Virtual Tourist – Assassin’s Creed Origins 8/2/20

Morning!

Life continues in its usual chaotic cycles. I used a few days of vacation this week, and instead of vegging I spent them working on writer stuff. 😛  I never learn. 

I have been learning a lot about landing pages and opt-in pages and figuring out how to get more traction for my novels in general. Writing a good book is but one of the many things you have to do. The writer’s life is not for the faint of heart. Heh heh. 

Assassin’s Creed Origins

City of AlexandriaOur first view of the city of Alexandria! A sprawling metropolis and cultural melting pot.

Temple in AlexandriaA temple in Alexandria. Depending on where you are will depend on whether they are Egyptian, Greek, or even Roman. Some are hybrids.

Ptolemy statueA Ptolemy statue. He was Cleopatra’s younger brother and has usurped her rule. Destroying them is one of Bayek’s little pleasures. 😛

Side view of Alexandria Side view of part of Alexandria. The game has a photo shooting utility and the photos will show on the main map. So you can like other peeps pics. A neat idea! They even do a picture of the day. Encouraging us all to be Virtual Tourists. 😛

Tiled FloorsHere is some gorgeous tile work. Definitively showing Greek influence. 

Home in AlexandriaInside one of the homes in Alexandria. I so love all the detail!

A main street in AlexandriaOne of the major streets in Alexandria. 

Building in AlexandriaThe Library of Alexandria. Imposing, is it not? Yet a perfect example of the mishmash of cultures in the magnificent city. (Ah, makes me think of Rachel Caine’s awesome series The Great Library set in an alternate history where this bastion of learning was not destroyed.)

Pharos LighthousePharos the Lighthouse in Alexandria – one of the seven wonders of the world. 

Inside the Great Library Inside the Great Library. There are scholars everywhere you look. 

Giant gyroscopeA giant gyroscope inside the library. 

BuildingIt’s awe-inspiring to see what people managed to build in ancient times. 

 

The top of the Pharos LighthouseView of the top area of the Pharos Lighthouse. 

Statues in the waters of AlexandriaStatues in the waters of Alexandria. Just how did they get these out here? 

The Tomb of Alexander the Great

The Tomb of Alexander the Great

If you are not currently subscribed to my newsletter/blog – now might be the time!

I am giving away a FREE short story entitled “Elixir of Life” to any who sign up. (For those of you already on the mailing list, don’t worry! I’ll be sending info on how you can get it soon! 

 

Virtual Tourist – The Council 7/12/20

Greetings!

Last time I had shared with you my Pinterest Board for “Black Jade“. I realized later I should have also included the Dallas in 1930s Board. DOH! Research pics on distinct places and things from the 1930s.  

History can be very fascinating! Especially as not all the books out there read like the dry, boring dribble of high school history books! 😛 

The Council

 Steam had a sale over the 4th of July weekend, so we bought two games. My original purchase had included A Plague Tale: Innocence which I’d had on my wish list for a while. Sadly, I had to return it as it gave me terrible motion sickness. I checked to see if there was a way to fix it, but alas, there was not. So I returned it. (The premise was original, and the skill set you have to develop is unique (slingshot), but though it was 3rd person, the moving/bouncing perspective just made me ill.)

So after looking at some others and getting rather down as the ones I got excited about had comments about motion sickness there too, I got lucky and ran across The Council from Big Bad Wolf Studios. The first “episode” was on Steam for free, so I could make sure it would work for me before committing. Yay!

It has an interesting premise, and your choices can change the direction or information during play. It’s set in the late 18th century. Louis is searching for his mother (after the intro play) who’s disappeared after having spent several weeks on a remote island owned by Lord Mortimer. Sarah, Louis’ mother, is the head of the Golden Order in Europe.

You have to choose for Louis to be a diplomat, an occultist, or a detective, which will start the character with different skill sets. They also incorporate action points which you use when trying to use your skills. There are potions you can find to help with action points and with discovering character immunities and vulnerabilities as you go through dialogue choices. It’s been fascinating, so far!

The Council Opening ScreenYep, the characters are not pretty! Though still better looking than the ones in Skyrim! 😛 

The Council - FranceThe story begins, and in many ways revolves, around France. 

