Original photo and HOWTO via Windell H. Oskay and can be found at www.evilmadscientist.com.
tagged: battlestar galactica, halloween
Honestly, I'm waning on the whole "try and figure out Lost" thing. Part of me is now suspicious that the producers are doing their best to string viewers along. In short, the show is beginning to feel a bit like a tease and less like a puzzle.
For one thing, I'm not buying the "scientific principles" as a method of explaining much of anything on the island. They've tossed too much hocum pocum into the mix for me to try and look up how gravity or electromagnetism actually works and apply it to the show. Once you start putting "science" with "not necessarily proven or accepted as" in front of the concepts, the task starts to feel a little more realistic.
Which got me thinking - Locke keeps referring to the island as a living thing. Not just as a character in the show, like say New York in a Woody Allen film - but as a mover and player. In fact, the mover and player. The thing that brought them all there and gives him purpose and does everything. The Island is the Iago of Lost. It's virtually responsible for all the plot to be pushed along.
In the 1960's, Lovelock offered up his Gaia theory. This hypothesized that the Earth is like a living organism. The sum of its biomass is essentially an entity. How sentient and/or capable this being is depends on how radical one wants to apply the theory.
Let's apply it radically. The Earth is an intelligent and powerful entity on its own. You are a gnat on its backside. OK? Let's go.
The Island is the Earth's heart. It's a powerful nexus of biomass. The Earth protects this area when it sees fit through subtle changes of the weather. Boats in its path will narrowly miss it. Plane will narrowly fly past, or not see it due to cloud cover, etc. When it feels the need to - it drags people here. That's how a plane from Nigeria could drop here - freakish storm literally sucks it from one spot to another. This Oz without the ... well, Oz.
Think of The Island as Gaia's secret HQ. So from here on out, we'll just refer to The Island.
Four toed people, Black Rock, Magnus Hanso.
The Island has always had protectors. The original four-toed natives for one. When Magnus crashes his boat into the Island (or rather, the Island crashes his boat into itself) ... he becomes another. And by extension, so does Hanso and DHARMA.
Hanso and DHARMA
DHARMA's stated purpose is to extend the life of the planet - not surprising if we thing of Magnus as someone who has been employed by The Island. Along comes Valenzetti and his equation which predicts the (more or less) precise time for the end of the world ... and from that we get the numbers. So the numbers, the end of the world, DHARMA and the Island form more or less a straight line here.
From The Lost Experience - we know that the numbers are the output of the equation. They have to be adjusted to keep the planet moving. So let's think of the numbers as a cardiogram of the planet's health. This cardiogram is going to be present everywhere, because the planet's heartbeat is present everywhere. So these numbers crop up more than they randomly should because The Island is more present than it randomly would be? Why?
Coincidence and Fate
The Island works in mysterious ways. It doesn't always go tossing a tidal wave or knock a plane out of the sky to get things done. Sometimes it's subtle. Wings of the butterfly and all that. "Fate" and "coincidence" is really just The Island Getting Things Done. What caused the tear in Kelvin's suit that lead to Desmond refinding his boat and killing Kelvin and missing the countdown and crashing the plane? The Island.
The Island is one big life force engine - but remember its also thinking. It can decide who to heal and who not to heal.
Telepathy, possession and precognition
Consider these all powers The Island possesses. It can get in your head, mess around, communicate thoughts. It can somewhat see the future (and tell people about it) because its always got the "big picture" of what's going on. Think of it like playing chess where you can only see one square, but The Island always gets the whole board.
The Current Conflict
Stuff ain't going right for planet Earth. So it's bringing the war to the home front. The Others and the Losties might be a grand recruitment drive to try and get the forces in line to keep the globe spinning. The Others feel justified in their actions because they're saving planet - but they're still the good guys. They can organize lists and information because they've got the best intel on the planet - The Planet.
Wacky? Oh hell yeah it's wacky. But it also feels to me to be in line with where the show's narrative is going. Rose's stories pretty much back up most of it and Locke handles a decent part of the rest ... so its not nearly as much conjecture as it might seem. It's also congruent with certain other theories, like Mu or Lemuria or whatnot.
I'm not a big fan of this notion, don't ge me wrong. But I'm thinking if we apply the basic principle of The Earth as a powerful, living being - it merges the hocum pocum and science at (overly) convenient crossroads.
tagged: lost, television
Somehow, this is the Ouroboros of gaming. Threewave, makers of Threewave CTF, discussing in-game ads. It's an interesting read and discusses they whys (funding) and the do nots (spyware). Remember that Threewave predates Counter-Strike by like an Internet Age in terms of having an impact on gaming (one could argue that without TCTF, there might not be CS - which is probably overkill but at least debateable). Now Threewave is moving to the Source engine and increasing their development budget with ingame ads.
