Iron59 Plays Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition

With all my fascination in gaming, it’s quite ironic that I haven’t tried Dungeons & Dragons until a week ago. Thanks to my former colleagues in Anino, we had a really fun D&D session. For those of you who weren’t curious enough to search about D&D, it’s a  fantasy tabletop role-playing game. As players, you take the role of a character with a specific class as you typically see in a RPG like Barbarian, Wizard, Rogue, etc. Players will be gathered as a party to take on quests in a story and universe created by the dungeon master or DM for short. The DM should be knowledgeable enough with the game’s rules and mechanics as stated in the player and DM handbook. He/She will weave the story and all the possible outcomes depending on the result of the players’ dice rolls. I’ll go into further details as I write about my experience, from the preparation to the actual game proper. Here it goes…

Creating a Character

Prior to playing the game, you should make a character first. If you will read the player’s handbook, the character has lots of customization options from race to class. I was a bit overwhelmed at the start when I’m trying to create one since each class and race are rich with details that could really affect my character’s skill sets. Good thing our DM is ready to assist us with the creation process. Since I’m a big fan of Martial Arts, I decided to go with a Monk. Just like in other RPG’s, your character has stats, and each class focuses on specific parts of your stats. For Monks, the skills depend on Wisdom which is needed to read people and situation, and Dexterity for agile movement and quick reflexes. There are other attributes like armor class and initiative, but I won’t delve too much into these stuff since this post is not meant to be an in-depth guide :P. Instead, I recommend that you watch this video to know more about the character creation.

The video guide above is considerably long, but that’s because the character has much depth in D&D. It may seem a bit tedious if you do it by hand, but once you laid out the necessary info, it will be easier to follow through. For our group, we use the mobile app 5th Edition Character Sheet. All you need to do is plug in the values for your character profile, and it will lay down the info for you. The premium version of the app lets you level up your characters and update the attributes accordingly. It even has its class-specific options like for my Monk, it lets me choose the Monastic Tradition and the skills that I want to increase from this choice. It’s very handy, especially during the actual game session. By the way, I chose the Way of the Four Elements for my  monastic tradition so that he will resemble the Avatar. Just sayin’ XD.

5th Edition Character Sheet mobile app

5th Edition Character Sheet mobile app

Beyond the stats and skill sets, I also created a backstory for my character. With a few tweaks to blend with our DM’s created story and universe, I was able to complete my character’s profile. I can’t share the story here since it might spoil our DM’s plans for the next session :P. Besides, being role-players that we are, we behave based on what we know about the other characters. Actually, one of the players is suspicious of my sudden appearance (this is just in-game, no personal conflicts whatsoever, LOL).

Game Proper

Our D&D session plays every end of the month, so that there’s enough time for our DM to create the next part of the story and the quests that go with it. I attended the fifth session, so our DM had to update me of what happened during the first four episodes. With all the confirmed players present, we proceeded to Moonleaf + Bunnies Cafe for our D&D session. This is a boardgame cafe, so customers can try their tabletop games like Cards Against Humanity (*chuckles*). They offer different types of milk tea and pastries.

Our D&D Session in Moonleaf+Bunnies Cafe

Our D&D Session in Moonleaf+Bunnies Cafe

The game starts with the party discussing what items to bring for the mission. A story character has been kidnapped, and it’s up to the party to save her. I’m amazed with the amount of detail that has been put to each scenario. Even the part wherein another story character is being consoled by the players involves a chance roll, resulting to one of the players getting a ‘failed’ attempt. The character interactions are really fun to watch. Yes, I’m watching on the first part since I’m not in the scene yet.

The game reached a point wherein the party has to save some people from a burning tenement. The creative ways on how to rescue these people were such a feat, like how our wizard created a floating disc while he’s on the other side of the room to carry some of the people to safety. Enemies stormed the place. Some of them were caught in surprise when a hooded monk appeared in the place and knocked two of these goons out cold. That hooded figure… is me 8)

We proceeded with the combat sequence. Turns in combat are determined by the character’s initiative. Player roll a D20 for a dexterity check. Turns will be ordered from highest to the lowest result. When enemies attack you, you roll a D20 to determine if you can dodge an attack. We’re using another application called Initiative Tracker to speed things up.

