Someone thinks that your occupation is unnecessary, they hate you as a person, and they have had regular sexual relations with one (or both) of your parents.

Two interesting articles appeared on the Internet recently:

Paul Graham’s You Weren’t Meant to Have a Boss and Adam Maxwell’s Opinion: The Case Against Writers In The Game Industry.

Both are interesting opinion pieces.  They are comprised of a combination of facts, observations, cute-little short stories, and bias.  In this regard they aren’t too different from every other article on the Internet.

What makes them similar is that both are targeting a profession and telling them that they shouldn’t be employed.  Paul Graham’s article tries to argue [a number of things, but primarily] that it is contrary to human nature if they are employed in a large company.  There are specific arguments that ‘programmers’ would benefit from founding a startup instead of working for a large company.  Adam Maxwell’s article is telling the game industry that they shouldn’t employ writers, but instead leave the writing responsibility to game designers.

The other way they are similar is that they both received a large amount of feedback within a short period of time.  Negative feedback.  To be honest, the moment I started reading Paul Graham’s article I went and opened Writer to compose an article titled ‘You are completely wrong: A rebuttal of You Weren’t Meant to Have a Boss’.  Whereas, I finished reading Adam Maxwell’s article and thought of posting a comment promoting anti-narrativism and/or ludology.

Still, it is the feedback that is interesting.  Adam Maxwell discovered that the easiest way of getting comments is by disparaging people who write for a living.  The ironic thing is that most of the responses are poorly written.  One comment even accuses the article as being based on a strawman argument.  Huh?

THE WHOLE INTERNET SETS UP THE STRAWMAN ARGUMENT!

If that isn’t clear, let me repeat it without shouting: 103.7% of articles on the Internet set up a Straw Man Argument.  That doesn’t even include the prevalent amount of ad hominem, equivocation, and existential fallacies one finds.  Preliminary estimations place the fallacy rate of the Internet at approximately 3.41 f/kw.*

The high fallacy rate is the primary reason that rational debate is impossible on the Internet.  At least in person you have more options since you can always beat up the opposition if their representatives happen to be weaker than you.  That lack of that luxury is probably the worst thing about the Internet.

If rational debate was possible, lordpi.com could provide argument for/against both aforementioned articles.  Instead of reading how the Internet is horribly flawed due to its lack of interpersonal, physical contact you, our dear readers, would instead be reading how every mortal person was meant to have a boss.  In fact, most immortal people also have a boss.  If you didn’t have a boss then you’d be a god of some kind.  Is that what Paul Graham thinks?  That he’s some sort of immortal, spiritual force that we should all revere, sacrifice rams to, and inundate with hot, sexy virgins?  We at lordpi.com don’t know much about him, but, to be fair, who wouldn’t want to be inundated with hot, sexy virgins?

Also, if rational debate was possible, then you, our dear readers, would be provided with a reasoned argument supporting certain aspects of Adam Maxwell’s article and discarding the unnecessary points that he added that only confuse the issue.  The result would be hundreds of angry comments in response to this article.  And each would be filled with fallacies.

To summarize: yes, everyone else on the Internet is wrong because you want them to be.  Whatever narrow perspective of the world you grew up with (appeal to belief) or would best benefit your penis (wishful thinking) must be true.  If you don’t have a male member at your disposal, I apologize.

* NOTE: lordpi.com would prefer if it was closer to pi, but there is no use arguing with scientific measurements**.
** NOTE: This does not and should not imply that at any point in time a scientific measurement has ever been made or attempted by lordpi.com.

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Halo Map Packs

The ‘Legendary Map Pack’ comes out soon (April 15th) for Halo 3.  The third map, ‘Blackout‘, was just revealed to be a remake of the Halo 2 map Lockout.

Now, I love the Bungie guys as much as anyone, but I’m seeing a disturbing trend.  Most of the maps that they release are refreshes or remakes or inspirations from maps in their previous games.

