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Ugly Talk

A branch of the Drunk and Ugly podcast, Ugly Talk discusses concepts from film, TV, videogames, and other forms of media and how to apply them to traditional games. Join us as we discuss things, because we know things.
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Sep 20, 2017

This panel was recorded at Gen Con 2017.  The panelists were Travis, Matt, and Greg Bennett of Technical Difficulties.

Horror beyond time and space! The unknowable horror of the universe! But is it really all the same? This panel is an exploration of the evolution of Lovecraft's works in the modern era. And how what we experience today might changed due to the influenced by other mediums.

Aug 30, 2017

This is a panel from Gen Con 2017. Travis talks about Ludonarrative Dissonance (Fludonarrative discobiscuits if you're hungry).

If you've been in the video game blog-o-sphere at some point, you have heard of LND (I'm not typing out the entire word you can't make me). But is it necessarily the pejorative term as its become in video game circles. Listen to this panel from Gen Con that gives the answer: NO. Most of all if anything LND is a feature most Tabletop GMs and Players are intimately familiar with, but haven't realized there was a term for. As such, listen in, learn a thing (maybe), and speak up if you have questions. Welcome to Herding Cats: Ludonarrative Dissonance and Players. (Dammit you tricked me into writing the full things again...)

Do you want to take part in a playtest of Gobblin': The Goblin RPG? Send an email to thedrunkandtheugly@gmail.com

Jul 31, 2017

The Story of Your Life is a short story by Ted Chiang following a woman whose understanding of an alien language has vastly altered her perception of reality.  This story was later adapted into the multimillion dollar Sci-Fi motion picture Arrival.  Experiencing both of these media, the throughline can be easily found, but the two stories are vastly different in their construction to aid in conveying their core message in a written format and a visual medium.  In translating writing concepts between media, we have picked apart specific ways the story has been adapted to make it work better, and we will pass these teachings onto you.

Media Referenced in this Episode

  • Lessons from the Screenplay (inspiration for the episode)
  • "Story of Your Life" by Ted Chiang
  • Arrival film based on SoYL by Ted Chiang
  • Daikatana by John Romero
  • "Wild Cards" series by George RR Martin
  • Persona / SMT series published by Atlus
  • Digital Devil Story: Megami Tensei (Digital Devil Story: Goddess Reincarnation) by Aya Nishitani 
  • Persona 3 by Atlus
  • Digital Devil Saga by Atlus
  • Paradise Lost by John Milton
Jun 21, 2017

Hello internet!  We return to you this summer to talk about the return of a revered but short series from the 1990s.  Twin Peaks was a TV series by David Lynch and Mark Frost about the murder of the Homecoming Queen Laura Palmer in the sleepy town of Twin Peaks, Washington.  We share the experiences and explore the town through Dale Cooper, a federal agent called in to investigate the murder.

The M.I.C.E. quotient is a writing foundation credited to Orson Scott Card, known most notably for his science fiction series Ender's Game.  The basic idea as listed in the acronym is that every story seed falls into the categories of milieu, idea, character, or event.  You will have many of these story ideas overlapping and building upon one another in the course of your story, but the important thing is that you resolve them in the reverse of the order you introduce them.

The structure of the early episodes and the subsequent failure of Twin Peaks can be heavily traced to MICE (among other things), and in this episode, we will discuss MICE through Twin Peaks, and how you can apply it to your own writing.

Media Discussed in this Episode:

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May 29, 2017

Stasis is a 2015 science fiction horror game developed and published by The Brotherhood, a South African studio comprised of the brothers Nicolas and Christopher Bischoff.  In the year of its release, it was awarded Adventure Game of the Year by AdventureGamers.com

The plot of the game draws heavily from Event Horizon and Dead Space.  It follows John Maracheck, a family man and school teacher who wakes up from cryostasis on an unknown and apparently abandoned vessel known as "The Groomlake.  Injured, unarmed, and alone, he must search out and rescue his family and escape the dying vessel, all the while learning the horrifying secrets it holds.

Through the course of this episode, we discuss the story and design decisions of Stasis along with James and Kevin Colmar.  We discuss what we think could have been improved, as well as design lessons to take away in our own writing.

Apr 1, 2017

Hello Internet!  Apologies for the wait, but the March Madness applies to more than college basketball.  In this episode we hit on a topic that we have wanted to cover for probably over a year now:  Tales from the Wood.  For the entire time since we played this game we have been really thinking on how we can make it better or at least better adhere to the themes that it seems to be aiming for while also making it a more cohesive system in general.

 

In this episode, we discuss the design and writing choices of this game, what mistakes we feel it made, and ways we would try to correct it.

Mar 2, 2017

Hello internet!  In this episode we continue our discussion from the previous episode on ways to break down media, where we now focus on the supreme way: Deconstruction and Reconstruction.  

