Warp Drive

Showing posts with label Personal Projects. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Personal Projects. Show all posts

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Conrad's Confessions

Today marks the 10th anniversary of Conrad Sheldon. Who or what is Conrad Sheldon, you ask? This two part article that I wrote in 2009 should shed some light on the subject. That and the recently launched Conrad's Confessions site, which just like Conrad's 2003 site, still needs a lot of work.

From the Graveyard: The E! False Hollywood Story - Part 1: Just who is Conrad Sheldon? Tonight, we investigate the man, the myth, and the mispellings misspellings.

From the Graveyard: The E! False Hollywood Story - Part 2: A local celebrity made headlines today when he rose from the dead. The coroner had this to say, "I have never witnessed anything like this before, and I have been in this line of work for thirty years."


A portrait of Conrad Sheldon drawn by Akril Starr.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Tributes Live Forever (Ancestry with the Haleys - Progress Report #2.5)

When it comes to personal tributes, I am certainly no stranger. In March of 2009, my cat of 14 years passed away, and to commemorate his life, I put together a somewhat elaborate two part photo tribute tied to graphics and sound. That same year, my dad was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer, and within just weeks of that diagnosis, he too passed away. It was the hardest thing I ever had to deal with, and to this day, I feel that a part of me is still missing. That is why, in 2010, I began a video anthology series titled "...with the Haleys." Its aim, to collect some of my fondest memories of my dad in video; for myself, for my family, for anyone else that knew him, and for those that may not have had a chance to know him. Working on these videos, I have always felt an eerie sense, as if my dad is right there with me. It is why I continue to feel passionate about these projects. From Merry Christmas from the Haleys to Disneyland with the Haleys to Nintendo with the Haleys, it is like writing a beautiful sonnet that which echoes across time. It is my firm hope that others receive at least half as much enjoyment watching them as I do making them.


Disneyland with the Haleys


Nintendo with the Haleys

Monday, February 11, 2013

Space Ruckus? What?

Much time has passed since last we saw an update to the design of Space Ruckus: The Official Site. Earth presidents have been elected and re-elected, entire planets have come and gone, and Hostess stopped making Twinkies. In actuality, it was last revised on February 22nd, 2009 with some very minor changes to the design originally developed in July of 2008. I still think that the CSS, HTML and PHP code are robust enough for another go, so things have only slightly been reworked under the hood. The most obvious changes come in the form of a revised logo, background art by Micheal Cross (previously used with permission for The Grig Post), and an additional bar that includes Google Search as well as a number of links to social media networks in which the Space Ruckus project has touched base with. This update also makes a few corrections to the various media pages. Nothing spectacular. Just a few dead link fixes and updated embed code for YouTube videos. As you may have noticed, the forum is still in need of a face lift. That update will come at a later time.


Space Ruckus: The Official Site v2.5

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Nintendo with the Haleys U

With Wii U's release immanent  I thought that I would re-share my tribute to Nintendo, Nintendo with the Haleys. In the near future, I plan to write a proper retrospective blog about Nintendo, and what their games meant to me. I am also kicking around an idea for another video, Nintendoland with the Haleys, with the intention of focusing on my family's Mii characters and Wii gaming memories, and just as much as Nintendo with the Haleys was a look back at the early 8-bit era, Nintendoland with the Haleys would also be a look at the present era (and future). It is something that I am thinking about, anyway. In any case, I want to preserve as much of my dad as possible, and while the Mii/Wii memories are less interesting than other things, it is something that I would still like to do. With that said, onto the original post.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Ancestry with the Haleys - Progress Report #2

This past February, I began a rather ambitious documentary project to trace my family roots. The first three weeks of the project were the most fruitful. My findings were nothing short of amazing. With the help of extended family, I managed to successfully document the names and occupations of my great, great great, great great great, and great great great great grandparents. It was great. Progress Report #1, which I wrote on March 25th, covers this time in much more detail. That report ended with a loose end still to be roped and tied up. I had planned to write a second report as soon as my great grandfather's photographs arrived in the mail, but they arrived a bit later than I had originally expected. Three months later to be precise. To be fair, I misunderstood my cousin when she said that she was preparing the photographs to be mailed the week prior to my March 25th update. In actuality, she was still in the process of locating them. She did more than just that, though. She provided valuable background information about each and every photograph. For the first time ever, I proudly present my great grandfather, James Tribble Haley. He lived and worked in Kosse, Texas throughout the late 1800s. He made a living as a Constable, Deputy Sheriff, and United States Marshall. Sometimes all three at the same time.


