I'm a writer of words, living like it's the last level.
Me: I could pull off Fat Elvis.
Her: You could! O__O
Drinking Me: I'm not that fat.
Drinking Her: You're not. o__o
Drunk Me: I called a cab.
Drunk Her: .__. Sing me a song... Fat Elvis.
[Obligatory paragraph about how the Internet always be changing. Because that’s never been said before and totally not a waste of time in 2013.]
CSS “chains” are divs with repeating backgrounds sized and rotated in CSS that can be arranged with other elements to provide a cheap alternative to otherwise bandwidth-costly images in a more traditional theme. I call these chains because the first one I made used a repeating image of a literal chain.
Let’s see the basic example in action:
That example gives you some things to chew on. But let’s also look at a static example that’s probably more useful to most.
The above is a simple example that breaks down when you view it in a larger window, but hopefully you see the beauty of CSS chains for a variety of affectations that can spice of your UI.
As you’re probably aware, creating a SINGLE background image with sprawling police tape can be pretty expensive in the filesize department. But the image used in the above example is 300 bytes! And since you’re using a sized div, you can bundle several chain images in a single file.
Best of all, the chains are configured—in most cases—by using left and right in CSS so you don’t have to worry about people with ungodly large display anymore. The chain automatically extends all the way across!
That’s all awesome. But what about browser support? All modern browsers released in the last year, including IE9. The first example probably doesn’t work well on touch phones, but the static example should work fine. You can finagle support into IE8 with filters, but my personal view is fuck anything less than IE9.
Back to the first example which used the chains in an active sense. I use CSS several times in my upcoming browser game, JLRPG. The game’s world map is littered with alien ships firing on the land. Their lasers are chains. And the trails from locations are chains as well. Here’s a video of the lasers:
[Obligatory summation about how shit be hard, new, and yet professing my love of it for exactly that reason. Because I validate my existence by my perceived notion that you think I’m an overly invested programmer.]
A lot of that is valid in a technical sense. But then the first and third acts are ridiculously long while the second act is absurdly short leading to a different kind of pacing problem.
The part where Corvo escapes the assassins is meaningless to the story. There’s one note in the boss’ drawer that exposes who gave the order for the Queen’s death. But getting that note is optional and doesn’t affect the story. Otherwise the entire level is only used to foster leveling up for the final two maps.
Worse, the third act must have the highest tension at the beginning and gain tension until the climax. A long slog through that water-filled level is some of the lowest tension in the game. Not great third act material.
Your setup also abuses the purpose of a prologue, which is to introduce seemingly unrelated information that will be used later in the story. “But the assassins—” aren’t important to the story. They give Corvo’s powers less of a “where the fuck did this shit come from” feeling. You could replace all the assassins in the game with regular foot soldiers and the story wouldn’t change in the slightest other than a decrease in game complexity and believability in Corvo’s powers.
Rescuing the princess back the first time and killing the new emperor aren’t worthy of act transitions because they don’t change the dynamic of the story. Those were the obvious goals from the Inciting Incident. Corvo walks in a straight line story-wise accomplishing these goals with no twists and turns along the way. So these can’t be the important events of the game. Certainly not more importantly than the death of the Queen, Corvo’s obvious betrayal, and the final rescue of the princess.
And all that’s fine. I obviously don’t hold this game’s script up as a beacon of quality story. But if your take on the story is true, then the author is thoroughly terrible. And the situation would be so much worse.
One of the more common critiques of the Dishonored is that the story is short and abruptly ends. But that’s not quite right. The current story has a decent length and progression, but we’re dropped into it entirely too late. The game is missing a proper first act.
The first act starts with Corvo returning from a mission that no sane person would send their personal bodyguard on. We meet Emily and play hide and seek with her. Then we meet some of the important characters. We meet the Queen, who greets us with the enthusiasm of a cold fish. The Queen is killed and Corvo blamed for it. Done in less than 10 minutes.
Wait. Wouldn’t the second act start after Corvo gets his powers and starts murdering people?
No. The climax of the first act is the queen’s assassination. Between that and Corvo gaining his magic is an entire mission. His escape from prison is the start of the second act while him being tortured beforehand is the cool down of the first.
6 of the remaining 8 hours of game is spent murdering people in a linear progression. There’s no plot twists or turns until the inevitable betrayal that kicks off the third act.
The third act is hours long?
I know, right?
