August 25, 2012

Kickstarted - Reaper

Holy moly!

I've been pretty skeptical about the Kickstarter stuff - I figure the musical chairs are eventually going to stop and someone's going to get screwed. But I don't have any trouble trusting Reaper, local boys from Denton that they are. I already use their paints and I like their models even if they're not from the games that I play.

But $100 getting you two hundred fifty five models? (Free domestic shipping too!)

It's kind of kicky that they started off with a goal of $30,000 and are currently cruising near $2,750,000. That's a company-changing amount of money, and I'm sure they'll have a ball with it.

If you want in (and if you do any miniature gaming or D&D, you want in!), it's open until Saturday night at 6 PM...

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August 08, 2012

What I'm watching this season

So I'm watching more anime than I've been watching in a while, no doubt because it counts as a spending-quality-time activity with my very significant other. Here's what I've got on the weekly menu. (I'm not saying that these are the best shows, as there's one or two at least that we'll be going back and covering later - this is just what's on the weekly watch list.)

Moyashimon Returns - Didn't have to think twice. The original was witty, quirky, and weird, and the sequel... is just about in the same place? Again, I'm getting the feeling that it might not really be going anywhere, though all that hinges on the Hasegawa storyline. At least the potential for plot is, er... brewing.

Dog Days 2 - Enjoying this mostly for the fanservice (not all of which is the bouncy-bust kind). It's cute, it avoided all the potential super-angst issues that Steven was worried about, and it's still got that sense that the characters are hamming it up and know it.

Polar Bear Cafe - No, that's a bun. No, that's a pen. No, that's the sun. PUNS, man, I'm watching it for the puns!

The Ambition of Oda Nobuna - really? Gender-swapped historical warlords in an age of warring states? Except this one's also part wish fulfillment on behalf of a fanboy from the future who finds himself stuck in the era? Sounds like a recipe for a trainwreck, but it's not too bad, actually. Nobuna's an interesting character (not entirely believable, but neither was her historical model!) and the main guy is useful and brave (if a bit dim) rather than just letting his tongue hang out every time a cute girl wanders by. The cute lolis in the regular cast score high with the girlfriend, too.

Humanity Has Declined - Pastel crack. Humanity is slowly dying off, supplanted by fairies, of the cute-Santa-elf type. The fairies are generally helpful, but also essentially amoral? Or, at any rate, they're not really concerned about life's worries. The lead here is a liaison between the local fairy population and the local humans, but ends up getting roped into all sorts of weirdness. Parody show, alternately funny and just plain odd, with the heroine in the straight-man role. Could end up really good or really bad depending on which way they take it.

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July 17, 2012

Ain't dead

It's been a busy, crazy month. I've:

-enjoyed a long visit from my lovely girlfriend
-gone to see the local aquarium and its... jaguar
-pigged out on delicious home cooking (repeatedly)
-finished watching Acchi Kocchi (cutesploitation!)
-flown to Hawaii
-eaten shaved ice the size of my head
-picked up a used copy of Lollipop Chainsaw
-found a copy of Moyashimon vol. 1 manga!
-met a lot of interesting people
-and haven't painted any orks at all...

Semi-regular posting will resume. Regrettably, I probably won't see my honey darlin' until October. Sadness, tempered with the thought that it's actually not too bad compared with not having a honey darlin' at all.

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June 06, 2012

Road Trip, or "There and Back Again"

Home again. Took many pictures, some of which I've uploaded to Google+ galleries, and as soon as I figure out how to link them externally, the links will go up here.

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May 27, 2012

Road trip, day two

In Flagstaff, AZ. We made Albuquerque by noon and Gallup by 5 PM... which was 4 PM local and crossing into AZ got us another hour, what with their crazy time zone. NM was fun to drive across, lots of broken terrain and 75 MPH speed limits. AZ flattened back out some, but even then it's more interesting than 300 miles of East Texas.


Tomorrow's plan: sleep in, head for Planes of Fame, go check in at the Canyon lodgings, then take a look-see. Sunrise should be possible if a bit chilly.

Good trip so far. Dad is doing well, even if he forgot all his shirts. We re-stocked at Grandma's, as well as enjoying some nice country catfish and Mamaw's celebrated pecan pie.


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May 25, 2012

Road trip!

It's been a whirlwind around here - friends got married in Denver, where I spent an absolutely wonderful weekend with my darlin'. Been a lot of fun anime watched too. But tomorrow, I'm leaving with Dad. We're heading out west, three days out to the Grand Canyon, then visiting Hoover Dam, probably Vegas, and after that... who the hell knows? Be fun to find out. I've got two weeks off, Dad's finally retired, so we'll just drive where the whim takes us and see what's interesting.

