Tuesday, November 3, 2015

November Songaday: Day 2 - Paradise Fears - Who We Were With


So I don't know a whole ton about Paradise Fears. Their most recent album, Battle Scars, is pretty good, but ultimately I mostly just like this recent single. It's a lot more pop-y than their previous songs, and I think it suits them more than alt-rock does. Definitely check their other stuff too though, it's definitely not bad or anything.

So, it's Nov 3rd. I just got home from work, so obviously I was right in suspecting that my work schedule is going to play havoc with my Songaday schedule. Just run with it, I'll try to post the next song within 36 hours of the previous one.

So, these daily posts are also a good opportunity for me to keep you all up to date!
Legend of the Elements stretch goals continue to roll in and complete. Kristine's essay is done and great, I'm workshopping the final touches on the Wielder, and I got another playbook of shipping moves, two of which I love.
I've got some errands tomorrow, and I'm gonna try to plow through some more layout stuff. Seriously, end of next weekend is the goal. Also I need to take some time to do a few more art pieces.

End Recording,

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Welcome Back! It's Time For November Songaday!

Hope you all had a Happy Halloween!
Well, after a 3-month hiatus, it's time to get back to The Logbook Project!
First, the hiatus itself. I probably should've actually announced it instead of letting you all think I just faded out. My bad. These past three months have been crazy. In August I ran my Kickstarter for Legend of the Elements, coming in at about $9500. I'm so proud of it. Also in August, I moved into my own place, an apartment in Lakewood, Tacoma, WA. It's my first time living on my own! That's been quite the experience. I keep forgetting to eat. Also also in August, I got a full-time job! It's a night-shift job (10pm-6am) cleaning the inside of slot machines at a casino. It's gross and working in that building is probably hazardous to my health, but whatever, it's a job.
In September I started a rest a bit and my parents sold their house and bought one in Missouri, where they have to move for work. They actually left a couple days ago. It's stressful.
In October, I had my birthday and also started grinding through my side of the Kickstarter needs.

This month, I need to actually get the LotE books printed and start shipping them out, but first I need my stretch goals to come in and my editor to finish, so I'm full of stress.

As a thing to jump-start my activity here, it's Songaday this month! My previous Songaday was last July. I've found a lot of music since then! If you've not seen one of these before, here's the rules:
1) Make a post every day for a month featuring a song. When the deadline for "each day" is is a moving target for a schedule like mine, but I'll be as consistent as I can.
2) No repeating artists. Alternate projects by the same band are only permitted if there are major differences in style or artist lineup. I also try not to repeat artists from any previous posts here, which is a lot, but I know I can do it.
3) I have to like every song. They do not need to be Favorites, nor do I need to post them in any particular order, but I do like every song I post.

My music taste is eclectic and varied. I listen to all kinds of music, including occasional country and rap, though I'm not particularly fond of metal. I listen to underground indie stuff and mainstream radio stuff and the whole range in between. Now, you've probably heard of most of the mainstream stuff, so I tend to try and stay away from that during Songaday, but if I really like it you'll hear some. Even I don't know exactly what I'll be posting - I don't plan my Songaday listings in advance. It'll mostly be stuff I listen to on Spotify a lot that day.


Schaffer The Darklord is an indie rapper. His older stuff is based in comedy and I don't really like it, but this particular album, Sick Passenger, is a complete departure. His rapping is better, his beats are better, his lyrics are better, and the themes are better. It's funny and strong and just, frankly, an amazing album and a gigantic step up for STD. Since finding the album a little over a month ago, I don't think I've gone three days without listening to it. It's that good. Go listen to the whole thing. It's definitely in my top couple albums I've found this year.

Until tomorrow!
End Recording,

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Legend of the Elements Kickstarter Is Launched!

After a month of preparation, it's here! The Legend of the Elements kickstarter is launched and you should go back it and get yourself a copy!

I'm really excited to finally be launching my first real game, and I can barely contain how much I want to share the amazing final version with you all.

Read all about it here:

End Recording,

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Go Play NW 2015 Wrap-up

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Go Play NW is a convention in Seattle in the last weekend of June. It was a lot of fun! There's only a little more than 100 people in attendance, but we're all story gamers of some type.

Friday evening I played Splendor with new friends Jerry Ozbun and Tomer Gurantz, and Ross Cowman (he's not new to me, but I love playing with him anyway). Jerry and Tomer are long-time gamers and first-time attendees. The game itself was really interesting, and I played it again later in the weekend. Splendor is a fairly new card-based resource-management game, and I'm pretty good at it! If I get a spare $30 I'll definitely be picking it up.

For my actual Friday night slot, I played Monsterhearts! Of course I did. Robert Bruce ran it, and my fellow players were Daniel Wood, Myra Lara, and Natalie Holt. I played the Witch, and I was a truly awful, awful person. It was a bit tragic to see me get totally shut down by the end of the session, but she deserved it. We also had a Selkie, a Ghoul (hunger for flesh), and a Sasquatch.

I skipped Saturday morning. To heck with the early wake-up.

For the second slot, I ran Legend of the Elements! This slot was with veteran GPNWers. I had Jay Loomis and Andy Munich (both of whom played in Avatar World last year), Erin Sara DiPeso, and Mark Levad. I brought my A game with me to this one: we used the Festival of the Four quick-start scenario and had a Hunter, a Fireshaper, an Earthshaper, and a Spiritshaper. We had a small chase scene, intra-faction rivalry, a super-strong Earthshaper ghost grandma, a Mulan moment, and wavering morals. I even wrapped up the Earthshaper Leaders plot point really well! Definitely one of my favorite uses of the Festival scenario, and I actually nailed the doing-stuff-in-an-urban-environment thing this time, which has given me so much trouble in the past.

