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Topics - Rococo Modem Basilisk

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Bring and Brag / Enki makes a game
« on: July 04, 2017, 02:18:16 pm »
I'm working on a VN based on a pitches I posted to the Original Story Ideas thread years ago1.

The elevator pitch is:
Groundhog day in a universe where all conspiracy theories are true
A more accurate description is:
Our protagonist dies unexpectedly and finds herself manifesting as a voice in the head of her previous self from the beginning of that day. Each time she dies, she is sent back to the beginning of the day, and must negotiate with her past self in order to find clues to prevent her own murder. However, the town in which she lives is full of shady dangerous dealings just below the surface -- ranging from organized crime and government conspiracies to UFO cultists and supernatural events -- any one of which could be involved in her death, and many of which will kill her even earlier. Each time she dies in a new way, and many times when she relives events with new context, she gains new clues that open up new options for behavior.

In other words, the mechanics of the game are like a first person version of Groundhog Day: you have a very limited time period you repeat, and by learning about the circumstances of the world new possibilities open up for different things you can do during the day, all of which can feed together. Content-wise, it's a bit like The X Files, where the town is full of mostly independent horror/thriller tropes.

Being a VN, the game is mostly dialogue and still images with the occasional menu. (This is a good fit, since having more flexible mechanics would distract from the important part of the game, which is the slowly mutating story tree.)

I've got about two hours of content thus far2. Right now, all of the art and music3 is also mine, though when I've finished the story I expect to commission new art (particularly sprites and splash screens), because my drawing skills have really gone downhill.

1 The original pitches are:
Ghosts, formed from the juxtaposition of traumatic deaths and strong dying wishes, live outside the bounds of time but have limited effects on the physical world unless they possess someone. However, possession is difficult, and works best when the ghost is possessing someone similar to themselves (and when the person they are possessing is not lucid). Under these circumstances, a ghost possesses the body of himself in the past while asleep in order to solve the mystery of who murdered him – and in the course of his investigations, sets up the series of circumstances that led to his murder.
After our protagonist dies on the table during surgery for ten minutes, he spends the rest of his life literally haunted by the ghost of the person he used to be – which becomes irritating as both he and his ghost develop independently and their personalities begin to diverge.

2 A recording of the first twenty minutes is here. I have the source on github, and will be keeping it relatively up to date. It's written with ren'py, a domain-specific language for writing VNs.

3 For many years I've been writing music under the name "Infocalypse". Most of it recently is in the style of horror movie sound track music. I went through and mined previous albums for possible BGM for the game. I have something like forty-six albums worth of material.

In order to avoid polluting the pics thread.

Literate Chaotic / Five word horror
« on: April 04, 2015, 05:45:47 pm »
Inspired by this.

Here's a few to start off with:

The anesthesia didn't quite work.
Strange shapes blackened the sky.
Yesterday the shadow grew again.
Below, rows of sharp teeth.

Discordian Recipes / Stupidly easy chicken thing
« on: December 13, 2014, 05:54:37 pm »
- 1-2 lbs Chicken thighs (not deboned)
- 2-3 jars salsa

Put chicken in pressure cooker. Cover with salsa. Cook on high for 24 hours, or until bones melt. Feeds one person for 1-2 meals a day for a week.

Literate Chaotic / Things that RAW was wrong about
« on: June 12, 2013, 04:38:42 pm »
Information theory
Waveform collapse
The academic standards of the authorship of Holy Blood, Holy Grail
The academic standards of the authorship of The Sirius Mystery
Carl Sagan's views on epistemology
Carl Sagan's views on pot
The conditions surrounding Tim Leary's first arrest
The Burroughs-Wheeler Many-World Interpretation
Some members of CSICOP
The cost/benefit analysis of long term habitation of deep space
The ease with which one can train gorillas

(Citations added by request; please add to the list as you see fit)

Techmology and Scientism / MY NEW INVENTION
« on: December 05, 2012, 05:38:23 pm »

Anybody wanna build this and see if they'll let you in a club?

