Tuesday, July 8, 2014

"Dear Skyward Sword..." (On Game Intros and Hand-holding)

     Dear Skyward Sword,

I'm writing to tell you-

     Hm? Oh hey! I didn't see you there! What was I doing? Oh I was just writing a letter to my single most hated game. You know, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword.
I can't stand this game. This game is EASILY my biggest disappointment in gaming history. My second biggest disappointment was my pre-order of Brink, but that's a different story.With Skyward Sword I started out LOVING this game. The first hour or so of this game was fantastic. Sure, the mission saving that cat thing was really stupid and I didn't like the ceremony with Zelda (and the graphics and character design makes my lunch come up as violently as a snowplow) but it was off to a promising start. I really liked the game when I was in Skyloft; your hometown which floats in the sky.
But then you get to the surface and it just goes downhill from then on.

I could rant about how much I hate this game for a very long time but this is going to be different. It's actually going to be a little nice towards the atrocity that is The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. I'm going to finish writing my letter now so you'll see why.

   
Dear Skyward Sword,

     I'm writing to tell you that I ran into a very interesting game yesterday. I actually played a game that told me what to do even more than you did! It's called Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time. From the very start I was being told exactly what to do and how to it every single time I had to do something. This made me think about you. You had the courtesy to tell me what to do just once before you let me go and do it. Granted all you ever made me do was make me fetch things for you but this is beside the point. The point is, I found a game that did something worse than you.

Congratulations.

     ~Caleb E.

     There you have it. Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time could NOT stop telling me what to do and when. It was so awful I almost put it down for good. But I kept playing regardless of it holding my hand worse than any JumpStart education game. Then I was met with a surprise. Open world levels. That's right. After the linear intro level, in the style of classic Sly games, it threw me back in time to feudal Japan. I was dropped in among the bamboo and I was genuinely confused. It let me run around at my leisure! Then I showed up at the mission area and was, again,  instantly treated like I had an IQ equal to that of your household Goldfish. And by "Goldfish" I mean the cheese flavored snack. It's that bad.
Let me go back to the intro level.
The intro level is in four parts. First, you play Sly Copper, the suave thief. Second, you play Bently the hyper-intelligent turtle (he's the one CONSTANTLY telling you what to do). Third, you play Murray the hippo (he's "The Brawn"). Lastly you play Sly again to finish off the heist and travel back in time.
Now, during the second part, when you play Bently the Turtle, you have the ability to throw grenades.
 As you can see in this picture it is SUPER obvious what can be blown up with grenades, but they tell you anyway. Actually, they don't tell YOU the player, it's Bently telling HIMSELF how to do everything! It is complete absurdity!
So, you continue on through the level and he tells you how to precisely throw your grenades. That's fine. I didn't know how to and it told me. Whatever. But then you come to THIS part.


     As you can CLEARLY see there's a grenade symbol above a sewer grate, and since my mind can think faster than sack of rotten tomatoes I knew exactly what I needed to do. Guess what happens. JUST GUESS! You got it! Our friend "Bently the Brains" tells himself how to aim and throw grenades AGAIN! I could not believe it. This was an absolute insult to my, and anyone else's, intelligence. I was so upset with this game. This is where I almost put the game down and turned it off for good. But having learned from past mistakes I stuck with it because a single intro does not make a good game. It takes the whole game. But sometimes the rest of the game, like in the case of Skyward Sword, doesn't make up for the rest of the game. In Skyward Sword there was an awesome twist ending. Surprise! The rest of it was atrocious and didn't make the ending worth playing towards. This is the opposite for Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time. It started out awful but it got much better. Running around in this beautiful mountain village in feudal Japan is an absolute joy.

     I haven't gotten very far in Thieves in Time, but I'm very excited to see where it takes me. Sure it has its problems and many of them are AWFUL, but I'm having so much fun with this game.
Mind you, this isn't a complete review of Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time. This is about how badly you can start a game and how quickly you can annoy a player by telling them what to do. I almost gave up on this game because of how badly it started! That is no way to start your game, and switching level design is also a bad idea. This confuses the player, which it certainly did, and makes for inconsistent gameplay. This prevents the player from learning how to get better by playing it which is almost essential for getting the player immersed in ones game.

     Now you're saying: "But you just said you were loving the game! How is this bad?"

