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ljspence

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  1. I can, of course, handle either, but I think for general release that an installer is the way to go. So many people have only a vague notion of how their computer system works that having a wizard hide all the system stuff is much cleaner. So much of commercial software uses installers that most people get used to them and expect them.
  2. ljspence

    Are school subjects drifting apart?

    Well it's true that I originally went into Science partly because I didn't really like to write. That said, science and math needs communication as much as any other field. So there are skills like technical writing, grant writing, writing for scientific journals, giving presentations to non-scientists etc. which definitely overlap with English or your own native language if that is your audience. You will find, however, that the farther you advance in education in a particular field/subject the less emphasis there will be on integration across fields because you need to know the subject and its own particular knowledge. Some colleges and businesses are trying to create spaces where cross-discipline work can occur because it can allow people to think "outside of the box" of what you would normally consider, but when you are still in the process of learning a subject you are still likely to end up with topics which simply are not going to be highly integrated. You may need to seek out those places where your own interests in other subjects overlap on your own.
  3. ljspence

    Teaching Peace in the World

    Sounds like a great project. I'm aware of an international version of this called Peace Jam. It works to bring Nobel Peace Prize winners to schools and youth groups or clubs to teach methods of building peace. This might be partner group for your efforts.
  4. ljspence

    DJC - Everlong

    The affection rating can change the ending you get by pairing either Meredith or Vixen with Glen.
  5. ljspence

    Long As Ever

    ((Okay short one, but things are a bit busy at the moment)) Part VIII Ominously there are more of those lovely light-bulb stands on our way out, so I'm holding my sword loose in my sheath. Especially when the back door closes and locks behind us. I'm not too happy to find that it is one of my own comrade Blackguards guarding the back door. We have to fight for it and he is no creampuff. We do manage to beat him though and I'm glad to pocket a Beherit for our troubles. Searching around, we grab a few goodies from chests and head out of dodge. We skip the East Tower and head for Border Town. The town is crawling with troops as well and the bridge is closed. We decide to burgle a few house chests for goodies and pay for a few goods and get the heck out of Dodge. In one house we meet Ray who convinces us to take a letter to his girlfriend in Comstock assuming we make it to Seraphia. I don't know if we look like the pony express or what, but we decide to do it. Finally we are off to Eridwell's refuge. There is one of those funky flashing elf statues again. It wants us to kick the stumps and flowers to chase butterflies. Like - really? How silly will I look running around in Iron armor chasing butterflies. Maybe we can get Meredith to do it - she wouldn't look as stupid, but something tells me I shouldn't suggest she do it just because she is a girl. Once we catch the butterflies we are supposed to give them to the gravestones. I have nooo idea what a gravestone wants with a butterfly, but they obligingly transform into chests which we can raid. The manticore and centaurs are the hardest monsters here. The oozy blops aren't much and the plant things are very vulnerable to fire. The manticore does tend to poison people, so Meredith and Sammy are busy curing people, but otherwise its not a hugely difficult set of fights. There is a sort of secret pool which isn't as nice as the well, but does have healing properties, so we made certain to stop there. It turns out that the abandoned village in the forest was Sammy's old home. Sammy does some soul searching concerning his past and how to honor the choice of his teacher as well as his own choices., but we can't really linger, so we continue on. At the other end of the forest, we enter a cave with those ever ominous light bulbs, so although I know we are close to the Valiantide base, I also get the feeling we aren't in the clear yet.
  6. ljspence

