star_ocean_fan: (Default)
Taking a Moment

When I look out the windows of my home, one thing I can't help but notice is the scenery. You see, I currently live in the country, across the road from a farm that grows corn. Some distance behind the house is a tree farm. When I look out my window, I can see the sun shining on a warm, summer or cold, snowy day. I can look out and see when it's snowing or raining. The house I live in is old, bought by my stepdad's parents sometime in the sixties, so when the wind really gets to blowing, I can hear it. On those warm spring and summer days or in the colors of fall, I can head outside whenever I want and just soak it up. I can take a blanket out with me along with some notebooks and pens and write.

The Star Ocean games have really opened my eyes on what it is we truly have to lose, either to a rapidly changing climate or to war. I personally can't imagine what it's like to not be able to go outside when I want to, to feel the sunshine warming me up, to go swimming in one of the local lakes, to walk among the colors of fall, or to feel the clean, crisp air of a wintry day. I don't like being outside during the winter because I'm not overly fond of the cold, but it's still something I can do when the mood strikes me. The human cast members of each Star Ocean game - Edge Maverick, Reimi Saionji, and Crowe F. Almedio (The Last Hope - The Eldarians and Morphus also don't experience the same things due to controlled or harsh environments); Ronyx J. Kenny and Ilia Silvestri (Fantastic Space Odyssey/First Departure); Claude C. Kenny (Second Story/Second Evolution); and Fayt Leingod, Sophia Esteed, and Maria Traydor (Till the End of Time) - really do not have that kind of a luxury. For those from The Last Hope, Earth's atmosphere is in critical condition. People live in underground cities in order to survive. For those from the first three games, Earth's atmosphere is stabilized but controlled. Animals are vague memories. Trees grow, snow falls, but it isn't the same as what we in real life (and those fictional characters from the underdeveloped planets of Roak, Expel, Vanguard III, and Elicoor II) experience. Please note, also, that what we currently experience in our real lives isn't at all similar to what the fictional characters from Roak, Expel, Vanguard III, and Elicoor II experience. If there are any similarities, it would be to what our ancestors experienced hundreds of years ago when first coming to the Americas or before the discovery of the Americas.

I think the ones who would be the most amazed by natural weather in a natural environment would be from The Last Hope. Edge, Reimi, Crowe, Faize, and Arumat would, when they allowed themselves those brief moments, would truly stop, look around, and stare in wonderment at what they were seeing. Edge, Reimi, and Faize, for sure, would be, at first, afraid to walk on the grass because, to them, it's delicate and should be cherished. Such a fear would be overcome because they have their missions to complete, but it would also be something that they would take the opportunity to lay in and feel it against their skin.

This isn't to say the casts from the other games wouldn't take those moments to lay in the grass and go swimming because it is something I feel all of them would do. Of the human characters, the two I feel that would do it the most are, naturally, Edge and Fayt.This is mostly because I know the planets they're able to visit, and where some of the best places for them to lounge around and have a picnic, as it were, are.

It isn't lost on me that these characters live in the Eternal Sphere, the brain child of Luther Lansfeld of the four-dimensional realm. His world is just about as bleak as the majority of the playable characters for The Last Hope. For him, there is no concept of time. For Luther, he lives in a pristine, white and technologicall advanced world where nothing ever changes and that has left him bored and seeking something different, something flawed that makes it perfect. He and his team of developers create the Eternal Sphere, I think not only for money but because it gives them something to look forward to, to create, and to enjoy themselves. It makes perfect sense for me that he'd do anything to protect it (even if it means destroying or attempting to destroy it in the end).

For my fellow Star Ocean fans (and anyone who comes across this and reads it), take a moment. Take a moment and step outside. Feel the sun on your face, the cool breeze on your skin, and to soak up the colors of fall and spring. Go for a drive and find a nice spot to have a picnic. Be kind to Mother Nature because, as of right now, this is our only home in the universe, and, though the events be fictional, if we do not want them to come to fruition, we must be mindful of how we take care of ourselves, our fellow humans, and our environment. Let's not leave it for future generations to worry about.

