Tips For Writing Your New Book

I figured I’d take the time to help out all you book writers out there that seem to have trouble getting things to turn out the way you want.  Perhaps reading this write-up will help lead you in the right direction.

Follow these tips to help get your writing off to a good start.

First and foremost, you should have characters that people can relate to.  No one wants to read about a character with no flaws.  No one is perfect after all.  Stories need some kinda conflict going on.  That’s another reason why character imperfections are important.  You can use them to your advantage to move the story.

At the very least, you, the creator should be able to relate to your characters.  I’m not saying write yourself in as the main character, or anything, but, you should have something in common with your character that you’re writing.  Even if it’s something as simple as having similar goals.

Keep in mind how your characters would, or should interact with each other.  Develop relationships for them.  How do they know each other?  How do they act around each other?  Why should the reader care about them?  Be careful not to let the characteristics of one character rub off onto another without explanation.

There shouldn’t be any unexplained reasons of a character contradicting something they’ve previously stated or did, or suddenly act like another character entirely.

Create a structure for you story.  The better your foundation is, the more likely you are to continue writing it.  Have each chapter planned.  Have a general idea of what is to happen in each chapter, and know why they are important.

The more planning you do, the easier it will be to write the story.  Don’t get mid-way finished and stop because your story was so broken in it’s structure that you had nothing of substance to build upon.  Have as much of it planned out as you can.

After you’ve found yourself a good start and finished a few chapters, let someone trustworthy read it.  They may have questions about your characters.  “Such as, why is he so angry all the time,” or, “How did she lose all her fame and fortune?”  Perhaps they are questions you planned to answer later on, and that’s fine, but maybe those are questions you didn’t consider.  Remember, it’s not just a book for you, but for your readers too.

These are all important things to remember, however, you also want to leave some things up to the reader’s imagination too.

Find a good balance of what that should be.  It may be as simple as where the character decides to go at the end of the story…  or, maybe he doesn’t know why he does whatever it is he’s doing.  But, for some reason, it’s significant and important.  If your character is likeable enough, readers will come to their own conclusions, allowing the them to implant their own past experiences as explanations.  This allows for a greater connection to the character in the story and the reader.

Read books similar style to what you’re writing.  Pick up on the grammar and structure.  Know where you want your story to go, from beginning to end, and keep telling yourself you can do it.  Don’t defeat yourself mentally by telling yourself you can’t finish your story, or you might not finish it, or you will try to finish it.  Know that you absolutely will finish it and work towards getting there.

Thank you for checking my blog out.  I hope it helps you to get your book moving and toward its eventual completion.  While you’re here, though, why not check out this free gift to everyone that checks through this article and interested in increasing their web-traffic.

Mortal Kombat X: Discussing Guarding in 2D Games

The plan was to do a post about the necessity of a block button in Mortal Kombat, and why it’s important.   And why some games, like Street Fighter, do not need and shouldn’t have a block button. (This post is going to get extremely detailed, so if you’re not into fighting games, you might not want to read this, unless you want to perhaps become better at them).  I was going to discuss the actual Mortal Kombat X game too, but, the post just got way too big for that.

But, there’s a camp of fighting game fans that wants to see a block button removed, in favor of the usual hold back to block.  And, it’s enough people for me to make a blog about it.

Let’s first look at why these people want a block button.

Cross-ups.  That’s the only reason.  Check this out.  Back is an ambiguous term.  It can mean press left, or press right to block.  A cross-up attack is an attack that hits from the same side you’re blocking.

What that means is, if your back is facing left, you press left to block, however, the attack you are trying to block is also coming from the left, which means you should be pressing right.  Cross-ups are supposed to be ambiguous.  They attack from behind with little time to react.

Here is an example of a cross up attack, which leads into a combo.

Here’s something.   A fighting game I don’t play.  However, it shows in detail of what I need.  A cross up.  Now, as Kyo is jumping over his training dummy clone, The hits are hitting him from the opposite side.  If the dummy is on the left, he should press backwards to block. However, a cross-up hits from the opposite side, which means you should block in the direction you appear to be facing.  So, press forward to block, not backwards, like you’re supposed to.

