Tuesday freebies: the useful stuff and weird crap edition

Before I get started, a self-promotion sidebar:

Last week I launched a new Patreon with the goal of being able to write serial fiction. It’s gone pretty well and is a little under 2/3 of the way toward my initial milestone goal that would let me start working on the project. (I’m not looking for much to get started; my initial milestone is about half of what I’d ever accept for freelance work.)

What is the project? In From the Cold is a novel that I have been planning for the last few months, based on a long-running campaign of Apocalypse World set in the Canadian arctic – albeit with many liberties taken and changes made for the needs of a different format. I have an experienced editor on board to make sure each chapter will be polished, and my goal is to publish chapters approximately once per month.

The Patreon is here, and you can read the first chapter for free here. Any help in sharing or tweeting the link would be greatly appreciated.

And now on to business

Things that suck

Today’s freebie is a a bit of a mixed bag. I have some useful things, and some… well… not so useful things. So let’s start with the useless and go from there.

First! This screenshot got shared on my Google+ and I am resharing it here with permission, simply because this is so stupid I can’t even:

femalebreadtagonist

What the actual fuck. I don’t know if this is a positive reflection on the desire for more female protagonists, an indictment on the overall LACK of female protagonists, or an overall indicator that the human race is just doomed. Of course, the saddest part is that even these stupid pieces of bread are still probably better designed than the vast majority of actually human female not-bread characters out there.

Next, a behavior protip by way of Twitter:

wtf

WHAT THE FUCK, INTERNET.

I never thought I would have to say this, but don’t fucking do this! Don’t do it! It is insanely creepy and makes you a terrible human!

Things that make up for the suck

I generally try to avoid feminist theory here on my blog, preferring to use language that is accessible outside of social-justice circles to the social-justice layperson. However, the idea of intersectionality is something that I try to strive for in my own feminism. So I am delighted to be able to link to this delightful video that uses pizza to explain intersectional feminism. It is both highly informative and very entertaining, so do go take four minutes to watch it.

Game Developers Conference happened recently, and at this year’s GDC there was a talk on how to deal with online harassment that was given by Neha Nair, Elizabeth Sampat, Zoe Quinn, and Donna Prior. There is a great overview of the talk here on Venture Beat, but really I recommend watching the entire talk itself on the GDC Vault. There is a lot of really great information presented by some really smart ladies who, unfortunately, have become experts through hard experience.

Have you been watching PBS Idea Channel on YouTube? No, well here are two videos that you should definitely watch, and then maybe scroll through their (LARGE!) list of videos to see what else jumps out at you.

First, this video uses the Sims to explain gender performance and the gender binary in an informative, really accessible way. It’s definitely the best explanation I’ve seen in quite a while. (Don’t be fooled by the long play time – the last 6 minutes are Q&A about the previous episode.)

You should also watch this video about how to create responsible criticism that honestly, I wish I could shove into the eyeballs of every person who claims that offensive shit is “just satire”. NO IT’S NOT. MINDLESS REPLICATION IS NOT SATIRE. WATCH THIS AND SHUT UP FOREVER.

Thoughts on Dragon Age:Inquisition from someone who probably won’t finish it

So here’s the deal. It pains me to make this admission. I love BioWare games, and I am something of a completionist. I have played some pretty terrible games in the name of completionism. Hell, I played all of Lightning Returns in the name of completionism. However, I’m probably not going to finish playing Dragon Age: Inquisition.

I tried! Believe me, I tried. I tried to the tune of playing 20 hours, then starting over and playing another 15 hours… and I just can’t. Seriously, folks, Dragon Age: Inquisition is the worst PC port of a console game that I have ever played, and I’ve been playing both PC and console games for a long time. The UI is just insanely bad, inventory management is punishing, and combat is about as exciting as waiting in line[1].

So even though I make a point of trying not to write about games until I have completed them (or mostly completed, in the case of Lightning Returns), I’m going to call it and write about my impressions of DA:I.

