The Kai Project: Oh lordy, where's it going now?

So, the other day, I got an interesting new idea for Tenkai, or what I'm now tentatively calling The Kai Project. With as many times as I've re-imagined this thing, though, I feel like I'd better stop and recap all the previous things it's been, for the sake of everyone's sanity including mine.

  1. The whole thing started out as a bunch of "fakémon" when I was about 11 or 12. Soon enough, through their sheer style- and canon-bending nature, they organised themselves into an independent RPG-like game idea called Aeromon.
  2. Aeromon slid from a game idea into a conventional story, then called Adventures of Kurei, because I didn't have resources of any kind.
  3. I ended up fiddling with a monster notebook based on the story anyway as well as game mechanics, taking it into a new phase. Monsters at first had evolutions based on their concept Pokémon-style, and then evolutions in each of a set of elements (plus sometimes one or two not associated with any elements), each often themed after animal species I thought were interesting (I remember a Chinese dragon thing having a humpback whale-like form and one called Lagarto having a "bearded dragon fire cross" form, both much less interesting than they sound).
  4. When I actually learned a little bit about programming, I tried to actually make some kind of game, albeit a browser game made in PHP with very ad hoc coding. At this time I reworked the project with more of a Monster Farm-like idea and renamed it Tenkai basically for weeaboo reasons. Monsters had different breeds from each region, and also sometimes life-stage-evolutions they could become if they met the right conditions (old enough, in good enough condition, and sometimes some stat requirements).
  5. Later I revisited the whole idea and redid some of the creatures from both the AoK stage and the weeaboo Tenkai stage more realistically. The project's basic blueprint was fairly similar to that at the weeaboo stage including the breeds idea, but also brought back the "element evolutions" idea from AoK to create them (creatures also had juvenile forms). There were a number of habitat biome types or "attributes", and monsters had variants each tagged with a different attribute or attributes. Each attribute would have certain types of abilities it would tend to have, and there was some idea though I never figured it out concretely of having each attribute be good in a certain range of other biomes and against monsters from those biomes like how real life species can often be all right in more than one biome if the biomes are similar enough.

(All the previous bullets are in more context here.)

  1. Semi-recently, I came back to the idea of a Takumi monstergame again, deciding the project would become libre and realising that honestly the whole idea of a monstergame could go very interesting places gameplay-wise if I just exercised a little imagination; in imitation of "Retrolark Fantasy Stablehand" I expanded the title out to "Heavenscratch Beastquest Tenkai". One idea I came up with was to give each creature a different control scheme. Monsters also had Stablehand attribute-based variants they could switch between at will to make strategy more interesting.
  2. The monsterverse idea happened. That didn't really change anything about the project except possibly make it part of something of a much bigger scope.

    (Note: the monsterverse idea has a fairly good chance of staying into the final project as long as I don't abandon the idea of a Takumi monstergame entirely, given I've found somebody who independently had basically the exact same idea to talk to about it with.)

  3. For maybe two weeks I went into this weird completely different segue of trying to imagine "Heavenscratch Beastquest Tenkai" as a tablet puzzle game. 95% of that didn't stick.
  4. Weeks later I randomly got this idea of 'what if there was this monstergame/RPG entirely centred around MBs', which... I'm not sure if any of it stuck as ideas for the Takumi monstergame or not, but it actually caused me to rethink MBs.
  5. I realised that the name Tenkai really didn't so much fit the project any more, mainly the "ten" (heaven/sky) part of it. However, I liked the Kai part, so I started tentatively calling it "The Kai Project" instead. Then because of that name, the idea that caused me to write this post happened.

New location of Stablehand picture archive

For a long time I'd been wanting a nice and minimal but also relatively quality place to archive Stablehand pictures. deviantART was kinda okay, but its expectation you enter a bunch of metadata for every single one including "artist comments" and also had no way of changing the file to a different format after uploading was a drag. Tumblr was pretty all right, but hard to browse through well, and its photosets were very idiosyncratic (I'll still be posting updates there though). Also because of javascript weirdness and firebug glitches sometimes editing posts took forever. seemed great at first because its purpose was to be an internet library and archive things for a long time—what better place to archive things, right? And to be fair, it was a great place to put fullsizes and won bonus points with me by providing a CCO licence tag. But it basically sucked for actually displaying any of the pictures in a remotely organised fashion, extremely surprising especially when its audio pages and game archive both got a recent revamp to look beautiful. So here comes the next step.

