Posted in Gaming, Second Life

Second Life: Finding Gold at the Fantasy Faire (A RFL Event)

Second Life’s Fantasy Faire, a 10-day charity event to support Relay for Life, has been going full-swing since last week. Spanning 15 sims, each with its own theme, too many shops, and so much entertainment, there’s just a lot to see and do. You’ll find music, great avatars, writing discussions, role play – table top and virtual, both – and even a George R.R. Martin day.

As of this moment, the event has raised over $22,000 in donations for the American Cancer Society. This event will last until Sunday, so there’s still lots of time to explore and donate!

This is the 10th year of this annual event, but the first time I’ve actually attended. I was really blown away by the quality of everything I found there. Some of my favorite creators were supporting the event, and I even picked up this awesome Tiger Mod for my Bento Water Horse!

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One event that I was looking forward to was the annual quest. I’d heard about it, but didn’t know how it worked until it released on Sunday afternoon. I’d never gone on a quest in Second Life, so I wasn’t sure what it’d be like.

While there were a ton of prizes to win, I was really there for the experience first and foremost. I was quite delighted by the quality of this quest once we got into it.

To start, you did have to purchase a HUD, which directed you in every step of the way on the quest. There were two versions – one that included an outfit and one without. All proceeds from this sale were a donation for Relay for Life.

We started by meeting up with the fae dragon, Cheer… whom we actually got as a cute shoulder pet!

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From there, we got a well-written little quest line, with fully voice-acted cut scenes, and story that took us to each of the different sims to meet various NPCs and gain their wisdom. There was a pretty strong William Shakespeare vibe going on throughout the quest, so the ending of the story didn’t disappoint.

It was super helpful to have three of us – Amoon, Xaa, and myself – working on this together. That way, we could split up and better find the quest locations and NPCs. That’s probably the only way we finished it the first night. And because this was something happening in real time, we didn’t have any hints on how it worked (which was fun and sometimes frustrating).

I was really surprised at how much time and detail went into these quests. The HUD could actually house and serve up all the videos (hosted on Vimeo), or you could watch the cutscenes outside of SL from the video link that the quest gave you. This was nice for the moments when the lag was just too much.. or if you didn’t want to give SL media permissions.

The creativity that went into all of the different fantasy themes and sims was amazing to start with. But coupled with a search for NPCs and an actual quest, it was really enjoyable.

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There were a few small snags, as there tends to be in SL (or any game, for that matter). One of the sims was having technical difficulties, which made it nearly impossible to search for the NPC there. That’s been fixed as of yesterday, however, so hopefully those coming behind us will have an easier time there.

I haven’t sorted through all of the rewards I got (and man, were there a LOT of them in that pile of gold) just yet. However, I greatly appreciate all of the gifts, time and love that went into this quest line.

This was one of those times I’m glad I gave SL another chance. The residents there can really do great things… and for a good cause!

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Posted in Fantasy Fiction, Writing

Crud NaNoWriMo July 2016 – Shadows of Zot

Well, crud. Look what happened.

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I wasn’t going to write for the July Camp NaNoWriMo. I was pretty discouraged after suffering through April’s NaNoWriMo, which was decidedly one of the worst NaNo experience I’ve had yet (no fault of NaNo, it was all me). And then I felt that all the effort went to waste as I didn’t even post anything I wrote in the end.

For the past few months, I’ve really wondered if I’ve lost my skill for fiction writing. Sure, I can spin a blog post like this in little to no time, and shoot out technical articles for work without batting an eye. But there’s a huge difference between inspired fantasy writing and conversational or technical writing. They’re all writing, but they use different muscles.

Where blogging had begun as a way to keep me writing consistently between my fiction sprints, it’s now become so, so much harder for me to write fiction in general. I’m not going to lie, I’d almost decided to give up on all of it. But then I get the little unexpected encouragements like…

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Merrybelly… you just don’t know how I almost cried for joy to see a kind compliment during a dark time in my creative landscape. Thank you. 🙂

It also got Shadows of Zot back on my writing radar, which is something I’ve wanted to do anyhow. So, yes. I have four days to re-read the 14 chapters I’ve already posted and refresh my creative palette to try and give this fantasy writing thing another stab.

Posted in Videos, Writing

Nefol Introduction: Visual Novel Style

Young Jin Art From The Video
Young Jin Art From The Video

Earlier this week I mentioned I was using RPG Maker VX Ace to attempt to create a visual novel style video of one of our script-based stories, Nefol. I’m pleased to announce that after a lot of stumbling through technical things, the Introduction has been posted!

I’d really wanted to do my own art for the intro movie, but it would have taken all that much longer to complete and would likely never get done. I’ve actually tried to make this into a movie before and have failed several times. So, while it’s not the most amazing video out there, it’s much more what I had in mind when I posted the Nefol scripts.

I don’t know how long it will take to make Chapter 1. Again, I have no art assets for it, so all that will need to be created from scratch. Not to mention much more sprite scripting and animation. We’ll see what comes of it, but for now, I’m happy to have one video finally out there (even if it is short).