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Some Things the Developers of Star Ocean Got Wrong

This is a nitpick on my part, and it's aimed at some of the scenery we see in the games. It isn't about the characters or the overuse of "gentically altering an individual for this reason or that". Heck, it isn't even how poor of a villain Luther is compared to the Apostle of Creation or even Sephiroth from Final Fantasy VII. Rather, this nitpick is about some of the environments created for the underdeveloped planets.

The grass is often too short.  The grass in various places on Aeos, Roak, Vanguard III, Elicoor II, and any other underdeveloped planet, even in parts of Lemuris, is too short for the given areas where we see it.

Now, you might be thinking that I'm being a bit ridiculous about this, but think about it: In the summer, when there's the right combination of water and sunshine, grass grows. And it grows. It will continue to grow as long as someone isn't mowing the lawn either on a frequent or infrequent basis. If the seaons don't consist of constant weather change or only experience mild winters with little snow, grass can grow to be as tall as wheat without someone tending to it. There are places on Aeos where the grass should be taller than Edge, on Elicoor II that reach Fayt's waist, and so on. Everything is neatly trimmed despite not having enough human or humanoid traffic to warrant it being so, especially on Aeos and in the fields between Arias and Peterny and Peterny and the Sacred City of Aquios. (There are no signs of any kind of livestock in Till the End of Time to warrant the grass being short, either.)

If anyone knows anything about a wild, untamed wilderness is that the grass is at least half the height of an adult human. In ancient forests and in rainforests, this doesn't hold true, not when the trees are tall and their branches thick and filled with fat leaves. This makes some parts of Aeos and Elicoor II very accurate, but there are many patches of land that just look like perfectly manicured lawns. Aeos was likened, by Reimi no less, to Earth's Jurassic era. There should have been many areas with grass reaching the tallest character's chin.

Also, there's the lack of huge piles of snow in places like Airyglyph and Lemuris. Now snow is something that can fall in a somewhat neat way. It can also form a crust, so to speak, so people can walk along the surface without sinking with every step. For these places, the snow should be piled higher than what it truly is. I've only been through mountainous areas a few times in my life, in the spring and in the summer, but, in the distance, when I've looked upon those mountains, I've been able to see the snow. Wind Swallow Valley is the only place that has the right amount of snow for a cold planet. Airyglyph, between the castle city and Kirlsa, not so much.

This leads me up to another thing I feel they did wrong, something I'm sure I've mentioned before - the lack of farms. It's definitely implied that farming takes place. If it didn't, players shouldn't be able to buy things like steamed buns, apple pies, or any other restorative item and, for The Last Hope players, item creation ingredients available. Now, I know that, when one steps into the village of Triom The Last Hope, there are visible gardens. That explains how one can buy (for the short time) certain things at the shops there. It doesn't explain how the shops in Woodley come by their items for sale or in the shops on Roak or En II (or the shops in the other games, for that matter - Whipple on Vanguard III, I believe, has an area for farming, but that's it for Till the End of Time). Where are the farms? Where is the wildlife that often makes up forests and fields and deserts? Yes, we have the monsters to fight? On Aeos, where are the mammals? I've seen snakes and bugs and have heard birds on Aeos and Roak - one can even see water spouting up in the oceans in the distance on Roak - but there are many things these areas simply lack that, while minor in terms of details, could enhance the game so much more.

Please do not get me wrong on this. I realize that a lot of what's been left out has been done intentionally due to different factors - money, storage space, and the like. It's especially true for the older games where everything is saved to a memory card, but the platforms are changing. Information earned throughout the gaming is stored into the consoles themselves, but the graphics are all on a disk. I rather like seeing how realistic a different planet could be. Every time I play, no matter how many times I play, I see those wonderful graphics for these inhabitable planets, and every single time I think . . . I want to go there. I want to see those strange yet similar oceans for myself. I want to go swimming in them. I want to stand in the shade of those tall, ancient trees, to smell the strange scents of flowers not found on Earth, and to simply experience as much of everything about that planet as I can. Imagine how intense it would be if those little things - tall, untamed grass; wild herbivorous animals roaming in the meadows; huge piles of snow that are a work out to walk across; farms growing unique grains, fruits and vegetables with similar yet different kinds of livestock - were there to add to that experience?

It's only my opinion, of course.

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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.

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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: (Default)

Fanfic Writing Tip #9 - Leaving Reviews and Letting Your Work Stand on Its Own

At some point, fanfiction writers read fanfiction. In fact, reading fanfiction inspires other fanfiction writers to actually write instead of dream/daydream the scenarios in our heads. I know that's how I finally got my start as a fanfiction author.

