Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Topping Last Year

I made a mistake last year. I made what I consider to be the best Birthday card ever. I spent ages debilitating over what to draw for my friends card, and I knew I had to make it awesome. I was pretty proud of myself, and you can see the card here. Last year I collaborated with Mr Kaoskongo and the gang and it turned out pretty damn cool.

But that was my mistake. I had made the card TOO awesome. How on earth was I going to top that? I mean it had a sword! And an achievement bar! And a naked lady riding my friend drawn as a Centaur! 

Then Nakita Internington had the best idea. And it hit me, I knew what I had to draw. Here are the pictures. 

Cover of the card. The M is so that he figures out which way it opens. 

Detail shot of cover.
And then BAM! It pops up! 

Bula pattern cloaks. What all wizards are wearing this season. 

Oh noes evil centipede of doom! (Or Caterpillar if you're Sharky) 

That's right, you can move the lightning bolt around.

So materials were pretty much two A3 sheets of 250gsm glossy card, one sasa stick, a whole lotta glue and cellotape. I did all the art digitally this year, as I have been doing my hardest to master the wacom tablet.

We got that printed at the print shop, after working out a prototype to see how big we should make the individual pieces, then Nakita cut out all the little fiddly bits (she is very pro at that, way more patient than I am with the corners and in general)

Now...what the heck am I going to do about next year...

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Workin' Progress

Hey hey! So in an effort to improve my art, I've been making a lot more prints lately. It's more an attempt to make sure I put enough effort into a piece instead of just half-arsing it, as when you print it out a whole lot more detail is on display for people. 

Speaking of display, I've also decided that next year I'm going to try put a couple of pieces of together for the art exhibition. Here are a couple of prints I made.


Easter Island heads are awesome. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thoughts on Skyrim

I was going to have a more exciting title up there, but I thought what the fuck, let's get down to business here. Skyrim is a gigantic game, and pretty much all I've been playing for the last few days (I hit the eighty hour mark last night...so monies worth? definitely.) I will admit, I do not have much of a history with the series, my RPG needs usually filled by the ones that come out of the other side of the planet (Read: Final Fantasy, Pokemon, stuff like that), but since getting a decent PC rig together I've come to appreciate the differences from a good western RPG.

Where to begin, I wonder. The thing about Skyrim is, you can't really make a decent comment on the story. Every character will start in the same place, sure, but after that it's what you do that decides how the rest of the game will play out. There are certain plot points that could stand as similar experiences for everyone, but usually you are given free reign to do what you will. Most of the time.

No one is going to be able to kill the first dude that helps you out, which I found out after an unfortunate "accident" involving a bear and some fire. I set him on fire and he just kinda flopped around on his knees for a bit before standing up.

In a game where the majority of the NPCs are able to be killed though, do a couple of invincible ones break the game? I personally don't think so, it's the safer way to make sure that the player has something to do most of the time. Could it have been done better? Perhaps, although I can't think of a way that would be cost effective in terms of code.
My first level up looked a little like this. But the Deer was dead.
Instead of having defined character classes, the skills that you use define your character. The more you hit things with an axe, the better you get at hitting people with an axe. The same applies to magic and selling things and everything. So I guess what I'll do is tell you about my personal Skyrim experience (which most of the best reviews have done anyway).

My first character started off as one I didn't plan on getting attached to. I made an Imperial lady who looked angry all the time and was at the maximum end of the weight slider (which weirdly governs how muscular you are, not how chubby) I tried a little bit of everything at first, but slowly I got to leaning more toward the stealthy side of things. Even though I was wearing heavy armor, I could line up stealth kills with arrows if I was careful enough, and when things turn to shit, she became super good at using two one handed weapons to whirl through enemies like a dervish of death dealing.

What's that over there? ADVENTURE!
I'm also going to try my hardest to not spoil major questlines for people, so intentionally vage commentary follows.

I was having a good time helping people out, doing the main questline at a snails pace and levelling my smithing with a dude who is the best smith in Skyrim. But where I have had the most fun with my first character is the Thieves Guild. At first I wanted to be a "good" person, no stealing, no killing innocent people. But there is a certain thrill in sneaking through a bandit camp, pickpocketing their leader who's asleep in her bed, and then looting their entire treasury without anyone even knowing you're there.

