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Team J.A.F.



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Working on my Ninjago Story

Posted by xccj , in Stories Dec 01 2012 · 97 views

Y'know, for that contest.
 
The problem; I'm already at 7 pages and I'm just now getting to the climax.  And I haven't even done my whole big Green Ninja reveal yet either!
 
I know there's a lower limit of 500 words... but this might be pushing the upper limit a bit much.  :P  It might work better as a short epic instead of a looooooooong short story.
 
:music:


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Sword Fight Story

Posted by xccj , in Stories, News Nov 20 2012 · 142 views

I haven't blogged in a while, which is sad because that's the bulk of my BZP activity nowadays. My life is just that dull right now, and I have lots of school stuff to work on.

But anyway, November is the month of writing, according to NaNo. I didn't do it this year, but I did get 50,000+ words in 30 days done this summer. And hey why not take an excerpt from one that!

BACKSTORY

Not gonna post the whole thing, but here's the premise. The protagonist has snuck onto an enemy base, and he has a sword that he can summon to his hands. Before he can progress to the computer room, he gets cornered by ten guys with swords. Battle ensues!

This is actually an older story that I'm rewriting. And I remember for this particular sequence, I just wrote "and there was a terrible sword fight" and left it at that. This time, I actually tried to include more action details into the fight. Let me know how I did!

AND NOW THE FEATURED STORY EXCEPT!


“Third floor,” I said to myself, remembering the location of the control room. I pushed through a large hallway looking for a stairwell, but as I turned a corner, I froze. I could see the stairs, but now there were five men standing between me and them. The men were armed, but this time not with laser guns. This time, they were wielding swords.

“This ends here, rebel,” one of the men said. I heard more footsteps behind me, and I spun around, drawing my laser gun as I did so. Five more men had blocked me in, and they were also holding onto swords. The lead solder pressed forward and swung his blade even as I lifted my gun. He slashed my hand, forcing me to drop my weapon. I stepped back, narrowing my eyes. Knocking a gun out of an opponent’s hands with a blade was my trick!

“You’re mine,” the man said, and he stabbed his blade forward. But I sidestepped and summoned my own Green Sword. Instead of piercing my flesh, his blade slid across my own. I twisted my sword and we locked blade. As I forced his sword to the side, I kicked up with my left foot and caught him in the leg, breaking his balance. He stumbled, and I broke his grasp on his weapon and knocked up upward in the air. While he was stunned, I swung my free hand and punched him directly in the face. He fell back, and I reached up with my other hand and caught his sword in midair before it hit the ground.

I pointed my two blades at the man. “You still think you’re going to win this fight?” I asked.

But I had more to deal with. The other nine men in the room were still armed, and they pressed forward. I swung my Green Sword and struck the first man with the flat of my blade, knocking him out. And then I utilized both my swords to parry the oncoming steel from my attackers.

It was dangerous for all nine men to attack me at once, but two could easily charge me from each side, which meant that I had to deal with up to four opponents at once. And unfortunately, these men were not novices when it came to the art of fencing. Luckily, I had lots of skill with a blade, and I now had two at my disposal. I was able to stand my ground and fight them back, but just barely, and it was taking all I had to do so.

My blades sliced through the air as I swung them to parry incoming blows. Meanwhile, I was forced to dodge around the attacks that I couldn’t block, which meant that I was sidestepping, ducking, and leaning to the side even as my swords clashed with those of my opponents. They weren’t able to land any deadly blows, but their blades still managed to cut into my arms and legs, leaving thin cuts that began to bleed. I was barely able to defend myself, and I couldn’t last forever against such an onslaught. I needed to go on the offensive.

One man attempted to stab me, but I dodged to the side and shoved him down. This gave me an opening to rush into, and the three swordsmen behind me slashed at empty air as I made my move. One man was in range and he charged forward. I blocked his sword with one blade, but then I swung my second one and pierced his side. He yelped out as I roughly kicked him, and he went down.

Two swordsmen charged me, hoping to push me up against the wall. But I charged towards it, jumped, and kicked off it, and turned my momentum into a thrust towards the two men. They dodged to the side and I raced between them. They turned to face me, but I turned faster. I sliced the back of one of the man’s knees, and he crashed to the ground in pain, unable to stand. The other man blocked my blade, but he was now on the defensive. Before the others could join him, I pressed on the attack, pushing him against the wall. He did a wide swing with his blade, but I was able to strike his hand and knock his sword away. More men advanced from behind, so I jumped forward and kicked off his stomach as I turned to face his comrades. He collapsed, having endured too much pain, and I clashed with the next men.