     Answer: I'm not saying the game, right now, is bad. What IS bad is the sudden change in the layout of the levels. I wouldn't mind this shift from classic Sly to open world if it was like that from the very beginning. I really like running around on the rooftops and pickpocketing enemies. What I think is bad is making the game start out like every other Sly Cooper game and then turning it into 'My First Assassins Creed'.

     All in all, as I said before, I am liking Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time, and I have a ways to go before I finish it. Will it stay as fun as it is right now? Will it end up just as bad as it's first twenty minutes? We'll just have to wait and see.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Something a Little Different... (A Review of the PS Vita)

     Hello again everyone!

Today I wanted to do something a little different. No artwork or updates, but a little review.
Two weeks ago I bought myself a Playstation Vita. One of these things: >LINK<
Never before has buying a console, hand-held or otherwise, ever made me want to review it. And not just the console itself but a few of the games as well. So I said to myself: "Why not review it?". So I'm going to.
Now, today I'm just going to review the game system. I'll review some games at a later date.

     First off I have to say that the system itself is fantastic in almost every aspect. I should also point out I bought the 2000 version, not the original 1000. The 2000 version has a better battery life, the obnoxiously large touch pad on the back of the system has been reduced in size, and it actually includes a little but of internal memory. The only thing that had been downgraded from the 1000 to the 2000 is the screen. Not is size, but in quality. This was done to reduce the price of the 2000 system, and it worked. The screen on the 1000 was an OLED screen and the 2000 has an LED screen. There's certainly a visible difference between the screens but they're both REALLY good displays. Don't believe what the internet shows you with side-by-side comparison shots of both screens. Because of the nature of the LED screen it looks AWFUL when photographed. In real life, when you hold it in your hand it looks AMAZING. I used to on a PSP (Playstation Portable) and I thought it had an amazing display. Well, the Vita almost DOUBLES its resolution and PPI (Pixels Per Inch).
Although the OLED screen may be positively perfect in every way, the LED screen is nothing to sneeze at. Seriously, it's fantastic.
The only problem I have with the hardware is the back panel. The one with the touch pad. There are games, like Borderlands 2, that use the rear touchpad for player input AT ALL TIMES. Sure you can customize your control scheme but you'll still end up punching or throwing grenades all over the place by accident.
The Vita, for me and my big hands, just doesn't keep my fingers away from the touchpad enough for it to be comfortable. There's another game, Tearaway, that uses the touchpad and ACTUALLY still functions well. There are sections in the game that use the rear touchpad and all other times touching or tapping it does nothing. That is a great example of how to use it without it getting in the way.
Out of all the games I've played on the Vita only two use the rear touchpad and I just named them. There's a built in game which showcases all of the Vita's functions but I don't really count that.

     Now for the biggest problem with the Vita. MEMORY CARDS!!!!! GRRRRRRR!!!!!!! I STILL hate the memory cards with this thing. The 1000 version does NOT have ANY internal storage. EVERYTHING had to be on a memory card. Their cards are made EXCLUSIVELY for the Vita. You can't buy a regular SD card and format it for the Vita. And their memory cards, when the vita came out, started around $30. For the 4 GB version! And they have an 8 GB, a 16 GB and a 32 GB card which got up PAST $100. So when the Vita first came out it was MORE expensive than buying a brand new PS3. WHY WOULD ANYONE BUY THAT? I guess it's appealing to all the techies out there, those who NEED to buy the newest and shiniest hardware, but it was just WAY too expensive for the average consumer. Seriously. With the Vita you have to buy:
A) The console itself
B) A memory card (let's say a 16 GB card. That'll last you a while.)
C) A case and/or screen protector to keep it in good condition
D) GAMES

     When the Vita was first released it was $250 retail price. The games are anywhere from $50 to $30 retail, Playstation's carrying case is $25 and screen protectors are $10 (I would suggest getting a screen protector for the Vita. Keep the thouchscreen nice a pretty). So, if you buy the console, a 16 GB card, two games and a case with screen protectors that's a potential $460. And with that much money you only got two games. Even I saw how much of a waste of money that was.
Luckily the Vita went down in price and then they released the cheaper and better 2000 version. The PSVita 2000 came with a download code for Borderlands 2 and included an 8 GB card for $200. So all you had to do was get one more game, a case and a screen protector and you only spent $235 and you just got the same amount of stuff which came to $460 a few years prior. THAT'S why I wait to get new gaming systems.
Only problem with downloading Borderlands is that it takes up about half of the 8 GB card. ...Fair warning.

