Villainy: It’s Good to be Bad

Bad guys! I spent so much time working on my antagonist this week that I…ran out of Minecraft stuff.

For the first time since I’ve started this blog, I ran out of Minecraft projects to write about.  I’ve been working off of a backlog of screenshots from previous projects, and now my stockpile is now.  You know what that means? We’re caught up to the present.

As Spaceballs’ Colonel Sandurz said: “You’re looking at now, sir [or ma’am].  Everything that happens now is happening now…We’re at now now.”

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Not my picture! Thanks, IGN.com! 

 

 

I’ll be honest: I stopped playing Minecraft. There’s a reason for this, however, and it’s a good one, too! You ready?

I spent too much time actually writing and developing characters! Well, one character! And no, I don’t have a name for this character. =( I have some really cool ideas, but I feel a little sorry for what I’m thinking my villain is going to have to undergo.  It’s almost a little sadistic.

Anyway, this got me thinking about some of my favorite villains: The Joker, Lex Luthor, Kingpin from Netflix’s Daredevil.  It was surprisingly difficult to place what it was about each of these baddies that made them such awesome evil-doers, and after much pondering, I figured something out.  It’s not their actions that make them infamous, it’s what drives them, their motivations.

Taking that idea, I spent a lot of time trying to make sure that I include events and decisions that drive my antagonist to have a strong drive just like some of my other favorite baddies. I’ll be honest, I’m sure I’m missing something, but this is where I’m at currently as a writer.

Yeah, if I continue this, I’ll probably look back at this in a few years and just laugh at how awful I was. Oh well, growing is what life’s all about, right? Anyway, I’ll play some Minecraft this weekend so I have something to talk about next week. Until then!

A Random Idea

I try a spur of the moment idea with moderate success.

Today marks the official end of summer for me.  Tomorrow, I get a fresh new batch of kiddos and begin my seventh time through 6th grade! (For those playing the counting game, I went through it one time and taught it five times. This makes six!)

Every year is a new year, and I have to admit, I am seriously excited to get back to some sort of regular routine. I’m not looking forward to the 5:30 AM wake up calls, and the insanely long hours of grading, but hey, it is what it is.

Anyway, I’m trying some new things this year. Last year left a bit of a sour note, and I want to make sure I don’t repeat it. But school isn’t why I have this blog, so it’s time to talk about something more blog appropriate!


 

So, in my mind-space, I’ve created this idea that the north district was the oldest bit of land in this beautiful city I’m building.  With that being the case, I understand that the walls of the current city wouldn’t have existed as they currently are.  So, today’s post is meant to be more of a memorial of sorts of a time long past: a portion of the wall that once protected the inhabitants.

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So this was my basic skeleton. I was trying to get the proportions right regarding height and width of the pillars bordering the road.  I immediately decided that I needed to add some depth to this, but I was moderately pleased with this frame as a starting point.

As I built it up, it started to look too bulky.  I was satisfied with most of the shape, so as you can see in the right picture, I just shaved off a couple of blocks which ended up adding another layer to the arch and making it more defined. Score!

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As I kept building, I realized that it was getting too large again. It almost looks like there are two roofs here, doesn’t it? Time to reduce the footprint again.

This is where I get torn.  The left picture shows a reduced build that looks less like a roof. The problem is, I lose that depth that makes the arches really pop. The right side is just too bulky though! Grr…

I’m leaving this for another day.  This is what I’m left with. Bulky left side; narrowed right.  It’s a start at least. I am planning on adding some flowers and green space around this, maybe that is what I need to help finalize and figure this puzzle out.

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Until next time!

Stay Away, Building Inspectors!

No inspectors allowed! Today we explore a bunch of unfinished, and potentially unsafe, buildings all around the city!

Today’s addition to this excellent (humble, aren’t I) blog revolves all around buildings.  The best part, NONE are finished, hence the title. I don’t need any crazy building inspectors around with their “This building is unsafe!” mumbo-jumbo!

It’s not like I’m not concerned with designing safe buildings, but this is all just some crazy rough sketch, ya’ know what I’m sayin’? There’s a process to all of this:

  1. I build crappy looking buildings.
  2. I complain about how awful they look.
  3. I go back to the drawing board and make some modifications.
  4. I complain about how mediocre they look.
  5. I call the brother up, and he saves the day.

