Teenagers Vs. Killer Robots

I’ll be honest with you, I have no idea what’s going on in *Generation Zero*. Part of that is my fault, I changed voice over language to Swedish for immersion (it takes place in Sweden) and then kept forgetting to read the subtitles.

From what I gathered from the opening cutscenen rouge robot war machines have been rampaging through the Swedish countryside and everyone has been evacuated. Except my character, and my three other teenage friends. No, we were on vacation in a boat in the middle of a river and had no idea what was going on until we made it back to land.

I thought that was rather silly.

We look kind of old to be in High School

Anyways, now we’re hunting down military radio relays, searching for bunkers, and shooting at every robot we come across and stripping them for parts. I’ve turned the voice over back to English so maybe next time I’ll catch up on why we’re doing all of this.

The squad jumped in to Generation Zero again this weekend. We’ve played it three times now, all to a varying degree of success. Now that we’re out of the “hitting things with bats until they blow up” phase we’re making some progress. Ok, who am I kidding? We’re still doing that but not as often.

This is what happens when you stand on a big propane tank and someone shoots it.

Last time we played, SuperToast wasn’t able to join us and we made a fair bit of progress across the map. It’s a big map so we were worried he’d have to run for a while to meet up with us. This was not the case. I think the save state of the game is based on the host so Toast was able to jump to our latest Safehouse fast travel point. He also was on all the same quests we had picked up last time.

I have some gripes with this game but this is, by far, my favorite feature Our group can’t always play together so this kind of multiplayer system makes our lives easier. No one has to play on their own just to catch up. The only downside was that Toast was down a few levels from the rest of us. It didn’t seem to matter to much.

This session we decided to clear out our side missions and move forward with the main quest line. One side mission we had missed back at the beginning of the game. We had to backtrack a little ways to complete it. The other side mission had us go to a town and clear out the robots there. There not a robot in sight when we got there. I even threw a boom box down to make some noise to attract attention but nothing showed up. They must not have liked the song.

We gave up on that mission and tried to do more of the main story. After we cleared out another radio relay our next mission was to the north on the mainland. We were currently on a little strip of land at the bottom of the map. It was a hike to our next destination so we started walking.

In fact, the majority of our play time was spent walking. Like I said, it’s a very large map and the majority of it is kind of empty. There are towns to explore, sometime you find a safe house fast travel point, but sometimes you’re walking down an empty road with a few cars to loot and nothing else in site. Every once and a while we’d stumble on a pack of angry robots but a lot of the time there was just nothing.

Surprise, surprise, this pistol was not effective

Along the way we went robot hunting. There are several named bots across the map. Sometimes you’ll get a notification that one has become dominant in an area and they even level up if you leave them too long. Kind of wonder what they’re doing while we’re roaming around the country side. Is there some sort of internal robot war going on? Some struggle for dominance? Sounds a lot more interesting than whatever we’re suppose to be doing.

Anyways, we found the biggest robot we’d seen yet in the middle of an open field minding it’s own business. We couldn’t resist engaging it. It took a whole lot of ammo to take down but it was a fun fight. Every once and a while one of us would get hit with a barrage or rockets, get thrown, a ways, and then revive at the near by church. Giant-A632 was mean but we wore him down with our never ending respawns.

It’s hard to tell if it was worth it though. Most of the time, the big enemies drop a bunch of crafting materials and we have yet to figure out how to craft anything. The crafting materials take up a ton of space in your inventory too. Inventory is weight based, one of my least favorite inventory mechanics, and crafting materials weigh a lot. There doesn’t seem to be a way to throw them in storage either so I found myself constantly dropping 10-20 pounds of crafting mats every few fights.

Maybe we’ll find a use for them and I’ll regret it but I doubt that. They seem easy enough to come by.

Planning Ahead

Blaugust is in full swing as we enter week two. It’s been great to be able to come back to the blog and get so much writing in this month. As always, it’s a amazing to see so much content in my Feedly feed too.

