April 27, 2012

Beware of CISPA

I don't want to ramble on and on about the rights to privacy we as citizens in the United States should appreciate (especially because it's boring to readers not in the U.S.)  but for those of you affected, check out what's happening with this CISPA bill that has passed in the house and is now going to the Senate.  Essentially, the way the law is written now you will not be allowed any privacy to your doings on the internet as long as the government deems you a risk to the internal structure of a site or other net function.

I just want to make sure people are aware so that way if you want to take action, you can.  Things like this easily slip through the cracks.  The time to react is before it's law, not after.

April 24, 2012

Rewriting the Campaign

They beauty of having a world you invented is that as long as it's not officially published, you can change it.

I have been looking on and off at my notes for the last few days for my first game, and at first I thought I wanted to just organize the notes in a different way.  Something wasn't right, something was off about how I began this... did I just have to retype it in a different format?

Nope, upon further inspection I just realized I had done some silly stuff as "DM porn", where there was a character I was definitely excited to introduce to the PCs, but definitely introduced way too early.  Other structure things... including long times of boring where I was like "Here's a place where you can do stuff!", not realizing that PCs are usually pretty good at letting you know when they're doing something without being given a gap.

Unfortunately only experience would teach me about that stuff.  It'll be interesting as I go on and rewrite this to have it make more sense.  However, the big events are going to stay the same.  I'm not telling anybody those yet, who knows what future players may be reading...

April 20, 2012

Shedding light on women in video games

For a while I was thinking of doing a series of let's plays for video games to shed some light on games who have good representation of women, but I'm finding that most video games do NOT.  Not even the ones I love.

So instead, I'm planning on reviewing the gender equality in video games I played and play.  There are not a lot of games that get it awesome enough that I want to encourage people to look to it as a great example.  With the research I've done (not a lot but from good sources) I have come with a few tests to see what can be revealed about the gender equality in a video game title or series.

Gender Ratio:  What is the representation of males to females?  Is there a story or technical reason why it may shift one way or the other?  Or is it just poor planning?  This will be rated on the ratio found for the main characters--characters that are absolutely necessary for the gameplay and story.  Having an even balance of background characters will not make up for having only one female lead in the story.  There will be a nod if gender identity is discussed in an intellectual way.

Sexualization Ratio: How many men are overtly sexualized versus women?  This is comparing the representation of a person's sexual identity compared to how much one could expect to see on the street.  How a character is dressed (or more importantly isn't dressed) is not the soul factor of this ratio.  It's how it's portrayed, is that sexuality something inherent to understanding the character in the context of the game?  Is their heightened focus on their attractiveness or prowess in the bedroom?

Gender-Assumptive Dialogue:  How many times do you hear something akin to "She's tough enough to fight with the men." or "He's extremely sensitive, I expect him to have PMS with the ladies."?  Anything that assumes a personality or physical trait that is not sex but gender oriented is marked down.  This is marked by number of times I've noted it during my play.  Again, sex is a scientific classification, gender is a social construct.  Sex is the fact a woman has a uterus, gender is the idea that only women wear dresses.

The Bechdel Test:  How many times can you find two women talking to each other about a something other than a man?  It has to be dialogue that last at least 30 seconds or longer of talking time.  I like to thank Feminist Frequency for enlightening me for this test.

For all of these test, I'm going to account for at least 5 hours of gameplay.  within 5 hours of gameplay of any part of a game you should be able to get a good idea of what the dynamic will be for these characters.  I'll be honest with where I started and stopped, and I won't begin right at the first cut-scene.  I'll start after the tutorial (which tends to be the clumsiest part of most games).

After these four factors, I'll do a qualitative analysis of the overall experience.  No number will truly give a good idea of how gender-equal a game is, but they will help give an honest impression to do the overall analysis.

I'm going to start with a good amount of games I play and know, but then I'm going to branch out to other stuff.  There are some games I'm really interested to see how they play out (like the Half-Life series that I haven't played yet because I'm a horrible nerd) and this will also be an awesome way to replay some games I love.  I'll also need help with multiplayer games I have, so please feel free to message me on Steam or Origin (d20sapphire) and help me conduct my research.

Please leave some suggestions as to what games I should play!

April 18, 2012

Mass Effect 3 Multiplayer is toying with me

Ever since the multiplayer for Mass Effect has been around, I have wanted to be the Quarian Engineer.  Not only do you get cryo blast and inferno, but I have always had a soft spot for Tali as a character.  On top of the fact that engineer is the most underestimated class in the game.  I tried being an engineer after being a vanguard, and if you have drones you kick so much ass!  It's kind of amazing what you can do with that and a little overload from time to time.

So I've been hoping with each pack I buy with the credits I earn in multiplayer that I will get a quarian engineer.  You start our with a human male and a human female, which I haven't played.  Then after some time I got the salarian engineer, who is cool but still not the same as the quarian.

Then on the 10th they added new races to the classes.  Including Geth to the engineers.  And I just got a pack that gave me a geth engineer.

So now I have every kind of engineer you can have in the game unlocked EXCEPT THE ONE I WANT.

Basically, what I'm saying is that my life is so hard.

Okay not that, but still some cruel partner of fate is laughing at me so hard right now.

April 13, 2012

A Writer's Dilemma

I've recently have had some serious writer's block when it comes to my fiction ventures.  It's not that I don't know what to write.  On the contrary, I have a ton of ideas to write onto the page.  It's that when I finally write down something, I become a horrible perfectionist.

I just started rewriting the trilogy that has been stuck in my head longer than I've been an adult, and I'm already paralyzed with fear that I'll mess it up.  It's almost like I care too much to put it on the page.

I just hope this is just a phase and I'll be able to start writing everything down again and worry about perfecting the story later.

April 10, 2012

Little Random Bits of Awesome

I'm sorry that I haven't been keeping up with the writing, but nerd things have been distracting me, including a redo of my campaign from college.   Which I'm working on today and tomorrow.  Other things include serious development of LARP characters and planning on playing the new multiplayer release on ME3.  FREE DLC TAKE ADVANTAGE OF IT TODAY!

In other news, I found a couple other awesome things you guys will appreciate.  Like a case study of women whipping off glasses and the associated increase of sex appeal.

Better thing here is the story of Caine's Carboard Arcade in East L.A.:

Let's all encourage creative kids to figure out how to solve problems with what little they have!  And make new things from old ones!