This Crap Has GOTTA Stop

I never have nightmares about Horror movies after watching them.

Before watching them, sure.  I had three bad dreams about Freddy Kruger before watching Nightmare on Elm Street.  Afterwards?  Not so much.

Closest I’ve come is a month or so ago.  I dreamed I was swimming in a lake when I noticed Jason Voorhees standing on the shore near by.  At that very moment I thought to myself to myself thought I “This is going to be a nightmare,” and immediately changed dreams.  The next one still had Voorhees in it, but there he was my big buddy.  Who I had to keep distracted before he started killing people.  But still.  Big buddy.  No nightmare.

Outside of that, nothing.  Not a single bad dream fashioned from phantasmal cloth other than my own.

Except for Attack on Titan.

My brain seems determined to “treat” me to Attack on Titan nightmares.

For those not in the know, Attack on Titan is a Fantasy anime series set in a world where Humanity is on its last legs.  Monstrous, almost indestructible titans roam the world eating people, and only massive walls keep the things at bay.  Or, at least they did, until a new titan, bigger than the walls, comes and wrecks things.

This sounds plenty grim, doesn’t it? Well let me tell you, it’s positively cheerful compared to the series itself.  My God, do they go to dark places.  And just when you think things couldn’t be any worse, they spring something nasty on you that you never even considered.

Great show.

I don’t want to dream about it.

Ever.

Last night marked the third time it’s happened since watching the series.

First dream wasn’t that bad, in retrospect.  The Titans (all of my own creations, by the way) were in the distance and closing, which was bad yet manageable.  Each time since, though, they’ve gotten a little closer.  A little closer.  No matter how fast I run in the dream, their smiling faces with teeth to big for their mouths are always a little closer.

It’s really rather unsettling.

It would be okay if I could switch it off like I did with the Voorhees dream.  Only I don’t know how I did that.

The thing that worries me the most, though, isn’t the Titans.  Bad as they are.

What worries me is Harv.  My own personal Boogeyman.  The Big Cheese of nightmares, the guy Kruger could only wish he could be.

It’s pushing a decade since he last came a’calling, which means I’m due for a visit any time now.  My fear is that he’s going to take the Titan dreams as a challenge and try to up his game.

As a rule, Harv dreams consist of him coming out from beneath whatever bed I’m sleeping on and killing me in delightful ways.  One time he came out and slit my throat.  Another time he flipped the whole mattress over on top of me and tried to smother me with it.

You’d think this wasn’t so bad compared to running through city streets from Titans.  Thing is, these dreams do more than see real.  They seem more real than reality.  And always in a familiar setting, always in the room I just laid down in.

While that might seem rather limited in a creative sense, Harv can and will make up for it in other ways.  One nightmare had me waking from the previous one only for Harv to come out from the bed and kill me again.  It happened so often that at one point I went out to my living room to beg whoever was there to wake me up.  This didn’t help at all, as Harv then came out from under my bed and killed me again.

Not helping matters is that, maybe six month ago I dreamed I was laying in my bed trying to fall asleep.  Suddenly I felt Something Bad coming and, like the Voorhees dream, I said “No thanks” and changed dreams.

Now I don’t know if that Something Bad was Harv or not.  Personally, I’m hoping it’s just coincidence that it was the same sort of dream as when Harv comes.  Cause if it wasn’t then take all my earlier concerns and multiply them by ten.  I don’t irritate Harv often, and those rare occasions have not been happy one.  Thwarting him might make him a little… displeased.

Man, between the Titans and Harv I am not looking forward to sleep tonight…

The Eagle Has Landed. In Trees Near the Lake. Repeatedly

I’m not going to tell you I’ve never seen an eagle before.  I’ve been to zoos, and there might have been one spotted at one point or another.

I’m not going to tell you I haven’t seen one before in a more natural setting.  That I don’t remember it ever happening doesn’t mean it didn’t.

However, I’ve never taken a picture of one before.  Nor have I had the… I dunno… pleasure?  of one soaring over my head.

Not exactly over my head, mind.  Over to the left a little.  Okay, maybe a couple of yards.

But still.

Eagle.  Soaring by.

A couple of them have nested in one of my frequent walking haunts, and it isn’t uncommon to see one of them in the air doing whatever it is that eagles do.  Hunting, maybe.  Guarding the nest.  Being majestic.  That sort of thing.

They have a nest across the river.  Today I think I heard their eaglet (eaglets?) calling for food.  One of the parents soared about, perhaps on the hunt.  It was very nice.

