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Defendant Lobby no. 42



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An overdue apology

Posted by GSR , in bionicle, bzpower Jul 30 2016 · 391 views
bionicle, bzpower
So, the big thing I want to do is apologize, I guess.

I haven't been around much these past two years. That's a function of a lot of things: life, stress, good old-fashioned shifts in interest. Maybe I could've "done better" in being more active on general, but when the fire's not there, the fire's not there.

So in some sense I owe apologies to people who relied on me for general BZP stuff, apologies to folks who I got to know years ago and then fell away from for no apparent reason, and if I can be egotistical for a moment, apologies to people who really enjoyed my writing and wanted more.

But that's not the main thing I'm here to say I'm sorry for.

I'm here to apologize to the fans - however many or however few - who wanted to tell stories for G2 or keep telling stories for G1, and found BZP wasn't as nurturing an environment as it should be. I'm not just talking about the Library, though that's of course the subforum nearest and dearest to my heart. I'm talking about the comics artists or writers who couldn't tell if people were reading their stories, the fanartists who got quiet responses more often than not, the RPer who couldn't find the interest in their idea they needed to see.

I know the staff aren't miracle workers. I'm not going to act like I could have magically solved any activity issues in the creative subforums with a wave of my hand, or that somehow I forgot to tick a switch labeled "bring in new influx of creative-focused members."

And I absolutely don't want to downplay the creative people active here today. On the contrary, they have all my respect and more. Even if I don't read them, I still feel heartened when I get a notification that a new story has popped up in the library.

But BZP was once a better place for Bionicle fans who wanted to make things of their own and share them with others. We hosted contests to encourage people to get out of their comfort zone and put their best foot forward. We had groups dedicated to providing constructive feedback for other members. (Granted, that had its own issues, but let's keep on the rose-tinted glasses for just a little longer?) More than anything, we had a stronger community to help people find their voice here.

I should know. Thirteen years ago now, I wrote a truly terrible story and posted it to the Epics forum. (Then I abandoned it after two months, but that's not the point.) Even as a kid, I saw the other stories being written and felt excited enough to want to throw my own hat into the ring, even if that hat was just yet another "human teleported to Mata Nui" self-insert fic.

I left BZP for a long time shortly after that. And when I came back seven years later - 2011, somehow five years ago now - it was writing that drew me back in again. A few months after the forums relaunched, there was a writing contest to take the title of a Bionicle comic and write a story based around that. I still don't know why I sat down and slammed out a story over the course of an evening for the contest; I hadn't written fiction, well, pretty much ever.

Truth be told, I was convinced it was a disaster. I forced myself not to look at the topic, terrified that it was getting the thrashing I felt certain it richly deserved. When the results were announced, and I found out I'd actually come in first - I didn't know what to do. I didn't know what to say, other than "thank you." I saw other BZPers encouraging me and congratulating me, and it was - sorry for the cliché, I've been out of practice - like a door opened for me. I'd never seriously thought of being a "writer" before. Over the next two years, it became my passion.



But that was then, and this is now.

I was honored to take over the Library from Hahli Husky when she stepped down. I told myself I'd keep it as nurturing and encouraging a place as I had ever known it, lower activity levels or no. I'd contribute to it both by managing it and by keeping my own stories going. And when G2 was announced, I told myself I couldn't wait to see what new talent it brought in.

Instead, I hardly looked at it.

Again, this isn't meant to be entirely self-flagellating. I work a job that can get pretty tiring, and I work it full-time (or longer) every week. It's not really so surprising that I fell away from online activity, both at BZP and elsewhere. Nor could I have, entirely on my own, turned around a downtick in activity to some kind of creative haven.

But I barely even tried. That's the apology I really need to make here. As someone still, however tenuously, chasing that dream of storytelling, I owed it to BZP to do better fostering the next generation of storytellers here. I told myself there would be plenty of time, that we would figure something out - but there is no more time. G2 is G2, and while it's not like that shuts the door on creative enterprises on BZP forever, it sure as heck doesn't help them.

To be perfectly honest, I'm at a little bit of a loss of what to do going forward now (as I imagine we all are.) I was working - even if not as hard as I should have been - on an idea for a long-overdue library contest. That'll have to be tweaked a bit now, to say the least. I realize this entry is a bit of a downer, and I don't mean for it to be taken as a "BZP is doomed" thing. Just that, like a lot of us, this hit me harder than I was expecting. And it pushed me over the edge to saying a few things I needed to say.

