Thursday, 15 August 2019

Preview: The Future Adventures of Halesowen


He barely took notice of Ross who was stood next to Brandon, seemingly waiting for him to finish up what he was doing. Quinn was stood waiting at Daniel’s side, ready and waiting to get going.

The two had already agreed that they’d use this break to record a video about the modules they had coming up in this second year, though Daniel had a feeling Brandon would want to join them as they took the trek down to the town centre, and wanted to give him that opportunity to come.

Standing up, Daniel walked around the row of tables to get in front of the computer Brandon sat at.

“What are you doing?” he asked.

Brandon locked eyes on Daniel for a second before resuming his previous position. “Just finishing up the writing I was doing.” He let his gaze drift to the right as he continued typing. “Wasn’t Ross waiting?”

Daniel had noticed that Ross had left as soon as he had started moving toward them, but hadn’t been concerned by it. With Ross around, Brandon might have been less inclined to join him and Quinn down to town. Though he had been surprised to see the two had been slowly splitting away from each other since they had been back. Ross had already shown a disinterest in the store when they’d first been there and had continued to do so on their numerous visits during the first year, so he shouldn’t really have been surprised that Ross would eventually stop joining them when that store was so frequently visited.

“And… done,” Brandon exclaimed.

Having saved and logged out of the computer, he slung his backpack over his right shoulder, sidestepping out of the row and heading for the exit of the room. Quinn and Daniel followed.

“To the town, then,” Daniel said as they passed the rest of the group.

No-one even acknowledged the comment. He’d expected it. If they wanted to come, they’d make their own way down.

Outside, Daniel looked back in to see if there had been any movement, and quickly hurried Brandon and Quinn around the building into the car park when he noticed that Ross was near the entrance.

“What are we doing?” Brandon asked, slightly harried but curious.

“Just getting to a decent area to start the video,” Daniel answered. “A low amount of noise.”

He then remembered he hadn’t mentioned the video to Brandon before this moment, and spent a quick moment filling him in.

“I’d be a guest on the channel?” he asked.

“For today, and in the future if people respond well. I know you say you don’t like being on video because of your voice, but I’ve never heard a problem with it so I’m sure no-one else will, either.”

It wasn’t exactly true, as Brandon’s voice would occasionally get picked up weird by the microphone on certain sounds, but he didn’t need to be reminding him of that if he was willing to join in on this video and maybe others.

At the other end of the car park, they had a clear view of the hills where he and Quinn had recorded their video on the landscapes of film. It would make a perfect backdrop for the start of this video, and also allowed the rest of the group to get ahead of them on the journey down the hill.

He didn’t want any of them butting in and trying to join on this video. He had allowed it on others he’d done while at the college, but this one he wanted to be more focused. Those that had involved the whole group had certainly been lacking in focus, as had been noted plenty of times in the comments.

Daniel filled Brandon in on what would happen, though with how many of their videos Brandon had watched there seemed little need to do so, but it was always best to be prepared.

Flipping the viewscreen around to where the camera pointed, he turned the camera around so it faced the three of them. His own jet-black hair and light-brown skin showed well on the screen. Quinn’s auburn-red hair provided an outline for her pale face that was merging into the light of the sun. Brandon’s orange-tan skin was also reflecting the sunlight, though not as strongly.

He’d had to move the camera to fit each of them in, first focusing upon himself and Quinn, then himself and Brandon. With both times, the hills in the background were visible between them.
He returned the camera to focusing upon himself and Quinn, pressed record, and began.

“Hello to all! The Wandering Ramblers are here again! I’m Daniel.”

“And I’m Quinn. What you see behind us are the hills where we shot our video on the landscapes of film.”

“Half of our timetable has us scheduled to be up here at the media centre, offering a great view of the surrounding area from the car park and a canal that we can walk along.”

As he paused upon mentioning that, he had an idea of where they could go to ensure there’d be little traffic and have more time to talk.

“But first, we have a guest with us. Welcome to the camera…” He angled the camera slowly to reveal Brandon’s face in a more dramatic way. “Brandon!”

“Hello there,” Brandon said, lifting two fingers of his right hand in welcome. “It’s good to be here.”

“So, Brandon? What is our topic for today?” Daniel asked.

“That topic would be the modules of our second year here at Halesowen College.”