The Council - Lord Mortimer's IslandLouis first look at Lord Mortimer’s island. He sent Louis a letter inviting him to come as his mother has disappeared.

The Council - route to reach the houseIt is a long way from the docks to the house! Sheesh! 

The Council - Lord Mortimer's Mansion The front of Lord Mortimer’s Mansion. Quite impressive!

The Council - giant statueGiant statue coming out of the wall over the fireplace on the main floor. Everything in the mansion is rather impressive. Psychology at play on those who come to visit. (This definitely becomes clear as you explore some of the bedrooms. Lol.)

The Council - Paintings on the main floorTwo of the paintings in the main hall. You may not be able to tell from this picture, but the work on the paintings for the game is impressive. They did specific textures to show they are oil paintings. Oil paintings have a certain look because of the paints, how they dry, and the canvas they are painted on. It is much more noticeable in the better lit areas.  Kudos!

The Council - tiled floor of the main hallThe tile work in the main hall. Implying his guests are but mice in a maze, perhaps?

The Council - Lord HolmLord Holm – he plays host for Lord Mortimer in his absence. Quite disturbing in his powder and wig. 😛 

The Council - George WashingtonThe invited guests are movers and shakers in the world. Here’s Louis standing next to President George Washington. Duchess Emily Hillsboro is in the background. Napoleon Bonaparte is also one of the many guests, a force being groomed for the future.

Overall, they’ve done a great job with all the intrigue. Some hard puzzles here and there, timed responses, murder, the occult, politics, and a bizarre mystery. Booyah!

Have a great week!

 

Virtual Tourist – Assassin’s Creed Origins 6/28/20

Good morning!

News!

Last year I finished my first ever cozy mystery – Black Jade. (Set in Dallas in 1930 with a funky cast of characters.) This week I finished the second round of edits. So now begins the shopping phase! Hopefully, I can find an agent and once more try to shop something to the large publishing houses.

They say it is never too early to start getting the word out. 

Might this be the one that makes it? Only time will tell. Already gathering info for a second book in the Daiyu Wu Mysteries. Bwahahahahaha!

You can see pics and bits of the research over in the Black Jade Pinterest board.

Assassin’s Creed Origins

Assassin's Creed Origins - Desert and pyramidsOut in the desert after leaving Siwa on the way to Alexandria. Behind Bayek, you can see pyramids! 

Assassin's Creed Origins - Desert and rockThe unforgiving desert sun. You stay out here long enough, and Bayek will start seeing minor hallucinations. (The weirdest one so far was of a fish flopping in the sand, then diving out of sight.)

Assassin's Creed OriginsOne of the small farming villages near a lake. I love the attention to detail. I would guess these are drying circles for making bundles of fodder to feed the farm animals.

Assassin's Creed OriginsThe lush plants along the lake, and some dangerous elements. Crocodiles are rampant in different areas. They are not shy about attacking anyone. Some of these guys are HUGE!

Assassin's Creed Origins - Lost CryptA lost crypt by the water. 

Assassin's Creed Origins - sweeping view of ruinsSweeping view of the lake, the pyramids, and some ancient ruins. (Forgot to lighten the pics – sorry!) You can even see one of the unique ships of the time.

Assassin's Creed Origins - Temple of SekhmetThe Temple of Sekhmet in Yami. Impressive, no? The view is from the roof of a house across the street. Note the carpets and resting places. 

Assassin's Creed Origins - Hypostyle HallIs this place grand or what? Hypostyle Hall. The years and manpower it must have taken to build it is mind-boggling. 

Assassin's Creed Origins - Greek VillaA lakeside villa – notice the Greek and Roman influences. At this period, the Ptolemy line had been rulers of Egypt for close to 300 years. The Ptolemys were not Egyptian but Greek (Egypt was given to General Ptolemy by Alexander the Great – he was not Egyptian.) 

Assassin's Creed Origins - View of AlexandriaView of Alexandria! A center of learning and trade. At that time, the largest city in the world or second only to Rome.

Have a great week! Stay safe out there!

 

 

 

 

Virtual Tourist – Assassin’s Creed – Origins 6/14/20

Morning!

