Ongoing manga: Tengoku Daimakyō, by Masakazu Ishiguro

I dislike reviewing manga series when they haven’t finished; more often than not, how all the parts end up tied up together influences my view of the entire story. There are quite a few manga series that I follow and love but that haven’t ended yet, like Dungeon Meshi, Kaiju No. 8, Boy’s Abyss, Chi no Wadachi, etc. However, a week ago I came across the most intriguing manga in a good while, Tengoku Daimakyō (the title apparently translates to Heavenly Delusion), which has “only” reached chapter 55 (such series tend to end at about chapter 100), but that I’ve been looking forward to sit down and continue discovering what it has to offer.

This story is an odd mix of the Fallout series of games and The Last of Us (the first game, not the TV series, and certainly not the second game). We follow two storylines. In the first one, a bunch of kids are living in a controlled environment designed to raise them in a certain way while isolating them them from the outside world. The kids are tended to by AI, as well as by shady adults who seem to be guided by a cult-like drive to create a “heaven on earth,” where people won’t be discriminated in any way. You quickly realize that these kids slash test subjects have been manipulated genetically to whatever extent, and some of the most interesting scenes of that storyline involve children being unable to comprehend how utterly nuts their environment is; they are unfazed when they come across babies that look like alien squids, because that’s how human babies look like as far as they know. One of the children mingling with the rest straight up looks like an alien. We are only given a bit more information than the children, because we follow some of the adults that handle the operation. In general, the whole deal works like a Fallout vault.

The main storyline involves a twenty-year-old redheaded bodyguard who wears a cool jacket, and the fifteen-year-old kid for whom she’s working. They live in the post-apocalyptic ruins of Japan after some cataclysm destroyed a world that had achieved artificial general intelligence. Enough time has passed that the newest generations don’t even care how things ended up this bad. Anyway, for unknown reasons, disturbing monsters with superpowers are roaming the place, which has prevented human beings from establishing lasting settlements.

The aforementioned redhead, who is the main protagonist of this tale, was offered work by a sick young woman who promptly died, but not before bequeathing the redhead a ray gun along with the task of accompanying the fifteen-year-old kid to locate a place called Heaven, where someone who shares a face with the kid will need to receive an injection of a mysterious medicine. Our main couple sets off together to explore a ruined Japan. The redheaded girl also intends to locate the two people she remembers from before a monster attack landed her in a hospital bed for about a year.

The anime adaptation has already been produced. Here’s the trailer:

Troublingly enough, though, it has been picked up in the US by Disney Plus. This is a casually hardcore series that involves regular nudity, murder, The Thing-like grossness, a thirteen-year-old prostitute/hotel tycoon, rape, child rape, and such. There’s thematic stuff that Western fiction wouldn’t touch with a teen foot pole; for example, one of the settlements that the main couple comes across is controlled by a group of female supremacists that cut off women’s breasts if they are deemed too big, that kill any older men they come across, but capture attractive young men (and kids) to keep them as “seed pigs”. I have to assume that the anime, which I’ve barely started watching, must have been toned down significantly, which would be a shame.

All in all, fantastic worldbuilding, very detailed landscapes of a post-apocalyptic Japan, natural-sounding dialogue, cool fight scenes, and a narrative that gets sadder and more tragic the longer it runs. The only downside for me, quite minor in comparison, is that a couple of “evil” characters come across a bit over the top. Anyway, check Tengoku Daimakyō out. Or don’t. Do whatever you want.

We’re Fucked, Pt. 100: AI-generated audiochapter

For a measly hundred euros, I will share all my knowledge of the Younger Dryas cataclysm. This audiochapter covers chapter 100 of my ongoing novel.


  • Leire: a vexing thief that hangs out in the sewers under Riften like a common rat
  • Alberto the blob: Argonian fellows

I have produced audiochapters for this entire sequence so far. A total of two hours, five minutes and two seconds. Check them out.

We’re Fucked, Pt. 100 (Fiction)

The mound of sentient ooze pulses with a sloshing noise, as if it were gulping down foodstuff to fuel its bloat-bound brain.

“Leire, you need to stop having a meltdown every few minutes.”

I take a deep breath as I wipe away my tears with the pad of my thumb.

“What I need to do,” I start in a slow drawl, “is grab the spare umbrella and head home, and by home I mean mommy’s apartment in the hills. The trip back there is going to feel like a journey to another galaxy, but the hot tongue of my petite amie will purge my memories of slimy, eyeball-studded freaks. After having been so thoroughly humiliated by a gelatinous mass of putrid flesh, I need to be hugged and fucked by mommy to keep the dark thoughts at bay. You can return to your realm of rotting slime, and leave me the fuck alone.”

A gloopy chuckle slurps through the blob’s bulk.

“Oh no, we ain’t done yet.”

“Sure we are.”

“You want a repeat of this evening, more hours of wasted overtime at the office, filled instead with you and I arguing? Why not? After all, you don’t care if you get fired.”