That threw my whole no stealing thing out the window...then I started with the Dark Brotherhood...and man...those guys are twisted. Then that threw the whole no killing innocents out the window too. Sure, the majority of the marks that you get are kind of bad people, but some of them aren't...evil. Just mean. Or in the wrong place at the wrong time.

And that's what I like, my character went from a hero to...something else. She gets the job done, but still leans more toward the Thief than the Assassin.

Shhhh, sleeeeeep.
The main questline though, with its Dragons... to be honest I could use a little less of them. The first ones are tough as nails, and before you get their pattern down they are tricky. But then, that's all they are, patterns. Like any boss fight, once you work them out they lose their difficulty. Plus...once they land I can literally kill a dragon in three seconds. I showed my sister who is playing a mage-y character that once and she swore at me like a sailor on shoreleave.

And the horses. Shit man, don't get me started on the horses. They are crazy bastards, who will throw themselves at badguys with no regard to their own safety. And I have lost so many to fall damage now that it's silly. And it wouldn't be so bad if they weren't 1000 gold each.

Slight spoiler, I did manage to get a special horse as part of a questline who is actually useful in that she is much stronger than a regular horse, so doesn't die as easily. And that made a difference. But then she died thanks to glitch that moved her exactly 200 yards to the left once I dismounted. That 200 yards happened to place her in the air on the side off the side of the mountain we had just galloped up so of course, she falls to her death.

Buggy Infinite Dragons? Yes.
Oh, the glitches. I have seen flying mammoths, Dragons that don't give me their souls, floating people, a bug in the main questline that took ages for me to fix.

But in spite of all of that, I have had fun. It's a sandbox that I really enjoy playing in, and I am pretty sure I have at least a couple more playthroughs left in it before I am thoroughly sick of the snowy province of Skyrim. But first of course, theres that main questline to finish... after I help end the civil war...and maybe do some more Guild quests...perhaps level my enchanting...

Oh, and those helmets are everywhere! I was a little sad about that.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Breaking Radio Silence

Why helloooo there. (Read in George Takei's voice for maximum impact).

I haven't posted in a while, mainly due to busy-ness at work, and then I was on break...and then more busy-ness. Christmas is the busiest time of the year, so if it's not one thing it's another. Although, I did have to catch three birds that had flown into the office yesterday, and that took forever. They are slippery bastards, birds are. Mainly because they can fly and are really fast. Also, I got stung by centipede in a region that is quite unmentionable. Okay, it was my butt. In case you were wondering about other unmentionable regions (Don't do that).

Also, I've been playing a lot of Skyrim (which I simply must write about at some point, I am enjoying it a lot!). So that's in the pipeline once I put a couple more hours into that, although a lot of my time was just spent smithing armor. For some reason I really wanted to get my smithing maxed out and make some armor out of the dragons I had been killing. So look forward to that!

In the meantime, enjoy this picture I drew of a fairy and a spider.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Minecraft Posts: Part One

So a while back I was pretty into that whole mining and building game, also known as Minecraft. However, I reached a point where I began to get a little bored. My fortifications were awesome, I had a decent stockpile of minerals and ore, and my mine was so vast and expansive that I would frequently have to just dig a brand new tunnel so that I wouldn't get lost.

I vowed I would give it a break until another substantial update to the game. And lo and behold, that time has come. The Adventure Update meant that it was time to once again dig into (ha ha ha) that blocky world and survive.

Piggy photobombed my sunset shot >_> 
It also meant I had to start again from scratch, but there was something cleansing about all that. It had been long enough since the last time I played that it was a welcome return. The first day in Minecraft is quite frankly, the most stressful. If you don't find a seam of coal you're going to spend the first night in darkness and terror.

Unless you play on peaceful, but that's for old people with weak hearts and fraidy cats.

An Enderman, one of the new mobs. This was pretty scary.
There were a couple of things I was hoping to find this time around. The update added random villages, abandoned mineshafts and ruins known as strongholds to the game. The villages interest me the most. What I liked about Minecraft the first time around was that sense of loneliness you get, and I wondered if adding Villages (and later NPCs) would change any of that.

As luck would have it, upon spawning in a brand new shiny world, it wasn't long before I found a natural ravine near a lake. Cutting straight into a mountain, it was pretty fucking foreboding. But I had some coal, and I had a flimsy wooden sword, and I thought hey, half the work of digging down is done for me, I may as well start here.

That was when I found the mineshafts. A maze of networks that ran like holes through swiss cheese. There were rail tracks (which I immediately stripped for later use) down there, and cobwebs and sweet, sweet ore.

I've explored an entire map worth of overland, with nary a village to be seen though. And the ruined Strongholds still elude my loot happy backpack. Perhaps it is time to venture into the Nether, and see where else I will pop up.

The current layout of my home base. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Anatomy of a D&D Session

Last Sunday, someone mentioned they wanted to play D&D.

Oh boy, I thought, I'm going to be asked to DM again. Sure enough, my skills were once again called upon to get an adventure together. Since the last time we played (which was a few months ago)  I have gathered more materials than before. I now have not just one, but three D20s.

Hold up though, I hear you asking, what exactly is this Dungeons and Dragons you are going on about?

Dungeons and Dragons is a roleplaying game played with imagination, dice, friends and some pencils and paper. One person is assigned the role of Dungeon Master, who is responsible for creating the adventure and playing the monsters and characters you meet on said adventure. Everyone else is a player (or PC) who creates a character that will face the various challenges set upon by the Dungeon Master (or DM).

Wow, that sounds like a rip roaring good time! How do I go about playing this Dragons and Dungeons?

Whoa there sparky, you're going to need a few things first.

- Victims...er...friends to play.
- A whole bunch of polynesian....er...polyhedral dice.
- To read the books.

There are a lot of D&D books out there, but what you'll basically need are the Players Handbook, Dungeon Masters guide and the Monster Manual. They will give you a pretty thorough rundown of the rules, races, classes and ideas on how to roleplay. There's also a crapload of stuff that is a simple Google search away, you lazy bum.

Anyway, I'm here to tell you about how our D&D session went.

This was to be the fourth time that I have ever DM'ed ever, and I really wanted to try and write an adventure instead of using an existing one. First of all, I had to come up with a name. This is probably not how real writers write an adventure, but I needed somewhere to start off. As I was looking around my room, I saw a lego set that my sister and I bought in Australia. It came with little lego spiders.

And thus, the Web of the Spidermancer was born in my brainmeat.

I wrote the campaign outline, designed some encounters and wrote a whole lot of fluff for the players to go through. Then I tried to find some maps online for the adventure. No dice there, I could have pieced together some tiles or something, but then I thought what the hell, I'm a dab hand at photoshop, I'll just make some maps.

Not pictured: Hours spent agonizing over whether or not more skulls were needed.

The adventure was intentionally written as a small as possible. The PCs arrive in a village in the arse-end of the world, the problem is obvious and there are way too many rewards. I also tried to keep it as fun as possible, with little mini-games like a drinking contest and a sidequest to collect spider eyes.

I also prepared way more than I needed to. In total I wrote about seven encounters, and the players managed to finish in three encounters. I'm pretty sure they had fun though, and there was some groaning when I showed them an encounter that they could have done, had they gone a different way.

Yes, there were actual girls

Things that I learned? I need to prepare more. Sure, there are some things you can't prepare for, like a PC who goes on a totally different tangent from what you have written, or horrible rolls which mean that your miniboss misses every single attack it makes, but these lessons will hopefully make me a better DM.

And next time, I am totally going to cheat if Gargantua the Spider misses three times in a row.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Why Final Fantasy Tactics is Awesome

Pixelated men riding pixelated chickens? I'm so there.

The first time I saw Final Fantasy Tactics, I was visiting my stepmothers family. Her brother had just bought a couple of new games and asked me if I wanted to check them out.

He popped in the disk for Final Fantasy Tactics and started up a new game. After the game went on about how history is written by the victors of war, it asked him for his name and birthday.

