Boozy Travels with Rivers

First – a thank you!

A special thanks to Seven who came up with the initial idea to have a blog segment about different drinks from different places! To celebrate that great idea the first drink is Seven’s favorite – the Moscow Mule. Aside from being a delicious drink a key selling factor for Seven is the copper mugs they’re served in. I have to agree – those mugs are fabulous. Not only are they aesthetic but the temperature conduction of the copper makes your drink feel extra cold and therefore extra delicious all while looking about as cool as the contents. 

These drinks are super common and variations are available almost anywhere you go but to make the OG at home is simple…a long as you have the copper mug! Accept no substitutes!

Moscow Mule

    1.5 oz vodka

    4 oz ginger beer

    3 lime wedges

Combine vodka, ginger beer and 2 lime wedges in a copper mug and stir. Garnish with additional lime wedge. 

And now to a land far, far away…

Next we’re gonna travel overseas to Belgium! WT has a favorite cocktail there that reminds me of something that would be served in Florida. The Belgian Orange Blossom cocktail comes from Brussels – a mellowed out, smooth drink that WT describes as a not too sweet orange hard candy. This is her go-to when heading out on the town with friends, but as the DD she orders the virgin option also included below. 

Ready for a crazy alcohol fact about Belgium? You are required by law to keep a disposable breathalyzer in your vehicle at all times. They’re sold for around $5 in auto parts stores. 

Belgian Orange Blossom Cocktail

    3 thin slices of orange (peel on)

    2 teaspoons almond syrup

    2 oz. gin [or for a virgin option replace with 2 oz. lemon lime soda]

    1 oz. pink grapefruit juice

    1/2 oz. lemonade

    1 oz. seltzer water

    2 dashes bitters

Using a tablespoon, lightly crush the orange slices in a tall glass. Do not mash the oranges; just crush them enough to release a bit of juice.

Add 1/3 cup ice to the cup, fill with the remaining ingredients, and then stir lightly, keeping the orange slices at the bottom of the glass. 

According to WT, in the clubs they sometimes decorate the glass with candied orange slices and some fresh orange wedges. Sometimes they use other fruits to make it pop or floral sprigs. 

I can’t lie. I think I’m going to have to try this one at home as soon as possible.

Its all in the name…

A random drink with a name that gives pause

We all know at least one drink with a crazy name that makes you wonder. Every post will feature one random drink with a more random name. This time its A Short Trip to Hell. 

A Short Trip to Hell

    2 oz of peach schnapps

    2 oz of strawberry schnapps

    2 oz of wild berry schnapps

    1 oz of jagermeister

    8 oz of Red Bull energy drink

Shake Red Bull, peach, strawberry, and wild berry schnapps in a cocktail shaker with ice. Strain into glass. Then put Jagermeister into shot glass. Drop in the shot and drink.

Had any of these drinks? Love em? Hate em? Comment below! And if you have a favorite drink that you’d like to share I’d love to hear from you and feature it on the next post! 

Hang Around: SOA

Interviews with Tatiana

Hi guys! Welcome to the brand new SOA section of the blog. Here I will feature a player who has a SOA character and interview them. Rutger is our lucky June feature. Please leave a comment below if you wish. I appreciate the feedback.

1.) What year was it when you were introduced to SOA rp? Who introduced you and what room/site location was it at?

I believe it was 2011 when I played in my very first SoA room it was on another site, and to be honest I don’t remember the name of the room it opened and closed within a couple weeks but I kept the character and ended up going back with the same friend to play in a Vegas theme room.

2.) Who was your very first SOA character back then? Do you still rp him today?

Ryan O’Connell was my first SoA character, I have made a few since then. I played Ryan up until a couple of years ago when I closed my room.

3.) Did you ever watch the TV series ‘Sons of Anarchy’ before rping SOA? What do you think of the series? Did it in any way influence your rping in SOA?

I had not seen the show before and most of the time that I role played SoA. I did watch the first 4 seasons about a year or a little more before I closed my room up though I think it had a bit of influence on other players who watched it before that.

4.) Please give us a run down on each SOA rooms you owned, and what happened to them.

There was Anarchy Vegas which I took over when the original owner left on line, After I took it off site and brought the room to Revo, I decided to move the club as well and brought in the fictional town of Prophecy AZ, to maintain the close proximity to Vegas while coming into their own.

5.) Now it is time to feature your character, Ryan. Tell us everything about him. What happened to Ryan?

As Ryan started out originally as a nomad and ended up in California as a Sgt at Arms in a short lived SoA room on another site. That room closed rather abruptly so the character was in limbo for awhile then had a rebirth of sorts in Vegas which sets his saga as follows. Ryan was Vegas born and raised though when he came of age and after prospecting into Vegas he spent a time traveling and working with other clubs before returning to Vegas where he would eventually become VP and then President of the Vegas charter. Of course in the years following there were a few loves and many many losses for that particular character, including the love of his life and his father in the same night. A high profile political incident drew attention to the charter and they moved out of Vegas to the less contested Prophecy Arizona. More love, more loss, and division in the club sent the club lifer packing to the east coast. Razor says he heard he opened a custom bike shop somewhere in Jersey.