That is only true for cross-up attacks, and if you press the usual back to block during a cross-up attack you will be hit.   And, the reason I needed the video was to show how fast paced cross ups can be.  Different characters across different games may even be faster.  Some come out so fast that the only way to know it’s coming is if you were in the exact same situation before and got hit by the cross-up.  They can be so fast that you cannot react to them, and you wont know they’re coming unless the person you’re playing already succeeded in hitting you with it.  And, you just have to  predict it.

So, you see, it’s all about mind games.

But, a cross up is anything that happens so quickly, you, as a defensive player, don’t know which way to block.  As long as an attack hits you before you can figure out which direction is forward and backward, you have been crossed up.

There’s some characters fast enough to fly over your head, land, crouch and hit you with a low attack which must be blocked from a crouching position.  Furthermore, have the option of hitting you before they land, and attacks from the air must be blocked from a standing position.  Of course, I’m talking about Storm.  Here’s an example I conveniently found:

Now, it may be hard to tell, but, before the video starts, if you look at storm, and ignore her legs to avoid confusion, her torso is behind Cable.  Which means Cable is standing on the left, and Storm is on the right, they just aren’t facing each other.

But, at first glimpse, you’ll assume, if you’re Cable, press Right to block.  Well, you’ve just been hit by that meaty combo that took more than half your health.  Keep in mind attacks have push-back, so cable was on the Left, but after he got hit by that first punch, he was properly aligned with his attacker again.

And, of course, if Storm was a little more to the left, due to the jump being off distance, Cable would have been able to block by simply pressing Right like he’s obviously supposed to.  And, she could have just landed behind him and attacked low.

All this is to simply explain why cross-ups are effective, and how they work.  They can be fast enough to make people quit games entirely because of the difficulty of knowing rather to push LEFT, RIGHT, Down-Left, or Down-Right.  That’s four directions of which to block and you have extremely short notice to read whats going on.  Even if you see it with your eyes, you hand still has to go to the position and some people just cannot react that accurately while keeping their cool.

The thing about Mortal Kombat?  It completely eliminates that style of gameplay.  There is no such thing as a cross-up in Mortal Kombat.  It doesn’t matter where an attack hits (forward or behind), or how fast it is.  If you start pressing that block button, and hold it down, you are good, as long as you aren’t grabbed, and are properly blocking a high for a mid attack, and low for low. attack. (Crouch high attacks, don’t wast time blocking them, they go over your head if you’re crouching.)

All you have to worry about in Mortal Kombat is high and Low.   The following video shows why a back to block is bad for Mortal Kombat.  Scorpion was recently in Injustice: Gods Among Us, as a guest character which features only characters from the DC Universe.

His teleport, initially wasn’t changed from Mortal Kombat 9.  There was no way you could know which way to properly defend yourself (Injustice has back to block.)

Obviously, there’s no way to react to all that.    Even if you see it coming, you wouldn’t always be able to react to it.

Here’s why.  You cannot block without your directional pad coming from a neutral position.  Neutral being not left, up, down, nor right.  If you are attempting to block pressing right, and need to shift to left, you have to slide your thumb from the right position, and to the right, and during that short instance, which is a fraction of a second, the pad has shifted from Right, gone back to the the neutral position, and now at Left, the direction you are holding.

Eventhough it can easily be done three times in a second, fighting games are sensitive, and based on numbers.  Sometimes, seeing it, and reacting to it, you have 1/5th of a second to get your guard correct during a cross up, and you just have to know it’s coming.

But, people say “so what?”, “get better,” “learn how to read your opponents,” and “cross ups help break down your enemy’s defenses.”  That’s what fighting games are about.  It’s a mental battle more than anything, in which your objective is to set your enemy’s health to 0, and you have to out-whit them in the process, using your characters tools and abilities….  Not just press any old thing until you win.  I hate fighting against people that have no concept of how fighting games work, so resort to just attacking air and are just pressing random buttons.  It’s like swinging a stick at someone to keep them at distance.  That wont work against someone that knows how to shift you off your balance by using your thrust against you.  You’ll be on your back waiting to get stepped on.