The head swims to take it all in...
tagged: game, gaming
Author and mommy Liz Perle takes a crack at Rockstar's Bully:
All credit to Mile Zero since I didn't catch the show. Colbert is really stocking up the geek cred.
OK, so this is a generated image via that URL at the bottom from Mile Zero (I swear almost checked that out). Keeping it up though, because it's funny.
tagged: game, gaming
Winkyboy sent along this page from Microsoft which outlines the latest beta of XNA Studio Express. Amongst the tidbits include the lack of "retail" game development as well as support for the content pipeline. Towards the bottom they point you to the "X" edition of the Torque game platform, which I can mostly recommend is worthy trying to giving a go.
Apparently Game Informer gave a full page spread on this and included the following links as resources:
It really feels like XNA Studio Express is still finding its stride, but I still think its great that Microsoft is putting this out there. I'm pretty content with Mac development right now, but there's a decent chance it won't pan out as I like. Hopefully while I'm goofing around with iTunes more people can put this concept to the test.
Thanks again to Dan for sending this along.
tagged: game, gaming
Why was last night's episode called "further instructions"? Because Locke can't do anything without the island telling him? Including apparently ... talk?
There seems a conflict with Locke's persona here. In one hand, he seems to be a leader constantly trying to struggle out of the herd. He's always under someone's shadow or thumb. Including on the pot farm, he seems to under the grip of the group more than he is able to charge on his own. This is how I was reading the "farmer" versus the "hunter" bit.
But he's still under the thumb of the island. Looks to stay that way. And speaking of the island having thumbs - what's up with Desmond? He survives an implosion with little more than a wardrobe malfunction. An implosion being that thing where everything collapses around you ... actually making it significantly more difficult to escape than say ... an explosion.
And not only is he OK ... he can tell the future? I hope the producers aren't going with some kind of "starchild" approach here where Desmond's actually dead and this is just some kind of Island Energy Being or some whatnot.
Overall, I'm with Hurley. I've got a bad sense of deja vu here. I keep getting more questions to toss onto the pile and slight little in the way of answers. This season we've learned the existence of Otherville (no big deal) and that they get baseball scores (also, no big deal). The Lost Experience has given us far more pertinent answers. By this time in Season Two, we knew more about DHARMA, the hatch and the experience than we would find out for the rest of season two.
Next week looks like more Other antics with Sawyer and I'm guessing Jack in the limelight. So I'm not expecting much new revelation there. Hopefully the mid-season cliffhanger will actually bother to explain something.
I'm starting to really feel for people I know who have stopped watching the show, however. A co-worker who has been on the edge of not watching commented this morning that, "last night was just a show ... take it or leave it."
tagged: lost, television
How is it that I did not know this:
In the latest podcast (stop reading now if you avoid such things as spoilers), the producers confess that Ben is probably older than DHARMA itself and has been on the island all his life. They suggest that this throws the general thinking about the Others into a bit of a curve. Are they ex-Dharmites or possibly the remnants of the natives the Dharmites experimented on? If they're the latter - why would DI still be making supply drops (especially since funding is supposedly cut now) if the inmates are running the island?
Why would anyone be still on the island running experiments?
Also, I didn't even realize that I called the numbers being an output of Valenzetti's back in May. Go me. One prediction right out of like 100.
Telepathy, Empathy, Whateverthy
I think evidence is mounting that Others are capable of some kind of mental hocum pocum. Firstly, they can generate lists of names in record time. Secondly, they always seem to be able to ascertain precisely what is on someone's mind. Ben seemed to be constantly aware of what everyone was thinking when he was a hostage. And again with Kate during breakfast. And Juliet had an incredible amount of information on Jack when she was working him over.
The Scooby Doo alternative is that they are just highly trained interrogators ... with access to an amazing amount of intel.
But the added weight which leans me to the metaphysical is that the island seems to constantly throw this at the Losties. Their past and their little worried thoughts aren't just flashbacks - they're boars and horses and people oh my.
Polar Bears and other tidbits
Lost still has a remarkable number of loose threads. Not just big stuff like the Others and numbers. The cable Sayid found. The transmitter we never saw. The corpses in the caves and their odd black and white rocks. The song on the radio that shouldn't be. Polar bears running loose for some reason. The cigarrete in Pearl. Planes which shouldn't be able to make their way to the island crashing on the island. Even the voices and the sickness seem to be more background noise than a concern.
