Thursday, August 18, 2016

Castle America

A few years ago, Ed and I started "working" on a game with a German PhD student named Boris. The game was meant to be called Castle America. At the time, I wrote a very short history of the game's universe from the proverbial "current day" to the opening of the game. You can read it below.

By mid-21st century designer life forms became commonplace and served many purposes, both utilitarian and vain. They were mostly proprietary single-cell organisms ranging from carbon monoxide neutralizing bacteria to wrinkle smoothing fungus1. Due to a rather successful bacterial climate and pollution level control coupled with ever more efficient and economical internal combustion engines, the usage of fossil fuels was declining much slower than anticipated at the turn of the century. The solar power research was all but abandoned as the fresh air returned to urban centres and it seemed that being able to drive for two months on a full tank meant that oil would never run out.

In 2057, Viltran, an American corporation specializing in materials research and production, successfully introduced a plastic eating bacteria that was meant to solve the plastic recycling problem. The new life form was based on a nylon eating Flavobacterium K172 that was discovered about 80 years before and had once been the poster child of evolution. PEB quickly become a media darling – it's ATI2 peaking at 10K RPS3. Pebbies, as they soon were called, depolymerized plastic at record rates and turned it into a glucose like monomer that resembled white ash.

PEB, like almost any other designer bacteria, was hardcoded to die after one week no matter how favourable the conditions and would multiply only once – their offspring were barren. All of this changed after what came to be known as the Maastricht Outbreak of 2058 when in a newly inaugurated bacterial recycling plant one of the Pebbies' offspring inscrutably mutated the barren code out of itself. When the custodian droids whose job it was to collect the waste monomer didn't return from the consumption chamber, the human staff went in to investigate. They found lifeless droid hulls stripped of all plastic and covered in white ash. All precautions were said to have been applied but the new strain somehow got out. What followed was a mass extinction event on molecular level.

The nations scrambled in panic to stop the epidemic that was rapidly and irreversibly eroding the very cogs that kept the society going but things only got worse. The Plastic Rot, also called The Great White Plague, became the Oil Rot. Through additional series of mutations the Pebbies developed a taste for the very source of plastic. As is the wont of humankind, in times of great trouble and grave danger we turn to our brother's throat. Armies moved in to take control of uncontaminated oil reserves disregarding national borders and international agreements. The bloodshed that followed was only tempered by the rapidly disintegrating military technology. USA who had been secretly developing SBSP4 technology for two decades activated the program which gave it an enormous edge in energy production. Two days later China retaliated by crashing all of its zombie satellites into the American ones, thus bringing about true a Kessler Syndrome and perhaps forever denying humanity space travel.

It is estimated that around 30 million people died in the Oil Wars that followed the outbreak. In the next two years, 90% of human population perished due to starvation, poor sanitation and exposure. Before driving itself to extinction, Pebbies are thought to have destroyed 95% of oil and its byproducts.

The date is 2098. The remains of human civilization are sheltered in walled-in city states known as the Murrs. Most of the Murrs practice very strict immigration policy while reluctantly trading with the dwellers of the wilderness. Chunks of plastic have superseded all competing currencies – the affluent elite of the apocalypse wears it as jewellery and good luck charms. The non-citizenry that lives outside the walls consists of nomadic hunter-gatherers and bandits.



1 Most multi-cellular artificial organisms remained unstable, though a Korean company briefly tried to market affordable glow-in-the -dark kittens. The whole affair folded quite quickly after it became clear that the kittens only lived three to four weeks before succumbing to a rather grotesque form of cancer.
2Aggregate Trending Index
3Reposts per second
4Space-based solar power

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Thoughts on No Man's Sky (so far)

Pretty much everyone and their racist uncle did a hot take on No Man's Sky at this point. This isn't really hot or a take. It's more for me than anyone else unlucky enough to come across it. It's a way for me to think about game design and verbalize sporadic feelings of "oohhh" and "meh". It's also a way for me to get back into the habit of typing things.

According to Steam I have now played 13 hours of NMS which is probably more like 10 in reality. I've visited 10 systems and 22 planets. I'll start with the good things.


