Gaming Reviews: XCOM 2

Call of Duty, The Sims, and chess, all rolled into one.

I’ll admit it, I am very new to the genre of turn-based games. Before I picked up XCOM 2, I’d never even played its sequel, XCOM: Enemy Unknown. I don’t know if this a recommended game for players who are new to the genre, but whatever. I went for it.

The game opens with a relatively easy beginning mission with a batch of four randomly generated rookie soldiers. The object of the game isn’t clearly spelled out to begin with, but you’re promptly given a simple mission objective: get one or more of your soldiers to the destination point, set the explosives, and evacuate without dying.

Obstacles come in the form of ADVENT soldiers. Not knowing the apparently necessary backstory from the first XCOM game, all I can tell you is that they’re aliens.

Instead of running aimlessly like one would in a normal shooting game, XCOM is played more like a game of chess: protect your strong, valuable soldiers by hiding them behind cover in terrain – and, if necessary, less valuable minions. There are five classes of soldiers – sharpshooters (snipers), rangers (ones with machetes), specialists (healers, basically; they have drones), grenadiers (they blow stuff up), and psi-ops (psionic operatives – they can mind control, but they’re harder to get) and all are necessary to play a good game. There’s as much careful strategizing involved as there is shooting up aliens. Somehow, they’re equally fun.

It’s a very interesting, refreshing combat system, especially for someone who’s as terrible at aiming as I am. The reason I’ve never gotten into games like Overwatch and CS:GO is that I’m pretty much the worst shooter ever. Seriously, I have better aim in real life than I do in most first-person shooters. Instead of a seat-of-your pants, fast-paced, shoot-em-up game, this is a game that requires a lot of strategy and forethought. If you’re planning on sitting down and playing for a long time, I recommend you bring snacks. For whatever reason, I get better at video games when I eat cheese.

XCOM’s combat system is based, more or less, on a random number generator. The game takes several factors into consideration – such as your soldier’s aim and proximity as well as your target’s cover and dodging affinity – and presents you with your hit chance in the form of a percentage. If it’s a good chance, you take the shot. If it’s a bad chance, you either move and try again, or you can go into overwatch mode, which makes your soldier take a shot at the first enemy to move into his or her line of sight.

In theory, at least. I swear (and it’s not just me, either) that XCOM’s RNG is alive, and that it hates each and every player. I have missed 98% chance shots before. More than once. And then your soldier rubs it in by saying something like “Ah, I didn’t get it!” or “Adjusting aim!” Yeah, you missed by five yards. You’d better adjust your aim.

Outside the combat missions, a lot of the more nuanced gameplay happens aboard your flying base, known as the Avenger. This is where you stock up on gear, heal your wounded soldiers, and – of course – mess with the character creator.

The character customization may seem arbitrary, but in the end, it actually helped a lot. I cared much more about my soldiers when I personalized them. There’s a ton of options for you to choose from, so you can make nearly anyone. My dad made his star squad look like our family. I named all of mine after my original characters from various stories and stuff I’d written in the past. When I ran out of those, I named them after people from CBS’s reality show, Survivor. I wouldn’t recommend you name them after anyone TOO close to you, though, because, once they start consistently missing 70%+ shots, you might start to hate them in real life, too.

Although the gameplay seems pretty systematic at first, the game throws you enough curveballs to keep things new and engaging. There are more than a dozen different kinds of enemies, and they all present a different kind of threat. The maps are constantly changing, as are the objectives; as you gain better and better gear and advantages, so do your enemies, in ways that are very difficult to predict, and are almost guaranteed to make you say “Whoa, what just happened?!” at least once.

The storyline is quite interesting, as well, although it is rather easy to miss, since all the vital cutscenes are skippable (and, from the first couple of seconds, all look rather the same). Basically, Earth is being occupied by a bunch of aliens, who are eventually planning to eradicate mankind to use their bodies to create new hosts (Avatars) for their rulers, the Elders, who can mind-control stuff. You are the commander of the resistance, known as XCOM, and it’s your job to direct your forces to drive the aliens out of your home.

XCOM 2 is engaging, addictive, and constantly changing. The combat system is not for the faint of heart; individual missions have taken me upwards of two hours before, which was only made more frustrating by the absurdly long reloading times. Seriously, I could play through Portal again in the time it takes to reload two moves.

