I’m thinking of making a game using PyGame…

I  am actually not making one from scratch, but I found at the local Half-Price Books a couple of Metagaming microhistory board games that look like they’d be fun to try to make a 2-player hotseat game (before attempting to making anything resembling a computer player.)

I think I’ll do it like Avalon Hill used to do with their hybrid games on the old Atari computers (and Commdores I suspect). The game had counters/hexes and the screen told you where to put the pieces. I think I can manage a map and counters, but I’ll have to handle some of the other things in code, rather than on the board itself. (In the particular game I’m going to try called “Rommel’s Panzers”, there is off-board artillery, die rolls, and buildings to contend with. I think with some random numbers and decision trees, I can make some reasonably good scenarios. :)

Wonder if there’s a decent line-of-sight routine I can find somewhere? :) If not, this game will be fought with no obstacles, just distance. :)

I’ll keep up with documenting this endeavor (as much as I can remember to) on here. If it becomes a chore, I’ll probably abandon it and look to make it my mission to find the 2 player space combat game that uses a regular deck of cards (I can’t for the life of me remember what it was called, but it sounded FUN.)

Twitter and “Social” anything…

I’ve decided to re-vamp my use of Twitter. In the past, it’s been 140 characters of nonsense between monolithically ignorant jerks who prowl the internet trolling for fun, and the occasionally reasonable conversation with semi-normal people. Quite frankly, the denizens attracted to social media are, to put it bluntly, damaged. I deactivated my original Twitter account and decided, rather thoughtfully after spending some time in hospital, following things I enjoy (Raspberry Pi, Python, Linux, etc.) makes more sense.  I no longer follow the “controversial” nonsense. I don’t follow the pseudo-techies who are simply grievance-mongers in disguise. (Note to the reader: If you call yourself a contributor to a BSD/Linux distro, be sure you actually have contributed.) The war on Twitter for the soul of freedom and individuality is lost. The noisiest, most prolific (yet sparse in number) hate-mongers on Twitter have turned it into an echo-chamber for the Tumblr/Bored Idiot/”Social Justice” Gestapo crowd.

Does it bother me? Yes, in a way, it has tainted technology. The stupidly anti-freedom idiots on Twitter have successfully corralled off a piece of the Internet again. First it was LiveJournal. Next came Myspace. Follow that up with Tumblr. Now that they have Twitter, I am certain their next target will be anything their expensive iPhones can connect to with little effort. Technology has created a wonderful new world. The accessibility of technology has created an online world as stupid, underhanded, and chock-full-o-nuts as the real world.  I’ve been around computers in one form or another since I was 8. Got my first computer (an Atari 800xl) in 1983. It was a wonderful toy, but it took effort to unlock its secrets. Now, any soccer mom with a credit card can get on the web and spew her socially-mobile nonsense to impress her “play date” pals.

I am not a person who longs for the “pure” days of the past, but you have to admit the democratization of technology has had one bad side effect: It amplifies stupid. Technology didn’t lift us out of the stupid end of the pool. It just made the stupid end much bigger.

I hope one day we figure out there’s no “us” or “them”… just “we.” (That goes doubly for the Social Justice Inquisition.)

WASD Keyboard Co. is the bees-knees.

I got my keyboard (WASD brand, in case you were asleep when you clicked on this one), and it’s great. I love the quality of the keycaps and the solid feel of the heavy, black case. I didn’t go with a huge amount of colors with my keycaps this time. I chose white keys for alphanumeric and green for everything else. :)

The sheer amount of customization and styling you can do to a keyboard blew me away. It’s really very cool, and part of the price to boot (they don’t charge for the colors.) You can get key dampers, different switches (keyboard wide of course), and you can even have custom key prints if you so desire. (There’s a gallery at their site that shows all the various combinations of caps/colors/lettering they can do.)

Wonderful company. FABULOUS keyboard.

Finding a decent keyboard

THAT is a hard task, to be sure. I had a fairly good one with my Filco tenkeyless, but I found out that I really DO need a little lighter action on the keys (it was Cherry MX Black). It’s not a bad keyboard, to be sure. It’s a great one, in fact. My fingers are just getting old, and I was woefully unaware the “silent” key-clicks that the Filco had was at the cost of heavy strokes for my fingers. I am not a traditional typist, and my fingers frequently move all over the keyboard. It helps me change keyboards easily (like the workstation I use at my job), but it can be hell on my wrists and fingers.

