EnsignRedshirt [he/him]

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Joined 4 years ago
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Cake day: July 26th, 2020

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  • While I do like having a bit of assistance from the map/UI in my games for sake of usability, the point being made in this video is spot on. When developers focus on spoon-feeding users and guiding them by the hand at every step, they get lazy about designing the game itself, and the games suffer. Call it Ubisoftification. I love the part where he’s like “you can’t make a game like Morrowind, but apparently you can make Starfield.” Exactly! All your UI nonsense isn’t going to make your game better if just being in the game isn’t fun or interesting.

    Looking back, I think that’s one of the things that makes Subnautica really excellent. I honestly think it could benefit from having a basic map function, but it’s really cool that you just have to navigate with a combination of coordinates, beacons you make yourself, and recognizing the geography and landmarks. You get clues about where to look for things from various datapads and whatnot, but then you have to go actually look for those things. It makes everything more interesting and rewarding. If the game just handed you a map and started putting quest markers on your screen, it wouldn’t be nearly the same experience.


  • Reagan I understand. Regardless of how damaging his policies were, his public perception was mostly positive by the end of his presidency.

    Bush was the opposite. I think he holds the record for all-time lowest approval rating, and was so unpopular that the Democrats ended up with the presidency and a near-supermajority in the house and senate following his second term. People were just as mad at Bush then as they are about Trump now, I remember it so clearly. They protested and wrote articles and burned effigies because his administration knowingly led the country into a senseless war. “Serious people” talked about prosecuting him for war crimes. And that’s to say nothing of how brazenly illegitimate it was that he was elected in the first place.

    Calling Trump the worst president in modern history is good for brevity, but it just doesn’t make sense. You have to toss an entire decade into the memory hole to make that statement. I get that they’ve been working hard to rehabilitate Bush in the past few years, but it wasn’t that long ago. There should be enough people still mad about that stuff that there would be some pushback, but I guess all of those people have decided that it’s more important to drag Joe Biden’s corpse into a second term.

    I don’t know if they were quoting someone, but @Satanic_Mills@hexbear.net posted in a thread not too long ago “The curse of the socialist is to remember things” and I think this is exactly what they were talking about.




  • There’s a complex relationship between land values, development costs, development financing, and the overall demand for housing, but all of it adds up to an incentive to only build housing when there is excess demand. Financing from banks is dependent on projecting a certain amount of profit from building housing. Owning land has almost no real carrying cost. Developers build when the market is going up, and they sit tight when the market is down, which creates a ratchet effect. Housing gets built when it’s in high demand, and building stops when the demand wanes. Because of how long it takes to get a development done, how many steps there are, and how much planning is involved, there’s no situation where developers accidentally build way too many houses.

    Housing isn’t built by “companies” in the way that products are built. There’s no house factory that gets ramped up and needs to keep producing and growing production, with unit costs going down and there needing to be a certain steady production in order to maintain the value of the factory as an asset. Housing requires the coordination of land, developers, tradespeople, investors, banks, local government, and so on. Every housing development, from a single spec or custom home all the way up to a high-rise apartment building or suburban housing development, is essentially a separate enterprise that spins up and winds down in the space of a couple years. The structural elements are closer to infrastructure development than consumer products, so the whole exercise of lowering the per-unit costs and then selling more volume doesn’t really apply.

    The closest thing to how this works in the market is that the per-square-foot value of a housing unit is the main metric for real estate investors/developers/owners, while the housing unit itself is the relevant metric for actual customers for houses. Housing units can get smaller, and therefore cheaper on a per-unit basis, while the per=square-foot value goes up. We’re running into the limits of that math now, as tiny condos are selling for the upper-limit of what people can afford while being basically as small as you can make them while still qualifying as dwelling units.

    That’s a bit of a ramble, someone else can correct me on the finer points, but the gist is that, no, companies are not incentivized to make housing cheaper. If housing got cheaper, it would mean the underlying asset was going down in value, which means landlords and developers have less incentive to start new construction projects. They just wait for housing to be expensive again and then start building. The only way to combat this would be decommodification of housing combined with some sort of state program to either build housing directly, or incentivize building housing counter-cyclically. As long as housing is a commodity, and development is driven purely by profit motive, housing will always get more expensive.

    Edit: One more thing, land is a major limiting factor, not just because there’s a fixed amount of it, but also because densification of land has diminishing returns. Tall buildings are an efficient use of land when you want density, but on a per-square-foot basis, tall buildings are vastly more expensive than smaller ones. What that means is that economies of scale don’t work the way you think they would for building. Suburbs make sense, economically, because although the land use is high, the cost to build is relatively low, whereas a big residential tower might cost 3x/4x/5x as much to build in terms of the actual livable area. You can’t just sprawl forever, and you can’t just build higher and make up the cost in volume, so there’s no way to drive unit-costs towards zero like with consumer products.









  • I think Trump winning is still the funniest short-term outcome. The Biden camp basically declared victory the moment Trump was convicted, and now literally a month later we’re talking about whether or not Biden should run at all. I never would have thought that a debate, of all things, would ever make any difference to this campaign, but here we are.

    Long-term, though, I agree with you. We have no idea what kind of absurdity a second Biden term would bring. The immediate aftermath would be very funny, but that might just be the start. It’s no longer a joke/insult/cope to say that Biden is a doddering, incoherent old man. He is very clearly unable to perform the job at a sufficient level, and that will not change, yet he could very easily win and be the president for another four years! It was surreal when Trump was president, but he was still fully capable of being a public figure. If Biden wins, it’s going to be a Weekend at Bernie’s presidency start to finish.

    The upside of this election is that no matter what happens, it’s not going to be good for American hegemony. Everyone top to bottom is going to look like a fucking moron in literally any scenario.



  • My framing is obviously biased against Trudeau, but even the most charitable reading of the facts looks really bad. The Trudeau campaign promised, verbatim, that the election would be “the last held under first past the post.” It was that explicit. The Liberals were then elected to a (somewhat unexpected) majority, meaning they had full authority to make changes to the system, or at the very least to put the question to a referendum. They assembled an all-party committee (including the minuscule Green Party) to form a recommendation on what system to use, and, after a perfectly reasonable and fulsome consultation process, they eventually came back with some version of mixed-member proportional representation. Trudeau then claimed there wasn’t enough consensus and abandoned the issue.

    The “lack of consensus” was ostensibly about the exact type of proportional system to use, but an overwhelming majority of all stakeholders involved (party representatives, citizens, experts asked to advise, etc.) preferred some version of proportional representation. If we lived in a democracy, it would already be policy by now.

    At the time I was Big Mad about that because I thought that proportional representation would have given a better chance of leftist policy being enacted. Since then I’ve kind of calmed down on it because I don’t think it would have made any material difference. The problem is liberal democracy itself, not the specific configuration thereof, and so at the end of the day it’s just one more example of the failure of liberal democracy, rather than a truly substantial missed opportunity.

    Trudeau’s government did deliver on properly legalizing recreational cannabis, though. That’s something.


  • It’s worth mentioning that the reason Trudeau went back on the promise to change the system is because while the multiparty committee they struck to suggest a new system suggested actual proportional representation, system the Liberals wanted was a ranked ballot FPTP, which would have led to even more lopsided false majorities like this one.

    These systems are all bullshit, but it bears repeating that Trudeau had no intention of switching to a more sane system, only to switching to a system that would be even more favorable to his own party as the milquetoast “center-left” option. The moment he found out that the committee made the recommendation to switch to a genuinely more representative system, he just went “lol no” and kept on governing because it turns out that campaign promises still don’t matter.