Over the past week I did a guest talk on alternative game-making (and related activity) tools for a class my friend Claire leads, and another talk and Q&A about DIY online networks and spaces for GAIA. I'm filling back up my reserves now in the few days I get between another job interview and running a writing jam at Now Play This... On the one hand, it's really amazing how different online meetings/talks/whatever can be each time, even when you're using the same few types of software... there's always completely new forms of chaos, lol.

I also think I did alright given the circumstances, especially when presenting why these things are valuable (why use things other than Unity? why not just have a social media page or use a site generator?) can sometimes be an uphill battle where you feel people turn off like immediately. I got that from some people, but also think I got through to others, which is the best you can shoot for, really!

Lately, I've been making mini link pages to go with any talk I give, so people can find the things I'm referring to and also have an easy way to explore them more later. Here's the one for the Alternative Game Tools talk, and here's the one for online communities and social spaces. I use a modified version of the CSS for writing portfolio pages on my main site, and then make some adjustments to text size/border-style/generate a background in patternify and find some good images on gifcities to make the style fit the tone and topics of the talk.

It's really fun that I've improved so much in writing CSS and HTML since I started my site just over 2 years ago that I can now make a cute, simple page that totally satisfies me very easily. The more I do it, the more I value doing things in a lightweight and seam-full way.

I've also been reading a lot lately! For fun, I've gotten around 130 pages in to The Magic Mountain. My partner recommended it to me as being formally very much like a visual novel, and I totally get it so far. It's very funny and surreal, and I'm starting to think of the protagonist of my own (still rather speculative) visual novel project as a slightly older and more vulgar girl Hans Castorp.

I also read a bunch of Game Studies articles last week that like, sucked (trifecta of evil, ~game design~ people talking about visual novels, people with no arts background talking about art exhibitions, and well... "comfy games" lol). I knowwww there's good work being done in the area... well... I respect a very specific narrow band of my peers, lol, but it really is discouraging to see the level of uncriticality and lack of contextual references that apparently sails through peer review, especially when it comes to either arts-related discussions or non-anglophone game genres.

I did really enjoy this long and suitably grumpy essay on the history of the web by Olia Lialina, and I think if you're like... running a small scale blog on neocities in 2021 you will find a lot to think about here! I'm also looking forward to digging in to this volume on Game Production Studies (remember how I said I respect a narrow band of my peers?) which is, luckily for everyone, open access!