Category Archives: Meta

The category for blog posts about the blog. This is stuff like the introductions of themes, conversations about types of content I make, or posts examining trends or stats from the blog.

What Do I Think of You?

Serious question.

I’ve been writing for you for a few years now. Who do I think about when I’m writing a post? And what does it mean to write ‘for you,’ for that matter? There’s clearly some personality, some identity I can conceive of as belonging to you, and I know there are things I think of when I’m writing an article.

What is there, then? What do I do when I think of you?

Let’s talk about it.

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The End of Tweets

Today, at some point after this post goes up, if I’ve timed this right, Twitter is going to close down the system that lets my blog freely create a tweet and post it, without me doing it personally. If you haven’t checked my twitter, which I haven’t been promoting since November 2022, the only thing posted there is links to my blog posts, and retrospring posts — which is also generated by that same system. This is an API – an Application Program Interface. APIs are complicated if you want to understand them but if you just want to be generally aware of what they are, APIs are ways that two programs can directly communicate with one another – the software running my blog and the software running twitter are both bumping into one another directly.

What this meant is that any time I made a post, I didn’t have to think about how to advertise and promote it, it just gets posted to twitter and tumblr (and it gets posted to tumblr in full, which is pretty sweet).

Tomorrow, at least assuming everything is going the way it’s going, that stops.

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What’s Changing On Patreon?

Chances are you don’t look at my Patreon (because most people don’t, not because I’m judging you). It gives me a little bit of anxiety, because it keeps telling me ‘hey, this person stopped paying you money’ (which makes me afraid I did something wrong) or worse, ‘this person started paying you more money’ (which makes me wonder what I did to fool them).

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2023, The 10th Year Of Press.Exe

Hey, it’s January! That’s an odd-numbered month, which means there’s not going to be a theme here. It’s also the start of the year and there’s going to be a bunch of stuff getting cleared out from 2022 so it’s not going to have a proper theme but it’ll definitely have something… themey.

What’s coming? Well:

  • February is a month of Smooches!
  • April is a month of Self Indulgence!
  • June is a month of Pride!
  • August is a month of Tricks!
  • October is a month of Dread!
  • December is a month of ‘Ween!

Then, each month, look forward to

  • A How To Be article talking about a character in 4th edition D&D
  • A worldbuilding article talking about building my setting of Cobrin’Seil, or building settings in general
  • At most one article on 3.5 D&D, one on 4e D&D
  • Each month I’ll show you at least one article on Magic: The Gathering, where I’ll show you this month’s daily custom cards, and well, we have a big special project for that, which we’ll talk more about soon.
  • An article talking about an OC, usually from City of Heroes, but hey, wide open world.
  • One piece of graphic design for a t-shirt, mask, or sticker
  • A story pile article each monday, with at least one anime a month (loose target)
  • A game pile article every friday, with at least one video a fortnight (harder target)

Each month I’m going to present at the end of the month, a summary of the game dev I’ve been doing that month, which is also going to be built out of articles posted on other social media spaces.

Ah.

Yes.

Other social media spaces.

You know, like Twitter, where I used to do this all the time.

I’m writing this back in December, of course. I don’t know what’s going on with Twitter. But I think it’s probably bad, and I think I’m enjoying not having to be on a space that predominantly is known for everyone on it screaming about how bad it is. So what I’m going to try and do going forward is do things like dev threads over on my Mastodon, which lets me do long-form threading with graphics, and search my own history. That’s what I really liked about what twitter gave me. I’ll also be presenting things on Cohost and Patreon to see what the audiences there want to say.

Basically, what you’ll find where:

  • Drafted article ideas where you can comment and give me direct suggestions where I’ll be able to meaningfully engage? Cohost.
  • Threads for showing ongoing progress on projects where I’m primarily taking notes on my own work? Mastodon.
  • Places for answering polls and questions about the game development I’m doing where you get to provide meaningful input into things I’m doing? Patreon.
  • Just the video articles? Youtube!

