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Cyberpunk 2077 NPCs hold grudges – SPOILERS

I was bebopping across the map this evening in Cyberpunk 2077, just playing Batman as I went from one person in need to another in search of citizens of Night City in need of help. As I was making my way toward my apartment to catch some Z’s I spied a fixer along my route and decided to stop in and see who it was.

I like to meet the Fixers I work for face to face at least once, and there are a few I have not yet had the pleasure of meeting with. Turns out this particular one was Dino Dinovic. He’s sitting at a bar in the City Center out in Downtown. Seems simple enough, right? Walk in, sit down on a stool, strike up a friendly conversation with the guy that’s been calling me up and giving me various gigs in the area.

Yeah. I thought so to. Until I stepped through the door of the bar and some guy sitting in a booth off to the left starts glaring my way as if he’s trying to place just where he had seen me before. I squint back at him and ponder the same, why is this guy looking me over like that? Unfortunately before I could ask him he remembered where he had seen me before, yelled out “Lock you up and throw away the key!” He then got up and came after me with a BIG handgun that hit hard. Yeah. I died. I’m sort of weak in the body, more the “I can melt your brain with my mind,” sort of person.

Well, it turns out that one Google search later I remember where I had met the guy. This is Aaron McCarlson Gunner from the NCPD. I met him a while back when I was called on to break into a warehouse and get some security footage for him. Now, usually a merc knows better than to poke into the things that a client has hired them to nip, but… I accidently saw something I was not supposed to have seen when I was looking at the files on the computer.

I let ol’ Aaron know that I had seen what he wanted me to get, then I decided that it was a good idea to tell him I was not after money, I was looking forward to seeing him rot in jail. Yeah… he did not take that very well, tried to kill me. I was kind enough to use a non-leathal mod on my assault rifle to help me drop him into a migraine-inducing slumber and left him for his fellow boys in blue to pick up.

Fast forward I am not sure how many days now, many many many missions later, and here he is, out of jail and sitting in the corner of Dino’s favorite bar.

Yeah… Aaron still remembers me. And oh boy does that man not like me.

So, be warned, if you see the files on that computer, and opt to tell him he’s headed for jail then NOT kill him… he’ll be looking to repay you with a bullet to the head the next time he sees you.

Makes me wonder how many other NPCs are lurking around corners remembering what I did. I’m gonna be sleeping even less now than I had been before… and juding by the ashtrays in my apartment, I’m not sleeping all that much already.

Cyberpunk 2077

[Note: I am posting this without rereading or editing. Sorry, it’s a long review, I don’t have time to write a short one.]

Let’s take a step back in time for a moment, going back to the 80’s and a new game that came out for the roleplaying game crowd. Cyberpunk.

I remember when Cyberpunk came out, I remember when the term Cyberpunk was first coined by Bruce Bethke. My dad was a rather big Sci Fi fan, and read pretty much anything he could get ahold of, so I was introduced to cyberpunk by him when I was in my early teens. It was a fascinating concept back then, especially given that both me and my dad were also into computers (I did not find out until years after this, but my dad was one of the guys that made the program that became the internet work. I have the Army commendation letter he was given for it.)

Anyway, back to what I was saying – I was there. I saw the book that started it all, I saw the movies, I saw the tabletop roleplaying games… I have waited 40 years for a video game that would do justice to what cyberpunk was and is.

Am I dissapointed with Cyberpunk 2077?

Well, let me first say that I dropped hundreds of dollars into parts for my computer to bring it up to the level where I can play Cyberpunk 2077 on the PC. HUNDREDS of dollars. 16 more GB of ram, a new graphics card, and a new power supply because the power supply my PC had was only 250w.

I think all in all I must have dropped around $500 into new things for the PC and I still can not fire the game up because the power supply I had got has a 24 pin connector for the motherboard and the motherboard in my PC is 8 pin. (ARGH!) So, yeah, I still can not play Cyberpunk 2077 on my PC, even $500 later.

I was not going to be deterred! I bought it, preorder, for the PlayStation 4.

Now, my PS4 is the old Slim version. Decent enough machine, but at 500 GB the hard drive needed a boost, which I already have in the form of a 1TB external, so everything was good to go. Bought the game, got it downloaded, and was playing it right off the bat before there was any bug fixes or any of that going down.

