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Christmas Blues

December 13th, 2015 by


Well, November and early December kind of flew by in a haze – always so much work to do and it always plays hell with NaNoWriMo. So hurrah for “failing” again this year. :/

In other news I seem to have become addicted to Fallout 4 in the small amount of spare time that I have aside from work and feeling sick. I also have a date for surgery, finally…on December 22nd. Yep, that means spending Christmas in the hospital, what fun. And here I was actually excited about the holiday this year – I’d decorated on the first weekend in December and had presents ordered. I was looking up recipes for fudge and bourbon balls and other Christmassy things, and now it’s all poo. Poo, I tell you!

I did buy a holiday oversize tshirt to wear in hospital that said Naughty But Nice. I got this only because I couldn’t find one that said Merry Motherf*cking Christmas. I told Phil that and he said “But what about the kids?” and I had a moment of genuine horror when I said “THERE ARE GOING TO BE KIDS!?!” Haha, truly a nightmare before Christmas.

I’ll hopefully post again before the end of next week, but if I don’t…have a very wonderful holiday with tons of good food and sentimental movies shared by family and friends. Much love to all.

NaNoWriMo On! Off. On…

November 1st, 2015 by

Writer's BlockI had a project that I was really excited about doing for NaNoWriMo. I’ve been working nights and weekends, trying to clear the breathing room to do it. I’ve been researching and planning like crazy.

And then…I realised that the idea, although something that I was incredibly excited about, was something that was going to need a lot more planning and outlining and beating the plot into shape. I wasn’t ready.

So, yesterday (the day before the bloody thing starts!) I decided to go back to an older project that I at least had a plot outline for. Now, this is a project that I’d done a lot of work on and then somehow allowed two years to lapse without working on it. It also has a very complicated plot, interweaving and twisting an handful of fairytales together into a new story. I have pages and pages of plot points and timelines and character studies and a Scrivener project set up with empty chapters and scenes with intriguing captions like “Maia is betrayed” and “King of the Cats.” Interesting…except I have absolutely no idea what I intended to do there.


EGX 2015

September 28th, 2015 by

Yesterday we had a real treat, thank you to good friends Raz and Kaz: EGX in Birmingham. It’s been ages since I’ve been to a games con, and I’ve never been to one in the UK. It was a blast.

We didn’t play a massive amount of games, as the line for each was so very long. We had a look at Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, which looks amazing and gorgeous. I’ve ordered this with the season pass, and will plan on having a huge jar of candied ginger on my desk so that I can play it. (There’s a reason why I’m mainly an MMO gamer. Most console games, and all first person shooters, and most games with swooping, jumping or racing vehicles make me terribly motion sick. I can just barely play the Assassin’s Creed games with a bit of help.) Raz, Kaz and Phil played some Just Cause 3, but I wandered around the booths as just a quick glance at the screens made me ill. Motion sickness really sucks for gamers. :/

Everyone had wanted to get a look at The Division, but it had an insanely long line. Same with Tomb Raider. The VR stuff was by prebooking only.

The cosplay event was great, with some really, really well done costumes. I didn’t get any decent pictures as I was trying to shoot around the back of someone’s head and most came out blurry. :) I love good cosplay so much.

Overall, a really good day.

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(Sorry for the quality of the images, my phone sucks. Or my skills suck.)

old, sick dog chasing a squirrel

September 17th, 2015 by

This is a procrastination post. I’ve been sick for almost a week with the Death Lurgy, the chest infection from hell and this is my first full day back at my desk, working. Sort of working. Slowly, with many breaks for twitter and coffee and coughing up nastiness into endless tissues. In other words…



Where was I? *looks confused*

Damn, everything is Such. Hard. Work.


September 4th, 2015 by

This morning I was remembering the first -and only- time that I was overcome by a work of art: totally undone, shattered and in tears.