See? Process! Don’t even ask what my writing process is like.


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I know what you’re thinking: “Ugh, more boxes!” Is that right? It was either that or “I’m hungry.” Or maybe that’s me.

This building is meant to be a connector between District 2’s town square and the eastern portion of Main Street.  I’m going to have some taller buildings in this area for a couple of different reasons: something needs to offset the tall building of the palace, and I want to differentiate the two districts.  I’m planning on adding a couple of taller buildings all up and down Main Street, but I’m going to be very careful to not block sight lines to the nice, lovely sections of the city that I’ve been developing.

I honestly have no idea if this will be a flop or not.  I do know that wood-framed buildings are at most three floors tall, but there’s going to be some magic involved as well as some dwarven ingenuity, so I got some wiggle room if I want it.


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Everybody handles boredom differently.  I usually solve mine with Netflix or video games (currently replaying Diablo 3).  Sometimes, I get creative and then part of a blacksmith’s shop erupts out of nowhere.  It’s a start, that’s for sure.


This row of houses has given me so many difficulties. I couldn’t stand how the two houses I had built had looked like giant wood boxes, so I decided to try and add some features to make them look better.  The log pillars in the left picture help to break up the vast majority of wood by creating a border.  On the right side, I added another border by adding a stone foundation.

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Finally, I adjusted the size of the right house, as you can see above.  This helps to break up the cookie cutter feeling I was having too.  I’m still bothered by the fact that they look like awkward ducks though… Oh well, I can try to fix that on the other two houses. Maybe I could try a flat patio roof? Or a flat patio roof that serves as a patio for the second floor?

Sailing, Sailing…

I undertake the LARGEST terraforming project to date…I build an ocean!

When I started building all of this nonsense, I immediately loved the location–mountains, forests, and rivers, oh my!  The only thing that I felt that was missing was a large body of water.  Now, I had been looking for a map for an hour at this point and was over it.  Casually, I just thought “Eh, I can always add one in if I want it later.”

**insert facepalm here**

Stupid.

Today, I proudly present “The Ocean: A Documentary Recording the Efforts of an Idiot.”


Ocean 07 This area looks quite different from the last time we saw it. Don’t recognize it? Good. It’s supposed to be a lost/hidden portal between the various realms. It’s now overlooking the ocean for those romantic dates one takes in between saving the world and traveling between the realms.


Below, you’ll see a brief slideshow showing the update to the area. Yeah, I mixed it up a little bit this time. Sometimes you just have to end with the finished product and then go back and show the stuff off. It’s like eating dessert before you eat your meal.

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The last thing I would like to share is an updated map. Now, today’s post actually only showed a small portion of the work that went into this post.  Honestly though, if I were to show you pictures of the other areas I worked on, it would be awful because it would only show water.  So instead of boring you, dear readers, I’ll show you a map that shows what I’ve done.  The first map will be a “before” taken from a month or so ago, and the second will include the coastline and our new ocean.

Now, if you’re anything like me, you’re probably thinking, “That’s it? Really?” However, when you actually walk around the world and the coast, you can’t see ANY land across the water. That was what told me that I had done something worth doing. It’s crazy how different the world can look when walking the land as opposed to flying over it or looking at a map.

Making Main Street Look Gooooood!

Today’s post is all about taking Main Street to the next step. I present some different choices and maybe(?) settle on one?!

I spent a lot of time in the past few weeks trying to understand villains. I’ve discovered that if you have a weak villain that isn’t very well thought out, you can’t actually make a real skeleton. Yes, folks, my work on my frame summary has stalled out.  I feel like I have a good half of my skelly lightly plotted out but quickly realized that yours truly can go no further until I understand my antagonist better.

Growing up, I never realized that a writer would have to think of his or her creations as real people.  That point was lost on me in my education until I was much older. I try really hard to impress this on my students now but haven’t really found a good way to drive the point home. Maybe it’s because I’m still learning it too?

Anyway, I love the idea of a villain that fought for good before his or her downfall. Yes, folks, the antagonist was formerly a protagonist. This shift in paradigm would require a something massive to happen; Anakin’s fear and eventual loss of Padme is a good example.