Suggestions should take into account that I'm not particularly athletic and Dad is pushing 70 - we're going to the Grand Canyon but not down IN it, heh. I thought about going by Bryce Canyon in Utah on the way back, since it's (a) extremely neat and (b) can be experienced from a series of lookout points that don't require much in the way of hiking at all. Any other ideas are welcome.

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May 15, 2012

MMO balance and the danger of overextending a metaphor

Scalzi posts regarding the advantages of being a straight white guy, here: Straight White Male: The Lowest Difficulty Setting There Is

In short, the analogy is that life is an MMO and that straight white guys play in easy-mode, with better stats and less aggro.

Not entirely off base... if you were writing, say, a hundred years ago.

To extend the analogy, the situation he's describing is the game on launch day. Since that day, long ago, the efforts of lots of well-meaning admins, players, etc. have changed the game so that a lot of the extra aggro is gone. And that's good - it didn't really serve any purpose and hardly anyone misses it. Sure, maybe a couple bugs cropped up here and there where the previously-easy-mode guy now catches a little bit of aggro too, but it's not out of line with the amount that's still remaining for everyone else and you're never gonna squash every last bug, so people don't worry about it.

And yet the easy-mode players were still doing pretty well, partly because they were the beneficiaries of earlier easy-mode players who passed their resources down the line. So the admins tweaked some of the encounters to level the playing field. Those playing at a higher difficulty level found some of the requirements to get in certain areas reduced, for example (though as usual, the competitive players got most of the benefits and the ones in the worst positions often didn't see a lot of benefit from those changes).

The most egregious change, to a lot of easy-mode players, was the changes to the rate of fire of boss enemies. Upon detecting that they are targeting a player on a higher level of difficulty, many boss characters are extremely slow to fire, and first have to fill out a tremendous amount of paperwork in a process that can take months. By contrast, should that boss target a player on easy mode, it fires without hesitation or mercy, leading many easy-mode players to say "wait, tell me which one of us is on easy mode again?"

Worse yet, the nature of the nerfs means that the discrepancy is felt most keenly by those players who are ostensibly on easy mode, but not really enjoying any of the benefits - they didn't themselves gain any swag from their earlier easy-mode predecessors, they don't have a competitive advantage in the debugged environment, and due to things like the rate-of-fire nerf (and extra loot provided for guild actions with a larger proportion of high-difficulty players, etc.) being changes to the rule-set of the game as a whole, are they really easy-mode anymore? Sure, on average the easy-mode player is better off, but that's the product of a few being extremely better off and the majority having a small or no basic advantage, so...

As you can guess, I'm more philosophically inclined to hunt bugs than to break out the nerf-bat.

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May 07, 2012

Finished: Inu x Boku Secret Service

Modern bandwidth speeds means it's quite possible to upload/download video to one location while streaming video from another location. In short, I can hop on Skype and watch anime with my girlfriend despite her being five time zones away. It's helped me remember that the experience gains a lot when there are other people involved.

It also means that I'm more likely to watch some shows that ordinarily would not be on my watch list. Sometimes that turns out to be a bad thing. In this case, though, I enjoyed InuBoku significantly more than I was expecting to.

It's straight out of the "magical butler" genre - you've got a rich girl, an improbably-competent and overattentive bodyguard, shake well for romantic angst. Not ordinarily my cuppa, but Ririchiyo makes the series work. "Tsundere" isn't quite the word. She has an extremely abrasive personality and doesn't like that about herself, but was enough of a social shut-in that she never developed any other tools in her social toolbox. Fortunately, the tsun manifests as cutting remarks and not physical violence. Doesn't hurt that she's cute as a button, either.

The butler is pretty standard for this kind of show - bishounen with a dark secret in his past, etc. Rest of the cast is a fun collection of characters, not particularly deep but good enough to carry a twelve-episode comedy. The supernatural elements are, well... they're there, they factor into things, but this isn't a shounen show and it doesn't devolve into monster-of-the-week or tournament battle. Mostly it's there for the cute and to prod the plot along.

There's an exception to that, though...

So a decent show save for the episodes where he shows up, which is fortunately infrequently (but inconveniently, he's important to the plot, such as it is...) Still, the main character Ririchiyo carries the show, the romance is nicely realized, and there's a payoff at the end for those who put up with the one boorish guest character - no "we're not going to end it, stay tuned for the next season!" here. A romantic comedy with no goddamned harem, reverse or otherwise, an actual ending, and the world's cutest little oni? Yeah, I enjoyed it.

