NaNoWriMo 2016

Project Gemini

52%

26030 of 50000 words

A series of explosions at a power plant separates two men from their exploration team and traps them in the past, but are they really where they had thought they were?

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The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

The Witcher 3 was one of the first games I loaded up once I got my PS4 all set up. The third installment in the series, this is, unfortunately, the first Witcher game I have had the opportunity to play. I began what is technically not my first play-through on it today. My roomate ot a copy of the game at the end of November and I played through several missions and a lot of side quests on his system before I go my own system. I might later on move my save data from his system to my own, but for now I am starting a fresh playthrough and share parts of my experience, particularly how I resolve any issues I come across, here.

And as nice as this game is, it is not without some serious bugs still. One of those comes along when Geralt needs to deal with a tree (you’ll know the mission when you see it). As I approached the tree I lost the sound on my PS4 (my roomate’s PS4). It seemed odd, but I did not think anything of it until the next mission when I had three different characters talking and only one of them had a voice, the others only had subtitles. I went on a search online and discovered that this was a common issue that was corrected by exiting the game and reopening it (no need to shut system down).

There are other issues, such as horses that get caught on fences in the background of a cut-scene, or characters that have books awkwardly stuck to their arms during what should be serious prelude-to-romance cut-scenes. And yet even with the issues, this is still a game that is worthy of getting.

I’m just getting going on my mission, set once again on the Death March difficulty, and will post more on this game as I come across things worthy of sharing. One item I do want to do, however, is to create a guide to Gwent, the card game mini games in this game. I will make that it’s own series of pages linked to in a new menu bar I plan to make soon for such things, so watch for a post on that later.

PS4 Slim arrived today

Back on Black Friday I ordered an Uncharted 4 edition of the PS4 Slim, intended to be my holiday present to myself. I am delighted to announce that it arrived today and so, after many years of waiting, I have finally managed to get my hands on a PS4 system.

I had desired to get one of these back when it first came out many years ago, but finances and life left me with a PS3 until I finally decided to take the leap and purchase a PS4. While it is a gaming system, this is in actuality a business expense for me. Not sure if it is a tax deductible one (that would be nice, lol), but it is a critically important piece of technology for the business I am going to build for myself going into 2017, so it was no longer something I could put off getting.

This is the system in the box from Amazon (right), and below is the contents of the box plus the extra game (The Division) that I got in the Black Friday deal from Amazon. I will be getting this system all hooked up in just a few minutes and will try it out for a bit, then I will share my opinion on the PS4 Slim in a new post.

[On a personal note: I can not wait to play Uncharted 4, the Uncharted series is one of my favorite series. Might need to make myself actually save that part of this system for Christmas. We’ll see.]

SOLVED: Samsung Galaxy S7 connect to PC

I’ve been having some issues getting my Galaxy S7 to connect to my computer so that I could load pictures from the phone to the computer. It turns out that this is a common issue with a very simple fix. The default for when you plug the phone into a USB cable is to charge the phone, if you lace your finger at the top of the screen and pull the menu down you will see an option that says “USB Charging: Tap here for more options.” When you tap that it opens a set of options that you can select from including “Photo Transfer,” and “File Transfer.” Simply pick the option you want for this session of USB connectivity. It will reset to charge only the next time you plug it in, but converting the connection is so easy I have not found that to be an issue.

That *YES!* moment and dreams postponed

There is a moment when you are working on a new project when you get this feeling of exhilaration. When things have clicked and just come together in a way that you know it fits, you know you are on the right path and things will do nothing but fall into place from there onward. As nice as that is, it is nothing to the feeling you get when you experience such a feeling while working on an old project. I had that sort of experience a little while ago and it has me feeling supercharged about my project in a way I have not felt in years. Yes, years… I have been working on this off and on for many years now and last month, while I was working on my NaNoWriMo novel, I kept finding myself wanting to work instead on… this.

I tried to ignore the feelings, but… it was hard. I want to be working on this project. So, I have given in and will be using this renewed feeling of exhilaration to push myself forward on the path of starting a career in Game Production and Design. I am leaving all of the old junk on this site as well as on the connected social sites such as Twitter and the YouTube channel. Why? Because if someday someone wants to look into just how easy this sort of thing is, I want them to see how many years I struggled and worked toward whatever this becomes. No hidden ugliness, no perception of things leaping from nothing to awesome, if anyone wants to see where I began they will be able to.

