star_ocean_fan: (Default)
Okay, so to start, I'm reposting the birthdays and holidays list as well as the reminders for Ask the Star Ocean Character - Adray Lasbard and the rules governing cosplay, fan art, and fanfiction.

Birthday and Holiday Reminders/Submission Rules for Cosplay, Fan Art, Fan Fiction, and General Star Ocean Photography

Birthday List - covering January to June

January 1 (Late; assigned by me) - Crowe F. Almedio
January 23 (official) - Claude C. Kenny
January 25 (assigned by me) - Ilia Silvestri
January 31 (assigned by me) - Ryoko Leingod
February 3 (official) - Faize Sheifa Beleth
February 15 (assigned by me) - Peppita Rosetti
February 16 (official) - Noel Chandler

February 29 (official - can swing to either February 28 or March 1) - Precis F. Neumann
March 2 (assigned by me) - Roger S. Huxley

March 16 (official) - Meracle Chamlotte
March 28 (official) - Reimi Saionji

April 10 (assigned by me) - Adray Lasbard
April 24 (official) - Arumat P. Thanatos
May 5 (official) - Bacchus D-79
May 7 (assigned by me) - Blair Lansfeld
May 13 (official) - Rena Lanford
June 1 (assigned by me) - Cliff Fittir
June 29 (assigned by me) - Maria Traydor
June 30 (official) - Lymle Lemuri Phi

Upcoming Holidays:

New Year's Day - January 1
Valentine's Day - February 14

St. Patrick's Day - March 17
Easter - March 31

Earth Day - April 22
Mother's Day - May 12
Father's Day - June 16

As of right now, I will be hosting a make-up day for birthdays and holidays. You can submit the birthday and holiday themed stories for the listed holidays.

Regarding: Fanfiction, Fan Art, Fan Poetry, Cosplay, Fan projects

I really don't have very many rules regarding what I'll accept for fan-related material. It does have to be well-written. I won't just post whatever happens to come my way for any of this. This is an open journal. You do not need to be a follower in order to read or comment on what I'm writing. I would very much like to keep it this way because one never knows when a fourteen-year-old might become smitten with Star Ocean.

So here are the rules for submitting fan-related material like fiction, art work, cosplay, and other projects.

1 - No smut. Period.
When it comes to art and photography, no nudity. There are sites out there already dedicated for such themes.

2 - All pairings are accepted.
I don't care if it's a pairing I don't like or that I can't see for whatever reason is in my head. If you've taken the time to write it or draw it, I will post it. That means I will accept heterosexual pairings (Edge x Reimi), xeno pairings (i.e., Edge x Myuria), yaoi pairings (Luther x Fayt), and yuri pairings (Maria x Sophia).

3 - No character-bashing.
This is a little . . . sticky. Yes, you can portray Fayt or Edge or whoever as an S.O.B. - providing there's a reason for the behavior. If you're just doing it because you don't like the character, well, take it to a different site. I have goals in mind for this journal. I'm not about to risk those goals for someone who just wants to be a jerk about a character s/he doesn't like. Remember that people do have their likes and dislikes.

4 - As was mentioned above, all stories must be well-written.
By that, I mean you've taken the time to craft your story. There are no errors in spelling, punctuation, or sentence structure. I don't care if it's just fanfiction. Seriously, just because it's fanfiction does not change the reasons for why people read. Just because it's free for everyone to read (meaning you're not charging them to read it and thus you're not being paid to write it) doesn't mean you should skimp out on the technical parts of writing. Write like you care, or I will throw my pocket grammar guide at you.

5 - Themes/Genres and Crossovers
I will, for the most part, accept nearly every single theme that there is. If it's an alternate universe story, I'll accept it. If it crosses with another fandom, I'll accept it. If you're crossing Till the End of Time with First Departure somehow, I'll accept it.

Now, there are some themes out there that do venture into the adult/mature audience category that I will accept as well. Anything with graphic sex just isn't in that area. Tackling current social themes (bullying, body image issues, etc . . .) are definitely accepted.

6 - Cosplay
I definitely would love, love, LOVE it if people submitted their cosplay pictures to me. They can be from conventions or personal photo shoots. It's all cool. If anyone does the how-to as the cosplay is created, definitely would love to share those, too.

Adding In: As I'm still very much in the dark for First Departure, Second Story/Second Evolution, and Blue Sphere in terms of game play, when you submit a photo, please let me know who the character is and what game the character is from as well as where you took the photo (i.e., backyard, lake, convention, etc . . . I don't need to know your personal address) . . . I know only a few characters from each, like Claude, Rena, Ashton, Roddick, Dorne, Ilia, and Ronyx. Having the names to go with the characters portrayed will be very, very helpful. Thanks!

Most importantly, to me, is that people are having fun and sharing the love for Star Ocean. That's what this is about - bringing fellow Star Ocean fans together. I will definitely let everyone know when I'm posting their works.

One more thing - no personal attacks, no being mean to the author/artist/cosplayer for any submissions. Be respectful of each other at all times. As of this moment in time, we are not a very large fandom when compared to the likes of Hetalia: Axis Powers or the Final Fantasy series. We don't have to like a particular character or a particular pairing or even a particular Star Ocean game, but we must remember that there will always be someone out there who does. Disrespectful attitudes will certainly not be tolerated.

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Ask the Star Ocean Character Reminder - Adray Lasbard from Till the End of Time

Roger's segment is coming! I swear that it is! If you have some questions for Roger, I'll still accept them and add them in before I post it. In the meantime, I'm accepting questions for Adray Lasbard from Till the End of Time. Is there something about him you'd like to know? Please ask! Questions can be submitted via comment, email (luthersfayt@gmail.com and thestaroceanuniverse@gmail.com), or private message. Limit three questions per person, no profanity please.

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Regarding the Make-up Day for Holidays and Birthdays, The Star Ocean Fanzine and Fan Event

As noted above and in previous entries, I do plan on hosting a make-up day for missed birthdays and holidays. In fact, I'm considering it over a course of four days, possibly a weekend, and it could very possibly consist of multiple entries. Given that I've missed these so far as well . . . I'm aiming for June. There's still plenty of time to submit birthday and holiday fan art and fanfiction for the above listed birthdays and holidays. Come July 1st, the list will change. Fan art and fanfiction not relating to birthdays and holidays are welcome at any time. Just please follow the rules I've listed above.