Overall, this game earns a rating of 7/10. The gameplay in and of itself is fresh and quite fun, but it’s offset by the immensely frustrating, seemingly unlikely RNG failures, as well as the amount of time it takes to load saves. I would definitely recommend it for veterans of the turn-based genres, as well as particularly zealous newbies such as myself. There will be a lot of frustration, but it will definitely pay off at the end.

Coming Back to Animal Jam

We interrupt your regularly scheduled cosplay update to bring you… an Animal Jam post!

Wait, what?

That’s right, folks. After two or three years of inactivity, my best friend and I (who you may know as Amber or Rtangel781) drudged up our old accounts and played good ol’ AJ again. As it turns out, a lot of things have changed since we blogged about it.

In order to set aside old wounds (such as transferring all your rare items to a friend’s account and then forgetting their password – that’s dumb, kids, don’t do it) we started over from scratch, under the new names thedragonslayer14 and vneckofpower (don’t ask). We did, however, keep our old character names, Juniper Spiritbird and Lucky Shyclaws, just for old times’ sake, and also because Celestia (aka Flora Cottoncloud) and I recently dredged up both installments of “The AJ Story”, the first part of which was not quite as horrid as we’d expected.

Giraffes are now available to non-members, which is pretty cool, because it looks like nothing else new is. The name generator has (thankfully) had some new additions, adding cute prefixes like Sleek, Tranquil, and Ember, as well as some more questionable ones that make names like “Legit Swaggyswag” and “Notable Kawaiipotato” real possibilities. However, the old standby, Major Majormajor, is still around. Oh, well.

The good ol’ map was exactly how I remembered it. The general public in Jamaa Township seems to have got even more annoying since AJ got popular after I left. (Note to self: are these two things related? I hope not.) There’s also a new thing called a Jammer Wall, which I know nothing about, owing to the fact that it’s members-only.

Best Dressed, Falling Phantoms, and Splash-n-Dash are exactly as fun as I remember them being, and Amber and I can still scrape up a tie in Four Gem/Connect Four, which is pretty impressive, seeing as neither of us have played it in years. In addition, we just happened to drop in on a Monday, which pretty much every AJ player ever will recognize as the day that an exclusive rare goes up for sale in the shop. That day’s rare was a pair of cat ears and whiskers, which are less cute than they sound, at least on a wolf.

For the first time, I got to see the inside of a parental control account, which isn’t as interesting as I thought it would be. For starters, free chat is members-only now, which, in my opinion, is really stupid. You shouldn’t have to pay to be un-censored.

Then again, using that logic, you shouldn’t have to pay to dress up a wolf-shaped pattern of pixels in a skirt and a headset, either. But everyone does it. And, in hindsight, even though I blew close to fifty dollars on that website (in eleven-year-old dollars, mind you), I really don’t regret it. I had as much fun on Animal Jam as I’ve had in any other video game, even though it can’t compare in terms of gameplay. I had a weird kind of social life in which my friends and I gossiped and complained about the rising and falling of the AJ stock market (read: they brought rares to the Diamond Shop and everyone got mad). We played enormously fun games of pretend based on our characters and the additions we’d made to the canonical AJ world. Most importantly, I don’t think my friendships with either Amber or Celestia would be where they are now if we didn’t spend so much time frolicking in Jamaa together.

Would I spend that $50 again? If it meant having the kind of fun we had on Animal Jam, maybe so, at least once I’d confirmed that there was nothing better to spend that kind of money on, such as cosplay necessities, or ComicCon souvenirs. I can’t see myself spending money on another Animal Jam membership at any time in the near future, but who knows? Maybe my kids will be hipsters and they’ll play it, too.

Since, once again, I have no idea how to end this post without it ending up enormously cheesy, here’s a dank meme to send you on your way.

Portal 2 cosplay: Making the boots’ first Worbla pieces

Hey, cosplayers, gamers, and fiction enthusiasts, and welcome to Teen Fiction Girl! In this post I’ll be making pieces based on the patterns I created in my last two cosplay posts. I’m going to stop linking every previous post, because as this post goes on the list is going to get really long, so I recommend you (if you haven’t already) click on the “Portal 2 Cosplay: Chell” category on the menu up there. ^^
Also, an advance warning: since most of the cosplay process detailed in this post involved me using heat guns and struggling to form plastic and foam before it cooled, there are very few pictures of the process. I’ll do my best to describe it to you, or provide an alternate tutorial/demonstration where I can.
Before I get started on the process, I think I’d better cover the materials I’m using.
Everyone knows what craft foam is, but the key component of these pieces is a material called Worbla. Worbla is a thermoplastic, which means it has a low melting temperature and can be easily heated up and molded. It’s about a millimeter thick, flexible, and a key component in many professional cosplayers’ wardrobes.