“Yes, we Wandering Ramblers will be covering some of the modules we’re doing on the channel, so we wanted to give an overview of what we’ll be doing. Since you’re the guest, Brandon, which of the modules are you most wanting to get stuck in to?”

“It’d be obvious to say TV Series Production, but that’s where I feel I’d be able to put my creative writing to work the most. However, I’m also interested in the Producing Installation Work module.”

“I think everyone will be interested in that TV Series Production module, and count me as another interested in the installation stuff. For anyone who doesn’t know, installation work is art within a room such as a sculpture that allows people to see it from all angles and sometimes allows for interaction. Mixing in video media with that can add another layer to the piece of art, and I think we’ll be using experimental art to carry this module out.”

Daniel angled the camera to include Quinn, and asked her the same question. Her answer didn’t surprise him.

“Firstly, the Corporate Video Production module is something I feel I’d be very good at, and in fact already have experience with. Company marketing is an area I’d probably focus on, but I’d also want to look into other areas of marketing, so the Factual Program Production module is also one I want to get stuck into.”

“And for me,” Daniel added, “it’d be Multi-Camera Productions. Studio productions are of interest to me, more the behind-the-scenes within the sound deck. We’ll be taking up roles within a production so I’ll be taking the sound engineer role if I can.”

He ended the recording, letting his arm drop.

Thursday, 1 August 2019

August '19 Monthly Update


July saw the start of a month-long event in Racing Month, where I visited some racing games by showing off some gameplay and shared the story of them in relation to myself. I looked at Excite Truck, Crash TeamRacing, GripShift, and Midnight Club Los Angeles, with each being released every Friday. I had planned on featuring another game, but felt it was too similar to one of those already featured. And while I feel I could get away with the story I used for Midnight Club, I don’t think I have one for Test Drive Unlimited that would have justified its inclusion.

Near the end of the month, I also revealed my plans for reviving and reconstructing one of my old fan-created stories that I’d had plans of doing for more than a year before this point. But Pokémon: Shadow Boom is indeed getting that revival starting from this month. The prologue and first chapter are already on Wattpad, so now would be a good time to get familiar with the story for when the second chapter gets added this month and more chapters get added for the rest of this year and into the next.

And speaking of stories, as said at the end of that Shadow Boom revival post, I will indeed be posting a preview of my fifth novel. In case you don’t know, the fifth will see a return to Halesowen and the media students, following them throughout their second year as they think about their futures. Returning again to the short story collection format, I am targeting a September release for it, hence the preview being released this month. The Future Adventures of Halesowen, as tentatively titled currently, won’t be working around the events of another story, but will lead into the fourth in the Alternate Halesowen and Beyond series.

My next video is racing related, returning to Forza Horizon 4 to showcase a drifting Mini as it tackles all of the drift zones in the game for three stars. There will also be a video looking at some of the events and things to do in a game called Go Vacation, tying into another look at my Mii Resort Paradise idea. If you haven’t yet seen this idea of mine, it builds on what Nintendo gave us with Wii Sports Resort, and goes further into building up Wuhu Island than they have as a true hub of sporting entertainment. Key of which is a realistic-scaled version of the island that allows full exploration.

There’s a lot of content coming within the next few months, and of course this is just the start of it. With the Pokémon: Shadow Boom revival, the coming release of The Future Adventures of Halesowen, and even more ideas and secrets, it’s a good time to join the ride. Thanks for reading, and I hope you stick around.

Tuesday, 30 July 2019

The Return of Pokémon: Shadow Boom


Back when I first started this entire label – back when it was under Custom Digital Stories and a logo that would never stay the same – there were two fan-created stories on the site. An alternate timeline of the Star Wars universe where Darth Maul was never killed, and Pokémon: Shadow Boom – a story that aimed to add a third story to the Orre region and the Shadow Pokémon.

Both stories were confused messes – as my writing style back at the start never allowed any in-depth planning – and so the result was I was dumping everything I could into them to try and see where I could take them next. They still continually worked, but there was plenty wrong with them. For a while, I had retired Shadow Boom, but it eventually returned and was completed. I felt I could make a proper story from it, and while the ending was a bit a mess, there was still a clear timeline of events that lead to a conclusion [unlike with Star Wars: Darth Maul that tried too much to be like The Clone Wars but failed in its execution, which was then retired without a true ending].