The Good Things:

  • The game is very much what the developers promised. You visit places, you discover species, you can name them, you mine and loot for resources and technology, you craft things, sometimes you fight, there's a mystery element to overall goal and the game looks pretty.
  • It really does look pretty. Here it's probably whoever calibrated the "randomly generated" colour scheme to blame rather than the people responsible for procgen. More on that below.
  • Space ship designs are pretty. They look plucked straight from book covers of medium trashy sci-fi from 30-40 years ago. It is refreshing to look at colourful ships instead of grey rectangles.
  • After 10 hours of play, it's still exciting to land on new planets. 
  • The soundtrack is good and fits the game. 
  • I am still somewhat interested in the "mysteries" of the game. 
  • When you're sitting in your ship and it's raining, you can hear the rain hitting the canopy. 
  • Some of the animals I've discovered looked moderately amusing. 
  • A lot of the non-procgen objects are pretty cool looking (like the ships I mentioned above). 
  • When you start the game from your desktop, it brings you straight to your character without having to go through menus.  


The Not So Good Things:

  • The menus. No, the entire UI. What happened here? Why? What was the point? It's just pure pain. Yes, I understand, it's designed to be used with a controller but that's only part of the problem. The fact that clicking anything is a one button QTE is borderline insane. 
  • The inventory system in Terror From The Deep is better than the inventory in NMS. I dread pressing tab and/or getting the INVENTORY FULL message. If we were to define a game genre by what problem is the player solving most often, NMS would fall under "inventory management game". And this is after the developers increased the inventories for both, ships and exosuits, with a launch day patch.
  • If the lead writer and all the contributing writers wanted to end up with sloshy space opera for young children, they done did it. I guess some people like this sort of thing. I don't. It's naive exalted dribble about past and future and universe and godlike aliens. 
  • The main character keeps having a gay old time touching monoliths around the world and getting all flustered and falling over his own feelings of wonder and amazement. It's like a space opera equivalent of a laugh track. Everything the guy says comes out water clogged and limp. 
  • Yes, I guess technically, to a certain degree, every planet is unique and so is every animal. But they are unique like two coins of same value minted at the same time are unique 10 years later. Each of those coins will have slightly different scratches and maybe one of them will have a little dent. Sure, I guess most planets in real life are same desolate rocky places. Out of the (now about) 25 planets (I played a bit more since I started writing this) I only found 1 that was almost empty of life and that got me pretty excited since all the other ones have the same bovine quadrupeds filling up the landscape with their wonky animation. I'm going to get a new bullet point for the "sameness continued".
  • Not only are all the animals very reminiscent of each other with minor changes but so are all the alien made structures. There's 6 or 8 structure types you can find on the planets and though outwardly there are 3 different looking space stations (corresponding to 3 different alien races), they are all exactly the same on the inside. In every station there's a door on the left that you need to have an Atlas Pass v1 to open and door on the right that you don't where and alien is sitting next to a trade terminal. Every time. 
  • There are plants on each planet that are not just similar, but exactly the same and giving you exactly the same resource when you interact with them through the amazing one button QTE. 
  • As far as I can tell, there are 3 alien races in NMS: the science race, the trading race and the warrior race. This is not a joke. It is literally that cliche. 
  • Every time you talk to an alien, there's a 5 second wind up power point slide animation before you manage to do anything with the dialogue. It's unskippable and if there's one thing that will make me stop playing NMS, it will be this before the inventory system does me in. It doesn't help that a similar crap wind up animation plays every time you save the game or get an achievement. 
  • A lot of the cool stuff about space is missing. Because all the planets and moons (indistinguishable from planets in NMS) have the same atmosphere density and gravity, I really don't feel like I'm visiting a new place. It takes 15 seconds to land and about 5 to leave a planet. I understand that NMS isn't meant to be a simulation game. I get that. But it's meant to be about exploration. What is the point of making some planets (or moons as they wishfully are calling them in-game) if they feel exactly the same as the big ones. Any liquid is always water, there are no clouds, no binary star systems, no gas giants, no meteor craters. The terrain variation goes from about 500 metres above to 50m below sea level. That's it. 
  • The ship control scheme is abysmal. Don't remember having less fun flying a space ship in any other game. Space combat is pure and pointless pain. 
  • The sentinels are dumb. They are easy to trick and really serve no purpose. They are mostly a minor inconvenience that doesn't need to be there. Maybe later in the game it's revealed that sentinels were a mistake and that it's all just trash. 
  • Apart from the missing cool space stuff, there's a few inexplicable design decisions. For example, I don't really understand why at 32C your spacesuit's "thermal protection is falling". I grew up in a place where sometimes there was 40C in summer. I didn't have a spacesuit, I was wearing t-shirt and shorts. Same with your suit being able to withstand extreme radiation but suffering at hands of a -40C cold. Again, I've lived in a place with -30C in winter and I was wearing a warm coat. Similar strangeness happening with the inability to sell your old ships and use a star map while not in space. 
  • Death in NMS is pointless. It's a minor inconvenience. You respawn at a space station, get back in your ship (which is somehow not blown up at all), fly back to where you died and pick up all your loot that the pirates who killed you (that's the only way I died so far) have failed to pick up. I mean, the game actually tells you that they are after that very loot but once they've killed you, they just leave. It feels more like teenage vandalism than space piracy. 
  • There is no real skill required to play NMS. Which is fine. Obviously not every game needs to be skill based. But the obstacles on your path of exploration and discovery feel very artificial and inorganic - there to only delay you instead of offering any meaningful challenge that you will feel satisfied to have overcome. I'm always puzzled when the developers/publishers ask for my time after already having received my money. None of us gains anything from me wasting time on grind. I understand grind when it's monetized. It's ugly but it makes sense. When you already paid, it just feels like a cruel and unusual punishment.
  •  As art, No Man's Sky is ultimately inoffensive. It's like an ok looking piece of furniture that doesn't make you feel anything besides perhaps doubt that you really needed it.


