Sep 30

New Game in the Works

Nova Regula

Over the last couple of weeks, I have dedicated some of my free time to working on a new card game, Nova Regula. Based on several classic card games, Nova Regula is designed to be easy to learn for even the most casual gamer.

Nova Regula utilizes a custom deck of 54 playing cards, 20 Event cards, and 30 Rules cards. Nova Regula follows the usual method of playing cards to the middle of the table, with one twist – the rules are always changing.

I have completed the game prototype and expect to begin playtesting soon. I plan to put the game up for sale in the next month or so, but in the meantime you can check out the product page at The Game Crafter.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.operationbrainleak.com/new-game-in-the-works/

Mar 16

Focusing on Art

Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve posted here. I think that’s because I’ve been trying to focus on my photography, so I haven’t spent much time thinking about other things. Since I posted last, I’ve learned a ton about digital photography and how to use my DSLR properly. I’ve also completed an online course on landscape photography and I’ve been working my way through another online course on night photography.

In my last post, which was actually a post from ArtisticImposter.com, I talked about how I had recently begun uploading my art and photography to DeviantArt and Fine Art America. Since then, I’ve also created an account with 500px. I’m finding that I get a lot more attention on 500px than on the other two sites, but 500px doesn’t offer a print-on-demand service like Fine Art America and DeviantArt do.

I’m also considering upgrading my online store. I’m currently using WooCommerce, which is essentially a plugin to my existing WordPress installation. I like it because it gives me a lot of flexibility over the design and I can modify the PHP to tweak it when I want to. Unfortunately, it lacks a few features that I want and I haven’t been able to find a WooCommerce plugin which adequately provides those features. My working knowledge of PHP is not extensive enough to create my own plugin to add those features, so I’m stuck.

One thing I’ve done recently to fix some of my store’s issues is I’ve redirected all of the product pages to their counterparts at Fine Art America or DeviantArt. This doesn’t really add the features I want, but it eliminates one step in the purchase process. The fewer steps in the process, the more likely customers are to buy things.

I’m looking into migrating the entire store to Shopify, but I’m not entirely sure it would give me the features I want either. I’m also having a hard time justifying the cost. The cost of creating a basic Shopify store is six times the amount I am paying for my web host, which is running five different websites. If I can make enough sales the cost would be worth it, but my current sales figures don’t support the numbers. Using Shopify would open up a few sales channels I’m not currently utilizing well, so there’s also a chance that it could increase my sales. Tough decisions.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.operationbrainleak.com/focusing-on-art/

Oct 22

DeviantArt and Fine Art America

A couple of months ago, I created a Deviant Art profile to begin showing off my artwork and photography, and hopefully to begin selling a little bit as well. Since then, I have added over 70 works of art and photographs to my profile, most of which can be purchased as either prints or art gifts.

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.operationbrainleak.com/deviantart-and-fine-art-america/

Oct 13

The Flash: “Paradox”

Last week, I wrote about the new alternate timeline of “Flashpoint,” the Season 3 premiere episode of CW’s The Flash. In Tuesday’s episode, “Paradox,” Barry finds out that much more has changed than he initially realized. Some of the major changes to the timeline include:

  • Iris has never forgiven Joe for telling her that her mom is dead.
  • Diggle no longer has a daughter. Instead he has a son, John Diggle, Jr. [Is this the same John Diggle, Jr., from”Star City 2046″ (Legends of Tomorrow)?]
  • Cisco’s brother Dante was killed in a car accident and Cisco is angry at Barry for not traveling back and saving him.
  • Cisco does not give nicknames to the metahumans they come in contact with, although it is unknown if this is a result of his brother’s death.
  • There is a new CSI, Julian Albert, sharing a lab with Barry at the police department, whom Barry does not get along with.
  • Caitlin Snow is beginning to exhibit Killer Frost’s powers.

Unsure of how to make things right, Barry decides to again travel back to the night of his mother’s death and fix things. Before he can make any changes, he is pulled from the timestream by Jay Garrick, who is the Flash in another dimension and Henry Allen’s doppleganger. Jay explains to Barry that the timeline is similar to a coffee cup. If he breaks it he can glue it back together, but he can’t get rid of the cracks. The more times it breaks, the more cracks there will be. Similarly, Barry can keep trying to fix the timeline, but the more he interferes, the more things will change. Barry realizes that the only choice he has is to leave things in the past alone and try to fix things in the current timeline by changing the present. He gathers the team and explains things to them, taking the first steps toward fixing their problems.

