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The Future Proof Podcast 034

Podcast episode

Melissa Avery-Weir  0:21  
Hello, and welcome to the Future Proof Podcast. This is our bimonthly podcast where we chat about stuff we're working on, and anything cool we're planning. I'm Melissa Avery-Weir. 

Gregory Avery-Weir  0:33  
And I'm Gregory Avery-Weir. And we want to open with something a little heavy. This, this time, we'll get lighter later; we've got some fun stuff coming up. But we just wanted to talk about the situation. We're in the United States. And today, when we're recording this is when the Supreme Court announced that they had essentially overturned Roe v. Wade, which guaranteed abortion rights.

Melissa Avery-Weir  1:00  
Yeah. So super brief summary is that for the past 50 years, folks, pregnant folks in the United States have had the ability to have had access to abortions—at varying degrees of difficulty, depending on where you live in the country. And as of today, states are able to pass laws that either that ban abortion at such an early date, that effectively no one knows they're pregnant. So that's really rough. Abortion is—and should be—a human right. And the curtailing of access to it, and essentially forcing people to travel to get it if they live in about 13 states out of 50 in the US is horrendous. So that's a huge bummer in the news today. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  1:56  
But people are working locally in just about every state, especially around large cities, to make sure that folks have access to abortion, whether that is to help with traveling to help with some of the supplies involved in pre- or post-abortion care. I'm going to put some links in the show notes to some resources: lists of abortion funds that you can donate to or if you are in need of using one. There'll be some links there; won't be exhaustive, but I have a couple of good sources there. Yeah, US politics feel a little rough right now.

Gregory Avery-Weir  2:33  
And I mean, this sort of thing is relevant to our work we, one of our core values as Future Proof Games is audacious compassion. And we don't even think this is particularly audacious. We think this is pretty basic compassion. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  2:47  

Gregory Avery-Weir  2:48  
On the... in the same method of thinking. We're both queer. We know that queer people of every variety have always been a part of society. That's a good thing. They always will be trans people, gay people, drag queens, which those three things are not the same, by the way, if you weren't aware. It's good, a good thing to remember. They're, they all deserve to exist, and it's a good thing to teach kids about the variety of ways that people do exist and help kids to understand themselves in the context of what's, what society expects, and how they might differ from that.

Melissa Avery-Weir  3:31  
Yeah, and if if it's cool, if I just say to like, specifically, why we're bringing that up, is that there's been sort of this recent strong and increasingly successful, or at least partially successful, backlash against things like having queer books and libraries—queer books is a weird term to say, but books featuring anything queer.

Gregory Avery-Weir  3:56  
Anything that mentions that queer people possibly could exist. Yeah.

Melissa Avery-Weir  4:00  
Right, and curtailing what teachers are teaching, and a particularly violent and scary reaction to things like drag queens reading kids books at libraries. It's wild. So that's sort of the impetus for us bringing that up, because this... those things are, the statements—what Greg said is always true. But it is it is recent events that are causing us to talk about it. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  4:27  
And then I think sort of the the final thing we want to say on this current US political front that has been weighing on us a little bit has been that, like, you are legally allowed to discuss your pay with coworkers, and you should absolutely do so. I have done great things for my career, by talking to my colleagues, and getting a sense of who's being paid what. I feel like I've probably also helped some other people by doing so. By you know, letting us just openly compare and talk about our rates. 

Gregory Avery-Weir  5:03  
And that's if you're, if you're outside of the US, definitely like, check up on whether that's true for you. Because it might, may or may not be. I get the feeling that a lot of places have have stronger protections for workers than the US. But we can only really speak to, to things here.

Melissa Avery-Weir  5:21  
While you're talking to your colleagues, you should consider unionizing. 

Gregory Avery-Weir  5:26  
For sure. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  5:26  
The ability to have some of the protections and benefits of collective bargaining are immense. And we are seeing an unprecedented wave in the US right now of Starbucks, and Amazons and game, game development groups?! Which is weird, being able to and unionizing, which is very inspiring. If there were more than just the two of us, co founding this company... If we have employees—

Gregory Avery-Weir  5:59  
I don't know if we ever will... We would probably be more likely to, like form a co-op or something. But—

Melissa Avery-Weir  6:05  
Yes, yeah. 

Gregory Avery-Weir  6:07  
If, if we don't for some reason, we, I think... you can, we support unionization and you can hold us to that, if somehow we end up with enough employees to, to make it worth it. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  6:20  
Yeah, yeah.

