video game

Persona 4 Golden was a letdown, but Over Arms may not be

As I’ve been recovering from my surgery, I’ve been playing Persona 4 Golden (as well as some Among Us, which has been fun)—I was really excited when it came to Steam as I thought it would be a good opportunity to play a game that seemed perfect for me that I missed out on as a kid. Well, it might’ve been perfect for me as a kid, but, as an adult, I got tired of the game after 23-ish hours (which is decent, but the game is supposed to be about three times as long). The story is intriguing, most—most—of the characters are interesting, but the gameplay is very cyclical throughout and there aren’t any mechanics that really felt like they stood out. It felt like a Digimon game or something, which is okay, and then it didn’t go anywhere (and now I’m even more interested in playing Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth: Complete Edition just to see how the games compare). More than anything, it felt like a visual novel, which just isn’t my cup of tea, and it led to the game feeling even more tedious and slow. Of course, Persona 4 is originally a PS2 game, so I guess I’ll cut it a little bit of slack based on its age, but I was definitely let down.

I really like all of the concepts of Persona, which, of course, made me think of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. I even have an idea for a story with personality-based guardian spirits somewhere on a very far back backburner. I’d even love to play with similar concepts in a tabletop RPG game, and I came close to trying to throw something together some months ago, but I’m even more excited about it now because Over Arms exists. It was just recently funded on Kickstarter, and it definitely shows some promise (although, I will admit it might be hard for me to see through these hype goggles without any sort of bias).

This is an odd post, but I wanted to throw this stuff out there. Honestly, I think I’m a bit overly heartbroken by Persona 4 Golden because I was expecting something life-changing. Oh well. Next up is Darkest Dungeon to help me get even more MÖRK BORG-ish vibes flowing in my veins. Oh, and even more Among Us. I know so much of the internet is a walking advertisement for that game right now, but it really is fun, especially if you have a group to play it with.

It’s a life update! 4

First of all, I want to apologize for the dry month on my blog. It’s good news, not bad news. I’ll start by saying that I have started GMing tabletop RPGs again! (Oh wait. I said that in my end of April report.) More on that a bit farther down.

Well, my new mechanical keyboard did finally come in a couple of weeks ago. It’s an HK Gaming × Durgod Hades 68 with Gateron Silent Brown switches. I love it so much. It’s like my Vortex Pok3r but quieter, better quality, and with arrow keys. Maybe I’ll do a more formal review sometime!

As the COVID-19 era continues, I have remained quite politically charged. At some point, it’s not even about politics. I bought two reusable masks for me and my partner, and we wear them whenever we go out. I’m not a sheep. No one’s rights are being infringed. It’s uncomfortable, sure, but I am an unselfish person, so I am willing to sacrifice a tiny bit of comfort to help in the effort of taking care of humankind. Furthermore, I wear mine for those who can’t wear one. It’s like vaccines all over again. Don’t even get me started.

My arm is just about back to its old self, but I am now doing physical therapy for pelvic floor dysfunction. It seems like the pain from my infection has my nerves and muscles all in a bind where they just don’t want to chill out, and trying some physical therapy sounded like a better option than jumping straight into nerve surgery. I’ll freely admit that I’m a wimp about that stuff. Ick. I was actually the one who suggested it to my urologist (it was an informed idea backed by medical papers—I’m not one of those patients). He was totally on board with the idea! Which was great for me. I’d much rather do stretches and yoga, and my physical therapist is awesome. I’m continuing virtual therapy and Al-Anon as well. It’s wonderful as always. It’s important to accept and seek help. Doing so can sometimes be a better show of ‘strength’ than just trying to go it alone.

I haven’t played any video games. It’s been weird.

I have kept up on my coffee game. I just got a bunch of pre-ground coffee from an international market. Don’t get me wrong. I love grinding my own beans. I just also love not having to take the time to grind beans whenever I want coffee. Plus, I like cheap Cuban espresso for café cubano. My espuma has been consistently good, so I’m really happy with that, and I’ve been experimenting with chicory to make New Orleans iced coffee as well. I also donated some coffee to local front-line workers with the little extra money I do have to spend right now.

I’ve been re-watching Star Wars: The Clone Wars with my partner. We’ve also been watching a lot of Psychology in Seattle and James Hoffman videos on YouTube.

Oh, and the Steve Jackson Games Summer 2020 T-Shirt Collection has three days left on Kickstarter. You know I’m all about that Basic Set shirt. Plus, they’re supporting a local printing company to get these shirts made. It’s worth every penny.

On that note, yes, the rumors are true—I’ve been GMing again. It started out as Fate, but I quickly missed GURPS. So, I started integrating some rules. Well, then it turned into GURPS with some Fate rules integrated. It’s a fun system, and I will have to go into more detail soon. Well, what about the setting? I mean, obviously, I went with Deadlands. More on that later too!

