All words presented in this blog are purely opinion, not fact - unless specifically stated otherwise in the post.

Tuesday 30 April 2013

Three Peaks

So some time soon I'm going to be posting here that I need sponsorship. I've mentioned before that I'm going to be doing the three peaks challenge, but now I have a date! I'm not sure what it is, but I have one.

Three peaks is a 24 hour challenge climbing the three tallest mountains in Britain;
Mount Snowdon in Wales

Scafell Pike in England
Ben Nevis in Scotland

I'm not certain on the route we're taking, but I would imagine the order above would make the most sense since the guys im doign it with live near Wales.

So yeah, basically I'm saying watch this space, I'll be stealing your money with guilt soon.

- James

Monday 22 April 2013

First weekend

So my short has been online for 4 days now I think, three of them for free. today is the last day you can recieve Exile for free on Kindle.

At this point I've had three reviews, one on and two on .com. On my rating is 5 star and on .com its 4.5, both of which are pretty good and all the reviews have been quite positive. I even got a twitter message about it from one of the reviewers, which is nice.

As of this moment the downloads are as follows;
Paid, 2 in the US and 8 in the UK
US - 184
UK - 47
DE - 10
IT - 2
JP - 1
CA - 2
So overall that's 246 people who have Exile on their kindles. Really not bad considering its my first thing, I'm completely unknown and its such a un-recognised genre as Science fiction.

For a while over the weekend I was number 8 in the charts for free science fiction short stories. Thats good, right? top ten!

So yeah, fun times this weekend, hopefully the purchase rate will keep up into the time when it's pay to read.

That's all I got.

- James

Friday 19 April 2013

Kindle Exile

Hi guys!
So yesterday my short story went up on Amzon to buy for Kindle!
Yes! Seriously! How awesome is that?!

And that's not all. For the next four days (friday, saturday sunday and monday) it's completely free so get out there and 'buy' it. Read it and review it. preferably positively, but I can't really make you enjoy it.

I don't really have much else totalk about today, so that's it. Here's the link to Exile on and .com:

- James

Monday 15 April 2013


So I'm uploading my first short story to Amazon on friday (assuming I finish editing in time, but I only have a few pages left so it should be fine). It's come quite a long way with plot and wording and hopefully speelingand grammar.
I'm not allowed to post it up here in it's entirety as I'm going to let Amazon call it a Kindle exclusive so I get slightly more for it, btu I am going to put up a sample. It's the same sample I put up before but edited and re-written to be a part of our future not Galledar's.

I hope to put it up on Kindle for about £0.99/$1.50 It's about 100 kindle pages (at default font size) should be awesome. Anyone who reas this I urge you to be awesome and buy it.

Anyway, here's the sample:

