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!
December 23, 2016 - Good News and Bad News
So I sat waiting on help from and talking to worthless representatives of Image Line for two weeks, only to make an extremely dumb and rudimentary discovery (all on my own, and with no help from them). I connected some dots and have finally solved the issue I was having with one of my (their) plugins! Never, EVER rely solely on tech support, always go looking for the solution by yourself while waiting. The more complicated the issue is, the more worthless they'll be.
The bad news is that by fixing this problem that has plagued all of my songs for the last several years, I have encountered a new problem that is going to require me to spend probably a couple of weeks remixing all of the affected instruments on all ten songs. All things considered, this is a small price to pay considering the reins are back in my hands again, and I can set a reasonable pacing in order to hopefully not actually spend two weeks getting this done.
Final closing thoughts would be that this is the last major issue between me and mastering this damn album. I'll have to restart the 7 perfect listening sessions marathon after I'm done remixing too, but while this is not an ideal situation it is certainly better than the alternative in the long run.
Will post another update once the remixing is completed~
December 13, 2016 - Update on Current Situation
These issues have been clogging up my to-do list on the album, and so I end up fighting technology instead of improving aspects about my actual songs. As a result, I have decided to lay low on the current phase of development for Emerald Euphoria for the time being.
I know, not very exciting. I have gotten some good stuff done, but a few days ago I just said fuck it, I can't do this anymore. I've been trying to find answers for weeks, and hopefully I'll get some soon.
Will post another update when there is something to update on
So you know what's really awesome? My to-do list is currently empty.
What does that mean? It means there is a high probability tonight will be the first of the seven 'flawless days' worth of album listening. In case you don't follow along regularly, I have decided to begin the mastering process after day seven. So, each one of them will be a milestone in their own way.
Aside from a few dumb Audacity-related issues (hint: it involves Windows 10), things have gone pretty smoothly since last week. I have got some pretty cool stuff brewing, and the idea is that hopefully you'll see some of it here pretty soon!
November 29, 2016 - I'm Back!
Alright, it's been a couple of silent weeks on here I realize that. I've got a lot to cover quickly today. As I mentioned not long ago, my webhost has been getting DDoSed constantly, (and generally sucks aside from that) so I just now got to make this update. Kind of ridiculous.
Moving on though, work on EE has sadly been slow. I've got a list of things to do, but between just not feeling up to it, needing an ear break, listening to Hardwired, and now being sick out of nowhere, absolute fuck all has gotten done the past week n some change. The upswing is coming very soon though, I'm kicking this bastard of a cold into the ground as we speak.
My new machine arrived yesterday! I got tired of having the worst video card on the market. Yes, it's true - NVIDIA doesn't even show anything lower than 610M. I had an impulse to go shopping since Black Friday hadn't happened yet. Not something I normally do. I think it's going to be a good investment! It runs like butter so far.
Lots of data transferring going on, and I successfully avoided the new, shitty FL Studio 12. FL's UI has always been fantastically bad, but now they no longer support third party skins! Luckily, I still had the FL11 installer on my lappy - there was definitely a "Hmm, I better keep this for when Image Line inevitably does something dumb" that happened somewhere along the way. I come prepared for technology, bitches.
Anyway, I'll probably be over the sickness once we hit December. I'd like to think I can have my file transfer marathon done by then too, in which case I'll get to work on this music list as soon as possible.
Also, that album review for Metallica's new album is still coming.
November 15, 2016 - Busy
As the title says. This isn't a crucial update exactly, but I felt like writing to keep my mind multitasking and moving fast, as I am doing several other EE-related things at the moment.
I mentioned about a week ago (I think) that listening sessions have begun! The plan is to begin mastering after seven days of listening with no issues found. Yesterday I found only three, and all of them are already fixed. Today, I am finishing up audio quality improvements for the entire album. It has been pretty hectic.
I've written out a long, detailed document for use when mastering begins, and I'm basically setting up the scaffolding for that process right now. It's kind of crazy...after two years of writing, recording and mixing it feels strange to finally shift gears. Everything is going well.
By the way... the TPP has been DEFEATED!! HELL YES!!!
November 12, 2016 - Temptation
Not only that, but now as is normal in 2016, Metallica's new album has officially leaked over the past 18 hours. 6 days prior to release date isn't too bad I suppose. Other albums have leaked far sooner. I compared the leak quality of the title track "Hardwired" to my official download, and while the official quality is (as expected) better, it's not awful on the leak. That being said, though I have other 9 remaining new songs I still haven't listened to them yet. I like to preserve the mystery and buildup until when a thing is "official".
I also realized I'm gonna have a hard time working on MY music with theirs fresh in mind!! I can't blast Metallica AND work on my music because that is too much for my ears, sadly. Since I have been on a nice streak with album progress lately, I am going to see if I can ride that out a bit longer, and maybe even resist the temptation to listen before release day. With everyone going nuts about how awesome the songs are, that's a tall order. It's the first album of theirs I've ever waited for.
Either way, this album is very significant to me, and the reception has been very positive so far. A rare sight on the internet. It sounds like this record is going to be everything I wanted. Anyway, I will do an in depth write-up about my thoughts sooner or later! AFTER I've had time to absorb the songs.
November 9, 2016
November 5, 2016 - ALL SONGS IN ßETA
P.S. Did I mention it's LESS THAN TWO WEEKS UNTIL METALLICA'S NEW ALBUM?!?!?!
November 4, 2016 - Wow.
I swear, it's one thing after another with this webhost. You should see their tech support forum - barren interface that looks like it was made in 1995. They have ONE fucking customer support person in charge of everyone. Important threads are NEVER answered. The best part? The topics aren't about feature requests or asking "how do I do X". They're all saying, "MY WEBSITE ISN'T WORKING OR LOADING AT ALL". I also thoroughly enjoy bashing them on one of their own hosted websites. Anyway, sorry for the downtime, I actually wanted to make an update sooner but couldn't.
So I have some more news regarding the album. Track 9 is...dare I say it...going SUPERBLY-NESQUE-ITUDE-ITY.
Yeah. I haven't had a moment like the past three days in quite some time. Words cannot express, as they say. It's unexpected progress, I had no idea it would come so quickly. When I first sat down I wasn't feeling it at all, ironically. But enormous strides have been made on Track 9. I feel like giving away a generous little hint due to all the excitement I feel: it's more like four songs in one. Track 9 was the second song I created a demo for. I believe that was in late 2014 along with Track 1, when I realized I needed to make a record with those songs. Even though it is not yet in ßeta form, it is already the longest track on Emerald Euphoria. Track 9 will be a departure of sorts, a breather - very different from the others.
One final EE note to leave you with ... given the sheer volume of progress I've made this week, a 2016 release is more likely than before. There have been plenty of moments over the past two months I doubted it possible. I'm not going to cut the ßeta periods short though - it'll be ready when it's ready.
Also, Halloween is going to see the release of Metallica's third new single - Atlas, Rise! and I am very eager to hear it. I've abstained from hearing the snippet they released until the big day. Must.. find..... the strength...!
October 19, 2016 - The Next Several Months!
So there's a lot of cool shit going on right now, and I decided I'd compile a list of it all here...
(1) I still have plans to try and get Emerald Euphoria out this year. The mastering process will take me probably a couple hundred hours, and then I will have to decide how to release it onto the world. Be aware - if it doesn't come out this year, it won't be because it's not "done" per se.
(2) Metallica's new album, Hardwired...to Self-Destruct is coming out Nov. 18th. I cannot overstate how unbelievably excited I am to hear the remaining songs. Greg Fidelman and the boys knocked it out of the park this time, and the hype/energy is unreal.
(3) Star Trek - Discovery is coming in May of next year and I recently got to see a glimpse or two. I don't like the look of the U.S.S. Discovery, but maybe I'll change my mind once I see the show.
(4) Blizzcon 2016 is coming up Nov. 4-5th, and after the absolutely terrible events that happened this week in the world of Starcraft II, I am hoping something good is in store. I'm also hopeful for the Diablo franchise.
(5) Nintendo literally just unveiled their "NX" next console's name today, and showed off how it works. It's called the Nintendo Switch - an absolutely brilliant name in my opinion. A "wii" bit better than their last two consoles eh? It's like we're in 2002 and they have a cool name and design! Anyway, It's a dual console that switches between handheld and TV. Not only does it look amazing, the new Zelda is coming with it (I am SO STOKED TO PLAY THIS), and they even showed someone playing Skyrim on this new system! I am very intrigued to see what all this means moving forward for Nintendo. The Nintendo Switch launches in March 2017.
I also spent some time today giving the ol' cave a little makeover, adding some improvements I've had in the back of my head for about a year now. So yeah. Exciting times lie ahead!
October 19, 2016 - AWESOME NEWS
That means all recording has now concluded for this album. You can't imagine how glad I am for that, it's been a long haul. I'm happy with how Track 5 has turned out, for a while I never thought I'd finish writing it. It's pretty cool and unique, and certainly has a special edge to it that I wanted to nail on this record. For a long time I debated how exactly I wanted to capture that feel, and it just suddenly hit me one day. At the end of it all, the song gained a couple of cool new attributes that weren't originally planned! Everything's gone really smoothly - even the final guitar recording session wasn't too bad.
My thoughts turn now toward finishing the final remaining song, Track 9. Yet again this one will stand out and be unique in many ways. It is going to be challenging to fulfill my vision for it, as I have had difficulty in the past, but if I succeed it's going to be awesome.
Since we're getting closer to the big day, I thought I'd leave you with something that anyone following along might find interesting...the codenames & working titles for each song on Emerald Euphoria!
Remember, these are NOT the actual song titles. They were used during early development stages as mental reference points before the official titles were made. But without further ado...
EE Working Titles
5. "The Big D"
10. "Sorrow Turtle"
October 2, 2016 - Mods Page Overhaul!!! AND Shyster's HoMM3 v1.02
In other red news, exactly one year after the last update, another patch has arrived for my Heroes III mod! Head over to my mods page to download the new version and read about the latest changes.
October 1, 2016 - GETTING CLOSE
When it comes time to wrap up the writing, I'll move into the final phase of recording to finish Track 5's guitars! You have no idea how excited I am for that part of the album process to be finished. It's not going to be a piece of cake, however I must say the guitar situation for this song was much, much worse six months ago. Almost as bad as Track 4's once was. I've come up with a few clever ideas if I do say so myself, the final product is gonna be killer. Super pumped!
I am wondering what the final length of Track 9 will be... Right now, it doesn't feel like it's going to end any time soon. That will be the last song I work on and eventually finish. Each day is one step closer...
September 26, 2016 - I am speechless and the happiest I have been in a long time
So I just got done tuning in an awful and immature radio station for four hours that I stayed up all night for. Oookay, my sleep schedule's always fucked up. Fine. Anyway, it was all because Metallica was scheduled to show up, talk a bit and play a few songs and promote their upcoming album, "Hardwired...To Self Destruct" which comes out on November 18. We all suspected that today (Monday) would see the release of a second single, and us forum goers predicted the song would be Moth Into Flame, since the timestamp for its length had been displayed early on iTunes along with the first single's running time.
I am still shaking from how absolutely perfect this song is. I'm completely stunned, in shock. It sounds like I'm listening to the unbreakable Metallica from 20 years ago, but IT'S NEW!!!!!!!!!!!!!IT'S FUCKING NEW!!!!!!!!!
It feels inspired.
It's well written.
The parts are well arranged.
The melodies and harmonies are back, and are very memorable.
In a world of mediocrity and media spam, it's getting harder and harder to "do good" in a new way. While there are definitely good songs on Metallica's last album Death Magnetic (2008), after hearing the two songs they've showed us so far from the followup, I am even more excited than I was before to hear the remaining 10 songs. Songs like Moth Into Flame are why I love this band more than any other. They write good SONGS. I don't care what the genre of music is, all people will remember about you is whether you wrote good MUSIC. This song is inspiring to me, and it's even better than the first single they released. I'm so proud of them as musicians, they really do still have it in them after all these years.
Holy shit, what a song.
September 22, 2016 - Small music update, GSL, Diablo and Blizzcon talks
Prepare for a long post, I have a lot to talk about today!
I've finished nearly everything on my most recent janitor list. It's all sounding a lot better now! It's strange to think this album is in the last 15-20 percent of production after so long. That is, it's gone on so long I forgot there was a point without these songs.
Shifting gears, I never got to talk about the GSL and ASL (BROOD WAR!!!!) finals that happened earlier this month. In ASL, Shuttle vs. Sharp was incredibly one sided, and Shuttle just crushed through the whole series. I had not heard of many of the ASL players before, since most of Brood War has mostly been cast in Korean over the years. However, I have had my eye on him this entire season since the first few games he showed. He's a great guy, gave some really good interviews and I'm proud of him for kicking so much ass at Protoss and doing what he loves, especially now with a wife and child.
On the other hand in GSL, I was very disappointed (personally) by the finals, for they too were one-sided. ByuN vs. sOs was set up to be the greatest rivalry yet in 2016, but unfortunately after Game 1, sOs choked like I'd never seen him choke before. I am very confused because to my knowledge he has never lost a series so hard. Since he has not done AS well this year, I was really rooting for him because winning GSL was his only chance to go to Blizzcon this year - potentially to become a three-time consecutive world champion. He is one my favorite players of all time and so I was very upset when he lost four games in a row.
That being said, ByuN has won a tremendous amount of respect around the world for his performance this season. Two months ago, I thought absolutely nothing of him when I saw his name on the Code A roster. He is an incredible Terran player now - and he is teamless. Almost all pro gamers who play Starcraft essentially need to be on a team, so they may practice with others, share insight, and help create new builds. The team houses also provide the pro gamers the benefit of people who take care of food, rooms, and otherwise help them stay physically/mentally fit. With all that in mind, ByuN actually prefers to play alone, which is very uncommon. Not only that, but after his victory in the GSL finals he is the first person in the ENTIRE history of Starcraft dating back to 1997 to ever win a finals (or become a finalist at all) without being on a team. Again - NO ONE has done that before! I have never seen someone micro the way he has been. His playstyle is very aggressive much like Maru's, but he seems to be more confident and fleshed out. He is always prepared for harassment and is basically impossible to pull a fast one on. I'm sure he's earned a lot of fans over the past month for his play, and he may just win the whole damn thing at Blizzcon this year.
Which is a convenient segue for me - Blizzcon and Diablo. Those of you who follow along with Diablo III may know that last year's Blizzcon was essentially the worst in history for this franchise. The Diablo III segment was literally confined to an area smaller than the restroom area (as many, many people pointed out). Many rightfully assumed the writing was on the wall at this point, but there are also still some morons who still think after over 2 years there will be another Diablo III expansion. I'm here to tell you that's complete bullshit. I could back that up for about an hour, but right now I'm talking about things that are fun and interesting, and a D3 X2 would be neither of those.
Anyway, the Diablo III D&D dice conspiracy is rather entertaining, so I want to touch on it for a minute. Go look it up on youtube if you don't want to read it. So Blizzard released some Blizzcon goodies for Diablo and included was a Diablo-themed dice bag for D&D players. One of the dice was unusable due to a printing error. It was the four-sided die (also known as a "D4") with two '1's and a 4 on the same..."side"? I don't know how to explain that. I don't play with dice. Anyhow, it is smaller than all the others (possibly to draw attention to it, since it is unusable for D&D games in its misprinted state) --- the punchline is someone brilliantly pointed out that these oddities could be clues --- namely that "D4" - Diablo 4 - "1-1-4" - could be AKA November 4th, AKA the day Blizzcon starts this year. I for one believe it, because Blizzard knows people like me make posts and videos and share this stuff around. How would they benefit? Free advertising. As I said there will be no D3 Expansion #2, and so a lot of the content the developers gave out this past year was leftovers from if there had been a second expansion. Given the new Diablo project's job postings that we all saw earlier this year, Blizzard obviously decided somewhere along the line it was time to move on. I'm glad. Personally I can't even believe they supported that damn game as long as they did. I couldn't have, I'll just say that much. I could go for hours about how awful the core design of that game was. If you have a bad foundation when building a house, it's not going to last very long.
Believe it or not either way, I'm very excited because I have been hypothesizing that the next Diablo "experience" (gotta love that corporate word!) won't be an Action RPG / Dungeon Crawler / Hack 'n' Slash (why does this genre have 3 names?), but could be a different kind of RPG. Possibly something more traditional. Blizzard lacks their own epic Elder Scrolls or Borderlands type of title, and they've never really had one ever. Today, in the world of games that seems like a misstep to me. I could be totally wrong and I could talk about this for days but I'll just leave you with all this since I've written enough by now.
September 16, 2016 - Annoying Progress
What kind of title is that you ask? It's an accurate one.
Today I made some real progress on Track 5, but I don't feel better for having done it, oddly. I don't know if it was my mood or what, but it was very strange to have gotten some stuff moving forward, only to feel completely detached from it all.
To be clear, Track 5 has always been a weird ass song for me, so maybe that's just part of it for this one. Each of these songs have been a different beast, but let me go on record by saying that's a very good thing. In the past I've had a hard time persevering to the last 10 percent of a project as a result of circumstances opposite what I have now. A lot of that is the result of just simply having more experience. You have to learn what works for you as an artist and what doesn't. It can be frustrating, but I have found it to be a source of incredible insight and growth. It is part of moving forward and honestly it wouldn't still be fun for me if not for those things. I think that process is at the center of all creativity, and as long as you can keep working on it you'll keep getting better.
Anyway, most of what I did today was writing, but I also worked on shaping the mix, which apparently still isn't good enough even though it got a lot better today. So what's the problem with this song right now? Well, I've got some good parts - it's not that anything I have is bad - it's that I need MORE. More stuff. More of everything. In other words the song's going to be longer than it currently is. I experimented with how it might end today, and started laughing because it's totally not ready to do that yet. While this song IS thankfully out of its infant stages, I still need to spend more time tapping into that creative mojo to really push this track to where it belongs.
September 13, 2016 - (fill in later)
So I'm working on a couple of awesome new things. Neither of which you're going to see or hear about for several months. THAT'S RIGHT, A COMPLETE TEASER UPDATE.
My text editor mistakenly auto corrected this to YAMAHA. how sad...
Actually, I'm also powering up to do another binge on my to-do list for the songs. Some of it's routine, some of it (cough Track 4) is going to be a royal pain. I'm guessing that'll all happen over the next few days. Also, there was recently some cool stuff going down on Track 5. I swear it's so strange to say anything positive about that song because for a long time it felt like just a dream. Anyway, Track 5 and 9 still have a long way to go, but they're moving forward! Slow and steady wins this race.
August 30, 2016 - THE BEAST HAS BEEN TAMED.
I am very happy to announce that Track 4, the original metric measurement for pain in the ass, has been DEFEATED and is the eighth song to enter ßeta status!!!!
Earlier this year I was seriously worried how this one would go down. It felt like an impossible task as I described at length during that time. That being said, I wasn't discouraged from chipping away at it, and apparently I was pretty accurate when I said it'd be finished about a week after my Aug 22 update, because here we are! There's also been some minor spring cleaning and polishing for Tracks 6 and 8. Happy with the results, especially now that I can finally rest with regard to Track 6.
Everything's coming together real nice-like. I will of course continue moving forward with testing for the latest ßeta tracks. More work is soon to follow... there are only 2 songs remaining.
By the way, you should check out my new 2016 recording of Reaper's Lullaby which I announced earlier this year - it's been uploaded to YT!
August 22, 2016 - Lots of PROGRESS
I barely remember the past five days. I've been knuckling down the hardest I have in several months, and have made some really great strides forward... Recording for Track 4 is finished!
I still have a lot of work to do on this one, however given the insane amount of tasks at the start, I have made a huge dent and I'd estimate within another week it'll be at that magical point. I've got a couple minor things to do on the ßeta songs, as well as some extra scrutiny of Track 6 to smash any bugs or imperfections. That aside, I'll leave you with one more final bit of new information:
For the first time in 8 months, I have made progress on Track 9!!!
August 18, 2016 - METALLICA #11 - HARD-WIRED...TO SELF DESTRUCT
August 17, 2016 - Milestone at Last
Vocals are next, which I will be working diligently to complete sometime this week.
August 13, 2016 - Moving Forward!
I think I've said this before, but this song is definitely the most challenging for me vocally, so it may take a while. However, I really can't say it has me all that worried. I'd much rather have to improve something about ME than have to fight technology when my playing is otherwise fine - this is what I've had to do on this song for months.
Regarding Track 5, I recently had a nice idea for it that I'm going to try here pretty soon. I've got some more work to do on the ßetas for now, and I'd like to get Track 4 a bit more finalized before I full-on switch gears to work on the instrumentals. Needless to say, progress is being made!
August 4, 2016 - Introductory Post for UBER
So you might be wondering, what is that "UBER" project up there all about? Well, today I put the mystery to rest! You'll notice by now I have largely completed my efforts on my mods for Diablo, Starcraft, Age of Empires and Heroes of Might and Magic. Aside from a few minor patches, I'm happy with them. Uber is a Warcraft III mod that plays similar to the likes of League of Legends, Heroes of Newerth and DotA.
Uber was first created in May of 2005, when I was still a kid in school, supposedly doing something 'useful' with my time. Back then, I barely knew anything about it because it was largely my brother's project. These days it's much more the opposite - the tables have turned and it's become something of a brain child of mine.
So anyway, this mod is old as shit. It's still here, and it's survived the times. Over the next year or so, there may come a point where it leaves development! At that point I may create a mod page for it along with my others. If you're from the Hive Workshop community, I probably don't need to explain a whole lot to you, but for everyone else - you have to own the original game to play, just like my other mods.
Uber is a unique AoS with 55 characters, many of which are inspired by our favorite games, shows, or reference more obscure things. Among them Bowser, Goku, Voldemort, Master Chief, Batman, Legolas, Shredder, Anakin Skywalker, Howard Dean and even Zeus - just to name a few - it's essentially our version of Smash Brothers. I can't say for sure when the game will be ready for release to the public, but the amount things have moved forward over the last four months is very exciting. As bugs get fixed and stuff more finalized, I may show something a little more visual too. But for now, it's back to testing for me!
July 31, 2016 - Tough Road Ahead
Track 4 is where shit is going down. I knew this song was going to be the hardest of them all right from the beginning. It has more than lived up to that. 100 percent of the difficulty lies in recording the guitars. My setup is pretty garbage for such a high quality project, and so it takes me a lot longer to get very simple things done. For instance in a live setting it would be a breeze for me to play this song's guitar track and its solo. In my studio setting, everything is the total opposite. I'm still loaded down with work to do on this one, and it's been nothing short of a beating, unfortunately. I still haven't laid down any takes for vocals - the guitars have been that problematic. The vocals usually come last with regard to the entire recording process, so it could be several more months before this song hits ßeta status. Which is really ridiculous considering it's a great song and has been fully written for a while, but that's the way it goes sometimes.
The good news is Track 5 and 9 will not suffer from these problems, and none of the other songs gave me this kind of crap to deal with. It's very complicated, but I'll do my best to make it all work eventually.
Signing out until next time
July 15, 2016 - The Euphoria Grows
July 14, 2016 - FINALLY
I've had yet another list piling up for a total of like eight songs for Emerald Euphoria over the past 5-6 weeks. I have gotten through most of the first half now, and there is one super important thing to mention. Track 1 got some serious love. The kind where it can't walk for two days...hahaha. So back in 2014 I distinctly remember having problems with The Great Fox sounding different from the other songs on Classica II because it was the first one I wrote. I have a habit of mixing while I work on these (writing/recording) and so some of that stuff gets done and I never even have to think about doing it later. However, being the first meant that the sound hadn't been finished yet. So it took me a long time to remix it properly with the other eight songs for that album.
Fast forward to today, something similar definitely happened with Track 1 back when I first started it. I'm pretty comfortable with the complete and utter badassery of the album's mix right now, and I finally got this song up to snuff with the others. So much so, that I didn't realize how much it really needed to catch up until I heard the difference side by side! Very pleased with the results.
There's more to come soon enough, stick around cause I still plan to get this fucker out in 2016.
June 6, 2016 - BAM BAM!
So now you have to decide, is the title a Back to the Future or Emeril Lagasse reference? You'll never know...
Alright to start today off real quick, Track 4 is going VERY well. I did more work on it than I planned recently, and I'm stunned at how well things panned out. More on that in the coming days!
You may have noticed I took down that latest post about my Diablo II mod. I'm gonna try something new - and consolidate some of that writing to the Shyster's Mods website instead and see how that goes. I'm not sure exactly what I'm doing, but for now you'll have to head over there for news about the mods.
June 2, 2016 - BAM
FINALLY SOME NEWS! Today I tackled Track 4 again for the final piece of writing!!!! I'm back to relay that EVERYTHING IS GOING AWESOMELY. I wish I could just stop being human and never sleep in order to fire out like a million guitar tracks tonight, just so I could hear how badass this is truly going to be. It's really "this big".
Also, another awesome-sized update for this song - you may recall I recently wrote it would end around six and a half minutes. Well now it's going to be almost EIGHT! And it's all pure joy, believe me. The term "filler" does not exist within the confines of a project this full of passion and badassery, and most of these songs are pretty standard length anyway. Since there will be a total of ten songs it'll be nice to have a couple that're longer. By the way, Track 4, 6 and 8 are currently the longest. I'm betting that Track 5 will have some length to it as well. No details to share on that yet though!
By the way, this also means there's only TWO MORE SONGS that need writing. Those two projects (again, Tracks 5 and 9) will likely be quite different from most of EE. Kinda scared of getting started on them, but I was pretty nervous today actually and I plowed through it with ease, to my own surprise. I fought the nerves, used my knowledge and experience and WON, bitches. Hell yes. More awesome news to come, stay tuned.
I haven't been able to do anything substantial the past week due to more ear related stuff. There's nothing I can do about that at the moment.
However - progress has been made on Track 4 since the last update. The guitar issues I was having are to a much lesser extent now! The list has been piling up, and it's going to be time to get in there and do some more good work soon. Of the four pieces still needed to finish the writing process, I've got about 2.5 finished - or at least ready to lay down. The direction's not entirely sealed yet, and there are indeed some things still up in the air. As an INFP I have learned I work best when I am not boxed in on a time frame. With regard to writing, a lot of my best results have come as a direct result of this process I've adopted since starting the album. So far it's worked very well, better than I ever imagined. Patience is indeed a virtue that must be taken to heart.
Moving on, I recently found a new artist - Anya Marina, among several other awesome groups like Work of Art thanks to the kickass music producer "BK" over at GSL - the most prestigious Starcraft 2 tournament in the world. She's really good, can't get her songs out of my head.
Another thing I (finally) discovered is that HOLY SHIT, BORDERLANDS IS AN AWESOME FRANCHISE. It's very rare that I will feel the desire to replay newer games, and so that's one hell of an accomplishment. I've been having so much fun with the first that I haven't even gotten started on 2 or 3 yet.
"If your gun doesn't shoot enough bullets, S&S has the solution - mooooore bullets!!!"
May 9, 2016 - Bitching About Guitars
Although I don't use social media, I find it amusing that those who do only post about positive stuff. They're no less perfect than anyone but it gets into other people's heads. I like to write about all the happenings though, the extremes and in-betweens.
So I'm pretty irritated right now, the problem child track (4) is continuing to be the problem child track. While writing has continued and is going reasonably well (this one's going to clock in around 6:30!) I can't say the same for recording. Been having a lot of technical issues on that side, and it basically reinforces how much I hate recording guitars. This is in part due to the method I use, but it's the only way I can, and it wouldn't do to change in the middle of this long process.
The good news is there aren't many guitars left to lay down. Track 5 still needs basically all of them, and will be challenging for different reasons even than what I'm working on now. I'm hoping it won't be too bad though. Also I need to make a small mod for Track 6's guitars which I will do after I'm done with #4. Given the progress I *HAVE* made on Track 4 so far, that's about 1.5 songs' worth of guitars left to do, since Track 9 does not have guitars. Not too bad if you think about it.
You might be wondering why I hate recording guitars when that's obviously an integral part of the process. I have to play with latency due to lack of sufficient RAM, and I'm also playing direct-in which complicates things. I'll tell you one thing though - it makes you a shit load better at guitar when you're done, and it still sounds really good. As long as the end result is worth it I tend to get through these hurdles eventually. As I mentioned previously the end is in sight so I'm pretty excited about that!
May 1, 2016 - I CHOOSE YOU!
Track 4 has long been a problem child and at times I thought I was losing confidence in it, despite the fact I knew it had *lots* of potential. While the song still has a long ways to go, today I ironed out practically everything I needed to get back on track with it. Not too many details I can share at the moment, but just know that the machine on this one is moving - even if it was in hibernation for half a year. As a result of the awesome feeling from working on this again, I may decide to crusade for getting this one done next. WE SHALL SEE.
By the way, I added a panel on the side of this page for my LPs - I may decide to do more in the future.
April 28, 2016 - Choosing the Next
As an aside, if you know someone who has a permanent issue like this (I do in fact have tinnitus and hearing loss) that's only going to get worse with age, don't say something like "Beethoven was deaf, he still wrote music!". That is so fucking worthless. It's essentially letting the other person know you don't give a fuck and have nothing of substance to offer. But what you are willing to offer is "here, have a useless cliche that reflects how shitty our culture's mentality is!"
Anyway, within the next day or two it's going to be time to select the next track in line on Emerald Euphoria! This is probably about as tough a decision as it's going to get. I mean to say - my theory is after ßeta #7 everything should be easier!
The sound is going to stay under wraps until release, but I thought this might be a good opportunity to share more details about the project - the non-audible kind. I'd obviously still like to be transparent on my current thoughts moving forward.
You can scroll down to find the March 18 update for more detailed descriptions, but here are the options I have right now:
Track 4 - Writing/Recording LOTS
Track 5 - Writing/Recording
Track 6 - Mixing/Recording
Track 9 - Writing
You'll notice there's a big chunk missing out of the middle! I'm not sure how I'm feeling in terms of new composition right now, but I *have* given it some thought over the past few days. That time may be closer than I think, and I will be paying attention to my crazy INFP feelings to find out when exactly that is.
As you can see, Track 6 is the only one that's fully written, yet not in ßeta form. This largely has to do with the fact that it's one of the harder songs for me to sing. Track 4 is like that too. I'm still not satisfied 100 percent with the guitars in certain places (specifically the first minute) and so that's also gonna take some time. Once those two things get done however, it's just catching up the mix to the level everything else is at right now - which is not only super-awesome sounding, but it's getting EASIER. *wink*
Track 4 has been a bit of a roller coaster. It's got a great foundation but it's had a lot of bumps along the road thus far. I think I've finally got an answer to those bumps though, it's just going to involve some re-recording. I need to finish writing roughly the last 30 percent of the song, and so after Track 6 this one is the next closest to being done.
It may be that I decide to go for 6 and 4 first, and then finish with 5 and 9, which will test different sides of my creativity for variety.
I'll be back with more soon™
April 20, 2016 - Spring Cleaning - Round 3
Now what I do remember is spending 20 hours the past few days grinding against my list of music fixes and updates! Best of all, Track 8 is now part of the ßeta club! That's six down, four more to go. Words cannot describe the amount of awesome that has taken place the past few days.
You may recall that I recently wrote something similar about this track. That was a lie. I didn't work on it for a couple weeks and instead spent that time collecting notes about it and some other songs (which I worked on yesterday). So I'll consider this the *official* branding of the term ßeta. Anyway, when I started Track 8 a long time ago in a universe nearby I knew it was going to be good. I had no idea however, that it would be the juggernaut that it currently is. No one's paying me to hype this shit, I'm just telling you straight up it's gonna kick your ass frontward and backward, as well as diagonally minus five degrees. Yeah, that's right. You are not prepared.
April 14, 2016 - FF1 LP is done!
Phew...that took forever! My pathetic hard drive barely had the space to allow for such a project. Luckily, I don't need to keep it once it's out in cyberspace. If you've followed along, you'll know I mentioned doing my first Let's Play about a month ago, and it's finally done! You'll be pleased to know it includes no vocal commentary, and my notes are either in the description or within the video. I avoid commentary LPs like the plague, their voice is always the most disgusting thing I've ever heard and they can't keep every little thought from interrupting what they were off-topic about two seconds ago the last time they were. When I watch someone playing a game, I want to make the observations myself, and apparently there are people out there who agree with me. So that's what I did with mine. For anyone who enjoys that kind of thing, it's live on YouTube now so feel free to check it out. :)
By the way, another wave of music progress is more than likely next.
April 12, 2016 - Anthrax - For All Kings is bad. Very bad.
This band is one that stopped delivering decent music - for the most part - a long time ago. I keep wishing it wasn't the case. Secretly though, deep down I know it doesn't matter anymore. What's the point of releasing another boring ass "metal" production, more boring ass riffs and boring ass song structures that feel empty and lifeless?
In an interview they touted this album as if it contained some of their best music ever. I laughed as soon as I heard that. The majority of their actual best music is comprised of about five years' worth of select material from the 80s/early 90s. So we have to start asking questions to figure out why something this shitty is acceptable today.
-Are they just reveling in bad songwriting? Their structures and transitions have been barf worthy for decades. And don't talk to me about songwriting being subjective. Their setlist has been 90 percent 1985-1990 for years. that isn't nostalgia, that's you don't have anything else because that's not a very large span of writing.
-Is it just for cashing in? No one buys records in 2016.
-Is it to honor the glory days? I'll go and listen to Among/Disease/Persistence.
I don't get it. While there are a few songs like Evil Twin and This Battle Chose Us (that do seem to carry a weight of some value), the whole record just has a phoned in feel to it. And it sucks because I love those guys. They're awesome dudes, but I can't take Frank seriously when he says he wishes this could be their entire setlist for the tour. As far as I'm concerned, Metallica have twice as many "mainstream hits" as Anthrax have albums (and likely more). By the way, this is Anthrax's 11th studio album. Same shit different album. I'm way more excited for Metallica's new record. I know they won't allow half the songs to suck as hard as half of these. Even if it doesn't revolutionize music (read: it won't, nothing can revolutionize music in 2016) IT WILL STILL BE COMPRISED OF GOOD MUSIC. It's not because metal, rock, or any other genre is dead. It's not because the last good riffs have been written - because I'M STILL WRITING KICKASS MUSIC.
It comes down to the songwriting. Always. HOW MUCH TIME DO YOU SPEND WRITING A GOOD SONG. IF THE ANSWER IS NONE, IT WILL BE SHIT. Worship Music is still the only shining moment of redemption since 19 fucking 91. After hearing this album, I don't imagine that's about to change.
State of Euphoria was GARBAGE.
Most of their 90s were GARBAGE.
Closing it out with a final dose of GARBAGE: For All Kings
March 29, 2016 - Shyster's D2 v1.51
I'm rolling out a minor bug fix patch for this mod today. The link on my mods page has been updated for the new version. You will need to update your data and all PlugY files. When in doubt, replace all the necessary files.
The following changes are not retroactive:
Shyster's D2 - Patch v1.51
-Priestcore: No longer spawns with a chance to cast Spirit Lance.
-Starbolt: Now requires level 70.
(•) Minor Bug Fixes
-Fixed display errors on certain items with custom tooltip information.
March 24, 2016 - Spring Cleaning: Round 2
Now, I didn't make an entry today to tell you about that. I came to officially welcome Track 8 to the ßeta club of songs! The only thing truly standing in the way of it becoming ßeta is me renaming the file, but there's a couple things I've got to do on it before that happens. And obviously, renaming the file is *clearly* the largest obstacle. After more than a year, all the moving parts are in and working. All that remains is tweaking, and god damn it's sounding good.
One more thing: I'm working on the FF1 LP and have been doing a couple other things in the background too. I have to say, I did not anticipate how hard it would be to do one of these. Finding the right codec and emulator for the job... it's nuts. When I asked for advice, all I got were really cryptic, tech-savvy answers. You know, from those kind of people who never bother to truncate the unneeded crap from their explanations? I figured it out myself in like ten minutes, doing literally none of what I was advised to do. As always if you want it done right, do it yourself. Anyhoo I'll be uploading them all at once most likely, broken into long segments instead of tons of 10 minute videos. Makes my life easier and means less autoplay/random white screens for everyone else. Cheers~~
By the way, my party is Black Belt / 3X White Mage.
March 18, 2016 - LPs + Spring Cleaning + EE Progress Update!
First, I'm going to be doing an LP of the very first Final Fantasy! If you watch my YouTube channel you'll remember I made an audio update recently where I briefly mentioned the possibility of making some. I've thought about it for a long time now and I'm gonna finally do it! FF1 has always been special for me, it's probably one of the first games I ever played. I'll be uploading it to my channel when finished, and if I choose to do more LPs in the future, I'll start creating a playlist. :)
Second, I'm gonna also show you a more visual progress update on Emerald Euphoria!! I haven't done this before and I think we're far enough along now that it's time. Before I get to that though, I want to talk spring cleaning:
I went back today and did a bit of sprucing up on Tracks 1, 2 and 3. Very happy with the improvements. All three of these songs are way past ßeta status and have stood basically flawless over the past five months. That being said, I needed to "catch them up" in terms of mixing compared to what I've been working with recently. As I've worked on this project (and all the ones that came before it) the technique is different in the beginning, middle and end. As a result, going back to apply the new stuff I've learned to older songs is very important. I think there's only one minor thing that remains in that regard, and that'll be for Track 10. For curiousity's sake it's an issue with a cymbal crash that I've tried to fix repeatedly.
One more thing, I recently started doing some "audio logs" that'll get posted some time after release. It's just documenting some of me working on the different songs. Most people won't care but I thought it might be useful someday for myself and figured why the hell not share it?
But now, without any further ado here is how the songs are coming:
Last half of song. LOTS of writing/mixing/recording work to be done
Still very early on, must decide direction for the song
Recording vox. Sounding great
Recording vox. Sounding great
Still very early on, but very excited to see where this one goes
March 16, 2016 - EMERALD EUPHORIA STUFF <3
Also, really bummed about Track 4 right now cause the scratch rhythms I recorded are shit. No idea how I'm gonna mix that one atm. It still needs lots of work, but it is such a good song I'll find a way.
3/17 Update: Shyster's Broodwar v1.03 is now up and running again.
I'll be frank, I admire Blizzard's valiant dedication to that train-wreck of a game over the last several years. I think these guys have realized though - it's time to leave the bad relationship and seek out a new home for the Diablo series. There's no way in HELL (hehe) this franchise can't work in 2016 -- the short stories and written lore are wonderful. There's even one I'd personally recommend cause I loved it that much - the one about Zai and the assassin in Caldeum. Unfortunately, the in-game story is horrific and the gameplay is a giant fucking treadmill.
That being said, I have high hopes for Blizzard as they have had plenty of time now to learn from their mistakes. I truly wish for a proper sequel to Diablo II, or perhaps even a new type of Diablo game. I'll try (and likely buy) whatever it is at this point, as I am a hardcore fan. I just don't want it to be like D3.
Also, I found out today Blizzard is planning to remaster Starcraft, Diablo II and Warcraft III. HOLY SHIT! I had no idea that I was so late on this news! Several things to be excited about moving forward with them. I will be eagerly watching to see where these projects go.
March 6, 2016 - In Preparation (March 7 Update)
Going straight into it with this update, some awesome stuff happening at the cave today.
The old Mods page has been removed. Now, the link will take you to my new dedicated mods website! There you will find ALL of my mods, including download links and documentation in the same place without having to open a ton of windows and shit. I must say it has been quite some time since I was last excited about anything website-related. I'm a user at best...I love customizing their interface, look and feel though, don't get me wrong. Anyway, very happy about this discovery, from here on everything's going to be much easier for you guys and for me too.
I also updated all the mods again to include the correct link to the new website, and I am updating Shyster's Broodwar to 1.03 because of some improvements that needed to go in. I wanna apologize for constantly re-uploading shit recently, it's not my intention. This'll be the last wave for a while, and the other three games are still up to date. Happy gaming!
I'm preparing an update on Emerald Euphoria but I'm not quite ready to share details just yet. Stay tuned~
February 29, 2016 - Update + **Milestone Update**
Alright so I've got a lot of good news!
Firstly, I got my guitar fixed! I never thought I'd say I'm excited to resume recording duties again (it is normally very stressful) but it's nice to actually be able to do what needs to be done. I'm expecting a lot of schtuff on that front over the next week + some change.
Now, I've also got a ton of awesome info regarding my mods! From here on there will be a pretty big shift of focus from modding back to music again, so this is a massive update that finally puts all of these games on the same page. It's been a long road getting here, and I am very happy to be at this point.
Read on for the updates:
(•) Shyster's D2 - v1.5 is released!
(•) Shyster's HoMM3 - Updated links, documentation and files
(•) Shyster's AoC - Download link finally added to the site!
(•) Shyster's Broodwar / Cloak Wars - Updated to v1.01. I said I'd make an update adding some maps, and I've finally gotten around to doing that. I made a new google doc for this mod too. Included are three maps, two of which are specifically made for the Cloak Wars mod. The other is a classic modification of Allied Fortress that my brother made a long ass time ago. The AI will give you a damn good fight on it.
February 24, 2016 - Writing!
Oh hell yes, it's time to write about writing.
I did not realize until today that my last progress on Track 8 was nearly seven months ago! Well, coincidentally I opened it up today, and I finally finished the last portion of it! Only three more songs need writing done on them - Tracks 4, 5 and 9.
I also noticed I have an f-ton of notes for this song that I must sift through. This is a very common thing when I break from a specific song for a while, because I listen to it casually and brainstorm randomly for it all the time. It helps me release some of the pressure I feel when writing while still making progress that will massively pay off at a later date. So if I'm not sure where to go next, a few weeks later (or apparently seven months), by then I'll have collected a kind of "safety net" to help me resume the process. It's never once failed me and has been very effective.
The insane thing about this Track 8 here that I'm talking about, is that there's so much left to do and yet it already sounds amazing. I feel you guys will be pleasantly surprised - not one of these songs is alike. I heard a really awesome album the other day by a band I just discovered, and while all the songs are great, THEY'RE ALL THE SAME DAMN THING OVER AND OVER. How - after over forty years of bands making this mistake - it is possible for a newcomer band to manage this is beyond me. It is very important to vary the experience because good material isn't the only thing required to keep people listening.
Anyhow, this song in particular is going to have some very fun and special stuff going on. It's very, very different from everything else on the album and I absolutely love it, and for that reason especially. Also important for me personally is the fact I believe this kind of song is more difficult to do well, so that is a fun challenge. Everything's looking up for it, so all's well in the land of EE.
February 22, 2016 - Birthing a new Shyster Mod
Shyster's Broodwar / Shyster's Cloak Wars have been added to the mods page. These two mods for Starcraft Broodwar are like my other mods - very simple to install and play. I am also working on a series of maps to upload with them as well, and once they are all finished I will bundle them together along with the mods themselves. Kind of surprising how all these late 90s early 00s games are still fun eh? Also surprising is how much you can do with them (and how much time it requires). Still, it never really gets old for me. Whether it was map editing half my life ago or full scale modding today, I've never lost whatever it is that makes me come back for more tweaking and tinkering, you know?
Also, Shyster's D2 v1.5 isn't released yet, because I'm being lazy about it right now. A few things need to be touched up, and after I do those things (not even sure what they are LOL) then I'll put out the patch. It's a MASSIVE update with an enormous amount of new adds and improvements.
That is all.
February 14, 2016 - Semi Important Music Rambling
Finally started making progress on the album again today! It's been very difficult to get back into it, to be completely honest. I've been out of it for about a month. There's still a lot left to do and, if you've followed along you'll know that includes plenty of writing. Writing has become more difficult for me since I first began solo work years ago, and since I still can't record guitars (for the album) I have been cherry-picking new parts for the stuff I can work on.
As an INFP you are essentially a disorganized perfectionist (I didn't come up with that term, but I found it to be very accurate) and you honestly spend half your waking hours drifting among the clouds in dream land. It is there that we are able to come up with the greatest things mankind has ever seen. When it comes to creativity, it's similar to how an artisan can't just force something (good). I can't make myself work on this shit. When I feel it, I work on it, because that's when the best stuff comes. And today was one of those days. :)
Just know this: it's coming, albeit a bit slower than it once was. Nevertheless, the last half is on its way. If you're wondering what it was I worked on today, it was Track 6. I'd say it is a little over halfway done, I have imagined it being one of the longer songs since it's slow and heavy. *wink*
One more important thing to mention, I have an update with regard to future music projects.
Over the last year, I've said at various points that Emerald Euphoria will be my last album. HOWEVER... up in the clouds today I concluded that I should have put some more thought into that statement. Here's the deal, I've had a very difficult time committing to a giant project like this, knowing it would be a large group of songs in advance. I realized that I tend to do much better when it is on an individual, day-by-day basis. That's why the first half of all four of my albums were finished so much faster than the latter. I am not sure why I did not notice this sooner, but I think what I will do as a result is work on specific songs after this album is done. Similar to how I wrote Garden of the Tempest or Reaper's Lullaby (the new version you haven't heard yet), if it turns into an album at some point, great. But I'm not going to plan it that way anymore because it is detrimental to my mindset, even if the concept is just fine when it's all said and done.
Stay tuned for more rants and updates - SHY
February 5, 2016 - Music Update....?!
The second project.......well... I'm not sure yet LOL
Look, I've talked about resurrecting a song from 2013 many times. I've also mentioned including one on the upcoming album, Emerald Euphoria. However, none of these plans ever came to fruition. Something always got in the way or I wasn't confident I could do the song proper justice at the time. That has changed, because I now have a very badass, NEW RENDITION of REAPER'S LULLABY in my hands right now! Only thing - I'm not quite sure what to do with it. I have been wondering about bundling it with the album but that would disrupt the flow of things, as I have laid out the tracks in a very specific order. I don't want to screw that up, but I also don't really want to do another single release of something that was technically done three years ago (holy shit it's been that long...)
Either way, if you stick around for the album and/or catch the upcoming 1.5 update for SD2 then you'll get to hear some extra new stuff!
January 28, 2016 - A Very Important Update Regarding the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)
Edit: fixed some lovely Webs™ glitches
This is serious. I need everyone who reads this to educate themselves about the Trans-Pacific Partnership if they have not done so already. It is due to be signed in just a few weeks, and while it still has to go through Congress, we all know how incompetent they are and have been for years.
This massive insult to our society threatens to undermine everything good about humanity. Just one way - it will begin to tear down the fundamentals of the free internet, and install backdoors into our technology for use by the government. I can't cover it all here because it's so huge, so I need you to do just a little reading about it. More people need to be made aware of this, and even if spreading the word is all you can do, DO IT. The TPP favors special interest over public interest and must be stopped. They've already been caught taking bribes and some of the biggest companies in the world are supporting it to make matters worse. The word must be extended to any and everyone -- this is the internet age, information gets around, let this be no exception.
Furthermore, I do not want the people who decide our fate as a race to be disgusting fucks who secretly meet on an island with bags over their heads so their identities can be masked - they KNOW the shit they're doing is wrong. Why else would they have to hide?
January 13, 2016 - PLEASE WELCOME BLUE TEXT TO THE FAMILY!
Hey guys! Your favorite crazy INFP Shyster here! So remember that little "game" project I started three years ago that went dead in a matter of days? Well, Firemind is most certainly ALIVE. It will take a different form than previously mentioned, for I've decided (and already started) to write a story - Thor/Zeus/Hades willing a full-length one! If you were me and looked at yourself in the mirror, you'd never once imagine yourself as a writer. To hell with all that because it's happening.
Sorry, no Ron Paul gifs for you this time.
Anyway, my characters and story for Firemind just simply refuse to go away, and I find them creeping into my thoughts all the damn time. It's awesome stuff. So I said, what the hell, let's do it. In the future, all Firemind-related updates will be in my special blue hue. I'll continue to reveal more info about this story as it nears completion, but it's a pretty big undertaking, so that just means you'll have to watch for updates to learn more. You'll notice I also worked on the site a bit, because a change of decoration was in order.
Until next time Underlord,
January 11, 2016 - Working on 1.43
January 9, 2016 - First Post of the Year
First I want to say that music has been slow, but that will change soon -- look for more coming up on that in the near future. I've done a little work on Track 5 recently, and while it has a long ways to go, things are definitely looking up and my vision for it still holds strong. I'm particularly glad in this case, because the basis for this song is now over three years old. Also, once I get closer to releasing this beast, I'm going to show the final track list, because it's been nailed down for quite some time! Stay tuned for that soon™
Hell, it's about time!
Be looking out for new updates, I'm going to muster all I can for 2016.
December 13, 2015 - ONE MORE FOR 2015
*Final Update of the Year*
I lied, there's actually going to be one last entry before 2016 - this one. Dropping in to do a couple of things, first I'm uploading a special Christmas loop to the music player.
Second, I'm confirming everything I said in the last post, because my left-side hearing within 8-20khz has tanked by a massive amount. Given my age, and knowing this is only the beginning, it will be all I can do to fight a losing battle in a halfway convincing fashion, so I must focus on that instead. There comes a point where it doesn't matter how bad you want to do it, I don't really have that option now. I will likely have to space out my work on the album a lot more, and do less in a day than previously, but I will still get it done because of how far everything has come. There's no way I'd let it all go to waste!
So all of that sucks, but there's one fun, random thing I thought I'd do since it's the end of the year. I'm gonna post a list of all my favorite soundtracks - in no particular order. All of them are awesome, and there's something wrong with YOU if you disagree. Also, many of the games on this list are some of my favorite with regard to story or gameplay as well. So anyway, here it is ---
- - - TOP FAVORITE * NES * SOUNDTRACKS - - -
Legend of Zelda
Final Fantasy I
Zelda II: Adventure of Link
Super Mario Bros. I
Super Mario Bros. II
Castlevania II: Simon's Quest
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles I
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game
Super Mario Bros. III
Tiny Toon Adventures
Snake Rattle 'N' Roll
Dragon Warrior I
Final Fantasy II
Final Fantasy IIICastlevania III: Dracula's Curse
- - - TOP FAVORITE * SNES * SOUNDTRACKS - - -
Super Mario RPG
Donkey Kong Country II: Diddy's Kong Quest
Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
Final Fantasy IV
Final Fantasy V
Final Fantasy VI
Super Mario WorldCastlevania IV
- - - TOP FAVORITE * PS/N64 * SOUNDTRACKS - - -
Final Fantasy VII
Star Wars: Battle For Naboo
Star Wars: Rogue Squadron
Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of TimeLegend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask
- - - TOP FAVORITE * GC/XBox * SOUNDTRACKS - - -
Super Smash Brothers Melee
Super Mario Sunshine
Halo: Combat Evolved
Halo 2Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
- - - TOP FAVORITE * GBA * SOUNDTRACKS - - -
Dragon Ball Z: Legacy of Goku II
Advance WarsAdvance Wars II: Black Hole Rising
- - - TOP FAVORITE * PS3/X360/Wii * SOUNDTRACKS - - -
- - - TOP FAVORITE * PC * SOUNDTRACKS - - -
Warcraft: Orcs and Humans
Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos
Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne
Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness
Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal
Quake III: Arena
Star Trek: Armada
Diablo II: Lord of Destruction
World of Warcraft - Vanilla
World of Warcraft - The Burning Crusade
World of Warcraft - Wrath of the Lich King
Star Trek: Armada II
Age of Empires II - The Age of Kings
Age of Empires II - The Conquerors Expansion
Heroes of Might and Magic III
Heroes of Might and Magic IV
Anyway guys, Merry Christmas and all that good stuff, see you next year - with album in hand!
December 3, 2015 - Natural and Technical join forces to create "Bullshit Difficulties"
I'm going to go ahead and deliver the punch of the bad news - this is, unless I further elaborate in the future, my last music album. When faced with a choice like this the options are neither good nor fun, however I do not require one. Emerald Euphoria will mark the end of an era for me and right now, I may be lucky to finish it without further trouble.
So in a sea of shit there is one piece of good - I've gotten the first bit of work done on Track 9, which was theorized and demoed over a year ago! Already very happy with it, about 2 1/2 minutes into this one. Over the next while I will likely be planning where to go next with it as I continue writing, and spend as little time in the actual studio as possible. Whether or not I'm totally treble deaf by the end, it will be finished, and it will be finished in 2016! Here's to another year of writing, recording and kickass music.
P.S. Metallica's new album will be out in 2016, produced by Greg Fidelman, instead of RICK RUIN!! HELL YES!
November 29, 2015 - Vacuuming Aforementioned Ashes
The Saiyan Effect I described a while back has definitely done its job. So far I'm still invincible no matter what is thrown my way, and most people would chalk that up to be a positive thing. Lots is still in the pipeline. I'm either writing, mixing, modding or renewing on a pretty regular schedule.
What's renewing, you ask? Figure it out, fool!
Hint: It has to do with being a bat shit crazy idealist.
November 18, 2015 - From The Ashes
It is times like these I remember I am clever. Still alive at least. I'm going to try something rather different to rectify the recent situation; it will not be what anyone expects and I may not have much to show for a bit, or even a while. Could be a really great thing though. When there's more to write, I will write more.
Some of my work on Emerald Euphoria has been rendered useless as of recent events, so I'm probably going to stay away from the album for a while for my own good. I cannot stress enough though, that it is not dead, merely sleeping.
By the way, Shyster's D2 v1.3 is released - you can check it out on the Mods page. Your download will come with all the instructions you need to install. Done a lot of good last minute work over the past couple days, gotten some great results. Very happy with where the mod is and I'd recommend it to any fan of the genre.
Last night something terrible happened. The worst thing that has ever happened in my life, despite all of my prayers. As a result, I am hereby placing all official updates here and project progress on indefinite hold.
November 13, 2015 - Wall of Updates + News Archive Page
Life has been absolute hell lately, but I've been trying to keep up with the artistic side of things during this time. It hasn't been easy, and I'm not sure how much longer it will continue. I'm doing my best. This time of the year has been fucking terrible for years now, and I'm just hoping this is the last year it has to be like this.
That being said, I've still managed to make some progress on both music and modding. First, I want to mention games and modding.
Starcraft II Legacy of the Void came out earlier this week, and I've only watched the first few missions of the campaign. So far, it seems alright. It started out with some very impressive cinematics - Blizzard has the best in the business, and any gamer knows this. The first mission felt a lot like Brood War for multiple reasons, and I appreciated this nod to the original. It's nice when you know they did fun little things like that on purpose. Now, as I said I haven't finished it yet, and I'm not sure what to expect from where I'm currently at. It's certainly been a visual experience to say the least (there's everyone's favorite corporate word "experience") and I didn't expect a few story bits that have occurred already. Here's hoping the final installment is better than the first two.
As for modding, gotten some more done on Shyster's D2. Hard to cover everything in exact detail, but basically I've been working on items, fine tuning some skills, and today I added a new rune to the game - the Zer Rune. I still have some things to cover on my to-do list before releasing 1.3, but it's coming. Also, as I've said before if you'd like to check what my actual to-do list is, you can. Head over to the Mods page and find the changelog link for this mod. There'll be a link to the development page, and from there you can read all of my notes and such.
I like ending my posts with music in mind, since it's the more important subject at hand. The other day I got a substantial amount of progress made on Track 4. It's about 2/3 of the way written. As a reminder, written does not by any definition equal "finished". While there is much work to be done, progress is still marching along. There is virtually nothing I can do involving guitar work at the present, along with hearing troubles that have been ongoing for several years. Despite those issues I am still trying to get as much done as I can, so I've been working on my voice, as this song is going to push it beyond its normal limits. This was an intentional decision, and it's going to greatly benefit this song. I'm very happy with its direction right now, especially since I was very apprehensive about its ultimate destiny for many months.
As I said above, things are very difficult behind the scenes right now and I am committed to continuing these updates regardless of the circumstances. So if the progress seems slow, that's probably because it is and I am having to work my ass off in other areas of life so that I do not miss those opportunities. The reality is these media-related projects can be done at any time, and so you gotta do what you gotta do. Patience is a virtue, and the album is still chugging along!
November 7, 2015 - Updates Updates Updates
^ That combination of color codes up there you just read is from a now forgotten era of gaming, which I happened to be lucky enough to be part of. It was among many crazy color arrangements used in custom Brood War maps back in 1998 and the next several years that followed. Also, that was the game where I originally learned how to type so ridiculously fast, and learned how to write sentences with alt codes. Yeah I'm lame as shit and proud as hell.
Alright, so I'm checking in for a weekly update of sorts. The last week
has been nothing but hell for me, and it probably isn't over yet. Still,
I've got a few updates but nothing substantial / tangible right at this
moment. As for music, I've got a couple ideas for songs after Emerald Euphoria
is done, but I am not devoting any time or energy into them for obvious
reasons. However, I am pretty sure that when the time is right one day,
and I come in seeking to create more new material, I'll have at least two demos to get going on.