I hope you are all doing well. Life is getting more back to normal, yet it’s too early to drop all precautions. The numbers are still climbing for COVID-19. Stay safe!

Assassin’s Creed Origins

Assassin's Creed Origins - Mountain of the DeadOne of the rooms in the Mountain of the Dead near Siwa. Canopic jars and all sorts of treasures for the afterlife. 

Assassin's Creed OriginsCat mummies! The Mountain of the Dead has a room just for cat mummies! Cats figure heavily into the game. They love Bayek. I think I’ve had five gather around and follow him. No pet command in this game, but if you get the angle right when you crouch, he will pet them. Still, a room of cat mummies! I was so surprised. Lol. 

Assassin's Creed OriginsTwo essential things in this picture. First is the tablet. It will show up over and over in different tombs you explore. Each will give you an ability point. So it’s well worth searching for them. (The exploration itself is fun, too. Though not always easy! They get tricky!) The second thing is the boy next to Bayek. He’s got the old-style bare head with a ponytail! Heh heh.

Assassin's Creed Origins - starsThere’s a quest for Bayek that he is doing for his son. There are 12 constellations that have been recreated on the ground. It was his son’s wish to visit all of them with his father. Here is the first. 

Assassin's Creed OriginsOnce you find one, you will see the corresponding stars and then the image of what/who they represent. On the first one, you have a flashback of Bayek and his son talking about the constellations. It’s a very touching sequence. 

Assassin's Creed Origins - Temple of Amun EntranceWhile there are a lot of ruins and crumbling statuary, others are still in perfect condition. Say hello to Wanderer (aka Roach) Bayek’s camel. Camels, horses, chariots, boats, there is a myriad of items you can use for transportation. Using them in town can be a little hazardous. You will destroy property like fences, jars, etc. (DOH!) Much to my surprise; you can get an achievement for it. (Double DOH!)

Assassin's Creed OriginsOutside view of the temple we started from at the beginning of the game. It lies some miles outside of Siwa. Since we had to follow Bayek’s old friend out from there, I didn’t get a look at the front! 😛

Assassin's Creed Origins - first temple interiorSuch lovely detail! I didn’t recognize I’d been here until I got this far in. 😛 

Assassin's Creed Origins - Temple of AmunThis is the object that has brought such misery to Siwa. It is what lies beyond this door that has brought the calamity upon Bayek’s life. Yet, though it has been a year, his enemies still have not figured out the secret to getting it to open. I’m sure I will have to return here for that very thing later on.

Assassin's Creed Origins - Temple of Amun - upper areaTemple of Amun – upper temple area. Gorgeous! But also a place of tragedy and pain for Bayek. You can see the masked evil-doer right at the bottom. 

Assassin's Creed Origins - Bayek's TombModern Time – this is Bayek’s mummy, and that is Layla, the one using his DNA to look into the past. She’s built a portable Animus. Looking at all her files, they do some nice tie ins to the movie and some of the other Assassin’s Creed games. She’s fearless and a little crazy. Lol.

Assassin's Creed Origins - Bayek and Senu

Senu and Bayek. Aren’t they cute? 🙂

Stay calm, stay safe, stay optimistic!  Until next time!

 

 

Virtual Tourist – Assassin’s Creed – Origins 5/31/20

Morning!

Almost half the year is gone already. People seem to be losing their minds left and right. It’s mind boggling.

Assassin’s Creed – Origins

Speaking of losing one’s mind… I somehow did 8 instead of the usual 10 pics last time… Hmmm.

Assassin's Creed - Origins - SenuThis is a super important character – Senu!  He is Bayek’s companion. They have a psychic connection, so Bayek can see through Senu’s eyes. This helps Bayek map enemy locations and levels. Isn’t he pretty?

Assassin's Creed - Origins - SiwaSiwa – Bayek’s home town. The place where things went wrong. At the bottom, you can see the top of a pigeon tower. They were used for food, pets, and for delivering messages. I would imagine they also used them for fertilizer for crops? (Egyptians raise pigeons to this day!)

Assassin's Creed - Origins - SiwaA view of the other side of Siwa. Steep cliffs protect the town from desert storms.

Assassin's Creed - Origins - ShiledLook at all the detail! Isn’t his shield gorgeous? 