“The elf known as Draegon waits as he listens to the hacked com-frequency of the enemy security personnel. He kneels atop the building and listens for the right moment, when the enemy says the words ‘all clear’. Aiming down the scope of his rifle, a smirk slides across his features; he hears it. The enemy indicates to him that they’re vulnerable, that they’re relaxed and he pulls the trigger, sending the sniper rifle’s bullet soaring straight down at the target. It hits him right between the-” Dylan narrated.
“Wait,” Wren said. Raising a hand to his elven role playing friend. “Roll a dee-ten on whichever’s higher; Dex or Luck.”
“What? Come on, it’s a gun, not a sword. It doesn’t take skill to use, it’s got targeting systems,” Dylan argued, waving a hand at his elf hit-man character sheet as it floated above the holo-projector.
Wren raised an eyebrow. “This is set in the twentieth century, or the technological equivalent of Earth’s twentieth century. They didn’t have targeting systems for rifles back then. Just like they didn’t have laser pistols or commercial space travel. Your character looks down the scope - which really isn’t anything more than a zoom lens – and fires when he thinks that the bullet will hit the target.”
“Ugh…” Dylan groaned. “Fine.” He pressed a finger to the dice menu on his holo-display and dragged down to the ten sided die. He released and a short animation of a rolled die appeared, landing on a one. “Aw crap. Eight on Luck”
“Ok, you fire the gun and it misses the Orc president, hitting the elven president next to him….” Wren reached for his own holo-display and rolled a dee-six. It came up as a two. “In the arm.”
“Dammit,” Dylan cursed again.
“At least you didn’t kill him,” Magnus, the youngest of their group, consoled him as he sat forward to get a good look at the pieces on the table. “Okay,” he said, looking up at Wren behind his Quest Master divider. “I look around and see if there are any security bots-”
“No security bots, not invented,” the fourth member of their group, Charlie, reminded his friend.
“Right.” Magnus nodded, looking around the table’s figures. “Sorry.”
“Didn’t we already cut off their coms anyway? How would they call in backup?” Charlie asked.
“There could be things already in the area.” Magnus shrugged. “We only cut long range communication, their personal coms- er- ‘Walkie-talkies’ still work.”
Charlie shrugged, admitting his ignorance. “Try helicopters,” he offered in recompense. He turned to Wren. “Am I saying that right?”
“Yeah.” Wren agreed. “You want to look for helicopters?” He asked Magnus. The youngster nodded. “Ok, roll a dee-ten on perception.”
Magnus rolled his holo-dice and it came up as a nine. He looked up at his Dwarf investigator’s character sheet and read out his perception total. “Sixteen,” he said.
“Ok, cool. You don’t see any helicopters, they’re not allowed in the area because they were considered a security hazed, what with the Orc and Elven presidents appearing at the same time. You do, however, see a security sniper on the opposite building.”
“Why didn’t we see him before?” Dylan asked, frowning.
“You didn’t look.” Wren shrugged. “He’s looking around for the shooter and turning to look in your direction.”
“I use a cloaking spell to cover all three of us,” Charlie said quickly, reaching for his dee-ten. “Rolling against intelligence…” he looked up for confirmation that it was ok. Wren nodded and Charlie let the dee-ten roll. “Five,” he announced, scrolling through his human wizard’s character sheet. “Plus my seven; twelve.”
“Okay, the shield goes up over you, but it doesn’t extend to the others,” Wren described.
“If we stand behind him what happens?” Dylan asked.
“They see through him and see you,” Wren responded. Dylan frowned and looked down at the map.
“Is the sniper’s building higher than ours?” Magnus asked. “How far away is he?”
Wren smiled. “Marginally higher and pretty far.”
“Okay, I lay down by the lip of the building, where he can’t see me.” Dylan said.
“Me as well,” Magnus added.
“Ok, roll against either; Dex, Int, Perception or Luck.”
“Dee-ten?” Dylan asked. Wren nodded. The two of them rolled dee-tens and both came up as ten. They rolled again. Dylan got sixteen overall and Magnus got eighteen. “That’s twenty-three on luck.”
“Twenty-five on perception,” Magnus responded.
“Both of you manage to hide from the sniper and he passes over the three of you.”
“Now I’m going to take my sniper rifle and fire on him. The sniper.” Charlie decided, pointing at the piece on the table. He reached up and rolled a dee-ten against his dexterity. It came up as a nine. “Sixteen.” He said, looking up at Wren expectantly.
Wren grins. “You shoot him.” Wren rolled a dee-six, it came up as a one. “In the head. Roll luck.”
Charlie complied, getting another nine. “Thirteen.”
“And not a soul knew where the shot came from.” Wren narrated.
“Awesome,” Magnus exclaimed.
A ringing sounded on Wren’s holo. He frowned at it, time was up. He pressed it off. “Well I guess that’s all for this week. Meet back here same time next week?”
The ringing sounded again, this time it sounded higher, less like a ring more like a siren. He frowned at it again and pressed the off button, but it wouldn’t turn off. He started shaking and he realised that Magnus was holding his shoulders. The table was gone, Magnus was in its place, shaking him. “Wren, snap out of it,” he said.
Wren frowned at the youngster and watched as he rapidly aged. He blinked and the room was gone. Young Magnus was gone. Young Wren was gone. He was aboard Thor-class Imperial War ship ‘Relentless’, Magnus was thirty-one, he was thirty-three and they were under attack.
“Sir, you’re alive. Good,” Magnus said, stepping back as Wren blinked.
He took in a few deep breaths and focussed on Magnus’ knife sharp features. He was light skinned with wrinkles around his eyes. His jet black hair had a dusting of grey collecting at the temples, cut short and cropped to navy regulations.
