Thoughts on Google Glass

It’s probably about time I write another blog post. I’ve been rather devoid of inspiration ever since Glitch closed, but my blog and its shiny new theme (thanks hounsell!) are kind of sitting here collecting dust, and I’ve decided I probably need to blog more often. I know this is my own personal space, but in the past couple of years, I’ve grown rather self-conscious about the stuff I post. I need to get over that.

Anyway, I was going to post a personal rant on my birthday, but decided against it. I also planned to write a review or two of Ubuntu Touch (the demos looked so amazing and I planned to shower it with praise), but then I actually tried it and it’s awful. “Woefully incomplete” is an understatement. Those demo videos left me feeling like Android is a last-gen OS, but the product hasn’t lived up to the demos, so there is no next-gen OS to switch to (for those who don’t follow me on Twitter, I’ve recently switched to Android and a Nexus 4, which truly feels like a next-gen device as compared to my iPhone 4S; I might still write a post soon writing my thoughts on the switch).

Regardless, my intent today was to write a post about Google Glass. For the most part, it’s a rant. Not a rant about Google Glass. Ignorant commenters on articles about the product are already doing a great job of spewing out cynical nonsense; I feel no need to assist them. I’ll instead be ranting about these ignorant commenters and the ridiculous arguments they pose over and over again (the way I see it, there are three).

1. I’ll look ridiculous wearing it!

Nope. You’ll look like a spy from the future, and that’s awesome. Why would you not want to look like a spy from the future? Not to mention, I don’t think I want to look “socially acceptable,” since in today’s society, that means gold chains and pants pulled halfway down one’s legs such that one’s underwear is visible. People are walking around looking like complete douchebags (even worse than what I just described, look at the cast of Jersey Shore), and you complain about a pair of futuristic-looking glasses? I don’t get it. I really, really don’t get it (maybe it’s just because I have no social credibility to lose anyway, so… why not?).

2. It’s too expensive!

There’s two ways of looking at this one, one of which actually has some merit (but not much). And that way is “It isn’t cheap enough for me to afford it.” It probably isn’t. Let’s assume “It’ll retail for less than $1500” means “It’ll retail for $1499.” For non-geeks, that’s no impulse buy. But non-geeks just spend their money elsewhere, on other expensive toys. It isn’t my problem, or Google’s, that you just bought a new Mercedes-Benz and can’t afford Google Glass now. Not to mention, if you don’t already budget for new tech toys, you’re probably not part of the target market anyway. This is for addicts like me who can’t last five seconds without being in front of a computer screen.

The other way of looking at it is “It’s too expensive for what it is.” Nope. This is brand new technology. It’s no easy feat to fit a computer into a device that small, and then actually display its data unobtrusively. This is probably the first truly revolutionary computing device in the last five years or so. Want to look at an example of something that is overpriced for what it is? Look at the Chromebook Pixel. $1300 for a device that’s effectively good for nothing. Seriously? It still baffles me how a company that develops things like Glass and self-driving cars comes up with stupid ideas like Chromebooks, which, are pretty much the epitome of netbooks (limited-functionality, cheap computers designed for little more than accessing Facebook and other web sites). Add on top of this the completely moronic idea of making an expensive netbook and trying to market it to professionals. Professionals who need to do what exactly? Look at Facebook in super-high resolution? I believe one example given was photographers. You know, because you can run Photoshop within Chrome… oh wait, nope. I could rant more about how the whole cloud-dependency idea is ridiculous, but I don’t think I need to in order to make my point. I realize I went severely off-topic here, but my point was that Glass is a revolutionary product. It solves a real problem (the problem of being constantly connected to information in ways smartphones will never accomplish). Chromebooks, which now approach the pricing point of Glass, are a solution without a problem (“A computer designed for the cloud!” Yes, but what do I need that for?).

3. It’s invasive of privacy!

This one’s the most ludicrous claim of all, and also seems to be the most frequently-repeated. I basically wrote this post to get to rant about the people using this argument. The first two things? They’re subjective to an extent. Some people may not find them attractive, or be able to afford them. No amount of “proving I’m right” can change those things. Nor do I need to. If you don’t want Google Glass, that isn’t really my problem. But this whole privacy thing is. People are claiming the ability to record people discretely invades their privacy, and therefore people shouldn’t be allowed to do it! Cry me a river.

First off, you’re already being recorded. Ever been inside a store? They have security cameras and stuff. Ever been outside? People are probably (inadvertently, I’ll get to this later) already recording you with their phones.

But, I can see them doing that!

Probably not. That you notice every person in your surroundings, and their phones, is highly unlikely in most circumstances. It doesn’t matter anyway.

Nobody cares about you. Seriously.

Unless you’re doing something that you probably have no business doing in public anyway, nobody cares about you. You’re narcissistic, schizophrenic, or both, to think that you’re some kind of celebrity and everyone is out to maliciously record you. Anyone out recording with these is probably just recording their surroundings in general. And even if you were, hypothetically, some celebrity and the object of someone’s recordings, it doesn’t matter.

There’s no such thing as privacy in public.

No, really. It’s paradoxical.The definition of public is “open to all persons.” The definition of private is “confined to or intended only for the persons immediately concerned; confidential.” (Source: Dictionary.com) If you’re in public, and therefore in a position to be recorded, you have no privacy (neither in practice, nor as some sort of idealized or legal right). You’re incredibly self-entitled to think otherwise. Get over yourself. If you want privacy, never leave your house. You have a legal and practical right to privacy there. You’ll take it and you’ll be happy with it.