A couple of days back I saw a herd of deer in some poor farmer’s field.  A dozen, maybe more.  Never saw so many in all my life.

Didn’t get a picture of that.  Was driving at the time.  Local law enforcement frowns on drive by camera phone photos being taken by a driver from a moving vehicle.  Can’t understand why, really.

The deer, while neat, do not compare with one eagle in the air.

I hope they enjoy their stay in my city.  I’m glad I got a chance to see them.

Twelve, or Mein Gott! My Blog’s Almost a Teenager!

Every year when we reach this particular milestone there’s a wee bit of a shock for me.  “I’m still doing this?  The blog’s still going?”  Yes and yes, I say.  I really believe it has helped, it continues to help, and will keep on helping me improve my craft.  So long as it serves this purpose (and I keep enjoying writing for it) Welltun Cares Presents will continue.

As I don’t have much more to say on the matter, let’s discuss future events.  Or at least events I intend to have happen in the future:

  • I need to get back on the “post a day” wagon.  Or, failing that, a post here one day, work on a post for Welltun Cares Reviews the next.  The whole “one more hour” on Minecraft has gotta stop.
  • Complicating things a wee bit, I discovered that not only is there two Camp NaNoWriMos this year, one of them is being held in April.  Next month.  Now the Camps tend to be a wee bit looser than the regular NaNo, in that it can be “anything” written at “any length”, rather than one 50,000 word novel (thing).  I’m thinking of writing a series of sword and sorcery tales.  Might form the basis of a novel for the big NaNo in December.
  • Moving on to more complicated projects, I’m still stalling over the next Goblinstomper! Development update.  Part of the problem is that I want more expressive faces for what I’m doing than what the native Character Generator can give me (specifically, but not limited to, the eyebrows).  Which means I’m going to have to draw what I need myself, color it, and install it where it needs to go in the program.  I’ve already printed out an enlargement of our favorite red-headed Goblinstomper in extra-large format to get this task done.  Hopefully I can mimic RPG Maker’s style well enough to suit me.  Otherwise I might have to break down and make completely new parts for the whole generator (something I’ve considered doing anyways, but would rather not.)
  • Finally, RPG Maker MV has had an update, which includes a tutorial program that walks users through the creation of a game.  I’m giving serious thoughts to doing just that for the rest of this week.  While it’s doubtful anything new will be learned by doing this–I’ve been fiddling with RPG Maker VX Ace and MV for sometime now, after all–it’s better to take the chance of time being wasted over missing potential options and shortcuts.  Frankly I’m rather fond of Goblinstomper! and its crew.   I want it to be about the best it can be, and this could help, if only a little.

All that said, twelve years of sense and nonsense have come and gone.  The foolish young(ish) man who started this blog is long since departed and replaced by a hopefully wiser old(ish) soul.  Here’s to another year, a better year, full of success, excitement, and beautiful women eager to hang out with men with the initials C.M.M.W.

I will accept two out of three coming to pass from the previous statement.

Faoladh: Irish Werewolves!

Sometimes roaming the Internet comes up with sights best left unseen, thoughts best left unthunk.  This, though, isn’t one of them.

For, in all my research (Horror and Fantasy related), I’d never heard of Irish Werewolves until today.

Faroladh.  Conroicht.  Werewolves.

I knew there were a plethora of Vampires the world over, so it doesn’t shock.  It’s just neat.  Especially on St. Patrick’s day.

(Hence the green text, by the by.)

I thought, as an aid to future writing, I’d put a few notes on this subject here.

From I Love Werewolves comes the following notes:


Tales of Irish werewolves were recorded in the Historia Brittonum. The Historia Brittonum is a record of the very earliest times in Britain by a Welsh monk named Nennius who lived in the 9th century. The Irish version of the Historia Brittonum (which is different from the British version) states that “The Descendants of the Wolf are in Ossory“. The “werewolves” of Ossory Ireland are shapeshifters that transform into wolves and kill cattle. The tales say that if their bodies were moved while their spirits were out they would not be able to return to their bodies.


And:


Werewolf legends were also recorded by Giraldus Cambrensis or Gerald of Wales in the Topographia Hibernica in the 12th century. The writings were of the landscape and people of Ireland as per his observations and eye witness accounts. In it, he recounts the tale of a priest who met a wolf who spoke to him and told him he was a native of Ossory, Ireland. The wolf stated that the people in Ossory were cursed such that every seven years a man and woman from Ossory were transformed into a wolf. The wolf asked for the priest’s help.


