Nepenthe - Yitz
So I just realized I've been really silent on Steam lately, and thought I might as well pop in here and ramble for a bit. I have no idea how many people actually read these things, so if you're reading this, hi! It's a pleasure to meet you! I'd offer a cookie, but unfortunately I'm out—all my extra cookies are going in to the Nepenthe update. Speaking of that update, it's pretty much finished and I've got it sitting on my computer right now, but I've been putting off actually releasing it for a while. I don't really have an excuse for that, and I can't explain why this is taking me so long to actually release, but my brain is a strange thing. Sometimes I'll find myself procrastinating on stuff that really should be simple to do, but for some reason just. Doesn't. Happen. I'm quite annoyed at myself that that's a thing, and have been trying to work on breaking that tendency. I'd like to say the update will be out before the end of November, but honestly, who knows. My schedule is quite unpredictable, even to myself. Do know that when it does come out, it will be freaking awesome. I'm grinning chaotically to myself just thinking about it now. Anyway...

In related Nepenthe news, we've reached 40 positive reviews on Steam! (It's actually more like 60 positive reviews, but Steam doesn't count it if someone uses a key to play) With just 10 more, Nepenthe will get a "very positive" rating, which, while totally useless, will make me feel very good about myself. If you want to support me and my feelings of self-worth, leaving a review on Steam is always appreciated. ːcharmedː

In non-Nepenthe related news, development on TTDT is going really well! There are less than 30 lines left, out of more than 200 total. It's going to feature an absolutely drop-dead beautiful soundtrack by the one and only Michael Becze, and to be honest, I don't think I can be more excited. Regardless of if anyone ends up playing this or not, I'm having an absolute blast making TTDT, and feel like I've learnt a tremendous amount. We also kind of managed to get Steam to add the LGBTQ+ tag as a weird side effect of researching the history of Robert Browning (the person who wrote the poem TTDT is based on), so yeah. That happened. You can wishlist it here, if you want to get an email notification when it releases:
https://store.steampowered.com/app/1079740/To_The_Dark_Tower/

Overall, I'm really excited about what the future holds, and incredibly grateful to have such awesome supporters as you guys. Thanks for this incredible journey.
From your friendly neighborhood game developer,
Yitz


Nepenthe - Yitz
I'm happy to report that I'm working on a new game: To The Dark Tower—a visual experience based on the nightmare of a long-dead poet. For more information, and to get an email notification when it releases, you can wishlist it here: https://store.steampowered.com/app/1079740/To_The_Dark_Tower/
I'm really excited about this, and I think you will be too :)

From your friendly neighborhood game developer,
Yitz

Nepenthe - Yitz
I would like to introduce you to a strange and haunting poem, one written by the Victorian author Robert Browning, who recorded this text, fully written, as seen in a dream one night. The title of the poem is "Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came," and I think you will enjoy it very much. Here it is:


"CHILDE ROLAND TO THE DARK TOWER CAME"

_(See Edgar's song in "Lear.")_

My first thought was, he lied in every word,
That hoary cripple, with malicious eye
Askance to watch the working of his lie
On mine, and mouth scarce able to afford
Suppression of the glee, that pursed and scored
Its edge, at one more victim gained thereby.

What else should he be set for, with his staff?
What, save to waylay with his lies, ensnare
All travellers who might find him posted there,
And ask the road? I guessed what skull-like laugh
Would break, what crutch 'gin write my epitaph
For pastime in the dusty thoroughfare,

If at his counsel I should turn aside
Into that ominous tract which, all agree,
Hides the Dark Tower. Yet acquiescingly
I did turn as he pointed: neither pride
Nor hope rekindling at the end descried.
So much as gladness that some end might be.

For, what with my whole world-wide wandering,
What, with my search drawn out thro' years, my hope
Dwindled into a ghost not fit to cope
With that obstreperous joy success would bring,--
I hardly tried now to rebuke the spring
My heart made, finding failure in its scope.

As when a sick man very near to death
Seems dead indeed, and feels begin and end
The tears, and takes the farewell of each friend,
And hears one bid the other go, draw breath
Freelier outside, ("since all is o'er," he saith,
"And the blow fallen no grieving can amend;")

While some discuss if near the other graves
Be room enough for this, and when a day
Suits best for carrying the corpse away,
With care about the banners, scarves, and staves:
And still the man hears all, and only craves
He may not shame such tender love and stay.