So, where to from this yes moment? For many years I have wanted to work in the film industry. We’re talking going back to my early childhood when I would walk through the creek behind my parent’s house and imagine in my mind how to create a scene in a fantasy movie. I remember thinking about a feast and how to combine a cantaloupe with grapes inside it to create the illusion of some fantasy fruit that has large pulpy pomegranate-like seeds inside when it was cut open. Hey, I was around 12 and it was the early 80’s, it seemed like a good prop at the time. The desire to be involved in film went back much further than that, but it was a dream that never got the chance to take flight. Life always seemed to interfere.

I recently found a sheet of notebook paper tucked into an old book. In 1996 had wrote out a posting to put up on the local bulletin boards seeking people that wanted to work in the film industry, I remember I had made clap boards and production books and all sorts of things I knew would be required for film production and even drawn out plans for a 5 year goal of having a full studio setup on a 5 acre lot where Alaskan film makers could shoot films. My goal, as stated on the flyer, was to begin production of a full length movie in June ’96.

June 8, 1996, a bit over a week before the date I had planned to start up my film production company, the sky began to fill with smoke. My dreams of starting a film production company, along with all of the things I had built to begin that production company, went up in the smoke of the Miller’s Reach fire of ’96. Life had interfered in a huge way that time.

In more recent years the obstacles have been less dramatic, but each time I have thought I could move forward with my goals – things happened and I put it off. It always seemed so easy to put it off and start it when life was less chaotic. Over the years I have found, however, that every time I get that *YES!* feeling it is connected to my desire to show the world I see to others. Given my current issues about being around other people I have no delusion I could start a production company the way I had daydreamed of doing 20 years ago, but that does not mean I can not do production work.

Over the years my focus turned away from traditional film to book writing and then to game design. For the past few years I have been unable to read, it is a medium I just can not get lost in the way I could when I was younger. Movies too are… lacking emotional connection for me. There are very few movies or TV shows I feel connected to in a way that makes me enjoy them the way I feel I should. Games, however, games I like. I can drop into he world of Dishonored or Thief or the Witcher and just… enjoy the escapism they offer. And the wonderful thing is… there is no reason why I can not create things like that in the same way I once wanted to create movies and books.

In the 1970’s Star Wars made me want to make movies, to show the world I see through film. When that failed to be possible I turned to writing, I could create the imagery with words. And yet… 3D and gaming is a medium I can work with that gives me what I really want. A medium I can craft into a world view and share with others, so… my goal. Do not give up. Do not let life stop me. The last few times I wanted to try this my computer broke in serious ways that made it impossible to run Blender, then the power adapter needed replaced, one thing after another interfering with my ability to work. This time my focus needs to be on staying on course in any way I can despite these setbacks and obstacles. To start up a Game Production Company going into 2017.

Campaign Bed in a Trunk

I was looking through Pinterest for a medieval cot that I could use as a reference for a bit of 3D art and found this campaign bed. I am not sure what the origin of this image is, but I have fallen in absolute love with the entire design of this. It seems very much a design that would fit in with any steampunk style and I would love to make a full size replica of it when I can redesign my trailer, as an alternative to the camper bed I now sleep on.

 

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Gaming Mouse with Programmable Numpad on Side

41z7sfuknll-_sx425_I have found what is perhaps the most awesome mouse I have seen. While browsing Amazon I came across this UtechSmart Venus 16400 DPI High Precision Laser MMO Gaming Mouse that has a programmable 12 button numpad built onto the side of it. It is on sale for Cyber Monday, down to $38.99 from $99.99, (a $61 savings) and if my computer was able to run games I would so buy this. Tempting to buy it for when I can get a better computer, but who knows when that could be and finances are too tight to waste on getting things I may not need for some time; no matter how good the deal. And oh how nice this deal is, I have to wonder just how nice using that with Blender would be, to be able to program a lot of the things I do in modeling into those side buttons for fast and easy access. That alone makes me wish I could afford to justify getting the mouse on the chance it would work with my ancient computer to streamline my work in Blender.

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Social media has removed a very important word from common use

Social media uses the word “friend” as a tag for adding someone to a list of people from whom we desire to see the posts or other shared media. This gives many a warm feeling to know they have a lot of friends who they follow and who follow them – even celebrities can be our “friends” in this way. Unfortunately, such use has desensitized the minds of many to the actual deeper meaning of the word friend.

Because of the broad spectrum over use caused by social media, the word friend has replaced the word acquaintance. Unfortunately, the two words have very different meanings and, for some, this can cause issues.

