Eternal X 1.2

Discuss and unveil current Marathon projects.

Re: Eternal X 1.2

Post Feb 18th '19, 01:24

Looking great Lia, thanks for these!
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Pfhorrest
California

Post Feb 18th '19, 05:36

Thanks!

Regarding the wrong sprite being assigned to the O2 cannister, apparently there's just no HD 02 cannister sprite in the weapons plugin. Idk if there are any 02 cannisters anywhere other than my map actually. Also, the health cans in the plugin don't have Eternal colours. So, here are replacements for all four health cans in Plugins/Eternal-Guns/Items/ with proper Eternal colours and markings.
Attachments
health-cans.tar.gz
(65.66 KiB) Downloaded 38 times
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ravenshining
Hawai'i

Post Feb 18th '19, 21:41

Good catch, thanks!
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Pfhorrest
California

Post Feb 24th '19, 04:20

I managed to fix the WMC code so that you'll be protected from grav blade and WMC attacks as long as you're currently weilding grav blades or the WMC, as you requested. Your screen will still flash white, and you'll still be knocked around, but you won't take damage.

While fixing some bugs in the physics, I noticed that the overcharge of the fusion rifle does way less damage than it should for how much ammo it consumes. I tried changing the overcharge shot to the regular fusion shot, which goes twice as fast and does twice as much damage, and now the weapon handles a lot more consistently. It's still only half as much damage as emptying your clip on primary, but it won't take out a player with 3x shields, which is good because that means you can survive firing secondary underwater.

By the numbers:
Code: Select all
Eternal Primary  Primary  Primary  Charged  Charged
Version Damage  Backblast Per-Clip Damage  Backblast
1.1       15       80       720      180      960
1.2b9     15       15       720      180      180
git       15       15       720      360      360


I can undo that if you like, the physics needed updating anyway so I just rolled that in.

That's all on git, and with that, I'm ready to call feature freeze on the solo/coop campaign, unless we come up with a Hathor sprite and want to script a battle with her on We Met Once in the Garden.

Aside, I had some fun playing around with a lua idea:

https://youtu.be/vWJq_J1Hxkw?t=19

Unfortunately, it's waaaaaay too prone to abuse, often sending you clipping into the void and into strange places if you fire in close quarters, but it sure was a lot of fun! Put this at the end of 01000.txt if you want to give it a shot:

Code: Select all
function Triggers.projectile_detonated(type, owner, polygon, x, y, z)
    if owner and type == "shotgun bullet" then
      pNew1 = Projectiles.new(x, y, z, polygon, "shotgun bullet")
      pNew1.facing = Game.random(512)
      pNew1.elevation = 0.5 - Game.random(1)
      pNew2 = Projectiles.new(x, y, z, polygon, "shotgun bullet")
      pNew2.facing = Game.random(512)
      pNew2.elevation = 0.5 - Game.random(1)
      pNew3 = Projectiles.new(x, y, z, polygon, "shotgun bullet")
      pNew3.facing = Game.random(512)
      pNew3.elevation = 0.5 - Game.random(1)
    end
end


That is *not* in the PR.
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ravenshining
Hawai'i

Post Feb 24th '19, 17:36

Thanks a bunch Lia! I guess we're just waiting on Aaron's additions to a few levels now? Though if those aren't coming real soon now, I'm fine with calling a feature freeze without them as they're really not urgent and there can always be other versions later.
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Pfhorrest
California

Post Feb 24th '19, 21:41

If so, shall we release a beta 1.2.0-b10 or release candidate 1.2.0-rc1 ? There have been a lot of under-the-hood changes since 1.2.0-b9.
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ravenshining
Hawai'i

Post Feb 25th '19, 03:56

I want to wait for Aaron to respond first but if we do end up going ahead without his last few changes then I can try to put together a b10 some time this week or next. I get home tomorrow so will follow up after then.
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Pfhorrest
California

Post Feb 25th '19, 10:02

At this rate, I suspect it’ll be awhile before I get around to making any substantial changes. Off the top of my head, the one thing I absolutely think should be done before 1.2.0, other than bug fixes, is an overhaul of the secret in “Deep Into the Grotto”. Right now it’s too easy. I’m not entirely sure how it should be overhauled though.

There are a few massive things that need to be fixed before I’m willing to suggest going with a final release, though – most notably, the HUD plugin for network games.

I will say that if b10 gets released, that might actually be the spur I need to start working on Eternal changes again in the near future, though. At this point I’m just so far behind the curve that I don’t entirely know what I need to do to bring my local copy up to date. I’m in an absolutely dismal mental state right now, which I’ll explain at some point. Given that my yearly reminder of the most surreal event of the last two years of my life just passed last night, I’m hoping that I’ll start getting a better grip on reality again fairly soon, but even if I do that, I’ve also got a fair deal of school stuff to finish before I can start working in earnest on Marathon stuff again. I’m hoping that won’t be more than two weeks’ worth of work, but who knows.

Anyway, if the remaining bugs (the other ones slip my mind offhand, but I’m sure there was at least one other really major one) get fixed before I have time to submit my other planned changes, I’m fine just putting out a 1.2.1 release at the end of the year or something.

