New Game

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As I previously mentioned, I’m not done with games. I picked up RPG Maker VX in a Humble Bundle a week or so back, and I realized that I should probably get my twelve dollars worth.

Things are still pretty early in the design process; I don’t even have a title for it yet! But I can tell you the basic plot and a few mechanical elements in place.

It is an RPG about two children playing pretend in the woods behind their house. The adventure that they have is a product of their imagination, so there are no real monsters or magic or anything like that. I’ve even gone ahead and removed a game over state, since it’s not like these kids are going to be killed by a monster that isn’t even there (check the gallery for that).

The current plan is to make it a really short (roughly an hour) game with a few “dungeons” to explore, along with boss battles and a couple of (also imaginary) NPCs.

Anyways, that’s all I have for now. Look forward to it at some point in the near future (God Willing).

The Scene

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Last night, I got really upset. Upset about games, the Indie scene specifically. To the point that I threw my hands up and said “fuck this” and told the internet at large that I was done, that I was quitting game development (after the release of Moonlit Corpse).

I’ve since reconsidered that decision, but I should probably talk about how and why I flipped the fuck out and made such a rash decision in the heat of the moment.

The straw that broke the camels back for me was the Indie scene’s total and absolute refusal to do anything about, or even simply acknowledge, if not outright defend, Soha Kareem and her followers repeatedly harassing and abusing marginalized people on Twitter, particularly trans people. This goes back as far as April, if not earlier, and continues all the way to roughly three hours ago, if the time stamps in my Twitter mentions are correct. No condemnation, no disavowing, not even a half assed “damn that sucks” apology from anyone. Which would be one thing, if these weren’t the same people riding hard on guys like John Bain, Mark Kern, or Milo Yiannopoulos, all of whom are guilty of doing the exact same shit. Basically, I’m being told that harassment is bad and unacceptable, unless Leigh Alexander and Cara Ellison like you, then you can dump on all the trannies you want.

And dump they have, as I got to spend a whole night of Soha’s Friends (not Soha herself, as she has left Twitter, blaming us Godforsaken shemales for her departure) constantly letting me know that I wasn’t a real woman and that I was a worthless racist who deserves to have “his” life ruined. You see, because Soha is a woman of color, any and all criticism, even if it’s “stop misgendering me and sending your followers to dogpile me,” is a broad condemnation of ALL people of color. Apologies to all of my Friends of Color, I guess I hated all of you all along.

And I’m sure this a complete and total coincidence, certainly, undoubtedly, 100%, but I’ve also found myself getting swarmed by whatever Gamergaters have wormed their way around the Autoblocker. Funny how I go from dealing with ~1 per month, to a sudden deluge. Now, I’m not going to throw out any accusations, but it’s something I’ll keep in mind for the future.

What I’m starting to slowly, but surely figure out is that nobody in this sub-culture actually cares about us. And by us I mean trans women, although that descriptor could also be used to describe the disabled, and/or PoCs that don’t have the “right” connections. Oh, they’ll tell you that they care, and that they love you, and you’re so important, but they don’t mean that shit. I threw myself headfirst into this Gamergate meat grinder almost one year ago, and I have seen nothing but more and more alleged, self-appointed progressive leaders throw me and “My Kind” under the bus if it meant that it would benefit them in some capacity. The continued lionization of Brianna “Trans Is A Medical Condition” Wu, who has proven time and time again that she is only in this for her own benefit, as she has frequently attacked us for not liking her constantly speaking over us, comparing us to the hate group that wants to murder her over video games. Anita Sarkeesian linking to essays written by TERFs, while her smug dickhead of a co-writer, Johnathan McIntosh, condescends and mansplains to women on a routine basis. Randi Harper’s weird blow up a few months ago, that suddenly and mysteriously saw Gamergate’s most notable, violent transphobes disappear from her blocklist, and suddenly reappear in our Twitter mentions. Leigh Alexander getting a wild hair up her ass a few weeks back and literally telling us to shut up about Gamergate because she was sick of hearing about it, as though the danger we’re still in is all over. All this, in addition to abusers like Soha constantly being given a platform to promote herself and put herself over as this amazing activist, while she and her friends harass my friends off Twitter when nobody is looking.