6.) What rp made you feel really good about playing Ryan? It doesn’t have to be your favourite, but one that you were pleased as cheese about. Maybe you should of received an award for.

That one is hard to pin down because I have been in so many amazing role plays with so many talented role players over the course of that characters existence, from start to finish.

7.) What rp do you wish you could go over and re-do as Ryan?

Well there are always moments in role play.. or entire role plays that fall flat. It happens. All you can do is steer into the skid and roll with it.

8.) Okay now your fave rp moment as Ryan. A few sentences will do.

You’re going to have to refer to #6 for this one. Again so many unbelievable stories were told in my time with this character.

9.) Now let’s talk about your other character Razor. Where did he come from?

Eric (Razor) started out as an npc, just some biker that watched the gate with his brother. He is one I have kept around for play, though that much role play hasn’t been done with him in the recent months.

10.) You use Norman Reedus for Ryan, and Jason Momoa for Razor. Why did you pick these celebs? Were they the hot AF ones at the moment or did ‘The Walking Dead’ and ‘Aquaman’ have a big influence on you?

I started using Norman Reedus before I started watching the walking dead actually, or really paying attention at the time. I just thought he was more real looking. I picked Jason Momoa for Razor because he was big, Razor started out as an npc gate guard but kind of grew over the years to full character status along with Dooley.

11.) Razor is a big guy. Is he violent or aggressive in any way? Do others who interact with him, fear him?

Razor has a very violent and aggressive streak, though it takes a lot to get him there. He is kind of like a volcano. I think there have been times in role play where he has scared other characters or perhaps incited something in them that scared that character.

12.) Let’s talk about the rally which takes place in July. Will Razor be attending? What sort of activities would he be participating in?

Razor I am sure will be in attendance. I am hearing whispers of some new activities, so I am excited to see what is up there. There’s always plenty to keep busy with at rally time. I know that kitten works really extensively every year to put things together for the event, and it is always a good time.

13.) If you could add any activity to the rally for everyone to participate in, something new, what would it be?

I’d like to see some kind of sparring event.

14.) What advice would you give to someone who wants to try out SOA rp but is hesitating?

Just get in there and play. There’s a lot of people that will give you advice but its modern day and we have all watched TV. Create a character and make it yours.

15.) What tips would you give to someone who is thinking about becoming a SOA room leader?

If I am being completely honest, its kind of a pain in the ass. People expect a lot more from you than role play. Plus there are a lot of good rooms out there already so it takes a lot of effort to keep the room interesting enough to gain traffic, so there’s that. But that is probably any section. It’s much better to open a room with some friends that will back you up when people start bitching. Yeah. That’s my tip. Bring your own backup.

16.) Your SOA room, Prophecy was a fictional town, do you prefer to create your own locations?

Personally I prefer it yes. Known towns are OK but they are.. known, so that creates the need to research of you don’t know the city all that well. With a created locale , you make it what you want.

17.) You closed Prophecy a while back. would you consider re-opening it or starting a new SOA room?

Likely not any time soon, there are an awful lot of rooms already there that need role play.

18.) A big time move producer wants to make a film out of one of your SOA chars, Ryan or Razor. All based on events you rp’ed playing them. Who would bring in the most money at the box office?

Razor I think would be a better box office draw. Him and Dooley running the laundry soap heist would become a classic a la Smokey and the Bandit.

19.) Besides role-playing, what else do you enjoy partaking in?

I enjoy fishing, camping, watching movies, art … pina coladas, and getting caught in the rain.

20.) Final question, whatever happened to Ryan’s missing fingers?

They grew up and became finger guns.

That’s all, folks! Next month I will feature kitten and will talk about her hot AF character, Tank, and the upcoming rally, and Tank again, and maybe more about the rally.

See ya!

~ Tatiana

New Tricks!

Tutorial by Kitten

A trick! A tip!

With photoshop, we all love our filters. Go to any design event where there’s parameters put in place and one is telling the designer they cannot use any filters, and you’re gonna hear bitching and moaning.

Photoshop is always updating, and with the most recent updates, some of our filters from the older versions don’t work on the newer version. One in particular, EdgesFX, was a cool filter that allowed you to create an edging within the avatar. You could choose different colors and work with that, but the most popular was a white thin line to give an almost pop/ethereal look.

Sadly, the newer version of PS doesn’t accept it as the filter hasn’t been updated. Well here is a tip/trick for those interested in recreating that look:

Once your av is set for the filtering process, you’re going to combine all the layers into one layer (create a new blank layer on top, have that layer selected and on your keyboard press together alt+ctrl+shift and E). You’ll see this combines them all to that one layer but leaves you the individual layers below (that gives you a chance if you don’t like the end result to delete the combined and work on the other layers).