Most people assume the third act begins when you arrive at the Lighthouse, but that’s wrong. Acts pivot on their climaxes and the only climax after the Queen’s death is Corvo’s betrayal by the Loyalists. Surviving Duad’s assassins isn’t a climax or plot twist. Finding out Emily’s location doesn’t qualify. Saving Piero and his new buddy doesn’t count either. Nor does taking back the Pub.
I’m sure the pub mission was supposed to be the second act climax, but saving the Pub has no effect on the story. You can discover Emily’s at the Lighthouse and go there without triggering Piero’s new toy. Anything you can sidestep is not important to the story and then certainly not an act climax. Could you prevent the Queen’s death? No. Act 1 climax. Could you prevent being backstabbed by the Loyalists? No. Act 2 climax. Can you not save Emily? No. Act 3 climax.
The main problem with the final mission is that you can assassinate all of your betrayers in relatively rapid succession. These people orchestrate a conspiracy, take down a current dictator, install themselves as the new regime, and would have successfully offed Corvo with ease if not for Samuel. But when it comes down to it, you can take down all three in a few minutes.
Make your way to Pendleton. Kill him without talking to him. Go to the roof, jump over the ledge in the direction of Samuel. You’ll land on the top of a security room. Kneeling, you’ll be able to snipe Samuel with an explosive dart. No one will see you because you’ll be far from the kill site. Then re-climb the lighthouse access and off to the end of the game less than five minutes later.
It just wasn’t very satisfying. Even at the end, Emily had the last guy distracted the whole time, he never saw my bullet. There was a decided lack of me giving a shit. So you’re left feeling blah and asking “that’s it?”
You can leave the game almost exactly as it is and fix the story’s flow problem by adding a real first act.
Corvo’s original mission was to travel to the surrounding island countries looking for aid and possible sources of the Plague eating away Dunwall. And for some reason, he arrives home two days early.
Let’s say the game starts as Corvo tracks down a lead to some criminals on an island that, according to rumors, were breeding Plague rats. Shit, that’s suspicious at hell. No one breeds Plague rats for the good of humanity. Corvo investigates, playing through the tutorial and finding the game’s first rune. He discovers the gang’s camp, but before he can get a name out of the group’s leader, Duad’s assassins (the people who can also teleport) kill everyone in the camp and Corvo barely escapes with his life.
This attack gives Corvo a damn good reason to return to the Queen two days early and is proper foreshadowing. During his trip back, he has the dream where The Outsider gives him the magic. This further adds to the foreshadowing. Why would a godlike figure give Corvo magical powers? Something bad’s going to happen. In the game, the powers come after the Queen’s death and serve no story purpose, but here the magic is given status and purpose beyond game mechanics.
Then the Queen is assassinated and the rest of the game follows and has a more consistent flow.
What follows is other changes I would make to further improve the story while minimizing changes as much as possible. Let’s start by moving all the missions before the final mission into the second act:
You just killed the Lord Regent. Before you return to Samuel, Duad appears and knocks you unconscious. You wake in the Flooded District, bound same as you were in the game. But this time, Duad performs some strange ritual. The Outsider had previously mentioned that people often performed disgusting rituals on his behalf. Let’s say Duad believes sacrificing someone with strong magic will increase his and his employee’s magic. During the ritual, which I’m sure is painful and terrible, The Outsider walks around the room, spouting half-understandable nonsense—like he does—hinting at why he gave Corvo his abilities. Something about a price everyone has to pay.
Before the ritual concludes with Corvo’s death, which will obviously involve a dumb-looking dagger plunging into Corvo’s heart, Corvo frees his hand but is unable to block the dagger before it… nothing. Time crawls to a stop. The Outsider makes a disapproving sound before disappearing.
Cutscene: Corvo pushes the dagger away, grabs a grenade off Duad’s belt, throws it down the shaft (they’re at the whaling processing planet, remember), and runs for the platform as time returns to normal. The grenade bounces a few times and explodes among the explosively potent raw whale oil. Corvo leaps from the platform before the explosion overtakes him. He falls into the water, but hits the shallow riverbed. He rolls over underwater and witnesses the processing plant fall to pieces around him. A lucky brick knocks him unconscious. He wakes up later in the same point as he did in the game and the rest of the mission is mostly the same except:
The fight with Granny Rat is the same except that regardless of what you do, she’ll make a reference like: “I was The Outsider’s Bride, but I couldn’t give him what he needed.” The Outsider previously noted the woman’s strangeness, but the reason isn’t explained. Now it is. Being banged by The Outsider has side effects.
