Stuck in a Rut…

Side project to attempt to find inspiration.

First of all, I must apologize.  Today’s post is a conglomeration of me procrastinating and messing around with the world.  I just couldn’t quite get into the flow of things. As the title suggests, I am stuck in a rut. Fun fact, that phrase reminds me of a Bernstein Bears book where Ma’ Bear’s wheelbarrow is stuck–you guessed it–in a rut and she uses that lesson to teach her daughter a lesson about breaking bad habits.

Weird. I know.

Anyway, back to my rut.  I’m pretty sure that I’m just over-thinking everything. I find that my stress from my real life and job tend to create these feelings and apprehension, but what can I do, right? If I wasn’t stressed about real life stuff, then I’m not adulting correctly.


Anyway, on to today’s project.  I built a road and a bridge! This road will connect the western gate to the dwarven kingdom.   This created the need for a bridge, so I created a real simple thing that I absolutely DESPISE. I hate it. I hate it with the white-hot intensity of one thousand burning suns. But, it’s easier to go back and edit things than it is to start fresh, right? Expect an update on this in the future, that’s for sure.

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I know. It’s hideous.

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From the sky, this doesn’t look too bad. I just wonder what inspiration will strike for this road. Sometimes, I get the weirdest thoughts that lead to the coolest things. Will this be one of them? You’ll just have to wait and see!

So Many Ideas!

Like a dog chasing a bunch of squirrels, my mind is all over the place! Try to keep up!

 

Oh, today. Today has been a day.  It’s reflected in my post as well.  I just couldn’t settle on ONE thing to do, so I bounced around all over the kingdom like a stray ping-pong ball.  Unfortunately, today isn’t going to involve too much content. Instead, I will be using this post as a brief introduction to some new ideas that I am going to build.

Barracks

Every kingdom needs to have these. I’ve started laying out two different barracks in two separate districts–the northern and the western.  These will include a small armory, a small sleeping quarters, and a training yard.  Now that I think about it, I might need to add a stable as well….hmmm, this is why I like blogging my projects. It encourages my brain to think and develop some new ideas.

Northern Kingdom

 

 

 

Western Kingdom

 

 

Blacksmith

2017-05-21_19.04.48One of the first things I had started to plan out when this entire project began was a blacksmith. I knew that, without a doubt, there would be a blacksmith in this story, and I am planning on him or her actively playing a role in this story.  I personally have always been drawn to blacksmiths in stories, so it’s only natural that I include one in my own work, right? I’ve only started laying out the different sections of this build, but I can tell it’s going to be fun already!

Northern Kingdom Houses

One of the things I felt that I was lacking was houses and places for people to live.  This is a kingdom after all, and it is more than just buildings, haberdasheries, and inns.  Two houses will be built up the road of the Grumpy Bear, with some more possibly on the other side.  I’m purposefully trying to make these homes different from those that will be in the third district.

I’m purposefully trying to make these houses distinct from those that will be in the third region.  Remember, the northern section of this kingdom is the oldest–it started off as a small village due to the library (that I haven’t touched yet….).  The growth of the village into a city and a kingdom later resulted in the need for more houses.  The row of houses (more details coming soon) and the houses by the eastern district (not even planned yet…) are a response to the first call for more homes due to the increased population.   Eventually, the third district is created, and more living space is created. Each section will be built and look slightly different to show the passing of time.

 

 

 

 


Wrap up thoughts/Stuff to keep thinking on…

Maybe I shouldn’t say kingdom. It’s too large of a scale I think.  Maybe I should just say city? Food for thought….

Traveling to the West

Today, we delve into the third district!

 

Today’s journey takes us away from Main Street and the northern area and drops us off in the west. Of the three districts in this super special kingdom, this is the section that has been the most neglected.  Ok, perhaps neglected isn’t the correct word, it has such a negative connotation. How about underdeveloped? That sounds a little better! Today, the most underdeveloped district gets a little love!

Before it gets the love, this land needs some special attention to get it ready.  Not sure why this reference popped in my head, but it’s like Katniss after she volunteers as District 12’s tribute and her Capital-given beauty consultants have to get her “civilized” before her meeting with Cinna in the Hunger Games.

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Random reference to a book series, I know, but appropriate for the slide show above, right?


 

Hooray! Today is special! You don’t only get one slide show, but you get two for the price of one. Yes, you read that correct; it’s a BOGO slideshow, two for the price of free!

I don’t know a lot about what I want to do in this area yet.  My first, initial, thoughts are to make this mostly residential. See? I have a sign that says it.

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It’s posted on a sign, so it must be true? Right? Like the internet?