The first day I think I had two blue screens of death (uh, I’m not sure if that’s a term you kiddies will understand, back in the 80’s you got that blue screen, we called it that.) Anyway, yeah, I’m not that in touch with modern stuff to know of the terror story of the Blue Screen of Death is still circulating or if y’all changed that.

ANYWAY! Yeah, I got a few things happen. Worst of the lot was those two Blue Screen of Death moments and, in all honesty, I think they were my fault and not the game’s. I was doing things in FAST sucession and I think my PS4’s little brain could not keep up with the “ARE YOU EFFING GOING UP RO DOWN THAT DAMN STAIRWWAY WOMAN!!!?!?!??!?!?????!” fits I was giving it while I was trying to see EVERYTHING at once a few times.

Other glitches that I encountered on day 1 and 2 were along the lines of:

Two women were taking a picture of something and when they walked away the one woman’s phone was still hovering in mid-air where they had been standing.

I discovered that if things were too close to other items, like the wall or a machine, then I could not pick them up. I had one item that was on a table that I could not pick up. All of the things were just 3e junk items, so not any real loss to not be able to pick them up.

And… I am having trouble recalling if I had any other issues with the game in the first couple of days of playing it. I ran street punk for a little while, but barely got into the game before I decided to give coporate a try, I’ve been playing on corpo since. My roommate is playing on nomad, so I am getting to see some of that and will be playing it later on. Deffinately going to play through all three of the characer story lines though. As far as game breaking issues though… Nope. Nothing that would make me anjoy the game any less. I plan to buy it on PC as soon as I can fix that power issue I have with my PC. I also helped to buy the game for someone else as an early holiday present, so… in my opinion, as someone that is playing on a PS4 Slim… this game is solidly built and working as good as I had expected it to – hell, it is working better than I had expected it to work given the issues that CD Projekt had with having to do last minute fixes to get it ported to consoles for the December launch.

And note, to all you out there saying “it does not run well on consoles!” – some of you folks quite literally sent death threats to the developers in October, or did y’all forget that? Lemme refresh your memory of what happened when CD Projekt said they needed a little more time to finish fixing issues with the console edition of Cyberpunk 2077:

That is why I just shake my head when I see people cry: “they knew it was buggy on console and released it anyway! T.T” People were literally throwing death threats at them demanding the game’s release, insisting that it be released first and patches made for bugs later, and now… I just don’t have the words. Decide what you want, people.

And before the whole “we just wanted them to give realistic schedules!” crowd jumps in here with their “I took a week off work for it!” complaints, yes, I saw those in October, I want to point out that if you are taking a week off work for a game’s launch, then you better be a streamer or in some other way involved in the game industry.

People take time off work for mental health issues. People take time off work for a family funeral… the birth of a child… to fly home for the holidays. Maybe even for a serious accident that has left them in need of recovery.

You don’t take a week off work so you can play a video game. The games industry is old enough now that we all know things happen that can push around expected launch dates. So if you took a week off work, or a weekend, or whatever, it is no one’s fault but yours for you having made the game more important to you than anything else. I have dabbled in game development and design. My dad taught me to program my own games back in the 80’s. Stop crying that developers have missed their release target because trust me, they don’t want to miss those dates. It costs them money when they can not ship the game out on the schedule they set for it. They have to keep paying for the develpoment of a game that should have been out the door.

This rambling rant was brough to you today by my having finally went to look at what this fuss with Cyberpunk 2077 being a busted game is all about. I wanted to play it before I spoiled myself or risked stepping into streaming with it. I’m far enough into it now that I have decided I could risk the possible spoilers and do you know what I am finding? The complaints are in some cases not even about Cyberpunk 2077. One article I read started out talking about Cyberpunk 2077, but it was a click-bait draw for the writer of the article to go on to complain about some other game that was not going to be sold in the OGO store, and the person blamed Cyberpunk 2077, saying that CO Projekt decided not to sell a game that had been pulled off Steam last year because they wanted to avoid issues with sales of Cyberpunk 2077. The person had no other complaints about Cyberpunk 2077, they just wanted to use the popularity of the name Cyberpunk 2077 in the media right now to draw attention to something else.