     Now that I'm done ranting let's get onto the software.
The OS for the Vita is really nice, but I just don't like it as much as the PSP or the PS3. All of the applications on the Vita gets this little Button on the main menu.
     Even when you insert a PHYSICAL game card it puts a little button for it on the menu and you have to install it. The installation for physical games is VERY small. Anywhere from 100 KB to 2000 KB. This I don't have a problem with, it's the requiring of a button on the screen at all times. Sure, you can create folders for organization purposes but it just makes for tedious swiping and tapping just to get to what you want. Far as I'm concerned this is the only console that does this. I don't have much experience with the PS4 but I don't think it did this. All other console, of the ones I have played, have a designated slot in the menu for whatever games is inserted and it changes for whatever games is put in. Why have all the buttons everywhere on the menu? It's messy. I don't like messy.

     Now, don't get me wrong, I don't like the setup of the menu but MAN does it run FAST. You can have several applications open at once and when you want one closed it closes IMMEDIATELY. There's no waiting or lag or frame rate skipping. It's just DONE. The buttons on the menu are dumb but it's just SOOOoooooo smooth. It's beautiful. And it doesn't require a tutorial to use. I just grabbed it, booted it up and fiddled with it and I knew exactly how to use it in 5 minutes. It's fantastic.

     This thing has TONS of pre-installed software for various things. It has a web browser (that's actually not too shabby), Calendar app, Content manager, Email app, PSN Friends app, Google Maps, Messages (used to send messages to friends on PSN), Music player, Near (tracks how far you travel and finds other PSN players around you), Parental Controls, PS Store, Party (a real-time chat with PSN friends to talk while gaming over the internet), PS3 Remote Play (link to a PS3 and play select titles on your Vita), PS4 Link (I don't own a PS4 so I haven'0t tried it), Settings, Trophies (showcases all your in-game achievements), Photos (it takes regular and panoramic photos!), Video player and finally Welcome Park.
Welcome park is the aforementioned app with shows you all the different functions of the Vita through various mini games. These are ALL on where when you turn on the system right out of the box. I'm really pleased Sony put so many (optional) features pre-installed on the system. Besides Maps and PS3 Remote Play they all run very well and actually have a purpose. Why would you use your Vita for Google maps? The Vita doesn't have 3G so you can't use it without Wifi, therefore you can't use it when you'll most need it. And so many people have smart phones you'll NEVER choose Maps on your Vita over your phone. It's just silly.

     Alright, let me sum up.
PROS:
-Lightweight
-BLAZING fast software
-Awesome screen (still not QUITE as awesome as the OLED screen)
-Great battery life
-Plenty of games to love (or hate)
-Responsive buttons and touch pad/screen
-Charges VERY quickly
-REAL joysticks instead of those thumb pad things

CONS:
-Cards are expensive (price DID go down but a 32 GB card is still $80 retail)
-Only has 1 GB of internal memory (hence the required memory cards)
-back touchpad gets in the way of some games, regardless of being smaller on the 2000
-the menu gets annoying to use. (It's easy to use but not streamlined like the PSP or PS3)

     Well that pretty much covers everything. It has it's drawbacks, but everything else MORE than makes up for it.
Like I said before, no other console has made want to review it, not even the Nintendo 3DS with its fancy no-glasses 3D screen. In the case of the 3DS it's too much like its predecessors. The only things that changed was the OS, its graphical capabilities and its screen. It even has the same clam-shell design of its previous consoles. It's lazy and uninteresting. I only got the 3DS for Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate. Sure I found tons of other games to play and love (Cave Story is my FAVORITE GAME EVER) but the console itself is really nothing special. Yes, you can StreetPass other 3DS owners, but 5 out of 10 people don't have it set up and if they do they don't care because it doesn't keep you interested. I'm in that latter group. I just don't care.
Now the Vita isn't much different. It looks EXACTLY like the PSP, it comes with some useless software and it NEEDS memory cards just like the PSP. Well, that' s just on the surface. EVERYTHING has been improved from the PSP to the Vita (except for the memory card problem. It actually worse with the Vita). The buttons are so much more responsive, the 2nd joystick makes for SO many more possible games, the display is twice as good, the touch (front and back) and gyroscope controls add even more possibilities and there are TONS more games to download if you find the physical games insufficient.

