About this blog

This is the official blog of Phoenix Roleplaying, a multi-genre simming site, created in August 2010.

Run by the players, we hope to achieve great things.

Where our journey takes us, who knows.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Phoenix's Diamond Geezer: An interview with Kevin "Zuzutoo" Diamond

I’m here with one of Phoenix’s founder members. From a Skyplex orbiting Greenleaf to the waters of the Gulf, Kevin Diamond, or Zuzutoo as he’s known, has made his presence felt on a number of our sims.
So, Kevin, how did you get into RPing in the first place?

Wow, Founding Member, I feel rather important with that title. Unlike a lot of people, I did not have much RP experience prior to joining up with all of you in the old country (do we name names here?). I had played a couple of MMORPs but that's about it. I was playing City Of Heroes for several years and found I liked writing up the origin stories for my characters on there. Add to that a tremendous love/obsession with Firefly and I went hunting for an online Firefly game. I tried one that nobody ever seemed to post on that used canon characters and gave up and tried out the old country. And that is where I fell in with the bunch of you all. I made my way up the leadership hierarchy under the Plom administration and became one of the Sim leaders on several different genres there. The support and bonds between players from a year of playing there is what really got me to join the rebellion and migrate over to Phoenix. When it comes down to it, the quality of our playing is from the personalities of the people involved, and you, my friends, are more important than having a shiny badge and a fancy title.

So, Firefly. Who is your favourite character?

Isn't that the worst question you can ask a Firefly fan? Firefly impresses me because it is one of very few shows that has a terrific ensemble cast. Every character intrigues me, entertains me and makes me concerned about what is happening to them. I can't claim one is my favorite without short-changing my love for the rest of them. I do have a deep affection for Kaylee. I am always drawn to characters that portray innocence. River is close on the heels of that attribute too, but Kaylee, mercifully, never gets to be a trained killing machine. I've never bothered to go too deep into it, but I'm pretty sure the whole cast makes up an in depth psychological study of the human mind in all its facets. 

Kaylee as a killing machine would be a true nightmare to behold that’s for sure.
Since we’re on the subject of women, I notice that you play a lot of female characters in Phoenix. What advice can you give male players who wish to play female characters?

Geez, I've been wondering about that little issue of my own for a while now. I like strong female characters, be they in books, comics, movies and certainly RP. I think I only have three male characters and two of them aren't human. I think I find the female personality more fun to play. When it comes down to it the people I have loved most in life have been female. So I tend to make them into my characters. Poppy Brandes on Atlantis is a complete embodiment of my wife, minus the avatars of Georgia Moffett.
I'm not sure if there is a 'way' to play a female. I just tend to make them less inclined to shoot first. I think of how the women I know in life would react to a situation. How would they talk? What would they think of the people around them? I am very intrigued how Princess Noshin on Fighter Ops is going to react to where that plot line is going. She has a tendency to get very punishing and vindictive on people or in this case nations that cross her. I also like characters that are out of their element, and most Sci-Fi is in very masculine environments. The difference on how they perceive the situation makes them interesting characters to write for.

Moving on to Sci-Fi; what is your favourite piece of sci-fi work that most people would not have heard of?

Hmm.... so Firefly is out with this crowd then. Heh. No honestly most of my likes are fairly mainstream, although I do have a distinct love for 1970's sci-fi. Somehow their aesthetic of the future still is more visually striking than anything we seem to come up with today. Modern costuming seems content with black leather to mean all things action and sci-fi. I have been having a focused love affair with Gerry Anderson's UFO series lately. While cheesy beyond belief, it is impressive what they did for so little with such primitive special effects, but still pushed boundaries on social and political commentary. Plus silver miniskirts and purple hair cannot be improved on. Go swanky 60's & 70's!
Of the slightly more modern era, I love Chris Carter's Space Above & Beyond. While more of a military show, it was a refreshing ride through sci-fi dogfight style shows. I would like for a whole new era of sci-fi shows to start showing up that are not meant to be Lost or 24. On a personal and professional level, Edgar Rice Burrough's sci-fi series need to get more attention, and I'm talking Amtor not Barsoom.
Also Sanctuary is a fabulous show that more people need to watch. No really it’s on Friday nights. Watch it.

Interesting choices. If you could travel to any sci-fi setting, which one would it be? No, you can’t say the ‘Verse.

I'm not really dating myself, because this stuff was old when I first watched it on video, but the George Pal "The Time Machine" has a wildly intriguing ending to me. The rebirth and re-emergence of a fairly innocent society into a world ready for them to grow up is very appealing. Despite H.G. Well's rather grim view point towards human progress, I think the Pal version gives a great sense of optimism and hope for mankind. So yeah, I'd love to exist in that setting. I envy the age of exploration when there was a new world to explore, colonize and experiment in new forms of social freedom. Ok, that's a bit too rosy of a review of the past, but I do like the enthusiasm of mankind for doing something new, persevering through challenges and achieving what was thought to be impossible.
If that's too esoteric of an answer... then Star Trek.

OK, let’s move back on to Phoenix. What do you feel has been the best RPing moment you’ve participated in?

My favorite moments have been nearly all my posts involving the illustrious Elli Hol'liz on the hopefully soon to re-launch Accipiter. Particularly fun are the ones where she is playing off Aidan Fal's Leolacir or dratliff's Shadra. In the words of Ash, "This one is damaged." Elli is terrible fun to play, because I really have no idea what she is going to do next. She is the impulsive Id of my RP characters. That and she is rather complicated from the abuse and horrific life she has been put through. I hope folks re-launch Accipiter soon, I truly miss playing her.
I also miss the love/hate relationship between Poppy Brandes and Mike Palmer's Captain Lindemann on the Atlantis. I'm sad it never got to the embarrassing screaming match that she was headed towards with him.

Of course, you’ve created Greenleaf Skyplex. Where did the idea for this sim come from?

Greenleaf fell together very easily for me since I had a fairly well developed back story about it when I created the Scarlett Newman Wilson character to be the Dockmaster on Aker's Bluff. I always like to have my characters have non-traditional points of view and backgrounds from which to frame the Verse (or any other sim). Greenleaf was supposed to be a Skyplex with some of the dazzling technology of the future, but located on the Rim where there isn't a lot of money. It's not a military base, so it should keep money as the primary motivation for what happens there. Mix to that the hustle of the shopping scenes seen in Firefly, a 1980s Mall-rat attitude and an 1880s western outpost and you get Greenleaf.
Every space station needs to have a purpose to exist in space, this one has commerce. The Rim planets are struggling and require extensive goods from the inner planets to maintain themselves. I built the concept of a Blue Sun Mega Hauler with the creation of the un-launched Blue Horizon sim and my character Poppy Brandes as large company ships running from the Core to the Rim loaded with lots of essentials for survival of the colonies. They had to leave from and stop somewhere. So I made Greenleaf a terminus for that quadrant of the Verse. Nobody would hire the small freighters such as Serenity to take 3 Million tons of grain from Bernadette to Shadow. Not to mention she couldn't hold it. So the bigger hauler, like a tanker, takes the goods to the distribution point and the smaller ships take it from there to a thousand destinations. Cash is exchanged and goods are brought back to sell in the Core. A smaller ship such as those in our fleets could work out of Greenleaf indefinitely if they wanted legitimate jobs.
Add to this economic engine the tension between the orderliness of the Alliance, the chaos of the RIM, a community of shop owners and lucrative gambling and smuggling businesses and you have a great backdrop for storytelling. Anything you want can happen there. There is room for tales of innocence and kindness, there is room for depravity and darkness. It all depends on you folks... and staying above deck five.

Tell me some more about the non-traditional backgrounds of your characters.