The swordsmen were very skilled, but they lacked my speed and agility. Instead of fighting them face on, where they had the advantage, I circled around them, using the walls to my advantage. My quick jumps kept them from ganging up on me, and so I had an easier time defending against their blades. But I was also going on the attack, and slicing them whenever I could. I did not hold back; I issued long slashes in painful areas that would quickly disable them, and if some of them weren’t treated, they would even prove fatal. I couldn’t just use the flat of my blade to strike them; they were attacking me ruthlessly, and I couldn’t do anything less if I wanted to survive.

I reduced their numbers down to three, and I locked blades with the largest fighter. I drew back, hoping to stab at him with my borrowed sword blade. But the other men suddenly caught me from behind, and I had to do a hasty jump to avoid getting skewered. This forced me off balance, and I instinctively stabbed my borrowed blade into the ground to offer stability. Unfortunately, this led to the blade snapping in hand, and I fell to my knees. As I got up, I realized I was now down to one sword and a broken hilt.

The large fighter grinned and started to advance on me, thinking that he now had an advantage since my other sword was out of commission. As I stepped forward and used my Green Sword to parry his blade, I thrust the damaged hilt into his exposed shoulder. He howled out in grief, and I kicked him backwards.

The last two men ignored the anguish of their comrade and charged at me, thrusting their swords quickly. I parried with my Green Sword, but my reflexes were slowing. My energy was running out; my muscled aches, my breathing was heavy, and sweat was dripping down my face. But the last two men still had energy to spare, and they pressed down on me, hoping to finally bring me down.

I locked blades with one of them, and the two of us strained as we tried to break the other’s strength. Meanwhile, the second man stepped back and prepared for a side attack, which I couldn’t defend against. I drew back on my sword, and dodged around the second man’s blade. But the first man now had a clear shot, and he sliced down my right arm. I fell backwards with a cry, and my sword arm started to go limp. The two men grinned and advanced.

Pain seared through me, but I wasn’t finished yet. I reached over with my left hand and gripped my sword’s hilt. Then, using both hands, I swung my sword outward. Only this time, I poured energy into my Green Sword, and it began to glow. It came into contact with my opponent’s swords, but they were no match for it. Their blades disintegrated in the energy outburst, and the two men were thrown backwards into the wall and knocked unconscious.

I collapsed to the ground, with my arm and various cuts bleeding out. I was nearly exhausted, but I was alive, and the ten swordsmen were down. Gingerly, I reached into my pocket and took out a healing ointment that I had brought along, and quickly applied it to my worst cuts. It didn’t take care of the pain, but it lessened down the bleeding. After a minute, I started to regain feeling in my right arm again. It would need proper care later, but for now I’d survive.

The sword fight was over. But I could hear more soldiers running towards the building. I needed to get moving and find the control room, and I needed to do it fast before any of them caught up with me.

:music:


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New Slizer Game

Posted by xccj , in Stories, News Oct 04 2012 · 216 views

Wait wait wait. What the heck? I finished this?

So you can continue to read the blog entry for the background story. Of if you're gonna go all "TL/DR" then just check out the game here and test it out for me. Comments appreciated, granted that you understand this is an armature project and not exactly high quality stuff to begin with.

I'm not sure if I blogged about it before or not, but I've had this general idea for a Slizer game in my head for a while. The basis is around my defunct Slizer on Mata Nui epic, where the six Slizers fight against evil worm things (named Zarxec because that's an awesome name) and their leaders who want to take over Metru -Nui / the world. As I wrote the epic, I gave each Slizer character strengths and weaknesses. Eventually, I assigned values to them too.

And then came the idea of the game. I had skill values for the Slizers and the Zarxec. I originally made cards, so that you could do a simple game where you determined skill ahead of time and then played your character cards to see who'd win. But then I was intrigued by the idea of an online game.

So this is coded using mostly Javascript. The computer randomly selects one of the Zarxec, and then you decide which Slizer will fight against it, by comparing their respective skills. Then you roll for which skill you use, and that determines the winner. A simple game idea, but gosh it's complex to code from scratch. I started coding this thing up probably over a year ago, but it kinda got shoved to the side for more important work. But I was looking through my past projects to use for my portfolio, saw this, and then got a few cool ideas for how to code it... and boom, in a night the game when from demo to actually playable.