Duplicate that combined layer (you can right click and select ‘duplicate image’ or on your keyboard ctrl+j). This creates of course a duplicate of the combined image and this is what you’ll be working on for this effect.

Go to Filter—>Stylize—>Find Edges and select. Your image is gonna look all funky, don’t worry!

Now you’re going to want to do this no matter if the image is already b&w or not. Image—>Adjustments—>Desaturate.

Next again go to Image—>Adjustments—>Invert. That will as you can see, invert the image so the lines are white.

The last step is to go to your layers window and set the image to ‘soft light’ or ‘overlay’ depending on how much you want the lines to “pop” and adjust the opacity in the range of 20 – 30%.

And there you have it! Just complete all your filtering/colorings and font after with the other combined layer, keeping our duplicated/edges one on top!

If there’s any other tricks or tips you’d like to learn, I have tutorials posted on DCD and will continue contributing to Evolution Theory!

That’s Just British…

Wit and Wisdom from Across the Pond…

Written by Russ

So sadly I had big plans for the next blog. I was all set to take part in the cheese roll this month. But Corona put pay to that, so that’s a blog for next year, so this is an emergency blog looking at another idea i have of talking about British myths and folklore. Let me know what you think, or if there are any myths etc you’d like me to talk about!

St George’s Day

I love a good myth. The UK is full of them. I was addicted to Robin Hood and fascinated by the nights of the Round Table. But perhaps the most iconic myth in the UK, is that of St George. It was St George’s day on the 23rd April and it’s not the same as Saint Patricks day. It is now pretty contentious a day due to the Nationalistic Jingo,  using it to champion being British. Given most of us our descended from Saxons who invaded the country, I love the absurdity in all of this. I’m also descended from French and Irish Ancestry, so the sort of prick the Nationalist would love. It’s all a bit Harry Potter and Prueblood/mudblood.  But I like a myth, so lets break it down.

So little is know of George, other than it is believe he was a Roman Officer who died in AD 303. He was tortured to deny his faith in Christ and his refusal to do so lead to him losing his head and as a result being made a Saint, Britain is one of a few Countries along with Georgia to claim him as our Patron Saint.

So his most famous story, I’m sad to say is bollocks. And not just because he slayed a dragon, I’d love Dragons to be real. No the biggest problem is its historically unlikely he ever visited Britain. He was know in Britain though. The dragon in medieval times represented the devil. Anyway from about the 12th Century a story started to develop that:

He was made the Patron Saint by King Edward III when the order of the Garter (stop sniggering back there) was formed and then Shakespeare immortalized him with the line “Cry God for Harry, England and St George” in Henry V at the Battle of Agincourt.

So the story is basically thus:

A town was being terrorized by a dragon. George heard of this and travelled to Libya (the story got retconned to be in Uffington Berkshire…) Where he was told by a old man that the dragon demanded the sacrifice of a beautiful maiden and it seemed much like toilet paper now, they were becoming hard to come by. Only the Kings daughter was left and was due for sacrifice the next day. George set out, persuaded the Princess to turn back from her journey to the Dragon.

From there a battle took place, George hurled his spear at the Dragon but it was no match for the sheer scales of the Dragon and Shattered. Falling from his horse he landed under a Enchanted Orange tree which protected him from the Dragons venomous breath. Finally he found a weak point and drove his sword under the wing of the Dragon which fell dead.

So there you have it, something to me that seems very British, A saint who never visited this country. It’s still a bizarre day here now, not really celebrated without feeling awkward about it, unlike the Irish who most of us seem to pretend to be on there saints day! In fact this is a pretty dull story to build you nationalism on, plenty of plot holes, cliches and a dull narrative. But parts of Britain take it really seriously.

I’m no expert but the point of a blog is to toss out an opinion isn’t it so lets give this myth 5/10 but bump it to 7/10 for its elevated status in the UK. If people like this idea, I might toss up a Blog on another Myth next time. IF not Give me dumb British stuff you want to hear about.

Quarter-Circle Forward

Gaming reviews by Grey

My Friend Pedro Review

How do I even begin to review My Friend Pedro?

Well, I suppose by describing it. The game is a stylish side-scrolling shooter, with a weird sense of humor and an intense focus on style, and looking good killing dudes as much as the killing itself. You begin on a slab, with amnesia and apparently about to be chopped up for meat. Escape, turns into revenge, and in no time you’re on your way, shooting a bloody swathe through rooftops and city streets, to construction sites, to sewers, the depths of your own insane mind, and..somehow, some way, into the internet itself…?

Your nameless protagonist (You aren’t Pedro. Pedro is a talking banana. Yes that’s all the context I’m giving you.) is given many techniques with which to stylishly dispatch of those in his way, from dual-wielding pistols or submachine guns, which can be used to independently target multiple enemies, to sliding on ziplines, swinging across chasms, and dodging bullets the whole way. After each level you’ll be graded on performance and skill, and the game will even pull a clip of your best for showoff purposes. You’re encouraged to retry, to do better, to score higher. Maybe you could have pulled off that one part better, swinging on a cable upside down shooting 2 guys below, before crashing through a window, dodging the next guy’s fire, shotgunning him in the face while still flipping through the air. There’s always room for improvement, right?

