This Week’s Topics:
- The BEST TSF idea book
- A Loose Ranma Ramble (inspired by Chari)
- Why it is ethically and logically correct to take digital copies of every delisted Nintendo game
- Bye-Bye Battlefield
- Counter-Strike 2² bay-bee!
- Sonic Origins: The Better But Not Good Enough Version
- Another new Nep-Nep (Feat. BIG MODE)
- Tell this waifu your social security number because Intuit is evil!
- AI is the next generation of game development (maybe)
- Horde for Power – SapphicFuxx Part²²²²
Rundown Preamble Ramble:
One Year After Body Swap Terrorism Incident
Something that I have made well known on Natalie.TF, especially in my Student Transfer Scenario reviews, is my stance on ‘ideas.’ I am strongly against the notion that a good idea makes a good story, or that merely having a good idea is something worthy of praise. (And also that an idea can only be done once, which is a genuine argument that I have heard from adult human beings.) As a creator, I consider ideas to be cheap and fickle things, with their only value coming from how they are used/executed.
…That being said, one of my favorite TSF mangas over the past year is pretty much nothing but ideas, and its fourth chapter just got a translation… three weeks ago, so lemme do some gushing!
One Year After Body Swap Terrorism Incident by KPmouse is a series of vignettes that follow the lives of people who were affected by… well, you can figure that out from the title. If that seems like an odd premise, it really isn’t. It’s probably derived from the Aum Shinrikyo subway terrorism attacks in 1995, but with a body swap twist! Instead of trying to rack up MDKs, this terrorist sought to swap the bodies of people for unknown reasons and through unknown means. They died in the process, meaning that the hundreds of people involved were left with no recourse but to continue living in their new bodies. (Yes, I know the header image implies less than 100, but it’s wrong.)
I love the idea— and I hope to eventually borrow it one of these days— but there are four specific things about this comic that really stood out to me.
The first is the sense of time. Something that I find tiresome about a lot of transformation-driven media is a fixation on the transformation itself, when I find the aftermath to be more interesting. By being set one year after the initial ‘body shock,’ the assorted characters have had time to settle into their new bodies and rework their lives. Which, to me, is the most interesting timeframe for a story like this. (Though, that shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone at this point.
The second is the scale. Rather than be a ‘global swap’ or be isolated to only a bus full of people, this swap affects hundreds. This means there is enough evidence to support that people really did swap bodies, but few enough for people to have a wide variety of reactions. Some people don’t believe it was real. Some characters used the poor reporting to lie about who they are and steal lives. And it is clear that not everybody is aware of or knows someone who was affected by this incident.
This scale also gives the story the ability to feel… not necessarily worldly, but it involves people of different backgrounds, ages, and so forth. From children to students to businessmen to homeless people to criminals to wife beaters to perverts. …Actually, lots of them are perverts in their own way. But that is to be expected from a TSF peddler.
That’s all before getting into the fact that this story actually has some loose connective tissue. Sometimes characters from other vignettes interact, and every now and again an extra detail about this mass swap incident will be dropped. Such as a government support group meant to help children who have been abandoned by their parents. Or a cult that plans to launch a second body swap attack so its members can attain beauty.
Good thing number three is that KPmouse has an excellent understanding of the body swap genre and continuously impressed me with their creativity. To name one of my favorite examples, let’s look at the fireman and little girl swap. The FtM side of this swap sees a little girl just trying to live her life, as a little girl. She’s mostly oblivious to the fact that she has the body of a muscular young man, and the whole situation puts an extreme strain on her family. They want to love her and support her, but everything about this situation is so screwed up that it puts strain on their relationships. While the MtF end of things experiences a complete ego death after losing everything that made him the person he was, mentally regressing to a little girl and losing the respect of his daughter.
To name another, there is a two page story that depicts a terminally ill little girl switching bodies with her mother. The little girl is thrilled that she can do things and wishes to use this new lease on life to become a nurse and help other people. …But the mother is a lot more conflicted, as while she is glad that she helped save her daughter’s life, she is in constant pain and will probably die soon.