In a deconstruction, a medium is taken apart, usually by playing the subject matter completely straight and considering how the signature elements would work in the real world.  In a reconstruction, the criticisms pointed out by deconstructing are accepted and modified in such a way that they feel faithful to the core work, but don't require the same caveats they once did.

In the course of this episode, we will analyze several deconstructed and reconstructed works, find the connecting threads between the relevant media, and find a way to use it in your own writing.

Media Discussed in this Episode:

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Jan 31, 2017

Hello Internet, and welcome back to Ugly Talk.  In our first episode of 2017, we're discussing patterns in media remixing and creation by examining and comparing some very different video games.  Namely, we are comparing Punch Club, an early 2016 mobile fight manager simulator with a number of very goofy themes, to the more recently released Final Fantasy XV, a AAA multi-hour JRPG that wears its previous influences on its sleeve.  In our discussion, we break down the ideas of parody, bricolage, pastiche, homage, and plagiarism and how to consider taking elements from other media to remix into your own games.

Media Discussed in this Episode:

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Dec 22, 2016

Welcome back to Ugly Talk!  We've got one more to close the year out, focusing some feel good TV.  Black Mirror is a project by the great Charlie Brooker, humorist, satirist, critic, etc, etc.  Brooker has produced many short run television series, mostly comedies, but all of which seem to deconstruct the world of entertainment around us and call into question that which we have either ignored or normalized.  Black Mirror is the extreme of this deconstructivism as via a Twilight Zone lens of sci-fi conceits to shine a light on some element of media we already live with.

In the episode, Travis and Matt look at how Brooker's deconstructive nature and its influence from the British culture and how you can apply these mindsets to your games.

 

Media Discussed in this Episode:

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Dec 1, 2016

Sam and Matt did another panel on publishing indie RPGs.  This year they picked a name that meant something and also Sam was able to make it to Gen Con to talk about it.  It quickly turns to a roundtable discussion and Q&A about common problems while publishing and both of them talk about their experiences publishing Sordid Dystopia, both good and bad.

Oct 26, 2016

In this episode, we discuss the ubiquity of Creepypasta and the easy fodder it makes for horror video games.  We discuss games that successfully adapt the material into a new medium, the ones that simply copy ideas, the endless clones of successful games, and what sets them apart.  To aid in our exploration of the realm most creepy and most pasta, we bring on the Review Cultist, host of Al Dente Rigamortis, to elaborate on these never-ending internet campfire stories.

Reading List

Check out Al Dente Rigamortis on Patreon!

Oct 15, 2016

HP Lovecraft is undoubtedly a driving force in the ever-changing face of horror in the modern age.  While but one of a movement, his works changed the basic inspirations of horror from a universe of divine punishment doled out by monsters to a universe that couldn't be bothered to care if you lived or died.  His talk of ancient powerful beings from worlds beyond the stars and the insignificance of mankind were fantastical and horrifying in ways the stories of vengeful monsters couldn't be.  In the modern age, Lovecraft's work is still highly influential, but the original stories are a bit lacking in modern sensibilties.  We discuss those who took inspiration from Lovecraft and made horror exceptionally weird.

Matt and Ross Payton from Role Playing Public Radio hosted this panel at Gen Con 2016.  Travis was supposed to lead this panel, but due to personal issues he was not able to make it to the con.

Sep 21, 2016

Welcome back to Ugly Talk!  This episode, we know things about our experiences with This Is The Police.  In playing this game, we learned a bit about Noir storytelling and Gameplay / Story balancing, as well as the meaning of impactful storytelling, the illusion of choice, and dissonant characters.

Important Links:

Sep 14, 2016

At Gen Con last year, Travis and Matt let the fine con attendees in on the secrets they had learned about online roleplaying via their time on The Drunk and the Ugly.  Also along for the ride was Aaron Carsten of Role Playing Public Radio, talking about his recent experiences running games online and the differences from his time at the table.

Aug 11, 2016

Over the weekend, we attended Gen Con, where we hosted several different seminars.  Kevin and James join Matt on this one in describing their campaign design philosophies to the attending audience before opening the floor for questions, advice, and discussion.

Jul 28, 2016

Welcome back to Ugly Talk!  This month, we know things about Film Writing and the Three Act Structure.  Travis is out of town on business, so Matt brought in Kevin Colmar and Charlotte Adams to discuss what they know about filmmaking, film writing, film direction, and what of it can be applied to games and how. 

Jun 8, 2016

Support Red Markets on Kickstarter!

 

Welcome back to Ugly Talk!  This month, we know things about Red Markets, the game of economic horror where the world has ended and the rent is still due.  Along with Matt and Travis, we have the one and only Caleb Stokes to talk a bit about the game, where and how it started, the influences that brought it into being, the development process, and also how things have changed since our initial playtests (and even since the playtest campaign that is happening on Role Playing Public Radio).