For dinner, a huge wave of us went to Cafe Presse, this French bistro on Capitol Hill. We went because Morgan Stinson was there and none of us have seen him in months because of his personal and professional life keeping him away from gaming, and now he's easing back into it. It was fun hanging out with everyone and trying to cram like 30 people into this tiny back room.

For the night slot, I ran Legend of the Elements again! This time it was with newcomers to GPNW. Patrick Richardson, Matt Mignacco, John Cucco, and Ryan (I'm sorry, I forgot to write down your last name!) were all really cool. Oddly enough, I talked to all four of them about Legend of the Elements at ECCC earlier this year! I'd actually told Ryan about GPNW in general, so it was exciting to have him actually come and then play in my game :). Since I'd used up my Festival scenario (I only carried the one set of sheets for each), I ran The Red Mountain. The Red Mountain is actually my preferred scenario in general; it's not better or anything (that I could fix with revisions), I just happen to be more interested in the spirit and mysticism side of the game than the whimsical silly bits. The Red Mountain is much closer to the sort of climactic episodes of Avatar (first learning about the coming eclipse, siege of the north, etc), while the Festival is more of a middle or filler episode, fun but not too serious or anything. I don't think my MCing was quite as awesome as it had been that afternoon, but we still had an excellent time. We had a Fireshaper, Watershaper, Earthshaper, and Spiritshaper. I took my usual path through the cave and running into wolfbats event, and went in and had a creepy social encounter at the monastery. This is where I felt I handled the MCing worst - it was a discussion type thing, and didn't trigger many social moves. It was very fulfilling in an emotional way though, and then I capped it off with a really good final encounter that tied in a character's backstory, one of the answers from one of their scenario sheets, and a vague hint from earlier. That was one of my better MCing moments of LotE in general. I had sat there for like five minutes (with players on break of course) just thinking of what to do there, because I had like an hour left, I hadn't had a great combat encounter yet, and I very easily could have ended the game right there. I just happened to stumble upon this great idea, and I'm so glad I did cuz it let me end the game on the perfect note.

Saturday night after the game I went out with Morgan Ellis, Jeremy Tidwell, and Ryan to go find food and soak in the Pride nightlife. It was very fun. We had street meat hot dogs and they were excellent.

Sunday I didn't go in promptly on time, but I still hooked up with Johnstone Metzger to play some Fall of Magic! Despite all the time I spend in Olympia, this was my first time playing it. Before we really got started, two other late-comers showed up and we invited them. Andrew and Chaz were also first-time GPNWers, and they were only here for the Sunday. I played an Apprentice of the Magus whose character arc was losing faith in the power of magic as he felt how much stronger the power of death always seemed to be. We made it through the Hall of the Woods. I would definitely play this again.

Sunday afternoon was the one game I'd scheduled to play in ahead of time: Apocalypse World. Karen Twelves ran it, and I played with Eric Fattig, Jackson Tegu, Jeremy Tidwell, and Sean Nittner. We played Karen's Olive Garden scenario, which is a frame where we play the staff at a still-running Olive Garden that serves as an oasis in the blasted nightmare of the post-apocalypse. I was the Host and Gun Lugger, we had a Bartender/Skinner (art: mixology), a Manager/Hardholder, a Savvy Head/Janitor, and a Brainer/Server. It was so much fun and I really want to play more Apocalypse World.

Sunday evening I wasn't sure what I wanted to do. Jay and Drew weren't around so I couldn't do Dungeon World with them, so it was ended up as a toss-up at the pitch circle of either My Daughter The Queen of France (intense but very fun) or Splendor again (very laid back). I went for the laid back and ended up playing a couple of very quiet and contemplative games of Splendor with Ross and Myra, both of which I won. #undefeated

Then we all went to dinner at 8oz Burger. It was fantastic. I got to hang out more with Tomer and Jerry, as well as with Chris Paul and Dan Behlings. All of them were also first-timers at GPNW, so that was fun.
You see, I had a secret goal at this year's GPNW: if I saw anyone sitting on their own and they didn't look actively busy, I would go up and make sure they were okay, or just strike up conversation in general, or invite them over to whatever else I might have been doing. This is an extension of last year's goal of being actively outgoing and sociable, and it really worked out last year, and it did again this year! I introduced Chris to a bunch of folks, and in general I just tried to be as inviting as possible.
I have this consistent fear of our story games culture going clique-ish, driven largely by our selection of players. Not maliciously! After all, we all come out here and many of us only see each other at this con, so we want to play and hang out together while we can! We'll cherry pick our friends into our games, and then not have new people experiences. I'm doing it too; my Monsterhearts game was that, as was the Apocalypse World game (though I wasn't doing player selection for that, there was never even a public signup or anything). The games I ran had new players because I'd opened up public signups ahead of time and new folks filled in the spots.
Truth is, we're not that clique-ish. But we can look that way from the outside, and it's really hard to break through that! I felt that my first year at the con - I spent a lot of time on my own. I said it was fine, and that I needed the time to recharge, and some of that was true, but really I was just not sure how to break into these existing friend groups. So now I go out of my way to not let other people get trapped in that. And I've made some good friends that way! That's how I met Andy last year, and that's turned out pretty awesome. I'm really looking forward to seeing Chris and Ryan and Jerry and Dan and Tomer and Andrew and Chaz next year as well, and I'm looking forward to meeting new faces too!
And you know what? I don't really do this in my regular life. I've never been good at it. But in talking with another friend recently who recently moved somewhere where he doesn't know anyone, I kinda realized that I'm almost getting good at making friends with strangers. That boggles my mind. The benefits of story games!

A truly excellent Go Play NW. I'm very excited for the next one already.