In closing, if you don’t want Google Glass, that’s fine. I probably can’t convince you otherwise, nor do I need to. If you think I look like a dork wearing them, okay. I don’t really care. If you think I’m violating some hypothetical right to privacy that you have in public, nope. By definition, you have no privacy in public. Deal with it. I’ll be rocking a pair of these on day one of their official release (hopefully later this year), and look forward to reviewing them. =D

Glitch: A Screenshot Archive

I know I said that last post would be my last Glitch post, but I kept digging through this old folder of screenshots I had, and figured I could squeeze out one more. At the time I downloaded the folder (it was for the one-year post a couple of months back), I had 157 screenshots. In the spirit in which I posted the sixteen in-game snaps I’d never published, I’ll also publish a selection of these screenshots I took with the best explanation I can come up with for what it’s about. Note: These explanations may turn into multi-paragraph ramblings explaining the many bugs I’ve known about at various times throughout my journey through Ur. Also, chat logs. Publishing a fair few of those as well. I’d publish all of them, but 157 images in one post is a little ridiculous. If I look through the folder and decide I have enough interesting images to warrant a future second post in this series, I’ll write one.

Taken in Anrasan Glance on the same night of the other Crowns Underground photo (January 13, 2011) of my celebratory one year post, we used the same technique here to get behind the stone. Jade attempted to patch the area so it would be impossible to do this again… she didn’t realize we were using a different method, and until the day of the game’s closing, it was still possible to use this technique to get behind the stone. The technique, discovered by Palindrome, involved following a person, who would accept the follow while you are jumping. This follow is then “broken,” and you are stuck following the person until they evade you. The follower would proceed to climb part way up a ladder, and the leader moves toward either the left or the right. The follower will then slide (still in ladder-climbing position) in a (random?) direction. Assuming the bottom of the ladder is lower than the highest point on the floor of that street, this technique could be used to get underground on a street.

There were two other hacks usable to get underground, at least to my knowledge. The first and simpler of these was the summon trick. If you stand facing right, with a wall to your right, the player you summon will be pushed underground. I accidentally discovered this bug along with Liza Throttlebottom during an attempt to grind subway badges. I summoned her to the station, standing immediately to the left of the gate. After she arrives, she’s to the right of it and able to get underground.

The second, and possibly the most complicated, is known as the “blending trick.” In the final days of the game, tis held a class to explain this one, however a few people (mostly members of the Game of Crowns group) have been aware of it for months. I’m not exactly sure from whom this trick originated. While it is the most complicated of the getting underground hacks, it also works on almost any street. The process for using this hack was as follows. Similar to both of the other hacks just mentioned, it requires a second person. One must be on a fast connection or computer, and the other on a slow one. The idea is for the person on the slow connection/computer to follow the person on the fast one. The person on the fast connection/computer will then change streets, and, as soon as possible, change back to the original street. If the second change is completed before the follower has a chance to load the new street, the follower will be on the final street, but with the paths of the street before. Once the follower is in an ideal location, the leader may then follow them to obtain access to the normally off-limits area.

Notice I said “almost” any street. We tried hacking The Other Drop using the blending trick, and this happened.

 

 

Stuff like this is why RM is awesome. My first experience of her involved one of the many tree wars I’ve taken part in. That’s how I got the impression that she was a “rule maniac.” She then did this to prove me wrong. Yes, that’s a patch in Timtim. =P

This awkward moment happened later that day. I really don’t know if any explaining is wanted or needed here…

One of two in a series of guide mishaps. Not sure how exactly he managed to do that. I blame WASD, despite the fact that none of those letters are involved here.

In case you haven’t seen the back story behind my perpetual ridicule of WASD controls, here it is again:

Sep 25 1:16:24AM Gwynne  my meditation keps messing up when i type…

Sep 25 1:16:33AM Gwynne  its not supposed to do that >.<

Sep 25 1:16:37AM You  Precisely.

Sep 25 1:16:48AM You  Using WASD as opposed to the arrow keys by any chance?

Sep 25 1:16:57AM Gwynne  yeah?

Sep 25 1:17:07AM You  I could never. It’s too illogical. D=

Sep 25 1:17:23AM Gwynne  it took me a lot of getting used to xD

Sep 25 1:17:23AM You  If anything, D should move you down, not right.

Sep 25 1:17:37AM Gwynne  but theyre arranged like the arrow keys

Sep 25 1:17:43AM You  S for… south, I guess?

Sep 25 1:18:46AM Gwynne  if you wanna do it that way you could just have ULDR, wich are all over the place…

Sep 25 1:18:57AM You  Exactly. First thing I’m fixing if TS hires me.

Sep 25 1:19:18AM Gwynne  you are *not* changing WASD to ULDR

Sep 25 1:19:38AM You  But… WASD doesn’t make any sense!

Sep 25 1:20:04AM Gwynne  but its arranged like the arrow keys! its convenient!

Sep 25 1:20:21AM Gwynne  it would be so hard to move using ULDR

Sep 25 1:20:37AM You  I’m going to prove to you that ULDR works. Tomorrow, I’m going to modify my arrow move game to use ULDR as the controls.

Sep 25 1:20:59AM Gwynne  omg >.<

Sep 25 1:21:29AM You  http://justindaigle.com/files/ArrowMove.html Note: WASD doesn’t do anything. It never did, and it never will.

Sep 25 1:22:06AM Gwynne  you are crazy…

Sep 25 1:22:30AM You  For writing a game that expects one to use arrow keys?

Sep 25 1:23:04AM Gwynne  for not seeing the reason in WASD.

