shadesofmauve: (Default)
I'm really enjoying my new pathfinder character. The last two characters I've played have been either bookish-introvert-quiet, or sullen-distrustful-quiet; Viva the gnome sorceress is outgoing and ridiculously cheerful, and it's much, much easier for me to play. On Friday afternoon I found myself thinking "Oooh, in two hours I get to be someone who's ridiculously happy!"

Having an incredibly friendly character around is particularly useful when the party members include a (fantasy Japanese) character and an oni tiefling. And a paladin. Though our gamers are too damn nice, and our paladin player is new, so people haven't actually been as distrustful of the 350-pound half-devil who bathes in blood as they really should be.

I've been modifying a miniature to better portray Viva, particularly her crazy hair:





I'm quite proud of myself for managing to sculpt a tiny little ear.

I didn't have much back-story for her going in -- it's coming out in bits and pieces as I write her letters home. Her grandfather is suffering senile magical dementia and occasionally turns himself into things. Once he was a paisley ottoman for over a week. The family put their feet up on him while they researched how to change him back. Can't let a good ottoman go to waste.
shadesofmauve: (Lert)
Chicken festival and game nights.

Skeeetches. )
shadesofmauve: (Joker side-eyes)

I've only watched (not played) the synthesis and control endings, because I won't consider playing synthesis and my possible-control Shepard is still stuck in ME1. That said, I have yet more thoughts on Why Synthesis Is Problimatic behind the cut.

Beware spoilers, all ye who enter here! )
TL;DR: Here's the new synthesis, same problems as the old synthesis. But at least the Normandy isn't stuck, yay!
shadesofmauve: (gaming)
The things I shouted either at the screen, my housemate [livejournal.com profile] madalchemist, or twitter while playing ME3 (only up to the first tour round the Normandy, so not far).

Spoilers for tiny stuff; nothing major )

Okay, off to work on star edits so I can play again.
shadesofmauve: (Default)
This is reposted from my tumblr. I meant to edit it to something slightly shorter and more readable, but seeing as I haven't had time, here's the whole damn thing.

This issue has come up again because of the impending release of Mass Effect 3. It brings up some interesting questions, many of which hit people very close to home and are emotional fuses. With that in mind, I’d like to explain (clearly and civilly!) why I think all RPG love interests should be available to any gender of protagonist.

Beware, ye who enter here, for it is longer than the normal internet attention span allows for )
shadesofmauve: (gaming)
So ME3 fandom is basically like this:

Glass Case

...and the game isn't out yet.

I already knew I'd be dissappointed in one respect, and now I'm a bit concerned about others, as well. Luckily the game play is going to be awesome, regardless of all else, and I'm sure there'll be wonderful banter and great writing along the way, regardless of whether I like where it actually goes.

Ready for the damn thing to drop, though, so the speculation can end.
shadesofmauve: (gaming)
I mentioned to E last night that I hadn't actually played the demo yet, and he suggested I get on that and he'd be happy to watch. So I played the demo while giving full commentary, and he went to sleep rested his eyes, occasionally sitting up to say things like "I thought kids couldn't die in video games?"* and "Nice one," and, in a very, very small voice, "oh."

(That last was when I said "Huh, let's try this!" and charged the Atlas.)

Here there be spoilers. Yarr. )

Non-spoilery reactions:

1.
When the Normandy swooped down:
E: "Is that your ship?"
S: "Yes! That's my beautiful ship! AND MY PILOT."
E: "I know. I only asked so you could say that and be all proud."

2.
Just as I was thinking "Did Shep's butt get bigger?" Erik said "HEY! She has your ass!"

I'll see what I can do about screenshots this evening or tomorrow.

*Nope. Players can't kill kids! Only devs can kill kids!
shadesofmauve: (Default)
Oddly enough, as an artist and musician, the two things that usually won't turn me off a game are... art. And music.

