Sunday, September 27, 2015

Situation Update

Hello Everyone!
    This update is a bit sad in the sense that I have to delay writing the next Neostriker Novel. As much as I was hoping that it would be finished by now, my lack of free time has indeed made that goal not a reality. Even more so, due to personal reasons, I have to move in a few months which means I now have to find a new job for me to start when that time comes as well as prep skills to help me do so. Now I will try to continue to update this blog on a bi-weekly basis though you can be more certain that very few will be about my writing progress.
    On the other hand, I am interested in getting Neostriker: Shining published and even though the full story is available online (and half of it on Wattpad), it can certainly benefit from some grammatical edits and there are plenty of bonus details I can write up about each chapter. Perhaps I'll even consider a Kickstarter as the goal is simply to get it in print. Yes, you can read it online, but I have found it's very difficult to read something on a screen as opposed to having a book in your hands. My last resort may be self-publishing on Amazon and see where that takes me.

J. D. Nyle

P.S. As for that game I mentioned in my last update, there were a few concerns that came up that I wish to address before I upload it. As to the actual content, it's just the space shooter from Unity with a few changes and additions. I added an extra foe, health, and enemy bullets. At some point I want to add a menu screen and boss levels as well but perhaps I should progress to the next tutorials.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Game development update

Hello Everyone,
    Lately I haven't been able to work on Neostriker and I'm still working on learning how to program games (eventually I want to make a Neostriker game demo to help promote my next story). However, the process is slow due to the fact that I have a full time job and also must care for relationships as well as other obligations. Hopefully I can soon return to writing the story or at least the Legends that will lead into it.

J. D. Nyle

P.S. There is no guarantee this will happen, but depending on how the system works, I may upload one of my practice games for you to try (just modifications to a tutorial online).

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Lessons from How to Train Your Dragon part 2

In continuation from my last post, I'm writing out some observations I've noticed from the film How to Train Your Dragon. For the most part, I've been covering the beginning. The fact that there is so much packed into those first few minutes is fantastic and overwhelming when you think about it.

Consider which characters get developed in the film. There are three: Hiccup, Stoic, and Astrid. They not only appear in that order, but their development and time spent as the focus of the movie corresponds to their time as the focus within the first few minutes. Even though Gobber is present, he's never the real focus. You know this because Gobber is used to tell us more about Hiccup (and later about Stoic or dragons) but never about himself. However, Stoic has a few scenes where he is the star of the scene and Astrid has one moment in the opening as well where she's the star. Now if you argue there's a fourth character, I would agree if you mean all of dragons. This is because they also take the focus as Hiccup informs us about a few of them which happens quite a bit throughout the film but at a good pace.

It's actually amazing that for a movie that has very nice visuals to realize that it is so great even without them. However, I have to admit that the visuals are fantastic. Not only are they beautiful, but they are well-shot. I recently saw Big Hero 6 and was underwhelmed by it's visuals and flight scene because I kept comparing it to HTTYD. No matter how much I could try to avoid comparing the two, in every regard I saw HTTYD as the much better movie in the areas where they were similar (the first flight scene). This one I can watch the scenes over and over again but I cannot do that with Big Hero 6. If you were to ask me why, I would argue that part of it is the music.

Music is meant to complement the scene. In Big Hero 6, there is a main theme but it has vocals which end up distracting from the scene. In How to Train Your Dragon, they are never distracting from the scene but rather emphasize whatever is happening. There is one peace that I feel like drags on a little bit in the Forbidden Friendship song, but that's okay because when you pair it with the actual activity on-screen, it works perfectly. You know you have a great soundtrack when you can imagine the movie and get excited just by listening to the music (Besides Star Wars and LOTR, only one other soundtrack got me so excited and that was for Hero of Time by George Powell which is far better than the movie it was made for).

That's all I have for today and I believe all I have for covering this topic. If you asked me, there probably something else I can praise HTTYD for but I should probably return to writing Neostriker if not work on learning how to make video games. At least now you have a recommendation for a movie to watch if you are looking for one.

J. D. Nyle 

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Lessons from How to Train Your Dragon part 1

    So here's an interesting post. This has nothing to do with Neostriker as I have taken no inspirations from the HTTYD movie nor intend to. However, when it comes to storytelling and design, I think it is a great film to study in terms of the arts. When I look at it, I think to myself, "I can really think of this as a timeless classic." Sure there are some things I don't like in terms of storytelling (pretty much just the stubbornness of the father), but that's out of personal taste as opposed to critical. On a critical level, everything is perfect. So let's start from lessons we can learn about it and how it may affect my own storytelling in the future.
    The very beginning of the movie is the first hint that you have a well-done movie. You have a quick introduction that is timed perfectly with fantastic music. In fact, I often listen to the soundtrack and reflect on well-done it was. The beginning is your chance to convince the audience what to expect and to lure them in. How to Train Your Dragon does fantastic job by starting with a nice mellow tune and scene but quickly turns to humor and epicness. Within the first 5 minutes, almost all of the themes that will be apart are covered. You are subconsciously told that there will moments of reflection, humor, epic encounters, and romance, and a few twists. The only theme missing that is the core to the whole movie which is friendship.
    The friendship is itself interesting as this movie could have easily been about two tribes fighting each other and an unlikely friendship between two wannabe warriors, but instead we get this sort of pet friendship. To be honest, while the other situation may have made a good story, the one we got here worked out perfectly and led to awe-inspiring moments. Sometimes it's best to forgo the more true-to-life scenario and instead tie your themes with fantasy. After all, who wouldn't want to ride a dragon (unless you're afraid of heights)?

