Friday, April 30, 2010

Winners, (and solution) announcement UPDATED WINNERS

44 minutes. Contest posted at 5:01, final winning entry at 5:45.

Wow, wizards, impressive. There's nothing like the feeling of being stalked, like having a pack of ravenous wizards ready to tear apart your work. XD

First up, the "Captain's Crew" list, (i.e. the quick & the clever):
NOTE: Due to an unintentional double entry, Scotterman has been withdrawn, bumping the list to the following:
Fortunately, this little problem does not affect the continuity of the contest.
(I knew it was going too smoothly)

Now, the solution: The correct answer was STUDY

Congratulations to all the winners: Kevin Battleblood, Shadowfist, Isaac Mistheart,Taji34, and Ratwarrior.
(Bonus point to Kevin Battleblood for "Tenure for Dworgyn". Shows he read ALL the directions, huh?

I want to thank everyone who participated in this first ever Homework contest.
If you didn't win (this time around) , don't fret: I have more surprises in store!
So, as always,
Do Your Homework! (and double-check your logins)

Gobbler Give Away NOW (CLOSED)

Ahoy, wizards!
'Captain' Duskhunter, here, with great news.

The contest is closed.

To celebrate the new Pet Hatchery on Test Realm, "Homework" has been given codes to give out to YOU!
As part of "The Great Gobbler Giveaway", I am authorized to dispense 5 pet codes, however I see proper.

Now, Yer Ol' Captain, well, I value strong minds, and good work ethics. So, it's time to see who's "done their Homework". (If you've waited 'till now to do it, well, you'll be a step behind.)

Remember how we discussed latitudes and longitudes? Well, 'Captain' Duskhunter doesn't reward those who sleep through class. We're gonna do this one "blunderbuss style", as in "all 5 at once". There will be more contests, in the future, and I'm anxious to get this "shakedown cruise" underway.

Now it's time to apply what you've learned, and earn your reward! Now, mind you, it won't be 'easy', but nothing worth having ever comes easy, now does it? There's only 100, or so,  of these bad boys, and here's your chance to get one (of 5):
This it IT! (click for full size)
First thing to note: 0(zero) is both a LATitude and a LONgitude, so be careful in your counting.
Examples: At (-3S -1W), there's a Necromancer's skull-n-bones.  (0N 0E) is the letter "D".
The code for winning is 5 letters long. Maybe it's a word, maybe it's not. Only time will tell.
The first 5 to post the correct code in the comments section will win. Plain and simple.
All blog comments will be *unpublished*, until the 5 winners are determined. (no copying!)
Once the codes are ready for use, the winners will provide an email address, using the same blog login used to win. (All email addresses will be deleted after contact.)
Only one guess, per comment entry. If you come up with more than one answer (?), you must use a new comment entry. Comments with more than one answer in it will have only their "first" answer in the comment entered.
The codes will be distributed when Advanced Pets go 'live'
All Winners must all declare "Tenure for Dworgyn", and post a pic of it ...(just kidding)

Now, put yer minds to it, there's loot to be won! 
Best o' luck to ye!

-Autumn Duskhunter
Captain, Homework Graveyard, S.N.S (Spiral Naval Service)

More Test Realm, and Theorycrafting

Hiya, Wizards!

Got some non-pet stuff from Test Realm, for ya. A lot of this is out, at other sites, like W101 Info,  because we're all dedicated to exploring every nook and cranny of the new updates, but this is my spin on it.

First, I wanted to show the new wings, and staff
 I am *so* getting those wings on LIVE (Notice Lord Luna 'free roaming' in the Graveyard?)

and the new spells:
 Hmm..Briskbreeze will get better, now.

All so very nice, don't you agree? KI is really raising the bar, and everybody wins!

And, I got my Pale Maiden, "Baby Abbey", but I desperately want to rename her "Emily", because I *loved* The Corpse Bride. Hopefully, on live, I will be so lucky.

Well, that's the "new" stuff, now on to today's nautically inspired portion, and some theorycrafting.

After seeing the new staff, I'm convinced that gear is gonna be replaced, rapidly. And that got me thinking. We need new equipment slots, (okay, maybe 'need' is too strong a word). In addition to the current slots, what about earrings, bracelets, or gloves? All of those are "do-able", but I had a brainstorm last night. First, a little historical tidbits.

