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Happy Friday, everyone! Welcome to the first issue of the Kamestu Informer.

Below you’ll find a table of contents, where you’ll be able to see at a glance article titles and their respective writers.

Each section is headed with its own graphic and each graphic is a link to the related subforum. At the bottom of each post is a mini-navigation list, so you can jump from section to section. Since we won’t be using spoilers, it’ll save you a bit of scrolling.

Future issues will not have this introduction on how to navigate the newsletter. If you don't find the format intuitive, let us know!




Table of Contents




Anime & Manga

Springtime Fun -- Breathless

Rapid Reviews: Gundam Wing -- RazorDan


Art & Literature

On Writing: Accents and Dialect

On Writing: POV Miniseries [First-Person] -- Emotional Outlet



14 Nights

Go Get a Roomie! -- Emotional Outlet


Gamers Corner! -- Dark_Angel13

Call of Duty: Black OPS II Review -- hagi



Rendering Images -- Dreamcastor

Tools of the Trade #1: Move -- poetictragedy



Oculus Rift: VR Revisited -- Dae314

Flu Shot: Blue Screen of Death -- Minkseru

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With the month already half gone, I’d like to ask any members who are able to please donate to the forum via the button at the top of the page. We appreciate your generosity and wouldn't be here without you guys.

For any members interested in participating in the newsletter, I have some information. Here is an application form, largely a formality to prevent any loss of information and maintain accountability for both editors and participating members. We also have a FAQ containing information on almost every facet of this project.

If you have any comments or questions about the newsletter, let us know either directly in thread or via PM! Or, should you desire a more anonymous route, I've also crafted a feedback form for people to use. Only the editors, poetictragedy and I, will be able to view the results of this feedback. It will remain available for the foreseeable future.

PDF and .doc versions of the newsletter are available for download. If you'd like to see other formats, let us know and we'll see what we can do. If you're comfortable, you can do the conversion yourself. For this issue only, we have two versions of each format. Let us know which one you prefer! Future issues will be formatted accordingly.


[ Download Index ]

Links (Applications, FAQ, Feedback, and Downloads) will be appended to the end of future issues.

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Springtime Fun

In this article, I'll be going through the some of the upcoming springtime anime. I won't go into them in too much detail, but I'll list the ones I'm excited for.

There are a few that I'm interested in, but the one I'm looking forward to the most is 'Ore no Imouto ga Konnani Kawaii wake ga Nai'. The second season is coming out, and that means more Kuroneko! If you don't know about this anime, it's a comedy revolving around an average high school brother, his cute, otaku sister and her friends. The studio is changing from AIC to A-1 Pictures, but there's no change in the staff. Ore no Imouto is set to air during April.

Girls und Panzer, which started last year but was put on halt, is finally back! It's scheduled for the 18th of March and its final episode is on the 25th. There will also be an extra OVA on the 22nd.

One action-packed anime that will be coming out is Shingeki no Kyojin. The basic premise is that there are giants that roam the earth, and humankind is now cornered into a single city with towering walls to keep them safe. I read the manga and it's one of the best I've ever read, so I'm undoubtedly going to watch this anime. It's quite dark, and sometimes straight up creepy, but that doesn't take anything away from its greatness. It’s set to air in April.

For fans of Hayate no Gotoku, the fourth season is said to air during the Japan’s spring. For those of you that haven't heard of Hayate no Gotoku, it translates into 'Hayate the Combat Butler'. It follows Hayate, a high school boy whose parents have left him with a debt, who lives his life as a 'butler' to the cute Sanzenin Nagi. Hayate no Gotoku is set to air in April.

Hanasaku Iroha is going to have a movie, I can't wait for it! Hanasaku Iroha is a coming of age/slice of life that follows the life of a teenager who, due to certain circumstances, works at her Grandmother's hot spring inn. The movie is set to air March 09.

There is also a Steins;Gate movie coming out, and personally, I'm not happy about this at all. I loved the Steins;Gate anime and visual novels, and they were already summed up perfectly to me. So I don't see how this movie can add to that, but nonetheless, I love Steins;Gate so I'll give it a shot. It's set to air April 20.

On another note, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is getting a Japanese dub! Who doesn't want to see their favorite pony speaking in Japanese!!? I'm not sure how I feel about this one, but I guess Japan loves MLP just as much as the rest of the world. Its airing date is still to be announced.

