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Topics - dndfreak

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16
Everything Else / Google Chrome OS
« on: November 20, 2009, 08:43:05 pm »
GCOS

Best.

Browser.

Ever.

Basically, it's chrome the operating system.  The entire thing runs exactly like a web browser.  Instead of running a desktop, chrome OS will start by making a tab upon start up displaying all your most frequently used files, just like the chrome browser.  You can bookmark folders, run tabs like you would multiple windows, and even download plugins apps that will mod the system to your liking.

The coolest (yet most controversial) feature of Chrome OS is that every file you make or edit is instantly backed up on Google Cloud.  Wreck your PC and not a single file will be lost.

I always planned on getting an EeePC, looks like this'll be the perfect occasion.  Anybody else having another case of google wetdreams?

P.S. Can't wait to see how they use it to interact with Google Wave.

17
Everything Else / Blog Troubles
« on: November 17, 2009, 01:40:26 pm »
Alright, after that whole "Because I Can" thing I wasn't planning on making an official thread for my blog (www.oteba.blogspot.com).  However, for reasons I'm about to explain I thought it would be a good idea.

The point of oteba is to do reviews of smaller, lesser known games that otherwise would be hard to find a review of on the internet.  It's starting out fine and I thought everything would be great until I realized something.  I really don't have that big of a list for stuff to review.  I'm posting a new one every Tuesday and honestly, with what I have I doubt it'll survive until Christmas.  Hence the point of this thread.

Suggestions?  I don't really have the time to do my real work, play these indie games AND search the internet for hours looking for obscure titles only to think I finally find one and discover that it only has fifteen minutes of content.  It's kind of a waste.

18
Books / dndfreak's guide to writing novels and short stories
« on: November 15, 2009, 02:32:11 pm »
Part one: before you even make a new .docx, plot outlines ahoy!

So you want to write a story, eh?  What's it about?

If you can't answer that question immediately and with more than three sentences, you're doing it wrong.

To even begin, you need to at least know the basic premise.  Personally, I must admit I do it a little differently, I write the whole thing out, let my characters take me where they will naturally.  After that, I go through it and reword pretty much everything from scratch now that I know exactly what'll take part.  However, most of you won't have that kind of time or patience, so I recommend writing a basic outline of what the book will contain.

I took the time to write up this form you can use that will take all the major points one at a time, feel free to paste it into word or whatever and print at your leisure.


dndfreak's plot outline form

Setting:____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Antagonist's background:______________________________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Antagonist's goal:____________________________________________________________________________________________________

Antagonist's motive:__________________________________________________________________________________________________

Protagonist's background:______________________________________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Protagonist's goal:____________________________________________________________________________________________________

Protagonist's motive:__________________________________________________________________________________________________

Primary plot twist:____________________________________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Secondary plot twist:__________________________________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Climax:______________________________________________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Resolution:___________________________________________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________



Copy and paste the antagonist/protagonist section for each character that fits in those categories and you have the basic plot structure applicable to pretty much any book.  For example, let's look at the first potter novel.  Caution, it's a bit of a spoiler, not that anyone hasn't either read or seen this by now.

Setting: Modern Day England, Hogwarts school of witchcraft and wizardry
Voldemort's background: dark wizard who waged war on the entire world, was defeated by the love of Lily Potter for her baby, Harry
Voldemort's goal: to regain his mortality and powers
Voldemort's motive: a neverending hatred for potter and a lust for power

Draco Malfoy: spoiled brat child of Death Eaters.
Malfoy's goal: to get potter kicked out of hogwarts
Malfoy's motive: revenge for his fallen lord and a general despise of anyone with a backbone
Professor Quirrel's background: repentant death eater turned schoolteacher
Quirrel's goal: get voldemort's body back
Quirrel's motive: get voldemort to cease posession of quirrel's body

Harry Potter's background: orphaned by voldemort's wand, lives among muggles
Potter's goal: stay alive by preventing voldemort from obtaining a new body
Potter's motive: vengeance for parents and will to live
Ronald Weasley's background: lives in huge wizarding household, son of ministry worker
Ron's goal: help harry in any way he can
Ron's motive: friendship and fear for his family

Hermione Granger's background: mudblood, loves studying wizarding past in effort to forget her muggle heritage
Granger's goal: graduate at the top of her class and keep the school she loves from being destroyed
Granger's motive: obsession with the truth and a search for ways to prove herself to be stronger than the purebloods around her
Albus Dumbledore's background: famed wizard and scholar, handpicked voldemort for hogwarts and feels somewhat responsible
Dumbledore's goal: save harry and keep voldemort at bay
dumbledore's motive: regret for the pain he caused harry by not defeating voldemort when he had a chance and a passion for his entire school and what it stands for.

