fundamental development

Anyway, a final tipsythought before I sign off:

When a show’s canon is fixed, that is, when we’re still marathoning to catch up or after it’s already ended, we tend to be understanding of and even celebrate dramatic character shifts as being exciting and justified and somehow fundamentally necessary developments in a coherent narrative.

When a show’s canon is open, that is, when we’re watching live and legitimately have no idea what to expect, we tend to be wary and hypercritical of even minor character shifts because we’ve let a fixed vision of the characters and their relationships take root, and any deviations seem artificial. When we’re watching live, there’s a constant risk of something going terribly wrong with the characters and the story as a whole, and it’s very easy to stumble into the trap of deciding that any deviation from the norm is the first inevitable step off that cliff.

Essentially: even the most fully scripted and painstakingly planned show takes on an inherently improvisational quality when it’s airing live, and staring too long and too fixedly at the characters in the moment you finally catch up with their exploits can leave you with a still image seared on your retinas, blotting out any signs of gradual growth or change until they’ve become too extreme to ignore.

Recommended Reading: Haitian Vodou

First: Vodou—or any religion—cannot be learned from a book. A living religion like vodou can only be learned in person from a reputable, lineaged teacher-priest—not online, not in the pages of any book. Reading books on vodou is like smelling coffee from three blocks away—you might get a whiff and maybe you’ll recognize the scent, but you have no idea what it will taste like nor how rich it will be on your tongue until you have the cup in your hands. Vodou is the same same way—you can read all you want, but until you are in the literal room with your teacher-priest and the Lwa, the taste will escape you. That taste, by the way, will blow your mind—it will be like nothing that is contained on any pages, nothing like you’ve imagined, and nothing like anyone has ever been able to explain to you.

Second: HOWEVER, reading about religion and the culture a religion comes from should be considered a fundamental skill worth developing. While a book will never let you experience vodou, nor will it teach you the intricacies of the religious practice, give you an license for ritual work, or give you any insight into any Lwa who may move with you, it can give you a bit of context to work with.

Third: There is a lot of bullshit written about vodou and a lot of books composed of utter crap, whether it be things that are made up whole cloth, things that have been twisted in such a way that the author stands to benefit, conflates vodou with things that it very much is not, or is some sort of undecipherable nonsense that is better off as toilet paper. Listed here are books that I have for the most part read, with a few that I have been told to read so many damn times but that I have yet to get a copy of. I’m happy to field questions about books and other writings as best as I am able, if you have a question about a particular book or article.

Here we go..

Mama Lola: A Vodou Priestess in Brooklyn by Karen McCarthy Brown By far one of my favorite books about vodou and the first of it’s kind—an ethnographic study of the religion done by an anthropologist who eventually initiated. It’s a wonderful book, truly, and I love it a lot. Reading it feels like being in my Manmi’s house—it is incredibly familiar and it takes several readings to get it all. It contains a lot of insider information that may be hard to grasp or understand the importance of if you haven’t been involved in vodou, but it is glorious. There are some quibbles in the vodou community about some of the conclusions Brown draws, but they don’t affect the reading of the text. Mama Lola is still alive and well in Brooklyn. Pick up the 2011 re-issue for the really nice introduction by Claudine Michel.

Divine Horsemen: The Living Gods of Haiti by Maya Deren. Another of my favorites. Deren originally went to Haiti to record and detail Haitian dance—she was a film maker and dancer who was solely interested in Haitian folk dancing, and then the Lwa showed up for her. This was the first book really published on vodou at all that wasn’t all in French and marketed outside of the United States or completely sensationalistic. It is fantastically detailed and full of observations of both vodou and Haitian culture as seen by an outsider. Joseph Campbell was very excited about this book and was involved in it coming to print, which is a bit shitty—he really, REALLY wanted vodou and Deren’s narrative to fit his narratives about mythology and global hero cycles. This meant some of Deren’s materials were edited or altered somewhat. She mostly stuck to her guns, but some stuff was edited and there doesn’t seem to be a copy of her original manuscript anywhere. There is a big archive of her correspondence with Campbell and other things at Boston University, which is fascinating to view.