Please note: In addition to taking art, cosplay, and fiction submissions for this journal, I'm taking them for a Star Ocean fanzine. Since I've returned to work, I know that I can get something together in the next couple of months, maybe even by the time Otakon rolls around. When it comes to submissions, please, please, please specify where you want your works to go - the journal or the fanzine. If there is no specification, I will run with the notion that it's  meant for the blog, not the fanzine.

Now that I've done that, it's time for me to ask for the help of my fellow fans.

As I know from browsing sites like deviantArt and talking with some rather crafty people myself, fans can be very creative. It isn't just with things like cosplay, art, and fiction. It's the creation of plushies, and, in Charry's case, the Ducky bomb. I'd like to know what my fellow fans have created so take a picture and email it to me. I'd love to share what everyone has done with other fans.

Finally, regarding the Star Ocean Fan Event - I still want to hear from my fellow fans on this! The more input I have, the better! And it isn't just for U.S. fans. It's for all Star Ocean fans around the world. The more interest generated, the more I can plan and try to cement details like when, where, and for how long.

And that concludes it for today. Happy Tuesday, everyone!
star_ocean_fan: (Default)
It's a few days late, but that's all right.

Everything on my end has been, well, chaotic. Between work and running into a few snags here and there, posting and writing have taken a bit of a hit for time. I've also decided, when it comes to Destinies Intertwined by Fate, I'm going to repost it. I joined a writing group, and I've posted the prologue to the site for critiquing. My goal is to really polish the story up and maybe . . . just maybe have it printed in a novel form. We'll see, though. It's the kind of story I want to see published officially, but I have my doubts as to whether or not tri-Ace and Square Enix would go for it. I am, after all, leaving out Sophia.

I will have some cosplay photos to post soon . . . like on a day where I've not slept in until 10:30 in the morning. They're also not by me (yet). We're getting there, my fellow fans! We are getting there!

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Cosplay/Convention Meet-ups

Now, I realize that we are a small fan-base when it comes to the number of followers and whatnot. Still, I do believe that there are some ample opportunities for meeting up.

This isn't one of those, oh, let's drive to this place and get together type deals. It'd be nice, and it's certainly possible for those who live close to one another (I can reach Kojika's home in under eight hours, either by driving or taking the bus). However, it just isn't economically feasible when a person gets right down to it.

This little shout-out is for the convention goers. As mentioned in one of the last entries, my convention goals for this year are definitely Otakon and YoumaCon with the potential for NMACon. Most of these are local conventions for me (so if you're in the Great Lakes area and wish to meet up at either YoumaCon or NMACon, leave me a comment or a PM. I will get back with you on that) so getting there isn't too much of a big deal. I will try to aim for ShutoCon, but I have no clue as to whether or not I have to work that Saturday. Anyway, those are my convention goals. Like I said, if you're going to be at any of them, especially the local conventions, give me a shout-out, and we'll arrange something.

That said, I would love it for my fellow fans to utilize these journals as a way to meet up with each other, either at conventions or on your own time. In my mind, there is no reason to be shy about any of this. We're connected by a common love for the Star Ocean series. Let's share the love.

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An Issue of Translation

As many people already know, many of the games we love to play are designed and created in Japan. They're released to the Japanese audiences first, sometimes even up to a year in advance, before hitting places like North America and Europe. I don't need to remind my fellow fans that Star Ocean is one such series.

However, in starting this blog in the last year, I've come across a couple of complaints from my fellow fans about character names. The complaint is that some of the names get changed in the translation process, i.e. Ratix to Roddick and Souffle to Peppita.

This isn't an uncommon complaint, in my opinion, from the fans who know how to speak and read Japanese and therefore have played the games in the Japanese. It's something I wish that I could do, but that will take some time on my part. Also, there is absolutely nothing wrong with being able to play a game in both its original language and the translated version. That's just a matter of personal preference.

However, and this comes up from talking with my younger brother about games, names, and translations, I feel that the fans who can play the games in the Japanese because they can speak it and read it tend to forget that the average gamer does not read or speak much Japanese. Otakus might be able to speak some, but the vast majority of gamers tend to speak one language. I happen to be one of them. (And I don't count knowing a few words here and there from the Japanese, Russian, Latin, German, Italian, Spanish, and French languages as being able to speak them.) The average gamer is going to look at a name like Souffle and wonder why the character is named after food. Souffles are food. There's no getting around that, and the average gamer who probably knows next to nothing about Japanese culture may not realize that the name Souffle is meant to sound exotic to the Japanese audience. Souffle isn't exactly exotic to English and French-speaking cultures. Heck, I'm going to add in most of Europe into that as well. It's just how it is.

For a moment, let's consider the latest of the Final Fantasy games of XIII, XIII-2, and XIII - Lightning Returns. In the original Japanese version, Lightning's name is Eclair. According to my brother, eclair is French for light. However, if you ask an American what eclair means, that person will tell you it's a pastry. If the translators had left Lightning's name as Eclair, I'm very certain that many people would ask the question, why is she named after a pastry? It's just how the mind works when you don't speak a certain language.

There is also one other aspect to translation that some people just don't get. This is coming more from my brother about the Final Fantasy fandom where fans have complained about how some of the names have changed, and it's in regards to the letters "L" and "R". I will use Till the End of Time for this particular example.

For those who speak Japanese, they know that there is no "L" in that language. Yet there are "L" sounds throughout the language. Azazer in the Japanese game was pronounced Azazel. Berial was Belial, and Belzeber was Belzebel. Just because there is no actual "L" in the Japanese language doesn't mean there isn't a sound for it. There were reasons for leaving the Rs in for these particular names.

Finally, there is one other aspect to translation that people really do need to consider, and that is meaning. In Till the End of Time, Luther was Lucifer*. For most English-speaking peoples, Lucifer is the name of the angel who defied God, tried to start a revolt amongst the angels, and was cast out of Heaven for his actions. A name like that with such a negative connotation isn't exactly conducive for selling games to people who claim Christianity as their religion. (That also touches upon another subject which has more to do with role-playing games and misconceptions in general than just name meanings. It's something I'm open to discussing . . . but I won't be writing about it in this particular journal simply because it heads into some completely different fan-bases.)