Recently I randomly found out about a new set of projects to create something called the federated internet when reading an article on Big shoutout to! You helped me discover something I honestly think is going to be really awesome.

Anyway, the idea behind the federated internet is that there are going to be a number of projects available as alternatives to popular web apps, but they're going to be built on libre open source platforms, and there's going to be a strong standard of individual freedom and privacy. Federated web apps will be made of pods, different locations that each run the site independently but intercommunicate such that you can register on one pod and store data there and communicate with other pods without thinking about it (meaning it's vastly less easy to get any significant number of users' data at once, and maybe less traffic congestion), and if your pod threatens to go out for some reason, you can clone your stuff to a different one. diaspora* (aka libre Facebook :p), GNU social (aka libre twitter), and (aka distinctly different libre twitter), are the main examples that exist right now. But there are more things in progress! Though it's not a 'federated web' thing per se, (a libre music site I use a lot) is based on the same "open platform you can build a clone/compatible site with" idea, and also, to finally finally get to the point of these two long paragraphs, there's mediagoblin.

What mediagoblin is supposed to be is a unified platform for uploading and displaying a whole bunch of types of media—instead of using a million different services for sound and pictures and video and 3d models and pdfs and... you get the picture, mediagoblin is supposed to give you ONE convenient media gallery. You can use it on a public site, or you can set up your own site running it and customise the heck out of it. I wish I could do the latter because that would be awesome (it would definitely be fun to make a FolderView skin to go with the new theme of this site), but I opted to do the former because I don't really have my own web space to do that with, haha. Eventually it will be federated, though it isn't right now (there are about two unlinked "pods" at the moment though).

Anyway the new Stablehand picture archive is at!

(Mediagoblin is fairly early and imperfect right now, as you might notice immediately from my page "description" where I've copied the gallery links onto the main page where they should be (:p), but I have serious confidence the platform will improve, as I know for a fact there are people working hard to improve it.)

Stablehand: Worldspoiler primer

So as you may or may not know, I've had a specific approach on Stablehand up to now.

There's a good bit I haven't told you, and a lot more things I've told you about but haven't actually explained [...]. I'm trying as much as I can to only tell you things the main characters or other relatively ordinary people already know.

I have discovered that while this makes for a great story, it is a horrible way to gain fans and feedback in the early stages.

And so comes the worldspoiler primer. In it I'm basically going to

give up on trying to pretend I can pull off the "mysterious world is mysterious gee I wonder what the explanation for that could be wow what is up with that" thing [...] and (without changing my plans for the actual story), just start by telling people all the background like in a conventional story

I will assume nothing in this. I'm literally gonna start from zero, apart from especially clear tumblr posts I've made. And I'm gonna go up to everything I have figured out but actual current story plot of the actual main character stories (partly because they're all in a bunch of little vague pieces in my mind anyway).

Obviously if you're the kind of person who doesn't want any spoilers or doesn't like to see worldbuilding explained all the way through before it's relevant, this is not for you. My about tag(s) might be a better place for you to learn about the story. But if you wanna know what's up with Stablehand and its world and/or help me on it, and don't mind background spoilers, I recommend you read it.

With that said, let's get started. ~10500 words follow.

Pronoun Tester

A friend of mine was musing about pronouns and creating new ones lately. Namely, about what would sound the least awkward but most fitting in each inflection. As this was happening, I was like, why isn't there a place where you can just type in pronouns and have a passage change so you can see how awkward (or not) they sound?? So, I decided to make one.

Of course, writing sample passages with a focus on pronouns is hard, so I fell back to what I knew best: eldritch nonbinary birdpeople. Pay it no mind. You have a pronoun tester now. :p

Ingenious examined the illuminated ceiling. She'd never seen its likes before, and her plumes ruffled with uncertainty.

