Kaizen’s Log #5

Hello everyone, my name is Daniel P. Meyer and welcome to the fifth edition of Kaizen’s Log. I have a lot of updates for you, and frankly a lot of explaining to do. Let’s start with the question: why haven’t you posted in over six months?

The lazy (but also true) answer would be that I have simply been busy. The previous edition of Kaizen’s Log was posted during my Winter Break from university, and I was excited to continue work on the Realm of Kaizen. Unfortunately, this semester proved to be a bit of a challenge. I was taking more credits and more advanced classes. As a result, I simply did not work on the Realm of Kaizen at all for the first two months, and so I simply had nothing to report. I am now well into my summer vacation, and have been writing quite a bit.

The second, probably more honest answer, would be that my heart just was not in it. I simply had no motivation to world-build. But, I have hopefully changed that and gotten back into the groove of things!

So, I think that clears most everything up for now, let’s jump into the week!

Personal updates

I have had a lot of personal issues arise over the past few months, some of which have made it difficult to world-build. My father developed liver cancer at the start of March, and unfortunately passed away on March 27, 2018. The ordeal was obviously devastating, although it was not unexpected and I have handled it well

I also celebrated my birthday on April 21st, and concluded my first year of university on May 4th. Summer break has begun, and aside from writing, cleaning and relaxing, I have a number of things planned. I will be going to Ocean City, Marland for vacation from July 7th to the 14th—meaning writing may take a break—and am planning the Second Annual Boycation Trip for early August with several friends.

I have been struggling with several issues over the past few months, which have made it difficult to stay on schedule and be productive (both in writing the Realm of Kaizen and other pursuits). I am trying my best to resolve these psychological issues, as I refuse to allow them to interfere with my life. Additionally, I will start my second year of university studying History/Philosophy/English on August 27, 2018.

New map

Okay, there have been a lot of changes.

The biggest change took place near the end of February when I decided to completely change the geography of the Realm of Kaizen. This is a massive change, and practically resets the world. However, I am determined to salvage what I can from Kaizen Phase 2. Additionally, I once again reset the map in late June (although this time there is much less to change on the website).

Kaizen Phase 3

The purpose of changing the map is simple. The old one was completely unrealistic, and unplanned. It evolved naturally, which resulted in confusing and unexplained geography. I think it was partially this lack of realism which deterred me from world-building. I decided to do a lot more research and discovered a tutorial on planning tectonic plates, which I followed. I got the following results:

Kaizen Plate TectonicsI then attempted to sketch out what I thought the continents would look like based on the plate tectonics:

Kaizen Plate Tectonics Map SketchAnd finally I took the image into Photoshop and sketched out what it should look like. I made several adjustments to adjust the climate of some continents and the aspect ratio, before creating the final version:

Kaizen AboriaI am much more satisfied with this map, and I think it will be a lot of fun (and also a pain in the ass) trying to move the old content over. I am working on Aboria currently (the continent in green), as it will be the equivalent of Agar’s Claw from Phase 2.

This map, however, proved to be even more restrictive. The continents were far too large (in respect to the planet), and I felt as though I was unable to do what I really desired. Additionally, I stumbled on a mapmaking tutorial by /u/caledor123 on Reddit, which seemed to provoke profound inspiration in me.

Kaizen Phase 4

Following caledor’s tutorial—and also taking some inspiration from Nate Mangion’s Atlas Elyden—I began crafting a new, more expansive Realm of Kaizen. I will not detail the process in designing this map (look to the tutorial above), although I may make a post about it later.

Kaizen Topography Graticules (Robinson)

Using a program known as VP Planet Generator, I generated a large height-map for this new world. I then took this height-map into the erosion and topographic program Wilbur, which allowed me to generate another (accurate) height-map, along with rivers. With this, I then entered Photoshop. I separated the land from the sea, posterized it (creating the ‘layered’ look), and finally colored everything it. This technique is so simple, and yet it creates a stunning appearance. I then utilize G.Projector to render the map in different projections.

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I then began the process of organizing cultures around the new map. Aboria (which I decided to keep, manually drawing it into the new map) is now an island about half the size of Europe. Additionally, Mador is located to the south on the continent of Kusinyos (the southern continent). There are also the continents of Salamakas (the northern continent), Pengeron and Taseron.