Sorry I’ve been so distant lately. I think it’s partially my fault for taking too much on; I kind of wound up cracking under stress.
“People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.” —V, V for Vendetta (Alan Moore)

“The trouble is that we have a bad habit, encouraged by pedants and sophisticates, of considering happiness as something rather stupid. Only pain is intellectual, only evil interesting. This is the treason of the artist: a refusal to admit the banality of evil and the terrible boredom of pain. If you can’t lick ’em, join ’em. If it hurts, repeat it. But to praise despair is to condemn delight, to embrace violence is to lose hold of everything else. We have almost lost hold; we can no longer describe happy man, nor make any celebration of joy.” —Ursula K. Le Guin, “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas”

“If others had not been foolish, we should be so.” —William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

Last.fm · Marathon Chronicles · Marathon Eternal 1.2 · Where Monsters Are in Dreams · YouTube Vidmaster’s Challenge
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The Man
Sarasota, FL

Post Feb 25th '19, 15:39

If Deep into the Grotto is literally the only thing holding back the release-candidate phase, I could go and make it harder on Saturday if you haven't gotten to it by then.
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ravenshining
Hawai'i

Post Feb 25th '19, 17:56

If you have some ideas, go for it and I’ll let you know what I think of them. Ideally I’d want there to be some sort of challenge that would increase the secret path’s completion time by about thirty to forty seconds, but I wouldn’t want it to be overwhelmingly difficult to pull off. It should be substantially harder than it currently is, though – ideally, players should encounter quite a bit more enemies along the secret path than they currently do (which is none). At the same time, enemies shouldn’t open up the secret path themselves, and ideally they wouldn’t even show up in those areas until the player opened them up. I can’t remember if we went for random location spawns for the enemies; the latter may not be an issue if we didn’t.

There are at least a few other things I’d like to before calling it a day with my changes – “Unwired” needs more rechargers; those two chapter 4 levels need changes to their outside architecture; chapter 4 needs more work with ambient sounds and gameplay balance. I might be forgetting one or two other things, but I don’t think any of them are major. Most of what I listed can be done fairly quickly and if I have time next month I can probably get them done in a few days’ work. It’s the outside architecture that is likely to be the most time-consuming, and since it’s primarily aesthetic, it’s probably likeliest to get held off for a 1.2.1 release. I’d like to be able to get to the others sometime soon; we’ll see how well I’m able to work on levels after midterms, which are sometime in early to mid-March.
“People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.” —V, V for Vendetta (Alan Moore)

“The trouble is that we have a bad habit, encouraged by pedants and sophisticates, of considering happiness as something rather stupid. Only pain is intellectual, only evil interesting. This is the treason of the artist: a refusal to admit the banality of evil and the terrible boredom of pain. If you can’t lick ’em, join ’em. If it hurts, repeat it. But to praise despair is to condemn delight, to embrace violence is to lose hold of everything else. We have almost lost hold; we can no longer describe happy man, nor make any celebration of joy.” —Ursula K. Le Guin, “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas”

“If others had not been foolish, we should be so.” —William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

Last.fm · Marathon Chronicles · Marathon Eternal 1.2 · Where Monsters Are in Dreams · YouTube Vidmaster’s Challenge
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The Man
Sarasota, FL

Post Feb 25th '19, 20:10

The Man wrote:I will say that if b10 gets released, that might actually be the spur I need to start working on Eternal changes again in the near future, though.

will reply to more later but have a moment to comment on this here: b10 is the feature freeze, so if you come up with stuff (besides bugs found in testing) after b10 is out, then it's not getting into 1.2, and will have to wait for a later release. if you want to scramble to get it all done in time for b10, though, then that's great.
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Pfhorrest
California

Post Feb 25th '19, 21:24

In that case I would prefer to wait on calling for feature freeze, as I probably can get at least some of my planned changes done within a month. I don’t expect to have time to work on the game for roughly the next two weeks, though.
“People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.” —V, V for Vendetta (Alan Moore)

“The trouble is that we have a bad habit, encouraged by pedants and sophisticates, of considering happiness as something rather stupid. Only pain is intellectual, only evil interesting. This is the treason of the artist: a refusal to admit the banality of evil and the terrible boredom of pain. If you can’t lick ’em, join ’em. If it hurts, repeat it. But to praise despair is to condemn delight, to embrace violence is to lose hold of everything else. We have almost lost hold; we can no longer describe happy man, nor make any celebration of joy.” —Ursula K. Le Guin, “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas”

“If others had not been foolish, we should be so.” —William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

Last.fm · Marathon Chronicles · Marathon Eternal 1.2 · Where Monsters Are in Dreams · YouTube Vidmaster’s Challenge
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The Man
Sarasota, FL

Post Feb 26th '19, 07:45

I doubt I can adhere to your speedrunning finickyness, Aaron. I don't play that style and when I want something difficult, I try not to hold back. So if ya'll want to wait before you do more, I'll leave that to you.

I still think a prompt relase of a b10 would be the most effective thing to do. I know that's not how your preconceived numbering scheme works, Pfhorrest, but for Aaron's sanity's sake it'd be best to package things coherently, and then I might be able to squeeze in some bugfixes if I'm working off a coherent release. Semantically, I think a feature-freeze would better be termed 1.2.0-rc1 than just another beta anyway.

But, if the real reason you want the next release to be a feature freeze is because it's tiresome work for you to package it, that I totally understand.
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ravenshining
Hawai'i

Post Feb 26th '19, 13:55

If the issue is of the difficulty of packaging the files, maybe can someone else take care of it?

If it's the numbering, which I kinda understand, I'm fine retconning out whichever one wasn't possible to complete (I think number six, but don't quote me on that), because I supplanted it almost immediately with another release a few days later. I never felt too great about that in the first place. If you don't want to renumber, it could be a Monty Python "there is no rule six" type thing.

