The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #128: Reading from The Unicorn Treasury: “The Court of the Summer King” by Jennifer Roberson

Episode #128: Reading from The Unicorn Treasury: “The Court of the Summer King” 

https://archive.org/download/Podcast128_201801/Podcast%20128.mp3

This week, we are reading from The Unicorn Treasury, compiled and edited by author Bruce Coville and illustrated by Tim Hildebrandt.

The short story we’re reading from is called “The Court of the Summer King,” by fantasy author Jennifer Roberson.  Here are some illustrations from the story:

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Between Two Worlds, the synth EP follow up to Long Ago Not So Far Away is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

The bonus track, called “Flight of the Cloudrider” has a 80s movie mashup music video (see if you can identify all the movies!) which is available on youtube.   This app was largely created with the iphone app Auxy.

between 2 worlds EP cover 2

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hour playlist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podast #65: Morgan and Yew – a Serendipity Book Read Aloud

Episode #65: Reading of Morgan and Yew

https://ia601508.us.archive.org/7/items/Podcast65_201611/Podcast%2065.mp3

Back in the 70s and 80s, there were a ton of these little softcover books published by author and artist team Stephen Cosgrove and Robin James.  They were short illustrated books intended to be read to children featuring animals in a fantasy setting and a little moral at the end.  They were, in a sense, short fairy tales.

One of the nice things, I always thought, were the beautiful illustrations accompanying each page done by Robin James.  I’m sure they provided inspiration to many a young artist.

Interestingly enough, these books were an early successful foray in self publishing.  Apparently, the author, Stephen Cosgrave, initially couldn’t get anyone to publish his books so he decided to take the process on himself.  I can imagine that must have quite an undertaking at the time, since even today, it is expensive to get books printed in color while keeping the price point at something reasonable a parent will be willing to spend.  Good for him for sticking with it long enough for it to take off.

In any event, this is a particularly cute one I read with my daughter about the unlikely friendship between a unicorn and a sheep.

morgan

Here are some pictures from the book:

file-nov-03-12-40-06-pmfile-nov-03-12-42-24-pmfile-nov-03-12-45-26-pmfile-nov-03-12-43-57-pm

As always, thanks for listening!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #30 Bonus Track: Homebrew Games – Tomb Raider, Chimp Fighting, 80s Bboying, and The Thirteenth Hour

As mentioned in the 30th episode of The Thirteenth Hour podcast, my bro and I tried to make video games when we were kids.  Tried is the operative word, since many didn’t get finished.  My brother completed more than I did, but unfortunately, they’ve been lost to the ether of the internet, at least for now.  So instead, this is a page of games I worked on.  I doubt I’ll get around to finishing them since I’ve basically forgotten how to use the programs we used, Klik ‘N Play (KNP) and The Games Factory (GF), so this is a of museum of sorts.

I don’t know if you can find these programs easily today, but you can download a more advanced, free version called Clickteam Fusion (CF), which I think should open any of the game files below.  There are links to compressed folders below where you can run the .exe file to play the game (if it was completed); you can use CF, GF, or KNP to open the .gam file to see the levels and the sprites.  WARNING – these games don’t run very well on today’s computers!  Just a warning that the gameplay, which was never stellar, is even buggier than it was back in the day …

If you wish to use any of these sprites or elements of these games in your own indie games, please feel free to do so; I only ask you please link back to this page!

Tomb Raider: The Unicorn Quest

You can download this game here.

My first completed (fan) game, finished in 1999 or 2000, where a young Lara Croft goes on a search for a unicorn with her mentor.  Not long after they find one, their guides turn rogue after deciding they want the unicorn for themselves.  Lara’s mentor is killed, leaving Lara stranded in the woods.  She decides to save the kidnapped unicorn and avenge the death of her mentor.  I hand drew the animations for Lara, as well as a first person point of view perspective of her shooting dual pistols.

