A Code Analysis Postmortem


Last November, I published an article analyzing gender, romance and sexuality in the indie game RimWorld. In it, I decompiled the game, following instructions in the game’s readme and fan-maintained Wiki page in order to look at how the code of the game defined in-game behaviours relating to romance. Hopefully, this postmortem will go over some of the guiding questions that I had, patterns of responses, the current state of RimWorld with respect to the issues I raised, and possible alternatives for the game and for this method. If you haven’t read it yet, I highly suggest that you do, since this will not make much sense without that context.

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Sethian Sethian Sethian

Spoilers for Sethian are many and unmarked. There’s one in the second sentence.

Imagine talking to a chatbot, with a writing system you barely recognise, and with all the linguistic capability of a three-year-old. Now imagine that the conversation is on religion and philosophy, and you’ve got the central conceit of Sethian. A wildly ambitious game, made by developer Grant Kuning after a successful Kickstarter campaign, Sethian revolves around trying to learn an alien language, Sethian, in order to find out what happened to a colony, Sethian, and its people, the Sethians.

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Ludonarrative dissonance, thematic incoherence

Originally published 24 Aug 2016; recovered after tragic server shenanigans.

“Ludonarrative dissonance”: I’m going to say that it’s become something of a cliche in games criticism. It’s a term that was coined by Clint Hocking to describe a peculiar situation in the 2008 game Bioshock. Continue reading “Ludonarrative dissonance, thematic incoherence”