What is Isekai part 1

For the past two years or so, I’ve been reading a lot of light novels, particularly ones of the Isekai variety. Some may be wondering what is Isekai, and I believe I’ve read enough about the gimmick to explain it.

So what is Isekai? Basically, Isekai is a Japanese term for stories that take place in another word while the protagonist comes from this one. Generally, these new worlds are fantasy in nature or have completely different customs from the ones here on earth. I believe the reason for this is to give the writer freedom and express creative ideas that would otherwise not be possible. For example, you could have the protagonist be transported to a mystical world full of magic. Of course, you can do this in a regular fantasy novel that isn’t classified as Isekai. However, you lose that real life connection with the protagonist, and then suddenly everything isn’t that mystical anymore. The reason for this is the protagonist who is from the real world are bound by this worlds expectation. An example of this, is that you wouldn’t see people flying around or shooting fireballs out of their hands. Then when they get transported though, those previous established barriers set in their minds and the readers as well are shattered, letting the author experiment some more. 

Aside, from just being a good plot device to shatter expectations, it’s also a good way to progress the story. I’ll be talking about general trends later, but Isekai is also good for world building, hence progressing the story by explain certain story elements. Otherwise, this could be quite hard to explain later. An example of this is something like magic, which would be common knowledge in a fantasy setting. The reason for this? It could easily break immersion, as the author has to explain common world knowledge to a character that should already possesses this knowledge. However, this can still be easily subverted in fantasy by making the protagonist a child. This makes the explanation about whatever that needs to be explained part of their character development. 

Moving onto the trends of Isekai, there are generally two flavours of it. The first is world transportation and the second is reincarnation, I’ll be talking about reincarnation in a later blog. For now, in terms of world transportation, the most common application of this is in hero summoning stories. In stories like these, a hero or heroes are summoned from this world to fight some calamity. Generally the ages of these heroes are around that of a high school student, but that isn’t always the case and the story can also differ from time to time. However by the end of their adventure a demon is usually slain. 

In fact, when the protagonist is middle aged or a young adult, the types of stories that can be told are much more varied. Like above, the protagonist can be a hero saving the world. But a much more common trend I see with middle aged heroes, are slice of life stories. In stories like these, the hero ditches their job and leads a more civilized life, usually because a more capable hero took their place. However, this whole hero archetype can easily be flipped and the protagonist is instead summoned by a demon or the like. Personally, I find these stories are a lot rarer and are either really light hearted or really dark. 

The last kind of scenario I want to talk about is video game transportation. In stories like these, a character or characters gets transported into a game they heavily play, or sometimes another fantasy world. Usually these types of protagonist are overpowered and sometimes a Garysue/Marysue, which can leave the story bland but can be fixed with good character development and interactions. However, the goal in these types of stories are usually exploration or finding their way back out, sometimes a combination of the two. A really good example of a video game world transportation story is Log Horizon. In Log Horizon, it follows the trend of usually strong protagonists and the whole plot is to find a way home. In a way, Log Horizon is in my opinion the most textbook way a story can implement this kind of world transportation. 

Overall, Isekai is a pretty large subject that I can’t cover in one blog. Next week, I’ll be continuing this topic talking about the second type of Isekai, reincarnation and the flaws with Isaki as a whole.

My Second Semester Classes

In a previous blog, I talked about my first semester of grade 11 and how I felt about my current courses. However, in that blog I only covered my first semester. This time around, I would like to talk how I feel about my future second semester courses. 

First up is Media Arts, I believe I talked about why I picked this course in a previous blog. However, if you haven’t read that blog, I chose it because I had a lot of fun in it’s grade 10 variant. It also helps that I potentially would like a career related to Media Arts. As for how I feel about it, I feel pretty great. Unlike last semester, where I didn’t get any of the courses I really wanted or had to take out of obligation, I’m quite happy I got this class. As for hopes, I really hope we continue to use photoshop and other software similar to it. Nevertheless, I’m just happy I got the course and I look forward to taking it. 