Come back in a few days and I'll give y'all some Legend of the Elements news. The Kickstarter is coming!
End Recording,

Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Big #500

It's really happening.

1) This is post #500 on The Logbook Project. I've been doing this for three and a half years, since my second semester at university, and now I have 500 posts. I'm feeling great.

2) To go with that...today was my last day as an undergraduate at university! I'm free!

3) I received these in the mail today:
No, it's not done done, but it's pretty darn close, and holding a perfect-bound copy in my hands is helping make it feel that way.

4) You can come see my copies at Go Play NW this weekend! I am running Legend of the Elements twice at least, one game of which is full. Sunday morning still has two spots open, and I might open a third session if I see the interest.
I hope to see you there, and look forward to keeping you all up to date on the imminent release!

End Recording,

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Sunday Songs 2015: Alesso's Sweet Escape and Zedd's Addicted To a Memory


This week is a little bit different! I could have split these two into different weeks, but I've had both of them on the blog before so I'll combine them. Why am I featuring musicians again at all? Because both Alesso and Zedd put out new albums this month, and they're both pretty great!
Alesso released his first LP, Forever. I'll be honest - not unilaterally his best stuff. There's some great gems on the album, but especially his choice of singles is a bit disappointing - he did not make the best use of Tove Lo on Heroes, and Payday is the opposite of what originally attracted me to Alesso. In general, the album takes a more EDM-powered tact, rather than use the trance inflections in a lot of his work. In general, Heroes is a fluke; Alesso knows how to handle vocalists, and needs to do so more often. Under Control (with Calvin Harris and Hurts) and his remix of If I Lose Myself are two of the best songs on the album by a while, but they've also been in circulation for almost a year. That sound, the intro track is a really good lead-in to Payday.


Zedd has the exact opposite problem that Alesso has - he needs to lay off the vocalists. He just can't manage them! They're repetitive, uninspired, and seemingly there just because they're "supposed to be" in the modern dance world. Seriously Zedd, it's okay to just be a kick-ass producer of beats! You don't have to include lyrics! It's really not the vocalists' faults - Hayley Williams and Foxes and Bahari are great vocalists and were kinda wasted on their songs. Despite that, Addicted To A Memory is a great song and the back half is great.
(I will note that he worked really well with Selena Gomez, I Want You To Know actually elevates her performance, and I say this as someone who actually likes Selena!)

Project Update:
I play the Example of Play session tomorrow for Legend of the Elements! It's exciting. I'm also currently remaking the cover to stretch around the spine and back. I'm also painting it! Watercolor and acrylic. I'm, uh, not a painter, but I wasn't really vector artist before this project either, so I think it's going well!
I played Shining Void last week and it taught me some things! this game is going toward a revision.
I haven't started on Learning Pixel Art 2nd Edition yet, that's in the information-gathering stage.

End Recording,

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Legend of the Elements: End of the Public Beta

It blows me away that I'm at the point where I can actually say that it's time to not let the public see the game! Frankly, I can't have the whole thing available right up until I suddenly say "now please buy it!" So I'm taking down the free beta on Saturday. I might keep up something, but I haven't decided yet.
Here's the timeline of upcoming Legend of the Elements events.

Saturday 6/6: I finish the peripheral documents. On this day, I will be removing the free version of the game from the internet in the lead-up to a full release. I may leave up something to whet the appetite, but you won't be able to get the whole game anymore. Get it this week!

Monday 6/8: I play a session this evening that I will record so I can write the missing Example of Play chapter.

Wednesday 6/10: Having implemented the Example of Play chapter, I send the files to my editors for review. This is more of a literary review, rather than a mechanical one, but there might be things exposed that I goofed up that will adjust rules slightly.

June 19: I print a bound copy of the game for myself to use at conventions. If I'm lucky, the editors will be back to me, though it's not likely. If not, I'll print another later - I need a copy for Go Play NW.

June 26: Coinciding with Go Play NW, this is the fall-back deadline for everything's completion.
I'll be running two sessions of Legend of the Elements, as well as one session of The Shining Void, so if you can be in Seattle this weekend I'd love to play it with you!

August 28: Coinciding with PAX Prime, I want to have the game up for sale online as a PDF and on Print-On-Demand, with a small pile of copies of my own coming with me to PAX. The end of a...wow, almost three-year line from an idea for my first game design to a published and refined game.

Oh, and if anyone knows anything about where they would like to buy games or where you can get good Print-on-Demand work done, I would love to know so I can work it out.

So get it while it's still here or you'll be paying for it! And frankly, the game's worth it at this point! The latest draft is super-sharp and has a TON of art. I'll be printing it full-bleed with a color cover, though the inner images are all black and white. I can't wait for you to see it.

End Recording,

Monday, June 1, 2015

Sunday Songs 2015: Wolf Alice - Moaning Lisa Smile

WEEK TWENTY-TWO: WOLF ALICE - MOANING LISA SMILE This is a really good song, but the rest of their songs don't really hold up to this one. Oh well. Sorry. This has been a bad day, I lost my wallet. Also sorry for the skip last week, I've been dealing with some stuff. End Recording, Ego.

Saturday, May 23, 2015


I just graduated university! BS in Biology, Minor is Religion and History. During my university career, I've designed a game, wrote it, illustrated it, and have almost published it, designed and released a one-page game, and I've written and published a book of art instruction. Science, religion, history, design, writing, and art - I've become a pretty diverse person.

End Recording,

Monday, May 18, 2015

Sunday Songs 2015: Solarstone - Swansong



End Recording,

Monday, May 11, 2015

Sunday Songs 2015: Archive - You Make Me Feel


I don't know much about Archive. This particular album is classic trip-hop. I like it.