My eyelids twitch.

“By all means, please keep pestering me until I slit my wrists.”

“I’m going to force you into a lucid state by any means necessary,” the blob assures me acidly, “and I swear that we will sort this shit out before you leave tonight, because I have dealt with you as much as I can handle.”

“Why don’t you come over here and shove your ‘any means necessary’ up my ass, you quivering wad of phlegm?”

“I’m not going to punish a masochist like you with a good time. Now, I can’t expect someone who has lived a lifetime as a pile of garbage to change overnight, but I will get you to hear me out and learn the true scope of our problem.”

I groan, then run my fingers through my hair. For a second I fear that my hand will come away sticky with black ooze.

“Fuck me with a spiked dildo,” I grumble. I crack my neck, I loosen my shoulders. “You want to share a part of your universe with me?” I extend both arms, palms up, toward the interdimensional intruder, and make beckoning motions by curling my fingers. “Alright, spit it out!”

The office light fixtures are casting their cold glow on the blob’s putrid sludge and his dozens of eyeballs, that stare blankly as they bob like corks. The drumming of raindrops against the windows, along with the low rumble of thunder, have given way to an oppresive silence interrupted only by sloshing and slurping noises emanating from the bulk.

“Earth to cum monster!” I shout.

Alberto harrumphs, and a glob of slime, airborne debris that resembles a greasy pebble, splats into a puddle.

“Are you truly willing to hear me out, or are you going to pull out a fork and stab yourself in the neck again?”

An electric echo crawls up my spine. I remember that drive to dig my carotid artery, and the agony that sewed my mouth shut. It makes me shudder. I rub whatever remains of the four-holed wound from when I attempted to kill a rotten bitch.

“Of course you witnessed that as well, you unmitigated fuck-weasel. Yes, I’ve had my share of stabbings and forkings and plenty of other shit I prefer to keep to myself. I committed atrocious acts when I had to. Regardless, I will listen, as long as you have something intriguing to tell! Then I’m gone. I intend to finish off what’s left of the evening sucking on mommy’s nipples like a starved infant.”

“Can you care about anything other than yourself and your buxom lover?” the blob asks, his voice tinged with irritation.

I huff.

“I’m telling you, dude, some of the stuff that went down in this sorry excuse for a planet is, in fact, rather enticing! Do you know about the Younger Dryas cataclysm?”

“What? The Younger-what?”

“Picture this scenario: we’re in the Late Pleistocene, a period when much of North America, from the Canadian arctic down to Missouri, was buried under three-kilometers-thick glaciers. Back then, woolly mammoths, dire wolves, sabre-toothed tigers and ground sloths inhabited the frigid wilderness. They didn’t bother to build cities or write stories or any of that shit: they enjoyed the great outdoors, as well as the pleasures of eating, drinking, swimming in freshwater ponds, rolling in a mound of fresh dung to warm up, and fucking each other senseless, for thousands of generations. That megafauna may have taken delight in some of the most liberal sex positions ever practiced by the animal kingdom. They also suffered, mourned, and remembered their friends and family. Imagine these beasts in the frozen wastes of Alaska and the Yukon territory, their skulls buried in so-called ‘muck’ deposits that nowadays you can excavate from tundra and glacial soil. In the skull fragments, scientists discovered impact-related microspherules, tiny beads formed in the heat of a cosmic impact.” I take a deep breath while my heart pounds against my ribcage. “What evil force snatched such magnificent creatures from life, from our realm, leaving behind nothing but the smear of their existence? The answer lies beyond our planet, in the vast reaches of Arachne’s web, that binds the universe together. An alien spacecraft approached Earth, carrying some interstellar creep, a demigod of destruction whose mission was to crash his ship into our planet as revenge. JK, just joking, as humans like to say. A large short-period comet must have fragmented within the inner solar system. Drawn by Earth’s gravitational pull, flaming chunks of rock from another world bombarded ours. The sky flashes. The ground trembles with the shockwaves of titanic impacts, enough energy released to blast your shitpile through a hundred walls. Bursts of rocks and ash plume over hundreds of kilometers. The ice sheets melt, turning the oceans into a bloodbath of brine and slurry. Massive firestorms rage across forests and savannas and grasslands, burning ten percent of the world’s biomass to soot, while a blanket of atmospheric dust blots out the sun. In the chaos that ensued, a lone entity escaped the wreckage of his spaceship: a deity with eyes like liquid flame, with tentacles for hair. The incarnation of despair, a malevolent force from beyond time and space.” I gulp down the knot in my throat. “The region where these fossils were found, known as Beringia, was part of the largest circumarctic landmass to remain unglaciated, a refuge for Plio-Pleistocene tundra-grassland plant species, and the now-extinct megafauna. So we can assume that those noble beasts went extinct both from a cosmic bombardment and from an alien tentacle god with an egotistical cunt’s idea of fun. A fascinating albeit chilling story, don’t you think, dear Blobbert? I’m an authority on the Late Pleistocene, as I visited it briefly.”