This is a dude who gets the appeal of a good swap!
Four, the comic is just plain old cute. As in, the art style would not be out of place if it were used in a children’s book. This goes to soften the sometimes cruel or extreme tone of the series, which touches upon suicide, pedophilia, rape, and abandonment among other less savory topics. But it is also impressive in its ability to convey information through visuals alone. You can tell a lot from each character and body just from the shape of their eyes. Expressions are captured well, without ever feeling too exaggerated. And I honestly love the gendered coloring applied to the page. For as much as I love manga, the grayscale color palette can feel a bit plain, and I consider this black, white, and accent color approach to be a nice middle ground.
This comic makes me wish I had the time and attention needed to do a full multi-part series. One that follows the same premise, with every chapter following a different person’s perspective, and showing just how varied and nuanced the body swap genre is. But unfortunately, I have too many commitments already.
Also, it is tax season, so I haven’t written SHIT outside of a Rundown for a good week! (Which still means I wrote almost 1,000 words a day on average.)
The Promised Ranma Ramble
(Natalie Watched Some Ranma Video Essays)
As I teased last week, this week’s preamble is all about the most influential TSF series of all time, Ranma ½. Ranma ½ has the honors of being the first anime series I watched online, the first anime series that I binged (I watched it all within 8 days), and the first thing that truly chipped my eggy shell. And by ‘chipped,’ I mean that shit fucked me like a truck, and I ain’t ever been the same since.
However, I remember precious little in regards to specifics about the anime, and have never attempted to revisit it. So these video essays provided to me by TSF translator and historian Chari Shalo proved to be a nice jog down memory lane. …She actually sent me five, but I only wanted to talk about two of them. Not because they were bad videos, but because I didn’t have anything interesting to say about them.
Ranma is such a common topic in a lot of
anime-enjoying trans women’s lives that I consider there to be two core types of relationships a trans woman might have with Ranma. Those who grew up watching Ramna and had their egg cracked by the show, or as I call them, Type A. And those who encountered the series later in life, where it helped inspire them as they went on their transition, Type B. Mathwiz is firmly in the type B camp.
The video is loosely broken up into three segments. The first highlights how, despite regularly reinforcing that he’s a boy throughout the series, Ranma has a rather playful relationship between his male and female identities. When he’s a boy, Ranma presents as a strong protector, someone confident and comfortable in his masculinity. But when he is a girl, he is a flawed goofball who engages in more typically ‘feminine’ mannerisms as it suits him. From eating girly sweets, making use of more exaggerated and cuter reactions, letting a girl carry him home, or use his own cuteness for his own personal gain.
His change in behavior is mirrored by his change in appearance, as he loses a few centimeters in height, causing clothes to hang loosely off his smaller frame, making them more puffy or skimpy depending on the outfit. Which itself is merely a single flavor of clothing in the multitudinous flavors of drip Ranma wears throughout the series. All in all, it’s a good analysis of little details that I definitely didn’t notice 15 years ago, yet help make the series remain so visually appealing, even when only provided in small snippets.
While the second explores some of the more… explorative elements of the show. How it sometimes veers into typically transphobic territory, but in a way that does not really feel harmful, and can be weirdly affirming in its own way. The first example of this is the 49th episode, Ranma’s Declaration of Womanhood, which sees Ranma bonk his head, get amnesia, and wake up thinking that he has always been a girl. It’s a simple ‘what if’ bottle episode… but it’s also more than that.
The episode sees Ranma become his most primal idea of what a woman is, someone who rejects all masculine traits, and is deeply uncomfortable with the male parts of their body and identity. Or, as Mathwiz puts it, Ranma reads as a trans woman in this episode. The Ranma in this episode wants to be female, be seen as such, and be respected as a woman, but is rejected by various other characters, who insist that he isn’t being himself.