The first thing I did was slightly alter the pattern for the toe piece. It was large enough to fit the boot, but it didn’t wrap far enough around the back, and it was going to cause some weird gaps if I didn’t fix it. I made it a little larger by tracing it onto a piece of posterboard, drawing on the extra width, cutting it out, and taping it on.

I was worried that I might not have enough Worbla for the new, larger pieces, but they turned out great.

I was worried that I might not have enough Worbla for the new, larger pieces, but they turned out great.

At the time I made these components, I had a 15″x19″ piece of Worbla that I’d bought previously just to play with. I also had an enormous roll of craft foam, which is the first thing I used. I traced the patterns onto the foam (once for the ankle piece, twice for the toe piece – you’ll see why in a minute) and cut them out.
I laid each foam piece out onto the Worbla, about an inch apart. I measured 3/4″ all the way around them, traced my new, larger line, and cut it out. (That’s another awesome thing about Worbla: it cuts just fine with scissors.)
Next came the first somewhat dangerous part. Yay, danger!
I got ahold of my trusty heat gun (actually, it’s usually rather unreliable, and extremely hard to turn off – but you get what you get) and heated up the Worbla until it was floppy. I centered the foam on the melted plastic and wrapped the plastic around the edge. I now had three pieces – one ankle piece, two mirrored toe pieces – that looked as though they were made of thick Worbla, when, in reality, they were foam with little Worbla hats on top.
I'm really sorry for the weird stripey shadows; lace curtains and photography don't really mix.

I’m really sorry for the weird stripey shadows; lace curtains and photography don’t really mix.

My next step was to make the flat pieces into components of the boot. Remember how I was confusing everyone by talking about the piece that goes on the “bottom”? You’re about to see what I meant.
I grabbed the boot I was going to use and stuffed it with plastic bags again. I took one of the mirrored toe pieces and conformed it to the side of the boot. (Sorry I don’t have any pictures!) I took the other piece and did the same, but on the other side of the boot. Now I had two halves of the shell that was going to go over the foot part of the boot. It was sort of like those phone cases where the front piece snaps onto the back piece, if that makes any sense.
My next step was to join them. I heated up both pieces, sandwiched them back onto the boot, and connected them along the front of the foot, so now, instead of having two halves of a “boot case”, I had one “snap-on” one.
This was the final product. Don't worry about the weird bubbles on the side; I smoothed them out later (and made the Worbla fit more tightly as well).

This was the final product. Don’t worry about the weird bubbles on the side; I smoothed them out later (and made the Worbla fit more tightly as well).

If this step was a little hard to understand, I’m sorry. Kamui Cosplay has (to the best of my knowledge) never made a pair of long-fall boots, but Svetlana made a pair of bracers using almost the same technique, so, if you want, you can watch this video to better understand what I did.

Now that the toe piece was squared away, I got to work on the ankle piece.
Since I’d done this one a hundred times with the posterboard version, this one was super easy. All I had to do was wrap it around the foot of the boot and connect the parts that needed to be connected.
There were just a couple of hiccups: one, the part that attaches across the front of the foot was slightly too short. When I made my patterns, I hadn’t realized that it was going to be wrapping around the toe and ankle piece, which is a lot thicker than just the boot. It was really easy to make a little foam-and-Worbla square to connect them in the center.
The hardest part was keeping the ankle piece and the toe piece from sticking together. To keep both pieces removable (which was vital at this point, seeing as I hadn’t sanded or painted either piece yet), they needed to stay separate.
When the Worbla cooled, the result was this:

I'm not actually sure what that red thing on the floor is. I think it's a lid of some kind.

I’m not actually sure what that red thing on the floor is. I think it’s a lid of some kind.