Magnus’ eyes were a soft green that seemed to comfort those who looked into them, despite the serious expression that was plastered across his face at all times.
The Executive Officer looked remarkably different to his friend. Wren’s hair was mostly grey with patches of rusty red marring his otherwise silver mane. His hair had started going grey when he’d gained his Admiralty at twenty-six, more than likely a mark of stress, though there was every chance it could have simply been genetics. Wren’s hard grey eyes matched his hair so well that he was surprised whenever he saw pictures of himself with locks of a different colour.
Wren ran his hand through his hair to check for any blood, but the short crop remained dry. Hopefully no concussion. He checked the rest of his strong features, finding a cut on his eyebrow and chin that would likely become scars. If he’d been allowed to grow a beard he might have had a problem with the wounds but he’d be clean shaven until he retired, so why worry?
He let out a long breath and forced himself back to his feet, getting his bearings. The circuits in his command seat had blown and he’d been sent flying across the once pristine command deck floor, marring it with blood from the wounds on his face and a large gash on his back. Blood dripped down Wrens face while Magnus by comparison seemed unharmed.
The X.O. - Wren’s oldest living friend - gripped his shoulders and looked worriedly into his eyes. “Admiral, are you good to go? Admiral, can you tell me your name?”
“Wren Lian-Cheng. Admiral Wren Lian-Cheng” Wren recalled, nodding. “High Lord of the Mau-Winsor Imperium. Second Earl of Andal. I don’t have a concussion. Report! What’s our status?”
“Sir,” Magnus responded, saluting and turning to face the holo-displays. “Three pirate war ships including the supposedly destroyed Imperial Hunter-Class destroyer, Jeopardy,” Wren’s eyes widened and he looked up at the screens. How the hell did they get a hold of Charlie’s ship? It’d been eight years since Charlie and his crew had been blown out of the sky… and yet there it was; the ship they had been flying in when it had happened. It still had the scars on its hull from their final engagement.
“Six cruisers and five carriers remain; they have a hundred and fifty fighters. Their assault has taken us down to only a handful of fighters-”
“Sixty, sir,” a junior officer called from his post. The man stood in front of his console, chair knocked away from him in the assault.
“Sixty fighters remain,” Magnus continued. “We’ve lost the Indomitable and the Victory and the only carrier that remains is The Quartz.”
“How the hell did they amass such a force?” Wren cursed, looking up at the holo-displays. He watched as fighters exploded and the last carrier came under heavy assault. “Dammit, we can’t win this.”
“Sound the retreat,” Wren sighed, shaking his head.
“Sir, the carrier only holds thirty fighters and we have-” Magnus’ eye flicked to the holo-displays. “Fifty seven still out there.”
“Tell the others to clamp onto the outside of our hull,” Wren ordered. “It won’t be a fun journey for them but they’ll survive.”
“Yes sir,” Magnus agreed, motioning to a junior officer.
“Set co-ordinates T.Z. via New Beijing,” Wren ordered, watching allied ships explode on the holo displays in eerie silence as the fighters disengaged and desperately tried to latch onto Wren’s ship.
“We’re returning to the core sir?” Magnus asked.
Wren nodded. “On the off chance that this isn’t a fluke and the pirates have become more organised; the Emperor needs to know.”
His eye twitched as he watched a group of fighters commence a strafing run across the side of his ship shredding several of his defenceless fighters to pieces. It wasn’t a good plan. It wasn’t a smart plan. It wasn’t an honourable plan. It was pure survival. “Ready, sir,” Magnus said.
“Make the jump.”
“Sir.” Magnus nodded to a junior officer and the ship shuddered. The holo-displays showed The Quartz zip out of existence, Relentless following a painstaking moment later. A couple of fighters that hadn’t clamped on properly ripped from the hull and were instantly disintegrated by the kinetic energy caused by the ships high velocity.
He cursed and closed his eyes, turning away. “Full casualty report,” he said, placing his hands on his hips.
“We don’t have it, sir,” Magnus apologised. “We won’t have it until The Quartz tallies their dead.”
Wren nodded. “An estimate then?”
Magnus took a long slow breath to steady himself against the information; his eyes scanned across the ominously glowing display and he read aloud, “Full crew of The Indomitable, one-thousand-two-hundred men. Full crew of The Victory, one-thousand-two-hundred men. Full crew of The Obsidian, The Hematite, The Amethyst and The Jasper, Two-thousand-six-hundred-and-Fifty-Six men. One-hundred-and-seven one man fighters. An estimated twenty-five percent death rate aboard The Quartz, though we’ll have to wait for their report for specific information.”
“And on Relentless?” Wren asked, already cursing himself for his failure.
“Lower three decks have hull breach, we had an explosion in the med bay and the primary cannon’s engineering room. Reports are still coming in, but I’d estimate that we lost three-hundred men,” Magnus responded.
Wren cursed. Magnus’s estimations were usually accurate. He had truly, colossally failed. An estimated five-thousand-six-hundred-and-seventy-five out of seven-thousand-and-seventy lives lost. More than an eighty percent death rate. He hadn’t had such a crushing defeat since his simulated battles against Charlie at the academy.
“Estimated time to arrival at New Beijing?” Wren asked.
“Two hours,” Magnus responded.
“Very well” Wren nodded, rubbing his tired, blood shot eyes. “Send the holo recording of the battle to my cabin, make sure the spaced levels are sealed, get the fires out and contact me when we have an exact casualty rate.”
“Very well, sir,” Magnus nodded.
“X.O. Magnus, you have command,” Wren said before turning and walking off of the bridge.

