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Messages - Francis Buck

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So yeah I should have been more specific, as I had foreknowledge of Wilshire's experience with the games in my comment. Certainly I would always suggest to a new player to play the games 'as intended', and no doubt there is a persistent sense of reward after overcoming seemingly impossible enemy or boss encounters (which then end up seeming like a cakewalk the further you get into the games).

That being said however, I do think that once someone has familiarized themselves with the game enough and are into it but find themselves frustrated by certain things -- in particular, the run back to the bosses -- I don't at all discourage/admonish someone for just relying on summons or co-op to ease their way through. The boss runs are easily my biggest issue with the games (Souls/Bloodborne anyhow, haven't played Sekiro yet but it seems they mostly fixed this issue by putting the 'bonfires' or whatever very near or directly beside the boss). But in the Souls games and even Bloodborne I truly think the 'boss run' element is a flatout bad design choice. It made sense in Demon's Souls the most, but it feels like something they just carried over into the Dark Souls games mostly arbitrarily. It is a pure time-waster, and seems to me like one of the few examples of just plain 'artificial gameplay', and I've lost count of how many times I've heard of other people (myself among them) getting burned out specifically because of this aspect.

So yeah, I totally would suggest people try beat a boss solo or whatever at least a few times, even if just to get an idea of their attack patterns, but I also would ALWAYS prefer that someone be able to experience the vast wealth of content (especially if they're into the story aspects) in these games even if it means doing a save-state cheat to let you respawn in front of a fog door. Hell, even if FromSoftware just made the mandatory bosses have respawns occur no less than a minute away and with no or minimal enemies, while keeping side-bosses (of which there are always a crapload in these games) with the more traditional 'boss run' element, I think it would make a big difference.

I have no problem with a game being challenging but it needs to be justified, and it should never be a pure time waster...which in many cases is what the boss-runs end up being (inevitably, really -- once you know the 'route' and just run past the enemies, it's not even a challenge -- it's just a mindless dash that can frequently take 3+ minutes, not counting load times or whatever else). The games have plenty of challenges to overcome and deliver that rewarding feeling, and I really don't believe anything is gained by forcing this extra layer of punishment onto the player.

I dont even know if its possible, but since PC I'm sure there's mods if nothing else, but would turning down the difficulty ruin the experience of playing the games? I got about 2 or 3 bosses into DS3 and basically decided I didn't have the time to invest in it all. Seems cool though!

I am utterly clueless about the PC modding scene, but honestly I think that whatever makes a game (especially these games) more accessible for you is perfectly fine in my opinion. I know that on PS4 it actually is possible to make a kind of 'save state' and put it on a USB -- like before a fog-door for example with full estus/potions/whatevers -- and then you effectively have no "boss runs". I never got around to it myself, but if it's possible on PS4 I must imagine it's possible on PC.

All that being said, I have  a feeling Elden Ring will be, relatively speaking, more accesible than previous Souls-like games, simply by the nature of it being an open world  and leaning even harder into the RPG elements than before (thus, overleveling/grinding becoming a thing). This is all entirely my own speculation, but broadly speaking these games have gotten less obtuse in terms of mechanics with virtually each entry, albeit no less difficult skillwise necesarrily.

I think this project is interesting enough to warrant its own thread.


So just this week, FromSoftware (Demon Souls, Dark Souls, Bloodborne, Sekiro) announced their largest project to date -- an open world action RPG in a brand new 'high fantasy', with story and worldbuilding being co-created by Hidetaka Miyazaki and George R.R. Martin.

If you're totally and completely unfamiliar with the FromSoftware's more recent trend of titles (starting with Demon's Souls and then going through the Dark Souls trilogy, along with the masterpiece fusion of dark Victorian/Lovecraftian cosmic horror Bloodborne, and most recently the Edo Japan set action game Sekiro), then this may not mean much to you -- but now (or whenever this game comes out) might be the time to give the developer's next entry a shot.