A guttural groan reverberates from deep within the putrid bulk of ooze.

“What the hell are you prattling on about?!”

“Did I strike a nerve? I shared my knowledge of the Younger Dryas cataclysm, born from a comet and an intergalactic god-monster, as a gift to you. Imagine all the contemporary species larger than a goat, then kill off sixty-fucking-five percent of them; that’s how many of the mighty Ice Age megafauna disappeared forever. And the global sea level rose by a hundred and twenty meters. Can you comprehend such catastrophe, how much misery it brought? Can I make you, a gooey puddle of sewage, listen to the screams of the victims as they suffocated in a sludge of melted glaciers? The Younger Dryas cataclysm happened, in the grand scheme of things, yesterday. You were spawned in the post-apocalypse! Your genes are scarred with the fear that the sky will fall on your head.”

“Are you kidding me? I don’t give a flying fuck about your pet rocks and your tentacle-haired cunt god!”

I narrow my eyes. I’m getting fed up with this monstrous ignoramus.

“In Arachne’s name, I swear you must have fished your brain out of a lake filled with cat poop.”

“Your morbid obsessions are completely irrelevant to what I’m struggling to convey to you.”

I rub the bridge of my nose and sigh. I picture my right hand clenching around the handle of the office door, about to pull myself out of this hellscape. The sooner the better.

I glower at the blob as I spread my arms wide.

“Then spit it out already, sludge-for-brains! Here I am, ready and willing. Tell your story or perish!”

Author’s note: today’s songs are “The Same Old Rock” by Roy Harper, and “Waitin’ Around to Die” by The Be Good Tanyas.

I keep a playlist with all the songs mentioned throughout this novel. A hundred and fifty-six songs so far. Check them out.

Leire didn’t pull the stuff about the Ice Age (entirely) out of her ass. I recently came across this scientific paper. In addition, my protagonist attempted to kill a rotten bitch back in chapter 14, as the climax of the sequence titled “I’m Killing a Rotten Bitch.”

Do you want to hear this chilling chapter acted out by AI-generated voices? Check it out.

So, a hundred chapters of this shit, huh? I started the story back in October of 2021, attempting to pump out a novella after I abandoned my previous two ones. I’m not sure how it ballooned to such an extent. Anyway, I know that a few souls out there have followed this story from the beginning, probably out of morbid curiosity. Thank you. I won’t say that I couldn’t do this without you, because I was doing this alone until I started posting my crap on the internet a few years ago.

Still fifteen or so chapters to go.

We’re Fucked, Pt. 99: AI-generated audiochapter

Yet another entry in the saga that involves a lunatic arguing with an uglier lunatic. This audiochapter covers chapter 99.


  • Leire: the best blonde infiltrator in Riften
  • Alberto the blob: loads of scaly dudes that you met in Oblivion

I have produced audiochapters for this entire sequence so far. A total of an hour, fifty-six minutes and twenty-nine seconds. Check them out.

We’re Fucked, Pt. 99 (Fiction)

A bolt of lightning slashes the darkness, throwing the office into harsh relief. Alberto the blob, a viscous and putrid mural of shuddering goo, glistens wetly under the harsh light, and his myriad of eyeballs reflect my own dreadful image back at me.

“I wish I were riding your current high,” I say, “burning with self-righteousness, able to discharge your pent-up anger against someone else. I’d prefer, though, if you had chosen a target who did something worthy of your ire: an actual asshole.”

“You think that people can only get angry at what you do? Is that why you keep busy playing with yourself while ignoring your responsibilities, including your job and your basic needs? Your inaction can ruin lives.”

My stomach knots tighter.

“Don’t try to make me responsible for others,” I plead. “I can’t even take care of myself.”

The blob ripples like a sea of black slime and eyeballs.

“Unfortunately, the responsibility only falls on you, a weirdo who would rather be miserable than improve. You’re the one who can listen to what needs to be done, the sole person suited to stop a cosmic shitstorm. Isn’t it fitting, though? We need an aberration to beat another.”

I hunch over, and as I rub my eyelids, I seek a mental refuge from this deluge of insanity. I see her face, the glowing visage of Jacqueline, my all-encompassing muse, a pearl beyond price. Her ivory-white skin is framed by a raven-black cascade of lustrous hair. Her cobalt-blues are locked into my eyes without disgust. The rosy, wet cavity of her mouth tempts me like a fountain of potable water in a scorching day. Please come and save me from myself.

“Wh-why do I have to be the one?” I complain weakly. “Jacqueline also worked with you, for much longer, and she isn’t as eager to forget human beings as I am. She would try to understand you and help you cope. Hell, she even believes me when I open up about the otherworldly stalkers by whom I’m routinely harassed, although she’s never suffered the misfortune of gazing upon your abominable forms.”

