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Nick Pilon
Works at Lex Machina, Inc.
Attended Dalhousie University
Lives in Sebastopol, CA
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Nick Pilon

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While there's a lot more that could be said, this here's a pretty comprehensive starting point.
 
A thoughtful look at the visual imagery behind Pacific Rim, and why it is not a "dumb movie."

Couldn't find who posted this originally (the awesome +Joe England, maybe?).

http://stormingtheivorytower.blogspot.com.au/2013/07/the-visual-intelligence-of-pacific-rim.html 
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While I think that is a valuable way to look at the movie, I remain unimpressed by it. The visual design of the film was spectacular. The dialogue was lacking, the acting largely wooden, the battles between the jaegers and kaiju were... visually impressive but physically uninspired.  I felt that there was a great deal more that could have been done with the film that just didn't happen. 
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I can't read the Verge regularly without succumbing to inarticulate rage at some of their less quality articles, but it's nice to swing by every now and then and read their features about awesome trivia.
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Having actually gone through the Green Card process, this was really cool to read about. The whole thing is very stressful and USCIS is best described as "opaque", so I'm glad to hear they're trying to make this easy for people!
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So...you're not on the run from a secret Canadian genetics division? Dammit, Nick! And I thought I knew you!
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More extreme FATE dice rolls during my #FullMetalDawn playtesting than during the entirety of my Dresden Files game.
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So jelly right now...why didn't I move to Sonoma?
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Should just have made this public in the first place.
Nick Pilon originally shared:
 
Leaving aside all the interesting movie stuff in this article, there's a bunch of central core advice that seems to me to be very useful for GMs. A common problem in RPG action scenes is systems that presume that "will the game continue or not?" is an interesting and engaging question. Often this isn't the case - take, for example, D&D3e and later, which explicitly pivoted to "how much of your resources will you expend to survive?"

Rogers notes that movies have a similar problem - barring the occasional Dramatic Twist, we don't question that the heroes will survive. Successful action scenes have suspense elements that revolve on things other than the protagonists' survival.

I think this is the important ingredient that was most notably missing from D&D4e's encounter design formula, the thing that, ultimately, wound up making them feel dry and predictable. It was a real shame, too - a lot of the encounter previews did include these elements, which made their absence in the early published adventures and GM advice all the more tragic. Other games have done this well - Mouse Guard and Dungeon World are noteworthy, with systemic answers for putting things other than survival at stake in both a moment-to-moment and scene-level sense.

The basic technique, though, is something that can be adapted to games in any system or setting. Protecting an NPC, thing, or location is - as Rogers points out - an easy way to add tension, but is also easy to overuse. Another source of tension is an opportunity for a resolution with a lower personal cost. Can you manage to beat the opposition and employ the "clean" solution, or are you going to have to do things the hard way? This seems like it'd be especially effective in games with morality stats, like the WoD games.

Finally, this seems to offer a lot of opportunities to address one of the most troublesome assumptions of the RPG form: all problems must be resolved with killing. If the successful resolution of an action scene doesn't come down to "kill them before they kill you", non-lethal takedowns become worthwhile, even if they're more difficult. If you're clever, good, or lucky (pick two) you might even be able to get what you're after without any violence at all.
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Nick Pilon

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This is the Verizon version of the article, but the AT&T one is just as bad, and linked at the bottom. The math of owning a portable internet device, also known as a "cell phone", was already puzzling. Now AT&T and Verizon appear to want to make it downright Lovecraftian.
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A transcript of a recently rediscovered informal interview with Marshall McLuhan. The contents are epic, including the revelation that Nixon would have remained President had he had a beard. (Courtesy of +John Buckmaster )
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The really silly extreme rolls continue.
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....ouch....
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For +John Buckmaster - lines from today's playtesting: "Iranian farms aren't this precise. Only Soviet farms have this level of optimization."
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I think I may have non-dairy yogurt substitute Stockholm Syndrome. With the WholeSoy soy yogurt I prefer temporarily unavailable, I've been reluctantly snacking on this stuff.

I'm starting to rather like it.
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I'll check it out. I just know that the So Delicious soy stuff has may contain milk here, as well as Kosher Dairy. 
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In his circles
124 people
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376 people
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Occupation
Computer Systems Analyst
Employment
  • Lex Machina, Inc.
    Computer Systems Analyst, 2011 - present
  • O'Reilly media, Inc.
    Computer Systems Analyst, 2008 - 2011
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Sebastopol, CA
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Halifax, NS
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Python developer, geek, and gamer.
Education
  • Dalhousie University
    Computer Science, 2000 - 2007
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