Monday, January 10, 2011

BUN: Ringing in the New Year

I know, it’s been a long, long while since I’ve sat down and shared some updates or tips.  I have to admit, Twitter’s been serving as an activity recorder, but there’s only so much that can be expressed within 140 characters.  Procrastination, taking advantage of my new real-life situation, and projects have been factors with priority that dominate over “The Chillanthropologist,” and I’m unsure of what should be introduced first.

One thing I’ve been meaning to write about is a personal New Year’s resolution.  This isn’t exactly the typical vow that gets lost halfway through the year, because it’s something we all could use and work on annually, if not daily, weekly, or monthly:  communication.  The more we open our minds to expand beyond dichotomy (which is the system in which there is only two possibilities, such as “black” or “white”, without any possibilities of “grey”), the more productive we can become, on many different levels.  This is a topic that will continue on a future post, in some more detail, but with this exercise as a resolution, there are sure to be many more exciting outcomes over time.

Today, I managed to complete two main tasks:  reveal the winners of the first Petnome Project Contest (PPC1), and complete a transcription of Ravenwood Radio’s last episode.

The PPC1 was definitely an exciting contest to hold.  About 91 people registered, but only 48 sent in their entries, which was in a way, a blessing, because setting up and locking in the 29 stories that followed the rules took at least half a day.  There were so many great stories that had to be dropped due to an infraction, and there were some mediocre ones that made it to the final stage.  But, I’m wholeheartedly glad that every featured author (Rowan Lifewhisper, Sierra Dragonbright, Isaac Mistheart, Natalie Jade, SorceressMiklai, Kane Mooncaster, “Jack,” Scarlet Moonblood, and last but not least, Sean Lightheart) rightfully earned their spot, opposed to someone “defaulting” into a winner slot.  If you’ve yet to see the Special Notes below each story, check them out by clicking on the authors’ names.  These are brief analyses on why these 9 stories were chosen over the others.  My personal favorites were those by Rowan Lifewhisper and Natalie Jade, due to the depth that their stories stretched to.  Rowan’s “Death-Giver the Leech” received just as many nominations (and nomination points) as Natalie’s “First Flight” for different reasons: 

  • Rowan’s execution was unique in that she used 101 pet abilities to create her story (see the screenshot below; I used Excel to ensure no abilities were used more than once, and found that cool Easter Egg), but it was not a collection of pet powers randomly aligned within her text.  She demonstrated strong vocabulary skills: the adjectives, when compounded to a subject, were synonymous and relative to the topic.  It was certainly a risky approach to splice so many abilities within the assignment of a short story, but the plot was explained clearly and creatively.

    101 abilities!
  • Natalie’s was certainly one that stood out from the rest by a long shot, with very descriptive imagery and textual illustration.  Many judges (whom are to remain anonymous; I would be happy to have them all help out again!) left comments within their score sheet pointing her story-telling skills.  I truly felt that I was taken along for the flight that the two characters indulged in. 

I had the honor to meet both of them in-game today to pass along their prizes: the Sea Dragon to Rowan, and a Phosphorescent Maul and two King Parsleys to Natalie along with her 2500 Crowns.  Many thanks go out to KingsIsle (Professor Greyrose!) for sponsoring the contest via the supply of prizes and website announcement, to Petnome contributors for helping us develop the overall project, and to our contest volunteers! 


As for the transcription, I received a nice message over Facebook from Kelsey Fireheart who asked if Ravenwood Radio had any way to provide text for the show, for those whose hearing are impaired.  This was probably the first message that struck and stuck to me, as I realized that “hey, there are some fans of the show who aren’t getting the full experience, only abridged or shortened summaries from friends who could hear.”  So what if there was a way to allow them to enjoy the show the way that I did and do?  Sure, there are some programs out there that can “listen” and write out text, but it just doesn’t capture the personalities of Leesha or Stephen…let alone, misspell some words that are only recognized by those of us from the Spiral.  So, I decided to give the manual way a shot for the live portion of the show, and this is what it turned into:

Ravenwood Radio 32 – 2010 in Review – Transcript.