     Many of the games for the Vita right now are kind of for a niche market. There are tons of Japanese games. Almost all of which don't appeal to the average gamer. Which is where the Playstation Store comes in. That's where you'll find those games you love. You can even download and play select PS One games. And if you own a PS3 there are some games that will play on both consoles. This game Flower is one of those games.

     My point is, the Vita has gotten SEVERELY overlooked because of its price. But now that it's down to the same price as a brand-new 3DS XL, what are we waiting for? This console is superior in almost every regard! The 3DS has all the games the little kids want but the system itself is dumb and lazy in design. Yeah the 2DS is a new design, which I applaud Nintendo for doing something new, but everything about it is so stupid. I could go on but that's for another time.

     If you can afford it, which I don't see why not because SO many people bought the 3DS, get the PS Vita. You just have to know what kind of games you like before you get it. Don't like modern Japanese games? Then look and see what other games it has, because it has a-lot now! See, I like some modern Japanese games. More than your average gamer but less than other gamers, so the Vita is just right for me. I understand not everyone has the same opinion towards games so all I can really say is: "Just, give it a try.".

     Hey, thanks for sticking around (to those of you who actually did). I had a-lot of fun thinking about and writing this review. Every time I get something new I make a little review of it to myself in my head. It was really fun letting it all out this time.
Next time I'm going to look at some games! One or two games, I'm not sure yet. We'll have to see how long the review gets. I'm sure they'll be smaller than this one, at least.

See you next time!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Steampunk Spaghetti Western

     I've done it. I've finally made another picture without thick black lines! The last one I made was a while ago and it was all icy and it was alright. I haven't even really attempted another picture without lines so this took me quite a while. I remember telling my coworker a few weeks back I started drawing this picture. Yeah, it's taken me that long. But I've been busy with work and many other things so I haven't been lazy, I've just been doing other things. Now let me show it off! I've been DYING to show this off!


     Okay, so this image was spawned from this idea I had about a game with the theme of Steampunk Spaghetti Western. I had this idea AT LEAST a year ago. Ever since then I've had this image stuck in my head and I couldn't wait to get it out. But I DID wait because I knew what style I wanted it drawn in but I hadn't done much of it at all. I wanted something gritty and without thick dark lines. And I achieved that. And I'm super happy with the result!

     Because I typically don't draw without lines, and this picture is VERY different from what I usually draw, I was worried people wouldn't believe I drew this. So I cataloged my progress. I have a GIF below and here's a link to each individual image. >LINK<

(I know the GIF is really big, sorry...)

     Well that was fun! It's very refreshing changing my art style and finishing a project that's outside my comfort zone. I'll certainly be doing more in this style but I may not post everything I draw. My brother and I are still working on a new project so this gritty stuff is pretty out of place.

     Speaking of which, I'm going to make another post on our game development blog, >LINK< in the near future, so be on the lookout for that! I'll reveal our current project and a little bit of info on the game. I'll also update the background to go with our new game.

See you then!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

In Which I Talk About Everything Going Wrong at the End of a Seven Day Timespan

     Hello, I'm back again! In the last post I showed you some picture I made using ink and coffee and they were a pretty big hit with everyone I know! I was super happy with that! I had decided to make a bunch more of them and sell the on Etsy.com. If you don't know already, Etsy is an online marketplace for people to sell the things they made by hand. They also have antiques and digital work people have made but the hand-made stuff is typically what it's used for.

     I was in the middle of opening a store but I realized not only do I not have any shipping supplies, but I don't have NEARLY enough artwork to open a store. That's when I came up with an idea. I'd recreate famous book covers using the actual pages from each respective book. And I came up with these:


     And they were also quite well-received! That's great, right?
Well, let me continue...

All week, from April 6-12, I worked my tail off trying to get these to work. And eventually I perfected them! I was super proud of myself! So I post make a post on Facebook talking about how I was going to open up my Etsy store and have them available for purchase. I was so excited!
But then something came up... Copyright laws came into question.
Crap...
It didn't even cross my mind that what I was making was someone else's creative property and I could get sued for more than I'm worth.
As it turns out I can't sell them unless I paid the copyright owner. You know who they are? Publishing houses. Businesses worth MILLIONS. There's no way I could afford to do that or dare go up against them. bad idea.

