alias_sqbr: (dreamwidth)
This is my personal/fannish journal. For topics I feel require a more serious and moderated approach I have [personal profile] sqbr.

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alias_sqbr: (happy dragon)
Books:

The Raven and the Reindeer by T Kingfisher aka Ursula Vernon: this is a very cute Gerta/Little Robber Girl retelling of The Snow Queen. It's in a light, fairytale style but has a bit more modern fantasy novel to it than the original 19th century children's short story. There also a bit more gore than I remember, of just the sort I like but other people may not. I haven't read the original in years so can't say how much is changed in general, but was attached to the Kay/Gerta friendship which is much more unhealthy here, I think it works really well as a new story but was still slightly sad to lose the old one. Also there's that undertone of slightly smug tweeness that tends to underlie all of Ursula Vernon's work, and it took me a while to get into it for some reason. Still, lots of well drawn, endearing, mostly female characters, and a cute fantasy story that hasn't lost the fairytale atmosphere, bittersweet bite and sense of place of the original.

(putting above the cut because "f/f fairytale" is relevant to a lot of my readers' interests :))

Aso, while I'm here: Steam is having a sale on anime themed games and I at least didn't get an email about some stuff on my wishlist which is discounted. So, check your wishlist!
More books and some tv )
alias_sqbr: (train)
This was exactly what I expected from the trailer: a well made, entertaining superhero film with great fights, nice character moments and utterly repulsive political subtext. On the plus side it abandons it's pretense to ~realism about halfway through and becomes purely character/explosion driven, at which point I stopped thinking "bloody Americans" every five minutes and was actually able to enjoy it.

Spoilers for the basic premise and political subtext stuff, but not the rest of the plot or the ending )
alias_sqbr: (doctor!)
Mild spoilers.
  • there's no time limit on anything, so you can be as slow and inefficient as you like, though sometimes it can be frustrating if you, say, just miss a Spring-only task and have to wait 3 "months" before you can do it again.
  • it's pretty forgiving: you can't fail, just progress more slowly. And past a certain point most players will have more money than they know what to do with.
  • there's flexibility in what you focus on, but it's hard to completely avoid any of the main types of activity (farming, mining/combat, fishing, socialising, gathering). As I said in my previous post I managed to largely avoid fishing, also pretty early on I spent the money/resources to create sprinklers so I could stop having to remember to water things. I only really got into raising animals and making social connections pretty late and that's been ok.
  • Love interests won't get past 8 hearts (and thus progress the relationship) unless you hit on them. On the plus side taking so long to figure this out encouraged me to get to know the others better.
  • If you don't talk to people for a week their points go down.
  • asides from the romances being player gender neutral, it's a pretty heteronormative world. One of the girl love interests has a female ex but I don't know if that's because my character is female. It would be hard to play as entirely non binary, you're not gendered all the time but there are definite You Are A Girl Moments beyond pronouns.
  • what dialogue and plot there is gets pretty repetitive, though befriending more people over time adds the odd cute little cut scene. There's no overarching plot.
  • the grumpy wheelchair using old man is exactly the ableist stereotype he appears to be, and several scenes for other characters involve telling him to be less grumpy :/ He is sympathetic, at least, and has some mild character growth.
  • Check the tv for new recipes every Sunday! Repeats are on Wednesday if you miss any, and the cycle repeats entirely every 2 years.
  • Shop stock varies. The caravan on Fridays and Sundays is different every time, Robin and Pierre sell mostly the same things but their house decorations vary. There's also two unlockable shops which vary by day of the week.
  • lucky rabbits feet are kind of a pain to get, unless the algorithm's been tweaked, and you need them for the community centre. If you see them for sale, buy one.
  • Don't donate the prismatic shard or dinosaur egg to the museum until you've had the chance to duplicate them. They're useful and rare!
alias_sqbr: (up and down)
I am slowly winding down on Stardew Valley, checking in every now and then to play for a few days (15 minutes long, but you can end them early) to try and finish up the few things I want to finish but mostly done. I'm at like 150 hours played and will probably play a whole new character through at some point.

Cam installed Paralells on my Mac so i can play Windows games, and then was like "Uh...should I not have done that..." when he saw how much I was playing. He also pointed out that, for example, chopping trees sounds like popping bubble wrap and is such a satisfying sound it made him want to play and chop trees himself. There's a nice mix of things to do, with enough structure that you're not aimless but enough flexibility that if you feel like spending the whole day doing something you can.

Read more... )
alias_sqbr: (up and down)
So [personal profile] tree gave me a fun lightsaber related art prompt, which led me to looking up Star Wars screenshots to get get a feel for the way the coloured light would reflect off noses etc. And realised it generally doesn't, at least not in the original trilogy and prequels.