Sorry. My weekend has been exhausting and fun and the rest of my week is about to be exhausting and frustrating, I don't have a lot of power right now.

Projects update, Legend of the Elements is undergoing the new layout work, and I'm starting on the art additions. I need to playtest still. Nothing's really moved on tSV. Don't expect much motion this week.
End Recording,

Monday, May 4, 2015

Sunday Songs 2015: Mimi Page - The Starving Artist


To quote Wikipedia: "Page's original music blends breathy, ethereal vocals with beat driven, atmospheric soundscapes. She attributes her ethereal sound to her heavy use of reverb, delay, and layering techniques in post production."
That pretty much sums up her style. It's a lot emptier than Johnny Hollow's sound was last week. Well, emptier sounds like a negative thing...maybe roomier is what I want? It gives me the feeling of being in a wider space than I actually am. It's quiet time music. It's actually really good for meditation.
This particular song just gave me the best vibes for right now. Dunno if I'd call it the best song on the album, but it's the one that speak to me at this very moment.

Project Updates:
Legend of the Elements has a plan for a revision! I'll implement that as soon as I get a break. It's the end of my final semester, cut me some slack!
I wrote down like a dozen ideas for Shining Void revisions on Saturday, so I'm excited to try and write some of them out.

End Recording,

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Sunday Songs 2015: Johnny Hollow - A Little Bit Closer


Johnnu Hollow is interesting. It's a Canadian electronic group, and their 2014 album A Collection of Creatures is an eclectic affair. It's very echo-y (almost hollow-sounding, quite fitting) with a dark tone and Janine White's great voice. I can't really think of any single band to compare them to. A Little Bit Closer is probably my favorite song, but Devil's Night and I Am Stretched On Your Grave (a performance of the famous Irish poem) are really good too. The whole thing is a great moody affair that has a distinct place in any library of dark, ambient, ethereal, or ghostly music.

Project update: nothing has changed from last week. I've kinda been letting my projects slip this month, and May not be too much better with finals and essays coming, but I'm going to be trying my best. Gotta get Legend of the Elements whipped into shape!

End Recording,

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Sunday Songs 2015: Halestorm/Wolfgun New Album Double Feature


This week saw the release of two new albums by two of my favorite artists. Halestorm released Into The Wild Life, their third full album. After a slightly goth-y original album in Halestorm and a slightly metal-y followup album in The Strange Case Of..., Into The Wild Life is a full-blooded rock album. It's classic and almost a bit more traditional, but it brings to the table the outstanding production of Halestorm as well as Lzzy's unbelievable vocal force. I've said it before, but I think she might be the hardest rocker out there right now. She's definitely the hardest-rocking woman in a genre where women are often relegated to softer styles of rock.
Lzzy doesn't go as full-on raw and primal as she did in The Strange Case Of.... There's nothing that hits quite as hard as Love Bites (So Do I) or I Miss The Misery. However, I think she's actually come into a more mature, rounded, and complete presentation of her voice, and the strength of the lyrics helps with that.
While Lzzy's vocals are stepping back from being the unquestioned centerpiece of the band, the guitar-work has stepped forward in a way that it hasn't before. In both previous albums, all of the other instruments felt like they existed to support Lzzy's voice. Now they're taking a more prominent role. In Scream, I Am The Fire, and Gonna Get Mine in particular, I really caught onto the guitars.
My favorites are I Am The Fire and The Reckoning. Two of the softer ones (though not as much as Dear Daughter), but really well balanced.

You know who the album made me think of a few times? Queen. It's a really weird comparison, but especially on Gonna Get Mine the bold and catchy guitar/drums tune made me think of them. Maybe it's just me. It's actually kinda weird for me, cuz I'm in the minority of music listeners who really doesn't like most of Queen's songs.

Classic hard rock at its finest.


No one really does what Wolfgun does. His spacey electronics, dreamlike lyrics, and really nice singing voice, combined with his great concept ideas for his music, makes him unique. Discovering LIGHTS last year helped me through a lot of stress with its bouncy, optimistic sound, and cemented his place as among my top 5 Spring musicians. He's a mainstay in my car stereo.
I'm fascinated by his re-use of lyric sets. He has an intro to all of his albums that uses the same lyrics, a sort of audio signature. I was enjoying ROAD TO JUPITER, but when in the titular song I heard the core line from LIGHTS echoing I knew that I was really in for something great. And I was! The album really deserves your attention. I like every single song, which is a rare thing. My favorite is Juno. Something about is really nostalgic to me. Still, nothing is quite as representative of the album as the title song.

I apologize for missing last week, and for such a brief entry the previous week. I've been very, very busy, but I feel bad that I broke my resolution to miss no weeks. This week's double feature hopefully makes up for it a bit. Normally I wouldn't feature either of these bands because I've done them before (several times in Wolfgun's case) but their new albums deserve it, and both of them together is worth it. Enjoy.

Project update:
Learning Pixel Art is, of course, released! Click up on the header to sample or buy it!
Legend of the Elements is in playtesting mode, but is having some discussion about the implementation of animal companions over on Story Games! I'd love to hear you chime in! My main priority is in making the remaining art for the holes in the book right now. I think I'm going to set an optimistic goal of GPNW (June 26-28) for the final draft to be in editing mode and PAX (August 28-31) for the final release. I'm going to call that a goal and not a deadline right now, but I'm gonna try my damnedest.
The Shining Void is feeling like it's getting close to review and update time, even with only one playtest of this draft under my belt. I have a few ideas.

Mostly I'm just in school mode right now, but I'm still playing FFXIV! I want buddies to play with, if you're up for that!