Ancestry with the Haleys Promo 2

Around the time that I wrote the first report, I was working on an excavation of my parents' house. It was practically a project within itself. In time, I would find work photographs of my father, an 8mm film reel of my first birthday party, and a number of audio cassettes. It was the photographs of my father that were the hardest to look through. They sent the message home that I was not just crafting a video documentary to my distant ancestors, but a final tribute to my father. He passed away on October 12th, 2009 of Pancreatic Cancer with all but one of his seven children by his bed side. It was simply too much for my youngest brother to bear. It is a constant struggle to work on this chapter of the project. I am flooded with memories, both good and bad, every time that I concentrate on it. I also find myself struggling with what he would have approved of being included, and for that, I just have to do a lot of soul searching. I realize that it will never be perfect, but I will do my best. My father, Paul Wayne Haley, lived and worked in Southern California. He made a living as a Power Brake Operator for Rockwell International (now The Boeing Company). The sheet metal that he crafted was used on NASA's Space Shuttle.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Ancestry with the Haleys - Progress Report #1

Last month, I put out a status update to my relatives on Facebook, asking them if they wanted to see more of my "with the Haley's" videos. The response was good, so I put together Nintendo with the Haley's, a tribute to the 8-bit era of Nintendo gaming. It was in this same status update that my sister responded on the subject of something called "The Haley Book." Supposedly, our grandmother had it in her possession, but hid it from the rest of the family. This intrigued me. Why would she hide such a thing? There must have been something very bad in that book. It did not take long before I learned of the reason, and for awhile, I tried to put a stop to my family talking about it on my public Facebook page. At some point in the distant past, possibly in the late 1700s or early 1800s, there had been a Haley that owned slaves. No wonder then that our grandmother wanted this book hidden from us. She was ashamed of this, and rightly so.


Nintendo with the Haley's

It was then that I was introduced to quite possibly the greatest mini-series that I have ever seen, ROOTS. It was written, ironically enough, by a Haley; Alex Haley. It was the story of his seven generations of ancestors that began in Africa with Kunta Kinte. He was searching for wood to make a drum when he was captured by white slave traders. For the next few nights, I watched this mini-series unfold, and learned things that I never knew about slavery times, and the racial discrimination that followed for African Americans. It was inspiring, too. How stories were passed down from generation to generation. It started me thinking about how I could trace my own roots. I began by digging up old documents and photographs, but this only got me so far. I knew nothing about my great grandparents, or any generations that came before them.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Account of B.F. Haley (1966)

I transcribed what I could of this document, and made a few minor corrections based on facts that we now know. B.F. Haley was born Beverly Franklin Haley, November 15, 1896 - July 22, 1988. Aunt Carol and Uncle Chuck held onto this document for many years before making a copy for me at my request. It explores the Haley family from the 19th century onward.


B.F. Haley, the writer of "The Account of B.F. Haley." November 15, 1896 - July 22, 1988.

The Account of B.F. Haley (1966)

Chapter I: John Haley and Charles Quillan Haley I
Chapter II: Charles Quillan Haley II and B.F. Haley
Chapter III: The Children of B.F. Haley and Charlie Haley
Chapter IV: James Tribble Haley and James Kennedy Haley

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Disneyland with the Haleys

Welcome aboard! Please keep your arms and legs inside the vehicle at all times! It is time once again for a tribute video. This time, we are going to Disneyland! Much like I did with Merry Christmas from the Haleys and Campland with the Haleys, this video takes footage from old family VHS tapes, and turns it into somewhat of a movie. If you are a fan of Disneyland, I am sure that you will like it, and I am sorry if I have not featured your favorite attraction.



