, play MB, and then put my old card back in. We shall see.


Monday, July 23, 2007

A Tale of Woe: Part 1

I recently purchased a new computer game. It is, I am assured by many, a wonderful game, full of promise, hope, and aliens that are in desperate need of immediate decapitation.

I will not tell you the name of this game, as lawyers may object to the things I am going to say. I fear no man, yet I have great respect for subpoenas (and lions). So I will simply refer to this game as Misplaced Biosphere (MB for short).

I purchased MB at the local EB Games and happily returned home, my mouse hand already twitching with anticipation. I opened the box and discovered much to my horror, that there was no disc inside. I returned to EB Games and after a brief conversation, was given a new copy. The clerk had mistakenly handed me the display copy, not the actual game. They were very apologetic and all was right with the world.

I returned home, plopped the disc into the tray and began installation. Now MB uses Steam. I am lukewarm on Steam (pun intended). When it works, it works well. When it does not, pain and suffering abound. Steam asked me for the 25-digit CD key. I entered it. Steam churned and then told me that the CD key had already been used and therefore was invalid. I reentered the CD key, but to no avail. It was back to EB Games, where they replaced the game, no questions asked.

Once more back home, once more to the install screen. Hooray, the CD-Key worked! After fifteen minutes of loading, the MB was ready to launch and I was presented with three options:

Launch MB
Launch the DX 9 version of MB
Launch the DX 10 version of MB

I was vaguely puzzled. Doesnt everything use DirectX? So, without thinking, I pressed option #3, Launch the DX 10 version. 75 minutes of downloading ensued. I went and watched TV.

Tomorrow: A conclusion!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Troopers Are People Too: Episode 6: The Return of the Jedi

A large force of Imperial troops, including AT-STs, are holding position in the thick forest of Endor. Two troopers are standing apart from the rest.

FIRST TROOPER: So why are we here?

SECOND TROOPER: Were supposed to ambush the Rebels after they sneak-attack the Force Field Generator.

FIRST TROOPER: Ah. This is the shield generator thats protecting the new Death Star, right?


FIRST TROOPER: Ah. I dont get it. What if the rebels manage to blow up the Generator before we can ambush them? Isnt this like, majorly risky?

SECOND TROOPER: Hey, I didnt come up with the plan.

FIRST TROOPER: I know, I know. Im just saying. Its not like Im paying to rebuild the Death Star again.

SECOND TROOPER: Yeah. I wonder how much that thing costs, anyway?

FIRST TROOPER: There are more zeroes on that budget than we could even count, my friend.

SECOND TROOPER: Yeah, you got that right.

The troopers wait in silence for a few minutes.

FIRST TROOPER: Yknow, Ive been thinking. These rebels. Whats their beef with the Empire anyway?


FIRST TROOPER: The Empire provides jobs, keeps the galaxy stable. I mean, are we really that bad?

SECOND TROOPER: Whos we? Im just punching the clock here. All I want is a decent retirement on a planet that doesnt suck too much.

FIRST TROOPER: Yeah. Yknow, this place aint too bad. Theres a lot of trees, nice weather.

LIEUTENANT: Troopers, move out!

SECOND TROOPER: Well, here we go.

The Imperial troops quickly surround and capture the Force Field Station. Rebel prisoners are being escorted out, hands on their heads.

FIRST TROOPER: Wow, an op that didnt go horribly wrong.

Even as he says this, a battle-shout erupts from the surrounding bushes. Spears and rocks begin to rain down on the Stormtroopers. The rebels quickly escape, rearms themselves and the fighting grows fierce.

SECOND TROOPER: Looks like you spoke too soon.

The two troopers hold their positions, occasionally firing into the surrounding forest as rocks bounce off their armor.

FIRST TROOPER: What the hell? Were fighting stuffed animals!


FIRST TROOPER: Theyre frickin teddy bears!

SECOND TROOPER: Okay, this is stupid.

A rock clangs off his helmet.

