Archive for August 2014

Competition

So a while back my girlfriend mentioned I was very competitive. Now we play quite a few games often to spend time together, both with just us and with others, but I didn’t put too much stock in it at the time.

I tend to be a bit of a perfectionist, and whatever I do, I try to do my absolute best at, though I will sometimes put additional personal restrictions in place on things.  For example, I prefer not to jump my dragoness’s pawns in parcheesi unless I’m forced to by the game not giving an out.  Within that restriction however, I try to play it the best I can, and everyone else’s pawns are fair game.

The other night however, we’d recently found this Monopoly clone and were playing it a bit before heading off to bed.  Unlike the first night, that night the dice were rolling well for me and not only did I get 2 full groups, I ended up through managing mortages(and a couple close calls) buying one out of every color group I didn’t fully control, This might not have been so bad, except it was just the two of us, and without considering it I’d totally blocked my GF from doing anything without buying or trading properties from me, which killed her interest in it, the the point that night where she was not wanting to ever play it again with me.

I felt horrible about it that night, but it made me recall her words before.

When you’re playing a game, typically you are playing to win to some extent, but just having fun can outweigh that; especially since in that example we were ultimately just playing around to have a bit of fun with a new game and kill time.  While we were playing, since we weren’t chatting much I was looking at the board and thinking mostly in terms of the game, and planning ahead on my next step, rather than thinking about making sure she got to move forward too.   My actual goals though were more to build out some areas for the achievements.

Anyways, making me think about all this also made me think back to WoW.  I’ve been raiding for years, and for a while I was raiding with a casualcore group and what had kind of devolved into a more casual group, before it broke up because of the difference in opinion on progression value.

With the first group, we show up to kick butt, take loot, and push progression.  If you screw up you’re letting down the team.  You do your best for yourself and the team to do ever harder content, though we’re no world first guild, we do the best we can within our limits.

The other guild people were mostly going to kill bosses and have fun together, regardless of the progression. We weren’t getting anywhere compared to the other one because everyone was more casual about it and I had already found that sort of guild isn’t a great match for me, as I always tended to be progression-oriented, making the character grow in capability.

Those same traits that make me a good raider though, are what came back to bite us in the butt that night. When raiding seriously, competitiveness is good and encouraged, as it pushes you to increase your performance, especially as a DPS.  Lord knows I compared myself often enough on the charts after fights with my other raid members! But it can be a detriment as well, when you’re trying to play a game more casually, but without the clues of body language and tone of voice, it’s a lot harder to tell when you’ve crossed the line if you don’t catch yourself first.

It is kinda funny though that I ultimately don’t care for PvP in most games, given that, instead preferring co-op, but then that’s probably my natural tendencies towards empathy and avoiding direct confrontation warring with those competitive tendencies to instead turn to co-op and comparisons.

That may be part of why I didn’t really consider it at first, as in my mind when I hear competitiveness, I also mentally tie in confrontation and being a direct opponent to someone rather than the way I normally go about things.

We’ve since talked about it and I’m going to restrain myself further where she’s concerned on that game as well.  most of the other games we play are usually down to 90% luck, and less strategy, so they depend mostly on the luck of the die/draw.

That night she said “You are who you are” when I apologized again for “ruining” the game and to a certain extent she’s right; those traits have served me well in certain environments, but there’s a time and place for that, which is why I come up with additional restrictions to hold myself back.  I’m just going to have to do it more proactively.  I’m just glad that she knew that it wasn’t my intention, and she didn’t hold it against me at all.  Not that I would ever expect her to, but past experiences with other girlfriends have made me skittish about things, even if only subconciously.

In other news, I’ve started playing WoW again, and the 3 month break was what I needed.  I’m gearing up my druid for leveling after finding out about the new werecat talent, and I’m really hoping it turns out competitive DPS compared to the other two talents on that tier, so I don’t feel like I’m gimping myself for using it.  I’m also working back through and upgrading my priest’s gear, and I should have it done in plenty of time as the release date now is November.

I also already requested release day and the day after off so I can binge-level this time too on at least one character.  I’m looking at leveling 3 characters to cover all my bases in terms of professions, thanks to garrisons, and two of those are the druid and priest I’m already going to be leveling.  I’m just going to have to re-find a balance point between WoW to progress my toons and SL to spend time with my dragoness, but that’s no different from any other guy who plays WoW and has a SO.

Ultimately, it is what it is though, and I wouldn’t give her up for anything. So priorities will adjust, as they always have, and life goes on.