Before you ask why the hell I'm talking about post-album songs and not
the album itself, you may have missed my previous update in which I
mentioned I can't do jack shit on the album right now.
Regardless, my head space has been elsewhere, so it actually hasn't been bothering me too much over the past few. That being said, I'm hoping to make 2016 a big year in more ways than one.
Moving over to the red side of things, I've continued working on Shyster's D2 and I'm getting ready to release the big update with Mirror Forest as well as a host of new additions and changes. There will be new items, a new zone as I mentioned in my previous update, new class improvements (and new skills!) and a ton of other things too. And no, the list of good shit doesn't stop there just because I didn't write any more of it (wait, there's more). I'm just really exhausted (mentally) and can't even remember right now. As always you can check out the google docs on the mods page if you'd like to read more about what I've been up to.
I'd like for the Mirror Forest update (1.3)
it to be the last major patch, but I'm such an iterative artist...it's
hard to say. I imagine they will start to get smaller though, because
I've honestly gotten to do a lot of what I wanted to do, and that makes
As I said, if all goes well there will be some serious shit happening around the cave eventually, so you'll have to keep watching this spot for updates.
P.S. I haven't changed the music player in a while, and I'm aware of that. I'll get to it one of these days soon™
I've got some good news, and I've got some bad news. But this post will be comprised of me bitching a lot, because this is my website and I can write whatever I want.
Have I ever mentioned, this website designer is FUCKING GARBAGE? Because it's FUCKING GARBAGE.
Here's just one of the many reasons why!
Every time you press backspace while writing a news entry (or delete), it skips up to the top of the page, or even somewhere down the page randomly. Every time this happens, you have to click off, back in and undo the random letters in another area of the page before you can resume typing. That's assuming the undo hotkey even fucking works, because half the time it doesn't. As many typos as I make, this shit happens all the god damn time and I've taken to writing the news posts in fucking NOTEPAD and pasting them over when I'm finished. Do they seriously expect users to even CONSIDER paying for this piece of shit? I mean clearly they do, because every time I save the damn website it tells me "today is a sale day!" How can every fucking day be a sale day if there's actually a bargain to be had? Let me answer that question for you, and also for them:
THERE ISN'T ONE.
This webhost used to be good ten years ago, I know that because I USED IT TEN YEARS AGO. WEBS, GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER.
Onto more important things. I cannot continue recording on Emerald Euphoria right now, even though there are three tracks at the moment which need guitars (Tracks 4, 6 and 8 if you're curious). My guitars are so screwed up to where I can't use either one of them, they both have issues when recording that the other lacks, so they both fuck you over one way or the other. I don't really have a solution for this, since I'm shit at hardware. I don't have a plot twist in the bag to fix things, and my efforts to remedy the situation in the past have done nothing but backfire on me. I'm probably going to be doing more writing as a result - I've wasted hours this past week trying to record guitars, and NONE of the tracks I laid down were free of hardware artifacts and glitching bullshit. As I said, I love the musical creativity, and the mad-scientist-in-the-lab part of that. But I absolutely abhor dealing with hardware related issues.
The only good news I have to report at the moment is that I managed to get all of Mirror Forest working for my D2 mod, and it's actually completely awesome.
October 23, 2015 - The Sound of Silence
I'm also stopping in to make a couple quick updates on my projects. As for Emerald Euphoria, everything's going pretty well. Recently I've gotten the first new work done on Track 6 in over a YEAR (the idea itself has been around even longer than that!) and the song is at last fully written. Very exciting stuff, everything's sounding great. I'm glad I waited a year and a half to get this damn thing finished because I'm confident if I could examine the other quantum realities I wouldn't be as pleased with the results as the ones I have achieved in ours. There are few things better than a just reward for one's patience.
In the land of Diablo II, I've created a new armor/weapon dye system to let you change the color of any item that appears on your character! This marks the first time you'll ever be able to actually customize the look of your runeworded items, which as well ALL know look quite dull in comparison to tinted unique/set items - no longer! Also, I'm still working on the Mirror Forest, the new zone (can't remember if I mentioned it on here yet or not) and it's moving along very slowly. Map editing is a bitch. I'm hoping to have it done here in a few days cause I've got a couple very nice people helping me iron out each and every one of like a MILLION god damn bugs. If all goes well, there will be awesome stuff to show off on this front soon.
That's all for now, stay tuned for more!
October 17, 2015 - Track 4
Actually, I have been having mental battles with myself about Track 4 for months. I am SO glad, after today that I decided to wait patiently, and see how I'd feel when the right time came, because holy hell did it happen after all. It's going to be killer, just like all the others. You all are in for a treat whenever I push this album out the door.
As a reminder, I've stated previously that isn't going to happen this year. This is largely a result of my choice to work off inspiration alone instead of making a "chore" out of writing. That's due to the fact that formulaic nonsense is inappropriate for what I'm working on here. It needs to be the best of the best, and that's what it's going to be. Every single one of these tracks - instrumental and vocal-accompanied alike - will stand the test of time.
By the way, I've been working on Shyster's D2 a bunch, trying to add a new zone! It's easier than you'd think in some ways, but much harder in others. It's based off one of the locations I wanted to create in Firemind but never had the time to make a full game by myself. It's called Mirror Forest and it is going to feature some VERY tough adversaries and equally badass loot.
October 4, 2015 - Green Album Updates!!
10/5/2015 Update: The premise I came up with for that "song #11" wasn't producing the best of feelings, even if it did end up becoming a solid song. I won't delete it from existence and it may show up on my channel some day, but it will not be part of this album.
Ok, so I've busted my ass the last two days and plowed through about 70-80 percent of the work on Emerald Euphoria that I needed to do, which has piled up over about two months. It went faster than expected, and not only did I get a massive amount of good stuff done, I've taken the sound for this album to an even higher level. I TOLD your asses I was back!!!
A little background to illustrate the meaning of "next level" -
When I started creating demos I was excited about the sound then, but even that was pretty funny compared to what would come next. Following the demos I'd been working toward a much more polished setup that mirrored my original intent three years ago, back when I planned this record as my ultimate release. However, this recent nearly two-month break from music brought a lot of time to simply sit and listen. This has given me a lot of insight on how to improve nearly everything I've been doing.
What followed from this over the last few days is not nearly enough food or sleep, as well as an unbelievable revision to the sound quality for Emerald Euphoria. As I've said many times before, I am self-taught at nearly everything I do and the last two days became the difference in light by candle vs. electricity. I'm confident when everything's finally done, you'll be as satisfied as I am.
So for a little more on the specifics of exactly what I've been doing: I've spent two days grinding against my massive iPhone list of improvements/fixes to make, and what I've done so far involves the current five ßeta songs. While the rest of the songs aren't yet approaching ßeta status, I can tell you that one of them (track 8) is about halfway written - and while still needing a lot of polish is sounding very good. Track 5 will be my next project after that, because its premise and atmosphere are so damn good that I just won't be able to stay away from it any longer than that.
As always, I will keep you informed on the progress. -§hy
October 3, 2015 - Mod Updates
Yesterday I uploaded the new v1.01 version of Shyster's HoMM3 which further adjusts creature balance for several towns. Although there's some hardcoded things I regrettably cannot improve in the game, I'm pretty happy with this mod. It's also probably taken a lot less work than the others, due to the fact it's mostly a numbers game.
One more thing is that it's been several months since I updated Shyster's D2.
V1.2 brings a whole host of new changes, improvements and features! I've worked tirelessly on it for about a month. Below are some of the more major additions in v1.2:
-New item affixes
-Inventory color correction for many items
-A redesigned Druid Elemental tree
-New Paladin/Druid/Necromancer/Sorceress skills
-Better class balance, reworked skills
-Better Martial Arts tree for Assassin
-Powerful new unique/set items
-Unique monster improvements
-New Horadric Cube recipes
-New crafting materials
-Improved rune effects
-Better Act I and III hirelings
September 24, 2015 - The Girl With A Silver Rifle
One of my projects has been in the making for over a year now. It's taken me a long time, but it's about time I gave some big news about it. There are no more delays to speak of!
Today I announce that The Girl With A Silver Rifle - one of my most chiseled and focused epic tracks ever - is now live on youtube!
September 22, 2015 - Return to Form
As you can see it's been a while since I've written anything here! I haven't been able to be as productive for the past month and some change, but I'm back at it again. If I didn't know better I'd say I'm bipolar, but the combination of like four other disorders can make just about anything seem plausible after a certain point. I've had a hard time dealing with some stuff the past week and it's been all I could do to keep going, but I think I'm fine now.
Anyway, for about a month I was only able to make notes for what it was I wanted to do as soon as I got my laptop back. That list piled up really quick, and I spent about three solid days doing nothing but implementing new improvements/features to my Shyster's D2 mod. Tons of new shit has been done on it, and it's become a much more ambitious project than I had ever planned - too much to list here, go read the google docs to see all of what I've done. As a result of all this new development, there hasn't been any reason to update the website's downloadable version until I'm done with this massive overhaul. I'm nearing the end point of all that, and I also took some time to just sit down and play it too. Also, I redesigned the google docs to make them easier to navigate, and now there is a "development" section where you can look through the notes I make to myself as I work on the project. The changes you see in the doc files are official, but the download link on this website isn't there yet. I'd expect maybe a week or two tops on that.
Also real quick I want to I've finally added a download link for the Heroes 3 mod! I was recently forced to play without it and really missed all of my own changes (LOL) so I don't want that to happen again. I haven't needed to add anything to it, so I figured I'd get it out there for others to play with if they want. Everything seems like it's in a good spot and I'm happy with where the mod is. Anyway, v1.00 is now live!