Hopefully you enjoyed that and you will buy the kindle short story to find out how and why the book is called Exile and what happens with jeopardy.

- James

Friday 12 April 2013

Thirty-Four of Fifty-Two


Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson

Brandon Sanderson is an amazing writer, the kind of writer I want to be 'when I grow up'. Not a one hit wonder with one book or one series or one genre, but he hits every genre and hits every mark. Not a single one of his books or short stories, even the knows in genres I don't particularly like I find Amazing. He's even been chosen (due to his long friendship with and amazing writing skills) to finish Robert Jordon's Wheel of Time series.

The Mistborn series is where I first met Sanderson's writing. since then I've read the short stories 'First Born' and 'Legion' (while I have 'The Emperors Soul' ready to read) I've read the stand alone novel 'Elantris' and everything that has been written in his book series, the stormlight Archive and then the Mistborn series, the original trilogy and the detective novel set 300 years later (And I'm super looking forward to the next one but its not out for another year :( ).

Mistborn is a fantastic concept in a fantastic world. I practically feel like i'm there when I'm reading it. The first book is about a rebellion to take down the empire of gods, but what happens next? in the aftermath of a rebellion, you look at other book series where a rebellion is the point of all the books, and then wonder what happens after? Surely thats not the end of all that turmoil? Just because the Evil king is gone doesn't mean that everythings roses does it?
Well Mistborn book two tackles those questions while book three answers the question "if he was emperor for a thousand years then was he doing something right?"

The world is a mixture of medieval to early victorian weapons tech with victorian to post industrial tech in all other areas. It's a well built and maintained world that fully commits to it's totally unique power set.

The powers revolve around metals. you consume some metal, you have the power within you, you burn it away. each metal does different things and gives the user different powers. Most users only have the ability to use one of these powers but a few can use all of them.
There are other power sets, all revolving around metal but talking about them would give away plot elements and You are going to go read it, so I wont tell you them.