Next is English, a course I don’t really mind taking. Even though it’s a mandatory course, I don’t have a dreading feeling about taking it. Through out my two previous high school year, English is the only mandatory course I’ve consistently done well in. It also helps that, I usually enjoy what we’re currently learning. The only times I can think of where I wasn’t particularly interested in the material, was probably when we were reading the mandatory novels. However, that’s just because the books chosen aren’t the ones I normally read so it’s a weird change of pace. As far as new material goes, there seems to be a unit focused on comics. In the end, I look forward to what we will learn. 

Now I’ll be talking about the only course I’ve been dreading of taking, Chemistry. Like Physics, it’s one of the three science courses. As for why I’m taking it, most of the good programs usually need two science courses, usually Chemistry and Physics. Therefore, the reason for me choosing this course isn’t because I think I’ll enjoy it like all my other courses. Instead, I basically need the course credit if I want to get anywhere in life. 

The last course of my second semester, is a course I didn’t actually choose. The course in question being Tech Design. However, I’m quite interested in it as one of my friends took the course before. It also helps that one of my previous teachers will be teaching the course. Basically, the premise of the course is using a software like CAD to create designs for structures. In grade 9 my friend made a cardboard chair, so our projects might be similar to that. Similar in the sense, that the course won’t be as focused on building. Instead, I think we’ll be focusing on the design aspect of our creations. Nevertheless, I think I’ll find the course interesting. The only thing I’m worried about is the technical drawings, because I had a bit of trouble with them last year. 

Overall, I’m looking forward to my next semester. With three classes I like, it will give me an opportunity to focus on Chemistry. All in all, I hope I do well next semester. 

Fire Emblem Three Houses Story and Thoughts

Recently I have finished the Nintendo Switch game, Fire Emblem Three Houses. I have a previous blog about this game, but that was prior to finishing the game. In fact, back when I wrote that blog, I hadn’t even half the story. Now that I have, one route at least, I can now share my throughs on the story. 

If you haven’t read my previous blog, let me give a refresher of the story and hopefully expand on it. At the beginning of the story, your player character acts as a teacher for one of three houses. I knew when I first picked up the game this decision would be very important. However, I didn’t know who much it would alter the story. In the end, I chose the Golden Deer house, which by looking at online statistics didn’t seem very popular. Anyhow, the first half of the story is very linear. There is almost nothing that will throw you off the set path. I currently know this very well because I’m playing the game a second time and there hasn’t been any major changes. 

After the time skip though, things become much more interesting. It is revealed that one of the students have been behind all the events during the school arc. Ironically, she is the leader of the most popular faction of the game so I wouldn’t be surprised if my reaction was much different to other players. Anyhow, this student takes control of their home faction and declares war against the church (the organization you and the school you teach at belongs too). At this point, this where all the routes start branching out. Like I said in my previous blog, there are four routes you can choose, one for each house and a route for the church. The downside to having four routes is that there aren’t too many chapters. I think in the Golden Deer route their were only around 10 chapters in the second arc. Suffice to say, during my time playing through the second half, I didn’t have fun killing off characters. It really sucks because sometimes you’ve invested a lot of time into a character and they turn on you, and I’m speaking from experience. The example I’m talking about is an archer I recruited during part one. After the time skip, I found it odd he didn’t show up. It wasn’t until I had to face him in the 16th chapter did I figure out what happened to him. Thankfully, my reputation was high enough with him so managed to recruit him into my army. However, things really would have sucked if I had to kill him. It wasn’t easy defeating him either because I over levelled all of my units… 

Now that I have talked about the Golden Deer route in depth, I would like to share some of my complaints. After defeating the traitorous student, you then have to defeat another bigger boss and it all just feels tacked on. The last three chapters of the Golden Deer route was fun, but it just felt so weird. For example, Fire Emblem takes place in a fantasy setting, but then there is one entire chapter that takes place in an underground city with robots, neon lights, and techno BGM. To this day, that chapter just left a bad taste in my mouth, it was like I was playing an entirely different game. Another minor thing I wish they could change would be at which point you receive the dancer class, but like I said it’s relatively minor.  

