The Potential of Limitlessness

MadMaxFuriosa2

Things that are bigger on the outside – you only see a slice of something you know extends farther. Mad Max: Fury Road has that with its characters – their backgrounds are not spelled out in detail, even as they inform their personalities and choices. It makes the movie seem bigger than it is. No Man’s Sky is currently accomplishing this by releasing only short segments of gameplay, each with the promise of infinite worlds beyond the amazing things that we can already see.

Glimpses – like the technique of fading quickly to black over and over in a blockbuster movie trailer – give us the promise of potential. Whatever our brains might imagine to fill in the gaps, we know that what is actually there might be even better. (Or, if you’re talking horror, much much worse.)

A superposition of states like this feels more vast than any single state, can ever be, no matter how incredible and awesome the reality. Collapsing the wave function into known facts is satisfying at the precise moment of discovery – a relief from the constant brain-searching of possibility-space – but then it’s all over. Those excited neurons go back to regularity.

What feels limiting about the real world is exactly its sometimes over-defined nature, and what feels wondrous about it is when we gaze up into infinite space or down into the sand and moss, and know that we are a mere speck amongst the unfathomable. We can push forward, continually learn new things, but there will always be more discover. Like a puzzle box containing and contained in countless other puzzle boxes.

When the possibility of discovery is at hand – the moment just before you open the box, the magic of not-knowing-yet, the dissatisfaction of not-knowing-yet, the curiosity that pushes your mind into the cracks in the world, real and fictional alike – that is the most luscious, alive-feeling thing I know.

GlattrecSystem

Prospora 2.0 is out!

At long last, I’ve polished up Prospora for a wider release! Get it now at itch.io.

New features include:

  • Prettier graphics and UI

  • Animated spores and improved sound effects for better gamefeel

  • An interactive tutorial (this is the big one!)

  • Saved game states

  • Play with the keyboard as well as the mouse

  • Removed extraneous features/options to streamline interface and improve usability

Note: Many bugs were squashed in the making of this game.

Avatar: The Time of Peace

Juusan and Ching-Shih Fight

My weekly roleplaying group just finished up Book 1 of Avatar: The Time of Peace. Set in the aftermath of Avatar Kyoshi’s death, that title is more propositional than descriptive. Our five player characters have taken on the roles of Kyoshi’s hand-picked peacekeepers to deal with warmongers, troubled spirits, and their own conflicted pasts and desires.

Our illustrious GM commissioned the above image of a key scene. Juusan, our fire bender and trouble-maker, was on a path to learn how to control his bending that ended in a spectacular mid-season duel. His old friend and partner-in-crime, Ching-Shih, had been blackmailed into killing him by a shared enemy.

Juusan prevailed, of course – as did the rest of us. It’s a kid’s show, after all. (Or maybe more for teens…) From our main cast of player characters (including H’sad the sand bender and disciple of Wan Shi Tong, Kesak the water bender and former pirate, and Pema the air bender and friend of adorable spirits) to a great cast of supporting characters (but mostly Koko, great-great-great-granddaughter of Kyoshi, 16-year-old stowaway, ninja, comic relief, and team mascot).

But the trouble isn’t over yet! Book 2 starts in a couple weeks. My own character, Daiyu Feng, Kyoshi Warrior and leader of our little gang, is being tempted to follow in the footsteps of Chin the Conquerer (whose angry ghost was Book 1’s Big Bad). Wouldn’t it be so much easier to maintain her beloved peace and order by just… ruling the world? With command over the Kyoshi Warriors and the entire Fire Nation army at her back, nothing can possibly go wrong!

I also designed some custom Primetime Adventures character sheets for our adventures:

Avatar Character Sheet

After getting feedback on the first version, I removed the duplicate ‘issue’ and made the alignments consistent within each of the edges and connections sections. That way it’s easier to see which edges (or connections) you’ve used up at a glance.

Avatar Character Sheet 2