A Moiu Spaceship

The Moiu are one of the first aliens that humans met out among the stars. Their spacecraft are all unique, built with the sapience that is required for hyperspace travel.

Like a proper space opera ship, it lands butt down on those antenna things.

The Moiu are some of my favorite Space Guys. In a galaxy where the humans are the bad guys, it gives you lots of room to find all different ways for people to be decent.

There's not much metal in The Fifth World, though aluminum is abundant and stable. I wonder what stories they tell about it!
Do the Fifth Worlders still look at the sky and wonder if other worlds hold new types of people?

The Phaser Field Recorder Adapter

When you’re recording out in the real world, one of the hardest things to do is to keep your mics pointed the right direction to get stereo sound while not introducing noise through the otherwise-imperceptible bumps. What you want is a pair of ears that you can precisely and improvisationally place, either while holding it comfortably for hours or on a tripod.

This is the Phaser, which I designed for this function.

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Making Horrible Little Toys Horrific

About a year ago, I posted a video about using MOSFETS to control voltage in devices (instruments?) that were never intended to have that kind of control. I chose the 2n7000 MOSFET because it acts like a resistor in the range of voltages we usually care about in synthesizers, around 0-10V. In the second video, I added a resistor to prevent drawing too much current and blowing the transistor. But that’s not (usually) necessary for a tiny, battery-powered toy, particularly a low-voltage, low-current digital one!

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Red-hot Fun in the Shop

The blade I’m making in my dad’s shop.

For decades, I’ve wanted to learn how to forge steel. I’ve been watching blacksmiths in person and on YouTube since I was a teenager. And then, while discussing it with my dad, he told me what I tell my students: Try it! See what happens. It’s obvious when I say it to someone else. It’s mindblowing when someone says it back to me.

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Bal, who Crushes Mountains Between his Mighty Thews

The Giants are the first beings made by the Great Names to tend the garden of the Earthen Firmament so that the Great Names could sleep. Each was given a destiny by the Great Name that made them, ostensibly to keep the world forever the way it was. But they also instructed them to “correct” the work of other Giants.

Bal’s task is to crush the mountains of the world to rubble. Here, he’s having a great time doing what he was told to do.

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To Be a Giant

You might have noticed that I’ve been thinking a lot about giants lately and about what they mean to me. It’s time to start assembling the game that I’m playing in my mind when I start describing them. So here are some of the rules I’ve been intuiting, and want to bottle:

  1. Giants are objectively terrifying. They not only made (and casually abuse) the Earthen-Beings — the mortals, like you and me — to do their work, but they also challenge the sleeping Great Names themselves. The idea does not yet exist that any one of them is a “person”, even less so the tiny slaves they birthed to do their brutal work for them.
  2. They have a task — a destiny — for which they were made. To defy it is to act hubristically, with the hope that neither the Great Names nor fate itself will notice. Despite their enormous, sky-upholding, god-consuming, mountain-hurling stature, their only choices are petty. I imagine them like middle schoolers, finding out where they can push a rule while plausibly saying that they were doing as they were told in such a way that they can affect the only change they can: making someone else feel pain.
  3. They are immortal, unless their hubris catches up with them. The thing about being immortal is that it’s only a matter of time until something catches up with you. The game takes place at that moment of realization, and ends when it catches up.
  4. Mortals, whom they have crafted from clay to do their work for them, have free will because their destiny is unclear. But the Earthen-Beings also live in fear of the chthonic Giants. Eventually, Tiamut will teach the tiny, momentary, feeble Earthen-Beings how to write and the difference between lies and the truth, but right now, they are little more than wild animals with pointed sticks who live in fear of starvation and ambush by the Earthen Beings of another. The Giants think this makes them easy to control. They don’t know that humans also are developing compassion that gives them solidarity with each other.

The challenge, you’ll note, is making a game about a lack of free will. I expect I’ll have something, tiny and experimental, but playable sometime this month.

Yes, I’ve been playing The Stanley Parable. In some ways, it overlaps profoundly. But not aesthetically.

Modular systems are a function of industrial society. But do people of The Fifth World still know how to agree to standards? With their acute interest in efficiency, I think they might have carried that lesson forward!

Habah, Father of Behabah

Hebah is the father of Behabah, who drank the Lake Pehemeh when challenged by Atam. We also know Hebah as the Shepherd, for he stole herds of Earthen-Beings from Mash and Bu — first to make them jealous, and then because he enjoyed their taste.

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