Category Archives: Uncategorized

Creating my RWBY Campaign Character

 

Photo on 9-8-14 at 11.56 AM

I really love the web show RWBY. It has lovable characters, amazing action, and a ton of world building. I also love how the series is clearly inspired by anime.

Oum, Monty. Official logo for RWBY. Digital Image. Wikipedia. Wikipedia. June 1, 2013. Web. 29 Oct 2014.
Oum, Monty. Official logo for RWBY. Digital Image. Wikipedia. Wikipedia. June 1, 2013. Web. 29 Oct 2014.

At college,  I found that a group of people were planning to use the setting of the show for a role-playing campaign. They were using the Big Eyes, Small Mouth engine. It’s an anime-inspired role plaint game engine, which felt appropriate for RWBY. I was interested in joining in.

So began the task of creating a character. One of the first things I decided was that I wanted my character to be a human and not a Faunus. In the series of RWBY, Faunus are a humanoid race with animal features. A lot of the other people in the campaign were making Faunus, and I wanted something a little different.

I first decided to create a visual image. I didn’t think my drawing skills were good enough to fully create a character. I didn’t want to use another person’s creation, however. I wanted to make it my own.

Then I remembered that I loved virtual dress up games. I mostly used this website. I started playing one, and decided to use it for my character. I used my computer to take a screenshot.

The prototype of my character
The prototype of my character. It served as the basis for all other pictures of her.

I liked what I had created, so I decided to do more.

Elaine Elaine Vyce pocket monsters Elaine Vyce at home

Admittedly, I might have gone overboard. And that’s not even all of them!

Anyway, I had to come up with a name. I came up with many names. I eventually settled down on one, Elaine Vyce. There were reasons for choosing this name. Elaine was from Arthurian legend, and it means bright.

You might remember me mentioning the surname, Vyce, in a previous post. It comes from the villain of AT4W. I decided to use it as a surname in a sense of irony, because Elaine means bright and because my character was kind, upbeat, and heroic. It provided a nice contrast.

But the character creation process was not over yet. I still had to create my weapon and my skills. In the world of RWBY, weapons are often two other weapons meshed together. For example, the main character, Ruby, has a weapon that is both a scythe and a gun.

I decided to make my weapon both creative and unique. My character’s weapon ended up being cards; cards which were which were razor sharp, and had explosives laced onto them. I also gave my character the ability of telekinesis so that the cards can be formed into a whip.

It’s a bit strange.

My character’s skills are mostly based around that. She can throw well, she is agile, etc.

Everyone in the group had to go through a character test. We were sent through a tutorial battle. When I did mine, I did fairly well. My character wasn’t either overpowered or weak. I also discovered I could role-play well.

The group also decided to have musical themes for our characters. I gathered all of the song I thought would make a good theme for Elaine. I had 27. The others helped me whittle them down to a more manageable five. Though to be fair, I still haven’t fully decided on which theme to use. One of them can be listened to below.

Radio Martini Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

So there you have it. My first time creating a character for a roleplaying campaign. I had a lot of fun with this, and  I want to make more characters like this.

Oh! I just had a thought.

Maybe I should cosplay her!

Elaine photo

What is me meme

Photo on 9-8-14 at 11.56 AM

On Deviantart.com, there are several memes. These are used to express oneself. I decided to use a meme myself. I did this one a while ago, but it still represents me well.

The original template is located here.

What_Is_Katherine

Now let me expand on the points:

Who I look like: I look a lot like Haruhi Fujioka (Ouran High School Host Club), minus the glasses. It was hard finding characters who look like me, but Haruhi felt right. The hair’s a bit too short, however.

Who I act like: I feel like my personality is a stew of four different characters. These are Haruhi Suzumiya (The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya), Italy (Hetalia), Pinkie Pie, and Twilight Sparkle (Both from My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic). Like Italy and Pinkie Pie, I am very excitable, eager, and somewhat childish. Like Twilight, I’m studious and try to do a lot of things by the book. Finally, like Haruhi, I am a bit stubborn.