You look at all that shit, and it’s hard not to feel as though you aren’t welcome. Why would I continue to waste my time in a space that clearly does not want me? What’s the point? So I said I quit. They won. They beat me. They could have their three page Twine games and their circle jerk hashtags, I wanted nothing to do with it.

Twenty four hours later, I’m back to drawing maps for a game (look forward to that in an upcoming post). I logged back onto Twitter, dug through my 100+ notifications, and saw Indie developers and Gamergaters alike quoting my tweets about leaving, and celebrating. They were glad I was gone! So I got mad again, and told them that were wrong. I’m back, and I’m not leaving. I refuse to be another woman in Zoe Quinn’s “The Ones We Lost” folder. I’ll quit on my own terms, and not those of a hate group and a bunch of shitty assholes.

Like I said last time, I can’t crash through their gates alone. But I’ll certainly try.

7/13/2015

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I mentioned last time that I’ve had some projects in the works. All of which are game related. Confession: I haven’t really been working on them. I’ve been putting them off, choosing instead to dick around with any distraction I can get my hands on. This is not out of laziness. Rather, it’s from a lack of comfort. I don’t feel comfortable in this current Indie scene.

Over the course of this last year, when I re-entered Indie Games with Moonlit Corpse, I have watched, time and time again, every self-appointed leader who claim “inclusivity” and “acceptance,” throw Trans women (among other marginalized voices) under the bus the second it benefits them. Whether it’s money, notoriety, or a website gig, all that lip service of safe spaces and shit goes right out the window. It sucks finding out that you, as a person, exist only as a political football to be kicked around, or a walking ATM that someone can use to pay their rent or buy a new motorcycle.

Last week, an indie developer (who for the time being shall remain nameless) posted a list of Twitter users for her followers to attack and harass. Most of the people on this list were trans women have spent months on end dealing with the continued harassment of Gamergate. Their crime? Liking a tweet made over three months ago. Nobody raised a single objection to this. This is the same person who has sicced three separate dogpiles on Zoe Quinn over an imagined slight. The same person who, even before this incident, was abusing trans people, misgendering us, then when we get mad, tells her audience that we’re racist white hetero cis men who don’t want to see PoCs succeed. The same person who is responsible for driving my friend Peter Coffin off of Twitter, quoting his Encyclopedia Dramatica entry and attacking his family, in addition to his followers, all the while.

This person has, and will continue, to have a platform on places like Offworld, and other “alternative” game sites. She’ll continue to use her notoriety to attack and abuse anyone she has issue with, and get away with it. People like Leigh Alexander will be worked by scumbags like this couching their hate in social justice verbiage, promoting their games and Patreon accounts while the rest of us are still dealing with the fallout of Eron Gjoni’s act of abusive revenge porn.

“Stop talking about Gamergate!” Leigh and Friends have said. “Promote a marginalized voice me instead!” They’ll add, not realizing and/or not caring why so many of us are still highlighting the worst of this misogynist, white nationalist group.

Gamergate is a group that has, and does, attack minorities, cis and trans. They doxx us, deadname us, harass us, threaten us, encourage suicidal ideation, and will set out to ruin our reputations. Google Zoe Quinn. Google Dina Abou Karam. Google Alex Lifshchitz. Google Sarah Nyberg. You’ll find pages and pages of easily disproven horseshit that turns them into a liability. Video game companies are run by cowards, what if they get too much heat by hiring them? Better not take that risk!

Do you know how many trans women have been affected by this? How often we get hurt? How many of us have given up on our dreams? How many of us have had emotional issues as a result of this? How many of us have attempted suicide over this? Two of my own are dead as a direct result of Gamergate’s continued harassment! For Leigh Alexander and this shithead developer and her hashtag clique full of greedy assholes to tell us to give it a fucking rest already because they’re sick of hearing it and that they’re not the center of attention is a slap to our faces.