As you can see, the piece wraps around the front and bottom of the boot, with two tabs sticking up (one on each side) for the back piece to attach to. And it goes over the toe piece, which is what I meant when I said that the toe piece would be the lowermost one.
I haven’t done the back piece for a multitude of reasons. I was originally going to use Sintra (a low-density PVC plastic; it smells nasty, but you can heat it with a heat gun as well), but it proved far too industrial for my uses: I couldn’t cut it without power tools, it was nearly impossible to mold, it wouldn’t stick to Worbla (which is kind of vital), and it lets off some pretty nasty fumes when you heat it. I could have used more foam and Worbla, but there were a few things wrong with this too. Firstly, I’d used all my Worbla on the other two pieces, and I didn’t want to buy more without knowing whether my idea was going to work or not. Secondly, I can’t forget about the brace on the back that’ll take the place of the heel: it’s going to have to be strong enough to hold up all of my 110 lb., and there’s no way I’m going to be able to attach something so heavy-duty to something so flexible.
My dad and I did some scheming, and this is the plan we came up with.
We’re going to make the braces out of aluminum bars. The back piece will also be aluminum, with a reinforced piece where the brace will attach; it’ll be riveted to the back part of the toe piece (thank goodness I made my pattern bigger!) and covered in Worbla so it can be easily painted and attached to the appropriate tabs on the ankle piece. Since aluminum is a lot harder to shape than foam (and since my pattern was slightly overlarge anyway, since I forgot to account for the thickness of the finished pieces), I cut a slit in the back of my back piece pattern.
I'll bend the pieces inward to close the gap in the back, and it'll make a nice curve.

I’ll bend the pieces inward to close the gap in the back, and it’ll make a nice curve.

My next order of business is to buy more Worbla and make identical pieces for the other boot. Next time, I swear I’ll take more pictures!!
Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for more updates on this project!

Portal 2 Cosplay: Finalizing the long fall boot patterns

Hey, nerds, and welcome (back) to TFG! This post is a continuation of my first pattern-making adventure, so I suggest you read that one first.
My last post concluded with the creation of my master pattern, which is basically a 2D-ization of all the pieces I’m going to need to construct the plastic parts of Chell’s long fall boots. The final boots will consist of four different pieces (two of which will be more or less fused together, so you can call it three pieces if you want), so my next step was to use my master pattern to construct the patterns I’ll need to make the smaller components of the boots.
First, I got ahold of the half-pattern that I used to make the two-sided pattern that I’ll be using in this post.

Here's all the patterns I'll be using, side by side.

Here’s all the patterns I’ll be using, side by side.

The first thing I did was make a pattern for the piece that will be under the others on the front of the shoe. (Look at this reference pic; you’ll know what I mean.) Ignoring the back piece and the strap that goes across the front of the foot, I added half an inch to the edge of the piece, traced it, and cut it out. It’s always better for your patterns to be too big than too small; you can cut away extra material, but it’s really hard to add it back.

I traced the piece that will go in the front of the boot, under the other pieces.

I traced half an inch around the front piece.

I then cut it out.

Then I cut it out. 

I set that piece aside for a while and got to work on the outer pieces of the boot.
I took the master pattern that I made in my last post, cut off the parts that will be made using the pattern I made in the last paragraph, and separated the two pieces I’ll be using.

After cutting off the toe and ankle piece.

After cutting off the toe and ankle piece.

I split the piece along the lines.

I split the piece along the lines.

Instead of keeping the ankle strap as two separate pieces, I taped the two patterns together, connecting the sides of the pattern that will be on the bottom of the shoe.

Masking tape is my friend.

Masking tape is my friend.

This is the part where I miscalculated and ended up spending forty-five minutes fine-tuning a pattern that I didn’t even need. I won’t post any pictures of it, because it’s not worth your time to read, but here’s the moral of the story: when making two patterns that will connect to each other, check how they actually connect before you decide that one of them is too small.
So, anyway, my next REAL step was to connect the new taped-up lower pattern with the pattern for the calf plate. It made a nice curve around the heel, which means that it’ll look even better when it’s made of thermoplastic and not cheap posterboard. I put it on the boot to see if it would fit. With a few adjustments to the lower piece, it did.
I detached the two pieces from each other and got to work on the third piece.
I traced my cutout piece on my posterboard to make an identical cutout piece. I taped them together along the top of the foot to make a shape that was really awkward when made out of posterboard, but will look a lot better when it’s made of Worbla.

It lays really strangely, but it fits the boot.

It lays really strangely, being posterboard and all, but it fits.

My next step was to make sure I’d made all the patterns correctly. Using masking tape (which is the only tape you should use for this step, since it’s easily cuttable/tearable/removable), I attached all the pieces to each other the way they will be on the final piece, and put it on. I didn’t get any pictures of this stage, since it was kind of hard to hold together properly (being paper and all), but the important part is that it worked.