Primary plot twist: Quirrel is hiding voldemort behind his turban
Secondary plot twist: Snape is on harry's side!
Secondary plot twist: voldemort needs harry to obtain the stone
Climax: Voldemort is waiting for harry in front of the Mirror of Irased.  Quirrel attacks, but finds that potter's scar combined with voldemort's soul is turning quirrel's body to dust
Resolution: Harry wakes up in hospital, everyone is a live, voldemort escaped once again


As you can see, it allows for a good amount of detail while at the same time leaving room for you to get creative.  The form is meant as a guideline, not a summary.  It's a tool.

Note that some things, like the main antagonist's past, may not even be referenced in your story.  However, it's always good to keep these things in mind as you're writing since they often reflect personality quirks and dialog.

So now that you have that settled, let's move on to the next step.

Part two: descriptions are descriptive

So you're about to introduce the story, and to do that you need to paint the first picture in the reader's mind.  For many people, it's tough to find the right words to paint the right image.  That's what a thesarus is for, and if you don't write as much as I do then you're probably going to need it.

Take a look at the first two paragraphs of the Gearlan Chronicles, one of my unfinished novels.  Look at how I introduce the setting.

Quote
The man’s long, black cloak reached down to his ankles, nearly blending him into the night.  It was the trademark of the Gearlan guild, a group of mercenaries famed for their unique combat style: fast swordplay with the assistance of the mystical arts.  Gearlan warriors, often called spellblades, were known everywhere by their cloaks.  In some of the unfriendlier neighborhoods, this often gave the Gearlan a chance to practice their skills and prove their worth in front of a group of drunken tradesmen.  Unfortunately, the event usually ended with the deaths of said tradesmen.
   Tonight, however, this mercenary was not looking for a fight.  The unknown spellblade walked through the roads and alleyways of this small country town as if he belonged there, despite appearances that led to the contrary.  If anyone actually strayed in the streets at this time of night, they would have stopped in their tracks in the sheer awe of his presence.  However, no one was in the streets on this night.  And if any were to be there, this was the one day in the town’s history when they wouldn’t question him.

Pay close attention to the very first sentence.  "The man's long black cloak reached down to his ankles, nearly blending him into the night."  At first, all you think is "black cloak, shady character".  But here's what it really says:

Long black cloak + only goes to ankles = tall person
the man's = figure is male
black + blend into night = it's night out with very little light sources implying the lack of a moon or a very desolate area

Instantly, from that first sentence, we have an idea of who this guy is in addition to where.  The best part is that it's entirely subtle, so you pick up on it when trying to visualize it without even realizing how accurate it is.

The next few sentences define the fantasy genre thanks to a guild of mercenaries that use magic and swords to do battle.

Let's move on to the second paragraph.

"Tonight, however, this mercenary was not looking for a fight."  By itself, this really doesn't say much.  However, coupled with "In some of the unfriendlier neighborhoods, this often gave the Gearlan a chance to practice their skills and prove their worth in front of a group of drunken tradesmen.  Unfortunately, the event usually ended with the deaths of said tradesmen.", it leads to the conclusion that we're in a town.  Why else would it say that he wasn't looking for a fight if he wasn't in a place where he could find one?

"The unknown spellblade walked through the roads and alleyways of this small country town as if he belonged there, despite appearances that led to the contrary."  This next sentence reveals a few important things.  First of all, it clarifies that we're in a small, country town.  Secondly, it shows that the gearlan (the men with the cloaks) don't normally show up in these parts.  Now not only do we have a physical setting, but a cultural one as well.  Lastly, there's the combination of walking through the back alleyways as if he belonged there.  This shows two things, one is that he's in no hurry to get to his destination and the other is that he's been there enough times to know where he's going.

"If anyone actually strayed in the streets at this time of night, they would have stopped in their tracks in the sheer awe of his presence."  What does this say?  First of all, it isn't just night.  It's really late, which would explain the lack of ulterior lighting.  Next, we have an example of someone's response, showing that gearlans are well known to the public for something.  However, how could this person know where everything is and yet be a shock to everyone there?  He must have frequented the area BEFORE becoming a gearlan, possibly even living there for a time.