Sailors "in the old days" were a terribly superstitious lot.  To help appease the gods of the sea, or denote some maritime accomplishment, often times they would get tattoos. Here's a list of the common ones, and what they meant:

HOLD, on the knuckles of one hand and FAST, on the other. This is said to help the seaman to better hold the riggings.
A PIG, on the top of one foot and a ROOSTER, on the other. This is said to protect the seaman from drowning, because both of these barnyard animals cannot swim so they would get the seaman quickly to shore.
An ANCHOR showed the seaman had sailed the Atlantic Ocean.
A FULL-RIGGED SHIP showed the seaman had sailed around Cape Horn.
A DRAGON showed the seaman had served on a China station.
A SHELLBACK TURTLE denotes a seaman who has crossed the equator.
A GOLDEN DRAGON denotes a seaman who has crossed the International Date Line.
PORT & STARBOARD ship lights were tattooed on the left (port) and right (starboard) side of the body.
ROPE, tattooed around the wrist meant the seaman was a deckhand.

"Whoa, whoa, Autumn! This is a kid-friendly game! We can't have tattoos!"

I agree completely... but you know what we *could* have?
With stitching, we can all dress "to our liking", without sacrificing "good gear". But still, all our faces are (generally) "the same" What if there was an uber-rare drop, or some wicked hard Boss that gave you a school-specific facepaint? Something that added a modest attack or defense bonus for the specific school indicated? Here's my idea for school-inspired facepaints:

Special thanks to our model, Al Nonomous.

So, whatcha think?

Contest note: The Homework Gobbler Giveaway will be announced *sometime* today, via Twitter. Last chance to be ready, ( I *did* roll a "d4-devious" over at Mythspent Youth )

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Great Gobbler Giveaway! Win a Pet!

"Who can resist these adorable Gobbler Pets?

Through the prolific new Hatching system that can be previewed on the Test Realm, we've found ourselves with a few more Gobbler Pets than we intended!

To make sure each of these precious little Gobblers find a good home, we've given 5 to each of our top fansites. It's up to them to find good homes, so visit each site to find out how they are working to choose winners for all of their Gobbler"

That's right, Wizards!

In celebration of the launch of Advanced Pets in the Test Realm, KingsIsle is generously giving away free gobbler pets!

Multiple sites are involved in this giveaway, and, quite proudly, Homework in a Graveyard is part of this momentous occasion! It's the first promotion that Homework has participated in..(and it's not likely to be the last), so I'll be rewarding students who "do their homework". 'nuff said.

 5 will be available from "Homework"

I'm not giving them away *just yet*, though. (I want time for the news to circulate). What I *can* tell you, is that I will announce "Homework's Giveaway" contest via my twitter feed. (See? I don't do anything for 'no reason', Muah-ha-ha-ha!

A word of note: the codes, once given, will NOT be able to be activated, until Advanced Pets go 'live'.
Further details are forthcoming, so stay tuned.

Do your homework.

 Visit these fine sites for additional chances:

Test Realm ONLINE

That is all. GO, GO,GO!

See Headmaster Ambrose to get your quest chain going. The gate is near the Library, and won't open until you've gotten the quest.
Ashley laughed at my 'new wizard' gear during the load.

Some images, and a "First Impression"
Milo challenged even *my* vocabulary skills.
Reminded me of "Long John Silver from "Muppet Treasure Island"
(I had to explain to Ashley that a "Barker" is an announcer, not a dog's noise)

First off, King's Isle, "Well done!" The Pet Park,  though a bit laggy, at times, (understandable with *every wiz in the Spiral* at one place, one time), it all runs really smooth, and it is a venerable addition to W101. A smart wizard will be spending *plenty* of time there. The games are all fun, (though I found "Gobbler Drop" a bit sensitive on the controls, but I excelled at "Cannon"). Ran a few races with Kevin Battleblood.(who has a great write-up at Chillanthropist)  The Maze was like Pac-Wiz 3D, and Dance was great, too:
"Oh, great..another mouth to feed"

There's gonna be plenty to read, in the next few days, from numerous blogs. The new Pet Park is worthy of much more than this meager post. I can say, from my experience, thus far, that the Pet Park will NOT disappoint. If this Test Realm is any indication, once Celestia comes out, there will be no looking back.

Advanced Pets on KI's YouTube

A bit more insight from KingIsle's YouTube Channel.
I applaud KI for this move, I have a *general* idea of the tech involved in doing this.

I know all *my* pets are all abuzz.

