Thursday, January 04, 2007

Welcome to the 110th Congress

Today the new Democratic majority takes control on Capitol Hill.
Nancy Pelosi & Co. have promised that in the first 100 hours (It is like a Football game clock with lots of Time-Outs) they are going to prove themselves to the people by making changes in what gets done, and how they do it. Ethics reform was first on the list, followed by a number of things that people have wanted, like stem cell research and the minimum wage, but that the Republican 109th congress refused to act on (in good faith).
Of course I hope for the best, but I am getting that sinking feeling. Will they really follow through? Will they just slap a new coat of paint on the old rust? Or will they really dig down and scrape away the corrosion?
And will they stand up to this executive branch which has so gravely usurped the powers of the people’s house, and so undermined the Constitution, or will they go all squishy and spineless just when they need to stand tall?
Will they really investigate, issue subpoenas, follow the evidence of bad behavior and dishonest dealings wherever it may lead and do what needs be done, even if that includes impeachment proceedings against government officials?
Anyone who thinks that such a stringently principled response to the events of the past several years is bad for the nation is being short-sighted. It is critically important to enforce the rule of Law as expressed in the Constitution if we want to save the republic and turn away from an imperial presidency.

Friday, November 17, 2006

THE PEOPLE HAVE SPOKEN

Well there is reason to be happy and hopeful. The people have spoken, and they have upset the control of the most powerful group in congress, the Republican leadership.
Exit polls indicate that voters gave “corruption” as the second most important reason for turning against the Republicans (after the failures of the Iraq War).
It is true that the particularly corrupt 109th congress is dominated by Republicans, and it is true that the several interlocking scandals that have cracked open recently involve mostly Republicans, but the issue of corruption is a bi-partisan one, and the voters know it. They know that there is greed and abuse of power in both parties, and they do not like it because it is just simply not right, no matter who you are.
There is a culture of influence peddling, contributions, and ear-marking public spending that runs far too deep to have been corrected with one little election.
But it is a beginning. A step in the right direction. We must now encourage them to do the right thing, and we must keep our eye on them.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

WHY VOTE ?

There is one week until the 2006 elections. It is time for the citizens to do what needs to be done to save the republic, it is time to vote.
we have to remind the politicians that they work for us. We have to stand up and tell them that we will toss them out on their ear if they forsake their oath, and betray our trust.
In their oath the one and only thing they swear to defend is the Constitution. That’s not the musty old parchment in the cellar, nor is it some fairytale essay of utopian abstractions. It is the actual design and constitution of a fair and righteous government. It’s a great design, and the founding fathers thought it through very carefully. It still makes sense, because wisdom like that doesn’t wear out. Yet some of the current crop of leaders presume they know better. Treading upon the Constitution, they defend themselves and their money, their friends, and their power, all the while proclaiming they do so for us.
This is a non-partisan position. We believe that neither a “conservative” nor a “liberal” can be happy with the 109th congress, but we leave it to you to decide for yourself because that is exactly the point.
Parties, after all, come and go, but common sense, common decency, the golden rule, All men being created equal, such ideas - the ones we hold to be self evident - cut through the muck of politics. You don’t need a politician to explain them, and you don’t have to be a scholar to understand them because they are already written on your soul, whether you know it or not. That is what “self evident” means.
A Democrat can believe in the republic, and a Republican can believe in democracy but it is the scoundrels of any stripe that we deplore. We believe that Abraham Lincoln was right when he said, “You can fool all of the people some of the time, some of the people all the time, but you can’t fool all the people all the time.”
Let’s not get fooled again.

Monday, October 16, 2006

SubPow on frontpage on Newgrounds!

We are so proud to be showcased on the frontpage of Newgrounds, the popular Flash portal, and even more surprised at the response of young people under the age of 20-something.

I am excited that kids actually are thinking about American politics while playing our game. This was the point of the developer and I just didn't believe it would be so. I thought that political activists would get this political satire. But the political blogs have had little interest.

Whatever gets this political discourse started at ths crucial time in American government is important. In the age of misinformation, where comedy and games are seen as information I wonder about our future but we are pleased to be part of the conversation.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

New Web based Game Subpoena Power Lampoons Corruption in Congress

insist on truth and save the republic with Subpoena Power a Flash animation civic action game by NoEvil Productions.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Beta & Bugs

What the heck is public beta?

Public beta means that it's not the official or final version, and that we ask for user help. In this case, we ask for players to play the SubPow game and tell us what they think -- especially if they find any bugs.

With many people playing, the game is tested from many user points of view along with the various operating systems etc. This gives us, or rather the tech team who knows such things, all the information to fix the problem.

When you find something that you believe shouldn't happen -- something technical with the game itself, not a complaint about a Toadie making you use your last towel! -- we want you to report it.

How to report a bug:

Since the tech team is going to need lots of information in order to fix the problem, we ask that you email us at judge@subpow.com describing the last things you did prior to seeing the bug, and what the bug was.

In an ideal world, you know all the above information. But as Subpoena Power proves, we aren't living in an ideal world, so we know you may not know all of this. (This is especially true if you just came to read this after you found a bug or glitch!) Please provide all the information you can, and we'll see what we can do to find or recreate it from there.

Thank you for helping us Save the Game, and so Save the Republic!

Friday, August 18, 2006

A Non-Gamer Tries Beta

First off, you should know that I am not your typical gamer. In fact, I’m not a gamer, unless boardgames count. I don’t own gaming consoles, I’ve never had a joystick for my PC, and frankly, I tend to mock those who have such passions. "Step away from the TV," I command children and adults everywhere. Yes, I'm one of those moms.