Then, it started. Little sprites marched in time, waiting for their turn so that they could go and beat up other little sprites. I still remember the first thing he said, "Man, they look like little children." Then he turned it off and put in Resident Evil 2.

Yes, I gave myself the right birthday. 
He also let me take the disk home that afternoon.

Final Fantasy Tactics is one of those games I come back to every once in a while, like several of the games in the series, but it's definitely one that is different every single time. This is mostly due to the intricate battle system, that is simple enough to work with, but rewarding for those who dive in and fiddle around with it. (Just like your first time -Ed) 
The first few rounds are important for buffing, I like to let the enemy come to me. 

Battles are played out on a 3D isometric field, where units are placed and wait for their orders according to a Charge Time meter, which fills up depending on their speed. You can affect the flow of turns by using different techniques, so it's not entirely turn-based, and placement of units is important to avoid being pummeled to death by enemies, since they do more damage if they attack you from the side or behind. (Just like...never mind - Ed) 

Thats only half of the game though, the other half is in the setup of your units. Like a lot of Tactics games, FFT has a class based system, where each class specializes in different areas. Wizards are long range magic users, Priests heal and buff units and Knights are close range fighters who can destroy enemy equipment. Each character though, can change jobs between battle depending on what they have unlocked.

Mike never was able to unlock the Ninja class.
Heres where it gets interesting though, skills that a unit learns can be still be used provided that you assign them beforehand. What this means basically, is that you can turn a Knight into a Wizard, and still have access to the skills he had as a Knight. You wouldn't actually want to do that, but it's in trying out different combinations that you make the best units. 

Look at all these classes. LOOK AT THEM!
One particular example that springs to mind is my hero unit for my last playthrough. He was a squire for his base class, with battle skill as his secondary. But! He also had Two Swords from the Ninja class as his support ability, which meant that when he countered (A reaction ability from the Monk class) he would hit TWO TIMES. (I can see the eyes of your readers glaze over, talk about something else - Ed) 

But what about the narrative, I hear you ask. FFT is set in Ivalice, the setting for quite a few Final Fantasies, in a time known as the Lion War. The main story takes place seemingly in the background of this huge medieval war, with various plots, backstabs and demonic influences. I will admit, a lot of it went over my head the first time I played through, but now that I'm older it kinda reminds me of Game of Thrones, in terms of political complexity. 

You play as Ramza, who grows through the story from a young idealistic cadet to a hero of the war, but is remembered in history as a heretic and traitor. Through the game you learn how this happens, and of course, that history is written by those who win. Or at least, backstab enough people so that no one is alive who knows you're a bad guy. 

Tonight, we dine in Hell! 
There are a lot of characters in FFT, but enough memorable ones to keep you interested. Ramza of course, is a solid piece of character development, but there is also his best friend Delita, who kind of takes the "ends justifies the means" route. Even during my third playthrough though, there were a couple of times when I had to look up who someone was.

It's raining shards of Ice, Hallelujah...

Graphically, the game does look somewhat dated. Okay, it looks really dated. But the majority of the game is made up of sprites, with a lot of pretty painstaking animation for some of the cutscenes. In that sense, it still holds out. The spell effects are also pretty, with lots of glow and sparks. The sound is also top notch, with appropriate music for battles, and sound effects (particularly the death cry units make when they die) that have lodged themselves in my brain.

Warpin' time back to 1998. 

I'm going to be honest, I partly look at this game through rose colored glasses. It was the first videogame I actually started copying art from. I can do the first four battles blindfolded because for one entire long weekend it was all my friend Ryan and I would play, because we didn't have a memory card and the fourth battle is a fucking bitch to finish.

But it's also so very, very solid. I seem to learn something new about it every time I play through (Like that lightning spells become more powerful in the rain, or that when choosing a healer, make sure their zodiac sign is compatible with your attacking units).

There's a reason that it has attained cult classic status, and also why when they remade it for PSP they didn't just port it over, but added beautiful cel-shaded cutscenes with voiceovers.

It might not be everyones cup of tea, but FFT definitely deserves it's place in the series, and it's earned in the blood of a hundred slain enemies and spells rained down from the heavens.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Where have YOU been?