Every year. I’ve always felt a few days of Blaugust makes me think more like a blogger. I come up with more ideas and think about things differently. Theres also that extra boost of motivation to post everyday. But writing every day and posting every day are two different things.

Writing is more or less the easy part given that I have some idea off what I want to say and enough tine to bang it out. Editing, finding pictures, adding/fixing links, and formating is a whole other ball game that sometimes takes longer than writing the actual post.

This past week has been so busy and I found myself struggling to get posts out on time. The posts went live, sometimes at the eleventh hour, but I’m not sure I was completely happy with how they turned out.

At the start of the month I had myself a nice 4 scheduled post buffer. It was nice to work on posts a few days out, polish them up, and put them out. These last few days writing and posting on the same day has not felt quite as enjoyable.

I’ve never been one to plan or work ahead. Usually I write when motivation strikes. Probably explains the sporatic posting I’ve done here over the years.However, I’m starting to think that if I’m going to get 31 posts out this month I’m going to have to give myself some more buffers. Baby Kluwes keeps my schedule just unpredictable enough that I should take advantage of writing when I can, aka at nap time or bed time, and write multiple posts in a day.

The inportant part here is the writing. If I can get some first drafts written I can do all the polishing and bloggy bits later or on the day of if need be. Of course, life just gets in the way sometimes and thats ok too.

We’ll see how it goes!

Audio Drama Sunday: Uncanny County Season 1

Show Description: Mystical truck drivers. Robots gone haywire. Killer clown demons. And pie. So. Much. Pie. This quirky, darkly comic, Southwestern-flavored anthology brings you a new paranormal audio play every month. Sit back, open your ears, and hold on tight. Because you’re about to take a quick detour…through Uncanny County.

I’ve been digging through shows deep in my subscription list and trying to clean it up a bit. I’m constantly adding new podcasts as I hear about them but regularly only listen to the same handful. I blame the No Sleep Podcast for this…I’m still working my way through the three 3 season bundles I bought way back in 2019. I’m still only half way through season 9…

Uncanny County is one of those shows I’ve been staring at the thumbnail for years but never listened to. In fact, I think I heard about it through the No Sleep Podcast. At the time, it sounded right up my alley but never made it to the player

This week, I decided to finally press play and binged the whole first season.

Uncanny County is a horror anthology podcast. It’s more light-hearted than most horror anthologies out there. It reminds me of the Twilight Zone mixed with a bit of Goosebumps and sprinkle of dark humor on top. Each episode is voiced by a full cast and takes place somewhere in the county. The voice cast is small so you’ll hear the same people playing different characters throughout the season but they do a great job with it. With an average episode runtime of 30 minutes it’s easy to get through an episode or two while running errands or doing chores around the house.

The stories range from magical kittens to evil coffee and everything in between. Each episode stands on it’s own but characters will reference places and events from previous episodes. Sheriff Rowlands, a reoccurring character, usually shows up somewhere in the story to help out. There’s a running gag that the Sheriff’s Deputy never quite makes it past their first day on the job. All of this all helps the show feel like it’s all taking place in a specific geographical location rather than just a collection of stories.

As of this writing, Uncanny County has two seasons and 11 short bonus episodes. The lastest bonus episode was released on May 6th, 2020. The show notes on their website say that season 3 is still coming but was held up by the pandemic. A twitter update from October of last year says that Season 3 is still on it’s way.

I hope so! I’ve enjoyed every episode I’ve heard so far. At least I have a whole season to go before I’m caught up.

Here’s a few of my favorite episodes from Season 1:

Margaret and Beth have grown up with a mother who can, and does, do everything for them. They’re about to find out what makes her so capable. They’re not going to like it.

In 1938, Orson Welles terrified the nation with a false tale of a Martian invasion. One year later, after being all but driven from the industry, Orson is back on the air and about to face the most challenging broadcast OF HIS LIFE!

Twelve year old Treve wants a pet. But not just any pet. He wants something special, something unusual, something different. Because Treve’s felt different ever since his dad died two years ago. But the pet he’s chosen- well, let’s just say it comes with a price he may not be able to meet.