Assassin's Creed - Origins - Temple of AmunBayek just outside the walls of the Temple of Amun in Siwa. There are secrets here. Secrets those who destroyed Bayek’s life wish to find. 

Assassin's Creed - Origins - SiwaThe other side of Siwa. On the left life, on the right, arid death.

Assassin's Creed - Origins - DesertDesert as far as the eye can see.  

Assassin's Creed - OriginsA cave in the cliffs around Siwa.

Assassin's Creed - OriginsNighttime view of the encroaching desert. 

Assassin's Creed - Origins - SiwaView of Siwa from the nearby cliffs. 

Assassin's Creed - OriginsNight view of Siwa’s lake area. 

As always, stay safe! Until next time! 😛

 

Virtual Tourist – Assassin’s Creed – Origins 5/17/20

Morning!

Tomorrow, I go back into the office for the day job after working from home for over a month and a half. I’ve got mixed feelings about it since there’s so much about Covid-19 we do not understand. It should be an adventure! 😛

 Assassin’s Creed – Origins

Assassin's Creed - Origins

They really did some amazing work on this first tomb. 

Assassin's Creed - OriginsIs that a possible way out? The torches have another use, they burn off spiderwebs. Such a neat touch!

Assassin's Creed - OriginsFreedom! Isn’t the column work, gorgeous?

Assassin's Creed - OriginsBayek runs into an old friend. 

Assassin's Creed - OriginsTake a note of the cool shields and weapons. They have a large variety to choose from as well as rare and legend categories.

Assassin's Creed - OriginsYou start with a trusty steed – a camel! Harder to drive in town than in the desert. 😛  I dubbed him ‘Roach’ – lol.  Look at all that sand!

Assassin's Creed - OriginsMy first look at Bayek’s home town – Siwa. 

Assassin's Creed - OriginsDreadful things have happened in the village over the last year. Sinister dealings at the temple. Note the mysterious orb. (And that gorgeous tile work!) 😛

Please take care out there. A lot of stuff has gone back to ‘normal’ but the disease is still going strong. If we relax too much too soon, the numbers will reach new daily highs. Stay strong and stay safe! 

Virtual Tourist – Assassin’s Creed – Origins 5/3/20

Morning!

I am running late, but with some luck, I will get this post done on time!

Support Small Businesses

Remember to support small businesses during this time of uncertainty. (Like my publishers!) We’d all really appreciate it! I think Zumaya will try to set up a promotion in the next week or two. Get ready for possible deals. 😛

Assassin’s Creed – Origins

Hubby and I played an interim game between the two Assassin’s Creed games, but it ended up being just a preview. I may still share, as I enjoyed what we played, but this new (for us!) Assassin’s Creed is too gorgeous not to share!  

So far, the mechanics work a lot smoother than Black Flag. They’ve also added a neat feature with the iconic eagle and gives the player an aerial view and other fun goodies!

Anyway, here we go!

Assassin's Creed - Origins - Logo

I loved how they merged the normal Assassin’s Creed logo with the Egyptian hieroglyphs. Looks awesome! 

Assassin's Creed - OriginsA super cool combo of data streaming and hieroglyphics. Too cool! 

Assassin's Creed - Origins - DessertIntro film – showing us the unforgiving desert. As with the other one I played, they dump you in the middle of things without context, which is slowly revealed during gameplay.

Assassin's Creed - Origins - Siwa villageThe prosperous village of Siwa. 

Assassin's Creed - Origins

A royal visitor – and the moment things began to go wrong. 

Assassin's Creed - Origins - buried templeA year has passed since Bayek noticed the masked figures with the royal caravan. Bayek is a Medjay for the Siwa village before tragedy struck. A Medjay is a protector and policeman of sorts. (I kept thinking they were saying magi! DOH!)

Assassin's Creed - OriginsIsn’t this gorgeous? The detail is outstanding. You even burn cobwebs with the torch. Bayek has just dispatched the first of the five men responsible for corrupting the country and destroying all he held dear. 

Assassin's Creed - Origins - buried temple statueI loved that he apologized to the gods for infiltrating their temple and pilfering some treasures. It was also fascinating to hear him say ‘ancients’ when that is how we think of him in 48 BCE or so.