"However, no one was in the streets on this night.  And if any were to be there, this was the one day in the town’s history when they wouldn’t question him."

Something must be happening.  Something so big that even a notorious gearlan wouldn't surprise them anymore.


Do you see how subtle I am when setting the scene?  The trick is to use your details not to set the scene but to support an action.  For example, everything in those two paragraphs focuses solely on the guy walking down the street.  The details are there not to describe the scene but to describe the act of a guy walking.  Whenever you have to describe something for the first time, try not to make it a flat-out statement.  Instead, hide it behind an action.  For example, instead of saying "the man has unkempt black hair.", you could say "the man ran his fingers through his unkempt black hair."  The reader instinctively focuses on the action and lets his subconscious pick up the real detail.  While the first sentence will break up the action and detract from the significance of the scene, the second one has something happening and reveals a character's habit as well.

Also, beware of recurring adjectives.  When an object is first described, you tend to use the most obvious word available, for example the black hair thing.  From that point onward, you don't need to say black every time you say hair, it's a waste of space and an annoyance to the reader.  Try to assume that your audience has an attention span.

I don't mean to say that you should never use the word black ever again, it's useful in two situations.  The first is comparison, as in "his shirt matched the color of his black hair" which is fine since you're talking more about the yet to be described object than the one you're referring to.  The second one is a bit more complicated.  It's the use of non-direct describers.  NDDs are words or phrases used to reference something without specifically saying what it is.

For example, let's say that our black haired man is going to a barber shop.  Our first sentence is "the man is sitting in a barber's chair, the traditional red and white sign visible through the full-panel window in the front of the store."  We could easily make the next sentence "as the blade whirs to life, strands of the man's hair begin falling to the floor."  However, we just used man in the previous sentence and it would begin to sound cluttered.  Using an NDD, the sentence "As the blade whirs to life, strands of black hair begin falling to the floor." works much better.  Not only does it help reinforce the memory of the hair being black, but it also solves our problem of overusing the noun for our protagonist.

That leads me to another point, adjectives aren't the only thing bad to use in excess.  Any word falls into that category, really.  With articles (a, and, the, etc.) and conjunctions (and, or, but, etc.) it's completely fine to have the same word used in each sentence (at the most every other with conjunctions).  However, the others really don't have the same privilege, especially nouns and adjectives.  Unlike the latter, the former have pronouns to cover the slot as well making it much easier to split up.  Unfortunately, you'll also run into the same problem when you use too many pronouns.  Not only that, but they're nowhere near as descriptive as a NDD.  As such, you'll find that you'll be using them a lot the more you write.



So I wrote the first two parts, and as it turns out I killed almost two hours writing it.  That's why all I have written so far is what's above this little block of text.  If people want to see the whole thing finished, I'll gladly do it.  However, if nobody ends up looking at this thing I won't have invested days worth of my time into it.  That being said, comments?  Questions?  Concerns?

If you want help with a specific writing piece or want an honest edit, feel free to toss me a PM.



Link to part 3: http://www.gamingsteve.com/blab/index.php?topic=16842.msg765534#msg765534

19
PC Games / Operation7
« on: November 12, 2009, 01:42:03 pm »
http://op7.netgame.com/

Operation7 is a military style FPS made for multiplayer only in the form of a free to play mmo.  It plays like your typical Call of Duty or Medal of Honor or whatever it is you happen to play with one major difference:  You build your guns yourself.  Every weapon type in the game is just a framework, you pick every individual part to custom tailor your weapon to your liking.  For example, when I started out I took a standard SMG, added a laser dot sight and removed the hair trigger, effectively turning it into a portable sniper rifle.  Although it doesn't have the max range of it's sniper counterparts, it did have a much higher mobility and allowed me to use it in close combat as well, thanks to double the clip size of a standard sniper.  The game is extremely versatile and it's definitely worth your time.  I found it perusing on OnRpg for something to review for my blog and it completely soared above my expectations, I love it.

20
PC Games / Magic: The Gathering Tactics
« on: November 02, 2009, 11:34:28 am »
http://www.magicthegatheringtactics.com/

Apparently, Wizards of the Coast has contracted Sony Online Entertainment to make an mmo under the MtG property liscense by the name MtG: Tactics.  There isn't much info on it yet, all we have is the teaser until they start up the beta.  What we DO know is that the game is turn-based, I'm assuming that it's Fire-Emblem style warfare with the mana mechanic, but I could be wrong.  In any case, you can bet that I'll be first in line for the beta.

