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I had a stray thought about wanting to see Patch as some kind of digital faerie creature and so I decided to put that to paper. Came out decently - this is probably an alternate Patch from some other world, but which one?

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Sketchy designs for Lucrecia, another of Zaph's friends. She's also 14 but considers herself an expert hacker. She's not as cool as she thinks she is, but she's genuinely smart and loves the whole cyberpunk scene enough to devote herself to it. On XenoNet she calls herself "Lambda", matching the pin stuck into her wool plus providing a bonus sheep pun (the Ω was from before I decided λ fit her better). She doesn't just carry around a keyboard for style; she needs it for use with her hooves.

All of Elseways' junior high and high schools have a secondary focus. If a student is interested enough in a topic they can commute there from anywhere in the city, but if they just want a general education they can attend whichever is most convenient (usually the closest to where they live). Polywood Junior High is near Elseways' own studios and museum district, which makes it a natural place to put a performing arts school.

Tori evolved over the course of a few days as I decided Zaph needed school friends (another one, Lucrecia, I'll scan later). The ideas came to me as if Zaph himself were telling me about her; first she was just "my friend Tori from school", and then "Tori has six legs", and when I decided to focus on her I learned she was mostly dragony. Zaph is a great outlet for ideas like this; he's a lens I can use to look back at my own childhood and find things to pull forward.

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Tori is one of Zaph's friends from school. She's a year older than him and in the Polywood Performing Arts Academy; she wants to be a film director when she's older. Tori's family lives in Wondervale, a neighborhood of Elseways that needs a special permit to enter, so nobody really knows what her home life is like, but she seems wealthy; she loves to spring surprise gifts on her friends and likes to throw elaborate parties in spaces more upscale than a typical 15-year-old would belong in.

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Zaph and his mom go out shopping. They've just bought a new computer, which Zaph is understandably excited about.

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Still stuck on drawing the six-armed jay kid. Zaph turned 14 not long ago, and his favorite part of his birthday was getting to be the first to get a slice of the blackberry pie his mom made. She may be a single mother, but Ellie still takes care of her kid with as much care as she can.

More about Zaph while he's on my mind:
• 14 years old, attends Polywood Junior High (home of the Lasers)
• Tall and skinny for his age; on the track team
• Hates being underwater and refuses to learn to swim
• Writes fan-fiction and posts it anonymously to XenoNet
• Loves to read
• Oddly responsible around the house; likes keeping places tidy
• Has a circle of friends he tends to stay out late with, wandering around neighborhoods looking for weird and interesting places to go

cw: spoilers for Zaph's ancestry 

As the son of an innately-magical shapeshifter and a former now-retired video game character, it stands to reason Zaph would come out weird. If there is anything more to him than the arms, it hasn't manifested yet, but I don't think we can rule it out.

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cw: spoilers for Zaph's ancestry 

It's a little silly hiding something under a spoiler tag so a character can't read something, but I really don't want Zaph to know this secret. Things do happen in Elseways "behind the scenes" somehow, even when I'm not explicitly setting them up.

Zaph is Zanahn's son. The same one who's the head of the Cosmos Corps (under the alias Commander Dean). Zanahn and Ellie were briefly a couple, long enough to lay Zaph's egg, but they broke up before their son hatched.

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I felt like Zaph deserved a color sketch, so here's that. His color scheme is much simpler than an actual blue jay's would be, and that's on purpose. Neither of his parents were ordinary anthros either, and Zaph's got a strange mixed heritage as a result. It doesn't give him anything but the extra arms, though.

Correction: Zaph, not Zeph. It's a shortened form of "zafiro", Spanish for "sapphire", and then spelled with a PH because his mom thought it looked better that way. His legal first name is just "Zaph".

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Additional sketches of Zeph. He's got a shirt and shorts now, although the shirt had to have slits cut below the sleeves. Also a few expressions, since they're always fun to draw.

:xenonet:
Planning out loud for animation:
• An animation sequence defines keyframes for each limb
• The engine keeps track of the last and next keyframes and interpolates between them
• Every frame we check if a new keyframe has been hit in the previous interval and update accordingly
• Animations should "ripple" into unspecified parts (e.g. extra limbs)
• Need some kind of great-circle-aware angle interpolation function
• Partial animations - e.g. upper-body-only - useful for combinations

:xenonet:
Side note - it might be a while before I have tangible progress here again; right now all the easy parts are done and now I'm into things I've never written before (like this animation engine). The results will be worth it, though, once this all comes together, and then the real fun begins — movement, physics, and then actual levels to move around in.

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Zaph Bluenote is the son of Ellie Bluenote, a former platformer hero who since retired. No one is quite sure where the extra arms came from; he was just born that way, but as far as he knows both of his parents were ordinary avian folk. Zaph himself enjoys being the shape he is, but it bothers him that nobody will tell him why or how it happened.

:xenonet:
This still doesn't animate, but all the rewrites for how this needs to work have been done. Plus I found a nice way to add a black pixel outline around a character, which is going to add some nice extra definition in front of busy backgrounds (like this one).

:xenonet:
Current progress: separated "this is how a character's body is structured" from "this is how this specific character looks" and from "this is what pose that character is in", and it all compiles and runs now, but the character sprite is missing. Still going on this.

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Spent most of the day relaxing so I didn't get to this until late, but here's some random Tximisti dude floating in midair. I did spend some time today on Project Xenia and I hope to use the long weekend to finally get that basic animation engine going, but there's nothing there to show off yet.

The phrase "earning plaudits" already exists. Why not turn them into something you can literally earn and spend? "My latest work earned ¶10, so I spent two at lunch because I just liked the sandwich that much."

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