I am including a disclaimer at the beginning of the video because I am using snippets of audio from the Disneyland Resort Remember the Moments CD, and music can very clearly be heard in the background of many video clips. I want to be clear that I in no way own the rights to these. It is my sincere hope that this falls under Fair Use, as this is merely a tribute to Disneyland, and the man that created it, Walt Disney. I mean no harm whatsoever to The Walt Disney Company.

Anyway, enjoy the ride!

Oh, and happy belated birthday to Walt Disney!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Space Ruckus: The Great Unfinished Game

First, a little background: Space Ruckus: The Great Invasion began as a fledgling 3D GameStudio project. Very little design work was accomplished, and so, we made the decision to migrate everything to a new engine. That engine was Torque. It was our hope that it would be an overall more flexible engine to work with. In hindsight, more design work was actually done with 3D GameStudio. It soon became evident that our small team was in over their heads. This is an age old tale. Boy plays video game, boy seeks to design video game, boy realizes that it is harder than it looks.

We may not have built a working game, but we did accumulate a great deal of production material in the process. After consulting with many of the other team members, I have decided to release that material. At spaceruckus.com, you will find Concept Art (some more horrendous than others) from the heyday of the project, Music Compositions that were recorded by two budding guitarists, 3D Models that were designed by an up-and-coming 3D artist, and some now ancient (3D GameStudio & Torque) Programming Assets. While there, be sure to check out the new Media Center, where you can sample a wide range of material from Space Ruckus: The Great Invasion.

It is a shame that we could not finish the game, but hopefully, we have all learned something from this experience, and will be a little wiser in the future.



Sunday, December 12, 2010

Merry Christmas from the Haleys

A few days ago, I had a rather neat idea for a video. My Dad video taped virtually every Christmas between 1988 and 2006, and almost always had everyone say "Merry Christmas!" So, just in time for the holidays, I put together this montage.



I was not able to do anything quite like this last year (since my Dad had just passed away, and last Christmas was anything but memorable), but I think that enough time has passed now that this should not be too depressing.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Space Ruckus: The Great Unfinished Teaser

In 2008, I had an idea for a short (but sweet) teaser trailer for the Space Ruckus project. My intention was to show that the project was still alive, but not waste too many resources in doing so. I began by writing a scene by scene description of the events that would unfold in the teaser trailer, and then put together a quick (and dirty) video mock-up with those descriptions timed to some (crappy) music from the project. In doing so, I managed to get a few of the other team members to drop whatever they were doing before, and help out with this little side project. First, Trevor Howard composed a much more fitting music track, and then Micheal Cross converted my scene by scene descriptions into a living, breathing storyboard.

Around the same time that this was going on, we were in the process of bringing a new 3D artist up to speed on the project. His first assignment would be animating this new teaser trailer. Sadly, as seems to be the case with this project, things did not work out. The 3D artist in question later left the project, but not before submitting at least a few renderings. Those renderings are not present in this video because, quite frankly, they were in an unfinished state. What is present here is Trevor Howard's music track, accompanied by Micheal Cross' storyboards.

This is finally being made public because I feel that it is a shame that this material was simply allowed to collect dust in a private folder. If anyone likes this, I may release more material at a later time.

The video can be found on YouTube, and the individual assets can be found on the media page.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

From the Graveyard: From the Graveyard

Did I just blow your mind? It is a blog about a blog.

Last month, I once again attended Comic-Con, and following that, wrote a blog about my adventures in San Diego for the second year in a row. It was called Tales of Comic-Con. A short time later, I started thinking about E For All Expo 2007, and the fact that I had never written a proper blog about it. Call me obsessive compulsive, but I wanted to have a blog about every convention that I had previously attended. If I posted a blog about E For All Expo 2007 without explanation, I knew that someone would inevitably say, "It is about damn time that you wrote about this." So, I came up with a harebrained idea. A blog about the dead.