The episode is also the source of a snippet I’ve seen shared around from time to time. Where this female-identifying Ranma talks about how they perceive their life. How the experiences they felt before now did not feel like their own, the real them suddenly awakened, and with that, they realized they are a woman. Which is how some trans people feel— that their identity and gender suddenly changed some day. It’s how Mathwiz personally felt, but I feel a bit… differently.
There was never a switch in me that clicked and changed, and I’m still the same person that I was when I was a 2-year-old learning math at my paternal grandmother’s house. I tend to view the subject of identity as something that shifts and morphs and trans-es over time, rather than something with distinct stages. Hell, I made that part of the character arc for my author surrogate character, Verde Dusk, in Psycho Bullet Festival 2222. No matter how many times she killed herself, she is still that abused mentally disabled little kid who killed their parents before killing themself!
Still, I am not one to say that someone else’s experiences are wrong because they don’t match my own. I just don’t quite ‘get’ it. And that’s fine. I don’t gotta fully understand something to respect it.
The second episode that is highlighted is the introduction of Tsubasa. A male crossdresser whose ‘true’ identity is used for shock value, but it is used in a context where the trope is exaggerated by putting multiple ‘gender’ reveals after another. First with Ukyo, a girl who abandoned her womanhood, then with the gender fluidity experienced by Ranma on a daily basis, and finally Tsubasa. It all becomes what I would describe as a ‘queer mesh of gender exploration.’
Which, personally, I think is the most anyone can ask for from a 30-year-old piece of media. While Mathwiz tries to apply a more modern framework here, I view everything as being a product of its time. A lot of modern language and concepts in queer analysis were fringe or did not exist that long ago, and I brush aside the more problematic elements as remnants of another era. If I didn’t, then it would be way harder to futz with older stuff.
Oh, and the third element of the video is mostly just Mathwiz reflecting on the past year, how important making videos is to her, and how this series got her through some rough times. Which is a common sentiment amongst people in a transitory state of their life. …That pun was not intended when I thought of that sentence, but it was by the time I wrote it.
So, despite the title implying this is from another trans woman, this is actually from a non-binary person. Someone who watched the anime as a middle schooler in the late 90s, and how it helped them come to terms with their own gender identity and expression due to how the work explores queerness.
The most obvious starting place is Ranma himself, as his ability to switch between a male and female form is basically a dream come true for non-binary, gender fluid, trans, or bi-gender folks. At first, Ranma views this as a curse, an inconvenience, but as time goes on, he eventually begins treating it more as an asset. Using his female form to participate in contests, or just being sexy for the sake of… being sexy. While also learning to take more pride in his appearance as a woman and being less inclined to whip his tits out.
But rather than just be a series with one character who plays with gender expectations, norms, and presentation, Ranma ½ is positively full of characters like that. And, most notably, they are never seen as being wrong to live life the way they do, with most characters accepting people for who they are.
Akane is a tomboy who can kick ass while looking cute as a button. Uyko is a girl who lived a significant portion of her life while presenting as a boy. And Tsubasa being a straight cis male crossdresser who just likes to wear dresses and keep his hair long, because why should girls have all the fun?
It is sometimes played for laughs, but everything is played for laughs, and everything is also treated as permissible.
…Which I personally think is one of the major ways to achieve ‘good’ queer representation. Treat them as people living in a world, living as they please, and have people just sort of accept them. Yes, there is an argument that queer representation should deal with contemporary queer issues. But I also think that it is important to look beyond the current climate and imagine what the future might hold. The best representation might be to depict the world that queer people want. A world where queer people can… just be themselves.