    Long As Ever

    Part VII We escape the caverns and stop to make a fire. It seems risky to me, but the others insist. I'm not yet ready to go my own way since we are still far from being anywhere useful. Even Eridwell won't be our final destination since we really need to get back to Seraphia and civilization before it is safe to go our separate ways. Just before we cross in to Eridwell, we stop at the Water Tower. It is a very nice spot for tourists. At the moment I don't have anything to trade with the merchant, but there is a seller there as well "Oaka the XIII" (just how many generations need a Oaka really?) and we can sell off some of our old equipment and buy a few medicinal products. The back tower door is closed and things are sort of quiet on the upper levels. We do find a green book we have no use for, but in the spirit of collecting junk we decide to haul it along. Oddly enough as we stop in Herbtown, we find a second green book in a deserted house. In the "finders keepers" tradition, we pocket this as well. The pub has quite a few odd characters including Valiantide operatives, but what do you expect in a town where the kids run around like maniacs. We don't have much money to spare although the weapons and armor here are a step up from what we have. We continue on to Portown hoping for more lucrative days ahead. The Tyr-Anox troops are everywhere in Portown, so we try to keep a low profile. We don't have a way to get a ship yet, but we hope someone at the pub will give us a hint. We take a slight detour at the Inn and meet a young man named Swank. He seems like a slightly shady character, but seems to be looking for a party rather than to get us into trouble. And go figure, we find another of those odd green books out on one of the piers. I don't know who dropped these things all over creation, but it is decidedly odd. Figuring our problems are big enough without seeking to solve that one, we enter the pub and find a green haired girl running out the back. Glen is worried she is going to alert the authorities, so we decide to follow her. We wade through the drunk patrons, especially avoiding the vomiting one and head for the back stairs. It leads to a storage room with a clock, but no girl. The clock has stopped, so we decide to wind it and "voila" there is a hidden stairs - helpfulness is more than its own reward I say! We have to be a bit careful at this point though since this appears to actually be a secret Tyr-Anox base. We creep around the central room and surprise the guards in front of the jail cells. For all the good it will do them, we free the prisoners and pick up a sword in a chest. It's back around the main room for us and finally we spot our quarry trying to flip a switch. We speak to her and instead of being one of the enemy, it seems she is there to spy on the Tyr-Anox for the Valiantide resistance organization. Meredith joins the party on the theory that we will help her spy and she will help us get to Seraphia. Meredith doesn't help much with the fire power end of things, but she is a real healer, so she frees myself and Sammy to be more aggressive which is nice. The girly girls aren't much of a match for us at this point though. We kick girly butt until we hear Lord Altair and the General at a meeting in a back room. We sneak around the back way to try and overhear their plans. Obligingly the group spill the beans on their plans and Meredith has juicy news to report back to her superiors. This means we are done here and can blow this joint. Not wanting to bother anyone important, we head out the back way.
  7. ljspence

