22 July 2017

Pokemon GO Fest - Adventures in Misadventure

While this isn't the perfect window for this information, I think it's a medium that many can relate to, and really want this information out there. I do plan on getting some more papercrafts out relatively soon too - we haven't forgot, I promise haha. 
               For anyone following Pokemon GO at all, you’ll have heard about Pokemon GO Fest in Chicago by now- but not for the right reasons. Pokemon GO Fest was a disaster. Some may think I might be exaggerating, that there was some up side, that there was something redeemable – and there is, but we won’t get there just yet.
               The problems started with the line – there was one point of entry, both lines – early entry and regular – are several blocks long, and there was no end in sight for many looking to find the end of the lines. The beginning of the early entry line had signs that clearly indicated what it was, and these signs went on for the first block. That’s great and all, but there were 4 more blocks that people trudged to the end of to get in line, often getting in the wrong line. I saw several people get to the front of early entry, only to be told they had to go to the back of the other line, which hadn’t moved one bit. Early entry, which was marketed at being in early at 9am, only fulfilled on this promise if you were near the front. While I was in the early entry, I still didn’t get in until around 10:20am, 20 minutes after regular entry was supposed to get in, and 40 minutes before the first challenge was to begin. To make matters worse, getting in late was only the beginning.
               Login issues are rampant from the start – getting in early and being among the lucky few to be on the network early doesn’t help a bit. I get into the app, enter the QR code, and get an error saying it’s an invalid code. Alright, I’ll just restart my phone and try the app from scratch. Mistake. I attempt to open the app, and it sticks on the minimal amount of load bar it can, not loading in for at least another 2 hours. When it does load in, I’m barely able to verify that the QR code worked at all, and then the app crashes. I don’t get in for another 3 hours. If network connectivity wasn't a direct issue, Pokemon GO either isn't loading any assets even in the rare event it gets logged in, and doesn't stay open without crashing for more than 5 minutes at a time. 
               In that 3 hours, the announcers had their work cut out for them – John Hanke leads on stage pretty early on, before the entirety of the early access gets in, and certainly before everyone else gets in. People are already experiencing the same issues I noted before, well before he got on stage at all, and they were quite ready for his appearance – Hanke was met by a sound round of boos, having to pause quite a bit in large gaps of silence before welcoming everyone to a “day of fun”. Optimistic, certainly. Following this, we have a round of the stream hosts come on stream, welcoming us, asking us how we’re doing, and saying how the first challenge window will open in the next 5-10 minutes. Hanke’s optimism doesn’t surprise me, but the hosts’ complete lack of observance or understanding of the situation ASTOUNDS me. They completely try and gloss over the situation despite being met with a rousing round of “boo” and “I can’t play” by a large part of the crowd. They talk over the crowd, acting like nothing is wrong, charging ahead to the challenge round. Alright, sure, keep the schedule despite nearly everyone being unable to do anything.
From myrongainsmisc on Reddit
               The Challenge window comes and goes, seeing a very, very low turnout. Surprise. Team averages were 2.6ish per player, simply because those that were logged in could catch maybe 12-18 in the time, but everyone else couldn’t catch anything at all. Also to no surprise, Niantic was caught fudging numbers on screen during the event even– someone from reddit snagged a picture of the manual override panel showing on the screen at one point. Welcome to Whose Line is It Anyway, where everything’s made up and the points don’t matter, because we want to look good even though the event is obviously collapsing on itself. This goes on for most of the day – the hosts act like nothing is happening, and any crowd chanting is ignored and talked over in all but one situation. A Niantic rep by the name of Mike periodically came on every hour or so just to note that “they’re aware of the situation, and are working to resolve it from both sides – server stability and network access”. Mike’s role was extremely underplayed but extremely appreciated. I wish the stream hosts took a page from his book, the general disdain and exhaustion would have been eased quite a bit.