So, when asked to beta test the new game, I was less than confortable. I mean, I’m no gamer, and had very little idea even what Beta Tester meant. But I played the game. Now I am hopelessly addicted.

What won me over was the game's theme: "Be patriotic. Save the republic. Insist on truth." I like that. These are things worth fighting for! I'm thrilled that instead of using violence as a form of entertainment, you work to bring real justice via the system. Instead of running around, trying to shoot before being shot, living the life of some renegade vigilante, you run around trying to gather evidence & serve subpoenas. But don't you real gamers worry, there is plenty of action. And plenty of danger -- you have to keep your character intact while the bad guys sling mud at you. (Oh, the nerve!)

The game begins with a conversation between you, an Assistant Special Prosecutor, and the Judge:

You: Corruption is rife, your Honor. The Scoundrels must be exposed.
Judge: Take these Subpoenas, uncover the truth. I’ll issue more orders, when you bring more proof.

And with that, you are off...

"The You enter the halls of Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. ready to serve the subpoenas and uncover the truth. Your objective is to save the republic by finding the trustworthy congressmen and vanquishing the corrupt ones. The Senators and members of Congress, be they good or bad, all look the same. The only way to discover their character and deeds is to deliver the subpoenas; when you do, they'll A) either break down and confess (and then be taken away by the police as a Perfidious Scoundrel), or B) profess their loyalty in the form of an Honest Tribute. The Honest Tributes become the score by which you win the game.

You can improve your odds of getting Honest Tributes by making use of the "Trust-o-meter". This bar shows the percentage of Good to Bad politicians, and your actions move the bar. Catch the Lobbyist with the suitcase of money, and the meter goes up 10% to the good; miss the money and the Sycophants get it, and the meter goes 25% to the bad. It helps track your progress as far as what impact you are making in the halls. But as I said, there are those ready to stop you!

As you deliver your subpoenas, you'll run into Sycophants and Toadies. Both are obviously bad, and you'll see them coming, but they each have their ways...

Sycophants can't hurt you directly -- but not only do they collect moneybags and shred evidence (moving that "Trust-o-meter" to more red or bad), they can and do block your movements, making you an easy target for the Toadies. Oh, the dreaded Toadies.

The Toadies are dangerous. They seek you out and sling mud to sully your reputation. When they get enough mud to stick you, the cop will escort you to the restroom where you can wash up. It's a time-out for you -- and I can't tell you how infuriating it is to be fighting for justice and have the bad guys sully your reputation! But more than the cost to your pride, Toadies can mean the end of the game. For when you run out of towels, the game is done and you retire with a very poor press headline, (it's so sad!). The only way to get more towels in the restroom is to do a good job: for every 12 scoundrels you find, you'll get one extra towel stocked in the washroom.


"Subpoena

When you run out of subpoenas, you must get more from the judge. However, just as in real life, you need to convince the judge with evidence. For every 1,000 evidence points, you'll earn one new subpoena -- but you must reach the judge to get them. (And he's not around nearly enough, making you defenseless against Sycophants and Toadies!)

You do gather evidence when delivering subpoenas, but you may also find physical evidence (documents and briefcases with money) in rooms, trashbaskets, bookcases etc. in the halls. So it's best to keep checking them, accumulating points, so that you have enough points to nail that judge everytime he passes through the halls!

To re-cap the game, you need to do the following:

Deliver subpoenas to both catch Perfidious Scoundrels and score Honest Tributes
Gather evidence so you don't run out of subpoenas
Avoid Sycophants and Toadies

Remember, keep the Perfidious Scoundrels count high to keep the towels stocked and the game going, and the Honest Tributes score is the way to win the game. You need both.

Have you figured out that there is a lot going on all the time in this game?

And no, I have not won yet. Not even close. Perhaps this is why it's addicting. But I'd like to think it's bigger than just that...

I feel rather like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz up against such things. "Scoundrels, Sycophants and Toadies, Oh, My!" It's all so much bigger than I am... I can't wait to get home to Auntie Em and find out it's all just a dream -- but it's not.


The game literature says it best:

Some like to say this is just a game, and maybe they're right. Some say the real world is just the big game and maybe they're wrong.

Imagine with us a government "Of the People, by the people and for the people" where merit reigns, and greed is disgraced. Where the rule of law applies fairly to all men.

Once you have mastered the little game you may want to move on to the big one. That's up to you. It's a free country. And I do encourage it!

As I said, I am hopelessly addicted. I'll meet you in the forum. There we can gloat over each other's scores, cry over the Toadies, and perhaps make plans for the bigger game.

The layout adventure.

The layouts for this game were some of the most ambitious I have ever done. I had to find ways to speed up and use tricks to finish them on time.

The one that took the longest was the long pan used in the game. I hid various fun things in it, and invented random pictures of folks. A funny moment was when I was speaking with a friend from California and said I couldn't decide on a good person from American history to use as a bust, but had eventually decided on Winston Churchill. He was tactful in explaining why Mr. Churchill was not a very good person to use. (Whoops, wrong country.) I changed the head a bit after that to a different likeness.

The layout that almost killed me was staring up the steps at the capital building. I was trying to get it done overnight and wanted to go to my friend's the next day with no work. So I worked until the sun was coming up, and found some tricks in photoshop to do the stairs.

The certificates were another fun one. The patterns along the outsides were made using a tiling trick in Flash initially, so I could draw in one space and have an idea of what it looked like tiled overall. After that it was painted in pieaces by hand.

I had a lot of fun and learned a lot of tricks from this.