Here’s a picture of all of my final patterns, side by side.


The one on the bottom looks like some kind of underwear, but it’s functional.

And there you have it!

Another thing I did was decide what materials I’m going to be using for each part. For the calf plate, I’ll be using this stuff called Sintra, which is basically foamed-up PVC, meaning that it’s tough, flexible, and holds its shape, but its density is low enough to be moldable when it’s heated up. For the other two pieces, I intended to use Worbla (which is magical stuff – if you’re into cosplay, you’ve probably already heard of it), but it ended up being way too thin to look okay with the relatively thick 3mm Sintra. So, instead of using Worbla alone, I decided to use craft foam and then cover it with Worbla afterward, to make it stiff, paintable, and more easily shaped.

It’s always a good idea to try before you buy, though, so using the little bit of each material I already have (and the craft foam I ordered off of Amazon today), I’ll experiment and make my final decision before I go to the trouble of purchasing the rest of the materials I’ll need.

Stay tuned for updates on this project!

Portal 2 Cosplay: Making a long fall boot pattern

It’s late September, and you know what that means!
(If you guessed my birthday, well, you’re right, but that’s not quite what I was talking about.)
It’s time to start thinking about next year’s ComicCon cosplay!
Yeah, okay, maybe it’s not for another nine months, but for those of us who work slowly and want to pay attention to detail, it’s time to begin.
Over summer break, my gaming obsession was the Portal series. I’d heard some pretty epic things about it before, but I never got around to playing it until Steam’s fourth of July sale. I saw I could get both Portal games for five bucks, so I thought, why not? It’s only five bucks either way.
It was even more awesome than I expected.
Now, this isn’t a review, this is a cosplay DIY tutorial/walkthrough/demonstration, so let’s get started.
Here’s a picture of the character I’ll be cosplaying as:

Chell is the protagonist of the Portal series; I'll be cosplaying as the Portal 2 version of the character.

Chell is the protagonist of the Portal series; I’ll be cosplaying as the Portal 2 version of the character.

I decided to tackle the long fall boots first.
It took me a while to find a good pair of shoes to use for the structure of the boots. Target and Walmart yielded nothing; it was too early in the year to find cheap knee boots. I didn’t find adequate shoes at Payless, but I magically found a pair of gray leggings with a blue band at the top (who would’ve thunk they even made those?) and snatched them up in about two seconds.
I finally ended up going to Amazon. It took a while, but I finally found a pair of boots in the right size and color, with an accurately sized heel and platform, for only $7.

They're extraordinarily cheap and not exactly the prettiest, but they're perfect for the purpose.

They’re extraordinarily cheap and not exactly the prettiest, but they’re perfect for the purpose.

First I had to cut off the little buckles at the top. They didn’t serve any purpose except looking pretty, so it wasn’t a problem.
Some people make their sewing and crafting patterns by measuring and eyeballing the shape. Not me. Not only are my math skills questionable, but, since the boots’ design is slick and geometric, symmetry is a must.
Instead of wearing the boot to make it hold its shape, I stuffed it with Walmart bags.

No plastic bags were harmed during the making of this cosplay. As of now, anyway.

No plastic bags were harmed during the making of this cosplay. As of now, anyway.

I then proceeded to cover it with tissue paper, and then with masking (or painter’s) tape. DON’T skip the tissue paper, because if you do, your pattern will be stuck to the boot, and something is going to get torn if you try to take it off.

My majestic mummy boot.

My majestic mummy boot.

Using the seams as a guide, I drew two Sharpie lines down the front and back of the boot.

That's my hand. Isn't it cute?

That’s my hand. Isn’t it cute?

And now comes the tricky part: drawing on the details. Using this reference image, I began to draw the lines that will be used to cut out each piece of the boot, carefully measuring each line to make sure they were equidistant from their respective sides of the shoe.
But seriously, curves are hard to do. The boot wasn’t symmetrical, and one side looked way better than the other.
So I decided to do the half-a-pattern technique. I’d make one half of the pattern, trace it, flip it over, and trace it again, to make a mirrored outline of the pattern. I’d cut it out, and it would be perfectly symmetrical without my having to measure a single thing.
And then came my second screw-up. Since now I was only drawing half a boot, I grossly underestimated the size of the plate on the back of the calf. And I cut the pattern off of the boot before I noticed.
I fixed this problem by taping up just the top half of the boot, cutting the messed-up part off of the finished pattern, and taping the usable portion of the latter back onto the boot. I ended up with a sort of franken-pattern.
Why am I telling you this instead of pretending it didn’t happen? So you know what NOT to do. No lasting harm was done to my cosplay (other than a wasted thirty minutes of pattern fixing), but yours will go a lot more smoothly if you don’t make the same mistakes I did.

