Monday, January 30, 2017

Humanity to Political Theory

I've recently been on a Noam Chomsky video kick. This talk here was particularly interesting. It made me realize that I want to learn more about the enlightenment - particularly these ideas about the value of life being a rich diversity of thought.

"Anarchism is a trend in the historic development of mankind which drives for the free unhindered unfolding of all the individual and social forces of life."
 - Rudolph Rocker

Anarchism is "The absolute and essential importance of human development in its richest diversity" 
 - Wilhelm Von Humboldt

What I really want to get out of this exploration is a better foundational understanding of how this type of human value is perceived with contemporary knowledge, and how that perception of human value informs the beginnings of the best political theory.

Sounds like Noam Chomsky is my man.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Better Playlist Maker

Instead of having playlists, you have song banks in personalized categories.

The concept of playlists is more fluid. Instead you focus on a Spotify-like play queue as a focal point.

Adding songs to the play queue becomes more important. You want quick accessible methods to look at queue history

Method 1: Play Queue History

You look at a list of play queues from the past.

Star, bookmark, and rate favourites.

Method 2: Drag n' Drop Cherry Pick Songs

This feature is sort of like Spotify, but multiple song banks can opened simultaneously.

The software allows you to quickly:

  1. click a song bank
  2. drag n' drop songs to play queue

Method 3: Interactive Pie Chart w' Percentage n' Order

The key benefit of this feature is MACRO level control.

The pie chart puts focus of your playlist at a MACRO level, while giving you the control to add finer adjustments after the fact.

The pie chart allows you to visually:
  1. Drag song banks to a pie chart
  2. Select proportion of playtime per song bank
  3. Select how to intersperse songs from respective banks
  4. Set the 'SPREAD' of songs:
    • interspersed evenly
    • not interspersed at all
    • interspersed following order of song bank
    • interspersed evenly and randomly
  5. Set front loaded or rear loaded (In case the list is smaller than other lists.)

Potential Method 4: Nested Pie Charts

This feature would entail creating a pie chart - clicking one pie section, and then creating a pie chart that showed up in that one. Clicking on that internal pie chart would zoom into the new one.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Personal Identification with Basic Income

Personally identifying with basic income means remembering the times when you felt invigorated by seeing a hopeful and feasible path in front of you.

Many have likely had visions open up to them when they feel a sense of relief due to a newly discovered job security. Feeling like you have a set of secure opportunities for the future is like no other feeling in the world, especially when you know what the opposite is like.

Alternatively, many of us forget what realized security feels like, or we never had the opportunity to experience truly being insecure in the first place.

I also personally identify with basic income, because I know how stifling personal financial dependence can be on identity and freedom. Basic income is increased liberation and independence from ideological and social affiliations that tend to control opportunities.

Pharmeceutical Industry

Socialized Health Care Must be Packaged with a Socialized Pharmaceutical Industry

Didn't everyone already know this?

How much sense does it make to have a ridiculous, absurd system of pricing the actual health-care while you are socializing the health insurance?

On the other hand, did you want to be a full blown socialist?

What is the anarcho-syndicalist approach?

Blog Post 2

I saw a tweet today about eliminating political contributions that are against the people . . . . genius.

Where does one find the history of taxation versus non-taxation? It doesn't seem that that division is fully salient. . . . I don't see anyone talking about a full separation of private funding from government. The prospect seems to be presumed impossible.

But what about it? Is there a concept for exclusively funding through taxation?

Friday, January 20, 2017

Blog Post

This is a headless post. No idea what to write.

What is right?

I believe people should try to make the country a better place.

Underneath my positivity however, I have my doubts about what can be done when people do not know what is going on. Perhaps that is coming from someone who might have much less of an idea than most.

There's a Noam Chomsky quote about how citizens don't know what is going on. This quote is shared in a way that seems to imply the person sharing it really DOES know what is going on. The quote is shared to almost imply hope - that a person could find out what is ACTUALLY going on with a certain amount of effort.

