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Team J.A.F.


Sword Fight Story

Posted by xccj , in Stories, News Nov 20 2012 · 371 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!


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!


“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.



Got It!

Posted by xccj , in News Nov 06 2012 · 744 views




Compare: Dallas vs Portland

Posted by xccj , in News Nov 06 2012 · 300 views

Okay, so I'm probably pretty biased because I love the Pacific Northwest a lot and I didn't really spend a whole lot of time in Dallas this weekend or get to see a whole lot of it, but when has this blog been about anything but my rambling thoughts? :D


I left Portland in rain, and Dallas was pleasant AT NIGHT. Winter weather down there is nice.

Winner: Dallas. (This one will totally change come summer, I expect)


Portland has sidewalks, bike lanes, bike trails, bike lanes on bike trails, ext. Dallas seemed to only have sidewalks every other block. (Or the area around Love Field Airport anyway) I'm not sure it would be a good place to commute by bike. In Portland, the news is always full of cyclist getting hit by cars. I'd guess in Dallas that the cars would just hit the bikes and nobody would care.

Winner: Portland

Light Rail

Portland's TriMet system is pretty awesome. There's also the air tram at OHSU which I still need to ride. Meanwhile, Dallas has the DART light rail system. I didn't actually ride it, but I got to see some of the infrastructure and it looks pretty cool.

Winner: Tie


When we flew into Dallas (at night) I could see flat land as far as the eye could reach, with lots of lights and a few well-lit buildings. Kinda cool. (Oh, and lakes... Texas has lakes, who knew?) But when I flew back into Portland, although there were lots of clouds low to the ground, I got to see excelent views of all the mountains: Helens, Adams, Rainier, and even Baker and other mountains that I expect were on the Canadian border. (I can see Canada from... my airplane window when its very high in the air.) And although I didn't get as good a look, the other side of the plane had views of all the Oregon mountains. Epic.

Winner: Portland. (And that was just view flying in.)


Everything in Dallas seem to have two titles: one in English and one in Spanish. Not just the airport; everywhere. Portland does not do that.

Winner: Dallas, unless you can't read Spanish or English.

Companies that are Willing to Fly Me out Just for an Interview

Winner: Dallas

Like, seriously, didn't land any interviews in Portland this summer. Sure, I was looking for a position that people didn't want (3 month temp position for a college student) but still got nothing. I am very grateful that the people at Southwest Airlines invited me to Love Field for an interview. It would be a very awesome place to work, and I was surprised (and delighted) to learn that the said position is actually similiar to stuff I do as a reporter on BZP. Just with less AFOL jokes. :) I'm eagerly waiting to hear back from them about the position!


Didn't try any in Dallas, but I saw at least two people taking boxes of VooDoo doughnuts with them into the Portland Airport.

Winner: Portland. :P

End of my ramblings for tonight. Now have to get caught up to school again. I was gone for like 2 days! So much has happened and there's so much video editing to catch up on. :happydance:



Totally Need To Post to News

Posted by xccj , in News Nov 04 2012 · 648 views

Man, I'm flying out tomorrow for an interview. Tomorrow morning. Bah, I dislike waking up early. Plus, I have to write a short essay, and I've had ideas for it flowing through my head all week, but now I just need to force it down in writing! In addition to that, I have a news story that I kind of need to work on before I leave... so yay long night. (I can sleep on the flight over, I guess, and it doesn't matter since the interview is actually on Monday morning so I can be rested and prepared for it.)

There's something else about tomorrow too that seems to be important... oh yeah.

The election.

Wait, that's not on the forth this year? Bummer. Irrelevant anyway. I already mailed in my ballot two weeks ago, before the third debate anyway. Now politicians can stop sending me emails; I voted already, tough luck. :P

Anyway, maybe I'll download the BZPowercast to listen to on the flight? It's not going to be so funny that I'll be LOLing in real life, right? (I know the portion I contributed to won't, because gosh I still hate the sound of my own voice.)




Posted by xccj , in News Oct 26 2012 · 617 views

Yay, good news on the job front!

I applied for a few internships already for January 2013 (you know, considering we all don't go puff in December because of some Mayan god or something.) They're based in Dallas, and I had a phone interview, and now they want an in person interview, so they're flying me out there for a day. At this point they've got to be interested, right? I hope to do my best in said interview, and I'm excited to see what will come of it!

Also I may have mentioned in my resume (AKA specifically stated) that I'm a reporter for BZP. So potentially they might visit the front page, read all my lovely set reviews (I know, right) and then find their way into this blog. So everybody, let them know I'm super responsible and everything! :D (Actually, I was going for more of "part of an online community" and "actually posts news stories once a week" rather than "blogs needlessly about Lego" but I've got to cover all my bases!)

Otherwise, I'm fairly busy with senor stuff for my last semester of classes. No slacking off for the rest of the year for me. (And no buying Lego until I get an income. And there's still so many Ninjago sets that I want...!)



BTW, Voted

Posted by xccj , in Thoughts, News Oct 22 2012 · 242 views

Actually filled out my ballot last Friday, but got it put in the mail today.

And even tho I watched the full debate, my mind was already made up. (And having watch it, it just made me more determined to vote my way.)