The "finished" taped-up boot (before I fixed the undersized calf piece). Ignore the misplaced line on the bottom of the ankle piece; that was for measuring purposes only.

The “finished” taped-up boot (before I fixed the undersized calf piece). Ignore the misplaced line on the bottom of the ankle piece; that was for measuring purposes only.

Once my pattern was REALLY finished up, I cut off the unnecessary taped portions (the front of the top and the toe, where the original boot will show through or be cut away) and traced it onto a piece of posterboard, adding an extra half inch or so on the edges that will wrap around the boot (namely the front of the foot and the back of the calf). I traced the lines accordingly (all except the little slit on the side of the foot, which I’ll add on later), mirrored the cutout as described above, and made a two-sided pattern. I wrapped it around the boot for size, adjusted a little, and the pattern was done!

The final product!

The final product!

This is a master template for the patterns I’ll need to cut the material for the long-fall boot. Since I’ll be making the boot in three pieces (the back of the calf, the top piece of the ankle, and the bottom piece of the ankle and foot), I’ll need to use this pattern to create the others.
The next step is to create the smaller patterns and find out how much material I’ll need for each.
Stay tuned for more updates on my project!

Skin Commissions: Lumina Build Team (Skin One)

If you clicked over to this blog from my Planet Minecraft page, you’ve almost definitely noticed that I make Minecraft skins. Aside from making my own skins for fun, I’ve recently been commissioned to make special team skins for the amazing Minecraft build team known as Lumina.

Since the build team’s founder, rblilly, has kindly offered to pay me for making skins for the team, it didn’t seem right to post them on Planet Minecraft, even though I technically have permission to do so. I decided to post them here instead; it’ll be less likely for the skins to be lost among droves of others that I’ve made.
This first skin is for Sally, a learning member of the build team. Here’s what I was told to do:

“A female-looking anime dog skin… The color should be focused on pink, magenta, with some nice color contrast… the basic layout of our logo like a tattoo.”
I made the dog brown and white, with a pink collar. I thought about making the whole dog pink, but it was a little more recognizable as a dog with more natural colors (pixels are a limited canvas; it can be difficult to really put identifying details). The logo is in the form of a spot on the right side of her head.
Here’s the finished work.
screenshot of sally's dog skin

And here’s the skin file (right click+save as to wear it in-game):

Sally's dog

I hope you like the skin!  I’ll post the next one here, too, once I’ve finished it.

A Rift Costume Contest

Hey, readers, and welcome to Teen Fiction Girl! If you play Rift, you might’ve heard about the wardrobe contest going on. The winner gets an exclusive mount, 15,000 credits, and their costume available as a set on the Rift store. Needless to say, for one of my fashion prowess (it was a joke, don’t call me vain), it should be a piece of cake.
You can see the details of the contest here. Quite a shnazzy website, imo.

Anyway, I needed somewhere to host the pictures of my wardrobe, and I thought I’d share them with y’all anyway, so here’s my wardrobe, which I’ve melodramatically decided to call The Golden Shadow.

I still don’t know if I like the helmet. You tell me.

Anyway, thanks for reading, although there wasn’t much to read in this post.

~ Summer

A Minecraft Dream Come True

Hey, everybody, and welcome to Teen Fiction Girl!!  Firstly, happy New Year, and I hope you had a good 2015.  I stayed up until about 12:30 last night working on something I discussed in my last TFG post.

I hardly got enough votes on my poll to calculate a general response, but I decided to go for it anyway and make a server!  It’s called Origins Network, and the idea that it’s as basic as possible (with a few small plugins to control unhappy things like griefing and trolling.)  My purchased dedicated IP ( isn’t working, but you can still connect to the server with the IP  Hopefully the dedicated IP will be up soon, because I’m getting really tired of typing numbers.

So anyway, the bottom line is – I have a server now!  It’s totally public and ready to play, so anyone that wants to play is welcome to.