As with the little image above, I Love Werewolves insists that the Faroladh are basically Good Guys.  We Are Star Stuff continues this trend, though it adds an interesting note (emphasis mine):


[T]he Irish werewolf is a complex creature, just as often helpful, or at least benign, as dangerous. Most of the websites and posts I read say that Irish werewolves were considered guardian spirits who protected children, wounded men, and the lost, although they mostly don’t give sources.


Which is later followed with this interesting comment on the Laignach Faelad (again, emphasis mine):


According to several websites, these warriors would fight for any king who could pay their price – but this was not measured in gold, but in the flesh of newborn babies.


That’s a strange way of protecting children.

Obviously there are different types of Faroladh, different tales from different regions.  Here’s a different example from the same essay:


His initial testimony is remarkable: he does not deny being a werewolf, but he says that werewolves are the dogs of God, and that they go into Hell, which lies across the sea, three times a year to recover grain, cattle, and so forth that are stolen and taken there by sorcerers. The foodstuffs are guarded by guards who brutally beat those they catch with broomsticks wrapped in horsehair. If they are unable to recover the grain, then there will be a poor harvest. He claims that werewolves go off into the woods, take off their clothing, and put on a wolf skin. By this means, they are transmuted into wolves, and they roam around in groups up to 30 strong, tearing to pieces any animal they come across, roasting it, and eating it. Occasionally, they also steal animals from farms for the same purpose.


The same essay mentions a werewolf in connection with Saint Patrick (it’s not quite a post about Ireland without a mention of Paddy) as well as a bit on my dog Cúchulainn (heh) dealing with a shapeshifting Goddess who at one point takes the form of a wolf.  very interesting stuff, well worth remembering.

Which, again, is the reasoning behind this post.

Twitter Irritates the Crap Out of Me

Twitter Carps 000A little venting is about to begin.

Twitter was, at one point, a nice service.  Not the best to communicate with, what with the 140 character limit, but outside that it worked fine.  It broadcasts updates to this site and informs me about updates on key sites across the web.  Very useful.

Until they started with this “In case you missed it” crap.

I don’t know how other people use Twitter, but when I go there, I start at the top, then scroll down until a familiar looking Tweet pops up.  When there’s an article worth looking at, a quick right-click with the mouse calls up a handy-dandy window that has a command to open up a tab for latter.  All of this gets repeated until a familiar Tweet pops up.  Then its a’time to stop and go a’reading.

Doing things this way makes an “In case you missed it” feature unnecessary.  It’s thorough.  Not often is anything important miss.  Assuming anything does miss.

I sure as hell don’t need one that pops up the instant I log on to the service.  How the hell could I have “missed” anything when I haven’t even started reading yet?

These days, the whole I don’t even bother looking at the damn thing.  Doing so might put it in the “familiar” category of my brain and actually make me miss something.  The moment “In case you missed it” pops up, the “Refresh” gets hit on the browser to get rid of it.  Sometimes it takes two, maybe three tries to get rid of the damn thing and actually get Twitter to a usable state.

It’s a petty thing, yet those are moments that could be better spent doing anything else.

Best of all, there’s no refresh feature on my Twitter phone and tablet apps, making them both useless to me.

There should be a way to turn the damn thing off.  There isn’t.  Why be helpful when annoying is far easier.

Really, really irritating.

Stormin’

The first major thunderstorm of the season rolled in today.  Lots of thunder, lots of pouring rain.  We even had our first tornado watch.

Right now it’s fading, but I wanted a quick post up if we lost power.  Which happened briefly earlier.

So, out of curiosity, is this close enough for “In like a lion?”

What Was He Thinking?

Time travel is impossible and will never ever happen.  The reason for this has nothing to do with science or theory, but to simply to prevent Current Cullen from laying hands on Past Cullen.  Because if I could lay hands on him… oh, the beating he would get.

Why, you ask?  Oh so many reasons.  Among the current ones is my idea of organization of my old files.  Namely there.  Is.  None.

These days I’ve got a place for everything and everything in its place.  I think.  Maybe.  If I don’t, that’s a problem for Future Cullen (please don’t come back and punch me, Future Cullen).

evidence-of-my-mental-state-000
The hell, Past Cullen?! The hell?!

Here’s another one:  I have one document file where all the text formatted in landscape instead of the usual letter way.  Landscape.  In bright light green.

Who the hell does that?

Well.  Me.  Apparently.

Frustrating.