So, um, what did I learn from this? Well, that my memory really craps out after about 15 years, and that Ranma ½ probably holds up pretty well given its age. This all sparked a certain desire in me to reconnect with the series, and I actually acquired the 2-in-1 reprints of the manga from… the usual place. A place that will be WORTHLESS once ZippyShare dies next month…
Seeing people talk about this 30-year-old anime also made me ask whether a revival is possible. Normally that would be a somewhat needless question, but I don’t think it is considering how Rumiko Takahashi’s other manga experienced a revival. Inuyasha got a sequel series from 2020 to 2022 with Yashahime: Princess Half-Demon. And the OG queen Urusei Yatsura just announced its second season. So I think a Ranma ½ revival is absolutely possible.
However, I also feel that a revival would just inspire the worst type of discourse. One side would see discourse from ***young*** trans people and ***supposed*** trans allies over how the series is sexist, transphobic, or, the worst thing a thing could be. Problematic! While the other side would probably complain about the anime being contaminated by ‘woke’ western values that are ruining the purity of anime with LGBT stuff.
I would watch a hypothetical re-adaptation, and I would probably enjoy it no matter what, but a Ranma ½ remake would probably be a mess of clashing values. Instead, I would rather see a new anime/manga to come along and capture the ‘gender liberation’ spirit and action romcom tone of Ranma ½. Or if you really want more Ranma… literally none of the five videos I watched people mentioned anything from the original manga, and only about half of that was ever animated. I actually tried to read it 15 years ago— via crusty and low res scans— but I had to stop when I got to the antagonist whose weakness was boobs. That was too lewd for 13-year-old me.
I think it was this arc from volume 24, but I could be wrong…
I was a prude back then, but now I openly talk about sex comics and my gymnophobia (fear of nudity) is far less intense. It’s still there, but only in specific contexts.
Atari’s Tentacles Gobbled Up The Dive Boys!
(Atari Acquires Nightdive Studios)
Nightdive Studios is a developer that has been doing some utterly fantastic work remastering classic PC (and N64) games over the past decade, and they also saved System Shock from legal limbo. They are one of the best studios around when it comes to preserving and enhancing classic games, and I have all the respect for them in the world.
Atari… is a company I have zero respect for. Atari is an entity that has switched hands so many times and, if not for the name recognition, they would not be around today. They used their namesake to make a quick buck in the crypto and NFT markets. They tried to enter the cluttered console space with a novelty system that tried to do way too much for something this niche. And I will never forget how they openly disgraced their legacy with shit like Alone in the Dark: Illumination or Asteroids: Outpost. Sure, they hired Digital Eclipse to create the excellent Atari 50 compilation, but that doesn’t mean I don’t trust them as far as I can throw them. And they’re a corporation, so I don’t even know how to throw them!
Just like with the MobyGames acquisition in 2022, I fear the worst, and while I doubt things will go to shit in the next five years, I’m less than optimistic about how things will play out in ten years.
Honor Your Rights, Or Your Rights Don’t Mean Shit!
(Natalie Complains About Nintendo’s Continued Destruction of Their History)
Tomorrow, Nintendo is shutting down the Wii U and 3DS eShops. This is a topic that I talked about a year ago, and my thoughts are generally the same.
“[W]hat Nintendo is doing here is wildly irresponsible. They are the arbiters of these games and they are saying they are no longer worth selling or preserving, meaning it is up to the public to preserve them.
In the era of the internet, rights holders have myriad opportunities and avenues to sell their works. Because of this, I view it as a responsibility for rights holders to make their products available for purchase or rent, and to make these prices reasonable. Should the rights holders fail to sell or otherwise distribute their works, then I consider it to be ‘inarguably correct on every meaningful level’ to copy, pirate, emulate, or play these works without supporting the official release. Because there isn’t one.
I know this isn’t how laws are written, but I do not care. Either do your due diligence as a rights holder and sell your works, or accept that you are encouraging people to pirate your games.”Rundown (2/13-2/19) Natalie is Full and Content
“There is nothing sacred about the release put out by rights holders, and I’m sick of people acting like Nintendo games aren’t best enjoyed via third party emulation. Besides, Nintendo is kind of crap at emulating their own games.”Rundown (2/20-2/26) The TSF Well Is Deep, Dank, and Viscous
If something digital is not being actively sold, and there is no intention for it to return to sale in the foreseeable future, then its rights should be forfeited and the work itself should become a public good. It should not be sold, the intellectual property rights remain with original rights holders, but the work itself should be freely shared and enjoyed.