Who I want to be: I love the Sailor Guardians (Sailor Moon). They’re strong and powerful, but they aren’t perfect. They all make mistakes, and they learn from them.  How many female heroes are like that? Also, they’re all different. They all have unique quirks.None of them are cookie cutter stereotypes. They all are into different things. Not all of them are into fashion or boys. Some of them are athletic. Heck, one of them, introduced in a later season, is a racecar driver!  Finally, they prove that being girly doesn’t equal being weak. They do talk about stereotypical girls stuff at time, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t kick ass. They always defeat the villains, and it is glorious.

What my style resembles: I couldn’t really find anything that matched my style, so I decided to use my own art for this one. As you can see, a lot of my art is anime based. I like my art, though it’s clearly not as good as other pieces of art on this meme.

What styles inspire me: Yeah, it’s kinda a mess on the meme. I’m inspired by a lot of art styles. There are a lot of different anime styles on the meme. The anime pictured are Space Battleship Yamato (My personal favorite anime ever), Sailor Moon (again), Spirited Away, and Cowboy Bebop. I also used art from a video game, Kingdom Hearts. I also like the Disney/Pixar art style as well. I used The Incredibles not only because it was a pixar movie, but because of the 60s inspired art. These art styles are merely the tip of the iceberg, as there are numerous other art styles that Inspire me.

What styles I avoid: I don’t necessarily hate these styles but they aren’t my cup of tea. The media shown here are Regular Show, Mars Need Moms, and Dragon Ball Z. I don’t really care for the  art styles of a lot of current western cartoons, like Regular Show. It’s not bad, it’s just a bit too simple for me. The more muscular, angular, and sharp look of shows like Dragon Ball Z doesn’t really interest me. Finally I don’t really care for hyper-realistic animation, especially when done badly, like in Mars Needs Moms. Then, it’s runs straight into the Uncanny Valley, and it’s really creepy.

My reaction to Atop The Fourth Wall: The Trial of Peter Parker

Photo on 9-8-14 at 11.56 AM

I would consider myself a new fan of Atop the Fourth Wall (AT4W). It follows a man named Linkara who reviews comic books, and has various adventures.

I got into the series earlier this year. It’s amazing. One of my favorite things about the series is the ongoing storyline. In fact, I often fight the urge to skip the review and go straight to the storyline part.

Being a relatively new fan, I haven’t had the pleasure of seeing a story arc unfold in real time. With older story arcs, I can just breeze through them. I haven’t been wondering about what’s going to happen next, as I can just play the next episode.

However, which this story arc, I’ve been able to wonder what’s going to happen on the next episode. I do wonder what’s going to happen. I don’t know what to expect. In fact, I’m surprised.

Today, the newest episode of AT4W came out. It concluded the current story arc, The Machinations of Worms. It’s villain was the King of Worms, who, in a nutshell, is really terrifying!

The episode itself was really good, and here is my reaction to it.

Previously on AT4W, Linkara was kidnapped by the King of Worms and taken to the Court of Worms. Now the King plans to dissect Linkara’s soul to find out his secret.

Let’s begin! Also, All screenshots taken by me.

****Spoiler Warning!*****

Screen Shot 2014-10-27 at 2.40.14 PM

The older bodies of Polio came to save Linkara! Awesome! This episode’s off to a great start!

Okay. Linkara’s waiting for the King to be ready to kill him. What does he do to pass the time before his doom?

Read a comic book.

Typical.

Screen Shot 2014-10-27 at 2.40.49 PM

Hang on, SIXTH anniversary?! Congratulations Linkara!  Though you bring up a good point. How ARE you showing this in the Court of Worms?

Screen Shot 2014-10-27 at 2.41.52 PM

I really love the title card this week. I’m a sucker for Ace Attorney references. That, and it looks amazing. Then again, all the title cards are amazing.

Oh god the comic he reviewed this time sucks! How can something be called The Trial of Peter Parker, and only have ten or so pages about the actual trial itself?!?

