26 September 2007

Revelations; contradictions

I remember long ago, when I was very small, when I realised what it meant to die.

I must have been about nine years old at the time, and it was one of those long nights where I had nothing to think about, because I stayed awake, thinking about stuff. I ended up thinking about my pet fish, and how they'd all died, and been unceremoniously dumped in the bin. When they had died, they had stopped working, although sometimes we knew that it was going to happen soon. And all of the fish had died a long time ago, but all these things disjointedly floated into my consciousness as I lay in bed - and suddenly I realised that this was going to happen to me too. I was going to stop working like those helpless little fish. Everyone I knew, everyone who was going to be, everyone was going to come to a halt, and nobody had any way of stopping it. I cried all night. And as I cried I thought of how nothing could come after death, and made myself think that there must be something afterwards, because a life was too special to end.

I think I was less practical back then, because I have since determined that it's all predetermined by the way particles blast around the universe - all particles, even ones that seem controlled by organisms - those organisms themselves are controlled by the particles that they are composed of. Which is of course a much less-romanticised viewpoint. It bores me. And it seems fanciful when written down, contrasting to how much sense it ought to make. But it's mind-boggling. Do people refuse to believe that they are all just insignificant parts of this planet? - a planet that doesn't mean anything, it's all just matter. All the matter in the universe is all that matters in the universe. As I write this, I feel foolish, and make myself believe I'm wrong. I always seem to be wrong these days. Maybe nobody has the answer. I don't have mine. Maybe I'll be laying in bed one day, and it can strike me then, too.

I feel so depressed at the moment. I still feel like a nobody amongst somebodies. My personality is beige, and the polka dots are the parts I have to keep to myself. I don't really take myself seriously any more, and sometimes I think that I never will... I'm loveless. I always think I'm better alone, as I'm far less nervous, but at the same time I'm getting agitated about how I'm alone. Humans are drawn to each other, even if it's nothing to do with sex, and I know many more people now. But all I can think of is how they dislike me. (I know that this is exactly what I said in my last post, but it's even worse now.)

And another thing that is gradually getting worse... I am realising how I won't really be able to cope with my A-Levels. I can't concentrate, even when my head is clear. Sometimes that comes as a feeling too - a realisation that I really must do something and work. It's not happened yet, and I'm wasting my time here rather than finishing my music homework.

Or maybe one huge thing will hit me, like a steamroller. I will suddenly realise where I'm going wrong, and realise why I don't feel confident about myself. I will suddenly realise that anything is possible, that physics is all an illusion, and I will soar into the skies, forget about everything, never ever have to work, and I will wake from a dream within a dream. This makes so much sense to me, it's unbelievable.

19 September 2007

I don't belong in this horse race

While my head is full of things that are going to stay inside, I also have a lot of stuff I need to say...

I've started a new school, and it's a fantastic place. Everyone I've spoken to has been really friendly, and my subjects are mostly going to be alright, as long as I put in the extra work that truly is needed at this level of education. And I'm already beginning to feel at home there, so why do I still have an empty feeling in my gut during every bus journey over there?

The problem is my self-conciousness. I'm becoming increasingly aware of, and dismayed about, my own image, the way I appear to people. I wish I was charismatic, polite, and confident, but I really don't have anything to be confident about. Sure, I've made friends at this school, but that's because everybody is so damn nice to each other. I genuinely like all the people I've spoken to, I like them a lot. But what I really hate is me. I hate my nervous laugh. I hate the way I have to make boring small talk to fill in the gaps in conversations. I hate the way I simplistically start sentences the same way to illustrate a point. And I hate my stupid face.

But the thing is that I really have done well in my first week-and-a-bit at this school. I've not messed up majorly, and done something really idiotic, and this surprises me because I thoroughly expected to mess up. I guess I still think that I am about to really offend someone, probably through a total accident. It's inevitable with me. But as I said, I'm more concerned that I'm so awkward. I feel like a fifth wheel - I don't really contribute anything to any conversation. If I don't have an interest in the subject, I don't say anything. I don't even know if I should any more. And I still never expect people to take a liking to me in any way. So I'm very quiet, especially today, although this really depends on my mood. My thoughts have been self-depreciative to the point where I was close to tears a few times.

I'm still not fully sorted out. I wish I knew everyone here. I wish I was taller. I wish I had a sense of fashion. I wish I had confidence, and a quick mind that would enable me to be more witty. I wish I had a perfect speaking voice. I wish I had clear skin, and great hair, and bigger eyes... I don't know. Basically, I don't like who I am.

The ironic thing about this post is that I would never talk about this sort of thing in person. In reality, I come across really boring, but the thing is that I'm really shy. I like shy people. I like confident people as well, if their personality justifies their confidence. What I really like is when I get the opportunity to break away from the small talk and actually discuss stuff like this. And so far, I've not really. Or maybe I have, and I'm just too shy... Either way, this is why this post has ended up here, wallowing in its own helplessness. I've not gone emo, honest.