Sounds better that it really was.  The gameplay, 20 years later, is basically ASS 🙂

Nonetheless, here are some screen shots:

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The title screen

TRUQ2

The intro

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Lara’s job interview – how she finds a mentor

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Lara’s mentor gets in trouble

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The first level

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Lara flips while facing the first boss

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One of the mindless bonus levels where Lara gets shot out of a cannon (?!) and goes flipping around a room getting power-ups.

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Lara’s in trouble!  3 motorcycle riders with machine guns are racing to find her, in true 80s movie style.

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Lara steals one of their bikes …

TRUQ10

… you get to this very frustrating level to play – you control Lara as she rides along the desert landscape trying to inexplicably avoid boulders falling from the sky.  I programmed it so the boulders with target your movements, but due to the shite control, it is irritating to play. 

TRUQ11

Like a retro Lucasarts game, you don’t really die in this game … if you run out of hearts, the level basically restarts.  In the interim, you see this screen.

TRUQ12

First person shooting in a boss level – the animations of the guns (slides going back, shell casings ejecting, etc) were hand drawn, then compiled in the games program.  

Tomb Raider: Shadow of the Wolf

Never finished, but you can download the working .gam file here, which you can use to make a game of your own.  For animated gifs, see the post immediately below.

I wrote about this game here, so won’t repeat myself, but the story (I think) revolved around Lara trying to recover a mythical sword rumored to be part of the Regalia of Japan before a group of ninjas intent on finding it first do.  ‘Nuff said!  I do, however, have a little backstory script written for the plot which I may add to and make an actual fanfic short story one day, which may give me something to do with the pictures I drew.

Chimpoeria

You can download it here.

This was the second game I finished – a chimp fighting game.  As a play on the Afro-Brazilian martial art, capoeria, it’s called Chimpoeira.  The game doesn’t run very well on today’s machines – the movements and controls are too erratic to be very enjoyable, but on the 200 MHz machine I had in college, I had a lot of fun playing this game after I made it.

chimp

The graffiti style title screen

chimp2

The training screen

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Fighting the grey chimp – you ever-present arch enemy

 

The Drummer’s Beat

Never finished, but you can download the working .gam file here, which you can use to make a game of your own.

While I was working on the above games, I was also working on a bboy game where you play a kid in the early 80s running around the Bronx learning how to breakdance.  You have to convince a group of local bboys to teach you in exchange for helping them find a place to practice (a constant real-life hassle for most bboys and bgirls).  The title comes from the Herman Kelly and the Life song “Dance to the Drummer’s Beat,” a good old school breaking beat.

This ended up being a pretty ambitious project, since in addition to making all the animations for the dancers and a breaking battle engine, I wanted to make a city for your character to run around in to give it some RPG elements.  Interestingly, the latter part was what I got hung up on and eventually stalled the project.  The battle engine was more of less done, though it wasn’t great in terms of gameplay, and most of the animations – arguably the more tedious and time consuming part – were done, so if someone wishes to make a 2D breaking game, please feel free to use the above file.  I’ll be first in line to play it!

(If you’re interested in playing an actual, finished bboy game, I’d recommend Bboy for the PSP or PS2, especially since actual OG bboys were used as character models. Unfortunately, that game hadn’t come out at the time I was working on this.  It does most of what I was trying to anyway.  Though I haven’t played it, I heard the PSX game Bust a Groove is another, earlier game where you can apparently bboy).

I didn’t have a chance to go through the myriad animations and turn them all into animated gifs, but here are two:

6step animated gifone of the footwork animations

mills animated gifthis windmill-nutcracker-backspin combo took forever to animate!

Here are some screenshots:

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Intro screens

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Your main character is the kid on the left, watching the bboys practicing outside your apartment.  Little do they know you’ve been trying to do what they do in your room.

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Eventually, you get up the guts to ask them to teach you something.  They sort of agree, once you show them what you’ve been trying to do.  Ah, hip hop, the great social equalizer.  However, they’d like your help in finding a better place to practice …

drum5

… so you start running around the city, where you can enter stores and talk to people.

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Unfortunately, if you get hit by a car, you end up in that big cypher in the sky.

