So, as I am wont to do on occasion, I was spinning my merry way through my spamfolder in search of something that isn't merely boring advertisement. Lo and behold, hidden under a pile of duct tape advertisements lay this gem. As usual, commentary in Red.
Attention Payment beneficiary, This e-mail is to acquaint you officially regarding the release of part payment of your contract /inheritance fund totalling $5.5M (Five Million, Five Hundred Thousand United States dollars only) under the auspices of the Debt Management Office (D.M.O) of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Ah, the check from my great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great grandfather 32 times removed from the old Birthplace of Mankind must have just come through. I've been waiting about a hundred thousand years for this.
It will interest you to know that the acting president of Nigeria Professor Yemi Osibanjo have approved and authorized the immediate release of all outstanding debt approved for release by the last two administration that is yet to ne released to the beneficiaries.
He's actually the Vice President. The President of Nigeria is named Osikazooie. Everyone knows this.
The Debt Management Office (DMO) was immediately asked to produce the list of all beneficiaries both private and cooperate entities for verification before money will be released to them accordingly. During verification it was discovered that several unsuccessful attempts have been made to divert your money.
Yeah, one was nearly pulled off by a General Ki Ban-Moon, who was masquerading as some guy in California.
We discovered also that your classified payment file have been distorted and some virtal information either lost or intentionally replced to aid the failed attempt to divert your money. Another discovery was the wrong impression created by fake government and bank offcials that the money will be released by cash payment, ATM card, through offshore bank payment etc.
You can never trust artificial government. It's like stevia, but it tries to pass laws saying that you must release all your money via offshore bank payments instead of just really bad gas.
Be informed that your money will be released to you through bank to bank swift wire transfer direct into your bank account. ATM card and cash payment is not a global acceptable method of payment for such large amount of money. On your reply to this email i will give you further directives on how your money will be released to you. Thanks for your understanding and patience.
Is Swift Wire Transfer where they transfer small birds using wires?
Sincerely, Mr. Ronald Eze. Debt Management Office.
His assistant is named Peze, and when they're not managing debts, they're busy fighting crime as the famous duo, Eze Peze. Quite an upstanding character, 10/10, would get randomly large money from again.
Phone: <Interestingly enough, the phone number given maps to a mobile phone actually in Nigeria. I have no cheap way to call it. Oh well...>
Just wondering, would you be interested in collaborating in a conversion of Ldraw models to obj?
Do you know anyone else who may be interested in a project like this?
I am considering to upload all Ldraw models as obj-files from Eurobricks here on RRU, using this script. My reason for this is that anyone who want to use the models for their projects need the models in obj, and not in ldr.
I am considering uploading all obj models on a MEGA account, and then share the link here on RRU.
Here is the script for the ldr-importer:
Here is the link from Eurobricks:
0) Announce the theme´s models you are planning to download as ldr-file from the link above.
1) Download the ldr-files of the theme from the link. The more that help out, the less workload there will be.
2) Go to the program "Leocad" and export the model the obj. There is also a ldd-importer that can be used.
3) Upload the converted obj file to MEGA in its appropriate folder of the theme, the model belongs to.
4) If the models have a too high polygon count, then send them to me so I can reduce their polygon count.
Just wondering, would you be interested in collaborating in a conversion of LDD models to obj?
Do you know anyone else who may be interested in a project like this?
I am considering to upload all LDD models as obj-files on Eurobricks here on RRU, using this script. My reason for this is that anyone who want to use the models for their projects need the models in obj, and not in lxf or ldr.
I am considering uploading all obj models on a MEGA account, and then share the link here on RRU.
Here is the script, if you want to take a look at it:
Here is the link from Eurobricks:
0) Announce the theme´s models you are planning to download as lxf-file from the link above.
1) Download the lxf-files of the theme from the link. The more that help out, the less workload there will be.
2) Convert the lxf-files to obj using the script. Simply drag the lxf-file to the script and it will automatically be converted into obj.
3) Upload the converted obj file to MEGA in its appropriate folder of the theme, the model belongs to.
4) If the models have a too high polygon count, then send them to me so I can reduce their polygon count.
Okay, first this blog is overdue. About half a year overdue. I meant to type it up at the beginning of the year, then two weeks in, then at the break, and now I’m finally stopping procrastinating & am actually writing it up.
Anyway, the reason I have not been around here nearly as much as a) I was and b) I would like to be is because last year I was at high school = not fantastically amazing and plenty of free time except for the infamous fifteen exams in two-and-a-bit months.
Now, my life has taken a most interesting turn and I am at University! I’m studying Mechanical Engineering and have decided to skip the first year and launch straight into the second (it’s a four-year degree). After talking to many people it’s become apparent that by skipping the first year the only thing I’ve missed is large quantities of boredom.
Naturally, this is extremely busy, as Engineering is widely viewed as one of the most time-consuming of the degrees. There are two types of engineering students: drunk dropouts who get C’s and D’s, and people who turtle in their studies and work hard. While that’s fairly accurate of any subject, for Engineering the gap is even more pronounced. As such I can’t come over to this wonderful place as much as I’d like. But that is less than half the reason. An important part, yes, but less than half.
The other half of the reason lies in the fact that I have never had a social life before. Never. My maximum number of friends at school hit a top of about three, and was usually two. This was because I was at a small school (400 student spread all the way over from 5 year olds to 17 year olds) and there were very few people who were as dedicated to their studies as I was. (The few that did do a large quantity of work were in different years, and they were my few friends). About half of my class wouldn’t mind failing the final year. This made me incredibly lonely – but because I’d never known anything different, that was the status quo and I was fine with that. I’d never known anything else to exist.
