Two

Today is a a day of poignant reminiscing for myself and many of my friends. We met years ago in a very different world. A world in which creativity was celebrated. A world where strangers would share their trade secrets. A world where deep friendships developed across thousands of miles.

Two years ago today, that world came to an end.

Two years ago today, we said goodbye to the homes we’d built together. The towns and cities; modern, historical, silly, and fantastic. We said goodbye to factories and landmarks, to cars, trains, ships of sea, air, and space, and to crazy collections of silly creations. We said goodbye to the ability to build a scene or a world piece by piece, and make it come to life. It feels like we said goodbye to a piece of ourselves.

Two years ago today, Landmark (the game) was shut down.

Jinkys made many films in Landmark. View them all here.

You’re probably wondering why a game shutting down is such a big deal. Well… Landmark was unique. Simplistically described, Landmark was a world-building game. It was like Minecraft on steroids. But I hate that analogy…

Imagine building with Lego, except you only get the cube brick with four dots on top and you can’t overlap the edges. That’s Minecraft.

Now, imagine building with Lego and having every Lego shape that exists, and on top of that putting one brick next to another can alter the shape of the bricks, and you have tools to smooth, flatten, and change the colors of the bricks. That was building in Landmark.

Not only was building so flexible, but at a time when destructible environments were almost unheard of, Landmark did it.

The possibilities were endless.

And that’s before mentioning the game mastering tools; interactive props such as levers, lights, and doors, and interactive logic tools that the builder could use to define a set of rules. The builder could create logic that the door remained locked unless the candle on the left and right were snuffed out but in the center remained on, or so that when a lever is pulled, the building erupts in flames. The builder could also add NPCs to their builds, make them aggressive or friendly, and make them interact and speak based upon the same type of interactive logic.

Sadly, Landmark lived a short life. After more than two years of closed beta, Landmark was live for seven months before being shut down on February 21, 2017.

The loss of Landmark left a hole for many of Landmark’s long time players. Some have taken up digital arts. Some have started to learn game building tools or gone to work for game developers. Some have found a renewed love for non-digital arts.

Even so, many of us are still looking for something to fill the creative hole left by Landmark. Something that will have the ease of use and flexibility that Landmark had, and encourage the type of community that Landmarkians fostered.

Here’s to hoping that the future is bright.

In the mean time, we have short films recorded in Landmark, screenshots (see below for SO MANY), our individual creativity, good friends to help pass the time.

Two years ago we said goodbye to the homes we’d built together.

The towns and cities; modern, historical, silly, and fantastic.

We said goodbye to factories and landmarks…

to cars, trains, ships of sea, air, and space…

and to crazy collections of silly creations.

Sadly, all things come to an end.

At times, it was fun and games.

So many memories…

Thirty

Normally while I travel I tweet and post in group discussions (with friends and family) throughout the trip.This time though, my trip is a secret from one of my brothers; today is his thirtieth birthday and I am visiting as a surprise.

Rather than sharing my travel thoughts in the normal format, I’m collecting them here:

  • I’m currently sitting on a plane at SeaTac airport. We were boarded before the replacement pilot arrived (apparently the original pilot was snowed in).
  • It has been a fun wait though … complete with a guy who had no concept of personal space rubbing his butt on my arm and practically standing on me while adjusting his bag in the overhead compartment.
  • There should be separate flights for inexperienced, oblivious, and jack ass passengers. 
  • Pilot has arrived! We are out of here. I expect to be asleep before takeoff.
  • I can’t wait to give Byson his card and gift from K (our toddler niece).
  • Pro tip: flushing the airplane toilet makes less of a mess if you close the lid first,  and the next person to use the restroom (me) weir think you’re a complete ass.
  • 5:08 pm eastern, at the gate.  Let me off the damn plane so I can see my nephews!
  • It’s weird being at BWI and not for work…
  • Mrs Byson is amazing. Great mother, perfect partner for my brother,  and a wonderful person all around. I’m glad I got to have some extra time with her.

The boys were incredibly well behaved for being stuck in the car for five hours, and Byson was sufficiently surprised. 

It’s now stupid early eastern time, and I can’t sleep. The jetlag will be strong today.

Dear 2016, Thank You.

Dear 2016,

Thank you.

I really do mean it. I know people have been pretty hard on you. To be honest, you have gotten to me at times too, but I have come to realize that you haven’t been all bad. In fact, you were good in a lot of ways.

Thank you for the letter that pushed me so close to the edge that it helped me see that I needed to change, and that I couldn’t do it alone. Thank you for helping me see that my idiosyncrasies mean that I’m normal, not that I’m broken. Thank you for helping me remember to take care of myself and showing me the strength to stand up for my needs.