Anything by Claudine Michel or Patrick Bellegarde-Smith. Really, anything. They are fantastic scholars and have written some really great books together—namely, Haitian Vodou: Spirit, Myth, and Reality and Vodou in Haitian Life and Culture: Invisible Powers. Bellegarde-Smith also wrote an excellent book called Fragments of Bone: Neo-African Religions in a New World, which is not specifically about vodou, but it worthwhile nonetheless.

Sacred Arts of Haitian Vodou edited by Donald Cosentino. This is a beautiful, glorious book that I cannot wait to own. It details a lot about Haitian art and culture, which is a primary vehicle for both communication about vodou and learning about Haitian culture. It’s usually quite expensive, but a lot of libraries have it available at least through interlibrary loan.

Rara! Vodou, Power, and Performance in Haiti and it’s Diaspora by Elizabeth McAlister. This is a more specific book about Haitian culture, but it’s an excellent read.

–-

There’s also other book-type things that are important in vodou, particularly for outsiders.

If you want any sort of understanding of vodou beyond what you can read in any of these books, you must, must, MUST learn Kreyol. Kreyol is vital to vodou—any respectable sosyete conducts all their services in Kreyol, for reasons beyond Haitians speaking Kreyol. A lot of understanding of vodou happens in double-speak—a sentence in Kreyol may mean one thing to someone who is an outsider or doesn’t have a lot of experience with vodou, but to a practitioner means something wholly different and communicate quite a bit about practice, lineage, and one’s personal Lwa.

To that end, the Pimsleur system is a great beginner resource and, from there, the Pawol Lakay set works really well. Being able to at least casually converse in Kreyol means you will understand quite a bit of what is going on around you should you go to a service, speak with the Lwa yourself [They by and large only speak Kreyol, French, or langaj/spirit language when They come down, and sometimes They do not want to wait for you to grab someone to translate for you]. Plus, if you’re not Haitian, it’s a good first impression.

History is part of vodou, and vodou is part of history. The two are inseparable and each feeds each other. Every vodou service embodies this—the various prayers involve a subtle re-telling of how each Haitian came to be alive today through use of a variety of languages—Old French, modern French, Kreyol, and langaj—and tools, like whips and swords. To understand why things are how they are, it is important to have at least a grasp on where Haiti has been and where Haiti is now. Here are a few decent books on history and politics:

Haiti: The Tumultuous History - From Pearl of the Caribbean to Broken Nation by Phillipe Girard. I don’t like the title of this one, but it’s got a lot of good stuff in it.

Avengers of the New World: The Story of the Haitian Revolution by Laurent Dubois. Though it’s not often explicitly explored here, the story of the Haitian revolution is the story of how vodou came to be what it is today.

Rainy Season: Haiti—Then and Now by Amy Wilentz. This one explores where Haiti has been in recent years, with a focus on post-earthquake Haiti and Haitians.

The Uses of Haiti by Paul Farmer. This book will make you cry.

I’ll add more as more fall into my hands and make this a permanent page here.

sorry but 99% of leftists do not escape orientalism in their analysis of chinese history, even the people who make it their main focus know its difficult to escape so i dont understand the obsession with dismissing every last conceivable vestige of the revolution which fundamentally transformed the development of the worlds most populous country when a majority of yall still place value in the fucking us constitution……

Game Design Fundamentals: Granting sight beyond sight

Whenever you are designing a game’s fundamentals, you need to consider the needs of the player during the play. You need to understand what the moment-to-moment gameplay is, and what information the player needs in order to make informed decisions about that gameplay. As an example, let’s take a look at this screenshot:

Have you noticed just how little screen space Mario is taking up in this screenshot? Here, let me photoshop this a little bit, just to make it stand out more:

This is because Super Mario Bros. is primarily a platform game. As such, the player is primarily concerned with the environment and the player’s position within that environment. When the player interacts with the game, she wants to know what locations on screen are safe, and which ones are not, and the screen space takes this into account. Imagine that we changed the viewport size to this:

Here Mario takes up a much larger percentage of the screen space. We can see a lot more of Mario’s expression and his movement animations. With such a large presence on screen, we can see expressions for things like pain, joy, anger, frustration, and so on. However, this view also deprives the player of what she wants to see most in order to play - the environmental hazards of the game. If we had to play Super Mario Bros with this sort of view, it’d be very frustrating since we couldn’t see where we’d want to land when we jump, even though we’d get a much better view of Mario. This doesn’t mean that this sort of viewport can’t work for a game though. It just means it isn’t suited for a platformer.