Then I found RRU and I found a whole bunch of other intelligent gamers (let’s be real, this is a nerd community. I mean that in the nicest way possible. ) Well, you could say that RRU became a very rudimentary form of my social life. I enjoyed chatting to you all even if I was a jerk on multiple occasions (as well as a… uh… rather bumpy introduction…). So for… it’d basically be the past five years, my social life has been non-existent and my friends included two people at school and RRU.
Why is this important and why am I ranting to you about it? Because you lot are my friends, in that I can rant to you (and you can just block your ears, that often happens ). I don’t want to name anyone because then those that don’t get named don’t feel so happy, and that’s not the point – the point is that you lot, in a wide sense and with a variable continuum, have been my friends over the past years where I can just come and hang out in the empty, desolate shoutbox.
Now University comes into the picture and I have found that there are actually other intelligent nerds that aren’t just on the internet. This is… actually somewhat of a surprise. Not really a “surprise,” just a departure from the status quo for the past thirteen years. As a result, I can now actually say that I have more friends than I can count on one hand for… well, to be honest, the first time in my existence. In fact, more decent friends than I can count on two hands – which is a huge deal for me and you can scoff at it if you like. Go ahead, I’m used to being scoffed at. Story of my life for the past sixteen years.
This means… that I don’t need to spend as much time on RRU as normal, because my “socializing” is actually done with people in the real world – yes, that’s phrased awfully, but that hasn’t really happened before. It’s almost as if I don’t need RRU anymore, but that sounds too harsh. It’s just that I now actually have friends in the real world that I can talk to, and RRU is no longer my sole social outpost.
This isn’t a farewell letter by no means – rather, it’s a long-overdue explanation of why I’m late. I’ll be around, if I can and when I can to chat with all you wonderful lot (for a given definition of wonderful ).
See ya around!
Can you believe it's been almost a year since I wrote the original preliminary report on what LEGO Investigations was supposed to be? Turns out that getting a job (and having an existential crisis) can really derail you.
After a very long time away, I moved on to design a secondary project; a Mad Max-inspired combat racer (born out of me poking around into LR2/Drome Racers a bit). As it turns out, that design really conveniently fit in the investigation mechanics of this project, and this I returned, opting to finish this proof of concept before attempting to integrate it into a much larger, more complex whole.
A lot of my writing and rambling has been in a bunch of unrelated Discords with Game Design channels. To save you going on a long, painful journey through the history of how everything has changed, I'm going to format the current state of the design and the key things I've been working out. This isn't a formal document; merely a write-up of the crucial aspects to understand what this thing is.
Summary of Story
The meta-goal of the story is CHANGE. NON SUM QUALIS ERAM; you will not succeed unless you can progress.
The game's first few cases are linear; these serve the purpose of acting as a progress tutorial, but also to tie into the meta plot-point of Change. After a certain mission, you die in an extremely similar fashion to the prologue. It's from this point forward that the player can really take control and change things up, and rightly so. Past the Point of Linearity, the game needs to be hardcore hard. The ending of the game reveals that the protagonist is permanently dead, his inability to pass on previously due to stubbornness and an unwillingness to change and accept facts.
A smart player should be able to dig under the hints and determine the true killer (The Commissioner, acting to protect his job security), and evaluate that all of the cases are linked together to the killer.
Summary of Mechanics
Looking back, the original mechanics list was a rough, rushed approximation of the design goals I was going for. It only continued the dialogue issues I identified in modern detective games, and it placed a lot more challenge in the seeking of evidence, as opposed to the logical thinking of connections. It was too Point-and-Click like. This new set of mechanics should address that, adding a wider variety of player choice and fixing the problems that annoy me most when playing detective games.
By default, the game will be in First Person perspective. The player must walk around the level to look for clues and to approach witnesses. As per Social/Streamer mode (see the Game Modes section below), there is also a static camera mode available, which acts as a bunch of Security Cameras focusing on all the evidence and witnesses within the scene, to reduce the amount of physical control required to play.
Evidence Items, which can be anything from junk on the streets to known facts, are used to unlock Events, potential happening which give context to why the crime might have happened. The ultimate goal of the game is to prove the exact sequence of events that occurred, thereby proving the innocence or guilt of the suspects. Evidence can be collected in three forms; physical items lying about (such as a gun), unique details on a location in the scene (such as a bloody spray), or talking points from witnesses and suspects (such as a confession of guilt to firing the weapon). Collected Evidence is used as below to create Event Items, and both are stored inside the player inventory called the "Notebook".
While Evidence Items are simply kept in a big pool, Events are categorised. Every level's sequence has a different number of "slots"; each slot represents a different type of Event, such as one slot for explaining how a suspect arrived on the scene while another showing how they procured a specific item. Every player is automatically granted 1 Event Item per slot at the start of the level (what the "official police report" has turned up), and the Beginning and Ending slot Events are always correct and cannot be changed (you are focusing on figuring out how the scene changed from A to B).
As per the Skill System outlined below, tools such as object highlighting can be available with a purchase.
In order to actually get new Events, you must demonstrate how Evidence fits together by "crafting" multiple relevant pieces together. Evidence Items have lengthy descriptions about their context and known facts; within the descriptions are keywords, highlighted in set colours. You must link together not just evidence with keywords of the same colour, but also where the keywords match a set theme (such as getting red keywords which are all computer part names). Generally, the keywords are relevant to the Event they unlock, as a bit of foreshadowing. Evidence Items can have more than one set of keywords in their description (colour and/or theme), which indicates that specific item can be used to produce multiple Events.
Furthermore, as a helpful management aspect; Evidence and Event Items can be "ruled out"; this effectively disables them and puts them on another tab in the Notebook. If an Evidence Item was used to generate an Event and gets ruled out, then the Event Item is by proxy also ruled out. Ruled out items will not show at all in the Question Time screen, but can still be used in interrogations.