More later - a lot more, actually, but I want to proofread it when I'm not as sleep deprived. For now, I'm actually going back to bed in a moment, though!
“People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.” —V, V for Vendetta (Alan Moore)

“The trouble is that we have a bad habit, encouraged by pedants and sophisticates, of considering happiness as something rather stupid. Only pain is intellectual, only evil interesting. This is the treason of the artist: a refusal to admit the banality of evil and the terrible boredom of pain. If you can’t lick ’em, join ’em. If it hurts, repeat it. But to praise despair is to condemn delight, to embrace violence is to lose hold of everything else. We have almost lost hold; we can no longer describe happy man, nor make any celebration of joy.” —Ursula K. Le Guin, “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas”

“If others had not been foolish, we should be so.” —William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

Last.fm · Marathon Chronicles · Marathon Eternal 1.2 · Where Monsters Are in Dreams · YouTube Vidmaster’s Challenge
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The Man
Sarasota, FL

Post Feb 26th '19, 17:25

It's not about difficulty of packaging, and only slightly about the planned numbering scheme, and more about just trying not to let the planned feature freeze keep slipping further and further. Originally I expected that beta 5 was going to be feature complete, but then you both had so much more to contribute all at once at the end of the year and were making those unofficial betas that I thought, okay, a couple more of those, beta 9 for all of that plus my last bugfixes and then one more beta with the remaining stuff you guys have to add, and then that will be the feature freeze.

I guess if it's just having a coherent package to work from that's keeping the last of those features from being finished (though I don't really understand why that would be the case), I could be okay with one last beta 10, and then like Lia says calling the feature freeze RC1 instead.
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Pfhorrest
California

Post Feb 26th '19, 21:17

As mentioned in the Discord, I’m just not in a good place right now, partially due to mental issues and partially due to physical illness. On the latter count, I went in to see the doctor today and I’ve actually lost five pounds over the last week, have abnormally low blood pressure, and am severely dehydrated. I’m also going to have to be essentially vegan for the next few weeks, at least, until my stomach illness subsides.

Regarding the mental issues, I actually wrote a long post last night explaining a lot of what I’ve been dealing with in detail, but I’ve decided to hold it back until I can properly proofread it, because I didn’t feel completely lucid when I wrote it. I’m hoping to post it tonight.

…ETA: I forgot to explain my point, lol. Anyway, because of that, it probably would be at least somewhat helpful to have all the changes laid out, mostly because tracking down a definitive list of what’s changed seems a rather daunting task right now. Breaking down large tasks into small steps poses me problems at times, and for various reasons, this is one of those times. I might’ve explained why this is already in my forthcoming post. If not, I’ll try to remember to add it.

…and I’ll probably post the thing tomorrow because right now I’m utterly exhausted and need sleep.
“People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.” —V, V for Vendetta (Alan Moore)

“The trouble is that we have a bad habit, encouraged by pedants and sophisticates, of considering happiness as something rather stupid. Only pain is intellectual, only evil interesting. This is the treason of the artist: a refusal to admit the banality of evil and the terrible boredom of pain. If you can’t lick ’em, join ’em. If it hurts, repeat it. But to praise despair is to condemn delight, to embrace violence is to lose hold of everything else. We have almost lost hold; we can no longer describe happy man, nor make any celebration of joy.” —Ursula K. Le Guin, “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas”

“If others had not been foolish, we should be so.” —William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

Last.fm · Marathon Chronicles · Marathon Eternal 1.2 · Where Monsters Are in Dreams · YouTube Vidmaster’s Challenge
User avatar

The Man
Sarasota, FL

Post Feb 26th '19, 23:17

I'm sorry to hear you're feeling so bad Aaron. I hope you get better soon.
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Pfhorrest
California

Post Feb 28th '19, 01:11

Thanks.

Here’s what I’d written… two days ago, was it? I have a hard time perceiving time accurately right now, for reasons that I think were probably explained in this >5,000-word wall of text. I threw in a couple of asides that I added after the fact, which are in [brackets]. I may also have updated a couple of dates that were current at the time of writing, also using brackets.

§

I should be asleep, because I’ve completely fallen apart over the last few weeks, but I think until I sort my thoughts out, I’ll be too distracted by them. This will be kinda stream-of-consciousness and lightly edited at best, and I don’t feel fully coherent; I keep mixing up words. But my whole brain is mixed up and until I untangle all the factors I doubt I’ll fix it. I’m posting this here because I think some of the unresolved issues I’m dealing with may have gotten linked to Eternal (and to Chronicles) in my psyche, and to explain that, I think I need to start at the beginning.

I have a bunch of psychological disorders. The big three right now are ADHD, autism (technically “autism-spectrum disorder”, but I hate the term for numerous reasons and won’t be using it), and depersonalisation-derealisation disorder (which I’ll abbreviate DPDR for everyone’s sake). There’s also quite a bit of PTSD and secondary trauma and some “components of OCD” (I never learnt exactly what that diagnosis meant) mixed in. This has coloured my whole view of life and it’s probably held me back from attaining a dream job.

When I was in high school, I was an active participant in our Drama League. Nearly all of my close friends were in that group. I recognised even then how talented a group it was. I wasn’t nearly as witty or charming as some of the group’s most talented members, but I learnt a lot from them and was able to accomplish quite a bit behind the scenes, in particular doing sound design for a play that won us several awards. This group is still incredibly important to me, even though I haven’t seen any of them in person in years and probably haven’t spoken to any of them in months. My involvement there was one of the three happiest times of my life. (And one, whom I wouldn’t consider a close friend but who probably wasn’t just a casual acquaintance, won a prestigious, internationally covered award two years ago that was surrounded by one of the most surreal and headline-grabbing events in the history of that awards ceremony. This will become important later. Many of you have probably already heard me talk about the award, and I’m very proud of her for winning it, but I want to keep this in some semblance of chronological order.)