This Week In Melvor Idle: The Quest for Damage Reduction

As I mentioned last week, one of my short term goals right now is to obtain all of the dungeon boss pets. Currently, I have 7 pets out of 8 from the lower tier dungeons. The last pet I need is from the Dragons Den Dungeon which is what I spent most of this week preparing for.

In order to farm the dungeon without baby sitting my health bar I have to make sure my max health can withstand any dungeon monster’s max hit. To help with this, there is an auto-eat perk which can be upgraded three times from the shop. Once fully upgraded, auto-eat kicks in when your health is at or below 40% Hitpoints and the consumed food fills up your HP to at least 80%. So 40% of my max health needs to be higher than a given monsters’ max hit in order to idle the dungeon. As long as I have enough food equipped the dungeon can be farmed endlessly.

What happens when the max hit of a monster is higher than 40% of your health? There are two options, get more health or get some damage reduction. That’s where I found myself this week with the Elder Dragon boss. It’s max hit is 470 which would mean my health would need to be at least 1175 to have auto-eat kick in. The max level for HP is 99 which would leave me at 990 health without. I’d need some serious bonus HP before I could effectively farm this boss. Not to mention, I’d need to get my Hitpoints up 15 levels which would take a while.

This is where Damage Reduction comes in. Up until this point, I didn’t have any equipment that provided damage reduction so I wasn’t paying little attention to the stat. Since I wanted to take a shot at this dungeon this week I went over to the fantastic Melvor Idle Wiki to figure out where I could get some DR.

The easiest thing I could do was upgrade my armor. I’ve stubled on this option before but thought it was more of a cosmetic thing riffing on Runescape’s gilded armor variations. It turns out these provide a huge stat boost as well a bunch of damage reduction once fully upgraded. I was able to upgrade my Dragon Armor set to the (G) Dragon Armor set and my Black D-hide set to the (G) Black D-hide set. That set me up for success with Melee and Ranged attack styles. I still needed something for Magic which I planned on using for that attack style for the Dragons Den.

Unlike Melee and Range, the magic armor set with damage reduction comes from the Runecrafting skill rather than upgrading existing armor. I had three out of four pieces of the Fire Expert set and needed to hit 90 Runecrafting before I could obtain the last piece.

You might be wondering, how do you know how much damage reduction you need before you can take on the dungeon? Well, you could do the math and figure out what percentage of the max hit you need to reduce by to equal 40% of your current health. Or you can head over to Can I Idle Melvor? which does the math for you. It shows you how much damage reduction or HP is needed with your current stats and combat style for each dungeon as well as Slayer Tiers. I needed at least 25% Damage Reduction to take on the Dragons Den with Magic which is what most of the week was spent working towards.

I was able to obtain 26% damage reduction with my Magic equipment and spent most of Friday and this morning taking on this dungeon.

The Elder Dragon’s Max hit Reduced to 347 with my 26% damage reduction.

Combat Skills

Attack 82/99 (+3)Strength 95/99 (+0)Defense 77/99 (+5)
Hitpoints 84/99 (+4)Ranged 77/99 (+3)Magic 91/99 (+8
Prayer 91/99 (+5)Slayer 73/99 (+9)

Crafting a bunch of damage reduction potions was ne of my earlier ideas to get more damage reduction. After getting Herblore up to level 90 I realized I needed Large Horns for the recipe. They drop from monsters in the Desolate Plains which requires level 70 Slayer. Early in the week I decided to try get Slayer up to par to take on the Raging Horned Elites. The drop rate for horns was a little slow for my liking so I decided to pursue other options to increase damage reduction.

Over the course of leveling slayer I was able to increase my other combat stats a fair bit. Defense and Prayer I got a whopping 5 levels in this week!

Non-Combat Skills

Woodcutting 105/99 (+0)Fishing 117/99 (+0)Firemaking 99/99 (+0)
Cooking 101/99 (+0)Mining 105/99 (+0)Smithing 102/99 (+0)
Thieving 87/99 (+2)Farming 114/99 (+3)Fletching 99/99 (+0)
Crafting 87/99 (+0)Runecrafting 90/99 (+3)Herblore 90/99 (+5)
Agility 85/99 (+14)Summoning 95/99 (+1)Astrology 79/99 (+0)
All skills over 99 are virtual levels based on additional experience gained after level 99 cap.