Visual aid. You know, in case you needed reminding. 

My mummy was adamant.

"You are coming with us, everything has been arranged. All you have to do is arrange for a week off of work and that's it."

She travels a lot, my mum does, but this time she wanted to take both my sister and I with her for a holiday. In Australia.

I will admit, I had to have a bit of a think first, but due to the fact that everything was pretty much organized, and my mother would disown me if I turned her down, I went to Melbourne for a week.

Now, technically, only I was on holiday. My mum was there on business and my sister also had work to do. It's not easy being a feminist, don'tcha know. However, because she is my mother, she managed to pack a whole lot of shopping into the schedule.

Also, I don't particularly mind shopping, it is an artform in itself. But man, when you're stuck in Suva and have been pretty much everywhere, nothing prepares you for a proper first world country CBD. The people, the cars, the variety of stores. It got a little overwhelming, but luckily I had prepared beforehand. With my trusty Google Map of Melbourne and a list of stores I had to check out, nothing was going to stand in my way.

And this place was like a treasure trove. I felt like a fucking adventurer discovering a lost civilization.

Apart from the shopping, it was also a good bonding experience. Family time and all that. I learned that the work that mum does means that she has an amazing network of people who both respect and want to work with her.
Forum panel that my mum was on. She was very, very good. 

I learned that my sister is really good at giving speeches, and that she can make a grown woman cry. Granted, this particular lady has been known to cry at the drop of a hat, but that doesn't diminish the impact of my sisters story telling.

Finally, I have no idea why, but this trip I was struck with chapped lips, horrid sinus troubles and an inability to sleep properly. I have my own theories on this but it may have been that fact that Melbourne is FUCKING COLD. And also, that our room was on the 15th floor. We had an amazing view of the backside of an even larger building.

And so, with a bag full of goodies and Aussie loot, I returned home. And that's the thing about holidays, at the end of the day you come home, with stories and memories and youtube videos of your mum representing Fiji.

Loot List (A list of the things I picked up, so you can be jelly)
- Blade Runner: Final Cut Blu Ray (for this feller
- Dead Space: Martyr (for this feller
- Penny Arcade: book 7 
- Cyanide and Happiness book (For the sister to put on her shelf) 
- Terry Pratchett's Unseen Academicals and I Shall Wear Midnight

Friday, August 12, 2011

The night I found Jesus

I was out at the clubs with a couple of friends, as befits a Friday evening. We had just been to watch the Laughing Samoans give a benefit performance for the WOWS (not World of Warcrafts). They were hilarious.

It was early saturday morning, when I met Jesus, outside of O'Reillys. I had escaped the hot, gyrating mob and gone outside to have a quiet smoko. You know that a nightclub is packed when you have to do that.

He was crossing the street with a couple of ladies, about to go and perform miracles, no doubt. I stopped him with a tap on the shoulder.

"Hey Jesus, what are you doing here?"

"Oh, hey Albert! Having a good night?"

"Um, yeah I guess. But seriously, aren't you supposed to return for that Rapture thing? What's going on with that?"

"Oh, yeah. Totally gonna do that soon, I guess. Maybe. Probably not, anyway, I gotta go take these lovely ladies and show them the Lords Love, if you know what I mean."

"That's cool Jesus, that's cool. Mind if I get a picture with you for the ol' blog?"

"Awesome Cake? Sweet ME! That would be would all kinds of cool."

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


I haven't blogged in over a month. Usually I would just vomit forth some banal thoughts to remedy this, but lately I've been feeling like I need to up my game a bit in terms of writing. So, I went with the old adage, if you can't find anything to say, don't fucking blog.

That's an adage right? You guys got the memo?

So instead, I'm going to post some pictures I've done over the last few days. If you're following me on the old Twitter-thing you've probably seen these, but I felt that they were good enough to post twice.

I've been fooling around a lot more with layers of lighting than I usually do. For example, if I were to draw a character it'd have a layer for the colors, one for the shadows and another for spots of light to give it some highlighting. With these I've tried a bit more layering, and I'm pretty happy with how they came out.