Now, there are many things I see when browsing sites like fanfiction.net, things I don't necessarily like or think an author should be doing when writing summaries and author's notes. Things in summaries like "plz read and review" are not appealing to me, and they don't draw me in to read the story. Reading in an author's note "I'll update after I receive X number of reviews for this chapter" or "What's your excuse for not reviewing?! Review, gosh darn it!" are the kinds of things that inspire me to either not pick the story up again or leave a very harsh criticism of the work and the writer's attitude. (What one may think of as being cute and funny doesn't necessarily come across that way in black and white.)

Yes. I will admit right here, right now that reviews are gravy. They're awesome, and they go a long way in boosting a writer's confidence and inspiration. Those seeking professional publication will ask established author's for a quote to garner more sales. Book reviews either boost sales or decimate them. However, in the online world of fanfiction publishing, writers aren't paid, except in reviews, and the only things reviews are good for are pointing out where we've made mistakes and ego-boosting. To me, it's in bad form to require a reader to review your work and to require reviews in order to update. That says, in my mind, "I'm a review whore. That's the only thing I care about so that's why I'm writing this story", when that may not even be true. (These are also the kinds of writers who annoy me because I will leave a review and it isn't what they want in a review. They're also the ones that tell me "it's just for fun. Don't like it, don't read it." To that, I say, "Don't want people leaving you their honest thoughts, don't ask for reviews". Yes. I have a slight mean streak.) Readers are in no way obligated to read a person's works. They're in no way obligated to leave a review.

Let your work stand on its own. Write the story. Let your skills at summarizing and writing a compelling tale lure the reader in. Pack it with emotion. Give the reader a reason to write that review to you based on the emotions you've drawn out of that person, not because you need your ego-stoked.

Addendum to last week's writing tip.

Last week I wrote about writing in a logical order and using logic to write your story. That is something that will only go so far, and I was reminded of that when I read last week's Daily Kick by David Farland. There are times when logic will need to be thrown out the window, and it's often based on the kinds of situations the protagonists and antagonists find themselves facing . . . Unexpected reactions to conflict are good. Writing a single parent leaving his two-year-old child sleeping at home alone is still bad, though, because then the reader is expecting something bad to happen while he's gone and then nothing happens and there's a feeling of being cheated out of something really good.

Also, please note, I'm coming across as harsh, and my intentions are to actually help people with their fanfiction writing. I'm sure I'm not the only one who finds the behavior I've encountered in the last decade of fanfiction writing and reading to be annoying . . . I just happen to be quite outspoken on a lot of issues. So while I may sound harsh (it's the disadvantages of text-based forums and formats), it isn't my intention. Writing fanfiction may be for fun . . . but the reasons for reading don't ever change.

Next week's writing tip . . . Writing Songfic

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Halloween In the Four-Dimensional Realm

Given that the world of Star Ocean is nothing more than a fabrication, a multi-player game, the brilliant child of the brain trust at Sphere 211, it isn't too far of a stretch to think that Halloween exists in the four-dimensional realm. It isn't too hard to believe that the creators of the game implemented many holidays and traditions into the game they themselves celebrate. To do so gives the game a sense of familiarity for the players.

How do I see Halloween in the four-dimensional realm? Well, I don't see the likeliness of a real pumpkin being carved into a jack-o-lantern. Maybe there would be what we see in stores like Wal-Mart and KMart . . . ceramic, glass, plastic, plastic covered in glitter . . . If it's a "real" pumpkin, chances are it was fabricated from a replicator.

Ghosts would probably be no different than what we see . . . white sheets or ephemeral wisps depicted in paint . . . something fleeting.

Zombies, ghouls, and demons wouldn't change from what the players see in their gaming experiences. Witches would have gone from ugly old crone to cute and sexy little caster.

All of this would translate into what the worlds and cultures in the Eternal Sphere would see for their Halloween traditions.

Now, if you ask me who would celebrate Halloween out of the four-dimensional beings we encounter in Till the End of Time, I'll address that in the Halloween costumes sections.