Once Events have been unlocked, they can be previewed. The Previewer works like a video player, with a reverse, fast forward and pause. You control the scene a bit like the camera system in any modelling package/LDD, where you can click and drag to rotate the scene, and you can zoom in and out to focus on details. The Event will appear as a hologram over the top of the actual scene, allowing you to double check if evidence items end up where they should, and if certain witnesses/suspects were present or not.
Players have a space in the Notebook to record their own notes and thoughts.
As is the rest of the game, the focus of the Interrogation System is to either prove or disprove "facts" by using what knowledge you've acquired. Players can talk to witnesses/suspects in the world and ask them questions. The responder will then give their response, at which point the player must either agree, disprove it, cancel out with no penalty or use the Disturbance Mode option (detailed below). If the player is correct, they will be awarded new evidence, otherwise, the evidence reward is lost. Once a question has been asked, unless if the "Cancel" option was selected, that question cannot be asked again.
Questions are not pre-determined, only answered. Players generate questions from a basic syntax, designed to focus on what the player wishes to know. The first two elements of the syntax are mandatory, whereas the second two are optional (but must be used together).
The Mode [Who | What | Where | Why | How].
The Primary Subject (Either collected evidence, or "general knowledge", as in temporary evidence based on the context of the scene and who you're talking to).
The Verb/Subject Modifier (Had, Used, Doing, or another word to indicate the relationship you're testing between the two subjects).
The Secondary Subject (As above, minus the Primary Subject).
Valid examples may include, "Why You Have Key", "Where Key" and "How Car Stuck Fence".
If the player accepts the response, then no further input for that question chain is required. If the player believes the responder is lying, they will need to select from their collected evidence for something that proves they're in the wrong.
As per the Skill System outlined below, one potential purchasable skill is the Voice Recorder, which records every line of dialogue to a section in the player's Notebook for a player's benefit.
To engage in Disturbance Mode, the player must select the Disturbance option during an interrogation. On the surface, it appears to act as a dice roller; a successful pass will make the dialogue play out as if the player successfully chose truth or lie (with correct evidence, even if they didn't have it). However, fail a Disturbance check, and your player will engage in an aggressive (and odd) argument with the responder, losing you the evidence, locking you out of that question and reducing the success chance on any Disturbance rolls with that character. Regardless of a win or loss, use of Disturbance Mode will also have effects on the outside world; colours will distort, ghost objects will appear and other effects will occur. Ordinary dialogue lines for both player and response in all interrogations will also become more abstract (in tiers, depending on how many Disturbance options the player has used). The only way to revert to normal is to use the standard Truth and Lie dialogue options.
As per the Skill System outlined below, Disturbance Mode itself is purchased through tokens, and has an upgrade chain which increases the chances of success, and also makes the effects of Disturbance Mode wackier.
As a reinforcement of the Event mechanics, some Evidence Items might be in the possession of hostile forces, and require a combat sequence to collect.
In a combat scenario, the player is locked to a specific camera angle, and must (within a turn limit) identify and select items within the world to use against enemies, in some ways similar to certain sections of Telltale Games' Batman. Players have a pool of points they can spend to observe on elements inside the combat ring, such as the enemies themselves, nearby objects and potential hazards. These offer Combat Advantages, which are functionality the same to Evidence Items, except that they are not permanently stored in the Notebook, and will automatically be turned into Combat Choices (Event Items) which you collect enough, as opposed to needing to craft them. Previewing of Combat Choices is limited to watching a small clip in-frame of how the combat sequence may play out if successful. When players are happy they have enough Combat Choices, they can line them up with a similar feeling to Fallout 3 V.A.T.S., and watch the event play out. Depending on the difficulty and the enemies, the player must successfully beat a set number of goons without taking more than a threshold of damage to get the Evidence item.
Enemies cannot contribute to Combat Advantages; they instead bring up a popup with a description of that enemy's weaknesses and strengths, but viewing them costs points.
As per the Skill System outlined below, there are a number of skills to upgrade to improve Infiltration ability, such as reducing the cost of viewing elements in the scene, or giving the player a larger threshold of damage.
When the player is convinced they have every shred of evidence they need to conclusively rule what happened (and by proxy lay blame), they can visit whatever is used in the level to represent the end, and will be presented with a form split into two sections. The Event Sequence section requires the player to place the relevant events in order as they would have happened. The Question section requires the player to put Evidence Items in the gaps of sentences to demonstrate that the player understands what has happened. After submitting the form, the player is shown their points tally (50% for the Event Sequence, 50% split between each question for the rest). If they didn't get 100%, they are given a list of potential hints as to how they can improve when they retry. The level ends and the player is sent back to the hub.
To reward (and encourage) players for getting stuff right, every correct question, every individual goon defeated in an Infiltration sequence and every successful Disturbance check unlocks a token. Tokens are finite, and there is one for every unique instance of these encounters in the game, essentially acting as way to track how complete your progress in the game is. Tokens are used both to make the game a bit easier by making subtle things obvious (to reduce player mistakes), and to give the player some more fun content (such as concept art or funny "cheat codes").
The bulk of the game's content is intended for the Campaign mode, although individual levels for Streamer Mode and Workshop integration for custom levels would be nice.
Within the campaign, once you are past the Point of Linearity and free to select what you'd like to do, there are two types of Investigations to choose from; Cases & Scenarios.
Scenarios are individual crime scenes, and the entire investigation can be solved in that one level. Replaying the scenario will always act as if you are starting it anew; your campaign progress will only ever take your best result however.