In some ways it is like high concept films in Hollywood: it’s "Spider-man 3" meets "Sleepless in Seattle" with Tom Cruise attached.  [English translation: I have no idea what I’m talking about, but I like money and I’ll sleep with you to advance my career]

The problem isn’t just the high concept nature of the recent Halo 3 Map Pack maps, but how many of them seem to be remakes of past maps.  It is one thing to remake ‘Blood Gulch’ with each release.  However, it was kind of odd that Halo 3 shipped with a remake of ‘Zanzibar’ from Halo 2 (along with a bunch of other ‘inspired by’ maps).  And now I’m worried that Bungie has started down a slope that is both slippery and sloped.

At their current rate, the next Map Pack for Halo 3 (assuming there is one) will contain a remake of an existing Halo 3 map:

The first map in the Iron Skull Map Pack for Halo 3 is ‘Snowunbound.’  Snowunbound is a remake of ‘Snowbound’ from Halo 3 but with mancannons and a Forerunner theme.  [English translation: I have no idea what I’m talking about, but I like money and I’ll sleep with you to advance my career]

You can see where this is going.  Soon there will be Map Packs for Halo 3 (assuming there are more) that contain remakes of Halo 3 maps that ship in the same Map Pack:

The third map in the Grunt Love Map Pack for Halo 3 is ‘Dustblast.’  Dustblast is a remake of ‘Dirtblast’, the first map in the Grunt Love Map Pack for Halo 3, but with mancannons and a Forerunner theme.  [English translation: I once rode my bicycle to the mall and ate an Orange Julius.  Merry Christmas]

Of course, then it’ll get really weird, and there will be a Map Pack for Halo 3 (assuming there is one) that contains a remake of a Halo 4 map (assuming there is a Halo 4) before the latter game comes out!

The second map in the Banshee vs Hornet Map Pack for Halo 3 is ‘Gyrotime.’  Gyrotime is a remake of ‘Laserspace’ from the forthcoming Halo 4 game.  But without mancannons and a non-Forerunner theme.  [English translation: it’s the normal version of the map]

Although, what will really blow everyone’s mind is when they make a map in a future map pack (assuming there is one) that was the inspiration for a map that has already shipped in the original Halo game.

The first map in the Gravemind to the Max! Map Pack for Halo 3 is ‘Boarding Mancannon’.  Boarding Mancannon is the inspiration for ‘Boarding Action’ that shipped in Halo: Combat Evolved six+ years ago.  But with mancannons and a Forerunner theme.  [English translation: GWAHahaaaaAaa]

In conclusion: I’m still going to download them all if I’m not too busy playing Grand Theft Auto IV’s Xbox 360-exclusive downloadable content.

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How-to Procrastinate

If you are reading this article, there is a good chance that you are trying to procrastinate.  At lordpi.com, our goal is to help our dear readers enjoy their precious vices without those troublesome feelings of guilt and regret.

Procrastination is often treated as a pejorative.  Which is unfortunate, since it is one of the Seven Writer Skills (NOTE: the capitalization is used to make that seem important.  I would have put a trademark emblem, but I’m too lazy to bother working with the USPTO to get a trademark on it.  Even if I did, it’d be expensive and then I’d have to defend it.  sigh)

The Seven Writer Skills are the various skills that a writer needs to use when they want to write something: procrastinate, dream, study, seduce, disguise, understand, and write.  In many ways they are similar to the Seven Deadly Sins and the Seven Heavenly Virtues — since there are seven of them.  (Hello, Captain Obvious)  Another way in which they are similar is that they also have an archenemy: the Seven Enemies-of-Writers-Everywhere Obstacles.  Yes, it is a stupid name, but they hate writers so there isn’t anyone who can write them a better one.