In conclusion, there are reasons for why names are changed in the translation process. There is nothing wrong with liking the Japanese names or meanings over the translated names and meanings. Again, that lands into the area of personal preference. I simply ask that my fellow fans, the ones who do prefer the Japanese over the translated, please remember the average player isn't like they are and respect that for many Ratix is Roddick and Souffle is Peppita. No one has to like the reasons for why something is done the way it is done. The respect, though, needs to be there. Otherwise, we're just chasing people away.

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Birthday and Holiday Reminders/Submission Rules for Cosplay, Fan Art, Fan Fiction, and General Star Ocean Photography

Birthday List - covering January to June

January 1 (Late; assigned by me) - Crowe F. Almedio
January 23 (official) - Claude C. Kenny
January 25 (assigned by me) - Ilia Silvestri
January 31 (assigned by me) - Ryoko Leingod
February 3 (official) - Faize Sheifa Beleth
February 15 (assigned by me) - Peppita Rosetti
February 16 (official) - Noel Chandler

February 29 (official - can swing to either February 28 or March 1) - Precis F. Neumann
March 2 (assigned by me) - Roger S. Huxley

March 16 (official) - Meracle Chamlotte
March 28 (official) - Reimi Saionji
April 10 (assigned by me) - Adray Lasbard
April 24 (official) - Arumat P. Thanatos
May 5 (official) - Bacchus D-79
May 7 (assigned by me) - Blair Lansfeld
May 13 (official) - Rena Lanford
June 1 (assigned by me) - Cliff Fittir
June 29 (assigned by me) - Maria Traydor
June 30 (official) - Lymle Lemuri Phi

Upcoming Holidays:

New Year's Day - January 1
Valentine's Day - February 14

St. Patrick's Day - March 17
Easter - March 31
Earth Day - April 22
Mother's Day - May 12
Father's Day - June 16

As of right now, I will be hosting a make-up day for birthdays and holidays. You can submit the birthday and holiday themed stories for the listed holidays.

Regarding: Fanfiction, Fan Art, Fan Poetry, Cosplay, Fan projects

I really don't have very many rules regarding what I'll accept for fan-related material. It does have to be well-written. I won't just post whatever happens to come my way for any of this. This is an open journal. You do not need to be a follower in order to read or comment on what I'm writing. I would very much like to keep it this way because one never knows when a fourteen-year-old might become smitten with Star Ocean.

So here are the rules for submitting fan-related material like fiction, art work, cosplay, and other projects.

1 - No smut. Period.
When it comes to art and photography, no nudity. There are sites out there already dedicated for such themes.

2 - All pairings are accepted.
I
don't care if it's a pairing I don't like or that I can't see for whatever reason is in my head. If you've taken the time to write it or draw it, I will post it. That means I will accept heterosexual pairings (Edge x Reimi), xeno pairings (i.e., Edge x Myuria), yaoi pairings (Luther x Fayt), and yuri pairings (Maria x Sophia).

3 - No character-bashing.
This is a little . . . sticky. Yes, you can portray Fayt or Edge or whoever as an S.O.B. - providing there's a reason for the behavior. If you're just doing it because you don't like the character, well, take it to a different site. I have goals in mind for this journal. I'm not about to risk those goals for someone who just wants to be a jerk about a character s/he doesn't like. Remember that people do have their likes and dislikes.

4 - As was mentioned above, all stories must be well-written.
By that, I mean you've taken the time to craft your story. There are no errors in spelling, punctuation, or sentence structure. I don't care if it's just fanfiction. Seriously, just because it's fanfiction does not change the reasons for why people read. Just because it's free for everyone to read (meaning you're not charging them to read it and thus you're not being paid to write it) doesn't mean you should skimp out on the technical parts of writing. Write like you care, or I will throw my pocket grammar guide at you.

5 - Themes/Genres and Crossovers
I will, for the most part, accept nearly every single theme that there is. If it's an alternate universe story, I'll accept it. If it crosses with another fandom, I'll accept it. If you're crossing Till the End of Time with First Departure somehow, I'll accept it.

Now, there are some themes out there that do venture into the adult/mature audience category that I will accept as well. Anything with graphic sex just isn't in that area. Tackling current social themes (bullying, body image issues, etc . . .) are definitely accepted.

6 - Cosplay
I definitely would love, love, LOVE it if people submitted their cosplay pictures to me. They can be from conventions or personal photo shoots. It's all cool. If anyone does the how-to as the cosplay is created, definitely would love to share those, too.

Adding In: As I'm still very much in the dark for First Departure, Second Story/Second Evolution, and Blue Sphere in terms of game play, when you submit a photo, please let me know who the character is and what game the character is from as well as where you took the photo (i.e., backyard, lake, convention, etc . . . I don't need to know your personal address) . . . I know only a few characters from each, like Claude, Rena, Ashton, Roddick, Dorne, Ilia, and Ronyx. Having the names to go with the characters portrayed will be very, very helpful. Thanks!

Most importantly, to me, is that people are having fun and sharing the love for Star Ocean. That's what this is about - bringing fellow Star Ocean fans together. I will definitely let everyone know when I'm posting their works.

One more thing - no personal attacks, no being mean to the author/artist/cosplayer for any submissions. Be respectful of each other at all times. As of this moment in time, we are not a very large fandom when compared to the likes of Hetalia: Axis Powers or the Final Fantasy series. We don't have to like a particular character or a particular pairing or even a particular Star Ocean game, but we must remember that there will always be someone out there who does. Disrespectful attitudes will certainly not be tolerated.

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Ask the Star Ocean Character Reminder - Adray Lasbard from Till the End of Time

Roger's segment is coming! I swear that it is! If you have some questions for Roger, I'll still accept them and add them in before I post it. In the meantime, I'm accepting questions for Adray Lasbard from Till the End of Time. Is there something about him you'd like to know? Please ask! Questions can be submitted via comment, email (luthersfayt@gmail.com and thestaroceanuniverse@gmail.com), or private message. Limit three questions per person, no profanity please. All inquiries must be in by midnight of March 28th, 2013.

star_ocean_fan: (manga Fayt Leingod)
I'm going to push Adray's Ask the Star Ocean Character segment back to the 28th of February so fans have until midnight February 25, 2013, to submit questions. Limit three questions per person, no profanity, no sex talk. Roger will appear on February 1st.