            About 4-5 hours in, Niantic actually takes long overdue action – they expand the “event range” to a 2 mile radius, they mention refunding everyone their wristbands, and they offer up $100 worth of coins to everyone in attendance. The 2 mile radius allows people to actually catch the Heracross and CHIAGO Unown letters outside of Grant Park in an area where they can actually get cell service, the monetary and coin related offers to attempt to quell the mutinous crowd. It’s much too late, and for many too little even. Many paid $200+ for wristbands on the aftermarket, flew in from different states or even countries, and spent far more than $130 to get to a failure of a day. While the aftermarket isn’t and shouldn’t be an issue Niantic should be concerning themselves with, Hanke acknowledging international players in his opening speech and then settling on such a “subpar” solution just doesn’t sit well with me. I actually only paid $30 for my band and drove/trained in from about 3 hours out, and it was still shaky even on those grounds. We all sat out in the heat for a solid 5 hours with very little communication or acknowledgement only to be met with such a solution. Don’t get me wrong, if that’s what we get, I’ll definitely make use of it – but for all the unmet hype and botched day so far, it seems like a copout.
            At this point, we cut our losses, leave the park, and catch what we can in the surrounding area. I snagged Unowns IAHG, missing C and O, but making up for that with around 8 Heracross and countless Machop. Not exactly what I had in mind for the day, but at this point I’m happy with what I can get. We decide to head back to the park around 5pm, met by a stream of people exiting the park. Niantic called it a day, saying everyone in attendance would also receive a Lugia straight to their account, that the anticipated Legendary Raid just wasn’t going to happen due to network issues, and that there’s no point in sticking around. That’s the end of poor communication for the day, right?
Legendary Raids in Chicago
            WRONG. I head back home, wanting to salvage some of the night still, and knowing I have a long 3 hours ahead of me. About halfway through the trip, I find out Niantic essentially lied to everyone in attendance. The night wasn’t over, there was actually a reason to stick around, and it only took them 2 hours to get there with no communication in the mean time. Niantic dropped Legendary Raids 2 hours after saying “nothing to see here, time to go home”, having around 20 of each Lugia and Articuno raids open to everyone in the Chicago area that can scrounge up a normal raid pass. I was absolutely livid. Had Niantic mentioned any reason at all to stick around, especially access to so many legendary raids in a relatively small area, I certainly would have stuck around. As it is, I’m seething at home, writing this ‘report’. I'm definitely happy for the people who were able to do these raids so quick, and I don't think launching them tonight was even a bad move- it just wasn't a communicated move in the slightest. Every single turning point that Niantic had to have a stable event, have clear and concise communication, or even remotely respect their player base in a way that reflects the player base’s dedication, they failed. Niantic failed to communicate, Niantic failed to create a stable event environment in a setting where they knew the exact number of attendees, and Niantic failed to respect those that put so much time and money into this- including themselves. Niantic is of course the one that put the most time and money into it, but the effort doesn’t appear to be there – it fell very flat, was very disappointing, and showed a lack of preparedness from a company constantly criticized for not putting due diligence into their multi million dollar cash cow over the past year.
            The good – they eventually acknowledged the issues, they did offer compensation in some way, and Mike was the real MVP for providing the only acknowledgement we would get all day. Many were eventually able to get the fabled Heracross and Unowns, even if it did take half the day to offer a solution to this. Unfortunately, these points just weren’t enough to swing the day as an overall favorable memory to me.
For a company that produces a game intended to be used on a device that’s primarily used to communicate, Niantic’s communication is the worst I’ve ever seen. Glossing over issues, offering what seems like mediocre compensation to many, and never actually getting a fully functioning event into play at any point of the day dramatically slowed any  momentum Niantic could have easily rode into getting past a prior age of issues. Instead, these prior issues were only brought to the forefront of everyone’s memory, leaving a bitter taste of history for many.  

