April 13th, 2014

Bleeding Cool

The Truth -- If You Can Stomach It

Valerie D'Orazio is a name well known to us down here in the trenches.

She famously gave everyone an inside look at the comic book industry, from the cruel behavior of the editors to the sexual harassment that was overlooked because everyone just loved the guy to her days as an assistant editor on Identity Crisis for DC.  She wrote "Memoirs Of An Occasional Superheroine" to document what happened around her.  For those of you who just read the Bullpen Bulletins and stuff like that?  It's not a pretty picture.

It became one of the seminal works of comic journalism, a warning of the snake pit it was, a guide to prevent yourself from becoming a target of the biggest predators stalking the land.

And she has just released it as a free download.  For anyone to read.  For all to share.

I don't usually do trigger warnings unless it is something really really horrible.  But her chapters on a guy who may or may not be Julie Schwartz and what went on during the work on Identity Crisis and the rape of Sue Dibney are horrifying to me, and I don't have triggers, so I can only image what they would do to someone with them.  But for your sake, you need to lock them down.  You need to read this.

You need to see the war that is going on without you even knowing it.  Especially if you are a woman trying to make it in the industry.

These aren't funny stories.  These aren't things she talked about over drinks during cons, commenting on Dave Sims' goofy behavior or smirking at new talent.  This is someone who has gone through Hell, and is still there.

This is what those controlling the message don't want you to know.

It is permanently embedded at Bleeding Cool here.  You can also download it as a .pdf from her own site here.

It's a horrible slog.

But you have to do it.

Bookmark it.  Download it.  Share it with your friends.

This is history we cannot afford to forget or repeat.

Honor this hero among us.
Worms Ready For Battle

All Aboard The FAILboat!


I've been goofing off too much.  I need to get started creating things again.

The problem was, where to start? I decided on an Atari game.  My Tower Of Pimps project isn't working quite right, but it's been so long, I lost the mentality that coding in bB requires.  So I decided to start with something else.

I wanted simple, but not too simple.  I thought about making a version of the Fruit Ninja electronic game I have, but that's just a simple shooter -- slide horizontally, shoot.  I wanted something a little better than that, something that wouldn't work easily, something took some effort.

So I decided to make an Atari version of my Linux game FAILboat.  The original game was pretty simple -- you steered the boat past obstacles floating towards you, and you had so many lives to rack up the highest score you could.  My twist with the game was currents -- your boat rarely if ever simply moved the way you wanted it to.  The currents would change at random, and you had to compensate for that.  So if you were being shifted up, you HAD to press down.  And so on.

The Atari version brought me up against a very sharp limitation in the system, and it's not one that going assembly would fix.  Simply put, the real estate on the Atari is very small.  The Linux game was on a 600X800 screen, so there was plenty of room to adjust if things went awry or got tight. Not so here, the resolution just wouldn't allow it.

I made some changes to the play mechanics.  I got rid of the "lives" thing and went with a straight set amount of time.  I set up borders on the top and bottom of the screen you could drift into, which would freeze your score.  While the original game had up to five obstacles appearing at once, I simply went with one here.  I have tried, and no matter what, I hit the borders at least once in a while, and the obstacle, too.  By going with a time limit instead of "How long can you make this torture last?", it lessens the game's frustration (I'm not trying to make the next Flappy Bird here).

FAILboat Still

Your score goes up for each machine cycle you don't hit anything.  Colliding with the borders freezes your score, colliding with the other boat subtracts 3 for every machine cycle you are in contact (to keep it from bugging out, I put a check in there to make sure your score never goes below 10.  Without it, it was possible to roll the score over and brag to your buddies, "I got 999,994 points!  Top that!"  Just trying to keep things fair).  The fire button starts the game, and each game lasts a little over two minutes (seemed like the right amount of time).  Standard up down left right.  Unless I miss my guess, this is less than 1K of code.

And now, I have my first finished Atari game.