Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The "Warrior Gene"

Genetic Ramifications:
  • Rapid Processing of dynamic stimuli under stressful conditions
  • At the cost of Memory and Attention to details
  • Higher error rate
  • Ability enhancement triggered by Dopamine release
  • Higher resistance to pain
  • More easily Hypnotized
  • Less affected by Placebos
  • More likely to develop schizophrenia
"rs4680 (Val158Met) is a well studied SNP in the COMT gene. 23andMe blog summarizes them as
  • rs4680(A) = Worrier. Met, more exploratory, lower COMT enzymatic activity, therefore higher dopamine levels; lower pain threshold, enhanced vulnerability to stress, yet also more efficient at processing information under most conditions 
  • rs4680(G) = Warrior. Val, less exploratory, higher COMT enzymatic activity, therefore lower dopamine levels; higher pain threshold, better stress resiliency, albeit with a modest reduction in executive cognition performance under most conditions 
Roughly speaking, the predominant wisdom (known colloquially as the warrior/worrier hypothesis; summary at [PMID 17008817]) posits that people with Val alleles have increased COMT activity and lower prefrontal extracellular dopamine compared with those with the Met substitution. Val158 alleles may be associated with an advantage in the processing of aversive stimuli (warrior strategy), while Met158 alleles may be associated with an advantage in memory and attention tasks (worrier strategy). Under conditions of increased dopamine release (eg, stress), individuals with Val158 alleles may have improved dopaminergic transmission and better performance, while individuals with Met158 alleles may have less efficient neurotransmission and worse performance. Some evidence suggests that Val158 alleles are associated with schizophrenia, while Met158 alleles are associated with anxiety."

Friday, October 18, 2013

Quantum Identification Theory

"If you want to understand the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency, and vibration."

-Nikola Tesla

Our minds are wired to make sense of the world through discreet vocabulary. By placing a label on something, we make the identity of that something more tangible to our brains through a combination of adjectives, verbs, and nouns. To understand things, we need to know its identity so that we can figure out how we may interact with that entity in this reality that we believe in.

Who am I?
What am I?
What do I do with these abilities?

One can go about answering these questions in specifics, starting with factual nouns and adjectives, going from association to association in recursive fashion until we create a conglomerate definition that makes sense on the surface but falls short on depth as the composite definition is marked by restrictions and boundary limitations that never seem to be enough to describe an entire human being's state of being. We are always more than just a collection of nouns, verbs, and adjectives with the occasional adverb tacked on.

When the frequency changes, we change. Our discrete parts reconfigure themselves to match the resonance of the environment around us.

We are the collection of vocabulary words for that one relevant moment in time, but those words may become deprecated in the next timeslice. Definition of the self is not a series of discrete particles but a wave of potential definitions whose first derivative over time can be distilled into a function of discrete values within the coordinate space that our perceptions can observe.

Our minds are wired to see things as discrete atomic particles at any one moment in time. Fields of potential register with our subconscious. We perceive these fields by forcing an awareness of discrete definitions on a regular basis until a pattern becomes apparent. For some, the wave awareness comes from successive postings on social media and the like. For others, the wave awareness evolves from mandatory three pages of words written every morning.  These are all essentially snapshots of the wave at any one time. When awareness is repeated enough, we internalize the pattern on an instinctive level beyond words.

This method of cognizance leads to lucid actualization. By intentionally engaging in awareness of wave potentials, one begins to alter discrete particle definitions as they manifest. The self-fulfilling prophecy alters reality through repeated snapshots as anticipation of the next snapshot becomes a nontrivial factor of the recursive equation.

Anticipation eventually becomes prediction.

Friday, August 09, 2013


I am trying to figure something out.

Over my last thirteen years as a game developer, I switched jobs an average of every two years - Not always by choice. At first, it was because the studio I worked for got shut down or layoffs/downsizing/reduction-in-force happened after shipping the game; it felt like losing a family every time. I tried my best to stop it from happening, but it seemed that no matter how many 12 to 16 hour days I put in or how much the people I worked with really liked working with me, the result was the same... powers beyond my control and beyond the control of anyone I work with would force me to find a new tribe in a new studio and start all over again.

Acceptance eventually set in: "bad weather", "the circle of life", "nature of the biz", "price you pay to do something you love"... These justifications started to wear thin after awhile. I was paying attention to my counterparts at other companies inside and outside the games industry, and that was when I started noticing the pattern. It manifested to a point where it eventually became possible to tell when bad things were going to happen again. Sometimes, the patterns were tied to specific people, but always, they were tied to specific behaviors.

In the more recent years of my career, I chose not to wait for the people who employ me to lay me off. I got good at laying myself off before my former employer could start their own (surprise) round of layoffs. I figured that I could preemptively reduce the headcount and extend the runway before other people got reduced who weren't as flexible as me.

At this point in my life, I now understand that when you work for a company, the decisions that control your fate will not be your decisions, and they may be made by people who do not understand what you do and don't have the time to find out.

I want to make products that I believe in with a tribe that I can get stronger with over multiple projects over multiple years, but none of that is going to happen if I start over every two years. The only way to make this happen is to work for a very stable company and trust that I can grow within the established ecosystem there with its installed residents.... or make that company, myself.
    Today is my first day as an independent game developer. This is an experiment to see if I can succeed by just working hard, being good at my job, and managing who I collaborate with... all while believing in something. At any one time, the things I do need to come from a personal place. The best communications I have ever had with people were the emotional ones. The best code I have ever written was an emotionally driven analogy for some concept in the real world. The best things I have ever done in life were done with the full intention of somehow fixing myself... or those like me. This is a truth that I am at peace with.

    In order to succeed, I need to make this personal and tap into that emotional reserve, but I also need a structure to give the company's output meaningful context in order to achieve cultural resonance. This internal compass has evolved into three sharply defined tenets that relate to the concept of Identity, Agency, and Communion. These three points of a triangle are... The Ring of Blades!

    The Ring of Blades is in service to player experiences that...
       Express Identity with Passion,
          Actualize Agency with Skill,
             and Establish Communion through Introspection