Spoiler warning, obviously, but only if you think shit no more than 20 hours in even counts.

Stuff that is bullshit

Because I like to end on a positive note, let’s start with stuff that I didn’t like. Which can be mostly summarized as “Vivienne”.

First, while I appreciate that BioWare’s developers were trying to make a character who is beautiful, empowered, and romantically appealing while also being a black woman – they really, really dropped the ball on Vivienne’s character design:

viv

God dammit, BioWare. THIS IS WHY WE CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS. This is literally one of the worst pairs of breasts I have ever seen in video games. Everything has texture in your graphics engine except for the weirdly lustrous plastic of Vivienne’s breasts, which are perfectly spherical and somehow never fall out of that dress, despite that all of the garment tape in the world would not prevent at least some areola peeking out.

Dammit, even Samara had breasts that were less bullshit than Vivienne’s, and that was previously one of the high (low?) bars of awful BioWare boob design.

The thing that sucks most is that Vivienne’s promo art was gloriously free of bullshit boob window:

Vivienne_inquisition_promotional

Why couldn’t we have had that Vivienne? I’ll take a tiny bit of stomach over a boob window big enough to fit a corgi through any day.

So anything positive the BioWare devs might have been trying to do flew right out the damn window, because every time I returned to base to talk to Vivienne, all I could focus on were her bizarrely artificial breasts. Instead of portraying a black woman who is complex and intelligent and attractive, Vivienne winds up as just another objectified black lady. (Literally. Because she is an object. You will never convince me those breasts are real.)

Second, Vivienne also had me throwing major amounts of side-eye at BioWare’s writers.

(It’s important for me sidetrack a moment here to note that I was playing as a Dalish Elf mage. Elf, because why would you play as anything but an elf if “elf” is an option? And mage, since – what with all of the demon-possession shenanigans that go along with magery in the DA setting – mages are automatically the most interesting character type. (Warriors don’t have to worry about accidentally turning into demons whenever they hit people, after all.) With all of the Dragon Age games, the writing is just more interesting if you’re playing a mage, because all of a sudden all sorts of shit gets really personal.

…anyway, back to Vivienne.)

So at the outset of DA:I, the mages – who had previously allowed themselves to be kept in golden cages and basically enslaved – have gotten tired of that shit and have had themselves a nice little rebellion because freedom! Yeah! And then you meet Vivienne, who immediately starts lamenting about how isn’t it a shame that the old system has broken down. You know, that system that incarcerated mages “for the public good” and effectively had no real checks against abuses by those in power who were supposed to look after the well-being of those supposedly “in their care”.

And according to Vivienne, this really is just the worst! Because now those stupid mages are going to run around, letting their magery hang out everywhere, and they’ll go drunk with power and let themselves get possessed by demons so they can go on blood-magic fueled murder rampages. Right? Of course. Because that’s what you do when you don’t have a bunch of murderous, mage-hating fuckheads in full-plate hanging over your every goddamn move. Way to go, you stupid freedom-wanting mages! There go our property values.

…yeah. Holy internalized oppression, Batman. That is some Bill Cosby-level respectability politics.

Naturally, as a mage myself, I tried to challenge her on the… uh… problematic implications of her view that the Circle needed to be reformed and all those pesky mages locked down right away. At which point Vivienne started accusing me of being “just as bad” because everyone knows that the Dalish are child-murderers!

Which. What? No. Just. No. Please, Vivienne. Just go die in a fire, or something. Okay? Okay. Great. (Also, BioWare character designers? Go to your room and don’t come out until you’ve thought about what you’ve done.)

Stuff that I hated but wasn’t bullshit

There was another character that I also hated, but it felt a bit unfair to lump him in with Vivienne because I kind of felt like I was supposed to hate him: Solas.

solas

In addition to looking like a constipated egg with pointy ears, Solas had the most terminal case of mansplaining I have ever encountered in a BioWare game. (And let me tell you, there have been some serious contenders over the years! Like Anders “let me mansplain your magic to you, Merill” in Dragon Age 2, or The Illusive Man and his serious love of “deeply” cynical Ayn Randian monologues in Mass Effect 2 and 3.)