FIRST TROOPER: My kidsre gonna love this one. Yes, dear, your daddy shot Twinkles the Bear in the face.

SECOND TROOPER: Yknow what? Im sick of this. The pays lousy, the armor itches and doesnt do squat anyway and I cant see out of this helmet. The Emperor can kiss my ass, Im gonna surrender. You with me?

FIRST TROOPER: Why the hell not? We can get jobs in the private sector, maybe I can actually see my family for a change.

Both troopers drop their weapons and raise their hands.

FIRST TROOPER: Hey! Teddy Ruxpin! We surrender!

Three rocks bounce off his armor.

SECOND TROOPER: Stupid bears.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Troopers Are People Too: Episode 5: The Empire Strikes Back

The battle for Hoth continues. Imperial AT-AT and AT-STs move across the barren landscape as Rebel Snowspeeders fly around and in-between them, their shots ricocheting off the Imperial armor. Cut to the inside of an AT-AT. Imperial Stormtroopers are in a cramped compartment, waiting to be sent into battle. At one end, two troopers are standing together.

FIRST TROOPER: Well, this sucks.

SECOND TROOPER: Yeah. I mean, how were we to know that guy turned off the tractor beam? We couldnt even see the control panel.

FIRST TROOPER: And he was a frikin Jedi! He coulda had us dancing the funky Bantha if he wanted to.

SECOND TROOPER: They can do that?

FIRST TROOPER: Oh yeah. They can, like, block lasers blasts and hypnotize you and make you max out your credit cards, all sorts of stuff.

SECOND TROOPER: Whered you hear that?

FIRST TROOPER: The History Channel.

SECOND TROOPER: Really? Every time I turn it on theres some show about the Clone Wars. Its always 10 Greatest Battles of the Clone Wars or Hell in Space or Shoelaces of the Separatists or something.

FIRST TROOPER: I heard the Emperor totally loves those shows, so he executes people when theyre not on.

SECOND TROOPER: Oh, that makes sense. So, have you seen the vid of Vaders fight with that Jedi?

FIRST TROOPER: Didnt know there was one.

SECOND TROOPER: Oh, its awesome. The security cameras got the whole thing. Vader totally disintegrates the guy!


SECOND TROOPER: Yeah! And people are already modding it. Theres one where the Jedi is a giant bunny and another where they dubbed in new dialogue. Its hysterical.

Theres a sound of a sudden, large explosion. The compartment shakes violently and the troopers almost fall over. One trooper looks out the view port.

FIRST TROOPER: Holy crap! They took out #3!

SECOND TROOPER: Stupid rebellion.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Troopers Are People Too: Episode 4: A New Hope

OFFICER: Secure this area until the alert is canceled.

FIRST TROOPER: Give me regular reports.

All but two of the stormtroopers leave.

FIRST TROOPER: Do you know whats going on?

SECOND TROOPER: Maybe its another drill.

Ben moves around the tractor beam, watching the stormtroopers as they turn their backs to him. Ben gestures with his hand toward them, as the troops think they hear something in the other hallway. With the help of the Force, Ben deftly slips past the troopers and into the main hallway.

SECOND TROOPER: What was that?

FIRST TROOPER: Oh, its nothing. Dont worry about it.

SECOND TROOPER: So, did you talk to the wife?

FIRST TROOPER: Yeah, were gonna get back together. Shes still freaked out about that close-call on the Ambassaders ship, but I told her I got transferred to the Death Star. I was like Honey, its a billion tons of metal with a giant laser on it. Its the safest posting in the entire Empire.

SECOND TROOPER: Speaking of the Ambassader, did you see Princess Laura or whatever-her-name-is? Damn!

FIRST TROOPER: You got that right. I would totally – shit, its Vader!

The two stormtroopers snap to attention as Lord Vader strides past. They relax when he turns the corner.

SECOND TROOPER: That guy totally gives me the creeps.

FIRST TROOPER: Why do you think he wears all that stuff anyway?

SECOND TROOPER: Hell if I know. I heard he has Space Asthma or something.