Another issue that stood out to me was the ones who yelled they were going to do some kind of class action lawsuit against CD Projekt because they were not being given refunds by Sony and XBox for the game after they had bought and played digital copies of it. Correct me if I am wrong, but hasn’t both consoles had a long-standing policy of not refunding games after you play them?

Overall, I see nothing that actually causes me to rethink my opinion that Cyberpunk 2077 is an amazing game that performs above and beyond my hopes given the trouble that the company had in finishing the console editions. I’ve played it on my PS4 Slim (which is now a dinosaur of a machine) since day one and I have never once come close to thinking I had not got my money’s worth. I am looking forward to getting a power supply with an 8pin motherboard cable so I can buy a PC edition of Cyberpunk 2077, and I am eagerly awaiting the unwrapping of my gift to myself this year of the Cyberpunk 2077 V collector doll – first one of them things I have EVER bought. So excited to see just how it looks!

Bottom line, ignore the negativity and click-bait headlines, ignore the people who just want to cause trouble and complain about the game. I’ve been a fan of cyberpunk since long before Johnny Mnemonic overloaded his ram and went on the run from corporations, and decades before Neo decided whether or not to take the red or blue pill. I am playing this on an old PS4 Slim with a 500 GB HD in it that has been abused to the edge of sanity over the years, and in the times I have encountered game breaking issues (Blue Screen of Death) it has often been a something that made me finally look at the clock and go “Oh hell, it’s 7am!?!!??!” Get the game and enjoy getting lost in it.

And if you really have issues with the whole “wait, I did not see that car driving down the road a moment ago. It just appeared there!!!!” things… play to Act 2, then blame it on the lag. (Wait for it, you’ll get the joke eventually.) I have not yet seen anything that I could not easily blame on the lag or something else that – instead of game breaking – actually enhanced the experience for me. It’s weird, I know, but a lot of the “glitches” make sense if you view them from a certain perspective.

Okay, I will shut up now, if you are still reading this, sorry but in the paraphrased words of Mark Twain, I did not have time to write a short review, so I have written a long one instead.

Cyberpunk 2077 gets very high marks from me, I reccomend buying it and enjoying it and just accepting that people forced them to ship it with bugs when they sent death threats to the developers. Either hold off on buying it now, or embrace the bugs, blame them on the lag, and enjoy the game while the developer works to make it what they knew it could be. AND STOP THREATENING THE DEVELOPERS!!! I waited 40 years for this game, I can wait while they fix bugs and roll out content, but if the idiots out there make CD Projejkt drop the game as being too toxic for them to keep working on it, I will be seriously irritated. If Cyberpunk 2077 is not your thing, go play another game and let me, and those like me, enjoy this amazing addition to a genre we’ve loved for decades.

Now, I will hush and get back to playing. I want to finish my first playthough before I start streaming so people are not coming into my stream and spoiling the ending for me.

Take care and enjoy the game!

Why such a small explorable area in Chapter 1 of Red Dead Redemption 2?

I started a new playthrough of Red Dead Redemption 2 last night while working on a guide for my website, and it reminded me of one of the most frustrating parts of the first chapter for me. There is a very small area around Colter where you can wander, but step more than roughly 100 yards away from the town, on foot or your horse, and the weather will turn on you and you are going to freeze to death.

It is really unfair in my opinion. The Gang is going to spend several weeks there waiting for the snow to thaw enough to get the wagons out of the mountains. Why can’t Arthur spend that time exploring the snowy area and hunting for the gang?

I would love to see a mod that extends the explorable range around Colter and allows you to supply the gang with food as you can in later camps, however, when I did a brief search to see if such a mod existed I was… dissapointed. I had clicked on a link without really reading the url and instead of going to PC Gamer’s list for the best mods, I ended up at PCGamerN and…. well, it seems like the only thing that the modding community has done for Red Dead Redemption 2 according to them is to make naked mods, mods that let you play as other characters (including…. fish? What the heck??? Just…. why?), also mods for infinate life and … Arthur Morgan as the Joker. Uh…. Okay, at this point I decided that I had to be browsing the April article over at PCGamesN, because their idea of “the best” was not anywhere near the best of what the modding community should have been capable of.

I went looking further.

