Tuesday 27 December 2016

Project Coma

For something completely out of the blue, here are the player-side documents for v0.1 of 'Project Coma', a scribble of an RPG.

It's heavily inspired by Lacuna Part 1 by Jared Sorensen, but with an Apocalyse World-style rule set and playbooks, with a sprinkling of Amber, Night's Black Agents. Or, to put it another way, imagine if John le Carre and Kafka teamed up to rewrite Inception.

Having said all that, this document is super thin, as much an invitation for a playstorming session as anything.

Project Coma v0.1 PDF

Saturday 10 December 2016

Which Way to the Sun?

File this under "perspective is weird". Last summer on a camping trip, we were stargazing just after sunset. I remarked howbizarrely—the lit region of the moon appeared to point above the horizon, despite the fact the sun was below the horizon.

What the heck is happening?

A recent blog post by Randall Munroe (which I can't find right now) asserted this was impossible, which made me question my memory.  I have, however, just seen precisely the same phenomenon tonight, which makes me confident it's a real thing and perspective is just plain weird.

Here's a couple of stills out of a video I shot to prove it.  Some things to notice:

1. The moon is way higher in the sky than the sun is. (The moon is perhaps 30 degrees above the horizon, the sun is setting.)

2. Nevertheless, the lit portion of the moon is the upper right quadrant.

3. Without any other markers to suggest what's going on, this is pretty weird.

Fortunately, there are some other markers I didn't realize until I was annotating the photographs: the horizontal lines on the long hardware store that appears in both images.

In the first picture, the roof lines appear to go "up" to the west, in the direction of the sun, but in the second picture, they go back down again. In fact, the horizontal roof line in the first image makes it clear that it's not really the "upper" portion of the moon that's lit at all: the line to the sun is straight south, following the roof line. It's just that in that linear perspective, horizontal lines which are above you appear to go "up" as you get to the edge of your field of view.

Since we're "below" the moon (at least from my Earthen reference point) we can see the partially unlit 'bottom' of the moon and none of its partially unlit "top".

The root error in thinking this scenario is possible is assuming that these lines are straight. You'd actually need a fish-eye lens to see both at the same time, which would force "straight" lines to be curved:

Thursday 1 December 2016

The Call of the Light

As some of the others have done, this adventure started out as a stubborn visual I couldn't get out of my mind: a massive heap of automaton parts under the baleful light of a lamppost.

What brought them there? Why, the call of the light.

As always, thanks to my generous patrons, the art and text for this month's adventures are free for non-commercial use under the CC-BY-NC creative commons license. Enjoy!