[Fan Fiction] Predecessor, The End

New base

It felt good to be active. It felt good to be working toward a goal, and to be making progress. I had to remind myself that the new iteration’s storage was limited, as mine had been before my journey to confront the Atlas. I disconnected several power cables, making sure my multitool was breaking them down into their component elements. Next was the ladder. I swept the beam up and down the ladder as I considered.

Elearu had given the Korvax Traveler an excessive amount of activated indium from their mine, as they had given me shortly after they’d built the facility. It made getting credits, at least in this system, an incredibly easy thing to do. Currency had become a non-issue for those on Akrodne-X, thanks to Elearu’s generosity. After watching the new iteration build a wood base, and then begin to erect pre-fabricated rooms, I knew what I could do to help, both materially and psychologically.

The ladder was gone, and its components were in my exosuit. Scanning the windows was next. What was it like, I wondered, to begin your life a short distance away from a previous version of yourself? How would that impact the new Traveler’s outlook on the Atlas, especially if they were pulled along the same trail of bait, and were given the same impossible choice, that I had? How would my bitterness taint their own experiences?

Wait. The Korvax were directly connected to the Atlas through the Convergence, weren’t they? And yet, many Korvax Travelers frequented Polo and Nada’s Anomaly station, which was hidden from the Atlas. Does that mean that every single one was Divergent, like Nada? Each one, a being designed to be part of a hive mind, and yet living their lives as individuals, alone with themselves? I stood in the windowless, doorless, ladderless prefabricated pod, and boggled. Beginning their lives with no memories or identity? The cruelty was staggering.

I began to scan the walls of the pod. With Elearu staying, and with the wave of newcomers, the new iteration would not be alone, would not be without help. In fact, I suspected that they may experience more companionship than they were ready for. They would have a better beginning here without my interference. I’d decided to disassemble the base that I’d so lovingly crafted, and gift the new iteration with all of those materials. Then, once there was nearly no sign that I had ever been there, I would follow those that came with me, and head out into the stars. My freighter would become my base, and perhaps I would come to terms with the fading simulation all around me.

But probably I’d still be bitter.

Breakup with Twitch

Twitch is back to doing Twitch things. What now, you ask? So, so much. Instead of the usual one at a time, they’ve gone all in on poor decision making. Let’s look at the three that irritate me the most.

Mid-Stream Commercials

They’ve been testing “mid-roll” ads. These are video advertisements that interrupt the streamer’s content, sending it into a muted picture-in-picture window in the upper corner of the stream. Now, the “pre-roll” (as you enter stream) ads are bad enough. You can’t skip them, you can’t provide feedback on them, and they certainly don’t earn you any Bits. If you were a paid member of Twitch Prime, their paid premium membership, you didn’t see any ads. NO MORE! Now, you get free games (that I don’t want) or in-game cosmetics (that I rarely want), and you see “pre-roll” ads like anybody else. Unless you’ve subscribed to that streamer. Confused yet? Welcome to Twitch.

Oh, and be sure that it’ll change again soon, with little to no notice. So, let me try to break this down a little bit, as I understand it.

For the pre-roll ads, Twitch’s logic was that it supported the streamer, because the desire to avoid ads would encourage people to purchase paid subscriptions to their favorite streamers.

  • Did they provide streamers the option to enable and disable pre-roll ads, so they could decide whether their viewers should have their eyeballs held hostage? Nope.
  • Did they provide the Twitch Prime members the choice between ad-free viewing and games/cosmetics? Nope.

So, big changes in the way paid memberships and ads work, no community input from Affiliates, streamers, or viewers. Very little notice. No response to consistent feedback of “We don’t want this!”

Now, it appears they’ve learned the smallest lesson from their last change. Let’s break down the recent mid-roll testing, as I understand it.

The bad:

  • No communication to Affiliates, streamers, or viewers until the day of.
  • Interrupting streamers’ content (what brings the eyeballs to the ads in the first place), shrinking it, and muting it.

The good:

  • The massive negative response on Twitter was recorded – responses were tallied.
  • An after-the-fact opinion poll was taken – responses were tallied.
  • There wasn’t any attempt to spin this as good for the streamer or their community.