Techmology and Scientism / The demoscene thread
« on: April 15, 2012, 05:06:28 pm »
We don't a thread about demoscene, and I know a couple people here are involved in/interested in it...

For the uninformed:
Quote from: wikipedia
The demoscene is a computer art subculture that specializes in producing demos, which are non-interactive audio-visual presentations that run in real-time on a computer. The main goal of a demo is to show off programming, artistic, and musical skills.
The demoscene first appeared during the 8-bit era on computers such as the Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum, Atari 800 and Amstrad CPC, and came to prominence during the rise of the 16/32-bit home computers (Mainly the Amiga or Atari ST). In the early years, demos had a strong connection with software cracking[citation needed]. When a cracked program was started, the cracker or his team would take credit with a graphical introduction called a "crack intro" (shortened cracktro). Within a year or two[1], the making of intros and standalone demos evolved into a new subculture independent of the software (piracy) scene.[2]

Here's a (strangely jingoistic and pro-Hungarian) documentary on the scene.

I don't know enough about the scene to say much more (it barely exists in the united states).

Think for Yourself, Schmuck! / RFC: A new model of memebombs
« on: February 20, 2012, 05:38:46 pm »
I've been thinking a bit more about RAW's filter model and how it relates to memebomb effectiveness. A memebomb is an aphorism; it is not a novel (which invites someone to willingly enter someone else's reality tunnel and look through their filters). Instead of being drawn as positive space (like a cathode ray tube -- which moves electron beams around to light up portions of currently dark phosphor -- or a painting -- which fills an empty canvas) it may be more suitable to consider a memebomb as a negative space (like an LCD -- which takes white light and subtracts the colours not in the intended image -- or a sculpture -- which is a chunk of rock with all the non-sculpture pieces taken out -- or a filter).

Someone encountering a memebomb unexpectedly will look at it through their habitual filter. You can perceive a memebomb as a secondary filter, then: an effective memebomb will highlight inconsistencies in an existing filter by removing the context that obscures them. Alternatively, you can consider one's habitual filter as a given: a person projects meaning only insomuch as his filter allows, and the text merely further restricts possible meanings (a kind of reverse Gantzfield effect: by adding sensation you restrict the domain of 'normal' hallucinations or projections by forcing them to coincide with the sensed world).

So, under this model, an effective memebomb will consist of a juxtaposition between several elements of an existing worldview. The 'target audience' should agree with the elements but be predisposed to disagree with the juxtaposition (i.e., the juxtaposition is locally consistent but conflicts with something else in the reality tunnel). Thus, the memebomb causes cognitive dissonance by laying bare a contradiction in already accepted beliefs without adding any new information for the target to accept. The target cannot therefore choose to reject the memebomb: he has already accepted it, but not considered it in isolation. The target is forced to consider and rationalize this juxtaposition (expanding the filter by adding a bag on the side full of twisty reasoning and justifications, which -- being the quickly-erected defense against an already successful attack -- can be hotwired by other ideas).

For a memebomb to be successful under this model, there are some things it cannot do:

1) it cannot consist primarily of new material, because the new material can be trivially rejected

2) it cannot consist of already-rationalized contradictions ("Can God create a burrito so hot even HE can't eat it" has been rationalized in various guises by the Jesuits and others for centuries, and is therefore neutered despite being a legitimate contradiction in the Abrahamic-Scholastic theological idea of God; it will work, briefly, on the rare poor soul who has never heard it)

3) it cannot be perceived as nonsensical (i.e., few people will project an emotionally intense meaning upon "Colourless green ideas sleep furiously" -- though this does not factor out all uses of language generated without intent, as memebombs can certainly be created accidentally)

4) it cannot be immediately seen as an attack, because it will be rejected and defended against before it is processed

I suspect that following the above rules will result in a slightly higher signal-to-noise ratio in memebombs, but that many effective memebombs will be filtered out. Indeed, there are clear exceptions to the above rules. My intent was to systematize the problems I saw in many of what I perceived as 'bad memebombs' exceedingly common on the SOMA. I am open to tweaks, suggestions, and (necessarily) flames about how I am shitting up the board with talk about RAW &c.