In the end, playing though the game in its entirety was really fun. Some of the highlights would probably be the student being an evil mastermind, or that the player character being a god. Mostly I came for the gameplay, but the story was also nice. So far, my Fire Emblem experience has been pretty great so far and I’m looking for the next release in the series. 

Grade 11 Semester 1

September is now here, and that mean school is now in full swing. Normally, I would have done a blog about my courses prior to school, just so I could share my opinion about the courses I’ve been given. Unfortunately, the school decided to withhold this information until the last week of summer. And don’t even get me started on our second semester courses, we didn’t even get those until school actually started. Anyhow what’s done is done, so let me share with you what courses I’ve been given this semester and how I feel about them. 

My first period, is Computer Engineering or TEI. When I say engineering, it just means we’ll be playing around with breadboards, arduinos, and how these two interact with each other. Unlike ICS which is pure coding, TEI is more like working with physical electronics and some code mixed in. So far in our first week, we’ve just been learning about all the components we’ll be using and how to theoretically but them on a breadboard. Well, technically it’s a refresher for some people because this is stuff you would have learned in previous engineering courses. As for what I think about the course? I think it’s pretty bland right now, but I’m certain it going to get better. It also helps that I’ve also heard a lot of good things about our teacher. When we get to the breadboards, I’m sure the course will get much better. 

Unfortunately I’m not as enthusiastic about my second period, Physics. So far our work hasn’t been that hard and I understand all of the things we’ve been doing so far. However, Physics has a reputation for being ridiculously hard. In our first week, we’ve only been looking at graphs and how those graphs relate a person is moving. In addition, our teacher also told us about future projects that look pretty fun. Suffice to say, Physics is pretty intimidating, but I hope to do well in the course. 

Just like my second period, I hold the same level of enthusiasm for my third period, Math. I don’t really now what to talk about because, well, it’s math. So far we’ve just been refreshing over things we’ve done in grade 10, primarily factoring. Besides refreshing, we’ve also been doing a lot of getting to know you activities. In the end, I just want to do better than my previous years and with the help of a tutor this year around I hope that goal comes true. 

Finally, my last period is ICS or Introduction to Computer Science. Like I said above, this course is pure coding, no electronics. Last year, I heard they were using Python but now this year the school is switching back to C#. What does that mean? Well, I not technically behind in terms of knowledge. I took a previous ICS course in grade 9 when C# was still the focus. Then I didn’t take any course in grade 10 where they did Python. So now that we’re back to using C# I could be consider quite lucky. Hopefully, this year will just be as fun as my year in grade 9. 

So that’s all of my course in grade 10. As you can see, I have a fairly balanced schedule this time around something I’m happy for. I’m looking forward to TEI and ICS while I hope I do well in the other two subjects. Overall, I very happy with my courses this time around. 

Schedule method alternatives?

If you know me personally, then you know I can be quite lazy. Unfortunately, there’s a tough and cruel world out there. To be more productive, mommy gratefully created me a schedule. However, lately it seems I haven’t really been following it. So this week, I wanted to talk about some other ways I might be able to stay productive. 

The first method I wanted to talk about, is the one I’m using right now. Something like this is good on normal days where I have nothing to do. Everything happens at a set time and nothing changes. So once you do it enough times, it becomes habit. For example, if I have math from 10 to 11 then that’s when it always happens. Unfortunately, there are also a few downsides to this kind of rigid structure. Sometimes, I just oversleep and I can miss several parts of my schedule. I could always shift things around to make things work out, but that defeats the entire point of the schedule method. 

This leads me to my second idea, which is very similar to the schedule method. I call it the checklist method. Just like the previous method, you do all your tasks within set times. For example you commit to two hours of math, you’ll eventually do two hour of math by end of the day. There is not set schedule, instead there’s a checklist with tasks you need to complete and the amount of time you need to commit. This method is a lot more flexible, but at the same time has more disadvantages. Because of how this is set up, I might end up pushing everything to the very end of the day. You see, I’m not very good at organizing my schedule. So although this may be a viable method in theory, it probably isn’t for me. 