Monday, August 15, 2016

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Magna Kiwi v0.3




Pristine Kiwi - A Post-Apocalypse Supersafe Holiday Club

Magna Kiwi

1. Pristine Kiwi is a loose community of professional amateurs who try to make the best of what remains of their shattered lives in once glorious nation state of Chernarus;

2. Membership is currently invite only (please refer to the Membership Appendix for details);

3. There is no strict moral agenda, ie any non-member (hereinafter referred to as a Richard) is a valid target for utlra violence, however:
    a. hate speech (including but not limited to: racism, sexism, nationalism, ableism and ageism), proselytizing, practice of the dark arts, belief in politicians, too much love for sports, unironic attitude towards conspiracy theories, unironic use of hashtags or playing to win constitutes sufficient grounds for excommunication;
    b. use of third party software to gain edge over other players or "hacking" in any other manner or the use of the in-game bugs and exploits to gain the said advantage constitutes sufficient grounds for excommunication;
    c. intentional murder of club members constitutes sufficient grounds for excommunication. Repeated friendly fire incidents will be investigated with the final judgement on the matter residing in the hands of the slain member. All conflicts between the club members that cannot be resolved through verbal means, shall be resolved through a Hollywood style quick-draw gunslinger duels (please refer to the Duel Appendix for details);

4. Every member is entitled to request backup in an event of finding themselves surrounded or outnumbered by hostile Richards or when discovering a hostile Richard in possession of a particularly rare item. When a backup request is issued (please refer to the Backup Request Appendix for details) all available members are obliged to spawn into the server and provide support as needed;

5. If one of the members discovers a pristine kiwi, it must be brought to the member currently serving as the The Mother Of Kiwi. If The Mother Of Kiwi is already in possession of a pristine kiwi, it must be offered to another member as a token of friendship. The recipient shall proceed to consume the pristine kiwi immediately with great appreciation. A pristine kiwi is the most valuable item we can offer each other. Rejecting an offer of pristine kiwi constitutes sufficient grounds for a duel. If the member who discovered a pristine kiwi is found to have consumed it themselves, they will be shot on sight and excommunicated.

6. The Mother Of Kiwi is a temporary and rotating position of great honour. This post is assigned by The Shadow Council Of Kiwi. While serving as the The Mother Of Kiwi, that member will only be referred to as Mother, relinquishing all other in-world or out-world cognomens or appellatives. Mother must always carry a pristine kiwi and protect it with their life. Other members must always protect Mother. If Mother dies next to you while you're still breathing, it is as if you had failed a thousand times. Sacrificing your life for Mother is a great honour. If Mother loses their pristine kiwi through a non-fatal accident, they immediately lose their position and shall never be The Mother Of Kiwi again. One cannot decline when offered the position of The Mother Of Kiwi;

