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	<time pubdate datetime="2003-09-29T12:00:00+01:00">
		<sup>12:00<abbr>pm</abbr> • 2003</sup>
		<abbr title="September">Sep</abbr> 29
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<h1>Tanner Helland Writes: #5</h1>
	This is one of <a href="/writing/kroc_writes">a series of personal letters</a> written to / from
	<a href="/writing/kroc_writes#tanner">Tanner Helland</a> during 2003–2005. These letters cover—in immense
	detail—events in my life during that period, including many unfinished and aspiring designs and creations. As a
	person however, I have changed from the inexperienced, often immature person I was and my skills in programming and
	web-design have changed just as radically.
	These letters have been republished to give deep insight into the way I tick, and to show a lot of background work
	that lead up to the concepts and skills needed to produce this website, which ultimately I failed to do so back
<section id="p1"><!-- ==================================== page 1 ============================================ -->
	<strong>To Kroc:</strong><br />
	Everytime I think I can’t possibly get a longer, more intricate letter from you, you go and send a monster like
	this. <samp>:)</samp> Seriously though, I am amazed that it only cost you £15 to send! 20 pages!! AHHH!!!
		Haha, I really do enjoy your letters. They leave me with lots to think about and it always brightens my day to see
	something from you in the mail. I really do appreciate all the time and effort and money you put into keeping in
	touch with me. I hope you always remember &amp; realize how much I value our friendship and the fact that we can
	disagree on so much and yet still get along! It’s awesome!
</section><!-- =========================================== page 2 ===================================== -->
	<small>A section was removed here that doesn’t belong on the Internet (<abbr title="for example">e.g.</abbr>
	personally identifiable information).<br />
	The page above and below are short for that reason.</small>
<section id="p2">
		Now that you’ve heard some Evanescence, here’s the next band to listen for: Hoobastank. “Crawling in
		the Dark” and “Running Away” are exceptional.
		Since you offered, if you could burn all the midis from tannerhelland.tripod.com as CDAs, I would be
		<em>forever</em> in your debt. I would be <em>ecstatic</em> to have these tunes on CD. I was never able to
		record them on my computer because it just wasn’t fast enough to software emulate the
		<dfn title="DirectX">DX</dfn> soundfont and simultaneously record it. My personal thanks for such an
		awesome favor. I am so happy you offered! Thanks a million! A lot of the people I’ve met out here have
		had me play the piano arrangements for them, but it would be so much easier to just let them burn a copy of
		a CD. Seriously, thanks a million. I owe you so much.
	<dt>Camen Design</dt>
		I’m sure proud to see you finding ways to share your design talent with the world. It’s about time! Get
		out there and make some money off all those skills! <samp>:)</samp> There’s enough people in this world
		that make a good living doing the same thing, except they don’t have the talent part of it. If you’ve
		got the derive to match your abilities, the sky’s the limit! You really could do anything.
</section><!-- =========================================== page 3 ===================================== --><section id="p3">
		I think Camen Design is a good start, and I’m glad to see you keeping it open ended so you can expand at
		your leisure. Just be careful not to have too many projects running or you’ll never complete any of them!
		(Alas, that was another valuable lesson learned from <dfn title="The Lost Alliance">TLA</dfn>). My
		suggestion would be, as always, to focus on two or three (or even one) and divide and conquer. I know
		it’s hard, but it will pay off in the end <samp>:)</samp> I really like what I’m seeing so far,
		however. The layout is professional and clean while still being fun. The orange and blue color scheme
		really looks nice too! Honestly, I can’t tell the difference between your sites and the most expensive
		“professionally” designed ones. Amazing!
	<dt>Checking Out Camen Design</dt>
		And I know you didn’t want to hear this, but I seriously won’t be able to check out your webpages in
		full until 2005! I just don’t have the access or the time or the ability to do so. Sorry!
		<samp>:(</samp> I would if I could, but I just can’t. Alas, someday…
	<dt>NoNonsense 3</dt>
			† A media player I made. Details <a href="/writing/kroc_writes#nn3">here</a>.
			I’m excited to see the return of NoNonsense† in its latest incarnation. With the explosive
			popularity of MP3s, there’s no reason people shouldn’t use it. Bringing it back was a great
			idea. (And I like the idea of system-wide hooks—good thinking!)
	<dt>NoNonsense 3 Site</dt>
		But perhaps the best part of the whole thing is the website…? I absolutely love the
		<dfn title="NoNonsense3">NN3</dfn> screenshot you sent. As I recall the Flash animation in the corner is a
		rotating grid thing, which would nicely match the theme of the site. I like how each subsite is unique but
		similar enough to the original that you retain a sense of familiarity. Brilliant! I don’t know if you
		planned it that way or if it just happened, but it’s great. I even noticed the nice little status bar at
		the bottom <samp>:)</samp>
	<dt>Hypertext Label</dt>
		Ah yes—almost forgot. You could totally make money from that Hypertext label. Any number of companies
		sell stupid ActiveX controls, and that one would actually be useful! Maybe try asking some different
		companies if they’d pay for the source code…
</section><!-- =========================================== page 4 ===================================== --><section id="p4">
	<dt>Vacant Brains <abbr title="Version ">v</abbr>2?</dt>
			¹ A Visual Basic 6 website, one of the first websites I ever created.
