My rants on storytelling
My rants on game design
My rants on argumentation and debating
My media reviews
Counterplay Infinity - a minimalist proof-of-concept fighting game
About Protagonism (my religion)
Thanks to main_gi for countless contributions to this site. He's been my de-facto editor for a while, but has also even contributed valuable insight that got me to reconsider some opinions.
April 18: A sicku update to my religion: I decided that Reverence could be reduced to the other virtues! And now there's twelve - an elegant number. I'm almost certain I have the right number of them now. I might still have the details off. But you know, when I first scrapped the 32-virtue model in favor of the 18 one, I thought 18 was a less elegant number and that was one thing that bothered me a bit. It got really bad when I reduced it to 17; I knew that wasn't right and I had to find a way to reduce it more until I arrived at an elegant number. I never thought I'd make it as low as twelve.
April 16: New Game Design articles: Feedback Loops, and A Psychology-Based Approach To Competitive Game Design. The latter is a rather massive article I just finished writing in light of significant revisions to my beliefs. It replaces the old article "Pillars of Strategy Game Design", as it generalizes on those concepts to get closer to the underlying principles (it now applies to action games as well). In the near future I intend to generalize this further so it can apply to all games without losing specificity, and I'm probably also going to do a lot more rearranging of the other articles.
April 11: I did a lot of editing of many of my game design articles. I completely rewrote the one on progress saving, trying to get to the actual claim sooner and be more clear instead of leaving an apparent contradiction until the end, and also tried to give it a funny beginning. I also edited the article on dirty tactics, combining the gift ploy and agreeing to disarm into one tactic, as I realized they're just different forms of the same psychology exploit; and I added an entry: relativist rhetoric.
April 10: I added chapter 7 of Rebels! And also a huge change to my philosophies about emotions; I've decided that anticipatory feelings are actually just partial-certainty reactionary ones and subverted feelings are just magnitude-bolstered by the same probability-scaling factor I already mentioned (which, to top this all off, I've also realized can be explained by that you've already half-accepted what's going to happen, so it feels like the magnitude of the final event is halved when it arrives). This is in preparation for a major revamp of my game design philosophies; I was thinking about simplifying them and that my 11 goals of strategy games had to be reducible somewhat and it led me to all this. Update: I've also significantly revised my moral system once more; the Retribution doctrine got yet another rewrite; Compensation is no longer its own virtue; I've added explanations of the concepts of redemption and restitution and how they're separate; and I edited the desciptions of Compassion (adding an expand note) and Equity. Update: I made some edits to my reviews of Lord of the Rings (adding the monarchy objection which I somehow forgot, and elaborating a bit more of some other points) and Harry Potter (elaborating on why time travel in stories is bullshit). Update: I also added an article under argumentation on the Myth of Respect.
April 8: Some updates to the Rebels WIP; and I edited the Counterplay Infinity description page. I realized that I was making sweeping claims about design trends in mainstream fighting games that I wasn't qualified to make; I added an admission and made it clear which games I'm talking about.
April 5: There have been some major updates to Counterplay Infinity. Sorry I haven't been updating this site much, but my real-life programming pseudo-job got really intense and I was putting some 6 hours a day into it. I've also finally (maybe) made significant progress on solving the canon issues I must in order to proceed with DDA.
April 1: Added Counterplay Infinity (see above) :) Also edited the article I posted yesterday on "two theorems of behavior and motivation", adding more ideas to it and renaming it to "Notes on Choice and Morality"; and revised again my Retribution doctrine. I might have actually arrived at the final form this time.
March 31: I solved some significant issues with Protagonist philosophy (relating to the exact calculation of merit/guilt from an action). I've updated the centerpiece, virtue list articles and added a new article on two theorems of behavior and motivation. Not to mention, I scrapped the virtue of Symbolicism, deciding it could be reduced to Ambition (which I altered the wording of) and in some aspects Retribution (the current statement of it doesn't 100% reflect what I believe, in that there are exceptions to the NAP; but I haven't figured out what the unifying thread I'm missing is).
March 29: I added a new article on writing dialog in prose fiction and some minor clarifications to my article on The centerpiece of Protagonism. I also did an editing pass on my review of Harry Potter, review of Dark Souls and review of Spy Kids 2.