Thus, I had so long suffered in this quest,
Heard failure prophesied so oft, been writ
So many times among "The Band"--to wit,
The knights who to the Dark Tower's search addressed
Their steps--that just to fail as they, seemed best,
And all the doubt was now--should I be fit?

So, quiet as despair, I turned from him,
That hateful cripple, out of his highway
Into the path he pointed. All the day
Had been a dreary one at best, and dim
Was settling to its close, yet shot one grim
Red leer to see the plain catch its estray.

For mark! no sooner was I fairly found
Pledged to the plain, after a pace or two,
Than, pausing to throw backward a last view
O'er the safe road, 'twas gone; gray plain all round:
Nothing but plain to the horizon's bound,
I might go on; naught else remained to do.

So, on I went. I think I never saw
Such starved ignoble nature; nothing throve:
For flowers--as well expect a cedar grove!
But cockle, spurge, according to their law
Might propagate their kind, with none to awe,
You'd think; a burr had been a treasure trove.

No! penury, inertness, and grimace,
In some strange sort, were the land's portion. "See
Or shut your eyes," said Nature peevishly,
"It nothing skills: I cannot help my case:
'Tis the Last Judgment's fire must cure this place,
Calcine its clods and set my prisoners free."

If there pushed any ragged thistle-stalk
Above its mates, the head was chopped; the bents
Were jealous else. What made those holes and rents
In the dock's harsh swarth leaves, bruised as to balk
All hope of greenness? 'tis a brute must walk
Pashing their life out, with a brute's intents.

As for the grass, it grew as scant as hair
In leprosy; thin dry blades pricked the mud
Which underneath looked kneaded up with blood.
One stiff blind horse, his every bone a-stare,
Stood stupefied, however he came there:
Thrust out past service from the devil's stud!

Alive? he might be dead for aught I know,
With that red gaunt and colloped neck a-strain,
And shut eyes underneath the rusty mane;
Seldom went such grotesqueness with such woe;
I never saw a brute I hated so;
He must be wicked to deserve such pain.

I shut my eyes and turned them on my heart.
As a man calls for wine before he fights,
I asked one draught of earlier, happier sights,
Ere fitly I could hope to play my part.
Think first, fight afterwards--the soldier's art:
One taste of the old time sets all to rights.

Not it! I fancied Cuthbert's reddening face
Beneath its garniture of curly gold,
Dear fellow, till I almost felt him fold
An arm in mine to fix me to the place,
That way he used. Alas, one night's disgrace!
Out went my heart's new fire and left it cold.

Giles then, the soul of honour--there he stands
Frank as ten years ago when knighted first.
What honest man should dare (he said) he durst.
Good--but the scene shifts--faugh! what hangman hands
Pin to his breast a parchment? His own bands
Read it. Poor traitor, spit upon and curst!

Better this present than a past like that;
Back therefore to my darkening path again!
No sound, no sight so far as eye could strain.
Will the night send a howlet or a bat?
I asked: when something on the dismal flat
Came to arrest my thoughts and change their train.

A sudden little river crossed my path
As unexpected as a serpent comes.
No sluggish tide congenial to the glooms;
This, as it frothed by, might have been a bath
For the fiend's glowing hoof--to see the wrath
Of its black eddy bespate with flakes and spumes.

So petty, yet so spiteful! All along,
Low scrubby alders kneeled down over it;
Drenched willows flung them headlong in a fit
Of mute despair, a suicidal throng:
The river which had done them all the wrong,
Whate'er that was, rolled by, deterred no whit.

Which, while I forded,--good saints, how I feared
To set my foot upon a dead man's cheek,
Each step, or feel the spear I thrust to seek
For hollows, tangled in his hair or beard!
--It may have been a water-rat I speared,
But, ugh! it sounded like a baby's shriek.

Glad was I when I reached the other bank.
Now for a better country. Vain presage!
Who were the strugglers, what war did they wage
Whose savage trample thus could pad the dank
Soil to a plash? Toads in a poisoned tank,
Or wild cats in a red-hot iron cage--

The fight must so have seemed in that fell cirque.
What penned them there, with all the plain, to choose?
No foot-print leading to that horrid mews,
None out of it. Mad brewage set to work
Their brains, no doubt, like galley-slaves the Turk
Pits for his pastime, Christians against Jews.

And more than that--a furlong on--why, there!
What bad use was that engine for, that wheel,
Or brake, not wheel--that harrow fit to reel
Men's bodies out like silk? with all the air
Of Tophet's tool, on earth left unaware,
Or brought to sharpen its rusty teeth of steel.