			<br /><br />
			² Tanner’s own image editing app written in Visual Basic 6
			<br /><br />
			³ My own HTML editor. Details <a href="/writing/kroc_writes#hotmeal">here</a>.
			As for the VB section of the site, I’d think it’d be great to use the original VacantBrains¹
			idea, except that I’ve completely forgotten what it looked like <samp>:)</samp> I think, as
			well, that you <em>should</em> merge out code into the same <dfn title="Visual Basic">VB</dfn>
			section. I have no problems supplying code for Camen Design <samp>:)</samp> In fact, I’d be
			happy to! Feel free to splice up various interesting parts of PhotoDemon² too, if you’d like.
			<dfn title="Visual Basic">VB</dfn> sites get a ridiculous amount of hits so be sure to do this
			page nicely and link it well to other pages! (For example, maybe have an “other game
			resources” list after each game—related pieces of code, with links to HoTMeaL³, music
			<abbr title="et cetera">etc.</abbr>) Just my 2¢
	<dt>Disastrous Letter</dt>
		This letter is already an unorganized disaster. AHHH I MISS E-MAIL! Oh well. I guess I’ll continue, since
		it’s already taken me three days to write this much. I just try to jot down a couple lines here and there
		whenever I’ve got a free second, so I do apologize for the dissonance and disjointed way this letter must
	<dt>Goodbye, <dfn title="The Lost Alliance">TLA</dfn>…</dt>
		It’s too bad that <dfn title="The Lost Alliance">TLA</dfn> had to end like this, but as soon as I heard
		you had left, I knew this was inevitable. I don’t see <dfn title="The Lost Alliance">TLA</dfn> as any
		kind of failure, though—in fact, quite the opposite. I learned many, many invaluable lessons about life
		from the project. I also made some wonderful friends—like you!—and I have no doubt that I’ll keep in
		touch with some of the team members for many years to come. I also learned a lot about leadership and
		working on a team; skills I now find indispensable were born out of the trial that began as
		<dfn title="The Gathering Project">TGP</dfn> and ended as <dfn title="The Lost Alliance">TLA</dfn>. Oh, so
		many memories…
	<dt>Hello, <dfn title="The Lost Alliance">TLA</dfn>?</dt>
		But regardless of this ending that would happen sooner or later, I am really liking this idea of merging
		<dfn title="The Lost Alliance">TLA</dfn> from a team project into a community of sorts. I think it is far
		better. Instead of <dfn title="The Lost Alliance">TLA</dfn> being a single project, it could instead be a
		hub for talented <dfn title="Visual Basic">VB</dfn> developers across the net to help each other with their
		individual projects. For example, Asuka could ask me for a battle theme, I could ask you for a 3D tile
		algorithm, and you could ask Asuka for a <dfn title="DirectX">DX</dfn> render engine. We all help and get
		help from each other, and only <dfn title="Visual Basic">VB</dfn>
</section><!-- =========================================== page 5 ===================================== --><section id="p5">
		developers with a proven track record of talent and dedication will be allowed to participate. We could
		even retain the whole <dfn title="The Lost Alliance">TLA</dfn> website (with some minor changes). I think
		we would end up getting far more done, and so long as everybody was fair we would all benefit. I know I
		could use help from every member of the team, and I think I have something to offer all of them. It’s a
		good idea, at any rate… so talk to Clint about it and shut down the <dfn title="Lost Alliance">TLA</dfn>
		server to save yourself some money! <samp>:)</samp>
	<dt>The 3 Amigos (Clint, Kroc, <dfn title="DemonSpectre">DS</dfn>)</dt>
			† <strong>Tanner:</strong> I later decided against this, but it sure seemed like a good idea at the time.
			Ah, the naïveté of youth.
			I am 100% down with you—or Clint—designing a game and me just writing the music for it. If I
			return to a fully developed game I will happily write the musical score for it, regardless of
			whether or not I agree with the way the game is designed. My true love lies in music anyway, not
			design or even programming. I wouldn’t mind fleshing out the script either because I think I
			have a talent for writing (moreso than the design part, anyway) and I enjoy it. But tell Clint to
			design a game too and we’ll make both his and yours using the same engine! I’m planning on
			pursuing music composition as a full-time career upon my return†, and I’ll need lots of
			practice to work myself back to the peak I was at before I left.
