As I've mentioned several times in the past, I get a lot of my ideas from various dreams. I haven't really had many dreams lately that were very interesting, so I could remember few details from them as the day went on. But I had one this morning that was just so random, and so I am going to post it here.
I had this dream that my mom was complaining about her new computer crashing and getting bluescreens, so i went over to my parents place to seee what was going on, where she had one of the ultra small Dell Optiplexes, and so I ran some diagnostics on it and found it had bad RAM. There was no other computer there for me to chat in to get replacement RAM with, and I didnt want to call in and talk to someone, so I had to go back to my place to get my XPS 1530 to chat in. By that point, though, I had to go to work, so I grabbed both machines, hopped on my matress, and drove to work.
I ended up crashing the matress on the far side of the freeway in front of my work, so I picked it up and jumped over the fence and went in. In this world my building was actually a middle school, instead of the call center I work at, and parts of the building were frozen because the AC was not functioning properly that day. Ithen had to hunt around the building for a monitor to connect to the computer so I could see the error code to give over the chat, and ended up arguing with Doc Brown or Bill Nye (cant remember which) about processor architecture for a while while searching. Then somenoe else finally found me a monitor, and so I sat down to start up the chat. However, in the room I was working in to chat in from, several of the junior hgh kids were playing the Yu-Gi-Oh trading card game, and a girl with dyed green hair challenged me to a game, but the voice wasn't a girls. As I sat down to play the game, I discovered that the girl was posessed by the spirit of the Graverobber from the Millenium Ring, who had to look for another host after Bakura had died in an accident, and the girl was the best he most compatible host he could posess, though he was trying to find a better host, and had picked up the ability to temporarily take over the minds of other people besides the person he was posessing.
As we were playing the game we were both blatantly breaking the rules pertaining to number of monsters on the field, and so I called him on it and we both got rid of the extra cards so we were within the rules. That left the game field all in my favor and I was able to defeat him in one turn, which caused the girl who he was posessing to take over and start crying from the swift loss. The graverobber then took over another kid there and used him to smack the girl in the back of the neck, which caused the hand to pass right through in an ethereal fashion and she lost conciousness. He then did it to all the other kids in the room, so that none of them would remember the swift loss or the cheating, since he was using the girl to be top class tournament winner while searching for a better host. With that all resolved for the moment, I went back to my chatting in about replacement RAM, only to discover that the monitor someone had gotten me was dead, so I had to go find another one.
And I woke up at that point. Not really much in there that could really be used, but it was so outlandishly off the wall that it's stuck with me all day.
I resort to using those generic names because I have so much difficulty coming up with names for characters. In cases where I do have names for specific charactes, I usually have borrowed them.
We'll start with the main character of Spiral Island, Amy Carter. As a corolary to my inability to name characters, if you as me on the spot for a girl's name I will almost always get stuck at the very beginning of the alphabet, with names starting with the letter A. I have other haracters suffering from this as well, named Ann, Amanda, Alliso, and so forth. The last name I borrowed from a friend of mine in elementary school, Joshua Carter.
Continuing from there we have Xedre Jennifer Kopta. Xedre was a name I got from a random name generator. The last name I borrowed from a classmate in my AP Computer Science class, and the middle name was also probably borrowed from a classmate, though I can't think of a specific one at the moment. Another character that is introduced early into the game, Marcus Tilden, is borrowed as well. The first name from a classmate that I was talking to one day about the Spiral Island storyline early in my work on it. The last name I just grabbed from the first thing that was handy, which was a name I saw in the credits playing Pokemon Blue, namely Gail Tilden of Nintendo of America.
Switching over to Skewed we have some more borrowed names for major characters, not counting the minor characters that are direct copies of characters from other anime. Miku Maeda and his father Kyojiro (a character borrowed from the Spiral Island series) have the last name of the Konami music director Naoki Maeda. Ian Mikuri plays off of the names of the friend of mine I based him on, namely Mikuri being the japanese name for the gym leader Wallace in Ruby and Sapphire, which is my friend's last name. Leanne, whom I've only mentioned once so far in the story but will go into more later, is taken from a girl that sat next to me through most of my first year Japanese class in High School.