That's all from me, but there are still other great spring anime coming out, so be sure to look at some of them yourselves!


Rapid Reviews: Gundam Wing

Greetings! RazorDan here with the first of hopefully many rapid reviews. Gundam Wing is relatively ‘old’, but I recently rewatched it and it was one of the few anime I watched as a kid.


Image from Gundam Posters

Synopsis: It’s the year After Colony 195, and war between the Space Colonies and Earth has begun. To give the Colonies an edge, they send 5 young soldiers, trained to perfection, to Earth in the most powerful of Mobile Suits--Gundams. With their arrival, the tide of the war changes as they battle against the Earth forces and the Colonies of their origin.
(Source: ANN)

Review: Gundam Wing is undoubtedly one of the most popular anime series to make it to North America. It introduced much of the Western world to the Gundam Franchise and thus opened the market for the likes of Gundam SEED and Gundam 00. While we all know popularity doesn’t always equal high quality, rest assured that in this case, it certainly does.

To put it plainly, Gundam Wing is a thriller. It has an ‘it’ factor that makes it stand out. It’s no coincidence that Wing was so popular. From the epic mobile suits, to the great battles and, most importantly, to the surprisingly likeable characters, Gundam Wing is the perfect cocktail to viewers wanting to get into anime.

As a Gundam series, it has more than enough ridiculous moments and confusing storylines that, if you allow them, make the series incredibly frustrating. However, as an anime lover, I urge you not to think too deeply about the sometimes confusing philosophic elements. Accept them at face value and immerse yourself in the thrill ride that is Gundam Wing.

Plot: 3/5
It started off well, but got a bit lost in the middle. Towards the end, the story picked back up to a very ‘epic’ conclusion. Outlandish, over the top, and, above all, captivating. Some frustration, especially with the Relena Arc, and a couple of minor plot holes make it a 3 from me.

Characters: 4/5
The 5 gundam pilots were basically cliches but this added to the anime. You had Heero, the emotionless killer. Duo was comic relief, as he was the only kinda normal guy. Quatre, the smart, kind guy, tried to keep the team together. Trowa was the epitome of the strong and silent type. And finally, Wu Fei was the sneering ‘I’m better than you weaklings’ character.

The ‘bad guys’ however, made the show. Zechs and Treize are two of my favourite characters in anime.

Negatives: Relena. More Treize, less Relena.

Art: 3/5
For me, the art was the weakest point. The animation of the mobile suits was good, as was some of the designs (Taurus and Virgo were amazing), but the reuse of old footage was disappointing. However, the animation stayed at a decent enough level throughout.

Sound: 5/5
I loved the openings. Loved the mecha sounds and the battle sounds. Some of the music that came on during the battle scenes really added to the atmosphere, especially the sounds of some of the Gundam weapons.

Epic Factor: 5/5
This is a special attribute that defines how ‘exciting’ I felt the series was. It defines that feeling when you watch episode after episode in a row, not wanting to stop. For Gundam Wing, it’s easy.

I have this rule that whenever an anime has a 5/5 epic factor, the feeling that I can’t stop watching, then it’s automatically a 10/10 overall. Yes, you heard right. I give Gundam Wing 10/10!

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On Writing: Accents and Dialect

Emotional Outlet

On Writing is a series of articles based on different aspects of writing, from nuts and bolts to more nebulous aspects. Because the craft is different for each person and story, take these articles not as prescriptive, but as inspirational.
Character dialogue can be the most fun, interesting part of the process. Alternatively, it can be painful to find each character’s voice, to make them worth listening to and unique. One of the ways writers make their characters unique is to give them an accent, an individual way of speaking.

Written accents can sometimes be recognised by the increased use of apostrophes and phonetic spelling. An extreme example: “Ah sed dat she gotsta wok ta th’ pahk ‘cuz th’ cah is’n th’ shawp.” This is heavy handed and painful to read even for short periods, much less an entire book. It also borders on offensive, as it often comes with unfortunate connotations--the speaker is considered uneducated, uncultured, and unintelligent compared to those not subject to this treatment.