I am not so sure. Hope of learning what is ACTUALLY going on seems a bit futile.

I also heard a quote today from a guy saying that people should at least try to enact change. Chances of success only increase with effort, so you might as well try.

I am not so sure this is true. Rather, I ask what other option people have. Can people do anything else but have purpose and try? The end game might be to believe despite an overpowering reality of futility.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

VR Version of 'The Ship' and Visual Examples

Because the ship is a solid orb, it has no particular windscreen. It makes for interesting possibilities as far as visuals go. Being able to expand your external view outside the ship as a spherical view makes for an interesting and visually stunning experience in a VR game. It makes sense out of a situation where you are floating around in a world, and emanating particles and energy streams in all directions.

VR Roomscale or Not?


If the game is adapted to spherical controls in a VR setup, it makes the ability to see around you with your head and amazing experience. Instead of being in a chair, you could simply be walking around in the ship. So this raises the question of whether roomscale is better or desirable. Perhaps the game is better left to not being roomscale?

Dash Controls


Many buttons and controls would be in the ship, potentially on a circular or curved console, where the player is at the center.

Focus Control Visuals

Controls for setting up planal and 360 degree focus, as well as targeting and spherical emissions would be very exciting to define by waving your hands like Minority Report and seeing transparent projections of your movements like crosshairs, transparent spheres, cones, cylinders, lasers, etc. These things would all move and adjust with your movement instructions.

Spherical focus controls would translate into the user establish a transparent sphere around the ship, then pointing to a section with both controllers, bisecting it as certain points, to cut out slices of it visually, or cutton out holes of it from central target points. The resultant sphere defines where the plume of emissions go and where they don't.

What you end up with is that you are controlling emissions like fireworks in a sense. You also control whether the spread of the full emission gets cut like a cookie cutter, or whether the energy of the whole sphere gets concentrated in the remaining area left to the sphere. This spherical method of designing emissions provides for options to either save on power or alternatively for concentrating the entirety of power to the leftover space, such as in a power point of space to form a laser or ion cannon type thing.

Imagine that the ship is an origin point in the center of a fireworks plume. If you surrounded fireworks with a sphere, and the sphere had gaps in it, then the fireworks would only come out through those gaps. So when you are waving your hands around, you are defining the space in the sphere where the emissions will come out of your ship. (The sphere is a stunning visual aid for the sake of designing the emissions plumes. There are not actually wasted emissions in the sphere's designated dead spaces.)

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Button Grammar Brainstorms for Game Idea: 'The Ship'

There are 4 primary ship "emissions"

  • Energy
  • Matter
  • Plasma
  • Biomass

There are a number of variances that apply to all 4 emissions.

  • Volume / Intensity
  • Focus
    • 360 plane:
      •  plane selection
    • spherical emittance:
    • targeted:
      • diameter
      • center target 
    • relative to ship bow, stern, port, starboard
  • Distance of emission from ship
    • As far as it can go before dissipating
    • preset and burn out
    • preset and feed
  • Timing
    • pulse
      • number of iterations
      • time
    • delay
      • time
  • Expansion
    • spherical, planal, directional
    • infinite expansion
    • preset and burn out
    • preset and feed
    • speed of expansion
    • delay before expansion
    • proximity to object
    • proximity to/from ship
  • Attraction
    • heat seeking
    • cold seeking
    • weakness of emissions (proportionally low makeup)
    • strength of emissions (proportionally high makeup)
    • weakness towards emissions
    • strength towards emissions
    • gravity
    • anti-gravity
    • light seeking
    • dark seeking
    • motion seeking
    • etc.

Given the examples above, there are about 144 single combinations of effects in one stage of an emission. In addition to these 144 combinations, many of these variations have sliding scales of intensity that create further customization and variation, such that there are thousands of possible implementations of emissions. The game is about discovering the types of things that create noticeable effects on the external world, and then going around and making do with those.

These combinations would have designated order of initiation and things that make them occur in a specific manner.

Multiple stages can be combined to create multi-stage automations.