First, let’s talk about how the way to win Solas’ approval is to listen to him talk about his magical research, which is about as exciting as watching paint peel. I went into my first playthrough thinking I would romance him, despite the whole constipated egg thing, because we were both outcasts! And elves! And mages! We had so much in common! Except it’s hard to have a relationship with someone whose idea of romance is “listen to me talk about how amazing I am, and then maybe you can tell me that I am amazing if you want”.

The straw that broke the camel’s back was when he started trashing the Dalish as know-nothing posers. And when I broke in with, “uh, standing right here. Still Dalish”, he doubled down by elfsplaining my own fictional culture to me. At which point I said, “fuck you, I’m going to go romance Cullen, the relentlessly hetero Teutonic guy, because literally anyone would be better than you”, and restarted my game since I’d already passed on my chance earlier.

And yet, even after all that, I still feel that Solas is a feather in the cap of the BioWare writers, because I just couldn’t shake the feeling that he was wearing an invisible fedora whenever he opened his mouth. I’m sure when I’m not playing that he tries to talk to Vivienne about ethics in magery.

Stuff that I loved!

Dorian

Let’s start with Dorian, who is fucking amazing. Can we just take a moment to appreciate how amazing he is?

dorian

Oh, Dorian. I hate mustaches, but I could never bring myself to hate you. I mean, look at you pulling it off with that mustache and fabulous hair and the inexplicably-one-sleeved robe you’re rocking there, you glorious zero-fucks-giving bastard.

I would have romanced Dorian in a heartbeat if he weren’t completely and irrevocably gay. Which, you know what? Cool. Because that whole “I’m gay, except for you because you don’t count because we’re soouuullllmates” trope that you see in a lot of games and other media always struck me as kind of creepy anyway.

Even better? If you don’t try to romance Dorian or Iron Bull (who is also a romance option for female protagonists), the two of them actually hook up partway through the story! And I’m actually sad that I didn’t get that far, because dammit that is just awesome.

Krem

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Krem, who is second-in-command of the Chargers – Iron Bull’s mercenary company – and also trans.

tumblr_nf3jz7Rsb81sip22jo1_1280

Krem met up with Iron Bull pre-transition when Iron Bull saved his life, and it’s never treated as a big deal. And later in the game (alas, again I did not get that far), Krem tells the story of his transition, and it’s allowed to just be a thing that happens. In other words, Krem is just a normal (for Dragon Age values of normal) mercenary who happens to be trans, and is out and accepted. And it’s kind of horrible to realize this, but I think this might be the first time I’ve ever encountered an out trans normal-ass character in a video game – so good on BioWare for thinking to make a character like Krem.

My oooonly quibble is that he is voiced by Jennifer Hale – a cis woman. And yes, I do appreciate just how amazing Jennifer Hale is. (FemShep 5evvvvaaaaaa!) However, there’s a lot of amazing talent out there and it would have been nice to see such an important trans role go to someone who is actually trans. Jennifer Hale being who she is, she totally killed it! It just feels like a missed opportunity.

Cassandra

Cassandra is interesting, because she was part of the story framing device in Dragon Age 2, but actually returns for Dragon Age: Inquisition as a playable character.

Cassandralarge

I didn’t expect to like her as much as I did! She’s rigidly inflexible and a total hardass – which combined with the whole “religious zealot” angle made me think I was going to wind up totally hating her. But she also gives the fewest fucks of anyone in the party, except perhaps Dorian[3]. And even better, she makes no apologies for being completely and totally awesome.