Now you arrive at the Pub to find it surrounded by soldiers. Corvo still doesn’t know what’s going on so he’s going to have zero reason to bypass anything. You make your way to Piero who’ll be the only marker on the map. He explains about the betrayal, that Emily was taken to the Lighthouse, and that he’s got a completed gizmo that’ll kill or knock out all the enemies on the island. Problem is the device needs whale oil and the soldiers cut off the supply line, which comes out of the pub itself. Carvo will have to go into the pub and restore the line. The rest of the mission is the same, except you don’t need to the blueprints or look for clues to Emily’s location, and you can’t call Samuel until after the island is cleared. You can still complete the mission without killing anyone or being seen, but you have to trigger the gizmo. Once you’ve done that, the second acts ends up an actual plot-driven high note. Off to Lighthouse and final act.
The final mission is 90% the same. The main thing I would change is that the chaos hasn’t broken out yet. And Corvo’s plague has gotten pretty bad. The Outsider appears and says something like, “The Plague and my magic don’t seem to mix well. I guess that’s why those assassins wear breathing masks.” Oops. (On the harder difficulty settings, Corvo’s irregular coughs would alert nearby guards.)
Corvo makes his way to the courtyard where the three men are having an argument. One of the two men other than the Admiral wasn’t as morally flexible. Let’s say the Admiral plans to kill Emily when things cool down. This argument will lead that person to be shot and immediately soldiers loyal to each side start killing each other. Corvo finds himself surrounded on all sides by angry, active enemies. He sees the last remaining true loyalist being dragged into the Lighthouse access and follows. Inside, after reaching the guy, Corvo’s apologized to and receives the key to the lighthouse elevator. The rest of the mission plays out the same.
And now we reach the end. Emily and her final captor are way too close to a metal cliff. Corvo takes the shot and Emily falls over the edge. Corvo rushes to grab her before she loses her grip, but fails. She slides away. And Corvo jump after her.
Cutscene: Corvo teleport to Emily. As they fall the Outsider appears, “I think now’s the time to discuss my fee.” He wants Emily. “With her I can be reborn and Emperor.” Final choice: Give him Emily or don’t. If you opt to be a douche, the tattoo disappears along with Emily and Corvo fall to his death. Bad end.
If you choose fuck that, Corvo uses teleportation at the last second aiming for some wooden boxes on a concrete ledge, shielding Emily from the impact. She’s thrown a good distances away. Corvo is broken, bleeding, nearly dead. The Outsider appears, angry, yelling. Each line of dialogue is punctuated by the tattoo shining and disintegrating more and more. Painfully, of course.
After some of this venting, Corvo coughs up some Plague crap you’ve seen coming from Weepers. Emily comes to and tries to reach Corvo, but her leg’s broken.
"After all you’ve done to save her," The Outsider muses, "if she reaches you now the Plague will kill her in the end."
Serious business now as Emily crawls closer to the only remaining living person she loves. The Outsider’s form is hazy, morphing into something spectacularly not human.
"GIVE ME THE GIRL! SAVE YOURSELF!"
Corvo crawls for the edge. The magical tattoo is all but gone, but he summons his remaining strength, reaches for the ocean as the tattoo bursts into flames and he teleport into the cool waters below.
Fade to black.
I’m getting sick of hearing this shit:
They canceled the most awesomest anime evar for the worst one evar.
First off, non-Japanese people who think Bleach/Naruto/One Piece are the best anime evar have on average seen maybe ten anime series evar. Including Inuyasha, Death Note, and something with lolita gothic vampires.
I’m not saying those five series are bad; there’s a reason they last(ed) so long. But there’s also a reason the Transformers movies are some of the highest grossing of all time:
Second, Bleach the anime has been spiraling the drain since Aizen didn’t die the first time.
And that was a long ass time ago.
Naruto fillers are lame. But drinking actual Bleach is more entertaining than the Bleach fillers.
The corporations that be knew of Bleach’s cancellation for some time. It’s probably why NarutoSD got the greenlight in the first place. Replace Bleach with Naruto—even a shitty version—long enough to have something decent made for the fall season.
The reason the audience wasn’t told of Bleach’s cancellation until a scant few episodes before the end is so people WOULD STILL WATCH. If you knew the long-running, low-rated, declining-quality show was ending, you’d stop watching and go read the manga online.
Now pull your head out of your ass while you surf illegal-manga-reader.com.