Gregory Avery-Weir  6:22  
Yeah. Poking our head out of the sea of politics in which we live: we did a kind of an interesting little bit of technical updating to Exploit: Zero Day that was a little bit dramatic. This is definitely going to be one of those, like techie discussions. But we recently we've had for a while, in Exploit: Zero Day—our our web based puzzle game—we've had thumbnail images for systems so that you can get a little preview of what a puzzle is going to be like before you play it. And then, relatively recently, we added that for clusters of puzzles, so you can see for an entire like group of puzzles, kind of the structure of it and what it's shaped like. And we've had some problems with those kind of not being generated reliably. Which was sad, because sometimes you'd have like missing images and stuff on the list of things. 

Gregory Avery-Weir  7:17  
And so, recently, in an attempt to fix those missing ones, we adjusted how all those things were, were saved. So we didn't really adjust the generation of them, like how the actual image is drawn. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  7:32  
Yeah, we adjusted how often they generate.

Gregory Avery-Weir  7:35  
Yes, and we also changed like, the method of... Before we deleted the old file, generated a thumbnail, and saved it. And we switched into generating the new thumbnail, saving it, and then deleting the old file. But! When we tried to deploy that, we realized that we broken it. Because when we develop locally, we store files on our local file system. Like my computer has files on it, image files on it, that are thumbnails generated. And we also do that on our staging server, we just use the local file system. But in production with the, the version that y'all get to play, we save files on, on, in the cloud using Amazon S3 as the service. And I think, I think I'm the one that messed this up; the way we saved, the way we change to saving things doesn't actually work in the cloud. We made, I made some assumptions. And because we couldn't test it until it got to production, we ended up having to roll back the deployment that we did back to a version the new worked. 

Gregory Avery-Weir  8:44  
We finally got that fixed. It's a, it's a silly fix. But if you've noticed that you've had trouble saving systems or clusters, or your things have been missing thumbnails, that should be fixed now. I think that we caught all of the cases where there were missing thumbnails and have kind of regenerated them. If you notice something that's still missing an image or the image doesn't match what the thing should look like, let us know and we can we can fix it pretty easily. So just drop us a line or post on the forums at And we'll, we'll fix it up. 

Gregory Avery-Weir  9:23  
If you're interested in getting our games, we've got some sales on.

Melissa Avery-Weir  9:27  
Games other than Exploit: Zero Day. 

Gregory Avery-Weir  9:29  

Melissa Avery-Weir  9:30  
Which is free.

Gregory Avery-Weir  9:31  
Because that's free. Yeah.

Melissa Avery-Weir  9:33  
Both itch and Steam are running their summer sales right now, both running until July 7. And all of our games on those platforms are discounted. On itch, we do a 60% discount and games on Itch that are also on Steam—so that would be Ossuary and The Majesty of Colors—include Steam Keys, so you'll get that as well. On Steam we discount 50%. So less, less of a discount there. We like Itch better. We think their business practices are better. So we wish to encourage them. But yeah, I will include links, I'll include lists of games, I'm not going to list all the games. That just gets horrifically...

Gregory Avery-Weir  10:14  
Yeah, we have four titles on there for pay now. Yeah,

Melissa Avery-Weir  10:20  
And in the show notes, and it includes the books that are on Itch. So it's not just the video games. So July 7, mark your calendars. And to, to lighten things up a little bit. We figured we would talk a little bit about some of the games we're playing lately, because we're both playing some really good stuff.

Gregory Avery-Weir  10:42  
And it's, it's, it's nice to be able to distract yourself with entertainment some. That's a, that's a, that's a healthy thing to do. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  10:51  

Gregory Avery-Weir  10:51  
We've both been playing Beat Saber, which has the benefit of also giving us some cardiovascular exercise, which is also good in times of stress. If you haven't checked it out, it's a virtual reality game. It's really cool. It's a rhythm game where you're basically like, dancing, in time with with music, in the form of slashing blocks apart with lightsabers, the blocks come at you. And they've got, I think, real good music built in. And then you could also mod it to get like, all sorts of songs that people have, have made maps for so you can you know, pretty much any, any popular music that you can think of will have it and then a whole lot of like, EDM.

Melissa Avery-Weir  11:35  
Yeah, we both also play Warframe and are in a—I will say we're in a Warframe phase generally, like now.

Gregory Avery-Weir  11:43  
We're always playing Warframe. But sometimes we don't play Warframe for a while.

Melissa Avery-Weir  11:48  
Yeah, we've played for a few years now. That's a weird thing to realize. I tend to play more in sort of large bursts where I'll go a few months playing decently often and then kind of ebb off. But yeah, they've recently done two notable sort of content updates, that have opened up some new areas for play and good story. And it's been, I mean, every,I don't know what 20 hours of play, one of us will go, "This game is free!"

