#3: Still Life

Going for a still life feel for this spartan helmet.



Here to help show off my woeful state of mastery in painting is Spartan #2. Getting ready for some good old fashioned Greek wrestling. Hopefully, 298 days from now I'll look back on this one and laugh and laugh and...



Sons of Laconia: A Fundraiser

So here is the deal, I needed money for new equipment, new tablet, eye exam/glasses, new monitor, and came up with a decent idea for raising the funds. You see the most expensive item on the list costs about 300$ and I mused to myself that if I could receive one dollar from each of those legendary Laconians it would be enough to pay for it in and of itself. Of course those Spartans are far beyond any hope of extorting for their precious iron bars, but I on the other hand being an artist can resurrect them!

For the next 300 days I'm going to draw a Spartan a day in the hopes of receiving a $1US donation for each Spartan. If I collect enough to take care of those three needs listed above, then all excess afterwards will be donated to Child's Play.

Hopefully, this way everyone wins. I get some new gear, nobody has to front tons of cash, and if there is any left over it all goes to a good cause!

The Rules
If you leave a note with the donation for a Spartan themed request I'll try and fit it in as soon as I see it and can get to it.
Spartan is more of a theme. If I have to draw 300 Thermopylae ready Spartans I'll go mad. Expect a smattering of sci-fi and other high concept Spartans.
If other artists want to take part in this, contact me and hopefully we'll be able to work something out. To be honest I won't feel completely comfortable accepting help until I've reached a point where all the money is going to charity.
Lastly if nobody is donating, I'll probably keep on trucking with this anyways. Probably.




The man sat in the middle of the room. His solid frame more than filling the chair. A slight red glow from his eyes casting an eerie glow on his face.

"So you all want to learn how to be a destroyer. Well, I don't give classes. There is no training method by which you can become a destroyer. The only way of becoming a destroyer is public knowledge, go into Sardij's tunnels and bathe yourself in the blood of hundreds of dark ones.

Of course, you will die in the process. The only question is whether or not you'll let that keep you down. Stand back up, you're a destroyer. Stay down and you're just another fool looking for glory in all the wrong places.

Personal experience tells me it helps to be a hateful son of a bitch. I held on a damn long time just to spit on the corpse of the bastard that gutted me. On the other hand, whoever you went in as is doesn't mean to shit to who you'll be when you come out. If you ever come back out of that tunnel alive, you'll be a walking mass of emotionless willpower. If that's giving you second thoughts, it's best to just back out now."



Things I Want to do as a Game Designer and Why

Things I want to do:

Build a spaceship simulator that takes into account every physical factor effecting the ship. The pressure in the coolant pipes, the heat of the engines, the resistance of the wires, the wear on the bolts, all of it.

Create a virtual world that draws people in to play a game, but keeps them around to experience the world breathing and changing around them. To have a chance to see their own lives mirrored darkly in the world, and walk away with real emotions, honestly edified by the experience.

To allow others a brief glimpse of the world I see all day, every day.


Because it would be beautiful.


Is This a Poem?

Random Thoughts for Saturday

I've never understood why American television always has to work extra hard to explain everything that is going on it's plot. Even worse when a plot that isn't really trying to be difficult at all seems to leave people in an utter stupor as to what happened and why. Good writing shouldn't have to be explicit to get it's point across, but if the audience can't or won't bridge minor logical gaps it just makes it more difficult on everybody.

"How did they get to the car?" They walked. No seriously, one foot in front of the other. "Why was he there?" Chance. Had an invitation. Happened to be walking by at that moment. Try looking at the contextual clues, was he prepared to be there? Did anybody, oh I don't know, mention his entire reason for being there in a roundabout why?

Probably shouldn't complain, but it's just been that kind of week.


Lessons from the drafts.

Always write the story first and the disclaimer second. Otherwise you wind up with a stub about a story that sounds down right riveting and no memory of what the story actually was.

Before I post this, I feel that this particular story needs some amount of warning. Generally, I'm of the opinion that things should be left with a minimal filter, so I'm going to keep this story as it was originally intended. This means that this story will contain a number of graphic situations, and while I may not go into maximum detail of the situations they will be there. As the story progresses, murder, rape, torture and cannibalism all have roles to play in the overarching story. These are not used for the purposes of titillation or controversy, but rather because the fundamental themes of the story rely on their use to one extent or another. All that being said, I highly recommend you simply not read if you have an active imagination and a weak stomach.


