Great. I share a continent with Attila. That guy’s an asshole. Do I continue researching Education or switch to Iron Working because there may soon be Huns at the gates? If I can finish Education, I can start building universities to maintain a technological advantage over the Man of Mustaches and Horse Archers. However, if Attila decides to get frisky on my borders, all of my potential university students may be too full of arrows to focus on their coursework.
Welcome to Civilization 5! It brings the problems of the Roman Empire to your living room.
And do you know why there were so many Roman Emperors? Because those problems are addicting.
I’ve recently been playing Civ5 with the content provided by its two expansion packs: Gods & Kings and Brave New World.
Lately, though, I think playing the game has been taking its toll on me. Not just because of the “one-more-turnism” of its gameplay, although three hours of sleep a night does tend to fuel my delusion that I am a 6000-year-old god-king, but also because it rewards extremely antisocial behavior.
Antisocial behavior isn’t new to me. I played the shit out of Doom, which naturally turned me into a spree-killing aberration, frantically charging through the hallways of the space station where I live and grabbing floating blue spheres when my arms started to get tired from pulling the trigger on my plasma rifle.
And I have played the two most recent incarnations of Saints Row, both which feature scenarios such as the following:
But none of that compares to the profoundly antisocial lessons of Civ5. Sure, disregarding exotic animal care and handling is a crime, and practicing unsafe sex toy sharing makes you the dildo in that scenario, but the major difference is the scale. Saints Row et al. is N-scale compared to the magnitude of Civ5′s Human Shittiness Simulator.
For example, let’s say that your child starts the game as the Babylonians. They get a bonus to scientific research. Encouraging learning is good, right?
I started as the Babylonians. While waiting for my spaceship parts to build (required for a scientific victory) I started nuking the balls out of Ramesses II.
Then what did I do after I launched a colonization ship to Alpha Centauri, securing my scientific victory?
I started nuking the balls out of Julius Caeser.
Then Alexander the Great started getting upset about my nukes. I presumed that he wanted to study the technology, so I sent a couple (dozen) nuclear missiles his way, too.
The best case scenario for a game of Civ5 is that you are an unelected and immortal dictator, ensconced on your throne by divine birthright, benevolently robbing your subjects of their agency. Sure, you can adopt the Freedom ideology, but you still cannot get ousted or die of old age.
So, in Saints Row: you can go on a spree of tiger-driving. In Civ5, you create an uninterrupted tyranny over dozens of generations, and the only denouement that your citizens have to look forward to is the unholy light of a hundred nuclear detonations, searing their retinas so that they are blinded to the peaceful dreams of their forefathers, writ before 4000 BC when some immortal asshole grabbed the reigns of their civilization.
And if we didn’t do that, then we wouldn’t have the awesome Fallout franchise. Why do you hate fun?
Remember that authors live a glam life.
I am standing in the kitchen, above a puppy pad (clean, thank you) with my wrinkly-ass water-damaged manuscript sitting next to me on the pantry shelf, on a box of cat food. A mouse lurks somewhere in these walls. He is waiting for me to go to bed so that he can return to his game of Corrupt Sanitation Engineer. His game board is the cupboard. He makes his own pieces.
Isn’t the mouse the cat food?
On balance, however, I have peanut M&Ms so fuck the haters.
Dear Past Greg: why’d you make a category for one post? Now I have to clean that shit. Fuck you. Love, Future Greg.
Dear Future Greg: I broke your site. All that category logic? Probably broken. This was when it happened. Sorry ’bout it. Fuck you. Love, Past Greg.
Just had some live-edit fun of GXG.com when I accidentally overwrote my stylesheet with not-ready-for-primetime styles. In layman’s terms, folks, I done fucked up. And that’s why I’m making with the installs of git on my servers. And some kind of build process. Any kind of build process.
END CODETALK. AND SINCE YOU WERE SO PATIENT, HERE’S ME WITH A BEARD.
