~ For My Regular Readers ~
So, I was trying to make my new logo, because my old one was garbage, but my new one was turning out kind of lackluster.
I ended up scouring the internet for inspiration when I accidentally came across a site that allows you to set up logo design contests, where designers compete to make you a logo and earn your money, and you set your own price. (99 USD minimum)
It's called 48HoursLogo.com
I'm not getting paid for this post. I just think it's an absolutely genius idea, and I want to drive more traffic and attention to it, because as brilliant an idea and service as it is, it's actually really obscure.
After setting up and running my very first contest, I can honestly say it's a great site, and I already have some tips for people who want to use it.
~ For Clients Who Want To Hold Contests ~
The site seems to be full of folks whose first language is not English.... and by that I mean more than average.
I had a handful of designers enter my contest, and not a single one of them had a really good grasp on English. Nor do the site's staff, for that matter.
This wasn't a massive problem, though. I didn't really have too hard a time communicating, as everyone who did end up participating in my contest did at least know how to speak English, or at least could translate it well enough to understand me.
One of the biggest issues I had is that the site does nothing to help new users understand how it goes and what their role is. I had to contact support to get the following instructions.
Here are the stages of a project:
1. Qualifying Stage
This is the stage where designers are able to join and submit entries. It is also in 'Blind' mode, meaning only you and the person who submitted a design can see a design. Every single design is hidden to outsiders to make sure that clients receive unique submissions from all designers participating.
Participants will be able to make revisions and add those in as entries.
During this stage, you will be asked to rate 1-5 stars, or Not Interested, all the submissions you receive over the period of time you set, and leave feedback on them.
2. Finalists Stage
This stage is entered automatically when the time allotted by the client/contest holder runs out. In this stage, no more entries are permitted and no more comments are allowed to be made on entries.
You will be required to select up to 3 finalists who will become the only people you're still able to communicate with, and who will be the only ones still able to submit revisions.
Note: You must select the participant's approved design when picking them as a finalist, that way if they've submitted multiple design styles, or several revisions, they know which one you want them to work on in stage 3.
3. Design Revisions Stage
You are granted more time (I think it's 7 days total) to have your finalists put the polish on their entries. The system no longer allows any new participants, and closes off entries to all but the selected finalists. You will be entirely unable to communicate with the other participants after stage 1 ends. This is automatic. There is no private messaging system, as far as I'm aware, making any further communication with non-finalists impossible. Be careful.
4. Winner Stage
You've selected your winner. All comments are opened back up again, and you can decide to give out participation prizes. During this stage you'll wait for the winner to upload a zip of the design. You then download it and review it. If everything looks in order, you go back to the contest page an click "Confirm". This will pay the prize out to the winner. Important Note: You do not need to wait for the system to move the contest along automatically. From even the first stage, you can declare a victor simply by ticking the box in the corner after clicking on an entry.
5. Post Stage
The site doesn't tell you this, but after the contest is over and you've picked a winner, you can still run through all previous entries and just buy them from their designers, so if you want more than one, you're allowed to take more than one.
Be Nice, Be Fair, Be Legal
The world is full of clients who are insufferable. (ClientsFromHell.net). Don't be a client from hell. Don't steal a participant's design and refuse to pay them for it. Don't be mean to your participants.
It's important that you remain calm and supportive, even when someone is spamming you with entries (I had this happen to me. I went from around 60 entries to nearly 100 thanks to a very enthusiastic, last-possible-minute participant) and especially with communication problems.
It's important not to get a big head. Clients often times forget that these people have lives and feelings, and acting like a tyrannical CEO is going to reflect poorly on you and your entire company.
While hosting my contest, I tried to be as gracious as possible, using language such as:
"I love the font! But would it be possible for you to make <insert change here>?"
"The colors are good. If it's not too much trouble, can you give me <my request>?"
On ones I wasn't too impressed over, I approached them like this:
"<Insert genuine compliment here>. But I'm not sure if <problematic detail> works." This was often met with complete overhauls, or new designs completely.
And when I didn't like the design at all:
"Thank you, but I'm afraid it's not quite what I was looking for."
Tips For Creating A Contest
This is to help you out a little bit based on what I noticed when I had a look around. There are 3 tiers of contest. I'm too lazy to look the official names up, but this guide will help give you an idea.
General Tier: This is a contest for 99 USD. You're likely to wait a while for any entries at first, you're more likely to get fewer entries, and you're likely to get beginners in design.
Pro Tier: This is a contest for 148 USD. You're going to tend to get more attention this way, better designers, and more people interested in joining.
Gold Tier: This is a contest for 198 USD. You're more likely to get entries in the first hour, and attract the site's best designers.
Though it's not official, there is an extra tier, which I'm calling:
Platinum Tier: The site allows clients to put in a custom money amount. So, over 200 USD is what I call platinum. (This is what I did.) You will attract a lot of attention this way, and designers seem to be more willing to work hard to win. You're much more guaranteed to be noticed by the best talents the site has to offer. I ended up with 4 master level designers, and a number of mid tier designers.
You can put out a little extra money to make your contest featured, which will draw additional attention.
But you don't even have to pay if you don't like what you get. There are two sub types of contest:
Non-Guaranteed it means there's no guarantee you'll select a winner to receive money. This will make people more wary of entering, and likely make them work less hard.
Or Guaranteed which will send the message that even if you don't like what you get, you're still going to go through the motions and pay the winner. This will make designers more confident, and more willing to try winning your contest.
I've seen some truly genius logos on this site. And I've had some really good designs entered into my own contest. (I did a platinum, guaranteed, featured contest.)
Reward Non-Finalists With Great Designs
You can actually hand out consolation prizes in the form of Participation Tips. It will cost you a little more money, but it's a nice gesture towards people who tried their hardest, but just fell short of being a finalist in the end.
Tips are in 5 USD amounts, but you can give more than $5 to any given participant.
Example: I looked over the results and collected my top 6 designs. The best 3 went on to become finalists, the 4th place design got $10, the 5th place design got $10, and I gave out $5 to the 6th. After I've selected my winner, the two losing finalists will also receive participation rewards. It costs more money on my part, but it encourages people to want to work for you in the future.
~ For Designers ~
For those interested in joining up as a designer, follow these tips.
The last thing you want to do is make your client mad.
Make suggestions if and where possible, and don't be afraid to enter variations to your work. Sometimes your client won't know what they want, or sometimes you can change their mind a little, or even a lot.
See, the entire reason these people are making contests is because they're not entirely sold on a logo design, and are trust people to help them come up with something. So feel free to dazzle them a little if you can shoulder the work. It might pay off.
Clients have to review and rate every submission they get. Try to limit entries to 4 or 5 at a time. Even if you work quick, they still have to go over your designs and the designs of everyone else, and rate them. Be considerate of their time and mindful of other participants.
It might be tempting to blast out 40 different variations to the same logo, but remember that you might not be the only one doing that. Your 40 might also be stacked onto Edwardo's 10, and Dinkleberg's 7, and IMaekGuudLogoes's 18, making your client's total workload 75 entries.
There's no reason you should do someone's logo for free for 'exposure'. That's a manipulation tactic, and you should never feel pressured to work for free unless you want to. You can walk away from a contest or client at any time. The site will allow you to remove your designs. I had someone submit a design, change their mind, and remove it before I had a chance to look at it. I couldn't view it at any point afterwards.
Don't waste your client's time by not reading the outline. I had one unfortunate participant who gave me really nice logo designs..... for an insurance agency....
To the guy's credit, they would have looked absolutely fantastic on a business card, but for something as titanically important to a company's branding as a game development company's logo? Not a chance. Unfortunately, he didn't follow the contest's design outline, and I had to be that guy by 1 star-ing his submissions and informing him that as much as I could envision his designs on a billboard or business card, I couldn't accept his entries as they didn't even come close to the outline I wrote, the sample logos I selected from the site's own database, or the inspiration pieces I uploaded from my hard drive.
Choosing A Contest Tier
Beginner Level Designer
If you're not so hot at logo design, stick to the Guaranteed, General Tier contests. (Scroll up to the Contest Creation Tips section for more information on my tier rating guide.) Avoid the higher-paying contests, because chances are, you are going to end up trampled by more skilled designers.
Don't try to tackle things that will be more challenging just yet. Indie game development company logos, for example. When it comes to game dev logos, your work is cut out for you in spades. A game dev's logo has to be memorable, striking, and above all else, be easily recognized by sight alone. The logo of a dev is a massively important part of their identity.
I would recommend, if you're just beginning, to look for ones that need only a simple shape with text, or even text only, and go in with a wide variety of different designs.
Medium Level Designer
At an intermediate designer level, you might be able to take part in Gold and Platinum tier contests (Scroll up to the Contest Creation Tips section for more information on my tier rating guide.) I recommend General and Pro Tier.
But know that if you participate in big prize contests, there's a very good chance you'll be up against people well above your skill level.
Feel free to choose between guaranteed and non-guaranteed, because if you know a little more about what you're doing, you have a better chance of not completely wasting your time.
Even if you go into a larger prize contest, don't be afraid to still give it your all, because some clients may give out participation rewards.
Expert Level Designer
You'll want to hang around the guaranteed Pro Tier contests, and try your hand at Gold and Platinum, whether guaranteed or not. (Scroll up to the Contest Creation Tips section for more information on my tier rating guide.)
The more risks you take, the more likely you are of nailing a win, or getting personally invited to a contest. Clients, if they want someone to enter their contest, can send an invite, so even if you fail 10 times out of 10, you'll still be building a portfolio and draw attention.
At this level and above, you should be able to safely tackle game developer logos. Keep in mind that if that's a thing you're interested in doing: a game dev logo is a beast all its own. I've found that normal logo rules don't apply to game dev logos. This kind of logo can be virtually anything as long as it's memorable and easily identified at a glance.
I'm not kidding, either. There are a number of video game companies I've never known the name of, but I can recognize their symbol anywhere.
Example: Infogrames. I can never remember their name, but their armadillo is unmistakable.
-Psygnosis. By the end of today, I'll forget their name, but I will always be able to point to their striking, signature owl and tell you they make games.
Master Level Designer
Look for those big prizes in guaranteed contests, and maybe take a crack at Pro Tier ones. (Scroll up to the Contest Creation Tips section for more information on my tier rating guide.) You're not going to get as much, but you might not have as much competition
Just remember to give it your all, because you'll often find yourself up against other people who are good at design, and all want that prize money too. Maybe (if you're allowed, I don't know if it will let you do it) if you're feeling confident, (or desperate) throw your hat into more than one contest and increase your chances of winning.
Know The Silhouette Test
Character design and logo design are two very different things, but the concept still applies. The Test
Logos need to look good and recognizable in color, in black and white, and in silhouette. If the logo has a character in it, make sure they have a design and pose that looks good in silhouette form.
Calculate Your Risk Carefully
The site's system does keep track of how many contests you've entered, how many times you've been a finalist, and how many times you've won, and clients can see that information. If you throw yourself into a thousand contests, but never become a finalist once, that's going to show.
All three of the finalists in my contest have finalist numbers like 70, 277, and 634, and have wins in the 20s to 40s, as well as nearly flawless ratings of 98%, 99%, and 99%. And that stuff is easily discovered on your profile, so make sure you're not forging a terrible reputation.
Keep An Eye On Time
As mentioned in the contest making tips section, contests progress automatically. You will not be allowed to submit entries after the timer on stage 1 of the contest has run out.
I had one unfortunate participant who decided to upload a work in progress in the very last hour of the contest, and he didn't make it in time. Sadly, I can't give him more time, even though I would have liked to. His design had turned out promising.
Once the system moves into stage 2, it's too late. If you're not among the three finalists, the contest ends for you. Only finalists can continue interacting and submitting enties. I can't even tell the guy "Hey, sorry... you ran out of time. I didn't cut you off on purpose." because it cuts off comments to all but finalists, and there is no PM system, from what I can see.
Protip: Never give yourself only an hour or even a day to enter a contest, especially not one with 50 to 100 entries and 8 or more participants already submitted. And double especially when the contest cuts off automatically.
You want to hit a contest as soon as possible, and start working on revisions as soon as you can. The longer you wait, the further behind you drop. The early bird catches the finalists slot, because the early bird has more time to work and impress the client.
If a contest says: Started 6 days ago, Entries: 80, I recommend giving it a pass. Even if you think you're a shoo-in to beat the other designs (which are hidden to all but the client, by the way) you never know if the client is asleep or not, so you never know if you'll get a chance to make revisions in time.
Don't Hold A Grudge Over Cutoffs
If you do get cut off by the system, don't hold it over your client. I had no way of extending the time. I had set the maximum possible time of 7 days, and he entered within the last hour. If I could have given him more time, I would have. But the cutoff is a hard cutoff, and I couldn't. I wasn't even permitted to put out personalized "Hey, better luck next time" messages before selecting my finalists. The system (probably to prevent begging and pleading) slams the door to everyone and demands you pick finalists the moment the allotted time hits 0. After that, you can only communicate with whoever you've named a finalist, and only after you have named them a finalist.
There might be a way to extend the time, but it's not made clear how to if there is, and no doubt it would cost money, and I'm not paying extra for tardiness.
Don't Beg To Be A Finalist
I had someone beg a number of times to be a finalist, but the unfortunate thing was: he was a last minute entry. I had already spent all week working with other, very skilled designers and hammered out some really good designs that I liked. By the time he had come in, I already had my three finalists picked out, and in order to beat them and usurp a finalist position from one of them, he would have needed an extra day or two.
Moral of the story: He came in late, likely knew he didn't have enough time to get his design finished up, and tried begging his way into a finalist slot to give himself more time. Unfortunately, the participants had their fingers on a finalist position were already way ahead of him, already had refined their designs down to where I could no longer knit pick even small details, (they all entered in the first and second days) and were simply waiting for the next stage to come.
Had he been on time, he likely would have gotten his design in order, and likely could have taken a finalist slot, because his design wasn't all that bad, it was just not yet finished.
~ Flaws ~
This is for my usual readers who aren't already familiar with the site.
There is one tragic, glaring flaw, and it's the reason I wrote this tips post: the site communicates nothing to its users. It doesn't tell you what to do during your contest, it doesn't tell you what the referral system is for, it doesn't tell you in advance that only finalists get to keep talking to you...
It does have a few instructions, but those aren't explained in depth, and as far as I've seen, it only directs you through setting up your contest. Running it, you're on your own.
As I said, in order to get the Contest Structure tips posted near the top, I had to contact support.
It's also lacking a PM system meaning communication outside a contest is impossible, it has limited contest entry filter options, and doesn't even allow you to hide non-finalist entries when you get to the finalists stage.
It's not so bad in small contests, but when you have 107 entries and 3 participants going "revision of number <X>" and they're ordered either by rank or ascending/descending Date Submitted, it can be hard to locate a specific number belonging to a specific person. Order By Number and Group By User would have been very handy.
They also lack a 'filter by new comments' option, meaning that I had to scroll through all 100 submissions to make sure I didn't miss a comment by the uploader, because you have to click the submission to see the comments, and the only way to know it has a new comment on it is on the thumbnail itself. You get no notification otherwise, and the indicator is tiny and easy to miss.
I made suggestions to their support team for ways to improve the site, but the first email went entirely ignored, even though I asked how to submit suggestions and was told to use the contact form.
It has no "compare" feature, so when someone uploads a small modification to a design, it can be hard to tell what had changed and by how much. I had a lot of people who would decide to make a change to a design just on their own, and it made it kind of a pain to go about comparing them to find out what the change was without asking, and I was hesitant to ask about changes due to the aforementioned language barrier.
It's a bit of a pain. The service is still functional, though.
(I think I know why communication outside contests is impossible: it cuts out the possibility for begging for free logos and stops contest losers from harassing/intimidating clients for not selecting them as finalists/winners... but I don't know... it's frustrating to not be able to say encouraging words to those who don't quite make it to the finals.)
~ The One Smart Choice ~
The one and only smart choice they made was allowing their site to use notifications (at least on Firefox, anyway). Any time a submission is uploaded to my contest, my browser pops up an alert, even if I don't have 48HoursLogo open in a tab.
If I click that notification, it will bring me straight to my contest page. It made lightning quick responses to entries quite possible and very easy.
~ Signing Up ~
Sign-up is totally free. Need a logo? Go give it a shot! It offers no-risk options, (though that's kind of a dick move...) and unlimited revisions at no extra cost. (I feel guilty about making people do an excessive amount of work, though)
They also do brand identity, too!
I'm not getting paid or even rewarded to write this or promote the site, I just think it's a genius resource, and would like to direct more traffic to it, help out fellow indies, and want see more like it pop up.
I could really use the same kind of service for video game music composition. It's too hard to wade through the garbage to find the real talent, and it has already cost me over $1000 looking.
It would be nice to put it to a contest for it. It would save me some hassle with searching and contacting, it would save me some money (my principles won't allow me to refuse someone payment for their work, even if I can't use their work), and competition breeds excellence, so I'm bound to get some real talent.