I made my way to Nexus Mods, which as I will explain in a moment renewed my faith in modders, but I also had to see what the actual PC Gamer list for best mods was… uhm… it was not much better than PCGamerN’s list, in fact, a lot of it was the same. Although PC Gamer did have a few that were interesting, including a camera mod that lets you take the camera anywhere on the map, not just the limited range of the in-game freecam. And another that let you summon a hot air balloon.

It was Nexus Mods, however, that truly restored my faith in modders and made me think getting Red Dead Redmption 2 on the PC might be worth it. Some of the first things I saw was a mod for restoring content that gives you a quiver. Nice! I’ll need to look into this one more. And what is this Basic Needs mod? Arthur gets a canteen? Ability to .. uhm… urinate? Hey, why not, my horse seems to have to take a crap every time I stop. And I see the others peeing all along the edges of camp like they’re marking our territory. And finally a mod for a Playable Guitar? YES! I have looked at that guitar at Horseshoe Camp and wanted so badly to be able to play it. My online character Garrett can play the guitar when he’s in the saloon at my friend’s moonshine hut (I am not sure I will get the band in my moonshine shack, I like the wall I have there now and am afraid it would be replaced by a band.) Anyway, I have been wanting Arthur to be able to play the guitar, so this is a mod I will need to look at if I get the PC edition of Red Dead Redemption 2.

So, yes, there are some mods that I have found that give me hope, unfortunately there does not seem to be any mods that do anything like altering the explorable region around Colter or allows you to do more in that area during the first chapter. So, if any modders are looking for a challenge, or if Rockstar would like to make an awesome update to the single player part of the game that I would love to get. There is my wish. Expand Colter and make it a real first campsite where you can explore the surrounding area and get food for the gang until you decide you want to move on to Horseshoe Overlook.

For now… I must get back to playing so I can finish the first chapter and get to the open world part of the game.

Purple Snow – research for fantasy stories

Someone in one of my writing groups asked about what naturally occurring compound might make snow turn purple. That sent me on a fascinating journey through the internet and a rethinking of my own series. Here is the response that I had posted to the question over on Facebook.


Algae, dust or air pollutants of some sort can color snow. Most of the time algae colors snow that has already fallen, but dust and pollutants can color snow that is falling.
https://www.thoughtco.com/colored-snow-chemistry-606776

For a naturally occurring element, chromium is probably your best option.

“Chromium is a naturally-occurring element found in several forms in rocks, plants, soil, foods such as vegetables and nuts, and volcanic dust and gases. Tobacco products contain chromium. Chromium is also released from burning natural gas , oil, or coal.”

This has some good info on it… https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/csem/csem.asp?csem=10&po=5

In the case of a change of water coloration to purple – we have a real world example of water turning purple with Cerro Lagoon in Paraguay, and chromium waste from a local tannery has been identified as the culprit:

“the colour of the water is due to the presence of heavy metals like chromium, commonly used in the tanning of animal skins to produce leather.”

This site has the best pictures I see on a brief internet search for this-https://www.indiatimes.com/…/pollution-paraguayan…

Hope this helps you. I know I am now rethinking the major tannery area that I have outside the crown city in my series in progress.

Skyrim Advice for New Players

Someone on one of my gaming groups asked for any advice to a new player that was just starting out on Skyrim for the first time. This is the comment that I posted, which I am sharing here because it is worth knowing and I have covered many of this on my website here in the past.

—————————

I have a few things to warn you about. Some might no longer be an issue, since I encountered them back when the game came out and over the course of a few years after it came out. There are a couple of game breaking ones though, so I will pinpoint them first, hopefully they have been fixed, but in case they have not, they can cause serious headaches.

MAJOR GLITCH – CHILDREN: When you adopt a child (there are several in the game, you can adopt 2 without mods) – Save before you adopt the child, then IMMEDIATELY go to your house and try to give the child a gift. There used to be a glitch that prevented you being able to give children gifts because the glitch counted their inventory as full and you could not fix it. So make sure you can give them something even if you never plan to. If you can not, reload the save and adopt them again until you can give them a gift. (Skyrim: Children Can’t Carry Gifts)

MAJOR GLITCH!!!!!! – COMPANIONS – not just companions, but the group The Companions. You will meet them early on in the game, they are a group of fighters in Whiterun. Their story had a serious glitch in it where you could not enter a necessary dungeon, so you could not finish the story. It was actually what made me stop playing years ago. I had finished everything but the Companions and the wizard story lines and – the companions story was broke when I got to it. Last time I played, last year, I tried to do that story first and it was still broken. So be warned and look for if they have any fixes out for it.