Since I was playing a female character, Cassandra wasn’t a romance option – although I flirted with her anyway – mostly because flirting with Cassandra consisted of telling her “you know you’re amazing, right?” and her getting annoyed and asserting that it was all just her job or that someone had to do it or somesuch.

I also greatly appreciated that Cassandra is not conventionally attractive. She’s scarred, and dirty, and her jawline is decidedly masculine. And yet, if she had been a romance option, I would consoled myself about my inability to romance Dorian by romancing her instead. And given that Cassandra is both a party member and a member of the ruling council of the Inquisition, she’s definitely written as one of the strongest romance contenders – which is pretty cool.

Last: CANONICAL MISANDRY

The last thing I loved about Dragon Age: Inquisition isn’t so much a character as a writing/design decision by the BioWare team.

At the beginning of the game when the Inquisition is formed, a ruling committee is formed consisting of the protagonist, Cassandra, Leliana, Kirkwall’s former Templar Knight-Commander Cullen, and a new diplomat character – Josephine. Which means if you’re playing a female protagonist, your ruling committee looks a little something like this:

maxresdefault (1)

SWEET SWEET MISANDRY.

Best of all, Cullen doesn’t crack any jokes about the level of estrogen, or about periods, or about that time of the month. He just accepts that the best people to fill these jobs happen to be women and moves on with his life. Ruling council of mostly women? Whatevs. That’s just how it is.

And predictably, some dudes think this is just the worst thing ever, which makes me love it even more. My Male Tears mug was starting to get a little empty.

[1] To be fair, that’s a sport here. Canadians call it “queuing”, but I haven’t assimilated enough to find it amusing yet[2].

[2] It’s been nearly 9 years since I moved to Canada and I’m still not tired of expat jokes.

[3] And now I want someone to draw fanart of Cassandra and Dorian arguing about who has the fewest fucks

[Self-promotion sidebar] New project launching on Patreon!

Hello, folks! I have a post that I’m currently working on finishing up – it’ll be up either today or tomorrow. But in the mean time, I’m going to take the time to pimp a new project that I desperately, desperately want to be a thing. (But don’t worry! Go Make Me a Sandwich isn’t going anywhere!)

Here’s how I described it on Google+:

Mostly what I write these days are roleplaying games and blog posts, but my first love was and always will be writing fiction. I desperately miss writing fiction, and would like to get back into it! So today I’m launching a new Patreon with the goal of making that happen. The goal of this project is to write a novel that will be published in a serial fiction format, one chapter at a time. I’m hoping that I can attract enough support to make this a financially viable prospect.

In From the Cold is a novel that I have been planning for the last few months, based on a long-running campaign of Apocalypse World set in the Canadian arctic – albeit with many liberties taken and changes made for the needs of a different format. I have an experienced editor on board to make sure each chapter will be polished, and my goal is to publish chapters approximately once per month.

Yes, this is technically fanfic. But given genre fiction’s long and storied history of glorified TRPG fanfic, I don’t particularly think that’s a bad thing. So if you love post-apocalypses and genre fiction and would love to read about grey morality in the post-apocalypse with a big old helping of gender queerness? Then I think I’ve got you covered.

I’m not looking for much to get started; my initial milestone is about half of what I’d ever accept for freelance work. But really I’m just looking to get the ball rolling here, and hopefully with your help I can make this a thing!

The first chapter is up for free here, and the Patreon itself is here.

Now on YouTube: Lady Event Organizer Roundtable

I’ve never been a fan of status games, but my least favorite is this: there’s this thing that happens in the tabletop world where designers occupy the top of the status pyramid and are considered to be solitary geniuses who pull games fully formed from their brain meats.

This is deeply problematic, because it erases the contributions of women in many ways. Game design is not a solitary pursuit, you cannot make a good game without the input of other smart, insightful people – and I know a lot of women who rock at giving playtest feedback that helps to solve design problems for games still in playtesting! It also sucks because there is an ongoing impulse by certain high-status members of the community to gatekeep what “counts” as “a game”, and coincidentally a lot of the work done by women somehow manages to consistently get disqualified in these “conversations”.