Sep 25 1:23:16AM Gwynne  my meditation messed up again! argh!

Sep 25 1:23:21AM Gwynne  brb

Sep 25 1:23:24AM Gwynne just left 🙁

Sep 25 1:23:54AM Gwynne is here!

Sep 25 1:24:05AM R-e-l-a-x-i-n-g.

Sep 25 1:24:08AM Calm blue ocean.

Sep 25 1:24:11AM This is beautiful.

Sep 25 1:24:14AM You  I’m not the one who can’t meditate whilst typing. 😉

Sep 25 1:24:15AM Good, good.

Sep 25 1:24:30AM Whoops. There it goes. That was relaxing. +363 mood, +363 energy, +0 iMG

Sep 25 1:24:36AM You  Ha! There you go again.

Liza wasn’t quite a guide at this point, but, uh… kind of surprised they promoted her after this (just kidding, Liza’s awesome).

 

This key spawned every 40 seconds behind the pillar toward the right of Newcot Close in Groddle Forest. I managed to gain a level a day for my last several levels (after the iMG transition) using these keys. I would spend a few hours camping this key every game day, then enter the (then-new) basement seam streets from the Gregarious Grange Tower basement. Using diagrams like the one below, I would pick out high-value iMG quoins, then use /home and /leave, which would put me back in the Gregarious Grange basement, ready to repeat this process. While this method was not as efficient as a later method involving ticket to paradise upgrade cards, it was the best of its time (and also did not get nerfed until much later than the upgrade card method).

 

This diagram indicates the location of two high-iMG quoins in Piryan. There was a third 3k iMG quoin, but by the time its location was explained to me, I had already memorized the locations and didn’t update the diagram.

 

New day screen after one particular day of using the basement method of level grinding.

 

I think stuck buffs were caused by connection lag. The high jumper and moonwalk buffs were fun, but the sneezing and purple junk buffs didn’t do anything while stuck, if I recall correctly. This was my personal record of four. I probably could’ve gotten more, but I couldn’t think of anything else to add to these.

 

Pictured above was an experiment in staying in the Ancestral Lands past the timer expiration by means of taking turns with people who did not have the overwhelmed debuff. Palindrome later discovered a bug that allowed one to just clear the overwhelmed screen by opening then closing the iMG window. Using this bug, I quickly gained my last few AL’s achievements (it also had the added benefit of reliably spawning a Juju Bandit, one per street, from any trap).

 

One of two of my favorite bugs ever in Glitch, this one sort of came about by accident. A month or so before the actual discovery, TomC discussed with us the possibility of resetting a pickle by means of changing the TSID. At this point, however, doing so was thought impossible. I got bored one day and tried this:

Feb 18 12:08:39AM You  Ooh… I wonder if I’m the first person to try this. Fill up your inventory, play with your pickle, then quickly pick up an item while it’s out of your inventory.

Feb 18 12:09:06AM You  (if you don’t believe me when I say you won’t lose it, try it in your house)

Feb 18 12:09:26AM Lx  Could do it with a cubi too.

Feb 18 12:11:04AM You  Wait… I think I just discovered something more to this.

Feb 18 12:11:05AM Rayana  would rather not try it with my pickle… it might glitch

Feb 18 12:11:18AM You  So I did it with a named cubimal, and when the rock returned it, it lost its name.

Feb 18 12:11:28AM You  Maybe, just maybe, it resets TSID’s?

Feb 18 12:11:58AM You  If so, Justin Daigle ‘s Bargain GNG Bin is open for business!

Feb 18 12:11:58AM Vira has left

Feb 18 12:12:03AM Rayana  would that generate an extra GNG?

Feb 18 12:12:11AM You  If it resets the TSID? Yes.

Feb 18 12:13:48AM You  Let’s help me keep track. Current pickle TSID: IA9H12OEHEO2B7O

Feb 18 12:15:03AM Meander Thralls has joined

Feb 18 12:15:07AM Bradamus Prime has left

Feb 18 12:16:47AM Humbabella has left

Feb 18 12:17:10AM Fur  hey! its new person

Feb 18 12:17:11AM Fur  hello

Feb 18 12:18:22AM Lx  Meander’s been here before, but welcome back 🙂

Feb 18 12:19:13AM You  Success!

Feb 18 12:19:18AM You  Pickle TSID changed to IA9HPQM3IEO282V

Feb 18 12:19:52AM You  Whether it’ll actually let me get a GNG out of it now is still up for debate.

Obviously, it worked. Again and again. It wasn’t patched until much later, after I was pretty bored with it (yes, it did get boring after awhile). Also, for whatever reason, they never fixed it on cubimals.

On that note, here’s a screenshot of my testing house, back when items were huge. I later made the GNG’s five to a shelf once items became smaller. I still don’t know why they did that. I preferred the huge items…

 

The Loudspeaker in the Rook Museum could be interacted with as though it were a human player, to an extent. I think it also had a player TSID.