30 April 2007

The Universe Works on a Math Equation that Never Even Ever Really Even Ends in the End

EDIT: Seriously, my existential crisis was a big thing to have happen to me, and I just wanted to write about it. If you think it's stupid, I don't care. If you don't care, that's fine. Don't look in to it too much. I mean, I doubt you will, but don't re-evaluate your own existence because of this. Argh, I'm being pretentious again. ;_;

I really wanted a post to show my thoughts about why I'm here. It's been an issue that has troubled me for a few months. We've all given it some consideration, but recently it seemed that all of my subconscious thought was dominated by these questions. Now I have a theory, and decent enough reason to believe it. I'd like to think that some observant people knew that this was troubling me... fortunately, it's not any more. I respect existentialism a lot more now as a result of it. And all this sounds really pretentious, but this is the last time I'll ever bring it up! I swear!

So, let me start by saying that all these beliefs are fully agnostic. Arguably, they don't really make sense. And this is most people's arguments against other beliefs. The creationists argue that matter couldn't spontaneously create life; the atheists argue that nothing could have the power to create such a universe, and question how a creator itself came to be. So I simply came to my theory that made most sense.

I've gone through many beliefs and evaluated them, and the most likely one I've thought of is that our universe created itself. After trillions of years of existence, the universe, specifically minds made up of the matter in the universe, create another universe. A race of superintelligent beings, of indeterminate origin, (although, I don't believe in aliens, so I'd imagine humans), will find a way to create a universe. I heard speculation of the possibility of this, and I guess I like this theory. Because the amount of energy and matter in that universe at the beginning of its creation, (before the Big Bang, the pinprick of stuff that existed), was exactly the same, the stuff that happened in this universe was exactly the same as the universe that created it. This universe would exist in equal but separate dimensions, (including time, of course), and thus, is in fact the same thing as the one that created it. You can either look at this as infinity, or one. Infinity, as in each universe creates the next, and nobody can discern which the original was. One, as in the same thing therefore the same events, as I explained. The latter is how I view our universe, although there is arguably no difference. It's a comfortable compromise between creationism and "Stuff just happened, what the hell". Most atheists really believe this, that everything just happened, with no explicable reason.

And yet, most atheists wouldn't admit to being nihilists. I myself am a nihilist, but a reluctant one. I don't believe that any supreme being wills us to exist, and that we exist simply because that is all we know how to do. I am fully aware that the instinct of organisms is to reproduce and stay alive, but this doesn't answer why. Many people seem to think that this is the meaning of our existence, but it's not. It's like a good beginning to a theory. A D-Grade in nullifying nihilism. Outwardly, I do care what my actions are, and their effects, because I enjoy life. I'm still agnostic about stuff, for one thing, and also, I figured that since life is the only thing everyone knows how to do, I should live it like my instinct wants me to. Inwardly, I know that none of it matters.

One other thing is that I don't believe in free will. I do believe in a great impression of it, and this is all that matters to a human. Really, everything you do is defined by the structure of your brain. And there is no other way it could happen. Take flipping a coin. The probability of the outcome being heads is either 0 or 1, and since humans can't actually work out which it will be, we think it is 0.5. The flip of the coin is all decided by pressure applied by the flipper, the behaviour of the air, gravity, the coin's mass... Nothing on earth can figure out the outcome. And really, this is all your brain is. Dependent on the structure of your brain, the positions of the neurons in it, you will either think that this article is just pretentious drivel, or, (hopefully), something more thought-provoking. Overall, everything is defined by causality, and the universe can only take one path of events.

Please remember that I'm not certain of any of this. And I don't denounce new theories straight away. I'd enjoy talking to you about this, whoever you are. Just because I've given up thinking about it all for a while doesn't mean it doesn't interest me, nor am I committed to that in any way. And if not... well, thanks for reading.

21 January 2007

Top 10 Freeware games according to RincewindSW

As part of the Metanet community, I am, as I've said before, a die-hard freeware gamer. The great community there frequently recommend freeware games to play, made easier by the IRC channel crawling with 20+ N fanatics. Currently, a huge number of us are playing Gunbound, and 4v4 games are not uncommon. And because of the vast number of freeware games I've played, I thought I should list the best. There are one or two dubious choices, but I have deliberated the list, and I'm sticking to it. Kingdom of Loathing almost made the list, but I decided that its text-basedness disqualified it. All the others can be downloaded.

10: Space Cowboy
For a freeware game, Space Cowboy is graphically stunning. It follows the typical 'Runescape' MMORPG gameplay of getting upgrades and completing simple quests, but with a difference: You're a 3D spaceship. And away you fly, to shoot at hundreds of laggy, generically-named (Ubermoth is the best) beasts. It's bug-ridden, too. But this didn't deter me at first. I think the novelty of the amusing gameplay and 3D spaceship flying simply wore off.