We're about half way through the "first half" of the season (remember this year they're splitting the show into two smaller seasons with a mid season replacement and avoiding reruns) ... and I think they need to start knocking some of this stuff down. Hopefully they're intertwined. Adam and Eve we're assuming will be explained with the "native" explanation. The cable, transmitter and cigarrete might be explained with a fuller view of how the island works (underground tunnels, etc.). The song on the radio and crashing of planes probably connected to whatever "veils" the island.
Old Smokey and the bears, I'm still guessing, are connected. I'm thinking tonight we might learn more.
tagged: lost, television
The show is finally getting a pace which feels at least like a jog instead of a stagger. Still, the plot seems to suffer from some pretty convenient mechanics. Creepy Geeky Villain always seems to know where to be and always seems to be able to get there in a timely fasion and always can sneak in and now he can bring his buddy along as well. He's so omnipresent in the show that it starts to get a little hard to swallow. Just like how Heroin Painter Dude somehow published a comic in the last few weeks when he's been strung out on drugs and ... well ... painting (and not many comics are painted by one guy).
And since when is having Multiple Personality Disorder a superpower? Whore Webcam Babe doesn't seem any more capable than your average psychopath - especially compared to Hiro ... who is not only by far my favorite part of the show but also the only character I care enough about to remember his name.
Love it. Watch it. Need I say more? OK fine - I'm a bit afraid they're pulling out the whole Harriet romance angle too quickly. Sports Night survived on innuendo and undertone for almost a season before letting the romances get tragic. Still, it's a great show.
I'm still enjoying the show, but last night's episode was oddly disjointed. V's motive for getting into the "case" seemed missing, once again she seemed to almost stumble onto the solution and her apologizing to Logan felt almost like a twist ending. Gee, who could be surprised at not trusting Logan "Bumfight" Echolls? I mean, Logan is one of my favorite characters because he's fairly complex - but we haven't really seen much from him lately that spells trustworthy in terms of a relationship.
V's still my girl - but I'm afraid the show is losing it's noir. I don't think Season One Veronica would have protrayed Weevil's beatdown of a boyfriend in a brief piece of dialogue. But hey, at least he's back.
tagged: television, space time
Grand Poobah Dean Takahashi asks how Sony and Nintendo should handle returns with their upcoming consumer blitzkreig. Personally I think Microsoft can be faulted for trying to sweep their production problems under the rug - but at least consistently I've heard that their consumer response was good ... and with their recent offer to fix 360's for free that's hard to argue.
Obviously production problems can be avoided - but if it happens be gracious. Own up and offer the replacement the customer deserves. Better to make a good first impression this holiday season than hedge the profit margin by sticking people with lemons.
tagged: game, gaming
BBC has a quick overview of the modern bedroom game developer - a term that I'm completely for because it makes it sound so sexy when in reality you just make your significant other wonder when you'll do something productive. It's honestly not a great article because it splits it's time quoting Peter Molyneux as an example of what bedroom programming can do - while acknowledging that those days are over - and then talking to some length about XNA Studio (but nothing that would be new to a Cathode reader).
My goal (for the record) isn't to make the next Populous or Tetris so much as it is to try different things and hopefully get something that might add to the dialogue of games in general. Same goal as when I was modding - just that now as a "bedroom programmer" I might have an excuse not to have highly detail models (since oddly modders don't get that excuse).
To that goal, this weekend I got Rectango hooked up pretty proper to the spectrum data iTunes provides for every song and put in some basic effects which qualifies it as a fairly simple visualizer. I was having some doubts about the minigame design for this - but I think I've decided to push ahead with it for now. If one game turns out wildly stronger than the others, it might become "the" game.
tagged: game, gaming
Dr. Dobb's Portal had a sitdown with Chris Crawford and chatted Storytron with him (via /.). Oddly, even though interactive fiction is one of my
follies causes - I honestly don't follow Chris much and nor do I really side with either camp that seems to be for or against his standing in the gamedev circles.
This is partially because I keep drifting away from the concept of a storyworld as the saving grace of interactive literature (or more generically storytelling). But that's not to say that I don't find the idea intriguing and so generally wish well on those going after it - it's just not my cup of tea.
I do think the interviewer, Michael Swaine, gives Crawford a few passes where deeper questions would have been better ... for instance: