June 2, 2018
Carrier has arrived.
I propose a toast (in a special gold font!)
to commemorate this day -
To new beginnings...
To those who have yet to escape the
sinking jaws of madness,
and to those who may never be redeemed in this lifetime...
I a m f i n a l l y f r e e .
May 12, 2018
Where there is not light, there can spider!
May 1, 2018
Update on Album V
It has been quite a while since I've talked new album around here.
In the past, things were very play-by-play, and I've moved away from that because it undermined the overall process. Today I wanted to give everyone their first substantial outlook on where things are headed.
Work on the new record is going well. Let that ease your conscience!
Each album has been a learning experience, and this one has been the easiest logistically by far. Everything is still in the early stages, and I continue to experiment and iterate. It has been so much fun I've had to restrain myself on more than one occasion in order to get work time in! The sound already surpasses the previous record. All the songs are out of the demo stage. Many are fully written.
Creatively, it sounds like my style. You'll know it when you hear it. There will be significantly more material, and an even greater variety of tracks. Comparing to Collection of Life and Emerald Euphoria, it's an evolution of those sounds and styles I'm very excited about.
Yes, yes - how about a timetable for release? It's still early in the process; I am pacing according to what feels right.
I can't see it dropping before 2019, but stranger things have been known to happen.
Until next time, I set your curiosities free to roam innumerable possible realities in anticipation.
We shall speak of this again!
April 19, 2018
April 11, 2018
HELL MARCH JAM!
So I decided to have a little side fun today, amidst working on the new album. Anyone who's been around here any length of time probably knows I grew up on Metallica and second-to-none video game OSTs, whose composers are now all very famous.
One of those badass composers was Frank Klepacki, who wrote for a now-ancient strategy game series called Command and Conquer: Red Alert. I remembered back many years ago that it was his RA2 track 'Hell March' that inspired me to pick up a guitar in the first place!
It's been a very long time since I've done any sort of jams on a regular basis! So, for the sake of commemorating a very important beginning for me - as well as awesome video game music - I'll be broadcasting a new jam on the website for a while and will also upload it to YouTube :)
April 9, 2018
Working on an awesome guitar tone :)
March 31, 2018
Other New Albums
March 26, 2018
Logic is a shallow substitute for what intuition is often denied.
March 17, 2018
2018 is shaping up to be a good one for music around here :)
March 8, 2018
Tradition and Religion are on their last legs.
If you are one of the ones chained to them, I suggest you get your fix sooner, not later.
The collective human conscience is beginning a major shift, abandoning them as they are currently known. It will soon be very obvious how completely and utterly mistaken all Earth religions have been for thousands of years.
There will be those who cling to such things out of spite, and like the guardian-type personalities of every storybook, movie and television show they will fight to maintain their ignorance until the very end, where they will finally meet their failures face to face in irreparable defeat. Everyone will have told them so, and they will contemplate this only as they are sent spiraling toward their demise.
The only difference is that our universe doesn't go out of its way to cast dishonest characters in a favorable light. If you fucked up, you fucked up. Illusions are all temporary.
February 28, 2018
The Universe is Working as Intended.
Yet here we are on a minuscule planet in the middle of nowhere trying to screw it up.
Not only will we not succeed, we are making fools of ourselves. Many of us in our amnesia have forgotten the original intent and idea behind such a universe - the thrill of the game. Thetans love games. "Who doesn't?" - a line you've probably heard before, or uttered yourself.
I am going to explain why the current watering down of society with convenience and homogenization is a mistake by use of a comparison to a 1987 video game, Final Fantasy.
In Final Fantasy (FF1), there are several characters who are proficient in magic - spellcasters. Spells in FF1 have a unique behavior compared to much of the franchise. A spell deals between X to Y damage (DMG) to a monster, modified if they are weak or strong vs. that spell.
But each spell also has a chance to deal double damage in FF1. This creates a high degree of variance in potential outcomes when casting magic. Even when an FF1 veteran uses an exceedingly powerful spell, he or she does not know precisely what will happen.
Today, this kind of variance is often viewed as inferior and/or frustrating. Why not simplify such a system to prevent this asinine unpredictability?
If someone argued in favor of changing this variance in Final Fantasy, I would defend the game's developers every time.
Let's say you support that armchair critic's argument, and get your wish to make that change. Let's say you keep the half out of the middle. That is, the top and bottom 25% of the damage potential for all spells is eliminated, with the chance to deal double damage removed. You are now left with what was originally the center - the average.
Average is not favored by our society, except when used for profit. Every day we further reduce potential and scope in favor of reliability, security, safety, convenience - dangerous words when taken too far. There is a fundamental flaw that goes far beyond the so-called - and ironically very mistaken - "American Dream".
You will definitely increase the likelihood of dealing better damage with this method. More accurately, you have guaranteed it. You've also succeeded in solving a problem that wasn't there.
Whether you hit that monster for 80 DMG and get frustrated isn't important. The same goes when you get excited over a critical hit which dealt 320 instead. What does matter is the presence of potential for multiple, meaningfully separate outcomes.
By reducing the number of possible meaningfully separate outcomes you reduce the - as of now in human society - intangible value for and thereby association with any given thing.
After all, from our point of view a one-sided die is fundamentally useless.
February 22, 2018
Time for A Name Change
So this crazy machine has been chugging along for the better part of a decade now, which is pretty scary.
In all that time, one thing has eluded me - until now.
I have no problem being up front about it. Although it looks pretty badass as a front logo, I hate that name - Leshyster. I have no idea where the hell it came from. It's impossible to spell, impossible to pronounce, and though I won't further shatter your bubblegum image of any of the above, it's time for a change.
Right around this paragraph someone else is making a speech, detailing the difficulty of the decision and the careful consideration taken. Luckily, you aren't reading a CEO letter.
This isn't about erasing the past. Don't worry - the website stays! Previous releases will retain the old name. And now that I've deprived our ADHD society for four bodies of text, my artist and pen name will henceforth be...
Manall for short.
The one immediate change? My YouTube channel has switched to the new name. For now, you can still find it searching the old one but if you're unsure the link in the navbar will always be correct. I will use this name for purposes besides music as well. Glad to finally scratch that off the bucket list...it's been gnawing at me for years!
February 17, 2018
January 31, 2018
January 10, 2018
Today I look out onto a world full of souls that are so broken and misguided they need only insult their fellow inmates to feel some kind of demented, self-imagined sense of purpose. To relate is to criticize. This period on the planet we call Earth's history will not last much longer - within twenty years it will be something much, much different. Many will beg for a return to even today's sad state of affairs, as by comparison it will be a paradise.
December 6, 2017 - A Next Time?
November 29, 2017
And what about Project Root Beer?
Ever hear about Project Ballista?
November 14, 2017
Have you ever heard of Project Hallucination?
November 11, 2017 - ANOTHER MOD?!
This time for FF1!
Yeah, my humble modding scene has been very quiet for a time. I've done a lot of the ones I wanted to do, and I'm happy with them. Recently I realized I had a modding tool for Final Fantasy (1987) - one of my favorite "fossil games" - just rotting on my hard drive. So, I decided, what the hell, let's start ourselves a mini project.
I'm a bit under the weather at the time of writing so I'm not going to spray out details for several long paragraphs, but basically there were certain aspects of FF1 that do not hold up to modern standards. Of course that is normal for such an old game, but I decided to fix that - and get a bit creative, too. And of course, I wanted to preserve the magic that was FF1.
There's a few new enemies, several new or replaced spells (remember all the ones that didn't work?!), and among other things there's a new class - the Green Mage! Most of all, enemies are much heartier and use WAY more magic - each battle will be more of a story arc, rather than "hold down the A button to win". I'm very pleased with the results.
Finally, Fighters aren't as grossly overpowered as they were in the original. At the time, this was likely done to help players who had no fucking idea what to do. You have to remember, FF1 was a huge new idea at the time. There are new items, and some classes that couldn't use items they should logically be able to now can in many cases, such as Thieves and Nunchucks - which there are now more of!
Anyway, I've been slowly working on the mods page for it, I need to finish writing an instruction + download section. But if you check over the next few days, you'll find it where all my other mods are - head to the navbar at the top of the site!
November 3, 2017 - GAMES & BLIZZCON
I am beside myself with surprise. Today at Blizzcon it was actually announced - the World of Warcraft Legacy Server concept is officially being taken on by Blizzard.
After Nostalrius's childish tantrum throwing, I had given up hope from all the good vibes initially established between them and the Blizz devs. I thought they had ruined it for hundreds of thousands of people. When is the last time you saw a petition with several hundred thousand signatures?
They seem adamant about preserving the lightning in a bottle they captured back then, regardless of how many people come or stay. This game changed our history forever, and the modern conveniences in games (including current World of Warcraft) have lost something when you understand that certain "nuisances" were the game. Every little decision had so much weight. Yes, it was hard to find a group for Wailing Caverns, but when you did, you got to know the people in your group. I've personally met people that I would go on to be friends with for years afterward - even after we no longer played.
The same magic they captured with this game is present in many famous art pieces - be they movies, music, or other games. So I'm pretty excited Blizzard didn't let Nostalrius ruin it for everyone, and found a way to make it happen.
To be clear, it is a technical juggernaut - the game does not operate the way it did in 2004, and even if Blizzard chose to use all of Nost's infrastructure, that would be less than half of the amount of work needed to make it all function. While they haven't been too specific yet, they claim there is a way to make it happen. Everyone who was around in those days should be excited. Hell, I might come back and play one last time.
There's nothing like the original World of Warcraft. It is an adventure, it's rewarding, exciting, difficult, and at times very punishing. All these things are what brought millions of people together. It felt like a fantasy mirror of life, perfectly capturing the same risk, reward, and excitement. Any gamer worth a damn owes it to themself to learn about the roots, which have significantly shaped the past near-fifteen years since.
Moving on to StarCraft II, the global finals are going on right now! I'm placing bets on INnoVation or soO to make it this year. SC2 is also going to F2P in a little under two weeks! An interesting choice...I wonder what made them decide to take that route. It seems like a good one, though.
The major patch changes for multiplayer balance are still up and coming, and it seems they've added a few more nice things into the mix since I last caught up with the blog. I didn't buy a ticket so I'll have to wait a few days before knowing all the details. Overall, the game is definitely going to be better for it.
If that wasn't enough, even Starcraft Remastered is taking the stage with BISU vs. JAEDONG! I've never been able to see these two titans duke it out against each other in the modern era, so I'm not missing that for anything.
October 9, 2017 - Rant Corner Time - SCI-FI Edition!
So I just want to start out by saying that Star Trek: Discovery is crashing and burning as I predicted, along with many other sad onlookers. It would seem CBS wants to completely annihilate this franchise, and pays no mind to the source material for its new prequel series. It's bad enough that J.J. Abrams destroyed the reboot films (as well as set the tone for all future Star Wars films), but now we are to watch helplessly as a carefully constructed train wreck wipes the king of sci-fi from relevance, and possibly for good.
Star Trek is NOT an action film. No matter how hard they try to make it so, it will always be a far more complicated beast than that.
The new show and recent films are going to affect the younger audiences, sadly. They're very typical of most TV and movies today - explosive and rapid camera cuts (constant editing for the ADD), forced character development and cutthroat one-liners darting back and forth between unlikable main characters who all hate each other. It's surprisingly reflective of our society, and I often wonder about those who indulge themselves in anything so depressingly extreme.
I for one am happy to pretend this new ST:D doesn't exist. Why you ask? Well, you didn't ask. But I'm going to tell you anyway.
Seth McFarlane's The Orville is ANOTHER new sci-fi show, which is more or less STD's (gotta love that acronym) direct competition. Most of the comments I've seen have been positive, and I must say I am loving it so far. By the third episode, I knew then this was as close as I'd ever get to a good Star Trek produced during "my time". It captures a lot of different feels at once, the pacing and acting are very well done and the visuals are leaps and bounds ahead of STD.
While The Orville has already begun to set a nice foundation for itself, STD has already violated many sacred Star Trek lore bits, if not completely forsaken them (not to mention the main character is a complete jackass). I may have mentioned this before, but they gave her a male name. For some reason that really amuses me. They have tons of non-heteosexual relationships and female leads on this show, an obvious reaction to all the SJW bullshit going on around the world right now, and I think it's magnificently hilarious that they don't realize how poorly this show will age as a result. While there is nothing inherently wrong with this, in STD's case it is very obviously forced in. It will only serve to remind future generations how [email protected]#$ing stupid people were back then, all the while TOS, TNG, DS9 and VOY belong in a museum or some shit.
Personally, I firmly believe you should be, and love, whoever the hell you want. There are lots of those who will say that much in order to fit the bill socially, but they do not really believe those words. That is why it's funny though - they are trying so hard to force something that is, in my opinion, actually very rudimentary and intuitive. The disturbing part is there are many on this planet right now who will stop at nothing to rally behind the contrary, though. And I don't associate myself with any of said many.
September 7, 2017 - Shyster's HoMM3 v1.03 released
Finished a new update for the Heroes III mod today, and posted an article with details for you guys on the Mods page. It addresses spellcasting along with a few minor creature changes.
September 5, 2017 - Important PSA for all non-dungeon dwellers
Beware Kreegans bearing gifts.
August 18, 2017 - SC2 Major Patch scheduled for off season post-Blizzcon!
HUGE balance and design changes coming to StarCraft 2! I have NEVER been more excited for a new patch.
The changes proposed by the dev team are some of, if not their best ever. They are really thinking out of the box here and this patch could breathe some new life into this game I revere so much. Can't wait to see how it all plays out. I'm very surprised, the changes are fun, exciting, mature and labored over. Makes you wonder if there was an exchange of hats behind the curtain.
Whatever the case, I am glad to see one of my favorite games still marching forward.
August 9, 2017 - Haven't done any blog-type posts in some time...and Shyster is pissed.
PSA - Star Trek: Discovery looks like it's going to be a disgrace. I cannot imagine any other outcome with what has transpired. I'm back with more disorganized, unedited ranting that has been missing from my site.
It's not even out yet, and they have already made a terrible impression. As someone who is very familiar with exactly why TOS, TNG, DS9 and VOY are special, I can honestly say there is NO WAY this shit is getting past a second or third season in its current state.
It looks like more of the reboot movie garbage. None of that felt like true Trek to me either. The fuck happened to the Klingons? People have been trying to splice together an explanation - and it's embarrassing. They are treating this new show as if it is canon with the predecessors while keeping the reboot look and feel. THAT ISN'T HOW A CANON PREQUEL WORKS.
It turns out, they aren't even allowed to do anything else. So they've pitched this whole thing to the fans knowing full well it was a half baked pile of shit the entire time. The justifications they've used in interviews for their lame ass ideas, and the supposed "need tell stories differently than we have for years" are all what I believe to be just the calm before the storm.
It's really not that hard. The original design of the U.S.S. Discovery was dumb as shit. Seriously, go look it up. It looks better now, but why did it take multiple more iterations to land on something decent when ALL OF THE OTHER SHIPS IN THE GOD DAMN FRANCHISE LOOK JUST FINE.
It all just smells of this generation's "slap it out now, patch up post-release" mentality with literally everything. We have a word for that: LAZY.
Why is this series being told from the perspective of the first officer instead of the Captain? Why the hell does she INTENTIONALLY have a male's name? FYI - That isn't how you wade through the male/female/somewhere-in-between issues we're currently dealing with in society. And by the way, I support all those people. But with this, it's just an odd design choice attempting and failing before it finishes its attempt.
So "Captain's Log" is likely gone. Minor detail? Sure, completely fair point. But - what a great way to get the fans engaged! Just start by removing familiar things they identify with, and breaking conventions that no one ever complained about, all the while talking about some grand new philosophy that no one asked for or wanted. There is literally no way this is what ten years before Spock and Kirk would look like. As another blogger said recently, if the hardcore fans won't even go near it, and the mainstream doesn't care, you have lost the game.
Oh hey, that sounds like Micro$oft! We're really off to a great start. Roddenberry would be PISSED.
The visuals look like a generic action movie where the camera cuts or zooms constantly for the degenerate kids who can't sit still or focus on anything. Hey, that reminds of the J.J. Abrams films! Trek was never about explosive camera changes, seizure-inducing effects, incessant one-liners and bipolar, unbelievable character relationships. The originals had a meticulous, hand-crafted feel to them and required you to sit down, shut the hell up and be intelligent, learn some cool shit and take in new perspectives. I say with complete confidence that this new "entry" will have none of those qualities.
And why the hell are they too afraid to carry on past Voyager? You can look up more details for yourself, but I needed to get this out because it's been driving me nuts.
LOOK AT THE DAMN KLINGONS.
LOOK AT THE DAMN KLINGONS.
W T F
July 28, 2017 - The Summer Release is Upon You!!
July 30 Update: Everything is out!
Ahh, it's finally time for release! And this weekend is when it's all going down.
Over the next few days you'll find three new songs available: Lonely Path Symphony (remixed/remastered), Ophelia - a brand new song, and Harbinger, a track from 2010 that never saw the light of day. It's gonna be a Leshyster Weekend!
( ... so how is this going down exactly ... ? )
Ophelia will be hitting stores TODAY - that's iTunes, Pandora, Spotify, Amazon On-Demand like before. Saturday will see the release of Lonely Path Symphony Remastered, and lastly on Sunday, Harbinger will appear!
By the way, you may have noticed that new "Recent Releases" highlighter above the news divider. This section doubles as not just a showcase for new things, but also as a group of hotlinks for them. Clicking on the artwork you find here will take you straight to it. This should make it easier to find the latest stuff!
Hope everyone likes the new stuff, be sure to stick around all weekend as it rolls on out!
July 9, 2017 - BACK WITH A BANG
Today is the day - the summer trio is here! Three releases are headed your way on July 28th, 2017!
- Lonely Path Symphony: Remixed *and* Remastered
- Harbinger: Unheard track from 2010 with a new mix in my style
- Ophelia: A brand new song commemorating the upcoming Starcraft: Remastered!
If you want to support my future endeavors, you can grab your own copy of Ophelia just like with Emerald Euphoria - off of iTunes, Pandora, Spotify or Amazon On-Demand. If you don't see it on Amazon immediately, you may want to check back in a day or two.
Very excited to *finally* be getting this summer trio out there! After the release of Emerald Euphoria, I just couldn't wait to get back to writing again. There's been several delays, but everything is back on track again. Anyway, all of these songs will appear on my channel at the same time. New material already, and only a few weeks away?! Insanity!
PS - I've been having lots of trouble with the website, which is largely the cause of two months of silence. Everything should be fine now, but I'm really getting sick of webs.com and so there may come a day where I axe them permanently.
May 12, 2017 - The English have captured a Third
There is another song in the works. Not a remaster, not a resurrection from the past. A NEW song! The plans have changed again as I work further on polishing the other two projects as well as this one. Everything's coming along very well. :)
You may recall the trio of tracks I put out in late 2014/early 2015 - Breath of Life, Neoflash and Stars of the Phoenix - that was a lot of fun. I really love those songs, as well as the idea of releasing a trio of tracks that're completely unrelated to each other. Almost like a mini anti-album. So anyway it seems we'll have a repeat of sorts coming up soon™!
I'm not sure about this becoming a tradition or anything, but I'm definitely excited to be able to do this a second time. Stay tuned as things move further along. That's an order.
April 28, 2017 - Make that TWO Announcements
That's right - double prizes! I've got a lot of excitement to get out at the moment, and this update will act like a preview of things to come. After all the recent hard work moving toward a better future, I thought it might be a good time to slow down and look back at the past...
There may be a few of you who were there for my project Garden of the Tempest, and you may recall I released a remastered version for it later down the road. There's one more song whose mix I've wanted to give a little love to for several years, and with the recent release of Emerald Euphoria off my chest and out into the world, I felt the time was right to finally breathe some new life into one of my favorites...
A REMIXED and REMASTERED version of Lonely Path Symphony is coming your way!
On top of THAT, I have also been working on a mix of an unreleased 2010 song, and it's almost ready!
I will release both of these songs at once when everything is set to go. The world of music shall forever continue to shape, mold and expand in the Shyster Cave, so stay awhile and lis...well, yeah. Listen. That's it. Erm. Of course.
ANYWAY, watch this space for updates as always~~
UBER is an Aos-style strategy game made in the Warcraft III engine. That's right, I didn't call it by that ridiculous-sounding "MOBA" acronym. About five or six years ago I started getting into the design, philosophy and psychology behind games much more, and those efforts have all gone into making this the most badass Aos possible. UBER features memorable themes and characters from lots of mainstay franchises, shows, and also plenty of crazy ideas from the good old imagination. It's a passion project that's seen its share of years, but let me tell you - it's grown so much!
I've added a navbar link to the project thread over on the Hive Workshop, the dedicated Warcraft modding hub that I've followed for so many years. You can read all about this project (and download it) over there!
Stick around - one more announcement coming your way soon!
March 3, 2017
IT REALLY DOES EXIST!
I know it's been a long time in the making, but Emerald Euphoria, my 4th album is finally released!
In 2013, this record was simply a dream. Four years later, it seems reality is indeed stranger than fiction at times.
For those who've followed along, you know how crazy a road it's been! It's high time everyone hears the result.
You can now find ten all-new badass songs on iTunes, Spotify, Pandora & Amazon On Demand.
Whether you're into downloading, physical CD's or streaming, these options have you covered!
Update: Amazon On Demand is now available!
It took a long time to get here. That being said, I couldn't be more proud. My guess is that next time will be much smoother, too. CYAN?! That's not a font color I use ... now what could that possibly mean? Figure it out fool!
Because there's going to be a next time. But today, EMERALD EUPHORIA IS KING!
Until we meet again ...
February 10, 2017 - Ready for Release?!
This just in fokes - Emerald Euphoria will hit streets, stereos and neural pathways on March 3, 2017!!!
I'm beyond excited to have the opportunity to share these songs with the world. As a whole, they surely represent the dawn of a new era. I've learned so much since these tracks were mere demos. Standing here today is a testament to my fight to rise a better musician, but most importantly a better human being.
A new chapter begins soon, and I'll see you there!
January 31, 2017 - The End of a Long Haul
Emerald Euphoria's Mastering is DONE
so let's do something AWESOME!
How about a badass reveal?
More information will be coming...soon.
January 20, 2017
January 19, 2017
January 17, 2017
January 14, 2017 - Any idea what this is?
January 2, 2017 - First Update of the Year
What could these be for?
December 30, 2016 - Final Update of the Year
There's not too much more I can share yet, but that's because there's lots in the pipeline. Hear me when I say the goods are coming!