Fundraiser: Stardew Valley

My thought process for choosing this game was pretty straightforward: fall is a time of harvest, some sort of game where I’m harvesting makes sense, so why not play Stardew Valley? I’ve fallen head over heels for sandbox games, yet never played Harvest Moon. And Stardew Valley is an indie game originally made by one person. It ticks every box.

Alas, it also ticks one more: colonialism. The game gives you a farm once owned by a grandparent, for free, and allows you to develop the place into whatever farm or mining business you want. The context and location sound very North American, which implies there were once First Nations people on that land (though apparently the game actually takes place in Russia?). In reality, if you’re stuck in a soul-sucking job there’s no shortage of options to wiggle out, like starting up an art collective or striking for improved work conditions; in game, though, your “choice” is either to remain in stasis or move into someone else’s place. The game never gives you that choice, though, the moment you gain control of your character is the moment after you’ve taken over this new space. To add insult to injury, you’re still not free of capitalism; oh no, you’ll spend a fair bit of time finding ways to earn cash to trade for goods and services, planting the seeds of your old society in this new space.

This doesn’t make the game any less fun, but it also lingers over it like a faint smell. On Saturday December 5th, at 10:00 AM MDT, I’ll be both enjoying and dissecting this game on my Twitch channel. If you like the concept, consider donating to our fundraiser. It’ll help pay off the legal fees we’re still paying thanks to Richard Carrier. Alternatively, toss some money at Skepticon to pay off their Carrier-related bills. No funds? Not a problem, though you might want to read this to get into the spirit of things.

Fundraiser: Monster Prom

After the game stream, a quiz show, and an edit session, I got to work yesterday on defiling my computer with Windows in order to (maybe!) run Monster Prom. Fortunately I’d done most of the legwork on installing Windows weeks earlier, back when I thought I didn’t have hardware-accelerated video encoding with the Linux version of OBS. Installing OBS and all the other support software was non-trivial, though, let alone configuring it. For a while there OBS would kill the output to my bluetooth headphones, until I remembered all such headphones can operate in two modes and Windows would be “flexible” enough to allow you to switch between them easily and yet block all audio playback if the sampling settings mismatched. As of late last night, I had a duplicate of my streaming set up the Windows side that mostly worked.

Then, this morning, this happened:

MY BRAIN: Did you try running Monster Prom with Proton?
ME: Why on Earth would Steam allow you to run the Windows version of a game via a compatibility layer, when the game natively supports Linux?
MY BRAIN: How long have you been a programmer for?
ME: … Yeah OK, it’s easier to roll out the same feature for all games than set up some sort of master compatibility list. And since Steam is already multi-platform, it’d be trivial to grab the version for an arbitrary OS. Still seems like a long-shot.
MY BRAIN: Won’t know it until you take that shot! And if it works, it’ll integrate pretty smoothly into the Linux streaming setup.

Didn’t I say I was pulling all the stops out for this fundraiser? Fortunately, you’ve done the same; as of this morning, you’ve donated $2,377.45 towards FtB. There was some debate whether we’d even hit two grand, so you’ve exceeded our expectations. Take a bow, y’all! Then fire up my Twitch channel in twenty minutes for a little monster smooching, or check out some of the other events we put on for your benefit, or maybe even top up our or Skepticon’s legal fund.

I, in the meantime, have a Twitch stream to set up.