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Quadragenarian Quagmire

This week, in what little free time I had, I mostly played a lot of Earth Defense Force.
Unfortunately, there is not a whole lot more to say about that game this week than I had already said during the lastEarth Defense Force 4.1 is a fun game involving lots of shooting giant insects and UFOs seasoned with a constant barrage of tongue-in-cheek humor that I feel is relatively-well delivered.

I guess I could say that Earth Defense Force may not get quite enough credit for the attention paid to the details.
  • The voice acted lines had to be delivered precisely with the right tone to work as satire, and they are.
  • The lines had to be worded very carefully or the spoken lines would have been either too obviously glib or too serious, but they were written just barely inside reason of what someone might say in that situation until you think about it and realize it is a stupid thing to say if the situation were real.  Then they go on to repeat themselves deliberately in such a way that you realize the writers knew that all along and are pulling your leg.
  • The sound track is in on the joke, sounding at times like a cornball B-flick, other times like a serious Japanese action game.  It's neither, but something in between that is a satirical parody of both, and the music is a perfect choice for this.
  • Even the design of the units you play tell a tale of something that is both just feasible enough to believe and not at all feasible if you think about it.
    • The Rangers are basically just grunts, albeit remarkably macho ones.  A perpetually dive-rolling guy carrying a machine gun and RPG is a ridiculous choice for fighting UFOs or giant insects.
    • The Air Raiders logistical model of summoning air strikes and vehicles makes no sense since these things should be getting used in greater numbers without waiting for this guy to earn enough points to ask for them.
    • The Wing Divers are clearly silly poster girls whose appropriated alien technology flying suits feature exposed cleavage and metal pantsu.  Their high tech weapons are clearly no more effective than anything else.  A recurring joke is they keep falling into giant spider webs, calling it "an ambush!"
    • The Fencers' power armor is comically trying to cram too much power in too small of a package, and the result suffers from overwhelming movement inertia and a difficulty in handling weapon recoil, but this is part of the joke because it should actually be much worse.
    Yet, despite the fact that all of them break down under logical scrutiny, there they all are: successfully fighting off giant insects.  It is the outer layer of feasibility that makes the satire work.
  • Speaking of which, the enemies are equally great satire.  Giant insects make no sense due to scientific limitations, but there they are, being menacing attackers.  The design and methods of the UFOs, the ravagers, are equally silly.  Who creates an interstellar transporter for the purpose of dropping giant insects?  But it seems quite effective.  Who creates attack drones that float around like they're dangling from a string?  Regardless, they are terrifying in swarms.
This game is a work of genius in that many countless elements work together to tell the same subtle joke again and again.  It is subtle in that some people won't get it.  It is repetitive that some people will be overwhelmed and feel insulted that they need to make that joke so many times.  But it is one huge running joke that works together into a perfect theme for a game about gunning down hordes of baddies.

Seeing how well a game like Earth Defense Force has come together makes me feel bad about how little progress I was making in creating my game, so I attempted to redouble my efforts in doing so.

It seems to me that I am basically deep in the morass of the following chart:
Source: this reddit page.
I think I need to make my code a lot more maintainable because it should be relatively easy to do something like plonk down a sprite for a player character but it's not.  I imagine I'll be up above the broken rope bridge of the above pic once I manage to streamline and reorganize the code enough that it is.  Given that this is a project of many unique systems, there may be more than one dark swamp of despair ahead.

Geldon's Boring Personal Life:

Aside from those two things, I am afraid it has been a rather soul-crushing week, but not one without personal development.

The main problem stems from the fact that I just had two three day weekends in the row back to back, thanks to Christmas and New Years Day.  Under ideal circumstances, this would be great news, as I badly needed my free time.  However, I was drafted to spend over half of both of them babysitting, and without consent.  Because reasons.
Nobody even mentioned the big four oh on my birthday.  If anything, it seems they were avoiding saying anything about it.
For a lot of people, it's fun to insert social activities into their free time.  For a person who consistently scores over 80-90% introverted on the Myers-Briggs, it is a serious problem.  For introverts, socialization is a draining activity, we need our "me" time to recharge.

I was so depleted that I ended up missing work on Wednesday because I had an uncomfortable encounter with a profound sensation throughout the entirety of Tuesday.  I just felt really out of it.  As I tried to put my finger on it, it was either that I was dying or I might as well be dead.  (It did not help I had what might have been a few palpitations, assuming it was not just gas rising to the center of my chest.)
Fearing for my health, I decided to start dieting.  I found a lovely app named Ultimate Food Value Diary that provides a fairly magnificent means of tracking weight watchers points without the need for a monthly subscription.  It seems to be working, I'm losing some weight.  But then, that's hardly surprising when I was not counting calories at all beforehand.

It seems I am not dying just yet.  Happy New Year.  On my current schedule, the next time a scheduled national holiday will give me three or more days off back-to-back will be next Christmas.  I'll probably voluntarily use some vacation time before then.


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