Crafts

Overlap Between Buying Experiences and Material Goods

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I’m taking a Coursera/Yale class on happiness called The Science of Well-Being. It covers the lies our brains tell us about what will make us happy and how to get around it. It’s loaded with good information. The major focus of the first video in week four is spending money on experiences will make you (and everyone around you) happier than purchasing material goods. I think there’s overlap between buying experiences and material goods in sense that some of the things you can purchase enable experiences.

The course discusses buying material goods such as cars, homes, fancy new tech toys, and the like. These are goods which are exciting to purchase but quickly become a regular part of everyday life. Experiences are things like vacations, concerts, etc, which last for a limited period of time. They’re too short for novelty to wear into boredom. We can’t just grow accustomed to the latter. They’re also more fun to talk about with friends, so they provide more happiness for longer.

However, some things enable new experiences by being owned. I’m gonna look at two examples here: needlework supplies and games.

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Development

Phonics Shmupdate: More and Better Refactoring, New Classes Made, Other Stuff

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It’s been a while since I updated. To be honest, I don’t exactly remember all changes I’ve made. I’ve been working on it here and there in spare moments amongst busy times.

Many things have been refactored; I undid some unnecessary future-proofing I did in the previous update’s refactoring because it was silly and hard to read. I abstracted out some classes, either as their own files or as subclasses, making some code much easier to read. Again, not much has visibly changed with this new build, but I’m really happy with the progress I’ve made.

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Development

Phonics Shmup: Rebuilding in Unity

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phonics shmup unity

I was thinking about the fact that my students are young and Japanese, and more easily impressed by flashy things than non-flashy ones. I am not a graphic artist, really, so I decided to rebuild my phonics shmup in Unity. The ease of grabbing things from the asset store aids in creating something visually appealing.

I’ve spent the last several days learning Unity. Imagine my luck at finding that one of their introductory tutorials is a space shmup. The assets they provide with it are free to use, too.

If I were planning to sell this game, I would care about using assets from one of Unity’s tutorials. Who wants to release a commercial game using assets that most Unity developers will recognize? But I’m not. This is going to be free and intended for educational purposes. What I really care about is the likelihood that my kids (and the students of anyone else who wants to use it) will want to play it. For that purpose, these graphics are fine.

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Games

Yes, Let’s Evolve the IGF

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First things first: read Zach Gage’s Evolving the IGF and then come back. He argues that the IGF could be highlighting more games in general, and more interesting-if-not-perfectly-executed games specifically, by changing the judging categories. This is an idea I wholeheartedly support. I think there’s room for discussion about what exactly the new categories should be, though.

I respond to his proposal directly at the bottom of this post. However, I’ve been wrestling with my own thoughts on the IGF and how it might be improved for a while now. I haven’t said anything because I couldn’t think of any good potential solutions to the problems I saw. With Gage’s great idea in my face, however, I want to try to work through some of the thoughts that have been simmering on my brain’s backburners.

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Games

Pondering RogueliKes, RogueliTes, and Procedural Death Labyrinths

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It’s been forever and a day since I posted anything here. Fall is busy in general for me as a JET ALT who is very involved with her schools. I was also working on and releasing my first finished video game, Ultra Hat Dimension. It was a great, if stressful experience. Check the game out and look for a postmortem in the near future.

Now that’s finished, I’ve begun making videos besides my critical/reminiscent long-form FFX let’s play. My first one is about the terms “roguelike”, “roguelite”, and “procedural death labyrinths” — both how the terms came about and how I use them. It’s a lead in to a series of one-offs about games I’ll be doing. The video script is below the embed.

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Games

Dragon Age, Ma Vhenan: The Lore is a Lie

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This is cross-posted from my blog on Gamasutra.

I’ve finally figured out how to talk about the root of my deep love for Dragon Age: Inquisition without spending an hour or more spoiling the story and lore of the setting for the listener. I stumbled upon this during a Skype call with someone completely unfamiliar with anything Dragon Age. My fumbling explanation gave him the mistaken impression that Inquisition went back on the lore established in the first two games, retconning things better left alone. But that’s not true. No, Inquisition gave us an extraordinary gift uncommon in any fantasy setting: it taught us that everything in the established lore is suspect.

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