High Weirdness / Ex-RIM employees chew through restraints
« on: December 13, 2011, 02:19:00 am »
New details are emerging about the rowdy behaviour of two Research In Motion executives who were fired for disrupting an intercontinental flight — including that they managed to chew their way out of restraints after being handcuffed by crew members.

George Campbell, 45, and Paul Alexander Wilson, 38, each pleaded guilty to mischief for disrupting an Air Canada flight from Toronto to Beijing last week.


The pair seemed heavily intoxicated from the start of the flight, according to one passenger. They drank, passed out, and woke up to continue consuming alcohol and yelling at one another.

Campbell was described as a "rowdy and abusive" passenger who at one point warned that he would "off people when they left the plane," according to the Crown prosecutor.

A flight attendant said that Campbell also lay belly-down in the aisle during the ordeal, and began kicking the floor.

One of the men "assaulted a flight attendant and threatened to punch another," the prosecution told the court.

Crew members eventually handcuffed the two unruly passengers with plastic restraints and then with tape. But they eventually "chewed their way through their restraints."


The pilots, believing they could not make the trip to Beijing for security reasons, decided to divert the plane to Anchorage. As the situation continued to escalate they changed course again and headed for the Vancouver airport, which was closer.

During the final 80 minutes of the flight, "several flight attendants and a couple of passengers" restrained the two men and the crew initiated a "lockdown situation" so that no one was allowed to leave their seats.


Air Canada later pegged its losses for diverting the flight at nearly $200,000 and RIM issued a statement saying that the conduct did not fit with the company's "standards of business behaviour."

On October 31st 2011 at 10pm (ET) We’re attempting a world first…using the power of the internet to contact the dead. We need 100,000 people to join us on Facebook in a live Ouija experiment, where we’ll attempt to initiate conversation with the other side.

For The World’s largest Ouija Experiment we want to connect people together via Facebook to focus their collective energy in opening a channel to any entity that might be listening. Is it possible? We aim to prove definitively, yes, live, in front of 100,000 people or more.
I suspect that this is a scam to get people's facebook info. Anyhow, by the time most of you read this, it'll be done and we'll know what was supposed to happen.

Techmology and Scientism / Science says: pop music is simplistic
« on: April 20, 2010, 08:50:30 pm »
As some of you may or may not know, I spent last weekend away at a conference. The upshot was probably getting into the top eight in the competitive programming contest, but grading the poster conference was also fun. Anyway, one poster in particular was pretty awesome. I didn't have the foresight to photograph it, but I will retype the blurb from the booklet and list off the conclusions that I remember.

Author: Ian Jones, SUNY Plattsburgh
Advisor: Delbert Hart, SUNY Plattsburgh

A piece of music has many different characteristics that make that piece unique and recognizable. The fundamental building blocks of music are melody, harmony, and rhythm (Simon 2007). Being able to break down a song into its piece is often an arduous task. Previous work by Watts (1974, 1979), Kerns (2001), and Simon (2006, 2007) have developed adaptations of Entropy equations into forms suitable for music. There are four main equations, Melodic Entropy, Harmonic Entropy, Rhythmic Entropy, and Composite Musical Entropy.[sic]

Claude Shannon developed techniques to describe the limits of compressison and reliability of data whilst being transmitted. The main measure in Information Theory is entropy. Entropy H, is defined as a discrete random variable X and the measure of the amount of uncertainty associated with the value of X.[sic]

Music is clearly a form of information. It can be as complicated a message as a Beethoven Symphony or as simple as a lone vocalist. The question exists is what is the information content of these different composition and aside from their musical complexities, is there greater entropy in a Beethoven piece versus that lone vocalist.[sic]