    Long As Ever

    @diamondmist - I'll have to see about envisioning the battle sequence. This was mostly a stream of consciousness report as I was playing the game and of course the battles are actually a bit boring with the engine, so we shall see Part VI Sure enough as we leave the castle and head into the snowy banks, there is a rumble and up comes the monster Ull. He turns out to be an ice demon with horns and a face like a goat with a tooth problem. He won't win any beauty contests, but he certainly will wear out my new fire spell (after all it's just a level 1 spell, what do you want?). Switching Sammy to his healing spell frees me to hit out, but that roaring thing gets a bit old since we can only wait for the daze to wear off. Finally, he does the exploding enemy bit and we are free to collect our not yet useful Beherit and be on our way. We discuss our options for a destination, but since the bridge is out at Illac Salus, our options are a bit limited. Glen knows of a way to Eridwell through Golem's pass, so that's the way we decide to go. We do stop by Niveus on our way over to the pass, but there isn't too much here. I do like the chests hidden away beneath the house of that wealthy family and try my hand at trading with the merchant (glad to know those gargoyle skulls were useful for something). Otherwise it's stock up on supplies for our long road ahead. I do sort of wonder where that iron door in the subterranean storeroom lead to, but other things are at the forefront of my mind since being tracked by enemies is a more immediate problem. Golem's pass is just south of Occultus Gaza. They have the girls out in force there, so we pass on by to our destination. The pass through the mountains proves unstable with rocks strewn along the way. We got Glen to do the rock pushing. There were some chests hidden away. I don't know if they came from the "pioneers" Glen spoke about or what. We decided to help ourselves. Monsters were also there galore, so we found the armor and weapons upgrades very useful especially those nice poisoned claws for Sammy. Always nice to have a lingering effect on the enemy. Some of those Imps were really wimps and actually ran away from us a couple of times. We took a look at the waterfall of seasons. Apparently the current season was "wet". The rest of the journey was fairly straightforward to the caverns. At the water cavern entrance is another of those flashy elf statues. Just who is this dude anyway? I'm unsurprised that there is apparently another sort of puzzle ahead of us. This one of the whirlpool kind. Ick - makes me queasy just thinking about. Sure enough along with some very nice chests, there are some very fast spinning whirlpools where we have to time our jumps to get where we are going. I try to keep my stomach under control and eventually we make our way through the maze. It is a bit circular, so I end up a bit more whirly-gigged than I would have liked. We made sure and kill those pesky Sirens first thing. They were really tricky and healed everyone which is just super annoying. The turtle guys were slow to kill, but not really dangerous and the bubble guys and ogres were just weird. At the bottom of the caverns there was a large opening with lots of random pillars along with, yes you probably guessed, more light-bulbs. Okay, so now I know we are in for it, but there isn't too much we can do about it since there is just statue and otherwise we are stranded since there isn't a bridge across the water. Glen thinks there is nothing to it - just pump the statue and it will let us by, but I'm not so sure it will be such a happy ending. We do it anyway. At first nothing happens and I'm sort of relieved although it doesn't solve our problem. Then the statue gets these red eyes and I know we made a big mistake. The bridge appears, but we can't cross safely. As soon as we approach, a monster comes up from the deep and attacks us. Now, what did we do to it I want to know? But monsters apparently don't care about that sort of thing. Charybdis turns out to be a huge squid creature. As a water monster, I'm glad we were able to pick up some water protection in the cavern and I'm eager to try out my new lightning skill. Still, he's another grabber which is annoying and the ink thing which blinds you isn't so hot either though Sammy's heal spell does cure it. The most difficult part was that if we hit it too hard, our attacks backfired on us. So it's a bit of a grind to the finish. We win though - yay us! It drops another of those not yet useful Beherit things which we collect because well we always pick up stuff. Glen, of course, blames me for the monster - what a jerk!
  8. ljspence

    Long As Ever

    Glen marks the way through the castle to the main gate and we are able to make our escape. I mean talk about the scenic route and not a chest to be seen! Then just when we think we are in the clear, we get surprised by the returning guards at the gate and have to make a run for it. Our feet fly and we make our escape. To truly escape though we still need to get through the mountains and that means getting through the outposts. Just to be safe - stock up on a few more freebies. We get Glen to do some hunting for us. Not a lot of animals this time, but something to eat when times get tough is never a bad thing. Unfortunately the southern and western outposts are swarming with troops, so it's the northern outpost for us. Sammy points out the gory remains scattered about which doesn't exactly fill me with warm fuzzies although I hate to look an open door in the mouth. Something certainly happened here and the guards didn't get a happy ending either. Sammy also has the cheery news that there is a monster set free during emergencies who is likely still wandering around and wouldn't be happy to see us. We are still contemplating this possibility as we see a person fleeing from the outpost. Ah a witness? a perpetrator? a random guy? We decide to find out and head over to the river bank. The guy turns out to be a merchant or delivery guy or some such thing. He at first believes us to be one of the undead who apparently now haunt the outpost. Realizing that we are (at least for the moment) still living, his next guess is that we are robbers. Glen quickly offers to pay for things, so everyone settles down. We discover another one of those handy-dandy cure all wells which is a great thing because even with supplies the gargoyles inside turn out to be very tough customers. There is something odd going on for sure since lots of the rooms have strange fog in them. There was a flashing elf sign outside which more or less encouraged us to stick with the fog and see if we could fight our way through it. We wander around and when we manage to kill enough monsters the fog lifts and we get to steal from chests - woot, chalk up one for the elf dude! Well, after all the guards aren't coming back for them and what would a gargoyle want with a chest? There are a few random free chests as well, so we make sure to search all of the hidey-holes. Several trips back to the well later, we have upgraded our armor and weapons and gained important experience and I learn a nifty fire spell. Having climbed and ransacked our way to the top of the castle, we head back down to the back door. There we see more of those ever popular light bulbs on stands. I'm getting a funny feeling about these by now. I think there is something dangerous on the other side. Still, there's nothing for it, but to keep going.
  9. ljspence