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Halloween Costumes, Part Four, Segment One

By now, we're seven hundred plus years into the future of the Star Ocean series. Customs have been traded and upgraded, new holidays added into schedules, and more than one culture celebrates All Hallow's Eve. For this part of the Halloween Costumes segment, I'll be focusing on the following characters: Maria Traydor, Peppita Rosetti, Sophia Esteed, Lieber, and Marietta. I'm also going to toss in Belzeber and Flad, from the 4-D realm.

First up is Maria.

Of this particular group for today, I actually find her the hardest to determine the kinds of costumes she'd wear to go trick-or-treating. Her personality is far different when we first encounter her than what it was as a child. Was she the princess/ballerina type? Personally, I think her parents might have raised to be a little of both the girly type and the boyish type. Her mother is a scientist, her father a soldier . . . heck, she could have dressed up as a soldier-scientist hybrid as an homage to her parents. I do think princess and ballerina, too . . . maybe even a Featherfolk or Lesser Fellpool, too. This would, of course, continue until the destruction of her home and the deaths of her parents. I do feel that Cliff and Mirage would try their best to get Maria to go trick-or-treating once she's in their care, because it would offer up a sense of normalcy after everything she's endured. I'm just not sure Maria would go for it because of everything she's endure. Losing your parents at a young age and in a violent manner like that tends to force a child to mature emotionally in many ways than it would others who haven't lived through such trauma.

Peppita is a little easier for me to decipher. She wants to be famous, and she's learned to dance. Princess or ballerina or even dressing up as a famous dancer/singer/actress would be her style.

Sophia is also very easy for me, and I can see her insisting upon themed costumes with Fayt, much in the same way Reimi would with Edge and Crowe. Fayt would have an easier time drawing the line on what he wouldn't want to hear for costumes with Sophia. It would simply depend on what she'd want to dress up as for Halloween, and I can see her wanting to be a princess. Almost every single year. It is a fascination with her, princesses. (This is based on the kinds of responses Fayt can give her when she's joined the party and in places like Aquios and Airyglyph.) And the dress would be pink or maybe pale blue or lavender . . . but mostly pink. I'm pretty sure that's her favorite color. (She wears a lot of it.)

Lieber . . . Oh, Lieber . . . yes . . . I believe Klausians, after years of dealing with Earthlings, would celebrate Halloween. Lieber, before meeting Cliff and Mirage and falling in love with Maria, would want to be something . . . dynamic . . . heroic . . . noteworthy. He's very  much a romantic at heart. Knights, poets . . . elves . . . those would be what he'd want to dress up as for Halloween.

Marietta is another one I'm finding a little difficulty in determining. In truth, interactions with her (and Lieber) are on the limited side. Still, I think Marietta is tough, despite some of her cringing in a crisis (but then who doesn't?) . . . a pixie or a fairy from Klausian folklore would be cool. She has the features for something so delicate (at least in modern day Disney portrayals) . . . I could also see her (or even Sophia) wanting to dress up as Raggedy Ann, if that somehow is revived after World War III . . . and I think a fighter pilot. She becomes a member of Quark and is the communications officer on The Diplo. A fighter pilot isn't too far-fetched.

Flad is still a kid so I'm sure he'd head out trick-or-treating to his neighbors' homes. He'd be dressed as either his character persona from the Eternal Sphere or some other kind of character, i.e. elf, menodix, etc . . .

Finally, the second add-in for this, Belzeber.

Out of the enemies I've encountered in Till the End of Time, Belzeber has to be one of two of the power-hungriest characters (the other being Duke Vox). I don't lump Luther, Azazer, or Berial in that category for other reasons, which will be discussed at a later date. As the child of a powerful information technology magnate, Belzeber would be the child of entitlement, and his costumes for Halloween would reflect that - corporate businessman every year. He might switch it up every now and then, depending on who his friends are (which I do see him having Blair, Luther, Azazer, and Berial for a group of friends . . . for a while) . . . he might dress up as the hero to Luther's villain . . . but I don't see him deviating away too much from what he truly wants to be in his life - a powerful businessman controlling the 4-D realm.

And thus concludes today's segment of Halloween Costumes, Part 4. Tomorrow will see Cliff, Mirage, Robert Leingod, Ryoko Leingod, Blair, Azazer, Nel Zelpher, Roger S. Huxley, Adray Lasbard, and Clair Lasbard.