This is Varric from Dragon Age 2, done for a friend of mine from a twitter suggestion. (Jeez, I spend a lot of time on there) I tried to get the lighting similar to the scenes where Varric narrates the games story, there are a few licenses taken here and there of course.

This dude is on fire. Why is he on fire? Why is there a crab on his belt? Why can I never seem to get pauldrons done in the right perspective? So many questions that will never be answered.

I am extremely lazy when it comes to backgrounds. They take an eye for detail that I have yet to master. Photoshopping one in is pretty lame, but at least it looks kind of cool.

That concludes our post!

Monday, July 4, 2011

How games made me Awesome

This is a short essay I wrote a while back, for no particular reason other than I felt like writing. It rambles a bit and is never serious, so it's pretty much a standard Albie essay.

The first videogame I can recall playing was a first person shooter called Wolfenstein 3D on my fathers ancient Macintosh II. It was a fairly simple game, in which you play a Allied soldier trying to escape Nazis in the aforementioned Castle Wolfentstein. I was also about six years old. Sure, maybe letting a six year old shoot pixellated Nazis wasn’t the best idea in the world, but it did start something that I’m sure my parents regret. It got me hooked on videogames.

My God, it's like a movie!

From then on, I’ve pretty much played games whenever the opportunity arises, except with the hearts of others (Backstreet Boys reference, terrible, I know).

Nothing good on TV? Play a game.Not near a suitable place to play games? Draw something (probably game related). No paper? Think about how much I like games. Sure, you could call it obsessive. In fact, you’re probably thinking theres something wrong with me somewhere. But there is a reason why I love games so much. They made me awesome.

Games have taught me not to give up. The boss is too difficult? You failed at that jump in Super Mario? The fucking Angry Bird flew too high over a pig? Try again. And chances are, you’ll learn how to beat that problem, and you’ll be rewarded. Sure, it’s a virtual reward, that isn’t tangible, but the lesson remains. If you can learn to apply that lesson, there's nothing you can't do.

I am a huge RPG (Role-playing Game) fan. I can go on for hours about Final Fantasies, Dragon Quests and Star Oceans, and for a good reason. The first RPG that really blew my mind was Final Fantasy 7, a little game that came out in 1998, and that I picked up about a year after it was released (Fiji Time, you understand). It was the first time that I played a game with characters that resonated, a plot that spanned everything from environmentalism, to love, to corporate greed and sacrifice.

As you can imagine, it blew my little mind away. Through that game, I realised that videogames have a way to teach lessons that most other media can’t. Interaction. You can read a book, or watch a film, but these stories are presented to you to watch. You’re not responsible for the outcome, you’re kind of just along the ride. It doesn’t make them any less important, don’t get me wrong, but videogames should be up there with them.

So there I was, chugging away at this game when out of nowhere, the girl that I had been travelling with for a dozen hours is cut down by my arch-nemesis. My happy go lucky, cheerful friend was slain, and there was no way to bring her back. I had to carry that, through the rest of the game, until I finally bitchslapped the last boss to oblivion, and it made it that much more satisfying. Like I said, the fact that I had to interact with the game, through pressing buttons to progress the story, making decisions in battles and planning ahead, invested me in the story that much more.

And I will admit, I cried my eyes out when she died.

Still get misty-eyed sometimes :(

Which brings me to another reason why games made me awesome. The fact that I had to press those buttons to progress the story. Yes, it’s just pressing a button, but you have to press the right ones, in certain ways, and at certain times to get it work. Right now, I’m touchtyping this essay without even thinking about it, and the reason I know how to touchtype is because I play a lot of videogames, and had to learn that particular skill in order to succeed. Sure, I didn’t think about it at the time, I just wanted to able to communicate faster in order to tell my friend Mike to get that dragon away from me, but now that I know how to do it, it’s pretty damn useful. And I can impress secretaries.