There are a total of 40 levels over 5 chapters, not a lengthy game by any means. I completed the story over the course of a single evening, but I did find myself replaying at least a few levels that stood out to me as favorites, and as I said, with the incentive to improve and perform better, some may get a bit of replay value out of it, but it’s not exactly something you’ll come back to over and over again for weeks. It’s fun, challenging, and hilarious. I got it as part of a bundle, and probably wouldn’t spend the full price of $20 on it, given the overall lack of content, but when the steam sales roll around, If the price is right though, I’d say it’s worth grabbing and banging through on a slow afternoon.

I now leave you with images presented without context.

Quarter-Circle Forward

Gaming reviews by Grey

Final Fantasy VII Remake Review

Well, after about 5 years of development, another decade of rumors behind that, and 23 years overall since the original release, Final Fantasy VII Remake is finally among us. FFVII was, no, still is, one of the most beloved games of all time, for a number of reasons, and fans have been clamoring for years for a retelling of the story that brings it’s immensely dated visuals into the modern age. Did Square Enix deliver?

Well, let’s get the easy stuff out of the way. The game, overall, is gorgeous. From the original, to the remaster, Crisis Core, and even Advent Children, FFVII has never looked better. Hair and skin look fantastic, even during closeups. Cinematics are gorgeous, the effects and environments are mostly spectacular. By mostly, I should point out that I did notice some subpar textures in the environments here and there, but far from anything gamebreaking. It could very well be due to me playing on a regular PS4 instead of a PS4 Pro. Those of you with Pros reach out and let me know if you noticed anything of the sort.

Final Fantasy VII’s music is just as iconic as the rest of the game is, and the original soundtrack was done great justice here. In addition to new compositions of the old favorite’s you’d expect, many signature pieces received several new renditions to be used in various points of the game, for example the jukeboxes scattered throughout, where music discs can be found and played featuring some of those old tunes done in various styles, many of which I wouldn’t have ever expected. In short, this soundtrack slaps. HARD. There are a handful of entirely new pieces as well, and they even wrote a new song to serve as the remake’s theme, a very nice song that fits in with the rest easily and has been stuck in my head for the past few days now. 

When details of FFVIIR began to surface, many people expressed doubt, to say the least, in the decision to go with a more action based form of combat. I can now say it was the right decision. While I love the more classic, turn-based style of combat, an action based system fits much better with the storytelling being done here. The classic mode offers something close to the old style, almost as a sort of consolation prize to those adverse to change, but I highly suggest you go in playing on normal mode. It’s a challenging game, Not one I would call overly difficult, but not a game you can faceroll your way through, either. Thoughtful use of positioning and character switching are just as important as weapon and materia loadouts are. Each character has some unique mechanic to make them play different enough to be useful in different situations, and fun to play in their own right, whether it be Cloud’s immensely useful and satisfying counter-heavy Punisher stance,  Barrett’s long range mastery, Tifa’s hard-hitting combos, or Aerith’s powerful affinity for magic.

The story is a tricky one. I imagine almost everyone with interest in this game has played through the original at least once, so you pretty much know what to expect, but without spoiling anything, I can say that this is more than a simple A to Z retelling. S-E is taking full advantage of the multi-part nature of this remake to greatly expand on FFVII’s story, stretching what was originally 6ish hours of game into just under 45 by the time I was finished, without making it feel padded with fluff. The story as presented felt complete on its own merits, even knowing there’s more to come. They’ve definitely, in my mind, alleviated any worries of being nickel-and-dimed to death over a series of episodic half-games. They packed plenty of story and gameplay into this thing and gained my confidence for the series ongoing.

The story wouldn’t hold up without voice acting to carry it, and carry it they did. Pretty much the entire voice cast was superb. From Cloud’s thinly veiled, nihilistic snark, to Aerith’s infectious enthusiasm and zest for life, everyone was represented beautifully. Even characters that had lesser roles in the original but expanded on here became favorites in their own right. The interactions between characters, their dialogue, their banter during and after battle, all injected a heaping serving of personality into characters we’d mostly only ever read on screen before, and breathed new life into some of those classic scenes. Everyone was cast perfectly and at least to me, sounds exactly like they sounded in my head 23 years ago.

Overall, to answer my earlier question, I’d give an emphatic yes, Square Enix most definitely delivered on this. I wasn’t sure what exactly to expect, all I had going in was hope. Hope that this remake was getting the treatment it deserved. Those hopes were met handily, those nagging doubts assuaged. Well played, gents…Ya done good. Now get cracking on the next one.

