Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Fanime 2016 (Part 2)

Fanime finished off great!

After dropping my friend off and getting a fastpass ticket for the maid cafe I went through a good portion of the Dealer's Hall -- I didn't find much, but I =did= manage to find a nice print of Terra from FF6, which I definitely bought...it's always rare to see my favorite FF character represented!

We headed back to the Maid Cafe and had lunch there as we chatted with Cyane, which was fun!  We split off to head to some gatherings -- me and a friend stopped by the Steven Universe gathering, but it was hot and we had no good spot to see anything (sometimes larger gatherings aren't as fun because of issues like that) so we left and I finished up going through Dealer's Hall.  Didn't end up finding anything else that I wanted to buy, which I was totally fine with. (EDIT: except I actually found this one really cute Rilakkuma stationery set for a reasonable $8!  Picked that up and was quite happy with it)

I stopped by the Speed Dating registration to see if I could see what that was like and maybe make a new friend or two, but I was too late, *shrug*, so instead I went back to Artist's Alley and met up with the artist who had wanted to take my photo on Friday!  She was super excited and after she took my photo we actually just talked about Journey for a while and traded contact info so that we get in touch later after the con was over and maybe even set up a time to try and meet each other in-game and Journey around together.  So it looks like I may have made a friend!

I met up with Cyane, who was done with her shift and we got some food for her, then stopped by the car to drop off some stuff / change / etc. and then hung out at the cosplayer hangout area for a while.  I was also able to meet up with a friend from work, and introduced her to my other friends, yay!

After that we went to the Haikyuu! Q&A panel (where audience members ask them questions / pose them dares for them to do in-character), which was a nice time to sit back and enjoy them being super entertaining -- especially Bokuto and Tsukishima, they were a riot, hahaha.

The last thing that we did was stop by B&W Ball!  It actually went pretty well, mostly due to having another social dancer or two there to dance with (probably would have been too boring otherwise).  It also seemed MUCH bigger than I remember from the time I went before (years ago) when it was in a different location (with stairs?  maybe it was in the fairmont?  don't remember).  I just remember that other year when I went, I asked one of the instructors to dance a waltz and when we started I looked around and I was like "...uh....there is no possible way that I could ever do a traveling waltz in this crowd" since the floor was packed with couples and they were all staying in the same place...

Anyways, that was fun!  I saw some people I recognized from the Palo Alto/Stanford dance scene as well (and a Westie that I think I recognized?), which was cool.  After that it was time to leave -- it had been a good day.

There were a number of things that I didn't end up getting to do, including stopping by the rave/dance for some EDM music, playing some SF: 3rd Strike, and random things like just sitting down in the hallway "meditating" with my cloak sprawled out, but none of those things were really important at all, so I didn't mind.  Sunday was a great way to close out my Fanime and I was able to leave without any regrets.

I always say that Fanime is really different every year, and this year was no exception. (You can look at last year's recap if you want a better idea of how)  My Fanime last year was defined mainly by the fact that I debuted my Journey cosplay -- which I love -- and what stood out most in my mind was walking around in my red cloak, as well as the various conversations that I had with people who came up to me asking or talking to me about the costume and chatting about Journey things in general.  I still have a pretty vivid memory of the night when I was getting dinner at Subway while heading back to my car and someone asked for my photo and we chatted for a bit.  Journey fans are the best!

There were a few main differences about Fanime this year...obviously I was still doing my Journey costume so that part was the same as last year, but this time things were in general a little more chill -- I definitely did NOT try to do everything and anything that I had time for, and there were a lot of things that I skipped out on because I didn't care as much (this is a good thing).  There was also no TGM, so I didn't spend very much time in the gaming hall at all (which was fine too).  As a departure from previous years, I actually did attend some panels -- this was actually my first time attending these "Q&A"-type panels, so that was nice to get to see what that was all about.

Another big difference this year was that I was hanging out with people most of the time, which was a welcome change!  A lot of my previous memories of Fanime involve me roaming around the con by myself, and while that is definitely fun in its own way, it was much nicer having other people to hang out with and enjoy things with together, as well as just people to go out to lunch and dinner together with, made a big difference in my con experience.  So I'm really thankful for that.  Also, B&W ball happened, and because the circumstances were much different, I actually had quite some fun there!  So that's something to remember for future years, too.

It was a great time, and I'll definitely miss it.