Then came a bit of stubbed ground, once a wood,
Next a marsh, it would seem, and now mere earth
Desperate and done with; (so a fool finds mirth,
Makes a thing and then mars it, till his mood
Changes, and off he goes!) within a rood--
Bog, clay, and rubble, sand, and stark black dearth.

Now blotches rankling, coloured gay and grim,
Now patches where some leanness of the soil's
Broke into moss or substances like boils;
Then came some palsied oak, a cleft in him
Like a distorted mouth that splits its rim
Gaping at death, and dies while it recoils.

And just as far as ever from the end,
Naught in the distance but the evening, naught
To point my footstep further! At the thought,
A great black bird, Apollyon's bosom-friend,
Sailed past, nor beat his wide wing dragon-penned
That brushed my cap--perchance the guide I sought.

For, looking up, aware I somehow grew,
'Spite of the dusk, the plain had given place
All round to mountains--with such name to grace
Mere ugly heights and heaps now stolen in view.
How thus they had surprised me,--solve it, you!
How to get from them was no clearer case.

Yet half I seemed to recognize some trick
Of mischief happened to me, Gods knows when--
In a bad dream, perhaps. Here ended, then,
Progress this way. When, in the very nick
Of giving up, one time more, came a click
As when a trap shuts--you're inside the den.

Burningly it came on me all at once,
This was the place! those two hills on the right,
Crouched like two bulls locked horn in horn in fight;
While, to the left, a tall scalped mountain ... Dunce,
Dotard, a-dozing at the very nonce,
After a life spent training for the sight!

What in the midst lay but the Tower itself?
The round squat turret, blind as the fool's heart,
Built of brown stone, without a counterpart
In the whole world. The tempest's mocking elf
Points to the shipman thus the unseen shelf
He strikes on, only when the timbers start.

Not see? because of night perhaps?--why, day
Came back again for that! before it left,
The dying sunset kindled thro' a cleft:
The hills, like giants at a hunting, lay,
Chin upon hand, to see the game at bay,
"Now stab and end the creature--to the heft!"

Not hear? when noise was everywhere! it tolled
Increasing like a bell. Names in my ears,
Of all the lost adventurers my peers,--
How such a one was strong, and such was bold,
And such was fortunate, yet each of old
Lost, lost! one moment knelled the woe of years.

There they stood, ranged along the hillsides, met
To view the last of me, a living frame
For one more picture! in a sheet of flame
I saw them and I knew them all. And yet
Dauntless the slug-horn to my lips I set,
And blew. "_Childe Roland to the Dark Tower came._"

* * * * *




I mention this poem because it will come in useful later. If you want to talk about your interpretation of it, feel free to chat!

Mar 25, 2019
Nepenthe - Yitz
So I was playing around with Google's Deepdream software today, and out of curiosity, gave it the Nepenthe logo. This is the result:

For comparison, this is the original image:

Um... yeah.
I have no idea why I did this.
Please forgive me, for I have sinned.
Amen.


Yours truly,
Yitz

PS: We're almost at 30 reviews, which is crazy! Thank you so much for all the support :3
Nepenthe - Yitz

I just realized that there aren't any links to my Discord on Steam, and thought I should fix that :)
I'm pretty active on there, so if you wanna chat about anything, feel free!
From your Friendly Neighborhood Game Developer,
Yitz



PS: I know I've been pretty silent around here on Steam lately, but don't worry. You'll eventually get to see what I'm working on—it's might just take a bit more time than I first thought (I want it to be as nice as possible before release).
Regardless, I want to say thank you to everyo_messageintercepted_
VGhlcmUgdGhleSBzdG9vZCwgcmFuZ2VkIGFsb25nIHRoZSBoaWxsc2lkZXMsIG1ldA0KICBUbyB2aWV3IHRoZSBsYXN0IG9mIG1lLCBhIGxpdmluZyBmcmFtZQ0KICBGb3Igb25lIG1vcmUgcGljdHVyZSEgaW4gYSBzaGVldCBvZiBmbGFtZQ0KSSBzYXcgdGhlbSBhbmQgSSBrbmV3IHRoZW0gYWxsLiBBbmQgeWV0DQpEYXVudGxlc3MgdGhlIHNsdWctaG9ybiB0byBteSBsaXBzIEkgc2V0LA0KICBBbmQgYmxldy4
Nepenthe - Yitz
I'm close now. Very close...