Agility was the other source of damage reduction I looked in to. Agility is a skill that provides bonus stats in the form of an obstacle course . Agility is leveled up by running the course which nets you a small amount of GP and XP for each obstacle completed. Unlike Runescape, you can’t fail these obstacles so it’s effectively a slow money printing skill with added bonus stats. Every 10 levels, another obstacle can be built to provide additional bonusues. Some obsacle’s provide both positive and negative effects.

Looking through my course, the Spike Trap obstacle provided two negative effects -40 hitpoints and -2% damage reduction. That whole category of obstacles only have negative effects and this one was the lesser of all evils. Getting an obstacle to 99 mastery halves it’s negative effects so my plan was to run the course until either the Spike Trap was at 99 mastery or I had enough in the mastery pool to level it to 99. I ended up doing the latter but not before gaining another 15 levels in Agility.

I continued to tweak my course where I could to either increase my health or add some more DR. My course now includes the following obstacles:

  • Lake Swim: +3% Damage to All Monsters, +1% Damage reduction
  • Raft Building: +2% damage to All Monsters, +20 Maximum Hitpoints
  • Ice Jump: +10% chance to Preserve Resources in Skills, +10% Food Healing Value, +5% Chance to Double items Globally. +2- Maximum Hitpoints, +10 Mining Node Hitpoints, +10% Slayer Coins, +5% Slayer Skill XP.

In the event I need more health, I can swap out the Lake Swim for Rocky Waters which would provide an additional +50 Hitpoints.

Pets

I unlocked Harley while writing this post! Yep, this is the boss pet from Dragons Den so that goal is complete.

Now I’ll have to figure out how to get my stats high enough to take on the Volcanic Cave. I’ll either need 37% damage reduction or 980 health to take this on. This should be an fun challenge to star figuring out week!

I also unlocked the HP pet Finn, the Cat (+10 Maximum HP) and the Summoning pet, Tim the Wolf, which provides +1 shard cost reduction when creating familiars.

Completion Log: 54.08%

Skills 91.13% (+2.72%)Mastery 30.39% (+1.46%)Items 48.53% (+2.04%)Monsters 42.59% (+3.08%)Pets 57.78% (+6.67%)

My biggest win for the Completion Log this week was getting 100% Farming Mastery. This means all items in the Farming skill have been leveled to 99 mastery rank. This is probably the easiest 100% mastery to get since Farming runs along side whatever else you’re working on. It took 238 days, 23 hours, 27 minutes, and 22 seconds to complete!.

Goals for Next Week

  • Figure out the best way to either get more damage reduction or more health to take on the Volcanic Cave Dungeon.

I’m not sure that I’ll be able to take on the Volcanic Cave this week. I have a feeling this will be more of a preparation week.

Backlogged: Omno

Platform: PC

Time to Finish: 4.5 hours (100% Complete)

I first saw Omno thanks to a demo in one of the Steam Next Fest event. The demo wasn’t very long but I liked the way it looked and played. I stuck it on the wish list where it sat for a few months. When the Steam Summer Sale rolled around this year, Omno, was a strong contender for a purchase. At the time, I was looking for more casual exploration games which Omno looked to fit the bill. When it came time to finalize my purchases I wasn’t as excited to play it over other games so I passed on it.

I was pleasantly surprised to find it in this month’s Humble Choice.

Things I Liked

The Puzzles: As I’ve mentioned before, I like puzzle games when they’re on the easier side of the difficulty spectrum. There are orbs in each level to collect that require you to solve a puzzle. These tend to be jumping puzzles which test your platforming more than your logical thinking abilities. In fact, I’m suprised at the platforming skills needed to complete some of the later levels. It’s nothing crazy but more than I was expecting from a game like this. It was fun to figure out how I was suppose to get somewhere and then figure out how to execute the platforming correctly.