Anyway, I know exactly what a cross-up is, and why they are important to some games, but, they don’t belong in Mortal Kombat.  I’ve covered what a cross-up is, how to block it, and why it’s effective.  Now it’s time to explain why they don’t belong in Mortal Kombat.

What do you do with directional pads?  You move around with them.  They are primarily for movement.  What is movement?  Movement is positioning yourself.  You might be effective away from your enemy.  Perhaps close?  Maybe mid-screen.  It depends on the character you’re playing as.  But, you want to stay at YOUR optimal distance.

What else is a directional pad used for in fighting games?  Attacking.  Press X is one attack, Press Forward + X is another attack.  Single-tap forward then tap X is another attack.  HOLD forward and press X is another attack.  Yeah, it’s excessive, I know, but that’s how Tekken manages to fit 100+ attacks into the command list for a single character.

And, there is finally one last thing the directional pad is used for…. BLOCKING.

So, yes, you are expected to move around, attack, and guard yourself from attacks while using the directional pad.  That is a lot to take in.  Let’s think about this for a moment.  You have to see a cross-up coming, stop whatever you are doing, and react to an attack that is potentially a cross-up, depending on the attack being used, and where it’s going to hit?

Mortal Kombat has multiple characters with attacks that hit behind.  Some attacks connect twice, hitting from both sides and you cannot react even if you know what is about to happen.

So, you say slow down the teleports?  I say no.  Why?  Because the entire argument here is holding back to block.  And now, the discussion is being changed to not only hold back to block, but also slow down attacks?  What’s next?

It’s a trade off.  The block button is not being disabled by movement.  If you press block in Mortal Kombat, your character stops moving.  That’s the important thing.  It’s not being tied up in the directional pad.  It’s its own separate thing, off the d-pad, and that makes all the difference.

The attacks can stay as fast as they are.  You don’t have to worry about sliding your thumb from one position to another.  Just press the block button, and as long as you aren’t in an attack animation, and have your feet planted on the ground, you are good to go. (Assuming you are using a standing guard for high and mid attacks, and crouching for lows.)  High attacks should be ducked under, with no guard at all, because it’s going to go over your head anyway, which means you should immediately be attacking from a crouching, or a while rising position (which only applies to 3D fighting games) , or standing if it’s an option.

Mortal Kombat is not a difficult game to pick up.  It has easy commands for all of its attacks.  It doesn’t require any full 360 degree spins on the directional pad, and just has easier controls overall than Street Fighter.  If you use Hugo or Zangief in Street Fighter, you know you have to anchor yourself, or buffer the 360 while in mid-air to grab.  It’s extremely hard to do a 360 degree spin for a grab which can only be done with your feet planted on the ground when in order to do a 360, you have to press up-back, up, up-forward, which are all jump commands.  In fact, unless you are allowed to cancel the start-up jump animation (before your feet actually leave the ground) you can’t even do a 360 grab solely from standing.  No matter what.

Again, Mortal Kombat doesn’t have difficult commands.  It’s just press Down, forward, X.  And there goes your ice ball.  Fatalities aren’t even like they were in the original, in which you had to input the commands lightning fast and were difficult to remember, for the sake of making them uncommon in arcades, because no one had the internet then to look stuff up, so when you saw it, it was a rare occasion and excitement always ensued.

But, this isn’t the arcade days anymore.  Fatalities are easy to do, and easy enough to remember.   Now.  What is the point in having offensive options so easy in the game, while having defensive options like blocking so difficult?  There is no reason at all.

You couldn’t just change the block button.  You would have to change so much more about the game to the point of it not even being Mortal Kombat anymore.  You may as well come up with a new fighting game entirely.  But, wait…  They DID…  It’s called Injustice: Gods Among Us.  There you go.  Go play that.  Scorpion is even a guest character.  And, he’s been slowed down (nerfed) since that video above, but, I needed him while he was still broken to make my point.

Hope I’ve explained in full detail why a block button is needed for MK.  It’s meant to have easier controls.  You still have to use your brain to beat your enemy.