Good news, guys. "free roam" is coming , with the Pet Park.
"Yay, no more imprisonment in the bank!"
 "Great! I've been in here since Penny gave me to you."
"Woot! Goodbye, shared bank!"
"I got dibs on the Graveyard!" (Lord Luna, of course)
"Let's go swimming!"'s not even out yet..gonna have to wait a bit longer.
"Awwwwwwww.  Is it here, yet?. Is it here, yet?. Is it here, yet?. Is it here, yet?. Is it here, yet?."
No, it isn't here, yet.
"Awwwwwwww.  Is it here, yet?. Is it here, yet?. Is it here, yet?. Is it here, yet?. "
No. not YET
Is it here, yet?Is it here, yet?Is it here, yet?Is it here, yet?Is it here, yet?
" Is it here, yet?. Is it here, yet?. Is it here, yet?. Is it here, yet?."
Don't make me pull this castle over..
" Is it here, yet?. Is it here, yet?."

"Thanks", I have a backpack and bank of rowdy pets. ;)
(And if Penny Dreadful ever becomes an audio book..I know who I'd like to narrate it.) ;)

As an aside, when I saw this:
I *instantly* thought of Friendly. Yeah, he'd do something like that. "It's all "Unicorns and Lizards", with that one." , 'Mr. Friendly-"I'm ready to frolic."-mancer'  XD

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Advanced pet page up HUGE NEWS

As reported by Amber Rosepetal at A Savior of the Spiral. Check THIS out.

"This is Pet Month in the Spiral! When you've reached level 7 and defeated Sgt. Skullsplitter, you can enter the Pet Pavilion on the Commons. There you will find lots of free activities for you and your pet. Speak to Merle Ambrose for more instructions!
  1. Set your pets free to roam your Castles & Lands.
  2. Get your pets some exercise in the Derby.
  3. Buy or craft them treats to make them happy.
  4. Let them have some fun in the Mini-Games.
  5. Create new pets with the magic of Hatching.
  6. Watch as your pets cast their own spells in battle."
you HAVE to see the video..the Spiral will never be the same, again.

BIG "thumbs up!", KI!

Go West, young wizards!

Today's Celestia-inspired maritime post, in conjunction with navigation is the humble compass.
Now, we all pretty much know that a compass always points "North", right? Well, did you know that on nautical charts, there are actually 2, sometimes 3 Norths? Yup, that's right. There's a "Grid North", a "Magnetic North", and "True North"

'Grid North' is usually just "up, top of page", on most maps, but Magnetic North, and True North are a little closer related:
"MagneticNorth" is NOT "where Santa lives". , Santa lives at "True North", where the Earth's axis of rotation is centered. The difference between the two, (based on your geographical location), is called "magnetic declination".

However, the Earth's core has a Helephant-ton of molten iron spinning around in it, thus creating the Earth's magnetic fields. THIS is what a compass lines up to. "Magnetic North"

We're all familiar with the compass. With cheap plastic everywhere around us, a compass has become an inexpensive "afterthought" on many products. It wasn't always this way...

Did you know that compass have been around since 221-206 B.C.? That's a loooong time, wizards. The earliest compasses were made with lodestone (a form of magnetite). Can you say "Magic"?

And there's a compass-related flower that you'll never see growing in a garden, it's called a "Compass Rose", or "Wind Rose", and it's not even really a plant, but the compass-related graphic found on a map that orients "North" for the reader.
A modern "Compass Rose" (notice how it has 2 Norths?)
(1: North marked "magnetic", and 2:'True North' marked by the Star(Polaris))
This type of rose uses "degrees" (0-360), for navigation. 

But that rose is very "technical", because it's an actual navigation chart. The more "artistic" Compass rose looks more like this:
I'm sure you've seen this type of "rose"

N, S, E, and W are considered ":Cardinal" Directions, NE, SE, SW, NW are called "intermediate" directions.
Beyond that, it does break down further. But for our purposes, "this is good"

There is one more kind of rose, for navigation,and a young wizard uses it for directions; but this particular 'rose' sends you *all over the Spiral*:

An "Amb Rose" (Sorry..just..couldn't... resist)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Poe-etic Injustice

 (with apologies to Edgar Allen Poe)

Once within a graveyard dreary, while I pursued darkened myst'ry,
Over many a quaint and curious blog of wizard lore,
While doing Homework, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my crypt's door.
`'Tis some visitor,' I muttered, `tapping at my crypt's own door -
Only this, and nothing more.'

Quoth the Raven "Twitter More!"