HORSE DEATHS – If you are like me and tend to “borrow” horses, you will want to save before you get off the things if you like them. There used to be a literal “go straight back home” issue where I had a horse I got off of start walking away and … right off a cliff. Sometimes they just walk direct path and do not follow the road, so save horse lives by saving before you get off a stolen horse.
Also – save before fights when your horse is around, they die so easily and do not always flee far enough.

Dragon fights – Save before, and during (but separate save), dragon fights. Just in case you lose a townsperson you really did not want to die. NPCs can and will die. My roommate will run around and check EVERYONE and reload if even one minor NPC died in a dragon attack.

Earthquake!!!!!!! – if you have the DLCs, then there is one for a forge that causes you to feel earthquakes in certain areas. This caused MAJOR confusion years back when I played and I had actually wrote a post about it on my website with investigations and updates on this weird phenomenon. (Earthquakes in Skyrim: Falkreath to Markarth)

🦋

Fun stuff… try to shoot a butterfly.  My roommate says I am heartless, but I found it darkly amusing when I tried to shoot a deer and a blue butterfly flew up at just the right moment to be shot out of the air by my arrow. They have a special effect that sends off a black poof of smoke when that happens. (Good way to improve your aiming and reflex skills (yours not game stats), but be warned the game remembers where all those arrows are in the game.

MODS – Yes, you CAN use mods on PS4  – Check mods to be sure the game functions okay with it. Disable it and reload a save from before the mod if one broke your game. One mod I loaded in for a house caused a weird break on the map that caused a localized ripple between map sections and allowed me to see beneath the world.

Hope this was helpful, take care and enjoy the game. Even after all these years it is STILL one of my favorite RPGs. I plan to buy it for PC soon so I can make mods myself.

Twitch Bits: How They Work

What is Twitch?

Twitch is a streaming platform that allows people to stream pretty much anything that they can film. It started out as a way for gamers to share footage of video games with others and has evolved to the point now where you can find almost anything from political talk shows to cooking shows, outdoor activities to musicians at work. And yes, video gamers playing games.

What Are Bits?

Bits are a form of currency used on Twitch. It can be obtained either through direct purchase of bits or as compensation paid for viewing advertisements on the platform.

How to Cheer Bits

When viewing a Twitch chat panel you will see a diamond shaped icon next to the emote icon.


Click on the diamond to bring up the cheering menu.

You will see something similar to that wide purple tone bar at the bottom of the menu, just above the chat window. You want to click on the Get Bits button on the right side. That will bring up a new menu that will show the costs to purchase bits.


I have blacked out the stream name, but as you can see there is a notification near the top of the menu above that the streamer has set their chat to limit cheering to a minimum of 10 bits at a time. (I’ll have more to say on this later.)

What you want to look for now is the gray Watch Ad button. Click on that and a new window will pop up on your screen that will show a verification screen. Simply click the verify button and solve the easy puzzle and you will see a 30 second advertisement.

Above you can see what the window will possibly look like. The orange bar on the side might not be there, I have left that to be an example of the kind of interaction space that advertisements might have on them. In this case, when you click on the orange bar on the right of the ad space a new overlay will slide out to give you more information.

You will be asked to interact in some way with the advertisement. This is as easy as just clicking on the ad window to open a panel for more information. (This does not take you away from the stream, it just interacts with the advertisement window.)

The below image shows how it will likely look after interaction. With the advertisement in the small black area on the left and the additional information displayed in the back rectangle on the right.

You will notice there are also now a set of emote reactions and a “I’m Done” option at the top of the screen.

Click on one of three different emote icons on the upper left of the ad window to indicate how you felt about the advertisement you were shown.

Then click the “I’m Done” text on the upper right to close the advertisement window.

You will now see one of three different displayed options. Here I have a payout screen for 5 Bits that shows an option to watch another advertisement to earn more Bits.

