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Everything posted by Fez

  1. Oh for sure. Definitely not trying to get my head past my skis here. And I am trying to keep my aims appropriately modest. Not like I'm shooting for The New Yorker or anything (also, I don't want to write the kind of thing they'd accept). But I'm sure there's still a ton of competition (the magazine I'm looking at does a quarterly call for open submissions of short stories that fit a theme—which I've tried to hit), and that's even assuming what I've got is any good in the first place. Which, after an appropriate amount of editing, I'm hoping will be.
  2. Well, guess I was feeling inspired. I focused on writing instead of playing video games last night, and did some more today during some quiet moments and have ended up with a complete 3,900 word short story. Now comes the hard part, editing. I hate doing it in my professional, research writing, and I'm sure I'll hate it just as much in fiction writing. And I know I need a lot of editing. Too many repeated phrases, overly similar sentence structures, and bland descriptions. But at least the bones of it all are in place. Also, I need to make sure I haven't subconsciously plagiarized anyone. I don't think I have, but that the trouble with a subconscious. Lastly, no idea if the story is any good at all. But at minimum I already feel proud for at least having done this much.
  3. I should also note, the reason its four hours is because it's all fully voiced. But if you read the text boxes faster than the voiced dialog, you can certainly click through to the next line faster. Although with multiple people reading that might be harder to do. Also, I've done that sometimes and while it does save some time there's no denying that there is truly a lot of plot to get through. Especially early on while the worldbuilding and character introductions are taking place.
  4. The House minority has almost no ability to stall anything. If the House doesn't pass the bill before going on recess that's entirely on Pelosi.
  5. Maybe. Hard for me to be sure since I don't have kids. Here's the big things to know: There's no sex. Two of the character portraits (which are only in the menu) are somewhat sexualized, but nothing that crosses any lines I think (one woman has very form-fitting leather armor, another has a rather short dress). There are a couple arranged marriages as plot points to cement peace between two kingdoms, but that's it as far as relationships go. There's no dating sim aspect to the game at all. There's almost no gore. The one exception is that a blood pool sweeps out from under characters to indicate they've been killed. But it's all pixel art, so it doesn't look scary. A lot of named characters get killed, a few of them being sympathetic ones. If they were fine with FE3H classmates dying in the second half of each route though, they'd probably be fine here. Also, no kids have died (yet), and there's only one named, animal character (who, for gameplay mechanics reasons, I strongly suspect will not die either). The game has an extremely slow start, even for a JRPG. The first four hours have two short battles and the rest is all cutscenes. Definitely a chance of boredom. You can skip those scenes, but then you'd be lost plot-wise once things pick up. There are a few character cutscenes, which can trigger when hidden stat values get hit (like the support scenes in FE3H). However, they aren't the focus of the game and most of the characters are pretty shallow. Most cutscenes (and there are a lot, even after things pick up) are about advancing the main plot; which are the wheelings and dealings of nations and noble houses. And the plot can be rather dense at times. Really important things are said multiple times, but there's a lot of context and motivation that's mentioned only once. And if you miss it, it can be hard to keep track of why things are happening. There's two aspects to the difficulty of the game. The first is combat. I'm playing on Hard and the game is truly hard. But there are three easier difficulty settings than that, so I assume one of the four options is a good fit for kids. Maybe it even is Hard if they have enough experience with tactics games. The second is dialog trees. At certain points in the game you have to make choices, which seem to have a pretty big impact on what happens in the plot. However, you don't get to make them unilaterally. Instead a vote is held with the 7 main party members (there's dozens of other members, but they basically never show up in cutscenes outside of ones specific to them; whereas the core 7 are in all the plot scenes) and you need to make dialog choices to convince a majority of those 7 to vote whichever way you want to go. Making the right choices (though it's no game over if you fail, you just might do something you didn't want to do) requires a certain amount of critical thinking. There some pretty heavy themes/plot points at times, though the game doesn't linger on them too long. No idea how well kids might handle them. The biggest one so far has been:
  6. Whelp. In Triangle Strategy I just made the choice to sell out refugees under my protection into slavery so I could gain an army of religious zealots. Which I needed to reclaim my homeland from the "bad guys". It's legitimately one of the darkest JRPGs I've ever played.