I'll admit that I'm not looking forward to a magic game by the people that did FreeRealms, but I want to actually play the thing first.

EDIT: http://www.wired.com/gamelife/2009/11/magic-the-gathering-tactics/

It appears that MtGT will be f2p with the ability to purchase "packs" of new spells and units.  I just hope there's a way to acquire them in-game as well, some mmos have that ability and some don't.

21
PC Games / Scratch Game Creator
« on: October 28, 2009, 02:49:55 am »
http://scratch.mit.edu/

I was wondering if anyone's heard about this, it's pretty simple and amazingly fast, most of the examples of it that people have made is pretty crappy, but it doesn't look like anyone has yet to put any real effort into it.  What I personally find interesting is the speed at which you can make something.  I've done my fair share of coding in the past and believe me when I say that this is the easiest interface I've ever seen.

22
Me and Flisch were arguing about this in IRC, so voila.

23
Storytelling and Roleplaying / Carnoly Foundation: The Super League Game
« on: October 23, 2009, 09:31:49 pm »
You are the president of the Carnoly Foundation, a multi-billion dollar corporation with sites all over the world.  You have wealth, you have power, you finally have the means to achieve your dreams: the brain behind a group of crime fighters.  Your goal: To enstate an era of world peace with your superhero minions.

You're starting from the ground up, use your research team to scout out any "gifted" members of society that you can.  Then train them up and send them on missions or just patrolling the streets.

Rules:

Your companies: You will start with $15,000,000,000 and earn a profit of $75,000 per update due to daily activities.  This cash is important as nearly every action in the game will start chipping away at it.

You will also have a fame-o-meter which will rise or lower depending on how much activity your team is doing.  Get too high and you may attract unwanted attention.  However, due to your ownership of the national newspaper, your cash will also increase the more fame you have.

You will need employees for your hero base as well.  You can hire guards, scientists, and agents.  Guards protect your base, agents do scouting work and provide backup for heroes, and scientists increase the quality and productivity of your research.  Each has a salary of $5,000 per update.

Researching events will cost $10,000 and provide you with a list of recent paranormal activity caused by an individual, hereby known as a gifted.  These gifted will need to be taken in by your agents, either by asking or by force.

You can spend $750 per agent to send them to a gifted's location.  Gifted can either be recruited or taken in by force, but keep in mind that the gifted are likely to fight back and it is doubtful that they'll appreciate being taken hostage much.  Kidnapping is not the reccomended approach to get someone to work for you in life or death situations and will boost your fame-o-meter.

Each gifted you recruit, hereby known as a hero, will have a listing showing their experience and powers.  More expierienced heroes will be able to take on tougher missions, but keep in mind that some powers will work better during certain missions than others.

Each hero can be trained, sent on patrol, or sent on a special missions.  Training will cost you $5,000 but will increase a hero's experience without putting them in a hostile situation.  Patrol costs nothing and sends your hero off to fight crime in the streets.  This will put them in little danger unless they're new to the whole hero thing, but it won't raise their experience too fast.  Special missions appear due to current events and take a strong hero to overcome.  They also will raise your publicity, although your heroes may garner attention from the wrong crowds.

Don't forget that heroes don't have to be alone, they can be grouped together or backed up by agents.  Remember that whenever someone has to travel, that's $750 out of your pocket.



Net Worth: $15,000,000,000

Fame-o-meter: 0%

Employees:
2 guards
2 agents
2 scientists

Heroes:
none

Events:
none

24
Everything Else / Random Quiz I Found On The Internets
« on: October 22, 2009, 06:59:22 am »
So yeah...

http://www.okcupid.com/tests/the-rpg-class-test

Turns out I'm a bard myself, how about you guys?

25
Art / The Comic To Be Named At A Later Date
« on: October 20, 2009, 05:09:52 pm »
This is the thread for the postings of my lazy panel-formed doodles I like to call a comic as to refrain clogging the Merry thread With a new one every couple hours on off days.Without further ado, let the images begin!

26
Everything Else / GamingSteve forum meets Magic: The Gathering!
« on: October 10, 2009, 04:33:19 pm »
Didn't know where I should put this... Anyways, I'm using Magic Set Editor (MSE) during a spout of boredom and started throwing our avatars on cards.  Here's what I've made so far:







As I continue, feel free to show off your own!  A full fledged set would truly be an accomplishment to be proud of.

