31 January 2019

Elder Futhark Runes - A Comparison With Binding of Isaac

The beauty of being interested in multiple topics sometimes there may be an overlap. There's not a better game that has this much religious or superstitious content. As such it is a great option to take a look at how the game implemented them and how far they jump from what you may call the "real deal" as well as going through them 'cause if you do magick you would want to know about them. Though there are a ton of pages explaining these things.. meh whatever.

Binding of Isaac

It is a roguelike game that features a character called Isaac who flees from his mother who heard God's voice tell her to use her son as a sacrifice. Finding a trap door below his room he jumps down into the depths. You explore different levels literally cry yourself through them (your tears are your weapon in this game) get passive and active items as well as consumables. At some point, you have to decide to go to heaven or hell and so on and so forth.

This game includes a ton of references to religion, god, magick and more. Including nun-items, blessings, curses, tarot cards, runes, devil rooms and devil deals, angel rooms as well as character names such as "Isaac", "Lazarus" and "Cain" for example.
Well enough about the game. Let's get to the less game and more magick related part.

The Runes

The runes that Binding of Isaac implements are some of the runes of the Elder Futhark rune alphabet. To list the one's features in the game alphabetically[1]:
  • Algiz
  • Ansuz
  • Berkano
  • Dagaz
  • Ehwaz
  • Hagalaz
  • Jera
  • Perthro
The meaning of runes depends on many factors. Each rune has a transcript (a Latin letter) assigned to it as well as a symbol, a name, different meanings depending on the context as well as gemstones, weekdays, plants, giants, gods, elements, metals, planets, colors a picture and translations assigned to them.

ᛉ - Algiz (Eolh, Elhaz, Yr)

In Binding of Isaac this rune grants a shield that lasts for 30 seconds. This can be compared to the modern meaning of protection that is given to this rune. It also means that it's worth taking risks when prepared. It represents physical and spiritual power.

ᚨ - Ansuz

This rune reveals the whole map, including secret and super-secret rooms in the game. This rune means communication, meaning, creativity and creation. There are also some interpretations about "revealing" I haven't noted that down though. Well, it could've been something that was forgotten during the transfer of information via presentation. Even without that meaning it sort of makes sense, I guess.

ᛒ - Berkano (Berkanan, Beorc, Bjarken, Bjarkan)

This one summons 3 friendly blue flies and 3 friendly blue spiders. In the game, it represents companionship versus growing strength, the becoming, rebirth, fruitfulness, conceiving, creativity and therefore success. Er... is getting 3 flies and 3 blue spiders comparable to.. nevermind! Let's move on! this one's getting awkward.

ᛞ - Dagaz (Dag Daeg)

Dagas removes any active curses and grants extra health, as such, it shows the theme of purity. The rune means sudden change, unexpected situational change, still or faltering progress and guides to the light. Well given these meanings that are quite open the said function would definitely fall into that category.

ᛖ - Ehwaz (E(o)h)

This one creates a trapdoor that allows you to move on to the next level. Compare this to teamwork, trust, harmony, working together, symbiosis, friends and bringing work further together. While it does match the progressing further part the rest is pretty much left out.

ᚺ - Hagalaz (Heagl, Hagall)

The rune destroys all breakable objects in the room in the game while it is representing a breakthrough, huge change, dissolving, blessing, wisdom, "all-one", becoming complete and positive interruption of outer powers. Yeah, this one seems quite fine in its representation in-game.

ᛃ - Jera (Jeraz, Ger, Ior, Ar)

Jera is the rune that doubles any items in the current room. This does match up with the meaning of it quite well. Jera represents reward, a good time and safety. It does, however, only promise what you deserve. Assuming you didn't deserve any of the items the rune doesn't do anything. However, if you work for the items it will increase the outcome. Pretty nifty, isn't it?

ᛈ - Perthro (Peord, Pertho, Perthaz)

Last but not least we've got perthro. It rerolls all items in the room giving you a new chance on something different. This also fits very well since Perthro is the rune of destiny and of chance. Additionally, it represents the role of luck in the evolutionary process of all.

For Your Information

I have 25 runes noted down, which I probably will write about at some point but for now, these eight will do. I'll probably make a post about transcription of runes and using the transcription of once name to interpret my own. This is something not many people have done (to my knowledge) which makes it even more interesting for those fascinated in these topics.

Also interesting is that runes are supposed to have a very strong reaction. So, if you use a rune in your ritual it would probably empower it by a lot. Such a small simple symbol, so much power.

[1] https://bindingofisaacrebirth.gamepedia.com/Cards_and_Runes

28 January 2019

Guild Wars 2: Which Height is Deadly?

A few days ago I somehow ended up talking about falling damage with someone. He mentioned that it is known at which falling height (in-game units) it is deadly. What a snarky little detail. Wouldn't it be interesting to know how much it is in a more common unit? Well, let's do that and see what we can deduct from it!

In-Game Falling Death Data

On the page, for falling damage on the official Guild Wars 2 wiki, we can find a nice little graphic that shows how much %-health you lose respectively to which height you fall from. Due to copyright, I can't post it here so I have to describe it. It shows the %-health loss in a step of 10 starting from 0% and going to 180% and the distance in in-game units with a step of 100 going from 0 to 1500. It marks anything starting with 1500 as deadly even with fall damage reduction trade and 1250 units or higher as deadly without falling damage trait.[1]


A long time ago I already did a conversion from units to meters and feet. I'll leave this link to the post so you can check on it if you don't remember.