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May 01, 2012

Ork of the day

Wonderduck has a good post on the trick to being a successful blogger (i.e. blog a lot, and make it interesting, and know someone to push links to you!) I don't want to be a successful blogger, per se, but I ought to do more posts than I do. I end up bagging a few ideas just because they're not really adding a lot to the public... there are better places to go if you want to see what's going on with new anime or video games, after all.

But I can post orks!



Let's see how long I can stick with this. In the best case, the painting will push me to blog and the blogging will push me to paint. Downside, these guys don't necessarily look that great while still in progress. I'm kind of happy with the flame effect on the burna fuel tanks above, but the rest of the orks are strictly get-the-base-color-done work, and not finished by a good bit. (Still needs more silver, tin, and teef!)

Most of the kommandos are wearing balaclava-like gas masks, so I'm thinking of doing the tiger stripe effect on those as well as the pants. We'll see how it comes out. Kind of wondering a good color to paint the filters on the gas masks... might be time to do some image search.

Upside, if I don't do any painting for a few days, there's still plenty of other ork pictures to do...

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April 17, 2012

By popular demand!

Since y'all asked...



Jessica! Whose good traits I shall not list, so as not to make the reader wonder if I've taken leave of my senses. She's great.

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April 09, 2012

Anime stuff?

Watched the first ep of Accel World. Kind of a generic shonen setup (with a male lead right out of Galaxy Express 999, except without the badassery), but it's at least got a little potential. I'll definitely try another episode and see where it goes with things.

Watched the web shorts for Nyaruko-san... ugh, so bad, save your brain cells. The actual TV series might be better (it's got, you know, at least a LITTLE budget and might actually tell a story and not just go with a setup you're assumed to be familiar with!) Even so, I'm a little worried... it could easily be very, very stupid.

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April 02, 2012

In other news...

She's cute, she's funny, she's sexy, she's smart, and pretty much all-around great.

And also a resident of Oahu...

Dammit, Andy, momma done tol' you not to get into a long-distance relationship, and just lookit what you done now!

(considered posting this on the first and then putting up a not-a-joke disclaimer, but meh. No, it's real! And I'm running around grinning like a loon...)

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March 30, 2012

So crazy it just might work



Ork kommandos are noted for their use of camouflage. This is otherwise completely un-orky (the idea that you would want to hide from a fight is just wrong!), but kommandos do it anyway... partly because sneaking up on 'umies is a laff riot, partly because it lets them plant da bommz and make da boomz, and orks love watching things explode.



They are not noted for GOOD use of camouflage. They often use bright contrasting colors for camo. Heck, the use of tiger stripes (as something that works in nature) is practically inspired compared to what an ork might come up with on their own...



But from a painting perspective it's kind of unknown - I've seen some weird stuff but not any tiger stripe camo orks before. I don't know if that's because it's just an awesome idea whose time has come, or whether it actually means I'm batshit crazy, or even whether the orange paint is up to it, so I painted up this guy's pants as a test model. Crazy? Just maybe.

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March 20, 2012

Boyz painted

Another batch complete.



All ten in their orky glory.



"Mistuh directuh, didja get my good side?"

The bases came out pretty well! Tried mixing two drybrush colors to get a little more realism (gravel is not mono-palette, after all), and it paid off. Using a nice big drybrush didn't hurt anything either.

Thought about going back and doing their nails, but that's still a bridge too far for me... maybe on the characters, not on the everyday boyz.



Got a long way to go on the freehand, but it's at least good enough to put on an ork...

Decided to do the kommandos next. They're fun models, even if the metal means they only have a few poses. At least it gives me the excuse to paint Snikrot at the same time...

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March 15, 2012

Gustatory celebration

3.14 was duly celebrated with pie. And today, 3.15? Caesar salad...

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March 12, 2012

Project planning, ork style

I'm on the downhill end of working on the latest batch of boyz (nothing left but the bases), so I'm trying to think up which ones to do next...