The Obstacles’s are: bliss, love, time, the wall of unknowing, rational thought, women, and fear.  Most of which are the awesome things that make our continued existence possible.  Hrmm… maybe human society would be better off without evil writers and their irrational hatred of love/peace/women/walls.   As proof, look how much we are all presently enjoying a television schedule that consists of nothing but reality and game shows.  [NOTE: this joke makes more sense during a writer’s strike]

Anyway, procrastination doesn’t help if there is a pending deadline, but otherwise it is an important skill to have.  (see the majority of this article as evidence for/against the proceeding sentence)  Which leads to the question that I’m sure many dear readers are asking:

Dear lordpi.com,

I’ve managed to avoid all of those obstacles (I’m a time-traveling despot with a giant smarty-head; my brainwaves have disabled my fear glands [ed: there are no such things as fear glands and neither is there an editor] and project inaudible sounds that make women nauseous when in my presence), but I seem to spend all of my time making powerful, thought-provoking works that will change society for the better.  lordpi.com, can you help me?

WRITES TOO FREELY

To which the normal response would be:

WTF,

I hate you.  Please give me back my underwear.

lordpi.com

Rude?  Yes.  Drafty?  More so.

Anyway, if you have bothered to read this far then you must be incredibly bored.  Sorry.  As a reward, here’s actual, helpful (!) advice that will let you correctly apply procrastination in order to make your life better:

  1. Have something you need to do.  Let’s call it Task Awesome.  It’s helpful if there is a deadline for completing it.
  2. Imagine how much better your life would be if you were to complete your task.
    1. If your life won’t actually be better (and your task won’t make society better), then question why you really want to complete the task.  It might be better to forget about it and go out and get a slice of key lime pie.
  3. Think of a nice reward you can give yourself upon the task’s completion.  Key lime pie always works — except when it doesn’t.
  4. Break down the task into small steps.  Or, at least, figure out what the next step is.
  5. Is there anything you don’t know about the task?  Add a step to research anything you don’t know.
    1. If you don’t know how to research what you don’t know, add a step to research how to research what you don’t know.
      1. If you don’t know how to research the research you will need to do to research what you don’t know… stop.  Ow.  My head hurts.
  6. Are you blocked on anyone else?  Let them know, but be polite.  And don’t leave thirty-seven messages on their voicemail — that doesn’t help.  She’s not going to call you back.  Besides, it was only two dates, so you can’t really be that obsessed with her.  No, her machine isn’t broken and she got your message: if anyone didn’t get the message it is you, buddy.
  7. If you feel overwhelmed:
    1. Take a moment to take a deep breath and relax.  Don’t stress about it.  Either it will happen or it won’t.  Life will go on if no one’s life is at stake.
    2. Chocolate covered unicorns.
  8. Now, think of a different task that you really have to get started on.  Let’s call it Task X.  Preferably something more important and more urgent.  It’s overwhelming, isn’t it?  Yet, you keep putting it off.  Every day you wake up, struggle to get out of bed, barely living morning-to-night, friendless and alone, and hating yourself.  It’s easier to go back to sleep for a few minutes than look at yourself in the mirror.  It’s probably an impossible task as well.  Only an idiot would keep thinking that it is possible, but you are too stupid to give up.  If you give up than you would be a failure and a loser, but if you keep putting it off than at least you are only an idiot and a loser.  This is where procrastination is your friend!  Rather than work towards completing Task X, you can use your procrastination to motivate you towards working on Task Awesome!

Wow, it’s so easy, anyone can do it!  Don’t forget to give a ‘shout out’ to lordpi.com when you procrastinate your way to finishing your Great American Novel!

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The world runs on hate

There are a lot of things wrong with the world.  On one hand, it is bad that there are so many excesses and evils afflicting society.  On the other hand, it is a good thing because it keeps satirists employed.