If you are reading this, then chances are that we are acquaintances. We might be friends, but the odds are far greater that we are acquaintances. And that is okay. There is nothing wrong with being an acquaintance of someone. It is not a bad word, it does not mean that those who have made your acquaintance feel less toward you than they feel toward others. Quite the contrary, those who have made your acquaintance probably view you with deep respect and would love to get to know you better… perhaps there is a chance that you could even become friends, but that takes time and a far deeper level of communication than acquaintances share.

Acquaintances are those people with whom we have things in common. Perhaps we work at the same place, share interest in the same hobbies, enjoy sitting together in the cafeteria at campus and talking about the day. An acquaintance is the term for all of the people we have met and know and get along with because of shared interests. They are the people in our book club, the people we chat with in our favorite MMO, the people we enjoy talking to in the parking lot after church, and the people we share drinks with after a long day at work. We like our acquaintances, we share interests with them, we enjoy hanging out and hearing about their perspective on the things we share an interest in. They are not ALL our friends.

Friend was once a specialized term that was applied to only a select few. It was special. It was something that all acquaintances had the potential to become. For some it still holds a very special meaning and to have such a person call you their friend is something to be cherished, not because you are special, but because the term means so very much to that person.

A friend is that person with whom you feel a deep level of connection that does not require you to share the same interests. Friends may not work at the same place, they may not go to the same social spots, they may not like the same hobbies… but there is something… something special and undefinable that makes them want to be around one another anyway. A friend will go to a sporting even with you even if they can not stand the sport – simply because it is something you would enjoy. Friends are those precious few for who we give of ourselves not because it benefits us in some way, but because of a desire to share experiences with that person. A friend is someone who you enjoy talking to so much that the two of you will walk six blocks in the wrong direction, and not even realize it, because you were enjoying one another’s company more than you were interested in the shared interest you were going to see. A friend is someone you say goodnight to twenty times and still have just one more laugh to share before you actually part ways for the day.

On a deeper level: an argument with an acquaintance can leave someone feeling hurt and cause them to step away, to avoid being around that person for fear that the hard feelings will only get worse. What separates out a friend is, no matter how bad the disagreement, the ability to come back together (perhaps with a mediator) and talk. To see, if not the other person’s perspective, at least that they do not share your perspective, and to be okay with that. To get beyond the issue and be able to accept the difference and not have it drive a wedge between the two of you. A friend is someone you have no fear in yelling at because they will accept you still, because they know sometimes things build up and you need to scream or rant or verbally hit something or someone and they are able to take the brief explosion and still want to be your friend. This, perhaps above all else, is what makes a friend truly special and worthy of being cherished.

Social media has reduced “friend” to mean acquaintance, and that is a disservice to the true value of what a friend means to so many. So, if you are reading this, know that you are a valued acquaintance and I would love to spend some time with you in whatever area of our lives our interests cross paths. I cherish your insights and enjoy spending time getting to know you better, be that in person discussing our day or simply reading the posts you have made that are read by so many fellow acquaintances of us both.

And if I have called you friend… I hope you have a better understanding of just how very important that term still is to me and maybe you understand I do not use the term lightly.

Midnight – time to write

I’ve just finished making popcorn,  time to get started on writing. Current word count is zero, I have outlined up to what should be the early middle of the story.

Happy Halloween

Wishing you all a happy and safe Halloween!

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Preparing for NaNoWriMo 2016

I’ve set myself a goal for this year to not only participate in NaNoWriMo, but to actually create something that will be taken beyond NaNo and revised into a publishable novel. Over the next month I will working my way through a writing class and crafting my NaNo story, at the end of each day I will update this site with my progress. My goal is to establish three goals: 1) a habit of daily posts to this website, 2) create a novel, 3) establish a work habit that will allow me to eventually reclaim writing as my primary job and income source.

In my preparation for NaNo I have dug out a binder that my mother had purchased back in 2008 for her to organize important papers in, those papers are no longer needed, so I have re-purposed the binder to be used to gather together my class notes and the research and longhand writing for my novel.

I have also dedicated a few smaller notebooks to be used for research notes and as physical ‘props’ – Ill explain this as they become necessary.

I have set u a Nook that my older brother gave me to hold all of my research and class lessons and anything else I might need for quick reference during the next month of story creation.

And, lastly, is this site and my readers. I am going to encourage questions, conversations, inquiries and whatever else about the story I am working on. So, please, feel free to speak up and comment.