Each of these platforms is going to do a different job, and that’s important. I need to stop treating you as if you’re going to different sources for content firehoses. What I want you to do is come to my blog to look at the best of my material, and look at those other platforms as places you can go if you want more. This blog hosts articles. Those places are for social interaction, in different ways.

Particularly, this plays into the new way I’m approaching Brainstorm posts. Instead of having each month open with a post explaining that month’s game project, which can feel a bit like an open space, my intention is to present a link to the month’s brainstorming thread on Mastodon. Mastodon serves a purpose that the blog doesn’t necessarily, where it allows for lots of small additions, maintained in reverse chronological order, threaded on one another. At the start of each month, there’s going to be now, a post summarising that thread. This also stops cutting off a bit of extra time, where scheduling meant sometimes a month was more like three weeks of working on something rather than 31 days.

Below the fold, though, there’s some reflection on the history of this blog, why we have ten years of Press, and how I feel about realising this is now one of the longest ongoing projects I’ve ever had.

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The All of 2022 Wrapup

In January, I wrote out a plan for the year. In that plan, I described types of articles I was going to make, and kind of like ‘caps’ on the types of subjects I would write about. I also promised to watch more anime, which was like a threat, I guess. I also mentioned the eventual Avatar update, that would serve to bring presentation on a lot of platforms in line.

Knowing that, then, how’d I go? What were the good bits, the pieces of 2022 that I think, now, you should go back and check out (and I will go back and check out myself when I’m browsing the blog looking for ideas I want to further expand on).

Big, long-term projects included a daily Magic: The Gathering card, released at first on a twitter account every day, and now being posted on Mastodon and Cohost. Those got a set of summarising posts. I also did a podcast with Fox about watching all the Disney Animated Canon movies, which we called the Disney Animated Canonball.

It was also at the start of the year that I stopped using an add-on for the blog called Jetpack. Jetpack let me do things like find out how many hits each individual page was getting, and that formed the basis of what I then, at the end of the year, would list as the ‘most popular’ stuff. It was useful to see what you thought was good here, rather than just what I liked, in hindsight. It sped things up. But I’m not using Jetpack any more, and that means that instead… I had to go through all the articles I wrote, and ask myself ‘hey, is this good?’ and ‘why would someone wanna read this again?’

Which means we’re going to look at a lot of links here.

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Decemberween 2022!

It’s been a year. It’s been a full year. There’s been a lot of losses and there’s been a lot of gains and there’s been some really, really good memes. It’s been a complex year of navigating a new example of normal; I’ve seen a lot of people mourning for the ways that a world momentarily made more understanding of disability whipped back into its hateful norm. And you may be coming to this blog for a day this week thinking ‘it’s time for my daily dose of semi-intellectual academic complaining about how tube tops are racist’ or something, but no!

No, it’s Decemberween!

Named after the holiday represented in Strong Bad Emails, as a sort of generic season-of-Christmas-and-adjacent stuff, Decemberween is the term I use for the entire month of december when I change the kind of content I make here. Instead of my usual content, where I want to do researched posts into histories and contexts, or talk about specific ideas I can use in games or you know, just a few posts about screaming about my feelings into a void, every post this month is going to be about promoting or sharing something I like, usually someone I like, and just posts about my friends, about content channels I engage with, and most importantly, I aim to make sure it’s stuff you can partake in for free.

See, right now a lot of people are going to be advertising their thing because Christmas sales are super important. But those Christmas sales are about getting things in time for Christmas. It’s about ‘order this and we’ll get it to your door in n time’ and all that. Also, odds are good it’s time when your work is either super busy, or your work is super relaxed and everyone’s kinda chill, so you need stuff to fill in time.

What I want to use December to do is to talk to you about things that you can enjoy that make no demands of you. Things that are interesting and things that are sweet and things that are big and time consuming but also, importantly, things that are present. It’s a time where I can point you to a friend and their work, and just talk about how much I like them and like the things they do, and put them on your radar, try to make you aware of them. It’s a kind of gratitude journaling I guess, where I want to make sure you understand that there are people in my life who I am grateful to know and connect to.