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Halloween Fanfic Entries

This was written as a surprise giftfic for missnox!

Title: Halloween Culture Shock
Characters: Albel Nox, Fayt Leingod, Maria Traydor, Sophia Esteed
Pairing: Albel Nox x Fayt Leingod
World: Till the End of Time
Rating: PG13
Warnings: male/male relationship, language, violent urges (It has Albel in it!)
Disclaimer: I don't own Star Ocean - Till the End of Time. The game and the characters from the game belong to tri-Ace and Square Enix respectively. I don't profit financially from writing this.
Summary: Albel receives a culture shock when Fayt invites him to celebrate Halloween on Earth.

Read more... )

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This was written as a surprise giftfic for Rachel Snowden on deviantart.

Title: A Trick For a Treat
World: Till the End of Time
Characters: Albel Nox, Fayt Leingod, Sophia Esteed, Maria Traydor, Lieber, Luther Lansfeld
Pairing: Albel Nox x Fayt Leingod, Maria Traydor x Lieber
Rating: PG13
Warnings: Language, male/male relationship, violent tendencies
Disclaimer: I don't own Star Ocean - Till the End of Time. The game and the characters from the game belong to tri-Ace and Square Enix respectively. I don't profit financially from writing this.
Summary:  Albel decides what he wants the most for the Hallowed Night’s festivities.
Author’s Note: The Hallowed Night is what I’m calling Elicoor II’s Halloween-type holiday.

 

Read more... )

 

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This was written as a surprise giftfic for Charryblossom over at deviantart.com

Title: Lonely Hallow’s Night
World: Till the End of Time
Characters: Albel Nox, Nel Zelpher, Clair Lasbard, Adray Lasbard, Tynave, Farleen, Fayt Leingod
Pairing: Albel Nox x Nel Zelpher
Warnings: mild language, implied sexual situations
Rating: PG13
Disclaimer: I don’t own Till the End of Time or the characters of Fayt Leingod, Tynave, Farleen, Nel Zelpher, Clair Lasbard, Adray Lasbard, or Albel Nox. They belong to tri-Ace and Square Enix. I don’t profit financially from writing this story. I do profit from surprising people with these stories. XD
Author’s Note: Canon pairing. Not much else to say about it except I could have used Charry’s character, Charry, but I never asked her for permission to do so . . . plus I know from her cosplay photos, she’s an Albel x Nel fan.
Summary:  Nel and Albel stare at the moon on the Hallowed Night.

 

Read more... )


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This was written as a surprise giftfic for Kojika on deviantart.

 

Title: Carving the Pumpkin (Part Two)
World: The Last Hope
Characters: Edge Maverick, Faize Sheifa Beleth
Pairing: Edge Maverick x Faize Sheifa Beleth
Warnings: Male/male relationship, implied sexual situations

Rating: PG13
Disclaimer: I don’t own the characters of Edge Maverick and Faize Sheifa Beleth or Star Ocean: The Last Hope. They belong to tri-Ace and Square Enix respectively. I don’t profit financially from writing this story.
Summary: Faize and Edge share some time alone on The Calnus and discuss the ways to carve a pumpkin.
Author’s Notes: Yes, I know I have a story up called Carving the Pumpkin, featuring Luther Lansfeld and Fayt Leingod from Till the End of Time. The idea of carving a pumpkin with Faize was just as appealing to me, and I’m not above rehashing story titles where appropriate.


Read more... )

 

 

(more fanfic in another entry)

 

star_ocean_fan: (Default)
Today's going to be a short entry since the next Ask the Star Ocean character segments won't be ready until November 2.

Explaining the Concept of Halloween

I think it can be agreed upon that all cultures have myths, folklores, holidays and traditions that surround such events. Oral story-telling has kept alive many traditions from the ancient worlds of Rome, Greece, Egypt, Celt, and Norse worlds. As more people learned how to write, the traditions were kept alive in the form of books. As long as we have those written texts available to us in case we wonder how come such traditions exist.

In the Star Ocean universe, most of the books no longer exist. Because they no longer exist, the characters may not completely understand why some holidays and traditions are still celebrated. They'll know what they're told by their parents, who will know what they were told by their parents. How many will know the reasons for the celebration of Halloween, or Samhain, would remain to be seen. This is, so everyone knows, is speculation on my part because we don't get to see holiday celebrations in the games, and we're left to write and draw our own fan works. Also, I don't know how many people in real life know why we have the Halloween traditions that we do. If you don't know but want to, please send me a PM, and I'll be happy to talk to you about it.