End Recording,

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Sunday Songs 2015: she - Archetype


After a few weeks of pop/vocal stuff, time for a little retro-y electronic stuff.
she is a Swedish artist who does all sorts of electronic stuff. The genre focus changes from album to album (ranging from chiptune to dance to more ambient tunes like this one), and it's really very good. I like this album's style. It's short, but has an interesting texture to it.
End Recording,

Monday, March 30, 2015

Sunday Songs 2015: RAC - Cheap Sunglasses


I don't know anything about RAC, but I know that I love Matthew Koma, and this is one of his best songs in the past year. It's not quite my favorite song of his (I think that's Years by Alesso) but it's right up there.
End Recording,

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Legend of the Elements: Version 1.7 Release!

It's the eve of Comicon, which can only mean one thing - that I'm going to have a very fun time tomorrow! Oh, wait, that's not what I was gonna announce. Oh yeah, Comicon means a new release of Legend of the Elements! Or should I say the first release, because this is the first release that isn't Avatar-branded!
This release is, of course, a complete overhaul of the writing. There's a bunch of new art, and there will be an update within about a month filling in yet more art. There's three all-new playbooks, and a great new chapter at the end full of all sorts of fun information (including a page of sample names!) There's no Example of Play yet, but that will also be coming in an update to this version within a month.

Seriously, it's good stuff. Check it out. And save a copy, because there will not be a version 1.8, because after version 1.7 is the Final Version. And the final version? It's not free. So get it while the gettin's good!

  Version 1.7 Download:



If you like the game, please consider donating! I don't charge for my beta content, but some support goes a long way to making the final game a reality!
End Recording,

Monday, March 23, 2015

Learning Pixel Art Released! Buy Now!

Calming fakebit tunes to ease the end of a journey? Yes please.

It's taken months, but my book tutorial of pixel art has been officially released for sale! It comes to a grand total of 207 pages, with 8 full lessons ranging from clusters to contrast to starting a piece, as well as three appendices containing a wide array of challenges, references and links, and a handy glossary of terms! All of this for the low, low price of $0.99!

Here's the blurb:
Pixel art is an intricate and precise form of art famous for its legacy in video game art of years gone by. However, it continues to thrive today as an art form of its own, and in mobile game development.
Many people try to enter the world of pixel art underestimating the depth of the medium. This book is meant to remedy that, taking you from knowing absolutely nothing to being well-versed in the medium and ready to make your own art.
You won't find any step-by-step paint-by-numbers tutorials here. This book takes you through the techniques you'll need to make your own art. It explains why certain techniques are important or problematic in clear language, not jargon. It is furnished every step of the way with illustrations and diagrams to help both visual learners as well as those who prefer to read.
With a wide array of exercises to help you practice your skills, Learning Pixel Art will help you reach your pixel art dreams!

Learning Pixel Art can also help existing pixel artists! With in-depth discussion of techniques in the context of the modern cluster-based view of pixel art, even artists who've been making pixel art for years can learn something about how techniques are connected and significant. Learning Pixel Art also supplies a set of terminology with which to discuss pixel art with others.

If you'd like to sample the book before you buy it, two previews are available: the entirety of the first two (of eight) chapters discussing What Is Pixel Art and Clusters, the basic unit of pixel art, as well as the whole appendix of Exercises to see what skills you might be missing!
So why charge a dollar for this? In a word, "exclusivity." We're pretty well-trained to be hesitant of free stuff on the internet because it's so easy to put anything up there. With even a minor cost though it makes the product itself seem worth more. I'm not doing this to trick people: I genuinely think I have something valuable to offer the new pixel artist (and some veterans too!), and I want people to be drawn to it! It also adds an air of legitimacy to the book.
Plus, well, I worked really hard on the book, so I'd like a little back on it, even if it's really really small.

Click the button on the header bar to access the book's page, which includes a link to buy the book, the free resources folder, and two free previews of the book!

Alternatively, just click here to go straight to Amazon!

End Recording,

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Sunday Songs 2015: The Civil Wars - Barton Hollow


There was this fantastic playlist labeled "Southern Gothic" that made it to the front page of Spotify sometime last week and I never knew I was missing out on this particular descriptor, but I love it. Usually I have to dig through some reaaaally bad country and folk to find stuff like this, but the playlist is just full of gems.
The Civil Wars are one of those gems. Country / Alt-rock, with a pretty unique vibe punctuated by their obvious vocal talents.

Seriously, check out the playlist.
Some standouts? Well, most folks know Hozier now for their breakout hit Take Me To Church, but the rest of their music shares that laid-back dark-inflected instrumentation. Ben Miller Band might interest you if you're a KONGOS fan. Snake Song by Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan is good, as is Psalms by Vudu Sister. Monica Heldel puts a little less country on the vocals, but definitely is still the same sort of vibe. Ain't No Grave by Crooked Still is one of my favorites. Johnny Cash and Tom Waits are both classics, of course. Trouble by Bellstop is good.
There, that should be enough to give you the sense of what I like about the Southern Gothic style.

End Recording,

Monday, March 16, 2015

Sunday Songs 2015: Deadmau5 - The Veldt (Instrumental)


This week was a pretty hard pick! I've been listening to stuff I've used before, so I needed to dig around for something else. I've always liked The Veldt, more than a lot of Deadmau5 stuff, but the vocals just detract from it for me.

However, the actual instrumental mix is long and a bit monotonous. That's why my real favorite version is:
You can thank me for not setting that as the primary video today. But for real, this is one of those cases where the non-English language and odd repetitive and creative editing that usually comes with Gangnam mashups really works to blend into the instrumental to make a truly interesting background music track. It's one of the treasures from Gangnamcore!, bless Triple-Q and metrosexualthug and of course Deadmau5 for allowing this piece to exist.
(if this is your first introduction to the world of Gangnam style mashups, welcome! There's a whole crazy world of them out there!)

