every tentative echo

I was exploring reaction diffusion systems for a project I'm doing with biome, so this month's piece is a simple reaction diffusion drawing tool. I'm not sure I have much to say about it, beyond an invitation: play with the parameters, experiment with different brushes, take screenshots of your work.

I feel like I should also mention that this marks 2 years since I started this weird project. The fact that it's still going is a bit of a surprise; when I started it I assumed I wouldn't last a year. But I've found it quite a useful practice to make something small each month, as well as keeping a list of the interesting things I've read that month.

Download every tentative echo

Controls: escape: quit; click & drag: draw; mouse wheel: change brush; f1: edit parameters

The Rules:

  • The file at this link will be deleted 1 month from now (03/04/21).

  • All downloads are zipfiles containing a Windows executable.

  • All source code and assets are included, licensed under the GPL (code) and CC-BYSA (assets).

  • As long as you abide by those licenses, you can do whatever you want with the download.

Further Reading

everest pipkin's medium post on cryptoart has been widely shared, and rightly so. They do an excellent job of demystifying the technical mechanisms involved and presenting a strong political and moral argument against the whole mess.

In a similar vein, Emilie Reed wrote an excellent piece on the concept of provenance as it relates to cryptoart, as a way of refuting the argument that if we could just fix the environmental issues, cryptoart would be totally fine and great.

Solmaz Sharif: Social Skills Training

There's been a lot of PS1-style horror games in recent years, but The Black Iris is a step above. Cosmic horror with a debt to Stalker and Roadside Picnic, with a bit of Annihilation thrown in (the book more than the disappointing film). Plus it's by a Scottish developer, and actually set in Scotland. Looking forward to what Arboreta Games do next.

A powerful article by Margaret Killjoy on how to prepare for, and survive, crises. To grab a big chunk out of it:

Freedom is not a static thing, it is not “the lack of interference in our lives by others.” Freedom is instead a relationship between people. Freedom is something we give one another. If I want to be free to pursue my life as I best see fit (which I do), I am most capable of doing that when I’m part of a society that fosters not dependence of the individual upon “society” as an abstraction (as is the problem with some strains of authoritarian communism), nor one that fosters independence from society that puts me in competition with others in that society (as is the problem with capitalism), but one that fosters interdependence. In a healthy society, we rely on each other while also working to preserve each other’s autonomy. We create a culture of solidarity, in which we freely help one another, rather than a culture of competition or subservience.

"Freedom is something we give one another" is such a powerful statement, such a succinct refutation of capitalist individualism, that I think I'll be chewing on it for a while.

Statement of Teaching Philosophy by Keith Leonard; this hit me hard. Every time a student asks for advice on entering the games industry, or on finding work as a freelancer; every time I say "don't crunch", "don't get into bad working habits while you're in uni", knowing that there's a good chance they won't get a choice in the matter once they enter industry. I can talk about how to make things, but I have nothing to say that isn't conditional or vague when it comes to material survival in a world of compounding crises.

Finishing up with an incredible comic by Marina Kittaka on Linus and Charlie Brown meeting up as adults. The page where they meet and are so visibly, genuinely happy to be in each other's company is just the best thing.

Well, I hope you're doing okay. Sending all my best wishes and least worried, most hopeful dreams your way. I'll check in again next month.

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