FIRST TROOPER: You know what I heard?


FIRST TROOPER: Hes actually a chick.


FIRST TROOPER: Yeah! I heard it from Jenkins whos got that buddy in SysOps. It supposedly says female in his . . . her, personnel file.

SECOND TROOPER: Right. Vaders file is totally sealed. How would he get a look?

FIRST TROOPER: I dunno. Thats just what I heard.

The stormtroopers stand in silence for a while.

FIRST TROOPER: Stupid drill.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Anthony, the Space Traveling Potato

The name Anthony the Space Traveling Potato was suggested by the Girlfriend of Spider. Everything else is my fault.

Once upon a time, there was a planet called OurPlace. It was named by its residents, who despite being productive and generally pleasant were not particularly imaginative. The people tended their fields and shined their Burble Bushes and made more people and pleasant smells abounded.

OurPlace was ruled by the Head Cheese, who came from a long line of Dairy Products. They were not generally bad people. In fact, many were themselves quite pleasant. However, the current Head Cheese was not particularly bright and often used stabbing and bludgeoning to accomplish his goals.

Life under Head Cheese was not good. He had no real interest in ruling other than wearing a fancy hat and pinching the bottoms of girls. OurPlace was soon in economic collapse. Head Cheese tried to fix this with more stabbing and bludgeoning, but this failed, much to his surprise.

The inhabitants of OurPlace became decidedly less pleasant. The fields were left untended, the Burble Bushes unshined, and bad smells became common. More people were still being made, but soon there were too many of them and what little food was left was not enough.

Then one day, in the twentieth year of the reign of the Head Cheese, a young man came upon a potato. This was an average young man, who made his living shining the Burble Bushes of others, and he put the potato in his pocket, thinking he had found dinner.

Then later that night, the young man fell asleep in a ditch. This was because someone else bludgeoned him and took his money. The young man dreamed. In between the parts where he was pinching the bottoms of girls and the part where the Frog-With-Twelve-Eyes hit him with a Burble Bush, the potato spoke. It proclaimed itself Anthony and that it had traveled through the vastness of space to be found by him.

Surely, the young man thought to himself upon awakening, as that was his name. This potato must mean something.

And so Surely went to a gathering place. There he held Anthony high and said it was a sign. The people did not believe him and several suggested he do various anatomically impossible things with Anthony. Surely left, heartbroken. Yet a man followed him out. The man believed and would help spread the message of Anthony, the Space Traveling Potato.

Surely went to many more gathering places. Sometimes the people wanted to stab and bludgeon him. Sometimes they wanted to eat Anthony. Yet inevitably, another person or two would follow, having heard the call of Anthony, the Space Traveling Potato.

Some of those who heard the call of the Potato were quite clever. They proclaimed that the Potato was greater than the Cheese. They urged Surely to build weapons so that they could stab and bludgeon and make the world a better place. Surely, who was not quite so clever, agreed and soon war came to OurPlace.

There were many battles and bad smells. The Burble Bushes were trampled and people were unmade. The banner of the Potato and that of the Cheese pushed and strove at one another, until at last, the Potato did prove itself greater.

Surely did his best and for a while, people did not unmake each other quite so much. The fields were once again tended and the Burble Bushes shone throughout the land. Pleasant smells filled the air. A great monument was built and inside, Anthony, now a dried husk, was laid.

Yet war, once found, cannot then easily be lost again. Soon there were whispers of an Onion called Phil, who came from AnotherPlace. And then a Kumquat named Susan. And then a Fruit Basket Who Was From Down the Lane. They fought with the followers of the Potato and each other. The stabbing and bludgeoning gave way to shooting and exploding and then to lasering and zapping.

The time of Anthony the Space Traveling Potato was remembered with fondness, a Golden Age of Spuds, when the Burble Bushes were polished every day. People forgot the great deal of stabbing and bludgeoning that occurred to make it so.

