Casting CS:GO in 9 days oh god I’m not ready

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Update: rofl guess I’m not doing any of that. Pretty relieved, ngl

I’m having more and more doubts regarding the CS:GO Charity tournament I agreed to cast for one of my fellow students from the Business in Esports course I finished last month. It’s not that I don’t want to cast it, I just don’t know anything about casting Counter-Strike because I’m hot garbage at the game. I’ve just never really been into twitch shooters, I prefer arena shooters with their crazy mobility and healing classes. But I’ve been watching CS:GO casters on Twitch for years and years, before Overwatch or my own shoutcasting career was even a thing, so I’m likely more qualified than I’m telling myself. I’ve got a short list of things I want to do before the tournament before I’ll consider myself ready to cast:

  1. Play a game of comp CS:GO to learn the pacing from the players’ perspective
  2. create flashcards of all the gun HUD icons so I can name whatever guns they’re using
  3. Practice learning map callouts. Much as I’d like to learn them, the tourney has 12 maps that aren’t chosen beforehand, so I’m gonna have cheatsheets on my second monitor while casting.
  4. Watch a YouTube video explaining the in-game economy metagame. The money is the one thing I’ve never really understood.
  5. Run a practice cast with bot teams to ensure I can handle the spectator controls. They say a third party will be handling camerawork/streaming, but I’d still rather know how to switch characters and see whatever I want to see in-game. (Especially the ‘switch to freecam’ button, I remember going insane during my first Overwatch cast because I couldn’t figure out how to do that)

I wish this was the main thing on my plate coming up, but I’ve got another League Zero cast this Sunday, and on Saturday my parents are celebrating their 40th Anniversary with a 60s-themed party and I agreed to help them prepare/clean up afterward. Everyone needs to dress up as something from the era, personally I’m going as a redshirt from Star Trek.

In other news, two new Emilena stories! The first, Hapsburg Manor, was a writing experiment to practice heavily using flashbacks. It chronicles Emilena solving a case as a child and then having to reopen it as an adult when new complications arise. (Flora also cameos; Eric Hapsburg was her name before she transitioned to female in college). The second story, Rust in Peace, involves her investigating an eco-terrorist gang disrupting a housing development project in the shrublands. The gang’s leader, Hania, briefly appeared in the canon as an anti-humanist nutjob who rubbed Serris the wrong way, and he was certainly fun to bring back in a prequel adventure.

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One of my videos got thirteen thousand views!

Also E3 coverage is wrapping up on VGFAQ, which means I can start transitioning into making more freeform content. Maybe I could start making the sort of list-based videos I specialized in on the SPUF of Legend. A lot of my video-making time is now streaming time; I got my first regular viewer who amazingly hasn’t missed a stream even though I never schedule them ahead of time. I’ve now made $35 dollars total, mostly in bits. It’s not much, but I’m pretty happy getting anything streaming. I vividly remember 2014 aabicus discovering Twitch and wondering if he could ever make a single dollar streaming, so I’m pretty glad to inform him that he could.

Last but not least, since I’m not updating this blog as much as I used to I encourage any hypothetical viewers to check out my Twitter since it’s finally something worth looking at. I’ve added a picture and made it look nice, and more importantly, I now tweet whenever I do anything for any of the zillion projects I work for. It’s the best place to keep abreast of whatever I’m doing in real time.

Updates on Things

Sorry I haven’t posted recently, I’ve got so many different things I’m doing here and there.

1. New Emilena story! This one was started ages ago, but I finally finished the other 80%. It’s readable here and takes place directly after “Orphanage”, the story where she returned to her childhood orphanage and killed her old warden. In this story, she confesses to the murder and is incarcerated in an all-women’s prison. It explains why she’s no longer a police officer in the follow-up “private investigator” story, and it gives her the chance to butt heads with a bunch of characters she defeated from older stories, most of whom are excited for a chance to even the score.

