Entry #106

What I've been up to

2013-09-17 18:03:11 by Step

I've noticed that shamefully, a lot of my recent newsposts are me advertising my music, a friend's project, any other project I'm interested in or a milestone of amount of fans I've reached. This is actually kind of lame so I thought I'd use this space for what it was actually intended for. So here's what's been happening in the riveting, exciting life of Step x_x.

On the subject of school, I finished my sixth form finals a few months ago, and now I'm off to university, since I received my letter of acceptance a few days ago. I was pleased to find out that I got an A in both my majors (Computing and Pure Mathematics), an A in two of my subjects at intermediate level (English and Physics) and a B in the other two intermediate subjects (Systems of Knowledge and Philosophy).

I'm kind of bummed I didn't get an A in each subject, especially Philosophy since I did everything by the book for that exam, but hey, they're both intermediate subjects, and I never really liked Systems of Knowledge anyway (it's a compulsory "general knowledge" subject taught here in Malta, which encapsulates knowledge from various areas of study, such as environmental values, democracy, aesthetics, etc). So yeah, good grades thankfully!

I'm taking programming (more specifically Artificial Intelligence) as a course in university. We only have one university here, aptly named the University of Malta, and that was the closest course there is to game development, which is what I want as my career, so I didn't have much choice! Friends and family are all telling me to take up music, but honestly, I don't think I can. I'm unfortunately half-deaf, and my hearing is getting worse (at least it was last I went for a check-up, but I haven't gone for a while). I love music, but I like programming (and anything related to problem-solving) equally if not more, and a programming career is more financially-stable, so it seems like a no-brainer.

Speaking of music, I'm still making it, even if it's not at a pace I would like it to be! I landed 3rd place in the NGMT contest, which works on a system of public voting. There are three "rounds", and each round has its own theme and challenge. I took part in one with some help from my good friend Echo and we managed to get first place in the round and third place overall (despite only taking part in one round), which I'm quite happy with. I also placed in the NATA music contest, and got my track used in a whopping eight NATA animations, which is also awesome.

Speaking of that, my music was used in an incredible animation by NeroGeist, which I am still really happy about. It got me a fair amount of exposure and when he works on a new episode I might be the one scoring it too, something I'm incredibly excited about. I'm also taking part in Harmony of Heroes, a huge Super Smash Bros remix album. Apart from the songs I'm working on for that album, I also plan on doing an arrangement of this awesome song, with Echo, Shanath, and Video Games Live singer Laura Intravia. It's been in the works for a while now and other than the incredible vocals I've received from Laura and a fantastic MIDI file of the arrangement by Shanath, nothing much has been done yet, but rest assured it will be done!

Still in the music department, Echo and I are still hosting the NGADM 2013 this year, along with five other judges (but you're a few months too late to join). I highly suggest checking out this newspost for a list of all the NGADM tracks this year. The level of quality is outstanding.

Regarding gaming... Anyone who knows me knows I'm an avid gamer. I don't game as much as I'd like to due to having so much stuff to do at every given moment of my life, but one cool thing to mention is that I've recently finished Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs. Loved the game - not as scary or as puzzling as the first, but I think it was a worthy successor. I've also bought a Wii U and I'm currently hooked on Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate.

May I add that I'm a huge Monster Hunter fan. I've invested a collective 1500+ hours into that game and Monster Hunter Tri on the Wii, along with 1000+ forum posts in a Monster Hunter forum, and I've written an eight-minute medley of the music from the game. It's an excellent franchise. What I like the most about it is that unlike so many other recent games, it doesn't hold your hand at all. It's a very hard game that takes a while to get used to and has a lot of deep gameplay mechanics and customisation. On top of that, it's an absolute blast to play online with friends, and through that game I've met what I consider to be some of my closest friends!