At least for the time being, it appears that the entire Arrowverse will exist in Alternate Timeline 7. As far as Barry was able to tell, the only major change outside of Team Flash and Central City is Diggle’s daughter is now a son. Last night’s Arrow episode seemed to agree as no major changes were apparent. I guess we’ll just have to keep watching and see if anything comes up.

On a side note, despite his death in Legends of Tomorrow, Leonard Snart AKA Captain Cold is scheduled to appear in several episodes across the entire Arrowverse. Perhaps Barry’s meddling with the timeline negated his death?

Permanent link to this article: http://www.operationbrainleak.com/the-flash-paradox/

Oct 05

“Flashpoint”

WARNING! THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR THE SEASON 3 PREMIERE OF CW’S THE FLASH! READ AT YOUR OWN RISK!

A couple of months ago, I wrote an article about the alternate timelines on CW’s The Flash. In last night’s episode, “Flashpoint,” we found Barry Allen in what I dubbed “Alternate Timeline 6,” where he had been living for the last three months since defeating Zoom and traveling back in time to defeat the Reverse-Flash. At first everything seems great, but eventually Barry realizes that things were better in the old timeline. He frees Reverse-Flash and they travel back to the night of Barry’s mother’s murder.

Reverse-Flash again kills Barry’s mother and returns Barry to the point he originally left to create Alternate Timeline 6, but he warns Barry that everything may not be the same. Barry enters his house to find Joe and Wally, but soon discovers that Joe and Iris no longer keep in contact.

Alternate Timeline 7

Thus we find ourselves in Alternate Timeline 7. It is unclear at this point what has changed from Alternate Timeline 5, and how it will affect the Arrowverse in general. Will tonight’s Arrow episode be part of this new timeline or will it exist in the old timeline, Alternate Timeline 5? The preview for next week’s The Flash episode includes Felicity, but is this the Felicity from the current season of Arrow or an alternate timeline Felicity? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.operationbrainleak.com/flashpoint/

May 31

Alternate Timelines on CW’s “The Flash”

WARNING! THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR THE SEASON 2 FINALE OF CW’S THE FLASH, ALONG WITH OTHER EPISODES IN THE ARROWVERSE! READ AT YOUR OWN RISK!

It’s now been a week since The Flash Season 2 finale aired, and it got me thinking about all the alternate timelines created on The Flash. Let’s take a quick look at all the timeline on The Flash and the impacts they have had on the larger Arrowverse:

Original Timeline

Original timeline, which we never actually see on the show. In this timeline, Barry Allen and Iris West are married. Barry Allen is given the powers of The Flash by the activation of the S.T.A.R. Labs particle accelerator in 2020.

Alternate Timeline 1

Eobard Thawne travels back in time from the mid-22nd century to the year 2024. With the help of Green Arrow, The Atom, and Hawkgirl, The Flash fights Reverse-Flash, and the two speedsters disappear in an explosion of light. Presumably this is an alternate timeline from the Original Timeline, and is also never seen on the show. Since the affected events of this timeline occur in the future, they have no discernible impact on our knowledge of the Arrowverse.

Known changes from the Original Timeline include:

  • The battle between The Flash and Reverse-Flash likely never occurred in the Original Timeline.
  • Presumably, The Flash never disappeared in the Original Timeline.

Alternate Timeline 2

Failing to defeat The Flash in 2024, Eobard Thawne travels back in time to the year 2000 to kill Barry Allen as a child. The Flash follows him, preventing Barry’s death, but Reverse-Flash kills Barry’s mom instead, creating Alternate Timeline 2. Upon attempting to return to his own time, Eobard discovers he has lost his connection to the Speed Force and is stranded in the 21st century. He kills Harrison Wells and his wife, and impersonates Dr. Wells, speeding up the creation of the particle accelerator explosion and creating The Flash earlier in the timeline.

Alternate Timeline 2 is the timeline seen in episodes 1.01 – 1.15 of The Flash. Known changes from Alternate Timeline 1 include:

  • Barry Allen is raised by Joe West when his father is framed for the murder of his mother.
  • Eobard Thawne murders Harrison Wells and takes his place in the timeline.
  • S.T.A.R. Labs builds the particle accelerator seven years earlier than in the previous timelines, creating multiple metahumans who would not otherwise have been created.
  • All of the events of The Flash, and probably the entire Arrowverse. At the very least, every interaction Barry Allen has with the Arrowverse.

