Operation Backlog Completion 2018
Sep 302016

This month, I participated in #WIPjoy, a seasonal writing event created and hosted by Bethany A. Jennings. Each day, writers answer a specific question about their current work-in-progress.


Since I spent September editing Agent of the Relari, that’s the novel I chose. Agent of the Relari is… well, let my #WIPjoy tweets speak for themselves.

Here is my #WIPJoy September 2016 round-up:

I didn’t get started right away, so I used the third day to catch up.

Tell us about your WIP!
What stage are you at with this project?
Describe your WIP with five verbs.

What emotions do you evoke with your setting?

Share a line with a detail about your protagonist’s past.

On Day 6, I forgot to mention the day in the Tweet.

What does your antagonist love deeply?

(Implied spoilers, maybe?)

Which two characters have the most interesting history?

Name something experienced with each sense in your WIP.

Is any part of the backstory inspired by your own life?

Share a line you love about a setting.

After the first week, there was a bonus question, since the second week was answered from the main character’s point of view.

And so, Micky took over my Twitter account. The following questions are answered from his point of view.

Share a deep regret.

How do you really feel about a character closest to you?

Weapon of choice?

How do you feel about romance?

How do you feel about your author?

Any words for future fans of you?

When alone, do you make faces in the mirror?

The third week restored control to me. Sorry, Micky.

Share a line that hints at your theme.

What’s one big reason you’re writing this story?

What kind of reader desperately needs this story?

On Day 21, my Kingdom Hearts obsession rose to the surface.

What’s been your biggest challenge with this WIP?

On Day 22, I overlooked the word “single.”

Represent your WIP with a single image.

What aspect of the book is the most unique?

And on Day 24, I did a little more than a line.

Share a line that’s a fantastic example of your writing voice.

If you could choose any other book to mash up with your own, which would it be?

Shout-out to this WIP’s most encouraging fan.

Does your WIP contain any inside jokes?

I needed two Tweets to answer Day 27’s question:

Share a line that made someone feel FEELS.

Shout-out to writer friends who inspire you.

Day 29 also needed two:

Remind us all what your WIP is about.

And there you have it!

#WIPjoy was a lot of fun to participate in, and I want to do it again sometime. The next one will be in January, but she also announced a week-long mini #WIPjoy in November.

Hmm… in the middle of NaNoWriMo? That should be interesting…

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Sep 282016

Dragon Quest Builders, the building/crafting RPG due out on October 11 for the PS4 and PS Vita, now has a demo available from the PlayStation Store.


I tried the Vita demo, and Dragon Quest Builders seems like it could be a lot of fun.

Its RPG elements are mild. Your character doesn’t level up for killing monsters (although your base’s level increases as you expand it), but you grow stronger by equipping better armor and weapons. In addition to your HP, you have a hunger meter. Food items are found in the world like other materials, and you can cook them once you build a kitchen.

Building is at the game’s core, similar to Terraria or Minecraft. Unlike those, however, you’re given guidance and a path to follow. NPCs give you quests that advance the plot and open up new building options to you. During the demo, I never felt myself wondering what I should do, although I had freedom to explore the starting island if I wanted to.

I explored some parts of the island to find new materials and optional messages, attracted three NPCs to my fledgling town, fought off a wave of attacking monsters, and built enough rooms and decorations to raise my town to Level 2 before the demo ended.

What intrigued me the most is that it’s somewhat story-driven. Most of the quests had me build things, but there were also hints of lore and the mystery of how Alefgard fell into ruin. The demo even had some humor, with the Goddess frustrated by my protagonist’s lack of interest in learning about her destiny.

The controls took a little getting used to, but overall I enjoyed it. The full game is definitely on my radar. What about you? What do you think about Dragon Quest Builders and its demo?

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Sep 262016

affordable-space-adventuresIf you have a Wii U, enjoy puzzle games, and haven’t played Affordable Space Adventures yet, you’re missing out.

Affordable Space Adventures was part of the last Nintendo Humble Bundle, and I’m glad I picked it up.

The game begins with an advertisement from UExplore encouraging you to take an affordable trip into space to explore the 100% safe planet known as Spectaculon. It then cuts to the first level, where you’re stranded on Spectaculon in a damaged spacecraft.

This sort of dark humor is present throughout the game. It’s often subtle, just the contrast between UExplore’s cheerful promotion of its safe space adventures while you desperately search for a way to contact them and request evacuation.

It is a 2D puzzle game, and one of the best things about it is how well it integrates the Wii U GamePad.

While the TV screen displays the world and your ship, the GamePad screen is essentially your ship’s dashboard. It displays all the systems you control: engines, landing gear, the scanner, etc.

New systems open up as your ship repairs itself, introduced at a gradual enough pace so that you never feel overwhelmed. You’ll need to carefully manage them to solve puzzles and proceed through each environment…

…and keep from being blown to bits by deadly robots.

Yeah, Spectaculon isn’t nearly as safe as UExplore thinks, and since they’d never outfit your ship with defensive measures for such a peaceful journey, you can’t let the alien “artifacts” detect you.

First you need to scan them to see their detection radius and what alerts them , and then you adjust your systems accordingly. For example, if a robot in your path detects heat, switch to your electric engine. Your sound, heat, and electricity outputs are displayed on the GamePad, and while it starts out simple, it becomes truly challenging by the end.

You can also play with friends in local co-op, where each of you has control of different systems and you must work together to survive. Many players describe it as feeling like you’re on the bridge of a Star Trek ship.

Affordable Space Adventures has a nice degree of difficulty, challenging enough to make you think without being unfair. In later levels, puzzle-solving can get pretty tense, but you’ll always feel a rush of relief and satisfaction when you finally get through.

Click for Affordable Space Adventures spoiler

The game never breaks the fourth wall, either. Messages on your GamePad explain new systems, but always in the context of teaching the pilot more about the ship. Puzzles are left for you to figure out on your own. Overall, the GamePad behaves like the ship’s console would, with nice little touches that increase the immersion.

Whether you play alone or with friends, Affordable Space Adventures is a challenging and immersive puzzle game that I highly recommend to anyone with a Wii U.

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