 

Galleries: Personal vs General

Let’s start off with – what exactly is a gallery?  To me, and for the purposes of this discussion, an image gallery is a collection of images with a common quality of some sort(be it artist, subject matter, or something else) posted online for public perusal, and not in a temporary fashion(IOW not imageboards).

The reason I want to lay out this definition at the beginning is that there are two different main kinds of galleries out there, and thinking about differences and reasons to use them is what started the gears turning on what will probably be another dragonwall by the end.

The first type is what I’m going to refer to as personal galleries.  These are galleries that you have full control over what goes in them, and no one else.  These are the meat of sites like FurAffinity, Weasyl, and SoFurry, and this style also bleeds over into Social Networking like Facebook, or other unfocused sites like imagur and tumblr.

These can serve several purposes, depending on the reason for their creation.  A lot of artists(especially on sites like FA or tumblr) are artists, and this allows them to show off their work for whatever reasons they may have, whether it be selling their skills, showing off some neat idea or image, or puffing up their ego.  Then there’s also those who aren’t artists, who may be sharing works that were created for them, again for similar reasons as the artist.  This is FA’s raison d’etre after all; to show art created “by you/for you”.

Separate from these are the general galleries.  Most of these fall into the imageboard category and thus outside the bounds of this discussion, but there are a few here and there that were created to focus on general subject matter, such as e621 and Herpy.  On these sites images are sorted and tagged by the content, but anyone(that registers) can post to the “gallery” for a given type of content. With these there might be some small acknowledgement somewhere of who uploaded it, but primarily they present just the images all together in one giant melting pot, similar to what someone might have in terms of an Images folder on their computer.

Now, as to what prompted this.

As seen in many of my previous posts, I’ve been commissioning art of myself quite a bit since the turn of the year.  I’ve posted them to my own galleries, and the artists have mostly done this as well, though there are a few who still have yet to post it themselves.  A few of these artists are actually fairly well-known among the furry community.  A while back, when I got that first adult picture, I ended up running across it on both of the galleries I named above, though without any of the context being included by the uploader.  When I got the adult second picture of myself a short while later, from a lesser-known artist, it never showed up on either, and in fact has yet to show up, despite it being “sexier” in my opinion(and at least one other person’s).

I got as far as registering an account at e621, but never got around to tagging it properly there, and I have yet to register at Herpy. I recently considered whether I should put up the other pictures, and decided to go poking using a well-known example.

Just like there are artists well-known for their quality and subject matter, there are also some dragons who have commissioned a lot of art from a lot of artists and have become rather well-known.  This was actually how I found some of the artists I’ve patronized: browse the gallery of some of these popular dragons and follow the images I like back to their source artist, and go from there.  Do this for long enough in one sitting you can even sort of start to see how the dragon artists and the more art-prolific dragons interweave in a huge web, and even between each other.

To name a specific example, Byzil is one I was aware of long ago(relatively) and one of the first dragons that I gallery-dived to find artists.  In this case, I used her art as a test to see what would show up on e621 and if any of it had come from the artist or the dragon herself. From a semi-random sampling, all of them were posted by others, and most of it was either of an adult nature, or on the cute end of the spectrum.

Just browsing any general subject on e621 it becomes very obvious that for most art to be uploaded it has to be either a) epic, b) erotic, or c) adorable.  Herpy is even easier to categorize, as the main board sections are split up by erotic content and the non-adult section is mostly full of fanart of well-known mainstream dragons e.g. Spyro and Eragon.  They do straddle the line a bit however as there are some artists that have their own personal galleries there as well, but that is not germane to the discussion at this time.

One thing I’ve considered is exposure.  With how fast the front page on most of the furry galleries moves, and with how much crud there is surrounding the decent pictures, it’s easy for new submissions to get lost without being noticed by a sizable amount of folks unless you’re already well-known, or the art is obviously very good.  There’s just so much content that the chances of someone stumbling on your gallery by accident are fairly low as well.

When you commission well-known artists however, folks who like your image might follow the link back to your gallery and follow you as well to see what other pictures you might commission. I know this is a thing as after a couple artists I’ve gotten art from I’ve had new watches as well for just this reason.  It gives you more exposure to the art, and what is the point of art if no one sees it?

Well these general galleries have even more exposure, but it’s of a different kind. There’s a lot of folks who just go to these sites just for new fap material, and the adult art of varying quality far outnumbers the “clean” art of any stripe on e621.  Herpy, well I went into that just a little bit further up.

This got me into wondering; do I want that sort of attention?