I'm sure I'll bounce back soon enough, but I wanted to get this out there. I really am sorry BZP hasn't been better for creative work the past few years, and for whatever role I played in that fact. If nothing else, hopefully y'all can use the comments to commiserate and share your thoughts a bit.


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Fire Emblem Fates (ask me stuff if you want)

Posted by GSR , in fire emblem, bideogame Feb 08 2016 · 525 views
fire emblem, bideogame
Oh hey! Fire Emblem Fates comes out in English next week, and... I still haven't finished the Japanese version! But I know there's a good chunk of FE fans on BZP, so I thought I'd post a bit about the game and let folks ask questions.

So what happened was, after starting the game back in June, I got stuck on a certain chapter, life happened, and I put the game down until last month. Then I picked it up and started making real progress, and I'm a few chapters away from the end. So, impressions!

Note that I'm playing Conquest, on Hard/Classic.
  • The gameplay is really really really really really really good. This is just such a perfect polish on Awakening's systems, with much improved map variety to help it along.
  • Conquest on hard is hard. In a good way! Enemies will have the perfect skill loadouts to ruin your day if you aren't paying attention. Example: in one recent chapter, the boss was in a small room accompanied by an archer and two paired-up lancers. Your natural instinct might be to have someone go in, hug the wall, and draw the lancers towards them. But the lancers have a skill that lets them swap places with their enemy after a battle - meaning they'd attack you, then drop you right in front of the boss. Oh, and the archer? He had counter, just to keep things interesting.
  • Also, Conquest doesn't let you grind at all. So there's that.
  • The story, on the other hand, is basically this. Seriously, it's really dumb.
  • The characters are all over the map. Some are pretty decent, some are one-note, some are eye-rolling, and one was so bad that Nintendo had to change one of her support convos in the English version.
  • Following up on that last point, the Japanese version had some honestly kinda skeevy stuff in it. Again, it sounds like Nintendo's toning it down for the localization - which is probably for the best.
  • The marriage/kids system returns! The biggest change this time is that the parents have much less influence on the kids' stats - instead, the kids automatically scale their level depending on where you are in the campaign. This is nice because it ensures the kids will be at a pace with your army when you recruit them - also, the enemies in their sidequests scale as well, so you don't get ridiculously easy/hard maps. That said, I haven't really used them on Nohr, since their support options are so limited if you haven't recruited a bunch of them.
  • The rationale for the kids is pretty dumb, though. Also, if you take the one (1) male gay option, you lose two kids (and their associated sidequests), and if you take the one (1) female gay option, you lose one kid. So that's a bit of a kick in the teeth for players who wanted to pursue a non-straight romance.
  • I don't know if I can entirely say "buying one version is a full game". Length-wise, there seems to be enough bang for your buck - I'm at 30 hours on my file, plus X hours spent on resets, and I've still got about five chapters to go. But the story is really clearly set up to encourage playing at least the two standard versions, and ideally the third (DLC/SE-only) route.
Overall, though? I really like it. The gameplay is just so fantastic that it makes up for the story being weak. I can't wait to hear folks' impressions once it releases in English next week. (I'm also debating if I'll play Birthright once I finish Conquest, or just skip to the third route...)

If you've got any questions - or if you've already played yourself - leave a comment!


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13 Years

Posted by GSR , in bzpower, personal Jan 19 2016 · 448 views
bzpower, personal
Actually missed this one by a few minutes - forgot it was, well, yesterday at this point. Time flies...!

I've been a member on BZP for thirteen years now, even if I spent a good seven of them completely absent. Even with that caveat, that puts me at near the five-year mark for being active here in recent times. And somehow I've wound up a Global Mod? Life is strange indeed.

Truth be told, this wasn't my best year BZP-wise. A lot of that just comes back to, well, real life - this past year was my first one working full-time the whole way through, and that coupled with other obligations meant I haven't been spending as much time around here as I used to. Bit ironic, given the combination of the whole GM thing and the fact that, well, Bionicle is back! But unfortunately I just haven't had the time/energy to keep up with the elemental-lego-robot-Joneses.

I'm hoping to change that this year, if only a little. There's a not-so-secret project I've been working on for the site behind the scenes - several of the staff will now throw tomatoes at me for holding things up - and after a year marked by a pretty sharp decline in creative work, I'd like to get writing again. We'll see how it goes, but I'm hopeful.