I apologize for not doing as I've said I was going to do with this journal. All I can do is aim to do better.

That said, I'd also like to mention birthdays. I will be posting make-up days for the characters missed throughout each month. On July 1st, the new list of birthdays will go into effect, and any submissions for birthdays from January to June will held onto until January 1, 2014. If you want to submit a fan piece for a character birthday, you still can at luthersfayt@gmail.com or thestaroceanuniverse@gmail.com. Please keep it tasteful. No smutty material.

Birthday Reminders

Birthday List - covering January to June

January 1 (Late; assigned by me) - Crowe F. Almedio
January 23 (official) - Claude C. Kenny
January 25 (assigned by me) - Ilia Silvestri
January 31 (assigned by me) - Ryoko Leingod
February 3 (official) - Faize Sheifa Beleth
February 15 (assigned by me) - Peppita Rosetti
February 16 (official) - Noel Chandler
February 29 (official - can swing to either February 28 or March 1) - Precis F. Neumann
March 2 (assigned by me) - Roger S. Huxley
March 16 (official) - Meracle Chamlotte
March 28 (official) - Reimi Saionji
April 10 (assigned by me) - Adray Lasbard
April 24 (official) - Arumat P. Thanatos
May 5 (official) - Bacchus D-79
May 7 (assigned by me) - Blair Lansfeld
May 13 (official) - Rena Lanford
June 1 (assigned by me) - Cliff Fittir
June 29 (assigned by me) - Maria Traydor
June 30 (official) - Lymle Lemuri Phi

More birthdays will be added in, and reminders will be posted.

Upcoming Holidays:

Valentine's Day - February 14
St. Patrick's Day - March 17
Easter - March 31
Earth Day - April 22
Mother's Day - May 12
Father's Day - June 16

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Response to the question: Who do you think would win in this kind of a fight: Edge vs. Fayt using Symbology?

This is definitely going to make me sound biased. For this, I believe the advantage would be with Fayt. 1 - He understands symbology better. There's over seven hundred years' worth of investigation and discovery in the field. 2 - His dad is a symbological geneticist. 3 - He's given additional attack symbols to use through the dilapidated text.

Mind you, I'm not taking into consideration the special skills that use magic points or the fact that Edge, through Lymle's artistry talent, has access to every symbol in The Last Hope spellbook. This is Radiant Lancer and Aurora Rings (and Symbolic Weapon) against Stone Rain, Deep Freeze, and Explosion. When it comes to casting times and running speeds, Edge and Fayt are evenly matched.  The only symbol of Fayt's that takes a bit longer to cast is Explosion. Edge could get off at least one Radiant Lancer or Aurora Rings off and be in the middle of the next cast when Explosion finally sets off.

Now, in terms of items in a symbological battle, Edge would definitely win, especially if he has twenty of each card. Items are easier to throw in the middle of a battle than casting a symbol. One does have to wait to toss another item, but it can do nearly as much damage as the ability to cast a symbol. As I mentioned, the symbol cards give anyone in the party access to them. Some of the symbols can be quite devastating, too.

Depending on the way a person would want this to play out, the winner could either be Edge or Fayt. If using items, Edge wins simply because his inventory of spells would be greater than Fayt's. Using what they actually learn throughout the game play and item discovery, Fayt wins.
star_ocean_fan: (ocean view)

Yesterday, I asked the question what I believed everyone thought Edge's powers were based upon what they observed in the game. People can look at the in-game dictionary to learn a little bit more - I know I have - but I, personally, am still unclear as to what his genetic alteration's effects are on him. With Reimi, it's quite clear. She can recover from an illness once her body realizes how to combat it when said illness could kill another person.

Edge, we do get clues. When he receives a burst of adrenaline in an intense situation, the crest on his right hand lights up, and he's ready for battle. Really, though, what does that crest do? When looking at the weapons in The Calnus, Edge finds one and laments how he was never able to hit any target with it. The changes Edge undergoes aren't visible to us. We do know that he's quick at calculating what move to do next and when in a battle. This is all great for adapting to a harsh environment, but I feel like there is more to it than just being quicker with a sword and casting symbols in and out of battle.

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The Star Ocean Universe asks - Who do you think would win in this kind of a fight: Edge vs. Fayt using Symbology?

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Game Talk, Part Eight - Revamping Till the End of Time

I love, love, love the game of Till the End of Time. I love it. Please make no mistakes on that. At the same time I love it, I feel that it lacks a very strong tale for the wonderful characters that are presented to us. For this Game Talk, I'm going to break down the game's strong and weak points and what I'd like to see if Square Enix were to ever ask me what they could do to improve it for a re-release.

Note: This is not a game review!

Till the End of Time's Strong Points

1 - Graphics
The graphics are visually stunning. The landscapes are real. The characters are real in appearance. Everything about the graphics can lead a player to believe that such events could eventually play out in that kind of a future.

2 - The playable Characters
Each playable Character has a strength that lends to the battle party's overall ability to defeat an enemy. There's a variety from swords and daggers, to fisticuffs and symbology and guns. It's like Star Wars . . . without some creepy dude in black telling you he's your father.

3 - The battles are challenging.
Yes. The player mashes buttons, so to speak, but that doesn't mean the enemies are pushovers. If one isn't careful, it's game over. The player needs to keep an eye, not only on hit points but magic as well. In most other games I've played, no magic simply means the person with the magic can't cast a spell once it hits zero.

4 - Item Creation
I like creating items so that I can "survive" between save points. I like that I can boost the stats of a weapon or a piece of armor and potentially defeat the enemies at a slightly lower level. I like recruiting the inventors, too.

5 - The overall plot
Saving the universe can be quite a mind bender on the person who finds himself or herself in such a situation. Parents making a difficult decision to do what's right by sacrificing their children's forgiveness presents a very moral quandary. It has a lot of potential to be nerve-wracking, exciting and dangerous, and many of those elements are there.

Till the End of Time Weak Points

1 - The overall plot
Yes. The overall plot makes it into the game's weak points as well as the strong points. Saving the universe from destruction of an angry God bent on destruction is cool. Saving the universe from an angry God-like being because his bottom line is being threatened by anomalies and "viruses" and that everything is just a game? It's very lame. While it doesn't make Luther any less of an interesting villain (for me), it does make him to be a pathetic villain.

2 - Lack of Character growth and development
Let's face it. The only character who gets much in the way of development is Fayt. He's the only one who grows from his experiences. Yes, Maria does a little bit, but she still doesn't get much in the way of development. She, and Sophia, are key players as well. While I'm not going to complain about where they arrive as playable characters in the story, they are still flawed and really unaffected by the events taking shape around them.

3 - It doesn't take enough time
I like a good challenge. However, defeating a game in a grand total of three days' time isn't very challenging. People may think that's a long time for a game, but it really isn't that long.

4 - Not enough areas to explores
I don't know about anyone else, but I find it annoying that I can only leave Peterny in three different directions. I come from the south and need to head north once I reach it. I can also head west but not east out of Peterny.

The same holds true for Gemity. I don't want to head to just Arkives or Sphere 211. There's more to explore. The information technology industry is quite fierce. So what? We have Sophia! She has that amazing ability to "connect" to things! Why is it that we're just limited to Gemity?

I also ask what areas lay beyond the palatial cities of Airyglyph and Aquios. I'm an exploration nut. I want to go to all of these areas.

5 - A pathetic villain.
I know. I've said it in the first reason, but Luther really is a weak point in this game. There has to be more as to why he's trying to eradicate these anomalies when all he needs to do is reboot the system, as it were, and start over to get rid of the "viruses" and "bugs". Maybe Luther isn't the true villain, but he's what we're given.

6 - Unrealistic actions in various environments
Okay, this comes from the fact that, in the mountains, the player can run from the castle to Kirlsa with no effect. However, when the player reaches the Mosel Desert, until a particular item is obtained, we have to hop from water hole to water hole because it's so unbearably hot. Why is the mountain not so unbearably cold that heat pockets need to be found in order to keep from freezing to death?

7 - Lame final boss fight
Luther is a challenge if you aren't aware of what it is you need for that battle, both in terms of items and battle set up for the main party. That said, fighting Luther isn't as challenging as it could be. Luther is the Creator. He should be healing himself when he's dangerously close to dead. He should be summoning up little crystal spheres like we see in the Shrine of Kaddan when we go after the Sacred Orb once more. Nearly everything the playable characters can do (minus the non-MP draining special attacks like Sidekick and Fists of Fury), Luther should be able to do as well and with more damage. He should be able to shoot energy from his spear. Luther could be a Bad-A** fight, but they wimped out on him.

8 - Travel time is boring
By this, I mean that it's just too easy in terms of distance and time to get from one city or village to the next. Geographically speaking, for how short of a distance it is to go from Kirlsa to Arias, Airyglyph should have overrun Aquios before Cliff, Mirage, and Fayt arrived, no matter what kind of weapons they created and used to fight back. They wouldn't have had the time.

With all of this in mind, I would definitely, if given the opportunity to talk to the game's developers, say revamp the game's maps and strengthen the plot. Give it more punch. Show us the changes that are affecting everyone.

One thing I'd also like, in addition to the costume changes, is to see the differences in armor for the playable characters. Not every single time a change is made, but often enough to know that they're equipped with different armor.

Finally, I'd love to see an ending for some of the NPCs and villains. I would love to see what happens to Luther afterwards to answer the question, "Is he really dead?". I'd love to see the alternate universe where he ends up with Fayt as his protege (in the event of the Fayt solo ending, based on affinity from others).

There is so much that could be done with this game, and it would definitely elevate the experience.

************************************************************************

Because I ended up procrastinating too much to get this entry done, this will be this week's Game Talk entry.

************************************************************************

Happy belated Birthday, Claude C. Kenny!

Sadly, I don't have any fan art or fanfiction to commemorate the day. If anyone wants to send anything for it, I will gladly post it.

************************************************************************

Birthday Reminders

Birthday List - covering January to June

January 1 (Late; assigned by me) - Crowe F. Almedio
January 23 (official) - Claude C. Kenny
January 25 (assigned by me) - Ilia Silvestri
January 31 (assigned by me) - Ryoko Leingod
February 3 (official) - Faize Sheifa Beleth
February 15 (assigned by me) - Peppita Rosetti
February 16 (official) - Noel Chandler
February 29 (official - can swing to either February 28 or March 1) - Precis F. Neumann
March 2 (assigned by me) - Roger S. Huxley
March 16 (official) - Meracle Chamlotte
March 28 (official) - Reimi Saionji
April 10 (assigned by me) - Adray Lasbard
April 24 (official) - Arumat P. Thanatos
May 5 (official) - Bacchus D-79
May 7 (assigned by me) - Blair Lansfeld
May 13 (official) - Rena Lanford
June 1 (assigned by me) - Cliff Fittir
June 29 (assigned by me) - Maria Traydor
June 30 (official) - Lymle Lemuri Phi

More birthdays will be added in, and reminders will be posted.

Upcoming Holidays:

Valentine's Day - February 14
St. Patrick's Day - March 17
Easter - March 31
Earth Day - April 22
Mother's Day - May 12
Father's Day - June 16

I've added in Earth Day to the list of holidays because of the message that lies behind The Last Hope. I think it's the kind of holiday that Star Ocean fans could have a field day with so I've included it for that purpose alone.

When it comes to the holidays and the birthdays, I am looking for the following: art, stories (one-shots), and poetry. The highest rating I will accept for stories and artwork is R. No explicit material please, and proofread your work. All submissions can be emailed to me at luthersfayt@gmail.com or thestaroceanuniverse@gmail.com and must be submitted no later than midnight the previous day. All genres except for smut accepted.

************************************************************************

Ask the Star Ocean Character For January - Adray Lasbard

There is a slight change for Ask the Star Ocean Character segments. Instead of weekly, the segments will appear once a month on the final day of the month. This will give people time to submit their questions, either here or at fanfiction.net.