Most of my time recently has been focused on the continent of Salamakas, particularly the region which I have been referring to as Nordan. This region is home to the Rahpar from Phase 2, as well several new cultures that I am excited to explore: the Dungär, Khâz’gori, Gäogor, Ruporians, Purians, Mazdur, Henidites, Natanians, and Ýugor. Additionally, I have been fleshing out the history of the Onyx Isle (Phase 2), which is the largest of three islands inhabited by the Kaiwaikapi; this will be detailed below.

New website

With the creation of a completely new world, so too am I constantly updating the website. This time, I believe I am satisfied. This section is most likely going to be boring for most of you, as I am going to get t e c h n i c a l.

It all began with a <div> tag.

I began coding in 2013, when I entered 9th grade and began taking (what would be three years) of computer science courses. I was quickly enthralled by HTML and CSS, the two coding languages that account for the creation of most Web sites. On my own, I experimented with different techniques and methods of Web design, including Web site designers, generators, software like Adobe Muse and of course just coding. However, my sites remained relatively primitive.

During my first year of University (just a few months ago) I began to take a Computer Science course focused the technical aspects of the Internet, and I was challenged. I was–by a large margin–the most advanced student in the class. While they were simply putting text on a static page, I was doing more complex formatting. Although, this formatting was done using tables (a practice that once was the standard, before HTML5). On one of my assignments, I was given the comment, “Interesting use of a table for layout (although the use of TABLEs for entire page layout is no longer recommended in HTML5; might have used a DIV instead)”

I was not disheartened. I was not annoyed at my professor’s criticism. I felt challenged to update my skills.

So I set about to learn exactly how to use <div> tags as a means of styling a website, and what better way to practice than on the Realm of Kaizen database. By the end of March I had finished the new Website and migrated all of the old Phase 3 pages, and by the end of April the Realm of Kaizen database was finally made public.

If you would like to explore the website, which I will keep updated, please visit aboria.org or (wiki.aboria.org if you want to go directly).

Illustrations

On March 14th I received the second batch of characters that I had commissioned from Hannah Gibby (Gibslythe). This time we have some of the children of King Eadward Callahagan, who are going to be the main point-of-view characters in the final story. The characters are (from left to right) Cormac, Ceira, Brian Callahagan and Elise Blacken.

Soon after receiving the previous batch of characters, I decided to commission another eleven characters from Hannah. This included the remainder of the Callahagan family; Liana and Seán Callahagan, and their mother Brianna Cedar. It also includes the characters King Alexander Kerwyn, King Aratus III Vasorus, King Arnold Gryff, High King Bor Huron, Lord Hogan Cadwalder, Sir Bernard Botwright, the priestess Hair-of-Feathers, and Sir Siarl Glynn.

Content Updates

I do not think it is remotely possible (or desirable) for me to go over everything I have done in the past six months. Instead, I will briefly touch on the major additions to the database and what I have done most recently.

Aboria

I had a lot of fun writing a detailed biography of Sir Siarl Glynn, the master-at-arms for House Callahagan. I wrote the basic page for Lord Hogan Cadwalder and his house, who are extremely important in the history of Aboria. I wrote a lot about House Kerwyn and King Alexander Kerwyn. I created the page for High King Bor Huron and his house, as well as most of the associated pages.

I have most recently been working on pages for House Gryff. This follows the pattern of writing pages based on the new portraits. House Gryff is an ancient house on Aboria, ruling as kings since the the Splintering. They are the oldest dynasty on the continent, and continue to be respected by their subjects. King Arnold Gryff is the current head of the house, ruling since the death of his father Robert VIII in 386 ATR. He is married to Katina Caul, with whom he has had six children: Arthur, Robert, the twins Deryn and Daena, Rosa, and Rowan.

Beyond Aboria

I have been working on exploring the history of the Onyx Isle (Phase 2) after the creation of a new map. Although most of this content is not yet available on the Database, I would like to share some of it here.