So, I went to WASD keyboards and had one made with some colorful keys, and Cherry Mx Red switches, if for no other reason than to make it lighter to the touch.

It’s not a bad keyboard (should be here in a week or two.) In the meantime, I am using a $7 iHome keyboard with a bit of a ghosting problem… I suspect it’s my USB extension cable. Thankfully the WASD keyboard will have a MUCH longer (detachable) cord. :)

I’ll update when it arrives.

Voting 2014… Why it still sucks

It’s 2014, and we still have two idiotic parties to choose from, with the same, tired nonsense coming from both camps. The Republicans and Democrats are two sides of the same coin. Ever wonder why the “policy fights” in political ads and debates are never about substantive things? It’s because the divisive, “scary” issues like abortion, racism and things that politicians have no business talking about are what the parties use to put you in the “us-vs-them” camps.

The Democrats are steeped in creating a permanent underclass that will vote for them until the end of time (or America, whichever comes first), and the Republicans are interested in creating a moral paradise where they get to choose what you can and can’t do. They’re both anti-Constitution. And they’re both rich lawyers who want to lord over your lives like dictators from a balcony.

If the Democrats were so interested in Individual Liberty, why do they cling to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that mandates forced association and preferential treatment of citizens? If they were so “Constitutionally grounded”, why did they expand the GWB surveillance and expand the powers of the President without Constitutional amendment? The fundamental problem is the Democrats crave power and money, but the other fundamental problem is the Republicans do too.  If either party were worth their salt, they’d have passed the bill defunding the NSA until it got its act together. The NSA should be curtailed and BARRED from doing any surveillance on American soil, JUST LIKE THEIR CHARTER SAYS. There should NEVER be “secret” warrants that the person being searched cannot know about or know why. It violates SO many rights, you’d have to be born yesterday not to see it. They are blotting the Constitution, yet the Constitution grants NO rights. It merely spells them out for the government. And it also says, just because it’s not written down doesn’t mean the government has that right. ALL rights are reserved to the People. The SPECIFIC enumerated powers point to what the government is able to do.

And no, the State or local government does not get to usurp liberty because of the 10th Amendment. The rights we enjoy as HUMANS are ours when we are born. They do not stop until we die. We cannot give them up, nor can we subject others to do so. Rights are inalienable. The government (of both parties) is trying to make us slaves.

And if you vote Democrat or Republican tomorrow, you’re part of the problem.

“Inclusive” isn’t what some people say it means

I’ve been following the GamerGate thing for a bit, and I’ve come to one simple conclusion. No matter what you think of the supporters of GamerGate, the “Social Justice Warriors” and Feminists are not thinking of games simply being “inclusive.”

When you hear “inclusive” or “fair” (like “fair share” from Progressives), it means “not for thee.” Let me explain. The common theme among the SJW’s and “critics” is that games, and “gaming culture” need to be more inclusive and not so “masculine.” Now, in a free market, anyone can enter and provide a product/service and make it available for sale. This is no different in the gaming industry (tabletop, electronic, etc.) With freely available tools, the Internet, and cheap computers anyone with an idea and the desire to build that idea can get a game out there. The key to take from this is that no one is stopping women from making games. In spite of the high-profile victims of late that seem to crop up on MSNBC and Internet Radio, today is a golden age of self-publishing and nearly limitless marketing potential.  Sure, it’d be nice to make a game alone and have EA pick it up and sell millions of copies. The same thing flies through the heads of prospective musicians when they want to “make it big.”

The key is that not everyone will make it, in spite of their talent or ideas. Of course the definition of “make it” varies from person to person, but the general sense of being a musician mogul or a Lord British style developer is what most people feel is the definition of “making it.” So, if we’re to take that definition of “make it” and apply it to the “inclusive” rhetoric of the SWJ’s, there still is nothing stopping a determined person (regardless of gender) from attempting and possibly succeeding in their endeavors.