But, if you love cross ups so much, still, there is another option.  Holding block doesn’t reset the direction you’re facing.  To fix that, all you would have to do is press the button again, and your character blocks the other side.  But, that opens up the possibility of you being hit in the middle of you releasing the button to press it that second time, which could make for some potentially unblockable set-ups.

There’s so many options.

If you’ve  liked this post, please feel free to check out my other posts.  You’ll be glad you did.

 

 

E3 2014 Begins!

E3 has begun this week.  Presentations varied much in how well they were able to capture my interest.  However, I will be making two blogs today.  The first of which will go into what I’m looking forward to, and the second, to discuss something particular about Mortal Kombat 10.

Before I continue, I will say that these games carry mature themes and are particularly violent.  Videos are not for the squeamish, or sensitive.  No first person shooters are on this list either, they’re all the same.

In no particular order, because I’m getting all the games on the list anyway:

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

(The music they choose for Metal Gear Trailers are always top notch.  Deserves a mention.)

I do not particularly know what’s going on.  Fans of the series remember the first game, released in 1998, took place in 2005.  Metal Gear Solid V is not a sequel to Metal Gear Solid 4.  MGS4, took place in 2014, while being released in 2008, and MGSV, if I remember correctly takes place in the 1980’s.

I’m a little confused.  We see an incomplete Metal Gear Rex in the trailer. Which, I believe was a prototype in the original Metal Gear Solid game, so, it’s confusing to me to see it here, 20 years before the eventual completion of the first prototype.

We also see what appears to be big shell, which was in Metal Gear Solid 2.  It may not be big shell, but, it obviously does look like it. Perhaps in the 90’s and early 2000’s, it’s expanded.

I just don’t know what’s going on here, but, I’m excited for the game.  I’ve played 1,2, and 4 of the Metal Gear Solid series, and none of the older metal gear games that came out prior to the playstation.  I skipped the others because I don’t like going backwards in time, (with MGS3 taking place before MGS1).  MGSV is doing that too, I know, but, I’ll make an exception this time.

MGS is such a hard story to follow.  I remember some points about the series, but, there’s just so much to keep up with.  Not that it’s a bad thing by any means, though.

Side note:  Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeros (the first short chapter of MGSV) is on sale this week via the PlayStation Network.

http://blog.us.playstation.com/2014/06/09/best-of-e3-2013-sale-20-games-on-sale-starting-tomorrow/

 

Mortal Kombat X

(Seems like Scorpion has learned Psycho Crusher, for all you Street Fighter Fans.  Just don’t ask to hold back to block.)

The 10th game in the Mortal Kombat series.  But, it’s being called “Mortal Kombat Ex” excuse my mistake from my post last week, I guess Ed and the gang thought “ex” sounded cooler than 10.

We see three new characters in the trailer, which is running on PS4 (slighly not impressed by the graphical output, but, as a fighting game fan, the fight-mechanics themselves are more important than anything else in the game.)

As of this post, none of these characters have been named.  One looks similar to Chang and Choi from King of Fighters, while the other looks like Blackarachnia from Transformers: Beast Wars.

The characters themselves look great.  They’re not quite like the old batch of characters who were in my opinion very dull in their appearances, and just plain forgettable.  Hopefully, we’ll never see characters like Kobra, Mokap, or Meat ever again.

Glad to see the goofy, and silliness of Mortal Kombat be traded out for a more-serious, darker tone.  Already interested, as Sub-Zero’s my favorite, and I tend to usually gravitate towards the new characters.  Enjoyed using Skarlet in the last game despite her odd play-style that I couldn’t get into at first, however, I absolutely hated Cyber-Sub-Zero.

However, all three of the new characters shown so far, I like, and I tend to only use about 4-5 characters in any fighting game, so it’s going to be interesting when I get my hands on the game.

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

(I’m getting a “someone’s going to die at the end of the game” vibe from the video, and I’m guessing Sully.)

The title leaves the option for the series to close out on a high note.  However, it doesn’t necessarily have to be the end.  The sequel could just as easily be called, “Uncharted 5: A Hero’s Beginning.”  Though, even still, they probably implied an end of the series for a reason.