The characters are fun and realistic, hard and powerful.
I'd never met another book that I believed in so thoroughly, and made me so sad that I hadn't been the one to make it.
After reading it I had a strange sensation about the powers like 'its so obvious, why hadn't I thought about it? why had nobody else thought of it?' seriously, its amazing. you should read it.

Lol-tube- James

Friday 5 April 2013

Kit Ironsmith Narrative done

So far I think the hardest part about the development of this game has been writing out the main narrative. it's the basis that everythign else stems from and everything requires it, from the assets needed to the quests that need to be designed; the narrative affects them all and getting a strong narrative from the start that makes sense has no holes and works with all elements is a difficult process.
I have now finished the first draft and the outline, so I've got to work working on a list of assets and the in detail mission points for each chapters.

We haven't yet figured out what program we're goign to be using, but at the moment it looks like either Gamesalad or Unity. Gamesalad looks like it'd be easier to use as it works with block behaviours like a program I got heavily into at uni called virtools which we used to make a third person 3D platform game.
However Unity would allow us to do a lot more. it'd be harder, I'd have to either bring a coder into our group or learn to code, but that would be really good for me, it would add to my experience, skills and portfolio.
I'm leaning towards unity if I can figure it out, it is free until you want to publish at least, I think it lets you publiish to PC for personal reasons for free, so i'll be able to use it as a portfolio piece without publishing, which would be nice.

Art is coming along and we'll hopefully have an office for kit ready soon. we've been looking at animated gifs and have kit blinking but I'm hoping by the time we're through we'll have something more adventurous, waving perhaps? I'm not sure. Regardless I'm hopeful.

In other news I plan to upload Exile, my sci-fi short story to Amazon to be reviewed and then published to kindle on the 19th of April. I'm getting some feedback from my friends and hope to be able to incorporate it all before then. I have a cover and I'm looking forward to my second self publishing attempt. it's a good feeling that this time it's actually a good story. My most critical friend even said 'It's well written' and sad that one part was very sad :)

Anyway, enjoy your weekend.

- james

Tuesday 2 April 2013

Atheistic Easter

So this weekend was easter, the christian celebration of the death and rebirth of Jesus. As with the last couple of commercially religious holidays we've had I'm going to explain what the holiday means to me as an atheist; nothing.

Ok, thats an understatement. It means chocolate (cadburies Cream Eggs FTW), a couple of days off work, and spots. Seriously. My face was pretty much free of spots on friday morning, 4 days, an easter egg and 3 chocolate bars later and i've got a couple of spots on my forehead. I am simply not amused.

The thing I dont get about east from a religious perspective is why it's so under celebrated. I mean everyone makes a big deal about christmas, so much so even people who don't believe make a big deal about it, and fair enough, it's the birth of their saviour, but surely Easter should get just as much attention.
Easter celebrates when Jesus sacrificed himself to save all of us. To rid us of the original sin and allow us the possibility of going to heaven. It doesn't mean anything to me, of course, telling me I have a chance of going to heaven is like telling an adult they have a chance of santa visiting this year.
But to christians surely this is a big thing, a huge thing. It's pretty much the basis of their whole faith. Sure if christmas hadn't happened then Easter couldn't have, but equally if easter hadn't happened nobody would have given a shit about Christmas.

It seems odd to me.

Of course it also seems odd to me that everyone would wear the torture device used to kill their savior as a monument to their faith, I mean seriously, you think that if guy fawkes came back from the dead he'd be happy to see bonfire night? no. Nor do I think Jesus would like to see a bunch of crosses everywhere, subtly threatening that they could do it to him again.

Anyway, those be my views on Easter. I'll eat an easter egg of get money for easter eggs, but thats the extent of it. it's not even like any of us particularly care what day it happens on.


- James

P.S. I learned to pick locks. I dont have any evidence, but it's hard to show proof, what'm I gonna do get a picture of a closed lock then an open one? No. But I did it. I'll be trying to learn gamesalad over the next month and I paid some money to charity for last fridays missed post.
P.P.S. I'm really sad I failed to post an April fool yesterday :( maybe next year.