I’ll try to squeeze out another post between now and my end of the month report, and I will make good effort into getting a bit more published in June!

It’s a life update! 3

It’s been almost a year since my last life update.

Believe it or not, I did beat Bioshock Infinite. I have to say that it was a pretty good game, and I’m usually not that interested in shooters.

I also beat Gris. It was a short and sweet game just as I had expected.

Pillars of Eternity was also an interesting experience. I love RPGs, but it was actually my first real foray into real-time with pause combat. I can’t say that I enjoyed that part of it too much, but everything else was really great—well, except for all of the loading screens. The story and the world were very interesting, and it provided me with a lot of creative fuel.

SteamWorld Dig 2 and SteamWorld Heist were awesome, of course. After beating SteamWorld Dig, I expected nothing less. I really enjoyed the turn-based shooting combat in SteamWorld Heist, and the music by Steam Powered Giraffe was absolutely amazing. I still listen to it. Plus, the Western vibes sparked ideas that led to my NaNoWriMo 2019 Project.

I’ve been playing a bunch of Deep Rock Galactic. I think that game has made it into my list of all-time favorites—it’s become my most played game on Steam! Rock and stone, brother!

At the behest of my BFF, I also watched Fringe. All of it. Unfortunately. No, not unfortunately, but the show started to drag and became very predictable in the later seasons, and that’s ignoring the plot holes. We watched a lot of it at ×1.5 speed. It was a fun sci-fi show, but it wasn’t anything close to as revolutionary as watching Battlestar Galactica.

Now, I’m re-watching Star Wars: The Clone Wars with my partner (as she’s never seen it before) so we can watch the latest season. We recently watched all of the Star Wars movies so she could finally experience them all for the first time, and she’s quite impressed that an animated series was actually able to make Anakin into a good character. Obviously, I agree.

I’ve been working on my coffee game. Using an Aeropress is nice, and I’ve recently ditched ‘good’ coffee for Café Bustelo. I’m trying to master café cubano and la espuma.

Looking back at my original life update, I didn’t end up giving a shit about Pokémon Sword and Shield. I was and still am salty about the lackluster games, and I ended up turning to ROM hacks and Temtem to fill that void (though, I haven’t actually bought Temtem yet). Super Mario Maker 2 and Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled ended up falling by the wayside for me. The next Animal Crossing game is finally coming out soon, and I will definitely be snatching that right away! Baldur’s Gate 3 took the spot of Divinity: Fallen Heroes, but I’m quite happy about that. Oh, and I played some Halo: Reach, but it got boring faster than I thought it would.

Now, I did finally get around to finishing Part 7 of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. It was probably my least favorite part so far.

I’ve started going to therapy again, which is always nice.

I’m still struggling with the symptoms from my infection, but they have calmed down a bit. I recently had a follow-up appointment with my doctor, and he said to monitor my symptoms a bit more closely so I could see how much they were going away. My swelling is pretty much gone, but the pain still comes and goes. Still, the doctor felt confident that the pain would resolve too; however, if it doesn’t, I could be looking at microsurgery for a nerve. Yuck.

Now, when I first wrote out the draft for this post (which was about two weeks ago), I hadn’t gone to the clinic, which also means that the big COVID-19 panic hadn’t started yet. Ohio has been on the forefront of reacting to the situation in the United States, and I am easily overwhelmed and it is quite easy for me to feel hopeless, so it has been a tough time. Luckily, just hours before things started shutting down, I was wise enough to grab about twenty boxes of (protein-packed) pasta, so things should be good here for a while. No, I did not go out and get a dozen packs of toilet paper and a dozen bottles of hand sanitizer. Preparedness is obviously important, but the people who are panic-buying just to panic-buy should slow down. At this point, OSU has online-only classes for the rest of the semester, public libraries have closed, bars have closed, and restaurants are doing pickup and delivery only. Things are changing too quickly, though, so I won’t say much else.

I did go out and vote early a few days ago just in case. Of course, I voted for Bernie Sanders, and I opted for a paper ballot. I’m doing my part, I guess.

Oh, and on an even brighter note, my life-long best friend visited me for a few days. We both really needed it, though we unfortunately didn’t get to do a lot of what we wanted to do because of how fast the COVID-19 panic was ramping up. We did start playing Doom, though. When I drove him all the way home to drop him off, I visited my family as well. It was nice to see them, bitch about politics, eat good food, and getting good feels by petting three cats and a dog.

It’s a life update! 2

It shouldn’t take another two weeks.

—me, two weeks ago

No worries. It’s not my first time being wrong. Though, it was my first time taking a three-day trip to Ohio. My girlfriend had to go to Ohio for an interview, which was very exciting, so I tagged along! Well, even if I hadn’t wanted to, I would’ve had to tag along—she doesn’t like to drive.