I'm getting really sick of people with amazing music portfolios who flop when I hire them, and then demand more money from me to fix it.
One for textures and such would be useful, too. (If I had the money for such a thing, I'd design my own ultimate indie game project resource site themed on 48HoursLogo's system, but sadly, I'm a broke-broke...)
If someone has the resources to build such a site and decides to do it, do let me know. I'll support the shit out of it.
And if you do sign up to 48HoursLogo... *cough* put me down as a referral. Username Bastendorf. *cough* (no idea what I get for referrals, because the site doesn't tell users anything at all... but it's an option that's there, so why not? I'll update if someone puts me as a referral and I'm able to figure out what it does for me.)
Update: I've completed stage 4 and added a stage 5 to the contest creation tips in the contest processes.
I've also figured out what the referrals do. They allow the person you've marked as your referral... person... to have one free featured contest. (Usually making your contest featured costs $19 in addition to the cost of the prize money) Once my contest had officially ended and the winner been paid, they emailed me information about the referral system.
Today is not a good day for... I don't know, anything at all?
The best way I can convey what I mean is with an example. Often times while I'm working, I'll need to looks something up. I do boatloads of research that I use in my material: writing, drawing, video games. I want to know how specific things work or worked, or sometimes I just go for a little inspiration.
In this instance, I had been looking for a Lord of the Rings wiki, because usually fan wikis are more helpful and thorough than Wikipedia, and when it comes to RPG and high fantasy, it's kind of hard not to look towards one of the kings of high fantasy.
It took me a whole minute sitting on my web browser to remember what I was supposed to be doing. It was after a short struggle that I remembered I wanted to look some features of Lord of the Rings up, but it took an additional 20 to 40 seconds of time for me to remember what Lord of the Rings was called. I could remember characters, and scenes from the movie, but the name of one of the most innovative and influential movies in cinema totally evaded me very briefly.
You'd think that once I had the name, I'd be all set to go, but no. I typed "Lord of the Rings" into the search bar and hit enter, and was confused as to why I wasn't seeing what I felt like I should be seeing. I saw the IMDb and the Wikipedia entry, but I couldn't shake the feeling that I wasn't after those. I just couldn't remember what it was. Long story short, it probably took a total of 5 minutes for me to remember I had to type "Lord of the rings wiki" specifically, and clumsily stumble my way, one detail at a time, to a fan wiki page, simply because I'd forget what I was doing in the space of a few seconds. I'm a little more awake now than I was when I was trying to internet easlier, but whatever system is intended to run the memory center of my brain is clearly lacking the energy to do so. My short term memory is kind of shot at the moment and it's making work very difficult.
As a direct result of constantly forgetting what I'm supposed to be doing, I've had more time to think. Sort of. It's a very fragmented think, and a very forgetful think, but it is a think no less.
And the brain child of probably way too long a time spent thinking about very little is what I might end up doing if I get off my ass and finally start to pursue making comics.
This is a thing I remembered I want to do. See, I realized blogs benefit from having images or other break points, just so that it's not a massive, unbroken wall of text. It makes it easier for people to stop and come back later, because the images or markers act as kind of a checkpoint, helping to make picking it back up after doing something else much quicker.
However, I'm not always so good at picking images that relate, even when my mind is working somewhat normally, so this is all you get. Hey, at least it's tangentially relevant to the topic, right?
A while back, I did a procrastinate. And in this procrastinate, I decided I'd blog about a childhood dream of mine.
Bastendorf The Comic Book Maker
I'll summarize just for those who don't have the time to read two blogs in a day: when I was a very young, impressionable child, I had a great desire to draw comics. I've always been a game developer first and foremost, but my dream was to do comics as a hobby.
I never really had any ideas, because I was an idiot kid and spent entirely too much time fantasizing about how awesome I would be in the future, and little to no time working to be awesome, or writing and creating stories to fulfill becoming awesome.
It's why well into High School I still sort of drew like a small boy. It wasn't until I was half way through high school that I realized I was wasting my time waiting to just become awesome through the magic of adulthood. Probably because I had always had it hammered into my head that things would suddenly change when I hit college. "Everything will be different in college, just you wait. But you got to stick through K through 12 to get there." It's what I had always been told. I guess I always treated it as some rite of passage, that I'd just reach college and suddenly now I'm a man, a man, man, man!
PSA: If you have children, or are a middle school, or high school student, please listen to me: If you or your child/children want to get into arts and design, such as acting, drawing, writing, game development, etc, do not allow yourself/them to believe college will be where everything magically changes. I found out the hard way that college is no different from any other school year. There is no magic. All that awaits you/them in college is debt. There isn't a single solitary thing college can teach you about art and design that they you/they can't learn simply through practice and the internet. Don't wait/let them wait until college. Start now. Right now. The sooner you/they start learning and practicing their/your craft, the better off they/you will be. I took art classes 3 years out of middle school, 4 years out of high school, and 1 in between class for a week. I didn't learn a good god damn thing. I learned more in one year on Youtube than those 7 years of art in school. Don't make or let your children make the mistake I made.
Not a day goes by that I don't regret not starting work towards my career a decade sooner than I did. That is and always will be the biggest regret of my life.
Anyway, hobby in comics...
In my memory-of-a-goldfish state, I started thinking about what I could write as a more serious comic. (As a kid, I did some comics. But they were all dumb. Really funny if you share my sense of humor, but still dumb.)
In my previous blog post (linked above) I said I might do something with superheroes. I don't think I'm clever enough for that. I am a stupid man, I'm a stupid man! A stupid man, a stupid man, I am a stupid man!
Dave Bulmer's little self-deprecating song doesn't seem to have the same charm in text form...
Irrelevant, I guess.
It occurred to me that since Marvel are currently hell bent on destroying superheroes as a genre, maybe it's not worth struggling to learn to write them. Maybe I'll just avoid the mess that superheroes in general are currently becoming.
If you haven't seen this yet (lucky you), above is a completely unedited screenshot from an actual comic, actually made and printed by the actual Marvel. It's from the 4th issue of Marvel’s comic series Angela Queen of Hel.
Yeah, that's not a sinking ship I'm eager to board.
Instead, I might focus on a different idea. One I can't really explain in even minute detail because there are thieves every 40 feet. Disclaimer: I'm not saying you might.... well, actually... I guess that is what I'm saying. You never know who you can trust. One of my readers may end up stealing my idea, or maybe someone new will show up, see the idea, and walk off with it. I guess the takeaway from this botched disclaimer is: don't take it as me accusing any one of you directly as definitely being thieves, just that I'm saying that there might be one among my readers in general.
But in addition to using my time to think and having a change of concept, I realized I have a few gigantic problems.
Here's a giant one: I can't draw humans to save a burning orphanage full of children.
If the only thing standing between those children and being burned alive is me drawing an accurate human, I'm afraid Little Orphan Annie is straight up boned.
Cover your ears and try to tune out the screams, because it's not going to be pretty when the flames reach those kids...
Now, in my defense, I hadn't been using any guides. (Construction lines like shown here.) And I was really rushing when I did Sir Arthur (in the color image above.)
If I really took my time at it, and did all the things I should have done (construction lines, references, pre-sketch, etc) I probably could have done a lot better. But still only marginally.
(Like I said, those orphans are pretty screwed....)
The second problem is quite a bit bigger. I need one of these things:
This is called a pen tablet, for those who don't keep up with the technical crap that goes along with being an artist.
A pen tablet is basically a digital sheet of paper: an electronic device you can draw on.
I already have one, and it's trash. It's breaking like hell, it's small as hell, and the screen is a subtly more red hue than my PC screen, meaning all color is slightly, but very noticeable off.
How did I break it? No idea. Cracks just started forming in the plastic. In fact, it wasn't even in good shape when I bought it brand new. The sheet that makes up the screen had been slightly drooping right out of the box.
Why is the screen reddish? I haven't a clue. It's just like that. And I've tried and tried to adjust the colors on the display options to compensate for the excess red. It's just not possible.
Recently, some kind of residue got under the plastic... glass... whatever it is that covers the screen, so there are these big, ugly blotches. I'd likely just be able to take it apart to clean this strange residue (probably dust) but I'm afraid taking it apart will make the cracks even worse, and I'd rather have a dirty, working tablet than a clean, non-working tablet.
Also there's a small cluster of pixels in the screen that don't work. Not sure if it was like that when I got it, or if it got that way shortly after. Pixels that don't work are kind of hard to notice at first.
The pen is also a little slow. It seems to have a very slight, but definite delay, and it does quickly add up. If I move quickly enough, the cursor can end up being whole seconds behind, and it gets worse when I'm using more complicated brushes.
Apparently my model was such a crappy model, they discontinued it only 5 months after I bought mine. Gee, thanks Wacom. Fantastic! It only cost me 2 grand. Pocket change to a peasant like me! It's not like I'm poor or anything!
Long rant short: I need a new one. But they're really expensive. Can I draw with pen and paper? Yes. Am I any good? Absolutely not. How much worse could I possibly be? Oh you have no idea... I have big, clumsy hands and no artistic talent, and not being able to undo on a piece of paper is a nightmare. (No, erasers aren't good enough.)
I could try to crowd fund a new one, and having a better tablet would not only improve my digital art, it would also improve my ability to develop games, because I would no longer have to rely on my junk tablet, or try to draw with my mouse, which would help with textures and models (And save time moving the window back and forth to compensate for the reddish tint it has...) Pixel art might even be able to benefit from a pen. I did notice that back when I did pixel art with my tablet, it did go faster...
But I honestly don't think that endeavor would go too well. I have few people even following my content, and out of you guys, even fewer will be able to afford to help me much, or even want to help me. Kind of hard to afford something so expensive with such little support.
Here's another big ol problem!
No way in hell I could do something remotely that detailed. The amount of backbreaking hours this image had to take... And I know who this guy is, and I know for a fact he did the whole thing by hand on paper, first in pencil, then ink, then paint for the shading. I know it because that's what he does and he's amazing and I'm not and I suck.
The idea I have would require maybe not as much detail as Mark Crilley's sexy, sexy image there, but it would require a lot of detail. And I'm too trash at art and too lazy to put that much effort in, but at the same time, I'm too principled to take the easy, quick way out by just avoiding adding backgrounds into my comics and manga-level simplifying things down.
"But Bastendorf, if you have such a negative attitude, you'll never be able to do it." No, I really, genuinely can't do that kind of thing. I'm just not creative enough.
How I decorate a house: "Ok, so it has a chair... a coffee table... and a tv. There! Look, I made a house! Mom, put it on the fridge!" (My mom never put my art on the fridge. Probably because I was always exceptionally shit at it...)
Another reason I can't do it is my extreme obsessive compulsive perfectionism.
Anecdote: There was this one time I was drawing an image digitally, and I remember having spent hours getting things just right, only to realize way too late that I'm sitting there erasing, redrawing, and carefully perfecting the god damn construction lines! I had to have spent at least three hours heavily scrutinizing and adjusting temporary line work no one would even end up seeing! "Oh noes, I didn't fully erase that temporary line that I'll ultimately end up just hiding or deleting later. I can still ever-so-faintly see one or two of the pixels of it if I go up to 2000% zoom! I must fix this right away!" < Slight dramatization, but completely accurate to what I end up catching myself doing all the time.
Actually, now that I think about it, that's probably a major contributor in why I tend not to draw construction lines. Just the absurd amount of time I spend needlessly trying to make them look better.
Anyway, the point to that anecdote was to underline how long it would take me to do something like Mark Crilley does, simply because I can't overcome my compulsion to get as perfect as possible even the most trivial of things.
And now I have to question why I'm even making this post.
Oh yeah... because I honestly can't get any work done due to forgetting every few seconds what my plans are, and decided my time would be better spent ranting in a post as a thinly veiled disguise to a half hour of berating myself on my blog over my failures at pretty much everything I do. And also specifically so I had an excuse to make a throwaway stab at Marvel over how badly they're screwing up as of late.
I spent half an hour writing and proofreading this entire post just so I could make a snarky quip about the rapid collapse of a once-great comic book industry giant.
It was totally worth it.
I was talking to a friend about a dream I had last night, simply due to how meta it was. I dreamt I ran into a lady that seemed familiar to me, only to quickly realize she seemed familiar to me because I had run into her in a different dream years ago. And I came to that realization while still in last night's dream. I somehow had the cognitive awareness to not only realize I had dreamt about this woman, one I have never met in reality, before, but to also recall that dream vividly, while still in my dream. I'm actually amazed and frightened that something that meta actually happened to me.
I tend to be skeptical, logical, and apply reason to try and explain away paranormal events, but every so often I come across something in a dream that really stands out, something that makes me wonder if there's more to it. And of all the things that have stood out in my dreams, this event stands out the most.
I have had a dream within a dream before, and I have had dreams where I've realized I'm in a dream, but never have I ever vividly recalled a separate dream I really did have while in a dream, before now.
But anyway, this isn't about that. Nor is this a very serious post. I'm simply making it to share kind of a weird quirk I've noticed about myself as a result of this dream.
I frequently dream I have incredible supernatural powers. By now, I've run most of the gauntlet of classics. I've had flight, which actually seems to have relative development, first starting out as not really being able to fly, but the more I've dreamt the power to fly, the more control I have over it. In the second one where I had the power to fly, it had developed to where I could sort of hover a short distance if I concentrated. The next time, I was able to fly at will and for prolonged periods, even suspend myself in the air, but I could sense I still needed practice. And in last night's dream, I had mastered it enough to pull off mach flight at will.
I've had the typical super strength, I've had super speed, I've have psychokinesis (the ability to lift objects with my mind), I've had numerous illusion abilities including making myself imperceptible to people, there have been multiple dreams were I had the power to manipulate people with mental suggestion, there was a dream where I had a severely underutilized time control power, and I call it underutilized because the only thing I did with it was create a pocket of reversed time around a trail of ants, forcing them back into their anthill in reverse.
In one dream, I had the power to construct mini parallel universes. On three separate occasions I've been able to Kamehameha. (And let me tell you, it's one of the most awesome things ever, to be able to actually do that, even if it's just in dream form.) I was a werewolf in one a long time ago. In another dream I had god-like power, and in a somewhat recent dream, I actually was a god. Albeit a lesser one who was part of a small collective of lesser gods. (By 'lesser god' I mean that we were a divine beings weaker than typical Greek gods, but much stronger than angels.)
In last night's dream, I could fly, as I mentioned, and seemed to have the power to manipulate people with psychic suggestions and illusions. I gave my friend all these details as I told about the dream. In it, I was in a library, and this high school girl was sitting at a table, coloring. I can't remember exactly what she did, but she was acting like a bitch, so when she wasn't looking, I grabbed a hand full of her markers. She had a friend with her who noticed markers were missing, their first reaction being to suspect me. The friend said something like "You can't take something that's not yours." and I told her something to the effect of "I really don't have to give a shit." Walked out of the library, and that's when I my dream self revealed I had the power of mach flight.
As I was telling my story, I started to realize a trend with myself. In all the dreams I've ever had some form of super natural power, I'm a complete dick.
Mind you, not all of my dreams feature me as something special. I have 4 typical dream styles. (Used to have 5. 6 if you count nightmares). Type 1, I'm my normal self, doing something that usually makes absolutely no sense. 2, I'm playing some kind of video game. 3, I'm a super being of some kind. 4, I'm at school, as my normal self, either returning to school years later, or still taking high school. 5, the door. (I'll have to go into more detail about dream type 5 tomorrow, if I remember.) I pretty much never have nightmares anymore, so 5 and 6 are only in past tense, which I'm glad for. Especially when it comes to type 5....
However, the super-being dreams have all had one thing in common (aside from me having one or more powers or abilities at my disposal, obviously). In them, I'm usually extremely aggressive and angry, either silently daring the people around me to give me a reason to unleash my super fury on them, or I'm actively doing something to someone with my powers.
In no other kind of dream am I like this. I'm not even like that in real life. But when it comes to my super-being dreams, I always range from being in a mildly dark and fowl mood, to silently seething, constantly on the verge of just slaughtering the next person who so much as rubs me the wrong way.
Though, I guess it is worth noting that I don't always do asshole things to people in these dreams. Sometimes nothing really comes about, and I just end up going through whatever I'm up to in the dream huddled in anger and loathing. And it's also worth pointing out that any time I do end up being a dick to someone, they always did something to at least sort of deserve it first.
For example, in the one where I had super strength, I was walking a long and someone jumped out from behind a bush and started attacking me with this chain he had. I grabbed him by the collar and through him 10 feet through a window.
In the werewolf one, some little fat kid was annoying me, despite being a large wolf creature. This one was quite a while ago, so I can't remember what he was doing, but I think it had something to do with how much he was talking. Either way, I cut off his ability to inhale any air, which was something I was able to do for some reason, and suffocated him to death.