The next idea I have, is simply called alarm. It’s quite similar to the reminder system Kalen and I had a long time ago from music practice. The reason I don’t use the reminder function instead, is because the constant pop ups become really annoying. So annoying I tend to ignore them these day. It’s kind of like pop up ads, you just have a habit of getting rid of them. It also doesn’t help I don’t do music anymore, and I still occasionally receive these reminders on the mac downstairs. In the end, I just thought it would be better to ditch the reminder system all together. Instead, I’ll use the alarm feature. It’s kind of like the reminder feature, but instead of reminding you it plays a blaring loud ringtone. It also helps I take these alarms quite seriously. If I didn’t, I would be late for school. 

Out of these three methods, I guess the schedule does work best on paper for me. However, that doesn’t mean I don’t want to at least attempt the checklist or alarm method. In fact, I could likely use the the alarm method in conjunction with one of the other two methods. Maybe the checklist method really will work, I just have to try and see what works. 

New Laptop

Recently, my old laptop has been replaced. So in this blog, I decided to describe how my experience has been with so far, what I normally use it for, and the changes I don’t really like. 

To start off, my experience with the laptop has been fairly well. Right now, during summer break, I’ve primarily been using it to consume media and write these blogs. However, I have also been using this laptop to do my Blender practice. Previously, renders would take around five minutes. Now, those renders feel much faster. However, there is one strange thing that has been catching my eye. Sometimes a small black bar will appear on the left side of my screen for no apparent reason. It does partially bother me or affect me because it last only maybe two seconds, but it’s still weird. Aside from that little annoyance, my experience has been pretty good so far. Some of the new additions I personally fond of is the speakers and the clearer screen. Now it feels like the sound is coming from the laptop and not underneath the keyboard. I also appreciate the cleaner screen, but maybe that’s just because it’s new and hopefully it stays that way. 

Sadly, there are more than a few personal changes I don’t particularly like. For example, the keys are really low. Unlike my last laptop, it feels like you’re practically typing on nothing. It can sometimes get annoying especially when I’m typing something or when I want to play a quick game of Tetris. However, I’m sure I’ll eventually get use to the new feel. Another change I don’t really like is the touch bar, although this is me just being use to it. It’s really cool, it’s just I’m not use to switching between all the different layouts. For example, I usually use the layout with the fast forward and pause button. The reason for this is because this layout is the most similar to my previous laptop. However, the problem with this is that now I’m missing the the escape button. Like the keyboard, I think I’ll eventually get use to it, but I still kind of miss my old layout. The last change I don’t really like, is the fact it only has one USB C if you don’t count the charger. Even with my last laptop, I found the lack of USB port annoying. An example of this is when I had to transfer data from one USB to another. I also don’t particularly like the idea of having to carry a dongle around. However, I guess it’s going to happen eventually with the way technology is progressing, so better start getting use to it now. 

Overall, I really do like my new laptop. Aside from typing on the keyboard, everything I do is faster now. Now, my laptop doesn’t take forever to load websites. It really makes a big difference, because now it doesn’t feel like your wasting time. By the start of school, I hope I’ll be ready to use this laptop to the best of my ability.

Phantom Bullet

For the past two days, I’ve been playing another Switch game. With my play-through of Fire Emblem Three Houses coming to an end, I decided to get another game. So, in this blog, I’ll be talking about this new game. Like usual, I’ll be talking about general game mechanics, my experience with the game, and my thoughts. 

Alright, the game in question is called Phantom Bullet. As you can tell from the name, it’s a shooter. More specifically a 3rd person shooter, meaning most of the time you’re looking over your avatar’s shoulder. The goal of the game, is to go through the story. The plot is that you start off at a low rank and then gain a reputation while looking for specific items. Not a very interesting is it? Well, the further you go into the story the better it gets. As you progress, you’ll have to fight multiple bosses to get access to new locations, not including multiple area bosses. Without any DLC, I believe the game has five in-game areas. I don’t really know how the game will end, because I haven’t reached it and I don’t really want to be spoiled. 