A perfect world would be perfectly horrible.  Could you imagine what life would be like if your day went like the following:

  • Wake up when you are supposed to and feel like getting out of bed.
  • After a quick shower and change, you can wander into your mansion’s kitchen and enjoy freshly prepared, cinnamon-swirl french toast.  With some orange juice and an espresso beverage of your liking.
  • Satisfied, you get in your flying car and ‘drive’ to work.  With release.
  • At work, you play video games with all of the best friends you had growing up.  That’s your job.  I don’t know how it works since I’m not a business major.
  • The office, instead of a water cooler, has Dairy Milk fountains.
    • Dairy Milk would still have the same benefits that it does in our world (clears one’s complexion, removes split-ends, and causes one’s body to resemble that of an attractive super model of their same gender).
    • Also, there would be carrot juice, orange smoothies, and bubble tea for ‘daring’ individuals who didn’t care about their complexion or figure or hair.
  • After work you could either see a good movie (there wouldn’t be any bad ones) or go to a video arcade (they would still be in business).  There would be no traffic and a plethora of free, convenient parking options.
  • Everyone would have a weekly art quota.  If one failed to meet the quota they would be put to death in a painful and excruciating way.  This wouldn’t apply to children under the age of sixteen.  You would have to set aside time, every evening, for painting or satire or poetry or interpretive dance or whatever — things you put off today because the constitution doesn’t properly force you to be a better person.
  • Halo 3 would have the pistol from Halo: Combat Evolved.  And it would have perfect remakes of Chill Out, Damnation, and the PC’s version of Sidewinder.  It would be a great way to relax with your friends and loved ones after your evening’s art — since women would finally understand how dual-analog sticks work and have fun at the game.  With everyone in the world happy and content, your opponents would be friendly and considerate.  "Oy, sorry ’bout that ass-whoopin’, g’venor."  "No worries, brah.  Have a pleasant evening reaming the next chump."  "G’day to you, too."
  • You wouldn’t have to brush your teeth, since cavities would be extinct and gingivitis would be illegal.  Everyone’s eye-sight would be perfect, so there wouldn’t be any need to take out contacts.  Makeup would instantly dissolve by thought.  As a result, there wouldn’t be any need to use the bathroom before turning in for the night.  Also, your pets would have already fed/walked themselves and made sure that your dvr is properly set for the next day’s television.
  • Every night you would fall asleep in the company of the person that you love.  The sleep would occur immediately after your partner had sufficient cuddling.  And they wouldn’t cheat on you with Steve (of all people) when you are at pottery class.  The only reason you were at the stupid class was to make her a present, anyway.
  • Your parents would have taken responsibility for raising you properly, so you wouldn’t be messed up like you are now.  That means no more dealing with unfocused anger and stressing over your immense self-loathing, and shrinks would be extinct.  Having proper parenting would grant you the peaceful, lucid dreams that only rich people are privy to in our world.

Doesn’t that sound horrible?  The world would probably die of liver disease from all of the saccharine.  That’s why the machines had to recreate the world into the imperfect one we currently ‘live’ in.  Joy.

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Laundry Lists

All satirist keep a list.  Santa also keeps a list.  Hrmm….

I hate to digress, but does anyone know why kept lists are referred to as ‘laundry lists’?  When does anyone use a list when making laundry?  Any paper I leave in the washing machine gets ruined.  Maybe I’m doing something wrong?

Anyways, I haven’t really made much progress against my list.  I thought of doing something with it for NaNoWriMo, but I didn’t get as far as I would have liked.  I think it is because lists are so overwhelming.  There is so much to do, and — like Twix bars — it is hard to choose just one:

<excerpt>
9.  People who don’t use turn signals
10. People who drive slowly in the left lane
11. Stores that close early
12. Patrons that show up right before close
</excerpt>

The point (does lordpi.com ever have one?) is that it’s good to make a list, but it is better to make progress.  Unlike clocks, stopped lists aren’t going to be correct 1-3 times a day.*  Let’s make the world a better place by working on the contents of our lists.  But don’t go overboard — we don’t want to make it too good of a place: it would obviate the need for satire.

Without satire I would probably have to write about video game programming or something similarly productive/useful.  Ugh.