Cases are a string of multiple, linked scenarios. (Relevant, as predetermined by the designer) Evidence that was collected in previous levels is passed on to the next, for continued usage. Since it's possible to fail by not having cruical evidence from a previous level, the game will warn at the end of a level (after submitting answers) if they have screwed themselves. When replaying a single investigation in a case, if you elect to replay from the second or further missions in to that case, the game will carry forward your best results from the previous levels (i.e. if you replay from Mission 3 and 100%'d both previous missions, the game will automatically grant you all relevant evidence).
Disturbance Mode effects are limited within the scope of a single Scenario/length of a full Case, and will not passthrough to other Scenarios/Cases. You can play, save, quit and load any Scenario or Case you like at any time from the hub, although you are restricted to one save per Scenario/Case.
Every Investigation has an associated Difficulty Rating; this is used to warn a player if something is considered a bit too hard for them yet. Completing other Scenarios/Cases and purchasing skills will dynamically decrease the numbers for each Investigation (according to their individual rules on what makes them that difficulty), but ultimately should only be considered a guide and players may find their experience easier or harder compared to what's listed.
Summary of Visual Design
There's not yet a significant amount of work to report in this department, aside from some basic concepts.
The game is aiming for that classic black and white noir style. Colours are used incredibly sparingly to represent important details; blues are good, reds are bad (and show connection to the killer). Consider that police lights are blue and red...
Certain abilities can increase the colour within the world, and Disturbance Mode will add sickly greens while also adding unique filters.
Smoke and Fog are the most important elements of the scene, usually lining the way towards something of critical importance.
The construction of the world is a mix of 40s - 50s American culture with classic LEGO craziness. Stereotypes should be played to their absolute max.
While the intention of the game is mainly to attract solo players who wish to get inside the atmosphere, it's important to recognise that everybody lives in different circumstances; different audiences will have different requirements for the game.
For this reason, I wish to introduce three modes which modify some of the game's mechanics and functionality.
Normal: The intended mode of play, everything remains the same. By default, all social features are hidden and the default UI layout is Single Mode, which is better for viewing individual items at a time.
Social: A local co-op experience, designed for multiple people inside the same room. The intent here is to remove the physical elements of play and focus more on the logical, group-minded tasks (so it doesn't matter who actually clicks the buttons to make the game progress, as everyone can participate to the thought process). Firstly, the First Person camera is disabled, replaced by static Security Cameras to scroll through, with all the relevant evidence/witnesses/red herrings visible. Since they rely more on fast reflexes (and we want to encourage players to go back and try the game in solo mode), combat sequences are outright disabled and any evidence they would have given can be simply collected. Cutscenes are disabled. The default UI is Multi Mode, allowing for seeing many items at one time to let players all fan out.
Streamer: An extension of Social Mode, better suited to larger audiences over digital interfaces. Streamer has its own, much more complex campaign levels that require a lot of people working together to solve. To that end, a companion app will be available that lets users scroll through all the unlocked evidence, events and also view dialogue if the player is in an interrogation sequence. The player can configure and allow the audience the ability to vote on actions, either limiting or increasing how much power and options the audience has. If the player is streaming through a service with a chat API (such as Twitch), the chat can be directly viewed inside the game.
It's a lot more more work, but building the game with these three audience types in mind will grant significant selling power to the title at a whole. There's still many questions to be answered, but this is already a good start into understanding what the different audiences needs will be.
Level Design Methodology
The actual implementation of the core mechanics (for the vertical slice, so long as you ignore a lot of the polish stuff like the game modes or localisation) is really simple; what's made to be tough is the puzzle design, to stress only the most enjoyable (through being challenging) experiences. As far as I've worked out, this is currently the best way to approach designing the levels.
This process begins by having a very vague idea for a location, crime type and difficulty (how many events for the sequence, how many combat encounters etc) and then continues on;
A rough outline of the level's floor plan is drawn (specifically only the playable space). It needs not be any more complex than some cubes, since everything can be shifted around and changed. There just needs to be a physical map for the sake of concepting to help motivate better choices.
At this stage, plot the sequence of events as crappy little stick figures on the map. Put circles for people, and draw tiny symbols and arrows to represent interesting detail that will be critical to note for the next phase. Add a number next to each event to say which stage it is. It's all about understanding what the player's goal is, and trying to space the content of the level around the entire level, instead of making the crime stuck to one tiny portion of the map.
For every event on your map, jot down in notes a description of what should be animated, who and what it involves and so on, so forth.
Going even further, circle the things that would make for conclusive evidence that the event happened. We're not yet ready to say what form of evidence they'll be found in, but we can at least confirm every single thing the player will need to finish the level.
With a high-level overview of the critical path ready now, it's time to go conspiracy-theorist and draw lines. Evidence "Elements" need to be connected together to show the relationship in how you can collect and use them. Some elements will simply only contribute to the unlocking of the event, while other elements should be used to unlock more pieces of evidence. Some evidence items prove, some disprove (both of those for dialogue sequences), and some act like keys. It's not time yet to say exactly what one does to another, you need only to mess around and try decide on some open or closed chains of progression for your player.
Now that you understand the item relationships, you can place them into the level. Mix it up; have some items as physical collections, some as environment details to study, and some as evidence extrapolated from interrogating witnesses. This is also the time to create your red herrings, witnesses, and flesh out the scene itself.
Lastly, you need to create all the valid permutations of dialogue and item descriptions (including the little coloured hints) for this level. There needs to be a mix of valid Truth and Lie cases. It'll also pay to begin thinking about Disturbance Mode modifiers for the level.
It's not a perfect process yet, but it's a start. As I become more comfortable making levels, I'll refine this process and figure out smart shortcuts, as well as a clearer set of designer rules for working within the bounds of the mechanics.
Well, once again I don't have too much to say. Sorry about that. April was really busy. I spent most of it trying to make significant progress on my two current fan fictions, and I think I did, but I also finally started on my next original project, and this is really the main thing I have to talk about, in regards to the adaptation.
