Incentives – It’s not what you do, but why.

I’ve spent a lot of time lately thinking about this. It seems to be a common thread in a lot of events going on around me.

It started by asking myself why I thought Blaugust was something I wanted to do. I discussed this some in Pre-Project Jitters and that’s not what’s on my mind today.

jez babies new
Fresh rabbit babies, less than 24 hours old.

I’m thinking about incentives created to encourage people to behave a certain way. I was listening to The Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe a while back and they were discussing the marshmallow test.

Basically put a 3-5 y/o kid in a room with a marshmallow, tell them if they can wait till until an adult comes back they get two. Leave for 10 min, come back, record result. Average time for last test is 7 minutes with 60% waiting the whole 10 min.

Basic incentive, but it works. Adults aren’t really all that different. Wages are an incentive to go to work. Some things are more abstract though. What’s my incentive to write a blog post every day for a month? The experience, the non-existent gold star of knowing I did it, the fond memories I’ll have of it years from now, certainly not tangible things.

What happens when this breaks down though? The US is having record low unemployment right now. Most everyone that wants a job has one and it’s creating a labor shortage. I see businesses struggling to find enough people to operate, partly because the employees don’t hang around. Why be here when I can be over there doing that instead?

Jezebel
This overly possessive ball of fuzz is the mother.

It looks to me like a lack of incentive to stay. They say “we’re competitive, it’s just how the market is” but that doesn’t feel right. Seems like a truly competitive workplace wouldn’t suffer that hard. Seems more likely that they can’t/won’t pay a truly competitive wage or benefits.

It continually amazes me that they seem so oblivious to this. They say they’re competitive, but the turnover says they’re not.

I don’t know, maybe I’m way off base. I’m not an economist or psychologist. Thanks for taking the time to read. Let me know what you think in the comments, yeah?

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Warframe and Completionism

So, I remember playing in the early days of Warframe and thinking maybe I’d try to collect all the warframes. At the time I believe there were somewhere around 12-16 plus a couple of prime versions. I’m not sure though, that seems like a lifetime ago.

volt
My Starter – Volt

I knew, of course, that I would have to spend money to get a lot more slots, and the time sink would eventually see me wander off to play other games.

I look at it now and it seems insurmountably crazy. There’s 35 base frames and an additional 21 prime frames, many of which are not easy to obtain without buying them from the cash when they happen to cycle through.

nekros
I used the Nekros for a while too.

I have 8 out of 56. About 14%. I have all or most parts for about another dozen though, I need more inventory slots though. I only have one and it’s reserved for quest completion.

Now, I’m aware that I’m not a completionist. I occasionally enjoy trying to get 100% but very often lack the motivation to do so. At one point I thought maybe if I wasn’t getting 100% then I wasn’t experiencing everything a game had to offer. I twisted that into meaning I might not be “getting my money’s worth.” Then I would work on that one thing till I was bored/burnt out then move on.

frost
Fond of the Frost right now.

I don’t expect to finish this project, to be honest, but I enjoy working on it from time to time. That’s what matters. It’s the entire point of the thing.

Am I a Writer?

So I’ve seen a lot of bloggers talking about being a writer and my initial reaction was a rather strong “I mean, maybe you are. I’m not.”

baby bunnies.png
Have some baby bunnies for no reason.

It’s not so much that I consider myself bad or particularly averse to writing. Quite the opposite, in a way. The me of 20 years ago, the one who was trying to write a fantasy novel, would have been annoyingly over-the-moon to have been labeled such.

So I though about how I define myself. I define myself as a gamer, why? Because I play games. It’s not a very exclusive title though. The people playing Farmville and Candy Crush are also gamers, at least in my opinion.

For the people who disagree with that last sentence, I understand. There are some lifestyle differences between those groups. At the end of the day though, it’s all labels though. A social stereotype that we apply to ourselves and others to build a list of working assumptions.