  7. I've been feeling creatively bankrupt recently and thought I might try my hand at writing something. I've never really done creative writing, except a couple short things in school way back when. But a novel is way too much for me to bite off, I know that. I thought I might try my hand at getting a short story (sub 5k words) published in a magazine. If I can manage that, maybe I'd do something more. Just as something fun to do on the side. I've got a magazine picked out and their next open submission period is in 38 days. Time to see if I can come up with something.
  8. Yeah. Very early on I saw an estimate that perhaps 1/5th of Ukraine's armed forces were being kept in reserve in Lviv. With the idea that they could be rushed to any front that was in danger of collapsing or to provide a last-ditch defense of the western third of the country so that Russia wouldn't simply overrun everything if their initial attacks had succeeded. Assuming that's true, since those forces were never needed it gives Ukraine a fair amount of flexibility to rotate out exhausted units. There's also a large number of forces defending Odesa that haven't seen combat either. They need to be more alert than troops in Lviv, and have certainly been busy building fortifications; but that's certainly an easier posting than something out east. Although I also wouldn't be surprised if troops in Odesa have already been rotating with the ones in Mykolaiv.
  9. Except for the issue that a lot of Russian soldiers are not ethnic Russians; instead being Central and East Asian. And it's far easier to ignore wailing parents in small villages in Siberia and Khabarovsk than in Moscow or St. Petersburg.
  10. I don't think anyone is making the comparison in terms of Russia's threat to all of Europe. Instead, it's the comparison to what Russia is doing to civilians in territory it occupies.
  11. Mikhail Prokhorov, one of the handful of oligarchs not under any sanctions, is reported to now be in Israel and has applied for citizenship there under the law of return. I'm going to guess any assets he still has in Russia are about to be seized, if they haven't already. He is one of the more Western-visible oligarchs, as the former owner of the Brooklyn Nets, so it makes sense that there might be more news about him then some of the others. It makes me wonder if most/all the other oligarchs who might oppose Putin have already fled as well.
  12. Taiwan was kicked out. Again, legally speaking, what's the difference here? I understand that the real difference is that Russia has nuclear weapons and Taiwan didn't.
  13. Fez

    Elden Ring

    And done. Final boss is a true monster of a fight, and one that I couldn't imagine trying to do as a melee character. It feels like a fight where you should be able to summon Torrent, but you can't. Was easily the hardest boss I fought, with the Fire Giant coming in at number two (I only tried Malenia a handful of times, so maybe I'm wrong, but I feel like I could've beaten her if I put in a bit more effort). Got the Age of Stars ending and clocked in at just over 90 hours. Maybe one day I'll do a NG+ but for now I'm happy to go play other games again. I already started a couple since I couldn't spend more than an hour at a time bashing my head against the final boss. I never beat Malenia, and never found Mohg. I think those are the only major bosses I missed. There were certainly some minor ones too that I never found at all or never went back to. I also either broke or missed an awful lot of the quests I think. And I never engaged in multiplayer at all. So I'd guess I probably did around 70% fo the content. Just an incredible amount of stuff to do. So far it's my GOTY, but there sure is/will be a lot fo competition this year.
  14. So theoretically couldn't Russia be kicked out the same way? I'm not saying that'd be a good thing, I agree with the argument that the UN needs to have everyone in it. But it sounds like there's absolutely a mechanism for it to occur.
  15. Right, but what stopped Tawain from vetoing that?
  16. Getting way off topic here, but something I've always been curious about is how, legally speaking, the Republic of China (aka Taiwan) was removed from the security council. They had the seat from the UN's founding until 1971; and then it seemed enough countries just decided to force a change? I guess the key difference is Taiwan didn't have nuclear weapons too maintain its status.
  17. Yeah, visual novel is a good frame of reference for the first few hours. It does get more balanced later on (especially if you play in Hard for the battles) but there is very little gamplay at first. And a lot of the story scenes weren't that compelling to me early on either. I did eventually get interested enough to keep going, albeit more for plot interest than being particularly attached to any of the characters. That, plus the gameplay and the art style, are enough for me to recommend it to anyone who likes tactics-style games.