Well, that's not quite true: Artistic choices can turn me off in a heartbeat. There are games I won't play because I find the way they've chosen to portray their characters obnoxious. But rendering quality -- which is technology dependent and is a HUGE part of the frequent "OOoooh, it's pretty!" geek reaction -- is not important to me. Choices, rather quality, are what bugs me. I don't mind if the reflection's off on the sword, but I'm getting really sick of the sword being six feet long and 4 inches thick (not broad) at the hilt*.

Put it in perspective: I frequently play nethack. The only online multiplayer games I ever got into were telnet MUDs.

I think it's an interesting thing to point out only because a huge amount of time and money is spent making bigger'n'better game engines. Working with a new engine means everything else takes longer, of course, since it's brand new and the designers have to figure it out. It also makes it pretty obvious that a game was released in 2005 instead of 2010, f'r instance. But, for my money, I'd just as soon see that 2005 engine game with an engine's worth of writing put into it. Obviously I like the added pretty -- yay the water moves! And the shadows! -- but it's not the core experience for me. That may make me a very odd gamer.

It's something I've been thinking about a lot recently because I've been thinking about indie vs. industry games. With the hollywood-ification (or is it -ization? Is there an agreed upon nouned verb of Hollywood?) the difference between indie and industry has grown and looks set to keep growing, which is always a little concerning for those who like to see innovation and variety. (You all know how industry media works: a lot of people's jobs are on the line and the budgets are huge, so no one likes to take risks). From an indie standpoint, you've got the problem that making a sizeable game is a HUGE endeavor.

Oh, right, music: When the music is good, when it really adds to the experience, I'm ashamed to admit I don't consciously notice it much. When background music is irritating, I turn it off.

If I hadn't gone to rehearsal in the middle of writing and forgotten my point, this might have looked a little better organized. Ah well.
shadesofmauve: (gaming)
part 1 | part 2

when last we heard of Maeve, she'd been sent to the temple of Erathis, goddes of law and civilization... and rules. So many rules.

Item 6

Sister Heronsgate,

The novice sent to us by our friends of Tyr has proven, if anything, overzealous in her attention to her duties. In your wisdom you assigned her to work with the village youth upon hearing of her soft heart; truly a perspicacious decision, as she has taken to this task with a right good will.

However, there have been certain incidents which none of our order could have anticipated. Novice MacTuirean has remarked on the difficulty we face in encouraging the energetic and often wild youth to focus on the order and calm of our lady Erathis. In this matter she has taken... initiative.

In the past fortnight I have confiscated no less than six different tracts from our students, each detailing, in the most lurid and sensational of terms, the exploits of our lady Erathis. Not only are they creatively dramatized, at least one was, dare I say, wanton. Brother Gerstauer had to be sent to lie down after he saw it.

Did I mention that these blasphemies are, in many cases, illustrated?

Taking into account prior transgressions against sections 10, 16, 43, and 47aI (subsection 6: mandatory clothing requirements), I recommend finding another placement for Novice MacTuirean.

If the arguments presented herein are not convincing enough, may I remind you that the the incident of undress occurred in the presence of Brother Gerstrauer?

In the main sanctuary?

To all things their purpose and their place,

Sister Meritrude
Director of Religious Instruction

Item 6

Songmaster Varsephelon,
Temple of Corellon

Thank you for joining us for tea this past seven day; I pray you found the repast and company as enjoyable as we did.

At the time, you mentioned having seen certain works of – I shall be gracious and say 'art' and 'literature.' I believe you mentioned that though rough, they showed promise. At the time I fear I did not pay full attention to the matter; I had not realized you were speaking of the work of one of our own novices. Now that I have given the matter thought, I cannot help but wonder if Novice MacTuirean would not be better suited to a vocation which allowed her to further explore her 'creative side' in the service of the gods.

The novice is diligent in her duties, as you will have surely noted by the promptness with which she bore you this missive. Should Corellon accept her, please send a note back.