“Sure, your girlfriend slash mommy would have done a bang-up job, if only for reminding me of the most carnal pleasures of my former world.” The blob snickers. “But nope, we are stuck with a self-defeating sack of shit, a pathetic wreck with more anxiety attacks than brain cells, who can barely accomplish the most basic of tasks, who’s never had the guts to start living, who can’t see farther than her own disgusting orifices. The perfect package for a universe on its last leg!”

I gulp down bitter acid, then take a lungful of stinging toxins.

“Again, why me?”

“Because your mind was open and ready for a trip through the cosmic craphole, Leire. What, you want me to make it simpler? You’re a walking heap of psychological garbage. In the old days, you’d have been locked up in an asylum. I had the inkling that you wouldn’t go crazier even when contacted by sentient abominations, but you still surprised me by taking the visits in stride, as if some people just happened to be accosted by teleporting horses.”

I grind my teeth.

“I’ve done nothing but rage against you fuckers.”

The blob’s legion of eyeballs catch the erratic flicker of lightning, shimmering like tiny stars caught in a sea of filth.

“Hey, cheer up, girlie! In these enlightened times, you can become the champion of interdimensional gods, which is what I’ve fancied myself to be since I escaped your realm of rot and decay.”

“If people actually worshipped you,” I grumble, “I would understand if they also persecuted anybody who depicted your image.”

The blob chokes on a chuckle, glugging noisily. My gaze wanders from my former coworker’s grotesque bulk to the black screen of my computer. Leire the Demented Seer, the Chosen Paladin of Interdimensional Gods. Sounds better than being a struggling office worker that has to curb her intrusive thoughts about shoving random penis-shaped objects into her orifices.

“Enough bullshit,” the blob barks out. “You’re going to wake up right now. You’re going to open your eyes and start taking life seriously. Time has been running out for everyone since you disregarded my warning back in your defunct car.”

I cross my arms over my chest.

“You creeps have done an atrocious job of convincing me that these supposed warnings were urgent. Perhaps you left your brains behind in some other dimension, where you should have stayed for all I care. Besides, I can’t shake the feeling that you’re lying about a cosmic threat, that you just want to fuck with me.”

The wall-wide mucus-and-eyeball-ridden monstrosity stirs like an organic tide.

“Look here, you clit-loving lunatic,” the blob snaps back in a wet gurgle. He coughs up a glob of tar onto the carpet. “An impossible message flashing across your Renault Laguna’s dashboard would have disturbed any other human being into lucidity.”

“Didn’t we discuss that already? No, we ended up arguing about my car’s supernatural powers. What did you write across the dashboard, then? ‘A horse with a dick for a head will fuck you before you die’? Such a warning might have sent me running to the psych ward.”

Gooey innards ripple and slosh in the gelatinous bulk.

“‘We’re fucked,’ damn you!”

“What was that?”

“The message I wrote on your dashboard, which you ignored as if it were junk mail, was ‘We’re fucked’!”

I grimace.

“That’s all the fuck you wrote?”

“How much clearer could I be?” he snarls. “It means that you’re fucked, that I’m fucked, that the universe is fucked!”

A knot expands in my throat, and I lower my gaze to the puddles of black goo seeping into the carpet. The slanted rain is drumming on the windows. Thunder crackles. The absurdity of it all bubbles up inside me, shoots up my esophagus, and bursts out into laughter that ricochets off the office walls. Mine is a despairing laughter tinged with madness, the sole human sound amidst the rainstorm and the blob’s otherworldly gurgles.

“Do you recall that message, then?” Alberto asks impatiently.

I raise my gaze to meet the wall-wide mass of putrid slime. His countless eyeballs are scrutinizing me like a cop eyeing a perp.

“Nope,” I say in a strained voice, “you may as well have made it up.”

The blob heaves as if I had punched his gut.

“Again with your self-imposed amnesia?!”

“Doesn’t matter. I get your point: we’re fucked.” I slide my palm down my face as the back of my eyeballs grows hotter. “That’s what you wretched snot-fondler sent as a message of utmost urgency? As eloquent as a dead rat’s turd. Of course we’re fucked, you oversized cum-sack! That much I understood since I crawled out of the womb broken, since my parents failed to behave towards each other like human beings, let alone raise a functional, healthy child. Billions of people born to struggle daily in this cesspool only to be rewarded with decrepitude and death. How many are loved along the way?” Tears well up, hot and stinging, but I press on. “I don’t need some interdimensional pus-clown to remind me of the achingly obvious fact that we’re all fucked. We never stood a fucking chance.”

Author’s note: today’s songs are “Karma Police” by Radiohead, “Game of Pricks” by Guided by Voices, “The Plan” by Built to Spill, and “Miss Misery” by Elliott Smith.

I keep a playlist with all the songs mentioned throughout this novel. A hundred and fifty-four songs so far. Check them out.

Were you looking forward to the audiochapter for this entry? Well, I was. Check it out.