Thanks for all the good times, BZP. Here's to many more.


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2016

Posted by GSR , Jan 02 2016 · 409 views

I have literally a minute to type this happy New Year's


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The Shadow and the Seaquel, or: I've Got Some Questions

Posted by GSR , in bionicle, bzpower, writing Oct 11 2015 · 584 views
bionicle, writing, bzpower
So.

About three years ago I wrote a story called "The Shadow and the Sea". (If you haven't read it, this parenthetical is the obligatory plug - it's got Hahli and Teridax and Takanuva and quite a lot of emotional pain, which is always a good combo in my book.) I'm still not sure exactly where it came from, but somehow it wound up being long enough that I couldn't in good conscience call it a "short story." And folks seemed to like it! I did too, though of course three years on you look back and wince at your writing, like you do.

Not too long after I finished posting it, I started talking about a sequel. I wrote bits and pieces of said sequel throughout 2013, and then slammed out about half during NaNoWriMo. Then I put the darn thing down again for a year, and wrote the other half during NaNoWriMo 2014. And during all this I kept pushing back the 'release date' bit by bit.

Now it's October 2015, and the draft's been sitting on my computer for nearly a year. I've done some edits, but... there's a ways to go. The thing about spending years writing it is that some of the older stuff is really, really in need of overhaul. (The worst offender is probably one passage where it's super-obvious I'd just finished reading Dangan Ronpa for the first time and a character awkwardly shoehorns in "hope" and "despair" to a conversation. Blech.) Combine that with the fact the bulk of the story was written during a pair of NaNos, and there's more thematic and structural issues that need tackling than you can shake a stick at.

But I know that it'd be good for me to finish this. Just writing the draft has gotten me to recognize a lot of my weaknesses as a writer - but while practice recognizing your faults is one thing, practice fixing them is another. And I won't lie - it can be hard to muster up the motivation to actually sit down and work through this. Like always, there's stuff that's more interesting, seems more fun to write. (Heck, my plan for NaNo next month is, ideally, to write something that has nothing to do with Bionicle whatsoever.)

So I guess I'm making this entry to ask a couple of questions: one more general, two more selfish.

Let's start with the general one: I'm sure I'm not the only person to get stuck in this situation, where a creative project drags on and on and on when it was supposed to be done and fresh ages ago, and now you're staring at it and all the work it still needs and fighting the temptation to just stick it in the drawer for the rest of time. How'd y'all handle it? Are you still in the middle of something like that right now? Commiserate with me.

And now for the selfish questions:

The really egotistical, I-know-I-shouldn't-feel-this-way-as-a-creator-but-I-do one is just: does anyone even care about this story any more? I wrote TSatS three years ago, and my Bionicle writing output has pretty steadily declined the past couple of years. Like I said, I want to finish this thing and post it - but I'd be lying if I said it wouldn't help to know there are people out there who'd actually be interested in it.

The slightly-less-egotistical-but-still-kind-of-self-centered question: if there are people interested, would anyone be willing to help beta read this? I do have a few beta readers who I trust and I hope would be happy to help out, but it can't hurt to get another set of eyes on things.

So yeah - that's the story of this story, I guess. Usually I don't make entries like these, but honestly, I could use the motivation of a little conversation on this.


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BrickCon

Posted by GSR , in bzpower, personal Sep 26 2015 · 438 views
bzpower, personal
Hey! BrickCon! It's happening this coming weekend!

I might be there Thursday evening, I'll probably be there Friday evening, and I should be there Saturday and Sunday. I'll probably be wandering around with various groups/people, but say hi if you see me!


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Meanwhile, in... they're just making countries up now

Posted by GSR , in ace attorney Sep 20 2015 · 496 views
ace attorney


(As always, annotations = subs)

(Also, if you've been wondering where I've been the past few weeks, the answer is largely 'covering TGS and other Japanese game media'. At least LEGO news is usually in English...)