If you choose to show a character’s accent in this way--with apostrophes and phonetic spellings--consider why you’re doing so. Why is it important to spell out phonetically how one character speaks but not another? What do you have to gain from this treatment?

Diction and syntax are a major part of a character’s voice. Even something as simple as manipulating use of contractions can do wonders for a character’s voice with no need to pull out the thesaurus. Heavy use of contractions tends to read more casual (“I didn’t know she’d be going”) whereas the opposite reads a bit more formal (“I did not know she would be going”).

Speakers often omit or slur over letters, as frequently seen with gerunds (words ending with -ing), so it can eliminate the need to use extra apostrophes. When the first example is read out loud (“I didn’t know she’d be going”), you might find yourself slurring over letters, omitting certain sounds, and following a specific cadence. When the second is read aloud (“I did not know she would be going”), you may find yourself paying attention to each letter, pronouncing each word more carefully, and using an entirely different cadence.

Colloquial words and turns of phrase can also paint a more complete picture of a person’s speech patterns than phonetic spellings. If a speaker refers to a tool used to remove pencil marks as a rubber and a rail vehicle on tracks as a tram, readers should be able to tell this character has an accent different from the character who uses the words eraser and train respectively.

Sentence structure, especially when dealing with characters speaking in a language other than their mother tongue, can easily show a character’s heritage. Research the grammar and syntax of your character’s first language and try to capture that in your dialogue. For any fellow Filipinos out there, how many of you are told to “open the light” instead of “turn on the light”? It’s a subtle quirk that can be exploited for effective and rich dialogue.

A final word on dialogue--whatever you do, make sure you read it out loud! Your ears and tongue will happily tell you when things don’t flow correctly or sound unnatural.


POV Miniseries [First-Person]

Emotional Outlet

Narrative Point of View (POV) is how a story is written and depends upon who is telling the story. There are three primary POVs---first-person, second-person, and third-person. Each POV has its strengths and weaknesses, but the most important thing to consider is how your story will benefit from a certain narrative voice. We’ll begin with first-person POV.

“I told her I wasn’t going to do it. She didn’t like that.”

In first-person, the story is told from the perspective of a character or characters within the story itself. They’re able to describe and relay information, not only about unfolding events, but also their own reactions and emotions. This POV can easily create a sympathetic character since readers are privy to their inner thoughts.

You have some choice with regards to framing your first-person narrative.

To start, it doesn’t have to be singular. Whether you switch between narrators and have them describe the same events separately or simply have them speak as a group, you aren’t limited to a single voice.

This type of narrative is often told as an internal monologue, describing events and actions as one would in third-person but with different pronouns. However, you can make your character aware they’re telling a story, either directly to the reader or to a secondary character, and frame the narrative as such.

Maybe your narrator isn’t actually the hero of the story or the one driving the plot. The Sherlock Holmes stories by Doyle are told in first-person, but from Watson’s perspective, not Holmes’s. The effect of switching narrators is immediately clear. Holmes often has the case solved long before Watson, and having the “solution” reflected so early in the narrative would change the reader’s experience.

Narrators also don’t have to be reliable or truthful. One use of unreliable narrators involves mental illness and/or delusion, but such narratives can be characterised by bravado or exaggeration, immaturity or inexperience, creativity or humour, and, of course, sheer deceit.

There are, however, some things you should keep in mind when considering this POV. Ask yourself whether your potential narrator has a voice distinctive enough to warrant the narrative choice and keep it interesting. Will you be able to maintain this character’s voice throughout the narrative? Is the knowledge your character possesses sufficient to tell a compelling story?

You may also find yourself struggling to describe your narrator. The most cliched way of describing a first-person narrator is to put them in front of a mirror, and readers will recognise it as a cliche. Is your character the type to stand in front of the mirror and describe their every feature? Would your character even have access to a mirror?

Sentence structure can become an issue, where too many begin with the word “I”. I did this, I said that, I went there. This kind of repetition can be tiring and cause a reader to lose interest.

A narrator who doesn’t move the plot forward, instead tending towards the solipsistic, may also be problematic depending on the nature of the story. Readers may want the narrator to shut up and get on with it if it isn’t handled carefully.

No matter what POV you choose, always try to do what is best for your story.

Happy writing!

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14 Nights
Emotional Outlet

Subject Warning: The comic contains nudity and sex. This feature is SFW. Art by Kristina Stipetic.