So, what is a writer, then? Dictionary.com says it’s:

noun
  1. person engaged in writing books, articles, stories, etc., especially as an occupation or profession; an author or journalist.
  2. clerk, scribe, or the like.
  3. person who commits his or her thoughts, ideas, etc., to writing: an expert letter writer.
  4. (in a piece of writing) the author (used as a circumlocution for “I,” “me,” “my,” etc.): The writer wishes to state….
  5. person who writes or is able to write: writer in script.
  6. Stock Exchangesomeone who sells options.
  7. Scot. lawyer or solicitor.

Well, I kinda feel like, with this blog specifically, I meet definition number 3 and in general 5 as well.

Does being a writer by definition make me one? Y’know, honestly, that’s for you to decide. I think I had made my choice before I even wrote it down and this has just sort of organized and cemented it a little bit.

So leave some comments.  What do you think? By myself I have a worldview of one, but it’s like Wikipedia. You can help by expanding this list.

No Man’s Sky NEXT -Multiplayer Impression

I wanted to put out a quick update since I picked up NMS on Steam and had a chance to try the multiplayer component as well as a slightly more extended play session.

At first, multiplayer is very similar to the single player experience, there’s just additional people.  In this instance, as with many others, I’m only playing with my brother so there’re only two of us.

My main concern was scarcity of resources. I remember struggling to get enough to keep my life support and hazard protection up and was very concerned that we would really be scraping the bottom of the barrel to support two. This ended up not being the case.  The rate at which I was acquiring resources for just myself was enough to survive and build up a supply.

oxygen motherlode
This insane pile of oxygen plants I found.

We did run into a few issues with the repairing/crafting materials, like copper, where we had to invest a little more effort to locate enough for two people but it was not a severe inconvenience.

There were some issues regarding navigation though. It’s possible to tag a specific marker/resource, and even the ground if needed, but when flying in a ship it was quite difficult to keep track of each other.  The “radar” in the ship doesn’t have as much detail as a game like Elite.  I also think they’ve changed the mouse and keyboard ship controls in a way that makes it harder to pilot.  It’s now less arcade-like and more like the M&K control for Elite, which I despise.

The tutorial has also been reconfigured to allow base building much sooner, and base building is significantly different.

home base
Home sweet home, for now.

Where’s it was a series of rooms and tubes before, kinda like a complicated hamster cage, the new system is very much like your standard survival sandbox game like Ark, or Fortnite if that’s more your flavor.

building a floor.png
Building a floor
building a wall.png
Building a wall

We haven’t even made it to the first Atlas node yet though.  I expect this is going to become something of a series, where I’ll probably be posting updates off and on as we go along.

Stay safe Travelers.

That “New Shiny” Feeling

So as I gear up for Blaugust I’ve begun discovering a few things that, quite honestly, I hadn’t really anticipated. A lot of it has been facing down some of my own demons. The ghosts of projects past and all that.

It started with the idea that if I’m going to do this, I might as well go for broke and try to write every day. Once I processed the amount of content that was I began to wonder how on earth I was going to come up with that much to talk about.  So I went out and grabbed a graph ruled composition notebook for a dollar.

Any time I found myself thinking about something at length or with interest I wrote it down as a potential topic. I had a nice little list going before I knew it and was quite surprised at this.  I don’t think of myself as someone who has a lot to say, so where is all this coming from?

The first thing I realized is that this project is currently suffering from the “New Shiny” effect. It’s a new thing, I’m learning about it, I’m doing it, it’s got that surge of energy that comes along with any new project.

I typically describe it as a live high voltage wire. It has a massive amount of energy and power within it.  It’s so easy to just grab the wire and soak in that energy. It’s so alive and energetic. Unfortunately I have a tendency to either hold onto it, due to limited ways to use it, or dump it all at once into the thing of interest.  Both of these tend to lead to burnout, in different ways.

In the first case, I spend so much time thinking about the thing I want to do that I burn all the energy on creating grand plans of all the cool things I’m going to do once I obtain the means to do so.  Researching equipment, tools, how to make my own if I need to, where to get materials, etc.  Once it comes time to actually do the thing, the power is gone, leaving me with a huge seemingly impossible plan and a lot of work to make it happen.

