Lopping off a few arms and legs of some giant cock roaches was a piece of cake, but suffocating a wandering bandit enhanced by months of grinding was an entirely different thing. You never really knew whether that person was going to be another gamer, or if they were going to be a regular old NPC.
The game had this method of keeping count of every civilian you murdered in cold blood, it didn't matter if they were the local nun, or a highwayman on the run; hitching a ride on the back of a bullet train, sky diving from the back of flying wing, all a matter of course. But like landing in the Indian Ocean or wandering the Sahara desert, it was the stop that got you. And sometimes the storm doesn't blow over. Lidier got used to not having many friends, though it even surprised her when some of her loyal business partners, when trying to loot during levels of armor for different on line gamers, how many of them would go onto throw her under the bus.
The alliance of European nations was not quite to the level of the United States, when it came to turning immigrants into Ice. But suffice to say, they have their way. Their way of putting all you've ever known on ice. The last troop she belonged to, wanted to explore an ancient ruins in the game: as far as in game continuity was concerned, it was a product of a lost civilization shot down by aliens. But with any kind of game play session, most of the time the story and plot was largely secondary.
The story of life was having her mother repair her stop watches, and being led into raising a cat who feared yetis, and never quite understanding why. Only that whenever she read books about cryptozoology, the cat was alway encourage her to turn the page whenever a yeti was on the sheet. But now with her mother now living in British Columbia, and her father nowhere to be found in Honduras, possibly aiding the plight of refugees, she enjoyed a certain relaxed contempt for humanity uncensored by the expectation of familial lineage, not the flow of the Mariachi or the Flamenco.
The only time she tolerated the Mariachi, was when her peers would have mock up digitized weddings using their SL avatars, among other products and services on the older second version of the net, when services were still largely centralized, including on line video streaming services milking you for every dollar you were worth just to catch up on Japanese fighting anime, among other preteen forms of entertainments.
Even on Pleroma, interaction was few and far between. Real human interaction that is, and the web still had a method of isolating you from the real world, that left her constantly feeling fatigued.
Lidier had a natural inclination toward hating fantasy, whether that was stories of Jesus, Catherine Howard, or some blend of the two. Even stories where Catherine was Jesus, and other vague tales of decapitation martyrdom. The flow of an ax blade chopping through a slender neck, the dying sensation of draining blood. She hated girls who were white saviors, almost to a fault. Taste the wounds of desire, cover them in salt. Flow to the lyrical melody of long strawberry locks, and tutor bonnet filles in their Birkenstock clogs. The flow of time moving past the the of the ax.
She finished testing a new game called Nihilist. It was similar to Rogue, Moria, Angband, and others of their ilk. The main difference was that you had to type out directions, and then press enter. There were two primary rooms, a circular room and a square room. There was a home state that was always the same. You solved ciphers instead of fighting monsters, although the point of which you'd solve any specific key state largely depended on the luck of the gamer. Lidier was the kind of girl to have the worst luck in the social world, yet seemed to never run out of it on the net. She wanted to play a game where she could actually see Catherine Howard's head fall off her body. Caressing Cat's head, she would snuggle with it as if it were her new pet cat.
On most days, she never seemed to have time playing rogue likes. She had gotten out of the habit ever since she had returned from Washington State, roughly five years ago since twenty sixteen. And now she longed for the time she could play one of the game states, with no weed eaters blowing outside. Only the noise of prostitutes in the red light district, and the smoke of cigarettes in the air just down the road from Strasbourg proper. She imagined cute girls with giant bows, sticking their necks in the chopper. Their long strawberry blond locks staring into a forever blue sky. She carried a thing of pepper spray, but wanted to purchase a taser for more troublesome men who harassed her. Her trust issues had been largely destroyed five years ago. And it was a struggle to feel like a queen again. But she wasn't the queen of Henry the 8th, or any other male monarch.
Her solace was the flow of Hacklikes, Roguelikes, and Nihilistlikes. All varieties raining down from the sky like live wire pop music. While she dreamed up beheaded French and British girls during the middle ages upwards into the French Revolution. The flow of blood dripping down the neck.