Consider this screenshot instead:

If we do a screen space breakdown, the characters are much larger comparatively speaking:

In this game it is much more important to see what the characters are doing - what ranges their attacks are and what animations they are playing - than it is in Super Mario Bros. However, the environment is also practically cosmetic. The position of the characters relative to each other and the sides of the area is all that matters, and the lengths of the stages are standardized. In terms of gameplay, what the player needs to see is the characters and that means showing them as a much larger portion of the screen. Let’s compare the screen space here to some another classic game, Yie Ar Kung Fu (1985):

This game is visually laid out much more like a platformer than a fighting game, even though it was one of the earliest fighting games to be released (preceding Street Fighter 1 by a full two years). Given how much space there is in the environment, it lowers the emphasis on the characters shown, when it really shouldn’t. 

One of good design’s most important aspects is showing the players what they need to see without them even knowing they need to see it. As a designer, you need to be able to take the needs of the player into account while designing elements of the game. Since there are so many new developers out there playing with engines like Unity and Unreal, it’s important that you consider some of these things from a player perspective. Think about what it is they need to know in order to enjoy the game while playing it. New players probably won’t know they need it going in, but you still need to provide that information to them or they will realize they need it at some level and feel frustration if they don’t get it. 

As a design exercise, think about a game you played most recently and how the screen space is broken down. Why do you think the designers chose the view they did? What about the view helps or hinders the play experience? How would the game play if it had a different view?

The Fundamentals of Character Development, Part 2: Pillars

Hello everyone, it’s Penemue. Sorry that it took so long to put up the next part like I promised. I had some things I had to escape. Anyway, in part one, we talked about the cornerstone foundations! Now, it’s time for part two- the pillars. 

Well, writers, let’s jump right back in!

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In European classical antiquity, democracy was recognized as a familiar phase of cyclical political development, fundamentally decadent in nature, and preliminary to a slide into tyranny. Today this classical understanding is thoroughly lost, and replaced by a global democratic ideology, entirely lacking in critical self-reflection, that is asserted not as a credible social-scientific thesis, or even as a spontaneous popular aspiration, but rather as a religious creed.
—  Nick Land, from ‘Dark Enlightenment’ 
AOMINE DAIKI

Character Appreciation Post (13/15)

Aomine Daiki, the ace player of the Generation of Miracles, is strong, formidable, and almost unbeatable.

Almost.

He grew up playing street basketball and hanging out with Momoi at a young age. Before he got any formal training, he was extremely skilled with a ball and had developed a fluid style that was peerless to any other. Ridiculously strong and talented, he was put on the first string of the Teiko team almost immediately. This is when he meets Kuroko.

Kuroko and Aomine met when Aomine was cowering in the gym, thinking that Kuroko was a ghost. They begin to practice together and Aomine even encourages Kuroko to keep playing, even when Kuroko wanted to quit. Kuroko’s determination motivated Aomine.

So when Kuroko became a first string member, the two turned into the first “light and shadow” duo in the series. 

Kuroko’s not the only character that is fundamental to Aomine’s development during Teiko. When Aomine’s strength exponentially increased, taking his abilities to another level, Aomine’s personality changed as well. He became too strong for his own good, not able to find a true rival. At this time, Nijimura was still around and was able to keep Aomine at practice.

But when he leaves for good, the new coach says Aomine doesn’t have to come to practice anymore if he didn’t want to. This, coupled with an opponent saying Aomine was too strong to play against during the previous game, was devastating to Aomine’s psyche. 