Some would say if I didn’t I should never have posted the pics I got, or for that matter have commissioned them in the first place.  Well, as I may have said, looking back I’ve realized I have a streak of exhibitionism, and this plays to that tendency.  I also have a tendency towards shyness as well among strangers, so that wars against that urge, which leads to the mixed feelings I have on the topic in general.  I guess you could say I like showing off, but on my terms.

Anyways, some of the comments I’ve seen on Herpy have gotten into the downright creepy range. Compliments are one thing, but making RP advances towards the subjects of the image are another entirely.  If this were just a random character, that would also reduce the impact; or for that matter, it might even be encouraged! In this case however, this IS me.  I would guess this must be what it feels like to be a moderately attractive young lady finding your picture online with creepy guys talking about how they’d like to bed you in various graphic ways.

Just like anyone can post images on them, anyone can post comments, so even if I posted an image myself I wouldn’t be able to moderate the comments if they started getting out of hand.  On the other hand, some of this art is just plain nice regardless of the content and I’d like to share it.  Especially if it’s by one of the underrated artists who get lost in the Catch-22 of getting attention in the first place.

For now, if it ends up there it ends up there, I think.  I won’t purposefully post anything at the moment, but if someone else does, it’s not like I have any control over it.  Once I get my new ref sheet and get another pic or two that I have in mind, I may post the other adult works that haven’t made it up, and just try and ignore any unwanted advances.  It’s not like they’ll ever have any option or opportunity to try to bed me, as that privilege belongs solely to my mate, whenever she wishes to claim it.

And after all as the saying goes, if you’ve got it, flaunt it!

Out of the Shadows

I picked up Shadowrun Returns around the start of the month, but only recently started playing it.  And of course, once I did, I was sucked in pretty heavy, which the sign of a good RPG, despite what people said about the main campaign being railroad-y.

I ran a combination decker/rigger dwarf and the story felt very Shadowrun.  It also to my pleasant surprise tied into the novels, though I can’t say which one without it spoiling the end of the plot.  I only ran it on normal and got what felt like probably too much karma, but it felt fairly fluid going between handling the drones and into decking the times it was needed.  The only downside was I couldn’t put the drones on auto-overwatch and they just hung out wherever they were at when I jacked in rather than returning to my side.  I liked the character enough actually i may recreate it in regular Shadowrun if I ever get to play it again.

For the second DLC campaign I’m trying an elven shaman/mage/face, at least as much as face is a thing in the game.  That’s one of the things I’m actually slightly disappointed in: the skill system.

It has all the trappings, but it cut out all the social skills and made them perks on the Charisma stat track, which cuts out most of the point of the Face character.  Dialogue conversations also don’t seem to “roll” like it might with Bioware and similar games, but just gives you additional options if your appropriate stat is high enough.  The meat of the game seems to be the combat here, as far as ties to the game system.

Speaking of which, one thing that would have been nice as well is a combat log.  The combat on the surface seems to have little resemblance to the actual Shadowrun combat rules, as all it gives is HP and percentages, rather than dice pools and so on.  I like that they actually include cover though!

In the end though, it still feels very Shadowrun, despite lacking the dice transparency that some of the D&D-based games have had.  it also looks like there’s a bunch of player-made modules ala Neverwinter Nights, so whenever I get back to playing through Dragonfall, I might toy with those after that.

Leaving the gaming arena, the art situation has finally moved on as well.

  • The badge from Asyd is in the sketching stage now, though there’s still higher priority stuff for her to finish first.
  • Tanraak has basically retired from drawing for now as he has not been happy with any of his drawings the past few months, so he is sending out refunds as he is able to.  I still would like to get this concept sketched, so I’m back to watching for artists.  I’m also kind of wanting to wait though on the new referance sheet to be finished.
  • Miss Maverick’s made a bunch of adjustments to the planning sketch for the reference sheet from my input and we just got it to a point today where everything is pretty much right.  As such, she’s going to be starting on the colors next.  I’m not sure how long it’s going to take but I think I’m going to be very satisfied with it when its done..  It’s also a bit more pricey than any of the other pictures I’ve gotten, but that’s standard for ref sheets due to the detail involved and multiple pictures inherent to it.
  • As to the picture from CurioDraco of my dragoness and myself?  Well…

Llewelyn and Kaitlyn

Let’s just say we were both very happy with the results and leave it at that. ^..^

ADDITIONAL UPDATE

Extra special bonus round!  I just found out I got picked from Fortuna’s freebie list!  Yay for extra special bonus art!

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