I learnt about the autism diagnosis when I was eighteen, after I had graduated high school and flunked out of my first semester of college. This lost me several thousand dollars’ worth of scholarships. I’d guess the number ranked in five figures, but I don’t remember entirely. The diagnosis was a shock to me and I went into a state of denial – as in, I literally refused to accept that I had autism. I’d never seen any favourable portrayals of autism in the media. I had no role models. It wasn’t romanticised the way depression and some other ailments are (unrelated, but I hate the way media often romanticises suffering). It was the province of freaks and weirdos with no friends. I had friends in high school. Three of them actually built parts of levels in Marathon Chronicles, and one of them named it. In any case, I refused to accept the diagnosis for years.

What brought me out of my denial was a romantic relationship that lasted for some three years. I recognised how much differently I behaved with my ex than I did with anyone else. I actually made eye contact with her! I was way more animated with her than I was with anyone else and hung on her every word. I didn’t do that with most of the people I met. Recognising how much different I was with her was a sort of revelation.

Unfortunately, the relationship didn’t last. A combination of distance, her trauma, my autism, and both of our depressions overwhelmed the relationship. We are still on good terms and usually talk a few times a year.

I spent a lot of my twenties and early thirties writing posts on message boards. That was, in fact, probably my primary use of free time during my twenties. I considered it something of a waste in my early thirties. In some respects, it was. However, I honed my ability to communicate with others. And this is important.

Most people with autism are… not verbally fluent. Even “high-functioning” people like me often have difficulty expressing themselves in a fashion that neurotypical audiences understand. However, I spent an inordinate amount of time obsessing over message boards. Autistic people frequently develop a small handful of obsessions. For most of my twenties, those were music, politics, and message boards. The message boards themselves, it should be clear, were the obsession. The back and forth of conversation where I could see what I was going to say before I actually said it was a novelty to me. I felt comfortable expressing myself in a way I hadn’t before, and I did so at length. At the time, I had never written that much.

I encountered frequent difficulties communicating with others, though. It took me awhile to realise this, but the autism itself was usually the cause of the barrier. And I’m not going to front here – sometimes it still is. It’s nowhere near as commonplace as it was when I was in my twenties. Seriously, I was a dick ten years ago. I can still be something of an asshole from time to time, but I hope it’s nowhere near as often.

In any case, obsessing over that form of communication gave me a form of verbal fluency I suspect very few autistic people develop. It’s given me a significant draw towards creative endeavours. I’m studying information technology because I want a reliable day job, but I think I’d enjoy even more being something like a creative consultant on films regarding disability issues or (if I ever get my act together) a screenwriter.

This is where I’ll return to the Drama League, because one of my classmates, with whom I attended school for seven years and with whom I worked on several plays, won the 89th Academy Award for Best Picture. And I mean that literally. The Academy Award for Best Picture is awarded to the producers of the film. She was one of the producers of Moonlight.

I have one degree of separation from an Academy Award winner. I have to remind myself of that from time to time, because I don’t really believe it. I mean, she deserves it. She probably deserves it more than anyone else I’ve ever met, honestly. I knew the Drama League had a number of immensely talented individuals, and it really didn’t come as a surprise that one of them became famous. But I can’t process it. The world isn’t usually that fair.

I haven’t really discussed Moonlight itself yet. If you haven’t seen it, it’s a low-budget film about a lower-class, queer black man in Miami named Chiron and his struggle to accept his identity while being shuffled through an indifferent and unjust system. I won’t go into spoilers, but Chiron’s struggle to accept his identity is by far the most honest one I’ve ever seen in fiction, and the only one that even comes close to mirroring mine in any respect.

I’m not particularly similar to Chiron, superficially – I had an upper-middle-class upbringing; my main identity struggles have related to autism and various other mental disorders; and so on. (There are numerous other aspects I could explore, but most are not relevant.) Chiron does exhibit a certain awkwardness that felt familiar to me, but it’s not explored in any great depth and it may simply be a product of his sexuality.

Regardless, I felt his story was so close to my story that I could use it as a reference point for others when discussing how I have come to accept my identity as an adult. I have never actually felt that way about a fictional character before. There were certainly fictional characters I identified with (Ofelia from Pan’s Labyrinth comes to mind), but none that I felt were doppelgängers of myself.

I’ve spent a long time gushing about the film, and there’s a reason for that – it’s by far my favourite film ever made. I’ll always have a place in my heart for Pan’s Labyrinth, the film it displaced as my favourite, but I literally think of my existence now in terms of Before Moonlight and After Moonlight. My connection to the filmmakers is a secondary reason; the film itself is the primary one. It actually reframed my way of thinking about the world, and the reaction it received further reinforced that reframing. It wasn’t just a critical and awards success; it was a bona-fide popular success as well. It made some fifteen times its budget at the box office. It helped me accept something I had always hoped, but had never really seen sufficient evidence for before: great art, a well told story, can literally change the world.

I think it’s worth lingering here on the fact that this is one of the most surreal aspects of my existence, because I can’t extricate it from the Drama League. Again, that was one of the happiest times of my life. I also think of my existence, in some ways, in terms of Before Drama League, During Drama League, and After Drama League. And that group made an indelible impression on me. I would not be who I am today without them.