I am not very good with names. I never have been, even my close friends I'll cycle through different names until I get the correct one. It's something my father and grandmother on my father's side did as well, some weird family trait or something.
This presents a real problem when I'm trying to name characters. That's the primary reason for my chacter The Anaconda in the Spiral Island series having my name, it's not so much a self-insertion job as it is a story that began being told in the first person, and I could not come up with any different name for the character. I am utterly horrible with coming up with names, often leading me to resort to using random name generators for different tasks.
In stories that I think of in the first person, usually stories that branch off different dreams, I've ended up with more or less 3 different core personailities for the character, and give them general purpose names if I don't expect the story to go very far. For characters that more or less fit me, computer apt being the main thing, I just use my normal name. If the character's not specifically computer oriented, I switch to my alternate alias, James Millen, which I have used in Celebration and Dreams of Reality. The name James comes from my middle name. The last name came from some website I found during an English class in high school where we were researching urban legends, from a site that was supposed to generate your "writer name". If I recall it might have actually generated James Miller and not Millen, but then I changed it.
The third profile I use is named Jacob White, Jacob being the Hebrew form of the name James. I use that one usually for characters dealing with conflicts beyond themselves. The character for the Project L storyline, Jacob Moon, was the prototype for this character, before I came up with the final name. I never intended to call him that, actually, and never actually called him that until he was introduced to Miku in Skewed, however that name just stuck with him and I couldn't bring myself to properly call him Jacob White. That name ended up getting borrowed from the first thing that stuck in my head for the name Jacob, a character in the LDS fiction novel series Tennis Shoes Among the Nephites, particularly after a character named "Jacob of the Moon" from the 2nd book in the series.
The White last name that the subsequent characters using that profile own comes from another dream I had which I turned into a storyline for a game, listed on the AnacondaSoftware site as Project WBY. This dream consisted of only 3 characters, myself and two others. The other two were college girls guest-starred in the dream by Blue and Yellow from the Pokemon Special manga. Based on this I decided to refer to another dream I had a week before: a dream where AnacondaSoftware was contracted to make some Pokemon games for the GBA, which we titled White and Black versions, and then when Game Freak came out with their DS game that they were working on, they made homage to those games by putting in sprites of me and my friends and naming the characters in there after the names of of our games, in homage to the tradition of having characters named after he game names. Particularly, the chracter based on me was put in as currently dating Misty, and both of them were visitnging the region on vacation. My character was named White if you got into a double battle with Misty and her boyfriend. (Interestingly enough, Diamond and Pearl ended up having a visiting Gym Leader, with Jasmine visiting Sunyshore City. Sunyshore looks a lot like the town in my dream where Misty and White were in in my dream, though in my dream there was a seaport there as well). I ended up putting these things together, renaming the two girls with names that meant the color of their original character, and then officially assigning Jacob's last name to be White. The project name ended up reflecting this, Project WBY simply standing for "White-Blue-Yellow".
Our flights start leaving early tomorrow morning, so we have to be to the airport early. I decided to just stay up and sleep on the flight, so I'm going to be here for the next few hours until we leave. It's currently 1:30 here in Florida, so overall I probably wouldn't be asleep yet if I were at home. I'm behind on the work I planned on doing this trip, though that was because I got stuck with a problem for this map editor that took me a long time to solve. I had planned on starting making some maps for Spiral Island, and getting up an update for Skewed while I was here. I've also realized in the process of the week that my Japanese is continuing to slip, so I need to start studying the language again.