Multiple stages can be simultaneously engaged to combine effects of materials to create different effects.

 The game possesses rules about the nature of materials, and what they do in particular combinations. The idea is to create rules that the player can acquire easily enough to remember as general principles to recall conveniently.

So Button Grammar

Button grammar just means that there are basic principles of entering options using buttons. In most games, players grow accustomed to button sequences, going through menus, and selecting options, and doing commands. In this game, you progress through stages of constructing a larger command to the ship.

Players press a button, and they are in command mode. Once in command mode, then there are different modes of entering options. The idea of the button grammar is to make a wide set of customizable options available efficiently to players. Players should be able to press sequences of 10 or so button presses and be able to understand a formula of what that sequence will do. Players should be able to gain knowledge of how alterations to the sequence will effect the outcome of the ship emissions.

The trouble is to make it convenient and seamlessly acquired underneath fun gameplay.

Game Idea: The Ship

This game changes the focus of most shooter games in that it adds tedium (or detail rather) in some areas, but takes it away in others. Players can automate new things in game, but players have to explore ways of creating tools and weapons themselves.

Players can devise of passive effects, or damaging effects by devising of button sequences that select combinations, timing, focus, and intensities of 4 primary ship capabilities. These capabilities, and variances on the capabilities, form a set of variances that result in effects on the ship and surrounding environment.

After players discover and design commands they prefer, they can save those ship commands as button combos. Then, at a moment's notice, players can initiate those button combinations, allow the ship to prepare the effect, and then engage the commands to effect the world around the ship. Standard goals involve getting more ship energy, traveling, and attacking and defending.

So the game consists of a lot of exploration of the ship's capabilities on one hand, but then in moments of action, the player can initiate those long-devised commands at a moment's notice. The effect is that the player has a personal connection to the ship itself, and the feeling that he/she has a skilled relationship with the ship, like Han Solo to the Millennium Falcon for instance.

The action in the game becomes a test of button sequence vocabulary, timing, and creative re-combinations. Action skill revolves around button sequences that have grammar rules. When you learn and obey the rules over time, you can do more with your ship. (Designing the game well means designing this grammar so that effects might be derived via under-riding principles of this button language. See here.)

The ship has a low-energy standard propulsion system that affords it standard movement, but if the ship's 4 primary capabilities are harnessed correctly, then alternative propulsion methods can be used to send the ship at hurtling speeds, or to set preset motions of the ship, to perform ballistic attacks, or defensive maneuvers upon engaging a command.

VR Version

A VR implementation of this game would be a totally different experience. See here.

Game Pretense

 Somehow, you are piloting an alien ship similar in appearance to the ship in the flight of the navigator.

It is mysteriously seemless orb, but might be more yellow or golden. It might or might not have a visible wind screen or something, but the key is that it is a mysterious and strange technology. This makes no attempts at science fiction or realism.

The crazy power of the ship is that it can emit 4 different things all around it. They explode from the ship in all directions at first. You can learn how to direct and recombine these 4 things in order to form weapons and effects on your environment.
  1. light / energy
  2. matter beads/particles, similar to lead or steal beads
  3. plasma / liquid / gas
  4. biomass particles

Game Intro

By the end of the introduction, you have made your way into the ship one way or another.

You fumble around and learn buttons through trial and error.
  1. The first thing you learn is how to lock yourself into the ship's chair, which grapples around you.
  2. second thing you learn is the button to push in order to ready the materials to be emitted.
  3. third thing you learn is each material's button.
  4. 4th thing you learn is how to then emit a selected material.  A basic set of rewards and punishments occur for emitting the materials in different circumstances.
    • all the materials emit in all directions, with no focus or form
    • they emit as general plumes or sprays

Initial Gameplay

Initially, the player can initiate basic sequence of one action, basically engaging an emission of one thing at a time, perhaps say light. The light emits all around the ship to glow, so that the player can see his/her way around or out of something.