Apart from that, I bought the Humble Bundle, and played through the Dead Space series (absolutely excellent series, although slowly loses its horror elements with every sequel), Mirror's Edge (also a great game, if a bit short), and I'm currently playing Battlefield 3 online. BF3 is not as bad as I expected it to be. It's not my kind of game, but for what it's worth, it's a pretty fun game, and the destructible landscapes are undeniably badass. I'm somewhat considering getting a PS4 in the distant future when the price is actually reasonable, because there are some PS3 exclusives that I really want to play, such as Metal Gear Solid 4, Journey, Heavy Rain and The Last of Us. This is all, of course, assuming that they make those PS3 games available in the PSN store.

Lastly, currently hooked on The Walking Dead and Avatar: The Legend of Korra. Considering season 4 is coming out soon for the former and season 2 just came out for the latter, I've got a lot to look forward to.

Aaand that's about it! Yes it's long, but as a lot of you who have seen my Newgrounds reviews are aware, writing in length is how I roll :3.


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2013-09-17 18:42:34

Didn't know about your hearing problems. It'd be a shame if you'd have to give up music, because you're very good at it and you give other musicians great advice. Perhaps humanity will find a cure for what you have. If not, an A in all those subjects is really good. I think you will find another field you'll be just as good at so you'll be alright however things will turn out. Keep on doing music as long as you can. Good luck with everything.

Step responds:

Thanks for the support ^_^. I'd do anything to get rid of my hearing problems, but I had them since birth due to a culmination of various ear infections. My ear specialist said my hearing was getting worse and strongly advised me to stop using headphones/earbuds, because while they might not have been the cause of my hearing loss, he had no way to find out what the cause is and that was the most likely reason. I used to use them a lot, but now I avoid them like the plague!


2013-09-17 19:07:36

Didn't know you lived in Malta. I went there on a family holiday and I remember we ate some nice sandwiches.
Good luck with university!

Step responds:

Yeah Malta is great for holidays and stuff. Thanks for the luck, I'll need it because I'm nervous as hell about it!


2013-09-17 19:10:41

Keep it up, Step!
I think the first thing I heard from you was 'The Festival' and I've admired all your other works since. I've just this moment favourited you (somehow slipped my mind earlier, haha.)
Congratulations on your grades. You sound like a very intelligent person. You could easily go into professional reviewing/writing in the future as well as music, judging by the sheer amount of detail and description you give in your reviews, which I've observed on numerous occasions.
Also, about Monster Hunter - I simply must pick up that game soon. Everyone who has played it seems to recommend it to me. It sounds kinda like 'Shadow of the Colossus', the most unique (and also the most emotional) title I've ever played.
I hope you do great at university. I am also starting uni. It is next week and the excitement is killing me. :D
- Potent

Step responds:

Hey, thanks :3. I actually aspired to take writing when I was really young. I used to write poems and short stories as a kid, and enjoy writing school essays. When I went to secondary school, I started writing full books with a friend of mine.

We decided randomly that it would be cool to have a "theme song" for one of those books, and couple that with my (back then, recent) discovery of the Audio Portal, where I realised that anyone can make music with a DAW (not just professional musicians or people in high school bands), and we decided to take on music. So ironically my craze for writing led to the craze for music-making.

I still love writing, but I've gotten worse at the descriptive side of writing things, or at least not seen any improvement in it. Reason being, I'm not writing books and stuff anymore, and I don't read as much as I used to. However, my writing skills have improved in the argumentative/informative aspect due to all the forum posts and reviews I still write, so whereas before I'd always choose a descriptive/narrative essay as homework at school, now I'd choose an argumentative one any day.

Anyway, I digress! Monster Hunter is amazing, but not for everyone. I have friends who have tried it and simply can't get into it. The single player can get pretty repetitive, the single player storyline is kinda awful (but the script is pretty good) and there's a bit of grinding involved in the game. Still, that aside it's lots of fun, and has one of the best and most rewarding combat systems I've ever seen.

Ahhh I talk too much. Good luck with uni yourself; I'm also nervous about it. I start on the 30th.


2013-09-17 20:38:40

Monster Hunter Tri? I have that, but have only done the online thing once.

Step responds:

That's a shame! Monster Hunter Tri's servers have closed down now, with the introduction of Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate on the Wii U (which is basically the same game except with a sizeable bunch of new content added to it). It's a great game, but most of its fun lies in the multiplayer.