As far as the mechanics go, it feels pretty standard for a 3rd person shooter. Although, my only complaint was that the joysticks were really sensitive. This can sometimes make it a pain to shoot enemies as I always miss the target. I ended up going into the options menu and turning the sensitivity down to its lowest settings. Another thing that the game could improve upon, would be the maps. I knew going into this game I shouldn’t have expected much in terms of graphics. Still, it doesn’t mean I would’ve like seeing a bit more life. While travelling through all five areas, I don’t think I saw a single tree. There are monsters and building, plus the geography isn’t bad either. I just wish, there was a bit more life in the maps. 

In addition to the single player aspect, there is the still untouched multiplayer. Unfortunately, like Puyo Puyo Tetris, I doubt I could find a lobby. The reason for this, is because of who the general audience is. So unless you’re playing with friends, I don’t see anyone using the multiplayer function anytime soon. The only way I can see the multiplayer aspect drawing any attention, is if it’s some sort of battle royal. Even if that was the case, I don’t think I’ll be really interested. Unlike Kalen, I don’t really care about battle royal games. The only exception being Tetris 99. Still, I think I’ll likely just check out the multiplayer and not go any further than that. 

In the end, I’ve been having a lot of fun with the game. Like I said before I still think there are a few things the game could improve on. Unfortunately, with how long the game has already been out, I don’t any changes are going to be made. Still, it’s doesn’t mean I won’t enjoy the game any less. 

Blender Modelling

I’ve already talked about Blender in a pervious blog, but I didn’t really go into detail. In that blog, I pretty much just gave my opinion. In this blog, I just wanted to expand on that and go through the process of making an object. 

Whenever I’m trying to make something, I first get rid of the default cube. More often than not, the object I’m trying to create does not look like a cube. Next, I grab an image of the object I want to create. The best images are the ones that just show one face and are not taken an angle. The reason for this, is that the image will serve as a template and will only appear at certain default angles. You can create an object without a background image, but is a lot harder. For example, I didn’t really want to get an image of a vase. Instead, I just made the vase from my own imagination and in my opinion, it was pretty decent. 

After getting an image, I select the best mesh for the object. For the, vase that would be the cylinder mesh. Then I change the amount of faces on the object. Usually the less faces the better. If it looks a little rough, you can just fix it latter. From that point, I scale the object to the relative size of the template. It doesn’t really matter if it’s not the exact size you’re looking for. You can just scale the object back down when you’re done. 

Now, you’re at the most time consuming part. By moving around points and adding new ones, you create your object. However, sometimes shaping a mesh won’t be enough. Sometimes you might need to extrude to get the desired shape. An example of extruding, might be the handle of a mug or cup. At this point, it should still look really rough. To fix that, you can add on the subsurface modifier. From what the tutorial guy said, it works by electing the closet three points then smoothing it out. If that’s not enough, you can look up smooth shading and apply it to your object.  

With your object finished, you need colour. To create colour in Blender, you use a node system. Basically, you connect a bunch of nodes to create different colour. For example, if you combine red gloss and white mat, you get a mat pink with some gloss. However, Blender has recently changed this system, so I have to relearn how to use the node system. 

After adding your colours, you should be 100% done. Now just press render, and then after a bit of patience, your object will be there. Personally, I felt really happy after I created my first even if it was a tutorial. However, that feeling of satisfaction only gets better when you start making you own objects. 

Fire Emblem Three Houses

For the last few days, I have been playing the new Fire Emblem game. It’s my first time playing a game in the series, so in this blog, I would like to give a brief explanation and share my thoughts on the game. 

The general concept of the Fire Emblem games is that you complete the story by clearing stages. Each stage contains a map and many enemies. To defeat these enemies, you use different units with skills determined by their class and unique passive abilities. This means no matter how hard you try, each unit will be different in some way. Another feature that made the Fire Emblem some what unique is the addition of permanent death of units. The meaning of this is when a unit HP hits zero, that unit is gone forever and you’re unable to recover without restarting the stage, reloading, or in the more recent games, using a limited skill to go several moves back. As a first time player, I was unaware of this and now one of my units is gone forever.