Alternate Timeline 3

Mark Mardon creates a tidal wave to destroy Central City. While running really fast to stop the tidal wave, The Flash travels back in time one day. Knowing how events originally played out, Barry does things differently than before, creating alternate Timeline 3.

Alternate Timeline 3 is the timeline seen in episodes 1.16 – 1.23 of The Flash. Known changes from Alternate Timeline 2 include:

  • Mark Mardon is captured by The Flash before he can cause any real damage, including the tidal wave that threatens Central City.
  • Without the stress of Joe’s kidnapping, Iris never realizes her feelings for Barry or learns that he is The Flash.
  • Cisco never investigates Dr. Wells, doesn’t discover he is Eobard Thawne, and is not killed by Reverse-Flash.
  • All of the events of The Flash following episode 1.15 possibly never occurred in Alternate Timeline 2. It is unknown if events in the rest of the Arrowverse were affected.

Alternate Timeline 3a

During the final fight between The Flash and Reverse-Flash, Eddie Thawne kills himself, preventing Eobard Thawne from ever being born. Strangely enough, instead of creating Alternate Timeline 4, Eobard Thawne vanishes from the present, but his actions of the past remain. Barry’s mother was still murdered by Reverse-Flash and his father is still in jail. This creates a time paradox singularity, which creates multiple holes between Earth 1 and Earth 2.

Also, prior to the final fight between The Flash and Reverse-Flash, Barry travels back in time to the moment of his mother’s death, intending to stop Thawne from killing her. Ultimately, he decides to do nothing, and the timeline remains the same.

Alternate Timeline 3a is the timeline seen in episodes 1.16 – 2.08 of The Flash and episode 4.08 of Arrow. There appear to be no changes to the timeline, thus this series of events is not technically a new timeline.

Alternate Timeline 4

While attempting to stop immortal psychopath Vandal Savage, Arrow, Hawkgirl, and Hawkman are killed in a massive wave of destruction. The Flash attempts to outrun the wave, but instead travels back in time twenty-four hours. With his knowledge of the future, Barry enables the team to kill Vandal Savage, creating a new timeline.

Alternate Timeline 4 is the timeline seen in episode 4.08 and beyond of Arrow and episodes 2.08 – 2.17 of The Flash. Known changes from Alternate Timeline 3 include:

  • Oliver never runs a DNA test on William as Barry already knows the result. Consequently, Felicity never finds out that Oliver has a son.
  • Cisco helps Kendra discover her inner-Hawkgirl, enabling the team to develop a way to kill Savage.
  • Oliver brings the entire team to the final fight with Vandal Savage, providing a distraction which allows Arrow and The Flash to destroy Savage.
  • Oliver, Hawkgirl, Hawkman, and Barry survive the battle with Vandal Savage.

Alternate Timeline 5

Barry decides that the only way to stop Zoom is to go back in time and ask Dr. Wells, AKA Eobard Thawne/Reverse-Flash, how to increase his speed. After traveling back in time, he prevents Hartley Rathaway’s escape from S.T.A.R. Labs, creating an alternate timeline.

Alternate Timeline 5 is the timeline seen in episodes 2.18 – 2.23 of The Flash. Known changes from Alternate Timeline 4 include:

  • Team Flash learns that speedsters have the ability to travel through time earlier than they originally did.
  • Central City is plagued by a time wraith, which is looking for future Barry.
  • Team Flash of the past begins working with Hartley Rathaway to develop a way to defeat time wraiths, and Rathaway becomes a hero instead of a villain.
  • Most of the events from episodes 1.11 and 1.12 were negated. It is unknown if any other events of the Arrowverse were affected.

Alternate Timeline 6

After defeating Zoom, Barry tells Iris he needs some time before he will be ready to jump into a relationship with her. He travels back in time to the year 2000 and prevents Reverse-Flash from killing his mother. It is unknown how this will affect the overall timeline of the Arrowverse, but the disappearance of the 2015 time-traveling Flash suggests that Nora Allen’s survival may have entirely reset the timeline and prevented Barry from becoming The Flash. Because of Barry’s interactions with Vixen and Team Arrow, the entire Arrowverse is likely affected in unpredictable ways, probably resetting to either the Original Timeline or Alternate Timeline 1.

While talking about alternate timelines I have not yet mentioned Legends of Tomorrow. The actions of Rip Hunter and his team have undoubtedly created many an alternate timeline, but that is an article for another day.