The next character in the que is Adray Lasbard from Till the End of Time.

As per usual, the rules are as follows:

Limit three questions per person
No profanity.
Keep it clean (no sex talk)
Be nice
Have fun


Questions need to be submitted by midnight, January 28, 2013, and they can be submitted via comments, private message, or email (luthersfayt@gmail.com or thestaroceanuniverse@gmail.com).

One final thing - please let me know if you wish to remain anonymous or have a specific user handle you'd like for me to use. I will gladly keep the question asker anonymous or use the handle s/he has specified. Otherwise, I will use the name I know you by. This is something that I will be very flexible with because this is based on fan interaction as much as it is what I come up with for it.

For those of you wondering about the Roger segment, I have a few things I want to tweak on it, add to it, and I will post it this Saturday.
star_ocean_fan: (Immoral Feather)
Yesterday, I asked this question: Who is your favorite Star Ocean character? Today, I answer my own question (though I'm sure some people already know the answer, and I know that some people do).

I've mentioned before in gaming tips that I have a penchant for controlling the main character of the game. Most often, that is the hero of the game. I'll change it up every now and then, based on what I want or perhaps will need to do. For the most part, however, I like to control the hero of the game. That, of course, may lead some people to believe that my favorite character of any game is the hero.

When it comes to the two Star Ocean games I've played, that belief is true. I have a penchant for swordsmen. It also means I have more than one favorite character. (Who doesn't have more than one favorite character?)

From Till the End of Time, my favorite character is Fayt Leingod. He's tied at number with Luther Lansfeld. Of course, when it comes to writing fanfiction and pairing, Luther and Fayt are my OTP.

From The Last Hope, my favorite characters tied at number one are Edge Maverick, Crowe F. Almedio, and Myuria Tionysus.

I do tend to gravitate towards the main protagonist in a game or a book. There's something about that character I identify with more than I do other characters. Mind you, Star Ocean was not my first ever RPG. That goes way back to the beginning of personal gaming systems, like the Nintendo, and the release of Dragon Warrior (Dragon Quest in Japan; became Dragon Quest in the U.S. with the release of Game 8 on the PS2) for that system. However, upon playing Till the End of Time for the first time (at a friend's house), I became enamoured with it. I also became quite enthralled with Fayt Leingod. He was emo, but he wasn't emo. He wasn't as filled with angst as they could have done with him . . . at least, he wasn't in my opinion, and there was a lot the game's developers could have done with him for everything endured. Yes, he displays character growth, but the premise behind Till the End of Time's plot is very weak.

Luther wasn't really on my radar for a favorite character. It wasn't until I read a fanfic called The Devil's Thrill where he and Fayt started to bond and realize there was a potential connection between them that I became a fan of Luther and of the pairing Luther x Fayt. Plus Luther has blue eyes. I'm a sucker for a guy with blue eyes. (Yes. Fayt's eyes are green. His hair is blue. Blue is my favorite color.)

I do like most of the other characters from Till the End of Time. I'm just not enamoured with them the way I am with Luther and Fayt.

I like Crowe F. Almedio because he's something of a mystery for me. There isn't much that he isn't able to do, from what we can see of him, but what little interaction we have with him and Edge is just priceless for me. He's got the kind of confidence any person can respect and admire.

Myuria is a favorite for me as well because she's not only a strong woman, confident and beautiful, but intelligent. Yes, when it comes to her husband's death, she is ruled by her emotions and a misunderstanding, but, when she realizes her mistake, realizes what she thought was wrong, she's contrite and ready to forgive. She's mature enough to not be angered by little details or actions of a guy she has feelings for but lacks the courage to tell. Which, in my mind, if Myuria wants a guy, she could have him because she's just that awesome to me.

Edge is on my list, not just because he bears features similar to Fayt or that he could be Luther and Fayt's love child (not m-preg!), but because he shows character growth. He starts out cocky and overconfident. He makes a decision in which he gets knocked down, and he goes through a period where he's like, "I don't know what to do!" Then he comes back. It's very nice to see.

Fayt Leingod vs. Edge Maverick

For me, Fayt wins this little competition of which hero is better. Hands down. I like them both a lot, but, for as clueless as Fayt can be about things, I feel he's smarter than Edge when it comes to things happening. Yes, some of it's due to the fact that Till the End of Time is seven-hundred, sixty years into the future, but how much of an excuse can that truly be? Edge is a year older than Fayt (he's twenty to Fayt's 19). Granted, some of this has to do with the pacing of each game, but Fayt gets over his angst at what others are doing in their efforts to get him than what Edge does when it comes to a situation in which Edge lost either way.

That's just my opinion.

*************************************************************************************

The Star Ocean Universe asks: What is your favorite Star Ocean moment?

Response to follow tomorrow.

*************************************************************************************

Ask the Star Ocean Character For January - Adray Lasbard

There is a slight change for Ask the Star Ocean Character segments. Instead of weekly, the segments will appear once a month on the final day of the month. This will give people time to submit their questions, either here or at fanfiction.net.

The next character in the que is Adray Lasbard from Till the End of Time.

As per usual, the rules are as follows:

Limit three questions per person
No profanity.
Keep it clean (no sex talk)
Be nice
Have fun

Questions need to be submitted by midnight, January 28, 2013, and they can be submitted via comments, private message, or email (luthersfayt@gmail.com or thestaroceanuniverse@gmail.com).

One final thing - please let me know if you wish to remain anonymous or have a specific user handle you'd like for me to use. I will gladly keep the question asker anonymous or use the handle s/he has specified. Otherwise, I will use the name I know you by. This is something that I will be very flexible with because this is based on fan interaction as much as it is what I come up with for it.

For those of you wondering about the Roger segment, I have a few things I want to tweak on it, add to it, and I will post it as soon as possible.