Game Pile and Story Pile posts are going to try and focus on things you can have for free or cheap. There will also be some end-of-year posts about ‘articles of the year you might want to check out,’ in the Game and Story Piles, and a summary of stuff that you might have missed, because – I mean I don’t know if you noticed, but I make a lot of free content!

What to Write About

Tonight, I sat down to make, in the organiser I use to track the things I post on this blog, a google sheets function to pick a random topic I’d like to write more about and share it.

That function by the way is:

=INDEX(A:A, RANDBETWEEN(1, COUNTA(A:A)))

Fill up column A with ideas, and then this field will just go ‘hey, picked one at random.’ Really handy. I use it for randomising things like who to call on in a subject, for example. Set it up, put it down, then immediately couldn’t think of anything to put in that column.

This is annoying. I also have to accept that this tool – which by now I may have been using all year – may get made at one day, but populated another day.

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Taking a Breath And Waiting

You know the weirdness with time?

This was written back at the end of October. At that point I was looking at the schedule for the blog and seeing that I had posts lined up and set up to fire on schedule for the next four days. Four!

For the first two thirds of this year, my schedule of posts was somewhere between thirty to forty days ahead of me. I had holes in it — videos get made a lot closer to time, for example — but I was working with effectively, a long corridor in front of me of safety. Now this means that sometimes things aren’t timely and there can be weird coincidences. Back in October, I had a pair of articles set up about Alex Jones that dropped the day of his billion-dollar judgment. Kinda weird.

Right now I am sitting in bed, with the dog next to me. It’s 9pm. I woke up this morning, on a saturday, and did work, to make sure I was ahead of work for the coming week. I have a meeting on Monday. I need to make sure I’m prepared for it. I need to make sure that this work, which is very important to me, is done, so if I can get it done before it’s due to be done then I can use that time for other things.

The overall effect however is screwing me up like a rag and wringing me out. I have four days ahead of me and yet I am feeling an anxiety about not having done something today to extend that bridge. I’m only writing this now because I know getting it done will give me a feeling of reassurance, give me some comfort despite my tiredness, and maybe in the morning I’ll trash this and restart the idea.

I feel that one of the most boring things I can post about on this blog is posting about posting on this blog. I try to limit myself to one a month, like it’s a monthly subject along with Transformers or Magic: The Gathering. They’re here to serve a useful purpose; to demonstrate engagement and to explicate process. I want you seeing that I’m trying and I want you to know that there are going to be days when it’s hard. It’s not all just the easy mode, I don’t just drop a thousand really good words out of nowhere.

Tonight, I brushed my teeth early and retired to bed to sit and type on my laptop and know that when I’m done, I’m going to put the computer down and hug the dog and go to sleep.

I am thinking about this as No Effort November, which is a month to celebrate minimal effort. To look for things that seem easy, things that I would normally forget about or ignore because they’re too simple, or because surely everyone knows that. To accept that there are areas I’m weaker and times of year when it’s harder to write interesting things every day.

Anyway, g’night.

Dread Month 2022

As the good things of day begin to droop and drowse,
Night’s black agents to their preys did rouse.

It’s the season of the spooky; when the internet slowly fills up with people sharing art of skeletons, and not just the ones they want to have sex with. In the United States and Canada, the days are growing colder, the leaves are turning, and people are staying in to watch horror movies or TV shows. The Satanists are up to something, I think, and there are probably some variety of ghoul or witch about under the doorsteps, which is where I guess they hang out.

Here on Press, October is dread month. The Story and Game Piles are about horror media, games and media that gets to delve into things like slashers and guts and serial killers and hauntings and all that.

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Tricks Month 2022!