Assassin's Creed - Origins - wall carvings

Just look at the awesome wall paintings! The neat columns! Such gorgeous work!

Assassin's Creed - Origins - wall decorSuch intricate work. Though you can’t take it with you, there are a ton of wonderful representations of actual items you’d see in the bigger tombs. Wait until I share the pic of the cat mummies! Squee!

 

I’ve put Cross-eyed Dragon Troubles and Inner Demons back for free at Smashwords if you need reading fodder. But if you can spare the cash, please support my still existing publishers! Much appreciated! 

 

 

 

Virtual Tourist – Yakuza 0 12/1/19

Mini Movie Reviews

Frozen 2

Frozen 2 – there was a lot to love about this sequel. I adored that we got to see how the family was before the scare, which made the parents separate the two girls. They also worked in the lesson from the first film into the second one, which made for a nice progression. The animation was great, and we have new songs to sing. Lol. I enjoyed it a lot! Rating: 3.75 out of 4 (Hubby’s Rating: Worth Full Price to See Again!)

 

Ford vs. Ferrari Ford vs. Ferrari – Matt Damon and Christian Bale are fab in this film. The rapport between the two men and the difficulties they face came across as natural and with depth. From the quick research I did, this is mostly accurate, with the usual license taken by Hollywood to ramp up the excitement and drama. The one bit I do wish they’d pointed out better is how Ken Miles would have won the European trifecta of racing if he’d not been shafted at Le Mans. He would have been the first man to ever win all three. So sad. Good story, great cinematography, excellent acting, cool racing stunts. Rating: 3.75 out of 4 (Hubby’s Rating: Worth Full Price to See Again)

Yakuza 0

Yakuza 0 - New town

The game switches characters and cities. 1980’s fictional Okinawa!

Yakuza 0 - Crab Sign

See that giant crab sign? They have those for real! The details are amazing.

Yakuza 0 - first view of The Grand

Side street view of the cabaret club called The Grand. This is where we will meet Majima. 

Yakuza 0 - The Grand front entrance

The front entrance to The Grand. Super glitzy!

Yakuza 0 - Inside The Grand

They have a full-on band! Though it is the ’80s, this does take you back to the big clubs from the ’40s.

Yakuza 0 - clientele at The Grand

A shot of the clientele at The Grand.

Yakuza 0 - it's Christmas!

Spotted some nice decorations for Christmas! That’s Majima. Did I not take a pic of him? Eek!

Yakuza 0 - Don Quixote

Your super general type store – Don Quixote! They have all sorts of stuff for sale. 😛

Yakuza 0 - Shrine

This is shrine tucked away in some narrow streets close to Club Sunshine. The same weird priest with the clown face is here. A place to trade your CP points for goodies and advantages.

Yakuza 0 - ritzie club interior

This town is chuck full of ritzy clubs. Everyone has money to burn! 😛

I keep trying to get myself back on to a regular schedule with posts, but life is all over the place. I hope you and yours had a great Thanksgiving!

 

Virtual Tourist – Seasons After Fall 11/3/19

Morning all!

Fall is definitely in the air. Temperatures have been chilly all week. It might actually be here to stay!

Due to unforeseen issues at the publisher, Alien Redemption will probably not be available in 2019 but be pushed to early 2020. 🙁  Editing is progressing. I don’t think they’ve assigned a cover artist yet.

Movie Reviews

Terminator: Dark Fate Terminator: Dark Fate – A lot of James Cameron’s films of late have been not so great, so I went to see this with low expectations. I was very pleasantly surprised – the movie was good!

It picks up after events in Terminator 2 Judgement Day and then leaps forward twenty years or so. Skynet is no more. Now they have to worry about Legion. (Time does not like being messed with.) 

Great action, special effects, and acting. There are lots of small surprises. I was impressed with the physical details concerning Grace being a cyborg. You can see the scars around her eyes, her arms, chest, and stomach where they did work on her. There are also divets, small screws, and more. And there is a price to be paid for the enhancements. 

