Happy one

$mas

Happy whatever it is you’re doing today, people. Enjoy yourselves. I hope you get lots of presents. And careful with that tree.

Bard Song

I landed on WordPress’ stats page today. This blog has had 13,500 visitors and 65,000 views until now. I wonder if I should let WordPress have the ad money, or if it’s actually better to run my own domain and do the ads myself. I mean, I could use the money.

I’m thinking about doing a Patreon page down the line, and rewarding e-patrons with things like mapping videos or realtime game development, art, texturing, 3D modelling, programming, writing, composing etc. content. I’m not a specialist at any of those, except level design and environments, but you know, being a generalist is probably underrated especially if you’re indie. If I didn’t have the meta-skill of learning things from such different fields in relatively short time, I couldn’t be doing this. It’s like the AD&D “Use Any Item” feature, or like being a bard in that roleplaying system. The bard can’t cast as many fireballs as your party mage, but when the mage gets disabled, or when you’re without a high-level thief to pick that lock, you’ll sure be glad you had a bard. A high level bard can kick a lot of ass and s/he can do it in more different disciplines than anyone else. You’ll also earn more XP faster if you let a bard do all these things and keep your party small. Being a generalist isn’t so bad in game dev either.

Worldbuilding, cont.

I’ve been doing more research on prolonged isolation in mixed-gender, mixed-culture groups. Referencing things like long-term space exploration training, research stations in Antarctica etc. The findings, even without really digging down into it, are pretty clear.

Symptoms include e.g. insomnia and lethargy, with resulting accidents. A 2014 study revealed that a very high percentage of women in antarctic research reported sexual harrassment, a significant percentage sexual assault.  This happened even in professional space training – in one infamous case, the arrival of a female crew member led to blood spattered walls, additional locks installed and “all knives hidden” across the experimental station. Imagine if that had happened in space.

There are also cases where it seems to work well, but it looks like the participants have to be chosen with extra care. Unplanned long-time isolation has a history of leading to disaster, hence all the space travel research programs.

Another thing on my mind is Pitcairn Island, and what happened after the Bounty mutiny. There are also several records of polar expeditions that ran into similar issues.

It looks like my guess at how the situation might develop for the deserters in Scout’s Journey wasn’t far from the mark. Some turn into tyrants, some become psychotic, some are the target of assault. Some establish sub-groups for self protection which then engage in rivalry. Some look for a way out.

A small twist is adding religion into the mix – as happened on Pitcairn, as happens in Scout’s Journey. Both 18th century christianity and the fictional cult of the Star-Eater have strict ideas about the role of women in society, and pretty similar ones, too.

I don’t think a break-out attempt led by women (as happens in Scout’s Journey) is such a far fetched idea at all. Including the motivations that would lead up to it (basic needs not covered, no influence, marginalized, target of violence.) If this group was led by highly intelligent and resourceful individuals, they could succeed.

Historically, there have been occasions where women have banded together and, for example, pulled off sex strikes to effect change (or on Pitcairn, built a boat and tried to escape.) In a postmodern military scenario where society has failed, authority is largely absent, and everybody has easy access to weapons, I don’t think it too unlikely that guns would be pulled, on occasion, which consequently happens in Scout’s Journey.

It does seem like gender is a very difficult topic still. We would like humanity to be more civilised. We would like to let sleeping dogs lie. But evidence tells a different story.

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