The consensus reality is created by perception. Not that the reality of material objects is influenced by what you perceive, but humans do not act on reality of material objects, they act on their perceptions of the reality of material objects.

August is here, and with it brings our month’s theme. The theme is tricks, which I use to broadly refer to stage magic, con artistry, and in general, the way people are deceived.

This year more than most, I have been sitting seeing the theme of ‘tricks month,’ a time when I talk about goofy things brains do, lies, cons, scams and flimflam, and ‘dread month,’ a month where I feel free to talk about grim, fatalist, dreadful and terrible subjects, and those two things have been very rapidly growing their middle space in the venn diagram recently. Like early 2021, I wrote an article about the Human Mars Base That Definitely Exists Dude Just Trust Me thinking I had to explain what Qanon was in it, and oh lordy I did not expect things to get dumber.

I’ve got my subjects lined up this month and what I’m going to try and do is tell stories. Last year, I wrote about Henryk Orenstein which is still an absolute favourite bit of writing. But also I liked talking about Jasper Maskelyne, which way less popular as a post goes.

Don’t worry, though, my desire to keep things perky will keep the topics light. I hope. I’m going to tell you the story of one of my favourite conspiracy theories where the explanation is legit more interesting than the myth, about the murder mystery of the author, and one of the greatest liars of World War 2.

July 2022 Wrapup

July draws to a close and with it, a new semester begins. It’s a non-theme month which means like the other odd months, you can see some truly weird grab-bag of stuff finally getting attention. If you don’t check my blog regularly, you might not have caught these, so I’m going to highlight some stuff that I did this month that I think is particularly cool!

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Some Junked Drafts

Time to time it’s worth it to check the drafts folder and see if something’s been there for oh, say, a year and I don’t know when I’m doing it, to get rid of it. Presented here with minimal notes are some articles I’ve been meaning to do and have absolutely not done.

  • Windle Poons Says Trans Rights — looking at Reaper Man including a conversation about how a wizard was hoping to be reincarnated as a woman. This was going to include a whole conversation about the Dame and Panto and how in British media, there’s this sort of culture of ‘closeted trans character blurts it out at some point,’ and nothing comes of it.
  • Cooking Mama’s Interface — Back in 2020, because god damn everything was happening, a Cooking Mama game came out. The game had accusations of it being a bitcoin miner lined up, and then it got pulled from the store for muddy reasons. This made me think about the way that Cooking Mama’s interface, ala Wario Ware, was able to communicate an idea really efficiently.
  • Pride of Frankenstein — hey, there’s an overlap between horror and queerness. What have I got to say here that’s interesting?
  • Are Food Challenges Games? — This one feels kinda silly because at the most obvious level, yeah. Food challenges are games. They’re not necessarily widely accessible and they have their own demands, but it’s very obvious if you have a handle on the model of what makes a game, that food challenges are games, even with competitors. It’d be a rare chance to make an ilinx game that is also agonic — a measurable success you can compete over and also giving yourself over to voluptuous loss of control (whether or not you barf).
  • The NFT As Pre-Sold Soul — Thankfully, Dan Olsen’s Line Goes Up over on Youtube covers everything I was going to.
  • Ai Generation And Art Assets — This whole scene moves very fast, and seems to rely on somehow making something without copyright out of things that do have copyright, so I’m cautious about using the graphics here for card games without some way to say ‘I have an agreement that makes this okay.’

No intention to follow through on these, but it’s worth the time to clean out the drafts folder, just as much as it’s worth the time to throw things into the drafts folder.

Pride Month 2022!

Ah, Pride is here, Pride is here. Life is skittles, which I don’t play, and life is beer, which I don’t drink. Pride is a time for us all to look at ourselves, consider our places in the queer community and definitely, definitely the time to start shit with one another about whether or not we’re waving the proper flags.

Pride month here on Press has a pretty simple theme: I try to talk about Queer Shit. I try to talk about Queer Media, but like, not just ‘media I, a queer person, like, and will do all the hard work to make look queer,’ but also, just, queer media where characters are queer and the people who made it are queer. And that doesn’t just mean pointing out that any movie with Christopher Walken or Marlon Brando in it is queer media.