When Lidier logged into the game, she primarily focused on hanging around narrow passage ways. The reasoning was simple: you could fend off an entire army as a single person, fighting one of them at a time. But in this game called Nihilist, the focus was on solving a specialized kind of cipher: there were over two thousand possible cipher states, each one only being reciprocal to that specific key. The catch was, you as the player didn't know the key. She had, based on one success, determined that each locked had the same answer. Thus each time she put in the same answer, regardless of what the randomly jumbled letters amounted to. It worked every time.
She wondered was it was the game designer didn't try for something different, mainly finding a ciphered door that had a different pass phrase every time she encountered a new one. But this would mean having as many pass phrases as there way possible keys that could encipher them. A seemingly insurmountable programming task, that allowed for an infinite number of possible cipher texts. It was easy to guess the answer if the answer remained constantly the same, and it provided almost no challenge whatsoever, therefore the perfect balances was different lengths and amounts of pass phrases for every locked door. Then made the programming job go from being over two thousand possible pass phrases, to only a dozen or so pass phrases, gradually increasing in difficult. In a sense, the game she imagined would be a kind of code breaker's simulator.
But the current game she played, was not a simulator. It was, was repetitive lines of code.
Infinite procedurally generated dungeons that followed the same basic shape, only varying based on the shape. With her stiletto blade, and her Birkenstock clogs, she hobbled around the corridors looking for food. Longing for the day that she could escape this seemingly infinite dungeon.
She unplugged herself from the machine.
She went to get her teethed cleaned with her own toothbrush, as suppose to the one owned by the sharp dentist, with an equally sharp wit. Who, went she would visit him in her early twenties, made her want to do the splits. But now, for him and nobody else, she felt more than at any other point, that she could give two shits. He had punctured the wrong gums, scratched the wrong tooth. And now, after the surgery, she had to pay for out of her own pocket, she largely avoided tooth doctors.
She got out herself a joint.
And became a fire breathing dragon, in lines of endless binary. Jacked in on a constant endless hallucination, she longed for day when she would not wake up from her sleep. She remembered when she used to read Cyberpunk novels, but largely lost her interest. She now preferred literary fiction, but seldom had time to read. The apartment she lived in provided almost not opportunity for lack of distraction, she had even when in early grade school where she had to do fractions.
Noise was her constant detraction.
Her constant bane.
If journaling were like writing a book, she wondered what others would think of it. She wondered, for writing the story of her life, in bits and pieces, whether anyone would actually even read a story of a Mestizo/Meti girl, decked out in black. A girl who focused mostly on one singular character, flowing like notes from a scattered personality, that manifested as more of a personality defect. She disliked real arachnids, yet liked binary spiders. She avoided anything in real life she didn't have sexual feelings for, but the draw of the game involved more than her sensuality. She dreamed of binary bus crawling all over her nude body, biting into her tender neck.
She masturbated to French girls in a guillotine.
Who got it in the neck.
And the flow of the dress / in her great caress
Savored for touch / once longing for Dutch
Girls with touch / as if it were a crutch.
For her, men were simply to much.
The fish now flowing
Under the snowing
Longed for kissing
She who was missing
Her life was a life of dissolving prose, that never quite reached poetry. She longed for her personal oblivion, draped all over the page. Over all fantasy games, filled with the most vengeful of sages, who would just as soon decapitate her as made her breakfast, while camping under the ruins of long gone civilization. She walked through corridors, hoping to find some means of an exit.
But finding only dust.
What the difference between a French and a Spanish girl? One says Te Amo at her garroting, and the other jâ€™aime vous at her guillotining. In either case, the result is the same: one dead girl in a casket at the end of the week. One severs the head completely, the other severs the head internally. One is bloodless, the other has blood all over the floor.
Lidier had no intention of becoming either one, thus mostly kept to herself for the following weeks. On her laptop, she finally figured out how to do procedural generation: instead of creating separate dungeons within a single code source, you clone the original game, change around the furniture, and tie together the dungeons with a separate program called a game state. Itâ€™s through this game state that creates for a random selection between different dungeon shapes: square dungeons, circular dungeons, and triangular dungeons. Sometimes rectangular. In all cases the navigation is determined through a navigation variable: rather than using a boolean to move the cursor.
Lidier was not quite to the level of making games that could be uploaded to different virtual reality game shops: for one thing she had almost no experience with using Graphical User Interfaces. She hated screens on program editors based on bright color schemes, preferring the traditional color of green text on black background that was closer to the original font of the early internet. These days word processors seemed to focus on white screen and black text. Yet the local glasses doctor always bugs you to not be on the computer as much, because it might burn your eyes out of your sockets.