Some might say that this is in no way how it works, and what should happen is dictated by laws. To which I say, I do not respect laws, as most laws that were written to benefit the wealthy as opposed to the masses. Laws are a tool to hurt others, limit their freedoms, and while some like to think that the legal system is some great protector of public good, I vehemently disagree with that notion. Why is that? Um… You realize I’m trans, right? And there is a concentrated effort to use the legal system to erase people like me from public spaces?
Also, if you take just a cursory glance at history, legal systems have historically been used to restrict the freedoms of people. It might be comforting to highlight how things are so much better nowadays, but better does not mean good. And any system where a government employee can wrongfully kill someone and face zero meaningful consequences is a fundamentally bad system. Not a broken system mind you. This was all intentional. It is always intentional.
…And despite this, I still work as a tax accountant and help people comply with tax laws. Why is that? Because people who make money should give the government some of their money so the government can fund programs and services that people rely on. Also, you need to file your taxes to get social security and Medicare.
I strongly disagree with a lot of things about the current tax laws, but it is an imperfect system. Not a broken system. Also, I do what I gotta do to make money. And I’m currently in the ‘I should acquire property’ mind arc, so I need to make lots of money. Either that, or my family members need to start dying.
EA Continues to Excel At Executions
(EA Announces Delisting of
Mirror’s Edge and Three Battlefield Games)
…Speaking of how rights holders are bad, EA and DICE are going to delist a few games for sale on April 28, 2023, prior to removing ending online services on December 8, 2023
First is the online-only console-only Battlefield 1943 (2009), which… okay, I get why that is being delisted. I highly doubt many are playing this title nowadays, and moving these titles away from a central server, this long after release, for a console-only game, would be a ripe PITA.
The next two are more curious however, as they are 2008’s Battlefield: Bad Company, a PS3 and 360 exclusive entry that featured both offline and online gameplay modes. Along with 2010’s Battlefield: Bad Company 2, a sequel that saw a PC release, maintains a playerbase of over 100 people even to this day, and even received a server emulator. Both of these titles will remain playable after their delisting, so… I do not understand why they don’t just keep them on their storefront. Just stop advertising them with discounts and plop a big disclaimer on the store page about how the online is dead.
Still, these delistings would make some sense, as Battlefield games are ‘all about’ the multiplayer. However, this announcement originally included 2008’s Mirror’s Edge, a cult classic single player… running action game, and favorite among the speedrunning community. This was immensely baffling, as the game is single-player only. There were online leaderboards, but those were shut down in January 2023, because I guess EA really needed that, what, $1,000 a year, at most? Delisting this game would have been utterly stupid… and EA fortunately decided not to delist it yet. …But I think the fact that they could is just… wrong?
I would argue about how there should be some sort of rule for companies to continue to make artistically relevant works available indefinitely. …But getting something like that approved and enforced is a pipe dream, and it would be much easier to view piracy as a form of preservation. Because it has been since the advent of digital goods.
Also, Archive.org is being legally threatened, and if that site goes down, it would probably be worse than if every library in America suddenly disappeared. If you wanna preserve something… I guess you just gotta get a home server, horde, and pray.
Valve Is Re-Upping Their Cash Cow
(Counter Strike 2 Will Replace Counter-Strike: Global Offensive This Summer)
Something that I still struggle to wrap my head around is that Valve’s biggest game of all time is not Half-Life, Portal, Team Fortress 2, or even DOTA 2, but Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Why? Because honestly all I know about the game is that it is an underground casino, generates millions for Valve every year, and Linus Tech Tips likes using it as a benchmark.
