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Posts Tagged ‘meme’

I’ve played a wide variety of games in my day.  These MMO things tend to want to monopolize your time, but I’m just not wired that way.  Some might consider World of Warcraft’s Azeroth or RIFT’s Telara to be home, then, for the social roots they put down there.  Me, I don’t really have such a “home”, but no MMO feels more comfortable to me than Puzzle Pirates.

I have several characters there, but my “main” character and identity on their forums is Silveransom.  I’ve actually spent almost as much time on the forums and community art and game design projects as I have in the game proper.  To this day, my greatest “achievement” in the game is getting some of my art in as an Easter Egg, this little Croatian-inspired beauty.  It’s no big deal in the grand scheme of Life, but the game and the community have been good to me, and I’ve had fun chipping in.

It’s not a traditional DIKU-flavored MMO, but it’s the first one that really wound up capturing my imagination.  I actually made friends there.  I started playing more than six years ago, and it has consistently been the one game I can go back to and feel comfortable.  To be fair, I did try World of Warcraft thanks to a ten day friend pass shortly after trying Puzzle Pirates, so that wasn’t my only MMO at the time, but even then, the clear dichotomy between the DIKU level-grinding loot-heavy pedigree in WoW and the different design of Puzzle Pirates was very clear, and I had a strong preference for the latter, even though I really liked the sense of world that WoW offered (as I’ve noted a few times, especially here).

Anyway, as is so often the case when I’ve occupied a space for a length of time, whether it be mental space or physical space, I’ve developed habits and traditions in Puzzle Pirates.  The very first sloop I bought was second hand, one a crewmate didn’t need any more.  She left a piece of small driftwood up in the bow of the ship.  It’s technically furniture in Puzzle Pirates, so it was placed there on purpose sometime, but she had just forgotten it.  She let me keep it, though.

Thing is, that piece of driftwood, possibly the cheapest bit of furniture in the game, became a tradition.  That little sloop was my transitional vehicle from a newbie in the game world to a pirate, more or less in control of his own destiny.  That ship was freedom, and that little personality quirk of a piece of wood in the bow was inextricably tied to that phase of my Puzzle Pirates experience.  It was, in its own way, a symbol of my change from a lowly deckhand who might just have washed up on shore, clinging to a piece of driftwood, to a ship’s master, boldly sailing into dangerous waters.  To be sure, there are other, bigger ships (like my favorite ship, the Longship that I painted and renamed the Silver Dragon), and other transitional phases in the game, like when I scored my first Ultimate trophy (in Rumbling, on my alternate Silveransom character on the test ocean), but y’know, those “firsts” stick with you.

As such, I’ve had occasion to give a sloop to other pirates once in a while, and I always leave a bit of driftwood on the ship for them.  Is it silly?  Of course.  Is it fun?  Yes.  Will they remember it?  I hope so.  It’s the little touches like that that remind people of where they have been and why.  That’s important for charting a course to the future.  To be sure, the future will happen whether or not you’re ready, but if you know where you’ve been and why, you can position yourself better for when it does come.

So what does this have to do with blogging?  Well, tradition is a strong tool in maintaining information through generations.  It can also be a strong tool in reserving headspace in readers, carving out your own little niche in the blogging hivemind.  The human mind is geared to find patterns.  Traditions are patterns, ranging from the tenuous to the tedious, perhaps, but the whole point is that they are repeated events.  And people remember them, for better or worse.  If you do something more than once, especially with any sense of regularity, you may well be establishing a tradition.  Memes had a start somewhere, for that matter, but they grow because they are repeated and shared.  The tradition goes viral.

If you are trying to maintain a tone or tradition for your blog, maybe you use a particular “signoff” line like Mark Rosewater’s Magic The Gathering articles.  Maybe you just maintain a role or character for your posts, like Warchief Garrosh.  Maybe you post a random My Little Pony cartoon or a photo.  Whatever the case, you’ve done something patterned, consistent, and readers will remember it.

So go, have fun, and maybe, just maybe, carry over or establish a tradition.  You might have fun with it, and your readers might have fun with it.  That’s one of the best parts of blogging, when you share something fun with those people out there.