Project update:
LotE's text is done. I'm now on the job of creating the peripheral documents and the new art. This version has almost double the art (77 versus the old 45, meaning there's a whopping 32 new illustrations to make! Lucky me! *dies*)
Shining Void will be at Emerald City Comicon! If you want to play, come by Games on Demand and ask when Max Hervieux is running games!
LPA will be done when the editing's done. I swear it won't be too too long, but I've been saying that for two months now. Seriously, this isn't me being slow! It's out of my hands!

This will also be a difficult class week, but I'll try to get an update of something up this week, just for y'all.

End Recording,

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Sunday Songs: Robert Delong - Long Way Down


Picking these Sunday Songs are getting easier, it's just whatever song I've listened to like five times per day that week.
Easily Delong's biggest hit, I really enjoy this song. I kinda hadn't identified it until I saw a commenter on this video (I know, dumb of me to look) that it almost has some James Bond tune vibes. It's that brass three-note climb I think, but it's just a great song. Energetic and laid-back at the same time, just how I like my tunes.

Projects! Legends of the Elements is coming along, I'm done with all of the Avatar World transitioning and am now just writing new material, and it's almost done! Then I go into art mode. I'm actually feeling pretty confident about my Comicon deadline.
LPA is in proofing status. Almost done, but not quite. So slooow, but fine, I'll wait.

End Recording,

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Sunday Songs 2015: meganeko - Stasis


Meganeko is a Swedish fakebit/dubstep artist. I stumbled across them on Spotify, which was kind of a surprise given that he only had a six-song EP out at the time. He released his new EP yesterday. You can imagine my delight when I discovered him on Monday, and on Wednesday learned there was about to be brand-new music by him.

Stasis is the last song on the album, but the entirety of Robot Language is fantastic. Really I just wish there was more of it, and now there is! And yet still the two albums combined still doesn't make an hour of music. But that's okay because I can just loop the Robot Language album forever and not get tired of it.

There are an unbelievable number of fakebit artists out there, but I think that meganeko reminds me of one of my absolute favorites, DDRKirby(ISQ). Especially on Robot Language (the song).

As far as other projects go, I know I've been saying LPA will be out this week for like a month, but the person I have proofreading it has been tied up with stuff. Right away, I swear! I want it out as much as you do! More even!
Legends of the Elements is coming along well. I only have like two chapters left to write, and I may add one of them post-initial-release. Probably not, but maybe.

End Recording,

Monday, February 23, 2015

Sunday Songs 2015: Metro Station - Barcelona


I haven't gone to bed yet so it's not late
Good night

End Recording,

Friday, February 20, 2015

Legend of the Elements: The New Draft's Playbooks!

I'm not particularly into Fall Out Boy, but every so often they hit something interesting. Sampling Suzanne Vega seems to have done it for me.

Hey folks, I said I was gonna come by and preview these! I know I don't post much, but every Sunday I do a music post and at the end of those I usually do a status update on each of my projects, so if you're wondering how things are going, check those or follow me on Twitter!

This file has a slight formatting change to the playbook layout, and includes several major changes. First off, there's three new playbooks! The Hunter, The Peasant, and The Spiritshaper are brand new, and two of those you've never seen anything for! The former two are mostly designed by one of my players, Henry. The Hunter has adopted a couple of the Warrior's moves, while the Warrior has a couple new ones of its own. The Monk has also had a noticeable replacement of one of its moves.
These are not final! I'm going to be having a little design party soon to help iron out the remaining things that are either incomplete or that I'm simply not satisfied with. As a guarantee, The Airbender will change.
Also there's no art in these yet. That's usually the last step of my process.


I'm very excited for this upcoming stuff. If you're going to be at Emerald City Comic Con at the end of March, I will be there with Games on Demand, running both Legends of the Elements and The Shining Void, so remember to come see me if you're interested!

End Recording,

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Sunday Songs 2015: Defrage - Stairway To No Heaven


Defrage is an Estonian alternative metal band. I don't really do metal much, but neither does this song, so it works! I don't even know what it is about this song that really makes me happy, but it does. i think it's the guitar. A lot of the rest of Defrage's stuff has a little more screaming than I really care for, but they've got a few gems in there.

I'll be back later this week with Legend of the Elements updates! And Learning Pixel Art is due to be published within like a week, so be looking for those!
End Recording,

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Sunday Songs 2015: The Chainsmokers - Erase (Samantha Ronson Remix)


I've been getting pretty into The Chainsmokers lately. A lot of their remixes are genuinely great, but their original songs took a bit for me to get into. #SELFIE and Kanye are just so weird...but they  grow on you, and the production work is impressive. Erase, though, that song is good both in its original and its one official remix, this one. Speaking of this remix, it's HARD to track down on the internet! I had to figure out how to embed Spotify, and I hope to god it actually works cuz I've never done that before. Nope that didn't work but I found a YT vid thank god! I have no idea who Samantha Ronson or Priyanka Chopra are.

Update on other projects: I'm in classes again so things might slow down a touch, though not much given the setup of my schedule. Legend of the Elements is in drafting, and it's going well! Learning Pixel Art is in final editing. The Shining Void is in stasis until I playtest it.
Oh, and I'm playing Final Fantasy XIV again, if you play you should message me or something!