In the ones I fired the Kamehameha, the first one was a guy who had been robbing my house. (The look on his face as I was charging up was priceless.) the second time has been a group of burglars in my house, this time armed with knives. And the final time had been a mugger in an alley. Weird that all three of those dreams took place at night and had me using a stupidly-powerful ability on ordinary people, all three of which were criminals trying to rob me at the time. I wasn't even going through a phase where I was worried I was going to get robbed, nor had I seen Dragon Ball Z around that time, so I haven't a clue where they all came from, and why I had only 3 of them so close to each other, and then for them to just stop.
And as described in this last one, I stole some girl's markers because she was being rude or something like that. I was actually working my way back into the library to steal more after I had flown off, too, but got distracted by the dream-hopping lady, and in the process I crossed the dreams which caused a rift in the space-sleep continuum, and caused me to wake up.
I guess there's a limit to how self-aware a dream can get before it collapses from being too meta.
Anyway, sorry. I like to share my dreams sometimes, because I frequently have really entertaining dreams. Especially the ones where I have some kind of super power, and even more so the ones where I use those powers to do really stupid, petty things... like stealing someone's markers.
I was suspended from Twitter, as you may have found out.
What did I do? As soon as the lock was lifted, I tweeted at Jack Dickless (@Jack) and told him he wasn't going to stop me from saying the word 'faggot' so he either had to suspend me or get over it.
Heh, inadvertently admitting, in the process, that he can't get over it. I'm enjoying this far too much.
Am I bothered? Devastated? Sorry? Nope.
I'm going to try to get the suspension overturned by saying it's a homophobic microaggression to suspend me, just because if it succeeds it will piss Jack Dickless off and I'd love that far too much to miss that opportunity. But if I can't, oh well.
What this means and what to expect:
Nothing. This will in absolutely no way effect my ability to develop games. In fact, it has only emboldened me to make my games even more awesome. I got some inspiration from two little-known games I've only just recently found out about, and until this suspension I was leaning more on discarding that inspiration. But now? Now I'm all in.
Actually, I'm hoping the Streisand Effect will push more people in my direction over this.
Expect me to continue completely hindered. In fact, with Twitter no longer distracting me for the time being, I can focus even more on my work, and with this new determination, expect even better things to come.
If you want to keep up with me, I'll still be posing here. (Being suspended on Twitter is exactly why I created this blog. I knew this day was coming.) Or, you can follow me on Minds or Gab. I'm far less active over there than I was on Twitter, but feel free to come say something to me.
Gab.ai (I'm liking the extended characters, so I may gradually start to become more active there.)
Minds.com (I'm still getting the hang of the systems on Minds, and probably won't use it as much, since I already have Weebly to act as my blog, and Weebly is greatly more customizable.
In fact, if you're a fellow developer or a sprite artist, feel free to share your work with me over on either of those platforms, and I'll re-share your stuff.
If you want to support me on my projects, I'll be reconstructing my old Patreon page to better reflect my current projects and skill level, and my current needs. But first I need a new... company name, for lack of a better word, and a new logo. Now that I feel less inadequate as a dev, I'll be putting more effort into making my Patreon easier to find.
Don't go looking for it yet, because you might not find it. It's not under my typical user name of BastendorfGames. I never was a fan of the "<Name> Games" shtick as a company/brand name. It works as a username, but I'm aiming a little more professional on my branding, and grew kind of tired of my old brand name (the one that was on my Patreon.)
That should have been finished by now, actually. I do already have an idea for a name and logo, but I've been having way too much fun creating stuff for my games. I just haven't had the time to work on the logo much.
I'll make another post when I'm ready to link my Patreon.
From here on out, things are going to be.... Slightly Awesome.
If you got that semi-reference, you win nerd points, by the way. Totally a clue for the inspiration source.
I was having a discussion with my friend/co-developer, and we were talking about Undertale, a game he enjoyed, but I hate. I think it's time I put that hate to paper. Digitally....
Warning: this is going to get a little vulgar, so if you're a puritan and have a problem with that.... well, too bad. My media isn't designed for puritans.
The art style to Undertale, and mechanical expertise are nice, and the music is amazing. I can't get enough of Megalovania. But the charm falls apart once you start to really think about what the game is: a massive, self-indulgence hipsterfest.
"Oh my Goed, we're always told to kill, and we always obey without even asking why. Oh my Goed, maybe violence isn't the answer. Maybe we can solve every problem with a hug and a kiss. Look how deep, thoughtful, and introspective I am! *Fap fap fap fap* Oh Yeah! I'm so fucking deep! *Fap fap fap fap* Call me moral, bitch! That's what I like!"
It's pretentious bullshit, and other pretentious, pseudo-intellectual wankers are constantly lapping up that pompous facial and begging for more. Now, I'm not saying that if you enjoyed the game, you're necessarily bad. Let me get into it, and see if you start to see my position. Maybe you'll change your opinion of the game.
Undertale, if you haven't played it and never heard of it, revolves around giving you the choice to kill the 'monsters', or to spare them, because they're all misunderstood. They're all super nice, and best friends forever and they all want to be your best friend. Seriously, what the fuck is this? Sesame Street? Dora The Explorer?
"Swiper, no swiping!" "Oh, ok. I'm sorry about that."
Why is it a problem? Because not every monster or unnatural creature is going to be your best friend forever just because you choose not to kill them. Undertale is deceptive because all the monsters are sentient in some way, and can be reasoned with.
And by that, I mean there are no insentient creatures attacking you out of fear, or trying to kill you for food, or just being territorial and trying to kill you because you're in their territory, or trying to kill you just because they perceive you as a threat, or trying to kill you for no other purpose than to show dominance by making and example out of you.
Lions, for example, will kill other animals simply for overstepping certain boundaries. I remember seeing an animal documentary where this small mammal critter was pestering a bunch of lions. I think it was some kind of small monkey, or similar. It would sneak up and pull a lion's tail, or poke one, and then go running away. The lions menaced it, trying to scare it away, but it was bold and kept pestering the them, evidently part of some kind of game. Eventually, the leader decided he'd had enough, chased down the little animal, caught it, and killed it. He held the carcass in his mouth a moment, as if showing the other creatures that he wasn't going to tolerate that kind of behavior from the others, but he didn't eat it. He just kind of abandoned the body and went back to laying in the sun, back over with the others.
Another thing is that all the Undertale monsters you fight are the same. They don't really want to kill you. There are no Negans or Governors among them.
What is a Negan or Governor?
Well, for those of you who don't know anything about the Walking Dead, this is going to be a spoiler-free explanation.
Phillip 'The Governor' Blake (the dude in the eye-patch) is a cold, broken man. He has a really big problem going on with him, and though I can't reveal what it is, it makes him into an obsessive, controlling, and dangerously deadly person.
Negan, well he's a vicious pack leader who only cares about his own, and will step on literally anyone it takes to protect his own, and protect himself. (Man, explaining characters as complex as these two without spoiling anything is hellishly hard.)
How do two characters from the Walking Dead relate to Undertale, RPGs, and video games in general? Because Negan and Phil are both sociopaths. They... damn it, I really can't make this point without spoiling things.
****WALKING DEAD SPOILER SECTION****
Alright, from this point on, it will be free spoiler season, so if you haven't watched the Walking Dead, then skip all of the red text. And for those of you who have already watched a good portion of it, I'll only be spoiling the Governor, so if you haven't seen up to Negan, you don't have to worry. There will be no further warning.
Rick and the others find out the hard way that letting the Governor live was a mistake. When they cross him, and piss him off, he swears an unending vendetta. They beat him. They win, and they let him live. The smarter thing would have been to kill him when they could have, or hunt him down and kill him later, but they don't. He gets away.
While everyone thinks it's over, he wanders aimlessly, with no purpose. He finds a family that needs him, and a girl that reminds him of his daughter. He's getting things back on track finally. He's turned over a new leaf. He's a good guy. Right? Wrong. We find out he's the same son of a bitch he always was, still willing to step on anyone it takes to get his way.
Then, the girl dies and then he goes right back to being the same old, insane governor. He shows back up at the prison Rick is staying at, with a tank and a small army. Rick and the others try their hardest to talk him down and try to take the Passivist Run, inviting him and the others to stay at the prison with his group. And Phil agrees and becomes their best friend forever, and they get to eat chocolate cake and they all get the good ending, right?
Wrong. He kills Hershel because Rick refuses to surrender and evacuate. The Governor attacks Rick and company, and completely demolishes the prison forcing everyone to scatter. A lot of people are killed off, the prison is left in ruin, and it all could have been avoided if they had just killed him when they had him on the ropes.
Don't worry, though. Like I said, I won't be touching Negan. Not even the stuff the internet has already ruined. Besides, explaining his character would take way too long.
****END OF SPOILER SEASON****
Both Negan and the Governor will kill whoever it takes to get what they want. You can't just chant "Swiper, no swiping" three times and they'll leave you alone.
And that's the problem with Undertale. I've never played it, and I have no plans to because I hate that "play a minigame to score a hit" type of mechanic, and I never play bullet hell gamesm so I can't really pick any character out of the bunch to use as an example, but considering you can complete the game without killing anyone means that no one is a truly selfish asshole. No one distrusts you, or genuinely doesn't like you. In fact, the main character.... what the hell's his name? Chara.... really? That's it? The main character is named after one of the abbreviated forms of 'character'?
Whatever... what I was saying was Chara is actually kind of a Mary Sue. One trait of the Mary Sue Character is the ability to befriend anyone, including their greatest enemy. Chara does just that.
There are no truly bad people in the whole game. No one that doesn't like Chara. No Negans, no Governors, no Sephiroths, no Kefkas, no Light Yagamis, no Jokers, no Count Draculas, no Yoshikage Kiras, no Sasuke Uchihas. No one who will do whatever it takes, and step on anyone it takes to achieve their goal, be it power, survival, justice, change, greatness, or just shameless, twisted, self-gratification.
Not every villain has to be flash and flare like Dr. Robotnik/Eggman, or obvious like Victor Von I'mNotTheBadGuyISwear, or literally look like Satan and be named Sinestro. But the problem I have with Undertale is that it tries to push the "kindness solves all problems" shtick, and since everything works out absolutely fine and dandy, and everyone is Chara's best friend by the end, it just comes off being grotesquely pretentious.
Ok, yes, I get it. It's inspired by Earthbound where enemies are effected by some kind of madness, and most of the living enemies are either 'defeated' or simply 'return to normal' after you beat the ever loving hell out of them.
No one actually ends up dying as far as I can remember. Except maybe Giygas. But in Earthbound, it's done right.
Enemies are spared, yes. Some of them. Others, ones that aren't organic, explode into pieces upon being slain, or fall apart, or otherwise die in some way. You can't even spare Giygas, because he... it... has become too powerful and destroyed its own mind, becoming more of a formless, abstract, dark energy hell bent on killing you. By the time you fight it, Gyigas is just raw madness, and you can't reason with madness. The essence of madness is anti-reason. You can't be insane and still be reasonable, and you can't be beyond reason without being in a type of insane state. They are polar opposites of each other. So if Gyigas could still be reasoned with, the end of Earthbound would have broken my suspension of disbelief and wrecked the moment in its entirety. And a moment that powerful needed to be left exactly the way it was.
I felt feels during that battle, and having some Captain Planet tier morality bullshit shoehorned in would have ruined that.
Even in the very end, repeatedly sparing Pokey (yes Pokey, I'm not fucking calling him Porky. In EarthBound, he is named Pokey, and his brother's name is Picky. Porky is a pig, not an Earthbound character) eventually does bite Ness in the ass, because he goes on to cause other people problems. Namely in Mother 3, which I think acts as an alternate timeline to Earthbound. I'm not too sure on that. Any of it, really. I've never really played the game. I did try the beginning, but I couldn't do it. I found the fan translation so I could play without needing to know Japanese, but...
"Say 'all black and covered in soot' one more time and I swear I'll turn off this game and never play it again!"
"Gee, I'm glad you're ok, but you sure are all black and covered in soot!"
Needless to say, I haven't played it since. But according to Smash Bros Brawl, Pokey is one of the major villains in that game, and it's pretty much all your fault for showing him unconditional mercy in the second game despite him trying to kill you and use Gyigas to destroy the universe. (Earthbound, for those who don't know, is actually Mother 2, but Mother 1 was never exported to the US, and is also a really crappy name for a game, so to prevent people from wondering where the first game is, they renamed it, and pretended like it was the first and only.)
And yeah, I get it, no one in Undertale really wants to kill you, but that's just because Toby is a crappy writer and wrote a game full of Sesame Street characters. "Elmo no want to fight. Elmo love you! Will you be Elmo friend?"
And before you not go into the comments, and not go on tirades, berating me about how I missed that Flowey is the true villain with his "kill or be killed" mentality, I already know. It doesn't change anything. Frankly, his "attack of the Google Image Search results" boss battle doesn't impress me, and in the end, you can still choose to spare him.
Actually, the fact that Toby is a fan of Earthbound bleeds through in that fight a little too much, to be honest. Both Flowey and Gyigas are distorted abominations, both fights have you calling for help to beat an otherwise invulnerable boss, and both fights have trippy and unnerving music. Yeah, the whole game kind of feels like Earthbound, and I can forgive that. The Flowey fight is just a little too on the nose, though. The Sans fight is honestly a better final boss.
Ultimately, when you get down to it, Earthbound is a silly, charming, and well-thought-out adventure/story packed to the transistors with feels upon feels. Undertale is a silly, charming, poorly-thought-out way for Toby Fox to beat us over the head with his deformed morality boner and brag about how pseudo-deep he is. Kind of like a holographic card: they use simple illusions to give the appearance of depth, lending a 3D effect to the image, but they're still flat as paper.
Everyone knows true morality means potentially letting your enemy or killer walk all over you and slaughter you, and others, 'cuz morality and stuff! Yeah!
And he got popular and rich off his pompous tripe, and I'm salty as fuck about it.
And that's why I hate Undertale.
I still love Megalovania though...
I'm going to give a quick recap, since my struggles have been across countless months and numerous blog posts, and I don't feel like trying to figure out which ones simply so I can refer to them all.
It began with my house burning down when I was just a child. I had to have been only 7-ish at the time, maybe 8, potentially 9, but I doubt it. Someone was kind enough to donate a bunkbed. It was crap and made of wood, and frequently collapsed. (Thankfully none of the times I was on it when it did, and my brother who had the bottom bunk was on only one of the times it collapsed.)
That was our bed for at least a few years, there was a divorce between our parents, a new marriage, and the birth of a sister and another brother. When they got old enough to stop using cribs, my brother and I had to hand down our mattress for them to use, and ours was replaced by a shiny metal one. The mattresses on this new bunk were amazing. They never needed to be flipped, or rotated. Slept on the same mattress the same way until I was at least 21.
Then the second divorce came, houses were swapped, (dad's grandfather owed his own house which we inherited when the 97 year old man finally kicked the bucket. That house was put in mom's name, and the one we lived in was in dad's name, and at the time he was in the worst part of a decade-long downward spiral. When his mom died, he took a total nosedive that eventually spiraled so out of control it cost him the ownership of his bosses company, which would have been his in just a few short months if he hadn't blown it and walked out. We didn't like the idea of living in a house he technically owned, so I convinced mom to move us to the house that was in her name) and suddenly I found myself with my own room for the first time since I was 2 years old.
As such, I no longer needed a bunk bed, and had mostly outgrown the tiny mattress that I had grown so used to. thankfully I'm so short. If I had been even 5 inches taller, I wouldn't have been able to go on using that mattress as long as I had. So an upgrade was needed. That was in 2009.
Since then, I've struggled to get good sleep. Swapping using mattresses every 2 or 3 years only to be no better off, and in fact, usually worse off than the previous. I got to watch as my energy waned, year after year. There were fluctuations, so the decline was hard to detect at first, but much like Twitter's Stock Market Value, it was a gradual and steady decline.
I even bought a brand new mattress. But it turned out to be one-sided, and wore out to become the worst mattress I've ever used.
My decline hit its worst when I got back from spending 8 days at my mom's place over Christmas in 2016.
It was terrible. I'd wake up some days just as tired as when I went to bed, and on some nights, I'd wake up feeling even more tired than when I'd gone to bed. I tried everything I could think of. An expensive mattress fixer (a pad you put under the mattress), an expensive mattress topper, both the fixer and the topper at the same time, sleeping on the floor on just the fixer pad and topper pad, nothing worked.
And then things got even worse. My mattress had worn out so completely that even rotating it wouldn't give me temporary relief anymore. I was so tired all day every day that I had actually managed to convince myself there was something wrong with me and not my bed. It took a thyroid blood test coming back fine to snap me out of my daze and get me back into trying to solve the real problem.
I was laying awake in bed one morning wondering why I came home after 8 days gone and just seemed to die. And that's when it hit me. I remembered the guest mattress at my mom's place reminding me of my old bunk bed mattress. So I asked her for the brand. She couldn't find one labelled on the mattress, and I couldn't figure out where the logo she found on it came from. That effort went cold.
