How has everyone been for the past decade or so?

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chris the cynic
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How has everyone been for the past decade or so?

Post by chris the cynic »

(Dropped this in the wrong forum originally. Sorry.)

Hi, everyone.

So I have a tendency to fall off the face of the earth when my depression gets really bad and then utterly fail to reconnect with people and places when I recover. That's when I disappeared whenever I disappeared.

I'm not sure when I was last here (I should have checked the "last visited" thing before logging in) if I go by the last time I posted anything, I popped in for my birthday in 2012 but haven't been active since 2011. That's seven years I've been gone, an a lot can happen in that time. So, to the subject of this thread, how has everyone (who was around back in the day) been?



Here's what's been up with me:

I finally got around to graduating from University. I got two degrees, probably could have been three with how long I stayed there, but I didn't have a third focus.

Finally found a medication that helped with my depression, though never got rid of it, which was good. The past almost two years have been a relapse though, which sucks.

In recent years when my depression got really bad I, for some reason, ended up fixated on cartoons. As a result I'm now making Kim Possible and MLP fanfic. I blame my girlfriend's daughter for the MLP. Kim Possible, on the other hand, is entirely my own fault.

Don't know if I ever mentioned this, but back when I was active here I was always worried that I'd be alone forever. I've been with my girlfriend for five and a half years now.

(Also, I'm a girl.)
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Re: How has everyone been for the past decade or so?

Post by Jonas »

I wonder this whenever it comes up: What exactly does it mean to get two degrees in an American context? Because like, getting two degrees here would take 10 years :P

Are you counting the Bachelor and the Master separately?

Anyway, nice to "see" you again, glad you've kept your depression more or less at bay.

Since 2011 I uhm... uh, that feels like a lifetime ago. I got my MSc in Game Design and founded Logic Artists that year. I've been largely swallowed up by game development ever since. As a career, it has a tendency to entirely dominate your life. After we released Viking we didn't have any new projects for a year (it's a miracle we survived) and all the free time I suddenly had after working 12-hour days for a long while kind of gave me a sort of emotional whiplash, so my work-life balance has been a lot more reasonable since then, and I've gotten back into some of my old hobbies (mainly tabletop RPGs and photography). We're working on two different games at the same time right now, so by necessity I've stepped up into a slightly more managerial position with less hands-on work, and that's been good for me too. By and large I'm doing well, thanks for asking :)
chris the cynic wrote:(Also, I'm a girl.)
Solid plot twist, Samus.
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Re: How has everyone been for the past decade or so?

Post by chris the cynic »

Jonas wrote:I wonder this whenever it comes up: What exactly does it mean to get two degrees in an American context? Because like, getting two degrees here would take 10 years :P
In this case it means two Bachelor's in different areas. it's not particularly useful, since pretty much anyone that cares about what your degree is actually in will want a Master's at minimum, but it is recognition that I did more than one bachelor's degree worth of work and had two areas of focus.

I didn't actually set out to get the two, it's just that for a long time, going to the University was the only thing that could get me out of the house and interacting with people offline, which meant that it wouldn't have been good for my mental health to leave with my depression still refusing to respond to any attempted treatment. So I kept going well after there was no academic reason to stick around.
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chris the cynic wrote:(Also, I'm a girl.)
Solid plot twist, Samus.
That reaction makes me feel a lot better.

Since everyone here has heard my voice (presumably) and anyone who knows me here knows me from before, I was worried about what the response would be.
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Re: How has everyone been for the past decade or so?

Post by Jonas »

chris the cynic wrote:That reaction makes me feel a lot better.
I'm glad :)

Congratulations on your degrees and welcome back. Hopefully there'll be a new version of TNM for you to play soon. I'm not really involved though.
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chris the cynic
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Re: How has everyone been for the past decade or so?

Post by chris the cynic »

*looks at Jonas' sig*

I haven't had a chance to play it because of computer problems, but I own Clandestine. I didn't realize it was yours.

I've always been interested in the idea of a game where you play Alex Jacobson instead of JC Denton. It's part of a larger interest in getting to be someone other than the traditional main character.

So, I have your game and I'll be playing it once my primary computer gets fixed.
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Re: How has everyone been for the past decade or so?

Post by Jonas »

I look forward to your feedback!

It was... a very ambitious game, built with about 20% of the budget it needed.
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Re: How has everyone been for the past decade or so?

Post by Made in China »

The last decade was very stressful for me. I return here occasionally because it was always a supportive community and hey, it's a forum that's still online so it's like my daily dose of nostalgia.

