Jun 22 2009

Congratulations, Scott Johnson

I’ve gone back and forth over the last few days as to whether or not I wanted to write about this, but in light of recent events, it seems kind of important.

On Thursday, June 18th, Scott Johnson of MyExtraLife and podcasting fame announced on CNET’s Buzz Out Loud that as of Monday (today) he would no longer be a slave to the 9 – 5 but would be working for himself. Somewhere along the way, Scott discovered that his web work and commissions were bringing in enough that he could do it full time.

That. Is. Awesome.

Even though I don’t know Scott personally, I find this turn of events very exciting. I know there are other people who make a very good living as webcomic artists. But I wasn’t there when Gabe and Tycho quit their day jobs or when Scott Kurtz decided to do his art work full time. I am here now, following Scott through his Twitter and his blog. And now he’s living the dream.

So many people have commented on how Scott seems to do everything. I agree. He does. About a month ago, when he announced on Twitter his new iPod and iPhone application podcast, Appslappy, I retweeted this information with the comment that “Scott must be bored.” He direct messaged me back with “Bored? Hey!” I told him that he clearly didn’t already do enough if he was adding another podcast.

His reply… “Easy when you love it. :)”

Now, just a short few weeks later, he is doing what he loves as a career. I couldn’t help but draw hope from this. One more of us regular people (albeit a very talented one) had done what everyone dreams of. I never seem to find enough hours in the day for everything that I love to do, let alone progress those things to a level where they could become profitable. I may have worked in the art department, but it certainly wasn’t the art that I wanted to make. Seeing Scott succeed with his own work made me think that maybe I could find a way to do both.

Here I sit, no longer having the job that I liked well enough, but didn’t love. Being downsized sucks, no matter who you are, but I’m having a hard time being completely unhappy about it. I have a singular chance to do what I love, at least for a little while. Maybe I can find that opportunity that will let me make my creative works a career.

It’s comforting to know that someone made it.

Congratulations, Scott, and good luck.

Jun 17 2009

[Webcomic Wednesday] From Comics Coast to Coast

As requested by Mr. Frost, I’m getting back into the Webcomic Wednesday groove. Behold, three webcomics for your entertainment. All of the following were originally suggestions from Brian Dunnaway and Justin Thompson’s podcast Comics Coast to Coast.


This little gem comes from Comics Coast to Coast co-host (try saying that five times fast), Justin Thompson. Admittedly, I haven’t read many of them. I’m working on it. I do really enjoy Justin’s whimsical style and color work. It has a simplicity that makes it absolutely endearing. The story revolves around Boody, the last dragon, and Dudley the knight who “disdains him for being his best friend”.

Much the Miller’s Son

I’ve started reading this one from the beginning, and I’m making pretty good headway. Like Mythtickle, it has a fantastic art style. The art here reminds me of the Asterix comics. The story revolves around Much, the son of the miller. He begins his adventures as one of Robin Hood’s Merry Men, and things pretty much go downhill from there. A great read.

Cock & Bull

I really enjoy this one. After reading the first couple, I wasn’t sure I was going to like it. But I soon found that I had read through every single strip and had fallen in love with it. I really enjoy the simple black and white line art. More and more comics are moving to full color, so that this is still black and white really helps set it apart. A word to the wise… The language is often foul, and they’re certainly not above making horrible puns. But that’s the charm. It’s great for a quick laugh.

Three fantastic webcomics, ready for your consumption. All of them suggestions from Comics Coast to Coast. Please do visit these sites, click their sponsers, the whole deal.

Jun 16 2009

[Rant] An open letter to hosts of Warcraft Podcasts

Please, please, please. I’m begging you. When hosting a podcast, please don’t speak as if you were in trade chat. “DK” does not take any less time to say than “Death Knight”. Do not say “Lol” while actually laughing out loud. It’s “Congratulations” not “grats”. While these acronyms and colloquialisms may save in game chat times, you shouldn’t have to rush your podcast.

I may be somewhat dismayed at the sloppiness of internet chat, but I accept that it’s not going to change. I mean, somewhere along the way, people decided that “it is” is too long and made it “it’s”. That’s fine. Language, especially written language in this age of faster communication, must evolve. Keystrokes are time, people. I get that. But please, people, there’s no character count when you’re speaking. Use real words.

That being said, I have no problems with using some acronyms. If you want to say BRD instead of Black Rock Depths, I’ll accept that. Sometimes that’s the only way I learn what the acronym actually stands for. DoTs are fine. Call it WoW. But let’s be reasonable.

I’ve been trying to expand my podcast listening, maybe adding one or two more Warcraft related ones, and I just can’t bring myself to do it. I downloaded one today, which shall remain nameless, but I just couldn’t get past the WoW speak. This is, of course, not a universal problem. The Instance is safe. How I WoW is fine. WoW Insider is tolerable. These shows seem to have set a certain standard of professionalism for themselves, and because of that, the language used is, well, professional.

And if you want someone to listen to your product, a little professionalism might help.