			Anyway, try and convince Clint to go along with this because I’m quite excited about writing the
			score for a game designed by you and drawn by Clint. I think it could be big…
	<dt><dfn title="Badly Drawn Adventure">BDA</dfn></dt>
		As far as <dfn title="Badly Drawn Adventure">BDA</dfn> goes, keep me updated. I agree that
		<dfn title="background music">BGM</dfn> on a site is annoying. I hated it. And I knew about the Transparent
		Blt API calls, but I never liked using it because my laptop only ran Win95 so it didn’t really work
		<samp>:)</samp> It’s more fun to use your own functions anyway!
	<dt>Story Ideas</dt>
		Your first story idea is rather interesting, and actually is quite similar for my plan for the prequel to
		Defiance, the story. The plan was for Ashmek to have once been Keshma (same letters, different spelling)
		the evil madman who took over the world then disappeared.
</section><!-- =========================================== page 6 ===================================== --><section id="p6">
		He resurfaces in Defiance, which is actually the 2<sup>nd</sup> part of the story but was written first,
		and he plans to aid the heros in an attempt to repent for this previous misdeeds. It’s an interesting
		idea anyway. I always like stories with big twists at the end. The 2<sup>nd</sup> idea—about
		Dragons—I’m not as excited about, just because I’ve never really been into that kind of stuff—But
		it is an interesting idea…
	<dt>Tanner Helland Website</dt>
			Okay, saved the best for last <samp>:)</samp> Here’s the general idea of what I’m thinking
			for this, and feel free to disagree if you think I’m crazy <samp>:)</samp> Haha, or perhaps
			more appropriately, if you think this <em>idea</em> is crazy.
			With me wanting to seriously pursue music upon my return, I want this site to be just
			mind-blowing. That’s why I wouldn’t have anyone but you do it. I’m thinking some kind of mix
			between the style of your <dfn title="NoNonsense3">NN3</dfn> page and the curves and non-linear
			look you mentioned. If the site could look futuristic and ground-breaking but still be simple and
			<del>ergorn</del> <del>ergan</del> <small>(I can’t spell <samp>:P</samp>)</small> ergonomic,
			that would be ideal. I want this to really stand out in a crowd but still be simple enough that
			anyone with half a brain could navigate it. That’s what I love about your design—it’s so
			classy and professional without being unnecessarily complicated. Masterful!
			I’m planning on using this website as a resume as well, so I need to change a lot of things
			about it. For one, I’m worried that right now I have too much music posted. It’s almost
			overwhelming. One idea I had to simplify it would be to post like the Greatest Hits section, and
			then make the rest of the songs accessible only to members. To become a member you’d have to
			comment and vote on at least 5 songs and submit your e-mail address. What do you think of that
			idea? I just worry that a playlist of 50+ songs is too much for most people. Also, a cool feature
			would be to select songs by genre (battle, character, town, arrangement / remix
			<abbr title="et cetera">etc.</abbr>), I don’t really know if that feature would be worth it,
			though. I’m open to ideas from the master of design…
			Words I would use to describe the site… how ’bout: modern, simple, sleek, dynamic, defiant
			<samp>:)</samp>, interactive, ergonomic, <em>unique</em>. Colors are up to you—do whatever you
			want to make this fun for you. I’m hoping that when you’re done you can call this your biggest
</section><!-- =========================================== page 7 ===================================== --><section id="p7">
			yet and we can use it to generate you some business. If all goes as planned there should be list
			of link to your eCV site from it <samp>:)</samp>.
			Navigation really doesn’t matter to me. Do what you think is best. I trust your judgement. As
			for theme of symbolism, I’m thinking of names for it rather than “Tanner Helland
			Productions”. How boring! One idea I had that would be fun to design for was Fractured Sound
			Studios, or FSS. You could go crazy designing that <samp>:)</samp>
			<abbr title="Let me">Lemme</abbr> know what you think…
	<dt>The Novel</dt>
		But enough about that. I can’t thank you enough for helping me. After all is said and done, I’m going
		to owe you so much. Hopefully a music score for any game you design will be a little in return… As for
		the novel, it is coming well. The last few weeks have been too busy for me to get anything done with it,
		but I have some good ideas for it. I’ll send you a part of it at some point in the future.
	<dt>Did I get it all?</dt>
			I probably forgot something, but I did my best <samp>:)</samp> I think this is the longest letter
			I’ve ever written. Wow! It’s not quite 20 pages but it has taken awhile to write
			<samp>:)</samp> I hope you enjoy it.
			Above all else, keep up the good work and have lots of fun. Continue to share your talents for
			they are many!
	Good luck with it all and be sure to <dfn title="write back">w/b</dfn> soon…
	<br /><br />
	<img src="/writing/tanner_writes_5/Att_1_thumb.jpg" alt="Photo of Tanner in front of the Cardston, Alberta Temple" width="640" height="418" />
	<figcaption>I took this at one of our trips to the <a href="http://ldschurchtemples.com/cardston/" rel="external">Cardston, Alberta temple</a>.<br />
		  It’s an awesome building and the picture didn’t even turn out half-bad for taking it myself! <samp>:)</samp></figcaption>
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