Slowly, the player learns how to initiate more complex sequences that combine materials, stagger emissions of materials, focus materials into areas, or into targeted rays, automate emissions to serve as a propulsion system, and even generate materials that form into walls or shields that blockade for a given time, or given a certain level of damage.

Even at the beginning, it's apparent that the ship if amazing and powerful. The ship can do special things that make it fun to play right off the bat.

Eventual Game Skills

The game is an engine by which the materials can be combined and directed using button combinations. Effect the world around you with the materials. Use emination for:

  • weapons
    • energy
    • solid bullets
    • liquid short-circuiting
    • laser
    • combos
      • plasma guns
      • energized bullets
      • exploding projectiles
      • biological weapons
        • infested terran
        • other zerg-type things
  • shields
  • structures
  • tools
    • door rams
  • parts
  • farming
  • distraction effects
  • power solutions
  • animal design and creation
  • plant design and creation
  • part design and creation for robots and machines
Uses and creations might not have presets (such as in Minecraft). The idea of this game is to have open-ended problems and solutions. The game is an advanced Universe with laws that allow things to happen in no preset way.

The game starts out with simple, direct problems that have obvious solutions. Then it increasingly opens up when the player proves he/she has grasp of basic button grammar.

Button 'Grammar'

The intense part of designing this game is building an entire button language. The challenge is to create something that is complex enough to create open-ended possibilities, but to still be simple enough to learn gradually and naturally as the player is having fun.

Just as a sentence has grammar, this game is about ordering things in stages that form different portions of a command.

A command must be initiated and engaged. There are conventions to commands, but there are also manipulations of those conventions that produce altered results.

  • Y - energy
  • B - solid matter
  • X - liquid / gas matter
  • A - biomass
  • 3
    • initiate button sequence
    • engage button sequence
  • 9 - focus
    • out all the way - emitted around the entire ship at once
    • in all the way - emitted to a specific point
  • 6 - intensity
    • volume
    • strength
    • level
  • 1 - set point of target
  • 10 - next statement
  • 5 - previous statement
    • up / down
      • next / previous word option
    • left / right
      • next / previous word selection
These settings are of course just a brainstorm of options that might be available. The player would initiate a command sequence to then be engaged. The game process would go something like the following:
  1. Player presses initiate button
  2. Player enters sequence
  3. Player waits for ship to perform preparations and reach compliance
  4. Player presses engage button
  5. Ship engages command sequence immediately (or droops down in power failure or self destruction or overheating)
A virtual reality version of this game would have the player actually turning dials and pulling knobs and things on a spaceship dashboard.

In-Game Automation

At some point in the game, macros can be implemented to automate tedious and repetitive tasks. Usually this would not be possible until the player has truly mastered the skills they are automating.

Things can be automated to a certain degree, but never so much that they only require only one button push. The game software only allows so much automation, so that the player difficultly is still engaging and involving as the game progresses. Perhaps this would be done by automating categories of portions of an initiated sequence.

Still, automation can be a key factor in advancing in the game.

Automate action options per type of target

One thing missing from shooter games is an option to automate types of actions per targets. Players can often switch through weapons to personalize an action towards a target, but that is not the same thing as automating this such that the player is presented with limited multiple options.

The player wants to feel like he/she is switching things up and having fun, but that fun is lost when there are SO MANY OPTIONS that choosing the right weapon is a ridiculous time-consuming process. Perhaps the user has the ability to designate a class of targets, and to instruct the system on the ship on how to define and classify the targets. Then the game allows you to have a specific set of options of actions for what to do when the ship encounters that class of target. So the player does not automate things to become boring. The player automates a narrowed set of options in a given scenario, making the game both faster paced AND maintaining a sense of real-time playful decision-making.

For instance every time I confront a class B ship, I don't want to be confronted with 100 options of what to do. However, I don't want to always do the same thing over and over again every time I see class B ships. What I want is for every time I encounter a class B ship, I want to have 3 or 4 options to cycle through, that I created myself. One of those might be more passive, one of those might be more aggressive. It is partially a matter of provisioning options for whatever weapon I might be in the mood for in the moment.