     I had five pages of artwork ready to be finished when I started look up the copyright laws. I probably read 30-40 pages before I found what I needed to know. So, now I have these unused pages of words sitting on my shelf waiting to be finished in my spare time, because I'm sure not getting paid to finish them!

     It was the evening of the 12th when I finished reading the copyright laws. I had spent my entire week perfecting these pages and made a post on Facebook about my intention to sell them. And people would've bought them! My brother said he would totally buy a copy of The Odyssey. But I can't.
That meant my entire week was a complete waste. I was super depressed and physically and mentally exhausted (mostly from reading all the 'legal speak') and I was about to go to bed.
It was about 12:30 when I dragged myself to bed. So, I walk into my room and notice something odd about my window. The screen had been pushed open. And there are four cats in this house.
I immediately close the door and do a head count of all the cats. My cat, the one cat I claim as "mine", is missing. So I rush outside to my backyard to find my cat heading towards the back fence. He sees me, knows who I am, meows at me and jumps the fence into the neighbor's yard.
AT 12:30 IN THE MORNING.
I even went back inside and got his back of treats to try and coerce him into coming back. But no such luck.
As you can imagine I had ABSOLUTELY enough of that day. I wanted it to end 7 hours BEFORE my cat ran away.

     I really didn't know what to feel. I was just done. I wasn't even sad at that point. Since I really didn't know what else to do I stayed up and watched Doctor Who. Two episodes later I hear something outside and then this TERRIFYING scrape all around the siding of the house. Then it stops. At first I didn't believe it, so I open the shades, slide open my window and lean outside (I took the screen out of my window because I couldn't get it back in.). Lo and behold, there's my stupid cat trying to get back inside the way he left. Again, I really didn't feel anything. Not for about another 10-15 minutes. Then I suddenly I felt like I could breathe again. And I was super happy and relieved. Typically when most house cats run away they're dead within a day. From some other, larger animal or from getting hit by a car. Ask ANYONE who has owned a cat that ran away. They will very likely tell you it died from getting run over by a car, or else never came back. I have a feeling if he never came back I would've been completely crushed by the next morning. So I'm incredibly thankful he came back, in one piece and unscathed.

     So that was my week. I thought it was going to be a terrible week, but it ended up being capped off with relief instead of being disappointed in not being able to open my store. Well, you win some, you lose some.

~Caleb E.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Fun with Pens and Coffee

          Woah. WOOOOOAAAAH!! Two posts in the same month?!? MIND BLOWN.
Anyways, so I've been hanging out here a while and I don't exactly have a-lot of art supplies. I brought my little box of pencils but I forgot to bring my new sharpener so the only thing I could use was this box cutter. I tried using that for a while but it started really grinding my gears. So  I kind of gave up on using pencils altogether. So what does that leave me with? Pens. So my mind starts going: "Hmm, why don't I try doing watercolor with regular ink pens.

And then I stayed up until 3 A.M. making things with this technique I've never used before...

I've seen similar things done but I've never looked up tutorials or how-to's so it was pretty experimental for me, AND I LOVED IT.
So here's what I got done. These are the ones I don't consider a failure. There are about four I'm not going to even show you. They were THAT bad.







And this is my Espresso series.




I have more Espresso pictures planned (I already have coffee stained paper ready to go) but I haven't quite gotten around to it yet. I'll let you know when I have more stuff done!

Monday, February 3, 2014

I DO THINGS AND I TALK ABOUT THEM. A-LOT.

          I'm obviously fantastic at keep this blog updated. You can tell by the impressive two-month gap between posts. I really have no good reason for that. It's been a long time so I said to myself  "Hey! Make a post on y'alls blog! Been a while, yo!" So that's what I'm doing.

          I am working on several things right now but a few things are being put on hold due to my current situation. I'm in Washington again! And my laptop isn't working properly so I didn't even bring it. Because I HATE technology. Sure, it's convenient WHEN IT WORKS. My 3DS had stopped working the day before and I had absolutely enough of it. So instead of spending all day everyday cleaning out my laptop I decided not to bring it. All I really wanted to do was draw and write. Both of which I can easily do on paper. The only thing I can't do on paper in make sprites for my game. I can do general design but I can't get into graphics like I wanted. But I guess at this point it would be more wise to stick with design. After all, we're not all that far into the game. And so, that is why I'm not getting much done. Now, for what my projects are.