7. We do not speak of The Shadow Council Of Kiwi;

8. In order to distinguish ourselves from the Richards of this world, we shall follow the Pristine Kiwi Dress Code of no military attire. Military attire shall be defined as:
    a. any items of clothing with a camouflage pattern;
    b. any tactical vests;
    c. any ballistic helmets;
    d. any military style boots (combat, jungle, etc.);

9. We aspire to be excellent to each other under all circumstances and at all times;

10. The contents of Manga Kiwi may be changed without any notice by the The Shadow Council Of Kiwi as The Council sees fit;

11. We do not speak of The Shadow Council Of Kiwi.



Membership Appendix 

Membership, as stated above, is currently invite only but as with all great things in life, there are other ways in. If you have seen the archives of the Pristine Kiwi adventures and feel like our ideological Venn diagrams overlap to a considerable degree and that we would enjoy each other's company, we will consider your candidacy. In order to do so, we will need a motivational letter (send one to slowbreakfast[that email sign]gmail[that punctuation mark]com) where you will tell us why you would like to join the Pristine Kiwis and why do you think we should accept you. You can do this in as many words as you like. If you clear this stage, you will reach the second, secret, stage of recruitment and receive further instructions.

Please take into consideration that you must be at least 18 years of age to become a Kiwi. If you do not receive a reply, it's probably because you were rejected for an undisclosed reason. Keep heart. You're more than welcome to re-apply after three months. However, if you receive no reply after the secret stage, your future applications will no longer be considered.

Please also keep in mind that your in-game skill level takes a backseat to your personality. A cool freshpawn bambi has a higher chance of getting through the eye of the needle than a square survivalist with 1000+ hours clocked in.



Duel Appendix 

As the name suggests, a Kiwi duel is strictly an affair between two individuals who have either come to a verbal impasse or would like to kill one another for any other reason, including but not limited to fun. Please keep in mind that the Kiwi duel is the only legitimate circumstance where you can attack a fellow Kiwi. Any other instances will be taken very seriously and are likely to lead to excommunication.

The challenger shall drop a pair of gloves in front of the challenged Kiwi and demand satisfaction. One cannot refuse the challenge to a duel.

The location, determined by the challenger, must be a straight and level segment of a road anywhere in Chernarus. It can be paved or dirt. The time of the day (and if applicable, weather) for the duel will also be determined by the challenger.

The weapons, chosen by the challenged, must be from one of the three options:
1) revolvers (no speed loaders);
2) semi-automatic pistols (no clips, only chambering);
3) any melee weapon.

The weapons must be identical. The duellists will stand from each other no closer than the distance which would render the other less than a 5th of the hight of the screen (when zoomed out). No protective clothing shall be worn during the duel.

At the start of the duel, the weapons of choice shall be holstered and assigned to the quick bar. A designated Kiwi will count down from five and fire a shot. This is when the duellists can draw their weapons and start moving. They can go anywhere they want without leaving the segment of the road and assume any stance. After the initial load has been spent (in case of a firefight) the duellists are free to reload.

The duel is always à l'outrance and deloping is prohibited.

If a duellist leaves the confines of the duel road or breaks the duel rules in any manner, they forfeit the duel and shall submit to the execution by the opponent.

Only one other Kiwi is required to be present at the duel - the one doing the countdown and enforcing the rules. Every other Kiwi at the site will either enjoy the show or provide security. Any physical interference with a duel from third parties is a grave offence and constitutes sufficient grounds for excommunication.

The duellists are free to choose a second. The seconds fulfil only a formal role of taking care of the duellists belongings and providing friendly advice and support. They cannot take the place of the duellist in the fight.

There is no material reward in winning a duel. If the weapons were borrowed, they will be returned to the owners in whatever state they are in. The winner has no claim on the loser's possessions. We are not savages who shed blood for each other's loot. Duels are in place for honour and fun.

With the completion of a duel, the conflict (if there was one) is exhausted.

















Thursday, April 17, 2014

Magna Kiwi v0.1

This is the first draft of the rules and guidelines of Pristine Kiwi.