Her car’s in the shop right now, so that’s also fun. It’s another antifreeze leak, so here’s to hoping we can finally get that fixed once and for all. It’s really only a small inconvenience and the worst part of that whole procedure happened after we left the mechanic. Without the car, we had to walk (part of the way) home. Not even 100 feet away, I slipped on a patch of mud, fell hard, and twisted my leg. It’s still pretty sore. So, unfortunately, I have still not been able to squat for months.

Also, I finished The Wheel of Time after almost two years of reading it and listening to it with my girlfriend. I’ve been playing Bioshock Infinite as well as a large dose of Screencheat. Both are great games, and I would highly recommend Screencheat as a fun party game.

This life update is going to have to stay brief because I just got back from a bike ride and I’m pretty worn out, but I should have some more conlang-focused updates soon. It’s hard to believe it’s been a month.

Also, there’s quite a bit of GURPS stuff in the works too…

Another two weeks later

Things have been going well for the Greyfolk language and things have been going well for me. You’re probably here for the Greyfolk language, but let’s start with me. Since my last update, my girlfriend has graduated from her dual master’s program at IU. That’s fun! I haven’t done anything too amazing like that, but I did beat Dishonored without killing anyone—in the game and in real life.

As for the Greyfolk language, I did decide on a new glyph for «h». It’s the one that looks like an ‘M’. Of course, I haven’t given context for that, so I’ll go ahead and post the new «h» as well as the runners-up soon.

Also, I’ve been doing my adpositions wrong this whole time, which is fun. “Hoy mia feke dio!” I exclaimed in Esperanto. My language is head-initial, so it should have prepositions and not postpositions.

Then, I started thinking about compounds and relativizers. The past six entries in my language document have been about those two things, but they’ve mostly been about relativizers. For compound words, I’m just using a some kind of compounding particle in between words to solve my problem. It’s good enough. For relative clauses, I figured out my relativizer and I proposed adding an elidible phrasalizer (like a nominalizer for phrases or like a terminator from Lojban) to show where those clauses end. It will also be useful for signifying names. Speaking of which, I’m also proposing a name particle to introduce names as well.

That means I was also working on phrase structure rules. I wish I had my old syntax workbook from when I took that class because the internet really doesn’t have a good resource for phrase structure rules. Luckily, I found the ones I used for the previous incarnation of the Greyfolk language.

  • S → NPE VP T (NPO) (NPU)
  • NP → N (DP) (AdjP+) (PP+) (CP)
  • DP → D
  • AdjP → Adj
  • PP → P NP
  • VP → V (PP) (AdvP+) (CP)
  • AdvP → Adv
  • CP → Comp S
  • X → X Conj X

That may prove useful for someone else someday. Furthermore, I started taking another deep look at Pandunia again for some inspiration. Also, Lojban. Also, semantic primes.

I thought about adding a coronal affricate to my language, but, after some thinking, I ultimately decided against it because the internet tends to favor only one sibilant in an international auxiliary language—which I’m not exactly going for, but I like following some of the ideals.

Last but not least, I realized that, if «h» can be Ø (null), then it can’t be followed by «l», «w», or «y».

Most of these paragraphs could (and probably will) be a post of their own. It shouldn’t take another two weeks.

Post-presentation update

Two weeks later / In the living room stressin’

from “Helpless” from Hamilton the musical.

Has it really been two weeks since my last update? But so much has happened since then! One such thing is that I was invited back by one of my professors to give a guest lecture on conlanging as well as what I’ve done with it—i.e., my own conlang. That went well! I felt that there was actually more interest when I did it last semester, but you can win them all! I got a couple of laughs and a student made conversation with me after the class, so that’s great! Also, my youngest sister came, and having the opportunity to potentially fuel her enthusiasm with my own is worth it in itself.

You can download a .pdf of the presentation here:

Conlanging Presentation Spring 2019

Though, I must warn you that the information about my conlang is already somewhat out of date. How is that possible? Well, I’ve been working on the font some more (and, also, the name «lem le ki nu» is absolutely not set in stone). I’ve changed the formation of syllable blocks because they just didn’t feel right. Also, I’m trying to create a replacement for «h» because I don’t like the way it looks. Creating that replacement, however, has been tough because I’m struggling to create a glyph that fits the aesthetic of my orthography. lt’s why I’m ♫ in the living room stressin’ ♫. That’s literal—I’ve done some of the work in my living room.

I’ll likely follow up soon because I’ve narrowed «h» down to two options and I’m excited to share the winner and also the runners-up. But, first, I need to ♫ take a break ♫. I’ve been neglecting sleep, video games, GURPS, and even some friends over the past couple of weeks due to my narrow focus.

Greyfolk Font Update 3: Man, the Man Is Non-Stop!