While I could see that Darth Maul was a failed project (and I had the Doctor Who: The Stars Wars Chronicles universe to play around in), there still remained the feeling that the story of Shadow Boom could be crafted into a true story. One that wasn’t a mess and a clear case of fan service before structure. I did the same with TV and Film Residential Camp for it to become Secrets Behind the Truth, so now the next conversion is to begin.

Well, I say begin, but it already has. The first part of chapter one was chopped off to create a prologue for the story, covering the same event but with a few tweaks. Chapter one was added around a year ago, showing off the events that led to Ash, Brock, and Misty learning of the Shadow Pokémon and their investigation. Since the original writing and now, there has been two new generations of Pokémon games, with a new point within the TV series I could start this adventure from.

However, rather than just say Ash returned from Kalos, met up with Brock and Misty and was hanging out with them at Oak’s laboratory when the news breaks of the Shadows, I wanted a real reason why these three would be together and why they would be chosen. So I ended up creating an entire alternate universe where the three were more involved with each other – even upending the entire Diamond and Pearl saga to the point where Ash doesn’t even take part in the league in Sinnoh, the same also going for Unova. They were a team, and were called on as a team to stop the criminal teams from enacting their plans.

Since the three had experience dealing with criminal organisations, and part-time working for Professor Oak, they were on hand to immediately act when the news broke out. Off to Johto, where instead of following the route into Ecruteak City and down to the Ruins of Alph, they instead go straight from Olivine City into Violet City, then onto New Bark Town – which is where the chapter ends once Pikachu is turned Shadow. The method of Pikachu’s capture and the impact it has are similar yet different between the two versions, and to make Snagem more dangerous, a Pokémon of both Misty and Brock had also been turned Shadow.

Chapter two of this story will play out much the same way, with the story of the Shadow Pokémon and Orre being told, but this time I’m not doing a complete retelling of the plot of both games during it. I’m giving a bit of history from before Colosseum, a brief retread of the Colosseum plot, and a brief mention of Michael’s involvement in stopping Cipher within Gale of Darkness. I didn’t feel the need to retell the plots of both games as in-depth as I did in the original version, as all that needs to be shown is the progression of how serious a problem the Shadow Pokémon have become.

Beyond that, nearly everything else is being changed. Chapter three and four still remain in Orre, but for different reasons. Instead of going straight to Hoenn after chapter four, there’s a journey to Johto to settle the events from chapter one. While I’m unsure exactly how many chapters that will take, I’m aiming for around two or three. The final chapters will take the journey to Hoenn, where Snagem will finally be defeated. That Hoenn section will be completely redone, as that was perhaps the weakest of the entire story.

The professors of the regions being captured has been retired, as has the entire concept of the Shadow County. The professors being captured never went anywhere. They were just captured, then rescued some time later, barely getting any time spent on it. And while the Shadow County got an extended chapter worth of content fleshing it out, with how this story is now progressing, there’s just no need for it.

In the original version, the team get captured at the end of their journey across the Shadow County. That no longer needs to happen with this new version. There will be a few elements returning, such as the meeting with May in Littleroot Town and the final confrontation being at Sootopolis City, but most of the stuff inbetween will be scrapped. By the end of that final confrontation, there were too many characters to be managing. With the Orre section being changed, Professor Krane of the HQ Lab will no longer be with the team. Brendan will also no longer be with the team, and while Wes will still be apart of the team, Rui will have been taken to her grandparents in Agate Village.

Then there’s dealing with the Shadow Pikachu, and where that comes into the story. In the original version, it was right at the end, where a return to Pallet Town sees Jessie, James and Meowth holed up in the laboratory after having claimed Pikachu as their own with no way to control him. For the new version, that will be moved to the end of the Johto portion of the story, where the bond between Ash and Pikachu will be explored – which gives a chance to go into some of the alternate history I have written. Team Rocket still feature, though they do go under a new name here, as will be told when getting into that alternate history.

Chapter two of this story will be going up next month, where I hope to get one chapter out a month. While the writing of this story happens, I won’t be forgetting about my Kindle projects, with writing and planning of phase two going well. Look out for the appearance of it within the next month, along with a preview of that first book of phase two.