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Brickfair

Posted by GSR , in bzpower Aug 05 2015 · 638 views
bzpower
I'm very tired and still catching up on work, so the bullet points:
  • Red-eye flight
  • Rooming with Dina and Bossman, whoo
  • hi dviddy, hi nukaya
  • so many mocs, good lord
  • (I brought exactly 0 mocs)
  • Hello tons of other people (ToaTiome, Xaeraz, Sumiki, Lady K, BRex, ChocolateFrogs, Vezok's Friend... seriously too many to list, if I didn't list you I guarantee it is my fault and not yours)
  • I think we ate dinner? Yeah probably, I was running on two hours of sleep that first day. Oh yeah it was Hinkdinner
  • Completely appropriate group viewings of Mask of Light
  • Public day also known as flash the brick badge and swoop on in
  • More BZPeople, more mocs, more shenanigans
  • LASER TAG (which it turns out I am pretty terrible at but who cares LASER TAG)
  • Lego panels and stuff and then BRICKFAIR AFTER DARK (fun fact: I was carded no fewer than four times and eventually just decided to turn on the blacklight in the moc case in case I needed to prove my license was real)
  • Completely appropriate group playing of Cards Against Humanity
  • guessssss who managed to lock his brick badge inside the hotel room Sunday, here's a hint, it was me
  • final day: yet more BZPeople, more mocs, more laughter
  • last-minute purchase because I figure I should buy something while there. said purchase was lego birds, which was something I did not know existed and was extremely happy to learn of
  • Well, time to say my goodbyes, go to the airport, check in my luggage, go through security, cross the entire airport to get to my gate "they have not been able to repair the plane, so they are sending a new one from Houston" oh
  • THE GOOD NEWS: got to attend the 'fancy' dinner
  • THE BAD NEWS: had to fend for myself for another day with nothing but the clothes on my back, two dead laptops, and a 3DS
  • THE REALLY GOOD NEWS: at like 2 AM they start playing alien conspiracy shows on local TV and it's great
  • day 4 of 3: okay for real check-out and goodbyes
  • this flight didn't get delayed, so that was good
  • it was also like five hours straight so that was not so good
  • landed just in time to, uh, go get dinner with a BZPerson (Cederak)
the moral of the story: brickfair is wonderful, please attend if you can and try not to have your flight essentially cancelled like me

(In all seriousness, I did have a really great time. I got to meet a ton of people who I only knew from online - or not at all! - and there were so many fantastic moments. To be honest, the con was the least interesting part of the thing! I was a bit of a background presence for a lot of folks, I imagine, but hopefully people were glad to meet me as well. Hopefully I can swing it next year as well!)


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Fair bricks

Posted by GSR , in bzpower Jul 29 2015 · 437 views
bzpower
Since all the cool kids are doing it (and to explain where I'll be this weekend): I'm going to Brickfair as well! However due to work scheduling stuff and vacation limits I'm only going to be there from about 11 AM on Friday to about 5 PM on Sunday. I'm crashing with Black Six and Dina Saruyama at the inn near the convention center. I'm hoping I can meet as many people as I can during that time, but, we'll see!

See y'all there (who are going)! (See all the rest of y'all back on the internet.)







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Recent Comments

Stuff I've Written And/Or Will Write at Some Point

Fractures" [December 2011]
Tren Krom has ideas; Lewa tries a new mask.

An Aftermath" [April 2012]
Kiina deals with not dealing with it; Onua makes an extra stop.

Three Stories" [June 2012]
Vakama has dreams. A Great Being makes some changes. Lewa tags along.

LSO Team Three (yeah we never made a title) [July 2012] [With Legolover-361, Janus, and Mr. I-Change-My-Name-Very-Often-Eyru]
Helryx has doubts; Jerbraz undertakes a mission. Unfinished.

The Shadow and the Sea [December 2012 - January 2013]
Hahli gets a new partner; Teridax prepares for the inevitable.

The Days They Were Needed and the Years They Were Not" [August 2013]
Wairuha stands alone; Akamai makes a choice.

Glitches" [Late 2013]
Athir finds something; Keahi tries to stop him from losing it.

Transformations" [April 2014]
Krahka makes her return; Onewa tries an explanation.

Echoes" [October 2014]
Onua makes a mistake; the Vahi is not forgotten.

The Kaita and the Storyteller" [January 2015]
Vakama has a request; Pohatu has a terrible idea.

Journey [When the sun goes supernova, apparently]
Takanuva seeks the light; Teridax meets the darkness.

"Two Storms" [Whenever I pull it out of editing heck]
Gali meets her maker; Kiina gives heroism a try.

"Shadows’ Gravesides" [Whenever I pull it out of editing heck]
Ahkmou has no destination; Gavla makes a pilgrimage.