I’m going to skip around now a bit to some of my psychological issues. I think the first important one is probably a PTSD diagnosis I got after a car accident about five years ago. I still don’t understand exactly what happened to me, but I think I may have briefly blacked out during the accident. I don’t remember the moment of impact. I have vague recollections of the time immediately after it, but I don’t really trust them. The memory is a tricky thing. The very act of thinking about a memory changes the memory.

I usually try to avoid thoughts about that accident. I did literally have a PTSD flashback to it a few months after it occurred. I need to mention, as an aside, that I hate the way “triggered” is now used as derogatory slang to denote mild offences. A lot of people don’t understand what a PTSD flashback is; it is nothing like being offended. It is the brain literally reliving one of the worst moments in a person’s life. The traumas are re-experienced in full, and the progress made towards coping with the disorder is often completely wiped out. Think of the brain as a computer program. After a traumatic experience, the code at a particular segment gets overwritten with all the garbage that accompanies the traumatic experience, and when a person has a flashback, the computer runs a goto statement that directs the consciousness back to the overwritten garbage. The brain reruns the code and all the garbage comes back to the forefront.

I have (thankfully) only had one full-blown flashback, but I think after that accident, I was never the same. I’ve certainly had much more difficulty with traumatic experiences than I ever did before.

I’m going to switch now to depersonalisation and derealisation. I’ve written about this before, but I might as well repeat myself, because many of you may have forgotten or never read about it. I also wasn’t in the throes of both of these things the last time I wrote about them, so this may be a bit more on point as a result.

Depersonalisation is the state of ceasing to feel like a real human being – in other words, exactly what it sounds like. I don’t feel like I’m a human right now – or at least, I don’t feel like I’m in here. I might be a robot. I might be an actor portraying myself in a poorly written TV programme (probably written as a bad pastiche of Philip K. Dick) that honestly should’ve been cancelled three seasons ago when the writers ran out of ideas. I think that last one sounds plausible. Sometimes I get the sensation of experiencing everything that’s happening to me from above my body, as though I’m a detached observer. In any case, I’m not here.

Derealisation is the state of ceasing to feel like one’s surroundings are real. I perceive a veil separating me from reality. I don’t actually see it, but I’m convinced it’s there right on the periphery of my vision. Everything that occurs to me feels like it’s some sort of dreamlike experience. Maybe this is purgatory and we’re condemned to go on, thinking all these surreal occurrences are actually real. Maybe I’ve started hallucinating. Maybe I somehow stumbled into the Mirror Universe. Or this is the Bad Place. In any case, this isn’t happening.

For awhile after the November 2016 election, I made jokes about this being the Darkest Timeline. At some point, they kinda ceased being jokes. I feel there’s something profoundly unrealistic about my experiences, and because of that, my brain has ceased to accept them.

I should be clear: this is not a psychosis. I know full well that all of this is in my head. It’s a struggle between logic and emotion, and right now, emotion is winning. Logically, I know everything I see is real, and I know I’m still a human being whose brain is just on the fritz. Emotionally, none of this helps.

I discovered this diagnosis in a really strange way: the music of the rock band Counting Crows. I listened to their album August and Everything After in the car, and as I often do during car listening, I paid much closer attention to the lyrics than I’d done in some time.

I identified really closely with them. Uncannily closely. So closely that it scared the shit out of me. Because they are not lyrics that reflect a well-adjusted view of the world. They reflect – well, here. I’ll just quote “Round Here”.

Step out the front door like a ghost into the fog
Where no one notices the contrast
Of white on white.
And in between the moon and you
The angels get a better view
Of the crumbling difference between wrong and right.
I walk in the air, between the rain,
Through myself and back again.
Where? I don’t know.
Maria says she’s dying.
Through the door I hear her crying.
Why? I don’t know.


That “in the air, between the rain, through myself and back again; where? I don’t know” might sound metaphorical. I can assure you that it absolutely isn’t. It is a completely accurate description, at least from the perspective of one’s own subjective perception, of an experience I’ve had several times. It’s referred to as desomatisation, the sense of leaving one’s body. This commonly occurs alongside depersonalisation-derealisation disorder (which I will henceforth abbreviate as DPDR for everyone’s sake). It’s scary at the best of times.

She says, “It’s only in my head.”
She says, “Shh, I know – it’s only in my head.”
But the girl on the car in the parking lot
Says, “Man, you should try to take a shot.
Can’t you see my walls are crumbling?”
Then she looks up at the building
Says she’s thinking of jumping.
She says she’s tired of life
She must be tired of something


I should clarify here: I’m not suicidal. I haven’t been suicidal in years and I have a strong enough support system that if I ever harbour suicidal thoughts again I can easily discuss them with any number of people who will pull me back from the brink. The only real concession I make to suicidal impulses is that I refuse to keep a firearm in the house as they are a major danger to anyone with histories of suicidal impulses.

However, the mood swings of Adam Duritz’ feminine alter ego Maria otherwise reflect my experience fairly well: put bluntly, she says she knows her problems are in her head; then she invites the singer to fuck her; then she confesses she’s contemplating suicide. That’s quite a mood swing, and it’s quite an unhealthy view of sex on her part. And yet it feels incredibly familiar.

I usually keep my mood swings pretty well in check, though as people here can attest, I’ve had a few failures on that end. I feel like emotion and logic should both play important parts in one’s thinking: empathy is necessary for human society to even function, but allowing emotion too much reign over your thinking makes it difficult to be empathetic to those you’re less close to.