A stately creature, few could top the simple splendour that was hers. But her grace showed much better in familiar situations; even the likes of her were no match for this. One even less composed than she might well have shattered.

She steadied herself. Who assists a specially tuned avian from the outer reaches when she's not ready for prime time? If she wants to make it through this, the slick feathered figure reasoned, that problem is hers alone right now. She'll just have to throw herself into gear.

SubjectObjectPossessive determinerPossessiveReflexive

Stablehand: libre include roundup

By now I've got a number of libre songs that I didn't create but have included in Stablehand (or considered doing so) under libre licences. There are a handful more less official ones on my tumblr, but here are the main ones right now to round out my music tag.

First of all there's Portent Rider, aka Sin rumbo fijo, pero avanzado (DavidKBD). Portent Rider's theme song. I already made a post about that, but here it is again for completeness. (BY-SA 3.0)

Then there's Kyrielle (Denis RICHARD), the theme of Rotator Phoenix. I have yet to make a real post with illustrations about the technotranscendent quatrumvirate, but it's potentially going to be a long one, so I'll save details about him for that. The really short version: he's a laid-back techno pop idol with a fiery-themed propeller that founded a city in the sky. (BY-SA 2.5)

About thirty seconds in I was positive it was pretty much the perfect way to represent Rotator's laid-back but also "cool" style, and surprisingly, I got all the way to the end of the song without being dissuaded of that.

I [...] feel like the name Kyrielle actually kind of... fits in a weird way. The best I can describe it is, it sounds like a name that would resonate with Rotator and that he'd associate with himself and inscribe on things as if it came from some kind of lost love, though in reality he never had any such girlfriend and he's just kind of pretending because that's what that name sounds like he should do with it.

La Kamel (WALIBI). This is the theme for Io, one of Stolen Heart's various people. With the vaguely Egyptian theme of the three bosses and Io being a serious Machination type, it fits pretty perfectly. (BY-SA 3.0)

(The embed wouldn't work on this one so I tried the HTML5 audio tag instead, which I've never used before. Link in case it doesn't work)

More recently, there's Etn(i)a maris (Pasqualino Ubaldini), Ariana's theme. (BY-SA 2.5)

I felt like it pretty perfectly embodied one of Ariana's main ideas, travel and adventure, so I decided to make it her theme.

Finally, there's this. Someone Else's Memories (Revolution Void). I... don't want to say much about the character it's the theme of this early. So instead, I'll say that I picked it because it's a song I almost literally couldn't get tired of. Partly because it had an electric organ which is my second favourite instrument. (BY 3.0)

As you might or might not know, this site is in the midst of a recode right now! Mainly I wanted to recode the template so that it wouldn't be so ridiculously horrifyingly hard to maintain, which is going pretty well (1440 lines of code vs 3114 lines in the original template, to give you a rough idea; 1039 vs 2403 with all custom CSS cut out). Also, I wanted to make a theme that emphasised my current Stablehand project, instead of my old Tyrian project that I heavily backburnered a little while after making the old theme.

Since this theme will be gone in like three days, I figure I might as well add a couple screenshots here for reference

The nice thing about this new template is that I'm not going to have to load an external stablehand.css for the pages specifically about Stablehand any more (both because I'm reworking things and because I'll have to do less reskinning anyway with the style already in line with it :p), so they should load a little faster. Accordingly, I'll be lessening the boundary between the Stablehand section and the main site a lot, dumping the guidebook pages in with regular posts for one (they'll be clearly marked though), and overall grouping the site by big topics (main characters, side characters, world). My goal is to make it easier to find stuff if you have no idea what you're looking for.

Nice thing number two is that I stumbled into AddToAny on a google search, which unlike the default Blogger share buttons, actually looks pretty useful. I've also figured out how to (mis)use the title link field I never use to add my own share link so you can reblog things from my tumblr if I've already posted them there.

Oh, and nice thing number three is that it resizes like crazy. I'm going to have to test it in other browsers but right now it zooms to the window size beautifully in Firefox with just a little bit of CSS.

A WIP of the new template. Many things still need work, the background being one.

Spoiler alert: this site will be renamed when the template goes through. I like that when you abbreviate it to SNN it looks like a weird news network.