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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Yet Another Art Print Purchase

For the past year, whenever I've purchased an art print (essentially, a really expensive poster that needs to be framed), I record my lack of financial responsibility on the blog. That way, when I'm broke, I can look back at my list of extraneous purchases and realize that I'm an idiot.

But I'm an idiot with an awesome piece of art!

I wasn't going to buy it, but then it was like, "free shipping for the next 24 hours!", so I would've been an idiot not to buy it, right?
Something about the geometry of isometric pixel art appeals to me on a very deep level.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Singing in Nier

The town you start in has this amazing music. Crazy mellow stuff. Entirely instrumental.

But, it gets even better when you approach the town's fountain, because Devola is there, belting out tunes that synch right in with the ambient music. And it's good.

Imagine how happy I was to pick up a quest called "The Ballad of the Twins" where my goal was to convince Devola and Popola to sing together. I pretty-much bought Nier because of the music, so the reward for this quest was way better than all the crap the townsfolk were giving me for running their errands.

I was stoked. The journey begins.

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Spawn of Molyjam

So there's this talented developer who says a lot of crazy (randomly insightful) shit:
"Hi! I'm Peter Molyneux!"

And there's this Twitter account that belongs to a fictional, exaggerated version of this talented developer. Basically, someone out-Molyneux'd Molyneux:

Inspired by this mystery genius mimicking another genius, a bunch of dudes got together and said, "Let's do a gamejam where we make these awesome ideas into actual games."

So it happened. It's over. Outside observers had mixed opinions. They probably practice scowling while dropping their deuces.

But, whatever. Look at what the Molyjam has spawned!

(Runs on your browser. Takes about five minutes)

More awesome spawn:

Friday, April 20, 2012

Fishing In Nier

If you've played Nier then the title of this post already caused your eyes to dilate and your sphincter to clench.

You hit a point in the game where you need to get a shaman fish to help ease the pain of your sick daughter, so you go to the docks and this old dude gives you a pole and explains the basics. It all sounds pretty straightforward, and I've been fishing in video games for years, so I'm not that worried. How hard could it be?

Nier isn't, necessarily, a bad game, but the fishing exists on this whole other plane of existence that defies comprehension. It is a shit masterpiece. I'm not going to soil you with details about the tutorial's misinformation, or the absent visual cues, or the Nazi control scheme. Just think of the words: Evil shitty shit shit, while pounding your head into a fucking wall, and you'll have a slightly better experience than I did.

The punchline to this horrible joke is when you discover that the dock where you received your fishing tutorial is the wrong place to fish, and there is a secret beach on the other side of a cave where the shaman fish are hiding.

Hold on. That's not the punchline.
The real punchline is when you visit the coastal town's fish market, and the fishmonger tells you they're out of fish, totally out; and no matter how many days you wait, until that fishing quest is complete, you won't see a single fish at the market, let alone a shaman fish.
I've been playing video games all my life and sometimes I still don't understand them.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Morgopolis Studios Logo

So this took a while.

It's the logo for our little dev team, and I'd like to say that there's a lot of deep, meaningful symbolism going on here, but the conception went more like, "It'd be fucking metal if the griffon was standing on a pile of skulls!" "Yeah!"

I made this guy at 2048x2048 resolution, but the game is 1280x720, and making an image at hi-res and scaling it down is supposed to be the smart way to do things, but all of the cross-hatching and crap is really going to disappear once the size changes.
In that way, it's probably the perfect logo for the company: Way too much effort for very little payoff.

Given the style, I'm hesitant to add color. Like, this is supposed to be hiding in someone's notebook, or something like that.
Also, I'm exhausted with this stupid griffon, so maybe I'll come back to it later and goof around.

Running Errands in Nier

I bought this game because of the music. Looking back, I probably should've bought the soundtrack.

I just completed a quest called "shopping list". It was, literally, a few items you collect for a complete stranger, and nothing else.

Here's some unsettling context: The main character who's running this meaningless errand has a daughter dying from a goofy fantasy disease, and he's the only one who can save her.

I know that it's a long-standing tradition for RPGs to dole out menial tasks to their players, but when you hinge your plot on something as immediate and dramatic as a dying child, maybe 100+ fetch quests isn't the best complement to your game's core plot.
Even the supporting characters know better. After I accepted the so-called quest my travelling companion was, like, "What the fuck are you doing, man? Where are your priorities?"
Plot and gameplay do not exist separate from one another, and Nier is a perfect example of how these two elements can clash. Just because most RPGs have lots of side-quests doesn't mean that every RPG should have lots of side-quests.

Also, what's up with the main character? The guy looks like one of those classic sixteen-year-old save-the-world RPG heroes, only it's thirty years later and the fucker is still wearing the exact same outfit with the exact same hairstyle.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Revenge Solves Everything

Do you know what's better than a revenge story? Nothing!

The whole plague-stricken nightmare fantasy-pseudo-London setting in an open-ended game world backed by developers famous for creating satisfying, non-linear experiences helps, too.

Revenge solves everything. What a great line.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Hack, Slash, Loot

Steam sale. Impulse buy. No research. Big mistake.

I find minimalism aesthetically juicy. Breaking down a system to it's more fundamental elements yet retaining it's functionality appeals to me big time. Hack Slash Loot should be my kind of game for that reason alone. The UI is so direct that you can completely understand it in less than a minute, there are no menus to open, and you have no inventory. Only what you carry. What a bold design!

I approached Hack Slash Loot with my full attention, prepared to work my brain against a challenging low-bit dungeon, which was a mistake. This game is only meant to be played when you're half-asleep, drunk, and a monkey. Hack, slash, and loot, (and move) are literally the only verbs you'll be exercising during play. Once you understand the basics, you've mastered the game. There's no higher tier of play. The only dynamic element of the game that you have control over is your loot, which you can mix and match as you go to better optimize yourself for battle.

Roguelikes have shallow combat almost as a point of pride, but anything would be better than one attack that only varies if you have a different weapon equipped. A special move with a timer. A one-off item. Different combat modes. A fucking dress-sphere. Anything!

There's minimalism, and then there's amputation.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I Hate Grandia

Grandia is a 20-hour game that takes 40 hours to beat.

I Love Grandia

Something like fifteen years ago, I played Grandia. I played the hell out of it, but I never actually reached the end, and that was almost the only thing I could remember about my original playthrough when I picked up the game a few months back and thought, "Sure, why not?"

Saturday, April 7, 2012

More Oraskue

The really scary part is animating this stupid thing.

It's a little monochromatic... Maybe I'll shift the hue a little on the highlights and shadows. That's pretty-much the cheapest way to add color to something like this.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


I've never done this before. I'm taking one of the monsters from M&L, inflating him to four times his original size, and then smoothing him out and adding extra detail. It's a bizarre experience sculpting a low-bit image into something that belongs in a higher resolution. The basic colors are finished on that thing on the left side of the image, and on the right I've just started smoothing out the top set of jaws. It looks like he's emerging from some primordial, 8-bit soup.

After all the pixel smoothing is done I'm going to add extra colors, smooth out the gradients, and put in lots of little details. Oh my god this is going to take forever.