Not long later, I came up with the brilliant idea of trading mattresses. I was desperate. I couldn't go on living that way. So I swapped mattresses for the one I'd used while there. It's smaller, so mine was an upgrade in size, and since it's just a guest mattress, I didn't have to worry about someone needing my junk mattress for months on end.
We did the swap, and the disappointment set in. It wasn't the fixer to my problems. It was a huge improvement, yes, but it was still sagging rapidly, no matter what I did, and though I did get some energy back, I was still sleeping terribly. I couldn't understand it. And just like before, I was laying awake in bed one morning, wondering why things went wrong. I slept so much better on it before, what could possibly be different? My pillow.
I realized that while I was there, I had been using a spare pillow, because I hadn't thought to bring mine. The issue with my pillow is that it was old. Very old. It had once been fantastic, but now it just struggled to keep its shape. It was memory foam, and would usually take a good 6 to 7 hours to regain its full thickness, and it would lose it in roughly 10 minutes, becoming very flat, and very hard on my neck.
I could see the writing on the wall when it came to my old pillow months ago. After over a decade of use, it was time to retire it. In fact, I had tried. But it had no labeling. No tag, no logo, no nothing. I tried other memory foam pillows. The first one was the My Pillow. Their jingle was pretty catchy "For the best night's sleep in the whole wide world, visit MyPillow dot com." And my mom had gotten one as a birthday present and said she loved it. So I gave it a try.
Junk. It didn't even last 3 months before being rendered useless.
I tried a different pillow made of solid memory foam, but unlike my old one, it just wasn't right and wore out fairly quick. Then I tried one that boasted the best sleep.
They emailed me asking how much I loved their pillow, and I told them that it wasn't even good for a day. They offered to take it back, on their expense, and put more foam into the case for free. I told them how much I wanted it filled, and they said they'd send out a free return label. The label never arrived.
I then tried murdering the MyPillow and using some polyester project stuffing in a combination to make a new pillow, but the project stuffing just lacked the compression I needed, and ended up being to firm. I'm not too good at making pillows.
For a while, I had been using double pillows. And that's when I realized that two memory foam pillows were just too thick, so I'd lay with my head and shoulders on my pillows to reduce neck strain. I somehow managed to work out that the simple act of doing that was putting strain on my back while I slept, and was causing my mattress to sag quicker due to the way my body was putting weight on it. I experimented, letting my shoulders rest on the mattress, and though it hurt my neck due to how thick my pillows were, I quickly realized that I was better supported laying that way.
It was then that I realized it wasn't only my mattress. It was my pillows that also needed replacing. I was done buying terrible pillows online. And I had just recently discovered the legendary Purple Mattress company is willing to sue people over slightly critical reviews showing that their product is unsafe, and I refuse to support a company that sues its costumers over reviews.
So I had to go all the way down to the store and buy a pillow. Fortunately I bought 2, because one was wafer thin on its own, despite how soft and plush they seemed at first.
How can I be so sure? How can I prove I'm not just making excuses? Blaming my bed and terrible sleep for my lack of work drive? How do I know it's not just that I'm a fake dev? That it's not that I'm lazy? Running a hoax? A scam? And that my mattress is just a convenient excuse to cover for something? (Gotta love haters...)
Because I ran an unintentional experiment. After replacing my pillows and mattress, my energy started to return. Hell, I was even staying up really late, and still I was getting my energy back. Only a few days ago or so, I decided I was going to get back to my platform game for a bit.
"I'm feeling up to it today. Actually, very up to it. I'll just do one sprite and go back to the RPG for now." I told myself, just so that I could feel less terrible about putting off what is tuning into a really promising project.
I did one. And then I did another. And another. It didn't wear on me like it used to. I didn't feel the burning boredom, the draining tedium. I managed to finish 4 sprites, and half-finish 4 more all in one day without even struggling to get myself to continue, or having to just force myself through it. I didn't even think about how boring it was. And the only reason I couldn't finish all 8 is because it was already 3 hours past my bed time, and I just didn't have the energy to stay awake long enough to do them all.
For those who are new, or who don't remember: I hate animating because I can't sit there and do the same thing over and over and over. It's normally too boring. I haven't been able to sit there and hash out a full set of animation frames, that way, in two years. It's been a long time.
So what happened? Well, I forgot to rotate my mattress before I got the new pillows. And I kept forgetting. So the sag I had started to cause with the bad resting posture I spoke about above kept advancing over time, and I went back to sleeping poorly, and my energy started to fade again. I meant to do it last night, but forgot again, and I had a terrible night's sleep these last few nights, and I'm back to were I was before. Lethargic, apathetic, lacking drive and motivation.
My unintentional experiment proves the problem has been my mattress (and pillow) and it proved I was right and the haters were wrong. I wasn't just blaming my mattress as a cover for ineptitude, or as some excuse for a lie or scam.
The Good News
So the good news is that as long as I remember to rotate my mattress before bed tonight, I should be able to start recovering my energy. If I can get it back to where it was when I hammered out all those animation frames, I can put more effort into my projects like I used to be able to.
My mind felt so much sharper, something that's been a rare commodity in the last 2 years. This year especially. In those brief few days, I was more lively, full of drive to do work, more creative... I remembered wishing I had the ability to work on all my projects simultaneously. I wasn't at the top of my game... I haven't been for over a decade... I haven't been since that brief period just after high school where I could get more sleep and didn't have to worry about home work, or exams, or finals, or anything. Those few days may not have been even 50%, but it was better than I've been.
I miss that feeling already.
There's no real way to wrap this one up, especially after getting that depressing at the end. But hopefully now you see that this wasn't all just pretend. I wasn't just using it as an excuse. And best of all, I was able to prove to myself that it's not hopeless after all. I can solve the problem, I can get better, and I can develop games with the dedication I once had.
It may not seem like that big a deal from your end, but from my end it makes a world of difference. I just need to remember to rotate the mattress....
In fact, I think I'll go do that right now.
"Your Twitter is so boring!"
"Why do you have a blog? And why do you never post about your games on Twitter?"
I've never really cared about Twitter. Not really. Never even planned to create an account until I was sitting there, one night, and thought to myself "How am I going to tell people about my game? I might have to just suck it up and make a Twitter account." And then I did. I stopped resisting and made a Twitter because I thought that was what I had to do in order to speak to more developers and start building myself a developer status.
I didn't post much. Maybe like 5 times in an entire month. 6 times in all. Then GamerGate started. I wasn't made away of it until the start of October, but when found out it was on Twitter, I looked into it. The more I saw, the more angry I became with what was going on. People losing their jobs over support for GamerGate, games journalists acting like they were the coolest kids on the block, people trying to tell gamers they were terrible people for the games they liked and people trying to tell developers what we can and can't have in our games.
So I jumped in. After reading thousands of tweets and finding out what was going on, I joined the ranks of outraged gamers and developers, and became extremely more active. Discussing things with gamers and devs, and arguing with people who had bad ideas.
Naturally, I accrued a lot of followers. And equally as naturally, as GamerGate eventually wound down, so too did my activity on Twitter. And that's when the Trust and Safety Council came in and Twitter became censorious, and cracked down on people with mean words and people with the wrong opinions. My activity waned further.
I didn't want to get into politics, but I kind of had to with all that's going on.
When we started seeing accounts up and get suspended for no given reason, I created this blog, because I knew it wasn't going to be much longer before either Twitter bit the dust, or my account got shipped off to the gulag. Either way, I wanted people to still be able to find me were anything to go wrong on Twitter.
I started to care less and less about the dying platform, and decided to shift all of my game development stuff over to here. Why bother growing a following when one wrong thought could get it all taken away in an instant? Twitter has a 140 character Tweet limit, images are limited to 4, and GIFs are limited to 1. Over here, I can say as much as I want, post as many pictures as I like, and as long as I don't bog down the page, I can post as many GIFs as I like. It's just far superior to that garbage website.
So why am I making this post?
Well, it happened. I finally got locked out for thinking the wrong way.
It was a massive discussion, and 'offensive' words came up. @JackLaMothe had just gotten done saying he was gay and that words like "fag" didn't bother him, to back me up when I said "faggot" didn't offend me. I don't really like pointing it out, but I'm bisexual. So this was a bisexual telling a gay guy that he was "the best Huskyfag". I know him reasonably well. We're on friendly terms. And considering he backed me up literally just before that, I know it wasn't him that was "harassed" and "offended" by it. Which tells me it was one of the snowflakes in the conversation being offended on his behalf that reported the tweet.
I have no idea what the second one is, because I can't see it until I've deleted the first one, which is another issue with Twitter. But I'm contesting the first one. Not sure how far I'll get. I'll probably just have to delete it.
I've lost all my steam, so I don't know where this one was going after the image. But now you know why I don't really use my Twitter, Tumblr, and YouTube accounts for anything game related. Twitter is too terrible, Tumblr has way too much ass cancer, and YouTube with its DMCA system and lust for making their advertisers happy in place of their actual users just isn't worth the hassle.
Of course I'll try to unlock my Twitter account. But I think this is a turning point for me. I might soon get a Vidme account. No way in hell I'm going to be putting videos on YouTube. I was saving YouTube for uploading trailers for my game, but now it's not happening. I also have a Twitch account I haven't done anything with.
Whatever I decide, you'll find out about it here.
Reviewing products isn't likely to become a thing I do on here. Unless I start getting agencies approaching me and paying me to do a brutally honest review on their product. But if I do start getting paid, which I highly doubt will ever happen, you can rest assured that just like my Arc Continuum review, which will be receiving a followup eventually, that I'm just too much of an asshole to get money and gifts and then say nice things about a product if i don't like it.
I think its the Aspergers, or partly the Aspergers. Just because someone does something nice for me doesn't mean I'm required to do something nice back. I've also always been extremely blunt. A lot of people don't like that, but a lot of people really respect that I'm like that. It's probably why I make such a great art mentor.
Anyway, I'm not getting paid for this review. Yet anyway. Doubt I'll ever. Only reason I'm making it because I know there are people out there like me. Also keep in mind I may swear. It's part of my review format. Makes it feel less sanitized and corporate.
I used to be like everyone else: under the impression that there's really no such thing as whitening toothpaste. I'd tried many different kinds and believed it just wasn't true. Maybe it could take a tiny bit of the edge off, but you weren't going to get white teeth. Or so I'd thought.
This isn't some "But then I went to my dentist and asked for help and he said 9/10 dentists prefer Giz Extreme Whitening Cream and now my teeth are perfect, I'm rich, famous, my life is on track, I manage a country, and run my own intergalactic exploration program" stories. My teeth are shit. I have Irish in me, and being so close to the UK, I believe I inherited the "bad teeth" stereotype gene. I don't take good care of them either, I had to get one drilled and filled, I can feel one on the other side now in need of a filling any time I bite down on a chip or something... hell, one dentist had said I had two deformed teeth. My teeth are extremely British. The only thing good about them is that my wisdom teeth grew in and they fit. Didn't have to get a one of them removed, despite countless people always telling me "If you hate the dentist now, just wait until you have to go in to get your wisdom teeth removed."
Anyway, I take crap care of my teeth. Don't even floss. My teeth are all way too crowded and close together to fit something like floss between them, and it just seemed stupid. Kinda regretting that, now, but whatever. Science will find an a way to fix it. My teeth just need to stay in my head long enough for that to happen.
They weren't ever smoker's teeth, but they were still yellowed, stained, and looked terrible. I'm not going to be like one of those ads and pretend like I avoided smiling my whole life because it. That's stupid. I wasn't self-conscious about it in the slightest, and my efforts to fix it were more along the lines of "I need a new toothpaste tube. Oh look, there's a new whitening product, let me try it."
It wasn't until I moved out of my mom's that something happened to make a substantial change. And it was more incidental than motivation. Mom stuck me with a few half-used tubes of mini-toothpaste. Those look like this:
Pretty cute, huh?
"But Bastendorf! Fluoride in the toothpaste! It turns the frogs gay!"
Hush little crazy conspiracy theorist, don't say a word. That's not the toothpaste I'm reviewing. It's just an example of the mini tube.
One was, coincidentally Crest, like the above image, the other was Arm & Hammer. I went through the crest tube in a short time, because my family likes the taste of Crest over most toothpastes, so I went with the one that I knew I'd be able to tolerate. But it also happened to be the emptier of the two.
When it ran out, I couldn't be assed to get more, so I switched to the other tube. And it changed my life instantly, right? Nuh. This is real life. I didn't really notice a thing. I was just using a toothpaste.
The Arm & Hammer tube was almost completely full. So I just went on using it, even though it was smallish. Eventually my mom moved from where she lived, and we didn't get to visit as often. But after like a month, she came over because she wanted to go grocery shopping together. The first thing my mom said to me when I smiled greeting her was "Oh, your teeth look so much whiter! What have you been doing? Did you go get a cleaning?"
I was shocked. I look at myself in the mirror every morning and night. How could I not have noticed something like that? Sure enough, I double checked, and my teeth were noticeable brighter. By then I had run out of the mini tube and had switched to Go Hang Yourself. (I heard this rumor that in some other language Colegate means Hang Yourself. Not sure if it's true, but I find it hilarious, so I sometimes call it that.)
It took me a while to figure out what had lightened what I assumed was a permanent yellow tint in my teeth. I hadn't made a conscious effort to whiten my teeth, so seeing my teeth were significantly whiter caught me off guard as it had been years since my one and only whitening in, I think 2005, and by that time, it was 2013. It couldn't have been the new tube, because I hadn't been using it long, and I would have noticed a more sudden change had it been the new one that did it. Thus, the logical conclusion had to be Arm & Hammer.
"And it changed my life forever and now my teeth are amazing and perfect and I run a galactic empire! Thanks, Arm & Hammer! *Smile, tooth sparkle!*" No.
I decided I'd go back to Arm & Hammer to test it out. If using it for a month could make my teeth much brighter, what would happen if I switched to a regular tube and used it for a year or more?
Well, fast forward two years later, and my teeth are much brighter than they once were. They aren't movie-star white... but they're an appealing, more human-looking off-white. It's better than being that unnatural Hollywood-white, and a hell of a lot better than what they were, that's for sure.
This is the part were I tell you it's fast, it's easy, it's my favorite toothpaste, your marriage will be better, you'll get a three consecutive promotions, your dead dog will rise from the grave good as ever, right? Wrong.
Truth is, I don't like this toothpaste. And I'm not going to do that cliche where I say "I don't like it, I love it". No, actually I hate it and I'm sick of it. The taste is unpleasant and it burns. It's pretty jarring your time using it, if you use more mild toothpastes, but you do get used to it a little after using it at long as I have.
You know when you bite your lip and you get that infected sore in your mouth? The canker sore? Yeah, prisoners of war in Vietnam were probable forced to brush with this stuff every time they had canker sores in their mouths. It's like when you stub your toe on the corner of furniture, where all you want to do is die. I'd liken it to stepping on a Lego, but in your mouth instead.
But I go on using it anyway because I can't argue with the results. Believe me, I've tried the whole "Nah, there's no way. Maybe I'm just misremembering how my teeth looked" thing. But as time went on and my teeth got whiter and whiter, it became harder and harder to convince myself that I was mistaken.
Now, the big thing is I believed what a lot of people believe: "It's fast, it's easy, IT GAVE ME GODLIKE POWER!" But that's a lie. You can't just use this stuff for a week and then quit and go "Aw, it doesn't work." You have to commit like a Xiaolin Monk.
And let me tell you, I take shit care of my teeth. We're talking only brushing once per day, if I even remembered. So 2 or even 3 times a day could potentially speed it up. It will also help if you make an even better effort and go in for a cleaning. (Which I haven't. My results are all just the toothpaste. I didn't even change my diet to something better for my teeth. So if you can't afford a cleaning, you don't have to get one.)
And if you're a smoker, well... I'm not sure it'll do anything at all until you quit, then MAYBE it will lighten them.
Would I recommend Arm & Hammer Advanced White? Not for kids. They're not going to like it much. Is it the best? Probably not. Is it the fastest? Probably not.
But it works. My teeth were discolored, plaque-stained messes for my whole life, until I started using Arm & Hammer. And now my teeth are white, my life has gotten back together, I stopped a Kaiju attack on Tokyo, and I single-handedly built a Death Star! Thanks Arm & Hammer, I couldn't have done it without you *Wink, smile, tooth sparkle, freeze frame, roll credits*
Actually, I may follow up on this one later. I'm about out of my current tube, and was going to think about trying out a different Arm & Hammer toothpaste type to see how far I can push the whiteness of my teeth without ever setting foot in a dentist's office, or switching brands. I want to see if the before and after shots in commercials are even possible to achieve with just toothpaste alone. My money's on it being a dirty lie, but I'm going to Rick-and-Morty that science (hopefully without killing everyone and ending a universe in the process.)
This is a followup post from the previous one where I procrastinated doing any real work by sharing my thoughts on my long-time desire to write... draw... make... develop... whatever, I wanted to do comics.