Game Comparisons

  • Guitar Hero
    • good example of a game that heavily revolves around button skills
    • similarly game orientation should encourage a rhythm to button combos
  • Minecraft
    • good example of open-ended game, though this game is not open-ended in what you can build.
  • MechWarrior
    • good example of a control-intensive weapons simulation game.
    • during battle action, the weapons are not always able to be fired quickly. Similarly, this game would demand more complex button sequences for more advanced weapons. Thus there might be stressful moments where weapons take more time to warm up or be able to be fired.
  • Final Fantasy
    •  typing in button sequences in combinations could feel like selecting a correct attack if done in correct order
  • Bejeweled
    • entering button sequences might be similar to bejeweled itself, where there are exciting sounds and visual previews entering in combos.

Gaming Possibilities

  • There could be the possibility of freezing time to engage longer button sequences
  • There could be action options of halting gameplay with a temporary shield in order to enter longer button attack sequences 
    • thus producing an effect like turn-based attack games
    • might become the only method of carving out time to enter in more difficult attacks
      • this would also require entry period where user learns to enter commands in given time-frame. then time-frame is narrowed to demand other means of making more time to enter harder attacks.
    • makes shielding and time-delay crucial, rather than in most games where shielding is usually a second-tier skill
    • in this case, defensive measures would have to stave off most or all attacks for a length of time.
    • the defense methods would have to require significantly less effort to enter than the attacks in order to be worth using.
  • there could be in-game macros of longer sequences
  • there could be in-game notes, to eliminate the need to memorized longer sequences
  • alternatively, the primary skill focus of the game could be the ability to recall the button combos at any given time. 
  • Propulsion
    • there could be a slow propulsion system that draws some energy, and then the 4 primary emissions could be utilized to produce a secondary propulsion system that would allow for targeted travel at much higher speeds.
    • When the player engages a high-speed propulsion, the ship makes dramatic noises and shakes and stuff.
    • The player can set a number of preset motions in a macro, to move the ship around in a circle while shooting, or something like that. But these require energy.
    • These alternative propulsion methods all suck energy, and energy is useful for all of the emissions. Therefore using alternative propulsion can be and expensive luxury, potentially reserved for later in the game.

Gaming Appeal

Of course the fun is exactly what changes according to the features and controls that are implemented. The game has to be centered in simplicity with extensions of increasing complexity.

Commanding a Ship

Imagine all the movies like Star Wars, about initiating a combination of settings on a ship before engaging the ship to do it. Imagine the feeling of 
  1. personally devising of that combination of settings to initiate the ship to do, 
  2. setting the ship accordingly, 
    • The power source whirs with energy sounds
    • the dials click with adjustment
    • the heat rises
    • power failure warnings buzz and blam
    • dials go from green - to yellow - to red
    • and all of this is actually meaningful to statistics in the game
    • heat sync warnings flash
  3. SHWAMMM!!!!!, pressing engage, and watching the ship do something amazingly powerful, 
    • sending out a shockwave of light,
    •  beaming a super laser-heated stream of plasma liquid, 
    • dessimating surroundings with an spherical emission of solid bullets all around,
    •  lobbing a huge plasma and energy ball encased in a metal shell at someone, and watching it sploosh on a target
The important thing is that the player learned, designed, and set these initiations on his/her own. The player also set macros to automate portions of command sequences. The game simulation allows for variances in these 4 elements that the ship can emit to combine into real-time effects that produce custom results on the surroundings.

So the appeal of the game is that the player truly feels like he/she is commanding a ship, and has a relationship to the ship like Han Solo or somebody who is familiar with something special.

And indeed, the player does have a personal connection to the sequences, because the player actually designed the sequences he/she engages on the environment. During the action in the game, the player knows that when he/she is engaging that sequence, there is intensity in the visuals, and the audio, and in the personal relationship to the action.