Compare for example this shot of Anakin next to a blue lightsaber to this shot of a guy demonstrating his prop light saber. With Anakin, the only parts of his face that go blue are those directly under the halo of light around the saber. With a real glowing blue stick, blue light reflects off any part of the face facing the saber, even those a little distance away. It's even more obvious in promotion shots.

The new movies seem to do better. Compare this almost monochrome shot of Luke holding a blue lightsaber in the dark versus this shot of Finn with blue light all over the place.

I never noticed this before but now I can't unsee it. I guess doing all this 3D modelling has made me more aware of light reflections. And I mean, I understand! Adding in fast moving coloured lights is (a) tricky and (b)creates some weird effects that will often be counter to the visual look you want. But I feel better now about always having found getting lightsabers to "look right" a bit challenging :)
alias_sqbr: Nepeta from Homestuck looking grumpy in front of the f/f parts of her shipping wall (grumpy)
Still sick!
physical and mental health stuff )

It was funny poking at the Akagami no Shirayukihime fandom though. The canon relationship is the female main character Shirayuki with her male love interest Zen, but both have a close, somewhat shippy friendship with their mutual male friend Obi. My story is Shirayuki/Zen/Obi. (Will post properly later but if you're curious here it is)

On AO3 it’s mostly Shirayuki/Obi, Shirayuki/Zen, Shirayuki/Zen/Obi and a smattering of Obi/Zen, followed by relationships involving the other characters.

On fanfiction.net there’s a lot of Shirayuki/Zen and a little Shirayuki/Obi but no Shirayuki/Zen/Obi or Zen/Obi, my story aside. What there is is lots of fic like “When Zaara, half sister of Zen and Izana, and the illegitimate Princess of Clarines comes back home, Obi is the one tasked with her protection. He starts to grow closer to her as she takes him on crazy adventures, but underneath her fun and kind exterior, lies hidden secrets and sorrows. Obi/O.C. Crap summary, good story!”(*)

And the tumblr tag is a lot of gifsets of funny moments mixed with closeups of Shirayuki and Zen kissing.

(*)For all I know it is a good story, and given the nature of shoujo I wouldn’t be entirely surprised if something like this became canon. I am just amused at the difference in fic culture.
alias_sqbr: (spoons)
At this point I am pretty sure it really is a cold but for a few days it was sitting there in that grey area of "too mild for cold, too extended/severe for random immune system shenanigans".

*goes back to playing Stardew Valley*
alias_sqbr: WV stands proudly as mayor (homestuck)
For anyone who's missed it, Homestuck is a very strange, very long multimedia webcomic. If you have read part of it and are curious to see how it ends you could just watch the final animation, you'd be confused but...you were going to be confused anyway ;) And it's very pretty!

Of course I do not put it past Hussie to come out with a second ending/epilogue in a bit, that would totally be his style.
Spoilery Reactions )
alias_sqbr: (naughty shell)
So I really like Stardew Valley but I hate the fishing, and the various guides I've seen aren't aimed at people who want to avoid it. So here's what I've figured out! To be updated if I figure out anything new.

Non spoilery summary:
1) Fish are useful and necessary for a bunch of non-fishing-related things most players will want to achieve, so while you can mostly ignore it you probably don't want to entirely.
2) There are vendors who sell fish and fish related products
3) Certain fish can be gotten through other non-fishing methods
4) Fishing gets much easier as your fishing level rises, and there are ways to gain fishing exp without having to actually fish.

More spoilery information under the cut, but this game doesn't really have a plot to spoil, it's just things like what rewards completing certain achievements give etc. I found out a lot of this via the official wiki, which is pretty good.
Read more... )
alias_sqbr: (happy dragon)
Things I was recced:

The Swancon community is apparently 37% male, 50% female and 13% non binary. The registration table this year offered neat little pronoun stickers to put at the bottom of your badge and there were unisex toilets.

Stirfire Studios ran a demonstration of a game they're writing for the HTC Vive Virtual Reality headset/controller, I was one of a long line of people who got to play it for a few minutes. It was SUPER FUN, very immersive. They got me to stay in my wheelchair to see how well that could work, the answer being "not very well" (I couldn't reach anything high up) but that was fine just for playing around. Also I was longer at the front than the system expected so I banged my footplate into a wall before the "stop walking!" warning grid came on. I've had a few interesting conversations with them about accessibility, am curious to see where that goes.

I only stayed for the very beginning of the masquerade and had no costume but everyone else looked great.

I did a clay animal making activity in the family room which was HEAPS of fun, I was a sought after artisan of little eyes since the children had trouble making them neatly.