In creating this list, I have also not taken into account alternate timelines from Time Remnants. It is unknown exactly how many time remnants Zoom created, so I decided it was easier to just not worry about them.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.operationbrainleak.com/alternate-timelines-on-cws-the-flash/

Mar 21

Free Treasure Tomb and Wolf In The Fold Computer Wallpaper

Last week, I decided to repurpose the game art from Treasure Tomb and Wolf In The Fold and turn the art into computer wallpaper.

The wallpaper is now available from my Online Store in three sizes each: 1600×1200 pixels, 1920×1080 pixels, and 2560×1440 pixels. While there are many other screen sizes I could have created, these three sizes can be effectively scaled for use on either a 16:9 or 4:3 computer monitor. Users with 4:3 monitors will want to download the 1600×1200 file, while 16:9 users should choose from either of the other two sizes.

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.operationbrainleak.com/free-treasure-tomb-and-wolf-in-the-fold-computer-wallpaper/

Feb 13

Florida Photoshop Training Workshops

A couple of weeks ago, LearnKey sent me to Jacksonville, Florida, to help a group of teachers become certified in Adobe Photoshop CS6. I also had the opportunity in October to visit the same school district to train a different set of teachers in Photoshop CC. I had a great time, and I wrote a couple of articles about my training experience on the LearnKey blog:

Certification Training in Florida

Last week, I took a trip to Jacksonville, Florida, with LearnKey Sales Champion Scott Walker to train a group of teachers from Duval County Public Schools. The purpose of the three-day workshop was to help each teacher earn their Adobe Certified Associate certification in Photoshop CC. Most of the teachers hold certifications in previous versions of Photoshop, but had not been able to pass the CC certification test. Florida law requires that teachers be certified in the software they teach, so having a certification in a previous version is no longer enough.

When you use a piece of software on a near-daily basis, you come to think of yourself as an expert. The problem with this mentality is you fail to take into account that you are probably using the same tools day after day, never utilizing other features the software has to offer. You tend to forget how to use those features, and sometimes you even forget they exist. Our purpose was to re-introduce those features and help the teachers become comfortable enough to take the ACA exam.

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Duval County Public Schools Photoshop CS6 Training

A couple of months ago, Scott Walker and I took a trip to Florida to help high school teachers in Duval County Public Schools to become ACA certified in Photoshop CC. Last week, we found ourselves back in Duval helping a group of forty-seven middle school teachers become ACA certified in Photoshop CS6. When we arrived at the school Tuesday morning, we were also asked to introduce them to the IC3 training. By the end of the week, all but seven teachers had passed the Photoshop ACA exam, with several also receiving their IC3 certifications.

Unlike the group we worked with in October, many of the teachers in our training last week had never used Photoshop before. In fact, most of them were not even CTE teachers! It was a new experience working with people who were unfamiliar with the software, and it gave me a greater appreciation for what these teachers must go through every year when they are given a new group of students.

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.operationbrainleak.com/florida-photoshop-training-workshops/

Sep 24

Coming Soon . . . Two Treasure Tomb Expansions

Treasure Tomb Shop Backdrop

Four months ago, I released Treasure Tomb, a game of strategic tile-laying, dice-rolling, and card collecting. The game includes components for up to 4 players, allowing a small group to enjoy the wonders of the tomb.

Beginning October 1, 2015, you will be able to expand your games of Treasure Tomb to include up to 8 players! Add the new 5-6 Player Expansion to the basic game to play with 6 players, or expand even further with the new 7-8 Player Expansion!

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.operationbrainleak.com/coming-soon-two-treasure-tomb-expansions/

Jun 01

“Treasure Tomb” – Evolution of a Game

Treasure Tomb Shop Backdrop

Treasure Tomb

Over the past couple of months, I have been working on a board game, Treasure Tomb. Several design and rule changes later, Treasure Tomb is ready for final publishing and went on sale today at The Game Crafter.

Treasure Tomb is a game of strategic tile-laying, dice-rolling, and card collecting. Players lay tiles to construct pathways through the mummy’s tomb, drawing treasure cards each time they pass a treasure token. When a player lands on a sarcophagus token, the mummy enters the tomb, blocking treasure card icons. Treasure cards are either event cards or gold, and the first person to collect 50 gold wins the game.

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.operationbrainleak.com/treasure-tomb-evolution-of-a-game/

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