That's all I have for you today. Perhaps another time I'll spend more on the movie. Even though this doesn't have much to do with Neostriker, it is important to enjoy the arts for you never know what might really inspire you. Just don't forget my previous advice to take the time and hone whatever inspirations you obtain.
J. D. Nyle

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Update: The Many Paths and So Little Time

So it's been a while since you've heard on any updates on the latest story. You've gotten insights about the development process, but no progress update on how much I've written. To be fair, it's probably always a bad idea to share how far you are in a story because something may happen that causes a complete rewrite. I believe I've hinted at it before where if I had the time and energy, there is one major change I would like to make to Shining. However, at some point, enough is enough. Even though this change I would make wouldn't change the story, it would require a lot of changes to dialogue and then making sure it fits with everything else. As such, I'm being very deliberate about what decisions I would like to make with this next one. On the bright side, the chapter I wrote years ago is still as I wanted it to be.
Now I don't recall if I shared this with you but one of my goals with Neostriker from about the beginning was to create a game. As I was brainstorming, another story was being made and I kept thinking how well it would fit into a game. While I have played many games, my knowledge about coding them is next to nil. As a result, I decided to pursue learning more about programming games and see if I can possibly make a demo for my projects. If anything, then I can get hired at a company who might be interested in helping me flesh out the Neostriker world I have planned. I'm still slowly writing the next novel but it will take longer than I had originally planned. To be fair, that's the kind of thing that happens when it's only one guy doing everything and not getting paid for it. However, since I love this series so much, I'll continue to give it my best to create the best world it can be.

J. D. Nyle

Monday, July 13, 2015

Characters: The Women of Neostriker

Sorry for long delay! I meant to post something last week, but I forgot all about it. To make up for that, here's some insight about what to expect in my upcoming novel.

When people talk about diversity in some stories, women tend to be one of the categories to be mentioned.  However, I do not intend to include any women among the primary cast this time. So will there be no women? Not at all. In fact, there are a few that the characters will meet and they will be important in some way or another (and none are damsels in distress), especially as I set them up to be major later. There is one character I'm holding off on introducing until later but you may be surprised to see how much she is involved in the first story when I do reveal her.

So why won't there be any among the main cast this time? One major reason is I'm personally tired of seeing romances and so no characters will be romantically involved with anyone they meet on this first quest. The easiest way is to simply not include women as part of the main cast. Second, I have some adventures planned specifically for the feminine characters and I want to save those for my second and third novels after I use this first story to set everything up (I'm even holding back the Legends that relate to them until then). Third, I want to focus on world building for the first story instead of distractions. Fifth and perhaps the greatest reason, they just don't fit into my story to be part of the adventuring party this time. Instead, for their greatest impact and glimpse into cultures, they need to be among those met along the way.

The essential point I want people to consider is to let the artist or storyteller convey the story as it comes to him or her. Sometimes we can be too demanding to see "equality" that we consider them essential to a good story. That isn't the case. While they can bring about interesting topics, sometimes we neglect that diversity is a relative term and that there is plenty just within the white-male stereotype as we can see in Lord of the Rings. On the other hand, perhaps these men aren't white and people will just imagine them that way based off stereotypes.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Inspirations: Redwall

    You might recall I mentioned a while back that the fantasy elements stemmed not only from the Legend of Zelda, but also from Brain Jaqcues' Redwall. Close to when Ocarina of Time came out for the Nintendo 64, Redwall was airing on TV. I actually recall the first adventures being riding on a horse like Epona with bombs to find a cave to fight a giant snake to claim a sword. In fact, for a long time, those two were linked as I called my castle Bluewall. Eventually, the elements from Brian Jacques' stories faded away though I might revisit the ideas.
    While my introduction to his stories was Redwall, the only book I had read was Martin the Warrior, corresponding to when it was on TV. So recently, I decided to pick up the original book and see what lessons I can learn from it. It is quite interesting to see the alternating style of a long chapter then short chapter. What I was more hoping for though was tips about describing the essentials for the blind reader. There are some uses of sound, but they aren't as profound as I thought they were going to be. Either way, it will probably be a good experience and beneficial to my next novel due to similarities in the environment. So while you wait for my novel, I can recommend that you pick up one of his books.

Happy Reading,
J. D. Nyle