Thank you for helping me and Hubby grow closer, love more deeply, and be better for each other than ever before. Thank you for helping us both be patient and hopeful.

Thank you for showing me the strength of my friendships and for helping me realize how many good friends (both near and far) I am fortunate to have. Thank you for the friends who said the right thing at the right times, even though they didn’t know all the circumstances. Thank you for the friends who made me laugh when I was down. Thank you for the friends who always listened, and were always brutally honest. Thank you for the friends who chose to confide in me.

Thank you for helping me realize that I really am more extrovert than introvert, even though I’m truly somewhere in between.

Thank you for the opportunity to fly cross country to see a movie with friends, for the spur of the moment decision to do so, and for great friends making the trip entirely worthwhile.

Thank you for challenging work assignments,  opportunities for professional growth, and great coaching.

Thank you for work trips to the east coast which allowed me to visit my brother’s family and reconnect with a cousin that I never really knew. Thank you for my nephews getting to know my face, asking to have Skype calls with me, and being excited to Skype with me even when they’re too tired for anyone else.

Thank you for breaking my mom’s leg. I have hated seeing her pain, but her strength is an inspiration.¬†Thank you for my weekly visits to help care for her, and for the time with family that my visits have helped make happen. Thank you for helping me become my grand-niece’s second favorite aunt, and for toddler hugs and giggles.

Thank you for helping me be comfortable opening up to my sister.

Thank you for kicking me in the right direction to find the next stage of my career; I have high hopes.

Thank you for more opportunities to see my dad; especially after I disappointed and hurt him by missing my uncle’s funeral. Thank you for helping me realize why loss is so exceptionally difficult for me to handle.

Thank you for a two week vacation with hubby, and being able to truly relax and focus on each other for a while.

Thank you for helping me appreciate what I have, and giving me the desire to put this all into words.

2016, you have been a tumultuous, unpredictable, and emotional experience, but I wouldn’t change a thing.

 

That’s Bananas!

I started writing this as a tweet, but as soon as I realized it would be at least five… I decided it was time for a blog post.

I had a weird dream last night…

I was flipping through a book that was sort of a mash up of Randall Munroe’s Thing Explainer, a National Geographic, & an encyclopedia.¬†I came across 42 page article about the benefits of bananas, and mentioned it to Beetle.

He said that it was a very interesting read, and that it essentially said that people who eat bananas are more likely to be successful, and that it gave the example of people who work at [some prestigious place that I can’t remember] who always have a banana with them. He said that they wouldn’t hire people who came to an interview without a banana…

Naturally, I was intrigued…

So then this morning I was at the store to pick up an energy drink (at 4:30 am, because work is weird like that. Also, hooray for my last EARLY day), and this dream came back to me.

A few months ago, went through a period where I was eating bananas every day. It happened to be around the time that I was losing weight, energetic, etc…

So then I remembered the dream. And I bought bananas. Because obviously my brain was trying to tell me something.

Yay bananas!

Craziness

I’ve realized recently that I’m a little weird. You probably already knew that though…

I tend to not see that I have close friends until I’m in a situation where I need them, and they are already there. This is true whether the friendship is primarily in person (like the local group that I try to play table top games with weekly) or primarily online (Landmark friends, and others).

Over the past couple years I have gotten to know a lot of people through Landmark and Twitch. When the time came that I needed a friend, one was there, and then another, and then several. And then I realized that my weekly table top group cares about more than just board games (mostly because I learned to talk).

There are many reasons that I am blind to the friends around me, and maybe if it keep writing personal stuff here you will understand one day… But that is not the point of this post.

This week I did one of the craziest things (perhaps THE craziest) that I have ever done: I flew from Seattle to Nashville (practically free, thank you air miles) to visit a couple of my Landmark friends. I had only met Jinkys once before and never met Metallical, but I already got to know them well enough that I wasn’t worried about what might happen (Even though some of my family was worried).

Both are as fun in person as you would imagine. By the time I am home tomorrow night, I will have 20 hours of round trip travel time for the 2 days I was here. It was totally worth it to get to hug and spend time with a couple good friends.

One Year

If you’ve been here before, you probably know that two of my uncles were in a bad motorcycle accident a year ago. They were both lucky to have survived the accident.

The uncle who was airlifted to a hospital in eastern Washington has recovered relatively well (I never did go visit).