*************************************************************************************

Birthday Reminders

Birthday List - covering January to June

January 1 (Late; assigned by me) - Crowe F. Almedio
January 23 (official) - Claude C. Kenny
January 25 (assigned by me) - Ilia Silvestri
January 31 (assigned by me) - Ryoko Leingod
February 3 (official) - Faize Sheifa Beleth
February 15 (assigned by me) - Peppita Rosetti
February 16 (official) - Noel Chandler
February 29 (official - can swing to either February 28 or March 1) - Precis F. Neumann
March 2 (assigned by me) - Roger S. Huxley
March 16 (official) - Meracle Chamlotte
March 28 (official) - Reimi Saionji
April 10 (assigned by me) - Adray Lasbard
April 24 (official) - Arumat P. Thanatos
May 5 (official) - Bacchus D-79
May 7 (assigned by me) - Blair Lansfeld
May 13 (official) - Rena Lanford
June 1 (assigned by me) - Cliff Fittir
June 29 (assigned by me) - Maria Traydor
June 30 (official) - Lymle Lemuri Phi

More birthdays will be added in, and reminders will be posted.

Upcoming Holidays:

Valentine's Day - February 14
St. Patrick's Day - March 17
Easter - March 31
Earth Day - April 22
Mother's Day - May 12
Father's Day - June 16

I've added in Earth Day to the list of holidays because of the message that lies behind The Last Hope. I think it's the kind of holiday that Star Ocean fans could have a field day with so I've included it for that purpose alone.

When it comes to the holidays and the birthdays, I am looking for the following: art, stories (one-shots), and poetry. The highest rating I will accept for stories and artwork is R. No explicit material please, and proofread your work. All submissions can be emailed to me at luthersfayt@gmail.com or thestaroceanuniverse@gmail.com and must be submitted no later than midnight the previous day. All genres except for smut accepted.

star_ocean_fan: (Edge Maverick)
The Thing That Struck Reimi as Strange and Exciting When It Shouldn't Have

Saturday was the first time in quite a while that I'd been able to play The Last Hope. It wasn't because I misplaced the game (I make sure to know where it's located at all times . . . it was because the TV remote disappeared and I didn't have much of a desire to play until recently. Anyway, as I was roaming around Woodley yesterday on my fifth or sixth game start, I was reminded of something I'd done in another play-through when wandering around Triom and Woodley both. 

I don't know how many people have done this, but, if you enter various homes and shops, you can find interaction points. Not the ones with the bright magenta/violet exclamation point but one where the "examine" option appears when wandering around the room. It's actually quite fun, especially when you check the well in Woodley. (If you haven't tried examining the homes and shops on Lemuris, I highly recommend it! It doesn't do anything to progress the game or give away affinity points, but it's still entertaining.)

In one such home/shop - I'm not remembering which at this moment - Edge, Reimi, and Faize discover a table with food, a knife, and a cutting board on it.  The moment Reimi "sees" these very similar items, she's excited.  "They cook like we do!" 

Those might not be her exact words when you find the right area to examine, but it's pretty close. I do get her excitement to an extent - she does like to cook and bake, after all, and her main inventing talent is cooking. I, too, like to cook and bake when I can get the chance - but at the same time, I ask myself, "Really? You expect other civilizations to not prepare meals in a similar manner? How can this really be that surprising? It isn't like they're the bugs from Aeos!"

The Lemurians aren't too far off from human in appearance. They're not human, but they look human. Logically speaking, it's natural for them to prepare food in a manner that's similar to humans. 

At least . . . that's my opinion on the matter.

***********************************************************************

Fanfiction Writing Tip #8 - Comparing Yourself, the Beginning Author, to Established Fanfiction Authors

In a phrase - don't do this. Whatever you do, do not compare yourself to someone who has written fanfiction for years. I recently had someone do this to me, and I had to gently "scold" her for it. Why? Well, one, I didn't find it very flattering because I've been writing for years and she was also, at the time, throwing a temper tantrum over a critique I'd left her (long story - I'm not getting into it). Two, she was driving herself nuts comparing her writing style and her ability to write period to mine. As a beginning author, if you're comparing yourself to someone who's been writing for a year or more, that's all you're going to do is frustrate and defeat yourself.

I've been writing fanfiction steadily since the beginning of 2000 (my first forays were when I was in the sixth grade, and they were class assignments - something to do while the majority of the class was in band; I've been writing off and on since I was nine). It's taken me years to get as far as I have with my writing. During this time, I've encountered a wide variety of people, and a few of them have said, "I could never write as well as you do" to me, despite my encouraging them to actually write their own works, and I personally find that particular attitude rather annoying because I've been writing fanfiction for so long. I'm not the sadistic kind of writer who lets such talk get to my head. If anything, it worries me when a beginning author is so frustrated that they're not at the same level as a favorite fanfiction author, that they feel like they can't write and they won't ever be good at it. Those of you who've written fanfiction for a while now know it's something we do as often as we can. Yes, many of us are born with the ability to write, but we're also always writing and therefore always improving. I'll admit that I'm conceited about my works, too. If I'm bored and can't find something good to read, I'll read my own stories, but I also know that there are other authors who are just as good, if not better, than what I am. I just don't compare myself to them for the sake of my own sanity and desire to write.

So don't defeat yourself before you can truly begin. Don't compare your writing skills to other authors. The only one who can truly write the stories in your head is you.

*************************************************

Ask the Star Ocean Character Reminder

This is everyone's reminder for Ask the Star Ocean Character. I'm taking questions for Deputy Director Shimada, Bacchus D-79, and Peppita Rosetti. Limit three questions per character per person, and keep it clean!

The deadline for submitting questions is midnight, October 31, 2012. 

*************************************************

Convention Talk - Specialized Conventions vs. General Conventions

This will probably fall into the same area as Smaller Conventions vs. Larger Conventions so please bear with me on this.

In the Smaller Conventions vs. Larger Conventions discussion, I wrote about how to decide which convention would be better for the first time convention attendee. Smaller conventions tend to be more local whereas the larger conventions are in major cities. The same holds true for the specialized convention, i.e. the convention dedicated to a specific series, when compared to attending a general convention. Which one would be better?

