Hello again, folks! Sorry about the delay in posting this update. It was delayed due to a post-holiday recovery from a junk and fast food coma, as well as my desire to indulge in a short hiatus from blogging. Not the best excuse, I know, but I am trying to be honest here.
You’ve likely noticed that I just finished the Publish an Ebook learning pathway at LYNDA. As with originally planned, I started the first course in the Improve Your Drawing Skills learning pathway soon after. Then, I got distracted. Okay, maybe “distracted” isn’t the best word. Due to hitting a wall during the plot and world-building revision for Freak, I decided to work on something else instead and settled on the Loquis world setting.
Loquis is the closest thing to a Steampunk setting. It isn’t hard steampunk but does have some technology such as airships and trains in a world where prayers are sometimes answered and magic is real. I’ve done a bit of work on the setting on the years but wanted to create a working world map based on where some of the places are. So, I started digging around for free resources online, with the intention of using GIMP2 software for editing the image after I have the foundation down. I didn’t want to have to trace or hand draw the land masses if I could avoid it.
After trial and error on several online tools, I settled on one in particular. Roll For Fantasy has a neat Map Creator tool that worked like a treat. I generated several 25 by 15 maps until I found a good base to work with. I tweaked it via the online interface. Coastlines were edited, islands were added and lakes were introduced until I had a world map that I was happy with. It took nearly three hours between the random generation and tweaking. However, I didn’t add in features such as forests, mountains, dunes, or other features due to some of these tiles completely over-riding the cell which could remove coastlines and other features in the process. I intend to create reusable tiles and brushes for this purpose later on.
I also went about looking at some tutorials for map-making with GIMP. The best collection of videos that I have come across so far is by YouTuber The Coffee Bean GM, entitled Gimp Mapping. It covers both world maps and smaller maps for roleplaying, such as Dungeon maps. I’ve already played around with some of the features that he covers in the playlist and found his method a great way to also create random maps that you can customise with whichever terrain and features that you see fit. Is it the quickest and cleanest method? I have no idea, but I do know that I learnt a lot and like the result whilst tinkering.
This brings me to my newest course undertaking. Whilst I will be doing the Improve Your Drawing Skills learning pathway at LYNDA, I checked out what the site had in the way of GIMP offerings. The lone offering is GIMP Essential Training by Mike Rankin. The course was released in June of this year and is pretty good so far. I am still in the early parts of the material but the future chapters cover a lot of the features that I haven’t used yet. It will be a bit of a learning curve, but I anticipate that it will be worth it.
I have also begun creating templates for flags in GIMP using the GEGL Operation. The Checkerboard function makes it easy to make some of the basic layouts but isn’t the be-all and end-all. I will have to create other artwork such as symbols and elements such as Cantons. This doesn’t include work that I will need to do on crests and coat of arms for the various groups but it is do-able. I want to learn and I am willing to put in the time to create this extra material. I also think that it will be helpful in keeping visual references. It is nowhere near finished but I am having a lot of fun.
In other news, hubby was kind enough to get me a compound bow on the way back from our trip. I did archery in high school and have had a desire to get into the sport in the decades that followed. We’ve now got targets set up and I find myself looking forward to each practice session. It is still a lot of fun. Hubby likes it as well, but it is a pain in the ass to change the bow draw and poundage every single time that he wants to practice. In a few months, it is likely that I will be getting a new bow and he will be inheriting the old one. This is all dependent on me getting better at archery and healthier. Hubby is now talking about getting a gun for sports shooting…
Hubby is currently waiting on information regarding some possible car parts for the beast. This will be an expensive purchase but it will result in an Autocross-fit vehicle in next to no time. If you don’t know what Autocross is, I highly recommend that you look it up. Those vehicles are nimble AF.
On top of this, hubby is talking about getting some half-half motorbikes and I find myself excited about it. I don’t have a license for either a car or a bike, meaning that I will have to get learner’s permits for them both. I’ve been wanting to get a driver’s license for a while now, but it was continually been put off over the years out of slackness. This will be a good incentive to get one for both vehicle types. I now have to get to a healthy weight in order to be able to pick up and manoeuvre a motorcycle.
All of these things cost money. However, such purchases remove a barrier to entry and create a means for ongoing entertainment that also gets both of us out of the house. We don’t have much in the way of vices, with our computers and mobile devices being an ongoing consideration. This lack of expenses obviously makes it easier to budget for these sports. I anticipate that the purchases will be worth the investment and am looking forward to learning (and doing) new things.
So, there’s been a lot going on with me. How about the rest of you guys? Have you done anything interesting? Made any life-changing decisions? How about your health? Read any good books or watched any good shows? Feel free to let me know about it in the comments section as I am genuinely interested in seeing what you guys are up to. I leave you guys with the following clip.