Since writing original fiction is how I make my money and what keeps me from working a job that makes me want to eat a bullet, it's naturally pretty high up on the priority list. I've been taking a bit more time to plan this novel out, since, over the past 3 years, I had to essentially rush to write 15 novels for...reasons. But it's finally finished with pre-production and has entered the writing phase.
So this is obviously going to slow down my work on Gathering Darkness and The DOOM Chronicles, which I want to wrap up before I start putting significant effort towards Rock Raiders, which would also be throttled back to make way for my next original book.
I've managed to get some more of Rock Raiders planned out, but not a great deal. I'm hoping now that I might be able to start writing it in July. Sorry I don't have better news.
Found an exploit allowing me to load DLC content from LEGO Star Wars The Force Awakens. Working on getting textures and models to load but that will take some time while I mess with the DAT format (need to figure out how to remove files from the archive).
The butterfly has flown out of its cocoon. Or something.
This is my magnum opus. I've never made something so complicated, and I'm really proud of it (despite the short duration). Feel free to count how many time changes there are, and what tempo this music's in.
My answer to the topic I recently created is going to be extremely long, so I've decided to break it up into multiple small blog entries based on the time period. These will be a bit rough, but maybe in future installments I might add some images and colour to break it all up.
I don't know. I dunno why my Dad bought that PS1. He's not much of a gamer; he grew up on a farm with a handful of other siblings before moving down here to the city. Gaming never would be his forte, but I'd be happy to make that purchase all the more worth it for him.
I think there's still a photo of Dad holding me, holding the PS1 controller, playing Grand Turismo. Either that, or I'm having some weird out-of-body experience memory of that very same event. That's where it all started; a very young me, and a demo of Gran Turismo. It wouldn't matter if I won or lost; kids don't care for such large concepts, it's all about the feedback. I could hit a button, and something happened. That is a feeling you don't forget.
I was four years old in 1998. Back then, I was always more obsessed with VHS tapes and LEGO, if only because TV access was very limited. It probably didn't help that a baby me climbed and smashed some glass windows on the TV stand. I was creative, in a very destructive way. It explain my tastes in those early years; I could never win, but the thrill of Ape Escape, Formula 1 '98, V-Rally '97 Championship Edition and the Star Wars: Episode One: The Phantom Menace demo and smacking stuff around was enough for me. There was music, lights, and buttons to smack. Sometimes even vibrations.
I had no concept of games libraries, back then. The whole world of gaming was just in those discs. Hell, I didn't even know what a demo was, and it didn't help that I couldn't even reach the end of my games to find out. Thankfully, my mind was expanded on my sixth birthday. It was nighttime; only that year had we moved to this big new house, and I was sitting on the small kitchen table directly under the intense yellow light. I ripped open my package, and there it was.
Jeremy McGrath's Supercross 2000.
Great people are influenced by great works. The likes of Shakespeare, Orwell, King and forth have opened a new generation of brilliant creators. What does it say when my major inspiration was some budget title that didn't even score average?
The riding wasn't very good, I wasn't that great at pulling off the freestyle tricks, and the character creator was marred by the low quality PS1 graphics of the era but...but. It had something. Something I won't soon forget. In such low, terrible quality, it offered power unbeknownst to me at the time; a track creator. YES. I could make actual content for this game. I didn't understand it at the time, but I reviled in it. All the live-long day I spent, placing blocks, testing my track, changing it up and showing it to my young brother. Guess times have changed a lot, in some ways. Maybe not others.
I apologize for the sassy title and blog post in general.
I decided after much deliberation that it's time I do a soft-reboot of my channel. After 5 years of complete staleness, it's time I actively start promoting my brand by sending some cheap EDM music to people like Dubstep Gutter and Berzox, as that's what cool people do these days.
But mind you, it's going to be just a phase. I will be doing what I have to until I can start making again the stuff I want, I hope you understand what I mean. Besides, it's not like I despise EDM. If it's not repetitive and unoriginal garbage like most of the releases on UKF I'll most likely see some good in it, and try to incorporate it in my style. My plan is to start making both EDM and VGM in the future, as I enjoy them all the same, even if for different reasons.
So, what I mean by soft-rebooting is: I should change my name again, to something more thought out and unique, that will sound acceptable for both for EDM and the more VGM and cinematic side of music. What I found was this name: Nuwe.
The Nue is a mythological Japanese creature which "has the face of a monkey, the legs of a tiger , the body of a Japanese Raccoon Dog and the front half of a snake for a tail" (Wikipedia), basically a chimera. It's also known for being very mysterious and enigmatic, which led to a shift in meaning of its name to "man of mystery". Now, to me this name sounds glorious. Super simple to write and remember, I like how it's pronounced, and it's got that meaning which perfectly fits what I do (many styles under a single identity, sort of like a chimera?). The only problem is that "nue" in French means naked (feminine), which is stupid.
So I used my Nihongo no kakikata no takumi to rewrite it in a less equivocal way, and got Nuwe, which is even better, because for reasons I cannot explain here it looks stylish to Japanese people. Additionally, in Afrikaans apparently it means "newer" which is a plus.
So that's the name I wanted to go with. The alternative is to use a pseudonym where the first name is a shortening of my actual first name and Nuwe as a fake surname.
I was also thinking that maybe the logo could use some tweaking. Thoughts about all of this? Any critique to make? Please don't hold yourself back. You're my focus group and I want to hear everything I can from you.
I don't have a whole lot to say, unfortunately. I've been extremely busy just lately and it doesn't seem like it's going to let up any time soon. I did manage to get The Long Walk finished, though! So that was pretty awesome to write. I can only hope it was awesome to read. Currently, I'm trying to get two fan fictions wrapped up, (they're still quite a ways off from being finished), planning a series of original post-apocalyptic survival-horror novels that I will try to get professionally published, and dealing with all the other things that go with being a human nowadays.