The Visual Syle: The world is gorgeous. I couldn’t stop taking screenshots the whole time I was playing. Just wondering around the world I found some great opportunities to take a picture. The cuteness also provided some good shots.

I couldn’t help but notice as I traversed the world that this would look great in VR if it were first person. The art style has a chunky, cartoonish, look that seems to work well with VR titles. To be clear, this is not a VR title, but I would totally play a first person version of it in VR.

The Minimalist UI: I like a UI that doesn’t get in the way. Especially in a game like this that wants you to focus on the world around you. There are a few menus in Omno but they only appear when called up. Aside from a few interaction prompts the UI is almost non existent during gameplay. This made taking all those screenshots even easier!

Things That Could Have Been Better:

The Story Glyphs: Going in to this game, I thought it would be more like Journey. It just had that kind of look to it. Journey is incredibly good at telling it’s story through the world around it without any text. Omno has glyphs scattered around each level that are pieces a story.

The story tells of a tribe on a pilgrimage to a door of light that will lead them to a better world. It’s unclear if these messages were left behind for the player character to find or if they’re the player character’s own thoughts as they progress through their pilgrimage. They’re written in a sort of flowery, prose that I’m not too keen on.

There are also, stone carved murals throughout the game that, more or less, tell the same story but in a simpler, and in my opinion, a better way. I would have liked to see more of these as they felt like they were more a part of the world than the floating, esoteric glyphs.

Giants in the Earth

We got in another session of Aliens: Fireteam Elitethis week. Last time, we cleared the first set of campaign missions “Priority One” and got our feet wet with the gameplay. This week we took on the second set of campaign missions “Giants in the Earth”.

From what I’ve seen so far, each campaign mission is split up in to three smaller missions.. The first 3 in “Priority One” took us about 25 minutes each to clear. The first two missions of “Giants in the Earth” took us around the same time.

Each mission has a recommended combat rating to clear it. Combat rating seem to be based on your equipped weapon loadout as well as your class level and class mods. “Giants of the Earth” Mission On has a recommended combat rating of 250. That was a good 20 points above either of our current ratings at the time.

Not wanting to replay the first set of set of missions again, we decided to ignore the recommendation and play the mission anyways. How much could 20 points matter?

Mission one was going smoothly. We were progressing at a decent rate, losing more health than the last set of missions but nothing my trusty trauma station couldn’t handle between med pack pick ups. That is, until we got to the final wave fight of the level. We ran in to trouble trying to suppress a swarm while also trying to deal with a big, ole’, tank that is the Xenomorph Warrior.

Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough fire power to take down the Warrior before he downed Brother, me, and our AI companion. To his credit, our AI is an excellent shot. But when given the chance, he will stand in the middle of enemy swarms until he runs out of health.

We learned some important lessons with this run. First, if your team wipes you have to run the whole mission again. I’ve taken issue with this sort of thing in the past (see my frustration with GTFO) but another 20 minute mission is a lot easier to swallow than 2 hours of wasted time.

Second, we learned that we should actually utilize the utility items. Specifically turrets.

There are chests scattered around the level that, when opened ,provide some quantity of utility items. They range from special ammo, turrets, minds, and even some traps. Some of them have names in a variety of colors which, I’m assuming, makes them better than their white named counter part. Either way, when you get a purple named turret at what looks like a big fight, you’re going to want to use it. Multiple if you have them.

Mission One: Take Two went better. We knew what to expect and took advantage of that to speed our way through the level. We made our way back to our last wipe in under 20 minutes.

This time when the Warrior rushed the squad we met him with a barrage of rockets, two sentry turrets, and 3 assault rifles. He didn’t stand a chance. We made short work of the rest of the wave and got our mission complete.

When we got back to base I noticed that we had completed two Tactical Opportunities (Dailies) that rewarded us with some challenge cards, some credits, and a shiny, new flamethrower. Sadly, the Doc class can’t use heavy weapons. I would not be setting our enemies ablaze. But Brother could and he was very excited to try it out.

