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Weekly Links #285

01 September 2019 — No Time To Play

Hello, everyone. This week, the game industry is having its very own #MeToo moment, as victims of harassment and rape stand up and speak out all together. As a man, I tried to keep my mouth shut for the most part, because this is a time to let women be heard. Let me add just one thing.

We've all known for a long time that the game industry is an incredibly toxic place, and this hurts everyone. Got my own war stories that I thought were pretty damn bad. But what I'm hearing these days makes me shudder. Once again, my cynical self is left in the dust as things go off the deep end. This, folks, is how bad we've allowed things to become. Crunch and GG were part of a pattern, see. Now at last we're getting the whole picture... and it's worthy of a horror story.

Enough with the excuses. You know what to do. No more praising these men to heaven and back. No more letting it slide. If you can demand extra romance options in your favorite game, you can also demand that the people working on it are treated with respect. For that matter, call out sexism in the games themselves, because it's often a red flag. Not to mention it perpetuates incredibly damaging ideas of how real women ought to be treated. In game companies and everywhere else in society. Which these days is already crumbling as it is. And we're running out of time to fix pretty much anything. Help out already.

In recent years, I started to notice how fearfully women look at me simply because I happen to be walking behind them on the street. In broad daylight, in circulated places. And I have these monsters to thank for it. One of them I even praised repeatedly in my newsletters.

Never again.

(Edit: woke up to the news that one of the people unveiled as abusers in this scandal took his own life. Which only caused even more abuse to be heaped upon... the victims. Good going, people. You didn't learn a thing from this whole story.)

In the way of gamedev, this week we have a write-up about cultural appropriation, and an article of my own about game cameras, in addition to a new request for help.


Via Andrew Ducker I learned of a fascinating article about the cultural appropriation of Irish mythology by modern fantasy writers and game developers. Been somewhat guilty of that myself, to be honest: The Fairy's Throne features hags, kelpies and banshees as opponents. In my defense, they're not evil, you're the one invading their home and they're not going to let you pass without a fight (which is never to the death in this game, by the way). And for the most part I made up original fantasy creatures in the same spirit.

Is it enough? Only someone of Irish descent can say. Will try to be more careful in future games either way.


After my recent release of the Eightway Engine, Nightwrath asked me when I plan to write any articles about it. And you know... it occurs to me I haven't written an in-depth technical article for a while now. A pity, because they used to be a staple of No Time To Play.

Well, this week I'm correcting my mistake with Looking around corners, or: coding the camera in a dungeon crawler. Why this seemingly esoteric subject? Because there's still value in games that take place on a chessboard. Turn-based games that give you time to think. Games where you have to move carefully square by square.

Also because for the longest time there was hardly anything to be found between 2D pixel art games and high-poly 3D with bump mapping and dynamic lighting: a desert of artistic expression. Imagine if painters skipped from colored pencils straight to airbrushed acrylics, refusing to touch any media in-between. Things have gotten better again recently, but we still have a long way to go.

How much have we been missing? I plan to find out. And as it turns out, all I needed was just over a hundred lines of code.


I'll end by pointing out it's the 1st of September, and hosting bills are coming at the end of the month. You've guessed it: book sales have been abysmal again. If you could send a small amount of money to my PayPal, it would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you very much, and see you next time, hopefully with more cheerful news.

Tags: news, politics, representation, worldbuilding, graphics

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