The Camp Fire, which is currently burning in Northern California, has become the deadliest wildfire in state history with a death toll of 42 as of this morning. Swipe through these satellite images from NASA to see the enormous scope of the blaze, which has scorched more than 117,000 acres (47,000 hectares), destroyed more than 7,000 structures and forced 52,000 people to evacuate their homes. Also visible in the second image is the Woolsey Fire in Southern California, which has killed two people and burned more than 93,000 acres (37,600 hectares). Both fires are roughly 30 percent contained at the moment.
Writing for Literary Hub, author Aleksandar Hemon writes about his friend Zoka — who he grew up with in Sarajevo before Hemon moved away and Zoka became a Serbian nationalist — in the context of the media trying to figure out if debating with racists & fascists is a good idea.
The public discussion prompted by the (dis)invitation [of Steve Bannon from the New Yorker Festival] confirmed to me that only those safe from fascism and its practices are likely to think that there might be a benefit in exchanging ideas with fascists. What for such a privileged group is a matter of a potentially productive difference in opinion is, for many of us, a matter of basic survival. The essential quality of fascism (and its attendant racism) is that it kills people and destroys their lives-and it does so because it openly aims so.
Witness Stephen Miller and Donald Trump’s “zero tolerance for illegal immigration” policy. Fascism’s central idea, appearing in a small repertoire of familiar guises, is that there are classes of human beings who deserve diminishment and destruction because they’re for some reason (genetic, cultural, whatever) inherently inferior to “us.” Every fucking fascist, Bannon included, strives to enact that idea, even if he (and it is usually a he-fascism is a masculine ideology, and therefore inherently misogynist) bittercoats it in a discourse of victimization and national self-defense. You know: they are contaminating our nation/race; they are destroying our culture; we must do something about them or perish. At the end of such an ideological trajectory is always genocide, as it was the case in Bosnia.
The effects and consequences of fascism, however, are not equally distributed along that trajectory. Its ideas are enacted first and foremost upon the bodies and lives of the people whose presence within “our” national domain is prohibitive. In Bannon/Trump’s case, that domain is nativist and white. Presently, their ideas are inflicted upon people of color and immigrants, who do not experience them as ideas but as violence. The practice of fascism supersedes its ideas, which is why people affected and diminished by it are not all that interested in a marketplace of ideas in which fascists have prime purchasing power.
From tip to tail, Red Dead Redemption 2 is a profound, glorious downer. It is the rare blockbuster video game that seeks to move players not through empowering gameplay and jubilant heroics, but by relentlessly forcing them to confront decay and despair. It has no heroes, only flawed men and women fighting viciously…
Last year, my friend and coworker Michael Barclay boldly declared that “level blockouts are art”. He started the hashtag #Blocktober to celebrate the art form and encourage other developers to share screenshots of their blockmesh levels. The response was enthusiastic, as hundreds of developers gave us a sample of their early-production work. It provided some well-deserved exposure to a vital facet of game development that players normally never get to see.
Since Michael is starting up #Blocktober again this year, I thought I would dig through my own work files to find something to share. While I’m not actually a level designer, in my systems design work I often develop playable prototypes to pitch a certain gameplay idea or feature.
The video above is an early prototype of the train combat sequence that was later developed for chapter 9 of Uncharted: The Lost Legacy. While we were still in early preproduction, I wanted to pitch an action setpiece that combined ideas and mechanics from two of my favourite levels: the train from Uncharted 2 and the convoy chase from Uncharted 4. This would also enable us to leverage some of the physics and animation tech that had already been developed in our engine.
A few credits: the rocky terrain that the train meanders through is borrowed from Mark Davies’s blockmesh of the islands from chapter 12 of Uncharted 4. I reused many of the vehicle-to-vehicle combat systems previously developed by Kurt Margenau. I also wasn’t involved with the real train level that actually shipped with The Lost Legacy; that was developed from scratch by Nicholas Lance, Asher Einhorn, Michael Barclay, Vinit Agarwal and many more.