Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Zelda turns 25...

I never played any Zelda games except for the first one.  And I never beat it.  I don't have this awe that so many others share with this franchise.  In fact pretty much the only thing I know about it comes from this image.  On the left is a peice of art done for a Halo graphic novel in 2005.  On the right, the 2010 Zelda Wii Teaser poster...

They couldn't even change the direction he was looking.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Digital Paintings - Into the Deep.

Here are a few background paintings I did for the short "Into the Deep"

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

My Favourite Games of 2010

Well as this year draws to a close, I'd like to share what I think my favourite games of 2010 were.  My choices are just that, my personal choices.  I haven't taken into consideration sales figures, meta-scores, or anything like that.  And as someone more involved in Animation than Games, I honestly don't PLAY that many new releases.

#5.  Sonic the Hedgehog 4.

This was a late release - happening on October 7, and I actually didn't find out about it until October 19!  (my birthday!).  Despite it's sluggish controls, the music salvaged this otherwise, somewhat FORGETTABLE release.  It's nothing you haven't seen before, but as one of the biggest Sonic fans from back in the day (I even had a Sega CD!) It was nice to hear a MIDI soundtrack rendered through that ancient Yamaha YM2612 chip!

How can Sonic actually be SLOWER on a console that's over 100 times faster?  Well...  My guess is that people took the logical steps of Walk - Run - Speed WAYY past cool.  The old Sonic started at walk then went to speed.   There is too much of a buildup that it takes from the time I smash right on the d-pad or anaolog stick and the time when Sonic unleashes.  This has its uses (I GUESS) in the 3D sonic games but in a 2D platformer, it feels very sluggish.  All that aside, it was nice to see Sonic back in his element, albeit a bit handicapped.  It's worth 800 Microsoft points for the fan, but fans who never played the ORIGINAL sonic games, might not be that enthralled. 

#4.  Perfect Dark (Classic Arcade)

Another classic revamp - I must say that I LOVED the original, and clocked COUNTLESS hours that old cartridge!  The only things changed from this version from the old N64 were the graphics.  New HD textures and some (slightly) higher res models replaced the blocky N64 ones.  My disappointment lies in the lack of XBOX LIVE Co-Op - which should have been VERY easy to implement - or the lack of Simulants (bots) on Xbox live as well.  But what can I say, it still holds up really well.  My biggest problem was pressing Y on the Xbox controller trying to reach for the C-Buttons which shows you how ingrained in my head that N64 controller was.

Once again, with much more advanced shooters out there, I can only recommend if you were a fan of the original.  But I liked it.  PRO-TIP - get a headshot and then you can get hot pink avatar shirt.

#3  Fallout 3:  New Vegas

Did you like Fallout 3 but found it too easy or short?  The Hardcore Realism mode adds a new level of depth to your wasteland adventure.  I loved this game and clocked MANY an hour on it, just wandering around, getting side-tracked on side-quests.  I spent probably over 100 hours in Fallout 3, and New Vegas is just as good - better in fact.  My favourite part was the ability to TRULY choose your path, rather than being pigeon-holed into a Brotherhood of Steel lackey as in '3.  I never liked the BoS.

For the hours you'll spend playing it - it might be the best 60$ you'll spend all year!  ((Only 50$ if you buy it on PC!!))

#2.  Mass Effect 2

Mass Effect 1 was as I always joke, "The Game I always wanted to play but never knew until I played it!"  It was the perfect RPG - combining both skills and level advantages in a way I had never seen before.  I loved the sci-fi rather than fantasy setting - something only the FINAL FANTASY series had even REMOTELY touched on.  I loved the soundtrack, the art, the level design (cookie cutter or not) and I loved this game!  Mass Effect 2, took everything I liked about the first one, and made it that much better!  I loved the loyalty aspect of the game, the more simplified but much more rewarding level system, the art and sound were still TOP NOTCH, and truly, were it not for my own bias, I would probably give this the number 1 slot.

Companies like BioWare and Bethesda have really revolutionized the RPG genre, so much so that I can't even dissociate Final Fantasy from Generic anymore.  Mass Effect 2 is, for me, the perfect RPG.  I couldnt get enough of it and probably had about 4 play-throughs.  An Excellent Game!

#1.  Halo:  Reach

I have been a fan of Halo since 2001, when then FIRST one came out.  I loved it!  To me, it's perfect.  I will defend it VEHEMENTLY.  It is a rare point when I simply CANNOT see the critic's point of view.  If you like shooters, what's not to like about this one?

REACH, specifically, is the most PERFECT prequel to ANYTHING since Godfather II.  It is THAT GOOD.  From the art, to the music, to the flawless and VASTLY improved multiplayer, this game is my absolute favourite game of 2010.  Very few games can move me to tears, but Halo Reach is one.  For the Halo fan, the loyal, devoted, halo fan, this game has everything you want.  And what prequel - in HISTORY - ENDS with the first lines from the next item in its series?


