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Tycho / 3 hours ago

World of Warcraft creates “social media campaigns” without even mounting social media campaigns because you talk about it a lot when you’re playing it.  This just naturally happens.  And it floats in the shared air of the internet like a spore waiting to hatch in your sinuses and grow a knobbly spar into your brain.

Even in the full knowledge that it was a creature of sophistication and bearing, I was mostly content to let others return to the ancestral shores while I made due with the contact high.  I was able to deflect the torrent of hot caramel fudge shooting from Scott Kurtz in virtually every direction about this homecoming.  I thought that we were safe; indeed, I am still safe.  But Scott’s wife Angela started talking to Kara about how much fun they were having in there, and that’s that.  There’s no armor on that side.  It’s like when “the call” comes from “inside the house.”  You got nothin’.

So now he’s doing that.

My clan is headed over the mountains to Spokane, where there is no Dragon Age.  The “eMachine” they have there would catch on fire at the mention of it, and the less said of the ancient Windows NT print server, the better.  So I feel compelled to eulogize the game.  I feel compelled to make a lozenge of my wanting.

There is a “big picture” for Dragon Age and I see it now.  You can play the new one for thirty hours, as I did, and not really be playing it at all.  There’s a lot of dirty work in this setting up front, in the first two games: a lot of tent-pole placing, a lot of trench digging, but when you see how they play around with those things now - how they invert them, or unfold them, it’s marvelous.  I want to interrogate them: when did you know which things?  Did you make this franchise backwards, and have to spend a decade getting where you meant to go?

I think I’ve been too hard on their substrata, now.  Dragon Age had to mature, essentially, in full public view.  And then you get to this third one, except it feels like the First of its line.  The other games aren’t even dress rehearsals for this.  It cribs from everywhere, literally everywhere: iOS shrapnel of the “bar filler” genre, elven street drugs, MMO titrates immoral in their potency, and they’ve sewn it around a marvelous homage to their genre defining earlier work.  It could be the last thing you made, or the only thing, even, and noone could say you hadn’t created a kind of coordinate, in space and time, that the work of others will be judged by.

(CW)TB out.

Gabe / 17 hours ago

Silverside

The last page of Silverside went up today. I was talking with some friends at lunch the other day about the project and they were surprised to hear that I don’t actually like drawing Automata. Of all our projects I feel like it is the one I am least qualified to draw. I just don’t feel like I have the skills to do Automata as well as I think it deserves to be done. I’m happy with a lot of the work I did on Silverside but it’s so much harder for me to draw than something like Lookouts or the Daughters of the Eyrewood.

I did way more research for this project than I normally do. It was important to me that it look and feel like a noir film. I watched a bunch of old movies but there were two that I specifically pulled a lot of inspiration from. The first was the Maltese Falcon and if you watch it you’ll see a couple nods to it in Silverside.

The floorplan of Betty’s apartment and the framing of the conversation that happens there is pulled right out of that movie. The other was Scarlet Street. I got a lot of costume ideas from this film and used the iconic lamp post in the last page today.

There’s more classic noir movie references in there if you look for them, sort of like a Tarantino movie I guess.

Speaking of the last page, here is a look at the inks for that page. You can click on it for a larger version.

Silverside is over for now but I guarantee there is more Automata coming in the future. Some of it in comic form some of it in something a little more exciting.

-Gabe out

Tycho / 2 days ago

Child’s Play Dinner & Auction!

We’re getting down to the wire on tickets for the event, which takes place on Thursday, December 4th.  The legendary Silent Auction begins at 6:30 PM, with the Live Auction and Dinner (hosted by the gentlemen you see in the above photo) beginning at 7:30.  Cocktail hour afterward.  It’s an amazing night, and you can still go!  Hit this link for tickets.

(CW)TB

Tycho / 5 days ago

There is a very fixed menu of ingredients at Taco Bell; it can be conceived of as an alternative to the standard Periodic Table, whose quasi-edible permutations constitute a distinct flavorverse.  Far Cry 4 has a similar catalog of “elements,” like Honey Badger, Falcon, Tuk-Tuk, Assault Rifle, Boar, and so on.  (I would consider AK-47 an isotope of Assault Rifle).  After the latest of Gabriel’s misadventures, it became clear that he was basically dipping a ladle in that soup of possible events and coming up with treachery every time.  He was, in effect, panning for devastation.  And the creatures of that place responded in kind.

I haven’t talked about the Master Chief Collection here because I have a) been playing other games to completion and b) because I can’t really play it.  Not because I don’t want to, but because it apparently doesn’t want me to.

As a means of instructing the next generation, like in the case of Gabriel (I refer here, to both Gabriels; I refer to the Gabriel Continuum) it must be considered an unmatched offering.  Young people have no problem with the graphics in Minecraft, where each “pixel” of that world is a gigantic chunk the size of a safe you can break off and then relentlessly combinate.  But if a game is not explicitly made from what look to be 16-bit era pixel art or the aforementioned cubes, it needs to be essentially photorealistic or it is “full of fail.”  Remasters of the first two games coupled with uprezzed latter episodes help bridge the gap for would be educators.  That part is all well and good and I understand it can be absorbed at the proper rate.

For me, there has always been something goofed about Halo Multiplayer, in that the most revelatory mode to me - what is generally termed Big Team Battle - barely worked most of the time.  You’d get good games here and there, and when you found them, you tried to stick around.  Dedicated servers for this mode were always the fantasy.  I feel confident that I advocated for deddis as a definitional feature of Xbox Live even back then, before the Azure platform which has kinda sorta made that a reality for some games.  So a 1080p, 60 frame version of the game with the server handled elsewhere is like a prophecy come to life.  Last night, it couldn’t even get some kind of matchmaking data to start searching for a game.  I let it go for awhile, put the kids to bed, and when I came back it was still there.  It was patting the pockets of its coat and slacks, like a man with Alzheimer’s searching for a wallet he has never owned.

Like with Unity, I can’t really bring myself to be angry about it.  It wouldn’t make me angry if someone else were angry, that’s legit.  For my part, I’m genuinely confused about why they would do this to customers.  These are flagship titles, and these issues are completely avoidable.  They have brought me to a juncture where I feel compelled to use my Dad voice; I don’t want an apology.  I want you to be better.

(CW)TB out.

Patting myself on the back

I am really enjoying Dragon Age: Inquisition. One of my favorite features is the War Room with its massive map of the regions. Your party navigates this map and unlocks new locations on it by spending “Power” which you can earn by completing missions. This is super fun.

What’s cool is it’s actually almost identical to a system I created for my old D&D campaign. When I decided to try and run a sandbox style game I created a world map that the party would navigate by spending “resolve”. They spent resolve tokens to move to and unlock new areas of the map. You can read my breakdown of how the system functioned right here if you’re interested.

I’m not saying they ripped me off or anything like that. I’m sure plenty of other games have used a similar system in the past. I cooked this one up on my own though and it’s neat to see that another group of game designers I admire came up with something so close. It just makes me feel like a cool guy.

-Gabe out




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