Another one you might see is one that has the Watch Another option greyed out. In the below image I have this kind of image on a 10 Bits payout screen.

You might also see the below sad face that is letting you know that you have reached the limit of ads that you can watch and to try again another time.



At this point it is recommended to try again the following day, but it is possible that you might get additional ads that you can watch later on in the same day. I do not know what the actual criteria here is, only that it does not seem to be a 24 hour lockout, just a pause on ad viewing until more ads become available.

So, now that you have accumulated some Bits, what do you do with them? You use them to support your favorite streamers.

How to Cheer Bits to Streamers

So, remember back up there I had shown you the window that looks like this:

You get to that by clicking on that little diamond shape in the chat window.

What you want to do is select a emote from the options. Say I want to use the basic little Bits diamond. I would type:

Cheer1

into the chat box, add any message I might want to send with my cheer, and hit enter to send it to the chat stream.

Some streamers have a limit set for the minimum amount of bits that can be cheered in their chats. If that is the case then you will see the message in red on the below screen shot.

I was confused on how this worked until recently. I had tried to just add 1 bit emotes until I had Cheering 10 Bits showing at the top. So it would be:

Cheer1 Cheer1 Cheer1 Cheer1 Cheer1 Cheer1 Cheer1 Cheer1 Cheer1 Cheer1

in the chat. No, that is not the way to do it. Your cheer will not process. Instead what you need to do is manually alter the amount by entering:

Cheer10

Then your cheer will process and you will be sending 10 Bits to the streamer.

Streamers are able to select their limitations on cheer amounts. Larger streams such as GamesDoneQuick might have limits of 100 Bits at a time, smaller streamers, such as myself, Phantascnene, will allow even 1 bit at a time to be cheered on the channel.

But, what does that mean, when you cheer a Bit?

In Twitch one Bit is equal to one penny in USD. So to send someone 100 bits is to send them one dollar USD ($1).

This can add up for smaller streamers like myself, who make more from Bits Cheering than they do from subscribers. A few Bits cheered to your favorite streamer can help to encourage them to keep going and not give up.

Note that a streamer must have reached affiliate status before they are able to be sent Bits.

Also note that a person can not send Bits they have earned to their own account. So if you are a streamer and want to earn Bits from watching ads on other streamers pages, you can use them to support streamers you enjoy watching.

And lastly, you do not have to send the Bits to the streamer on whose stream you were when you watched the ad. You can watch ads on any stream that has reached affiliate or partner status, and cheer them to any other streamer that has reached affiliate or partner level on Twitch.

I hope this has helped explain Bit for you. If you have any questions please ask them in the comments or stop by my stream at twitch.tv/phantascene and I will do what I can to help explain them better.

Red Dead Redemption 2 and the Twilight Zone bugs. Part 1: Chip ‘n’ Dale

I logged in to Red Dead Redemption 2 online to complete my daily challenge, but… Something felt… off. Something like my aim.

I was chasing around a chipmunk that I wanted to catch with my bow, but… I just could not get a lock on the little cuss. It was like I had found Chip and he was smarter than I was. You remember Chip ‘n’ Dale, right? They are the two little chipmunks that gave Pluto and Donald Duck such a hard time.

Well, After chasing the chipmunk around with my bow for a while I discovered I had been chasing Dale… because there came Chip, hopping around, catching my attention, and it was not long before I got rather irate and pulled out my cattleman’s revolver to try an’ shoot the bastard with that. I ended up going back to the bow before I fired a shot, but I was sure tempted to just splatter that annoyance all over the western landscape.

But, I wanted that perfect quality pelt, so I got back out my bow and set off after the little fellow once again. It… worked about as well as you might expect it to work for a cartoon character facing off against Chip.

That little chipmunk used some Matrix level skills in evading every shot I fired from my bow. I just could not get that red “locked on!” target to show up no matter what I tried. And yes, I tried sneaking up real quiet like while the chipmunk’s back appeared to be turned toward me. The wind was in my favor. Everything seemed to be just perfect. The sucker was even sitting in an open patch of ground amid the grasses, its own little glen where it was out in the open for any predator to kill.