He had grown up on the basketball court. Basketball requires a rival. Without having another rival worthy of playing, he felt like he was falling apart. The only way that he could deal with the heartbreaking realization was becoming arrogant and doing the bare minimum to gain victory. 

Mentally crushing his opponents was something that Aomine couldn’t bear to do. And so Aomine was the first member of the Generation of Miracles to change. In essence, he was looking for something, anything, to prove to himself that he was a worthy opponent that was capable of standing on the court. Even though he said, “The only one who can beat me is me,” he subconsciously wanted someone to challenge and prove him otherwise. Without someone else to personally beat, Aomine felt as he didn’t belong as a player.

Aomine finds Kagami at a street court, challenging him. Looking for a bit of entertainment, Aomine plays him and easily beats him during a one-on-one. He then tells Momoi that Kagami is disappointing.

The reason Aomine finds Kagami disappointing is because he’s still searching for the person that can challenge him, motivate him, and maybe even beat him.

He’s haughty because he wants to be proven otherwise. He even looks indifferent and lazy until Kagami challenges him during the first Seirin and Touou game. 

Even though Seirin loses, his face seems to be somewhat intrigued by the duo of Kagami and Kuroko. He’s surprised that Kagami could almost keep up with him.

What’s interesting is the fact that he backs Kuroko’s ideas up in the locker room and gets angry at Wakamatsu. I believe that for the first time in a long time, he had the excitement that he used to have while playing basketball. He wanted more of that feeling, and though Kuroko at that point was anything but weak. If anything, he craved for that excitement.

Aomine was also the person to inspire Kise to begin playing. When Touou plays against Kaijo, Kise gives it everything he has. But when Kise pities Aomine for having too many fouls, he’s furious. Aomine doesn’t want to be pitied. He wants to be proven wrong.

Matter of fact, Aomine admits that he understands Kise the most. He upholds the honor code and even punches Haizaki in the face in order to tell Haizaki that his methods were wrong and to protect Kise.

The thing about Aomine is that he’s looking for a challenge. He refuses to hurt anyone significantly on his journey there, and he doesn’t want anyone else to get hurt either. 

Aomine agrees to settle things with Kagami and Kuroko during the second Seiren and Touou game, and he plays from the beginning of the game this time (he played during the second half of the first one). 

Aomine, however, begins to become slightly bored as the game goes on, telling Kuroko that his attempt to beat him was useless. 

But when Kagami enters the zone, everything changes. Aomine had entered the zone a few minutes prior in order to get the win for Touou. When Kagami enters the zone, they enter in a one-on-one battle, engaging in intense play that no one else on either team can keep up with.

For the first time in a while, Aomine is having fun. For the first time in a while, Aomine has found an opponent that is giving him a run for his money.

And so when Kagami leads Seirin to victory, he’s not entirely sad. He had found what he wanted. He found someone who could motivate him and prove him wrong. He found his love for basketball again.

So when Aomine tells Kuroko that he won, and bumps fists again, that’s not entirely true. Both Kuroko and Aomine won. Kuroko proved that his style of basketball could win. And Aomine won because he found that he could stand on the basketball court with a person who could challenge and excite him.

That fist bump may not seem like much, but it’s Aomine’s way of apologizing of rejecting Kuroko as his shadow at Teiko. Aomine’s not extremely emotional; matter of fact, you can even call him slightly emotionally challenged. He lashes out at the people who care for him: Kuroko, Momoi, and probably more. But his fist bump shows the emotion that he’s been holding back for ages.

He makes up with Momoi, going back to calling her “Satsuki” and telling her that he wanted to practice again. The match with Seirin made him want to play seriously. 

The thing about being a prodigy is that it can suck. As humans, we want a challenge. We are competitive by nature. So when we clear the height of the competition, we’re left with an empty view that is disheartening. Yes, we achieved the goal. But then what?