The new terminator type sent after Dani was super tough and absorbed information at an alarming rate. I love that they made him a small man, someone who you’d never expect to be able to do what he does. Both a liquid and solid terminator, he makes for a super challenging and scary combo. There were some attacks he could have done that he didn’t, but then a future flashback shows his compatriots doing precisely what I thought he should have done. LOL. Guess it would have made his mission too easy then. 

Overall, I enjoyed the film a lot. Seeing Linda Hamilton and Arnold Schwatzeneger together again was a treat. Bitter old Sarah Conner was a hoot. The film definitely deserves to do better at the box office than it has so far. Rating: 3.5 out of 4. (Hubby’s Rating: Worth Full Price to See Again!)

 

Virtual Tourist

Seasons After Fall

Seasons After Fall - Little Seed

Our true form. This is the Sanctuary.

Seasons After Fall

We are back inside the fox and heading off to the second guardian.

Seasons After Fall

You’ll learn that in any of the areas with water, winter is your friend. It is the only way to get across and leap out.

Seasons After Fall

Walking through a hollow log.

The route here is obstructed. There are little creatures you can get to spawn who, depending on the seasons, can be activated to blow them up. 🙂

Seasons After Fall

Another obstruction. Though later, you learn to play with the steam and ice.

Seasons After Fall

There’s a giant feather on the outcropping. Something that will be useful after we meet the second guardian.

Seasons After Fall

The second guardian! Now things are about to get super interesting!

Seasons After Fall

Now we can summon summer by barking twice near the energy ball. The new season affects the little guys, and thus we can make them leave their nest which you can see in the branch to the left.

Seasons After Fall

The tree now has a carving for the second guardian as we make our way back to the Sanctuary.

Stay warm out there!

 

Virtual Tourist – ABZU 10/27/19

Morning!

October has turned out to be a very chaotic and tiring month. Loads of crazy stuff at work. The weather also just turned, so we’ve had lower temperatures and rain this week. But is the heat really done with us yet? We shall see!

Mini Movie Reviews

Gemini Man – Hubby and I had thought this would be Will Smith and his son, but it was all Will Smith. The film was great fun. Impressive stunts and fight scenes with some surprising moves. Gorgeous locals and cinematography. They even play with camera perspectives – enough to make it interesting, but not so much it disturbs the viewer. Rating: 3.5 out of 4 (Hubby’s Rating: Pay Full Price to See Again!)

 

The Current War: Director’s Cut – I’d never heard of the film until about a week ago. Per IMDB it was initially released in 2017. The title is horrible (If you don’t know what it is, you’d think it was an actual war movie.) The film is about Edison, Tesla, and Westinghouse and the fight/race to light up the US with either DC or Alternating Current. A lot of history gets sanitized for the history books. Here’s a chance to get a taste of what they don’t tell you. Great acting, fascinating history, and you get a feel for how truly revolutionary the concepts being thrown about are to the people of that ear. Rating: 3.75 out of 4 (Hubby’s Rating: Worth Full Price.)

 

Virtual Tourist

ABZU

ABZU is a visually stunning puzzle game. The music and art are great, but I will say it was really short (only a little over 3 hrs of gameplay), and the character movement underwater is so awkward that it proved frustrating and horribly distracting from the beauty around you. Just about the time I finally felt I got the hang of it, the game was over. o.O

 

ABZU - current

A fast-moving current underwater. 

ABZU - Awakening

The awakening.

ABZU - Awakening 2

That’s us. You become aware floating facedown in the water.

ABZU - first garden

The first area – there are several species of fish to meet. 🙂

ABZU - underwater plants

Each area is different, and through your explorations and solving of puzzles, the area themselves can change. You start getting the feeling something terrible happened here, and you’re trying to fix it.

ABZU - meditation stone

You will find a statue like this in each new area. You can sit on it and meditate. In meditation, the camera will attach to a nearby fish and follow it around, showing you the name on the bottom right. 

ABZU - Energy Temple

As you complete the puzzles, you will enter this energy temple area and give energy to it. 

ABZU - Temple center

The central area of the energy temple.

ABZU - the first area acknowledged

Once you give the energy for the area you completed, the energy temple will go through a growth sequence.

ABZU - Changed Garden #1

This occurs after the change at the temple, transforming the garden and releasing new creatures into the sea. 

 

Have a great week!