Outside of that, I’m moving forward with straightening the files out to a readable, non bright light green format.

All the Different Forms of Work

Low content today, I’m afraid.  Earlier in the week I was going through my CD back up files and found one of the oldest ones looking, shall we say, sad?  As in might someday soon be unreadable sad.

How old is this file?  The date listed on it (in a hand I no longer recognize as my own) was July 14, 2002.

Positively ancient, in other words.

I’ve already transferred most of the data over to this oh so modern Devil Box.  All of the text files made it over, but a few images didn’t make the cut.  As that’s my art work, it’s kind of a bummer.

However, most of the art came through fine, and I hope to find another back up disk somewhere in my mountainous.

What I plan to do today is transfer the old texts files over to a word processing program of a slightly more modern bent.  I can’t begin to tell you how tired I am of being asked if I want to buy Microsoft Office every time I click on a file.  And it’s only happened twice…

Goblinstomper! Development Diary (XXIX) – All the Maps, Where We Stand, Where We’re Headed

All the Maps Save the One I Thought I’d Be Working On

So, in a week where nothing went quite as planned, is it a surprised that my work on the game didn’t pan out the same, either?

Let me explain.

Five days ago, RPG Maker Web tweeted the following:

I took one look at that image and the first words out of my mouth was, “No way.”

The second was, “I said no.”

The third was, “GOD DAMN IT!”

I fought for three days, then yesterday caved the rest of the way:

gs-development-077 gs-development-078

The first image is how the map look when I started.  The second is the way I’m toying with doing the maps.  It looks like I have more space, but there are issues here and there that need addressing.  I might break down and see if there’s a tutorial on the matter.

Assuming I go that route, mind.  It’s going to be more work… But I kind of like it.  It has design possibilities.

Where We Stand

While I haven’t hit the milestone I’d hoped for today, I figure I might as well talk about what comes next.

hero

Once I “finish” this section of the game (have everything playable from our Hero Hero (so wonderful redundant) setting out from the castle up to his… um… celebrated return) I have at least two more village maps to port over from the earlier game.  I then have two addition maps to draw, one a town, one an expansion on the Mysterious Elven Forest of Mystery.  All the necessary Events need to be added and check to see if they work.

This done, I need to break down and start working on spells, special attacks, weapons and items, monsters, and the characters themselves.  To do this, I need to read up on the basic mechanics of RPG Maker’s game, and that…  That’s going to hurt.  We’ll moan about that another time.

After doing those two things comes the fun phase: the Writing Phase.  I’m expanding on the various less than boss dialogue, filling out some ideas here and there, and so on.  This includes various dialogue for all the townsfolk present and accounted for (though I may hold off on at least one village for the time being).  A part of this has already been done.

After the Writing Phase ends, I have to put in all that text into the game, test it out, the works.  I might even set up battles to test those out (though I might hold that off until closer to the end, when I’ve finished everything else.)  Whatever I do, when I finish all that, it’ll be the end of the First Act.  I’m thinking about two more Acts after that.  Maybe three…  not quite sure.  No more than that, though.

A hell of a lot of work.  This whole project is probably too ambitious for one man to work on, in fact.  But it’s been fun so far.

Where We’re Heading

All of this is nice and all.  Sounds like I might actually have my act together.  However there’s one small, small area I’m not exactly certain about.  That’s the story beyond the First Act.

Here’s where I am, at least in my head.wizard

Hero and his companions succeed in claiming the Mac Griffin (whatever that is.)  After returning the borrowed row-boat and its tag-along back where they belong, he and his new best friend (not really) Wizard head back to the castle, where no doubt a grand ta-do awaits their return.  Or at least a hardy handshake and an “At-a-boy!”val

At the castle, Hero spots a certain purple haired woman.  Though she doesn’t see him, her presence makes Hero uncomfortable.  He excuses himself and heads off to points unknown, promising to return in time to see the King.  Needless to say, the time comes and he’s nowhere to be found.  Wizard has to see the King (whom he’s never met) all on his lonesome.

He heads to the throne room, where he discovers that the local government has had a major shift in power.  To be more precise, someone’s dead.  Murdered.  And guess who gets the blame.

There’s more, but that’s where I start to look a little nuts.  More so than usual.

See, I like the idea of having a random element to the game.  I don’t know if I’m ever making another one after this one, so I want the most replay ability I can put in.  Thus I’m thinking that the victim might be

  • The Chancellor
  • The King
  • Or the previously unmentioned Queen

I think I can do this branching with minimum extra work.  I’m also thinking about making the murderer a random choice, too.