Jun 15 2009

E3 Part 2: Games and hardware that intrigue me

There were a fair number of games discussed at E3 that while I’m not necessarily excited to play them, I am intrigued by them.

Monkey Island – I won’t deny it. I miss old computer games. I miss Hugo’s House of Horrors and Day of the Tentacle. I am awesome at clicking the mouse on random items. News of a renewal of the Monkey Island franchise has made my ears perk up. It’s just going to have to be a wait-and-see situation for me.

ModNation Racers – From what I saw, it has all the appeal of a Mario Kart where you can build your own tracks. And the build system they should could not have been easier. So while in games like The Sims, I don’t mind spending hours perfecting their houses, if I’m making a track in a racing game, I want the time between creation and actually playing on it to be as short as possible. It just all looked so smooth.

Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks – I still haven’t finished Phantom Hourglass. I have yet to play Twilight Princess. And I just downloaded Majora’s Mask and have barely gotten into that. So this game is on my radar, but I’ve got a fair number of games ahead of it. I like the style that the Zelda games have taken of late.

I guess that’s about it in terms of games that have really piqued my interest without being games I’m really excited about. My list of games that I really want to play is devastatingly long, causing this list to be shorter than I had anticipated.

EDIT: I was going save all the motion stuff for a separate post, but I think it will fit in here just fine.

Everyone has jumped on the motion control bandwagon. Not surprising; when done right, it can be really fun. One of the benefits of being in the business was that I was able to watch most of the big three keynotes streaming live while at work. Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft all had motion demonstrations, and all of them brought something a little different.

Nintendo – Wii Motion Plus – I have to say, this is a huge disappointment. It seems to me that they want to sell me another periferal that will make games operate in the way they promised the Wii would work in the first place. I think this is especially apparent in the fact that one of the release games for this new technology is Red Steel 2. The first Red Steel game was supposed to be so awesome, since it would be like you were really swinging a sword. We were pumped. This was the wave of the future. I mean, come on, if you’re swinging a virtual sword, how long could it be before you’re swinging a virtual lightsaber. Geeks of the world, REJOICE…. until any of us actually played the game. It was “cool”, but certainly not the revolution in gaming that we had all anticipated. So I really find I have no option with this new tech but to be wary.

Sony – Playstation Eye – This tech is clearly still in the early stages of development, but it seems to be based off the same principles as the Wii motion controls. You’ve got a couple of wands and you use those as placeholders for whatever your character is weilding in the game. The demonstration that had reminded me of Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Not that it’s a bad thing. It was really kind of cool seeing the image of the guy doing the demonstration holding cartooney weapons. Having a controller means that, yes, you will have to buy extra controllers if others want to play, but it also solves problems that I worry Microsoft might run in to. That being said…

Microsoft – Project Natal – I don’t think that anyone at Microsoft doubted that the demonstration for their new baby would make people talk. And it most certainly did. I’ll admit, I’m probably not as skeptical about it as I should be, but I want it to be awesome. One of the facts that gives me hope is that Johnny Chung Lee, the guy who put together the Wii head tracking 3d thing, worked on this project. This dude does cool things. My only concern is that while peripherals will be supported, game developers may be too willing to jump whole-heartedly into the motion sensing that they won’t include them when needed. This would become especially a problem in terms of UI. Now, if I have a UI bar along the side and I can just virtually press buttons like in the movies, that’d be just fine with me. But if I have to pat my head and rub my tummy while standing on one leg to bring up the multiplayer menu, that would be a problem. Example: I love Okami. I have it for the Wii. It’s tons of fun. But I haven’t finished it. And I haven’t played it in a while. I’m going to have to start over because I don’t remember what any of the motions are. I just don’t want an entire library of games that I’m going to have to remember a separate set of motions for.

That covers most of what I have to say about E3. I do want to cover a few major disappointments, then I can be satisfied that I have had my say.

Jun 11 2009

E3 Part 1: Games I’m super excited about.

Alright, this is going to be the first part of my take on the stuff that came out of E3. These are the games that I am so very excited about.

The Last Guardian – Not much to say about this one. I’ve been waiting for years for another game from Team Ico. Here it is. The teaser trailer promises everything I’m looking for. And I am now going to have to purchase a PS3. I have no idea where we’ll find room for it.

Overlord 2 – I admit, I haven’t come close to finishing the first Overlord game. But it’s so damn fun. I’ve heard about a fair few problems in the first one that I didn’t play far enough to encounter. These are supposedly fixed in the second one. What’s not to love? Brian claims that the Overlord looks like Arthas, but, hey, who wouldn’t like to play as Arthas?

Assassin’s Creed 2 – Again, I personally haven’t played much of the first one, but they are so graphically stunning, I really enjoy it. And, again, claims have been made that most of the things people didn’t like about the first game shall be remedied in the sequel.

Super Mario Bros. Wii – I’m fairly certain I have never really adapted to 3D games. So the prospect of a somewhat old school Mario side scroller is very exciting to me. Plus, Brian and I could use another game we can play together. As long as I get to be Princess Peach.

Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box – After I wrecked the first game (8 hours, baby. I loves me a puzzle game), it killed me to know that there were others in the series that I couldn’t play. I would search the internet for whisperings of an English version of the sequels, but nothing. Finally, the second in the series is being released, and a game magazine I was flipping through at the book store stated that they plan to release the entire series in the US. Hooray! I do understand the delay, though. I imagine a puzzle game, especially something like Professor Layton which will inevitably have tons of language and cultural references in their puzzles, must be a nightmare to localize. I’m just glad that the first one did well enough to warrent them going through the effort for the others.

Star Wars: Old Republic – This game doesn’t interest me personally so much as I am concerned about the possibility of losing my favorite Undead Warrior companion. If this game lives up to they hype, no Star Wars nerd will be able to resist.

Brutal Legend – Jack Black as Jack Black as Eddie Riggs in Brutal Legend. ‘Nuff said. (And I still maintain that Tenacious D is the best concert I’ve ever been to.)

That pretty much sums up the games that I am truly excited about. There are several others that I look forward to playing, some that intrigue me, and there were a lot of E3 disappointments. But that will all have to wait til a later post.

Jun 10 2009

Commissionathlon VICTORY!

So, yesterday, O drew our commission of Daniora and Vendetta. I haven’t received the high res version yet, but it’s been posted on O’s site. I’m just tickled. It came out even better than I could have imagined. I’m glad that we gave O as much freedom as we did and extremely glad we had it done in pencil. He said it was his favorite medium to work in, and I think it really shows.

Jun 9 2009

This one’s for the people in the chat room

So, O is working on our COMMISSIONATHLON picture at the moment, and some of the people in the chat room were wondering if there were any pictures of our characters. Of course there are! Here they are.

Jun 4 2009

So help me, I’m blogging.

Alright, here we go. An hour for lunch and I’m going to try and cram in most of what I’ve wanted to write about for the last two weeks…

First off, I am so very excited that yesterday was the beginning of COMMISSIONATHLON 2009. For those of you not in the know, Obsidian of Commissioned Comic has this mad plan to do one commissioned piece of art a day for the next month. All of this is to fund his trip up from Colombia to Conneticon at the end of July. O’s first piece was Scott Johnson’s WoW character Gerp and his tiger pet Henry. It looks awesome. It may be my favorite of the WoW character drawings I’ve watched O do so far. I was fortunate enough to get to see the whole thing, and I am not so much more excited for the commission that I have coming. Brian and my piece is scheduled for next Tuesday, June 9th. I’ll be sure to tweet about it when it’s happening and I’ll put the finished piece up here when I get it.

Along those lines, I got a wedding invitation from two of my good friends, and their wedding is on the first of August. This is squarely in the middle of Conneticon, solving my on-going questioning as to whether I was going or not. I’m sad I won’t get to go see O, but maybe the ‘con means that more awesome stuff will be going on sale in his store.

E3… It deserves it’s own post, but I want to at least get my initial impressions out in case I don’t get another chance to write. The big news: I’m going to have to buy a PS3. I don’t really want to. But I must. Team Ico announced The Last Guardian, which I have been waiting for years to hear about. It’s nice to have an actual trailer (even if it is only a teaser) rather than whisperings, hopes, and the occasional blurry screen shot. Shadow of the Colossus is very likely my favorite game ever, and now I’m trying to get my hands on Ico. Along with Little Big Planet, that I’ve wanted since it came out, and God of War 3, Brian and I just can’t fight it much longer.

I’m sure my WoW characters have been weeping uncontrollably at my absence. I miss them, too. Daniora is working on getting her last Champion city, Orgrimmar. She’s also gathering up enough Champion seals to get her hippogryph. Amelinda of Earthen Ring is leveling… slowly. She’s still in the Ghostlands, but I have got to tell you, I am loving AIE. It’s really nice after a hard day at work to be able to surround yourself with a wall of friendly green text. I think people have the impression that there are so many jerks on the internet because all the nice people are tied up playing in the guild.

Scott Johnson’s got a new podcast, this time pairing up with Eric, otherwise known as SkyHawk. It’s called AppSlappy and covers apps for the iPhone and iPod Touch. Very nice. I can’t officially review it here until there are at least 5 episodes, but expect something soon.

Brian Dunnaway of Mission Deep, ELR, and Comics Coast-to-Coast has said he’s been working on a few new things for the site. I can’t wait for that!

Phew. That was quite the linkfest. Hopefully I’ll be able to get more regular and less insane posts out in the near future.

Also, I’d like to give a big internet shout out to Beth, the greatest office manager any company could hope for.

Jun 3 2009

Apologies to my handful of readers

Work has been absolutely insane. I worked a 14 1/2 hour day yesterday. I’ve been swamped for the last several weeks, so I haven’t had my usual lunchtime breaks to be able to write up a blog post. I promise, things will calm down soon and I’ll be able to get back on schedule. There’s a lot I want to talk about, including the news coming out of E3 and the continuing adventures of Amelinda of Earthenring. So, stay tuned, I haven’t forgotten you.