EDIT: One more thing!  I forgot to mention that on Sunday morning I ran into a group of Final Fantasy Tactics cosplayers!!!  I barely managed to recognize them actually -- at first I just noticed the white mage, but then I realized that there was a whole group and noticed that one of them was a Samurai...I started putting the pieces together and then I was like OMG!

I actually didn't figure out most of their outfits at the time (I don't remember exactly what everyone looks like...), but looking back at it, it looks like they had a female White Mage/Priest, female Archer, female Onion Knight (!), female Geomancer, female Dancer, male Samurai, and female Black Mage/Wizard!  Super cool, especially the fact that they had a Geomancer and Dancer and everything...so awesome! :D

Also on Saturday I saw this girl cosplaying as SHANTAE!!!  *That* was definitely unexpected, and totally awesome.  Wow!!!  *sigh*...such is the awesomeness of Fanime -- that you can walk around and every once in a while you just randomly stumble upon something totally unexpected and awesome.  I'm glad to be a part of it. :)

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Fanime 2016 (Part 1)


It's cool how many different things there are to learn and be taught by Journey.  This time as I was watching someone play through the game I realized for the first time that during the underground and tower levels there's a vignetting effect at the borders of the screen, making it feel much more "closed off" and giving you a sense that you're in a more..."indoor" space, for lack of a better way of describing it.  It's not until you open up into the snow that the game expands again, to fill your whole "field of view".  It's a clever trick that I never really noticed before.

Fanime has been pretty fun so far!  I don't even know....whether I should do a full write-up of it or not.  I actually just don't know.

I guess I should let the past guide me.  I won't be able to live with myself if I don't at least try, after all, in general.

I got up and got ready on Friday and picked up my badge from Russell (thanks!) and had some lunch at Pita Pit with Kat.  I went through Artist's Alley on Friday, which was uneventful for the most part.  I actually didn't buy a single thing from there, which I think might be a first?  I think my standards are a little higher for artwork nowadays (not to mention I've already got a very sizable collection of prints and such, so I don't need more).  I was half-hoping to pick up a good Undertale print (Steven Universe print would be cool too) but I really didn't find anything that stood out.  I found some that were "fine" but nothing special, so there was no reason for me to pull the trigger on anything.  I think there was a Spirited Away print that I thought was pretty cool and also a Rin/Saber print (from Fate/Stay Night) that I liked, but again, not really anything special.

A handful of people recognized me in my Journey outfit -- of course, the number increases whenever I have my hood/mask on, so I try to do that whenever I'm just walking around the convention hall, but most of the I have it off since it's more comfortable that way.  Ideally if I were to remake or modify the costume, I would have the mask part be an actual sort of "hood" that attaches to the back of the neck so that it just hangs off of the rest of it and I can just reach back and slip it over my head whenever I want.  If I did that I would have to redesign how the hood works in general though, and that's the part of the costume that I understand the =least= for sure, so I don't really know if that will ever happen.  Eh -- it's also the part of the costume that I don't actually care about that much anyways, so whatever.  I actually have to stop by the Artist's Alley at some point on Sunday again because one of the artists didn't have their camera on Friday and wanted a photo of me.

I hung out in the gaming area for a while on Friday to do Tetris Medley tournament stuff, but in the end it ended up taking too long and, since I was feeling a sort of "been there done that" with Tetris Medley and my friends were heading out to dinner, I decided to just drop out and head to dinner with them instead.  I don't really regret it, even though it was a bit unfortunate. (dinner was a good time!)  In the midst of waiting for Tetris stuff I looked around the gaming hall a bit -- no TGM this time unfortunately, so I have no "default" thing to do when I don't have any other good ideas, but it's probably just as well anyways.  I saw that there was a 3rd Strike machine there, which was kind of intriguing!  People were playing on it -- they were..."OK" but not really good; lots of dropped stuff and mistakes everywhere that I could point out.  I was sort of itching to challenge them, but I was waiting on Tetris stuff anyways and didn't really think twice about it.  It might be something worth looking into for Sunday but to be perfectly honest playing fighting games shouldn't really be a priority at an anime convention for me.  As an aside I was trying to take some glances at the melee setups to see how good people were at melee--from what I saw it was "middling"; not terrible but not really anything good either.

After dinner I finished up Artist's Alley and tried to cruise through Swap Meet as fast as I could (which I succeeded at, hooray!).  I didn't get too much at Swap Meet, but I did get a couple of small really cheap Sanrio things (we're talking 50 cents / 1 dollar cheap).  Besides that, I got the things which I actually needed, which were new playing card sleeves -- a Remilia design for $20 and a Kirby design for $10.  The Remilia design seemed a little pricey to me but I didn't mind -- it's not something I'm really going to be buying very often and I do make very good use of these sleeves so it's all good (my current set of remilia sleeves that match my playmat are wearing out a bit).