Eventually, the people of OurPlace learned to tolerate the Foodstuffs of others. It did not matter if you were an Apple, a Reformed Spuddite, or even a Vegetable Platter. Lasering and zapping did not go away, but it became a rare thing. The fields were tended by Automated Field Tenders. The Burble Bushes, polished by Automated Burble Bush Polishers, gleamed. People still made more people, as the Automated People Makers were not nearly as much fun.

And all was well, until a giant, potato-shaped asteroid smashed into OurPlace, unmaking everything. And the Burble Bushes shone no more.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (no spoilers)

So, the gang and I went to see the latest Harry Potter last night. Overall, it was good. There are a lot of minor differences between it and the book, which prompted a great deal of discussion amongst the group later on.

HP#5 was a grim book and the movie captures that feeling quite well. The wizarding world has suddenly become a much more serious, dangerous place and the wacky hi-jinks of earlier books have been replaced by students preparing themselves for battle. There are moments of levity, but fewer than in previous outings.

The cast is generally excellent. Gary Oldman is great as Sirius Black. Helena Bonham Carter does a great, if brief turn as Bellatrix LeStrange. Newcomer Evanna Lynch also does a good job Luna Lovegood.

If you enjoy the books and the films, definitely see this movie. If you are a purist and just enjoy the books, do not bother, it will not change your mind. If you have only seen the movies and not read the books, I strongly suggest you read the books. They will fill in a lot of detail. If you have neither read the books nor seen the movies, ignore this entire blog.


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Not-So Super Powers

This was partially inspired by Barbara, who suggested a variety of superhero related topics. Everything else is my fault.

Superman. Wonder Woman. Spiderman. Magneto. Wolverine. What do they have in common? They are all superheroes, obviously, but what else? They all have super-powers, but more importantly, they have useful (ie, combat) superpowers.

Think about it. How many superheroes have powers that are completely useless? Would Superman be so super if his super power was to know exactly when a steak was medium-rare?

Statistically, for every combat super-power, there must be dozens of non-combat related powers, but even these might be useful. Someone who could un-wrinkle clothes by merely being near them could make a fortune in the dry-cleaning business.

However, this begs the question: What are the absolute worst powers to have? Let us find out, shall we?

Adamantium Nose Hair
We all know that Adamantium is the stuff on Wolverines bones that make them unbreakable. What if your nose hair were that strong? You could not trim them and plucking them would be downright excruciating. Picking your nose would result in serious lacerations. Sneezing could kill.

You can read minds, but only those of teenage-boys and you cannot turn it off. Twenty-four hours a day, every day, it would be nothing but: sex-boobs-butts-girls-boobs-boobs-football-boobs-sex-butts-girls-girls-cars-etc.

You unconsciously change shape, but only into forms that people hate. You would spend your days looking like Hitler, that bully from high school, or that miserable-tramp-that-slept-with-my-husband. On the plus side, you would be in great shape from running away from all the people who were trying to kill you.

Have you thought of a miserable super power? Let me know and I may include it in a future update.


Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Fast, Easy, and Fun!: Part 2

The headline would be inevitable: Teen Killed In Dusting Party. This would be followed by: Dusting! The New Sex? And then: President Signs Anti-Dusting Bill – Teens Urged to Drink Instead. Serious men in suits would discuss the dangers of dusting. Oprah would have a special segment called Teen Dusting: A Mothers Heartbreak complete with testimonials from parents whos families were torn apart by dusting.

The other side, those that advocated dusting as a simple, wholesome activity, would urge teens to dust in moderation, but they would be dismissed as un-patriotic.

Eventually, dusting would be outlawed. Guns Do Not Kill People, Dusters Do. America would spend millions of dollars every year to keep dusting devices and products from being smuggled into the country. Columbian Dust Lords would get rich from black market feather dusters. Politicians would campaign on Anti-Dusting platforms and promise to make our streets and homes dusty again.

All because some company decided to make dusting fun.