 

This was shortly after the Great Moving Box disaster of 2012. For about a month, the Faded Heart item, which could ordinarily not be picked up or dropped, was stuck on many of our floors. I happened to screenshot this rare moment. It kind of bugs me though, the inconsistency between quest items… Faded Heart could not be picked up or dropped, but could be placed in an SDB. After the developers “fixed” it, Play Cube could not be picked up, dropped, traded, or placed in an SDB (although I discovered a workaround with Gwynne that would allow you to do so by placing it in a gift box, wrapping it, then giving the other player the gift box; I never got to test this method with a greeter stick, but it theoretically would’ve worked). And of course, then there was the conch. Not realizing they didn’t lock when placed in towers, this happened:

Sep 29 1:47:45AM Gwynne  *you* could make the conch 😀

Sep 29 1:47:51AM You  Riiiiight…

Sep 29 1:48:07AM You  Considering you didn’t even know if you could do it, how do you expect me to do it? 0_o

Sep 29 1:48:33AM Gwynne  *shrug* you could try…

Sep 29 1:48:54AM You  I wouldn’t even know where to start. D=

Sep 29 1:48:58AM stoot barfield is here!

Sep 29 1:49:04AM Gwynne  :O

Sep 29 1:49:09AM You  Nice guest you got there!

Sep 29 1:49:13AM               stoot barfield  WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?!

Sep 29 1:49:13AM Gwynne  xD

Sep 29 1:49:18AM stoot barfield high fived you! Mood +10

Sep 29 1:49:22AM You high fived stoot barfield. Energy -10

Sep 29 1:49:33AM               stoot barfield  I just came here for the Justin

Sep 29 1:49:38AM Gwynne  lol

Sep 29 1:49:41AM               stoot barfield  BUT, Gwynne … can I tell you something?

Sep 29 1:49:46AM Gwynne  sure 🙂

Sep 29 1:49:49AM You  Heh. Am I somehow interesting?

Sep 29 1:49:49AM               stoot barfield  I will say it to you privately

Sep 29 1:49:52AM               stoot barfield  ready?

Sep 29 1:49:55AM Gwynne  yes!

Sep 29 1:50:30AM               stoot barfield  thanks for the conch

Sep 29 1:50:37AM Gwynne  stoooot…

Sep 29 1:50:49AM Gwynne  thanks 🙂

Sep 29 1:51:04AM You  Gwynne  I’ll pick it up if anyone comes in

Sep 29 1:51:12AM You  She must’ve been too shocked.

Sep 29 1:51:16AM Gwynne  or i could just keep it…

Sep 29 1:51:20AM Gwynne  lol

Along with the new tutorial came a set of streets known as Gentle Island. No, this is not a Gentle Island street. It’s Adanac in Groddle Forest. It’s where I got kicked out to. Unfortunately, I only got to go to one Gentle Island street, and I couldn’t figure out how to move around on it, which I was too preoccupied with to actually remember to take screenshots there. The means by which I got to Gentle Island involved following a new player on their home street, who would then return to Gentle Island, taking me with them. Simple!

 

This took place at a party in March. Pali and Liza suggested that stoot hire me. This was my dream in life. A dream I’ll never get to realize now. 🙁

 

Anyone remember this person? Somehow single-handedly broke the game for like eight to twelve hours. Yeah, me too. D=

I think they originally had one or two of those flower symbols in their name, which duplicated each time anything displaying it came up. The downtime sucked, but the forum topic that came as a result was pretty funny. This post was possibly my favorite.

I think they removed those characters from that person’s name, and most likely (hopefully) blocked it from being a valid character in usernames from then on out. However, they still allowed quite a few they probably shouldn’t have, including the hair space, which allowed me to use the name “Justin” despite the fact that it was taken (although it did inconvenience and confuse people who wished to send me mail, sorry!).

 

Finally in the “weird characters in people’s names” department, there was this. The Arabic characters in this person’s name somehow caused their level to appear before their name. I’d seen a lot of bugs in Glitch, but this one really weirded me out. Reminds me a little of this character people used to stick in their profile on forums, that would cause all the text to appear upside down.

 

This is a (poorly-made) concept I threw together on how to deal with the problem of multiple quest popups. When you had something like sixteen new quests, it was annoying. Close one popup, then another comes right back in your face. This was the bane of my existence for my first few minutes in-game at a point when I had a lot of quests I just didn’t feel like doing at the moment. So I proposed this alteration, a scrolling list that could be closed all at once.

 

And now, the final exploit in the history of Ur. Much like the GNG thing, this was sort of an accident. I had managed to stay in-game, running around and doing stuff, for about half an hour after the official closing. I left this makeshift memorial in honor of Gwynne, not really capable of thinking of something better considering the panic (looking back, I wish I would’ve left artifacts, or something that actually had value at that point). I think I pulled this off by having left the game open in Safari. When I later tried opening it in Chrome, it must’ve pulled the cached files, and with the servers still being up, allowed me to load the game. I then got kicked with some “logged in from multiple places” notification half an hour or so later (unfortunately, I’d closed the other window by this point… I may have gotten to stay even longer had I not done so). Although it might’ve been a manual thing done by staff, considering I kind of saw a couple of them in Cebarkul and tried talking to them. They never replied. 🙁

I did get mail from people noticing I was still in game though. xD

 

The Incantations of Absurdity, or, Glitch – A Remembrance

On November 14, Tiny Speck announced that Glitch is closing its doors on December 9 at 8PM. This was met with much sadness, as well as some anger at Tiny Speck for building such a great game, and the best community ever to exist on the internet (or anywhere for that matter) atop it, just to take it away. Many people have expressed their thoughts in updates (I have as well, to an extent), on the forums, and by other means, but I figure I’ve got enough to say that it warrants a blog post. Gwynne and I both have things to say here – we’ll share this space, split into two parts.

Justin

This game was absolutely preposterous. In my time in Glitch (a little over a year), I’ve squeezed a few thousand chickens, nibbled a similar number of pigs, as well as milked countless butterflies. And of course, I’ve jumped around for days upon days with a crown that levitates above my hat. And only a couple of weeks ago, I foolishly posted (toward the end of that) that I was looking forward to a second year even better than the first. I suppose it wasn’t meant to be.