Anyway, this brings me to Edge and Reimi trying to describe the holiday of Halloween to Faize and Lymle and everyone else in their crew. How does one explain why humans dress up on Halloween? How does one explain why people give out treats? I imagine the conversation would be awkward at first, depending on how many of the people are recruited. Faize, Myuria, and Bacchus, I can see asking the hard questions of "Why" and "When" and "how come". Lymle and Meracle would be more interested in wanting to get the treats. (Who can blame them, really?) As for Sarah . . . she is the tricky one. Out of the entire recruitable cast, I think she would actually be the one to know because it might sound like something similar to a holiday on Roak. Lymle might actually get why, too, and I say that because they're both from underdeveloped planets. The notion of spirits walking with the living wouldn't be too farfetched to them.

This, of course, goes without saying when it comes to encountering cultures that are different from our own. The ones I see having the most difficulty in explaining the traditions and concepts behind Halloween are, of course, The Last Hope cast. However, Ronyx J. Kenny and his son Claude would have troubles explaining it to alien races, depending on how advanced the civilization is compared to the likes of Roak and Expel. The only one who might not have any troubles at all would be Fayt, from Till the End of Time, and that's because I feel he could ask Blair the same questions Bacchus, Myuria, and Faize would ask Edge and Reimi.

Ah, the joys of Halloween! :)

That's all for today. I'll be back on Saturday with more! Thanks for reading and have a wonderful weekend!

star_ocean_fan: (Immoral Feather)
Before I start with my comparison of Item Creation between Till the End of Time and The Last Hope, I want to start out with the following.

1 - The photo shoot with my Fayt Leingod figures is still on . . . I just need to find my cord to upload the pictures from my camera. In the meantime, posting the pictures from it will be postponed. Taking more pictures isn't out of the question. It might become a two-part posting. We'll see.

2 - Regarding the upcoming weekly schedule: I'm not going to keep saying I'll be posting the next chapter for Destinies Intertwined by Fate when I'm still on the first PoV, which is Fayt. Originally, when I started to write the outline in a notebook, I got as far as chapter three with two of the five PoVs - Fayt and Albel. I am working on the story. The next chapter is forthcoming. I just don't feel right saying it's going to be this week or this week when Fayt is dragging his feet on what he wants me to say. Even Albel doesn't give me this much trouble.

3 - I'm still on the look-out for writing conversations. I'd like to know what other people's theories are. For example, missnox replied to something yesterday and told me about her theory regarding Welch Vineyard and why she's in all four games. It's quite an interesting theory, and one that, while I questioned certain aspects of it, I find to be quite plausible. If there's something you think of, feel free to let me know via PM or comment. Please be sure to write Writing Topic so I know what it's for. If I get to everything before I've finished my first cup  of coffee, I might just answer without that reminder.

4 - Arumat's birthday is this coming Tuesday. I have some official artwork of him pilfered from a Google search, a one-shot planned out to honor his day, but if anyone has any artwork, poems, drabbles/one-shots/vignettes they'd like to submit for me to post, I'm still accepting such submissions until Monday, April 23, 2012, at midnight. All submissions should be emailed to me at luthersfayt@gmail.com or linked in either a private message or comment to any entry.

5 - Finally, I'm going to take about a week or two off from the Ask the Star Ocean Character segment, facts about said character, and the character studies. I had a tentative list started in a notebook, and I'm starting to think that maybe I tore it out of said notebook. If that's the case, it's now lost in the ether. I'm not holding out much hope of finding it ever again. Because of that, I'm going to take the time to regroup, reconsider, and plot out which characters will come after Meracle. Be assured, though, it will return, and it will still be as fun as ever (if only for me to write).

Onto the topic at hand.

