Archive for January, 2015

The Weather

The weather in my home country is weird right now. One day it is snowing and is cold like a freezer. The next day it is “warm” outside and all the beautiful snow is turned to “slask” (read slushy (for those of you who might not know what “slask” is)).

Frankly, it is kind of depressing. Since the weathers been so mild (not sure if you say “mild” in english), aka not cold, during the whole winter it has not feelt like we actually had a winter. Its been more of a very prolonged autumn. From which we will go directly to spring. But I want my winter. I want to do wintery stuff, such as: throwing snowballs, building snowmen, be pissed about all the snow, go skiing, look at tiny birds in the snow. But as it is, I cannot do that or at least I cannot plan for it, since the snow might melt whilst I am getting dressed for a day in the snow.

Life is tough sometimes.

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Redshirts must die

Right before christmas I finished the book Redshirts (John Scalzi, 2012). It was a good and lighthearted read. So as the name suggests (at least to those people who have the right cultural heritage (Star Trek)) the book is about “unimportant” and “replacable” people.

When I started my journey into this story I did not know what to expect, Was it going to be an adventure focusing on redshirst as they struggle to remain alive while the “heroes” mess up/saves the day or would it be a comedical tale about some redshirts as they struggled to remain alive whilst their friends died of in brutal and comical ways? But what I got was something a little along these lines but also not. It was a pretty thought provoking tale, about philosphy and second chances. It was not what I had expected or something I would have guessed “in a thousand years”. But I liked it and it was very interesting.

I am sure that people whom are more familiar with Star Trek would appreciat the book even more than I did, since they would understand more of the references. Though I would not say a low knowledge level of the Star Trek universe and series is in anyway a hinderance from enjoying the story, since the “redshirt phenomenom” is something everyone should be familiar with though maybe not in the form of redshirts.

So should you read this book? If you are looking for a easy and quick read, like Star Trek, philosphy and the deconstruction of narrative tropes, than yes you should. Even if you do not fill all of the criterias I listed but only a few I would still say you should read it.

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Another thing about Tannhäuser and MOBAs

Lately I have been playing a lot of Dota 2 and also discussing MOBAs in general. Even though I love Dota 2 with its colorful heroes and fun gameplay I do find it lacking in some aspects. Which I think many MOBAs are lacking in, which is “world building/lore consistency”.

To be honest, I do not think MOBAs need a strong “world”, what they need is characters that are easy to understand and fun to play. But the reason that I have been thinking about this is because I and some friends are intrested in how to present narrative and worlds. Which you can do through the characters. In Dota 2, which is the MOBA I am most familiar with, the world created through the characters lore is nonsensical and a patch work. Almost every hero’s lore is only about themselvs and a completely new place which we have never heard of, which is never mentioned again later. The quality and amount of lore is also very uneven with some being very good and interseting while some is just bad.

So the world is very dodgy and we do not get a sense of what might exist outside of the “arena”. But what they do well is fleshing out the heros personality. Though some of them are very one dimensional, they are still very easy to recognize and most are a little humorous. What is also interesting is how some of the characters have special responses when they face certain heroes or have them as allies. This creates a conection between some characters and hints that there might exist something outside the “arena” it helps with creating a world and also makes the characters more interesting.

In Tannhäuser, which has at least a few similarities with MOBAs, the world building is top notch, in my opinion. So why is it good, well to begin with, we get a sense of what the world is like just be the premise of the game. WW1 never ended, it is still going. Each major faction has turned to alternative sources for power to finaly shift the balance in their favor and win the war. Just by the premise we know that the world is our world, earth. In almost every characters lore you get information about the world, the characters relationship with other characters. We even get information about characters that you cannot play which are only part of the lore. The lore is consistent. Dota 2 have lore that creates relationships, for example Bristelback’s lore, it says he has a beff with the character Tusk. But it has one problem, it does not actually state it is Tusk he has a beef with. And in Tusk’s lore, even though a similiar event is mentioned as the one in Bristelback’s, Tusk’s lore does not mention or even hint about Bristelback. So in theory, their lore could be disconected.

What Tannhäuser also does well is that the characters feel cohesive. The factions in the game differ a bit, but within each faction the characters feel like the steem from the same place, and no faction is so widly different from the other that they feel alien when compared. In Dota 2, though it is some kind of fantasy world, there are characters that feel like oddballs. Venomancer, a man turned into a super poison thingy-majingy from exposur to extremly deadly poison. To me, that sounds like a comic book villain, not something that belongs in a battle between “good” and “evil”. Most characters does not even have a reason to be in the fight, just by reading the lore.

As I said in the beginning. MOBAs do not need lore, world building or fleshed out characters, since MOBAs are not about that. But if it wants to have it, it needs to be built with that in thought from the beginning and be cohesive and consequent.

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2015

It has been quiet on the Heartpillow front…

Christmas has come and gone and so has New years Eve. I just want to say that I have not given up on my blogg nor forgotten about it. I just decided to not work on it during the holidays since I do not have any updateing scheduals or anything like that. I will soon (probably) begin with the posting and continue with the things I have started.

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