2. I’ve added a number of categories to the Darwin’s Soldiers Wiki, including Destroyed objects, destroyed locations, books, and family trees. I dunno why, encyclopedic cataloging just relaxes me. Sometimes I wish we had an Into the Black wiki, and other times I thank god we don’t have one because there’s way too much content to even fathom starting now.

3. I’ve shoutcasted a ton of Overwatch matches on Twitch. Most are part of League Zero, but there’s also a fair amount of pick-up scrims I’ve been publishing on VGFAQ. I’ve really enjoyed making videos for that channel, since it gets way better traffic than the SPUF of Legend. Maybe it’s possible I should feel bad for letting my own channel grow stagnant while earning click revenue and a bunch of unearned views on someone else’s site, but the SPUF of Legend has almost completely lost its fanbase since I gave up on Payday videos so I don’t think anyone’s particularly sad. And I might make more videos every now and then, but right now I’m scrambling to keep up with the many videos I want to make for VGFAQ. I need to start on a video for Inside the Magic as well…

4. I have taken out two extensions on the eSports course for the sole reason that I need to finish that darn final essay. It’s not even particularly long but its got a lot of parts and I’ve constantly had more important things to worry about. But I really should button that up one of these days so I can take it off my mental checklist.

5. I haven’t had much time to game for fun, sadly. That kinda happens when its your job to play games for various sources of income. Pretty much my only guilty pleasure is ARK Survival Evolved, which is an awesome survival game and the only one I’ve ever heard of that remains fun whether you’re playing with 0 other people, 100 other people or any number in between. Personally, I don’t have the time or patience to deal with online idiots, so I play on a solo server with Sydney and most of our time is spent taming dinosaurs and creating Miasmata-style outposts throughout the map. You can see our complete idiotic adventures in this playlist, which is finally populated enough I feel okay letting people know about it.

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Look at how cool my bird is! She has ‘FEAR ME’ written across her wings!

Esports and other current events

As you may have noticed, I’m putting the finishing touches on that Esports course! I learned some great things and turned a lot of the content into articles for DailyEsports.gg. I also qualified for E3 and will be attending to make videos for VGFAQ, not to mention I’ve resumed shoutcasting (after a 3 year absense) and now have a number of casts to showcase on this YouTube playlist. I’m hosting the VODs on VGFAQ so I can get some pennies for them!

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The longest was the Kilgore College cast, which was 6.5 hours long and consisted entirely of me covering 1v1s on Xbox! I was downright babbling by the 4th hour of it, but the audience and tournament organizers say they loved it so I can’t complain. Would do again!

Storywise, the Emilena story I mentioned in an earlier post is finally finished and readable here, I incorporated it into the old cycle because it doesn’t break anything, and even covers some ground the other stories didn’t. (This is the first story we see where she lives outside of work). I’m not sure what I’ll write next, might not write anything an instead spend my creative time learning how to animate or make 3D games in Firefly.

Sport Stories

I’ve been hitting the esport train pretty hard recently, and that isn’t going to stop for another couple weeks. This course has been awesome; I’ve met some great people and might even shoutcast an Overwatch tournament for one on the 26th. I plan to convert several of these weekly articles into DailyEsports.gg content (like I did this one), and I’ve been cranking out dozens of VGFAQ videos at the same time.

But that doesn’t mean I haven’t found time to write a few short stories at the same time. Apparently I’m in something of a retrospective mood, cause they’ve all tied into ancient long-completed cycles:

  1. First I wrote a new Darwin’s Soldiers story,
  2. …then a new Flora story, (which is actually now the longest story in either canon, beating Card of Ten by a margin of 5K words)
  3. …and finally a new Hemlock Gang story of all things.

And coming up next, mostly cause it’s the only untouched cycle left, one more story starring Officer Echo back in her police days. She’ll be investigating a restaurant suspected of being a hub for drug-peddling. Exciting!

(There actually was a different completely-standalone story written somewhere in there too, nominally tied to a different RP universe but I instantly dropped my main characters back on Earth so they could explore the Into the Black and Darwin’s Soldiers universes in a time-traveling non-canon crossover. Was fun to write, and mainly an opportunity to see characters from both universes bouncing off each other.)