Granted, there are a few issues with it. The characters may be a little too evenly spread out with skills; if they're big on speed and agility, they're low on strength, and as such any pairing has about an even chance of pulling off a win or not. Thus, kinda hard to use strategy, when really any Slizer can beat almost all the Zarxec if the right skill is chose (at random.)

Plus, there are things I wanted to add. Right now it's more of an arena game, but I was thinking of more of a campaign, where the enemies got tougher as time went on, the Slizers got power-ups part way through, and somehow Matoran could be added as a bonus.

Oh, and the design is still a WIP. Backgrounds are just random light colors, where I could make them more detailed and change based on the enemy character. And the character artwork is basic too. The Slizers are just set images copy/pasted in, and the Zarxec are doodles from like 5 years ago. (Or more... gosh, I wrote that story a LONG time ago.) I've already animated Torch, so I could do that for the rest of them too, but that takes more time and effort than I might have to spare. (Plus, then there's the whole idea of designing this game using Flash ActionScript, which is also brings to mind some different styles of game play and animation... but would force me to learn more of that coding language.)

So yeah, I'd be interested to know what people think about this, and if I should expand it or not in my spare time. As is, I'm going to use this in my Portfolio as evidence that I can code with beans using Javascript. What, you want me to add Javascript security to your site? Dunno about that, but I can make an interactive game instead! :D

(FYI, DON'T use Javascript for security, bad practice.)

:music:


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Time Disruption Reevaluated

Posted by xccj , in Stories, News Sep 09 2012 · 91 views

So I was bored this weekend, so I browsed through my files and pulled up my old Time Disruption story. Basically it's something I started back in 2003 (or early 2004, sometime around there) and worked on for 3+ years. It was probably one of my more successful stories on BZPower, and it certainly drew the largest number of reviews I've ever gotten for a story. :P I haven't reread it in years, so I thought it would be fun to do.

Of course, there were parts I still loved about this. The general plot was awesome, and some of the character developments were great. (Heck, Duka's death scene is one of the more emotional ones I've ever written). However, this isn't a "I can't believe how good my writing was back then" entry.

This is a "Oh my gosh was I really this terrible at writing" and "how could anybody ever read this??" entry.

Seriously. Between the spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, incomplete descriptions (I even remember how I viewed some of them in my head, but the writing totally did not convey that), repetitive use of words (I'd use the same descriptive word like 5 times in 1 paragraph... talk about overuse)... I mean really, the story seems almost too disjointed to follow correctly. How did I have so many reviewers back then? I remember always getting nagged about my spelling, but the writing is just so off, I'm surprised anybody managed to get through the first chapters.

Now I'm tempted to rewrite the story. As I mentioned earlier, the overall plot of the story is still one of my best, so now I just need to update the writing to match in quality. But here are a couple of issues with that. First off, there's a long queue of old stories I want to rewrite, as well as a lengthy list of potential new story ideas. Secondly, the whole story was written based off assumptions from 2003-2005, which means that we didn't know the true purpose of the Bohrok, the overall goals of Makuta's plan (or that there were even multiple Makuta), and that the Mata Nui island was actually just some robot's face. (Yes, that last one still irks me.) If I wanted to try and tweak the story to fit into the current canon... well, I might lose some of the essentials to the plot. And finally, would I even have an audience? I could update the writing, but the basic plot twists wouldn't change, so it would hardly be a new story. Granted, I'm fairly certain that all my older reviewers (save Kumata and Snoopy) have left the site for good, so anybody else around would probably have never read the original... but they could always look it up in the forum archive. (This is also a reason that I'm hesitant to rewrite Slizers on Mata Nui, even though I think that could use a reboot too.)

But I guess the older story proves that I have improved overall as a writer. I would love to go back to the days where I could crank out fun Time Disruption chapters, because that story was one of the most enjoyable to write. But I don't have as much time or inspiration to write anymore, and I'm a little sad to see that my old story was not as glorious as my nostalgic remembrance of it seemed to be.

Aaaaaaaand, let's see. In other news, I've been in school. Last semester. Got a bunch of hard classes tho. Including a senor seminar, where we get to do projects for local non profits. Most of that class is working on a cool interactive display for OMSI (the Oregon Museum for Science and Industry in downtown Portland) but I'm instead working on some promotional videos for a Russian Speaking Student conference. While the other project sounds like more fun, it's also something that they won't be able to complete in one semester, whereas I'm looking forward to putting my video editing experience to work and coming up with a quality promotional video.