“I wrote it because it was something I wanted to read, but didn't seem to exist yet.”
-- Kristina Stipetic, author and artist of 14 Nights

This comic is the story of two men, outcasts for different reasons, as they try to connect romantically. It updates on Monday and Friday, and has recently emerged from a brief hiatus.

Upon first glance, 14 Nights may be considered an ugly or bad comic. The first character readers are introduced to is Nikita, an overweight immigrant who is missing a hand. He is brash and offensive, obnoxious and lewd. Then we meet Lucian, a nervous sort of man with a large nose and elvish ears. He’s skittish and awkward, seemingly uncomfortable in his own skin.

If you can push past that initial reaction, you may find yourself pleasantly surprised. Nikita, in all his flamboyant glory, is often drawn with exaggerated expressions that demonstrate how forthright he is with his emotions. Lucian’s dream sequences, while not entirely sensical (because what dreams are?), also cast light upon his personality--he’s reluctant and prefers to stay within the safety of familiarity. When the two collide, these differences become all the more fascinating.

As Nikita and Lucian’s relationship blossoms, Lucian is revealed to have a problem with sex. He wasn’t molested, he wasn’t hurt in any way--he simply tells Nika that he isn’t into sex, and the author herself states he is afraid of it. This confounds Nikita and they drift apart.

(Side note: it may initially read as problematic, as some readers have interpreted Lucian’s reluctance and fear as asexuality, believing the comic to be about Nikita’s misguided attempts to “fix” what he considers a broken sexuality. It becomes clear, though, that Lucian does have sexual desires, but is unable to reconcile them.)

Despite this roadblock, they eventually decide to tackle the problem and agree to engage in some kind of intimate act (as defined by Nikita) for exactly fourteen nights. If, after those two weeks have elapsed, Lucian still isn’t interested in sex, then they will part ways. Nikita quickly proves to be a considerate man, able to read his partner and adjust his strategy based on Lucian’s reactions.

These men and their relationship are flawed both in obvious and not so obvious ways, something that makes them deeply relatable. I quickly found myself rooting for them, wanting to shake Lucian by the shoulders and tell him to just say what’s on his mind, wishing I could help Nikita in some way despite the fact he’d probably think of it as pity.

I highly recommend giving this comic a try, and to look past the art if it bothers you at first. It’s definitely not a comic written to turn on teenaged girls, but rather to show an exploration of sexuality that’s realistic, a breath of fresh of air after so many comics about idealised situations, of how many of us wish we had experienced sex. It’s well worth a read--I’ve personally read it four or five times, but once is probably enough!


Go Get a Roomie!
 Emotional Outlet


Subject Warning: The comic contains nudity and sex. This feature is SFW. Art by Chloe.


Roomie is the kind of girl people might have warned you about--she’s a hippie who moves from house to house, using sex as payment for room and board. She happily loves everyone, and especially loves being naked.

The comic is primarily a slice of life with several overarching plot lines. For (hopefully) obvious reasons, the comic is NSFW. It updates every week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

Although day-to-day shenanigans and one-shot jokes do happen, there’s a lot more to Roomie and her friends than sex in all its forms. We learn about the familial drama of the twins, Ramona and Richard. We see how Roomie handles a situation where she ends up caught between two people, Matt and Aggie, who feel strongly for her, more than she’s willing to reciprocate.

The lifestyle Roomie leads isn’t for everyone, but some in her circle view her as perfect. Readers have also picked up on this, especially at the beginning, and claimed that she’s too much of a “Mary Sue”. This is deconstructed as the story progresses--you see hints of her dislike for this idealisation, and her flaws (alcoholism, disrespect for personal boundaries and space, and inadvertent heartbreaking of others) keep her grounded.

The story really takes off when Roomie meets Lillian, later known as Lazy Tyke and, eventually, LT. Their relationship becomes the major focus of the comic and effectively downplays the amount of nudity.

LT just wants to sleep. She spends most of her days ensconced in the dream world, preferring the imaginary landscape of her mind than that of the real world. She does it to the point that it worries her brother she’s running away from life entirely.