Whoever dies, Wizard finds himself charged with murder and thrown in the dungeon.  After a day or so he’s visited by the Chancellor.  Unless he’s dead, then it’s the Queen.  Whoever it is, it’s revealed that an Ancient Evil is on the rise and the murder is just one sign of it.  In order to deal with it, three sacred artifacts must be found.  The Mac Griffin has a connection to these things (and Wizard does make a comment on how similar this is to what he’s just been through).  In any case, while he’s out doing this, all efforts would be made to find the real killer.

Wizard has no choice but to accept the offer.  However, there’s one sticking point: He can’t just be freed.  Too many questions would be asked.  Instead, he has to escape the dungeon on his own.

I’ve got a few more ideas on future plot, but this post grows long and I might need post boosting in future.  To tease it a little, Hero isn’t who he claims to be (no shock I know) and the actual truth is further signs that I’m too ambition.  Or nuts.  Or both.

Next time I post on Goblinstomper! it’s will be a little comic of sort, “celebrating” the thirtieth post in this series.  If all thinks go according to plans (and surely that will start soon, right?) I’ll have that done as well as a little more to talk about next week.

So far so good…

Goblinstomper! Development Diary (XXVIII) – Fiddling, Puzzle, Doors

Time slips away from us all.  I apparently thought I had more hours today than the actual 24, and didn’t get all done what I intended.  But I did get some work done.

Another Fiddling With Maps

One of the great things about writing, in general, is how fluid it can be.  Ideas that seemed great one day are replaced the next by hopefully better ones the next.  And if those better ones aren’t so hot, they can always go to the wayside.

For instance:

gs-development-070

This was the original map I had the first time I tried making a game.  Not too shabby, I thought then.

I reach this point last week, though, and I thought better.  I wanted puzzles.  Not great puzzles, maybe, but something.

My first thought was switches and doors.  Flip the right sequence of switches to open the door.  That sort of thing.

In fiddling with that, I made closes walls and doors, as mentioned in the earlier post.  I also dumped the door idea and went back to calling up a bridge, like I’d done at a MUCH earlier stage.

All of these ideas lead to a change in the map.  Like so:

gs-development-071

Not too shabby, but, as I said before, I’d lost the maze aspect to the proceedings, and I liked the maze.

Thus after what passes for a lot of thought with me, I went back to the old map.  But with some changes:

gs-development-073

I’m going to call this done for now.  I can fiddle with things until the cows come home and still want to fiddle some more.  Best to set it on the shelf and move on (though I might get some Door Events ready just to give it a better look while I test it out.)

My work here brings up two further points I’d like to discuss with you.  If for no other reason than to keep this from being two posts in a row on the same flarking area.

Puzzling Out Some Puzzles

One of the things holding me back on this part was the puzzle.  I kept thinking that it had to relate to those little matters I set up in the woods.  Needed to be switches, that sort of thing.  Only how many of these things could I make without them becoming derivative and cliché?  Which wouldn’t be long, as sequence switches are ALREADY derivative and cliché.

Just like them, is all.

Anyways, to circle back to an earlier point, I suddenly changed what this first act was about.  This was the tutorial act.  The act where I show the various features of the game, then expanded on in the later acts.

Thus inspiration came.  Go crystal:gs-development-075

The Player touched the crystal and a bridge appears.  Or a door opens.  Depending on the situation.

Not any different from a switch, you say?  Well on the next floor I set up three crystals.  Turn one off and the one next to it turns on or off, depending on what lit or not.  It’s no more original than the switches, but, again, I like it.

For the next point, allow me to draw your attention to the lower right corner of the above image.  You know what’s there?

Obviously a Door

Sure, it’s a door:

gs-development-076

This brings up an interesting little point.  Or at least it was an interesting point for me; you’re mileage might vary.

With the perspective of this game, you can’t just have doors in just any wall.  It needs to be demonstrated to the Player to be used by the Player.  Am I right or am I right?

That’s where those silly shadows on the floor come in.  Put in the right place, they say door just as surely as a doorway.

The shadow could be drawn a little smaller than that.  I considered it a bit, then rejected it.  Didn’t look right to me.

Still, it behooves me to show what the gap in the shadow means.  I was thinking of redesigning an earlier map anyways (LATER!), so I’ll no doubt do it then.  Might even have it in a few other places, just to be sure.

Not the greatest point, again, but who knows?  Maybe it’ll be vital for me to know and now I have a place to look for it.