Serena Heronsgate
Sister of Order,
Temple of Erathis
shadesofmauve: (Default)
item 4

High Justice,

I have recently witnessed behavior which makes me question that the Temple of Tyr is the correct place for our newest novice-recruit. While her behavior in the practice yard has been exemplary, and she shows every indication of being a firm dedicate of Good, those who follow Tyr must have steel in their hearts. Novice-recruit MacTuirean appears to have some difficulty maintaining the necessary strength of will when faced with the convicts rightfully detained in Tyr's dungeons.

She has been bringing them cookies.

Yours in Justice,
Bailiff Cardon


item 5

Serena Heronsgate
Sister of Order,
Temple of Erathis

As sometimes sadly occurs, we have discovered that one of our novice-recruits is not suited to the harsh realities of the service of Tyr. It is not just to require service of an individual which they are not suited to perform; it is with this in mind that I send this novice-recruit to your honored hall. She will perhaps be better suited to one of the many constructive endeavors sacred to Erathis.

If this request gives you pause, please recall the incident of the fifth day of autumn, in this last year of the burgeoning cup. I trust you will take my meaning, and this will be an end of the matter between us.

Torin Foebane
Honorable High Justice
Temple of Tyr

And now I must must must sit down and do actual writings. I'm only, oh, eight pages or so behind where I wanted to be yesterday.
shadesofmauve: (Lert)
Not that y'all need more of my silly scribblings, but I promised [livejournal.com profile] westrider that I'd share this yonks ago.

We have a household D&D campaign, run by my tenant renter serf friend [livejournal.com profile] madalchemist, and at one point he asked us for character backgrounds/histories. I wanted a change of pace, so I decided to write mine entirely as correspondence, none of which is to or from the character herself.

This is the second character concept I had, because he nixxed my first without even giving it a chance. Which is ridiculous, because a spirit shaman who's spirit is an orca named 'Shamu' would have been awesome.


Anyway. How a dwarf ends up a cleric of the elven goddess of love and beauty: )

It's hard to figure out where to break these up for best comedic effect. These are only the first three letters...
shadesofmauve: (Joker side-eyes)
Time to say a few things as clearly and publicly as possible.

I'm emotionally invested in the Mass Effect video games, almost entirely for one reason: the is the first time I've seen a strong, engaging character with a physical disability in this media.

Joker is a character that I can really relate to. I will never be a kick-ass space marine (and I'm absolutely fine with that. Sounds dangerous) but the person with the intense medical history making snarky comments from the sidelines? Is who I already am.

I was born with a limb length discrepency, a malformed foot and ankle, and no ACL. I had five major orthopedic surgeries in my teens, including distraction orthogenesis using the ilizarov aparatus*. All told, I've spent roughly two years of my life on crutches.

This is not some bizarre call for pity. I'm fine. But I'm also a gamer with birth defects. I am part of the market, and I want to be entertained, too -- not made the brunt of a cheap gag.

I was happily ignorant of how much ignorance and casual cruelty was still the norm regarding physical** disabilities until I saw the discussions surrounding this character. Over and over and over again, people have said he can't have a 'real' (read 'sexual') relationship, that he'd be crushed, that anyone who suggested such a thing was an out-of-touch moron... even though some, perhaps many, of us suggesting it have far more experience with physical disabilities. Bear in mind that his condition, OI, is a real disease, not something made up for the game world.

I've written about this before, but it's become more urgent.

For those not aware, a huge amount of script info for the upcoming Mass Effect 3 was leaked last week. I've been assidulously avoiding it -- I have no desire to first experience a tragic or epic moment in a story I'm invested in through a jumbled, non-finalized script.

However, I do know what was in the leak regarding Joker. (Spoilers behind cut). )

As long as I'm being upfront, may as well add that the fanfic project I've alluded to is A Star to Steer Her By,** and I started writing and posting it because A) I was so damn in love with the fact that there was a strong disabled character at all, and B) I saw so much entirely unrealistic and callous dismissal of his potential as a romance option. Yes, I've just outed myself as a game-fic-writing uber-geek. So fucking there.

