Archive for October, 2011

Striders Gonna Stride

31 Oct

(Finally got to a good gameplay stopping point in DF and Oblivion. Posts will be up Wednesday or Thursday morning–since I’ve started the WriMo, they may take a while to finish up. I’m conscious of the fact that I keep kicking this along, at the updating schedule has been pretty awful lately. I can blame any number of things for it–and reasonably, in some cases–but yes, it has been true that for months now I haven’t managed a solid updating schedule. Updating of specific projects has been spotty in years past, but the site generally swung back into equilibrium after they were completed. Obviously, this has been much more generalized and sustained than before. After this November, I’ll sit down and evaluate things, and then I’ll make an address.

Meanwhile, Halloween costume. Decent-sized pictures under the jump.)

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The Two Caps

31 Oct

Now’s as good a time as any to give you all the game plan. As previously mentioned, I’m going to be spending a lot of time this coming November working on a contribution to NaNoWriMo. This will limit, but not eclipse, the time I’ll have to work on the Dwarf Fortress and Cahmel LPs. That’s part of the reason those have taken longer to work on than I thought; I’d like to get both of them to a decent stopping point, which, in the case of DF, is proving difficult even from a gameplay perspective. Main point is that both of those will be uploaded before I start posting novel chunks.

Teaser/spoiler: under the jump is an image from the DF update. It’s a pair of self-portraits done by the man himself, rendered in the early stages of his first and second expeditions.

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Hobospy, Part 2

30 Oct

 
 

Hobospy, Page 1

27 Oct

EDIT: Massive Dwarf-Fortress update is not finished is forthcoming. Also, pictures of costume. Both were a little delayed, and I’m working on it.

(Experimenting with hand-lettering. Transcript available in comments in case it turns out nobody can read it. And no, I don’t intend to be pulling this Ctrl-C crap for more than, like, this page right here. Oh, yeah, and obviously you gotta click the thumbnail to get taken to the actual comic. Click twice to get the full-size version.)

 

Stream is Today

26 Oct

I’m going to be rolling my Dark Messiah stream today–Wednesday, October 26, 2011–at 5:00 PM PST. The stream location is www.livestream.com/chocolatehammer.org.

Will this be a permanent change? Perhaps, perhaps not. I’ll see what the turnout’s like compared to Thursdays and render a decision then.

 
 

Yesterday’s Post/November’s Novel

25 Oct

I had this prepared yesterday, but the auto-update failed, so here’s the video:

And here was the question: which works better for streams, Wednesday or Thursday?

Moving on.

As mentioned, I will be writing a 50,000-word novel come this November. I’ve committed to pursuing one of three possible hooks; two of these I have already prepared differently-framed treatments of, and the third is currently nothing but ideas. I thought I’d turn these over to the lot of you for inspection.

Right now, there are three basic pitches:

1.) First-person cynical-but-good-natured narrator, low fantasy setting with a sober treatment of tomb raiding, adventuring, and organized crime.

2.) Third-person, one-main-character dark humor period horror/drama piece with theological and philosophical elements and an unsympathetic protagonist.

3.) Third-person, many-protagonist future dark humor drama with an extremely unscrupulous protagonist.

Again, there are no sample tiles from the third, but here’s some screwing-around prework I did for the first and second to give you an idea of what they’re like.

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Art/Supranouncement

22 Oct

In the years 2009 and 2010, I engaged in a one-week blistering hotstep of fiction writing called Uncle Rutsy’s [X] Annual All-American Squirrel Parade Fiction Week. Those of you who’ve been around a while longer will remember the gist: I wrote a story at a rate of three pages a day using props, themes, and objects randomly drawn from a pool of reader submissions. Some of you may be wondering why I haven’t done that this year, and the reason is that it’d be a bit redundant.

You see, for a variety of reasons, I have decided that this will be my first–and quite probably only–year undergoing the rigors of NaNoWriMo.

Many of you will probably be familiar with National Novel Writing Month, or “NaNoWriMo” (an abbreviation that’s more ubiquitous, succinct, and cyberpunk-sounding than the full name, and will thus be my term of choice). For the rest: you write a 50,000-page body of work in a thirty-day period. There’s not a lot more to it than that; there’s no guarantee, or even expectation, that the work you’re writing will be original or edited or even particularly coherent. There are a lot of very bad reasons to participate, and a few compelling arguments against the event even existing. I just want to make myself write a lot of words in a short amount of time. No, it’s not a particularly healthy pace to write at if you’re trying to write thoughtfully and well, but that’s not the purpose of this exercise. The purpose of this exercise is to get me to sit down every damn day and bang away whether I want to or not.

I’ve thought about it, and I’ve decided that I will upload chunks of the fiction in progress. One day a week, probably Monday or Saturday, I’ll dump seven days worth of material into one post–additionally, I’ll probably have a sidebar page where I’ll keep the document so far all in one place. It’ll probably be pretty raw, since it’s hard enough to grind out 11,667 words a week without giving it the customary pair of editing passes, but know that I don’t have any interest in writing a dadaist free-associative fever dream–it’ll have a plot, and characters, and a storyline that more or less makes sense. No bullsquidding, is what I’m saying.

And now that I’ve got that announcement out of the way: remember that Santa Alma character sketch? I kinda painted it. It’s not the greatest job, but I like it anyway.

Click twice for full size.

 

 

Announcements

21 Oct
  1. I am no longer ill. This informs what is to follow.
  2. I have finished my midterms. This additionally informs what is to follow.
  3. I am going to be updating every night of the following week. Most of this is already prepared and ready to roll. This will include a damn good sized Dwarf Fortress update.
  4. In addition to tomorrow night’s update, there will be a further announcement that’s too large to go here.
  5. I’m not actually Howard Taft, ladies. I just said that to seal the deal.
  6. Dwarf Fortress is hard.
  7. Howard Taft is not very good at Dwarf Fortress.
  8. Snow Crash is pretty good.
  9. Not coughing is a great hobby.
  10. Okay, technically speaking, I am half Howard Taft. On my mother’s side.
 