          This first one I can't talk about much yet. What I can say is I was making it on my computer at home. Which means it has come to a complete stop. Worst part is I was making it for someone else. So, by coming here and helping my mom I'm letting down a few people and even missing Valentine's Day, which I was going to make plans for. : (

          The second one is my new game. Which, as I've said, I can't do much for right now. Just some general game design.

          The third, is a book I started writing for NaNoWriMo. The idea is for people to write a 50,000 word novel during the month of November. The site is a good way to keep yourself motivated. You can talk with other people about your work our discuss other peoples stuff. I'm yet to sign on and become an official user because I just like keeping my work private before it's done. You don't HAVE to post what you've written, but it's an option if that's what you're into.
I had no idea what I wanted to write for a long time until it started. It was about something SUPER personal, and it was on my mind all the time. I wrote about  it for maybe a week. (so I got about 12,000 words done) But as I got further into it it became something else and this 'something' I wasn't proud of. I started questioning my reasons for writing about this and what I wanted to express through this book. Turns out I wasn't sure what point I wanted to make. I knew my subject and what order I wanted events to happen but nothing else. It even had a conclusion but it felt so meaningless. So I put that on hold as well and went back to a book series I started when I was fourteen. Which brings me to...

          Project four! Like I said, I started this when I was fourteen, which was seven years ago. I outlined the plot to the entire series (which was six books), wrote two drafts for the first book and I started the first draft to the second book. I was VERY serious about making this series happening. I stopped writing because I estimated how long each book would be based on my two drafts of the first book. It was some obscenely huge number of pages and it was incredibly daunting. I remember the first book would have been over 1200 pages even when using a small font. And books in a series tend to get bigger as the series goes on. So I figured I would need to revise and shorten the whole story. Which to me was even more daunting than keeping my books mega huge. I guess I stopped working on it because the amount of work was so unnervingly big.
Seven years later I get to thinking about it again and how passionate I was about the story. I really missed that attachment. So I pulled out all my old artwork and writings and it was quite a blast from the past. Was it any good? Not at all. It was SO bad! But that's what I get for trying to write a story when I didn't do much reading. Or writing Or critical thinking. So it was a mess, a terrible mess. I'm very glad I've done a-lot of reading and writing before coming back to it. I probably would have left it the way it is if I hadn't. It's undergoing many changes, all of which will change the story in a big way. There are plenty of things I'm leaving the way they were, but even they will be forced to change with the rest of it.
It was just so, so bad... I guess I'll tell you the biggest changes.
In my original story it took place in two different worlds; the characters started in one world (a normal world) and were transported to another (a fantasy world). Like Narnia. In this revision it will only take place in this fantasy world, which will cut off about one-third of the first book. SO much of the first book was introductions and explanations. It was awful.
The next change was the amount of characters. In the my early drafts there was so many characters, all of which had back-story and some tie-in to the later books. Sure it all sounds fine in summary, but when it's written out in full conversations between characters, that's a-lot of unnecessary plot. I had four main characters (which were in every single scene of every book) in addition to the supporting cast. Scratch that, I actually had six main characters. Two were used for the first half of the book (one of these characters would then become a villain in the next book) which creates back-story for the next four characters. I had two different stories going on at the same time. It was bad...
Now I only have one main character (with supporting cast). Yeah, there will be plenty of people to love (and hate) but it only revolves around one character instead of trying to evenly distribute attention among four. So that there is also tons of fat getting cut off. I still plan on having all the books tie together but it won't be so convoluted. I'm really excited to get working on that again.

Project five! ...Do I have a fifth one?
1) A drawing for someone else
2) The video game I can't work on right now
3) Was writing a book and stopped to reevaluate
4) Going back to an old series and rewriting it

          Ah yes! as you may know I am always in the middle of reading a book and in the middle of playing a video game.
I am reading a fantastic book right now. Several books, in fact.
The first is written by someone I know, which it pretty cool. You can check it out HERE.
The next is The Drawing of the Three by Stephen King. It's the second book in The Dark Tower series.
Chronicle of a Death Foretold, which was a gift from a good friend (and I'm very much enjoying it, by the way...)
I'm also reading a classic Chinese novel that was first in print in 1592. It's called Journey to the West. What's most fascinating about this book is how it's written. Back in the Ming Dynasty it was very common for people to gather in a tea house and read stories to each other. This book is written like it was first spoken. some parts are normal and some tell of things through poetry. It's one-hundred chapters in four volumes. I'm almost done with the second volume. If you can stick with it's pretty rewarding. At least I think so...
And lastly I am trudging my way through War and Peace. By "trudging" I don't mean it's bad, I think quite the opposite. It's just SUPER long.