I think writing these articles is not a very efficient way for me to be working, but it's so easy right now. On all of my other projects I feel blocked. Rebels, my current programming project, and Doki Doki Aftermath (especially the latter two) both require me to think hard before I can go on as opposed to just writing thoughts I already have and that don't have to be held to the same standard of quality. (It's especially easy since I have a directory with like 10 half-written articles on the middle three categories of my site.) But at the same time I'm starting to feel really bad about how long it's been since I posted new content on Rebels and DDA. Especially DDA; I don't want to leave the fans hangi- I mean waiting. But so many canon questions to answer and so hard :'(
March 28: I actually retired the article on the Last Second Rescue, because I decided it wasn't saying anything profound or not already said by thousands of other storytelling philosophers. I've added an article on foreshadowing, and edited the article on plot to link to it. I also made some edits to my reviews of Sword Art Online (improving the explanation of why the Level 70 revelation scene was so bad and reordering some other points) and Star Wars, adding criticisms of Attack of the Clones and The Force Awakens after I was reminded of things I had forgotten.
March 27: Posted a new article on action scenes in prose and one on things that are not Ad Hominem. Also added a new entry to the article on dirty tactics (definition forcing) and extended the entry on agreeing to disarm, as well as a little notice at the top of the argumentation index.
March 25: Some edits to my Protagonism pages on the centerpiece (adding some content from the old no_why article that I didn't copy over when I made the new centerpiece) and the prime emotions (categorizing them and solving the concept of status).
March 23: Even more radical changes to my religion have taken place than ever before. I've dropped the concept of Fuiki and actually rewrote the Centerpiece article; I eliminated a couple of virtues that seemed reducible to others (although I'm almost cerain the current system still isn't exactly right because it's not elegant enough); and I even decided that there's no meaningful difference between happiness/sadness and fun/boredom as categories, so I merged the two articles.
March 21: In light of more conversations I've been having with main_gi, I've updated my article on mental health and how messed up the concept is.
March 20: I've upgraded my article on Anarchism. In particular, I improved the explanation of the moral individualism in the opening section, added sentences in the section on advantages of decentralized law enforcement to explain how the same advantages don't apply to a police model, and greatly expanded the section on how an Anarchist society would fend off a foreign invasion.
March 19: I've been doing a lot of thinking about the nitty-gritty of the formulas that calculate virtue and vice in my religion, and updated the relevant page to account.
March 18: I made significant edits to the "Rebels" WIP, and also some minor CSS improvements on both novels. Let me know if I missed either change breaking anything.
March 17: I've added a new article on boilerplate rules under argumentation, an entry on sore winning to inflammatory techniques, and two entires on ridiculing hypotheticals and independence shaming to dirty tactics, as well as expanding the entry on agreeing to disarm. Several hours later, I reorganized my article on how government encourages discrimination into a broader article on how government encourages not only discrimination, but also dishonesty and dirty argument tactics, and also creates violent conflict between people who have nothing against each other.
March 10: Well, I never thought this would happen. I just massively revised my virtue philosophy so that there are only 18. Check it out. I also edited the articles that reference it (let me know if I missed any). I spent the next eight hours or so redoing Pillars of Life to account. I mean, I know it's kind of bad practice to seriously change a finished novel that long after it's been posted, but in the case where it makes it seem less like religious preaching, it was more than worth it. Especially since I think the number of people who have actually read the novel is probably less than 10...
March 9: I edited my explanation of emotional control in the article on miscellaneous psychology insights. I'm starting to think the virtue of Sanctity doesn't exist as I've defined it. I was thinking virtues like Retribution and Compassion only encompasses physical action while Sanctity took all the weight of choosing to feel. I thought they had to be separate because I could imagine a person who did one but not the other. But my new explanation makes me wonder if I was wrong; that difference can be explained by a disparity in other virtues (eg. Stoicism versus Heroism or Resilience).
March 8: In light of more conversations I've been having with main_gi, I've actually retracted my article on currency. In much smaller news, I added some story criticisms to my review of Assassin's Creed.
March 5: I edited my arguments for the existence of the soul to hopefully be a little harder to weasel out of with willful irrationality. I have a way of saying it that's even more undeniable from a logical perspective, but I'm worried that it's easier to get hung up on linguistics, so I didn't go with it.
March 4: I added a brief article that I'll be expanding later on linguistic connotations, and another article on disparate tastes in fiction and what can cause them despite the quality of fiction being objective. I also reformatted the storytelling article index to use a multi-column layout like the Protagonism index, but I'm super dissatisfied. I learned along the way that neither one actually uses the space on the page properly for all screen sizes. I sunk several frustrating hours into Google trying to find out how to make the CSS work, but I couldn't find a way. I learned that they took out the min and max functions in CSS3. What the actual fuck? Like I'm sure they had some kind of reason but I can't see how it could be possibly be big enough to justify this. And the W3C documentation still mentions them, which adds to the frustration.