But mostly it sucks because it plays into gendered narratives surrounding what is important to our hobby and what is trivial. Game design is seen as a male activity and is thus valued more highly than stereotypically “female” activities – even when those activities improve the hobby as a whole!

It’s something I’ve written about before in my post about a Twitter-flap over women in non-design roles in D&D:

…there are an awful lot of women out there in non-design roles doing work that is vital to the community. Convention organizing! Event organizing! Community building! All of these are vital! Gaming is a hobby that requires community, and that requires a space and a time to happen. Without the women doing this work, our hobby wouldn’t be what it is.

And it’s something that I’ve been wanting to write about for a while. Event organizing is vital because event organizers are literally creating the spaces where gamers can meet new people and interact with new ideas – which is what is needed to keep our hobby innovative and vibrant. So I’ve been wanting to talk about the work they do and maybe counter some of that for quite a while now. Because the gendered narratives surrounding whose work is valued in our community suck!

The problem that kept me from doing so is that I’m most decidedly Not An Event Organizer. I do pretty okay at keeping myself organized and on task, but event organizing is not (nor is it likely to ever be) one of my skillsets. So I decided that I would recruit some of the awesome women that I know who do event organizing to have a roundtable to highlight their experiences and why what they do is important. (Spoiler alert: it went super well!)

The hangout

Normally this is the sort of thing that one might publicize beforehand, but honestly this was agonizing for me to put together as I was dealing with all of the imposter syndrome. Which is why I put this together, made it happen, and decided to publicize after. Thankfully, all I had to do was let the awesome ladies I assembled talk and say really smart things. It went really well, even if I did say “awesome” too much.

Of course, the process of putting this together made me really appreciate just how much work event organizers do and how invisible that work usually is. This is something that I started trying to put together in January and only just managed now, and I can tell you that even for something this simple there were a fair number of things that I overlooked. (Thankfully everyone was super gracious about it.)

The team that I assembled to help me talk about this ended up being:

(You can also find Krista White and Strix on Twitter.)

Many thanks to the ladies who made this possible. Given how well this went, I might consider doing this in the future if I find myself wanting to spotlight a topic that I don’t have a lot of personal expertise in!

My script for the next big AAA blockbuster

12action_reacher

The sun shining weakly through dirty mini-blinds wakes you. You grunt stoically and get out of bed, not paying attention to the stunningly gorgeous blonde sleeping next to you. She meant nothing. She could only ever mean nothing because you are hollow and empty inside.

You shuffle into the bathroom and lean on the sink, moodily looking into the mirror. Your grizzled reflection stares back at you, the image of a man who has seen too much and done terrible things. Handsome, generically white features and a square jaw twist into a scowl as you look at yourself. It is the beginning of a new day, and you are alone – except for that gorgeous blonde, who doesn’t count because she is not your wife, who is dead.

The gorgeous blonde sits up when you return and she is naked because that is how people have sex when they are heterosexual, manly men, and you definitely had sex last night because you are so very manly.

“Last night was great,” she purrs. “But I never did get your name.”

“That doesn’t matter.” You scowl. “None of it matters now.”

She sighs and motions for you to come back to bed, but you turn away and scowl. “The sex that we had last night was great, but it mean nothing because I am hollow and empty inside. No one can ever replace my wife, who is dead.”

The gorgeous blonde frowned. “I thought you said she was kidnapped and you were going to rescue her.”

“Yeah. That. Whatever.” You stare broodily into the middle distance for several minutes until she gets up to take a shower. No one understands you.

Guns. You have guns but you need more. You scowl as you think about how much you need guns. You always need more guns.

“I need more guns,” you growl to that annoying person who insists on tagging along with you, whom you definitely are not emotionally attached to because your wife is dead.

“More guns? You already have ten guns. How are you going to carry that many guns?”