Music Player

Twitch is rolling out their own music player for streamers. It’s guaranteed to be safe from copyright claims, much like Pretzel.rocks. However, instead of paying the labels and the artists their due, they are using legal loopholes to completely avoid paying for using and broadcasting the musicians’ work. Completely unlike Pretzel. This would be a normal corporate move, except that Twitch is part of Amazon, which has already built an entire infrastructure and application suite for legally playing music, keeping track of which artist, which album, and which song were played, and for what purpose.

Presenting a Twitch-branded player for in-stream music that purposefully works around paying the artists what they’re due is despicable.

Small Raids

Small streams are the norm. From my understanding, they are over 85% of the streams that run on Twitch. And when I say small, I mean 10 viewers or less. If one of these streamers, like myself, wants to send their viewers to another streamer at the end of their stream, they use a Twitch command called “raid”. This sends your viewers to the other stream, and sends a notification to that streamer. Many of us like to celebrate being raided, thanking the streamer for sending us their viewers, and welcoming them all to the community. Often, people will raid others playing the same game, or others that they know will treat their viewers well.

Twitch has stopped sending raid notifications for five or less viewers. This means that for the vast majority of raids, streamers are blind to the gesture, and to the people that have suddenly joined their viewership. That welcome, and that fostering of community, is no longer part of the Twitch experience.

So long, and thanks for all the fish.

Twitch is going the way YouTube did, and there’s no reason to stick around for it. I’ll be moving my stream to DLive starting Monday, so you’ll be able to catch it here on my usual schedule – Monday and Wednesday at 9PM Eastern, and one day on the weekend.

So long, Twitch.

Updates

Please, for the love of everything, confirm that you are registered to vote, and haven’t been removed from the rolls. It will take only moments, and may save your vote.

Writing the No Man’s Sky fan fiction feels good. I am definitely exercising muscles that have been dormant for a while. This will get me ready for writing the next draft of the next chapter of Adam’s Name. And by chapter, I mean book. And by book, I mean… book. Dangit.

The school year has started back up, and we opted for fully virtual, rather than a hybrid in-person and virtual setup. Neither their mom nor I felt or thought that it’s safe enough for anything else. The old adage of schools being petri dishes is incredibly apt right now, no matter how much sterilization or separation that they’re able to pull off. I am more than happy to put up with complaining about the kids missing their friends in exchange for being sure they’re not going to be involved in an outbreak.

The Razer laptop’s battery expanded, contracted, and has been replaced. Kudos to the third party battery company for not abandoning their customer after ten months. Free replacement, no ridiculous hoops, and the new one does the thing. If you’re looking to replace a laptop battery, check out ANTIEE.

[Fan Fiction] Predecessor, pt 3

No Mans Sky Atlas Interface

I boarded my freighter, loaded in the coordinates that Polo had provided, and told the navigator to engage when ready. The data insertions began in that very first system. At every jump, I was being fed both a portal glyph and the coordinates for the next system, leading ever-closer to the center of the galaxy. Who was sending me that data? Who would be able to? Was it something about being a Traveler that triggered all of this? Was someone watching me and my crew? No, they were bread crumbs, left by the Atlas itself.

I followed them, and they led to another Atlas interface, like the one I’d found when searching for Artemis. Metal that was not metal, lights that held words like the Knowledge Stones, and a smell like rotting faecium and burning silicon strong enough to coat the mouth. As I approached the massive, pulsating red orb, I felt… too many things. What it wanted me to do, in a desperate attempt to keep its experiment going, was unthinkable. Its need, its magnitude, and its pain sent me reeling. I could not contain any of it. I lashed out, told it no, and staggered backwards. It was not angry; it didn’t attack or threaten. It spoke to me, in words, and said it would be waiting for my return.

I found myself on the surface of an uncharted planet. I stumbled back to my ship, only to find it showering sparks and in need of repair. Inside the cockpit, I tried to ignore the burnt-hair smoke and begin repairs, but my mind raced. The pull to the center of the galaxy had been manufactured. Apollo and the strange base Overseer were planted to ready me for this. My memory-less existence as an anomalous Traveler, alone even among others of my kind, was purpose-built as a safety valve in the Atlas’ great machine. Its grand, multiverse-spanning simulation.