After the sad news was announced, I had this to say:

This is awful, and I’m in tears right now. While I don’t believe the world will end in 2012, it may as well. Glitch was my life for the past year, and I have no idea how I’ll spend my all-too-copious (and about to be even more copious because of winter break) free time from here on out. I regret not having gotten to know more of my friends here out-of-game in some way, although in one case, I actually did, last night (strange; almost prophetic even). Two groups have provided the best company I’ve had, ever: Game of Crowns, and PBMS. I hope they’ll reassemble somewhere, and someday soon…. For those whom I may never see again, it’s been awesome knowing you, and I’ll miss you all dearly.

I’ve given away most of my remaining collectibles and stopped grinding badges. While collecting and grinding used to be enjoyable pastimes for me, they just don’t seem to matter anymore. From this point on, I just want to enjoy the time I have left (although I do intend to fulfill my old promise of helping Gwynne grind Licensed Teleporter, Whoa Class).

My life is more or less completely in pieces at the moment. Glitch has been the only serious time-killer I’ve had recently, and there aren’t any satisfactory replacements. Nothing even comes close. In a world of MMO’s that involve “orc vs. mage PvP”… or whatever people do in those games, Glitch truly stood out. No orcs, no mages, no PVPs. It was actually original. And not just in gameplay. In business model too. TS set out to provide a fun game that didn’t demand money for everything. Unlike everything else out there, Glitch didn’t bend you over and screw you for cash. Because of these admirable qualities, I had hoped for the past several months that I’d someday get to work for Tiny Speck, because they actually did something meaningful, instead of following the established pattern of churning out crap to make money. I guess my dream was just that… a dream. Not something I’ll actually get to do.

In the very beginning of this post, I mentioned that there are feelings of sadness, and also feelings of anger. I feel like a child that’s been given a piece of candy, and then had it yanked away right after opening it. In this case, the candy is an imaginative game with an amazing community, both of which are without comparison. I suppose the part that hurts the most is that it wasn’t some investor decision that was outside the control of the staff. To the contrary, Glitch’s very founder is the one who decided to pull the plug. While I am a little angry, I would like to make something very clear: Tiny Speck has created a game that’s given me the best year of my life, and they deserve to keep every penny I’ve paid them (if only I could give them more). I implore you to come to the same conclusion. My apologies if this whole post has sounded like an incoherent rambling… if it does, it’s only because it represents me right now.

Gwynne

I agree wholeheartedly. I’ve been playing for over a year and Glitch never ceases to amaze me. I mean, Asslandia? And I still smile sometimes while massaging butterflies. The names of the streets blow my mind every time; there are so many, and they are all so exotic and creative. But I always thought Glitch would be here for me for years to come. The community has been inspiring and almost therapeutic at times, it’s helped me grow in ways I might not have otherwise. Even though I don’t talk all that much in group chat or the forums, I’ll miss every last one of you, whether I’ve gotten to know you personally or just lurked in chat and laughed at all the funny things you say (does that sound creepy?).

I’m not sure what I’ll do after Glitch, I’ll probably never get into another game like this one. I can almost see myself after Glitch closes, getting bored and wandering over to the computer only to remember…  Glitch is gone. No doubt those will be bad days, but until then I intend to make the best of what time we have left, which will hopefully involve lots of Game of Crowns =P

Like I said before, I’ll miss you all immensely. I’ll miss the amazing staff, I’ll miss the music, the artwork, and I might even miss discovering the occasional bug.  We’ve all heard the phrase “All good things must come to an end” but I never dreamed it would hurt this much. Glitch is a huge part of so many of our lives; things won’t be the same without Glitch to come back to after a hard day, or just to log in for a few minutes and check up on updates and the forums. I hope a little bit of this preposterous game lives on in us all, and I wish everyone the best of whatever they decide to do next.

Yet, we kind of liked it.

One Year of Glitch – A Reflection

One year ago today, I read a review on Ars Technica about a game called Glitch. It was a little misleading, and I signed up based on more than a few misconceptions. Oh, and the game confused the ever-living crap out of me for weeks. But, for whatever reason, I persevered, and I’ve been playing essentially every day for the last year. In that time, I’ve reached the maximum attainable level – about ten times (twice “naturally,” and another few because of a short-lived bug that caused meditation to unlevel players with high energy caps), gotten 600-ish achievements, played a lot of Game of Crowns, won a couple of feats, and made several awesome new friends – a few of whom have been the highlight of my last several months. Don’t expect a review. I’ll be writing plenty more of those until Glitch relaunches (which, as much as I know TS is depending on a relaunch for their survival, I hope is awhile away; it’s a joy watching the best game ever metamorphose into an even better best game ever). I will discuss the evolution of the game since the point at which I joined though, tying into my personal experiences over the past year. I’m going to try to sort it chronologically by month (for months in which a lot of stuff happened) or group of months (for months in which a lot of stuff didn’t happen), although I may wind up deviating from this a little if I can’t get my thoughts in order. Fortunately, I have a large archive of screenshots to draw upon that should help me remember when stuff happened. Plenty of them will make an appearance in this post; there probably won’t be any video this time.

