The Turing Test

April 19, 2017 § Leave a comment

When I was in college, I wrote a lot. It was part and parcel with the program I was in, the now-defunct conservatory of dramatic writing at SUNY Purchase. It was a wonderful program – only 20 of us to start, and we spent all our classes together, writing, workshopping, writing, watching plays, watching movies and TV, writing, writing, writing.

The Turing Test was one of the last plays I wrote at school, and I’m still proud of it. There are a few lines I’d tweak, here and there, but overall, I like it. I’ve sent it out a few times to one-act festivals, but nothing much came of it.

It’s kinda pretentious, though I didn’t mean for it to be. I was a college student in a conservatory though, so pretension is sort of part and parcel with the breed.

Anyway, since nothing much came of it and I’d love to share more of my writing, I thought I’d put this on offer. On the off chance you like it and would like to put it on somewhere, reach out to me.

The Turing Test

The Turing Test by M. Barree tells the parallel stories of Alan Turing, famed mathematician and cryptanalyst, and WISE, a self-aware “synthetic”. The play explores the past, the future, love, and – most importantly – humanity.

The Future: WISE is a synthetic human, one of many originally created in service to humanity. After the synthetics have risen up against their organic counterparts, only WISE and one enemy soldier, Jacob Ramirez, are left alive to continue waging war on one another. With the absence of the organics, and the advent of many new and strange feelings, WISE begins to wonder what separates herself from her enemy.

The Past: Alan Turing is a hero of England, lauded for is work in World War II. He is also homosexual, which leads him to be shunned by his homeland and his community. One of Turing’s many contributions to the fields of mathematics and computing is the Turing Test, which analyzes the capabilities of a machine to express human-like intelligence. While Turing grapples with his own identity and self-acceptance, his contributions continue on and provide the framework for the ultimate question – what does it mean to be human?

The Turing Test (One Act)

(PDF Download)

Minimum Opacity

April 14, 2017 § Leave a comment

The name of this blog was carefully chosen and, I thought, rather clever – my being one of those artsy-fartsy types. But I haven’t really lived up to it.

When I was younger, my then-beau gave me a useful life tip in the middle of a personal crisis. He said that he never posted anything negative online–not his blogs, and eventually, not his Facebook or Twitter. He was always a very cheerful person, and he noted to me that omitting the sorrier details of his life helped him to focus less on them.

I have been doing this thing, mostly, ever since. I don’t like to make my dramas public, though sometimes it can’t be helped. And I usually don’t like to talk about my depression or bad moments unless I think it can be of service to someone.

But I realized today that putting a good face on everything is great a lot of the time, but it isn’t particularly honest.

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One for the Land and One for the Sea

March 22, 2017 § Leave a comment

For the first time in forever, I actually sat down in front of some photo references, drew a picture, then digitally inked and colored it. I haven’t actually done colors in one million years and I’m super happy about how it came out.

This is some spoilery fanart for the Whyborne and Griffin series by Jordan L. Hawk. There are not enough fanarts of these two. I had no idea how to draw Persephone, so I took a guess. Whyborne is much easier!

Male stock is from themalenudestock.deviantart.com, and female stock is from senshistock.deviantart.com. Widdershins belongs to Jordan L. Hawk.

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PHANTASM(2016) (or Whereas: “I Am Sick Of People Being Sick Of My Shit”)

October 5, 2016 § Leave a comment

The Years Become a Centrifuge

September 13, 2016 § Leave a comment

One moment, it is December. The next, it is September of the following year. You are dumped on your ass, unable to tell up from down, feeling run over by a train. That’s just age, baby. The longer we live, the faster the centrifuge spins, the more we ache when we wake up in the morning. It would be nice to go back to the times when tomorrow seemed like forever away, and it was a real actual eternity waiting for your best friend’s birthday party next week.

I guess this is my way of saying, whoops. Sorry about that.

So, about that posting more often thing…

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Holy Cow!

December 18, 2015 § Leave a comment

Today I was thinking to myself, man, I have a lot of random thoughts in my head. I should probably blog about those thoughts.

Then I remembered, oh hey, I have a blog!

Then I looked at the last time I posted something here. And it turns out, it was almost a full year ago. Oops.

