The Praedian Records

J.G. Phoenix

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Begin (2024)

2023 ended weirdly abruptly for me, but I got the shot in the arm I needed in order to hit the ground running in 2024. This year's going to be absolutely crazy, but for me personally, I feel my worst years are finally behind me. I'm ready to stop drowning in a sea of...

read more

My Struggle

by | Feb 1, 2022 | Blog, FnF, FV, LGT, Pinned, Space Engineers, WoWs, Youtube

The blog, the stories, long term projects, addressing myself and old wounds, even writing this. All of it is one big struggle in my transition from one life to the next.

The Site

Starting with the base of operations, I like the way the site looks, but there have been some issues that are too big to ignore. Using Divi has been extremely helpful overall, but there’s always an opportunity cost. If I’d gotten back into my html5 and CSS studies, I might have been able to get a similar result. As a bonus, I would have had plenty of content written up about the whole process.

I’m still considering the idea and seeing if I can’t turn my studies and research into a handy resource for the site. I’m also interested in other programming languages and learning them. The problem is I don’t need them for anything in particular. Most of what I learn how to do serves a purpose. The extra stuff fades away like it was never there. As much as I like to branch out, it won’t help much right now.

Lastly, I’m pretty open to feedback about the design of the site, though very little aside from the proportions and module placements is likely to change in the long run. It depends. I have it on good advice that after a website gains its footing, it’s a really bad idea to change the look. So any major changes will probably have to be made in the near future.


I’m not aspiring to have a full blown youtube channel or anything like that. I’m really just using the site to save space on P.R. Even though I’m not trying to start anything on youtube, sometimes videos make it into the algorythm and that could bring traffic to P.R. over time. The more videos I upload, the more likely that is, and I definitely plan on doing more. For now, there are just old videos, a couple of World of Warships clips, and a preview of the Prinz Heinrich I made for practice in Premier. I’ll need a lot more before youtube is even remotely helpful to P.R.

M.A.S.S. Builder

I love this game. I love the mecha genre in general, but this is a game that checks a lot of boxes. That’s why I decided to make my support of the game as ‘official’ as possible. I’m not in a position to be promoting anything, but I can cover this game’s development in depth. It will be a while before what I’m working on gets off the ground, but that’s all the more reason to start three months ago now.

Favorites In Fiction

My FnF projects came with two ideas in mind. The first was making sure the blog had more going on than just my ZAP projects and whatever I felt like posting about. Thankfully now that I’ve been at this for a while, I’m getting more ideas I can execute on.

The second idea regarding FnF was showcasing exactly what I like in fiction and help give some insight into the things I write and why. Right now FnF is focused on science fiction and specifically vehicles and mecha. Those are just the easiest things for me to give my thoughts on, but it’s called Favorites In Fiction, not Favorites In Science Fiction and not Favorites In Anime.

It will take some time, but you’ll be able to find a variety of interesting reads for this project in the future.

I’m actually working on another FnF article even as I write this one. I’m hoping to have that finished either today or tomorrow. (Like I said yesterday, sleep was never an option).

If nothing else FnFs will help me separate the things I just like from the things that truly inspire me.

Fleeing Victory

Oh Fleeing Victory, my weird pantser und panzer experiment, where do I start with you?

While the point of this series was to see if I could do a pantser style series well (jury’s still out on that one), I always want to find ways to expand the lore as a whole. There is a lot I can think up and even remember by just pacing around for hours all the time.

I’m not kidding either; I regularly rack up at least ten hours of just walking in pretzels each week.

Speaking of opportunity cost …

Getting away from that tangent and the pain it causes, I can’t rely solely on that method for ironing out ideas. Often times you won’t see the implications of something–good or bad–until you’re right in the thick of things. Sometimes the story, or at least an important event can pivot on those. I try to just let it happen most of the time.

Fleeing Victory has a lot of interconnected plots I’m trying to keep in tact. When every little thing that happens has to count, to mean something in the bigger picture, it’s a challenge. There’s so much rereading just to make sure I haven’t forgotten something or made some element in the story too inconsequential after playing it up. When you’re trying to have the characters pursue their goals with only a little room for intervention on your part, things can quickly fly off the rails, and I’m not even talking about characters potentially dying.

Have you noticed Sable’s supposed crush on Fran Sandoval? Well that wasn’t an idea I started with. This situation with him having to potentially kill her to keep Calig from being implicated in that monster of an explosion was something that came together organically while the characters were scrambling. That’s something I like about this pantser experiment, despite the constant changes. Even now I have some interactions between these two that I think will happen but can’t be sure of. Things could easily play out differently.

The show must go on.

I plan on continuing Fleeing Victory until the story ends, but I may slow my pace down occasionally to double back and make sure things still flow well overall and make sense.

This may be an experiment, but it’s still a part of the Praedia setting and it’s important that it gets my best. That’s why despite how sure I was earlier that I couldn’t wrap up Chapter One in time, I gave it another shot and managed to pull through.