    Long As Ever

    Part IV I am just working myself into a just rage at the world when that annoying voice once again speaks. It is just as riddlesome as previously and once again manipulates an escape, although this time with more dead bodies and gore strewn about. I am awoken by the blonde outlaw whose name I now remember is Sammy. I'm too disoriented to be startled. Sammy wants me to help him spring Glen from where ever he is being held. I'm feeling a bit sorry for the guy after he reveals that all of the other outlaws have been killed by the Tyr-Anox troops now that the secret to their lair has been uncovered. Sammy at least has a map of the castle. The castle is a bit maze-like, so I figure that at least if I help him, I will keep from getting lost. Sammy even has my sword, so at least we can fight. I carefully step around the bodies of the soldiers and pools of blood. It's all déjà vu all over again at first, but instead of heading outside, the inner doors are now open. Of course, not all of the doors are open. There are still some iron gates which are closed. Still, it's a good thing Sammy knows the way. I don't follow him slavishly, of course. After all there are chests to be plundered here and I don't want to pass up free stuff if I can help it. Serves the girly girl Tyr-Anox right if we have to kill them in the process. Sammy's not bad in a fight. He doesn't always pack a mean punch, but he gets two hits with those martial arts claws of his, so it does the job. By the time we reach the place where General Gerovitus is interrogating Glen, I have all new equipment which is a good thing because even once we free Glen, it's a bit of a grind for the three of us against the general. Sammy and I have to get rid of a few guards before we free Glen, but luckily (?) someone left Glen his sword, so he's ready to go when we get to the General. I swear though, next time I'm bringing flame-proof underwear - that guy loves to flame-throw. Good thing those funny light bulb stands were just outside the room, so we started out in good shape. In the end, the General blows up like a ton of dynamite. The General seems to be delusional and claims it is only a "flesh wound" - umm okay. He is still down for the count and I'm ready to head for the door. The other two are a bit more vengeance minded. For some reason that annoying voice decides to butt-in and tells me to save the creep. I mean - for real? Oh well. I manage to (maybe) convince them to leave the General and not sink to his level. For whatever reason, we decide to leave and the General will have to be a problem for another day.
  10. ljspence

    Long As Ever

    *Not a long progression, but just a few things to say. Amazingly enough, Glen keeps his word and shows me the way out of the caves. Now, honestly I probably could have figured out how to get out again by myself, but it does seem easier this way and Glen seems like a nice enough guy in his own way. Certainly having two of us in the party make the monster fights much quicker. At the secret boat launch on the lake, I have to admit to Glen that I don't really have a detailed plan for the future. I know that I want to go over the mountains, but Glen assures me that finding passes is tricky, just my luck. Glen is still stuck on revenge on the General in the castle, so I guess we are each thinking that the other is a bit touched in the head. Glen rows me to the opposite side of the lake and we prepare to part ways. We are just discussing the difficulties in getting past the outposts around the castle when we see an extremely odd glowing pulsing through the air. Glen remember some odd ritual markings in the clearing just to the east and we decide that we can risk a short scouting mission to check it out. It is, sadly still raining, but when we get to the clearing, such thoughts are driven out of my mind because all I can see is a huge glowing pillar in the middle of the clearing. It's giving off huge amount of energy, but very erratically. I decide that I need to investigate and get a bit closer. Once we are close enough I can see the marks on the ground Glen mentioned. They don't seem like much, but the aren't natural, that's for sure. The pillar of light energy surrounds the circular markings. The shape reminds me of a magical seal I had heard of once, but if so this one is in bad shape because the energy signatures are fluctuating wildly and I can almost feel the waves of energy sparking. Just as we turn to escape, the energy fails and explodes. Once we pick ourselves up off of the ground, nothing is left but scorched marks on the ground. We move closer to see if any residual effects linger, but there is nothing left of the power we felt. I am disappointed and frustrated, but Glen makes the point that perhaps we have lingered too long in this spot and we definitely do not want attention. He is, however, a bit late with this observation since we are already surrounded by soldiers, both the Tyr-Anox girly girls and the less girly Cirigoth guys. Glen, of course, thinks that I have led him into a trap, but this is as much a trap for me as for him. Lord Altair is leading the Cirigoth group and knows more about me than I do myself. Glen and I prepare to fight, but Lord Altair is a very high-level magician and renders us completely immobile. I am returned full circle to the dungeon from which I escaped. I am sadder, but hardly wiser.
  11. ljspence