I downloaded the episode to my iTunes so I could have free range and control over the file; the stream made it tedious having to rewind back a few seconds if I missed or misheard a word.  But, it was managed, and I had some fun with interpreting tones and emotions into text form so that other Wizards could receive at least some of the experience that those of us without restrictions have.  For example, down on Page 13, the “drumroll” that Leesha asks for when announcing a contest winner can’t genuinely be replicated by a speech-to-text program, and doesn’t help provide imagery when needed.  So, with that, I’m wondering if there are any Wizards out there, who can type at least 80 words per minute (I’m an average 98, and drafting this live portion [lasting just a little over 30 minutes] took about 4-6 uninterrupted hours alone) who are interested in volunteering some time to help out with transcribing older episodes with me.  We could break it into “parts,” where, if we have enough helpers, we could take 5-minute portions of the show and type it out, and then splice them into a full document.  Or, if you aren’t a speedy typist, you can help pass along the word, or maybe even give it a shot if you’re up for it!  Feel free to let me know if you’re interested in the Comments below.


In addition to “The Arena” series, the team and I have been randomly holding evening PVP parties for anyone to fool around in, or take an effort to pick up on some interesting playstyles for the real deal, as a way to spark interest in dueling.  Generally, these parties happen around Friday or Saturday evening, with start times ranging from 4 PM PST to end times as late as 10 PM PST.  Whether you have no experience or are a Warlord yourself, you’re all welcome!  The general idea is to create an environment where players do not feel judged based on their playstyles, and are actually encouraged to practice or ask questions if they have them.

As for personal training, I’ve been sparring a bit with Kayla Emeraldheart (Fallon Deathslinger’s “munchkin”) and Jasmine Stormblood to help amp their game.  There’s also a third (who is actually my first trainee) player whose identity will be private for the time being, just as a surprise, who is indirectly helping me structure what I want to write next for the series.  All of them have been improving greatly, and I can’t wait until they’re playing at super-advanced levels!


I’ve been taking up some other games at the same time as Wizard101.  Sometimes you just have to escape from a sigil and kill a zombie, up close and personal, with combos, like my Riftstalker Battleblood in RIFT.  To sum up what that is, it’s a rogue that’s a tank.  A beefy ninja.  No, not like a Samoorai.  Someone who can bend time and space so they don’t get hit as much, while striking out of nowhere themselves.  And then there’s Atlantica Online, where I wield a guitar and expose my opponents’ weaknesses with riffs and melodies.  If you happen to play AO as well, let me know; I’ve established a guild named “Wizard101” out of pride for this one ;).


And last but not least…I’ve been doing some crazy things with my Massive Fantasy Palace:


Picture 2011-01-10 01-06-16

Picture 2011-01-10 01-06-32

Picture 2011-01-10 01-06-40

Picture 2011-01-10 01-07-07

Picture 2011-01-10 01-08-41

Cheers, thanks for reading!


  1. The arena is amazing! I do hope you entered it.

  2. I am a lonely loser who has been playing for two years and i dont have a grandmaster if you or someone close to you has a grandmaster account they are not using anymore please be kind and donate it to me by emailing me the username and pass at

  3. Nice job, Kevin! Cool palace! I haven't done anything with mine yet. Now you've got me full of ideas!

  4. Cool palace!!!

    And... I'm deaf! Never thought about asking if you guys could translate the Radio shows! I'm glad Kelsey gave it a though! :)

    The Transcript was very nice! I understood it, I hope you can do it with the rest! But it probably will be a tedious task.. So its alright :P

  5. The transcript was impressive. I lol'd when I saw the crane lifting the carousel.

  6. Hey! I might be interested in helping type up transcripts. Thanks for the Petnome contest, too!
    -Sierra DragonBright

  7. Nice job on the house Kevin. How did you get the rocks in the arena circle?

  8. Nice castle! And I could type some transcripts, if you want. e-mail which episode through :)

  9. Hmmm, so what happens when you enter the battle circle, with all those rocks in it?

  10. @Anonymous: The game is programmed to "zip" you into a slot, so you would be "running" right through the rocks. It happens too quickly though, so it's actually unnoticeable from an outside view.


Let that thought out here: