Posts by: Lucy Darling

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[#][F] Lucy Darling - 7/27/2016
Originally posted by Irked View Post
But you're describing problems - version control, joint editing access across multiple physically-distant users, etc. - that are known issues in a lot of disciplines; mine's one of them. And for a lot of these disciplines, free solutions exist! Even something like LaTeX-plus-version-control will handle most of the issues you're describing; it'll track pagerefs across multiple files, accounting for image placement and multiple citations, and so on. If for-reals not-free software like InDesign doesn't - which again, I stress that I don't have personal experience with, and I've heard people say conflicting things on this subject - that just moves my bafflement from "Why on earth isn't this part of their process?" to "Why on earth isn't this part of design software?"

Like, this is a piece of the behind-the-curtain I'm really interested in, if you're willing to expound. The October draft had weirdly many words split by spaces at syllable breaks; what does that? What's the design process that produces that?
*lucy falls on the ground rending her garments*

(Humanities academic in my real life, LaTex as the solution to all woes is a common occurence no matter the software you're having problems with or why)

LaTex is great, don't get me wrong. But it is a fairly non-intuitive piece of software to use and was not designed for writing long books with lots of art. Lots of equations and diagrams and scientific notation. Not full spread art, multiple kinds of backgrounds, and really really high quality enormous sized art files. And also requires a significant training lead in time (particularly if you're hacking it together to make it do something it wasn't truly designed to do).

(the amount of time I've seen very well meaning people lead poor newbies up a path with 'write your thesis in LaTex it's great' I'd have used far fewer boxes of tissues with researchers battling software. Endnote is bad enough.)

(not to mention, we're writers, not designers or art people or whatever, so it makes no sense for us to draft in the same software the art designer uses because it's either not going to have what we need, or not what they need, and we all have different creative processes as well)

And add 'rando mid-word breaks' to the bafflement. Software does weird random shit to things, particularly copying and pasting through multiple different word processors. Particularly when you start working in really really big documents with really really intricate spacing and positioning issues. Currently there isn't a bit of software that's meant to take words on a page and turn them into the lush illustrated type of thing the corebook is, simply because no single person is meant to do that. The market for it would be tiny because the amount of texts that need that kind of attention and would be served by having a single person handling it is miniscule.

Like, I've worked with picture book authors/illustrators before and that can take an age because of the artistic elements, and those are only 500 words long. And even so one of my fave authors has a story about the publishers working from the wrong draft and commissioning art, and so she's had to live with this enormously awkward rhyme in one of her most beloved books, because the art had already been done so the rhyme had to stay.

As much as the 'Too many Daiklaves' is a lovely idea, it's not something in place for any other properties I don't think? So it'd be kind of awkward if suddenly everyone is required to account for their time, not to mention that yeah, arguments and fallout about it all is something that's just super super draining to deal with.

But, I mean, as for sneak peeks at stuff we've done, I know Vance updates twitter with some of his stuff, John as well, and when I visited earlier in the year we went old school and did relationship maps using sticky notes all over a table at Starbucks to try and visualise the political ramifications of certain things that are spread across multiple chapters and writers (they did most of the visualising, I was kind of a shitty secretary who interjects with stuff and has terrible handwriting). John made me try a green tea frappucino thingy, it was nice.

[#][F] Lucy Darling - 7/26/2016
Originally posted by Irked View Post
There's a sense in which that's axiomatically true: the project takes as long as it took, because that's how long it took to do.

There's also a sense in which, like, it sure sounds like the book is still using handmade page numbers and line-break handling and so on, when things like "Charm macros" and "automated pagerefs" are... not precisely new technology. Maybe there's some bizarre reason that can't be done here, I don't know - but there at least seems like a possibility that some of that stuff could be a bit more efficient.

(I mean, it was mentioned not-that-long-ago that it'd take a good part of a day to create a "the latest draft" and send it from one person to another, and that's just baffling.)

Because I'm not gonna draft in art layout software (been there, done that, it isn't a word processing software) and I'm not gonna buy it anyway because mama needs new shoes, not a piece of janky software she'll never use. And I am pretty well placed since I have access to several word processors without the pricetag due to my day job. None of those are art layout for books.

Because the word file needs to be ported to whatever art layout software the designer uses and those things don't play nice together.

Because you can't redline text in design software. Well you can, but you're up a creek if your writer doesn't have that software.

Because the devs don't work in desktop publishing software to draft, and even if they did, it triples the work since the writers don't.

Because it isn't 'Lucy writes Chapter 1' and you have a whole chapter of my stuff. It's that 'Lucy, Eric, and five others wrote this chapter and had different drafts and deadlines and formatting and ffs Lucy use US spelling pls' that you need to collate into a draft before you can send that chapter on. Multiply for however many chapters. But you need to keep all the bits separate because Lucy has still got redlines but Eric's is final draft but the other one is still first draft. This is something that is unique to each project as well, who does what. I know the devs are experimenting a bit with a new process to see how it goes, but even if it is more efficient, you still have the trial period.

Because it doesn't work this way in any part of the publishing industry I've worked in, because unless a book is straight up text, and you're doing no formatting, those auto pagerefs and charm macros need to somehow function across multiple bits of software. And even if they did, someone still has to go through and check it. Like, the chapters on my latest book have been years in the making between multiple drafts and edits and copyediting and arguing about image rights, and this is stuff people rely on for getting jobs and tenure and things. Like, the selfpublishing auto-layout stuff for a book does those things but also breaks if you do things like 'have multiple citations' or 'images must be precisely placed' and things like that. So we're back to hand-checking all the page numbers and page refs and line breaks.

I suspect you have a view of the process that doesn't fit the project. Particularly the budget of the project and the time available for it, and the fact that nearly every single person involved is a freelancer or contractor so putting really efficient pipelines and processes in is almost impossible. It can be done, as long as nobody does anything new or exciting or difficult (so, def not the corebook).

That's not even touching on things like 'Holden and John are both going through massive personal grief and trauma right now because god forbid the guys get a break for a moment and be able to focus on work'.

But to the complaints about where is what - Charm Cards and GM screen have gotten updates in the Monday Meeting notes, there is absolutely work being done on the three books in Second Draft. How much we choose to share or not share is dependent on multiple things, including time and energy to deal with the conversation after the reveal (like, say, publishing processes being examined and having to be explained to people...)

[#][F] Lucy Darling - 7/22/2016
Originally posted by Sanctaphrax View Post

I'm not asking for gossip here. I just want to know whether to expect more from writers I like. Do you really find that strange?

The peppering it with pleas for old gossip and who is angry at who is the strange bit. I mean, I get curiosity and all, but these are my coworkers, friends, and potential bosses. Why would I gossip about them in public? Who is making Exalted these days? John and Holden are the devs, as they have been for the project, and the rest of us do their bidding. So presuming the people who actually know remain fairly unengaged with that, all you've got is unsubstantiated stuff from secondhand sources at best, which is hardly good information gathering. It seems strange to undermine your own quest for knowledge like that.

Now, wanting a write up of who is on the DB books is a different question to what you asked, as is telling me who your faves are and asking if they're on the team (or just going and asking them if they do the public facing persona thing).

Plus I am acutely aware of how some people get treated on the internet. If they have chosen to remain silent or out of comms or not publicise their Ex3 involvement, I am gonna respect that. I've seen some of the stuff thrown at the devs and understand wanting to avoid being in the splatter zone.

[#][F] Lucy Darling - 7/22/2016
Originally posted by Sanctaphrax View Post
Can you at least say whether Chai Tea and Grabowski are still involved? I can't imagine that's secret.
Less 'secret' and more 'I'm a freelancer who happens to be besties with the devs and currently also be operating with slightly greater amounts of emotional bandwidth to deal with forums'. It's not my place to assuage strange speculations about who is angry about what and no longer working on projects. You wanna know who is writing the DB books? You'll find out when they're published. The things aren't in final drafts yet, so nothing is definite anyway. And I'm not developing so there's whole realms of stuff I don't know about, or I know about in a fairly surface way because it's been part of a different conversation.

Hell, I might end up finding out they hate my work and have been too afraid to tell me.

(they tell me that's not the case when I flail at them at odd hours about my impostor syndrome, but you never know)*

But yeah, the speculation and assumption of process ("large areas of content to freelancers with guidance" is literally what the devs do so I'm kinda confused) is unfun to deal with.

*Please note: I speak of the project, and the devs, in this slightly flippant way because it's that or not discuss it at all. Plus I've heard them babytalk their cats, it's hard to be all 'oh yes professional guidance and editing processes' when in the same conversation I'm usually like 'aw hello baby kitty!'.

[#][F] Lucy Darling - 7/21/2016
I recognise most of the names as part of the group of us working on DB stuff. I'm not a dev, so I'm not gonna be saying who is working on what and who any other newbies are, but John and Holden both are keen on getting new people in - both to work with, and just into rpgs and rpg writing in general. While being very open about the realities of it. So I don't think I was the only first-time rpg writer on deck for either book I'm on.

And social media presence/forum participation tends to be the last bit of freelance work, when one has other jobs. I know a lot of writers who do a lot of good hustle, but for the most part that bit falls away as deadlines loom, or as is the case with the devs right now, life beats you into the dirt with a 2-by-4. And as far as Ex3 stuff goes, I'm gonna wait til closer to go time to start being all I HELPED WRITE THIS PLS BUY? or even really discuss it much.

[#][F] Lucy Darling - 7/21/2016
I really like these. Nice work.

[#][F] Lucy Darling - 7/21/2016
Originally posted by putty View Post
Will the Dragon-Blooded book still be previewed at Gencon?
As far as I know it wasn't being previewed.

All the OPP stuff is still gonna be the same, I assume, just that as people John and Holden aren't attending and won't be able to hang out with people like they had planned.

[#][F] Lucy Darling - 7/19/2016
The Skypechat thing is definitely something we have wanted to do and will when we get a chance. Right now John and Holden are dealing with a complex situation and pretty brutal personal grief so everything is on hold for a bit.

[#][F] Lucy Darling - 7/19/2016
Hey all. Not all of you follow the devs on facebook so I thought I would port the sad news over here. Neither John nor Holden will be attending Gencon this year due to personal circumstances. They are planning for attendance next year, once things settle down for them.

[#][F] Lucy Darling - 5/29/2016
Yeah, from the POV of someone who has gotten grants to fly around the world and talk about this stuff, Hoff Sommers is biased beyond reason and if I need to treat the stuff she writes nicely because a poster linked to it, if I can't call it what it is and make inferences based on the similarities of their sources, what is the damn point? I get to sit here with posters insisting I am someone who it is okay to treat badly and can't even call their 'proof' out for the dreck that it is.

Between how I have seen y'all treat the devs, and how y'all talk about gender or topics associated, you have got to be disingenuous when you can't work out why women avoid this place.

I mean there is also scads of research but it isn't funded by right wing 'think'tanks and it calls out poor behaviour as opposed to highly irrational just so propositions about gender.

But no, I don't like to waste my time proving my humanity and worth to people who seem to think I have to. I would rather keep working and making a game that ignores their pathetic notions. *shrug* If you want a place that's inclusive, then work for it. Letting people shit up the place under the guise of 'friendly debate' is neither of those things.

[#][F] Lucy Darling - 5/29/2016
Originally posted by Erinys View Post
So where do you think it is acceptable to have those mindsets or discuss them?

Not on a thread about 3E mechanics or a concept introduced only in 3E, but what about threads that are just... Exalted, no edition specified? Especially discussing things that have almost no 3E information yet?
I specifically said 'difficult' rather than 'unacceptable' and I used that specific word for a very specific reason. It is difficult to talk about the social system in Ex3 from a Second Ed point of view and we saw that a lot in earlier discussions where people may have only read part of a ruleset, tried to work out how to play with Second Ed matrixes, and gotten themselves into a knot. It's hard! It's even harder at a community level. I mean, to me the 'tag your system' makes sense - if you want to talk about Second Ed, tag it! If you're talking Ex3, tag it! If you're projecting outwards, try and bear in mind the edition baggage you're carrying and deal with it accordingly. Which includes understanding that what seems to you a totally germane discussion about power tiers doesn't belong in that Liminals thread because even if that underlies your conceptualisation of the entire game, it isn't applicable here.

The issue with it being about the fairly mechanically-based perfect defense paranoia combat mindset is that when you are talking about general Exalted stuff, or projecting outwards, some of those basic assumptions will not make sense because the edition new material is based on doesn't use that framework. Does that make sense? I'm less talking about tagging and flagging, more about having a sense of self-awareness about the baggage one is carrying.

[#][F] Lucy Darling - 5/28/2016
I think the language is a cover issue, in that it's less about using the term 'solaroid' as much as the baggage one drags in with the term, and that baggage clutters up any discussion about other Exalted within Ex3. And if it's a discussion about Liminals, but we spend 14 pages debating solaroid, power tiers, are Solars truly heroic, DBs are my fave and got robbed, etc, then that baggage is basically bigger than anything else.

It's especially an issue talking about mechanics I think. There are entire mindsets that just don't fit any more and if you try and play the RAW with those mindsets, everything gets so much more difficult. Moreso if you're theorising about it.

So basically, if you are gonna use those terms that are specifically about 2E tropes and themes, consider the baggage it brings into discussions - sometimes it might fit, but I imagine anything mechanical about Ex3 or New Exalts or specific lore stuff, it probably will muddy the discussion beyond repair to rewind back to those principles.

[#][F] Lucy Darling - 5/24/2016
Hm so I have men telling me that I need to show evidence that gaming is hostile to me AND I have someone responding to my 'assholes insinuated that John, Holden, me, and everyone in OPP and WW are so bad at our jobs that dipping one's wick gets employment and that was sexist BS' with 'well it does happen!!' and 'it happens to men too!!'.

Yeah, nah, totes welcoming and fun and I just love discussions where I not only have to present my personal experiences as evidence but then get to have them 'investigated' by people who don't believe in 'gender lines'. Never mind the stats, and they always know a man who had the same thing happen. None of which actually helps the situation but they are so very determined to prove women wrong about their own experiences.

I'm a big girl, I can handle my own, right? But I prefer to spend my energy and time on work, not futility. But yeah, another woman here who find pretty much all gaming forums some level of unwelcoming and prefers to spend my time doing other stuff.

[#][F] Lucy Darling - 5/24/2016
Oh I loved the myths - I just focused more on the women than the men, and I find 'inspired by ...' stuff that ignores women and women's stories to be lacking.

[#][F] Lucy Darling - 5/23/2016
A few notes:

Sex and death are inextricably linked for women because for most of history getting one's end away was likely to result in pregnancy which had an enormously, unthinkably high death and morbity rate. Like, horrifyingly high. So that's why a lot of goddesses with birth/sex are also death ones, or have a deathly counterpoint. When a quick fumble behind the shed means labouring to death for three days in nine months time, sex stops having a 'all fun all the time as long as we all consent' kind of deal and starts having some really devastating effects on the economy and culture. So the Lover, while I am not gonna have her in a game, makes a lot of sense to me as both a nod to that kind of thing, and as a manifestation of obsessiveness and risk taking (which is why, for all my feminist cred and PTSD issues and so on I was totally bewildered at the reaction to her charm preview).

One of the unfriendly things I find is this idea that we're so fucking rare - to this end I think it was in Bluewind's thread there was an 'omg queer woman with gender theory background!!! SO RARE FOR EXALTED' comment about her work...except I think there's about four of us on the DB team who fit that profile? I know the Devs made a point of hiring as many women as possible for the project because the gender issues had been handled without too much nuance previously. Like, we are rare, but sometimes it seems like y'all deliberately ignore what's there or what's changed in order to pat yourselves on the back for finding a woman interesting (see articles about 'omg women in sci fi!' like Mary Shelley didn't give y'all the fucking pattern to follow, and Le Guin and Butler were figments).

Which leads into - gender did get handled oddly. Which people will admit right up until you get to 'the Scarlet Empress hates femininity' or 'pregnant DBs sequester themselves and it's a terrible burden' - those things don't make sense in terms of how that universe and community is set up, they are just our cultural view points dumped into the text, but wow threads go on forever justifying inserting Abrahamaic religious patriarchal bigotry into their fantasy universe no matter how alienating it might be for women. I mean, when I was writing up a part of DBs I messaged John and Holden to ask how they wanted me to handle breastfeeding, since previous editions went with 'babies leave their mother's immediately after birth to prevent bonding' (which, btw, incorrect in how this shit works) and I was like 'uh I remember what my boobs felt like after having a baby, that's not gonna be something these women go 'shit yeah take the baby away while my boobs explode and I stoically ignore them and then have to burn essence so I don't die of mastitis/retained placenta and the baby's immune system is compromised in an era without antibiotics' when reproduction is so highly valued culturally'. Which led to some neat [redacted] if I may say so myself - circling back to more diversity means more interesting stuff happening.

The other thing I find really alienating and gross is when posters are obviously flashing their fetishes around (I see you demon rape camp rules guy). Women do that too, I just don't see it quite so much here as elsewhere, and it's not something a woman has done to me in game either so there's that. What seem like intellectual exercises in rules for some of us are horrifying realities for others. But if you bring that up, there can be a pushback against 'censorship' and 'realities' and so on.

But mostly, as for any axis of oppression, to pretend neutrality is to side with the powerful and the oppressive. The world isn't neutral. A guy in my position wouldn't have had more than one 'hur hur hur you flirted/fucked your way to writing for Ex3' and he wouldn't have had someone go 'well I guess that's a dumb way of hiring people' without knowing anything about my writing quals, just because I'm a girl and boys hired me so obviously it couldn't be genuinely skill based. By the time I get to the forum I've not just had to deal with being that weirdo nerd who got bullied for liking the wrong things and being smart, I've copped sexual harassment/assault from nerds who are offended I'm in their space, I've copped discrimination because 'girls don't do math well enough' and so on. The field isn't anywhere near level when we walk in, and there are definite skews based on things like gender, race, sexuality, and ignoring those doesn't help make the hobby fun for anyone.