A year ago,¬†my sister and I visited the hospital in Seattle to visit the uncle who was airlifted there. It was all I could do to keep from running away. I carefully kept my composure while we were with him (he was in a coma at the time), and when we walked away I lost my control. My sister had no idea how hard it it been for me to go to the hospital, or how Christa’s death had affected me. We talked, and it helped. But I still could never talk myself into driving to the other side of the state to visit.

He¬†miraculously made it through the first several¬†days. After a couple weeks he was transferred to a hospital closer to home, and then to a rehab facility. It has been a year of hope and fear for the family, being there for my uncle (who has down syndrome as well) trying to help him heal and keep his spirits up without putting their own lives completely on hold as well. There have been complications off and on, and recently more on… Until today.

Today my uncle finally lost the battle to recover from his injuries.

My uncle that taught me patience. My uncle who taught me sign language. My uncle who taught me that there is no shame in an adult showing the joy of a child.

I will miss you Uncle Herb.

 

Ugh, do I have to have a title?

I hate hospitals.

Hate may not be a strong enough word. Ever since my cousin died unexpectedly, I can’t think of going into a hospital without anxiety kicking in.¬† The only time the nausea,¬† panic, and extreme sadness didn’t overwhelm me was when I went to the hospital to meet my first nephew.¬†

Last weekend, two of my uncles were in a bad motorcycle accident in easternen Washington. They were both airlifted from the scene; one to a hospital in eastern Washington,  the other to Harborview in Seattle.  Both are alive and recovering better than expected,  but they are not in good shape.  One is in critical condition, the other is in serious condition. 

I’ve wanted to go visit both,¬† but that anxiety has kicked in every time I think about it.

Yesterday I decided it was time.  I made arrangements to meet my sister (any minute now) and we are going together.

Hopefully she will be able to make the day trip to visit the other uncle with me thisweekend. I want to pretend that her strength is mine.

Please keep thinking happy thoughts (or prayers if that is more your thing). Good vibes are always helpful.

The year (or so) in review.

Wow.  So yet again,  it has been a while (more than a year!) since my last post.

A busy year it was too! I traveled cross country for work a few times,¬† got to manage a great protect,¬† went to the last ever SOE Live with Hubby (which was a hell of a lot of fun, and really ought to be it’s own post), my Nana passed away (while I was in Vegas, so much regret), I went to PAX Prime (of course) with great friends, my grand niece was born, my boss quit, I participated in Extra Life for the first time (and raised over $500 for Seattle Children’s Hospital!), I got a new kitten (Jayne), my brother came to stay with us for a few weeks,¬† my brother got into a BAD accident (without any life threatening injuries,¬† thankfully), Hubby’s grandmother passed away,¬† I had Took’s (aka gimpy-cat) leg amputated, my second nephew was born, I started regularly streaming on twitch, and so on…

So much that I could have written about (and still may).

I actually came here with a specific thing that I planned to write about, before I got distracted with the year-in-review, but I’m out of time.

I’m off to table top game night.¬† Wish me victory!

More later (soon? Maybe…)

Moving Day!

When the Ancient Forest and Tundra biomes were added to Landmark, I abandoned my tower and moved. It is hard to believe more than two weeks have already passed.

I found a lovely claim on a new island on the border between tundra and ancient forest in a beautiful valley near the beach, and fortunately Hubby and my aussie gamer buddies found claims nearby.

I took my time rebuilding the tower larger and prettier, improved my roof building technique, and then started experimenting to learn the tools and funky techniques a little better.

The swap meets put on by SmokeJumper, Govinda, and others had so many great examples of micro and antivoxel techniques, and so many creative ideas. Plus, I got a one on one tutorial from Tsagh on antivoxels. He (?) is a great teacher, and I highly recommend watching for the next class at the Leyspring academy.

When they announced the end of Alpha, I focused on adding Wantia(EQ)/Shin(EQ2) style houses to my village. I was able to work out the basic style, but there is a lot of work to do to be able to put together a complete village.

For those that don’t know, Alpha is now over. Closed beta starts later this week (Wednesday hopefully), and then it will be moving day again.

I’m planning on starting the village from scratch again (unless I get another wild inspiration). I’m not looking forward to coming up with the 38000 burled wood that I will need to rebuild the tower.

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Honoring the Craft

Wall before smoothing.

A lot has changed on my claim this week! During the work week I made slow progress. I went through the entire tower and smoothed the Plain Wood parts of the walls (for those who aren’t playing Landmark, that’s the open parts that sort of look like latticework).¬†

Smoothed wall.

After a couple days¬†looking at the tower with smoothed walls, I wasn’t sure that I liked it. (more…)