27
Storytelling and Roleplaying / SSBB Fanfiction RP
« on: October 09, 2009, 11:35:47 pm »
For those of you who don't know the background in Brawl:
Quote
The mode begins as Mario and Kirby fight on a stadium located in the Smash Bros. world. The Ancient Minister and his Subspace Army appear and detonate a Subspace Bomb, which transports the stadium into Subspace, an alternate dimension where the Subspace Army resides. The Ancient Minister's advance prompts the heroes to team up and attempt to repel the enemy, while villains harvest the power of the allied characters by converting them into trophies.

The Ancient Minister is revealed as a subordinate to Ganondorf, who is under orders from Master Hand to draw the world into Subspace. The Ancient Minister's true identity is found to be that of the Master R.O.B. unit, who rebels against his superiors to join the allied characters. The allied heroes enter Subspace, where they find that R.O.B., Ganondorf, and even Master Hand were all being manipulated by a higher being, known only as Tabuu. Tabuu releases a power blast which transforms all the protagonists into trophies; although a select few (Luigi and Ness) are revived by brooches that were attached to them by King Dedede earlier in the story. They work together to revive the other characters scattered across Subspace and make their way through a great maze where Tabuu is located. Following an ambush by Sonic the Hedgehog, the allies ultimately defeat Tabuu and save the Smash Bros. universe.

A year has gone past without any sign of the Subspace Army.  The world has finally recovered, and it is time for the next SSB Tournament.  This year's participants are each making final preparations before the event.  It is good to see the arena outside of the Subspace.

28
Art / Gearlan Chronicles: Freak Writes Novels!
« on: October 08, 2009, 12:14:43 am »
The Gearlan Chronicles is my little pet project I've been off and on for a while now, but it's one of the few things that I'm really dedicated to at the moment.  Eventually, my hope is to finish the first book by the end of 2010 and I've been tossing around the possibility of finding a publisher.  For now, however, I just want to start writing and see where it goes.

GC is a fantasy novel series focusing upon the travels of Thaze Thunderstaff, a man in search of the answers behind the murder of his parents and the conspiracies that follow.  I have more twists planned for this thing than stars in the sky, I just need to find the time to write it.  As you can see below, it took a... significant amount of time for me to get around to continuing it, and although I had entire chapters written that had yet to be uploaded, I am unfortunately temporarily unable to open them.  For now, here's the first three chapters.

Download Gearlan Chronicles 0.15: 111k

Note: Be sure to turn word wrap on.  it's also a nice idea to lower down the font size.  I keep it at 16 when I'm writing because my resolution is pretty high and I'm kinda far back from the screen.

Edits:

Finished chapter 3 10/9/09
Edit Chapters 1-3 10/14/09
second rewrite, conversion to .txt format 2/11/10
Chapter 4 added 2/17/10

29
Storytelling and Roleplaying / SSBB Fanfiction RP OOC
« on: October 04, 2009, 09:38:21 pm »
The topic has been chosen and everything is on the verge of release.  All we need is you!  The unique form of this RP makes character design simple, all you need to do is pick your fav from the brawl universe.  That's it.

So far we have:

Rysworld- Kirby
Time Master- Meta Knight
Mr. President- Samus Aran
Kenobro- Lucas
Badger Man 22- Donkey Kong
Kenotai- Ike

30
Portable Games / Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 days
« on: September 29, 2009, 06:06:51 pm »
Just dot this today on the US release and was shocked to see the lack of a thread.

358/2 days: YAY NO CARD BATTLES

This game plays exactly like its famed PS2 counterparts, right down to the character models.  Only difference is that you play as Roxas- Sora's emo counterpart.

The one thing that makes the title a bit unique from KH1 and 2 is the ability system.  It's a grid that gains more slots as you level, but all the abilities are tetris-like pieces.  The better the ability, the bigger the piece.  The moogle shop in-game lets you combine pieces to different forms, etc. etc. to save space.

To anyone who has played a Final Fantasy title on the DS, most of the game looks like that opening sequence.  You know, the one where you forget that the resolution is only 320x240 and wonder how they fit the blu-ray player on the cart?

I'm loving it so far, but then again I even managed to enjoy Chain of Memories.  In any case, it's the best action title I've seen on the DS.  Especially for 3D.

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