Good friends were visiting from the States and we were on a tour of Chatsworth (as you do). It seems that least one visit to a castle or big house is a prerequisite or any first-time visit to the UK. Chatsworth House is gorgeous, richly decorated yet still feeling like a home for real people. One can imagine children running in the hallways and kisses stolen on the back stairs. In places it is overdone, such as in the State Music Room. Carved wooden panels, golden filigree on everything, inlaid marble and Russian malachite, incredible paintings. It is a room of sensory overload.

And then, to one side of the room, you see a half-open door and a violin hanging against a wood panel, very plain against the excess of the room. It hangs in shadow and a golden glow of light, without decoration, perfect lines of unadorned wood. As you look closer, you realise that it isn’t real at all, but a painting. It undid me.

I don’t have the words to describe how I felt, even now. It was something to do with the sheer overabundance of richness and detail in the room, contrasted with the perfect simplicity of the violin. Or perhaps it was the realisation that it was a painting rather than a real thing, and the emotional overload in that understanding, I don’t know. I stood in tears, almost choking with it, aware that I looked like a total idiot but unable to stop it. Even now it is one of the most powerful things that I have ever felt.


Violin Door

Bringing Storytelling Back to the Game: Revival

August 21st, 2015 by

Revival is the rebirth of the player-driven, sandbox, fantasy role-playing world. Player agency, world persistence, and absolutely zero compromises are the cornerstones of our quest for a living, persistent, dark fantasy role-playing world. – Revival mission statement

There is a lot of discussion in the MMO world about sandboxes versus themeparks and what each term means. To most people the phrase “themepark MMO” would be illustrated by by Warcraft, FFXIV or really any other MMO where your characters’ class, story and progression through the world are on rails with few (if any) choices that impact that world. A sandbox on the other hand usually denotes a less restricted world where you can create your own game experience. EVE Online would be one, and to a lesser extent games such as ArcheAge. Unfortunately to a lot of players that simply means that open PvP is allowed and one can run around low-level areas killing new players and generally being as big an asshat as possible.

What I’ve always dreamed of is a proper sandbox environment that can be used to tell your character’s unique story. You want to open a shop, or raise cows? Go for it. You could be a courtesan, a spy, an assassin or a mercenary bodyguard protecting vulnerable travellers from robbers. The world is defined only by the limits of your imagination.

This is what I’d hoped for with World of Darkness, and why I’ll always see that as being a massive missed opportunity for a truly unique game. Although I’m generally not a vindictive person I will forever and always hold CCP responsible for this; they took WoD, treated it like a redheaded stepchild, ignored and starved it, and then abandoned it in the woods for the wolves. You bastards.:D


Revival just might be the new hope for a something really different: if they do even a fraction of what they’re promising, if the game actually launches in anything like the form that they are hoping for. They have such big plans, and everything that I read ticks those sandboxy, RP-based, story-centric boxes for me.

Although the website suffers from tiny grey text on dark backgrounds, making the wall-o-text blog posts painful to read, there are a lot of Big Dreams therein, such as their description of the concepts around building a living world:

“Revival’s Theleston is a world that both responds directly to the players and evolves over time, both naturally and through direct player action. We accomplish this with the following features:

  • The game world changes organically over time
  • Changes are caused by the actions of the denizens of the world
  • Powers of the world, including players, attempt to advance their agendas, further driving change
  • The Karma system interacts with agendas, influencing and being influenced by the gods and great old ones
  • The live storytellers act as agents of the gods and major powers, adding content to the game in response to player actions and playing key roles on gold servers for maximum impact”


Intriguing. I know that I have a tendency to get excited waay too early over games, but I’m so feeling this one.

Other elements of real life will be reflected, such as the ability to have sex. Interesting…possibly. There will be a real death penalty, the consequences of I’m still not sure I understand, except that players may spend time as a ghost in the spirit world, where you may or may not be interacted with by other players. There is (fingers crossed, ERMAHGERD!!!) taming and training animals. Ships and naval combat.

All of this gets my tired old RPer’s heart aflutter…and I am thinking of characters and their stories. I bought a tenement, which I can’t do much with at this time. I’m actually wishing I’d invested in a larger house. And I have my fingers crossed so hard that all of these dreams come true. :)


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