That’s why Aomine is so relateable and human. He loves basketball, he loves the feeling of a challenging opponent, but he doesn’t like not having an opponent at all. The fact that he could be motivated to practice again shows just how much he loved the sport. The fact that he changed so much during two games proves that Aomine lives for the thrill of the pressure. The more likely it is he will lose, the better he plays. He lives for the chase. 

He teaches Kuroko how to shoot in order to have a more worthy opponent. He asks Momoi if playing Kagami was fate.

That’s because to him, playing Kagami was fate. He was looking for the worthy opponent that would pull him back up. And that’s who Kagami was to him. 

During the Winter Cup finals, he’s with his team, cheering for Kagami and Kuroko. He smiles when Kagami enters the Zone, recognizing the fire on the court and the feeling he had felt during his game against Seirin. When Kagami goes further within the gate, Aomine truly realizes what he had been missing: the feeling of being on a team.

Aomine heals, slowly but surely. He goes on to become friends with the Generation of Miracles again and to fix his relationship with Momoi, and even learn how to play on a team again.

The ace of the Generation of Miracles is sensitive and human, and yet he’s determined. He will do anything to feel what he used to while playing ball. 

And that’s why we love Aomine Daiki. Not because he’s strong and confident. But because he struggles and perseveres. Because he’s not afraid to lose. Because he’ll help his opponents. Because he’ll do anything to find that fateful opponent that hauls him to his feet. Aomine is powerful, intense, and bittersweet at the same time. He never asked for the power within him. All he wanted was to play some ball and have fun. And that’s why we love Aomine Daiki.

the-jewish-alice  asked:

If you could change one thing in the world, what would you change?

This is such a big question!  But I think I would choose to change the education system – as universally as possible.  Raising the next generation to respect and empathize with women, POC, LGBTQ+, disabled + autistic people, people in poverty, and people with mental illness would change the world in so many positive ways.  We would fundamentally develop people who would go out to provide aid for victims of natural disasters, and politicians who would fight for those with fewer privileges; the suicide rate would take a nosedive, too.  Something as simple as revamping our education curriculum could do so much.  That’s why I briefly entertained the idea of being a teacher!

I mean, not anymore, because I don’t have the patience or the mental capacity to handle children in a classroom.  But child psychology is a close second :)


Ask me(me)!

Game Design Fundamentals: Information Channels

Whenever you play a game, you are constantly being fed information about the game’s state through your senses. These are most commonly conveyed through things like character animations, UI elements, particle effects, and so on. As a designer, it’s extremely valuable to know exactly what ways information can be conveyed to the player at any given time. Why? Because of mental bandwidth.

When I say “mental bandwidth”, I mean this - people can only process so much information being picked up by a particular sense at once. When humans look at things, we can only focus our attention on so many things before we become overwhelmed. This is normal; creatures have evolved this trait over thousands of years to prioritize important things like survival. This applies to all of your senses, not just sight - it’s why you can tune out ambient noises in order to listen to specific conversation, or why you don’t feel the clothes against your skin but you do feel the things your fingers are touching. The average human brain can only process so much information from a single sense at once - hence the term ‘bandwidth’. We humans have an upper limit on how much we can process. So what does this have to do with game design?

As a game designer, you’ve got to convey a constant flow of game information to the player, and you want to avoid overwhelming them with it. A classic example of this would be sitting down in a flight simulator and seeing fifteen hundred different buttons, dials, and meters. That much visual information will completely overwhelm a new player and make them drop the game. This is a problem often caused by overly cluttered UI, because it requires the player to focus their eyes on each one (if only for a moment) to get that information into their brains. 

Avoid hitting that mental bandwidth limit by using a different sense to convey that information. The player might not need a UI element to look at, for example. Here are a few examples of games utilizing different channels to disperse the amount of information they convey to the player at once.

Call of Duty uses your peripheral vision to convey when you’ve taken damage. You don’t need a life meter, because the blur effect and reddening of the screen tells you everything you need to know. We use our peripheral vision to spot changes or movements even if we don’t necessarily focus our eyes directly on them. This enables players to keep their visual focus on their targets while still conveying information about health and enemy attackers to them.