As such, I suppose it is not that much of a surprise that Valve is planning on supporting the title… with a full-on sequel, Counter-Strike 2. Though, calling it a sequel is something of a misnomer, as this is actually an update that will roll out to Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. …Which also means that the game will replace CS:GO…
CS:GO is a game that sees over a million daily active players, and it is just going to be replaced? This is yet another Overwatch 2 situation, but weirdly worse, and I honestly cannot believe that Valve, a company that has at least some dedication to their legacy content, would roll out an update that erases a game.
It is possible that Valve will release a hypothetical CS:GO Classic later down the line, but this is still a terrible precedent to set for legacy content.
Instead of Supporting an Overpriced Sonic Compilation, Sega Is Charging An Extra $10
(Sonic Origins: The Better Version Announced)
Sonic Origins was one of the most shameful re-releases I had ever seen. It was such a simple concept— releasing a definitive version of the Genesis-era Sonic games, with a bunch of extra bells and whistles. But not only did they charge twice as much as they should have ($40 instead of $20) but the games were… broken. The contractors behind the project simply were not given the time they needed to get everything correct, and Sega made their own fair share of mistakes along the way. All of which is before getting into the needless cosmetic monetization of what was a pretty straightforward and bare bones re-release.
In the months following the game’s release, some patches were released… but the game is still kinda busted. Over half a year after the last patch, Sega seems inclined to abandon the game, which was utterly disgusting, especially after they delisted the previously released versions of Sonic 1, 2, 3, and CD.
Now, to celebrate the 32nd birthday of Sonic on June 23, 2023, Sega is releasing Sonic Origins Plus. An update that really should just be a patch, and better matches what the game should have been in the first place.
This new version will include the following:
- Amy Rose as a playable character in Sonic 1, 2, 3 & Knuckles, and CD.
- Knuckles as a playable character in Sonic CD.
- The 12 Sonic Game Gear titles previously included in the original version of Sonic Adventure DX, because 2003 Sega knew nobody would buy a Game Gear collection.
With the addition of these Game Gear titles, only now does this seem like a decent $40 collection. …But I still need to ask why X, Y, and Z aren’t also being included.
Why not the Genesis versions of Sonic Spinball, Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine, and Sonic 3D Blast? Why aren’t you being extra cool and including games that have not been re-released in a super long time like Knuckles Chaotix or Sonic R or SegaSonic the Hedgehog? Why isn’t there a version of Sonic World from Sonic Jam? Do you know how many people would FREAK OUT if Sonic World was recreated, slightly modernized, and transformed into an interactive menu?
There is so much more that could still be done here… and I know that if fans were responsible for this, things like this would be done. Which, again, is part of the reason why I do not respect rights holders. Because there are people who will put in twice as much effort in preserving games as them… and they’ll do it for free.
If you ain’t even half as good as free, then what good are you?
…Also, there has been no word on if this update will fix the fundamental issues with Sonic Origins, or if the game will just stay broken. I did see some promises of bug fixes, but I have no idea if those will be sufficient. I know game development is hard, but… how do you screw up a re-release of 30-year-old games so badly that patches are necessary even in the first place?
Make My Nep-Nep Grow!
(Neptunia: GameMaker R:Evolution Announced)
Something that I have routinely found frustrating about the Neptunia series is its bizarre fixation on spin-offs. The series was at its best when it was a bunch of largely iterative RPGs, and every spin-off felt like an almost needless experiment. The last ‘mainline’ game they made was Megadimension Neptunia VII in 2015/2016, and since then, every game has felt the need to be some niche experiment. Crossovers with Sega Hard Girls, VTubers, and Senran Kagura. A pseudo action MMORPG. And a spin-off involving the younger sisters that… is actually a pretty direct successor to Neptunia VII despite being labeled as an action RPG spin-off? What?
Anyway, Idea Factory had chosen to continue to dig into an even deeper niche with the announcement of Neptunia: GameMaker R:Evolution.