Anyway, yeah, regarding lore, I thought that as the city grew, places to live became more and more scarce. Obviously, this is the best place ever to want to live, so the city expanded.  As the city grew, it developed closer and closer to the dwarves.  Perhaps this could be a cause for the animosity and tension between the two kingdoms? This is a line of thought that I need to continue in the future. Hmmmmmmmm……

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At some point, the dwarves offer assistance in a gesture of friendship.  This excites me for a variety of reasons, but primarily it excites me due to being able to get away from building with wood!  I can use concrete and stone and then use wood as an accent!

In addition to getting fun building materials, I was thinking about taking using some ideas and influence from Skyrim.  (If you’ve not played it and are a fan of fantasy, I would recommend it. Be warned, it’s a loooooong game, especially if you are a completionist like me.)  Anyway, in Skyrim, there is a city (Markarth?) built into a mountain.  Perhaps I can push into the stone mountain and build some residences there.

There is a lot of potential in this area, and it will be fun to use a different build style and palette.  We’ll be in this area for the next couple of posts, so expect more updates and thoughts!  I’ve not written lore for quite a while, so including some more of that is also a goal.

Until next time!

 

 

Ah! More Roads!

Working on Main Street, but this time, on the west side! Also, another book review…well, more like an author review.

 

Wow. Roads. Again.

I know, if I’m not excited about this post, why would you be, right? Well, I am excited, but more because of how this starts to tie everything together and less because it is a road. I mean, it IS the western branch of Main Street, so we’ll just jump in…to a book/author review first!

Jasper Fforde

This man is one part brilliant and 105 parts of the worst torturer known to humanity.  Jasper Fforde is a British author who has four or so series, but there are two particular series that I immensely enjoy.  Well, one and a half; more on that later.

Series Number One: The Nursery Crime series

Do you remember all of your fairy tales and nursery rhymes? Old McDonald? Old Mother Hubbard? Humpty Dumpty? In this series, they’re alive. Set in an alternate-England, Jack Spratt is a police officer who is in charge of investigating and policing all “nursery rhyme” type characters.  Not only does Fforde put some creative spins on old tales, but the sarcasm and snark are real and fantastic. There are currently two books out in this series: The Big Over Easy and The Fourth Bear.

Series Number Two: Shades of Grey

I use the term “series” very loosely. It’s only one book. The sequel was supposed to come out in 2012. Then 2013. Then finally 2015. At this point, I’ve given up multiple times on hoping the sequel would be published.  The first book, The Road to High Saffron, was fantastic. As a dystopian novel, this one sets the mood in a way that doesn’t make the reader insanely depressed like some other dystopian settings tend to do.

I read this book multiple times years ago, but the bitter taste of a cliffhanger consistently left me frustrated and wanting more.  The next book, a prequel actually, is allegedly slated for late 2018…we’ll see. Now excuse me, I’ll be updating all of my calendars in anticipation that this book actually will be released!


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Now onto Main Street!  This side presented a prickly situation (as discussed last time) that involved decreasing altitude.  I managed to find a descending pattern that I  thought looked decent but was left with a floating road.  There was only one thing left to do at this point: terraform the land for the next hour and change.  Eventually, I was left with something that looked realistic!

One cool thing that I’ll be able to do on this stretch will deal with the actual buildings.  These buildings will have multiple entrances at different heights, similar to walk-out basements. Look for more in the future!

The last addition today addressed yet another issue I had to deal with: how do I end this strip of road? On the eastern end, I simply had a massive wall gate there (that looks like garbage and needs a bunch of work), but I couldn’t do that here.  Also because of the layout of the ground and the walls, I wasn’t able to continue this road into the western district.  To be honest, I didn’t want it to either, it wouldn’t have looked correct.

I ended up deciding on stopping the west portion of Main Street at a majestic blue wool frame! Nah, just messing around. That blue wool frame would eventually become a glorious courthouse!  Regal, marble, and majestic, I think this could be a grand looking building.

Oh, and on the down-low, keep this between you and me, I’m planning on putting a jail near the courthouse. The jail would be more of a temporary holding place while people waited for their day in court and less of a long-term facility.  (Don’t worry, my undergrad degree dealt with law and society and such. I’ve studied jails for my degree, and even went on a field trip to one…weird, right?!)

Anyway, I’ve rambled.  The jail just happens to be conveniently located above the sewers. Secret exit, anyone? More on that in the future!

Just Another Brick in the Wall

Updates and expansions! What more could anyone want?!

So, my brother is awesome.   He took my bridge idea and upgraded it to something amazing.  I can still see the basis of what I had, but the details of his additions are truly what makes it shine.  Well played! Not bad for a bunch of blocks, right?NK039


I realize that this isn’t much of an update, but I’m still ok with it.   Every journey has a beginning, and every beginning has to have an end.  I am pleased to announce that this is the end of a paramount beginning!  Today, I started the last section of the walls!