Another thing I didn't really think about while writing last night was the fact that I can't draw humans to save my life. Not realistically, anyway. So I'd either have to do the characters as furries, which a lot of people aren't going to like, or I could knuckle down and force myself to learn to draw humans once and for all.
But then there's another issue: Social Justice Whiners, Black Lies Matter, and other race obsessed nancies and betas. If I do a comic with humans, I'd get those morons crowing and squawking about every single non-white character's every misfortune and stereotype, bawling about racism and white supremacy and whatever. "Why isn't the main character a half-black, half-hispanic, disabled, gender non-conforming, lesbian midget woman!? Racism! Sexism! Homophobia! Transphobia! Islamophobia! Dromophobia! Muh Representation!"
Frankly I'm not too worried about calls of sexism. I love making female characters. Always have. Sarkeesian would definitely complain because I'd be taking the "sexy female hero" approach, but still not too worried. The whole "women in gaming" ordeal had slammed face first into the wall that is the industry, pitched a shrieking fit, and then died away to ineffectual nothingness.
I'm not exactly afraid of being called those things. I've heard it all before a thousand times over. The question is not whether I can handle those kinds of non-criticisms. I absolutely can. The question is whether or not I want to put up with the harassment again. The answer is not really. I'm certainly not going to be pandering to them, so the only other option is to avoid that bubbling bog of noxious fluid all together.
I said a ways back that I was either going to completely avoid creating humans for a while, or that they'd be all white and straight until the rainbow-haired pacman frogs of the world calm down and stop screeching.
I could totally do that, too. I could have the first comic ever to feature an all-white group of friends/allies/whatever-they-end-up-being. It's not like groups of white people don't exist. My high school inner circle, for example. We were all white simply because there were few black, Asian, Latina, or Hispanic students. And the ones that were there had their own cliques they hung out with, too. All the Asians hung out at the anime club with their white weeb friends at lunch, the black students had their own inner circle as well, headed by the most popular black kid in school, AKA: the class president, and probably hung out with him doing whatever the hell the overachiever club did. He was always getting called to the office, so I'm sure he had important class president things he was always doing.
The Hispanics all just vanished each lunch period. You could find one or two every now and again in the computer lab, but other than that, I'm sure they spent as little free time on the campus as possible, especially considering there was a discount coffee and pastry shop literally 10 minutes away, and was massively popular among students of the middle school and the high school. Still went out of business rather recently, though...
So my group of friends and I would hang out in the library like a bunch of white nerds.
It may come as a surprise to idiots and racists, and corporates: not every group of friends is racially diverse. Hell, we were a group of all white males until senior year when a girl took partial interest in the series. (Sonic's Funnies, covered in the last post) She would sometimes hang out with us, and she was also white. My brother had a hispanic friend, but he was an unlikable piece of shit and the only time he wasn't an absolute douche was when he was with other hispanic kids. He never hung out with our group and had no interest in... seemingly anything, let alone the comic series.
And I don't know why this has to come from me, but who the hell honestly believes people need someone of their own skin color to identify with? My favorite Mortal Kombat character the first three games for example: Liu Kang. Dude's as Asian as it gets without being called Chin Pao or something, and fighting with a pair of chopsticks. (Damn badass Xiaolin Monks....)
The only reason he stopped being my favorite is because he sucked in 4, and in Deadly Alliance he was dead, so Raiden became my new favorite character because my only other most favorite character, Scorpion, was hard to get the hang of.
My brother's favorite was always Jax because he has robot arms. My brother's as white as I am.
My favorite Double Dragon 5 character is Trigger Happy not because he's my own skin color, it's because he has a big-ass gun on his arm, and his name is freakin Trigger Happy. It doesn't get much more metal than that.
He could have been any color. It wouldn't have mattered. Hell, his alternate color scheme gives him purple skin and a golden gun, and I actually prefer that version to the original, because big gun + pimpin = bonus.
My favorite Planeteer is Wheeler because he's a white kid, right? Wrong. It's because he was the only one in the show that didn't have a lame power, and on top of that, his power happened to be fire, which, of the traditional 5 elements, is my favorite. No one wanted to be Ma-Ti. Why? Because his power was totally useless. Kid got the shaft on that one.... Let's see, you can have the destructive power of fire, or you can have the gay power of 'heart'. Fire, earth, wind, water, heart. 4 of them are at least useful in some way, and I promise you this, if Wheeler had been the one with heart, I would have been mocking him, instead.
Fire, water, wind, earth, ice (sometimes metal is an element in place of ice). Of the traditional elements, fire and ice are the most powerful, because fire and ice are pure destructive. You can sit in calm water, nothing will ever happen. You can't sit in calm fire. It doesn't take a genius to know why fire is the best of the elements. I mean, of the nations, the Fire Nation is the most powerful and feared for a reason.
And my favorite Power Rangers are the Red and Green Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, because racism, right? The color scheme might have been questionable with the black dude being the Black Ranger, the blonde girl being the Pink Ranger, and the Asian chick being the Yellow Ranger, but that didn't really occur to me because I tend not to think about race that much.
Red has always been my favorite color, so that one's a no-brainer. Second, tyrannosaurus? Of all the zords, Jason Lee Scott had the Tyrannozord, are you kidding? He could have been the Pink Ranger, back when I thought pink was lame, and so long as he still piloted the Tyrannozord, he would have been my favorite. As for the Green Ranger, Tommy Oliver was my first Tv Star man-crush. ...also Dragonzord. Nuff said.
I guess that tangent went on longer than I intended it to, but I think it's pretty evident to all but the most strident racists that skin color and gender mean little when it comes to who we end up liking or identifying with.
Ultimately, it doesn't matter what I do... all white, all black, or even if I pandered and represented every race and half race, completely excluding whites, they're still going to find a way to complain and virtue signal.
You might be saying "just fuck em and do what you like", to which I agree. That usually is my policy... but the problem there is that... I can't remember who said it and on what live stream, but I'm going to paraphrase what the guy said: "Any character I write is automatically going to be white. This has nothing to do with racism, but unless I'm specifically writing a native in Zimbabwe or something like that where it has to be a specific race, the character is always white by default."
For me, I don't usually think about the race of a person unless it's a specific place. Example: I have a futuristic comic idea where the characters fly out to Japan in search of a powerful gang leader. Of course, being in Japan, the new characters they meet there are all Japanese Asians, because majority-race country.
So because I don't think about the race unless I'm required to, the typical character defaults to white. Probably because its vastly more common for me to run into other white people in my day to day life than it ever has been to run into a black person, Asian person, or Latino/Latina. That's not to say that I never do, it's just more common because despite having lived in 7 different cities in my life, I've usually ended up living in a majority white neighborhood, in a majority white city, in a majority white state, in a majority white country. Except that one time where I lived in a city with more Hispanic folks per capita than the surrounding areas.There was a little Mexican convenience store right at the end of our street. Would shop there every so often. But even still, the block was majority white.
So backing up a little, the trouble with just doing whatever I want means that most characters will end up being white anyway, because it requires me to notice that there aren't other character types being created, because it requires me to focus on race rather than character. And I'm sorry, I'm just not racist enough to notice when the universal "at least one black person and one Asian person" quota isn't being met every 15 minutes.
And it's not even like I don't like other races. If I thought it was an appropriate move, I'd dump the contents of my lewd folders to prove it. You may be surprised to find it's not all furry stuff, and that I don't discriminate on race, either. But that's not something I'm going to do on this blog, so I won't be doing that.
Anyway, off race stuff and back to the start... I am still tempted to use furries instead of humans, because furries can be extremely more varied than humans can.
Great example: "You know that human that flies planes?" Yeah, how many is that? Compare that to "You know that fox that flies planes?" Off the top of my head, I can only think of two characters that fit this description: Tails and Fox McCloud.
Another fantastic example: "You know that one guy with electric powers?" Garth Ranzz, Killowat, Sheev Palpatine, Cole MacGrath, Electro, Lightning, Black Lightning, Zatch Bell, the third Raikage, Enel, Laxus Dreyar, Raiden (MK), Raiden (MGS4, though only briefly), Zeus, Thor... the list goes on and on.
"You know that mouse with electric powers?" Pikachu, Pichu, and Raichu. (It's entirely possible Plusle and Minun are mice, but they could also be rabbits or something else entirely, I'm not sure.)
There are only so many varieties of human. But I might not go with anthropomorphic animals after all, just because it would be even more alienating to potential readers *cough* normies *cough* and narrow my demographic even further. Even though a furry western would be a lot of fun to write... Fox McCoy, outlaw. Think I'd run the risk of accidentally plagiarizing Red Dead with it, some how. The western as a genre has been done to death.... I think it might actually be literally impossible, in this day and age, to write a unique western. Although, now that I think about it, there are criminally few stories written about Calamity Jane, Madam Vestal, or Laura Bullion, some of the Wild West's most famous and infamous women.
But I'm not going to be the one to do it, just to spite Anita Sarkeesian and all the feminists who whined at me about "muh representation".
I think this is as far as I can go with this subject without rambling more or crossing old ground again. Wasn't even expecting to get this much out of it. I thought it would be at most 4 paragraphs or so... and wasn't exactly necessary, but it does serve the purpose of giving creators who read my blog things to think about when designing characters, so I deem it worth the time and effort.
This is going to be at least somewhat off the blog's primary topic, so feel free to skip it if you either don't give a crap about comics, or only come here to hear game dev tips or how my games are coming along.
I'm only doing this one because I'm struggling to nail down moss as part of my game assets. So far, it's either too simplistic and doesn't look good, or too detailed and clashes with the rest of the game's esthetic... and doesn't look good... so I need an excuse to procrastinate a little. Usually the best way to figure out what's wrong with a project is to do something else and come back to it later. I'm procrastinating with the hope of coming up with a game I can use as inspiration. I lack an off-the-top-of-my-head list of 16bit, 2D pixel games that use moss in the design somewhere. (Already, taking a break is doing the trick perfectly. I've already come up with Jurassic Park and Sonic Spinball as potential candidates in the time it took just to write this paragraph.)
On to the point.
I think I'd like to do a comic series. This isn't something new for me: the desire to draw comics. It started when I was really young. I can't remember my age at the time, but it was young enough to still own a bigwheel, because I remember very vaguely that around that time I had mine stolen. Whoever stole the bigwheel from kid-me, you are a prick and I hope you have cancer now.
Anyway, a short time after that had been stolen, I remember I encountered my very first comic book. I can't say whether I was aware of them before that point, because I was a kid and of course I didn't pay attention to a damn thing... but this comic had such an impact on my life, I can still recall that moment to this day. I can't remember who showed it to me... it was another kid, much older than myself, but I can remember the series it belonged to, right down to which issue it was.
It was the Archie Adventure Series, Super Sonic vs Hyper Knuckles special. I might even go as far as to say it was a defining moment in my life. If I can remember the title some two decades later, even though I haven't seen the person who had showed it to me, and I haven't read it since then, it had to have some significance.
But yeah, anyway, the point of that tangent was to back up the claim that this is something I've always wanted to do since I was a small child. Maybe never as much as wanting to be a game developer, so this isn't something I'd drop developing games for, but it's one of those things, you know? Like trying out skydiving, or trying sushi.
And it's not like I haven't tried it, either. As a small boy, I took a sketchpad and turned it into a comic. It was called Sonic's Adventure (This was before the Sega Saturn even existed, let alone the Dreamcast, so it had nothing to do with the game Sonic Adventure.) The comic was crap. I think I recall Eggman, or Robotnik as he was called back then, had been defeated in the first one by Knuckles turning into a really ugly woman and it scaring him off.
...I was a kid, what do you expect? It lasted about 4 comics, I think, or 5, with the last one involving a vampire that just straight up ate Tails whole. All of them were destroyed because younger siblings. But the series' more funny moments spawned something I called Sonic's Funnies. It was meant to be spinoff of my Sonic Adventure comic but all comedy, like a blooper reel. But I couldn't call it Sonic's Bloopers, because even as a kid I understood that bloopers were accidental mistakes. So instead of Sonic's Bloopers, it was funny stuff, or stuff I thought was hilarious, but since it was more of a compilation of skits based off the main series, rather than an actual story, so I called it "Funnies" instead.
Sonic's Funnies lasted 4 comics before all of them were destroyed.... because younger siblings.... (Nothing's sacred.) Years later, I revived the series. And I think it went up to 26 before I graduated high school and sorta stopped doing it. I actually still have every single one of them, because I did my absolute best to keep them out of my siblings' hands. My brother, not much younger than me, would take them to school (we had different classes, because I was older), and despite being drawn specifically to look like a toddler had made them (I kept my old style when drawing them, because of the flexibility it gave me) they were actually quite popular among our friends, enough that the series became nicknamed "The Funnies" within our inner circle, and so much so that it inspired a littler kid on the bus ride home (public transport... stopped by the middle school, then the high school), and another of our friends to do their own Sonic's Funnies.
The kid didn't know what he was doing, and didn't get humor. His comic was just stick figures, and his comedy was literally just "Don't shoot me! Oh no, you did shoot me!" Probably based on the only page he heard my brother read aloud on one ride: "No refunds on Tuesdays!" "But it's Wednesday." "<Stupified expression reaction shot>"
Actually, the original Sonic's Funnies eventually adopted one of the characters from our friend's spinoff, and from there, other friends attempted to get their own characters in the series, so it's not as if people didn't love it.
I want to give it a shot again. I've been wanting to give it a shot. The only issues are that I don't know if I'm talented enough (not that it would matter much, I mean OnePunch Man and all)....
"Quit being modest, you idiot! You're not fooling anyone but yourself!"
Yeah, alright, sheesh! Once I get past my insecurities, sometimes I remember that this drawing is something I once did. Though it's not fantastic, everything in it (aside from the background) was done from scratch by me. The problem, and another of the things holding me back... or, well, I guess I can't count not being talented enough among my problems if I'm being honest with myself, but the problem is that the image above took me a month and a half of working sun up to sun down, weekends included.
I've learned to speed it up a little since then... ok, ok, jeeze... a lot since then, and I've mastered Photoshop enough to be a professional... and I've improved so much since then...
Damn, you guys are so strict in the mental representation of you in my head. Won't even let me go down my typical self-destructive path of blind self-doubt and modesty...
(I sometimes give potential critics a voice in my head and use that as a way to refine my work by trying to imagine what criticism people will have. In this case it was trying to come up with the best drawing I've ever showed you guys, where I put real heart into it, and the above is what came to mind. I then realized no one would believe I'm not a talented artist, because I've gone on multiple occasions on this very blog, proving otherwise.)
So what are my real hangups, then? Well, once I manage to stop doubting myself, there's still the fact that I'm slow. Some poses I just cannot do without a visual aid, and some I can't do even with a visual aid. A 3D pose doll would help greatly, but there are none. (None that aren't stupidly expensive, anyway.)
I could make my own, but that takes a lot of time, too, and I'd have to make a new one for each body type. I do have software for creating 3D characters, but they're a pain to pose, and only cover humans. Anything that's not perfectly humanoid would still be a struggle for me.
Part 2: What Would I Do If I Did A Do?
I've decided I like multi-part post system. It's a great way to add a substantial checkpoint to my long posts that have separate but related topics without posting two blog posts in a day and expecting people to catch and read both. That way they're both in one post and if someone just doesn't have the time, they can reach a checkpoint like this, stop, do what they gotta do, and then come back if they want to finish it, or if they decide they don't care or aren't interested, they can stop at the checkpoint and call it good.
So, what would I do if I did do a comic?
I can already imagine people might be wondering about Sonic's Funnies, and I may eventually upload that, but for right now.... nah. The art style would be a point of major contention for some people. They'd think that's the best I'm able to do, and they may not like the style. Also, just because I find something funny doesn't mean others will. I've mentioned on here before, my style of humor tends to hinge on the random, like Action Bunnies, ASDFMovie, Bobobo-Bo-Bo-Bobo, etc. Very much slapstick, very much rule-bending, very much Looney Toons type comedy, except... more raw. Not a lot of people share my childish brand of humor.
On top of that, fans of Sonic the Hedgehog would be outraged, because though the characters have the same names and same basic appearance, their personalities are nothing like canon. Sonic is the avatar of logic, interacting with a world that makes no sense, but he's kind of dumb, Knuckles is an idiot, even more so than canon, and Tails.... well everyone's kind of dumb, frankly.
Don't get me wrong, it's something I've thought about putting up at points in the past, but I'm still dragging my feet.
Get to the point!
Right, had to address Sonic's Funnies first, because I felt like I'd get people wondering...
So what would I do if I decided I'd do a did? (Maybe I should stop talking like Markiplier, now...) Well, seeing as Marvel and DC are absolutely rolling in their own poison, I've felt a strong urge to do a superhero comic. But I think I'd do more of a gritty one instead of a overly kid-friendly one. "What, Superman died? Oh don't worry, he'll be back.... again.... duh." Really can't help but think of College Humor's Realistic Superhero Funeral video on Youtube.