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A Comparison Over Item Creation Between Till The End of Time and The Last Hope

I'd include First Departure and Second Story/Second Evolution in this . . . but I know next to nothing about Item Creation in these games, other than the only thing all four games have in common is Welch Vineyard. According to my younger brother, Puffy appears as a compounder in Second Story, but that's about all I know. If Item Creation has gone the way that I think it has in First Departure and Second Story/Second Evolution, there may not be much difference between them and Till The End of Time. The Last Hope seems to have the biggest change. As of right now, though, I'll be relying on what those who've played the first two games say about Item Creation. They know more than I do at this point, and that I respect.

So item creation . . .  it's perhaps one of the most fun and most aggravating things to do in The Last Hope and Till the End of Time. For The Last Hope, the creators simplified the process. All inventors are the playable characters from the questing party, and each has a specific skill that s/he is good at compared to others. Not all items are created through the Invent a Recipe process, either. They're found as memos in treasure chests or for completing side quests. Pairing the right people together is the key to all of this, and it's recommended to pair everyone in a various group of combinations to get the items desired. But pay attention to those overall stats (you can check them when you launch Item Creation on The Calnus and get the numbers by moving the hand over each individual). Some characters are not compatible when it comes to item creation.

For example, Reimi Saionji's item creation skill that can be leveled up with skill points is cooking. Therefore, if one wants to invent a recipe for a food dish, Reimi would be required to create the dish. However, pay attention to the Item Creation Skill stats. They're base stats that don't change, even though the skill level goes as high as ten, and the game creators decided to be cute when it came to Item Creation. Here's what I mean.

Reimi is the resident cook on The Calnus. She's a ten when it comes to cooking, the highest number available for Item Creation. By herself, she can create a certain number of recipes. When she's paired with others, her perfect ten either increases or decreases. This is what I mean.

Reimi (10 cooking, 5 crafting) + Meracle (7 cooking, 10 crafting) to create items equals a 17 for cooking and a 15 for crafting.

The above is an example of a win for Item Creation. A positive increase in the numbers gives way for better chances to create useful items, such as armor and food that cures status ailments.

However, this is one that I feel you don't want to see.

Myuria (10 compounding) + Meracle (-10 compounding) equals zero for compounding. I'm not remembering if I've gotten anything out of this particular combination overall, but, if I did, I'm pretty sure I didn't get anything for compounding. Meracle's compounding abilities negate Myuria's. Even worse for compounding would be Myuria + Meracle + Reimi, for a combination of -2, which might mean the Super Aphrodisiac or something as equally as useless. If I knew Myuria's overall item creation stats, I'd be able to point out where it would be gains for Meracle and Reimi for their respective item creation abilities, but I haven't written them down just yet.

Please note: Using skill points to level up Item Creation skills, such as cooking, crafting, compounding, etc . . . doesn't change the base stats. Any negative numbers in the stats will still be there. Leveling up those areas only increases the chances for creating specific items. The numbers don't have to be as close to 100 as possible for getting the better items, and there are no special items that can increase the chances of creating something if the numbers aren't close to 100. Item creation for The Last Hope has been simplified, and it doesn't use coin. It uses party skill points so building those up is a must.

This is very unlike Till the End of Time, where you're recruiting inventors in addition to using the characters in your party. The recruited inventors have a specific skill set. They will have only one number, and that is for their respective trade, as it were. The playable characters have numbers in each area, and while they can be quite low, there are no negative numbers. There also is no leveling up of skill sets like cooking, compounding or crafting, and one has to guess which money amount is going to get which item when you're creating something. Chances increase for item creation when certain items are found - Cherubic Bust, Enchanted Pen, Keen Kitchen Knife (need 2; one for inventing, one to recruit the Killer Chef), etc . . .- which helps when the inventors don't want money to be recruited. They require items made from item creation or that can be found in locations such as Moonbase, the Kirlsa mines, or Sphere 211. Item creation isn't quite as simple as it's become for The Last Hope, but I personally find it to be more interesting and a little more fun. I never know what I'm going to get when I finally settle on a number for Fol to use when I set up my inventing teams.

There's also a wider variety of items in Till the End of Time, I think, than what there is in The Last Hope, and I think it's because there's the whole recruiting inventors thing going on. If you're lucky enough to get your hands on the strategy guides for both games, you can see how long the list is in Till the End of Time when compared to the list in The Last Hope.

Of course, I'm going to admit right now, I'm biased when it comes to Till the End of Time. It's the first Star Ocean game I've ever played, I love the majority of the characters, and Item Creation for the game simply has a larger variety of people to use. I get that it had to be simplified since they were jumping back in time, and I like the simplicity of it, too. I like the larger variety better, though. That's all.

