Link Roundup: April 2023

Some links on AI art – I included some of these shoutouts in my comment section, but might as well include in my link roundup as well.  The reason I was thinking about AI art was because Great American Satan has been writing in its defense.  I also saw a video by Jack Saint (21 min), which was in opposition to AI art, but also concluded that the problem was capitalism.  I thought one of the interesting points Jack Saint made was about the use of AI in animation, which is an art form that arguably takes too much work.  Most people will basically never animate anything, and when people like Jack Saint do solo animation projects, it can take a major toll.  This is why I’m not very convinced by the idea that AI makes things too easy.  Maybe it makes some things too easy, but other things it could make more reasonably easy.

Adastra: The Best Furry Visual Novel Made Me Come Out as Gay and Now You Have to Hear About It | Keith Ballard (video, 3:14 hours) – So, funny story.  I thought I’d watch some Myst Let’s Plays so I could see what I remembered wrong about the series.  And I got sidetracked because the player was obviously a furry and probably gay.  Clearly that’s what Myst was missing–furries.

Anyway, this is the sort of media analysis that includes a summary of the visual novel being discussed–that’s why it’s so long.  Adastra is a political drama where the player character is abducted to an alien society and participates in a contest between two successors to the throne.  It’s also an 18+ romance.  It sounds like this story has a great alignment of text and subtext: the characters are literally gay, but also metaphorically gay in their relation to society.  Despite the common prejudice against furries, some of the smut they write just sounds so sincere and wholesome.

The Future is a Dead Mall – Decentraland and the Metaverse | Folding Ideas (video, 1:49 hours) – Dan Olson does a deep dive of Decentraland, the wildly overvalued MMO based on cryptocurrency.  And if 2 hours isn’t enough for you, I recommend the Strasz video “Nobody’s There: The First Failed Metaverse” (45 min), about “There” an MMO that released at the same time as Second Life.  “There” apparently thought that artificial scarcity was important, not because it was a way to make them money, but because they thought status symbols were an important part of social interaction.  Pretty wild–wildly wrong.

Come to think of it, games like Second Life have one public resource that genuinely is scarce: graphics computation time for the player.  Second Life apparently doesn’t have a good way of handling this, and therefore suffers from frame rate issues.  Why do these games manufacture fake scarcity when they could instead be managing real scarcity?

We Entered the World of Microsoft Excel eSports & Got Our Asses Beat | People Make Games (video, 25 min) – This is just a fun introduction to the world of excel e-sports.  It’s basically a blind speedrun race of an excel programming problem.

The Writer Will Do Criticism | Unwinnable – This article is discussing the purpose of a game review.  Admittedly what I thought was most interesting about this article were the external links, first to a short text game about being the writer on a game in development hell, and then a tweet thread about some awful writing in Forspoken–that probably wasn’t actually the writers’ fault.


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