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Flack’s Amazon Gift Card Photo Contest
Jan 8th, 2013 by Ice Cream Jonsey

My pal Rob O’Hara is killing it with a contest he is running at robohara.com: send him a photo that I can use for my next computer game, and you will be entered to win a $50 Amazon gift card. I need several people to play the enemies and antagonists in this game, so this will hopefully help fill out the ranks. You get a copy of the game when it is finished, as well as credit and my ever-lasting appreciation. Rob’s got all the details here. Thanks, Rob!!

Red Dwarf Season 10: Episode 01
Oct 29th, 2012 by Ice Cream Jonsey

Here’s what I think of the British situation comedy Red Dwarf. Just so we can all calibrate ourselves. So you know where I came from. Ahem.

I think it’s the best situation comedy ever, and one of the top-five shows in television history.

I think that the book version of Dave Lister is the most-fun character in fiction. I think the television version of Arnold J. Rimmer is one of the few genuinely fucked-up people on television who hasn’t kil– er. Well. I was gonna say, “Who hasn’t killed anyone,” sort of separating him from the murderers that television likes to depict, but there was that whole matter with the crew of the Red Dwarf itself.

I think even bad Red Dwarf is good Red Dwarf. If it were up to me, each episode would have a ten minute conversation of Lister and Rimmer bagging on each other. My expectations for this, the 10th season, was low. So far, I have been pleasantly surprised.


Season 10 Episode 01: Trojan

The exchange between Kryten and Rimmer towards the beginning was really nice. I like that hologram Rimmer still wants to be an officer, and honestly, it would be nice if some of these characters got what they wanted if this is to be the very last season. God, someone getting what they want in the world, even if they are just fictional characters, would be a change.

On paper, I think Lister being on hold for almost the entire episode was great, and it worked pretty well in the show. Season 10 is weird because the show itself started 25 years ago, and there has now been 25 years of technology updates in the real world, so being on hold for something isn’t quite as annoying now that we all have the Internet to order things from. But I don’t care — if Red Dwarf keeps with the technology of 1998 in 2012, but really 3,000,000 years in the future, then that’s unique.

(Mostly, it is unique because nobody is bringing back sci-fi situation comedies from two and a half decades ago.)

The Cat showing up for Rimmer’s exam question was a terrific character moment.

I’ve read comments that Craig Charles was a little “off” in this episode. And I can kind of see it, but I have the benefit of having seen the next two episodes. He’s fine. They all are, in fact — HDTV makes everyone look 1,000 years old, so really, they’re fine. They are regular people.

And I really enjoyed the last act of the episode. Watching this, I have ever reason to think that Red Dwarf is back. I can’t believe it’s really happening.

Sitting Out A Meme
Sep 29th, 2012 by Ice Cream Jonsey

Christ, you people sound like idiots.

It’s been a while since I sat one out. I’m the first to click, usually. I don’t care. Pride has nothing to do with it. Usually they are a little funny, for most of my life they have been worth talking about. I hate not knowing. I don’t know why.

You really all do sound like easily-led impressionable assholes.

You get that kernel of comedy. I guess. Maybe there is some joy in sharing a thing with a bunch of people that are like you, as long as you don’t have to see them in person or relate to them in real-life in any way. Sometimes I worry that I’m going to find everything funny that my brain can register as funny. And that will just be mined. All that will be left is that fake laughter that comes out when meeting a stranger, when trying to be polite.

Is this your meme? If it is your meme, OK. Otherwise, you are a piece of shit stealing someone else’s meme. Shut up. Quit posting about it.

The first one for me was really “All Your Base.” That phrase entered my consciousness long before I saw the animated GIFs. They’re never going to top that, but I keep clicking anyway. They do seem to get worse each time one takes the Internet by storm. Marginally worse, but they are just not worth knowing any more.

How I see you all is how the rest of the world sees us all the time. Smug fucking dipshit retards with our smug little cant, smugly raising an eyebrow because it’s not cool to laugh. I hate every minute.

Every third tweet, every random link is some tedious motherfucking shithead going hgluahglua about GANGHAM STYLE!!!!!!DERP!

I don’t fucking care, I don’t fucking care, it sounds fucking stupid, I don’t fucking care. I don’t want to be one of you any more. I hate you all and wish you would shut the fuck up.