Even small things like controller rumble can be used to convey worthwhile information. In Persona 4, Atlus added a fishing minigame. The controller rumble during the fishing game actually conveyed the kind of fish you could potentially catch, which made it a means of selecting the kind of fish you wanted to try for. This allowed you to make the best use of your fishing bait, and removed some of the randomness from the minigame.

Overwatch does a great job of offloading important information to sound and audio in order to convey information. Blizzard added a sound priority system to the game in order to make sure that you hear things that are most important to you depending on the context. If you are in the middle of a battle, for example, it reduces the priority of hearing things like footsteps - especially of those characters you cannot see. Instead, the engine prioritizes the barks of the characters calling out their special moves (like their ultimates) in order to give you as much information as you can get. Furthermore, each of the barks is filtered on a contextual basis. For example, when Pharah uses her Barrage ultimate, she shouts “Justice rains from above!” if you’re playing as her or her enemy, but “Rocket barrage incoming!” to her teammates. 

In addition to all of this, a designer can emphasize important elements by expanding the number of channels that the information is being conveyed on. Instead of trying to avoid sensory overload, you actually emphasize a specific event by telling the player that it’s important through as many different mental channels as you can. If you remember the post-nuclear explosion scene in Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, you can see many of these elements working together in order to feed into the single experience that the designers were trying to convey. The player’s movement speed has been reduced to the prone crawl. The audio is a mix of a heartbeat, radio chatter, and winds. The player’s vision becomes blurry. It’s a powerful effect, because every channel available to you is reinforcing the horror of the scene being depicted.

A good designer is cognizant of the mental channels available to convey information to the player. You can use this as a tool to reduce the amount of information pushed through a channel like direct visual focus, or you can use it in tandem with other channels to convey a much stronger effect. If you want to be a game designer, you should keep this in your pocket as a tool to use when the time is right. Using it properly can emphasize key elements of your game, decrease sensory overload, and even differentiate your game from competitors if you convey information in an interesting or novel manner. 

In European classical antiquity, democracy was recognized as a familiar phase of cyclical political development, fundamentally decadent in nature, and preliminary to a slide into tyranny. Today this classical understanding is thoroughly lost, and replaced by a global democratic ideology, entirely lacking in critical self-reflection, that is asserted not as a credible social-scientific thesis, or even as a spontaneous popular aspiration, but rather as a religious creed.
—  Nick Land, Dark Enlightenment (2012)
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The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics

Basic researchers working in pure mathematics often develop fundamental laws, even entire branches of math, without any specific application in mind. Yet, as Mario Livio points out here, many of these posited laws turn out—sometimes centuries later—to perfectly describe the behavior of the real world with remarkable precision. This phenomenon was best articulated in the early 1900s by the Hungarian physicist Eugene Wigner as the “unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics.” And it begs the question: What gives mathematics this power? Cognitive scientist Marvin Minsky provides an interesting, if wry, answer: if it were not the case, there would be no one to notice.

By: World Science Festival.

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Gunta Stölzl (1897 – 1983) was a German textile artist who played a fundamental role in the development of the Bauhaus school’s weaving workshop. As the Bauhaus’s only female master she created enormous change within the weaving department as it transitioned from individual pictorial works to modern industrial designs. She joined the Bauhaus as a student in 1920, became a junior master in 1927 and a full master the next year.

[Summary-Translation] Utopia Hound - Prologue

Japanese-Thai translation: irregulars-daradara

Thai-English translation & edit: xnightrainx

The first time I met that man, I felt like I was being torn into pieces.
His eyes held an intelligent gleam like that of a mathematician always making a calculation.
Height, weight, fat rate, crime coefficient… Was I transcribed into an interlinked rows of digits?

Keep reading

Gunta Stölzl (1897 – 1983) was a German textile artist who played a fundamental role in the development of the Bauhaus school’s weaving workshop. As the Bauhaus’s only female master she created enormous change within the weaving department as it transitioned from individual pictorial works to modern industrial designs. She joined the Bauhaus as a student in 1920, became a junior master in 1927 and a full master the next year.