It took me ages to work through this chapter. I’ve been distracted programming, and my mood has been let’s say quite low. Anyway, GPT-4’s API has been broken for days, who knows why, so I’ll likely write more prose than code in the coming days.

ChatGPT writes an episode of Friends

Tonight a thought crossed my mind: “What if ChatGPT wrote an episode of Friends?” Of course, it needed to involve a dinosaur.

My prompt:

Question. Write a script for the TV show Friends. The script should be about the group of friends coming across a live dinosaur. Answer: Let’s try to work out the answer step by step:

GPT-4’s answer:

Sure, let’s go through this in steps:

Step 1: Establishing the Scenario

First, we need to establish how our beloved group of Friends would come across a live dinosaur. One possible scenario is that Ross, being a paleontologist, is invited to a top-secret experiment where scientists have managed to clone a dinosaur, and he decides to bring the whole group along.

Step 2: Character Reactions

Next, we need to determine how each character would react to seeing a live dinosaur:

  • Ross: He would be thrilled and fascinated, trying to explain everything about the dinosaur to the others.
  • Rachel: She might be scared at first but then would probably try to make friends with the dinosaur.
  • Monica: She could be worried about the dinosaur making a mess.
  • Chandler: He would likely make sarcastic remarks and jokes about the dinosaur.
  • Joey: He might be excited and curious about the dinosaur, potentially trying to communicate with it or even ride it.
  • Phoebe: She would likely be concerned about the dinosaur’s feelings and well-being.

Step 3: Dialogue and Plot

Once we have established the setting and character reactions, we can start writing the script. Here’s a brief example:


ROSS excitedly gathers the group around a large, secure enclosure. Inside is a small, surprisingly cute dinosaur.

ROSS: You guys, meet Dino – the world’s first living dinosaur clone!

CHANDLER: (sarcastically) Oh, because Jurassic Park worked out so well.

MONICA: (worriedly to Ross) You promise it’s safe, right? And… clean?

JOEY: (excitedly) Can I ride it?

ROSS: No, Joey! This is a delicate scientific breakthrough, not a petting zoo.

PHOEBE: (concerned) But is he happy here? What about his dinosaur family?

RACHEL: (to the dinosaur) Hi, Dino. I’m Rachel. Do you want to be friends?

Dino ROARS, causing the group to jump back.

CHANDLER: (dryly) Well, that went well.

GPT-4 stopped the output there, but I prompted it to continue.

Suddenly, Dino RAMS against the enclosure, breaking it open. The group SCREAMS and backs away.

ROSS: (panicked) Everyone stay calm! Dinosaurs can sense fear!

CHANDLER: (sarcastically) Oh, well, in that case, we’re totally fine.

Monica is HYPERVENTILATING, clutching Chandler’s arm.

MONICA: (terrified) Ross, do something!

Joey suddenly makes a bold decision.

JOEY: (determined) I got this!

He steps forward, trying to wrestle Dino back into the enclosure. Dino, however, is unimpressed and flicks Joey away with his tail.

Phoebe steps forward, singing a calming song.

PHOEBE: (singing softly) Smelly cat, smelly cat, it’s not your fault…

Dino seems to calm down a bit, but is still out of the enclosure.

Rachel, seeing Dino calmed by Phoebe’s singing, steps forward cautiously.

RACHEL: (gently) Dino, it’s okay. You’re safe here.

Dino seems to respond to Rachel’s soothing voice, but he’s still nervous.

ROSS: (to Rachel) Rachel, keep talking! He seems to like you.

Rachel nods, continuing to speak softly to Dino.

Meanwhile, Joey gets up from the floor, dusting himself off.

JOEY: (to Chandler) You know, I thought that would go differently.

CHANDLER: (deadpan) Really? Because I think we all saw that coming.

Suddenly, a GROUP OF SCIENTISTS rush into the room, panicked. They manage to coax Dino back into his enclosure with some food.

ROSS: (relieved) Thank goodness.

MONICA: (still shaking) Can we please go somewhere less…prehistoric now?

PHOEBE: (to Dino, sadly) Bye, Dino. I hope they let you out to play sometimes.

The group, still a bit shaken, leaves the lab.

CHANDLER: (sarcastically) So, Ross, when’s your next show and tell?

That was a success.

AI news #3

If you are interested in what GPT-4 can do in games, check out part two of this series, because it showed how people are using ChatGPT for Skyrim and Fallout. Things have developed a bit further. The following video shows someone’s modded companion with whom the player can interact naturally, and who is aware of the world around her.

Truly amazing. As long as the world doesn’t end, imagine how amazing games will become in a few years. At least how amazing modders will make those games, if their companies can’t be arsed.

The following unassuming entry represented a turning point in how I use GPT-4:

Turns out that some clever people out there have proved that some prompts can squeeze significantly more intelligence out of GPT-4. The author of the video had the idea of pushing it a bit further by implementing the following architecture:

  • Given a prompt, ask GPT-4 through the API to give you three separate answers.
  • Send those three answers to GPT-4, asking it to act like a researcher and point out the flaws in those answers.
  • Send the answers along with the researcher’s analysis to GPT-4, and ask it to act like a resolver to determine which answer is more valid (according to the researcher’s analysis), improve it a bit, and present it as the final answer.