Initiative Tracker mobile app

Initiative Tracker mobile app

When an enemy attacks you, the attack can be dodged by rolling a D20 and achieving a minimum value depending on the enemy’s stats. Failure to do so will have the DM roll a specific dice to determine the attack damage. If it’s your turn, you will roll a D20 to determine if the attack is successful. A result of 1 will lead to critical failure while a result of 20 will lead to critical hit which gives the you twice the amount of damage that you will inflict to the enemy. My first dice roll in our session resulted to a critical hit. What a good way to start my combat. Our DM asks us to describe our attacks, so I use moves based on fighting games and martial arts movies with some inclination to brutality (some Monk I am, haha).

My first dice roll for the session.  Critical Hit!

My first dice roll for the session. Critical Hit!

The quest was really enjoyable. We even have a minigame wherein we cross the sewers with multiple paths. We had several Perception checks to determine how much of the place can we exploit like hidden traps and switches. The actions that we take for each scenario that we’ve been through will affect our later encounters. For example, because our party saved this particular child from the burning tenement, we got a warning about the methane gas that is present in the sewers. If we’re not aware of that information, we could have ended up igniting the entire place and alert the guards of the final dungeon. We encountered different combat challenges like the continuous spawning of sewage monsters and a giant rat that bleeds a swarm of small rats. The quest ended well with a quick-time-event type of sequence where we have to perform the final attack to the last boss for this quest. Good thing we got high dice rolls, so we defeated the boss enemy as we aimed for. After the quest has ended, our DM discussed the loots that we got for the entirety of the quest. There was a revelation for one of our players related to his back story, but more questions still need to be answered.

We started the session around 3 PM and ended at 1 AM. Yeah, it was a pretty long session, but we really had a good time. Good thing the cafe accommodated us until we finished our session. I have yet to utilize the specialty of my class since it’s my first time to try it in an actual game, but it made me think of the possibilities for the next episode. Hopefully, I can join the next session if my schedule permits. For the meantime, I’ll take a look for more tips on how to effectively play as a Monk. ‘Til next time! (~^_^)~

 

Special thanks to Brian and Nikka for the pics and Ej for organizing the sessions every month. V(^_^)

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Dev Diary: Fate Marks the Spot – My Global Game Jam 2015 Experience

Another global game jam has been concluded last January 25 with 518 jam sites, 78 countries, 28,000 jammers and 5,438 games. It’s my fourth time to join this annual game dev fest, and from what I observe, the event just keeps getting bigger every year. It’s nice to see that more and more people are getting interested in creating games, students, professional developers, and hobbyists alike. I was excited to see what types of games will be made for this year’s jam, but I was more excited on what our team will be able to make this time. I teamed up with my former teammates in the last year’s jam Aileen (Artist) and Dino (Designer) together with Ej (Designer) and Simon (Sound Designer, Ej’s brother).

Friday, January 23

I arrived in front of the Ateneo De Manila University (ADMU) Rizal Library around 3 PM. My cab was in between two cars, which happen to be Synergy 88’s representatives for the game jam. Talk about full-force. They were carrying mattresses and bags, ready to spend the next two nights in the venue.

I must say, this is my favorite game jam site so far. It’s a lot more spacious than the past places that I attended. I hope we stick with this venue for the succeeding years, haha. By 4:30 PM, the program started. I was eager and anxious to see the theme for this year. And so, this video was presented…

What?…. WHAT DO WE DO NOW? That’s exactly the question that filled the minds of the participants. The theme is quite broad, but I like it that way because it gives more possibilities for game ideas. Like the past game jams, members are separated into tables to be grouped with other jammers to do some brainstorming, sharing ideas based on the given theme. Perhaps, to seed creativity and to encourage everyone to mingle with their fellow game developers. The ideas presented were interesting. My favorite would be the Angry Wife simulator where you need to perform actions to calm down your wife while she’s getting mad on reasons you don’t know.