Look, expect me to be a bit salty about things, but my aim is to spend Pride Month being nice. Pride is an emotion I struggle with, something about the upbringing and all — but Pride is a community thing. It’s a time to stand up for one another, and also to center ourselves and our work.

Look at me, ‘ourselves’ and ‘our’ work, pfft.

Anyway, point is it’s Pride Month, and I’m going to try and talk positively about small queer indie media, get mad at companies, talk about queer tropes and maybe make games that touch on spaces of the queer experience. Buckle up!

May 2022 Wrapup

I uh, I started out looking for an icon of a jar of mayonnaise and the result I got is this, here, a blank jar.

Let’s crack on shall we?

I blog daily. I have regular features, where every week I’m going to talk about a game, and a piece of media. I’m also going to talk every month about something to do with worldbuilding, games like Magic: The Gathering and Dungeons & Dragons. Chances are good, you haven’t caught everything I’ve written about this month. That’s why at the end of the month I write you a neat little summary and give you some suggestions on stuff you might have missed that I think is particularly worth your attention.

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April 2022 Wrapup

It’s the end of the month, it’s time for me to point out to you all these great, corking articles that keep you up to date with the kinds of things I’ve been doing that you may have missed. I know that my particular form of blog writing isn’t for everyone, so I hope having a guide for the stuff I’m really proud of is really useful.

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Complaining Is Fun

One of the reasons that Talen Month is segregated away from the other months it is, with the careful buffers of May and March on either side (the M&Ms that aren’t going to try and restrict your access to basic human rights like water), is because I know full well that when left to my own devices, my blog will generally degenerate into me saying mean things about, well, probably Peter Molyneux, or maybe Hideo Kojima, if I didn’t deliberately make it so I have a limited number of complaints every year and those complaints have to land in one spot and it’s months away.

It’s like fermenting, or winemaking, where if I’m going to spend some time to really have a good complain about something then that complaint has to be the best possible complaint and I have to be okay with it waiting until April and it has to be something that lasts. I cannot simply vent my spleen about any random happenstance that bothers me, it has to be something worth the patience. Hating is, after all, an art.

The problem is that complaining is fun.

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Talen Month 2022!

You might be surprised to hear this but I am, in my mind, extremely restrained. Oh sure, this blog is full of content of me, every day, just trotting out a few hundred words about whatever nonsense I want to think up. There are nonetheless, a ton of topics I avoid. Particularly, I will often avoid talking about things I really like for entirely petty, personal reasons, since I find that I think that’s hard for you to relate to, and I will sometimes avoid talking about things I actively want to just be mean about or air petty grievances on, for, well, again, the same reason.

My entire article about how Magic: The Gathering isn’t a gacha system was based on being mad at some random’s complaint that he couldn’t make a full-time living playing competitive legacy as a brand new player, for example. It is a beef writ large.

I keep these personal arguments and motivations close to my chest, in part because I think it’s boring, but also because if I make sure I spend time on it, if I hone it, I will have the time to decide if the complaint is really worth one of the thirty limited slots I offer for these feelings during the month of April, my month, the month in which I was born and the month that I use to publish all the stuff that I look at in the drafts folder and think ‘oh, I’m looking forward to writing that.’

It is April, My Friends.

I think about this as I progress along this writer’s path, as I strive to keep examining my own process, and yes, as I seek to generate something like a thousand words a day of varying levels of appreciable quality. I think about how I can tell there are things I want to focus on, things I think will be enjoyable or exciting to write about, and then there are surprises that I absolutely feel i want to share about, and there are things I think that if I write about them, will provide useful insight into me, as a person, so you can better inform yourself about my opinions.

Basically, if Decemberween is when I can relax a little, April is where I want to show off a little.