Coming up in the professional sphere: Honestly, more esports articles and a few VGFAQ videos. Keeping my nose to the grindstone for probably another week or so.

Updates on creative projects

Happy Valentine’s Day. It’s been so long and they were a real handful, but I do frequently miss my polyamorous roommates from my Texas days.

I guess there are a few things that have changed since I last gave something of a progress update on various goals, so I’ll just list them all here for completionist’s sake.

  1. As mentioned before, we’ve hit some exciting milestones in several long-running series. As mentioned in “The 2s Have It“, we’ve got a bunch of big viewcounts on different websites, but the only number that really matters is 388; the current subscriber count for The SPUF of Legend. Subs are how you get anywhere on YouTube, especially considering most of my views come from me hyperlinking to the videos on reddit in related conversations. I haven’t had any real luck in translating our increasing viewcounts to a sustained community, though I know why it’s not currently working; I don’t really have a united theme in my videos to motivate anyone to come back.  You need to pick one game and stick with it in this industry; the Daily SPUF‘s viewership ratings were huge until we started covering games other than TF2, and the Spuf of Legend had a small dedicated community of viewers but they justifiably left when I stopped making Payday 2 videos. At the moment, my plan is to survive the next few weeks (more below) and wait for a really good, trendy, modern game to come out that I can leap on and corner the market with the same gusto I covered Payday 2.
  2. MasterClass has finished, and it was a great experience all around. Ended up recording footage from almost two dozen games, and the class turned out great. It was awesome watching the episode and seeing my recordings throughout, especially since many of them had my username aabicus in the HUD when the game needed it. Sadly it doesn’t appear to have translated into a full job with MasterClass, I would have loved to work with them as a fulltime employee. But there’s always the future!
  3. I went through the Darwin’s Soldiers wiki one day and added categories for gender. I mostly wanted to see the breakdown myself, turns out there are 280 males73 females, and 19 unknown/genderless characters in the Darwin’s Soldiers franchise. Guess that makes sense considering the combat/military focus, but I’m hoping we do a better job with the Into the Black franchise.
  4. Speaking of Into the Black, I finally finished an old story I’d started months earlier but abandoned when StarfallRaptor left the forum, since it was being written at his behest. But I hate leaving things unfinished, though I’d have made an exception if I’d known it would become the longest story in the canon. “Weekend at Jessica’s” is a Starfall story, so expect a lot of sex/adult themes, and I’m working on another Emilena story for people who prefer the ‘action noir’ style-storylines. It takes place back when Emilena was a cop, and covers her going undercover as a waitress to discover which employees at a fancy restaurant are using their job to peddle drugs.
  5.  GDC is coming up, and I might or might not be going. I have an opportunity for a free press pass, in exchange for reporting for someone else’s YouTube channel, and I am absolutely taking that opportunity if it happens for the sheer networking potential alone.
  6. Apex Legends surprised everyone by launching onto the public stage and genuinely being a blast to play. I find myself coming back to it even when I normally don’t like Battle Royales, and to my surprise I actually want to make videos on it. Let’s see if I can get a foothold in this brand new community.

 

Into the Black: A Retrospective

In one month, the Into the Black RP series will be celebrating its 5th anniversary! With thousands of posts and almost a dozen different authors, there are a lot of different characters and storylines filling our furry cyberpunk universe. While mainstays like Soren, Marita, Tony, Axel, and Emilena have had plenty of time to leave their mark on the world, I wanted to take this opportunity to celebrate some characters that may not be as well-remembered, but are no less the heroes of their own story. (Click on any image to enlarge)

Patrick Anderson

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The complete saga of Patrick Anderson

Who can forget Rocky’s contribution to the canon? He only posted three times, during which his character drove home, fell asleep, and started snoring. Luckily, after real-world days stretched into weeks without the author returning to wake his character up, the rest of the authors made good use of Patrick by detonating a brick of C4 in his bedside cabinet, to give the bad guys a much-needed victory.