There's been a distinct lack of green text around here lately, and the plan is that will change soon. I have a mountain of work to catch up on in the music world, and that includes releasing a certain single that I promised some time ago. It's coming, don't worry. It's in my hands now so that means it'll actually happen (a lot of other artists don't work that way you see).
I have so much shit to do on Emerald Euphoria right now, there's not much to discuss yet. I've had lots of time to listen and make notes to myself though - so much so that the list I've got going is really solid. Once this stuff gets implemented it'll be great. The long break was helpful in a way because there are times where I'll make a note to myself about a certain song, and the next day (or week) I'll come in, erase it and go, "What the hell was I talking about?" I have a difficult time discerning things sometimes when I do listening tests because of my ear problems, and so in a way it's helped immensely to have a long break. It's probably the longest break yet, and I'm not sure I like being far away from something that should actively be worked on, so the engine's going to start up again.
More to come soon, Shyster is BACK.
August 17, 2015 - More Mods
I've submitted my fourth Trove design for review and have gotten overwhelmingly positive response from the community. The mods haven't come in yet so I'm hoping they'll agree with everyone else. It's a Borg mask which combines elements from three different costumes - Locutus, Hugh and one of my favorite drones. Considering the fact I finished in about two hours I'd say it's in good shape.
Music has a lot of things in the pipeline but I'm not ready to talk about any of it yet because I have a lot more work to do. Sorry bitches, next time.
I've been working on my D2 mod a ton and learned some new things. I've gotten a ton done on it too. I'm working on taking my old "pen and paper RPG" style system from 2 years ago and putting it into the actual game as an internal system! I never imagined I'd be able to do that. You'll be able to add new powers to your items - powers which stack and will help to create a wardrobe of "legacy gear" that will rise in power just as your character does. I'm going to be doing a second pass for Sorceress and Assassin at some point, too. Overall, lots of amazing stuff being done on that front and it's pretty exciting.
Same Shy Time, same Shy Channel!
August 2, 2015 - Mods!
After spending hours rewriting and reorganizing several of my google docs, I've converted the old "Shyster's D2" page into a general page for all of my mods, called Shyster's Mods!
At present moment of writing I have three mods - Diablo II, Age of Empires II and Heroes of Might and Magic III.
I don't have download links for Shyster's AoC or HoMM3 yet, but I'll get to that soon enough. Although not all download links are posted yet, I have already posted links to the changelogs associated with each mod! These contain most or all information you should ever need to know about the mods. I'll be surprised if anyone else is interested in the first place, but they'll be there if anyone wants to try them.
July 29, 2015 - 5/11
So why isn't this song on youtube yet? Well, I'll tell you - it wasn't ready.
It was not until today that I ironed out the last of the kinks in this track - nearly all of them technical related. It really has actually taken me this long in order to get it completely right, and I'm here to inform you all aforementioned bullshit is fixed! This song is fucking DONE.
Now I won't be releasing it yet - and here's why. Some of you may have read about my desire to get a unique cover for this song in previous updates; I'm currently waiting on a good friend of mine to get a nice frame for the beautiful artwork she has drawn at my request for this project. I knew I would need a real artist to create something special for this song, to bring this character "Ellen" to life. She did that and more. I hope the final product will do both our efforts a great justice -- and also properly symbolize an awesome dream. I'm proud and excited, to say the least. I plan to animate the video too. It'll be simple but thematic and I have some pretty cool ideas.
Started work yesterday on another UN-started track! Gave it a name too. It's gonna showcase a little more of the synthesizer/industrial side! I'm trying to make sure there's enough of that spread out through the album, that's very important to me. I've been collecting a bunch of notes to lead up to another round of bug fixes here coming soon, shits sounding good!
July 5, 2015 - Important Update on Emerald Euphoria
So I've thrown around the idea several times that Album IV will be out by Christmas this year. I'm here to tell you that will probably not happen. It'll be done when it's done and I will take as much time as I need.
Don't worry, nothing bad has happened. I've just realized that hey, I've been iterating on the two songs I'm currently working on for a really long time. As well, the host of improvements I've made these past few weeks to the four "ßeta" songs has made me realize this polishing period is going to happen each time a song gets to the ßeta stage. I've learned to work within limits a lot better this time around, and have patience with myself and the project at hand. It's a matter of when, not if -- it's just going to take longer than before.
I'm actually struggling to mold those two songs at the moment - and that is slowing the writing process too. However, I've made some significant progress and have finally starting getting some shit nailed down properly. I'm having to tear down some of the old frame and replace it with something more simplistic, but the benefit will be massive when it's done. The four ßeta songs are proof of that so I'm not running around blindly.
"Blah blah, why is it taking so long?"
1. It won't have fucked up EQ levels like my last 3 albums did
2. It won't sound like it was made in a week (even if it took me a year)
3. It will sound fucking awesome
That's all you really need to know. Be patient. I'm working on a few other nice things too, sorry I keep teasing it but I really can't share anything until it's ready. So just stick around for updates!
June 21, 2015 - Website Updates
Working on the album, cool stuff happening/coming up. Hoping for some good non-music related details soon™ too. Stay tuned for less vague information
June 15, 2015 - FF7 REMAKE AND BATTLEFRONT
Oh my god. I tuned into an incredibly shitty E3 stream today, and after giving up navigating it and resorting to youtube, I found out something incredible. IT IS ACTUALLY HAPPENING. A game that has been teased for like ten god damn years -
Final Fantasy VII (1997) is being remade in HD!!!
I'd like if they make a PC port because I'm not much of a console person myself these days, but I should mention the other title coming to PS4 - the new Star Wars Battlefront. I'm not sure if or when I'll ever be able to get my hands on either of these two titles, but they're both looking quite spectacular. There is much to look forward to right now for even an old school gamer such as myself.
THEY'D BETTER NOT FUCK UP THE DIALOG, LOCALES AND SPELLS IN THE FF7 REMAKE.
June 9, 2015 - Emerald Update (Details!)
I started working on two of songs recently! One of them is actually already at what I call the "ßeta" stage. ßeta is what I write after the file name if the song's arrangement and writing/recording has been complete, but there remains bug fixing in some capacity left to do. Currently there are 4 songs with a ßeta tag.
I've been confused about a couple songs for a while, and I think I wrote a little about this a few weeks ago too, but there is good news on that front! I've had ideas that could have gone to either of two songs, and now I've taken one of the tracks in a direction that will permanently separate these ideas, so there's no more indecisiveness! The LAST song is still in a bit of disarray - I don't even have a title yet - but that's mainly because I didn't plan on it existing until I woke up one morning and found out it would. I tell you, I come up with amazing shit right after I wake up. I've gotten amazing ideas for lyrics, songs, riffs, games/mods, all sorts of things laying in bed. It's as if you've got a 5 second window of brilliance and the first thing you think of automatically becomes awesome. It's like if Charsi were to imbue my brain, then I'd have a rare brain. Yeah, we'll pretend I never said that.
One more thing...those of you who have seen all the stuff I've done along the way might have seen an early (shitty) version of the Emerald Euphoria artwork. I'm here to inform you that it's massively improved, I've had two years to iterate on it. That's so strange, but I'm really glad because the early versions were really bad compared to what I've got now. That's what happens when you're self taught at practically everything.
That's all I've got for now - that is until I find another Lucky Jewel or Frying Pan in the mines.
June 2, 2015 - Fortune, Anxiety and Modding
How DARE this autocorrect feature claim Saiyan to be a typographical error.
I'm feeling better now because I came up with a fun side project to mess around with. It's a small data edit of Age of Empires II, a game which I believe needs no introduction. At the moment I'm working on making some fun new unique "crown techs" for some of my favorite civilizations such as Saracens, Maya (not 'Mayans') and Teutons. It isn't really intended to be super balanced, but like with my D2 Mod it is supposed to be for fun. If I had more page space on this terrible website I'd make a page for it, but alas.
I may decide to write more about what I'm doing on this project later, as I am breaking from music at the moment. We shall see~
May 29, 2015 - Contact Update (finally!)
Also, I changed the track that plays on the Ambience Player again for those who care. I have a lot of great tracks to put in there. Gah, why do I have to have so much good music? First world problems brah.
Anyway, working hard on the album, see you soon.
May 25, 2015 - Distractions
P.S. How do people still write unique guitar solos in 2015?
Work on Emerald Euphoria has been slow, but the good news is I have made some good progress on a song I was about to can completely! That's always a nice boost, and it has renewed my faith in its ability to be good. As of this moment there's going to be more songs with vocals than instrumentals. I don't think I've mentioned that on here yet, I'm personally excited about that. If you've followed along over the last few years, you'll know I've written a shit load of instrumentals. I haven't done much with singing in the grand scheme of things, so I'm going to flip flop for this album, which I realize is actually the norm for most artists.
Don't worry! I plan to hit the chair again soon - to finish work on tracks 3 and 7 (ooh). That'll happen once my guitars' repairs are complete. I'm trying to cobble together as many fund$ as I can in the mean time for my overarching agenda, but other than that there's not too much noteworthy to report.
I would give more insight into the work on the album, but there's actually still quite a bit to do in the brainstorming stage! Something I do often is I'll begin working on new ideas once the songs I'm working on are getting close to being done. That way I don't go into a new track totally blind. And yes, I do have demos for most of these songs. I said most because there is actually one for which I do not - potentially another add to the tracklist.
I'll leave you with a few more details if you're interested - the demo-less song spawned from another track that was already planned. While I encourage you to remember this is the development stage - and that anything could change, this could be indicative of more material than I had originally intended. As long as it is as good as the rest it will be there!