Their first meeting was the result of Roomie’s drunken attempt to locate a friend, instead ending up at Lillian’s place. In a sleepy stupor, LT lets her in and goes back to sleep. When the two wake, Roomie is surprised that LT is not only clothed, but they hadn’t had sex. LT herself is surprised to find someone in her bed at all and kicks her out.

Despite appearing like total opposites--LT expresses her confusion about Roomie’s life on more than one occasion, mostly regarding how everyone can have so much energy--Roomie is drawn to LT. The “will they, won’t they” nature of their relationship is one of the driving forces of the comic, but isn’t the primary reason I continue to read the comic.

Although seeing the two of them eventually hook up would be adorable, I find their interactions, the give and take nature of their relationship to be more compelling than any promise of lesbian sex. Chloe does a fantastic job of creating a dynamic that allows both characters to remain true to themselves as they share more and more of themselves through the progression of their relationship.

If you’re in the market for a love story, this may not be for you. Still, seeing as the story isn’t over yet, there’s no harm in rooting for the Roomie/LT ship! You certainly won’t be alone in the matter.

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Gamers Corner!

This article will cover Grand Theft Auto 5 or simply GTA V and Dead Island Riptide.



Images from Rockstar Games


Many expected the release of this game to come quite early in 2013 but we were mistaken. Rockstar has stated the release date of the game to be 9.17.2013 which was a bit of a shock to me until I really searched for some screenshots of the game. Some of them are quite amazing and you can see a couple included here.

The screenshots and trailers give me hope that GTA V will live up to what GTA San Andreas has created. GTA IV was a bit of a letdown for me so I hope Rockstar can redeem themselves for me with GTA V.

This game has a good chance of topping any of the previous Grand Theft Auto titles and I hope that it does. After so many games in the series it is getting a little repetitive, so hopefully this game brings a new twist to the game while still capturing what we all love about Grand Theft Auto at the same time.

Dead Island Riptide


Image from Joystiq

If you’ve viewed my topic on here you’d see that I am quite excited about the release of this game, which is very soon. Deep Silver has announced that Dead Island Riptide will hit stores on April 23rd in North America and April 26th internationally for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC so make sure you’re prepared to get your copy.

The game is going to follow the story of the original survivors who in their last encounter escaped from the island of Banoi. This next instalment is set on another island nearby and includes a fifth survivor who is new to the series entirely.

I have fond memories of running around the island of Banoi as Sam B, crushing in zombie skulls and getting into shootouts with some of the remaining survivors of the island. Although the game had its flaws, I still have hope for the sequel to fix all the issues players had with the first.


Image from Gaming V2

Deep Silver have released some Alpha footage of the game that gives us an idea of what they gameplay will be like. It looks very similar to the first game as they’ve captured the same combat system and style of fighting. I just hope they have improved on it in certain places that I didn’t see in the alpha video.

In closing these two games are coming soon and will hopefully give us all a lot of enjoyment and be worthy of more playtime than just what it takes to do the story in. I hope, like many others, that things will change in these games for the better.


Call of Duty: Black OPS II
Review by hagi

Call of Duty: Black Ops II is the latest entry into Activision’s annualized First Person Shooter; it’s also the ninth entry into the Call of Duty Franchise and the sequel to Call of Duty: Black Ops, released in 2010. Black Ops II was developed by Treyarch and released on November 13, 2012 for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Microsoft Windows, and on November 18, 2012 in North America. Within a couple of hours after going on sale, the game grossed over $500 million, beating 2011's Modern Warfare 3, and became the biggest entertainment launch of all time. This is the also the first entry in the Call of Duty series to feature non-linear gameplay and, most notably, multiple endings.

Gameplay (Multiplayer Mode)
I will be skipping the review of the single player aspect of this game as I haven’t played it out in its entirety.

Treyarch did a complete overhaul of the multiplayer, so players now have the option to pick whichever equipment they need and add it to their loadout. This new system is called Pick Ten and is the new iteration of the traditional Create-A-Class system. Players are given ten points to use in this new system. Each item takes one point and players can choose to use all ten points or less, as it’s up to the player to determine how the points would be used. This new system gives players total control over how their overall combat experience in multiplayer would be.

In addition to the new Pick Ten systems, Treyarch also have redesigned the traditional killstreaks and rebranded them as scorestreaks, where points earned during gameplay go towards your scorestreaks. For example, UAV would normally be three kills--with the new scorestreaks system, you would need 425 points before you get that UAV.