Miyazaki is already a proven master worldbuilder and creator of dark, epic fantasy settings and lore -- the Dark Souls games mythos, as well as Bloodborne, contain what is genuinely the best 'serious' dark fantasy worldbuilding, lore, mythology -- from gods and monsters to articles of clothing and weapons -- that I have ever played personally, and is literally the only stuff I can think of that I'd actually say is able to rub shoulders with the great epic fantasy worlds of literature (the works of Tolkien, GRRM, RSB, etc.).

So perhaps it's not SUPER suprising that when Miyazaki reached out to G.R.R.M for a little help on creating the vast new world and setting for Elden Ring, G.R.R.M. accepted it. You don't even need to have played Miyazaki's games -- simply read some stuff online, or watch any of the countless 'lore' videos online -- to get an idea for just how special the worlds he creates already are. Few games have the sense truly being in a world that was old long before you ever got there, and which -- similarly in many ways to unravelling the metaphysics or backstory of TSA -- are always experiences that treat the player like an intelligent adult, where the more effort you put into solving the riddle of some mysterious ruined fortress (and usually a complex and tragic tale for whatever eldritch abomination likely dwells in it) or dungeon, the more one is rewarded with layers upon layers of history, complex yet original mythology, and some of the coolest and creepiest characters and settings you're likely ever to come across.

If you're interested and want to learn more, there's a solid interview with Miyazaki here:
Regarding the collaboration with George R. R. Martin, can you further explain how this collaboration came about and in what role it has served throughout the project?

Miyazaki: I suppose the start of this collaboration came from the fact that I myself am I huge fan of Mr. Martin’s work.

I loved “A Song of Ice and Fire” as well as the “Tuf Voyaging” series, however if I had to pick a favorite I would probably say “Fevre Dream.”

I personally see “Fevre Dream” as a masterpiece among vampire fantasy and had even previously recommended it to all new employees.

Me being such a known fan of Mr. Martin caused our executive business director Eiichi Nakajima to reach out to him with the expectation that we would get turned down.

However, we were then given the rare opportunity to talk one-on-one with Mr. Martin which was an incredibly fun and stimulating experience. It was then that I strongly felt that I wanted to work with Mr. Martin.

I am still unable to put into words how grateful I am to Mr. Martin for agreeing to our offer.

The actual collaboration itself begun with Mr. Martin ever so politely confirming what sorts of themes, ideas as well as many game-related aspects I had envisioned for the game.

This allowed us to have many free and creative conversations regarding the game, in which Mr. Martin later used as a base to write the overarching mythos for the game world itself.

This mythos proved to be full of interesting characters and drama along with a plethora of mystical and mysterious elements as well. It was a wonderful source of stimulus for me and the development staff.

Elden Ring’s world was constructed using this mythos and stimulus as a base. Even I myself find it hard to contain my excitement from time to time. We hope that everyone else is looking forward to the world we have created.

The Unholy Consult / Re: [TUC Spoilers] The Sorcerous Ekkinu
« on: June 13, 2019, 10:11:05 am »
Even though it annoys me, my gut says the Ekkinu will go without resolution of their true nature. It feels like a piece of symbolic worldbuilding that served both its intended symbolism and also a small plot-related function in revealing the reality of a 'language of souls' and as a method of showing that both Sorweel and Kellhus were not entirely themselves at that moment (given they are both God-Entangled or possessed or whatever, and it is noted that only they can read it). 

The Unholy Consult / Re: [TUC Spoilers] The Survivors
« on: June 13, 2019, 09:59:56 am »
She can die in childbirth, we'll name it Serweel, after herself, her namesake, and her father (also a pun on surreal because its ridiculous, but definitely happening.).

Serweel needs to be a thing.

Unfortunately I have a feeling that if Serwa bears any children, they will be of the half Nonman variety, and probably several of them at once, given the Dunyain female's genetics. But who knows, maybe a Dunyain woman can bear children from more than one father at a time...? Stranger things have happened.

Also looking back at this original OP, I have no idea why I thought Mimara's survival was a 'coin flip', since at this point I no longer remember not being 100% confidant that she (along with Akka, Esmi, and baby) survived. Otherwise it's the same, other than that I'm perhaps slightly less inclined to believe Aurang lived, even though his death is still suspiciously written to me. Feels like a door RSB left open for himself, just in case.