After all ideas were presented, time for the real deal. We had a fairly hard time thinking of a game idea. I was actually interested in Aileen’s idea of a first-person game that has a pair of players controlling two characters with the objective of meeting at a certain spot. After all, I always want to implement something new for the game jam, and a network game is something that I rarely do. Squeezing more ideas, I suggested a tile-based puzzle game wherein creatures will spawn at certain spots, and the player must navigate the creatures by placing arrows in a tile to fulfill specific objectives (e.g. triggering a switch, escaping a room, etc.). Dino pondered on the idea and tweaked it so that the mechanics will involve a specific number of moving characters that are placed in the stage before the start of the round. Everyone agreed on the idea. The initial theme we had in mind was an office space, but we figured that a love story would be much more fun. It ended up combining the core mechanics with Aileen’s game idea during the brainstorming session. And so, Fate Marks the Spot was started.

Ej and Simon couldn’t make it for the first day, so they were online in Skype to discuss the idea with Dino. Aileen started looking for art pegs to use for the game while I code the preliminary parts of the level editor. It would be more efficient that way since our game’s fun factor heavily depends on the level design, so providing the tools to the designers will speed up the process. After adding the functionality to generate the stages, it was time for me to sleep. I need to reserve my energy for the next day, when the big bulk of the dev time is allotted.

 Saturday, January 24

It’s an early start. Ej and Dino are discussing the level designs. Simon is preparing the music and sound effects. Aileen starts with the preliminary assets and character designs. I continue to implement the core mechanics namely, character movement, path obstacles/blockages, and placing of arrows for redirecting the paths. I was about to finish my implementation when suddenly, my laptop died. I looked at the outlet, and it turned out that my laptop was unplugged. I was cautious enough to save often, but it gave me a momentary stress, so I rested for 10 minutes to relax and wait for my laptop to load again. The improper shut down caused the startup to run slower than usual.

By 2 P.M., I showed my teammates that the basic features of the tool are ready for use. Quite earlier than I expected. Now, for the level design. The plan is to have three stages, one tutorial and two main scenarios. However, the scope was bigger than I expected. Now there’s a trigger the thief to get rammed by a scooter. The rivals can be directed to a certain spot to start a fight, and the main character can be caught in the middle. Each level produced several unexpected possibilities that are difficult to implement within the given time. In the end, we had to trim it down. For instance, the scooter idea was scrapped in the tutorial level. Its conditions have some instances that will possibly divert the player from doing the ideal scenario and learning the basic gameplay. Dino laid out the basic level using the tool that I created in Unity.

Fate was made using Unity3D.

Fate was made using Unity3D.

For the tutorial, I just wrote a handler class where each step is separated by functions. The functions have corresponding Key Events that are thrown by different parts of the code for the tutorial scene. Lots of dirty hacks, here and there to speed up the coding process and move forward to the next stage. It took longer to implement than I expected. Tutorial system is my least part in coding a game, because it holds a lot of special cases that you have to insert in between the core features that you carefully constructed. Quite bothersome for me, but it enhances the gaming experience, so I get on with it.

After more than a couple of hours, the tutorial stage was tested. Bugs here and there. Fixes here and there. Rinse and repeat. After that, it was time to implement the next stage. Meanwhile, the art assets are still in-progress. The expansion of the scope affected the necessary objects to be placed in the scene as well as the characters. I’m not an artist, but I know that this won’t be “a walk in the park”. In any case, I’ve worked with Dino and Aileen in the past year’s game jam, so I know they will push through. It was past 12 A.M. The entire team is still awake. We’re now considering the possibility of excluding the third level if we run out of time. I wanted, to finish the game as planned, but reality bites. We have less than 24 hours to wrap up, and we still have some asset integrations to do. I slept around 2:30 A.M.

Sunday, January 25

It’s the last stretch. The animations are done for the tutorial level characters, so I integrated them accordingly. I needed to trim the colliders of the character sprites since there are cases wherein the character collisions were too sensitive that they are triggered even at a considerable amount of distance. Updating the tutorial was fast enough, especially that Dino got used to manipulating the tool and levels. Too bad, this wasn’t the case with the second level. The tutorial level only requires the referenced sprites to be replaced. Add the environment objects and it was good to go. However, the second level uses a different set of tile images, so the level had to be reconstructed. I should’ve prepared the level for such requirement, but I was tired to make the adjustment. I still regret that I haven’t done that, but time is running out, so just utilize what we have.