I actually felt bored. Not because of Linkara, he was really funny and amazing. A standout moment is when he criticized when Mary-Jane, who at the time was Peter Parker’s wife, was called to testify, and explaining why that would not work in the real world. He clearly did more research than the people writing the comic.

I was bored because of the comic itself. It’s pointless, has unlikeable characters, and is DUMB.

However, when the video got the the storyline part it was awesome!

 

Screen Shot 2014-10-27 at 2.44.17 PM
The King of Worms

Oh god, it was amazing, but is was really creepy!

Despite the best efforts of Linkara and his friends, The King is able to get into Linkara’s soul.

Screen Shot 2014-10-27 at 2.44.51 PM
The Plot Hole? This can’t be good…

There’s a montage of a ton of stuff. It’s not just clips from AT4W, but with crossovers Linkara’s been in.

It can’t be a good omen that the last shot is of the Plot Hole….

After that, it’s kinda hard to say. It’s set in Linkara’s living room. A lot of villains from the show’s past show up. It pretty terrifying. Im not goinng to show all of it, but…

Here's your Nightmare Fuel!
Here’s your Nightmare Fuel!

This is the least of which is going on.

After all that, the King has some kind of.. seizure, and Linkara and his friends fire on it. The King dies.

So happy ending, right?

Well…

It seems that way, but It’s later revealed that Linkara’s weapons did nothing to it. The King literally died of fright, based off what it saw in Linkara’s mind. The last scene of the episode?

Screen Shot 2014-10-27 at 2.49.13 PM

Wait, 90s Kid and Lord Vyce?  Working together? 90s Kid is one of Linkara’s allies, and Lord Vyce is one of Linkara’s biggest enemies! That’s unexpected. Pretty cool cliffhanger, though.

All in all, a very good episode. The atmosphere was appropriate. It was nice seeing old villains again. Finally, A interesting cliffhanger for the next story arc.

Keep on the good work!

Hourglass of Summer OVA review

Photo on 9-8-14 at 11.56 AM

I love the visual novel Hourglass of Summer. It’s beautiful, has likable characters, and a very interesting story.

My personal copy, bought at Dragon Con 2012.
My personal copy, bought at Dragon Con 2012.

The story?

You play as Koutarou Makimura. It’s almost summer vacation. He’s got a hugh crush on his classmate Kaho Serizawa. During the last week of school, he decides to ask her out.  although his friends do not believe this will work. He goes to sleep that night excited about both summer and Kaho. But when he wakes up, it is the first day of the next school year.

When he arrives at the opening ceremony, he is greeted by his grief-stricken classmates, who mourn the untimely death of his girlfriend, Kaho! Of course, he is very confused. When he faints from shock, he wakes up on a day in the middle of summer. Now Kotarou must live his entire summer with each day being in a random order. He tries to figure out what is going on, and tries to determine if his unique situation can help save Kaho.

That’s the basic summery, anyway. There’s definitely a lot of potential for a good anime series there.  However, the anime would need to be at least 26 episodes long. Instead, Hourglass of Summer got a two episode OVA (Original Video Animation) with a total runtime of an hour.

Needless to say, it isn’t good.

The anime is rushed. Since it’s only two episodes of 30 minutes each, the plot isn’t really explained at all. Everything just happens, and there’s no coherency.

For example, a major character, Mana, in the game barely appears in the first episode and doesn’t appear at all in the second episode.

Game? Major character with her own storyline. Taken while I was playing the game.
Game? Major character with her own storyline. Taken while I was playing the game.

 

OVA? Nope! You're lucky to just be in one episode! Taken while I was watching the OVA.
OVA? Nope! You’re lucky to just be in one episode! Taken while I was watching the OVA.

Moving on, the art is below par. How could such a beautiful game produce such an ugly, off model OVA? The backgrounds are plain, and the characters look like fan art of the game characters.

If you think i’m just being overly dramatic, just look at this comparison.

Kaho as she appears in the original game
Kaho as she appears in the original game. Taken while I was playing the game.
Kaho as she appears in the OVA
Kaho as she appears in the OVA. Taken while I was watching the OVA.

Clearly there’s a notable difference. The game has more detail, and everything seemed better proportioned in the game. The animation is also horrendous.

Finally, the game had an art book that came with the game.

Photo on 10-25-14 at 3.01 PM #2
I love this book.

The OVA? Of course not.

Last but not least, is the handling of more questionable scenes. Unlike many visual novels, Hourglass of Summer is clean. It doesn’t have sexual scenes. Hugging and kissing is a far as it gets.

This is as far as it gets. Taken while I was playing the game.
Sweet tender moments like this are the farthest the game gets. Taken while I was playing the game.

Clearly thinking this wasn’t enough, the OVA adds a ton of needless fan service to the story.

I'm going to need brain bleach. Taken while i was watching the OVA.
I’m going to need brain bleach. Taken while i was watching the OVA.

 

Bottom line? This OVA sucks. It’s too short, rush, looks terrible, and oh god the fan service! It’s no surprise that the OVA was never released outside of Japan. For this review, I watched the OVA on youtube and took screenshots on my computer.

My recommendation is to pass on the OVA and simply play the original game. If you can find the english version of the game (it’s out of print), buy it. It’s amazing! I guarantee that you’ll be more satisfied with the game than the OVA.

Some of my guilty pleasures

Photo on 9-8-14 at 11.56 AM

As a gamer, nerd, geek, etc, of course I have come across things that I would feel guilty about, yet still enjoy. I have this theory that everything is someone’s guilty pleasure.

It’s mostly video games, but there are a few other things in here. Granted, there’s probably more of these, but here are some of my guilty pleasures:

  • 102 Dalmatians: Puppies to the Rescue (2000)

 

Odino. Disney’s 102 Dalmatians: Puppies to the Rescue. Digital Image. Gamefaqs. CBS Interactive. Web. 16 Oct 2014.

I know what your thinking about. A playstation kids game? A licensed product, clearly made to make a quick buck? I know that these sort of things don’t have the best of reputations. But this game is surprisingly good for one that’s plot includes the line “Cruella’s used her legion of robotic toys to kidnap all the pets in England!”

 

…I wish I was kidding…
…I wish I was kidding…

Anyway, the gameplay is fun and the graphics are decent. This was one of the first games I truly played as a kid. Even now, When I sometime play this game to relax.

  • Winx Club (2004-Ongoing)

 

Generic_Group01. Digital Image. Michaelsfavorites2. Powweb, Web. 17 Oct 2014

The series has become a part of my childhood. It was the Sailor Moon of my childhood. Although one could argue that the main character is a Mary Sue, some of the choices this show makes is questionable, that it’s unquestionably a series set at young girls, and with the absolutely terrible fifth season (THE MAIN VILLAIN IS POWERED BY POLLUTION?!?), I can’t help but love this series.

  • Shadow the Hedgehog (2005)
Xcarvenger. Shadow the Hedgehog. Digital Image. Gamefaqs. CBS Interactive. Web. 16 Oct 2014.

Would you believe this was my first Sonic the Hedgehog game I ever played? Yeah, not the best start. The gameplay is wonky, the dialogue can be awkward (“Where that DAMN fourth chaos emerald?”, and “Find the computer room!” come to mind), and it can be unintentionally hilarious at times.That said, I genuinely enjoy the game. In fact, I actually like the story mode! And it’s nowhere near as bad as the next sonic game:

Sonic the Hedgehog Next-Gen Box Art. Digital Image. Wikipedia. Wikipedia. 3 July 2010. Web. 17 Oct 2014.
Sonic the Hedgehog Next-Gen Box Art. Digital Image. Wikipedia. Wikipedia. 3 July 2010. Web. 17 Oct 2014.

…shiver…

  • Sister Princess (2001)
Sister Princess. Digital Image. Animenewsnetwork. Anime News Network. Web. 17 Oct 2014.