When we started Mission Two, we had the option to add our newly aquired challenge cards. These impose limitations on what you can do in the mission but offer bonus reward like an XP multiplyer and extra loot on mission completion.

I threw one down to restrict dodging in exchange for a 1.5x XP multiplier. Brother threw one down that restricted reloading or changing weapons until the clip is empty. This one offered a 2.5x multiplayer. I was hoping they would combine for a 4x multiplyer but it looks like it takes the best card and uses that for everyone.

Mission Two introduced us to a new enemy type: synthetics. They came with guns. Finally, a use for the Gears of War like cover system!

The fun thing about the synths is that they also shoot at the Xenomorphs. Once there’s no more Xeno’s they go right back to shooting at you. Your average synth is a bit tankier than the average xenomorph but they aren’t as numerous.

Again, we used the turrets and some mines to clear out the big swarms when they came. We only had to run this mission once and picked up our sweet, sweet, bonus XP.

After acquiring and/or buying some new gun attachments as well as getting some new skill modifiers I’m sitting at a 382 combat ranking. I’m interested to see how that will affect the third mission in “Giants in the Earth” now that I’m 130 points over the recommended ranking.

I’m also left wondering what the heck there is to do after we beat the 12 Campaign missions. Each mission has a couple difficulty levels so I’m sure we’ll be running those again. Possibly multiple times each. But there’s also this mysterious locked “Game Mode” option in the menu. Hovering over it says it’s unlocked once all campaign missions are complete. Color me intrigued…

Sure, I could look it up, but I’d rather the surprise once we get to that point. We’ve recruited another squad mate, SuperToast, who will, hopefully, be able to replace our AI next time. At least we can tell him to hide behind cover!

So You Want To Be a Mind Scanner

Imagine a world where your family member is being kept from you and the only way to see them again is to work for Their captors. You only get one shot, if you fail to do the job well, you’ll be thrown from the city and lose the only chance you have of seeing them.. How long until you abandon your morals? Would you “treat” seemingly healthy patients to pay the rent? Would you risk your patient’s mind to get the job done?

This is the setup for Mind Scanners. A dystopian, sci-fi, techno-therapist simulator from The Outer Zone.

In Mind Scanners, you take on the role of a Mind Scanner, whose job it is to scan minds and treat whatever insanity you discover. Or, more accurately, what your corporate overlords see fit to treat. Every day, you’ll receive new cases, travel to patients, assess them, and treat them if deemed necessary. There’s also the small matter of paying your new employer a maintenance fee to continue working for them.

A typical day for a Mind Scanner looks like this. Wake up, get a pep talk from a large, talking, tube and/or receive a passive aggressive fax from The Structure. Receive your new list of patients the system has identified as needing treatment and head out into the city. Determine which patient to travel to and eat up anywhere from 15-30% of your time per day commuting.

Arrive at the patients home and place the scanning device over their head. To the best of your abilities interpret the meaning of what they say they’re seeing in the machine from the predetermined answers the machine spits out. Better get your interpretation right or you’ll be losing time asking another question.

Once interpretation is complete, decide if your patient is Sane or Insane. No, there’s no merely a little stressed, or might have a bit of anxiety, it’s either Sane or Insane. Choose one. If Sane: close the case. If Insane: start Treatment.

Treatment consists of using devices that match the “insanity types” the mind scan has discovered. You’ll be using cutting edge technology such as:

  • The Lunasucker: Suck out the Strange and negative energy from your patient.
  • The Stroboschocker: Keep patients in balance with amplified light drawn from luminescent zycnoka crystals.
  • The Throatarizer: Transforms the insanity into frequencies and forces them out using the vocal chords of the patient.

As you can see, all very technical, sciencey devices.

Each device has it’s own, unique mini game that require a bit of practice to master. If the device isn’t used correctly you will start to stress out the patient. Treatment is over when all insanity types have been cleared or the patient is too stressed out to continue.

If you’re not careful, your patient might become a functioning husk without a personality. Sadly, many of my patients have ended up this way because I focused too much attention on clearing their insanity and not enough of their personality bar. Don’t worry, you’ll still get paid as long as you finish treatment.