 

Stream Todaywise

18 Oct

I’m getting better, which means I’m going to start gearing up a bit of a brisker update speed soon, but for right now, you need to know that I’ve moved the stream to today (Wednesday, October 19th) at 5:00 PM PST, located at the usual address (www.livestream.com/chocolatehammer).

A few people have asked why I ended up not using justin.tv. The reasons are as follows:

1.) The interface requires the player to be playing in windowed form, which is bothersome for a variety of reasons related to my recording setup and playstyle.

2.) The sound wasn’t working properly when I tried it.

3.) Confusing site layout.

4.) Requires payment to use after ten free streams, which is about the amount it would take for me to figure out how to use it properly.
Last week, we used Livestream, and it actually seemed to work out. The software’s improved, the site infrastructure has improved, and as best as I can determine, it’s stopped drinking moonshine hooch and stealing all of my loose change, in the final analysis I think I’m ready to accept it back into my life. It’s on probation, is what I’m saying. It’s in use for now, but one or two screwups will be all it takes to get me to explore my options.

And yes, I’m still looking into the Choose Your Own Adventure thing.

 

The Cyrodiil Look: Cahmel’s New Travels (Let’s Play Oblivion, Part 27)

14 Oct

Go, sickness mini-update!

I admit to being a little bit underwhelmed by that first mission. I show up to a docked boat in a heavily-populated harbor, walk past the bodies of security I had previously killed by accident, and murder my target in two swings without him drawing his weapon. Most of the job was spent walking in broad daylight, doing legal activities. I felt less like a nightclad assassin and more like a delivery guy, except it’s generally more bothersome to get someone to sign for a package than it was to sign that guy’s jugular with my knife. I can’t remember, but I don’t even think the door was locked. I’m a little suspicious that one of my co-workers wrote ahead and asked the dude to go easy on me, it was my first day. Or that I blocked out being diagnosed with a terminal case of corpus or something, and this was the Make-a-Wish foundation letting me pretend to be an assassin for a week.

I get a nice little ring as my reward for the job. I’m not entirely clear on the particulars, but I think the ring might be a special bonus for not having alerted any of the crew? In which case, I guess I would have had to have worked pretty amazingly goddamned hard not to get that ring. Maybe I could have broken into hell just to throw a pair of calipers at one of them and go, “Hey, yeah, it’s me. Finally getting’ around to killing your captain now. Thought you might be wondering why he wasn’t down here—I dunno, I guess I just figured that if the captain had been present at the time, he would have come out and done something about the fact that his asshole crew was getting slaughtered outside. Maybe he just has really bad hearing. Or maybe he hates you guys! You should ask him. Hold on, I’ll set something up.”

I indicate that I’m ready for my next job. This one goes like this:

Apparently, there’s this gentleman named Baenlin who lives up in Bruma. His hobbies include obeying a ludicrously strict schedule that doesn’t involve leaving his house or engaging in any legitimate activities, and his interests include sitting under precariously balanced stuffed heads and somehow antagonizing groups of assassins. My job is to make the hit look like an accident. You might think this would involve getting there, seeing that he spends most of his day sitting under a glaringly obvious deathtrap of a stuffed minotaur head, and extrapolating that you’re supposed to drop it on him and then sneak out at your leisure. You’d be wrong. Instead, it involves getting outright told by your handler that you’re supposed to go there and drop a minotaur head on him. Say what you want about the Dark Brotherhood, but they’ve got crackerjack intel.

“Alright, initiate. Blood to see you. Am I right?”

“Uh, yeah, good one.”

“Now, to business. Your job is to find a way to slay Valmont Boucherie, the scrib jerky merchant. You are to make it look like an accident.”

“Very well, brother. Have you any advice to give me?”

“Valmont has a pair of guards. They take bathroom breaks between 1:00 and 1:15 every single day, and when they do so, they tend to hang their scabbards on the stall doors.

“This is useful information, brother. Thank you for…”

“Also, Valmont has a deathly allergy to cinnamon. He begins to go into cardiac arrest if he consumes any of it. The only treatment involves the application of scabbards.”

“Aha…a plan begins to form. I will go and acquire some cinnamon before I….”

“You can find it in his spice cabinet. First on the left, top shelf.”

“Oh. Well, that’s…thank you, brother, that will be convenient. I suppose I can place it in his supper…”

“He takes a snack at 1:30 every day. The snack is prepared by a chef who’s a notorious drunk.”

“I guess that’s more convenient? So I guess I bribe the cook…”

“Or get him drunk. You should really just get him drunk.”

“Alright, alright. So I’ll get the chef some wine…”

“I’ll even give you a bonus for it.”

“..and then put the cinnamon in his snack, after stealing the scabbards. And then I’ll escape through the back door.”

“Side door’s quicker.”

“Look, I don’t mean to be rude, but is there a reason you didn’t just do the job yourself?”

“Vaaaaaaa-mpire.”

“Right. Fine. Right.”

I make my way to Bruma. Well, this mission’s pretty much cut out for me; get in, undo some screws, get out. The temptation is pretty strong just to breeze through like a sumbitch; really, at this point, my potential for failure is pretty slim.

On the other hand, I find it does generally paid to be prepared, and in my long experience, “preparation” means talking to everyone in, involved with, or geographically near my job. So I seek out the nearest human being and try to start a conversation:

Once again, I have underestimated my own potential.