Any predator but me it seemed. Because for some reason, my aim was still not accurate. That coveted red “GOTCHA!!!” dot just would not show up. What is worse, not only did my aim dot not turn red, it I could swear it seemed to fade out. It become a pale “friendly fire” dot. The chipmunk had hacked my weapons!

Well… I finally admitted that little chipmunk had bested me and I went to find a collectible I had passed while chasing it. Got on my horse- wait… what horse?

Yeah… that’s another story… or two. For now, here is the full video experience of what I just recounted here. Enjoy.

Also, I found the most awesome t-shirt on Amazon for Chip ‘n’ Dale Rescue Rangers.

And then there is the Swarovski Crystal figurines too…


Twitch Screens

Things have been busy now that summer is here, and almost gone. Not sure where the days have gone to, but I know I have not got as much done as I had been hoping to. One thing that I have got a start on is doing a bit of work on making screens for my Twitch channel.

I am using Blender to create the basic idea, which is a factory style to create a steampunk aesthetic for my stream.

Here is the way it looks when it is rendered.

It is a long way from being finished, but I plan to work on it both on and off stream at my Twitch channel.

The other item I am working on, which can be seen in progress on my Twitch channel, is a new banner for my website:

Installing Unreal Engine 4.25

I have began downloading Unreal Engine 4.25 onto the computer. This will allow me to start learning how to build games in Unreal Engine, which will be added to my streaming channel on Twitch as soon as my internet allows me to stream at reasonable quality from the computer.

I have just under 10 GB remaining for the download, so am very hopeful that it will be done in the next few days; if I can manage to keep the download going when I am not streaming and my roommate is at work or sleeping.

It is my hope that by my birthday, June 16th, I can have a start on building a game environment to compliment the novel I am writing.

My goal is to build an open world game environment that parallells the events of my novels. An environment that will allow me to create action shots from my stories for book covers, website images, Twitch screens, and so much more.

More than that, it is my hope that it will also, eventually, allow fans of my novels to have a chance to interact with the locations of my stories and experience an evolving setting that brings the world of my stories to life.

I think Unreal Engine might be the best choice for creating that setting.

ArtStation Lightbox Expo Box of Mystery Challenge

The next ArtStation challenge is finally here and I am going to be diving back into things. I have entered several ArtStation challenges over the years, unfortunately life has a way of upending my plans and preventing me from having a finished project to turn in when the challenge comes to an end.

Even with those stumbles, I have learned so much about art, 3D design, and game creation in the challenges that I have been able to be a part of. Every one has not only been a way to challenge my skills, but to learn new skills and expand my knowledge of creating art, characters, and environments.

I do not enter the challenges to win prizes, I enter them to challenge myself and make myself a better artist.

The newest ArtStation challenge is going to start on June 1, 2020 and I intend to enter three of the challenge categories.

Environment Design

The environment design challenge is usually to create one or more environments that fit within the theme. Each environment is to have a callout sheet for the elements that make up the final environment. These serve as inspiration for the creation of the environment in 3D and should set the mood and provide the 3D modeler with a sense of how the environment should feel; colors, lighting, atmospheric effects.

Character Design

The character design challenge usually requires the creation of several characters that would fit into the theme. A character turnaround sheet will be needed, showing each character from several angles (front, side, back) to give 3D modelers a good idea of how the character should look and what the proportions are. There should also be a comparison chart in the case of multiple characters, to give an idea on the scale of characters in relation to one another and provide a standard scale object for the 3D modeler’s to use as reference.

Prop Design

The prop design challenge usually asks for the creation of several unique props that fit the theme and, in some way, tell a mini story about the challenge theme. As with the character design challenge, the prop challenge will require the creation of a vector sheet for each of the props, showing the prop from different angles (front, side, top) to aid 3D artists in recreating the object in 3D. And as with the environment challenge there should be a sense of mood to the artwork, giving the artist a good understanding of the materials and any lighting or effects that will be needed to be a part of the prop.

I will provide more detailed information on what I will be working on after the first of June, when the briefings for the challenges has been released on ArtStation.

It is my hope that I will be able to stream the process on Twitch or YouTube, but for now I am just going to be content with possibly being able to familiarize myself with the latest edition of Blender while working on what I hope will be a fun yet challenging project to create environments, characters, and props.

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