I finished high school, went to the military, served as a tank driver for 3 years. Worked as a gas station attendant for almost a year and as a truck driver for a few months, and started two degrees (electrical engineering and physics). I'm about 70% done, but I've lost a lot of steam. Doing reserve duty for two weeks to a month a year also puts me behind - I feel like it's an uphill battle and I'm only surviving by the skin of my teeth.

I've created the ConFix mod for Deus Ex, which isn't a very ambitious project but it was still something. I understood far too late that I "just get" code and algorithmics, and not physics - and my degree choices were wrong.

I've had depression since the mid 2000s, and still have recurring thoughts. Didn't act on them. I like to think that I'm stronger than that but I believe it's taking its toll on me.

(girls are cool, but I'm a dude)
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Re: How has everyone been for the past decade or so?

Post by chris the cynic »

Made in China wrote:I return here occasionally because it was always a supportive community and hey, it's a forum that's still online so it's like my daily dose of nostalgia.
It was a great and supportive community. For a long time it was my only source of human contact outside of the university I was at and I couldn't have asked for a better group to hang out with online.
Made in China wrote:I've had depression since the mid 2000s, and still have recurring thoughts. Didn't act on them.
That sucks. I've been fortunate to never have thoughts of self harm. No matter how bad things get for me, the entire concept of self harm still throws a divide by cheese error. I'm very thankful for that.
Made in China wrote:I understood far too late that I "just get" code and algorithmics, and not physics - and my degree choices were wrong.
The university I went to had a lot of "non-traditional" students. What that translates to is "undergraduate students who are older than one expects undergraduate students to be."

What I learned from them was that it's never too late to get a different degree than the one you started on, (If you can afford to stay at school longer or return after leaving, that is.)
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Re: How has everyone been for the past decade or so?

Post by VectorM »

Chris, you used to have a website up, where you shared an interesting theory about holograms at the Area 51 facility. Is that site still up, and do you still support that theory?
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Re: How has everyone been for the past decade or so?

Post by chris the cynic »

VectorM wrote:Chris, you used to have a website up, where you shared an interesting theory about holograms at the Area 51 facility. Is that site still up, and do you still support that theory?
It wasn't my site. I contributed, but walton simons (lowercase) set it up and maintained it and deserves the credit. This is embarrassing, but I don't actually remember what he changed his name to when he decided that having a name that differed from a prominent character only in capitalization wasn't something he wanted anymore.

On the actual question you asked, it would appear that the site is gone but archived. Front Page. Hologram Article. And . . . sweet fuck, I put the developer emails there.

I thought I was going to have to search through backups of computers ten to fifteen years gone to find those things. Chris Todd and Steve Powers speak.

It looks like the only things missing are some images, and those should be reproducible.



Ok, so, do I still stand by it?

*reads a bit*

I definitely stand by it not being a bug. For it to get that way someone had to choose to make the model incorporeal. Also, if it were a bug, there's the question of why no one would ever have chosen to fix it given that it was noticed and publicly discussed early on. (And then forgotten. And then noticed again. And repeat.)

*reads more*

I acted like things were way more definitive than they actually are, I presented opinion as fact, and I didn't elaborate much at all. I wonder if that article, I use the term loosely, was originally just a random post on the PDX forum.

If I were writing it now I'd change a lot, both in terms of style and substance.



I still support that it doesn't make sense to assume it's a bug. Changing something from solid to ghostified isn't particularly complicated, but it's really not something you'd do by accident. All of the explanations people have come up with that aren't story based are demonstrably BS.*

We can be about as sure as we can be about anything about the game that it wasn't a bug and that it wasn't done for out-of-universe reasons. So it isn't there, but it looks like it is there, and --given that this is a conspiracy game we're talking about-- I figure that's because that's what they want you to think.

That much I completely stand by, unless given a reason to think otherwise, I'm treating non-solid clone as some form of deception. Then the question becomes "What was the deception being used to hide?" and that's where I disagree with my past self the most. The simple truth is we don't fucking know. There's no indication. (And this long after the fact, the devs probably don't know either.)

I think the simplest explanation goes something like this:
JC was coming to the area and everyone and their brother was watching the feed from his infolink. If there were two empty tanks people would ask why they were empty and who (if anyone) had been in them. So they couldn't have two empty tanks.