When working on a fictional story, I’m not terrifically anal about recording sources for this, that and the other thing. The act of creation is an act of synthesis, like making a peanut butter and jelly taco. And you must have different sources to synthesize, or else you’ve only synthed (Depeche Mode) or sized (Biggie Smalls).
But when I’m not writing about giant robot dinosaurs in UFOs (e.g. Guide to Moral Living in Examples) and instead writing about semi-historical World War I (e.g. Hephaesium-235), my academic training kicks in and a little voice whispers “cool story, but can you cite that, bro?”
The little voice raises an excellent point. The reader can distinguish between passages based in historical fact over passages based in prolix insanity by the fact that the latter are well-reasoned and linear, while the former are apeshit and unbelievable.
Thanks a lot, nobody in the past.
Plus, one of the reasons I got into fiction writing is because lololol History. Way better for learning how to write than most Creative Writing/English programs that I have found.
And now that everybody who values the ability to compose a coherent sentence over the ability to compose a coherent thought has left to add vitriolic fluff in the comment section, allow me to return to my point: I value citation, at least so that I can maintain a certain amount of academic rigor that makes me feel better about my lack of true peer-review. My current enabler is the Zotero citation management system. It replaces my previous system of writing irretrievably vague snippets of titles in a series of mismanaged and misplaced OpenOffice documents. And I upgraded to LibreOffice, too! Livin’ the future.
The only weakness that LibreOffice has is the same one that burdened OpenOffice: a reliance on Java. Don’t get me wrong, I think that Java as a programming language has many good features. The one issue I have, though, is that it is essentially crap when the end user has to interact with it. Perhaps there are many hidden sources of Java-powered goodness that I use on a daily basis that I don’t appreciate because, like all great software, I don’t even notice it. Like some kind of magic butler with an invisibility bodysuit, who somehow possesses the self-control not to post pictures of me taking my 9pm wind-down grumper on the internet.
(Seriously, invisibility cloaks? That’s how you get disembodied heads floating in space. Although that may help on Meat Night.)
But as an end-user application platform, Java owns two domains:
1. reminding me to update Java
2. spawning cryptic error messages in the gaps between applications
After attempting to integrate the latest version of LibreOffice (18.104.22.168) and Zotero Standalone (4.0.8) I ran into a delightful error message: “Could not create java implementation loader”
Among others. One source of the problem appears to be the Java version that the system is running, particularly if the older versions of Java (in this case, the migration from Java 1.6 to 1.7). Although the official Zotero documentation on the issue has a link to these very thorough instructions on clearing off old versions of Java, I ended up not following that post because I avoid mucking around in the Windows Registry unless I have exhausted all other options. You may think me a neo-luddite fucktard who is afraid of his own shadow (pssh, not mucking around in the Registry) but from my years of desktop support, I enjoy spending as little time as possible repairing and installing Windows, much like I generally prefer to take my 9pm poo in a proper loo rather than my trousers because of the inevitable aftermath.
I am become Reginald Feebus, the Hoity-Toity Gentleman of Privilege.
Fortune intervented and She prevented me from an evening playing – as my wife puts it – Progress Bar Commander. A few Google searches produced this link for an official tool that removes old versions of Java. Huzzah, it worked with only a quick check in Zotero to confirm that it had the path to the Java 1.7 executable.
What’s a little speculative fiction without a bald-faced ripoff and anachronistic speculation? Imagining Game of Thrones with less imperfect, outdated information: pervasive landlines and occasional cell phones, like if Westeros was in 1995. P.S. GRRRRR Martin, please don’t sue my breeches off.
“Hello, this is the Eyrie. Maester Nubeck speaking. Who may I ask is calling?”
“Maester Nubeck, I would like to speak to my sister Lysa,” Catelyn said. She had met Nubeck once. She had liked him, for in age and looks and behavior he reminded her of Ned, though in place of skill as a lord he had skill in telephony. He was one of the few whose maester chain included a link of copper wire, wrapped in layers of pitch-soaked cloth.
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I have upgraded WordPress, so as usual, please let me know if anything’s wonky around here (that doesn’t look intentional).