From the Graveyard - A blog about the dead.

In the process, I became a bit sidetracked, and instead of writing about E For All Expo 2007, wrote a quaint little piece called The Adventures of Kat McClone. It was about a computer game that I never finished, and for good reason. However, I wanted to do something with the material, but was not about to release the game in its entirety. You see, my cat played the part of Kat McClone, and he passed away a few months ago. So, I was feeling sentimental about everything that I could find baring his likeness. Writing about Kat McClone's adventures did have one upside, though. Micheal Cross liked the idea enough to begin his own project, but I cannot say very much about that right now.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

From the Graveyard: The E! False Hollywood Story - Part 2

I bet you thought that I was going to hold this one back until next weekend.

Night of the Dead Living

A local celebrity made headlines today when he rose from the dead. The coroner had this to say, "I have never witnessed anything like this before, and I have been in this line of work for thirty years. When the body first arrived, I did not know what to make of it. It almost appeared as though there were two men stuffed inside a suit. When the body of the man stood up, and simply walked out of the examining room, I was flabbergasted."


News Now, because News Later is not really news at all.

Now, we have that man with us. He calls himself Conrad Sheldon, and he has quite a story to tell us all. Ahem, it all began on March 23rd, 2003... (two hours later)... and that is how I discovered the lost city of Atlantis, and thwarted the Nazi regime. Back to you, Ken. Up next, we dig deep into the scandal surrounding Mayor Goldman. CUT!

So, that is how The Big Con would have begun. Before that was even on the drawing board, though, meelWORM and I were trying to get Conrad Sheldon into Good Old Adventures (Martin Kool's fancy little online world). I drew the AGI cells, which would later be used in a variety of other programs. Soon enough, Conrad Sheldon popped up in Good Old Adventures as a playable character, and the world was never the same again.

From the Graveyard: The E! False Hollywood Story - Part 1

Just who is Conrad Sheldon? Tonight, we investigate the man, the myth, and the mispellings misspellings.

Mr. Cromer's Wonder Emporium

Hey guys! In order to make any sense out of the Conrad Sheldon story, we must journey back to the night of March 23rd, 2003. The night was hot, wait no, the night, the night was humid. As usual, meelWORM and I were chatting online about a wide range of topics. At some point, we discussed Chris Cromer's AGI Web Site, and the fact that it had been rather absent of activity as of late.


The birthplace of Conrad Sheldon.

In typical mind melding fashion, meelWORM and I concocted a brilliant scheme. It was really quite simple in nature. A new member would register at Chris Cromer's AGI Web Site, and bring out the best (and worst) in the existing members, but we were not content with simply developing an average personality. We had to make things more interesting than that. After all, nobody wants to see an average circus freak.

This new personality was going to be an illiterate buffoon, with a 3rd grade education, and absolutely no previous Internet experience. Truly, a sight to behold. Moments before the first post, meelWORM coined the name, Conrad Sheldon. He said that he made it up off the top of his head.

As time went by, Conrad Sheldon evolved into a Sierra Online nutcase, and even opened his own Sierra Web Site, which remains online to this day. If the music does not leave you in stitches, nothing will. With the launch of said web site, news of Conrad Sheldon spread quickly, and topics began to appear on other community forums, such as The Subspace Channel, Tierra Entertainment (now known as AGD Interactive), and many others.

Friday, August 7, 2009

From the Graveyard: The Adventures of Kat McClone

Warning: This story contains a few raunchy bits here and there. Read on at your own offensive risk.

I was planning to begin the From the Graveyard series with my untold E For All Expo 2007 adventure, but in the process, became a bit sidetracked. As some of you may know, my cat Sonic passed away a few months ago. What most of you may not know is that I was once working on a homebrew adventure game starring Sonic as Kat McClone. I have been reluctant to discuss said game because, quite frankly, it was downright awful. However, I am feeling a bit nostalgic now, so bear with me for a moment.


Space Ruckus VI is just around the corner, I swear.