I know, I know. The gritty superhero thing has been done before... a lot. There's nothing original under the sun. It's all been done. I get that. But I hate Slice of Life. I won't do it. I just couldn't enjoy Everybody Loves Raymond, Two and a Half Men, Hey Arnold, etc. Don't get me wrong! ELR had some brilliant comedy, and Hey Arnold was undeniably one of the best cartoons ever made, but I just don't like Slice of Life. I actually developed my own catch-all saying for the genre. "Life is boring enough as it is. Why would I want to watch someone else's boring life when I could just as easily live my own boring life?"
So I'd want to do something with a fictional twist, and superhero stuff is already something I've wanted to do for over a decade. Hell, there was a Create Your Own Superhero contest I almost entered ages ago. My mom discouraged me from entering because my super hero wasn't original enough. She was right, though... my hero was literally just Sabertooth from X-Men, minus the healing, and a hero instead of a villain. I was woefully unoriginal when I was younger...
But to quote one of the greatest mottos I've ever come across: "Don't try to be original, try to be good." Something I live by now. I'd never straight up plagiarize something, but I'm not going to try to do something never ever done before ever. It would be a colossal waste of my time.
I'm well aware that a gritty comic will alienate a huge portion of potential audience, but one thing I really hate is a hero whose moral compass lies somewhere between #FFFFFF and #F5F5F5. (For those of you who aren't familiar with color code, that's pure white and indistinguishably less white.) And I extra hate villains whose character boils down to the living essence of the element "Muahahaha", on the periodic table...
I totally didn't make that up. It's an element on the periodic table, so shut up...
Sadly, children, preteens, and the early post-pubescents can't comprehend more than #FFFFFF and #000000 morality. (Pure white, and total black). Hell, I couldn't either, until Dragon Ball Z came along and turned my understanding of story upside down. That shit blew my freakin mind. "What, the good guy can lose? The villain can win!?"
Dragon Ball Z is another one of those influences I had as a young kid that totally changed the way I think. I discovered Dragon Ball Z through a friend of mine when I was still back in grade school. He would talk about it all the time. Then one day I finally caught it on tv by chance, and started watching it. To say it left a mark on me is an understatement.
Violence, real violence. They weren't just comedically hitting each other with cartoonish sound effects, they were actually beating the ever-loving hell out of each other for no other purpose than to kill each other. And characters weren't completely fine again from one scene to the next. Their damage actually mattered. And then, episodes would end, but the story wasn't over. Things stung together, outcomes had weight. Dragon Ball Z single-handedly killed my interest in shows like the Flintsones, the Jetsons, Dexter's Lab, etc, where nothing mattered from one episode to the next. One example I use all the time is Dexter's Lab. There's one episode where Dexter and Mandark spend so much time arguing and fighting that the Earth is destroyed by meteors. The episode ends with them stuck in space, blaming each other. The very next episode, everything is back to normal again.
I love anti-heroes who have a grey morality, I love villains who are deep and complex, and I hate the candy-coated endings where nothing really matters because Superman can never really die even if he really dies.
Among my favorite heroes are actually villains. Vegeta, totally self-serving, arrogant, uncaring. Goes from trying to destroy Earth and gain immortality to protecting it. Shadow the Hedgehog, though poorly written, he's a do-it-his-own-way character who lives by his own rules. Venom, hell bent on killing Spiderman, makes a great unlikely hero. (Ok, honestly I don't know that much about Venom. I just know he's bad and sometimes saves the world. Despite my love of comics, I've read tragically few.)
I enjoy exploring the darker elements of good characters, and intricacies of villains too much to write for-kids crap.
Also, I've noticed that my best characters usually end up being ones with the best defined sexuality and sex life. I don't know why...
My two greatest characters are the ones I've put most thought into their sexual aspects, and are the ones that are the least restrained of all my characters when it comes to having sex. One's bisexual, and the other is strictly straight. They've both developed into really good characters. How I know it's specifically sex is because one of the two tries to be very Christian about sex, but eventually is broken of his purity. I like to have my characters develop naturally, and this one went places I really liked once I allowed him, within the story, to open up to being deviant.
The kinds of characters I enjoy writing, most kids under 17 won't be able to understand. So I'd either have to learn to boil characters down to black and white, or stick to a limited audience.
The Real Concerns
My biggest, real concerns with this is ability: Comics have a specific range of styles, none of which I've ever tried before. My style is plastic to my needs so I don't really have a style, but I don't think anything in the range I've tried thus far would work for a comic like this, so I'd have to develop a new style. Or rather, I'd have to add a new style to the style-toolbelt that is my own artistic talent.
Speed: I'm slow as hell when drawing.
Planning: Ironic coming from someone who has "writer" in the upper right of this very blog, but I'm not a very good writer. I tend to not have a story in mind while I work. It's kind of a problem of mine, where I just start writing, not really knowing where I'm going, and allow the story to be flexible and improvise as I go. That kind of thing comes through in Sonic's Funnies as well, and was also how I wrote Sonic's Adventure. It has the benefit of the story coming out feeling a little more natural because I can throw something in and it will flow perfectly from point to point, and it allows characters to come in or events to happen that were never there before.
Example: I was writing this book where a character was supposed to be the only one of his kind. But as I wrote, I got inspired to add another character similar to the first, and then another, and soon I decided that the character could no longer be the odd one out in a world full of normal people. Since this was all in writing, it was easy enough to go back and change a few key points. Hell, his race didn't even have a name until chapter 4-ish.
However, that wouldn't work in a comic. At least, not without retroactively changing the continuity like Marvel and DC always do by constantly rebooting their same stories and re-imagining the characters over and over.
Another huge problem with the complete improv style is more complex stories. I can't have there-all-along elements or major plot twists or important mcguffins without some measure of planning. I've also had a very hard time writing stories that have a longer, more complex run.
For example: A murder mystery. I'd never be able to write one in full improv. Or, let's take an episode of House as a model. A patient comes in at the hospital, the patient has complications, they have no idea what it is and have to solve it before their patient dies. They believe it's <issue X> because <A and B> symptoms. Treatment isn't working. Suddenly a new symptom arises that shows them they were very wrong, and it's worse than they imagined. They eventually figure it out in the nick of time and it's explained that symptoms A and B make is seem like issue X, but symptoms A and B, as well as the new symptom C means it's really issue Y.
That can't really be done without some planning ahead. "No, it wasn't as we suspected. The patient really has arthritis!" "But doctor, earlier the patient was vomiting blood..." "Arthritis!" "But the patient's skin is yellow..." "Yes, it's a rare form of super arthritis!"
And the last major issue is... In a world where the concept of superheroes and supervillains has been so overly done that you get villains like Polkadot Man, Calendar Man, and Ant Man, I'd have a back-breaking time developing heroes and villains that aren't clear Marvel or DC rip-offs.
And believe me, it takes a lot of thought.... as Static Shock was unfortunate enough to find out the hard way.
My best friend put it best regarding Static Shock: "Lame heroes need lame villains."
Static Shock is a super hero cartoon with some of the worst writing I've ever seen. The series' arch-nemesis character is Ebon, a villain made of shadow, with powers of darkness. Naturally, as you can imagine he's weak to bright light. What's the protagonist's power? Electricity.... which generates bright light. Brilliant....
That's as stupid as making the Human Torch the arch-nemesis of Aquaman, or putting Sir Kibble from Kirby up against Woodman from Megaman. Or putting the Wonder Twin, Zan, up against.... Spongebob or something.
At least Superman's weakness is hard to get a hold of. With Ebon, literally all you need is a bright LED flashlight. You wouldn't even have to be a superhero to beat him. Actually, the Wonder Twins are another great example of needing to be careful how you design your heroes. Any environment that's hostile to liquids would render Zan powerless. Maybe even dead. I watched a lot of their show, not sure if Zan was ever shown to be able to survive being boiled into vapor, or what would happen if he evaporated. I'm sure he'd be screwed if evaporation got him. He'd be rained back down from the clouds in little drops all over the land. It would be over for him.
Anyway, I think I've rambled enough and burned enough time. Not sure I'll end up going with superheroes in the end. I might try a Cowboys and Americans era comic, like Green Blood (someone needs to start correcting Columbus' idiot mistake. Can't go on calling them Indians hundreds of years later), or maybe cyberpunk instead. Or maybe a Bronze Age Game of Thrones type thing. That could potentially fail, though, because I don't know a lot about the Bronze Age. I know it's not too terribly different from the Iron Age, but there's still a big difference. Still could be interesting to do a Roman-style Game of Thrones....
Before I go into it.... somehow I got almost 400 page views yesterday, but only 8 unique visitors.
Either I got 1 person visiting nearly 400 times, 8 people visiting roughly 50 times, a bot landed on my blog and spazzed out, or something else happened.
I thought it was because the critic I mentioned previously had done that LP. Nope. In fact, I swung by her Twitch to see. Turns out she lied through her teeth about being a game critic and wussed out of LPing my game. She has a grand total of.... <drum roll here> two whole videos, neither of which are games I've even played, let alone worked on. So it couldn't have been related to her.
Not a clue in hell what to make of the page view to unique visitor ratio on the 29th. Just found it interesting.
Anyway, enough suspense. Here it is.
The newer one (above) is a little too slow for the beat. Instead it has a certain unintended bravado that is best accompanied by the Title Screen/Stage 09 music from Cho Aniki Legend of the Holy Protein.
Yes, "Holy Protein" is a euphemism... The game is a softcore homoerotic, side-scrolling shooter. And when I say "homoerotic", I mean what the scouter says about its homoerotic level is that it's well over 9000. It's about two scantily dressed, heavily muscular men who gyrate their hips until they fire "holy protein" out of holes in their skulls at other muscular men with little clothing.
Japan is weird.
I'm sorry this one took so long. As I've mentioned multiple times on this blog: I hate animating. I'm just not able to work on the same thing over and over. So I'd do maybe a frame, or half a frame, and then do something else, and maybe come back later and do a negligible amount of work. In essence, I did about half a frame a day, except for the last two. Those I did in full on the same day.
Another large part of why it took so long was his tail... which I'm only just noticing is actually really cute the way he flip-flops it as he walks. At first, I just had it kind of bounce up and down while he walked. It didn't look good. Then I tried having it straighten and curl a little as he walked, and that looked even worse. Finally, I took a page from an old Guilmon sprite sheet I had. When Guilmon ran in Digimon Battle Spirit, his tail would swing from side to side following his contacting leg. (Basically, his tail would swing back and forth to avoid kicking his own tail as he walked.)
I really liked how it looked, and at first I emulated it as closely as my character's tail would allow me to. (His name is Bastendorf, which is why I don't refer to him by name. I may go into why this character and I have the same name at the bottom of this post, but for now....)
The animation just didn't look right, though. Guilmon's Digimon Battle Spirit sprite is old to say the least. The swing of his tail is stiff and didn't look good on my character. I had to fiddle with the sway of the tail until it looked more natural and graceful. I did this by adding easing to his tail sway motion. And it took so god damn long to manage a perfect loop with easing in only 8 frames. Pretty sure it took at least two hours. Long enough to get through 4 videos, each 30 minutes long. (I listen to podcasts while I work, sometimes)
For those who aren't familiar with the jargon of animation, essentially what I did was make it so that there's a brief frame on either end where the bulkier area of his tail changes direction, and the less heavy, less dense, last few inches of his tail gets momentarily left behind in the motion. It'd be like allowing your wrist to hang limp while waving your arm. Your arm will move normally, but your hand will struggle to keep up, as it's still subject to momentum, even though the direction has changed. In a nutshell: An object in motion stays in motion. He would swing his tail the other way, and the latter portion of his tail would briefly remain in motion.
Pixel art, an animation lesson, and physics lesson all in the same post. I'm actually kind of proud I managed that.
Doing the walking animation a piece at a time it actually how I did the older one. It seems to work really well for me. Because it allows me to animate without sitting there working for hours, doing much the same thing over and over.
I've decided I'm going to split this post in to two parts. Maybe even 3 if I remember to explain why I have a character with my same name. I've done this because this part is a little unrelated to the above. You can quit here if you only care about the sprite. The rest will be about the prospect of Kickstarting the game.
Onto the meat.
I've been thinking quite a bit about what I'd offer if I did a Kickstarter/GoFundMe/Patreon. Is it only Kickstarter that has the donation reward tier system? Now I have to check.
Ok, I knew Patreon is a constant donation thing already. So rather than a pool, it's more like a port you pump funds into. You're a patron, rather than a donor. GoFundMe doesn't seem to allow a reward system, so fuck that. I may end up using Kickstarter or Patreon, because I might be able to do a donation tier reward thing with Patreon. I'm sure as hell not going to use one where I ask for money without giving out thank you gifts.
Anyway, I've been thinking about that. This is what I've come up with so far, in terms of rewards. (Red text is my commentary.)
$1 – Take pride in knowing you contributed, however small, to something.
It's a dollar. What do you expect? Not sure if Kickstarter even allows 1 dollar donations, but in case it does, I do want to at least acknowledge the 1 dollar donations in some way.
$5 – Officially consider yourself pretty rad, plus get a generalized, impersonal credit in the game's credits.
Ok, I realize these first two aren't exactly rewards. But why should people expect something special for donating the bare minimum? A five spot is what you give to those bell-ringing Santas around Christmas time so you can feel like you at least made a difference. It's hardly worth more than a thanks.
$20 – One random desktop wallpaper related to the game, plus your name in the credits.
Honestly, I don't know if people really care about desktop wallpapers, but $20 is starting to approach a point where it's no longer fair to not give out actual rewards. I've seen Let's Play channels where they have a wallpaper of their favorite game. I figured that if people are willing to put Minecraft on their desktop, then maybe potential fans of my game will want to do the same.
$50 – All desktop wallpapers related to the game, and instead of a lame entry in the credits screen, a 32x32 pixel-art portrait of you will appear somewhere in the game.
When you're poor like me, $50 is a lot of money. Donators of this tier deserve more recognition than previous. 50 is one of those amounts of money you put on something big like a bet between friends, or a lottery ticket. It's not enough money to help much on its own, but it's worth more than a text-credit and the equivalent of a gift card. (Let's face it. A gift card is something you give someone when you feel obligated to get them a gift, but don't give enough of a shit about them to give them something meaningful. And that's kind of what the desktop wallpaper represents. I mean, at least I'm not pretending like it's a big deal, right?)
$100 – An exclusive desktop wallpaper reserved only for $100+ donors, with your name on it. Plus all previous rewards.
A hundred is something you put on a more serious bet, or a dare. It's also a universally recognized number milestone. So it deserves something a little more special. Since I don't run any special VIP Accessible forums or anything, all I can really offer is a more special desktop background at this tier. But don't worry, from here on out, the lame prizes die off pretty quick. It's not simply images you put on your desktop all the way down the list.
$250 – Be part of the beta testing phase, get an official poster related to the game, and an optional 250+ donor t-shirt, plus previous tier rewards, and the game is completely free to you, including all potential future expansion packs, etc.
I'm not perfectly sure if I can do official posters and t-shirts, I'm just an indie dev, but I thought it would be cool to try out. I'd definitely look into it before launching the Kickstarter, but if not, the rest of this donor tier should make up for it.
Some people like to beta test games. I don't know why, but that seems to be a fairly popular reward. But more than that, I think if you donate this much money, you've earned the game. Why make people who donate this much also buy the game? It hardly seems fair to me.
I don't like DLC, but I do like expansion packs. They usually add to the game and make it better. Those, if I do make them for this game, would also be free for this level of contribution.
$500 – All previous rewards, but instead of a 2D portrait of yourself, a large, 100px, stone statue of yourself will appear in the game, you'll receive an exclusive desktop wallpaper reserved only for $500+ donors, and physical copy of Bastendorf's (the character) jacket, hand sewn by me, along with a physical sketch of one of the characters of your choosing, drawn by me.
Unless you're middle class and above, this kind of money isn't a joke. You don't just casually say "Oh yeah, I lost $500. No big deal. You catch last night's game?" People who donate this much money deserve cool prizes. This is like the upper tier prizes on those school fundraisers when you were a kid.
I know I'm not someone important or special. I absolutely get that. I don't want you to think the "drawn by me" part is ego related. It's more that I think it would be more meaningful if I did it myself, rather than getting someone else to do it. I'm multi-talented, so I think at this level, I could put some of my other skills to use as a reward. So I'm offering a drawing as well as making use of my fiber arts skill.
$1000 – An exclusive, completely unique wallpaper that no one, not even other similar-tier donors can have, plus all previous rewards, except instead of a statue of stone, you get one of gold that will appear in the game. You can also receive in the mail a 6 inch main character figurine hand made by me, along with a flash drive full of assets that don't quite make it to the game that would otherwise go completely unseen, and exclusive video time-lapses of me working on in-game assets, and instead of just 1 sketch, you'll receive 3 greyscale drawings related to the game.
A thousand dollars is something I've only had a total of three times in my life. This is why the reward scales so much between this tier and the last. Each 1000+ donor gets their wallpaper, completely unique from not only lower tier backgrounds, but also from each other. No image will be alike, at this level.