Gregory Avery-Weir  12:21  
It's amazing what they, how much stuff and the quality of the stuff that they have in that game is for for no upfront charge, and very reasonable monetization like.... if. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  12:33  

Gregory Avery-Weir  12:33  
If if you have feelings about how free games monetize themselves and make money—

Melissa Avery-Weir  12:40  
I do!

Gregory Avery-Weir  12:40  
You'll probably be satisfied—yeah, as we do. You'll probably be satisfied with how Warframe does it.

Melissa Avery-Weir  12:45  
Yeah, pretty, it's pretty impressive. And then, and I, solo, have been playing a game called Shadows of Forbidden Gods. And I don't remember where I heard about this game, presumably a podcast. Possibly the strategy, Rob Zacny's strategy podcast, Three Moves Ahead. But Shadows of Forbidden Gods is a strategy game. It gives sort of 4X vibes, except that instead of sort of being a ruler of a country, you are a god that is slumbering and slowly waking with each turn.

Gregory Avery-Weir  13:26  
A terrible evil god, right?

Melissa Avery-Weir  13:28  
Oh, right. Yes, actually, that's the, that's actually very important. Yes, you're evil. And you're going to consume the world or something. I think the different gods have different sort of end states to lead to different strategies. But what you're doing is you're, you're moving agents around the world and taking over existing human places. Sort of letting shadow grow, corrupting rulers, and sort of spreading influence and domain that way. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  13:59  
So it is a game that makes one—if one is so inclined, think about the ethics of playing an evil entity in a game and the glee that one can find in that. I think is a fraught thing that one should think about, but it is a delightful game, and I'm enjoying learning the strategy. I'm not always very good at that sort of game, but I'm doing it right at that. Yeah. Recommended.

Gregory Avery-Weir  14:24  
Just a little while ago, I was playing Half Life: Alyx which I don't know that we need to talk a huge amount about, but it's a good game. It's a, it's a Half Life game. I like Half Life games. They did an amazing job at making a virtual reality game where you shoot things. And it's, it's scary and gets my heartbeat going and feels cool to play.

Melissa Avery-Weir  14:48  
Very scary.

Gregory Avery-Weir  14:50  
Yeah, it varies. I haven't gotten to the part that most people will talk about being super scary, but we'll we'll see. But that, for a game that's a little more aligned with the sort of things that we make it Future Proof Games, I've also been playing Heartspace Shipbreaker which is a great game it's a game where you're working at a space scrap yard taking apart spaceships and all this... You're, you're it's first person. You're flying around in zero g and using various tools to to disassemble spaceships. And there's all sorts of hazards you have to worry about, you know, explosive decompression or fuel lines catching fire. 

Gregory Avery-Weir  15:31  
And it's all in this really interesting context of labor. So we were talking about unionization earlier, this is set in a dystopia where labor rights are even more restricted than they currently are in the United States. And, and it's got a pretty emotionally affecting story about, like, what does it mean to have worker solidarity when the bosses hold all the all the power, and you're doing a very dangerous job and they literally own your life? So I would definitely say check that out if you haven't, and just like watch a video or two of it being played. And you should be able to tell if it's the, if it's the game for you. They recently released like, the—it had been in early access for a while, but they recently, like put the full game out and it's great. 

Gregory Avery-Weir  16:21  
And if you want to see us playing games, we stream regularly. I don't know if this will go out before then—we'll see. It's gonna be. it's gonna be a weekend for both of us. But yeah, Sunday the 26th of June. It is June, right? 

Melissa Avery-Weir  16:42  
This is June.

Gregory Avery-Weir  16:42  

Melissa Avery-Weir  16:43  
I'm leaving that in.

Gregory Avery-Weir  16:45  
That's fine. Sunday, the 26th of June. In the afternoon, we I will be streaming a game called Ynglet. It's one of the people who worked on it was Nifflas, who had been a longtime fan of Knytt is one of my favorite games ever. So I'm very much looking forward to playing it. If there's still time when this comes out, and you hear this you can catch it live otherwise, you can see our archives on YouTube. It'll probably take me a bit to get it up. But we archive all our stuff. And you can keep up with our schedule of streaming at

Melissa Avery-Weir  17:23  
You can find all of our stuff over there at We are over on Twitter at @PlayFutureProof and on YouTube as Future Proof Games where you be watching/listening to this podcast. Hit us up with any questions or comments over on our blog or social media. And our theme music, which I still love every time I listen to it, is "Juparo", by Broke for Free which is used with permission.

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