Someone will try to introduce me to this and I usually politely put myself through it but not this time, and not any more. Is it about some dickhead dancing in a different culture? I don’t even care. I can’t close comments but don’t leave a comment. Shep Smith needs someone to kill himself over lunch on Monday, go do that thing. Let that be the new meme.

Here is a guy ganghan styling to oh wait just click fuck you

We really do all come off as socially-maladjusted idiots.

Al Davis Looks Like The Spectre From The Bard’s Tale
Jan 19th, 2011 by Ice Cream Jonsey

Will your stalwart band choose to fight or run?

CRISIS: International Multiplayer Has Been Removed From Onlinegames.com Basketball!
Nov 11th, 2010 by Ice Cream Jonsey

The best game of 2009 was, in fact, onlinegames.com/basketball. This was amazing, because up until that point, there had only been one decent game ever written in Flash: Nanaca Crash. But computer programmers are clever! 2010 brought us Sanctuary-17 by Chris Klimas and Joel Haddock, over at Twofold Secret. It’s a fine fucking game, regardless of what platform it was developed on. So I’m ready to say that good games – truly good, interesting games – can be made in Flash.

But that’s also helped by the 2009 Game of the Year: onlinegames.com/basketball.

Look, there’s a crisis, and it’s going on RIGHT NOW. The international ultiplayer component of onlinegames.com/basketball has been removed. And I won’t stand for it!

When you sign up for a game of onlinegames.com/basketball, you’re allowed to put your country of origin, age and handle into a form. People haven’t used this to forge peace treaties, exactly. It almost instantly turned into a way to savage other nations in the high score boards. Hundreds of people might be playing at a given time, in a given “session”… and after two minutes, the top ten scores (and all the info they submitted) comes up on the screen. Benjamin “Pinback” Parrish and Adam Cadre are both amazing at this game. Adam doesn’t suffer from deep psychological sociopathy, so there’s no recorded evidence of him doing any race-baiting with the thing. It took Pinback, however, about two games before he realized what an important tool this is to nationtroll. Adam also didn’t have someone ready to cackle at every single screenshot that spoke, in thirteen characters, as to what a shithole North Korea was.

And now the multiplayer component is gone. And please, understand: Pinback had the high score there. The other people in the high score table simply hated the citizens of other countries THAT much. (In addition to being good enough at the game to get one of the ten best scores, out of a pool of hundreds.)

Personally, it was a sad day when I realized that not only was I terrible at real sports, but virtua ones as well. I have no idea how Pinback consistently gets scores into the 300 and 400s with this thing. It’s clicking on a spot on the screen where you launch a fake basketball. Which is lots of fun. It’s also communicating how much you think other nations suck, where the people of those nations can read it. I can go on Twitter right now and say that I think that Scandinavia is a horrible country. The only people who are going to read it are – well, they’re not Scandinavians. In fact, if I tweet that shit, I’m going to LOSE followers and not make anyone in Norway feel bad about themselves. Get the top score in flash basketball, and you CAN hurt people. (Or forge peace, but again, welp.)

Dr. James Naismith invented basketball to be an easy going game that fat white people could enjoy. Although Bud Selig probably believes that it was invented by Alfred Eugene “Mudwall” Jackson, Brigadier General of the Confederate Army. Since the good doctor’s intentions were completely brushed aside by people who can run and jump, it’s perfectly OK that his vision of bring people together has also been destroyed. But more, my vision of driving people apart has also now been destroyed. Pinback and I are composing an e-mail to onlinegames.com in the hopes of understanding *why* this important multiplayer setup has been quietly removed.

And fuck North Korea.

Starcraft 2: From Worse to Bad — Control Groups
Sep 7th, 2010 by Pinback

SC2! This installment is called:

Putting Your Buildings In Control Groups

That sounds like a terribly dry, boring title, so it may surprise you when I tell you that this is the most important installment that you could ever read, if you want to be a not-quite-as-terrible SC2 player. Stick with me.

If you’ve ever watched a replay of a professional (or even half-decent) SC2 match, you will notice two things:

1. Something has gone horribly, horribly wrong in your life, because you’re sitting there watching replays of other people playing video games.

2. Somehow they’re able to move their armies, attack with precision, AND build new units and buildings and upgrades at the same time!

