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Topics - droqen

Tenets / composed of feelings
May 29, 2023, 01:32:57 PM
Reviews & reflections / momin's games
May 25, 2023, 10:03:59 PM
Hello momin! At some point in the future I will probably send you this forum thread. At that point, I hope you will enjoy reading my thoughts which I have not yet written at the time I'm writing this text now :)
love, droqen
Spicy Lightly Pickled Cucumbers

December 20, 2018

Cucumber spears on a goldrimmed white platter lightly covered in spices and herbs.
Photo by Alex Lau, Prop Styling by Kalen Kaminski, Food Styling by Sue Li
These quick pickles have just the right amount of sweet, salt, and tang going on. The brine can work with any crunchy veg, but we like them best with cucumbers. We guarantee they'll be the sleeper hit of your next party spread.

8 servings
2 lb. medium Persian cucumbers (about 12), cut lengthwise into spears
1/4 cup white wine vinegar or unseasoned rice vinegar
1 tsp. sugar
3/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
2 tsp. kosher salt, plus more
2 Tbsp. chopped dill
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

Step 1
Toss cucumbers in a large bowl with vinegar, sugar, red pepper flakes, and 2 tsp. salt. Chill, tossing once, at least 1 hour and up to 6 hours.

Step 2
Just before serving, add dill and lemon juice and toss to combine. Taste and season with more salt if needed.
Close reading / Game poems
May 21, 2023, 09:06:17 AM
Regarding Jordan Magnuson's
"Game Poems"
Synapses / Lists
May 14, 2023, 07:07:54 AM
Gathering and ranking lists. I have a bone to pick with lists. Some lists are good, and some lists are bad.
Close reading / A CITY IS NOT A TREE
May 14, 2023, 06:54:31 AM
Regarding Christopher Alexander's
I was playing and thinking about Tears of the Kingdom (the sequel to Breath of the Wild) and it occurred to me that I wanted to do this with REDACTED so that we could discuss the nature of not the end result but so that we could seek what they tried to seek but not just seek as in strive to achieve the same thing using our own methods but seek in the way that they tried to seek.

I've been thinking about this since being exposed to the concept by Billy Dent's cohost post about open world games:

"open world games are made using certain tools, techniques and conventions, and I believe that these production-side characteristics are the main reason why they keep being made . . . [they make] open world games incredibly economical, if your goal is to create something BIG."

What are these tools, techniques, and conventions? I think that this is what every game designer on earth should be talking about: not for open world games, but for every genre, every game of note, everything that is out there.

What are the tools, techniques, and conventions that produced a game?

What were the goals for creating a game?

How did all these factors come together to produce this game, at this point in time? How is that beautiful, or how is it horrible? What can we appreciate, take away, swear off of forever, or build on top of as a foundation?

The conversations are happening, just more slowly than I'd like. People talk about crunch and say how bad it is. But beyond those spiky awful "Well that was a mistake let's never do that again" points that stick out, where are the eternal wisdoms that we learn and hold onto and never let go of, that we work with again and again for years, for generations, for millennia or at least until the last human being dies?

How was this made, and what's being said?

That is the only dialogic game design I care about.
May 12, 2023, 09:24:07 AM
QuoteDo-ocracy is a decentralized, anarchist way of deciding and managing how things get changed, and is the main way that things get done at Noisebridge.

It can be summed up as follows:

    Do-ocracy: If you want something done, do it, but remember to be excellent to each other when doing so.

Active Projects / letterclub - Energeia
May 11, 2023, 02:51:36 PM
After reading Mer's "More questions than answers" I find myself a little grounded, which is nice. A new tangent.

Noting my thoughts here before I lose them...

- What is it that makes you feel alive? Environments, cities, languages, worlds, people

- Organic, tree, city. I still haven't read it (I'm meaning to) but Christopher Alexander wrote an essay called A City is not a Tree which... well, the name is too too similar!

Quote. . . what is a DEAD game then? // Are we talking about LIVING games in opposition to what?
^ The One-Straw Revolution quote, responding, moving toward the center. The center!

* The short stories Ezra shared with me. Their singleness. Is this haiku games? (butterfly emoji)

Quote"When you are becoming ALIVE you can feel it deeply.", Then how do you feel when you're not? Like when you get stuck at an idle game that you feel like it's sucking the life out of you?
^ I think so. If pressed I would say that when not alive I feel like I have no reason to exist, no deep reason to exist. It is not the feeling of being dead but the feeling of I might as well be dead, I guess, to be very messy and blunt about it. i feel alive when i am doing something, and there is a reason for doing it, and there is a reason for having that reason, and there is a reason for having that reason, and so on and so on and so on until my mind cannot fathom any further depth of reason and I give in to the illusion that there are reasons for my reasons stretching back as far as the beginning of the universe, the beginning of everything, and i feel whole.
Tenets / Inspiring Awakeness
May 09, 2023, 09:04:17 AM
In her book Thinking in Systems, Donella Meadows writes:

QuoteWe can't control systems or figure them out. But we can dance with them!
I already knew that, in a way. I had learned about dancing with great powers from whitewater kayaking, from gardening, from playing music, from skiing. All those endeavors require one to stay wide awake, pay close attention, participate flat out, and respond to feedback.
. . . Living successfully in a world of systems requires more of us than our ability to calculate. It requires our full humanity---our rationality, our ability to sort out truth from falsehood, our intuition, our compassion, our vision, and our morality.