Update: I also edited my extremely critical review of Sword Art Online. That was one of the first articles I ever wrote on this site, and my ideas - as well as my skill at presenting them - have evolved significantly.
March 3: More edits to the "Rebels" WIP - see dedicated changelog. Also, I feel like I should explain now that the reason I continue to put it in quotes and explicitly identify it as a WIP every time is because I'm worried that someone new to my site will stumble on here and get the impression that I'm stupid enough to actually name a novel "Rebels".
March 2: I did a lot of revising several of my game design articles. Sorry I don't remember exactly what all I changed, so if you want to see all the changes you might have to reread a lot.
February 27: I edited the part of my review of Doki Doki Literature Club where I mentioned my theory about Monika's deletion spree in Act 4 being a mercy kill. I realized that that theory is pretty much debunked by Monika's line "I won't let you hurt him" prior to doing it.
I also fixed a really embarrassing mistake in my article on villains... I had written under Zerik at the bottom "but he's still much better than a lot of other popular villains (see above)", when I gave much higher scores to all the villains I analyzed above him. It was because I wrote that during an early draft of the article where I had a bunch of Star Wars villains on there, but I didn't end up including those (I'll probably finish their sections and put them in later).
February 26: I added some content to my article on the second tier of human experience - I finally finished understanding the sorrow/anger choice thing that Thale mentioned! (I realize what I said is completely different from what Thale and Telra said. My position is that their logic is what Lucy is using to justify her choice, but the true underlying motivation is wrong.)
February 23: I did some minor editing of a lot of my DDLC mod reviews, in particular The Good Ending (adding more of the secrets). Update: I also edited my article on the prime emotions, renaming several of them.
February 21: I added a paragraph to the article on children in society about the use of "minor".
February 18: I wrote an article on difficulty settings and why almost every game should have them.
February 16: I published an article on children in society, one on bad choices in games, and one on forking player interests in games. I also shifted around some of the content of the other game design articles to account for the change.
February 14: I added an article on the concept of "mental health" and how messed up it is. I acutally added this a few days ago and forgot to mention it here.
February 11: I watched Spy Kids 2 and reviewed the piece of shit.
February 9: I rewatched Return of the Jedi, and updated my review of Star Wars. This might actually be the worst Star Wars movie.
February 8: In light of conversations I've been having with main_gi about puzzle games, I reconsidered my philosophy on the "roles of games". I've now revamped my taxonomy into a three-dichotomy system. In addition, there's a new review (Spy Kids).
February 7: I published a new DDLC video :)
January 31: I added an article on portraying extreme character emotions in fiction.
January 30: I'm writing on this on the 31st because I forgot yesterday, but I played Shattered Worlds: Hope For Change and posted a review of it.
January 27: I've added a new article on villains in fiction. About time, huh?
January 26: I reorganized the article on nonreactionary feelings and a few thoughts I hadn't published yet into a new article on miscellaneous psychology insights. I've also made several minor edits to the Protagonist virtue list.
January 25: I expanded my article on magic system design to say more about the idea of an experience being required to unlock magic, and I added some criticisms of the ending of Doki Doki Literature Club. I still think it's easily the best work of fiction I've ever seen and quite possibly the best in human history, but it isn't perfect. I also renamed the Protagonistic virtue of Boldness to Stoutness, since the name Boldness was a holdover from when my definition of it was narrower; I broadened the definition of Honesty; and I added a new article on "moral conflict".
January 23: I revised my arguments against the idea that power corrupts.
January 22: I rewatched The Empire Strikes Back, and added several criticisms in my review of Star Wars. I also added a few criticisms of A New Hope that I forgot.
January 21: I greatly expanded my article on themes, adding analyses of Mass Effect 1, Mass Effect: Andromeda, Assassins' Creed 1, and Assassins' Creed 3; I added two entries in my article on Dirty Tactics in Argumentation; and I made some edits to Pillars of Life - see the dedicated changelog for details.
January 20: I greatly expanded my article on plot, in particular adding explanation to the six traits I claimed.
January 19: I've been making some minor modifications to the "Rebels" WIP. I was stuck for a long time thinking about how chapter 6 should go, but I'm finally making some progress on it. I also added some paragraphs to my article on forms of punishment. Finally I edited my review of Doki Doki Literature Club to better describe just what was so perfect about Sayori's death scene and my objection to the Natsuki weekend scene.
