Saturday, July 18, 2015


This post is very much me working something out on paper. Enjoy the ride.

Some of this post will come from a lot of thought I had while at my cousin's wedding, and that side of the family is very catholic and religious. Some of this post will come from having a television always on when I'm at work, and typically this TV will be tuned into some 24 hour news network or something.

We are starting to get candidates for the future leader of this country, and all of them bring an agenda and a viewpoint with them. Typically the republicans want money, and democrats want social change. These are opposed ideologies, and they are often incompatible; one represents private wealth, and one represents public wealth.

During the trip to the wedding, we all listened to the WTF podcast where the host interviewed Obama. If you haven't listened to it, it's very good. During the interview, Obama was remarking that he would do a lot of talking to people, and that it's incredibly easy for people to connect on a personal level, but once the political card was drawn, the polarizing effect of politics took immediate effect and a gap was created.

Like I mentioned, that side of the family for the wedding is very Catholic, and they categorize themselves as conservatives. Surprise, but I am not Catholic, and I just let my family bash the president as everything wrong with the country was just his fault anyways. While there are a few family members that I really enjoy visiting and chatting up, I'm not part of that group of people, and I think it just boils down to how we perceive the world differently.

Part of the christian belief is that God created the universe, and ultimately your prosperity stems from faith in him. He is the alpha and the omega, and will shape the world according to his wishes, and that your actions and inaction are his will. I've never really been comfortable with this thought. While this thought may have been easy to believe at certain points in history, those belief structures seem like antiquities now. Mankind has become the dominant force on this planet and is much different from the nascent, more fragile group than it once was.

I started thinking about this in terms of a specific example, climate change. This sounds like something that would be trivial for God to do something about. He did create the world after all. Yet there are lots of people who see things happening around them that would suggest that God is not doing anything about the systems of the Earth changing, and mankind must be the force to make these changes so that our planet remains habitable for as long as possible.

So through all this thought experimenting, I came to some conclusions, just in general terms.
- Conservatives/republicans are focused on privatizing wealth because of their belief that macro scale things are outside of their control, so driving towards a world where the individual can prosper makes the most sense.
- Liberals/democrats do believe that their actions can change the course of mankind, and that the rising tide raises all boats, and increasing the happiness and opportunity for all people has multiplicative effects for mankind as a whole.

Ultimately these are just labels, and are just used to screen out the oil to your water. I still have no idea why the two oppose each other so strongly.

One last wrinkle to add to this comes from this Planet Money podcast on why people commit fraud:

They talk about that it's just difficult for people to weigh the pros and cons of questionable decisions, when the outcomes will profoundly impact the people around them in comparison to unknown results of a large system. Housing fraud was common during the sub prime mortgage crisis, because people individually disassociated themselves from the economic system as a whole. I think parallels can be drawn between this and climate change.

My own personal slant in all this is that humans are beginning to understand their impacts on the world, and on human ecosystem more and more everyday. Our awareness is expanding both outward in terms of the limitations of who we can be as a whole, and inwards as the ease of communication between individuals grows. I'm hopeful that we become more mindful of our actions, and not leave it to chance the negative consequences of our actions.

I think a focus on just one of personal or public liberties is foolish, but a compromise between the two is the ideal. Humans have a strange need to belong yet be distinguished, and it's a strange balance that we are always fighting to maintain.

Long post is long.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Where raiding broke.

It’s been over a year since I’ve played the raiding game, yet it’s something that I still think about after doing it for a better part of my 20s.
When I first discovered raiding, it was like I had discovered some sort of fight club. Here were people that were super passionate about a hidden slice of the game, and it was something I could get initiated into with nerds like myself.
The grind within the game justified my focus on the raiding content, because at the time it seemed like the desert you earn for eating your vegetables. Cutting my teeth raiding in Burning Crusade meant that if you were in a raiding guild, or knew someone who raided, you could instantly assume some things about their skill, and familiarity with the game.
At one point, raiding was the pinnacle of content in World of Warcraft, and now I see it as a rote. Stratifying the difficulty and the rewards have made those the focus of raiding instead of the historical high quality of the content. Raiding tumbled to the least common denominator in what seems like a blink of an eye in Warlords of Draenor. In all honesty, raiding has had no major creativity breathed into it for a long while. To me it seems like it has been optimized to death.
I have no idea why I’m even thinking about it still. It’s holds a weird sense of nostalgia for me, but it’s for something that exists so transformed from what I loved about it initially. It could be the caliber of player that the game focuses its attention on, or some other je ne sais quoi. I suppose some of it is the ease of success in the game now relying on diminishing returns of probability, compared to what felt like things that could be overcome by skill or creative thinking.
It’s a situation of “you can never go home again” where I have grown as a person, and I have learned to set aside my toys as I discover myself and challenge myself with new things. A part of me  just wishes that the game could have grown with me. World of Warcraft was at one point more than just a game, it was much more than the sum of its parts. Now it just feels like a convoluted caricature of itself, and instead of growing as a medium, it actually regressed into something lesser.

I love you World of Warcraft. I hate you World of Warcraft.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

House Rules

I've been working on a card game rather intensely for the last few months and now I'm getting around to having a place for it on the internet. If anyone reads this check it out!

Cross posting this from the House Rules blog:

Getting started with finally making a website for the game. Going to try to post my progress here.

A few years ago, I made a new years resolution to get in shape, lose weight and to feel much better about myself in general by the start of the next year. In the end, I lost 60 lbs, got laser eye surgery, and improved the way I presented myself by leaps and bounds. Having a goal and a timeline really kept me going and was a big part of the success.

A year later, I needed another goal. Before falling into electrical engineering, as a kid and all the way through high school I wanted to work on video games. Every video game I ever played was an encapsulated experience and introduced the player into a new way of thinking, told a great story, or brought people together to compete and explore.

I decided that my new goal was to create a game.

Video games are my bread and butter, but I don't have any significant programming knowledge or skill. I actually quit a job because I just couldn't hack it as a programmer. I wracked my brain for ideas and played board game nights at a co-workers when I decided that a card game sounded the most fun. I thought up the rules, prototyped it with some bicycle cards, and even play tested it. Simple right? I had enough under my belt to say that yes, I made a game. It was a very rough alpha but the game was mine.

This year, I decided that that wasn't enough. As I was working on the game, I learned about the Cards Against Humanity independent game design competition. I now had my timeline. I wanted to take it all the way, take it to a place where not only was it polished enough to give to strangers, but also look presentable as well and nice enough that a professional wouldn't second guess it.

That was four months ago, where I started with sharpie on a poker deck, and now it's playable, printable and polished. It's a little mind boggling how far the game has come with testing, and sharing it with friends and strangers. It's weird, but as the project has evolved I'm growing more confident in it's existence. It's so validating to play it with a group of people for the first time and they tell me that it's really fun.

Ultimately my plan is to keep polishing, and getting it ready to submit to the Tabletop Deathmatch ( in addition to some other independent game competitions and reviewers. Hopefully at some point I can put together enough support to put it on Kickstarter and maybe sell it at some point. I'm not designing a game to get rich, but having something that you put time and effort into resonate with people is an extremely satisfying feeling.