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The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Dave Played a Game

posted 28 January 2019 in Dave Played a Game, Lengthy Reads

2015, developed and published by CD Projekt

So I just dumped a hundred hours into The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, and it was pretty goddamn enjoyable. Now I'm going to dump far fewer than a hundred hours into sharing my thoughts on it, which will also be pretty goddamn enjoyable, just in a different way.

There are spoilers in this review, so don't read it if you don't want to read spoilers.

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State of the Union, 2019

I'm Alive, But I'm Not Really Doing Anything of Note

posted 25 January 2019 in Life, Site

Since we're probably not going to have an actual State of the Union address anytime soon because a decrepit, flabby old turtle is holding the government hostage for a decrepit, flabby old Big Mac wrapper, I figured I'd give my own. [Update, 25 January 2019: Well, this opener fucking aged poorly. Who knew that all I had to do was write that sentence to reopen the government?]

Actually, wait, I kind of did that already. Check the subtitle: "I'm alive, but I'm not really doing anything of note."

Well, it was a, uh...well...it was a 2018, I guess.

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I Am Setsuna

Dave Played a Game

posted 11 February 2017 in Dave Played a Game, Lengthy Reads

2016, developed by Tokyo RPG Factory, published by Square Enix, $40

If I had to pick a single word that encompasses the entire nature of I Am Setsuna, I would fail. But if I had to pick two words, I would pick "bleak" and "austere." Bleaksterity permeates every facet of this game, from its homogeneous setting to its sparse (almost-)all-piano soundtrack. An overt love-letter to the old-school JRPG (especially Chrono Trigger), I Am Setsuna is a solid first outing from developer Tokyo RPG Factory, but its failure to comprehend all of what made those old games great ensures that it will never join their ranks. Between wooden characters and a deluge of unnecessary "deep customization" features, I Am Setsuna is an experience that's ultimately less than the sum of its parts.

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Piano Notation, MuseScore, and You

#2: Creating Space

posted 02 February 2017 in MuseScore

A bit more MuseScore-specific than its predecessor, this installment will focus on some crucial techniques for creating space to give your notes some breathing room.

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Piano Notation, MuseScore, and You

#1: Cross-Staff Beaming

posted 15 January 2017 in MuseScore

When I write, I do it at the piano with a black Pilot G2 fine-point pen and manuscript paper. It's the easiest and fastest way to take notes out of my head and put them into some physical medium. When I'm finished with whatever I'm working on, I use MuseScore to make it pretty. I haven't used Finale or Sibelius since I was but a wee lad, so I have no idea of what kind of crazy-powerful features they're packing these days, but when it comes to creating solo piano scores, I have yet to find a thing MuseScore can't do, and my scores can get fairly complex, notationally.

MuseScore is free and open-source software, available for Windows, Mac OS, and Linux, so I expect that a lot of more casual music-notators (that's a word now) will reach for it over the more professional options on the market as well as the more daunting ones (e.g., LilyPond, whose output is amazing but whose learning curve is so precipitous that it's not worth bothering to use except for bizarre, avant-garde notational elements).

Especially when streaming, I come across a lot of horrid scores. Just as how a person may read a lot of books but have difficulty putting a valid sentence together, a pianist might play from a lot of sheet music but never think about how the notes are actually laid out on the page. I did some pretty idiotic stuff when I first started writing things down by hand. Like anything else, you get better at it the more you do it.

That said, I thought it'd be a nice idea to share some notational tricks I use a lot in my piano writing, as well as how to replicate those tricks in MuseScore. First up: cross-staff beaming.

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