Forget my previous post and even the one before it because here’s another update! I’ve been working on this font day and night like I’m running out of time. It happened after I woke up this morning after my update late last night. “There are just a couple of things I’d like to try,” I thought, then I’d go and finally play some Dishonored. Well, I haven’t played any Dishonored yet—I did this instead. What changed? The font isn’t as ugly as it was a day ago.

Yeah, that’s it. It only took me about 8 hours of trial and error. This program and that program and these settings and those settings and maybe I just gotta do this and maybe I just gotta do that and maybe it’s all because I made it monospace which introduced a non-breaking space that was messing up my syllable ligatures. Shh, it’s okay. I’m fine now.

Here’s the alphabet:

m n p t k f s h l w y a e i o u
m n p t k f s h l w y a e i o u

Here are some syllables:

pa  pla  pam  plam 
pa pla pam plam

Here’s a sentence:

pe  pom  te 
pe pom te
I love you

Here are some other (stand-in) characters:

c q _ ?
c q _ *

*stands in for any other character

Also, «c» and «q» don’t mean anything. «c» is my test vowel and «q» is my test consonant, and, together, they help me test syllable structures with «qc», «qqc», «qcq», and «qqcq».

qc  qqc  qcq  qqcq 
qc qqc qcq qqcq

My syllables are no longer utter trash. I rebuilt my font using BitFontMaker2 alongside FontForge because Glyphr Studio was being a butt. My biggest problem with Glyphr Studio is that it doesn’t respect the svg files that I import from Inkscape if I do so much as combine nodes and merge stuff (which I did to try to get rid of the problems I was having before like vertices disappearing and blurry glyphs).

I remade the basic font in BitFontMaker2, imported it into FontForge, created ligature glyphs in BitFontMaker2, imported those into FontForge, set up the ligatures through FontForge, and proceeded to pull my hair out until I realized that my syllable ligatures weren’t working (presumably) because I made it monospace in BitFontMaker2, introducing that pesky non-breaking space which didn’t want to be a part of the damn team and become a syllable ligature.

I’m gonna try to squeeze in an hour of Dishonored now and pray that I didn’t squeeze out the rest of my spine jelly. Really, though, I’m feeling much better, and I’m hoping to be powerlifting by the end of the week.

It’s a life update!

This is mostly for me, really, but you might learn some fun things too!

The weather was warm today! That was nice. I’m slowly recovering from my cervical radiculopathy, I think.

I’ve been listening to the My Brother, My Brother, and Me podcast as well as the audiobook for A Memory of Light from The Wheel of Time series.

What about video games? Grim Dawn just got its Forgotten Gods update. I love that game and I’ve been meaning to get back to it once the update came out! Deep Rock Galactic also just got a substantial update. It’s been a minute, but I’ve also been enjoying Stardew Valley a lot. Also, both Borderlands 3 and Borderlands: Game of the Year Edition were just announced, so that’s really exciting. It’s also Pokémon season—supposed leaks about Pokémon Sword and Shield have been everywhere. Super Mario Maker 2 and Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled are both coming out in June. There are rumors about two new Nintendo Switch console versions being released. I’ve been meaning to play some more of Wargroove ever since the update for that came out. And I’m always on Metroid Prime 4 and Animal Crossing watch. I’ve got a bunch of other games in my backlog like Divinity: Original Sin 2, which I’ve been dying to give another shot. And they just announced Divinity: Fallen Heroes, which looks pretty cool. And there’s Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire which is getting a turn-based mode reminiscent of what I love so much about the Divinity series. And what about Dwarf Fortress and Halo: The Master Chief Collection coming to Steam? And what’s this about Risk of Rain 2? That looks really interesting, though I couldn’t much get into the first one. It’s a good time to be alive… and I’m starting to think that this post was just a subconsciously-created excuse to talk about all of the overwhelming feelings about video games I apparently have. I don’t even consider myself a gamer, but look at all of those great games!

I’ve been reading the manga of and watching the anime of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventures, and, boy, has it been an incredible journey. オラオラオラオラ! Not only do I finally understand all of the memes, but it has been deeply inspirational.

There’s also The Great British Bake Off, which I’ve been watching with my girlfriend. And Daredevil, which I’ve been watching with her and my dad—it’s been a bit disappointing. I still need to watch Get Out and also The Cat Returns. My girlfriend also told me that Legally Blonde is on my list. Like, she told me that just now. Oh, and we just watched Incredibles 2! That was nice.

The GURPS-related DFRPG Kickstarters for Dungeon Fantasy Monsters 2 and The Citadel at Norðvorn were both big successes as far as I could tell. I’ve also been watching the development of Ooblets over on Patreon, which could also go under video games, but talking about Kickstarter is what made me think of it. Oh, and, likewise, I’m also watching out for Littlewood.