Lack of Music

No music of the week right now.  I like to put a little thought into picking tracks and writing up why I like them, but I’ve kind of run out of steam on doing so a bit because I’ve just been too busy lately,.  So I’m putting it on hiatus for now.  Might start doing it again down the road.  I’ll still write about music-y things that strike my fancy, just not on a schedule.


No more boxes!



So, I’m FINALLY done with the area calculations.  It was a lot of really tedious work, but overall, I’d have to say it was worth the effort.  Now I have definitive figures for the total area of every region, every island, and Valocea itself.  These numbers will be vital in figuring out things like population densities, highway and railway routes (which are both partly based on population densities), etc.  Plus, it’s just something I really wanted to know, to be able to compare with actual countries.  Makes Valocea itself feel more real.

The total land area of Valocea in entirety (all islands included) is 881,601.4 square km (the total area of just contiguous mainland Valocea, no islands included, is 759,945.3 square km).  Of course, the grand total could change if I add more islands, which is not impossible going forward, but I’m not worried about that.  If I DO add more islands, it will be only a few at a time (and they won’t be big; between the largest islands to the north and west, the one in the middle of the waterway, and that one big island off the south coast, there are enough really large islands already.  Any more that I add to the visible map will be pretty small).  So I won’t have to do anywhere near the same amount of work to calculate area for any future additions.

EDIT: I missed an island!  How embarrassing.  Anyway, I went back and added it in, and adjusted the figure above; 881,601.4 km2 is the correct area total.

Rainbow Rainbow Rainbow! Dash Dash~ Rainbow Dash!

Yes, it’s another one of these inexplicably hilarious compilation videos.  I do not understand why these are so damn fun to watch, but… they are.

And now that one has been released featuring Best Pony, well, it’s even more fun.  In fact, I’d say it’s… more fun by… a percentage… that may or may not be somewhere around twenty.  Yeah.

Oh, and of course, after watching it once on its own, put it on again and activate the English captions.  You’ll laugh so hard your sides’ll hurt.  This, of course, is a tradition dating back to the original “Pony Pony Pony” compilation videos for seasons one and two, and the ridiculousness that ensued once someone thought to turn the captions on.

“pennington benny enigma………………….




Bring on the Pinkie Pies!

Measuring MORE boxes

Now I’m onto… islands!

I finished the mainland a few days ago, and got everything multiplied and added and whatnot.  So I have a figure for the total area of contiguous mainland Valocea: 759,945.3 square km.  Hooray!

But I still have to do all the islands.  Sigh.  SO TIRED of these boxes!  But this won’t take nearly as long as the mainland did, and once it’s done, it’s done.  So, gonna just keep at it for now.

Measuring boxes…

…is what I’ve been doing for the last several days.

Ok, I haven’t just been doing this to the exclusion of all else, but I have been working on it for… over a week now.  Basically, I want to know the area of Valocea.  And of course, the issue of measuring square miles or kilometers is that landmasses, generally speaking, aren’t square.  

So, in order to get these measurements, I covered my map with boxes.  Like so:

Measuring boxes Continue reading

Music of the Week #10

Tracks: “Unfinished Battle”, “Colony 9”, and “Gaur Plains”

From: Xenoblade Original Soundtrack

Composed by:  Yoko Shimomura (Unfinished Battle & Colony 9), ACE+ (Gaur Plains)

I’ve never actually played Xenoblade, though I’ve heard it’s good.  Don’t have a Wii, in addition to my lack of time for games these days.  But the music is just fantastic.  Picked it up after looking up a few tracks out of curiosity; definitely a good decision.

“Unfinished Battle” is a very cool battle theme, one of the better ones I’ve heard in any RPG.  It has a very tense feel, like the tide of the conflict could (and probably will) turn sharply at any moment.  There’s also a sense of this being an important battle; not just any old fight against some stray monsters, but something important to the story.  It also has a very strong “extra fantasy” vibe.  This wouldn’t fit in with a story that was purely medieval fantasy; there’s a definite genre-crossing flavor, at least to me. I can also see the fight itself being much more lively, much less realistic, than “medieval fantasy” would suggest (i.e. more magic, more acrobatics).

Of course, I have no idea how, exactly, it’s used in the game, but that’s how I’d use it.

“Colony 9” and “Gaur Plains” both evoke traveling to me.  Perhaps exploring, perhaps simply traveling from one place to another, but moving, being on a journey of some sort.  The former also has a more relaxing feel, giving the impression of passing through peaceful lands, or looking out over a beautiful lake and contemplating whatever your journey’s purpose is.  Gaur Plains, on the other hand, has a more lively, upbeat feel, and this seems to me like the music for when you are traveling with friends, uncovering some new wonder as you explore uncharted lands.  And again, like “Unfinished Battle”, this track has a feel to it that would work well with slightly less “traditional” fantasy.  These tracks are present in nearly every playlist I make for my iPod these days; I find both of them excellent companion pieces when I’m walking around somewhere and not in a hurry!  I listen to them quite a bit when working on Valocea, as well, and have started to sort of associate them with that project.  They make for excellent music to listen to while designing fictional lands, or even just sitting there and imagining I’m on a train somewhere in Valocea.