I’ve had these drafts on game criticism, and all these game design ideas drawn out, that I’ve wanted to share. But then I get stopped. Do I really want to get involved in a scene with so many ridiculous gates, fiercely guarded by these horrific gatekeepers? We are in dire, desperate need of crashing through these gates, but I don’t think I can do it all on my own.

Pride

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I know I haven’t posted here in a bit. There’s some projects that I’m currently working on, and hopefully you’ll like them. But there’s some personal things that have been bothering me that I haven’t really gotten out in any real capacity; mostly a couple of Twitter threads.

A couple weeks back, when the world was wrapped up in the fervor of Caitlyn Jenner’s transition, I made the mistake of logging on to Facebook. Now, I’ve seen some stupid shit on the internet many times, so nothing really shocks me. But I was not ready to see friends that I have had for the last ten, in some cases twenty, years suddenly swarm my profile and timeline with all sorts of gross shit. Having my childhood friends calling me a tranny faggot ruining America, or accusing me of stealing glory from ARE TROOPS RISKING THERE LIFES simply for being a trans woman at the same time as a celebrity, asking me when I’m going to chop my dick off, and my favorite, image memes of the “That’s a man, baby!” scene from Austin Powers. What a timely fucking reference! If I didn’t have a support network on the internet, who the hell knows what I would have done to myself?

Fast forward to yesterday’s monumental news of same-sex marriage becoming legalized nationwide. Any small joy I may have had was finding itself crushed by cynical corporations shamelessly adopting the rainbow logo, despite them gleefully not giving a fuck about LGBT rights until it became a safe bet, in addition to all the cis gender white dudes co-opting the Stonewall Riots and going right on back to telling us to STFU, everything is great. You know, despite the 40% homeless rate for LGBT youth, the fact that you can still be fired for being gay in 27 states, or the fact that Barack Obama fucking tut-tutted a trans woman of color for “speaking out of turn” only a day before.

Then, on a whim, I logged back in to Facebook for the last time before I logged off.

Literally every single asshole that cut me out of their lives for being a deviant “he-she” that will give them The Gay was now sporting that fucking rainbow flag. “Congrats on finally getting your rights!” “So proud of America for finally doing the right thing!” I guess it’s easy to support some abstract concept of “equality” as you act like a disgusting bigot to the people around you.

I’m mad. I’m bitter. I feel like fucking garbage. I wanted to be happy about some good news for once, only to find myself walked on and forgotten about all over again. Then when I make a little noise, I’m told to keep it down like a good girl, or boy, or shit, whatever you trannies call yourselves. It’s bullshit. I’m tired of constantly propping up self-appointed, fake ass “activists” that I know full well would not do the same if the shoe were on the other foot. I want to have some friends that aren’t on the other other end of a fucking computer screen!

I guess the honeymoon is over. I’m finally getting to see what it’s really like to be a trans woman in society. The view fucking sucks.

Gender Expression in Games (part 2)

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A while back, I wrote about making female characters in games. In all of that, there was something I didn’t mention, for fear of judgement: I love making my characters sexy.

When I started Saints Row The Third, I cranked up the Sex Appeal meter to full; I wanted to run around and shoot stuff with ridiculous mondo titties bouncing around. Hell yeah. In Dark Souls II, I threw on the skimpy Sorceress garb the second I got it. Same deal with Lightning Returns: I threw on all the swimsuits where you can see part of her butt. If you can see their bits and bobs, then I’m satisfied.

Now, I don’t do this because I’m a pervert or anything. Wait, I take that back: I AM a pervert, but that’s not the reason I’m so keen on sexing up my vid con protagonists. I mentioned before that in making female characters in games, I’m trying to make my “ideal” form. When I realized that I wanted to be a girl, I wanted everything that comes with being a girl. I want that body; I want to look down at my chest and be all “hell yeah,” and not have this flat shit that makes me look like a teenage boy, despite being in my late 20s. I follow a lot of women on various social media platforms, and I’m not going to lie: I feel a little jealous of them at times. They’re all so damned pretty, and seeing them be so damned pretty makes my physical “imperfections” feel all the more pronounced. That morning stubble is a little more rough. My voice slips to a more masculine tone. It sucks. Of course, I don’t say this out loud, because then it sounds like I harbor resentment towards my friends, and I don’t. I love them! I’m glad they think my weird ass is worth being friends with! It’s just bad feelings towards myself that I have.