On this night, she decided to install shoes, and see how much she could transfer her game Nihilist to this new interface. Eventually she wanted to switch to using sprites, but sprite had long sense stopped being in vogue after the turn of the nineties. She was stuck painting dots on the screen, while the rest of the gaming industry was switching to various forms of three dimensional quality, gradually becoming more and more indistinguishable from reality. But with games composed of text and numbers, there was not a danger of subject matter being to obscene to be played by even the youngest of gamers. Unless the state became such, that their desire for controlling what people read and play was not limited to the aesthetic of pure visual flavor.
Games came in various flavors: First Person Shooters, Survival Horror, Tactical Role Playing Games. Much more. Sometimes these different genres would blend till the end of time. While others stuck more closely to their original roots, not changing much sense they were first created: the only exception within classic JRPGs has mostly been Fina;l Fantasy, becoming less and less like a JRPG, and something closer to an action RPG as the decades went on. Much of this had to do with creators not being allowed to own the content which they publish, thus if something becomes a companies flagship product, the game â€œinnovatesâ€ and strays from its original roots to the chagrin of genre purists. Even Roguelike games were not entirely immune to this form of snobbery: much of this genre was obsessed with a strictly action form of that gaming experience.
But Lidier liked puzzles, and not action.
Her life flowed like substitution notes.
It's easy to claim to be an unplugger, when your face is well known enough to be on the net. Just drop the remote, fast forward; hope that every other day will be like the previous one. Instead Lidier argues with herself every hour after the next, while making one Roguelike after the other. Dot matrix grid layout. @ man representing Indiana Jones, fighting demons worse than plantation owners. If life were a five point essay, Lidiers symphony would be one without a theme or prompt. She had once fawned over a free software evangelist, but now he acts like a televangelist. Who now spends their day bashing Julian Assange, going with American propaganda despite the US wanting to assassinate him. The free software guy now represents everything she was politically against.
Lidier's hero was only herself.
When she last opened her laptop, she had a day before finished designing the next iteration of her own variety of Roguelike game. The difference was, unlike most other games on the market, it was almost entirely geared toward singular rooms: in order to do a larger rooms, she had to use booleans to turn some rooms off and others on. This required considerably more nesting than what she was generally used to, and within each boolean, its own separate set of coordinate variables to navigate, and different drawn text files to refer to do with the index of different folders. She had been completely acquainted with referring to statistics from a file rather than having it reinitialize every day she tested the different versions of the game. The problem with initializing it each start up, it mean everything you ever earned in the game was completely erased. When you refer to the file, the game reads from that file, allowing for stat boosts and other power ups to become permanent. It was this matter of permanence that had been a larger road block to her personalized path to building virtual reality games for the past year or so.
There were several booleans: bedroom boolean, living room boolean, bathroom boolean, among other crucial switches. You wanted each of these switches to have a degree of self-containment, so that when you assigned coordinates, you didn't use the same set of them for each room. This was useful if you wanted to make each room @ man would walk through be a different size. More common in more advanced video games, where you didn't want the home state to vary as much as dungeons, such as in various commercial games on the market like Diablo. The only reason the size of room didn't change much in Rogue, was simply do to hardware limitations. The only thing Lidier wanted in her own games was not strict Procedural Generation, but only procedural generation within the narrow context of dungeon crawling outside of the digital villa.
She preferred figuring things out on her own.
Rather than browsing Hubzilla.
Housing Crises, essentially an extended form of capital punishment, without the benefit of an appointed lawyer. Groups of people being made unpersons, and dying without pennies to their name. It's not as flashy as a Guillotine, and legally not listed as a form of execution. But make no mistake, the end result as always the same. Misery riding on the back of apparent stability, hope fading nightly. Lidier thought this was only an American thing. But it was one aspect of the United States that could easily be exported to Europe, with the climb of the far right.
And it wouldn't be much of a change from the 19th century, when slaves girls would be dragged by the wrist into faux courts, and soon hung by the neck for murdering people's children, yet weeks later the children turning up alive. Very few people seem to think how easily we could get back to this point. But all it takes is one demagogue with an ax to grind. One group of people to scapegoat, and one culture to vaporize from history.
Lidier escaped this purge narrowly.
She hoped it wasn't a matter of time till she'd be asked back.