* It is a common misconception that a stopped clock shows the correct time twice a day.  However, this doesn’t account for clocks that are displaying military time or for clocks that are showing a time during daylight savings changes.

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Video Game Recipe — The Explanation

In my previous Video Game Recipe post, I described the secret recipe to making a video game.  It was kind of weird.

Basically, it broke down to: a video game only requires one good game mechanic, some sound, and some art.  It left out a lot, and had a bunch of mixing/baking steps.  I challenged our dear readers to try and figure out what was meant by the analogy.

Here is what I thought it meant:

  1. 1 good game mechanic: if you don’t have a game mechanic to build around, there won’t be much of a video game.  So stop right now and go back to trolling forums on the Internet.
  2. 12oz Sound FX and 1 can Art and Animations: sound and graphics help immerse the player.  They aren’t as important as gameplay, but they are the tools you will use to communicate with your player(s).  Well, you can also communicate through rumble, if the input device is advanced enough to support it.
  3. 2 large eggs: this was a bad joke.  I would have used a better one, but I’m lacking in wit.  However, good game mechanics are hard to recognize, so don’t be surprised if you add three eggs.
  4. Zero story: story has nothing to do with games as previously asserted in other articles on this site.  I’m sorry if you believe otherwise.
  5. Zero characters/setting: not all games have/need characters or a setting.  Feel free to season the dish with them if you aren’t making a ‘Match 3’ clone.
  6. Zero controls: I believe controls are a fundamental part of the game mechanics — input shouldn’t be thought of as a separate component.
  7. Zero programming and game engines: Writing machine instructions in an esoteric language has nothing to do with making a video game.  This doesn’t mean that a video game can be made without it: this is your mixing bowl, nothing more.
  8. Zero testing: testing (or sometimes referred to as Quality Assurance) is essential for a good video game.  It’s not an ingredient, but the oven.  The heat (and time) help eliminate the harmful bacteria (aka bugs) that occur naturally in uncooked products.
  9. Other game mechanics: it’s important to have multiple, simultaneous game mechanics for modern video games to be interesting to most consumers.  I recommend adding other mechanics, as long as they don’t sour the core mechanic.  But it’s okay if you don’t.  I’ll understand.

How well did you do?  Score one point for each of the above that you guessed correctly.

If you got 0-2: you are a bloody narrativist.  Go back to your strike or write a book or something.

If you got 3-6: you are an intelligent individual.  I’m quite surprised someone could get this many, with how bad the analogy was.  As long as you didn’t get #4 wrong, feel free to work in the video game industry.

If you got 7-9: you are a cheater.  There isn’t any other way you could get that many correct.  However, if you didn’t cheat (yeah, right) I probably should offer you some sort of prize.  How about ‘GOOD JOB’?

If you got 10+: you are a huge cheater.  The game only went to nine, so I’m not sure what you are thinking by claiming this score.  Please stop playing video games until you gain some maturity, since you are obviously a griefer and probably communicate solely through swear words.  And you wonder why it is that your mother has to drink so much every night?

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Video Game Recipe

Video games aren’t simple things to make.  Since it is ‘holiday time’ when I write this, I’ll share with y’all the secret recipe.

Video Game
Serves 1 – 10,000,000
Ingredients:
1 good game mechanic
12oz Sound FX
30oz (1 can) Art and Animations
2 large eggs

Preheat oven to 350.  Pour game mechanic into a large mixing bowl.  Add both eggs and beat until finely pureed.  Slowly mix in art until game is doughy and brown.  Put in oven and bake for two hours.  Let it cool 1-2 hours on the rack.  Sprinkle on sound and serve.

At no point did I mention coding/programming, a game engine, story, characters, or controls.  I also only mentioned a single game mechanic.  And eggs?  WTF?!?  The reason is that those things aren’t actually important when making a video game.

In my next post I’ll explain how the recipe makes sense.  But can you figure it out own your own?

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