Computers and technology are everywhere nowadays. Most people carry one around in their pockets. We use them for work, you can access your money from them on every other street corner in Suva, and we pay good money to people to get them fixed when they break. Now, I’m not an IT guy, but because of videogames I found computer science class in highschool a piece of cake. Heck, I spent most of my time using the Basic program they tried to teach us to make text adventures. I’m also pretty sure that it was my highest mark, but I’ll have to get back to you on that (it may have been Geography, but that’s a different essay entirely).

They’ve made me read more too. An old mentor of mine once told me that there are no original ideas, and the same is true for the stories in videogames. They’re all based on something eventually. Ancient mythologies, religious ideals, heck, even Shakespeare has influenced some of my favorite games, and I usually ended up looking these things up and liking them because I played it in a game at some point.

Case in point, I would never have read anything about Norse Mythology unless I had played Final Fantasy 8. In it, you get a spaceship called the Ragnarok.

It's red, therefore, goes faster.

Sure, you may have heard the word a couple of times before (they use it all the time in bad sci-fi/ fantasy movies, usually from the 80’s) but I went and read about it because I wanted to know what the reference was. Okay, so it turned out that it was pretty much just a cool name they chose for the airship, but now I have some extra knowledge floating around in my brain that, you never know, might come in handy one day.
Quick, the Ice Giants are coming!

So what does this mean? Simply put, if you’re reading this, and haven’t played a game in your life you should try. You may end up being as awesome as I am. And at the very least you won’t spend an evening vegging out in front of a television screen. Granted, you’ll be vegging out in front a screen, but at least your brain will have to work to solve a problem or two. And if you do play games, and I’m preaching to the choir, use these points the next time someone gets on your case.

Because when the world ends, and those dragons mutate from mokos due to insane amounts of cosmic radiation, we’ll be the ones who know how to beat ‘em.

Also, don't just take my word for it, there are other people who believe that videogames can make you awesome, and make much better cases for it than I do. If you're interested in gaining some knowledge, the best place to start is this TEDtalk here. Educate thyselves.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Bad Journalism

Every so often, there are bad articles in the newspaper. It's to be expected and they happen all the time, usually because there's space that needs to be filled.

Anyway, let's get down to business. There was an article published in the Kaila! section of the Sunday Times (26/06) that was brought to my attention today. It's an article called "Gender Disorder: Confusion." It's rare that the horridness of an article can be solely blamed on the writer, since there are so many people involved in the production of a newspaper. (Okay, by that I pretty much mean it wasn't edited)

You can sort of tell from the moment you see a typo in the first sentence which reads: What do you do when a primary or secondary school student starts behaving like a girl when is a, a boy or a tomboy if she is a girl?

The article pretty much goes on to state that homosexuality is a choice, and that people should be happy with their God-given gifts of being male or female. I know, I gagged a little as I wrote that out too. And that's not even the worst part, but let's look at that for a moment.

Homosexuality as a choice, right. What I like the most about it is how straightforward the writer is. It must be great to have such conviction about something after doing so much research and taking into account the fact that there is no answer to that question. No simple one, at any rate. And yes, she did do research! In fact, she gives you the website from which she copy pastes entire chunks of writing.

The website in question, is actually at the center of some controversy for it's views on homosexuality not having any basis in medical or scientific studies. Whoops.

I was going to get started on the religion bit too, but that may be an entirely different kettle of fish. Let's just say that it's my personal view that using religion is a little bit lazy when it comes to writing. It just doesn't make for good media. It's like if the weather report consisted of "Today we had rain because God made it so", instead of an analysis of weather conditions.

People read the newspapers to be informed and to make informed decisions, and if you don't give them the right facts, you are taking advantage of your readership. In this case especially, the audience in question are children. Teenagers in primary and secondary school.

Teenagers are already confused, let's be honest. There is so much going on with hormones and new and exciting developments of the bodily kind that half the time you live in this perpetual land of ups and downs. And that was just me as a heterosexual teen.

What this article does is tell you that you're wrong if you have thoughts about someone who is the same sex as you. That there is, in fact, something wrong with you and that you have to be fixed. Teenagers already have such fragile egos, they don't need to read stuff like this.

And on top of all of that they have to do exams too!

My favorite part of the whole article though is halfway through; just before it dissolves into a frenzy of copy-pasting, where it actually looks like the writer attempted to well, write something.

