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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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Blog, Kaizen's Log, Pictures, Writing

Kaizen’s Log #4 (8 Jan 2018)

Hello everyone, my name is Daniel P. Meyer and welcome to the fourth edition of Kaizen’s Log. This week was a mix of productivity and laziness, but a lot of progress was made and I am sure this will be an interesting entry in the series.

Without further a-do, let’s jump right into the week.

Summary of week

Monday I made several minor fixes to several pages, including [House Cragwood] and [Rowan Cragwood]. Several pages were created before the final stage of my sidebar design, and need to be updated accordingly. I also created and wrote content for [House Little].

Thursday I did a lot of work on the Realm of Kaizen. I created nearly twenty new pages and edited several others. The primary focus of my work was on [House Cadwalder], a noble house from the Brown Bogs. I made pages for all the members of the house, and slowly began working my way down my spreadsheet.

The next day I created another twenty pages, this time focusing mostly on the sworn houses of House Cadwalder. This includes [House Atwood], [House Thornton], and [House Botwright].

In addition to work done on the writing portion of the Realm of Kaizen, I finally have some updates on the artwork that I commissioned from Gibslythe. I commissioned portraits of [Danyel Darkforest] and [Eadward Callahagan], characters which are based on myself and my good friend Edward respectively. In addition I have commissioned similar portraits of Eadward’s four children–Cormac, Brian, Ceira and Liana (or Sean, I have yet to decide).

Conclusion

This week was, overall, extremely productive. I wrote a decent amount of original content, and am satisfied with my progress. Additionally I am happy about the artwork being finished, as I always love a new profile picture.

Next week marks the end of my break and the start of the end of my first year at university. I have a lot of wonderful classes coming up that I am excited to attend, and I will make sure to procrastinate by working on the Realm of Kaizen to the best of my ability.

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

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Kaizen’s Log #3 (1 Jan 2018)

Hello everyone, my name is Daniel P. Meyer and welcome to the third edition of Kaizen’s Log. Today is the first day of the new year, and snow has been blanketing us here in Pittsburgh since last week. I hope everyone has had a safe and happy holiday season, and that we enter this new year better than we entered last.

I want to preface this week by saying I have done nearly no work on the Realm of Kaizen this week (although this is nothing new). I began working on a 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons campaign setting, which I have wanted to run for a while now. I will share this and what little work I did complete in this week’s summary.

Summary of week

There were a few minor edits made this week to several pages in the Realm of Kaizen database, although none were notable enough to describe here. Aside from that, most other work done must be kept secret.

I began planning the novelization of The Realm of Kaizen, to be set in the year 1351 AR. It will specifically follow the children of King Eadward Callahagan as a large conflict spreads across Agar’s Claw. My current working title for the first volume is The Birth of Autumn.

Iron to Ash

IRON TO ASH is the terribly cliché title of my first Dungeons & Dragons campaign setting. I have played D&D with my friend and dungeon master Asher Winnie for several years now, and was approached by several university friends to possibly run a campaign. I decided to create a simple world to place the campaign in, using the races and classes from 5th Edition D&D as a way to fill the world.

Map

Long ago the world was ruled by the dragonborn under the Zoskari Empire. An alliance between the tieflings of Valrai and ogres of Gekrai with the dragonborn allowed the suppression and oppression of the rest of the world.

A thousand years ago a human warrior called Steelscar rose against the dragonborn, and banished them to the volcanic island of Kraculia. Ever since there has been constant war, and recently the ogres of Gekrai have invaded the northern reaches of Abora.

Kraculia Map

I am excited to begin planning the campaign and further fleshing out the world, although I am also afraid it will likely take much time away from my work on the Realm of Kaizen. However, I remain determined to do my best.

Conclusion

I am sorry again for the lack of content over the past few weeks, although I have been incredibly busy and hope that you understand. I also hope that the little bit of work on a new project might tide you over for a while.

Thank you for taking an interest in the Realm of Kaizen and all of my other projects, I hope you will revisit next week. I also hope that you will have a great year, and I wish you a Happy New Year as well. Please leave any comments or suggestions below, or feel free to tweet (@Bufflez) or email (dan@bufflez.com) me.

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Kaizen’s Log #2 (25 Dec 2017)

Hello everyone, my name is Daniel P. Meyer and welcome to the second edition of Kaizen’s Log. Today is Christmas! I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday season, and that you take this time to celebrate not only your own family, but your global family as well.

I wanted to make this a weekly series, and after only one post I have already failed in that regard. However, I have a good (or rather bad) reason for that. I didn’t work on The Realm of Kaizen at all last week. I had hoped that this break would allow me time to work on the project, but along with finishing finals, hanging out with friends, and preparing for Christmas I was completely distracted.