To see other people saying all this better than I, read Why Joker shouldn't be USB compatible and VirusQ's recent post.

*The wikipedia pictures are not particularly gory, if you're worried about it. Most of them are directly post surgical insertion, which means the pin-site pads/bandages are still on. Incidentally, the same fixation/rodding techniques used for limb-lengthening are also used in treating Osteogenesis Imperfecta.

**Titles are hard.
shadesofmauve: (gaming)
I know Skyrim must be out, because [livejournal.com profile] madalchemist wandered blearily out of his room ten minutes ago looking like death warmed over, said "I'm an amphibilizard too!", and stumbled into the shower.

So at least my gamer housemates haven't neglected cleanliness. :P
shadesofmauve: (gaming)
I've been playing Oblivion, and this is what goes on in my head as I run my sex-changin' albino amphibi-lizard, Zkalune, around the countryside (No knowledge of the Elder Scrolls needed.).

Travelogue! )
shadesofmauve: (gaming)
There's a post in [livejournal.com profile] masseffect about Bethesda versus Bioware. There are some interesting things to discuss there, even if it's silly on its face. I dislike choosing a favorite one of anything, on the principle that variety is the spice of life and sometimes one is just Not In That Mood. The two game companies do different things well, and that's great. They cater to different moods.

For those who don't spend hours on video games, the differences can be summarized thusly: Bioware tells stories in which the player controls the main member of an ensemble cast. The stories have a beginning, middle, and end, and while there are slightly different ways to reach The Final Epic Conclusion, and several ways the Epic Conclusion can go down, It Will Happen. Bethesda creates a giant, and I mean giant, world, in which there happens to be a Main Quest which people almost always ignore. Everything is open-ended -- no begginning/middle/end here. There are many more people in their world, but they're not as fleshed out, and any personality in the player-character must be provided in the head of the player.

I explained it over there by saying that Bioware's games make want to write character-driven fiction*. Bethesda's make me think of writing a travelogue.

Incidentally, I finally realized why all the characters I make in bethesda games are feckless. Running off to explore the giant world is most of the fun; usually this results in ignoring the main quest. Which means, basically, that right at the beginning of the game my PC heard the Dying Emporer Himself say "Find my heir immediately, our world depends on it!" and she went "Yeah, sure, whatever old dude, Imma go in the opposite direction. Hey! I found a horse!"

It's like my sidequest icon only ever-so-much-more-so.

PS: At least one commenter suggested that those who find Bethesda's games insufficiently immersive are lacking in creativity. I scoff at this. The voices in my head are present even when I'm playing civilization, as I imagine just exactly what kind of hell I, the Mighty God-Emperor, am giving those annoying advisors. I occasionally ascribe human motivations to the blocks in tetris. Creating characters is not a problem for me.**


*Which happens to be my preference when reading, which explains why I have a slight preference for their stuff.

**Er, I suppose someone would call that a problem, actually...
shadesofmauve: (Default)
Okay! After having a wide-variety of things pointed out to me, and spending an hour last night with my tired-but-mostly-biddable sweetheart, I've some different options for how to have the guy sit.

Investigate, vote, critique, shake head in pity )

Working this out with Erik last night was a wonderfull lesson in how Different Bodies are Different.

I know, I know, you'd think I'd have figured that out already -- after all, it didn't take me that long to figure out that most people have legs of roughly the same length and ten toes -- but it's worth a reminder, especially when it comes to odd things we don't normally notice, like hip rotation. If E sits with his legs out in front of him, his toes want to turn out. Mine are happy pointing up (I tried to ask about this with regard to knees, but he was exhausted and not really understanding and started to seriously over-splain something about guys and scrotal pressure, which was, er, not what I was asking about at all).
shadesofmauve: (Default)
I'm close to done with the sketch I've posted process pictures of, and I want to be damn sure of the anatomy before I start playing with digital coloring/shading processes*. Any and all feedback is welcome!