The it’s off to your next patient until you run out of time for the day. Crawl back to your corporate hovel, sleep, have terrible dreams about your daughter, wake up and do it all over again.

Sounds fun, right?

Don’t forget about your maintenance fee! Just 7 kapok a day to keep your job. You make 15 kapok from “curing patients” and 3 kapok for declaring them sane…I think you can see which one The Structure prefers you do.

Oh, and if you can’t make the rent? You’re getting tossed into the Outer Zone. You can be certain you’ll never see your daughter again once you’re out there.

Mind Scanners does something very interesting with it’s gameplay mechanics. I don’t know about you but trying to learn a new mini game or think about the right sequence of insanity types to remove while a timer is ever ticking down kinda makes me a little stressed.

If you think about it, you’re playing as someone so desperate to see their daughter that their working for her captors for a chance to see them again. They’ve just become a certified Mind Scanner, they barely know how to use their tools, and their constantly having to worry about how to make enough money so they aren’t kicked out of the city.

That kind of situation would stress me out too. That’s some immersion right there.

I probably wouldn’t have played this game if I wasn’t participating in UnwiseOwl’s Blaugust Reviews: Humble Choice. I thought it would be fun to pick a game I had never heard of before to play and review. I’m glad I did. My short time with Mind Scanners proved to be quite the experience. I’m going to finish my play through and see what ending I get (there are many).

Would I pick up August’s Humble Choice just for this game? Probably not. However, if there’s another game or two in the bundle that you’re excited for give this one a whirl too!

How I Got Started in Content Creation

Well that sounds like a click-baity title….

Today, I’m writing from one of the Blaugust Prompts that related to this week’s Introduce Yourself theme. Taking a look at this list, most of these would fit the theme for this week so if you’re struggling to come up with something but want to write about yourself head over to the prompt list!

I’m working off of prompt #1: How did you get started in content creation?

I started writing on the Internet in 2014 after replying to someone on Reddit looking for people to review comic books for their site. At the time, I was just getting in to comics and thought it would be a fun way to spend my time.

There wasn’t any pay, of course, but I did get a whole slew of free comics from multiple publishers every week. It allowed me to stretch out my writing muscles that I hadn’t used since college and learn a thing or two about WordPress. It was also really cool to see something I wrote appear on a website. A novelty then and a regular occurrence now.

That project lasted for about a year. The site owners moved on to creating a Sports site which I had no interest in contributing to. The comic site shutdown a few months later just in time for me to lose my interest in comics.

A little while later I stumbled upon book bloggers. As a lifelong reader, I toyed with the idea of creating my own. Ultimately, I didn’t feel like I read fast enough or prioritized reading over gaming enough to produce a steady stream of content for a book blog. I shelved that idea but the research for it taught me how to go about setting up a blog.

It wasn’t until 2016 that I would start this blog under the name I’m Not Squishy. The Newbie Blogger Initiative was the catalyst that got me to start my own gaming blog. I heard about it through Massively OP and saw an opportunity to try something new. Up until NBI 2016 I didn’t even know game blogs existed nor the amazing community that wrote them. I had such a good time writing, reading, and meeting bloggers that year. I’ve been here ever since.

In 2017, my group of friends and I decided to start a Twitch channel. We had been playing games together for about a year at that point and collectively decided it would be a fun group project. Thus, Welpsquadtv was born.

We found some small success early on. We had anywhere from 10-20 viewers every stream. Twitch was easier in 2017.

I was really in to learning the ins and outs of OBS, tweaking my audio, and finding new technologies to incorporate into our streams. The whole affiliate program rolled out and we were affiliated within a few days. I was so excited but there didn’t seem to be anywhere to go from their. I wasn’t looking to make a living off of Twitch, we already had a small community and I had already accomplished all of the goals I set out to accomplish

That was probably about the time that my interest started waning. Streaming showed me just how much time one needs to put in to be a “content creator” on the platform. I also realized I didn’t really like the whole solo-streaming thing. Unless I was playing with a friend, I get very little enjoyment trying to entertain people and talking to a live chat.

