Captain Forever Remix – Early Access Impressions

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After a few hours of playing Captain Forever Remix by Pixelsaurus Games, I have to wonder how the developers managed to crawl into my brain and make a game based on my memories of growing up so accurately. Playing this game is like going back to the slightly-sticky arcades full of neon lights, clicking buttons, fast food, and carpets with random vibrantly colored squiggles and triangles. My brother is even there, calling me a butthead again and challenging me to a videogame. To top off this giant pile of nostalgia, CFR features some of my favorite game mechanics: permadeath, customizability, and replayability. While simple in theory, the game has a lot of unique ways to keep you playing again and again. For an Early Access title, it’s pretty damn impressive.

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Cloud Practice

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This week I got some new Photoshop brushes, including a whole big bunch of cloud brushes. Decided to mess around with them a bit and after a bit of trying out different brushes and figuring out how best to use them, I think I’ve got a fair handle on clouds now. Although even in this picture I can pick out some clouds that are better than others, but generally they look pretty nice! It’ll definitely take lots more practice to get super realistic looking clouds, but this is a pretty good step.

History and Mythology: The Importance of Engaging Worlds in City-builders

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Throughout my life, I’ve sunk thousands and thousands of hours into city-building games. It started with Pharaoh, then Caesar III, Zeus, SimCity 3000, and on and on. These types of games have managed to capture my attention more than any other genre (MMO’s and their constant stream of updates, not withstanding). The Sierra/Impressions historical builders especially left their mark on me – I can still hear the music of Pharaoh in my head and can picture the purple-dotted fertile meadows of Zeus/Poseidon. Unfortunately with Impressions’ close in 2004 the stream of city-builders, even outside of the historical setting, ground to a halt.

The city-building genre hit it’s peak in the early 2000s. Thankfully for those of us addicted to the genre, it has seen a resurgence in the past few years. A decade passed between the launch of SimCity 4 in 2003 and SimCity in 2013. Even the Tropico series took a long break: six years span the gap between Tropico 2 and 3. The three most recent Tropico series games have been received mostly favorably and have received plenty of DLC updates. Infamously, the long-awaited SimCity was widely criticized for a number of bugs, issues, and shortcomings, particularly centering around the initial “online-only” requirements. There have even been a slew of indie town-builders released: Banished has seen quite a bit of success and continues to grow thanks to loyal modders while Towns flip-flops between being abandoned and revitalized by new developers every few months. And while the most recent city-builder to hit the market, Cities: Skylines, has me enthralled, it’s hard to muster the same enthusiasm for the game and it’s contemporaries – both AAA and indie – as it’s genre-forging predecessors from the Sierra/Impressions lineup.

Is that just nostalgia? Or is there something else about the Sierra/Impressions city-builders that make them stand out even compared to more modern building games?

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Alas, Poor Larry!

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This week, my original content is a very short story. I originally wrote this for the 52-week short story challenge that I only got about 4 weeks into before stopping. So I guess I didn’t technically write it this week, but I did do a lot of editing to it. It’s mostly based on true events that happened when I was 5, though some details are maybe exaggerated and chronologically it’s probably not accurate. But it is a weird series of events that, in retrospect, make me realize I was kind of a weird kid.

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The Liebster Award

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Today I have been nominated for the Liebster Award! If you don’t know what that is, you can read up on it more here, but the gist is that it’s a way to show other bloggers you appreciate them and also help them grow. There are a variety of ‘rules’ but I will be following the lead of the person who nominated me. Yay blogging! I have been bestowed this honor by Soultamer, who has similar gaming interests as I do and writes about them. Definitely go check her blog out! She has recently started following my blog and ramblings and has left some very kind words in comments!

So now comes the part where I have to answer the 10 questions that Soultamer asked:

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Rymdkapsel – Beautifully Simplistic Strategy

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In rymdkapsel, you build a space station using Tetris blocks. And like Tetris, you have a preview in the corner letting you know what shapes your different building elements will come as. By fitting different sections of your space station together you can utilize space in a more effective way. Sometimes that comes across in the form of taking up less space in the game setting and sometimes it just means that your workers can get to where they are going faster. Predictably like in Tetris, those long thin pieces come more infrequently than you would like.

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White, Blue, and Wings

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It could be considered that I’m cheating because for this week’s Original Content, I’m submitting… this blog. You might have noticed a few things different about it… there’s a new header image and description, the picture on the right hand side is new… and the URL is totally different as well. No longer is this city.navsplace.net, which is what cithryth.com directed to. Finally this blog has a proper name (besides mine) and logo.

This is what I’ve spent most of my Thursday doing. First came the name change. I realized that my cithryth.com domain had lapsed on accident and that actually gave me an opportunity to really start thinking about a blog name. I’ve been meaning to figure one out for the longest time. In fact, once upon a time when I was still very much enamored with LOTRO, this blog was called the White Captain due to my captain in LOTRO. I went through a few names until I settled on Keyboard Paladin, and a big part of that goes back to the idea of the White Captain. In MMOs and RPGs I usually gravitate towards the paladins, the heal-your-group-while-you-kinda-tank class. Captains, warrior priests, jedi knights, guardians. They may not always be my main character, but they are usually the character I make first.

Next came the logos. Luckily ‘paladin’ comes with its own set of themes and ideas – whites, blues, wings, shields, plate armor. It was pretty easy to come up with some combination of all that and keyboards. I was especially pleased when I realized I could use the main movement keys, WASD, as the shield emblem.

So now many hours later after painstakingly making the logos, everything is moved over to the new domain. It took a lot of work so I feel like it counts as my contribution for the week!

(Side note: I have now looked at and written the words ‘keyboard’ and ‘paladin’ so many times that they have lost all meaning and look like bizarre non-words.)

The Tree

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This week’s original content I’ve been working on a little bit nearly every day this week. In this one, I’m experimenting a bit more with stylization and trying to find a drawing style that suits me better. I really like this squiggly/sketchy kind of method. I also spent some time looking at tree drawing tutorials, which I think shows through.

Also, apologies for the lack of blog posts this week – got extra busy with work stuff so didn’t feel much like writing on my own.

New Zealand Sunset

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This is the first of my “weekly original content” initiative. The town I live in is touted as the “first to see the light” of the new day, which also means we get the sunsets first. Nearly everyday we get these super vivid sunsets with pink and orange clouds and I tried to convey that here.

Unoriginality: A Writer’s Biggest Fear

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The past few days something has started growing on my mind. I don’t know what planted the seed, as it’s not something I had thought about too much beforehand. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m turning 25 in a few months and the “quarter-life crisis” machine is starting to spin its wheels. Whatever did it brought fertilizer though because it’s wrapped it’s tendrils around my brain and won’t let go. Hopefully writing this post out will help loosen the grip and let me think about other, more pressing, issues like whether it’s time I should finally get out of bed at 9am or what type of tea I’m going to have today.

What’s been growing on my mind is the idea and fear that I am completely unoriginal.

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