(I haven’t really decided if I’m gonna be actually be scoring these or what. For now I’m sticking with “is the game good or is the game bad”)

That’s Just British…[by Russ]

Wit and Wisdom from Across the Pond

So British, or how I learnt to stop worrying and love America

I’m going to level with you Revo. I love America. I’ve been fascinated by your country since I studied History. I was hooked by Uni when I read a module on the Making of Modern America. Now Rivers rubs Disneyworld and Epcot in my face frequently like it’s the Holy Grail – I have to get to Florida one day. I need it, all of it. It’s so unbritish – It’s brash, in your face, it knows exactly what it is and doesn’t give a fuck. It’s everything as a people us Brits aren’t. (note to the Bloginista of course Florida would be awesome to give you a squeeze too)

I’m sorry to say to my friends from the USA but you get a bad rep sometimes. You to us Brits seem loud, in your face, you don’t give a fuck what people think of you and you know just what you are. But god dammit I love your country and I’ve been trying to put my finger on why. Then Harley shared an article with me and a line stuck out:

Americans are supposed to be nicer than us, and most are.

See if you want to make a Brit uncomfortable – Be nice to him. We hate that. We can’t take a compliment. We are coy with emotions, hiding behind humour. But the US, often I’ll be told by people they love me, and it’s scary, you say it so easily. What’s more scary is you mean it. For me to say it (and ask people who know me how much of a softee I am) I need weeks of build-up, social awkwardness and enough beer to tranquilize an elephant.

I wish we expressed and were as honest to ourselves as you were. And these are of course generalizations. But let me give you an example, elsewhere on this site: Design 101. I hated it and loved it. See everyone is so blaze about putting yourself out there, asking for help and advice. Do you know how hard that is for a Brit? Splitting the atom seems easier and less risky. Have someone critique me? No thank you. And yet you’re bloody rubbing off on me, as I’ve started trying it. I asked Kitten to feedback on something, and I admit I, my toes curled but I did. Honestly we just aren’t good with emotions.

And compliments? Ugh – no thank you. I’ve told you all time and time and time again I hate it, I don’t know how to deal with it. And yet you won’t give up. Honestly, we are a nation of self-depreciation and jokes. We are at our best when it’s hopeless. We celebrate our failures the most. Don’t believe me Dunkirk. So praise us we’ll hate it.

But I love this about us, honestly the gallows humour I have all the time in the world for it. I think our humour is lost on other nations sometimes, but if you cannot take your selves too seriously we will love you for it.

I could go on but this is long already so I might make this a two-parter if people like it. See being British again, self-loathing, we hate all we do. It’s guild from empire building I think. I’m always down on my avs, my rp etc and even what you all thing of me. And like I said you are all so patient and kind. In truth your what I think we’d like to be.

Quarter-Circle Forward

Gaming reviews by Grey

Howdy ho, fellow quarantinos!

So, when the idea of me writing about games for this blog was put to me I paused, for lack of ideas. it’s been a little while since I bought a lot of new games, due to a combination of circumstances and well, there not being as much coming out that I wanted to buy right away. and a lot of the upcoming stuff I did have planned getting delayed (Cyberpunk come baaaaack q.q) But, then I realized, a lot of us probably aren’t buying much new right now anyway, right? I mean, there’s Final Fantasy VII Remake (I just got my copy the morning I wrote this, so that one’s coming), but outside of that, if you guys are anything like me, the gamers among you have been either playing a few old favorites, or using the extra time to catch up on a backlog of unplayed games. So, what I’m going to do, for my inaugural outing at this, is highlight a handful of games that have gotten me through this long, otherwise boring time. So as a first go at this I present…Games to Quarantine By! First off:

Divinity: Original Sin 2

With the hype train underway for Baldur’s Gate 3, I felt the urge to go back to the game that likely got developer Larian Studios the job. D: OS2 is one of the best RPGs I’ve ever played. Fantastic characters, story, and writing, a fantastic combat system, tons of replayability. I’ve definitely started way more games of this than I’ve finished, mainly because by the time I start getting anywhere, I get all sorts of ideas for new character builds and just have to start all over to try them. It even has a DM mode where players can create their own campaigns to run their friends through. I haven’t tried it personally, as it seems like quite a bit of work..but I’ve seen what people have produced with it and the possibilities are very impressive indeed. 

The game was clearly made with the mindset of a developer that -wanted- to make a D&D game but didn’t have the license. I can’t wait to see what they do now that they have it. 

Final Fantasy XIV

Speaking of Final Fantasy…Now, I’ve been hard-pressed to find a good single-player entry in this series since 10. 12 was more so-so than anything. 13 and its sequels were lol-worthy, and 15? ….Well…15 was weird, and I’ve never figured out whether that was in a good or bad way. Either way, I never finished it.