In the second case I have most of the tools and resources I need, I just have to do some light research and go do the thing. Unfortunately, I do the thing all the time. It consumes my every waking moment, I think about it constantly, sometimes to the exclusion and/or detriment of the things I should actually be focused on.  After usually a week or two of this sustained effort, all that energy has been run to ground and it’s up to me to provide the power to sustain the effort.

This is obviously in the second category.  WordPress enabled me to immediately begin testing the edges. It doesn’t cost anything but time, right? So I made a couple of test posts about things on my mind at the time, then began to tinker with it in earnest. Even this post is part of my testing. I’m trying to get a feel for what writing every day feels like. This post was, in itself, on my list of topics. I looked through the list, picked one I felt ready to tackle, and sat down to work on it.

The good news is, I’m aware of the new shiny and how I tend to react to it. This knowledge allows me to be prepared and avoid some of the pitfalls I have fallen into in the past. At least I hope so.

Who’s your daddy and what does he do? – An Introduction

I’m a married mid-30s father who is also a lifelong gamer. I started with Super Mario/Duck Hunt on NES around the age of 5. I play mostly on PC these days and favor RPG and MMO games, especially those of a sci-fi and/or space variety.

On this blog I’ll probably discuss a wide variety of topics. I plan to do first impression posts of new things I try or major updates. I’ll probably write about the games I’m actively playing as well.

As a newcomer to this blogging thing I’ve discovered I’ll also be writing about myself and random things I’m thinking about and working through. I didn’t mean to, initially, but I can’t seem to help myself. I seem to have a lot of pent up energy and writing is becoming the quickest path to ground, so to speak.

No Man’s Sky NEXT – First Impressions

Note: This turned out way longer than I anticipated. Skip to the last paragraph for the nutshell version.nms next banner

So here, as promised, is my initial impression and thoughts on the latest update to No Man’s Sky.

In typical major update fashion, I had some difficulty getting started. I ended up playing in windowed mode due to a cursor position issue. Cursor was locked in top left corner and trying to click anywhere on the screen forced the game to minimize. Neither clicking the icon on taskbar or alt-tab would restore cursor, just change focus back to the game and un-minimize it. Funnily enough keyboard worked fine.

Anyway, they said there was a new tutorial for the update so I figured I would start with a new game. I was not prepared, however. I was dropped in the middle of nowhere on a flat plain with no scanner and most of my elemental shielding already drained. The usual steps to repair the scanner are still there, but no ship or cover in sight. Thanks RNG, I love you too.

It’s also worth mentioning that all the elements have been changed as well. Ferrite dust, which replaced iron, was easy enough to find, but after scrambling around and taking a one way trip into and underground cave to avoid death I discovered that rocks in this cave give me Cobalt, not ferrite dust. Additionally, there are new plants in the cave that give off gas clouds that I need to avoid. Some weird egg things I didn’t touch.new materials.png

ship site.pngI finally got out, got my scanner going, got a waypoint for my ship, and made my way there. Same repairs as always, but with slightly different components. One required the usual signal booster to locate and one required a new device called a refinery. The complete version of these can be picked up and placed into your inventory. I like the refinery, I used it to turn ferrite dust into pure ferrite. Think I ran mine on carbon.

ringed planet.pngAfter my repairs I wanted to check out the new space station and character customization. I did find this cool ringed planet on my way there. I also neglected to take a picture of myself.

So, in the draft, I was not very nice towards the GoG platform, where I presumably used to own my copy of No Man’s Sky.  Due to the rather large number of people disappointed with the lack of multiplayer in the NEXT launch on GoG, they are temporarily offering refunds for this product out of their own pocket. This offer expires on the 29th, and I already went ahead and submitted a ticket. Now, I realize that like Steam, this is “wallet cash”, which is more like trading a game for an equivalent value of game(s).  It is really nice of them to do this and makes me much more likely to consider other purchases from them.

Overall I really like this update, even if I did ask for a refund. The UI is more polished, the materials make more sense, a vast amount of seemingly minor QoL changes, and there’s more overall depth. I’ll definitely be picking this up again, on Steam this time.