Yes, I'm talking about the part where the writer gets personal. "For most of the young women I knew, these were confusing times for them, but they later got married and lead a happy, heterosexual life today." There is no basis in fact for any of these statements.

And I challenge you to find me a happy married person (Ba bum pish! thankyou ladies and gentlemen).

All in all, everyone is entitled to their own opinion. But when you're a journalist for a newspaper, you need to give people facts that you've properly researched.

And okay, if it was an opinion piece, that may be legitimate. But you can't present your bigoted opinion as fact.

Because that makes you a fucking idiot.

And that's my opinion.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

So Damn Witchy

Was slightly traumatising to be honest. Haven't had much playtime with The Witcher 2 yet, but once I do, I'll write some thoughts down, don't you worry!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


So here we are, the 500th Awesome Cake post. Don't ask me why this is suddenly a big deal for me, it's just a strange feeling I had. Even though the blog has never been anything more than a place to deposit words and pictures I've made from my brain, this somehow feels like a milestone.

I probably need to get out more.

My first post was pretty bad. As were many of the following ones but give me a break it was 2007. To be honest it's really whiny, and I can't read it without getting a bit of a headache. The first ever drawings I posted were a set of three images I'd drawn after getting sick. Here is one of them now.

Yeah, I know it's awful, but I was so proud of it. Seeing as how I have tagged 238 posts with "awesome art" I guess Awesome Cake is mostly an art blog. As well as a place for me to shamelessly tell stories about my life. And videogames.

But hey, that's what blogging is all about. It's not journalism or deep meaningful pieces of writing (although they can sometimes look similar depending on the light) it's opinions written in a little corner of the internet. A way to catalogue your thoughts and if you write 500 posts, look back and go, "man, what a tosser."

Now, let's see how long it takes me to get to 1,000.

Special thanks to Lawrence, Wilson, MJ, Sian, Sharky, Chels and you! You're the reason I write, draw and otherwise make a fool of myself in general.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Vampires, Fairies and Dragons. Oh my!

It's not like Fat Vampire was even that gross. I mean, I could have drawn him fatter.

Not always nice

Sometimes I like drawing grot stuff just to remind myself that I can, and that it's not all unicorns and rainbows. One day, Imma draw some grot stuff with unicorns and rainbows. And it will be awesome.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Better than Gold.

Click to make bigger!

According to the stats page, I have hugged one hundred and eleven people. That's a lot of hugs.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Fable III done!

If you don't count all the quests that unlock once you finish the main story I guess. This is by no means a comprehensive review of the game at all, mainly because it's twenty to two in the morning, but more of an excuse to post these screenshots I took.

Don't be a drag, just be a Queen.

It was good fun, I'll give you that much, with a couple of moments in it that were surprisingly emotional, and a definite contrast to the whole tone of the game. Sure, Fable has always been about morals and making decisions, but mostly the tone is lighthearted and self depreciating. I mean, one of the real "moral" quests is to decide the fate of a flock of chickens.

I also can't remember a lot of the specifics of the reviews that I read were, but I do remember listening to a podcast where someone pointed out the endgame and how it's a serious drag. Yes, I guess I did find it slightly dragging as well, and perhaps even an extremely artificial way to extend the length of the game, but once again, it was optional.

Balverines. God, I killed SO MANY BALVERINES.

Also, I have to admit that everything was extremely streamlined. There's no life bar, instead you get a Call of Duty-ish border when you take too much damage, and you can either gulp a potion or wait to heal. There's a lot of handholding in Fable, (literally, because sometimes you have to take people by the hand to get them places) but I don't think that it suffers for it.

The combat mechanics are simple, but I found them deep enough to be enjoyable. The only thing I wish I had was some sort of way to switch weapons faster, because if you want to switch weapons you have to go to the sanctuary, which replaces the traditional menu screen with a 3D environment. Sure, it's different, but here I feel that Lionhead was just being different for the sake of it, and at times it's extremely clunky.

Just like Red Bull, finishing the main quest gives you wings.

And I think I'll leave it at that, more sleep is required before I even attempt to form an opinion and write it down :P