Tutorial Stage of Fate Marks the Spot

Tutorial Stage of Fate Marks the Spot

Ej and Simon were preparing the game page needed for our entry. With less than an hour left, the second level was constructed. Just when I thought I can proceed with the win and lose condition prompts, Dino observed a bug. The collisions were not working at all. Darn, what do we do now? I was cursing like crazy trying to figure out what’s wrong. Are the colliders set to Trigger? Yes. Does each object have a rigidbody (technically only one of the colliding objects are required to have such, but what the hell)? Yes. I’m running out of ideas. Out of desperation, I looked at the sprite collection of our characters, and there I found the culprit. Not all of the animation frames have a pre-defined collider. I immediately updated all the involved sprite collections. The losing conditions are now working, but the winning condition, still to no avail. Have to ignore that part since the important thing is that the level is still playable. I just have to tell the players that they’ve accomplished their goal.

Less than 15 minutes left, and I’m struggling to implement the win and lose prompts, as well as the necessary scene transitions. 3… 2… 1… I stopped coding and began to build our game. I finished the code, but I haven’t tested it at all. It was a make or break moment. If the prompt doesn’t appear or the scene transition is not triggered, the game won’t present all the levels, and worst case, we have to present it with a Unity editor. The build was created. I ran the game and the tutorial ran properly. Now, time to trigger the losing condition. After 1.5 second, the prompt appeared. Thank goodness. We proceeded with testing the winning condition. The prompt appeared. Wait for it… the second level faded in. I exhaled a big sigh of relief. That last piece of code wasn’t tested at all. I’m so thankful that it worked when we needed it most.

Post-Dev Proper

It’s time to showcase the games. They all look interesting, spanning various genres. Since time is limited for the playtests, I just played them at home. For the demo, I made a build for laptop and Android tablet (multi-platform made easy, thanks to Unity). It never fails to make us happy when we see other people enjoying our game. The second level was hilarious since the obstacles involve two rivals and an ex-girlfriend, and the players have unlocked different scenarios, some of which had totally surprised us. Shortly after presenting the games, the fun awards were given and then proceeded with some talks from the event sponsors.

I was more tense compared with my past game jams due to that photo-finish coding moment, but a midst the stress, pressure, and lack of sleep, I seriously had fun. I’m proud of our game and proud of our team’s effort. To Team Eat ‘N Run V. 2, good job guys! (~^_^)~

Our Game: Fate Marks the Spot Download the game here – http://globalgamejam.org/2015/games/fate-marks-spot

Team Eat ‘N Run V. 2

  • Ej Lim (Level Designer)
  • Simon Lim (Sound Designer)
  • Dino Diaz (Level Designer)
  • Aileen Martin (2D Artist)
  • Felix Palabrica (Programmer)

Iron59’s Hong Kong Adventures

Two weeks ago, I went to Hong Kong together with my two college orgmates. We have witnessed different sites ranging from a fascinating light show to an impressive  wax museum. We also found some considerably good shopping deals in between. In this post, I’ll briefly show what the place has to offer.

Sites and Accommodation

There are so many places to see here in Hong Kong that our three days of stay weren’t enough to visit all of them. We stayed at Golden Crown Hotel located at Tsim Sha Tsui. The price is quite cheap compared to other hotels with the choice of single and double bed rooms for HK$ 400 a night. Each room has a shower room, a bed, a television, and Wi-fi connection. They also offer ticket purchases for The Peak, sim cards with one week of Mobile Data, and Ferry Tickets to Macau. Perfect for our travel plan, since we’ll be departing from Macau back to the Philippines.

Tsim Sha Tsui already hosts a lot of sites that you can visit especially in the Victoria Harbour where you will find the Avenue of Stars which was patterned from Hollywood’s Walk of Fame to pay tribute to the celebrities of the Hong Kong film industry. Being a martial arts film fanboy, I was delighted to see the hand prints of Stephen Chow, Jet Li, Bruce Lee, John Woo (action director – Mission Impossible 2, Face Off, etc.), Yuen Wo Ping (action director – Old Jackie Chan Films, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, The One, The Matrix, etc.), and of course Jackie Chan! Also found in the said area is the Clock Tower which is actually a remnant of the original Kowloon train station of the Kowloon-Canton railways and currently one of the declared monuments of Hong Kong. The highlight of the Victoria Harbour is the Symphony of Lights, which happens every night at 8 PM. Here, lights from different buildings located in the other side of the harbor are being manipulated to synchronize with a background music. This was a project of the Hong Kong Tourism, and boy did they allot such huge budget to make this work. I can’t imagine how these lights were set up. No wonder it was declared by the Guinness World Records as the largest permanent light and sound show. I’ve covered a video below, but it didn’t accurately justify the beauty of the view. Don’t miss this place when you go to Hong Kong.