27 May 2017


466 / ELECTIVIRE - Pokémon Papercraft
Name: Electivire
Type: Electric
Species: Thunderbolt Pokémon
Height: 1.8 m (5′11″)
Weight: 138.6 kg (305.6 lbs.)
Interesting Facts: Electivire is known to be recklessly careless regarding enemy attacks. It uses its tails to make contact with its opponents, and shocks them with over 20,000 volts. Blue sparks fly between its antennae as its electric charge amplifies. Electivire usually feed off electric currents. In the anime Electivire has been seen eating fruits from trees.

Height: 17.2 cm / 6.8 in
Width: 24.8 cm / 9.8 in
Depth: 12.9 cm / 5.1 in
Pages: 7
Pieces: 76
Level: Medium
Designer: Brandon
Photo: Luis
NOTES: Start at the top of the head and close between the legs. There are many lines that should be folded, they are indicated with color, also, there are many other references indicated with colors. Be careful around the shoulders, since this part don't use tabs, more instructions about this part (and many others) included on the templates. Glue the tail and the feet only after the model is closed. The arms should be glued when the instructions say, so you can apply pressure from the inside. Some reference pictures are included, they show the placement of fingers and some other parts.

Download: A4 / Letter

16 April 2017


239 / ELEKID - Pokémon Papercraft
Name: Elekid
Type: Electric
Species: Electric Pokémon
Height: 0.6 m (2′00″)
Weight: 23.5 kg (51.8 lbs.)
Interesting Facts: Elekid tends to play out in the middle of thunderstorms. By rotating its arms, it generates electricity. However, it tires easily and can only charge a small amount. A weak electrical charge travels between its horns as well. It lives in the grasslands.

Height: 15.9 cm / 6.3 in
Width: 8.7 cm / 3.4 in
Depth: 19.8 cm / 7.8 in
Pages: 3
Pieces: 34
Level: Easy-Medium
Designer: Brandon
Photo: Luis
NOTES: Follow the numbers on the template. Build from head down, closing with the bottom of the body at the base of the legs. The "plugs" on the head are best cut out with an exacto knife in order to get the circular pieces out easier, but can also be cut out by poking a hole in it with scissors and cut it out that way too. Attach the feet at the bottom of the body after closing the body. 
Download: A4 / Letter

01 April 2017


??? / LINK - Zelda Papercraft
Name: Link
Type: Hero of Hyrule
Species: Hero
Height: Varied
Weight: Average
Interesting Facts: Link's physical characteristics fluctuate from game to game, though he usually has light-colored hair (ranging from brown to blonde to orange), blue eyes, and a medium build. Other characters sometimes think of him as handsome. It is unlikely that Link's age exceeds nineteen years at any point in the series thus far. In many installments of the series, Link is the bearer of the Triforce of Courage. Several games mention a Triforce mark on Link's left hand, which identifies him either as a chosen hero or the holder of the Triforce of Courage. Teenage incarnations of Link have rather well built physiques while younger versions of him are at least moderate in size. It is shown that Link is, at the very least, of the same height as normal Hylians around his age (with the exception of Twilight Princess Link who appears to be shorter than most Hylians near his age).

Height: 25.0 cm/ 9.8 in
Width: 24.5 cm/ 9.6 in
Depth: 29.3 cm/ 11.5 in
No. of Pages: 11 (+4 for base)
Number of Parts: 109
Level: Medium-Hard
Designer: Brandon
Photo: Luis
NOTES: This one is pretty straightforward, though the head can be a little tricky. Be sure to follow numbers, and close at the feet. Base is optional, but suggested.

Download: Letter


??? / King Daphnes of Hyrule - Zelda Papercraft
Name: King Daphnes Nohansen
Type: King of Hyrule
Species: Hylian
Height: Varied
Weight: Average
Interesting Facts: Daphnes Nohansen Hyrule was once the king of Hyrule during the Era Without a Hero. When the Goddesses unleashed the Great Flood, he chose to remain in Hyrule, which was to be sealed by the Goddesses at the bottom of the sea. He split the Triforce of Wisdom into two parts and instructed the princess of that era to keep one piece and flee to the mountaintops with her servants.