November 2011

It’s November 9, 2011. I’m bored. I’m reading Ars Technica (their content’s usually pretty interesting), as I always do when I’m bored. I stumble across an article about a game. It’s called Glitch, and it looks different. And in my book, different is interesting. So I sign up. I do the (old, lame) tutorial that I don’t really remember. I stumble into the game, still confused. So I aimlessly wander around. I don’t know why, but I keep going for the next few days. I haven’t a clue what I’m doing, but the concept of a non-violent MMO is so appealing that I persevere. Eventually I meet a few people, and start saving up to buy a house (back in my day, houses weren’t in our imaginations; we had to buy them!). I don’t remember the number of my first house; I do remember it was located within Puran Pills Quarter. I then saved up to buy a bigger house, located at 3208 Mangane Gaps quarter, and started to grind levels (finding stuff to grind has always given me stuff to do when bored… although occasionally gone so far as to distract me from other stuff I really should be doing). I begin to hang out in Global Chat (I still remember the first thing I said there: “How do I get the achievement ‘Spent First Emblem of Alph’?”), and upon meeting people there talking about their experiences from the (first) beta, I begin to lament the fact that I didn’t get to take part. Then…

In late November, I got my chance! To my knowledge, a first for any game I’ve ever heard of, Glitch unlaunched. As I always do, I thought obsessively about how I got my wish, and what that means. I began to wonder whether it’s what I really wanted. From the beginning, I always thought the review that led me to join was a bit misleading. There wasn’t really any major player involvement in world-building, as that article made me believe. Sure there were street projects, but street projects were lame and I never got to participate. So new stuff started to flow in…

December 2011 – January 2012

As far as Glitch as a whole is concerned, at this point, we began to start to see the first new features trickle in. Stuff like a keyring so people could visit our houses, and new skills for tincturing and potionmaking. As for me, I continued leveling. I also took an interest in Game of Crowns, and was introduced to the Game of Crowns group. To this day, GoC ranks among my favorite things to do in Glitch (that group could really use some more people; you should join it!). On January 10, 2012, two months and one day (about one game year) after joining, I became the 69th (heh) person to reach level 60 in the old XP system. This is what my house looked like after I’d emptied my inventory for only the stuff I’d need for that grind (by donating sparkly; I’m glad I wised up and did more efficient stuff to grind 60 the next time around…).

Look at that pile of junk in my house. Also, I don’t know how I got the pickle to sit on the couch like that.

Looking at the image above, I don’t miss old housing and its lack of SDB’s, at all. Finally having reached my goal of reaching level 60, and having not yet discovered badge grinding, I chilled out and did random stuff (and played GoC). I also did other things with the GoC group. Like this.

In the small room in Corridor Six.

The events pictured above occurred on January 13. (Wow, stuff was big back then. I kinda miss that. Also, remember the magic rock that used to sit on top of our screens? Yeah. I miss that too.) Anyway, we basically decided to go out of bounds on random streets, and it still ranks as one of my most memorable nights on Glitch. I can’t remember what name we finally decided on for this endeavor, although my favorite was “Crowns Underground, Notorious Tomfoolery.”

February – March 2012

A PBMS party in Timtim Timm. I miss these.

The party above happened on Valentine’s Day 2012, after a much larger party in Ilmenskie. I haven’t been able to get the pictures for that party that I’ve been looking for, but I littered the place with High Class Hoes in honor of VD Day, as I chose to refer to it. It was basically the best party ever.

 

Glitch logo item art.

In late February, some people came together underneath Corridor Six (it’s a really fun street for hacking…) to make this Glitch logo artwork. While I had no part in its construction, I still think it’s the single best example of what Glitch is about – a bunch of people coming together to make something awesome. Even stoot himself showed up to admire it. Sadly, as with all other artwork made in public spaces, it eventually got stolen. Looking back through my old screenshots, I found this lone capture of it, and would like to use this time to honor its memory, and also to pay tribute to those who made it, even though I can’t remember who all was involved.

New Housing Party

On March 1, the new housing system was accidentally discovered hours before its release. The screenshot above is of Danny’s Home Street, which led to the discovery. A party ensued as we marveled at the new stuff.

My old house, an example of why new housing was needed.

Old housing. It was unscalable, and didn’t really give a good way to organize your stuff. Also, you couldn’t customize it. Those were dark days…

My test house. And yes, we finally had a way to organize stuff!

Then along came new housing, at first in testing form. We each got a brand splanking new /home, that we not only didn’t have to pay for, but also could fully customize! Oh, and did I mention it had these wonderful things called Storage Display Boxes that could hold a near-infinite number of a single item? Unfortunately, we only got a limited amount of testing furniture, so as seen above, it didn’t quite prevent me from tossing crap all over my floor. But hey, at least it was way better than what we had before.

Anyone remember this? That screen that showed up… every… single… time?

April – July 2012

Only 7052 iMG?

In May, TS replaced XP with iMG (Imagination). Basically, it exists as a lifetime count that determined your level (which was the sole purpose of XP), and as a balance that you could purchase character upgrades and cultivation items for your yard and street with. The level cap remained at 60, but levels were re-scaled. Anyone who was level 60 in the old system was moved to level 42 in the new one. So I began to grind levels again. While I hit level 60 before the discovery of the upgrade card strategy (that was later nerfed), I still did reasonably well for myself, and became the eighth person to reach the maximum level in the new system.

A hard day’s work. Not as good as some others have done, but still decent.

This badge was painful. I stand in awe of anyone who got it before home streets were introduced.

After leveling out, I switched my focus from levels to badges. A lot were insanely boring grinds (like Supafly Flycatcher, pictured above). Others (like Monarch of the Seven Kingdoms, and any of the other GoC badges) were quite a lot of fun and didn’t feel like grinding at all (while these weren’t introduced until months later, the hi sign badges remind me of the GoC ones – challenging, but not grindy). I hope to see more challenging yet un-grindy badges added to the game in the future.