~ Thinking in Systems quote

I was having a conversation with paulby in Paradise about this and noticed that the particular word Meadows uses, "require," is not (necessarily?) the method by which one should go about designing a game for this type of play. Rather than "requiring" awakeness --

here I will define awakeness as the state of "staying wide awake, paying close attention, participating flat out, responding to feedback, using our full humanity (our rationality, our ability to sort out truth from falsehood, our intuition, out compassion, our vision, and our morality)" --

Rather than "requiring" awakeness, the dream ideal goal is INSPIRING awakeness, which one may also perhaps understand as aliveness, or even to some degree 'the flow state' (or even 'mastery'?). If a game does not acknowledge awakeness in some way, I am very rarely inspired to achieve or maintain awakeness, but "requirement" is not the best or only way to inspire me to get there.

Inspiring awakeness.
Recipes, food / Lemon Square
May 07, 2023, 08:18:20 PM
Hello! It's time for Lemon Square. I use this recipe but with adjustments from the comments, so here is the full adjusted version:

2 cups (~240g) all-purpose flour
1 cup (227g) butter, softened
½ cup (50g) white sugar
¼ tsp salt

1 ½ cups (300g) white sugar
¼ cup (~30g) all-purpose flour
4 eggs
½ - ⅔ lemon juice (3-4 lemons, juiced)
optional: lemon zest from 2 lemons

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  • To make the crust: Blend 2 cups flour, softened butter, and 1/2 cup sugar in a medium bowl until well combined; press into the bottom of an ungreased 9x13-inch pan. (If using an 8x11-inch pan, increase cooking time of crust and filling by 5-10 mins each!)
  • Bake in the preheated oven until firm and golden, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, make the filling: Whisk remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar and 1/4 cup flour in a medium bowl. Whisk in eggs, then lemon juice until smooth; pour filling over the baked crust.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. Set the pan aside to cool completely; the bars will firm up as they cool. When cooled, cut into uniform squares.
Close reading / The Far Shore
May 06, 2023, 03:45:51 PM
Regarding Adam Hammond's
"The Far Shore"
Close reading / Mastery
May 05, 2023, 03:09:56 PM
Regarding Robert Greene's

recommended to me by Aya (sp?)
I'm trying out Ambient.

I forgot to start a devlog for this, but I feel like it might be interesting to document my thought process. Here's a rough overview of my journey:


Naively gave Ambient a try thinking it was something I could knock out in a few hours--embarrassingly presumptuous of me. I got stuck on some basic stuff and it actually sent me into a small existential spiral, like, I guess I can't do programming anymore, I'm just a helpless designer! Bad feeling, but got through it. Had a conversation with a small games community that refreshed and rejuvenated my energy and confidence.


Asked Tanner what he thought of Ambient, he shared with me the list of Rust engines that exist out there, and some opinions. I won't share them here, but it all had the effect of reminding me that Ambient is just one little fish in a big pond, it has weaknesses and strengths like the rest, and if I'm having trouble, it's not my fault.

So I got back into trying it, I spent about 3 hours squirming around trying to learn Ambient using a bunch of tutorials written by users in the Discord -- switch to a Rust tutorial to learn the basics of the language which I realized I actually didn't know at all in the first place -- then came back to Ambient, Owen Palmer helped me out in the #beginners-corner, and I... got exactly nowhere in terms of building a game.

Wrapped up the window of time I'd set aside for trying to learn Ambient.

I've been thinking the whole time, "How does Ambient want to be used?" I was really tempted to just figure out how to hack in a 2D rendering scheme and make a platformer, but it felt wrong. I felt like I was going in the wrong direction. I thought about some recent thoughts about nonresistance and realized that I shouldn't just be learning from the examples, I should literally be using them to find fun things to do.

Next time I'll build off one of the examples rather than starting from scratch. There is already a tiny bit of fun to be found in these folders, and I can do a little work to bring it out. That has the nice added bonus of also being basically the easiest way I could possibly do things.
Tenets / Transparent Structure
May 04, 2023, 07:58:58 PM
It struck me while reading a perhaps lesser book that the structure of Christopher Alexander's writings have always had a beautiful transparency to them; he says what he is getting at and how and why before he gets to it. It's filling me with a deep frustration about the nature of other writings, books I must read and read and read in order to get at what their author is, finally, trying to say.
Completed Projects / TALK: Small Games Community
May 02, 2023, 09:48:50 PM
Giving a 30-min talk on small games communities. Notes here
Close reading / Stand Out of Our Light
May 02, 2023, 04:30:39 PM
Regarding James Williams'
"Stand Out of Our Light"

recommended to me by Pinchazumos
What could bring me more joy than clicking around a computer, and typing things into it with precision?
These too are feelings of play.
Close reading / The body keeps the score
May 01, 2023, 08:11:08 AM
Regarding Bessel van der Kolk's
"The body keeps the score"

From https://twitter.com/visakanv/status/1652548739876409344