Even something as vague as "something bothers me about the left arm" can be really helpful, so don't be shy just because you're not an art/drawing person.

critique, please! )
shadesofmauve: (Lert)
My sleep schedule is totally and completely borked. On saturday I slept for over ten hours and still had big coon circles under my eyes, then I spent all day doing active work in the yarden, which in any sane universe would mean I slept like the dead. BUT NO! The dead were restless! So I stayed up past midnight making a character in Oblivion because Skellington plays games late zomg, and then when my contacts were trying to peel out of my eyes I went to bed and still didn't sleep.

SO! I have had five hours of sleep, a triple-shot latte, and a nigh-inexplicable euphoric obsession with argonians, the race I chose for my new character in Oblivion.

Why, you ask?

BECAUSE THEY ARE GENDER-SWAPPING AMPHIBI-LIZARDS, THAT'S WHY.

Well, technically Lore says they change sex as part of life phases, like some fish do, so the term is 'sequential hermaphrodism', and I totally should have said 'sex', not 'gender,' but "sex-swapping' sounds way more like a particularly risky-life-style choice than a life-phase thing.

Anyway. The actual appearance of The Awesome Race of Awesome does not please me, so I drew them while I waited at my shoe-appointment today. Apparently they're supposed to be all lizard-y, but they come from the marsh and breathe under water and also I LIKE SALAMANDERS OKAY so I tried to make a humanamander. A Salamanaman. Amphihumibean. Thing.


They do not look like Bethesda's argonians. Bethesda's argonians have boobs. Fuck that noise.

Last night I was totally going to write something thought-provoking about the strong and weak points of Bethesda and Bioware games and how I love to run around Bethesda games for the first few days until I have more money than god and can slaughter the world, but all of my critical thought processes have devolved into I AM A SEQUENTIALLY-HERMAPHRODITIC ALBINO AMPHIBI-LIZARD WITH MAGIC, Y'ALL.
shadesofmauve: (Lert)
Last night I hit a real low -- my shop-vac wasn't working despite being taken apart and put back together, my PC wasn't working, the PC not working resulted in a game not working, cleaning and organizing definitely wasn't working, and there was evidence that my brain wasn't working, either, in that I finally realized that I double-booked myself in early October. I'm supposed to play a gig in Olympia during the same time I'm supposed to be in southern Oregon visiting my grandparents. Uh. Oops?

Anyway!

Shop-vac: IT'S SUPER EFFECTIVE! I was a total dork about the shop-vac, and the one thing I hadn't checked was the hose, which is just after "plug it in" on the trouble shooting guide. SO! Shop-vac is fixed, using the high-tech technique of shoving a 1x2 down the hose to dislodge the clog.

PC: IT'S ALIVE! I'd *correctly* guessed that the video card was fried, and was able to confirm that by scavenging the video card from [livejournal.com profile] madalchemist's unused box, which is currently purring away in Gonzales now. It was about time to upgrade my machine anyway, so a brand-spanking new video card is on it's way from newegg, along with 4 more gigs of ram. Gonzales shall live up to his namesake once again!

Game: the PC crash corrupted files for ME2, but I was able to put 'em back where they belong. Energy Drain shall be mine, darn it!

Cleanliness: Because I didn't have the lure of a PC this morning, I cleaned my room. With dusting and vacuuming and organizing of three months of mostly non-important mail and everything.

Still Unresolved...

The fact that I was a total flake who doesn't know how to read a calendar is still icky, but I talked to Erik and we worked out some options. Namely, he'll try to switch his vacation days so we can spend the earlier weekend in Oregon and then do our gigs (Oh, did I mention he didn't realize he had a gig that day either? And these are two separate gigs, not one we're doing together). Plan B is that we ditch the gigs and run away where no angry co-musicians can find us. Plan B is not a good plan, but they're both really short, non-paying gigs, and for me it's one where another fiddler can fill in (if they want. There are three fiddlers, so they don't need another).