I have implemented that system in Python. It was very easy to do, as well. Although it takes significantly longer than just asking regular ChatGPT a question, the results are much better.

I thought about how mini-AGIs (Auto-GPT and BabyAGI) use GPT-4 to simulate artificial general intelligence, and I realized that if you can get GPT-4 to develop a list of tasks in a similar way the previous algorithm is structured, you can then link those tasks to the previous algorithm so that it executes each task in a loop.

I’m not that interested in programming an Auto-GPT at the moment; I’m happy enough getting a list of tasks that I can then send to GPT-4 at my leisure. However, I did code an addition to the previous program, one that sends an objective to GPT-4 and tells it to act like a manager developing a prioritized task list. In fact, as in the previous algorithm, it sends that request thrice, and then those answers are passed to a researcher, whose answer gets passed to a resolver as per the previously displayed algorithm.

Here’s the list of tasks that resulted from sending to my program the objective of programming a particular card game, one I’m developing, in the Rust programming language:

  1. Initialize the game engine, including a GUI that supports displaying cards and decks on screen.
  2. Create data structures to represent the different card types: Exploration Zone, Biomes, Encounters, Events, Resources, Afflictions, Player cards, and Portal cards.
  3. Load card data from toml files into the appropriate data structures.
  4. Develop a function to generate a random Exploration Zone card from the available Exploration Zone cards.
  5. Display the randomly selected Exploration Zone card on the top right corner of the screen.
  6. Develop a function to create the Biomes deck, selecting the matching Biome types as specified in the chosen Exploration Zone card.
  7. Ensure the first Biome card of the Biomes deck is displayed face up next to the Biomes deck.
  8. Develop a function to create the Encounter, Events, Resources, and Affliction decks based on the Feature icons from the chosen Exploration Zone card.
  9. Implement player classes (soldier, medic, scientist, scout) with their respective attributes and abilities.
  10. Design the player decks for 4 players, each with a unique role, and include a Portal card to allow escaping to the Hub.
  11. Design the Hub and implement the card drafting system for the Hub, allowing players to choose cards to add to their decks while trading resources.
  12. Develop a system for players to rebuild their decks while in the Hub between explorations.
  13. Design the goal cards that specify objectives required for each Exploration.
  14. Implement a system that tracks combos and interactions between cards, such as activating abilities based on certain conditions.
  15. Create a data gathering and analysis system for role combinations, deck compositions, and card interactions to identify balance issues and adjust card values and abilities accordingly.
  16. Test the game extensively, iterating on card mechanics, balance, and player engagement.
  17. Polish graphics, UI, and overall user experience to ensure an enjoyable gaming experience.
  18. Incorporate playtesting, gather feedback, and make improvements to game mechanics, card designs, and balance based on feedback and data-driven insights.
  19. Create game documentation, tutorial, or in-game help system to provide instructions and guidance for players on how to play the game and understand its mechanics.
  20. Market and promote the game, develop marketing materials and promotional events to raise awareness about the game, attract players, and grow the community.

As you can see, you could pass most of those tasks to the first algorithm, which would come up with a good answer.

I found myself at times copy-pasting ideas from a working document to the prompt I was sending to GPT-4. I thought that there must be some automated system that would pick the most appropriate domain knowledge for whatever prompt I wanted to send to GPT-4. I asked ChatGPT if it could come up with an answer, and it suggested vector databases. I had no fucking clue what vector databases were, but now I know.

Vector databases translate information into “webs” of data according to the distance between the elements, or something to that effect. What’s important is that if you query the database with some information, it will return the most similar information it contains related to what you asked. Sort of like a recommendation system.

The ‘annoy’ crate for Python seems to be one of the most commonly used systems for implementing vector databases, so that’s what I used. Now I just have to paste all the domain knowledge into a txt file, then run a simple program that registers the knowledge into the appropriate vector database. When I’m ordering the other couple of programs to either develop a task list or perform a task, they query the vector database to retrieve the most relevant domain knowledge. Pretty cool.

Interdimensional Prophets – Deckbuilder (Game Dev) #2

If someone had told me a few years ago, when I was obsessed with board and card games, that in a few days I would have developed a Python program that generates game cards effortlessly, I would have jumped for joy. Working with Python, coming from Rust in particular, is like going from aerospace engineering to building toy rockets; thankfully, a card generating program doesn’t require the speed and multiprocessing that Rust provides.

Anyway, check out the current cards I’m working with as I keep developing the program:

This is an Encounter card, which represent the weird shit that the team of explorers come across as they explore alternate Earths. The name of the card and the image are self-evident. The tree icon indicates that this encounter can only happen in a biome with an icon that matches that type. The row of icons below are the Struggle icons. In the game, the players should match those icons with their player cards to consider the encounter beaten. Those struggle icons depicted are Emotional, Cognitive and Environmental respectively.

