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Laisha
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PostSubject: Re: Literature   Thu Aug 16, 2012 4:24 pm

That is so right. Frankly, when I buy a game, I often am investing in its story rather than it's gameplay (Mount & Blade being a rare exception). If a game is disappointing me in the story department, often if flat out fails for me. I'll even forgive weak game mechanics if the story is enough (I cite the first Mass Effect). Yet, many gamers don't play for that purpose, particularly the ones who don't take much stock in reading. If my school experiences are any indication...too few realize how lucky they are to be literate. I can only assume that translates into gamers.

The question really is, how does one strike a balance between making a deep experience and making game that is capable of being mass marketed? I'm currently helping a friend try to develop a game, serving as the writer and, frankly, creating the world. However, I've been somewhat concerned about just how much my (potential) creativity will really be appreciated. Perhaps I'm just self-conscious and thinking too far ahead, but such questions nibble at the back of my mind like a rodent gleefully chewing on a nut...
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Iskar
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PostSubject: Re: Literature   Thu Aug 16, 2012 8:46 pm

Regarding the CHIM issue: Some time ago I read a series of fantasy books in which the world was also just the dream of some Great Dreamer, but other than in TES lore everyone knew about it and the most powerful 'gods' were generally referred to as thoughts of the dreamer, while a lot of strife and struggle in the story was created by the necessity to keep a rather malevolent thought (called the 'Snake') from waking the dreamer and thus destroying the world.

When I first read these books the fragility of such a reality somewhat appalled me, but ever since my philosophical studies have led me to adopt a more constructivist approach to reality (one that - on second thought - also fits better with science, since all we do is creating and testing models without ever getting through [through? where to? You see this whole ontologic question barely makes any sense.] to some Kantian 'thing-in-itself'), I have come to the conclusion that there is nothing disturbing about such a dreamed world, since it does not really matter whether the world - as the whole of our so-called perceptions and ideas and as such a completely mind-immanent concept - is thought to be a dream or what is naively called 'real'.

PS: Nested parentheses rule. Razz

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Saeros
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PostSubject: Re: Literature   Thu Aug 16, 2012 10:20 pm

An unrestrained neighbouring alarm kept me awake last night, so I gave some thought about this thread.

@Laisha and Mordred: Firstly, I think that there are two different approaches: one that contantly produces new content (e.g. Angry Birds), and one that develops the same content extensively. Both may be profitable, but, in the long run, only latter is self-sustainable. In time, clients will create the content themselves. Say: do you think that Skyrim would have the success it did, were it not by Morrowind's mod community? This is what I mean.

Secondly, there's also the matter of what do you want with your games. Perhaps the choices aren't restricted to making this or that niche play the game, but rather makes this and that consume the game. Consuming means bringing the game to different media, and sell not the game, but the brand. A game is game, but it can be converted into products, which later can draw interest of the public for new games, in a self-feeding, virtuous cycle. This, I think, is underlooked by many game companies. We should pay mpre attention to Google's marketing genius. Successful webcomic artists, too, know how to use this well.

Quote :
Oh there are many counters to her arguement which is why I thought it weak, doesn't help us sell Vinland though!
It may by naive of me, but have you contacted student directories in Scandinavistic departments around Europe?

Yet another thought: perhaps someone should analyze why the M&B couple was successful. They had limited resources, a very small team, and made a game visually terrible, with a equally lame story. Why were they successful? I believe that knowing that may help you with Vinland.


@ CHIM:

I decided I don't like the thought of Nirn being a dream. As Ana said, it does remind me of Buddhist cosmology, but somehow that feels wrong. However, if instead of "dream of mad god" you just said "the world is illusion and ruled by mild chaos", I'd be fine with that. In order to acquire conceptions of things, a god would need sensorial perception, and sensorial perception implies an existing world for him to perceive. I think even gods cannot have thought out of nothing.