I'll try to get some more planning done this month so I can have something more worthwhile to say in May.
FOREWORD: What you are about to read is The Long Walk, a mini-series companion to my adaptation of Lego Rock Raiders. It features an original character and will basically be a way for me to get a feel for the universe from a writing perspective, and for you to get a feel for how I'm going to handle the universe, and my writing style and abilities, from a reading perspective. I hope you enjoy it!
THE LONG WALK
When the Explorer was hit by an asteroid storm and
thrown into a wormhole that hurled it to the far side
of the galaxy, miner Ian Harrison hoped it wouldn’t get
Of course, he should have known better. When a teleporter
malfunction strands him in an unexplored cavern on the
mysterious planet the Rock Raiders are mining for resources,
he must do whatever it takes to brave the unknown
and get back to base...
–Into the Void–
And that's it. The Long Walk is written. What did you think?
Over the past couple of months, I've been looking at my past LEGO Source Filmmaker renders and discovering how untidy or buggy it has become over the past year.
So today I thought I'd put together a collection of pictures/screenshots, all based on strange behind-the-scenes stuff and bugs that have plagued my past renders. So here we go!
Everytime @Xiron updates his pack of SFM/GMod minifigs (even if the model's rig isn't edited), Source Filmmaker tries to replace the old models with the new ones, yet fails in a spectacular way:
"Flex face fudge-up"
I wasn't aware of these UV map "mistakes" until I made the "PIRATES!?" poster.
"Brothers of shoddy arms"
After I released the original "LEGO Rock Raider christmas desktop background" 2016 pack, Xiron fixed up the UV textures of the Rock Raider model. As a result, this minor arm texture issue has been popping up every now and again.
"The shenanigans behind the scenes"
(The following aren't really "bugs" or strange artefacts from a long while ago, but some people might find this bit interesting)
Usually a scene looks fine from the camera's POV, but not everything is as it seems. Here are some weird things you don't see beyond the camera.
...and lastly, and more recently...
"Post-Nuclear Warfare Classic LEGO Games collection"
In an attempt to find the most screwed up session render, I came across my first poster with Xiron's "Classic LEGO Games" pack, made 2 years ago for the release of the Garry's Mod pack.
And... yes it was messed up...
But I didn't expect it to be the aftermath of a bloody Nuclear warfare.
I hope you've enjoyed this... uneducational insight behind the scenes of my somewhat corrupted collection of old/unused LEGO renders. Thank you for your time.
-- Ben24x7 --
Over the past week, I attended a course for Animation/Visual Effects, expecting to... well... make an animated project. And while that did happen, something else occurred during that week that took me off guard:
The appearance of the Vive wasn't hinted at or briefly mentioned beforehand, so you can imagine my surprise. And luckily, they set up the headset for people to use whenever they needed/wanted a break, which of course meant I tried it out whenever I could (approximately three or four times).
So, like my past encounter with the Play Station VR, I'll be detailing my experience with the Vive here. Enjoy!
PROBLEMS WITH THE HEADSET:
I'm aware this isn't a good overlook or review of the Vive or anything, but right now, I'm tired, and I wanted to get this stuff off my chest. I'll come back and edit this into something better later.
So, I've decided to tackle the task of creating an adaptation for Lego Rock Raiders.
If you've already read my status update in the forums, you can pretty much skip this one. Except for the end. Go to the end, there's new information.
So, here's all the information I've got so far.
About This Project
Since I tend to write primarily Sci-Fi/Action/Horror series, as well as more serious, adult-themed stories, Rock Raiders will reflect this.
As such, Rock Raiders will contain violence, harsh language, and some adult themes. (I feel like the freaking MPAA.)
Though the story will largely be Sci-Fi/Survival/Action, there will be themes of Horror, Mystery, and Romance throughout.
I am planning on posting this story as I write it. Basically, when I finish a chapter, I'll post it. I'll be posting to WattPad and Fanfiction.net, and possibly here as well.
Seeing as I'm extremely busy with other original and fan fiction projects, it'll be a little while before I actually start the writing portion. I'm shooting for two months, so April, but I might have to push it back to May or possibly even June. The good news is that all this extra time will result in more planning and polishing of the plot, characters, and universe.
When I do start updating, I'll attempt to commit to a two or three times a week update schedule.
This is not a novelization, but an adaptation, meaning that a lot will be different. I'll be using the games (PC + PS1), as well as the comics for a base, and build from there. And it will be featured in an original, 'realistic' universe, there will be no Lego characters.
Characters. I'll be adding in three new primary characters to the core cast, and I'll be making some changes to the already existing cast. I'm still figuring out how I'm going to tell this story. At the moment, I believe I'm going to switch between several different perspectives, namely the nine main characters, with particularly emphasis on some of them. I know that Axle will be the 'main' character, the one I write about the most. Other candidates for more highly used characters will be Jet, Sparks, and Bandit, as well as one of the new characters.
So that's all the info I want people to have going into the project, so that they don't have all sorts of differing expectations. Now, as for where I am in terms of planning precisely at this moment, well...here's a quick list.
I have an official working title: Rock Raiders, as well as a cover for the story that I've created that I'll post below.
I have a name for the planet this takes place on.
I've got a rough idea of the layout of the LMS Explorer.
I've got a pretty good idea on all nine of the main characters, personalities, traits, physical appearance, etc.
I think I have all of the structures planned out. I changed some, removed others, added more.
I've got eight unique environments worked out, since the game only really came with three different environments. These include: Rocky, Ice, Lava, Crystal, Underwater, Plant, Ancient City, and Surface of the planet.