Yes, gentle readers, I *do* have a Twitter account.
Mostly, it's for following the whispers of the W101 world, However, on rare occasion, I do use it to communicate time-sensitive bits of data. So, if you should be so inclined, you know where to find me.

Your attitude determines your lattitude

Well, that's how that saying goes ("How you act determines how much you're allowed to do".)

In this case, though, it's just a catchy tie-in for today's nautically-inspired post: Navigation.
 You see, when you're out on the High Seas, (or the middle of the desert, even), To get from "Point A" to "Point B", you need to know 2 things: Where *you* are, and where your target location is. GPS, nowadays, is the "Quest Helper" of navigation. But what if we didn't have satellites in orbit, to triangulate our position? Well, that's where good old "Celestial Navigation" kicks in. How do you think Balder Goldenpaws gets from place to place? Using the Sun, Moon, Stars, and planets, a trained person can "do the math" to figure out where, on Earth, They are. Since it takes special tools to do it, (like a sextant, and special conversion charts), we're not going to cover it. And, honestly,  that's more than I can reasonably cover, without putting you to sleep (Yay! Math! Zzzzzzz).

So, I figured we could look at "Longitudes" and "Latitudes", and maybe have a bit of fun with it.

Well, we all know this is the Earth, in "Mercator" format:

Mercator style map. Most common map type.

Okay, notice the little "grid boxes"? That's the basis for latitude (North/South) and longitude(East/West).
Latitudes (parallels) are based on the Equator (0), and goes positive (North), or negative (South)
Longitude 0 ('Prime' Meridian) passes through the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, in England and goes positive (East), or negative (West)
Each "grid box" can be further broken down into "minutes" and "seconds". so, a typical LAT or LON will be given as DD MM SS (Degrees, Minutes, Seconds)

Positions can also be given in a decimal format, as well.
If I were to tell you that 33.038275,-96.831356 "has a lot in store for us", would you believe that's the LAT/LON for KingsIsle's Plano, TX headquarters? True Fact! 

Yep, that KI's Parking lot. 

Yeah, gotta love Google Maps.Great resource for looking up map positions.

Pop Quiz: This place :( 32° 19' 59" N / 64° 45' 0" W ) is a place  famous for a particular piece of clothing. What is the name of this location? (thanks to Kevin Battleblood for pointing out how easy the original hint was)
Note: All comments are being held back for a few hours, but *will* be posted. I'm appreciative of the intelligence within our community, you Wizards rock!

Monday, April 26, 2010

First reveal now available.(*updated*)

Yep, the same one you've seen elsewhere. (I'm slow today)
Clicky, clicky for biggie biggie. 

EDIT: Thanks to Isaac Mistheart from That Pyromancer for pointing out the 2 NEW sillouettes  , not originally in the first "sneak peek": That's a sharp eye, Isaac!
Looks like a Croc(?) and a Mech, to me. Looking more and more "steampunk", as we go.

On to the revealed character:
"SpongeBob! Squidward! Get back to work!"
Separated at birth? Time will tell.

A quick biological tidbit on crabs ( from HERE) :

"The crab body is protected by a rigid exoskeleton. This is a tough chitinous “skin” that completely covers all parts of the body. As the crab grows, the exoskeleton is periodically shed in a process called molting (ecdysis). The resulting molt looks like a translucent creature without a body. In a few hours, the molted crab absorbs enough water to swell its body by about ten to twenty percent and the exoskeleton hardens. The crab body then grows to fill the new exoskeleton. Much of the body is protected by the carapace, the covering of the head/thorax, and the crab can pull the legs under the carapace presenting a hard rock-like creature to a predator."

Short version: "one tough cookie." 

A little maritime humor.

"How much did the Pirate pay to get his ears pierced ?"

Ah, the classics, they never die...

Anyways, a bit o' nautical education for you, being that Celestia is just over the horizon....
Ever see a ship, at port, with all manner of colorful flags flapping in the breeze:

They're more than pretty..they're pretty useful.

Well, wizards, those are Signal Flags, and they're used to communicate a message , and serve as a backup, should radio communications fail. So, an astute student (such as yourself) would be able to read the flags, just like you read each letter. Just a FYI, in case you were curious. "Fortune favors the well prepared."

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Unexpected surprise

Unexpected surprise, today. Amber Stargem has been tracking me like a Pro Hunter, and we agreed to meet up at Dworgyn's place. After meeting up , did a quick port and *poof*, guess who I ran into....