Badge grinding also gave me the opportunity to torment 503 Juju Bandits. Also, why are these things not edible? They look like candy.

August 2012 – Present

During this time frame, feats were introduced to the game. Perfect timing, since I don’t have a bunch of badges left (although new badges have been added, including some for feats). Aside from their use to unlock new content (which puts Glitch more so in line with how I pictured it after reading that review months ago), they also provide an opportunity for the occasional all-nighter of grinding. Which is a nice change of pace from levels and badges (slower grinding over days or weeks). This more or less brings my casual overview of what’s been happening with Glitch as a whole to an end (I’ve written several reviews though, if you’d like more detail). As for me nowadays? I grind on occasion (feats and a badge here and there). I also play Game of Crowns, whenever I can assemble enough people (not often, unfortunately; if you haven’t joined the group already, don’t make me beg…). When I’m not grinding (and sometimes when I am – together we won the Deaths and Reminisces feat), I’m usually found hanging out with Gwynne, the best artist in all of Ur.

A larger-than-life homage to Game of Crowns graces Corridor Six. Sadly, a few snaps are all that remain of this crown.

She’s done numerous item art installations, including the giant crown pictured above, as well as a snail in Firozi; and Glitch SDB’s, a purple flower, and a conch in her tower.

Conclusion

My, Glitch has changed so much in the year since I’ve joined. If I’d have been able to look forward in time to the game I’m playing now, I probably wouldn’t recognize it. But almost all of those changes have been for the better (except triple jumps and movement speed upgrades no longer working in GoC; that completely sucks), and Glitch is now the game I thought I’d signed up for a year ago. A fully-customizable housing system (with practical storage!), assorted new map regions and skills (including a couple of my favorites, Jal and Nottis), as well as the iMG system and hundreds more achievements than existed when I signed up, have made Glitch much bigger, better, and more fun. I’ve loved watching it grow over the last year, and here’s to hoping the next year is even better than the last!

Thanks Gwynne, for everything.

I’d like to conclude this reflection by thanking someone who’s done a lot for me. Without her help, I would’ve never won the Deaths and Reminisces feat, or written my last review. And this post would’ve been full of typos and other mistakes if she hadn’t painstakingly proofread it numerous times as I wrote it. So… yep. Thanks Gwynne, for everything.

Glitch: Feats, Quests, Quoin Sharding, New Regions, and Skills

I suppose bi-monthly Glitch reviews are sort of becoming a thing for me. Which means it’s about time for a new one. I usually look for specific content releases, but I think I’ve decided to tie the reviews more so to an approximate time frame, and just work with what’s there. As such, this review will deviate quite a bit from my usual focus of housing/construction-related stuff. Sort of. While there haven’t been any changes that directly involve housing and construction (I’m rather fond of getting to build stuff, so those have been a recurring theme in my last three reviews), there have been quite a few major additions nonetheless, including things that Glitch has been lacking up until this point (namely things that provide a story behind the game). Ultimately, the root of most of these are feats (albeit I think these have a bit of work to go before they serve as a suitable replacement for street projects, much for the same reason street projects were problematic; more on this later). They tie into some of the new quests, and now serve as a method of unlocking new regions in the game. A series of new lore-related quests (Respect for the Beginnings and The Last Pilgrimage of Esquibeth) unlocks the ability to participate in feats. On a different note, two new, gardening-related skills were also added to the game. Also notable is the new tutorial, but outside of a bug that allowed a few of us to see it (I got to see one street, but couldn’t do anything on it), no existing players were able to visit the new tutorial, therefore it is out of my capacity to review it. I have seen videos of it though, and suffice it to say it looks awesome, and I wish I had a chance to go through it. Now, let’s go one by one through the new stuff that I have gotten to play around with (with the exception of this first thing).

Feats

Several months ago, street projects were removed from Glitch. I had never participated in a street project, although I did get to witness one. It was basically a hoarding contest, that culminated in a lag-fest during the actual project. Fifty or so people would gather at the project location, and hand their hoarded items over to the vendor on the street to help “construct” the street. There were badges for contributing large quantities of stuff. The main problem is these projects just didn’t scale. I believe they originated in alpha, when maybe a couple of thousand people played Glitch. If you’ve got about 20 people on the street, okay. But at some future point when you’ve got hundreds of people all wanting to participate, it’s A Bad Thing. ® Enter feats. Feats are the new method by which players can unlock new game content (usually new map regions), although quoin sharding was unlocked by the same method. While I didn’t get to participate in either feat (because, thus far, they haven’t scaled as well as they supposedly should), I’d imagine it’s something the staff will have under control soon. The good news is, feats are not un-scalable by design. Street projects forced large numbers of people to congregate on the same street. While the second feat (Mihceal, Blow that Conch) did encourage people to gather on one street, they did scatter over a couple of streets, making the lagging and crashing not quite as bad. The first feat (The Meditation of Groddlocritus), however, didn’t even encourage people to gather on the same street, and serves as a slightly better example of how feats solve the problem of scalability. As a near one-to-one parallel to street projects, participation in feats also rewards artifact pieces, that can be assembled into full artifacts (in street projects, one was given trophy pieces, that could be assembled into trophies). As a badger, I hope to see badges added aside from the artifact pieces, as well as the artifacts behaving as trophies (which also count as badges). In summary, once Tiny Speck has tweaked feats such that they scale properly to a community the size of Glitch, they will serve as a promising solution to the dilemma of unlocking content as a result of collaborative effort among players, and I look forward to being able to participate in them in the future.