A spin-off that looks to be set in the future alternate timeline of the first third of Megadimension Neptunia VII, and centers around the older Adult Neptune. Except, it now has her acting as a trans-dimensional explorer, and sees the introduction of even more one-off characters while refusing to update the older characters to reflect the modern game industry. Instead, the game will introduce new characters based on the Atari Jaguar, the 3DO, and an Apple Pippin. Which… is a cute idea, but I know by now what these characters are and will be. They will be cute one-off ideas that do not live up to their full potential, before being forgotten about in subsequent games. And despite their superficial connection to these consoles, they will barely have anything to do with the consoles and their history.
This is the real reason why I find Neptunia as a series to be so frustrating. It is a series that aims to mix video game history and trivia with cute anime girls… but it focuses too much on the cute anime girls and isn’t dorky enough! The developers have all the elements they need to make this idea work, but they just don’t. Instead of treating it like a series built around celebrating gaming history and companies, it just became a game about cute anime girls and basically nothing else.
It makes me want to make my own Neptune-like game. With encyclopedic descriptions of all facets of video game history. And an alternate history sub-game that is like Crusader King for babies… or Pokémon Conquest. But that would be too much work, and my day job is already pushing 12-hour-days outta this girl. Speaking of which…
Oh Shit Son! It’s Tax Time: The Visual Novel!
(Tax Heaven 3000 Announced)
So… I’m not going to pretend to understand what an “Art Collective” actually is, but MSCHF Product Studio is a game company, apparently. And they are making a free tax-themed romance visual novel named Tax Heaven 3000. Which… is something, that as a tax accountant, I feel I MUST play and review. So look out for that after it launches on March 31st.
Per the website, the game is very much a parody of both the romance visual novel genre and TurboTax. A software that, as a tax accountant, I have never actually used, but I know it is hyper predatory and that most regular people should instead look to the IRS Free File program.
Alternatively, if you make too much money, you can view the contact information on billbrock.net and tell Bill you want Natalie to do your taxes. You get to tell me your social security number and everything! I’d give you my work email, but I get enough crypto spam.
Also, gotta love the dedication of a game that goes so hard on parody that they make a parody version of MangaGamer’s website… that looks better than MangaGamer’s website. I love it.
In conclusion, this game is probably gonna fuck on top of the covers, with the lights on, while still wearing socks— even though it’s fuckin’ July, girl!
Unity AI Slipped Under My Radar! Embrace AI or Die For JUSTICE!
(Unity AI Announced & More Calls For Revolution and Heroic Sacrifice)
This past Wednesday, I mentioned how Epic would be releasing an AI helper system for Unreal Engine within the next five years. But apparently I was being WAY too cautious with a prediction like that. Two days before I made that comment, Unity announced they were rolling out an AI system just a few hours later. The creatively named Unity AI.
What does it do? Basically, it lets users enter a prompt in “Natural Language” which is then read by ChatGPT and used to generate new code or change settings within the engine. It replaces the laborious task of entering syntax-heavy programming with just… saying what you want, pretty much. It is a tool to replace tedious busywork, can help developers learn about specific functions in Unity, and can make the development process a faster and overall easier experience.
That all being said, this current oversaturation of news about AI systems before the end of the fiscal year has gotten some people very… frustrated about the future. Whether it be for the future of creativity and originality in a world where so many things are generated by a machine and at a level that is ‘good enough.’ Or economic uncertainty about if they will have a job in the next five years as AI tech is adopted by workplaces around the world.
Personally, I am of two minds. On one hand, AI represents a major turning point in how people do work on the computer, and everybody who is… under 50 should try to understand how to use it. It could make work easier, more enjoyable, and remove a lot of ‘slop’ associated with the mundane tasks one does every day. That is… the actual pitch made by tech companies.
On the other hand, this news throws a can of petrol on the existing bonfire of economic anxieties that people have been feeling hard since the start of the COVID lockdown three years ago. People will lose their jobs as they are deemed expendable, and many companies will rely on AI as a means of automation. Because the current economic system is built on the idea of perpetual growth, and if you replace 5% of your staff with robots, then numbers will go up big time.
