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2017 in Science Bird: A look back

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This is a diary of what I did this year that I found significant enough to remember.

Activities

On January 2nd, we visited nearby industrial ruins and played an exploration/spook game I had prepared for a while. The location is amazing – it even has a vast basement in complete darkness and snow made it all way more dramatic. Here’s a gallery.

Unlike past years, this one had very little cosplay for me. I took part in this Lady Rainicorn though, which was a great idea.

In August, friends and I volunteered at Gamescom – I would not recommend going there as a visitor under any circumstances, but even if your job is to carry and construct stuff, it is a different experience. I’ve done this twice now and will gladly come again. My friend Sofie was a „VIP Manager“. We never found out how one becomes a VIP or how to manage them.

Stuff I made and published this year

Undertalk’s success story

We made a podcast about Undertale. I already wrote an article about the how and why. Let me talk about success a bit: Of course I anticipated that barely anyone would listen to us. The only way to become known nowadays is if famous people signal boost you.

But there is also a separate problem: I really don’t like advertising myself. I usually inform people one time that something is out, and then stop doing that. I find advertising annoying and would not want to be that guy. I clearly didn’t do this for the clicks, after all we made the podcast when the hype had long died down.

But I’m afraid there is also simply no target audience for us: The podcast is super deconstructive (as in, we are looking at a thing and explaining why we like it and why it is good), whereas the Undertale fandom that still exists is very constructive (They create fanart and invent Alternate Universes, they produce new content, but don’t really want to question why they like the thing). And those people who liked Undertale two years ago I guess generally don’t care that much about it anymore. I am not really familiar with that experience. My love for things doesn’t really die down. I don’t get hyped, but I remain true to things and people I’m into.

In the end, I am a bit bummed about the silent fate that Undertalk had – because I still think this is as good as I could have made it. This is the best I can do, and I’m proud of the quality. If you’re reading this and you’d like to give it a chance: Here is the Playlist.

 

 

About that Minimalist Guide thing

I made two of those this year – one for each raid that came out. While I have been making paint raid guides internally, for my own guilds since Pandaria, I only started publishing them on Reddit with Legion’s release.

Before Tomb of Sargeras, I was contacted by @BriannamClark of Curse Network (she does Diablofans and other content stuff) if I’d like to publish on MMO-Champion instead. This had two big upsides for me:

  1. I tended to update my guides to version 2 or 3 after changes on the PTR and live experience, and people who didn’t look for news would just miss that I made a more accurate and new version because reddit is that way. Having a stable website to refer to (which I of course wouldn’t be able to fund myself) solved that problem.
  2. I really like MMO-Champion, as a website. I’ve had them in my RSS for 8 years now and I like their „just pure content“-attitude.

In the pantheon of WoW-related websites, Wowhead always dominates because of their google-optimized methods of being verbose and linking to every single game term in texts, but they also have those very helpful and professional commenters, with a website system that encourages being a good community member.
There has always been an unspoken rivalry between the two sites, but I am not part of that. I don’t get any money from MMO-Champion, this is still just a completely free thing I make. So I just want to say these truths about the two websites out loud here, where probably nobody will ever read them: This is not a good website design in any way. And This is what a toxic community looks like. These people are who we well-meaning, gentle game people are trying to get away from.

I’m glad I got to say this.

The Minimalist Guides are typical for me, I think. Every single one of them represents about 100 hours of raid tests, taking notes, drafting and redrafting, drawing the art and arranging it all in a helpful and reasonable way. If that time isn’t visible, I have succeeded. A lot of the work is in what you don’t see: Every draft is more exact and poignant and less verbose than the last. This is the quality I aim for.

The Legion expansion is practically over, so here is a list of all the Minimalist Guides I made, including ones from 2016. Look for the evolution of my „art“, as well as how long-winded the Nightmare guide still was!

Emerald Nightmare
Nighthold
Trial of Valor
Tomb of Sargeras
Black Temple
Antorus, the Burning Throne

I made a christian really angry once

This is just a funny anecdote that I haven’t told anyone about. In September, I watched a debate about „Should we have a right to die“ and got really annoyed by the person defending the „no“ position, so I drew a paint image (as I do) mildly exaggerating his positions to convey the way they came across. I tagged both participants in my tweet – after confirming that Matt Dillahunty is way too famous to notice, and that Clinton Wilcox had been inactive for months.

But then it turned out Wilcox had read my tweet, and had written an angry, 2000-word rebuttal to my tweet. He correctly identified that I had been a bit facetious but took it very seriously. I apologized to him that it hurt him, and explained that nobody reads my tweets. But secretly, to this day, I find this super funny and am kind of proud of it.

Other Paint Art stuff

I have a few ideas for short-form thoughts about WoW, basically headcanons – „what it might feel like to be healed by a restoration shaman“, „What do Worgen actually do with their clothes during transformation“ and stuff like that, illustrated with paint art. I’m unsure if I should do that – the first project in that direction got me to a 0% approval on reddit. Here it is:

 

My actual work that I use to eat and live in a real house

Since summer 2016 I’ve been working as a school integration assistant, following one 11 year old boy for his entire school day and generally helping him to keep focus, being a bit of a personal assistant, defusing tensions sometimes. This job didn’t exist when I went to school and there’s not even a good english word for it.

It’s weird being back in sixth grade and watching kids deal with all the stuff I’ve finished. It’s like re-playing a game you have mastered now, but nobody is giving you any points for it. To be quite honest, a huge part of the job is extremely boring – the kid I work with has gotten a lot better and doesn’t need micromanaging like a year ago anymore, so I often just have nothing to do. For a while last year I started drawing animals just to stay awake.

But besides that, I think this is a good job, and I feel kind of responsible for the boy and am ready to stay for like 1,5 more years – if I can afford it. The pay is dreadful, I get 11€ an hour, and none for the 7 hours of bike commute every week.

Some Youtubes I really liked this year

Bill Wurtz: History of the entire world, I guess

Hello Internet

Hbomberguy about uncanny New Donk City

Hbomberguy destroying all of Sherlock

Lindsay Ellis arguing that Moana is the better Pocahontas

Smarter Every Day brute forcing Domino Science

Emotional status and final words

Uh, to be honest… I’ve been kind of down on the world since the 2016 US election. I am very much into Truth, and we now live in a time regularly described as „post-factual“ in germany. Of course liars and assholes have always been around – but it feels way, way worse to me now. I don’t live in the US, but systemic dishonesty hurts from afar too. I’ve spent this year at basically a permanent -2 mood status.

There is no grand, short way to describe 2017. If you read this and you are not me: I hope this was in some way interesting. This whole blog is mainly my external memory, I often visit it again years later to see what I wrote back then. I just liked the idea of documenting this year. If I can be proud of next year, maybe I’ll do it again.

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26. August 2017 at 3:26 am

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