After finishing up there we actually drove off to Stanford to stop by campus where the kids were hosting a dance...I was super tired at this point but still actually had a lot of fun for the short time that I stayed.  Definitely an exhausting day though; jeez.  It really seemed more exhausting than either of Big Dance (which to be perfectly honest isn't really that tiring?  Or maybe I just think that because the last time we had a proper one was a couple years ago and I've become an old fogey since then D:) and Ludum Dare.  I guess Ludum Dare is more mentally exhausting and Fanime is more physically tiring.  Oof.

I had a slight headache on Friday carrying into a good portion of Saturday (sadface) -- like I said, Friday really took a lot out of me.  I took it a lot easier on Saturday (today).  I went to the Undertale "in character" Q/A panel, which was quite fun!  They had some fun cosplayers who gave some hilarious answers to some of the questions (they also had a truth or dare segment, which was great too).  So that was fun.  Had lunch afterwards and then went to watch all of the Fanimaid performances to go support my friend (yeah!).  Went for some more food/drink and then to the Undertale gathering, which was huge!  Most of it was standard gathering stuff, but there were a few select moments which were very very awesome!

After that we stopped by the WCS dance lesson and then decided to just call it a night for con -- it was only 6 or 7 or so, so pretty early, but I was glad; I really needed a breather after Friday, and I had already told myself before Fanime started that I was going to try and take it a bit easy this time.  We had dinner at Asian Box on Castro, which pleasantly surprised me with its quality (I didn't have a great impression because I was very unimpressed by their catering, but this was much better), then went back to my place where I watched them play Journey.

And now we're here, before the last (main) day of Fanime!  Let's hope that I can still make it a good one.

What the fuck does it even matter anymore

Sometimes I remember the things that are important to me in life.  It makes me sad.

As often as I say Brave is my "favorite movie", it's really not; Princess Kaguya is my favorite movie.  It's just not exactly "light watching" material -- more like the opposite.

I have two love/hate relationships in my life: one of them is because I pushed them away and another is because they pushed me away.

I'd like to say that it's hard but I'm not even trying.  I don't even know what I want anymore.  Why should I feel any sympathy for myself?

Thursday, May 26, 2016

I wonder if it will just become more and more difficult for me to connect with my past, with the people I know, ....

Listening to the Undertale soundtrack always tends to fill me with a peculiar emotional sensibility.  Particularly the ending theme(s), as well as some of the other sections...I have to say that the credits roll for Undertale really felt....I can't really put my finger on how to say it, but it felt =different= than your everyday credits roll.  I guess it's just...poignant due to what came before as well as what is actually featured in the credits.  Undertale is really something to be admired, I think.  Thinking about it always fills me with a sense of "what can =I= be bringing to the world?".  I mean that not just in the sense of "how can I be a better person", but also from the point of view of a creator -- that there are these people creating wonderful things like Undertale and Stardew Valley and man, it's a great age in which to live in, that people like you and me can just set their hearts on something and end up building something amazing.

Speaking of amazing things, here's wishing a happy 10th anniversary to ThatGameCompany!  I can't even imagine what it must be like to have worked on Journey, to be completely honest.  Knowing that something that you have worked on has helped the human condition and psyche -- having your actual day-to-day work be involved in something that is so, so amazing -- that must just be...something else, really.  It's something that I wonder if I could ever achieve someday, even if on a smaller scale.

I hope that my past never disappears.  Stay with me...

Things are okay!

I've successfully addressed at least one lifestyle change (for the better), and it wasn't even that difficult once I set out to try!  My goal for now is to just keep that up...maybe try to also start being more efficient and less wasteful with my time as well, but that one is a tougher one to tackle...

Fanime is almost upon us, pretty exciting!  I won't be going on Thursday - instead going to be playing board games with my family -- but I'll be there for the rest of the weekend...looking forward to it!  Although I jotted down notes on interesting-looking events that I'd want to go to, there's not actually quite that much that I feel like I need to see, so I feel like my schedule is pretty open to just...wander around, hang out, and chill in general.  I'm hoping that I can just hang out with some friends and do whatever :).  I guess if the weather is nice I should also try and get more photos of my Journey outfit! (still haven't done a proper photo set of it yet)

Might actually leave Fanime early on Friday night to head to Palo Alto since the Stanford kids are having a dance on campus.  The Swap Meet at Fanime starts at 8 so I'll most likely peruse through there a little bit and then leave (and get to dance in costume, hooray!).  I probably won't be able to spend that much time browsing through the swap meet stuff, but to be perfectly honest, I didn't even end up buying much at all last year anyways, so I'm not too concerned about it.  I think things were a lot different back then, during my first few years at Fanime, since I really didn't have access or own a lot of this merchandise-type stuff -- whether it be anime/manga-related goods, or Sanrio goods, or just cute stuff in general.  But now I =do= own a lot already, and (thankfully) it has turned into more of an already-fulfilled need.