He doesn’t understand. They never understand. Your life is void of meaning or joy and you just want to shoot things. “I have to avenge my wife, who is dead. They killed her in front of me and now my life is void of meaning and joy because she is dead.”

That annoying person rolls his eyes. “She’s probably not even dead, she’s just been kidnapped.” He adds something else, a pithy comment to lighten the mood but you don’t hear it because you are too busy thinking about guns.

“JUST GET ME MORE GUNS OR I’LL FUCKING KILL YOU,” you snarl, cursing because you are gritty and edgy and definitely not for kids. “I’ll kill you because I’ll do whatever it takes. I don’t care if it makes me a monster because morality is for people with wives, which I don’t have because she was killed.”

“You mean kidnapped.”

“Whatever. I’ve moved past that now.” You have too many people to shoot to worry about the small stuff now. “Just get me more guns.”

At last you’ve made it to where your enemy is making his last stand. It’s been a long road full of violence and death, and your hands are covered in blood but none of that matters.

You storm in, guns blazing, murdering everything that moves. One of the guards throws down his gun and holds up his hands, sobbing as he begs you to just let him live. You shoot him in the face and move on. He feels nothing now that he is dead, just like you. Your wife is dead.

You lose track of the number of people you kill before you finally make it to the room where your enemy is. There is a woman behind him who is tied to a chair, but you don’t pay any attention to her because she is not important. You have to avenge your wife, who is dead.

“I am here to get revenge for my wife,” you grunt. “Who is dead.”

“I’m not dead,” the woman in the corner says. “I’m right here.”

You grit your teeth, too focused on your enemy to listen to some woman. “She was the best thing that ever happened to me. I didn’t deserve her because she was a shining being too good for this sinful world, and I will make you pay for killing her.”

“I’m quite alive, actually.”

Your enemy smirks. “Don’t you realize? This was all just a test. A test which you passed with flying colors.”

You scowl, mostly because that’s the only facial expression you’re capable of anymore.

“Yes, that’s right. I created you in a lab to be the perfect soldier. And now that you’ve come back to me, we will–”

“Shut up,” you say as you shoot him in the face. He falls over, gurgling, and dies. After everything that has happened, your enemy is gone and your journey is over, but you feel nothing. You haven’t felt anything since your wife died.

“Aren’t you going to untie me?” the woman in the chair asks.

You think about your lost wife and wish she could be here to share this moment with you. You almost shed a tear, but you clench your fists and think about punching kittens until the feeling passes, except that you don’t have those anymore now that your wife is dead.

“Nathan? Are you even listening?”

“That person doesn’t exist anymore,” you rasp. “He is dead, like my wife.”

“Except I’m not dead.”

You look sternly into the middle distance. She doesn’t understand. No one can ever understand. “Allison,” you whisper as you turn to leave.

“Hey! Hey! Untie me already!”

There is blood on your hands that can never be removed, and you are alone. So, so alone. “I will never forget you,” you promise as you walk back down the hallway toward the stairs that will take you to the surface.

“Nathan? Nathan!”

-fin-

Wednesday Freebie: the “shit I said somewhere else” edition

Hey, folks. I’ve got a bunch of irons in the fire right now and it hasn’t left a lot bandwidth for blog stuff in the last week. But I do have some super amazingly awesome stuff coming up that I cannot wait to be able to talk about! And I will totally blog about it when it happens!

In the mean time, however, I’ll just drop in and share some stuff that I’ve said elsewhere. I do promise that I will do my best to get something substantial up by the end of the week, so thanks for your patience.

PSA Time: Calling women scary is not a compliment

[I’m quoting myself from Twitter here]

I am tired of being called scary because I express opinions unequivocally and am capable of advocating for myself. I have had people legit try to gaslight me into thinking I am a toxic ragemonster because I don’t apologize for having opinions. (Which is hilarious, because if anything in meatspace I am pathologically avoidant to the point of self-harm.)