Absence of Equilibrium as Specific Motivation

In competitive or linear games we spend a lot of time trying to create play experience balance for players. The goal is usually to form a sort of equilibrium between the player and their surroundings. We strive to always give them every tool they would need to stand a fair chance during play. This is not true, however, of sand box style simulation games.

Whether you are talking about Football Manager 2010 or Mount and Blade, you tend to experience a near permanent absence of equilibrium. If we take Mount and Blade for a first example, you want to train a troop of tough and elite soldiers however those soldiers cost more in upkeep requiring you to spend more time trying to gather funds. As you go about the activities required to gather funds you will naturally increase the maximum troops you can command, requiring you to train more soldiers, creating more money sucking elites, etc...

There are two tricks to using this that allow it to function without getting on player's nerves. First the imbalance must rotate. Players will see the imbalance and set a goal of fixing it, that goal must be attainable. Instead the new imbalance should be a second order effect of attaining that goal. Second the game must encourage the player to be fundamentally self-motivated. In Football Manager 2010 for instance, if the player desires to go a perfect season, then they will overcome the rotating imbalances in order to achieve that goal. The same would happen if their goal was to become the top team of the top league, though the important imbalances may be different. On the other hand, if the final goal is dictated by the game ahead of time, the imbalances will seem to be little more than an attempt by the designers to be arbitrary and spiteful.


Emotional Ticks

Shame: Expressed chiefly as a desire to distance oneself from those whose opinion matter to you. Avoiding eye contact, covering yourself, trying not to look at someone in case they show signs of agitation. The face may go flush, or might experience a mild case of nausea.

Joy: Expressed primarily through the eyes. Generally an upward tilt to the body as well as an increase in energy. Joy acts as a sort of unbound positivity, causing motion where there is none. Joyous people want to be around others, also preferring to look directly at them when possible.

Disgust: The language of hatred. A tick around the nose, tugging at the upper lip and furrowing the brows. Words tend to be spat out due to both the high emotion and the top lip not closing during full words.


Music For Creative Moodifying

Just some youtube vids of music that can really help get you into the flow.

Nujabes - Mystline

Ennio Morricone FT. Nas - Ecstasy of Gold (Dj Erb)

Grandaddy - Jed's Other Poem (Beautiful Ground)


Hate and Love

"I hate the silence.

The way it crawls in under your skin, working it's way into your bones. Then my muscles start twitching. All the nerves on my spine prodding me about the phantoms watching me from the shadows. Every slight twist in the light, every half heard sound hinting at the existence of something dangerous just beyond my senses.

I'd speak, or hum, or scream, but then I wouldn't be able to hear. Some rational part of my mind chides me for how silly it is, jumping at shadows but refusing to turn on the light. Items and clothing discarded at the very edges of the shadows are functioning as Rorschach tests of my paranoia. Still I can't move, can't make the short trek to the light switch that would act as my salvation.

The tendrils of burning cold fear that had begun at my spine have spread their grasp to the muscles in my arms. Click, it's coming from the window, click, click. Branches I tell myself, my legs paralyzed but their muscles tensed. The silence returns but does not carry my relief. It's only natural, after all, I hate the silence."

"I love the silence.

The world which normally assaults me with all it's Technicolor sights and sounds is left at arms length. Here I am forgotten, alone, left to think without the interruption of the normal world. The silence envelops me, holding me close like a long parted lover.

Everything that I know should be around me has disappeared from my conscious awareness. Whatever may have been necessary out there, is now an afterthought soon cleansed from my mind. Peace. All around me, the gentle peace restores my bonds with that which I left behind in the loud and bright world. Protected by the silence I can let slip the barriers that force me to remain aloof and paralyzed in daily life.

I am relaxed. I am at peace. I love the silence."


April Fools

Is not a day for blog posts that are intended to be serious. So there is going to be a rain check on the one I was working on for today. If you want my idea of an April Fools joke, check the last post about Trekkie crusaders.