In games, though, this is not a problem. I can go into a character creator, and give myself that female face and that female body that I’ve always wanted. I’ve always hated the concept of “games as a form of escapism,” but over time, I’m realizing that that is exactly what I’ve been doing. Once I fire up my Playstation, the gender problems I have in the real world (of which there are many) cease to exist, and I’m just a woman, plain and simple. I’m pretty sure it’s the main reason I still care about games, despite all the dehumanizing and demoralizing nonsense and falderal surrounding them.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that I only want sexy outfits. I want to be able to wear a ludicrous battle bikini as easily as I can a badass suit of armor covered in spikes and shit; I like having a choice in the matter. But being able to be that confident, sexy person that I wish I could be is something that I think is really cool.

5/31/15

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I’ve been having these terrible stress dreams lately. They’ve all been about me trying to exist out in the world as a full-on woman. Making sure my clothes and my makeup are right. Making sure my voice doesn’t “slip” back into its original masculine state. Making sure I stay safe. Making sure my friends still like me after they see me. It sucks. Of course, it doesn’t help that I’ve been stressed the hell out in the real world doing the exact same shit.

I’m not going to lie: there are a lot of times I’m terrified of going outside looking the way I do. So I take the Coward’s Way Out and go right on back to passing myself off as a man. I hate myself for doing it every single time. For some reason, there are younger trans women that look up to me, and what kind of example am I setting by doing that? I mean, it’s not like I hate being trans, or wish I never came out or anything like that. I’m just really afraid of what’s out there waiting for me if I don’t “look right.” Combine that with my own self-loathing and the ever-present Gender Problems (or dysphoria, as the normies call it), it’s a wonder I can even properly function like a normal human being.

I look forward to a day where this isn’t a problem.

Market

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“No way! That’s fucking disgusting!”
“Oh, come on! You’re stuck on top of a mountain, and there’s no food or water. It’s been at least a week, and you feel like you’re about to die. You’re telling me you would not drink your own piss if you had to?”
“No! Jesus, what the fuck kind of question is that!?”

There’s a very riveting conversation taking place behind me. My co-workers like to spend the end of the night shift talking about things like this, while I finish up rearranging the shelves. The guy who always starts these conversations is a nice enough dude, I guess. A young twenty-something who really loves his weed asking a girl about piss. This is his idea of flirting.

I said that he was nice, not smart.

I turn and add to the conversation. “I wouldn’t either,” I tell him.

“Okay, yeah, see…um, fuck. Okay, you chicks always say that you wouldn’t do shit like that, but let’s be real here: you would fucking do it if your lives depended on it. I fucking know it!”

I turn to the other co-worker, a girl barely out of high school who is only here until something better comes along. Hopefully soon, I’m sure she’s thinking. She has no interest in this guy or his lacking conversational skills, but she puts up with it for some reason. If I were in her position, I probably would have gotten fired for slapping him. I don’t hate the guy or anything, but fuck me, give it a rest! Guys always seem to think we care about their dicks as much as they do.

(That’s only true some of the time.)

The time is ticking down until we finally close and can get out of here. I see our boss, loaded up on caffeine and the most passive-aggressive mind I’ve ever seen in the retail world, which is really saying something, making the rounds. He doesn’t do any work himself, obviously, but he really likes to look over our shoulders frequently, in a way that he knows full well will make us uncomfortable. He’ll be here soon enough.

The real problem with this job is that it makes me feel like a misanthrope. I have no intention of hanging around this cast of characters outside of the workplace; they’re just a great way to pass the time. It’s very cliche to just say, “I don’t care,” but I kind of don’t. This is a job. I don’t want this. I want to be at home, on my couch, under a blanket, watching a movie with a pretty girl. I want to go to shows again, and fall in love with great music again. I want to join my friends in that “Bowling Night” they always go on about. I don’t want this: working with weirdos almost ten years younger than me just so I can appease some dickhead for a small amount of money.

But we can’t always get what we want, can we? With a sigh, I look back at the stoner and confess to him.