Quests

 Waterfall Hollow, the last street in the quest The Last Pilgrimage of Esquibeth

In the past couple of months, numerous quests have been added to the game. A fair few of these add details to the story behind Glitch, and quite a few of these new quests are repeatable as well. These include story quests such as The Greedy Street Spirit, as well as puzzle quests ranging from the easy (Walk Toward the Light) to the rather challenging (Le Miserable). Also included was a quest called Respect for the Beginnings, designed to introduce new players to the Giants. Upon completing this quest, a musical quest (screenshot above), The Last Pilgrimage of Esquibeth, is unlocked. I enjoyed this quest, and it basically represents everything a quest in Glitch should be, at least in my opinion. It has a place in the story line of the game (unlike several of the quests I remember from earlier in the game, that involved things like planting and selling crops), has just the right amount of challenging element to it (it took me a bit to solve the puzzle, but at no point did I get frustrated with it; on the other hand, I did have to give up on Le Miserable and come back to it later), is repeatable (I also liked Walk Toward the Light, but don’t have any screenshots or video, because it isn’t), and has a keepable, unique item received at the end of it.

Quoin Sharding

Quoin sharding is a mechanic that was added to Glitch after the completion of the first feat (The Meditation of Groddlocritus). This was added as a solution to the dilemma of quoin collecting while there are other people on your current street. The idea is that those around you also receive rewards when you grab a quoin on a street. While the rewards are only a fraction of those received by the one who actually grabs the quoin, they do add up to quite a bit. For instance, even in a (very!) small sharding party like the one demonstrated in the video above, I managed to get ~33k iMG. While trying to figure out the mechanics of sharding as it was explained to me, I described my understanding as “OK, so I follow you, but I don’t follow you? I think I follow that.” Which is basically how it works. You have to be reasonably close to the person grabbing the quoins to receive shards, however you can’t be following them using Glitch’s follow option. This, in effect, turns quoin sharding into a fun mini-game in which you follow the leader. As an occasional Game of Crowns (join that group!) player, the challenge for me is primarily to make myself easy to follow, as, instinctively, I’m not. Regardless, even though I don’t need iMG anymore, by any means, I find quoin sharding an extremely enjoyable activity for its own sake. It also gives purpose to the regions of Roobrik, Balzare, Haoma, and Kloro, regions whose emptiness never really made sense up until now.

New Regions (Haoma, Kloro, and Firozi)

Tiny Speck has introduced three new regions to the world of Ur since my last review.

Me, exploring Firozi. Just so happened to get a badge. Not planned at all. I’d never go out of my way to show off getting a badge in a review video…

Tumera Hilda in Firozi. Yes, there are things here besides quoins!

The region of Firozi was added a few hours ago as a result of the completed feat Mihceal, Blow that Conch. It’s the most interesting of the new regions. The four regions introduced before it (Haoma and Kloro [which I’ll cover in a bit], Roobrik, and Balzare) were fairly empty regions solely for the purpose of quoin collecting, and the streets within any one of these regions look almost entirely the same. Firozi, however, has an interesting combination of scenery, resembling several different regions, as well as some scenery all its own (including much-demanded water and beach scenery, as seen in the video above). Also, it’s got vendors and trees and rocks and other stuff that fully-functional regions have! As such, Firozi’s completist badge was the most pleasurable I’ve earned in quite awhile.

Russula Involutii in Haoma

Porcini Bolete in Kloro

Haoma and Kloro are new quoin-collecting regions similar in purpose to Roobrik and Balzare. Just like Roobrik and Balzare, they exist as a pair of similar, but different regions. And much like the aforementioned pair, any street in one of the regions is basically the same as any other street in that region, and no shrines, vendors, trees, or other “verbable” items are to be found. Haoma and Kloro do bring with them some interesting new artwork, as well as bouncing red platforms (which questionably obsolete the old rainbow potions, as these do the same thing, for free).

Skills

The new gardening potions at work. Video edited so you don’t have to stare at nothing happening for two minutes while the herbs grow.

Two new skills have been introduced to Glitch, Potionmaking III and Master Gardener. These new skills allow you to make (Potionmaking III) and use (Master Gardener) potions that automate gardening. Gardening used to be a really tedious activity, especially if you’re like me and have 90 garden plots in your back yard. Furthermore, this tedium was usually compounded by lag, which affected gardening more than any other activity in the game. These new potions, at least in my opinion, change large-scale gardening from something boring and tedious, into something fun (although you then have two options for obtaining the potions, resulting in less profitable gardening: make them yourself, or buy them). Regardless, even though I don’t particularly have a reason to garden anymore, the primary reasons not to garden have been dealt with, and dealt with well.

 

What’s Next?

Fishing, hopefully.

Conclusion

While the last few major releases (and therefore my last few reviews) focused on housing-related content, this round, different things have been addressed. An impressive set of quests, in fact, some of the best in the game, have been added. Quoin sharding has introduced a fun and useful mini game style mechanic to Glitch. Feats have brought the return of player-unlocked content, in a way that (with tweaking) should provide a replacement for the street projects of old that were hopelessly unscalable. Finally, new potions have decreased the chances that you will want to smash your computer while gardening by 100%. As a result, the story behind Glitch is now better fleshed-out, existing game mechanics have been made more fun, and new game mechanics have introduced unique new activities.

Thanks to Gwynne for helping with the review; be sure to check out the artwork in her tower!