Then again, maybe not :)


Monday, July 9, 2007

Fast, Easy, and Fun!: Part 1

I happened to catch a TV commercial the other day for an electric dusting device. It was essentially a battery-powered handle that spins an attached dusting head. I was not paying too much attention, but the following tagline caught my ear.

It now makes dusting fast, easy, and fun!

I can accept fast and easy, though frankly, dusting is not particularly slow or hard to begin with. I know because one of my childhood chores was to dust. This consisted of spraying Pledge on things (tables, chairs, the cat, my sister) and then wiping it with a cloth. Granted, my mother was never particularly happy with the dusting job I did, but I at least fulfilled the letter of the law, if not the spirit.

I now, of course, hate dusting, as well as vacuuming, my other childhood household chore. I more or less refuse to do unless I have a hot-date (ie, never). Frankly, my apartment is small enough that I could dust, vacuum, repaint, recarpet, set it on fire, and then rebuild it in maybe 20-minutes, but I digress.

This particular device, though, is promising to make dusting fun. Somehow, I doubt that adding a spinny-thingy onto a duster would make it more fun, but what if it did? What if teens suddenly started having dusting parties?

Teen #1:Dude! Susans parents are out of town. We are going to totally dust that place tonight!

Teen #2: Whooo!

High-fives ensue.

Tomorrow: Dust Parties: Is Your Teen a Duster!?

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Fame and Fortune Will Be Yours

I am sitting at my desk, staring balefully at my computer screen. My computer fan is whirring loudly away. My cat is on my lap, looking for attention. The Microsoft Word page in front of me is completely blank. So is my mind. My butt itches.

I am trying to write the blog. I get halfway through a piece and then realize that a colonoscopy is probably not that funny. Highlight, delete, blank page. Funny is not happening. Funny is a long way from happening. Funny has left the building. My butt still itches. I should probably buy some cream or something.

A thought occurs, a possible topic. And then it dies, like a canary in a mustard gas mine. I need ideas. I need help. I really need something for that itch (possibly an exorcist).

Therefore, I turn to you, the one or possibly two people who read my blog (and are not my mother). What would you like to read about? What strikes your fancy? Do you want more history? More video games? More venomous? More rants? Give me some topics, please :).

And get this: if I use your topic, I will give you credit! Fame and fortune will be yours, as I will put your name in the actual blog! Something like: This topic was suggested by Killaman Slaughtermaster, so blame him (bonus points if you get the reference).

So, please, help me keep the blogs coming. You can either respond to this blog or go to Wayfarers Moon > Forum > General > Blog Topics and suggest something there. Do it for the children.


Friday, July 6, 2007

Another Very Small Rant

For whatever reason, it has become vogue to back into parking stalls. I suspect it has something to do with street racing and the Fast and the Furious IV: Drive-Through Combo. In my apartment complex, half the cars in my row are regularly parked backwards. I find this rather silly, as the only reason to park backwards is if you need to drive away really fast. Doctors may need to park backwards. Fireman, sure. Batman, definitely.

Overall, I do not care. Park however you wish, as long as you do not inconvenience others.

Therein, however, lays the crux of my rant. I have noticed a lot of big trucks, those big, huge six-tired, super-jumbo-extended cab, 5-mile-to-the-gallon pickup trucks parking backwards. There are three of them in my work parking lot alone.

Now, I do not care what sort of vehicle people drive. These people may have perfectly good reasons for driving these colossal trucks, be it they have boats to haul, they are tall and need the legroom, or simply like them. However, if they are going to park these enormous vehicles backwards, they should at least be able to get them into the stall.

That is what irks me. These trucks barely fit into a standard stall anyway and if parked backwards inexpertly, they end up taking up two stalls. My work lot is crowded. There is just enough parking. If the lot is full, you end up walking a couple blocks. So, if you are going to park your gigantic truck backwards, make sure you actually get it into the stall, so other people can use the lot as well.


Thursday, July 5, 2007

Be Nice to the French

It is July 4th here in the United States. This, of course, means eating until you are ill and watching fireworks. The fireworks I can understand. We won our independence from the British after several years of hard fighting and to commemorate that we blow stuff up. We are Americans. We like it when things explode.

