Save Scum

XCOM 2 Skyranger loading screen screenshot.jpg

There are two kinds of loading screen in XCOM 2. The first is diegetic, and it appears when loading into or out of a mission. You’re shown an interior view of the dropship carrying the squad you’re sending into battle. When deploying, there’s a mission briefing projected on the wall of the cargo bay, including the code name, objective, and an image representing the terrain of the area of operation. Upon extraction, combat stats are displayed instead, giving you a qualitative indication of how successful your tactics were.

More important than the brief and debrief is the view you get of your troops. Flying out, you can see them shift in their seats, a mix of anticipation and determination on their faces. When returning to base, the mood within the Skyranger will depend on the results of the mission.

This loading screen is necessary to give the game time to load in alien combatants and procedurally generate the battlefield, but it also gives you valuable face-to-face time with the men and women under your command. It endears them to you, and it can give extra weight to any seat that might end up empty.

Continue reading “Save Scum”

Heap

Theory: The better you know someone, the fewer manners are required to engage with them.

Here “manners” are defined as the rules and customs your parents taught you so that you wouldn’t embarrass them in front of their parents and friends (Your parents were taught manners by your grandparents for the exact same reason).

Corollary: Presenting the above theory to family, no matter how well you know them, will not be accepted as an excuse for lack of manners.

Praxis: When I sneeze in public and a stranger says “Bless you,” I say “Thank you.” When I sneeze in the company of friends and someone says “Bless you,” I say nothing. My soul is not leaving my body, and I don’t have the plague. There.

Another: a haircut is not worth commenting on unless it fundamentally changes a person’s appearance. If someone gets a haircut merely to trim back or shorten their existing hair style, nothing needs to be said. This kind of haircut is upkeep, basically an act of hygiene. We don’t routinely compliment people for taking a shower or clipping their toenails.

Continue reading “Heap”