They could, however, have one empty tank. It was useful to have one empty tank. Given the odds he was up against, JC did not have the time for mind games right then, so hitting him with the basis for an existential crisis was a good idea. It utterly failed to work, but it would have taken two minutes to set up (if that) and it would have meant that they only had to deal with making one of the empty tanks look full.

They made it look full using a solid looking hologram. (Also, you know the floating globe being grasped by the giant statue hand? It is my belief that that's a solid-looking hologram with no visible emitter as well.)
That, however, leaves the critical question of "Why?" unanswered.

I'm agnostic on whether or not JC was actually created there. On the one hand, it's certainly possible. (Impractical, but MJ12 is.) On the other hand, the only reason to believe that he was is that Page said so. Regardless of where JC was created, I think that the datacube in front of the open tank is showing accurate info. JC is a clone of Paul. That is the right birth year, and we have no reason to doubt the month and day. The incept date is an entirely different rant, but interpreted as I do, that fits well too.

And we should probably talk about the problems with the lab in general. The open tank is the only one that's solid, the "glass" is a different color on it. We have almost no information on what's going on there, the person providing backstory is trying to kill you, we don't know if these represent four versions of one thing (in which one of them has to be done differently for game play) or one version of one thing and three versions of another. There's a decent chance the overall design is from a time when the Deus Ex plot still included a clone of the president, so vat for him, and so forth.

It's entirely possible that the lab started as concept art that person A made for a radically different version of the game, was passed to person B to figure out what changed needed to be made to have it still fit, and then was finally mapped by person C, who had no idea what people A or B were thinking, and just had to go off of the art and the notes for what needed to change.

Here's something I've never heard anyone posit before:
The tank was for a different JC. Specifically, MJ12 grew and memory implanted a back up JC Denton. That's why it's adult sized. That's why it's still open. That's why it has JC's name on it. The tertiary unit is currently having his augs installed in Copenhagan and should be operational by next week. If necessary, it will be used to replace the secondary unit.

Happy coincidence that that means MJ12 doesn't have to fake an occupant for that tank.
Whatever the case, I think that the thing with the Alex tank is that it's empty and Page doesn't want anyone to notice that and go looking for the former occupant.



A long, long time ago, Smike sent me an email asking if I could look over something he came up with. Something new. Something different. Something no one had thought of but, once you did think of it, tied everything together and just made sense.

I was deep in a depressive episode. By the time I was back with it enough to respond, Smike was in one of his disappearances from the face of the internet.

I would have loved to hear the theory. Maybe it changes everything.



* Note well, however, that they weren't at the time. People came up with ideas that made sense, we only learned that they were bullshit when we specifically went to look into the ideas, which only happens after the idea has been put forward.
Last edited by chris the cynic on Sun Dec 23, 2018 2:19 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How has everyone been for the past decade or so?

Post by chris the cynic »

I accidentally hit "quote" instead of "edit", which caused this comment to be an all-in-quotation copy of the previous. I don't think I can delete it (I don't see an option to delete) so it's now just this explanation of why this is a thing that serves no purpose.
Last edited by chris the cynic on Sun Dec 23, 2018 2:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How has everyone been for the past decade or so?

Post by VectorM »

Great and interesting writing! They are remaking TNM right now, maybe you could record a few pages of extra text for the game? :^)
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Re: How has everyone been for the past decade or so?

Post by Grammatolatry »

(I can't believe I remembered my password). I love this catch-up thread! It's so interesting to hear how you all have been doing these past years.

Myself, since 2011 I've got my 2 undergrads and a post-grad degree in marketing. I worked for 3 years in NZ before making the big leap to London, where I am (surprise surprise) working as a marketing manager.

Gaming has taken a backseat, so I am very much behind all the latest and greatest. Instead my hobbies now focus on drawing and weightlifting (crossfit. It's addictive), and earning enough money to go country hopping around Europe.

I still reminisce about the old planet deus ex and these otp forums from time to time; some really good memories from great people and great times.
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Re: How has everyone been for the past decade or so?

Post by chris the cynic »

It's great to hear from you, Grammatolatry.

I won't call you "Howard", but I remember.
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Re: How has everyone been for the past decade or so?

Post by Jonas »

Speaking of New Zealanders hopping around Europe, I finally took up thatguy's invitation this year and came to Australia in November to visit him in Perth. We also went to Melbourne to hang out for a week away from his family responsibilities while his poor wife was left to handle the kids. He and his wife (then girlfriend, I believe) had visited me twice in Copenhagen over the years, so it really was about time I returned the favour. I'm probably never going again though, because those flights nearly killed me.
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