The song that really transfixed my concerns was probably “Raining in Baltimore”, a song about missing an ex who was far away from the singer, and the dissociative state he was in:

This circus is falling down on its knees
The big top is crumbling down
It’s raining in Baltimore, fifteen miles east
Where you should be, no one’s around

I need a phone call
I need a raincoat
I need a big love
I need a phone call

These train conversations are passing me by
And I don’t have nothing to say
You get what you pay for, but I just had no
Intention of living this way…

And I get no answers
And I don’t get no change
It's raining in Baltimore, baby
But everything else is the same…

There’s things I remember and things I forget
I miss you; I guess that I should
Three thousand five hundred miles away
But what would you change if you could?

This song has been one of my favourites on the album since I first heard it, but it utterly destroyed me during that car trip. I think I was literally tearing up. I might’ve had to pull over to collect myself.

When I got a spare moment, I looked up Adam Duritz and discovered his diagnosis of DPDR. Instinctively, I immediately knew this was what was afflicting me; in these and several other songs, Duritz had perfectly described my mental state in a way I, at the time, lacked the ability to do.

I go on now, as this post makes clear. At the time, I struggled to write a paragraph. After five, I was spent. I have never had a worse case of writer’s block in my entire life, and I was at a complete loss to explain what I was suffering.

Looking up DPDR, I came across lists of symptoms and possible causes. Most, though not all, of the symptoms described experiences I’d had. I’ve listed several of them above. The potential causes were varied; traumas were listed as one possible contributing factor, but the clincher was “unexpected death of a loved one”.

I had unexpectedly learnt that my uncle had died a few months before. I had grief over his death, but this was way different than any previous grieving process I’d had. The before-and-after of my uncle’s death was like a night and day difference in my brain, much as the car accident that caused my PTSD had been. It’s like a switch somewhere in the brain was turned off.

I’m not a hypochondriac with this stuff, and my therapist and psychiatrist both quickly confirmed that my self-diagnosis was correct. I eventually got over my first bout of DPDR, but it took months. I switched medications to an anti-anxiety regimen, which I think was a substantial help. There is unquestionably a large anxiety component to DPDR. I did start to regain my ability to write by the end of it.

Anxieties at the time included work (I had a job that I really loved, despite occasionally being stressful, but I knew it was soon to come to an end), school (I had made a complete hash of that semester and had to replace the class), grief over an unexpected death in the family, and current events. The current events alone made it difficult to come to grips with reality. Adding the other factors on top, I think, made my brain simply reject external stimuli. I think my brain was and is overloaded.

I don’t know why it’s just now occurring to me to mention this, but I’ve written a lot about Moonlight. And when I say “a lot”, I don’t mean “length of this post”. I mean that, even if you exclude an off-topic appendix, it’s around 65,000 words. It’s not all directly about the film – about a third of it relates to cultural analysis explaining why I find the film so important, and about a third of it is autobiographical, explaining why I reacted so deeply to the film. But, I think for two reasons, I never finished it.

First, I couldn’t keep up with current events. Who possibly can? I think if I ever do publish this thing, I’m just going to have to add a note to that effect. I’ll have to address a few major events, such as Charlottesville, the Tree of Life shooting (in case you didn’t notice by my name, I’m Jewish, so this one hits close to home), #MeToo, and Parkland. But I can’t address everything.

Oh… Parkland. I forgot to mention that, too. I lived literally four miles from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School for three years. It wasn’t built yet, but it was a four-mile drive. That hit close to home. Those kids could’ve been me. In a way, those kids are me. They remind me of the Drama League. I’m not surprised some of them are changing the world in ways we could’ve only dreamed of when we were that age.

But the other reason I never finished my book (and that’s what it is) was DPDR. I couldn’t write for months, and when I regained my ability to do so, I was disconnected from what I’d written and intimidated to go back. I think I must have subconsciously understood that I was missing something.

I wondered for awhile why, understanding my gifts as a writer and having a direct (albeit long-ago) connection to an award-winning Hollywood producer, I didn’t simply pour my efforts into screenwriting. I think there are two major reasons. The first is that I had a major unfinished project that I wanted to finish. And I’ll have more on that. The second is that game development has offered me something I had been missing for a long time: the ability to work on a creative work along with a group of other skilled individuals.

I had that with the Drama League, and I mentioned that it was one of the happiest times of my life. I think that’s a large part of why. It’s not as though things were perfect. I wanted an opportunity to try acting, and I never really got one. I understand now that, given that I had no idea I had autism, I probably would’ve been hopeless as an actor at that point. I probably still wouldn’t be too good. But even though I felt like I was sort of on the sidelines, I was part of something bigger than me, and the end products felt amazing. I felt like I was accomplishing something as a team.

Message boards, I think, became an obsession in my twenties as a proxy for the Drama League. I didn’t find anything like the Drama League again, but I did serve as a staff member at several message boards at that point. I was fairly helpful on the technical end, but to be honest, I was kind of a dick as a moderator. I got better later, but it’s not something I really have any desire to try again. I can resolve conflicts, but it’s usually stressful, and the last thing I need right now is more stress.

Game development, though – being part of the team that’s developed Eternal 1.2 actually does kinda feel like the Drama League, even though none of this is in person. And the same goes for Chronicles, with RADIX’ superb artistic contributions. I feel like Eternal has a really great story to tell, and it does so well. And being part of a collective effort to improve the game has resulted in all of the improvements being a lot better balanced and a lot better thought out than any of our work would’ve been on its own.

I don’t want that to end, honestly. Now that I see it in this light, I think that’s been at least 30% of what’s been delaying my putting the final touches on it. There are other reasons, too – I’ve documented quite well a number of mental stresses I’ve had, and I haven’t even delved into all of them. I’m not going to touch on my job – though that’s a tremendous source of stress right now due to my DPDR, and I think they’re kind of feeding each other – or my schoolwork – I find it difficult to learn anything right now. But I think I just don’t want to admit that the project is coming to a close.

