Back in the Saddle

Seriously?! Has it really been around three months since I posted in this thing?

I really shouldn’t be surprised. I have a terrible habit of getting really hung-ho about stuff like blogs and then just losing interest. Well, that’s not accurate. It’s more that I have a thousand other things that I decide to do.

So. What have I been doing for the last few months?

Well, let’s see…

  • Started a successful Brony group at Blizzard, who’s had one major event and is about to have a second.
  • Made it through an entire week without the kids or the wife as she took a vacation up in Reno while I remained working. That was a strange week. (And yes, it was really just a vacation)
  • Had issues with panic attacks on and off.
  • Successfully won NaNoWriMo 2014, making it my fifth year running.
  • Finished my rewrite of the webcomic novella Stormhaven into a full novel clocking in at 84K words.
  • Helped launch Warlords of Draenor, one of the most successful expansions Blizzard has ever released.
  • Played WAY TOO MUCH Warlords.
  • Before Warlords launched, I managed to secure the Challenge Mode: Gold achievement for Tyrimon, my Paladin, getting me the special transmog set and the now-impossible-to-obtain Pandarian Phoenixes.
  • I also managed to get Heirloom Weapons from Garrosh Hellscream for all my major characters and managed to get Laura a Heroic Kill of Garrosh as well before 6.0.2 launched.
  • Made it through Tali’s birthday party and associated events.
  • Attended my first Blizzcon as a Blizzard Employee and worked my first Blizzcon as a Blizzard Employee (I helped out with the SC2 tournaments…funny because SC2 isn’t something that really grabs me).
  • A thousand other things that I can’t even process.

I’m still doing the Pony thing. In fact, after today, I’ve decided I’m even more into it than ever before. I’m going to make it my mission to get it through people’s head that being a fan of MLP:FiM isn’t a disturbing or weird thing. Now there are always going to be ignorant people who don’t want to learn things. I don’t care about them. I care about the people who have brains and who just don’t know.

Because I used to be one of them.

I’m not leaving Blizzard anytime soon. I’m making a difference there. A big one. 🙂

But right now, I’m just dropping by to say I’m here.

Next week, I’ll have something more substantial.

Until then, good luck and have fun!

-rks

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Lessons on Cartography, Families and Games

NaNoWriMo

So some time ago, I created an awesome map for the world of Taylin in Pixelmator. I’m very happy with it, but more I look at it, the more I want to tweak it. The thing is, I want this to look like a “real” fantasy map, but I’m no artist. So I’ve had some serious issues learning about how to draw using a mouse in Pixelmator and to create mountain ranges, hills, forests and such. It’s been difficult and very frustrating in places, but I’m starting to slowly like the result. It’s complicated and I’m sure someone who knows what they’re doing could do it far more effectively and quicker, especially since I’m having to teach myself as I go.

Here are two shots I have, one showing an enormous mountain range in the Harklanian Union, the other showing a large portion of the Coalition Wilds, including Rosan City. These are extremely rough drafts and I know I have a lot of work ahead of me (such as getting the coastlines right, adding hills, lakes and further system of rivers and jungles, but I thought you might be interested in a work in progress.

I particularly like the way the forests came out...

I particularly like the way the forests came out…

These mountains took way too long...

These mountains took way too long…

I was a bit obsessive with these, especially since time would have been better spent writing, but the good thing that came of all of this is I finally determined the distance between different points in the world of Taylin. I didn’t add a scale to these particular pictures, but the distance between Yellow Jubilation and Rosan City is about 900 miles. It’s roughly 200 miles between Rosan City and Albright. That should give you a good estimate. Ironically, I had to go back to basic geometry to figure out this distance! I had to use the Pythagorean Theorem to determine the distance, using the pixels as a guide and then converting them to distance, but only after determining how long it would take the prototype airship RCS Rose to travel between these two points (about a day and a half). That’s how I got the 900 miles, since the Rose‘s cruising speed it about 25 MPH.