In the spirit of posterity, I'd also definitely add motherfucking Shauriatas to the list of "survivors" with zero hesitation. I'm completely convinced that he -- or it -- never went anywhere, but rather the Mutilated are now basically just upgraded versions of the Larvals.

The showdown in the Golden Room was as much 'Shauriatas vs Ajokli' as it was 'Mutilated vs Kellhus'.

This is a big 'no shit sherlock' for me (not to you personally Sci., just Western thinkers in general). I mean meditation has long been shown to have positive effects with regards to brain plasticity and so forth -- not to mention the infamous 'monks-that-can-change-their-body-temperature-purely-through-meditation' experiments -- but there are also certain sects of Buddhism and several Eastern and/or Near Eastern religions in general that, while in lieu of any conventional science, have nonetheless arrived on similar or identical conclusions regarding philosophical concepts of the mind and consciousness, and did so hundreds of years ago. These same ideas (such as the nature of free will or the limitations of human comprehension) are only now beginning to be seriously considered in the West, as a result of modern science. I will be surprised if this trend doesn't continue in some capacity for quite a while. 

General Misc. / Re: Quotes
« on: May 16, 2019, 07:16:46 am »
"An angel is depicted there who looks as though he were about to distance himself from something, which he is staring at. His eyes are opened wide, his mouth stands open and his wings are outstretched. The Angel of History must look just so. His face is turned towards the past. Where we see the appearance of a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe, which unceasingly piles rubble on top of rubble and hurls it before his feet. He would like to pause for a moment so fair, to awaken the dead and to piece together what has been smashed. But a storm is blowing from Paradise; it has caught itself up in his wings and is so strong that the Angel can no longer close them. The storm drives him irresistibly into the future, to which his back is turned, while the rubble-heap before him grows sky-high. That which we call progress, is this storm."

Walter Benjamin, Theses on the Philosophy of History

General Misc. / Re: Quotes
« on: May 07, 2019, 03:55:43 pm »
“I saw the Emperor – this world-soul – riding out of the city on reconnaissance. It is indeed a wonderful sensation to see such an individual, who, concentrated here at a single point, astride a horse, reaches out over the world and masters it.”
- Hegel's thoughts on Napoleon 

General Misc. / Re: Quotes
« on: May 06, 2019, 11:45:15 pm »
"The young writer would be a fool to follow a theory. Teach yourself by your own mistakes; people learn only by error. The good artist believes that nobody is good enough to give him advice. He has supreme vanity. No matter how much he admires the old writer, he wants to beat him."
- William Faulkner


All of them.

This feels like a pretty big deal TBH. I mean I'm not even remotely qualified to have an opinion beyond that, but like, this seems like kind of a big deal right? 

Awesome stuff as always Sci.

Ah you should ask your question - if I can't answer it now I might later, or more likely another person might have a clue.

Hah, well I guess start from the beginning and go from there, because most of that is lost on me unfortunately. Interesting post, though!

Yeah I think so...Bakker always said the World conspires and is a character. Some ancient Greeks - IIRC following Aristotle - thought of final causes as inherent to the nature of entities/objects in the world. That is, in a micro-sense, the Final Cause of all things determining their Material, Formal, and Efficient Causes of the animals/objects/persons.

In a macro-sense it could be that the Final Cause of Earwa is the "salvation history" of the Bakkerverse, that just as the World sets the ends of all within its embrace God set a Final Cause for the World itself. Aristotle, IIRC, thought of the Prime Mover as the Perfection/Good to which all mortal things moved toward. So then in turn the Final Cause of Earwa is the axis on which the rest of the Inside (at the least) may turn.

Realization of Earwa-as-Axis-Mundi may be how the Progenitors of the Inchoroi ended up finding Earwa. It might be possible to use machine learning or some other pattern recognition process to fill in the missing causal vector. You cannot trace final causes in the usual scientific way of determining interest-relative causation. or so I suspect, but you can potentially map the influence of Final Causes and then subsequently use that as the basis of the compass to find the Promised Land...or maybe that's all BS...

