Friday, September 30, 2011

Minecraft Your Hearts Out!



Minecraft. A world made up of blocks. That could be summed up the first time you lay your eyes on this awesome game, however....there's more to this game than meets the eye. Moving on from my Transformers reference, I will talk about why Minecraft is such an awesome game.

Minecraft, inspired by Infiniminer and created by Markus Perrson, aka "Notch", founder of Mojang AB, is a sandbox game centered around cubes and other things, but mainly cubes. Though, it's more than just removing and placing them in the randomly generated blocky world...there's mining and crafting, as implied by the title of the product. When I mean 'randomly generated', I mean, when you click 'generate world' in singleplayer, you won't get the same exact world all the time. No two Minecraft worlds are the same! Not to mention, even if you're playing an existing game save, it keeps generating terrain. Pretty cool, eh?

Originally, before Survival mode, all you could do, technically, was remove and place blocks, build a few houses and some other things. Not that that's a bad thing, of course, because I do love creating things, and so does a good chunk of the community, but I am going on a tangent. Wait, survival mode? Before I get too ahead of myself, let me just break down what Survival mode in Minecraft is. You start your game off with nothing. No blocks...just your bare hands. What would be the first instinct for a survivor be? Build a shelter! But, ah! You have no blocks, so what do you do? You obtain the resources! "How?", you ask? Simple. Start by beating down the nearest tree with your fists. What? Don't look at me like I'm insane...everyone does that, right? Okay, maybe not...but beat down the nearest tree with your fists. Ah....now you got some wood! Now you can turn those log blocks into wooden planks, which then you can craft many other things.

I am not listing off the things you can craft in the game as that would take an ungodly amount of time...you'll have to figure out that on your own. Perhaps by going to the Minecraft wiki? Though, that would probably end up making this article a waste of time as it explains Minecraft in more detail, but whatever. Anyways, at night...well let's just say some things happen. No, you perverted freaks...monsters come out at night! Yeah, that's right, start freaking out....stuff just got real!

Seriously, though...you should probably make some sort of shelter. If you've not enough wood to make a small square house...your best bet is to just dig yourself a hole a few squares deep, get in....and...well...put dirt over you so monsters don't get in. Yes, it does sound a bit morbid and in reality you would've buried yourself alive, but this isn't reality, is it? Luckily, dirt doesn't fall on your face in Minecraft and suffocate you, unlike gravel and sand.

The bad thing about digging yourself a hole and sitting in it the entire night, is that you won't know if it's day or night, because you're literally in pitch black darkness unless you punch a hole upwards and see what time of day it is, but it's a dangerous risk. You've got to ask yourself if it's worth it. In our reality, you're literally waiting only 10 minutes in that hole until the sun rises, but sometimes it feels like an eternity. You must be a very impatient person if you can't wait 10 minutes, but I won't judge anyone here. However, if you've actually built a house and actually have some torches lighting up your place, you've had a pretty good first night I assume, and wouldn't have to worry about the nightmare I've described above. Granted, this is if you had found a coal deposit in the nearest mountain as well so you can craft said torches. Anyways, moving on, because at this point I'm just rambling.

While singleplayer is certainly fun...the multiplayer, especially survival multiplayer (shortened to SMP), even more so, if you know what multiplayer servers to look for. Feel like creating things and not wanting to worry about people or creepers blowing up your stuff, but want to show people your creations? Then find a creative server that disables monsters! Want to survive with other players and maybe roleplay a bit? Find a survival server! It's as simple as that. If you don't know what the term 'server' means, then go look it up! If you don't know what the word 'multiplayer' means, then you probably shouldn't be playing video games in the first place, but don't let that stop you.

Multiplayer is one of the major things of Minecraft. You can share your creations with your friends...and even people you don't know. I've seen videos of amazing things that people have created! The features of Minecraft are almost endless. While there maybe some sort of limit somewhere, well...that only boils down to the game engine (go look up that term if you're not familiar with it) or Java (again, look that up, I am not explaining it). Technicalities aside, you're only limited by your imagination. I've seen entire mountains being turned into homes! I've seen things ranging from pirate ships to underground secret layers with many traps to mansions and the list just goes on. If it's been thought of, it's most likely been mined....and crafted.

If you're going in expecting a full fledged and deep story, then you can just forget it. That's not what Minecraft is about. You create your own story! Minecraft is all about imagination. If you don't like using your imagination, then this game is not for you.

So if this seems like the kind of game for you and you haven't purchased it yet, then I personally recommend going to buy it. It's not that much...and totally worth it in my opinion. If you're still not convinced, well what can I say? Just move on, I suppose. Will the fact that you can have your own custom player skin sway you a bit? And not to mention, if you do not like the default look of Minecraft, you can download texture packs to make it appealing to you? Eh, it's up to you. It's a fantastic game and I give it a 4.5 out of 5 stars. It would be a full 5 when it gets out of beta. So there it is....Minecraft! Mine, craft, build, survive, and create - it's your own blocky world! It's time to get out into it and create amazing things! On with you, get!

A few links for you guys to check out if interested!
http://www.minecraft.net
http://www.minecraftwiki.net/wiki/Minecraft_Wiki
http://mojang.com/

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Gearslutz!

Posted by AreJay Smith
Ever wonder which microphone to buy? How to get that sound out of your guitar that you hear on your favorite record? Looking for talent to accompany a new track you're working on? The GearSlutz forum has always been the place to go to answer any question pertaining to recording, equipment, and to just shoot the breeze among fellow musicians and producers. I don’t know how many times I’ve had to use their forum to answer questions about everything. The app makes it extremely convenient to do so, especially those late nights I lay in bed just frustrated with a track that isn’t coming around the way I like. Besides the countless gobs of information, you can also post a question, which in my experience, I’ve received a reply promptly from someone with great experience in the recording arts. I’ve also worked with great talent that I met through GearSlutz such as Justin Roelant, who did the vocals for My Atoned Faults. When I saw that, world class producers such as one of my idols Butch Vig(producer of Nirvana’s Nevermind Album) had their own sections where they personally answered questions. I was giddy like a child who met their favorite superhero! The forum is a great place, period, for all that pertains to music. It's even better that they have an app that’s reliable and convenient.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Nevermind the lithium, I’ve got teen spirit!

Posted by AreJay Smith
On September 24, 1991, Nirvana’s Nevermind Album was released . This album sparked a genre knocked off Michael Jackson of the number one spot on the Billboard charts. Spoke to a generation despondent from the 80s “Hair Metal” and, paved the way for rock and alternative the next two decades. Like many of Nirvana’s diehard fans I was only a new born when Nirvana was actually touring and when Kurt was still alive. It still impacted me greatly and is the reason I wanted a guitar and became a musician. Kurt’s angst, simple riffs, and his catchy timeless melodies. Dave Grohl’s machine gun snare and Krist Novoselic’s driving bass lines. All of it culminated together to a truly timeless album. Though a lot of fans debate the true meaning of Kurt’s lyrics, they all could agree that it spoke to them and at many time comforted them in times of despair and crisis.

For me this album is a statement, it’s the core of my music and was the deciding factor to pursue a career in the music business. Since that album I never looked back. It was the sole reason I picked up a guitar, started producing music and got in to the local music scene and supporting local bands and artist. I can continue to elaborate on how much this album changed my life but then there would be a complete unorganized novels worth of writing. Nevermind started my never ending love and journey in music. I can say with conviction Nirvana was my generations Beatles. Both bands completely changed music forever. So to celebrate this great album I’ve been listening to it for the last two days straight. For it’s the sole reason I’m a musician, producer and blogger of music. Nevermind is the reason of my being. It’s is amazing that still to this day you can hear “smells like teen spirit” on the radio along with all of the tracks from that album and still completely rock out! This album still manages to speak, comfort and change the life’s of many around the world. Again, this album has managed to ignite the roaring flame in my heart for music and the amazing musicians I hear today. If there was one album I could give someone to explain or describe myself it would be Nevermind.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Intent films presents Whiskey Folk Ramblers!


Posted by AreJay Smith
see A man and his Camera for more info on Intent Film Productions

A man and his camera.


Posted by AreJay Smith
1993, a young boy sat in a theater mesmerized by a film that would change his life and set his career in stone. The film was Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park. The young boy was Brian Bailey.
“Prior to wanting to pursue film, I wanted to be a writer” he said, and continued with, “I begged for a home movie camera for Christmas and started making short films in my backyard like every other kid with a camcorder.” Brian has worked on several short film projects and now is one of the leading film makers who covers live local bands and music videos.

His first professional experience, he worked as a production assistant for the film “Living and Dying” shot by John Keeyes. Then he goes on to explain what his job consisted of. “My job was to guard the closed set and Edward Furlong’s trailer.” During that brief time Brian had to come to realize he had a lot to learn about the business. “That day on set was fun, but I knew I had a long way to go, so I went out and began doing my own stuff more than ever before and started teaching myself as much as I could.”
Brian also had tried to get on a pilot as crew saying, “I was the only guy who showed up for crew.” Due to certain issues the pilot got put on hold, but it wasn’t all bad for Brian. He had met two guys, Riley Morris and Naaman Rodges, who he would grow a friendship with, and soon their production company Shut Up and Prance , which was put together after the three worked on a comedy short film “The Legend of Pimp Jacket” .

Question. Have you ever been on YouTube looking for one of your favorite local bands to listen to their song, because you deeply love that song? After 15 minutes searching just for that one video, you finally find the one clip of that song? You go to listen and watch it...the video is shaky, blurry, and sometimes so dark you can't see a thing? Then the audio is so distorted, muffled, and just plainly so bad that you close the tab in frustration? In other words to modify a line from Suicidal Tendencies’s Institutionalized “All I wanted was to listen to my song and YouTube wouldn’t give it to me!” This was one of the reasonings behind Brian’s determination to pursue Intent Films with full force.

Brian’s full explanations surrounding Intent Films,
“I personally kind of hate watching most live band videos, because the camera is so far back from the stage, or the performers, that it just makes me wish I was there to see the real thing and I feel disconnected with the music. I try to make videos that put you in the moment as much as possible with the performers. I got started by looking at local musicians that I was interested in as a fan and viewing their YouTube videos and realizing they sucked. This is by no fault of the musician’s; it was just bad camera work by a fan, or a video guy that was approaching the video in a half ass manner.” and finished with, “So I approached My Wooden Leg and Whiskey Folk Ramblers and offered to do video for them as a favor. Great bands deserve great video.”

I asked Brian if being a musician himself had any advantages and he replied with, “Absolutely. I can usually predict changes in the song and adapt my camera work to it. For instance, I may be focusing on the guitarist, and if I can predict when the chorus is coming I can find the right moment to start moving my camera to the lead vocalist in order to flow with the song.” I then asked him, "What is the difference between shooting live and a music video?" “Definitely, you can’t control the environment of a live show, but you can on a video set. I can stop things, change lighting, get artists to repeat actions, choreograph motions, etc.” It's obvious that Brian found himself a niche with capturing live shows saying, “In regards to my live music work, I have been shooting live music for a while. There’s a beautiful thing about live music: everything that happens on the stage only happens once. Even if it’s the same song on another night, the performance is never the exact same twice. I’ve always made it my job to capture that moment as intimately and accurately as possible.” I finished with asking him "You’ve done a few music videos. Can you share some tips?" He went on to say “Communication and cooperation. When shooting a music video, you’re working with an artist that has a set vision. It’s the director’s job to ensure that the vision translates well to video. So you have to be certain of what the artist is looking for and they are okay with your concepts as well.”



Brian has accomplished much, and in my opinion, is quickly rising to the top in the DFW music scene, so I asked, "After conquering DFW, what area's next?" He responded quite modestly with, “I haven’t conquered anything man. And I’m not planning a world take over or anything. I’d like to work with bands that I have interest in, regardless of their location. For instance, I’m a huge fan of J. Roddy Walston and The Business. It’s kind of a secret goal to maybe one day do a video with those guys.” But music isn’t the only thing in Intent’s future. “It’s quickly turning into a future for music videos, short films, and documentaries.” Later on, I also ask if there was a script in the works. “Yeah, I have a few scripts that I’ve been nurturing for a while now. I gradually add to them. I have one or two that I’m really proud of and I think will be great. One of them is an indie sci-fi thriller. There’s sci-fi elements, but it’s not the focus. The best way I can describe it is Little Miss Sunshine meets Enemy of the State.” Earlier I asked him about his work with Lone Star Film Festivals and his experience to which he responded, “I had a great time doing some small stuff for the Lone Star Film Festival. I met a lot of really great people, but I’d rather be showing my films in the festival than volunteering or working in it.” It's clear that Brian Bailey has huge plans for Intent Films.

As a music and film lover myself, I not only respect, but get excited when I find someone who bridges the gap between the two. The passion I see in his work, and from what I’ve learned on a personal level as a friend, has made it clear he’s the real deal. His balance of professionalism and pure love for both music and film sparked me to feature him on loadedandplay.com. I’ve concluded we both are trying to do several of the same things, but in our own ways, his being the more obvious. Music, film, games and photography since the 20th century all have gone hand and hand. Whether it’s the iconic Jaws theme signaling the audience to watch out or Michael Jackson as a zombie on his iconic track “Thriller”, there are countless connections between all these forms of art. Because of people like Brian and their goals, I decided to pursue loadedandplay.com.

please be sure to like Intent Films on FACEBOOK
http://www.facebook.com/intentfilm