  • Another set of regular shoota boyz. The "responsible" option, since these are the guys I'll be fielding in the largest numbers and I only have twenty painted so far, counting the ten not finished yet. Not much opportunity to do anything fancy, aside from a checkered shoulderpad or the like.
  • The ork kommandos, with their Boss Snikrot. 13 models total, some duplicate poses, one big model. I expect to field these guys fairly often (Snikrot gives them the ability to show up on the opponent's side of the board, giving the opponent a nasty deployment dilemma... every inch from the back is an inch closer to the rest of the horde!) Fun gas masks and a couple of burna boyz.
  • An HQ figure. I'm good enough to do justice to my warboss by now, and I also have a backup warboss in case I totally drop the ball. Alternately, I could do a Big Mek - either the force field one (which is as close to auto-include as they come) or the Shokk Attack Gun variant (because who doesn't like a gun that teleports little goblins directly into the enemy?)
  • The tankbustas! Lovely models, but crappy rules means I wouldn't actually field them that often. Probably not a good choice. But hey, ork with a rokkit reload in 'is mouf...

Still mulling it over.

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February 22, 2012

Kobayashi's in a foul mood



"What do you mean, this is my ride for 2012?!"

Courtesy of the irrepressible Mikatan blog.

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January 24, 2012

Orks - kan-did kamera

Say hello to Larry, Curly, and Shemp.



I don't know which one Shemp is, either.



These things took entirely too long. Part of it's just pure motivation to work on them, as plenty of games came out in the last few months, and I've been working 50-60 pretty much every week. Part of it is that I kept trying new stuff. For example, I'm pretty happy with the paint wear, which I applied with a sponge - gives a nice worn effect in a way that would be really hard with an ordinary brush. New grass too, and the tuft-type is a lot more fun to put on than the loose static grass. Looks a lot nicer too, I think.



I'm happy with how this came out (frankly, a lot happier than I am with my photography!) The shoulder icon was one of those things where I kept changing my mind on what I wanted to do with it, but it worked out extremely well in the end.



My tusk technique just plain needs work. I'm trying something that's fairly advanced, but to pull it off you have to have a rock-steady hand, and I just haven't developed it yet. That said, even this doesn't look half-bad on the tabletop, so it'll do until I get a little better. (Turns out that lots of orks mount a horn or tusk somewhere, so I'll need to get this down eventually...)



Remind me to be nice to this guy.

The models for these killa kans were redone after I started playing. The original ones were very plain, basically a garbage can with a visor and a claw of some type tacked on. The new ones have a lot more character. There's something to be said for getting models that are good in the game (and these don't do too badly there either), but there are a few where I look at it and go "ugh, that's just not very nice." These went from that to "get a box!" For that matter, I've got another one I haven't even put together yet...



I was worried about the rokkits on this one. Initially I didn't want to do anything fancy with them, but with just the red they were kind of flat and uninteresting. One of the guys from the 3++ chat suggested I try the bullseye effect on one of them. My freehand painting is, well... just barely adequate to the task, but that's better than the ugly mess I was expecting. Again, looks a little better in real life - this photo is about 200% life size.

Next up, I think, will be another unit of shoota boyz. I like playing with the painted models, and orks work a lot better in bigger groups; really I need 100 or more to put on the table, but I only have 30 regular boyz painted and 20 of those are the choppa-and-pistol-armed variety. It's like they say, you can never have enuff dakka...

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January 19, 2012

Katawa Shoujo - 4/5 paths complete

Still good, with everything but Emi's path complete (not going for 100% completion or anything, just going through each one). Spoilers for the non-Rin, non-Emi routes below.



I'll probably play through Emi's route just for the humor (I'm told there's some comedy gold there) - not really interested in the character archetype. But with three out of five really good paths and one that at least wasn't terrible, the odds are pretty good here...

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January 13, 2012

Katawa Shoujo - Rin finale

Finished the Rin route, good ending. Very satisfying. I misted up a little, even.

One of the reasons it worked is that it isn't a story about the two of them conquering their own disabilities. I mean, yes, Rin has no arms, but that's not what the story is about; it's never about Rin not having arms. You could have completely rewritten it with Rin being completely hale and healthy (but still, well, y'know, Rin, which is to say "if she was actually hale and healthy I'd suspect she might have a mild mental disorder"), and the story would still have been good, and hardly changed to boot.

I'm almost hesitant to start one of the other paths, because I don't think you CAN tell a story about Hisao and Shizune, or Hisao and Lily, that doesn't revolve around their disabilities. But I didn't really expect Rin's story to turn out like that either, so maybe I'll get another pleasant surprise.

I'm astonished that something with the origins of this game could have come out so well. It's like looking in a run-down, condemned shack, and finding a perfect, flawless rose framed in a shaft of golden sunlight. It makes me wonder if the world isn't all right after all.

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