Height: 20.0 cm/ 7.8 in
Width: 16.2 cm/ 6.4 in
Depth: 10.6 cm/ 4.2 in
No. of Pages: 7
Number of Parts: 73
Level: Medium
Designer: Brandon
Photo: Luis
NOTES: This one is pretty straightforward, though the head can be a little tricky. Be sure to follow numbers, and close at the hands.

Download: Letter

23 December 2016

SANDSHREW ALOLAN (Merry Christmas!)

027 / SANDSHREW Alolan- Pokémon Papercraft
Name: Sandshrew Alolan Form
Type: Ice/Steel
Species: Mouse Pokémon
Height: 0.7 m (2′04″)
Weight: 40.0 kg (88.2 lbs.)
Interesting Facts: In the Alola region, Sandshrew migrated to snowy mountains due to the volcanic activity near the desert areas. Its body is a light, icy blue and with a cream-colored belly and muzzle. Its head now resembles an igloo. Thicker plates form a dome around its head and its ears resemble an igloo's entrances. In adapting to this cold climate, its body became larger and heavier with a shell of ice covering its hide. The steel-like covering grants it extra defense, but it is unable to curl into a ball like its desert counterpart. Alolan Sandshrew's claws allow it to move without slipping on icy surfaces, but it slides on its stomach when it needs to move quickly.

Height: 16.0 cm / 6.3 in
Width: 18.7 cm / 7.4 in
Depth: 24.3 cm / 9.6 in
Pages: 6
Pieces: 56
Level: Easy
Designer: Brandon
Photo: LuIS
NOTES: Start at the face, following the numbers. Make sure to glue the inside of the ears before gluing them to the head. Once the head is built, start at the belly, building the body around it. You can either glue the nails now or after the model is closed. Glue the legs after piece 38 is placed, it is important to get a placement as close to the .pdo as possible so it stands without weight. Continue building it by numbers and close at the tip of the tail. Before closing make sure that it stands without weight inside, I didn't need any weight, but if your does add some by the tail.

Download: A4 / Letter

VULPIX ALOLAN (Merry Christmas!)

037 / VULPIX Alolan- Pokémon Papercraft
Name: Vulpix Alolan Form
Type: Ice
Species: Fox Pokémon
Height: 0.6 m (2′00″)
Weight: 9.9 kg (21.8 lbs.)
Interesting Facts: In the Alola region, Vulpix has adapted to snowy mountain peaks. Its fur has become snowy white. It has pale blue paws, blue eyes, and dark blue insides its ears. Its snout is more pronounced and pointed than that of non-Alolan Vulpix. The locks of hair on its head and its six tails are curlier with a wispy appearance. Alolan Vulpix is believed to have arrived in the region at the same time as humans, but moved to the snow-capped mountain to avoid other Pokémon. It can be found in small pack with two to five individuals. Alolan Vulpix can expel breath as cold as -58°F (-50°C), which is capable of freezing anything. While it is not suited to warmer environments, its tail can produce ice to lower the surrounding temperature if needed. According to the Pokédex, an older name for Alolan Vulpix is Keokeo.

Height: 16.0 cm / 6.3 in
Width: 15.3 cm / 6.0 in
Depth: 18.9 cm / 7.4 in
Pages: 6
Pieces: 46
Level: Medium/Hard
Designer: Brandon
Photo: LuIS
NOTES: Start at the top of the tail. Lightly fold the sharper lines to give it a better shape, the valley folds for example. Build the six pieces of the top, starting at the middle two. The back part ofthe tail is the hardest, make sure to take your time there. Build the back around the tail, gluing the legs as soon as they are ready. When you reach 23, put the built part aside and start at the head, from the nose up. Build the ears before gluing the details to it. Glue the curls at the top of the head while you can still apply presure from the inside. Glue piece 38 to the head and only now glue it to the rest of the body. Proceed to the front legs, closing at the front paw.

Download: A4 / Letter