This study will look at the entropy values of various pieces of music in the form of guitar tablature from modern pop to classical pieces, calculate entropy values for the fundamental pieces of the musics and be able to quantify the music by its entropy values.[sic] If assuming music as a language, and a base line entropy value is established, then an analysis of a particular song ccan be achieved.[sic] Based upon entropy and other factors such as sales and chart positions, it can be determined if popularity correlates to a divergence from the average entropy values. Concisely, can the entropy of a song point to how well a song will be received.[sic]

Aside from Mr Jones' problems with the English language, the poster looked promising. He graphed the entropy of every piece in the data set, and graphed a line at the average entropy position. His results were that classical music had the highest entropy and pop music the lowest. Of the pieces in the data set, Michael Jackson's 'Beat It' had the lowest entropy -- meaning it was the most predictable.

Bring and Brag / Narrative fragments
« on: April 03, 2010, 09:01:03 pm »
He was, at some level, manufactured. All of them were these days, of course, and his trained hand purportedly held sway over the vast organic machinery that took raw minds and cooked them, preparing them for lives as butchers, bakers, candlestick makers, doctors, lawyers, television game show hosts, and politicians. The funny thing about power is, like growing up, it only seems nice until you have it.

Now, some poor souls rationalized. "It's no good," they told themselves like junkies, "because it's not enough," and they went off to find the next hit, the next adoring fan or crouching, groveling servant. He knew better.

Power is useless without knowledge. Absolute power, like those lesser forms, was a magnet for delusion, and every decision opened the doors to a new minefield of seductive lies.

Discordian Recipes / Grilled cheese for people who fear stoves
« on: April 01, 2010, 05:45:55 pm »
- sliced bread
- butter or pseudo-butter spread
- cheese
- cooked ham or bacon (optional)

- toaster
- microwave

1) toast two slices of bread in the toaster, keeping one eye on the stove to make sure it doesn't attack you
2) butter one side of both pieces of toast
3) pile cheese on one piece of bread. If you use ham or bacon, stick that inbetween two slices of cheese
4) put the other piece of toast on top, butter down, then flip over
5) cook it in the microwave until the cheese is visibly bubbling out the side

Techmology and Scientism / Arduinos are pretty cool: the thread!
« on: April 01, 2010, 03:19:16 am »
So, I got an arduino this past saturday. Some pictures are in spagbook. Rather than gush about it there, I figured I'd gush about it here.

I've written code for bare AVRs before, and the arduino isn't much different -- it's basically just an AVR on an AVR-programming board, but set up so that you can use (most of) the AVR lines without taking it out of the programmer. That small difference was actually a pretty huge difference -- I never got around to building/buying an AVR programmer, nor am I particularly good at soldering, so I did a lot of code and designs using bare AVRs and never built anything out of them. On the flipside, in four days I managed to implement what amounts to a low-power PDA using the arduino and an LCD tutorial. This little guy even has a couple features my old palmpilot lacks (nonvolatile memory, autosave on a timer, a reset button that I don't need a paperclip to press).

I'm certainly not the only one building really fucking cool things with the arduino. lists more than I can count -- among the coolest are speech synthesis (it also sings) and a glove-mounted rock-paper-scissors game with an AI opponent.

Techmology and Scientism / ATTN 000: information theory nerdspaggery
« on: March 26, 2010, 08:18:54 pm »
I wrote a short python script to generate a first order markov model of a document (tokenizes by whitespace), and after each token use the equation i=log2(anbn-1/an-1bn) to figure out the difference in information from one token to the next in all of the token pairs in the model.

I ran it on the first 4539 words in the phrack archives, and used google docs to graph it:

Edit: Whoops! I forgot to mention: I model the HMM in terms of ratios a:b, where a is the frequency of a given pair, and b is the frequency of all pairs with the same first token. an would be the frequency of the pair after the current token has been added, and an-1 would be its frequency before it has been added.

I can post the code up in a bit.
Edit: here it is

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