So. I may not be bound for total misery and squalor after all.
shadesofmauve: (Default)
I am stubborn as a mule and have never had trouble voicing my opinion. It can be hard for me to empathise with people who really have trouble standing up for themselves; there are a lot of times when my reaction is pretty much 'grow up and deal with it.' There are issues where, if I encounter them in real life, I have no problem either proving myself or bulling my way through it regardless. In fact, the few times I've encountered really overt sexism*, I've kind of enjoyed basically ignoring them and being competent anyway.

But.

I've been engaging in more and more of these fights on the net, because I've grown up enough to realize that just because I can fight my way through a situation, doesn't mean anyone else should have to.

I'm slightly ashamed to admit that it took two instances in which I was really pushed to my emotional limits in order for me to gain that empathy. Both were egregious examples of bullying; one was at work, one a neighbor. In one case I did tough it out, in the other I finally called in help.

Because of the latter case, I still jump when someone rings the doorbell. My heart-rate shoots up. My family and friends have been requested to knock, instead. It's an awful, awful, helpless feeling. It took a lot to get me to that point, but just because someone else may reach it with less provocation, doesn't make it any less awful for them.

The realization holds true for a great many issues.

I've been paying more attention to various serious discussions online, and more often coming down on the side of the hard-core 'PC'** crowd than I used to. Part of that is having more innate understanding of how some issues trigger people. Some of it is because I'm seeing so much thinly veiled (or even overt) racism and sexism on mainstream media lately -- the fringe elements of the right wing have been driving their party, and some vile stuff has become almost commonplace***. And a lot of it is because over and over again, I see problems brought up that I seriously thought we'd matured beyond, and people pour out of the woodwork to prove me wrong.

Example: I really don't think we should be mutilating kids for our aesthetic or religious reasons; if I had a kid, they wouldn't get an infant earpiercing or a circumcision. But when the subject of circumcision comes up, we really need to be aware that female circumcision is pretty much brutally harmful in every case, which would seem to me to make it a rather more urgent issue than male circumcision. And yet every time I've seen a blog post about this, it has almost immediately become entirely filled with people saying "Why didn't you write about the men, too?!"

It's entitled behavior like that, rather than arguments from feminists, that has made me happier to self-identify as feminist.

(I thought about using domestic abuse as an example, since women are more likely to be injured in domestic abuse cases, but it's also clear that men under-report domestic abuse. Guys: This is not an example of eeevil reverse sexism. This is a perfect example of The Patriarchy Hurts Men Too).

Digression: Just because someone chooses to adress one issue in an article or blog post, it does not mean that they don't care about all the other related issues. It means that they decided on a certain scope for this particular discussion. Demanding that they they cover every related issue is derailing at best.(end digression).

I admit to being shocked by just how far we haven't come. I think part of it is that any time you're in a time of cultural flux, you're dealing with different rates of change. I can't believe we're still having arguments about the ethics of birth control. Seriously? But the fact is, we are. So we've got people who really, genuinely are doing their best to be even-handed and treat people as people, those who really do think a woman's place is in the kitchen, and every bus stop in between. There are also those who seem to have skipped all the middle stops and thing we're over all this and can't be bothered (apparently they haven't met the kitchen people). This can put you in the position of having several different debates at once.

On an individual level, I firmly believe in treating individuals as individuals. People are people, regardless of race, gender, or creed.

On a societal level, we need to be aware that we do NOT start on a level playing field, and we DO have a duty to be mindful of our own assumptions, because societally perpetuating crap holds us back from real equality.

This all came to a head because I've followed both the elevator crap in the skeptic community AND the recent femShep stuff in the gaming community, if anyone's wondering.

Anyway, be well.


*Directed at me, I'm not referring to societal/cultural stuff here.

**I have to point out here that 'hardcore PC' is usually a term used by their detractors; it's more often a case of 'this simple ettiquette rule will help you come across as a decent human being'.

***Everyone see the lady who equated insurance covering birth control to covering a mani-pedi? Yeah. THAT kind of crap.

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