While reading through some old posts on Notebook Forums last week, I remembered a story I want to write, but had forgotten about because I never wrote any cornerstone fragments to remind myself of the whole thing. Once PivotX goes final that will probably be the first short story I will write and host on here. But so far this month there hasn't been any new updates to PivotX, so who knows how long off it will be.
At the moment I need to go to get another soda to drink so I can stay awake. When I get back I will be working on an entry that I've tried starting a couple times this last week but never had the time to do when I have actually sat down to write it. I won't be posting it this late hour, because I'm going to want to read over it when I am well rested, but I'll get it out now at least since I don't have much else to do.
Last entry before I go to Florida. Just finishing moving over the work I need to my notebook, and then I will pack up everything.
I'm sitting here rather amused as I do it. Because of current regulations, I can't carry my spare battery open in my notebook bag. So I have it wrapped in a bread bag that will sit in my notebook bag, so it fulfills spare battery regulations.
I don't just lounge around when I vacation, or I get stir crazy. I have to be doing something at all times. On vacations I will be staying somewhere with electricity, I bring my notebook to work on things, at times such as when I'm camping I bring a bunch of paper and writing utensils to work. Here for this trip I'll have my notebook, with my documents and my Spiral Island map editor to work on. I have over a four hour flight each way so it will for sure be torture without something to do. I'll be working on Skewed, the script for Spiral Island, and whatever else I feel like when I am bored.
Looking over aged discs of end-of-year projects burned off from my multimedia classes, the transitions to the Spiral Island Trilogy was decided by the time my Sophomore year ended, although the proper fonts and logo designs for the title screens for the other two titles didn't come until later. Unfortunately I cannot find an exact date for this, as my Junior year's data disc is degraded and unreadable. However based on modified dates on other copies of the files, apparently the correct logo titles for the first two were created in summer of 2002, and the third game's title was made in early 2003 from the look of it.
As I began rewriting the storyline to remove the old fanfic aspects of it, I ended up eliminating a lot of characters. From the protagonist main characters I ended up down to Amy Carter, Marcus Tilden, and the leadership of The Anaconda's PMC. On the antagonists side, I had a number of divisions under Orion in the enemy company, the Omegan Army, with several division leaders. Looking over the archive page for the first two titles, as I was writing the storyline further I found absolutely no use for the other characters, so I stripped the important main characters on that side down to Orion and his assistant, Xedre Kopta. To keep with the heritage of the first game, I continued with 12 PC's for Spiral Island 1, creating new characters with stories and purposes for the new progression.
I worked on the game, coding everything from scratch. I had intended on releasing it right after graduating, but for reasons I no longer remember something prevented me from doing much to it. And then as I started employment, I re-evaluated the gaming market, and it was no longer feasible at the time, in late 2003, to work on the game in 2D any further, and I shelved the project, intending to learn more about 3D programming to restart the project in 3D. I spent the time since then fine tuning the story, as well as writing new stories for more games.
Now we catch up to 2008, where we are now. The console now is the ruling force, the game market has been turned on it's side with the sudden creation of the casual game market, and the industry's on the verge of shifting yet again with the hobby and indie developers being opened to a new mass distribution method, with Microsoft's XNA platform. Which brings us to the point I am at now, reviving the original Spiral Island in 2D on XNA.
5 year High School reunion in an hour or so. I had meant to get a couple other entries in between the Spiral Island introduction posts, but my tasks this week at work prevented me from having the time to sit down and write some other ones, and I've spent my time at home either trying to get the map editor I am working on for the game to function properly or playing Metal Gear Solid 3 (though at the moment I made the mistake of fighting during the fight with The End, so I have to wait until he dies to continue playing). I have started a couple of articles and have them on hold, I'll complete them as I can.
There's one more article from the first set, scheduled to be released late this evening. I actually wrote these first three articles on Spiral Island all at the same time, with timed releases for the future. As I start getting more work done on the actual copy of the game for the XBOX and show progress work on the forums and the devblog, I will talk some more about the game here.