We’re still streaming, albeit, to a much smaller audience these days. It’s mostly my friend Greg who streams these days.. I still like playing with the tech and finding fun ways to use our 4 man group streams as a shtick. My favorite implementation has been using Discord screen sharing to see all of our view points at once. But my focus and individual contributions to the channel have wound down significantly over the years.

Oh look another Blaugchevemnet!

A Major Life Change

I don’t tend to talk about my personal life here much. Part of it is because I’m a relatively private person but I also just find it hard to write about myself sans hobbies. It took me forever to write my About page when I first started blogging and I rarely revisit to update it.

I have exactly one introduction post from 3 years ago that I wrote for Blaugust 2019. That was also shortly before I changed the blogs name.

I thought using the “Introduce Yourself Week” for Blaugust as motivation to post a bit more about myself sounded like a pretty good idea.

And there is some news I would like to share with you all:

Recently, my Mrs. Kluwes and I have become new parents. The last 4 months have been a a wild ride to say the least. Baby Kluwes was 6 weeks early and thankfully had very little complications from being such an early arrival. She did have an extended stay at the hospital which was incredibly hard for us. But she was discharged much quicker than the other children and families around us and it was all worth it when we finally got her home.

3 months later and she is thriving!

We got to live that new newborn life style/sleep schedule for an extra month and a half but we’re now rounding a corner. Baby goes to sleep earlier than we do now and almost sleeps through the nights. I had just about forgotten what sleeping multiple hours in a row was like…it’s all been an amazing experience so far.

Now that everyone is in more of a routine, I find that I can eek out an hour or maybe even two of free time a day after Baby Kluwes is asleep. Being awake enough to really enjoy it is an added bonusI fill most of my new found time with gaming and writing here.

It’s funny, when I had all the time in the world blogging was just another thing I did sometimes. Now that time is limited I have to prioritize my activities. I’ve been writing here for just over 6 years now and I don’t want it to completely fall by the wayside.

Audio Drama Sunday: Bringing it Back!

Three years later this feature is making a come back here on the blog. I didn’t realize I started this during Blaugsut 2019 until I went back to look at the previous posts. It ran for a whole 4 weeks before falling to the wayside. But I’m bringing it back!

Like I said in Friday’s post, I’ve been finding more time to listen to podcasts in this post-commute world I find myself in. Today I’d like to introduce two fiction podcasts I’ve listened to recently that I think are worth a exposing your ears to.

Forest 404

Forest 404 is set in the 24th century, after a data crash called The Cataclysm. Pan, our protagonist, is a young woman with a boring job sorting and deleting old sound files that survived the crash. She uncovers a set of sound recordings from the early 21st century that haunt her.

The story follows Pan after she finds a vibrant recording of a rain forest. It’s unlike anything she’s ever heard before. Pan sets out to find out what the recording is and why she’s never heard these sounds before. All while being chased by people who would rather the recordings not get out to the public.

Following each story episode is a short talk relating to something from the episode as well as a short soundscape recording. It’s an interesting mix of audio drama, informational podcast, and relaxing sounds that I haven’t run into before or since.

Slumberland

This audio drama invites your ears to visit Slumberland, a small island town in the US. Come along with Thomas Edward M, the freelance soundman. He’s been hired to meet the locals and record their oral histories for the town’s time capsule. The unfolding history of the town mixes folklore, paranormal, mystery and humor.

Slumberland is one of my new favorite shows as of late. It’s been ongoing since 2013 and released their 99th episode in May. I particularly like the use of an oral history project as a plot device to explain why these recordings exist. I’m also a fan of the setting being somewhere in the middle of one of the Great lakes.

It’s funny, quirky, a little bit spooky, and with episodes ranging from 4-35 minutes I was able to binged it in just under a month. New episodes don’t release consistently which is a bummer now that I’m caught up but I’m very much looking forward to the next installment of Thomas Edward M’s adventures in Slumberland.