Snake Stance at Avenue of the Stars.

Snake Stance at Avenue of the Stars.

 

Bruce Lee Statue in Avenue of the Stars

Bruce Lee Statue in Avenue of the Stars

 

Victoria Harbour

Victoria Harbour

 

Another place that we visited was the Victoria Peak located in the Hong Kong islands. It’s amazing that you can cross to another island in a short span of time via train. Upon arriving at the entrance, you’ll be greeted with a classic tram station where you’ll see a small exhibit of railway tools and clothes that were used during the time that the railways were active. From there, you’ll ride a tram towards the Peak Tower where you’ll find shops, Sky Terrace, and Madam Tussauds which is a famous wax museum with branches located in different parts of the globe. The statues are top notch and closely resemble the physique of the person from whom it is patterned from. I was already excited when I saw the pictures of Donnie Yen in Ip Man costume that I brought my Marshall Law costume to create the scenario of “Ip Man meets Bruce Lee”.

Waiting for the tram to arrive.

Waiting for the tram to arrive.

 

You can leave love notes in this stall of The Peak Sky Terrace

You can leave love notes in this stall of The Peak Sky Terrace

 

Part of the exhibit at The Peak's entrance

Part of the exhibit at The Peak’s entrance

 

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Lady Gaga at Madame Tussauds. Just like the real person.

 

Maria Sharapova. Looks like her actual height <3

Maria Sharapova. Based on her actual height ❤

 

Yup. Obama works for me now, LOL.

Yup. Obama works for me now, LOL.

 

My entire purpose all along for coming to Hong Kong. A cosplay pic with Ip Man.

My entire purpose all along for coming to Hong Kong. A cosplay pic with Ip Man.

Food

There’s a wide variety of foods to choose from. My top recommendation would be the Prince Court Restaurant at Tsim Sha Tsui. Their Ribs on Strawberry Sauce is one of their best sellers. Yup, you read it right, strawberry sauce. We didn’t expect that it was that good. Just make sure that you eat it while it’s hot because the sauce gets sticky once it dries. The serving is also big that two dishes plus a bowl of beef fried rice is more than enough for us three. My runner-up would be Cafe de Coral which is the leading fast-food chain in Hong Kong. They serve set meals at very affordable prices. I got a breakfast meal with two hams, one hot dog, one French toast, and one hot coffee for less than HK$ 50.

Shopping

The budget items here would be clothes, perfume, and cosmetics. The best place to buy perfume would be in Goodyear Perfume Center, again in Tsim Sha Tsui. They offer “Buy One Take One” deals to a wide range of brands. I bought a pair of Umbro for my Dad and my brother. They will also give you a sample product and a discount voucher when you buy an item. The store clerks are very accommodating too and quite skillful in hard selling that they close the deals with the customers. It’s a good buy, so I don’t mind. At Victoria Peak, there’s a Tony Moly shop where I bought a lipstick and face powder for my mom (yes, I have to clarify that haha). The prices there are quite cheaper compared here in the Philippines. For clothes, we were able to visit the H & M shop and they offer discounts on a wide selection of clothing.
For other cheap items, head over to Temple Street Night Market. You’ll find stuff from clothes to toys. Oh, and there are 32 GB flash disks that come in the form of miniature characters from popular franchises like Marvel Comics, Disney, various anime series, etc. You can also find travel trolleys and accessories. Just be warned, some of the store owners here cannot speak in English, so there’s a chance that you’ll have a hard time explaining what you’re looking for. Other than that, if you’re acquainted with the dry market here in the Philippines like Divisoria and Quiapo, then this place will be familiar for you.

Temple Street night market. Pretty familiar huh?

Temple Street night market.
Pretty familiar huh?