The conversion was 1 Unit is equal to 2.52cm or 0.083ft.

Now we just have to put in the numbers and do the calculation...
a) with falling damage reduction: 1500units * 2.52cm/unit = 3780cm or 37.8m.For feet it's 1500units * 0.083ft/unit = 124.5ft
b) without falling damage reduction: 1250units * 2.52cm/unit = 31.5m.For feet it's 1250units * 0.083ft/unit = 103.75ft
Well... that sounds ridiculous. I don't have anything to compare it to though. So let's see for a real-life equivalent to compare.

Most Reliable Resource

Looking through the interwebs there are a lot of stories about huge falls and indecisiveness of accurate numbers. Though according to a paper of NASA the fatal speed seems to be 16m/s on hard surfaces.[2] Assuming the acceleration due to gravitation a to be 9.81m/s² and the formula being V = a * t. The total time of the fall would be t = V / a, thereby 16m/s / 9.81m/s² = 1.63s. 

To calculate the distance of the fall we have to put this into the following formula: d = 1/2 * g * t²
Thus our falling distance is 1/2 * 9.81m/s² * (1.63s)² = 13.03m. (14.75ft)

Can We Calculate the Gravity on Tyria?

To do that we would need to know how long it takes to fall a certain distance or how long it takes to fall 1250, additionally it wouldn't be accurate enough compared to simply calculating the falling speed and acceleration between reaching two points during a free fall.

Nonetheless, it's still interesting to see that it takes twice the height in Guild Wars 2 to die compared to real life. Float away Sapient Beings, float away! 

[1] https://wiki.guildwars2.com/wiki/Damage#Falling_damage
[2] https://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19930020462.pdf

03 January 2019

Starting Off 2019 With the BEST DREAM EVER!

Looks like 2019 start off great. Seriously, I have no idea how you could ever come up with such a weird idea. Well, technically it's not me that created it who writes this text here, no, it's actually me that's where without me knowing, the unconsciousness.

From Time to Time

I have some weird dreams every now and then sometimes about video games. I remember having a dream about Minecraft and some Albion online, Shakes & Fidget game thingy. So, I guess it's not all uncommon to me. Though most of my dreams do make sense in some kind of way. This one though... it seems like someone had too many drugs. Let's just get to it.

The Dream

The dream started off with me being followed by some weird creature that's kinda like a purple alien hornet similar to the Queen Alien Hornet of Terraria[1], though instead of a longer part on the abdomen or a stinger, it was just flat. And for some kind of reason, it was following me and I had to run away. I suddenly was given a bottle with liquid in it and I felt the need to use it as a skateboard. After using it for a while I thought it would be faster after emptying it so I emptied it and continued skating it. The surrounding area was a mall with people and all kinds of stuff. There were some spots every few meters were you had or could do something that I can't even describe in detail. One time it was carefully smacking the bottle into a wine glass.. yeah, I don't know. At the end of the mall, I didn't know where it continued and I ran into a few dead ends. To get out of one that was quite high I didn't know what to do. I thought about jumping down but I wasn't sure about the damage it could do. So I threw the bottle down to see if it would break. It did not. This still hasn't convinced me from jumping so I went down the stairs which was when the alien hornet already got close and a reaper like a creature that seemed like it was following me as well stood in my way. I jumped over the reaper tried to get the bottle, which was now a coca-cola can that someone took and put into their pants. I followed them trying to get it but wasn't able to outrun the alien hornet that way.

If I remember correctly I woke up after that. It was too early yet since it seemed to be dark out. So I tried to get back to sleep. Successfully!

I had the same dream then, well, sorta. Again similar mall, still a bottle but I was followed by a zombie this time. Well, multiple so it seemed, as every few meters a new zombie followed me if I outran one, but I was much slower this time around, I tried to use a shortcut through some stairs down into an alley, but I wasn't able to skate the bottle slowing me down even further I tried to throw one of the mall humans in the way of the zombie... err... let's say at this point that the dream did feel like a video game, I wouldn't ever do that in real life. I even feel bad about hurting insects and try to avoid even that.

A Game?

Let's see.. so the goal was to survive or get as far as possible. We were followed by an alien hornet at first, later on by a reaper. There seemed to be a different mode or difficulty that had zombies follow the player. The player is given a bottle that can be between full and empty which influences the player in some way. and is used to skate through the level. In both cases the levels were malls. Different paths can give speed boosts if used correctly to outrun the enemy. Additionally, there were multiple mini-games and things that speed you up.

So, yeah. This can be translated into a game quite easily. It does take a few extra steps. There are too many uncertainties yet.

Also... no idea if people would play this. That's the issue with these... weird... games.

By the way, if you're a game dev and you want to make this at minimum giving credits would be more than appreciated. I'm certain my unconsciousness wouldn't appreciate you claiming this as your own, I guess?

[1] https://terraria.gamepedia.com/Alien_Queen
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I'm a B.Sc. Games Engineer and I created this blog to share my ideas, theorycrafting, thoughts and whatever I'm working on or doing.