And today SMBC also contributed to our debate: http://www.smbc-comics.com/index.php?db=comics&id=2705#comic
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Iskar
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PostSubject: Re: Literature   Thu Aug 16, 2012 10:37 pm

Saeros wrote:
In order to acquire conceptions of things, a god would need sensorial perception, and sensorial perception implies an existing world for him to perceive. I think even gods cannot have thought out of nothing.
You're applying an ontological concept of 'things' and perception here. If you follow Descartes's cogito-argument then the only doubtless fact is that you think and therefore everything else is en effet a product of this thinking mind. Whether you think about everything else as illusion or as independent reality does not matter, because all this are again just thoughts. There is (in my humble opinion and according to the necessarily limited and fallible thoughts I have gone through regarding this issue) no necessity to perception for thinking.

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Isabel Tenorio
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PostSubject: Re: Literature   Fri Aug 17, 2012 1:06 am

Saeros wrote:



@ CHIM:

I decided I don't like the thought of Nirn being a dream. As Ana said, it does remind me of Buddhist cosmology, but somehow that feels wrong. However, if instead of "dream of mad god" you just said "the world is illusion and ruled by mild chaos", I'd be fine with that. In order to acquire conceptions of things, a god would need sensorial perception, and sensorial perception implies an existing world for him to perceive. I think even gods cannot have thought out of nothing.

And today SMBC also contributed to our debate: http://www.smbc-comics.com/index.php?db=comics&id=2705#comic


It is not simply a limited Greek-style god. This is an omni-present godhead. This is the kind of god that creates reality because it is beyond all other beings.. and it is trapped within itself, with the only perceptions it has being 'everything' (Anu) and 'nothing' (Padomay). It is trapped in those two with no sense of self or individuality as a god, it simply is and is not. The interaction between everything and nothing created something and that something is the Elder Scrolls universe. Every character, every action and every event is just an echo of everything and nothing. Gods resulted from this, such as Akatosh (time) and Lorkhan (space) Ultimately this results in a cycle, each round of it is a kalpa.

Some gods learned they could survive to the next kalpa by moving in a certain direction. According to one story, the creation of Mundus was because some gods wanted an easier way to suvive, but Lorkhan tricked them into failing... and was destroyed for it. Lorkhan was attempting to 'achieve' CHIM through the creation of the world... but failed intentionally. When asked why Lorkhan would intentionally fail to achieve Enlightenment the response was 'So you might know how not to.' There were other spirits besides the Et'Ada, as the Mer believe they were originally much greater beings, but the creation of the world left them stuck there, and at the end of each Kalpa, Akatosh/Alduin destroys the world, and eventually Lorkhan remakes it, and they continue to struggle. Akatosh/Alduin and Lorkahn are two of the oldest of the gods, first born of the Everything and Nothing respectively, and their struggle continues to make and unmake the world.
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PostSubject: Re: Literature   Fri Aug 17, 2012 1:14 am

@Iskar I agree with your argument. What I'm trying to say is that thinking about things requires that one has some idea of what things are, i.e. some sort of input. For instance, I defend that one cannot develop the idea of "horse" without having received the sensorial information that allows the fomation of that concept from at least one sense (color, shape, smell, etc.). The "thing" one thinks may be correct or illusory, but in both casees it needs previous information.
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Isabel Tenorio
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PostSubject: Re: Literature   Fri Aug 17, 2012 1:18 am

You're being a skeptical child of the twentieth century!

Think of it from a creationist prespective... where does the creator diety come up with the ideas to create a world? We can only assume that as a superior being, they must be capable of spontaneously creating concepts. This is the same principle as the godhead, however instead of creating concepts there are only two: I am (everything) and I am not (nothing).

The interplay of everything and nothing created all of the Elder Scrolls world. Each and every action, being, event, concept etc in TES is due to the interplay of those two. It's a story that repeats itself over and over again. Akatosh has Lorkhan's heart ripped out, Tiber Septim has Zurin Arctus' heart ripped out. Akatosh is an echo of Everything while Lorkhan is an echo of nothing.