It was a fun experience, especially that it took me six years to have another overseas trip. Like I said, three days weren’t enough to go to all the tourist spots in Hong Kong. We weren’t able to go to Disneyland, Ocean Park, and several museums. For those of you who are planning to go to Hong Kong, my advice is for you is to always bring a tourist map, and if possible, buy a sim card that will provide you mobile data. Internet access can save you lots of time in finding places. Know the railroad system in Hong Kong. It’s quite easy to follow, and it helps you cut your trip short. It’s most probable that you’ll meet some staff members who don’t speak English, so as much as possible, use a picture or written text to communicate in such situations. I think that’s all I can suggest for now. I hope you guys can see the beauty of Hong Kong. ‘Til then, have a safe trip! (~^_^)~

P.S. Special thanks to my college orgmates, Kitten and Barbz for the pictures. V(^_^)

A Night of Indie Music – Dirty Deeds 2 at Route 196

I went to Route 196 last Wednesday with my friend stump3d to watch some indie bands including my college orgmate, Jai Barrientos. This was the second event that was produced by DiRTY DEEDS Productions, with the first one held a couple of years back. All five bands had a distinct beat and well diverse types of genre, from techno to hard rock, that will suit the taste of any music enthusiast. Here’s a glimpse of their performances.

BPM

Lazaro

Mr.Dirty

Parada

Jai Barrientos

After the program, some of the audience had the chance to jam with the band members. It was a fun night! As for the place, the space is just right to enjoy the band up-close. The ambiance is cozy, and the drinks are quite cheaper compared to other music bars. I recommend that you try to visit the place for a night. A lot of the performers here are indie musicians so you’ll hear original compositions, but there are performers who do covers if that is your thing. Just check Route 196’s facebook page for daily updates of the bar’s guest performers. Let’s support the local indie music industry! (~^_^)~

 

DiRTY DEEDS 2 @ Route 196

Dusted – One Element, Multiple Perspectives

Over one and a half years ago, I wrote a blog post about my experience on going to an art exhibit. It was enriching and enigmatic (in a fun way) at the same time. The recent one that I attended, entitled Dusted  was no different in terms of its impact to me. The theme revolves around earthen materials presented in a wide variety of media and allegories. Based on the exhibit’s write-up, it aims to wake the Philippine Society out of its years of status quo, and calls for reflection. While keeping the goal in mind, I tried my “non-artist” eyes to see what I see, and let my mind sew my own interpretation. I will give a disclaimer early on that I didn’t undergo any formal training in fine arts so some of my observations may be far-fetched from what a true artist will immediately see, and some of the terms I used maybe lost in context since I only depend on the stuff that I’ve read before (corrections are welcome if you find any).  This post focuses more on my personal perspective and experience :).

One Element

Dusted3

Even if the theme is solely based on earthen materials, it didn’t stop the creativity of the artists to utilize it in a form that they want to use. The result was a myriad of visual expressions. There were sculptures, paintings ranging from something that seems non-objective (since I can’t recognize any real-world objects as its basis) to something abstract, and even a video of a zoomed-in view of a road while the artist is riding a tricycle. The formed pattern was amazing.

Dusted8

Dusted7

Dusted2

 

There are sewn images of overhead  maps paired with cloth with embroidered patterns. You’ll also find images with some hand-drawn lines and coal etches (for my lack of better term), all of which were printed in grayscale, which I consider as another statement for the theme since the different shades of black and gray are close connotation of dust and other similar materials.

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Dusted10

Dusted5

Dusted12

Another artwork uses soil, a mat, and a pillow. Upon a closer look, the pillow has a design that somehow resembles a tombstone, so I’m guessing it’s a representation of a grave. It’s quite fascinating actually.

Dusted1

The way that this exhibit was presented kinda reminds me of a game jam, where the participants will make a game based on a specific theme. The variation of the output was wide and unpredictable in a fun way.

Multiple Perspectives

Dusted13

One of the artists asked me of my observations on the different artworks. If you’ve read my blog post before, I have this fear of not deciphering the message it’s trying to convey, but the question was just a simple query of observation. For instance, looking at an artwork of rocks hanging in threads made me think that this will make a good picture from afar to give the illusion that the rock is floating. For the artist that I’ve talked to (not the one who made the artwork above), she said she was fascinated with the shadows formed by the hanging threads. After she pointed that out, I was amazed myself, but maybe in a different way because what I saw somehow resembles a 3D graph that can be formed by a certain mathematical equation. Pardon my geek side XD. However, my point here is that with one base element in mind, the artists brought the idea to life in so many forms and different perspectives. It never fails to impress that they have such keen eyes in paying attention to details and a creative mind to express thoughts in an unorthodox manner.