“Yeah, alright, you got me: If I had absolutely no other option, I would probably end up drinking my pee, okay?”

Memorial Day

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Like a Real American, I spent my Memorial Day at the (digital) racetrack. I took some pictures and felt like posting them. The car in these shots is the Mitsubishi Lancer X. I used it to win the GT Championship, since it fit exactly within the maximum car restrictions for the race.

Gran Turismo 6

Gran Turismo 6

Gran Turismo 6

I may end up uploading the custom soundtrack I use for the game at some point. But in the meantime, here’s this. It’s a love song based on an old Sega racing game.

“The Speed of Love (Super Monaco GP II)”

Toxic Masculinity

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Back in “the day,” as it were, I used to post on a video game message board. The other posters were grown ass men nearing their 40’s who never moved on from the Sega Genesis-Super Nintendo console wars (Sega was a perfect, gentle soul, and Nintendo were gay homos dragging America down a moral sewer), and still blamed Sony for the death of the Dreamcast. They were also extremely misogynist, racist, and homophobic. I wouldn’t be surprised if most, if not all, of them are proud Gamergate flag-bearers these days. I didn’t stick around this place long.

Anyways. One of them was having a serious crisis of conscience, and turned to his friends in his hour of need. You see, No More Heroes had just come out, and he really wanted to play it. The problem was that it was on the Nintendo Wii, which, as far as these guys were concerned, was a console that would turn you gay if you looked at it for too long and WHAT IF A GIRL COMES OVER SHE’LL NEVER HAVE SEX WITH ME NOW. Keep in mind these were grown men in their mid-late 30’s.

Eventually, the dude bit the bullet bought the system and the game.

About a week later, he wrote this long post describing how he had finished the game, then proudly sold his copy of No More Heroes and his Wii. He was done with that gay shit for queers! He was a man again!

Until another Wii game he wanted came out.

So he bought the system, again, and whatever game it was he wanted. He finished that game, too, and, again, sold both the Wii and the game. This happened at least two or three more times! This guy bought four or five Wiis, and proudly wasted thousands of dollars because he was worried people on the internet would think less of him as a man. He was that homophobic that he was willing to lose all that money because he thought a video game console was like a homosexual honey trap. And this wasn’t some weird bullshit story designed to troll a board of assholes, he posted pictures of the receipts as proof. Proof that he was still rugged and tough, I guess.

I have no clue where he is these days. Probably on Twitter sending out vile shit to Zoe and Anita, and muttering, “I’m a man, dammit” to himself as he waits in line for the Splatoon midnight release.

I bought Saints Row the Third today

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This game owns. I get to be a pretty girl beating people up with a big purple dildo while driving around listening to “Return of the Mack.”

But all that aside, there was something that really wowed me. The first “real” mission of the game (confession: I goofed around in the world for hours before actually sitting down and going through the story) involves your character and Pierce (a Third Street Saints Lieutenant) driving to a clothing store. They make small talk along the way, going over previous plot events. Then, out of nowhere, Pierce changes the radio station, and the two of you begin singing along to Sublime’s “What I Got.” Neither of you can sing, or actually remember the lyrics, and are too busy giggling and making fun of each other to care. It is a stunningly “real” moment in this ridiculously over-the-top action game with guns and a Luchadore street gang.

A lot of games in this hardware generation make this promise of emotional fulfillment that they never fill. Stuff like Bioshock, or Grand Theft Auto, try to “humanize” their characters, and make them more relatable to us. These attempts usually fail because they either end up getting shoehorned into an existing game mechanic, or, no matter how good the acting may be, it still feels forced; just some guys reading off of a script. With this scene in Saints Row, though, it doesn’t feel that way. It feels very real. Like, just two friends goofing off while a microphone happened to be nearby. Now, this is obviously not the case. Nine voice actors were involved in this scene: Pierce, and the eight voices your character can have. Credit is due to them and their director for being able to pull that scene off as well as they did.

But I would still like to see more things like this in games. People just being human beings, and not “video game characters.” Even if it’s only for a minute, like in Saints Row. Which fucking owns, by the way.