One piece of poetry that I have striven hard to be able to recite on spec is by Ogden Nash:

Love is a word that often is heard
Hate is a word that is not
Love I am told is more precious than gold
Love I am told, is hot
But hate is the verb that to me is superb
And love jusst a drug on the mart
For any boy in school and love like a fool
But Hating, my boy, is an art

There is in me a mendacity and a cruelty that wishes to, at times, dance about in the moonlight. There may be mean things said this month, possibly about things you think are good, and there may be indulgent appreciation of things. Probably another article about a transformer, or about how important some particular Animorphs book was to me.

For now, I want my love to be as precious and foolish as a schoolboy’s,

and for my hate to be artful.

March 2022 Wrapup!

The seasons turn, the days end, and we come once more to another full month of articles over here on Press Dot EXE. March is gone, and with it I want to take a moment to talk about what I’ve done this month; what writing is here, what you can check back on a whole month of content and see if there’s anything that stands out to me that you’d like to check out.

One of the strangest things about these posts is that they feel to me like a ‘cheat’ – like I’m doing a bunch of work on these posts, when I’m working hard to present the best writing I can on an interesting variety of topics, and then every month you get one fewer post, because there’s here, a menu.

Except then I find out how even the most obsessively interested people looking at my content tend to miss stuff, because the internet is hard and I realise it’s important to take a moment and reflect like this.

Anyway. Hey, here’s a summary!

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Smooch Month 2022!

Hey, welcome to Smooch Month!

I am not a person given to watch romance movies. Well, no, I am, I think of all sorts of movies as romance movies, because romantic really refers to a sort of simplified emotional language of a media form where the feelings of the moment are what’s meant to make sense and the coincidence or importance of those things in a real space are unimportant and oh my god I am just the most boring guy in the world to talk to when what I really mean is I don’t watch the movies that get filed under ‘romantic’ by the almighty sorting system of Netflix. And since I don’t do it often, I don’t think about them often and that means I have a less well-rounded space for my media diet. And that means that I can run the risk of being someone who has firm opinions about genres I don’t have anything to do with and that means I’m not just boring, I’m an arsehole.

Operating on this principle, then, I try to stake out some time in the year to watch… y’know. Some media that lives in this space. Some stuff that’s smoochy. I chuck it into February, so it gets to be a nice themed month, and then I get to expand my horizons. It becomes part of the game space too – I can make a demand of myself to play around with other genres I don’t deal with much.

Now this does become a wee bit barrel-scrapey. I don’t play a lot of smoochy games, and that’s because, well, most of them are terrible and, as a boy I tend to get positioned, in smoochy games, as one of the worst humans who is expected to also get to kiss a girl by the end. It’s not comfortable.

But this month! This time for sure!

January 2022 Wrapup!

January has come and gone, a new start for a new year, and also a bunch of free articles that are either retrospective, or update you on things that have been happening for a while. It’s also something like a holiday month for me, a month of preparation for the new semester and a time to refocus on important, big projects.

Like, you know, a PhD, or games.

It’s also a time when I would have, hypothetically, been heading down to Canberra, to be part of CanCaon, which after much agonising, we decided to abandon, because of panini concerns. More on that later.

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Unstrapping Jetpack

I have been using the Jetpack plugin on my blog for about five years. It comes as a default tool available to free wordpress accounts, you see, and I installed it on my blog when I realised that I really did care about how much or how little attention my work was getting. There’s a long ongoing story that starts with the Long Live The Queen Game Pile review (which, really, isn’t that good, and for all I know the soundcloud has long since been shut down), but which has steadily progressed through a yearning burning nerding over feedback.

I got rid of it because it was doing some things to maintain its own statistics but also in case it maybe sorta wanted to serve ads of its own, or maybe just putting graphics on the page without telling me, but the important thing is that a proper web developer looked at this useful package of tools and recoiled, hissing, like I’d tried to bring a Domovoi over the threshold of the family home it protects.

Jetpack has problems, see.

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