If you’re going to play Team Death Match a lot, I suggest using perk one Hardline to help get these streaks faster, since TDM streaks take longer to obtain as opposed to Domination. In my opinion, TDM needs to be revamped with a higher score per kills, as 100 per kill is too low. 125 points per kill is much better. Play the game yourself to see what I’m talking about.

Deathstreaks were also removed by Treyarch, thus players are no longer rewarded for being killed, which made no sense in the first place--why reward players that aren’t good?

If you’re into objective based gameplay, give Hardpoint a try. It’s a new game mode created by Treyarch. This mode is very simple--capture different locations on the map, then hold that location until the timer runs out. Speaking from experience, this game mode is very fast-paced; think of it as Headquarters on steroids. That’s how fast paced this game mode is.

If you’re into team-based or skilled-based gameplay, give League Play a try. This playlist matches players of equal skill together to compete in a series of matches that would determine your rank within a series of divisions--Iron, Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Master. I haven’t fully played this game mode yet, so I don’t have much to say about it except to give it a try.

In the end, Black Ops II has a multitude of game modes that are sure to keep you satisfied for a long time.

Visually, Black Ops II looks stunning--lighting and texture rendering, areas and different locations throughout the multitude of maps are all excellent. The only major problem with the game that I experienced is there are moments when the game renders certain things wrong. Maybe it’s just my HDTV that’s the problem? Or maybe it’s the IW engine the game uses?

Speaking of the IW engine--for a game engine that has been out for 9 years from the date of this review, to produce this level of visuals is surprising. The engine can’t produce the level of detail the Battlefield 3 Frostbite engine produces, but it does allow for something that most other FPS don’t have--a 60FPS game. The engine has been constantly updated for each Call of Duty game since it was first released back in 2005. Most gamers complain that the game engine is outdated, but honestly, do you think developers can constantly create a new game engine for a game series that’s released annually? I think not.

In the end Black Ops II delivers a solid multiplayer and visually stunning maps, so don’t hesitate to buy Black Ops II today.



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Rendering Graphics

In this article, I will discuss rendering images for use in graphics. There are several ways to accomplish this, so what follows will be my personal process. I will be using GIMP, as it’s the program I’m most familiar with.

To begin, make sure that transparency is on. In GIMP, click Layer >> Transparency >> Add Alpha Channel. When using Photoshop, you first duplicate your image. (Usually when you open the image, it's a locked layer and needs to be unlocked.) Go to list of layers, right-click the layer, click on Duplicate Layer, and hit OK. Then right-click on the original layer and Delete Layer. Press Shift+Ctrl+N, will bring up new layer options. Make sure that the Opacity is at 0% and hit OK.

A major factor that goes into rendering an image is its contrast. For images with high levels of contrast (a dark character on a light background, for example), the rendering process is far easier. When the image you’re trying to render matches the background, then it becomes more time-consuming.

For images with high contrast, the tool I find best suited in GIMP is called Fuzzy Select/the Magic Wand. Click and drag over the unwanted portions, until you’ve selected all relevant parts. (I prefer to drag down and to the right.) Once you’ve selected everything, hit Delete on your keyboard. Use the Eraser tool to pick up any stray marks or small sections you couldn’t grab with the Magic Wand.

You can also use a different tool called Free Select. There are two methods to this. One is to draw around the image, which may not be the most useful if you don’t have a steady hand or tablet. The other way is to click along the edge of the image and create points. Once you’ve made all of your points, the program will connect the points for you and highlight the selected area.

However you may choose to render your images, just know that practise makes perfect and that there is no single way of accomplishing this task. Keep developing new and creative methods of working that are compatible with your style.

Hope this helps, and keep an eye out for new tutorial articles!



Tools of the Trade #1: Move EEe1VX2.png

In this series of articles, I will outline the functions and various uses of the different tools available in Photoshop CS5. These articles may also be relevant to other versions of Photoshop and possibly even GIMP; however, I am not familiar with these other programs and therefore, cannot guarantee the compatibility of this series.

This tool can be found on the toolbar on the right side of the Photoshop workspace. Its use is rather self-explanatory; Move is used to reposition, resize, and transform layers.