This, while finances play a huge part in what a person can attend, has more to do with what the individual fan wants from a convention experience. Also, what a fan is looking for in terms of merchandise and exclusives factors into this particular equation. For example, if one attends Anime Expo, Otakon, ShutoCon, YoumaCon, or even ComiCon, one will find a larger selection of merchandise in the dealer rooms and artists alleys. Convention exclusives will range from a variety of fandoms, and many of the cosplayers won't strictly be in anime, manga, or comic book characters. The guests will come from different series, be it the voice actors or the writers or anyone else involved in the creation process. (Some of my friends cosplayed Spaceballs characters at the 2011 Otakon event. Just an FYI.) On the other hand, a more specialized convention (like BotCon) will cater more to the fans of that particular series. Convention exclusives are tailored for the fan base. The dealer room and artist alley will be marginally smaller (depends on the convention) and feature items also geared towards the fan base. A more specialized convention may also be more expensive in terms of registration, which is something to consider as well. Also, another factor that plays into whether or not anyone attends is location, location, location. At both, the chances of meeting and making friends with like-minded people are extremely great (so you won't ever be lonely).

In the end, it's entirely up to the person as to what kind of a convention s/he wants to attend. As for me, I rather like both so I won't hesitate in recommending that people attend at least one fan-based convention in his/her life.

***********************************************

This week, I'll be celebrating the assigned birthday of Robert Leingod, Fayt Leingod's dad. I'll also be posting Halloween-related stories. If you wish to write something impromptu for Robert's birthday, I will accept it and post it. I'll be celebrating Albel (October 30) and Stephen D. Kenny (October 27) as well.

Have a good Monday everyone!
star_ocean_fan: (manga Fayt Leingod)
Just a friendly little reminder that Lymle's birthday is this Wednesday. Please have any artwork, drabbles, vignettes, and poetry submitted by midnight tomorrow night. You can email them to me at luthersfayt@gmail.com

So this week, I plan on wrapping up my discussion on the agricultural side of the underdeveloped planets. Of course, once I get the chance to play Second Story/Second Evolution, there could be more to write. As I've already cheated a little and headed over to gamefaqs.com to see what kind of items were available for First Departure, I'm not going to worry about adding Roak to the conversation. (Roak happened to be the third planet in the discussion anyway, thanks to The Last Hope and harvesting points.) Also, thanks to finding her website, on Friday, I'll be taking a look at Laura Bailey's career as a voice actress. For those who don't know (and haven't followed my blog all that much), Laura gives voice to Reimi Saionji and Welch Vineyard in The Last Hope, though she remains uncredited in the game's credits. (I've sent out a request to Laura, asking if I can interview her for the blog . . . Not heard back yet so I don't know if it'll be a yay or a nay on the interview. Even so, I'll still be taking a look at her career for this upcoming Friday.)

Lymle's birthday is on Wednesday. If you have any one-shot fiction, poetry, or artwork, you'd like to share to celebrate her day, I'd appreciate it. Submissions can be mailed to luthersfayt@gmail.com and I will post them. Edge is the next Star Ocean character with a birthday coming up on July 30. Submissions to post for his birthday should be in no later than midnight, July 29.

Finally, and the idea came to me thanks to my friend Rose, I'm going to look into holding a Star Ocean cosplay, arts, and crafts faire/Star Ocean convention. This year, it just isn't financially possible (though I'm looking at attending NMACon, YoumaCon, and Anime Apocalypse), plus I want to be living in the city where I'd like to hold the event. This kind of an event won't be just for the games Till the End of Time and The Last Hope, but for all Star Ocean games, including any that might appear in the next two years. HOWEVER, in order for me to make this event a reality, I will need to know exactly how many people are interested. If it's only going to be about ten people maximum or less, I'll just hold a Star Ocean gathering in my apartment or home, whichever I happen to land in first. Fifteen or more, I'll book a couple of hotel rooms. If it gets to be about twenty-five or more, I'll hold it as a faire/convention sometime in May or June . . . I'll be keeping an eye on certain conventions so it doesn't become a choice of which to attend because I'd love for the Star Ocean fans to come to my event and meet up with them at others.

So . . . to my fellow Star Ocean fans, I ask this of you:

1 - Would you like to see an event dedicated solely to Star Ocean as I've described it?
2 - Would you attend it?
3 - Will you please help me not only spread the word but find out from other Star Ocean fans that you know and relay what they think back to me?

Here are the tentative plans.

1 - to be held in either May or June of 2014. This gives me to time to not only research a potential venue but to drum up interest in other Star Ocean fans. It will also give me a chance, in case it could turn into a convention-like event, to possibly drum up guests and to either commission someone to make contest prizes for me, buy them, make them, or a combination of all of the above. If enough people are interested and attend, I do have some ideas as to what everyone can do, but, to go back to what I've said before, it depends on the number of people in attendance. (I'll still be happy with a 5-15 people gathering, though.)

2 - Location will definitely be in Philadelphia, one way or another. I'm choosing Philadelphia over someplace in the Great Lakes Region (I did think of the Fort Wayne Convention Center) mostly because it's where I want to live and I plan to move there as soon as is financially possible. Plus, for people flying, it is a great hub to stop at because it allows for a more direct flight than someplace in Michigan. (Speaking with a friend who lives in Washington has told me as much.)

3 - It's a tentative 3 day event. I honestly can't expect people to fly or drive to someplace like Philadelphia for a day when it would take them longer than that and cost more than that to attend.

Naturally, this is just in the tentative idea phase. I will need to do a lot of research first into this to determine which would be more feasible, based on the number of people interested and able to attend. If it gets to faire status for sure, I'll book a conference center and get group rates for hotel stays. Convention status (meaning one hundred people are more interested), I'll send out inquiries about guests. The overall idea is to unite Star Ocean fans in one place for one weekend and to show off our geeky, craftiness in the form of cosplay, art, and the making of things such as plushies, blankets, ducky bombs . . . (added just for you, Charry!) I think it would also be nice to do some silly things, like roam around Philadelphia in costume, have a Star Ocean cake, and just enjoy everything that we love so much about Star Ocean.

That should pretty much do it for the Star Ocean stuff for this week. At this point, I think I'm going to declare July 4 as both Luther and Fayt's birthdays so I'll just add those two into the mix for upcoming birthdays.As with Lymle and Edge, if you wish to submit a one-shot fanfiction piece of some kind or some art, please have it by midnight of July 3rd so I can post. I'll announce other "birthdays" at a later time.

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