It was fun to see the irony on this artwork. Here are sculpted soaps with carved words, “maputi” (white), “makinis” (smooth), and “mabango” (fragrant). These are the benefits that are brought by the depicted object, yet I find it ironic since the material used was clay which texture and color pertain more to dirt. If I extend my thoughts beyond what I see, this can represent people trying to conceal their dark side by acting clean and innocent.

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The combination of the image of a woman and an apple instantly struck me with the idea of the divine creation. I interpret the red lines as the taint of sin referencing the events when the forbidden fruit was eaten.

Dusted11

First thing that comes to my mind when I saw this was Jenga. Yeah, it’s just me being really fond of games. If I’ll play with the concept further, I could link this to government projects not being able to hold its expected lifespan due to corrupted budgets, like a Jenga brick being removed from the overall structure.

Dusted14

How about you? What things have you pondered on while looking at the artworks? I know my pictures didn’t justify the beauty of these works (spare me for I’m just using my Xperia Play), so if you find the time and these creations piqued your curiosity, I suggest you visit the exhibit located in NCCA Building, Intramuros, Manila.  The exhibit runs until the 30th of September. While you’re at it, you can roam around Intramuros as well. There are lots of sites to behold. (~^_^)~

Dusted

Dusted4

Ali Aldaba
Ralph Barrientos
Brisa Dominguez
Joseph Gabriel
Clara Herrera
Kulay Labitigan
Catcat Mendoza
Katherine Nuñez
Issay Rodriguez
Luigi Singson

Curated By: Noëll EL Farol

A Delightful Board Game Treat: Sweet Sabotage

Last week, I had the chance to play-test a board game created by my two former colleagues, White Ravens’ Charles Cue and Ellie Licuanan. It’s called Sweet Sabotage. Basically, the object of the game is to earn the master’s favor by satisfying enough number of customers through serving their ordered desserts.  We did the playthrough in Tobey’s Game Cafe, a place where you can dine and play a wide variety of board games. Just the place we need. The video below gives you an overview of the core mechanics. Now who goes first?…. the hungriest player. :3

First-time players will have a slow pace at the beginning since you need to track several elements like the customer attributes and dessert  ingredients, but don’t fret. With just a few turns, you’ll be able to grasp the flow of the game and have fun for the rest of the time, especially when players are starting to sabotage each other. LOL.

Ellie Licuanan (Artist of White Ravens) explaining the core mechanics of the game

Ellie Licuanan (Artist of White Ravens) explaining the core mechanics of the game

Actual Play Test: When Player Put Their Game-Face On, Prepare for some Sabotage : ))

Actual Play Test: When Players Put Their Game-Face On, Prepare for some Sabotage : ))

Notable Stuff That I Like About The Board Game:

  • The unique theme of the game. I never thought that I’ll enjoy the role of being a butler.
  • The anime/manga art style. Nuff said.
  • The Sabotage mechanic itself. This adds twist to the game turning the tides for those who are about to win. However, this is not to be abused, for some cards work against your favor.
  • Packaging. All the parts were presented like it came from an actual cafe like the cake box, daily specials, and the menu booklet that is distributed to each player.
  • Not too simple and not too complex. You’ll understand the game soon enough to have more time enjoying the competition for your master’s favor.
Fun game and good food wit hformer colleagues and boardgame enthusiasts!

Fun game and good food with former colleagues and boardgame enthusiasts!

Right now, White Ravens is running an IndieGogo campaign to push the project to full production. Visit the link to see more details about the game and the talented people behind it. If you find it enjoyable, why not give your support? They have a wide variety of perks to choose from. Let the quest for the best maid and butler begin! (~^_^)~

Photos Courtesy of: Ellie Licuanan and Sao Menguito

My ProjectHT Experience: An Insight on What It Really Means to Help

Last Saturday, I had the chance to help a group of advocates named Husay Talents, who spearheaded a project called #ProjectHT which aims to aid kids of unfortunate circumstances to unlock their full potential in the field of creative works. They can use this  as a tool to improve their well-being as well as their quality of life. I believe in this approach since it will be a lot more beneficial for people in the long run to acquire the skills that they may use to provide for their needs rather than just giving them what they actually need. It was a fun and fulfilling experience, and here I will share the insights that I’ve gained after participating in their activity.