I don't know if Bakker thought of all this in quite these terms, but I do suspect he went back to the Ancient Greeks and at the least the European Idealists for his metaphysics.

Well, in a way, Final Cause, as much as we really don't think of it as such, is the "main cause."  Think about it in terms of making something.  Like, the Final Cause of a chair is the whole reason a chair exists.  Final Cause is "almost" a way that "future" dictates that "past."  Rather, it is the conditioning of the imagined future onto the present which then dictates the progression of past to present and then so then future.

Yeah it's a good way to resolve the free will vs destiny problem of Earwa. There is an End to History, but as a Final Cause it is similar not only to the ends of the physical world but also to how the ends of the ensouled mortals determine their bodies' movements.

And b/c the Bakkerverse is Idealistic & Panpsychic (at least if the Monadology theory is correct) one could even say the ends of "physicalist" entities is exactly akin to the ends of the ensouled.

What comes After does determine what comes Before, just not in the sense of the Future being extant in the Block Universe sense.

Hm, this is all quite interesting. I've previously tried (and failed) in expressing my belief about the concept that the No-God is less "something the Inchoroi summon into the World" than it is "something that comes to the World, and happens to be facilitated by things like the Inchoroi".

To put it another way, the coming of the No-God is comparable to something like, say, Ragnarok or heat death -- it is an inevitability of Earwa's (meta)physics that the No-God rise, or perhaps more specifically, that it fulfills the "prophecy" of purging the World of all but the 144,000 souls doomed to survive (is that a prophecy? who foretold it?).

In this sense, and assuming I'm right (which is a big assumption, I'm not even assuming it lol), does this mean that the No-God then could be said to act as a Final Cause?

Because it seems to me that the No-God doesn't just get summoned all willy-nilly, but that it was deliberately trying  to get into the World.

It also sorta jives with the strange revelation by Kellhus about the fact that one day, the Inchoroi must win (which, to me, is another way of saying the No-God must rise).

But, why must the Inchoroi win, if not to summon the No-God and bring about the Eschaton?

General Misc. / Re: Bakker's Ebay account
« on: April 20, 2019, 07:47:53 am »
Someone should make some Sranc meat candy, and Chorae key chains, and also Pez dispensers of the main cast. The merchandising possibilities are endless!

Philosophy & Science / Re: Another galaxy without dark matter
« on: April 16, 2019, 10:36:30 pm »
In all seriousness, I find Dark Matter by itself kinda troubling to be honest. I love when people say something like, "we know about the cosmos than we do the deep sea!". I mean, okay, that's fine...but when over 80% of the fucking matter in the universe is practically intangible and, thus far, remains entire hypothetical...I'm not saying it's an alien godthing, but...

Maybe it's just nothing! 

The real question is, how does Roko's Basilisk stack up against the No-God?

Did God lose Himself in the “labyrinth of the continuum”?

A second reason why I like this theory is that it enables us to explain why the universe is not perfect, despite being the mathematical image of ASA (or ‘God’ if you prefer). For, as Turing showed (as part of his proof of the undecidability of the halting problem), by far most of the real numbers are uncomputable and therefore transcendental. This means that their decimal expansions cannot be generated by any algorithm. Thus, from the perspective of algorithmic information theory, their decimal expansions are totally random. In being aware of the continuum, therefore, ASA is aware of something that is for the most part unordered, a kind of primordial chaos. ASA’s attempt to find patterns in the continuum (in order to mirror itself in those patterns) must therefore be extraordinarily difficult, indeed virtually impossible, since the ordered part of the continuum is infinitesimally small compared to the unordered part. In fact, if one could randomly pick out a real number (say, by pricking somewhere in the real number line with an infinitely sharp needle), the probability of getting an uncomputable number is approximately 1 (cf. Chaitin 2005: 113)! Perhaps this explains why the universe, despite being an image of ASA, is not perfect? It must, after all, be close to impossible for ASA to find order in the continuum.

Hm, very interesting indeed. Any chance you could elaborate on --

Oh I barely think I understand the quote or the essay not sure if it would make a difference?

-- ah, welp. Something to mull over!

(#Team No-God)

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