          Since my 3DS is broken I am playing on my old Nintendo DSlite. The game I'm playing right now is called Radiant Historia. It's for the Nintendo DS and it's fantastic! It's a JRPG and it has turn-based combat, but it has a little tactical twist to it. You can read about it HERE. The story is fascinating but it's still unfolding. there are two armies at war and you are a soldier. You're given this book called the White Chronicle which allows you to travel back and forth through time so what you do in one timeline affects what you are capable of in another, and you can correct any mistakes you may have made. Only problem I have with this is you can do anything with absolutely no consequences. It's incredibly fun though. I would recommend it to anyone that's a fan of the Final Fantasy games.

          So that's that's what I've been up to. And congratulations to me for breaking my personal record for longest blog post!!! That's all I got for you. This is post is just an update. I really have nothing to show off. If you're interested the other blog my brother and I post to in HERE. That's the most recent post. I'm sure Josh will make a new one soon.

If this was too long I'll summarize for you...

"I do things and I talk about them. A-lot."

Monday, November 18, 2013

Post-Hiatus

     Hmm... What has happened since last I wrote? Plenty. I started my internet hiatus on September 5th and ended it on October 5th. It didn't start out that well, but got better as it went on. I put a website blocker on a TON of websites to (hopefully) prevent me from getting distracted when I used the internet for work. But I found out I could turn off that blocker by pushing a single button on my browser. Way to go, designers. That really helps... I found myself clicking that button and browsing Reddit.com for hours. So that filter didn't help at all. It was easy for me to avoid Facebook because I barely use it anyways. But Reddit on the other hand, I couldn't go an hour without looking at the front page. I eventually got over that and controlled my urge to click that button and turn of the site blocker. After that I barely used the internet at all.
 
     I started writing a book. Again. For the third time. I like writing but I never seem to get it all out onto a page. When I do it usually turns out alright. Here's the big problem. I don't have MS Office on my computer. Or even MS Word for that matter. So I've been using the generic WordPad that comes with windows. It's DREADFUL. Absolutely awful. There's no spellcheck, it's not divided into pages (it's one long, infinite page) and there's not even a word count. And I don't think I could insert any images if I wanted to. It's pretty bad. It feels like being an artist while being stuck with MS Paint, which I've felt before. I had to scrounge up paper and a pen from somewhere in my grandmother's house. I'm getting by, but as soon as I can afford MS Office I think I'll be getting. There's been more than one occasion where we needed a computer with Office and we didn't have it.

     I'm still working on the game my brother and I have been making. In fact, he (my brother Joshua) just made a new post on our development blog! Which you can check out HERE.
He talks a bit about what we've done wrong and we're finally getting right. Like I've said many times before, this is a huge learning experience for us. Mainly learning what NOT to do. But, over the course of all this I have gotten more proficient with making sprites and Josh has gotten exceeding well at programming. I think when we finish this game and start the next, we'll get it done much faster. It actually depends of which game we decide to make. They vary in size and complexity.

     I really like writing and this book is very person for me. It means a-lot. I find myself choosing between getting this book done for myself or getting this game done for both Josh and I. I end up choosing the latter, but I still find time to sit and write for a little while. This game needs to take priority because I'm not the only one who wants this game done. It's more than just me in this, which I sometimes make the mistake of ignoring that fact. I glad to say I'm learning not to make that mistake. I don't like being torn between two projects, but I'm getting by just fine and I'm learning to make wise choices in the midst of it.

     There's been much more going on in my life, but that's for another time.
Thank you, Joshua, for posting something on our blog, therefore encouraging me to do the same. It's been far too long. I'll come up with something to post on our development blog within the next week or so, so keep an eye out for that.
And thank you to whoever is reading this! I know I don't always have much to say, especially these last few months, but I'm trying to keep up. It means a-lot to me that people actually read this blog. This blog and the one for me and my brother.