Now, this economic uncertainty would not be an issue if universal basic income were a thing. Or if major governments had welfare systems to give people the housing, utilities, and food they need to survive. But sadly such luxuries are only found in mythical places that don’t exist, like Finland and Norway.
I actually think these policies can be strong-armed into being mainstream with a sufficient sacrifice. But that would require tens of millions of disenfranchised people to stage a revolution, disrupt vital economic functions, suffer a mortality rate of at least 20%, and possibly eat multiple politicians alive. In other words, if you really want UBI and to eliminate homelessness, you gotta be willing to take a bullet to the head for it. Do it for the children of the children who are not born yet. Just like those bad motherfuckers who died for the 40 hour work week!
Video and Recording Is A Nightmare!
(Natalie Finished Saving 200+ GB of SapphireFoxx Content)
This past week I finished up the primary phase of my conceptually terrible project to archive the entirety of SapphireFoxx’s back catalog. This included 294 videos, 132 Beyond (nude) videos, about 5,200 comic pages (it’s complicated), and 395 subtitle files. Yes, I was crazy enough that I saved the subtitles. All of which amount to just under 200 GB.
Why did I do this? Because I wanted to have all of this stuff without needing to futz with a slow website and suboptimal formatting. Why did I want it? Um… because it was hard to get. That is a bad reason, but it’s true.
I should not have done this, as this was a downright STUPID amount of work. It was so much work that I am inclined to share this with anybody who has a current SapphireFoxx Beyond subscription. After all, technically all this content could be accessed by anyone with the right URLs. But SapphireFoxx is an independent company that is creating things that are, based on a few snippets I’ve seen in this process, consistently entertaining. So… If you want it, head on down to Skokie, we’ll meet at a park, and I’ll let you copy the files off my external drive.
…Is that a real offer? …Yes.
I don’t know why I’m making offers like that. I guess I’m just on a self-destructive kick. (No Cassie, I’m not talking about you. I’m talking about her.)
Anyway! The secondary phase of this whole… operation involves working around the Vimeo limitation I mentioned three weeks ago. If I cannot directly download a streaming video, then how do I preserve it? Well, the simple answer is to use a screen recorder (meaning OBS), but that is where I run into issues. I thought capturing video was rather simple, as people have been doing it recreationally for nearly 20 years. However, when I look at settings like this, I get more than a little confused.
How high should these numbers go? What settings are ideal for capturing 2D animations done in
Flash Adobe Animate? Well, I hoped there was some sort of standard for this thing, but every source I found told me to do something different, so I got confused.
See, this is why I’m a tax accountant and writer. There are rigid rules for the former, and no rules for the latter.
Anyway, after I have done so much to archive SapphireFoxx, some might wonder if I have plans for a greater project. To which I say… probably not. To properly cover all of SapphireFoxx’s stuff, you would basically need to write a novel-length script. And given how it is all comics and animation, it would be dumb to put in all that work only to put out a written article with visual aids in every other paragraph. But making a 10 hour video would be a good use of one’s limited time on Earth.
Part of me wants to do it, but every other part of me is bashing that part with a hammer. Because it wants to do this for dumb reason, like using the line “asses to asses, dicks to dirt, in my motherfuckin’ pants I squirt!” …If you somehow recognize that hyper-specific reference, I will be impressed. There aren’t too many cats like you in this wicked wild world.
…Holy shit my autism and ability to focus is getting SUPER bad. Personally, I blame Cassie.
(In the end, Natalie asked ChatGPT for the best settings and used those to record one of 30-ish videos to be captured. Praise be to our mechanical masters and the Grand Oligarchical Democratic Syndicates who allow the 99.999% animal population of humans to live.)
I’ll be back next week, where I’ll talk about a cool Pokémon TF comic. Here’s a hint! The artist was featured in Natalie Rambles About TSF!