Summary of week

Most of last week was simple housekeeping. A lot of time was spent on the Kingdom of Callahagan; specifically I created the [Kingdom of Callahagan#Houses] page, as well as [Houses of Agar’s Claw]. I also worked on the [Timberman mythology] and the subsequent pages for the nine gods and two primordial gods, adding basic content and reference pictures. I created quite a few arms for the houses of the Shadow Forest, some of which are shown below.

The next week I mostly neglected working on anything. I spent (admittedly) a lot of time playing the A Clash of Kings mod for Mount & Blade: Warband–which I must say is spectacular. However, this caused me to not think about Kaizen at all for half the week. However, inspired by the game, I decided to use my addiction to benefit my worldbuilding.

Drawing on the decent character creator for Mount & Blade: Warband, I decided to try and create some interesting character portraits using video game, which proved far better than using the terrible anime-style RPG Maker portraits I have been using thus far.

I first created portraits for [Eadward Callahagan] and his father, as well as my reference character [Danyel Darkforest] and the meme [Orson Fletchour]. I also made several other characters, adding them to existing pages or–in the case of Sir [Wyatt Maelgwyn]–creating new pages. Some of these pictures are available below to look at.

While this might feel like a lot of work (and at least the last week was somewhat productive) I am not at all satisfied with what I have accomplished for this edition. However, we will improve in the coming weeks hopefully. Finally, we are still awaiting the production of the two portraits (of [Eadward Callahagan] and [Danyel Darkforest]) by Gibslythe. I plan to email her sometime during the first week of January if I do not receive any updates by then.

Conclusion

While I did not make as much progress as I would have liked to over the past two weeks, I did manage to get some worldbuilding in.

As a bit of housekeeping, I may have to retract my promise to produce YouTube content. I spent several hours recording when I first got back, although all of my recordings resulted in an error. This was extremely disheartening, and I may not find time to record more. I did, however, purchase Sony Vegas 14 through the latest Humble Bundle.

Thank you for taking an interest in the Realm of Kaizen, I hope you will revisit next week. I also hope that you will have a merry Christmas–or a happy Hanukkah if that’s your thing. Please leave any comments or suggestions below, or feel free to tweet (@Bufflez) or email (dan@bufflez.com) me.

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Kaizen’s Log #1 (11 Dec 2017)

Hello everyone, my name is Daniel P. Meyer and this is the first edition of Kaizen’s Log. In this (hopefully) weekly series, I will attempt to document the progress made on The Realm of Kaizen, a worldbuilding project that I have been working on since the start of this year.

The primary purpose of creating this series is to fill this website with content–as I have neglected to since purchasing the domain several years ago. Additionally, until the publishing of the Kaizen Database or any full length stories set in Kaizen, these posts will serve as a place to direct individuals who seek information.

Summary of week

This week may not have been the best week to start a series like this. I am currently finishing up my first semester in college, and this week has left me exhausted with finals. Despite this, I still managed to find time between studying to write some.

The focus of this week has been on the lords of the Shadow Forest–with a focus on House Callahagan and their dynasty. I worked on writing detailed biographies of Callahagan kings while also moving down the Kaizen Spreadsheet. I began the week working on the article of “Brian Callahagan IV,” although I did not make much progress. Most of my time was spend thinking about plot-lines for a novel and adding basic content to other articles.

I am awaiting the production of two commissioned art pieces from Gibslythe. I really enjoy her pieces, and am looking forward to receiving them (she said they might take until January). My goal for this next week is to focus on developing the lords of the Yellow Meadows. Additionally, I continue to be irked by mistakes with the map which I strongly desire to fix.

Conclusion

I really do hope to produce much more content during the upcoming Winter Break. I will have likely few obligations, and aside from (hopefully) creating additional video content for the YouTube channel, I should likely have a lot of free time.

Thank you for taking interest in the Realm of Kaizen, I hope you will revisit next week. For questions about the story or anything else, please email: dan@bufflez.com

Daniel P. Meyer
Creator of the Realm of Kaizen

Follow on Twitter: @bufflez

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Today I participated in a “March For Bernie” in Pittsburgh, PA. The march began at 11:00, and went from Oakland to Market Square. It was about 26°F, but it felt much worse. Regardless, over a thousand people managed to show up to the march, with around 2000 attending the rally at the end.

Below are some pictures of the event, none of which were taken by me.

Kevin Crivelli

Photographer: Kevin Crivelli

Photographer: Kevin Crivelli

Photographer: Kevin Crivelli

 

Photographer: Kevin Crivelli

Photographer: Kevin Crivelli

Photographer: Jesse Compton

Photographer: Jesse Compton

Photographer: Kevin Crivelli

Photographer: Kevin Crivelli

Photographer: Kevin Crivelli

Photographer: Kevin Crivelli

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March For Bernie (2-27-2016)

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