Excited for a fun-filled weekend, and just as excited for a week-long vacation after that!  Woohoo!

Monday, May 16, 2016

On the plus side, I think I know what's wrong with me.

Feeling hopeful.

If I could I'd reach out to you.  I want to reach out to you so badly.  But I know that you're not there.  Rather, you don't exist anymore.  How long would I keep waiting in this tower, waiting for you to return?  Maybe you're right.  Maybe someday, I'd be ready, and I'd take that leap of faith.  Perhaps, it is the act of waiting for your "return", that comforts me; consoles me, and helps me come to terms with the fact that someday, I will have to leave.  Without you.

I left Kiki behind.  After seeing her one last time, I left her behind.  And I think part of me knew already, even when we spoke about "keeping in touch", that it was the end -- or more specifically, it was the end for me.  And I left her behind.  Will I someday leave you behind too?  Or will you stay, watching over me, like one of the wishing stars in the night sky?

Perhaps I've forgotten what it's like to love.

Always wanting to run away, run back to the past.  In times of uncertainty, I always cling to the past.

Can't sleep; I'm hoping it's due to sleep schedule and sleeping in, and not due to stressing out.  I was having some stress dreams last night.  Ugh.  On the plus side I don't actually have too many things to stress about at the moment so any stress in my body is either residual or I guess due to more general unease rather than actually worrying about things that I need to do.  Eh...well, I guess either way it doesn't really feel great to be "scared".  Thankfully it's not too bad.

Feels like I should go glowsticking or something soon, just get some stuff out of my system.  Or just sprint until I'm out of breath.

Who am I and what am I doing, really?  I find myself bouncing back and forth between feeling excited and apathetic.  What does it even really matter?

I guess sometimes, you just sort of try your best to be yourself, to stay true to who you are, even if you don't really know why.  Even if you don't see a point, it's probably there anyways.  Because even if it doesn't seem like anything really "matters", things still =are= important.  There are many wonderful things, even if they might appear dull and foggy through maligned lenses.

The first step towards solving a problem is admitting that you have one, I guess...or in this case, a couple?  Yesterday I decided that I've got some lifestyle habits that really are not doing me that good at all, and it'd be best if I really try and get myself back in shape.

Fortunately, today was actually a pretty great day!  I slept in and caught up on sleep, got some stuff done that I wanted to, and haven't done anything that I regretted.  Hopefully I can keep it up.

More unpacking progress!  Everything is basically in its general location where it should be -- now we just have to take care of the gigantic task of trying to put all the decorations up and everything.  I might wait until after Fanime to try and put things up on the walls, though -- there's a significant chance that I'll end up getting some art prints to put up or something.


I haven't really made any good headway on my current MtG set design (Conspiracy 2) -- I'm still stuck at the design skeleton phase.  I think I was trying to take a large pass at it but after my first attempt I realized that my as-fan for keyworded mechanics was too high -- I had each new mechanic showing up FOUR times at common, for example (2 in each of its colors), so I decided to dial that back.  However I'm still struggling with two of my new mechanics.

So, in my design, all 5 colors have a landcycling card (not really a core "mechanic" but worth noting), but they also each have a Monstrosity card at common.  The idea is to create a cycle at common that helps provide players with mana sinks since multiplayer games go long.

Aside from that I have hidden agenda, draft-matters, parley, and dethrone as returning mechanics.  Parley shows up in G and W (again), and dethrone this time shows up in B as well as R and U.

In addition I have Inspired as a returning mechanic that I think works well as a build-around theme as well as incentivizing attacking (along with dethrone).  Inspired shows up in R, G and U.

The new mechanics that I have definitely ironed down so far are:

Hidden Trap: Appears in all colors.  This is a conspiracy card that you start with face-down (just like a hidden agenda), and at any time you can pay the Hidden Trap mana cost to flip it face up and trigger a one-time effect -- for example, 2R to give a creature first strike.  These effects are overcosted compared to a normal spell effect since they are "free" to put in your deck.