May 30, 2016

This month we are discussing the Powered by the Apocalypse system Monster Hearts, a game that aims to recreate the feel of shows like The Vampire Diaries and Being Human and other sorts of supernatural teen drama.  We go through a basic breakdown of how Powered by the Apocalypse works as well as the specifics of how they work in Monster Hearts and the new mechanics added.  We talk with this month's special guest Axe, the gamemaster who ran Camp Rosewater and The Harvester for The Drunk and the Ugly.

Apr 1, 2016

Hello internet and welcome to Creepy Talks, a show wherein we discuss creepy stories, horror films, spooky computer games, and the important elements that make each of these things work and how we can tie them back to spooky stuff.  This month, we discuss the reading of Creepy Pastas and how we've turned them into creepy collaborative storytelling experiences.

Mar 24, 2016

Hello Internet!  Welcome back to Ugly Talk, a show wherein we discuss RPGs, film, computer games, and the important elements that make each of these things work and how we can tie them back to the traditional games media.

This month we are discussing two different approaches to open world puzzle videogames:  Croteam's The Talos Principle and Johnathan Blow's The Witness.  One is a more "traditional" game that takes you on a ride on the rails with the illusion of choice but many intentional and obvious blockades to progress, and the other has no obvious narrative, no handholding, and no limits on where you can go and what you can do.  The comparison between the two caused us to think on the classic conundrum of where the player ends and the character begins.  Sit down as we talk with this month's special guest Sam Graebner, an experienced gamemaster from our sister show The Drunk and the Ugly.

 

Feb 4, 2016

Hello Internet!  Welcome back to Ugly Talk, a show wherein we discuss RPGs, film, computer games, and the important elements that make each of these things work and how we can tie them back to the traditional games media.

This month we are discussing the new Star Wars, how it compares to the original and prequel trilogies, and what we can learn from JJ Abrams work on George Lucas' Franchise in adapting our own collaborative stories within an established setting.  For this episode, Matt and Travis are joined by Kevin Colmar of The Drunk and the Ugly, who is currently in the process of running Fate Ascendant, a Star Wars game set during the Old Republic Era using the Edge of the Empire system.  We will also get off-topic many times and discuss things like how St Elsewhere decanonized reality.

Dec 14, 2015

Hello Internet!  Welcome back to Ugly Talk, a show wherein we discuss RPGs, film, computer games, and the important elements that make each of these things work and how we can tie them back to the traditional games media.

This month we are discussing the Leverage RPG, based on the hit TV show Leverage which follows a group of modern-day Robin Hood criminals who steal from the rich and powerful and give to all the little people they have stepped on to get that power.  We talk deeply about ideas expressed in the book (such as the 5-act structure and the insight it gives into writing a television drama) and how you can see the ideas specific to the show being used in the game.

Nov 18, 2015

Gen Con 2015: Matt Campen and Ross Payton sat down and talked about their shared experiences designing, publishing, and producing roleplaying games.

Game Design is a long and tedious process. Turning a pile of notes into a book can seem nearly impossible. There's a phrase in journalism that all the mayonnaise in the world can't turn chicken crap into chicken salad; nevertheless, you have to do it over and over each time.

This panel explores the essential steps to consider when looking at your loose-chicken-parts collective of ideas and a formula to turn it into some chicken salad goodness.

Nov 11, 2015

Hello Internet!  Welcome to our first-ever episode of Ugly Talk, a show wherein we discuss RPGs, film, computer games, and the important elements that make each of these things work and how we can tie them back to the traditional games media.

This week we are discussing the Lovecraft-Inspired letter-writing RPG De Profundis, a rules light GM-less storytelling game by Cubicle Seven which attempts to recreate the epistemological psychodramas of H.P. Lovecraft by way of actually writing letters to fellow players.  We discuss this no-boundaries collaborative experience and how it has worked in our other games and take advice from TV writing to make sure that collaborative games don't go off the rails.

Nov 4, 2015

Hello, Internet!

In the wake of Fury Road, we realized there are some artists on the podcast who have a lot to say about style, composition and color and our own Travis Gasque led a discussion with them about the styles and themes in the movie.  Depending on reactions, this may be a recurring segment about other films, video games, and pop culture media.

 

Finally, thanks to Memal25, Beardface5000, Anupstart, and Stiefund for reviewing the show on iTunes, thanks to UnitOmega for retweeting our show announcements on Twitter, and thanks to the curator of the F*** Yeah Drunk and Ugly Podcast tumblr for spreading word about the show, archiving fan entries, and creating some original content.  All you guys are super great!

Remember to review the show on iTunes or wherever you get podcasts, and be sure to leave us comments on the site letting us know what you think.

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