End Recording,

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Sunday Songs 2015: Snow Ghosts - Covenant


Snow Ghosts is a duo formed by Throwing Snow and Augustus Ghost (the alter-egos of Ross Tones and Hannah Cartwright). They're a weird minimalistic industrial-folk sound, sounding brooding and dark. I like it quite a bit. The album makes me think of being in the wilderness on a cold pacific northwest evening, the overcast sky turning blue-grey as the sun sets, silhouettes of tall trees all around. It gives me an alone feeling. Their sound makes me think of a minimalist, less-intense Crystal Castles.
Their album isn't long. The Hunted is good, Murder Cries is good, most of it is good. Check it out, it's worth it.
End Recording,

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Legend of the Elements: The New Name of Avatar World

God I love the Forest Temple

Heeeeeey folks! Avatar World is no more. In its place stands Legend of the Elements!

I made the decision about a week and a half ago that I was going to strip out the franchise from the game. I'd really like to properly sell the game after putting two and half years of work into it. While in general this hasn't been as bad as I thought it would be, the main shifts that I spent tiem agonizing over were the suffix "-bender" which is now, generally, "-shaper." The title was a loooot harder but I think I've finally settled on Legend of the Elements. It has a Nickelodeon feel, it's simple and evocative, and it's not too long.

The game is also changing a bit! Freeing myself from Avatar lets me flex some different ideas. Here's a peek:
~ Expanding the playbooks a bit. This was probably going to happen regardless, but the nature of the expansion is a little different. In addition to The Peasant and possibly The Hunter that my friend is writing (which I think are appropriate, especially outside of the Avatar context). One idea that I've come to quite agree with is adding a fifth Shaper to the core lineup, the Spiritshaper. This both lets me indulge some of my ideas in a more core way, as well as instantly distance myself from Avatar a bit more. Another thing I'm still debating is the idea of splitting the Warrior back down the armored-soldier line (as The Knight) and the stealthy type (name tbd, trying to avoid The Ninja if possible, as well as Rogue or Thief). Depending on how it plays out, The Hunter might actually just be the new other half of the Warrior.
~ The bolstering of the sub-playbook lineup with more non-bending subpbs, as that's a thing I want that is sorely lacking.
~ A refinement of the existing playbooks, culling some moves and swapping some around.

End Recording,

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Sunday Songs 2015: Shane Koyczan and the Short Story Long - Tomatoes


Shane Koyczan is a poet, a spoken word artist. On its own, that wouldn't qualify as "music" for the context of Sunday Songs, but then he recorded an album of his poetry in conjunction with The Short Story Long, a folk instrumental trio. He's a pretty great poet! Has quite a way with words. The whole album, Remembrance Year, is excellent. This is one of the brighter-toned songs on the album; others, like To This Day, are dark and hurtful (for him) affairs.
I like this one. It's about memories.

The instrumental support is quite great in this one. Also check out Insider, another good one with great merging of the backing music with the words.

One month down!

End Recording,

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Shining Void v0.2 Release!

Mmm, spacey electronica is always fun.

Latest Version (v0.2) Download:



It's here! It's been six months since v0.1 released, and after some pause time, and a good pair of playtest sessions, some feedback, another sizable pause while I engaged my other projects, and then FAR more time rewriting this thing than I would have liked.

So what's new? In the player-facing rules, surprisingly not that much. The speciesbooks became Cultures, the Mechanoid culture became the Outsider, Guardians of the Galaxy was slid smoothly into the list of things the game emulates pretty darn well, and Mass Effect became no more important than the rest of the things on the mediography, meaning I'm off the copyright hook (thank god)! On the MC side, the components are augmented, the explanations are refined, and there's a whole chapter of (if I do say so myself) really interesting work on First Sessions, One-Shots, and Campaigns, including the Fronts equivalent, Singularities. The files are all revamped and I'm quite happy with the all of it. Things are also presented in a better manner (which, uh, may resemble the way AvW is organized; hey, my opinions on organizing a book for an ApW hack don't change much).

If you like it, please tell me! If you have feedback I'd love to hear it, especially if you've played it! And if you're really interested in its continued development, please donate :3 (shilling done)

One big missing thing: there's no art. And there's literally holes in the document where I intend to put art but don't have any yet. If you have ideas about art style please share.

Thanks folks, hopefully it won't take too long before the next round!

End Recording,

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Sunday Songs 2015: Emel Mathlouthi - Ya Tounes Ya Meskina (Poor Tunisia)


Emel Mathlouthi is a Tunisian singer-songwriter. Her music became a musical voice for the people during the Tunisian revolution (which kicked off the Arab Spring) and the Egyptian revolution.
After the revolutions began, in 2012, she released her full album Kelmti Horra, which is really a very interesting album.
The language and the native instrumentation combined with dark guitars and electronic influence reminds me strongly of early Niyaz (though I am cognizant that the language is different), which is a plus. Additionally, I immediately recognized some of the backing sounds as similar in both style and melody to some of the basslines of Massive Attack's album Mezzanine, which I later discovered was a big inspiration for her, along with Joan Baez and Bjork. Seriously, even on this song, the background tune sounds a lot like Inertia Creeps and later evolves a bit into something like Group Four, both from Mezzanine.
Middle eastern trip-hop is a thing I'd like to hear a loooot more of, especially if its from Mathlouthi considering her voice is excellent.

Next week I have something REALLY weird picked out. I really like it and can't wait to share it.

For some quick bookkeeping on other topics:
Learning Pixel Art is undergoing final proofing before release. The price will be $1. Watch this space for the release!
The Shining Void v0.2's main text is done. I'm creating the resource documents (playbooks, basic move sheets, etc). I'm also starting to think about art, though v0.2 will have large holes where I will put art.
Avatar World is currently in its fifth session of my long-form game, meaning that's almost done. Henry and I are writing two more playbooks to help round out the list a bit better, though I don't know if they'll go in the book. I'll be recording this session to generate an Example of Play, and then I'll dive into the final draft. Personal goal for release is "physical copy in my hand by ECCC (aka March 27)". I can't sell you a physical copy over the internet of course, sorry! But if you're interested, stop by...