Lydia’s Golden Treasury

I still have a freight train’s worth of editing and tweaking to do, but LGT is turning out better and more tightly themed than I could have ever dreamed of in the conceptual phases. It’s why my monthly chapter goals are both a blessing and a curse. It’s forcing me to make progress whether I feel I’m ready to move forward or not, but it’s also making me more susceptible to simple mistakes. For February I may need to pull back on a few other things and focus on getting previous chapters edited, on top of getting the next chapter written up.

The Golden Ticket and the Class Array

These chapters wound up in the wrong order originally, for reasons I can’t quite explain in hindsight. I wanted the Golden Ticket to be as close to the end of the series as possible, but the Class Array doesn’t naturally precede it, at least not as far as the progression of the characters are concerned.

The Golden Ticket is a chapter in which Lydia hosts a local tournament with the express purpose of using up a set of magical keys. That’s not a spoiler or anything; the disposal of those keys is the thrust of the whole chapter from the first scene to the last, though there is a deeper meaning behind what Lydia does here.

The Class Array can’t take place before this tournament because Enya’s goals as one of Lydia’s people finally begins to take proper shape here, which is the direct cause of the events in the Class Array.

Now, back in the conceptual phase of Lydia’s Golden Treasury, the Class Array chapter was called the Training Room, and it had nothing to do with Enya’s motivations (since she didn’t even exist in my head yet), and more to do with some of the characters from Idolus Rising getting familiar with a positively overpowered system created by Haul Lynx to help train Idolus’ military irregulars.

The Training Room itself was just a prototype and like a lot of other originals, Haul gave it to Lydia for safekeeping after he developed a more streamlined and accessible version. The series wasn’t character driven at all originally. More of an unapologetic lore expo for the setting meant to compliment Idolus Rising and a few other stories.

After I actually started writing, I knew the Training Room had to revolve around Enya. That’s the way things were set up, and eventually I realized that there was a more potent modern artifact that could serve the same purpose without being too much of a distraction. The Class Array.

The Class Array is another system meant for helping soldiers, but I’d rather not get into the details here. This chapter’s theme changed from group training to exploring Enya’s personal options for getting stronger, as well as deciding what constitutes a wisely expedited process versus what is simply taking cheap shortcuts. It’s important in her development to address that issue.

In the prior chapter, Lydia expresses her concerns over some of the negative influence she’s had over people in the past, by offering too much power too quickly and sometimes at too low a price. It’s an appropriate flaw for a person embodying ‘Providence’ to have, I think. Lydia’s disposal of those keys informs Enya’s actions in the following chapter, so as much as I liked the idea of the tournament coming just before the grand finale, there’s one more major event that needs to be resolved first.

Hopefully the series as a whole will be better for it.


The Remnants ideas are still driving me a little crazy. It’s a setting that practically built itself thanks to it being a Zion story. I haven’t found the time to explain this in detail yet, but the Zion setting can be thought of as an ‘Infinite Earths’ setting, where as Aeon and Praedia focus on single instances of a single world or group of worlds. Zion does have some limits; it’s not a catch all for any idea I have that wouldn’t fit into either of the other two settings in the ZAP project.

Having said that, Zion casts a pretty wide net, and I’m thankful–and a bit addled–that the Remnants world fell into it.

It’s ideas like Remnants that remind me that ‘brainstorming’ isn’t always a voluntary thing.

Sometimes the only choices you get are whether to guide the process and get your thoughts organized, or get carried away with the storm.

I want to get going on at least one story for Remnants as soon as possible, but April is the earliest I can allow myself to get pulled into that. That’s why it’s starting to drive me crazy. It’s exciting. It’s also distracting and overly derivative of projects that are in progress right now. If I finish Lydia’s Golden Treasury first, Remnants will be able to get the amount of attention it needs to really come to life and shine.

Solo Work

I consider solo work equal parts Heaven and Hell. On the one hand, it’s hard to have too many cooks in the kitchen when there’s just the one. There is no drama being stirred up behind the scenes, not for self serving ends or even for its own sake.

On the other hand, there are no second opinions informed by the actual work. Brainstorming sessions are quiet and often directionless grab bags for ideas. Anything and everything from the writing to the media has to come from me: Art, audio, and video. Anything and everything. It’s extremely limiting.

There are other tradeoffs, but these are the ones that stick out in my mind the most.

It’s always been this way, and I’m sure a lot of people who like to work alone or don’t have a choice run into the same thing. The transition is somewhere down the line, though. At some point, the networking starts. At some point, the interest and cooperation rapidly picks up. The solo work ends and it ends more or less for good. I look forward to it and dread it at the same time. It’s one of the things I struggle with the most, and I’ll try to explain why in the next two sections.