Kaien

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As yeswonderful’s single-digit post-count might foreshadow, Kaien didn’t stick around very long either. Her author joined the 2nd RP while our heroes were trekking through the dangerous jungles of Bolivia. Kaien emerged from some bushes, asked the heroes why they were in Bolivia, and then bid them adieu and returned to the bush. Some say she’s still there to this day.  Personally, I say she was an ignored Grecian chorus, a messenger begging the authors to reflect on that whole nonsensical Bolivia plot and reboot the storyline before it went any further. If only we’d listened.

Winky Face

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The only remnant of the late Winky Face. Gone but not forgotten

Not technically a character, but bestariana1girl nipped in once and posted a single emoji after learning she needed 50 posts to qualify for a forum member tag. nick22 quickly deleted it with his admin powers, but Winky will forever live on in Serris’ OOC.

Gittsun

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Series regulars bushwacked and nick22 share co-author credit for Gittsun’s brief adventures. bushwacked wrote him as a random drunk who gets gunned down as flavor text during a shootout, but nick22’s characters rose to the occasion and heroically bandaged him up. bushwacked sportingly kept the character around, but he never really knew what to do with him, and Gittsun’s antics, speaking style and general uselessness annoyed everybody…a lot. Finally Pterano had enough, and Gittsun’s appearances ended as violently as they began.

Felix

bushwacked is responsible for this one too. Near the end of the RP, the heroes raid a Purifier factory to try and steal info on the location of the pulse bomb threatening to EMP the city. While searching, they ambush a Purifier hit squad and leave one hapless grunt alive for questioning. bushwacked played the out-of-his-league Felix as he begged for his life and gave the heroes all the info he knew. But since pacing was never our strong suit, the questioning continued on…and on…and Felix slowly slipped into reverse-Stockholm Syndrome until he was suicidally begging the heroes to kill him just so the plot could continue.

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Felix’s swan song arrived when LettuceBacon&Tomato posted this. It was the final straw, and the heroes finally dropped Felix off a catwalk and continued the storyline.

And those were just the characters that actually appeared in the RPs! We’ve also got some honorable mentions who never even made the leap from the discussion threads. Put your hands together for these unsung heroes:

Hania Enapay

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Belmont2500 already held the record for fewest posts of any author in the Darwin’s Soldiers canon, but he outdid himself when Hania Enapay never progressed beyond this bare-bones character sheet. Belmont’s phrasing makes it sound like there are other RPs the character has appeared in but I don’t actually care enough to go check.

Warren Joseph

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Forum newbie Alien Ant Farm joined shortly after Belmont, posting a police chief for a city that he’d just made up. Then he was almost immediately banned from the forum for unrelated violations. At least Chief Joseph got that retirement he wanted so badly.

Dolly and Karl

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But it’s not just one-hit-authors whose creations couldn’t quite reach the silver screen! Serris made Into the Black history by posting Dolly, a gene therapy pioneer who doesn’t survive her own character sheet. LettuceBacon&Tomato’s character Karl took a similar bullet for the plot in the Racing the Storm discussion section. At least they’re in good company.

And, last but not least…

Life

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Flora, the futa fuchsia folf, was popular among a certain caste of authors. She got a bunch of side stories and even her own spinoff RP where she (and some of nick and Starfall’s characters) could do sexy things while the rest of us were RPing dark and gritty high-octane cyberpunk. But something I never told anyone else was that she had at least one fan who never posted in the RPs or even made a forum account. It was a guy that messaged me and offered to pay me for a private RP with Flora and his OC, an immortal Snivy diety named Life.

And I can’t think of any worse way to end this article than with a link to it. Happy 5 years, Into the Black universe, god only knows where you’ll be in five more!

Exciting YouTube Happenstances

Couple of cool things happening on my other social medias:

1. The SPUF of Legend hit its 100th subscriber, which means I finally qualify for a custom URL: https://www.youtube.com/c/TheSPUFofLegend Turns out they actually don’t let you choose that custom URL, you just hit the ‘Enable custom URL’ button and it turns your channel name into a hyperlink. But it’s still lightyears better than that cavalcade of letters and numbers you get by default!