End Recording,

EDIT: I referred to Mathlouthi as "middle-eastern" by accident. As I've heard Egypt referred to by that label I was not sure how closely North Africa associated with the term, and I've been corrected that Tunisia, or at least Mathlouthi, does not identify by that term. Thanks for correcting me Emel!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Sunday Songs 2015: Celldweller - It Makes No Difference Who We Are


Celldweller has a pretty interesting vibe. While the majority of the band's work lacks vocals, it is all driven through with a sense of combined organic and electronic sounds. The entire project (the work of one man, Klayton) is permeated with a very dark tone even relative to other electronic bands, and resisted the temptation to fall entirely from melodic writing even when dubstep made bass and glitchiness a lot more popular. If I was to describe the whole project's tone in one word, I would have to call it "menacing." I don't like all of Celldweller's stuff, but much of it is very impressive.
This particular song is the one that got me to look closer at Celldweller instead of continuing to write it off as another aspect of the dubstep boom.

End Recording,

Thursday, January 8, 2015

The Shining Void v0.2: Preview of the MC Chapter!

Before anything else, an announcement. My dad very recently lost his job, and with that I also lost a significant route of managing to pay for my schooling. More than ever, I need help. I have a donate button on the right side of the page, and I would really appreciate anything you can spare. If you like the games I'm writing, please consider giving a few bucks.

I don't like begging. I won't do it again. But please.

Not really less generic than the rest of Garrix's work, but MOTi helps it out some. I quite like this one for some reason. It has some variety to it, which is nice.

Hey y'all, felt like coming in and giving everyone a sneak peek at the new MC chapter in v0.2 of The Shining Void! It's paired with the new Starting The Game chapter, which includes First Session stuff, Campaign stuff (including Singularities aka Fronts), and One-Shot stuff, as well as a guided tour / script for running character creation.

 Download the Preview PDF Here!

Let me know what you think! I feel quite happy with it. The lists are pretty well-refined.

One thing I'm working on now that I could use a little help with is types of Threats that you think are iconic within action sci-fi like tSV. Any ideas?

See you on Sunday!
End Recording,

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Sunday Songs 2015: Icon for Hire - Counting on Hearts


Surprise! I've been building a backlog of music for a while now and decided that instead of a Songaday, I wanted to go back to Sunday Songs with a goal of one year of songs.

What is Sunday Songs?
I make a post every Sunday with a song I like and maybe some info about it or something.

You mentioned this was a "go back to" thing?
Yeah, I did this for a while in the past. I missed days on occasion and eventually kinda ran out of steam. That mostly happened because I don't like repeating any artists that I've already used on Sunday Songs or a Songaday or even on a normal blog post, which by this point is like a 500-long list.

How will you not run out of steam this time?
Hopefully, a decent amount of planning will help with that. I know I have enough music for a couple months right now, and I have some good avenues for discovery to help me out after that. I also have an explicit goal this time: one year, 2015. 52 weeks, 52 artists, 52 songs.

What kind of music will you feature?
 Oof, that question. I listen to pretty much anything. I have a focus on pop-inflected electronica, trance, and punk, a wider EDM interest, straight pop, and a lot of exceptions to the rules. My taste is very eclectic. I also listen to a lot of soundtracks to games, movies, and anime, but if you see any of those show up it means I either really really REALLY like them or I'm struggling that week. Let's aim for none of them.
I don't listen to much rap, and I listen to almost no country or metal.

Will this affect other posts?
If you're a regular reader, you may have noticed a posting slow-down. All of my projects are in a stage where I DON'T have the ability to give regular progress reports unfortunately. This will hopefully keep some motion happening on the blog even when I'm in work-mode and not presentation-mode.
Other posts will still have a song tagged on top of them, no rules, like usual.

When do the posts go up?
Sundays! For a non-smartass answer, it really could be any time between 12:01 and when I go to sleep the following night (which may mean as late as 4am Monday). I'm shooting for having it up by noon. Watch my social networks (Especially my Twitter, @Logbook_Project) for announcements of the post going up.

This week's song is by Icon For Hire, a rock band with significant pop-punk and electronic influences. Their strong female voice combined with rock power reminds me of Halestorm. Ariel isn't quite Lzzy-intense (I happen to think Lzzy is one of the most raw and powerful female voices in rock and metal - no one rocks quite as hard as her) but she makes up for it with some good melodic stuff. You could compare them to Paramore, but frankly I don't like Paramore (except for Riot! I think they're pretty boring) and I do like Icon For Hire. I see the similarity, but I don't really like it as much as letting them speak for themselves. Honestly they make me think a little more of the goth-metal and nu-metal scenes than Paramore-style pop-punk.

Seeya next Sunday!
End Recording,

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Avatar World: Story Games Olympia Interview

Hey y'all, I totally did an interview with cool Olympia gamer (and game designer) Orion Canning! If you read my MH or AvW reports, you'll know that I'm also a regular gaming buddy with Orion. That interview, along with the rest of the Story Games Olympia Issue 1, which you should totally read the rest of.

Click through here!

I think I'm mostly pretty coherent for my first interview. After all, I've thought a lot about the game and why I made the choices I did. Hell, I've thought a little too much about it sometimes, slowed me down some. In one of the other articles here Robert Bruce presents a really good line, regarding the writing of games on bursts of inspiration:
Do it quick, before the aesthetic sense of what belongs in the game wears out. If it wears out before you’re done, make uninspired decisions about the rest then playtest.
I wish someone had said that to me a year and a half ago. Really would have gotten the initial game out quicker.
Check out the whole issue, it's great!

End Recording,