Attending a Charlottean Protest

I visited uptown Charlotte tonight, amidst the current protests and unrest after Keith Scott’s death. My friend and I had a few tidbits of info on where people were meeting, but nothing concrete, so we wandered along several streets.

In areas where people weren’t protesting, businesses were closed, and the streets were unusually silent for 20:30 on a Friday night. Troops stood in clumps of three on corners, waving or saying hello when you passed them. The occasional humvee or police SUV drove by.

Things were more lively at the Omni Hotel, where folks had covered the sidewalk in chalk. There were lots of media there: it was clearly an “allowed”, acceptable, media-consumable gathering. I’d maybe characterize it as a space for quieter expression of grief, although it was criticized by another gathering as essentially being for the white people. The writings were names of people killed and sayings that many of us are familiar with: “hands up don’t shoot”, “when will we have justice?”, etc. Religious figures were around, praying with people.

Further down Trade St., past the bus station, a group had gathered in front of some government building. My friend and I stayed there for a while. They were chanting “I am my brother’s’ keeper!” and folks were stepping up to share their perspectives. Four National Guards and a cop stood between the crowd and the building (with the aid of crowd control barriers), utterly stoic when the crowd shouted questions at them.

When one person emphasized voting, a teacher stepped up and spoke some truth: voting won’t solve this. Hillary Clinton won’t fix this system, nor will Roy Cooper (the NC governor candidate opposed to Governor McCrory 1), and even Trump probably won’t significantly increase the rate at which we’re killed. The teacher freely admitted they didn’t have a solution, but pushed that we not rest on the idea that politicians will solve this for us.

The reminder that there is no simple solution is both motivating and depressing—my friend and I spitballed ideas on the bus ride home, trying to think of even infeasible ideas that weren’t a goofy “burn it all down”.

I took a few pictures, but probably won’t post them. It felt very touristy to take them, and the ones that struck me most were of the soldiers or people interacting with them, and I’m not okay with posting pictures of people (especially when faces are included) without their permission.

I hope people stayed safe for the rest of the evening.

Remastering “The Majesty of Colors”

Folks probably know that I make video games as part of Future Proof Games, but maybe not what we’re doing at the moment. Many, many (many) years ago, Gregory made “(I Fell in Love With) The Majesty of Colors”, a very sweet Flash game about balloons and drowning.

As the site stats geek for FPG, I can tell you “Majesty” remains pretty damned popular. (Hell, it just got linked by Buzzfeed a few days ago.) It’s an evocative game that continues to appeal to folks wanting to explore the soft feelings of a big, weird, sessile alien. Problem is, Flash is finally actually dying — no phone/tablet can run it, and some browser configurations require user action before it’ll run Flash.

So we’re bringing “Majesty” to modern devices: Android, iOS, and Windows/OSX/Linux. And holy crap, this game feels great on a phone; moving the tentacle with your finger just feels real in a way that the tiny, mouse-controlled Flash version doesn’t. I’m excited to test it on tablets.

It’ll be out later this year and is being developed in parallel with Exploit: Zero Day, which will also have some big news soon. (I could write a whole post on the thought processes around dividing time between two projects for a part-time team like ours!)

Something that would really help the game be successful is if the desktop versions can launch on Steam. For us to do that, we need to make it through Steam Greenlight. If you have a Steam account, take a moment and vote for “Majesty”.

Something that would put a smile on my face would be if you left a cheery comment on the Greenlight page. Y’all know how the internet can be.

First Hair Highlights

The first time I dyed my locs.
One of the first pictures taken of my newly-dyed locs.

I did it! I’ve had locs twice now, for a total of almost five years, and each time I’ve gone, “I should be bold and dye my hair!”

But it’s very permanent, especially since my natural hair color likely needs to be lightened for color to show much. Plus, lightening hair can be damaging. Last thing I want is to have my locs falling out. I’ve literally spent years growing these things; I’m not ashamed to say I’m a little attached to them, even if I don’t name them or count them.

But finally, with the aid of recommendations from friends and family on a beautician, I got my hair did.

It took quite a bit longer than expected—longer than the beautician booked, even—but the process was relative painless. (I’m a wash-and-separate kind of loc maintainer, and having someone else do the separating taught me that I have a gentle touch.) Some of the highlights are just blonde/lightened, and the others are a wine color. We opted not to go all the way to the roots of my hair for a couple of reasons:

  1. Much more time-intensive for two colors like this if color bleeding was to be avoided.
  2. I might not actually get this touched up again (the red will eventually fade to a lighter brown), so what do roots now matter versus roots in a month?

But… I like it! I still startle myself in the mirror, because it’s only been a couple of days, but I really like the look. I still don’t know if I’ll bother to maintain it or if I’ll just have really cool highlighted tips in a few years.

The back view of my newly dyed locs.
The back view of my newly dyed locs.

Ossuary 25% Off on Steam!

Steam Summer Sale 2016 Offer

Ossuary—Future Proof’s first commercial game release—is part of the Steam Summer Sale and will be 25% off until July 4. If you haven’t had a chance to play yet, it’s only $7.50 (USD). If you’re on the fence, the demo, “The Hodge-Podge Transformer,” is also on Steam.

It’s been on Steam for a year and a month now, and it’s been a fascinating experience. After watching a few Let’s Plays of Ossuary and “Hodge-Podge,” we released an update in December to improve the tutorial experience and solve some colorblindness issues.

EZD Logo Color Our current work in progress is Exploit: Zero Day, a cyberthriller where you roleplay a hacktivist by making and solving puzzles. It’s pretty cool, and our alpha players are making really friggin’ awesome puzzles and stories. If you want in, hop on the monthly mailing list and you’ll get a key in the next newsletter.

taking joy in human unreason