I've got a working list of all the monsters, including native creatures, I want to put in the story. Still debating on whether or not to add any, and if so, what to add.
Other than that, I'm still working out environmental threats, vehicles, and equipment. There's definitely going to be some cool new technology and methods of explaining some of the crazier pieces of tech the Rock Raiders have access to. I have just a few scenes in the beginning planned out.
I also have an official Twitter dedicated to this project that I keep up on. Check it out and Follow me!
Here's the cover of the book.
Now, as for the other piece of news: I have decided that, for a number of reasons, it would be prudent to write a shorter piece of fiction set alongside the main novel.
Some of these reasons are:
It'll give people here an idea of my writing style/capabilities.
It'll help get me in the right mindset.
It'll be fun.
I've decided to write a mini-series called The Long Walk. It features an original character, one of the nameless Rock Raiders you could say, after he gets transported into the wrong cavern due to a malfunction, and goes through a lot trying to get back to base.
Here's the cover.
I'll hopefully start posting that to this site, in this blog, relatively soon. Thanks for reading!
So, I'm not very good at blogging, although I like the idea of it. I figured the first post should act as an introduction.
Since it's very easy to find anyway, here's some information. My name is Sean A. Lusher and I live in Columbia, MO. I'm married. My wife and I started dating in 2006, got engaged in 2009, and married in 2010. We just bought our first (and hopefully only) house in July of 2016. We live with three cats, (two are ours, and if you visit any of my other social media, you'll see lots of pictures of them, they're very photogenic), and two of our friends. As a little aside, I know there are a lot of people that are kind of weirded out by the idea of a married couple living with other people. I'm not entirely sure why this is, beyond the fact that it's not traditional, but we've tried living alone. Did it for a year. Living with people, (people you can trust and are reasonable, obviously,) is definitely better.
I'm a writer. Currently a self-published writer, looking to become a somewhat more traditionally published writer.
I began writing consistently in 2004. I wrote fan fiction for about nine years solid, with the occasional foray into original fiction. In 2008 I finished my first original novel. It was crap. Later, I rewrote it. In 2009, I won a contest at a convention for writing a short story in a certain amount of time. I was up against a couple of dozen others, one of them being a professional. (I still wish I knew who it was that was the professional published author.) I also got a short story published on a free online website that no longer exists, to my knowledge. In 2011 I got a sci-fi/horror novella published by Damnation Books (They no longer exist in their original form either, thankfully). I then self-published a short story and a novella for the Kindle. I kind of just screwed around through all of 2012 and some of 2013. I got two more novellas published that year with Damnation Books, a contemporary horror and a fantasy tragedy. I regret it, they sucked at their jobs. Hardly made any money. I think that perhaps, altogether, with those three titles across however many years they were published, I might have made 100$. Though my self published titles didn't do any better.
In 2012, my wife and I moved to New Mexico, as she got a good job. Good enough that I no longer needed to work the awful minimum wage jobs I'd been working for several years at that point to support first myself, then us. It took a little while, but I finally produced my first full length novel that seemed worthy of publishing. It garnered a great deal of attention on WattPad, getting over 250,000 Views and hitting #1 in both Sci-Fi and Horror on the site.
From September of 2013 to December of 2016, I worked on a series of Sci-Fi/Action/Horror stories called The Shadow Wars. The series features fifteen novels, three novellas, and nine short stories. I didn't see any real success until early 2015 and while I enjoyed about six solid months of upwards success, I've since had my income cut in half. Twice. For no discernible reason. I'm still lucky enough to be piecing together enough money to cover the bills so that I don't have to work. I'm currently preparing to start up a second pen name and attempt to get published with an Australian horror publisher that I think would be great for me and my ideas. The reason I'm doing this is because I think I can reach a wider audience and I'm honestly exhausted from doing EVERYTHING by myself. I'd like to have someone help with the workload of creating and publishing books. Although for several years I had a very good friend of mine, who was exceptionally talented, creating cover art for me and some occasional marketing, I now do everything by myself, and after three solid years of writing a fifteen novel franchise, I'm exhausted.
So, now that I've spent the past several paragraphs talking about what I've done, I'd like to take a moment to let it be known that I have no illusions about myself and my writing. I am as successful as I am, (not very, at this point, I could probably make more at a full time, minimum-wage job), because I am lucky and because I work pretty hard. But mainly because I am lucky. I don't believe I'm owed anything, and I'm happy for every sale, every read, and every comment on anything I write. I try to find a happy medium between writing what people want to read, and writing what I want to write, and I think I do okay, for the most part. As for my writing itself and my ideas, I think that, on my good days, I'm about average. Most of the time I feel like what comes out falls pretty far short of what I had hoped would come out, but I know that basically every creative person feels this way, and honestly, it's for the best. Feeling like you produce crap motivates you to consistently try harder, which means you get better. So, for the record, I don't think I'm special, important, or even particularly interesting because I have written books or because I'm lucky enough to scrape by on what I manage to pull in each month. I don't even think I'm all that intelligent, to be honest.
I've worked through a lot of crap over the years, and I'm on some light psych meds nowadays, and I've evened out for the most part. At this point, I just try not to worry about whether or not I'm good enough, or smart enough, or whatever. It doesn't really work as much as I'd like, though. Honestly, how I look at my life can be summed up in a two quotes. The first is from House: "Yeah, if we were all satisfied with what we had, what a beautiful world it would be. We'd all slowly starve to death in our own filth, but at least we'd be happy. Listen, I need your self worth to hang on this job, for kicking ass here to be all that lets you rise above miserable. If waking up in the morning is enough, then I don't need you." And, probably the one I apply more often to my problems, a quote from Rick (from Rick & Morty): "THE ANSWER IS DON'T THINK ABOUT IT, MORTY!" Whether or not I'm good enough or smart enough or whatever, honestly doesn't have a lot of bearing in my day to day life. What really matters more is that I don't think about it and just WORK, just get stuff done. Overthinking things, in my experience, leads to a huge amount of procrastination.