That is TES cosmology, it isn't intended to be easily grasped but you can find threads connecting just about all of it pre-Oblivion.
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PostSubject: Re: Literature   Fri Aug 17, 2012 1:18 am

@ Saeros: What would your mind keep from creating such an idea and call it horse? The fact that we are used to the point of view that perception of 'outer' things imbues the mind with ideas that it then works with (as laid out in Locke's "Human Understanding") does not necessarily mean there is indeed something independent of us (previous information as you called it). What you call the perception of a horse may just be a trick of your mind.

@ Ana: I like the TES lore for its deep reaching foundations that hardly leave any open questions, but there is one thing that buggers me: Existence is not a logical predicate and therefore "Nothing" is not an entity with the predicate of non-existence that could somehow interact with "Everything", but it is simply nothing, so it actually cannot interact.

PS: Looking at the sentence "it is simply nothing" you see how philosophically inaccurate our language is. I had better say "It simply is not", although the reference ("It") to something that does not exist still feels strange.

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Saeros
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PostSubject: Re: Literature   Fri Aug 17, 2012 1:22 am

Quote :
It is not simply a limited Greek-style god. This is an omni-present godhead. This is the kind of god that creates reality because it is beyond all other beings.. and it is trapped within itself, with the only perceptions it has being 'everything' (Anu) and 'nothing' (Padomay). It is trapped in those two with no sense of self or individuality as a god, it simply is and is not. The interaction between everything and nothing created something and that something is the Elder Scrolls universe. Every character, every action and every event is just an echo of everything and nothing. Gods resulted from this, such as Akatosh (time) and Lorkhan (space) Ultimately this results in a cycle, each round of it is a kalpa.

Some gods learned they could survive to the next kalpa by moving in a certain direction. According to one story, the creation of Mundus was because some gods wanted an easier way to suvive, but Lorkhan tricked them into failing... and was destroyed for it. Lorkhan was attempting to 'achieve' CHIM through the creation of the world... but failed intentionally. When asked why Lorkhan would intentionally fail to achieve Enlightenment the response was 'So you might know how not to.' There were other spirits besides the Et'Ada, as the Mer believe they were originally much greater beings, but the creation of the world left them stuck there, and at the end of each Kalpa, Akatosh/Alduin destroys the world, and eventually Lorkhan remakes it, and they continue to struggle. Akatosh/Alduin and Lorkahn are two of the oldest of the gods, first born of the Everything and Nothing respectively, and their struggle continues to make and unmake the world.


I understand. But if this god

a) is mad
b) is omnipotent and omnipresent
c) is the combination of Allness and Nothingness
d) is beyond the above mentioned dichotomy
e) has no sense of self or otherness

Then I'd feel more comfortable in removing his personhood and considering him as a force of nature (nay, as nature itself). It's just my personal preference: instead of Nirn being the result of his mad thoughts, it would be effect caused by this chaotic force of nature.

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PostSubject: Re: Literature   Fri Aug 17, 2012 1:26 am

The Godhead is nature, that is true. The god is called mad because rather than being a singular or individual force/being, it is two. It is I am and I am not. Those two are constantly in conflict, and that gives the world meaning.

It isn't relevant for most of the story, it is only relevant for characters achieving Enlightenment. The after-life in TES is not permanent. When a mortal dies their soul returns to the Dreamsleeve where they experience whatever afterlife they imagined they would, but gradually their soul is stripped of all memories, thoughts, and unique characteristics. Then that soul is deposited into a new living being and the cycle repeats.

In order to escape that cycle, a being must ultimately achieve CHIM or some other way to store themselves. Basically, they have to go with an Eastern concept of 'salvation' instead of the Western one. (Don't hate me religion buffs for using the word salvation!) Many have been discussed, but with MK being allowed to write only limited stuff since Oblivion they haven't gone into as much detail as CHIM.
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PostSubject: Re: Literature   Fri Aug 17, 2012 1:29 am

I still think you cannot be "I am not", for then you would not be at all. Ontology sucks...