Assist: Shows up primary in G and W, but maybe secondary in R.  A creature mechanic -- when the creature ETBs, you can "assist" an opponent by having that opponent put N +1/+1 counters on a creature they control.  If you do, you get a bonus (usually, +1/+1 counters on your own creature).  I like this mechanic as it forces you to pick an "ally" and there's a strong incentive to assist someone.  You're also incentivized to assist a player who's behind.  Overall I like the design space as well.  In R I may have a creature that assists but then steals the assisted creature (though this is more difficult given the current templating).

So with those I have:

W: Monstrosity, Assist, Parley
U: Monstrosity, Dethrone, Inspired,
B: Monstrosity, Dethrone,
R: Monstrosity, Dethrone, Inspired, (Assist?)
G: Monstrosity, Inspired, Assist, Parley

My plan to get color balance between the mechanics was to have 2 more mechanics (for a total of 4 new ones, which is a good amount), one in WB and one in UB.  Here are the candidates.

Ritual: A different spin on Will of the Council.  This has gone through many iterations but currently I'm thinking of doing something based on Tempting Offer.  Something like:
As you cast this spell, you may have any number of opponents [positive effect].  Copy this spell for each opponent chosen in this way.  You may choose new targets for each copy.
So basically, you're incentivized to give everyone benefits so that you get the maximum effect, but you don't have to.  This plays around in the same space as Assist but is a little more flexible, yet also more clunky.

Infiltrate: Some sort of Ninjutsu effect.  I initially had this as a mechanic where your creature can only be blocked by tapped creatures (and can't be blocked by untapped ones), but I realized that that was just going to be too complex for a multiplayer game.  This could end up being Ninjutsu exactly, but I also was playing around with trying to let you be able to replace a creature that's actually getting blocked.  Getting that to work correctly is sort of awkward with respect to rules though.

Anyways, with that we have:

W: Monstrosity, Assist, Parley, Ritual
U: Monstrosity, Dethrone, Inspired, Infiltrate
B: Monstrosity, Dethrone, Ritual, Infiltrate
R: Monstrosity, Dethrone, Inspired, Assist
G: Monstrosity, Inspired, Assist, Parley

All colors: Hidden agenda, hidden trap, draft matters

If I have 93 commons (which there are in the current skeleton), I have about 37 keyworded commons, so that's 
40%.  There are 10 commons in a booster so the as-fan is then roughly 4, which is an amount I'm happy with.  Note that Conspiracy 1 has as-fan of about 3.6 if we measure in the same way, but I'm happy with increasing as-fan since we have a bunch of returning mechanics.  If it ends up being too high we can always add more non-keyworded commons.

Anyways, trying to figure out Ritual and Infiltrate...

Saturday, May 14, 2016

(Little) Big Dance 2016

Another year, another (little) big dance.  Supposedly we'll have Roble back this summer though, which is actually quite exciting!

Not too much remarkable about this one, except for a couple of dances, including getting to dance Lullaby of Flame with Gem!!  Wah~  That was super nice :)

All in all it was a fun night -- definitely not the same as a "real" big dance but I'm hoping that's more because of the location and not because I'm getting old and tired of it all.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

8th place in Ludum Dare!

We did great!  We had a lot of positive feedback and almost no real gripes or complaints about the game, which is good!  All in all I'm really happy with the finished product and I'm really glad that it happened.

Been spending a lot of time moving and unpacking recently!  Got through kitchen organization yesterday, which felt really nice to finally be done with.  Things are taking shape!

Spent some time last night looking at canvas bags on YesStyle since I've been wanting a new messenger bag for forever!  Going to go ahead and order some new tops while I'm at it, too :)

Went ahead and scheduled a staycation for the week after memorial day weekend -- I'll be able to go to Fanime and then just have that week off to get some much-needed rest and time to myself.  Yay~

Stardew Valley has been absolutely wonderful!  We're now in the middle of our first winter and we're having a blast!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Nyamo's Adventure

Cocoa Moss is proud to present: Nyamo's Adventure!

Nyamo's Adventure is the 2D Metroidvania platformer that I made together with Kat in 72 hours for Ludum Dare 35!

Try it now online in your browser at http://cocoamoss.com/nyamos-adventure/nyamos-adventure.html.  Let us know what you think!

Free soundtrack download is also available at https://ddrkirbyisq.bandcamp.com/album/nyamos-adventure-original-soundtrack.