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You could eventually earn some cash, which you could spend on things like apples for more energy or better clothes to make it easier to do spinning moves.  OR … you could apparently blow it all on a prostitute, haha!  I totally don’t remember adding any of this but laughed out loud when I found the “Death by Prostitute” level I had apparently included.

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If you blew your $$$ on a hooker, though, things didn’t end so well for you in this depiction of pre-AIDS antiretroviral medication (a midi file of “Sexual Healing” would be playing on this screen).

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However, if you managed to avoid these temptations and kept practicing, you’d eventually be rewarded with more moves and better gear.

 

The Thirteenth Hour Game

Although I’ll have to do a separate post on this later, I originally thought The Thirteenth Hour might be best as a game rather than as a book (before I knew about ebooks), so I set out on the ambitious task of making it into a video game.  Not surprising I didn’t finish, but given the length of the book, I’m impressed as how much time I managed to sink into this clearly unrealistic goal.

output_B3j4UO  I modified a Mega Man 2 character sprite to make the main characters – here’s Logan and Aurora on Lightning.

logan lightning animatedThis one is different.  I think I drew this one from scratch and have since used it in the original trailer and other videos.

Here are some screen shots:

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The intro, with lyrics from Alphaville’s “Forever Young” (playing in the background, of course)

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The classroom scene – seen out of Alfred’s eyes as he gets drowsy …

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… and falls asleep.  In the background, you can hear 13 chimes going off to mark the ringing of the 13th hour.

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Once asleep and dreaming, Alfred encounters two shadowy figures who tell him the tale of The Thirteenth Hour

dragon

At some point, our heroes will encounter this guy …

outpit(1).gif

This grainy animated gif shows the little intro to the cast of characters …

I’ll have to go back and take a closer look at this pre-game, so for now, to be continued!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #24: The Last Unicorn

Episode #24: The Last Unicorn and #NYNB2016 Author Lo-arna Green

https://archive.org/download/13thHrEps16On/13th%20hr%2024.mp3

After hearing enough people say I should find out more books like The Princess Bride and The Last Unicorn, I finally sat down with my daughter to listen to an audiobook of The Last Unicorn, read by the author, Peter S. Beagle.  Later, I watched the cartoon, which, by the way, has a great voice acting cast.  So in this episode, I talk a little about this fairy tale fantasy classic.  I thought it would be an appropriate follow-up for last week’s discussion on what makes a fairy tale fantasy.

Quotes:

You have all the power you need if you dare to look for it.

Then what is magic for?  What is the use of wizardry if it can’t even save a unicorn? … That’s what heroes are for.

The Last Unicorn

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On a different note, as mentioned, over the next few weeks, I’ll be featuring the same New Year New Books 2016 blog tour authors I talked about on this site.  This week, we’ll hear from author Lo-arna Green.  Please see her feature from last week here.

Interestingly, she wrote that her books started as a story she began mainly for a writing contest: “I entered chapter 1 as a short story to a competition with a publisher and couldn’t stop thinking about what I could write next after I sent it off. So I decided to give up my place in the competition (I know, I know) and finish the book so I could get some peace.”  Isn’t it funny how that works?

#NYNB2016 BLOG TOUR GIVEAWAYS

Don’t forget you can still sign up at the Rafflecopter link below for a chance to win some free stuff supplied by the blog tour authors themselves.

https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/6ac455060/

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Before I forget, I’ll be appearing on local radio show (1380AM WNRI) this Tuesday, 9AM EST.  In a twist or ironic humor, I’ll be talking about a podcast on a radio show, and it should all be good fun.  You can listen live over the internet as well.

Lastly, for anyone (but especially you aspiring authors out there), from here on out, I’ll occasionally talk about some ways to make a few bucks online.  There are many sites out there that basically pay you to watch videos (in reality, watch ads), and they tend to pay in gift cards.  It can be handy to have some money in your Amazon account to be able to send books to friends, family, reviewers, and giveaway winners and offset the cost of buying the books yourself.  One such site is earnhoney.com, which you can use on your computer.  If you’re interested in learning more, check out this channel on youtube for more info.  Good luck!

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