Non Violent Video Games
So You Want To Make A Video Game

Various Jane Espenson notes, Science Doesn't Work That Way, Trailer Park, Queer characters: Tokenism, realism and support )
alias_sqbr: (happy dragon)
So that was fun! And I am predictably tired, it has taken a few days of napping and playing Stardew Valley before I felt up to poking at the notes I took. I managed to achieve all my goals: my panels went well, talked to friends, met new people, attended other people's fun panels, saw some cool costumes, spoke to some of the guests.

The notes all blur together, so I'm going to start from the beginning and see what structure emerges.

Speak for 3 minutes about local fannish events, Authors Like Lois McMaster Bujold )
alias_sqbr: (genius!)
I've been doing a lot of experimenting with Artrage. I've gotten enough of the hang of it for game background paintovers but I think I need to get more practice with the fundamentals of painting before I can use it for portraits etc.

I've also started work on a new game, a picross/nonogram puzzle visual novel called Nona&Gram.


Self Portrait: Artrage

more original art, Dragon Age, Star Wars/Pride and Prejudice crossover, Homestuck, Princess Tutu )

Hustle Cat

Mar. 4th, 2016 12:38 pm
alias_sqbr: (ham!)
Hustle Cat is really cute fluffy dating sim about 19 year old Avery (of unspecified gender with a range of pronouns, skin colours, and presentations!) who ends up working at a cat cafe where all the other workers (2 women and 4 men) turn out to be cursed to turn into cats. You get to know them all and then have a romance with whoever you get along with best. The romances are all really adorable and the end of each path is thrilling and satisfying. I LOVED being able to choose my pronouns and presentation, and the love interests/romances were nicely varied and avoided annoying/sexist romance tropes while still wallowing in good ones (grumpy butch women and shy dudes and tsunderes and... omg my heart). The writing for the protagonist tries to be unisex which was really refreshing even if it didn't always quite work. I loved EVERYONE and EVERY romance (even Reese, who I didn't like at first), which is almost unknown for me and dating sims or ensemble casts in general.

There are a few issues: It's so fluffy it ends up glossing over points of conflict in ways that can feel shallow and erasing. The darkest any of the characters get is light brown, and the "brown" characters mostly have light eyes/hair and generically American names. The writing and art for Avery attempts to be unisex but sometimes felt like it was assuming I was a boy/girl in heterosexist ways, especially when you encounter the One Strawman Sexist (who treats you like a cis dude while you're romancing a girl) The "unisex"ness means you can't be femme which some women may feel limited by. There is literally one choice after you get on your love interest's path, which would be less annoying if the choices Avery made without asking weren't so frequently TERRIBLE. It all turns out ok but it shouldn't, and Avery is especially overbearing on the girls' paths :/ The 2 female/4 male gender balance is annoying, why not three of each, or 2 women/2 men/2 non binary? And there is zero diversity of body type or disability, asides from some fluffily presented implied mental illness.

But I still REALLY ENJOYED playing a woman romancing a hot grumpy butch lady, and then a dude romancing a shy guy with an implied anxiety disorder, and then a male presenting non binary person romancing a mysterious goth dude :D Also the cat versions of the characters are ADORABLE (nb there are no sexy scenes with cats)

Note: most of the paths are easy to get onto if you're just especially nice to that person, but the last one is SUPER TRICKY without a walkthrough.
alias_sqbr: Nepeta from Homestuck looking grumpy in front of the f/f parts of her shipping wall (grumpy)
I've been playing and enjoying the dating sim Hustle Cat (you can be male/female/non binary and there are male and female LIs! It's also really cute and fluffy!) I started making a walkthrough then discovered this official walkthrough, but mine has a very different structure (question by question rather than path by path) so thought I'd update it for anyone who's interested.

This is one of those games whose first part plays the same every time, then it picks a path based on whatever love interest you have the most points with. I'm only going to talk about the choices before the path split, so there's no real spoilers for anyone who's played the game up to the (fairly easy to recognise) point where the love interests' unique paths begin. And if you haven't done that, have a go before you start looking for help ;)
Spoilers if you haven't played the game at all )
alias_sqbr: (genius!)
As you may guess from the title, this is neither nut free nor vegetarian. The original recipe I'm adapting, and made a LOT when I could still eat dairy and chocolate, is nut free. Here's something very similar, with a vegan alternative on the side bar. The cashew based Indian desserts Kaju Burfi and Kaju Katli are vegan and pretty great (I have no recipe since I just buy them from Indian supermarkets) Also this Dairy Free Fudge site has some promising looking recipes including ones that are vegan and nut free.

There is no healthy version of this recipe, since the basic structure of fudge is sugar and fat. MMmmm.
Read more... )
alias_sqbr: (existentialism)
(These are some initial notes for a panel I'm planning on doing at Swancon in March.)
Read more... )

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