Thanks for reading!!

~ Summer

A Minecraft Dream (+ poll)

Hey, guys, and welcome to Teen Fiction Girl!  I apologize for my lack of posts lately; I haven’t had much to talk about.  But now I do, so I’m back!  Yippee!

First of all, today is the last day of 2015, and that means New Years’ resolutions.  I resolute (I know it’s actually resolve, hush) to get back on that exercise program that my dad proposed to me in, like, July.  When he asked me if I’d rather earn money by working out or by cleaning public bathrooms, I very honestly answered cleaning bathrooms.

I also resolve to, at some point next year, start a Minecraft server.  You might remember when I had one last year.  It was a lot of fun, but as the sole contributor to the cost of hosting it, I couldn’t keep it up for long.  The problem with this was that I had no donations because I had no donors because it was a private server for me and my friends.  After discovering this awesome server (which I play on a lot with my awesome bro Amber)  it got me wanting a vanilla server of my own again.  I’d have the same problems I had last time, I know… but not if I made it public.

So that’s the idea.  The dream.  Could I host a Minecraft vanilla server?  I know I’m young, but I’ve been staff on more than one server before.  I’m tech-savvy enough to know how to work plugins (not a lot – enough to prevent grief and keep things peaceful while still maintaining vanilla status).  And I have awesome Minecrafter friends to help me if need be.

What do you think?

Thanks for your feedback, and thanks for reading!

– Summer

A Gaming Update Masterpost: Rift, Diablo, and Trove

Hello, readers, and welcome to Teen Fiction Girl!  Christmas is getting even closer, and quite honestly, I can’t wait.  As we all know, with great holidays come great holiday specials on our favorite MMOs, so read on for a bit more on that.

In this post, I’m going to be talking about the three MMOs I play.  If you read the title, you know what they are.  Only one of them does not pertain to Christmas in some way.  So, for you holiday lovers who also happen to be gamers, this ought to be fun for you.

So, Yule has come back to Rift!  This means a month-long game event full of new wardrobe appearances, mounts, minions, quests, and so much more.  You can go sledding in Iron Pine Peak, rejuvenate the humbugs with Christmas cheer in Sanctum and Meridian, and get a new holiday currency from questing and closing rifts.  This currency can be used to buy a plethora of awesome Christmas, winter, or holiday-related items in a new World Event section on the Rift store.  Beware, savvy costume-seekers; some of the costumes in the store are returnable, while some consume automatically once you buy them.  I planned to save up as many snowflakes (that’s the currency) as I could to buy and then return all of the wardrobe appearances – and thus not actually lose any money – but I lost three hundred of them on the fur cloak.  It’s cute, so it’s worth it, but still.


This is the outfit I put on my character for Christmas.  Sorry for the blurry picture.

As for Diablo 3, nothing new has happened (since it’s not as actively updated as Rift or maybe World of Warcraft is – it’s more of a set-in-stone MMO) but that may change soon.  I might well be getting the Reaper of Souls expansion pack for Christmas (I asked for it, anyway) and, if I don’t, then I’ll buy it myself.  So, after Christmas, expect a lot more Diablo-related posts as I explore the new act of the game.

I got to level 8 on my main character on Trove.  I named her _Myra because just plain Myra was taken, and I made her to look as much like my Diablo character as I could.  That’s only one class; this afternoon I unlocked the Chloromancer class (it’s free if you get the quest on Rift!) and played it to level 4.  My graphics card has been acting up lately, so I only got that high before it flipped out on me, but that’s easy to fix since I’ve had a replacement graphics card on hand since I got the computer (I learned that having a backup is always safe after the fiasco with my laptop last year).

This isn’t related to Christmas or gaming, but I’ve made it my personal mission to memorize all of the words to the Spanish version of Parry Gripp’s Space Unicorn.  I knew a little bit of Spanish to begin with, so it wasn’t that hard, but the pronunciation is strange in my English-speaking mouth.  Unicornio espacial, volando por las estrellas, entregando los arcoiris por todo el mundo…

Yeah, I’ll leave it there.

Thanks for reading!  I hope this was interesting and/or informational (although it wasn’t exactly intended to be informational, and it probably wasn’t all that interesting).  Feedback is appreciated, in the form of either ratings or comments, and I always love seeing likes from my readers with WordPress accounts.  : )

~  Summer