The Onyx Isle (also called Manguairan) is a large island located south of Nordan and west of Mador. The island seperates the Gulf of Mazdur to the north from the Metahari Ocean in the south, and is bounded to the east and west by the Jumping Sea and Green Sea, respectively. The Onyx Isle is the largest island in the Kaiwaikapo Chain, which includes the Isle of Feathers (Benubara) and Isle of Monkeys (Timoti). The people of the island are called the Onyx Islanders, though they call themselves the Manguairani.

The Legend of Vehiatua

King Matewa was a legendary ruler of the Onyx Isle, a thousand years after the Mangu people crossed the Phan Koi Strait (then called simply “the Crossing”) onto the island. His palace was located in the Latoki Valley, and he was descended from the Mangu god of “creation.”

King Matewa married Taura a Toa (his first cousin), who gave birth to his first son, Namiro. One day, Matewa fell in love with a lesser chief’s daughter, Aronui a Poroka, when he saw her bathing in a stream around Tebono. He claimed his right to her as King, which she accepted, and gifted her a red feather necklace.

Aronui became pregnant with the king’s child, and gave birth to a boy named Vehiatua. She kept this secret, fearing that it would shame her family. When the boy was a teenager, his stepfather was punishing him when his mother intervened. She declared that the boy was his chief, and presented the necklace. She then sent Vehiatua to the Latoki Valley to present himself to the king as his son.

King Matewa’s palace was guarded, and the entire compound was sacred. Entering without permission carried the death penalty. Vehiatua entered the enclosure with attendants afraid to stop someone wearing the royal insignia and walked straight to Matewa’s sleeping quarters, waking him there. When Matewa asked who he was, he said “It is I, ‘Vehiatua your son”. He then placed the necklace at his father’s feet and the king proclaimed him to be his son.
After learning of his new stepbrother, Namiro became upset and feared for his place at court. His father assured his the boy that he would be king after his death and that his brother would serve him. However, Vehiatua was immediately placed on equal standing with Namiro at court, and the new prince quickly gained favor among the nobles, increasing Namiro’s dislike.

Upon his death, King Matewa elevated Namiro as ruler and designated Vehiatua as the religious authority. Vehiatua was to serve as his half-brother’s minister, and both were to respect the other, and should either have issue with the other it would be for them to decide. At first a decent ruler, Namiro quickly became angry and brutal. This caused Vehiatua to exile himself, in fear of his brother’s wrath.

In exile, Vehiatua began took several wives and began building forces and followers. He gave food to the people and became known as a generous and caring chief. By contrast, Namiro refused to aid his uncles Bodhadhar and Suharto, who had requested food for Latoki. The two chiefs were considered pious followers of the fertility goddess, and this was considered highly insulting.

Many chiefs began plotting against Namiro, although the arrogant king believed that the priests were not powerful enough to overthrow him. Vehiatua joined the revolt, and priests and chiefs from across the Onyx Isle flocked to join him.

When Namiro heard of his brother’s plot, he immediately sent his guard to out to prepare by finding feathers to adorn their war regalia. After the men had left and Namiro was undefended, Vehiatua’s men came forward, saying that they were there with bundles of offerings for the king. When the bundles were dropped to the ground they were filled with rocks, which the men used to stone Namiro to death.

After Namiro’s death many chiefs claimed parts of the island for themselves. Vehiatua took the advice of the two priests Bodhadhar and Suharto and married many high ranking noble women, including his half-sister. He eventually conquered the rest of the Onyx Isle.

Suharto was considered a just and religious ruler, and the first to unite the entire island. He remained faithful to his followers, and allowed his three takatā (and the two priests who aided him) to help govern.

Conclusion

I hope that this gave a decent enough explanation to my absence, and hopefully made up for it in the amount of new content that I was able to provide. I am not overall satisfied with my productivity, although there are a lot of factors behind it. I hope to complete the remaining pages associated with King Arnold Gryff and King Aratus III Vasorus soon, so that I can move on to other ventures.

Thank you for taking an interest in the Realm of Kaizen and all my other projects, I hope you will tune in for the next post. Please leave any comments or suggestions below, or feel free to tweet (@Bufflez) or email (dan(at)bufflez.com) me.

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