The MMOs out of the bunch however, 11 and 14, have been high points despite the initial controversy of an online FF. 14 in particular, after a catastrophic launch back in 2010, has bounced back to become something I can confidently and without hesitation call the best MMO I’ve ever played. It’s pulled off an ongoing, in depth story in ways few online games can claim. One that -feels- like a Final Fantasy story that can hang with the best of them, despite its MMO nature, and at the same time frequently pays loving homage to the games that came before in a mix of overt and subtle ways. I briefly played during the aforementioned dumpster fire of a launch and quickly wrote it off as another chapter in what at the time was a steep decline for the series, but the game’s 2013 relaunch garnered such positive press I had to give it a shot, and I havent looked back since. I’ve long said that getting immersed in a good MMO, despite its monthly cost, actually saves me money in the long run, as if it pulls me in enough, I find myself buying fewer games. With its vast array of things to see and do, this game has definitely lived up to that.

No Man’s Sky

From one video game redemption story, to another. NMS is another game that had a disastrous launch sure to doom its developers to the hall of shame, only to see it rise up and become far more than even expected. No Man’s Sky released in 2016 in a state that can only be described as a shall of what was promised. after 3 years of hype, the game that released was a joke. The basics of what could have and should have been a fun, vast game full of exploration and adventure in a massive universe, instead a textbook case in disappointment and broken promises. Most stories of its sort usually end with the game and its developer disappearing forever, but Hello Games didn’t stop there. They swallowed their pride, got to work, and over the following months and years released update after update, adding not only the features that were promised but went far beyond that. Now, we have a game where you and your friends can explore space, build bases, discover ancient alien civilizations, command a starship, have outer space dogfights, craft, and as of the most recent update, pilot mechs. This game should be dead, but instead, it’s one I keep coming back to.

The Youtube channel Internet Historian did a fantastic video about the game’s hype, release, shame, and redemption. It’s long, but if you have any interest in the industry, it’s worth watching. Plus the guy’s hilarious.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

It’s…’s Mario Kart.  I don’t know what else anyone else needs for me to say. It’s effing Mario Kart. BUT, not just any Mario Kart. Mario Kart 8, after being one of the best titles among an underrated Wii U library, was ported to the Switch as a definitive, complete edition that I can most definitely call the ultimate Mario Kart game. A fantastic collection of racers and tracks both old and new, Probably the tightest, most responsive controls I’ve felt in the series as a whole, a great soundtrack including fantastic arrangements of classic tunes from the series, and the battle mode that the Wii U version was sorely lacking. The first year of the Switch’s release was probably one of the best first years a new console could dream of having. But in spite of an instant classic like Breath of the Wild, and the best Mario game since Sunshine, even with the later release of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, it was a Wii U port that got, and probably still continues to get the vast majority of my playtime on the Switch.

The Division 2

When the first Division came out, I hated it. I bought it to play with friends because they had it, but I quickly realized that I did not like it. At all. Character movement felt rough and unresponsive, gunfights were unfun, enemies only felt challenging in the sense of being bullet sponges, there to play a war of attrition, their HP versus yours. The map, while graphically beautiful and intricately detailed, was not fun, interesting, or rewarding to explore. Progression offered me no incentive. Needless to say, I didn’t play it for long. So naturally, I was hesitant to get into The Division 2 when it came along. But then, after positive word of mouth, I gave it a shot, and man. It was night and day. Every single complaint I had had been addressed. The game is fun. My character moves like a human being instead of a sentient bathtub with a gun duct taped to it. gunfights are more dynamic, challenging, and enjoyable, with enemies that pose a genuine challenge because of the things they do, rather than because they can simply take more than I can. I generally don’t pay attention to story in these looter shooters and even that was far more enjoyable, even if it’s often twisty for the sake of simply being twisty to the point of hilarity (“Ha HA! You thought it was the shadow government that was behind this but it was actually the shadow that betrayed the shadow government to become its own shadow!”).

The recently released “Warlords of New York” Expansion fixes what was my only remaining complaint: Progression. The base game as it was, was a touch better than the first game, but with the expansion, they’ve introduced not only new ways to advance your character beyond the level cap, but ongoing activities and updates that add new objectives and rewards to keep you coming back even once you’re kitted out.

I’ve messed with a few other games during these long weeks of course..anyone that knows me knows the tales of my extensive Steam library. I could go on forever, but as of late those have probably been my primary go-to’s to pass the time. I’d love to hear what you guys have been playing!

I’m working out how I wanna do this. Do I wanna review newer games? Older ones? A mix of the two? Maybe I’ll do more entries like this, where I highlight a handful of certain titles as suggestions or just brief opinions.I’ve also had all sorts of other ideas that I’ve toyed with but havent really put a ton of thought into. May or may not. I considered streaming, but I don’t think I’m talkative enough to keep that entertaining. Maybe something to expand on the gaming section in our ReVo discord channel, somewhere we can exchange tags, set up some play, etc. I think I’ll just keep it simple for now and just write about games I like, but if anyone has ideas, suggestions, wants to hear what I think about a certain thing for some weird reason, You guys know where to find me, let me know!

Design 101

Composed by Rivers with Kitten, Rutger and Addiction

Design is a huge element in our community and there are so many people branching out and trying to get started. I only started about a year ago so I still consider myself a new designer. I have definitely been taught some amazing tricks by some amazing friends but starting out was hard. Anybody else beat their heads against the wall erasing? Anybody? No? How about ghost people? No? Don’t lie. I know what you did.