I could never figure out how that was possible. I’d either be base-building, getting a bunch of guys together, while the guys I’d already built just sat around waiting, or I’d be taking my big group of units and attacking, while my base just sat there doing nothing. There are names for these things! You may have heard them, and if you watch a replay, you will definitely hear them:

TERM: "Micro"

DEFINITION: "Micro"-management of military units. Moving them around, having them scout or attack enemies.

USE IT IN A SENTENCE: "He’s micro-ing really well, see how he sent those marines around to the other side of the (whatever, etc, etc.)"

TERM: "Macro"

DEFINITION: Economy building, Base building, Unit building, etc.

USE IT IN A SENTENCE: "That one guy micros better, but he just got overwhelmed because the other guy out-macroed him lolz gg omfg"

To restate my problems above, I could micro or macro, but not both at the same time. And that amazing thing the pros do? Microing and macroing at the same time. That is the number one key to becoming a only-a-fraction-as-awful SC2 player. And the number one key to microing and macroing at the same time is:

Putting Your Buildings In Control Groups

To review, a "control group" is when you assign a clump of units to one of the number keys on the top row of the keyboard. If you got ten zerglings, and you want to attack, you’d put them in, say, the "1" control group. Then whenever you wanted to select all of them, you’d just hit "1". If you wanted to center the camera on them, you’d just double-tap "1".

That’s fine. But the key thing here is, you can put your buildings in control groups too!

Before I explain how to do this, I will give you an example of what it looks like:

1. Hurm, durm, here I am with my little army on control group 1, I’m gettin’ close to the enemy, this’ll be fun!

2. Oh, I should probably build some more guys back at the base, in case this doesn’t go well, cuz I suck at micro.

OLD WAY: Leave your army sittin’ there, scroll back to the base, select the production building, click on the little Marine picture (or whatever), then double-tap 1 and go back to moving your army around.

NEW WAY: Let’s say you’ve grouped all of your production buildings on the "5" key. You hit "5". You hit (hotkey for Marine). You hit 1 to go back to controlling the army.

Holy crap, right? You just started building a guy, and it took two keystrokes, and you never had to move the camera. You were looking at your army the whole time, confident that back at your base, a new guy was being built. If you had two production buildings, you’d go 5, q, q, 1, and it would automatically make one building start building one guy, and the other the other. You made TWO GUYS in less than a second, without having to take your eye of your army. Oh man.

This gives you the idea of why this is so important.

I will just tell you how I do it. You can play around with it and configure it more to your liking.

TERRAN/PROTOSS:

I put "town hall" buildings (Command Center, Nexus) on 4. All of them. Any time I need a new worker, "4, q". Boom. Need a few? "4, q, q, q". BAM. BUILDIN’ WORKERS. Also each of the town hall buildings has its own little special abilities which you’d also activate this way. As Terran, want to scan the opponent’s base? "4, x, (click on where you want to scan". KAPOW. (Note, all of these examples assumed the "Grid" hotkey system, see last installment.)

I put production buildings (any building that makes units) on 5. I already gave you an example of this. This also, though, makes rallying easy. Want to rally ALL your newly created units to one spot? "5, (right-click on rally point)". Holy Jesus, you just rallied like twelve production buildings to one spot with one key press and one mouse click! HOLY CHRISTING LORD!!

I put "upgrade" buildings (those that you don’t actively interact with except when you wish to do research to do upgrades) on 6. Want to research Warp Gates but are too busy to click around to find the Cybernetics Core? "6, z". KERSPOWW!! JOB’S DUN!

That’s it. I use 4, 5, and 6 because 1, 2, 3 I reserve for groups of military units. Note how awesome this is, though. Using the Grid hotkeys, with these control groupings, I literally never have to move my left hand to do ANYTHING IN THE GAME that you’d ever need to do.

ZERG:

Zerg is slightly different because the "town hall" building is also the only unit production building. So they stay on 4, but 5 is instead used for grouping all the "queen" units, which have special abilities you need to be constantly using — particularly "spawn larvae". Need to spawn larvae at two of your hatcheries with your two queens? "5, x, (click on minimap hatchery), x, (click on other one)". BOWFF!!! Now that’s some fine larvae-spawnin’!