The last scene in halo Reach, is the FIRST SCENE in Halo Combat Evolved, if you unplugged Reach, and put in Halo 1, you would not miss a SINGLE SECOND of the storyline.  It is tied together that well.  I loved every second of it, and will play through it again and again for years to come.   My #1 game of 2010, and (in truth) #2 game of ALL TIME - Halo Reach.

((My #1 is Half Life 2!))

See you on Anniversary Day!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Fly me away, Odyssey Rocket...

This video was done in three weeks, one scene per week, after one of the executive producers decided to start over halfway through production. You can still see the original animatic in the previous post.

If you don't know Odyssey is a learning tool developed by CompassLearning to help students learn via online classes. While it is available at all K-12 levels, it is mainly used at the elementary level in this county.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Soaring to Success

For the past few weeks I've been working on realizing the video for PCSB's School Technology Service annual DIP Luncheon, entitled Soaring to Success.

This time we find Coach Buck Willis, angry with the government for spreading lies about global warming and cable boxes.  And forcing baseline evaluations on everyone too.  He decides the only thing to do is to go to Tallahassee himself, and talk to those government people himself...

The coach lives deep in the pine forests of northeast Polk County.

His house is a digital painting.  Gnats and bug zapper hits were added when I made this in flash.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

10 Days of Allied Forces: Part 11: Congratulations! (2010)

Ten years have passed since that 14 year old child, came up with the ideas that would become Allied Forces.  Ten years since I set my life on a track that I seem to have become powerless to dislodge.  Ten Years of production, thought, introjection, triumph, failure, success, and sadness.  Ten years of Allied Forces.
As of June 29th, 2010, these are the PRIMARY stories which make up the Allied Forces Universe. (and the date of their original creation) - using their official 2010 title setup.

Allied Worlds (2001)
Allied Forces(2000)
Allied Forces OCS:  Remnant (2000)

Allied Forces OCS:  Twin Spires (2000)

Allied Forces OCS:  The Unknown (2000)
Allied Worlds V (2000)

Allied Worlds SV (2001)
Allied Worlds Revelation (2002)
Millienium:  Allied Worlds (2008)

As I prepare to celebrate the 10th Foundation Day, I can't help but remember the first, when I saw my creation online, with 300 hits.  I didn't realize then, that I would be still thinking of that moment, a decade in the future.  Ten years from now, what new horizons will I be looking back on.  To my story, Allied Forces, I thank you.  To the past, farewell - I will never forget, and to all the children... congratulations!

...and many more to come.


10 Days of Allied Forces: Part 10 - She said, "Don't make others suffer for your personal hatred." (2009)

2009 Began on a high note.  In fact, I cannot, in my lifetime imagine a time in which everything was going my way more.  By summer that had all changed.  I wasn't hired at PCSB, and I had become disillusioned and overstressed with my work, social, and spiritual life.  I came close to dropping out twice - once going so far as to call the registrar to speak with someone about withdrawal.  Looking back, luckily, the person I needed to talk to wasn't in their office.  The entire summer was a miserable affair, working at the worst job I had ever had, and indeed ever will have.

It was early september when I called the registrar.  She wasn't there.  I looked around my apartment, surveying everything that I had, just four months previous been so proud of - when it caught my eye...  a picture hanging on the wall of my guest bedroom.  An 11 x 17 printout of this...

Whatever it was about this picture - inspired me.  Perhaps the defiance against all odds - as going on in the story, maybe it was the remembrance of how hard I had worked to get there, or maybe it was realizing how quitting meant I would never share the story in a meaningful way.  Whatever it was, this single image kept me going.  More than ever - it was at that single moment - that I realized just how far Allied Forces had taken me.  The story which had been my life for nine years took on a near-religious reverence in my mind.  I would keep on going.  I was going to live on.  Almost two months later, I finally quit the job that had taken so much out of me.  I thought of the final line from Allied Forces R, spoken by the same character in the picture... I'm free.

*   *   *

2009, despite being the END of Allied Forces, actuall saw some interesting developments in the series...

In March, while taking Animation II, I finally found a way to combine my two styles into one.  The result was this...
While the overall design elements do tend to lean more towards anime - without a doubt, they are definitely not traditional.  These are not the cookie cutter characters that everyone draws - or even thinks of when you say anime - these are proprietary - these characters are mine.

*  *  *

That November, when things were starting to look up, I decided to play with the idea of a reboot of the series - the biggest change would be the main character.  I tried to think of another name - other than my own - that the main character could adopt.  After a couple weeks of thinking I finally came up with a possible solution...  Alex "Fox" Harper.

When December came, I didn't plan on making an Anniversary Special - but I did celebrate the day.  Now more poignant that ever given how close I was to having nothing to celebrate.  It was that day when I officially decided to change the name - and several other aspects of the story.  All of which would take effect on JANUARY 1, 2010...