In the last few months I’ve been brave enough to start asking people how they did what they did. Some people have been cool enough to screen share with me and give me step by steps and some had tutorials that they sent me. I got over the fear of asking ‘stupid questions’ (for the record, I totally just asked kitten a stupid question YESTERDAY) and I got over the fear of having my work critiqued (anybody ever have Addiction put their av on his big screen? fml) and I started really paying attention to artists that have a style that speaks to me (Rutger is always hearing me gush on his work!). What I realized in getting ‘brave’ and talking to people in the design community is that I should have done this a LONG time ago. I could have saved myself so much frustration. I could be further along than I am. I realized also that the resources out there for new designers are ABUNDANT. Don’t know how to use them? Its cool – there are so many people that are willing to help.

I get the fear but I wanted to help break the ice for new designers because as much as I get the fear – I really get the pain of trying to navigate that software blindly and the thrill and frustration of finally being told or shown something that you needed to know months ago. So my idea here was to get together with some of my favorite designers, each with very different styles and approaches, and to ask them a few questions geared towards beginners for advice to help those getting started go on and start!

Here. We. Go!

[1] What is the most essential skill that people new to design should master when starting out?

Addiction: This one is tough, but for me, I think its masking. Some still erase. Or completely cut out, but there’s something about learning to put images together smoothly and making a transition that masking really helps. Its the foundation of it all, and its really easy to undo.

Rutger: I know this sounds funnny but I’ve learned to examine my images from all sides of my screen as I am doing them. That way theres no excess shit everyone can see that you haven’t meant to be on the image. I don’t know if thats a skill.

Kitten: Accept criticim. not everyone is going to like your work, and someone is always going to have a “suggestion”. You can either take it for what it is, sometimes it’s great information from people who know what they’re talking about, or it’s bullshit from people who don’t. It’s up to you in how you interpret it, but you need to be able to take it and not freak out. Even some of the greatest artists in the world started out drawing stick figures.

[2] What are resources that every designer needs to have in their arsenal?

Addiction: Textures. Fonts. Styles. You need em all, but don’t have to go crazy. Most I know have thousands of everything but only use a few. That’s ok, it happens.

Rutger: I was lucky enough to acquire the Nix collection when google was still giving it away for free. Also good quality stock and textures. There’s a ton of great artists on Revo, and DCD and TAG that offer up some great ones. Also a resource I guess would be a good design community with the exchange of ideas and resources.

Kitten: A solid folder of stock images or textures. And an understanding of how to use them. Colorings can come at a later time but you’re building your graphics with your images first.

[3] What are the best ways for new designers to expand and improve their skills?

Addiction: Practice, practice, practice. Talk with others. Do tutorials. Get feedback. Be open to constructive criticism. Also – don’t cut yourself off from unfamiliar territory. Don’t turn down design requests. Try everything.

Rutger: I found that doing tutorials helped. Not only teaching new styles and ways of making the image beyond that it proved to help in learning the program itself. Also sometimes I just fuck around with images in PS until I have some kind if blend that I like. Remember if you like it who gives a fuck what anyone else thinks of it.

Kitten: Find designers you like and talk to them about their work. Study their work, do they use a lot of textures? Is there a specific gradient they lean towards? How is their composition differ from this designer? Check out tutorials on design board and deviantart and youtube. Play around in photoshop. If you see someone wearing a design you’re interested in, ask them about it… basically just start a dialogue.

[4] What are the most common mistakes you see from new designers?

Addiction: Erasing/masking. Everyone has their own way and art is subjective, but a lot of times you see a model that’s not cropped or cut out very well, has thick lines around it, and it just looks really off. Also, fonting, but that’s not something relative to new designers, hell I still mess that up too.

Rutger: I think one of the more common mistakes I see is people using bad quality pictures, rather they already are bad quality or were too small and streetched and pixelated. a bad quality model will kill an av

Kitten: Trusting your buddies to give you an honest opinion. I’m sorry honey. But odds are they’re blowing smoke up your ass when they’re gushing over your latest work when you’re first starting out. So you’re gonna be handing out designs with textures that make your model look like a burn victim, the pose is going to be centered in a way that the model doesn’t look sexy but rather like she’s constipated and trying to squat and get it out.. and they’re just really excited and happy for you and it’s the best EVER!!!!!hearts and flowers and rainbows If you’re that friend and you’re reading this. Don’t be that friend. You’re a jerk. Be honest and tell them that they need to get advice from someone that’s not bias.

[5] What key advice would you give to people just getting started?

Addiction: Don’t give up. Its frustrating, and don’t beat yourself up comparing yourself to others. Its for fun and enjoyment. Ask questions. Google. Look stuff up. Don’t be afraid of making something you might think is ‘bad’ its the only way to get better.