Besides the permanent death, the most unique feature for me, is the amount of customization you can put into your units. I don’t know how it worked in pervious games in the series, but in Fire Emblem Three Houses, you can switch classes very easily. For example, if you really wanted to, it’s possible to turn an axe wielding warrior into an arcane mage. Of course, the characters still retain their personality due to story elements. Still, fun to play around with the different classes, plus, it’s always good to have some variety in your army. I also find it amazing how the game forces you to use all your units, or at least rotate through them. As you may have guessed, with the permeant death feature in place, levelling can be some what risky for my units. To level properly, you need to be within five levels of the enemy. If your level is too high you won’t get enough experience, too low and you’ll be instantly killed. Remember, once units are gone, they are gone. In the end, you are forced to use all units periodically or risk them falling behind. I don’t know if this was an intended feature or not, but it gives me a chance to try out all the units. 

As for the story itself, I’m finding it quite enjoyable right now. As the name implies, there are three houses or factions. The names of these faction aren’t too important to this blog, so I won’t be mention them. I also don’t want to spoil any of the major plot characters in these houses, which why I’ve been avoiding names so far. However, what is important to mention is that all of these factions have clashing ideologies and values. This will be important latter on, that is because the game is split into two parts. The first part, which I’m currently in, is the school phase. In this phase you act as a teacher, guide students (levelling units) in the skills they want to learn and leading one of the factions. Think of it like Harry Potter where you have have the different houses. The second phase, is the war phase. At some point in the story, which I haven’t reached yet, there will be a five year time skip. After which a war will ensue between all three factions. This is where the house you picked comes into play. There are four endings in the game, three of them depending on the faction picked. The last path is a neutral path, which only happens if you decide not complete a certain quest (Spoilers which I don’t even know). 

So far, I have really enjoyed the game. Right now, the story is slowly but surely ramping up. I’m willing to guess the time skip is about to happen any second now. As for the war phase, I’m looking forward to seeing what ramifications my actions in the first stage have on the story. 

Progress Part 2

As you know, I have been working on a project for my mom’s friend. Since the last update, I have made a lot of progress and I thought it was about time to update my last blog. So like last time, I’ll be talking about what progress I’ve made, changes to my plans, and my current plans moving forward. 

So since my last update, I talked how about I was using HTML to create my pages. However to speed things up, I ditched this method of creating pages and moved to photoshop. Since the switch, progress has increased immensely. Starting from scratch, I was able to recover the progress I made with HTML in around one and a half day. Instead of switching between code and viewing my page, everything is now drag and drop. That means instead of typing in the exact position of a photo, I just move it into position. I found this much more intuitive, and easier to manipulate the photos how I wanted to. It also helped in retaining the original dimensions of the photos. Since every photo was different, that meant they all had different sizes . Using HTML I had to figure out the exact pixel measure for every photo which was time consuming. Now, all the photo’s appear as how I took them. 

Besides talking about the change in format, I also want to talk about my new plans. Prior to the switch, I would have just created all the pages, convert them to PDF, and string them together. However, now there are fewer steps. I’m now using photoshop now, so naturally I’ve got to deal with the resolution and image sizes when the photos come out to print. Thanks to the links mommy gave me, I can probably do this fairly easily. But prior to this I need, to send some samples to the client. Although, I have been dragging my feet, I still want the client to at least feel good about the end product. If the client then asks for any changes, I’ll make them. Wether it be changing the photo position, or retaking photos I’ll try to make the customer satisfied. 

Overall, progress has been going quite well and there isn’t much more to it. This blog has been fairly short, but only because there hasn’t been as many hiccups as I was expecting, which is a good thing. Unfortunately, this also means there isn’t a lot to talk about. Perhaps in my next blog, there will be more to talk about?