Before that, let me give you a brief background on #ProjectHT’s ideals. The people behind this are driven by what I personally dub as “three pillars of goodwill” namely:

  • Faith: “Maniwala sa Husay” (Believe in your skills) – you should believe in your skills for God gave you these gifts for you to benefit and enjoy. This was the focus of Day 1 of #ProjectHT’s three-day class series. The volunteer instructors were able to bring out what these kids are made of which in turn gave them…
  • Hope: “May Mararating ang Husay” (You can achieve something with your skills) – hone your skills to make your dreams come true and lead a better life. This is the theme of Day 2. The instructors’ credentials proved that their abilities gave them more than enjoyment, and these kids can do the same as long as they have hope. They were taught out of goodwill which is a perfect example of…
  • Love: “Ibahagi Ang Husay” (Share your skills) – one form of love is to give something that you have without expecting anything in return. It doesn’t require any material resources to share something to others. Your skills may deem valuable as well. Share it to other people and make them realize the gifts that were blessed upon them. For the last day of classes, the students will have a song and dance performance showcasing what they have learned from the previous classes, an inspiring moment waiting to materialize.

The Things You Can Give For The Ones in Need

Usually, when I see a project like this, the first thing that comes into my mind would be to give financial aid. It’s a need for every outreach project, and #ProjectHT is no exception. However, there is something more precious that I can share to these children, and that is time. For me, it’s the genuine form of Love, and the advocates of Husay Talents have set a good example to the kids of giving your non-renewable resource for the sole goal of helping others. Witnessing this drove me to give as much effort and assistance as I can to push their goals forward. These people showed me that you don’t have to be financially abundant to initiate such advocacy. They were able to execute the project in a month’s time.

(Coach Gie taught them how to vocalize and the song “Happy” by Pharrell Williams.)

With all the bad news that are spreading throughout our country, it’s easy to make an excuse not to give a helping hand, but with the people who volunteered for #ProjectHT, I realized there’s always hope… a hope that people will share their skills without reservation for a good cause, that hindrances brought by poverty won’t matter anymore because of the efforts of goodwill, and that no one will ever feel lost because of the people who are ready to help to bring out the best out of them. The instructors totally inspired me, like Ms. Anne Gelli Dimapilis (Graduate of Bachelor of Music from St. Scholastica’s College, studied under Ryan Cayabyab Music Studio) and Mr. Bill Barrinuevo (4th-year student of BA Film and Audio-Visual Communication from University of the Philippines, Diliman, former member of the U.P. PEP Squad) who willingly gave their expertise to teach the students. I can see the depth of their proficiency from the pointers that they gave to the approach that they used to tackle the lessons. I’m amazed that they’re doing this without expecting anything in return, and it encouraged me to do the same. Maybe not for voice and dance lessons, but if opportunity arises and ProjectHT offers something that crossed my scope of expertise, then I’d be willing to teach these children.

(Coach Bill taught the same song but this time by dancing. The kids enjoyed learning both disciplines!)

A Seed of Hope Has Been Planted

As the class wraps up, I learned and enjoyed as much as the students did. I just can’t call it a “day” for I saw several lives changed for the better in a span of a few hours, and I’m grateful to be part of it. I believe a seed of hope has been planted on each of us, and it will grow and spread as these children show other people what they can do with their gifts. I can’t wait to see the other things that they can do. Husay Talents is with them in every step of the way.  Now I’m thinking of starting something similar on my own, but I still have a lot of things to know before making such initiative, so for now I’ll help this project spread hope and love to other people. Truly, this is one of the moments that restored my faith in humanity.

(Fun times with the volunteers, participants, Brgy. Loyola coordinators, coaches and the HT team!)

Now, for all of you who gave a nod in Husay Talents’ goals and visions, and wondering how you can help, don’t hesitate to inquire through email husaytalents@gmail.com or Facebook www.facebook.com/HusayTalents. You can help in cash, in kind or even volunteer to assist in their activities like me. Let’s believe in these kids’ talents, show them what they can achieve, and encourage them to share what they can offer for their improvement and the betterment of our society.

 

This blog post was originally posted in http://www.husaytalents.com – My ProjectHT Experience: An Insight on What It Really Means to Help