To move a layer, just drag and drop it wherever you see fit.

To resize or transform a layer, this box on the top toolbar must be checked:


Transform squares will appear around your layer. At this point, you can drag and drop the transform squares to transform or the image. However, just clicking one of them will open other transform options on the top toolbar.


I often will make large adjustments manually through dragging the transform points, then fine-tune those adjustments using the aforementioned toolbar. I’ll explain what each option controls and how it will affect your layer.


X/Y: This will change the location of the layer. The numbers are the coordinates of the axis for the centerpoint of the image; the numbers are defaulted to the center of the canvas. I find just dragging and dropping easier than trying to use this feature.

W/H: The width and height of the layer. Decreasing the percentage will make the layer smaller; inversely, increasing the percentage will make the image larger. Toggling the chain between the two numbers ensures that your layer remains proportional.

The next option is for rotation of the image. Just enter the number of degrees you’d like the layer to be rotated.

H/V: These settings are used to skew the layer. Personally, I don’t often use these settings because they tend to distort the layer too much. Holding Ctrl while dragging the transform points will allow you to skew the image manually.

Play around with these different settings to find out exactly how you can incorporate them into your works.

The move tool can be used on virtually any type of layer: image, text, shape, adjustment, etc. It’s probably the tool I use the most on Photoshop.

I know this is pretty basic, but hopefully you’ll find small nuggets of knowledge throughout the series!



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Oculus Rift: VR Revisited

The Oculus Rift1 virtual reality headset has been making waves in the gaming industry since its wildly successful Kickstarter campaign ended in 2012. Now, about one month before the developer kits for the Rift are released, big players in the gaming industry are still getting behind the project. The latest backer, EA, has expressed interest in integrating the Frostbite engine (the engine behind games like Battlefield 3 and Medal of Honor: Warfighter) with Rift support2.

The team at Oculus advertises the Rift as an affordable, yet high-end, virtual reality headset with features that surpass anything currently on the market. However, with no set consumer release date or consumer pricing3, it has yet to be seen whether Oculus can deliver on their promises. One thing is known for sure though: the Rift experience is a thing of dreams for gamers. The lucky individuals who tried early prototypes of the headset had almost nothing but praise for it. From the depth of immersion4 to the lightweight design and amazing low-latency head-tracking5, the Rift experience seems undoubtable. That experience can only be expected to get better as Oculus gets feedback on the developer prototype and makes further improvements to the Rift system in preparation for the eventual consumer release.

The Rift is not without issues though. Paramount among these issues is the fact that the Rift uses stereoscopic 3D to render its virtual environments. The Rift has two 1280x800 displays3 set close to the user’s eyes, and both displays show a slightly different picture to achieve this effect. The problem with this approach is that two separate images need to be processed and rendered for each screen. This means that consumers need fairly beefy (read: expensive) graphics hardware to experience the Rift fully, especially with a graphically intense game like Battlefield 3.

This leads to the next issue with the Rift. Right now, the Rift only supports the PC platform. If the Rift is successful, it is likely that this will change, but currently, the Rift is neglecting a large percentage of gamers. Other issues include disorientation after use and questionable support for people with glasses or vision problems affecting one eye. One thing that most people would expect to be an issue is eye strain. However, Oculus claims that this issue is conveniently solved by the Rift since users’ eyes will naturally focus on a more distant point while using the Rift3. In this way, using the Rift may in fact be less strenuous on users’ eyes than using a normal monitor.

The Oculus Rift unquestionably has the potential to change the face of gaming and open the gate for gamers to finally enter the world of VR. With strong industry backing and prototypes with provable performance, the Rift seems to be ready to begin a virtual reality revolution in gaming. In fact, if the Rift is successful, it could open even more doors in the field of consumer virtual reality than just gaming. The Rift, along with the other recent exciting advancements in VR, have the potential to unlock the total-immersion virtual environments that sci-fi nerds have dreamed of since the 80s. The Oculus Rift seems ready to be one more exciting step in the evolution of that dream.



Flu Shot: Blue Screen of Death

Welcome to this issue’s Flu Shot!

Today we speak on the Blue Screen of Death. This is probably the most commonly known issue Windows gives its users--unless you had Vista, then the screen is red. Technically, the error shows up when your computer runs into an error somewhere in the code. Concerns to watch out for: While the blue screen is caused by missing code, we have seen it when a game has overloaded the capacity of the graphics card or RAM.