9: Within a Deep Forest
Atmospherically perfect, WaDF makes for a lovely platform game to play and relax. Explore several intricate and amusing little 2D worlds in your bouncing ball of awesomeness - which is changeable as you complete more of the game. That's really all there is to it. Once you've explored everywhere, tried the challenges and remained fruitless, you either have to quit or seek cheats, unless you're a real fanatic. Still, this is a beautiful audiovisual game. Not very lastable, but for what it is, WADF is exquisite.

8: Runescape
Runescape was always the most controversial one on the list. People are polarised by this, I think I'm the only person who has ended up in between. While I love how the game has so much stuff to do, even in the free section has about 20 skills and hundreds of items, I dislike the simple, click-limited gameplay. This is the main argument against. But these people fail to realise that the game's fun comes in the realisticness of the problems faced. It's simple stuff for simple minds - hit rock, get coal. Kill monster, get loot. Put ore in furnace, get steel. And of course this is boring. But for a while, Runescape's world enthralled me and drew me in to its challenges and its economy (which incidentally has become quite a talking point amongst the few educated members of the community). I don't play any more, because I'd done all I could in the free game. At the end, I was simply levelling up, calculating how much work I'd need to do to get into the mining guild, or save 100K to buy 1K Chaos runes. But the work involved became too tedious, lengthy and repetitive, and so I stopped. But until level 50 odd, I had lots of fun.

7: War Rock
The main thing that is great about War Rock is its freeware status. No way would I pay for this game! It has, however, established itself as the dominant freeware First Person Shooter. It quite obviously rips of CounterStrike, particularly on the close quarters game. But vehicles and flag bases are added in the bigger map games, adding playability, but despite the flags the objective is still body count. I suck at this game, but I still admire it's thoughtless fun.

6: Return to Blockland
Blockland was a very lazy attempt to recreate Lego Creator as freeware, with many awesome bonuses, and a multiplayer twist. I see the irony in how I go back to the Blockland website and find a release date for it as shareware, with some awesome-looking screenshots. But that's shareware. Return to Blockland is a fan's mod of Blockland, but what a mod it is. Tricky to set up right, but well worth the technical fiddling. It renders the original Blockland, which it is based on, useless. RtB has a wide selection of blocks, and hundreds of hidden features - passworded doors, vehicles, weapons... I feel I have only tapped the surface. I can barely use any of them. Moving bricks is indeed very cool, and it opens a wide range of possibilities. My excitement builds as I reminisce about the projects I did create, and even the projects I could have created, but each building takes so long. And sadly, the game is absolutely hopping with bugs. This is one of the most ambitious games I've ever seen. Once a group of Metanetters created our own island, with property for us all. It was amazing while it lasted, but it grew laggy, and we eventually moved on to pastures new - new maps, and increasingly obscure projects. And in this fashion, the craze died.

5: GunBound Classic
Gunbound is the best example of how freeware and commercialism don't mix. GB Revolutions is a bad game - a shame, because it's essentially the same as all versions. A MMOG that focuses, thankfully, on the cleverly-crafted gameplay rather than upgrades. You control a small vehicle, with its own exclusive shots, which you fire at the opposing team. It's turn-based, like Worms, and has that slight tactical edge that recently endeared Classic to dozens of Metanetters.

4: Trackmania Nations
VROOM! A simply amazing freeware racing game. Both single and multiplayer modes are very playable, and there's a map and car editor too. The cars handle superbly, as you'd expect them to in any modern racing game, and the tracks are F1 on drugs. Loop-the-loops and colossal jumps are two-a-penny, making this surely the most thrilling pure racing game ever created. The only problem is that the novelty of the amazing tracks you can tackle does begin to wear off, if you're impatient like me.

3: Continuum
Trench Wars, the game's primary server, is like and IRC server full of different games, and really, that is why I love it. The first piece of freeware that got me hooked, there really is no end to the possibilities that its simplicity presents. The premise is simple: You're a 2D spaceship. Continuum grabs this idea by the throat and creates Capture the Flag, Dodgeball, Base Wars, Hockey, Zombies, and multitudes more - all found in Trench Wars, at certain times. This would be perfect, but of course you can't just walk into any channel and start a game. Moderators host the obscure ones, and they can activate the game, attracting dozens of people. Definitely worth a look.

2: Soldat
You can see my previous entry for a full review, but to sum up, Soldat is an immensely fun multiplayer shooter, with lots of gameplay options.

1: N
N looks like a fairly decent flash game, but plays like... well, like you're a ninja. The creators have said that the game is based on how fun the character is to control, and it succeeds like no other game I've played. The physics are perfect too, and the only bugs are ones which can be easily avoided by changing the level, and the others don't detract from the gameplay. Not only is this my favourite freeware game, but it's my favourite game ever. There are 500 levels in columns to start you off, but the lastability in this game tends to come from NUMA and the community's frequent map packs. The level creator too is fun, but I myself am not an avid mapmaker. This game is definitely worth the small download, and should keep you busy for weeks, if not months!
Truly amazing stuff.