I have a difficult time letting go. I still haven’t completely let go of the Drama League, and that was nearing on twenty years ago.

At the same time, I’ve left so many major creative projects unfinished, and that’s its own source of anxiety. It’s probably why I came back to Chronicles after so long. And I feel even more of a responsibility to finish it now, because of something that’s happened since I resumed working on it last year.

I’d left out the elephant in the room until now. And here I must place a trigger warning for suicide. The last thing I want is for anyone to kill themselves as a result of reading this. If you are currently harbouring thoughts of suicide, I strongly encourage you to stop reading immediately after this paragraph; instead, please contact a resource for help. If you’re American, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255; it’s toll-free, so please go call now. If you’re in other countries, there’s an ample list of resources that can help here, and I suspect you can still call the American lifeline, though there may be a cost. Alternatively, go see a therapist, or hell, even go talk to a friend. Something. I’m serious. One of the cruel products of discussing suicide in depth is that in some cases, it can cause impulses of suicide in others. If you need help, please seek it. There is no shame in this – on the contrary, it takes strength even to ask for it.

One of my two closest school friends, Scott – practically my only friend for part of fifth and most of sixth grade – ended his life last year. He is responsible for about a third of the first level in Chronicles, “Take the Veil Cerpin Taxt” (mostly the central area), and for the scenario’s name, for that matter. He also had a lot of great ideas for the story, and I suspect I’m still using a lot of them to this day, though it’s been so long and the story has gone through so many revisions that I can’t entirely remember which ideas are mine anymore.

I don’t know how much I’ve processed Scott’s death. I’m still grieving. I probably always will be. Thirty-four is no age at all. He was a month younger than I was – thirty-four is no age at all. He was one of the kindest people I’ve ever met. I can literally never, ever remember seeing him lose his temper – even when he got into arguments with people, they were really just disagreements. He was there for me at a time when I didn’t have any other friends. I had quite a bit of trouble making friends in school, since I was completely unaware I was autistic. I think I fit in best at the Drama League because we were all outcasts.

I’ll never talk to one of my best friends again. It’s chilling to think of it that way. I hadn’t spoken to him in quite some time, and I will go to my grave wondering whether, if I’d reached out to him, I could have done something for him. I can’t fairly blame myself: I had no idea he was suffering. I don’t understand how someone as kind as he was could reach such a level of despair. I know depression ran in his family, and he’d actually been suicidal before – in fact, I probably literally saved his life when we were in high school by getting him help. But I don’t understand it. I’ll probably never understand it.

On that sobering note, I’d like to tender my apology for my absence for roughly the last two months. I haven’t even mentioned that I’ve been physically ill as well. I’ve had serious stomach problems for about a week that are making it extraordinarily difficult to concentrate. It’s a minor miracle that I wrote this much, but it’s probably a lot less organised than it’d have been if I’d written it when my ADHD medications were actually working. I suspect about 70% of my medication for the past week has been essentially flushed out of my body, and since much of the medication depends upon building up for several days, I’m kind of a mess. I’m going in to see a doctor [yesterday] and my therapist on Thursday.

[Note: I’ve gone to see the doctor since writing this. I’ve lost around five or six pounds, and I wasn’t exactly at a weight where it’d be healthy to lose any further weight. I was severely dehydrated at the time and had abnormally low blood pressure; both of those factors are now no longer the case. The doctor suggested going on the BRAT [bananas, rice, applesauce, toast] diet for a few weeks, which is going to pose a severe challenge. I’m considering going vegetarian long-term – the only reason I’d even stopped was dietary, and it’s strange that dietary concerns are now making me seriously consider resuming.]

In any case, I’ve had good reason for laying low. I think I have a much better understanding of what I’m dealing with now. I can’t promise that I’ll be back to normal levels of activity immediately, because I have some school assignments I need to catch up on once I’ve regained my grip on things. But I think I have a much better understanding of what problems I’ve been facing, and I think I’m better equipped to solve them now. I hope to be able to finish a lot of my planned changes starting in mid-March, and hopefully I can have everything except maybe the exterior architecture for “The Incredible Hulk” and “Babylon X” done by the end of the month. I can’t promise anything, but for the first time in awhile, I feel confident that I have some grip on what’s been occurring to me.

I do hope that we won’t be done contributing to each other’s projects after 1.2 wraps up. I suspect I’d been harbouring lingering anxiety over exactly that concern because I don’t think I ever got completely over the Drama League going our separate ways after graduation. Luckily, the Internet means we don’t actually have to part ways.

(And it’s strange that a lot of this has come to me within a few days of the 91st Academy Awards, but life is weird like that.)

§

One other thing I forgot to mention: I sometimes have serious difficulty breaking down large tasks into small steps. I think this is either a product of autism or a learning disability. I’ve gotten a lot better at it overall, but this ability sometimes falters. Right now is one of those cases.

I’m just… not well. I haven’t had a stomach upset since seeing the doctor, but I feel only half-conscious. I had to leave work early tonight because I just… couldn’t keep doing it. Balancing my commitments the next couple of weeks is going to be a major challenge, if I’m even capable of completing them.