Pristine Kiwi - A Post-Apocalypse Supersafe Holiday Club

Magna Kiwi

1. Pristine Kiwi is a loose community of professional amateurs who try to make the best of what remains of their shattered lives in once glorious nation state of Chernarus;

2. Membership is currently invite only (please refer to the Membership Appendix for details);

3. There is no strict moral agenda, ie any non-member (Hereinafter referred to as a Richard) is a valid target for utlra violence, however:
    a. hate speech (including but not limited to: racism, sexism, nationalism, ableism and ageism), proselytizing, practice of the dark arts, belief in politicians, too much love for sports, unironic attitude towards conspiracy theories, unironic use of hashtags or playing to win constitutes sufficient grounds for excommunication;
    b. use of third party software to gain edge over other players or "hacking" in any other manner or the use of the in-game bugs and exploits to gain the said advantage constitutes sufficient grounds for excommunication;
    c. intentional murder of club members constitutes sufficient grounds for excommunication. Repeated friendly fire incidents will be investigated with the final judgement on the matter residing in the hands of the slain member. All conflicts between the club members that cannot be resolved through verbal means, shall be resolved through a Hollywood style quick-draw gunslinger duels (please refer to the Duel Appendix for details);

4. Every member is entitled to request backup in an event of finding themselves surrounded or outnumbered by hostile Richards or when discovering a hostile Richard in possession of a particularly rare item. When a backup request is issued (please refer to the Backup Request Appendix for details) all available members are obliged to spawn into the server and provide support as needed;

5. If one of the members discovers a pristine kiwi, it must be brought to the member currently serving as the The Mother Of Kiwi. If The Mother Of Kiwi is already in possession of a pristine kiwi, it must be offered to another member as a token of friendship. The recipient shall proceed to consume the pristine kiwi immediately with great appreciation. A pristine kiwi is the most valuable item we can offer each other. Rejecting an offer of pristine kiwi constitutes sufficient grounds for a duel. If the member who discovered a pristine kiwi is found to have consumed it themselves, they will be shot on sight and excommunicated.

6. The Mother Of Kiwi is a temporary and rotating position of great honour. This post is assigned by The Shadow Council Of Kiwi. While serving as the The Mother Of Kiwi, that member will only be referred to as Mother, relinquishing all other in-world or out-world cognomens or appellatives. Mother must always carry a pristine kiwi and protect it with their life. Other members must always protect Mother. If Mother dies next to you while you're still breathing, it is as if you had failed a thousand times. Sacrificing your life for Mother is a great honour. If Mother loses their pristine kiwi through a non-fatal accident, they immediately lose their position and shall never be The Mother Of Kiwi ever again. One cannot decline when offered the position of The Mother Of Kiwi;

7. We do not speak of The Shadow Council Of Kiwi;

8. In order to distinguish ourselves from the Richards of this world, we shall follow the Pristine Kiwi Dress Code of no military attire. Military attire shall be defined as:
    a. any items of clothing with a camouflage pattern;
    b. any tactical vests;
    c. any ballistic helmets;
    d. any military style boots (combat, jungle, etc.);

9. We aspire to be excellent to each other under all circumstances and at all times;

10. The contents of Manga Kiwi may be changed without any notice by the The Shadow Council Of Kiwi as The Council sees fit;

11. We do not speak of The Shadow Council Of Kiwi.














Monday, November 4, 2013

The Wabi-sabi of Battlefield 4

I was playing BF4 in Conquest Large mode on Golmud Railway when I came across a beautiful emergent scene. I was heading in my buggy from Point Bravo to Point Delta when the smoke left by the recent enemy artillery strike cleared and right there in front of me, in the middle of the narrow pockmarked road, between the rows of war-torn houses stood a lonely white plastic lawn chair. It was exactly the one that comes to your mind when you think of a plastic lawn chair. It stood in the centre of the road as if someone has just been sitting there, observing the destruction around them, calmly, without a hint of haste, perhaps even enjoying the dust and smoke, not judging, only collecting data. They got up and left just before I turned the corner. Maybe their job was done or maybe the chair just stood their by itself having no need in anyone to occupy it, being complete and perfect in itself. And it was beautiful because it was random and it was random because it was beautiful because it was most mundane and most unusual at the same time.

I'm quite sure no one else saw it and and very soon it wouldn't be there any more. But that was ok. Somehow I didn't even feel too bad about probably getting killed by the helicopter looming in the air in front of me. Everything would be ok.

Unfortunately, I wasn't quick enough to either take a screenshot or hit the brakes before I smashed straight into the lonely white plastic lawn chair.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Ken Levine: Maker Of Games, Sayer Of Things

Look, before I say anything else, I want to make it clear that I have enjoyed playing several games that Ken had worked on, System Shock 2 and BioShock being the most prominent examples. Whatever good stuff in those games was Ken's fault - well done! As a gamer, I'm very grateful.

