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.

 

Next of Kin Now Live!

Next of Kin is now being posted on the Gang of Five! New chapter every day! Those of who clicked the Google Doc linked in the last blog post are now tasting karmic justice, since you’ve been spoiled. Serves you right.

If you’re curious what else I’ve been up to these days, I’ve been video editing for MasterClass! They’re kinda like an online course-offering website that has lots of big-name teachers like James Patterson and Gordon Ramsay, who give a series of online lectures based on the field that made them famous. I can’t go into more detail for NDA reasons but it’s been a really great opportunity and I’ve loved working with them. I’d actually taken their Patterson course back in the day, so it’s cool to get a behind-the-scenes look at how they make their courses. Plus it’s forced me to learn a lot of little things about Photoshop and Premiere I hadn’t known previously; Photoshop in particular is consistently surprising me with the amazing features it’s hiding. It’s got this thing called “batch processing” where you can set some parameters and it’ll execute them on every photo in a specific folder, which has been amazing for quickly converting something from PNG to TIFF and ensuring everything has the same resolution. I can see why nobody can quit Photoshop once they’ve learned it.

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didn’t even realize the keys were backlit till I plugged it in, fucking score

Other fun news: I’ve purchased a silent keyboard, since the old one’s Spacebar died due to overuse. See, Overwatch’s Lucio is a jumping machine and so I’m constantly mashing the poor spacebar like it owes me money. This new keyboard has far softer keys, which has resulted in me constantly doubble-tyyping lettters but I think it’ll be a lot nicer on my recordings whenever I have open mic on.

Because I’m planning on going into streaming! I’m getting a second monitor for my birthday, and I literally already own everything I’d need to leap into that pool. I’ll be honest, I plan to stream on Mixer both because I think it’s an up-and-coming platform and because I love the ability to add interactive buttons that viewers can click. My early plan is to create a rudimentary polling system where people can vote on which Overwatch healer I play the next round as (including Soldier 76 of course), and expand from there if it works. Streaming is the main online platform I’m not currently taking advantage of, and it’ll likely be a few months before I can stream regularly but I’m setting the pieces in motion.

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I added transparency to this pic with Photoshop! :3

Also, while I’m calling out purchases and things that exceeded my expectations, my younger brother gifted me a FitBit because he’s way more financially successful than me, and I love it way more than I expected to. It tracks your steps, your sleep, and you can input your meals into the app and find out how many calories above your diet you’re actually eating. The first step in fixing your sleep schedule, eating habits, and exercise routine is to find out just how badly you’re currently doing, so you can just try to beat your progress last week.

Thank you for coming to this week’s episode of Consumer Electronics, I’m your host aabicus, allow me to play you out with 21 seconds of me practicing the Ken Burns effect:

 

 

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.

 

Happy 4th of July!

Two cool things for you today, I finally put together a video of some gameplay from Gamer 2. I haven’t touched this project in months, but as you can see the skeleton pieces are all present.

 

Note that you don’t get the shooty balls for this level, I just wanted to showcase it at the end 😉

One other fun thing for y’all, a short story I wrote as part of a writing challenge for a workshop, where we were supposed to pick a throwaway background character from something else we’d written and write a 1-page flashfic giving them some backstory. I got this character by hitting “Random Page” on the Darwin’s Soldiers Wiki until I hit a character made by me.

Fun fact: Serris was invited to do this challenge as well. I look forward to seeing if he participates, and if so what character he writes about. 😛

New Story!

Dashed this out in a few days, a full-length story starring ROSS that takes place between his debut in Disruptive Selection and his first message to Shelton in the fishing town.

In case you have to guess, this was originally going to be a video game but ultimately I decided to write it in story form to take a break from all the quests I’ve been writing for Legends of Equestria.

Enjoy!

Chasing Seconds is out!

Here we go, finally! I’ve had a bit of a busy life recently, but I’ve finally finished the project that’s taken oh so long. All six episodes of Chasing Seconds are completed and, in the spirit of the Netflix system which made Arrested Development and House of Cards so enjoyable, I’m releasing all six of them at the same time. Download them now, only on darwinssoldiers.com!

Episode 1 – Pilot
Episode 2 – Breaking Up
Episode 3 – Under-Covered
Episode 4 – The Man Who Was An Island
Episode 5 – Signs of the Father
Episode 6 – The Meaning of Love

Origins – I originally wrote a flashback to each of the main character’s childhoods, intending to make each one an intro to a middle episode. However, they didn’t integrate into the episode plots very well, so in the end only Junior’s made the cut. However I liked the insights they brought into the protagonists’ upbringing, so here they are as a bit of a bonus.

Now just because I’ve finished my first big project, doesn’t mean I’m done with this blog. I’ve got another project I’ve been toying with, wildly different from anything I’ve done before. Here‘s a sneak peek 🙂

See you all soon with more updates!

Hold the Phone

Well, the first episode was written and ready to publish….UNTIL Serris (finally) began the epilogue of the Disruptive Selection RP. And his vision of cybernetic enhancements doesn’t match my scripts at all so I have to revise them. I could ignore them, but its a cool idea and I want to incorporate it.

This is warning me I should delay posting the epilogue until these changes are sorted out and I’m sure it won’t be throwing me any more curveballs. So stay tuned! Next few days, probably!

But to tide you over until then, here’s a proper epilogue for Shelton, who was just unceremoniously killed off screen in the RP epilogue. Also serves as a minor taster for the mini-series, as Florence is a main character.