  18. Ended up starting to play Triangle Strategy, a tactics JRPG on Switch. There's a free demo covering the first three chapters (roughly 4 hours for me) that, just barely, convinced me to buy it. But I'm glad I did. It has a rough start, but has really turned into something fun. It starts off as a wannabe Final Fantasy Tactics, but with an extreme over-emphasis on story. In the first 2 hours I fought a single 15 minute battle and the rest of the game was clicking through (fully voiced) dialog that just goes on and on. However, the story eventually picks up steam and at this point is engaging to follow. And, speaking of FFT, it's rare to find a JRPG this bloodthirsty, which I appreciate. I'm around 10 hours in, and I think there's been 4 named characters killed, including one that was publicly beheaded (I got strong, "we just watched S1E9 of GoT when we wrote this" vibes), and a whole lot of dead nameless NPCs. There's also been two story choices so far which have some hamfisted contrivances around them (you're trying to convince your party members to vote one way or another and the vote is counted using a literal scales that has story significance) but would seem to have at least some real impact on the story. I assume it doesn't branch too much until the end, but the game does a good job of lending them weight. As to the combat, at least on Hard it is a lot of fun. Each character is locked to a specific class, and the upgrade paths are pretty linear, so there isn't that element of designing the perfect characters. Instead it's about picking the right characters for each battle and then executing your plans properly. And there's no permadeath, so the battles are designed around the idea that you will win only barely. Sacrificing units becomes a perfectly valid strategy. Starting around battle number four, each one has taken be about an hour. With about half-an-hour of plot development between each one (there's also a new optional battle that opens up at the tavern each time), so the game remains story heavy throughout. But that in that slow start, the battles are shorter and there's way more scenes between each one. I get that the worldbuilding is important, but I think there's gotta be a better way to kick things off. Still, it turns into a really good game right around when the demo ends I think.
  19. Ukraine is now officially denying that they attacked Belgorod
  20. So Weird West has left me pretty cold actually; glad it was just on Gamepass. I only played a couple hours, but from what I saw it's a very mechanical game. There's not too much in the way of dialog or personality; other than the setting itself. Which is neat, but is not unique. This would fine on its own (though I was hoping for something more story-driven after Elden Ring), but the mechanics don't feel great either. At it's core, it's actually a twin stick shooter; which is not a genre I much care for. There are trapping of Dishonored, like stealth knocking out enemies and hiding the bodies. And there are abilities you can activate in combat, but none of it feels very good. It's also a pain to actually use them (at least on controller, but the reviews I saw said M+KB controls were even worse); to take a silent shot on my rifle for instance I had to press and hold LT, then press and hold RB, then press X, and then press RT. And the systems don't all neatly come together in the same way. The game encourages fast saving and loading, like Shadow Tactics/Desperado 3; but there's not nearly the same level of creativity in the map design that I saw, or in the tactical options available to you. And if you're good at twin stick shooting it's all irrelevant anyway, you can just go in gun-blazing to everything. Lastly, from what I read, it's actually 5 separate campaigns, not 1. And, other than a perk system, nothing carries over. No guns, no money, nothing. So you're actually discouraged from fully exploring spaces because even if you find cool stuff you'll lose it all as soon as you move on to the next campaign. So yeah, it's a pass from me.
  21. Interestingly, Ukraine has been surprisingly cagey about the Belgorod strike. And it does seem like an extremely risky strike for them to send helicopters that exposed to AA fire. I think there's a decent chance it is actually a false flag, or a rogue operation. Israel has been dealing with a wave of terror attacks the past week and Bennett said he needed to focus on that issue instead.
  22. Downloaded Weird West on PC gamepass; looking forward to trying it out after work tonight. Though I would like to beat the final boss in Elden Ring before I dive fully into anything else.
  23. Addendum to the theory that every genchat thread ends up being a US politics thread: Every genchat thread ends up being a US politics thread or a WWII thread.
  24. Ukraine armed forces announced they've retaken 5 settlements in Zaporizhzhia oblast Looking at the map, it's pretty spread out group of places; suggesting that Ukraine may be advancing on all fronts in the area. Vesele in particular seems relevant, because, unless I'm looking at the wrong one, that's right outside Melitopol. Meanwhile, Ukraine also took back 3 settlements in Kherson oblast yesterday and there's unclear footage showing Russians doing something on the Kherson bridge. Seems likely though that they're rigging the bridge to blow if Ukraine takes the city itself back.
  25. The source is a Ukrainian official, so usual grain of salt. But, still... But this could be another reason Russia decided to vacate Chernobyl.
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