2013-09-18 01:09:00

Oh man, I poured around 150 hours into MH3U and stopped playing because fuck life. I need to get round to play a bit once more.

(Updated ) Step responds:

Yeah I go through phases where I don't touch the game, and then get back into it. It's addicting, but demands a lot of time x_x. Still, I'm definitely not stopping anytime soon. MH3U was one of the main reasons I bought the Wii U. Hell, when I saw that the text in it was hard to read on my old TV, I literally went and bought a new HD 32" TV for the game. I'm insane.


2013-09-18 02:35:50

I used to play Monster Hunter till my PSP broke...

Step responds:

If you ever get a Wii U or you have one already, you should consider getting MH3U! I haven't played Monster Hunter Freedom Unite (assuming that's the one you've played) but I've heard it plays a lot like MHFU.


2013-09-18 08:57:50

I've seen friends playing Monster Hunter but have yet to play it. Plan to buy a copy if I ever get time. :) As for The Legend of Korra, not watched that yet either. Also good reviews as always. :D

Step responds:

Legend of Korra and Monster Hunter, two very awesome things! I recommend both :3.


2013-09-18 10:58:11

I didn't get a Wii U only for mh3u but for all nintendo exclusives to come. Zelda U, Super Smash, X.
I mean, Nintendo gave me countless hours of fun during my childhood and still does.

I have PC for the rest olol.

Step responds:

Yeah pretty much the same as me! If it wasn't for MH3U I probably wouldn't have bought the Wii U, but now I can play awesome Nintendo exclusives like Super Smash Bros U, Zelda U, Zelda Wind Waker HD, Mario Kart 8, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, Super Smash Bros U, etc.

Still want that PS4 though :(. I was brought up with the PlayStation rather than Nintendo consoles so throughout my childhood I played games like Rayman, Frogger, Crash Bandicoot, Spyro and Metal Gear Solid 1 (my dad bought it for himself when I was young but I played it more than he did. Being so young, I had no idea what was going on in the story; for me it was all a game of hide-and-seek haha).


2013-09-18 12:48:45

Wind Waker is a beautifully fantastic game. If you haven't played it already, then get the HD release and do it.

Step responds:

That's the plan :3.


2013-09-18 18:16:09

You should play League of Legends cos ...well, me. >:3

Congratulations on your results, that's amazing news. Don't be bummed because you didn't get all A's. That'd be hugely silly and make me look like I suck at life. We don't want that. Glad you're well~!

Step responds:

Yeah I should be thankful for the grades I got. It's just a bit frustrating to get a B and you don't know why, especially for Philosophy. I applied everything I learnt in that exam perfectly :(.

A guy from my class would bug me everyday to play League of Legends hahaha. I suppose its popularity HAS to be justified somehow, so it's something I can try out in the future.

Hope you're doing well yourself!


2013-09-19 04:47:33

And you start your post by advertising your other posts advertising other things. xD

Step responds:

Shame on me :3.


2013-09-19 10:22:04

What about me? Can I join NGADM even though it's mid match? I have cookies...

(Updated ) Step responds:

Are all of them the finest almond cookies?


2013-09-19 18:08:04

Damn, good going in school, dude! And good luck at university!
Artificial intel, eh? Definitely a step (no pun intended... or was it??) towards game dev! XD
And congrats on all the other success! (You've made quite the mark here on NG.) :D
(Also, did you get my MIDI file?)

Step responds:

Indeed I did! Added to my ever-growing to-do list :3.

And good to hear I've made a mark on this site! First Newgrounds, THEN THE WORLD. But yeah, I love this site and don't plan to stop contributing any time soon!


2013-09-20 03:12:07

You have certainly surpassed me when it comes to schooling. I have mental disabilities in regards to mathematics.

Step responds:

Hey, everyone's good at something and bad at something else. I used to be terrible at certain subjects back in secondary school. Accounting, for example, bored me out of my skull. It's not the teacher's fault; I just found the subject so damn boring. No matter how much I tried to drill it into my head, it wouldn't stick, and for the exam I ended up getting a D in Accounting. I hated that subject beyond imagination; so glad it's over x_x.