The Blue Screen of Death, also known as “Deadscreen”, was lovingly named by the company we all know and "love"--IBM. IBM was running beta tests on the original OS/2 design in conjunction with a company called Big Blue. It was called the Blue Screen of Death due to the color of the screen and the fact that, while in it, you can do nothing but manually restart your computer.

A BSOD, quite generous in what it tells you, creates a dump file with information on the stop code error. This “memory dump file” (MDF) enables users to use the file and fix the computer. Repairing the issue will be your first priority.

When your hardware is overheating, this can lead to irreversible damage and the loss of vital information, resulting in a BSOD. For example, on a computer running Win 98, there had been enough damage to the hardware that the data was corrupted and unable to load the OS. A new graphics card, RAM stick, and hard drive later, the machine was fine.

In addition to overheating, there are viruses meant to replace registry files with their own and, in some cases, remap your keyboard and re-assign key combinations. For example, I had a computer at school where the combination SHIFT-G would erase the entire contents of a word processing document.

Hardware frying and file replacement shenanigans aside, we now come to why the BSOD is useful. Its job is to tell you--both onscreen and in the MDF--a general reason of why it had to stop. The stop code generated will be in hexadecimal and relay what the problem is. A good example would be:


(Thanks go to pcsupport.about.com for the borrowed examples.)

The first error message, for example, would tell you a driver malfunctioned. The bottom one is caused by a modified registry file, resulting in altered keyboard function, such that holding CTRL and scrolling down in quick succession would cause a forced BSOD.

Rather than explain how to fix every single BSOD, here’s a link containing every code that can be generated by a BSOD. If you need any help, you can message me on the forum.

This has been your Flu Shot of the Week.

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Gundam Wing was, I'm pretty sure, my introduction to slash shipping. FFT definitely contributed to that (Ramza/Delita for life), but something about GW stuck with me. It was definitely a lot of fun to watch as a kid. I don't remember much of it since I haven't seen it in years, but I do remember the action scenes being a lot of fun.

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Woooo good stuff!  Great job guys! :)


I finally have a new magazine to read since my last one died!



- Oh that's funny that MLP is going to get a Japanese dub. Reminds me when they came out with a Powerpuff Girls anime.

- Diction, syntax, cadence, colloquial, etc... All these words remind me of my English classes lol. Goooood times.

- Yeah the Oculus Rift definitely filling the industry with excitement. It's the little Virtual Boy that could. I know a lot of people who aren't that into gaming are really into this too. The only problem is like you said, it's for a small market. A lot of the issues with the eyes came up with the 3DS. People say if you only have one eye or you have lazy eye then you can't see the effect. Also prolonged use could be tiring (that's for any screen though). The only way I see this making traction would be for Nintendo to make their next console like this 4/5 years down the line. Nintendo has been the spearhead of innovation in gaming with motion controls and touch screens, and if people like it then usually Sony and Microsoft follow suit. Then we can truly enter a new age of gaming. The .hack age!!!

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Guys, be careful when you print it!!!! The headers are white!! Use coloured paper if you can, or just write in the headers after you print! It should be fine on grey-scale e-readers, since it should render the coloured background. I didn't actually test that, but I have faith. (I also have a grey-scale e-reader, I'll check it later.)


But yes, the cover was done by Java! :3


I'm glad it made you feel like you were in English class, haha. I took like infinity English classes in high school, and even now I'm still reading books on grammar and writing. It's a never ending cycle. One day you guys will find me on university professor ranking sites and remember the days I ran a non-profit magazine for a forum and give me lots of good reviews because of that time I explained what first-person narrative is, haha. (But no, language is deeply fascinating to me and I hope other people start writing for the Art & Lit section, otherwise you will all continue to be my guinea pig students.)


Crazy eyeball magic like the 3DS and Rift are going to be hard on me. I don't have a 3DS because of money, but even just playing around with one at the stores made me kind of dizzy. Like I can't play Portal for more than ten minutes at a time because it makes me sick, so VR stuff like that is probably going to drive me crazy, haha. And the glasses thing too--I sometimes wear glasses, especially if I'm playing a game with a lot of text.

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