This show isn’t actually bad, but it is slow. Nothing really happens. It’s just the adventures of a guy with his 12 sisters. Even when the last couple of episodes try to have a plot, it kinda falls flat. There is also the *cough* reputation this series has. When I talk to people about this series, I have to stress that nothing like that happens in this series. However, that reputation, along with the very slow pace, scares off some people, and I can’t say I don’t understand.

But with that said, the series is so darn cute! It’s what I watch when I want to watch simple comedic fluff.

  • Barbie Mariposa (2008):
Barbie Mariposa. Digital Image. Wikipedia. Wikipedia. 14 May 2008. Web. 17 Oct 2014.

Yes, it’s Barbie. I know that you think I’ve gone mad, haven’t i? Well, this is my list of guilty pleasures.

Actually, I love a lot of the Barbie movies. I grew up with them, and there’s something about them. They are aimed at very young girls, but most of them don’t feel too childish. Are there those I don’t like? Yes. Some of them are boring, and I haven’t been interested in the more recent films. That doesn’t stop me from loving the ones I do love, though.

Mariposa is probably my favorite because of this feeling in it. It actually feels like something is at stake. I mean, how many Barbie movies have a NightmareFuel TVTropes page?

  • The Barbie Diaries: High School Mystery (2006)
Llamaman2. Shadow the Hedgehog. Digital Image. Gamefaqs. CBS Interactive. Web. 16 Oct 2014.

Yes, It’s a Barbie mystery game, and it’s actually decent! Most Barbie games are simple girls game. I assure you that I would not put the majority of these games as guilty pleasures.

But this game is a guilty pleasure because there is actually things to do. The mystery is decent. and it’s kinda open world. Also the mini-games are pretty fun.

It’s ironic. The one Barbie game I still like is the one based off the movie i could care less for.
That being said, If you play this, stay away from the GBA version. You have been warned.

And now the for biggest one:

  • Delgo (2008)
Delgo. Digital Image. Tvtropes. TV Tropes Foundation, LLC. Web. 17 Oct 2014.
Delgo. Digital Image. Tvtropes. TV Tropes Foundation, LLC. Web. 17 Oct 2014.

…I can’t defend this one.
The movie is terrible. It’s poorly written, the animation looks like a sub-par video game and could probably give young children nightmares. The plot is so cliched that I swear that the writers copy and pasted it from TVTropes. It’s no wonder that it bombed so hard in theaters.

…And yet I can’t hate it. Maybe it’s pity. Even though it’s so horrible, I can tell that there was a lot of love and effort put into the project. It doesn’t make the film good, but it does put a new light on it.

I’d also recommend this blog post from someone who actually worked on the film: http://jasonmaurer.com/2008/12/20/delgos-release/
It’s actually pretty mature. He acknowledged that the film didn’t do well at the box office (At the time it was the lowest grossing film ever made, it’s since become the second lowest grossing), and he didn’t make up excuses. Instead, he thanked people who actually supported the project, and stated he was proud to have worked on it.

So I hope you can see why I can’t hate it.

TED Video

Photo on 9-8-14 at 11.56 AM

I watched this TED talk:

http://www.ted.com/talks/ruby_wax_what_s_so_funny_about_mental_illness

In this video, comedian Ruby Wax talks about mental illness. She explains that disabilities of the body, but mental disabilities generally don’t. Wax urges us to end the stigma.

Helping with her talk is the fact that Ruby Wax herself has a mental illness. The fact that she suffers from depression helps to illustrate her point.

The multimodal elements are presented fairly well. She made all the visual elements herself. They are actually pretty creative. She uses a clay model of the brain, cardboard cutouts, and pictures.

With invention, she clearly thought about what she was going to talk about, with her having a mental illness already. It’s clear she brainstormed what she was going to say.

Arrangement was a weak point. The beginning felt overlong, like she was stalling for time. She spent a lot of time at the start on one story about her biggest breakdown and where she got her mental illness. However, it did reflect what was happening to her. She stayed on topic.