This section of the walls marks the edges of the third district.  This is the newest of the three parts of the city, so I’m expecting the building and walls to look slightly different.  The dwarves would have assisted in the construction, adding another layer of “different” to the mix.

The first addition that I’m going to add to the walls are some towers. They will overlook the large, flat section that I terraformed not too long ago.  It should make a pretty impressive view at some point in the future!

WK017This is going to sound very odd, but I’m not quite sure what I want these towers to look at.  I think I’m going to do some sort of rounded, but pointy, tower? I don’t want to do a square-based pyramid though.  I’ll also need to figure out what the composition of the spire will be made of. So many choices!

WK018I can’t wait until I get some more work done! I just need to tear out all of that stone and put some grass in, build the gate, the walls, etc.  Expect some updates in the future! It’s about time some of the other sections of the kingdom get some love, right? It’s not always about that crazy north side!

The Times, They Are a’Changing

Finally, more lore! Today, the story of a village and how it grew up.

If you’ve never read The Watchmen, you’re missing out.  Normally, I don’t like movies that have been adapted from different types of media, and The Watchmen is no different.  You just miss out on so much.  I will concede, however, that there were scenes in the movie that the director and actors did a PHENOMENAL job with, and the introduction to the movie is one of them. Seriously. Find it on YouTube, or better yet, just go watch the film….but only after you read the graphic novel!

I just realized that I didn’t explain why I was talking about The Watchmen, to begin with… I took inspiration with the title by using Bob Dylan’s words. This song happens to be a major part of the introduction of the movie. Boom. Now, I very easily could have gone back and edited this entry, and you never would have known, but nah, I’m ok with owning this.  I use this blog as a “Stream of Consciousness” type thing. I attach the images I want to show and just let my fingers go crazy.   Afterward, I go back and make sure that what I say makes sense (and run a Grammarly check–love that thing) and post it up.

Now on to the actual post! I’m changing where my wall is going to be on the western edge of the kingdom.  I’m not positive if I’ve introduced the layout of the city yet, so if not, here we go!  The northern kingdom, where the Grumpy Bear and the windmill are found, will be the oldest section of the city.  It was an extension of the library located on the hill.  The researchers and scholars working at the library would need food and resources and such, hence the creation of a small town.  As the village grew, the buildings expanded southwards.  This was when the palace was created, and the Palace District was born.

Things continued growing, and the town needed to expand.  The city was locked in on the east by the MBKNB River and the LKJSDFL Mountain to the south, so the only option was to expand west, closer to the dwarves.  Peace had been had between the city and dwarves for years, and everyone wanted to keep it this way.  Some of the citizenry and nobles were concerned that the dwarves might view expansion negatively, but the city’s hands were tied.  After some negotiations, the dwarves gave their blessing and even offered to help with the construction of the district.

The dwarves aid added some new flair to the buildings in this district, and both the city and the dwarves benefitted from the development of the new district.

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The proposed section of the wall can be seen above.  Now, I guess I need to get around to finishing the wall.  There will be another gate here as well.WK008

View from the top of the dwarves mountain. I”ll be building another bridge and connecting the road to the third gate as well.

Walls. More Walls. But wait, that’s not all!

Yes, friends! There’s more to this post than just walls! For starters, we begin our journey in the fabled land of “Western Kingdom”! Yes, not the east. Not the North. The West. The Wild, Wild West?

I’m so sorry for that.

Anyway, the west. There was wall building. No, Mexico didn’t pay for it. Wow, really? You went there?!  Just shut up and show the pictures already, AJ.

This wall is different because it goes over a river.  Maybe I need to name this river….Maybe I should remember that I need to name this river.  Anyway, I didn’t want to make the river jog all over the place, and I also wanted to add a sewer grate, so, bingo-bango-bongo, we have a river that buts up to the actual wall. This led me to be able to try two new things.

wk005As you can see, the bricking stops half way down and is replaced with different types of stone.  Now, looking at this picture now makes me think that I need to go in and add some more brick to the right edge of it.  The line is still a little too….crisp?  I need to do some more blending, but for a first try, it definitely wasn’t too bad.  Water damage is fun!

The second thing it allowed me to do is to create the sewage drain.  This will ultimately lead into the palace and throughout the kingdom.  I’m trying to decide if I want this to be controlled by some sinister undercity or just have it act as a secret escape tunnel that the royals can use in case of emergency.  Regardless, I plan on making it very labyrinthine.

I had planned on adding some lore to this post, but as of right now I’m going to pass, simply because I’m unsure of what I want it to be.  I’m thinking escape tunnel, and I’m thinking that my main character’s mother would have had to use it to escape from the fallen hero, but I’m still not sure.

Let me toy around with it some more, and the next time I visit the sewers, I will attempt something.  Until then, bye-bye!