One of my many talents is sculpting. I happen to have special model-maker's clay, and some experience die casting and mold making. For this tier, most of the rewards are optional, but at this point you deserve a fairly big show of my gratitude. That's why I would make an effort to hand craft a figure of the game's main character for you to have.
I also think at a thousand dollars, you deserve something most people never get to see regarding games: failed, removed, discarded, and beta assets. Some games come with commentary on the development, as well. Mortal Kombat Deadly Alliance had that kind of thing in there. But rather than just blither pointlessly about the game, and the process behind it, my goal would be to show you some of the design phase in full.
$2000 – All previous rewards, except instead of a statue of gold, you get one of diamond that will appear in the game, that will be larger than the others. In addition to the 6 inch figure, you also get a life-sized Bastendorf decorative figure, also hand made by me, and the jacket will have your name (or other words) embroidered onto it. Plus, included in the flashdrive will be a video time-lapse of the creation process involved in making your totally unique diamond statue credit. All 3 greyscale drawings will be your choice of image (within limitations), and will be inked.
Yeah, 2000 isn't exactly a milestone level above the previous tier, but I'm a nobody so I didn't exactly aim for the kind of reward targets Mighty Number 9 had up. However, I still think that if you're insane enough to donate this much money to help me, a total nobody, out with this project, you deserve something truly cool. Something that would really show my gratitude. But I'm not special enough to do a "dinner with Keiji Inafune" type reward. "Oh boy, you get to spend $2000 dollars to have lunch with a total loser/nobody! #Excite!"
Yeah, I can't get away with doing that. But what I can do is do something no other indie dev would do. Bear in mind that the character of the game is only 7 years old, so life-sized would only be couple feet tall. Maybe 3 and a half feet to 4 feet. I've honestly never bothered to calculate his height.
$5000 – All previous rewards, except instead of a statue of diamond, you get an entire section of the game dedicated to you, your own Chris Houlihan room. Your 6 inch figure could be unique from the previous versions, and in addition to the life-sized figure and the embroidered jacket, you can also receive a life-sized, cosplay replica of whichever one of Bastendorf's main swords you wish to have, also handcrafted by me. Plus, included in the flashdrive will be a time-lapse of the creation process involved in making your in-game credit reward and step-by-step progressive photos of your sword as it's being made. You will also get a large, hand-drawn, colored image in addition to the 3 greyscale ones.
I can already hear my readers: "You actually think anyone will contribute this much to someone who has never really published a game before now?" No, I don't. I fully expect the top 4 reward tiers will go entirely untouched. Realistically, I think all but the first 3 will go totally unclaimed.
This isn't done expecting people will contribute five thousand dollars. This is done because I want to have the opportunity to do something genuinely cool for anyone with the testicular fortitude to spend this much money to help out. Is it likely to happen? Hell no. Could it still happen? Absolutely. And on the off chance that it does, I want to be able to show my love and appreciation to that person in a way no one else would for their supporters.
Years ago, Atari held a contest related to their games called SwordQuest. The prize was real life treasure. It was never confirmed if it was genuine stuff, but among the treasures were a sword and a crown made of real gems and real gold. This was the contest all other contests hoped to live up to. Sadly, it fell apart and the treasure is rumored to have been kept by someone from Atari.
That's the kind of developer I am. Er, not the kind that promises fantastic rewards only to renege on them later. "Hey, thanks for the million dollars! Here's a half finished game! Fuck you, I'm off to live like a god!" Rather, I'm the kind of dev who would absolutely love doing grandiose things for his fans and supporters.
Like for example, let's say I were the developer behind Twisted Metal. I would start a massive tournament and commission an auto company to build maybe Sweet Tooth's van or something like that, and offer that as the grand prize.
Or Halo. I'd rent out a large building and host a Halo-themed laser tag tournament. Or even a just-for-fun laser tag arena.
The larger reward tiers aren't blind arrogance, but more like the 200,000 ticket prizes at an arcade. There's every reasonable expectation no one will ever get them, but they're there.
I want to do cool things for people, but I'm not going to do it for peanuts. Especially considering how much time and effort that it would take to make something like a life-sized statue of my character. So I wouldn't be willing to push the reward down to a lower tier. If you want the show of gratitude, you'd have to earn that gratitude. Plus, knowing there's a chance, however slim, that I might get to do something cool like that for someone is exhilarating.
Anyway, the reason I chose to share the rewards I thought up when I'm not even sure if I can finish this game enough to go to a Kickstarter or not, is to leave it open for suggestions. I'm fully aware some of the lower tier rewards are kind of shit, and that's why I'm open to suggestion.
Still here? Damn you are dedicated if you read up til now.
Well, as promised, here it is: Why the character and I share the same. It gets a little more NSFW beyond this point, and kind of TMI. I'm going to explain it fully.
It's not something I make obvious, but also not something I make much of an effort to hide: I'm a furry degenerate. I've been a furry degenerate between 11 to 14 years.
Good fucking god I've been at this a long time...
Anyway, I was a horny, teenage furfag trying to define himself and his fursona. I heard there was porn on SecondLife, so I decided I'd sign up. While I was still a frequent player, I learned to build, and built my own avatar. SecondLife allows for players to build virtual skins to wear over the top of the default avatar. Naturally, furries figured out how to make themselves into anthropomorphic animals by making skins and accessories for their avatars. I picked up that skill.
Ever since I was a small boy, I've felt a love for dragons that went beyond that of any other animal. If there was one creature I adored most of all, it was dragons by orders of magnitude. Naturally, when I grew up, that adoration only grew stronger and stronger. When I became a furry, naturally the animal I loved more than any other animal, real or mythical, became the foundation for my fursona. For the normies, "fursona" is a portmanteau of "furry" and "persona".
After years of work, I finally defined my fursona. I was a blue dragon. The more I started to build the details of this creature that I played, the more invested in it I became. Eventually my fursona started getting a story. I was developing an interest in weapons at the time, and I played with giving my avatar weapons as a kind of accessory. Eventually I settled on a sword. I think that was the first trait about my fursona that was totally separate from the real life me.
There were now 3 Bastendorfs. The irl Bastendorf, the fursona played by the irl Bastendorf, and a character who was starting to develop. I started to try to explain and rationalize why my fursona was a swordsman even though I myself love blunt weapons more. Slowly, a story began to form. I would toy with this story in my head when I was slacking off in class. Eventually, as I worked out the story, Bastendorf the character started to develop a different personality to my own.
The more his personality developed, the more invested in him and his story I became, and the more I developed him. Over time, there became a very big difference in the furry who is Bastendorf and the character who is Bastendorf, though he still has my name, and I still use his appearance as my fursona. Or rather, he still has my name and takes the physical appearance of my fursona. It's a little complicated, and tough to explain.
You can kind of think of it like Tim Allen and Tim Taylor. Tim Allen clearly plays Tim Taylor, but Tim the actor is different from Tim the character. One runs a tool show, the other is a comedian. And that's how it is with me. Same name, but one's an evil-slaying swordsman, the other is a computer nerd. This is why I tend not to refer to him by name despite the fact that he has a name. It's to keep down the confusion. As can be easily seen, the blog is also named after me. New visitors would get really mixed up.
It would be like if Zelda Williams became the voice actor for Princess Zelda and someone walked in on a conversation about both the character of Zelda, and her hypothetical VA, Zelda Williams.
There's a reason the character is two decades younger than me, though. I wanted to begin at the beginning of his adventures, and his adventures begin when he's 7. There is significance to that age, but this post is long enough, and it will be revealed in the game, so I might as well not go into it here.
I think that about wraps up a post that's going to take way too long to proofread. If you want to see the evolution of my fursona's appearance and the story behind it, that's all here: The Evolution of a Fursona And Character.
So I made fun of some kids who are probably going to grow up to be worthless due to "progressive" environments being their teaching place. I called them useless on Twitter and the person I tweeted it at responded back calling me useless.
I corrected by saying I'm a talented game developer, so am therefore not useless. Turns out, she's a game critic... an oh-so useful position, but this isn't about sniping, so I'm not going to be mean. She demanded I show her how successful I am, but sadly, I only have 4 absolutely trash games out. She wants to Let's Play them.
This post is going to be mostly addressing her for the sake of her and anyone her LP sends my way, so bear with me.
Look, critic girl (to cover my ass and protect your identity), I've made little effort to hide the fact that I used to be terrible.
Here They Are. Go ahead and click the link. I'm not afraid to admit those are my creations, and I'm perfectly comfortable with people playing them. (My readers, please don't play my games. You're not going to have a good time... You don't deserve to suffer that way.)
Frankly, if it bothered me, I wouldn't have left them up for 6 years. Hell, one has over 900 plays... those poor, unfortunate souls... That's a lot of plays for something you think I'm afraid of people discovering.
The issue, here, is that I didn't say SUCCESSFUL like you seem to think I said... like you admitted you think I said. I told you I'm TALENTED. Talent and success are not synonyms, and playing my old games isn't going to prove I'm not talented.
The one I gave you directly, Savage, is an RPG I started in 2004. You do realize that's almost a decade and a half old, right? I didn't finish it until 2008, and I didn't upload it until 2011. Not a single one of those games are good, current, or even serious for that matter. One of them is a joke for a joke challenge I was part of (Drake's Nightmare), and judge for. (My game didn't get an opportunity to win. All three judges submitted a game for the challenge for fun.) And another is made mostly out of graphics I didn't even make. (Savage) And Slaughter House was done literally in weeks because I wanted to make a game about stickmen and senseless murder jsut to be a game about stickmen and sensless murder.
To try to use any of those games, from all that time ago, as proof I have no talent is extremely disingenuous, because I've made it patently clear, to you and to everyone who follows me, that absolutely am a talented developer. My inability to release a game in a while has little to do with a lack of talent, but let me put my skills where my mouth is.
"Is 2D all you're good for? Get with the times!" Actually, no. I can do 3D, too. And I'm pretty damn good, there, as well.
Here's a WIP canine character I sometimes show off.
Wow, is that it? I'm all out?
Huh, yep. If I go back any further than 2012, it all becomes pretty much shit not worth seeing.
So, critic girl, go right ahead. Play my games, berate them into the ground, insult me until you're blue in the face, then link me your LP/review. I'll watch it. I really will. I look forward to it.
You can say what you want, do your worst. My own fans can even tell me how they really feel about them. It's not going to bother me. The games are between a half decade to a decade and a half old. Yeah, big shock: I struggled back then. I'm pretty much self-taught. I sure as hell didn't go to college, so I didn't take any game development classes, or design classes.
You're not going to prove to me, or your fans, or my readers that I'm useless by showing off my old games. All you're going to show is that the road I traveled was steep and rocky. You're going to reveal the uphill battle I fought to get to where I am now. Go back over my sprites in this post. I think I've thoroughly proved I'm a talented developer. (Or, at the very least a talented graphic designer... I've done jack shit to show I can develop games.)
My inability to maintain enough interest to finish a game in years has nothing to do with my skill as an artist or game developer, and everything to do with there being a lot wrong with my brain.
When I stop being interested in finishing a project, I have to dump it. It doesn't mean it's gone, but it means I've stopped working on it for the time being. I have to stop when I lose interest, because if I kept trying to force myself to finish the game, I don't think it would have the heart and soul put into it that I want to put into it. If I don't have the passion I once held, the game could be lackluster and rushed.
I've lost interest in every single project I've ever worked on since 2011, with exception to my last one. That one was actually going very well, I just hit the mother of all energy slumps, and it's left me very forgetful and extremely easily mixed up, and very dumb. The kind of engine that game needs requires my mind to be sharp and quick, otherwise I'll be screwing up, frustrating myself, and exhausting myself trying to simulate code in my head.
Any programmers reading will know all too well what I'm talking about.
As a result of my current state, I've willingly put the project off, as much as it pains me, simply because I know I'm not fit for the game's demands right now.
However, I was struck by sudden inspiration and have returned to a previous project shown early on in this blog. It's where the animated sprite at the top of this post comes from. That game, I'm hoping, will be the project that I finish, simply because of how long I've been trying to develop it (9 years) and because it's sprites are looking really nice.
Then we'll see who is mocking who.
Oh yeah, I'm also a talented writer, too. I wrote and published a pretty good novel. And no, I'm not telling you what it is because you'd never read it, because I'm not giving it to you, you'd have to buy it like everyone else, and I know it would kill you to know your money ends up in my pocket, so you'd never do it. And to answer your question, no, it's not successful, because I don't shill it, ever, and I haven't bought much advertising space, so it has few sales right now.
One character from the list above actually comes from that book, though.
(I really hope this post comes out ok. I've had to rewrite so much of this damn thing because it kept glitching up and erasing blocks of what I wrote. Weebly is never usually this bad... I'm tired now and just want to go to bed.)
Edit: Yeah, I knew it would fuck up... Good thing I copied everything over to a word document, otherwise I would have lost this final block of text. Now I have to check to make sure I haven't lost any of my fucking proofreading...
Update: Yep, all of my proofreading had been undone. I've (hopefully) fixed it all now.
This week has been kind of a bitch. It'll just get right into it.
Last week, I found out I needed a special type of needle to sew lycra. I'm glad I was lazy on starting, because if I had started sewing before learning this, I would have been tearing my suit up with my sharp needles.
From what I found out, I need a ballpoint needle for lycra. Sharp needles just ruin it. I was thunderstruck. I'd never heard of this type of needle before in my life. I thought they only made them sharp.
I immediately scoured the internet. They were either too expensive with shipping, or only sold as an add-on item. (Means you can't buy them alone, you have to buy them along with something else, or 4 other add-on items.) I'd have to go find them, because I wasn't going to spend $7 extra on shipping for a set of needles, and I sure as hell couldn't afford to buy something else to add them on.
I hopped on Google Earth and tried every keyword I could think of. Fabric store, quilting store, sewing store, knitting store...
There was no way around it, I'd have to go a long-ass way to get them.
I chose a destination. It was the same distance as Joann's from my long-ass fabric run when I was trying to get down to Ross Disappointment Store. (How the hell does a clothing store not sell black sweatshirts and sweatpants in the fall?) But it was easier to get to since I didn't have to cross a highway along the way, and it was way the hell out in the middle of nowhere. That kind of obscure, out-of-the-way fabric store has to have all kinds of things I've never heard of. And with the store so out of the way , they'd have to be in stock because there's no way they get many customers after the same things I need. Perfect!
I left my house at 12:12PM. The trip was grueling. It was 83-ish degrees out and there was nowhere near the amount of shade I thought there'd be along the way. It was all barren out there. All of it's mostly croperty. (A word I made up to pass the time, describing a crop-property.)
It took a long time to get there, and I was sweating my ass off. So I stood in the shade outside the store for a few minutes. My deodorant I'd applied before leaving was still kicking, so I couldn't have smelled too bad.
You know that sinking feeling when something you struggled for turns out to be a massive disappointment? That's the first thing that came to me as I walked in. Half the store was reserved for a sewing class room that aimed to teach sewing, and 1/4th the remaining store was closed off by displays. The actual store was smaller than my living room. And my livingroom is small.
And to make matters worse, the only person there didn't even run the store. She was just a friend while the owner was on vacation, and didn't know a damn thing about anything in the store.
I found a set of ballpoint needles, but they only had one in stock. I grabbed them, paid for em, and walked out the store.
You know that feeling when you're walking along and realize you made a huge mistake, and almost swear out loud? As I was looking over these needles, I realized they're the third largest size available, and I needed something 4 sizes smaller.
Fortunately, they only cost me tree-fiddy. No, I'm serious, they literally were $3.50.
I had a lot of time to plan where I'd go next as I made the disappointing trip back, scowling at all the lower-middle-class country-side homes, and judging each one of them for how rundown their fences were, and how shabby and uninteresting their giant yards were.
I made it back to civilization and immediately headed for the next nearest store. It was a ways off, but I could still get there, even though I was exhausted and aching all over.
They were closed. I arrived at 5:05PM, they had closed up at 5PM sharp. A guy, looked like the manager, noticed me walk up and check the schedule and then my phone for the time, and he came out to ask what I needed. I thought he was going be a total bro and let me just grab what I came for and go. Nope, he came to say he wasn't open and mocked me by assuring the item I wanted was in stock, and refused to let me just allow him to just take my cash and keep the change.
He invited me back tomorrow saying they'd be open, and then went back inside. Hell no. I'm not coming back to that store ever again. I'd sooner peacefully drive the truck of peace through their store front, screaming "Who the fuck closes at 5PM on a weekday!? You're not a goddamn bank!" than ever go there, now.
Yeah, I was pissed. Fortunately they were right across the way from a Fred Meyer, which is pretty much just like Walmart, K-mart, Target, etc. So I hurried over there, knowing they wouldn't let me down.
50% of the interior of the store was blocked off by plastic curtains. They were still permitting customers to enter, but they had literal construction workers, hard hats and all, building shelves in the middle of the store.