Also spend the weekend watching anime, playing with the dog, and staying indoors while it's in the upper 90s. Seriously, we're having a delayed summer in the Pacific Northwest. (Today isn't too hot tho.)

:music:


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That's a lot of Writing

Posted by xccj , in Stories Jul 29 2012 · 125 views

So I've probably mentioned that I've been working on one of my personal stories. It's a long one, already over 200 pages long. But I started rewriting it way back in 2009, and I've been making slow progress on it. I've only really begun to crank it out this last month, when I got past a lull point and moved onto some of the exciting parts! And I've been keeping my progress documented too, so I know roughly how much I've written and when.

A week ago or so, I noticed that I had written quite a lot, and I checked. It was around 37,000 words in only like 20 days. I thought of NaNoWriMo (National November Writing Month) where you're supposed to write 50,000 words in 30 days. So I decided to see if I could do that this month. The acronym would be more like Per-Ju-Wri-Mo-Ki for Personal June/July Writing Month Kinda. :P

Yesterday was my 30 day mark, so I calculated up my total writing for the past 30 days. 56,294. :br:

Hah, that's more than my last NaNo story, which is still unfinished but since it's part of a series I need to end it eventually. I have ideas of where to go, I just need the time and proper inspiration. But apparently I've got that for this other epic instead. :D

But I also go back to school in a few weeks... yeah, unemployed summer is almost over. Then my writing will dip yet again.

:music:


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Would Anybody Read an Epic?

Posted by xccj , in Stories Jul 26 2012 · 137 views

So I've been going through some of my older stories on my laptop, including a couple of Bionicle ones, notably Kulagi's Kanoka and Mystery on Keli Nui.

The first one was about an Onu-Matoran Kanoka maker in Metru Nui flying around evading Vahki and Gang Matoran and stuff. I'd reckon that it was one of my most popular stories ever on BZP, and going back I really liked the overall flow of the plot, although there were some things I would change now.

The mystery one was for the epics mystery contest a while back, and I think it's some of my best work. I had a handful of subplots / red herrings that I think came together very well. But hardly anybody read it (and nobody voted for it in the contest poll). It really disappointed me that I never got a comment on some of my best work, and of course it's kinda long so nobody's going to read it nowadays. (Especially since it's on the old forum.)

But anyway, I have this other story that I was working on a while ago, which is kind of an alternate history of Bionicle. Basically, I took the official storyline and said "screw it" and started using all sorts of characters from 01 to 08 and mix it up. I think I posted the first couple of chapters before the forum went down, and I don't think anybody reviewed it.

So, although I know my blog doesn't get a ton of viewers, it gets more than anywhere else I post, so I ask this: would anybody be willing to read this story if I try to post it again, or will it just be another empty review topic in the epics forum? I have a good 20 chapters written already, so I could do regular updates for a while and really get into the story? And individual chapters aren't THAT long either, so it wouldn't be like reading Lord of the Rings or something of great length?

So, any comments? Or will this entry also be one of those that gets ignored too? :P

(Oh, and I'd totally be willing to do review trades. AKA I'll review your story if you review mine. :D )

:music:


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And in the COT LSO Epic...

Posted by xccj , in Stories Jul 23 2012 · 121 views

Did I just get the opening to write an epic fight scene?

Why yes I did. :D

Tis a long chapter, but it was fun. Hopefully we can finalize the story in the next few days. There's still lots of potential for it, and I eagerly await to see what the other authors are gonna do.

:music:


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Help Matching Animals to Powers

Posted by xccj , in Stories Jul 22 2012 · 125 views

Okay, this is for a story, but not one of the LSO Epics, so no worries there. This is a personal one. The one I've been rewriting this summer. I've blogged about it a few times, but you don't have to know what it is. :P

Anyway, when I first wrote it, I stole the ideal of talisman from the old Jackie Chan cartoon. You know, magical stones with special powers (also like Kanohi masks) with were represented by an animal emblem. Fun stuff. (That cartoon was awesome.)

So yeah, I reused the idea, but I changed it. I used different powers, and different animals to represent each power. The show used the animals of the Chinese zodiac, but I didn't want to be restricted to those ones. So I chose my own. But some my options were pretty pathetic and didn't make sense. I'm trying to come up with some better ones now.