When I returned, I told Nada and Polo. Time was finite, and would run out. There was no way of knowing how long we had, but I had cursed us to that end, because the alternative was worse. I would not do what Null had done. They took it as well as they could, and I returned to Akrodne X, doing my best to ignore what had happened.

As far as I can determine, the painful discorporation I experienced when attempting to enter Nada and Polo’s station was just another symptom of the simulation breaking down. The broken freighters, drifting between planets, infested with dangerous… something… is more evidence to throw on the pile.

And yet, Polo’s hope may not be unfounded. I’ve seen an entirely new type of ship, one that seems to be alive. It pulses with a kind of inner light, and is made of an organic material like nothing I’ve ever seen. I’ve also heard stories of a new kind of exocraft – a mechanized suit for operating with more dexterity in extreme environments. Elearu has even mentioned new Travelers building bases, right here on Akrodne X.

Is this some sort of desperate, creative spasm by the Atlas? Some last-ditch attempt at changing the inevitable course of its experiment? Or has something truly changed for the better?

I guess I’ll find out for myself.

[Fan Fiction] Predecessor, pt 2

No Mans Sky Atlas Rises

Sixteen. Over and over and over. Through finding Artemis, putting up with Apollo, getting my footing with Nada and Polo and their strange space station, it’s always been sixteen. Across the worlds and systems of the Euclid Galaxy, that number has shown up everywhere. Gek and Vy’Keen never remembered speaking about it, though they did, and with voices not their own. The Korvax never spoke of it, but they were closer to the Atlas than anyone but the Sentinels. And I’ve found no evidence that the Sentinels have ever spoken to anyone.

Since my last communication, I’ve made it back onto the anomalous station. Something drove me to keep trying, despite the threat of painful discorporation. It wasn’t the blueprints, and it wasn’t the frantic hustle and bustle of all of the Travelers. Maybe it was Nada’s sad acceptance of the multiverse’s fate. Maybe it was the rich, chocolatey scent of Polo’s continued hope. Ah, I’m skipping ahead.

I couldn’t shake the pull. I hadn’t seen any other Travelers on Akrodne X, except for Elearu, in ages. They could have left for other systems, or perhaps they’d slipped out of our reality, like Artemis had. Who could know? I’d find myself staring out through the glass of my grow domes, at a countryside littered with abandoned bases, slowly being reclaimed by the environment.

I could no longer find the solace in building that I once had, that Elearu still did. I had put so much of myself into creating these sprawling pods, glass-filled corridors, and underground concrete. I had built something beautiful, but it was complete. My compatriots, Gek, Vy’Keen, Korvax, and whatever the Overseer was, could operate just fine without me. They had their own project and own lives, despite Attendant Eil’s implications.

I looked to the stars next. I’d explored several nearby systems, but each was so like the last. There had to be more. There had to be.

There was. I had been told that many Travelers had ventured toward the center of the galaxy, in search of the Atlas itself, but that few returned. Perhaps they’d found renewed purpose, a place to call home, or something more sinister had happened to them. Nada had expressed their misgivings about seeking it out, and I’d put together some of the why. The Atlas was tightly linked to the Korvax hive mine, and Nada had been split from it for a very long time. Most didn’t survive that sundering, let alone thrive. Nada was afraid of being forced to rejoin, and of losing their individuality among the many. And they were right to fear.

The Sentinels were designed to answer directly to the Atlas, and they had wiped out entire universes of living beings. The ancient Gek had been punished by the Atlas, reduced from a mighty empire to trade-obsessed merchants, for their transgressions against the Korvax. It mercilessly hunted any being that rebelled against it or sought to escape it. Fearing the Atlas was wise.

And yet, the visions I’d received from the ruined monuments told me that there was more to it. The appearance of shattered worlds told me that something was wrong. And Null had said the Atlas was in great pain. Were we, the Travelers, not the Atlas’ way of knowing itself? Were we not its curiosity? Its drive to understand? That’s why the Gek fear us. That’s why the Vy’Keen aid us. That’s why the Korvax revere us.

And maybe that’s why I had to know for myself.