However, this blog is neither about eating nor fireworks. It is about being nice to the French. Why, you may ask, we saved their butts in two World Wars? The answer: they saved our butts during the Revolution. Not only did they quietly finance our Revolution (which sent them into debt and helped bring about the French Revolution), they also contributed troops and most importantly, a navy.

It was this navy that won the Battle of Chesapeake and bottled Cornwallis up at Yorktown, forcing him to surrender. This pretty much won us the whole shooting match.

I realize it is has been politically correct lately to bash the French, but on this, our Independence Day, we should give a nod to an ally across the water. Sure they baffle us and seem pointlessly contrary at times, but arguably, we would not be celebrating a 4th of July without them.

So, if you happen to know a Frenchman, shake his hand and say thanks. If you happen to know an attractive, single French woman, give her my number :)


Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Two Important Announcements

This is Jason Janicki, writer for Wayfarer’s Moon with two important announcements.

First of all, Page 26 marks the end of Issue #1! What will happen next? Who will the Hooded Woman shoot first? Can Haith wear less? Is Lily really that naive? Will the Master ever find his Visine?

The second, more important announcement is this: Leigh needs to take a break. So, there will be no new comic pages until the 17th (two weeks and change from today). We will be putting up sketches on the regular update days, but no new pages. Once again, Page 27 (the 1st Page of Issue #2) will be up on the 17th.

Through the rest of July, we will be updating the comic on Thursdays, with sketches on Tuesdays. Ideally, this will give Leigh a breather and allow him to get ahead on the book. We plan on resuming our regular update schedule in August.

Rest assured, Wayfarer’s Moon is not going anywhere. We will be on the forums, answering what we can and we are looking forward to continuing the story.


Monday, July 2, 2007

The Business of Video Games: Part 6

And at last we come to the unsung (and often unwashed) heroes of game production: the Testers. Testers, well, test. They play the game in its various stages, looking for bugs and reporting them via some painfully obtuse bug tracking system. Sounds like fun, does it not? Surprisingly, no.

Take your favorite game and play it through 100 times. Randomly unplug your game system every so often. That is what being a tester is like. Now do that again, except with your least favorite game. Rinse, repeat. Insane yet? Do not worry, you will be soon.

Now I have been accused of being cynical about the games industry. It is true. I have spent a lot of years making games and it can be an amazingly frustrating occupation. Yet for all that, I keep plugging away. Why? Because with all that is wrong with the games industry, you still get to work with a diverse group of intelligent, talented people on something amazing. You get to make video games.


Sunday, July 1, 2007

The Business of Video Games: Part 5

Programmers are strange, intelligent beings of semi-mystical origin. They spend hour upon hour writing in strange, obscure languages that only they can understand. You might assume that their primary job is to actually code the game, but in reality, it is to say no.

Can we implement this feature? No.

Can we have fifteen Laser Unicorns instead of twelve? No.

Do you want pizza for lunch? No. Errr, yes.

In actuality, the programmers are simply practicing the Engineering philosophy espoused by Scotty in that one episode of Next Gen. Scotty advises Geordi that he should always pad out his estimates, so he can get them done ahead of schedule. Programmers do this as well. By always saying no, they can then shock and amaze by saying yes. They are a tricky bunch, those programmers.

The other job that starts with a P is that of Producer (or PM in some places). Producers make sure everything gets done. They make schedules, they plan, they talk to the publisher, they have MEETINGS. Meetings in all caps with italics (though not underlined, that would be excessive).

Producers must know what is going on with the project at all times, so they have to talk to everyone else constantly and be involved in dozens of decisions, large and small, every day. Producers, strangely enough, tend to be very calm people. The uninitiated might think this was because they are level-headed and serious. No, it is because they are exhausted from all the meetings and do not have the energy needed to strangle the person next to them.

Tomorrow: The Wrap-Up