     Oh! I do have something to show you! I made a wallpaper in anticipation for Pokemon X and Y that was released a little while back.
These are Desktop sized ones: http://imgur.com/a/BNH1B
And these are smart phone sizes: http://imgur.com/a/964jR

     That's all I have for now. Like I said, I'll try and post something on our other BLOG.
Until next time!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Hiatus

     As of today I'll be taking a month-long hiatus from the internet. Every single time I've taken I hiatus from something nothing but GOOD has come from it. I disconnected all my devices from the internet, like my tablet. I've kept my computer connected so I could at least write this and post it.

     I've been getting lazy (for a LONG time now) and it's effecting me and the people around me. The internet has been an enormous distraction for me, and not just with my "business" but my life in general. I'm not keeping in contact with my friends, I'm constantly distracted from working on my game and I'm distracted from getting a REAL job. I can't even tell you the last time I opened my Bible on my own volition, and it's ruining me... very... slowly...

     When I was younger I was addicted to comic books. Every penny I earned or received as gifts went straight to getting more comic books. It was all I could think about and I spent every day looking up more info about comic books and what happened in each issue. The Amazing Spider-Man was my drug. I used to be able to tell you exactly what happened in EVERY comic for the first thirty issues and every milestone from then on. I had a mental list of EVERY single comic I wanted and which comics came before and after that would complete the story. I even started a fund  for the single purpose of buying Amazing Fantasy #15, which is Spider-Man's very first appearance.
I couldn't drive yet so I always asked my brother if he could drive me to the comic book store. If he said no I got angry. VERY angry. In my puny, stupid mind it was them at fault for never letting me go, or never taking me, to the comic store.
     Then one day my parents had enough. My entire family had enough.
We went out for dinner and across the street was one of the comic book stores I went to fairly often. So I asked if we could go after dinner and they said no. I got angry again, accused them of NEVER letting me go there.
Turns out they wanted to talk to me. After they told me shut up and listen (in a kind way, just so you know...), they told me I was grounded from comic books. That included buying and selling my comic books, and even trading issues with my friend. And above all, I could NEVER go to the comic book store. For how long, might you ask?
A year.
Three-hundred-sixty-five days without my drug, and NO WAY to curb my cravings.
After a few months, I didn't even care about comic books. Sure I read the ones I had and kept them on my shelf, but I never asked to go to the store, never bought any secretly or traded any without my parents knowing.

I am SO glad I got punished like that. It's seriously one of the best things to ever happen to me. Not only did it FEEL like punishment (and I learned my lesson well) but it opened my eyes to how AWFUL I was.
     Every time I've been (unhealthily) addicted to something I've done this to myself. I was addicted to Facebook at one point so I too a hiatus from it. Lasted a month or two and since then, I've never spent more than a few minutes on Facebook at a time.
     I used to be addicted to trading cards. That's kinda' what took comic books' place. I had those taken away from me once, and then I even had to take them away from myself again.
(I have this problem with collecting things, you see? At least I'm learning to do so with moderation...)

     Anyways, I'm currently addicted to some "thing", and that "thing" is the internet.
It's such a strange thing to be addicted to. It's not even a real, physical thing. Just a complex, jumbled around string of one's and zero's.

     So with that said, the only time I'll be using the internet is when I'm practicing my C# coding and keeping my game development blog updated, ONLY to keep myself in check.
(That blog is HERE, by the way. Just in case you wanted to read it...)

     You know... I think this'll be a good thing.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

It's the Little Things

     I felt like today was a success. I've been having to tighten my belt another notch, which is always nice, but here's what really made today pretty cool for me.
     On the game development blog my brother and I have I made a post about updating the graphics. That was all and good until I came to a problem I couldn't get around unless I fixed the graphics again. After messing with the character ALL day I finally got it right. At least I think I got it right. I'll have to run it by my brother and see what he thinks.
     Yesterday was awful. Late for work, got a ticket on my way there, we understaffed and I end up covering for two people who work completely different jobs.
...Okay, it wasn't all that bad (except for the ticket part. Oops...) it was just a little stressful. I guess after yesterday ANYTHING better than that is pretty awesome.

     I'm working on a logo for the game right now, so when I get that done I'll probably post it. Until then, I'll show you the eye I drew just for the heck of it.

I like drawing eyes