Friendly, Cassandra Griffindreamer, Bailey Skystaff .Jessica Fairyheart, and the list goes on.
It was a good time of re-familiarizing myself with some old friends (and new), and I expect I'll be catching up, rather quickly.

So, to show my joy, I joined the NPC side. ;)
We've decided that Friendly has a posse: "Troop Friendly"
(we'll sell cookies)

And another surprise: My protegee Fallon Star from Wishing on a Fallon Star did me honor with this awesome graphic: 
If the true measure of a person is in the friends they keep, then I am truly blessed.

Comments error

Well, unbeknownst to me (but knowst to many of you), there was a comment error that I was unaware of. Special Thanks to Kevin Battleblood of The Chillanthropist (love that title, btw), for emailing me , so I could fix it. I will try logging out, and seeing if it works.

 "To Err is Human, To fix it, is a colossal pain in the neck"

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Celestia Speculation

Well, wizards, a new world threatens to open to us, and, as we can all see, it's a maritime environment. That holds a lot of potential, does it not? Of course it does! And, I'm in the mood for a bit o' theorycrafting, and wild speculation, so "let's have at it", shall we?

Now, a deep sea environment is a *perfect* choice, in my opinion. I mean, c'mon..pirates, submarines, Captain Nemo... Hmm...Captain Nemo there's almost a *guaranteed* NPC or Boss (along with names like "Jules" and "Verne"). Who wants to make a wager that There *will* be a Captain Nemo, and you're gonna have to find him, as a quest..(like, maybe "Finding Nemo"?). Betcha. Betcha,betcha,betcha!

Speaking of Finding Nemo (the movie), do you remember this particular creature?

It is called an "Anglerfish"....
And it's REAL.

Yes, dear wizards, the Deep Sea is an alien environment, full of wonders, and horrors. Wanna sea more real-life monsters of the deep? Click this link (warning: not for the nightmare-prone). Can you imagine *any* of these creatures as mobs. They're scary enough, nevermind giving them *magic powers*. (Shiver).
There are even Vampire Fish, Vampire Squid, and a multitude of things that would give a Storm Shark a reason to "hit the beach". Necro-Fish Aquarium, ftw!

Okay, all that being said, time for some "game engine possibilities" theorycrafting. Mind you, Celestia has to be pretty much "in the can", as far as production goes, so if we don't see it here, we're not likely to see it anytime soon.

So, remember "back in the day", when I used to throw out elaborate "game engine" theories on expanding combat, or in adding dimension? (or, like my "Farming Hall" idea, which I still think is *doable*). I haz me another viewpoint: Swimming!

"Oh, geez, Autumn, that's a bit much, don't you think...?"

Actually, to quote Phinneas and Ferb, "Why Yes. Yes, it is". But I'm going to do it, anyways. That's the joy of theorycrafting, I can come up with altogether overly-elaborate ideas, and not have to do *one* bit of coding. So, behold ! "The high tech schematic of swimming in Celestia "-inator. (+5 points if you caught the Doofenshmirtz reference):

(Yeah, ya gotta click it.)

(Inflecting a snooty Marleybone accent): "Hmm.. Now as you can see, we have added a limited vertical axis with which to navigate, and evade roving mobs, who also have a vertical axis of motion, as well as horizontal...there will , of course, be 'sidewalks', although perhaps 'sideswims' would be a more appropriate terminology. A new addition would be the addition of an Oxygen 'timer', requiring the occasional trip into danger, into the 'Air pocket', as well as treasure drops at the bottom of the tube. All combat would, naturally take place centrally, that is to say "at sidewalk level". Unfair, you say? My dear, this is not Unicorn Way..I have every confidence in your ability deal with a greater level of challenge..."

Well, you get the idea...I hope. feel free to interrogate me further, should elaboration be required.

Now, I'm currently farming Veda Spiderkeeper, for my still-to-be-earned 50 gear. (Yes, yes, I know.."should already be done", and all that), and it occurs to me: If the cap is being raised to 60, in Celestia, will this gear I'm farming become potentially obsolete?  I'm guessing it's kinda-sorta gonna have to, (based on the presumption that Celestia is a "step up", and not a "side step", like Grizzlehheim.) Judging by Briskbreeze Tower, I'm gonna go with "step up", for now. (Who knows, maybe *now* we'll get the "fishing" ability, previously hinted at, in Grizzleheim.)

So what are the "Meet and Greets" in Celestia gonna look like? Probably like this:

All I know is how much I don't know.

Your thoughts on the matter?