If you have no idea what's going on, that's totally understandable, considering I'm being cryptic and spooky and all that jazz. Rest assured that I'm not trolling you—despite the ridiculously long amount of time this is taking, everything will eventually come together. I'm hoping for a big announcement in this or the next month, but I can't promise it. Until then, if you want to support what's coming (which will be totally free if you already own Nepenthe, btw), please consider leaving a review on Steam.

Cookie Monster wants your critique, and can you really say no to that face?

Have a good one!
From your friendly neighborhood game developer,
Yitz
Nepenthe - Yitz
Imagine, if you will, a baked potato. It’s pretty normal as far as baked potatoes go: brown, slightly mushy, and better with salt. There is only one thing that makes this baked potato unique—it’s 30 times the size of our sun. Obviously, this presents some problems for the hungry scientist. For one thing, every portion of the potato is gravitationally pulled towards every other portion of the potato. The portions on the outside are pulled toward the center, since that is where the most potato parts lie. It quickly becomes an almost perfect sphere, any irregularities crushed to the ground. Those in the center are pulled outwards in all directions equally, resulting in no overall movement. There is thus tremendous pressure exerted on the center of the potato by its own gravitational pull. AT this point, the core is squeezed to the point where its very atoms collide, creating enormous energy. The center explodes. The explosive force of matter and energy pushes outward, balancing the gravity pushing inward. The potato reaches an uneasy equilibrium: constantly exploding and imploding at the same time; a floating ball of fire in space. We have successfully baked our potato.

For the next few million years, our giant baking potato acts like a giant fusion reactor. It burns the elements in its core, producing tremendous force to counteract the constant pull of gravity. Simpler elements collide to form heaver ones, so hydrogen is the first to go. The potato eventually runs out of that, and gravity makes its move. The center compresses further, until it’s hot enough to fuse the next element up, helium. Being a potato, there isn’t much of that, and so the fusion cycle continues for a while. When it reaches iron, a strange thing happens: it isn’t fused. Iron is an incredibly stable element, and the amount of energy required to turn it into something heavier is beyond even our potato’s power. As the other elements are used up, eventually only iron is left; A perfect giant sphere of it at the very core.

Something tragic and beautiful happens then. Our potato has been burning for millions of years, and it’s all about to end. The potato has no energy left. Gravity wins. It pushes inward, and this time there is no fusion to stop it. It pushes the elements, the atoms, brings even the electrons together—a single moment and that which makes up everything touches, kisses, hugs each other for the first and last time—and keeps on pushing. The core becomes a point. Just a dot, with no width or depth or space. It’s only gravity now. The gravity of a former potato thirty times the size of the sun, all in a space so small it can hardly be called a space. The outer layers of the potato are brushed away into the cosmos by the aftershock of the event, to be forgotten among the stars. Observers far away might note an explosion in deep space, then they too will turn their attention elsewhere. No one sees what’s left behind.
The gravity of that single point which lies there is so intense that nothing can escape for one hundred miles away. Nothing. Not even light itself, the fastest possible thing in the universe. Think about that: a space the size of Honolulu, in which anything that enters never leaves. It was a potato once, and now it’s a hole in space itself. A black hole, if you will.

Our former potato—now black hole—still has close to the same mass it started off with. It’s in a smaller area, but the stuff it was made of is still there, in some form. Occasionally, a nebula or a star may cross its path, and will be swallowed by the black hole. What made up the star will be added to what made up our potato, indistinguishable in every way. As the mass increases, so will the size of its gravitational pull. The point at which even light itself cannot escape—called the event horizon—grows larger. As for the inside—there is no way to know what is happening inside. Nothing can ever come back to tell us. All we know now is that the black hole consumes, and grows, and eats, and grows.
But one day the stars will die.
Nebulae will disperse.
Galaxies will crumble away.

The universe will grow old one day, and our black hole will still be there. Eons will pass, and nobody will be there to watch the world’s clock tick, tick, tick; Our black hole will still be there. Humanity will become a distant memory, and the concept of memory itself will be forgotten—Our black hole will still be there. It will still be there, when everything else has reached its end.