January 14: I made another significant edit to Protagonist virtue philosophy, replacing the virtue of Honor (which I felt was sufficiently accounted for by Compassion) with "Self-Respect", and rewatched A New Hope and edited my review. The movie was a lot worse than I remembered.
January 13: Believe it or not, I already wrote chapter 5 from scratch and published it.
January 10: Added an article on the more gradual and symmetric way I think about morality as opposed to the traditional black-and-white negative obligation-based model.
January 8: Merged the Protagonism articles on freeloading, land ownership, and the "ownership backlash effect", into a new article, as I realized all three beliefs stemmed from the same principle. Besides that, I finally got around to watching Solo, and wrote a review of it (7 criticisms). Finally, I made a huge formatting improvement to the whole site. I've replaced the single backlinks at the bottom of each page with a full navbar at the top where you can go multiple levels up in a single click. Blame that if any links are broken or anything :)
January 7: Significant changes to Protagonist virtue philosophy. I broadened my idea of the virtue of Boldness and revised Ardence and Sanctity. I think I might have it all right now. I also added a new article on how morality cannot ultimately be explained by reason, as well as how it's possible to be wrong about it when you have an infallible conscience.
January 6: An edit to the penultimate chapters of Pillars of Life (see the dedicated changelog) and a similar edit to the first chapter of the "Rebels" WIP (dedicated changelog). Also changed the fourth subvirtue of Kindness in my religion from Solidarity (which I decided was encompassed by Reverence and Asceticism) to Compensation "Reward acts of virtue in others". I've also changed the definition of Fairness slightly, so that it doesn't say anything about factoring in moral differences to how you treat people, only not factoring in superficial differences (I felt that the old definition could kind of be seen to encompass both Retribution and Compensation). I also edited my articles on the Pillars of Strategy Game Design, Citation-related fallacies and Statistics in argumentation, and my review of Star Wars (mainly added criticisms of the prequels).
January 5: Significant update on the "Rebels" fiction WIP, and I'm also trying out some formating changes on both novels. Instead of the first line of a paragraph being indented, subsequent lines are indented (which makes more sense to my programmer mind). I also reduced the spacing between paragraphs. Let me know if you think it's too little now. Update later the same day: I edited out agency as a criterion for hero design (so everyone's scores have changed), added an article on worldbuilding, and received a few more grammar and spelling corrections from main_gi (including some in MC's Revenge). Also made some edits to a few lines of dialog in Pillars of Life (see the dedicated changelog).
January 4: Revised the arguments for Anarchism. I noticed that my old article focused almost entirely on the principle-based side of things rather than the consequential side. In other words, it spent its entire time explaining why government was evil rather than why Anarchy was workable. I've added several paragraphs to refute common objections to the practicality of Anarchy. I also ran a script that changed all my in-site links to open in the same window instead of in a separate tab, and I'm not certain that a few things aren't still messed up from my poor coding ability. If you want to open a link in a new tab, you can always do that with ctrl-click (at least in Firefox). Finally, I added a point in my criticism of Return of the Jedi.
January 3: New article on argument and debating: Inflammatory techniques - how to provoke your opponent. The entry in Dirty Tactics on metadebating has been moved there, and Dirty Tactics now links to it.
January 2: Edited the review of Attack on Titan to link to the article on glorification of characters.
December 31: Posted the publicly-navigable download for MC's Revenge, a DDLC mod I've made. It's under fiction.
December 29: Revised the Protagonist list of virtues in light of new philosophical insights I've had. Most notably, the virtue of "Manipulation" has been broadened, and is now called "Fecundity". I've also swapped the names of Sanctity and Reverence, as well as a few minor changes to the descriptions of many other virtues.
December 28: Added three points in my criticism of The Last Jedi, and added Rogue One (two criticisms). Also added a new entry in the article on Dirty Tactics in Argumentation: Filibustering.
December 22: Added an article on glorification of characters under fiction rants.
December 21: I'm writing this on the 21st, but I actually posted new content a few days ago and I just forgot to note them here at the time. So there's now a review of Dark Souls as well as the "True Route" mod for DDLC. Also wrote a new article on morals of a story, under fiction rants.
December 16: Fixed a lot of grammatical and spelling errors pointed out by main_gi.
December 15: New article on game design: "Retraversal - Bad".
December 13: Minor edit to my novel Pillars of Life (see the dedicated changelog for details).
December 12: Formatting improvement on the novels (the top bar now tracks like the left bar); Added the music section of the site; Added a paragraph in the article "Don't Interrupt The Game" under game design rants about unskippable cutscenes.
December 11: New entry in the article on Dirty Tactics in Argumentation: Ideograph abuse