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So, let’s see… there are the Oscars (Academy Awards), Emmys (I worked extensively on Lemmings, a short film that got a student Emmy a few years back), Peabodys and Nobels.  Before today, though, there were no Teshes.

I hereby present the first not-quite-annual-really-whenever-I-feel-so-inclined Tesh awards for fine bloggery and upstanding personality.

Yup, this is another story of how I took a meme that someone tagged me with and bent it to my own slightly less than nefarious designs.

The parties at fault here would be Ysharros and Pete, a fine pair of writers who alternate between reading my mind and making me wonder what they were thinking.  (In the best possible way, of course; that’s merely a comment on the sometimes bewildering shifts between topics I wholly agree with, and those that I never would have thought of, but am happy to read.)

Apparently, I’m supposed to thank my taggers (thanks, you two!), and then list others who I think do a great job, and then tell others to do the same.  These things could run the risk of going the Oscar “navel-gazing-pat-yourself-on-the-back” route, but I’m taking this as an opportunity to thank some people and offer some recommendations for fine reading.  (And plug my new Merc page, which uses the logo design below for some merchandising.  Yay for commercial tie-ins!)

First off, there is the basic level of the Tesh awards (Teshes), which is merely the Tesh Seal of Approval.

Tesh Seal of Approval

Tesh Seal of Approval

If you’re on the blogroll over there, you get this award.  You wouldn’t be there if I didn’t like your work.

A step above and beyond that, though, nets the coveted Golden Tesh award.

Golden Tesh

Golden Tesh

These are hereby awarded to the following authors for various reasons:

Big Bear Butt, Phaelia, Wolfshead and Muckbeast for the inspiration to start blogging in the first place.  BBB really started it all, expressing appreciation for a bit of moral support I offered some time ago in a comment thread.  Phaelia also engcouraged me to write, and Wolfshead and Muckbeast share an irrereverent critical take on the MMO genre that has prompted many of the thoughts that I’ve expounded on hereabouts.  We’re all coming from different directions, but without these four especially, I’d probably not have even bothered with this blog thing in the first place.

Chris and Capn’ John for being early adopters, as well as their continued good humor and kindred thoughts.  These are the guys I’d have a blast playing volleyball with… even if they can’t play (I don’t know if they can, actually, so it’s the thought that counts).  That’s high praise, actually, for those who don’t realize it from how… pithy it looks.  These are the guys that I count as friends, or at least kindred spirits… and that’s not something I do lightly.

Big Red Kitty and Phaelia for their recent rededication to their families, at the cost of their blog.  They have give much to those in the WoW blog world, (and WoW gave back to Phaelia in a great way), and their works will be appreciated.  Even more than that, though, I heartily applaud their respective choices to put family first, and I wish them very, very well.

Tipa and Saylah for their tireless championing of Wizard 101, and their challenges to the DIKU establishment.  Also, it’s always a pleasure reading their work, on whatever subject.  (Tipa’s comics are a great bonus, too.)

Ysharros and Wiqd for prompting the most interesting thoughts that have changed my own personal game design projects.  Alpha Hex is only the start, and if it works, well… there’s more to do.

So yeah… apparently I’m supposed to also tag others to do the same sort of thing, but that’s never been my strong point.  I’m an evasive Explorer, not a Hunter-Killer.  If this sort of thing appeals to you, by all means take it and run with it.

Oh, and there’s a third thing… I’m supposed to write ten honest and/or interesting things about myself.  Again, I’m evasive, so I’ll just point out that I’ve probably written at least that many things over the last few months here on this blog.  For those latecomers, though, here’s a cookie crumb:

I’m a technical artist in the game industry by trade, and my Bachelor’s degree is in Computer Animation (Pixar-level stuff).  I could be working for Rhythm and Hues (they wanted me for the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe movie) and maybe even Pixar (they love my alma mater) by now, but I will not live in California.  So, I work in games at small local studios close to my extended family.  I’m an artist, scientist, writer and teacher.  Maybe one of these days, I’ll find out how to get paid for all of them at the same time.  In the meantime, I just write and think about game design, which I find is a bit of a mishmash of all of them.  Renaissance thinking makes me happy, and finding ways to express and utilize all of my interests makes me happier.