That way being Obama. Also went generally Democrat for the state positions too. Especially hoping to replace my Republican Representative, whom I sent a letter to a year ago and got a response that boiled down to "thanks for contacting me, here is why I'm doing the exact opposite."

I would love to discuss political views because I can't believe how some people out there thing, but alas this is BZPower and it's against the rules because we don't want the equivalent of a food fight with boiling sauce being thrown around. (I think that's a lovely analogy for heated discussions on BZPower. :P )

And as such, entry locked! Make sure to go out and vote!



Kanoka Game

Posted by xccj , in News Oct 18 2012 · 333 views
Kanoka, Hand Coded Games
I was looking through my collection today, since I have a lot of stuff to put away after the conventions. That aside, I took interest in my collection of glow in the dark Kanoka discs, and I started to remember a game for them that I created back in 04. I know I've hinted about it before, but I've never downright posted the rules. So I spent some time revising the game today, and now have stuff to share with you. :D

Kanoka, of course, were the collectible discs from the Metru Nui saga, There was a code on each disc that described its different attributes. The first digit was the Metru, which determined specific flight patterns. The second was special powers. And the third was overall power level. So you could have a ton of combinations, and you had to "collect them all!" (Granted, not all codes were released in set forms, sadly enough.) I got slightly obsessed with Kanoka after writing a couple of stories with them, and somewhere along the line I came up with this game that matched discs against each other.

So, for the actual game's rules. Basically, you have two opponents, and each has six discs they can select from. There is also a discard pile. Each opponent has twenty life points. One opponent goes on the offensive, and selects a disc to use. The defender can then select a disc to counter the offensive one. The disc powers are matched up (I'll get into more detail on this) and if the offensive player wins, the defensive player loses life points (determined by the difference in disc values.) If there's a tie or the defender wins, no life points are lost on either end. Both players discard their discs (unless a powerup allows them to keep the disc) and then they each pick a new disc from the pile. (This way, they always have six discs in hand, and can go through a wide variety of disc types.)

The determining factor for a disc to win is its power level. Initially, this is determined by the third digit, so higher numbers (7 or 8) are obviously more powerful discs. However, disc type and special powers can also provide bonuses, depending on the situation. This way, there's some strategy to choosing the discs to use in offense or defense. Here's a list of the various bonuses.

First Digit: Region
[1] Ta-Metru: 2+ Offense
[2] Ga-Metru: Do Not Discard Disc if Win on Offense
[3] Po-Metru: 2+ Defense
[4] Ko-Metru: 1+ Offense, or 2+ Offense against Po-Metru
[5] Le-Metru: 1+ Defense, or 2+ Defense against Ta-Metru
[6] Onu-Metru: Do Not Discard Disc if Win on Defense

Second Digit: Powers
[1] Reconstruct at Random: Random 1+ or 1- Offense and Defense
[2] Freeze: 1+ Offense
[3] Weaken: 2+ Offense
[4] Removes Poison: 2+ Defense
[5] Enlarge: 1+ Offense, or 1+ Defense against Shrink
[6] Shrink: 1+ Defense against Enlarge
[7] Regenerate: 1+ Defense, or 2+ Defense against Weaken
[8] Teleport: 1+ Offense and Defense

I could go into all the reasons why I chose specific bonuses, but that would increase my babbling even more, so if you have a question about one, go ahead and ask. But I did try to make some counter each other, like the Ko-Metru and Po-Metru discs. And I also liked the idea of Reconstruct at Random discs either giving you positive or negative points. :D

So yeah, that's my game. I guess it's comparable to other card games or whatever. And despite everything, it doesn't actually require any shooting of discs when played with on the floor, so accuracy or skill doesn't really factor into the outcomes. I'm not completely against tweaking some of the rules or powers, because I did play it against myself with mixed results.

But don't have anyone to play with / don't want to play by yourself / don't actually own a large collection of Kanoka discs?? Well, then you can also check out my WIP online game version. Yes, right now it's text only, but I think I've worked the code out right to make the game play logically and everything. It needs work, obviously, but if you have any suggestions on it, let me know. (And it's also a little more fun than my Slizer game, because it requires a bit more strategy rather than blind luck. The luck part comes in the fact that I kept getting all the lame discs and the computer opponent got all the good ones!)

Aaaaaaaaaand that's what I obsessed over today. Night, folks!



New Slizer Game

Posted by xccj , in Stories, News Oct 04 2012 · 537 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.)



Arg What You Talkin' About?

Posted by xccj , in News Sep 19 2012 · 174 views

Posted Image

ARR! This ain't me crew!

:pirate: :music:

Edit: Oh come on, that picture's hilarious. Why no comments? Did I not make it clear enough this was for Talk like a Pirate Day??


Where Do You Buy Collectible Minifigures?

Posted by xccj , in News Sep 18 2012 · 205 views

Just a quick question. I know that most people have to rely on TRU, but what about other places. I rely exclusively on Fred Meyers, but they're more of a local chain store, so you won't find them outside the Pacific Northwest. What are other places where you've been able to pick up the mystery bags?

Thanks in advance for answering!


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