And, for the most part, kicking ass at writing is, a lot of the days, all that lets me rise above miserable.
Maybe not the picture of mental health, but I managed to get fifteen novels written in three years as a result of it. And I hope to get a lot more written.
So, that's basically me in a nutshell. Honestly, I'm a boring person. I spend 95% of my awake time in my office, at my laptop, doing something related to writing. What little social contact I get comes from my wife, my roommates, and typically one other friend who I go to watch crappy movies with once a week at her house. (Right now, we're working our way through Friday the 13th.) And really, it works for me.
Despite that, I do actually really like talking to people. If you have questions, feel free to shoot me a message anytime and I'll more than likely get back fairly promptly.
The only other thing that I feel is worth mentioning right now is that I'm working on a feature-length written adaptation of Lego Rock Raiders. It'll be a little bit before I get to the actual writing portion, but it's going to happen, and I've got a good feeling about it.
I've been accepted into University and have finally got all the paperwork sorted... it only came through four days before the term start as well as half the site crashing, along with them repeatedly asking for a form I ended up sending off three times, as well as some angry rants from Dad, far too much stress, and a general bucketload of idle parahpenalia which has no point but hey they want it in anyway...
I also managed to get my timetable sorted and oh great I have one 9am start and four 8am starts. As I have to commute into Uni, this means I have to be up at 6am. I'll survive
My study program is Direct Entry into 1st Professional Year in Mechanical Engineering; or as you probably understand, "My slave labour is Blahblah in Blahblah in Blahblah."
Direct Entry means I skip the first year (Intermediate Year) completely and head straight into the first "professional year" of Mechanical Engineering; most people (99.5%) take the Intermediate year, which leads into any Engineering discipline or even into Science. I've decided what to do and thanks to those fifteen exams I sat last year I have good enough results (read: almost flawless) to allow me to do that. Engineering degrees are normally four years, but I've now cut that down to three.
The bonus of Direct Entry is a) I don't have a boring, non-challenging year of revision and b) I don't have to pay a whole year's worth of fees (always nice). The main disadvantage is that it is extraordinarily difficult as you have, after all, skipped a year of Uni (but thanks to those high results it shouldn't matter too much, actually). I'm confident I'll cope.
Mechanical Engineering is... well... a lot of things. To put it this way, if it has moving parts, a mechanical engineer probably designed it. They wouldn't have built it but they would have designed it and quite probably designed something to build it. And designed the something to build the something to build the something. It's kinda like an "inventor" in modern-day, fiddling with gears, belts, engines, and all sorts of moving parts. The electronics we usually leave to the Mechatronic Engineers. Or, ya know, just use Google.
As an added bonus, those fifteen exams I sat last year have so far managed to net $23 000 in scholarships and counting, which is very useful However, due to aforementioned paraphenalia most of that only comes through later; all the way in March, August, or even in a year's time. But coming through nevertheless (One year's fees is $6000-9000. Mechanical Engineering sits a little above the $8000 mark) With a bit of luck, this means I'll get enough scholarships to fund my entire undergraduate degree
As another added bonus, those fifteen exams got me Dux. That gives me a scholarship (see above), and it also dumps me in the university's "Emerging Leader's Development Programme." That, insofar as I can judge, is a collection of the brightest of the best (it's 120 people across University), and the progamme is not only a motivational "How 2 Lead In Twenty-Six Difficult Steps" but also a programme to get the typically-unsocial academic elite to actually talk and socialize. So far I've had two days of this progamme and it is amazing. For the first time in my entire life, I am enjoying socializing. Normally it's just me sitting with a textbook saying "oh look your day was nice thank you Captain Obvious I can see the weather even when I turtle inside" *turns page*.... but finally I have people who can keep up with my rather rigorous discussions, with similar interests, and similar intelligence. I haven't mixed around a lot so far, but what I have I've thoroughly enjoyed. It is just such a totally novel feeling, actually wanting to talk to people with the end goal of talking. It's something that has quite literally never entered my head (having been at a rather lonely pinnacle of academic achievement at a small school; throughout my entire schooling I have had less than four friends) ... the context is important. I now have, to be blatant, other academic elite I can socialize with. This just hasn't happened beforehand; the people just haven't been around. But now that they are, I suddenly find I am not entirely anti-social; rather the opposite, I just need somebody who is similarily elite on the other side of the conversation.
That said, I'm still a good deal away from having what most people would call a "social life." This is the beginning; and to be fair I can't have a huge social life as Direct Entry will put a lot of pressure on me to study, so I can't afford to be that sociable. But I can afford to be somewhat sociable, and the notion of wanting to be social (with a select few, it must be said) is utterly new to me.
The disadvantage of this all is that I'll be on RRU less, but given that RRU's post rate is such that you can come on once a week and not miss anything, there will really be no change Just less frequent tongue-spams in the Shoutbox.
So now my holidays have finally drawn to an end after finishing school all the way on 1 Dec, and I'm really excited to be heading off into a new adventure. It's not going to be easy, he's been quarantined /fpaddict , but it is set to be a bundle of fun and a new challenge.
So... uh... why am I posting all of this on an obscure Lego gaming forum? Because I want y'all to know what I'm up to, even if none of you actually care This forum is a special place for me; always nice, always forgiving, always something new, and I thought I'd tell you what I'm up to.
What was God thinking when he made the earth?
Humans are the reason aliens aren't coming to earth.
Ultron's philosophy in Age of Ultron is kind of something that makes sense.
Why universe, Why?
Why do we exist?
WHY DO WE EXIST?