Alright. That’s about it for today’s installment, see you nex—

"HEY WAIT A MINUTE, PINNER! There’s ALL SORTS of production and upgrade buildings! If you have them all grouped together, how do you select a Barracks to build a Marine, vs. a Factory to build a Siege Tank, vs. a Starport to build a Banshee? And if all my upgrade buildings are on one key, how do I research Zergling speed at the Spawning Pool vs. Air attack +1 at the Spire? Etc., etc.?"

That’s the question, isn’t it. And there’s a very special key on the keyboard that has the answer. I will give you a hint as to which key it is:

Did you figure it out? It’s the "Tab" key. And the reason it’s the Tab key is because SC2 has something called "subgroups". You may group a bunch of different types of buildings together, or types of military units together, but SC2 will secretly distribute them into "subgroups", based on their type.

So when you select "5" to select your production buildings, can you guess which key will select the next "subgroup" in your main group? Can you?

I’ll give you that hint again:

Here’s the real life example, which will BLOW YOUR FRIGGIN’ MIND:

You have two barracks and two starports, all on group 5. You’re fightin’ a battle, but quickly want to get two marauders and two medivacs building back at your base. Check it:

"5, w, w, TAB, w, w".

Your mind? FRIGGIN’ BLOWN. First you selected the whole group (which defaulted to the barracks), built two marauders with the "w" hotkey, tabbed over to the starport sub-group, and built two medivacs, with the same hotkey. And since SC2 distributes your requests to all available buildings, each of your four buildings is building one of those units.

And it took you one second, and you never had to look at your base.

I guess, to sum up, I’d say that the most important thing to learn to do as you climb the ranks of the eternally mediocre, is:

Putting Your Buildings In Control Groups

The 2010 IntroComp
Jul 8th, 2010 by Ice Cream Jonsey

The IntroComp has nine entries this year. They are:

Adrien Saurat’s Plan 6 from Inner Earth (42kb, Zcode)
- Doug Jones’ For the Love of Ornery Blue Yaks (49kb, TADS2)
- Iain Merrick’s Tourist Trap (121kb, Zcode)
- Kevin Jackson-Mead’s Waker (355kb, Zcode)
- Lea Albaugh’s A Fleeting Case of Self-Possession, or, Memento Moratori (273kb, Zcode)
- M. M. Kathrel’s Closed Circles (230 kb, TADS3)
- Fiadotau and Bychkov’s Peanut Orchestra (7.1mb, WIN exe)
- Oliver Ullmann’s Fang vs Claw (514kb, Glulx)
- Robb Sherwin’s Cryptozookeeper (25.6mb, Hugo)

You can vote on these games! Let me quote the appropriate text:

[Voters may] vote on as many or as few entries as they like, on the usual 1-10 scale (10 being the best). However, they are asked to judge games with one thought in mind, and one alone: “How much do I want to play more of this entry?”

You can grab the games and read more about the competition here: http://www.allthingsjacq.com/introcomp/more.php.

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Jun 11th, 2010 by Ice Cream Jonsey

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The PAX East Files: Fallacy of Dawn
Mar 28th, 2010 by Ice Cream Jonsey

Hello! Today I got an opportunity to sell Fallacy of Dawn at PAX East at Jason Scott’s table. If you happened to pick up a copy, let me please, first, thank you. There’s always the possibility that something may go wrong in a printed version, so if you have any trouble running the game, please do not hesitate to get a hold of me:

Robb Sherwin: e-mail – beaver@zombieworld.com
Twitter: icecreamjonsey

I wanted to make sure there were a bunch of ways to run the game. Any of the following will work:

- run the setup.msi program from Windows
- drag dawn.hex (the story file) onto hewin.exe
- you can extract the archive dawn.zip on the disc to your hard drive and launch dawn.hex from hewin.exe

And if you are running Linux or you’re on a Mac, there are interpreters there as well. I’ll be flying tomorrow so if I don’t immediately respond it is because my cell phone reception at 35,000 feet is marginally worse than at home.

Bull by Kent Tessman, on Netflix
Mar 21st, 2010 by Ice Cream Jonsey

My blog post about what Kent did with Bull is coming shortly, but you can add it to your queue here: http://www.netflix.com/Movie/Bull/70123250 – I completely recommend it. If I understand how it all works, if enough people queue it, Netflix will order it, which is a good thing because it’s a great film.

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