Style was interesting. She made all her visual elements herself. It doesn’t look amazing, but you you can tell she put a lot of effort into it. It also clearly illustrates what she was talking about.

Memory was a little weak. At times, you could tell she forgot what she was going to say. This lead to a lot of pauses where she remembers what she was going to say.

Delivery was fine, barring a few memory hiccups. She brought a comedic touch to the topic, not afraid to make fun of herself. That being said, she did move around a lot. It become distracting, however.

In the end, it was an effective TED Talk. There were a few hiccups, but it was successful in illustrating what’s it’s like to live with a mental illness.

Who I am

badge

My name is Katherine Duncan. Unlike many people, I would not consider myself very different online than how I am in the real life. I am what many people call adorkable, but that barely describes me. I am a geek, a dork, a fan, an otaku, you name it. I watch anime, read fan fiction, play visual novels and dating sims, love fantasy and sci-fi, etc.

I find that one of the most popular stereotypes is that since I am a female fan of anime, I must be a Yaoi (Boy x Boy love stories) fanatic. I will admit to reading and enjoying one of these stories, but I am not a huge fan of these stories.

Related to that, a stereotype about female fan fiction readers is that they love reading slash, which is like Yaoi. Like the stereotype of Yaoi, I am not a fan of slash. Slash and Yaoi are often about the sex. When I read any story about romance, whether hetrosexual, homosexual, or the like, I don’t care about the sex. I like reading about the relationship between the two lovers. Sex isn’t the main deal for me. It can be there, I just don’t want it to be the main part of the story.

Related to that, when I play dating sims, I play them for the stories. If there is sex, i just fast forward through it. some games actually let you censor it, and i often take that option. It is also why I will never watch hentai. It’s anime porn. I will never watch porn.
I find that a lot of anime sexualises females. In small doses, this is something I can stand. To be fair, nudity is a sign of purity in Japan. It’s just cultural differences. That being said, when it is excessive, I annoys me to no end. This is why I can’t stand anime like Eiken or High School of the Dead. Excessive fan service turns me off.

Related to my love of anime, I submitted an audition for a anime spoof. I never got any reply. It was really cool, however, as I love voice acting.

This is one of my audition lines.

 

While I am terrified of publishing my older fan fiction, for fear of being ridiculed, I love reading fan fiction. I read these because, usually, I love the products they come from. Some of my favorite genres in particular are Alternative Universe (AU) and Fluff. I recently found the very interesting genre of Reader Inserts, where the fan fiction takes place from your own point of view, which is surprisingly pretty cool.

I love fantasy and sci-fi. I have been raised from birth to love to love these genres. at one point during my childhood, that’s all I would read and watch. Even now, most of my favorite movies, games, anime, and books are these genres.

As you can see below, I love to draw. Anime has radically inspired my art style. When I draw, I usually draw in a anime style, though sometimes I try something else.


My love of Anime and Japanese visual novels also inspires me to create my own visual novels. I use a free to use program called Ren’Py. It is very good for making these games. I also often ring royalty free music, royalty free character sprites, and stock backgrounds. I am trying to make my own sprites, but my picture editor will not let me make PNGS.

Screen Shot 2014-09-09 at 1.46.41 PM

I have created multiple games, none of which have been released. I learnt about the program when I decided to, for high school science, learn how to use a program to make visual novels. I mostly created romance games. One of my games, specifically made for science class, was designed to teach played about Python, the program used to create Ren’Py.

Screen Shot 2014-09-09 at 1.45.59 PM

I also experimented in another game to see if movies could be used in Ren’Py. They could. In that same game, i experimented with branching paths of a sort. In the game, there is one god ending, and two bad endings. The first decision to make in the game includes the choice for the good ending, the choice for bad ending one, or a choice that has you run away from the problem, but to be confronted by it again. Then you have another decision. This time there are two choices. One choice leads to the good ending. the other leads to bad ending two.

image

So in the end, I am many things. I am an otaku, a gamer, a nerd, a dork, etc. Whatever you call me, I am Katherine Duncan.