Anyone that visited the Goalsoft website in 2000 may have seen Kat McClone on the logo, and thought to themselves, "What the fuck is this?" Actually, they may have thought that about the website as a whole. Was anyone else still using frames in 2000? Anyway, I am here to clear up at least part of the mystery. I will leave the untold (and uncensored) history of Goalsoft for another time.

In 1998, I became greatly interested in game design, and quickly sunk my teeth into a piece of software known as Klik & Play. It was published by a United Kingdom-based company known as Europress. I kicked around a few game ideas, but only one of them ever saw the light of day. It was a little known game entitled Space Ruckus. Somehow, that sounds so very familiar to me... Where was I? Oh, right...

Monday, July 14, 2008

Space Ruckus 2.0 is Live!

As I said a week ago, I have been working on a new web design for the Space Ruckus site. Well, that new site has finally launched...

"The design features a new logo by Jovani Torrentez, several pieces of previously unreleased artwork by Allen Barrett on the new media page, and a special series page, which chronicles the history of Space Ruckus."

There were inevitably a few things that I wanted to finish by today, but did not have time for. The top script (which features special occasion logos) is forthcoming. Also, it is worth noting that the old Space Ruckus web site can still be found at http://site1.spaceruckus.com. However, it will no longer be maintained.

As usual, Space Ruckus could always use more help. Please refer to the new team page to find a list of openings (keep in mind that this is still a volunteer project).

Monday, July 7, 2008

Space Ruckus 2.0: T-Minus Seven Days

There is no doubt that the paint is rusty on the old web site. It has been online for about 4.5 years now. The code has become unmanageable. So, the entire web site is being redesigned. This time, it will be nearly fully driven by CSS. To make life a little easier, certain sections of the code will even be broken up into virtual SHT files; team.html, for example, will look something like this:

< !--#include virtual="header.sht"-- >
< !--#include virtual="table1.sht"-- >
< !--#include virtual="team.sht"-- >
< !--#include virtual="table3.sht"-- >
< !--#include virtual="footer.sht"-- >

The end user will not see this, of course. They will simply see the contents of the SHT files combined into a fully operational web site. This, alongside the CSS mentioned above will indeed make the new web site more manageable.

The new web site will be launching on Monday, July 14th, and will feature more frequent updates than the old one. The game, Space Ruckus: The Great Invasion, is still in development, and will be released when the team feels that it is ready.

Monday, July 24, 2006

A whole lot of things

At the moment, I'm getting things together for a public meeting. I've got an ever expanding portfolio for various projects, and I'll be sharing quite a bit of content. Among other things, I'll be handing out glossy prints, and recruitment sheets during a special recruitment session. The public meeting will be taking place in the Los Angeles area. If you would be interested in attending, let me know.

We're still working on SR (http://www.spaceruckus.com). We've made a few releases recently, such as model renders, music samples, and a teaser trailer. We have several very talented people on the team now. In fact, two of which have actually had involvement in the production of film and television series. We're making great strides to push development forward, and expect to have the game ready sometime next year. Our message forum is located at http://forum.spaceruckus.com. If you haven't already, feel free to register, and stick around. If you're interested in a position, please refer to the openings on the team page.

There are a few other projects brewing in the background, such as our proprietary engine (we're using Torque for SR, but future games will use our in-house engine), a comic book, and Israel Alvidrez's Low Income movie. For the most part, though, SR is our primary focus.

We haven't forgotten our roots, though, and while it's still very much a work in progress, this retrospective on Goalsoft may interest you: http://www.spaceruckus.com/retrospect.html

Sadly, the other Goalsoft web sites have been shut down, so you won't find too much of the old content online. I've stored everything safely away, though.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Gridline Games Tycoon

This fall, the game worlds of Gridline Games leap from the computer screen to the amusement park scene. Well, not really. Although, I am designing a park with RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 entitled Gridline Studios. Here are a few screenshots of the work in progress.

Overview of the Park:


Ticket Booth:


Plaza (with Hicksville visible in the distance):


Swashblood Isle (with Ralin V visible in the distance):


Original Concept (Goal Soft Studios):