    Long As Ever

    *Well I had already written this part, so here it is . Turns out that their leader is a guy named Glen with big hair even bluer than my armor. Well, whatever floats your boat I say. It is a bit annoying that he proceeds to dub me "Brad" since I won't give my real name (actually I can't remember it, so it works for me just fine). I tell Glen my story. Attacked while escorting the ambassador, I attempted to desert. Too bad they caught up to me. Funnily enough it turns out these outlaws were the ones who attacked us in the first place. Glen and his party don't believe my story. Actually I can't blame them since it sounds lame and confusing even to me. So, I give up and ask that they put me to the test. Glen suggests that I go on a quest to defeat a cracken monster in the caverns. He will go with me and if I manage to succeed, he will lead me out. I give Glen one of my belts and keep the other. He's no slouch as a fighter, but we can all use a little bit of help. In the outlaw rooms there are a few chests and since I'm helping Glen I figure its okay to help myself to their contents. There are also some merchants around. They are handy for trading out stuff I've been collecting from monsters after they have been defeated. I trade some rusty mail, but actually I don't have enough of anything else to get any of the really good stuff. Still, free stuff is free stuff, so I'll keep trying. Before we head on into the depths of the caverns we stop at the best well on the planet. I swear the water in that thing is like magic. I feel completely refreshed! So now its off to the cracken. Glen mentioned his guys had to drop stuff as the cracken attacked, so perhaps that explains the chests. we pass some odd pillars, but Glen can offer no explanation for them, so we just continue on our way. Perhaps it is a mystery which will explained later or perhaps not. I'm all for getting out of this part of the tunnels. We are fighting bats and where there are bats...there is guano. Keep moving is my motto. Glen learns a new trick which is good. I have a feeling we might need it soon. Now, here's a new thing. We spot a fancy red chest. We open it and ackkkk it's a skeleton. Oh well, we do pretty well against him and there's a fancy new sword for me inside. I have no idea how they managed to stuff both of those things into the chest, but there you go. Finally we are just about to enter the cracken cavern when we spot two light bulbs on stands. One is green and the other is purple. I figure there's nothing to lose and touch the green one. Wooot! I feel great. Green must be my color. Glen touches the purple one and we get a rush of magic power. Glen must have broken the purple one though because the bulb disappears. It's a bit disappointing for something so useful, but you can't really complain, or at least I don't know to whom to complain, so I guess we will just have to go with what we have. The cracken pool seems still and serene as we approach. I'm actually thinking maybe Glen has made up the whole thing and I will be off searching for sneaches or snow snakes for the rest of my life when suddenly there is a crash and the whole cavern seems to shake. It boils up from the depths and boy is it ugly. It has a weird pointy shell and way too many tentacles ending in fierce dragons heads. Sort of a cross between a gorgon, an octopus and a snail - not pretty. Still, its a good way to test out Glen's new ability. I'm still in the melee mode for the most part, but healing is good too. Our enemy is a bit slimy and unfortunately occasionally seizes one or the other of us, so the other one is left to fight alone until the Kraken lets go. It's all a bit disgusting, so I'm hoping a bath is in order after this. In the end, our enemy implodes a bit. It's all very dramatic. It drops a very shiny object. Its a Beherit. I've vaguely heard of them, but I'm not quite sure what good they are. It seems like a collector's item though, so I'll just stash it away until I can find a good use for it. After all, we won and to the victor go the spoils even if you don't know what to do with them.
  12. ljspence