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Sir Haegon
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PostSubject: Re: Literature   Fri Aug 17, 2012 1:29 am

I know nothing about the elder scrolls, except the lore behind werewolfs Smile

About deities, long live J.R.R. Tolkien?
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Saeros
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PostSubject: Re: Literature   Fri Aug 17, 2012 1:34 am

Quote :
@ Saeros: What would your mind keep from creating such an idea and call it horse? The fact that we are used to the point of view that perception of 'outer' things imbues the mind with ideas that it then works with (as laid out in Locke's "Human Understanding") does not necessarily mean there is indeed something independent of us (previous information as you called it). What you call the perception of a horse may just be a trick of your mind.

I think we all come to this question:

"How people develop conceptions of things?"

Quote :
What would your mind keep from creating such an idea and call it horse?

I follow the Stoic (and probably Peripatetic) position, which states that without sense, touch, smell, sight or hearing, no knowledge is possible. I believe that, if someone never received any information whatsoever from his senses, he cannot form any idea at all. Yes, he may think, but thinking about something is another story.

There are different traditions that state the opposite (i.e. that forming ideas without sense-perception is possible). I can think immediately of orthodox Taoism and, perhaps also Buddhism (but for them the mind and the consciousness are two additional senses). I guess an empirical experiment is at this point impossible, so all of this is pretty much a matter of choice.


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PostSubject: Re: Literature   Fri Aug 17, 2012 1:35 am

Lorkhan was I am Not. It is the concept of not this as opposed to strictly nothing... but remember, every origin myth of TES is told like a real-life myth, with biases and metaphores. It is up to the players/lorebuffs to sort through it and try to state it directly like we're doing now.

Akatosh was the first born of the Anu and said 'I Am' while when Lorkhan was born of Padomay/Sithis and said 'I am not'

Akatosh was the concept of time, which allowed lesser spirits to realize themselves as beings because they have a past, a present and a future. Lorkhan was space.. they are the same being, just... different. >.>

Lorkhan struggled to figure what he really was, and came up to the edge of his existence where he saw the Tower which was in the shape of I. It was at that point he began to realize the idea of CHIM without actually achieving it, and so he set out to help others do so.

The story then ceases to be about what is CHIM, but what did Lorkhan have planned that he would be willing to be the Buddha and delay/prevent his own Enlightenment.

Enter another of Michael Kirkbride's masterpieces:
http://www.imperial-library.info/content/loveletter-fifth-era-true-purpose-tamriel
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Saeros
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PostSubject: Re: Literature   Fri Aug 17, 2012 1:44 am

Wow, Ana, if the writers changed the names and called it another branch of Buddhism, nobody would question that.

I think everything becomes messed up when you add the feature of personhood. As I said, it's just my preference, but I find it hard to conceive that natural phenomena such as time and space as beings who have free will, desire and intention. I mean, they are one of the basis for our world's principle of cause and effect - when they have will, that means that they can act differently, which then means that the laws of physics are constantly changing in Nirn.

EDIT: you know, I think everyone here falls somewhere within the autistic spectrum Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: Literature   Fri Aug 17, 2012 1:48 am

Perhaps you shouldn't be thinking of them as individuals then. This is personification just like in the old myths where the Sky is a god. These are grand concepts that are intentionally beyond our grasp. Take the literal make up of the world. There is Nirn, which is finite. Then there is Oblivion around it, which is infinite. Around that infinite Oblivion lies the infinite Aetherius. One infinite wrapped in another infinite. The planets that you see when you look at the night sky are infinite... but because a mortal cannot grasp the image of infinity, we see only spheres.

I'm not at all a lorebuff and I'm sure I've made some rather significant mistakes. If this interests you, leap over to the Elder Scrolls official forums and visit the lore forum. Like I said, I haven't visited it since Skyrim launched, but there are lots of old discussions with some very intelligent people that for some reason applied themselves to a mythical theology instead of real-world problems.
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PostSubject: Re: Literature   Fri Aug 17, 2012 1:49 am

If you take into account that the best theories we have in physics (relativity and quantummechanics) either give up the concept of a fix spacetime (the former) or the concept of a distinct particle (the latter) and replace them with a variable and interacting curved 4-manifold or a distribution of probability instead, all this does not seem too disturbing...