So I figured that now was a great time for a little retrospective, and a little conversation about the future. Why not? The end of 2015 is almost upon us and much has happened.

Be warned: this will probably be a really, really long entry. I’m not sure what’s worse, forgetting to update one’s blog for a full 11 months, or trying to cram those 11 months into one post, so apologies all around. I will endeavor, at least, to make this interesting.

2015 – What a Year!

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The Bad End

January 31, 2015 § Leave a comment

There are a lot of differences between (most) video games and tabletop RPGs. One of the biggest differences is that, in most video games, if your character and your entire party get wiped out, you can go back and try again. Get a better ending. In (most) TTRPGs, if your character and your entire party get wiped out… that could be the end. Excluding games like Eclipse Phase that have built-in save points. Sure, a kindly GM might bend or break reality to keep that from happening. But sometimes, a final boss fight is really, really final.

This is kind of a contentious issue in the TTRPG circles. Some GMs believe that a total party wipeout should not happen. That relying on the dice can create an antagonistic relationship between the GM and players. Or that the reliance on random number generation can result in bad storytelling. But even a “bad ending” can be literary or cinematic – plenty of books and films get downer endings.

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Why I Love Psionics

July 25, 2014 § Leave a comment

So once upon a time, when I was a starry-eyed college student, I met a guy who made games. I thought that was pretty cool, because my dad made games too, and as a result, I tended to like gaming a lot.

We met at his LARP, which I fell in love with, but I eventually started playing some of his other games as well. He had a bunch of them that he’d been working on since he was young and, as a compulsive creator, kept making more. Around the time I started really hanging out with him a lot, he introduced me to one in particular – Psionics.

Psionics RPG kickstarter

Art by Ian Llamas

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Mik Levels Up!

August 31, 2013 § Leave a comment

So I don’t post much, and for that I’m sorry. Part of it is that we’ve been more focused on conventions than products lately, and I haven’t had too much time for art.

I recounted my experience at Retcon here, and overall, I had an excellent time.

But I wanted to share another part of my life, and that is my outlook on the gaming industry as a woman.

I started a blog, Sh*t Not to Say to Women at Conventions, in response to the convention harassment I have experienced, and seen others experience. It’s slowly building followers, and we’re almost at the 200 mark.

While at GenCon, I met and did a panel with the lovely women at Gaming as Women. (Here’s the skinny on that). Filamena Young, of Machine Age Productions, suggested that I submit an article about my new blog.

I did, and then ran off to Retcon. So when I got back, I was very surprised and happy to hear that I was being invited to be an author for the Gaming as Women site!

Pretty exciting! I know I’m stoked just to be a part of that community of wonderful writers.

So, that’s what’s been going on with me!

On the End Transmission Games front, look out for a new Singularity module that we’ll be releasing for Con on the Cob in October. It’s going to be a busy week for me – laying out the new product, running a 5k, and moving to a new apartment. But I love my work, and even though it gets busy, it’s always extremely rewarding in the end.

-Mik!

Be Like Water

July 27, 2013 § Leave a comment

That’s my motto for End Transmission Games.

Part of my job is artist wrangling, but I have little to no say over the freelance writers we hire. That’s the line dev’s job. I just have to make it all look pretty, and make sure it reads correctly.

We were all excited for the release of two setting sourcebooks for Gen Con. But things… with the writers… happened. And it came to be that a week before the books were due in for the printers, neither manuscript was done. Well, crud!

Lucky for us, we had another mod book in reserve, and in only a few days, the beaut was all ready and laid out. This left me with no time to get a new cover commissioned, however.

So we cheated a bit. One of our freelancers, the extremely talented Miguel Santos, had drawn a piece for us for hire for the Singularity core book. I took to my tablet and colored my heart out.

So… without further ado, I present the official cover image for FIREFIGHT, End Transmission Games’ next release – lineart by Miguel Santos, coloring by me!

Image
Not going to lie, coloring other artists’ pieces is still rather new to me. Miguel’s work is incredibly detailed and rich, so it posed a pretty tough challenge. I’d like to think that I rose to that challenge… well, we’ll see what the public thinks!