So here are some of the powers and animal emblems that I originally envisioned:

Super Speed: Cheetah
Super Strength: Elephant
Agility: Monkey
Healing: Flower
Senses: Wolf (Coincidentally, although it seems like a lame power, this was the one that got most used in the story.)

I also had Gravity as a power, which was represented by a hawk. But I since changed the power to telekinesis, although I'm keeping the hawk.

Plus, I had the power of illusions, but it was previously represented by a fish, which was stupid. I changed the animal to a chameleon, since they're more apt at camouflage, so it makes sense.

But see, I have two powers with no good animals. Previously, I had invisibility represented by a squirrel, and ghosting (phasing, walking through walls, ext) represented by a frog. How I came up with these ideas initially, I don't know. But I need better ones, and I'm drawing a blank.

So here's my question for you. What animals do you think would best represent the power of invisibility and ghosting? Comments appreciated. Thanks!!

People who provide best answers can get a cameo in my story as redshirts. :D

:music:


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It's a Mystery

Posted by xccj , in Thoughts, Stories Jul 16 2012 · 128 views

It's always great to read a mystery. You know that portions aren't going to get solved until the end, and I know I always have to keep reading on to see just what happens.

It's a little harder to write a mystery. When I do, I usually know the big reveal early on, and try to subtly hint towards it without giving it away.

But writing a mystery while also not knowing what it is... that's tough.

The LSO Round Robin Epics are fun, but both my Bionicle and COT stories have some pretty decent mysteries going on. All the authors are setting them up, but I really want to know what their intentions are for the stories. Hopefully we can pull it off and make it a fun, compelling read even as we try to figure out what's going on too along the way.

Also in other news, I've been spending my unemployed nights to work on one of my other personal stories. The story about this story: I wrote the original almost a decade ago and worked on it for years, but then lost about half of it when my computer was stolen and I didn't have a full copy on backup. As such, I started rewriting it again three years ago, and I've only been making slow progress on it. But last month I got past one of my writing blocks, and now I've been cranking out the story; I've written nearly 30,000 words of it in the last month. Woot! Sure, I'm just at the halfway point of where I had it last time, but I've had years to work my ideas in my head, and now it's mostly just a process of getting it typed out. (At least, until I hit another spot where I get stuck on how to continue... and as a writer, I tend to avoid jumping over troubled spots, because I like to build my current writing on what I've already said and such.)

But yeah, not having to wake up in the morning and go to work really frees up a lot of evening time to write. Too bad I like having money more, or else I would do this all the time. :D

:music:


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I'm Gonna Lose

Posted by xccj , in MOCs, Stories Jan 04 2012 · 58 views

Well, apparently my entry is gonna lose in the System Building Contest Poll. That was pretty much guaranteed, since I never win in BBC, and I've had a lot of experience to back it up. But it didn't help that NOBODY FREAKIN TOLD ME WHAT THEY THOUGHT OF THE MOC IN THE FIRST PLACE. Is it good, horrible bad, fine but not enough to shine compared to the others? I dunno.

Granted, the same thing happened with my COT short story. (ultraviolence, I thought we had a deal. I read and reviewed your story!) But again, not surprised; it's been years since anybody has actually read my stories I've posted here. Oh, when it comes to asking me to read other stuff, people are just fine with it... but heck most people hardly even look at my set reviews posted on the front page. Grr.

And since I'm in an angry ranting mood... the System Building Contest Poll took almost two weeks to get up. Okay, I was gonna give them slack for the holidays... but seriously, it's just ONE POLL. You didn't even rename the forum it was in. Did it really take THAT LONG to post it?

Also, school tuition: WHY SO FREAKIN EXPENSIVE??

:music:






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Is that the light at the far end of the tunnel, or just the train.
~ Owl City

Lisztomania, think less but see it grow. Like a riot, like a riot, Oh.
~ Phoenix

I took a sip of something poison but I'll hold on tight.
~ Foster the People

Birds sing for you, you can make this blue sky blush
~ Oh Land

On the other side of the street I knew, stood a girl that looked like you.
I guess that's Déjà vu, but I thought this can't be true
~ Train

But even the sun sets in paradise
~ Maroon 5
 
Crazy how that shipwreck meant my ship was coming in
~ Train (Again?)

So make now your ally, and leap before you look
~ Nothing's Carved In Stone
 
I'm just too much a coward to admit when I'm in need. 
~ Passion Pit
 
Just believe in far away, ikiru tame ni sore wa
~ Song Rider

Everything that drowns me makes me want to fly.
~ One Republic

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