I’ll get better soon enough. But the next couple of weeks are probably going to suck.
“People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.” —V, V for Vendetta (Alan Moore)

“The trouble is that we have a bad habit, encouraged by pedants and sophisticates, of considering happiness as something rather stupid. Only pain is intellectual, only evil interesting. This is the treason of the artist: a refusal to admit the banality of evil and the terrible boredom of pain. If you can’t lick ’em, join ’em. If it hurts, repeat it. But to praise despair is to condemn delight, to embrace violence is to lose hold of everything else. We have almost lost hold; we can no longer describe happy man, nor make any celebration of joy.” —Ursula K. Le Guin, “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas”

“If others had not been foolish, we should be so.” —William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

Last.fm · Marathon Chronicles · Marathon Eternal 1.2 · Where Monsters Are in Dreams · YouTube Vidmaster’s Challenge
User avatar

The Man
Sarasota, FL

Post Feb 28th '19, 05:40

Thanks for sharing all of that Aaron. I don't have a response to most of it, but I did read it all. It sounds like you're going through a lot of hard times and I want to be sure you know I'm not upset with you or anything for taking time away from Eternal to deal with those.

With regards to your anxiety about Eternal development ending and our little team disbanding, I hope I can assuage that a little bit. 1.2 was never meant to be any kind of final version of Eternal. 1.2 was just "oh hey Tacticus made those weapons I've been waiting on forever, I should make a new release that includes them, and while I'm at it finish those vector textures I started, and maybe touch up the maps per all the reviews, and change out those awful PiD monsters for some kind of cheap and easy replacement". Thanks to you and Lia it's become a lot more than that, a lot more than I ever expected, but I still never thought this would be the definitive last version of Eternal ever released, and I figured that maybe once a year I would check and pack up any further contributions to the project anyone had made and make a new release to include them.

1.2 was never the last version of Eternal, it was just the 2018 version of Eternal. And since you and Lia were working so fast on so much more stuff right at the end of 2018, and I was (and still am) terribly sick and not on top of things, I figured whatever, let it slip a little into 2019. But I really don't want to slip too far into 2019, and the end of March will be a quarter into the new year already, which I think is about as late as I'm willing to let it slip. (Part of this is because I've heard rumors that Narcogen and Blackstar want to do a Let's Play of Eternal and are holding off until a stable release to do so).

If I can finish up the essay that is my project for this week tonight, which is looking iffy with how late it is already, I think I will try to package up a beta 10 tomorrow night. I'm tempted to let Lia take the lead on calling for release candidates after that, if she's willing to take that responsibility; if so, then it will be up to her what the deadline is for any last contributions before feature freeze.
User avatar

Pfhorrest
California

Post Feb 28th '19, 09:46

I wish I had something more substantial to respond with than "don't push yourself if you can help it". I did read the entire post; thanks for sharing this with us, man.
welcome to the scene of the crash
User avatar

General-RADIX

Post Feb 28th '19, 21:23

Thanks to both of you.

Unfortunately, I have… not been feeling better, to put it mildly. If anything, this morning was the worst I’ve felt in quite some time. I’m probably just going to be completely out of it for the next couple of weeks. :/

I might respond to some specific aspects of what both of you wrote later. Just… not capable of much at all right now.
“People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.” —V, V for Vendetta (Alan Moore)

“The trouble is that we have a bad habit, encouraged by pedants and sophisticates, of considering happiness as something rather stupid. Only pain is intellectual, only evil interesting. This is the treason of the artist: a refusal to admit the banality of evil and the terrible boredom of pain. If you can’t lick ’em, join ’em. If it hurts, repeat it. But to praise despair is to condemn delight, to embrace violence is to lose hold of everything else. We have almost lost hold; we can no longer describe happy man, nor make any celebration of joy.” —Ursula K. Le Guin, “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas”

“If others had not been foolish, we should be so.” —William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

Last.fm · Marathon Chronicles · Marathon Eternal 1.2 · Where Monsters Are in Dreams · YouTube Vidmaster’s Challenge
User avatar

The Man
Sarasota, FL

Post Mar 1st '19, 02:33

I'm sorry to hear that, Aaron.

In light of that, and also after thinking over what I wrote last night, I think I'm going to make an executive decision:

Since everything that I had planned for the 1.2 release is already done, plus more, and I've already run through every level to my own satisfaction at the end of the year last year, I'm just going to make one change to the one level I haven't been able to run through since someone else changed it -- nixing that goddamn puzzle upstairs on "Killing The Giants", letting you just open the doors and kill the things instead of having to hunt for switches -- and then package up what's currently done and call that beta 10, and feature freeze, later tonight.

As soon as one other person, and I'll ask on the Discord for help with that, can confirm that they can play through each level without any game breaking bugs, I'm calling that 1.2 final.

Further bug fixes, map improvements, new features like a boss battle with Hathor on We Met Once In The Garden, etc, can all go into a later release at the end of the year.
User avatar

Pfhorrest
California

Post Mar 1st '19, 07:05

After some last minute fixes from Lia to Deep Into The Grotto and Where Giants Have Fallen, I present:

Eternal X 1.2 beta 10.

As soon as someone informs me that they've been able to play through each level with no game-breaking bugs, I'm calling that "final".
User avatar

Pfhorrest
California

Post Mar 1st '19, 20:53

I will try to have that playthrough finished by at the latest the end of next week.
"The only thing we learn from history is that we learn nothing from history"-Georg Hegel
||Legends of Marathon Net Maps|| ||Eternal Legends of Marathon Net Maps||
User avatar

raptor200221

Post Mar 1st '19, 22:20

Apparently a polygon was deleted on Grotto that shouldn't have been. Not game-breaking, but it looks really, really bad. Fixed here:
https://github.com/Pfhorrest/Eternal/pull/53
User avatar

ravenshining
Hawai'i

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