Images courtesy of Midjourney, of course.

Here are some Biomes:

I know that the icon designs don’t match each other, but whatever.

I must thank again the most powerful large language model we have access to: GPT-4. It’s like having an extremely knowledgeable veteran programmer ready to help you at all times. For example, an hour ago I thought that the icons could use some subtle drop shadows. I had no clue how to even begin programming that, so I just asked GPT-4. After a short back and forth (in the first attempt it dropped shadows for the invisible part of the alpha channel), the icons now drop perfect shadows. How about that?

I have already started working on the Rust version of the game, using the Bevy crate, which seems to be the most advanced game development engine in that language. I have displayed a few encounter cards that move smoothly to the center of the screen for no particular reason other than that I wanted to figure out how to move stuff smoothly on screen.

Next up, I’ll focus on developing the necessary cards and Rust systems to make the following happen:

  • Design and generate an Exploration Zone card, which are the cards that determine which types of Biomes and Encounters can show up during an exploration (only those with matching icons can).
  • Display the Exploration Zone card in Rust.
  • Write the code to build the Biomes deck with only matching Biomes.
  • Display the Biomes deck on screen in Rust.
  • Write the code to build the Encounters deck with only matching Encounters.
  • Display the Encounters deck on screen in Rust.

We’re Fucked, Pt. 98: AI-generated audiochapter

No matter how grimy the material, AI voices will dutifully perform my chapters to completion, in this case chapter 98.


  • Leire: a greedy thief who offers you jobs at the Ragged Flagon in Riften
  • Alberto the blob: best voiced Argonians, from back in Cyrodiil
  • Jacqueline: the real Triss, redhead goddess

I have produced audiochapters for this entire sequence so far. A total of an hour, forty-nine minutes and nineteen seconds. Check them out.

We’re Fucked, Pt. 98 (Fiction)

I’m drifting back toward lucidity. I avoid meeting my gaze in the rain-slicked windowpane as I blink away the residual stardust. My brain registers again the noxious reek that’s invading my nostrils, that must have coated my clothes and hair and skin: mouldering corpses mixed with sewage festering in a latrine pit. The lump in my throat subsides enough for me to speak, though my voice is shaky and broken.

“Perhaps the nurses that assisted in my birth made a mistake. They didn’t prepare the umbilical cord right before cutting me away from my mother.”

“I can barely hear you,” the blob complains impatiently. “Unless you’re mumbling to yourself, speak towards your audience.”

I grit my teeth. After I wipe a couple of tears with the back of my hand, I swivel around in Jacqueline’s chair.

The wall-wide bulk of jellified, tar-black flesh looms at the opposite end of the office, looking like it crawled out of a swamp. The skewed reflections of the fluorescent light fixtures seem tattooed on the blob’s dozens of polished eyeballs.

I take a deep breath, and feel the stench of decay fill my lungs.

“I was thinking of everything that has gone wrong with me.”

“Don’t you do that often enough?”

“Most of the time; my brain makes sure of that. Close to my birth, still a drooling infant, I devolved into a trash heap of toxic waste, a vessel for desire and obsession, driven by uncontrollable impulses. When I could walk and talk and go to the toilet by myself, I became an unkempt houseplant withering in a corner. Anxiety consumed my insides like bowel cancer, and I wondered from where all my shit-ridden thoughts were emanating. As my tits developed, I had been living for years in a glass prison. A void within me, a gaping abyss that had never known warmth, swallowed everything good about life, leaving in its place a desolate, desecrated ruin. I had no clue how I was going to survive in this society. Should I have joined a war to fight for some obscure tribe or king? That would have been easier than attempting to endure broken-hearted in a world full of savages. I knew that no matter how much time passed, nothing would improve my life, and every night, when I lay down to sleep, I dreaded the incoming sequence of nightmares that would entrap me naked in a maze of tunnels infested with well-hung monsters, who salivated as they pawed at their genitals.”

A wave of nausea sweeps through me as if I were puking up my guts in slo-mo. I hunch over, resting my elbow on my knee. I wipe away the slime seeping from my forehead. I’m boiling with the self-loathing that gurgles in my stomach, and my mouth has become a well of vitriol ready to spill out with each ragged breath.