I knew from the moment I heard the music playing during the black screen what game this was going to be…  Then, the naughty dog logo popped up.  We all knew at that point.  There’s not much to show, other than the graphics, and somewhat of a setting, and a flashback(?) of a conversation he had with Sully.

We see that it has been some years.  Nate, obviously has aged a little, and seemed to live a normal life, until being thrown back into a world of treasure hunting and killing.

The trailer also opens with a ring on Nate’s finger.  Most of us assume it’s Elaina, but, perhaps due to some twist in the story, it could even be Chloe for all we know.

 

The Last of Us: Remastered Edition

(Not understanding the spoiler alert.  I didn’t really catch anything story-wise that was too specific.)

The game looks great.  I skipped the PS3 edition, and glad I did.  This edition of the game is being seriously tweaked for PS4, as we’ve been told, and wont be a simple graphical increase.  The opening, shows Joel clinging his daughter who had just been shot, by a guard who was told by higher-ups there were enough survivors at the camp. (yeah, spoilers, I know, but, she dies so early in the game anyway.) The game itself looks amazing.  I’m sure they planned to release a remastered edition on PS4 when the game was initially worked on.  That way, they’d have the assets they needed to make a PS4 version stand out from a the PS3 game.

Now, with every game on my list, keep in mind that each and every single one is choreographed every animation in each of these games are captured by actors playing parts in a studio.  It’s different from movies, in a sense that you can take everyone’s best performances, after many re-shoots, and mesh them together for a more defining performance, without everyone needing to be 100% on cue at once.

It’s also a lot easier on animators, because to animate certain things can take hours, meanwhile, an actor can act out the same movement in a few seconds, giving a more defined, and less robotic appearance to the motions.  An animator wont be able to animate a 3D figure as accurately as an actual person doing the movements.

Voice capture is another important thing caught by the performances.  Think about people reading from a script.  You dont know the environment you’re in, you don’t know how far away the other person is, and reading a script just doesn’t sound natural.  It only makes playing older action/adventure styled game hard, because the roles just aren’t convincing.

But, you get these actors together.  Show them mock-ups of the area they’re supposed to be in, and use props, they know where they’re supposed to be and how to appropriately project their voices, it makes the entire experience better.

All the games here are releasing 2015 at the soonest.  However, I’ve just remembered MGSV specifically said “COMING 1984”  Better start calling around to see who has it in stock.  Seriously, I wouldn’t be surprised if it were releasing 2016.

Finally, honorable mentions, that I’m probably not going to get are:

Grand Theft Auto V (PS4 version)

Batman: Arkham Knight

Nothing wrong with these two games, they’re just not that high on the list.

Feel free to come on back.  Will be writing more about E3 as it continues this week.  And, while you’re here, as a thanks for stopping by, I’d like to give you something.  A free lead generating system, which you may have here.

As for the next post.  The dreaded block button in Mortal Kombat X.  I want to talk about it.

 

Mortal Kombat X officially announced

Mortal Kombat X has officially been announced.

Mortal Kombat (2011) Spoilers are in this blog, below the video.

Details to be added, as they become available.

The new title will appear on new consoles, PS4, and Xbox One.  Amazon.com prematurely leaked PS3, and Xbox 360.  No other official details given, other than the description in the video above.  Though, keep in mind, if it does come out for the old consoles, it wont take full advantage of the new.

Story is expected to take up after Mortal Kombat 9, (officially called Mortal Kombat, for the sake of confusion).  As a recap Mortal Kombat X focused on the first three Mortal Kombat games.  The story feature Raiden going back in time to save everyone, yet, by the end of the game, just about everyone still managed to die.

I wont go into details, because to be quite honest, I haven’t played the story mode since 2011.

It’s expected, though not actually announced at this moment, Mortal Kombat X will pick up on the story after Mortal Kombat 9.  Which will mean characters from Mortal Kombat IV, Deadly Alliance, and Deception are likely return.

And, lastly, while you’re here, feel free to check out my other blogs, and return for updates.