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Cosplay by Kojika, Part Four

And here we have it today, kids. The last part of Kojika's cosplay, her Faize Sheifa Beleth outfit (whom I think she might adore more than Albel). The pictures are from two different conventions - YoumaCon and Otakon.

Before I post the pictures, I want to say a great big THANK YOU to Kojika for allowing me to post her photos and for sharing it on her facebook page. It has been so much looking at the photos and sharing them with everyone. Her cosplay photos of Faize are what got us to talking, and, when I've asked questions about creating my own cosplays, she's been more than helpful. It is all very much appreciated, more than what words can truly saw. I feel honored that she's allowed me to share her photos. Thank you again so much, Kojika. May we be able to cosplay together in the near future!

On with the pictures. As mentioned before, this is the fourth and final part of Cosplay by Kojika, Faize Sheifa Beleth


Edge and Faize taking a break. Is that goody baked by Reimi, Faize?

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This concludes Cosplay by Kojika . . . for now. As I've expressed an interest to Kojika about creating my own Fayt Leingod cosplay, the idea is that at some point, once I've completed what I need for Fayt, that we get together, either at a convention or some other time (seriously - we live maybe about five to six hours away from each other, eight tops) with her as Albel. So more photos may appear. We'll see what the future holds. :)

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Character Reinvention

Recently, I thought that, in addition to a regular cosplay for Fayt, I'd like to a reinvention of him. It'd be more in the type of clothes he wears rather than anything physical. Of course, getting the symbols for his powers of Destruction to paint on his arms would be awesome, too, but, aside from perhaps a slight facial scar, that would be the only physical alteration I'd make on Fayt. As for the clothing, I'm not entirely sure just yet as to what I'd do. It'd be bit more rugged - no white; he's endured too much to not finally snap under the pressure of everything he's lost - but as to what the clothes would look like, it's something I'm going to ponder more on.

I bring this up because I've expressed an interest, in conversations with a few fellow Star Ocean fans and in this blog, for sequels to Till the End of Time and The Last Hope. It isn't necessarily in the nature of Square Enix and Tri-Ace to release sequels, but it's been done before with games in the Final Fantasy series. I'm sure if enough interest is expressed, it could happen again for the Star Ocean fandom. The thing is, the outfits for the characters in question wouldn't be able to remain the same. That would be boring and signify that not much has changed when the world is constantly changing. We don't always see it, but it's there. And I think Square was onto something when they decided to do a sequel for Final Fantasy XIII. In the sequel, Lightning isn't wearing the same outfit as before. She's a bit more warrior than before, a warrior to a Goddess, and it shows.

So if you were to reinvent one of the Star Ocean characters, which character would you choose and how would you go about it? I ask, not for ideas on how to reinvent Fayt - that's something I'm going to determine on my own by searching for sewing patterns and retro fashion websites - but because I'm curious as to what others would do for their favorite characters. So which character would you choose (why isn't necessarily relevant, but if you want to say why, I won't mind) and what would you do for the reinvention?

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And thus concludes today's entry. The original Item Creation - Showdown Between Reimi Saionji and Sophia Esteed short story/one-shot has been renamed to The Great Star Ocean Cookout. Yes. It's going to be a cooking competition of perhaps the silliest proportions. Everyone, please have a good weekend. Tomorrow, for sure, is the upcoming weekly schedule.
star_ocean_fan: (lufay trading card)
The Sibling Factor

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An Irritant
 
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As for The Last Hope, it baffles me as to why there weren't more released and why Meracle was chosen over Bacchus, Myuria, Sarah, or Crowe in part. I get that she's a cat, basically, but her pose as a PVC seems a bit strange (she's jumping in the air). I'd like to see more for this game as well.

The lack of collectible figures for this series is irritating. Heck, the lack of overall merchandise in general is irritating to me. I love this series. I'd love to collect anything and everything that I can when it comes to the official merchandise, even for the characters I don't like. However, at this point in time, it seems very doubtful that, unless the series experiences a surge in popularity that can rival that of Final Fantasy VII and the Dragon Quest series, we'll see any more official releases of merchandise.
 
 

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Cosplay For Sale

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