    Long As Ever

    Long As Ever *Note: This is a first person version of the plot of the game Everlong. The events and characters occur in the game, but the style of playing and commentary are all mine. Voices in the light and dark, spinning lines of poetry and all is confusion. In the end, there is only a dungeon cell and me, a guy in blue armor. But, a voice commands me and suddenly I am free. *Whistles* Nothing to do with me, but time to make my escape. Good thing I have a sword, oh and look here, an unlocked chest. That's handy. Good things come in chests and it's not even stealing if the chest isn't locked, right? As I exit stage right, however, a girl in a suit of armor confronts me. Ooops, guess I'll have to fight. Hmm not too many tricks up my sleeve yet, so melee attack it is. At least she isn't too tough. Hey, I learned a new trick. It's a healing trick. Good thing because I'm a bit wimpy at this point. Oh well, off to kick more girly butt and pick up goodies in chests. My footsteps give me away and the guard knows I'm gone, so I have to keep moving. At last I find a way out of the castle. Another girl? Oh well, I can take her as well. Now it's off to the outdoors and hopefully a place I can avoid getting thrown in a cell again. Wouldn't you know? It's raining. At least the outdoor area has different monsters, and look someone scattered chests around, too. Odd, you would think that they would bury them or something. Perhaps it's a map challenged person, well whatever the reason, I can help myself. Wow one of these is a belt I can wear. Cool, it helps my strength. That's good. Once through the forest, I find the entrance to a cave. Hmm, dark isn't so nice, but at least I might throw off any pursuers (not that I've seen any yet, but you never know). I can see a bit and really the caverns aren't too tricky to navigate. Somebody stashed a bunch of chests here too, so I'll just help myself - thank you very much. Eww skeletons on the floor, yikes and on the walls. Either someone is really into leaving people to hang on walls forever or there is one really sick interior decorator around. I'll have to keep moving. Luckily the monsters aren't too tough here because it's always a bit risky to fight when you are the only one in your party. I sense that there is a big room to the north at the three-way junction, but I elect to keep searching the caverns. I don't want to miss out on any goodies just yet. Hmm and I'm outside once again. Sigh, it's still raining. Oh well, I won't shrink I guess. I might have to polish up the old suit of armor later though. Another belt in a chest, but then my luck runs out because this is a dead end. Ah well, it's back to the three-way junction for me. And on the northern path...yep I was correct it's a big empty room. Oh well, time to light a fire and see if I can dry out. Of course, just as I was getting toasty warm, someone comes to crash my party. At first I thought it would be more of the girly guards, but no - it's some goofy guys. Two of them are ready for a fight and I'm just about to draw my sword, but the blonde in the middle seems troubled because I'm not a Tyr-Anox guard, but a Blackguard from Cirigoth instead. We agree that in order to resolve this I need to see the top man of these outlaws. I'm always agreeable to seeing the real powers that be rather than wasting my time with the little guys, so off we go.
  13. ljspence

    Big News From Argoyle:

    Wow that's fabulous! Congratulations. Thanks for sharing the picture. He looks great.
  14. In my experience it is possible, though not always the case, that friendship leads to attraction. I have to say that it has happened both ways for me. I dated a friend of mine for awhile and never did gain enough emotional connection to lead to attraction. On the other hand I dated the man who is now my husband with no expectation of wanting a deep relationship, but eventually it happened. It was actually awkward for awhile because he developed feelings for me first and I really lagged behind for months. It was one of the reasons I felt that this was a solid relationship - our attraction wasn't just from the first, but something which comes and grows as we continue to be together.
  15. ljspence

    Amaranthia Series 4 - The Royal Wedding

    Awwww. Sniffles - almost sorta like being there. Congrats!
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