So the jokey “remind me not to make you mad” stuff? I hate it. HATE. IT. Because it makes it HARDER for me to speak out, not easier. Every time I advocate for myself, I have to make it funny or self-deprecating, because I don’t want to tip over to being scary. It’s exhausting.

Mostly it comes from dudes who are well-intentioned and think they’re being complimentary. But they need to be aware that abusers do this too. So tl;dr – unless a woman is, like, threatening you with a knife just don’t call her scary, even if you think it’s a compliment. Just don’t.

Games I don’t want to write so shut up brain I mean it

Talking about baking patriarchy explicitly into a game gave me an idea to turn that on its head by doing the following:

Set the game in an explicitly matriarchal society. The game takes the form of a US Senate hearing on reproductive freedom for men. The Senators are all female, or all female and one man who has made the devil’s bargain and explicitly sides with matriarchy.

The men have to argue for their right to bodily autonomy, and all the while the female Senators are doing things like (wo)mansplaining, interrupting, and derailing. Particularly, they should be sure to tell the men not to get angry whenever they show hints of emotion, because we all know how testosterone prevents men from thinking rationally, etc etc.

I don’t want to write this game, but my brain keeps ambushing me. Stupid brain.

Thursday Freebies

Well, folks. There have been a lot of interesting things happening on my internet, so I thought I’d take a moment to share them with you all.

Things related to #GamerGate or similar douchebaggery

This piece by Mattie Brice about feeling like a sacrifice made in the name of diversity is heartbreaking and important and you need to go read it.

Remember that #GamerGate-funded anti-Anita Sarkeesian documentary that was funding through Patreon? Well it turns out that it’s imploding over a feud between the two creators, and it. Is. Glorious. (Sing it with me! SCHHHAAAAAADENFREEEUUDE!!)

Over on Twitter, the ever-flawless Chris Chinn talked about the psychology behind derailing bullshit like “if you don’t take the time to educate me, how will I learn” and why people who use that logic are abusers, plain and simple. Check out this wonderful storify of it, it’s amazing.

Things that are awesome and worthy of praise

This looks like a really interesting game – a puzzler that is a critical examination of the surveillance state? Too bad it looks like it’s only for iOs.

Okay, this is about comics, not games. But this short comic by Ronald Wimberly is the best explanation of colorism I’ve seen for those not familiar with the term – and is super interesting to boot!

This applies to game-writing too.

So does this.

I almost never promote KickStarters here (mostly because it’s impossible for me to promote everything that I think needs promoting), but Julie Dillon is one of my favorite sci-fi/fantasy artists of all time; her work is amazingly diverse and inclusive in addition to being fucking gorgeous. So considering that I spend so much time talking about what awful game art looks like – THIS is what I mean when I talk about what game arout COULD be. This is her second KickStarter, and she’s already well past her initial funding goal, but there are some nifty rewards so it’s worth checking out if you’re hunting for some more art in your life.

Lastly: because it’s worth repeating

Over on Google+, a friend kindly gave me the opportunity to pontificate about the proper use of semicolons (she did ask). Then I thought I would share my answer more widely, because I do love the semicolon. Consider this a PSA:

Semicolons are for joining two complete sentences that are related. If separated, each sentence COULD stand on its own if it had to. But the semicolon is to designate a clear connection.

Frex:

Alice carefully removed the rest of the monitors and unhooked herself from the machine. It was a clumsy operation; her hands shook, and the pods had not been designed for self-removal.

The semi-colon acknowledges that “it was a clumsy operation” and “her hands … self-removal” are complete thoughts that are still dependent on one another. Plus, a period between sentences two and three would make this section feel clunky.

That’s a pretty simplistic explanation, but if you’re interested in more I’d recommend tracking down a copy of Eats Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss; it’s an amazingly accessible book on the use of punctuation that also manages to be entertaining and a quick read.

(See what I did there?)

Now go forth and sin against the semicolon no more!

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