I wandered for a few minutes, discovering I was in a hell of a bad way. I was nowhere near home, and I was already losing the ability to remain on my feet, I felt very near blacking out, I was thirsty as shit because their drinking fountain had filled my stomach, but not quenched my thirst, and I was hungry. I'd eaten before I'd left, but wasn't expecting to be out so long. So I didn't have food or water.
I rested at the store, meandered a bit, but couldn't find their fabric department. (A lot of their stuff had been moved around to keep their store running during the renovation. A clever idea, but made it a bitch to find anything). Eventually I gave in and asked an employee. She laughed about it and said it was fine. The renovation actually made it hard on the employees as well. Nothing was where it usually was, and even they were having trouble helping customers.
She found me the isle. It had been reduced to an abysmal 2x2 hanging shelf space to make room for their other craft sections, and they were hurting on shipments because they had no room in their store. They didn't have what I needed.
The lady was cool though. She used Siri on her phone to help me find other fabric stores in the area.
Each and every last one of them were closed. Save for Joann's... 20 miles away. I looked down at my sunburnt arms, and compared how much it hurt to stand with how far away it was. No way in hell I could make that. I was even doubting I could make it the 6 miles home.
I couldn't believe how shit my luck had been. I bought a pre-made lunch at the deli and a refrigerated drink and headed to the last store I could think of, while blocking out how much pain I was in. It was only two parking lots and a street away.
Imagine my surprise, after all these years of complete and total disappointment, Walmart, out of all stores, pulls through. Swallowing my hatred of the store and momentarily setting aside my vow to never shop there again, I went in, fully expecting to be disappointed yet again. But not only did they have the needles I needed and in the size I needed, they also had the brand they were talking about in the video I was watching for tips on how to sew with stretch fabric without a serger.
I grabbed them, checked out, and ate on the way back home.
I know some of you might be wondering how I made it back. Well, I took a souple 10 minute breaks in places I found where I could sit along the way. Like between the cunt store that closed and Fred Meyer. There was a little pavilion with benches. And on the way back to my place, there was a car wash, where I was able to sit by a vacuum pump and rest.
Soon as I got back, I sat down and calculated the distance I'd traveled. 63-ish miles, not including wandering around the stores. almost twice the length of my first super long trip.
What was more amazing than the distance I'd traveled was that my deodorant had managed to survive 7 hours of me walking in direct sunlight, in a shirt that is 100% polyester, and still worked at completely masking my sweating-pit stink.
I took a shower, medicated my sunburn, and started to rest. The shower wasn't easy, by the way. It still ached to stand, and my forearms had sunburns so the water stung like fuck against my skin. (I wore a hat which protected my face, my hair shielded my ears, I had a shirt shielding most of my torso, I popped the collar on it to protect my neck, and sweatpants protected my thighs and lower legs. I only got burns from 4 inches below my elbow, down to my knuckles. Still peeling, too.)
Divided into parts, because this one is long.
As I rested from my nightmarish walk, the second big issue hit me. It had been well over a week since I placed my order for the supplies to turn my unitard into a mocap suit.
I went to the website and contacted support wondering if it was shipped to the wrong place, or still in transit, or maybe lost among some papers on someone's desk.
Took a while, and I had to answer some questions about my order, but finally, just today, they got back to me. Turns out that's pretty much exactly what happened. They discovered my shipment had never been processed. They took my money and my order just sat on someone's desk for just a day short of 2 weeks. They were very apologetic and offered to overnight my package to me.
I'm not really mad. Just glad for this enormous delay, because if I had been finished with sewing my suit, despite ordering those materials in advance, I would have been waiting all this time with no idea that my stuff wasn't even on the way.
Anyway, after the support ticket was filed, I dug my new needles out of the fridge (they were in same bag as my leftovers, which I lazily tossed in the fridge when I got back) and immediately exchanged the needle. I was setting up to get started when I realized "You know, I have a sunburn all over my arms. First of all, I've got this gross gel medicine goop all over me, and second, it's not going to feel too good if these pins jab me while I'm working, or if I accidentally bump part of my sewing machine with my sunburnt hand while I work." So I decided I'd put it off until my burns stopped hurting so much.
That was 2 to 3 days ago. But after struggling to rotate my mattress without scraping my arms on it and hurting myself, I came to the hard realization that my mattress had finally had it. Within two days of rotating it, I was already starting to sink into a deep, hard pit. Damn near felt 3 inches deep and stiff as a wooden board. And to make matters worse, my $150 pillow sucks, and it's summer time, meaning it's started to get warm here. If you thought I was sleeping like hell before...
I sleep like crap in the summer even on good mattresses. I cannot sleep when it's warm. I need it to be cool or freezing in my room. The last few days it's been getting warmer here. Summer is starting to arrive.
My sleep was truly abysmal. I'd sleep for a while, wake up, try to find a spot that wasn't hard and uncomfortable, go back to sleep, and wake up again a little later and repeat. For the last few days I've had to increase my caffeine intake just to survive the day. Typically, half a cup of 30mg caffeinated energy drink in the morning to wake me up and half a cup of 30mg caffeinated energy drink in the afternoon to shave off the midday slump was doing me just fine.
But lately, as mentioned in a previous post, I've had to double my caffeine dosage to 60mg, but my system seems to handle caffeine really well, so it did nothing. I had to start drinking a full cup (about 8 ounces) in the morning, and another full cup in the afternoon.
During the portion of time my mattress was reaching the end of its usefulness, I had to start downing 3 full 8oz glasses of 60mg caffeinated energy drink just to make it the whole day.
And before you start worrying about me, according to my weight, the caffeine website I visited calculated that my safe limit is 6 servings at 60mg, or 6 full 8oz glasses in a day.
I was sore all over every single morning, and struggled to stay awake pretty much the entire day. It was horrible.
You may have noticed that I've been talking about my mattress in the past tense. So what did I do?
Well, a while back I asked my mom if she'd be willing to trade mattresses with me. I'd give her my horrid mattress, and she'd give me the old guest mattress I used while visiting her for the week of Christmas last year.
She agreed, the only issue was transport. Her vehicle had no roof-racks, and she had no friends with trucks willing to let her borrow one, and she couldn't afford to rent a moving van. So we sat on it for a month until I could afford to give her the money for the van to transport the mattresses.
Just yesterday (at the time of posting this) we made the exchange and we moved the old mattress in and the crap one out. I'm not sleeping so well just yet, because it's warm as I mentioned above, and I need to do something about my pillow, but last night was fairly good sleep compared to how I've been sleeping. And on top of that, it's an older mattress. Those last a lot longer than newer ones, plus, it's two-sided, so not only can I rotate it, I can also flip it. But it gets better. It's much lighter than my crap one, so it will be much easier for me to move around any time it comes time to flip or rotate.
My battle with shit sleep isn't quite over yet, but it's just improved massively.
In fact, I'm feeling well enough to start sewing today. Hopefully I'll have this thing done soon. As for the cameras, I've decided I'm not wasting money on the studio part of this until I have a suit with which to test the setup. Would be a massive waste of time and money if I bought the cameras and built the studio just to find out the cameras I bought aren't able to pick up my movements. And considering the software has to be cheap and also work with cameras, that will have to be something I research, too. So better to have the suit first.
I've got nothing to post about lately. Nothing that takes little effort anyway. But since I do need an excuse to procrastinate, I've decided to finally post a rant I've had for a long-ass time.
Oh this one is going to piss off a lot of weebs, so let's get into it!
Opening themes to shows are everything. It's very important to have a good theme. And it's on that premise that I have to ask: “Why do so many animes fail at it?” I was listening to anime theme music to get all nostalgic when I came across Death Note's opening theme. The show is awesome, but the opening music is ass. Why? And then that's when it struck me... It's not just Death Note, it's countless animes with themes that don't make sense or just suck. (All the following links will link to videos as neutral as I can find, since some openings aren't very epilepsy-friendly. Videos that contain the actual intro footage will come a potential epilepsy risk warning like so: |Link|)
Here's how you do opening music for your show:
Pokemon – Digimon – Dragon Ball Z – |Dragon Ball Z (Alt)| – One Piece – Sonic The Hedgehog SATAM – Pepper Ann – |MAR| – Ben 10 – Megas XLR – Mighty Morphin Power Rangers – Big Bad Beetleborgs – ThunderCats – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – X-Men – Inspector Gadget – |Beetlejuice| – Teen Titans – Invader Zim – Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo
I'm aware not all of those are anime opening themes. As you can see, I said “Here's how you do opening music for your show” not “for your anime”. The last one was just to show that I'm not biased towards English lyrics, and because I find it really funny to see the way people react when they find out that's really what the show, and consequently the main character, is named. I'm not making that up. I swear to god that's what it's called. Look it up.
And before you yell at me, I chose the remade version of the Inspector Gadget theme because they're essentially the same, I just didn't like how dated the original sounded.
And here's how not to do music:
|Dragon Ball Z (Alt 2)| – |Sword Art Online| – |Blazblue|
There's more, but I can't really stand the music enough to sit through anymore. I saw a poll once that placed the Pokemon theme as the best opening theme ever, and I find it extremely hard to argue. Now this is just my opinion, my totally objective, correct opinion, and if you like any of the ones I listed, that's fine, that's your opinion, and your opinion is valid, you'll just have to live with having the wrong one.
Compare the do's and don'ts. You'll notice that the Do's are all either lyric-less or refer directly to the show you're about to watch. I've been saying this a long time, now... but Sonic SATAM is the best example of opening theme music done right.
“Blue streak speeds by, Sonic the Hedgehog. Too fast for the naked eye, Sonic the Hedgehog. Sonic, he can really move, Sonic, he's got an attitude, Sonic, he's the fastest thing alive. Look out when he storms through, Sonic the Hedgehog. Don't doubt what he can do, Sonic the Hedgehog. Sonic, he can really move, Sonic, he's got an attitude, Sonic, he's the fastest thing alive.”
It's literally all about Sonic and how fucking cool he is. No metaphors, no similies, no “sorta, kinda, if you think about it” it's as direct as you can get: Sonic is awesome, don't mess with him, he's really fast. ATTITUDE 90's YEAH!
The Megas XLR one is also pretty good on the "telling it like it is" factor. "Living here in Jersey, fighting villains from afar. You gotta find first gear in your giant robot-car. You/I/We/Chicks dig giant robots." It doesn't get more straightforward than that. If you've never watched Megas XLR, you should. It doesn't ever take itself too seriously, and that makes it even more awesome. It's a tragedy that the show was so short lived.
Quick note on the Pepper Ann theme... wouldn't being your own biggest fan make you a loser? Not sure that's something to boast about...
Here's the eye-opening one I always like to point out to friends. Dragon Ball Z – Rock The Dragon vs Dragon Ball Z – Chala Head Chala.
Rock the Dragon:
“Dragon, dragon. Rock the dragon. Dragon Ball Z. Dragon, dragon. Rock the dragon. Come get me.”
Chala Head Chala:
“….I fall into a paradise of panic. The scenery turns upside-down and I cheer up (cheer up), ’cause the mountains look like butts.”
This is the greatest action cartoon on the planet we're talking about. Dragon Ball Z, for those who have never watched it, is a show where characters are constantly beating the ever loving fuck out of each other, and Chala Head Chala, according to Julian Grybowski's translation, goes “Lol, mountain butts....” Why!?
Even with not-so-good shows, a good opening can make it seem awesome. As is the case with Ben 10. The show is meh, the writing is meh, Ben is a crap character, but the intro music is still really good.
While compiling this post, I noticed a trend. A lot of the “openings done right” ones are from the 90's. Over half. The ones I don't like usually end up being J-Pop crap or just plain unrelated to the show. For some reason, the 90's really had a knack for making you want to watch the show just based on the opening music alone. I'll refer you back to Power Rangers, X-Men, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to prove my point. Can you listen to them and not want to watch the show? The 90s may have been misguided, but they knew how to make the most camp theme songs. The Power Rangers theme is the very definition of "90s camp".
Now let's break down the top two on the list of Do's. Also conveniently the first two on the list...
Wanting to be the greatest. Catching them all. Doing what it takes to achieve your goal. Many references to Pokemon themselves. Challenges, being a badass, saving the world.
Right away, references to the Digimon. Even breaks down their name: Digimon are digital monsters. But not only are they digital monsters, they're also the champions, they change to become stronger to save their world.
Both the Pokemon and Digimon themes are catchy as all hell, and both accomplish telling you exactly what you're to expect from the show. How many of you reading this will forever have the theme songs to Pokemon and Digimon burned in your heads? Think about that for a second. Let's say you isolated yourself in a bunker for 40 years with no access to the outside world. Some of those iconic “do” themes are such that you'd still remember them by heart even after all that time, huh? Some of those themes are part of you now, and that's the impact a good theme can have.
I'm not saying it's impossible for the “don'ts” to be so memorable, but... here, let's use Blazblue to contrast it with Pokemon and Digimon.
“The bell that rang in youth's time opens Truth's door. Is this distant shadow a prophetic dream? Is it a nightmare? Whispers of grief are woven in the sky. After tracing the believed road, silver rain pours. (Being perplexed, I turn around, and the answer is?) The sand of the memory rushes at high speed, paying with bare hands. A sounding premonition which does not stop changes into courage which advances. It is able to precede the wheel of pain and sorrow, which repeats passionately the future which spills from the cut off eye emptiness comes and spreads in the desired heaven. The trembling voice is too quiet. The forest of glass fell to wailing.”
I'm not sure how accurate this translation is, I just found it on a fan wikia. While reading these lyrics, my only reaction was “Cryptic metaphor, cryptic metaphor, cryptic metaphor, I'm not high enough for this, I'm definitely not high enough for this, what even is this describing right now? Why are these the words that are being used? This makes no sense. How am I supposed to get excited for this show?”
Well, triggerwarning, I think Blazblue is boring-ass, cryptic crap, so it fits! But it's still forgettable...
And last, I want to point at something cool One-Piece did. I've never been able to prove they did this, but I swear when I first saw it air on TV, they modified the intro. Originally, the intro talks about all the main characters: "Usopp's doing that marksman thing, Sanji's cooking, Chopper's doctoring." But I didn't know that, and when it aired for the first time in my region, they diced up the intro to leave out characters that came in later on. So, first it was all about the treasure, and Luffy, then when Luffy meets Zolo, they extended the intro to include him, then Nami, and so on. Basically, as the show progressed, they changed the intro just a little bit to re-include each character along the way. With each new character on Luffy's crew, the intro got a little longer. It was really cool, and I've never seen that done before, or since for that matter. I only wish I had a way to prove my claim.
I don't really have a neat and tidy way of wrapping this up... it's just a rant... All I can really end on is: J-Pop is pretty much all trash, intro music really should refer to the show you're watching, English opening music is vastly superior to the Japanese intro music, and the 90's knew what they were doing...
So the pads didn't work out. They're too hard to lay on. Instead, I put them back under my mattress in just such a way that it would cause my bed to have a slope right where my lower back is, and on top of that, I bought a brand new pillow.
I slept great. It was still pretty terrible, but it was comparatively better than usual and I had more energy.... for one night only.
Unfortunately, there really is no improving this mattress, as I've found out. After the first night, it got so flat and warn out that it now it feels like I'm sleeping directly on the springs. Its gotten so hard in the middle, I'm honestly surprised I'm not in more pain each morning.
The pillow is fantastic, though. $50 for it, and I'm not regretting it. Hell, when the company asked me for a review and I said: "Meh, it's not that good. Little too light for my liking." They emailed me back saying "Hey, we'll pay for you to return it, and we'll fully customize your pillow for free: thickness, firmness, size, you name it. We offer unlimited free modifications."
Now that's what I call a policy!
I think this will end up being my last post about my bed. Someone on Twitter was like "You whine all the time on your blog." (Hi, racist! I know you're reading this!)
My complaining is 1) Cathartic. It's how I relieve stress about things. 2) Frequently done for a) Humor, b) Advice/Tips (as in with my Don't Trust Anyone post), c) Relatability. And 3) My decision.
Normally I wouldn't give a fuck what this person thinks and I'd go on doing this as normal, but it made me realize that probably no one gives a shit about how I'm trying to improve my sleep. So I'm stopping.
Hell, I wasn't even going to do this one, but I figured that since that racist piece of shit thinks my poor sleep is a made up excuse, I might as well post one more.
I guess I've mostly just been blogging about my attempts to improve my quality of sleep to show people that this really is a thing I'm struggling with, and that I really am trying to solve it.
So I'm not even going to bother with going over a next step in trying to overcome this thing.
But maybe I won't. She was a total dumbass anyway.
"You failed to come up with a camera mount solution in your last mocap post. Lol, you're useless."
Even though that post was 4 fucking days ago and I do have a solution to it now. What am I supposed to do? "Oh hey guis! I just wanted to let you know I figured it out! Kthxbai!"
I don't know. It'll come down to how I feel about it in the end. If I feel like I'm wasting my time and annoying people, I'll stop mentioning my poor sleep. And you'll just have to guess when my energy is returning.