The problem arises when SWJ’s and feminists (feministfrequency.com is a prime example of this) criticize stereotypes, narratives, depictions of women, and other “shortcomings” of games, they are not jockeying for an equal voice in the market. No, it’s much more sinister. They are attempting to eliminate the things they don’t like in video games so that only their games and their vision for games is allowed.  How do I know this? If they criticize a game for being “sexist”, they do not offer an alternative, and in the case of many feminists, they merely point out how pervasive it all is. That, like “fair”, is their way of saying “I want this type of game stopped.”

The same tired “institutional” sorts of barriers supposedly accompany everyone but white men in the gaming market. I don’t see that at all (considering the plethora of Asian gaming moguls), and attempting to insert Western Culture into Asian gaming is going to fall flatter than the XBox in Japan. If feminists want to make their own games, that’s fine. I applaud their efforts. I most likely will skip them because I am “part of the problem” (a white heterosexual male), but I won’t belittle those who want to try them or even support them.

The problem for me arises when the SJW’s attack games with the most tenuous of examples to reinforce their view that games are all sexist. They are not being critical…. they are attempting to get a groundswell of force to coerce game companies to stop making those types of games. It’s not technically censorship, but it certainly reeks of collectivism.

So the next time you see a SJW saying “inclusive”… be wary. They aren’t talking about you.

Thought Police

    I have noticed something quite disturbing of late, and I think it’s been a long time coming but recently has been taken to its logical absurdity.  The most insidious problem we face as humans is not climate change. It is Political Correctness. There is a determined, well-funded movement to suppress speech that is considered “harmful” to others. Who gets to determine what is harmful and what is not? Certainly not you or me. “Top. Men.” (stolen from Raiders of the Lost Ark) Who are these “top men”? Well, they are politicians, celebrities, news organizations, and other pearl-clutching busybodies who insist on controlling the narrative. 

    The funny bit is the Internet is very hard to censor. Certainly there are ways to make it harder to get to things, but by and large, the Internet is still self-healing and will work around blockages. (Google the “Streisand Effect” for a good example.) When things get out on the Internet, they do not disappear. Removing things would be about as productive as putting toothpaste back in the tube, if the opening were the diameter of two atoms. This sort of unintended consequences of instant communication and a networked world really scares politicians, moneyed interests, celebrities, and anyone else who wants to control what the “great unwashed” see and hear. But I digress… this isn’t about the Streisand Effect in particular, but how people cannot express their own opinions anymore without immediate “apologies” and other acts of contrition while everyone tweets death threats because a person dared to say “I don’t give two monkeys about the Kardashians”. 

    A good recent example of this behavior is Ted Nugent’s tweet about Barak Obama. He called him a “subhuman mongrel”, and immediately the Internet was awash with virtual Al Sharptons and Jesse Jacksons calling for Ted’s head on a platter. Was it the most eloquent way to tell everyone his position on the current President? No, but that’s not the point. The point was he should be allowed to say it without facing repercussions from people who shouldn’t be policing other human beings’ speech in the first place. They are just words. Words are not force. Speech is not force. You literally cannot hurt someone with words. The person may allow themselves to be offended, hurt, angered by words, but that is the recipient’s problem, not the speaker’s.

    What can be done about this? I don’t know, considering how entrenched it is. We cannot criticize the President or we’re “racists”. We cannot make off-color jokes about people and celebrities because we might hurt their feelings. News flash, folks: You don’t have a right not to be offended. Ignore the trolls. Stop being “Social Justice Warriors” and stop trying to police speech that isn’t bothering anyone. Remember what people said about all the religious groups who protested films that depicted their religion in a less-than-flattering light? I’ll give you a hint. They didn’t tell the film maker to stop doing it. They told those “offended” to get a life and change the channel.

 

    So here’s what everyone should remember about the Internet and free speech.  If you don’t like it, get a life and change the channel. In the immortal words of Denis Leary:  “Life’s hard, buy a helmet.” It won’t matter in a few years when the thought police censure you for thinking a controversial thought if you don’t nip it in the bud today. Remember, you’re not truly free unless you are free to be wrong.