Every action the ship performs is like this. The player encounters something he/she feels impressed to effect in the external world. The player designs a command to be engaged by the ship that might effect that thing or things. As the player is setting these settings via button commands, buttons and levers and dials are making noises and whirring and humming with energy. The player can then press the engage button and WHOOOOOSH!!! Whatever sequence or command the player had chosen then gets engaged.

Depending on the demands of any given command, there might be a warm-up or prep of materials that is required to be accomplished to convert energy into the right form, or to prepare materials to be morphed into the right form. These processes of warming up and matter conversion etc. (part of the fictional reality of the alien technology) make whirring and energy noises that are exciting and await the release of all the processes into the external world. . . . So there's a audio and visual expectation of action that will occur when the engage button is pressed.

These actions can be automated a certain degree, but never so much that they only require only one button push. The game software only allows so much automation, so that the player difficultly is still engaging and involving as the game progresses.

Still, automation can be a key factor in advancing in the game.

Mana / Energy
Designing commands and sequences is limited by the number of things you are allowed to do in one sequence. Sequences can be increased in length and complexity by increasing overall ship energy capacity and holdings. Gathering items in the surrounding world increases holdings of matter, liquid, energy, and biomass.

All of these things can be converted into energy and then into other items at an overhead cost.

Primary, Secondary, Tertiary

One key to this game is that simple skills are building blocks of higher level skills in a way that other games fail to embody.
  • The player learns key button combos that feel natural and quick to the game.
  • Then the player realizes that those button combos can be combined in different orders to produce different results
  • The key is that the player never feels like old skills are lost or worthless.
  • The game is constantly training the player for the future of the game.
  • The game is fun at all stages of gameplay, without the player knowing that skills build to become alternately important in new and unexpected ways.
  • Learning an easy command is like learning a vocab word in a larger language of commands. Elegance and creativity can be conveniently and quickly implemented to produce impressive, dramatic, and rewarding results.
  • There is a heavy visual element to implementation of effects.
    • dramatic bursts of energy
    • dramatic sounds of matter and expansion and other effects of emissions
    • recombinations have dramatic advantages and visual and audio alterations
    • surprising fluidity of gameplay
    • surprising possibilities of combining emitted particles

Button combos 

The most obvious criticism would be that entering buttons is boring.
The process of entering button combinations must be either be so seemless that attention span is satisfied by achieving means in a timely fashion, or it must be fun unto itself, almost a sub-game or alternate game in lough of the larger purpose of the game. For instance, there could be an entire section of the screen with flashy effects if achieving button combos, with instant preview of effects.

Guitar Hero

One possibility is that the game is incredibly directed instead of being open ended. The ship is flying down a narrow corridor, and button combos produce effects in conjunction with items that are flying by on the ground in particular sequences. This would have a gaming appeal more like guitar hero, where the player is syncing actions with things passing by - or slows down to interact with items that are going by. This would include picking things up - blowing things up - gathering energy from things - pausing to attack things - hit-and-run and drive-by scenarios - and sequential roping or sequential tagging of items in order to produce results relying on a series of successes.


Somehow these button sequences have to result in a larger frame of action, like a turn-based game produces flashy action. There has to be a rhythm to the action, that doesn't go dry while the player is distracted doing something else. If the player is doing something boring, that boring thing must be really beautiful or rewarding while doing it. It must be action. It must always avoid dullness like the plague.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Kinesis Keyboard

My Christmas keyboard is awesome.

It is the Kinesis Freestyle 2 with the 20" cord.

I am all about this keyboard, and I am thinking of the many ways to use it. The brilliance of it is that the sides can be sloped at any angle, even tented practically vertically. I want to make a setup where I am almost typing on the sides of my legs if possible. Not sure how I'll do it yet.

Right now I have both sides sloped out at about 30 degrees on a board that I put on my lap. Because I got the keyboard, I am now able to set my laptop up at an angle so the screen is at eye level and closer to my face. It's a whole new setup.

I can type now. It feels more natural, like I am writing. My thoughts come more easily to the keyboard.

Sloping the keyboard is amazing. It takes a few minutes to hit the keys without looking. Feels so much better than a chiclet keyboard.