The background of my characters is just as intriguing as the sim for me. I like characters that pose a problem with the commonly perceived way people look at a sim. It’s almost a granted that if there is a way that most people play a character I will choose the opposite, or at least something totally off.
Poppy Brandes on Atlantis is completely in
favor of the Alliance. She served in U war, but not as a combatant, but as a researcher in foodstuffs. She is a long time employee of Blue Sun and thinks highly of how the company helps people all over the Verse. She is not overly political and is just a girl with a job that wants to see the Verse. She views Browncoats as terrorist thugs, and sees the Alliance as the Good Guys fighting for decency and civilization.  Joss Whedon saw the Firefly Universe the way he wanted to see it, and said that it could be possible that all the events of the Verse is seen through the misinformed perspective of individuals on the fringe of society. Poppy is one of the people he didn't write stories about.
Ta'ask on USS Repulse is a dinosaur. He does not act or think as regular people. He thinks in terms of Hunter, Prey and Clans. He is a deliberate outsider that plays against what most people see as human norms. He also has to suppress urges to eat most of the bridge crew.
Princess Noshin bin Sultan Al Qasimi on Fighter Ops is a Muslim woman from the upper class that has been blended into a British fighter squadron as an exchange officer. She deals with issues of trying not to conform to western lifestyles, being an independent woman from a conservative paternal society and of course fighting fellow Muslims in a conflict alongside western outsiders.
Elli Hol'liz on Star Wars: Accipter is a former slave turned actress that has no care for Jedi or Sith. The affairs of Galactic Politics and to a degree good and evil are irrelevant to her. Just because she is Force Sensitive doesn’t mean she is in any hurry to associate herself with the Jedi. Her motives are quite selfish but not necessarily evil. She is an outsider pulled into the conflict of other people and trying to escape or at least survive.
Myfanwy Villar on Beyond the Veil of Truth, is an orphaned teenager with remarkable but odd abilities that has found her way into the care of Paranormal research Institute. She has no practical training or skills for combating the weird and unknown. She answers phones and spends her time on the internet. But her hidden abilities are useful enough that she is being trained or at least taken along as a field agent.
As I said, they are mostly all oddballs. And I like it that way.

When not on Phoenix, what do you like doing?

Geez, that's hard to qualify. In my offline time, I greatly enjoy drawing, film making, traveling and spending time with my wife and daughter. I met Poppy, my wife, the last day of Jr. High and she has been my best friend pretty much since then. Our daughter (13) is blossoming into an avid con goer and is a delightful little geek. Not so little in that she is rapidly approaching six feet tall. Almost all of our extended family live in town, so we do a lot with them. We watch a frightening number of movies, albeit my wife and I have wildly different taste in films. I enjoy costume design and make several each year for my daughter and myself for cons and Halloween. I love building props.
I work with High School students in my local parish and tend to do a lot of things they like to do. I have teach weekly classes, and have to plan social events every month. And we are long standing Disney Season Pass holders and are at Disneyland about every two weeks during the winter months (summer is too crowded).
I have never been a huge gamer, we don't even own a console. I tend to play games on my computer. I'm back on the City of Heroes MMORPG again now that it is free, but I find I don't have as much time for it as I used to. Good thing its free now.
Oh yeah, I have jobs too.

Tell me about your prop building. Sounds interesting.
Given time and available cash I can make just about anything. I tend to work on the lower side of expenses. I've built crossbows, armor, Ghostbusters proton packs, 13 ft. foam dinosaurs and a whole mess of other things. I work heavily with woods, foams and resins. I really want to build a vacuum form rig, but don't have the time or space at the moment. Back in the day, I used to work in theater and did this for a living, now it’s mostly for fun or when our props guy gets lazy and I have to show how easy it is to make something. Needless to say, our garage has some bizarre stuff in it. I work with my father building sea kayaks from wood strips/foam and fiberglass. We just finished the sixth one. As for my wish lists, I've been wanting to build a hovercraft for my daughter for years, but haven't gotten around to it yet. Our house always has some project or another taking up way too much space.

So, speaking of projects – what are your plans for the future at Phoenix?
Good question. With all the transitions and complications of the past year, I am looking forward to things calming down and getting into some solid RP on the many sims I'm part of. There is a lot to do with member retention and recruitment, but I'd just like some time to enjoy really building the stories we have going. I am very glad to have Accipter re-launched. The Academy is looking to get very bloody in the coming weeks now that we have passed through the introductory chapter. I am looking forward to Princess Noshin going to war on Fighter Ops and I want to see what horrors await on Beyond the Veil of Truth. I worry about having enough time for all the sims I am involved in, but there is no one I would willingly quit right now. I am enjoying the curious dichotomy of playing the uber-virginal Princess Noshin and the ultra-flirtatious Elli. Its rather fun to have characters running the whole gambit of personalities. My greatest fear is them blending together and having one voice. I can't let that happen.
I do think I have a lot of work to do in getting new members integrated into games. The ones we do get that have stuck around are fabulous, but I still think the pacing we set is a bit odd for many people to overcome. Phoenix is a work in progress and I look forward to helping shape it into a better community for everyone that stops by. (Evil spambots not included).

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...