My family is the most important thing in the world to me, starting with my lovely and wonderful wife, two beloved children, and extending to my extended family.  They are why I work where I do, and why I work as hard as I do.

…and ultimately, it’s thinking of them that made this post even relevant.  See, a week and a half ago, I taught a bit in church about “Finding Joy in the Journey“, and was reminded once again just how important it is to connect with the people you love and respect.  I quote from that article:

“Send that note to the friend you’ve been neglecting; give your child a hug; give your parents a hug; say “I love you” more; always express your thanks. Never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person to be loved. Friends move away, children grow up, loved ones pass on. It’s so easy to take others for granted, until that day when they’re gone from our lives and we are left with feelings of “what if” and “if only.” Said author Harriet Beecher Stowe, “The bitterest tears shed over graves are for words left unsaid and deeds left undone.”

If you care about someone enough to let them know, if wish to offer gratitude, if you feel any impulse whatsoever to offer a bit of kindness, do so.  In a world sometimes gone mad, it’s the little kindnesses that will keep people alive and well.

Thanks, all, for stopping by, and for your kind and thoughtful comments around here.  May your lives be a bit brighter every day, and may you find ways to share that light.  Even if you have to put your tongue in your cheek for a bit, or dance around the “sentimental stuff”, the kindness will come through, and we can all use a bit lot more of that.

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Or, how I turned a blogger meme to my own subtly nefarious designs, and employed fairly lame puns to describe my shutterbug tendency. Next step, take over the world, Pinky!

Ahem.

Melf_Himself describes the trend well over at Word of Shadow, complete with a well-traced lineage. (It’s interesting to see how these things mutate and evolve. This one didn’t even start with gamers, but we’ve claimed it.) While I’m generally not a meme participant, I’ve been looking for a reason to put up a few more screenshots as a respite from my usual walls of text or mini posts with links, so when Melf “tagged” me, I figured I’d run with it. It’s been a lot of fun seeing what other people have dredged up, and it’s been even more fun digging through my old files. So, I’m playing with this meme.

And then doing something different. That’s just what I do. That said, the meme itself is pretty fun, so here’s the shot that best satisfies the rules, beyond which I feel little further obligation to play by the rules, and will just have fun. (Sixth folder of screenshots, sixth screenshot.)

Capoeira Troll

Capoeira Troll

Interestingly, considering the love/hate relationship I have with the game, it’s a World of Warcraft image from my latest ten day trial. I’ve done a few now, and for this one, I wanted to try out a Troll and a Rogue, a race and class I’d never played before. (I’m a Hunter/Druid fan, Dwarf or Tauren.) It turned out to be the character I played to the highest level, mostly because I wasn’t trying alts out this trial period, and because I wanted to see as many areas as possible.

This is one of my art reference shots, with my hapless little level 6 (!) Splattamon doing his best Capoeira dance outside of that Troll village just outside of the starting area. I was studying the animation, since I have a passing interest in Capoeira and specialized in animation when I earned my college degree. Animation is one of those things that the Blizzard guys really do well, and it stretches the art direction further than the relatively low poly models would suggest at a glance. Once again, strong art direction (and animation) >>>high poly count, huge texture and other assorted tech bling.

(more…)

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Ysharros pointed out the simple flaw in this post… the pictures I had up for games don’t work. Sometimes, WordPress hates me. I’ll just have to make another Six Shooter article with the game pictures. In the meantime, these are the family pictures.

The rest of these, here glommed into a different format for brevity’s sake (ha!), is a collection of my family. Interested perusers may find my son as a two month old Moogle, my daughter walking along a yellow leaf road, and my lovely wife playing with our dear children. I might even have a picture of me in there, which is the primary reason I’m not going through these with much detail. I break cameras, I don’t want to break monitors, too.


I might indulge in another set of family pictures later, so be warned. I don’t want to bore people, but really, these are the most important people in my life, so it’s only natural that they would show up here. I figure that we’ve got a respectful enough set of regulars around here that I’m comfortable enough showing off my family. My wife does maintain a family blog over thisaway, too, so maybe I’ll just post there in the future, but… yes, this is my family. These are the people that make life worth living, and who I strive to take care of by doing all this game design, trying to carve out a profitable niche.

Thanks for stopping by, all!

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