“The shrinks kept me blabbing to pocket my money,” I continue in a choked voice, “so I started my own therapy through masturbation. If I couldn’t love another human being, at least I would become a machine of self-diddling. I have spent hours upon hours of my spare time, and of any time I could steal from work, rubbing my clit or shoving into my depths rubbery contraptions that I found in alleyways or dumpsters, soaking my bedsheets and the chair cushions in a flood of warm secretions, because those few seconds of bliss numbed my heartache, and gifted me a break from the onslaught of intrusive thoughts and flashbacks with which my brain terrorizes me. I burn with an unquenchable thirst for sexual debauchery and depravity, no matter how perverse. Sex is my religion, masturbation is my ritual, and I’m the high priestess of this cult. My record is fifteen orgasms in one day, although I suspect that some adventurous women out there would ridicule my achievement. Anyway, at times I suspected that alien parasites had hijacked my cerebrum, brainstem and cerebellum to feed off the dopamine secreted during my bouts of auto-arousal. I wished I were strong enough to claw my face open so I could unspool the parasites and liberate my mind. After all, as soon as the itch in my vagina subsided, my depression grew again. I was regularly kidnapped away to flashbacks in which my kid self cowered in a corner, hugging her knees, sobbing, while monsters crept closer. Their hooves clopped on the floorboards. I felt the heat radiating off their hideous flesh. When I blinked back to reality, I found myself as a miserable aging woman detached from anything and anyone, a walking reservoir of self-hate that over the years had bubbled up into a tide of tar eager to consume the world. Most days, instead of facing more anguish, I would have rather entered the cosmic urinal through self-deconstruction, if you get my drift. Hell, I should have spontaneously combusted from self-loathing alone. We’re all going to disappear anyway, right? If not by our own hands, then by a pandemic, a nuclear war, a zombie apocalypse, supervolcanoes erupting, meteors plummeting out of the heavens… So we may as well hurry up and plunge into oblivion, let the abyss squeeze us dry of life’s little droplets until everything turns to dust. Many nights, as I lay face up, I gave my heart permission to shut down in my sleep, to spare me the torment. How could I make plans or care for my hereafter when I resented that I was born? But one day, a woman’s voice called to me from behind the mist on the horizon: ‘It doesn’t matter how old you are, how fucked up your life may be. I will take away your loneliness. I will save you from drowning.’ One organism had dared to reach out and touch my begrimed soul. Jacqueline,” I say, my voice cracking as I speak mommy’s holy name. “She ran through me like a full-bodied orgasm from all the ends of the universe. However, even mommy with her boundless love can’t glue together a broken vase that’s missing half of its pieces, so apart from those times when I find solace in Jacqueline’s ample bosom, I remain a wreck, an insufferable mess with no sense of direction, dignity, or decorum. I crave being ravaged; I yearn for little else than to be devoured, bones and all, by someone I could adore.”

The office falls silent, save for the rhythmic drumming of rain against the windowpanes. Using the back of my shirtsleeve, I wipe away a few tears trailing down my cheeks and a glob of snot clinging to my upper lip. The blob’s psychotropic gas keeps assaulting me. I thought he was allowing my words to sink into his slimy bulk, but when he speaks, his voice oozes with contempt.

“Is that all?”

I open my mouth, eager to deliver the coup de grâce, but I end up sputtering inarticulate mumbles instead.

“I… suppose so. It seems I have run dry of words.” I rub my throat. “I’ve gotten hoarse, too.”

“Get over yourself, you neurotic coward, you irresponsible cretin, you mental cripple who spends company money staring at horse penises!”

“I-I was only curious about how long they get.”

“I need a serious shower after listening to you moan like an aborted foal.”

I cross my arms.

“You do need a shower, although you’ll end up as a pile of eyeballs blocking the drain. Maybe you’re just a revolting monster incapable of understanding human suffering.”

“You’re too much of an asshole for me to feel sorry. My life was also riddled with setbacks and calamities, but look at me now!”

“You should have used ‘and,’ not ‘but.'”

A guttural chuckle reverberates from deep within the blob, sending ripples of tar-black slime across its mass.

“You think I haven’t caught up to your shtick?”

I suppress a shiver.

“Don’t know what you’re talking about, bro.”

“You navigate the world by arousing pity in the idiots that fall for your act. That’s what worked with Jacqueline, wasn’t it? That’s what gets you laid and keeps you from killing yourself.”

A flash of rage ignites inside me. I leap from the chair, then I jab my trembling finger at the blob as I offer him the most feral look I can muster.

“Hey, don’t involve mommy in this fight, you globulous gasbag!”

The blob snorts.

“You’re mad because the snot-slicked lump of gunk is right. Until that big-breasted floozy arrived in your life and turned you into her sex puppet, you were wasting away as a resentful sack of depression.”

“It’s none of your business how I wasted my life!”

The myriad of glistening eyeballs glare back at me as I grit my teeth and my eyebrows twitch.

“Alright,” the blob says, his voice laced with scorn, “we’re done with this farce of a therapy session. I won’t let you keep ignoring our problems any longer.”

Author’s note: today’s songs are “The View” by Modest Mouse, “Liar” by Built to Spill, “Birds Encouraged Him” by Jason Lytle, and “Carry the Zero” by Built to Spill.

I keep a playlist with all the songs mentioned throughout this novel. A hundred and fifty songs so far. Check them out.

Wouldn’t you love to listen to Leire whine, thanks to sophisticated AI voices? Check out the audiochapter.