I needed this, I really did. It means it’ll take about 4 and a half days to get to their next destination, Arquellia, which is almost directly west of Yellow Jubilation at a distance of about 2600 miles. And to give you a reference, the continental US is roughly 3000 miles. Yeah, this place is freaking huge.

The other bit of writing news? I’m happy to say I’m not only on track for NaNoWriMo, but I’m actually quite a bit ahead. Not like you crazy people who have actually finished (though who am I to judge, since I was one of those crazy people in my first 2 years of NaNoWriMo).

I’ve also started sporadic work on editing another story I’m going to put up on Kindle. In addition, a very understanding friend is taking a look at “Soul of the Scribe” soon and I’m praying she can give me something amazing that will unlock that story, allowing it to transform from a novella into a full novel.

Family Life

Well, the other big thing is discipline. While I’m trying to use discipline in my writing, I’m dealing with the other kind with Caitlyn. She has had some serious defiance issues lately. Hitting me, saying no, yelling while we’re talking…all sorts of things. Now for the parents out there, you know that this is pretty typical of this age…and you know that it also has to stop. The sooner, the better. So after Laura and I attended a great Parenting Workshop on Discipline Saturday, we’re going to try some new house rules. It’s going to be very hard over the next few weeks. But thankfully, we’re in it together. And I feel that Laura and I are on the same page now. And that feels great.

Gaming

I haven’t had a lot of time to play lately. Due to things that have happened during the day, I’ve been forced to do my entire NaNoWriMo after Caitlyn goes to bed around 7-8PM. Thankfully, my focus has been strong enough to let me knock it out in roughly an hour. In fact, I’ve done this so often I feel I should be working more today, but after 2100 words, I’ve decided it’s okay. After all, if I totally burn out, it doesn’t help anyone.

However, I did finally get my poor neglected mage Chyria up to 90 last night. I can’t wait to go treasure hunting on the Timeless Isle again. I do LOVE the chests.

At the moment, I don’t really feel up to a full review of the revelations of Blizzcon and the new WoW expansion, but I did want to at least show off some really cool trailers that impressed me (mostly) and I’ve decided it’s long past time for me to post a PMV. Sorry folks, but the Pony thing ain’t going anywhere…

PONIES!

Season 4 premiers this Saturday. Wow, I haven’t cared about Saturday morning cartoons in a long time. Of course, because we don’t have real TV, we’ll have to wait to see it directly online. However, we did do one other Pony thing this week. Caitlyn and I left Laura and Tali at home and headed up to Downtown Disney to the Build-A-Bear and we made some ponies! Caitlyn wanted Rainbow Dash for herself, I picked out Twilight Sparkle for myself and we got Spike for Baby Tali. Of course, I let Caitlyn play with all three occasionally, but the best part is that Twilight Sparkle, who is a librarian in the show, usually sits adopt my highest shelf over my writing desk. This seems particularly fitting to me.

Here’s the picture of Twilight and Spike together. 🙂

Twilight Sparkle: Eternal Guardian of the Written Word

Twilight Sparkle: Eternal Guardian of the Written Word

It makes me happy. And that’s it. 🙂

I think that’s it for this week folks. There are a few things I want to do with -rks, but right now I want to focus on my writing. I’m curious though, how many of you read my blog through email rather than visiting the blog itself? If that’s the cast, please leave a comment at the end. I keep looking at my page views and I wonder.

Until then, let’s play with some Blizzard Stuff and some Pony stuff!

First of all…the freaking epic “Heroes of the Storm” Cinematic. Seriously, I didn’t care about this game in the slightest until I saw this.

Next, we have the announcement trailer for “Warlords of Draenor.” I’m still not entirely sure what I think about this. There are some awesome improvements coming with it…but the story is just…well, it hadn’t grabbed me.

And finally, we have the PMV “Ascension” which is just damn cool. “TheAcelps” just does freaking EPIC animations.

That’s it for this week now folks. I’m going to take the rest of the night off. It’s been a long day.

Good luck and have fun!

-rks

 

PS I almost posted this as a PAGE instead of a POST. Whoops.