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PostSubject: Re: Literature   Fri Aug 17, 2012 1:50 am

what real world problems? we live in an utopia.

just check the electoral programs of the U.S.A. , The Netherlands and any first world country.
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PostSubject: Re: Literature   Fri Aug 17, 2012 1:53 am

Iskar wrote:
If you take into account that the best theories we have in physics (relativity and quantummechanics) either give up the concept of a fix spacetime (the former) or the concept of a distinct particle (the latter) and replace them with a variable and interacting curved 4-manifold or a distribution of probability instead, all this does not seem too disturbing...


This is why MK is a genius. He has shifted things just enough to be crazy, yet make perfect sense.

He's been on a digital kick since Skyrim, and just before launch he posted in the lore forum the procedure for saving something from one Kalpa to the next sort of like saving data during a hard-drive wipe.
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PostSubject: Re: Literature   Fri Aug 17, 2012 2:03 am

@ Iskar: A friend of mine, physics researcher, tried to explain me a theory with a weird name, where there are 27 (?) dimensions and where some mathematical concepts only make sense when particles continuously make a loop over themselves in some of those dimensions. Seriously, that's way beyong my grasp.

@ Ana: please finish Skyrim soon. We have a lot to discuss about it.

Quote :
with some very intelligent people that for some reason applied themselves to a mythical theology instead of real-world problems.

Well, helping the world is difficult, I need either auctoritas or great support from the media in order to achieve that. In my most useful research field, people are constantly threatened because of their work. That's the main reason why I'm in Aftermath and not in the UN.

Quote :
what real world problems?

Some people think that the human race will become extinct or severely crippled in about 200-500 years.
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PostSubject: Re: Literature   Fri Aug 17, 2012 2:10 am

I mainly meant that they spend a vast amount of time digging through fake religious texts and doing what real life theologians, historians, etc do... but it's all for entertainment value. Wink There is certainly nothing wrong with it, and I definitely love them for doing so, but still... tongue


My biggest issue with Skyrim is that I started bouncing between character concepts in december-January and then in february I lost my harddrive so I lost the Skyrim save that I had sunk fifty hours into. My motivation to seriously play it again and finish more of the quests is fleeting. I'll use some cheats to at least jump to level 30 again and not have to go through the process of grinding blacksmith solely so that I can wear any armor I please.

Quite honestly, I've had more of a desire to play Morrowind again. The graphics may be terrible by today's standards, and the animations bad by those days' standards, but the gameplay, the story, the general design... it is flawless. (Yes, I meant it, flawless as much as is realistically possible!)


To better understand the idea of the insane godhead, attempt a WILD. (Wake Initiated Lucid Dream) It's a long process to actual success, I've been trying for two years without full success, but just attempting helps a lot. Plus lucid dreaming is win anyway.
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Sir Celdiur Moriendor
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PostSubject: Re: Literature   Fri Aug 17, 2012 2:17 am

Y'know that if you mod the shit out of Morrowind you can bring the graphics up to Oblivion's standard right?
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PostSubject: Re: Literature   Fri Aug 17, 2012 2:20 am

I've not had good luck making Morrowind's mods work. The only one that I got to not utterly screw up the game was the slave and plantation mod. Unfortunately after I invested about 100,000 gold I started producing more crops than I could possibly sell.
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PostSubject: Re: Literature   Fri Aug 17, 2012 2:21 am

Aw yeah that was a really fun mod! I tried to make it more difficult by only hiring paid laborers to work in my fields. Even then I was producing way to much though.
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PostSubject: Re: Literature   Fri Aug 17, 2012 2:23 am

I know someone in Bonn that conducted experiments on lucid dreaming. She had to teach the lab rats patients how to lucid dream in order to do those experiments, so it's very probable that she'll be able to teach you. If you're ever going there for tourism, just let me know.

You can download a pirate copy. I used to do that, play a little, then buy the legal copy if the game was good, or delete it if it was bad. And sometimes I bought the same game more than once (Morrowind, precisely).

EDIT: don't ever forget the Tamriel Rebuilt mods.
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