BUT

Here's an excerpt from the interview he gave to Rock Paper Shotgun:

RPS: Just touching on that idea of unreliable narration that Bioshock dwells on – games generally tend to be quite literal, don’t they? I’m trying to find the best way to express this, but I was thinking about how books or movies are so often tricks, or illusions, or sleight of hand, whereas games are so often just what they appear to be. Are you trying to avoid being over-literal in that way? Whether or not you regard the Bioshock games as successful, are they basically exploring the idea of making games a little less as they seem?

I can only boast of a tentative idea of what Jim is asking here - he is probably referring to how most games are literal rather then literary, you get what you see, no hidden meanings, no twists, no turns, no character development beyond levelling up and upgrades. Most games are CODMW2 SP rather then Fallout 2. But my apologies ladies and gentlemen, Imma let Ken here answer the question.

Levine: I have this friend from a D&D group in high school, he’s a writer named Andrew Mayer, and after we had both seen Inception he made a really interesting point about the ending. We were talking about that final scene where the camera cuts off before the spinning top either falls or doesn’t, and that leads the audience to wonder if DiCaprio’s in the real world or not in the real world… And Andrew says to me: “No, he’s in a movie.”

WHOA!

And I...

Hold up Ken. Hold up. Let me catch my breath here. You truthed me so hard, dog, I can't walk straight no more.

And I thought...

Wait up, wait up. Whew. What an emotional roller coaster! 

And I thought tha...

Just one more second. Let me interject here and express my gratitude that you and Andrew have finally solved the age old problem of "where exactly is DiCaprio". I think I speak for every citizen of the world, I speak from the bottom of my heart, my good Sirs, we can never repay you. Never! Please, continue.

And I thought that was really interesting.
















I don’t know if that’s what the authorial intent of that scene was, but it’s interesting to notice that DiCaprio’s character is never either in the real world or in the Inception world, he’s in a movie.

Whoa! Here it is again!

If you step back from it, neither is more or less real than the other. But on an emotional level that’s not true for us, we think that the movie’s real world is more real than the dream world. Some things in fiction are more true to us than other things. In Bioshock Jack’s perception about himself is no more or less real once Andrew Ryan told him the truth about himself, because it’s all a lie. It’s all fiction. Except it’s not.

We just got schooled, son! Literature 101 right there. But wait, there's more. And it gets better.

I love that stuff. I have a bit of the post-modernist bent to me. I grew up loving Tom Stoppard, The Manchurian Candidate, Fight Club, Twelve Monkeys, Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind… you know, stuff like that where the form itself is part of the conversation, where identity is a question, where the form itself is a question. Some people are capable of doing that really elegantly, and I’ve always enjoyed that kind of stuff, because it’s not about twists per se, but about your perception of the experience and what you take from that.

:sigh: See, I think this is what you get when you let your kids study in liberal arts colleges. They will reduce the definition of post-modernism to plot twists. Ken studied drama back in the day and apparently wrote couple of screenplays which leads me to believe that he is either dumbing it down for us, so that we, the subhuman readership of RPS, will maybe understand the basic concept of literature or he actually thinks that he has a "post-modernist bent" that sets him apart from people who don't have that... bent.

I recently started paying more attention to people who are creative leads or design leads in different game developing companies and it sometimes seems like I'm reading interviews with the same guy. He has many incarnations but they all sound alike and say similar things. Above all, all his versions have the same aura, same air of "I am delivering a very interesting and valuable information instead of answering your question." And it's not, the information is not valuable. It's high school level stuff for $100K a year. I felt the same about Harvey Smith, most of whose tweets are about his meals, and I felt the same about Jake Solomon, who seems like a very good-natured guy who loves his family very much. They all seem to be nice, clean-cut, probably hard working, moderately capable managers. I wish game rags would spend more time on crazy/deranged/obsessed lower level designers and writers, people who actually make art assets for their games and don't say things like "I have a bit of the post-modernist bent".

Or maybe it's me and everything is just fine. Oh yeah, Ken, sorry about that, please finish your thought.

That’s why I love my friend’s observation about Inception, because there’s no more validity to one than the other. There is no spoon, right?