Opening the Doors to Authenticity

The question this life asks of everyone is, "Why should you survive? Why should you exist?" When we are children, our parents or other caregivers hopefully answer these questions for us, but when we become adults, we are expected to answer these questions ourselves. I have largely struggled with finding my answer to these questions ever since graduating college over a decade ago. What I now endeavor to reveal here is difficult to share because I am keenly aware that my position is not one that tends to engender sympathy. I fear one group of scoffers, who will look at the vast number of privileges I have enjoyed and would minimize my suffering, pain, and struggle, as if these privileges somehow erase those things. On the other hand, I anticipate those who would call me soft, weak, pathetic, or the like. The kinds of people who would tell me to grow up and act like an adult—and especially those who would tell me to just "man up" and "do what needs to be done.&quo

Psychopomps Are Missing Progress Report for March 2022

Hello, and welcome to my third progress report for  Psychopomps Are Missing , the RPG Maker MV game I'm currently developing. This is a quarterly report about the progress I've made towards completion of the game. If you want updates more frequently than that, I recommend subscribing to the  $5 tier at my Patreon , as the diary entries at that tier include updates if I've worked on the game that day (along with information about other projects I've got in the works). I've also started releasing videos on YouTube about it, which you can watch here . As my measures for determining when the game is complete are no different than what I laid out initially in the  first progress report article , I recommend checking it out if you want to know how I am determining the completeness of  Psychopomps Are Missing . Also, to avoid repeating the same thing over and over again, I'll mostly focus on what has changed since the previous article, so at least giving it a glance

Design Brainstorming: Psychopomps Are Missing, Pokémon, and Types

I've been replaying Pokémon Omega Ruby , and it's been getting me thinking about the element system in my own game, Psychopomps Are Missing . I have 9 types in Psychopomps : Slashing, Striking, Piercing, Fire, Ice, Lightning, Arcane, Divine, and Abyssal. I like these types, as I feel like they give me good coverage for the full range of damage types I want in the game. The way I'm using them is very analogous to Pokémon: weaknesses and resistances to types use multiples of two. However, unlike Pokémon, what weaknesses and resistances exist is not immediately obvious. I do try to be consistent among enemy types. For example, the bandits in an early area are generally weak to Arcane damage (there are caster versions that are weak to Piercing instead). However, what types enemies will be weak to is not obvious, nor is there some clear mnemonic one can use to remember. Again, I try to make it feasible to group enemies into categories to remember that way, but this only goes so

How Getting Lust Wrong Causes Harm

A while back, my sister pointed out something that is quite odd: when the seven deadly sins—greed, sloth, lust, envy, pride, wrath, and gluttony—get anthropomorphized, there tends to be a subtle inconsistency that becomes glaring once you notice it. Consider for a moment Fullmetal Alchemist, an excellent manga and anime series that does this. In it, Gluttony wants to eat everything, Wrath is vengeful, Greed wants to possess everything, and so on. There is, however, a notable exception: Lust. In Fullmetal Alchemist, Lust is not lustful. Instead, she's a beautiful woman, the stereotypical object of lustful desires. Fullmetal Alchemist is not unique in this dichotomy, where six of the sins are portrayed as someone consumed by that sin, but lust is portrayed as the object of that sin. To highlight just how stark of a contrast this is, imagine if some of the other seven deadly sins were portrayed like lust is. As some easy examples, greed could be represented by a bunch of gold, sloth b

High Resolution Scans of My Sister's Gerudo's Fortress, Haunted Wasteland, and Desert Colossus Maps & Sketches

 This post accompanies this Ocarina of Time playthrough video I made with my sister. I've put the higher resolution images here so people can follow along with what we talk about more easily!

Money, Survival, and Mental Health

Any conversations we have about mental health need to also involve money. This isn't about whether or not money can buy happiness, or how it feels to receive money, or really anything about money itself. No, this is about survival. In the modern world, money is how we survive. We use it to pay for the necessities of life. This includes the traditional basics of food, water, clothing, and shelter, but also requirements of modern living, such as Internet access, phone service, electricity, and transportation. Simply put, in order to function and survive in this modern world, people need money. So what happens if you don't have enough money to cover these needs? What if you struggle to make ends meet? What this really means is that you are struggling to survive. And if no one helps, if you feel unable to rise to these challenges? Then it feels like the universe doesn't want you to survive. Like people don't want you to survive. This takes a mental toll, as you begin to fee

How Dark Souls III Helped Me Identify a Problem In My Game & Guild Wars 1 Helped Me Solve It.

Last night, as I lay in my bed with the intention of falling asleep, my brain, as it so often does, had other plans: thinking about game design. Specifically, I was contemplating something I'd been noticing as I've been replaying Dark Souls III in preparation for a video retrospective series on the trilogy, which is that it seems like I've spent the entire game making my character and her build, which means there won't be any game left in which to actually use that build. Put bluntly, I don't like this. Granted, New Game+ exists, thankfully, but nevertheless, it got a thought-train rolling. I also thought about how that contrasted with my experiences with Guild Wars 1 , a game that generally wants you to get set up very early and that has a lot of game to experience after you've got your build put together (as much as "a" build is a thing in that game, anyway—it encourages experimentation and variety). I much prefer this, where I can feel like I'v