There are a LOT of other really good tracks on this OST; some other favorites include “Main Theme”, both “Prologue” pieces, “Fight!”, “Grandeur”, “One Who Gets In Our Way”, “To One’s Own Future”, and the “Night” versions of both “Colony 9” and “Gaur Plains.”

-Saito S

Meghan McCarthy is awesome, and: Get some perspective

“How are you?”  *cringe*

Wonderful bit of referential geekery here.  Made my night.  =)

Found the link to this in the comments section of this EQD post.  And the post makes a very, very good point.  One that I have seen repeated a few times and cannot be stressed enough.

Basically: Can we calm down a little bit here?  Please? Continue reading

A one-day pony short story challenge


I dunno.  That’s not a lot of time to put out 3000+ words (I’m not sure that requirement was a good idea, and there have been several comments to that effect below the main post…).  But I kind of want to try this.  The prompt idea immediately got me thinking about just what kind of backstory/explanation I might come up with for Trixie’s character as depicted on the show.

So… maybe.  I have the day off tomorrow, coincidentally (er… technically it’s today, since it’s already after midnight!), so we’ll see.

Music of the Week #9

Tracks: “Link” and “Lost Heaven”

Albums: “Link (Single)” and “Awake”

Artist: L’Arc-en-Ciel

Despite not being able to speak or understand Japanese (aside from a few isolated bits here and there), I still enjoy listening to a fair number of lyrical songs that are in Japanese (or mostly in Japanese, as is often the case, because of how many songs from Japan have at least a little English in them somewhere, especially those used as anime themes and whatnot).  In this case, both songs were used in the series “Fullmetal Alchemist” (which I never did finish watching…)

Considering that the vast majority of the music I listen to is non-mainstream (for the US) stuff, and most of it is instrumental (or at the very least, the lyrics are minimal if present at all), I’d have to say that I listen to more lyrical songs from Japan than I do lyrical songs from the US.  I’m really not sure what it is… just association as a fan of anime and games?  I’m not nearly as into either of those things as I once was (for reasons that I will not get into here, maybe in its own post at some point), so maybe it’s partly nostalgia?  Or maybe I really do just like the sound that these songs have.  I dunno how big a role each part plays.  Anyway…

I like “Link” for the upbeat sound it has.  The melody is simple, but the combination of guitars, strings, and percussion give it a sort of uplifting quality, with lyrics that are about someone hoping for a better world, but realizing he can still make it in this one as long as he has someone to share it with.  By the end of the song, he realizes that it doesn’t even matter if he dies, they’ll be together anyway.  For some reason, this always felt right as music to accompany a journey from one part of life to the next.  Or from one LIFE to the next – not literally, instead meaning a change so significant that it feels like you’re leaving your old life behind, but your new life is so promising that you don’t really mind.

“Lost Heaven” has an intense but also heavy sound.  Not depressing exactly, but certainly melancholy.  The lyrics suggest something not just “lost”, but never found in the first place, that being Heaven, or really, perfection.  When I hear this, I think of being caught between two choices, struggling to figure out which one will lead you to those perfect dreams, while not realizing that either choice will bring you both hardship and joy, and it’s what you do with it that’s important, not the choice itself.  I REALLY love this one line: “The dream I reached out for and clutched in my hand is a softly crumbling castle of sand.”  That’s just fantastic.  This song also has a pretty sweet guitar solo near the end!

(Yes, the video for “Link” does appear to be someone playing DDR or something to the song.  It was the only even decent non-live video of this song that I could find!)

-Saito S

Early Valocea CC3 map!

Yeesh, I’ve been crazy busy lately.  Been tired a lot, too.  I need to get more sleep on weeknights.  X_x

Anyway.  As the title suggests, I have a little something to show off in this post.  Been working with CC3 to create a not-ugly Valocea map (as opposed to the “very ugly” maps I made in Gimp, which were only ever meant to be preliminary, an easy way to just freehand draw stuff until I had a general idea of Valocea’s landmass and region shapes that I liked.  Ultimately moving over to CC3 has been part of the plan pretty much since day 1).  So, I’ve been working on it fairly regularly over the past few weeks when I have the time, and this is what it looks like so far!

Warning- this file is huge!  The resolution is 6000x3715.

Warning- this file is huge! The resolution is 6000×3715.

Continue reading