2. Several videos on there are doing surprisingly well! The most notable of which are two presentations which are literally just recordings of lectures I gave for classes at school: Team Fortress Classic: Its Development, Gameplay, and Legacy, and Procedural Content Generation in Left 4 Dead 2. Both of them got triple-digit viewcounts within their first week, and the tie-in reddit threads quickly hit the top of their related subreddits. r/l4d2 even stickied it ^_^ I actually plan to start doing “lectures turned into videos” that are just me talking with a PowerPoint running in the background. God knows they were easier to make than the gameplay-synced-to-voiceovers I normally make.

3. This one isn’t YouTube, but I also scored a killer custom URL on LinkedIn. This time I actually had to type stuff until I found one available, and it blew my mind that my full first and last name were just available. Those other Nicholas Halseys were really sleeping on the job, I don’t know how we got all the way to 2018 without any of us snatching it up.

4. And, as we stray further and further from the point of this post, have an unfinished story where Flora learns C++. It was a failed attempt by me to approach C++ through another lens, to try and view it objectively instead of from the usual ‘oh god I don’t get any of this I’m doomed‘ purview that tends to prevail. With Destler’s class over, I have literally no motivation to ever touch this story again. But who knows, supposedly Whitehead’s class is putting C++ back on the menu, so Flora might be voiding more functions yet.

Edit 9/9/2019: I literally platinum’d someone on reddit to finish the code, so the story is now officially finished. In my defense, I’m long graduated by the time I posted this update.

 

Darwin’s Soldiers Disruptive Selection and Into the Black RPs archived

A long-ass fucking time ago I saved all the Darwin’s Soldiers content for safekeeping, but I didn’t do Disruptive Selection because it was too large and I didn’t know how to get it off the site. Well I finally went ahead and asked for help and this dude on reddit has me covered. Using his program I can effortlessly save copies of any GoF roleplay for posterity, and so I’m now doing so for Into the Black, the other franchise I’ve invested considerable hours writing content for.

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Also here’s a link to Dead End Job, another Serris story that he’s never going to finish.

Into the Black Codex

I need to get a new post up so that goddamn picture of sourballs stops appearing every time I open this blog.

I have done a lot of writing in the Into the Black universe, which up till now has not really appeared in this blog in any fashion, which is more focused on Darwin’s Soldiers. By and large Into the Black has been my universe of focus, as I really see the Darwin’s Soldiers story as mostly completed.  I told the tales that needed to be told and almost every character has had their history completed to my satisfaction. So in case you’ve been wondering what I’ve been writing all these days, here’s a one-page codex containing links to all the fiction I’ve written starring Emilena, Flora, and the other characters in this second flagship franchise of mine.

Electra City is out!

Update 9/23/16: Game is now updated and playable on itch.io! Check it out there!

Good news! That project I’ve been working on has gone through so many iterations, that I recently checked it out and none of the code from the proof-of-concept ended up in the final product. Which means I can release that proof of concept to all of you!

I held onto this for a while to add a few things that I’d always wanted in there. Specifically, special attacks, stat-altering rages, and a few tweaks to fix blocking being able to indefinitely stall the game

The post below this one does a fine job of teasing the game, so without further ado here it is to download! If you find any bugs, I probably already know about them, but if they’re particularly bothersome (and you ask ardently enough) I’ll feel motivated to patch them. Which fighter is your favorite?

And finally, an apology. I don’t post for you guys nearly as often as I should, I’ve been devoting the lion’s share of my internet time to my other two blogs. If you want more regular posts, you should come read my analyses and video game reviews on the Daily SPUF, which as it’s name implies has a new article every day! I’m also an occasional columnist on Lambda Generation, a news site dedicated to Valve games. But I’m planning on things picking up over here as soon as this big secretive paid project is done. I can’t say much, but since Electra City was a proof of concept, you should be able to piece together at least the genre. 🙂