My Roleplaying Days

I got into a lot of fun, stupid, and downright uncomfortable situations in RPs over the years. These were forum based ‘play by post’ RPs that could run for years if people kept enough interest. I used to write a lot of random crap on my own long before I ever stumbled into online forums (tales of dragons and airships), but before that phase, it hadn’t really clicked for me, the idea I could make something worthwhile with just words on a page. That was something only a novelist could do and I grew up on movies. I used to write for the sake of giving my future self a reference, a screenplay for making something more visual or audible.

I hadn’t found the love of the written word until this RPing phase.

Over the years I developed a deep longing to see my ideas and even others’ brought to life. I spent years improving my writing so I could do that and more eventually branch out into other things.

Unfortunately, I kept bashing my head against the same problem: RPs like these live and die by the whims of just a handful of people. It’s not a collaborative writing project with a team, it’s a bunch of people spinning up characters in their heads to puppeteer in a world that initially grabbed their interest. No one’s taking a blood oath to finish a campaign and no one’s getting paid to take the time to write. You can pick it up and put it down almost like a book or a game.

It didn’t matter how well we wrote or how often, when everything comes down to interaction and participation, one or two people quitting can start a domino effect that ends the whole thing. The domino effect isn’t always sudden, either. RPs can die a long, slow death, and trying to fight the tide is withering. You start asking people if they’re really interested in continuing, and you always get a diplomatic answer rivaling any cliffhanger in a story. I’ve only been that guy myself one time, and by that point I knew there wasn’t much else to gain. It was as good a time as any to quit.

The entertainment value was always there, but it’s hard to look back fondly on so many wasted opportunities. Those old RPs made their contribution to what I’m doing now, and while most of it is heightened motivation and a sense of urgency, that’s good enough.


So that’s part of the reason I do everything by myself for the moment. Another was uncertainty. We tried so many ideas and I managed so little on my own in those days that I wasn’t even sure I could anymore. I’ve tried to get away from the need for others to be around all the time and see and react to what I’m doing, and by this point it’s safe to say I have.

Networking is something I was only avoiding in 2021. I needed to know I can do my work, whether it’s quiet or crowded. As for what I’ll do to get the ball rolling …

I have no idea!

I thought I was going to be spending all of January looking into networking with other people. I figured I’d find a way to get started on that without relying on certain volatile and/or invasive social media platforms. You know, doing everything the hard way. But instead, I was spent the whole month ‘adjusting’ to some changes in my perspective and my workflow. Falling in with people isn’t something I know how to do. It just happens: I find something I like, someone who likes the same thing gets me involved with their group. I have no idea how it applies to something like this.

It’s such a funny problem to have.

“That thing that normally happens on its own? Yeah, how do I do it on purpose?”

Old Wounds

All of that to say I’m an introverted person and reaching out to people for anything is harder than climbing barbed wire. I don’t like using the term ‘introvert’ because it’s starting to have other things tacked onto it, but the basic idea is there. I drain like a cheap battery in social settings and recharge when I’m alone. The only other thing I’ll say about myself and being an introvert is that there’s nothing special or complicated about me or my personality. If you’re paying attention, I’m not going to surprise you all that often.

I wrote very recently about cutting ties with someone I once considered as close as family. They’ve had a major impact on how I’ve reacted to other people over the years. It’s one thing to be slowly petering out in any social setting. It’s another to be fully braced for wild accusations and drama the entire time. Years have passed and I still haven’t been able to turn whatever that is off, to just address issues when they come and enjoy people’s company to the fullest.

With how things are these days, it’s harder to deal with people as individuals, which makes the aforementioned issues even worse. Even in tiny communities, people are viewed mainly through cliques, stances, and political leanings. Labels can be useful, and cliques are just social chemistry in action, but as someone who doesn’t fit anywhere, I focus hard on  the individual.


I’m curious about something. People can have wildly different perspectives and still get along (there are limits to this naturally), but where’s the line or threshold? I don’t think most people live just for the chance to tear other people down, but these days it seems like you’ve got to find common ground fast before you get tossed into a ‘them’ box. I’m mentioning this mainly because I think I’ve seen the worst of it (see Old Wounds). I’ve tried so hard for so long to deal with it in various ways, but it just never worked out in that one instance. Now morbid curiosity is a close companion.

I’ve also had a few instances where someone I’ve known for a long time will raise a banner in the opposite camp and just leave it at that. It’s pleasantly surprising when people have the sense to not push their views when opportunity knocks.

It’s just as well since the only way to spend time with anyone who’s in complete agreement with them is to waste away in front of a mirror. That’s why, for the most part, I’ll settle for peace where I can find it.


To you the reader, thank you for taking the time. It means a lot to me. This article isn’t trimmed down like it should be (2/21/22: A moderate clean up was done), and not all of my thoughts made it in, but I needed to cover some things for posterity. It wasn’t the first time and it probably won’t be the last.

I plan to add as much value, content, and relevant resources to the site as it can hold, and I’ll do whatever I can to bring in the kind of attention the site needs to grow throughout the year. January is finished, though.

Thank God. I need the rest, and thank you again.


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