Anyway, this requires more thinking on my part, that’s for sure. I’m hoping to start posting more updates of this sort in the future! Anyway, on to today’s post!


As you can surmise from today’s title, I’m ready to make Main Street into something special.  Say goodbye to plain old boring stone! Now, I’ve recently been traveling all over the country, and as I roamed the streets of San Fransico, I realized I like how they did some of their streets. For starters, they used brick blocks! I almost forgot that this block existed in this game.  I decided to sketch some stuff out and came up with this below.

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Yeah, it’s not really that amazing. It’s way too busy, that’s for sure! I don’t want to lose the brick though, so I started to swap it around with the intention of using it as an accent, not the star. By moving the red brick to the edge and changing the road into something else made it really start to pop!

 

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So, what should the road be made out of? I played around with a couple of ideas as you can see in the slide show. The stone brick is used too much as the wall, so I chose against it.  The dark gray block is actually cyan clay, and I reeeeeeally liked it.  I ultimately decided it against it though because of the texture–it’s simply too bland.  All that we have left is our winner:

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The light gray concrete powder really makes this shine!

Now, a few things to note:

  • The bushes are subject to be removed based off of the buildings that pop up around it. I want the buildings to be taller than the northern district’s buildings, but I know that they can’t be too tall because of my super-smart brother.
  • The trees have some green space around them now.  I want to make sure I keep splotches of green in this more “urban” area, so the grass should really pop out.

Schedules

I ramble a bit and try to get back onto a routine! More importantly, I also revisit an old build that I put on the back burner and start laying down more plots for houses.

Growing up, I hated having a busy schedule–I worked at a bowling alley, involved heavily in the band, had my studies, and I still tried to have a social life.  I remember thinking, “Life will be so much easier as an adult! I can do what I want when I want!”

Yeah, insert massive eye roll here. I was stupid in high school apparently.

Anyway, I’ve come to learn that I NEED A SCHEDULE.  It’s like learning that you SHOULD eat your vegetables, or that your parents may actually know what they’re talking about… Without a schedule, I’m garbage.

I need my routine! That means that this project will get back to the normal, three-times-a-week update schedule that I had been doing (Sun., Wed., and Fri.).  I may back it down to twice a week if things start to get crazy, but I would rather not!


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Today, we’ll be revisiting a build. The original bridge in the Eastern water feature section.  I decided that the bridge was too large of a scale for the area.  I decided to take off a block on either side of the bridge and was immediately pleased by that decision. It looks much better when comparing it to the rest of the area, that’s for sure.


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My next step today was to start figuring out where more houses would be.  I’m trying to figure out how this small village has evolved, which like everything else in this project, is surprisingly difficult.

I’ve already said that the other two districts developed due to a need for more space and housing.  This implies that there must be housing already, right? So, if that’s the case, I need to put some houses up! As I look at this, I’m keeping a running tally in my head: 4 double-deckers, 9 small cottages… that’s not a lot.  I’ve got some more room to add more between the northern and the eastern districts, but is that enough? I know, this isn’t going

I know, this isn’t going to be a REAL city…but I still want to do my best! This requires more thought!

Revenge of the Sequel!

The sequel post to the row of houses by the old town square!

I am not the biggest fan of sequels, but at the same time, I can’t get enough of them.

I know, it’s weird, but you should have realized that by now!

I love sequels because the story is continued and the setting is expanded on. It’s a chance to see how “friends” develop and grow, to see what struggles they have to overcome. Unfortunately, I’m often left with overwhelming disappointment.  Now, there are a few exceptions to the “AJ is Disappointed With Sequels” rule: How to Train Your Dragon 2 and The Dark Knight was amazing!

Anyway, the second is always a bust for me, but the third usually redeems the story in my eyes! I know, it’s weird… but there’s a reason to today’s tangent!

This is a sequel, through-and-through. I like what’s going on in this “story” more than the original, so it’s automatically better than the normal sequels I experience (I’m looking at you, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and Iron Man 2), but I definitely wouldn’t label it as a high as HtTYD2 and TDK.  I’ll say it’s similar to Empire Strikes Back…good, but just doesn’t quite do it for me.

The concrete walls/pillars was a success, but I still need a way to break up all of the wood planks. Maybe my third post will solve it?

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