H.P. Lovecraft once said that “with strange aeons even death may die,” and perhaps he was right. Black holes represent a sort of cosmic death, and black holes themselves will someday die. No one will be there to witness it, but space itself—the shifting quantum foam that softly bubbles everywhere—will take its due. At all times—even now—particles are created out of the foam, both of matter and its twin, antimatter. The two are born, then touch, then annihilate each other. This dance of death takes place all around us, every second of every day. We don’t notice it, since we don’t have to: The particles are gone as soon as they appear, leaving no net energy behind. Around a black hole however, things are different. If the particles appear near the event horizon, one may fall in, while the other escapes. The one that escapes must by definition have an incredible amount of energy, in order to flee the gravity well. Since both particles brought together produce zero net energy, the one that fell into the black hole must have negative energy. Einstein famously showed that energy can be converted to mass, so in some sense the black hole just lost mass. It shrunk.

Over an unimaginable length of time, this shrinking by quantum radiation—Hawking radiation, as it is called— will become noticeable. The particles involved are among the smallest known, so for a practical eternity they have little effect. Of course, we have forever to wait. One day the last star will die, and the only source of energy left will be hawking radiation. If there is anyone left alive, they will have to live off of its power, scant though that may be.
As the black hole gets smaller, the curve of the event horizon becomes more pronounced. This makes it easier for quantum particles to diverge, since the gravitational pull will be significantly different depending on how close to the horizon they are. The hawking radiation thus becomes stronger, and the black hole shrinks faster. Our black hole—once a giant potato the size of thirty suns— will die in an explosion of hawking radiation, millions of megatons flowing from an event horizon the size of a proton.

Our potato will be the dying light of a black universe.

Now that’s food for thought.



Further reading:

https://www.livescience.com/39620-how-big-is-solar-system.html
https://www.aanda.org/articles/aa/pdf/2013/06/aa20920-12.pdf
https://arxiv.org/abs/1511.08221
http://www.slate.com/blogs/quora/2013/11/12/what_would_the_death_of_a_black_hole_look_like.html

PS: Wow, I'm impressed you read all that! If you liked it, well, thanks I guess :3
If you're confused, good. The plan is working. MWAH HA HA HA!
-Yitz
Nepenthe - Yitz
This is the lowest price Nepenthe has ever had on Steam, so I'm both excited and mildly terrified! For those wondering, this is not the super-exciting news that's coming up. Trust me, you'll know when that's arrived :)
For now though — if you don't own Nepenthe yet, what are you waiting for?
Other than the zombie apocalypse, of course.
Because we're all waiting for that.

If you do own Nepenthe — good for you! I hope you're enjoying it (maybe not as much as the zombie apocalypse, but still), and please consider leaving a review on Steam :)
Happy holidays,
Yitz
Dec 18, 2018
Nepenthe - Yitz
In some Very Exciting News (for me at least; I can't personally guarantee you will shout in joy towards heaven), I can now proudly announce that I've teamed up with the developer of The Endless Empty to create a Steam bundle! This means that you can buy both of our games at a 15% discount, on top of any other Steam discount.
Yes, I'm practically throwing savings at you.
(It's to take revenge. Savings killed my family. To conquer my fear I now only attack with great savings. It's a heartbreaking story, really.)
Not only that, but we plan to get more developers involved in this bundle in the future—so we all can RULE THE GALAX-oops. Too soon to tell you that. :_:
So yeah, go get it here:
https://store.steampowered.com/bundle/9336/The_Surreal_RPG_Collection/
If you want to help, please consider buying The Endless Empty (I may or may not have cried a bit while playing), and leaving a review on our games. (My goal? 50 total reviews on the bundled games by the end of January. That should allow me to do some things I think you'll all enjoy...)


Yours non-falsely,
Yitz
Nepenthe - Yitz

Welp, the Steam Awards Nominations have begun, and I highly recommend you go and vote in that! Here are my submissions, and I have of course nominated myself as "best developer" because I'm a loudmouthed shnook. ;)
Also, Nepenthe is on sale (again)! If you haven't bought it yet, or you want to give a very strange gift to a friend, now's the time. If you do buy it, you get free eternal joy. Or at least a slight smile. Maybe a general not-depressed feeling. Or not. It's a surprise!
Also, also, something very exciting is on it's way: lol you're not getting it that easy! I think you'll enjoy it...
Yours,
Yitz

PS: If you haven't done so yet, please consider leaving a review on Steam. Positive or negative, it really helps me figure out what I'm doing right (or wrong), and lets Steam know that people are interested in Nepenthe.

PPS: If you have written a review, know that I've read it, and really appreciate your words. It means a lot to me. :)
...

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