Rutger: Don’t be too hard on yourself. It’s cool that you’re trying to learn and don’t be afraid to ask someone you don’t know even if you think it’s too easy.

Kitten: Hey look it’s gonna be a repeating thing here… Don’t give up.. don’t be hard on yourself.. we all struggled in the beginning. We all struggle now. There’s shit I see designers do that I’m like “you asshole.. how the fuck did you do that?” but it’s all about keep on learning. No one is the best. No one knows everything. We’re all learning and we’re all here to help. If you have questions, just ask. If the person doesn’t want to answer.. fuck them and ask someone else.

There you have it! A big shout out and thank you to Addiction, Rutger and Kitten for helping me out with this. I hope it was helpful to somebody out there.

I’d love to hear some feedback on other common struggles when designing and other help for those getting started. Reply below!

The Sound of Madness [by DJ Addiction]

A Glimpse Inside the DJ Booth

The Pregame Warmup.

Sounds kind of weird, right? But most of us Deejays have one. What is it, what does it do? Exactly what it sounds like. Its the little rituals that we go through before we go on air. I’m not exactly talking about blood sacrifices (though this apparently works in a pinch if your tech isn’t working right), but the little odd quirks that we use to get through the anxiety and uncertainty of our show. Fears of public speaking, crowds, unsure if people are gonna like your music, or like what you have to say, if your flow is right, etc etc. There’s alot going on!

But, I know what you’re thinking. “What anxiety!? Most of you have been doing this for years! It should be easy. You’re Deejays, social people, used to entertaining the masses!”

Truth is, alot of us are social introverts (imagine that on the internet!), and that little bit of a social extrovert doesn’t come out without a kick in the pants and usually only at night and for so long. You have to get over the hump, so to speak. For some, its as easy as taking a deep breath, maybe a stiff drink (or 2, minimum), or listening to a few ‘pump you up’ songs before you go on to get into the flow. I asked some of our Deejays to share some of their own pregame rituals to offer a little bit of better understanding of how this all works, and how they get going.

DJ Kitten:
Go pee ( in the bathroom of course).. but I always make sure that I do that before I go on first so I’m not startled.

Listen to whatever song is “speaking” to me that day. As a floater what song made me want to jump on air. I’ll listen to that a few times.

DJ Rivers:
I charge all my shit >.> (this is likely untrue, or the only time she does)

I have a pregame playlist. I set up the zen zone in my living room, make a drink, and brace for my inevitable tech fail. i have one tech catastrophe during every show. i angered the radio gods somewhere.

I chicken out of talking at least three times

DJ Wildthing:
First thing.. I test my headset and mic volumes to make sure its working.  I have had instances where if I don’t its wtf mode.

I get my cherry coke zero and do five minutes of bends and stretches since I am in the chair from anywhere from 3-6 hours depending on the night.

I then sit here for 30 minutes cranking my ZONE music which is often Ozzy, Sixx AM, or Lordi to get me pumping… the last song I listen to is always Avril.. Head Above Water currently… because it helps me focus and says hey Girl you got this…. and then it is go time.

DJ Russ:
I get nervous so I pee, a lot.

I checked my music over and over, had I picked music people would know, or if they didn’t know like. I stretch and move about a bit and get myself to a place i’m going to be comfortable to blab on air. I test my kit a few times… and then again…

Like Kitten I play the music to get in the headspace and remind myself as nervous as I am, I love playing music and sharing a bit of myself and that for reasons you lot like my accent so that if all else fails will carry me through.

Then i hit play to go live and immediately need to pee again.

DJ Curbside Prophet:
I hadn’t really thought about it until you asked honestly. I always make sure I go to the bathroom, have a drink(or coffee) on hand, I make sure all the animals are out of my room and close my door that has the ON AIR sign that my sister made me.

So as you can see there is quite the variety, and that nerves can and will often do attempt to get the better of all of us. It does for me too! I’ve had my own pre-game ritual for almost a decade and it usually never changes. Though this has been a well kept secret (jokingly) for some time, it really is because of the nerves (I hate public speaking until I’m comfortable). Many have theorized its been anything from rubbing one out to sacrificing baby goats, its much more mundane then that. I start crafting a show idea or setlist the week before. The day of I start putting together a playlist that covers the entire three hours, hours in advance. Throughout the day I’ll re-arrange it numerous times as the energy hits me. Right before the show, I include one pump up song that always goes before my opening. I get up, take a drink, go outside, sit in the chill air for a few with my dogs and have a smoke, wash my face (super cold water), go BACK outside for a few, stare up at the stars, then close my eyes and think about anything other then the show, and when I open them, the switch goes off. Its go time. I do the mmmbop walk back into the house, have another drink (2, minimum), pee, wash my face again, then set down and start the show.

So there you have it for this week. That first glimpse inside the booth and a look into what the Deejays do to get over their nerves with their pre-game warmups. If there’s anything you’d like to know or always been curious about DJ’s, feel free to hit me up on the Revo Forums or Discord, anytime. I’d love to hear from you.